Opening the Trust Door

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We have all had trust issues at one time or another.  These issues usually stem from experiencing hurt from the people that are closest to us.  The poem “Opening the Trust Door” portrays a dialog that occurs between us and God.  God is the only one that can heal our issues with trust.  That is, if we invite him in.

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Should I trust again?

Do I let people in?

Will they bring me more pain?

Or, stand with me in the rain?

 

Do I stay in the cave?

Where it’s dark, but feels safe?

Or, do I walk out and thrive?

And thank God I’m alive.

 

If I open the gate,

Will there be much more hate?

 

“If you let me come in,

We’ll be more than just friends.”

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Episode 20: Just a Little White Lie

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Episode 20: Just a Little White Lie
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If you missed the last episode, you can grab it here. Today’s episode deals with something that we have all found ourselves doing. Click and take a listen!

Episode 20: Just a Little White Lie Podcast Outline

  • What are we lying about?
  • Two Stories of Biblical Lying
  • Podcast Transcript
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Hello!

Welcome to Valley of Grace’s Healing Our Brokenness.  Today I am featuring “Episode 20: Just A Little White Lie”.  Lying is something that we have all done.  When we lie, and someone calls us out on it, our response is usually, “Oh it’s just a little white lie.  Everybody lies.” 

So, what are some of the things that we are lying about?  Sometimes when we lie, it is to spare hurting someone’s feelings.  Other times we lie to make ourselves look good, or as if we “have it altogether”, when we don’t.  When we enter the church doors on Sunday morning, and we are greeting other Sisters and Brothers in Christ, and they ask about our status, we are afraid to tell them “Okay” or “Not too Good at the Present moment”, or “I’m going through trials at the present moment, but I know that God is good.”  Forbid if we get real.  No, we have to say, “Really Good” or “Good”.  Or better yet, “ Fine.”

The last one was one of my favorites until I saw how jacked up that made me feel afterwards.  If I was not fine at the time, and I tried to outwardly act like I was happy go lucky, my emotional and mental state knew that something wasn’t matching up.  It would actually cause me to experience the trauma symptom of having dysregulated emotions and depression.  Go figure.  

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A few months after I started noticing that was happening, I read a psychology article stating that it makes your emotions harder to control when you do this.  Not that we should wallow in self-pity or anything, but when you think about it, we are one way, and trying to signal our emotions and body to do a quick 360 degree turnaround and be okay.  The answer is “No” to that one.

r emotions and body to do a quick 360 degree turnaround and be okay.  The answer is “No” to that one.

What else are we lying about?

We lie about our jobs, the kind of cars that we drive, our marital status, and whether we were at home when someone tried to reach us.

When we’re at work, and the ladies or men are in a huddle talking about their kids and their extracurricular activities, material possessions, or their socioeconomic statuses, we lie about ours.

When we are in our church small groups, we lie about our woundedness for fear that everybody else will have lighter sins and issues than us.  We don’t want to look “too broken”.  We have to look as close to Jesus “perfect” as possible.  When we lie and head to the perfection side of things, we actually cause someone else to miss their opportunity to know that they are not alone.  Not only that, we quench the Holy Spirit , and miss out on our blessing.

No matter where we are, we find ourselves lying about our intentions to others.  We come to them, telling them one thing.  However, our agenda is another.  In a lot of cases, the person that we are lying to is totally unaware of what is going on.  One thing about being actively in the pursuit of lying, there is always someone who witnesses what’s going on.  And if there isn’t what the other person doesn’t know, God knows.  And such is the situation that occurred with David.

David was on the run from Saul.  He was without food and weaponry.  He went to Ahimelek the priest and lied to him about his intentions. 

David at Nob

21 David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”

David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.”

But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.”

David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.”

The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”

David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

David made the assumption that lying to Ahimelek would prevent Ahimelek from getting in the crossfire of Saul’s hunt for David’s life.  What David didn’t anticipate was the fact that Saul’s right-hand man, Doeg, the Edomite, would be hanging around Nob, witnessing the whole transaction that occurred between him and Ahimelek.  Therefore, Doeg was going to give Saul the report according to his perception of what he saw. 

David underestimated the demonic forces that he was dealing with.  If Saul was willing to kill his own son, what would he do to someone who wasn’t? So, what ended up happening?  Just as we are thinking, Doeg tricked on David.  Basically, he said something like this, “Saul, guess who I saw over in Nob, getting Ahimelek’s blessing?”

Here is the scripture of how it played out: 

Saul Kills the Priests of Nob

Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side. He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.”

But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. 10 Ahimelek inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the swordof Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelek son of Ahitub and all the men of his family, who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.”

