Help! I can’t sleep!

by Kit Hinke

Are you reading this at two in the morning, wide awake and jarred by obsessive thoughts that carry you further and further from sleep?

I have your back, sister.  Been there. How many times did I lose sleep and beg the Sandman to close my eyes for me?

I found what works. It’s learning what anxiety is, then turning it over to the God of the universe and let Him coddle you back to sleep. I know that sounds easier said than done, so in this posting, I want to walk you through how to do that using a song by Fernando Ortega.  It’s here on this Youtube video.  Try opening it in separate window on you browser so that you can pause the video from time to time, as I explain each stanza of the music.

 

Ortegahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz8NX7lP7oU

 So here is the song–word for word!

Jesus King of Angels, Heaven’s Light.

Who is Jesus?  In Revelations, Jesus will return with armies of angels beside him, with the name written on his robe “King of Kings”.  There is no authority greater than Jesus.  He rules it all—including the angels who watch over us.  (Psalm 91:11 explains that those of us who trust God will have angels watching over us)  And then, He’s also going to be the complete light in Heaven. Rev 21:23 say.s  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Think about it—in Heaven you won’t need a sun!  You won’t need a light bulb!  Jesus will be the light—everywhere.  He’ll be such a complete light that there will be no shadows!  Imagine standing in Heaven and seeing no shadow!  He is light!

Shine Your face upon this house tonight.

Now think about His light—Jesus’s face, shining right on you as you’re trying to sleep in your home, right now.

Let no evil come into my dreams.

Jesus can control evil—stop it from hurting you, scaring you.

Light of Heaven, keep me in your peace.

There are so many verses that remind us that Christ is peace.  Here are two:

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Remind me how You make dark spirits flee. And spoke Your power to the raging sea.

Think of all the times when Jesus walked the earth that someone would be talking crazy and he would simply say—“come out of him” and the dark spirits would flee.  Think of the possessed man on the island of Geneseratt.  Jesus asked the dark spirits in him who they were and they replied, “we are legion and don’t kill us—it’s not our time.” Demons know Who Christ is and shudder. Jesus directed them to leave the man and go into the pigs.  The pigs then screamed and jumped off of a cliff!  What power!

And when the disciples cried out over the raging sea, Jesus simply woke from His nap and told the sea to quiet down—and it became still.  What power!

Pigs over a cliff!  Raging seas that become still!  What power!  Do you not think, dear sister, Jesus is capable of driving dark spirits that cause your anxiety to flee? Of course He can!  Call on Him!

And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man. 

How many times did tax collectors like Zacheus, and prostitutes like the woman about to be stoned know they were not deserving of His attention, yet He loved them and reach out to them, and forgave them. Does He not forgive you?

Remind me Jesus, this is what I am.

If any of you, sisters, don’t realize it—it’s time to.  We all need to stay humble.  Even as victims in our loss, we are not innocent.  Our hearts are so wanting what we want—not willing to give it up for Him.  Let Christ show you that it’s okay to admit you are a sinner, and in fact, reminding you that you are is His way to bringing you into His protection! If any of you need prayer, contact us using the contact us link at the top of the page and we will contact you and pray to bring Christ into your life, or if you already know Christ, to help you with you struggle.

The universe is vast beyond the stars.

Do you get overwhelmed?  Do you feel alone in this vast universe now that you’re not connected to a husband?  I do sometimes, and it is that very thought of having to be alone in this universe that can keep me up at night.

But you are mindful when a sparrow falls.

This comes from Matthew 10:29-31  God knows EVERYTHING!  Nothing passes His attention, and don’t you think for a moment, dear sister, that your loss, and your anxious thoughts right now, are unimportant to Him.  They are.  And you are!

And mindful of the anxious thoughts that find me, surround me, and bind me!

Oh, how I love this stanza in the song.  I imagine anxious thoughts like chains, finding me, surrounding me, binding me.  That’s when I cannot sleep!  I’m trapped in those thoughts!  Is that where you are right now?  Remember, right now—that the Lord is mindful of these thoughts and your trap.

