“Praise The Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147: 1-3
I have just recently come to understand once again that verse three is about me. In the last 16 years I have been like Jerusalem, once a mighty and great city, but then battle ravaged and broken down. My mind, emotions, hopes and dreams scattered and exiled by the war, for my soul, that is the nightmare called PTSD. However, now The Lord is rebuilding me and I am regaining all that was thought lost forever. My mind is still a battlefield, but The Lord has sent reinforcements and day by day He is helping me to win the battles and move forward into a more abundant life in Christ.
Most of all He is healing my broken heart. Most of my relationships, that I thought were totally lost due to my words and actions during the hellish flashbacks are being restored. Some in full, some in part, but progress is most certain. Perhaps most of all Jesus is repairing how I judge and view myself. Because of all this I am truly experiencing His extremely wide grace and deep, deep love in a way I have never even imagined before. The person I am today, I dare to say, is even better than my pre-PTSD self. Because of my affliction I now know what true humility, love, mercy and grace really are, because I live in them each and every day that I breathe.
As far as Jesus binding up my wounds progress has been difficult because my wounds are internal and not obvious. Having been brutally abused sexually, emotionally, physically and verbally by my earthly father from ages four to eleven leaves very deep and damaging wounds on one’s soul. I certainly now have the utmost compassion for those suffering from any sort of depression or mental illness. Band aids, stitches, medication and braces all fall way short of addressing the wounds one suffers on the inside. Sure effective psychotherapy and an empathetic counselor helps some, but only The Great Counselor can truly address and begin to heal the wounds that lie within.
Today I am even able to embrace my affliction because it took me to places and people who were in desperate need of a touch from The Lord. In fact, I now look back at my psychiatric hospitalizations as missions trips. The fruit from these “trips” is undeniable. I have prayed with dozens of lost souls who now are no longer lost, but now found in Him.
Today I want to thank those who have loved and prayed me through this process of healing and restoration. Without you I could have never made it this far. So to friends, family, old loves and new love I say thank you! To those out there that still suffer I tell you that growth and healing are possible for you too. So please do not give up? “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3: 9
Love and …….
Kirk Out !
P.s. I have not had a PTSD “episode” in over 19 months now. I still have the occasional flashback, but nothing I can’t manage or work through with my Lord. Plus my medications have been cut back 60% over the last several months and I am feeling great. Thank Jesus for this wonderful progress!
P.s.s. PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
“I urge you all to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16: 17-20
I read this warning this morning and I had several thoughts about it. One of the biggest ways that folks divide the Body of Christ today is by making a distinction between those who are “gifted” and those who “give” to support the “gifted”. It is the mark of The Clergy/Laity division and it is a pox in the Church today. It is crippling the Body of Christ and it is so very, very, extremely wrong. Whenever one person is treated as special over and above others in the church it destroys mutual fellowship and any chance at true unity. Because the truth in love is that EVERY member of the church is gifted and special in their own unique way. We are all Spiritually gifted ministers in the New Covenant and when we come together everyone is expected to share and add their portion to the mix that day. (1 Corinthians 14:26) The whole concept that some are Ministers and the rest get to sit, listen, and pay is a totally bogus teaching and it is a division right from the pit of hell.
A major obstacle being taught today is legalism and observance of The Law as the standard, rather than simply living as the Holy Spirit leads us by grace and faith in Jesus. Far too often we are taught to avoid evil of all kinds, instead of to embrace and practice what is good and pure. Too much emphasis on what not to do takes away from the Gospel and the importance of what we actually should BE accomplishing in Christ together. The good news is the hope of glory, which is simply Christ in us.
Having God crush satan under our feet is an interesting thought, but it seems to me that in order for this to happen we have to be where satan is and not in some sort of total avoidance of evil mode. As followers of Jesus we are supposed to be Light shining in darkness. We need to go where hurting and lost people are and not just pretend we are safe within the walls of religious structures. In order to actually be like Jesus we need to get off our blessed ASSurance and be out among the people who need Him most.
I have no idea if any of this will make sense to those of you reading, but I feel like I have shared my portion today. “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
Kirk Out !
Well, I am going to ramble a bit today. So please bear with me?
Yeah “Authority” was a big deal to the Pharisees, Scribes and Teachers of the Law.
But not to Jesus,…. In its simplicity, it was
just an ordinary, matter of fact and real in a
non-over the top Spiritual kind of manner.
