01/10/2016

Overturning Tainted Love

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 8:04 am by The Water Bearer

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I have held two completely opposing views of Love throughout my life.  In my youth one version took the lead role, to put it bluntly this version was selfish and unstable. In my adult years my Dad introduced me to the other version, the selfless, unwavering Love of God. It took a great deal of effort, self-awareness, and many prayers to undo some of the automatic thinking patterns that my misguided version of Love had established inside my heart, and in my behaviour. Even after 17 years of walking closely with God, straining in pursuit of Christ-likeness, I still battle over which version of love will show up. I am astounded when I unconsciously perform acts of unselfish love, because I recognise it is really Christ working in me, changing me. And yet I am still aware and filled with regret over the times my selfish love rears its ugly head.

This battle between the two versions of love, is as old as time itself, and the biggest misconception of love has been applied to the character of God, God who not only is the very source of all pure love, but who in fact IS LOVE. I feel an enormous amount of urgency to restore the reputation of God, and overturn our understanding of Love, love without coercion or expectation, the freedom and peace true love brings, as opposed to the selfish version the enemies of God have flooded throughout the world. These enemies deny the very existence of love, replacing it with obsession, possession, lust and self-satisfaction, in complete apostasy to the self-sacrificial heart of Christ. Christ came to show us what God’s love looks like, for we unconsciously accepted the falsehood that the enemy was spilling across the earth.

Learning of God’s love revolutionised my life, and I pray my words don’t fall on deaf ears as I hope to shine some light on the battle between deceptive versions and the incomparable version of true love, God’s love.

Love yearns for deep truthful connection, with no equivocation, no hidden secrets, no self-serving agenda. It waits patiently for the chords of love to grow in secure freedom, with loyal untainted unwavering hope. The love that Yeshua imparted to the world took nothing but gave everything. It held nothing back for itself, almost as if love was worthless without loving us perfectly and completely.

Human nature convinces us that we are loving when we feel the desire to connect with others, and yet we have little concept of gaining nothing from it. We push for it because in some way we expect it to satisfy us. We make promises founded on our fragile willingness to hope, then at the first sign that our expectations won’t be met, our promises disintegrate into dust. God’s love keeps its promises because it has no alternative. This is founded in the fact that His promises are based on His character and not on our ability to deserve them, to earn them, or even request them in hope. We only need accept them, trust them, believe in them.

So what about that flood of misguided love that has misrepresented the character of God? What about all those scary threats in the Bible that religious institutions have been using as a means to coerce the world into crouching into a position of slavery and fear under the hypercritical God we’ve all heard about?

The warnings of Hell or Destruction are not threats of punishment. They are a sign post, severely cautioning us as to the unavoidable results of a life separate from God’s love. For He can not protect us from the hellish suffering we are reaping upon ourselves by keeping our hearts and souls hidden from His grace-filled love.

If our souls are energy and energy never dies, but only changes form, then what else is to be concluded but an eternal existence for our souls? What kind of eternal existence our souls obtain is completely up to us. And because True Love doesn’t coerce, God gave us a choice. He gave us the freedom to choose His loving protection and freedom from slavery to sin, or to continue on believing the deceptions. Deceptions which taint our understanding of love and keep us trapped within the selfish empty character of our human nature. A nature that causes us to act in ways that have negative consequences, consequences we then blame God for even after professing that we don’t believe in Him.

The world system sees might, muscle and domination as powerful,  and yet the power of God’s love restores what the worlds ‘power’ has destroyed.

God uses the world stage as a template of what eternity will look like without being connected to God’s love. This place is a temporary speck in time compared to the infinite permanent Love of God. His ‘wrath’ is a perfect response to His perfect assessment of who we become when selfishness taints the love He created us to need. His response shows His intense concern for our souls. In His omnipotent wisdom He knows that our desires and self-indulgent hearts are not only taking us away from His love and Blessings, but leading us into the toxic wasteland of Satanic slavery and encouraging others to join us, our children included.

God’s wrath against sin doesn’t come from hatred or impatience or cruelty, as it would from our tainted versions of love. It comes from an all knowing concern for us and our impending existence without the abundant gifts, the eternal freedom and peace that only His love can give. Our belief in His love transforms us, making us able to truly love as Christ loved.

God’s love is made available to us and through us, a free gift offered, wrapped with drops of blood shed to prove its authenticity. The most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves is to look upward, let His love change us and set us free, so that we can reciprocate and share that Love with our own overturned love, no longer tainted.

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

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11/07/2016

Alterations by Grace not by Law

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:21 am by The Water Bearer

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God has been showing me some crazy similarities between destructive patterns in relationships and the common themes in Religion.  The Enemy isn’t very creative really, replaying the same tired old accusations in all areas of life. The most blatant being “You can’t really trust Love, can you?”.