Because, sisters, it is a trap.  The Lord commands you—Do Not Fear!  Therefore, no matter what is going on that’s causing these thoughts—He wants you to trust Him and stop fearing.  No matter what the outcome is, He is in control, and He knows what is best for you, for your children, for everyone involved.  To the very end—the end being eternity in Heaven!  Do you not believe that He will bring you through an incredible journey of purpose here on earth and then into rest and eternal joy in His presence! You may have pain and suffering here, but anxiety and fear is not the pain and suffering He allows—it’s your choice!  You can endure—you can have peace!  Trust Him!

Usually, when anxious thoughts bind me, I can cast them out by remembering that every anxious thought is based on a lie.  If I’m anxious because I’m alone, that’s a lie.  I can have real unity with my Heavenly Father, which will give me far stronger identity than I ever had as a wife.  I am not alone!

With all my heart I love You, Sovereign Lord.  Tomorrow let me love You even more! And rise to speak the goodness of Your name!  Until I close my eyes and sleep again!

Sisters, there is power in speaking the goodness of God’s name continually!  Just look at the psalms written by David.  No matter that strife he was under, he continually praised God and trusted God!  You can too, and the more you focus on His goodness and his will, the more easily He will lead you out of the mire of despondency and into His light!

The song now ends with a poignant prayer that I lift right now for you who are reading this and wondering how you will finally get rest.

Dear Jesus King of Angels, Heaven’s light. Hold my sister’s hand and keep her through this night.

Amen

How to Handle a Bad Day – Part Three – “Act as if”

by Kit Hinkle

I mentioned on Monday that today I would offer a little bit deeper incite on turning around a bad day.  I’ve covered this earlier on A Widow’s Might using a series I titled “A Bout with Doubt”. It’s a five part series, and if you struggle with trying to get yourself out of a pattern of discouraging thoughts day after day, please try reading it.  The five parts have an introduction, and four steps to fighting your self-doubt: recognizing habitual tears, observing the habit, replacing the habit with truth, and giving yourself freedom to grieve honestly. Reading through them might bring you something to help you bring yourself into brighter days.

Some twelve-step programs to all sort of recovery (alcohol abuse, codependency, overeating, enabling alcoholics, addictions) use not only the twelve steps but some helpful little catch phrases to remind its members of some healthy habits to help them with recovery.  Even though grief is natural and not the same as an addiction or behavior we have to stop, excessive worry and anxiety which can sometimes be the root of a bad day is not natural and from God, and learning to stop it can help you.

If your bad day started with waking up late, or some circumstance that set you back, perhaps it’s worry or anxiety, or perhaps it’s guilt or anger or lack of forgiveness that keeps you from having the positive attitude you need to get your day back in line.

Here’s a catchphrase that these twelve step programs use…. Act as if. Now please be careful to understand that “Act as if” means within obedience to God above.  Here’s how it works.  You’re having a bad day.  It got started because something made you feel inferior/guilty/inadequate/lonely/hurt.  Whatever it is you’re feeling is causing you to freeze up—paralyzed by your obsessive thoughts over your feelings.  You can’t seem to stop yourself and you can’t push ahead.

On Monday, I described a path to dealing honestly with what’s bothering you—usually what’s bothering you is a lie from the enemy and surrendering to God and inviting the Holy Spirit to clean house can cleanse you so well, you’ll feel dynamite after you’ve faced it!

On Tuesday, I recognized that sometimes we’re just at that point where we’re not ready.  Maybe you just need time to heal.  Maybe a distraction can help, so there are funny movies and videos that will help you through that rough time.

Today, I want to offer another tool—“Act as if”.  You can’t do it forever. Eventually you must surrender what’s bothering you to God in order to move on.  But sometimes you need time. I think of it like waiting for that scab to form so that the wound can heal on the inside.  For me that was a few years.  In the first year of losing Tom, there were certain feelings I wasn’t ready to face straight on. But the pain—oh the pain!

“Act as if” means take whatever negative obsession is causing you anxiety and paralyzing your day and reverse it.  If you’re feeling lonely and unmotivated, what would you do if you weren’t lonely and you felt a surge of motivation?  Clean your house?  Start a workout plan? Learn how to apply makeup like a professional? Get a new hairstyle? Clean out your garage?

Then, you simply “Act as if”!  You get up, move yourself to the garage, and no matter how hard it is to start to organize and clean, you do it:  one item at a time, until you suddenly look around, and your garage is… wow!  Clean!  Suddenly, you feel a bit better, don’t you?  You acted as if you weren’t so down, and now you feel better!

