26/05/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love! – Part 2*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:36 am by The Water Bearer

In my previous blog Discipline + Trust = Love I took you through the story of my emotionally manipulative behaviour and how perhaps a lack of discipline and trust contributed to it. I hope it helps others recognise similar behaviour in themselves, and to learn how to access powerful angels to combat this all too common inner enemy. Please read the previous one first, as it sets the foundation for this post.

If you would like to hear more about the emotional trials I faced in my relationships and the success that came from my new perspective have a read of Less Tantrums, More Love. I’d like to keep the focus here to explain more about what God has been trying to help me understand, about how disciplining our children with love helps to build trust and a healthy perspective of how to feel love and be grateful of Godly discipline.

Discipline means, the trait of being well behaved; a branch of knowledge; and training to improve strength or self-control. Trust means, the trait of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; allow without fear; and complete confidence in a person or plan.

Seeing as I am a parent currently learning these lessons myself, I feel my readers may as well be learning this right along with me. God has been showing me that it is our job as parents to seek His advice in deciding what is right for our children and stick to that with all the tenacity and prayer we can muster, even if they don’t like it, even if they panic, and even if they cry! The hope is that this may help them develop strength, self-control, good behaviour and knowledge. If our children learn that they can trust us, they will believe in our honesty and reliability, have complete confidence in us and our guidelines, without fear.

When I first became a parent I was mindful of the problems the lack of discipline in certain areas caused me, I did my best to address this early on, and was indignant if my children battled against me, sometimes I would win and sometimes I would be defeated. However it wasn’t until I developed some faith that I was more able to withstand against their emotional manipulations. I am far from a role model parent, I loose my temper, react badly and still struggle with the effects of my psychological conditions. However, I am willing to try to stick to my convictions and trust that God will cover areas I am unable to! Amen! I always hope to keep improving as a parent so that during times when they may stand against my authority, or when as they grow and begin to decide for themselves, I can adapt with each phase and yet must remember to recognise the enemy’s tricks and pray for the strength to stand strong with Godly principles in mind.

I came to recognise the inner enemy as the force at work that is trying to get parents to crumble under the emotional pressure and allow children to get away with bad behaviour. The only weapon we have against any inner enemy is God’s army of angels we must call upon with faith and the armour which God provides. This article by a fellow blogger explains The Armour of God from the scriptures if you want to read more on this subject.

After many battles of will with my children and seeing the difference the help from my inner angels makes, I am beginning to realise that ‘meaning what you say with love in your heart’ is the most important way of building your child’s trust and gaining their respect. If we offer a punishment for bad behaviour or a disrespectful attitude, and fail to pass it out, why would a child be concerned by our threats and learn to respect us? If we allow our children’s emotions and tantrums to dictate a change in our rules or our decisions, doesn’t that change who’s in authority? Why then, would they trust us to know what is best for them? I believe we need to teach our children to understand that when we insist on what is best for them and what is acceptable behaviour, even if they don’t ‘like’ it, it proves our trustworthy authority over them and therefore our stable, dependable love for them.

I am seeing more and more that Godly discipline is proactive discipline. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ This is an understanding of what the consequences will be before the child continues with bad behaviour, a warning, then following through with the threatened consequence every time they ignore the warning. I hope my girls grow to trust me to mean what I say, and know that I’m trying to teach them that for all of life’s decisions, there will be consequences. Good or bad. God gives us warnings, that small voice of conscience reminding us of what is dangerous or unacceptable behaviour. We can choose to ignore the warning, but be assured there will be a consequence eventually.

Too often tactics of discipline don’t always work, because a quick sting on the hand may cause tears, and parents do not want to cause their precious baby to cry, as quite frankly the baby cries enough already! It then becomes common to wait to begin disciplining until around 2 years old. By this time the child has already gotten away with unacceptable behaviour without understanding consequences, they have no idea how or why to heed a warning.

Usually the frustration parents feel at having no control or no respect from their children can lead to emotionally reactive discipline, for example yelling, swearing, smacking in anger without warning, unreasonable punishments or irrational threats that may sound scary but will never be carried out. Reactive discipline may actually be the cause why the child does not trust us or respect us! From the minute they try to get their own way, we need to take control and mean what we say with love in our heart.

