Archives For Restoration

turmoil 2341242491_2023d46b93_zWe were having our annual Family Vision Retreat when I made a discovery about my family:

We need more peace in 2015 than we had in 2014.

We were reading 2 Timothy 1:2 where Paul wished Timothy three specific things: Grace, mercy and peace.

Doug, as he was leading our discussion, asked each of us to rate our own personal level of all three during the year of 2014. One by one we ranked ourselves with a number between 1 and 10.

And person by person we seemed to hear the same diagnosis: the one we ranked the lowest in was peace!

Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised that this would have been this group's greatest need. For as I looked around the circle, I noted young adults who had each walked through some challenging seasons.

I knew something of their heart commitments to the Lord. They are passionate people yearning to know Him more intimately every day.

But somehow the pressures and stresses of daily living had squelched their blessing of personal peace that the Bible so clearly promises.

So I became a mom on a mission. I just decided that 2015 would be the year of greater peace in all of our lives.

Now, you may be wondering if that is something a person can just "decide."

Can we have greater peace even if the bills still need paid, the healing has not yet come and the house is still not clean?

Can we have greater peace when ISIS is holding the world hostage and little children are still dying from infectious diseases?

Is it really possible that no matter what happens in this new year, we could look back in January of 2016 and say.....2015 was my year of greatest peace ever?

My answer most definitely is yes.

God is in the business of rushing peace into the hearts of His children once again. He is not withholding His promise, waiting for us to get our acts together and work a little harder. He is the Prince of Peace. He is our Shalom. He is our Daddy God.

My quest on behalf of my loved ones has led me to go back to the foundations of God's word. And what I re-discovered......well, it is setting us at peace again!!!

May I share it with you over the next few posts?

Lisa

Image: Marcusrg “Turmoil”   via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

 

 

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Today, I want to reach out to those of our Frontline Moms and Dads who might be struggling at this Christmas time.

Perhaps you recently lost a loved one.

Perhaps you recently lost a job.

Perhaps you have emotional pain or physical pain.

Perhaps the kids are not in order and you just cannot pull off the holiday flair like you so desperately want.

We know what it is like to not have a very easy Christmas!

So if this message is for you, please know your Heavenly Father sees your struggle....and He cares.

In fact, He cares so much that He sent His son in the form of a baby to carry your weights and your sorrows.

Our family is praying for you today. We are standing in the gap believing that even as the Christmas glitz may not produce for you this year...the light of Jesus will still guide your heart home to the One who will never leave or forsake you.

Lisa

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Image: Jackle “Christmas Time” via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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Ok. If you clicked on this title, you may already be under some fear...or some conviction!

Here is what I know as a mom of many children:

I love each of children completely.

I would die for each of my children without question.

And even the accusation of me having a "favorite" child hurts my mom heart!

So if that is the case, how could I make one of our children the family scapegoat?

The word "scapegoat" comes from the story found in the Old Testament in Leviticus 16.

In the sacrifice system God enacted to cover the sins of the nation of Israel, the priests were commanded to ceremonially transfer the sins of the people to a goat. The goat was then released into the wilderness, thereby bearing the weight of the nation's guilt.

We need to understand that Jesus was our scapegoat. He bore the guilt of all our sins and our children’s sins, for “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

But when dealing with conflict and failure within our families, there is something in us that still wants to assign blame.

In some families there is one person who is always blamed for problems and thereby carries the weight of the blame.... even when the problem is not truly that person's fault! This is called “scapegoating.”

Obviously, scapegoating a child is very, very dangerous to a child's development! It could lead to shame, guilt, broken relationships, depression, and a whole list of terrible issues.

If a parent makes one child a scapegoat, it can become a family tradition, with the other parent and the siblings joining in. If the family system is deeply involved in "scapegoating," they most assuredly need some serious help.

But what if the problem of "scapegoating" is happening in subtle ways that are not so easy to see?

* The kid who struggles most with remembering to clean up after himself gets blamed automatically in our mind when any mess appears.

* The argumentative child that seems to pick fights easily with his siblings gets blamed instantly when any kid disruption arises.

*The always-late child gets blamed when the family runs behind in getting to church (even when everyone else was slow to get to the car.)

Scapegoating can happen just because it seems so logical; we are busy and don't take time to collect all the facts!

So what can we do? Here are my 5 thoughts....and maybe you can think of more:

1.  Stay alert!
Since we know this can happen, we must keep a watchful eye on ourselves.

2. Have the same heart as Jesus.
Compassionate and just. Ever loving, truthful and forgiving.

3. Bring this issue into the light.
Talk about it as a family. Express a desire for your family to avoid this unhealthy and ungodly temptation to scapegoat anyone.

4. Stop it immediately.
When you note a subtle—or not so subtle—case of scapegoating happening, stop it in its tracks. That will take the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit! Pray for the grace to break the cycle of singling out and blaming the scapegoated child. Forge a new family tradition of respect and love for each member, even when dealing with conflict, failure and disappointment.

5. Repent and let it go.
Sometimes after the problem of scapegoating has been resolved, the conflict lingers on because of hurt, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Help your family to get a fresh start with proper repentance. Ask the Lord to help you speak genuine, loving words of affirmation to all your children, including the one who was previously scapegoated. Then trust God to renew your relationships and write a new chapter in your family's life!

 

Image: Gianluca Ruggiero “Scapegoat” via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Gratefully linked to:  Making your Home Sing Monday

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What I heard yesterday, every parent in America today needs to hear. I mean that sincerely.

All of our sessions in the National Sexual Abuse Prevention Week have been extremely helpful to Doug and me. We strongly urge you to take advantage of the archived tapes.

Today I am sending a special plug for the one with Angela Williams of Voice Today. Her message is called The Grooming Mystery

Angela and my daughter Kalyn describe for us, using their own personal stories, how they were controlled by their perpetrators.

