Bless It or Block It

‘The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.’ James 5:16 Sometimes we can go it alone, yet other times we need God’s help to face or meet the many challenges that arise in our every daily lives. It is the trusting belief that ‘God’s got this,’ that can make the difference between failure and success, sinking in times of difficulty or tragedy or staying afloat, or just being able to cope. In essence, life happens as it will, but how we respond to every circumstance is a choice…   I think many of us wait until times are dire before eliciting God’s help. Yet, turning to Him in anticipation of trials, great and small, reaps great benefits, and awe-inspiring outcomes. When we pray fervently, and with confidence, placing our cares in God’s hands trusting that all will go well, we are far more prepared for whatever is to come. We are able to hold God’s hand through turbulent storm, turning to Him as the living God who is with us in every circumstance.   Though we are all unworthy sinners, God loves each of us profoundly beyond our comprehension. Striving souls—those who choose to try to follow God’s ways and lead—are the greatest recipients of God’s promises. For God is a generous, loving God of surprises for those who seek Him with all their hearts. He can and will turn every situation for the good for those who seek Him in earnest. An “If and then God,’ He is there for us even and especially when we falter or are hurting and broken. In Holy Scripture He often says if...

The Love of God for You

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.”                             Ephesians 3:18-20   The Love of God—There is nothing like it. Some say God’s love is only for some people. But in reality, God’s Love is available for us all if we but turn to Him. The truth is, in our humanness, we love Him because He loved us first—Sending His Sone, Jesus, to deliver us all from our sins and into His loving embrace. Today’s Scripture reveals the unsurpassed, unconditional Love that God has for each of us. If only we could fathom His love, how different our lives would be!   All other love we experience pales in comparison to God’s Love. Who else could possibly love us consistently through all of our failings, mistakes and mishaps? Who else could love us fervently when all seems lost and we are broken, bogged down in the muck and mire of daily life?   In actuality, God stands in wait to hear our pleas for His help, even and especially in our darkest times. And He delights when we turn to Him in prayer to offer praise and thanksgiving for all the blessings He showers upon us at every turn in the road, this journey, we call life. He is the Great Healer. The one who provides relief from our infirmities. He is the one who...

An Extraordinary Opportunity

  As Christians, we have the extraordinary opportunity to strive to live a good life in Jesus Christ. We are called to focus on what is good and right and true. We try our level best to avoid occasions of sin, but in our humanness, we fall time and again through our words, deeds, thoughts and even bad habits. I say ‘strive’ because we are all sinners to some degree. For we all fall short of the glory of God, the Divine plan He has for each of us. Yet the operative word here is strive.  As a striving people, trying to emulate Jesus, we are called to radical faith. The kind of faith that focuses first on getting our own houses in order, figuratively speaking. Secondly, we are called to be fishers of men—that is, in word and deed, to love as many people as possible to help them follow Jesus, ultimately, into eternal life. ‘Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ‘ Mark 1:17 The example this Scripture gives us is one of becoming gatherers. We are called to gently, through love, not coercion, bring others to Christ while being careful to avoid sin in our own lives. Those who get to Heaven will not be there because of how many rosaries said, church attendance, self-righteousness, eloquent prayers, or works. In actuality, no one deserves to go to Heaven. Since we are all sinners, it is only through God’s generous grace that it is possible for anyone to go to Heaven, as none of us are worthy.  No one will...

If God Is for Us

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) This Scripture serves as a powerful reminder that when God is on our side, when we have given Him control over the details of our lives, we are truly empowered like never before. Empowered to pray with confidence for all that we and our loved ones need, knowing those needs will be met. Prepared to take on the challenges of this world, regardless of circumstances. We are more able to love others, even our enemies and those that are difficult to love.   When you strive to live a faith-filled life, you are in a position to step out with holy boldness, move away from your own worldly desires and needs, to reach for all that is good and right and true. You are no better than anyone else, but your primary focus is on doing God’s Divine Will in your life. That is, doing as much good as you possibly can with complete and utter abandon. You are able to throw caution to the wind and harness the ordinary in an extraordinary way—with patience, courage and love.   Recently I saw a podcast of Joyce Meyer advising her listeners to ‘do it afraid.’ Like the disciples did so many times throughout their ministries, we too, are often afraid to serve God and others with boldness. But remember–faith and holy boldness are gifts of the Holy Spirt who dwells inside of each of us. To be able to proclaim God’s love to others, especially to the unworthy—and aren’t we all?–is one of the greatest privileges we have...

PART II: The Trifecta: Depression, PTSD and Autoimmune

Untreated childhood trauma may play a major role in depression of unknown origin, as people struggle to find the cause for depression and seek relief from it. It is not uncommon for people living with untreated childhood trauma to be undiagnosed, and also have depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, and/or seemingly unrelated physical symptoms such as auto-immune and/or a neurological condition concurrently. Depression is a most unwelcome visitor, one that can easily wreak havoc in the lives of those within its reach. As with physical illness, it is important to understand mental health issues as they arise, so a person can address them, and get the timely, effective help they need to move on with their life. There are many well understood reasons for clinical depression: Chemical imbalance Difficult circumstances Emotional trauma Strained relationships Unforgiveness Medical and disability challenges Nutritional deficiencies Medication side effects Aging, and even genetics When the mind is overwhelmed by too much stress, including childhood trauma, the body can become sick. This frequently occurs by the stress of untreated childhood trauma entering the body, and damaging the immune system, sometimes causing the trifecta: depression, PTSD, painful and/or unrelenting, debilitating autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, myasthenia gravis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, some cancers, and/or a host of other autoimmune conditions. For some, the auto-immune system reacts to overwhelming stress and trauma by going on to damage the neurological system. Understanding the untoward effects of untreated childhood trauma can enhance maximal mental and physical health and wellness, leading to a better life. Recognizing untreated childhood trauma can help individuals to seek...

Are You an Adult Child of Trauma?

Are you a child of trauma? It may be a good time to take the quiz and find out so you can begin the healing process. The mind-body connection is a strong one, especially when there has been significant untreated childhood trauma. This connection is one that often complicates diagnosis and treatment of clinical depression and anxiety, and other mental illnesses and can make them difficult to treat. Recognizing untreated childhood trauma may be the first step in the healing process, allowing individuals to eventually, with treatment, go on to live happier, healthier, more productive lives. It is vitally important for people living with depression to recognize if they have experienced untreated childhood trauma, a condition that is often misdiagnosed or even overlooked. Though this is a cursory tool, ‘Are You an Adult Child of Trauma?’ below may be very helpful in quantifying ones childhood experience, paving the way for more effective counseling and medical and mental health care. This quiz is designed to clarify whether or not an individual has experienced some form of childhood trauma so they can get the help needed to heal in body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes simply understanding that one has had a traumatic past is enough to open new doors for treatment and healing, thereby maximizing mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness. The following quiz, ‘Are You an Adult Child of Trauma?’ may be most beneficial in helping individuals recognize any ‘old thorns’ they may have from their childhoods, and assisting them to heal more quickly and thoroughly from associated depression. Depression from untreated childhood trauma can prevent a person from...