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Dear Mom 

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Dear Mom,

Some time ago I wrote a letter to ‘Dear Dad.’ In that letter I tried to show dads how much they matter and how much they are needed.

This is a ‘Dear Mom’ letter. This letter is to you, Mom. First I owe you a huge apology. As men we have not supported you as we should have. As men we have shirked our duty. So many of us are not the men we should be and we know it. We just are not sure what to do about it because so many of us have not had meaningful role models as patterns for us to follow.

Your path is blessed and troubled. Blessed by God and troubled by this world. Your calling is the highest in the world. God chose to bring every person into life through your life.

You carry a load that no one else carries. You carry a load that no one else can carry. Men can observe but can never really totally understand. That can make your path lonely. Do not despair, God is there.

Adam was to care for Eve. He did not. I am so sorry. What a shame. Shame on him and shame on us. He was there but he was not available. He was to lead Eve to God. Before she sinned or after she sinned. After she sinned, Adam should have taken her hand and led her to God and there asked for forgiveness for the sin. He did not. He actually blamed Eve and eventually blamed God for giving Eve to him.  So unbelievably sad. So unbelievably tragic. I am so sorry. Adam is to blame.

You grew up needing love from your Dad. He may not have always available to and for you. He tried. He may have done his best. He may not have known what to do. So, your Mom tried to be Mom and Dad to you. I am sorry.

Then love began to develop in your little girl heart. You longed for a man to come and love you. That is an absolutely legitimate longing. God placed that in your heart. Your daddy was supposed to show that to you.

That kind of love is so difficult to find. So many men have left you down. They have abdicated their rightful place. They were designed to love you as the treasure God made you to be. They are not designed to take advantage of you. They are designed to respect and protect you. Satan has told men a lie and some of them have believed the lie.

So many men have not had Dads to show them how to love and provide for you. But some Dads did and if you had a Dad like that or if you  married one of those, you are so very blessed. There are so many very good men in this world. They will respect and protect you. They will honor you and bless you. They are a gift from father God to you. Sadly, it is not always that way.

Mom, you gave your life for us. You carried us inside of your body. You fed us from your body. You nursed us for our first meals. You cared for our infant needs. You loved us so much that you stayed awake nights to make sure we were fed and healthy. Our sickness was your calling. Our care was your task.

As we grew, you grew with us. We needed your care to learn to walk and to exchange diapers for real clothing. We needed you to calm our fears and kiss our boo-boos. You chided us for wrongs, you called us to self discipline. You made us say thank you and please. You were always ready with open heart and open arms.

You comforted our heart-breaks and our disappointments. We could always count on you. You waited up for us when we dated and went away with friends. You wanted to hear our stories when we came home. You rejoiced at our baptism. You cried at our wedding.

As we became adults you found ways to maintain adult friendships with us. You blessed our children and loved them as your own. So many times you had to do that alone.

You have been strong. You have had to be so strong. Stronger than you should have to have been. God placed that in you. Motherhood is a treasure.  You are a treasure.

You are Deborah. You are Mary. You are Hannah. You are Jochebed. You are Dorcas. You are Martha. You are Mary. You are you. Here are some examples of women in the Bible:

 *Every woman who walks with God has a story to tell*

*Sarah* will tell you, “Nothing is too difficult for God”.

*Hagar* will tell you, When you think you are alone God is there”

*Rahab* will tell you, “God can use anyone”.

*Hannah* will tell you, “My God answers prayers”.

*Ruth* will tell you, “It’s not over until God says so”.

*Esther* will tell you, “God can turn a nobody into a somebody”.

*Elizabeth* will tell you, “You will give birth to greatness”.

*Mary* will tell you, “It shall be unto you according to God’s word”.

The woman with the *issue of blood* will tell you,

“When all fails, God never fails”.

*Mary and Martha* will tell you, “Dead can live again”

*Dorcas* will tell you. “God never forgets”.