“Yes, my lord,” he answered.

13 Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?”

14 Ahimelek answered the king, “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household? 15 Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father’s family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair.”

16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelek, you and your whole family.”

17 Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.”

But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord.

18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.”So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the swordNob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

20 But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family. 23 Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”

 David’s lying caused Ahimilek, and all of his household, except for one, and all the other priests of Nob to be killed. 

Stewardship Lying

The last thing that I want to talk about are the lies we tell about our stewardship.  When we find out others are giving more money than we are, we tend to lie about how much we are giving.  When it comes to lying about stewardship, we are lying to God, not men.

If we were able to, we would go back in time and ask Ananias and Sapphira about this.  The Christians over in the book of Acts were on fire after being filled with the Holy Ghost.  They operated on “one accord” at the time.  If there were any brethren in need, they would sell their additional land, and then offer it up to the disciples.  No one was without.  Ananias and Sapphira sold some of their land. Their desire was to keep back of the money for themselves.  They could have expressed this to the disciples, but they didn’t.  Selling your land was an act of the heart and will.  It wasn’t a force situation.

The thing is, they wanted to appear super generous like everyone else.  Unfortunately, their lies caught up with them, and then cost both of them their lives:

Ananias and Sapphira

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

And so, the question that I will leave you with is this, “What “little white lie” are we telling that could heap disastrous results?

Thank you for listening to another episode of Healing Our Brokenness.

Episode 19: Anxiety!

ptsd, self-inflicted, hereditary, anxiety, mental health, emotional health, blog, podcast, podcasting, author, blogger, valley of grace blog, healing our brokenness, katina horton,

Episode 19: Anxiety!
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Anxiety is something that we will all face in life. The causes of anxiety and the solutions for dealing with this common problem will vary from person to person. Listen in to Episode 19 as I discuss this topic.

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Episode 19: Podcast Outline

  • Introduction
  • Normal Anxiety
  • Clinical Anxiety
  • Trying to be Sovereign Anxiety
  • Self-Inflicted Anxiety
  • Trauma-Induced
  • David on Anxiety
  • Solutions for Anxiety

Good morning!  Welcome to Valley of Grace’s Healing Our Brokenness podcast.  Today, you are listening to Episode 19: Anxiety! 

Introduction

Picture this scene:  I was in 7th grade, and at the time, I enjoyed competing in oratorical contests for fun.  However, because my mother was a single parent, and had to work, she was never able to come to see me compete.  I should have been grateful that she was working.  However, I got caught up on her being there.  She finally decided to come.  However, she forgot to forewarn me.  I was on the stage, and she waved to show me that she was there, and my mind went blank after the first two lines.  I could hear my words trembling, and feel my whole body shaking intensely.  She hadn’t done anything wrong, but my lack of preparedness for her coming totally threw me for a loop.

Normal Anxiety

When we hear the word anxiety, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.  Anxiety is normal in certain cases.  For example, recently I was waiting for the test results from a mammogram, and as I was listening to the person on the phone, I became anxious as I proposed what her words would be and how I would react to them.  Anxiety can sneak upon us as we get ready to take a quiz, and it can cause us to forget everything that we were going to say. 

Hereditary Anxiety

Anxiety can be debilitating.  This type can often be hereditary and would fall under the column of anxiety disorder.  That means that if our grandparents and parents have suffered from anxiety disorder, then it is a high chance that we could be dealing with the same issue.  When we suffer from this kind of anxiety, it is something that we had no control over. 

Trying to be Sovereign Anxiety

There is, however, another kind of anxiety that I am going to discuss.  This type of anxiety is from the things that we place on ourselves.  Examples of this is trying to fix problems that we don’t have control over.  We try to control our adult children and the mistakes that they make in their lives. There is a desire to control whether or not people will accept or reject our uniqueness. 

We try to control whether the job that we have had for over 15 years will be the job that we retire from. Do you control the discipline that God gives to a family or friend in regard to their sin, and in the process, we began to enable the individual?  When we try so hard to control, it only makes us more out of control.  This eagerness to control creates an addiction within itself.  This is what the devil doesn’t tell us.  We don’t know until it’s too late.

Self-Inflicted Anxiety

Another type of anxiety that we place on ourselves is that of making changes for the sake of coming out of vicious cycles.  For example:  Stacy notices that she has an anxiety attack every morning in regard to getting out the door and getting to work.  Reasoning:  Every morning Stacy stays in bed until 30 minutes before it’s time to leave to go to work.  She has to rush to put makeup on, get her breakfast, and pack her lunch.  Stacy knows what is behind this problem, but she fails to make the changes.  Stacy is self-sabotaging.

