Tag Archives: pain

The Silver Lining is Always There!  Hope for Depression…

This week is a time of great trial, stress, and sadness for a precious family and their friends, who almost lost their lives in a horrific home explosion. They lost everything; their entire home and everything in it. They are faced with critical, life-changing injuries, which will change the course of the rest of their lives. Though a Go Fund Me campaign is in place for them, they need Jesus more than ever, to help get them through this trial. 

At times like these; when hopelessness and despair run rampant, it can be difficult to find the silver lining behind the dark, thick clouds looming in the storm. Of course life itself is a gift from God, and it is a reason to praise Him and give thanks. But sometimes it is difficult to live life; especially when we are suffering, in pain, depressed, and afraid about the future. Still, God promises to take care of us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 New International Version).

I’ve thought about how I would encourage my readers to “look on the bright side,” “think positive,” or “remember the light at the end of the tunnel;” when they are utterly drowning in deep sorrow, pain, and suffering. I know that words don’t help people who feel lost and utterly hopeless, because words didn’t help me either. 

Words don’t help hurting people, when they are too busy focusing on how to navigate their way through the darkness. I know, because I’ve been in that deep, dark, depressed place where I could not see the silver lining, either. The clouds were too thick and dense and dark. I needed to be rescued.  “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Ps. 69:1-2 English Standard Version).  Read: DEEP…A PSALM OF RESCUE…HOPE FOR DEPRESSION.

Words did not help; but truth, prayer and promises did. Truth provides hope. Prayer provides answers. Promises provide relief. They all work together, giving us God’s protection, and helping us to trust God, and grow in our faith. We begin to understand that our Almighty, Holy God loves us unconditionally; and this helps us to feel secure in believing His divine promises, which can never be broken.

We can pray for ourselves, and we can prayerfully intervene for others. Others can pray for us too!  The Bible promises us that God will never reject or abandon us in our time of need. Even if He’s silent, God is always there. Jesus promises hope which leads to healing, joy, and freedom. God promises to be our Rock; our Shelter from the storm, and a source of NEVER-ending protection. 

God’s Son, Jesus, is always lighting the way for us, even when we can’t see him. This is why searching for the silver lining gives us hope… because the sun never stops shining down upon us. The sun is still nourishing us; helping plants to grow, giving us daylight, warming our bodies, and providing energy to us here on earth… even when we don’t see it! The truth is still true, even if we don’t believe it! “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Heb. 11:1-2 New International Version).


God tells us to pray constantly, without ceasing. He promises to provide courage and strength. He promises to give us wisdom if we ask for it! God promises that when we pray together, He is in the middle of us! “‘For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst'” (Matt. 18:20 New American Standard Bible). God promises there will be no more tears or sorrow in Heaven. He promises us so many wonderful things! 

God is a promise maker, He is not a promise breaker! This is why we can put our entire trust in Him, even during our most difficult trials. Because God only tells the truth, we can look forward to the silver lining which awaits us in the next life. Our salvation is an absolute miracle, the greatest gift we could ever hope for, and that in itself… is enough. It’s FREE! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

But… God is also human; He is Jesus… so God understands that Heaven seems very far away from us. He understands that Heaven is simply incomprehensible for our feeble minds to grasp. So… God also has a plan laid out for us while we are still here, waiting to get to Heaven. It’s all meant to save more people, so they can come live in His Kingdom too! In His perfect timing; God transforms, heals, restores, calls, and blesses us… right here on Earth! How incredible is that? 

God takes our tears of sadness, and turns them into springs of gladness. Our depression is transformed to joy. Our hopelessness disappears, and is replaced by faith!  “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” (Isa. 61:3 New Living Translation).

You who are tired and weary of living; God understands! It is not His will for you to be depressed!  Pursue Him, and He will teach you how to grab hold of the lies which hold you down; and renounce them in the name of Jesus! Pray, ask for prayer, and seek out brothers and sisters in Christ who will pray for you. Cry out to God for HELP, in the name of Jesus! He will send you wise counsel, comforting scriptures, and truthful teachings to lead you out of the desert, and into the Promised Land! 

Dear God, please be with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering today. Remove from us our strongholds, and the lies which persist and plague us. Lord, heal our physical ailments that cause us pain and frustration. Heal our emotional hurts, which cause us depression; due to a build up of guilt, anger, and fear. Heal our mental challenges, which stem from disabilities and hardship. Heal spiritual injuries brought on by abuse and false prophets and false teachings. In Jesus’ name we pray, and we ask for Your will to be done; not ours. We know Your plan is perfect and Holy, and so is Your timing. Thank you that the silver lining is always there! Please bless us, in Jesus’ name!

Be encouraged! God promises to provide light and love for His children; both here on Earth, and in Heaven!

Guest Post by Brandon Adams: It Can Come Out Of Nowhere

God’s miracle can come after decades of nothin’. “I haven’t given up hope, but…”

I was catching up with a friend. She and her daughter have seen a rough stretch. Death in the family, countless unanswered prayers. Though my battles were different, we reached the same conclusion: the last fifteen years had not gone as we’d hoped.

When you go that long with something wrong, your mind finds ways to deal with it. The most common is to assume that this is how things will always be. This is how God operates; this is his modus operandi for you. Every year offers hope. But it always ends with disappointment. The last go-around didn’t bring any breakthrough, you reason; why would this one?

“I haven’t given up hope, but…”

We know in our hearts that we shouldn’t throw in the towel. Still, our hope features a “But”. We’re not sure we want to put our hearts out there. Not again. It might just be easier to Gethsemane this one and move on.
And yet…

“…a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (Mark 5:25-29 NIV).

We read this story and go, “Wow, all she had to do was ask Jesus and he helped right away. One ask, one touch. If only.”

But that’s not the lesson at all.

Think about it – this woman went through twelve years of the hope-and-disappointment roller coaster. Every doctor she’d visited had promised a cure, along with fervent prayers that at last God would move on her behalf. Every time, the hope crashed. No explanation.

