Is your family wounded or broken today?

I have a certain routine to my day, especially my morning routine. I wake up, spend time with my husband before he leaves for work, have my cup of coffee, read posts and post on FaceBook, then at 7:00 or 7:30 am I always watch Joyce Meyer on tv. She always inspires me and stirs me up. I take notes of her great messages then post them on FB. After that I read 2-3 chapters in the Old Testement and one chapter of the New Testement in my Bible. Next I open my prayer notebook and pray for my friends and my loved ones. Then I get dressed go for my outdoor walk with the dogs and feed my birds. And then continue with the rest of my day.

Well today I joined WordPress.com and I want to start blogging. The more I read, the more excited I got. I have so many painful and joyful and life changing experiences in my life that I would love to share with people. I love to write and I especially want to help people that are hurting. I think God could really us me. I was so engrossed in reading about blogging and readiing people’s blogs that I totally lost track of time.

Then a dear friend called who I have not spoken with in a long time and we chatted and she shared her prayer requests with me. By that time it was time to take my dogs out for a walk- I had not taken them out since 4:30 am and it was already 9:15.

And then it happened. This black cloud settled over me. I did NOT want to read my Bible. I could think of a lot of things I would rather do because I really really did not want to read my Bible. I called one of my best friends. We usually chat on the phone for a while. I explained all of this to her and she prayed a 2 sentence prayer that God would speak to my heart and I would open my Women of Faith Study Bible. I literally had to force myself.

As soon as I started reading the Word of God I was instantly glad I did. I love to read the old familiar stories in Genesis and I read the study notes and I always learn something, I am always comforted or encouraged or inspired or convicted of my sin or just be reminded of the woman God wants me to be.

This morning Genesis chapter 33 spoke especially personally to me. It concerned family relationships. Jacob and Esau were brothers- they never liked each other, they never got along and to make matters worse the mother favored one son and the father favored the other. While the father was on his deathbed his wife and her favorite son tricked the father into giving the birthright and a full blessing to the younger son. ( The custom was the oldest child had the birthright and got his father’s full blessing and the younger brothers would serve the older brother and the older brother would gain all the land and be blessed by God and be prosperous.) Esau, the older son hated Jacob and planned to kill him after his father died. The mother sent Joseph away. Jacob was gone for 14 years- he served seven years working for one wife and another 7 years working for the second wife.

Now we come to Genesis 33. My chapter for today. I understand now why the devil did NOT want me to read this chapter…Jacob is returning home. He fears that his brother, who is approaching with a great army of men will kill him, his family, his servants and all his livestock. Jacob sends his servants ahead to his brother with gifts of livestock. The brother refuses the gifts but instead Esau runs to his brother and embraces his brother and they wept. Their hard hearts were softened and they felt love and mercy and forgiveness for each other.

Does your family live in perfect harmony with each other or is there conflict and strife?My 4 children did not have a happy childhood- they each grew up in different homes- 3 of them were in numerous different foster homes. Each one says they have forgiven me 25 years later but our family is still wounded and broken. One of my adult children visited me on Christmas Eve and we had a great time before he drove back to D.C. Two of my other children drove together from New York and New England to surprise me with a visit. I got to see my granddaughter who I have not seen for 3 years. My child who lives in Michigan was there also with my other two grandchildren… I live in Michigan. We had the happiest 4 days that we have had in many many years. It was a joy to see my children and grandchildren bond with each other. I was filled with joy. Then Friday night words were said in anger- cruel unkind words that left all of us hurt, devastated and angry. My son and my daughter left two days later and two of my children are not speaking to me, I cannot see my grandchildren- they want nothing to do with me and one of my children wants nothing to do with anyone in our family. So, as you can imagine, I am deeply hurt and dissappointed. But I have chosen to focus on the happy times we did share together and now my focus is on God, my loving husband, the two children that do love me and want to be their mother, my dogs, my cat and my birds.

I can see now why not he devil did his very best to keep me from reading the story of Jacob and Esau. If there was hope for these two there is hope for my family- and for yours. Whatever your family situation is God can heal it if we turn to Jesus, ask him to forgive our sin, be our Lord and Savior and put all of our faith in his death on the cross, burial and resurrection. Once we do this we are born again, we become a child of God and we can pray to him and give him all of our worries and cares and burdens and ask him to help us to patiently wait until his timing is perfect. He does not always promise us we will get what we want and we need to ask him to help us accept the things we cannot change… but he hears our every prayer, he loves us, he loves our children and our family members and He knows what is best for us. All I know is that if he could soften the hearts of Jacob and Esau he can soften the hearts of anyone if we pray and trust him and patiently wait.

