Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tell Your Heart To Beat Again (Lyrics) By: Danny Gokey

"I feel like I am shattered."  That is what I said in a therapists office just about 2 years ago.  It was probably a good description too.  I felt like I was no longer a person, but a pile of shards on the ground with no hope of those tiny slivers ever coming back together.  Basically I had given up on myself as hopeless.  Thankfully I was wrong and there was hope and healing in my future.

Those slivers all did fit back together, but I was not the one who could put them back together.  My two different therapists I was seeing could not put them back together. though they both have helped me tremendously along the way.  I had to surrender to the one who could put me back together and shape me into his plan, his design.  Since I viewed myself as not worth it and as a hopeless cause I had quit doing that a long time ago.

I had significant trauma, several things that happened that were traumatic that happened close together and then sustained over a long period of time.  It had truly shattered me.  I thought the person I used to be was gone forever.  Well that part is true.  I will never be the person I used to be. The truth is the things that happened to me have changed me, but the reconstruction the Lord has done has made me better than I was before.  I experienced the healing power of Christ and that changes a person for the better.

I had to tell myself to live again and to fall straight into the arms of Jesus.  Guess what I found out? His grace was big enough to hold me, to heal me, to restore me.  I found wholeness once again.

I remember being stuck where I was and too many people quoting me the passage, "Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead..."  That was not possible for me and I just did not understand why.  I wanted to forget and move forward, but I couldn't.  The reason alluded me then, but now I understand it was because I needed to heal.  Once I started healing I started being able to move forward again.  I could say good bye to yesterday.  Only I could not heal myself.  The Lord is the only one who can heal wounds like that.  He truly is my lifeline in greater ways than ever before.  My view of grace was not big enough and only surrendering to HIS GRACE would I find it was big enough to heal me.  He worked it out for my good, my betterment.

I share this to remind you that whatever pain you are carrying that HIS GRACE is big enough to handle it.  Jesus took stripes so we could be healed.  Those stripes were not only for physical healing, but emotional healing too.  He died on the cross for our spiritual healing.  So surrender to the Lord whatever pain you have.  He will transform it and work it for your good.  He promises in his word.    

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quieting My Heart

There was a time when I was so contricted inside that could not allow the Lord's healing power or anything else positive into my life.  There were reasons for this.  I had been wounded, disoriented, and reached out for help.  Reaching out was the right thing to do, but the responses I got were just wrong. I know I have blogged about a few of those responses previously.  Anyway, I was further hurt after asking for help.  Eventually I stopped asking for help and lost myself and felt abandoned by the Lord so internally I curled up into this protective ball.  The problem is that while that protective ball kept the hurt out, it also kept the healing power of Christ out as well.  Jesus is a gentleman and does not force himself into somewhere that is so barricaded.

At one time I had not been so closed off to the world around me.  I had been open to the Lord and to others, but that was not the case anymore.  Relearning how to open back up has not always been an easy task.  In the process of relearning I have developed a morning routine for my devotion time that helped me open up to Him and surrender all the pain and yucky stuff inside of me.  He took it and put healing in place of all that yuck.  A part of that process has been to develop habits that have helped me along the way. One of the things I had to teach myself how to do was to be still, quiet my heart, and be open with the Lord.  I discovered that if I learned to relax my body that my heart and soul relaxed too.  Eventually I was able to come to the Lord in a way where we were able to commune back and forth.  I found the intimacy I once had in my relationship with Christ and I had missed that for so long.  Here is what I do every morning to start my day:

1.  I do a relaxation exercise.  This helps me to be still before the Lord and to quiet my heart.  The relaxation exercise that I do is imagine my body as a bottle.  Water slowly flows trickling in until I am full from the tip of my head to the souls of my feet.  Then once I am full I imagine the water slowly draining out of my body.  This leaves me relaxed.  I had been so guarded and this helps me relax in His presence.