This woman, right up until the moment she touched Jesus’ cloak, was me and my friend. Years of desolation. Not only was she stricken, but the search for a cure had left her destitute – and ceremonially unclean on a daily basis. Trial spawning other trials. She was alone and shunned. Thousands of prayers fallen on seemingly deaf ears.

And then…one brush of Jesus’ robe and all was well.

After twelve years of heartache, none of which seemed to point to anything ever being right again…the rules changed in a touch. A new life in every way.

Because of her uncleanliness, she risked everything by entering a crowd. Had she considered that this prophet, this healer from the very God who had implemented the Mosaic law, might not appreciate being seized by an unclean woman?

Well, she went anyway. There was no “but” affixed to this woman’s hope. Only audacity could have pushed her through the disappointment and the crowd, an unbowed “maybe this time,” made stronger, not weaker, by the years.

The crippled woman from Luke 13 suffered at Satan’s hands for eighteen years. The man who washed in the Pool of Siloam had been blind from birth. Veterans of disappointment.

For the man at the Bethesda pool…thirty-eight years. In that society, thirty-eight years brought a man right to the twilight of one’s life expectancy. Yet there he was, beside the pool, when Jesus showed up. His years hadn’t keep him home.

I want that faith.

I cannot predict what God will do in your life. Gethsemane is indeed the end of some prayer roads.

But I can tell you what kind of hope Jesus wants in us: no “buts.” These stories of double-digit-year waits weren’t canonized by accident. Whatever breakthrough you’re praying for, it can come out of nowhere, unexpected, even on the heels of years of wearying, mystifying frustration. Indeed, I might even dare to say that it’s really more about the faith then the breakthrough.

I want my dear friends to see that, to jettison the “but” and look to each day with hope. It may be tiring; it may require courage to hope again.

But if this is how Jesus wants us to live…

                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~

By Brandon Adams, blogger for millennials seeking the abundant life of Jesus!

Brandon Adams is a millennial who’s passionate about finding the Jesus of the Bible, without manmade filters, the blessings and the burdens both, and sharing him with a thirsty generation. He especially has a heart for Christian singles, as the church’s last twenty years of singleness teachings have not done them justice. You can find his hopefully coherent blurbs over at http://brandonjadams.com.

To find out more about Brandon and his Christian singles’ ministry, and to contact him, or subscribe to his blog;  click here:

About Brandon J. Adams

For the link to Brandon’s original blog post, click here: 

It Can Come Come Out of Nowhere

Thank you, Brandon Adams, for giving The Silver Lining the privilege of guest posting your beautiful work! I find your blog to be: powerful, inspiring, and encouraging to both single, and married Christians!  Readers can look for more of your posts to be shared in the future, on The Silver Lining Facebook page.  May God continue to bless you, Brandon, with wisdom and knowledge, in the name of Jesus Christ! 

Blessings, 

Angela Royse Pelleman 


The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’m now three weeks into my recovery from back surgery, and more appreciative than ever, of what God is doing in my life! Because of the many prayers, great care, support and encouragement I’ve received; I’m healing really well for someone who went home from the hospital after a lumbar fusion just three weeks ago.

Does love heal? You bet it does! Love was in the delicious foods brought to my front door, over the last two weeks! With cheerful smiles, my sweet friends greeted me, afraid to hug me; because they didn’t want to hurt my back. But I grabbed them into a bear hug and said, “Yes! Hug me! Your hugs are my favorite part!” And we laughed like children, as I told them the hugs have been helping me to heal! 

When you’re healing, every little thing seems like a big thing: every hug warms you deeper inside, every tasty morsel tastes extra delicious, and every visit makes you appreciate the fact that your friends have chosen to give you some precious moments of their time. The travel was for you, the meal was cooked and baked in love for you, and the laughter and kind concern was for you

When you’re healing, it’s a struggle when you can’t get in the car and drive yourself to your appointment and grab some groceries on the way home, and sneak in a quick stop at your favorite thrift store, Hope’s Treasures. But wait! God has already planned out everything, and His plan is even better!  One of my teenagers volunteered to drive me to my appointment. We enjoyed lunch nearby, at TooSso a kitchen-style restaurant, which quickly serves up delicious Pakistani favorites. TooSso means “stuff yourself!” I asked for its meaning the first time I visited. There is an entire cool wall covered in bottle caps…  I love interesting, artsy things!

Then leaning on my cane, for my daily walk, we went into… YES! Hope’s Treasures! There were records and books which kept him interested, even though he’s always patient with me, so I can look around! The money spent there goes to help the homeless community of Loudoun. I like the spirit of compassion at the center of this place. There’s always something fun and inexpensive to take back home, like this funky collection of beads, which my daughter used to create into party hats for her Oobies! 

Meanwhile, my other son, was at home, caring for my daughter. She is very social and constantly  needs to be learning and engaged. She’s like a beautiful flower that needs to be sung to, along with being watered and set in sunlight. If you didn’t sing to her, she’d still be beautiful, but it’s always a shame to miss out on the extra blooming of beautiful flowers, just because you didn’t stop and take the time to give them that little something extra that they need. My son did that for my daughter. They did one of her favorite things; which was to create a movie together using her stuffed animals, their voices, and his editing software on his computer. It was my favorite movie yet! 

Our family came home at different intervals, to a delicious home-cooked meal, made by my precious friend, Sharon, who attends our church, and is famous for her delicious pies! We enjoyed slow-baked chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fresh salad, and oh; my husband’s favorite and mine… a real old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie! The message was lovingly carved into the crust, “Happy Easter, Pellemans,” with a little heart as the finishing touch!  I could have cried when I took my first sweet and sour bite! But Instead of tears, I was laughing at the movie my kids had cleverly created while the rest of us were out. I took it all in… the joy of it! I knew it was part of the gift of the healing God has been bestowing upon me. 

After the last scheduled meal, all of which had been perfectly planned to assist during my most difficult time; my husband made a stop at Costco to get us set up for the coming week. He does this all the time, but this time it was so much sweeter. It’s like God has been showing me everything through a finer lens of appreciation. For this is something I absolutely cannot do at this time. He got all our favorites: ice cream, mango salsa, Asian salad, filet mignon, salmon, strawberries, sweet n salty popcorn and more! He topped it off by bringing us hotdogs, which we enjoyed outside that evening, picnic-style. Picnics are my favorite. They contain all things beautiful: family and friends, food, fun, and the freedom and beauty of enjoying all of it outdoors! 

