Friday, November 28, 2014

42. Finding God by Larry Crabb

 I read Effective Biblical Counseling in the 80's, and it was helpful in many ways with identifying the problem underlying much of my problems. I have read most of Larry Crabb's books, attended the Institute of Biblical Counseling (ten days after the death of my dad in 1985), went through a biblical counseling class (PEOPLE Class - People Encouraging Other People to Live Effectively) where we practiced group interaction and "telling our stories" over the course of a year, and led a discussion group from the book Encouragement by the same author. 

This book is really more of the same. I thank Dr. Crabb for giving me a Biblical basis for looking at issues. I think counseling, in general, is very good at helping one understand why we do what we do. I do not necessarily think it completes the process of healing to finding Him. Only God can do that:"No one comes to the Me unless the Father draws Him...And they will be taught of God" (John 6:44,45). I think Dr. Crabb puts far too much importance on his method than on the power of God to draw us to Himself and to speak to our souls which gets to the core of what he says is the core problem: Doubting God and His goodness because "He who comes to God, must believe that He is and is a rewarded of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

It reminds me of a time I was really struggling, and I went to pray, and I said to my husband that I would not leave until I heard from God. So I was there four days, and God spoke to me. I believed Him. I found Him in that carved out time. I did not doubt His goodness in the thing that had happened to me. I forgave the people who wronged me (and have not struggled with anger or unforgiveness since then). It was all through meditating deeply in the story of Joseph with the Holy Spirit. I was released.

I went up to the church, and there was a woman there who asked me what I had been doing, and I told her. She said, "You know I struggled with depression for years, and I started going and just doing extended days of prayer just like you, and I no longer struggle with depression. He is the Wonderful Counselor, isn't He?"  AMEN. 

Larry Crabb is not the Wonderful Counselor, and I feel like he almost knocks any kind of supernatural experience one might have with our Wonderful Counselor where He might truly speak to us.

I think this is Crabb's attempt at helping people go past just looking at problems to finding God. He says at the beginning that it is not about spiritual disciplines, but his solution at the end is to tell your story (more of what he has said before in his other books, but he has gone from a one-on-one counseling approach to being in community to tell our stories, which is good) and read your Bible by the fireplace with the Holy Spirit. So I do not feel he really contributes much to truly finding God that has not already been said before. He almost contradicts himself by saying that it is not about spiritual disciplines but yet saying to read your Bible. 

I have found that it helps for people to tell their stories and be validated and then create space for God to speak to the person. Crabb doesn't really deal with the whole idea of that intimate encounter where we hear the voice of God who speaks truth to us in our innermost being. I feel when we create space to hear in the midst of our pain (like I did on that prayer retreat), we find Him and learn to trust Him (because he says that doubting God and His goodness is at the core of our issues). 

This can be a facilitated sort of thing with a prayer counselor where that space is created and encouraged with a loving person (or group of people which is even better but some people are not always able to open up to a group, and we must respect how God made them) who helps the person to listen to and find God. 

I think Crabb makes it far too complicated with his charts and diagrams. 

I feel like he is on a journey and decided to write a book. He wrote this book several years ago, and I hope he has gained more intimacy with Him. It seems like he really intellectualizes the whole process FAR too much! 

Hard to articulate what I really feel about this book. I had some quotes I thought were great, a few I disagreed with. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Morning Fifteen Freewrite

The fifteen minute timer was beckoning this morning. It is a beautiful day for a walk, but it is still pretty cold outside (25 degree F) so I will wait for it to warm up a bit more before I venture out. 

I also have a couple of listening prayer appointments today so I need to sit a ton today so I will definitely need to walk before the first one and between the first and second one.

My back is doing great. I found this YouTube video about how to break up the fascia in your feet (because she says that runners have gnarly feet), and it miraculously releases tight hamstrings, which is a big part of why I have the tight back (not out or in pain anymore just tight if I sit too long or forget to stretch or sit too long and then go running). It really does work which is so weird. But BOY does it every hurt my feet! I have my massage therapist start at my feet now because that is the source of much of my issue. 

So I am on the mend. I am probably at 90% now, and I need to constantly be mindful of keeping myself limber and not sit too long. That is the rest of my life if I want to be free of pain.

My eating has been great! I gave myself grace for Sunday because we had snacks at our Kingdom Community meeting. So I tend to eat more when I am in community, and the stats prove that. I found this really cool article with all this data about weight gain. Nothing was surprising but it was nice to have it backed up with FACTS versus FALLACY which is so much of "diets" today!