As we grow older it is much easier for us to accept the ups and downs in life if we have a stable foundation to build on. As a child we may feel angry, scared, sad or confused when we aren’t allowed to get our own way, but if we are disciplined correctly we grow up to learn that our parents loved us, were trustworthy, helped keep us safe, to make stable choices and display appropriate behaviour. Wouldn’t that also help us see that when life gives us warnings and consequences, we can interpret that as God’s unfailing, trustworthy, guidance and love for us, rather than acting like defiant children who throws a tantrum when we don’t get our own way.

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Discipline + Trust = Love!*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:10 am by The Water Bearer

“Come Back!” I yelled through the tears streaming down my face as I ran up the street after him. My heart was twisted in turmoil, my head full of confusion and raging emotion. I was a child in an adult’s body and he was my boyfriend. We hadn’t been going out very long, a few months maybe, but once I had allowed him into my life physically and emotionally I began clinging on for dear life, pinning all my feelings on him. If he told me he ‘loved me and couldn’t live without me’, I was over the moon, if he told me to ‘get lost and leave him alone’, I was on the floor in a heap, devastated by his rejection.

This time he was going out with his friends for the night, but I had spent the day looking forward to spending the night with him. I had conjured up in my head a scene straight from a movie, that he would see me, run to me, hold me, tell me how long his day had been without me, yadda yadda yadda. I would have sent these expectations with my will-power out into the universe and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less!

However I would have no choice but to settle for something much less. He had walked through the door earlier that evening, thrown his work bag on the ground, grunted a ‘G’day’ at me and headed for the shower. I slinked up to him, trying to use my features and curves to get his attention, but he had had a long, hard day and wasn’t biting at any of the bait I was casting his way. All I got in return was that he had to get ready because his mates would be here to pick him up soon. Well, I had just practically thrown myself at this guy and had simply and coldly, been brushed off. Feelings began to build up in my chest and spilled over into my heart, they made their way up into my mind trying to grab onto some logic, something I could say to convince him to stay and make me believe his love for me. I gave him everything that came to mind, but what it boiled down to was ‘If you love me, why are you making me feel bad?’ He didn’t buy into any of my arguments, said of course he loved me but was still going out tonight. A car had pulled up out the front, he turned his back and walked away toward his waiting friends. I was pleading with him to stay, demanding he not leave me. Yearning for him to change his mind and do something to take away the pain, the rejection, the loneliness and fear I was drowning in. I banged on the window of the car and told him to “Get out and talk to me!”, yet instead he gave me an angry, confused look and told his friend to drive. So here I was, running after the car, screaming like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the supermarket over a lollipop they had been refused.

I kept on like that with different boyfriends for many years, every now and then my expectations would not be met, I couldn’t understand why and would become irrational. I couldn’t get my head around this one main question, the question that lit my heart on fire with anger, and devastation.

How can you say you love me, seeing me in tears, being the only one able to take away my pain and still not do what I want you to?’ … I always concluded ‘Then you can’t possibly love me!’

It wasn’t until much later that it all started to make sense to me, I realised that while I thought I had been a good child, I was also very good at turning on the waterworks at the onset of any event I might like to avoid. Being left with teachers, or babysitters, or eating my dinner, or sleeping in my own bed were certain to evoke tears. Like most parents, my Mum found it was simply too hard to stand up to me and my dramatic, emotional manipulation. She couldn’t bear to see me cry.

Who else remembers a typical kindergarten day? Mum or Dad showing you the toys pretending they were staying to play with you, and once you were distracted they would sneak out to avoid seeing your tears and hearing your screams. You would turn around to find they had simply disappeared, and they stayed gone for a many hours. (That’s a long time for a little child). Perhaps you too became scared that if you let go of someone you love they might not be there when you next looked around. Then Mum began making food that I didn’t fuss about so she wouldn’t have to fight to get me to eat, and eventually let me sleep in her bed every night without dispute. I came to believe that the people who love me don’t let me cry…for long.

As I got older, and through some therapy much later on, I came to understand that I suffered from abandonment fear and a misconception of love. My tantrum throwing was as distressing for me as it was for my loved ones. It wasn’t until many conversations with my Dad, where he helped me see that I was also a victim of my own emotional blackmail. In other words, I was allowing my inner enemy to create unreasonable emotions that overpowered me, and then expecting my loved ones to adjust themselves accordingly. Once I realised I simply couldn’t trust my emotions, and accepted that I was misunderstanding what love is and how loving people treat each other, I began the journey to keep my emotions in check and try acting in a loving way rather than an irrational way. It takes a lot of persistence to change a behaviour and a belief you have had all your life, and I am certain I would have had no success without my faith.

