Episode 7: The Benefits of Suffering

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Episode 7: The Benefits of Suffering
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Background on The Benefits of Suffering

Last week, I recorded Episode 6:  Waiting on God for the Impossible.  When we live long enough, we know that this becomes inevitable at some point in our lives.  How we handle waiting, and what we do during the process of waiting is the key.  If you want to catch last week’s episode, you can check it out here.

This week’s episode is “The Benefits of Suffering”.

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Podcast Outline

  • Introduction
  • The Truth
  • The Benefits
  • Presence with Joseph
  • God’s Presence with Me
  • God’s Comfort
  • Living Wholehearted Lives
  • Perseverance From Suffering
  • Comforting Others With God’s Comfort
  • How I Find Comfort in Suffering
  • Bible Verses to Meditate On:
  • Poem to Meditate On:

Midnight Furnace

I called you and you answered.

Right during my night of pain.

You pulled me out of the fire.

Then the fire turned to rain.

 

Not knowing that I’d survive this.

I prayed for you to deliver.

You told me to keep closed fists,

Bended knees with all considered.

 

I feel your Spirit run through me.

A song comes into my head.

“My child, you are protected.

Rest easy and go back to bed.”

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2 Corinthians 1: 3-11

  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
  • We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a]about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
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2 Corinthians 12: 6-10

 

Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Have a blessed night!

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The Flashback/Images/Nightmare Aspect: Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis

emotional health, mental health, trauma, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, ptsd, ptsd survivor, dreams, healing, brokenness, nightmares, living with trauma

Background on the Flashback/Images/Nightmare Aspect

A week ago, I discussed The “Inability to Focus” Aspect: Living With and Healing From Trauma on a Daily Basis.  That discussion can be found here.  Today, I will be discussing The Flashback/Images/Nightmare Aspect: Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis.

emotional health, mental health, trauma, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, ptsd, ptsd survivor, dreams, healing, brokenness, nightmares, living with trauma
Dreaming

Nightmare Aspect

This discussion has three parts to it.  When I compare myself to others whom I have talked to, they present themselves differently, and so I deemed it necessary to explain them separately.  As far as the nightmare aspect is concerned, my experience has been that there has been very few trauma nightmares.  When the nightmares do occur, they are usually because I have fallen asleep with the television on, and a horror movie happened to come on, and that movie turned the dream into a trauma nightmare.

Also, at our last residence, because of the vaulted ceilings, you could hear everything that was going on no matter what room you were in.  It gave the impression that we were in closer proximity than we really were.  During this time, the sleep deprived trauma symptom was at its peak.  I would either wake up every 45 minutes to an hour, or fall asleep at 3 am, If my son was playing a war game on his Xbox, then that would also set me off into a trauma nightmare.

Because of the way that my brain is wired, whenever I go to sleep, I have to be careful of what is playing in the background because it will become part of my dream.  The game would cause me to dream of something violent, wake up with trauma-induced fear, my body stiff as a board, clenched teeth, and unfortunately my mouth filled with blood from biting my gums.

It  would normally take a long time to go back to sleep after this.  I would end up telling my son to turn the game volume down.  The very few times that this happened would usually involve me praying desperately for God to take away the trauma fear, and to give me the sweet sleep that he promised us in Proverbs 3.

emotional health, mental health, trauma, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, ptsd, ptsd survivor, dreams, healing, brokenness, nightmares, living with traumaDifficulty Sleeping

 

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Waking Up

 

Trauma Dreams

Part 1

What I do have a lot of is what I call trauma dreams.  What I noticed is that when I am unable to process the trauma, i.e. grieve it, then the trauma will show up in my dreams where I am able to process it.  Usually what happens is that I will wake up with heavy grief, remembering the dream, and then grieving some more.

Part 2

The weird thing about what I call trauma dreams is that there isn’t always one theme that the dream is about.  Sometimes there are five different things that I need to process subconsciously, and the dream will mix all these different things together.

emotional health, mental health, trauma, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, ptsd, ptsd survivor, dreams, healing, brokenness, nightmares, living with trauma
Praying for Sweet Sleep

 

Flashbacks

Trauma flashbacks usually occur through triggers.  These triggers can be weather related, smells, sights, sounds,  tastes, and even touch.  Basically, triggers can involve any of the five senses.  The triggers aspect is discussed in more detail here.

