Spring is Coming!

When I am in the midst of a difficult season in my life, I sometimes forget that spring is coming.  I can’t see any further than my circumstance.  Fortunately, God knows SPRING IS COMING!  I ask myself, why should I worry.

Note: This blog was originally published a couple of years ago, but as pictures of bluebonnets flood my News Feed, I thought of it again. I’m missing John more than I have in years. I’m about to experience one of the most important events of my life and he’s not hear to celebrate my accomplishment with me. He found joy in those blue fields and remembering those time brings me joy. 

“Did you get it?”,  John asked with eager anticipation in his voice. “Yes, here it is,” I replied, “Looks really good this year.”   “Should be, after the rain we had in January, he commented.

As he opened the pages of the magazine, he reminded me of a child who just opened the best Christmas present ever!  For the next several hours, John poured over page after page of pictures of wildflowers.  Nothing else mattered at that moment.  I sat on the couch smiling each time he made an excited, “Wow! We need to go here this year!”  Or “I know exactly where that is! I have a picture just like this one.”  By the end of the day, John had our route for our annual sojourn through the Texas Hill Country mapped out.

Every year we made the trip.  It did not matter to John if we saw one bluebonnet or thousands.  What mattered was the journey and ultimately seeing the result of God’s workmanship throughout the winter.  The bluebonnets peeked out from the grassy field’s along the Texas highways like tiny beacons of light that illuminated the drab, colorless landscape of winter.  Each blossom represented victory over the harshness of winter.  Each blossom represented a new life and a new beginning.

Before each flower pushes through the earth to show off its beauty, it must endure the winter.

I often wondered how these seemingly fragile plants bloom year after year.  What miraculous events occur that result in such beauty?   So, like any good 21st-century researcher, I Googled, “How to plant bluebonnets in Texas.”

From this search I learned:

  1. Bluebonnets need full sunlight to for best growth.
  2. Bluebonnets can be planted from September 1 through December 15, but for the best growth no later than mid-November.
  3. Bluebonnets produce large, hard-coated seeds that take time to soften, but also protect them from potentially destructive forces of nature (winter) until they are ready to form deep roots and push through the ground.
  4. Do not soak or prick the seeds.  Although doing so may improve the first year’s growth, it may also damage the seed.
  5. A significant amount of rain is needed during the winter months to soften the seeds enough to germinate.
  6. When scattering the seeds, seed to soil contact is essential. (the grass and weeds need to be cut)
  7. Seeds need to be covered by about 1/4 inch of soil to protect them from being eaten by birds or “burning” up in the sunlight.

In short,  to endure the winter, bluebonnets need to be planted in the right season, need sunlight, need contact and covering from the soil, need enough rain to soften their hard shell and need to grow at their own pace without being picked or rushed.  As I read this, I was reminded that God works the same miracle with us every time we go through a severe (winter) season in our life.

God has a perfect plan to help us endure the winter.

Spring always follows winter.  New life happens in every part of God’s creation in the spring.  Spring can be one of the most beautiful times of the year!  However, when I am in the midst of a difficult season in my life, I sometimes forget that spring is coming.  I can’t see any further than my circumstance.  Fortunately, God knows SPRING IS COMING!  I ask myself, why should I worry.

If God takes care of bluebonnets surely He will give me what I need to endure the winter:

  1. His Son, in all his glory shining down on me. John 3:16
  2. He knows exactly how long I need to endure the winter before spring arrives Isaiah 40:31
  3. He covers me with his wings until I can safely stand and flourish. Psalm 91

Although He provides all this, my part is:

  1. Not try to endure the winter without relying on Him. Psalm 78:7
  2. Not allow others to push me, shame me or blame me for being in the circumstance. Romans 8:31, 39
  3. To remain connected to God by abiding in Him. John 15:7
  4. Allowing Him to stand over me when I am weak. Philippians 4:13

No matter how cold or dark the winters of your life seem, remember SPRING IS COMING!  God provides all that you need to endure the winter.  God’s perfect plan will get you to spring.

