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Archive for April, 2012


Father,

My spirit has been rejuvenated.

Even my step feels lighter,

As the burden of my past has been

Lifted from my shoulders.

Now free to walk into the future,

Unencumbered by guilt, shame, and remorse,

Which have produced self-defeating behavior,

I want my life to have more meaning

Than the mediocrity that has become my routine.

The pursuit of valueless materialism no longer

Has the appeal for me that it once held.

In fact, my definition of success has changed.

My spirit has been awakened, and I want

To spend each of my days, which You have numbered,

Doing what You would have me do—

What You have prepared for me to do.

I’ve learned that I can more accurately

Understand Your leading by look back,

Than I can by looking toward the future.

Whatever You have in store for me, Lord,

Regardless of what that might be,

That is where I want to spend my days.

Having wandered so far from You in the past,

I know the mischief I am capable of doing,

And that’s not what I want for my life.

Guard my heart, Father, so that

I will not wander away from You again,

Pursuing fruitless, meaningless diversions.

Let my heart rejoice in Your ways.

Give me peace, purpose, and the resolve

To accomplish Your will each day,

For as many as I have remaining.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

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From “Down Under”


Hi JackIn a way this is like a confession and you are my chosen confessor.

I wrote this reflection this morning as I am working on being Autherntic following your recent prayer post. It reminded me I want to be authentic and yet I quickly slip into old habits.

I go to a ladies luncheon prayer group once a fortnight and some of the ladies are nearly 80 years of age. Some of the former members have already died.

I love many of them dearly and have known some of them for many years. One lady has known me since I was a teenager and was a good friend to my mother so we are close enough to be unguarded with each other at times. Yesterday she smacked my hand whe I was reaching for a piece of bread as if I was a naughty child and it brought back some painful memories. I know her intentions were not malicious but they hit a raw nerve in me.

You can decide if this should be posted or not. For the sake of my own soul I need to be authenic even if it is just with you on this occasion. Here is my confession.

ON BEING CAST OUT (It can be the price of being authentic.)
Thursday, March 29, 2012

God was always real for me when I was a child.

God for me was like the reality of gravity. Or the truth the moon moves around the earth and the earth moves around the Sun. As a child I had no personal proof of it but believed those who told me what it was and that I could trust this knowledge as being true.

I was in my teens when I first realised my sense of God’s presence had gone.

I began to search for it and found I could not find it. Not in church, not in nature and not when I prayed. I even read my bible in the hope it would come back to no avail – it was gone and I was alone.

At thirteen years of age I began to really notice I was really feeling this absence deeply. I was mourning for it. I wondered how I had lost it. I had always assumed my sense of God’s presence was a given like my sense of smell or my sense of being real.

It was then I prayed as best I could and it went something like this. “God I don’t know if you are real but I am praying now because the bible teaches that this is how you hear me. If you are God you know the way to help me know you are really real. I am saying Amen because that seems to be important – I understand Amen means this I truly desire. Amen.”

Some years later I was at the Christmas Eve service in my local Anglican church. The words of the service I knew by heart seemed to be aimed directly at me. It was as if Jesus was using the people to speak to me personally. Through a curtain of unstoppable tears I knew God was real. I knew his presence once again. What a relief.

This knowledge was the beginning of my life long quest for understanding. I wanted to know when and how I lost my sense of God’s presence.

At 58 years of age I know there are lots of ways I can lose it. I live each day to try and maintain my sense of God’s presence. I try to keep it close to my conscious awareness at all times. I am now moving away from people and activities that diminish it. I love it so much.

Today when I woke up I recalled the day I was sexually abused at the age of 6. I recalled how much I loved and trusted the lady who abused me. Every day I do things she taught me that I still love.

I love dressing up. I love curlers and clothes. I love performing and being on stage. I love using makeup and colour to enhance an effect. It was the lady who molested me who introduced me to stage craft first. There were many others who taught me more but they were building on the foundation she had laid.

At the same time I am glad about these wonders that still delight me I am sad that the choice she made to molest me permanently damaged my relationship with everyone. By her choice I was cast into an inner darkness and left there all alone. I was a prisoner inside my own body because I no longer trusted it. I hated it.

For some 50 years one but God knew I was missing. I walked and talked and my body moved like anyone else’s but the part of me I call I was not there. I had abandoned my body as it had become a source of excruciating pain I could not endure. A pain I was only able to briefly face with God’s help and then I begged Him to take it away again.

Some years ago I read an article that said children had a defense reflex that could lead them to feinting when being sexually abused. That is why some children die while being molested. Their airways block and the abuser doesn’t notice it till it’s too late. I asked God to show me if that happened to me as I had a blackout memory for some of the time I was being molested.