About a year ago, I made some bean and cheese quesadillas that were pretty good.  At least, I thought they were.  However, my kids were only able to take a few bites.  The quesadillas triggered memories of an earlier time.

When I was working at a toxic company for six months, I overheard the boss mention one word.  That word sent me into a tailspin of flashbacks in regards to an extremely traumatic situation that happened with my ex-husband.  This situation of bullying was going on while my grandmother was in the hospital dying.  Basically, you never know what will trigger flashbacks.

As the spring and winter approaches, these also bring the flashbacks on.  This is because my eyes are very sensitive to transitions in the brightness and darkness outside.  I go into this blackout aspect more deeply here.

emotional health, mental health, trauma, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, ptsd, ptsd survivor, dreams, healing, brokenness, nightmares, living with trauma
Transitions with Light

Images

I am not sure of how many people deal with this aspect.  Where most people have violent nightmares, my trauma comes forth as violent images in front of my face.  What I have noticed is that these images will also emerge if my brain is having problems processing what it is seeing.

It can be as small as a simple fight or argument.  Sometimes I am able to tolerate it.  However, if the movie shows a lot of it, then I will see images.  A few months ago, I was watching a Netflix movie that reminded me of my ethnicity, and growing up in the black church and community.

The content started becoming questionable, and I knew the Holy Spirit was trying to signal to me that it probably wasn’t a good idea to continue.  My confirmation was when a violent fight broke out between a man and a woman, and then the trauma images came forth.  The next thing that I knew, I said, “Okay.  We’re done.  Thank you Lord for confirmation.”

If there was anything in this discussion that resonated with you, feel free to drop me a line below.

Have a blessed rest of your day!

 

Katina

 

Episode 6: Waiting on God For the Impossible

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Episode 6: Waiting on God For the Impossible
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Introduction to “Waiting on God For the Impossible”

Last week, the featured podcast was Episode 5: Woe is Me!  It can be found here.  This particular podcast dealt with the sin of self-pity.  It broke down the definition, signs and symptoms, the different areas self-pity can be involved in, and the tools to grow and move forward from self-pity.

 

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This week’s podcast is entitled, ” Waiting on God For the Impossible”.  I have found that waiting on God for an answer is one of the most difficult things to have to do.  If we were on the game show called “Family Feud”, it would come in as number two on the survey for what issues Christians find hardest to deal with.  Why?

  • It is God’s timetable not ours.
  • Our emergency is not God’s emergency.
  • The unknown can be scary.

 

spiritual health, ABraham, Sarah, car, financial, prayer, moving, emotional health, spiritual health, emergency, family issues, scary, uncertainty, drama, issues, healing, healing our brokenness, waiting on God for the impossible, podcaster, author, blog, blogger, writer
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Podcast Outline

  • Introduction
  • Dissection of How Sarah and Abraham Dealt with Waiting
  • Oh, The Pain of Waiting
  • My Abraham Journey
  • Our New Home
  • My Financial Situation

 

Bible Verses to Meditate On

Genesis 17:

Part 1

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to himand said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan,where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Part 2

Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant,you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Part 3

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.[d] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

Part 4

21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,

25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen;26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

 

Mark 9: 14-27

Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit

Part 1

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Part 2

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

The “Inability to Focus” Aspect: Living With and Healing From Trauma on a Daily Basis

mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, ptsd, trauma, adhd, focus, dissociation. inability to focus aspect

Background on the Inability to Focus Aspect

For about three months now, I have featured a series entitled, ” Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis.  Last week, I discussed the “Blackout Aspect”.  That discussion can be found here.  Today’s discussion in the series ” Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, will center in on The “Inability to Focus” Aspect.

mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, ptsd, trauma, adhd, focus, dissociation. inability to focus aspect

When we focus, we are able to use all of our attention in order to get a task done.  Unfortunately, with PTSD/trauma, there are times when the inability to focus can literally get the best of you.  There are several times that I have noticed this happening to myself.  These are the triggering situations when the inability to focus happens the most:

  • obtrusive thoughts are coming through
  • you are in shock/denial about the truth/reality of a situation
  • when you haven’t had enough sleep

mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, ptsd, trauma, adhd, focus, dissociation. inability to focus aspect

Obtrusive Thoughts

Obtrusive thoughts that come through are the thoughts that are for the most part not your own.  These thoughts are usually part of the inner critic voice inside of you from the person who abused or criticized you, or caused some type of pain or rejection.  When these thoughts are racing through, it is hard to focus on anything else because the thoughts are trying to literally take over your whole brain process.  I start off by praying and asking God to “take my thoughts captive”.  If the obtrusive thoughts are mild, this does the trick.  However, to keep it real, sometimes the thoughts are so out of control, that I am praying to God all day long about the same thing to the point of exhaustion.

mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, ptsd, trauma, adhd, focus, dissociation. inability to focus aspect

Shock / Denial

When I am in shock/denial about some revelation that God has brought forth, I immediately start having problems focusing.  This happened about three weeks ago when a personal situation with someone blew wide open.  During this time, I ended up redirecting myself several times over to the truth, which is good.  However, what I notice is that the truth is such a shock at this point, that the inability to focus increases instead of decreases from the truth.

This is because the revelation of the truth started the cycle in the first place, if that makes sense.  The only thing that helps to ease this up is when our brains know that it is safe to grieve.  Grieving breaks through the inability to focus aspect little by little when it comes to shock/denial.  In this sense, I think of it as being a protection from further emotional and mental damage.  This particular case from shock/denial is a form of dissociation as well.

mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, ptsd, trauma, adhd, focus, dissociation. inability to focus aspect

Lack of Sleep

Lastly, when it comes to trauma, we have to have enough sleep.  This can’t be stressed enough.  When this doesn’t happen, it increases the inability to focus.  In PTSD/trauma victims, this is exaggerated more than usual cases.  The situation can get so bad that you exhibit ADHD-like symptoms that are trauma-induced.  You have difficulty putting thoughts and sentences together, and you feel like your words are far apart.

My Experience with Lack of Sleep

One time about eight months ago this happened.  It was extremely scary.  I had been having problems sleeping for about a week do to a trial that I was dealing with, and the next thing that I knew, I realized that I was having problems gathering thoughts and putting sentences together.  I prayed and asked God to help me sleep, and to restore my mind.  And he didn’t fail to answer.

mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, ptsd, trauma, adhd, focus, dissociation. inability to focus aspect

Even if this is not your area of struggle with PTSD/trauma, I am quite sure that there are other that you have that may be just as challenging.  Feel free to comment below on how the inability to focus aspect has challenged you.

Thanks and blessings,

Katina

Episode 5: Woe is Me!

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Episode 5: Woe is Me!
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Outline of the Podcast “Woe is Me!”

Praise God!  We are on Episode 5, entitled, ” Woe Is Me!”.  Last week’s podcast featured Episode 4:  Unhealed Brokenness & Toxic Relationships.  It can be found here.

  • What is Self-Pity?
  • Why is Self-Pity So Bad?
  • What is the End Result of Extreme Self-Pity?

 

self-pity, self-help, spiritual health, mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, anger, abuse, woe is me, valley of grace, character development, victim, victim mentality,
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  • The Competitive Side of Self-Pity
  • Self-Pity is Spiritual
  • View of Self-Pity for other Christians
  • View of Self-Pity for Unbelievers
  • My Experience with Self-Pity
self-pity, self-help, spiritual health, mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, anger, abuse, woe is me, valley of grace, character development, victim, victim mentality,
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  • Factors for Ahab’s spirit of self-pity
  1. Retirement
  2. Location
  3. Money
  • Ahab’s childish behavior
  • Reminders about Temptation and Lust
  • James 1: 12-20:

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

self-pity, self-help, spiritual health, mental health, emotional health, anxiety, depression, anger, abuse, woe is me, valley of grace, character development, victim, victim mentality,

Five Steps to Freedom from Self-Pity

Have a blessed night!