How has God helped you endure a winter season in your life?

Must I Walk this Path Again?

Although the sonnet below is a reflection of my recent journey down memory lane, I think it reflects the healing journey many survivors face as the wrestle with memories, triggers and flashbacks. If this is you, I hope my words bring comfort to your troubled heart and renew your faith that there is hope of redemption because of Jesus Christ. 

As I thought about what to share this week, I remembered the sonnet  I wrote and posted over a year ago when the emotional turmoil of writing my memoir overwhelmed me. As I worked on query letters and book proposals those emotions resurfaced. While not as intense as last year, they were exhausting. Healing is exhausting. Even after years of freedom from the emotional devastation that turned my life upside down, recalling the pain of my childhood drained me to the core. I recognized once again the importance of self-care, renewing my mind and staying connected with friends and family. More importantly, I remembered that Christ is the ultimate source of strength and comfort.

Although the sonnet below is a reflection of my recent journey down memory lane, I think it reflects the healing journey many survivors face as the wrestle with memories, triggers and flashbacks. If this is you, I hope my words bring comfort to your troubled heart and renew your faith that there is hope of redemption because of Jesus Christ.

Must I Walk this Path Again?

Oh, child so fair, your words exhaust my soul.

Your words ignite forgotten rage and pain.

Your words recall your fight to win control.

I did not think I’d walk this path again.

The path is dark, oh help me find my way.

This path is not the one from long ago.

Oh Lord, I do not think I want to stay.

The fear of pain commands that I should go.

Oh, child so fair, I hear your voice. It’s clear.

You tell the tale of hope that kept you sane.

You tell the tale that wiped away your fear.

Ah, I know why I walk this path again.

To show her she is precious in your sight.

To show her you have made everything right.

Related Posts:

Giving Her a Voice

Be Still and Know that I am God

Mamaw’s Minecraft-Remembering the Power of Play

Recently I remembered how important play is to my well-being when I began playing Minecraft.

Play had a critical role in my development from a young age.

One of my favorite pastimes as a child was engaging in imaginary games with my brother. We would spend hours creating make-believe worlds where we destroyed evil and save the day. During our play, nothing else mattered. The abuse we endured temporarily disappeared from our minds, and we enjoyed the fantasies in our backyard. As the years passed, I substituted reading, drawing and creating crafts for the backyard games. I loved stories about knights, castles and medieval culture and often imagined being rescued by a knight in shining armor. My love of art, creating and playing continued as I navigated through the long journey to healing from the childhood trauma. My drawings were graphic and sometimes dark, but they helped me get through some difficult moments. When my husband, John, passed away I returned to crafts, drawing and writing to mend my broken heart. I could get lost in creating and find moments of peace.

 Recently I remembered how important play is to my well-being when I began playing Minecraft.

Yes, this grandmother is playing Minecraft and loving it! My family got me to try it a few weeks ago, despite my reluctance. I could not understand what anyone got from playing a game where everything is made from blocks. I soon discovered Minecraft allows me to create. I plan my building, watch tutorials and build something my imagination created. By doing so, I am rejuvenated and forget the chaos of the world for the hours I spend moving around my Minecraft world. On occasion, I interact with family members who play on the same server. In these days of social distancing, those interactions are precious to me. I give them a good laugh because I am so bad at navigating the game.

Playing Minecraft has helped me focus my energy on creating rather than dwelling on the latest crisis.

Oh yeah, I’m building a medieval village.

You may wonder how a discussion of Minecraft relates to healing. The answer is quite simple. Play is a part of the therapeutic process for many survivors who were robbed of their childhood. Learning to play reawakens lost innocence and joy. Imagination energizes my soul and brings life to forgotten childhood joy. Not every moment of my childhood was horrible. I played, I laughed, and sometimes I just imagined a better world. I’ve recaptured some of that through my Minecraft moments.

What can you do to reawaken the child within you?

Note: Picture is of my Minecraft world in progress.

