Author Archives: A Pilgrim on the Journey

About A Pilgrim on the Journey

Born a twin to missionary parents in Ethiopia, I have lived in 3 countries, 2 provinces, 3 states, and visited 8 other countries in my travels. I have worked in a home for girls fo 7 years, taught for 21 years, 3rd grade through college courses and continue to walk with the Lord one day at a time. My life's goal has simply been to make a difference in the lives of every person with whom I have any interaction, for the Glory of God.

Abuse: Finding Hope One Day at a time. Part 1

You may have clicked on this link almost out of desperation and part of you may be furtively looking around to make sure nobody else sees that you’re looking at this particular subject right now because if they see that you’re reading it, then they might know that you have a painful place in your soul that you have never talked about..

Or maybe this happened to you?

The question was innocent enough…

“Let’s go around the table and share a childhood memory.”

The person who was asking it had no idea what incredibly profound panic that question evoked in one of the ladies sitting at that table. I knew because I had felt that panic once myself as I stood in a bookstore looking at a fantastic book, Mount up on Wounded Wings by a victor who was a trophy to God’s grace despite her past, Beneth Peters Jones.  I knew it would help me, but I was afraid to pick it up off the shelf for fear someone would see me and ask me why I was looking at “that” book and I could not answer them at that point if they did. It was too deep!…. too painful!!.

This dear friend sitting across the table from me processing that question, had just started telling me her story that week. I knew, from the look of terror that instantly filled her eyes, even though outwardly she looked fine, and her demeanor, that had become very stiff and carefully controlled. She had been transported to a dark place by that question and she needed time to think of an answer that would not cause shock in the room. I immediately jumped in with one of my fun childhood stories so that she would have the time it would take for every other person sharing all the way around the table before she had to say anything. Her childhood had been NOT been safe or ideal, unlike every other person sitting there. She had experienced terrible things at the hands of family members who should have been her protectors, but instead was her abusers. How could she say anything to this crowd who just would not understand or have any idea?

We had sat in her house the week before when she talked about certain times of day and certain things people did that caused a problem because they reminded her of the things she had experienced as a child. And she asked me how to look at these things from a Biblical perspective. What did God say about what she had experienced and how could she move forward?

 Building trust

How to did she come to trust me with the story first?

She had heard some of my story, and knew I had worked in a home for girls like her for 7 years.

Trust must be earned! Note that of the 134 verses in God’s Word with the word “trust”, we are never once commanded to trust another person. We are however, commanded and encouraged often to trust God. Many examples show how we need to be very careful who we trust. Look up 2 Kings 18: 20-24 for one example.

We are told repeatedly to trust God.  2 Sam 22:31, Job 13:15; Ps 4:5; Ps 9:10 Is 26:3-4,  are a few of the examples. Take the time to look these up. They will encourage your heart. Even if you have no Bible PLEASE go to Bible Gateway.com and look them up. For the sake of space here we have not fully listed each verse. The value of reading those life giving words of Scripture FAR exceeds anything else you read in this article!

We can learn to trust others to a certain extent who demonstrate the characteristics and approach we will discuss here.

A helpful analogy is to remember that we are dealing with a trauma patient coming in from an accident scene. We must make an initial assessment of the overall damage. Then we have to approach this with taking on the most pressing immediate spiritually and emotionally life-threatening pain and trauma before we can work on long term rehabilitation and reclaim lost ground with healing truth. We Must not try to put a bandaid on a crater of a wound.  So where to start?

Initial assessment:

Listening in silence first. Job 2:12-13,

Pro 18:13  If one answers a matter before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.

Pro 15:28  The heart of the righteous studies to answer,

Pro 20:5  Wisdom in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

I had sat in careful silence as she talked to me, because this was not something that could be answered glibly. I did not say much and asked her for time to think about it over the coming days. All I could do in that moment was simply listen with the desire to understand.  At home later I prayed and asked God to show me from His word some answers.

Speaking truth that offers biblical comfort and hope!

