When Trauma Has You Frozen, Pray

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

I do not grieve like someone who is a slave to my son’s death. Sometimes, just like the Romans, I need a reminder that I can cry out to my daddy when fear is attempting to chain me again.

Yesterday I met a friend to study scripture and pray together. I made it through all the markers of Jonathan’s death and did not break down. But grief is not dictated by routine or schedule.

As I walked into the restaurant two police officers were waiting in line to place their order. I have yet to overcome a visceral response to police officers, since it was a sheriff who had to deliver the news that my son was dead. Every encounter since has been sweaty palms, shaking, and near breakdown.

I want to overcome this reaction, but am not sure how. My friend, aware of my struggle asked if I was okay when I came to the table. I struggled to not completely melt into tears. She assured me, it is okay if I cry, each moment is valuable, even the hard ones. We began catching up, but the officers sat only a few booths away and I was barely holding it together.

Finally I asked, “Can you do me a favor? . . . Oh, never mind.”

But my friend wisely didn’t leave it at that. “You want me to ask them if there is anything we can pray for them?”

All I could do was nod.

They asked her to pray for their safety, and we did just that. She redirected my overwhelmed feeling into meaningful, and purposeful care for these two men. As a result it also brought peace and calm to my soul.

What are you facing right now that causes an uncontrolled, physical response? It doesn’t make logical sense, but you can’t stop reacting to past trauma. I encourage you, just as my friend took the reigns and led me through the dark moment, to find a purpose in your grief. Begin with prayer. Lift up the person, circumstance, or fear to God who loves you perfectly and can cast out all fear!

Love Always,

Karisa

 

Prayer:

Lost to Suicide

Amid the fireworks,your little

hand slipped into crowded adulthood,

before your mind developed a sense of direction.

Grasping anything to garner comfort, but

fear is a poor companion.

Absence begged me to give up on you . . . but, what mother can?

 

I attempted a missing person’s report, but was

laughed out of the station.

“He’s finding himself, ma’am”. The experts scoffed, even as my

happy-boy flyers faded amid other bulletin board lost souls.

The exhausted search now buried . . .

And I hold tight to my Daddy’s hand,

so I don’t lose myself in the crushing mob of grief.

Just Another Day: Except it Isn’t

 

Scripture: Lamentations 3:22 The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”…

Thoughts: How do you turn the page on the hardest days of your life? In three years I have learned:

  • Pray
  • Be with family and friends
  • Pre-prepare
  • Hydrate
  • Laugh
  • Remember
  • Praise
  • Be present in today (pain, tears, joy, love, all is useful to God)
  • Notice blessings
  • Encourage others

Prayer: Lord, you are faithful in my sorrow today as I turn the page on the tragedy of Jonathan’s death, and another year begins. May others learn, live, love and grow because they see your presence in our lives. I find joy today because you are faithful. Thank you that Brian journeys through grief with me.  Laughter is not distant because you have given me Daniel and Natalie. Thank you for time with friends this afternoon. I feel pain, but know it does not last. Your love, instead is eternal! Amen

A Father Who Chooses Us

Scripture: Psalm 68:Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. 5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.…

 Thoughts:  On our wedding day, Jonathan was seven years old. Brian prepared vows for his little package deal; it was important Jonathan know Brian wasn’t just in love with his mother. Brian knelt down, looked Jonathan in the eye and committed his life to loving, caring and cherishing his new son. He had no idea the hardships that would come with that promise, but Brian chose to love Jonathan.

God chose all of us, knowing from the beginning, the weight of  carrying our sin to the cross! Repeatedly he renews that covenant and gives Jesus, his one and only son, to share in our suffering. That is something to sing about! God is described as a desert rider, father to the fatherless, judge for the widow, home builder, advocate for prisoners. Dwell on this verse.

What characterizes someone who rides out into the desert to find or help the lost traveler? What provisions do they take with them?

Who adopts children? What sacrifices do they make?

Who takes the time to judge rightly? How do they treat each case as individual?

Who builds a home for someone who cannot repay?

Who advocates for the hardened outcast?

Any of us can fall into one of those categories of need. All of these actions take time, require much from the giver, and lots of follow-up. I have experienced this first hand. The vows the Lord said to me are what changed my life 21 years ago, peeled layers of sin and pain, and sustains me now. He committed to providing for me, my new baby, and set me free to live a new life.

 For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.…  (Romans 5:6-8)

That kind of love convinced a centurion Jesus could heal his servant by saying the word. That love turned a prostitute into one of the most generous and worthy women in the Bible. God’s love turned a rag-tag-band of disciples, caught in the turmoil of Roman rule and their own sins, into powerful messengers of  love, sacrifice and restoration. God’s love has made it to me into an advocate for prisoners of despair.

You may be experiencing depression. I am convinced, at depression’s core, the enemy attempts to seperats us from the love of God. But, God’s love and commitment snaps the chains of depression (Mark 5:3)!  Addiction, sexual sin, abuse, lying, stealing, anger, wrath are no match for Him. No matter who or what we prostrate ourselves to, God the Father remains faithul. His vows lead him into the pits of our despair, redeeming us, and places on us the cloke of adoption! He loves you, and choses you. Our response is to embrace that love, allow Him to reveal our character, and to SING THE PRAISEIS OF A FATHER WHO CHOOSES US!

Prayer: Father, thank you for reminding me of your vows! If anyone reading does not yet know of your commitment, may they become convinced that you choose them. I do not understand, nor can I explain the depth of your love in adequate words. I was so caught of guard by your answer to my prayer whe I first approached you as an ubeliever.  I am still so in awe of your presence with me when I struggle with despair. Father, reach out to any prisoner, widow, orphan, desperate, opressed person who is crying out to you. Provide a home, friendship, sustance, and freedom to all who need it. Amen!