Who can say, in our current generation, that they have never heard a woman complain about the things she hopes to change about her man?

Who can say they have never heard a man complain about being in trouble with their wife?

There is an epidemic of families being broken all over the globe and in our western culture this theme seems to be the most common.

Many women share with me their frustrations over the things about their men that they want to alter. I’m sure many of you ladies can understand, we are all sinners after all. Maybe these men are selfish. Maybe they are unreliable. Can you relate? Maybe they stay out too late while you are stuck at home with the children. Maybe they don’t help enough around the house or with the children. Maybe they aren’t romantic any more. Maybe they spend money irresponsibly. Maybe they drink too much or play Playstation too much. Maybe they don’t work hard. Maybe they go to strip clubs or look at pornography or stray physically. Maybe arguments are often and the connection is wearing thin.

In this recent social phase, Inner Enemies have heightened the emotional atmosphere, they empower us women with the accusation, “You can’t really trust Love, Can you?”, encouraging us to become nasty and emotional when our expectations are not met.  We become controlling, manipulative, restrictive. We might lay down the law, use ultimatums, make threats, yell, belittle, cry, all in order to get them to alter their ways, to satisfy us.

Men in these situations too have frustrations, they feel penned in by an emotionally unstable relationship. They feel their manhood, their authority, is being challenged, being overpowered. They often hide their hearts away and continue to make their own decisions about how to spend their time and their money, without letting her reactions sway these decisions, in a way to feel like they are still in charge over themselves and not submitting to the control of someone dominating and often unreasonable. The emotional reaction of the women is often the very thing that pushes the men further into these ‘frustrating’ behaviours. In many cases these dynamics cause division in relationships, and at the very least can cause a lack of deep connection and contentment.

Making a choice and a commitment to love someone is not a decision to give up our freedom, even though many mistake this as the case. For without the freedom to decide every day if you want to be in the relationship there is only more pressure to create division. We think once someone says they love us, they commit to us then ‘CLICK’ the magical handcuffs are on. We own them, and the right to demand that they make us happy. This is toxic thinking. Any behavioural changes that are made in this scenario cannot be trusted completely, they haven’t been genuinely made out of love, they are made out of fear and control.

Conversely there are those whose Inner Angels help them to accept their loved ones imperfections. They try to be patient to wait for hearts to adjust and behaviours to settle into a united rhythm. They want their mate to be free to choose to love them, to be free to want to do right by them out of love not out of fear. They recognise that forced compliance has short term rewards, for lasting unity there needs to be alterations of the heart. This goes for both men and women.

As an example, these women give grace when their men are late. They give forgiveness when their men make mistakes. They use every opportunity to try to show love when they could show anger. They choose to give freedom rather than control. Kindness instead of attack. Consequently, very often the men in these relationships are eventually driven by their own motivation to want to do right by their woman. They would rather call and let her know they will be late, because they know she will worry, and they know they have the freedom to stay as long as they want. Suddenly they can’t wait to come home. They would rather resist the temptation to stray because they appreciate the constant approachable love their woman gives them. They choose to do right because they don’t want to hurt her, they want to love her back. Not because of the promise, not because of the words, not because of the certificate, because their heart has been altered by the love and grace and freedom and forgiveness they have received.

This is exactly how God’s Grace works as opposed to the Law. Picture the relationship responses I just explained, as metaphors for the Christian systems of Law and Grace.

Under the Law our freedom is taken captive. Religiosity points out our flaws, condemns us, threatens us. Through fear and guilt, religion expects us to change. You are given no freedom to choose God’s will, it is expected, demanded, forced. Any changes made in this scenario are made without the strength of love, and they often are only temporary changes at best. The changes aren’t written in hearts, only in works. The connection between us and God is then fragile and unstable. Any significant test and it will crumble, tempting us to hide and compare sins.

Under Grace freedom is given and love is abundant. Every day you get to choose if you want a relationship with God. Everyday God gives us our own free will to decide for ourselves if we want to grow in our commitment to Him. When we slip and fall and we turn to Him, we are not belittled or condemned. We are met with Forgiveness and Love, Strength and Help. He is always waiting for us to come to Him no matter how many times we fall. His spirit, which grows inside us, is what writes His laws on our hearts because we have chosen to soften our hearts every time we choose Him. This creates humility and self-awareness, altering our behaviour and our hearts, and builds a connection with God that nothing can break!

Inner Enemies have confused our twisted emotional version of Love with God’s version of Love. We know how we feel when our loved ones disappoint or hurt us, and so we assume God must feel that way about us when we sin.

However God is Love!

