Archive | May 2016

Heart Help

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Erie, PA Zoo

Years ago a traumatic event dried up my tears. They no longer flowed. Not even during a tear-jerker of a film. I don’t remember the movie; I only remember I was the only one in the theater not crying over the death of the main character. Chris’s psychotic episode had left me emotionally numb.  As if my heart had turned to stone.

That was so unlike me. I used to be and still am a crying machine. Had I lived in biblical times, I would have been hired to be a wailer (someone paid to cry at funerals)!

I love the verse which assures me that God notices every tear drop. “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” [Psalm 56:8 (NKJV)].

Referring to that verse, I once told my pastor, “I’m glad God puts my tears in a bottle.”

“For you, Vicki He uses a pool!” He knew I excelled at weeping.

Undoubtedly, I’m not the only mom raising a child with mental illness (MI) who’s experienced a major change in emotions. Sometimes crying ends because there just aren’t enough tears to make it better. Other times we’re afraid to cry. We fear that one tear will release an ocean of emotions—a tsunami of tears. We worry we’d completely fall apart. So we put a plug on our tears. Staying in control at all cost, is the name of the game – even if that’s not healthy for us.

Crying is a necessary part of our own emotional healing.  We have to move along in our grieving process. But do we dare open the flood gates? Who will help us?

My stone-cold heart softened in the hands of God. I pictured myself as clay in my Father’s hands and allowed Him to mold me into a healed version of myself.

Isaiah 63:8 provides the beautiful picture of our Father’s care.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Imagine our loving Potter reshaping us after we’ve been wounded. Picture comfort pouring from His hands like a salve.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

He comforted me, removed the torment of bad memories, and healed my broken heart.  Was it easy? No. Was it scary? Yes. Did God help me overcome the trauma of my son’s psychotic episode? Yes!

And He’ll do it for you.

 

 

 

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Discouraged?

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Colonial Williamsburg

Ever notice that fears feed discouragement? You’re afraid of what might happen to your child with mental illness (MI) and your worrying grows. The problems inflate to a size too massive to handle.

I can’t begin to figure it out. What if school problems get worse? What if his new medication doesn’t work? What if our insurance won’t cover the new medication? What if we can’t find a better therapist? Giving up isn’t an option. Where can I go to escape this trial?

You’re not alone in wanting to escape. Take Elijah. He was so fearful that he felt completely isolated. He went into a cave. There he cried out, “‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.’” [1 Kings 19:10 (NKJV)]

The Lord met Elijah in his loneliness. He spoke to him in just a whisper.

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” [1 Kings 19:10-12 (NKJV)]

Listen to part of what God told him:

“‘Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” [1 Kings 19:18 (NKJV)]

Elijah had become so discouraged that he thought that he was the only person left who had not bowed to Baal. Boy was he wrong! A whopping seven thousand others in Israel had remained faithful to God.

Things aren’t as bad as they seem. God understands our despair. He has words to encourage our hearts. He’ll meet us in our loneliness and discouragement. Not in the wind, or an earthquake, or a fire. But in a still small voice. We just need to tune into God’s soft messages. But how do we do that?

The Lord gave me insight when our piano was being tuned.

A friend of ours came to our house to tune our piano. While he worked, I did my devotions. The piano tuning drew my attention away from the Bible. I wondered, How is he able to tune our piano by ear?

Then I realized he had developed his keen musical ear as a music teacher. The more time he spent listening to notes, the easier it was for him to discriminate between pitches.

My mind shifted back to my devotions, but then continued to wander again.

How can I develop a keen ear to hear God’s voice? Probably the same way. The more I listen to His words, the easier it will be for me to distinguish His voice from all the other noises in my head. But how can I hear God’s messages for me?

With the piano-tuning serenade in the background, God whispered to me. “Remain in My presence and you’ll hear My voice.”

Remain in His presence. That’ll help me get my heart tuned up. 

With deeper focus I searched for verses about being in God’s presence.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast”  (Psalm 139:7-10).

His presence never leaves us.

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Acts 2:28).

His presence fills us with joy.

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence” (1 John 3:19).

Our hearts can rest in His presence.

So next time I’m discouraged, I’ll rest in His presence and tune into God’s still small voice.