Category Archives: Faith

Is it Safe to Tell God You Are Angry… at Him?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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What do you think? Is it ever okay to tell God you are angry at him?

If we are angry at God, does he not already know?

The Psalmist asked,  “Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Is there anything hidden from you?” (Psalm 139:4-5)

Hiding emotions from this all-knowing God is as foolish as Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. 

Perhaps you wonder,  I must not talk to God just any ol’ way, right?  He is God, after all! 

Like everything else in God’s kingdom, reverence is a matter of the heart.

In Isaiah 29:13, The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

In the opposite way, we can have strong emotions and still honor God. Openness and honesty with God is not about telling him off without any fear. Reverence is not about following religious order, either.

In Christ we are safe to be vulnerable, and glaringly human with him.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 12: 28-29).

Someday you may cry for help in a loud voice, full of confusion. You may rage in fear or frustration. You may withdraw from God out of anger or shame. Perhaps you already have and wonder if you can be forgiven.

Jesus puts no limits on what we can tell him. If we do not come to him with our strong emotions such as anger, doubt, lack of faith, guilt and shame – how can he comfort and teach us or close the gap?

God knows what made my heart often fragile. He allowed those experiences that helped to create ruins in my mind. I could choose to blame him for not giving me a happy family, but He wasn’t passive.

He used injustice to shape in me a fighting spirit.
He used pain to teach me compassion.
He used loneliness to tune my ears to his voice.

Psalm 94:18-19 reads, “When I said, ‘my foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

What good will come of hiding? We will only lock ourselves away from knowing his love.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Hebrews 4:16 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

Peace, Be Still

 

sea people service uniform
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It was combat. Young, hardened faces tensed with the desperation of wavering hope.

Soldiers strapped to their guns, pinned down in the safest place and surrounded by mines, had been holding their precarious position for five months. Over one hundred of their teammates, comrades, and friends had been carried off and buried. There was no time for grief. No room for sentiment. 

Who would be next, no one knew.

From the outside, it appeared that order and discipline in the form of rank and file remained intact. A lieutenant was in charge now, having assumed the role after the captain and commander were killed. 

However, tempers flared. Brave chatter had morphed into a single thought.

HOLD.

Hold out, hang in there, stay the course, keep yourself together, don’t think too much, don’t lose focus, push away the emotions, calm your nerves… hold. Above all, remember those who die are heroes. Your sacrifice is secondary to the mission.

HOLD! 

D-day was traumatic for all concerned. The above scene is merely make-believe, based on a fictional television portrayal of war.* In reality, soldiers face menacing scenarios. On D-Day, the fight was horrific. It is reported that the few survivors remaining still can relive moments on that beach in France in 1944 like it was last week. 

Soldiers who stood their ground in actual wars, survivors of others’ sacrifices, the wounded, and otherwise affected men and women veterans – these are worthy and in need of our support and gratitude. They are not the only ones with difficult memories.

Beside them stand victims of abuse and torture in the human trafficking world,  witnesses to domestic violence or other crimes,  and people who survive mass shootings. Even these are but a small sample of the total number of people traumatized by literal and figurative foxholes. 

Well after one has healed physically, unresolved trauma may pin down the mind. Relief is incomplete. Symptoms of PTSD or other anxiety disorders are part of an ongoing struggle.  In the middle of run-away anxiety, often there remains a single thought.

HOLD. 

For years  my battles against unwanted thoughts were daily lost.  Learning some therapeutic strategies helped immensely. Still it seemed this was to be my forever normal –  make a choice, grow anxious, take time to recover, repeat. 

The break in that cycle came when I discovered more release and calm turning to the Lord Jesus than in any strategy I’ve tried.  It is not a passive insta-cure. However, he grants me rest from hanging on for dear life. 

While learning to heal from trauma, his words are rich with calm. “Peace, be still.” Years of practice have taught me to trust him.  Knowing he will never leave or forsake me,  I can release my hold, and just be held.

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 4:39

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

*Star Trek Next Generation

God Does Not Waste Pain On Us

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman raising her right hand
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God does not waste pain on us. For me, it took despair and suicide attempts to discover value in living. Those ruins of loss and struggle have become building blocks for the restructuring of joy and the real me.