Yes, healing is tough. But the silver lining is that there’s joy along the journey if we remember to praise God and thank Him for all the good things we have in our lives. I may not even have had the chance to enjoy a strawberry rhubarb pie for Easter, if I had not gone through a surgery! These sweet touches make it all worth it! “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Thanking God for the sweet things in life, is kind of like biting into a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie… perfectly delightful!


Blog posts related to this surgery:


Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials

Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…

Recovery Week 2:  The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Recovery Thoughts:  Healing is a Journey

Recovery Week 2-1/2:  It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Unexpected Joy of REST

I never expected God would fill me up with so much joy, at the exact same time I’d be recovering from major back surgery! I’m two weeks into recovery, and God has been lighting up my life! Now don’t get me wrong… it hurts! The pain is intense. Just when I think the pain is beginning to diminish, it either comes back, or starts up again somewhere else!

But God has a sense of humor, and He knows what He’s doing ALL the time! I wasn’t listening as God tried to convince me to slow down. I needed rest, and it just wasn’t happening. As my body kept breaking down, God continued to urge me to rest in Him, but I believed rest was a waste of time. I did NOT believe God was a waste of time, and I’m so in love with Him for being patient with me. I just could not sit still and allow myself to soak up His Holy Presence; but I needed it… His rest… more than sunshine. I know that now.

I wrote about God, I looked up His verses and studied them, I listened to the words He said to me and wrote them down to encourage others, I sought counsel for things I didn’t understand, and thanked God for my elders wiser than me. I humbled myself and admitted my shortcomings, forgave others even when it hurt, and continued faithfully trusting God, even when it didn’t make sense… but I refused to… rest

I told myself there wasn’t time; there was too much to do, and moments of rest were moments I could be accomplishing something. But the accomplishments were never enough, and every night I was still filled with self-condemnation, even when I had worked my fingers, or my back, to the bone.  The voices from my past always left me feeling guilty and unworthy, like I must keep going to prove myself. But I was now at the breaking point. I was exhausted, and truly tired of suffering, and I just couldn’t break the cycle. No one in my precious, immediate family pressured me to keep going; in fact they all insisted I take a break and… rest. So did my dear friends. And I knew they really meant it. And I knew they were right. But the green light always said, “GO.”

And finally I began to get the message. I wasn’t taking care of myself, because I had never really learned how. During childhood, I’d been made to feel ashamed for doing well and for doing nice things for myself. So somewhere along the line; a long, long time ago, I had given up. I hadn’t given up on caring for my family, but I realized I had stopped caring for myself. I didn’t take the time to enjoy a book, write poetry, eat healthy, paint my nails, and just “stop and smell the flowers.” 

I was doing everything for others, and nothing for myself. When I had time to myself, I didn’t use it wisely, because I felt it was useless. As a child, I’d taught myself not to get my hopes up, because I was constantly let down, and penalized for doing things that made me happy. Of course my children gave me great joy, so my focus was there. I just found our family seemed to be always doing something on everyone else’s agenda, and never anything on our own; or mine. If I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I wouldn’t be able to take care of those I love the most…my family members. And I wanted to be there for my friends and sisters and brothers in Christ, the way God has helped me to be there for them before. 

I began to make the necessary decision to take things off of my plate, and get serious about my surgery, and get serious about dividing my time equally in caring for both my family, and myself. This meant saying no to lots of things. I wasn’t concerned about not being liked, for I had discovered boundaries a long time ago, and am no longer into people-pleasing. I’m into pleasing God!

The hard part was giving up the couple things I had chosen to keep, like my Sunday School class and freelancing for Child Guide magazine, where I’m both a columnist, and a regular contributor. But God met me here too! I saw my daughter light up when she went to my friend’s Sunday School class and was welcomed by name with a cheerful smile. Yes, she wanted to go back! And my friend and editor of the magazine, kindly worked with me, as she always has, so I could have this season of rest and recovery, without any pressing deadlines.

Even though I was getting the message, the week before my surgery, I was frantically cleaning the house and calling in the troops to help me. Though I knew I should probably be relaxing, because my body would be enduring a lot of stress from the surgery, I stayed up late into the night two days prior to my surgery, instead of… resting.  Though my family promised to take care of me and did indeed do everything  I requested, I was determined to make sure my bedroom would be a sanctuary of peace for my recovery. When I got home, I wanted to make sure I would be able to… rest

Besides,  Pshaw! I could rest in the hospital after my surgery! Um… no. I didn’t realize then, that the post-operative pain would be so unbearable, I wouldn’t sleep a wink! Yet, I found myself joyfully writing a blog in the hospital that night instead. But this time, in spite of the excruciating pain, I could feel my body… resting. Even though I couldn’t sleep, I felt relaxed in my mind, because I knew that I was finally going to get a chance to… rest… and I was desperate to do so. 
 
If I could easily kneel down; all the love, support, and encouragement (which is still coming my way) would have already humbly brought me to my knees. Instead, our family has appreciatively gathered, and bowed our heads each evening, thanking God for warm home-cooked meals;  made by loving hands, and serving hearts. We’ve asked God to bless these beautiful women and their families, from my church and town. We’ve told God how very grateful we are for His provisions of delicious food, enjoyable visits, and playdates for my young daughter who is homeschooled; so she can remain happy, busy, and active with friends while I recuperate.

I’ve been able to bask in the warmth of the sun, while enjoying God’s beautiful flowers as they spring forth during my favorite season;  in anticipation of my favorite holiday… Easter!  What could be a more perfect time for rest and rejuvenation?  I’m so thankful that Jesus died for me, so that no matter what lies ahead; my future, my family’s future, and the future of my Christian brothers and sisters; lies secure in our salvation through Jesus Christ!