Sometimes the Honesty’s too Much

Sometimes when God touches me, the honesty seems too much.  Sometimes, I don’t want Him to see the “real me”.  The truth is He always sees the real me.

Today I finished the first revision of What Kind of Love is This: Finding God in the Darkness, a memoir of my journey to reclaim my identity.  The last words I typed, “See what God has done… He loves you,” reminded me of my struggle to trust God’s unconditional love. Those words also acknowledge how far I’ve come. Still, I occasionally struggle to understand the events of my life, but writing my story helped put some pieces together for me. As I thought about how to express my struggle, this blog, written a few years ago, seemed appropriate. My relationship with God continues to grow as I include Him in my daily life through prayer, study and simply being still. Perhaps my post will help you realize your beauty and value in the eyes of the Creator.

“Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much.”

This 70’s hit by Dan Hill, conveys the struggle of feeling and expressing love.  When I looked up the words to the entire song, I realized that many of the lyrics could apply to God’s relationship with us and our relationship with Him. Sometimes when God touches me, His honesty seems too much.  Sometimes, I don’t want Him to see the “real me”.  The truth is He always sees the real me. When I let go of my pride, only then can I truly experience the Honesty of God’s touch.  Only then can I allow Him to hold me until my fear, pride, and pain subside.

Trapped within my truth

How many times have I cried out to God, “how could you let this happen?”  or “You can’t really want ME to do that, do you?” Sometimes I don’t wait for an answer and simply return to the safety of what I know.  I dismiss the still small voice as nothing more than a passing thought.  After all, I know me better than anyone.  Sometimes I argue with God as if He really doesn’t know what is best for me.  I stay trapped and immobile because I choose to stay trapped in “my truth”.  I don’t want to move out of the safety of the familiar and the comfortable.  I fight the honesty of God’s touch.  Until that moment when he brings me to my knees because my truth suffocates me.  Once on my knees, God’s presence pours over me with power, peace, and strength.  At that moment, all is well.  My mind tries to comprehend the touch but cannot.  His love surrounds me and I realize the “real me” is more than my thoughts, habits, and hurt.  The real me has been touched by God to be all He created me to be. His truth heals.  His truth reveals.  His truth brings peace.

He understands How Hard I Try

Sometimes we try too hard to experience God.  The truth is God is everywhere.  He touches us every day.  I recall a time shortly after my husband, John, died when I commented to a friend, “I don’t feel God. I know He is there, but I don’t feel His presence.”  I tried hard to make the feeling of God’s presence real, but nothing worked.  Finally, one day as I drove to work, I saw streams of light piercing the clouds on the horizon.  I smiled through my tears as I felt the honesty of God’s touch for a moment.

I realized at that moment that God always wants to touch us.  I also realized that His touch comes in unexpected ways.  Sometimes it comes from a friend who calls at just the right moment to comfort or encourage us.  He touches us through worship when we feel Him through music.  Those passing thoughts that prompt us to be more than we think we can be are often God’s touch.

“Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[c] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31.

Like Peter, we have to get out of our “boat” of our expectations to experience God’s touch.  Once we step out of the boat, His hand will keep us above water if we stay connected to Him.

We don’t have to work hard to feel His presence, but we do have to ask, listen and respond when we feel the Honesty of God’s touch.

God is constantly reaching out to us.  His hand is always outstretched.  Our task is simply to grab hold of the hand and allow God to lead us from our “truth” to what He has in store for us.

 

 

Covid-19 Hidden Impact for Trauma Survivors/ Tips to Cope

The Covid-19 virus has upended everyone over the past few weeks. While the new normal creates havoc for nearly everyone, I’ve realized a hidden impact for trauma survivors. With each new restriction comes less control over my life, which triggers old fears and sometimes anger.

