Are There Generational Curses?

“… and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” Genesis 27:12

I’m not sure where we Christians get the idea that curses can be passed down. Recently a relative and I were talking about this subject. My relative said that another relative of ours is under the family curse.

I asked, “What curse is that? Nobody told me that we were under a curse.” I’ve never heard this, so I asked, “Where is this written in the Bible?”

Well, I’ve looked through different versions of the Bible and I still haven’t found this teaching on generational curses. There are generational sins but that’s another subject for another day. But, these two are not the same thing at all.

The whole subject came up because of my maternal grandfather. He was born out-of-wedlock to a teenage mom in 1898. My math tells me she was 15 1/2 yrs old when she gave birth to my grandfather in a rural community here in Western North Carolina. His dad was twenty. I’m not sure whether he was married then or not.

She didn’t keep her newborn boy so he was passed around to various family members. Somewhere in there he took his Dad’s last name. Even though, his dad rejected him and never claimed my grandpa as his son. Well, Grandpa looked strikingly similar to his father’s legitimate son so there you have it. And it was then and still is a rural community. No more than a crossroads with a store and a post office.

Now, this young woman had one more son out-of-wedlock about when she turned 18. With that birth she died. It might’ve been because of her experiencing a difficult delivery or her premature death might’ve been the result of catching influenza (flu).

There was no cure for influenza back then. And, there were “mini” outbreaks of it before the 1918 large scale death of the flu that swept across America because troops were trained in large group settings, and then passed through metro areas on their way to Europe. Many people who got it back then died from it.

So, what happened to my Grandpa to bring this idea of curses about? Even I’m not sure how to answer that one. I knew him and am pretty sure he would reject that idea also. Grandpa always had two things nearby that he read: his Bible and their local paper.

He was a WWI Navy veteran that went to the shores of France. After that he came back to WNC and moved to the largest town near where he grew up, Murphy, NC. There he met my Granny and they married about 1920.  They had four children, two sons and two daughters in that order.

I knew him to be a small frame man that might’ve been as tall as 5’6″ and weighed about 140 lbs. A lightweight to be sure, but he was a hard worker.

Both of my grandparents’ sons, my Uncles J. D. and Jack, were much taller and larger bone than their parents.  My mother, named June and her sister my Aunt Mary Jo, were both small frame women.

My grandpa was well educated for his time. A relative had the foresight to send him to Rome, GA to attend Berry’s School for Boys about 1914. There he learned carpentry and farming. Then, he entered the Navy in 1917.

Both he and my Granny were hard-working, honest, Christian people: “salt of the earth” type of folks. Together they made a strong couple. They farmed most all their lives together, which was about forty years.

Grandpa only spoke when he had something to say. He said what he meant and meant what he said. I think that must be a genetic trait because that was my mother’s style of communication, and pretty much mine, also.

His childhood experiences left him somewhat hard to deal with.  But, he lived his life on two main principles: truth and logic. What is the truth here and what is the outcome going to be? Those two qualities worked well for both my grandparents.

In time, they owned about 15 acres that included a small frame house. He and his sons enlarged the house, built an indoor bathroom, and all the family farmed about a quarter of the land. In my early years they still had a horse trained for pulling a plow, but had a tiller also.

My Grandparents saw both of their sons leave to join the Navy during WWII. Amazingly, both came home being in the same physical shape as when they left.

All their children lived by the practicable values they learned from their parents as well. My mother was a down-to-earth woman who was the major influence on us five children. My dad was more of a “think-outside-the box” idealist. He worked long hours honing his sales approach by selling restaurant equipment. And, all that work paid off for them through the years.

An example of that is about 16 years into my parents marriage my dad convinced my mother to follow one of his impracticable dreams of them becoming entrepreneurs. By both following dad’s dream they became wealthy and experienced their own American Dream.

My parents became successful small business owners and, in time, millionaires! Fortunately, my very practical mother controlled the outflow of the money. And, in part, that’s how they stayed wealthy.

I’ve used these principles for my life’s direction as well. No, I’m not a millionaire. Or at least not in monetary terms that is. But, I am known as being an honest, hard-working, Christian woman.

Over forty years ago, I married Jeff, who also shares these principles. We have three beautiful daughters named Ruth, Rachel, and Esther. And two blood grandchildren, and two step grandchildren.  We love them all very much.