Why am I so surprised about the immense joy which has come my way in the midst of pain? This isn’t some crazy coincidence; for God’s timing really is the best; and He knows when we most need the presence of joy. He prepared me for it, and without a doubt He gets the glory for the healing he is bestowing upon me, both inside and out. Because, the fact is, hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ have been praying for me for a long time, and I’ve been anointed by both my pastor and my husband. Anointing is powerful, and we should expect good things when we receive the gift of it. After all, it’s a holy blessing from The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!  

In the pain and suffering, God has provided the silver lining: family, friends, fellowship, food, and… rest. I hoped for it… and it came… just when I needed it most! So as I heal, I continue to TRUST HIM, because hope in Jesus does NOT disappoint! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5 New International Version).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).


Spring is a time of joyful, new beginnings! I pray you know the truth; that our hope lies only in Jesus, so you can find healing, joy, and freedom in Christ! May you enjoy the warmth of the sun, the beauty of colorful flowers, the hugs from friends, and the joy of holding a soft, downy baby chick! May you receive Jesus, and have peace in knowing you have eternal life! AMEN!


Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Family that Prays Together…

Healing Wounds of Narcissism… a New Beginning

The Silver Lining is all about finding hope and encouragement in Jesus, so you can be healed, and find the freedom and joy God wants you to have! For the joyful month of April, The Silver Lining theme is: HEALING. After all, Easter is a celebration of new beginnings; new life in Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for our sins, and then miraculously arose on the third day; ALIVE! I will be sharing godly truths, to spread awareness about the kinds of lies, beliefs, and teachings, which can interfere with the healing of our wounds, whether they be; emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual. Some of these wrong life lessons are learned from toxic people; others are learned from our situations and the broken world in which we live.  As we renounce lies we’ve learned, and leave damaging situations and worldly teachings behind us, our wounds will become like old faded scars, barely visible; a story from long ago. We can then go on to live a joyful life, which is pleasing to God. In His timing, we will grow stronger, and more courageous in Christ, and find ourselves more eager, and able, to help others heal too! “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5 New International Version).

One serious topic we will continue to explore, is NARCISSISM; which can get in the way of your healing even when you are doing your best to follow Jesus. Why? Because NARCISSISM, also known as EXTREME SELF-CENTEREDNESS; is a SIN, based upon lies the NARCISSIST puts into the victim’s head, and the heads of everyone else with whom the narcissist comes into contact. A narcissist is one who is engaged in self idol worship. If you’ve been the victim of narcissism, you need Jesus more than ever to heal you, and undo all the damaging abuse that was done to you. You need Jesus to show you the TRUTH; for the insidious spirit at work within narcissism needs to be revealed by THE HOLY SPIRIT. At  The Silver Lining, we will learn about the lies and spirits at work in narcissism, and how you can battle them. We will learn how to identify a self-centered, narcissistic personality, and we will focus on the miraculous healing Jesus can do in your life; emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Pet. 3:5-6).

If 1 out of 25 people are thought to be so extremely self-centered they are considered to be narcissists, imagine how may people need healing from lies, manipulation, control, slander, confusion, and abuse? And with so many people who do not even know Jesus, imagine how much pain people are carrying around each and every day, and how many open wounds never get healed? All this, because people do not realize how much they need Jesus, and how he IS the silver lining we all so desperately need! He is THE SON shining bright beyond our dark stormy, cloudy trials! The abused need him, and the abusers need him. Everyone’s lives can be made new through God’s Son. Jesus is THE ONE and ONLY answer! Share the truth! Look for the silver lining…there is HOPE on the horizon! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Cor. 5:17)!

Below are some past blog posts and articles to get you started, in gaining a better understanding of the deceitfulness of narcissism. For more posts, and related topics, visit my homepage, and click on the topic: Narcissism. There are also related topics, such as: Spiritual Abuse, Suffering, Deception, Self-Condemnation, and Rejection. You can also go to the tab: Blog Posts, and tag search: narcissism, narcissist, self-centeredness; and any related words of interest. You can also go to the tab: Articles, and do the same search; for different, and more in depth material on the same topic. Visit, and ‘like’ my Facebook page for daily encouraging updates on healing, joy, freedom, and much more! You will also find wise posts filled with truth, by other brothers and sisters in Christ, who are rich in knowledge of the scriptures, and topics related to healing, narcissism, and God’s great grace, mercy, and love! May God bless you, and heal your hurting heart, in Jesus name!

A NARCISSIST’S DAMAGING IMPACT…HOPE FOR THE HURTING

NARCISSISM: BATTLING A SELF-CENTERED SIN

LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE


You do not have to remain bleeding and bruised! Jesus came to heal your wounds, and give you brand new life in Him! Say, “YES!” Rejoice!

The Family that Prays Together…

Yesterday marked one week into my recovery from back surgery. God announced His goodness by giving me a beautiful, sunny spring day to enjoy! I was so happy and excited! My twin young men cleaned off the umbrella table, and untied the chairs which had been stored for the winter, hoisting them effortlessly onto the back deck, so I could sit and breathe in the fresh, clean air. My daughter was suddenly more interested in her school books, which were filled with clocks, verbs, and Venn diagrams. She cheerfully grabbed her pencil, because we were going to have school outside for the day. I gazed at the breathtaking view of our backyard, thanking God as I soaked in the blooms on the pear and cherry trees. My favorite was the brilliant cobalt of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will be barely visible when the trees become dressed in their shiny, green summer leaves. 

