Love After Love

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Today, I simply want to share one of my favourite poems of all times. It’s a popular poem so I’m sure you are familiar with it. I first read it in high school when I knew nothing of what codependency was and nothing about toxic and unhealthy relationships. I was clueless about how complicated life and love could really be. However, I kept this poem over the years and it is only in recent years that I have gained a better insight to its meaning. I truly value and treasure the words of this poem. May you be blessed by it as well.

Hugs and smiles 🙂

LOVE AFTER LOVE

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Derek Walcott

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I Am He who Comforts You

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The first time I was molested, was at the age of five. The second time, I was six years old. Both incidents were extremely traumatizing and frightening and each involved a different perpetrator. However, as a child, I thought that I was the perpetrator. I didn’t tell anyone because shameful acts are often hard to share, and like I said, I felt that I was at fault.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I finally told a family member about it. However, the understanding and care that I expected now that I understood the acts from an adult perspective, just never came. Instead, it seemed as if I were being blamed for not exposing it when it first occurred. It left me feeling bruised and hurt all over again.

I’ve found that sometimes even when we’re brave enough to open up about something painful and let someone else into our brokenness, the response we’re expecting may never come. This can be really painful.

For some of us, it has been a tedious and agonizing process/journey to even reach a place where we feel safe enough to invite someone else into our past trauma. And the wound inflicted from a condemning or critical response to what we have shared can be even more devastating than the past hurt we suffered.

The truth is that a five or six year old victim of molestation neither deserved it or encouraged it and is more likely going to hide it rather than report it. The truth is, certain individuals are more vulnerable and more prone to being selected and preyed on by child molesters than others are. The truth is, I was a victim then, but refuse to continue to be a victim of what was done to me. I refuse to succumb to the condemning voices.

Today, one of the things I’ve learned to do is to, simply accept my truth.

My truth as it relates to my past, my character and my identity as a whole.

I am not responsible for whether or not someone else accepts or validates my truth.

No one gets to define me. Besides God, I alone know my thoughts, feelings, motives, intentions, and inner workings.

No one gets to define who I am.

I refuse to be discouraged by another person’s misconceived ideas of me and I refuse to be resentful because of it. In times past, I desired more than anything to be understood by others. I thought it necessary to defend and prove myself so that others would have a good perception of me. It caused me much agony when they misunderstood my motives, true character, and intentions.

Today, I find great comfort in knowing that God knows my truth. He knows everything there is to know about me. And yet He continues to love me for me, and is not scared off by my mess. Nor is He moved by the voice of the Accuser who brings accusations and wicked judgments against me – (Zechariah chapter 3). Others may choose to believe misconceptions about me, but God knows my truth.

I am in Christ Jesus and I am His. God approves of me and accepts me and calls me His beloved.

For me, that is enough.

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults….I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be like grass? But I am the LORD your God….The LORD of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ Isaiah 51: 7,12,15-16

I Am The LORD Who Heals You

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I am going to be real with you and I am going to try to be as brief as possible.

While drugs, nicotine, and alcohol have never been my vices, I still struggle with addiction.

My main addiction is to relationships and my secondary addiction is to sleep aids. Both are ongoing areas of struggle for me. But by God’s mercy and grace, I have begun the journey of recovery.

God has started a healing process over the last six years of my life and through this slow process, I am becoming aware of who I am and why I am. What I mean by that is that I am learning the causes behind the effects in my life. God is bringing me into knowledge of why I am more prone to certain behavior, more susceptible to certain sins – basically He is unearthing the root of all the chaos, confusion, and craziness in my life. And through this knowledge, He is healing me.

Trauma.

The trauma we may have experienced in our childhood, adolescence, or adult years can have devastatingly damaging effects on us that no one including ourselves are aware of. It can restructure the normal emotional and mental processes of our minds in such a way that leaves us stunted and handicapped – unable to function or behave in a healthy and balanced way.