Scheduling is another type of self-inflicted anxiety.  This is the area that I am guilty of, and starting to make progress in.  We pile as much as we can into a given day.  The more things we keep adding to that list, the more things will be added to our list of anxiety about.  The first thing that we don’t consider is exactly how long it will take to get each thing done.  There are only so many hours in the day. 

If we work outside the home, those hours are shortened.  Unless we are God, there is no way that we can get all those things done, but we try.  Sometimes it is possible to get those things done, but we have used this time up on social media, or doing a little bit too much relaxing, only to start the vicious cycle all about again.

Trauma-Induced Anxiety

The last type of anxiety that I would like to discuss is that of trauma-induced anxiety.  Unfortunately, this kind is one that I am very familiar with.  One kind of trauma anxiety is created from having to be in hypervigilant mode all the time.  The other part of trauma anxiety that I have noticed for myself is that I might have a flashback or a trigger of something. 

Then, what happens is that my mind may start to think about the details and feelings that this event caused.  I push the thought away, thinking that maybe it is unimportant, only to realize later when it resurfaces, and continues to occupy my emotional and mental space, that it is something that I need to deal with.  However, since trauma wants to be in control, it will cause you to start self-protecting, and then rationalizing why you shouldn’t talk about this thing. 

You think you’ve somehow outsmarted trauma, but it outsmarts you because when this event keeps coming up, it usually causes anxiety to go from 0 to 1000 in your body, while the flashbacks are occurring, and what you don’t realize is that avoidance of discussion of this event is keeping the physical energy in your body, and delaying the healing at the same time. 

I learned this the hard way when I tried avoiding talking about seeing my father abuse my mother in our apartment as a kid.  I kept delaying and delaying, scratching off on my therapy notes, and saying, “Nope, not this week!”  Weeks turned into months, and then finally when I couldn’t take it any longer and started feeling the impulse of swinging and punching at its peak, I did the best thing that I could do.  I talked about it with my therapist.  It got worse before it got better.

Now, when those feelings come up, I pretend like I am kickboxing in order to release the energy from my body.  Before discussing this event with my therapist, I would zone into worship music to calm the impulses.  What I didn’t realize is that the energy needs to leave your body.

We ask God to help us with all kinds of things.  However, we forget to ask him to help us with anxiety, and to get to the root.  In Psalms 139 David reminds us about how God knows everything.  We can’t hide anything from him.  His presence follows us.

Psalm 139 Amplified Bible (AMP)

God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.

Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.


Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”
12 
Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.

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13 
For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
14 
I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.
16 
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

17 
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 
If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 
[a]O that You would kill the wicked, O God;
Go away from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 
For they speak against You wickedly,
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 
Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 
I hate them with perfect and utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

What are some helpful ways to reduce anxiety?

  • Taking a deep breath in and out
  • Meditating on worship music
  • Prayer
  • Exercise
  • Therapy
  • Sometimes medicine, along with everything lifted above.

I pray that you have heard something here today that has been helpful.

God bless!

For last podcast episode, click here.

Behind the Bars

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Behind the Bars is a poem that is written to show the inner struggle that we have when it comes to walking in the freedom that Christ has given us with his sacrificial death on the cross. Blessings!

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Behind the Bars

My Savior,

Oh, on Calvary.

You broke the chains.

Then set me free.

Will I walk?

Or will I stay?

Behind the bars,

That will decay.

I pray for you.

To set me free.

Did I forget?

About that tree?

The work is done.

I can walk out.

The guard unlocked

The keyhole’s spout.

My Savior,

Oh, on Calvary.

You broke the chains.

Then set me free.

Other poetry:

Separated

Stuck

Episode 18: Hearing God’s Voice in the Midst of Chaos

emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, podcaster, podcast, podcasting, author, blogger, writer, blog, katina horton, listen, obey, trust, follow

Episode 18: Hearing God’s Voice in the Midst of Chaos
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There are a lot of voices that we hear on a daily basis. However, discerning the voice of God becomes the most important one that we need to focus on. Do we know what to look for? Is it the same voice for everyone? These questions and more will be answered in this week’s episode: Hearing God’s Voice in the Midst of Chaos.

emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, podcaster, podcast, podcasting, author, blogger, writer, blog, katina horton, listen, obey, trust, follow
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  • Podcast Outline
  • How to Know It’s God
  • How God Speaks to Me
  • Truths on Hearing God’s Voice
  • Samuel and the Voice of God

Part #1 Hearing God’s Voice

Podcast Transcript:

Good afternoon!  Welcome to Valley of Grace’s Healing Our Brokenness Podcast!  Today we are on episode 18, entitled, Hearing God’s Voice in the Midst of Chaos.  When we think about hearing God, we often associate it with the Ten Commandments movie where God spoke to Moses on the mountain.  Sometimes God is just that powerful.  However, often hearing God can come in the small, subtle, or least grand ways than we expect. 

