I am slender and healthy

So I was given another metaphor involving plants. This one came from Louise Hay.

When we see a tomato plant with a bunch of tomatoes- you know the one- wondering if we planted enough at the beginning of May , then looking for more people to give away the ripe tomatoes to in August and September. Well, when we first plant, it is a seed, or seedling, not bearing ripe fruit at all. But when the water and sunlight enrich the roots, we are happy to see even a bit of growth.

Yet when we plant new seeds in our minds, seeds of positivity maybe, and we see just a little growth, why can’t we be encouraged like with the tomato plant?

Well, speaking for myself, I expect perfection and pretty much squash new positive growth if the “plant” isn’t instantly full grown. So I try to think positive: I am slender and healthy. Yes I have a ways to go- see right away, I am squashing my positive growth! Let me try again: I am happy to see the little sprouts- yes, I am slender and healthy.

They cut down the burning bushes!

burning-bushI am a perennial gardener.  Not the best but pretty good.  One of my desires is to have a burning bush in my yard. But I feel the Lord is telling me to wait until we build our addition.  So I am waiting.  In the meantime, I get “burning-bush-envy” in the fall.  The amazing ruby vibrancy shines forth in the previous boring green leaves.

Well there is this one house a few blocks from our home that has a group of four burning bushes that I love to look at this time of year.  The landscaping needs a rescue but the beauty of that perennial can still be enjoyed.  Until today that is.  I just drove by and they were cut down!  Brutally hacked in an attempt to clean up that wasteland on the corner.

But it got me thinking.  The Burning Bushes didn’t need to be cut down.  Just the weeds around it needed to be removed, the ground expanded and edged underneath this quadruple of plant radiance.  It literally made me sick thinking such beauty was wasted in an attempt to start fixing up the property.

I think that happens with people too.  Instead of cutting away the parts around, we hack away at our core and leave the weeds, thinking that is what is needed.  But instead, all that remains is barren destruction.  So next time “yard work” needs to be done, let’s look past the jumble of long sprigs and envision how we can be by getting rid of the negative, distracting influences.  Trim off what doesn’t belong, not God’s original creation.

Our Identity comes from “I AM” statements

I woke up this morning thinking about my post from last night.  I cannot stop thinking about this.  In my years of healing from sexual abuse, one of the many things I have learned is – who we are comes from what we believe about ourselves, whether those thoughts are true or not.

So I am on a quest for truth!

This thing with being labeled a sinner has really affected me. Being Catholic, in case you haven’t figured that out yet, I looked up information about the Hail Mary prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church hoping for some guidance.  Sure enough the first section is from the first chapter of Luke.  But when I got to the part that talks about “Pray for us sinners…”  the explanation in the Catechism was interesting.  According to section 2677, “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy’….May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing and lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.”

I’d like her assistance leading me to her son, but whoa, whoa, whoa…I need to repeatedly acknowledge myself as a poor sinner….Hmm. I am a poor sinner.  That is to be my identity?  Let’s play out the mind games on this shall we?

My identity… A sinner.  Someone who continually screws up.  Someone who is only saved by God’s grace.  A sinner.  A poor sinner.  I don’t deserve to stand up straight.  I don’t deserve anything.  I am keenly aware that only God in his grace can save me, a poor sinner. Well, then, I must work to be better, ( if I haven’t already just embraced the sinner identity and decided to stop fighting the temptation and just keep sinning)  So I must work hard to try not to sin, but that is impossible, as I AM a poor sinner so I must make up for it then.  I will volunteer, I will help at church…  No one else is volunteering so I will help more… My attitude doesn’t matter, I am a sinner… No one wants to help me, so I’ll just pick up the slack, bearing more burdens for everyone….  I am a sinner after all.

I’ve seen these people, been one of them at times, but I cannot reconcile this in my mind anymore.  Last year our women’s group did we did a study by Fr. Robert Baron and one of the precepts that he built his teaching on was that God has a plan of sheer goodness for me.  WHAT?!?  ME?  A POOR SINNER?  That was a new fascinating concept for me.  Almost 50 years old, been through catholic school, RE classes and multiple bible studies and classes as an adult and this was the first time I was hearing the message that God had a plan of sheer goodness for me?

Wait, maybe it was told, but I never heard it because of the SINNER GUILT MANTRA that was molded into the neuro pathways of my brain.  Good ole catholic guilt.

So I researched that in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Did you know the message Fr. Baron spoke about was article #1?  ARTICLE NUMBER 1!

I would like to print it here verbatim in case some of you might like to be enlightened as I was.

“1.  God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness, freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.  For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man.  He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.  He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.  To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior.  In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs to his blessed life.”

WOW!  WOW!  WOW!   Anybody else speechless like I was?  Heirs to his Blessed life?  Are you kidding me?  A Blessed life of pain and suffering?  But wait, maybe, because of the the redemptive work of his Son, we can have a life without all the pain and suffering?  But sinners deserve a life of pain and suffering don’t we?  If it doesn’t come upon me, then maybe, just maybe I am subconsciously making more suffering than needs to be, because if my identity is that of a POOR SINNER, it must be proven true.

But maybe, just maybe if my identity is that of a CHILD OF GOD who sins, why then I can stand tall.  I can look up to Him.  I can own my birthright of an heir to the kingdom.  I can attract positive things, good things, things other than pain and suffering.  And that would reinforce my identity as a Child of God.  Which would help reinforce those neuro pathways in my brain, helping me to smile and rest in his LOVING arms. Yup, that is my choice.