The Covid-19 virus has upended everyone over the past few weeks. While the new normal creates havoc for nearly everyone, I’ve realized a hidden impact for trauma survivors. With each new restriction comes less control over my life, which triggers old fears and sometimes anger. At first, I dismissed these thoughts as silly considering the restrictions haven’t significantly changed my lifestyle. Yesterday I realized why anxiety and anger resurfaced. I feel the same loss of control I felt as a child when my family members abused me, but I also realized I am not a powerless little girl anymore. I am a strong, healthy woman who knows the truth about my identity.

I can choose how I respond to the triggers from the past.

Several years ago, my late husband, John, told me a story that illustrates one way to manage the emotional turmoil the current circumstances create. The town he grew up in has a city park with an old playground. The playground includes one of those old merry-go-rounds which consists of a circular platform with bars for standing. The riders push off the ground to increase the rotation speed of the merry-go-round. Sometimes one person stands beside the equipment to push it to maximum speed. Running on the platform will also increase the speed.

Keep Your Eyes on the Tree

One day, John and two friends (all of them in their 20s) decided to see how fast they could go and still stand up. So the contest began. Each attempt ended with falls, bumps, and bruises. They ran fast, but at some point looked down at their feet. When they did, they fell. After many attempts, John’s friend suggested they focus on the tree that stood next to the merry-go-round. When they kept their eyes on the tree, they did not fall. The speed increased far beyond what they thought possible. Then they looked down, and chaos ensued. Years later, while on a mission trip to Haiti and felt overwhelmed by the darkness that surrounded him. As he prayed for peace, the events at the park came to mind. He heard a whisper, “Just keep your eye on the tree.” He had the sense that the tree represented Jesus Christ, who hung on a tree for us.

As you struggle with old tapes in these uncertain times, remember to keep your eyes on the source of comfort. You are not a helpless child living in a chaotic and abusive world. You are a survivor. You are loved by the one who died for you. Keeping my eyes on Him when anxiety and fear threaten my peace, helps ground me in the present. For me that means turning off cable news, listening to music that soothes, reading scripture and stopping the thoughts that creep into my head before they take root. None of these things change what is going on in the world, but they change how I navigate them.

Changing How You Cope

As a survivor, you have learned ways to manage triggers, but some of those may not be available now. It’s hard to change our way of coping, but not impossible. Draw a picture, write a poem (even if you don’t think you can), stay connected via texting and phone calls. Find an online church service. Reach out and let someone know this is a hard time for you. Above all, be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because this triggers emotions you haven’t felt in years or months. Change your focus. Keep your eyes on the tree. When you look down and fall, get back up and try again.

We can support each other through this season: Share your coping strategies, your struggles and get support in the comments.

 

 

 

Must I Walk this Path Again?

The sonnet below is a poetic version of last week’s blog. In the sonnet, I attempt to capture the emotional, physical and spiritual turmoil of the past few weeks. However, I also want to express the hope and courage I’m rediscovering as I write. The final couplet reaffirms God’s love for me and the child who’s tale I tell.

The sonnet below is a poetic version of last week’s blog. In the sonnet, I attempt to capture the emotional, physical and spiritual turmoil of the past few weeks. However, I also want to express the hope and courage I’m rediscovering as I write. The final couplet reaffirms God’s love for me and the child who’s tale I tell.

Oh, child so fair, your words exhaust my soul.

Your words ignite forgotten rage and pain.

Your words recall your fight to win control.

I did not think I’d walk this path again.

 

The path is dark, oh help me find my way.

This path is not the one from long ago.

Oh Lord, I do not think I want to stay.

The fear of pain commands that I should go.

 

Oh, child so fair, I hear your voice. It’s clear.

You tell the tale of hope that kept you sane.

You tell the tale that wiped away your fear.

Ah, I know why I walk this path again.

 

To show her she is precious in your sight.

To show her you have made everything right.

 

Related Posts:

Giving Her a Voice

Be Still and Know that I am God

Giving Her a Voice

Writing the first few chapters of my memoir, What Kind of Love is This?-Finding God in the Darkness, was hard, much harder than I anticipated. I am exhausted physically, spiritually, and emotionally. While the memoir focuses more on hope, redemption, and faith rather than detailed descriptions of the abuse that I endured, it sometimes left me raw.

