Category: When Jesus You And Pain Meet
Sometimes we feel overlooked, forgotten, or unimportant. Sometimes it feels like:
Jesus walked by and left me in my pain.
And we often ask the question, Where is Jesus in my pain.
Read on to learn how Jesus is closer than you think. BUT FIRST, read John 5:1-17
Some insights on John 5:1-17
V. 2 “Pool of Bethesda” Bethesda means house of mercy or kindness. The name itself would spark hope. A place to find relief from pain.
V. 3-5 “...a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered...” There were many who needed to be healed, yet only one was healed. The others could only watch. Can you identify with them?
V. 6-7 “Sir, I have no man …” The Greek word is ἄνθρωπος - a human being. In other words he was looking for earthly solutions.
V. 8-9 “Jesus said to him…”
Some of the sick may have heard what Jesus had done in Capernaum at Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. He healed many. (Mark 1:32-34) Why isn’t Jesus healing many like He did then?
V. 10-13 “...Jesus had slipped away…”
Jesus slipped away. ἐκνεύω—to escape, slip away secretly, to literally swim away through the crowd. Imagine Jesus wiggling His way through the crowd trying to squeeze past people so that He can blend in. Often Jesus works in the back ground. Just because Jesus is silent does not mean that He is not working on your behalf.
V. 14 “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The impact and consequences of sin are much worse.
But what about the others? The room was full of people in pain. Can you hear them say, “Jesus walked by and left me in my pain.”?
5 lessons about Jesus, you, and pain
1. We can be so obsessed with wanting relief from our pain that we miss the message that Jesus has for us in our pain. Psalm 119:71 “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes”. Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Jesus, being generous, full of kindness, the embodiment of mercy, heals only when it is best for you.
2. Our heavenly Father’s primary purpose is not to fix our earthly problems. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
3. The power of Christ can be seen in my weakness because of His sustaining grace. And because of this sustaining grace, I can have a unique intimacy with Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
4. Jesus is so concerned about your spiritual state that He will use your physical pain to lead you to spiritual healing and growth. We should pray about all our needs, believing that God always desires the best for us. Matthew 6:8 “...your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
5. Sometimes God does bring the physical healing we desire. Sometimes He does not. This is because He has purpose in our pain. Joni Eareckson Tada has this to say about her spiritual journey and spiritual healing. “It is because of this healing that I got to a point to where I can earnestly say, I would rather be in this chair knowing Jesus than to stand on my feet without Him. And it was through this journey of healing that I made the rich, wonderful discovery that there are more important things than walking.” (A Journey ‘Beside Bethesda’)
His focus is on your growth and transformation.
His focus is on your eternal state.
His focus is on you intimate relationship with Him.
GOD’S WORD AND MY PAIN
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NASB)
Hebrews 4:15-16 “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (NLT)
Lamentations 3:19-14 “Lord, remember my suffering and my misery, my sorrow and trouble. Please remember me and think about me. But I have hope when I think of this: The Lord’s love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning ..I say to myself, ‘The Lord is mine, so I hope in Him.’”
Revelation 21:4 “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (NASB)
Category: When Jesus You And Pain Meet
What pain is staring you in the face? For one father in the Bible, his pain was the image of his dying child.
With each step he took, he felt the pain of the possibility of losing his child. That possibility was staring him in right in the face. It would have been a long and painful journey when he traveled to see Jesus!
This article contains a few lessons to remember when Jesus stretches your faith in the face of pain.
The Story of a Hurting Father
John 4:46 So He (Jesus) came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.
(From Cana to Capernaum was about a days walk)
V 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked (BEGGED ) him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
(This father’s request came from one of the deepest pains a parent can experience)
V 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
(You need to see things before you believe in Me and My work. You have limited perspective)
V 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
(The man must have felt: Helpless. Desperation for self and child. Responsibility for his family. Jesus is the only hope)
V 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
(Jesus said some powerful words. “Go”—not with me, just — “Go; your son lives”)
The father longed to hear those words, but not right then. He would have expected to hear those words after Jesus traveled back with him, while Jesus was standing in his house, after Jesus laid His hands on his son, but not here—not now—not when the pain was so fresh, so deep, and hope so far from reality.
When Jesus said, “Go your way, your son lives” He was saying, “Yes, I will heal your son but, walk by faith until you see My will revealed to you.”
The father walked alone in faith until the next day.