I did this over and over in the first year after losing Tom.  I have to tell you, my friends wondered about me. I think they expected me to sit and be sad all day every day.  And I did sit and I was sad many, many days.  But truth is, God placed in me a desire to be productive, and it makes me happy to be productive.  So I learned that when my sadness got me down for too long of a period and I was going day after day of bad days, I had to stop myself and “Act as if”.

Please know, ladies.  I occasionally try to put in my posts a caution.  All of us go through our loss differently.  Many widows LOVE being motivated by ideas of how to move forward.  If you are in a place where you feel led to spend time praying and healing in a slower way, and your not wired in a way where getting out and doing things makes you feel better, perhaps this isn’t the way God’s called you to heal for the moment.  It’s a tool, among many that God gives us along the way.

Blessings and I pray for lots  of better days ahead for you!

What to do with a Bad Day

by Kit Hinkle

Try remembering something. An ache in your heart can sometimes be a lie from the enemy…

It was one of those dog days of summer, and I was tired.  Tired of widowhood.  Tired of handling all the responsibilities of the four children with no spouse to help. This time I had the added frustration that I had come within weeks last spring of marrying someone I thought would whisk me out of this predicament only to find in the eleventh hour something new about him that made me take pause and listen to God speaking into my heart, telling me this wasn’t going to be right for me or the boys.

Have you had bad days?  Everyone’s circumstances are different. Kids or not–losing a love or losing a job or missing your husband, or a disagreement with a friend, sometimes events just put you in a fuddle. I can only use my experience as an example, and I hope it offers some help to how you might approach a bad day, no matter what your circumstances.

Here’s what I thought that day—Google will help!  Try googling how to fix a bad day.  You’ll find so many pieces of worldly advice, and perhaps sometimes they work—exercise, eat chocolate, call a friend, meditate, count your blessings, help someone in need.

Believe me, ladies, I’ve tried them all.  Here’s the deal.  While the world’s answers might offer temporary help, there’s only one complete healing answer to turning a bad day around, and it’s Christ.

If you exercise, those endorphins will kick in and pick you up for a bit, and perhaps you’ll feel a bit better about your body, but eventually the endorphins fade, and if you’ve then eaten the chocolate, you’ll feel like you’ve undone what you accomplished for your body in the workout!

Calling a friend sometimes helps, but I’ve found I’ve had to be careful about the friends I call. Will she want to stew with you on your problem?  Will she try to complain about hers? The question isn’t really will she help you up or keep you down, but is she wise enough to direct you where you should be turning—to Christ?

Then there is meditation. If you interpret meditation as prayer and concentration on Scripture, that’s great, but please, sisters, be careful if you have fallen into the ill-advice of others who’ve guided you into transcendental meditation, a practice started by the Hindus and Buddhists where you empty your mind.  Christ is clear (in Luke 11:24-26) that a mind emptied can invite demonic spirits to hop in and upset you more.  In meditation, don’t empty—fill your mind and heart with the Holy Spirit—then let Him clean house in your brain.

Counting your blessings. I do it every day, beginning with the four smiles that greet me every day and thank me for being their mom!  Sometimes, I want more.  I just get in that funk where yes, I’m happy they are healthy and happy and life is good, but something has gotten under my craw. How do I get that thorn out of there?

Even helping someone else—be careful.  Is your motivation to feel self-satisfied?  It works, believe me, even on that dog day in summer, I helped myself to a dose of soup kitchen duty and found myself briefly lifted.  But even as I ministered to the homeless, the nagging ache just wouldn’t go away.

Do you know what finally worked?  Trying all of those things and failing and getting to the end of myself and landing on my knees in my bedroom in tears before God, and admitting my inability. “Lord, I’ve tried everything,” I cried. “I can’t do it.  I can’t get this awful feeling of disappointment out of me.  I’m just so tired of it.  Can you remove it?  Can you please send your Holy Spirit and just fill me with hope and joy and gratitude?

If you haven’t experienced what came next, you might find it hard to believe.  Trust me sisters, this wasn’t the first time.  This surge of peace just blew through me so instantaneously; it knocked me off of my knees and flat on the floor!  I lay there for a moment wondering what just happened. Then I realized.  It’s gone—that ache, the thing that was getting under my craw.  Not minimized, not set aside for the moment, but gone.