For the briefest moment I felt the weight of my molester on my pelvis. My spine was partially dislocated and excruciating pain shot up my spine into my head. The pain became a crown on my head as if a crown of thorns was being pressed into it. It burned inot me like fire. I begged God to take my body memory away as I could not bear it. Thankfully God did.

To this day I still suffer the legacy of the damage to my body that was never detected at the time. It affects my ability to walk as my legs can go numb so I do remedial exercises every day to ensure I can do some walking.

With God’s patient help the inner me I know as the real me can talk. The persona I developed to manage this dysfunction knows how to open the door for my real inner me and take over when she can’t go on. She cries a lot when she tries to talk. Sometimes she is brave and just comes forward like yesterday – but she is unrecognized and often ignored so she retreats again like she did yesterday.

The lady sitting next to me at the table smacked my hand as if I was a naughty child when I took my third slice of bread. She chastised me saying “Dianne, what about your weight?” In an instant I was gone – back to my inner prison that has become my safe place where I know God can find me like he does every time this happens.

My body remained though and no one knew I had left the table.

I told my husband what had happened when he got home from work and he asked me “Why do you keep going to these lunches.” I sighed and answered “This lady cannot help herself – it’s like a reflex and she had done it on automatic.” You see this is not the first time this particular lady has done this to me and I know her intentions are well meaning from her point of view.

I strive to be authentic but it’s hard. I have a reflex reaction to the stress of any hint of rejection and I run away and hide while I am in the middle of a crowd and no one knows I have gone. This is the skill I learned when I was sexually abused.

As God said –“Be still and know that I am here.” “I am also here too.” It’s nice that he is so glad to abide with me. I would like to abide with others in our world but so I often I face condemation and rejection when I am real and it hurts. It hurts a lot.

I am pretty sure there are other like me out there. So I just want to say Hi

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Father,

For those who wait patiently for You,

For those who come to You for guidance,

Rather than taking matters into their own hands,

You promise that they will mount up with wings like eagles,

That they will run and not grow weary—

That they will walk and never faint.

In the depth of my despair, in my intense heartache,

Your promises seemed so remote,

So obscure, so meaningless and unattainable

That I was certain they were beyond my reach.

I never considered them to be real or tangible.

To me, they were nothing more than sappy, poetic words.

In my pain and heartache, all I wanted was relief,

Which at times was so intense I thought it would never end.

I begged You to answer my insistent demands,

Which You never did, adding to my distress.

I felt so unloved and abandoned—even by You,

Which magnified my pain tenfold, maybe twenty.

You did answer my prayers, but You just said “No.”

You loved me enough to prevent me form outcomes

That were clearly not in my best interest.

In my disquietude and short-sightedness,

I couldn’t understand or fathom Your will, but now I do.

Because I chose Your path instead of my willful self-destruction,

You have brought me to a higher plateau—

To a place where I am now capable

Of mounting up with wings like an eagle—

Just as You promised in Your Word.

Because You restore the years the locust have eaten,

I feel refreshed—invigorated with a determined resolve—

Which has increased my energy dramatically.

As my strength and faith continue to abound,

I feel empowered to run and not grow weary.

Now, I can willingly bow my knee and thank You

For caring for me enough to refuse my demands.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am you God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10-11)

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Father,

I feel so broken and despondent.

My body writhes in despair,

Consumed with pain and anguish,

And I have a sense of hopelessness

That I fear will overwhelm me.

When will it ever end?

I wander aimlessly, without purpose,

Without understanding—devoid of joy,

Which once was mine in abundance.

My grief is ever before me,

Reminding me of my loss,

Robbing me of sleep,

Diminishing my countenance,

Telling me that I have failed.

Others placate me by saying,

“It’s all for a purpose.”

My friends who want to “fix me”

And lift the sorrow from my heart.

But they can’t; nothing seems to help.

Nothing seems to ease my pain—not even a little.

I can pretend to comprehend and to understand—

To grasp the lesson I am being taught,

But I don’t. I don’t understand at all.

My heart is broken, perhaps beyond repair,

And I fear that it will never mend,

And I will never laugh or be joyful again.

In my despair and hopelessness,

I cry to You, begging for relief.

You hear, but You don’t answer.

I beseech You, moaning and whining,

But You allow my pain to continue,

Every day—long into the night.

Rescue me my Lord; rescue me quickly.

Put Your healing hand on my broken heart,

And make me whole once again.

Teach me my lesson so that

I need never repeat it again.

Take that which is broken and shattered

And mend it so completely that it will

Be whole and more resilient than ever.