A person who is addicted to relationships (codependent), approaches relationships from a wounded and broken sense of self. Its like being stranded in an ocean barely knowing how to swim. In desperation, you reach out to another person and cling to them for dear life. All the while you’re panicked and thrashing and riddled with fear and anxiety. It’s not long before you realize that the other person doesn’t know how to swim very well either. Now the situation is compounded. The sad thing is that even if you manage to break free and grab ahold of someone else, it always seems like the other person is a poor swimmer or an even worse swimmer than you are. The codependent person never learns to trust their own swimming abilities enough to manage on their own. They are panicked and frightened and keep finding someone to hang on to for dear life.

That’s not a healthy way to love nor is it a healthy way to live – whether its a friendship, marriage, work or family relationship.

Healthy individuals approach relationships like a capable and experienced
swimmer entering the sea. They come alongside another good swimmer and together they swim side by side. Both are able to give assistance to one another when needed.

I am not at the point where I can say confidently that I am a good or capable swimmer – but I can stay afloat and I am even learning how to swim a little.

As God heals me more and more in all areas of my life, I am realizing that the healing journey has its ups and downs. There are moments of great progress and moments of temporary relapse and struggles. I am realizing that each or our healing journeys are unique. I am realizing the need to be absolutely honest and transparent with others. Its okay to admit our struggles and weaknesses. Its okay to admit that there are still broken areas in our lives. It’s okay to be open about our fears and failures.

In my journey, there are times when I can see how much I’ve grown and how strong I’ve become. But then I hit a bump and stumble. Or I come to another area that needs to be dealt with.

Sometimes, I get stuck. I relapse into old thinking processes or behavior patterns. It doesn’t mean that I’ve failed. It’s just part of the journey.

At those times, I need to keep holding onto God’s hand. At those times, He often sends insight, comfort, knowledge, and encouragement through someone who has overcome their struggles in that particular area. Likewise, when you are healed and strengthened, you can then become an instrument of strength and healing for someone else.

Today, if you can relate to this message – if you are struggling with any form of addiction – at times it may feel hopeless. You may feel like no one understands – and may be they don’t. You may feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. Like you haven’t accomplished much or have had to start all over from scratch while others are further ahead of you. You may feel like giving up and giving in.

Yes, it can be discouraging.

I know.

However.

However, if you love God and are His child, I want you to know that all of your experiences, struggles, and trials that you’ve ever been through – no matter how devastating – are all part of His plan and purpose for your life. God’s desire is to bring healing to all of your trauma and wounds and to bring meaning and purpose out of them. Maybe you’re broken and handicapped in your mind, emotions, and spirit.

Don’t despise your weaknesses and infirmities. Accept your reality for what it is. Know that this is the life that God has scripted for you. Maybe you made poor choices. Maybe the poor choices of others that were beyond your control left you damaged.

Whatever it is, open yourself to God’s healing and remember that it’s a process. Sometimes you take three steps forward and four steps back – just keep going.

Dear one, trust God. He carries us when we are too weak to go on. He is always with us. Healing us. Bringing us into truth. The truth of who we are and why we are. This truth in turn liberates us.

As I end, I speak Isaiah 52:1-2 into your life and mine today:

Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; Never again will outsiders—uncircumcised and the unclean — who once abused and denigrated you move within your elect borders.

Shake yourself from the dust; arise, sit [erect in a dignified place], O Jerusalem; rid yourself of the chains around your neck and raise your head in freedom , captive children of Zion.

Be blessed, encouraged, and healed,

M.G. Sunshine

I Will Restore

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For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the LORD, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’ Psalm 51:12

I recently made the decision to cut off my ten-year old dreadlocks in aspiration of having loose natural hair. At one time, my dreadlocks were ideal for me – they were easy to care for and maintain and my hair thrived and grew easily in that style. But over the years as they grew out, they became more weighty. I also adopted a pet dog who shed tons and tons of hair daily which required me to wear my hair up most of the time and keep it covered constantly. Even so, my dog’s hair still managed to get caught in my dreadlocks along with the material from my clothing which limited me to wearing only certain fabrics. Keeping my dreadlocks neat and clean was becoming more and more tedious and exasperating.