Can you imagine how the time would have passed? We are told that the father believed the words of Jesus (so he was walking in faith), but each step home was not what he had pictured.
He may have thought he would have Jesus walking beside him—but now he is alone! Yes, surrounded by his entourage, but in his thoughts, very alone.
He may have thought he would be having encouraging conversations with Jesus, but now four words were going through his mind: “Go, your son lives.”
Yesterday, those four words had filled him with faith in Jesus and hope of what He was doing for his dying son. Today, those four words may have been replaced with questions: “How could I leave without demanding that Jesus come back with me?…What will I say …What will I say to my son?…Should I turn around, go back, and negotiate with Jesus so that he will do things my way?”
In the midst of the father’s loneliness and crowded thoughts, he took one obedient step at a time to his home. In the midst of doubt or self-defeating thoughts, he would have hung onto the four words that Jesus gave him, “Go, your son lives.” He choose to believe.
V 51-53 Then, up ahead he saw one of his servants approaching him. “Why is he coming?... It must be news about my son... What happened? ... Is my son dead?... What about what Jesus said?... Don’t jump to conclusions... Control your anxiety... One step at a time... Wait for the news... Don’t start thinking or living in an unconfirmed reality… Wait until you hear what he says...”
The servant is now close enough to see his face and hear his voice…with a beaming face the servant yells, “YOUR SON LIVES!” The word used implies a sense of dependency.
This helpless father went to the one who helpless people go to, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
What can we learn from this father’s experience with pain?
· He experienced one of the deepest pains a parent can experience.
· He was desperate enough to stay on his journey until he found real help.
· He was desperate enough to express his need for help.
· He felt the responsibility of his child and family depending upon him.
· His wealth and position were useless in this situation
· Jesus was his only hope.
· His hope transformed into faith.
· He found strength in obedience.
· His life was changed.
What can we learn from Jesus’ response?
· My perspective is limited.
· My trust is often stretched.
· I am often asked to walk alone and with very little insight.
· I may have to wait for confirmation.
· The answer may not be what I expect.
· Whatever pain is staring you in the face will fade away when the words of Jesus are obeyed in faith.
Most stories include pain.
There is another story when our Heavenly Father had to stare pain in the face. This Father saw His son die a pain filled death. Luke 23 describes the agony that Jesus suffered. It also reveals the intimacy between the Father and the Son. (Luke 23:34, 56)
When you allow God to stretch your faith in the midst of your pain, you will see a lot more than the pain that is staring you in the face. You will see your Heavenly Father.
Category: When Jesus You And Pain Meet
In John 4:5-42 we find an encounter that Jesus had with a woman in pain. She was not just in pain, she had been ignoring the pain that had been in her life for years. As a result of ignoring her pain, she was living an empty and unfulfilled life.
Let’s look at a few aspects of her encounter with Jesus to see what can be gleaned about Jesus, you, and pain.
Why do we ignore pain?
· Often, pain is what we know. It is what we are used to living with. And if we get rid of the pain, that means change. We are not always ready for the unknown of change.
· We can ignore pain because we get hooked on the adrenaline of pain. It may sound odd, but our brains can get used to the feeling of pain.
· We also get hooked on the vice that relieves the pain. So, we keep the pain in order to enjoy the vice.
Before continuing take the time to read John 4:5-42
What are some of the inner pains that we ignore?
1. The pain of being disappointed in ourselves “You have five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband” John 4:18
We often believe the lie that there is someone or something out there that will make us feel complete (5 husbands and test driving another possibility). Complete acceptance of ourselves is only found in Christ. We often ignore the pain in life, or try to hide the pain with meaningless relationships and imitation love. Self-acceptance on our own merit is called idol worship. Acceptance of yourself through Christ is called grace, which leads to true worship of Christ.
2. The pain of not feeling understood
“He told me everything I ever did”. John 4:39
She finally faced a man that knew her. He is beyond husband material - she had an encounter with God!
3. The Pain of not being valued by others
“a woman of Samaria” John 4:9
Life is full of people and events that make us insecure.
We have a Savior who sees us, values us, and meets with us for meaningful interaction.
Why face the pain?
Jesus wants to point out the pain that you are ignoring so that…
-You can receive the fullness in this life that He offers. “Living water”. Abundant life. Un-surrendered pain robs us of a full life. Pain surrendered to Jesus brings meaning to life.
