Tag Archives: ruins

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
Photo by Murilo Folgosi on Pexels.com

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!

Find Joy: 5 More Building Blocks for Rebuilding On Your Ruins

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Find Joy: You Can Rebuild on Your Ruins -part 1

Find Joy: 5 Building Blocks for Rebuilding on Your Ruins  -part 2

Warsaw

Ancient Jerusalem is not the only city built on its ruins. Another example is how the people of Warsaw, Poland responded when their metropolis was destroyed by WWII. To rebuild, city planners used historical paintings as guides. Citizens collected tons of rubble to mold into usable brick. They even incorporated ruins from other destroyed towns.*

What great inspiration! Abuse, addiction, and mental health challenges do not have to define you today.  You too can use your ruins to rebuild.

5 more building blocks for the precious rebuild of your life.

6. Embrace a greater purpose.  Ruins brought me to despair until I realized hope thrives beyond circumstance.  Hardship can grow emotional muscle. Your life struggles are worthwhile when the part of you that survives emerges from the rubble carrying new tools. With these you build a stronger faith,  a wiser mind, and insight so you can meaningfully help others. 

7. Live by your values. Too often, pain from brokenness seems to take control over a person’s ability to make choices. While memories, scars, and disability do affect how we face life, they are not dictators. 

You are in control – you decide how you want to respond. Write down what character traits, relationships, and goals are most important to you.  Ask, “What kind of person do I want to be? What steps will I take today toward becoming that person?”

 8. Accept your humanity.  Life is full of struggles. We each experience loss. At the root of common confusion and hurt is this one factor: we are human. 

Accept that as a fallible human being you are supposed to feel weak at times. It is normal. Needing support is reasonable.  Guidance from a mental health care professional or trusted mentor may be vitally helpful.  Allow yourself the right to take only one step at a time. Slow progress is progress after all!  Allow mistakes, failures, and strong emotions. Yet also embrace your triumphs no matter how small. As a human, overcoming tough challenges is amazing. Be kind to yourself.

9. Accept the HIghest Power.  On the other hand, as a mere mortal, you cannot hold the wisdom of the ages. Tomorrow is a mystery. Guidance and peace come from a relationship with the Creator of wisdom.  As the christian story goes,  God’s love redeems your past. You are why he sent his one and only birth son Jesus to die on a cross. Jesus rose again so you can have connection with him forever.  That is  love worth considering.

10. Appreciate the present season.  Urgent or painful circumstances may pressure you to adjust long-term goals, and you can feel as if life is out of your hands.  Truth is, life passes in seasons.  

Remember, this too will pass. Moods change.  Situations change. Time proves that most of what we worry about never happens. Try to focus on the present and not be in too big a rush.  Patience is peaceful.  

 You, yes you, are able to rise

You may believe that abuse, addiction, or mental illness has destroyed you.  You have  given up on the coulda-beens. I have felt hopeless and victimized by people, circumstances, and depression. This list of ten building blocks came from that destruction. 

Struggles teach.  With willingness to take the first step, you too will rebuild on your ruins.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Jerusalem

Philippians 3:12-14 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*From Story of cities #28: how postwar Warsaw was rebuilt using 18th century paintings, retrieved March 9, 2018 from https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/apr/22/story-cities-warsaw-rebuilt-18th-century-paintings

Warsaw pic by MZACHA on rgbstock.com; Jerusalem by MICROMOTH on rgbstock.com

Find Joy: 5 Building Blocks for Rebuilding On Your Ruins

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

The rubble of ancient, conquered, and razed Jerusalem lies under and around the modern city.  It was rebuilt on its ruins. About 2600 years ago, a prophet said this would happen. It is recorded in the Bible book of Jeremiah.   “Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins” (Jeremiah 30:18).

That can happen for you and me, too. We can rebuild on our broken pasts of abuse, addiction, or mental illness. See  Find Joy: You Can Rebuild on Your Ruins.

