Posts in "Problem Solving" category

Powerlessness

2 Chronicles 20:12 / 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless against this great multitude which is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you (My loving kindness and My mercy are more than enough — always available regardless of the situation); for (My) power is being perfected (and is completed and shows itself most effectively) in (your) weakness.”

Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weakness, so that the power of Christ (may completely enfold me and) may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak (in human strength), then I am strong (truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength).

“When we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus.”  ~ Corrie Ten Boom

Powerlessness in Merriam Webster:

  1. Devoid of strength or resources
  2. Lacking the authority of capacity to act
  3. Being powerless to help, unable to do something or stop something

Synonyms: hamstrung, handcuffed, helpless, high and dry, hog tied, impotent, impuissant.

Insert from me, Deb, here: my new favorite word is impuissant. I didn’t want to admit this year (or in others) that I was powerless (without God) so I kept fighting harder, digging in and trying to do it (protect myself and others, including my children) on my own. I failed in too many ways, in more ways than you want to know about. But get this! I learned, finally, to let God and His Angels do the fighting for me. As for me, I will keep growing and of course will keep standing up, just not on my own as I’ve done in the past. Join me?

Admitting you need help, that you are even weak, is nothing to be ashamed of, not when God is on your side – – the Captain of your team, your General. Read on for more by Rev. Jack Lenza. Yes, there is a connection with him although we haven’t yet met. My mother told me about him after she got to know him and his wife through their church in Florida. When I started reading his daily messages she forwarded to me, I nicknamed him Pastor Jack in my posts. I hope you’ll read the thoughts he shares, and learn about his story. I know God sent him to me and to my mother!

“God cannot prove Himself to be powerful in your life until you
recognize you are powerless without Him.”

For those of us who just endured hurricane Irma, we experienced times of powerlessness. Being shut in with nowhere to go. All communications cut off. Home battered by destructive winds. Humidity…unbearable. Feeling frustrated, impatient, bored, fears rolling over your mind and tongue with, “What if?”

Minds flooded with negative input. And the enemy was ever so eager to give an assist. Could there be lessons to be learned in these powerless situations? I ask you, what is it the Lord has revealed to you in your power shortages? We get so caught up in the toys of our technology, accomplishments, and resources only to realize we are helpless, hopeless, and needy. If you were in the storm’s direct path, I am sure Irma (or Harvey…) drove you to your knees. Prayer is an acknowledgement that our need of God’s help is not partial but total.

We must remember that God designed us to be dependent on Him, not on ourselves or on our stuff. He is our ultimate Power-Source. If and when He allows certain things to happen to us that bring us to our knees, it could be that He is giving us time to get focused on who really matters & to reconnect with them. Especially with Himself! He wants us to be empowered and infused with supernatural strength to get us through.

Many things bombard our lives, our thoughts, time and space each day.  Many distractions, interferences only Satan could concoct and spin, our misplaced priorities, the worries of this world, anxieties, and media / technology (the world’s toys), etc.

God has to get our attention and all of creation is at His disposal. There are many calamities going on around the world right now. Catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, terrorism, nuclear threats. I just heard there are two typhoons – – one heading to China, and the other to Japan. God gets blamed for much of the bad things that are happening. The Devil is also responsible. And let’s not rule out we live in a fallen sinful world. Whatever God allows is still under His control. We must leave all those details where they belong, in His capable hands. There is no way we can answer all the questions of life, because there is no way we can plumb the depths of the infinite. He tells us to trust Him and not rely on our reasoning. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I think it was Warren Wiersbe who said, “We do not live on explanations, we live on His promises. Our feelings change, but God’s promises never change. Promises generate faith, and faith strengthens hope.  There is a teacher in every mistake that you have made in the past that holds the lesson to some future plan of God for your life.”

It’s time for self discovery.

God allows us to experience those low points in life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way. God did not bring you this far to leave you. Things might be hard for you to handle, but God is still saying, “I will make a way for you.”

