When I started this blog in 2017 I never could have imagined that just a few years later I’d be writing blogs to encourage people through a global pandemic. I don’t think any of us could have imagined such a thing. If you look back through my ‘archives’ of posts to early 2020, you would see posts all about 2020 vision, hopeful posts and plans to perhaps travel. In the UK the big news story at the time was Brexit and I had in mind that I’d like if possible to travel to the European countries that I hadn’t yet got the chance to visit. In Australia I think the big story was about the bush fires. Oh my, friends, how much we have seen and heard of since then!
I don’t know which country you live in, but the whole world in 2020 was coming to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, after that there have been variations in how individual countries, and even states, deal with things. It has been a challenging time for many. Just as we were feeling that maybe if we can get through winter there might be more settled days ahead, we hear of a new variant, Omicron I believe it is called, that has taken hold in some countries and might possibly be the next variant of concern leading to another pandemic.
I won’t get into the ‘ins and outs’ of that as I realise my readers may have different opinions, but on a personal level I just want to reach out to you with some encouragement.
You’re not alone. I realise these are uncertain days, but try to lift up your minds and thoughts to what is Greater. Find hope in your everyday in some small way. I have written a whole series of blog posts, possibly nearing a hundred posts on surviving the pandemic, so no doubt there will be something that I wrote back then that will be applicable or helpful to you today.
Today, know that you’re not alone. You are loved. My hope is in Jesus Christ, the source of True Love. Even though in this world there is trouble, He has overcome the world. He will walk with us through it.
No matter what you think or believe right now, just know that if you are finding things challenging right now, you are not alone. Try to move slowly through your day. It’s easy to say, right? It’s easy to say try not to worry when as human beings we are prone to worry, but just think of all the tools and techniques you have learned over the past year or two in the pandemic (or more, through your life) and remind yourself of how far you have come, and keep going. If you are doing well right now, remind yourself that there are many others who aren’t and seek in some small way each day to show kindness, encouragement and love.
Even on the blogging community we can do this, we can help and encourage one another with our words – words are so powerful, life and death are in the power of the tongue so think of how incredible it could be if we all speak life to each other and encourage each other in these days.
Talk to someone. Share your burdens, ask for help if need be.
Revisit your hobbies or try something new if you don’t have any. It is important to keep our minds occupied because we hear so much in the news that can affect us negatively. It’s important to be informed and wise about keeping ourselves and others safe, but it’s also important to be aware of how things affect us.
Take it one day at a time, one step at a time.
That’s my word of encouragement, because I know we all need it.
I wrote previously about being in different seasons of life. For a long time I had felt that I was in a season marked by suffering, then by recovery, and then overcoming (including overcoming anxiety).
Something has changed. Within me. It is almost as if the fear and anxiety has been ‘switched off’, overnight.
I had been calling out to God, I think perhaps a few months ago. Certain things felt difficult to manage within myself, some things felt like they were causing anxiety and doubt. I had very profound experiences when I first encountered Christ, but those few months ago I felt distant, dry, and I didn’t want to just be ‘going through the motions’ when I know His Love Is real, tangible, something I have profoundly experienced before.
I cried out to Him and He has answered me. I have been experiencing once again Pure Comfort, Love, His Peaceful Presence, within me and around me as I draw near to Him especially in prayer.
He has been communicating in different ways, showing me things that He has also similarly shown to a Christian friend. I am certain the ‘flow’ of these recent ‘coincidences’ are not coincidences.
Something within has changed, and there is a shift in gears, in perspective and a Peace that I had struggled to find for a long time as I recovered from and wrestled with various things I had gone through.
I am trusting this change is not a momentary one, but something deeper, longer lasting. I know my mindset may change in more gradual ways perhaps, as I step more fully into this Reality of who I truly am.
