When Those You Love The Most, Hurt You The Most

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.” 
― E.A. BucchianeriBrushstrokes of a Gadfly,

 

The above quote sounds very depressing and hopeless, doesn’t it? It is difficult to live in this broken world without being hurt. I think that it is even more difficult when you have been hurt by someone you love. Being hurt like that can leave you feeling like the following lyrics by Nazareth:

Love hurts
Love scars
Love wounds and marks
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain
Love hurts
Ooh love hurts

In my life, a number of my loved ones have hurt me in that way. Each time has left me reeling and feeling shocked, betrayed, bruised, and sick physically, mentally and emotionally. Such times as these are very challenging for me as I already have to deal with daily chronic pain and fatigue.

I am a very emotional person and I love big and feel much. So when someone I love hurts me, I hurt big and feel much.

How I deal with such circumstances is not only a physical. mental and emotional challenge, it can also be a big spiritual challenge.

As a Christian, how am I to deal with those who have hurt me? First of all, I really shouldn’t be surprised that loved ones could/would hurt me. The enemy, Satan, has turned loved ones against one other since the Garden of Eden – Adam blamed Eve; Cain killed his brother Abel; Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Satan uses people to hurt people all the time. The Bible even warns us that family members will turn against one another:

 Luk 12:53 They will be at war, the father against his son, and the son against his father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. 

So when my loved ones hurt me, I must remember who it is that is actually orchestrating that situation. I try to remember what Jesus said when he was crucified by some of the very people he had come to heal and deliver:

Luk 23:34 And Jesus said, Father, let them have forgiveness, for they have no knowledge of what they are doing.

I must also remember that God loved me, even when I was a sinner. He loved me enough to sacrifice his son Jesus, and Jesus loved me enough to die for me.

Rom 5:8 But God has made clear his love to us, in that, when we were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us.

God’s Word tells us how we are to treat those who sin against us and hurt us.

Mat 5:44 But I say to you, Have love for those who are against you, and make prayer for those who are cruel to you;
Mat 5:45 So that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven;

Luk 6:27 But I say to you who give ear to me, Have love for those who are against you, do good to those who have hate for you,
Luk 6:28 Give blessing to those who give you curses, say prayers for those who are cruel to you.

Mat 18:21 Then Peter came and said to him, Lord, what number of times may my brother do wrong against me, and I give him forgiveness? till seven times?
Mat 18:22 Jesus says to him, I say not to you, Till seven times; but, Till seventy times seven.

Luk 17:3 Give attention to yourselves: if your brother does wrong, say a sharp word to him; and if he has sorrow for his sin, let him have forgiveness.
Luk 17:4 And if he does you wrong seven times in a day, and seven times comes to you and says, I have regret for what I have done; let him have forgiveness.

I know that I have also been guilty of hurting loved ones and for those times I am truly sorry. But, since I am a Christian, I have faith through Jesus, that God has forgiven me my sins. And since I have been forgiven, I must in turn forgive others and continue to love them.

Col 3:12 As saints of God, then, holy and dearly loved, let your behaviour be marked by pity and mercy, kind feeling, a low opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, and a power of undergoing all things;
Col 3:13 Being gentle to one another and having forgiveness for one another, if anyone has done wrong to his brother, even as the Lord had forgiveness for you:
Col 3:14 And more than all, have love; the only way in which you may be completely joined together.

Blessings

 

 

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The Seven Year Itch?

Mar 10:8 And the two will become one flesh; so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Mar 10:9 Let not that which has been joined together by God be parted by man.

According to Wikipedia, “the seven-year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. The phrase was first used to describe an inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage in the play The Seven Year Itch by George Axelrod, and gained popularity following the 1955 film adaptation starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell.”

This summer we celebrate seven years of marriage. Like most (all?) marriages, it has not always been smooth sailing.

We have had to deal with the personal baggage that came with each of our previous long-term but unsuccessful marriages. I would like to say that I have put all that stinking garbage behind me but the old insecurities and the fear of being rejected – again – continue to pop their ugly heads back up every once in a while. I know that hubby has his share of insecurities too. We work at over-coming these issues by talking about them and by telling, and showing, one another just how very much we love one another.

