Category Archives: Stories

Overcoming Behaviour Tendencies

I know that our behaviour can be self regulated. When we are upset sometimes it helps to have a good friend to pick us up, but in the end, we get to choose how we will act in our circumstances.

Probable everyone has over-reacted. Most people have been “out of control” at one time or another either in anger or in frustration. At one time I believed that it was impossible to change this tendency. Having seen the anger lose it’s hold on me and knowing the peace that rules over me most of the time (nobody’s perfect), I now know that our behaviour can change. 

When a person is deeply hurt it often is expressed in anger. That anger will grow into a storm of bad behaviours if gone unchecked. Sometimes only love can calm the storm. 

The Night Before the Wedding

One dramatic example of this happened a few years ago. (Names and details have been changed) Mary’s daughter was getting married. Mary herself was separated from her husband and her husband was in another relationship and she was heartbroken. Furthermore, she was homeless at the time of the wedding, with very little income and was doing everything she could to put a wedding together. Her husband had moved his lover into their home the week of the wedding. It couldn’t get any worse as far as she was concerned.

The night before the wedding, her whole family gathered at her former home with her husband and his lover. She wasn’t invited and her heart hurt deeply. She became angry. When the phone rang, she snapped out a brisk hello.

“Hey, honey,” her friend said. “How are you doing?”

“How do you think I’m doing?” Mary cried. “My daughter is getting married tomorrow. This should be a family event and I’ve done all the work and this is how I get rewarded…” On and on she went, spilling out her bitter disappointment and hurt over the past two to three years about how she felt abandoned etc., etc.

Her friend listened quietly without interruption allowing Mary to wind down. Mary poured out her heart until she was spent. Then her friend quietly spoke to her.

“Mary, may I say something to you as your friend?” she asked. Then she waited for a response.

Mary warily replied, “Yes.”

“Honey, you know I love you and I say this with your best in mind.”

Mary bristled. “Okay, keep going,” she said.

“I need to tell you to go and get your big girl panties on and take off those little girl panties.” Mary’s friend told her.

Mary had never heard that figure of speech before and stared at her wall in silence while she tried to think what that could mean.

“This wedding is not about you or your ex-husband, it’s about your daughter and it’s her wedding day tomorrow. You have to be the most mature person at that wedding tomorrow and you have to make it a wonderful experience for them. Can you do that?” 

“I, I think I can,” Mary stammered.

“Then my job is done here, honey” her friend replied. “I’ll be praying for you and your family tomorrow.” Then she bid her friend adieu.

Mary’s anger ground to a halt. She was stunned. She sorted through the short conversation and considered the message. She had a decision to make. It was made as she imagined her daughter walking down the aisle on her father’s arm the next day. Yes, her ex-husband was a part of the wedding but it was her daughter she focused on. Her daughter was looking at her in her vision of the morrow. She was searching with hope that her mother would be happy for her and that she would be celebrating the most important day of her life with her. It made all the difference in the world. Mary got busy and finished the last-minute details quickly. She had a big day ahead.

The Day of the Wedding

I got to attend that wedding the next day. It began with a bit of tension, but it ended very well. Mary used the rest of her evening the night before the wedding crafting a fun skit for the young couple, describing how they met and fell in love. She enlisted the couple’s siblings and engaged the whole crowd in her skit and it ended with everyone participating, laughing and applauding. 

Mary was able, with the help of a friend, to change her whole outlook and rose above her circumstances. She was no longer a slave to her husband’s actions. Even her children were unaware of how difficult it had been for her as told to me by one of her sons. How different the wedding might have been if she hadn’t gotten that phone call or hadn’t accepted the words of a friend. Can you see God’s hand in all this?

This is a good example of the choices we get to make when we are in distress or we are in deep pain. God will send us help and give us creative solutions at times of trouble. It is tragic that more people don’t accept the help so readily available to us.

My prayer for you is that you will seek the help you need, and that you will keep on seeking it until you find it. It is also my hope that when you are presented an opportunity to receive help that you will be humble enough to receive it. Then the peace of Christ that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind and you will be more open to God’s solutions. Conquering our difficult circumstances is one of those things God does very well.

A Lesson on Hearing God

Is This Really God? 

God speaks to us in many ways. He spoke to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day while walking with them. After they sinned that closeness was severed and they experienced guilt and shame. Yet He still speaks.

The Bible records many ways that God spoke:
• by visual means i.e. the tabernacle, cloud and pillar of fire in Exodus
• through the prophets (1Kings 17:24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”)
• through dreams (See the book of Daniel)
• through visions (See the Book of Acts)
• through Jesus (See the Gospels)
• through the teachings of apostles (See the Epistles)
• through a “word of knowledge” in the church (See 1st and 2nd Corinthians.)
• through signs and wonders and miracles (sprinkled throughout the Old and New Testaments)
• Through revelation (see the book of Revelation)

God does understand our limitations and doubts about this matter. He said in Job 33:14, “For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.” The Bible can help you to recognize His communication styles.

