🔒
There are new articles available, click to refresh the page.
Before yesterdayCompelledByCompassion

Institutionalized

5 August 2017 at 00:36

300solosit_090907025705972_wideweb__300x299

In 2009 The Soloist was released.  The film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx was based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted cellist who developed schizophrenia and became homeless. Downey Jr. played a reporter who couldn’t bear the thought of this musical prodigy living on the streets. So he put the man up in an apartment, providing him with all of the basic necessities. His efforts ultimately come to naught, as Foxx’s character “preferred” homelessness to the comforts of a safe, warm place to live. You might say he suffered from institutionalized homelessness.

 

In clinical and abnormal psychology, institutionalization or institutional syndrome refers to deficits or disabilities in social and life skills, which develop after a person has spent a long period living in mental hospitals, prisons or other remote institutions.

 

Dark Places

In Matthew 8:28-34 Jesus and His disciples disembark from their vessel having reached the shores of Gergesenes. There, two demon-possessed men meet them. These men – or perhaps more accurately, the evil spirits in them, had stationed themselves at the shore to drive people away by their fierceness, such that no one could pass. They immediately recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Aware of their ultimate end the demons inquire of the Lord rhetorically, “Have you come to torment us before the time?” They then beg to be cast into a nearby herd of swine. Jesus obliges with a word – “Go!”

 

“The Lord has anointed Me … to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound,” (Is 61:1, Lk 4:18).

 

The herdsmen who kept the swine headed into town to tell of what they’d witnessed. “The whole city” came out to meet Jesus, but when they “saw” Him, they begged Him to leave their region – not just their city.   What did they see?

 

Have you ever been around negative people who just want to wallow in their negativity and commiserate with others who are like-minded? When a person with an optimistic outlook comes around they band together to ensure the intruder knows she’s unwelcome.  The stark contrast of her gleeful persona sheds light on, and magnifies the dissenting brood.  Misery loves company indeed!

 

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” – John 1:5

 

Just as many of the homeless seem unable to live indoors, and some prisoners become institutionalized such that they’re unable to function on the outside, there is an imprisonment of the mind. For some of us it is easier to believe lies about ourselves– whether self-inflicted or implanted by someone else – than to believe the truth and be free.

 

I am unattractive

…stupid

…unwanted

… not good enough

 

We live our lives in such a way that we are ensnared by our own beliefs and they become self-fulfilling prophesies. Decades old “recordings” on repeat in our minds wage war against the healing truth of God’s word and what He says about us. There’s a familiarity, a comfort even, in believing the lies that offer convenient excuses for everything in our lives that is not as we’d like it to be.

Gergesenes, meaning: Those who come from pilgrimage or fight. Sounds a lot like homelessness and war to me! Perhaps the people of Gergesenes had grown so accustomed to drifting and fighting, they simply could not fathom life any other way. They were scared by the prospect of freedom.  So they drove away The Light, unable to comprehend it.

What about you?  Will you choose truth over lies? Freedom over imprisonment? Light over darkness? Peace and safety over homelessness? There is One Who gave His life to purchase your freedom. He is The Light of the World, and The Way home. Will you allow Him to shine into the darkest recesses of your mind – the secret places, the broken places – and be healed, made whole, and set free?

 

“These walls are funny. First you hate ‘em, then you get used to ‘em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.” – Red (Morgan Freeman), Shawshank Redemption

compelledbycompassion

300solosit_090907025705972_wideweb__300x299

Unexpected Turbulence

turbulence_2529213b

I really enjoy long airplane rides that allow me to rest.  The hum of the engines lulls me into deep sleep, often before the plane even takes off.

In a previous role I used to have to fly to the Philippines a few times each year.  I can recall on a couple of those flights, after several hours in the air, while sound asleep somewhere over the ocean, being abruptly shaken awake as the airplane was violently tossed about like a toy.  Fear gripped me as I peered out the window into utter darkness, with no land in sight.  Even though I’d routinely prayed for safe passage prior to takeoff, in a panic I’d pray fervently, “Lord, help! …”

I imagine Jesus’ disciples experienced that same sort of panic when they found themselves taking on water and unable to control their boat in the face of the tempest.  Despite having been first-hand witnesses to their Lord’s miracles, they were overcome by their present circumstances.  (Mt 8:23-27)

Life sometimes brings storms that leave us feeling powerless and wondering if God is sleeping, or otherwise ambivalent to our situation.  How quickly we forget the countless trials He’s brought us through; the times He’s rescued us in a way that could only be credited to Him.  Could it be that in turning on auto pilot, thinking we’ve “got this” we actually set ourselves up for a faith test?

