Tag: Bible

“…And indeed it was very good.”

After my earlier panic, to ground and orient myself I’ve been meditating on some of the Scriptures that can be read at the Easter Vigil Mass (we are not going to church tonight and will attend the Easter Day Mass rather than the Vigil). One of the passages that can be read at the Vigil is the first chapter of Genesis , that is to say, the very start of the Bible. Fittingly, as we celebrate at Easter our new birth in Christ, sharing His Risen Life, our relationship with God restored by His gift to us, we read in Genesis how we are God’s creation.

However we interpret the creation narrative in Genesis, I think it is very clear that God created for good and created in love. This particularly hit home with me today and chipped away at my constant fear of my own inner badness.

God created light, dark, sky, earth, sea, sun, moon, night and day, every breathing creature, every plant. He created, “and it was so”; he looked “and saw that it was good,”. We are assured ten times “and it was so… and it was good”. Then, to have stewardship of all this good, God created man and woman. You and me. After creating all this good, would He make His stewards bad? Of course not. He created us good. Not only did He create us good but “God created mankind in His image.” He made us in His image and gave to us stewardship of all His wonderful creation, for our joy, for our nourishment, for our good. He looked on us, “and indeed it was very good.”

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His love never changes or ceases. He created us good, for good. You and I are first and foremost good and loved by God. Loved so much that He created us in His image. Loved so much that however much we mess up, He still desires our good, and calls us back to Him, through His own Son’s suffering, death on the Cross and rising again. God wants the best for us just as He wanted the best for us from the first moment of creation, from the instant He conceived us in His loving heart and brought us into being to be loved by Him, to love Him, and to love one another as He loves us.

And indeed, it is very good.

Happy Easter.

Ginny xxx

Not being there

In the past few weeks I have been struggling more physically with a lot of pain, exhaustion and several viruses one after the other not helping. I’m learning slowly to not get frustrated or panicked when there are things I just can’t do at the moment. This is a very slow process of learning about what I can do – it’s been over 15 years now since my physical health conditions started. It still makes me feel very useless when I compare myself with other people and see how much less I seem to manage to achieve day to day than they do and comments that bring it home, deliberate or not, hurt.

However the hardest part is feeling that I can’t be there for other people (friends, family, people I work for, and so on) in the way I would like to. At the moment I manage to work part time. Usually after work I am exhausted and dealing with too much pain to do anything else. I get behind on simple things like housework. I’m behind on replying to comments and messages on here – I’m really sorry all the more because I am grateful for the time you take to stop by and read and comment and you are all far more supportive to me than I manage to be to you. I had to stop most of the voluntary work I used to do and I feel I’m not there for my friends or family in the way I’d like to be. Most live a long way away and the journey can usually be too much, plus I can’t even write or telephone as I’d like to when I’m very low physically or mentally.

I really feel like I’m selfish and should push harder (though I know I can’t) and that I’m really failing in friendship. Even in my dreams – which have been really disturbing lately – there seems to be a theme of not being able to help people or watching bad things happen to people and screaming out but not being able to stop it and the not being able to stop it comes with a sense of horror and judgment on myself that lasts quite some time after waking.

I try to take courage from remembering that it’s not grand accomplishments that are necessary and even little actions done with love and care can be meaningful even if we don’t see how they are at the time. I don’t have a high powered or even full time job but in the work I do I can still do it with dedication and care and going that bit further to help those I’m serving (literally, since I work in a shop!).

But when it comes to not being able to be present in the way I should be for others in relationships – I’m not giving the time or the help I should in practical ways – I feel I’m failing. However much I care for someone, if I can’t do the practical things (visiting, writing, helping and being there when they need it) then aren’t I really failing, from their point of view?

I know we don’t earn a genuine friendship any more than we earn God’s love. We aren’t loved by God because of what we do or because we have earned it or made ourselves successful or good enough. We are loved, still in our weakness, because His nature is loving. The more we admit our need for Him the more He fills us with His love. The good we do is the work of His love through us and every little act and prayer we offer is this love, gives this love to other people and gives love back to Him. “We love because He loved us first.” He even says it is by this love we will be known – people will say, “see these Christians, how they love one another.” In their work with the poorest people, Mother Teresa’s nuns made it their aim not to begin by preaching but by care, love and selflessness in their actions. If someone asked them why they acted as they did, then they would speak about the Love that led them to it.

