What Is Trust? Week 1 Day 1

trust

I have received profound healing in my relationship with God through the Hearts A Fire retreat’s written by Fr. Michael Gaitley. 33 Days to Merciful Love is proving to be a beautiful and wonderful book that I believe is a gift to the Church for these times. We are now in a time where so many of us have been wounded by people and sometimes even by the Church herself.

hurt churchWhen the Church is who hurts us, we may be tempted to believe that God is not Good or that we are not good or deserving of anything good. I have met many people deeply and profoundly wounded by the Church. This has created a huge division in our world. I believe this book/retreat is a tool that can begin to heal division and bring all Christian souls together with one uniting purpose; to receive the merciful love of Jesus Christ and then to bring it to hurting souls in our broken world.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (397) it says that “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart…” lets talk about what this means. First of all we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Male or female we are icons of the truth, life and love of God walking around on earth and we are supposed to be making visible the invisible reality of God through the living our of our lives in union with God. However, when the devil comes and whispers his lies, we can in a sense, divorce ourselves from God and accept the proposal of the evil one.devil liar

Why do we do that? Because the father of lies wants us to believe that God is not trustworthy and does not want to honor our desires.  He begins by planting seeds of doubt. We doubt that God loves us, doubt that He desires to bless us, doubt that he will honor our desires. This doubt leads us to fear. In our fear, we may respond by grasping or taking instead of remaining in a place of trust.  Doubt means to be uncertain, to fear, to be afraid. Why do we plan and strive for what we think will bless us rather than wait for God’s timing or say on the matter? Because we are afraid and we hide ourselves. We turn away from God. Fear-is-a-Liar

Now that we understand that the evil one uses doubt to tempt us to believe his lies, we need to identify what our desires are and where we may have doubts so that we can invite the Holy Spirit it shine his flashlight of truth there and help us to come back into union with God.light

Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you won’t acknowledge.” This is so true! We must first see where we are being lied to before we can divorce ourselves from the liar and come into union with God and his truth and will for our lives. If we pretend that we don’t need God or that what we are doing is God’s will when it isn’t we will remain miserable, lost and afraid.

By inviting the Holy Spirit in, we expose where the enemy of our soul (Satan) has put fear into our hearts. Adam and Eve were afraid and so they hid themselves. God desires for us to take off the fig leafs we hide behind. He wants us to not be afraid because He promises us that He will always show up. He wants to honor our desires and he wants to heap a double portion of blessings upon each of us. The question is, do we believe Him and what, if any, lies are obstacles to His truth coming alive in our hearts? One way to discover the answer to these questions is to journal. journalWhen we journal we contemplate, we meditate, we hold truth in our hearts and ponder it thus allowing it to be birthed within us. It is in this secret place where the Holy Spirit begins to speak to us. It is as if the Holy Spirit is a flashlight that illuminates things that we cannot see in the darkness. When we journal, our thoughts and emotions as well as our will is engaged and in this sacred place and time the Holy Spirit shines His healing light on the broken places in our hearts, minds and souls. He speaks to us gently there telling us what it is he wants us to know about his love for us.

After reading through “What is Trust” (Week 1 Day 1) I have put together some thoughts and questions to ponder and journal through.

Do we believe God is trustworthy? Are you afraid that God cannot be trusted to honor your heart’s desires?  Why or Why not?

Where have you felt God has not shown up in your life or where do you feel you are still waiting for him to bless you?

Think of one memory in which God did show up or bless you?

What is it that you desire God to do in your life?

Now quietly pray to the Holy Spirit to come and shine a light on this desire and ask Him to show you what He wants you to know about this desire of your heart.

 

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy, Help me better to know the great and unsurpassable goodness of God. Amen

Advertisements

Jesus Heals the Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a highly successful television series that has just begun it’s 5th season. Why is it that so many people are interested in shows about Zombie apocalypse or an outbreak of illness creating zombies? Perhaps Hollywood can see what so many of us are refusing to acknowledge. Many of us are the walking dead.  Well to be fair some of us are the walking dead and some of us are the walking wounded. Drug addiction, alcoholism, porn addiction, food addiction, kids killing each other in school, people beheading other people for “God”.  What the heck is going on? It seems like we are living in a world filled with zombies.