2.  I meditate.  Meditation has gotten a bad rap in the Christian community because it is often used in the Hindu and Buddhist religions.  There are some forms of meditation that I am not a fan of, such as clear your mind and let anything that wants to enter come in or transcendental meditation .  The type of meditation I am referring to is meditating on Scripture.  I keep lists of verses to use for meditation in a three ring binder.  I spend 5-10 minutes focusing on a verse.  Last year I meditated on one verse per day and worked my way through a list of verses about who I am in Christ.  There are many lists of God's promises and often times I will incorporate those versed into my meditation binder.  The key for me is that IT MUST BE SCRIPTURE.  It can not be a poem or some other quote from a Christian.  I don't want to become like any particular poet or other Christian. I don't particularly care what a poet or other Christian person thinks of me or what they think I should do-- there are plenty out there who are more than willing to give their opinion with or without your asking.  I do want to be like Christ.  I want to do what God says I should do and I care what He thinks of me.  Meditation on Scripture helps me in this when done in addition to studying and reading Scripture.  Meditating on Scripture alone would not be enough Bible for good, healthy Christian living, therefore, reading and studying the Bible also need to be a regular part of the healthy Christian Life.  When I meditate I close my eyes and repeat the verse over and over and over.  My own personal experience is that the Holy Spirit will illuminate things that need to be illuminated and drive them deeper into the core of who I am.  Then the Lord uses it to transform me.

3.  I read Scripture  Then I read 1-3 chapters in the Bible.  Currently I am reading the last week of Jesus life from all four gospels.  Sometimes I have a topic that I have looked up and read the chapters around it to get those concepts in context.  Other times I pick a book of the Bible to read.  The important thing is to read God's word.

4.  I pray.  I tend to follow a structure with the flexibility for the Holy Spirit to lead me differently when it is right.  The structure I follow is ACTS:

  • Adoration-- I take time to just adore my Lord
  • Confession-- This is the time to confess my sins, my struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings.
  • Thanksgiving-- During this time I just spend time thanking the Lord for all he has done.
  • Supplication--  This is a time to lift personal, family, friends, political affairs, things from your church prayer list, etc.
This typically gets me off to a good start in the morning and fills me up.  There are other times when I study Scripture and I tend to memorize Scripture with my children as they work on AWANA.  The Lord has used these habits to help me recover from some unresolved trauma this past year and to continue on to find healing and wholeness that I had been missing for quite awhile.

What are your devotions like?  How do you quiet your heart before the Lord?  How do you stay in the Word?

Monday, April 4, 2016


I will be the first to admit that I did not take good care of myself after my children were born.  My husband was having debilitating seizures at the time.  I have shared on here before how brain surgery cured his epilepsy eight years ago.  Our sons have some special needs and I was working in a demanding career until 4 years ago.  So I put on weight, health problems have run rampant for me.  I am on insulin and oral medications for blood sugar control and still control has been just out of reach. My mental health deteriorated and the quality of life for me just went down hill.  I was so focused on everyone else I did not consider myself.  The thoughts even got to the point where I thought I deserved all the bad things happening to myself due to this lack of care.  Then misquotes of scripture only added to this.  During times when I would try to care about myself I would find myself remembering all the quotes about selfishness and then the misapplications that often come along with it.  The problem was not other people, but the fact that I bought the lie that to take care of myself was selfish.  Now, however, I believe the opposite.  If I do not take care of my body then am I not doing everything to fulfill the great commission?  I have hindered my own ability to serve by not tending to my health.  Since my mission in life here on this earth is "to reach as many for Christ as I can and to raise children who can reach more with the Gospel than I could."  Then this lack of care for myself does not match my purpose in life.  So I need to change this.
Is caring for myself in this way Biblical?  Yes!  Ephesians 5:30 refers to feeding and caring for the body.  In 1 Thessalonians 4:4 it says we need to learn to control our bodies in ways that are holy and honorable.  Now I am aware in 1 Thessalonians 4 it is a passage specifically about sexual immorality. However, I truly believe we need to try to live holy and honorable lives in all ways possible.  This would include caring for our health to have healthy bodies.  Then 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

Do you not know that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies. 
I do not belong to myself.  My life belongs to Christ who paid a high price for me.  So I am sinning when I do not take care of myself.  This sin has been confessed to my loving, forgiving, heavenly Father whom is showing me how to get myself on track and bringing others into my life who are helping me.  Our family had started some unhealthy habits as well.  We are working to change that together.  So far everyone is benefiting.

