For REAL… PTSD Is In the BIBLE! And Coping Skills from SOLDIERS of the FAITH

“They were terrified!”  

Family members had been murdered.

Loved ones had also been killed.  They witnessed horrors.

They had CONSTANTLY lived in fear.  Better yet, the EXISTED IN SURVIVAL MODE.

Would they always be checking their shoulders… in fear of attack?

The breeding ground of PTSD.

 

The clues that point clearly to PTSD in the pages of God’s Word are:

#1- The woman were terrified.  Luke 24:5 NASB  [bewildered, terror, dread, astonishment, trembling, confused, their heads swimming, fled, gripped with fear- other translations and versions of this verse recounting the point in the resurrection story of Jesus Christ when Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of James, found the tomb empty.]

And #2 – they couldn’t reason.  Luke 24:6-7 Their brain could not make sense out of their reality.  They did not have access to frontal lobe of the brain where logical and executive thinking happens.  These symptoms experienced after incredible trauma describe PTSD. (Technically the symptoms last longer than a month for PTSD.  This is acute trauma.. But not so “cute”! Lol.)

Identical to the injury some soldiers come home with from war, people develop PTSD from many different types of trauma with varying levels of intensity in symptoms.  Currently, it is completely unknown as to why some soldiers develop PTSD while many others do not.  Recently, reading a article about factors that lead to the possible onset of PTSD went something like this:  the person had been hurt.  If a identifiable personality type or a previous hardship could help predict PTSD, our nation would pour massive amounts of dinero into a diagnostic tool.  Finding those who are most likely to be chronically stressed and preparing them ahead of time would relieve the incredibly burgeoning halls of VA hospitals across America.

So back to our Marys  – apparently a very common name in Israel.  These women had served on the battlefield… As followers of Christ.  This intrinsically meant trauma in the time of Jesus’ ministry.  The persecution of the early Christians is well-documented in and out of the Bible.   Tied to a stake, lit on fire, and used as a torch, Christians were the  “light” source for banquets of depravity.  They were the LIGHT in the DARKNESS.  [SIDE NOTE:  A person willing to die for his beliefs  is a TRUE believer – ya think? Yeah, I reckon.  Humans, by definition, are self-centered.  No one says, “Yeah, I like this churchy, Christian thingy.  And Jesus is a pretty cool dude.   So since I’ve got nothing better to do tonight,  I don’t mind being set of fire!”  Mary had been living through a literal hell on earth.  I’d say her stress level was “up there”!  From the gospel of Luke, our doctor mentions the ladies mental health at the time of finding Jesus not in the tomb.  He says, “they were terrified”.  Luke then speaks of the best coping skill humanity has been given,…”but then they remembered what He had said.”  Luke 24:8

There in lies a sweet ticket to stability.  When God’s words (everything in the Bible), collides with your fear-stricken heart and you do the exhausting work to override the natural physiological workings of the hijacked and terrified brain, the victim can move to survivor mode!  God holds the answer.  Because He has  power over everything.  No longer is it just my own will power struggling to believe I am loved and SAFE and not insane.  I have tapped into the power of the ONE who created everything.  He has ultimate authority.  And frankly we are most often powerless in the face of horror.

With grace and mercy, the Prince of Peace can and does offer the remedy to root issue. There really is danger in this world but we aren’t alone.  We have witnessed unspeakable acts of violence.  We have been abused in incomprehensible ways.  We have had normal overtaken by trauma.  Yet He holds us on the palm of His hand. PROTECTED. Our fears can be calmed.  It takes faith in  HIS POWER and the commitment to do the WORK.

What is the work you ask?  It is an effort put forth.  It is INCREDIBLY   harder than physical labor.  That’s easy-peasy compared to battling the intrusive thoughts of a PTSD brain.  When in danger, you naturally want to fight for your life – or run to somewhere safe!  Or you just freeze because of sheer terror.  I tend to go into flight mode first.  But if I can’t run, it’s 50/50 as to whether it’s “fight, flight or freeze”.  In freeze mode, I just cease to acknowledge the situation.  I disassociated.  You can talk to me.  And I hear your words you’re saying but they hold zero meaning to me.  You could warn me of a serious threat or promise me a million dollars if I were to say the word “green”.  Either way, I would remain unresponsive.  It’s not actually my volitional attempt to ignore you.  Simply, it’s the brain’s response to the very bad designed for our very good.  So talk all you want.  I am currently out of commission.