What is interesting to me about all of these successful movies and sitcoms is how they parallel our own culture.  It is as if these movies are a commentary on our culture of death. We may not live in the biblical times of leprosy but we certainly live in a time of spiritual leprosy. We live in a fallen world and with fallen people. The new normal is not man and wife with three kids a dog, a house and a white picket fence. In fact, I am not even sure what the new normal is, but it is definitely not the “traditional” family.

The movies we watch that are depicting human beings as zombies, are closer to the truth than most tv sitcoms. We are all in need of healing.  We need to find a means from which to heal our wounds.  We are all wounded in some way. Some of us are living with the effects of sexual abuse or physical abuse; some of us were abandoned by our parents. Still others were emotionally abused or psychologically traumatized by alcoholic or drug addicted parents or even others were ritualistically abused. Whatever the your childhood, chances are you either experienced abuse or neglect yourself or someone very close to you did. The effects of abuse wounds us and it is in through these wounds that we begin to form our understandings and beliefs about who we are, who God is and whether or not we believe in anyone or anything.

The wounds that are inflicted upon us are openings to evil or negativity. Call it what you will, it is through wounds that we are opened up and it is at these moments we can become bound as prisoners to our pain, our fears and the vows that we make to ourselves. We also need friends that we can trust to love us despite our wounds.  We need friends to help encourage us and help us find joy and courage to persevere so that we can go into those dark places and bring healing to them.  The reason why we are struggling in this world is not because we are somehow strange or because we are not faithful or pious enough, it is because we live in a world that has been divided because of sin. Being faithful and growing in holiness can help us in our struggles but unless we address our wounds we may find ourselves carrying a larger struggle than God desires for us to carry by ourselves.

If you or someone you know feels they are nailed to their cross instead of carrying it, then perhaps you are in need of healing.

Here is the Good News! Christ came to restore us! He makes all things new! Am I saying that healing our wounds is as simple as bringing our suffering to Him on the cross? Yes I am. It is not simple or easy to do but it is simple in choice.

But wait a minute…have you been seeing Jesus as some wimpy guy walking around in an effeminate gown talking in gentle high pitched voice? Cause my Jesus is not wimpy, he is B.A.  He will kick some major butt if anyone tries to mess with his girl (that’s me).  Are you seeing Jesus as the laid down lover he is? He is ready and willing to run into the darkest of nights to bring in his lost bride (that’s you).  You just have to call out to him..

In scripture, it says we have a mighty savior that will wipe away every tear and comfort every infirmity and remove every sin for those who believe and trust in him.  Instead of despair we shall have the oil of gladness, instead of shame we shall have double honor, not just in heaven but here in our lives, progressively as grace perfects our nature. The zombies are the sin and the evil in the world and he wants to eradicate it so that you can be resurrected and made new!

Jesus wants your happiness in the world and in the next, he wants to set you free from all that has enslaved you! Everywhere you go he is with you and longs for you to trust in him.  He pursues all of us intensely because of his great love for us.  We are no surprise to God, he knew what he was getting when he made us! You are no surprise to God, I am no surprise to God yet he created us anyways! That is such a consolation!

When our wounds are redeemed and washed clean in the blood of Christ we are made new. The very places you feel the most broken become your most beautiful gifts. He will shine out of your wounds in ways that will not only transform you, but it will transform the people around you. His light shines through our wounds revealing hope and healing.  When we are set free from the healing power of Jesus Christ we are able to retain the graces He pours out to us and we will have Christ to give them in their own thirst.

How can one begin? Pray this prayer. Come Holy Spirit Come. Next ask for prayer ministry. Even Jesus had someone help him carry his cross.  Then, find a healing mass and receive the sacrament of the sick so that your wounds can be healed. The sacraments are means of grace that fills us.  Grace perfects our nature and healing ministry is the means from which to retain this grace so that we can be transformed. It will be through this transformation that the world will be reconciled to God.

For the past 6 months I have had the honor and privilege to be apart of a healing ministry that has been offering a monthly healing mass as well as prayer ministry. People have been coming from all over the state of Wisconsin. If you cannot find a healing mass in your area then consider a pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville Wisconsin. We are offering a monthly healing mass to heal and free the oppressed.  If you need deliverance from the evil one, if you need healing for your afflictions then come to the living water! Come be healed! You will receive anointing with oil in the sacrament of the sick, there will be deliverance, there will be healing prayer ministry and you will be given an arsenal kit to take home so as to continue finding healing and freedom. Perhaps you are called to bring a healing mass and prayer ministry to your own parish. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what it is you are being called to do and then ask for the grace to do it. I believe we are on the cusp of a revolution of laid down lovers willing to run into the darkness to bring in the lost bride. I believe that that Army is a Marian Army. Join the revolution. For more information you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/TotusTuusHealing

You Are Not a Disorder, You Are a Person

original art by Christina King

original art by Christina King

You are not a disorder, you are a person.

