God owns the tide!

“I’ll stare down the waves – ’cause You own the tide!”articles-42.jpg

That’s a line from a worship song from Hillsong young & free called “when the fight calls”. During the past few weeks, that song has lingered in my heart and helped my mind submit to the Lord’s will.

The feeling of being overwhelmed seems to be an ongoing theme among most of my friends; Some have serious circumstances to deal with, making the feeling far stronger than overwhelmed and for some it turns into fear.

overwhelmed.jpgAlong with my own set of challenges I have the privilege of walking alongside a few friends – some sick, some with a spouse in hospital, one is waiting for heart surgery and fearing for her 4 little kids, some struggle with being gossiped about, others with relationship trouble. I feel helpless as I listen to their words and read their mails.
Despite their continued decision to trust the Lord and seeing all the positive they can… feeling overwhelmed in the moment can grow into fear of the unknown future.

We must fight it.

Romans 5:3-4 (NLT) 
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

poster-celebrate-life-no-matter.jpgNo matter my sufferings, it always end in hope.
I can rejoice in the suffering… okay, not so much!…

– But looking at the suffering now, I can “stare down the waves” because Jesus “owns the tide”. God is still in control. Though we may have to fight being overwhelmed, we can keep our minds fixed on the Lord. He has the last word.

When the fight calls – Hillsong Young & Free

 
As for me and my circumstances, then my husband’s work place, job and time frame remains unknown. It’s stressful because we know something will happen and the last thing he wants is a desk job. I have been cleared of colon cancer, but there are no explanations for the stomach pains apart from stress… But we are considering an MRI or CT scan if for no other reason, then just to make sure.

6101bf6d0ea6ea409e1b6aab67996f34.jpgMy daughter is now on her new school schedule with half day of classroom school and private tutoring/teaching for afternoon classes. She loves it! A huge ordeal pulled together by God’s hand working through obedient people! – And it’s not merely the academics, it’s also socially and developmentally perfect for her. I’m stunned really. Speechless. In complete awe!

May the Lord be Praised always and forever

Manifesto

41D6VN7PMcL.jpgThe first time I had a sniff of the perfume scent “Manifesto”, I was hooked.
My mom gave it to me as a Christmas present many years ago and to this day, I love that scent! Every day when I add a whiff to my wrists, I remember my mom.

Manifesto is Italian for manifest. Which means something like transparent, undisguised, noticeable or demonstrate, reveal and declare.

The Italian-American former model, author, actress etc Isabella Rossellini is behind this perfume, though that is entirely unimportant to this post.
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This week has been one for the calendar if I ever had one!

My husband was informed that the job project he has been pouring his heart into the past 8 years will close and employees will be transferred to other locations, though we are yet to hear of when and where.
My daughter’s new school-schedule finally fell into place: She’ll be a half day student of her school and then half time student of School support services which is a support to homeschoolers living in Japan. She’ll be dismissed daily at 12:30 and then do reading, math and units with a privately hired, educated teacher doing a tailor-made curriculum with her 3 days a week. 1 day she’ll be with a homeschooling mom close by and the last day I will be supervising her in the afternoons. I’m quite frankly not yet sure how we will be paying for this, but the Lord provides… Things have been heavy for her anxiety wise (due to some bullying issues at school), but now that she is happily aware of her schedule changes, we hope she can focus on progressing in math and regain control of her anxiety issues.
I have had some stomach pains and though not really bad they continue to roam, so I saw a doctor who couldn’t diagnose me, but wants to run a colon cancer test. Praying for a negative result on that one!! The mere thought of me getting cancer at this point is devastating so I’m praying… and praying…

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But what I have learned this past week is that when I give myself over to God and openly ask Him to take over everything, I find strength to keep walking. A strength I know exists as I have walked in it before, but possibly never tapped into to this extend.

I become transparent and undisguised in front of Him, crying tons of “I’m way too stressed out to cope Lord”-tears and I demonstrate that I have no control at all – but I still declare His Glory!

We are still waiting for news about my husband’s work place.

My daughter’s schedule begins next week.

I get the test results next week.

Manifesto: I can stand because I’m the receiver of God’s strength.

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Making way 

My last post addressed dyscalculia. This post is about anxiety. 

The other night my daughter had a nightmare. It’s not particularly unusual to have nightmares, but this one was rather intense. She dreamt that her Japanese teacher in school pulled her out of class when she didn’t get any of the hiragana (Japanese alphabet) right, took her to the cafeteria and told her she would get an ice cream. Then the teacher pulled a knife and stabbed my daughter in the heart and she fell down in a pool of blood. 😱

Nightmares tend to be made up from a vast variety of components but this girl of mine can’t watch violence without getting scared. She doesn’t even want to watch narnia. 