-You may “never thirst again” You do not have to be hindered or manipulated by that pain. We often settle for substitutes instead of true healing, and fulfillment.
-You can be a voice to this world that pain has a cure: Jesus!
“Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony, ... and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” John 4:39-42
The healing from your pain that you experience can be used by God to point others to Jesus.”
Two Powerful Words. “He stayed” - Wow, what a concept! Jesus stays with us. Just two words - but they can provide such comfort.
You may not always notice Him. You may not hear Him. But He stays close so that you may believe more than you did before.
What is your relationship with pain?
“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations
delight my soul.”
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6, 7
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus meets us right in our pain, in the most common places of life…like at a well.
What is one of the most common locations in your life? Meet Jesus there and ask him these three questions:
1. “What pain am I ignoring?”
2. “How can I be a voice in the world for You?”
3. “Will You please lead me to the person I can lead back to you?”
Category: Parenting Tools
Life is hard!
In each person’s life, there will be a mixture of difficult situations and pleasant situations. We can plan for some of these moments, but others take us completely by surprise. Often, difficulties are just a part of nature. Other times, difficulties are a result of another person’s behavior. Either way, it can create stress and pain. The world is not perfect and people are not perfect. Sooner or later, every person will have to face hardship of some kind, even children. During these stressful, often painful moments it is healthy to have a support base of encouraging people. More importantly, we need to remember that even without friends we are not alone. God‘s Word tells us that God is available and at work. This tool can help you to help your child learn healthy coping skills.
Here is a list of some good things that can happen in life:
__ Having a baby in the family
__ Having parents you love
__ Having parents love you
__ Getting a pet
__ Being healthy
__ Getting good grades
__ Having a good friend
Check the things that have happened to you and then write or tell about other good things that have happened to you:
Take time to thank God now.
Here is a list of some bad things that can happen in life:
__ Car accident
__ Family fighting
__ Sickness in the family
__ Death in the family
__ A child is hurt by a grownup
__ A person gets lost
Check the things that have happened to you and then write or tell about other bad things that have happened to you:
Read and talk about Psalm 46:1.
Take time to pray for some of the things you are having trouble with.
Sometimes the bad things that happen to us make us have confused feelings. Some times we don’t want to tell anyone about them. Here are some of the feelings people have during times like this:
__ Feel like hiding
__ Feel like running away
__ Feel like screaming
__ Feel like hurting someone
Have you ever felt any of these
feelings? Write down, or tell about other feelings you have when bad things
Pray to tell God how you feel and to ask for help with your feelings. You can also tell a safe adult (like a parent or teacher) and they can help you to respond to your feelings in healthy ways.
Category: Parenting Tools
As a parent, you may have doubts about your parenting skills and your effectiveness as a role model. You probably also have concerns whether your child will grow to be a conscientious and productive individual. How can you be firm when it is necessary, and still be tender and loving? How do you avoid overindulging your child, or know when they need an extra helping of attention?
Balancing discipline with love is a challenging task, but with consistency, calmness, and prayer you will find success!
Why do I get so frustrated?
As parents, we find ourselves bordering on panic and discouragement for different reasons, and during most stages of our child’s development. Panic leads to overreaction. We feel guilty when we lose our patience, and wonder how our child will ever develop into a successful and fulfilled adult. Often doubt can be avoided by using some preventative “medicine”.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help give you a realistic view of the situation:
1. Does my value of my child as a person depend upon their outward success?
2. Am I completely honest with myself and before my child?
3. Am I able to keep rules simple and flexible?
4. Do I avoid making promises I can’t or won’t keep?
5. Do I have tools for dealing with stress before it controls my reactions?
6. Am I aware that I do not have all the answers and am not threatened by it?
7. Do I say “no” too often, or do I say “yes” too often?
Steps to help my child avoid misbehavior.
1. Ensure that you are providing the appropriate amount of supervision for your child.
2. Ensure your own behavior reflects the type of behavior you desire your child to have.
3. Keep a general but flexible schedule for you and your child’s daily activities.
4. Provide activity options for your child that you can participate in with them.
5. Take time to teach and demonstrate activities for your child.
6. Encourage exploration of new and varied activities so your child will gain tools to reach their full potential.
Determining how and when to discipline:
1. Do I have unrealistic expectations?
2. Do I avoid “sermonizing”?
3. Do I give clear instructions?
4. Do I have too many rules?
5. Do I rely too heavily on punishment instead of redirection?
6. Do I allow my child opportunities to participate in simple choices? (“Do you want your bath before or after supper?”) This gives ownership in cooperation
7. Do I fail to give warnings or give too many warnings?
8. Do I discipline or punish while still angry?
9. Do I follow through consistently with discipline?
10. Do I overreact by the severity or duration of punishment? (Match the punishment to the offence).
11. Do I use discipline and punishment appropriately? (See the end of this article)
Loving my child more than perfection.