We are body, soul and spirit.  We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit).   Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.

Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power?  I say no.  I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles.  In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power.  Christ desires to restore us.  Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth.  He makes us whole.  I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17

We are not disorders.  I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity.  To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.

I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?

identity wounds Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.

Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way.  It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct.  This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true.  This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect.  When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.

Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul.  It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul.  We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone.  Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.

The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity.  Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.

the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.

borderline Personality Disorder

 

Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body.  For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up.  When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame.  He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants.  They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons.  When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects.  They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.

 

What was good and right became disordered due to sin.  This is the reality of the world we live in.  If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another.  If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness.  Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.

We are complex human beings.  The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.

Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up.  We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.

body

Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness.  Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing.  Anything else merely treats a part of a person.  Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.

For information on finding freedom and healing with what is labeled as “Borderline Personality Disorder” order my book on LuLu  

 

MY BOOK ON HEALING WOUNDS FROM SEXUAL ABUSE IS DONE!

EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: HEALING WOUNDS AND RECLAIMING OUR GREATNESS THROUGH THEOLOGY OF THE BODY

EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: HEALING WOUNDS AND RECLAIMING OUR GREATNESS THROUGH THEOLOGY OF THE BODY

Please consider ordering my book on healing wounds from Sexual Abuse.

“EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: Healing Wounds and Reclaiming our greatness through Theology of the body.

 

You can get your copy by clicking the link.

ORDER YOUR COPY OF “EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS” BY CLICKING THIS LINK

Why Do I feel scared, ashamed, hopeless, rejected, angry or powerless?

suffering

Want to know why you feel so screwed up? Well, it is probably  from wounds created by sin that has you believing a lie in which you have then made vows to do or not do this or that  ever again in an attempts to get control over your pain or fear or distrust or feelings of powerlessness.  How do you fix it? Read on.

(This is a long piece and meant only for those who desire to understand what their root wounds are that are causing such great suffering in their lives due to a life of neglect, trauma or abuse). 

WOUNDS CHART

sin separates

From the very beginning of the Bible sin is defined as separation from God. It is also spoken of as a transgression, which means to violate the law.  Since the law is meant to protect us and the world we live in, we see that sin is not only a violation of God but a violation of us and of all creation.  When we sin we separate ourselves from God, transgress against his will and against one another and against all of creation.  This is the condition we live in due to original sin.

The word sin can also be understood as missing the mark.  Greek archers used the word sin when an archer would aim for a target but miss the mark, they would fall short of their target.  Many of us aim to please God yet we all fall short of the glory of God.

So with these biblical definitions I think we can agree that we are all sinners.  All of us live in that place of struggle in which we miss the mark, transgress upon the will of God and in doing so violate one another and ourselves

So all of us are sinners and our sin has it’s effects by creating wounds.  Sin always wounds.  Our sin wounds us every time.  But we are also wounded by the sins of those around us. So it seems very clear that we have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.

Sin is like cancer in that if it’s ignored it will grow in our bodies.  As Christians we are called to be the body of Christ.  We are to make Christ visible in and through our lives. We are to be living signs, our families an icon of the Trinitarian love of God revealing truth, life and love to the world.  When we sin, the effects of our sin spreads in three directions thus marring our ability to reveal Christ to the world.

spreads

Sin spreads socially, to all those around us.

When we sin, we diminish Christ’s glory, not that Christ’s glory can be diminished but certainly our ability to be an icon that reveals His Glory can be diminished.  How can someone see Christ in us when our sin is the first thing someone sees when they look at us.

Scripture tells us in Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy that sin also has an effect for generations. Some scriptures say ten generations.  Many of us are not only dealing with our own sinfulness but with sin that has had it’s effects in our families down through the generations. For people who have been abused, simple affection can be difficult to give to their children.  Those children then have difficulty with affection and so you see that the same affects of the sin from abuse has its affects down the generations.

generations

When I began my journey in inner healing and realized my own sinfulness as a result of my wounds I discovered that the same wounds that had been passed down through the generations to me did not stop there.  I realized I was in fact responsible for bringing the same kind of pain to the people in my family.  This led me to become overwhelmed with grief.