I should put a link to that article while I am thinking about it. But I will do it after the freewrite so I can keep on typing as I am supposed to do with a freewrite. 

Speaking of writing, I wrote out the WHOLE story of Noah for the first time. In the past, I have just done "key verses" for the Discovery Bible Study, but it was good to do the whole thing, but it was 9 1/2 pages in my journal. Then I wrote it again in MY WORDS for another 9 1/2 pages. So last week was a lot of writing! ACK!!!

Back to the eating, I wanted to get down to a lower weight before the holidays, and I was too afraid to weigh myself because I thought I had gained a ton of weight over the last month, but I had not! YAY! I felt God said to weigh myself and "Do not fear," and I was so encouraged that I have not gotten out of control. It was just a little bit, and I am very close to my medium frame weight (my goal is to always be within single digits of it and then course correct as it creeps up). So, YAY! I am still in single digits! 

So, I have been counting calories and posting them to Rachel and Katrina and told them I would owe them 100 dollars if I did not do it last week. So, money talks for me, and I did it! 

YAY! I just overeat a BIT when I am not counting. My goal is to not overeat at all AND not count calories, but I am not there yet. I have a hard time knowing where the line is, but when you are only overeating maybe 100 calories a day, that is a very FINE LINE that is hard to know because 100 calories could be an extra orange! Not much at all. So, I continue to count if I inch up.

BUT I am so much better than two years ago when I was almost 25 pounds heavier! I have not gained it all back and have kept most of it off for 1 year and 7 months! YAY! I am going to keep it off forever, but I need to keep on learning little by little. 

Had a sweet time in Kingdom Community praying for each other. It was very nice.

Well, my time is almost gone, and I want to find that article to put a link here. I have to go to Facebook to do it. I need to get up and not sit any longer. Maybe I will go to SNAP Fitness so that I do not have to be out in the FREEZING COLD weather! LOL!  Bye!

12 Graphs that Show Why People Get Fat

Here is the graph about social environment affecting overeating. So TRUE!:

The Social Environment and Food Intake

Sunday, November 16, 2014

41. Miraculous Movements by Jerry Trousdale

I read this again this year for the group we lead. I LOVE this book. It is always so encouraging as this is my third time reading through it!

I am really excited because I get to meet the author in January!!! YAY! 

Here is my first review of the book from 2012:

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Morning Freewrite

I was going to try to do more freewrites last week, but here it is Sunday morning, and I only did one last Monday.  Oh well.

I had felt very tired on Wednesday night and could barely make it through watching Survivor and fell asleep at 9 pm. I woke up sick and canceled my 10 am counseling appointment. 

Then I felt OK on Friday and Saturday, but I fell asleep at 9 pm last night and woke up at 12:25 am feeling that cold finally erupting. I had a very fitful night of sleep last night and am finally up now at 6:33 am with a cold. So, I sort of wish that I had rested on Friday and Saturday instead. I am not sure if it would have staved off the inevitable cold that has now arrived, but I knew something was lurking, but Friday was too wonderful for words.

I got up and went for a walk with one of the girls I meet with, and she is doing really well. We did some listening prayer that got to the root of some things, and she has gone home to processing it. I talked with another woman I have counseled with since last November as I drove up the 99 corridor. Then, I had a wonderful lunch, talk, and prayer with my wonderful mentor, Lorraine. We had not gotten together since August (maybe September?). Then, George picked me up there, and we went out to a deliciously quaint French restaurant in McMinnville! It was not even a special occasion other than we knew that I had to go to a wedding on Saturday, and he was meeting with Josh. We ended our evening by watching some Gilmore Girls together.

We got up, and I took a beautiful sunrise walk. Then when George got up, we took another one. Then, I found out that I did not have to go to the wedding after all! YAY! So I was able to get some work done for the Kingdom Community. Josh came over, and I tried to stay away from talking, but I ended up sitting with them toward the end. I feel bad that Josh did not feel really comfortable with our group last year, but he stuck it out and made some good friends! He is a great guy, but he was new to the area, and he did not know anyone. He wants to take our group over again because he did not really know what was going on and too busy with school to really put a lot of time into the homework. But he made it through.

Now, I am enjoying a cup of Perfect Peach tea with honey to feel better. I already took some cold medicine, and I really do feel better, but I know that is not what I am really like, so I am going to stay home from church and really rest! :)

I have to see if I can get together with Mandana on Thursday instead of Wednesday because I would like to go up to work with George on Monday through Wednesday. I hope Mandana can do that with me. :)

Boy this Perfect Peach tastes really good on my throat. Now on to "The Fall" practice. I think I love freewrites. 