So, the question that you all are probably asking is, “Well, if it is small, how will I know?”

We do three things: 

  • We slow down enough to hear him.  If we aren’t slowed down enough, we won’t hear God, or gain clarity on anything else that is going on. 
  • We pray and ask God to help us to become discerning in regard to noticing his voice.
  • WE look for God to speak to us in themes or patterns.  This can be via sermons at church, small groups and bible studies, therapy, or via inner circle advice.

Part #2 Hearing God’s Voice

I have realized for myself that God speaks to me through my work.  Since I read and listen to a lot of blogs, articles, podcasts, and sermons, God will have them to center around a certain theme for me to understand that it is something that I need to work on. 

Sometimes he speaks to me in dreams to prepare me.  I have heard others say that God doesn’t speak to other people in dreams as in biblical times.  I beg to differ.  God knows each and everyone of us by name, the number of the strands of hair that is on our heads, and the names of all the stars.  I believe that God will use whatever means necessary for us to know that it is him. 

A few years ago, after going through a horrific divorce, I longed to see my dad who I hadn’t been in contact with for a while.  I searched for him, and unfortunately, came to a dead end.  About two weeks later, I had a dream that I was with him on the bus in Chicago, and he was wearing the leather jacket that he often wore when I was a kid.  I looked down at his shoes and pants, and I realized that he had the appearance of not keeping himself up.  So, in the dream, I pondered over asking him if he was homeless, but I was afraid to ask.  I woke up, wondering what this all meant.  Less than a week later, my dad got on the bus that a family friend was driving, and he was able to connect with my aunt who brought him to my house. 

The sight of him nearly made me fall to the ground.  He had indeed hit hard times and was homeless for a period of nine months.  God has given me a lot of situations like this to speak to me.

In several other instances, I thought that it was me being strong-willed/lazy in regard to something that someone else wanted me to do with them.  I am not a strong-willed person.  However, I am human, and a sinner.  And like all of us broken individuals, there are things that we know that we should do, but don’t feel like doing, and we fuss and go on and do it.  I thought this was the case in about three situations, then I realized my whole will had changed because God was trying to tell me that it is something that I shouldn’t be doing. 

It took a while to see the pattern.  They weren’t bad things.  They were things that I had already dealt with in my healing.  There was literally a pulling in my chest, and a feeling in my spirit that said, “No!  This is not for you.”  I was surprised because one time I had planned to write a certain devotion, and I felt God’s Spirit telling me, “No!”.  I decided to write on a different topic that night: Handpicked by God.  As I was riding in the car the following morning, I received confirmation that I made the right choice by getting a 3-minute clip on a Bible Teacher’s message.  It coincided with the new devotion.  The words that came out of her mouth were almost verbatim to what I had said in my devotion.  I choked up with tears.  What I thought was simplicity was God exemplifying that he is a God of order.

God can also have us to sense things in our spirit that something is wrong when we talk to people.  Their emotions and psychological dysfunctions can enter our emotional, psychological, and spiritual space.  Sometimes it takes a while to figure this out.  We are usually able to detect this in patterns after a while. 

A few months ago, I had the feeling that my confidence had been stripped away.  This was due to the trauma and the cycle of shame that revolved around it.  Even if there were things that I knew how to do, I would get afraid of not being able to do them.  This is indeed a problem with trauma, where you can forget how to do certain things temporarily at any point and time.  However, it isn’t often that it happens.  And I realized just recently, that Satan was using this fact to create low confidence in everything that I did.  Right around the time that revelation hit, I had three different instances of God speaking to me in regard to this confidence. 

The first one included a conversation with someone that I met who was able to discern this.  The second conversation was from someone wishing me a happy birthday, and then stating that 2019 would be the year of confidence for me.  The third time was reading a book, and having a specific chapter speak on self-confidence, the importance of it, and how to lean into God’s love to get it.  For some reason, I had never thought about praying for confidence. 

Here are some Truths that we can meditate on when it comes to Hearing from God in the Midst of Chaos

  • Being too busy will miss out on hearing God’s voice.
  • If we are limited to our way, we will miss out on hearing God’s voice.
  • The failure to act in obedience in the small window of time that God gives us in emergency situations may hinder us from hearing God’s voice.
  • When we fail to act on God’s instructions to share what he has placed in our heart with someone else, we miss the opportunity to bless someone.
  • When we fail to act on God’s instructions to share what he has placed in our heart with someone else, we also miss the opportunity of bringing possible correction or rebuke to that person on an issue that God was already trying to show them.