As you study and read through the Bible you will see common threads throughout all of the different books that comprise the one whole Bible. Character traits of God become evident and remain consistent from one end to the other. Many of the names God gives to Himself describe what He is like.

I am still learning about His nature and character even now after many years as a Christian. I don’t know all about Him because I think it would take more than one human lifetime to know an Infinite God.

A Few Examples 

I remember the first time I got the Bible on audio recording. Because someone else was reading it, I could listen to the whole Bible in about 3 days during a long road trip. By listening to it quickly like that, I discovered God’s love in a way I had not noticed before. No matter how far or how often Israel strayed from Him, again and again He redeemed them. While pondering this, I realized that what he did for them He would do for me. It was an “aha” moment. It settled a deep concern I’d had about my salvation. If I listened to God’s call to repentance which He spoke often in the many books of the Bible, and if I sincerely repented of those things He was convicting me of, He would rescue me from my self-destructive path. I’d heard from God.

I’ve learned from several good teachers the value of journaling. One thing I do quite regularly now is ask God questions in my journal and listen for the answer. Some of the answers can be quite profound.

Here is one example: “Lord, why do I have to forgive every single time someone sins against me? It’s tedious and time consuming and it seems that they are getting away with something every time I forgive them. Can’t I just walk away and forget them?”

God’s answer: “My dear daughter. When someone sins against you it becomes like a thorn in your body. If not removed it will fester and hurt you much longer than necessary. Left unattended long enough it can get seriously infected. This is what bitterness is like. Eventually, if not dealt with, not only does the pain of the original sin increase, but it eventually affects other parts of your body and can cause death. When you forgive every sin another commits against you, you remain healthy and heal quickly. I am both merciful and just. I’ve asked you to forgive others as I’ve forgiven you. I’ve asked you to love others as I have loved you. If you love me you will do as I command. When you obey me in this matter, I am free to help both you and your opponent find forgiveness and healing and the enemy will not gain a foothold in your life. Forgiveness is a good thing, especially for you.”

One more example of hearing from God is through dreams and visions. One day I was talking to a young man who told me about his dream. In his dream, he was standing in the house he grew up in which he knew he now owned. It was old and dilapidated and the front screen door was open hanging from one hinge. As he looked outside, he was terrified to see several police cars driving up the hill towards his house with sirens on and lights flashing. As they approached his house, he woke up.

The interpretation we prayed for went like this: “The old house represents you. You are a product of your childhood, but since you are an adult you now own your own life and your family is no longer responsible for the way you live. You have become “unhinged” as it were and you are now open to see beyond yourself. The police cars represent justice. On your own, you face a just God who will judge you based on justice. If you do not repent of your sins you will not access the mercy of God. There is good reason to be terrified. This is a warning dream.

The result: the gentleman was open to the Good News that Jesus was willing to take upon Himself the sin of this man in exchange for Life through Jesus Christ. The man asked for forgiveness for his sins right there. He invited Jesus to become his Lord and committed his life to Jesus from then on.

It is my prayer for you that you will open yourself up to hear from God. I pray that you will know when it’s Him and not just your own imagination or some other voice. May you find that God speaks in love and always for your good.

“What’s All That Crying About?”

When I was a child, my dad said things that many dads say. “Stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”. My dad passed away many years ago and I can still hear his voice and the way he said it. At the time, those words evoked fear in my heart. I was always terrified of my dad as a little girl. I know I wasn’t the only child to hear these words.

I now have four wee little grandchildren and although each one is different, they all have one thing in common. They cry. When they cry a lot, they distress their parents to no end. Crying is a child’s non-verbal way of expressing their needs and desires, like pain, boredom, hunger or fear. There are lots of reasons a child cries. Parents in their humanness sometimes react in ways that are not helpful or healthy.

How People Respond Matters 

Some responses to a child who cries can cause the child in their immaturity to interpret their caregiver’s tone of voice or reactions in a way that may not be intended or even considered. Sometimes this can create a core belief in the child that becomes a theme or framework for their entire lives.

I know now that my dad was a tender-hearted man who loved his three children and was very proud of us. I didn’t always believe this. When I was growing up, I saw him as a mean man who was too quick to strike and too slow to listen. I never felt secure around him, especially when I was alone with him.

My perspective changed several years after he died. I had a load of memories of him reacting to my tears or my other childish “flaws”. During my early years as a Christian, I was taught the need to forgive others. The Lord’s prayer reads in Matthew 6:12, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It further states in Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

I learned to forgive my dad for every negative memory I had of him. I released him into the hands and care of my heavenly Father and asked God to bless him. I then asked the Father to forgive me for holding those negative actions against him and asked the Lord to wipe the slate clean between us over those events. It took several years and loads of memories to go through, but over time it became easier and easier to remember some of the good things about him. As I cooperated in this process, God met me along the way.

