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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’


Friday night is date night; has been that way for over thirty years now.  Each week, Bill and I will retreat into the niche we have carved out in our marriage — and spend a few hours together, just being together.  There have been moments, like our twentieth wedding anniversary, when we had no money, and sat in the car at Taco Bell. We found ourselves thankful for small things.  Some Fridays, we go out to eat; sometimes, we sit on our deck; sometimes, we take a day trip…. The point is that Friday is a hallowed time — set apart for our relationship.  We lay aside our responsibilities. We get to remember why we got together in the first place….

I love that time…. mostly because we both guard it so fiercely….

Over the years, if we miss one, we always make it up…..

All that being said, this week’s date was a movie.  It’s been hot lately, so we opted for an afternoon matinee and a pizza joint closeby.  (Pizza is no good unless it comes in huge by-the-slice pieces, and is served with a New York accent, we’ve discovered.)  The movie?  We went to see the remake of “The Karate Kid.”  Now, I’m not a movie critic; nor would I want to be.  And, I have a difficult time watching movies that are remakes of old favorites — it’s like watching Jack Black try to be Humphrey Bogart.  That image just might ruin “Casablanca” for me forever…  You just can’t replace the original.  

But I loved this movie… not because it was done “better,” or because it was “more relevant.”  It’s presentation and setting were unique and different.  And yes, I know, it should have been titled “The Kung Fu Kid.”  I don’t care. I loved it because it brought me to a personal discovery; one that I will know the Lord will be working on for some time into the future with me.  I found myself weeping through the beginning parts of the movie; so much so, that my husband reached over and gently touched my hand. “Are you okay?” he asked.

I nodded, even though I couldn’t quite put into words what what happening within my own soul. 

“Was this the wrong movie?” he asked, with a smile.

I shook my head. “No,” I answered. “I’m okay. But, I might need to get out of here for a minute.” 

Fight or Flight had kicked in.

But I stayed.  I was fascinated by the storyline.  As I continued to watch the account unfold, I made some discoveries.  As a missionary’s child, like the boy in the story, I too, had been the “new kid” in a foreign culture.  My parents changed countries and cultures several times during my “in the nest” years. And, in each new place, I had been the “different” child, who had needed to learn the unspoken rules. 

And, while I hadn’t been required to learn a new spoken language (I was in Australia and England growing up), there had been a complete encyclopedia of cultural expectations I found myself unable to decipher. Handicapped by my young age, and lack of ability to communicate, I dealt with one bullying situation after another; even when we returned to the United States.

A lot is being said about bullies these days; from movies like “Mean Girls,” to classic texts like “Raising Cain” and “Saving Ophelia.”  It seems that the violence so prevalent in our culture, is trickling its way down into the playgrounds and classrooms, the living rooms and back yards of our nation. It never used to be the case, but now it is a normal thing to see a four year-old enrolled in karate, or kung fu classes.  When I ask a parent “why,”… the answer?  “He has to know how to defend himself.” 

There was a day when we encouraged our children to take care of those who were weaker than themselves; to look out for the underdog; to stand against the bullies…..  I have had clients; eleven and twelve years of age, mind you, who find it difficult to find a reason to go to school in the morning; who have discerned the world to be an unforgiving place in their childhood — when everything should be about the fun of discovery.

Not survival.  And how well we have all learned the meaning of that word — survival.

Fear and intimidation are terrible things, especially in one’s childhood; especially in one’s adolescence; especially in one’s adulthood. 

And, although they began in Eden’s Garden long ago, they have maintained their continuum through the ages. Satan’s goal has always been to use hierarchy, false authority, and manipulation in his process of bringing death and destruction.  I have seen the effects of bullying; emotional and physical; on all kinds of people over the years.