Now, my Grandfather had no control over the circumstances that surrounded his birth. He did not choose his parents. No one does, all our parents are chosen for us. Yes his upbringing was harsh. That experience, I believe, left him short-tempered.

But, grandpa, granny, nor any of their four children, and not their seventeen grandchildren, and so on have ever been under a generational curse. That whole idea just doesn’t exist.

Outside of accepting Christ as your personal Savior than you, and I are or were under the curse of sin. That’s the only curse I’m aware of that affects us humans. That curse can be taken away by asking Jesus to come into your heart to take up residence inside you through the Holy Spirit.

I’m still not sure where this generational curse idea developed. It’s not Biblical. Nor is it even practical.

The above verse I chose for this blog shows that we bring either curses or blessings on ourselves. And that’s what I believe.

 

 

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Living A Full Life Includes Serving and Being Served

 

“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.” Matthew 8: 14,15

Only in Matthew’s Gospel do we read about this miraculous healing. At first glance, we would think this verse is only about healing.  After all, Jesus did heal many people during his three years of ministry.

But, there’s more to this small verse than what meets the eye. Besides the healing she received, her brief bio shows us how to live a fulfilled life without seeking the spotlight.

This verse says a lot about not only serving but being served as well. It’s about those that don’t need to be the “center of attention,” but are happiest at fulfilling a supportive role.

Her miracle healing is not to be sidelined for anything.  As I mentioned in the above story my friend Jim received a miraculous healing. My dad has survived two near fatal heart attacks.

In my early twenties I experienced a miracle phone call that kept me from dying. Just a little earlier on the day of my phone call I’d an accident while riding my bicycle. Little did I know that I had burst my vulva on impact by hitting my bike frame when I had to come to an abrupt halt. I was crossing a street when a car came out of nowhere and nearly crushed me and my bike.

So while on my way home I began to seep blood. But I was too dazed and in pain to know what to do. This is when I was single and lived alone in a small Southern Georgia town. I was almost home when this happened so I was able to make it to my apartment.

Within a few minutes of getting inside, my sister Carol called me from two hundred miles away because God placed me on her mind at that crucial time. I explained what had happened to her. She, then called my employer. From there he got the hospital to send an ambulance out to my apartment. That miracle phone call saved my life.

Yes, miracles still do happen. No question about that. But, lets look at the “serve and being served” message that’s woven into this verse. It’s not only what she did, but it’s what Jesus did, and what Peter and his wife did also.

Now, unfortunately, we don’t know her name, but countless people are serving in Christ’s name all over the World and only a few are ever known by name.

After her healing she promptly served Jesus. Now, to me this shows her gratefulness of being healed. But, it also shows her exercising her gift of service.

Doing this may have been expected of her. But still, Jesus didn’t heal everyone he walked by, either.  He waited four days to go see about his friend Lazarus who was very ill. By that time Lazarus had died, and been buried. But he experienced a miraculous resurrection when Jesus came to his grave. The whole amazing story is found in John 11:1-44.

Jesus doesn’t always heal. I can’t explain it, I just know that sometimes healing happens and sometimes it doesn’t. What I can say, though is the last year of my brother Gene’s life we all helped him in every way we could. Doing that brought all of us closer together. That’s worth more to us than what any of us could describe.

Getting back to our verse, we know that a special bond had formed between Jesus, and three of his disciples: Peter, John, and James. Did that make a difference in this story? I don’t think so, but it is God’s desire that we all draw near to Jesus (Hebrews 10:22).

So, this verse show’s us the importance of having meaningful relationships where we can draw close to a friend. That’s part of what makes life fulfilling.  We read about God’s love for us and how he doesn’t condemn us in John 3:16,17.

She could’ve chosen to be the “center of attention” since she was miraculously healed. But, she chose to serve instead. People who exercise their gift of service rarely want to be in the spotlight. But, receiving a well deserved “Thank you” is appreciated by all.

Jesus, himself, taught this very concept of service:

“It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26).

Part of any meaningful relationship is to receive as well as to give. Peter and his wife welcomed her into their home. We don’t read that her presence made it difficult.  What we do read is that she used her gift of service in their home. Her help would’ve been appreciated by the entire family.

Peter’s concerned for her health shows his care for her. I’m sure they had tried the usual ancient ways to lower her fever by this time. But the herbs and cooling baths weren’t curing her.

Peter believed she needed a touch by none other than Jesus, himself. So he urged Jesus to visit his home and heal his ill in-law. And that’s just what happened.

