God’s Umbrella

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In our home, we teach our children that there’s covering and blessing under God’s umbrella. It serves as a great metaphore. Think about it…

An umbrella does not act like a locked corralle where one is imprisoned in a covered bullpen. Rather, an umbrella is light and can travel with you wherever you go or you can choose to leave it at home. And you can hold an umbrella for cover from harsh wind, sun or rain. Or you can choose to lay it down and walk alone freely in the elements. 

God has no desire to enslave you. He loves you enough to let you decide whether you want to live under the covering of His umbrella or dance outside of His umbrella. One note of caution: Dancing outside of the umbrella might appear fun at times, but the elements can quickly turn harsh out there.  And it can be quite difficult to manage the consequences alone.  

Here is the good news. You may choose to live beyond the reach of God’s protective umbrella, but you can never live beyond the reach of God’s love for you. 

God is always eagerly waiting with open arms for you to return and pick up the umbrella He has unconditionally reserved for you. No questions asked. Just a loving Father delighted to see His child find security under His covering. 

Small is Great and Noble

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Whatever you have, whatever you do, make it count.

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Never underestimate your ability to make the world a better place. What may seem mundane to you can build up the soul of another. Whether it is a small note in your child’s lunch, serving a hot meal to your family, a quick “hello, how’s it going?” with your neighbor, a random “I love you” text to your honey… It all counts in big ways and it will be returned to you. Doing what you do every day with an engaged and loving heart will unleash your greatness and will become your joy.

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 ESV)

His First Crush

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My son (10) informed me last week that he met the nicest person he has ever met. Her name is Hazel. She is a student at his school and this is the first year to get to know her. When I asked what she does to be so nice, he explained that she has a soft voice and she is really nice to everyone and never makes fun of anyone. She likes to help people. And she makes these cool mini clay creatures and sells them for $.25. He placed an order for a bat (the animal, not the sporting kind). Today she gave him the bat to hang on his backpack; upside down of course. He apparently gave her $1 because he liked it so much. Sigh. May he always appreciate the company of the kind and creative Hazel’s of the world.

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Emotional Abuse is Real

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Emotional abuse doesn’t leave physical bruises or scars, but it sure leaves deep and painful wounds.

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Anyone that is a victim of chronic emotional abuse knows it injures a person’s mental health, confidence and self-esteem. And much like physical abuse, the abuser wants power and control and often seeks to intimidate, demean and degrade their victim.

Emotional abuse is not thought to be as serious as physical violence. Therefore, emotional abuse is often marginalized, especially by the abuser. “It’s not like I am hitting you.” But in some ways emotional abuse can be more maddening because the scars are real and long lasting even though the rest of the world cannot see them. The victim experiences the same depression, anxiousness and fear that a victim of physical abuse experiences. And many times the abuser is in as much pain as the victim, only they don’t realize it. It often comes from something deep rooted within them, perhaps even going back to childhood.

Emotional abuse can at first be subtle and then escalate incrementally over time, so you may not notice it right away. If you are questioning whether you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you probably are and have been for quite some time. If the following conduct is chronic in your relationship, you are probably living with an emotional abuser:

Put Downs and Insults: name calling, public ridicule, blaming you for everything, humiliation, dismissive, disapproving

Verbal Abuse: insults, cuss words, yelling, ranting tirades

Rejection: Pretending someone is not there, saying things like “I don’t care”, using the silent treatment, acting heartless as a weapon, withholding affection or emotional support

Isolation: limiting freedom, keeping family and friends away, becoming irate when you attempt to go out or entertain an activity outside of the home, refusing to attend events with extended family or friends

Bullying: purposely saying hurtful things to someone with the intention to hurt them or make them fearful or make them feel like they have no value

Instilling Fear: Intimidating or threatening someone so that they feel afraid, threatens harm to a pet or possessions

These are only a few forms of emotional abuse. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone can have a bad day and act harshly out of anger. But if any of the above actions are an ongoing pattern of behavior, then you are likely in an abusive relationship and the abuse is chipping away at your self-worth. Do you ever think to yourself, “Am I ever going to be good enough?” Do you feel like you are going crazy? Do you tell yourself to stop being weak? Do you make excuses to others in an effort to protect your abuser or hide your abuse?

If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, let me reinforce to you, EMOTIONAL ABUSE IS REAL. Your pain, confusion, and fear do not make you a weak person; these are reasonable responses to an abusive relationship. You are not crazy. You are good enough just the way you are. God did not create
you to endure such abuse.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love “is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…. it always protects.” (1 Cor 13:4-7 NIV).

You can get help. You can regain peace and healthy self-esteem in your life. You can claim joy for your life. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The following is a prayer that you can pray if you don’t know what to say to God about your situation:

“Dear God, Please give me peace. Please provide a hedge of protection over me. Please work in my abuser’s heart. I need your strength and wisdom. Please shower me with your love. Please help me to no longer be afraid. I ask you to please help me understand what I need to do to improve my situation.”

NicieLee is a Christian Life Coach that can help you with matters of the heart.
http://www.NicieLee.com

LIFE IS FLEETING

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Life is fleeting.
A blink of an eye.
I love every new experience and milestone.
I smile at every past special moment and memory.
Some days I wish life would slow down.
Some days I wish it would hurry.
But in my heart, I know the best is yet to come.
Thanking God for eternity.

-Nicie Pratt 2013

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