Most of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. Love is not proud. It does not dishonour others. Love is not Self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

We expect this kind of love from others and yet we rarely are able to give it ourselves. We assume God must have this same flaw. But God IS Love, His spirit gives us the ability to love others in this way. So then let’s swap His name for ‘Love’ in that previous scripture.

God is PATIENT, God is KIND. He does not envy. He does not boast. God is not proud. He does not DISHONOUR others. God is not SELF-SEEKING. God is NOT EASILY ANGERED. God KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. God does not delight in evil but rejoices in TRUTH. He always PROTECTS. Always TRUSTS, Always HOPES, Always PERSEVERES. God NEVER FAILS!

So it becomes clear that the Enemy has been using this accusation “You can’t really trust Love, can you?” in our relationships, but he has also been using it in Christianity. “You can’t really trust God, can you?” The Law, which was supposed to define love, has been used as a tool to condemn us, pushing us away from God’s love, from God’s Grace. We must realise the deception in this practice and accept the abounding Grace Christ came to share with us. Grace that makes us want to grow closer to Him, the closer we get, the more alterations He shines through in our behaviour.

Please don’t misunderstand here, no one is saying that it is okay to stray, to neglect, to be selfish in a relationship. However nor is it okay to condemn the faults of those we love, and expect them to change just to suit us. In this way the Law has its purpose, it is God’s way of communicating to us what sin looks like, as a violation of Love. In the same way we can communicate with our loved ones which behaviours cause us to pull away and protect our hearts. Keeping in mind all the principles of what LOVE IS, as stated above. Just as God stands firmly on the truth of the Law, we also stand firmly on the conviction of our Christ-centered expectations in our relationships. But Love, LOVE is the key!

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Simply put…..If freedom is given, mercy is abundant, then love becomes the powerful force that encourages our hearts to want to change!

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18/06/2016

Go Ahead and Ask!

Posted in Finding Faith tagged , , , , , at 8:23 am by The Water Bearer

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I have this friend, a friend who is more like family. I have a longing in my heart to undo all the damage that Religion has done to him and replace it with the Love of God. Sadly it has become a taboo subject. He knows I have an abundance of faith and yet he finds it laughable.

You see his only memories of God, Christ and the Bible are tainted by an abusive and legalistic school system. Forced to believe in a God he could not identify with, and expected to behave in ways completely foreign to his nature. He was told to accept teachings that made no sense to him or God would send him to an unending place of torment and fire. Now this is bad enough in itself, yet he was abused further for asking challenging questions when he had doubts about the teachings he was being held captive by.

For those of us who have also experienced this type of controlling religiosity, and because the scriptures are often confusing for us in our immaturity, it is no wonder many pull away from God, from Christ and from the Bible. Especially as the basis of any faith comes from a place of what makes sense to us, not just what we are told, otherwise it simply unravels as we grow in understanding and maturity. We begin to realise that the theories we have been taught no longer line up with our reasoning and comprehension. Just as Santa Claus is easy to believe when we are very young, as we grow, we start to have doubts, we begin to ask intelligent, rational, and reasonable questions such as, *How does he reach every house in only 24hrs? Or *How does he get to the Christmas tree of houses that have no chimney. *Why do we let someone we have never met into our homes when we sleep? *Why did I get all these presents when I have been naughty?

This friend of mine is extremely intelligent. He values wisdom and historical knowledge and reason. So when he was punished for investigating the parts of religion that made no sense to him, he gave up any shred of faith he may have had in the God of the Bible. His rational doubts were met with irrational responses, which gave him few other options than to conclude that they were all talking a load of rubbish.

His teachers were afraid of his challenges, they were angry at his doubts, and yet the truth has no need to fear investigation.

In this fantastic message which I heard recently, came this insightful quote. “Doubt creates a space for faith to exist, for without doubt, faith is irrelevant”

Doubt is a vital and important part of developing the stability of faith. Without doubt, God becomes a concept only for the naive and the ignorant. Without doubt there would be no challenge to pursue truth. Without doubt we would believe every lie. There is an enemy of God out there, deceiving and lying, and as far as I can see, those who aren’t allowed to doubt, and aren’t allowed to question, end up  either accepting the concept of a God different to the One True God. Or they give up on God and try to get as far away from the notion of God entirely.

Once we begin to ask the right questions we can begin to piece together what makes sense to us, and that forms the foundation of our beliefs. Religion tells us to believe what we have been told no questions asked, but God wants us to ask and ask and ask. To never stop asking, never settle on a belief until we find the answers that match the still quiet voice of reason deep within our core.

Here is a place to start… Why would God want us to ask the hard questions instead of just simply believing what we have been told? – The answer is genuine connection and Love!