Writing the first few chapters of my memoir, What Kind of Love is This?-Finding God in the Darkness, was hard, much harder than I anticipated. I am exhausted physically, spiritually, and emotionally. While the memoir focuses more on hope, redemption, and faith rather than detailed descriptions of the abuse that I endured, it sometimes left me raw. I thought I had processed all the baggage from my childhood, but writing my life as a story around a specific theme has peeled away more layers. I discovered that showing my readers what happened is much different than telling the story. Telling allows me to create some distance and describe events like the narrator of a documentary. Showing, on the other hand, puts me smack in the middle of the events. Those scenes brought new insights and understanding to aspects of my childhood that carried over into my adult life. My hope is my readers will see and feel the scenes through the eyes of the child I was rather than through the eyes of an adult recounting past events.

The biggest revelation came this week when I realized that writing the memoir has transformed memories from a slide show into a feature-length movie.

I am at the center of the action and experiencing nuances of events that were left out years ago when the memories surfaced. I also discovered that I still have grief work to do for the child that had no voice and suffered in silence. I am giving her a voice through the narrative, and she is speaking loud and clear. Her message is one of struggle to find hope amid the despair and loneliness created by my family. While I struggled to understand who Christ was and how He interacted with me, I found hope through my faith in Christ.

Writing the memoir has also brought an element of joy.

Several times I’ve smiled when I realize where a habit originated. Some seem rather silly, but they show the power of childhood experiences. For example, up until last Christmas, my kitchen décor consisted of 80s’ style grapevine themed everything. I didn’t know why

agriculture blur branches bunch
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

I liked grapevines, but the themed décor brought comfort to me. Then, as I worked on my memoir this week, I recalled that I escaped the chaos of my home by spending time in an old grape arbor in our backyard. I had encounters with Jesus in that enclosure that kept me sane during the time we lived in that house. Perhaps, subconsciously, the grapevine themed kitchenware provided that same comfort. (Yeah, I know that seems silly, but it made me smile.)

John 15:5- (ESV)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

I also realize that I cannot do this project in my own strength.

Early in the process, I created a group text with four women that have supported me through prayer many times over the last several years. Each time I begin writing, I send the message, writing now. I include a brief description of what my goal is and specific requests for the writing session. When I finish for the day, I send the message, done for the day. Knowing I have four powerful intercessors praying for me while I write gives me the courage and the stamina to complete the session.

I am revisiting self-care this week as I try to balance writing my story by getting enough rest, eating well, and taking care of other essential activities. Sometimes I write longer than I should because I feel an urgency to be done with it.  I realize that I can’t just be done with it because that short changes the frightened, yet very strong little girl who is showing me parts of our story that I have not attended too. I recognize the need to take breaks, take naps, and listen to my favorite hymns frequently to stay grounded.

The process has not sent me back to the darkness of my early days of healing

I know the physical, emotional, and spiritual signals to prevent that from happening. I have tools that keep me in the present. I have friends and family who pray for and encourage me. I am not alone in this process. I am not reliving the trauma; instead, I am giving voice to a very strong young lady who never gave up and who trusted Jesus to keep her soul safe from destruction.

The Eye of the Storm

When we focus on Christ rather than the problems, confusion or pain in our lives, we experience peace.  Perhaps the circumstances do not change, but we change in the circumstances. 

 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27.

Hurricanes are devastating and frightening.

The path of the storm is unpredictable as is its strength as it travels across land and sea.  While modern weather technology provides reliable predictions about a hurricane’s path, the storms do not always follow the projection.  However, every hurricane has an eye.  The force of the surface winds deflects the wind slightly away from the center, causing the wind to rotate around the center of the hurricane, leaving the exact center, the eye, calm.  While the storm’s path and strength remain unpredictable, the eye remains constant and peaceful.

The disciples feared the outcome of the storm.