It’s funny how a person who thinks they are “just expressing themselves,” will fail to see the effects of their selfishness and bullying nature on those around them. Or, how a child who has learned to cover his insecurities will grow into a man who abuses; bullying others to keep him happy.  Or how a student, who struggles with feeling intelligent will take it out on those students around him who understand the materials. Having been the underdog, I now find myself seeking to serve as one who can throw a rope. 

As believers, God calls us to help one another; to serve one another, to turn the other cheek  — but not at the loss of our own identities.  Dear reader, never let Fear or Intimidation keep you from becoming the man or woman God has called you to become…. stand up against that Inner Bully — speak the Word of God — stand on the Truth —

Do what I am doing; at 53. 

Let yourself heal. Find a safe place; a group of safe people — and choose to open your heart.

Injury was never part of the original Design…. but Healing is part of the Divine Solution. The Fear didn’t come from God.

“God has not given us a spirit of Fear (timidity); but of power, love, and of a sound mind.”  II Timothy 1:7

Blessings.

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At church yesterday, someone was giving away fresh peaches.  A large box was placed by the door, filled to the brim with at least a bushel of the yummy fruits. “Our trees are full,” my friend said. “Please, take as many home as you like.” She and her husband had even brought shopping bags for the interested peach-lovers in our congregation. 

As people were heading towards their homes, (or lunch out), I noticed treasure collections of peach-filled bags in the hands of many. “Did you get some peaches?” my friend asked those who had forgotten.

“Oh! I forgot!” was the usual reply. “Thanks for bringing these.” Many made plans for their peaches — jam; pies; just peel-n-eat.

I love serving in ministry. Did I tell you that?  For the past thirty years, Bill and I have worked together as senior pastors; first in the north, and now in the southeast. We have learned and evolved over the years; relaxing a little somehow.  Hopefully we are a little wiser; stronger; more mature; hopefully we are just better.  In the process, our marriage has been through storms and summers. As our personal family has grown, so has our ministry style.  In fact, the years have solidified lessons about ministry, and my own approach to it. 

For my own part, I have decided it is more profitable to live on a learning curve.

I can’t give out what I haven’t received — so I have to stay open. To the Spirit of God, and to other people…

I can’t ask people to do what I am not willing to do myself — so I need to invest myself. Not living with an entitled mindset that “someone else will do it.”

I can’t carry the water of Life to others; in worship, the Word, or even in example, if I am empty. So it is vital that I hear Jesus speak to my heart continually.  Manna is good; day-old bread, not-so-much.

Most importantly, ministry is my job. It is not my relationship with Jesus.  If and when I confuse the two, trading one for the other, a terrible treadmill is the result; a trap whose lure is success and man’s approval — a tendency towards contemporary trends and relativism.  No, Jesus and I must meet and discuss my heart attitudes, the development of my personhood, my discipleship.  Jesus and I must meet and explore what it means to be a human being, rather than a human doing.  Without that daily meeting with the Spirit of the Living God, I cannot find substance or depth. Nor will I be able to live my days with passion for Him.

My life with God should be about my loving God — not about duty…..

In the early days, Bill and I were sitting in a Denny’s restaurant, studying for exams in our pastoral epistles class. (Thanks, Jim and Jean Hodges!!)  We weren’t married yet; or even engaged. We were just study partners. We were talking about I Timothy 3, and what the office of a bishop/pastor would look like.  In our conversation, we came to some conclusions. For a minister to have his home “in order,” the instruction was not discussing the portrayal of an image, or a flawlessly spiritual existence.  It meant that the God-order of relationships had to rule the minister’s family; that we treat each other well — safely.  Without control, manipulation, domination, anger or strife.  It meant that we seek to out-serve each other, and seek to enter each other’s world, like Jesus did for His Bride. …

Practically put, I can’t give away what I don’t possess. If I haven’t mined it out for my own life, I can only describe it to others — I can’t take them there. 

When family comes before ministry, the result is healthy living.   The God-example of the people before the machine comes into play. In my own understanding, this is the conduit God intends when He calls us.  He calls us to healing. There is no other way for our lives to become the pipeline Jesus wants us to become. 

