Strength & Dignity Course Assignment 1 -BB

We’re going to start with this one (set a timer and don’t spend more than 30 minutes on this!) Feel free to come back to it later. This Strength & Dignity business takes time. Think of this class as a marathon, not a sprint. The more you immerse yourself in the materials, however, the more your core beliefs about yourself will become more positive, and you will come to understand who you really are – it’s not the doormat you might feel like. Best yet, your kids will see something they want to emulate.

Assignments:

1. Make a list of all the “boundaries” you experience that keep order, maintain safety, or provide security. An example would be a traffic light – that’s a “boundary” for drivers to protect drivers and pedestrians. List as many as you can in ten minutes.

  • My first priority is to honor God – I allow Him to work my life His way or I can ruin and frustrate myself
  • My second priority is to honor my husband – I breathe life into him or I tear him down
  • My third priority is to honor my body God gave me – eat healthy, exercise, sleep, do not overburden myself: physical, mental, emotional health – live and think well or be a wreck
  • My third priority is to build up other relationships and God’s Kingdom – pour out God’s love and grace to all around me or regret the chance I had and be a hermit and misunderstood
  • My fourth priority is Wisdom in finances, and do not let money consume me – spend wisely and tithe or be broke butt
  • do not speak negatively about my husband to family or others, address issues to husband only – speak good to others, build up my marriage or ruin him in eye of others
  • No coarse joking, not a hint of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3).
  • Keep the marriage bed pure (Hebrews 13:4).
  • Learn to control your body in a way that is holy and honorable (1 Thessalonians 4:4).
  • Transform your relationship into a haven of mutual love, caring, and appreciation.
  • Protect your marriage from intruders, whether parents, affairs, or addictions.
  • Handle conflict effectively without losing your voice in the relationship.
  • Develop a sense of closeness and respect that you’ve never felt before.
  • lock house – protect personal stuff and safety when sleep. get broken into
  • say I love you before we part or sleep – emotional ties strengthened, feel sad
  • kiss before sleep and parting – intimate act before parting, strengthen marital ties,
  • protect privacy – increase security and trust, decreased security and trust errosion of bonds
  • turn off fire after cooking – safety, burn down house
  • buckle seat belts – safety, get hurt if in accident
  • do not nag – peace and calm harmonious feelings, nails on chalkboard demeaning mothering creates errosion in relationship
  • check facts before accusing – stop false accusations, really really creates distrust
  • pray – always God is in control, invite in evil and sin
  • eat healthy – stay healthy, get sick
  • don’t gossip – increase trust, create distrust

OK, December 26 and i start this one again,  **=positive outcome when boundary is respected. ##= negative outcome when boundary is disrespected