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Daily Inspiration

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DANGER AHEAD

I took my dog Willow for a run right before sunrise this morning. She stops whenever a car goes by and will not budge. We live on a dirt road on the country; we have very little traffic. Sure enough a pickup truck came and I had to stop running which is aggravating. It was my overprotective husband making sure I was okay.

Well I resumed my run feeling perfectly safe until I saw a pickup truck back out of one of the driveways on the right, go past a few houses and then backup into a driveway on the left. He kept his lights on and his engine running and sat there.

I thought about all of the dangers Chuck had warned about. One of the dangers he mentioned was being murdered and raped.

I froze in my tracks. I called my husband and told him, ” There is a suspicious looking pickup truck ahead. He drove down the street and is waiting for me in someone’s driveway.” I admit it; I was scared. It was early in the morning, the street was deserted…

” You’re not talking about me are you?” He asked. Sure enough the suspicious driver was my own overprotective husband.

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Sunrise Run

It is 6:57 am. I got up extra early so I could run at dawn. I am hoping I will be able to see a beautiful sunrise when I run past a farm that is on my route. I cannot see the sun rise from my house; there are too many trees and other houses in the way.

I ate a good breakfast- it will be 40 minutes before my run- not a full hour. I am drinking water. My eyes want to close. I feel really drowsy. I want to climb back into my nice warm bed and go back to sleep but I have a busy day planned. If I want to run today I need to do it early. Besides, the majority of my races are early in the morning.

It is going to be a cold one today. I am going to have to wear my husband’s oversized winter jacket. My jacket was covered with mud and had to be washed after yesterday’s run. It is hanging by our wood burning stove to dry off.

Well it is almost time for my warm up so I need to do my stretches. Doing stretches and warm ups is very important. I do not want to injure myself. Once I get out into that cold winter air I will not be drowsy any more.

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OUR FIRM FOUNDATION

How Firm A Foubdation

2 Timothy 2:19

This song is written for those who know Jesus and have a close personal relationship with him.

“Fear not,

I am with you;

Oh be not dismayed,

For I am your God,

And will still give you aid.

I’ll strengthen you ,

Help you,

And cause you to stand,

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through fiery trials

Your pathway shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient,

Shall be your supply.

The flame will not hurt you;

I only design

Your dross to consume

And your gold to refine.”

Rippon’s Selection of Hymns 1787

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When You Don’t Like Yourself.

There are times when I don’t like the way I look. My hair is gray, I am overweight, I am starting to get wrinkles on my face, I had a broken nose and my nose is slightly crooked. Do you ever feel that way? Do you not like the way you look?

Perhaps you don’t like your personality or you have a disability. There is something-that makes you different.

Have you done terrible things in the past? Are you doing terrible things in the present? I have done terrible things in the past.

Almost everybody has things they do not like about themselves. And almost everybody over age twelve has things they have said or done that they regret

What does God say? “For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13–14

God designed you- your looks, your personality, your disability, the color of your skin, everything about you. Maybe you became disabled, burned, scarred or had a brain injury later in life. God allowed that to happen for a reason and a purpose. He loves you just the way you are.

What if nobody else likes you? What if your own family doesn’t like you? Jesus loves you so much that He died for you. [See John 3:16-17.] You have great value to God.

What if you have done terrible things in the past? What if you are doing terrible things right now?

[I believe in the value of a good therapist. I encourage people to go to therapy and to Christian Recovery Groups held in churches all over the country. They are 12 step groups, just like AA but Jesus is our higher power.]

What does God say about the terrible things we have done? He says we are all sinful and when we confess our sins to Him He will forgive us. [See 1 John 1:8,9].

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:11–14

How far is the east from the west? That is how far God removes our sins from us. God loves you. He sees each tear that falls. He hears the cry of your heart. Maybe nobody has compassion for you. God does. I do.

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DBT: Guidelines for Relationship Effectiveness- How to Keep the Relationship

GIVE

G (be) Gentle

I (act) Interested

V Validate

Validation does NOT mean that you AGREE or APPROVE of behavior. In fact, validation is non-– judge mental.

VALIDATION STRATEGIES

1. Focus on the words of the person, whether it is yourself or someone else. We all have value. We are created in the image of God. God loves us. We have value to God.

2. Observe – listen carefully to what is said with words, facial expression and body language. Intently listen, be mindful (alert, focused,) in the moment (pay attention to what the person is saying right now.)

