Week 2- Divorce Recovery …” How Long Will I Live With This Pain?”

WEEK 2- Divorce Recovery

You may ask “HOW LONG WILL I LIVE WITH THIS PAIN?”

  1. Will I  Ever be Happy Again?
  2. I Can’t Stand This!
  3. Where do I Go From Here?
  4. I feel literally TORN from my spouse, my dreams, my life….

Grieving Your Marriage

  1. Don’t avoid it
  2. Don’t rush yourself
  3. Take a personal inventory
  4. Take care of your body

Roadblocks to Recovery

  1. Stuck in your past ( you don’t live there anymore)
  2. Being unsafe (you don’t have to test the waters)
  3. Making divorce your identity (divorce isn’t your name)
  4. Numbing pain (drugs, alcohol, sex, work…don’t solve it)
  5. Unnecessary sufferings (pick and choose what works for you)

God’s message to you: “the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion….Isaiah 61:1-3manalone

Why Do Churches Treat Singleness Like a Problem?

“Don’t worry, you’ll find the right man,” she said to me (for the third time) just before shoving me into the dreaded gaggle of single ladies waiting for the bouquet to be tossed.

“Well, what if I don’t,” I asked. “What if I never meet the one? What if I never get married or have kids or ‘settle down?’ Will you still value me?”

It’s a question I have been faced with numerous times in my thirtysomething years: If I remain single, what will that do for my ministry, my growth, my friendships and my relationship with the Church?

Sadly, no matter what I come with, all options seem to be saturated in placating words, pitying eyes and aggressive attempts to set me up. But here’s the thing, in almost all arenas of life, I actually like being single (save for when attempting to recover my comforter after washing the duvet, move a dresser or play tennis). I have chosen it, for now at least.

If I remain single, what will that do for my ministry, my growth, my friendships and my relationship with the Church?

I get to do what I want, when I want, how I want. I am not embarrassed if I sleep until noon on a day off. I spend my money where I want. I can walk around my house in ratty clothes if I want—because I am not trying to impress anyone. When I have popcorn and string cheese for dinner, nobody cares.

Can it be lonely at times? Sure. But it’s also freeing.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I do wish to be un-single one day. I do want to have children, and I am not opposed to dating. I am not rejecting all potential relationships and I love the concept of marriage, I really do.

Marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love; it absolutely is a gift. I am thrilled when people I love get engaged, and I’ve honestly never been to a wedding where I didn’t cry. I have incredible examples of marriages sprinkled all over my life. I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy.

Marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love; it absolutely is a gift. But marriage is not God’s only gift.

But, marriage is not God’s only gift.

And it is not the central focus of my life’s trajectory, either. Though, to my disappointment, it feels like until finding “the one” becomes my top priority, I may never fully fit into the mold many within the Church long for me to embody.

At the age of 29, I was turned away by couples-only small groups, told by the attendants—some of my closest friends—that we were no longer in the same stage of life, then placed in a group with recent college graduates. I was once implored to get further involved with the church I was attending and after choosing the prayer group was told it was off-limits, as praying with a married man could cause him to stumble. Oh, and I’ve been told that I will not truly know what it means to love until I am married with children.

Recently, a friend confessed that for many years she was dying for a life partner, because her pastor told her this was the only way to heal previous wounds. She eventually got married and within only a few years, she was divorced.

While much of the New Testament speaks of multiplying the Church through community, missions and outreach, it seems like we have a greater focus on growing the faith through marriage and procreation.

“The church disillusioned me,” she told me, “life didn’t get better, instead I was my same broken self. And while I should have gone to counseling, I turned to my husband to fix me, to heal me and that was a huge mistake.”

While much of the New Testament speaks of multiplying the Church through community, missions and outreach (and even implores people to stay single), it seems like we have a greater focus on growing the faith through marriage and procreation.

Think about it like this. If you were to get married around 25, be married for about 40 years, lose your spouse at 75 or so and live to be 90 years old, you’d still live almost half of your life single. That’s a significant amount of time! We as the Church need to recognize that although being married is a beautiful thing, so is being single—neither position trumps the other in matters of value or authority. We are blessed to have diversity of experiences among us.