  • put God before and above all in all ways trust and lean on God as my Father Abba, husband, lover and love, guide, my life planner, my BFF **God guides our actions and our lives and our outcomes. He is in charge fully of our lives and can make things Heavenly. ##God will stand back and wait until we are ready, in the mean time we could ruin all of God’s plans for us and make our lives miserable and we will not fulfill God’s plans in our lives
  • read the bible daily **we need to read God’s plan for our lives ##stay ignorant and rob ourselves of how to live a Godly life
  • study God’s word **to learn how to live the life God plans, the best way ##rob ourselves of the lives God planned
  • pray together **we are one body in God and pray to protect our union and oneness ##let Satan come between us and divide us
  • keep your promises ** create trust and wholeness ## create distrust
  • show interest in each others lives **show you care about your spouse to want to know about her/him ##grow apart and not know what your spouse is doing, create distrust as your psouse wonders why you do not care
  • do not complain **grow and allow open communication without bad feelings, ##create an environment of friction and feeling not good enough
  • forgive each other **should be right below put God first! forgive all the little things then forget ##build up a wall between you both and tear down the marriage
  • do not hold grudge, be honest to each other **allow contant healing, allow trust, allow growth ##create division and allow evil in
  • give without sparing **your spouse is your other half, give and give as you would give for yourself ##neglectful feelings, distrust grows
  • be faithful in all ways to your spouse – heart, mind, body. **your souse is your other half, build up the trust, sancify your oneness ##destroy your other half, destroy another human being
  • don’t put spouse on a pedestal **our spouse is human adn should be allowed to be a human and accepted as he is ##you will be let down everytime he fails to live up to pedestal level expectations
  • stand firm in your beliefs **do not waiver, be consistent in all, place God first, you are a child of God ##God wants you to stand firm in who you are in His eyes
  • do not let anyone disrespect you as a child of God **you deserve the very best God wants for you ##they are disrespecting God
  • do NOT be a doormat **you are special and deserve the best from God, ##not be used by anyone else for their own gain and thought less of than who you are.
  • put spouse below God and above all others **God is above all, He created us! Spouse is the other half of who I am ##We block God from working fully in our lives
  • marry the right way, a celebration and two become ONE **security legally and spiritually ##anyone can walk away and leave you legally without a secure future, the Bible says to marry legally and before God
  • share all with spouse first then others **spouse is other half and therefore all is shared with spouse above all. ##go against marriage by sharing with others, creates an intimacy outside of marriage
  • do not cause doubt or suspicion in your spouse **create trust and security ##destroy security and trust
  • visit your family often **they are the family God gave you ##they need to see you, cut off your love to them is not good
  • do not smother each other **give room to breath and grow and think ##creaate an atmosphere of wanting to escape
  • be truthful and forthcoming in all to your spouse **create security for both ##feel ill knowing you are keeping secrets from your spouse
  • share the complete financial picture with your spouse **everyone aboard with financial plans for future ##create disharmony
  • do not depend on your spouse to make you happy or entertain you **give room to breath ##it is exhausting trying to do all the planning
  • be Biblical husband and wife – two are now ONE **harmony and live God’s plan and blessings ##create room for Satan to enter and ruin your marriage
  • be open to your souse’s suggestions **you might find she/he has great ideas that you haven’t thought of ##miss out on some great ideas, shut your spouse down from thinking
  • respect your spouse **he/she is a child of God and deserves respect ##create division and ill emotions
  • love your spouse **God commanded, create smooth harmony ##put distance that grows between you both, ruin God’s plans
  • think good things not bad about your spouse **create close unity with spouse seeing only good ##focus on bad creates division, only start seeing the bad more and  more until you have pushed the line too far and divorce
  • pay attention when your souse speaks, LISTEN! do interrupt **good manners, she may say something important, help her feel special and important by listening, respectful. ##demean her, cut her off, make her feel she has nothing useful to say, she does not count
  • notice little things about your spouse and say so **shows consideration and love, shows you care enough to notice ##ignore her and she will stop trying
  • do not compromise who you are, except for God **I am a child of God, I am special, I deserve to be loved and accepted for who God made me to be ##lose your identity, be fake, no one can see the real you, no one can respect you, least of all you cannot respect you.
  • NEVER speak badly about your spouse to anyone, especially family and friends **family should always think the best of your spouse, it will show in their actions ##creates ill thoughts and misconcentions and they will act on false information
  • stick up for your spouse always, do not allow anyone to bad mouth her/him **creates security anhances trust ## breaks down trust and security, makes your spouse wonder what you say about her and feel about her, creates division
  • spend time daily thinking of nice things to do or say to your spouse **shows you love her and cres for her and think about her ##makes her wonder if you care enough to try, perhaps she should give up trying so hard to get you to notice her
  • dress nice and smell nice for your spouse **show you think she  or he is special enough to be your best ##show you gave up and don’t care anymore
  • smile smile smile **best thing you can do for your marriage is smile ##angry face creates angry feelings in everyone around
  • be on dating behavior **do not take for granted your spouse, if she is special treat her so ##take her for granted and she will stop trying
  • do not take your spouse for granted **she will go out of her way to treat you like a king because she feels special ##she will give up and stop caring
  • make your spouse your best friend and confidant **you are one created by God, act like it! Confide everything in each other ##let others come between you and ruin you
  • there are NO secrets in marriage – EVER **stay united as one in all ways ##grow apart
  • do not argue – keep a cool head – state just the facts **create a safe environment to dispute ideas and concerns ##shut each other down and create division

2. Next to each boundary on your list, write out the “positive outcomes” when followed (respected), and the “negative outcomes” when the boundary is broken (disrespected). For the traffic light example, a positive outcome of respecting the traffic light is all the cars and pedestrians are kept safe. A negative outcome when a traffic light is disrespected is an accident, and consequences including everything from inconveniences of car repairs, being late, etc., to death.

