HOPE*ann*FAITH

Learning to Live , Again, On Purpose.


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A Religion that is pure … Care|31day:10 & FMF


Welcome, once again! It’s Friday, which means I write for Five Minute Friday and 31 Days. On Friday’s this month I am doing my best to combine both into Kate’s Friday Prompt. =) Kate is definitely making it easy for me so far! If you’d like to join the 1000s, yes, I said THOUSANDS of writers participating in these Writing Challenges simply follow the buttons displayed at the end of this (and all the 31) post(s).

Today’s Prompt is Care. Something I am VERY familiar with.

Go.

Taking Care

Taking Care

A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  – James 1:27

I am a natural born caretaker, God built me for it; and for many years I actually resented it. Particularly when I was called to care for family members, a few at the same time!

Care-taking is very stressful, tiring, draining …. and on and on. Yet when it’s a calling, a vocation, it can also be VERY fulfilling. If we let it, if we understand it, but only if we take all the measure necessary to care for ourselves at the same time.

I began caring for others at a very young age. My mother was, let’s say ill when I was a child, and I had to grow up. She still struggles and suffers today. I cared for her, my siblings and our home. And I was VERY young to be that old, but there was really no other option.

Caring for others came naturally to me.

Since then I’ve cared for many. In my late teens I became a CNA and worked on the “crazy” floor; I loved it. I went on from there to become a social worker working with low income families, their children, and the developmentally disabled, until I retired. Burnt out.

But God …. He was just preparing me for the most difficult jobs of my vocation.

Family.

My family has been  a difficult relationship for me over the years. I know, boohoo, everyone’s had issues in their families. But some familial relationships are most definitely more difficult and forgive me, more damaging, than others. I HAD to spend years getting over trying to please the un-pleasable, see and love them as God does, and just simply set boundaries that kept me, and my immediate family, safe from the chaos … I can’t even venture to explain this in 5 short minutes.

If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. – 1 Timothy 5:4

This scripture includes: fathers and grandparents and sisters and brothers!

Currently I have charge of my grandmother, who now lives in a nursing facility, and she’s very unhappy; my dad who has lived alone by choice, since I was 4; and I help my sister who is the closest in proximity to my mother who continues to live with, let’s say, many health issues.

Let me not forget who I care for here in Hutchland … The Hubs of course, but we are a working team. I just have to see to it that he takes care of himself – not an easy thing! Right ladies? Even when healthy some of our men need us to straighten out the crooked things sometimes.

And my youngest, who battles addiction. He’s a hard one sometimes. Tough love and support goes on daily here in Hutchland, but he’s overcoming! Praise God.

STOP.

Forgive me the indulgence as I finish this post? I’ll be as short as this heart allows me!

Care-taking takes a LOT out of a person. Therefore we must “keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James1:)

I had to set those boundaries I spoke about. I had to learn that “pure religion”. I had to come to the knowledge that this is one of my God required callings. Therefore I had to learn to care for myself. The alternative was to begin thinking like the world, and asking what was in this for me! Yes, be honest, we all do this at times and if we are deeply rooted in our faith we correct ourselves quickly … but we think these things, even ask God “WHY Me?!” when we forget to care for ourselves. We care-takers must learn this so that we can continue to care for our loved ones.

I battled. I truly did, with the resentment that the people (not the Hubs or the kiddo) God was, obviously, requiring that I care for, were the very people who did not care for me as a child. Who, sometimes still, do not know me until they need me. And as of today they pretty much need me all the time. I had to put that resentment aside and love them like God loves them; see them like Father sees them.

See them like Father sees ME! Oh my, that was a humbling experience. A God Lesson!

OM goodness! SEE THEM LIKE HE SEES ME! That was a true revelation. That was that relationship, that unconditional relationship of love. I had to do that!

Well, by His Grace alone, He showed me how. Because HONESTLY I was completely incapable of those unconditional relationships without Him! We all are, actually, but I was I had some serious, and not unreasonable (in a worldly way), conditions!

Thank goodness He is faithful to this girl.

I said all this to get across that “Pure Religion” isn’t religion at all; it’s RELATIONSHIP. It’s love that forgives and cares for others, always and no matter what.

Because of these lessons I enjoy relationships with those family members that is unique in our family. At a time that is crucial in their lives. And my life is richer for it.

