Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Googling for Spiritual Answers.

I have wondered all my life why I am the way I am; judgemental, hypercritical, unkind, phoney-what is it that makes me this way exactly. Moreover, for having professed Christianity for the largest portion of my life - why can't I change, be delivered from this sin that so easily besets me?

One day while I was making our bed, and bitching and bellyaching to no one in particular, AGAIN, about my husband and kids, etc. It hit me. I sat down on the edge of the bed and googled the question "Why am I so critical and judgemental?"

The top link lead to a page from Psychology Today about being this way because you have been raised in a hypercritical environment. As I read on, it described me to a tee. (This also makes me think that there must be a LOT of other's out there that struggled with this).

The term hypercritical environment was something I had to do more digging into, and when I did, it was also spot on.

When a child grows up in an overly critical environment it can have a damaging effect on their psyche. Overly critical parents may feel like they are just driving their children to do their best, but realistically, critical behavior leads to a negative family dynamic. It has an effect on everything from a child's creativity level to her self-esteem. 

Under this were the subheadings: Perfectionism, Anxiety, Unconditional Love, Self Esteem, 

This creates a family dynamic in which the child is expected to perform at unrealistic levels. Psychology Today outlines the issues that come along with seeking perfectionism. The article, "Pitfalls of Perfectionism," says that perfectionism decreases creativity, innovation, and a child's desire to take risks. A child who is raised with overly critical parents is afraid to fail and disappoint her parents. According to Psychology Today, the unattainable expectations put on a child by overly critical parents serves only to increase her negative inner dialogue.

According to the site Children with Anxiety, a child needs a loving, calming environment when dealing with anxiety issues. Overly critical parents only serve to increase the stress and anxiety within a child. The site says a child can develop depression, or even mental illness if anxiety issues are not dealt with in a healthy manner. A child who has anxiety issues needs parental guidance that does not include stressful criticism, and second-guessing of every move he makes. Children with Anxiety points out that dealing with anxiety is a family issue, not just the child's issue.

Unconditional Love: 
Hypercritical parenting can result in a child feeling she has to earn her parents' love. Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin, psychotherapist, says a child with overly critical parents grows up feeling she has to achieve enough in order to earn the love of her parents. Due to the negative nature of a critical family environment, the child feels she does not receive unconditional love. Sorotzkin explains, in a healthy home a child knows they are loved, even when they do not meet her parents' standards. She knows love is not tied to achievement. In hypercritical households, a child grows up feeling parental love is something that is dangling like a carrot on a string, and until she does enough to earn it, she is not loved. Sorotzkin says this leads to later issues with self-esteem, negative parental relationships and perfectionism.

Self Esteem: 
Children develop self-esteem as they grow and learn to value themselves. According to Kids Health, a child who lives in an overly critical environment internalizes the critical dialogue she hears from her parents. This lowers self-esteem and can lead to depression, says Kids Health. The children's health site advises parents to be supportive and nurturing with children. A child who learns to love and accept herself even when she fails, will develop healthy self-esteem. A child needs to see from her parents that even when she is not perfect, she is worthy and loved. This will help her believe in herself and increase her self-esteem. 

Having grown up in this kind of a household was the insight into all my issues of being so incredibly critical. 
I had lived my entire life in such an environment. The problem was, I lived with a man who had not. Actually, that wasn't a problem, it was a huge blessing. But how to change, how to come out of years, a lifetime of this was hard to figure out. 

I Googled again. I don't remember the question that I asked "the box of knowledge" as Audrey calls it, but out of all the information that it came up with, only one had a spiritual answer and that was what I was looking for. Basically, I was looking for how to balance what I had growing up with what I professed to be and with the God I believe in. I found the perfect answer. 

You can read it here  

But the jest of it was that by focusing on the faults and fallacies of other people, you negate the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Just like that I was shown what my years and life of criticizing others was a direct slap in God's face at my lack of faith in Him to change, deliver, restore and redeem people. 

Where was my faith in the God I believed in. 

About this time I also started reading a book by Anne Graham Lotz called the Daniel Prayer, which I will write more on later, but suffice to say the combination of the questions and the book, my life and outlook has changed drastically. 

