I Need to Tell My Story Without Reliving It

Today I give my first speech. You’d think as much as I write out encouragement to you that this step would be easy, but it’s not. My passion for you moves me forward, but my emotions make me want to hide in my turtle shell. No matter personality, I am realizing that I must learn to speak to people with more ease. Face to face, is a necessity when addressing all the levels at which I may be called to speak.

Standing in the G.A.P. (Gather, Assess, Provide) covers so many entities. I will need to speak effectively to schools, churches, medical providers, mental health professionals, judges, lawyers, parents and teens. So I joined Toastmasters International. Look for one in your area if you want to learn how give effective presentations.

Afterwards:

Made it through the speech with excellent feedback.

Things to work on:

Reduce my need for notes, slow down and make more eye contact.

Depression, my Jericho Wall: How do I defeat my enemy?

Joshua 5:13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

The wall! I expect it these days, so I don’t go running into it full force,but sometimes it looms so large I can’t breathe. I don’t know what caused this wall of depression, maybe starting another round of insomnia,my kids grief, or my own. It is so real I can see it and touch it. I can’t go further, and I refuse to go backwards, so what are my options?

My option is to cry out to my heavenly father! I cannot move, climb over, or go around this wall, but he can. In college I was reading about Joshua in my Navigator Bible; the caption spoke about the ruins of Jericho. The way the stones are positioned it is clear that the walls fell outward, not inward. A mighty force pushed from the inside!

I need a mighty force knocking down the wall of depression from the inside. If we are in Christ we have a mighty warrior on the inside–the Holy Spirit!

Acts 2:1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesa as the Spirit enabled them.

Much of what has transpired since the death of my son has been through the Comforter (another name for the Holy Spirit). I thank you father for what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do. Direct my path so that I may be a living witness to your power and strength over depression. This is my Jericho wall! You are a force to be reckoned with and no wall can stand against you.  Maybe you have allowed this wall in my life to show others that nothing is too big for you! Not our doubts, not our fears, not our enemies, not depression–nothing can separate us from your love! Thank you for giving me your peace, that makes absolutely no sense in these circumstances. Teach me to abide in your will no matter where you lead me. Amen!

The Object of Our Agitation

My son was very agitated today about surface things that I could see had nothing to do with his anguish. Finally, I heard him sobbing in the other room. “Mommy I can’t stop crying.” I wrapped him up in my arm and rocked him as he continued to talk about the object of his concern, but quickly shifted to crying out for Jonathan. “I miss him so much!” he sobbed.

My heart broke for his grief! Oh Lord, equip me to comfort him. How many of us have those moments, we feel anxious about our broken toy, the car that just cut us off, the snow trapping us inside, the phone ringing–all the things that on another day wouldn’t bother us, but today it is just too much. All the time brewing beneath that agitation is real heart ache, longing, brokenness, fear, and sorrow.

Why did God create us with emotions? Emotions tend to squish out in strange ways when we deny them their purpose. I believe that our emotions were created to feel joy, pleasure, interact with each other and our God internally and externally–literally to be stirred by God. When the fall occurred our emotions were suddenly stirred by sin, which will always point to us away from God. But, we can learn to lay out our heartache, our pain before his throne so that he can replace our burden with healing. Our emotions always long to be in right relationship with God! Don’t be afraid to lift the veil to reveal your heartache to him, He longs to hold us, and is moved with compassion for our sufferings. He may prune away what we think is causing us grief to reveal the root.

If someone around you is agitated about things that don’t seem to match in value do a little gardening. Dig past the surface to the root pain; much easier to heal when we correctly identify the source of our anguish. It may just be as simple as being present with your loved one and listening, but it can make all the difference in the world.

Painting with Boldness: Sharing our Story without Fear

“Your painting in pastels. Don’t be afraid to use some darker colors and even dabble in some reds. The bricks around old windows had so much character.” The art teacher encouraged me. We are such unique and vivid creations! Do we leave our bold mark on the world? My son’s suicide has caused me to paint life with a bit more risky colors.

God came to earth in the form of a tiny baby, born in a manger, announced by angels, and celebrated by shepherds and wise men. Jesus died on the cross for all of us, and on the third day rose again. Talk about painting with bold color! God reveals his love for us openly. He does not try to hide it.

The disciples went from hiding to boldly declaring what they had seen and heard. We have this impression that the apostle Paul was naturally a bold person, but there are several indications otherwise. Acts 18:9-11 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. When Paul met Jesus he was murdering Christians. He had a lot of reasons to hide his new found faith–people hated him! Paul was encouraged along the way towards boldness by God and his fellow believers.

I ask that you pray for me to proclaim Christ boldly! Fear hinders many of us from sharing our lives with others, we tend to speak in pastels. I pray for you to paint the gospel boldly, as well.

What Do I have to offer?: Getting over fears of sharing hope

1 Peter 3:15. . . but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, . . .

A trip to a museum sharing the journey of early settlers out West would be told today if it weren’t for the passing on of their story through journals and families. They gave witness to their spirit of hope that kept them moving in the midst of great loss. Many lost family and friends to the difficulty of the journey and I can identify with their sufferings on a deeper level since my son’s suicide. I am able to keep moving, to keep sharing  my journey because others share their faith with me who have gone through the loss of a child. They witness to me.

When I got involved in Navigators (a collegiate ministry), I was a baby Christian. I was hungry to know this God who had so clearly pursued me. The Navigators have a simple wheel illustration that depicts my Christian walk. Christ the hub or center, the supporting spokes are scripture and prayer(vertical), fellowship and witnessing (horizontal). I kept growing in each of the areas in the years I was involved, but witnessing was the hardest for me.

I have strong beliefs in right and wrong, but don’t like offending anyone. I tend speak my mind, but then second guess myself. The abuse I experienced throughout my growing up tends to make me awkward around people. I have come a long way in my healing process, but witnessing is one area that my insecurities come out big time. The written word comes more naturally for me.

Yet I am compelled (commanded) to share my faith. Paul was consistently accused of being bold in his letters and timid in person. He didn’t let that stop him from doing either. Since my son’s death I have begun to understand that it was never about me being perfect in my delivery, it is about delivering the message of the gospel! The same gospel that saved my life and that my hope will save many more lives.