This instance may have been the impetus of him writing latter on:

 “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Some translations use the word “care” instead of anxieties. But, it’s the same idea with either word. We don’t have to carry our emotional burdens around needlessly. Peter was concerned about his mother-in-law so he went to Jesus about it.

Jesus always cared about others first. Here we see that he cared about her health foremost. This shows that we can’t work our way into having a relationship with the Savior.

After he healed her he spent time with all that were gathered there. In those days you just didn’t “drop in” for coffee. There’s no doubt that all the guests stayed and had a meal together. Since she served Jesus this meant that she sat near or behind him during the meal. So she would’ve been in his presence from her healing through the end of the meal.

Having meaningful relationships and being fully engaged in whatever our gifts and talents are is an important part to living our lives to the fullest. This is what brings satisfaction and fullness to not only ourselves, but to others also.

Perhaps you’ve experienced a miracle as well. I’d like to hear about it, but of course I would want some proof of it happening. I’m always looking for a good story to add to my next self-published book.

*All Bible verses are from The English Standard Version (ESV).

Living Life To The Fullest

“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.” Matthew 8: 14,15*

You may not see it at first glance, but the woman in this verse got to live a fulfilled life. Not only did she experience a miraculous healing but she also got to be a part of Jesus’s ministry while he was here on Earth.

Her family might’ve thought she was near death with the fever.  But Peter wasn’t ready to “throw in the towel” just yet. He went and got Jesus to come and touch her hand.

At some point we’re all going to “step into eternity.”  But, only God knows when that is going to happen. No one else does. Not even the doctors.

I got to hear a great story about a miracle healing recently when I attended a high school get-together at a downtown park here in my hometown. I saw some of my former classmates sitting at our booth so I sat down with them. I had just gotten a sloppy BBQ sandwich that had a heap of coleslaw added to it. And sitting with friends is always a good way to enjoy any evening.

We all were catching up with each other there in the booth while waving to others who were milling around. We were having a great time listening to a band that was “rockin'” out some classic Rock-n-Roll tunes.

That’s when James “Jim” Raby sat down beside me.  We had graduated together quite a few decades back and have crossed paths in our small town a few times since then. So we were just catching up on family, Sylva news, and so on.

Then, Jim showed me a picture of himself on his phone that a family member had taken a year or so back. In the photo he was lying on a hospital bed looking “white as a sheet” while being on a ventilator.

Jim told the few of us that were gathered there the entire story of how he nearly died while visiting his daughter and her family a year or so back.  Here’s what he said as best as I remembered it:

He told us that while he was visiting his daughter in Alabama he had fallen ill. He had only gone there for a short visit, but ended up staying longer than he had anticipated.

Since he has other health problems, his daughter admitted him to the hospital where he could get the care he needed. Well unfortunately, his health went from “bad to worse” quickly. Within a few brief days his children were called in to say their final goodbyes.

Jim apparently had some prayer warriors there in the hospital room, also. But even so, they felt that they had prayed all they could and were ready to accept what seemed as the inevitable.

Early, on the morning that his daughter was preparing to say her final “good byes” to her dad she had a woman she knew from her church to visit her. The women believed she had a prophetic message for Jim’s daughter.

This woman brought with her a vial of anointing oil. After the two women prayed together she poured the oil over Jim’s daughter’s head. Then told her to take her Bible, go pray for, and read the scripture over her dad in his hospital room one last time.

When his daughter walked into his room she asked that everyone else including the medical staff leave her alone with her dad. Jim told me that she began praying and reading the Bible as she had been directed to do by her early morning visitor.

Within that time frame he began improving. A day or two later he left the VA hospital. When he had fully recovered he drove himself all the back to Sylva, NC, which is about two hundred miles from his daughter’s house.

Of course, he was told all this by his daughter while recovering at her house. He was clearly out of it by the time that picture was taken that he had showed us.

My dad is also, living life to the fullest. He is 95 years old and is blessed with good health, walks unaided, and has a clear mind. We just celebrated his birthday at my daughter, Ruth and her boyfriend Dennis’ house. We had a big crowed of cousins, my dad’s brother and my aunt,  and other relatives there. You can see some of the pictures of his birthday party on my Facebook page: Patricia Jordan, Sylva NC.