Pro 15:1-4, 7  A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but crookedness in it is a break in the spirit. The lips of the righteous send forth knowledge…” NASB

The main thing I learned when helping those girls, in the group home where I worked, who had been abused and neglected, was that the only REAL HOPE that could make a lasting difference was the Word of God. So we make it our highest priority that our counsel is absolutely biblically sound.  The ultimate end is that your heart is drawn into deeper richer relationship with the true lover of your Soul Jesus Christ who suffered immeasurably on the cross so that we might be saved from our sin! He understands our pain!

Heb 4:14-16  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NKJV)

No other answers that you can give to this kind of raw agony will heal like the solid Word of God carefully given. We have to be very careful about how we use Bible Bricks. The Bible is foundational and can grow a solid structure of hope and truth in your heart when the bricks are laid where they belong at the right time and in the right way. Major caution and care is needed so that verses are not thrown out to try to fix without understanding or they will hit with the force of a brick and cause damage and confusion as to how God offers comfort and healing rather than help. With this in mind, we approach help this way.

 

 

 

What is Character Education?

This question was asked on a private education page where I post regularly, I took the time to develop an answer.
The systematic training and development of children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Eph 6:4
It is the outworking of Deuteronomy 6.
Specifically these verses “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:4‭-‬7 NASB

It is good to read the entire passage to see the reasoning behind why we would do the teaching, guiding and nurturing we do on a daily basis with children.

Keep in mind, if children are young and have not been saved yet, we are not separating character training from the gospel but reminding them that these are things God will develop in them if they believe in Jesus as their Savior. We discuss the basics of the gospel- I Cor 15:3-4, our sin, our need of a Savior, that Jesus, as God, lived a perfect life and died for us and rose again to show He had power over sin and death, and how we can respond in trust. We want to see them walk in obedience to us as parents and be kind to others on the outside, but more than that we want them to put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ.
Once they have trusted Jesus we can continue to encourage the development of the things listed below.

Biblical Character Education involves teaching them many things. For a good resource, I recommend Kim Sorgius has developed kids bible studies that aid this learning that you can access here: about the fruit of the spirit and how they can demonstrate those in their lives from Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

In order to walk in the spirit that means it also involves teaching them about spiritual gifts and how they can exercise their spiritual gifts in the body of Christ.
See Roms 12, 1 Cor 12,

But more than just teaching it also involves a systematic daily intentional focus on developing these characteristics of godliness in their lives.

Suggestion: Have a character trait of the week that you incorporate into everything that you teach.
For instance if “gentleness.” Read a verse every day that had to do with gentleness.
Talk about how that could be demonstrated in daily life and then as things came up throughout the week practice the exercise of gentleness or talk about how to exercise gentleness.
For example, if another child was struggling with something rather than making fun of them or mocking them, we would come alongside and ask how we could help and be kind.

A great deal more could be said but the most important part of this is the intentional systematic development of Godly the character. Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

Another list that needs to be added to this is in II Peter 1.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.  Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.  I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind. 2 Peter 1:2‭-‬15 NASB.

That is a good starting place for thinking about Biblical Character education. I welcome your comments and feedback.

 

Is My Child Ok? How Can I know?

This introduction to a new series I am creating for parents on teaching children who are outside the box. It covers the 5 essentials parents need to consider when determining what areas can hinder or enhance success related to their abilities.. to access the free video click on this link below

.https://wispy-firefly-4775.ck.page/f18caedeea

What a Teacher Regrets!

This video is an introduction to what I will develop on this Christian Special Education page.

What you will learn

What is the most important thing about working with children with or without special needs? And, why should you care?

In episode 1 of The Ruth Meed Christian Special Education show, I reveal why every individual who serves children or adults, with or without obvious special needs must pay attention to the Biblical model of special education or possibly miss important things that mean the difference between making a positive impact or being a source of unnecessary pain for the person with disabilities.

Find out about:

• What a teacher learned who had taught for 20 years.

• The 6 ways the Bible tells us people learn and demonstrate their learning. VAKT DW

• Why you should take a second look at how Jesus taught to become a better teacher.

This video is an introduction to what I will develop on my Christian Special Education page. The point of the page is to develop a series of courses to offer practical help with teaching or parenting youngsters with disabilities. It is not intended to be all-encompassing as there are many resources out there. It is initially designed to link the biblical ideas with practical tools for the parent and educator. As time goes on other things will be added as I develop a better understanding of what you need to hear more about related to education especially special education, from a biblical perspective.