 5 of 10 building blocks for the precious rebuild of your life.

1. Forgive.  Letting go means admitting what hurts.  Look thoughtfully at the responsibility of all concerned, and forgive yourself if you played a role in causing harm to yourself or others.  Allow people to be human, wicked, thoughtless, and careless. By this I mean, do not carry their burden of guilt.

Make amends wherever doing so will not hurt someone else.  Anger and resentment keep us stuck in the middle of our ruins.

2. Accept the losses and acknowledge your emotions. Trying to convince yourself that something does not hurt, or that it shouldn’t hurt, is to do yourself a huge disfavor. Please take this advice from a woman who buried emotions for 50 years. Emotions teach us if we will listen. Then it becomes possible to deal with them and move on. 

3. Do not isolate. Do talk about your challenge and listen to another perspective.  Your thoughts can be unsafe and may need interruption.  Listen to warnings. When you will not open up, what you perceive remains your only understanding of truth.

4.  Refocus on present positives.  There is good happening all around for which to be grateful.  Life offers up profound moments of joy and inspiration, and at the same time,  sometimes devastating news.  It may be cold and bitter weather, and simultaneously clear and beautiful. It takes some practice,  nonetheless, focusing on the present good helps you to find today’s safety and withdraw from your past. 

5. Develop and utilize boundaries.  You cannot control external events or another person’s choices.  Therefore your boundaries  are meant to stop you, not someone else.  You can change your “I’m stuck in this problem” to “I’m not going to allow so-n-so to abuse me, or a substance to ruin me, or a mental health challenge to hold me back.”  You decide what to let in and what to keep out of your life. 

You do not have to do this alone

Rebuilding is possible and doable. It may be difficult and require much time.  You may have ruins, nevertheless you are not ruined

There are people trained to help. Mental health professionals, organizations to help abuse victims, rehabilitation centers, and other qualified resources. Check out my pages of references for Abuse, addiction, and depression and anxiety. 

Remember too, the same God of the BIble that Jeremiah knew is Who is on your side today. In my next blog, you will receive the other 5 of 10 building blocks. 

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Corinthians 5:17 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

Construction workers pic from kozzi.com; building walls pic by COLINBROUGH on rgbstock.com

 

Find Joy: You Can Rebuild On Your Ruins

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

In trying to regain mental health, often we try to get rid of our pasts. We see what is broken and try to throw it out. Perhaps we believe we can only begin again if we clear out the ruins. 

Our nation has many ruins right now  – natural disasters have flattened businesses and homes.  Social issues and crime have broken dreams, scattered families, and taken lives.  There is sorrow.  There is also a rallying cry.  Peppered throughout the news you will hear,  “we will begin again,  we will rebuild”.

Ancient Jerusalem suffered too.  Overtaken by a foreign army, houses and properties burned down, leaders were killed, and residents marched off as prisoners. It was disastrous.  I was glancing through the Bible book of Jeremiah which records this history, and ran across this sentence, “Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins.”  (Jeremiah 30:18)

That caught my breath for a moment because the promise God gave those people was not that he would sweep away all the ugly ruins and start over with an unscarred city. He gave value to what lay in the dust, a purpose for the pain.

My past with all its shame and despair is part of what made me who I am today.  Strengths grow out of weakness, change is born of necessity. By accepting brokenness and allowing it to teach me,  I found deep joy far surpassing the superficial.  I have been and continue to be rebuilt on my ruins.   

And so it is with you.  Whatever the crisis or struggle,  you can embrace your experiences. You can rebuild on your ruins of abuse, addiction, or mental health challenges.

In the next blog, I will give you several building blocks for doing just that.

Today’s Helpful Word

Jeremiah 30:18 

This is what the Lord says: “When I bring Israel home again from captivity and restore their fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins, and the palace reconstructed as before.

 

 

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

ruins pic by TOME213 on rgbstock.com; glass floor pic by BABYKRUL