I love how God Is always reaching out to us, teaching us, and sometimes those breakthroughs are so gentle yet profound. When we stumble, those who Know Jesus as the Reality that He Is, His real and tangible Presence….He will still be leading us, helping us, as The Good Shepherd, The Living God.
In this world of trouble, He speaks Peace. The Peace that comes from being Forgiven, Cleansed, made New inside. Peace, real tangible Peace in Christ, through His Blood shed at the Cross. x
Today let us each learn to step out, however small that step may be, into something New.
There is power in encouragement. Even the smallest gesture can make a real difference to someone. You might not realise what that difference is, but if you can, where you can, by whatever means you can, encourage other people, and better still ‘each other’ in mutual encouragement.
I’m a follower of Christ Jesus (since He Illuminated my life in a very powerful way when I called upon Him 18 years ago, and He has been tangibly present in my life ever since, despite occasions when I’ve not experienced His Love or Presence as closely. I am so grateful to be experiencing His Love and Peace and Presence and inner healing more keenly these days, and the comfort of His Spirit, despite the ongoing challenges of being human!). He Is Real – the Living God, and I pray you will one day call upon His Name in repentance and experience His Saving Grace and the Reality of the Greatest, Purest Love you can ever know. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin, yet when we do repent, turn to Him and accept this incredible, free gift of Grace from what the Lord Jesus accomplished through His Blood shed at the Cross, our slate is wiped clean, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and made new from the inside, and saved from all that our sin deserves. Incredible.
As Christians, we are commanded to “encourage one another” (Hebrews 10), to build each other up (Romans 15:2), to “encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11), to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) and we are told that “love is the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
Many people underestimate the power of encouragement. It could perhaps turn someone’s life around. Maybe you’ve been in a painful place and people started treating you with worth and kindness and it seemed radical to you! I’ve been there. The Love of God can change us. Perhaps someone has been having difficult thoughts and feeling unworthy of life, and an act of encouragement, of kindness and love might just impact their life path.
Many people fail to realise that we are also in an intensely fierce spiritual battle. There are things going on around us in the unseen realm that born again Christians, like myself, have experienced. These aren’t thoughts, or hallucinations or mental illnesses, but there are real, tangible spiritual forces of darkness, influencing our lives, and there are also spiritual beings of light. There is a war going on for people’s souls, and Jesus Christ Is the Only Saviour. This is not fiction, nor a story book or an overactive imagination. I have experienced so many things that I didn’t know at the time were in the Bible, but there is a real battle in the unseen realms, not just human action but spiritual realities of good and evil, having an influence on what happening around us.
For Christians, prayer is therefore so important, to call upon The Living God. Read the book of Job in the Old Testament. I’ve had some experiences that made me feel a lot like Job at the time. We find it hard to understand sometimes why God allows certain things to take place, but although we don’t have all the answers now, we do have the directives of how to respond, in faith, in prayer, in love and waging ‘war’ in the unseen spiritual realm through faithful prayer, fasting, connection with The Living God, using the Word of God in our lives and renewing our minds, helping and caring for each other, etc.
Anyone, whether or not you know Christ personally, can gain from encouragement, although ultimately your only true hope can be found in Him, the Door to Salvation, the only One Who can save you from an eternity apart from Him, or a life on earth now apart from His tangible love and indwelling Spirit.
Our minds are constantly bombarded by negative messages in this world. We are tempted constantly to fear, worry, anxiety, and I don’t think there are many people nowadays who are immune to these, sometimes overwhelming, thoughts and feelings. We all need encouragement, and we all need to give it too. This is one way we can ‘strengthen the brethren’ and also a way in which we can show care and kindness to anyone.
I hope you have found something of worth in this message. Encourage someone in your life today – you never know what difference it might make, to them and to you. x
With currently still working from home, I have a bit of time in my evenings after work to do some de-cluttering.
I’ve been organising and clearing out some paperwork, and going through some of my school and university notes (yes, I’m one of those people who finds it hard to throw away those years of hard work! 🙂 ). It’s really interesting to see how I loved literature both in school and in my undergraduate degree (I did human rights, gender studies and international development for my postgrad degree), and wanted to be a writer.