My public FB education page is here: https://www.facebook.com/Meeditationseducation/

The link to the private FB group is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/473518573288672/

There are  3 simple questions to screen folks who come into that page to limit scammers etc.

By the way. You have to come back and watch more videos in the series to find out about the Bell:)

David and Goliath…some thots.

David and Goliath 1 Samuel 17
We have to start with David before Goliath, then we understand David after Goliath.

David before Goliath

He was the least in his father’s house. He tended sheep.
He was busy doing that, when God called him and set him apart through Samuel. David learned a lot about handling people because he spent so much time with those sheep.
He also spent time playing a musical instrument enough that people who heard him play recognized his ability, and when the time was right, told Saul about him. It makes me wonder if David ever minimized what he was doing with those sheep, playing that music to them, and no other audience for so long.
Then the times he had some victories… he killed the lion and he killed a bear. We don’t know anything about that until later. In all the time he is playing for Saul, before Goliath, David never speaks about those victories, until he needed to use them as an illustration of God showing him what to do in the face of danger and adversity. What does this tell us about David’s character? He was not too proud to do menial tasks with consistency. He took even the task of being a shepherd very seriously, to the point that he was willing to risk his own life to guard his sheep.
When David was asked to go and play for King Saul,
he didn’t hesitate,
he didn’t excuse himself,
he didn’t say he was less than…. whatever…
he just went and did it.
It was the next thing to do.
Then the Bible says he went back to what he was doing, but also became an itinerant… traveling to minister to Saul when needed and going back home and tending his father’s flocks the rest of the time. He was divided between two places.
Whenever he was summoned, he did as he was bidden, quickly and efficiently while still making sure his flocks were taken care of at home.
When he got to the battle, even there, he methodically left his stuff with somebody to take care of while he went out to greet his brothers.
Even in the excitement of battle he was careful, methodical. Those habits had to have been built in before now.
He used his relational skills and went out to greet his brothers and talk with them. Knowing who he is from reading his Psalms, I am sure he was simply finding ways to encourage them.

David meets Goliath.

Then Goliath comes strutting his stuff. It says all Israel was fleeing and Afraid…
including his brothers.
David has a whole different assessment of the situation than they do.. Instantly.
It’s like what I’ve read often in Maxwell’s books “leaders see more and they see before other people.”
All the others could see was a big bad man who could defeat them.
David saw a big bad man who was nothing in the eyes of God and must be defeated because he was mocking God!
The men of Israel said. “Look at that guy!! He’s scary! He’s big!! He’s bad!!
But boy if you can kill him you’ll get riches and honor and all those kinds of wonderful things.
David, however, saw it differently. He asks, “What will be done for the man who takes away the dishonor of Israel?” His Focus was more on honor and righteousness than it was the man or on riches.
It is interesting how quickly his brother Eliab gets angry. Fear genders anger.
The individual, as a member of his family, who should have been supporting David, was the first person who attacked him.
David answered righteously, “What have I now done? Is there not a Cause?” Accusations harden the will, questions prick the conscience!
After he has to deal with that attack from family, he asked the others the same question and they all answered in fear. No one stood with David at this point. But some of them were brave enough to go and tell Saul what he was saying.
They recognized a leader and they put him before the king who could use him.
Saul sends for him.
David says he’ll take on the task.
Saul points out all the negatives.
David is not dissuaded. Instead, He remembers All the Way God has led him thus far and draws on it. At this point, David does speak up and mention other things that he was able to do in the strength of the Lord: killing The Lion and the Bear.
He knew he had taken on other challenges and God had given him the grace to overcome. He used these examples to show Saul that he knew he had an advantage. David focused on the victories in his life, not the defeats. David did not allow the fact that he was the youngest in his family and devalued by his brothers to prevent him from doing what God had called him to do. He simply focused on the task at hand and did it to the best of his ability.
 When Saul agrees, David initially submits to Saul’s suggestion to try to use his armor. But then David clearly demonstrates that using that armor is not going to work, and steps out and does things the way he knows it will work for him.
Saul, a man in a powerful leadership position over him, gave David a suggestion that was not good and David had the courage to simply say “I can’t do this, because it’s not the way I have learned how to do things. I won’t be effective doing it your way.”
To Saul’s credit, he let David do things the way he knew how to do them. He had the foresight to recognize he had a competent man standing in front of him!
David had the confidence to say, “I appreciate your suggestion, but I have to do it the way I know I can.”
He picks up his slingshot. He picks five smooth stones. He was exhibiting some interesting foresight at that point because Goliath had four brothers. So if he was going to take down Goliath, he was also anticipating that he might have to take down his four brothers as well. It wasn’t just looking at the current obstacle, he was anticipating other obstacles that could come and prepared for them too.
When Goliath taunted him, David came back with truth because he knew he would win. He had the power of God with him so he spoke the truth and then he made it happen.
He RAN at that Philistine. No fear just action!… Knocked him out with the stone and then cut off his head.