Paul says it likes this in 1 Corinthians 7:7–8:

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/why-do-churches-treat-singleness-problem#VqWD37aZpEgxmxWX.99

Divorce Recovery – Week One

WEEK 1- Divorce Recovery

What is happening to me?

Effects of Divorce:

1)     Emotional instability- “I’m losing my mind”

2)     Shame- “I feel judged”

3)     Low energy- “So tired”

4)     Stress and anxiety- “Wear and tear”

5)     Confusion- “You can’t function”

a)     Why won’t the pain end?

b)    Why do I still love my ex?

c)     Why do I feel relief?

6)     Accepting what is happening isn’t easy

a)     Don’t deny pain

b)    Don’t start a new relationship

c)     Reset expectations

GOD’s Message to You- “I am …despised by my neighbors- even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me in the streets they run the other way. I am ignored as if I were dead, as if I were a broken pot.” (Psalm 31:11-12 NLT)

Divorce Recovery (revisited) #1

Divorce Recovery 101

I   th have noticed a lot of interest in Divorce Recovery and Divorce in general and will BLOG on said topic for the next several weeks. I welcome your imput. I will also attend and audit a DivorceCare support group and share the basic ideas. Also, check out past related topics….I will forward 3 of the more popular to start off….

1.  – WHY EVERY CHURCH NEEDS A SINGLES MINISTRY:   Have you noticed that most churches cater to the “traditional” family. You know, Mom, Dad and the 2.2 kids. And, these persons should be ministered to! But, what about the 50.5% of the population who is not married? That’s right, over half the population is unmarried. And, most don’t go to church. It would seem that churches that want to succeed in evangelism would seek out the lost…….

     Of course, there are rational reasons to avoid the unmarrieds

  • Many unmarrieds are “needy”. Especially, single mothers and widows. Too much trouble. Funny, the Bible (James 1:27) calls this pure religion.
  • Financial strain. (James, again, 2:1-7) condemns this thought process. And while some unmarried individuals are short of cash…..remember, Bill Gates was a BILLIONAIRE long before he married.
  • Kids of single parents are difficult and undisciplined. Yes, this group needs more mentoring. Couldn’t you be part of the solution? After all, the church is to save the lost.
  • What about “shacking up”. Yes, alot of people are co-habitating without marriage, even raising children. And, yes, it’s not in God’s plan. But, providing support, encouragement and understanding is in HIS will. Only with patience and a good example will Christians make a difference to the unchurched.

2. ARE YOU ANGRY ABOUT CELIBACY?

I am a product of the seventies. “Broadway” Joe Namath, the bachelor quarterback, thanked the girls of NY for never being alone. We watched Charlie’s Angels (Farrah), Rockford (for the action) . Mini skirts, spin the bottle, Love Boat, Betty and Veronica, Ginger and Mary Ann (the girls had Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy) and James Bond. Later, disco and dirty dancing. It was the sexual revolution. Women’s lib said, “men are only good for sex, women can work and pay their own bills”. Men cheered!!!

Then I started going to church. Yes, in the 70’s, “I found It” I graduated high school in ’78. I learned that a Christian had a list to keep. Don’t drink, Don’t smoke (the worst sin because you were destroying the temple) and don’t have sex. “So, how far could you go before you are sinning?” I liked church and had good friends, read my Bible, told others they were going to hell because they didn’t believe what I did…..

My Dad threw me out of the house at 16. Didn’t need me to tell him where he was going, I guess….I finished school, joined the Army, and straddled the fence. See, I had failed to keep a perfect list. Quit church and got involved…over and over and over….then at 32: divorced and hurting (with a hurricane to rebound from also) I went back to church and discovered repentance and forgiveness. Not a list!