I have endured, I have been broken, I have known hardship, I have lost myself. But here I stand, encouraging you, still moving forward, growing stronger each day. I will never forget the harsh lessons in my life, they have made me stronger. May you never forget those vital lessons God is teaching you in your circumstances. Here’s a thought I hope you’ll never forget:

Worship will get you through the hardest times in life, because it shifts your focus from the problem to The Problem-solver. I have been doing much of that through Irma and the Holy Spirit has clearly been encouraging and strengthening my faith in His promises. He has reminded me of spoken words He previously revealed to me. Why not use this time to be still and listen to the voice of the Spirit who is always speaking to you? I don’t know what your plans have been. But I have found that God is faithful to wreck your plans before they wreck you. What have your plans been before you found yourself in this powerless situation?

Proverbs 16:9 tells us: We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps. Never underestimate God’s hand in all your plans. God is working in your life right now in ways you cannot understand. God’s plan is always the best for you. Sometimes the process is painful and
hard. But don’t forget that when God is silent, He is doing something in you and for you.

Someone said: Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser.

Tony Evans says, “Sometimes God let’s you be in a situation that only He can fix, so you will discover that He is the one who can fix it.”

Let me say this in closing: whatever lesson God is teaching you when in a powerless situation, cry out in intercession for others who are in need. We are surrounded by broken people in need of an encouraging word.

Rev. Jack Lenza

Beautiful Distress

Pastor Jack Lanza has darn good timing! Of course, it’s God’s timing… We’ve heard about a cause of action, a legal claim for damages possibly, called “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” This is a common form of cruelty or method for control by perpetrators of abuse, so I thought it was a good time to share what Jack Lanza sent to me:

Are You In Distress Today?

When we are in distress we pray genuinely, seeking forgiveness, promise to quit all sin & beg for mercy and protection. Why do we then forget?

If you look up the word “distress” in the Greek it means: confinement, disability, trouble, anguish, oppress, to cramp, to harass, opponent, rival, bad, evil, constraint, calamity, anxiety, burdened.

Strongs Concordance Greek: Thilipsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in,” tribulation, especially internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (hemmed in”).

1. To pain means to afflict with pain or anguish, applied to body or mind. Literally, to press or strain.

2. To afflict greatly; to harass, to oppress with calamity, to make miserable.

Listen to Paul’s words in (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 Message)

I know I distressed you greatly by my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for awhile. Now I’m glad – not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him.

The result was – all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those that let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.

Could God be using your distress as a chisel slowly chipping away rough areas in your life that you may be more pliable to His plans, rather than yours? Then please, submit to your divine sculptor and wait in expectation of the great unveiling when its over! (For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

If your situation has forced you to run in the wrong direction now is the time to turn it around and run into the hands of the only one who can help, forgive, accept, heal, restore, and love you. Often times in a situation we have regrets. The writer calls attention to it above. Those regrets can drive us away from God if we are not careful, and smother our minds with stinking thinking, the end result is a deathbed of regrets.

Most of the time regret is the product of creative thinking and excessive guilt, rather than a godly remorse. As long as we live, we will have setbacks and missed opportunities; and we will make tons of mistakes along the way. If the way you see things are pessimistic – meaning , you only see a glass half – empty instead of half full – there will be no shortage of reasons for you to regret. Regret is rehearsal. By regretting sin, you are rehearsing it in your mind, reinforcing the memory. What you think will become what you are, you will get stuck with the sin you regret. So stop it!

Trust God in your distress. Why? He sees the big picture and is actually preparing you for destiny. He knows what your future holds, so do not let your distress rattle your faith in what he is doing. He is not obligated to tell us what he is doing in our lives all the time. He is God not us.

“Look outward and be distressed, Look inward and be depressed, look upward and be at peace.”

(Corrie Ten Boom)

So what’s it going to be, Outward, Inward, or Upward?

 

This amazing performer summed it up with this song and video.

“Where trouble drops like lemon drops,” meaning trouble is common but we do not need to be common in our response.

Sweet Success and Overcoming the Desire for Revenge

It was a woman – a poet  – I studied in college as an English major at Belhaven University – who first referenced success being sweetest to those who didn’t succeed. I’ll supplement with this, whether it was in a personal relationship, in a sports competition or a business endeavor…doesn’t matter. It still stings and makes us want to counter-attack or jab back at that person. Our instinct says triumph over those who did wrong by us or to those we love and protect, or took a victory we believed to be ours.
 
