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Having been on the receiving end of many of these phrases and been made to feel like it is my burden alone to carry, it is time many of our called Christian favourite pull-out phrases go under the microscope. We tout these out making us feel like we have responded in a caring, Christian manner when in fact we have only added to the isolation and pain. Some of the responses below aren’t even biblical. Like many other sayings, they have come about from home spun, pull yourself up theology. I never want to be on the receiving end of these again, nor do I want to ever find myself saying them to someone in painful, messy, traumatic circumstances. Instead I hope to offer practical help, just turn up with the cleaning gear, the meal, the hug and never ever offer empty phrases or wait to be asked to help out. It also means forgiving those, who in their narrowness and inabilities, didn’t intentionally mean to harm. And hope through grace and maturity will grow to be more caring and embracing of pain in others.

Marilyn R. Gardner

crisis

  1. God will never give you more than you can handle. While some may believe it is theologically correct, depending on your definitions, it is singularly unhelpful to the person who is neck-deep in a crisis, trying to swim against a Tsunami. A wonderful phrase recently came from Support for Special Needs. They suggest changing this from “God will never give you more than you can handle” to “Let me come over and help you do some laundry.” This strikes me as even more theologically correct.
  2. It gets better. Yes, yes it does. But right then, it’s not better. And before it gets better, it may get way worse.
  3. When God shuts a door, he opens a window. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe he just shuts a door. Maybe there is no window. There was no window for Job. There was a cosmic battle that raged as he sat in distress. There…

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During the critical times of our lives we are often supported by others. Family, friends, spiritual, anything as long as it gets us through.

I was talking to a close friend the other day and this point got highlighted for me and it is obviously time to meditate on it and where to head next.

Life over the past few years has been about survival. Just keeping myself and the children safe was the goal. Even though I am a christian there have been massive chunks of times where prayer was too hard. My mind would skitter from thought to thought, emotion to emotion, focusing for even a short time was too hard. Fear of my ex-partner, fear for my daughter, my deep depression blocked any kind of ability to have a meaningful conversation. I couldn’t also voice what was needed, what we needed to survive. Words failed me and I would throw it out to God knowing on some level that He would not fail me and would provide. I am acutely aware of being carried these years. Of not having to put the hard work into being a christian as such, as God was giving me the strength and what I needed each day, cause He knew better. The prayer of others supported us. Knowing I couldn’t pray properly or consistently, their prayers gave me encouragement, grounding and hope. I cannot express how great this offering from my friends has been.

Now the survival time is pretty much over. We are safe, carried lovingly to this place, though the lessons learned have been tough. I have been given space to start to learn and feel again and discover who I am and what I am not. I don’t need to be carried as such, it is now time for me to be obedient (not dutiful) as God commands me to be. It is now about what I can bring to the table and offer to God. My offering is myself, my time, my obedience. To show gratitude for the grace and gifts given. It means finding a quiet time to meditate on the word of God, talking to Him and discovering prayer properly again. It means too sharing and giving to those around me of what I have learned over the past few years, offering strength and hope I know to be real. God has given me a tough life lesson list that I can use to listen and care for others. I want to show that no matter how tough life can be, we endure, we are held, we find what we need in the most amazing places. Wisdom is learnt and given by God (often the hard way) but it does build a stronger life with a purpose that can be shared and used to support others. What a crime it would be not to use that.

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I have discovered Matthew West – please enjoy the two music videos.

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Grace Is…

One of my followers (storm in a teacup) blog this beautiful poem about grace – it is perfect.

Grace Is…

by Genny Heikka

the unexplainable hope

that washes away

the accusing whispers that dance in the darkness

and hide behind the mirror

and say, “You need to be thinner

and thinner

and thinner.”

Grace…

is the light that calls you

toward something so good that you’re scared to trust it.

You might even ignore it at first,

thinking it’s not for you.

Instead,

you try to get better

and fix things on your own.

You try to be strong.

Confident.

Perfect.

But hours of 3:00 a.m. sit-ups,

calorie counting,

dieting,

scrutinizing,

and hiding,

will make a person fall.

Yet Grace…

is the mighty hand that will catch you

and promise you

that you don’t have to be

perfect.

That you are loved

exactly

the way you are.

Grace…

is the gentle voice that lifts your chin,

tugs at your heart,

and encourages you to believe.

And when you do,

Grace rains

and pours

and washes away

moments,

days,

years,

of worry and trying,

trying,

trying,

on your own.

Grace…

restores your dreams,

fills your heart,

melts your fear,

and opens your eyes

so that you are once again able to see the beauty

in the world

and in yourself.

Grace…

is the free gift from God

that has the power to heal,

to renew,

to deliver,

no matter what your struggle is.

If only you’ll let it.

Grace…

is the cross.