I was alone (emphasis on alone) for 5 years. It was the best years of my life. I traveled. Went back to school. Came and went as I pleased. But, I did miss the intimacy of sex…..And yes, I was a bit angry about the urges and temptations that I was having to learn to live with. What about you??? Yes, many of you are more independent (my brother just went to Finland with friends-couldn’t have done that married). But what about celibacy?

3. THE DAY LOVE WALKED OUT THE DOOR: I have heard the punch lines! “My wife left me for another woman so I held the door for both of them”  “My husband was a fighter, not a lover”  ” He said he was going hunting. Seems he found women out in those woods”  ” She said she liked the Eagles….”

A lot of tragedy and pain in a divorce. Loss of time, money, relationships, security, homes….Hopefully, one day the punch line will be funny!

Notes from a Medical Missionary

Guatamala

Narrative by Jodi Boyd, RN. (A single Christian lady and a great friend)

I have traveled to Guatemala 4 times with Health Talents International. You can go online to their site, see trip calendar for up coming trips/opportunities, they have trip reports you can read from previous trips, blogs from three Americans who work there permanently. Reading those is a good way to learn about HIT. I went in April for a month. The first week was gyn, urology, general surgery week. If I remember correctly, we did about 80 surgeries/ procedures for the week. I believe we had about 40 people who came from all over the USA, as far west as California, far east as Vermont, as far north as North Dakota (on Canadian border) and as far south as Texas; to work together caring for the patients and their families. We arrive on Saturday, unpack/count supplies after settling in our rooms. End each day and begin each day with devo. Sunday worship across the street. Return to compound for lunch, followed by meeting with Guatemalan medical director, then begin surgeries. Usually last surgeries are around 6 pm. From Mon-Thursday surgeries begin after breakfast till evening. Friday is down day spent in Antigua where you can enjoy the history of the town, market, go zip lining, get massage, enjoy food etc. Saturday fly back home. But this time I on Saturday I headed up to the highlands. Sunday worship in the morning, lunch and then I met my ABC child, her mom and aunt for a very nice visit. I also wad able to meet the ABC child of an elderly lady who lives in Austin. She , her husband, son and his family were missionaries in, Guatemala 40 years ago. Monday I went to Guatemalan wedding. Tuesday and Wednesday did mobile clinics. The mobile clinics are done weekly. This is how patients are seen, followed for chronic, acute issues and those needing surgery. I spent couple days back in Antigua then couple days touring Tikal, Mayan ruins. Headed back to Clinic Ezell to work with Guatemalan staff to prepare clinic for another week of surgeries the end of April. That week we mostly had General surgeries. Only about 55-60 for the week as it was first time for couple of the surgeons and other staff. Returned home first week of May.

Health Care Professionals are needed as volunteers but also family members and other support ministry members are needed. Opportunities abound! Expand your horizons as you expand your service to God and to others.

 —Opportunities await those who seek to plug in and make a difference. LAUNCH Christian Singles recognizes that a Christian can serve locally in their community by conducting Bible study, leading a support group, serving the homeless, widows, orphans or the needy and a plethora of choices. The believer can also choose to serve abroad by working in a healing capacity through medical missions, serving and teaching at Christian camp or excavating a religious site. Short term mission work can be very encouraging and satisfying for the traveler but also for the local church that is being served. The world starts when you step our your front door.

 

A Stopover in France, on the way to eternity………….

     My heart froze in my chest when I saw Pray for France pop up on my Facebook. Not again! Thoughts went through my head. As a Christian just returning from the bliss of a mission trip, it is painful to cope with community and national issues here in the states. And more terrorism.
     I questioned security. Paris was diligently patrolled last month when we were there. The European Cup (Soccer) was in swing and France did not want terroristic activity. Bags were searched going in every store and restaurant and streets were patrolled by armed police offers and the military. Yet, weeks later in Nice, lives were taken by a murderous driver of a truck. You can’t prepare for everything. Of course, the Bible reminds us that a righteous and innocent Able was dispatched with a stone. A compassionate and trusting Tamar was abused by her brother while serving him when he was infirmed. And a young Stephen, known for serving hungry widows, was stoned to death. Life is not fair and never has been.
     We have new friends in France, the minister and his wife, Roland and Anna. We met many sweet brothers and sisters and would be sickened to know that any were harmed. I read the victim list on the news feed and am saddened for a father and his son from Texas, a security officer from Switzerland and a student from Russia. Relationships are the most valuable treasure we have and violence threatens.
     When will it end? I study my bible. I know the answer. It doesn’t end until …the end. Revelation 22:14 tells of “when” the believers will wash their robes and enter the gates.
     Until then I dwell in the words of Jesus. Matthew 6: 34 tells me “do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow
has trouble of it’s own” and Jesus assured us that “I am with you always” in Matthew 28:20. For now, there are sick people to minister to, homeless and broken hearted to serve and other believers to encourage. God is good!2