We both continue to struggle with the effects of chronic illness – specifically pain, fatigue and mental stress. Since we both suffer chronic pain, we can readily empathize with one another. We treat one another with concern and compassion and look for ways to comfort one another. This can be challenging when we are both unwell at the same time. It can also get very frustrating when the symptoms seem to drag on day after day. This is when we must work on exercising our patience along with our compassion.

We each have adult children from our previous marriages. Our children have brought their own respective baggage into our marriage. Since Paul and I love one another, we have also chosen to love one another’s families. This has been a REAL challenge at times, especially since our parenting styles were, and are, very different. Since our children are adults (chronologically anyways – lol), ‘parenting’ takes on a whole new dimension which often feels like we can only use the  ‘stand back and watch the accident happen’ method of parenting. Our children’s issues and behaviours have often caused stress in our marriage. At such times, I need to remind myself of what is most important – my relationship with my husband, rather than the foibles of our kids. After all, God did say:

Mat 19:6 Then let not that which has been joined by God be parted by man. (Insert children, parents and in-laws).

We also continue to struggle with financial constraints. Starting lives over from scratch, legal financial obligations, health issues affecting work ability, and yes, even some unwise expenditures, have all contributed to some difficult and lean times. But one of the reasons that I love my hubby is that he has NEVER made me feel like I am a financial burden when I have not been able to contribute to the household finances. Rather, he has often felt badly that he has not been able to provide me with the kind of lifestyle he wants to give me. During the lean and challenging times, we focus on the things that are really important in life, like our love for one another.

Challenges have also arisen in the way in which each of us approaches our day-to-day activities and household chores. I am creative and love decorating my home. My hubby can never quite ‘visualize’ my ideas, especially if it involves second-hand furniture.(LOL) I am also analytical, detail aware, practical and love to  be organized. Frustratingly for me at times, my hubby does not always share these ‘wonderful’ qualities. He definitely does not approach housework and washing dishes “my way”. I have learned to be grateful for the fact that he does those chores at all – and usually with no complaint.

While we are kindred spirits in many areas, I don’t always like the same kinds of movies and programs that he likes to watch. We live in a small, 1 level home, so when he is watching something that bothers me, we employ the use of the A.P.M.H. – which is the ‘Apparatus for the Preservation of Marital Harmony’ a.k.a the wireless headphones. Every home should have a least 1 pair of these!

Even with all the challenges our marriage has faced in the past seven years, I am very thankful that we have only ever had one major blow-up, and that happened in our ‘early years’ of marriage.

Although the years have not always been easy, we have been so very blessed to have one another. We are truly one another’s best friend, soul-mate, kindred spirit and lover. Because we both had difficult first marriages, we greatly appreciate, and choose to focus on, all the good qualities we each have. And we count our many blessings every day. We also laugh – A LOT – both at each other and ourselves. Loving humour can smooth over a multitude of flaws.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, my hubby Paul has been an answer to prayer and every day “I thank my God in remembrance of him”.

Life since marrying Paul has been the happiest time of my life. I can’t imagine living without him. I pray for ‘seven times seventy’ more years with him.

Son 1:2 Let him give me the kisses of his mouth: for his love is better than wine. 

 

 

Blessings

The Bad Guys Win??

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace will be crushing Satan under your feet before long.

(Warning – Spoiler Alert for Avengers; Infinity War movie)

While my hubby and I share a lot of common interests, our taste in movies can be quite different. I think that my guy is sweet, sensitive and fairly mild-mannered, so I am always puzzled by the fact that he LOVES action movies filled with explosions, gunfire, and martial arts fighting. When I have questioned him about it he has answered that he likes the movies where the good guys kick bad guys’ butt – where good triumphs over evil.

He recently went to the cinema with his kids to watch the new Avengers movie, “Avengers; Infinity War” and received a bit of a shock when at the end of the movie – the bad guys won!!

With the way that evil is growing in the world and the way that the entertainment industry panders to violent society, I will not be surprised to see more and more movies and tv shows starting to show the bad guys winning over the good guys – evil triumphing over good.

So I am very glad that I know the truth that no matter how bad things get in this world, it is only for a time and then there will be a stop to it and then finally goodness will prevail over evil – once and for all!

Rev 12:12 Be glad then, O heavens, and you who are in them. But there is trouble for the earth and the sea: because the Evil One has come down to you, being very angry, having the knowledge that he has but a short time.