I guess in some ways, blogging is one of my outlets for regular ‘writing’. I’ve written an allegorical novel based on some of my life and faith experiences, and now it is sitting on my computer, and I’m wondering and praying what to do with it next….?
I think of that stage in life that teenagers pass through when it feels like their whole future is ahead of them, and that it is the time when dreams are beginning to take shape as they think of what they will ‘become’ in life.
I think many people long for significance, they long to ‘make a name’ for themselves, and maybe at one point in my teenage years I did too….we all want to leave a legacy or to be important in some way. As life stages change and we realise more about the world and how easily and quickly things and people become forgotten with the sands of time, perhaps some of us begin to ‘let go’ gracefully of the things we once thought were important.
I think that desire for immortality is deep within us all. For me, I realise now that the significance we are all really searching for is that Deep, Pure and Perfect Love and Satisfaction that can only come from The One Who formed us.
Many people like to throw around arguments of how those who talk about Christ are deluded, unscientific, illogical or blinded. But the fact is that He Is Real, and His LOVE, His Pure and Perfect Love is tangible, it is real and it is the most comforting and beautiful thing any human being could ever hope for. Those who know this reality for themselves can gradually begin to ‘let go’ of those false comforts, of the sense of having to ‘make’ or prove ourselves to be significant because the reality of that significance is found in being Perfectly Loved by Him. I wish I had the words to describe His Presence, but I don’t. I just know that it is in Him all our longings are ultimately fulfilled, and I know that in His real and tangible love it all makes sense, and even as the world fades away, even if our lives ebb away and are forgotten, in Him, and only in Him is true Life…now, and in the life that is to come. When you encounter Him, and one day you will….all your arguments will fall away…..I am so thankful that He rescued me and gave me sight to realise He Is the Living God, to repent and choose Him and to know and experience this Perfect, unfailing and incomparable love.
In Him, let all your strivings cease and let your heart and soul be filled up and satisfied with His Love and Comfort and Goodness. There Is no experience in all of earth like this Pure Love ❤ I pray you find it.
‘Oh, the deep deep love of Jesus, vast unmeasured, boundless free…’
You may know this old hymn, the lyrics are beautiful. When I was first ‘saved’, I was absolutely flooded with the Love, Peace, Comfort and joy of God’s Spirit. It cost God so much, yet takes so little for us to repent, to ask forgiveness, and to call out to Him in Faith. This Love was the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced, yet I also experienced a spiritual battle with darkness. We will have trouble in this fallen world, where there is evil, and a lot of things seem to not make sense, yet God Is real and His Love is real….and He will work everything out despite the mess and chaos of a fallen and broken world.
I have been drawing near to God recently, and I have asked Him that I don’t want to just ‘go through the motions’ of singing songs, or professing faith without that deep closeness with Him. Despite my worries, fears, sin and imperfection, He has been answering, and renewing me from within. God allowed a season of feeling ‘distant’ from Him and being faced with questions, and I have called out to Him and found Him Real and Faithful.
Despite the trouble we face on this earth, and from our very own natures, there is nothing that compares with that Real, Tangible, sweet comfort and presence of God’s Spirit within us, holding us. There Is no purer love than this. It is not something that can be imagined, thought up or dreamt of – you need to come into that relationship of Love yourself, being made a new creation, and experiencing the reality of His Sweet Presence for yourself. There is nothing that can compare. I hope and pray that He will draw you to repentance so that you can ask Him into your life, to be forgiven and experience this everlasting, deep, pure love for yourself. x
If you’ve ever had an encounter with the Living God, with Jesus Christ, then you know what it is to be changed from within. When we are flooded with Life from His Spirit, we are made ‘new Creations’. This is so much more than words, and there are testimonies of staunch atheists who tried logically to defy the reality of the Living God, but who after being touched by the Reality of Him had to admit that He Is Real. There’s a whole lot to be said about that, and many might argue that unless you can test and prove things empirically then they can’t possibly be true, but if you have encountered the Living God then you’ll know that there is a reality that can be experienced and felt and that changes you from within. There is a tangible supernatural reality that goes beyond brain states that is real whether or not people choose to accept that reality.