Don't ever be afraid to dig. And if you use the internet and Google, and pray before you do it, I won't doubt that God will lead you to exactly where he wants you to be.   

I had prayed about this problem and God answered by leading me to what he wanted me to know. He is still leading.... I'm so thankful. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Birthday Aunt Lois!!

Yesterday we celebrated my Aunt's 90th birthday. I told Rog that as I hugged her neck and stood there talking to her. I was amazed at how beautiful her skin was, and how vibrant and alive she was, yet as I looked into her eyes, I say a tiredness, a weariness, much like I saw in the eye's of my mother as grew older was an indicator to me that those eyes have seen more than maybe they have wanted to see. 
My aunt is in wonderful health. She doesn't take any medication; none. She takes vitamins, and eats right and has the constitution of a mule when it come to tenacity of spirit to keep going and never giving up. 
She has raised four children , lived with an alcoholic husband, who for the last 50 some years of their 60 some years of marriage was clean and sober. She has worked all her life; still does, and has just now put in her notice, at 90 years of age. 
She is my mother's youngest sibling and out of the seven children she is the last who is still living. We are thrilled to have her here. 
Several years back, but a year after my mother had passed, I called her to tell her the troubling news of my kids, divorce and an out of wedlock pregnancy. Things that were troubling to me, that I was sure had my own mother been alive I would have been read the riot act of what had I done wrong. were by my aunt's response after listening to me was simply this; "Well, thank goodness everyone is well and healthy." Something that had completely escaped my notice in the midst of it all. A few years later those words of hers held even more impact when my great nephews were both diagnosed with cancer. 
Her perspective on life while living through an alcoholic spouse, divorcing children, a son who had virtually abandoned his parents and siblings when he joined a religious order, had not turned my aunt into a bitter angry woman. It had turned her into someone who saw the glass half full. No one demonstrated the unconditional love and grace of Jesus Christ more clearly than my Aunt Lois. She NEVER stopped loving, forgiving, showing mercy, and grace. Accepting and embracing any and all just seemed to come so easy for her. She maintained her busy social schedule all the days of her life. She worked till she was 90 years old. She was an active member of her church, and sorority, Eastern Star, and family. She made positive choices and it seemed she always came out smiling, even when you knew there had to be a new crack in her heart; she never let it show. Yet, yesterday, I saw the weariness of it all coming to bear in her eyes. 
She is still traveling, and seeing kids, grands, and great grands, and still part of her church, sorority, and Eastern Star and mostly her family. If there is a weariness, a tiredness, she doesn't let it show. She keeps her head up and she keeps moving forward. 
When I teased her yesterday about doing this again in 10 years, her response with a smile and nod was "By the grace of God." She knows from where her help comes... 
Happy Birthday Aunt Lois. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ending and Beginning

The Family 2017

I'm getting ready to do the Christmas letter for 2017, and I look at my blog and realize that I haven't posted anything on here since last Christmas.....
I haven't lost interest in blogging, but with Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat and Marco Polo, blogs are actually becoming obsolete, or out of date, etc. I'm on facebook way to much as it is, and I do write, but it is in my journals, with a pen and paper. 

I've become somewhat disenchanted with facebook over the past year; the election had much to do with that. So I've looked for other ways to stay in touch and haven't really found any. On facebook, people share what others have already shared, or are posting memes that are not theirs, but no one else's. I guess what I'm seeing is a lot of non-original posting. Facebook has become like a telephone; you have it to keep in touch when you want to, or to promote, or advertise, or sell, but not to actually reveal anything too personal because those that do that are hailed as advertising TMI (to much information).  

So I am returning to my blog. 

Here I'll write my posts, and share my thoughts. I'll share things of my family, and I'll only put out there what pertains to me and mine. If people want to know whats going on with me, they can find me here. 

So here is my family. Our daughter and our son, with their spouses, and their little's. We are not to spread out. We are here and there, and yon, but every once and while, we get together and play and have fun, and laugh a lot. Life is very good; VERY good. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Getting ready for the Christmas letter always means getting to review the year in pictures. Here are a few of our highlights. 