I do want to add that we need balance in this area of physical fitness.  There are some who become so focused on physical fitness that it can become a god in and of itself.  I want to guard against that for myself and my family.  Scripture backs this up:
Have nothing to do with myths and old wives tales; rather train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things,holding promise for the present life and the life to come.  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.  1Timothy 4:7-9.
So I want to gain the value that physical fitness has, but not lose sight of my main life objectives to love and serve my precious savior, to make disciples, and to reach as many with the life changing love of Christ as possible.

I have a Beachbody Coach who helped me pick a workout that would be good for someone as out of shape and overweight as myself.  Also for accountability.  My husband is physically active through his work and my sons are physically active throughout their busy lives.  My coach and I talked together and decided that the workout portion of our family life change was for me.  Since I garden and can which is good exercise, but I don't do some of the other things the others do.  My exercise is just not as comprehensive as theirs.  My coach recommended the PiYo program for me to start.    

I also want to post my results for a couple of reasons:  1.  More accountability  2.  Maybe it might encourage someone else trying to make this kind of change.  So here goes.  Today was the first day and I did the Alignment section of the workout which shows how to do the moves in the program and works on proper alignment of posture.  I also weighed myself and took measurements.  This part was very discouraging for me, but I hope that as I work through the program that this part becomes much more encouraging.

My weight as of today is 240 pounds

My measurements are as follows:

Right arm: 15.5 inches
Left arm: 15 inches
Bust: 46 inches
Waist:  44 inches
Hips 56 inches
Right thigh: 29 inches
Left thigh 28 inches.

I hope to see those numbers gradually improve as our family works toward good nutrition and I workout.

In case you are looking for a place to begin your fitness journey check out what Beachbody has to offer.  https://www.beachbody.com/

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Back In The Saddle Again


I started this blog several years ago with a vision and purpose in mind.  I spoke with my husband and I had his blessing to blog.  However, as I gained momentum and was getting going we encountered a couple of problems.  First of all our household needed to heal because we were very broken.  We are still a work in progress, but we have healed a lot over the last couple of years.  Second of all there was someone outside our household who was offended because of my blogging.  The things that offended her were that I pray for members of my household when I fold their laundry and that I burn a candle in my kitchen to remind me that my strength comes from the Lord.  She was not just offended she apparently hounded my husband to the point of disruption in our home.  He for some reason at that time believed that this person had to approve of what decisions we chose to make in our household.   So I dropped my building momentum and blogged just barely enough to not stop existing.  I had prayed before blogging and I knew the Lord had asked me to have this blog.  I also believed he was telling me that it was still something he wanted me to do.  However, I was not going to do something that disrupted my family so much.  So I prayed and the Lord seemed to speak to my heart to back off for a while.

Now things are different.  Our family has gone through a lot of rearranging and healing.  My husband and I have come to a place where the same people who used to have the ability to cause so much disruption in our household no longer have that ability.  Now if this same woman becomes so offended by something so ridiculous then my husband and I could ignore her.  We can also tell her she is out of line so back off.  The ones who has authority to make decisions in this household are Vic and I alone.  No one from the outside has the right to interfere in this way.  Now my husband and I can unite to say "If you don't like that Charity blogged about praying for members of our household while folding laundry then don't read it."  I want people to read my blog and my readers do not even have to agree with me on everything that I say.  I expect to hear some differences and discussions in the comments, but to give those comments in a respectful way.  The issue was the disruption caused to my immediate family so please feel free as you read to respectfully comment both agreement and disagreement.  I will delete those comments that are disrespectful, but I encourage discussion.