 It means that my relationships within my family, and the life I am living at home, become the avenue through which ministry comes.  In priority and principle, it looks like this:  #1. Relationships before Tasks; #2. Take the time for the individual;  #3. Some tasks will take longer because of #1 and #2.

After thirty years of living our lives in ministry this way, I keep making discoveries of how well I love our church family.  And they have become our family; a community of safety; a Safe Haven.  

Hopefully, we are bearing good fruit.  I realize we won’t really know the end-results of our efforts until the end of days; sometimes, though it’s good to get a glimpse, just to encourage yourself.

“Mommy! Look at the peaches!” My dollhouse-toehead tugged on her mother’s pant leg.  “We need some!”  (If you want to know who she is, please see the blog entitled “Doll-house Toehead.”)

Her mother and I had been in the midst of a quick conversation.  You see, we head to court tomorrow.  We are seeking to rescue her from the effects of abuse; to create a safe place for a child who needs to relax in order to heal and grow.

In my heart, I hope we get a judge who listens. I hope we get a miracle for this little girl and her mother…. I hope.

In my heart, I give thanks that healing happens in the midst of community — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters.  Learning what Jesus meant for our lives to look like when He put two “fruit-pickers” in a Eden’s Garden….. sharing the harvest fruit of our lives with one another; growing up into the image of Him, with roots going deep; people of substance and relationship.

Sounds peachy…. (sorry couldn’t resist!)  Blessings.

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“We caught him!”

I looked up from my laptop, to see my husband’s face shining with excitement. “Come out and see him!” 

So, we walked out to the yard, where, under the trees in a “have-a-heart” trap, was a large, full-grown, vanquished, male raccoon.  It looked up with pleading eyes, frozen in place, watching us as we assessed him.  Now, before I go on with the story, I must give you a little history. 

Context is everything…

Three weeks ago, Bill set the trap.  He used a full can of sardines as bait.  We had tried everything else. In the morning, the trap had yielded a neighborhood cat. Disappointed, we let the pitiful little thing go to its home, feeling guilty for setting the trap in the first place.    The next night, the same, brand new trap had almost given its life as an offering towards the quest… Wonderfully, the raccoon had found the trap, and taken the sardines.  But, in the process, the not-so-little bandit had all but destroyed our trap.  It lay in bent and battered pieces the next morning, a tribute to the raccoon’s cunning. In response, and, as a tribute to his own tenacity, my husband wired it back together with bailing wire, reinforcing the trap door.  “There!” he declared. “The little jerk won’t do that again!”   

Why this raccoon?  Why this focus of energy?

Well, it all began several years ago.  It has become a quest; a mission; a passion, if you will.  Like a knight in search of a grail, my husband has discovered a priority. The raccoons are the enemy from hell; similar to St. George’s dragon, you see. For the protection of our home, they must go….. The quest has enveloped each of our family members in one way or another, at one time or another.  In the course of his quest, we have discovered all sorts of theories, and falsehoods about how to deal with the little breed.  

It all started when our oldest daughter, Rachel, came home from college one year.  We had known there were gaps around the dormers on our roof needing to be repaired; filled in. But, when you are refurbishing a church campus, limited  in finances, and working, there is only so much energy to go around.  So, understandably, the dormers had waited.  

After unpacking her suitcases, Rachel, then 21, pulled the hinged stairway down that leads to our attic. Her attempted task was to put her bags away. After extending the stepladder, she  began the short climb, looking upwards, then down.  She reached down to gather her empty suitcase from the floor, readying herself to swing the bag up into the open access.  In her peripheral vision, she saw a movement.  She almost fell off the ladder with a stifled scream. She looked again towards the access. 

A rather large raccoon was standing on its  haunches, front feet up, teeth bared.  It was hissing and growling.  Apparently, she had invaded its home.