Housed within the skull is a greatly underused organ with massive potential.  Research says we use under 10% of the brain’s capabilities.  It’s actually cool to learn about the brain.  The functions of each part – frontal lobe, amygdala, brain stem, neurons… And my education relieves me of the stress that I am at fault or that I am bad because I have a mental illness.  I am not to blame.  (PS – PTSD peeps- You are not to blame.)

I have experienced a trauma that altered the way my cerebral stuff interacts with the world.  I am not to blame but I do have to do the work.  For myself, for those I love, and for the sake of Christ, I am determined to choose well.  I care about myself and I care about others.  I care foremost about my testimony as a Christian.  God has adopted me from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  He has promised my eternal life.  He died to secure my eternal home in heaven.  I am loved.

So for His name’s sake, I WILL fight against the intrusive thoughts that REPEAT over and over:

  • RUN LIKE [BLEEEEP], OR
  • LOCATE ALL POSSIBLE ESCAPE ROUTES, AND
  • DON’T IMAGINE OR FANTASIZE YOU ARE LOVED, SO
  • PUT YOURSELF FIRST! (above your kids and husband who really do love you).

I choose to muster all my will and by God’s strength, kindness, and mercy, I manage to believe what God’s Word tells me is TRUTH.  I listen to REALITY from the creator of my brain.  I don’t listen to the lies that trauma tells.  My feelings are often wrong after PTSD.

  • I FEEL COMPLETELY ABANDONED.
  • I FEEL UNWORTHY OF LOVE.
  • I FEEL TERRIFIED.

Just like Mary did when she found another loved one brutally crucified, a crown of thorns were jammed on his head, his hands and side pierced, nailed to a wooden cross of humiliation, and placed in a tomb.  She was TERRIFIED.

“And then they [she]remembered that he had said this…”  [THE TRUTH – HIS WORD – THE BIBLE]

“And then she remembered that HE had said this…” [THE TRUTH – what God has provided as a source of help for all dealing and coping with mental health issues.]

“And then they remembered that HE HAD SAID THIS…” [Jesus’ words give the greatest relief and help in every situation especially stress and trauma.

EVEN COPING SKILLS FOR PTSD ARE IN THE BIBLE.

THANK YOU GOD. YOU ARE GOOD.  YOU HAVE ALLOWED TRAUMA IN MY LIFE FOR COMPLETELY UNKNOWN REASONS BUT I TRUST IN YOUR  GOODNESS.  YOU SAY YOU ARE WORKING ALL THINGS FOR MY GOOD SO THIS SEASON OF REALLY HARD MUST BE GOOD FOR ME.  THOUGH I CAN NOT SEE IT NOW,  I HAVE FAITH IN YOU ALONE TO RESTORE ME TO STABILITY.  I can’t do it.  I am so happy to trust that you can.  Thank you for the revelation of yourself to me- and anyone who wants to read the Bible.  The lies are my distorted thoughts and feelings about the crap I have been through.  The truth is God’s Word.

And His word says I am loved, secure, and protected forever.

Do I have PTSD when not living with traumatic stress?

In Santee, SC…

Up at 8:30 for a Holy Yoga Morning flow.. Found by Google search on YouTube. I love stretching out the muscles in the morning that tighten up in a post-40 body when you sleep. It is amazing how breathing into a stretch allows the muscles to relax and melt the tensions away. Stiff neck and back now feeling great after 15 minutes with Catherine. ( highly recommended!).

I dress quietly because my family doesn’t get up early if they don’t have to. Zipfizz in hand – my morning “coffee”. Zone Chocolate Mint Protein bar is my bacon and eggs.

And I am off to the hammocks lakeside.

I’ve found a safe place.

I begin by turning my cellphone into a portable radio and listen to my Spotify playlist entitled “Brave”. Recovery. Empowering. Reminders that I am loved. This is a top “healthy” coping strategy that works for me. Christ-centered music to refocus.

And I pull out my notebook dedicated to capturing the moments of my life. The ones you might relate to… If you needing coping skills, like me, to successfully navigate a 24 hour day.