There are many others out there who have some experience with these types of overpowering emotions, and they may not have any similarities in their childhood to mine. I believe it is possible for any form of trauma that rocked the foundation of a child’s perception of trust, and love would still carry some weight to create this inner enemy.

In my next blog Discipline + Trust = Love! Part 2 I will continue with this story, and will detail the efforts I have made to prevent my children from following in my footsteps. I also feel compelled to write about how my attitude towards men changed and how wonderful the results were. You can read that here..

21/05/2012

God….Really?*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:23 pm by The Water Bearer

Most people who know me know that I have faith. I often get called ‘religious’ which progressively makes my skin crawl. These days I am quick to correct them, stating that “I am faithful, not religious!” I love to share stories about the wonderful things God has done in my life, but sometimes my stories are simply laughed at and dismissed.  I am not surprised by this anymore and I try not to feel any offense. I realise the damage that has been done to the reputation of God through many years of worldly disagreements and disappointments, which led to war and doubt.

It saddens me that the God I know is getting a bad rap because His name is too often used as a front for ‘religious humans’ to hide behind. I believe most church goers mean well, but with all their influence, why are so many people increasingly deterred away from God due to their opinion of the church? For example I do not currently attend church and neither does many of my faithful friends and family. Ask yourselves honestly, how common is the reaction to want to run when someone introduces themselves as ‘A Born Again Christian’?

Is it simply that we may have had an experience with ‘religiosity’, or ‘crackpots’, rather than with the awesome and abundant love from God?

Isn’t it possible that someone who claimed to represent God to us may have let us down, betrayed our trust, or even caused us or someone we love pain? Therefore we may mistakenly apply the onus to fall back onto God and not the mere human using His name.

I personally would rather the onus fell back onto the enemy within the church, rather than blaming God for everything. So that we would continue to pursue His internal voice and build a relationship with Him, no matter what this world could do to us to try and cause lack of faith.

The Apostle Paul, wrote in the book of Thessalonians that the enemy of God would sit at the head of the church claiming to be God. (2 Thess 2:4 “The son of destruction, who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God.”)

Are we searching for God and finding His counterfeit?

I believe this counterfeit is fooling masses. If this enemy is actually an ‘angel of light’, he is not quite the obvious “red-horned” ugliness which we imagine we should be aware of. Thinking about it, I believe the enemy knows God very well, he was the Lord’s right-hand man, His closest associate. Who else could portray our Heavenly Father so convincingly, yet destroy faith in Him in the process?

I believe we need to seek into our own hearts where the true spirit of God lies and ask Him to show us His TRUTH. We need to strive to not settle for anything less, refusing to allow ourselves to be seduced by an easier, more attractive, and yet less righteous path.

We can test it by reading the Bible and researching to see if what we are led to believe lines up with what we read in God’s word and be humbled under His authority and virtue. If nothing else it’s a good read and a great guide for ways to handle the ups and downs of life.

I used to read the headlines from the back cover of the Sunday Mail every week, and every week the title was too appropriate for what I needed to hear. There are too many for me to mention but you would spin out if I could remember them all. My Dad and I used to laugh and shake our heads at the level of coincidence that was beyond almost any understanding, except that of a divine message. One Sunday morning, my husband asked me to grab him a paper while I was at the shop. It had been many months since I had bought the paper or read any ‘headlines’ and at that time I was feeling particularly distant from God. As I drove I spoke to Him in my heart, “Lord, have I slipped away? Have you still got me?” The radio was playing in the background, and as I pulled into my driveway a new song was introduced, as it started the melody caught my attention, as music often does, and rather than turning it off I sat in the car for a moment to listen. While I sat there, I remembered the paper and the headlines I had once applied to myself, so I flicked the paper over to see “I WON’T LET YOU DOWN” sprawled across the back page in huge black letters. I looked up and smiled, the chorus of the song kicked in and the male voice sang in a country twang “I won’t let you down!”

If God wants us to be convinced that we have come into contact with Him, He can make a confirmation appear in any unlikely place, wherever 2 or 3 witnesses (signs) confirm a word from the Almighty, you then know you have struck something directly from Him!

Many can inspire us, teach us, and guide us, and the enemy is always out to trick and deceive us, I recommend we never stop testing the things we are led to believe, never stop asking God questions and let Him be the only one we trust to show us His TRUTH!