Emily Dickinson doesn’t actually use the word revenge, but hints at it with words and phrases such as took the Flag, victory, distant strains of triumph, and agonized, suggesting an intense struggle or even war. Diehard golfers can relate to these words and thoughts about defeat and the satisfaction of winning the next round. They also know that the ugly desires of revenge don’t make for the best clarity during competition, and tournament winners don’t tell the crowd that wanting revenge is what helped them succeed that day.

What can I say?

You know if you’ve read my articles or pleadings that I am at war with those who would do harm to children, including my own, because it’s profitable for those who exploit and do wrong. Agony is assured for those targeted by the wrong-doers. Causing agony for innocent people because of greed and a lack of humanity is a terrible thing. Causing agony for children? Let’s talk off-line about that. But the messaging against those I refer to as bad actors, is – on its face – not in line with what children need to see and hear. And so goes the need for this post, as a qualifier or preface to my work. It’s also an admission that I struggle with work-life balance.

To our children

Should you stumble across this as adults, my wish for you all is that the messaging of this mission softens your hearts, opens your minds but does not cause you any worry. Empathy is good, but fear should be given to God, shared with a counselor you trust, and left behind you.  Allow the good in this mission to resonate for you as you come across others in life struggling with something that may not be apparent from a distance or publicly.
 
For so many years I’ve worked tirelessly, and for the most part without interference, to insulate my own children from the stress I feel from another’s angry need for control, desire to demean and destabilize. I do not want them to know the truth of this battle. They have learned on the positive side, however, that other parents and children need an advocate who really understands the situation they’re in, and a confident, calm voice because what they are experiencing is, let’s say, unhealthy at best. It is draining work on the personal front and professionally. It doesn’t pay well, either, but higher pay is not what drives those of us involved in advocacy work to improve society and systems. Regardless of pay, title or recognition, it is still important & rewarding work.
 
It is the morning of my twins 16th birthday and I do not know how they are doing or where they are; that information is being kept from me and it feels terrible. I say this not because I need your sympathy or because I am seeking vengeance against those causing this pain, distress and uncertainty, but because this is what thousands of parents like me across the country – and world – are experiencing. For the most part it is a silent suffering, an epidemic without a diagnosis, but I promise you it is real – and devastating. It is an infliction that harms children, which is easily understood by reading the language in a piece of legislation before the Florida legislators. Thank God someone of influence recognized the pathology and lasting damages to children to influence legislators to include these facts in a bill. Thank you, Florida doctors, advocates and policymakers. Whether the bill is passed and enacted this year or not, it is crucial to press forward as this recognition, or mandate for certified counselors, can save lives.
 
It is not unlike the kind of suffering, in a much different way of course, by parents torn from their children by Natzi Germany and by modern-day traffickers of children or the keepers of the global slave trade. Regardless of country or time-period or nationality, the impact is the same. It is ugly – and caused by ill-intentioned people motivated by hate and greed. The image above of what could be a holding place designated for isolating parents away from children should evoke harsh emotions in you, including a desire to do something to the controllers breaking the bonds between those parents and their children.
This is not the article I wanted to write on the weekend of my beloved twins’ 16th birthday. Even with this prolonged and deep pain, I am not seeking revenge. Justice would be great, yes. But revenge belongs to God.

Call to action:

For our children to rise above conflict and heal beyond their circumstances, they need our leadership. They need an example that doesn’t keep them mired in suspicion, doubt or threat. Be successful for the sake of leading our children and the children of others who, for the moment, are unable to be that example.
Thank you for reading and for lending your support to those around you,

Poem about Success being Sweet

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne'er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

 

Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear of victory

  


As he defeated – dying –

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Burst agonized and clear!
Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON: READING EDITION, edited by Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Just what is Faith anyway?