One of my hobbies are to explore my ancestral roots. And since I live about fifty miles from where my American ancestors lived most all their lives, sometimes I go looking for their headstones to gain the “when” information. But I only know the “how” they lived by recalling and listening to all the family stories I’ve heard throughout my life. I hope their lives were as fulfilling as what I’ve heard they were.

Each and everyday you and I live is a day we are adding to our overall life’s story. Our legacy as some would say. Our actions, if used in positive ways can bring others as well as ourselves enrichment and fulfillment.

A great example of this is when my older sister Carol helped our brother Gene during his last year of life. It wasn’t easy and sometimes it didn’t go smoothly. He could be a cantankerous bachelor that was use to doing things for himself at times. But, she did a wonderful job of taking care of him full time while keeping up with her husband and his health issues at their house some fifty miles away.

Our brother Gene was dying of bone cancer, which had at first been misdiagnosed as muscle ache at a walk-in clinic. What he actually had, though was lung cancer that was the result of him being a heavy smoker.

Well, we all knew he probably had emphysema just by hearing him cough and gasp for air. But, it wasn’t easy to get him to go to a doctor without someone prodding him. While my mother was living she tried, and she was the only one he would listen to.  So his cancer went un-diagnosed for a long time.

His lung cancer metastasized into bone cancer. When the muscle relaxers weren’t working it was our dad and stepmother, Sue who drove him to the ER at our local hospital. By the time we all knew what his health status was we all got busy making his life as comfortable as was possible.

Our other brother, David mowed both their yards. Dennis and Ruth came over and put a wilderness camera outside so we all could watch raccoons and opossums visiting his yard on a laptop. Our other sister Deena came over and changed his morphine patch at 5:00 am. Our mother was deceased by this time. But, Sue and dad visited him. Jeff and I did what we could. We all did something or sometimes we simply visited with Gene and watch homesteaders build homes in the Alaska frontier.

Carol did the most though. She moved in and slept on his couch for about four out of seven days at first. But later, she stayed there full time. Carol drove him to all his appointments, got his medications, cooked their meals. She made sure that we had an occasional cookout at Gene’s house, helped him get his flower bed sowed with his favorite annuals, and they planted beans together. Gene lived long enough to set in the Sun, enjoy his flowers, and he even ate those beans too!

We’re all living our own life’s history every day we breathe. Are you happy with where you’re at, at this point and time in your life? If not, then what would make you happy?

I hope you’re not thinking “Oh, if only I had more money in my banking account, then my life would be perfect.” There is an old axiom that applies to that idea. It goes like this: “The more you make, the more you spend.”

A better question to ask yourself is, “Am I content with how my life is turning out? How about my career choices? Are my talents, skills, and / or intellect being fully utilized in what I’m doing?” Not every job requires our talents. But all jobs require our intellect.

Ultimately, we need to occasionally ask ourselves, “Is my life fulfilling? Or am I missing something in the ‘big picture’ of it all.” I’ve spent most of my adult life not working outside the home. I’ve been mostly content with that decision. But, I did want to finish college someday. And so I did when my children were teenagers.

I became a non-traditional college student and attended night school for two years while we lived in Sumter, SC. I graduated Coker College in Hartsville, SC in 2000. We had moved to Sumter from Turkey when my husband Jeff was still in the USAF in the early nineties. And stayed there after his discharge so our girls could finish high school there. I felt restless, so I decided to get my degree I had always wanted during those years.

I thought I might become a Social Worker when I graduated. But, when I started working in that career field I found that it exacerbated my dysthimic depression. So I’ve found other activities to do that have kept me involved and engaged. My volunteerism, writing my blog, and my other activities have made me feel fulfilled and overall contented.

By now I’ve learned the truth of what the Apostle Paul wrote, “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11b

Most of your life is up to you. Now there are some ideas that are just not going to work for you or I. But, I’m okay with accepting my limits.

Choosing to live a fulfilled satisfying life is better than chasing after things that become dated as soon as you get that shiny new thing. Or perhaps you’ve chased after a relationship that turned out to be toxic in the end. The list of us going after what we thought would make us happy is endless.

Some relationships may not be for us. Many tangible or intangible things you or I might want will not lead us into living a fulfilled life. What or who will then?

Start by having a relationship with Jesus. Ask Him to come into your heart and help you in making those tough decisions in life.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Earthly relationships need to be as meaningful as possible. But, we need to remember that our relationships have their limits as to what you, or I and the other person can bring into the relationship.