Lets have a purpose to walk with God in these trying times and *you* and *me* shall have a story to tell at the end of it all.

Stay Blessed Mighty Women of God….🙏

-From A Modern Day Ruth

More Bible examples:

The woman at the well – there are real, safe men in the world to care for your hurts and to bless you.

The woman taken in adultery – there are men who will protect you.

Potipher’s wife – there are men who will not fall prey to female wiles.

There are good men in the world. Find us and we will bless you.

Today.

Attachments and Life Connections V

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We are made for attachments and connections with God and with people. Early care-givers are so critical for these attachments and connections to occur. There are different kinds of attachments.

1. No connections – those who should be committed to our care are not always available or may have varied levels of availability.  Sometimes that availability is not at levels needed for our attachment and development. This leaves us with empty places in our life and heart. When needed care is absent, our needed development does not proceed as it needs to be.

When that level of care is absent or not adequate, we miss the needed attachments. As we get older we can search for healthier connections and find them to replace those that are missing or are less than ideal. God provides opportunities for us to recover lost or unhealthy connections. We need to take opportunities that God provides through His Spiritual family.

2. Unsafe connections – some attachments are not safe. We can be bonded because of trauma that we may have experienced with an individual. Those attachments are unhealthy. Those bonds produce insecurity and make us easily controlled by unhealthy persons. Sometimes we prefer those bonds because they are bonds and we need bonds and the unhealthy bonds may seem to be the only bonds available.

In these types of unsafe connections you will be judged and stressed and accused and blamed. Everything becomes your fault. You will be over-powered by domineering persons who do not have your best interests at heart. They care only to get from you everything without returning healthy levels of care to you.

3. Flattering connections – many attachments are based on how the other persons have made you feel. You can quickly be attracted and attached to those who know how to make you feel special without really investing in your heart and life. They do most of the talking and focus on you so you feel honored in their presence.

When you need correction and guidance they cannot offer that. They may allow you to engage in unhealthy behaviors while being afraid to confront you for your own good and development. Their approach is really based on their own self all the while making you feel like you have blessed them. You will not grow to be a better person in these kinds of attachments. These kinds of persons do not really love you. They actually do not know how to love you or anyone else. They are using you to love themselves.

4. Healthy connections – these kinds of attachments are what we all need.  People who give us time and friendship and counsel. People who are not afraid to bring correction and direction into your life. Not just reflective but also corrective and directive. They are gentle and firm with real, genuine love. In these relationships you will become a better person. You will learn to love your neighbor and to love yourself.

You will grow and your growth will bring encouragement to you. These kinds of persons want the best for you and will invest carefully with time and care, all the while not putting undue expectations on you. These are long- term healthy relationships that grow into friendships that make life worth living.

May the Good Lord give each of us wisdom and discernment in choosing attachments that will make us more like the Master. God has good people who will love you and build life into you in safe and healthy ways. Be careful to not get caught in controlling situations. Take care to develop attachments that provide mutual blessing and will bring truth, love, joy, and peace to your life.

Happy Birthday Kevin,

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Twenty years old. Ich kans shere net glauva. I almost cannot believe it. You have lived with God in Heaven for ten years now. You live where there is no time. Where all is eternity.

We have missed you. We envy you. You live in a place we have never seen. You live in a place we hope to see sometime, maybe soon. We hope to see you too, maybe soon.

You know things we can only imagine. You experience things we have never seen. We know that our Father knows best. We pray, ‘Our Father who is in Heaven.’ We are still on earth. When we pray to Father God in Heaven, it expresses our longing for Him. You do not have to pray that prayer. You are there with Him.

God has plans and God has reasons. He has reasons that our reason cannot know. He has chosen for you to come home early. He has chosen for you to escape the temptations, sins, and troubles of this earthly life.