14/05/2012

A Grieving Heart**

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:42 pm by The Water Bearer

Until the passing of my Dad from cancer a couple of years ago I had not previously suffered the loss of anyone who was extremely close to my heart. It was such a shock to my inner spirit, even though I consciously knew it was coming, I had no idea how I would handle the grief of such a loss.

He was the most spiritually-powerful person in my life who would fervently pray for me when I was too deep in my own weakness to pray for myself, which of course was when I needed it the most. He was my mentor, my confidant and my friend and the hole he left in my life is proving to be extremely hard to fill.

I guess I am lucky in the sense that he helped me to build such intensely strong beliefs, and somewhat of an understanding of the spiritual realm, I truly believe to my core that I will be with him for eternity when I too leave this physical realm. He has left reverberations throughout my spirit so that I can hear his voice from time to time, sometimes I dream vivid dreams where I am spending time with him, it’s almost like I get a nights holiday to visit him in that place where time and gravity does not exist. Sometimes I get a sign specifically relating to him and a memory which I believe he wants me to remember and to apply to a current situation, a bit like advice from beyond.

Yet I miss him dearly, it is strange that life just goes on without someone. I remember that first day when I woke up without feeling the weight of his death on my chest, when it wasn’t the first thing to float into my conscious mind from the distant sleep I was emerging from, it was scary, like I was forgetting that he was gone, and thinking he was just at his house waiting for me to visit. Then something would happen, I would hear a song, or see a picture, perhaps find a piece of paper with his unique handwriting on it, and it would hit me all over again like a punch to my stomach and a tear to my eye. He is really gone!

Recently I had a friend share with me her pain and confusion at the loss of her own father, quite simply the anger she feels at how unfair it was for him to be taken from her and in a way she could not fathom he deserved. It is so hard for our carnal human minds to comprehend all that is going on in the universe. I have had many experiences and interactions with the spiritual realm and yet my mind still has trouble grasping for the tangible reality of it. I feel a sense of duty to try and bring my friend some comfort and perhaps perspective in the midst of her pain. I am praying about it as I write this, asking for the Lord to give me the words to explain why these things are part of a plan we cannot yet see the final design of.

I believe this place is merely a stage for us to perform a role upon; a place to act out all mannerisms of human nature to develop our character and qualify for the position we will take up permanently in the next place. A temporary stepping stone in the midst of a more permanent yet spiritual world. If you can imagine a sphere similar to earth’s atmosphere, and picture it as a parallel universe where all the mysteries of life are no longer hidden from our human sight or understanding. Then take a paper thin layer and place it around the sphere, this layer represents the physical realm. It is connected to, but also separate from the spiritual realm. The physical realm is only a tiny element of the universe in its entirety, full of limitations yet vital to our personal journey. If you lay eternity out in a timeline form with no beginning and no end, imagine how tiny the blip of a human lifetime would be! A mere 70-80 years more or less is nothing compared to the infinite existence of the spiritual platform. So why does it feel like it goes on forever and then ends abruptly and somewhat finitely? As we grow older, we usually grow more distant and cynical in connection to the spiritual realm. This place is all we can see and touch,it can harden our minds and can prevent openness to unknown things. There are a chosen few who have a heightened sensitivity to all things spiritual, a bit like having a few extra radio stations than is widely available. (I believe this metaphor gives a basic way to shed some light on people such as psychics, mediums, paranormal investigators etc.) It is just as common as someone with an extra special gift for mathematical equations, science, or perhaps medicine, an extra level of awareness in a particular field is all.

We are not meant to stay here, this life is hard, full of aging disabilities, poor health, worries, disappointments, heartaches and unmet expectations. The sooner we are taken to the next place the sooner we must be needed in our next and permanent role. The butterfly effect from any life-force here is evident to some more than others; that those touched by a life, no matter how long or short that life may be, are caught up the universes unfolding design. The feelings and experiences brought about by connection to a life or the loss of it are essential to the development of the people they connected with.

Of course there are many, many wonderful and joyful things to experience here as well, I am not a pessimist by any means, I believe there are elements of both heaven and hell on earth to help us discern the path we choose and give us a taste of what is to come. We are not meant to understand everything yet, that is why it is called faith. Faith – meaning trust, confidence, and reliance.