They could not understand how Christ remained calm enough to sleep through the wind and rain.  Surely, they would die! Christ slept because He knew He was the calm center.  He knew He could calm the sea.  When the disciples doubted Christ’s ability to divert the winds of the storm, He rebuked them.  They lost their focus in amid a raging storm.  They took their eyes off the calm center, Jesus.

In Matthew, although Christ calms the wind and rain, the disciples experienced pain.  Once the wind was calm, they were astonished that Christ controlled the wind.  They were wet, possibly bruised, most likely cold, but they were calm because Christ became their focus, rather than their circumstances.

At times life feels like a hurricane, tossing us to and fro with hurt, illness, unexpected changes, stress, anxiety, and difficult decisions.

We become so caught up in the chaos that we cannot fathom relief.  We may even cry out to God, “How can you let this happen to me?” All we see is the chaos.  We do not see the peace available at the center. Christ stands at the center, like the eye of a hurricane, waiting for us to turn our eyes toward Him.  He will take the brunt of the wind and rain. Even when the storm continues, He remains calm.  When we focus on Him rather than the problems, confusion or pain in our lives, we experience peace.  Perhaps the circumstances do not change, but we change in the circumstances.

As an old Hymn reminds us,

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Spring is Coming!

When I am in the midst of a difficult season in my life, I sometimes forget that spring is coming.  I can’t see any further than my circumstance.  Fortunately, God knows SPRING IS COMING!  I ask myself, why should I worry.

“Did you get it?”,  John asked with eager anticipation in his voice. “Yes, here it is,” I replied, “Looks really good this year.”   “Should be, after the rain we had in January, he commented.

As he opened the pages of the magazine, he reminded me of a child who just opened the best Christmas present ever!  For the next several hours, John poured over page after page of pictures of wildflowers.  Nothing else mattered at that moment.  I sat on the couch smiling each time he made an excited, “Wow! We need to go here this year!”  Or “I know exactly where that is! I have a picture just like this one.”  By the end of the day, John had our route for our annual sojourn through the Texas Hill Country mapped out.

Every year we made the trip.  It did not matter to John if we saw one bluebonnet or thousands.  What mattered was the journey and ultimately seeing the result of God’s workmanship throughout the winter.  The bluebonnets peeked out from the grassy field’s along the Texas highways like tiny beacons of light that illuminated the drab, colorless landscape of winter.  Each blossom represented victory over the harshness of winter.  Each blossom represented a new life and a new beginning.

Before each flower pushes through the earth to show off its beauty, it must endure the winter.

I often wondered how these seemingly fragile plants bloom year after year.  What miraculous events occur that result in such beauty?   So, like any good 21st-century researcher, I Googled, “How to plant bluebonnets in Texas.”

From this search I learned:

  1. Bluebonnets need full sunlight to for best growth.
  2. Bluebonnets can be planted from September 1 through December 15, but for the best growth no later than mid-November.
  3. Bluebonnets produce large, hard-coated seeds that take time to soften, but also protect them from potentially destructive forces of nature (winter) until they are ready to form deep roots and push through the ground.
  4. Do not soak or prick the seeds.  Although doing so may improve the first year’s growth, it may also damage the seed.
  5. A significant amount of rain is needed during the winter months to soften the seeds enough to germinate.
  6. When scattering the seeds, seed to soil contact is essential. (the grass and weeds need to be cut)
  7. Seeds need to be covered by about 1/4 inch of soil to protect them from being eaten by birds or “burning” up in the sunlight.

In short,  to endure the winter, bluebonnets need to be planted in the right season, need sunlight, need contact and covering from the soil, need enough rain to soften their hard shell and need to grow at their own pace without being picked or rushed.  As I read this, I was reminded that God works the same miracle with us every time we go through a severe (winter) season in our life.

God has a perfect plan to help us endure the winter.

Spring always follows winter.  New life happens in every part of God’s creation in the spring.  Spring can be one of the most beautiful times of the year!  However, when I am in the midst of a difficult season in my life, I sometimes forget that spring is coming.  I can’t see any further than my circumstance.  Fortunately, God knows SPRING IS COMING!  I ask myself, why should I worry.