How can we prevent hurting our own children? The answer is we can’t.

The only thing we can do is to continue to clean up our hearts. The cleaner our hearts become the better we can love those around us.  It is like our heart is a vase meant for holding flowers but with sin and wounds our “vase” is cracked and holds sludge instead of water.  When we clean out the sludge and allow Christ to heal us, we can retain His grace to love others the way He loves and the water is not tainted with the sludge.

clean

 

The reason why we are struggling in this world is not because we are somehow strange or because we are not faithful or pious enough, it is because we live in a world that has been divided because of sin. Being faithful and growing in holiness can help us in our struggles but unless we address our wounds we may find ourselves carrying a larger struggle than God desires for us to carry by ourselves.

struggle

“There are many kinds of wounds but what they all have in common is that they affect us in such as ways as to give us a taste of hell.” Says  Dr. Bob Schuchts,  founder of the John Paul II healing center and creator of healing retreats in Tallahassee Florida.  These retreats are what I believe have saved my marriage and saved my own children from growing up even worse off than perhaps I was.  While taking his course “Sexual Healing and Redemption” at the Theology of the Body Institute, he spoke of 6 common wounds that many of us carry.  He bases that number off of the Theophostic Healing research done by Ed Smith’s work who lays out 7 common wounds.  Dr. Bob has condensed the list to 6.   He lists them as follows:

wound hearts

1) Abandonment Wounds.  “I am all alone and I will always be alone”.

2) Fear or terror wounds.  “I can’t trust anybody.”

3) Shame.  “I’m unworthy, I’m unlovable.”

4) Powerlessness.  “I have no ability to do anything.  I can’t change anything.”

5) Rejection.  “I’m unacceptable, I’m disgusting, I’m repulsive.”

6) Hopelessness.  “I can’t change anything.”

7) Identity Wounds.  “I am garbage, I am nothing, I do not matter”.

When events in our lives cause us suffering, the devil, the enemy of our soul, comes to us in that moment and proposes a lie to us much like a groom would propose marriage to us.  If we believe the lie he proposes, we are then opening ourselves to him.  This is a foothold.  St. Paul tells us how sin can becomes a foothold using anger as an example.

“Do not be angry and sin in your anger and give the devil a foothold”.

castle

We are either in relationship with God or relationship with the devil.  We are either walking in truth or walking in a lie.  When Eve was in the garden of Eden, the devil came and proposed his lie to her that God could not be trusted, that he was keeping something back from her by not allowing her to eat from the tree of knowledge.  He was proposing that God did not love her.  When Eve ate the apple, she was accepting the proposal of the devil, she accepted his lie and just like any marriage there was fruit that came from her accepting the proposal.  The fruit was death.  When we accept the lies that the devil proposes to us we too our severing our union with God and are uniting ourselves to the evil one.  With our free will, we are chosing to be in relationship with the liar and this foothold we have given him, will grow like a cancer if we ignore it.  Like cancer spreads in our bodies, so too does the affects of the lies we consent to believe in.  These footholds turn into strongholds.

“A stronghold is any pattern of behavior in your life that you know is against the will of God but continues to persist even when you try to change it.” ( Dr Bob Schuchts Anatomy of a wound audio http://www.OnlyPeople.net).

This pattern is a result of the barriers we have built around our heart, brick by brick, lie by lie and vow by vow in an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt or suffering in some way.  The problem with putting up walls around our hearts is that we keep out the good along with the bad.  We become like a prisoner within a castle and the stronghold keeps us there.  

Counseling can bring us temporary relief, can teach us coping skills and can give us a means by which to deal with the distress symptoms that result from us believing the lies but they cannot change the stronghold or bring it down.  Medication can offer us some relief as well, perhaps helping us manage our anxiety that is related to the stronghold but this is not a chemical imbalance we are talking of.  A stronghold is an action of our free will and unless we take it down with our own free will it will not be moved by medication.  Praying is helpful and is definitely a step in the right direction as God is the one that can help to expose the lies so we know where to start but unless we are using the weapons spoken of by St. Paul then we are only managing the our pain rather than finding true freedom.

