Feeling Stuck

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The other day I was feeling really stuck in an incident that had occurred. Relentlessly my mind started to obsess over the situation in which I had no power to control.

I have a great book written by Beth Moore called, Praying God’s Word. She takes scriptures, divides them into various topics, and personalizes them so the reader can pray God’s Word over their situation. The above verse  is one that  I found in her book that was so pertinent to what I was struggling with at the moment. I wrote it out on a card to read and meditate on through the day, and it renewed my mind. Whether your past occurred in the last five minutes or something that happened five years ago, this scripture is such a powerful application. The Bible text reads this way;

Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
    will do so by the one true God;
whoever takes an oath in the land
    will swear by the one true God.
For the past troubles will be forgotten
    and hidden from my eyes. Isaiah 65:16

There is a God of Truth and He always desires to Bless us and Release us! He has things for us to do here and we cannot do them if we are stuck. Sometimes it is hard for ourselves or others to forget our past troubles, but it is not hard for God when we ask Him. Not only is it not hard for Him but he forgets it and dwells on the plans He has for our future!

I have been teaching myself over the last few years to not stay stuck in my negative or anxious thoughts about a situation, but to face it, release it, and pray for God’s perspective in it. God doesn’t look at me through a murky lens of failure and missed opportunities. He looks at me through a clean, clear glass  and sees me as loved, accepted, forgiven and pleasing to Him  That keeps me motivated to keep walking  forward on my path of wholeness. I am right here walking it with you and would love to hear from you today!

 

Don’t give up! You’re on The Edge of a Precipice

20180618_133059I have a message burning deep in my heart that I want to share. When darkness closes in all around you and it feels like you are going to suffocate from lack of hope, don’t give up—you are on the edge of a precipice!

The definition of precipice is this:

Precipice

[presuh-pis]
noun
  1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
  2. a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.
I have been on this precipice many times in my life. Sometimes I found myself there from choices I made, but many times I found myself looking off a cliff from situations that simply presented themselves.There are a few choices we can make when we find ourselves here:
  1. Go back the way we came and deny it.
  2. Find other routes to escape it.
  3. Face and accept the seemingly impossible challenge.

I have tried all three! I can say, without a doubt, facing and accepting our challenges is the only choice we have to growing healthy and moving forward.

I have had situations all my life in which I had to choose not to give up. I was born to overcome; nothing in my life has been easy for me. I was the youngest of five, born into a turbulent time. My mother had given up and over to alcoholism, and my dad was an oft-absent traveling salesman. I got a lot of attention early on for being the “baby”, but that soon lost its luster, and I usually felt like I was just in the way, the third (or fifth) wheel, and definitely not preferred over anyone else in the family. Although I now see everyone was trying to do the best they could, the attachments at home were not secure for me.  I was abused in different ways, which further lead me to finding my own ways to detach and protect myself.

Elaine Aron, in her book The Highly Sensitive Person, says:

All childhoods are not equal. Some are truly horrible. And they can differ within the same family. Statistical analyses of the influence of family environment on different children in the same family show no overlap. Your brothers or sisters lived a totally different childhood. You had different positions in the family, different early experiences, even in a sense different parents, given how adults change with circumstances and age.

When I was in middle school and high school, I had the potential and some outside encouragement to really excel in music or writing, but I think the lack of concern at home made me lose motivation to exert any effort. I regret, yet accept not having the wherewithal to take advantage of those opportunities better. I felt unnoticed by my family whether I did something really well or not, so I took the path of ease. There was no support or excitement about what I might become; I only felt the annoyance of others if I asked for help. I have in recent years recognized when those feelings resurface as an adult, and have seen the same scenario play out in my marriage at times.

It has required a lot of dependence on God, prayer, and therapy to work through these deep wounds that have affected my person, marriage, and my own family. First and foremost, I have to believe that I am loved, accepted, pleasing, and forgiven by God. This is where all of my significance lies. I have found Robert McGee’s book Search for Significance to be authoritative on this subject and extremely healing to me.

When you find yourself stuck in life or turning to things you never thought you would engage in to get relief, you owe it to yourself and others to take the time to find out why. We deceive ourselves when we think we can leave one bad situation and move into another one that will magically be healthy without any work. It is a process and a journey that is lived one healing minute and hour at a time.

When you find yourself with your back against the wall, suffocating in the hopelessness, what are you going to do? Remember the three choices from the beginning: we can go back the way we came or stay in the same old ruts and familiarity, but I challenge you that is not the way of healing. We can find other routes and escapes. Again, this is where dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol, and idolatry of every kind comes in. We can choose it, but it will take us in to a greater bondage than the momentary relief it brings. I have made this choice in a variety of ways, I have been destitute, shed many tears and almost completely lost hope for choosing this way.