As the Word says … Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22).

He did it for me … how much more will He do it for you?

So what are your cares today? Share them with us … Thanks for reading. =)

Andrea

Andrea

31 Days Journey to Healing

31 Days Journey to Healing

keep calm blog

31 Days!

31 Days!

31 days of Five Minute Free Writes

31 days of Five Minute Free Writes


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Simplicity of Healing :31 Days:


My daily 5 minutes in healing scripture! A 31 Days of Writing in 5 minute challenge. Click the buttons at the bottom of my posts to: Go to all my challenge posts or to go to any of the blogs that hosts these two challenges! The buttons are self explanatory. =)

Now onto the challenge of writing this post in 5 short minutes!

Go!

Walking with God ... Beyond the Cross

Walking with God … Beyond the Cross

Matthew 9: 5-8

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.

The world would tell us that certain “illnesses” or “diseases” are terminal. Cancer, heart disease, addictions! Some would even say the afflicted could have avoided these ailments with different lifestyle choices. However, with all of the study and research and information available and applied these things continue to exist.

What is it about healing that is so very hard for the human race?

It is now my understanding that healing is a mind thing. A spiritual thing. Which is easier, to accept forgiveness or to accept healing? I believe for some both are virtually impossible; that is until they come to an understanding of God and His character.

When we decide to believe God and His promises we should begin to live right. And in that living right we begin to heal … Mind, Body and Spirit.

But it always goes back to BELIEF.

Belief in Jesus. Belief in healing. Belief that God means what He says and does what He promises.

And Healing was and remains a promise!

Whether you believe yourself to be Born Again or “just” a spiritual person, God sent Jesus to HEAL the world. ALL of them, not only the “chosen”. ALL of THEM!

“THEM” are US! ALL of US!

Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

It’s simple. We can heal, we just need to believe what Jesus came to do. We are often asked if we believe in The Cross … and we say yes. But … do we truly understand the gravity of what that means? The Cross is so much more than a piece of wood, or a tree … The Cross is Jesus and what He provided for us. The Cross is a bridge from the fallen world and a fallen life to a Life of Abundance in all things; salvation, healing, righteousness …

I’ve said it before and I’ll likely end up here several times in this challenge.

HEALING was complete in the Atonement! We said YES to Jesus so essentially we said yes not only to salvation but to complete healing body, soul and spirit. Is it a process? Yes … because we question and we doubt and we delay the renewing of our minds.

The Fruit

The Fruit

The simplicity of healing is at the cross … the completion of healing is beyond the cross; is a changing of the mind and life. Complete healing is a fruit we bring forth in our walk with God.

Stop!

I for one, am not content with just sitting at the cross. I am going to accept my forgiveness, and forgive myself too, get up and walk and complete my healing and the healing of my family. I’m going to work this process and deepen my understanding and relationship with Jesus. Amen.

Thanks for stopping by.

Andrea

Andrea

 

31 days of Five Minute Free Writes

31 days of Five Minute Free Writes

 

 

31 Days Journey to Healing

31 Days Journey to Healing


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Good Friday … What Our King did for EVERY.ONE.OF.US. ~ EVERY.ONE.


I wrote this in 2008 … and today I reflect on this Tremendous act of Unconditional Love poured out for all of us … ALL OF US. EVERY.ONE.

