So you can come along

A girl with stories

Advent, Light and Life December 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 9:24 am
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In the beginning there was a voice, the Creator. “Let there be light.” and he separated the light from the darkness and there was morning and there was evening for the very first time (Genesis 1). This same voice breathed out the little lights to govern the night; because even in the darkness, He provides the light.
There was a promise made under those same stars, even after everything went wrong and we decided the Creator, the Light-maker, was not worthy of our trusting obedience. So darkness broke open with separation and death…but the Light continued to shine. He continued his long-range plan to separate the light from the darkness. The same God who created the stars and man, used the same voice with which He calls out the lights by name to speak that promise under the stars of a blessing for all (Genesis 15).
We, the created, continued to walk in darkness as slaves to sin and the same voice spoke as light shown from a bush that would not burn up and another promise was made in the darkness (Exodus 3). That same promise-keeping, light-breathing, Creator made a way in the wilderness with a pillar of light to guide as sin sent us wandering (Exodus 13)
Never once did He intend for us, the promise-receivers to be alone. Never once. So in His long-term plan to separate the Light and the darkness, He sent the best He had. He sent Himself, the only Son He had, fully God and fully man to us. Light came, born in darkness into the middle of darkness, under the same stars of promises centuries before, to redeem every one of us and so to separate us from the darkness once and for all.

 

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
:: Isaiah 9: 2 ::

 

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
:: Isaiah 42: 5-7 ::

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
:: John 1: 1-5 ::

 

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,

that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
:: 1 John 1: 5 ::

 

 

Jesus came and made right every wrong that hung like chains on each of us. He came with grace so weightless, so full of light, it pierced right through the darkest of nights and the darkest of hearts, filling every single inch with everlasting, never-ending, chain-breaking grace!

 

Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light”….”I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness”.
:: John 12: 35-36, 46 ::

 

 

Our Savior, the Light, came into our darkness and died in darkness for you and for me (Matthew 27). He took on all the hurt, the shame, the separation, the wrath that was due us because of His great love. This is the hope of Advent; the Light came to save us in the darkest of nights, died and rose in the dawn’s early light. The Father called to each star in the sky, the same little lights he made in the beginning, the same stars he made a promise to Abraham under, the same stars that shone over the very first Advent in Bethlehem 33 years earlier…He called to them as they made way for the greater light, the sun, to dawn and announce the resurrection morning that gives us cause for hope in the second Advent. Jesus, the Light of the world, arose with his face shining like lightning (Matthew 28)!

 

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
:: 2 Corinthians 4:6 ::

 

*****************

 

This Advent season started for me, appropriately enough, in a waiting room. There, we prayed to the God of Advent, who spoke the light into being, the God who breathed out stars and came to be Emmanuel, God WITH us. My dad was about to go under for another heart procedure with a promised more permanent fix.

 
The night before Advent, I was driving home from some counseling sessions. I make this drive regularly and without much thought. That night was different though. All the sudden, on my right, was a valley of light. Every roof in that subdivision was lined in white lights, like glowing arrows pointed up. Without even thinking about it, I slowed down, took a deep breath and exhaled a whispered, “Thank you.”

 
In this season when the nights are longest, coldest…He has us intentionally looking for light. Candles, Christmas trees, fire places, all the warmth and light dispelling darkness. This year more than any other, I’m finding myself and the ones I love intentionally scheduling our time to go and look at lights all around us. There is this budgeting of time and making space to seek out light.

 

That same Light of Advent, shone during our stay in the waiting room for what felt like the longest six hours ever, and led us to fix our eyes not on what is seen in the darkness but what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4). Our hope and prayer is in our Creator who separates the Light from the darkness. He is our, “Hallelujah” in the midst of the waiting, when my hope felt bruised up and my weeping eyes weary, He is always there, doing a new thing.
After those long hours, we met my dad in the recovery room where one of the first things he asked for was for me to play “How Great Thou Art”. As the anesthetic wore off, right there in his hospital bed, the Light of Advent and the lightness of grace so weightless caused a grateful hand to raise, palm open, giving praise and receiving grace.

 

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For you and I this Advent and Christmas, whether in hospital beds or church pews, in the darkest of nights or the lightest of dawns, we can look up and raise our heads, because our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21: 28). Because of our great, unchanging God who separates the Light from the darkness, we can look up just as Abraham did at that star filled sky, just as the wise men did to find the star over our Savior, just as we will when the God of the Second Advent arrives! We look for the Light!