After Practicing Forgiveness   

About fifteen years after my dad’s funeral, I woke early in the morning before anyone else in the house stirred. Not wanting to leave my comfortable bed, I decided to just thank God in my head for all the blessings I was enjoying at that point and time. As I did, I entered into what seemed like a daydream. I “saw” the Lord walk into my room with another fellow. I knew it was Jesus and he told me that this gentleman had asked permission to talk to me and He had decided to grant permission. Now it was up to me to decide.

Because I didn’t recognize him, I wondered who he was even though I’d said yes to letting him speak to me. I saw an old picture of my dad in my hand.  It turns out that this person was indeed my dad and he wanted to tell me how sorry he was for not knowing how to raise me well. He apologized for a long list of faults and failures and asked me to forgive him.

Astonished, I forgave him immediately. The confession was so sincere. My dad proceeded to tell me all the things he loved about me as a little girl. From there he went on to affirm me as a woman and a mother and to let me know how proud he was of me. Years of fear washed away. Any list of sins I had retained against him were forgotten during that conversation except what I needed to remember for this testimony. He bestowed upon me a father’s blessing and assured me that I would recognize him in heaven when I got there as he had been healed of all that had deformed him as a man on earth.

The conversation went on for many minutes. I cried during a lot of it and still cry today in the memory of it. These tears are not negative in nature. They are not a sign of need or pain and they are not full of regrets either. These are tears of gratitude for the encounter I had in a day-dream where the Lord revealed something to me in a way I could receive and accept. Now, I can hardly remember the negatives of my childhood with my dad.

I do remember him getting on the floor with my brothers and me playing arm wrestling with him and hearing him laugh at our vain attempts to beat him. I remember playing checkers and washing the dishes with him. I remember how he used to boast about my brothers to visitors after they left home and I am sure he boasted about me too when I left.

I remember the many hours he, being almost illiterate, helping me with homework by dictating the numbers I had to copy out of the text book to help me get it done faster. I remember him bringing my mother breakfast in bed when she was really really sick and bringing her plastic flowers on her birthday.

I remember reading the Bible to him as he lay dying of cancer at home. And I remember being there when he said his last word to God, and I know that I will see him again.

May you, my reader, learn to forgive those who did not react to your crying well. May you practice that act of forgiveness in the presence of God and may He lead you to the full healing you need so that you in turn can react well to those who cry around you. And may your tears become tears of joy and gratitude in many times and in many ways.

Start Dealing with the Poverty Spirit

I know that there are lots of people who feel poor whether or not they are. Many people my age are the children of those growing up during the great depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. At that time if someone got paid one dollar a day they were doing well, especially if they could keep that job. Those children grew up feeling very poor. There was no money for “extras” like ice cream and fancy clothes. Many families were larger then and hand- me-down clothes were common from older siblings to younger siblings.

When my parents had young children, families were smaller yet my mother still believed we were poor as well. She went out to work for most of the years we grew up and worked past the age of sixty-five saving and saving in Guaranteed Investment Certificates. Financial security was very important to her. I grew up in that environment and during my entire married life, felt that we were very poor even though my husband made a very good wage as an accountant.

One year while I was apprenticing in a healing prayer ministry, it was my turn to have my own healing session as a requirement of the program. As I asked the Lord what He wanted to heal in my life, the issue of poverty came up. I’ve always loved being generous and found all kinds of non-financial ways to give. I grew a big garden to share produce, shared clothes, food, and even furniture I built. I shared my time and talents and knowledge base with scores of people, but I never felt free to share money. My husband had control over our finances and had budgeted our giving and so I never gave much more than change in the Salvation Army pot at Christmas time or the penny drive at school.

As I mentioned this to my prayer partner, I felt a flood of emotions flow over me. I felt shame and condemnation. It felt like I was in this prison of poverty and I would never be free. By this time, I had given up a career in nursing to become a full time stay-at-home mom. I actually had no real income; only a couple of hobbies that paid for themselves.

I found the source of these feelings of poverty and shame to be a theme throughout my lifetime. There was no obvious beginning event to this feeling of being poor. It seemed it had always been a part of my life.

I asked the Lord for His perspective. I heard a scripture from Psalm 37:25, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

“But Lord,” I protested, “surely some of the righteous since that writing have starved to death. Look at all those who starved in concentration camps?”

Then I heard Him ask me, “Has anyone in your mother or father’s family starved to death?”

Thinking of my family history I said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Fear Passed from Generation to Generation

“Then why do you think they were afraid of poverty?” I wondered about this for a few minutes. It occurred to me that perhaps this was one of those fears passed on from generation to generation. During the great depression, some people probably did starve to death. I had certainly heard stories about my grandparents handing out mashed potato sandwiches for lunch at school and being ashamed of their poverty.

I felt led to ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him to provide for me. I asked God to forgive anyone in my family bloodline who may have had the same problem. I asked God to break off all shame from our family for being poor at one time or another. Symbolically, I put Jesus and His cross between me and any spirit of poverty or related shame. In the name and power of Jesus Christ, I cast off of me anything that would make me feel poor.