Unconditional Love –

Every nerve and sinew in his body screams in pain. Unimaginable pain, with the intense heat like that of the midday sun. The thought of one more step assaults his senses. Yet the consequences for stopping sets a chill in his blood. This sacrifice was always beyond his human control, yet he had chosen, still, to come. The heavy, rustic beam he bears upon his back literally carries the weight of the world. The dead weight of a lost world. Scraping and tearing at his raw skin, the weight of it bears upon his very soul. Sweat and blood pour into his eyes, blurring his vision as he looks up and begins to pray. Determinedly, he raises his eyes to the heavens, in prayer. dismissing the pain in his body.
Throngs of people bustle about. Some entertained, still others appear to be in mourning, somehow. Do they understand? Can they possibly know the cost of what is happening? Sadly, he thinks, most do not. Worse, some never will. It is for those, the very ones who do not know, that he endures this to the end. A necessity, he knows, for humanity.
From the very beginning he knew the outcome of his last three years on this earth. The consequences of the choice he made. His humanity takes him aback, astonished to realize the fear and the desire to be released from this task. He begins, himself, asking why; just like a man, he thinks to himself. Yet, the ultimate knowledge of the necessity of all of this remains the reason he came to this place, after all.
Finding himself at his destination, a sigh of exhaustion escapes. Very soon now, he thinks to himself. God’s will be done, he prays. Silently his glance grazes the crowd. Brutally he is thrown upon the beam he carried to this ravaged place. The loud din of the crowd molests his ears. He senses familiar presences in the crowd. They are here, doing just the things that were spoken at their dinner on the previous night.
His brothers do all of the things prophesied, to their horror and shame. They look on in sorrow and revulsion. Ashamed of their acts of denial and their human inability to stop the looming end to this saga. Not able to truly understand the necessity. These chosen followers remain unaware of their importance in this history of the world. Yet they stand upon the threshold of that understanding.
Intense flaming pain pierces his thoughts. His prayer is continual now, he seeks the end of this ordeal. Fiery pokers of shoot from his fingertips up his arms with lightning speed, as they are secured to the beam. His feet and legs feel this immensity of agony next. Then the bottom falls out.
He is raised above the crowd. A sense of vertigo takes hold as he is swung from ground level to the heights of heaven. Audible gasps and cries are clearly heard, even a familiar scream, muffled in fear. The weight of his slight frame assaulted by the pin point agony in his hands and feet, as all of his weight is bore by his agony weakened limbs, being held by only course nails. Cramping pain begins to pulsate within the muscles of these limbs. Vibrating through him with each beat of his heart.
Aware of those to each side of him, he looks to his right. Anger and disdain assault him from this side. A soul, unclean with anger, shouts obscenities and accusations his way. Turning his eyes and head from this sin, his sights meet those of a repentant man. This man acknowledges him in a way many have not. Somehow in his own repentance, he knows. Knows the identity of this middle man; this sacrificial life.
The thief begs his forgiveness, unashamedly. Admitting that this fate was earned by his own choice of actions. The man in the middle reassures this repentant soul. Promising that the kingdom of God would be his fate; assuring the thief that they will be joined there this very day, in paradise. With no doubt the repentant man believes.
With that the skies muddy to gray. Flashes of lightening, that only an angry God can create, lights the dank atmosphere. The wind picks up and the clouds move violently across the sky. The man looks up, with every ounce of energy spent. With his last bit of life he cries out to God. Forgive them Father, is his first intercessory prayer. They know not what they do! With that intercession complete he looks forward into the crowd. As the first drop of rain falls from the Creator’s eye, the man gives up his life and cries out, ‘It is done”. And he is gone.
Faintly in the distance a rending can be heard. A veil, thick with the blood of the Son of God, is rent from top to bottom. Fulfilling the words of the prophets and saving the world. With the fulfillment of the law a new covenant begins. The law obsolete and the old gone away.
All things are new. A new faith is born. A new hope is sown in the field of humanity. Three days will prove the words of the prophets of old. The keys to heaven will be restored to the rightful heir.
One act of unconditional love saves all of humanity.
One act of unconditional love moves the hand of God.
One act of unconditional love, from brother to brother, saves a world of souls. One act of unimaginable and unconditional love provides the inheritance to all, each and everyone.


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The Heart Breaks …


In the light.

In the light.

Today:
I said: “I hate to see your heart get broken again”.
He said to me “My hearts been broken so many times it can’t be broke no more”.
I said, “That’s not true … the heart breaks and breaks and endures more breaks and still the heart wakes one day to love again and endure”.
See that’s how God built the human heart … how He built the human being.
So proud of the work he is doing. So proud of his heart that is beating to endure and improve one more day. So proud of my boy, this man. He’s been through the wringer, life inflicted and self inflicted … and still he breathes and his heart beats another day and he fights …
Love this kid until my breath is taken!

He was listening to this song, and I was captive in the car at the time … it speaks to him, his desire to get his life back. The lyrics are harsh for some so don’t listen if you will be offended. See God sees Shane’s struggle and doesn’t care what he listens to if it moves him closer to Him. Praise God.


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Family, Relationships and Forgiveness


I started this post mid-morning, it’s now just about 5 pm est. and my day has taken this post in a completely different direction … on the same topic.