 

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 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.

:: Revelation 21:22-23 ::

 

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

:: Revelation 22: 4-5 ::

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Us and Them September 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 3:52 pm

But what about the children?

Don’t you know they’ll have no place?

Don’t you know we’re to be separate, called out?

You know that means from “them”, right?

And doesn’t it say not be unequally yoked?

But what about the curse of Ham?

What do you have in common anyway?

Relationships are hard enough without that added difficulty.

I’m only saying this because I’m trying to protect you.

Don’t you know the risk you’re taking?

Times may have changed, but some things will never

You’ll bring the hardship on yourself

What do you have to prove?

Why are you doing this to me? To us?

You think you’re alright now, but you just wait….

Are you alright with never being fully understood?

Why now? Don’t you see the news?

I’m not saying “we’re” any better than “them”. I’m just saying “we’re” different.

You know, it’s not just “us”. You think “they’ll” accept you?

Does he have any children? I didn’t ask if he has been married, I asked if he has any children? How can you be sure?

How black is he? Does he act black?

Does he expect you to act that way?

You can’t possibly. I forbid it. What will people say?

 

 

********

I’m the great-granddaughter of a full-blooded Irishman, a gentle and beautiful French lady on one side. On the other, I’m the great-granddaughter of a strong and vivacious polish woman with a severely stubborn Irish husband from the wrong side of the tracks. There is a little English decent sprinkled in on both sides. I am a child of intermarriage to the nth degree. The melanin count may have remained the same all the way through, but my DNA tells a beautiful story with chapters from several countries in Europe. In those chapters you will find a variety of clans, tribes, tounges and many “You can’t possibly“‘s, “I forbid it”‘s, “What will people say?“…With many “There’s ‘us’ and there’s ‘them’.” to top it all off. It never stopped the love that trickled down to me in grace to say, “My name is Amanda Elizabeth LynnOne worthy of love, consecrated to God with a surname being Celtic for ‘near the water’.” 

 

********

 

God created man in His own image, 

in the image of God He created him;

male and female He created them.

:: Genesis 1: 27 ::

 

There is neither Jew nor Greek,

there is neither slave nor free man,

there is neither male nor female;

for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

:: Galatians 3:28 ::

 

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility  by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

:: Ephesians 2: 14-16 ::

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

:: Philippians 2: 1-8 ::

 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”  And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

:: Acts 10: 10-16, 34-35 ::

 

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.

:: Romans 2: 9-11 ::

 

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”  have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

:: James 2: 1-4, 8-9 ::

 

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

:: Revelation 7:9-10 ::

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,

that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

:: John 3:16 ::

 

Promises, Promises September 13, 2017

Filed under: His truth,Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 4:56 pm

When was the last time you made a promise? Do you remember the last time someone made you one? Did they keep it?

My dad has always told me that a person’s word is invaluable. He has always shown my brother, sister and I how to be one who follows through on what they say, someone you can count on. “A person’s only as good as their word.”

These last couple of months have been wrought with unanswered questions, health scares that are drawn out and slow, devastation of both the natural and relational across our country and here among my family and beloved friends.

It’s in these times that we can run to whatever types of shelter we have built. In our family, that shelter is built on a solid rock and is known by one name, the Word of God.  Our one defense against anxiety and despair are the promises found there. They are both faithful and true.

Things get sticky though, when we confuse our wants with what He promises.

He promises us that He is and will be near to the brokenhearted, that he binds up their wounds. He doesn’t promise that our hearts won’t break.

When he speaks about who he is, he says that in Him, all things hold together. What he doesn’t promise us is that it won’t feel sometimes like all things are falling apart.

He does not promise that some days we will feel completely out of control. He does promise that a moment has never and will never pass in which He was not sovereign over all things. 

He does not promise that we won’t have trouble. In fact, he promises we will and he promises to never leave us, never forget us, and that he has overcome the world.

He does not promise that we won’t wait or have unanswered questions or feel helpless. But he does promise that He is good, that He will never change, that He knows all our days before they come to be and that He works all things together for his glorious purpose…which is for our good!

He does not promise that there will not be suffering, times of hunger, destitution, danger, low lows, or even death. But He does promise that there is NOTHING that can separate us from His love.