Writing is a huge form of therapy. Just thinking YOU may read this. My sisters – my #liveLoved sisters. Those of us who the devil has been allowed to orchestrate crushing trials. To live loved, I must believe that the trials I go through are for my good because my God is good. He can not be another way. My God is loving. So this trial I am going through is a loving season to bring about my good. And scriptures teach- believing them all in their entirety and context- that He doesn’t not test us but allows trials in our lives.

So with that mindset, that I must remind myself of often, is my R in the word REST. R is for remember God’s truth and promises. After a year of Celebrate Recovery’s step study, I am very familiar with having an acronym help me understand a way forward in healing. Those unfamiliar with Celebrate Recovery often hear only recovery and think drug and alcohol addiction. This is not that. CR is for anyone with hurts, habits, or hangups. I don’t an addictive personality (only by God’s grace) but I have been hurt many times by my adopted kids. Celebrate Recovery helps me navigate these hurts in a healthy way-focusing on TRUTH not LIES.

This vacation to Lake Marion, South Carolina is primarily meant to be a time to REST for hubbie Kyle, Kylee, 20, TJ , 19, and Haylee, 16…. our biological kids. And me ,46, – like hubbie. Much needed after struggling through 7 years of blending adoptees with biological family, the last 3 being years of devastation and decimation. The family who adopted because they had a super strong foundation in the Lord, were compassionate to others hurts, and wanted to share our healthy and happy family experience, now was completely fractured.

I had developed nearly every symptom of PTSD after Round 1 with our youngest daughter. One day she just snapped. I asked “Who let the dog out?” She bolted out the door and in seconds was no where to be found.

We looked.

We prayed.

We looked.

We prayed and cried deep sobs of confusion.

And during this hand holding family prayer time, she quietly came back. She stood at a distance and has never been the same girl who had always been so happy. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, autism, RAD, low cognitive function (68),ADHD…

That commenced 3 years of our current hell. It really hasn’t stopped. We are still there with her though she has lived in a residential lockdown facility for mental issues (2x now) and 2 therapeutic group homes… Where she lives now.

And then there is our adopted son. He has been stealing since day one. Written off by every therapist as normal for foster adoptees, his thievery has escalated from every four months or so to daily.. Not kidding. He can’t walk through a room- like from his bedroom to the family room- without grabbing and hiding something he shouldn’t. Any room check reveals his antics (haha- not funny). Candy from his sister’s room.. The room that he was made to buy a lock for.

But what 16 yr old remembers to lock her bedroom door when she heads for ther kitchen or bathroom for a sec.

His journey has almost imperceptibly gone downhill while his sister’s was more like a roller coaster careening off the tracks to a near fatal end numerous times. I literally don’t know off the top of my head how many times she has been Baker Acted.

Over 10 times. Before age 12.

Both engages in behaviors to destabilize our home. Lies. Bullying. Screaming. Manipulating. Triangulating. Stealing. Hoarding. Running away. Threatening. Attacking. Sabotaging.

We now exist as a very fractured family. Every human in our bio fam copes in very different ways. And it isn’t pretty. At all.

But this week, it has been beautiful.

E is for Enjoy each moment. Stay in the present.

Though …. not every moment. Our oldest daughter, who checked out of “doing family” 3 years ago when all hell broke loose, said at one point this week , “You raised some pretty psycho kids. So much anger!” .. chuckling about casual encounter with brother that was a simple misunderstanding. I quickly reminded her, “Duh…. You haven’t lived through the catastrophic daily sh#! brought about by your youngest siblings. (She worked everyday and hung out with friends her senior year -year 1 of hell. Year 2 and 3 she was off to college 6 hours away.)

S is for Stop trying to “fix” anyone especially my bio kids.

How could they not be angry? And btw, you are no angel yourself. You have very strong opinions you share quite often that clash with our family values.”

For me, mom, it has been like having a ticking time bomb strapped to your lower back never knowing when you will be careening through time and space in pain from the explosion(s).

But THIS WEEK.. GREAT MOMENTS:

  • tubing down a beautiful peaceful river laughing at Haylee til she made my sides hurt.
  • cooling homemade flatbread pizzas -Buffalo Chicken Tender pizza with Hot Sauce and Bleu cheese, BBQ Chicken pizza with caramelized onions and peppers, cheese 🍕.
  • Watching a storm roll across the lake from balcony.
  • Pontoon life- Best day ever!

Hammock time with Jesus, nature, Spotify and a notepad or drawing pad.

T is for taking time for self to heal – music, writing, walking in nature, yoga, running…

Rest.

