I need you

Image: RonPorter, Pixabay

Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
(Psalm 22:1; NLT).

1. Father,
I need you.
I’m fearful and weak.

2. I beg you
To help me,
For life is so bleak.

3. Father,
I trust you.
I’m sorry, and sad.

4. I love you.
Forgive all my sins.
Make me glad.


References

1. I long for your rescue, O Lord (Psalm 119:166; NLT).

He knows how weak we are (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

2. Each day I beg for your help, O Lord (Psalm 88:9; NLT).

Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

3. I trust him with all my heart (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

All must repent of their sins (Acts 26:20; NLT).

4. I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

Forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4; NLT).

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

I love you

Image: eloneo, Pixabay

1. I love you, Lord,
Please help me
By forgiving all my sins,

2. By healing me,
And saving me,
And giving my soul wings.

3. I love you, Lord,
Please help me
By redeeming me from death,

4. And crowning me
With mercy, Lord,
Beyond my final breath.


References

1. I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

He forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! (Psalm 103:2-5; NLT).

2. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; NLT).

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31; NLT).

3. God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave (Psalm 49:15; NKJV).

4. The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

A letter (with thanks to M.R.)

Image: Ulrike Mai, Pixabay

Trigger alert
Today’s blog is about emotional abuse, and its consequences.

Introduction
The following quotation sets the scene, though its relevance might not be clear until you have read the whole article:

Turn your steps towards these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the places where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved panelling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshipped in the land (Psalm 74:3-8; NIV).

An open letter to my mother
Mother, despite claiming to love me, you established control over me from my early childhood onwards. You did this through scorn, criticism, bullying, condemnation, rage, and bouts of violent destructiveness. These behaviours made me fear you deeply. I lived in dread of your next outburst.

You continued to maintain control over me during my teenage years and adulthood, too, using intrusion, disapproval, and anger when I dared to express personal feelings, thoughts or beliefs you didn’t like. Similarly, you reacted with fury and threats of coercion if I tried to make my own decisions about what I wanted to do with my life. When I made mistakes, or got things wrong, you never forgave me, or forgot it. All this made me dread seeing you and spending time with you. I particularly hated the sound of your voice, and loathed you touching me, but was afraid to stand up to you, or to say “no”.

Your ways of controlling me have had severe, pervasive, long-term consequences for my mental health, in the form of low self-esteem, anxiety, dread, panic attacks and agoraphobia. I have also had to cope with a constant sense of not wanting to be alive, with chronic depression, and with episodes of acute depression. Furthermore, one question has always preyed on my mind:

How could you say you loved me, yet behave as you did towards me?

It didn’t make sense. I just couldn’t square what you said with what I experienced.

Then, on the 24th of May, 2020, a friend sent me a message she had seen on a Facebook site about domestic abuse. It read:

It’s not CONSENT if you make me afraid to say no.

I stared at these words, instantly electrified by their brevity, clarity and profound truth. Within seconds, a personal variation flashed into my mind:

It’s not LOVE if you make me afraid to say no.

Deeply stirred by this insight, further phrases began tumbling out of my unconscious mind. Here are just a few examples:

It’s not love if you make me afraid to disagree.

It’s not love if you criticise me all the time.

It’s not love if you make me afraid to be myself.

It’s not love if you make me afraid to choose for myself.

It’s not love if you belittle my achievements.

It’s not love if you only approve of me when I behave like you.

At last, in my late sixties, my friend’s message had given me the answer to my question: your behaviour towards me shows clearly that you did not, in fact, love me in any meaningful way at all.

This shocking realisation made me consider what kinds of behaviour do, in fact, reflect and express genuine love. Here are the best answers I’ve found so far:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude. It does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4-5; NLT).

It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5; NIV).

I know that none of us is perfect, mother, but when I confronted you, you could at least have admitted what you did to me, and said you were sorry. Over the years, I managed to raise the subject of your behaviour with you several times, always at huge personal cost. However, you never responded with genuine understanding or honesty, instead always trying to justify, minimise, or deny what you had done.

For many years now, I have worked hard to forgive you. Sometimes I even think I’ve succeeded. Fortunately, God understands and accepts the intense anger and bitterness that can still occasionally emerge from my mind, heart and soul. Slowly, gently, he gives me the insights I need in order to be healed, for which I am profoundly thankful.

Ruth.


References

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other (Romans 12:9; NLT).

Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them (Ephesians 6:4; NLT).

I am the Lord, who heals you (Exodus 15:27; NIV).

We are sinners

Father,

1. We are sinners –
Please forgive us.
Wash away our guilt
And make us whole.

2. Speak to us,
And help us all to listen.
Heal us, Lord,
In body, mind, and soul.

3. We forgive all those
Who sin against us,
Praying for our enemies
And friends.

4. Help us to bear our cross,
And follow Jesus
Through good and ill, Lord God,
Until life ends.


References

1. We are constant sinners (Isaiah 64:5; NLT).

Forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin (Psalm 51:2; NLT).

2. Let me hear your voice (Song of Songs 2:14; NIV).

O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed (Jeremiah 17:14; NLT).

3. We forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Love your enemies! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27; NLT).

4. If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27; NLT).

Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

Anguish (written for M)


How long must I struggle within my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?