If you’ve experienced the power of the Living God in your own life, then you will know something of the transformative Peace, Love, Joy and Power of His Spirit. Some people experience radical transformations over night, some people come to realise the reality of the spiritual battle that we are in, and some are flooded with His Love.
But there is a process here as well. Even after we are indwelt by His Spirit, set apart and given His Righteousness when we are made His, there is still a process of change that occurs from within, and sometimes this can be a slow process, for others you can see the changes more markedly, not as something they are doing, but the natural changes that God brings about, remaking someone from within so that they are marked more by His Love and Purity.
A lot of this would seem as ‘nonsense’ to someone who has never known the Reality of the Living God in their life, but for those of you who do, be encouraged that He Loves you and Is changing you, even if those changes seem to take a long time. That’s because even after we are forgiven and given His Righteousness, a supernatural state of being made right with God, and being indwelt by His Spirit, even after such an incredible Reality takes place, there are still deep things within us that need to be cleansed and put right.
I’ve been drawing closer to God, in prayer, experiencing more of the reality of the Love and Presence of His Spirit within me, but at the same time, God is ‘unearthing’ things in my heart that I need to bring to Him to allow Him to change and forgive and free me from. Yet the more we allow this sometimes difficult process (‘sanctification’) to take place, the more we will be able to let God’s Spirit make us new from within.
These are incredible truths, realities that that world does not accept or see, because a world that loves darkness prefers to deny the reality of our own sinfulness. But to humble ourselves and reach out in faith and accept His Forgiveness is the gateway to the Real experience of His tangible Pure and Perfect Love.
If you are on this road, and know from the reality of your own experience what I’m talking about, don’t be discouraged if you are made to face the things in yourself that need to be changed, forgiven and cleansed – bring it to Him and allow His Love to free and cleanse you from within. He Is Faithful, and there Is no Love like His, and if you know Him you know this Reality is far more than mere words. x
There’s no doubt about it, life can be tough sometimes. Perhaps you’re reading my blog series on self care in a pandemic precisely because you are finding things challenging and need some comfort, encouragement, advice and guidance.
When our thoughts, emotions and brokenness inside feel too much we can sometimes allow ourselves to give up on doing things that are actually good for us. Things such as eating well, taking exercise, getting fresh air, sleeping, getting showered and dressed in the morning and connecting with other people. For Christians it is essential that we stay ‘abiding’ in Christ as He teaches us, as He Is The True Source of Pure and Eternal Life, not just existence but radiant refreshing Love and Life that gives life to our souls, and a Love that holds us through the storms. Apart from Him we can do nothing (of true and lasting spiritual and eternal value) and we become like withered branches whereas by drinking from the Source of pure life we are able to bear spiritual fruit even in difficult seasons. We do this by spending time with Jesus and feeding on the Word of God and relying on the Holy Spirit to make us alive to The Living Word, and change us from the inside out (even if at times this means a difficult ‘pruning’ away of the bad bits so that He can fill us with His Spirit and heal us).
There are things we know are good for us whether on a physical and / or a spiritual level and sometimes we may allow these to slip when we are struggling or feeling burdened by life or by our own thoughts, feelings, inner wounds and traumas.
Maybe you know it is good to do a certain thing but it feels like you are sinking. If that’s where you are at, please just keep at it. Easier said than done, I know, but even if you just do a little bit at a time then you will be doing something good for yourself.