 

bound

Dr Bob Schucht’s goes on to say that “Every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God results in a stronghold.” (Anatomy of a wound audio).   So in the name of Jesus Christ, through the power of God we can break strongholds.  Without the power of God we are just using our will to do something or not do something.  If we try to overcome stronghold by own own sheer will we will end up frustrated or giving up all together.

 

 

7 deadly sins

They are pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Dr. Bob Schucht’s reminds us that “It is interesting to note that they are dispositions or attitudes of our hearts before they are sins.   These are attitudes of our hearts that orientate us towards sin.   Each one of them has an idolatry of something that exalts itself above God.” (The Anatomy of a wound audio on onlypeople.net).

Anger is an idolatry of control.

Pride is an idolatry of self.

Greed is an idolatry of things.

Lust is an idolatry relationship.

Gluttony is an idolatry of substance to comfort.

Sloth is an idolatry of comfort to avoid pain.

Envy is an idolatry of the status position or privileges of other people.

 

To explain this further let me clarify the relationship of sin, idol, wound, lies and vows.  When the enemy proposes a lie, and if we accept his proposal,  we then turn away from God.  When we turn away from God, we then are turning towards something else.  This “something else” becomes our idol.  If we are feeling powerless, the enemy may propose the lie that “we must be in control or we will be hurt”.  We then accept his proposal and profess to him our vows to unite ourselves to his lie.  Our vow may be “I will make sure I always remain in control”.  My idol is now control and not God.  When I am feeling powerless I no longer turn to God and believing that he will protect me and his hand is guiding my life for my well-being.  Instead, my heart has closed itself to God, instead my new idol of control is what I live by to protect myself from feeling powerless.  I have exalted control above God.  When I cannot control a situation and begin to feel as if I am losing control the result is my anger. I sin out of my anger in many ways and they are the distress symptoms.  You will see my outbursts, my nit-picking, my perfectionism, my passive-aggressive means of manipulating others you will see me rage.

For every wound there is an idol and for every idol we worship we manifest sinful actions.  Every sin has an effect and those effects are usually very visible to the people around us.  (I have made a chart and attached it above to give an understanding ow how they all go together.  I have used the information that I learned at several healing retreats taught by Dr. Bob Schuchts however, I could not find a chart that put together the connection of all of the components to make it easier for people to discover what their wounds are so I created my own.

 

 

We begin to make God’s out of all of those things because we think they will give us some satisfaction yet they are all characterizations of the devil so if we begin to engage in the lies that he tells us, we allow him the very foothold upon which he can ensnare us.

So how are we going to break free from the strongholds?  We must be willing to suffer.  When we are willing to suffer the original thing we were running away from and turn back to God and ask him to help us, then and only then do we acquire the actual graces to practice the virtues necessary in overcoming a particular sin in our life.  If we have experienced abuse, trauma or neglect as children then the powerlessness we experienced in those moments may have resulted in our attempts to control everything and everyone.  Most likely it also resulted in distrust, fear and un-forgiveness.   When we forgive people who have hurt us we then begin to embody the merciful heart of Jesus Christ.  Anger cannot remain where one has softened their hearts and become forgiving and merciful.  Anger cannot abide where a heart has turned to God and begins to relinquish it’s power in exchange for his grace and his will in their life.  

The only thing that overcomes pride is humility.  Humbly acknowledging your pride before God and asking Him to take it away.  If you think you can work on your pride then you are being prideful.  The sin of being prideful or self-justifying comes from identity wounds.  When we grow up in homes where we might not have been affirmed and loved as unique and unrepeatable person we begin to self-justify.  If the only thing we were affirmed for was being attractive, this may become our new idol.  This is vanity which is a form of pride.  When we were only affirmed for being smart we make our intellect or academics our idol.  The only way to overcome these things is to acknowledge that these are gifts from God meant to bring souls to Christ.

The only thing that overcomes our greed is generosity because greed is the control over our possession because of insecurity.  Many people who hoard money or objects (there are even shows on television showing the lives of hoarders) desire to keep as much “things” around them and with them because they have entered into a relationship with objects that are safe and cannot “hurt” them.  Greed is a “distress” symptom of a wound.  We sin in our greed in attempt to stop feeling insecure or afraid about our well-being. We do not trust that God will care for us.The irony is that they are hurting because of the isolation their greed may cause.  This is like a cycle that repeats itself.  The only thing that can overcome greed is trusting in the generosity of God and then becoming generous yourself.  Generosity is saying and believing that you trust in the providence of God. So if you think your issue is greed you are wrong, it is a fear wound and a trust issue.