· I will show my child unconditional love without demands (as Christ loves me).
· I will pray daily for my child and with my child.
· I will praise my child more than I correct them.
· I will listen to and learn from my child.
· I will avoid belittling my child.
· I will consistently give positive reinforcement for my child’s successes.
· I truly forgive my child and leave the past in the past.
· I understand my child’s fears, hopes, strengths, and struggles.
Proverbs 22:6 “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Prayer: “God, I know I sometimes have not been the Christian parent that I intend to be. I believe that you love me and forgive my sin. Help me to use your example to love and forgive my child.”
Many people are confused by, or even fearful of, the terms “Punishment” and “Discipline”.
In this pamphlet we define the terms as follows:
Punishment is a consequence for a misbehavior with the purpose of getting a child’s attention.
(Example: Taking away a privilege ,or giving a “time out” for a younger child, or grounding an older child).
Discipline is a redirection or a growth-producing activity to teach and produce good habits
(Example: Calling someone to give an apology, or using their allowance to replace a broken item).
Discipline can also be an on-going activity to create family harmony, cooperation, and to teach personal responsibility. (Example: Helping with a chore).
Category: Parenting Tools
Our response when someone sneezes is often, "God bless you". Although we want God’s blessings for our loved ones, we can go days without telling them. Even more powerful than a statement of good will, is a prayer. The simplest and best prayer comes from the heart.
James 5:16 says, “When a good man prays, great things happen.”
Prayer will help you connect with your child. Praying regularly with your child will also help them learn how to connect with God in a natural way - by talking to Him!
If you place your hand on your child’s head or hold their hand, it emphasizes the importance of the moment and your desire to connect with them.
Activities like this are most beneficial with repetition. Prayer on a regular basis carries memories of past times, and brings a moment of peace between you and your child.
Even infants will benefit from prayer as you put them down to sleep. A prayer for the infant can also give the parent peace of mind. It is beneficial to practice in a setting that is non-threatening.
Prayer can be a soothing end to bedtime stories with toddlers and young children. Older children may resist a bedtime prayer, but the simpler and more natural you make it the less awkward it will be. Encourage your child to participate in prayer by asking them to share what needs they would like prayer for.
1 Jn. 5:14 “We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us) then God cares about what we say.”
Leaving the house
“God bless you in school today!” can become part of your morning goodbyes to your child and will become a welcome encouragement to them. It also reminds them that God is with them throughout the day.
A natural and spontaneous time to pray for and with your child is during a time of sickness as you give a prayer for a sick person’s recovery.
Times of crisis, transition, or a big event:
A test is coming up, it’s the day of tryouts for a team, a day of your teen’s driver’s test, or your young adult is leaving for college.
It’s not magic, but praying for God’s blessing can remind your child that you are carrying them in prayer during this special time and it will teach them that they can call on God’s aid in times of stress or difficulty.
Deut. 4:6”...Our God comes near when we pray to him.”
As you and your child pray together you will both be enriched by one another’s encouragement, and the knowledge that even when you are apart, God is always present with both of you.
The Bible teaches the value of children and the importance of giving them positive guidance.
Some of the truths taught in the Bible concerning children:
· Pass on family values to them
(Deut. 4:8, 6:7)
· Teach them how God has worked in the past (Joel 1:3)
· Teach behavior that will benefit their future and their relationship with the Lord (Ps. 78:5-7)
· Children are precious (Prov. 17:6)
· Children are a responsibility to take seriously (2 Cor. 12:14)
· Children are a blessing to us (Ps. 127:3-5)
· A parent should give good things to their child (Mt. 7:11)
· God makes time for children
· Discipline should be an expression of your love (Heb. 12:5-6)
· Children have things to teach us
· Children should be protected
· Having childlike faith is highly regarded by God (Mt. 18:2-4)
· We should refrain from purposefully
frustrating our child
(Eph. 6:4, Col 3:21)
You are a very special person!