In fact does not the book read, “Submit to one another
out of reverence for Christ”? Submitting is just a matter of recognizing and honoring the authority of Christ in one another. It is not positional, it is relational in nature.
It is always supposed to be Mutual, relational, voluntary, peer based and not
required or forced at any time.
And yes, we do need these type of peers (sisters, brothers) in our
lives,for love, truth and balance. Because we only have
ONE Father and we are all siblings! Then there is the fallacy and
MANipulation of ANY “church” that allows for ANY human hierarchy.
We only have one King. There is only one OVER us…Jesus!
When someone becomes more than a peer in your life you have
surrendered your Priesthood and damaged both your and the other’s faith
and life experience.
Frankly it is a sin to give in to such deception. And such negatively
effects all of one’s life and relationships with GOD, family and all
persons, in the Body of Christ or not.
Have mercy Lord?
So what’s the deal with authority? (best Seinfeldesque voice)
“Man” with satan’s influence made it a deal, a REALLY BIG DEAL. When God
always intended to keep it simple and relational and mutual. Heck,
even GOD is mutual and relational in these matters… we can say no or yes at any time.
Here is something I got from the Lord once while praying and driving to
a totally open & free, Spirit led gathering with my family. Please take it for a Spiritual
test drive and see how it hits your hearts and minds?
“Authority is not a force or something to be exerted. It is not
imposed upon people. It is rather like a vaccuum or a draw,
that people would be attracted to it and ask for its virtues
(input, wisdom, correction, whatever). It would also draw out the best
(gifts, ect.) in people and would seek to always edify the seeker
and not the giver of “advice”.
Wow? Attraction and not promotion!
If we would only surrender unto Jesus and one another so that HE
would simply flow forth from our lives instead of having to be
falsely MANufactured and presented instead of just lived out in a free & open manner.
Notice how Jesus did not go around telling people what to do?
No, HE walked in relationship with The Father and others and people
came up to HIM most of the time and asked, “What must I do to
be saved, ect.” They approached HIM because HE went to them
and walked and lived where they were. HE didn’t stay in a Temple or
Building waiting for folks to come to HIM at a specific service time.
HIS life was fragrant and desirable. People wanted to actually
“Taste and see that HE IS good”.
Oh that it could be the same with those who supposedly identify with
HIS name here and now. That people would see tasty, fragrant, lip smacking fruit
borne on the branches of our life in HIM, and eat freely.
But of course, true fruit is borne and it comes from simply living and
abiding in the true VINE that is Christ alone. It tastes GOOD!
But wax false fruit is nasty, non-edible, non-nutritious, and
MANufactured… not borne… it is made in buildings and factories
at specific times with specific protocols and workers in specific
supervised places of so called authority.
Feast or famine?
Kirk Out !
Rather to squeeze out one little, tiny, edible grape than
MAKE and MANufacture a cornucopia of fake wax fruit.
“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—”– Philemon 1:8-9 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12: 1-3
Last week while in sunny Florida I spent a lot of time walking on the beach where we spread my Mother’s ashes over thirteen years ago. Now I don’t believe that we can have conversations with the dead, but I do believe that remembering them can give us much solace. My Mom and I used to walk Green Key beach, hand in hand, often when I was ages 4-11. I remember her touch, smile, hair and our encouraging conversations.
During the last several years I have learned from The Lord the power of positive memories. Having PTSD these last 16 years I have been flooded with negative flashbacks and memories on numerous occasions. They have been so over-powering at times that they even led me to be suicidal quite often.
Recently, Jesus has been leading me to recapture the good and positive memories of my childhood. PTSD made me re-live brutal abuse and rapes by my father from ages 4-11. These horrific memories filled almost all of my days and nights with pain and terror. Now that is all changing as I allow myself to embrace and remember the excellent times I also had during my childhood. Now The Lord is using the fantastic moments of my youth to counter balance the scales of my life. In the past I found trying to recall these fond moments nearly impossible due to the sheer weight and volume of the flashbacks. However, now Jesus has granted me much grace and freedom in recalling the days of my youth.
I believe that now my Mom is a member of the great cloud of witnesses that I am engulfed and surrounded by. Now I am throwing off the negative memories that have hindered me for the last 16 years and I am also no longer giving in to the sin of ungodly inner rage, self loathing and anger that had me entangled for so long. My eyes are now totally fixed on Jesus and because of that I am no longer growing weary or losing heart. Jesus endured opposition from sinful men as I have endured opposition from my earthly father and the enemy.