Part #3 Hearing God’s Voice

Samuel learned to identify God’s voice.  And unfortunately, he had some sad news to give to Eli, who had neglected his duties as the person in charge of the temple in 1 Samuel 3:

And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;

That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.

Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.

For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.

And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.

And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.

And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.

I have had situations where I felt God speaking to me about sharing with someone in regard to my own person struggles.  However, I allowed my own shame, and the worry about other peoples’ perception of me get in the way of obedience.  There have been other times that I was more afraid of ugly face crying and losing control in the process of vulnerability rather than the obedience itself.  I had to speak truth to myself about this.  It is sin.  I am calling it what it is.  When we know to do good, and we don’t do it, it is flat out sin.  I hope that you have enjoyed our episode of Hearing from God in the midst of Chaos.  God bless, and until next time.

Related Post:

Hearing God

Boundaries

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The last poem that I wrote was entitled “Inner Circle”, and it deals with the conflict of deciding who to allow in your inner circle. Today’s poem is entitled Boundaries. It can be difficult to implement boundaries, but when you do, the payoff is rewarding. As with anything, the first step is always the hardest. God bless!

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Boundaries

Boundaries. Boundaries.

It’s where you end and I begin.

Boundaries. Boundaries.

Leave them out, it becomes sin.

Boundaries, Boundaries.

I respect you. You respect me.

Boundaries. Boundaries.

When we leave them out, our rights will flee.

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Bible Verses to Meditate On:

2 Corinthians 6:14

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Proverbs 25:17

Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.

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

emotional health, anxiety, mental health, depression, anxiety, eating, food, grieving, ptsd survivor, podcaster, author, blogger, blog, blogger life, digestion, regurgitation, hypersensitive, trauma

emotional health, anxiety, mental health, depression, anxiety, eating, food, grieving, ptsd survivor, podcaster, author, blogger, blog, blogger life, digestion, regurgitation, hypersensitive, trauma
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

In our Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis Series, I dissect issues and symptoms of PTSD/trauma. This is in hopes of letting people know that they are not alone, as well as giving people the freedom to comment, and talk about how PTSD/trauma has affected their lives in these areas. The last post in the Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis Series was one dealing with the Holiday Aspect of trauma. You can find that post here. Today’s post will focus on the Digestion Aspect.

One surprising revelation for me was realizing that PTSD/trauma actually affects your digestion. I stumbled upon this realization in June of 2014, a couple of months after getting divorced. There are three things that I noticed when it comes to trauma and digestion:

Trauma and grief will come out in the form of regurgitation.

I am not trying to sound gross here, so please bear with me. Due to complications with my ex-husband’s health, as well as the fact that I had stuffed my emotions for so long, my grief was delayed. Grieving my divorce, and all the events surrounding it, were delayed. Alleviating some of the symptoms that I was experiencing seemed downright frightening because of stuffing for so long.

This caused me to be in a vicious cycle of stuffing and feeling like my face and chest was going to explode, with very little relief. Trauma is in the tissues, and so I discovered, along with reading information on my own, that movement, grief, and massaging helped to release it. The problem came into play when I finally felt like I could release the trauma. However, the underlying feeling was that if I started crying, there would be no bottoming out. Subconsciously, I knew it was going to be a bad release.

Instead of my system waiting any longer, it released the trauma and grief in the form of regurgitation. Initially, I thought that it was just that maybe something upset my stomach. However, after four rounds of this, and feeling grief in between each round, I knew that wasn’t the case at all. It didn’t take long to put two and two together.

I felt very vulnerable, and my son kept asking me, “What did you eat?” I told him that it had nothing to do with the food. It was physiological.

Trauma will cause your system to get confused about hunger and fullness.

Another weird discovery that I made is that every now and then, stored trauma and unreleased grief will make your system confused as far as satiety is concerned. There are times when I have felt like I could keep eating forever. Then, there are other times that I feel hungry, and then attempt to eat, but will all of a sudden feel full.

Lastly, there are times when I can literally feel my emotions trapped in my midsection, causing my body to try to figure out whether it is satisfied, or it needs more food. It is the weirdest thing. It doesn’t happen as much anymore. However, when it happens, it can be very frustrating.

When doing research, one of the explanations that I found is that because of PTSD/trauma, at times, the blood that should flow into the stomach, moves away from it, going to other areas like the arms.