What does living a full life look like for you? I’m not talking about a busy life, but a full rewarding life. That’s a good question we all need to ask ourselves from time to time.

*All Bible verses are from The English Standard Version (ESV).

 

 

 

Why Do Some Burn Bridges To Relationships They Should Be Cherishing?

Are you involved in a relationship where there a history of mistrust? Why do some people subconsciously sabotage relationships that they depend on always being there for them?

Yes, I’m primarily talking about the manipulators and / or emotional controllers that easily move about in our inner circle of relationships. You and I both know people that don’t seem to care about your feelings, but only theirs. Let me list a few of these type of people for you.

First, there are the “pouters” that threaten to throw a fit if things don’t go their way. This group includes people of all ages. Especially the people under the same roof as you live under. Such as parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, and spouses.

The habit of being a manipulator begins in early childhood and deepens, like a murky river, into a person’s psyche during their formative years.  Only a trail of failure and then, hopefully counseling can change the course of that dark river of self-absorption. Change can happens but it takes effort.

What are the other types of manipulators? Well, how about the self-absorb people who weave “I, me, my, mine, or myself” into every other sentence? Yes, you know people like this just like I do. They are our detached and self-focused relatives, or friends. All you ever hear about from this type is them talking about themselves.

Then, there’s the temperamental relative that almost never shows gratefulness. Never a “Thank you” is uttered from their lips. The ungrateful can catch you “off guard” with saying something hateful in the middle of what seems like a normal conversation.

And, last, but not least are the “blasters!” They likely have what is called, “intermittent explosive disorder.” These individuals are the hardest on your nerves, to be sure. Their anger is out of proportion to the circumstance. We think of road rage as an example of this disorder. Or a family member who starts shouting over something that was simply misplace, but easily found, for instance

If a person has this disorder their behavior can develop PTSD in other family member’s psyche in a sub-conscience way. PTSD happens to more people than solders that fight in a war.

Encourage this person to get counseling and take the appropriate prescription for his/her anger issues. Anger plus fear create anxieties. Out of control anxiety needs to be controlled because it will affect this person’s physical health. Help where possible with them in making a long term solution in controlling their disorder.

As I’ve said, you know any or all of these people just like I do. What can you or I do about not being controlled, manipulated, or blasted at by our loved ones who see us as target practice for releasing their pent-up anger or schemes on?

For one, avoid conflict with these people, in as much as possible. Sometimes these people say provocative statements just to get us to react to them. That seems like an odd way to get attention, but as the old saying goes, “negative attention is better than no attention.”

Don’t become a victim of other people unleashing their negativity out on you. Become a victor instead. Becoming a victor may mean you going to counseling. This would give you a healthy outlet to talk in-depth with a trained counselor that can guide you into healthy communication habits.

If you work with any of these personality types, then talk with their boss. And tell him or her about what you’re experiencing in working with or under this difficult person.

Don’t “build” your self-thoughts on other’s negative statements they make about you. There will always be negative people in our lives. They are the “bridge burners” that sabotage their own selves of not being able to build healthy relationships.

You be a “bridge builder” to hope, and personal happiness without being selfish. Be a person known to have a clear conscience, and to posses quality of character. Don’t let negativity, whether its yours or someone else’s be the over-riding attitude that guides you through your day. Don’t let other people’s negative comments shape your own personal belief system you have about yourself.

Only listen to people or teachings that guide you into mentally healthy ideas about yourself. Follow those that help you to be the best person you can possibly be.

 

 

You Will “Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death” If You Follow The Instruction Book

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;” Psalms 23:4

Psalms 23 is short, but very powerful in it’s promises. I know these promises are true. Because I’ve lived them. I have tested many of God’s promises throughout my life. But, believe me I didn’t plan on testing God’s patience and love for me. Sometimes it just happened that way.

Fortunately though, my right choices have outweighed my bad ones along life’s way. But, I have walked through the “valley of the shadow of death,” perhaps more than I want to confess to.

Let’s take an in-depth look at Psalm 23 and learn how to apply these truths to our own lives. This is where the “rubber meets the road” in any Bible study. And in doing so I will share a little about my story.

You might not be familiar with the Bible. The Psalms are about right in the middle of the Bible. Most are beautifully phrased praises to God. Some hold promises and insight into letting us know of God’s direct involvement in our lives. A few Psalms are prophetic in announcing the Savior’s coming.