I fully embrace the current freedom I am experiencing and I am just loving being able to recall the great times of my youth. I was in chains to the flashbacks, but now I am free. When the enemy comes against me now in my mind I just recall and re-live the walks on the beach with my loving and wonderful Mom. I thank the Lord for granting me the liberty to replace my destructive past with a loving and productive one. Now when the flashbacks hit, I just close my eyes and all of sudden I am there with my Mom on that beach and more amazing than that Jesus is there hand in hand with me and my Mom too. Such a simple revelation and I just hope that someday everyone out there reading this can be free from any part of their past that holds them back in this life also.
Love and ….
Kirk Out !
For me Thursday was laundry day after a long fellowship vacation. So I got my dirty clothes together and went to the laundrymat. While I was there I ran into a former co-worker that I had not seen in many years. During our conversation we caught each other up concerning our current employment and how our families were doing. We were both surprised at how our children had grown and matured. Then all of a sudden in the middle of our conversation WHAM JESUS WAS THERE and I was leading her to The Lord. It was totally casual and nothing was forced. We had just been talking about how I was coping with my PTSD. She was there sixteen years ago when I had my first PTSD episode at work and I crawled under my desk, screamed, cried and assumed the fetal position. She saw how well I was getting along now and she directly asked me what seemed to be working for me. The answer to that question was Jesus, The Body of Christ, and a new treatment called EMDR. She is a therapist too, so she actually knew about EMDR, but she asked for more information about how Jesus was helping me. I spoke of His love, grace, mercy and healing and she responded by asking me how she could experience such things in her life. We prayed together right there and she let Jesus invade her very being. Immediately she also began praying in tongues and was filled with The Spirit. All of this happened without any coaching. I am telling you it was just another awesome flow of His Holy Spirit there that day.
After the initial rush of The Spirit we continued to talk and she told me how she had been watching me during the seven years we had worked in the same counseling center. She knew I was a believer and an excellent counselor, but noticed that I never tried to push Jesus on anyone at work. She had tried various “churches” over the years, but they never felt “right” to her. I told her that was because many churches don’t have it right because their focus is on their leaders and things other than the simplicity of Christ and the relationships that flow out of experiencing Him together. Most “churches” focus on programs and the external and works. While Jesus focuses on relationship, our hearts and the completed work of the cross.
Our time together was cut short because she had to get her client back to his place. However, we exchanged phone numbers and she definitely wants to talk more. She asked what church I went to and I told her that I don’t go to church, but I do simply meet with other followers of Jesus in homes. She seemed interested so I told her we would talk about that at another time. We hugged and off she went. If you get a chance please remember Dianne in your prayers this week because I think she is at the beginning of a new and grand journey.
Kirk Out !
“13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3: 13-17
My trip down South and back was filled with wonderful fellowship along the way. However, the final leg of my journey home from Chattanooga Tennessee to Sturgis Michigan on Tuesday was wrought with ice, snow, wind and terrible driving conditions that led to one pretty chaotic and amazing day.
The weather forecast for Chattanooga Monday afternoon through early Tuesday morning was for freezing rain and ice. So if need be I was going to stay there an extra night and leave Wednesday morning. However, several pressing issues at home needed my attention a.s.a.p. So I was hoping and praying that I would be able to depart early on Tuesday. For some unknown reason the Holy Spirit told me to set my alarm for 8:30 am instead of 6:15 on Tuesday. Over the years I have simply learned not to question such leadings. So I was obedient. First miracle… Chattanooga’s temperatures stayed in the mid thirties that night so the major ice storm was averted there. However, everywhere in every direction surrounding Chattanooga there was major ice and snow events.