You were destined be one of the Men of Issachar. God was calling you to be a man after His own heart. But, then God called you away early. From innocence to never bear the heat of the day in toil and labor. From childhood to eternal manhood. We shall be like Him when we shall see Him as He is. You are like Him. You have seen Him as He is.

Two of your grandparents left this earthly life in what seemed to us to be too early. We thought we needed them here. God knew best. We thought we needed you here. God knew best. There is a great cloud of witnesses waiting in eternity for us. We are waiting also – for that day.

Happy Birthday,
Grandpa Reed and all of your family

The men of Issachar

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The men of Issachar were impressive men. They had wisdom and they had skills. They were men of courage. Does God have men like this today? Yes, He does. He is calling men to have courage and wisdom and skills to become husbands, fathers, leaders, and workers.

Men of Issachar

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. I Chronicles 12:32

Of King David’s many valiant men were two hundred men of Issachar. These men had much needed characteristics.

• They were men of Israel.
• They were leaders
• They had understanding of the times.
• They knew what Israel should do
• There were two hundred of them
• They were in charge of all their brethren.

Their qualifications were much needed.
There were 200 of them who worked together in agreement.
These men knew and understood the times in which they lived.
They knew the course and direction that their people should take.
They were in charge of all the people.

Where are these men today?
Are there men who have the discernment and wisdom to understand the times?
Are there men who have vision and courage to set a course for God’s people?
These are the kinds of men we need today.
May God raise up ‘men of Issachar’ today.

Attachment and Healing IV

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What is needed for healing? How can you process your inheritance and rise above inherited struggles? How can attachment be effected?

Many times, lack of structure and guidance in caregivers is a loss in our lives. Can that loss be remedied? It can. Not easy but possible. How can it be possible? Some fairly elemental steps can be useful.

You need structure in life. Structure is based on order. God’s order needs to be introduced into your life. God’s order is based on the structure that God builds into His creation and His creatures. Typically a mentor is needed. God, in His Church, provides for Spiritual family. That family is composed of Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, and Brothers. With Christ as our head, we are a family with gifts designed to bless and bring structure into lives who may have missed some critical messages from early days.

The Biblical order is what designs life in God’s family, the Church. That provides for leadership and for fellowship. That provides a place for you to share your life and accept the blessings from God. It is a safe place for you to experience the wholeness of God.

In the process of this healing and restoration, you learn new skills from God’s mentors. These new skills replace the struggles of not finding God’s order in earlier life. These new skills replace the disorder that is caused by lack of Biblical discipleship.

When your life has been impacted by disorder, the new skills bring order and structure into life. This welcome shift brings a willingness to hear and to accept God’s ways in a new way. These ways replace the lack of structure that can bring disorder and struggle to life.

When this does not happen, you remain in the devices that you have created for survival. Sometimes those devices are disorderly and are not constructive to healthy Spiritual life. Sometimes those devices are so orderly in a controlling way. Sometimes you have to admit that you are wrong. Sometimes you have to acknowledge your need to change.

At first this may feel wrong. As truth and love and structure and order begin to be part of life, your life will begin to change. Your subtle pride and your not-so-subtle defenses will begin to melt into agreement with Christ and His family. As change happens, you will make new approaches to life. Defenses will melt and meld into the fellowship of the believers and with God Himself as you become more like Him.

The joy and blessings this provides is beyond words. It must be experienced as you leave your defensive ways and open your heart to welcome God’s family of fellowship and healing and joy and peace.

May that be your prayer and longing for life for self and for others.
Today.

Attachment and Processing III

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How to process the experiences of childhood? Parents transmit their lives to their children. The children inherit the transmitted life. They then have to try to make sense of their inheritance.

The inheritance must be processed. There are options. Life can be accepted. Just accept life as it has come to you.
Rejection is also an option. Life can be rejected. Reject and fun away as fast and as far as you can.

Rejection can have another approach. Reject the dysfunctional and accept the better option. The better option is always available. God’s faithful family is the Church of Christ. God has people there who can replace the harmful inheritance through the power of His word and His Spirit.