I know the timing is different because my husband brought up this blog and asked me to blog again. He and I discussed how to handle attempts at disruption.  We are prepared for it.  Our PC had died a while back and he even used a portion of our tax refund to purchase a laptop specifically for me to use for blogging.  Caleb is also learning report writing so he will be using it as well.  I have discovered as I have been considering what to say as I get back to blogging that my vision has grown and I am at a place of wholeness that I had once thought would never happen for me again.  I am more confident then ever.  The Lord had been in the starting and the stopping and now appears to be in the restarting.  I am excited as I see what is going to unfold next.  By the way I still pray while folding laundry and still burn a candle in my kitchen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life Is Messy


No this is not my kitchen     

  I guess you could say I am coming out of hiding.  I can not tell you how many blog posts I have written in my head, but they were never written.  See, I was waiting.  Waiting for life to be ordered, together, and reach some magical place where there were no problems.  Guess what?  Life is not like that.  After much consideration, a rough summer, a year of therapy for myself, and some vulnerable conversations with a friend from college I have come to realize that my life is never going to reach the place where it is all ordered or together and as far as some magical place where there are no problems well it simply does not exist.  As far as this blog I started it because I believe the Lord led me to and at one time I got started blogging consistently and then I let one person's hurtful words discourage me then stopped being consistent.  That is kinda silly you know I mean not everyone is going to like me, my priorities, my lifestyle, my choices.  Some might not even like me or my personality.  That is okay even if some of those who feel that way are in close proximity.  Not every one will like me and I accepted that a long time ago.  I have felt this pressure to somehow change to not be considered unacceptable by this person in close proximity.  I have struggled to figure out how to be acceptable to her and still be true to who God made me to be and what he asks me to do in my life.  I cannot do both of these. You know what it is not my job to change what I do or even to worry about whether or not someone else will be pleased with what I do.  The problem is not mine it is theirs.  I had been asking the Lord where this person was supposed to fit in my life.  As I have prayed and struggled with this the Lord led me to Hebrews 12:1-3. 
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.
He led me to this passage and the Holy Spirit clearly told me that I needed to quit worrying about where this person fit.  I was then convicted that I had let this concern become so great that I took my eyes off of Jesus to figure out this problem.  The Lord clearly told me that morning to let this problem go to HIM and HE would take care of it.  My job is to fix my eyes on Jesus and run the race HE is marking out for me.  So I am.  I found peace that had been missing for quite sometime.  It is like I can breathe again.  

One of the things the Lord is showing me is that I need to be vulnerable-- he is even asking me to do it on line.  Yikes!  That is scary.  However, if I keep my eyes on Jesus then someone's negative, disapproving, or cruel words become his problem and not mine. So here I am on line obeying the Lord's command to me to be vulnerable in front of the entire world wide web.

This summer season started very rocky for us.  Our youngest son has sensory issues and we have known that for quite some time now.  He has been in therapy for a couple of years actually.  He was having a difficult time and had been melting down several times an hour for a long time even biting, kicking, hitting and nothing seemed to work as far as correcting or helping him.  I was at my wits end and it was so bad I needed a break, but there was no way I could ask someone to watch him when he was like that.  It all came to a head Memorial Day Weekend.  He became increasingly violent to the point of crisis.  Our household was not safe.  So I took him and had him admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital.  One of the most difficult things I have ever done was drive away and leave him there.  He stayed 8 days.  The nearest hospital I could take him to was about an hour and 15 minute drive away and so I spent a lot of time on the road driving back and forth to visit every time there were visiting hours.  The psychiatrist diagnosed him with autism.  This was something I had suspected, but had been choosing to live in denial about.  Denial is over now.  He is doing well now and is back to the sweet boy he used to be.

I was very fortunate that I  have a friend who lives in the city that this hospital is located.  Actually I went to college with her and her husband.  They let me stay at their house whenever I needed to during this mess.  My friend (we will call her Misty) let me sleep a lot and that is what I did.  However, Misty and I did have some really good conversations.  We talked about how it seems like the church is scared of vulnerability when it comes to issues pertaining to mental health.  She and I both talked about how the church has not been a safe place to admit mental illness struggles.  Often times they are considered sin or a lack of faith or some simplistic answer that does not fit the problem, sometimes even considered demonic.  I know that personally I have been given some of these answers (not the demonic one) as I struggle with depression.  Some of the things I have been told-- you need to figure out what sin you have in your life that caused this or if you trusted the Lord enough you would not have this problem or if you would just praise the Lord enough he would lift you right out of that depression.  I am not saying that sin does not cause depression sometimes, it does.  Nor am I going to say the trusting the Lord can help when dealing with depression because it most certainly can.  Neither am I saying that praising the Lord can not lift someone out of depressive episodes.  It can and does many times.