When it seems like nothing else will hold, we have an anchor of hope for our souls, sure and steadfast. And surely every word He speaks is a promise because he is the author of truth

 

**********

In the past couple of months, my family has spent more time in hospital waiting rooms than we’d wish on anyone. Really, if I’m honest, that’s been the modus operandi for my family for the last two years. I have learned that when the nurse comes in with a somber face and says the doctor will be coming in to speak with you…it’s rarely to provide good news. I have learned that there is community unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere found in that ICU waiting room. I have learned what it means to celebrate every small victory and mourn every loss whether it’s for “us” or for “them”…Because really those victories and losses were truly just OURS.

In this season (please let it be a season because that means it changes), my dad’s value of keeping one’s word meant a whole lot of him pointing me to the One whose word never fails. 

As I type this, friends, a clot about 3 peppercorns wide (that’s the way the cardiologist described it) is residing in my dad’s heart. It feels more like a tiny time bomb than it does pepper, but that’s just me. It came to be due to his heart being out of normal rhythm. To reset the rhythm, we wait. We wait on the clot to dissolve and pray God keeps it right smack dab where it is. And if you missed the operative word in this paragraph..it’s WAIT. It is slow work. Dependent. It’s a palms-wide-open-helplessly-desperate type of waiting.

During this time of waiting, we remember the promises of God are not our wants. They are truer and more steadfast than our deceptively sinful hearts’ desires.

I don’t know what you’re waiting on right now. Maybe it’s the child you desperately long for, or the spouse who you feel will complete you, or the job that would solve all the problems. In our lack of the things we are waiting on, we have a choice to make. We can choose to focus our eyes on what we do not have or on what is already ours in the promises of our Creator. He is GOD. And He chose to be GOD WITH US. The Creator of the universe promises to never leave us. He died and rose conquering death to secure that promise of position for us. The position of being right there WITH HIM.

 

 

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

:: 2 Corinthians 19-22 ::

 

 

 

 

Hope at the Corner of Shame & Despair July 13, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 8:36 am

She was 16 when we met. Her blue eyes met her shoe laces more than they met mine. It was clear she had been crying soon before showing up. Her mom had called a few days earlier and clued me into the heaviness that kept this girl’s head bowed. Sin and hurt brought on by others has the ability to bring shame so weighty it feels crushing, even suffocating. This is where we met, at the corner of shame and despair. We started down that road together one step at a time. Walking with her, I knew the ravages of sin are too much for any words I have, but there is a Healer. As I ushered this young lady into the presence of Him who died so she might live, the Word came alive in a new way. I watched the Word heal and repair a wound so severe that my words would not stand a chance.
Over the course of the next few months, she shared her invaluable story with me and piece by piece, she bravely offered it not only with me, but to the Lord. At first, her instinct was to draw back as tears would fill her eyes as the lie that she was irreparably broken or was “too much” clouded her mind. It was there the Word of God would do what only the Word can do. She pressed in and found the story of God replete with instances of Him taking the worst case scenario, restoring it and redeeming it to be more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:17). She found herself in women like Dinah and Tamar (Genesis 34 & 38) and recognized these women as central to the greater story of our Creator wanting to be near us. For it is in and through these women’s family tree that Christ chose to make his earthly entrance.
As this precious girl saw her story within the whole story of scripture, the healing came in slow yet steady waves. With each passing week, those blue eyes became clearer and the ratio of shoe gazing to eye contact started to shift. It was a true picture of Psalm 34:4-5

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Soul questions rose to the surface during this season as we walked together. Truthfully, both of us were asking, “What if I let go with both hands of trying to be enough? What if it turns out I am too much of the wrong and not enough of the right?” This is where the living and active Word, which does not return void, but accomplishes the purposes of God (Hebrews 4:12 & Isaiah 55:11) continued to be more than enough. She began to see that it is not the story of abuse that makes her invaluable in the greater story of God. She saw herself as defined not by her story, rather by what the Word says about her.

