The Flow of the Tongue

Tonight, I sat at the kitchen table hoping and praying for God to give me the words for a poem.  Three days ago, I felt him nudging me about writing a poem on the power of our tongue.  For those of you who write poetry, you know that you can’t just write a poem.  The words have to come to you.  You have to feel the words and the rhythm.  Then, after they come to you, you have to write them down before they’re gone.

I sat and waited, and God delivered.

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The Flow of the Tongue

It’s our mouths we can’t control.

Full of poison, can’t make us whole.

Giving the cursing and the blessing,

Giving our faith for sure a testing.

Filled with bitter and the sweet.

Asking for life for us to repeat.

Setting on fire the pit of hell.

Sharing the gospel that it entails.

Filling with power, and hate, and love.

Edifies sisters and brothers from above.

Knowing that it is one of our members.

Showing our grace, our warmth, our tenders.

 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit. 

Proverbs 18:21

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.  James 3: 6-12, NKJV

 

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The Inner Critic Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis

The First Part of the Critic

Today we are discussing another part in the series:  Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis.  It took me a while on this healing journey that I have been on to realize that there is what is called an inner critic of trauma.  The first part of the inner critic aspect of trauma is the critic that is someone else’s voice.  This someone else may have been a parent, a friend, a relative, stranger, or someone else who said something in your childhood that rocked you to the core of your being.  Their comments of criticism and negativity caused you to internalize what they said, and then live out what they said as if it was the truth coming from the bible.  As a child, I was abandoned by my father, and because of this abandonment, I felt rejected.  In a child’s mind, there has to be some reason for this, and oftentimes fault themselves for the situation.  In my mind, since my father was no longer with my mom, and I felt rejected, then I concluded that my mom had rejected me as well.  This set the stage.  I was standing outside of my childhood church, when I overheard a comment said by one teenager to another: “Oh, her mom is so beautiful.  I wonder what happened to her?”  This became the first part of my ruling critic.  It “sealed the deal”  on my already low self-worth and insecurities about my appearance.  The second “other voice” of my inner critic was that of my ex-husband in his brokenness, who used my low self-worth to keep me under his thumb.  He would purposefully say and do things that would reinforce my low self-worth and insecurities.  I had to begin the process of deprogramming my brain from everything that was said and done, and look to the truth of who God says that I am in order to regain my identity and self-worth in him.  This process is one that is tedious, because you have to keep asking, “Are these words really reflecting who I am as a person, or is the “Other person inner critic”, and then telling yourself, ” I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.

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The Second Part of the Critic

The second part of the inner critic is yourself.  Yes, yourself.  This is a hard pill to swallow.  After being able to distinguish whether the critic voices are true to your sense of self or not, then comes the hard part of dealing with the lies that you have formed about yourself that the enemy convinced you of from day one.  There are no fingers to point at this stage because the mirror is only reflecting us.  These lies force us to deal with things by using coping mechanisms to get through life.  The coping mechanisms are byproducts of trauma.  Mine is perfectionism.  This perfectionism starting off as overachievement in school, but by the time my brokenness met up with my ex-husband’s it went into every area of my life.  However, there gets to a point on life, when God says, ” Enough! I freed you, and I want you to walk in it.”  Our coping mechanisms only work so long before we are faced with walking the path of freedom from them, or having them to stunt our growth in certain areas.  When we get rid of anything, it has to be replaced with something else.  I have found that if I am not striving/perfecting/overachieving/then I need to be resting in God.  I am not sure what your coping mechanisms are, but God can handle them all, one day at a time.

Blessings,

Katina

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.  Psalms 139:14

 

Oh, the Pain of Waiting

It can be rough when we have to wait on God for his promises to come to pass.  I know myself, there have been times when I went ahead, and did my plan B, instead of waiting for God’s plan A, and then had to suffer terrible consequences.  God later helped o remedy my situation.  Oh, but the painful consequences in not trusting in God’s word, and knowing that it is enough.  God can still bless us when we circumvent his order of things.  However, his way is always the best way to go.  It saves us a lot of extra heartache, pain, and disappointment.  Plus, we are able to enjoy his blessings even more!

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We are waiting, we are waiting, for our son don’t you see,

Name is Isaac, it means laughter, waiting for the fam of three.

We are waiting, we are waiting for a boy to arrive.

We’ve been waiting, way too long, will we still be alive?