My point is that church needs to be a safe place to be vulnerable.  It needs to be a safe place to admit any and all pain.  In my experience often times it is not.  Some churches do a wonderful job and the Lord blessed me with the church we are currently in as I was able to be open and honest with this struggle.  The decision to begin taking antidepressants was encouraged when I realized I needed to make this important step.  The problem is that in most places of worship that I have been to it would not have been safe to admit struggles of this nature.  Misty has had some different, but similar struggles.  In 2 Corinthians chapter 1 we are told to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from the Lord.  We can not do that if we are not vulnerable with each other.

Jesus is a safe place to be vulnerable.  He is the ultimate example of compassion, mercy, and agent of healing.  The Christian life calls us to be more life Jesus.  Therefore, we need to strive to be like HIM.  

My challenge to you is to make your home and family a safe place for vulnerability.  Then as you walk this out in your home it will make an impact outside your home.  My life is messy, how about yours?

Run the race!
Don't get weary and lose heart.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Found My Shield

When I was young in my faith I learned something that was particularly helpful for me and I believe is one of the keys to spiritual and mental health-- having a shield.  In Ephesians chapter 6 talks about putting on the full armor of God.  As I was reading through the this passage one day during years at Greenville College Ephesians 6:16 jumped off the page at me.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16 NIV
At that time I really needed to know how to deal with some hurtful messages that were being given to me.  I was an upper classman and a friend of mine who was a brand new Christian was being given some teaching that was unBiblical.  So I shared Scripture with my friend.  He stopped being under the teaching of this false teacher.  This other student teaching these unBiblical teachings of course did not take well to my sharing the truth with my friend and that student lashed out some pretty hurtful accusations at me.  We all have fragile parts in us and the insults were hitting those fragile insecure places inside of me. I did not know how to handle it so I spent time in prayer and study of The Word of God.  The Lord showed me that those insults were not HIS intention for me and the Lord did not want them to enter my heart.  The Lord showed me that I needed to take a hold of the shield of faith and that this shield is there to keep those flaming arrows from wounding my heart.

That shield served and protected me well for many years.  I found hope, healing, and strength as I continued to walk with the Lord and grow in His love and grace.  Then over a decade after that incident in college I found myself in a situation where I became wounded.  I fell down and when I got up my shield was gone. Every time I got up it seemed that flaming arrows were being hurled at me and knocking me down again.  I was confused, disoriented, and could not find my shield.  After a while I stopped looking for my shield.  I hated my miserable existence without my shield.

Then about a month ago I was praying just pouring out the pain, disappointment, confusion, and heartache to the Lord.  It was at that point the Lord said to me, "Charity, you lost your shield."  I then said, "Yes, I did Lord.  I can not find it."  The Lord then said, "I have it.  Do you want it?"  I said that I did and HE gave me my shield back.

At that point I took the shield, got behind it, and am now resting on God's shoulder while he heals me and restores wholeness.  I know the shield is working too because I have had flaming arrows of judgement, gossip, nonacceptance, unkind messages verbal and non verbal, and others shot at me.  None of the arrows were able to wound me because the shield the Lord designed specially for me took and extinguished them before they got to my heart and soul.  Life behind the shield is one of peace and well being all of which is being restored to me as I stay behind the shield.  I hope to never lose my shield again.

Life behind the shield is so much better as I run the race marked out for me as Hebrews 12:1 talks about. My race looks different from the race of someone else as the Lord designed us each to be unique with different gifting, abilities, and callings.  I will talk about how each of us is called to run our own race in another post one of these days, but for now we need to remember to get behind the shield of faith so we can grow, heal, and run the race.

