Made to Bend

I was thinking of how much I have been through in my life. I was considering how much I have suffered and how I have survived and come out the other side. I was thinking how people sometimes talk about ‘the worst time in my life’ and about how confused I am when I read or hear about what their ‘worst thing’ was, because I’ve been through the ‘worst thing’ so many times. I wasn’t judging those people. I was just interested. I observed.

“Why God?” I asked, quietly. “Why did you make me stronger? I don’t feel strong. I feel weak. I think of myself as weak.”

God showed me an image of a bow and arrow. The arrows represented God’s working in the world. The bow represented me.

“I made you.” God said, “See how well crafted you are? You are made of the finest quality wood. I made you to be strong, yet supple; always able to bend but not to break. See how well the arrows that I fire hit their target.”

I saw the bow bend. I saw the arrow fly, straight and true.

“It is true that alone you can do nothing. Alone you are just another piece of wood.” God said, “But I made you for a purpose. You were made for Me. I made you strong enough to bend and bend and bend, but not break.”

I thought about this bending and not breaking. I thought about the Dark Night, when I had nothing left. I don’t know why God made me this way. I just know that He did. I am glad He made me useful, even though I don’t feel useful. If I was made a bow, what about you? What did God make you?

Reblog: Encouragement

sandyfaithking:

Hmm. I try to always be an encourager because I do truly believe that a little goes a long way when it comes to kind words. My psychologist the other day told me to stop being so hard on myself, to show myself some compassion. Why can I be an encourager so readily for other people but not for myself? I think I have had my heart broken too many times so I tell myself I don’t need dreams. In part that’s true, because faith in God means trusting in Him, not myself, but maybe it’s also an excuse – not an excuse, it’s reasonable to want to protect yourself when you’ve been hurt so much… but it’s a carefully constructed way of not getting hurt again, or being let down again. I don’t get hurt but I don’t find anything fulfilling either. Interesting.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
February 26, 1995

With so many people in the world telling us we can’t succeed, we need to hear people telling us we can. I remember my high school English teacher telling me not to apply to Cornell University because they wouldn’t accept me and even if they did I wouldn’t be able to do the work. (It’s funny that I’m a writer now). I almost didn’t apply but a few days later I saw Ivan Goldfarb, a former teacher, in the hallway and asked him about Cornell. He said, “If you get in, then you go. You can do it.” His words made all the difference. I applied, was accepted and majored in Lacrosse :).

Too often we think it’s our role to inject a dose of “reality” into someone’s life. We think it’s our job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. We…

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Reblog: Discovering the Desert of My Soul

sandyfaithking:

Excellent post. Some interesting thoughts on one’s spiritual journey and on the nature of Truth.

Originally posted on A Pastor's Thoughts:

( This is a repeat of  a previous post but I believe it could be helpful in your Lenten Journey.)

I don’t exactly know why, but a few years ago I felt a real spiritual unction to study Christian Mysticism. My first thought was to look at the experiences of the monks of the desert. These Desert Fathers fled to the parched lands of Egypt to escape the “one size fits all” Christianity of Constantine’s Empire. The Abbas of the desert wanted to experience God as they thought He wanted to be experienced. That experience would not come as a result of legislated belief at the point of the sword of a Roman Legion. That kind of belief was no belief at all, for such a faith had to be discovered within their own souls. They could experience God in a mysterious way in their desert monasteries, and then direct…

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Reblog: A Story To Live By

sandyfaithking:

I’m a fan of FlyLady. Wednesday is ‘Anti-procrastination Day’. It never occurred to me that we can procrastinate about the good things of life as well as the unpleasant, until I read this. ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need’ the psalmist says. Yes! Every day of ‘enough’ or ‘more than enough’ should be a celebration. So many friends and family have died these past two years. Carpe diem: make the best of today.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
February 25, 1994

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue – wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.”