I did feel lighter after that. I can’t say the whole issue was solved in that one set of prayers, but I no longer felt that I could not give money and I began giving more than just pocket change.

At that point I was able to trust the Lord more. I found God able and willing to provide more than enough. There were other points of prayer about the poverty spirit to come. Yet it was a good starting point for me. Since then, I’ve seen supernatural provision of money on more than one occasion and I know that God is my provider as it says in the Bible in Psalm 68:10 “Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.”

I have been in poverty and I have been in monetary wealth, but abundance is of the Lord. It is my hope that if you have a feeling of always being poor or not having enough to keep let alone share, that you will find your way on your own healing journey.

How Emotional Healing Aided a Physical Healing

The Experiment

Over the years I’ve had opportunity to experiment with the connection between emotional pain and physical pain.  Sometimes the results have been astounding. One of my earlier trials of this kind of connection came when I was staying with a friend. I’ll call her Betsy. When I first arrived, she greeted me warmly and quickly put the coffee on so we could settle down for a nice long chat. I noticed she was limping around the stove and asked her about it. 

Apologetically, she told me she was not able to stand long and showed me her knee which was swollen to double its normal size. It was stretching her pants. Her other knee seemed fine. She was very discouraged by the pain.

I asked her if she had the time and energy for a bit of prayer. She nodded her head. I explained to Betsy that sometimes our physical pain is connected to something in our history and I’m going to ask the Lord to reveal where the source of your pain is coming from.  Then I prayed, “Lord, where did this pain and swelling begin? What crack in her history did it slip into?”

Then I asked her if anything came to mind. Her response was, “Well I thought of something right away, but that was years ago. What would that have to do with today?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “What did you think about?”

“Well, I was thinking about our first year of marriage, about thirty years ago.” Betsy continued, “We were so in love and so poor, and I was so happy then. When we found out we were expecting our first child, my husband decided he should get a better paying job because he didn’t want me to have to work while we were raising our children. His job took him out of town a lot and I hated that he wasn’t always home every night and I missed him so much.”

“How did that make you feel?” I asked.

“I felt lonely and abandoned. I was so scared during my first pregnancy. You couldn’t just make a phone call and talk to someone back then. He had a travelling job. I didn’t always know where he was when he was on the road and we couldn’t afford a phone in those days let alone long-distance charges. We only called in an emergency from the neighbour’s house and had to pay them back for the extra charges on their bill.” She moaned a little as she spoke.

“What did you begin to believe during that time when you felt so lonely and abandoned?” I asked.

She looked at me and barked, “Well, what do you think I believed. He didn’t love me anymore. He was running away from me.”

Gently I asked again, “What did you believe at that time…about yourself?”

Her tone changed as she reprocessed the question. “I thought I’d become ugly or unlovable like I felt when I was a wee little girl and my dad was at war and my mom went to work leaving me with my grandmother. I felt abandoned then too.”

“What truth would God like you to know now?” I asked.

After a long pause I heard Betsy sigh. “Ahh, I was not abandoned. He did that because he loved me and wanted to take care of me…of our family just like my mother did. Ahh, wow,” she said. “All these years have gone by and I never knew he loved me.”    

At that point she began to think of all the ways he’d shown her he loved her over the years. We figured out that his love language to her was mostly doing nice things for her. He built them a beautiful home. He built her beautiful furniture and made her a lovely garden out back. He had made toys for their children and helped each one build a house of their own.

After the reminiscing, she got up to refresh my coffee. I asked her how her knee was. She was astonished as she realized that the swelling was gone and she could hop up and down on that foot without pain. Neither of us had noticed when it got better.

Now when people ask me to pray for physical healing, I start by looking for the crack that allowed it in. Sometimes there is a connection. It never hurts to look for it.

Hearing God’s Voice

Hearing God’s Voice  

The art of hearing God’s voice is one that can be cultivated. I highly recommend it. When you practice hearing God’s voice, it makes knowing what to do in any given situation easier.

A Relationship Blows Up

We all have disagreements one time or another. No one is exempt it seems. In a previous post, I talked about the fruit of the Spirit. At no time is this put to the test more than when there has been a major disagreement between two parties. I am no exception. It came to pass that when I went to visit a woman with my very young family in tow, the circumstances were ripe for an outburst.

I arrived very much later than I had intended and their dad who had arrived much earlier was unwilling to help with the three babies who were cold, wet and extremely tired. 

The woman stepped in to fill in the gap and began to unwrap and change babies beside me. I was annoyed with their father who would not get out of his warm bed to lend a hand and it was apparent that things were not set up in a way that the babies would feel safe and cozy. The playpens were in the laundry room with the freezer across the hall from the guest room. I had not planned well. I made a remark of complaint loud enough for their father to hear. 

Immediately the woman dropped the child in her hands into the playpen, deeply offended and stormed up the stairs declaring, “Well you don’t have to take it on me!”

