The Reign Is Gone

This has been on my mind for the past couple of days & I know I have to get it on paper! I know it’s not paper, but you know what I mean!  LOL!    In 1999 I left a place of association I had been an integral part of for 13  years.  As I drove away toward home, this song immediately began playing in my mind:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way.Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.

It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Oh yes, I can make it now the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for.

It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies.

Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies.-Jimmy Cliff

I didn’t understand it at first until I heard a small, still, voice clarifying the difference.  Reign, not rain was the reference.  The reign of man. Unrealistic dedications, impure motives, self-promotion, fear & even sin.  For years I had served selflessly & tirelessly, yet felt like something wasn’t right.  At that moment I realized I was finally free from the lordship / reign of man. The cloud that hindered my true judgement was blown away & over the next several years I respected Christianity as it should be.

ImageWhy is this memory surfacing lately?  In mentoring single adults, I recognize how easily our judgement is impaired / clouded when it comes to wanting to be accepted, affirmed, included & loved.  We allow a person or relationship to exercise an undeserving reign over our conscious decisions & actions.  One day we look in the mirror & suddenly realize we don’t even recognize ourselves, much less how we’ve gotten to this place.  Please understand, all relationships are not like this.  Healthy relationships nurture, protect, provide, serve, heal & constantly bring out the best in one another. I am referencing defiled, volatile, poisonous relationships where the victim is vividly aware things are awry. It’s as if they are looking through a glass as it’s pouring rain & only seeing a blur of  their former selves or what is possible for them to enjoy.

Hopeless? Never!  The steps back may not be the easiest path to take, but they can & will lead to the freedom you so desire. To date, the emotions I felt during that drive home are as real as me sitting in front of my computer blogging!  Once you discover a way out of the fog, you’ll be very discerning & cautious not to allow yourself in becoming ensnared again! Like one of my favorite scriptures, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery (bondage) on you.” – Galatians 5:1

If this resonates even slightly with you, I encourage you to perform a self-evaluation & talk to a mentor.  Necessary changes will probably involve choosing different associations.  Turn around, pack up & walk away as quickly as possible without looking back.  Surround yourself with forward thinking, like-minded individuals who will speak life & wholeness into your future. I promise……..before you know it, you will be that person bringing hope to others.  The only memory you will reflect upon will be the sweet sensationalism of freedom!

I’ll leave you with a scripture from Job. Most of us know what he endured for complete freedom & restoration!  Understand above all else, his restoration was worth the stand he took to attain it.

You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One,
    and look to Him joyfully, boldly.
You’ll pray to Him and He’ll listen;
    He’ll help you do what you’ve promised.
You’ll decide what you want and it will happen;
    your life will be bathed in light.
To those who feel low you’ll say, ‘Chin up! Be brave!’
    and God will save them.- Job 22:28

Blessings,

g

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it’s just a light bulb!

I am so beyond excited for the latest endeavor in the area of ministry involving single adults.  I have started a Divorce Care Program though my amazing church as a Connect Group & community-wide outreach.  When I divorced 19 years ago this type of support group was probably not unheard of, but just not available in my area.  Falling in love with reading & being hungry to learn as much as possible about relationships, dating, etc., has helped me tremendously.  The #1 asset has been counseling other singles.  I learned to minister through my own pain, rejection, & inferiority.  You’ve probably heard the statement that if we wrote our problems on a piece of paper, put them in a stack to trade with others, we would happily take ours back.  Each story I hear reminds me of the redemptive grace of God & makes me realize just how far I’ve come in the season of singleness!  I’ve branded the name of the group journE³y focusing on the goals to encourage, empower & equip single parents.

Recently I sat with a friend who’s in the process of divorce.  It’s fresh, painful, overwhelming & just downright not fair. I am a well-adjusted, single woman, yet I have a personal vendetta against divorce.  While listening (key factor here!), I realized it doesn’t matter how educated, christianated (yes, I know that isn’t a word, but….you get the gist), successful or strong-willed someone is, when the heart & soul (mind, will, emotions) are involved we become vulnerable.

We daily live our lives unconsciously.  There are actions we do & never realize they’re being done until it’s totally our responsibility to perform them all.  Trash, clogged drains, yard maintenance, pool upkeep, & the simplest thing of all, replacing light bulbs.  When a parent has to factor everything that was done as a team to now being done solely by them, the slightest infraction can be the straw that breaks the camels back.  I picture a child afraid of the dark who is lying in their bed envisioning each bedroom accessory coming to life with monstrous teeth & claws hovering to consume the frightened child.  The fear of the unknown is gripping & can paralyze.  One day everything is manageable & the next it brings a flood of tears to our eyes imagining how we will fit this into our schedule.

The maintenance issues can’t even begin to compare to the psychological impairment divorce brings to a child.  Rejection, confusion, insecurity, separation anxiety, uncertainty, &  more. Children are resilient, yet these emotions can scar a child & affect future relationships.

If you’re a single parent, I applaud you with tremendous respect & affirmation.  If you’re a married couple who have single parent friends, step up & offer assistance.  A note of warning, don’t let their stubborn facade of “everything’s fine” stop you.  Our church practices & encourages performing ARK’s.  Acts of Random Kindness have secured new, tremendous friends for me since we’ve promoted it.  Examples could be from something small like changing light bulbs to making sure you invite them to dinner with your family.  I will not regress at the numbers of times I prayed someone, anyone would just invite my son & I to dinner after church that never happened.  I finally stopped praying & began inviting other singles to join me.  While this is awesome to form community, it also creates isolation.  A single parent was once a family unit & sometimes, it just feels good being surrounded by family.  One of our connect groups is family game night.  This was the one I chose to attend last semester & I can’t tell you how much I gained from those amazing weeks of association.  Besides becoming obsessed over the game, Taboo, the relationships are priceless.

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Life isn’t merely a destination, but who you become in the….

Blessings,

g