What a lovely day for my daughter to play on her swing set, and jump on the trampoline. It was ideal for my husband and me, as we walked down the driveway, for my first outdoor excursion since the surgery. Perfection! NOT! … Because Christian families who pretend that everything is perfect and merry all the time are… well, quite frankly… lying. For suddenly there was strife and squabbling, unexpectedly, out of the beautiful deep blue. There was anger, pride, rudeness, and a black cloud where the sun had been shining only moments before. And then from Mom (yeah, that would be me) there were some not-very-nice-words,  and no… not the tears! There can not be tears from Mom; she never cries in front of anybody! She learned it years ago… people don’t care about you… so do not let them see your tears! For if you do, ferocious wolves will rip you to pieces! But suddenly I didn’t care that they saw the tears. I knew I was hurting inside and out; and I needed to cry, even though the tears made me vulnerable to… (oh no!)… REJECTION!  Brave, courageous, strong Mom, had succumbed to a sobbing, inconsolable mess of… tears

But this time, I recognized the attack for what it was… a spirit of strife. I also recognized the lies: The day was NOT ruined, my family was NOT going to let me deal with this alone, this was NOT my family from childhood; so my precious family here at home was NOT going to make fun of me or be mean to me for crying, and the devil was NOT going to ruin this day for my family or me! I pondered the truths: This is my family who supports, encourages, prays for; and loves me unconditionally. This is my family who helps me run my blog: proofs and edits my drafts, rescues my computer crashes, updates my computer, gives me ideas, creates special images, poses for my photos, and patiently gives me tons of time… while I write my blog! This is my family, and they support my ministry, as I do what I love! They are on board with me, and I am on board with them! We are in it together

We gathered for an amazing dinner; one of my all-time favorites; chicken tacos and chocolate chip cookies, which had thoughtfully been prepared for us by my sweet friend, Rita. We told the devil to “Get out of our home, and off of our property, in the name of Jesus.” You see,  even my little girl has the power and authority to tell the devil to get lost. Why? Because we are God’s children and we have… privileges

Because we recognized the evil spirits, which had come to do battle on the land God gave us, we were prepared to fight. We repented of our sinful nature, asked God and family members to forgive us, and repaired some issues which needed to be dealt with, so that our bond will remain unbroken, and more closely knit than ever. We are a family unit, which God has put together for a reason, a purpose, and His calling. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that there is a spiritual battle each and every day, with the intention of destroying each one of us, and ripping our precious family apart. That old saying; “The family that prays together, stays together,” is true! It’s our family… and it can be your family too! We are a force to be reckoned with, a bond which is to remain unbroken, because God is our Father, and we are His children. 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9 New International Version). This verse applies to marriage, but it applies to our children too. Because, when it comes time for them to leave us and create their own families, we will also be grateful for the ones God has chosen to be a part of our lives, and we will fight for them too. Hence, our strength in numbers will be even greater, and there will be even more love to go around! 

Pretending everything is perfect isn’t doing anybody any favors. But knowing who is at the center of your family, and keeping Him there… IS! The rest of the day was filled with the sweetness of apologies, forgiveness, relief, comfort, laughter, laughs, cuddles, and hugs! We also repaired something that had broken down in our family… a way of communication which was, in actuality, hurting everyone. But it wasn’t something that could just simply repair itself. It is something that requires the never-ending mercy, grace, forgiveness; and unconditional love of Jesus Christ; who is alway invited to our table, and welcome in our home. For we are children of God! 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).


#knowyourrights  #eliminatestrife #childrenofGod #Jesusbemycenter

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

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When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!  

Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way! 

I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).


I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again. 

God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys. 

The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen! 

I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).


When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived. 

I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk. 

After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it.  There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.

Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.

I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes. 

My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?

God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself.  I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain. 

So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!  

I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone.  I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).


I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM! 

I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).

Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time! 

Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be.  For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth! 

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

The Family that Prays Together…

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Healing is a Journey

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

She’s a Little Runaway: A Journey from Rejection to Acceptance 

As a teen, I lived in Alaska, in two different houses, over a five year period. I snuck out several times from both, and ran away from each one. Some of these times were known to others, and some were not. But of the two times I felt the most desperate need bolt, the most desperate run away attempt was the least successful. Maybe it was because I seemed to run backwards. Perhaps it was a mix of fear, false security, guilt, and concern over leaving a loved one left behind, along with worrying what my friends would think; but running away became a more desperate desire, yet I seemed to fall further and further from my goal of making it happen. 

In any regard, not making that final run, was definitely not because I had suddenly decided home was a safe place to stay. It was more like the jail door was open, but a tornado was whirling at the front door. Which option was best for me? Years later, I now know which option was best…the tornado by far. It might have landed me some place safe, like the baby you read about in the news, who is scooped up into a tornado’s belly, and vomited safely into a dresser drawer two towns over; safely sleeping. After all, Dorothy survived a tornado, and while on her journey, was kept safe from lions, tigers, and bears; and also from the witches and the flying monkeys sent out to destroy her. But unlike Dorothy, the phrase, “There’s no place like home,” meant something entirely different to me.

The first attempt at running away came out of sheer desperation to leave the role of scapegoat I had been assigned by my family. I couldn’t take it anymore, being blamed for everyone else’s problems. As the scapegoat in a family reeking with dysfunction, I was tired of being the excuse for everyone else’s issues, problems, and bad behavior. Sure I was an imperfect teenager, fully capable of mouthing off and being selfish, but not to any extreme some would be led to believe. I was a good kid; compassionate, intelligent, and funny. Why wasn’t I loved? It was never enough, so I kept trying harder to prove myself, and I was about to break. Being labeled a “problem child” subtly causes a shifting focus, which is exactly the intent; for the idea is to blind others to the truth of the real chaos lying underneath, and to distract them, so denial can go on and lives of sin can continue without inspection. 

I’d given up on getting attention or love, but I still hoped to remain under the radar, undetected, left alone to live my own life in peace. But that wasn’t about to happen, so I became angry. I began to rebel, because I knew it couldn’t be all my fault. I knew the truth and began to fight for myself, because I realized no one else was going to. “A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel” (Prov. 18:19 New International Version).

However, it was getting harder and harder to see the truth, when the fiery darts kept coming. Though I was saved, I didn’t yet understand how to defend myself with prayer. The phrases were aimed at me, over and over: “Why can’t you do anything right… Why can’t you be more like (someone else)… What is wrong with you… Why do you have to ruin everything?????”  These were the lies which years later, I would learn to renounce in the name of Jesus. I still have to pray against them today, but they come less often. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16).

How could it be only my fault when my thumb was smashed black and blue after being slammed in the doorframe, and then my face slapped afterwards for cussing from the pain of the “accident.” And even worse, was when that cold hand forcefully slammed down flat dead center on top of my head; HARD. There was actually a witness then, but when everyone is trained not to tell, even adults remain silent. Reporting it doesn’t even cross your mind; it would likely be futile. Who would believe it? For, those things just don’t happen in families that go to church on Sundays, where girls wear pretty dresses, and invite their friends to come with them, because the family is a positive influence and a good example. 