And what they tell you will definitely affect how you protect your children. Please, invest the time to listen.

If I had only heard this message 13 years ago....oh how differently my family's story could have been.

Love you all... and praying this week for your children's safety.

Will you pass this audio link to 3 friends??

 

Image Credit: Robert the Noid “A reflection of myself....” via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Suicide: Are We Missing the Point?

admin —  August 17, 2014 — 1 Comment

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by guest blogger, Karen Hardin

I appreciate my friend Karen's thoughts for our families on this most distressing story this week. –Lisa

The headlines began populating the internet and media by mid-afternoon August 11, trying to make sense of a senseless loss.

“Robin Williams Dies by Suicide at 63.”

 An unthinkable tragedy from a man who some have said “had everything” and yet obviously he didn’t. He didn’t have peace. But is that to say, he didn’t have some type of relationship with God, as some have suggested in their tweets and Facebook posts? Not necessarily. But human nature wants to blame something or someone and so we search for answers. And searching is good, if it leads us to the correct responses. So far, based on the innumerable cyberspace responses and outpouring of grief, I’m not convinced that has happened. And I am left wondering....Are we missing the point?

The questions and statements that are flooding the internet in response to this tragedy shine a light on yet another tragedy. We are potentially asking the wrong questions and making the wrong assessments.  Here are just some of the posts and tweets flooding cyberspace after the announcement of Williams’ death.

FB Post: “What if he had known God?”

FB Post: Well, at last he is free.

Tweet: “Genie (in reference to his role in “Aladdin”) you’re free.

Tweet: It is chemical imbalance and not his fault.

Tweet: Now you can be happy.

But does suicide truly bring a final happiness? Is knowing God the “answer” to fighting suicidal thoughts? Can we realistically push all the blame to a chemical imbalances—although they are  real?

Popular blogger Matt Walsh said in his post of August 12, “it isn’t just clinical, it’s spiritual,” a statement which has brought him under fire. I agree with Walsh. Depression, which precipitates suicide, isn’t just clinical. There is a spiritual element to this insidious plight that has taken the lives of young and old alike. There is a spiritual oppression that certainly plays a hideous role which sucks its victims into a hole so black and dark that they feel they will never emerge. And yet, there is no denying that depression is also clinical, as studies have shown that chemical imbalances in the brain and nervous system are definitely contributing factors in this issue of mental health.

As a parent we have to ask the hard questions, “What about my children or their friends?” Are they fighting this battle? Are they masking the fear, pain or an imbalance in their system that makes them susceptible to consider death an alternative to life?

For those who say they cannot comprehend what would push someone to consider suicide as a viable alternative, let me share some important facts:

  1. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in American teens.
  2. Suicide rates are four times higher among men than women.
  3. The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.

Unless you have battled depression, (and it is important to note that not all who battle depression also battle suicidal thoughts) it is probably incomprehensible to grasp what would push someone to the brink of such despair that they feel their only alternative is to end it all. What kind of pain would lead someone to believe that there is truly no hope? And that is the key. The pain.

On August 12, Walsh commented on his blog, “I can’t comprehend the complete, total, absolute rejection of life. It’s a tragic choice, truly, but it is a choice, and we have to remember that. Your suicide doesn’t happen to you; it doesn’t attack you like cancer or descend upon you like a tornado. It is a decision made by an individual. A bad decision. Always a bad decision.”

I agree with Walsh—up to a point. I agree that the decision to attempt suicide is a choice….a decision…and always a bad decision. But I don’t believe Williams' decision was to reject life. Instead wasn’t it a decision to reject what had become for him unbearable pain and be free from the torment? 

It is important to understand that contrary to Walsh’s post, depression can and does descend on many like a tornado. It IS like a cancer that eats away at the mental well-being of its victims from the inside out. The battle to return to “normal” is not a simple fix. Many who are in depression, face seasons in which the battle is daily. For them each day can be a fight—a decision--to stay in the game. It is a choice they make, in spite of the dark tunnel in which they find themselves. The painful escalation of whatever situation seems to be closing in and sucking the very life and breath from them. So how can we walk with them to keep them from losing the battle? From making the wrong choice?

When asked about Williams’ mental well-being, over and over his friends and colleagues responded, “I had no idea he was in such despair. I wish I would have known.”

Williams, like many who battle depression, chose to mask his pain—the emotional and mental turmoil—rather than reveal the anguish that penetrated his heart, soul and mind. He used comedy as a therapeutic drug that kept the focus off his personal problems. Make people laugh. Make them think everything is ok. But it wasn’t.

Which brings me to the real point that I think we wish we did not have to face:

Maybe there is a “Robin Williams” sitting at the desk next to me, or standing in the mall beside me, or sitting at the dining room table with me --- masking their pain and turmoil behind a smile or joke. Because too often, in my busyness, I can overlook the obvious often right in front of me.

And so tonight I am humbled to lay aside the questions I cannot settle about brain chemicals or demonic torment and instead whisper an earnest prayer....."Lord, what can I do? How can I step out of my own world and be more astute at recognizing the pain and the needs of those around me?"

And then when I am forced to think of all those who tonight could be tormented about what they did not see and what they did not do, I would add on another part to that prayer....

"Lord, for those family and friends who are going through the ultimate agony of regret, grant them grace and peace. And ultimately may You be the One they run to for strength and courage and hope. Amen."            Image Source:  Wikipedia

Karen Hardin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Hardin is a seasoned homeschool mom of three, author and literary agent with more than 25 years in the Christian publishing industry. For more information on Karen or to subscribe to her writing and marketing tips blog go to: www.prioritypr.org

Related post:

Is Suicide the Parent’s Fault?