She was frazzled but I took her to school and dropped her off at the counsellors office. But 15 min later the counselor called and I had to pick my girl up. She couldn’t cope with school that day. It was fine of course – I had a feeling it would happen. She is still incredibly afraid of her Japanese teacher as well as the Japanese language. 

To get her to school the next day I told her she wouldn’t have Japanese. I would talk to the principal and I would pick her up early. She reluctantly agreed. As a parent I really don’t have the authority to do that… But by picking her up early I could remove the Japanese class from schedule and delete the anxiety for the day. 

Now – the principal of this school is one amazingly wonderful and clever woman of God! Since we can’t just pull any kid out of any class… Can you imagine the chaos?… My girl still needs to be in the classroom during Japanese class, but she will do something other than Japanese. 😮 I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty “wow”! 

Before you have the thought “overprotective moms!” Let me just assure you that my girl have had her fair share of bad experiences with Japanese language as well as teachers. Last year she was pulled out entirely of Japanese class because her anxiety spiked. 

I’m so grateful to this school. They truly do live out what Gods book tells us to do; love one another! 

I still want my daughter to learn Japanese so I took on a role I’m not actually allowed to according to the psychologist; to be her teacher. But we fooled around with a rainbow colored pencil learning the Japanese sound/hiragana “あ” (short sound a) and the “word of the week”: asa. Which means morning. 

It was fun and she ended up grading my あ… With an F!! Unbelievable. 

Way off topic

This post has a content I don’t usually write about…

This post isn’t about Jesus – though He certainly is a part of the healing process.

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This post is about awareness of a condition known as “DYSCALCULIA” and the effects it is likely to have on children in and outside of school. 

 

 

It’s not just about math and not understanding numbers though that is always the main focus. This is about how dyscalculia flows into all areas of a child’s life, how it can create anxiety issues and social issues and the feeling of never being good enough… to even simply “cope”.

numbers_game_numbers.jpgHow a child with dyscalculia will feel too “shy” to trust her/himself enough to go buy a small thing in a shop simply because the concepts of numbers/money are off.

 

This article is from a website called UNDERSTOOD.org and this particular article addresses most of the issues that my daughter struggles with in daily life – despite not yet having reached her tween years. 

I urge you to click the link and give yourself a chance to understand that dyscalculia is a big deal – and if not found and tested in the early stages it will likely affect a child throughout life and not just in school related situations.

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Dyscalculia isn’t as known as dyslexia. Perhaps because the school system places a lot of emphasis on the language arts – but more and more kids will experience dyscalculia in years to come, though I have no way of backing up that statement, I urge any parent – AND school system – to pay close attention.

Thank you.

Wine

It took me many years, but I finally get it. ashamed_face_4053.jpg

I’m ashamed. Sad.

“Hello, my name is Lene and my mom was an alcoholic”. I’m not. I can’t even stand the smell of beer – or blood – … for good reason.

I never before understood why she drank. Sure, have a nightcap or a glass now and then. But she drank daily and… now I understand.

The other day I took a glass of white wine. I don’t normally drink… The past week has been a really bad week. So I turned on the tv and had my glass of wine. I don’t know what I thought it would do, but Jesus opened up my eyes to something.

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It tasted fine. Actually very nice.

I found relief in the bottom of that glass. The pain of my heart – the overwhelming overtaking pain of helplessness went away and I actually laughed at something ridiculous on the tv.

Alcohol numbs the senses.

It made me “not care” so much. It was such a relief.

It wore off and I felt ashamed.

Not that I had taken a glass of wine. But that it had taken me so many years to figure out why my mom kept drinking. Daily. Too much. And paid the highest price possible: Her life.

When she drank she didn’t care so much. She didn’t feel the hurt and pain inside her or around her.

I finally understand.

intensive-care-unit-clip-art-1383980.jpgThe only reason why I’m sharing this with you, my fellow bloggers, is because I want to tell you – whisper in your ears – that I’m not an alcoholic and I won’t ever be. But now I understand why people, especially the sensitive types, feels such a need to “drown the sorrows in the bottle”.

But it leads… no place good. 10273974088957968_1357953156.jpg

I’m thankful I know Jesus and the tug in my heart will prevent me from drowning my sadness.

 

The story of my mom can be found here : How my mom passed away

 

 

 

The hidden part of grief

Okay, maybe it’s not so much hidden as it’s me just now realizing it… 

Sometimes a year seems like a very long time. Sometimes it just flies by. The past year has done both.
When I think of my daughter’s anxiety, depression, psychiatrist, psychologist, counseling, medication, fears and experiences, the year has passed by like a snail on the German autobahn!