What you think, my dear Abe, should we wait any longer?

Getting wrinkled, getting old, can’t ignore this baby hunger.

Take my handmaid, my dear Hagar, she will make our dreams come true.

Oh the opposite, with her Ishmael, she will make your heart so blue.

Oh, but God, kept his word, even in all this mess, 

Here’s dear Isaac, here’s your son, you are now extremely blessed.

Hagar’s mean, I can’t stand her, just can’t take it any longer.

I despise her, will deny her, kick them out and make them hunger.

Oh dear Abe put them out, sent them packing in the desert.

Oh but God, he provided, brought them springs in this mess o’ hurt.

Just in case you get tired from God’s promise when you wait,

Think of Abe, little Isaac, and then Sarah, his dear mate.

Feel free to share in the comments below of a time that you wished that you had waited on God, and you took matters into your own hands.

Have a blessed weekend!

Isaiah 40:31 King James Version (KJV)

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

 

Devotion: Got One up on You

The story of Leah and Rachel is one that we can all relate to in life: the comparison trap.  Their trap probably started at a young age, and unfortunately went into adulthood.  Sometimes as parents we have to be extra careful not to be the catalyst for this type of thing happening.  The sad reality of their family dysfunction showed that they were filled with constant thoughts of “let me see how I can one up you.” Round one began with “I’ll take your man”.  Round two began with, ” I can have more kids than you”.  This trap affects both men and women alike, and it ruins families, friendships, and work relationships.  The comparison trap has several things that lie at the root.  The three that God has spoken to me about are rejection, self-worth, and contentment. 

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When we read the story of Leah and Rachel, there are several things that we can directly and indirectly perceive.  The first thing perceived is that beauty and popularity won hearts.  People often shy away from us when we don’t fit into their standard for beauty, dress, hairstyle, etc.   If this is our area of brokenness, not fitting into someone else’s standards could lead to insecurity and internalization as rejection.  There are two sections of verses that tell us that one of Leah’s issues was rejection.  Here is the first:

Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.  Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.  Genesis 29:16-17, NIV

The second section of scripture tells us about why Leah became fruitful right away:

30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. Genesis 29:30-31, NIV

We see that self-worth comes into play because Leah mentions on more than one occasion that her husband would love her now that God had opened her womb.  We see how the phrase, “Oh, but he will love me since I’m pregnant with his child” worked out even then.  She said nothing about God loving her, and his love for her being enough.  

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32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.

Genesis 29: 32, 34, KJV

In verse 35 of Genesis, it seems as though Leah has finally resolved to be content in the state that she was in:

35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.  Genesis 29: 35, KJV

So we thought.  Unfortunately this was Leah’s and Rachel’s stronghold.  Right after Leah’s place of contentment, her sister Rachel can’t stand the fact that insists that Jacob sleeps with her handmaid so that she could have children, and since Leah had left child bearing, she followed suit in doing the same:

Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won!” So she named him Naphtali [My Struggle].

When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as his wife.

Genesis 30: 8-9, GW

The vicious cycle of rejection, no self-worth, and discontentment started up again:

13 Leah said, “I’ve been blessed! Women will call me blessed.” So she named him Asher [Blessing]. Genesis 30:13, KJV

20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. Genesis 30:20, KJV

Strongholds are hard to get rid of.  Like Leah, I was born with a weak eye.  I had to wear a patch over my other eye in order for my brain to train my weak eye to use itself, and prevent blindness.  I remember the whole process as being quite traumatic:  siting in doctor’s offices for 5 to 6 hours, eye exams, a patch, more eye exams, and then eye dilation, and leaving the doctor’s office.  I felt helpless as I was walking across the street with my mom, while holding her hand to wait for the bus.

Fast forward some years later, like Leah, I dealt with the feelings of rejection due to abandonment by my father, and then feelings of rejection due to the comment that another teenage girl made in response to my physical appearance.  I internalized this comment, and it was used as a tool to produce no self-worth, leading to seeking approval through high achievement in school, through others, and my ex-husband.  It also led to years of being in an emotionally abusive marriage, where I sought him for a good portion of my self-worth.  

Getting caught up in shopping and other things in order to improve my appearance, and feel like I could qualify to compete, only kept the cycle going.  There will always be someone who’s prettier, smarter, and dresses better.  We have to be safe and secure in who we are in Christ, knowing that this brings true contentment and self-worth, no matter what other people are saying or thinking.  We are all broken individuals in need of a Savior, and God loves us much more than anyone else ever could.