Katina

The Blackout Aspect: Living With and Healing From Trauma on a Daily Basis

blackout, depression, anxiety, emotional health,, mental health, light, calm, dark, darkness, ptsd, healing, grief, rest, trauma, ptsd survivor, domestic violence, drama, brokenness

Dissecting the Blackout

A couple of weeks ago, we focused on the shame aspect of trauma.  You can find that discussion:   “The Shame Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis” here.  Today, we will discuss the blackout aspect of trauma.

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What is the blackout aspect of trauma?  The blackout aspect of trauma consists of several different things.  First of all, not everyone, but for some people living with PTSD/trauma, there is something that happens with your body’s sense of being able to handle the transition between light and dark if that makes sense.  For myself, it was so significant that at first, I had to have a lot of lights on in the house.  If I didn’t, I would feel like the darkness was closing in on me.

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Old Experience with Blackout

When my kids and I were homeless, and waiting for God to give us a place to live, one of my friends took us in for five weeks.  At this time, my issue with blackout was so bad, that the darkness made me scared to fall asleep.  I would wake up in a panic, and have to calm myself down so that I could feel rested.  I felt like I had gone from a forty something year old woman to a child afraid of the dark again.  So, not only was it scary, but I was filled with shame.

New Experience with Blackout

What I noticed the situation is now, is that I have such a sensitivity to light, that I have to have it completely dark in order to fall asleep.  If there is any light coming in from the blinds, I know I am going to have trouble falling asleep.  If I don’t have the light blocking my face, even if I’ve had 8 hours of sleep, I will have extreme layers of bags under my eyes that will look like I haven’t slept in days.  Also, my whole body will be in an extreme case of exhaustion.

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Two years ago, I had to serve at the concession stand at church for basketball season.  It was a pretty gloomy day in general, and since it was early evening when I got dropped off at the church, it was even darker.  I stepped into the church’s kitchen to begin my serving shift, when everything started closing in on me.

My old techniques were immediate panic, but right then, I reminded myself of where I was, that it would eventually stop, and that engaging in conversation with others around me would help me to get grounded in the present moment.  I would just have to ride it out.

blackout, depression, anxiety, emotional health,, mental health, light, calm, dark, darkness, ptsd, healing, grief, rest, trauma, ptsd survivor, domestic violence, drama, brokenness
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When is the blackout aspect really bad?  This is during the time where there is changing of the seasons, especially when it starts getting darker closer to winter.

I do a better job of handling it now, but in the beginning, it really rattled me to be honest.  Feel free to drop a line in regards to your blackout aspect, and how you handle it.

 

God bless and have a wonderful weekend.

Episode 4: Unhealed Brokenness & Toxic Relationships

C-PTSD, bullying, personality disorder, toxic relationships, ptsd, trauma, emotional health, mental health, depression, anxiety, spiritual help, abuse, emotional abuse, judging, criticizing, unhealed brokenness and toxic people, healing our brokenness, valley of grace, blog, podcast, Christian, family issues

Episode 4: Unhealed Brokenness & Toxic Relationships
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I am blessed to be airing Episode 4:  Unhealed Brokenness & Toxic Relationships.  Last week I aired Episode 3:  Broken People Judging Broken People, and it can be found here.  I am not a mental health professional.  I am speaking on this topic based upon my relationships with individuals in the last twenty years where toxicity existed.

I pray that if you are dealing with any of the signs/symptoms in a relationship, that are mentioned in this podcast, that you seek professional help in navigating this dynamic, and that you remove yourself from the toxic dance before it’s too late.

Unhealed Brokenness & Toxic Relationships Podcast Outline

  • Background on My Unhealed Areas of Brokenness
  • Signs and Symptoms of Toxic Relationships/Personality Disordered Individuals
  • Woman At the Well
  • Woman with the Issue of Blood
  • When to Get Out

C-PTSD, bullying, personality disorder, toxic relationships, ptsd, trauma, emotional health, mental health, depression, anxiety, spiritual help, abuse, emotional abuse, judging, criticizing, unhealed brokenness and toxic people, healing our brokenness, valley of grace, blog, podcast, Christian, family issues
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Bible Verses for Meditation:

 

John 4: 7-26

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

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Mark 5:25-34 New International Version (NIV)