If you are struggling with your mental health just now, keep at it. Keep reading my blog, even if just a little at a time. Keep drinking water, even if a little at a time. Keep in touch with people, even if a little at a time. Keep feeding your mind on good things, and positive messages and affirming your worth as a human being, even if a little at a time. I know this isn’t easy. Even this morning I had traumatic images and words coming into my mind and I have to allow God to heal me bit by bit in His perfect way and timing. And I also have a part to play in renewing my mind. We may not be where we want to be just now but perhaps we have already come a long way. If damage was done to your mind and personhood over several years or even decades or even if just in an instant and that deeply affected you then it may take a bit of time and consistent effort to create new positive tracks of thought, neural pathways and physical reactions. I can rest in knowing God Is in control and can bring His Beauty from the ashes of this world and the things that happen to us in life. Sometimes things take time, recovery takes time, and just making it through the day well or making it through this pandemic season will take time.
Don’t despair, don’t lose heart, don’t feel that because you can’t do it all just now it’s not worth it. Keep at it friends. Little by little, bit by bit, moment by moment, day by day.
Do something kind for yourself or for someone else. Don’t stop taking those steps forwards, don’t stop believing, and even if you can’t make it all the way through a task, at least you tried and did a little bit. That’s important. One more step along the world I go….
With much love, and praying for you to have strength to keep moving forwards today. x
Life comes to us with a variety of challenges. Sometimes these challenges can test and try aspects of our character, but at other times the things we face in life can come close to crushing and destroying us, and even when we do survive, we can be left with the feeling of being broken in spirit and crushed on the inside. When these experiences occur in childhood when we are still forming and becoming who we are, it can have a long lasting impact upon our sense of self. Once again, I speak from experience.
Having faced such hardships in childhood, I persevered through life with a lot of anxiety and symptoms of what had gone on deep within, but it wasn’t until later that all of this ‘exploded’ to the surface as the complex trauma that it was. I re-experienced and had to go through and process things that were trapped and stuck in parts of my brain and nervous system from years of fight-flight and freeze responses as a child and young person. After that I have been working solidly to first survive the crisis, and then to get strong and overcome the symptoms of trauma and the long lasting effects of childhood suffering.
By God’s grace and the strength I find in Christ Jesus, I can confidently say that I am an overcomer. Yet, I know that overcoming symptoms is not all that there is for me, even though I haven’t figured out the next step of life quite just yet.
Can you relate? Not too long ago I wrote about how I saw this recovery journey in terms of stages from victim to rescued to survivor to overcomer to thriver. Thriver is a stage I have not yet got to identifying with or living in.
Much more recently however, I have had another word come to my mind when thinking about moving forwards, an it is the word ‘Transformation’.
Many of us have seen that transformation is possible in our own lives and the lives of others. Most of you reading this blog have long passed adolescence and that stage in itself is testimony to many of the transformations that occur as we move from childhood to adulthood! If you’ve ever seen some of those ‘before and after’ pictures of people when they were age 12 or 13 to what they looked like age 17, 18, 19 or 20 then some of these will be astounding as to how much people can physically transform.
Yet, physical transformation is only one part of life, and it is not the most important part, because who we are and how we look does not determine our worth. It can take us a lifetime to learn this because of how many lessons and lies from the world we have to unlearn! People are valuable because we are human beings, made in the Image of God, Created on purpose, and no matter what words have pierced you through your life, whether from other people and / or yourself, the pain of those words and /or actions, those lies, can never detract from your inherent worth. It has taken me a long time to learn this, and perhaps I am only just beginning to come into more of that freedom of mind and thought.