Dear God,

We thank you in advance for rescuing us from the comparison trap.  We also thank you that only in you, are we enough.  Otherwise, we might become filled with self-pride, criticism, and judgment.  Please help us to break free of this stronghold.

In the mighty name of Jesus,

Amen

 

Self-Worth

One of the main things that the enemy uses against people is self-worth.  His tool is a cycle of our brokenness, insecurities, and self-condemnation to continually run to people and things to fulfill us, instead of running to God.  He blocks out the knowledge that these things will only give us a temporary high, and lead to more emptiness if we are not being filled by God, our Living Water.  He makes us forget that our dependence on these things and people lead us right into the never ending game of idolatry. 

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The Source of Self-Worth

We all want to attain it,

From people and things we know.

Forgetting your death has sealed it,

Some thousands of years ago.

 

When we look to an “other” to fulfill it,

Makes us lonely, empty, insatiate.

When we look to the one who revealed it,

Makes us joyful, peaceful, gratiate.

 

All the people and all the things,

Become blessings with two wings.

As we worship the true King,

Giving everlasting springs.

 

Devotional: Enough for Everybody

About a year ago, I was looking out of the kitchen window, and I thought that what I was witnessing was a bird fight.  Instead of it being a fight, it was more like bullying.  Bullying among two birds.  One robin decided that he wanted the other robin to leave the grass. (Granted there was more than enough room for both of them.) The second robin(victim) tried to stay there.  However, the first robin(victim), continued to peck him.  The second robin went over to the bird bath to relax there.  And what do you know?  Mr. Bully came over there and pecked him until he left that area.  Eventually the second robin flew into the happy face tree(someone literally drew a happy face on the tree itself), and stayed there for a while.  This made the bully very happy.

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Last week, I saw several birds in the backyard after it rained.  No one had the bullying and victim title.  They were all scavenging for food after it rained.  They knew that there was more than enough to go around.

God revealed something to me in that very moment.  Sometimes we are like the two birds from a year ago.  We feel that we are not satisfied until we are the only star.  We feel that there will not be enough of God’s grace, goodness, and mercy to go around.  We think we have to fight in order to get the blessings, or there won’t be enough.

Other times, we are like the birds from last week, realizing that there is more than enough, God is the one who owns it all, and is running it all. 

The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalms 24:1, KJV

Even with whatever talent it is that he has blessed us with, he has to tell the door to open and to close.  Some of us will be blessed with a lot, and some of us will be blessed with little. 

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“O my people, listen as I speak.
    Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
    I am God, your God!
I have no complaint about your sacrifices
    or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns
    or the goats from your pens.
10 For all the animals of the forest are mine,
    and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird on the mountains,
    and all the animals of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for all the world is mine and everything in it.
13 Do I eat the meat of bulls?
    Do I drink the blood of goats?
14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
    and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
15 Then call on me when you are in trouble,
    and I will rescue you,
    and you will give me glory.” Psalms 50:7-15, NLT

However, when we realize that there is more than enough for everybody, then we can look to God, rather than other people to receive the blessing.

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.

17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. 

Proverbs 15:16-17, KJV

Dear God,

We thank you for the gifts that you have blessed us with.  We pray that you will help us to realize that we don’t have to worry about being threatened by anyone else, because you have blessed all of us with different gifts/talents that are unique to us.  Please help us not to compete, but to work together for your glory.

In your name we pray,

Amen.

Devotional: Surprised by Provision

Disappointment

There are a lot of things that happen in life that we are just not prepared for handling.  As a matter of fact, if God revealed to us what was on the way, we’d take off running in the other direction.  Sometimes one thing happens, and that one thing ends up changing your entire world for what you know it to be.  That is what happened to Naomi.

Naomi and her husband Elimelech, and their two sons decided to leave Bethlehem and reside in Moab because of the famine.  Instead of life getting better at this point, it got worse.  Elimelech died.  Their two sons found wives, and got married.  Then their two sons died.

Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, since she heard that they had bread again.  She figured that this might be a small sign of God’s provision.  Naomi told her two daughter-in-laws to head back to their homelands so that they could find husbands, since she didn’t have anymore sons.   Orpah left, but Ruth decided to stay:

 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Ruth 1:16, KJV

When they returned back to Bethlehem, it was evident that Naomi was surprised by God’s provision:

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.  Ruth 1: 19-22, KJV

Neither Ruth nor Naomi had a clue that going back to Bethlehem would bring surprise provision itself.  They went back for bread.  God had a little bit more than bread waiting for them.  He slowly began to reveal his plan.    