The Word meets us in our deepest need: this young lady’s, mine, and in yours. I have seen the gift of God’s word at work renewing minds and can certainly say your story also fits into the greater story of His redemption. Our hurts, our indescribably difficult circumstances, are probably incredibly diverse. Yet we can be sure of His character has been, is and will be the God who wants to be near us, to heal us, who never waivers.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

:: Psalm 147:3 ::

The God of all creation who has been pursuing us from a garden, (Genesis 1) through all the hurt, will meet us, forgiven, healed and whole in a glorious city (Revelation 21) where I am sure those blue eyes will ditch the shoe laces for good and gaze upon His face.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

:: Revelation 21:4 ::

 

Helmet Child June 4, 2017

Filed under: Discipleship,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 7:31 pm
Tags: , ,

Would you consider yourself a protective person? Pretty chill until someone messes with one of your people and then you’re up in arms? About wanting to keep someone from any perceived threat?

Protecting others can be tricky.

I want to tell you a story about a kid who wore a helmet when her parents discovered she was a bit too clumsy, accident, prone curious for the average toddler.

What if they hadn’t put the helmet on her? And instead they had put her in fences of a play pin with only a 4×4 space to explore? Or what if they used a “child safety tether” (read: leash) instead?

There she was, the kid with a helmet whose dad pulled her back from walking in distractedly in front of a few buses. The same kid sneaky watched an episode of E.R. behind the parents (who were totally obsessed) circa 1996. In that episode, they highlighted the genocide in Rwanda and she decided then and there, tears and all, that she was going to have to go to Africa. That same kid’s parents stood at security and hugged her off to India, then to her long-awaited Africa, then to her graduate school where they couldn’t put a helmet on her to keep her from bearing the burdens of others. That same kid was drawn to jobs like emergency rooms, safe houses for abuse victims, crisis hotlines and talk-you-off-the-ledge type jobs.

What if her parents took their job as protector to mean they needed to fence her in, not let her get in over her head, not let her try something she might fail at? How much sheltering is helpful and what role does trust play in all of it?

The bounds of protection in spiritual terms maybe look something like this. Do my spiritual leaders make sure I have a helmet on and then let me free or do they build 4×4 fences and say these are the boundaries in which God is known and experienced.

Is the helmet of salvation enough? What’s the Body’s role in protecting each other? What about under-shepherds?

From the experiences I’ve had and the lives of mentors I bear witness to, I see that sometimes protecting brothers or sisters in Christ means knowing the Lord is just as present in our questions as He is in our answers. The urge to protect another spiritually should always be checked by the Spirit of God and aligned with scripture.

If we aren’t careful, we see members of the Body being crippled and stunted in the name of spiritual protection. The goal cannot be to keep others from any and all suffering. Prayers for safety are much more prolific than are prayers for growth and the glory of God is what I’m sayin’.

The word “suffer” is from the Latin and literally translates ‘to bear under’. Suffering is something that we are promised in scripture if we are His.

 

In this world you will have trouble,

but take heart!

I have overcome the world.

::  John 16:33 ::

 

I don’t know about you, but I have never hand-picked my own genre of suffering. It is out of our control and that alone causes us to suffer for lack of trust. This means we are bearing under that which is out of our control. In this, it’s more than the fact that we can’t take the actual trouble; we can’t seem to handle not having total control of it and/or be self-sufficient. This is the very thing Christ came to redeem. Suffering urges our hearts to surrender so that we can more intimately identify with our Lord gaining wisdom and giving God the glory!

But what if we think protecting other believers means keeping them from all suffering? Too often, we (I) want to rescue others from God-ordained suffering too soon. OR step in an attempt to protect another believer and so direct them away from the opportunity to be stretched in their faith.

Praise God that those who have protected me have not stolen me away from the joy of my suffering and the growing of my faith for fear that I may be hurt in the process. I pray my brothers and sisters in Christ have the same story to tell when it comes to our friendship.

It’s taking part in trusting others to come into my suffering that invites strength in the body. This strength is not like the world’s as it doesn’t toughen up, rather it leaves room for more vulnerability. This is the type of suffering in community that helps me in the fight to keep a soft heart!

 

My clumsiness adventurous spirit hasn’t changed much since I was learning to walk (i.e. I half fell/half walked out of a restaurant earlier this week), but I’m so thankful for physical and spiritual protectors who trust the Spirit’s work in my life. Whose ultimate goal was to see me grow and not to see me safe. I’ll keep that spiritual helmet on and am thankful beyond words for it. Let’s be careful to examine our spiritually protective instincts and remember we have a Father who is sovereign in the details.