I can cope on vacation and use therapy tools learned in years of counseling for my life’s hurts/ circumstances. Here. By the lake. Hundreds of miles from adopted kids.

Yes, I still have PTSD.

  • I am easily bombarded with intrusive thoughts with any stress. It’s like there is reality and then so many different competing, screaming thoughts in my head.
  • I have a high startle reflex.
  • Escape plans are always subconsciously made and I laugh when I realize it.
  • I see the world as a dangerous place.
  • I see places on my vacation site as places to check out permanently and end the life I have to return to. Suicide isn’t something I feel even close to doing but the idea of being out of pain forever always sounds ideal.
  • I talk fast, maniacally, in confusion or misunderstandings. To not be understood is a trigger. I am confused by innuendos because I am angered by the fact my brain will start to slow down under stress.

I have other trauma related triggers like a clean kitchen from when my adopted son poisoned my drink. Triggers follow me on vacation.

But here -I recognize. I cope. I don’t fall to pieces for hours or days. That’s what happens at home. On my best days.

PTSD changes the brain. The good news is plasticity. That is a word used to describe our powerful brain’s ability to change.. Slowly.. But possible. Hopeful.

SAFE…. WITH THE VERY, VERY BIG ANIMAL TRACKS…… and they think I am at the Rapids. Tee hee hee.

I can hear the crickets chirp, the bullfrogs croak, the mosquitos buzz quietly and larger bugs buzz louder. I hear the wind in the sawgrass palmettos and a few birds chirping nearby.

I see the green grass, the burnt tree stumps, the sandy trail, the hazy clouds covering the sun and the rocks around the fire pit.

I smell clean air. I breathe deeply trying to smell something, anything else- I face the breeze and breathe deeper. I smell earth. Nature. Wood.

Taste.. it’s the flavor of the Diet Dr. Pepper I bought on my way here. It tastes sweet. Then I taste my salty sweat. My warm bottled water.

I feel safe here.

I am a hundred plus miles from home…and my family thinks I am at the Rapids Waterpark in town…because I wanted to think that … to trick them. Because my husband said a comment that pushed me mentally over the edge right after my daughter had dragged me by my hair to that cliff’s edge. She didn’t actually touch me but spoke words that took me to that edge emotionally. I was not using my rational brain to function. I was running scared.

I ended up in a state park that I had never been to before because it isn’t that close to home. It is out of the way. And.. HAHAHAHAHAHA.. No one knew.. No one had any clue where I was. It seemed like such a brilliant idea to protect myself from any further hurt that day. I found a rarely used trail off the Sebastian State Park. This is when the Department of State Parks purposely yet under control, lights a certain area of the state park on fire to keep pests down, encourage new growth of indigenous plants and kill off non-native plants.

I MYSELF HAD RECENTLY GONE THROUGH A PRESCRIBED BURN. And that’s a whole other blog post… 1 1/2 years ago, I called 911 to report what seemed like a probable UNPRESCRIBED FOREST FIRE. I drove past a blazing fire on the side of the highway. I was most worried about a larger fire starting. But what I saw had nothing to do with any sane or helpful act of forestry.

IT WAS AN ACT OF HORRIFIC DEPRAVITY – 2 burning bodies in the side of the highway on the way home from church.

And because I was in the throes of PTSD… I could not no longer look at a log, a flame, a fire place, anything burning…

Or a white truck with an extended cab and extended mirror.. TRIGGERS.

Today- I was extremely triggered again. I am feeling emotionally abandoned from hurt and exhausted family members. Two weeks prior, I had been poisoned by my son… My adopted son if that makes it any better.

-WITH BLEACH,

-IN MY CUP OF ICE,

-LEFT ON THE COUNTER.

….and when I said “Let me go get my drink…”, he watched me drink the BLEACH he poured in my drink (yet another entry)…

So back to the state park… Many miles from humans…

THERE I FELT SAFE. Among the burnt trees, the tiny creek, the really big animal tracks. Completely alone. Beautiful. And PEOPLE couldn’t hurt me there. (I hoped.) I prayed no one was out there. [Especially when I had to pee and the burnt forest of just scrub brush now lower than the knee and tall pines higher than a 3 story building offered little hiding of the backside when emptying one’s bladder.]

An old friend said to me yesterday, “Oh, you are a runner. So am I.”

