Guidance

Haunted (Eye Hath Not Seen)

The month of October, leading up to Halloween, has emphasis on ghosts and haunted houses. Indeed, the telling of ghost stories is common as we approach October 31st.I have a few of my own ghost stories, of sorts. They involve the mystery that is my family. I’ve shared much about my dad’s abusive nature; that is familiar to me. What, however, is NOT as familiar, is knowing about him.

Like many immigrant families, the past was not discussed. I know very little about the exact country my family came from. Likewise, I don’t know much about my dad, apart from his rages and his obsession with farm work. The unknown reality, therefore, has left me haunted, especially within the last few years. I now have the responsibility of clearing my childhood home, a house in which my dad, his siblings and parents all resided.

The house, itself, is one hundred years old, filled with decades of memorabilia. And, in organizing, clearing and cleaning the house, I have stumbled across some relics, like his Army dog tags, which create more questions- and yes, ghosts.

The H.A.L.T. Stop Sign

I practice an effective recovery tool: “H.A.L.T.”

Its simple wisdom deals our response toward addiction, compulsion and disorder:

“Don’t let yourself become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.”

There are positive results there, just in the physical realm alone. But, if we go deeper, we also see the spiritual relevance behind that acronym. It addresses our tricky heart condition.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand...”Romans 7:15

Secrecy and Lies

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20

Who would have guessed a doll could teach me about secrecy and lying?

When I was a child, I received a much-desired china doll, actually named after Florence Nightingale. So, obviously, when my mother bought her for me, I was thrilled, so thrilled, I shared my excitement with the wrong person: my dad.

"Earthquake, thunder, fire and fathers."
Japanese Proverb

What Is Important For Marriage?

Have you taken the time to be there for your spouse? Some of you reading this may be thinking, "He hasn't taken the time to be a husband, why should I put in any special effort?" "She has rejected me for two weeks. I'm not going to do anything extra around the house for her." But we do have to put in special effort if we truly want to be there for each other. Marriage is certainly not about keeping score. It is about giving of ourselves freely whenever we have the chance to do so.

Eating Disorders: It Takes One To Know One

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

It’s been said "It takes one to know one." I now see this concept repeated in my life.

The first occurrence? Well, that was at the apex of my anorexic condition. I was a college freshman, hell-bent on distancing myself from my teenage overweight body as possible. Hence, the serious restriction of calories, interspersed with starvation periods and excessive exercise (up to six hours a day).

The Unbelieving Spouse Who Wants A Divorce

If your spouse leaves the marriage it can be a devastating time. Sometimes they may want to get a divorce and bring papers for you to sign. But God says we are not to divorce an unbelieving spouse. In marriage, even if only one spouse is a believer, God says the marriage is sanctified and set apart for His purpose. According to the state you are divorced, but according to God you are still married.

If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 NIV

God's ideal is for couples to stay together and try and make the marriage work. The believing spouse should try and bring the wayward spouse to Jesus Christ. Since God does regard your marriage as sanctified by the presence of just one believing spouse, the believing spouse should do what they can to help the unbelieving spouse come into the light and accept Christ.

Trusting In God For Your Marriage

Who are you trusting in when things go wrong in your marriage? Are you trusting in self, or perhaps you go running to family and friends, explaining your side of the story? Some of us go running to therapists, counselors, divorce lawyers, and strangers on the street. But we seldom run to God.

Many of the people we go running to in times of marital troubles aren’t equipped in giving us proper advice and guidance. Most of them have had divorces themselves! How can someone fix our marital wounds when they can’t fix their own?

Pins and Needles: Chronic Abuse and Trauma

Our formative years present the potential for self-harm to thrive. Our early experiences, for better or worse, shape us. And sometimes, that shaping can take the form of addiction. Hypervigilance often results from certain incidents, in which trauma somehow established our need to self-medicate.

"... When a child grows up afraid or under constant or extreme stress, the immune system and body’s stress response systems may not develop normally. Later on, when the child or adult is exposed to even ordinary levels of stress, these systems may automatically respond as if the individual is under extreme stress... Adults with histories of trauma in childhood have been shown to have more chronic physical conditions and problems. They may engage in risky behaviors that compound these conditions (e.g., smoking, substance use, and diet and exercise habits that lead to obesity)." "Effects of Complex Trauma," http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/complex-trauma/effects-of-complex-trauma

My first memory, a traumatic one at that, was when I was three years old; my parents decided to move the family’s sewing machine from one floor of our house to another. But they neglected to remove its drawers, filled with hundreds of needles and pins. Inevitably, I toddled downstairs, stepping on many of them.

Are You Cultivating Life Saving Fruit?

Let's imagine that recovery grew on a vine, and like grapes in a valley, it would need proper soil cultivation, sunlight, water, fertilization, and pruning to bear fruit.

Wouldn't it be nice if your recovery would bear enough fruit to eliminate fruit-bearing guides, books, classes and counselors? That being asked and answered, what would your mandatory concerns be to make that a reality in your struggles to grow recovery-bearing fruit?

Your concerns should be the following:

  • Make sure your potential fruit-bearing recovery plan is connected to the vines clearly with unobstructed prayer.
  • That you cultivate and prune your life by working a Twelve-Step Program.

The Heart: A Wild Creature

This statement, from its anonymous author, recently caught my attention:

"Hearts are wild creatures. That's why our ribs are cages."

Its focus, the heart and the rib cage, hit home. For I have had a disordered history with both.
My obsession with the thin physique created my descent into anorexia and its painful heart issues.

"...I could count all of my ribs. I still wasn't thin enough; it wasn't good enough..."*

As I've been in recovery from eating disorders, food, weight and body image issues, yes, I've had to deal with my heart. That, therefore, includes the related topics of passions, desires and idolatry.

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