(Psalm 13:2; NLT).

1. Son of God,
We cry to you,
For life is very bleak.

2. Have pity on us, Lord,
For we’re in anguish,
Sick, and weak.

3. Touch us,
And forgive our sins,
For we belong to you,

4. And help us
To forgive all those
Who sin against us, too.

5. Heal us, Lord, in body,
And in mind, and heart,
And soul,

6. For you, Lord, are the only one
Whose touch
Can make us whole.


References

1. I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed (Psalm 61:2; NLT).

My spirit is crushed, and my life is nearly snuffed out (Job 17:1; NLT).

2. Jesus, Master, have pity on us (Luke 17:13; NIV).

Lord, see my anguish! (Lamentations 1:20; NLT).

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony (Psalm 6:2; NLT).

3. Jesus touched the sick man and healed him (Luke 14:4; NLT).

Forgive us our sins (Matthew 6:12; NLT).

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NLT).

4. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37; NLT).

5. He forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases (Psalm 103:3-4; NLT).

He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3; NKJV).

6. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed (Mark 1:41-2; NLT).

Heal us

1. Heal us in body, Lord,
Heal us in mind;
Heal us in heart,
And in soul.

2. Cleanse all our sins, Lord,
And set us all free;
Redeem us,
And make us all whole.


References

1. I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3; NKJV).

2. I will cleanse them of their sins (Jeremiah 33:8; NLT).

He sets the prisoners free (Psalm 68:6; NLT).

I will redeem you (Hosea 13:14; NLT).

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; RSV).

These words

These words you hear are not my own;
they belong to the Father who sent me
(John 14:24; NIV).

1. Your kingdom come:
These words give hope,
Reviving my weak faith.

2. Deliver us:
These words speak truth;
They show me you are great.

3. Forgive our sins:
These words grant peace;
Your pardon makes me whole.

4. As we forgive:
These words pledge rest
To my poor mind and soul.

5. Your will be done:
These words bring calm
To my last days on earth.

6. For evermore:
My spirit flies
To you, who gave me birth.


References

1. May your kingdom come soon (Luke 11:2; NLT).

2. Deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13; KJV).

3. Forgive us our sins… (Matthew 6:12; NLT).

4. …as we have forgiven those who sin against us (Matthew 6:13; NLT).

5. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; NLT).

6. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever (Matthew 6:13; NKJV).

Into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; NIV).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

Bear all God sends

At last, the people will look to their Creator
(Isaiah 17:7; NLT).

1. Bear all God sends
Until life ends,
For when we sigh,
He hears our cry.

2. And though each soul
Has missed its goal,
Our heavenly King
Still waits within.

3. So, face the past,
Then say, at last:
Your kingdom come;
Your will be done.

4. God shares our woes;
His mercy flows:
He will forgive;
Then we will live!


References

1. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it (Jeremiah 10:19; NLT).

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).

While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh (2 Corinthians 5:4; NLT).

He hears their cries for help (Psalm 145:19; NLT).

2. Everyone has sinned; we all fall far short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23; NLT).

The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; KJV).

3. When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone (Psalm 32:5; NLT).

At last they will know and understand that I am the Lord (Jeremiah 16:21; NLT).

Your kingdom come, your will be done (Matthew 6:9-10; NIV).

4. In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

In his love and mercy he redeemed them (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:2; NLT).

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10; NLT).

Perfection

You are to be perfect,
even as your Father in heaven is perfect
(Matthew 5:48; NLT).

Father,

1. I am far
From your perfection,
With little time still left
To grow like you.

2. Please look on me
With mercy and compassion.
Forgive my sins,
And heal my body, too.

3. Mend my wayward heart,
And mind, and spirit;
Give me time to learn
From your dear Son.

4. Then help me, Lord, to serve
Your sacred kingdom,
For though I’m late, Lord God,
I have begun.


References

1. You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48; NLT).

Remember how short my life is (Psalm 89:47; NLT).

2. You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy (Psalm 86:15; NLT).

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases (Psalm 103:3; NLT).

3. I will heal your wayward hearts (Jeremiah 3:22; NLT).

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me (Matthew 11:29; NIV).

4. You must worship the Lord your God and serve him only (Luke 4:8; NLT).

When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage (Matthew 20:10; NLT).

Those who are last now will be the first then (Matthew 20:16; NLT).

Courage


Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said.
“Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27; NLT).

1. Lord,
Please give us courage,
To face all life may bring:
Heartbreak, sickness, hunger,
For you are still our King.

2. Lord,
Please give us courage
To bear all that may come:
Loneliness and worry,
Until this plague is done.

3. Lord,
Please give us courage
To turn to you, and pray,
Trusting in your mercy,
And serving you each day.

4. Lord,
Please give us courage
And hope, for you are great;
Forgive us all our sins,
And help us hold fast to our faith.


References

1. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

2. This is my intense suffering, but I must bear it (Jeremiah 10:19; CSB).

3. I plead for the Lord’s mercy (Psalm 142:1; NLT).

4. Put your hope in God (Psalm 42:5; NIV).

Having hope will give you courage (Job 11:18; NLT)

I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts (Isaiah 57:15; NLT).

Hold fast and repent (Revelation 3:3; NKJV).