3. How do you feel about the boundaries you thought of in the above lists? Do you approve of them? Do you feel restricted or oppressed by them? Do they make you feel safe? Spend a few minutes and journal about your overall perceptions of boundaries.

  • Boundaries are safety mechanisms when followed protect you, your relationship, your life. If followed they contribute to harmony in the marriage, closeness, and trust and allow God to work wonders in your lives. When ignored a space can grow between you and erode all of God’s ideas of unity of married people as one.

4. Think of two people that you personally know well that you respect. How did (or do) they deal with boundaries for themselves or others?

  • Malcolm and Iris. She is a Godly submissive wife and he is a fair and good leader. They respect each other, they listen to each other, they are happy to tell the world about each other and brag, even on FB.
  • Don and Mary Mohr. They are BFFs and it shows. They have no secrets and are happy to let the world know they love each other forever.

5. If you haven’t read the post mentioned in the first paragraph of this session, click the link and make a few notes in your journal about what you  learn. Ponder what may be going on in your marriage. Ask God to reveal His truth to you.

  • God has shown me my sin of putting my husband on a pedestal and not living for God, by putting my husband first before all I sacrificed who I am and I am miserable. My husband has sin of his own and he needs to deal with it. We have grown to a point where I am not sure if we are salvageable and I am not sure I even care right now. I love him, he may love me. There are secrets he keeps on money and female friends. He is having an affair, or more than one and denies it, it is emotional, he gave his heart away, and now I am taking mine back before I die completely.
  • Dear God, please show me, please guide me, please give my wisdom. Dear God change my husband’s heart and have him want to marry me and love me and trust me and be my BFF and care for me as his other half. If this is not Your will, dear God, then protect me and keep me safe and guard my heart. Help me to grow in You in all ways and keep Your Word and guide me on Your path for me. Amen.

Boundaries are an important part of all relationships. Unfortunately, most of us are lousy at respecting others’ boundaries or implementing ones for ourselves. We’re just beginning to understand this concept, so don’t run out and start slapping boundaries on everything around you. 🙂 Just begin chewing on the concept based on the little bit we began with today.

God Can Change Your Marriage in 2016

Do you believe God can change your marriage in 2016?

That’s half the battle, right there. Because maybe, just maybe, you’ve given up hope.

What if the mess your marriage is in exists because of a number of God-created and poorly humanly handled circumstances and responses?

Here’s what we know to be true, things that are scientific, but Biblical:

  1. Humans have a natural tendency to “habituate” – in other words, you and your husband (and your kids) are naturally wired to take each other for granted and “get used to” each other – good but also not good. Chew on that for a few minutes.
  2. Gratitude – daily style – is the only thing that combats habituation.
  3. Our culture is designed to destroy the self esteem of young boys and girls (read Reviving Ophelia and Raising Cain to discover the impact – and these were written a while ago – things are worse now). This destruction ruins our relationships. Why? We can only receive as much love as we are giving – and we can only give as much love as we receive. This is wired into our brains. Our ability to love & respect ourselves is tied directly to our ability to love & respect God – and others.
  4. The results of the culture (and our own unhealthy responses to it) destroy relationships.
  5. These results and reactions leave us with broken men. They are men who stuff their feelings, lack healthy identity and esteem, become defensive, lack empathy, and are disconnected and resistant to intimacy emotionally with their wives.
  6. These results and reactions leave us with broken women. Women (and men) are trapped in feelings of unworthiness, gaining identity at the altar of other people’s opinions, lack healthy identity and esteem, are defensive, and are disconnected emotionally from their husbands, even though they desperately want to connect.
  7. The way we pursue our desires keeps us from naturally attaining them. We push our dreams (and people) away, instead of bringing them closer to us.
  8. The end result is isolation and divorce. We find intimacy and deep connection with the people we love the most elusive and impossible – and so do our kids because they can’t model behaviors they haven’t seen.