Thank you, Julie, for introducing me to them. :) This is not a very interesting one, but it has prepared me for the day. I love early, quiet mornings before everyone is up.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Monday Morning Fifteen Freewrite

Ok, here we go. I am letting my fingers do the walking through the keyboard, and I will not let up for the next fifteen minutes.

I really like our Sunday afternoon group. The single men do not know what they are missing with all these wonderful single women! They are amazing in every way. They have great relationships and are sharing what they are learning about God with others. That is so great. 

They are also learning to abide which is a lifelong wonderful process of growth and maturity. One that I still continue to learn at every turn in my road. I sent them the "Soothing Worship" this morning because many of them had the application of being in God's presence after they meditated on Genesis 3, and the whole concept that Adam and Eve hid from God's presence, and all He wants is for us to stay in His presence which is abiding.  The words are, "I so want to be with you. Just look my way." The problem is that we hide behind the trees instead of walking with Him in the garden.

So I am looking Your way this morning God, and I am in Your full light as the morning light first hits my window. So much to be thankful for.

First, I am just really thankful for this wonderful group that we have on Sunday afternoons. I love that it is only six of us. I think I want to limit the size of our group to eight people every year. It just is a better size for everything: intimacy, accountability, relating, etc. I love it.

Second, I am so thankful for no back pain for the longest time. I am even more thankful that I do not even have tightness most of time, and I am thankful that when I do get the slightest bit of tightness, I adjust my posture, even while running and the pain goes away. So much of it is stretching those pecs by doing a shoulder role where I am squeezing my shoulder blades more together and using those muscles there (what are they called?) to do the work rather than rolling my shoulders forward. This so relieves the stress on my back. So weird how that all works together. Stretching vigorously has also really helped. The Gokhale Method has been that missing puzzle in my back being ten times better in the tightness department. I am addicted to my "stretch sit" pillow! YAY!

Third, I am so thankful that both of the boys have made their transition to a four year university with grace. I would love for Paul to be more involved in the social aspect of things, but I am glad he has adjusted to Michael being gone so well and is doing well in his classes.

Fourth, I am so thankful for the job that George has. I am strangely thankful that he IS up in Newberg for much of the week. Not because I want him to be gone, but I feel very confident that he is to be up in Newberg to be of help with his mom and aunt. It is really quite a small sacrifice for me to not have him during the week, and I can always orient my week to go up and see him too. I really need to reserve Thursdays and Fridays to do that, but this Thursday, that is not possible since I have the prayer summit on Tuesday morning.

Fifth, I am really thankful for prayer. What would I do without a way to communicate with You. You are not a God far off but is near to me, in my heart. Thank You God for this. You are very near.

Sixth, I am thankful for Your Word. What can I say? It always seems to be appropriate for what is happening in my life. That is the way of Your Spirit to speak to me through it.

I am praying for opportunity to do a little three-minute study with two friends this week. I really would love to tell Creation through the Fall to someone in my network of relationships. Would you bring that about, God? 

Well, I have about three more minutes on the Freewrite, but I am ready to get to Jeremiah since Karen is coming at 9 am, and I have not made much headway in the last few days. I would also go for my walk, and now that daylight savings time has occurred, it is lighter earlier in the day. So I hope to at least take a walk around the block.

OK, now it is only two minutes to go. I am off to Jeremiah, and I am sending this without a proofread. :) 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

40. The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person by E. Stanley Jones

 I started this book on my trip to Europe in May. I thought for sure I would read it on the 10 hour plane flight, cruising down European rivers, and on the flight back; but NO! There were too many great movies on the plane that I really wanted to see, and I had too much fun touring European cities and talking to interesting people on the boat to read. I wish I had not taken it with me and just stuck with shorter books on my Kindle if I were desperate (and I never was!).  So, it sat in my "TBR" (too be read) pile for too long until I had a stack of seven books to read, and this is the last of the seven! 

This is a GREAT book! It is one that needs to be read in small chunks and savored. I believe that concepts of the Kingdom of God in Dallas Willard's Divine Conspiracy come from E. Stanley Jones' excellent writings! Prepare to have your spiritual brain stretched!

Rev Eli Stanley JonesI also recommend his book, The Christ of the Indian Road. Of the two books, The Christ of the Indian Road is a much easier (and shorter) read. But both are excellent! 

I wish I could have met E. Stanley Jones. He was a contemporary of Ghandi. How cool is that? This will probably not be the last book I read by this great and godly man! 

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...