I AM A CHILD OF GOD.

Who are you?

Imagine a life without pain and suffering…WHAT?!?

I am working through a workbook by Angela Shelton, (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for everyone- you can find it at AngelaShelton.com)  and one of the latest questions as I am challenged to remove my “sword of trauma” was:  “What would your life be like without pain and suffering?”

What?

No pain and suffering?

I thought I was supposed to take my cross and follow Him.

No pain and suffering?

Just imagining that felt blasphemous.  I felt I had been programmed to embrace a hard life.  Not turn away from pain and suffering but “offer it up.”

Imagine a life without it?

So it got me thinking…I wonder if I make more suffering than need be due to the programming I have had.

I wrote that in my own version of the the Stations of the cross because I couldn’t stand the wording we used at church- perhaps we create more suffering than need be.  My Stations of Hope containing a message of Love, Forgiveness and Hope instead of a breast-beating pain and suffering mantra.  And that message of Love, Forgiveness and Hope has been granted a nihil obstat and imprimatur- so it doesn’t go against any teachings of the Catholic Church.  So why hasn’t that message been programmed into me instead of the other?

It’s what most are comfortable with I believe.  After all, how many songs and prayers tell us over and over that we are a wretch or a sinner- tell someone that enough times and they believe it, right?

I personally despise the song, “Amazing Grace.”  The last time they played it in church, I looked at my husband as I listened to the words and told him that I do not have to sing that song.  I am not a wretch.  I am thankful for God’s amazing grace as his beloved, precious child.

Well that certainly has a different ring to it doesn’t it?

How about the “Hail Mary?”  The first section comes straight out of the gospel of Luke but the second section repeated over and over again will bury us if we let it.  “Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us SINNERS, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

I know I sin, but any good psychologist will tell you that to be labeled will bring about that behavior. As a good parent, there is a difference in telling our children,”  That was bad to do,”  compared to “You are a bad boy.”

Well now there is a twist.  Instead of labeling us sinners repeatedly, how about, “children of God who sin.”  Has a different ring to it doesn’t it?

As a sexual abuse survivor, I don’t need anyone belittling me and verbally beating me up as I have done that to myself enough.

So here is how I am praying the Hail Mary from now on:  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.  Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Anyone joining me?

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

It’s Good Friday.

One of the most powerful, relate-able quotes from Jesus on the cross before he bows his head and dies is  “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

How many times have we felt alone and abandoned? 

I would like to offer further hope and insight that I learned in my bible study with Jeff Cavins that puts a deeper meaning into that phrase.

In the time of Jesus, there was no bible with numbered verses.  Rabbi’s taught verbally.  It was common to use a phrase and expect your listeners to know what comes next.  Like with us now, If you hear, “Once Upon a Time, ” you know eventually that “And they lived happily ever after” is how the story ends.

Well, Jesus was called a rabbi and out of love for us, he wasn’t lamenting abandonment from the cross, he was teaching!

He might as well have cried out “Psalm 22!!”

That Psalm of David, from which Jesus followed in the line of his dynasty, so David’s psalms were well know and studied by the Jews, begins with (depending on your translation) “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Jesus expected the Jews of the time to know what came next.  He knew they would know the rest of that story. Psalm 22 begins with sorry and despair but as the 31 verses are revealed, they end with PRAISE and HOPE.

“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.  For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.  Yea to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down; before him shall all who go down to the dust, and he who cannot keep himself alive.  Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim him deliverance to a people yeunwavering-faitht unborn, that he has wrought it.”  Psalm 22:27-31

So Jesus wasn’t crying out alone,
HE WAS STILL TEACHING US!!

Teaching us not to despair!
Teaching us to turn to the Lord for he rules over all the nations!

So when you hear and feel, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  remember it is a message of HOPE and we all will truly live “happily ever after!”

 

Pray a Station a day- The Stations of Hope

order station books

http://www.stationsofhope.com Granted a nihil obstat and imprimatur (formal declaration they are free from doctrinal and moral error.) Adult and children’s versions; Printed, Ebook, Audiobook;
6 languages: English, Spanish, Polish, Italian, German and French.

Pray a Station a day- About the Author of the Stations of Hope

Pray a Station a day- About the Author of the Stations of Hope

Closing prayer.001

http://www.stationsofhope.com Granted a nihil obstat and imprimatur (formal declaration they are free from doctrinal and moral error.) Adult and children’s versions; Printed, Ebook, Audiobook;
6 languages: English, Spanish, Polish, Italian, German and French.

Pray a Station a day- Closing Prayer

Pray a Station a day- Closing Prayer

Closing prayer.001

http://www.stationsofhope.com Granted a nihil obstat and imprimatur (formal declaration they are free from doctrinal and moral error.) Adult and children’s versions; Printed, Ebook, Audiobook;
6 languages: English, Spanish, Polish, Italian, German and French.

Pray a Station a day- 14th Station of Hope

Pray a Station a day- 14th Station of Hope

14th station.001

http://www.stationsofhope.com Granted a nihil obstat and imprimatur (formal declaration they are free from doctrinal and moral error.) Adult and children’s versions; Printed, Ebook, Audiobook;
6 languages: English, Spanish, Polish, Italian, German and French.