Trauma will cause you to become hypersensitive to certain foods, causing severe panic attacks when consumed in normal portions.

The last issue that I would like to discuss is how trauma causes hypersensitivity to foods. These foods vary from person to person. For me, it was sugar. I first discovered this when I decided to eat a glazed donut in 2015.

Within five minutes, a severe panic attack came on, I felt like I was going to hit the roof. The only thing that would help my system to calm down was drinking an excess amount of water, and then deep breathing, and a lot of prayer. Taking multivitamins has helped , but it is still not the same.

My system has improved a little. However, it can’t handle what it once was able to. Sometimes, I get frustrated with this fact. It is what it is. I have learned to accept the fact that a few moments of pleasure for an hour or more of panic just isn’t worth it.

How has PTSD/trauma affected your digestion? What are some of the ways that you use to cope with it?

God bless,

Katina

Simple Spaghetti Casserole

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Background on Simple Spaghetti Casserole

simple, spaghetti, casserole, vegan, vegetarian, pasta, healthy eating, food, food photography, blog, blogger, recipes, healthy, brunch, Christmas, party

This morning was the Christmas party celebration for my Moms’ Ministry small group.  We had a ton of food and a ton of fun.  This year has definitely been an eye opener from God to me, in realizing that yes, gifts are nice.  They are wonderful.  However, the best gifts in life do not come wrapped with a pretty bow.  Because of God’s love toward us, we are indeed able to share this gift of love. 

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There is something about friendship, fellowship, food, and laughs that makes you appreciate all the wonderful blessings that life has to offer.  I think the craziest part of the morning was when we played charades, which featured words that centered around winter and Christmas time.  The highlights of this game was when I tried acting out Christmas stockings, and did a goofy swirl with my body.  Then, we had the other team recreating the nativity scene.  What fun!

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Last night, it dawned on me that I had signed up to bring cookies and a cold pasta dish to this celebration.  What I decided to do was to make spaghetti to eat, and then this morning, my wheels started turning, and that spaghetti transformed into my “Simple Spaghetti Casserole”.  You can find the last simple recipe that I made here.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

God bless!

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Activity:  Making Simple Spaghetti Casserole

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Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of French cut green beans
  • 2 tablespoons of vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 can of pasta sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of parsley
  • 1/2 cup of vegan or non-vegan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

Directions:

  • Boil one box of spaghetti in five cups of water.
  • Pour the olive oil into the water so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
  • Saute the corn and french green beans with butter and chili powder.
  • Rinse the spaghetti when done, then add the pasta sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add all of the rest of the seasonings except for the cheese and parsley.
  • Cook for 10 ten minutes, and then dump into a large casserole pan, at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, completely covering with the shredded cheese and the parsley on top.
  • Enjoy!

 

Home Design: 6 Steps to decorating your new home

Today I am featuring a guest post on how to decorate, coming from a blogger over in Sweden.  Our last DIY decorating post can be found here.  I hope that these tips will inspire you as you decorate your new home.

Interior design and home decor does not always feel like the easiest field to dig into. However, it will always be of importance for as long as human kind moves around and keeps it interest of beautiful surroundings. Research studies during the past decades have shown that general content and happiness can be correlated to how beautiful one person’s surrounding are perceived. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but that does not take away the fact that if you regard your surroundings and your home as beautiful, your mindset and overall content will increase and improve to the better! This is something that everyone would benefit from!

But the first problem remains, interior design and the project of decorating your home beautifully is not always the easiest task. Therefore, we have written a small guide for you to go through and hopefully fins some guiding and useful advice whenever you find yourself browsing through online furniture shops.

Step 1: Do research on brands and style in order to decorate


Research, research and then a little more research. Why does this topic feel sometimes obnoxiously persistent in everyday life? But the fact is that without doing your thorough research, things will happen ad hoc and you will hence not feel content with your final choices. In the big ocean of interior brands one group stands out of everyone. Can you guess which one? Well, it is the Scandinavian design houses of course! Scandinavian interior design, with its unbarked and simple look has been on everyone and their mothers lips for many years now. Sleek oak wood, beautiful washed linen fabrics and a bright and uplifting palette are a few words that describes the Scandinavian design best. There are plenty of websites to browse through while doing your thorough research of Scandinavian furniture and interior. We have picked out a few examples for you to get started:

Reforma Sthlm  – One of Scandinavia’s biggest inspirational websites where you easily can get inspired by everything from kids furniture with cool design to vintage and industrial interior. If you feel like buying something, they are also an e-commerce site so feel free to shop til you drop! Their focus is divided into two main parts. Danish, and modern interior as well as more rustic, vintage and industrial vibes. With good prices (it surely sometimes feel like you are shopping at one of the bid low cost furniture chains) and magnificent quality you will surely not find anything like it anywhere else. Make sure to be ready with your google translate button though, if you are not from Scandinavia that is. Otherwise be inspired by the beautiful pictures of homes and nice interior. It is just like a mini pinterest focused on only furniture and design!