But when I think of my dad and last summers long hard walk from hospital to hospice, watching him in agonizing pain despite extremely high dosages of morphine, to the phone call the morning of august 16th that it was over, to the funeral and the immediate grief that takes a hold of the heart when loosing a loved one – this past year has flown by faster than a Star Trek warp drive!

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It feels like it was just the other day that my brother and I went with the pine tree coffin, because dad loved nature so much and I simply couldn’t imagine him in the usual white one. We selected a natural stone and picked the duck, the fish and the stag for decorations on the stone for his burial site.IMG_3201.jpg

 

The grief has come in tidal waves. Some weeks were a lot harder than others. But after a year; grief is still here. I don’t believe we ever get over the loss of a loved on. But in time we learn to live with them being gone. I’m still learning. Every day it gets a teeny tiny bit easier.

There are different kinds of grief. We grieve when losing a loved one, but we also grieve when we learn that our child has anxieties/depression or some other debilitating issue.

That is a devastating grief too and anyone who has lived it, will know it.child-sad.png

I have help from above because I know Jesus is with me. But being a believer does not by any means except anyone from experiencing pain, sorrow, grief and sadness. Jesus experienced all of that too, so that we could have a high priest who understands our weaknesses.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Grief isn’t an illness. It’s a condition of the heart in which weakness is present for the time it takes to process the grief. 

A weakness I can’t handle without the Lord’s help and here’s why: This past year has taught me that grief leaves me vulnerable to temptations, fear, anger, irritability, indulging etc. In other words; It leaves me weak. In the natural process of grieving, I actually sin or do/feel things that can lead to sin.

No’b, I’m not proud of it… But I now understand that Jesus indeed knows every one of my weaknesses. So I can come boldly before His throne and find Grace to help me when I need it the most and that is the light in the middle of dark grief.

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What book?

I need suggestions and God’s guidance.

Recently I have been hearing the voice of both my mom and dad and remembering clearly my childhood home and garden. It’s not in any way scary or as if they have come back to tell me something. I’m just remembering what they said and how and my childhood but recently it’s been much more than in the past. I think it’s pretty normal when processing grief.

But it’s weighing heavily on me and I want to sit down and let the tears flow, but my daughter is home on summer vacation now and I can’t fall to pieces in front of her (due to her anxiety issues) and I need God. I want to know what book of the Bible to read. I’m not finding relief in His Word the way I usually do and that isn’t right.

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The Greatness of God

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To continue without fear and to keep going despite the forces of evil, feels like an impossible task to undertake.

The father of lies will tell me: “you’ll never make it”, “sadness will never go away” or he will use the more cunning one; The temptation to “give up and give in”!

I’m inclined to make a bold statement here and I know some may disagree, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I believe that I as well as my child and surely others too, have fallen prey to the evil one’s lie when he says “”you must keep going and not doubt“. Because it sounds very biblical I easily believe it.

stress-depression-girl-full.jpgBut I have found that it’s used to cause stress and anxiety. Those are not from the Lord!! – so if you encounter that or something similar, please run it by the Book before you keep going!

Lies are easily believed simply because the road ahead is too hard to manage and fear sneaks in – and the evil one knows exactly what buttons to push in each and every person. But…

Nothing is impossible with God!

Hebrews 11:27 “the Voice”:
By faith Moses left Egypt, unafraid of Pharaoh’s wrath and
moving forward as though he could see the invisible God.

Or NIV if you prefer:
By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing pharao’s anger;
he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Or my personal favorite, the GNT;
It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back.

BzCCNrn.jpgThere’s such hope in these words.
Fear takes a backseat when Faith is driving the Lamborghini!

I have no idea how Moses navigated his way “as though he saw the invisible God”, but Moses refused to turn back. He kept going. He persevered. He somehow knew he was on the right track!

I can’t see my invisible God. But I know that I’m still Blessed;

John 20:29 “The Voice” 
Thomas, you have faith because you have seen Me.
Blessed are all those who never see Me and yet they still believe.

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How can I see the Lord so I know I’m on the right path and can keep going and not give up or give in?

(seriously, you have to love this dog’s determination!!)

 

 

Philippians 4:6-7 “the Voice”

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests,so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Trust and fear has an ongoing battle. But only the Lord can bring hope and peace to any mind. Though satan can wrap himself in light and make me believe many things, he can’t give me the peace of God. God’s greatness is far beyond the strength of evil. It’s possible to delight in the Lord, to run to Him when fear comes knocking. 1418052245694.jpeg

 

How?