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“I’m tired” I said to my counsellor, “I didn’t sleep much last night”. Moved onto next topic.
No said my counsellor, let’s talk about tired. It’s fine I said, I just didn’t sleep. Move onto next topic.
No said my counsellor, let’s discuss tired not insomnia. Really I said, I’m fine. Didn’t move to another topic.
Right said my counsellor, what are you tired from or of –  insomnia isn’t tired.
I’m tired of living, tired of being blocked for moving forward, tired of waiting, tired of anorexia, tired of life, tired of my depression, tired of being in other’s people’s power, tired of seeing myself as stupid, left out, my distorted perceptions, tired of everything …
We all get so tired of just living, tired of just being at times we forget to see the bigger picture, forget that we are not so bad off compared to others, that our lot in life others would fight for. We forget to be grateful for what we do have,  because we keep looking at the ‘green grass’ on the other side. And just as I was ruminating over tired and what it really means and giving voice to my feelings’ and feeling sad for myself (a private pity party for one), my Tumblr blog delivered this. If I didn’t have people constantly wandering through my house looking to buy it, I would pin this to my mirror to read every morning and night. In my new, safe, my own house I will get it made into a huge picture.
A conversation with God
You say: It’s impossible.
God says: All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)
You say: I’m too tired.
God says: I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: Nobody really loves me.
God says: I love you. (John 3:16 & John 13:34)
You say: I can’t go on.
God says: My grace is sufficient. (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalms 91:15)
You say: I can’t figure things out.
God says: I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You say: I can’t do it.
God says: You can do all things. (Philippians 4:13)
You say: I’m not able.
God says: I am able. (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: It’s not worth it.
God says: It will be worth it. (Romans 8:28)
You say: I can’t forgive myself.
God says: I FORGIVE YOU. (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: I can’t manage.
God says: I will supply all your needs. (Philippians 4:19)
You say: I’m afraid.
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear. (II Timothy 1:7)
You say: I’m always worried and frustrated.
God says: Cast all your cares on ME. (I Peter 5:7)
You say: I don’t have enough faith.
God says: I’ve given everyone a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)
You say: I’m not smart enough.
God says: I give you wisdom. (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: I feel all alone.
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
He hasn’t failed me yet, but I have failed Him. Grace meets me all the time, humbles me and remind me I have been given so much.

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I’ve been wanting to write this bit for a couple of weeks but wanted to get my wording right. I have read many life stories from survivors, both in books and on the website. I have even had the great pleasure of meeting a couple. All these stories give me hope that Sophie can also recover. The girls that appear to have recovered the strongest and are more balanced are the ones who have an inner spiritual belief. These girls are all christian, their ages range from 12 to 25. They all blocked God from their lives going into and during their ED time. Coming out of their ED they all grappled with God, what being a christian meant to them and found that when they made their decision to follow God, their recovery was given depth and dimension. They didn’t seem to misfire around quite so badly like some others do in their recovery, and when they did have very bad days or times, they still had the inner strength of God as their foundation. They also had a caring, praying church behind them. In today’s age when God and Christianity are so uncool particularly in our youth, I found it exciting and wonderful to read stories from girls who value this connection in their lives.

I didn’t tell our church the first time Sophie went to hospital. I couldn’t find the words to say and I wanted to protect her from ignorance. Only a very close few knew and yes they prayed and cared for us. Could not have made the journey without them. Second time in hospital I did get it fully publicized, my reasoning being Sophie was a loved member of our church, they needed to know, understand and care for her. And they did. Seeing her welcomed back in on Sunday was proof of that. This is Christ’s church in action, this is how God interacts physically with us. The care and love, helping hands, hugs were Him in action through our church.

For me personally I have been a bit like these recovering girls. I was too scared to pray going into this, I was completely numb. Others prayed for me. Coming through and out of this I have yelled, argued, accused, blamed, cried and talked with God. (Just like King David). Through it all God never once rebuked me. He just loved me. He needed me to see and learn who He really is and what He is not. I needed to know what His love is and what His love is not. It has been hard, but I found a shift deep within me. I now seek Him first when days are tough. I KNOW without doubt He is there ALWAYS and work behind the scenes bringing all that I and my family need when we need it. I have learnt to trust. And I hope He takes me deeper. He is the reason for me getting up each day despite what I may face and the foundation I return to.

I trusted God with my eldest son. We had a really hard time with him between him almost destroying his schooling, his problems between his real father and our family, his attempt at suicide. But I knew and felt God always around my son. It was a given that I clung too and that God answered and gave my son direction and a career. I couldn’t get that same sense of God with Sophie for most of the time til around the last 3-4 months. It was harder won this trust and knowing God could be there too in the midst of a disease that my daughter hadn’t chosen or wanted and that alienated her from herself and us totally. But He taught me (quite gently really given my arguments) that He was there, He is there and will always be there for her. Her own spiritual journey has also stalled with anorexia just like the other girls and I hope she allows God back into her life and  a relationship with Him.

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