I sat on the couch this morning contemplating my responsibilities of the day, I found myself simply unmotivated. I feel as though I’ve been running on empty and I’ve become quite numb. Our life here in Hutchland has become a non-stop, runrunrun, busybusybusy blur, lately.

Family responsibilities replaced the runrunrun and busybusybusy of chemoradiation therapy’s schedule. So relaxation and quality time have not been freed up as yet, and quite frankly I am wearing thin and so is Hubs.

Boundaries were set many years ago, and they have begun to feel violated. The thing is we we’re the violators, our families are only responding to our increased involvement, and in their view things are normal.

You see, they are of the world, we are not. You know the scripture, right?

Romans:12 And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.As God’s messenger I give each of you God’s warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

Forgiveness:

We’ve forgiven the transgressions of the past and we forgive the future. They don’t understand, they don’t understand us, really, and that’s ok; we’re here to show them who we are and by example the way we live.

I sat last night (really, from early afternoon to the night) on alternating phone calls from my mother, grandmother and sister. A family situation has upset my mother to action that has caused her illness to flare up. She has subsequently become angry with my aunt, cousins and sister (for a completely different reason, that was a bi-product of the original issue). Now my mother is relying upon me, 3,000 miles away, to be her support. And my sister, who lives in the same state as our mother; she just can’t possibly see past her own life to include the needs of her mentally challenged mother into her life, beyond her days off. It’s a rough situation that they are going to have to figure out, with a touch of encouragement from me, because I won’t allow this boundary to be violated. You see I was the one who lost her childhood to care for my ill mother and siblings for close to 40 years. It is only in the last year that my sister has been charged with helping our mother after our step-dad’s passing.

Guilt:

I often feel guilt for the way I feel inside my head, and sometime my heart, towards the needs and demands of the extended family. I guess there are still resentments because thoughts pop into my thinking; unsavory thoughts that make me uncomfortable and convicted. Guess it’s Holy Spirit reminding me again that thoughts of resentment toward them are unacceptable in the forgiveness realm. Yet my flesh rises, wondering why I must be the one; my flesh doesn’t want to be the caretaker, anymore.

Frankly my flesh, and sometimes my heart (emotions), long, desperately to be important enough to my extended family that they would step up and care for me. I mean, my husband is going through cancer treatments (and winning, thank God!), my youngest is battling (and winning, thank God) addiction and my oldest is simply struggling to get his life and career in order. Life has not been easy on us of late, but then life is hardly easy on anyone, right … yet, still my flesh rises.

But …

God made me the caretaker of the family. It has taken A LOT of forgiveness on my part to be able to handle the issues without a need for control, and thank God, because without him and a good friend/sponsor I would not be capable of this, at all.

I remind myself, regularly, that they don’t get it. They simply don’t understand my close relationship with God. So I continue to gently encourage them toward an understanding; forgiving the thoughtlessness, the accusations and the unforgiveness on their end.

If I don’t continue to live within the bubble of my (our) relationship with God I can’t do this with them. Did I already say that? Yes, it is my mantra … without God I can’t _____________ fill in the blank.

So when it comes to my family relationships, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed by their needs, I enter into God and remember this is how he built me. Whether I’m good with that or not, at the time.

So the weekend looms with much to do, and many to care for, and I thank God again that he built me for this, sometimes thankless, job. And I forgive the transgressions of others and stand behind my boundaries, should they choose to transgress.

It’s about staying in God’s will. It’s about obedience to what He has called me to do. And like forgiveness, my call is not about what the family needs, or does, or making them happy. It’s about me being who God intended me to be.

At the end of my day I want to please God. Everyone else … not so much.

Blessings and thanks for reading to my erratic posts.


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On Forgiveness, Again


Let me just say I’ve had a hard several days. I allowed my feelings to be hurt. I allowed that voice in my head to, once again, out of thin air, say these words …

“See … You ARE invisible. No one has time for you!”

Right there began the spiral, for two days. The spiral of wounded feelings taking me deep … deep enough to re-encounter little me … and her absolute rage.