If you have inherited a painful past, and many of us have, you can reject that and replace it with God’s provision in His family. There are Spiritual mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers ready to welcome and ready to bring healing from Father God to your difficult life. Healing can happen.

The typical route is to allow the pain of past and present to turn us inward to serf-focus. When that happens, we become self-centered. Self replaces God on the throne. Difficulty, pain, trauma, struggle, affliction are reasons to turn inward and focus on self. That self focus will remove the possibility of the healing that Father God wants to bring to you.

Apostle Paul had more difficulties than any of us can imagine. He lists his problems but he accepts God direction in the midst of all that suffering. His suffering does not turn him inward but it calls him outward to an external source that he internalizes by the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Paul says, ‘Things that happened to me have happened for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’ He processed his past and present sufferings in the God context.

The words of the wise are as goads. Goads are sharp pointed sticks to drive animals when they are pulling a load. God told Paul, It is difficult for you to kick against the goads. It is not wise to refuse the words of wise and Godly men and women. God’s Word and God’s people have wise words. It is so very important that we allow that outside force into our lives to turn us away from the self-focus that will destroy us.

This is how we process the inheritance we have received. It will turn us inward to our own self-focus or, it will turn us outward and see that our experiences have called us to use our hurts and wounds to expand the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ. If we do that, we will pass on a healed inheritance. If not, the next generation will inherit the pain and then they will have to process all over again.

That is what Paul did.
He processed his experiences through God’s call and God’s family.
That is what God is calling us to do.
That is your choice.
Today.

Attachment and Being Born II

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Life has critical stages. Pre-birth, birth, birth to one year, one to two years, two to four years, and so on. We continue to develop through life until old age and death. Each stage has its tasks for us to accomplish. Our care-givers, parents, siblings, extended family, teachers, are all needed for our healthy development.

These areas of life stages are very important for our growth. Our development is based on inputs from: caregivers, community, and self. There is a personal investment. There is an investment from caregivers. There is an investment from church and community.

Are our earliest caregivers, our parents, emotionally available for attachment? If they are, life goes well. If they are not very available, life gets difficult. Security is difficult to find. Pre-birth is quite attached – now what happens as we grow and age? The three areas of life are all involved in this process.

Our Body –needs food and warmth
Our Soul – needs security of cuddling and holding and love
Our Spirit – needs consistency of truth from God as shown by caregivers and community.

It is important that all three of these areas of life are blessed with connection. If our body is cared for but our meta-needs are not, dissociation occurs. We are pleased that our physical life is nourished and sheltered but if our emotional and Spiritual needs are not met, we conclude that they are not important. That leaves us struggling to make sense of life. Body is important but higher needs are not met and therefore must not be important.

It is those higher needs that make us feel valuable and valued. It is those needs that make us feel worthy and welcome in the home and community.
We easily create our own narrative and defend our experience as the truth. Only when we are willing to “lay our pen down and let God write our life story” can we find the narrative God is writing in and with our story. This is a very difficult part of the process. The woman at the well seemed to be prepared and willing to accept the love and care of Jesus. Nicodemus, not so much.

These lost experiences can be redeemed with enough genuine care.
We can grieve the losses and joy in the redemption. We can shift from our own version of the story to the Story God is writing in our life. Jesus did not just accept the narratives He heard from people. He brought His love and care and truth to their lives so they could become the people God made them to be.

Caregivers with their own emotional hunger are not available to be attuned to our needs. Their unmet needs commandeer their behaviors and their unmet needs become our unmet needs. When that happens, hopefully someone notices and brings guidance and healing to us. Teachers can often fill that role in the lives of students.

Attachment – Being Born

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When we are born we burst from a safe, calm environment into cold, noisy blinding light. What is this new place? Am I safe here? It seems a little scary – or a LOT scary. All these people and all the bustling about. Where am I? How can I process all of this?