The only thing that overcomes lust is not “getting yourself under control” and saying  to yourself “I just won’t look at the person or that pornography.” Our issue is a rejection wound.  Out of that place of feeling disgusting or that no one can love you a false idol is made out of disordered relationships of intimacy where the other can not “in-to-me-see”.  Intimacy is about seeing deeply into an other and allowing oneself to be deeply seen.  When we come to see the beauty and purpose of the human person made visible in and through our bodies we begin to heal.  Theology of the Body is the antidote and chastity is lived out because once we understand our sexuality we desire to “speak” a language of love in and with our bodies.  It is then that we can come before God and beg him for purity of our eyes and our hearts and of our bodies.  Chastity is seeing the awesome creation of our sexuality “male and female” He created us.

The only thing that overcomes gluttony is abstinence and fasting.   This can come from shame or hopelessness wounds and so we begin to consume a substance that comforts us rather than go to God and ask Him to fill the hole inside our hearts.  We begin to forget the spiritual life and rely only upon the pleasures of the body.  It is disordering our very personhood.  This often times leads to sloth.

The only thing that overcomes sloth is diligence.  This can come from feeling powerless.  We become bound up in sloth when we believe the lie that we are powerless in some area of our life or in life in general and so we avoid the pain of trying to effect change by being slothful.  It is in being diligent and willing to do the things that God is asking us to do especially when it is difficult that helps us to get free from Sloth. This is a common attack as it has to do with keeping the body of Christ from realizing we are in a spiritual battle.  If we feel powerless and so then give up and become slothful the enemy can make more ground. I would say fortitude and diligence as well as courage and perseverance are important in overcoming sloth.

The only thing that overcomes envy is kindness.  The wounds here can be from identity wounds.  When you grow up feeling that you do not matter and that you are garbage, it is easy to begin hating your neighbor whose life may seem so much better.  Envy is not just desiring your neighbors goods or status it is also believing that they have gotten something that you deserved to have.  Is the reality that you deserve to be seen as good and worthy? Yes, but when one suffers from identity wounds then the lie is that you don’t matter and so envy builds up in our hearts turning it even more cold and hard against others.  When we can be kind to others, be truly concerned for others this hardness softens. When you begin to see that each of us are called into being by our creator, each of us are unique and unrepeatable persons, then we see that our own worth and dignity is God given and are no longer angry about the good fortune of others.

Sometimes we can’t truly choose to become free from something so we may begin by choosing to become free in something else.  We may chose to abstain in a smaller area which will then give us the strength to deal with a more powerful stronghold later.  This helps us overcome the hopelessness of feeling that nothing will ever change.

These are just some of the examples of how sin and wounds and lies work together and how once discovered and the virtues sought can enable us to brings some real healing into our lives.  None of us are any position to judge one another yet I am sure all of us can identify with one or more of these sins.  All of us struggle with these sins and virtue is the way in which we will get free.

Once your identity a sin in your life that you cannot seem to get free from you must then begin to identify the lies that you believe.   You must then renounce those lies and ask Jesus to forgive you for making a false idol in an attempt to deal with your pain alone rather than to open your heart to God.  This is where healing comes in.   If I have truth to undo the lie, if I believe the scripture that tells me that I should not worry about what I eat and what I wear because I trust in God’s providence then all of a sudden I can have security, real security because the stronghold lie begins to crumble.  In asking forgiveness for making a false idol and renouncing the lie in Jesus’ name the enemies power is broken.  Now the drawbridge has been lowered so that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete can come in and be the divine physician.

So how do we begin? First you must ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you.  God knows what you are ready to deal with and where you must first get free in order to have the strength and courage to press into the other wounds.  If you go into areas you are not ready to deal with it will feel as if the enemy is rubbing salt in your wounds and you may be to afraid or feel to incapable of handling the pain associated with it.

