Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Who you are is what you have been through

I was thinking recently of the film we used in Organization Development called You Are What You Were When.  A catchy title for a film that is to help managers understand the people they work with.

The When is... when you were ten.  Studies have shown that your basic character, the real you... is almost set in stone at the age of ten.  There are, of course, changes that can occur over the years and two of them are trauma and religious experience.

This was the 1980s and older managers were clueless as to why twenty somethings acted the way they did.  It was because the world had changed dramatically from the WWII years when they were young.

It also explains why so many of us today look at what is going on in the world and wonder if it has gone stark raving mad. The kids growing up today have no idea of the world most of us were born into.

The reason I was remembering the training film was more personal, I thought about my own experiences and how they shaped the person I am today... for good and not so good.  It is interesting that ten is the age they talked about in the film because that was the year of my greatest trauma.

I walked home from school one afternoon and no one was at home.  Our neighbor came over to take me to her home and I later found out my father had suddenly died that day of a heart attack.  My most beloved person on the face of the earth.

That trauma changed everything and honestly, I have never been the same.  My happy family life became difficult without my father, even though my mother tried her best.  So many things happened that were difficult... but Someone else was pulling at my heart.  Someone who wanted to become a Father to the fatherless.

That is what got me thinking of the film recently for rarely does a week go by that I don't thank God for being that Father to the fatherless.  I think of what I would have been without Him and then my mind cannot travel that road.  It wouldn't have been pretty.  It still amazes me all these years later that He came after ME!  What a wonder...

By the time I was ten, I had grown up in a rural area across the road from a grain elevator.  Surrounding me were crops of corn some years, soybeans other years, and the aroma of grain as it was processed by that elevator.  I smell it all over again when I grind wheat in the electric wheat grinder.

We moved when I was in the early years of elementary school to the nearby small town where we lived when my father died.  Across the street from the K-12 school whose brick walls hid the many decades it had stood.  Although we lived in a town (Population 800-ish), it was still of a rural mindset. Conversations quite often began with the most recent weather report.

When I was thinking of that film, I was thanking God for bringing me through life this far.  I can't say as I understand everything about life, far from it... the longer I live the less I understand about some things.  However, I have come to realize that He has always been there even in those seasons of trial that were difficult.  He has always been faithful.

I truly believe God allows certain events in our life so that after we walk through them with His guidance, we can become His hands and His heart to a hurting world.  Only those who have walked through experiences truly empathize with others as they walk through them.  When I talk to people, whether in person or through emails, that are suffering as I have suffered at one time.... I can feel their pain.

The experiences are what made me feel comfortable in the most expensive homes and at a homeless shelter.  For there were broken people everywhere that need someone to listen.  I want to be an encourager for God.  I encourage people to keep on going, to not give up, and to get to know the God who loves them.

I still have people gossip and put me down because I stay home most days.  They are quite often people who have never had a serious illness, who cannot (or do not try) to understand what intense fatigue can do to a person's ability to live a normal life.

I have people say things like, "I know other diabetics who can make it to church each week".  They do not comprehend the difference between Type 2 diabetes and the auto immune disease that is Type 1, Adult Onset Juvenile Diabetes.  Sometimes it is tiring to have to explain all the time.

However, my friend who suffers from fibromyalgia understands immediately. She walks the path every day.  She has experienced that intense fatigue almost daily so she can empathize and not just sympathize.  Her experiences cause her to "get it" without a daily explanation.

How about you?  Do you look at what you have experienced only through the lens of pain or do you realize that God has molded you for His purpose.  There are people in your world that you can truly reach for Him.  You understand them.  You can be God's hands and feet and the expression of His love not in spite of your experiences... but because of them.

God formed us for this time in history and the place in which we were born.  (I can't recall the verse in Acts at the moment.)  He leads when we move and sometimes when we come back home.  He is as interested in your comings and goings as an earthly father... actually, far more than any parent since He created you.

There is only one person with the exact same set of circumstances from birth until now and that is you.  How exciting to think because of this, you are the exactly person God can use in the life of another.  Even if you prefer skyscrapers to cornfields.

12 comments: said...

What a blessing this article was .. thank you for sharing..

Jenny said...