25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Matthew 18:15-17 New International Version

(NIV)

Dealing With Sin in the Church

 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

It is Finished

Shame:  It is Finished

You can always tell what things are important to Jesus.  That is why his last three words on the cross summed up everything:  “It is finished.” He already knows the things that keep a high level of stronghold on us.  Shame and rejection are just two of them.  Shame is when we are perceiving ourselves as bad.  This perception can be due to issues playing out in any of the following areas: financial, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, and mental.  Because we are all broken, we dump shame on ourselves, and then unfortunately we dump shame on others.  Last week, we discussed the shame aspect of trauma here.  When we wallow in shame, then we see ourselves as unworthy.  We become deficient in self-worth.  What did the scripture say about our actions in regards to shame? “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

 

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Rejection:  It is Finished

Rejection hits the same brain wires as when we experience physical pain.  When rejection plays out, we receive the hidden message, “You are not good enough”.   You need to prove yourself.  The next natural response to not being “good enough”, is trying to figure out what we need to do in order to qualify.  Unfortunately, depending on our background, this could turn into a dangerous ground for Satan to get a foothold.  Jesus was despised and rejected as he planned to take his place on the cross.  He didn’t need to prove himself, or figure out how to get someone to like him because God, his Father, was all the approval that he needed, and Jesus is all the approval that we need.  His life in exchange for our freedom:  He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.  Isaiah 53: 3

 

We can finally release all of the shame and rejection on the cross by remembering the last three words that Jesus said, ” It is finished”.

 

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:30

When Grace Is No Longer Grace

Dissecting Grace

As Christians, we know that the best example we have for living is Christ.  We love because he first loved us.  We forgive because he has forgiven us.  We give grace because we have been given grace.  But, the question is, when is grace no longer grace?  This is the question that I have had to revisit several times in the last few years.

Grace is no longer grace when we have gotten to the point of disrespecting ourselves.  How do we know that we our disrespecting ourselves?  It is usually when our needs, thoughts, well-being, and boundaries are ignored.  Boundaries exist emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

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Body’s Reactions

One of the ways to know if we are disrespecting ourselves is to pay attention to our “gut reaction”.  A lot of times our bodies know that something is wrong before our emotional, mental, and spiritual knows that something is wrong.  When I first met a neighbor at my last residence, she seemed nice.  Although she seemed nice, there was still something that didn’t allow me to feel 100% safe.  During the course of talking to her, she almost fell.  She grabbed on to me to recover her balance, and my whole body locked up.  If you live with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis, then you are very familiar with the stiffness of the body as a reaction to trauma/stress.  Because of trauma victims having a negative charge, we are even more sensitive to detecting something wrong.  We are magnets to certain types of energy.  Had I acted on this warning, I could have avoided a lot of heartache.  When you have a gut reaction about something, it is your body’s warning that your boundaries are being crossed, or that something said isn’t right.

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Giving Excuses

We all have bad days.  We are all broken, and because of our brokenness we are going to sin on a daily basis.  However, it is important to pay attention to how often we are giving excuses for behavior.

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Giving

We are not to keep score, however, it is important to know that there is give and take in any relationship.  If we are on the giving 90% of the time side, this is a sign that grace is no longer grace.  This will manifest itself through feeling drained emotionally during or at the commencement of the relationship.  This isn’t a normal reaction in a give and take dynamic.

 

Working

You are working to prove your value and worth all the time.  Jesus’ death cut out all the legalism of work.  If we are striving for approval or value from others, or we are given the hidden meaning to keep hustling for someone, grace is no longer grace.  I love this verse in Romans that makes this so clear:  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6

 

 

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Control

Grace is no longer grace when we allow ourselves to to be controlled.  Control can be subtle or obvious.  When you find yourself in a toxic dance, your gut feeling is not right, and you are going around in circles, this is a sign you are being controlled.  It can also be a matter of having the things that you say or do be used against you.  For example:  Person A says :  Do this.  Person B:  Does this.  Person A says:  Why did you do this?  And then this repeats over and over again.  The only way to come out of the dance is to eliminate your action as person B.

