Tag Archives: What is God like? loves to bring good from bad

On Not Feeling Good Enough

I asked permission to share this experience with a friend who really reminded me of my brother when I met him. So much so that in the beginning I wasn’t sure I liked him.We became friends with him and his wife in the last year, and he had an edge to him. My charming older brother had that towards me. And it left me with huge scars its taken years of work to undo. (It took me 20 years to figure out where my attitudes came from.) But of course there was an affinity too, because he felt like family. The more I got to know him the better I liked him because I knew his heart–soft and generous but off-putting to everyone as self-protection. I loved his wife, one of the most loving people I know, and she seemed to love me. (You can see the disbelief scar there.)

So as we hung out more, I  understood him and liked him, but he could be very negative. Usually, I don’t analyze people unless you’re paying me to. But a certain amount is always on from 30 years experience as a therapist, and especially if I”m triggered by my own issues (from my brother).

He had shared a few times about the pain over his kids, his awful divorce and horrible x-wife. And by this time I knew that he had to find a way to let go of it, or it was going to ruin this marriage too. So one night they came over and he started his usual complaints and I went after him like a pit-bull. I think God set me up because I was tenacious. I knew his maneuvers by this time and I just hung on. He got angry, but controllably so. Our spouses got uncomfortable and still I hung on. Finally the breakthrough came with the healing, and he hasn’t wanted to hurt his ex-wife since. Then he opened up more. He shared his awful hopeless feeling because of a verse of scripture: Hebrews 10:26. He had asked me before what I thought it meant. And I told him. But it wasn’t satisfying to him and it kept coming up. Otherwise, I had found his knowledge of God and scripture to be better than most people’s. So I started praying for him.

One particular day when they were coming over, my husband and I prayed together, and that night God connected his negativity with what I had been learning about being disappointed in God. (It is a huge stumbling block. The hurt that comes from it can be crippling.) I was hesitant to share it, because usually people defend and back away from what you tell them about themselves. But his wife assured me he could hear it from me, and it would help; so I told him, and he shared with us it was how he had felt since he was one year old. His brother had been born when he was eleven months old. That explained it to me. He felt  pushed aside and didn’t get enough attention. His father was strict and no-nonsense. His disappointment in his mother had long since turned into anger, (even though he says she is a wonderful woman.) And it gradually turned into acting out and anger against God, and then hopelessness. And he had found a place to hang it: Hebrews 10:26.

This morning my husband and I were reading, and our daily chapters were Hebrews 9-10. We listen first to the Message Version by Peterson a very free paraphrase by a Hebrew and Greek scholar, and then we read it from the Tree of Life Version. A very close translation by the Messianic Jewish community. I rely on them to know idiom and cultural context etc. Today I didn’t like the perspective of Peterson and was eager to get to the TLV. And there it was clear as day (in my mind).

Paul explains the whole sacrificial and sanctuary service, and at 10:19 comes to his conclusion. This is my paraphrase of it: Therefore we have confidence to enter into the Presence of God by the life of Jesus (“the life is in the blood” Leviticus and Ruth ). He opened the way for us through the veil by his death. (He bought back the power over death on this planet–Hebrews 2:14 Satan had claimed it according to the Law of Sin and Death and his success here–Romans 7).  So let us gladly come, and draw near to God with a true heart, fully assured that we are welcome because our hearts are cleansed by him and our accusing conscience is too. (Hebrews 10:16-18 If we let Him, Ruach will write Their desires on our hearts.) Since we have given ourselves to God and believe that They are faithful, let us think about how we can stir each other up to loving God and doing good. And let us keep coming together (through technology!) to encourage one another–all the more as we see evil being given more power on earth.  (And here is the biggy–verse 26.) For if we keep running away and separating from God to do our own thing, or believing They don’t accept us, we will ruin our belief in God; and the only way They have to rescue us is our acceptance of Their love and goodness.  If we refuse to believe Their love and refuse to accept the gift They offer, there is nothing more They can do. We have made our choice, and eventually we will experience the same consuming fire (Heb. 12:29) that will cleanse the earth of evil when God comes. Because God is a consuming fire–pure love energy that causes combustion in everything unstable–all entropy.

That isn’t scary, is it? God does everything in us and for us. All They need is our permission. My friend’s problem is he has a negative filter that he acquired at one year old. It colors how he sees everything.

And as I said to him. “There is no way you could have figured this out by yourself. It’s been your normal, your way to look at life and yourself since you were one year old. If God doesn’t heal it, you probably won’t be able to change it now, it’s you. But if you can find the beliefs you created, and ask, He will heal them. It’s probably only one about you not being good enough.”

I think he will. And he will be amazed at the difference it will make in him and his life!

*end note–He was very receptive and grateful! Thank God!