You know that gnawing that you feel about an issue? When it’s truly gone, you know it this way—somehow you’ve figured out that the gnawing thought you had was a lie. That’s what happened at that moment.  I couldn’t, no matter what I did, believe that thought that just a few moments before was causing me anguish.

But moments earlier, and the entire day before that moment,  I simply couldn’t remove the lie that was killing my peace and killing my day.  Only the Holy Spirit could. And when I got to the end of trying everything humanly possible to remove the lie and discovered I couldn’t do it myself,  I finally turned to the One who could.

Try remembering something. An ache in your heart can sometimes be a lie from the enemy. My ache of disappointment that I couldn’t marry the man I spent over a year investing my energy in came from a lie–that things would have been hunky dory if only he hadn’t revealed the deal breaker. I stood up, and everything was clear as that day when I made the decision not to marry that gentleman. Rather than a lonely structure, my house suddenly looked like a beacon of refuge for my kids because here in my house, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I can choose to show my kids how to walk their faith and know how much Christ loves us.  I realized how unbelievably blessed I really am, and my energy level soared—for real, because it was based on truth.  God’s truth!

Here’s the prayer I used to invite the Holy Spirit in to rid me of an anxious lie.

Father God, I’m a wreck.  I don’t get it—I’m not always like this, but somehow I’ve gotten myself so focused on what I wanted to happen which didn’t.  I’ve taken my eyes off of You, and I’m feeling the result.  I’m so sorry.  I’ve tried everything to get this ache out of my heart—everything but ask for Your help.  Maybe I needed to do everything else first, just to begin this heartfelt prayer and really mean it.  But I do, Lord.  I sincerely want Your Holy Spirit guiding me, pulling me out of my wrong thinking, replenishing me with Truth.  You’re so good, Father God, and I know You love me.  Can you please just rid me of this awful obsession over what didn’t go right for me and put me on Your solid ground?   Amen.

Come back Wednesday where I’ll write more about how to replace the enemy’s lies with His truth and give yourself a good day every day!

Clogged

 

My Keurig coffee maker stopped working this weekend.  For this coffee lover (translation: addict) this was a dreadful turn of events.   Time on the phone with the Keurig folks revealed the problem.  Water wasn’t getting pulled from the reservoir because the channel was clogged.  The machine turned on and hummed and whirled but at the end, nothing.  Nada. Not one drip of lovely coffee poured into my cup.    The solution apparently is de-scaling:  running a vinegar solution through to get rid of the hard-water yuk that had built up.

Now here is where it got personal.  ‘You’re clogged’, God whispered.  ‘Just like your coffee maker, you are clogged with some yuk.’

Sure, I had been making all the right noises and going through the motions of being a Jesus girl, trusting God and living my faith, but there was a coating of discontentment that had settled on my heart.   And maybe even the tiniest root of bitterness.  Ouch.

This clogging business doesn’t happen overnight.  Not in my coffee maker.   And not in me. Clogs slowly build up over time.

Those questioning whispers of ~ ‘why this?’, and ‘what about me?’  and ‘what if?’      Clog.

That undercurrent of resentment toward someone else’s ‘normal’?   Clog

Simmering impatience with…oh just about everyone?   Clog.

Worrying out loud and calling it prayer?  Choosing pouting over praise?  Clog. Clog.  Ugly clog.

My pastor hit the nail on the head during his sermon yesterday. (Don’t you love it when God is dealing with you on something and makes sure you get it by repetition ?)

Here,  Paul is writing to the churches in Corinthians about some churches in Macedonia:  2 Corinthians 8:2    ‘Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. ‘

These folks in Macedonia were not living a perfect easy life.  They were going through some stuff.  For Paul to call it a severe trial, it has to have been something notable.   Yet, they were able to overflow with joy and generosity to others in spite of  what they were personally experiencing.

How was this possible?   Just go up a verse.  Verse 1 –  “…we want you to know about the grace God has given the Macedonian churches. ‘    They were only able to overflow because of God’s grace which flowed through them.   Wow.

I have not been feeling very grace-full lately.  You can’t give what you don’t have.   You can’t pour out, what isn’t flowing through you.   It is not about how perfect our life is (or isn’t).  Stuff is going to happen in life. Hard stuff.  Ugly stuff.  Stuff we would much rather didn’t’ .  Severe trial sounds about right.   But even so, we can still overflow with joy.   Because of His grace.