All of a sudden we are in a new world and a new, strange existence. If someone cares and makes me warm and gives me some food and cuddles and holds me close and tight (like the world from which I came) life will be good.

If not, if I am cold, if I am hungry, if I am not cuddled and held, fear grips my little heart and panic forms in my tiny brain. This place is not safe. How did I get here from that safe place where I lived before?

If life has adopted us and made us feel welcome because we are, we learn to love and trust love and truth.

If life has not adopted us and has not made us feel welcome because someone did not know how to give us needed care, we learn to create our own brand of truth. We do not love and do not know how to trust. We have to survive somehow. That is how.

Human babies have immense needs if we are to survive. Acceptance will mean security and lack of acceptance will mean insecurity. All of this will depend on the care-givers to whom we are given. If they are joyful and carefree and secure, we can be too. If they are not, we pick up their insecurities and make them our own.

These situations are transferred from generation to generation. Those who did not feel welcomed do not know how to welcome. Those who were welcomed warmly, welcome warmly. Security and insecurity are transferred from generation to generation. Sometimes the transfer accelerates the depth of the experience.

If you are the care-giver – parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, teacher, pastor, spouse, child, neighbor; find ways to walk this person through their hurts. Give them truth laced with love. Give them open heart and open arms. Harm done cannot be undone but can be healed. Losses of affection can be redeemed by openness to care and love and truth. Truth heals. When they experience the Truth of God replacing their misguided attempts at providing their own truth, healing can begin to happen.

“Egotism is pathological self-obsession, a reaction to anxiety about whether one really does count. It is a form of acute self-consciousness and can be prevented and healed only by the experience of being adequately loved. It is, indeed, a desperate response to frustration of the need we all have to count for something and held to be irreplaceable, without price.

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Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

Men’s Meeting Today

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There was a men’s meeting at our house today. We meet several times each year. Today was different. One of the men brought his two year old son along.

The young boy walked the short distance from their vehicle to our house. He entered our house holding a stuffed animal. I asked him his name. He responded by telling me his name. I shook his hand and welcomed him by name.

During the meeting he exemplified admirable behavior. He played nicely and quietly with the toys we keep for such events. He sampled the snacks we provided for the men. He was obedient to his father when, in a few occasions, his father corrected him gently.

One time his father exited the room. The son looked up and watched his father leave the room. He watched briefly and then resumed playing with the toys. He had no fear of his father not returning to him. He was able to return to his activities being sure of his father’s return.

That was a textbook example of emotional constancy. Emotional constancy happens when the child has learned that even when the parent leaves his presence, the parent still exists and will certainly return. That is a very important concept for children to learn very early in life. The child learns that the parent cares and will meet the needs of the child.

When emotional constancy happens, the child can learn very early to resume or return to joyful activity knowing that the he is safe and dad will certainly return. This is based on experience of that happening and reinforcing the needed concept in the mind of the child.

Sometimes the little boy would stand on a bench in front of his dad and then jump into dad’s waiting hands. Those hands welcomed and caught the child. This happened several times. Dad welcomed this activity. It was a way for the child to experience dad even when dad was engaged in a meeting. Dad did not correct or chide the child. Dad made time for his son even in a busy time.

The boy played quietly and spoke softly while playing. He found ways to enjoy the toys. He experimented with toys that had moving parts. He showed interest in understanding how they worked. He played in the immediate area of the men’s meeting. He is learning how to be a man.

Was this child precocious? One could argue that way. I doubt that explains the behaviors. Early attachment. Warm affection. Useful play times. Careful discipline. Safe home-life. Adequate sleep. These are the ingredients of the day’s experiences. With his father’s promptings he said, thank you to my wife for the day’s snacks and play area. He is learning respect and gratitude. There was not even one incident of misbehavior. Is that possible? That is possible. It happened today. The oldest man at the meeting was 75 years old. The youngest man at the meeting was 2 years old. God is working!