Its home? I had thought it was our home…. 

Rachel came running downstairs. So startled was she, that she forgot to close the access stairs. “Mom! Dad! Did you know there are raccoons in the attic?”  “Mom! How did they get in there?” Thankfully, the raccoon “king” was satisfied that he had defended his domain and had not ventured down the stairway…

Did you ever discover something that suddenly needed attention?  A lot of attention?  Unknown to anyone living in our home, elements of destruction had been working for a long time.  Repairs were extensive and time-consuming; requiring strategy. They were expensive.

It was like the painful discovery of a blindspot; like seeing a need for change. 

Upon inspection, Bill discovered a family of raccoons in the attic.  How long they had been there, we couldn’t tell.  But they had certainly created themselves an environment.  They loved it there..

But so did we…. 

In the process of getting rid of the ones in the attic, a few got away…..causing us to begin a journey. Over the past six years, we have caught and relocated many raccoons; all of which have come from this one little attic family.  (We have also worked to repair the roof….) And, as far as we know, the male Bill caught this morning was the last of them.  

As I stood, considering the little imp in the trap today, I found the inevitable words coming out of my female mouth. “But, he’s so cute, honey! Look at him! The poor thing! How long has he been in there?” 

My husband looked at me in disbelief, his mouth open. “What?” 

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “It’s just hard to believe this is the one.” 

Bill put his arm around me. “He’s the one.”

In my heart I know he is right. The long list of repairs we have done because of this particular raccoon came to my mind.  He has broken the glass in the birdfeeders, and bent the metal suet feeders, rendering them almost unusable.  He has chugged full hummingbird feeders, leaving them empty, with trails behind him. He has chewed. He has dug.  He has destroyed the finch feeders, requiring their replacement.

And he is done.  So am I.  Looking at him, I realized my personal need to face the facts. He might be cute, but he was destructive.  He might be cowering now, but he had wreaked havoc with his siblings in our home.  As a whole, the raccoon race had cost us hundreds of dollars.  My battle?  I found myself wanting Bill to let him go because I momentarily felt sorry for him.  If we did let him go into the neighborhood once again, our frustrations would continue, and the quest would return… 

For that moment, the raccoon was full of regret — of his appetite for sardines, and his destructive patterns.

For that moment, I felt guilty — for impeding his processes, for his capture, for his impending relocation.

But regret and guilt don’t make changes.  Repentance does. Strategies and Intentional Action make changes.  Feelings don’t dictate growth. Character dictates growth.

Context is everything…

It is sad, but I have met many people who are stuck in the perpetual cycles of guilt and regret…. allowing a quest to be revisited because they hope a quick apology will undo years of bad behavior.  They wrongly believe it is their responsibility to maintain the happiness of those they love who carry destructive behaviors….. 

King Solomon said “is is the little foxes that spoil the vines.” And he was right.

Beware of the masked bandits…..

Blessings!

(C)2010 DG Awakened to Grow. Duplication without permission prohibited.

 

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Personality is a wonderful thing! It provides us with variety, and keeps the spark in our relationships.  How boring life would be if every tree in the orchard were an apple tree!  How tedious our days would be, if everyone were the same.  Our lives would be like those “built overnight” neighborhoods, where all the houses look the same; like they were designed with a cookie-cutter!  It is the differences that keep us discovering — and I for one, need the differening personalities to keep me on a growth pattern!  

Now, if you aren’t familiar with personality profiles, let me help here by explaining a little.  I have to set the story up for you — because this week, I made a discovery of my own.   

Personality profiling is used all over the workplace these days, to help corporations learn about team dynamics.  Profiling tools are used to help workers discover what needs adjustment in their working relationships. Some Human Resource departments use profiling tools, to learn whether an applicant desiring a job would really be a “fit” for that particular job. Police departments create profiles in order to catch criminals…. it’s fascinating stuff. And uncannyingly accurate!