A man named Paul wrote half of the Bible’s New Testament. He also strained against something he figuratively called “a thorn in the flesh.” Three times he prayed for it to go away. God’s answer was that it was through Paul’s weakness that God would prove himself to be enough to keep Paul going.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Do you think anyone in Paul’s time, or even Paul would have imagined that the persistence of his “thorn” would become a powerful lesson reaching countless numbers of people for two thousand years?

We do not always know why we suffer. For most of five re-building years following my dive into major depression, I tried to make sense of personal value and purpose. Remembering Paul, my broken spirit almost daily asked God, “Can my thorn also be a blessing? Will you ever allow me to help other people again?”

One afternoon at a 12-step meeting, a young woman shared that she was trying to escape the trauma of being raped multiple times by her youth pastor.

An inward nudge from Jesus’ Holy Spirit pushed me to go talk to her. We were strangers, yet she searched my eyes in desperation.

“Why did God send him?” she said. “Why did he send a man of God to rape me?”

She could not be free from the chain of addiction and self-medication until she was free of her deepest anguish.  It was not the horrific memories nor lack of safety that had her bound. It was fear that she had lost the God she had always known to be good. 

Referencing the Bible book of Matthew (chapter 7, verses 15,16), I said, “Have you heard about wolves in sheep’s clothing?”

“Yes!” She rose in her chair. “Is that what happened?”

“He was not a man of God.” I said. “He was a liar and a wicked man who used the church to cover evil. God loves you. He did not send that man to rape you.”

“Really? He was not a man of God?” Her eyes were wide.

“No. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

If I could ever find words to describe the scene playing out in her eyes- it was as clear as a movie. From desperate fear and searching to flickers of hope,  then wide-eyed wonder and finally, freedom.

The timing that day was perfect, and the God who knows all hearts used my unsteady one to speak life to her dying one. In one moment, the Restorer of souls fashioned ruins into life-giving shelter.

Stone hearts become flesh again, human weakness is covered by divine strength, spiritual poverty becomes wealth in faith. Chains turn into testimonies, lost is found, damned is saved, and pieces of shattered minds are Tenderly gathered by the Savior.

This is what Jesus does for people. This is his amazing grace.

Your ruins have purpose in the Master Builder’s hands. If you are willing to be free,  God will incorporate all that is broken into formation of the you he always intended.

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 

Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -Paul

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Jesus Offers Safety in the World of Emotions and Vulnerability

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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When emotions are stifled as a child, you never learn how to use or regulate them.

Adult friends have said over the years, “You are open to a point, and then no one can cross that line;” or “You seem unapproachable. Above all the rest of us.”

What friends did not know is the guilt I carried and the continuous reel of tongue lashings I gave myself every day for feeling, let alone sharing any of those feelings whether happy or not-so happy. Vulnerability was downright threatening because of what I would do to myself.

I wasn’t honest about that. God knows I needed help, lots of it, but it seemed too much to ask.

I didn’t want to burden anyone with it and didn’t know what to say anyway. Yet that led to crashes that did burden people in big ways. Rarely reaching out or reaching out in ways that would not actually lead to help, kept me stuck.

Oh believe me, I kept begging – for someone, anyone – to meet my needs. Desperately screaming all my life- does anyone care? I hurt, I’m sad, I’m lost! Angrily demanding, why aren’t you rescuing me?

No one heard because I didn’t scream out loud.

Vulnerability for Wellness

When we come out of unloving or abusive families, it is common to feel different from everyone else, like we are on the outside of a huge secret. We may not know how or where to find emotional safety – or even believe it exists.

In Christ, we are amazingly safe to be vulnerable with people. He led me to wise counselors and then helped me to lower my shield. Learning openness and honesty has not only been freeing, but it helps other people to come out from the shadows.

Vulnerability is hard. We fear jumping off that proverbial cliff of trust – what if no one is there to respond in meaningful or healthy ways? We are afraid that rejection or apathy or even betrayal will leave us in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

It could happen – from the human standpoint.