Lord, today give us a vinegar rinse to clean out all of the clogs of comparison and discontentment and worry and resentment.     And then, Lord, bring on the grace   Let it flow, let it flow.  As we get our minds off of us and our ‘stuff’ and onto you, may we raise our tear-stained faces and empty coffee cups to the sky and be simply drenched in Your grace.    Grace that spills out in overflowing joy on everyone we meet.

ps.  Thank you, Lord,  for coffee 🙂

Isaiah 55:12   You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

 

Lady in Waiting

By Julie Reed

“I wait for the Lord, my soul awaits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.  Blessed are those who wait for him.” (Psalm 130:5-6; Isaiah 30:18)

 

I have co-workers and friends who are always asking me about different things going on in my life.

What’s going on with the foreclosure?  Any word yet?  “I’m still waiting to hear from the courts.”

How’s the house hunting going?  “I’m still waiting for the right one.”

How’s the insurance claim going?  “I’m still waiting on the adjustor to call me back.”

How are the kids feeling?  “I’m still waiting for the antibiotics to kick in.”

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year?  “I’m still waiting to hear if my parents will make it down or not.”

Any word on your sister-in-law’s surgery yet?  “We’re still waiting to hear from the doctors.”

It seems like I’m constantly waiting for things to start happening or for the right timing of other situations.  We joke about it all the time at work.  My dear and trusted friends have dubbed me the “Lady-in-Waiting.”

Most of us don’t like waiting though.  We don’t like waiting in the long lines at the grocery store.  We don’t like waiting in traffic.  We don’t like waiting at the doctor’s office.  We don’t like waiting for test results.  We don’t like waiting to hear if someone has safely arrived.  We don’t like waiting when a child is arriving home way past their curfew.

Waiting just plain stinks.

As a widow, it stinks even more.  I really hate waiting for a table at a restaurant by myself.  (If I’m even brave enough to venture out on my own to begin with).

I hate waiting in the pew at church, wondering if anyone will stop and say “hello” or offer to sit next to me.

I hate waiting to hear from the doctor, especially with no one here to help calm my wandering fears and anxiety.

I hate waiting and wondering if God will send someone into my life to share the next 40-50 years with me.

I looked up the word waiting in the dictionary, just out of curiosity.  Waiting is defined as to stay, to linger, to tarry, or abide.

It seems to me that I do those things a lot.  I tend to linger, to tarry in the past.  Wishing my husband was here to hold my hand.  Waiting for him to come through the door and give me my daily bear hug and kiss.  Lingering in the walk-in closet, caressing his leather jacket as if it will make him appear before me.

The last part of the definition really hit me though.  To abide.  That has a completely different appeal to me.  To abide; it means to dwell with, to reside near, to stay.  That’s what God wants me to do in these long, lonely days of widowhood.  He hastens me to come and dwell with him…tuck in under His wings and just rest.  Snuggle in tightly and closely so the only sound I hear is the rhythm of his breath and heartbeat.

Waiting.  Although at times it’s not fun or pleasant, it has much peace and power.  I’ve learned three things that we can do while we are “ladies-in-waiting.”

First, love God.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Deut. 6:1

No matter what we are waiting for, we can always love God.  The sad part is that God is always waiting for us to love him back.   We’re the ones who continue to linger and tarry, dragging our feet through the past or trying to carve out a path in the future before its even time, instead of residing in His promises.  He’s always ready and waiting for us to love him.  That’s a simple request that we can easily fulfill while we wait.

Second, serve others.  “Serve one another in love.” Gal. 5:13

So much time is wasted while we are waiting and worrying about things or situations that are either out of our control or cannot be changed.  Instead of impatiently stomping our feet while we wait, why not help someone else out while we can.  Serving others will certainly take your mind off of the things that we are waiting for and sometimes serving others makes us realize that what we were waiting for, we didn’t truly need to begin with.