Simply put: there are four basic personality types.  Everyone on the planet carries all four, in varying degrees. And, while some people are similar, each combination is unique; mixing with our individual learning styles, our level of emotional development, etc., to define our personality; our Personhood.  Additionally, most of us utilize different forms of ourselves depending upon the pressures of the environment we find ourselves in…. Short version; one of the main keys to healthy living is choosing to do whatever it takes to heal and grow– The end goal is to become consistently stable, in holding to the same personality in every environment. This is called “congruency”…  although no one comes to it quickly … or perfectly.  

Understand here,  I am talking about Emotional Quotient (which involves inner life; feelings, principles, values and morals) — as opposed to Intelligence Quotient (which involves outer life; facts, cliches, status and task).  Relationships are part of the EQ of life — When relationships are run in IQ, they fail every time…. 

But EQ is hard to grasp; it’s like learning a new language, especially if inner life wasn’t addressed in bonding years. EQ is intangible and relationship based — most of us need help to “get it.”  On the other hand, IQ is easier to get hold of, because it is task oriented and has to to with the tangibles — “just the facts, please.”  As a result, the majority of us live our lives in the IQ levels, avoiding the pain of digging into the EQ, for as long as we can possibly get away with it….

Personality types vary in degrees.  To put it simply — here are the four styles — 1. The Driver; the lion, or choleric…    2. The Inspirer; the otter, or sanguine…. 3. The Steady; the golden retriever, or phlegmatic…..  4. The Conscientous; the beaver, or melancholic….. 

After years of behavioral analysis, mediating conflicts, helping couples decipher “missed moments,” I made a discovery of my own this week.  You know, the “aha” moment, the “synapses” — when the left and right brain connect, and you wonder why you didn’t “see it’ before….

My husband is a “lion” — by that I mean his personality type. He is one of those energetic, determined leader-guys, who enjoys being out in front forging a path. He could cut a path through the jungle with a machete, and not mind the challenges of being the first to get there. His secondary personality type is the “otter.” You know the type; always telling jokes; drawing people in with his stories. When it comes to his learning style, he has this mind that never forgets a name. It has to be a gift. I say that because I have a hard time with names. I remember faces, and then my mind runs through the alphabet — “Was it an A name? B?” 

At one point, I thought I could improve my mind-remembering skill-level; I didn’t realize the problem was part of my genetics. Because my relationships with people are important to me, I tried a course in memory-association. This particular course was excellent — the problem was the student…. Here was the proposed process: Think of a picture that reminds you of the item (or person) you want to remember.  Give the picture a name that relates to their name, or a feature of their person.  Well, the course promises that the next time you see the person, you will remember the association, etc. Hence, success.

I must have been missing that day — that part of my IQ level wasn’t developed yet…..  A lady came to visit us.  In the midst of a sea of faces, I learned her name; “Mrs. Stack.”  She was a a rather large woman, with short, blonde, straight hair.  So, in my mind, for some reason, I pictured a haystack. Go figure. Did it work, you ask?  Well, the next time I saw her, the part of recalling the image worked. The yellow haystack showed up in my mind; but so did self-doubt.  I called her “Mrs. Needle.” 

You’re smiling. I can’t help it. My mind just goes blank.

My husband is a lion. Like Aslan, in the Chronicles of Narnia, he isn’t a tame lion, but he’s kind…. 

Me? I’m a “golden retriever,” with a little “beaver” thrown in for good measure. I’m the team player who doesn’t like to be alone; who dislikes sudden changes; is mercy-motivated and is happy to help administrate the details. My kids give me a hard time when I’m writing on the laptop too long.   “Come out and play,” they say. Between the two of us, Bill and I have a combination of all four styles in our marriage — which, theoretically, works really great when all inner conflicts have been resolved.  It gives us a complete offering of all the styles… Great for child-rearing, and problem solving.