In Christ though, we have safety. He is our enduring Catcher. Vulnerability with others is important for mental health and well-being. Landing in the tender clutch of Jesus makes jumping worth the risk.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you.

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

Growing Up in Dysfunction is Not the End of Your Story

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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On the negative end, my home of origin was characterized by lies, open hostility and violence. Of course most dysfunctional and abusive homes are not 100% angry.  There is the quietness of calm before an eruption, the safety of being in public, and perhaps good hearts who try to make the best of a terrible situation. 

Inconsistency was normal to me. Since there was little exposure to anything else, the emotional weather fluctuations were simply matters of adjustment. That does not mean they were not harmful. They were.

Motives do not determine the rightness or wrongness of hurtful behavior. Harming  people is wrong. Abuse is abuse. In my opinion, many families would benefit from counseling and parenting classes. Often, people do not understand how to react in healthy ways to life’s and family stress.

However, no one in my childhood family received any such help. In relationships where most everyone is in survival mode, there is little connection on higher planes. Parents are caught up in adult drama, and children’s issues are often set aside.  

I learned a sense of home and family could exist only in the dreamy make-believe world of denial. This is where I devoted my energies for the better part of 53 years. 

It took dropping into the lowest pit before I could conceive the truth.  Therapists, doctors, and friends spoke a different perspective until firm belief faded into doubt, then the shadow of a doubt disappeared, and now I live in joy. 

No, I do not think homes are perfect. Ever. Families struggle at different levels of intensity. The solid truth I finally grasped is three-part:

  1. It is never too late to start fresh. Life changed dramatically for me in my fifties.
  2. Nothing in this world is permanent. Something may feel great for a time, nonetheless it is temporary.
  3. There is only one home that is permanent, perfect, and promised. That home is described in an old song by Keith Green. He said in his Prodigal Son Suite, “I’ve learned home is where you are.” He was referring to Jesus.  

Only God, His Word, and His only begotten Son Jesus never change. God’s love welcomes and embraces the most tired and broken of hearts. He holds those who live in denial and dysfunction. 

Our job is to accept Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Your story, my story, are not over!

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

It Is Worth It In the End

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

XYMONAUrgb4It would be ridiculous for me to say I’d be willing to repeat my life. Right? I mean who needs abuse and major depression?

Or would it be ridiculous? What if all that has happened that is sad and broken serves a purpose today that I wouldn’t want to give up for the world?

The latter is true. This weekend was another privilege to share my story, including mental illness, and  the hope I live in each day. There was a time- a long time- when I couldn’t have done that and understood the depth and reality of this true hope.

I talked and taught about Jesus and his salvation and love for over 30 years. However I was blind to the fact that I didn’t fully grasp what I was talking about.

Much of what I knew to be love, was not. Much of my self- image was built on sand castles that washed out with each major storm.  False, negative core beliefs, out of sight and hidden under denial, guided life decisions and filtered happy truth.

All that is in the past. No longer do I doubt my value. Love is something I feel and know and trust regardless my emotions. Those lies that penetrated my mind are gone and replaced with facts.

  • I am fully and deeply loved by God who delights in showing unfailing love.*
  • I am valuable because he made me for a purpose. **
  • Lies do not hold me prisoner anymore. Both messages and messengers were exposed as less than worthy of my attention. ***

If repeating this life would land me in the joy and love I now know, then yes, I would do it. It is not ridiculous to want to share this love and joy with you.

This post is short but loaded with powerful healing truth. Jesus loves you and wants you for his own. He created you with a purpose that will both fulfill and free you. The Holy Spirit will teach you as you read the Bible and it will make sense. He will also guide you to people who can help.

Please contact me if you have questions.

Today’s Helpful Word  

*Micah 7:!8b-19 You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.  Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

**Ephesians 2:8-10  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

***John 8:44b [The devil] has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

 

Thinking About Suicide? Hope is Here, at Just the Right Time

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care. If you are suicidal, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  or go to your nearest emergency room.  (international emergency numbers, go here )
man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

When it seems too late, it is not.