Among the disciples on that boat with Jesus were fishermen.  Surely this was not the first time they’d encountered rough water.  No doubt they did all of the things an experienced seaman does to secure the boat, but this time, they found themselves powerless against the fierce, unrelenting waves.  So they cried out to their Lord.

It is noteworthy that each gospel account of this story states, “He arose,” in reference to Jesus’ response to the disciples’ pleas for help.   Sometimes we just need to remember that He arose.  Jesus slept through the storm because He knew He had a destiny.  Yes, He was taking the disciples to the other side of the lake, but He had a calling to fulfill, a cross that awaited Him.  When you know you have a destiny, you can take heart and remember that He arose!  Because He got up, you can fasten your seat belt, batten down the hatches, hunker down and know that your God is not only the Captain, but He’s the engineer.  He’s the mechanic.  He’s the navigator.  He’s the meteorologist.  And He Himself commands the winds and waves and they must obey!

In spite of where you are at the moment, you have a destiny.  Will you trust that the very God who arose from death by His own power, will land you safely ashore?

compelledbycompassion

turbulence_2529213b

Dangling

5 February 2016 at 11:02

The other day I confessed to my small group that at times I feel as though I am a puppet, dangling precariously on thin strings controlled by The Master.  My faith in God’s ability to save me never wanes.  It’s my ability to trust Him despite what I see happening all around me, that falters.  I find myself believing that He can save me, but doubting that He will – as though my Heavenly Father derives some sort of nefarious pleasure from watching me struggle.  It’s a scary thing to confess.  So I was shocked when they admitted to having had those same thoughts.

When these thoughts arise, I have to fight them with truth- the truth of God’s character … His faithfulness, His incomparable, all-encompassing love, His daily mercy and grace that keep me from utter destruction.  His word is my best weapon against the tyranny of my own thoughts and fears.  I have to renew my mind in His word daily to combat the onslaught.

Dangling

  • God is Great and Praiseworthy – Ps 145
  • God is Faithful – Deut 7:9
  • God is Merciful and Full of Compassion – Js 5:11
  • God is Close to me in my brokenness – Ps 34:18
  • God Cares for me – 1 Pt 5:7

Today I will choose to meditate on His goodness….

compelledbycompassion

Dangling

The Not So Enchanted Forest

28 January 2016 at 10:08

Sometimes I feel as though my husband and I are walking aimlessly through an enormous forest, trying to find our way out.  The paths we can take are innumerable, but which is the right one?

I’m reminded of the story of Hansel and Gretel.  Like this pair, we’ve no trail of pebbles.  The breadcrumbs we thought would lead the way out have been “eaten” – countless job applications, savings exhausted, and now plans to move to a less expensive home…   Towering trees loom ominously over and all around us.  Never has the expression, “…can’t see the forest for the trees…” been so true.  There are trees of mounting bills, and health issues, trees of concern for our children – everywhere trees, trees, and more trees.  There are paths too, but which one leads out of the forest?

As we stand in the midst of the forest clinging to one another, I hear my Savior whispering, “Look up.”  As I redirect my gaze to the clouds, I notice the clear, blue sky.  Chirping birds fly freely overhead.  The sun is shining, and Jesus is calling me to trust.  He’s calling me to take my eyes off the trees, and focus my attention on Him.  He made the forest.  He holds the compass.  His vantage point is eternal.  And He is The Way out! (Jn 14:6)

 

compelledbycompassion

Endurance

23 January 2016 at 10:48

In high school I was on the varsity track & field team.  My specialties were the sprints (100M, 200M, and 4 x 100M relay), as well as jumps(long jump and triple jump).  I loved the freedom of running full speed.  I felt powerful and strong.  Though the 100M dash is a very quick race, it is also a highly technical race.  You must get out of the starting blocks quickly, staying low and gradually rising as you build speed.  You must remain relaxed as you run, and my coach used to always say, “Run through the finish line.”  This was his admonition because many a race has been lost in the tenth or hundredth of a second at the tape (the finish line), by a runner who slowed too soon.

I was a particularly strong starter, nearly always beating my competitors out of the blocks.  But somewhere between 60 and 80 meters into the race, they’d begin gaining on me, and sometimes pass me just as we approached the tape.  I could feel myself giving up as I heard the beating of their footsteps approaching.

To help with my endurance my coach would devise brutally taxing practices which my teammates and I called “bear workouts.”  At other times, he’d make us run for miles.  I could typically be found at the back of the pack.  I loathed those long runs.  I failed to truly understand the value in those workouts and how much they helped me as a sprinter.

Endurance: The strength to last, despite fatigue, stress, or adverse conditions, bearing pain, hardships, etc.