I started with a distress symptom, an area of my life I felt was creating a pattern of sinful behavior that I just could not seem to get free of.  I then asked the Holy Spirit to show me what He wanted me to know about it.  For me, he showed me a memory.  I then asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the lie in my heart that I believed.  I then asked Him to reveal the judgment I had made about God and about the other person.  I then asked God’s forgiveness for the believing the lies, making the judgments and for turning to a false idol instead of to Him.  I then asked God to help me forgive the person for what they did.  As for the lies, I renounced them in the name of Jesus Christ.  It was as if I broke off my union with the enemy  had re-united myself to my true Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  The effects were immediate.  The peace was beyond anything counseling or anxiety meds or alcohol or food had ever done for me.

When I contemplated the lie again, I laughed out loud because it sounded, AND FELT, so ridiculous.  It no longer had any hold over me.  Who would have thought that freedom would and could be so instantaneous.  This is because it is by the power of God.  So why did this work when nothing else seemed to? Because God does not and will not violate our free will.  He can supernaturally heal us but before that we must first surrender our will to God and invite him in.  It is, to use the castle analogy,  as if we must lower the drawbridge to give him access.

St. Peter says “Anyone who is willing to suffer in the flesh is done with sin” 1 peter

Jesus is the only person who experienced all of the same wounds we have and yet did not sin out of his wounds.  He was abandoned “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”.  All his friends left him.  He was abandoned, yet did not sin.

“He was rejected and despised among men” IS 53, but he did not give into the rejection, he continued to love in the face of that rejection.

He was complete helplessness on the cross, but he chose to surrender his will to the father.

He tasted the greatest despair on him from our sins in the garden and on the cross but he never gave into despair or sloth.

He experienced every single wound in the mystery of creation and chose to be obedient.  He took on every wound for us and the sins and penalties of the wounds and the sins.  He did this for us.  He also identified with us so that we can see that we can identify with him in our suffering and know his compassion for our pain.

Am I saying that healing our wounds is as simple as bringing our suffering to Him on the cross? Yes I am. It is not simple or easy to do but it is simple in choice.

Are you still afraid? Are you still feeling hopeless? Are you still not sure how to begin? Then start simply.  You can say “I can not overcome this Jesus, but you can”.  “I can not bear this Jesus, but you can.”

In scripture, it says we have a mighty savior that will wipe away every tear and comfort every infirmity and remove every sin for those who believe and trust in him.  Instead of despair we shall have the oil of gladness, instead of shame we shall have double honor, not just in heaven but here in our lives, progressively as grace perfects our nature.

Take some time to journal.  Take an area of your life, some place of distress in your life.  Pray and ask God to show you what the lie is that you believe in your heart.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the root wound and the root sin is. Ask him to show you where it is rooted in term of memory and experience. For some it may be a recent event for others something farther back.

This part is important.  Allow yourself the chance to feel the pain of that.  Bring that to Jesus and ask Jesus to reveal the truth and bring his healing love there.

He who is willing to suffer in the flesh is done with sin!

God will meet us. It’s a matter of walking there so don’t be impatient with yourself.  It is a process and He is not going to give you something that is more than you can bear.

I want to give you hope that as you walk through this, to know that there is such joy on the other side of healing.  It is awesome and worth every bit of the pain you might go through as you look at events or people in your lives that wounded you with their sin.  Keep your eyes, your focus on Jesus.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  He will bring you to the joy that He promises.  That may be hard to believe, especially for those who might have been dealing with deep hopelessness wounds for a long time.  Let me encourage you to not give in to sloth, remain diligent, keep going forward even if it is very small steps, that is still progress and you will be greatly rewarded.

This information comes from Dr. Bob Schucht’s work on “Healing The Whole Person” and other great Inner Healing work he provides for those desiring real freedom.  You can find more information on how to attend his healing retreats by going to his website  The John Paul II Healing Center  .

Zombie Apocalypse; We are the walking wounded

IF
Have you noticed there are a lot of zombie movies and television shows lately? It is as if Hollywood can see what so many of us are refusing to see. We are the walking wounded. We may not live in the biblical times of leprosy but we certainly live in a time of spiritual leprosy. We live in a fallen world and with fallen people. The new normal is not man and wife with three kids a dog, a house and a white picket fence. In fact, I am not even sure what the new normal is, but it is definitely not the “traditional” family. The movies we watch that are depicting human beings as zombies, are closer to the truth than most tv sitcoms.
zombie
We are all wounded in some way. Some of us are living with the effects of sexual abuse or physical abuse; some of us were abandoned by our parents. Still others were emotionally abused or psychologically traumatized by alcoholic or drug addicted parents or even others were ritualistically abused. Whatever the your childhood, chances are you either experienced abuse or neglect yourself or someone very close to you did. The effects of abuse wounds us and it is in through these wounds that we begin to form our understandings and beliefs about who we are, who God is and whether or not we believe in anyone or anything.