Yes, transformation is not limited to the physical realm. If any of you out there are ‘Born again Christians’ then you will know that you’ve had a supernatural experience of forgiveness and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit that has changed your life, and that people who are not believers can’t quite relate to. Perhaps you can think back to a time when you didn’t believe in Jesus Christ or the Word of God and thought that ‘those religious people’ were all a bit crazy. I remember in my teenage years thinking that I was a spiritual person and believed in God as a Higher Power and Guiding force but the ‘Christians’ I encountered just seemed deluded and hypocritical and a bit crazy and simple minded in some ways. That’s until I met a Spirit-filled believer, a very different kind of human, then I encountered Jesus Christ, The Living God, and then I chose Him, came to know His Forgiveness, and had supernatural experience after supernatural experience. I was transformed spiritually as some of you have also been. Some of you may be reading this and think that I’m a bit crazy, and I can understand that because unless you have had an encounter with Jesus Christ and are transformed and translated into His Kingdom spiritually then of course it will make no sense.
Transformation can also occur in terms of our thought processes, our characters, our outlook on life. It can be in terms of how we view ourselves and other people and how we engage with the world. It can be all of the above, spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. Sometimes a transformation in a person’s life, especially a spiritual one, can occur suddenly, but in most cases I would surmise to think that it is gradual.
Some transformations we have no control over, such as going through adolescence as our bodies and minds develop in ways that bring us into adulthood with or without our choosing.
Yet, what of other aspects of transformation? Can we have a part in it? We can ask for God to change us, we can ask to be born again, to be Forgiven by Christ, and by allowing Him into our lives, we can experience an eternal transformation and we can see our lives continuing to change as we allow God to make those changes on us in the inside and as we cooperate with Him.
There are also other ways we can experience transformation, and we can be intentional about these. If someone wants to work on external things and experience a transformed body for example, they usually have to put in some work, effort and have somewhat of a plan of action as to steps that they will take gradually and consistently so that they can see changes. Surely when we want to see change and transformation in our emotional, mental and psychological development then we also have to put in some work?
This is something that I am embarking on thinking about more, especially as the idea of being a ‘Thriver’ in life at this moment in time seems and feels a bit unknown to me. Can I go from overcomer to thriver without transformation? When I think of a transformative process, it helps me to know that this can happen gradually. When I think of what life was like a few years ago at the height of my ‘crisis’ when I was suffering tremendously with C-PTSD, depression and anxiety, to where I am now, those two snapshots in time do show transformation, yet on a day to day basis the changes that have led to that transformation seem almost imperceptible.
I’m sure that you can think of areas of your life that when looking back you can see big changes in. Perhaps there was something you were suffering with or through that now is more of a memory or a learning experience. Perhaps your main transformation has been a physical one, and maybe you are ready to let go of some of the things you are trying to control and to go deeper on a spiritual, emotional and psychological journey.
Maybe today is a good day to start thinking about these things. Being in a lockdown and a pandemic is certainly an opportunity to think more, to reassess our lives and to begin taking steps towards a transformed life. When we don’t know how to get from one stage to the next, or if we don’t even know what that transformed stage would look like at all (and maybe some of you do know what you’d like it to look like), it is encouraging to look back at certain aspects of our lives and to realise that over the years transformation has happened, can happen, and will happen again – and that we can also have a part to play in it. There is something encouraging and exciting in that. And when we don’t know that next stage, we can still take encouragement from knowing that transformation can happen gradually and that we can make a step towards that today, even if we haven’t quite got it all figured out just yet.
Ask God, if you are inclined to do so, for help in the journey. He has good plans for us if we’d only turn to Him and trust in Him.
Let us begin to believe in positive transformation and take some small step towards it today.
What could that look like? Maybe it is in saying a prayer, in reading a book, in going for a walk, in allowing yourself to confront yourself with the lies that you have been believing for far too long, in helping, encouraging or mentoring someone else, in picking up a hobby, in showing kindness. Love is transformative, and the world needs a lot of love and kindness. How can we live lives that look to the needs of others? Is there any small step we can take today?
I feel on the brink of many ideas, and yet feel like I am stepping into somewhat unknown territory, yet I have faced many challenges in life and have overcome the unknowns that I was facing then, so surely this challenge towards transformation is another step of faith.