Ruta Christian Camp, Lithuania

The Vinius (Lithuania) Church of Christ now owns their first building. After years of renting, the congregation now has a central location to call home. Renovation of a two story grocery store is under way and they will have an auditorium, office, fellowship room with a kitchen and much needed storage. The church building is surrounded by high rise multifamily housing and near shopping and major transportation so it is easy to find and convenient for members and visitors alike. Attendance is increasing with as many as 40 Christians attending. Juozas Puodziukaitis is the full time minister and Rimas Rusakevicius is the part time youth minister and the director of Ruta Christian Camp. A Friday evening youth devotional is a regular activity. In addition, the local church meets often in one another’s homes and socially.

Ruta Christian Camp started in 1998 with a one week residential camp. It has grown to three week long camps divided into small children, teenagers and a family camp. Campers enjoy Bible class, singing songs, hiking, swimming, arts and crafts and other group activities. The goal of the children’s camp is to plant seeds and teach children that Jesus loves them.

Two groups of American Christians traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania for orientation and team building. The Ruta Christian Camp is sponsored by the Gateway Church of Christ from Pensacola, FL and this group of seven was joined by the nine person team from the Midway Church of Christ from Hitchcock, Texas. After a few days of bonding with team members and the Lithuanian church staff and members it was time to meet campers.

The Monday that camp began started with the camp team meeting the campers (children 6-12) in a parking lot of a shopping center and taking a bus to the Lithuanian countryside. Camp Ruta is located in a beautiful lake area about one hour north of Vilnius and the nearest town is historic Molotai. After registration was completed all settled in for an exciting week of Bible study, singing, games, arts and crafts and building relationships.

Russell McLaughlin is the senior minister of the Midway congregation. He returned to Camp Ruta for the first time since 2002. He attended Ruta Christian Camp three times from 2000-2002 and has also traveled to Lithuania for gospel meetings and seminars, including September 2015 when he preached three nights, led a youth retreat and a marriage seminar. When asked about the opportunity to serve in Lithuania, he said, “ you keep coming back, enhancing relationships and supporting the church”.

Fellow Texan Juston Cooper condensed the camp experience to one word, “Wonderful!”

Camper Kernas Laurynas said camp is “awesome” . He enjoyed learning songs and stories about Jesus and meeting new friends.

Julija Bezverchova loves Ruta Christian Camp. “This is the fourth year. I like singing and learning the Bible.”

If I had to describe my first experience volunteering at Camp Ruta I would include all the following: potato pancakes, cold, pink beet soup (better than expected), smores, many hugs but NO elbows allowed on the table, chapel with singing in two languages, learning new songs like the one with the watermelon, the sun never goes down…………., vocational missionaries including a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, Texicans and Floridians, High School and college students to 84 year old zip liners, big and strong men with soft hearts, a doctor and CEO, BBQ chef and plumber, the karate master……kids! Kids whose parents grew up forbidden by the government of the USSR to have religion yet who are hungry for the word. Kids who tolerate Americans who speak English. Kids who love one another in a way that only the adults could imagine. Kids who see Jesus in others….

The kids loved the week at camp as did the counselors and leaders. When the week was over, hugs were shared and tears shed but all know that through Jesus we have “forever family”.DSCF2112