Third, tell others about Him.  “Proclaim (announce) the power of God.” Psalm 68:34

We tend to put ourselves in a “waiting” bubble and forget to share our worries or concerns with others who would eagerly join us in prayer, service or praise, if we would only let them in.  Share with friends and strangers the feelings or anxieties you may be having about the upcoming holiday time.  I’d venture to say that most people would love to offer a shoulder to cry on, a warm cup of coffee to sip, or a meal to bring warmth to your belly and soul, if we would only let them know our needs.  When those friends reach out to you, share how God has comforted you, provided for you, or even sometimes felt far away.  I’m almost certain that most could relate to all of those feelings at one time or another.

So, if you are a “lady-in-waiting”, I hope that you will choose to wait in his care.  He promises us that we are loved and that we have a purpose created just for us by him.  Let’s not waste any more time waiting, but more time abiding in God and His Word.  I hope you’ll take time this week to join me at the bottom of the cross.  I’ll be the one abiding there with arms wide open.  Thanks for “waiting” there with me.

Keep Calm and Carry On

By Danita Hiles

Keep Calm and Carry on… variations of this poster are everywhere these days.  The clever slogan was designed during World War II to encourage the morale of the English people.    The Ministry of Information plastered the city with posters to remind the people of Britain of the facts:    There is a war going on, but we must remain steadfast.  We must trust in our army.  In spite of blackouts and air raid sirens and food rationing and fear, we must carry on.

Right now, I am staring at a bright purple poster on the wall of my 16 yr old daughter’s bedroom.   ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.   I bought it for her because the purple looks awesome against her lime green walls, and because she loves all things British.   Funny thing, it has become, for me, in the past three weeks, a life slogan.

Sometimes, sweet friends, I think we make it all seem way too simple.  ‘It’ being life and all of the drama it entails.  Often when we write a post here, it is about a subject in the past, something where there has been a victory, where God has proved faithful, where emotions have subsided, where specific acts of obedience have led to amazing solutions.   Victory is sweet and life is seemingly tied up in a tidy bow.

Right now, all of that is a distant memory.   I see no tidy bows in my life!  I am literally in a war.  The details are irrelevant.  Because war is war.   The enemy is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.   Can anybody relate?  Your war may be physical, it may be inconsolable grief, it may be anguish over your kid’s choices or your finances or your own fragile emotional state.   If you are in a calm peaceful state, Praise God, and pray for the rest of us!   If you are in a raging war- take heart, my sister, you are not alone.   I believe this WWII poster has some wisdom for all of us.

Keep Calm:  How can we possible keep calm when war is raging?  When life is coming at you hard and God’s truth seems elusive?  When you feel powerless and hopeless and tired all at once?  Maybe just by really remembering who is fighting for you…you are not alone!

  • Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
    Isaiah 40:28
  • For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deut. 20:4

Carry On:    How can you carry on with ‘normal’ when you can barely breathe?  Is it possible to live joyfully when you are under attack and are being hit hard from all sides?   His word says yes.

  • 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.  Isaiah 58:11
  • I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  The boundaries will fall for me in pleasant places.  Psalm 16: 6-8
  • But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Keep Calm and Carry on, dear sisters.

Let the storms blow and the winds beat, your house will stand.

And in the midst of it all, know that He goes before you and we stand beside you.

The Bout with Doubt: Part Five – Freedom to Greive Healing Tears

By Kitty Hinkle

If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One:  Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of unhealthy anxiety.

Step one: Recognizing habitual tears (Tuesday’s posting)

Step two: Observing the habit (Wednesday’s posting)

Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)

The more I heal from the loss, the easier it has become to recognize and welcome the tears at a moment when I know God wants me to work through something. I recognize it by listening only to God- feeling that connection and feeling His encouragement as I grieve.

Sometimes I crawl into bed at night with my laptop and flip over to the youtube video I uploaded. It’s a video tribute to my husband put to the song, Captain Sunshine.  You’re welcome to check it out here.

It’s been three years, so usually when I look at it, I have warm thoughts and a sad smile and that is it.  But there are those days where a surge of sadness comes over me as music plays and I erupt into tears.  I’m sobbing heaving tears, but I’m feeling relief—peaceful and healing. It’s God led grief, and I know it.

My prayer is that all of us lean more on the tears that heal the wounds.

Dear Lord, there are many reasons for tears when we grieve. Even patterns that may turn habitual are part of the grieving process.  You made each of us with specific design, and the grieving of a loss has to take its own particular path through each of our hearts.  I pray, Lord, that somewhere in all the different perspectives we’ve covered on the bouts of tears this week, someone finds Truth to help her better understand her tears so she can embrace her grief as a part of Your healing.