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Truth can Help

Everyone has disappointment. I watched a video today of my last baby grandson taking his first steps. Of course I was thrilled that my daughter got it on camera and sent it, but later some anger came rumbling up in my chest. I am missing it. I’m missing being in their lives every day. I’m missing the milestones!

It’s the new reality I live with. At times like this it can come up without warning. I have decided to accept it, and sometimes it makes me angry, other times sad, but it is the reality of choice. My husband wants to stay here till he dies. So it pits my love  for him against my love for my grandsons. My desire to be Gama as Jack says.

The only thing that keeps me sane is focusing on the fact that my life is wonderful in every other regard.

People made choices based on the best information they had, and now there is sadness in my life. It’s not a matter of blaming anyone, that wouldn’t help. It’s just the way it is. My husband and I made our desires known to each other as clearly as we can; and there seems nothing to be done, except acceptance and loving what is.

But I know people are, at this minute, over-coming worse pain by looking for the good. The pain of loss of parents, of partners; of living with terminal illness, of no security, no stability, no power, no perceived love. Sometimes we have to forgive God for this expensive way of living. Allowing suffering to be the marker for character.

God hates suffering. I know that. He never intended it. He didn’t bring it on; but it is a great indicator. He (They) have suffered far worse, and far longer, than any of us because of being willing to go on trial to keep Love as the basis for freedom.

And I know He will make it up to us who choose Him, and choose to have a good attitude about suffering, bringing harmony back to the universe. That’s a good truth to hang on to when it gets dark in your life.

My husband and I have been reading the end of The Book — His story — for two weeks–Revelation 21 and 22. It’s pretty amazing. He wants to read it every day for a month.

God says it’s truth you can count on. He will wipe away every tear, along with death, suffering, sadness, and evil. It will all be a faint memory with no pain. And ALL of life will  be wonderful from then on.

Reliable truth (truth that has survived suffering) is a good thing to know in disappointment and sadness.




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Good from Bad

Have you had the experience yet of something wonderful coming from something you thought was horrible?

Christmas is tied to such a memory. Arriving at an airport 30 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave, I had checked-in before I left, so thought I’d have no problem. It was an unfamiliar airport but still no problem. Until I looked for my boarding pass and couldn’t find it. No text. No email.

“You’ll have to go to the kiosk and check in,” the agent said.

“But I don’t have time,” I replied.

“Sure you will, it’s right over there,” she waved in its direction.

I went and the kiosk said, “It’s too late to check in for this flight.”

I started to panic. I walked around all the ticketing lines up to the desk and said, “The kiosk is saying I can’t check in for my flight.”

“What time is your flight?” she asked, and when she heard said, “It is too late; you have to check in 30 minutes ahead.” I had bucked line, there was no point in wailing, “But I did check in!”

An agent came up and said, “You have to get in line,” as I fought back tears. Normally I don’t care about a few extra hours, but this time I wanted to get home.

A couple of minutes later I remembered that God can bring good from anything and thanked him that I had missed my flight. Not yet feeling thankful, I went back to the kiosk and checked in for a new flight two hours later. But I wasn’t satisfied and stood in the special helps line. It didn’t move, and a thought persistently came: Go to the gate.

It seemed silly, but finally I went. My plane was still on the ground but they had just closed the door, and for some reason I went to the next gate which was also leaving for my connecting city ten minutes later. I asked if I could still make my connection.

The agent said, “I don’t know but I  can get you on this flight if you want.” And just like that she printed a new boarding pass and I was on the plane.

Arriving at my connection I was intent to see if my flight was still there. It had gone and I had to wait almost three hours. I found another flight but they were oversold and asking for volunteers. Disappointed but resigned, I called my husband about the three hour-delay. He was gracious and I settled in to wait.

I finally got on the plane–an aisle seat on a 747 (!)–by a good-natured 13 year-old boy.

Then his dad came and asked me to trade with his sister so they could sit together. I can’t deny I was the tiniest bit irritated underneath my good-natured cooperation.

Bella was 83 and last to board, and got to my traded aisle seat just before me. I got the window seat. I don’t mind window seats, but…

We were both exhausted and planning to sleep. She had just flown in from Belgium so to her it was midnight. She was trying to sleep when the food cart came, and I was reading. She invited me to share her “picnic” and soon we realized we were kindred spirits.

I’ve met many great people on planes and would like to stay connected, but the persistent present closes over pleasant people who become pleasant past experience.

What made the difference with Bella?

Maybe it was her wonderful attitude toward life, compliments of cheating death after a heart attack nine years earlier. Maybe we had so much in common except that she didn’t believe in God. That usually isn’t a plus for me, but she was so open and authentic in her disregard. Maybe it was her openness to hearing me reframe her choice to live after her heart attack as choosing God because God=Life.

Whatever it was, four and a half hours later, I felt I had made a friend for life. Thank you, God, for getting me on that plane, in that seat.

I was trying to have a good attitude about a series of mistakes. God had a bigger perspective.

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