I was chagrinned. I could not take back the foolish words out of my mouth and I could not get my attitude under control. In time, the children were put to bed and the three-year-old fell right to sleep, but the twins who were just eighteen months old cried and cried. They were in a strange place, cold, and scared. Their cries were heard upstairs because they were right below the lady’s room. I finally went and got them and brought them to bed with me and my husband. At last they fell asleep and I began to dose. Their dad picked them up off me and took them to their playpens in the next room. They awoke and cried and cried again. 

I could not allow them to cry indefinitely. I brought them back to our bed, and they fell asleep. Once again, their dad woke them and returned them to their beds. The cycle repeated itself several times. The last time I brought them to bed must have been around 4am. At that point I threatened my husband with murder if he touched them one more time. I reminded him that there was a couch he could sleep on.

All the while, I knew that I owed this woman a sincere apology. I also knew that she was not sleeping either and there was nothing I could do to make things better. I thought and thought about how I was going to fix the problem I had created by complaining to someone who was not responsible for my attitude.

In the morning after perhaps four hours of dosing off and on and no real restful sleep, I made an attempt to ask for forgiveness. It did not turn out well since she had no more sleep than I. My response to her tirade was to pack up my babies and take them and myself two hours down the road and visit my mother.

My mom was sympathetic and wise, redirecting my attention to the Lord gently but persistently. She suggested I pray and try again to apologize when I wasn’t so tired. In due season, I did.

Unfortunately, the response was not a positive one. It looked to me like she may have been angry with me for a long time and that there had been an accumulation of issues that I was not aware of. The late-night incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I was hurt and did not know what else to do.

God Grows More Fruit in Me

I asked God to grow more fruit in me. I prayed blessings on her. I asked for brilliant ideas. My husband and her husband tried to talk to us. I was not willing to try again unless I had some idea how to approach her that would solicit a positive response. I waited. Time passed. I found myself growing patience, kindness and love toward her as I prayed. Yet I did not know what to say to her.

About two years went by. I’d heard through the grape vine that she had remained angry and unforgiving. I waited some more.

When the Time is Right, God Speaks

One day in the middle of the week, while I was making up the beds, I heard a clear voice say, “Call her.” Sometimes when you hear God’s voice you don’t have to ask questions. You just know what He means.

I argued with Him, “You know she’s just going to yell at me again.”

“Call her.”

“Ok, I’ll call her, but you know she doesn’t even answer the phone when my husband calls her to chat. She has call display so she doesn’t have to talk to me. If you want me to call her, she has to answer the phone because if her husband answers, I’ll just say hi to him and I won’t be asking for her.” Funny how we can argue with our heavenly Father like that. I was scared to hear her wrath like the last two times she had communicated with me.

So I called her. She answered the phone. We had a tearful reunion that remained until she passed away twenty years later. I’d grown some fruit in those two years. Reconciliation can happen with good fruit growing in our lives.

Learn to Hear God’s Voice

May I suggest that you learn how to hear God’s voice. One way to start is to read through the Bible bit by bit asking God to explain passages that you don’t quite understand or simply talking it over with Him. Write down what you think He is saying to you and check it out with someone who has more experience with it than you. Those who seek Him will find Him and hear Him. With practice you will get to know how He communicates with you on a personal level.

Free from Things Others Do

Free from Things Others Do

Have you ever noticed that you seem to be the target of a series of people in your life who do negative things to you? Let me explain what I mean by that by telling you a story from my own life.

When I was about 22 years old, I was a single mother of a little girl. I had a “friend” who wanted to give me a pair of ski pants for a four-year-old boy. They were torn at the knees, worn out at the ankles and the elastic straps over the shoulders were stretched out beyond help. I tried to refuse them. 

She told me, “I know you will need them, you are poor and I am doing you a favour here. Take good care of them and give them back to me when you are done with them. They are important to me because they are a keepsake to me.”

I tried again to refuse them, but she wouldn’t hear of it and I didn’t have the strength to offend her by insisting on refusing her offer. I knew that this “gift” had strings attached. I thought she would expect them back in better condition than she had given them to me. 

I was really bothered by this strange act of kindness which didn’t feel good at all. I felt trapped into storing something I didn’t want, and that I would be obliged to dress my cute little girl in ugly worn brown snow pants three to four years down the road.

Over the course of the next couple of years others gave me “gifts” with strings attached. Even though I said thank you again and again, it seemed I was never grateful “enough”.

Finally, I found someone I could talk to who understood the problem. She asked the Lord on my behalf where the problem began. I was taken back to an incident in my childhood at our small-town skating rink when I was about six years old.

My mom usually accompanied my brothers and me to the rink and supervised us there. She did not help us to skate, much as I wished she would. My brothers had great balance and skill in skating, but I was wobbly. One day she could not accompany us. My brothers begged her to let us go and she finally succumbed and said yes provided we all stick together and watch out for each other.

