Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thrive in Crisis

Yesterday's blog Hard Times Sharpen Viewpoint of Value stirred up some discussion in the comments section and among some friends at lunch. I like stirring up folks, but I used yesterday's blog to make me and you think beyond what's happening even if things are wretched. I ranted on ways we could be betrayed or let down by others. All those things haven't happened to me, but some of them have.

Writing biographically has always been a challenge for me. I want to share enough of my traumas to lay down the pain, but it's my story, not the other players in those scenes. Because my childhood was painfully dysfunctional I have had to pray for years how to tell any of those stories and still give honor to my parents and others. After much work in prayer and counselling I have totally forgiven everyone. I haven't avoided revisiting those scenes; I don't sail down de Nile (denial) anymore. I honestly believe the pain I bore and bear were never intended toward me; some troubled adults got pushed (or were impaired by substances) to making decisions that ended up hurting me.

I have written in code in my journals for decades. I use a code because I never want anyone to be hurt by me writing out my prayers or journal entries that could be read by someone else. As I write here at Thrive Christians I will be careful to more fully spell out when I am writing in general or about me. Honoring and respecting others filters everything I do.

As I write this today I have to admit that God has trusted me with more betrayals from birth on than many people I meet. I learned about God trusting His children with tough situations from the Bible: Job, Joseph, Jesus, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Leah...just to name a few. But a young beautiful talented woman named Gigi Taylor gave me my greatest lesson many years ago. Her mom, Frenchie, is the mentor I mention often on this blog.

Gigi and her husband have been committed Christians since their teens and nearly twenty years ago their first child was born with cerebral palsy (some complications during birth); and a year later their second child was born with even more severe cerebral palsy. This talented successful graphic artist committed her life to overseeing the construction of a home with a central elevator and design that would accommodate two wheelchairs rolling and a bath would that let her care for her youngest, Will. He amazed the doctors by living until he was twelve, but he could not see, talk, walk, feed himself or hold his head up without help.

Gigi and Doug knew God trusted them with these precious wonderful children. They considered it their honor. Their daughter is a genius and an incredibly talented singer. She is a college freshman with scholarships for excellence. I can only imagine what she will do in her life. Gigi became so frustrated with the issues of red tape in dealing with everything she had to do to care for the children that she wrote letters of complaint accompanied with possible solutions. She ended up being appointed a position by the governor and she led sessions to educate social workers, nurses, doctors, etc. on ways to better work with parents. She and her husband have counselled hundreds of parents to help them navigate the waters of red tape in medical, educational, and endless issues that go along with cerebral palsy children.

So.....I've got stuff, "issues" and I'll only tell you enough about them for you to believe I have first hand knowledge with loneliness, feeling abandoned, rejection, fear of losing it all, and wondering if it's all worth it. I personally sense that those are part of the human experience. But know that I agree with Gigi. When you did nothing to bring some great challenge into your life; know that God trusted you with it. He will actually use the situation to define you and make you eternally significant in the Kingdom of God.

Paul Billheimer's book, Don't Waste Your Sorrows, says "Why, God?" has been asked by Christians from all levels of spiritual maturity throughout history. It is not the mere presence of suffering but how a Christian reacts to it which determines one's spiritual growth through sorrow and pain.

I know this post is long.....sorry. I'm full and want to write. Yesterday a Jewish friend who I love dearly shared with me that this year during their high holy days he honestly laid his whole life before God in relinquishment more fully than he has ever done before. Ever since that day life has been more difficult. I don't think I offered him any relief. I'm convinced we think this thriving life is about being happy and getting our way. I believe we're here for far more eternally significant reasons.

To sum up this ever running post. Trust God, enjoy what is working for you, and know that God has a way through whatever you find in your lives now. It's a high adventure time in the world. The economy has wiped the "Rules of the Game" slate clean. Even the experts are saying "I don't know."

I recently purchased a tag for my car with In God We Trust on it instead of the typical SC car tag. I've never had a Christian symbol on my car before because I didn't want my car to be less than a great witness. I figured my driving, or it being dirty would be a poor image for Christianity. But I live by that slogan and today I want to encourage everyone who has read this far (wow...I'm impressed if you're still with me) that nothing is too big for God. He can be trusted; I don't know about anyone else, but He can be trusted.

In God We Trust


sailorcross said...

"When you did nothing to bring some great challenge into your life; know that God trusted you with it. He will actually use the situation to define you and make you eternally significant in the Kingdom of God."

Of all you wrote, this is what stood out to me the most. I, too, have been in those same situation--loneliness, depression, dysfunctional family growing up and then I married into a dysfunctional family.

But, God has used me, shown me the way! He has used all of this for His good and given purpose.

And now, I read that it is because He trusted me!! What a blessing!!


Dorothy Champagne said...

God will never give us more than we can handle. He promises us that. Your friend Gigi must have been a very strong person with a God-given purpose. It's hard to see why God allows the things that happen to happen - but you're right - He can be trusted!

Red Letter Believers said...

"Not wasting your sorrows" can be applied in so many ways. Not wasting your conviction, not wasting your affliction, not wasting your trial....All of these things bring us closer.

Your honest, heartfelt convictions are an encouragement to the rest of us who hide behind our masks. There is no solace in the darkness and our only freedom is in the light.

You stepped out into the bright spotlight and you will be blessed for it.


(PS -- I LOVE the smaller font. Much easier to read!)

Chatty Kelly said...

Amen! God can be trusted.

I really appreciated your words on trying to honor and respect your parents inspite of a dysfunctional childhood. I have struggled with this so much. I am estranged from my mom, because I could not take the emotional abuse any longer. But I still love her and wish that I could have a relationship wtih her. Some people don't understand that because she truly can be an awful person. It's confusing. I don't know what else to say or even where I am going with this, Kay, except to say - I'm glad you understand.

Thank you for your always encouraging words to me on my blog. As someone who has felt rejection muchly in my life, your words bless my soul.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Yes...I did read all the way to the end! ha And it was worth it! What you said....."I'm convinced we think this thriving life is about being happy and getting our way." SO true! I'm guilty of feeling that way myself. You have such a great way of offering hope and at the same time admonishing us when we're having a pity party! THANKS!

Love ya sister!


Pinkshoelady said...

Wow! Kay!
THis has certainly touched my heart!

I would love to hear more and was sad when I got to the end.

By the way, I didn't know you lived in SC? I do too!

E-mail me and maybe we could find a way to hook up sometime. I mean SC is only 4 hours apart at it's furtherest ends so it could be possible!

My e-mail is

Thanks again for being real and loving shows!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.