The third choice, however, is facing and accepting that our situation is hard and taking that challenge. This is difficult, but healthy, because it is walked out in truth. Of course, I am not suggesting that you should remain in a state of hopelessness or receive any kind of abuse. God came to set the captive free and loose the chains of bondage. We are not living healthy lives if we are enabling others to abuse us and perpetuate the cycle. God calls us out of darkness and into His light, and sometimes it is a bloody battle to get there.

I am saying that when we find ourselves in desperate situations, that is usually an alarm that there is something to address. This alarm contains the perfect opportunity for healthy change. The thing about precipices is that there is something vast waiting on the other side, a lively and healthy adventure that you will never know unless you decide within yourself that this is the way of peace, even if it is difficult.

Whether you are in a circumstance of your own making or have done nothing to deserve your position, do not give up! Take courage! Forgive yourself, love yourself, realize that you are accepted and pleasing to God and that that is more than enough, even if others are rejecting you.

I bought a plaque to hang on my wall. I bought it after I had caused a great disturbance in the lives of many because of some of my behaviors. It says: Let your courage set you free! I still look at it and am strengthened by it. I am weak, but Jesus says, “When you are weak, I am strong in you.” That gives me courage. I do not have to muster something that I do not own, but I can let Him do it through me as I am a container pouring out. He can supernaturally change situations if we are open to Him and have faith in Him to change us and change the situation.

You have to believe that you were created for something greater than you can imagine. Maybe you have been climbing up a sheer cliff for many years;  you haven’t reached a plateau or a resting spot in what seems like forever. I understand! My husband and I have gone from one hard or devastating circumstance to the next. Even if I chose to escape for a while, I eventually had to return to the place that I needed to accept the situation and see how I could change or grow while going through it.

It’s like being in labor with a baby; at the point that you think you cannot go on in labor, the baby is just ready to emerge. Every single time I was reaching a precipice, it felt excruciating, like I didn’t have the energy to go on. But every single time, there was freedom and a higher understanding on the other side. Just over the crest is where new life begins; there is no turning back when you keep that perspective.

So, the message that burns within me is this: You are not alone! Do not give up! You are only on the edge of a precipice.

 

From Numbness to Feeling: My Return to the Church

Written by my daughter, Hannah, I am in awe and inspired by this<3

Hannah Kennedy

The room was filled with people. And the room was huge, so it was a lot of people. Hundreds of us were crammed in the black box room that had a stage and big screens in one corner. Lights in various colors flared. Upbeat music played. The crowd of people became a sea of heads and arms under the clouds of light and music.

It was my first time visiting this church. My best friend invited my husband and I along. He and I had been on an unfortunate streak of non-attendance, not because we didn’t think church was something we should do, and not because we had given up our faith or anything. The reason was simple: we hadn’t found a good church near school. The reason was also complicated: my heart was numb and suspicious.

Around the time Alex and I got married, the church I had grown…

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You Bless It’s Growth

 

 

 

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water, you provide their grain, for so You have prepared it. You water it’s ridges abundantly, you settle it’s furrows, you make it soft with showers, you bless it’s growth. Psalm 65:9-10

When I read this scripture this morning, I was reminded of the weather we have experienced last few weeks here in Pennsylvania and reflected on the abundance in my life.  When I go inward, to the secret place of The Most High and find my strength, refuge and expectation from Him, he blesses growth in my life. That is what He does and we can see it in nature. The earth receives water, it goes deep into it’s resources and produces something under the surface that we eventually see. It is the same with us. Though I am always tempted to look externally for expectation, acceptance, comfort or significance, I am seeing a shift in myself to go directly to the source! All I have has been given to me and placed in me by The Most High God, I go to Him and He produces. It is His blessing to produce growth. Happy Monday<3

Give Thanks.

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In Everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thank you God that I woke up this morning! Thank you for the soft pillow and warm blankets on my bed.

Thank you that I have a loving husband who holds me when I wake up and thank you that he has a wife, because you call that a good thing and favor from your hand. Thank you that we have electricity and running water! Thank you that my joints work and I can walk, run and exercise.

Thank you that I have children that I was not supposed to have and they are all a blessing and an inheritance, because that is what you have called them.

Thank you that we have food and clothing. Thank you that we have appliances and vehicles. Thank you for the ability you have given us to praise and worship you and to reach out to others with the comfort we have received. Thank you for the ability we have to learn, read, grow and work.

Thank you for the people that you have placed in our lives through family and friendship.Thank you for the beauty that you have created in this world.( I especially like hemlocks and streams in the woods!;-) Thank you that even though we have trouble and tribulation in the world, that you have given us peace and you have over come the world! Thank you that through your blood, I am more than a conqueror! Thank you that I am forgiven, accepted, and pleasing to you! Thank you, Thank you that you are right now preparing me a home where I can dwell with you forever.