Okay, now I want to jump right in to Psalms 23. Verses 1-3 are all about what God is doing on our behalf when we seek after Him.

Verse 1 tells us that God is like a Shepard to us.  A Shepard will lay down his life for his sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Verse 2 tells us that God provides us with our needs in plentiful ways. And promises to give us rest.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

Verse 3 states that God restores us and guides us. Restoring has two parts to it. First we receive then we give.

The first part is where God restores us as individuals when we cry out to Him in our desperation:

“Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old,” Lamentations 5:21.

The second part is when we continue the work of restoration that God has done in our lives:

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;” Galatians 6:1

Verse three goes on to our letting God guide us throughout our daily lives.

Verse four is a turning point in this well loved Psalms. The new believer has gone through the exhilarating stages of a fresh or renewed walk with Christ. Now we’re being told that we will experience trials and our faith will be tested. Dark clouds are going to bring some storms of trouble into our lives. But there is an important promise within the warning. Let’s take a look at what it is:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4

God will not let fear overcome us if we abide in Him. And He will send us comfort during our times of fear, anxiety, stress, disappointments, and any other attacks by Satan.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

Why I Wrote About Psalms 23

The “valley of death” can also be translated as the “valley of darkness.”  Depression is darkness. And sometimes it can lead to a loved one not making it through the “valley of the shadow of death” only to commit suicide midway through that valley.

I’ve made it my mission to tell others my story of how I’ve overcome depression in hope that it will prevent someone from doing something drastic.

In 2007 I was going through a bout of depression. I’d struggle with depression on and off for most of my life. And I’ve talked with therapists many times before this so I knew that it was time for me to get back into counseling. I checked into an out-patient mental health facility here in my hometown. In the interview process I was diagnosed with dysthymic depression by one of the Peer Support Specialists that worked there.

Having that diagnoses was the beginning of my freedom from depression. First because I was finally correctly diagnosed. Having a correct diagnoses helped me to know why many of my days had dark clouds in them, and having that knowledge put me on a path to healing.

Of course my life isn’t perfect now, but I am happier and can deal with stress and disappointment more wisely because I have mental health tools that keep me from reacting negatively when bad things happen or are spoken to me; or because of a short sighted decision I’ve made.

During my time at the facility I went through ten months of group counseling that overlapped three months of individual peer counseling I received as well. After that I took a long break from receiving counseling. I felt fine and had made the changes that I knew I needed to make.

In early part of 2017 I  began gradually becoming intensely stressed. By early Spring my daughter, Esther encouraged me to go back to counseling. It’s odd that she sensed it first, because Esther lives on the West Coast and her dad and I live in Western North Carolina. Our oldest daughter Ruth lives about 30 miles from us and our middle daughter Rachel lives in Eastern North Carolina. But, “Es” has always been intuitive. And it paid off for me to listen to her.

That Spring I began receiving Cognitive Behavior Therapy counseling by a trained therapist. We decided I needed to come in on a weekly basis. The cost was minimal because I chose a therapist that was “in network.”

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is sometimes called “talk therapy.” It’s usually a one-on-one session. But sometimes a spouse or other family members can join the sessions.

Later my husband, Jeff joined me for these sessions. Sometimes we went weekly and sometimes we went bi-monthly. The therapist suggested at the beginning that he take a prescription for his anxieties. That has helped so much in our flow of couple communication. And we are still going to our therapist.

For some reason I always thought family members just had to live with having an anxious family member in the home. Too many med’s were addictive, so we didn’t look into him taking any. And Jeff not taking an anti-anxiety prescription created a lot of unneeded stress when our girls were in their teen years.

But in recent years medications for anxieties has been produced that are not habit forming.  And that’s the type Jeff takes now. I’m proud of him for admitting he needed both counseling, and medication in order to keep his anxieties in check. And we are still going to counseling at least a few times a month.

The rest of this Psalms speak of God’s presence in our lives. And that he is continually working on our behalf.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You [have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23: 5,6.

Verse five describes being in God’s will is like enjoying a banquet while our enemies can only look on. Unless they know God and seek His guidance than they can’t enjoy His banqueting table.

It’s really up to us believers to go find the “lost” and invite them in to also enjoy being in the presence of God. This, I believe, is our anointing and our calling.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19, 20.

Verse six brings this beautiful sermon to a close with God’s assurance that we, as individuals, are loved by our heavenly Father. And that we also are to be known by our loving kindness.