That statement may sound unbelievable to a person on the edge of  living or dying by suicide.  However, it is not just another load of baloney. I’ve been there, and I know  it is never too late.

Despite night and day streaming in and out and sometimes blurring into each other,  relief exists. Though discouragement is seen, what is unseen is wonderful and promised. When ending it all seems the only choice, the answer is on its way.

A reason to stay alive is to wait… wait for the beauty.

If you are suicidal, immediately call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. ( outside the US, go here )

Just like trying to make out small print without my reading glasses, I cannot see the hope that is around the corner when lost in the depths of despair. It is there. It is not just the preacher’s hope, or the therapist’s hope.  It is mine to have and to keep.

I believe I landed in a new city at just the right time to meet those professionals who ‘knew how to reach me. After one suicide attempt, I tried again. A sense of hopelessness stayed around for a while. Yet I chose to believe for hope, and that was enough to keep me here. 

When Jesus came to earth the first time,  he came “at just the right time.” *

He promised to return and will do so at “just the right time.” **

He meets me where I am at just the right moments. When I stumble or grow anxious, or depression knocks on my door, he stays with me. When I cannot see forward, he shows me a way where there seems to be none.

Believe me when I say I know what it means to be on the edge of living or dying by suicide. I know that waiting for the beauty of living can take a long time and a lot of hard work. 

I also know that  rushing my trip out of here was not the answer.  Mental illness is not too much for Jesus to handle.  The right time to believe in the hope he offers is now. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 1: 3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

 

*Romans 5:6  **1 Timothy 6:15

The Day Our Battles Were Won

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

sky sunset person silhouette
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Resurrection Sunday, is the day on which Christianity hinges. Well, not actually the day, but rather the Lord, who rose from the dead on that day 2000 years ago.

Jesus had been betrayed, arrested, beaten, crucified, and buried on Friday.  Early on Sunday morning, some women disciples went to the tomb only to discover he was no longer there!

One in particular, Mary of Magdala, met the resurrected Jesus. At first she mistook the Savior of the world for a gardener. When Jesus called her by name, she knew.

He sent her to tell the 12 main disciples. Mary of Magdala was the first evangelist in history.

Think on that for a moment. What we know of Mary the Magdalene is that Jesus cast seven demons out of her. She was not someone our modern churches might first think of when choosing a representative. However, Jesus did.

To be clear, despite some famous secularized books, movies, and nonsense guesses, Jesus had no girlfriend.  Mary the Magdalene was one of thousands of people Jesus healed in his ministry. Many believed in him. Many walked with him on his travels. Many more did not.

Jesus lived a sinless life. How? He was God’s only birth-son. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he became an embryo. In a mystery we cannot understand, Jesus was fully God and fully man.

When sinless Jesus died on the cross, he took on his body, mind, and spirit the sins of everyone who would ever live who would trust him as their Savior and spiritual king. He carried the cumulative guilt with which we pummel ourselves and others. He felt the deep darkness of our shame By that, he defeated the father of lies, the accuser. 

Once we sincerely ask Jesus to be our Savior and ask forgiveness for our sin, the devil (yes, Satan is real),  tries to heap all that back on us. As the chief of liars and a skilled accuser,  if he can bury us under guilt and shame we will never reach the potential Jesus created in us.

When Jesus rose to life again, he wiped out our powerlessness against the devil’s strategies. He defeated death itself, and set us free to place our hope in eternal life.

No wonder Mary of Magdala wept when she saw him alive again. We can, if we will, drop the guilt and shame of our past and move forward as children of the King.  This is not to say that a believer’s life will be easy. 

The 12 disciples reacted to Mary’s report with doubt. They had to look for themselves to see if what she claimed was real. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe and yet do not see.”

You do not have to run and search for proof of anything.  Faith is not sight.  Jesus will reveal himself to you if you choose to take him at his word.

Today is the day Jesus won all our battles.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Hebrews 2:14-18

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham.  Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters,  so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

Maundy Thursday: Say No to Ritualistic Religious Acts – Jesus Showed Us the Better Way

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

feet on sand
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

The first time I heard of Maundy Thursday I thought someone was confused about the day of the week! Today commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of 12 disciples.