House Doctor   – The queen of Danish interior design. If you haven’t heard of House Doctor yet, be happy you are doing it now! They sell everything from sleek striped down wooden pieces, like drink trolleys, coffee tables and dining chairs to more bohemian and soft interior like seat cushions, decorative pillows, blankets and even vases and candle holders with ethnic patterns. The designs are always luxurious and high quality.

Decorate with Texture

Bloomingville – The Danish furniture saga continues to the next of beautiful brands. Amongst Bloomingvilles range of everything from table cloths to decorative mirrors, you will find exclusive and fun design perfect for every home out there. With a fun and fabulous color palette and design that really has been though out outside of the box, you will get a smile on your face while figuring out how to decorate and furnish you apartment or house on this website. If you feel like getting something for yourself, why not head back to Reforma Sthlm and buy it. Reforma is the main retailer of Bloomingvilles products and you will surely be happy and satisfied with your new dining table or bureau.

Ib Laursen – For the people who wish to be different. If you don’t want your home to feel like the “home next door”, make sure to be inspired by the range of furniture you find at Ib Laursen. They use plenty of recycled materials such as old wooden doors and parts from former industries. The fact that they can use these wared parts and create them into amazing décor and furniture is something from out of this world! Buying vintage furniture online has suddenly become a possibility which is something that many people have not yet been informed of. But hey, here you go!
When your research is done and you have gotten a picture of what interior style you like, move on to our next step!

Step 2: Write a list of what you need for your home


To not find yourself in a situation where you seem to drown in excess pieces of furniture that are just standing around doing nothing to no one, you need to figure out what you really need. And we need really, when we say really! This step is easy (and fun!) make a room-by-room plan where each room gets a list of what will be needed there. For example, in a bed room you will need a bed, blanket, decorative cushions, a night stand, a wall shelf, maybe a secretary with matching chair, a couch or an armchair, Some beautiful vases and pots, a soft carpet and… stop there! By writing a structured list of what furniture you need and where, it will be easier to make a budget as well as visualize your future in your new home, which brings us on to the next step in this guide…

Step 3: Visualize 


We will try not to sound too new-age and hippie in this section, but visualizing your future somewhere will make it easier for you to actually create it for yourself. Step into the room you are decorating, for instance the kitchen, and try to really picture the colors, the fabrics, the materials and what will be placed where. Imagine you kitchen table, the plates and color palette and use all your new knowledge from the research you did at Reforma Sthlm. You will find yourself actually seeing what you want and how you want it to look. When this is done, head over to the next step!

Step 4: Plan and Shop


Bring out the note pad again, it is time for some planning! What furniture shops and interior boutiques have what you need? Do you want to go buy it physically or do you wish to purchase it online and get it delivered to your door step? Make a budget and make sure it is aligned with your monetary capability. Be smart and creative during this step, for a lot if people the actual planning is the most fun part of the interior process. You can structure your  shopping list in whatever way you feel is the most convenient. Either you do it after each room, with boxes to tick next to each item when it is purchased and receiver. But the easies way is to do it after what shop you will get what. To give you an example: Let us say that you want to buy that beautiful lamp from House Doctor, that eye catching book shelf from House Doctor and that beautiful vintage coffee table made of recycled wood from Ib Laursen, fins a store that offers all of these items and structure the list from there. Too continue on the same example, the online furniture store Reforma Sthlm offers all of these items and thus you can tick off the boxes next to each items when you have gone through with the safe and quick purchase. When buying furniture and home décor online make sure that the payment methods are safe, that the store you are buying from offers good customer service and for your safety, also make sure that the pieces you get are refundable. Hopefully you will be pleased with your new items but better safe than sorry, right!?

home, interior design

Step 5: Put everything together in your home


The beautiful thing about online interior stores are the obvious fact that you get everything delivered to your doorstep. How did people manage 50 years ago? Let us be happy that we don’t need to drive around ourselves anymore. When you get the delivery, the fun begins. Make sure to have a friend or family over because this can still het heavy and sweaty! Putting all your need furniture together, whether it is that beautiful velvet couch or all the kitchen accessories that needs to be put into place, it will take time and energy. And together with a friend, assembling furniture becomes a lot more fun!