Roger and I, besides doing all the normal routine stuff we usually do, in anticipation of our 40th wedding anniversary coming up in January, took a trip to the Oregon coast in Sept. Mountains, forests, the ocean, good food, excellent company; it was perfect 

Audrey and Paul are still residing in Goodyear Arizona, continuing to work in the nuclear industry. They were home for a couple of visits this year with the latest at Thanksgiving where they brought the wonderful news that they will be parents in May of 2017!! Which of course means we are getting a NEW GRANDBABY!!!! Yes we are a little excited. 

Nicolas & Melissa continue to live right up the road and around the corner. Melissa graduated in May with her BSRN and is working in Topeka at Stormont Vail Regional Medical Center. We are so proud of her! 

Nicolas continues to work with Roger with working on houses to rent or flip. He is in constant motion. 

Sam graduated from Pre-School in May the same weekend his mama graduated from college. He has started Kindergarten at Lebo Elementary.  

We wish you all the best of the coming year and a most blessed holiday Season!

Roger & Andrea  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Who's gonna throw that first stone?

So, Lifeway Christian bookstores are refusing to carry Jen Hatmaker’s books anymore because they say she is supporting the gay lifestyle.

I read what she wrote. I saw where she is supportive of those in the gay lifestyle, I support and love those in the gay lifestyle as well, but not because they are gay. Except at the end where she said that gay relationships could be holy. THAT I differ with her on. But not because they are gay.

Because sin, any sin, Jen, can’t be holy. Nope, just won’t work. 

Homosexuality is a sin, just like lying, gossip, malic, cheating, anger, hatred, selfishness, murder, adultery, stealing, fornication, coveting……….and the list goes on.

We like to categorize sin however, some sins are worse than others we tell ourselves.

 Nope, ALL have sinned.

And don’t tell me that because homosexuals continue in their sin that is the problem. What about those of us that sit in the pew every Sunday that are addicted to food, alcohol, pornography, working out, spending money we don’t have, gossiping at work, complaining and being bitter every day. That would cover most of the people I know. Doesn’t that have to stop? Everyone has failures in their lives that they continue to do Every. Single. Day. If someone followed you around for a day, just what do you do daily that would be sin? Discipline is the issue for most of us, but doesn’t that fall under lack of self-control? That's listed as a sin too. We all struggle with that.

My mother in law was confined to a wheelchair for over 30 years. Being the wife of a preacher put her in situations many times where people where offering to pray for her to be healed. She related to me that one time when a group of folks gathered around her wanting to pray for her healing, she told them: 

“All of us need healing. Emotional, Spiritual, Mental, and Physical. Mine is just outward where you can see it. But just because you can’t see the sickness in others doesn’t mean that they don’t need you to pray for their healing just as much as I do.” 

I loved my mother in law. Wise woman.

The story of the woman caught in adultery comes to mind. Who is “without sin”, and able to cast the first stone.  MERCY!!!

Sin is sin. Paul wrote that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” People use the “all” when it suits them, but they don’t stop to think about the glory; and falling short.

Who is God that he deserves the Glory? He is Holy. A Holy God deserves all the glory we can give him. But we fall short. Perhaps we are more focused on the sinner and the sin, than who they are really sinning against.

In the story of the adulterous woman Jesus directed everyone’s attention back to who it was who was REALLY being offended by the adulterous woman’s sin, and it wasn’t anyone in the crowd, and Jesus didn’t stone her.

We all have fallen short, and are all sick and in need of healing. We are all failing in our lives in one way or another. When you throw your sin in my face, and tell me you don’t care and you will continue in that choice, yes, I am going to tell you you are wrong, not because of your particular sin. Not because I’m perfect. But because God is a Holy God.

We are exhorted to restore and be gentle in the exhortation of those who have lost their focus on God. And that is what it is. When someone has lost their focus on our Holy God, a God of love, compassion, and mercy, we are supposed to be sign posts, and helpers to lead them back.  

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Gal 6:1-3

It is my job to love you, and encourage you, even admonish you, to not look at the wind and waves about you but to look to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. The one who, because we fall short came to save us. He is the author and perfecter of my faith as well. My weak, failing, banged up faith that I work daily to strengthen at the foot of his cross.

 I’ll go there with you, fellow failure, and we will seek to give our Holy God the glory He is due. And we will seek the healing that only He can give.

May God have mercy on us.......