Have you experienced transformation in your life? What did this look like? Was it mainly physical, spiritual, mental, emotional or a lifestyle change or some other kind of change including a psychological shift or perhaps a combination of many of these? How did you find the process, what did you learn, and what can you share with us here as we continue our journey?
If you are feeling discouraged in this pandemic, take heart that transformation is possible, life comes in seasons, and a better change can happen. Don’t give up in this journey, keep going, look up with faith, look for Truth and live with the expectancy that you will find the Answers that you need. x
When life was busier, before this pandemic struck, most of us were caught up with the societal pressures of deadlines, of having to get up and leave the house by a certain time, get in the car or catch a train or bus to be at work on time. Some of you may have had to juggle this with dropping your kids off at school, with being home by a certain time and attending meetings or appointments on schedule. You’d then have to make the dinner and so forth, and because our usually fast-paced lives are coupled with the information overload of the internet age, we often don’t find the time to stop and think and process or feel our feelings.
Some of us like myself faced burnout after years of enduring stressful situations. I reached a point where many of my painful emotions bubbled to the surface and overflowed in a way I couldn’t deal with on my own, and had to get support with. It turns out that I was dealing with complex post traumatic stress mainly from severe trauma from childhood bullying, involving verbal, mental, physical and psychological abuse, and from resultant depression and anxiety. It was not a fun time in my life, and it took a good few years to get to a better place, although I am still on a journey to getting stronger.
My trauma psychologists informed me that I was being triggered by many things and that overwhelming emotions, thoughts, feelings and flashbacks were the result. I was given a helpful analogy that sometimes when we try to supress or keep down those painful emotions and experiences it is like trying to hold an inflatable ball under water, it takes a lot of effort, and after a while when we’re tired and lose our grip it will bounce right back up to the surface and beyond as we can’t control those feelings by keeping them down forever!
Perhaps the lockdown situation in this pandemic has been a space where you find your mind and body trying to process and reprocess all kinds of pent up thoughts, feelings and emotions, and sometimes you just don’t know how to handle it. Maybe you’ve been trying for so long and you just can’t stand the pressure anymore?
If so, know that you’re not alone and that there is help out there. Some of you may be in a place where it is important that you do reach out and get professional help and support. Others of you may not be in such a place, but you may be finding it quite scary to be feeling some overwhelming emotions. As a society, we’re so used to avoiding painful emotions, numbing them out, distracting ourselves from them, when sometimes what we really need is to feel them, let them surface, let them out and process them so that eventually we can heal, move on, get stronger, and help other people. I never thought back then I’d ever be able to get through to the other side, it all felt so overwhelming and bleak, so know that you’re not alone, it is possible, and there is so much hope for you. My Hope Is in Jesus Christ, Who gets beyond the symptoms to the root cause in a way no mere mortal can and provide that deep healing and Peace that can only come from the Hand of The Creator Himself.
There is a time and time and a space for things to surface, and maybe if you have the chance during these restrictions, now might be the time for you to begin to feel, to allow yourself to feel difficult emotions and to begin to deal with things you’ve ‘shoved down’ inside yourself for so long.
It helps to have support with this so that we don’t allow our emotions to negatively impact others such as through angry outbursts or blaming others, but maybe a first step is to learn to gently sit with those painful feelings, to write them down perhaps and then to calm and quieten yourself by sitting in stillness in nature if you can or by speaking to a friend or someone who cares even if it is a stranger on the other end of a telephone.
Our fast paced lives may in time resume, but if it is your time just now, think about taking the opportunity to begin to allow yourself to feel and to heal from those difficult emotions and experiences you may have had in life. You’re not alone, so many people have come through so many things, so keep your head up, keep your heart strong, reach out for help, (I pray you will let the True Healer, Jesus Christ in to deeply heal those broken places) and begin to move forward into greater freedom in your life one step at a time.
I’m still on that journey, but I am just one testimony among many that there is Hope, which means there is also Hope for you.
