I don’t know how often you get to see God at work, but when it happens it is simply amazing. A couple I’ve known for several years has begun to have some marital counseling regarding a couple of issues which had arisen in their marriage. I wasn’t sure I was the right person to provide the counsel but their schedule only fit with mine.
Last night we tackled one of the issues causing the deepest distress. In so doing some very ugly things were brought forth. Some of these were fears and some were built on actual facts. As I probed with each one to go as deeply as possible into root causes with the other member listening for understanding, I was wondering if this hour was only going to end with greater grief. I had said a silent prayer for God’s 2-edged sword of Light to penetrate this darkness. All of a sudden what was being shared did exactly what was needed. It shed the Light of Truth. The one party began to cry with relief. They understood.
Later in the evening I received a text from one of them telling me they had a very nice evening following up the session. The darkness, the bitterness, the division that Satan’s deceptions cause are only penetrated by God’s Sword of The Spirit of Truth. It was so nice to see this take place for this couple. What a humbling honor to be able to witness God at work in this way.
I never realize until afterwards how something impacts me. My wife has been gone since last Saturday and returned last night. When I got home from Celebrate Recovery she was here. She had been on a buying trip with her sis for her sis’s store in Oregon. As I got up this morning I found myself more awake and more relaxed. I’m always reminded that disrupted routines have their impact.
This morning God has been reminding me to keep my eyes on His Son trusting Him to be the One I trust and praise. I know this and remind others of this all the time, but when I have my own concern and details to contend with I so often forget to do this. So, in the middle of my journaling when God gave me this nudge, I stopped writing and took time to thank Him for what He’s already done and for what He’s doing and will be doing as the days move forward. It was the reminder I needed for this morning and the focus I needed for today.
I don’t care where we are or what we are doing, God wants us to know He is right there. As I was journaling following this moment I thanked Jesus for being right with me and He then reminded me that not only is He with me, His Holy Spirit is within me. What a blessed people we are to have our Almighty God who is so very caring!
A counselee I’ve been seeing last night moved allowing me to observe a session another counselor was having. This is one of the two “guinea pigs” we started with last June when I observed for two months this counselor and this counselee. I know the man well and they said it was fine for me to observe. It was very enlightening. This man has struggled from a childhood similar to my own and I knew they were tackling some issues I’ve needed to do in my past. The counselor was working to help him find his strengths/gifts God gave him as a man and believe this as truths for himself. He started on this and with a little help was able to agree to a few good points.
Later in the session it came out that he was good at his work because he is sensitive to his customers. At this point I interjected that another strength he has is his sensitivity. He looked a little confused but agreed he was sensitive.
This man is my sponsor and I am his from our Celebrate Recovery years. We text twice a day for accountability purposes. As I got home last night I found a text from him thanking me for pointing out that his sensitivity is a strength. It had always been seen by him as a weakness which went clear back to his childhood and the criticism he received at that time from his dad. I’ve needed in my own past to see that my sensitivity is a gift rather than a curse. God is now showing him the same. Our God is so GOOD and thorough!
I know that February is still winter, but spring is now only a month away so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel–Spring is coming! Even though it is only 13 degrees outside as I write this, I know that winter is soon to pass.
I want to take a moment to write that my message yesterday led me to take the steps I was told to take. In a matter of 15 minutes I had it done and it was a simple process. It is amazing and sad at the same time how one can be so sure how something should work out only to find how wrong he is. I, most of the time, have a picture in my mind how something is to work out when I’m heading it. My quick assumption is always that if I have it in my head, it must be from God. Well, once again, I see the flaw in this. Did I ask God? Unfortunately, my answer is, “well, no, I just assumed it.”
One thing has changed in all of this for me. Instead of beating myself up multiple times in my mind calling myself those ugly names from my past, I can see this as a good lesson about obedience to God’s leading in my life. I don’t need a beating or several beatings to learn from it. That is another kind message from God I have needed to also learn.
Have you ever been stymied by a step you’ve taken realizing later that it was the wrong step, a mistake? I’m in that boat right now. I did some calling yesterday to find what steps I needed to now take. As I was told I thought, that’s not what I wanted to hear, I wouldn’t take those. They are too troublesome. Well, this morning in my journaling as I was talking to God about this, I was reminded that I wanted direction. Was I now going to determine what that direction should be? Is there a reason I wouldn’t simply take the steps I’ve been told to take? These questions quickly reminded me that if I want help, I need to follow through on the Light given to me trusting that God was in this just as I’d asked Him to be. No one is trying to take advantage–just giving clarity to the problem.
As I’ve processed this morning I’ve quickly seen how much this reaction of mine has been applied to so many areas of my life. Going way back to the years of abuse and the subsequent years, I wanted the memories to be erased. I knew I should get help, but help would tell someone, maybe more, how weak and vulnerable I was. Little did I listen to God’s still small voice asking me to take the step of help. When I finally did take the step I was opened to a new reality–God’s. He wanted the memories to be used to help others, not to haunt me. Instead of memories being a curse, they are now a message God uses to help others take their own step whether its their first step or continued step.