Like any hurting teen, I believed if I didn’t protect myself, they would break me. I refused to be broken, not realizing I was already constantly gluing the precious broken pieces of myself back together. And that’s what l was doing… holding on to all my broken pieces, the night I was done being blamed. Of course no comfort; only condemnation, was offered that dark night when I shouted, “Then I’ll leave!” There was no reassurance of love, or a reminder that I was wanted, a gentle plea to stay and talk and pray about it. Instead, I was told that if I was going to go, I would have leave my coat behind, since I hadn’t bought it with my own money.

On Elmendorf Air Force Base, it was less than 30 degrees that evening, and pitch black outside. I had nowhere to go. But it took me less than a second to make my decision: I shoved off my new white downy coat with sporty blue stripes, threw it to the floor, and ran. I ran out into the black night, looking to the left and looking to the right. The icy clean air took my breath away. I ran towards my best friend’s house, but knew that would be the first place I’d be expected to be found. Her home life wasn’t stable either. It wasn’t an option. So I wandered. I wandered far past anywhere my friends and I ever wandered, even by our independent standards of doing whatever we wanted and going wherever we felt like going. I ran to warm up, but I slowed as the wheezing started. I was an asthmatic; just another way I’d caused problems for everyone else. I blew on my frigid fingers, and I scratched at the welts raising up under my jeans. I would get them when I got cold, due to a protein in my blood which reacts starkly to frigid temperatures. I didn’t realize then, that I actually suffered constantly from cold urticaria, which can in severe instances; cause low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, and death. 

I still didn’t want to go back. At the same time, I’d seen the footage they show all the military families upon first arriving to The Last Frontier: “Scary Survival Videos.” At 14, I was old enough to know that hypothermia was a reality, and frostbite was serious business, where I could actually lose my fingers and toes. This time, I had no runaway friends to be my hypothermia partner so I could keep warm, and I was never going to do that “naked hugging sleeping bag survival skill” anyway; not unless I was left for dead on a mountaintop. I don’t remember if I prayed,  but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.



I’d wandered for at least a couple hours, and I was far away from home. I knew I needed to get warm, or my body could be permanently damaged. I had on tennis shoes, instead of boots, and there was snow and ice on the ground. I didn’t much care about living right then, but always in my mind, was a loved one I had back at home, and being a teenager, I was also worried about my reputation, even among my friends. They would ask me why I ran away. I’d been trained not to tell family secrets. I’d been trained to pretend I came from a perfect “Christian” family. Who would believe me? It was too much anyway; a mountain of madness which no one would understand or believe or care about, and many don’t; even to this very day. Telling them would be impossible. Now I’ve gained enough wisdom to know that some things are only revealed by God in His perfect timing. 

That night I found myself at the chapel, and was mortified to find a friend of mine was there too. He sang with the adult choir, so he was often up at the church. I didn’t want him to see me, but it was too late. He was an intelligent, kind boy, and our mutual friends had mentioned he had a crush on me. Maybe he wouldn’t tell anyone. As far as I know, he never did. He asked me what I was doing there, and if I was ok. I shook my head, and took a deep breath, so I wouldn’t cry. He didn’t know how bad it was at home, but I think to this day, he knew about one of the secrets. His eyes said he knew. He wanted to ask more questions, but seemed to understand I couldn’t answer them. When I said I had to go, he put his hands on my shoulders and gently shook me. His dark eyes looked scared. He said the M.P.’s (military police) would come looking for me, and everyone would find out I had run away. He said I would freeze to death if I went back out in the cold. And finally, out of wanting to help, he convinced me to call home. 

When I made the call from the church, I did it on my terms. I’d learned a thing or two about manipulation and control tactics. I’d been taught well. My terms were that I’d tell where I was, but there would be no talking about it, and no punishment. If the terms were broken, I’d run away again, and I’d tell people why I was running. The terms were agreed upon, and the ride home was just as cold, if not more frozen, than the air outside. I was surviving. 

The next attempt at running away came out of a desperation that had turned to hopelessness, and the plan came down to no running away at all. I was found out before I even got a chance to get out of the house. I’d spent too long packing in the bathroom, and refused to open the door even when a hole was punched halfway through it. If there’d been a window, I would have exited. But with no escape in sight, I stuffed my school bag into the lower shelf of the bathroom closet, put some towels on top, and exited the bathroom. After hearing about how it was my fault that there was a hole punched in the door, I shrugged and announced that I was going to bed. I slid under the sheets in my clothes. I’d have to wait until about 1:30 or 2 a.m., because darkness in Alaska doesn’t come till then during its super short spring and summer months. 

My bag was packed with a few necessities, my tiny teddy bear, and about $100. The car keys were on my dresser, since I drove to school each day. The car wasn’t really mine, so I’d have to drive somewhere and leave it with a note, saying I was sorry and that it wasn’t stolen. I planned to drive from Eagle River to Anchorage, and then park and walk until I found a hotel. I KNEW there were some areas that were dangerous, like 4th Avenue, where everyone warned you never to go. But I was headed that way, because I thought it was the last place anyone would look. I never got there. I never got anywhere that night. 
The door to my bedroom flew open, and my escape bag was swinging back and forth before my eyes. I was shocked, and my heart sunk. I was completely deflated… hopeless. I must have raised suspicion by staying too long in the bathroom, packing up my things. My key set was whisked up from my dresser amidst angry shrieks. I’d be taking the bus next day to school, which I hated. I lay in bed that night with my tiny brown teddy bear, tears soaking his curly fur. I’d never get out. I don’t remember if I prayed, but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.

