November 16, 2022

Two Truths

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 



Pain caused by someone’s wrongdoing is real.

God can redeem the bad with good.


We often try to soothe and comfort the pain in others by emphasizing the positive without acknowledging the pain.

It is unreasonable to think if we have enough faith, we will never experience pain or anguish. The same with spewing some platitudes and expecting the sufferer to suddenly be healed.

I’ve recovered from much of the pain my ex inflicted, except for one. Fear of being too exposed. It’s a form of PTSD. I’ve been conditioned to avoid pain, by hiding, staying quiet, becoming invisible.

It’s a subconscious reaction. I prefer to sit in the back, never in the open. I’m uncomfortable standing in front of a crowd. In a restaurant, unless I’m with others I trust, I want the back booth and sit facing the door. I don’t like large or small spaces. The former is too exposed, the latter is claustrophobic, and I can’t breathe. Every room I enter, I note the exits and form escape routes.

The usual cliches did nothing to eliminate my distress. My faith kept me from despair and gave me the strength to seek help. Professional counseling and the support of family and friends, along with God’s compassion and encouragement, got me through those dark times and help me handle the occasional flash backs.

Because of my experiences, I steer away from trying to point out all the positives about their situation. There will be time for that, but not at first. They need understanding and compassion, acknowledgement and validation of their pain. I do remind them they’ll never be alone in their suffering. That truth has become clich├ęd, but it’s true. God will be with them in some way, through the kind gesture of a friend, prayers from strangers, a comforting scripture passage, maybe even a miracle — like the repentance of the wrongdoer. But if not, God will help them find healing. I don’t just believe this. I’ve lived it.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me, encouraging me, and understanding my struggle. I pray for those in similar circumstances. Give them Your strength. Encourage them to seek help. Comfort them. Amen.

 

November 11, 2022

Love and Faith

 

Image by stempow from Pixabay 

My husband has never attended church services. He’s had too many unpleasant experiences with organized faith during his long career in law enforcement, culminating when his late wife’s pastor came to his home asking for more money. The man drove a beautiful brand-new car, lived in a luxurious house on a hillside outside of town, and wore expensive suits. At the time, my husband struggled to pay for his family’s necessities.

When my husband and I were dating, I worried about pursuing a relationship with someone who might not support my faith. Through a strange encounter. (See:     ) I was told to read 1 Peter 3:1. It would answer my question.

 “In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives.”

A few months after we met, we had a long discussion regarding my faith. Although he refused to attend services, he vowed to support my faith, always. He’s never gone back on that promise, even going as far as driving me to and from services after my surgeries.

My husband admitted he believes in God and prays. Every Sunday he asks for a recap of the sermons, but still refused to attend.

To my surprise, he announced he wanted to go with me to church last Sunday. He gets lonely when I’m gone that long. (Forty-minute drive to and from church and then, of course, the service.)

I was just happy he wanted to go. Unfortunately, that Sunday’s sermon was on the Biblical principal of tithing. I don’t need to explain his reaction.

The next day, he brought up the subject of the sermon. He had gone with an open mind and left with a closed one. However, to my surprise, he wants to go again, but only as my escort. (His words). I’m touched, and I know God will use it for His purpose. So, I leave it in His hands.

In my devotions the next day was this blessing in Numbers 6:24–26. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Peace. Peace about our world, our country, my church, my family, and my husband’s reasons for attending Sunday services.

Thank you, Lord, again, for your patience and encouragement. I can’t do this thing called life without you. Amen.

 

 

 

October 31, 2022

A Sign?

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

In August of this year, Pastor Andy retired, and the pastoral committee brought in Pastor Jon. In the first weeks Pastor Jon requested a meeting with each member. He wanted to hear our faith testimonies and ask how he might serve us.

I was baptized at a very young age, which Pastor Andy accepted when I joined the church. Pastor Jon, however, encourages me to be baptized again as an adult.

I am reticent because I have a phobia about standing in front of crowds. Funny, I can bare my soul in my writing but can’t stand in front of my congregation.  

After hearing my testimony of faith, all the signs and wonders God has given me, Pastor Jon said, “I know God will tell you His opinion on the matter, when He does, come talk to me.”

As I’ve posted before, I’ve been sick and out of town for several weeks. Last Sunday was the first time I’ve attended church services for three weeks. Halfway through the service, the automatic curtains covering the baptismal pool partially opened, paused, and closed.

Our praise team leader commented, “Interesting. Those opened of their own accord. Does someone out in our congregation need to be baptized?”

I tried not to react. I didn’t want Pastor Jon to get any ideas just yet. Yes, I know God will give me the strength and courage I need to fulfill His will, whatever it is, but I’m still hesitant.

If it was God’s sign, He won’t let up. He’ll keep sending messages, nagging until I give in.

Dear Lord, I want to do your will. Give me the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to follow You wherever you lead. Amen.