David After Goliath

Once he demonstrated these strengths as a leader, Israel regained courage and took on the Philistines defeating them.
David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Saul so all Jerusalem could celebrate, but he did keep some important things as memorials in his tent. The sword or Goliath.
The thing that’s amazing to me is Saul has had David coming to play for him for a while now, but he still turns to his commander Abner and “says whose son is this kid?”
When David is brought by Abner, to the king and he stands before him with that head in his hands, he just quietly says, “My dad is Jessie your servant.”
No arrogance, just a simple statement of fact.
It is at this point that God gives David a friend for life who is the other side of his soul… Who goes to him in the wood when he is discouraged, who defends him before his father the king and who strengthens his hand in God.
What’s interesting here is even after this battle, David simply just continues to do what he supposed to do every single day, but he does start getting put into more challenges.
And very shortly after this, he is put on the run from Saul to a point of obscurity for a period of time to develop his maturity.
And I can’t help but think Israel was not ready to have David as their King yet either.

Statement of Faith.

Statement of Faith

This page affirms and teaches:

  • the inspiration of the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments) 2Ti 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.
  • the creation of man by the direct act of God; Genesis 1-2
  • The fall of Man passing sin to all men Genesis 3 and Rom 5:12 Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned:
  • the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; Luke 1-2, Matt 1-2 Isaiah 9:6
  • His identification as the Son of God John 8:58
  • His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross Romans 5:8
  • the resurrection of His body from the tomb
  • His power to save men from sin; John 3:16 Rom 5:10-11 For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.
  • the new birth through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit; Romans 10:9-10
  • and the gift of eternal life by the grace of God. John 3:16, Titus 3:5

 

New Bible Study for you. Is God There? 34 Ways God says He Is Faithful.

About this book:

Have you ever asked the question, “Is God there?” Is He really faithful? If so, how? Have you felt some deep pain and been glibly told “God is Faithful” as a quick fix, when you really needed to know how God could help? Now, you have in hand a ready list of all the ways God says He is faithful, with an explanation of how these verses fit in their context, and how these truths apply to help you.

To purchase the book through Amazon go here Is God There?

To purchase through Pay pal go here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=R85MG3PY2TCE2

Watch a video interview with the authors

Forgiveness…Can’t be done..Or can it? “Victim” to Victor

I was literally gasping for air…physically choking on my own avalanche of emotion and confusion.  What did they just say? I can’t grasp this? What does this mean? Does it mean what I think it does? The relationship was severed….instantly with nothing I could do but reel physically in shock and the crushing kaleidoscope of emotions that were threatening to drown me….. trying to come up with a way to take the next step, let alone walk to my car and drive away…

I had trusted that person with my soul, my deepest pain, my heart, and they had simply dismissed me with a “flick of the hand.”  They had promised to support and help and assured me they were trustworthy…. and then..BANG they were not!!!

….when I most needed them to be.  It reminded me of the words of a song

“I leaned my back up against an oak…I thought it was a trusty tree…but first, it bent and then it broke (Bob Dylan).”

