Moving Forward

The most valuable gift we can give to one another is the gift of listening. But once the period of listening has been realized we have a decision to make. It is always good for the listener to clarify what they’ve heard, but eventually both the listener and the sharer should make goals in order to move forward.

Making goals to move forward in no way means the information shared has not been taken seriously.

Repeating the same information over and over again does not help get your point across, but keeps you stuck in the past.

Making goals to move forward can be scary. Doubts can creep in, fear can put a freeze on moving forward.

Moving forward is absolutely necessary for the healing journey to begin.

*I know from experience that the deepest damage, pain, and trauma is healable.

If you are someone needing to heal from trauma, let that trusted listener help you make some goals so you can begin your healing journey, so you can begin to move forward, one step at a time.

Chances are that person (whom God can lead you to) may have come through the exact same thing. The listener is not going to reveal that right away, because your healing process isn’t about what everyone else has gone through. Your healing process is about you, your very real suffering, how valuable you are, and how possible it is to make strong choices moving forward.

We are cheering you on!

Our Past Does Not Define Us

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lyrics by Cindy Palin

Sweet Mercy

Emerging from a long line of sorrow and of rage

Curious as a child, who invited it to stay?

Long after hearts were hard, barraged by the world’s lies

Sweet Mercy had another plan in mind.

Though the journey faltered in temptation and despair

The prayers of the warriors compelled me on from there

Weak in my marrow but mighty in His might

Sweet Mercy kept the vigil day and night

And where the rage died, the peace grew

And where the sorrow tried to drown me, the joy broke through

Sweet Mercy, Sweet Mercy, Sweet Mercy

The lineage of hatred determines not your name

The blanket of oppression has no stake or claim

Though you’ll remember and mourn from time to time

Sweet mercy has another plan in mind

My past does not define me. Does yours? Look at the message of the Gospel and how Christ transformed lives. He still transforms lives today with His sweet mercy. He forgives. Have you forgiven yourself?

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:13, 14

Song written by ©Cindy Palin/November 22/06

To Be Loved, Part II

I saw the lovely trio skipping down the street one Saturday morning. More like the little ones were skipping, while dragging their mom along behind. I’m not sure how we struck up a conversation. She was asking for something in particular and I must have thought I could help. I set a time with her to come by her place.

She had given me her number and I called first. The morning it worked for me to go for a visit the sky was overcast and grey. Most of the snow had melted but the earth looked like a dirty carpet. I could hear the brittle ice snap, crackle and pop under my shoes as I approached her building.

I rounded the corner in the sidewalk, and thought I saw God’s little angels painting the earth white again. They were dressed in nothing but summer lace crinolines and black rubber boots. They were hopping on the tiny patches of ice left over from yesterday’s melt, and giggling with glee each time a new crack cried out. They didn’t notice me at first, but I saw the door to their apartment wide open, flapping in a north wind. I could see their breath crystals in the air, and I could see mine.

Quickly, but gently I introduced myself and scurried them inside. Thankfully they remembered my face from our previous brief encounter. Their mother was on the phone, standing at the end of the stairwell. I could hear her deflecting verbal punches from who knows who on the other end of the line.

I glanced to the right where nothing but a large mattress lay on the living room floor. My eyes dared glance to the left where a years worth of dishes and dried food decorated the kitchen counter. Their Momma looked up from the phone, smiled and waved me in to sit down.

I can’t remember what it was I was doing there, but the memories of that morning never fade, and the words we shared gave more insight into her world. Here is the second verse to yesterday’s song “All We Need”.

Winter’s arrived, I find her girls out in their dresses

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The look she wears can make you question how she stresses

She married far too young and craved herself a family

Only to starve to death from the silence inside

She’d never harm a flea, but she’ll break on empty

All she needs, all she needs is to be loved.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard it

It’s not the last time I’ll see

It is the all too familiar – calamity.

Where do we find this kind of love?

How do we grow this kind of love?

How can we be this kind of love?

All we need, all we need, all we need is to be loved.

©Cindy Palin November 2005

To Be Loved, Part I

I met her when I was dating my (now) husband. Back then she was maybe twelve. Powder white skin and long ebony tresses. Not a care in the world. I noticed she liked to care for the little ones at Sunday School, like a Shepherd gathers his little lambs. We got to know her Mom and Dad a little, but when we returned home from our honeymoon, there had been an ugly split in the tiny church plant we’d been attending, and they were no longer around.

Years later I saw her downtown, and she had grown into a lovely young woman in her twenties. She was dating a young man with a high profile career, and excited about life. No sooner had I imagined a lovely wedding and dreamy future for this beautiful spirit, I heard about the break-up. I didn’t know how to get a hold of her to see if I could take her out for coffee and chat.

One day out of the blue I get a phone call. Did I remember who she was? Absolutely. She needed to meet me.