Eww. Washing other people’s feet?  2000 years ago, people walked everywhere. Jesus walked hundreds if not thousands of miles on foot, traveling from town to town in Israel, preaching and healing the sick.

You can imagine then how sandals would become filthy and the wearer’s feet as well. It was custom, polite, good manners, and classy to wash a guest’s feet when they entered your home. Generally, it was a servant who would do the actual washing.

On this evening, Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room of a home that did not belong to any of them. Perhaps this is why no one had taken the responsibility to wash anyone’s feet, I do not know. Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed to death, he knew he would not be with these men much longer.

To set a lasting example of how he wanted believers to love each other, he knelt and washed everyone’s feet. As the leader, the teacher and Lord of this small cluster of ordinary humans, no one expected him to do the dirty work.

That was his point exactly.

Jesus left a legacy of humility and servant-leadership for us to copy. When he was done, he said to the group, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

He meant those specific men to take on the humble role of foot-washers, and to maintain a servant attitude as their fame and ministries grew. This was not a command for believers of all time to wash each other’s feet in a ritual that bears little practical meaning.

woman staring through window
Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

Jesus was saying if we see that another of his followers needs something, we are to step off our high-horse, so to speak, and meet that need if we can. He commanded we show no favoritism, whether to the rich or the poor.  Throughout his ministry he equalized the value of women and men, Jew and Roman, children and adults,  and the marginalized with those society loved.

He went on to give his life. How much more can we do easy things like offering rides, or sitting with a lonely person, applying our skills to free services, or giving food or money to those in need?

In honor of Jesus, on this Maundy Thursday we can do better than wash each other’s feet.

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 13: 3-5 

 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

Betrayal, and Moving Past It

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

green palm tree leaf
Photo by Jonas Von Werne on Pexels.com

Of course today begins Easter week 2019. This particular Sunday is called Palm Sunday. It commemorates a day 2000 years ago when a man entered Jerusalem surrounded by cheers and applause, only to be betrayed to death 4 days later.

When Jesus, who had proven to be a miracle worker, showed up in Jerusalem this particular Sunday, he was already famous. He had healed people, cast out demons, and even raised a few persons back to life after they had been dead for a while.  Naturally then, he was big news.

A Messiah, or “anointed one” had been promised by prophets for thousands of years. The nation of Israel in Jesus’ day was occupied by the Roman Empire. Jewish citizens expected the Messiah to free them from this oppressive rule.

Many people believed Jesus was the promised Messiah (which he was). Problem is, most   had no clue what he was talking about when he preached about an eternal kingdom. They thought he was their new political and military king.

This is why they cheered and threw palm branches on the ground when he entered Jerusalem.

A few days later, he was arrested when one of his own disciples betrayed him. The happy crowd turned on him too. He wasn’t meeting their short-sighted expectations.

Isn’t it awful when a person holds unreasonable expectations of you and then turns on you because you do not meet them? This happens in many a divorce, I am sure.

My first reaction in such situations is hurt, swiftly followed by anger. Unfortunately, the anger tends to stick around. Anger keeps me justified. I can continue to blame the other person for being a jerk while exonerating myself of all wrong.  This does not help!

There is a better way.

The healthier and more beneficial way is to talk it out with someone in the know. Honestly considering my role in any fallout is actually healing. I can forgive myself for real instead of imaginary mistakes, and make amends if it is appropriate. Either way, life moves along.*

Jesus’ response to betrayal was not angry.  He gave up his own life – no one took it. His reason for doing so was anything but suicide by Roman Soldier. He died, literally, so we may find life. More on this on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, this week.

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 12:12-14 

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

*Domestic abuse and child abuse are products of unrealistic expectations. If you have been so betrayed, I want to encourage you to not remain a victim. Speak up. explain what you can and cannot do. IF THIS IS A DANGEROUS IDEA, DON’T.  Instead, tell someone else who is in a position to help. I offer many options on my resources page, The Truth About Abuse.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.