Here’s an example, brief, but you’ll get a small taste of what I’m talking about:

Johnny falls and skins his knee. He cries.

Mom or Dad or babysitter, gramma, grampa, or older sibling tell him to “get over it,” because “big boys don’t cry.” Johnny doesn’t know what to do with how he feels, so from the age of three, he quickly learns to stuff how he feels.

He doesn’t receive empathy.

How can he learn how to give it?

Without empathy, relationships DIE. And a recent study from the University of Chicago shows that kids from religious homes are LESS empathetic and altruistic than those without faith.

We’re judging and not loving. So Johnny (and the little girls his age) have tons of rules in their Christian home, but no relationship – because at the very foundation of relationship is having empathy for another person – an openness to them, allowing them to process their feelings the way they need to so they can fully mature in healthy ways.

Homes aren’t safe emotionally – for anyone.  Dad and mom use their energy being stoic instead of real and vulnerable with each other and their kids, while the kids hide their true selves to escape judgment, knowing their pain, anger, hurt, etc., won’t be met with empathy, so they miss out on support and wisdom from the people who love them most of all in their lives.

Heavens.

And based on my research, these things are at the root of what’s wrong with our families, particularly our marriages.

Judgment. Fear of vulnerability because of it. Lack of empathy.

We’ve missed out completely on the message of Jesus Christ.

He came to save the world – yes from Hell and eternal damnation, but more importantly (in this Now until we die) He came to give us life abundant in the middle of the small moments of a day, where we could gain life-bringing support, encouragement, love, etc., from the people who matter most to us.

From a young age, a boy is taught to “be tough,” so he doesn’t learn empathy as much as he could – he learns instead to deny his feelings instead of healthy ways of dealing with them. Little girls do not suffer this, so they’re fine, at least until they hit puberty (age 8-12 now) where they receive more conflicting messages about what it means to be female – sexuality is rewarded and also chastised. Confusing messages about “look beautiful” but don’t be a “slut” while “having it all” and encouragement to “embrace her sexuality” yet be a “good girl” leave her with cognitive dissonance, unclear of who she is or what is expected.

Think about your own sexual history, your own confusions about what being female means, and then compound this by marrying a man who is told he is a “protector” but he also gets cultural pressure to “conquer” women, his job, his social group, etc., and he’s as confused as we are.

Then we marry – and bring kids into this, starting the whole thing all over again. By the time our kids are in junior high or high school, our marriages are in trouble from all the un-handled baggage, and adding the issues of struggling young people carrying their own. We’re enabling instead of equipping, fighting against instead of fighting for, love is lost, men and women are labeled (and have too often become) abusive, co-dependent, and/or controlling, women are marked as shrews, and our families are falling apart.

We don’t know what to do, so we settle for isolation. We live separate lives instead of creating marriages that represent Christ and the church.

Or we give up and divorce.

Without even trying, we’ve bought the lies of the culture over God’s truths.

And not all the time, but too often, this happens to us whether we grew up in the church or not.

Some of those lies are the church’s. Man has placed himself on the throne and taken to judging the world, instead of allowing the Jesus-in-us to save it.

Too often if we’ve grown up in the church, we’ve taken to judging others instead of loving them, and our children are reflecting this. Another study shows that college-age people have 40% less empathy, care most about achievement, and are more focused on individual happiness than 30-40 years ago.

No wonder the world doesn’t see us as a positive influence.

What can we do?

If you are open to God changing your marriage in 2016, I’m inviting you to join me on a journey. I’ve been wrestling my way through this study, just like I did with Daughters of Sarah for many years.  My husband and I had an interesting conversation the other day where we realized that it is important to respect and love ourselves well in order to love and respect each other better. We’re both growing in this area, and like you, we want to see our kids fully grasp these things.

The research supports this. (check this – the more we demonstrate compassion for ourselves, the more we show it to others – AND vice-versa! God is so good!)

And God calls us to it.

Don’t you think it matters?

Don’t you agree it’s what God would want? FAMILIES, not individuals, but communities, of people that not only “look different” but love well?