WOW! Praise the LORD! As I sit editing this, I’m hoping it will be easy to follow and comprehend, hoping it will help, suddenly a Christian lady whom I work with walks in and hands me a book. She has no idea of what I am writing about, yet I sense the spirit world using her to give me the nudge I need to trust my words.

The book is a true story titled – “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent …… Here is a link to see an interview with Colton Burpo now 11years old –   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhT36Dizo2s&feature=related  

The back cover reads:
“Do you remember the hospital Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, Mommy, I remember,” He said “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed – a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery – and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how ‘really, really big‘ God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
Heaven is for real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.
“A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.” – Ron Hall, co-author of Same kind of difference as me.

I have not yet read this book, however what I have shared here gave me chills over my entire body as I read it. I thanked my work friend with a hug and a tear in my eye, I’m not sure if she knows how much I appreciate that she was used by angels to confirm to me all that I have written here. I feel I had no choice but to tack it onto the bottom of this blog, and I can’t wait to get reading this book!

The adventures of a social butterfly*

Posted in General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:26 am by The Water Bearer

One of my pet peeves is wasted time, we are here but a blink and sitting around twiddling my thumbs is just not an option for me. If I have an hour between responsibilities I try to drop in on a friend for a quick cuppa and catch up. I love my friends dearly, and looking into their eyes, sharing in their lives for a few moments is what I like the most. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind getting on the phone and having a good chin wag as well, but in the rush of life we are becoming more and more prone to keep in touch via social networking and mobile phones, and this lacks the personal touch which I crave. I want to hug people!! I want to allow my intuition to tell me how they really are, I can do that pretty easily most of the time, even on the phone, but face-to-face is a much easier platform to engage with them about what I’m sensing.

If I have made plans to fill my day and the opportunity to get a visit or an invite from a friend arises I will do my best to fit them in. This is getting more and more difficult as life gets busier, but I figure I can run errands and do housework any time, while a chance encounter with a friend may not be so easily rearranged.

I am truly a people-person, I am at my happiest when I have a room full of people whose brains I want to pick and whose lives I want to engage with. People are my teachers, their lives, thoughts, experiences and beliefs are the foundation of my research, and therefore my writing. Your lives and struggles inspire me, please comment in the section available on a blog if you feel you have something to share about the topics I write about. It encourages me deeply to know how others feel and it teaches me more and more. I am educated by the lives of others, not only my own experiences.

While reading a fellow bloggers post this week I stumbled across a fabulous poem, its insight, its humour and the way it was presented were clever and entertaining. It relates to the digital trap of technology that distances us from the touch of others. Enjoy the link below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GAx845QaOck

10/05/2012

My encounter with God, a true miracle!*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:18 am by The Water Bearer

“She’s pink and wiggly”, that’s what they said passing me a photo of my daughter, 3months premature, weighing a tiny 1 pound. I was 18, scared and groggy from the anesthetic. I was told of the baby inside me only 3 months earlier and strangely went insane for the colour mint green. Booties, bibs, outfits, even the bath! I was broke and couldn’t buy nice things for the nursery so I bought a roll of material, yep mint green, I made the quilts, curtains, a baby bag, bumpers, pillows, a nappy stacker, everything was mint green!

At 23 weeks pregnant I was told my baby was coming early and was too small to survive. Somehow I found faith to believe if God wanted me to be a Mum I would be, and if He didn’t I would accept His will. I would do my best to understand motherhood was not yet my time. Two weeks later my baby was still hanging on inside me yet I was traumatised, restricted to a hospital bed, stressed by the possibility of loosing my baby, wheeling between the birthing suite and the ward and back again, told my baby was coming, then wasn’t. I couldn’t cope anymore, I cried out to God “Please knock me out and wake me when it’s over!”.

The next morning they knocked me out (Emergency caesarean). When I woke they told me that my daughter now had a 50% chance of survival, they wheeled my bed towards hers in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), I noticed all the other babies were wearing bonnets (to help keep their tiny temperature up). Boys in blue, girls in pink, some in white, but I knew God was watching over my tiny baby girl, I knew deep down that she would be ok when I saw the one and only mint green bonnet sitting on her tiny head. I asked if someone had told the nurses, or asked for that particular colour but the nurse said she grabbed it out of the drawer and didn’t think twice.

My little miracle sent from above is turning 16yrs old this month, and is still miraculous proof of God’s existence!

I would love to hear of your miraculous encounters with God, please share them below. Blessing to you all!

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