If God takes care of bluebonnets surely He will give me what I need to endure the winter:

  1. His Son, in all his glory shining down on me. John 3:16
  2. He knows exactly how long I need to endure the winter before spring arrives Isaiah 40:31
  3. He covers me with his wings until I can safely stand and flourish. Psalm 91

Although He provides all this, my part is:

  1. Not try to endure the winter without relying on Him. Psalm 78:7
  2. Not allow others to push me, shame me or blame me for being in the circumstance. Romans 8:31, 39
  3. To remain connected to God by abiding in Him. John 15:7
  4. Allowing Him to stand over me when I am weak. Philippians 4:13

No matter how cold or dark the winters of your life seem, remember SPRING IS COMING!  God provides all that you need to endure the winter.  God’s perfect plan will get you to spring.

How has God helped you endure a winter season in your life?

Imagination-Light in the Darkness

Imagination brings thoughts to life. Imagination can transform a life event into a readable story that points to redemption.

The Healing Power of Imagination

Healing from childhood trauma is hard. There is no shortcut, no quick fix, no magic potion that removes all the pain and disruption created by abuse. When my healing journey began, in February 1987, I wanted a quick fix. I told my therapist, “I will be done by Easter.” I thought I could plow through the newly emerging memories quickly and get on with my life. My rush to heal almost cost me my life because I pushed myself to the brink of insanity. Some who knew me, including my daughter, would say I went beyond the brink. I desperately wanted to know everything and wanted to know it NOW!

While I had a personal relationship with Christ, my image of Him and His love was distorted and unrealistic.

I sometimes viewed Christ with anger and resentment for not stopping the abuse, but as I wrote in The Problem of Evil, my faith in God sustained me. I desperately wanted God to zap away my pain. With each step into the darkness, I wanted God to rescue me. I wanted to see the light he promised me when I was eleven years old. All I could see was darkness, and I longed for the light. There were glimpses of light as memories of His presence surfaced. He was there in those moments when I thought all was lost. He protected my soul. As time passed, I realized that healing was a process, a journey, not an Instagram story that would disappear in a few hours. I also developed a closer, more personal relationship with Christ.

Imagination along with reason allowed me to put the pieces of my jumbled life together.

In his essay, ‘Bluspels and Flalansferes, A Semantic Nightmare,’ Lewis defines imagination as “the organ of meaning” and reason as “the natural organ of truth.”[1]  By using the term “organ” to describe imagination and reason, Lewis provides a concrete vehicle to discuss the relationship between these important principles.  By one definition, an organ can be, “a part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.” [2] Lewis’s expands the idea by explaining that “Imagination is the organ of meaning and meaning is the antecedent condition both of truth and falsehood…  Reason is the natural organ of truth…Imagination is not the cause of truth… but its condition.”[3]  In, Can You Hear Me, Now? I explain different ways that imagination aided my healing process. I drew pictures to tell my story when words failed me. I wrote poetry, and I told a story. I had dialogs with God that resembled a movie script.

Imagination brings thoughts to life. Imagination can transform a life event into a readable story that points to redemption. The Spring 2019 issue of “An Unexpected Journal” published by a group of students and alums of the Master of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University demonstrates the power and importance of imagination. My daughter, Korine Martinez, transformed the near-death experience that I shared last week on the YouTube video, Near-Death Experience-an Unexpected Conversation into a powerful fictional short story. The story, “Light in the Darkness,” is included in the current issue. The story beautifully captures the essence of my experience while telling a compelling story of redemption, hope and overcoming evil. Korine’s vivid descriptions, captivating narrative and dynamic characters bring new life and meaning to the event. Light in the darkness demonstrates the power of imagination through storytelling.

You don’t want to miss this story! click here to read Light in the Darkness

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[1] C. S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 265.

[2] Oxford online Dictionary, accessed 3/28/16, www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/organ).

[3] Lewis, Selected Literary Essays, 265.

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