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I’ll never forget how I felt holding her hand across the table and watching her tremble. She was addicted to prescription drugs. Her Mother and Father had split. She had a child from a lover, but her child had been taken away. No one really knows how to determine which hearts break and recover, and which hearts crumble and lay down and die. Why had my little Snow White not found her Prince Charming? Why had there not been anyone to protect her from the wolves?

I went home that day and wrote this song. It has never been recorded, but remains to be a favourite of mine. Not that it is pleasant to remember the demise of a dear friend, but it is important to remember there is only a window of time for us to cherish and nurture each unique life.

I wait for her and know our meeting won’t be pretty

She’s cut her hair and tells me she is far too heavy

But I see the twelve year old I knew when I was twenty

Who used her up and left her second hand?

How my soul aches to see her shake drinkin’ her coffee

All she needs, all she needs is to be loved!

It’s not the first time I’ve heard it

It’s not the last time I’ll see

It’s the all too familiar calamity

All we need, all we need, all we need is to be loved…..©Cindy Palin, Nov. 2005

That same day, I went to check on another friend I had met on a Saturday morning, out shopping. I will share the second half of the song, which is her story – tomorrow.

 

 

Quick to Pour Out, and Slow to Consider….

I woke up with worship on my mind.

“Not a bad way to wake up”, I thought.

Once songs were chosen and emailed off to the different worship team members, I sat at the breakfast table and wondered “what next God?” Every day is an open window, a portal to new lessons waiting to be learned.

By the end of the day I wasn’t sure what it was I was supposed to learn. “I may have been better off staying inside with a closed door.” I muttered under my breath.

But there in the middle of an absent answer – was the answer itself. Every phone call, every errand ran, every conversation had been riddled with obvious pain. Maybe it wasn’t obvious to everyone, but I could feel it. I could hear it in their voices. I could see it in their body language, like a crippling disease. As I witnessed and embraced my beloved (those who Christ has blessed my life with) I too felt my bones weaken, and my spirit faint, and knelt to hand my anguish over to God. Prayer was the lesson. Prayer was the answer that always leads to action.

For the addict whose name was the same as a biblical warrior – I prayed for the Holy Spirit to intervene, so that he too could march around his walls of Jericho, and conquer his demons once and for all.

For the mother, I thought of Jochebed, Moses’ mother and how she too had to let go of her son unwillingly, and watch a stranger raise him. I asked the Holy Spirit to comfort her, and remembered Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

And for a friend who is always struggling to make ends meet I thought of the Israelites wandering in the desert, afraid for how they were going to find food and water. God had given them manna with instructions on how to collect it and use it to keep their bodies fueled, but in their disconnect they squandered it and the food spoiled. Their wandering cycle lasted for 40 years and many died on the way to the Promised Land. I prayed for my friend, for the power of the Holy Spirit to help her look up and take hold of God’s provision, and so break the generational cycle, which threatened to end her life and the lives of her children, and their children.

And for me, I cried out to God that I would get up off my knees and act out His compassion, as Christ and the early church exemplified (Acts 2:43-47).

As I wondered just how much we should give, and where the balance should be the words “poured out” tumbled out of my mouth.

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Isaiah 53:12b “…..because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Let us be quick to pour out what He has given us, and be slow to consider ourselves.

The Father’s Heart

One out of four women in North America will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. This song is dedicated to our little boys and girls, and to our mothers and fathers, to our sisters and brothers who have suffered sexual trauma. May we all continue to work towards solutions. I know there is hope and healing available from our Father’s heart.

 

Louder Than The Lies

Recently,  building with Shelter Canada in El Salvador, I noticed one of the family’s relatives had a television in their nearby home. I was immediately reminded of a dear friend of ours who visited a Zulu Chief in South Africa. Upon his arrival he noted that the Chief was watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “terminator” role on television. Even more recently I was having a discussion with someone in my own neighbourhood regarding a prominent Hollywood celebrity who works as a bounty hunter.

All of these observations, and subsequent conversations have something in common. Each occurrence was in the midst of an impoverished reality, people needing homes, food, education, facing life threatening situations. I ached at the thought of the pseudo reality many have chosen to live in. I grieved at the realization millions of souls around the globe are influenced by false truths that offer no real food for their spirit. Many of the messages streaming into our minds are negative and violent, encouraging a tough and calloused approach to life.

A character’s persona, and imaginary world, whether on television, in a video game, music video, or novel – offers the observer an escape from reality, a reality that may be very difficult. This escape is only temporary. Reality is always right around the corner.

What kind of real food do we need to be sharing with one another so our lives have purpose, and meaning, and hope? What kind of truth can we be living out loud to help our loved ones, and neighbours get up every morning and seize the day? With God’s help truth can be louder than the lies.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercy, Mercy – Me.

Our desire for help is always heard, and we are always loved.

I am reminded of a day when I was running errands and a young woman came to mind. After her name had run through me several times I got the picture.