 

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Patterns

One of the best ways to determine whether grace is no longer grace is to look for patterns.  These patterns will give a clue into whether or not there was a misunderstanding on our part, or if there is a pattern of sin on the other person’s part.  If it is hard to detect, then one of the best things that we can do is to pray.  Prayer for wisdom and discernment will allow us to receive what God wants us to know.  As much as we hate conflict, it is something that we can’t avoid.  The podcast on handling conflict can be found here.  We are told in scripture how to handle the conflict of sin:

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.  Matthew 18:15-17

 

What I have come to figure out myself is that if the scripture verses above were put into effect in all of my situations, then the draining/toxic effect could have been avoided or lessened.  We cannot save or fix others.  It is Satan’s job to make us believe that we can, to the point of disrespecting ourselves, where grace is no longer grace.

God bless you all!

 

Katina

 

 

Footnotes:

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

Dissecting the Shame

Last week, we discussed “The Changing Seasons Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, which can be found here.  This week, we will be dissecting “The Shame Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”.  One thing about shame is that when it creeps in, it can do a lot of destruction.

Trauma itself can produce a lot of shame because of its symptoms.  Depending on what symptom you are trying to control, it can leave you feeling isolated, and wanting to self protect for fear that someone will not empathize with you for your condition.  I harbored shame for three reasons:  the swinging/aggressive impulse that it caused, the good memory that God had blessed me with had been had been significantly damaged, and last, the physical condition that the trauma left my body in.

Shame of Lost Memory

I took for granted the memory that I was blessed with.  It just had always been there.  The ability to memorize telephone numbers, social security numbers, birthdays, and spelling bee words all came easy until the trauma.  Even names of people became a blur.  When you go from having all this, to trying to remember if something happened a week ago, or three weeks ago, because of the time aspect of trauma, it can do a number on you.  Even now, my brain hasn’t fully recovered.  Sometimes, I am standing with friends and talking, and for the life of me, I just can’t seem to remember their name.  At this point, I will try to tell myself to relax, and then not to overthink it, and the name will come to me.  I feel so blessed that God has recovered what he has.

 

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Shame of Aggression

The second part of shame that has taken me a long time to talk about is the aggression.  When the aggression hits, it leaves you with the impression of wanting to hit something.  Since trauma gets stored in your body, the only way for this aggression to improve, is to get it out.  I do this at home by doing a kickboxing style type of move to release the anger from my body.  Also, if you don’t go to therapy where it’s safe to talk about the trauma, it just remains stored in your body.  Unfortunately, this symptom of aggression from trauma stemmed from seeing my mother abused when I was a kid.  I didn’t know it was traumatic until the trauma of my ex-husband’s behavior in the home right before my divorce, coupled with the fact that my daughter was eleven years old at the time.   He was planning on leaving the home, and this brought my childhood surface of trauma to the forefront.  I was also eleven when my dad left the home.  His exit was also traumatic for me.  It involved coming home, and then almost everything you own being gone from the house, including him.

shame, guilt, trauma, anxiety, PTSD, depression, emotional health, mental health

 

 

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Shame of Physical Burnout

The last part of shame from trauma that I dealt with is the physical aspect.  I was in a compromised state.  Since my ex-husband wasn’t paying the proper amount of money, I figured that I had to go back to work to make ends meet.  I got a job that came with a high price: toxicity.  From start to finish of working there, it mirrored the emotionally abusive marriage I had just left.  I should have quit halfway through when my body started falling apart, but I didn’t.  It was nine months of Sodom and Gomorrah, and everything in between there.  I was in such a jacked up state, that I couldn’t think straight.  At one point, I probably should have been hospitalized because of physical exhaustion, thyroid crisis, and adrenal gland crisis.  I also suffered with chronic fatigue on a daily basis.  It took a good almost three years before my body starting responding to the thyroid medication again.  More shame crept in because during these three years I was more concerned with living up to everyone else’s expectations than living with reality of my situation.  It was also at this point that I should have filed for disability, but I didn’t.

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Hope from God

What does God tell us about shame of any kind when we are dealing with it?  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7.  I hope that this discussion on shame has been a source of healing and encouragement.

 

God bless,

 

Katina