I’ve Not Disappeared, Well Maybe I Have

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything.  I’m writing now to simply say that I don’t really know what to say besides saying that I am on a very hard journey to healing childhood wounds.

I implore you, if you have any of your own, seek help.  It is unreasonable to think you can just go on and not pass on some or a lot of your own pain to someone you care for. Something I saw on Facebook from Christine Caine said it best, “If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” This makes me angry, actually.  I find it difficult to fathom being so unaware of oneself, that one leaves a path of destruction in their wake, completely and utterly oblivious.  I especially have a hard time when it’s children who catch the brunt of that destruction.  It isn’t fair.  I am intent on ending abusive cycles.  The buck stops here.  What I find even more disturbing is the covert nature of it.  When it comes to people, I have an easier time taking those blatant, in your face types.  Covert behavior bugs me because there’s such an insidious nature to it. It’s so ugly and despicable. Also, when one displays covert tendencies, it makes me feel that they have more control than they’re willing to admit, being able to behave one way here and another way there.  I don’t handle that well.

So, I pray you are well while I’m going through all the emotions and what comes with healing.  It’s hard, but it’s great and so very necessary.  I am already a very different, healthier, more alert me than ever before. I am happier too, actually.  As I said, it’s difficult at times, but this is a good thing.  God is with me and I know it.  He started me on this journey, after all.  I will aim to write again soon.  With love, Patrice.

Culture of Honor

Where love languages are concerned, I always tie between two- acts of service and quality time.  I cannot choose one over the other.  Coming alongside me to help and chat with me as I wash dishes screams love.

In Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, it is noted that most often, people love others based on their own love language(s).  I know this is true for me because I am very often seeking to do something for someone and spend time with loved ones. It fills me to overflowing.

I am naturally a romantic, mushy, sappy type.  I love that too and at times crave that kind of experience to be directed my way, but I don’t always get it.  Rather than complain and constantly feel sorry for myself over it, I seek ways to teach my husband and children how to love me the way that most directly and clearly speaks to my heart.  We are in such a moment in time these days.

Around Valentine’s Day, in 2017, I decided to get sappy and romantic with my family.  From February 1st thru the 14th, I wrote each of them something that I love about them.  I enjoyed doing it and had no problem at all coming up with something for 14 days. This is just one example of the types of things I do to love my family and show them I am thinking of them and care. As much fun as I had doing it, I realized a few days ago, lol, that not one of them thought to reciprocate.

I realized that while it comes easily to me to honor those dear to me, it isn’t so for everyone, and because I want to raise thoughtful children, I brought this to their attention.  In as loving a way as possible, I discussed the importance of honoring others and admitted that there are and have been times when I have felt that I was “for them” and they were for themselves as well, leaving me out of the equation.  I told them that I would like to change that and teach them to be more aware of others, especially those closest to them.  I mean really, don’t cry, slob and snot if something happens to me and tell me how much you love and care for me then, tell me and show me now!

In trying to think of ways to help my family, Abba gave me a wonderful idea that I call, Culture of Honor.  There are seven in my household and seven days in a week, so for now, once a month (for one week), we are honoring each person in various ways.

I am enjoying seeing how they are choosing to show honor to one another. One child took over washing dishes another was doing.  One made another’s bed, bought another their favorite thing from the store, etc., many acts of kindness have taken place this week.  My prayer is that this will teach them to remember others and the important roles they play in our lives, and, honor them for it.

All too often, we get comfortable with those closest to us, so much so, that we completely take them for granted.  I don’t want to do this or be treated like this and I don’t want my children to do it either. So, we are seeking to change this and make some wonderful memories while we’re at it. People are very happy with how others are choosing to honor them and there’s a sense of excitement when thinking of what to do for others as well. We also plan to choose others outside our household to honor.  It will be fun to surprise people and honor them.  I am very grateful that instead of stewing in anger, resentment, and self pity, my Abba gave me a solution- Culture of Honor.  Who could you choose to catch off guard and honor today? Go for it, and tell me about it!


On The Receiving End

I love what Luke 6:38 says (CJB), “Give, and you will receive gifts —the full measure, compacted, shaken together and overflowing, will be put right in your lap. For the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure back to you!”

We all want to receive, some more than others. We all know people who always seem to have their hand out, lol.  Then, there are those of us who, present company included, aren’t so good at being on the receiving end of a blessing.  When it comes to gifts, some of us are good at dishing them out, but we aren’t so good with taking it in.  We see a verse like Luke 6:38 and praise God alongside our brothers and sisters, but when the Lord sends someone to bless us, we shy away and do our best to decline their efforts.  This is silly.