“Faith is like muscle which grows stronger and stronger with use, rather than rubber, which weakens when it is stretched. It’s not a great faith we need, but faith in a great God.” ~ author unknown

My faith is being tested like never before and I have to remind myself almost hourly these days that God is not only aware and caring, but that He has a specific and worthy plan unfolding. My mother connected me with a very special leader in her church community, and because Pastor Jack Lenza‘s writings are forging my faith muscles in the manner of a wise blacksmith I wanted to share them here with you.

Thank you, Mom, and to your community of prayer warriors, and for opening this dialogue for me with Pastor Jack, the author of this lesson.

Do you struggle with reason vs. faith as I do?

The art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. ~ C. S. Lewis

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. ~ St. Augustine

Pastor Jack opens his Bible to Hebrews 11 as The Great Hall of Faith Chapter to answer the question Just what is Faith anyway?

Why God responds to Faith

Houston pastor John Bisango describes a time when his daughter was five years old, she came to him and asked for a doll house.  John promptly nodded and promised to build her one, then he went back to reading his book. Soon he glanced out the study window and saw her arms filled with dishes, toys, and dolls, making trip after trip until she had a great pile of playthings in the yard. He asked his wife what she was doing.

“Oh, you promised to build her a doll house, and she believes you. She’s just getting ready for it.”

“You would have thought I’d been hit by an atom bomb,” John later said. “I threw aside that book, raced to the lumber yard for supplies, and quickly built that little girl a doll house.

Now why did I respond? Because I wanted to? No. Because she deserved it?

No. Her daddy had given his word, and she believed it and acted upon it. When I saw her faith, nothing could keep me from carrying out my word.”

That’s how it works with our Daddy. He gives us His written word the Bible. When we act in faith like this little girl, we also receive from our Daddy when He sees our faith. What is it you are desiring God to do for you? Are you acting in faith or are you just waiting for God to drop it on you from heaven?

If you say that you have been acting in faith like this little girl, and nothing has happened yet, you must continue to wait on God, believing He is already acting on your request. Ask the Lord to give you the grace, patience, and perseverance to keep on praying and believing until the answer manifests. P. U. S. H. Pray-Until-Something-Happens.

The enemy will attempt to steal your blessing. Stay focused on God and His promises. Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful to His word. Hebrews 10:23

Spend some time camping out in Hebrews 11 and see how these people lived in faith and found the answers they desired. There’s another side of that coin. It reads in verses 36-38: And others experienced the trials of mocking and scourging (amid torture), and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned (to death), they were sawn in two, they were lured with tempting offers (to renounce their faith), they were put the death by the sword; they went about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed cruelty treated (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and living in caves and holes in the ground.

Let’s not lose sight of verses 39-40. And all of these, though they gained (divine) approval through their faith, did not receive (the fulfillment of) what was promised, because God had us in mind and had something better for us, so that they (these men and women of authentic faith) would not be made perfect (that is, completed in Him) apart from us.

Looking at the other side of that coin: what is faith?

Faith is trusting God when I see no physical evidence that my prayers are being answered. I believe what God says. Romans 8:28

Wait patiently. You’re going through the test of your life and everything around you conspires against the promises. II Timothy 1:12

Hold onto these thoughts, like a candle for each day of your week:

  • Faith is caught rather than taught
  • Reason is the enemy of faith
  • Speak the promises of God out of your mouth
  • Confess them until you believe them and believe them until you receive them
  • Great faith is willing to wait. It doesn’t give up.
  • Great faith doesn’t have to have it right now
  • Great faith is willing to wait on God’s time

 

Motherhood According to God’s Plan

 

 It’s no accident that God made labor and delivery difficult (for most of us) and the same goes for the emotional rollercoaster caused by the joy, the fear and those pesky hormones.

But in my experience there is no greater good to do in this world than to mother children.

What is your world view? How do you see mothers, and grandmothers, shaping how we react to new or strange circumstances, to uncertainty or to the delightful sounds and smells of home-cooked meals and holiday decorations?

We could go on for hours discussing all of the ways that mothers impact our lives and how we as mothers, as parents, make a difference for each of our children. For now I’m interested in your thoughts on what God says about motherhood, so please take a few minutes to look up the verses below in your Bible.