I heard somewhere a long time ago that the purpose of our experiences is so that we can help someone else in the future. I don't know how completely true that is but I do know that I have much more grace for others after experiencing hard things myself.

And I totally understand the trial of living with a disease that you cannot see. My husband has type 1 diabetes & people don't understand how hard it is for him to commit to most things...he never knows how he will feel from day to day.

Anonymous said...

Our beloved pastor (deceased now) taught us that "nothing happens except it first passes through God's wisdom". Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. God has made you such a blessing to many. Blessings to you, dear friend, Sharon D.

Vee said...

☺️ I should not visit just at bedtime. Probably need to reflect on these points for a spell. A long spell...

Suzan said...

Amen. I have to agree that many do not understand, comprehend or even empathise with another's circumstances.

Marie said...

Excellent post! Well done, Brenda.:)

Anonymous said...

You are not "staying home all day" you are working to provide a loving, Godly home for your family to enjoy. Putting lovely homemade meals together with good healthy ingredients is work. The way you arrange your home is so comforting (I admit to stealing a few of your ideas) :) is work. The books reviews, etc....I've learned a great deal from you, and I am filled with gratitude for your blog. Anyone who criticizes your Church attendance, would do well to spend more time in scripture themselves. God bless and keep you.

Donna Wilson

Sherry said...

"suffering is never for nothing" ~elisabeth elliot

thank you for this post, brenda.
reading through i found myself nodding my head
in agreement and understanding. since a certain
bit of trauma began 7+ years ago i've changed
to one who is more home bound and quiet and
keeping to myself .. yet growing in grace and
hopefully wisdom. health concerns have developed
and i do what i can do when i'm able. ♥
bless you dearly.

Elizabeth said...

There are many reasons one cannot always attend church or whatever. And always there are those who are critical. I think as an adult survivor of childhood abuse, which continued on in my life in other forms (not physical but emotional and otherwise), the hardest thing to bear is what is happening to my little grandchildren. Not my own abuse. And I do not see that my abuse helped me in any possible way. I would be just as heartsick for my grandbabies, had my life been perfect. People might look at me and say I don't have enough faith. I say, my biggest hope is in the next life...and definitely it is not a lack of faith. GOD does sometimes intervene in events...but HE does not always. I am not wise enough, nor have I ever met anyone else who was wise enough to understand all of that. It is simply just what life is. For at least some of us, I think given what I and some others I know who have suffered even more than I, considering all of that, I think one miracle is that we even believe in GOD at all...or that we expect SOMEDAY HE will right all wrongs.
It took years and a very unexpected faith path for me to understand that GOD does not take church attendance, Brenda. I am certain the biggest measuring yardstick HE has is simply well do we love? People seem unable to remember very well what Jesus taught: 2 main commandments that encompass them all: Love GOD with all your heart and Love others as yourself. Simple. Men often take joy in making even simple things difficult. I suppose maybe one thing the undo criticism does is let you know WHO is your real friend. Not that person. Plain to see.

moreofhim said...

I so enjoyed this post! I do think that our personalities and traits are probably formed by 10 but also see so many changes in my own personality because of things that have happened to me as an adult. I totally understand you not being able to get out because of a chronic illness. I experience the same thing and it's so encouraging when others get it without explanation! Thank you for sharing this - it was exactly what I needed to read.

Blessings - Julie

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I can complete relate to this post. I've seen God's hand in bring people our way who needed us because we had been through what they were going through. People everywhere are hurting and in need, and when we allow God to use us and our gained 'wisdom' we are His hands and feet. Others have been so to me, as well.

I don't understand why people care so much if someone stays home a lot, regardless if it is for health reasons, or not. Everyone is different, and has different limitations both physically and emotionally. Its okay! We don't have to be just like everyone else. We just need to be fully who God has crafted us to be!

You, my friend, are a weekly blessing here on your blog. You encourage, point to Jesus, share books that teach, encourage and build up. You share recipes and your method of getting things done little by little. You do so much good for others.

I'm so grateful to have become a friend through your blog! Love to you, Bren.

Anonymous said...

I believe you must have been thinking of Acts 17:26-27:

"From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."

Wow! Isn't He a wise and good God?!

And I agree wholeheartedly with what Donna said - you are doing a great work!