Life can leave us with all kinds of internal wounds. You know what I’m talking about, right? A broken heart can be the result of all kinds of different things, not merely the lovelorn heart that we often read about in literature. Our hearts or spirits can be wounded or crushed because of not feeling loved, rejection, low self esteem, feeling like we don’t measure up, wounding words, verbal abuse, mental abuse, physical and psychological abuse, or just feeling ignored, hurt, used or left out in the world. Even when things seem to be going great, our hearts can get wounded because of friends taking us for granted or a harsh tone of voice. In this pandemic year, we are faced with many more challenges to normal. We see and hear of people dying from coronavirus and other things, we may feel isolated or alone or just disconnected even when around people. Empaths may be having a particularly hard time of it in feeling the pain of others. Then there are the circumstances related to ill health, mental health, financial worries, and so forth.
My heart was wounded and my spirit crushed pretty badly in childhood, over and over again and the effects still linger. I owe my life to my Saviour Who ‘heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’, (psalm 147:3) and it is ‘by His wounds we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5). There is no love so healing, so understanding, so compassionate and loving as the Love of Jesus. He knows and has felt every pain. He can make it right in His perfect way and time.
Over the past few years I have learned that I need to take better care of my heart because no other human being is going to do it for me – in fact, most people in our lives will hurt us in some way, even though there are people who love us deeply – it’s just the way things are in this broken world.
Ultimately, it is Jesus Who heals our wounds as we let Him in. Our Creator, Whose Heart was broken for us at the Cross and in His Life can more than Handle Healing and Renewing our broken hearts and making beauty come forth from them. There is nothing He cannot Redeem with His Sacrificial, Perfect Love poured out for us all.
God Is also a very practical God, and there are other ways we can strengthen our hearts too. The Source of Healing Is God Himself, by His Spirit and His Word, yet complementary to that we can all strengthen our hearts in different ways.
Healing and strengthening can come from friendships of mutual respect, love and care. There will be some people in the world that have said horrible things to or about you but isn’t it wonderful and healing and soothing to receive the kind words of a friend who will say you are valued, important, unique and wonderful (and if no one has ever told you that, then please receive them from me today). It strengthens our heart to give such true words to others too.
During times of depression, anxiety and mental distress, and chronic pain, I found that my brain found relief through creative activities such as arts, crafts, adult colouring in, music and such like. These kinds of activities engage areas of our brain related to healing, pain relief, pleasure and concentration or ‘flow states’. Over time, these have been like a medicine to me, and a source of joy and healing under God’s care.
Nature can strengthen our hearts, as can doing things that are helpful for our body and mind such as reading good books, looking after our health in what we eat, getting a healthy amount of exercise and positive self talk. Our hearts can also be strengthened through learning more about the lives and testimonies of others.
If you need some inspiration, know that the person writing to you was once so broken, crushed and defeated that I felt I could not and did not want to go on in life as a child, and then in adulthood have suffered from the recurring effects of that, but now I am finding a way forwards, and am moving through the stages of victim, rescued, survivor, overcomer to hopefully soon the next stage of ‘thriver’ by the Grace of God.
So if you are feeling defeated or down, know that there is hope for you. Take some time aside from the needs, demands and cruelty of others and give yourself time and space to strengthen your heart, daily. Please choose wisely as not everything we do is good for us -sometimes we want to numb out pain, but ultimately that leads to more problems or even destruction.
‘Guard your heart above all else for out of it spring forth the issues of life’.
Be blessed, be hopeful and take some time out to nurture yourself today. Perhaps like me you find that writing strengthens your heart too – if you haven’t written anything or blogged in a while, why not take a few minutes today to pick up a pen or type some words on your keyboard, whether or not you will share them with the world, with a friend, or keep them to yourself, it is a start and it might just give you a bit of ‘heart exercise’ that you need today.
With love and prayers, for your peace, salvation and wellbeing. x