The Bout with Doubt: Part Three – Observing the Habit

By Kitty Hinkle

“You can begin to embrace your sadness in an observant way and then step aside and let it dissipate.”

If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One:  Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of unhealthy anxiety.

Step one: Recognizing habitual tears (Tuesday’s posting)

Step two: Observing the habit (Wednesday’s posting)

Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)

Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)

Yesterday we had the discussion about healthy grieving tears and a habitual pattern of anxiety. If you listen to what’s going on inside as you shed tears and talk it over with the Lord, He’ll reveal to you whether you’ve developed a habit of unhealthy self-doubt.  I know I’ve had those habits in the past.  At one point a friend offered this advice on breaking a habit.  Don’t assume you can stop the worry and anxiety on your own strength and overnight.  Do the following instead: When you find yourself in an episode of unhealthy negative thinking, just notice the pattern.  Label it.

I thought her advice was interesting. She didn’t put pressure on me that the tears of worry I relied on as a crutch had to stop right away, and that was a relief. She only suggested that I keep the following idea in mind as I obsessed over the sadness: “Oh, I see I’m repeating a habit.”  She said that the more you learn to recognize the habit without beating yourself up over it, the less power the habit has over you, until eventually, you’ll begin to observe your tears as though you were someone watching you in tears—someone loving, like a sister in Christ, looking at you and saying, “It’s okay. You’re not as alone as you think you are.”  You can begin to embrace your sadness in an observant way and then step aside and let it dissipate.

She was right when it came to the pattern of worry I developed after trying to sell a house for a year.  Every time an obsessive thought popped in my head, I could see it as a habit before it took root in my heart and threw me down the road of self-pity.  It was my first step into a life of boldness!

Come back tomorrow to read about an even more powerful step towards eliminating a habit of doubt—replacing it with Truth!!!

The Bout with Doubt – Part Two – Recognizing Habitual Tears

By Kitty Hinkle

“Sometimes we can be tricked into mixing up cleansing tears of grief from tears of self-pity and self-doubt fed by whispered lies from the enemy.”

It’s the habit that I’m focusing on today, and what to do about a habit.  If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One:  Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of anxiety.

Step one: Recognizing habitual tears (Tuesday’s posting)

Step two: Observing the habit (Wednesday’s posting)

Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)

Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)

Now for Step One:  Recognizing habitual tears

We all fall into patterns of response in our lives. A kid who goes through ridicule by the in-crowd might still grow up to be a healthy full functioning adult able to socialize and form great friendships, but when faced with a group of worldly handsome talkative individuals, he might find himself tongue-tied.  This is simply a habit rooted in a bad experience from high school.

I remember finding myself in a pattern of anxious thinking after a year-long struggle to sell my home in 2003.  I had four children at the time under the age of six. I kept my home flawlessly clean for showings—85 showings!  Can you imagine scrubbing floors and baseboards and staging the furniture perfectly 85 times? All the while with toddlers and babies crawling about my feet and preschoolers tugging at my hem. The constant cycle of adrenaline—clean the house, show the house, wait in anticipation, receive disappointing news, get the call for the next showing—left me repeating a pattern of anxious thoughts that led to a habit.  Once the house sold, the crisis was over.  I figured no more anxiety, right?  Wrong.  My mind was so used to the pattern of anxiety repeating itself that it looked for something else to put in place of the house selling anxiety.  I repeated the emotional cycle with everything from waiting for news on a medical test to waiting to hear from a friend who was deciding whether the book club I invited her to join was a good fit for her.  Because the cycle of emotions were so practiced, I found even the trivial silly things like the book club decisions brought the most ridiculous level of anxiety.  In noticing it, I identified it as a habit.

You can do the same with your tears. Just observe yourself as you cry. Notice whether the tears are cleansing you or digging you deeper into sadness. Sometimes we can be tricked into mixing up cleansing tears of grief from tears of self-pity and self-doubt fed by whispered lies from the enemy.

Only you and the Lord know if your pattern of grieving and bouts of tears have tipped beyond a healthy level, but if you find you might have developed a habit, don’t feel alone.  It’s a common experience among those who’ve been through difficult events in their lives.

Come back tomorrow when I share with you what I learned about dealing with the habit self-doubt and anxiety.