It all seems so painfully, perfectly logical when you are under attack…RUN AWAY!

My newest strategy (as I continue to cope with PTSD) is

  1. Use recommended therapy tools.
  2. Try to communicate calmly.
  3. After that tactic fails, try to communicate maniacally.
  4. Run for your life after evading those who may try to stop your forward progress.
  5. Keep going. It may not be far ENOUGH.
  6. Find alone.
  7. Breathe. You did it. You got away from danger. (Though not processing the fact that no one else in the 🌎 knows where you are and the good guys can’t help you now if needed.)

I acted crazy – looking back. I can see that now. But THAT day, when my 16 year old screamed “I hate being at home and I can’t stand you!” and my dear sweet hubbie tried to kindly explain, ” She meant.. We don’t like THIS!”- pointing at me who was trying to communicate, then confused, the triggered and finally manic.

“We don’t like this (meaning me)!”

That’s all he needed to say..

RUN MOMMA RUN.

I hear the crickets chirp….

Let Me Explain My Life With a Knife

Found a large knife laying in the pantry this morning… Just laying there on the shelf next to the flour. But a really big one. Like for slicing an Easter ham. F said he just wanted to have fun while waiting for school bus to come.

This is very typical of F- every single stinking day… poor decisions. And it completely blows my mind how many different forms his disobedience can come in. Kinda like a bouquet of an unlimited variety of flowers. There are big ones, tiny ones, some fragrant, some stinky- like carnations.

SIDENOTE: Have you ever noticed that overpowering smell of flowers – specifically carnations- at a funeral? When else do you walk into a room filled with flowers? Idk!

There seem to be an overabundance of stinky flowers populating my garden. And not because of inattention to said garden.

When we adopted our sibling group of 2, we homeschooled them at first to help them catch up on missing skills. They made great progress academically. When being mommy and teacher to very needy kids became overwhelming, we put them in a great local school. Small, close to home public school. One did great- he stayed in school. One needed extra loving- we homeschooled her then. We were INTENTIONAL in meeting needs: academically, therapeutically, spiritually, socially… Yep!

  • they have done school in whatever format best suited them,
  • they have been to numerous therapists for counseling over there years,
  • they have been active in church with AWANAS, youth group, camping trips, choir, VBS,
  • they have participated in soccer, gymnastics, surf camp, volleyball, yoga,
  • they have made friends (until they sabotaged those relationships) in our neighborhood, school, church and community

Yet over the course of six years, we have discovered their NEGATIVE COPING SKILLS:

1. FIGHT- not fun when family gets hurt. Baker Acted many times.

2. FLIGHT- chronic runaway. Baker Acted for this as well many times.

3. FREEZE- disassociates, blank stare, language center frozen.

Our child MOST likely to steal… THE one who pilfers and plunders our home daily.. He lives at home still.

Our child MOST likely to go into a rage or runaway.. She is learning COPING skills in a residential psychiatric facility.. AND MAKING PROGRESS.

So yeah- finding a large knife used to poke holes in 5 lb. bag of flour.. Normal.

Watching a child punch and kick through the bedroom door WHILE a police officer watches and leaves midway saying she has had behavior (ya think?) … Normal.

Room checks randomly to find endless amounts of stolen items…Normal.

Talking to your older “adult-ish” kids about who might care for their sibling’s child if their adopted brother or sister became pregnant..

Normal?

A friend said to me, “Suzanne, you do realize that is NOT a normal conversation right?”

“Oh!” “No?” “It isn’t?” I pondered. Well, the truth is we don’t specialize in typical “normal” family behaviors and conversations.

  • Hurts have hindered normal.
  • Hurts have hampered normal.
  • Hurts have ended normal here.

So CRAZY HAS BECOME MY COPING SKILL.SOMETIMES ALL YOU CAN DO IS:

  • LAUGH,
  • LIVE(ATTEMPT TO)
  • LOVE (STRIVE TO THROUGH THE PTSD, HURTS, FEARS, & PAIN)

I have to run… by Suzanne Gero 4/2/2018

I couldn’t “do people” today. And yeah, I know that isolating myself is a bad idea for coping with depression/ anxiety/ PTSD.