The King James version of this verse is a bit different, it actually says “shall men give into your bosom”.  Let’s take a look at it. “ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

So, God tells me to bless this one, and in turn, He sends someone my way to bless me, and what do I do?  I do my best to turn them away. Prideful much? Barring the Almighty literally dropping things into your lap from the heavens above, (and He can do that if He so chooses) we have to consider that He just might use men to repay us. Those of us who aren’t so comfortable with this, need to learn to get comfortable, because God seems to really enjoy using people to bless people.  It’s kinda His thing, I think.

We had a very ridiculous situation happen recently, where our electric company, with whom we have a substantial credit balance, cut our electricity off.  We had to have some work done but the process was lengthy to say the least. A permit had to be pulled from the city before the work could be done. Then, inspections had to be done by both the city and the electric company and more.  Seventeen days later, our power was restored.  No, that wasn’t a typo, 17 days with no power.  It was either too hot or too cold to stay in our home.  We have no family here and because we are a family of 7, off to hotels, we went.  My mother helped us with 5 nights in hotels, and then we ended up traveling out of state to her home for the last 4 nights. All in all, it was very costly.

Upon returning, we had to throw out everything. A massive cleaning, not to mention deodorizing had to take place as things were quite moldy in our fridge. It was just, a mess.  Then, we had to start over from scratch.

You know how you have people in your life who say, “Please let me know if you need anything…” and you just smile, nod, and say, “Ok.”?  I called on each, asking, (super uncomfortably, I might add) if they would help us with groceries.

We need to restock badly, and with 7 people, it’s no small feat, believe me.  The help we have gotten and are still getting is nothing short of amazing.  When people say they want to help, let them.  Don’t rob people of the blessing they will receive when they help you.

Again, I’m not talking about people who always have their hand out, always on the receiving end and rarely on the giving end.  I’m talking about the ones who seriously struggle with allowing people to bless them with things, even when they are truly in need.  This is a heart issue that I dare say, will continue to be an issue until it is properly addressed with the help of our Heavenly Father.

The Lord wants to give us good gifts.  He is a good Father. He wants to bless us more than we want to be blessed, and He often will use people to do it.  Plus, let’s get real, if He sent some enormous angel with a basket of money or whatever, most of us would freak out completely.  He knows that.  Also, God is such a serial blesser. (Shhh, I know that’s not a real word.)  He is so good at blessing everyone involved and passing it on exponentially.  We can never out give Him.  It’s impossible.  So the take home this week for those of us who struggle with receiving is, get it together!  You love blessing others, let somebody do something for you sometime!  You’d be surprised to see how many would jump at the opportunity to bless you.  And those on the other side, the ones who always have that hand open to receive, get yourself set to give!  It’s the best side! 😉

Persevere In Loving Others

I have a bit of a confession to make.  Generally speaking, I am one who loves people, quite easily too, but there are two groups of people that have been harder for me to not get agitated with, to say the least.  These two groups of people have, in the past, caused the love all people theme music record to scratch, after which point I find it difficult to show them love.

One group is my friends who are always going on and on about hate speech, what is and isn’t politically correct and how conservatives are bigots.  I am fine with that until I start to see them, and only them actually, posting things on Facebook condemning, belittling and demeaning people who don’t think or believe as they do.  These are also the same group of people who says the infamous, “If you believe x, unfriend me now!”  Seriously, isn’t this the definition of bigotry?  Isn’t this intolerance personified?  Did the definition suddenly change because the shoe is on the other foot?  It’s interesting to see this over and over and I can’t even say it’s my liberal friends because that’s not true.  I have liberal friends who are more consistent with their beliefs.  Their stuff actually matches.  Plus, it’s always baffling to see Christians who are more liberal in their thinking than some of my non Christian friends who appear to have far more values and morals that are consistent with how God calls us to live.

The second group is Christians.  The ones who miss the good old days of preaching hell and damnation to anyone within earshot.  This group, more than the other, is tough to deal with as this group is supposed to be different. Here’s the thing, we are to model Christ, point blank.  I’m open to the possibility of missing it but I have never seen where Jesus approached sinners (unbelievers) in the manner that I have seen other Christians approach them, in order “to get them saved.”  John 3 :17 says God sent His son into the world, not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  Jesus came to save sinners, not judge them.  He became sin for sinners so they could possibly escape judgement by believing in Him (see 2 Cor. 5:21).  I just don’t see where there’s any room for followers of Christ to behave in a manner that contradicts how Jesus walked here.

When they brought the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery to Jesus, he didn’t choose the guy with the best arm to throw the first stone.  He didn’t bring more shame and guilt down on her, and he could have, he never committed any sin mind you.  Instead, he said those infamous words, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”  Then, after they all left, he asked where her accusers were and when she said they had left, he said that he, spotless, sinless Jesus, didn’t condemn her either. He told her to go and sin no more.  Why?  Because if she did that again and was caught, he may not be there to stop them from killing her!