To prove that we are all made in God’s image He put the desire to be loved, not just the desire but the necessity. Not just to be loved but to connect on a deep level with something other than our own conscious ego. Because He is Love, because he wants to connect, He needs to connect.

Look at it this way, if you found someone you wanted to connect with, someone you wanted to love you, and you gave them a love potion. Sure enough you have their attention, their confessions of love, their attraction, their passion. Yet your trust, your connection, is not based on the genuine truth of their love, it is based on your trust of the potion.

This is why He wants us to question and to discover reasons that make sense to us to Love Him, to decide of our own free will to love, to connect, to trust, to revere. So that He can have trust in our love for Him. Then and only then is true unity, euphoric connection, ultimate fulfillment, possible for both us and for God!

Points to ponder….

*Truth can handle being reasonably investigated

*Lies are abundant and deception is rife

*Doubt is essential and discernment crucial

*God loves us and wants to connect with us

*Why not ask the tough questions

The scriptures say that God is Love. God is full of Truth. Let us not become naive about our beliefs, swallowing whole the lies of the enemy that seek to corrupt the virtue of God’s Love. Seek out the truth, discover what makes sense to you in your pursuit of God’s Love through His word, through a personal relationship with Him, questioning all who claim to understand Him. Its time we did away with these poisonous teachings of an abusive and unreasonable God, determined to send us to our unending torture, when the reality is that His love is the only way we can overcome all that seeks to destroy us. Lets no longer be like children who misunderstand the loving authority of their parents. Lets build a reasonable and rational foundation for our faith starting with the truth that God is Love!

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20/09/2014

Joy of Complaining*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:07 am by The Water Bearer

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Man, do I ever need this post!

Have you ever heard of the phrase “He/she’s a whinging Pom”- Well I am originally from England and I can testify this is an accurate title.

I am not completely convinced this constant “whinging” or complaining is always evidence of an unhappy heart or even an unhappy life. I would like to think it is a release of truth and way of sharing our personal experience of life’s daily frustrations and trials with others. A way of being vulnerable with our fellow man and experiencing empathy.

I tend to be a pretty open person, I share truths about my life easily, but especially with those who I trust and am closest to.

Like many of you, I have been weighed down most of my life with one trial after another. Whether it be illness, financial concerns, relationship upheavals, injury, grief, persecution and the like. It seems as soon as I get one sorted there is another one waiting in the midst to hit me from left field. Sound familiar?

I share my trials, like those listed above, and also the daily irritations of life, such as emotional instability, disappointment in others, offense at the deception of the world system, frustration and confusion of motherhood and wifedom, overwhelming workload, or just plain inconveniences.

However, there is an element of negativity to complaining that I recently became self-conscious of. That perhaps my constant sharing of all that is troubling me might actually be making those around me, those I love most, feel heavier because of it. This hit my heart hard! The last thing I want to do is drag anyone down. I have an extremely blessed life and want everyone to know how grateful I am.

Feeling convicted in my spirit by this, I was desperate to find a way to either stop complaining completely, or to change my attitude so that my complaining isn’t disheartening my loved ones and ruining my testimony. I have been praying on this, and seeking the Lord’s wisdom, and this morning I woke up with the answer!

It came to me like this…

LEARN TO FOCUS ON THE LOVE PATTERN

The pattern of life under God’s control is – Suffering leads to Growth or Change all while abounded by Blessings.

Let me explain that a little better….

Suffering softens us and exposes our weaknesses, so rather than complaining negatively about life’s trials, use the urge to complain to prompt us to “Boast in our weakness” (thanks Jefferson Bethke). By being grateful that God sees us completely and hears our cries for change, and accepting that these trials expose our weakness, we take our weakness to God which pushes us further and deeper into relationship and intimacy with Him through Christ. Whose grace and strength washes over us, giving us a new level of change or growth, plus a new level of faith and freedom. All the time He gives comforting signs He is with us, along with abundant provision and protection.

All this is done from His LOVE! Love for you and love for me. This ‘love pattern’ is designed to pull us into His loving arms, regardless of how ‘good’ we have been but rather dependant on how frail and flawed we admit that we are.

Our positive vulnerability will encourage others to be vulnerable, building true connection and empathy with those we share this earth with. All the while giving us an opportunity to share this wonderful news of redemption.

So therefore when someone asks us how our day was and we feel that familiar urge rise within us, lets shift the focus of our complaint from defeat to victory, using our trials to spread the joy of God’s LOVE PATTERN.

I need to end on a prayer here…

Dear Gracious Lord, I lift up your name in Glory as I realise this wisdom you have shared with us. Help us all to keep your love pattern the focus of our trials. Don’t let our weakness allow this wisdom to be forgotten, use us and our trials to spread your love! In the mighty name of your Son I pray! Amen!