I had plans to go to the Rapids Waterpark today and manage my stress by a day in the sun riding the Flowrider. That is the little-known secret to happiness. A man-made simulated wave upon which I ride for about 60 seconds – until my attempt at a trick goes sideways – and that usually relieves most of my woes. But today life’s hurts got the best of me. I sobbed ugly, hot tears. I cried out to God in mostly unintelligible uttterances. My heart was unraveling. And I had to run.

By God’s grace, I live minutes from the beach. And it is an amazing place to heal. I needed the chemical release of endorphins that I was desperately lacking and needing to get back to some form of functional existence. Because life sucks.

Yep – it does. The cops were here for the upteenth time responding to an anonymous call from neighbors concerned about the screaming coming from my home. That happens when your bipolar child who is home for the Easter holiday on pass from a mental health facility decides to NOT use her coping skills. Our now 12 year old adopted daughter doesn’t live at home. After her first stay in a residential lockdown facility, M held it together for 6 weeks before sabatoguing her family’s peace. All was “peachy keen” – not really because living with a volatile bipolar child who had gained 55 pounds to a whopping 165 weigh-in isn’t ever peachy. She was asked to unload the dishwasher. And she decided that wasn’t happening … so she ran… Away. Cuz that makes perfect sense. She punched dad in the face after he jumped in the car and attempted to bring her home safely. The bloody face of a 275 lb. dad from his 11 year old screamed… “She can not do family- She’s not healthy enough, not strong enough.” She still needed a placement outside the home.

For a child neglected from birth and having never formed an attachment to a caregiver, the idea of letting someone be in control was insanity. Mix in some toppings of bipolar and an IQ of 68 with that, and you have a pretty unpleasant ice cream sundae. Let’s imagine that dessert beginning with milk left out.. for hours, days, months. Then add in chopped dead fish and smelly socks. Btw, no one had disclosed the ingredients in our dessert. We also hadn’t had a full diagnosis completed at this point in our meal ending treat. (And with 30 hours of a diligent psychiatrist searching for answers, we also got autism.)

We had expected something sweet. Life had been somewhat sweet for the first 3 years. But that’s not the case with our ice cream sundae. Neglect doesn’t allow pathways to form in the brain in healthy childhood brain development. There is not much healthy brain development happening when you exist in survival mode without decent nutrition. Ice cream has milk in it.  Getting milk as a baby may have helped. M was hungry.

So was F.

We also adopted F.

He steals.

He lies.

That’s another post.

So life sucks as my youngest children (notice I did say “my” because we are often asked if we can return them by acquaintances or questioned if we intend to return them by DCF) ..push buttons I didn’t know I had. And for someone with a lower IQ, M is a genius at coming up with original ways to create instability.  Stability seems too “nice”.  Stability screams “watch for the other shoe to fall!” for M. Stability sneaks up and scares her… I guess. Because she ain’t having it. Too much happy and my RADish is agitated, which then morphs into being upset over some innoculous question like “Who left out the peanut butter?” These moments can easily end in a litany of “I hate this family anyways” and “You know I don’t like your ugly hair”.

And by God’s grace, I can manage the trial. I remain calm, I usually giggle at repeated patterns of foolishness, I speak loving words in trade for poisonous barbs.

But it is the aftermath that obliterates me. See, I had used all my energy to remain calm in the crisis.

So then when M is no longer front and center and life goes on.. As it surprisingly does every day… The hyper-sensitivity kicks in and my other family members interactions with me leave me convinced I am utterly unloved and alienated from everyone who ever cared about me. At this point, I am absolutely sure my family thinks I am pathetic, weak, worthless and a burden.

This is the journey God has called me too.

I don’t like it.

Yet I have a hope of heaven and a trust in His ultimate goodness. I got nothing else. And I have lost so much in this process.

The things I have gained:

1. Knowledge that running and/or some form of physical exercise helps replace chemicals that have been exhausted and depleted because of the strength in the storm to stand firm and resolved . Practical help. Run, momma Run!

2. A compassion and understanding for why people engage in hurtful, self-destructive behaviors- They have deep hurts. Prior to MY OWN deep hurts, I was more indifferent to people’s pain and looked more at their behavior.

3. An ability to cope by doing something out of the box.. A little crazy.. Still a good girl but I may be seen dancing around a soccer field during my son’s practice in a full dragon costume. TRUE STORY.

Oh so much more..

Heartache and healing.