 

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

:: Psalm 16:5-11::

 

Crisis Response for Children May 23, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 5:05 pm

Flipping through channels on the evening news, scrolling through social media, tuning into your local radio station…reports of violence or threats of violence are not far from us at any time. As adults, we see the media reporting the events of the last twenty-four hours and we have a variety of emotional and even physical responses. Your children are doing the same and are turning to you as their support to process what they witness. Below are some tips to help you navigate these delicate and vital conversations.

 

1. Limit media exposure
As stated above, the media has never been more readily accessible to us. We have wonderful tools for being up to date on current events, but these also provide inappropriate access to events too intense for children to handle. It is impossible and unhealthy to shield our children from all violence and negativity, but we need to filter these developmentally. It is important to be aware of what your child is exposed to in order to be the source of their processing questions or concerns.
2. Be open and receptive to their response.
Your child can trust you to be the safest place to bring questions, fear, anxiety and other responses to witnessing trauma. Although these are difficult for parents to hear from their children, it is important not to give into the temptation to distract or avoid these intense discussions and “just move on”. Giving our child an outlet to express concerns and ask questions is pivotal to their process. It is important for your child to know their responses are normal and that their compassion and empathy are valued.
3. Let them see you react.
Children are the best imitators the world will ever know. They will model what they see in the people they trust the most. Try during this time to keep routines as normal as possible as crisis events can evoke a sense of uncontrolled chaos for your child. Come to conversations with your children as a support after you have had time to process your own crisis response. Share answers or information that is developmentally appropriate for your child and be prepared to say, “I don’t know” when appropriate. Modeling with your words and actions how to respond to crisis is the most effective way to reach your child.
4. Look for the light
As we acknowledge the darkness, the important aspect of this process is seeing the light in contrast. Make sure to spend time with your children acknowledging all the helpers and first responders as compared to the one person doing the harm. Put an emphasis on the effects of those who provide help, comfort and healing in the midst of difficult times. Let them see you praying for the victims and their families and trusting God to be God knowing we are not. Share stories of when God worked an event for good. When it looks like the bad guys are winning it just means the story is not over yet.
5. Remember that love is the surest way to drive out fear.
If your child’s response is anger or asking what they can do to “fight the bad guys”, remember that loving others defies hate and violence. A normal response to an event like a terrorist attack is anger and generalization. Children may associate an isolated event with all large gatherings of people and the assign violence to an entire people group based on the actions of a few. Parents do well to treat isolated events as isolated and not generalize anxiety or fear responses to all similar events or people groups.

 

*Resources for you and your child*
Children’s books for addressing crisis events can be helpful to process reactions. A couple that have allowed children to explore their emotional responses are;
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes and Sasha J. Mudlaff
“This book is meant for children who have witnessed or endured a traumatic experience. Sherman, the protagonist of the story, witnesses an unspecified, horrible thing and begins to have stomach aches and nightmares. He keeps his scary story bottled up, and it affects the way he feels and interacts with others. When his teacher Ms. Maple encourages him to share his emotions, Sherman learns that he can recount what he saw and that talking to a trusted adult can make him feel better.”
Jenny Is Scared: When Sad Things Happen in the World by Carol Shuman
“Shuman’s story begins the conversation between child and caregiver about how to maintain one’s sense of well-being in a challenging world. The book is for young readers who fear violence or terrorism, and focuses on providing them with both short-term and long-term coping mechanisms…”

 
Please seek professional assistance if your child does not seem to be coping well and/or is exhibiting ongoing behaviors such as;
o Trouble falling/staying asleep, nightmares or other sleep disturbances
o Lack of or significant change in appetite
o Complaints of headaches, stomach-ache or fatigue
o Social regression with peers or increased separation anxiety
o Common fears are heightened or intensified

You can contact us at Genesis Christian Counseling LLC at 314-801-7995 to talk to a caring professional to come alongside you and your child in a difficult time.

 

Life or Death and Butterfly Tiles May 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 3:15 pm
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It was just another Sunday evening when I was in a room with a dozen counselors answering hundreds of calls coming in from people hurting and not knowing what else to do.

“Crisis line, this is Amanda. How may I help you?”

Starting in January 2015, I spent two nights each week  that year as a “crisis intervention clinician” which is fancy speak for being a crisis response counselor.