Though I managed to move out of my house quickly, because I was snapped up for a teaching position immediately after graduation, I never really got away until my husband and I moved from the state of Texas, out to Virginia where we didn’t know a soul. It was especially hard to leave a loved one back home, and I missed my friends. But being on my own was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I began to write my prayers in a prayer journal, participated in a bible study, and pursued Jesus in peace. All my life, I’d been bashed over the head with a bible and forced to go to church, with scripture used out of context to guilt and shame me. I was a victim of spiritual abuse, and was running from God, because I thought He was always watching me from the sky, waiting to condemn me and punish me, and tell me what I was doing wrong. I was afraid of Him, and angry with Him too. I was now discovering the joy of having a relationship with Him! My eyes began to open up to the truth for the first time in my life, and God’s teachings showed me that everything I’d been taught was completely upside-down… and completely wrong. I do remember that I prayed! 

God moved me more times with my husband. Then God moved me more times with my children. Many things happened during those moves, and I’ve had many homes, but instead of running away, during each of my moves I have learned to draw closer to Jesus. When I start to run away, he doesn’t let me out of the door, without first insisting that he loves me and doesn’t want me to go. 

Whenever the pain becomes too hard to bear for those who have been running and running all their lives looking for a little bit of love, there lies ahead the silver lining: One ends up desperately running straight into the arms of Jesus! And in that most desperate time, the running away will stop, before you even realize it. Why? It’s because Jesus has been waiting here for you the whole time, with his arms outstretched, already wrapping themselves around you! I discovered that Jesus had been holding me in his arms the whole time, crying tears when I cried tears. He was waiting for me run in his direction and cry out his name, so he could save me. He is doing the same for you. Though I was already God’s child, I hadn’t understood the power and authority I have in Christ Jesus. I didn’t realize that I was loved by God, unconditionally, without condemnation or judgment. 

We don’t need to run away from Jesus, for he does not reject us! He loves us in spite of our imperfections, and in spite of our sins. We can run into his everlasting loving arms, and he will greet us with acceptance and unconditional love each and every time. If we forget how much he loves us, and start to run away, we can always turn back, repent, and ask him to forgive us. He will help us to battle the negative lies we have been falsely led to believe, and heal us of our guilt, fear, and anger; which will then banish depression; leading us to freedom and joy! We will discover that God is not far away up in the sky, but right inside of our hearts, and He’s been loving us our whole entire lives! For there really is “no place like home” when your eternal home is in Heaven with Jesus Christ. 

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:20).


My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

If you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful, you may like PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION.

Write to the author, and find daily encouragement to give you hope, as you heal and find freedom and joy in Jesus Christ at The Silver Lining Facebook Page. 

Past Paths… and Other Things too Painful to Mention

Last night, via Google Earth, I “traveled” along several paths, remembering how I’d been left alone so many times, since the tender young age of four. I retraced the steps I’d walked in solitude, in both Europe and the U.S. I was shocked at the realization of having wandered so far from home so often. In awe, I stared open-mouthed as the miles were mapped before my eyes, showing how far I’d trekked on foot and ridden my bike, with no one knowing my whereabouts. Google Earth showed me my instincts had been more than correct: It truly is a miracle that I’m even alive!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about the normal sweet freedoms of playing Hide n Seek till dark with all your friends, and the sweaty summers of childhood sprinklers. I’m not even talking about riding your bike around the neighborhood with the wind in your hair, or roller skating up and down the sidewalks and scraping up your knees. Those were things many children from the seventies and eighties enjoyed when kids were expected to go outside and play until supper, and then go back outside and catch lightning bugs till bath time.

I’m talking about the lonesome life adventures I remember in somewhat mixed, but fine detail, simply because I have a memory like an elephant. As a four year old, in Germany, I tried to avoid the teenagers. They made fun of the younger kids and called them names. I was on the monkey bars with a friend when I discovered I’d stepped in “doggy doo doo.” I knew the big kids would jeer at me and tease me if they noticed, so I didn’t even tell my friend. I remember standing at ground level, wishing my apartment wasn’t so many flights of stairs up away up top. I kept my stare focused on one of the teen girl’s colorful toenails. It was easier if I just blended in. I’m talking about being four years old, and leaving those monkey bars behind, to accept candy from a stranger behind a tall white stucco wall. The other kids warned me and my little boyfriend that a witch lived there, but we thought she was just fine. She smiled at us and urged us to take the sweets. The candy with sprinkles won me over, and there was an added benefit; it wasn’t poisonous!

I found myself being left with adults I didn’t know well. When I was five or six, I was left with an old lady I’d never met before. Once again I found myself being urged to accept a “treat.” Though I told the woman I was allergic to peanuts, she insisted I could just pull the peanuts off of the Cracker Jacks and just eat the popcorn. But she was not pulling the wool over my eyes. I had some worldly wisdom by now, and I didn’t think peanut crumb dust would turn out well for me (I chose to stay hungry). As I grew out of training wheels, I quickly mastered the art of riding my bike. I found myself in trashed, parentless houses, with friends of classmates, who made mud pies. On the base, I rode down suicidal hills with my feet over my handlebars, praying to God there wouldn’t be a car at the bottom, because there was no way to stop (God graciously answered those prayers for me). These things happened, and more things, and other things too painful to mention.

I moved to Italy, before third grade, where I had to walk and cross several streets, including a main strada with lots of tiny, speeding cars disobeying traffic rules. My heart jumped into my throat the day a stray dog began curiously sniffing at my lunchbox. I thought about dropping the box and making a run for it, but God sent me an angel. Just as my heart was about to leap into my throat, the threatening dog suddenly turned and walked away (Thank you, Jesus!). As if that wasn’t frightening enough, I survived the landlord’s giant German Shepherd guard dog, when it got loose and pressed up against my chest, barking and salivating in my face. (I think God sent me two angels that day!). At eight years old, I escaped from a gang of ten Italian bullies chasing me on bikes, screaming at me to give them MY bike, as I pumped my skinny long legs as fast as I could. I screamed at them in Italian, calling them liars. I told them my bicicletta was a girl’s bike, and that no one else had one like it. That bike was my trusty friend for many years, keeping me company on my soul adventures.