Too many in the church have confused condemnation with conviction. It’s difficult to bring someone to Christ by condemning them. We bring people to Christ by our loving kindness. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Throughout my childhood and adult years I’ve put up with the condemning words of others. So, I know what I’m talking about here.

I’ll let the Apostle John have the last words on this subject:

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17

*All Bible quotes are from the New American Standard Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Depressed?

Sometimes depression sneaks up on us. It slips in the unguarded back door of our psyche like a thief. Depression seeks to rob us of having good stable mental health. Don’t fight this enemy on your own. Seek professional help if you are struggling with depression.

How do you know if you’re struggling with depression? To an observant close family member or friend the answer seems self-evident. But the sufferer is often the last one to recognize or admit that she or he is struggling with depression.

My realization that I was struggling with dysthymic depression came about by my going to a community mental health clinic (mhc) in my small town. I was assigned a peer specialist.

My Peer Specialist had worked as “floor staff” in mental health institutions for more than twenty years. Through our weekly talks he had pin-pointed the type of depression I’ve had since my teen years. Even though he was limited to what type of therapy he could offer, he still recognized what I was experiencing, and gave it a name. And him doing that was the “key” that opened the door for me to receive the right kind of mental-emotional wellness therapy.

He suggested I attend some of the group therapy programs that the mhc offered. That sounded good to me so I started with WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan). From there I went on to attend their other classes. My going there lasted about ten months. That was in 2007-2008. I felt great and had made several changes that I needed to make that came out of the one-on-one I was receiving and the weekly group therapy as well.

I’ve since gone back to therapy. Currently I’m seeing a licensed therapist. She uses Cognitive Therapy techniques, which have been very effective for me.

There are different types of depression, though. These are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). That’s the “Bible” for finding out about personality disorders. This is a thick reference book that gets updated when new research information becomes available. Most of us don’t own a DSM-5, but any reputable website on mood disorders would reference this book along with experts in the field of cognitive development.

The DSM-5 does list depression as a mood disorder. The different types of depression are: Major, dysthymia (melancholy) depression, dysphoric (which includes PMS), and Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). These are the most common ones, at least.

If you think you might be suffering from long term sadness, then get a thorough checkup by your physician. Include a blood test. That test will reveal if you are low in Vitamin D or other essential vitamins. Also, a blood test will reveal any health problem or blood related diseases such as Hepatitis C. Fortunately, most of my adult life I’ve had a yearly physical.

Let your doctor know that you’re struggling with “dark moods.”  He or she might suggest a certain medication, such as an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake) to help lift your moods. There are multiple new ones available to help people overcome depression that are less or not addictive than the old meds.

I’ve found that “Talk Therapy”  (Cognitive Therapy) is best for me. So, I’ve been able to avoid taking medication for depression. But I do take certain supplements every day that help lift my moods. I’ll discuss supplements later. I’ll only say that supplements can get expensive. And you’ve got to know which ones work best for you. By all means, start by talking with your primary care physician.

Please consider going to a Behavioral Health Center like I did. They offer mental health counseling that includes the family if needed. Ask to see the therapist on staff there. Let him/her know that you’re feeling depressed even if it’s just some of the time.

The cost of going to these Mental Health Centers (aka: MHC) is often free. They have group counseling classes that are designed to inform and guide you into making wise choices. Also, like me, you’ll get to have a “peer support specialists” that will talk one-on-one with you.

If you need to detox from illegal drugs or over medicating then most of these mental health counseling centers are connected to a detox unit. If you can’t control your intake of alcoholic beverages on a regular basis, then please check into a detox unit. Most problems are fixable. It just takes you being a part of your solution, not a part of the problem.

Finally, be honest with yourself. Have you had thoughts about self-harm and/or had suicidal inclinations?

If you’re feeling suicidal or need to talk to someone immediately, then please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Don’t put your loved ones through the agony of you making a tragic decision.

There are often reasonable and successful solutions to our emotional health problems. It just takes us seeking those solutions in the right places.

Living The American Dream

Living The American Dream is a “rags-to-riches” story about my parents and how they became millionaires. It all started in about 1963 as we were traveling to my grandparents’ house in Murphy NC.

We (my parents with their five children) lived about 60 miles east of Murphy. So to get to their house for a day of fun and good eating, we had to pass through the Eastern Band of The Cherokee Indian Reservation. We rarely stopped in Cherokee, but in the summer of 1963 we did. It was a brief stop but a life-turning decision was made during that stop-over.