The “aha,” you ask?  It was this week. I had a picture go through my head… had to be God-breathed.  It made me laugh, actually. Picture this: A golden retriever with a lion’s mane tied around its head. Silly? Perhaps. Think about this… Golden retrievers and lions are the same color, but they are not the same.  They will never be the same. Lions roar and establish territory. Retrievers bark and couldn’t care less about territory. Lions can walk ahead, and work alone. Retrievers need a pack, or companionship. 

I realized this week that for one reason or another, I had placed undue expectations on my God-given personality.  As a result, I had been struggling with guilt when I found myself unable to follow through with those unspoken expectations.  No one put it on me — I just absorbed it over time. When or how I picked it up, I’ll never know.  I think it must have happened gradually — an incremental “weighing down” if you will. Somehow, I thought I had to be more “lion-ly” in my day-to-day life….  I felt guilty for my emotional genetics, something God never intended. Finally, when it surfaced, my hubby and I worked through it.  “I’m so tired,” I told him. “Something has to give.”  Then, came the vulnerable question. “What do you think?”

“I didn’t know you were carrying all that. I don’t want that for you,”  he said. “Let’s fix it.”  Did I tell you he was a kind lion — and my best friend?

Sometimes, without realizing it, we try to change ourselves, denying who we were created to become. Sometimes, we decide to dislike the personality God gave us because we want to gain greater acceptance (we think) or wider approval (we hope).  Sometimes, we allow circumstances and relationships to weigh us down, changing us for survival.  Sometimes, we just slam the door and refuse to think about it.

But it’s part of our purpose on the planet — this discovering of design and purpose. God’s intention is to strengthen our inner selves, so that we live our lives in truth, adhering to His created purpose.  How long has it been since you asked Him who He wants you to be?

He’s got a plan, you know. And it’s a good one — with a future and a hope.  But it might involve a little change….

(C) 2010 DG — Awakened to Grow.  Duplication without permission prohibited.

  

 

 

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Communication is under-rated. 

Like when our Rachel was learning to drive. That learning activity was something Bill did with her, and I observed from the back seat. Not having my husband’s great depth perception, my observations many times came with involuntary drawing-ins of air, and the universal-Mom’s invisible-brake pedal.  

“Turn left at the next street, honey,” Bill instructed, during one of her early lessons.  Now mind you, I had no reason to believe she wouldn’t do exactly what her father told her.  Up until that point, she had done rather well,  staying between the lines; braking slowly, accelerating respectfully —   

During moments like those you learn lessons about your children. Why is it we remember those moments of surprise so well?Perhaps because  we are vulnerable; especially when they are driving. After all,  they have the steering wheel!  That particular driving lesson,  we arrived at the left-turn corner in question, and Rachel drove past it, never slowing.

“Why didn’t you turn?” her father asked, watching not only the road-sign, but the purpose of our outing — the  Wendy’s and their large Frosty — pass into rear-view. 

“You said, ‘turn left,‘ Dad,” she responded, keeping her eyes on the road.  “I will when we get there.”

Bill and I exchanged glances. What was she saying?

“We did get there,” I said. “Why didn’t you turn?”

“M- ah-m!”  She sighed her reply, using the fifteen-year-old voice that only daughters-who-have-been-daughters,  of mothers-who-are-being-mothers would recognize.  At the next corner, Rachel began putting one hand over another, turning the steering wheel. 

Her dad and I found ourselves laughing.  Out loud. 

“What?” she asked, looking at us.  Her father’s eyes were twinkling as he responded. “Must be your other left, Rach,” was all he said, as the car made a right-hand turn.

From her earliest years, our daughter has mixed her directions. (I could write a book here, but I don’t want to get off track….)  When she was five, we tried everything, from making an “L” with the “left” hand, to memory games.  We even did the drill: “My left makes an ‘L’ and I write with my right.”  She tried hard; even to the point of frustration.  The knowledge just didn’t “stick.”  (Bear in mind that these days she is a gifted wedding photographer!  And even back then she was designing wedding dresses and evening gowns.)