Rev 20:10 And the Evil One who put them in error was sent down into the sea of ever-burning fire, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their punishment will go on day and night for ever and ever.

Rev 17:14 These will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because he is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with him are named, marked out, and true.

Joh 16:33 I [Jesus] have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world.

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1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings

 

 

 

A Sacrifice of Praise

There have been many times in my life when I wished that I had the talent to write beautiful psalms like King David did. This evening was one of those times.

Summer evenings are my favourite time and since my hubby was away for the evening, I decided to go for a bike ride around my ‘hood. Now my idea of a good bike ride is travelling just slightly faster than a quick walking pace – so basically, a casual stroll on 2 wheels.

I love the mellow light and the cool freshness of the air during summer evenings. Life seems more restful and peaceful. I love the golden glow of the setting sun as it highlights the tops of the trees.

My neighbourhood and the country road out to the highway are thickly lined with verdant trees and plants in every shape and size and hue of green (my favourite colour) from lime to emerald.

The mild evening air is heavenly scented with the sweet but light perfume of flowering shrubs and trees.

And the air is filled with the sounds of birds – robins, wrens, flycatchers and wood thrushes –  singing their evening choruses.

Life feels very sweet at such times and I thank God for these moments.

As I was offering up my thanksgiving unto God for the beauty of the evening, and wishing that I could write a psalm for Him, I remembered the following chorus I used to sing at fellowship gatherings:

We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord.
We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord.

And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of thanksgiving;
And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of joy

 

I don’t know if the neighbours appreciated my singing, but I think my Heavenly Father did.

Blessings

Lessons in the Pain

I have not felt like writing much in the past few months. The winter was filled with stress – physical, emotional and mental. It is said that you can’t get blood from a stone; well, I say that you can’t get good thoughts from someone who feels brain-dead and heart numb.

I recently had a birthday, but for me it was not really a happy one. I have been struggling with chronic pain since my early 30’s and now that I am in my mid 50’s I am a bit battle fatigued. I have been plagued by the thoughts that if I am in this much pain now, what will I be like in the next 20-30 years? On top of the usual chronic pain I have also developed additional, and at times, severe pain in the groin area of one hip. The pain hits suddenly and is intense enough to cause me to exclaim out loud and almost drop me to my knees. This has happened to me while going for a walk, going up or down stairs, and even on a ladder.

I never know when that particular pain is going to hit me so I am nervous about going on any long nature hikes – which is a passion of mine. I think that aspect of the pain is causing me to feel very frustrated, angry and depressed. My husband and I are just beginning to plan to embark on enjoying retirement activities, most of which involved traveling with our “new” trailer, camping and nature hikes. This new pain aspect has filled me with fear about the possible limitations it may be imposing on my ability to fulfill our retirement dreams.

Pain has definitely slowed me down and at times, has stopped me in my tracks completely.

So, the topic of pain has been on my mind a lot lately and since pain plays such a large role in my life, I have been trying to learn if there has been, and/or is, any positive lessons that may have come about through the suffering of pain.

In some ways, pain has made me stubborn and a determined fighter. I refuse to give up on life simply because I am in pain. When I was younger and in pain, I still had two children to look after, a family to help support financially and a home to maintain. I no longer have young children nor have to work outside the home, but I still have a home to maintain and loved ones who need my help. Pain can certainly teach you perseverance.

Pain has taught me courage. It can be very difficult to choose to continue living when you are suffering a lot of pain. Choosing to move forward, to move past the pain, to continue loving, living and giving of yourself in the midst of suffering takes courage.

Pain can also teach patience. I must admit that I am not very good at patience. I have an active and adventurous soul and I like to keep busy both physically and mentally. I hate waiting for the episodes of pain and fatigue to pass so that I can accomplish something. But I am learning that I need to be patient with myself and if necessary, give time for the pain meds and/or rest to start working. Chronic pain can make me grumpy, so I have to learn to be patient with my loved ones if they are not understanding my pain or are doing things or not doing things which may frustrate me during that challenging time.

Pain has taught me to have empathy with, and compassion towards, others who may be suffering pain. My husband suffers from chronic daily headaches as well as migraines. Since we both suffer pain, it is easier for us to be very understanding, helpful and loving to one another during our bad times. Some of the most loving people I know are those who have suffered or continue to suffer some sort of pain.