So I headed for the beachfront and hit the pavement running.  If ya don’t get it, that’s okay. We don’t all react to stress the same.  My husband overeats.  I don’t eat.  My husband struggles more with depressive coping skills- overeating some not so healthy huge portion of anything,  sitting in a Lazyboy and not moving until nature calls or just sleeping.

I run because a dear friend who has dealt with the completely unexpected suicide of her husband when she was 7 months pregnant with girl #2 went on to birth another “child” after she became a widow.   Through her heartbreaking circumstances, she created a grief and loss ministry, an incredibly helpful book, a year-long workbook/journal because ya don’t get over grief in a month or two.  180 Your Life helped GREATLY in my healing.  And a big component of getting back to somewhat normal involves taking back control of my health.  Goal setting and exercise is vital.  I didn’t lose a person like people normally equate with grief but I AM GRIEVING the loss of my normal, healthy, happy family.

Some days it is so bad.. I have to run.

And that hurts but gosh darn it, God loves me…

So K, oldest daughter, has debilitating migraines. Like pass out/ seizure episodes. But neurologically- nothing is wrong. There is a love -hate thing going on with doctors over this. It is almost like our daughter, my husband and I wish they could find an answer to point to and say – this is why K suffers.. And then find a solution. No such answers yet.

K lives with migraines.. Daily. And I can’t fathom that crap. I don’t know what it is like for throbbing head pain to be normal. I only know throbbing pain to be abnormal and with medicine, maybe a nap and a little yoga deep breathing, things feel NORMAL – no pain.

My oldest daughter has had migraines since the age of 4. And when that is your normal- no one can understand. Because you LIVE life in pain – not normal. But you can’t complain every day. So her existence has been one others can’t fathom.

Outside of that, K has had an amazing childhood. I think she would say that. Two parents deeply in love, that parent their three biological children from a REAL authentic Christian foundation. K was homeschooled and raised in a home that desired to mold kids who love to learn- history, science, about people, about God. K’s young years were filled with field trips and co-ops of like-minded parents wanting to make education magical.

Public service announcement: learning new things is really cool – being interested in life and others who have walked or are walking this planet is cool.

So when did the idyllic childhood end? Long before MOM AND DAD realized they had raised their children in a legalistic STEPFORD WIVES church. Place a bible verse after every sentence kinda Facebook posting church.

“Emily took her 1st step – Ephesians 2:10, Deut 8:6.”

No verse written out to see why the proud mom and dad pasted that helpful verse there – nope. Kinda implying that you either know the verses of the Bible already or you will look them up yourself and make the theological jump from Emily’s hangover-like stumble to God’s commands to live righteously. Clear as mud! No! Emily is sweet. She just took a few steps to try and reach Daddy. But the plugged-in Bible verses ad nauseam (which, mind you, I believe in the Bible- cover to cover) are those from white-washed tombstones. Pretty on the outside. With dead man’s bones on the inside. That’s a Bible reference as well. But I think the message is clear. A large part of the church in which our biological children grew up in is fake, hypocritical and as genuine as a real estate deal for ocean front property in Nebraska.

So apparently teenagers can smell hypocracy miles and miles away. When you are a young family and you want to raise your kids in a good church home of Bible teaching, a legalistic church may appeal to you. It MAY seem like tat type of church has really strong Christians in it. Or it may seem like those people all have it together because there is little to no mention of current struggles. The rule- follower’s children are “minions” as one teenager recently put it. They copy the behavior of their judgemental parents.. Just not so covertly. The minions will walk up to a peer and look straight in the other church attendees face and say “We can’t be your friend because you… (break our rules -i.e. wear a bikini, listen to music with bad lyrics, cuss, talk to people who cuss)

I am not saying that our K’s decision is THEIR fault. I know that her feeling of.. The Christians I saw most of my life are such awful people… Is understandable.

The knowledge that my husband and I have lived out an authentic relationship with our savior in front of our kids is what keeps us from drowning in the regret of raising our kids in a hypocritical church.

I.

Am.

Sorry.

Kids.

But our intention was to expose you to God by the hearing of his word.. ✔ and by seeing good Christians love you and others that our in your midst 👎.

Oh.. Ya want to know what hurts- my adult children rejecting God and not being able to comfort then with God’s love because the “love of God” they’ve seen reflected in their childhood church was a farce.

Good news – God. Wins.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Isaiah 58:10-12  “And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noon day.  the Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild…”

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