Only in my case, there was no bend!  It was an instant SNAP and CRASH!  What was even more crushing is I had no one to talk to about it. No one who could understand what this terrible tear meant in my soul. Part of me died that day and I was sure it would never EVER revive again!  The ensuing weeks and months were lived in a mindless numb shell as I carried on the functions of life without a soul.  I literally felt like a switch had been snapped between rational logic and emotion.

Those of you who know me may be shocked to know I felt that way..after all,…I am the MK (missionary kid) who knows more verses and Biblical songs by heart than most people I know…. because I was raised memorizing them and loved singing so have been called a walking hymnbook by some… But that was my reality at that point. My world was instantly catapulted into an emotional vault that words could not touch for a time.

I had been trying to learn how to trust again and the one person I thought I could trust to help me, had proved untrustworthy and walked away.  The picture I had in my mind was of being rowed out on a dark night into deep water and then told to get out of the boat and start swimming. The assurances of support and guidance were there until I was in the water and then… they were GONE! I was left to find my way back to land in the dark in water over my head… good thing I had learned how to swim as a child… but in the depths and not being sure which was land????…. God led me back to land in ways no person could.

I felt like I had been taken in for open heart surgery and then left on the table to figure out how to sew myself up, get up and walk out of there without any help from anyone. I did sew up and walk out by God’s grace alone. But in the process infection set in… and I was in a dark place of confusion between indescribable grief, despair and anguish once I processed what had happened. I would certainly never trust THEM again or ANYONE else for that matter.  Because I had no one to talk to at that point, the pain, gut-wrenching sense of loss, and confusion got buried into deep crevices in my soul like puss does in infection.  God left me alone with that dark place for a time, because we all need to know how helpless we really are before God can do anything with us… before He intervened … but that is for later. It took a full year for the emotional confusion to clear enough for me to fully grasp truth again and for God to use some wise people to carefully reinvite me into the world of trust again.

I was driving to a place of retreat and on the way was begging Him to help me out of this, to find a way back to hope and light and life if it was ever possible to recover from this kind of utter crushing? I was listening to the audio version of Andy Stanley’s Enemies of the Heart.  Trying to figure out how to get past this to a point of forgiveness… I finally understood in a powerful way how Jesus felt when his disciples deserted him in his hour of greatest need for emotional support. Andy’s book was a HUGE help in unraveling how to think about all this, but it took time for me to absorb the truths while battling the emotional blocks.  My mind still whirled and at times would be caught in a downward spiral of “How could they? and I  didn’t deserve this!!!  They completely misunderstood and misused me!! and I am all alone!! and No one understands!!”  You may also be familiar with the  “beat me up” or “beat them up.” ideas that plague the mind in these dark moments of the soul? The Psalms are replete with David’s thoughts like this.

I was aware in the fog of emotion that I was in a battle of a lifetime to regain control of my mind and in doing so I would be able to stop this emotional volcano. I had no idea how to do it. So I begged God for help and below is what I did.  (I have now told enough people these steps that I thought it was time to put it in one place so I can send people here who ask me how I was able to, not only forgive, but enjoy spending time with this person again.)