There can be much misery in chronic or severe acute pain. I don’t like feeling miserable. Pain has taught me that I need to make good choices about the focus of my thoughts. I do my best to look for, and focus on, the blessings, large or small, that fill my day.

Believe it or not, pain can actually teach me gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT thankful for the pain! However, I do try to develop an attitude of gratitude for all the blessings that God has given me. I am thankful for my loving, understanding and patient hubby. I am thankful for my Mom who like me, also suffers from chronic and often debilitating pain, but who still remains an example of sharing God’s love with others. I am grateful for my sisters-in-Christ who offer encouragement and prayers when I need them. I am thankful for my peaceful home; the sound of the wind in the trees; the birds at my feeder and their cheerful birdsong. I am thankful for my warm and fuzzy cat; her affectionate cuddles and purring do much to alleviate negative thoughts and feelings. I am VERY thankful for the times when I am able to indulge in some of my favourite physical activities, like going for nature walks, biking or canoeing. I treasure such times like rare and precious jewels. The pain that usually ensues is almost always worth the enjoyment I received from the activity. I am also grateful for the helps that God has provided in the way of good medical care, medicine, therapy and long, hot Epsom salt soaks in my new bathtub.

Pain has also taught me to rest – something that I don’t really like doing, unless I have a good book to read! Sometimes, you just have to learn when to let go of things and simply accept it when you need times of rest. Since I am usually unable to nap, I look to find creative ways to fill my “rest” periods such as reading, watching nature documentaries, or doing a small craft.

Finally, pain has taught me to hope. While I have all but given up hope of being healed in this lifetime, I know and believe that when Jesus comes again, my body will be completely renewed and I will never suffer pain or sickness again. Now that is a hope to hold on to!

Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away.

When a Parent Hurts

Image result for image of sad parent

I have not written anything here for quite a while as I have been struggling with increased pain, fatigue, and depression, but this subject has been on my heart for a while so I am trying to get some writing done today.

I think that the two most difficult jobs in the world are being married and being a parent. Of the two, I sometimes feel that being a parent is the more difficult of the two.

There is something special about the bond that is formed between parent and child. As a mother, I “planned” for both of my children and eagerly awaited confirmation of their existence. I carried them in my womb with excitement, wonder and awe, along with trepidation, anxiety and fear as I had some complications.

I was a young mom – maybe too young – but I really wanted to be a mom. Throughout all the ups and downs of parenthood, I have never once wished that I didn’t have my children in my life – maybe out of my sight and hearing for a while, but never out of my life.

Besides the challenge of training and disciplining our children, I think the hardest part of being a parent is during the times when we must watch our children suffer and we feel unable to help them.

Both of my children are grown and have children of their own now, but as I have told them a few times, you never stop being a parent, no matter how old your children are. Perhaps being the parent of adult children is the most challenging time of all. You can’t hold their hand to make sure that they don’t fall and hurt themselves. You can’t make wise choices and decisions for them. You can’t ground them to discipline them and keep them safe.

Instead, you have to hope that all the training, guidance and words of wisdom you gave to them throughout their childhood, have remained front and foremost in their minds and are put into practice in their adult lives.

But what happens if, despite all your love, all your support and encouragement, all your guidance and wise instruction, your child makes choices which are harmful to them and causes them pain, sorrow, loss, suffering and grief?

Can you stop loving your child? No! Can you walk away from them and forget them? No! Do you suffer, mourn and grieve with them? Yes! Do you feel absolutely helpless to do anything to alleviate your child’s suffering? Often, yes.

So what do you do in that situation? I look to The One who is the original parent, the Creator and parent of us all, the Heavenly Father. He wanted us; He planned for us; He created us; He eagerly awaited having a relationship with us. He provided the best of everything that we could possibly need or want. He gave us His love, His wisdom, His counsel.

And then, despite all that we had been given, we made a wrong choice and we immediately began to suffer the painful consequences.

Did God stop loving us? No!

Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Joh 3:16 For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life.

Did God forget us and forsake us? No!

Deu 4:31 For Jehovah your God is a merciful God; He will not forsake you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.

Heb 13:5 Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, “Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!”

Does God suffer when his children are suffering? Yes!

Isa 53:4 Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;

Is God unable to help His children in times of need? No!