I’m working on learning to be a better responder to God’s messages to me.
January is coming to an close, but winter is well into itself today. It is 10 degrees outside. I’ve already been to the airport and back taking our neighbors who are headed to Hawaii on a cruise ship. Good place to head in this kind of weather! In my journaling this morning I was thanking God for such nice neighbors. They watch our place when we are gone and we can return the favor for them. In addition, the ones across the road put up my mailbox post this past week. I don’t know how he did it. I tried with my posthole diggers but the ground was frozen solid. Someone had plowed into their box and ours during the night last week. This was the 2nd time this has happened in 6 months. Nice neighbors are a gift from God.
While I’m thanking God, I also thank Him that winter doesn’t need to stop gardening. I’m planting tomato seeds today even though it is only 10 degrees. I already have onions up and peppers should be up any day. I’ll transfer all of these to the greenhouse in March when the nights are closer to freezing temperatures and the heater can keep the greenhouse warm. It makes my heart happy when I can see these little fellows called seeds come to life which will grow into what I love to pick and eat during the summer and fall.
God’s blessings are all around us if we will just take time to look. How amazing He is!
Yesterday was one of those days that when it started there was no letting up until evening. It began with a lengthy counseling session which was followed by a funeral for the dad of a very good friend. Immediately after the service I needed to leave to get to the place where our quartet was singing. When this ended it was later afternoon and time to get to one of my grandson’s birthday dinner party. He turned 13—a teenager! When all of this ended and I got home I was spent. However, being spent in this case was a rewarding one. All day long I got to watch Jesus at work. I might be spent, but the gratitude of getting to be counselor, friend, singer (messenger of God’s Love through song) and grandpa all in the same day was its own reward. Our God is so GOOD!
It is written in the Bible that God’s Word is alive. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I can’t help but read this and apply it to the richness of what God is teaching me of late. I can read this verse and know it. The question is do I believe it? If I believe it to be true I would never question a nudge from God’s Spirit for He is alive within me. The Spirit of God helps me separate the difference between what man says from man’s wisdom to what the Word of God says from the foundation of wisdom which is God’s Word.
When I think of something being sharper than a double-edged sword, I think of pain when it would penetrate my body. However, when I apply this statement to wisdom I realize that the truth goes right to the heart of what the wisdom is being applied to. It isn’t so much painful as it is totally enlightening. There is nothing to question when God’s Wisdom is applied. I am anchored. I am not only anchored in my mind, but much more deeply, I am anchored in my spirit.
The deceptions of Satan can be identified when they are applied to God’s Word. Helping oneself and others believe the truth of God’s Word over the “thinking errors” is the step of healing God is waiting to give when we take this step.
Moving from knowing to believing. God is truly wanting me to grab ahold of this and anchor into believing. I am well aware that childhood abuse which extended into multiple years has crippling effects of one’s belief system. This is what man has said all along. But, this is not what the word of God says. The word of God says that “all things are possible to him who believes”. Mark 8:23.
I would have to write another book in order to walk one through all that God is having me realize in these present days. The thinking errors I wrote about yesterday need to be tied to God’s Word. They are the distortions of truth which Satan thrives on and we take hold of. However, God is making it abundantly clear that we no longer need to hang onto these errors of thinking. Knowing something is too often left in the flesh of our being. Believing is something that is of our spirit and God’s Strength is found in His Spirit within us. Believing is a portion of this Strength. I’m staying with believing and working to help others do the same.
In our counseling program I continue to sit in on one of the sessions led by a retired licensed counselor. I always walk away from these sessions with insights. Some of these insights are new applications I can use or the session reinforces for me the steps I’m taking with a client. Last night was one of new insight I can use AND I can apply to me personally.
When I was with my brother-in-law a week ago he asked if I ever found the insights I share with a client equally applicable to me? These are times when The Holy Spirit gives advice from your own mouth that make you wonder where that came from? You just know its source–God’s Holy Spirit. Yes, often I found this to be true, I told him.
Last night in the session I observe, the counselor used a tool called Thinking Errors. I knew this term from my educational years as it applied to students thinking about their learning ability and for teachers and their teaching abilities. It was used last night in the context of ones being stuck in a belief that isn’t true, but it is for them (in their mind). As I heard this I knew I needed to go deeper into this for some of my own clients as well as for myself.
This morning I downloaded a pdf outlining these thinking errors and each one’s definition. In it I found a gold nugget! It clarified for me a belief I’ve had tied to yesterday’s post. I don’t need to fight a belief that isn’t true. I simply can yield it to my Savior who created me to be the new creation I am today. I can believe this because this is the real truth. All of Satan’s deceptive ways can be yielded to Jesus who has conquered this deception. My action is not to be to fight, but to yield.