We are all running a race called life.  This race will not be won by the fastest.  Nor will life’s battles be won by the strongest, as people typically define strength; but rather by those who endure. -(Ecc 9:11, 2 Tim 2:10, Heb 10:36)   Can you hear the pounding footsteps of financial hardship, sickness, broken relationships, beating and gaining steadily.  Perhaps it seems as though they’ve overtaken you.  I am in what feels like a marathon season of my life, enduring job loss, financial hardship, concern for my children.  But I am reminded that I must endure.  Insodoing, I will be better equipped for the sprints that life throws my way.  For if we endure, we have a promise from God:

“Indeed we consider those blessed who endure.  You have heard of Job’s endurance, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” (-Js 5:11)

Let us trust in God’s mercy, His compassion, and His promise.  He’s proven faithful time and again.  And let us press on.  Run through the tape!  Get your prize!- the high calling that awaits us!  There is purpose in the trial.

compelledbycompassion

While you wait……

I have found that life often consists of new opportunities to learn to trust God more.  If ever I think I’ve mastered the art of trusting Him, I find myself faced with a new challenge and opportunity to trust Him more.

Are you waiting for something?  Perhaps the repentance and salvation of a loved one?  Your soul mate?  The right job opportunity?  While we are waiting this much we can know with certainty:  that though we may sometimes grow weary, our Creator never does ( Is 40:28); and in our weariness He gives us power.  He actually increases our strength in those times that we feel weakest (2 Cor 12:9), as we trust in and wait on Him.  In our waiting we learn to endure.  We learn to rise above our circumstances – even to soar above them and thrive.  (Isaiah 40:31)

We can learn from eagles.  The eagle flies high for a better vantage point.  She can see her prey from the heights – her prey that will sustain her and her baby chicks.  Just as the eagle searches out her prey, we must diligently seek our God and His saving hand – His strong hand that rewards us, feeds us, carries us, and lead us.  (Is 40:10-11; Heb 11:6)

We would do well to consider how we spend our time waiting, rather than just focusing on what we wait for.  Are you in the thick brush of life trying to grope and feel your way out when you should be soaring high above viewing life from your Father’s vantage point?  “You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer.  You’re out in the open now.  The Bright light of Christ makes your way plain.  So no more stumbling around… Get on with it!” (Ephesians 5:8 – The Message).

Get some altitude. Fly higher.  Gain perspective.  Rise above the muck and mire of your circumstances (your financial state, your joblessness, your loneliness, your weariness and fear), and soar in the heavens so that you can see more clearly.  John had already been given much Revelation before he was told to “Come up here” so that he could be shown even more things (Rev 4:1).  Sometimes we need to just come up higher so we can be renewed, refreshed, and see more clearly.

compelledbycompassion

CPR

21 March 2012 at 12:11

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Ps 147:3 (NKJV)

Yesterday we talked about the symptoms of cardiac arrest.  Today, I’d like to discuss the cause.

Medically speaking, and in simplest terms, cardiac arrest occurs when the heart does not receive enough oxygen.  Oxygen, of course is essential to the proper functioning of the human body, and while we can’t see, smell or taste it, it is in the air that we breathe, and the water we drink, among other things.  Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:13-14 that living on earthly water means returning again and again to the well to satisfy our thirst – or in modern terms, the faucet; but that drinking the water that He gives alleviates thirst once and for all.  In fact, He said that His water leads to life everlasting.

Why is it then that we seek to fill ourselves and quench our desires to be loved and cherished with earthly cisterns that only bring temporary relief?  No amount of money, no material possession, no title, and no man will ever be able to satisfy us like Jesus.  It is in seeking HIm first, and continuously, that we are able to be filled and fulfilled.

Doctors and even every day people may performcardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on victims of cardiac arrest in hopes of reviving them.   Does your heart need reviving?  Look to The Great Physician:

Christ Provides Restoration (CPR)

“How do I do this,” you ask?

1.  Spend time with Him daily.  Just as when you’re in a relationship with a man, a friend, or even your relatives, you strengthen that relationship by spending time with them – talking to them, relating to them.  You keep apprised on what’s happening in each other’s lives.  Yo u cherish the ones you love.  It is no different with God.  He longs to be with us so much, that He chose to put His Holy presence within us!  Talk to Him throughout your day.  Tell Him what was good, and what  was not.  Cry to Him if you need to.  Imagine yourself on His lap, or lying on His shoulder.  He’s a BIG God – He can take it!

2.  Spend time in His Word, daily.  We hear things like:  God’s Word is the roadmap for life; or our GPS.  Why then do we think we can get along without it?!  As essential as your glasses/contacts are for seeing, your daily shower and deodorant to protect against body odor, and food to sustain you; God’s Word is essentialfor living.  You need it.  It is the oxygen that will keep your heart pumping.