There is no one exactly like you in the world.
God made you for a special reason.
God loves you just the way you are.
God wants to be part of your life.
You did not just “happen”. God made each part of you. Every finger, every hair, every freckle; God made all of you!
Psalm 139:13, 14 says: “You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well.”
But God did not stop there! He not only made you, he has a wonderful plan for you.
Psalms 139:16 says, “You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.”
Jesus says he will never leave you or forget you (Hebrews 13:5).
Because you are so special, it is important to take care of yourself and to be the best YOU possible. It’s a tough job, in fact it is impossible! That’s why God is ready to help!
With God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! Matthew 19:26
One way to be the best YOU is to get closer to God. You can do this by talking to him (pray), by listening to him (read your Bible), and by meeting with other people who also want to get close to God (like at church or in Bible study groups).
Psalm 119:11-16 says, “ I have taken your words to heart so I would not sin against you…I enjoy living by your rules...I will not forget your word.”
Everyone should have things that they like about themselves .
-List 5 things that you like about yourself.
-Draw a picture of yourself on a sheet of paper and write your name in a fun and special way.
Category: Healing Relationships
How do I know if I have forgiven?
Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27
· Forgiveness is not a one-time act. You will be practicing forgiveness every day, especially when memories attack you.
· Don’t gossip about what was done to hurt you...let it go. If you need help with your own emotions, keep it between you and one trusted, mature friend, and seek counseling
· Don’t threaten the one who wronged you or ask them to make it up to you.
· Desire for them to find their own healing.
· Don’t desire for them to look bad in other’s eyes or continue to be embarrassed or feel guilty for what they did to you in the past.
· Don’t assume that they will change or expect them to change — that is between them and God.
· Don’t expect them to acknowledge that they have done wrong or plead for your forgiveness—it is up to the Holy Spirit to convict them, not you.
· Pray for them to be blessed. Jesus tells us to pray for those who persecute us.
· Be kind to them. Jesus tells us to love our enemies
Try this activity:
1. Make a list of people who are hard for you to forgive. Then write what they did to hurt you.
2. Decide that you will forgive them for what they have done (It doesn’t mean what they have done is OK).
Read Galatians 6:1,2
Think of one thing you can do to help make things right. (Remember, your goal is for your own healing not to change them.)
3. Read Luke 6:27-34 in your Bible.
It tell us to...
- Pray for them.
- Do good, help them, and be kind to them.
- Bless them.
- Love them (See 1 Cor.13:4-8)
4. According to Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever forgives someone’s sin makes a friend.”
Try to make a friend by forgiving. Take your list to God and pray the following: “God, I forgive (name) for (offense).” Pray for one person at a time until you’ve prayed about all the things you need to forgive. Then move on to the next person on your list. If you aren’t sure what to do you may want to ask a Christian friend to help you.
5. After praying to forgive, cross off offences from your list to show that you want to get rid of the past. You may want to share what you have done with a trusted friend.
6. Your prayer is between you and God. The only time you need to go to the person you have forgiven is if you have said or done something to them that you need to make right.
7. Don’t try to change them or expect them to be different. But do keep praying for them.
8. Whenever you are tempted to remember the past and be angry again, go back and pray for God to help you. You can say “Dear God, I have forgiven (Name) but it is hard to forget. I want to love them and treat them how you would want me to treat them. Thank you for helping me to forgive”.
9. Forgiving someone does not necessarily mean a restored relationship. They may not be healthy enough for that.
Forgiveness is a very hard thing for anyone to do. But if we don’t forgive, the result will harm us even more.
There is a difference between forgiving someone, and trusting them and allowing continued hurt. There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.
Not forgiving does not help:
· It will not correct the situation.
· It does not punish or bring justice.
· It will not change the behavior.
· It cannot change the past.
· It keeps you in “victim mode.”
When you forgive, your healing will begin:
· You will no longer be controlled by what others have done.
· Bitterness will no longer harm you.
· You will no longer be the victim.
· You will live in obedience
It has been said that refusing to forgive as a form of punishment is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person.
Why should I forgive them? You don’t know how badly I was hurt.
Why should I forgive them? They aren’t even sorry.
Why should I forgive them? They keep on hurting me.
Why should I forgive them? They don’t deserve it.
Why should I forgive them? I want them to suffer like they have made me suffer.