I left wet, but not quite frozen Chattanooga at 9:15 am Tuesday. The roads were fine even through the mountains on I-24 North. Then just 15 minutes South of ice & snow covered Nashville, traffic northbound came to an abrupt halt. It then took over an hour to travel three miles due to a multi car accident. Then six minutes later when traffic just started flowing nicely again we came to another freeway stoppage. This time it took nearly two hours to clear several wrecked cars and two jack-knifed and twisted semi-tractor trailers from the roadway. Second miracle…. If I would have left Chattanooga as planned at 7 am instead of yielding to a Spirit led time of 9:15, it is possible that I may have been involved in one of these horrific crashes
Just North of Nashville I stopped at a truck stop for gas and food. As I went inside to the restaurant I passed an older grey haired and bearded man with a backpack. I went to the bathroom and while at the urinal the Spirit told me to offer the man I saw outside a meal and a ride North. So I fed Randy and he did indeed need a ride North to Chicago. I told Him I could take him as far as Indianapolis and off toward snow covered Kentucky we went. I attempted to engage Randy in conversation, but he was quiet and not talkative at all. I asked him if he liked to listen to good rock music and he nodded yes, so I turned up my CD of REZ Band’s 1983 live “Bootleg” album. The songs on this totally rocking CD are interlaced with sharing and testimonies from my dear Jesus People friends Wendi and Glenn Kaiser. Both Randy and I spent the next hour slapping time and nodding our heads to the beat of this awesome Jesus music. After the final song Glenn gave a short message and invitation to become a follower of Christ. When I looked over at Randy I could clearly see that he was tearing up and beginning to cry, so I asked him if he needed to talk. He said yes and we spent the next few hours discussing our lives and what we believed about Jesus and the Body of Christ. Randy told me he had always hoped that Jesus was real, but when he visited “churches” and talked with “Christians” it always left a bad taste in his “mouth”, so he never pursued a relationship with Jesus or those who claimed to follow Him. So I then shared my journey in Christ with Randy including my take on true fellowship and the Body of Christ. Moments later Randy was praying out loud and surrendering his life to Jesus. I did not ask him or tell him to pray, he just did so on his own without any coaching from me. Third miracle… I would have never crossed paths with Randy if it were not for all the delays and obstacles I encountered this day.
Just before we hit the South side of Indianapolis Randy asked me if he could be baptized now. I said a quick prayer in my head and asked Jesus and Jesus said yes. So I exited I-65 and found the first motel with an indoor pool. I rented Randy a room for the night (Thank God for credit cards in emergency situations) and we changed into shorts and went to the heated pool together. Minutes later I baptized Randy in Jesus name. Fourth miracle… It was near darkness outside, but the exact moment Randy emerged from the water the clouds parted on this grey and dreary day and the sun shone brightly for a moment and the refraction of the sun’s light caught the glass of the atrium the pool was in and the colors of a rainbow were broadcast on the wall nearest us. It was amazing! After drying off and dressing in Randy’s room we both said our tearful goodbyes. He did not have a cell phone or an address, but I still gave him my info anyways.
Then I raced to my car and took off towards home. I Had exactly 3.5 hours to get from Indy to where I have my dog Rocky boarded. If I was late I would not be able to retrieve him and it would have cost me an extra days fee. To get there I would have to average about 80 miles an hour, so off I went. The roads were clear so I had a decent chance of making it on time. About an hour shy of home what looked like a three foot long 4X4 piece of wood flew off the flatbed semi truck I was following and it was heading right for me. In a split second I swerved in an attempt to avoid the object. Bad idea! I then spun out over 360 degrees and violently hit the deep ditch on the right side of the road filled with over 2 feet of snow at 70 miles per hour. I thought to myself…this is going to be bad, so I yelled out … please help Jesus! When I came to a stop I was glad to be alive and unhurt. I could not open my door due to the depth of the snow. I was about 20 feet off the road and in deep shit. I had no money for a wrecker and no time to waste. I needed help and asked for divine intervention. I was able to begin slowly rocking the car back and forth in the snow. I did this about 4 times and then gave it all the gas I had. I nearly reached the shoulder of the interstate, but then slipped back down to the bottom. This was simply an impossible situation to overcome. However, on the very next attempt I made it back onto the road. That was definitely miracle number five on this very long day. Plus I made it to get Rocky on time. When I got home late that night I examined my car and the plastic bumper had 2 holes in it where the 4X4 hit. The rest of the car was without mark or blemish. Thank Jesus there were no fences, guardrails or roadside markers or signs where I went off the road. That just might be miracle number six?
Don’t try to ever tell me that Jesus does not direct not only our paths, but also our very individual steps. When we cry out to HIM.. HE intervenes! Things like these have happened to me far too many times to call them coincidence. It is great to be back blogging. Thanks for reading. Please pray for our new brother Randy?
Kirk Out !
P.s. I just found a 100 dollar bill in my coat pocket. I have no explanation for this, unless Randy slipped it into my pocket yesterday. Wow! I am left speechless.