Please allow me to clarify I have fought not to be in this place. Yet, for many, many years it was a safe place for this spirit. A place where no one could touch me, because then they would be burned by the resentments. And while this place sheltered me from more pain and more ravaging from those who should have protected, I truly don’t want to even visit this dry, cold place …

The person who hurt has no idea I am feeling this way. While they are responsible for how they handle others that is between God and them … they are not responsible for how I respond to their in-considerations. Oh how hard, for me, that is, to wrap my head around.

Like one who assumes that others naturally behave they way they do when they are “bad” … those of us who strive to do “right” assume that others would or should behave the same. It’s the right thing to do, right?? Again, something between God and that individual.

Yet the hurt resonates to the core of my hurt little me … and I thought I had succeed in, finally, once and for all, healing her.

Not so.

I cried. I ached. I resented and honestly, decided that I would not trust, again. Eerily like I had (do) done with my parents, and the adults that should have protected, should have rescued.

I trust very cautiously, with my heart, with my circle of safety, and I, still, do not let many in. I don’t give “permission” to many to have influence in my life. It is, honestly, a guard my heart thing. The bible says to be cautious with men and to guard your heart; and I’m very good at this.

My natural shield is anger and resentment. But like that place with my little me, this shield is not acceptable any longer.

My shield now must be transparent. I must forgive the gut blows, as well as the inadvertent slights. If I am honest with myself, the wound I sustained a few days ago was most likely an inadvertent slight, and honestly I would have preferred to be gut punched. For me, it is the slights that wake that little girl’s voice in me.

This blog post was prompted by the fact that I recently came across my copy of “The Power of a Praying Woman” by Stormie Omartian and picked it up this morning to chapter three; ‘ Lord, Help Me to be a Forgiving Person’ and I began to read …

Obviously this was the Holy Spirit rising to show me the salve to this open and quietly aching wound. It is three days later and while I am good outside, handling it;  I am aching on the inside, as I work to get over this unexpected obstacle.

In her book Stormie, and firstly the bible says, if I have received Jesus and been forgiven my great debt, then I have NO RIGHT to be unforgiving to others. The Word says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

If I don’t forgive … I imprison myself in my hatred and consent to torture myself by my own bitterness.

It’s a choice … this ache is a choice. Wrapping my head around that one.

So what do I get out of this resentment? What is my reward?

In the natural, it justifies my continued mistrust in others, which will quickly result in a mistrust of God; because it will boil down, in my limited humanity, that God is not protecting me. That He is forsaking me, contrary to His Word; contrary to His promises. This is where my natural thinking and my human, mental mechanisms will take me.

I am not going there! Regardless of the physical aching of this heart; of the sad feeling I sense when I am with those who have hurt me; a muted anger that they did not do what I perceive they should have done; I am not giving in to the old resentments.

It is hard to forgive those who have ravished, hurt, offended, slandered or mistreated us. It is for me. But God requires us to love everyone, at all times, even our enemies. And when we do this, God perfects us. It is a refining of the soul and of the spirit.  Matthew 5:48

So I choose Life and Forgiveness; just as I did when I walked to that altar and asked Christ to live in me.

I choose New Life … Like in this picture of my early budding wild roses … thorns and all. I choose New Life …

I choose to forgive that 490 times daily (which actually means whatever it takes) ;Matthew 18:21-22, because God requires us to forgive as many times as it takes. I have been hurt by many. Frankly, who hasn’t. But God made us in His image; and not only does He want us to forgive, as He did, He requires it of us to be forgiven.

Do you harbor unforgiveness in your heart?

Sometimes we are wholly unaware that there are layers upon layers of unforgiveness for those who have hurt us.

Would you like to rid yourself of the dark and dry place of unforgiveness in your heart today?

Please let me encourage you to go to your faithful Father God in prayer and ask that He help you to forgive. I’ll let you in on a belief of mine … I wholly believe that I am completely incapable of forgiveness outside of Christ, in whom I strive to reside … Christ in Me and Me in Christ! And the only way I am able to remove the mountain of unforgiveness, in this ravaged human, me, is through prayer and relationship with God.

Without Him I remain a seething ball of resentment. With Him and only with Him am I able to to love and forgive, and to reside in Christ.

The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

May I encourage you to consider this book. Forgiveness is only one area covered in this power packed teaching about prayer. We do nothing outside of our communication with God and prayer is how we commune with Him.

Blessings Loves. Thanks for taking the time to read my heart. Please, I would love to hear from you … I long to hear your heart.

Blessings again.