3.  Be obedient.  If the doctor prescribes a modified diet and medication to the patient, but she leaves his office and doesn’t follow his advice, she will soon find herself once again in cardiac arrest.  In the same way, we must not be hearers (readers) of the Word only, but doers also (James 1:22).  James says we deceive ourselves when we fail to do this!  When God commands us not to be unequally yoked, why do we think that we’ll be the exception to the rule?  When we’re commanded to submit to our husbands, why do we formulate excuses on how our situation does not apply?  Do not be deceived Precious Daughter!!  The enemy of your soul is counting on you buying into his lie – that this scripture or that one, doesn’t really apply to you and your situation.  It all applies, and it is all for your good!!

Today’s meditation:  In Isaiah 57:15d God says that if we have a contrite (broken, humbled, collapsed, maimed, dejected, or bruised) spirit, He revives our hearts!!

Father, I lift up your daughters to you today, asking that you revive our hearts. You have promised to do this in Your Word if we are humbled and broken before You.  Lord, You sent your Son to be bruised and broken in our place.  Help us to understand that we don’t have to be, if we will follow your prescription.  Give us wisdom to discern the path we should take in our day-to-day lives.   We trust and love you for it.  In Jesus Christ’s Name.  Amen

compelledbycompassion

For the Crushed and Dejected Heart….

19 March 2012 at 16:11

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath. Ps: 34:18 (MSG)

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Ps 34:18 (NKJV)

Strong’s Bible Dictionary defines the word “brokenhearted” this way:  To burst, to crush completely, shatter, break in pieces.  In addition, Strong’s defines contrite as:  To be humbled, to collapse, maimed, dejected  – in reference to the heart, thoughts, feelings, or the mind.

Have you ever felt that way?  – dejected, crushed, shattered into tiny pieces, or humbled?  Let’s take a closer look at this condition of the heart. 

In searching this matter out I learned that the Greek word, “kardia” is very much like our english word, “cardiac.”  For all you non-medical types that is, relating to the heart.   People who have experienced a heart attack describe it as a feeling of intense pressure on their chest.  This is often accompanied by other symptoms such as:  nausea, loss of appetite, weakness or anxiety.    Interesting how these symptoms parallel some of those we experience with a broken heart. 

Diet.com describes cardiac arrest as an “abrupt cessation of heartbeat. ”  This might be compared to feelings you’ve had – feeling like the life has been sucked right out of you. 

The Bible says in Ps 147:3 that The Lord heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.  In fact Isaiah 61:1 tells us that Jesus was sent and anointed to heal the broken-hearted and to set the captives free!  What’s holding you captive?  Could it be:

  • your desire to have a man in your life?
  • an abusive relationship?
  • your own self-doubt and lack of self-love?
  • unforgiveness from past hurts?

Jesus Christ wants to comfort all who mourn.  He consoles us, giving us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for your heavy spirit.  He does this so that you may be called a tree of righteousness that He himself plants for His own glory.  (Is 61:3) 

You may not “feel” as strong as a tree or very righteous at all, but my dear sister, “feelings” deceive us.  Are they not the very thing that led us into heart-breaking relationships?  Our feelings are untrustworthy.  So what can you trust?  The living Word of God!  He says that the righteousness you have comes from “faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” – Roman 3:22 (NIV)

So if you believe in Jesus Christ – Who He is and the saving work He has done – then you are righteous according to God; and God does not lie!

Meditate on this today – you are righteous  – and please check in with me again tomorrow for further examination of this “heart disease.”

Father, my prayer for your daughters today is that You would cause them to truly know and understand that You see them as righteous – that they cannot earn that title, nor do they have to “work” toward it; but that Your Son’s finished work on the cross covered us all, giving us the title, “Righteous Daughters of the King!”

compelledbycompassion

Why I’m starting a blog

19 March 2012 at 15:37

Welcome to my blog site. 

The aim of this blog is to minister to women who’ve been broken through relationships with men – whether single, married, unequally yoked (married to someone who does not share your spiritual beliefs), or divorced.  I intend to share from the Word of God and my own life experiences. 

I’m praying for God to give me the right name for the site.  The current name, Heart of Abigail came from a book I am writing based on the story of Abigail, in the book of 1 Samuel of the Holy Bible.  I don’t think the title is quite right however, for this blog. 

I invite you to comment, suggest, and/or post questions.  Thank you for visiting the site, and I pray that you are blessed by what you read here.

compelledbycompassion

  • There are no more articles
❌