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28/10/2012

Less Tantrums, More Love*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , at 8:04 pm by The Water Bearer

The next and final chapter of Discipline + Trust = Love series. A glimpse into finding appreciation in relationships.

Inner Angels & Enemies

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In my post Discipline + Trust = Love I promised I would follow on with the story of my adult tantrums and how a changed perspective helped me enjoy many benefits in my relationships.

In my early relationships I was a manipulative, critical, conceited, control freak; unable to identify love at all. I allowed my emotions to control my actions, and used them as excuses to blackmail the people I thought I loved.

I had grown up believing with all my heart that I knew love because I felt it so intensely.

After I learned a bit of Godly self-awareness, I came to realise that what I felt so intensely wasn’t love at all; it was desire, obsession, jealousy, fear, and a lack of self-worth. I had held onto the belief that I deserved ‘the best and should never settle for anything less, which gave…

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25/10/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 11:23 am by The Water Bearer

The follow up to my previous post. Sometimes the earlier stuff needs revisiting. 🙂

Inner Angels & Enemies

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…

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22/08/2012

Random Acts and A Blessed Birthday Buzz*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:32 am by The Water Bearer

Every year birthday’s roll around and every year they pass by. Some are a gathering of family and friends, some are a day of spoiling with presents, some are filled with adventures and outings, some are celebrated with parties and indulgence, some are simply skipped over uneventfully. They all come, and they all go. I have a hard time remembering most of those past birthday’s …. Don’t you?

However, I have a feeling I will remember this birthday for many years to come. I am still buzzing from it…

I am blessed by a wonderful life, truly. I have a fabulous family and wonderful cherished friends, time has proven to me their love, through their acceptance, loyalty, compassion, help in times of need, encouragement, forgiveness, apologies, companionship and the like. I have Health, Faith, & Love, and I have many more ‘things’ than I will ever need.. I could go on…but I know ‘Gag’ right! 😉

So, God guided me to give back….

After reading this post by a fellow blogger, I was inspired, actually that is an understatement. Seeing this list gave me heaps of ideas of how to share joy and kindness with people from my community.

I sent an email to family and friends asking for them not to buy me a gift this year. I told them I would be spending the day doing Random Acts of Kindness and if they wanted to get involved then great, just know I am passing on all gifts to others.

My Husband and I and our 2 gorgeous girls spent an amazing day together. We planned enough Random Acts to cover one for each year of my life but it ended up being more, thanks to all those who contributed.

We started the day with a family prayer thanking the Lord for His abundance of love and blessings to us, and asking for His guidance to those who needed these acts of kindness the most.

With that we were out the door….

I can’t even begin to describe the joy that came from seeing the smiles on peoples faces and the sparkle in their eyes, although some we hid from (like the man who’s fuel we paid for).

I loved the look on the face of the gorgeous teenage boy who was more than shocked by this crazy lady running up to give him an Itunes voucher, we chased him because he raised his hand in thanks as we stopped the car to let him cross at a zebra crossing. I was overcome by his unexpected manners.

The volunteers at the Salvation Army enjoyed their muffins perfectly timed for morning tea, along with bags of donated books, clothes and shoes.

The police lady asked “Are you sure?’ when I handed her a box of warm doughnuts along with my gratitude for her service to others.

The lady at the ‘Information Counter’ in the local shopping centre had the most amazing sparkle in her eyes for receiving a simple coffee voucher and a thank you for her constant helpfulness.

We became hungry to find that sparkle in the eyes of others, it was so addictive! 

We gave a Coffee Club voucher to every security guard and cleaner we saw, thanking them for keeping our suburb a nicer place to live.

We gave out gift cards to people doing their weekly shopping and surprised small children with helium balloons.

We gave a beautiful lady a voucher to buy food for her seeing eye dog and I was not prepared for her reaction “You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today” she said and hugged me tight for a very long time, I left her with tears streaming down my cheeks.

It warmed our hearts to watch our children explaining their gift to all these random people, they thoroughly enjoyed the day as well, we are all still buzzing.

Our motive was simple…

“God has blessed us so much in our life so we want to pass that on to others. You are special and appreciated and loved from above. May God bless you as much as He has us!”

There were other acts, I won’t explain them all, If you would like more ideas please visit this post. I just wanted to share that it was a truly wonderful day, one which I wasn’t planning on writing about, I just can’t shake the hope that someone else may join me in feeling this much love and joy! I hope you are inspired to try this for yourselves. You will never regret it! Please share your Random Acts stories with me in the comments section, I would love to hear of them.

Opening presents is nice and all, and indulging on food and drink and a good time is fun, but I tell you this, it doesn’t even come close to how wonderful it felt to engage lovingly with others, and to give, and to be thankful! God is So Good! Praise His Name!