She just couldn’t remember which side was left, and which side was right! 

For the sake of the story, I should tell you: I know exactly where the weakness in Rachel’s personal navigation system came from.  It wasn’t her fault.  For as long as I can remember, I too, have struggled; mixing digits, turning numbers; directionally challenged…. Once, years ago, not long after Bill and I were married, I once drove 25 miles out of the way, driving home alone from the grocery store!  Way back then, we were a young couple in a new city. That sense of not-knowing scared me.  Now, thirty years out? I have learned to deal.  After all, the tendency has surfaced so many times, for so long…. Now, its something we all joke about with each other.  “No, Mom,”  they say, “you don’t have to drive. We’ll lead you.”  

I’m thankful I can ask. I’m thankful for family. Additionally, I’m deeply grateful for community. Because, even though I keep maps in my car; several of my friends continue to be kind enough to answer their cell phones and take the time to provide me a running-feed of control-tower encouragement as I search for the right road.  I’ve become really good at U-turns; even the 3, 4, 5 and 6-point types of turns….  (Just a note:  This year, my favorite Christmas gift was the GPS our children gave me.  It’s great! — it has even helped my prayer life!  If I need to travel to a new place, I pull it out.  Then I pray the sky isn’t too cloudy to find a signal….)

Mixed directions. Misunderstood signals.  It seemed natural when the girls were smaller, to find different ways to communicate what they needed to learn.  For example, when they were learning to set the table, we didn’t tell them the fork went on the right (I mean left!) — Instead, we drew a template and asked them to copy it with the dishes.  When we passed food during Family Table, we would point in the desired direction and say, “Pass the bread that way.”  And guess what?  It worked.  Our girls learned.  We connected.  The table got set; the bread was passed.

As I’ve been working on the worksheets for teaching couples to bond, I’ve found myself thinking this week about my own sense of being directionally challenged, and what it has taught me about bonding issues.  Those places within each of us where we are still waiting for bonding to occur — those are the areas where our conflicts take place. Those are the areas where we have developed false strength. 

Those are the areas where the signal isn’t clear; “left” doesn’t really mean “left” to us — And even though we work hard, using the same minimal tools we have always used — it doesn’t seem to “click.”   I’ve had parents explain this away, by saying, “If my child never had it, they don’t know it’s missing, and that’s okay.”   If you have thought that way, let me ask you to follow that kind of thinking to its conclusion, and consider an equivalent statement:

“My child never grew a right arm, but it’s okay. They’re not handicapped.  They have the same abilities as everyone else.”

Such a statement isn’t true, is it?

I’m sure we’ll discuss this more at a later point, because it is where I am in the learning process of helping people heal right now…. Just let me say that bonding gaps cause us to develop wrong perceptions about who we are; places where have chosen to live our lives alone. Usually, these are the empty places, left unaddressed in us, for one reason or another.  Used to being alone, we choose to survive alone;  not choosing community; figuring it out by ourselves. 

Such independence does not make us stronger, it just gets us lost… like me on new roads without a GPS– only refusing to make a phone call.   We become like explorers without a compass.  When this independence happens within a marriage, it transends into parenting;  and our children do not receive the emotional tools they need.  How can they? 

We cannot give to them, what we don’t have — Or teach them what we haven’t learned ourselves.  

The Solution for our bonding needs is presented in our Heavenly Father.  He is God — He is the One who made us, who loves us, who chooses us to be His — no matter what.  He is the Only God, and  He speaks every language.  He knows every bonding deficit.

The moment we open to receive His love — He begins the process — He will do whatever it takes to connect with you.  That is why He came in the form of  Jesus Christ.  