During that same time, I was left for a couple weeks with a strange family, where the parents punished me for things I didn’t do. It was scary and confusing, just like it was when we moved onto the base. I had been learning that many parents couldn’t be trusted, and here it was no different. A man was angry with the boy who had slapped his bratty daughter on the leg with a toy. After chasing my childhood friend into a ditch, the man flipped him over his head, high up into the air. In horror, I watched as my nine year old friend landed flat on his back. I muffled my screams; would I be next if I was seen? I ran until my asthmatic lungs gave out. Police were called, and I was terrified as always, that somehow it was my fault. The military police assured me I’d done nothing wrong; they just needed to know what I’d seen. These things happened, and more things, and other things too painful to mention.

When I look back at my first official dentist visit at age 11, like most dental appointments, it wasn’t fun. We’d had quick checkups on the military base through school, but we moved a lot, so I usually missed those. I had to get four fillings, and I was only in middle school. It didn’t seem fair (especially since I’d obediently chewed the cherry red tablets that showed you how to brush correctly). I wish I’d known about floss, because I probably would have thought it was fun. After all, I wanted braces, and needed them, but I didn’t get those either. Instead, I got head lice from constantly having unwashed hair. Dirty hair had previously been an easy fix; I was just supposed to hurry up and grab a scarf for my head before catching the bus.

The same year of the lice, was the same year of me getting embarrassed by my p.e. coach telling me I needed to purchase a necessary important undergarment. How mortifying. I thought she was being mean by pulling me aside and whispering to me, but years later I realized she was doing me a favor. As a sixth grader, I continued to ride my trusty purple bike everywhere. I even rode it four blocks away, in order to bat my talcum-powdered eyelids at a boy (I created my own makeup, since I wasn’t allowed to wear any) just because it was nice to be noticed and told I was pretty.

Teachers tried to help me in middle school. They told me I was smart and talented. They told me to enter my art and poetry in contests, and I won. When I started to go into anaphylactic shock at school, from an allergic reaction to the school cafeteria spice cake, the nurse frantically tried to help. She searched through the cabinets in vain, but sadly informed me there was no emergency medicine in the office. When help finally arrived, it came in the form of a pill, and a quick dump off at home, instead of to the hospital. I scratched in agony at the donut-sized welts which entirely covered my legs. I moaned from the nausea, and tried to fill my air with lungs. I felt like I was trying to breathe through a straw. These things happened, and more things, and other things too painful to mention.

It can be hard coming face to face with neglect and the realization of having been on your own from a young age, and the understanding that things were not what they looked like to other people. It can be lonely having to carry things you weren’t meant to be burdened with as a child. You can easily feel lost, hopeless, and abandoned when you look back at times when no one was there, and no one cared.
Sometimes it looks pretty on the outside; you’re told to quickly put a bright yellow scarf over your greasy dirty hair, you’re told to smile pretty getting out of the car at church but you want to cry because everyone was fighting and you were the target again, you’re told to care for another child when you’re still only a child yourself, and you do it because you love that child, but no one is loving and caring for you.

It’s easy to be tempted to look back and wonder where God was when you were lonely, isolated, neglected, abused, and abandoned. It’s tempting to get angry and wonder why you had to be afraid, condemned, and depressed just for being alive. It can be especially tempting to allow hopelessness in, and wonder if God will be there for you in the future. But the silver lining is God loves us, in spite of everything we’ve been through. Jesus cried when we cried, and he held us up when we couldn’t stand on our own. Jesus wants to fix the brokenness, heal us, and use it all for God’s glory! Jesus is always here for us!

I hurt about the little things. I hurt about the big things. And I hurt about the other things too painful to mention. But I have to trust that God knows what He is doing with my life, even when nothing seems to make sense. I don’t want to be that person who walks away from God, especially when He’s getting ready to do that great big glorious thing in my life! After all, He’s already done some pretty glorious things for me! God has given me a family to love, and my family loves me, and fills up the empty, broken, lonely places. So whether people are for me or against me (and believe me, there are plenty against me!) God is FOR me! He loves and cares for me, and He can teach me how to love and care for myself. God has taught me to love and care for my children the way I should have been loved and cared for as a child. How great and glorious is that? I’d rather have everyone against me with God for me, than everyone for me, with God against me! “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31 English Standard Version)

The painful things are healed by the forgiveness, grace, and mercy of Jesus Christ. God has done wonderful things, is doing amazing things, and will do many more wonderful, amazing things too glorious yet to mention…

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4 ESV)

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Stumped by Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a command given by God. Since Jesus forgave us, and died for our sins, we must forgive others. Though it’s true that forgiveness allows our offender to be released from guilt, sadness, and pain; forgiveness is necessary for us to be free from the roots of bitterness. If the roots of bitterness are not pulled up from the ground, the roots will grow deep and thick underground.

Like a stubborn old tree stump, we will remain, yet we will no longer bear fruit. Instead, the ugly ol’ stump will end up standing alone in the exact same place we wanted to plant a live, nourishing fruit tree. Removing bitterness allows for the removal of other strongholds such as: lies, fear, rejection, anger, selfishness, and more. It’s the doorway to healing and freedom!

Just think about it. If you’re mad at somebody right now, he or she may not even be aware of it. This person may be going about having a wonderful day, with no clue you’re sitting home seething about what that person did to offend you. Meanwhile you’re getting nothing accomplished except for building up a higher wall of resentment. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re okay with what that person did to you; it just means that you’re releasing that person to God.

Forgiveness brings us closer to God, because forgiving people helps us to become more like Jesus. It’s how God prepares and perfects us, in preparation for bringing us home to live with Him in Heaven. We need to forgive people in the name of Jesus. Why? Because we can’t do it all by ourselves. Also, the forgiveness which comes from God is supernatural; it can take our hearts places we never imagined…all for our own personal healing…and better yet, for the glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom!

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be friends with your offender. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat for abuse. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to reconcile with someone who is unable to have a healthy, godly relationship with you. In fact, it may be that somebody actually needs to ask forgiveness of you. You can still forgive that person. Forgiveness just means letting go…and letting God.

Is there someone you have been struggling to forgive? Just pray: “I forgive ( name of offender) in Jesus’ name.” Then go about your day, and let Jesus work on your heart.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Col. 3:13 New Living Translation