Forgiveness is an important step toward
having a good relationship with God:
Matthew 6:14, 15
“...if you forgive others for the things they do wrong, then your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong. But if you don’t forgive the wrongs of others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrong things you do.”
Notice: This does not say anything about forgetting. Instant amnesia is not part of forgiveness
How does unhealthy or sinful anger look?
One of the first things we should try to do when we are angry is to calm down, but it is hard to calm down when you are near the situation that caused your anger in the first place. That is why taking a “Time Out” could help. This is not a punishment, it is just a tool to keep you from getting into trouble.
A “Time Out” allows you to see the situation more clearly, and gives you the chance to plan what to do, and what to say.
What a time out is NOT for, is to get attention, to pout, to plan ways to get revenge, or to avoid facing the issue.
Sometimes it is helpful to write down your thoughts. You may want to think of who made you angry and what happened that angered you. What feelings are you experiencing besides anger? Are you feeling sad, lonely, worried, or maybe even guilty?
Try to think of things that contributed to the situation. What are you responsible for? You also may want to write down what you could have said or done differently.
It is often helpful to think of ways you can correct the situation. You can’t change what others do but you can always do the God-honoring thing.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
· Should I apologize? OR Do I need to forgive someone?
· Would it help to wait for the situation to change or cool off before moving forward?
· Do I need to ask for another person to get involved or mediate?
· Do I need to clarify my feelings or get more information?
It is also important to consider the viewpoint of others. This is a good time to plan ways to avoid similar situations in the future.
Most importantly, this “Time Out” should be used to pray. Pray for understanding. Pray for guidance. Pray for the ability to make wrongs right. Ask God for wisdom. Share how you feel. God is a good listener and He cares!
Causes and Signs of Anger
Despite how it may look, there is a cause for anger:
· Fear—facing danger or difficulty
· Pain—harmed emotionally, physically, mentally
· Injustice—loss of control, rights or ownership.
· Frustration—feeling helpless or weak.
Anyone who plays sports understands that there is a need to take “Time Outs” for your team. “Time Outs” are for rest, to plan what to do next, to see what the coach wants you to do, or to make changes in the way you are playing.
“Time outs” can also be helpful to us in dealing with anger by giving us time to think of the best way to respond in the situation.
When is my anger a problem?
1. When it is too frequent.
2. When it is too intense.
3. When it lasts too long.
4. When it leads to aggression.
5. When it disrupts work or relationships.
6. When it affects health.
7. When it is ignored.
We experience emotions daily.
Some emotions cause us pleasure, some cause us pain.
Emotions are normal:
· Emotions are a natural, God-given response to the world around us.
· Emotions are a response to events and outside influences.
· Emotions are also a response to our own thoughts and beliefs.
When we react to our emotions before we process them it can create chaos and cause harm.
God desires for you to have victory, even in the midst of emotional turmoil.
We all have a tendency to let our emotions dictate what we are going to say or do. We say things like, “I know I should exercise today but I just don’t feel like it.”
Letting our emotions guide us will only lead to disaster.
The way to successful living:
· Allow FACTS (or truth) to guide your thoughts.
· ACT in FAITH based on that truth.
· EMOTIONS (feelings) will become more manageable and may even begin to transform.
· Result: Fewer uncontrollable or spontaneous outbursts or responses, less regret, healthier relationships.
God has created us as emotional beings. God shows emotion as well; however, God’s emotions are always appropriate and controlled.
Here is what the Word says about our thoughts, actions, and emotions:
Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”
Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
Psalm 26:2 “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. “
Psalm 27:13, 14 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Colossians 3:2, 12, 13 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth... So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.’
The way to overcome our potential negative responses is to use truth as the guide, and by replacing the negative thoughts with positive. Here are some helpful activities:
· Keep a list handy of scriptures and positive truths that speak to you.
· Make a conscious effort to replace doubts and negative thoughts with “But God…” thoughts:
Instead of just saying, “That event wore me out.” Include, “But God I trust you to use it to make me grow.” Instead of just saying, “I am weak” Add, “But God is strong and it is through Him that it will be accomplished!”
· Taking the focus off of “Poor me” and placing it on the One who deserves the focus is the best way to live positively and with purpose.
· List 5 things you are thankful for: when discouraged, when you begin your day or at night . Don’t just list the same things—keep adding new things.
· Worship music is a good way to combat negative thinking.