When Jesus saw Zaccheus up in the tree trying to get a good view of him as he walked by, he didn’t knock him off the tree and shame him in front of the crowd. He could have very well done that.  Zaccheus was a mess and everyone knew it and hated him for it.  Jesus astounded them all by telling Zaccheus to come down because he was inviting himself to have dinner with him, lol!

The only people I recall  Jesus going off on were the Pharisees, the religious leaders who claimed to be about God’s business. He referred to these people as a hypocritical brood of vipers.  These were the know it all folk who “were only doing what was right.” They didn’t care about people at all.  They loved their positions, titles, places of honor and all it afforded them and they didn’t like Jesus coming around changing things, drawing the attention away from them and their agenda.

These days, the Lord is working on my heart towards such groups.  He is helping me to see past their behavior and pray for them with love.  He’s doing this really cool thing where He shows me what’s behind it all whether it be an orphan spirit, religious spirit, fear or a combination since oftentimes the orphan and religious spirit seem to go hand in hand.  When this happens, I can begin to have compassion for even the harder to love people who oftentimes need love the most.

Also, here’s the thing, we are commanded to love one another as Jesus has loved us.  That’s a tall order.  Romans 13:8 says owe no man anything but love, saying that love is the only debt that should remain outstanding for us all. So you see?  I can’t afford to not love others, no matter what.  Also, when one experiences the love of God, it’s not so easy to not pour out that same love on others, especially those who obviously need it most.

So let’s change the world together by becoming love and giving it away.  We have been empowered to do so.  He wouldn’t have commanded it if it were an impossibility.  Let’s choose to love on purpose the next time we come across those we tended to find unlovable in the past.  After all, we have received so much love from Him.  We have freely received.  We should be more than happy to freely give.  We can do this!

Keeping Connections Strong

Last week, the highlight for me was relationships.  My relationship with God, with my children, and, I’ve been taking notice of how people treat one another on social media as well.

My goal with God is that He becomes more real to me than my husband and children.  He already lives in me so there is no such thing as getting closer, but greater intimacy is what I am after.

I was talking with some of the teens from our youth group about practical ways we can grow in intimacy with the Lord.  We all took pause after I mentioned how we tend to do more talking than listening with God.  I illustrated this by pretending to call Him on the phone.  I asked Him what He feels I should do about such and such, and what He thinks. However, instead of pausing for an answer, I hung up the phone.  This is how many treat God.  Some insist that He doesn’t speak to them, but are they really listening?  Is time set aside to just be with Him, basking in His presence, receiving from Him instead of making requests or talking incessantly? If we treated the people we see in front of us the same way we have often treated God, would we have friends?  Would people want to be around us?

My relationship with my children is another very important one to me.  I don’t hesitate to discipline them when I need to, but, I have lots of fun with them too.  I am big on respecting children.  I refuse to give more consideration, benefit of doubt, respect and patience to other adults or people period, than I am willing to give my very own children.  I don’t make every mistake they make about me and focus on how it makes me feel.  I’m more concerned with helping them learn and grow, and in doing so, it helps me to learn and grow as well.  If they do something that disappoints me, I don’t necessarily need to tell them that.  They know I’m not happy when they do something wrong.  I’m more concerned about why they thought to make the choices they made that led to doing wrong in the first place.  I want to get to the root of it and keep the connection I have with them intact.

This doesn’t mean we don’t ever get angry with one another, but it does mean that I treat them with the same respect I would treat anyone else with, if not more. I don’t have to make any declarations about being their parent, they know that, and, I am not just their parent, I am their friend also, at every stage of our lives together.  I don’t lord my position and authority over them as children and expect that when they become adults, things will magically change in our relationship and they will want to be my friend.  Why would they? I do my best to model Jesus’ example. He led with love and respect. Why should I do anything less?

With all that is going on in the world as of late, there have been many heated debates on social media and elsewhere.  I thank God that He has been showing me the enemy’s part in it all. I see how the enemy wants to pit us all against one another. Because of this, I am not all emotionally stirred up, fearful, and more.  I see and pray more effectively because He has given me the ability to come up higher and see the bigger picture and operate from an opposite spirit. After all Ephesians 6:12 says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”.  We have to remember that only love can conquer hate.

The topic of honesty keeps coming up as well. I know people who know they are brutally honest. Some of them seem to take pride in it, not realizing that they are, a lot of the time, more brutal to others than honest.  In their quest to be and do right, they viciously mow over others hearts with their words, alienating people and making enemies in the process.  We must prioritize.  Do we care more about being in the right or our connections with our friends and family?  I am admittedly a very black and white type.  I don’t see a lot of grey.  I like things to be done in order and correctly.  I have pet peeves that center around so many different things like grammar, chewing loudly, music and more, but I value people so much more than I value the need to be right and tell others how they are wrong.  I want to strengthen my connections with people, not tear them down just to be “right” in this moment.  We need to value one another.  When it gets down to it, we all just want to love and be loved and respected.  We can do this. Let’s love one another better. Are you in?