We were six, seven and nine years old. The minute we got there, my brothers forgot their pledge and I stumbled my way onto the ice. There was one man there who had often helped other children to skate. He offered me his hand and I gratefully accepted. I stayed on my feet as he guided me around the rink slowly and carefully. I was thrilled.

Where Fear Sets In

After two rounds of the rink, he lifted me up and plopped me on the side boards. With a hand on either side of me, I felt a sudden rush of fear. I frantically looked around for my brothers and could not spot them. All the other adults were behind glass in the warm up room chatting with one another and not looking at the ice. The man leaned very close to me and said, “I did something nice for you, now you owe me and have to do something nice for me.”

“What do you want?” I whimpered. 

“You owe me a kiss.” he said.

I felt trapped and there seemed to be no one to help me. I’d been trained as a child to be quiet and didn’t know yet that there were exceptions to the rule.

Finding Truth in the Past that Affects the Future

As I recounted the story to my friend, she asked Jesus to bring me truth. As I was feeling the fear of the memory and the sting of the words, “I did something nice for you, now you owe me.” I suddenly saw Jesus appear between us facing me. 

“That is a lie,” Jesus told me. “If a person offers a gift, they do not have the right to get paid for it.” Then He took a cloth and wiped a little chalk board clean in front of the man.

The memory faded and my little girl heart felt safe and secure. Then the Lord turned to me and said, “You don’t owe me anything either. You’ve been trying to pay me back for salvation from the moment you accepted me as your Lord. Salvation is a free gift offered to anyone who will receive it.”

I was surprised to hear that. “What about serving you as Lord and Master?” I wondered.

“Certainly, I am your Lord and your Master. But I would much prefer it if you would serve me because you want to, not because you have to. Service given in love is far more precious to me than service out of obligation.”

Immediately, I felt a peace and a love wash over me and through me that is very hard to describe. Yet it was tangible to me and I felt warmly loved and treasured. It’s easy to serve someone who makes me feel so loved.

Since that day, I have received many gifts and have enjoyed them without any strings attached. Some of those gifts may have been given by people who normally attach expectations of deep and abiding gratitude or special treatment of their gift (like putting their picture in a prominent place in my living room), but I have not been affected by it since Jesus revealed the truth to me. Furthermore, I have had no more trouble with inappropriate sexual demands since then either. You can have this too.

Getting Rid of Nightmares.

Getting Rid of Nightmares

Years ago, one of my daughters brought a friend home. We will call him Hank. He was a young man who did not have any religious background. He’d been warned that I was a “Jesus Freak” and that I was very religious. One day I was asked to entertain him for her while she went on an errand.

Hank: “Soooo, I hear you’re pretty religious.”

Me smiling, “You might say that. It depends on your definition.”

Hank: “She says you pray a lot. What do you pray about?”

A bit surprised by his childlike question I replied, “One of the ways I pray is to have a conversation with people who are struggling with some kind of issue in their lives where they feel stuck and can’t get free on their own, like fear of spiders or nightmares. That sort of thing. We invite Jesus into the conversation so that they can get unstuck.”

Squirming, Hank says, “Did she tell you about me?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, about my nightmares.” he said.

“No,” I told him. “I didn’t know that.”

“I had one last night.” He shivered.

“That must make it hard for you to sleep.”

Hank shivered again. “Yeah I haven’t hardly slept since I was a teenager. They used to be every day, but now I get them four to five times a week.” 

“Well, Hank,” I said, “would you be open to an experiment? Instead of telling you about how I pray with people, how about I show you instead and we can use your nightmares as my example?”

The young man agreed. He began to tell me about this terrible dream he’d been having for more than ten years. In the dream, he was always falling off a cliff. Each time he woke, he was about to hit the ground. In this young man’s case, the fearful nightmares were based on a real live event that occurred when he was a youth.

The Young Man’s Story

The boy grew up near the badlands of his nation. There are deep valleys that dip hundreds of feet below a prairie flatland made up of largely clay and sedimentary rocks with very little vegetation on steep slopes. They are quite amazing to a tourist since you cannot see them as you approach them. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere. They are great crevasses of coloured layers of fine rock.

One particular day, he and a buddy were riding their bikes toward the badlands with plans to dig for dinosaur bones all afternoon. In the last few hundred yards before reaching their destination, one fellow challenged the other to a race to the finish where they would park their gear and get started. Hank got there first. Too late, he saw the valley appear out of nowhere. Slamming on his brakes as hard as he could, he was not able to prevent himself from going over the cliff with his front tire. 

Hank flew over the handle bars twisting his body so that his bicycle went one way and he went the other. He flipped, landing hard on his belly feet first. With all his might, he tried to slow himself down by digging his sneaker toes into the loose grit and clawing the hard but slippery surface with his nails, ripping the sneakers, his jeans and his skin in the process. 