 

                                       Crisis: noun [krahy-seez]: Latin: 1375 A.D. krī́nein to decide, separate, judge

  •   stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; a turning point.
  • condition of instability or danger leading to a decisive change
  • point in a story at which hostile elements are most tensely opposed to each other.
 

Sometimes, their crisis was deciding whether to live or die, whether to stay with him or leave and report their injuries, whether to go through with the pregnancy or not. Sometimes they were looking for a place to sleep that night or some food they wouldn’t have to steal and sell their dignity for.

Sometimes, their crisis was needing to hear someone say, “I hear you. I’m here.” And the only way they knew to hear it was to call our line.

More often than not, there were lots of crisis moments leading up to the moment they decided to give us call. There was the moment they visited the church to see if someone would notice (they didn’t) and that moment they smiled at the person on the sidewalk and that person scowled back, that moment they tried calling their brother and he didn’t pick up, the moment the all the kids at school declared them “other”. These are the moments

What I heard was that someone’s day was easily shaped by a smile, a kind word, someone taking the time to really hear them to see them.

We don’t realize how often things really are life or death.

 

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During the winter of that year my other job as a counselor in a private practice finds me fielding the phone call every counselor dreads. I needed to go a hospital for children because a child is considering whether to choose life or death. In her eyes, death doesn’t look as bad as life does. She and I discuss a safety plan and a life worth living between conversations about her needing new chap stick and stressing about the homework she was missingShe confessed this desire to end it all was mostly about wanting her parents to see her, to love her for who she is and not who they want her to be.  She was serious about taking her life, but would have traded it all to have a conversation with her dad where no one yells.

In a way, words had driven this girl to where we were. Words and the lack thereof. The hospital was there to keep her safe from herself. And words were her way out. She has to say she won’t do it. She could simply speak against death. She merely had to say she’d “follow up with her treatment plan”.

And as all the words were said, I looked up and there were butterflies painted on the ceiling tiles.

Life and death were hanging in the balance. In a children’s hospital. Under butterfly tiles.

 

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Proverbs 18 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death” and boy is that true!

 

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

:: Matthew 12:36 ::

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

:: James 1:19 ::

Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.
:: Proverbs 12:25 ::
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
:: Colossians 4:6 ::
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
:: Psalm 141:3 ::
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
:: Ephesians 4:29 ::
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I think it’s no small thing that the Lord is known by the name, “The WORD of God”, that the Word says “In the beginning was the Word” and that the Word SPOKE creation into beginning when it could have gone down any kind of way He chose. He chose to create all things by using His words. He will bring all things to a glorious close by the word of his mouth.  Words are significant to the God who created you and me.

We are created in the image of God and speak to those created in His image. No word is too small to matter. Whether our words are spoken on stages or in living rooms, conference rooms or college dorms…they hold weight. They are either forming us into the image of Christ or belittling His image in others or in ourselves.

Eugene Peterson once said,

“The metaphors Jesus used for the life of ministry are frequently images of the single, the small, and the quiet, which have effects far in excess of their appearance: salt, leaven, seed. Our culture publicizes the opposite emphasis: the big, the multitudinous, the noisy.”

 

We may believe the everyday way we spend our time, who we choose to smile at, which words we choose to say and which we don’t, are all just little insignificant things…ordinary.

It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.

:: Oswald Chambers ::

 

These moments or ordinary life are points of collision for souls whose ideas about life or death are being shaped in every moment. Some are approaching the tipping point with each passing day and some of those people are you reading this. When was the last time you really felt like someone heard you, really heard you? When is the last time you really listened to someone else?

 

Looking back on those crisis calls and that first time in a children’s hospital with a suicidal girl…and every difficult “Visitor’s Pass” clad arrival to a hospital since….there are moments of crisis that don’t just spring up on a random Tuesday. These are mountains of hurt on top of each other that were built one stone at a time. Words said or unsaid. Words heard or unheard. The good news is that we can be part of lifting the weight off by choosing our words with the precision they deserve and with taking the minutes we have to hear someone with no agenda but to hear them.

 

The little girl under those butterfly tiles is about to be marking two years since that day and has put in a ton of work to get where she is. Her fight isn’t over yet, but there is hope with each day that passes. She just ROCKED out her college entrance exams!

My pastor says, “Every miracle begins with a problem.” The way I see it, there are front row seats to miracles all around us if we take the time to see them and listen.