Here’s what I’d encourage you to do in 2016 to do your part in working with God to change your marriage:

  1. Believe He can.
  2. Spend 15-20 minutes reading the date in Proverbs and 5 Psalms a day, allowing Him to teach you what you don’t know, and apply these things to your daily life. There are 31 Proverbs, so if it is the 14th, you read Proverbs 14. There are 150 Psalms, so you just read 5 different Psalms a day, starting at 1-5 for the first day, regardless of the date. Here’s more on how that works – I’ve been doing it off and on for over 15 years. It’s awesome.
  3. If you have kids, spend the money on Dr. John Gottman’s parenting materials for raising emotionally intelligent children. And no, I don’t get a kick back from recommending this to you – We’ll have a new book out this spring to help with this, too. 🙂
  4. Deal with your own junk. Seriously. Here’s a great place to start.
  5. If all you do in your family is fight – or if you’ve taken to shriveling up and letting others walk all over you – try Celebrate Recovery. It’s for abusers, co-dependents, victims, addicts, etc., and it’s excellent. Here’s the books.
  6. If you know you need to do your part putting an end to being a critical wife and want to grow your relationship with God and your husband, start a Daughters of Sarah or Respect Dare group in your neighborhood. If you aren’t someone who respects herself, read Dr. Cloud’s Boundaries in Marriage and/or Dr. Dobson’s Love Must be Tough books while you do these things.

Why the both on # 6? Because if you don’t have a healthy (not selfish) respect, love, compassion for yourself, you’ll teach others to walk all over you – and you’ll enable abusive behavior. And you’ll malign the Word by teaching other women to do likewise.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve done this myself.

T H A N K Y O U (1)

I know Daughters looks a little cumbersome, but He may be calling you into leadership. Grab a few friends, and jump in. And email me when you have questions. NinaRoesner(at)GreaterImpact.org. 🙂 

What I plan to do for 2016 is a journey that continues the new dares, one where we respect ourselves, show ourselves compassion, and deepen our relationship with God. The end result is self-respect, healthy boundaries, modeling true strength, dignity and beauty for our daughters, and setting an example for our sons, all while honoring God and respecting our husbands. It’s all Biblical.

I’m personally inviting you to join me if you haven’t already. Subscribe to the marriage TIPS! on the sidebar or just the blog here if you want that via email. If you have gmail, know you’ll have to visit your “social” or “promotions” tab to get it unless you choose otherwise. 

I want to tell you also, that if you are abused in your marriage, if your husband verbally assaults you, diminishes you, calls you names, disregards you as a person, doesn’t care about your health (emotionally or physically), is neglectful, or physically abusive,

DO NOT DO THE RESPECT DARE.

That is a book for how to respect your husband – and it assumes you have some healthy boundaries and some self respect already. 

What will happen if you do it anyway and you’re abused? He’s going to habituate to a whole new level of taking advantage of you. If you think you are tired now, you haven’t seen anything yet.

If you are NOT being abused, however, join us.

Here’s a few links that might help you get started, too:

101 Ways to Respect Your Husband

15 Ways to Show Disrespect to Your Husband

How to Calm Down an Angry Husband

AND, my favorite for you for 2016!!!

Drum roll…

The Compassion Exercise that IMPROVES Relationships with God, your “challenging person” and yourself! (if you do this for 14-21 days you’ll love the results! Over 86% of our pilot groups deeply improved their relationships with God, their “challenging person” and over 50% improved their feelings about themselves)

We’ll get started next week.

Love to you,

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What about you? What do YOU want to be different in 2016?  Do you want God to change your marriage? How have you seen “habituation” and gratitude effect your family? Dare you to chime in today! 🙂

 

 

Here’s what I’d encourage you to do in 2016 to do your part in working with God to change your marriage:

  1. Believe He can.
  2. Spend 15-20 minutes reading the date in Proverbs and 5 Psalms a day, allowing Him to teach you what you don’t know, and apply these things to your daily life. There are 31 Proverbs, so if it is the 14th, you read Proverbs 14. There are 150 Psalms, so you just read 5 different Psalms a day, starting at 1-5 for the first day, regardless of the date. Here’s more on how that works – I’ve been doing it off and on for over 15 years. It’s awesome.
  3. If you have kids, spend the money on Dr. John Gottman’s parenting materials for raising emotionally intelligent children. And no, I don’t get a kick back from recommending this to you – We’ll have a new book out this spring to help with this, too. 🙂
  4. Deal with your own junk. Seriously. Here’s a great place to start.
  5. If all you do in your family is fight – or if you’ve taken to shriveling up and letting others walk all over you – try Celebrate Recovery. It’s for abusers, co-dependents, victims, addicts, etc., and it’s excellent. Here’s the books.
  6. If you know you need to do your part putting an end to being a critical wife and want to grow your relationship with God and your husband, start a Daughters of Sarah or Respect Dare group in your neighborhood. If you aren’t someone who respects herself, read Dr. Cloud’s Boundaries in Marriage and/or Dr. Dobson’s Love Must be Tough books while you do these things.

Why the both on # 6? Because if you don’t have a healthy (not selfish) respect, love, compassion for yourself, you’ll teach others to walk all over you – and you’ll enable abusive behavior. And you’ll malign the Word by teaching other women to do likewise.

Daily CompassionExercise:      from Greater Impact Ministries to be prayed slowly to God in the morning and in the evening. Feel free to adapt the prayer to keep it sincere. Results are based on using over 50% of the content daily. You will have a survey to complete when your 14-21 days are over. This is a small controlled pilot study, so please do your best to do 14 days within the 21 day period. Best case scenario, you do all 14 days in a row. When you have completed the 14 days, email us at ninaroesner@greaterimpact.org and we’ll send you the completion survey. Please keep track of your “compassion increases” a few times over the days of the exercise, comparing yourself to how you felt prior to praying about compassion in this way.

Directions:

Please read this prayer aloud quietly to yourself first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Be thoughtful and allow the mind He gave you to slowly take in the images.

