Hope and Encouragement from Hot Apple Cider

From N. J. Lindquist:

Excerpt from A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider (free book through Dec 2013 as a special gift for our site visitors or anyone who could use a little hope and encouragement. All 50 stories. Download Now.)

The story below is from the book A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, with N.J. Lindquist.

The story below is from the book A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, with N.J. Lindquist.

Be Still and Know by Glynis M. Belec:

Throughout my cancer journey, “God signs” proved that He was orchestrating my days. In one instance, we arrived home after a particularly grueling appointment in London. Dr. Lanvin, my new oncologist, had checked all the reports, confirmed my diagnosis through examination, and then briefed me about the upcoming surgery. So when we arrived home that day, my emotions were fragile. Although I had never played the “Why Me?” game, blaming God for allowing this to happen to me, I was starting to wonder about God’s plan for my life.

As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed my phone flashing red, indicating messages were waiting. A voice I barely recognized said, “Hello, Glynis. It’s Sue.”

I hadn’t heard from Sue for three years or more. We’d been acquaintances through drama ministry and school functions, and when we got together we always had a lovely time, but somehow we’d lost touch.

The recording continued. “So why did God wake me up at three a.m. and tell me that I should be praying for you? How are you doing? We haven’t talked for ages. Give me a call when you get a minute.”

I was floored. I quickly punched in her number. We chatted for a couple of minutes, chastising each other for not calling sooner.

“Are you okay?” she inquired.

“I have cancer.”

Silence.

“I had cancer, too,” she replied quietly.

I burst into tears. Sue and I spent the next hour talking and sharing. She encouraged me, promised to pray for me, and assured me I could call her any time. She also reminded me that as a 12-year cancer survivor, she was living proof that cancer can be overcome.

I got off the phone and cried again. This time my tears were not out of self-pity. They were tears of joy and gratitude for God. He had known my needs and was putting people and circumstances in place so that I could see His mighty hand.

I remembered God’s nudging to write it all down, so my bedside journal became a therapeutic outlet. Words oozed through ink as I penned my thoughts and my day-to-day struggles with everything from fear, to spiritual questions, to relationships, and more. I started to realize what God had meant by the term “fodder.”

If there was any doubt about Who was in control in my life, it was completely obliterated the night before my surgery, May 27, 2008. My journal entry reads:

This is it. My final sleep before surgery. I am ready. I am Yours. I am prepared to be still and truly know that You are God! I am in awe at the confirmation that You have placed before me (and Gilles) this very night. What was the day’s scripture verse in the Our Daily Bread devotional for Tuesday, May 27? “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God—You rock! You know this is my favourite scripture verse. I love the soft, subtle ways You find to communicate with me, Lord—especially tonight. How blessed am I to know You in this heavenly way. How can anyone deny Your existence? You are real. You are living. You are in control…

Note: Please do not copy and reuse this story without permission.

 

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Suicide as a Way Out of Domestic Abuse

When you’re in a relationship that involves domestic abuse — physical or emotional — suicide may seem your only way of escape.

 

 But there is hope and help.

 

Off the Map domestic violence

Jacquie Brown, author of the book, Off the Map: Follow me out of Domestic Abuse, certainly felt that way the day she ran to her bathroom after a violent confrontation with her husband. Her “crime”? Urging her husband not to drive his truck after drinking seven glasses of whiskey and cola in a few hours.

In Jacquie’s words:

He shoved me into the wall, yelled and called me disgusting names, criticized everything about me, searched for the words that would hurt me the most.

Fear gripped my being. My stomach tensed, and I huddled into myself, trying to disappear as tears flowed and I thought, Am I really those foul degrading words I hear him calling me? He’s right about my stupidity; I never learn. I’m always the catalyst for these explosions of torment. How do I solve it? How do I stop it? The agony and desolation is relentless. How do I escape?

Time seemed to stand still as a thought seeped into my mind. I knew a way to escape. I turned and race up the stairs to the washroom, locking the door behind me. I shouldn’t have run. Now he knows something is unusual. I hurried and swallowed several pills before he reached the door.

He yelled, “Open the door or I’ll kick it in!”