30/07/2012

The Emotional Hangover**

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:40 am by The Water Bearer

I am coining this as an official title,

“Emotional Hangover”

I am beginning to see a pattern form, of getting an emotional hangover after a day of emotional battle, a day of raw exposed fear. The kind of inner battle when you can’t control a thought in your head or a word from your mouth. When you are so overwhelmed with the onslaught of emotions that your clarity of thought isn’t even in the same suburb as you! Tears are shed, hearts crumble under the painful attacks of fear and guilt, words are rambled and all capability is lost. Many psychological conditions bring on these bouts, such as Depression, Anxiety, Bi-Polar Disorder, Cyclic Mood Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc. The battle itself is difficult at best to get through, however I have noticed the next day or two I am exhausted and extremely sensitive. I feel like I’ve been through hell and back.

Every ‘Drinker’ knows a real ‘Hangover’, you may as well write-off the whole next day because you know you are going to be useless. Getting out of bed is like lifting a wreckage from the bottom of the sea, that first sip of warm Coffee or Tea gives you slight hope, which only fades as the cup drains. The second cup doesn’t hold the same potential as that first hopeful sip, regular responsibilities are unbearably weighty, if you can manage anything at all then you’re grateful.

Not too long ago, I suffered from this type of “Emotional Hangover”.

Getting out of bed caused an argument with myself, until I managed to drag myself off the mattress.

I snapped at my family members when I saw the rubbish overflowing onto the floor, spewing out of the bin which was well over capacity.

I cringed and growled out loud “ARGH!” when I saw the heavy rain fall onto my work uniforms as they hung neatly on the washing line.

I could barely hear my children speak to me through the thick fog of unfathomable thoughts, and each question they threw at me squeezed into my mind which was as full as the rubbish bin. When I tried to conjure a response, the pressure inside my mind became too much and only something regrettably negative burst from my mouth.

I stood in front of the pantry trying desperately to come up with a side dish I felt able to make with dinner, I slid down the cupboard door behind me until my backside hit the floor, looking up at the shelves of food begging something to cry out “I am easy to make, you can manage to make me”. Only to give up and go to bed for an hour or so.

My head was heavy, my heart was heavy, my body was heavy, my mind was mush under a heavy fog. I’ve felt this before, many times.

I was very grateful to read a fellow bloggers post Mental Fatigue. Which let me know I wasn’t alone, every word rang true as I read, my realisation sparked this post.

I began to remind myself that these battles haven’t been so common recently, that I have been much better for many years, even though I do still get hit randomly, though not as often, but still HARD. An overflow of the inner war I discussed in a previous post Why so Fragile? I know that my inner enemy is using fear to deter me from writing…again. This time bringing out the ‘Big Guns’ of my psychological disorder to dissuade me from exposing these tactics.

The details might be different for everyone, but my deep personal fear is similar to many. Fear of being unloved, fear of being rejected, fear of being worthless, fear of temptation, fear of failing, fear of suffering, fear of regret.

I pray more than ever in these times, I instinctively reach for the powerful words of my Bible. My faith will get me through, I know this. He is my strength when I am weak.

In a confident state of mind, and a trusting, loving connection with God, these fears are irrelevant. I know I am loved by my Heavenly Father, that He will never reject me, I know how valuable I am to Him, I know my sins are forgiven, I know I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me, that I can endure suffering and be better for it, and that my regrets are what improves me.

I Know this! I Know this! So why do we still get attacks of feeling this way, believing these lies, folding under the fear? Whether for days on end, or just for one day here and one day there?

Because in this fragile state, this knowledge is hidden behind the heavy fog.

I used to think I was alone in this until I began sharing my story, I have found there are many of you out there, many like me who battle these inner enemies at various times in your lives.

So why does God let all this happen to us who love Him, who trust in Him?

I believe He wants to make us avid opponents to His enemies, He wants to strengthen our abilities on the battlefield, this fragile state of mind forces us to stretch our faith and reach further for His hand, to bring Him into our circumstance. These difficult times remind me to be vigilant in wearing my Godly armor, and to keep me truly hungering and thirsting for His word. What about you? Do these types of battles diminish your faith in His protection, or do you understand that He uses all things to bring about His design and build our relationship with Him and our strength of faith?

I watched the film “The Vow” recently, it touched me so, and a part of the story fits in here. The husband tells his wife who is suffering from amnesia that He will make her feel the love they once shared, that it will be like reading her favourite book for the first time. She will get to experience the most amazing feeling in the world again, the feeling of “Falling in Love“.