His friend managed to stop on time and watched in horror as he saw his best friend disappear over the edge. Peering over cautiously and terrified by what he might see, he looked down perhaps forty to sixty feet to see Hank hanging over a small lip of steep incline by his waist, feet dangling in the air. He had just barely stopped from plunging another 200-300 feet below.

As Hank dangled precariously over the edge, terrified to move or even breath, his buddy called down, “Hang on Hank. I’m going to get help. Don’t MOVE”.

Hank had no intention of moving. He was so scared. He knew he was hurt, but also knew that if he fell any further, he’d be broken to pieces on the floor of the valley. He hung there between life and death for more than an hour before he could hear the fire truck approaching with the siren blaring.

The rescue itself took another hour as they cautiously built a safety station around him, made him secure and pulled him up from the precipice. It was a near death experience that replayed itself in his dreams for years.

What Made the Memory Stick in His Dreams?

When I asked him what he believed about himself in that memory, Hank was able to identify several beliefs.

•He was going to die and probably go to hell 

•He was stupid for racing with his friend 

•His life was worthless since they took their time getting back to him 

•He was an idiot to have even thought of going out there with a friend without telling an adult where they were going or having planned for this kind of event.   

•He should have known better. It was his own fault. 

These beliefs and the fear connected to them made the memory remain stuck in his mind. Some of these beliefs came from the mouths of those he trusted. Some were based on his interpretation of what happened that day. Needless to say, a lot can go on in your mind in an hour while you are waiting to be rescued from a life-threatening situation.

When I asked Hank if he was open to hearing what Jesus had to say to him, he said yes. 

Almost Immediately, I saw him shrink into his seat. “That’s so weird,” he said. 

“What?” I asked him. 

“I just see this big guy fly through the air at me. He caught me and stopped me and held me on the edge of that cliff until the rescuers came to get me. I can feel his arms under my armpits.” At that point Hank began to cry openly. “He was there, man. He’s real. It feels so real”. 

I quietly waited for the tears to subside. “What would He like you to know?” I asked.

“Wow,” said Hank in awe. “He says I’m going to be ok and I’m not going to die until my time is up. He says His name is Jesus, and He has some pretty good plans for me. He just flew down there and caught me. He stopped me from going over the edge. Just like that! He was there. He says I don’t have to go to hell. I’m not stupid. It wasn’t my fault. It just happened. Wow. Wow. Wow.”

“How do you feel now when you think about that incident?” I queried.

“Wow. I feel so safe and secure. I’m not shaking anymore. I’m so peaceful. Man, that is such a strange feeling. What a trip.” he marvelled. 

“So, Hank, is there any reason you can think of that you wouldn’t want to follow this Jesus so you can find out what good plans He has for you?”

The rest, as they say, is history. He did not have another nightmare while at our home during the visit.

Recovering from Disappointment

Recovering from Disappointment

In this blog post I want to share with you a word I believe I received from the Lord that really helped me to overcome one of my greatest disappointments. I had been married for twenty five years. It had not been the worst of marriages nor had it been the best. We had separated and I’d always hoped we would reconcile and somehow it would all work out. During the course of the following three years, I’d experienced a series of disappointments. The greatest of these was finding out for the first time that my husband was in a gay relationship. Although this news explained a lot of our marital problems, I was nonetheless very sorry that I would not have a marriage recovery.

When God Answers “No”

In the aftermath of that shocking discovery, I went on a trip to California with a personal development organization. It was a four day weekend full of unique activities and instructions to help each of us increase our productivity, believe in ourselves and the like.

During one of the particular challenges, I  knew I was going to need a little help from my friend Jesus. The exercise required an excellent balance and bodily strength that I did not quite possess. As I watched different people attempt the challenge, some succeeded and some didn’t. The safety of all was clearly demonstrated for everyone. I decided it was my turn to try it.

I threw up a little prayer asking Jesus to please help me to succeed at the challenge. It was just a little thing, but I knew that if I managed to succeed, it would be a slight miracle and I’d be the first one to give Him glory for it. I proceeded with a hope that I’d enjoy the thrill of doing something just a little bit beyond my known abilities.

I got to the apex of the maneuver, the very part that would be the hardest. I whispered to the Lord, “Here we go,” and launched myself up and off the challenge. I’d failed to complete the final round. Those in charge of my harness floated me to the ground amid cheers and applause from the onlookers as a sign of encouragement for a good effort. I smiled when my picture was taken, all the while masking my deep disappointment in the Lord for answering my prayer with a resounding “NO”.

God Gives an Explanation

A few minutes later, having my harness removed and passed on to the next challenger, I went for a long walk toward the rest rooms. All the while wondering (whining) why the Lord couldn’t give me this one little thing I’d asked for. About halfway to the washroom, I was done asking and paused long enough to hear His answer.

“Muriel, I know you were just asking for this one little thing and I could have given it to you and in another circumstance, I might have. But, if I had given you this one little thing, you would have then proceeded to ask me for a much bigger thing. You would have asked me to change your husband into the man of your dreams.”