If that seems a little scary right now, then, at the very least, begin opening your life to those you love.  Admit your weaknesses.  Ask for help.   Then, look around.  Let me encourage you to find a solid group of real believers in Christ who believe in the value of community; Safe people, who will let you fail as you learn. 

God isn’t about religion — He is about relationship; and it’s not anything you can earn by keeping a set of rules, or acting a certain way.

He just loves you, and wants you to get the right signals.

 

 

(C)2010 DG — Awakened To Grow .  Duplication without permission prohibited.

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I love my car — really.  Well, I’m thankful that I have a car.  More than being grateful for the vehicle, I guess what I should say is that I’m thankful for my hubby; indefatigable man that he is.  I know this because we have remodelled a house together, built a church together, remodelled another church,…. you get the idea.   

Well, about a year ago, he was out of town for a class; he’s a doctoral student. (I think I mentioned that somewhere.) While he was away, he delegated to me the job of purchasing a car.  I know, I know, I hear you. But it wasn’t like that.  No. Really, it wasn’t. We had looked for weeks – together.  He had done the leg work, and wanted me to look the car over.  A mechanic, who was a friend, or should I say, used to be a friend, had gleaned the best of two used Hondas and merged them together to create what we hoped would prove to be a hybrid.  It was affordable, and it was available — what could be better?  

Bill must have forgotten that I know as much about picking a car as I do about football. (I’ve watched it for years, I just don’t get it.)

Our friend had taken a car with a blown engine, and replaced it’s get-up-and-go with the motor from a Honda with a trashed frame — 121,000 on the good frame; 81,000 on the good engine.  Such a deal it was. Really it was. I keep telling myself that…

So now, here we are, a year later.  Thanks to my husband’s tenacity, and the kindness of our friends (one in particular who is an excellent mechanic — not the other guy),  I have a new car.  Not the shiny kind. ..

Maybe we’ll paint it.

The new car I refer to is my little Honda.  Yes the very same.  We now have a new air conditioning system, new brakes, new tires, new head gasket, all new hoses, a flushed radiator, a new lower control arm, new window motors and regulators, a new master cylinder, new fan motor control switch,  a working window washer unit, all new spark plugs, new shocks and struts, and the list continues….

I’ve always liked lemonade….. did I say that out loud?  I still do — it’s the south….

Not only that, but the “Cash for Klunkers” program didn’t appeal to me.  I just can’t see taking our used cars to a dealership, who then would have to destroy them; unable to sell them just to comply with the program.  It didn’t seem right to me, or to Bill, that the steel in my little Honda then be sold to Japan or China to build their steel industries, while our American car auctions see a freeze in the market….. didn’t seem right somehow.

So, I’ll drive my little Honda til the wheels fall off.  And I’ll be grateful, really grateful,  that I have a car, and no car payments.  Come to think of it, maybe the first mechanic’s idea of a secondary market wasn’t all that off, after all.  All she needed was a little love and tenacity.  Those ingredients can fix just about anything.

Even marriages. 

How long would you drive your car down the road with all the lights on the dashboard blinking?  How far would you get if the temperature gauge pegged itself to “hot,” and steam was coming out of the engine?  And yet, many times, we think we can continue travelling blithely through life when the relationships in our lives are sending us glaring signals — yet we wait until the motor seizes to do a tune-up

If you are in such a place in any relationship in your life, let me make a suggestion to you.  Considering the American culture, and the social networks within what we call the “Christian Culture,” only one in four of those who are referred to a counselor actually follow through with seeking one out.  Of that 25%, less than half will follow through with pursuing the healing that requires personal change.  Knowing the stats on broken and blended families, what does that tell us about the emotional stability of our nation? And our level of actual spiritual maturity?

The inside is more important than the outside.  Going through the rebuilding process with my little Honda has taught me that, yet again!  It’s made me love her more. 

And most importantly? The radio works, and I can park  her anywhere!!

(C)2010 DG — awakenedtogrow.com

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