If you are validating yourself, honor your experience by sitting quietly with it, knowing it for at least a few minutes.

If you are validating someone else, use good eye contact, be mindful in your focus on them.

3. Describe non- judgementally. State the facts of the situation.

” He said no he cannot give you a ride. You are very angry.”

“Your daughter has not called you today. You are very worried about her.”

“You got a speeding ticket. You were only going ten miles over the speed limit. You do not believe the police officer gave you a ticket because he is a racist.”

4. State the unstated – note the presence of feelings, beliefs, etc. that have not been invoiced. See examples above.

If validating yourself, identify your primary emotions. If anger is obvious, explore your feelings of any shame, hurt, or disappointment that may be hiding beneath.

5. Find what is true and valid about the experience and note this. Without feeling that you have to agree or approve of the experience, find a piece of it that makes perfect sense, and validate this.

“You are disappointed.”

“Your feelings were hurt.”

“You think your daughter has had something terrible happen to her.”

” You think your daughter does not love you if she does not call you every day.”

“You feel like you were unfairly treated because you are a male African American.”

“You think nobody likes your blogs because only five people clicked like on your blog.”

If validating yourself, perhaps you realize that the thoughts you are having our irrational, however, validate that they exist and are powerful in the moment.

If validating someone else, even if you disagree with their behavior, find something that you can empathize with.

“When you get that angry you want to strike out at someone.”

What Do MY Races Have to Do with YOU?

My dream is to run in a marathon… or a half marathon… or shorter race in October. I have recently started training for my this marathon.

I received an email today listing all the races in my area for 2018. This was right after I got off the phone. I had just found a pair of secondhand Kleats for $15.00. New ones cost $100.00-$300.00. The cheap ones I purchased on Amazon were too tiny and made my sneakers rub against my toes.

I have been reading about races, and tips for racing about two hours now. I am so excited.

I had a Beginners Racing Plan to follow. It is too slow to prepare me for a 5K. I looked at a plan developed by the first race- Training For a 5 K. It was too fast for me. I developed my own training plan. It is just right.

I am racing 5K (about 3 1/2 miles) in April to raise funds to help children and women in human trafficking. It will be my very first race. I am so excited!

I am racing 3 miles in May to help support pregnant teens/ ladies who choose life for their babies. I love Alpha Women’s Center!

I am racing 6 1/2 miles in June for Mental Health. I am mentally ill so this race is near and dear to my heart.

My final race is in October. That race is for me. (I wish they had races in July, August and September but there are none.)

My plan starts out with me running for one minute and walking for two minutes for 30 minutes and the week before my first race I will be running for 6 minutes and walking for two minutes for thirty minutes. I know I will be slower than most, but faster than those who are walking. I will be happy to finish the race. I get a tee shirt, a number and an award for successfully completing the race.

What can you learn from this? What is that one thing you want to do? Take a minute, close your eyes and think about it. Is there something you would like to do but you are afraid to try? What small goals can you set each month to go for what you really want? Whether it is running in a race, saving up money for a vacation, starting your own business, signing up for a painting class, going back to college, taking a writing class, writing a book or some other thing you can do it! If the worst happens and at the end of the year you have not attained your goal you will have at least tried. It is better to try and fail than not to try at all. Go for your dreams! Work hard and make your dream come true! Start praying and planning today. Tell your friends and family. Hopefully they will support you. If they do not believe in you then forget them. Believe in yourself. Pray, pray, pray and ask God to help you every step of the way. Stop and imagine how you feel when you successfully complete your race.

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DBT: Guidelines for Relationship Effectiveness: Keeping the Relationship

GIVE

G: (Be)Gentle

I: (Act) Interested. I will be honest. I am not always fascinated by my husband’s stories. He reads a lot of stuff on his internet sites. Some info really is interesting but there are times when I don’t really care about what he is talking about. But when he wants to talk to me I put my phone down, I stop what I am doing and I listen to him. Sometimes his stories about work are just not all that exciting. Sometimes they are, but not always. I listen to his stories and he listens to my stories. He reads my boring blogs, my emails, my text messages because we love each other and we want to make each other feel listened to. Whether it is sports, politics, religion, philosophy or something else it is important for your partner to have someone he or she can talk to about anything. Would you like your spouse to talk to you or go to someone else who will listen? When you come home after working all day and your spouse has been home with the kids all day it is important to ask him or her her about their day and really listen to them. When your spouse comes home after a hard day at work it is important to listen to him or her talk about their day. It is important if you want to keep the relationship.

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