 

Reduced to Prayer

Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He told them, “Pray that you will not enter into temptation.”

41 And He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, where He knelt down and prayed, 42“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. 44 And in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.c

 

Conversation, smallest unit of trust,

on which faith’s DNA is shaped into obedience.

In the garden heaven multiplies cells of lush truth

while relating to our God.

Willing clay shaped by willing love.

So that, when we are tempted to despair, we are never alone.

Scientology: The Eating Disorder of Religion?

The enemy of all of us often uses the same pattern, just with different skin, to isolate us and separate us from the love of God. Beauty Beyond Bones gives excellent insight into recognizing the isolation we spiral into. She encourages us to move away from judging the false beliefs we observe others wearing, instead, cultivate compassion for the brokenness we all share in common. We can learn to recognize the internal organs of the lies we believe about ourselves, others, and God and put on the new skin of truth.

BeautyBeyondBones

So I’ve recently watched a couple documentaries on Scientology:Going Clear,and Leah Remini’s 8-part series, Scientology and the Aftermath.

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Wow. If you want your minds blown, give them a watch…I included the links.

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Let me begin by saying, I’m not here to bash anyone’s beliefs. I am all for respect and inclusivity. But I was just astounded at the level of oppression and corruption in that “religious” organization (as depicted in these exposés).

And it stuck with me all weekend. I couldn’t stop thinking about those poor people trapped in that culture of repression.

What made them stay in a dire situation? Why did they put up with the mind games and the systematic oppression?

And the more I thought about it, I realized that scientology is exactly like being trapped in an eating disorder.

Scientologists are fed dogma that they must protect scientology at any cost – including…

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Mountaintop Corner Office

A glory glimpse of your mighty work, after grunting and groaning

up mounds of sweaty mountains–so worth

the breathing room of the corner office. I knew you here.

Studied and learned to read the blue prints of your plan for my life.

But returning to the valley assembly line  . . .

I quickly reverted into a disgruntled blue-collar drone.

Clocking in complaints, among the hot rows of trouble,

The boss, distant and irrelevant, to the idols

cluttering my desk. I missed our team building exercises.

So daily I rise early, hike the heights for a clearer view of your presence with me.

 

 

Loss Through the Eyes of a Child

John 3:16 For God so loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Daniel, age 10, asked if he could write for my post. So, I am honored to have my son be my first guest blogger. 

Even the smallest of us can make a difference to family or a person hurt by loss. When I lost my brother, I asked everyone I met if they knew Jonathan. I wanted them to know he lived. By talking about Jonathan, I discovered that others had lost someone they loved. I could encourage them with God’s word and by listening and praying for them. John 3:16 helps me to remember that Jonathan is with Jesus, and his story did not end here.

God comforts me. Jonathan’s death has made me more scared of losing my parents because they have been very sick. I tend to cry when others lose someone in a movie, or I faced the death of my dog last year. I talk to God and he tells me I will be okay. He helps me to remember playing Nerf with Jonathan, creating a football field every Christmas as my present. I would wake up and look out the window and there would be a freshly painted football field and we would go out and play as a family. Sometimes when I go to bed, I ask my mom to sing a special song, because that is when I especially get sad or scared. Even though Jonathan’s death is tough on me, we have new family activities that we do. We are reading through the Bible and praying for Compassion International Families, together. We take a Mother’s Day hike every year at the cemetery where Jonathan is buried. Last year we made ornaments for Christmas, and crafts to remember favorite moments with Jonathan.  There are so many ways to remember him.

Anytime you feel the urge to pray for someone, I encourage you to lift them up to God. Loving others as God loves me helps me know that the sad times will pass and that he has a good plan for our lives.

 

Falling Does Not Mean Failing

Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of Me. For it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

Falling Away

My grand entrance into the writer’s conference I am attending this week was falling down the stairs, in the pouring rain. Praise God, no physical injuries. But the internal wounds, the thoughts and false beliefs I have about myself when I fall . . . Many of us believe we are a failure every time something bad happens. So we fall deeper into sin, or reject God altogether.

The disciples drank the blood and ate the body broken for them–they were committed– but within hours they would all betray him.

Many would stay down after such a breach of loyalty. Judas did. But falling does not equal failure in God’s plan! Jesus went on to say, “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” He didn’t dwell on their betrayal. I can just picture Jesus as Friday on Dragnet, “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.” Our stumbles put on display the mighty works of God! You may be convinced that God can’t do anything with you. You’re laying in the puddle and questioning why try.  I am convinced of God’s compassion for us, and that his plans will not be hindered by anything! There are people in our lives that need to witness the miracle of God’s faithfulness in our battling depression! Jesus is faithful, and he does not treat us as our sin’s deserve

How do you maintain the truth of who God is and who he created you to be when circumstances go sideways in your life? Do you believe you are beautifully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139) Do you believe the covenant of the cross; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us? (Romans 5) Do you believe his plans never fail! How many of us stop living before we see the fruits of what God can do in our lives? My son did. He died believing he was a failure.

May I lift your chin, look into your eyes, and declare with certainty, “God cares for you! His loving kindness will not fail you. Many times we will stumble, but God never falters. There is absolutely nothing you have done, or could ever do that will make him stop loving you.”

 

Prayer of Restoration

Father, when I falter, may I find my identity in you! You alone redeem me, and you alone take me to the mountain to see more clearly who you are and who you have made me to be. May we trust that you go ahead of our circumstances today to prepare a place for us. Amen