Ruth went out to glean corn, and she met a man named Boaz.  They had a conversation, and Boaz let on to Ruth that God was recompensing her work for her full diligence:

 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Ruth 2: 11-12, KJV

When Ruth arrived back home, Naomi questioned her about the food.  Ruth told her that she had met a man by the name of Boaz.  Naomi knew this was good news:

And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

Ruth 2: 20, KJV

According to the law, a kinsmen could be the redeemer if a relative died.  In this case, since Boaz was a kinsmen, he could redeem the land that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons.  However, there was a kinsmen even closer than Boaz.  This meant that he had first pick.  This relative didn’t want to forfeit his own inheritance.  Therefore, Boaz became the kinsmen redeemer.

And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.

 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

Ruth 4: 9-10, KJV

Surprise!

What a surprise!  The women encouraged Naomi, telling her that God hadn’t forgotten about her:  

And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.

 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.

Ruth 4: 14-15, KJV

At the age of 25, I had my surprise disappointment as well.  I was pregnant with my first child, and I worked all the way up to the day before delivery.  At the time, I was the breadwinner for the household, and I had all of the family health insurance in my name.  My son had his days and nights mixed up, and so for almost six weeks, I had between two to three hours of consecutive sleep during the night.  I was at the point of extreme exhaustion, and I could tell that my blood pressure was up. 

This was confirmed when the home nurse came out to check on me.  As soon as she checked my blood pressure, she knew that it was from lack of sleep.  Four days before my six weeks was up, my son started sleeping through the night for four consecutive hours.  However, I need that I would need two extra weeks of this before returning to work, or else my health would plummet.

I called my job, and requested an additional two weeks off.  I was informed that if i didn’t come back right away, then I would be considered as having abandoned my job.  I hung up the phone, and then wrestled with what to do.  With $50 left to my name, and no emergency money, this was a hard call.  However, I also knew that if they were like this about my health, then they would definitely be like this about my son’s health as well.  I decided not to go back, not sure of how I would make it.

My son was almost 3 months old when I took him to his three month checkup.  After the appointment, I decided to visit my old job, which was five minutes away.  I got caught up with everyone, and my old boss asked me when I would return to work.  I told my old boss what happened, and he said, ” Just like that?”.  I replied, ” Yes, just like that. End of story.”  We laughed, and he asked me what I thought of working for him again.  I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious.  What a surprise!  

Within two weeks, I was back to working again.  In the beginning, I worked a five day week, then a 10 hour four-day week while my son was little, before moving on to a different job.  I didn’t know, but God knew that his divine providence was waiting for me at this place.  All I had to do was to go and get it.  Talk about Jesus working it out with provision!

 

Dear God,

We thank you for your surprise providence.  Thank you for helping us to step out on faith, even when we are not sure what you have in store for us.  

In Jesus’ name we pray,

Amen

Well of Life

We have all been found guilty of idols in our life.  Some of these surface idols cover up deeper issues.  Because of the trauma and rejection that was placed on me at an early age, my surface idol showed up as striving/ overachievement/perfectionism.  My deeper idol was to get approval from others.  It has taken me a long time to realize this.  When we lay our idols as Jesus’ feet, he quenches our thirst every single time.  Satan makes it his business to make us think that Christ isn’t enough.  The truth of the matter is, we aren’t enough without him.  Daily, we have to go to the tree of life, who is the only one who will fulfill us.  Be blessed!

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The Quench

Lord, I want their approval.

My child, you’re filled with fear and doubt.

Just come to the well.

Drink from my everlasting spout.

 

 

Lord, I want their approval.

Don’t you see me on the hill?

With the woman at the well.

Her jar left quite unfilled.

 

 

Lord, I want their approval.

Oh my child, can’t you see?

They’re all broken and insecure…

Need some fixin’ at the tree. 

 

 

Lord, I need your approval.

Oh dear child, you can see.

All your striving and perfecting,

Doesn’t mean a thing to me.

 

 

It’s by grace that you’re saved.

Not by works.

You can’t boast.

And I love you.

Yes, I love you.

Oh, I’m loving you the most.