I drove up to her house and knocked on her door.

She was shaken to see me on the threshold. Turns out she had fallen off the wagon, and was afraid her child may be taken from her. She knew I was not social services, and her shoulders relaxed somewhat.

I had wanted to take her out for coffee, but she was in no shape to go. However, I realized I would be a miss if I didn’t take the opportunity to pray, and ask God for his help.

She wanted God’s help and we prayed, but when our prayer time was over something very important dawned on me. My spiritual antennae were tuning in. The prayer was the first step, there was another step that needed to be taken.

I asked very cautiously if the object of her bondage was still in her house, and she replied “yes”. I offered to take it out and get rid of it, or help her pour it down the drain.

Her reply was an adamant “no”.

Summoning my courage and leaning on the Lord, I explained to her that we had just asked God for help. Should we not now, take a step of obedience and remove temptation from the premises?

She was furious with me, and asked me to leave.

With great sadness I got back into my car, and realized I had been given the privilege to learn a valuable life lesson, or two or three.

If we are going to ask Jesus for help, we had better be prepared to take the help he offers.

How many times had I asked Jesus for help, and sent the help away?

Sometimes we don’t recognize his help for what it is, but more often times than not, if we are to be painfully honest with ourselves
help-JPG-70 – we do recognize it and still refuse him.

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””][/clickandtweet][clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Help from God is not reliant on His giving it, but dependent on us receiving it[/clickandtweet].

The most valuable lesson I learned that day was one of love. My friend had fallen off the wagon, and though I was terribly saddened about her circumstance I knew I still loved her, and in that moment I saw the way God sees me and my mistakes, and loves me still.

Mercy, mercy – me.

The Best Posture & Presence for any Situation

Reading in John 8 this morning something very beautiful struck me. It is the passage where Jesus arrives very early in the morning at the temple to teach. There, a religious group of people bring to him a woman who has been caught in adultery, hoping to trap Jesus somehow, and with the intent to stone her.

Many of you may be familiar with this story, and Christ’s famous words, he who is without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7b). So profound. Of course no one threw a single stone. One by one her accusers walked away.

However as I was reading I was struck by Christ’s posture. The sinner is brought into his presence, and he doesn’t tower over her in judgement, as you might think the Holy God of the universe should, instead he bends down to the ground and begins writing in the sand.

If you were caught in a guilty predicament and brought before Jesus, would you expect him to lower himself before you? I don’t believe he was condoning what she had done, but he was creating an atmosphere of forgiveness and love, taking on a posture of humility.

If you have hesitated to check out a local church because you feel you do not qualify, please remember this story. If you have been mistreated before by people who claim to be Christians. Remember no one is without sin (Romans 3:10)

I have learned three very important truths to apply to my life today.

  1. I will remember your posture my Lord. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]When foreigners or truth seekers appear at my door, I will not tower over them with an ere of condemnation[/clickandtweet], but I will take the position of a humble servant, that which you have exemplified to me.
  2. When confronted by a controversial issue I will quiet myself as you did, Jesus. Wow wouldn’t my parents have wanted to hear this in my teen-hood? Wouldn’t my children have benefited from this wisdom when they were little, and I was so young. I will take time to wait for your wisdom to speak to my spirit before I utter a word out loud.
  3. And, last but not least, I will speak your truth in love, knowing that true freedom is not found in our own way – but yours.

There will be times in my human fragility that I will make mistakes, but with your help may I reflect your posture and presence to all I meet.

Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more. He loved her, he offered her forgiveness, but he also made the truth very plain. In our attempt to exemplify Christ’s love it is vital we share His loving boundaries with others. Often we confuse love with tolerance. The best way I can think of concluding this thought is by sharing these verses,

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones”. (Proverbs 3:7,8 NIV)

Find out for yourself, what God’s word says to you today!

I remember the day…

…I found out I had a TEMPER!

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Not until I had children did I realize my limitations were grossly underestimated, and my opinion of myself was highly overrated.[/clickandtweet]

limitations-JPG-79On one specific occasion, after losing my cool, I threw myself on my knees beside my bed and cried out a very desperate prayer.

“Lord, if I can’t get it together, if I am going to keep losing my temper, then I need you to take me home and give my children another mom.”

 

 

I waited. Nothing happened. Several years passed and still nothing happened or so I thought. I guess I expected to be gone in a puff of smoke right then and there, and for God to replace me with ‘I Dream of Jeannie’.

He did replace me, everyday, I just couldn’t see it. By his love and grace, and patience I am no longer the same person I once was. The process has been slow, which reminds me of the other thing I’ve discovered – my absence of patience.

I am less of an emotional roller coaster today, probably because I get sleep, and my grown up kids let on like I wasn’t half bad.

But just when you think you’re getting a handle on parenting, the clock strikes twelve, and your kids have to parent you, grey hair ‘n all.