Saturday, October 20, 2012

Understanding the Struggle



I ran across this quote in the new Above Rubies magazine by Serene Allison. As I read her article, "A Haven of Rest", God spoke to my heart and peace and understanding started to flood my soul again.

Serene used the analogy of a cocoon. She said "Creatures of mere dust and "worm-like" understanding cannot grasp the reason for our cocoon. All we know is the dark struggle. But in this darkness our Creator is designing beautiful rainbow wings of flight. The pain and battle to push through this black curtain builds our strength. With the first light of blue sky the work is gone and now we are creatures of a high region. Rebuilt to fly. Designed to soar...above the dirt...to see life from a different perspective.

She goes on to say "science explains that if a butterfly is helped to escape its cocoon that it does not grow strong enough from its appointed struggle and will die and not take to the sky. God's love is always there even in our blind cocoons of sorrow."

Is this the purpose? To see life from a different perspective? I saw it the last two weeks. As our oldest son struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I have learned about a whole other set of parents who deal with mental health issues. I have started to educate myself on this subject. I have had to change my whole view of how I mothered my son. Am I exasperating his condition by putting my own fears upon this child? He is afraid of everything right now, most of them are irrational and don't make sense, but it is real to him. We cry out to God constantly for his healing and for him to get through another day. I was so afraid for my child. What kind of life will he have? Will these terrible thoughts ever go away? How do we get his brain "unstuck". I question. I fret. I am afraid. My trust starts to slip. Does God really know what He is doing?

As this dark cocoon of sorrow and fear wrapped me snug and tight, I started to wrestle. I knew God was sovereign  I knew that He had allowed this in my son's life. I kept asking him, "haven't we gone through enough? When are we going to get a break here? When are we going to be allowed to heal? Why does it keep getting worse instead of better? When can we return to our new kind of normal???" I am thankful that my God has big shoulders and He isn't afraid of my questions. I know that if I question Him, He isn't going to be disgusted. He will listen patiently and continue to do His Will in my life. My questions won't change His mind or His plan. He listens and sets me back on the path of peace and hope when I surrender to Him and say, "Not my will, but Yours".

Just two weeks ago I wrote a love letter to my Heavenly Father, then I turned around and let Him write a love letter to me. I read it again yesterday and was astonished to read His Words to me.

Dear Stacie,

I love you. I will provide. I will do as I promised. I am the Great Healer. I love your kids more than you do.Trust me with them. I will give you wisdom in every situation as I have always done. I am who I say I am. I will do what I say I can do. I will help you, heal you, lift you up, honor you, and help you walk boldly and confidently in the calling I have for you. I know your name. I see each tear. I have compassion for you. I am here. I am present. I love you, Stacie. I want to take away every fear that sets itself up as a stronghold in your life.

Love Your EVER-PRESENT God,

Daddy

I now add another label to my blog. "Parenting an OCD Child". Maybe someone else needs to know they are not alone in this. Maybe someone else is seeing "life from a different perspective" and needs to be encouraged. God has not abandoned us. He is working through and through. He is developing a testimony that is full of drama, twists and turns. I will continue to trust Him....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Controlling Our Emotions-Reposted


Dear Mothers,

We all know that women are emotional creatures. Compound that with hormones, lack of sleep, marriage problems, being cooped up with little people all day, and a general lack of socialization, you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Emotions in themselves aren’t bad. I want to feel things deeply. Part of life is experiencing joy and pain. Take that away, and it would honestly be a pretty boring life. God gave us emotions for a reason. God gave us emotions to be managed and used for His glory. God created us in His image and He, Himself, is often described in Scripture as having emotions. Unfortunately, when we experience emotions, our hearts always have a mixture of impurity in them. Because God is holy, His expression of emotion is always righteous and pure. So the similarities between man and God end at his infinite character. The fact remains, however, that anger and other emotions are parts of the raw material in our being. Emotions add zest and passion to what might otherwise be a mundane existence. This doesn’t mean that the expression of angry emotions or their frequency or intensity in our daily lives is always appropriate. Because of our tendency to sin, we sometimes take God’s good gifts and misuse them. Instead of assuming that anger is evil, we must view it as a misused asset and learn how to utilize it according to its design.

I have shared before that I struggle with a few emotions. Anger and impatience seem to be my “thorn”. I know I will struggle with them the rest of my life and can now thank God for them because they cause me to be dependent upon Him every single day of my life. I used to think that I should never be angry. That all anger was sinful somehow. I was wrong. I have learned that anger and frustration can also motivate us to do the right thing.

The complexity of emotions requires that we learn how to manage them, not just react. Anger, just one of the emotions can be confusing. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” Control is better than venting. Control allows us to use anger as a tool rather than a weapon. When we as parents and our children recognize the complexity of emotions and how to wisely choose which emotion to use in a particular situation, we will feel anger less intensely and less often.

Some emotions, such as fear or frustration, increase our energy level, were as other feelings, like sadness or hopelessness, decrease our energy. Both groups of emotions have God-ordained purposes. Feelings often motivate us to action or inaction. Anger is an emotion that increases energy. When we get angry several things happen inside our body all at the same time. Our heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing increase. Blood sugar levels rise, our pupils dilate, and our muscles become tense. Our adrenal glands release adrenaline, and our awareness intensifies. All of these reactions are designed by God to prepare us to fight an actual physical threat or run from it. We may not be faced with imminent danger, but a physical response occurs in our body when our children threaten our peace. When we are angry, we’re more motivated to solve problems, confront offenders or make a change in our lives. Most of us can control the physical responses of anger, but we still struggle with our mouths.

It is a life-style of anger that Scripture condemns, not anger itself. Some people become addicted to that extra energy that anger provides. They thrive on it. It wakes them up in the morning and carries them through the day. I’ve been there and done that and it is NOT fun. You can only exist like that so long without feeling like you are losing your ever-loving mind.

Remember anger is usually caused by these five things:

Blocked goals

Physical Pain

Violated rights

Unfairness

Unmet expectations

Understanding the five causes of anger can help you relate to your family. Each time you feel angry, stop for a minute and try to identify which of these is the cause.

I found this to be solid and biblical advice. I am trying to practice this daily and I am slowly seeing some old habits being broken.

From One Mom to Another,


*These concepts are taken from the book "Good and Angry" by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.
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