Motherhood: A Task Worth the Effort

Motherhood references are found throughout the Bible, borrowing here from my *Women’s Study Guide given to me as a gift when I married the man who is the father to my twins.

Exodus 20:12  says mothers are to be respected.

2 Timothy 1:3-5 Children are to be lovingly nurtured by their mothers. *Children do not come off an assembly line, nor are they the by-product of an impersonal biological process; they are not trophies nor are they tools for control.

Isaiah 49:15 When Isaiah the prophet searched for an illustration of God’s constant love for His people, the best example he could find was a new baby’s mother. (Yes, I do know many fathers who are bonded/nurturing and vigilant so you’ll see posts about fatherhood as well!).

1 John 3:16 This is a truth that will transform any suffering or sacrifice into reward and joy: mothers have enduring love that even the most trying circumstances or rebellious child cannot dim (as my own mother knows).

As a mother lets go of her own life for the sake of her child, she is reminded of the depth and height and breadth of God’s love for her, and in a unique way she experiences the true joy of motherhood. Again, this is a truth that will transform any suffering or sacrifice into reward and joy.

Exodus 2:1-10 God has a plan for mothers.

Deuteronomy 6:6,7 The high calling is an all-consuming task.

Proverbs 31:28 The reward is worth the effort!

Anyone want to debate the value of a loving, nurturing mother?

If you agree, please share, comment, and add your own thoughts and scripture to posts on social media.

 

If you come across a situation where a mother is wrongfully being prevented from giving of herself, her time, care, love and wisdom, to her child please let me know. And stand by this mother; she and her child need all the support they can get.

 

Rising Above It All

Can you imagine being asked to help someone who has fallen on hard times?  Yes, of course.

But what if you helped that person and they betrayed you?  It uncomfortable, but life happens.

Bear with me – this gets a bit more intense and strange.

What if the person you helped actually staged photos of your home, without your permission, and posted them online to use in promoting their cleaning services?

Doesn’t feel good, does it?

Now – imagine this person saw an opportunity to better their position in life and in business by using photos of your home to help someone else.  Think betrayal – as in the photos are given to your opponent in a court case while you are kept in the dark, unaware that this relationship has formed and that this person who made you believe she is here to help you is actually acting to cause you harm.

Where would you start?  How do you address such unscrupulous behavior?

Of course you turn first to how you can keep things peaceful for your children; the less drama the better, right?

But what if the person you trusted to help you at home decides to become involved in taking your children from you?  What do you do then?

Do you expose the situation publicly, or do you let karma take care of it?

#BuyerBeware

 

Early Intervention and Better Judgment

That’s what we all want as parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches for our kids.

To ask for help early on to troubleshoot  any challenges, including emotional burdens.

To use better judgment when choosing which company you keep, where you spend free time and how you treat your family, as a few examples. Each act of wisdom and each show of empathy and kindness may help prevent breakdowns and crimes as revealed in the news story below about a man who could not cope with the consequences of his addiction — set in East Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia.

After studying parent/child relationships for decades, analyzing hundreds of cases involving family conflict, I can say for certain that a parent’s judgment in how he or she guides children to treat other family members has a lot to do with preventing ongoing dysfunction, including addiction, family violence, abuse in relationships, etc.

Several cases in Georgia involve someone taking a life, their own or a family member’s life, committing arson and other crimes, because that person doesn’t have the coping mechanisms needed in relationships and in deciding how to handle uncertainty and disappointment.

A Marietta, Georgia, man turned suicidal, burned down his family home, ran from police and put many other lives at risk.

This story could have turned into a much greater tragedy, but fortunately no lives were lost and the perpetrator of arson and drug use is behind bars.

 

Below: traumatized father and neighbor talks about the scene. Other neighbors led from smoke-filled, burning homes adjacent to Matt Olson’s unit. We do not yet know the total damages caused by his addiction, suicidal behavior, arson and the police chase.

 

Photography and video credit: Fox 5 News, Atlanta, Georgia

Know Your Own Mind

A reminder to self…to keep it simple.

When you know your own mind, no one else can make it up for you or force you off course for lack of resolve or clarity.

Know Your Own Mind_Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

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