When You Are A Soldier
by Stephen Curtis Chapman

When you are a soldier I will be your shield
I will go with you into the battlefield
And when the arrows start to fly
Take my hand and hold on tight
I will be your shield, 'cause I know how it feels
When you are a soldier

When your tired from running 
I will cheer you on
Look beside you and you'll see you're not alone
And when your strength is all but gone
I'll carry you until your strong
I will be your shield 'cause I know how it feels
When you're a soldier

I will be the one you can cry your songs to
My eyes will share your tears
And I'll be your friend if you win
Or if you're defeated
Whenever you need me I will be here

When you're lost in darkness I will hold the light
I will help you find your way through the night
I'll remind you of the truth
And keep the flame alive in you
And I will be your shield
'Cause I know how it feels
When you are a soldier  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marriage in difficult times (part 2)

In part 1 of this post I shared with you some of my journey during the time when my husband had debilitating seizures.  I still can not thank the Lord enough for using brain surgery as a tool to heal him.  I shared how this was hard on me as a wife and about the day I almost left my husband.  Then I shared 2 ways to support the wife of a disabled husband.  The first is to not judge her.  The second is to offer her a listening ear.  Today I will share three more ways to be supportive.

The third way I eluded to in the first suggestion and that is to offer practical support.  We attended a couple of different churches during this time and experienced differing levels of support.  I remember when my water broke when Simeon was born.  I called around to various church members asking for help and no one would help me.  Or toward the beginning of our seizure journey being told that I was responsible for my husband's seizures because of some sin I had committed by one of the elders of the church.  Then I remember toward the very end of that season we were at an extremely supportive church.  While attending there I remember a day while I was at work Vic called to tell me they had run out of milk.  He could not drive and I was going to leave job number 1 that day (Friday) and would be at job number 2 for the weekend (Sunday).  I worked all day and overnights.  Vic could not drive so that meant my family would not have milk for 3 days.  So I called the church.  A church member brought my family milk.  Then when we moved 4 days after Vic's brain surgery 10 church members came to help me and our family from out of town that was there helping me.

The wife to a disabled man needs practical support and help.  She really needs the Body of Christ to be hands and feet.  She will likely need this for the long haul.  Think about the support often extended to a woman who has had a baby.  I know at the churches I have attended there is a schedule to bring meals for the family.  That is helpful.  Offering the wife of a disabled husband a meal would be a great support.  Here are some other practical suggestions:
-- help her by offering to help clean
-- help her by offering  to run errands
-- help her by offering to watch the kids so she can have a break
-- help her by offering to mow her yard or help with yard work
-- help her by offering to shovel snow in the winter
This list could go on so ask her if there is any practical ways you can help.

This is the second part to the post I believe the Lord is asking me to repost.

I would say the most important way to be supportive to the wife of a disabled man is to pray for her and with her.  Prayer is the key to everything.  The Lord is ultimately the one who will strengthen and sustain this woman so pray for her.  Prayer I am convinced is what brought us to the right doors for my husband's surgery and ultimate healing.  There is not a lot to elaborate on for this point remember to pray for this family.  Remember that prayer changes things.

The final way to support this woman is going to sound like a contradiction--Determine your boundaries and what you are not going to be able to do for this woman.  I mentioned that this would sound like a contradiction, but it truly is not.  Remember her situation could go on for years or indefinitely.  Therefore, she is going to need support for a long time.  She is also going to have times of feeling total desperation and she might lose sight of reasonable requests-- not because she is trying to become dependent on you, but because she has become so worn out.  This is only human nature.  So set some boundaries and stick with them lovingly of course.  Otherwise you run the risk of letting her family take too much of yours and that is not good for you or for her.  Think about the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  What would have happened if the injured man had begged the Samaritan to stay and then the Samaritan had stayed instead of going about his tasks at work.  The consequences could have been great.  He could have lost his clients or his job.  Then he would have put himself, his family, and this injured man in jeopardy.  Rightfully he had some boundaries and was able to help the injured man as a result.  So be supportive of this woman, but have determined your boundaries and enforce them.

The Bible tells us to love and support each other and to live in community.  So remember to do this for those around you and especially in your church body.