As I heard it, I realized that it was absolutely true. I had to agree.

“Now,” He continued, “about your husband, I am a God of choice. He made his. Will you please let him go?”

Coming into Agreement With God

Again, I saw the truth in the matter. I came into agreement with Him and proceeded with the divorce as soon as I got home. I was no longer attached to false hope and I was able to release my ex-husband to his own choices and accept them for what they were. It was very freeing. Had I asked for the greater miracle after receiving my first little one, my disappointment would have been much bigger.

God’s Ways are Better than My Way

We will not always appreciate God’s answers. If the whole world was as we would have it be, I’m not sure it would be a better place. I’m glad that God is a God of choice. I do wish people made different ones sometimes, but God is always good. There is no doubt in my mind. When He spoke to me that day, He was very kind and gentle. There was no condemnation in it. He knows me and loves both me and the man who disappointed me. Its much easier to be ok in spite of my circumstances when I get an explanation from God.

I continue on in my own healing journey. The more healing I get, the easier it is to get to know this God I serve. He truly is a great lover of my soul.

You Can Know the Truth.

You Can Know the Truth

The Bible says in John 8:32, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Is that even possible? According to the Bible Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

If Jesus is the Truth, then when we interact with the truth, we are interacting with Jesus. If you get to know the Truth, then He can set you free from all kinds of emotional bondage.

What do you want to be free from today? Most likely, that which keeps you stuck. Jesus is looking for volunteers not slaves. He came here to give us our freedom back from whence it was stolen. I’ve found that Jesus is quite willing to help us in any area we are stuck with.

That reminds me of an experience I had. I met a woman in a coffee shop. She seemed very tired and worn out. As I walked by her, I leaned forward and asked her if she was ok because she seemed so weary. She looked at me with surprise and wryly remarked “If you had about an hour, I could tell you a story.”

“Actually I do have about an hour but I need my coffee and the bathroom first. If you want to tell me your story, you’ll still be here when I get back. Ok?” I responded.

Sure enough, she was still there when I got out of the bathroom. She began to tell me her story. It was an account of despair. She had been widowed in her fifties, her family were far away, and she’d experienced a great deal of loneliness since her husband had passed away. She lived on a farm and tried to make it work again because it was the only livelihood she knew, but it was tough trying to do it alone.

She had met a fellow farmer at a cooperative meeting who was full of ideas and strength. He was looking for a partnership of some kind. He’d been a butcher for many years and wanted a place suitable to set up a small butcher shop. She and her former husband had raised their own animals and had a small butcher shop next to the barn where they used to butcher their own animals for family. It hadn’t been used since the children left home and her husband had gotten too sick to help her.

It seemed like a good fit for her. She was not romantically inclined towards the neighbour but he seemed to know what he was about and so she allowed him to look the place over and set up shop. She had no idea what she was signing up for.

In a few short weeks, he was giving her orders left right and centre. He had virtually enslaved her. Every day he had new orders for her. “Buy these chickens, scrub the tables, vacuum and disinfect the floors, buy that calf and that set of lambs, feed those animals, you will need a dog.” On and on it went like she as his personal slave. She was exhausted and bewildered. She couldn’t seem to refuse his orders and she couldn’t seem to get rid of him.

When I met her in the coffee shop, she was beyond weary, and had gone to town without her phone so she couldn’t hear from him for a while till she could come up with a solution. She needed to get her farm back from this control freak.

I asked her if she was open to a bit of help? She gave me a resounding “YES” I explained to her that being trapped was based on beliefs. Did she want to know the Truth that would set her free?

On that day, she discovered a series of beliefs that had held her captive.

  • She was helpless
  • She was weak
  • She got herself into this on her own therefore had to get herself out on her own
  • It was all her fault
  • If she told anyone in her family about this they would be angry with her and punish her for it and make it worse.
  • No one loved her enough to help her or care.

In the course of perhaps an hour, she received truth over each argument set up against her and her face reflected the renewing of her strength with each new revelation. When I asked if there was any Bible verse that would convince her that she might be hearing from God, she asked if there was a Book of Jere-something or another. I asked if it was Jeremiah she was thinking of.

“Yes, that’s it she said.” Then she asked what on earth two 911’s meant.

I was a little confused by the question.

I see 2-911’s. She wrote it down on a napkin.

“WELL”, I exclaimed, “that would be Jeremiah 29:11 I believe.” And I quoted it to her from memory. “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.”

She looked at me with great surprise. “It says that in the Bible?”

“Yes and would you like to know who said all those things to you today?” I asked her.

“Yes” she replied so I  introduced her to Jesus.

I’d like to say her problems were all solved that day. But she did have to go back and deal with a very belligerent controlling person. She went to face the challenge with peace and determination.

She told her children. They were very supportive and helped her work through everything. Last I’d heard she sold the farm and moved to the city where 2 of her children lived so she did work it out in due season.

There is hope. When we meet the living Truth, He sets us free.