My dad wanted my mom to talk with one of the gift shop owners about how could they operate a gift shop also. I remember being told not to get out of the car for any reason. I was about 11 yrs old at the time and I and my siblings obeyed our parents.

By the next year we had moved to the outskirts of then “Old Cherokee” and opened up a gift shop. It was located on US19, across the river from Frontier Land. By 1967 dad realized that the “big money” he was hoping for was in whole-selling souvenirs. So my parents switched from running two retail businesses to strictly selling wholesale.

There wasn’t much to risk in them switching to becoming “middle man” sales people. My two oldest siblings had graduated high school and had left home. And all that my parents owned at the time was a single-wide trailer and two very used cars.

If you would like to know “the rest of the story” then please buy my book here. I’ll be glad to sign a copy of my parents rags-to-riches story for you. Reading this might inspire you to reach what seems like an impossible goal to reach, as well.

I’m asking $10.00 plus $3.00 shipping =$13.00 per book.

 

Overcoming Depression

I am doing some limited talks on how I have managed chronic depression. I would like to Skype as well as do some public speaking on this subject. I’m willing to speak at most any venue, but I am a believer in Christ Jesus. I wouldn’t want to not be able to speak freely about how my faith has helped me in tremendous ways. You can get in touch with me through my WordPress site or at my email: myjouneyintohealing@gmail.com

Some Problems Require a Miracle

“You are the God who performs miracles;

You display your power among the people.” Psalms 77:14 NIV

We can’t always solve our problems, and often not all on our own. Some of our problems are not solvable, some are solved through time, and some we can solve on our own. Some of our problems are so overwhelming that they require a miracle.

Most of us, well, all of us need some type of support network that we can count on. Especially, when it comes to needing prayer over an issue you or I are facing. We may not know all of who is praying for us in this day of posting our prayer concerns on social media. I often add my concerns to our church prayer list. The important thing, though is to get prayer warriors praying when we need them the most.

Sometimes God just moves on people’s hearts in mysterious ways and our problems get solved through a miracle. The story below describes how I received a miracle when I needed one the most:

Decades ago, I was single and living in a small town in south GA. I had taken a photographer’s assistant job there but lived there less than a year. I was very homesick and lonely. That town is about 200 miles from where I grew up and where my large extended family still lives in, which is WNC.

So while I lived there I had a weird accident on my bicycle, on my way to my apartment. After the accident I was in intense pain but didn’t know what was wrong. I knew that I had injured myself badly, though. I had made it inside the door, but laid on the floor bleeding. My sister Carol called not long after I got into the apartment. She said she felt the need to call me and check on how I was doing. I told her about the accident and that I was bleeding badly. We hung up and she called my employer to let him know that I needed immediate help.

I still remember some guys putting me into an ambulance. I was heavily sedated thereafter. But by the next morning I awoke to see my parents and my oldest sister, Carol standing next to my bed. That whole event was nothing short of a miracle.  

What had happened when I was riding my bike, I had to brake hard and come to a sudden stop. I had avoided colliding with the car. But, in doing so my body slammed up against the support bar (female style bike). That action resulted in me bursting my vulva.

Once I got healed, I moved back to WNC and in a year or so I joined the US Air Force. I went to Germany where I met my husband, Jeff. We have been married over forty years and have three grown daughters and four grandchildren.

Having told you about that long-ago incident or accident, I want to conclude this post with saying that not all problems require miracles to happen in order to solve them. But you and I are better off when we:  

  “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV).

I want to talk about HOPE over the next several posts that I put up. I, like everyone else is busy, though. So my post might seem sporadic. Plus, I need to organize my thoughts on exactly what I want to say, which takes a lot of black coffee and not too many distractions. I made need some luck to avoid the distractions.

I do hope to get some good feedback on my posts on HOPE and how we always need a healthy supply of it.

Are You Going Through Trials and Tribulations?

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Do your problems seem unsolvable?

And you can’t see a way out?

Yours and my problems are solvable if we seek God’s help.

Even in the middle of our battles,

God will hear our prayers. (1 Chron 5:20)

His Spirit continually intercedes for us. (Romans 8:26)

Angels bring messages to us from God’s throne. (Dan 9:23)

Reminding us that we are fighting a spiritual battle

“…against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

“Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrew 4:16)