Thank you for this day. Thank you for the ability to be thankful! Thank you that we can not only pray, but that you want to commune with us continually in prayer! Thank you for all who read this, and I pray Blessings, Peace and Grace to each one in The Name of Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Coincidence….

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Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying; Coincidence is God’s way of doing something and still remaining anonymous! I agree with that! When we visited a forest a few weeks ago, it was apparent there had been a significant storm in the park with an amazing amount of trees that had fallen over forest stairways and paths. I was pondering the timing of our trip, comparing  the trees that had fallen over all of the paths against those that had been sawed away for us to get through,maybe even just days before. I said; “it is not coincidence that this storm happened when it did and we chose the weekend that we did. If we had come any earlier, the devastated paths would have made it impossible to navigate.”

I felt a similar thing happened yesterday at a festival I worked, at attending my Honest Aromas booth. God had orchestrated certain people to be there at certain times in my day and I would even say He had prepared me a head of time through a dream the night before and a cell message on my phone from a friend sharing a spiritual insight. It didn’t feel like an orchestration while I was navigating it, it felt like freakish coincidence in the way we all normally define that word. But as I processed the entirety of the scenario through the evening, there was no doubt that HE is at work and that this was another step on the journey I have been on toward Him and His purposes in my life and in the lives of others.

It is easy to react. It takes patience and self-control to say; “God what are you up to? What are you doing in this situation?” But that is exactly what He gives us self-control and patience for!! I am learning (slowly, very slowly!) how not to be over emotional in my emotions! Yes, I have a lot of emotions and I have always been a very caring person, but I do not need to be ruled by my emotions. I can choose how to respond and that is truly all we have power to do. So this set of circumstances gives me and opportunity to feel a broad range of emotions and ask God what He is up to, and sit and rest in His Doing something in the situation! He is up to something in your life as well and it is no coincidence;-) Tell us what’s going on in your life, we want to hear from you today!

 

Refocusing

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What do you do when you run into someone you would really rather not see?

We all find ourselves in situations where we would rather not run into that person. Maybe it’s just because we’re having an off day and would honestly prefer not to run into any person! Or maybe an unfortunate circumstance happened, and there is still some friction in the relationship. Or perhaps, the problem is within yourself, and you haven’t made amends in your heart toward that person.

I’ve had many such opportunities in the past year, and like it or not, I’ve had to face the music more than once. In my   situation, I caused harm. I asked for forgiveness and some of the people I hurt have extended it to me. Others are on their own journey with it, and I respect that. But what do you do if you come face to face with someone and you would prefer not to?

Here are some of the things I have put into practice when met with these uncomfortable situations:

  • I breathe deeply through my nose and out through my mouth.
  • I release endorphins and serotonin by giving a big, beautiful smile! ( Or in some cases; gently smile, nod and in both cases, keep walking.)
  • I lift my thoughts to God and choose to love Him most.
  • I turn my thoughts to my husband and the journey we have invested a lot of time and energy into.
  • I turn my thoughts to my children and how I want to support them and be the best Julia I can be for them.
  • I realize if I always avoid awkward situations, I make a practice of hiding, and I do not want to hide.
  • I feel the pain. I acknowledge that this is reality, and it hurts!
  • I realize the next time I see this person it will not hurt me as much as it does today. Every day I am getting stronger.
  • I choose to be love, be grace, and be beautiful.
  • I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and use me right where I am.
  • I remind myself that I am forgiven, accepted, and pleasing to God, and that this is the basis of my self-worth, no matter what others may choose to think about me.

 

There are times when you run into someone you would rather not see, and it’s really hard to recover from it, even if you’ve taken some steps ahead of time to prepare. If this happens, you may need to take several days to recover, and that’s OK. Some difficult situations are, well, difficult. Maybe they simply overwhelm your mind. Don’t beat yourself up. And if complete downtime is required, find ways to find times for yourself where nothing is expected of you so you can refresh.

Facing a situation is refocusing your thoughts.

I have followed these steps over and over in my mind when I run into a difficult situation with a person I would rather not see. I realize that in the long run, going through the situation is better than avoiding the situation. Then I give God what I can’t control, knowing He can work all things for good, and what’s more, He wants to!

I hope these ideas are helpful to you, as well. Sometimes being healthy means knowing yourself and your limits, and it means being thoughtful enough to plan ahead for your own mental and emotional well-being. Life is a journey, and it’s okay to make little maps to help yourself navigate it. 🙂

What are some ways you refocus your thoughts in a difficult situation? I want to hear from you today!