The wounds that are inflicted upon us are openings to evil or negativity. Call it what you will, it is through wounds that we are opened up and it is as these moments we can become bound up as prisoner to our pain, our fears and the vows that we make to ourselves.
nailed
If you or someone you know feels they are nailed to their cross instead of carrying it, then this book may be an answer to prayer. I have endured many of the abuses listed above. I have done what most do, I have gone on to wound others in the very way in which I am wounded. It is an irony that is not lost on me. However, it is helpful to recognize this because it helps us to discover the root wounds buried and hidden deep with us. When we see how we wound others, or we meet people that create a distress in us, usually it is a neon sign, pointing us to an area that we need healing in.
neon
I am hoping that those of you that are seeking healing are inspired by my story but are also given the courage to be vulnerable in ways you have dared not to for so very long.
bridegroom
It is in being vulnerable that we are able to open ourselves to the Bridegroom. Jesus is the Bridegroom and knows all of the secrets of our story. He desires to make us whole and it is only through His grace that we can be transformed. I am here to say it is not only possible, but what you might believe to be your greatest flaw or ugliest secret may just be the birthplace of greatness.
chosen

Each of us were created by God and chosen out of all the “potential” people God could have created to come into existence. God knew what He was getting when He created me, He knew how I would fall, how I would fail Him and yet He did it anyway. I am no surprise to God. He chose me! When we created me, He chose to make me female because God has a plan for my life and being a woman is part of His plan. People do bad things. Our free will allows for that. It’s called God’s permissive will. He does not actively will it, but He promised after the flood that He would not interfere directly against our will. He sealed it with a promise for all to see with a rainbow.

heart
God gives each of us gifts and charisms to enable us to more perfectly carry out our calling yet each of us are given a choice as to whether or not we chose to live out our calling. When we are abused, we begin to lose our ability to function as a “whole” person because our very personhood is wounded. These wounds go very deep and actually separate us from being able to see truth, to love and to be loved and may even destroy our lives in the process. Joy becomes an abstract concept and not a personal experience for the person with wounds.

The wounds created in us many times lead to sin. Many people wound in the very ways in which they were wounded as a means to protect themselves. Many people who abuse were abused themselves.
new
Here is the Good News! Christ came to restore us! He makes all things new! When our wounds are redeemed and washed clean in the blood of Christ we are made new. The very places you feel the most broken become your most beautiful gifts. He will shine out of your wounds in ways that will not only transform you, but it will transform the people around you. His light shines through our wounds revealing hope and healing on the other side.

Come and put your fingers into my wounds so that you too will believe. Open your hearts and minds to not only believe but to receive your own healing because today is the day of freedom!
fingers in wounds
I want to issue a warning for those of you that are easily disturbed by stories that include abuse. While I am not descriptive in every detail, I do share my story of abuse. Please feel free to skip over areas that may be to troubling to you to read. Make note of anything that you read that stirs up fear or anxiety in a journal so you can go back to it later in prayer. Often times, our reactions that are distressing are actually distress symptoms of something within our own hearts that God desires to heal in us. It is the distress symptom that acts as the treasure map so that we can find the hidden areas within us that once discovered and healed, will be our greatest treasure and pearl of great worth.

This book is about my journey of healing from the wounds of my childhood. It is because I did not want to pass on my wounds to my own children, and because I no longer desire to live out of my wounds, that I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. The reason I have decided to write this book is because of the freedom I have found on that journey. I have received more healing in the last year by this method than all of the 30 years of counseling combined.

I was three the year I was sexually abused for the first time. But I have been healed and created anew!

I was three the year I was sexually abused for the first time. But I have been healed and created anew!


I cannot contain it for myself, I must share it because I see so many people in my travels that are broken, hurting, alone, lost and suffering under the weight of their own weaknesses and I desire to be Simon to them. In fact, once we gain freedom from our wounds, they become transformed and begin to radiate Christ to all those around us. Let me share my own journey with you and say a simple prayer of agreement now, “Come Holy Spirit, Come” so that perhaps you too will be made new.
If one person finds freedom and joy because of my story, then I will know I did the right thing in sharing my story.