This made my decision to part with my locs all the more easier.

Having cut my dreadlocks, I literally went from hair that covered my derrière to about neck length hair.

It was a major change for me.

The first several days I felt bald-headed.

What comforted me however was the realization that in order to achieve my aspiration of loose natural hair, it was necessary to remove the dreadlocked hair and begin again. I also accepted that it would be a process to reach a considerable length again.

Likewise, in our lives, God has to sometimes remove and release the old things from our lives that were no longer working for us in order to position us to receive the new things that He has prepared for us. Many times the process can be painful, confusing, or devastating, and may temporarily leave us feeling empty or out of sorts.

However.

However, if we trust that God is sovereign and has a plan for our lives – a plan that is good and not evil, we can rest assured that He is a God that restores the lost years of our lives.

God gave a promise to His people, Israel, in Joel 2:21-27 that is encouragement for us today if we choose to believe that He is able to restore to us all that we have lost.

Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate!
God has done great things.
Fear not, wild animals!
The fields and meadows are greening up.
The trees are bearing fruit again:
a bumper crop of fig trees and vines!
Children of Zion, celebrate!
Be glad in your God.
He’s giving you a teacher
to train you how to live right—
Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words
to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do.
And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain,
casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

“I’ll make up for the years of the locust,
the great locust devastation—
Locusts savage, locusts deadly,
fierce locusts, locusts of doom,
That great locust invasion
I sent your way.
You’ll eat your fill of good food.
You’ll be full of praises to your God,
The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder.
Never again will my people be despised.
You’ll know without question
that I’m in the thick of life with Israel,
That I’m your God, yes, your God,
the one and only real God.
Never again will my people be despised.

I pray that you choose to believe with me that He is able to restore all that you have lost.

In Quietness and Confidence….

 
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Life doesn’t always fall out the way that we’ve hoped for or the way that we’ve planned.

Not at all.

I’ve never had grandiose dreams of being rich and famous.  To be honest, an extravagant and luxurious life has never really appealed to me.  Neither does a thrilling and adventurous life.

The life I envisioned for myself was very simple – a loving husband and a cozy little home  filled with the cheerful pitter-patter of tiny feet running around.

I had it all mapped out ‘to a T’ – right down to the color of my house – white with a yellow trim and vibrant red flowers lining the driveway.  I’d say that the life I envisioned for myself was an ideal storybook life – void of any major issues and ending in the well known phrase, ‘ and they lived happily ever after’.

My storybook plot began well enough.  Girl meets boy, falls in love, gets married and they begin a life together.  But the happily ever after that I dreamed of never came. 

The happy marriage that I had hoped for was riddled with tension and chaos and ended in tragic demise after seven years.  The children that I had desired never were.  And the cozy little home followed the same pattern as everything else – it just never came about.   Changing my happily ever after into happily never after.

However.

However, even in the midst of deferred dreams, I see God’s hand at work in my life. I find great comfort in the truth that He is completely and absolutely sovereign. He’s been using the good and the bad events and experiences in my life to draw me nearer to Himself. All along, He has been at work in my life – molding and forming me into a better person.

A new person.

I know that God has been orchestrating the events in my life all along to bring me to the storybook ending that He Himself has written for my life.  Knowing this, I have since thrown out my script in exchange for His. I am learning to simply be content with His plan and to wait quietly as it unfolds around me.

I am comforted to know that God knows everything about me. He not only knows my desires, but is the One who has placed those very desires into my heart and is able to bring them to pass even as I lay amidst the ruins and debri of my shattered dreams. I trust that God is yet able to transform my desolate place into a beautiful and thriving garden.

And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited (Ezekiel 36:35)

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1).

Today, I want to share a bit of encouragement and hope to anyone out
there who may be discouraged about the way that their life has turned out. Know that, if you love God and are His child, He is working it all out for your good (Romans 8;28). He has good thoughts of you and His intention is never to cause you harm. He is even now bringing you to your expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

So quiet your heart and simply trust God.

For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel has said; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength….Isaiah 30:15