The last poem that I wrote was entitled Strength, and it can be found here. Tonight’s poem is entittled, Inner Circle, and it deals with the conflict that arises between selecting who should and shouldn’t be included in our inner circles.
The inner circle, The inner circle, The inner circle of life.
Let in someone with wisdom, growth, and discernment?
Or, let in someone with strife.
It’s the inner circle, it’s the inner circle. Who will you let in?
Let in the workers of iniquity?
Or, let in the faithful friend?
Hey inner circle! hey inner circle!
Open the door and let me in.
Can we trust you with our trials?
Or our failures and our sin?
The inner circle, The inner circle, The inner circle of life.
Let in someone with wisdom, growth, and discernment?
Episode 10: Pick up your mat and walk! Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
00:00 / 00:15:49
Last week’s podcast was Episode 9: The Never-ending Shame Cycle. You can find that podcast episode here. This week’s podcast isEpisode 10: Pick up Your Mat and Walk. Are you sick and tired of not being healed? Do you feel like you have been laying down forever? Then this podcast is for you.
Outline of Podcast: Pick up your mat and walk!
Story of Man at the Pool of Bethesda
Deeper Meaning of Jesus’ Question
What Mat are You Carrying?
How To Get Up
Do You Want to Be Made Well?
Scripture Verses to Meditate On
John 5: 1-14
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda, and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Luke 15: 19-22
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago, I presented a podcast entitled, ” Broken People Judging Broken People” located here. A week ago, God impressed upon my heart to write a poem on judging. I finally did it tonight. Be blessed!
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Episode 3: Broken People Judging Broken People Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
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Last week, our podcast was focused on “Conflict Among Broken People”. You can find the podcast here. This week’s topic is “Broken People Judging Broken People”.
What is brokenness?
What is judging?
What does Jesus say about judging?
Judging Others Matthew 7: 1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.”8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I used to think that avoiding conflict was good. I thought that avoiding conflict was the same thing as avoiding confusion, strife, and extra drama. I took pride in thinking that avoiding conflict was keeping the peace. I was so wrong about that. What I was doing was avoiding dealing with a small problem, which later became an out of control problem. This was due to fear of the response of the other person.
What God revealed to me recently was profound: We are all broken, and so when we avoid conflict, we are avoiding dealing with the problems that arise between two or more broken individuals.
This podcasts dissects all aspects of the word conflict, by giving the things that occurs when we avoid conflict to going through the steps to take to resolving conflict.
King Solomon Handled Conflict
King David Refused Conflict
Used Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Bible Verses to Focus on:
1 Kings 3: 28
Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.
2 Samuel 13: 21-22
When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.(2 Samuel 13-21-22)
2 Samuel 13: 28-29
Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.” So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled. (2 Samuel 13:28-29)
2 Samuel 13: 37-38
Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son. After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years. (2 Samuel 13:37-38)
2 Samuel 18: 14-15
Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. (2 Samuel 18: 14-15)
Matthew 18: 15-17 If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Revelations 2: 1-6
2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus, write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the one who has a firm grasp on the seven stars in his right hand – the one who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 ‘I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have even put to the test those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false.
3 I am also aware that you have persisted steadfastly, endured much for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you: You have departed from your first love! 5 Therefore, remember from what high state you have fallen and repent! Do the deeds you did at the first; if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – that is, if you do not repent. 6 But you do have this going for you: You hate what the Nicolaitans practice – practices I also hate.