Actions aren’t what make us good or acceptable people, though I can certainly tend to feel that. They are the fruit of being loved and wanting to love. But what if I can’t do the things that are needed and expected in friendship, that bring care and support to the other person and show to them that I care? In the past I’ve even ended relationships because I’ve felt so strongly that I’m not a real friend because I can’t be there as the other person needs. Recent ways relationships (one or two in particular) have gone wrong because (I think) the other person doesn’t find anything good in the relationship and thinks I need too much, make me think this even more.

Perhaps it’s something to discuss in therapy group.

Ginny xxx

Sing like never before, O my soul (Ten Thousand Reasons)

Lent sneaked right up on me this year and I felt so unprepared. Partly, because it began earlier than usual, Easter being about as early as possible* this year, but also because I have been through a period of having really given up hope. One of the most frightening things about my Borderline and PTSD is how the most terrible emotions can obscure everything good and important to me, even God and faith. It has been a period where God and heaven seem “hidden” for a while. Very slowly I am learning that the hidden times do not mean that my relationship with Our Saviour is lost or that He is gone away.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, worship His Holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul, I’ll worship Your Holy Name… For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

Last night I went to a candlelit service of reflection, music and prayer, with the opportunity for conversation, guidance and the Sacrament of Confession (reconciliation).  I talked with one of the Priests about the feelings of anger that are coming and my fears of them; my fears of being out of control and consumed by this emotion that seems to block out all good and through which I cannot pray. His response really surprised me and I think it is going to change how I see my relationship with God and the work of each one of us in the church body and the community. He told me that the struggle I am going through with these feelings can itself be prayer. Prayer itself is not intended to be painful. If one kind of prayer, like praying with Bible verses, or reading, or trying to spend long periods in silence, is impossible at this time, perhaps God is leading me towards a different kind of prayer at the moment. Continuing to walk and struggle through this, even knowing that perhaps this pain will never be totally resolved this side of heaven; offering the work of every moment of every day; offering someone kindness or a smile; giving thanks for the small beautiful things that we notice along our way to work; writing to a friend; all these actions can be actions of love. The passion of anger may even be channelled into the passion of love. Perfection is not needed and could even lead to pride in our own achievements, or desperation feeling that we are useless. Continuing to walk forward when even the smallest things are an agonising struggle – that can be love, and that can be prayer.

And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come, still my soul sing Your praise unending, ten thousand years and then forever more.

Perhaps then, this can be a new kind of prayer for me. Right here and now, even though I am so far from where I feel I am meant to be and even though so often I can lose sight of hope very easily. This kind of prayer, prayer in this moment, prayer in our offering of our current selves and current circumstances – that cannot be lost. It does not require even hope for the future, or tranquility in our hearts; it does not require success, much less perfection, but it does require the resolve to walk on.

Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.

Italicised lyrics – extracts from “Ten Thousand Reasons” by Matt Redman. This is rather different from the kind of music I usually choose to pray with but it’s a song that speaks to me right now.

 

This week, I will…

I’m trying to turn things around. It feels as though things have been spiralling down and down since Christmas. Since I spoke to the police, I think things are starting to shift almost imperceptibly. It is true it hasn’t been easy and I cannot change the hurt, but I think there are a few positive things I can try to keep doing, which I have given up on in the last months because it was just too dark and painful.

Inspired by one of a2eternity’s posts (you can visit her wonderfully frank and brave blog at https://a2eternity.wordpress.com/ ) I am making a list of some things that I am going to commit to trying to do this week:

  • Every day before bed, I will write down 5 things that I am thankful for in that day.
  • I will do something creative every day – a bit of my colouring books, make a card, take a photo, write a card to a friend, whatever it be.
  • I will do something positive for my body every day (like do my makeup, have a nice bath with some bath foam, put on some moisturiser) even when I am hearing voices telling me how ugly, foul and disgusting I am.
  • I will choose a passage from the Bible that encourages me with hope in God’s unconditional love for us. Whenever the voices tell me to hurt myself, whenever I hear them saying I’m evil and a fake, when the flashbacks come, I will repeat this line in place of what the voices say.
  • Something that I have meant to do for a long time: I will think about what I could put in my memory box and find a box to use (I’ll post again about what this is for, later in the week).

Here’s to thankfulness.

Ginny xxx