I feel like that when this fog lifts and I am saved by my Loving Father in Heaven! I fall in love with Him over and over again. I feel the safety of trusting in Him return to my awareness, I marvel at His demonstrations of Love when my prayers are answered. I am humbled by my weakness and encouraged by His strength. I am uplifted and enlightened, yet mystified and amazed by His complex puzzle for life and growth.

It may seem confusing but He knows things we don’t, He sees around the corners of life which we have yet to view. He uses these times to refine us as one would remove the impurities of precious metals, heating up the rocks with the hottest of fires causing the imperfections to rise to the surface and be removed!

“I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’

Zech 13:9 (ESV)

What about you? Do you also struggle and battle with fears similar to mine?
Do these types of battles diminish your faith in His protection?
Or do you understand that He uses all things to bring about His design and build our relationship with Him and our strength of faith?

23/06/2012

Do you really like getting presents?*

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:21 pm by The Water Bearer

My Big Girl and I were having one of our ‘Deep & Meaningful” talks one night recently, as we often do. These are times I am so grateful for, as it seems so difficult to get teenagers to talk at the best of times, let alone with their parents. So here we were talking about life, faith, boys, future plans, past victories and sharing our thoughts about all kinds of important stuff. One thing she wanted to share, was how much she appreciates that she doesn’t equate ‘gifts’ with how much she is loved. She is happy with a balance of going without things, and appreciating what she has. However, people in her life are beginning to give her gifts as a gesture of affection. Many would perhaps enjoy being spoilt like this, but it actually causes her to feel uncomfortable and I can understand why.

I used to date a guy who bought me ‘gifts’ all the time, he would buy me gifts for no particular reason, and when a special occasion came along he would go overboard. I was a single Mum and counting every penny I had, obviously there was no way I could keep up with his level of gift giving. I gave him affection and attention, but not much in the way of material things. Unfortunately he didn’t know any better, it was how his parents showed him affection, they bought him stuff. They were quite wealthy and he wanted for nothing, yet he was not even close to feeling fulfilled or happy.

It is so common to try to buy things for our loved ones to make up for our shortcomings in regard to giving them attention or love. The act itself of buying a gift for someone could be interpreted as loving thing to do, to spend time thinking about the person you love and thinking of what will make them smile. However the person receiving these gifts only gets a short dose of warmth that easily fades over time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought to myself , ‘Yep, they must really love me, because I remember that present they bought me last month.’

Another element to consider when buying gifts is that the intention can often create feelings of anticipation. If the intention is simply to make someone smile then fine, you will probably get a smile in return for a gift. But what if the intention is to get love in return? What would they have to do to love you back? Do they owe you something now?

A gift is a gift, end of story. It is a gesture purely to acknowledge that thought was given to a person or situation. Thought alone, not love.

If we really want to show our love for others it needs to come in the form of something that cannot be forgotten or broken or lost. If we give our loved ones things like loyalty, compromise, acceptance, forgiveness, freedom, trust, support, encouragement, honesty, affection and attention, then they will know they are loved. We won’t need gifts to prove it.

These expectations of love and the now seemingly common practice of giving ‘gifts’ in exchange for love, has led to the excessive commercialisation we get shoved down our throats at every ‘special day’ imaginable. We just recover from Christmas and then it’s Valentine’s day, we take a breath after getting that out of the way and all of a sudden it’s Easter, with chocolate eggs through to lavish gift baskets displayed on (a ridiculous amount of) stands in every shop. Add to that all the birthdays of those we care for, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Baby showers, Christenings, Birth of New babies, Anniversaries, and before you know it, it is stinking Christmas again! I don’t know about you, but the thought of loving someone with gifts is both expensive and exhausting.

It seems obvious to me that our inner enemies are trying to convince us that giving gifts is necessary when it comes to showing love, by creating hoopla around every occasion we can come up with.

We need to ask our inner angels to take over and encourage us to begin truly loving people in ways that puts gift giving to shame. In fact I think this post should conclude with those true loving gestures lingering in our minds.

Lord, help this world to overlook gift giving as a gesture of love and help us show our loved ones  genuine love through AFFECTION – PATIENCE – LOYALTY – KINDNESS – COMPROMISE – SUPPORT – ATTENTION – FORGIVENESS – ACCEPTANCE – FREEDOM – ENCOURAGEMENT – HONESTY & TRUST! Amen!

05/06/2012

Less Tantrums, More Love!*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:55 am by The Water Bearer

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In my post Discipline + Trust = Love I promised I would follow on with the story of my adult tantrums and how a changed perspective helped me enjoy many benefits in my relationships.

In my early relationships I was a manipulative, critical, conceited, control freak; unable to identify love at all. I allowed my emotions to control my actions, and used them as excuses to blackmail the people I thought I loved.