Written by Mark and Sheryl Douras
Being a parent of a chronically ill child places you in a unique category of grief. This category could be called a “Living Grief”. You have not lost your child through death. But due to the illness, you now own a list of losses that you have to live with. It is important for you to understand that this grief is what you are facing and will face.
Let’s take a look at grief in general. We at Refreshing Mercies see grief as a series of waves. We use the image of waves because each element of grief is experienced more than once and just like waves the effects of grief are unpredictable and vary in size and strength. The more you keep an eye on the waves the more you will be able to handle them.
Keep an eye on the “Waves of Grief” that you will experience.
Let us now consider the uniqueness of a “Living Grief”.
In general, grief often makes us selfish. This selfishness is reflected in our emotions, thoughts, and behavior. It is also seen in how we spend our time and energy. Grief can also cause us to isolate ourselves from those who love us and those who need us the most. As a parent of a chronically ill child you must balance your needs with the needs of the rest of your family.
Here are 5 tips to help you survive during your journey of “Living Grief”.
1. Relate to your ill child. Enter their world and let them enter your world. Perspectives from both worlds are important for both of you. Comfort and understanding, security and challenge, appreciation and respect are gained for all who participate in sharing these worlds.
2. Playtime is important. The meaning of playtime varies depending upon the age of your child. It is important to both the parent and to the child as you engage with your child at whatever level and meaning of play they can participate in. Your child needs to have you be part of their play world.
3. Take care of yourself. Remember the instructions when flying? “First, place your oxygen mask on. Then, help your child get their mask on.” This principle is so important for your longevity in being the parent that your child needs. Eat healthy. Stay hydrated. Plan times of rest. Be faithful in some sort of exercise. Taking care of yourself is key in managing your stress.
4. Manage your stress levels. Monitoring and managing your own stress is vital for your health, your child’s emotional health, and for the health of your marriage.
5. Strive to maintain a normal balanced life with your child when possible. Your child and your family will benefit from structure and stability in the home.
The American Psychological Association says:
“When a child is sick, parents often have a tendency to become overprotective. Try not to shelter your child or limit his activities unnecessarily. On the other hand, some parents of sick children become overly permissive — allowing the child to stay up late, for example, or to have extra snacks. But children crave structure, and may become scared or confused if you start breaking your own rules. As much as possible, try to maintain the same family routine you had before your child became ill.
Many parents struggle with how to speak to a child about his or her illness. Be sure you're sharing age-appropriate information. Don't give too much information, but also don't try to hide the facts. If a child overhears a doctor or doesn't understand what's happening, he or she may begin to imagine the worst.
Talk to your child about what he or she is feeling. Parents may be surprised by which aspects of an illness are most difficult for a child. For instance, children with cancer may find not being able to do things they used to do more stressful than uncertainty about their survival.
Sick kids can also feel isolated at school. Help them practice a short script so they can explain their condition to friends or classmates who ask questions or stare.
If you have other children, it's important to make some one-on-one time with them, too, so they know they're still important. Make them part of the team; help them figure out how they can be involved in caring for their brother or sister.”
Here are a few coping tools that may help you in your journey:
1. Keep lists:
2. Once you have your lists:
3. Journaling is also a helpful tool to express yourself. It allows you to get your thoughts out of your head without keeping them stifled inside of you or reacting explosively to other people. This tool also allows you to learn from your journey by seeing your personal growth and, most importantly, seeing God’s activity in your life.
4. Enlist the support and companionship of family, friends and your church community.
Now let’s turn to God’s Word.
Luke 17:11-19 says that there were ten men who had had the chronic disease of leprosy. We do not know how long they had this decease or the severity of the decease. But we do know a few things about what they must have experienced:
Whether we and our children return to a normal life or not, the thing that makes the difference is if Jesus is part of that life. Leprosy was not the only thing that was healed in that one man’s life on that day. He saw the healing power of Jesus. He was grateful for the healing that he had received. I believe that he knew that he needed more physical healing. Carry this one thought with you: Through Words of Christ, thanksgiving heals many wounds.
By Mark and Sheryl Douras, Refreshing Mercies Ministry
The following links to articles may be of interest.
Written by Mark and Sheryl Douras
Psalm 116:17 offers a loving challenge for us who face loss during Thanksgiving. It says, “To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord.” The interesting thing is that two verses before this verse the author reveals that he probably recently lost his mother.