He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment. Then he slammed the drawer shut, turned to me and said, “Don’t ever save anything…

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Reblog: Manipulated by Christian Grey (by Me, a Fifty Shades Avoider)

sandyfaithking:

AMEN. Shout it from the rooftops! That is just how my first relationship (which led to my first marriage) started out, when he began pursuing me. He overwhelmed me in such a short space of time and because ‘he was vulnerable’ I didn’t know how to say no… plus I’d not properly recovered from the sexual abuse of my childhood nor had a boyfriend before. He must have thought he was the spider that trapped the fly when he met me. In my EMDR session today I was recalling all those seemingly small, seemingly non-abusive moments right at the beginning of the ‘relationship’. Coercion, manipulation: subtle forms of evil but nevertheless evil.

But hallelujah for therapy and hallelujah for a wonderful, kind, patient husband. ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.’

Originally posted on Laura Droege's blog:

Ruth Perry over at The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors posted a huge list of links about the response to Fifty—oh, never mind, you know what book it is. I read a few. One that I found especially intriguing was from a woman who had survived an abusive relationship: “Fifty Abusive Moments in Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’ll be writing about numbers 48 and 50.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read the book, have no plans to read the book, and absolutely no intention of wasting time and money on a movie based on the aforesaid book. Normally, I think people should read a book/watch a movie if they’re going to critique it; I’ve made an exception here.

Second full disclosure: I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship, though my first relationship falls into the “emotionally abusive” category. I wasn’t certain that this was true until…

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LENT DAY FIVE: Robust in Love

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift… 

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

Ephesians 4:4-7,14-16 (The Message)

‘Robust in love’ – I like that. A prayer:

Heavenly Father, help me today to remain robust in love for those around me and for those far away. Help me to be robust in love for myself and, especially, robust in love for You. I can never give to You what You give to me. Help me to stop trying to repay You for what You have done! May we, Your children, all grow up healthy in mind and in spirit and may we always walk in Your ways, following Your footsteps where the need is greatest. May love reign above all. Thank you for the gift of love, and for the gift of prayer. Thank you for the gift of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Hear our prayers. In Your blessed name I pray, thank you Jesus.

Amen

He Knows Best

Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’?…”

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever…”

The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”

He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.”

“I have no husband,” she said.

“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough…

“…the time is coming—it has, in fact, come… It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God… That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”

“I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”

Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.

The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?”

extract from John 4:6-30 (The Message)

Jesus points out the woman’s unmarried-yet-living-together state, but He doesn’t condemn her. He doesn’t focus on the negative, He focuses on what He has to say to her. His gift to her is more important than what she has done or who she is. Given the 21st century Church’s penchant for accusatory finger-pointing, particularly regarding ‘sexual sin’ (I don’t know what else to call it, hence the inverted commas), it is interesting that Jesus doesn’t say more to this woman. Why is this interesting? Because Jesus certainly had plenty to say to those who did adhere to all the rules, e.g. the Pharisees, especially those who liked to show themselves as morally upright, righteous and worthy. Jesus had plenty to say to them and about them. But yet He says not a lot about this woman, and she seems to see something in Him that even His disciples don’t see. In this encounter Jesus implies that sin isn’t a list of tick-boxes. Instead, He speaks of the living water of grace. Grace is a state of being, not of doing, and it flows only from Him.

‘Indeed, we may often work and search until we are exhausted without finding as much as a pool, much less a springing well.

Therefore, sisters, I think it best for us to place ourselves in the presence of God, contemplate His mercy and grandeur, and our own vileness, and leave Him to give us what He will, whether water or drought, for He knows best what is good for us.

St. Teresa of Avila ~ The Interior Castle

On a personal note, I’ve had a few weeks’ break from EMDR, but I start again tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to it. Still, as St. Teresa says, I leave God to give me what He will, whether water or drought, because He knows best. I hope this post is helpful to anyone else who is struggling, whether it be with sin, or circumstances, or illness… this is my gift to you today: God is always good.