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons
are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end,
but by His making us wait,
bearing with us in love and patience
until we are able to honestly pray
what He taught His disciples to pray:
Thy will be done.”
~ Elizabeth Elliot
(for those who may not know her story, her husband was killed senselessly.
You can read about it, in this book. Through Gates of Splendor)
I love how God patiently waits when we are in these dark places until we can see Him and then gently helps us to walk out of it. He truly is the Gentle Shepherd!
I  have learned a great deal in the months and years since then, but to begin with, this was the first most important step and lesson. .. I can say much more about the Biblical verses. I knew those but I had never been in a place like this where words meant nothing and I could not control the raging emotional overload. A pressure cooker had exploded all over my soul and I had to find a way to put the pieces back together.  I will develop more of the Biblical part of this in the coming weeks but for now, this had to be step one!
 I am going to be very practical with this because the pat “you just need to forgive them” was simply not working!!
I needed a real way to get out of this tunnel of emotion!!!
The first thing I needed to think was “not forgiving was actually giving ammunition to them. It was hurting me, not them. It was allowing them to continue to ruin my life.” That was NOT ok with me. I NEVER wanted them to ever have any control over me again!
Once I fully realized that I was not willing to give them that kind of control over my emotions and mind anymore. They had betrayed me.  Jesus Never did. He had to be the controller of my mind and emotions!
Then I learned that forgiveness is a process… it’s not a one-time Act. Every time thoughts of that person came into my mind I had to intentionally tell God I needed help to forget them.
Then I had to force my mind to go somewhere else regardless of how my emotions were raging.  It truly was one of the most difficult things I have ever done!!! But I was determined to win by God’s grace!
I knew I could not take it on all at once so I picked one the specific times of day that were often trigger points. Usually, times when I could be alone with my thoughts, like when getting dressed or showering or driving to work.
I picked…
driving to work time.
Then EVERY day for 3 weeks, I refused to allow thoughts of that situation to control my mind for that time.  When a thought would hit, I would intentionally force my mind elsewhere by praying, singing good songs, like these ones,   Beside Gentle Streams: Hope for Hurting Hearts.  or this one Don’t be Afraid, reciting verses, calling someone to encourage them, or things like that.
The first day was impossible but I  got a few mins of relief, the rest of the week was nearly impossible..lots of tears…begging God for help…
When God wants to do something big,
He starts with an impossibility,
then it is difficult,
and then it is done!
~Hudson Taylor
The second week got a little bit better. I would play good music, I would think about the things I loved…I would pray, I would sing or play good music.
By the third week, I could see the thought pattern was finally breaking and with it some of the deep crushing emotion. So I picked another point of the day that I used to dwell on those thoughts and went after it in the same way. It was easier but still a challenge.
I kept working at it till each point of the day was broken, despite setbacks, and in time the pain Eased, the soul-crushing grief became manageable and I could move on.  I learned the real truth of the verse “having your senses exercised…Hebrews 5:14” (that word exercise in greek is the word we get  “gym” from. We develop brain cells just the way we develop other muscles in the body by working them which gives all new meaning to Romans 12:1-2 and especially the phrase “renewing your mind…”.  I have learned lots about the science behind mind, emotion connection as well. (more later)
My motivator was that these people were no longer allowed to control my emotions and my life. God was the only one who got to do that!
Thinking this way rather than trying to determine whether or not they deserved it, helped,….they didn’t deserve forgiveness…neither did I….none of us “deserve” it, we were all eternally condemned till Jesus died for us… We have to turn to Him, recognize him as God, believe that his death on the cross paid the penalty and ask for His forgiveness ourselves to guarantee a place in heaven. Keeping this truth in focus also helped!
It really had to be about getting back my life, my heart, my emotions, My Hope in Christ, My joy in Him, my ability to serve Him, separate from any other person.
What God has done since then is more writing and God’s work in progress.
Gentle Shepherd
Oh, the Lord is my Gentle Shepherd showing me the way.
Through the darkness, through the sunshine,
He will never lead astray.
He is with me ev’ry moment, He’s in my heart to stay.
Oh I feel His arms around me, and I hear Him gently say:
~~~~~
I am the Gentle Shepherd watching over you.
I am the Gentle Shepherd and I’ll surely see you through.
I have been where you’re going and I know what you have to do.
Oh, I am the Gentle Shepherd, and I gave my life for you.
~~~~~
If you’re looking for a Saviour, looking for a friend,
Oh let Jesus be your Shepherd, He will love you till the end.
The door is always open, come now and don’t delay.
And He’ll be your loving Shepherd; He will guide you all the way.
~~~~~
He is the Gentle Shepherd, watching over you.
He is the Gentle Shepherd, and He’ll surely see you through.
He has been where you’re going, and he knows what you have to do.
Oh, He is the Gentle Shepherd, and He gave His life for you.
He is the Gentle Shepherd.