Make my sadness become a distant memory.

Strengthen me so that I may

Bless Your name with gladness.

My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:17-23)

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Father,

I feel so broken and beaten,

So abused, rejected, and abandoned.

I never thought my life would be like this,

But I was wrong—dead wrong.

In spite of it all, You have been

Right there beside me in my darkest hours,

Even when I wanted You to leave me alone.

Things have been difficult for a long time,

But I’m tired of rehashing my angst.

I want more for my life than being a perpetual victim.

Help me learn my lessons, which have been so painful,

So that I don’t have to replicate them endlessly.

I don’t want to waste my years repeating foolishness.

Let my imprudence be turned to wisdom

So that others can be benefited—not just me.

In all of my broken places, heal me

With Your tender, loving hand.

I’m ready to move forward, while refusing

To shut the door on the past.

If the Lord had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul. (Psalm 94:17-19)

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When a person invites Christ to come into his or her life, everything changes. From that point forward, the convert has a new identity. In a similar way, the same is true with our identity as Americans. Without having an accurate understanding of who we are, we are like a ship with a faulty rudder—tossed about by slogans, which make it easy for us to be mislead.

That’s why our founding documents are so important. When you read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, you develop a sense of purpose that is similar to what the Founding Fathers must have felt. They understood they were paving the way for the generations that followed.

If you read the Gettysburg Address, you will feel Lincoln’s passion surging through your veins as he maintained his steadfast commitment to preserve our union. The same is true about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream,” which he gave shortly before his assassination. If you experience Dr. King’s Christian faith, your heart will stir as you picture his vision of a color free society where every man and woman are free and equal.

America has been blessed with many far-sighted, noble leaders, men and women who have been willing to commit their lives, their wealth, and their sacred honor to ensure that the freedoms we take for granted would remain intact.

As for me, each time I read the inspiring documents of our American heritage, I understand our traditions a little better—a little more fully. We have a powerful birthright—an inheritance of freedom unequaled in world history. Truly, no nation has been blessed more than the United States of America. To preserve our freedoms, millions have fought for America—black, white, Asian, and Latino, many sacrificing their lives to ensure that we would remain free.

In the twenty-first century, our republic faces many challenges from without as well as from within. The question is this: will we maintain our commitment to preserve our heritage, or will we be the generation that allows the American dream to become unrecognizable and slip away?

As I see it, the stakes are high—with the outcome in doubt. Millions have little knowledge of our heritage, of what our traditions really are, or of what constitutes true American values. They simply float through life with little awareness of what has been required from others to make their lives carefree and easy. Voting for whoever will “guarantee” them prosperity, far too many Americans lack the background to make discerning choices—choices that are informed and wise. Adopting the attitude of “What’s in it for me,” they forget President Kennedy’s admonition to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

This is why I have written We Believe: 30 Days to Understanding Our Heritage with my good friend David Dunham. It’s our hope that millions will read about our hallowed traditions and embrace our great ancestor’s belief system as their own.

It’s also why we have focused on the original documents, allowing people to read them with little narrative. We are convinced the words of our forefathers speak for themselves, and these great documents have maintained their inspiring power over the centuries. Those who read them will be strengthened with resolve—just like those who read them when they were originally penned.

Thomas Jefferson understood the importance of having a firm foundation when he wrote:

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government…. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to right.

Jefferson believed that if people understood the issues, they would take the right course of action more often than not. This is our belief as well, and it’s why understanding our birthright is so important.

This is a time of great consequence in American history. We stand at the crossroads with millions willing to desert our American heritage to pursue an alternative direction. Not knowing our birthright or understanding it, they have willingly abandoned our heritage. For those of us who understand the consequences of such a departure, we feel the need to stand firmly for the American way of life—just as our fathers have done before us.

Will you stand with us—strong and unafraid? Can America count on you to do what is right, regardless of whether it benefits you or not? Will you put your nation first, before your own interests—just as millions have done for more than two centuries?

George Santayana, the Spanish-American philosopher, essayist and poet, once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Will this be true of us? Will we wander so far from our heritage that America will no longer be the land of the free and the home of the brave? Will this be our destiny, or will we once again rouse ourselves from our lethargy, shake the sleep from our eyes, and vigilantly stand for the great tradition we have inherited? Will the generations that follow look to us as an example of strength and resolve, or will they point to us as a generation of weaklings that allowed it all to slip away?

Where you stand and what you do in the years to come will answer that question. Your actions—or your inactions—will determine the outcome. The choice is yours. What will you do?

As for me, I know what I will do. I choose to stand firmly, supporting the great tradition that has preceded us—no matter what.

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