Isa 43:15 I am Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.
Isa 43:16 So says Jehovah, who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters;

I am absolutely convinced that God is the ultimate loving parent and that He suffers, greaves and mourns when His children make wrong choices and suffer unpleasant consequences. I also believe that He is not only “all-knowing” but also “all-powerful” and ” able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”, unlike the human me, who is often powerless to do anything about my child’s suffering.

So when I am a hurting parent, I turn to The One whom I know understands and cares about how I feel AND who is able to do something about the situation. I just need to learn to bring it to Him; leave it with Him, and trust in Him to bring good out of bad situations.

Image result for image of God comforting

2Ti 1:12  but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard My deposit unto that Day.

Blessings

 

Floating

When I was a child, my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons. She had been a competitive swimmer in school and we lived near Lake Ontario, so she thought that it was important for me and my two younger sisters to learn how to swim.

Many of those lessons took place in the morning in an outdoor pool – an unheated, outdoor pool. I remember one morning when the water was so cold, that a frog, who had unhappily landed in the pool, was shocked into a living rigor mortis! We soon joined the frog with equally frozen stiff limbs!

Although I did learn how to swim, it wasn’t all that enjoyable for me because I had to struggle to stay afloat. Treading water long enough to pass my swim test was an agony. I just couldn’t seem to bob along merrily.

I loved being in the water – just as long as I was sure that my feet could touch the bottom! But, deep water always held a bit of a terror for me.

Fast forward many years and I suddenly discovered that I was able to float – with a minimum of effort on my part. I have discovered that there is one good thing to middle-age, menopausal weight gain – fat floats! So now I can bob along quite merrily. It is a simple joy to just lay back, relax and float.

My hubby and I have often talked about going to a spa to try out a floatation therapy tank. Below is a description taken from a spa website:

Clients typically enter a private spa room outfitted with a floatation tank that holds 93-degree water containing 1,000 pounds of pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. The water is as dense as the Dead Sea, where one can float on the surface effortlessly without any body manipulation. Clients enter the tank nude, wearing earplugs and close the hatch behind them. They then lie back and float for 60 to 90 minutes in complete darkness. Because the temperature of the water is the same as skin temperature, within a few minutes you lose the sensation of where the body stops and the water starts.

I think that it would be just wonderful to lay in warm water in a quiet and soothing atmosphere – just floating in relaxing bliss.

This past weekend I attended a women’s conference at my church. Its focus was on encouraging us to spend more time carrying out what is commonly known as “the great commission” – that being, to make disciples of others.

Mat 28:19 Go then, and make disciples of all the nations, giving them baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

I used to get enthusiastically fired up and raring to go after such teachings, however, this time, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable – perhaps a but guilty or condemned. I kept doing an internal systems check to see if I could find the problem, but I couldn’t come up with anything specific.

After a time of prayerful introspection, I came to the conclusion that I am just at a stage of ‘floating’. By that I mean that I am currently floating in a relaxing, spiritual bliss, safe in the loving arms of my Heavenly Father.

In a previous post , Striving vs. Living, I wrote the following:

“I [have] discovered the truth that the main purpose for my life was to have a close and loving relationship with my Heavenly Father, my Abba. This is something that I am able to do 24/7, whether or not I am attending church, carrying out ministry or volunteer work, or just staying at home.

I must confess though, that because I am a “do-er” type of person, and because I know the great need of this world and have a sense of urgency, I can still struggle with the feeling that I need/should be “doing” more. But I try to allow God to be the one to open up opportunities for ministry rather than me “chasing” them. I also try to remember to “bloom where I am planted”, which at this time, is looking after my beloved husband, and “being there” for my sons and mother, all of whom are struggling with various life’s challenges.

Now, instead of always feeling like I need to be constantly striving to carry out some sort of “work” for God, I spend much more time enjoying living with Him – no matter what I am doing.”

I have spent several years in active ministry. Even now, I lead a weekly women’s Bible study and I write this blog. I also try to do my best to share God’s truth, and Jesus’ way of living, with all the people in my life.

My life has been filled with a lot of stress over the past year and I am feeling a bit wrung out. But I have been finding comfort in the peaceful knowing that my God understands and that He is okay with me just ‘floating’ in His arms of love.

Come float with me.

Blessings

I am carried in the arms of grace and love divine
I am held by hands of healing washed by water pure
Lifting up my heavy heart held in grace scarred hands
I am carried in the arms of grace and love divine

Geoff Bullock