words by Duane Nichols, music by Duane Nichols and Mary Lynn Van Gelderen
recorded on Come and Sing by the Stouffer Men.

“Ginger” a Boylston Home Story.

Ginger came through the door of the Boylston Home with a 14-year-old sullen look on her face. She slumped in a chair and glared at me and her social worker. I was amazed at how many 14-year-old girls we had come through the doors. Did you know that being 14 is a very difficult age especially for girls? The hormones are raging! They’re trying to figure out who they are separate from their families, and life is very difficult at that age! She had been brought in as an intervention between home and some other place where social services was going to place her. She was absolutely NOT happy about being there. As we talked our way through the initial interview, when I mentioned the fact that this was a home where we believe the Bible and where we attend church, she angrily protested that she wanted nothing to do with religion, that we were not going to make her believe our stuff.

I immediately agreed with her because Christianity is not just a religion, it is a way of life, it is an understanding of who Jesus is. Nobody can force true belief on anyone else!  Only God can touch a heart and help them to see and understand their need for Him. Jesus does say “no man comes to the Father but by me (John 14:6).” We continued to talk and the social worker told her quite simply she had two choices, stay with us and comply for the three weeks or she got to go spend some time in a much more restrictive placement. She really did not want to go there so she grudgingly accepted the terms of staying with us.

We always gave a Bible to every girl who came through the doors, so we gave her one. She took it almost like it was going to bite her and set it on the table. As those three weeks progressed she would comment on and off about how stupid all this stuff was and that nobody was going to make her believe it. We quietly agreed with her, it wasn’t up to us and that we simply were giving her truth and information that she was fully responsible to choose to accept or reject on her own. The night before she left, she was packing up her things and I glanced into her room to see how things were going. She was nowhere near as angry as she had been when she first came in and she had settled into a routine and realized that we really did care about her and was actually somewhat upset about moving on. We chatted for a bit and then I left her room. When I went downstairs, Brittany, the house parent’s daughter, came up to me and said, “I’m really feeling led to give Ginger a Bible.”

I curiously replied, “Well that’s interesting because we already gave her one, but if you’re feeling that strongly about it then you go right ahead, maybe she’ll give it to somebody else.”

The next morning was a set for her goodbye party. Whenever a girl left the home, if we could anticipate her date and time of leaving, we took time to go around the table and talk about and encourage the characteristics that we had seen in her life, areas where she demonstrated solid character and growth and areas where we felt that she was gifted and could do things that would make a difference in the world. Most of the girls came to us completely crushed by life and we wanted them to leave knowing that they were specially created by God and could do great things for Him if they chose to follow Him. And we would usually give her some things to take with her.
Ginger was laughing and enjoying the party and opening the gifts.  However, when she opened Brittany’s gift, her eyes grew wide, and she dropped it on the table like it was a snake and gasped, “I can’t believe this!” Brittany gently said, “Open the front cover, I wrote a little note in there for you.” She reached out with a trembling hand and opened the cover and looked inside and then snapped it shut immediately, staring almost wildly at Brittany and then at me, she exclaimed, “What in the world! I can’t believe this! This is just too freaky! This is like, Beyond unreasonable! What …….she trailed off, “I can’t hide it, How did you know?..
We were all completely baffled by her response and I asked, “Ginger? You’re going to have to explain yourself, what’s going on?”
She looked at us with this strange expression of disbelief and stammered, “I tore up the Bible you guys gave me last night and threw it in the trash because I told you I wasn’t going to believe this stuff and God’s not real and I certainly wasn’t going to take it with me!! And here it is in front of me completely intact!!! The exact same color and everything…. same style…the same Bible….that’s just beyond weird.  What is even crazier is knowing that I tore that other one apart and then reading what Brittany wrote inside here is insane.”

I asked her what Brittany had written. She read, “A Bible that’s falling apart belongs to someone who is not.”
I could not help smiling as I thought about how God had made Himself and His Word powerfully real to her and every other person sitting at the table.

I asked, “Well Ginger, are you going to tear this one apart too?”

“No way!” she retorted “I can’t!  This is too crazy! This is too real. I guess I need to take this a little bit more seriously than I did.”

I agreed with her, “Yes, God has gone out of His way to make sure that you knew that the Word of God could not be destroyed in your life and He has something He wants you to do with your life for Him will you read it now?” She promised she would.

God’s Word will stand forever.  The Bible will prevail, and you can trust it.  More importantly, I loved that all the other girls were sitting there watching what God had just done in her heart to help her realize that His Word is real, and He is real.
1 Peter 1:24 The grass withers. The flower fades, but the Word of our God endures forever!