Step 6: Decorate to Enjoy your home


When your new home is furnished and decorated it is time to enjoy your achievements every hour of every day. With your new home décor, such as astonishing mirrors, cool lighting and comfortable upholstery you can now live a life in beautiful peace. Just like research has shown, a comfortable and appreciated environment in your home will in fact improve your happiness and content and therefor this process is as fun as it is important and life changing.

Guest post by Anna Jonsson, Reforma Sthlm 

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

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

About a month ago, I discussed The Flashback/Images/Nightmare Aspect of Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis.  You can find that post here.  Today, I will discuss The Holiday Aspect of Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis.

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

 

Holiday time can be tough in general.  Let alone, if the holiday time is when you experienced a series of events that led to PTSD/trauma.  When the holidays come around, it can feel like you are reliving these events.  This is because the energy from them are still residing in our bodies.

The holiday season of 2012 is when a great majority of the trauma that my kids and I experienced in the last six years took place.  It started a little before Thanksgiving, and reached its peak right after New Year’s Day.  Almost daily, emotionally draining activities and sabotage were done to myself and the kids in order for me to put him out, so that he wouldn’t have to be the “bad guy” who left us.

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The peak was a fake-suicide stunt with my ex-husband starting up the car with the garage door down, and the engine running.  It was a last attempt to pull me back in emotionally, and to get me back to being the person that was a doormat/enabler, with low self-worth.

God had already begun to work a miracle in my life six months prior to this event, and so this “doormat” person was not there anymore.  It was God’s grace that I went downstairs to check the garage, or this fake suicide stunt could have killed all of us.  The kids were sleeping upstairs at the time.

Christmas, holiday, Thanksgiving, emotional health, mental health, anxiety, holiday aspect, living with and healing from trauma, blogger, podcaster, speaker, writer, blog

Ever since then, the holiday time has been painful, and a time that I struggle.  It has gotten better in some areas, and worse in others.

The first holiday season (2013) after my ex-husband left, was very difficult because I wasn’t able to tolerate any Christmas music or movies.  A friend of mine dropped me off at the grocery store, and she waited outside for me.  I had to pick up a few items.  I remember Christmas music playing on the radio, and literally feeling trapped.  The reaction to the music surprised me.  Before I knew it, I was caught up in the “Overwhelmed Aspect”.  An explanation of that aspect can be found here.

I quickly found the items that I needed, and got out of the store as fast as I could.  This continued being my normal for the first year.  A few weeks after that, the church that I was attending for Divorce Care offered a session for dealing with grief during the holidays.  I gladly signed up for the class.  We discussed all the practical unexpected things that could happen during the holidays, and how to handle them.

I can listen to more Christmas music now than before.  I can also watch Holiday movies, with breaks in between for some of them.  It is almost like the smell outside and the feel in the air knows it’s November, and then the trauma aspect kicks in for me.  Down below, I have listed some things to help you ease through the holiday aspect of living with trauma during this season.

 

Self-Help for Making it Through The Holiday Aspect

Take advantage of the community that God has given you.  Talk to friends on the phone.  Have a girls’ or guys’ movie night.  A month ago, me and my friends got together to watch a home movie in front of the fireplace.  It was a wonderful time of eating, fellowship, and laughs.  When you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need something to help lift your emotions.

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Therapy.  This therapy could involve going to see your therapist, writing in your journal, poetry, painting, or cooking.  There are several activities that allow us to be creative and are therapeutic at the same time.

Movement.  Give your body the gift of movement.  When you exercise, the blood and oxygen starts flowing, and the natural feel-good hormones rise to the surface.  I like going for a walk, even if it’s cold, just to make my adrenal glands happy, and feel refreshed at the same time.  I also like dancing to 70s’ and 80s’ music and walking the stairs for a certain amount of time to get my heart pumping.

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Doses of Music, Movies, Etc.  Try to allow yourself to watch or listen to music, movies, etc. a little at a time in order to build up resilience.  Everyone is different.  I found that when I tried to ban everything, it only made the trauma worse, so I introduced a little bit at a time.  I am still in the process of giving myself little doses here and there.

Self-Care.  Practice self-care by trying to get enough sleep, rest, and food as possible.  Taking  your vitamins and drinking herbal tea can be relaxing.  It might be a time to take get bloodwork done to see if your vitamin D is low, since we are in the winter months, and there is less sunshine.

Prayer.  Ask others for prayer, and lift yourself up in prayer as well.  Listening to uplifting Christian music can be comforting and minister to your soul.

Send some comments to let me know what you use to get through the holiday aspect of trauma.

Prayers for you and your family as you march through this season!

Katina