Maybe begin to list God’s many promises found in His Word!

May we all see the greatness of God and keep going.

 

God still loves me!

Oh the pride in me! I wish I could cut it out and throw it away or go see a doctor and have it removed. Unfortunately, it ain’t that easy. Pride is one of the sins in my life I have become increasingly aware of and I dislike that, possibly as much as I dislike having the pride in me in the first place. Yuck!

I want my own way or God’s way. Okay, mainly my own way but definitely not other people’s way. I often forget that God speaks through “other people” too and instead of listening and bproud-circle.pngeing concerned about What is right, I often am more concerned about Who is right…

But this morning He spoke through His Word. In Habakkuk 1:7 it says “…and in their pride they are a law to themselves.” 

There washumble-circle.png no tingling in my soul there, but rather a piercing yet gentle swoosh sound through my heart. Looking through a variety of translations, it all boils down to “pride” and making up own rules to follow. It’s a tempting yet dangerous road for every believer and I realized that God wants to take this pride out of me, so I can stand up and be around other people without that feeling of inferiority which comes with social anxiety.

Now that was humbling, but what’s even more humbling is this: Jesus goes through the trouble of telling me this, because despite all the yucky stuff inside me, He still loves me! 

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Perhaps it makes no sense to you – the inferiority and anxiety I mentioned: In a simple way; My pride makes me want only my own way/rules. When someone looks at it in a different light I can become stubborn (no way – it’s my way!) or, most of the time, feel inferior (why are they all so much better and more Godly than me! I can’t deal with this, I must get away from this, They are all so perfect and I’m not Godly enough to be here etc. I run, I hide, I pray and I cry). If I could be humble around other people, I wouldn’t be so easily intimidated – especially by other “proud-type” human beings.

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Habakkuk.jpgOne thing I really love about Habakkuk is that this minor prophet questioned God – asking the same questions we often ask today “why, Lord, why?!”. It’s clear that the world today is no better (though different) than it was back then and both in world view as well as in my own life, I often want to ask that “why” question; “Why is it like this? Why are some people sex-trafficking little girls? Why are babies left in alleys in some countries? Why are people so hung up on themselves they can’t see this big God who loves them? Why, why, why…” Habakkuk asked God questions like these… and it isn’t irreverent! Nor is it irrelevant!

God answers when He is asked from a heart who wants Him.

God is close because He comes to us. Granted, we sometimes do not get the answer we hope for… but we get one. If we listen.

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But even if I do not get the answer I hoped for, He still somehow manages to speak hope into my heart and that makes me joyful and it makes me want to love Him even more… So I praise Him. Just like Habakkuk did.

Remain Blessed in His love.

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Yes… and…

If I had a dollar – or 10 yen – for every time I had said “No”, I’d be one rich mamma!

Unfortunately the “no” never came with a money bank… or the incentive to put a 10 yen coin aside for more positive days.

As I’m learning about stress and my child from various books, I’m also learning about conversations and one book simply stated that a “no” always end the conversation. I may look at that slightly different than the author as my no has often been followed by the “why not” and “but I just want to…”, but anyway; I do get the point – A no does end a conversation (or puts it in a negative trajectory). So I try to learn how to not say “no”… let me be quite honest and straight forward with you: That is NOT an easy thing to do.

My “no’s” are so embedded into my own childhood and so far 9 years of being a parent and oh dear, is it ever difficult to zip the lip, stop and think and then go “Yes… and…” – Like this evening she called out from her room “mom, do you know how to catch a cockroach?”…”eh… no…. what??” to which she answered “then you’re not the one I’m calling!”. Couldn’t really come up with any “yes… and…” reply to that one!

But when I do manage to do it, and also come up with whatever has to follow the “and” part (trust me, that takes imagination!), it does work and my little darling daughter gets the positive vibe and so do I… it’s so positive it’s almost entirely unbelievable.

What it hasn’t done much for – yet anyway – is her anxiety. I was told that the positive vibe would reduce the stress and I’m sure it does, but so far the results hasn’t been seen. Last week she panicked in school and I was called to pick her up. It has reduced the stress in me and there is less strain between us… wrong – there is no less strain between us, it’s just of a more productive kind. Hmm; e.g. we have some tensions when she decides to follow her friends and play after school when I specifically told her to go home straight after because she has a playdate. E.g. more productive arguments. For me, it’s less stress. For her, it’s just another tense moment.

By the way – I did manage to catch and carry out the before mentioned cockroach!

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