Jacquie came out of the bathroom and her husband got their two young children out of bed, and told the children “This I what happens if you try and kill yourself.” He then beat her.

After he left, Jacquie made her way to each of the children’s rooms and assured them she was okay. Afterwards, she wondered how she could ever have been so selfish as to think of leaving her children alone with their father. But of course, she wasn’t thinking clearly. She was just trying to find a way out of the constant fear and abuse. (p. 42-43)

Suicide lets the abuser win

While there may be times when suicide seems like the only way out of abuse, fortunately, Jacquie eventually found a much better way. And then she wrote a book in order to help others find their way out, and also to help friends, family, and others who want to help domestic abuse victims understand what’s going on in the mind of a person who is being abused.

Off the Map is written with alternating chapters, first giving us a glimpse into Jacquie’s life, then immediately following that with an explanation of what she calls the “underlying dynamics or aspects of domestic violence.”

In her introduction, Jacquie says: “Off the Map demystifies domestic violence. It brings to light how we are ensnared and why we stay trapped. It also reveals our self-destructive coping mechanisms and ultimately the way out of the dungeon to discover the treasure of life.” (p.xiii)
Jacquie also explains that all violence isn’t physical beatings. There are many other ways an abuser can hold someone captive.

The book has a number of helpful lists, including:

  • signs that you are in an abusive relationship
  • how abusers isolate their victims
  • different types of abusers
  • types of abuse
  • wrong beliefs of both the abusers and the abused
  • reasons why victims stay in the relationship
  • common coping mechanisms that lead to more difficulty
  • people and groups who will help abuse victims
  • practical steps to take to ensure safety when leaving

The book clearly explains how pretty well anyone could wind up being abused without necessarily realizing what is happening. Jacquie shows how abusers can mix kindness in with the abuse in a way that creates dependency and keeps the victim ambivalent about the abuser and unable to break free.

She also links long-term abuse to C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). On page 93, Jacquie says, “A woman suffering in a relationship of domestic violence is similar to a soldier’s experience as a prisoner of war. Both undergo prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences and both can develop C-PTSD.” She then goes on to explain how chemicals in the brain (such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline), are impacted, and how this can lead to a variety of negative things, including forgetfulness, depression, detachment, self-condemnation, loss of identity, hopelessness, etc.

Everyone needs to read this book

This book is specifically about domestic violence, and is invaluable for anyone wanting to understand that type of abuse. However, the implications of abuse go far beyond that to any long-term relationship where one person has power over another and could use it in abusive ways: either situations where one has direct power over another (e.g. a parent, teacher, coach, boss, pastor, doctor, counselor) or situations where a peer can exert power over another person (e.g. a co-worker, teammate, a sibling, close friend, roommate, classmate). Please check it out, especially if you:

  • suspect you might be in an abusive relationship
  • suspect someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, whether domestic or otherwise
  • suspect you might be an abuser
  • are in any way involved with people; pastors, teachers, psychologists, counselors, doctors, nurses, politicians, managers, parents, etc.

Click to visit Jacquie Brown’s website and for information about her book Off the Map: Follow Me Out of Domestic Violence 

Loving a Suicidal Parent

by N. J. Lindquist:

Despite loving a suicidal parent dearly, one daughter saw her need to look out for her own mental health.

 

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five years ago a young woman’s mother committed suicide. Prior to that, the mother had struggled with mental illness and addictions for many years.

From ages 14 to 17, the daughter looked after the mother without telling anyone what was going on at home. At the age of 17, the daughter made the very difficult decision to leave her home before she went down the same path as her mother. And shortly after that, she made some very wise decisions on how she would live her life, which she shares in this video.

Unfortunately, the mother could not or would not change.

To honour her mother, this year, the daughter swam 500 laps to raise money for mental health in her mother’s memory.

If you’re living in a situation that is going to destroy your life, if you feel burdened down from trying to help someone who shows no intention of really wanting to change, or if you feel guilty for not being able to help someone you love, please watch this video. The story beings at the 3-minute mark.

And if you identify with the mother, please seek help from those who are qualified to give it.

Will I Ever Be Happy?

By N. J. Lindquist:

How can I ever be happy?

[Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Would you say you’re happy? If not, what would it take to make you happy?

A couple of years ago I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen drinking tea when she suddenly set down her cup and said, “You know, I thought when we bought this house, my life would be perfect. I have a family I love, a good job, more possessions than I ever dreamed of having, this wonderful house—so why am I still not happy?”

Like my friend, many of us think happiness means getting whatever we want—someone’s love, enough money, a new car, more friends, children, a career…. We believe that when our goal is fulfilled, we’ll be happy.

So we strive for the object of our desire.

If we don’t achieve it, we often become angry, feeling that the world and everyone in it is against us. Or we might just give up and develop a poverty mentality. Why try since we’ll never be good enough? We might even consider suicide because we feel there’s no hope for happiness.

But the ironic thing is that when we get what we thought we wanted, we frequently discover it’s not enough—we still aren’t happy! Look at my friend, who had everything she’d desired, but felt empty inside.

When my friend realized that having everything she wanted didn’t lead to happiness, she decided to try something different—she gave her heart, and the responsibility for her happiness, to God.

That happened over 20 years ago. Since that time, my friend has gone through many unexpected struggles—even losing some of the things she had—and has dealt with a lot of emotional pain. But despite that, she’s been at peace—even happy—because no matter what happens, God gives her the strength she needs to get through it.

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs.  If you’re wondering, “Will I ever be happy?”  this may help reveal how you can find happiness, even in the midst of problems.

“Through it All” by Andrae Crouch

Want to know how to find God?  Visit GodTest.com.

Will the Pain Go Away? Depression in Children

By N. J. Lindquist:

Depression in children is not expected, but is not uncommon.

 

If you’ve ever wondered, will the pain go away?, you are not alone. I was seven years old. Of course, I didn’t know the word “suicide.” I just knew I hated my life.

Now, you’re likely thinking I had a terrible life, filled with abuse, abandonment, or illness. But it wasn’t like that at all.

I was the only child of two respectable people who adopted me as a baby because they couldn’t have children of their own. I lived in a nice house in a small prairie town where my dad owned a business. I had no health issues or other complaints. Yet I was in pain—emotional pain.

I’m sure there are people wondering why a child, with all the basic needs of life and even some of the frills, could really feel that way. All I know is that, over 50 years later, I still vividly remember the day I stood on the railway track that ran through our small town and asked myself whether, if a train came down the track at that moment, I should run to safety or stay where I was.

That day, it seemed to me that ceasing to exist would be easier than living in a world where I felt that no one liked or understood me.

I’d been at a birthday party for one of my classmates. Along with a half dozen other girls, I’d played games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, watched presents being opened, and eaten birthday cake. Then, as soon as I felt I could, I’d thanked them and said I had to leave a bit early. Tears flowing, I ran for several blocks before stopping in the middle of the tracks.

On the other side of the tracks were several blocks of stores that made up our business section. And just past those stores was our house.

I didn’t want anyone to see me crying. I really didn’t want my mother to see my crying. Or to ask me what was wrong.

How does a seven-year-old explain that she feels utterly alone? That no one, including her parents, really knows who she is deep inside? That she isn’t like anyone she knows? That she’s thought about suicide?

After a short while, I took a deep breath, dried my tears, and continued my journey home as if everything was okay.

~

What kept me going? When I was four years old, my mother told me I was adopted, and she said, “God gave you to us to be our daughter.”

I don’t know why, but I believed her. I believed there was a plan for my life that was bigger than me, and from that day on, I clung to that thought. It got me off those train tracks, and, occasionally, it still gets me through the day.

If you know the pain of feeling all alone, please believe me: you aren’t. God has a plan for your life—a wonderful plan! Just as He did for mine.

 To help the pain go away, listen to a song I love: “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

 

The idea for the song comes from verses from the Bible: Matthew 10:29-31.

For information about depression in children, visit the Depression Resource Center  at aacap.org, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. They offer a PDF, The Depressed Child, which can be downloaded here.  Also, see this article: Signs of Depression in Christian Children, by Sylvia Cochran. The author of this post, N.J. Lindquist, grew up to become an award-winning author and teacher.