Lord God, King of Kings, Creator of the Universe, I humbly come before You, eager to grow in intimacy with You. I declare Your presence always here, and ask that Your Spirit quiet my mind and often troubled heart. May I humbly invite You to join me during this time? I know You are here, Father – I simply mean that I need Your Spirit’s revelation. Father, I collect distracting thoughts and put them on paper, that I can come back to them later and not let them interfere with our time together here today. Father, I confess I’m short-sighted and have difficulty tuning my heart to Yours to receive encouragement and blessing from You. Sometimes it is a struggle to focus on the blessings in my life, how I am grateful for You, how You’ve created me, and those in my life. If I am struggling with what to say to You in prayer, Oh God, help me just sing praises to You, dwelling on the many blessings in my life until the time is up. Help me see them. Now, Lord God, I ask You to help me as I intentionally choose to renew my mind. Your Word says in Ephesians 4:22-24 that, in reference to our former manner of life, I lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that I be renewed in the spirit of my mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.… Your Word says in Romans 12:2 that we are to not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–Your good, pleasing and perfect will. We are told in Lamentations 3:22-23 that it is through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because Your compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 2:16 when he quotes from Isaiah, “As the scripture says, ‘Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give him advice?” … and then he says at the end of that – We, however, have the mind of Christ.” We are told multiple places in the Bible that we are to put on compassion, to be kind, gentle, tender-hearted with one another, to bear each other’s burdens. We saw over and over again in the Bible how Jesus’s compassion consistently preceded miracles. Lord, I pray for Your Holy Spirit to fill me in this way, that I would be able to obey and follow Jesus into compassion. And so I come at this time, seeking to have the compassion of Christ, just as You do for us. I let my mind dwell now on a vision of our Savior, bloody and bruised, dragging His cross up Calvary’s hill… I see Him being nailed to the cross, and as the soldier places each nail, I hear the hammer strike, I feel the vibration of screaming pain through His nerves, and I remember that He does this for me. I sit in wonder at His great compassion and love for me… I am in the crowd, watching His death. I hear Him cry out to You, “Why have You forsaken Me?” as the greatest pain tears through His soul, as He is separated from God. I hear His words, “forgive them, they know not what they do,” and I sense His love for me as warm light from His heart to mine, emanating from the cross, and this warmth fills me. His love is like a sweet, warm, comforting light that fills me… I think of a few recent sins… a lie I have told, a critical remark I have made, when I didn’t do my best, harsh words I spoke to others and myself… And I know I am responsible for each nail, for His sacrifice… Father, forgive me… And I see Him in my mind, however I picture Him, smiling at me, arms open to receive me, and his great love once again like a warm bright yellow light comes from His heart to me, bathing me in warmth, love, comfort…and I step into his embrace, I feel His arms wrap around me, His hand on the back of my head, stroking my hair…I feel His breath on my neck, the warmth of His strong arms and chest… I feel safe… Loved… known… accepted… And I receive this Love, accepting it, closing my eyes, taking it all in, knowing I am known, loved, cherished, prized… And I pray back to God aloud, “Father, thank You for Jesus,” Thank You for blessing me Thank you for loving me this much Thank you for forgiving me I receive and accept Your Great Love and Grace Lord, help me love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help me love my neighbor as myself.’ And now I think of that person whom I struggle with, and I bring that person into my vision with Christ. I sense Jesus inviting me to share His compassion, His love, with this person. The three of us stand there, and looking at Christ, I receive God’s hand. He smiles at us. And He begins to glow with His light of love. The light grows and the warmth spreads, and I am encompassed by it. He looks to the person standing there with me, and Christ’s love flows out of both of us onto them. The warmth and glow of His light of love surrounds the three of us. I say these things aloud to our Lord, and with each one, I see a surge of even greater love come from Christ, envelope us, and wash over the person. I pray for this person as I stand there in this Great Love, “Father, will you bless _________? Will you bring joy to __________? Will you comfort and ease _________’s suffering?” “Father, will you bless _____________?” Will you bring joy to _____________? Will you comfort and ease _____________’s suffering?” And now I think of a suffering this person has endured, a time of struggle. If I don’t know of one, I think of one they may have gone through because of their circumstances. I dwell on what happened, vividly imagining the struggle as if it were happening to me. Lord, will You help me have compassion for him the way You do? Help me focus for a few moments on what that struggle must have been like for _________, how __________ must have been afraid, how __________ must have worried, felt out of control, been hurt, been angry… I sense Jesus inviting me to share His compassion, His love, with this person. The three of us stand there, and looking at Christ, I receive God’s hand. He smiles at me. And He begins to glow with His light of love. The light grows and the warmth spreads, and I am encompassed by it. Jesus continues to look at me this time, as Christ’s love flows out of both of us onto the other person. The warmth and glow of His light of love surrounds the three of us. I say these things aloud to You Lord, and with each one, I feel a desire deepening for Your blessing for _________. The desire for blessing grows stronger with each word I pray. I see a surge of even greater love come from Christ, enveloping us, and then washing over ____________. I pray for this person as I stand there in this Great Love, “Father, will you bless _________? Will you bring joy to _________? Will you comfort and ease ________’s suffering?” “Father, will you bless _________?” Will you bring joy to _________? Will you comfort and ease ________’s suffering?” Will You give me Your compassion for __________ and help me wish the best for _______? Thank You Jesus, for this time with me. Lord, will You reveal what is true in my heart now? What is different about me compared to when I started this today? Is my heart softer? Did I resist Your love or extending Your compassion to this person? Reveal to me anything that is blocking our reception and acceptance of Your love for me, my compassion for myself, and my compassion for __________. Thank You Father, for being gentle and truthful with me. It’s in Jesus’ Name I pray. Please write down how you feel your compassion is changing in comparison to how you were prior to Day 1 of this prayer exercise. You don’t need to keep track every day – include at least 5 days, spread out across the 14 day period. Scale – decrease in compassion 0 no increase + increase in compassion ++ significant increase in compassion God Self Other Day 1:____ ____ ____ Day 2: ____ ____ ____ Day 3: ____ ____ ____ Day 4: ____ ____ ____ Day 5: ____ ____ ____ Day 6: ____ ____ ____ Day 7: ____ ____ ____ Day 8: ____ ____ ____ Day 9: ____ ____ ____ Day 10:____ ____ ____ *this material is copyrighted Day 11: ____ ____ ____ by Greater Impact Ministries Day 12: ____ ____ ____ and you have permission to Day 13: ____ ____ ____ share wildly. Day 14: ____ ____ ____ Love to you! ~Nina

 

 

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