A Lovely Day

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YOU ARE LOVED

It’s that time of year again. The stores are sprinkled with red helium balloons, chocolate candy, and the smell of fresh flowers. I almost bought myself some flowers today, until I noticed they had quadrupled the price for Valentine’s Day . . .

When I realized my blog for the week was due on Valentine’s Day, I thought about writing about God’s love for us. But that kind of felt like avoiding the reality of what many people in my age and stage of life (the mid-20s through 30s and single) are experiencing right now.

To be honest, I’ve felt a little sad over the past week. I think it has more to do with the weather than Valentine’s Day, but maybe the idea of what life is “supposed to be like” has affected my non-conscious self.

I remember several years ago, I was purposeful to make sure I spent Valentine’s Day doing nice things for other people. I didn’t want to be the kind of girl that just moped around all week, wishing for some kind of fanciful romance. I wanted to be an active part of making the day special for someone else. I honestly forgot about that initiative until now as I am writing. I somehow let my purposefulness slip away over the past few years, but it’s not too late for me to pick it back up this week.

The truth is, I’m not the only one who feels a little sad this week. Many people all around me are going to be hurting on Valentine’s Day. People will feel lonely, sad, rejected, unsettled, anxious, fearful, etc. I’ll be interacting with people who have been through break-ups, divorce, death, and all other sorts of transitions and losses that can make the day more difficult to face alone. Some may even be in the middle of a relationship full of turmoil, strife, and confusion, wishing they didn’t have to deal with that kind of hurtful, living and present grief.

If I could send a message out to anyone who is hurting on Valentine’s Day, it would be that you are not alone. There are many people in your same situation. I challenge you to look around and listen to other’s stories. Realize how much we have in common. Connect to someone.

The world is an unsure place. Life gives us more than we can handle at times. We need each other now more than ever before. Reach out to help someone else. Don’t wait for someone to reach out to you. Give compassion and care to someone else, and you will find your heart overflowing with love.

You are loved. God loves you, and there are people in your life who love you. Acknowledge and accept that love.

Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families . . .”

I am so thankful God has placed me in a great group of friends like I’ve never had before. I have somewhere to go on Friday nights to hang out with friends, people to eat with on Sunday afternoon, and all sorts of meaningful and fun events to participate in throughout the week.

If you are in the San Antonio area, in your 20s or 30s, and looking for a group to join, check out the CBC Young Professionals. We meet on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. in Room C-136 at Community Bible Church located at 2477 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, TX 78232. We would love to meet you and make you a part of our community.

“Celebrating life change in Jesus’ Name.” -CBC


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part. It is also featured on her personal blog, http://www.RachaelKathleenHartman.com

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OK in the middle of brOKen

IM-OKI’m currently attending a class at church called Hiding From Love. Tonight we talked about the splits in our lives–the areas where we are broken–and how that brokenness keeps us from loving God and others.

 

We started to share the ways we try to hide our brokenness–putting up facades, rejecting others, turning to addictions or pornography, isolating . . . and the list went on. People started talking about how they wanted healthy relationships, and some talked about past relationships that failed and why they failed, and why they are better off now without the person they used to be with.

I stayed quiet for the most part throughout the first part of the class. I didn’t have anything to say for a while. There was only one thought in my mind, and it was about the relationships I have and have had–the broken relationships, with broken people, and a broken me. Finally, I shared my thoughts.

14-14-1-15-19-56-48m.jpgI can’t cut off my family just because they aren’t perfect. I can’t stop all relationships because they aren’t healthy. So what if I love someone who isn’t the best for me? If I love them, I love them; there’s no turning it off.

The goal isn’t for me to get better so I can be in a perfectly healthy relationship. The goal is to love, to stay, to be present, and to be active in the midst of the brokenness. There’s going to be brokenness in every person and relationship; we can’t let that stop us from living and loving now.

I have friends who are committed to their marriage even though one person has an addiction. I have friends who stay even though their loved one is fighting cancer and it is painful to watch. I have a friend who keeps living life to the fullest, even though he was in a terrible accident that cost him the use of his legs. I personally have anxiety, bouts of crying and panic attacks, but I’m still taking risks and living my life.

love-quotes-22I have come to the place where I know I’m going to have times where I cry and am angry and feel hurt, and that is okay. I’m going to face difficult times, and I’m going to be able to live through it and love through it, even though it hurts.

We don’t have to hide from love because we are broken, or because the person we love is broken. We don’t have to wait to live until there’s a better moment or a more ideal situation. Today is the day to live and to love.

If we continue to seek something “better,” we will constantly pass up love while we wait for “the best” for our lives. Why not be content now? Why not have fun now? Why do we have to keep grasping for a better job, a better person, a better life? We have the life we have now, and it’s ours to live, with all of its brokenness.

We can seek perfection, or we can seek contentment. Perfection will cost us our relationships, and being present in the moment. But with contentment, we can live and love today, in the midst of brokenness.

We have a choice, we can harden our hearts to protect ourselves from the hurt life brings, or we can allow God to give us a heart that is full of passion, the ability to feel, and, yes, vulnerability to pain.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 36:26

Lord, help us to see beyond our brokenness. So many of us seek “better” things . . .  accomplishments, jobs, a person to be in a relationship with, more money, beauty, or even a quest for emotional health . . . But all that really matters is that we love right here and right now. Thank-You for loving us in our brokenness, and for giving us the capacity to love others in the midst of theirs.’ 


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.

My Journey to Emotional Sobriety

8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8-11

4-ways-to-turn-weaknesses-into-strengthsA wise man once explained to me that the word sober in 1 Peter 5:8 not only refers to refraining from drunkenness, but also to staying sober from anger, greed, and other emotional, and spiritual issues. There are so many things we can be drunk on. “Love” for another person being one of those things. There are so many experiences and emotions that can inhibit our ability to be “sober-minded” and avoid the lion who seeks to destroy our souls.

By God’s grace, I personally have never been drunk with alcohol. I’ve never had a desire to drink at all. But I have had problems with anger and selfishness and lost my emotional sobriety. My anger and unforgiveness turned to bitterness and brokenness. It was so bad there seemed to be no way for me to stop the rage that began to boil inside my heart and mind.

The person who was hurt the most was me. I have implosive anger… Instead of tearing a room apart, I would keep all the anger inside and it began to destroy my self-worth and peace of mind.

The only thing that began to help was, ironically, The 12 Steps. I started to attend Life’s Healing Choices and other Celebrate Recovery types of programs like Changes that Heal, Boundaries, Hiding From Love, etc. I started to apply the 12 Steps to help me seek emotional sobriety from anger, bitterness, fear, rejection, panic, anxiety, depression, and emotional highs and lows.

I’ve heard people say that deliverance can come in two different ways: instantaneously, or through a process. For me, remaining emotionally sober has been a process of deliverance, one I have to remain committed to, just as my brothers and sisters who are recovering alcoholics and addicts.

I have to always remember that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I find that when I think things are becoming “right” in my life, and I start to slack in knowing my need for Jesus, that’s when my emotions begin to flare up again. I find myself emotionally overpowered by depression, anxiety, fear and anger . . . and then back to the realization that I am not God, not in control, but that God loves me and cares for me. I’m learning my life is and will be a constant surrendering dependence on God.

As I release my emotions to God, He fills me with forgiveness, peace, and joy. I share this testimony of the power of Christ with you to give you hope. Whatever it is you are fighting, turn to God, turn to Christian support, and seek sobriety.


Rachael.jpg

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.