I had grown up believing with all my heart that I knew love because I felt it so intensely.

After I learned a bit of Godly self-awareness, I came to realise that what I felt so intensely wasn’t love at all; it was desire, obsession, jealousy, fear, and a lack of self-worth. I had held onto the belief that I deserved ‘the best and should never settle for anything less, which gave me the sky as the limit for my expectations. Let’s just say that was a recipe for disaster!

How many of us grew up believing in movie love? As a child my favourite game was ‘grown-ups’. I would create the perfect imaginary life, perfect job, perfect husband, and perfect baby. I could have it all my own way and be completely happy. Of course reality hit like a brick!

Have you ever made a meal for someone special, rushed to make it extraordinary and watched the clock in anticipation of the perfect evening of dining and romance, only to watch it tick past the arranged time by over an hour? The first ten minutes were about as much as I could take before I began wavering back and too between anger and panic. By the time that special someone got a foot in the door I would be so worked up, I would be in his face demanding an explanation for his complete ignorance to my feelings!.…Am I alone in this?

It would usually go something like this….

“What time do you call this? Where were you? Can’t you read the time? Have your fingers fallen off so you can’t dial a @$#%ing number? Don’t worry about me! NO! I wasn’t just slaving away to make you a nice meal only to have it ruined, was I? I have been sitting here for over an hour, waiting for you, worried something may have happened to you! Obviously you weren’t even thinking of me! Am I wasting my time here? What else can I think except that you simply don’t give a @#$%! I deserve better than THIS! ARGH!”

I can’t believe I thought this reaction would bring about the response I desired from him …“Baby, I am so sorry that you felt that way, I love you so much, I will never do that to you again I promise!” Rush to me, hold me, kiss me and thank me for being so loving…End scene!

I am so grateful that I no longer believe that is love! Why would anyone rush home to that?!

The Bible describes love this way ‘Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things. (1 Cor 13:4-7 (BBE))

When my Dad first showed me that scripture in context, it was difficult for me to read and almost impossible to believe, but once I began to accept God’s design over my life and submitted to His ways, I saw how far from a loving person I was. The reality of my actions crushed me, it was as if all that I thought I knew was wrong! I cried out to God for the ability to understand love and to change.

Then came my first new perspective, I thought perhaps I should treat the man in my life as I do my friends, friends who I want to show love to, friends who I respect and treat well. A friends love is believed, because they are free to love me or not, rather than expected to. If a friend was late for dinner I would give them grace, so why not him?

I took some time to try and learn to depend on God for His love and fulfillment, and when I began dating my husband, I would do my best to greet him with a smile even when he was late and I prayed away the anger that rose in me, to stop my inner enemies exploding in his face when he didn’t meet my expectations.

A number of years ago someone asked me why I was ok with my husband going out whenever he wants, without getting upset and making him stay home more? His job was in a social environment and there was always something to do with people after work.

My reply to her was an epiphany that I have used as an anchor, to remind me of my true beliefs whenever I become too controlling in my relationship. I replied “I would rather he be home one night a year because he really wants to, than be home every night because I forced him to.” I gave myself low expectations and this helped me cope with any emotionally controlling behaviour. I would rather know that he wants to be with me more than he HAS to! I also began to trust that if God wanted him to be the man for me, then he would be! And if he wasn’t meant to be then I was never going to be able to change God’s reasons for that! I had to let go and let God have his way.

Having less or no expectations changes our perspective. Perspective is everything!

Here’s another little example of how a changed perspective brought me much joy. This recent Valentine’s Day, which we hardly ever celebrate, I wasn’t expecting anything, no gifts, no romantic date, nothing. I woke up to a tickle under my foot from the man I love, I opened my eyes to look into his and heard him say “Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetheart” After so many years together, to still be rubbing our feet together under the sheets was the most wonderful feeling in the world! To hear him call me ‘Sweetheart’, and let me know I was his Valentine was almost too much joy! (I have happy tears in my eyes as I recall it!)

I still have to work hard at being the best version of myself as possible, to try to show love through acceptance and grace, instead of demanding it with blackmail and complaining. I go through good runs and bad, (once a month is especially hard, around pregnancy was particularly hard, after my car accident was downright ridiculous!). However I continue to try, to be self-aware and try to look at things with a Godly perspective. I have noticed that it is much easier to be loving to those around me when I am in close unity with God, and much harder when I drift away from Him.

I praise and thank God every day that He gave me the opportunity to become aware of myself and my unloving actions, and that in His mercy He saw fit to help me make changes to be more genuinely loving. Amen!

If your inner enemies are preventing you from feeling, giving or understanding love, I recommend you too call out to God for a new, loving, perspective. It will bring about a change you never thought possible!

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