Category Archives: Unconditional love

Trust

trust

 

The girl pointed her finger at me, her brows knit together in scorn, then to the “Angry” icon on her assistive technology device. Though she spoke no words, I could feel the distrust emanating from her. I was there in the place of her regular teacher, and she did not know why.

I voiced the words that she could not, saying to the paraprofessional that was helping her, “Her teacher is not here and she does not know me.” The woman’s eyebrows raised, and she said to the girl, “You are sad because your teacher is not here.” The girl stopped pointing at me, found the “Sad” icon, and was able to move on.

Later, as we sat together and watched a video book presentation, the girl reached her hand over to mine and held is softly. I put mine on top of hers, and together we watched in silence. There was no need for words to express the poignant feelings shared. I could tell. She trusted me!

I had prayed that morning that my first day on the job substitute teaching would be a successful one, that I would feel God’s love for the students, and that I could share his love with them. It had happened in a way I never thought possible.

At the end of the class period, the girl gave me a hug, and we walked hand in hand to the door. Still, no words were spoken, but I knew that I was in the right place at the right time. My purpose had been fulfilled in that small moment.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” This was my theme song when I left the mental health unit years ago. Now, it has become my lifeline.

When I decided to leave my employment as an office manager, I felt that God was directing me to go and serve his children as a substitute teacher in the public school system. At first I was frightened. So many things had happened in my past that had taken me from that realm of the world.

Now, here I was, stepping back into it, having the very experiences that called me in that direction in the first place. Surely, a way will be provided, and I can go forward with faith, trusting that all will be well!

©2016 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today,  for your emotional health!

It’s Easy

Easy

 

It’s easy to feel bad when things go wrong and we realize we made a mistake in a song or said something stupid or clicked on that file and the consequences seem to go on for a mile.

It’s easy to think we’re not good enough and that we really do not have the right stuff to become what we were meant to be, to give of ourselves, to go forward, be free.

It’s easy to frown and turn anger within when we realize that we have committed a sin and someone is hurt or defeated in soul because we were not with it, in part or in whole.

It’s easy to cry when our weaknesses scream and everything comes apart at the seams, when little things tower and are huge in form and we know that we have stepped outside of the norm.

It’s easy to feel all alone in the night when there’s no place to turn and we’re frozen with fright, when life seems so hard and there’s no place to hide, and morning is a long way from eventide.

It’s easy to fall on our knees in prayer when our pride has tumbled and is no longer there, to raise our voices and hope for the love that we know only comes from the realms up above.

It’s easy to place at his nail-pierced feet the burden too heavy for our faltering feet, to think that perhaps we can make amends after wondering abroad around life’s many bends.

It’s easy to look up into his face and hope that he’ll give his amazing grace, in spite of our weakness; in spite of our sin, he’ll open his arms and wrap us within.

It’s easy to stand by his side once again, and shoulder the yoke that he shares with all men, to keep us going when the times are tough, helping us climb the hills that are rough.

It’s easy to feel indescribable joy when we know that he loves every girl, every boy, for heaven is where he is today, our Savior, Redeemer, our friend, come what may.

©2016 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Appreciation

Appreciation

 

Thanks! I appreciate you. I am so glad you are here. It is good to see you. Thank you for thinking of me. That was amazing! You timed it just right. I like how you did that. You seemed to know just what I needed. Hey, you saved me back there. I feel that you understand me.

Words of appreciation are music to our ears. They feed us with feelings of self-worth and help us to know that others acknowledge our efforts. Like rays of sunshine, they give us the warmth of unconditional love and speak peace to our souls.

Sharing appreciation with others validates their sense of being. We are saying, “I care about you. You are important to me. I want you to be happy. I am glad that you are who you are.” The more we share the gift of appreciation with others, the more it comes back to bless our own lives.

I have a good friend that understands this principle. When I am with her, I feel that I am the most important person in her world. Recently, I watched her interact with others, and found that she does this with everyone. No wonder others flock around her.

Appreciation is not the same as flattery. Flattery is lifting others up for the purpose of our own gain. Its motive is to achieve a relationship of power and authority over others by getting them to become dependent upon us for their good feelings. Those who use flattery do so with the intent to destroy rather than build.

Appreciation is genuine. It is Christ-like love at its best. There is no other motive than the pure desire to share love with others, and help them feel that they are loved. When Christ was on the earth, he went about doing good. Although he had all power and all authority, his only aim was the exaltation of mankind.

Our desire to be like him will lead us to build up others with sincere words of appreciation. Only then, will we be a vital part of his kingdom here on this earth. As he said, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

Always add appreciation when communicating with others. It is the gift of unconditional love, and just may be the boost they need to choose life for one more day!

©2016 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Lifeguard

Purpose

 

 

I feel so alone. There are people, activities, and things all around me, and yet, my heart cries out, consumed with an emptiness that I can’t define or even begin to understand.

Why do I feel this way? Could it be that I am looking too far into the future? I know that there will come a time when those that I love will crumble to the dust, and I will be bereft of their company.  Or is it simply that they are not with me now, and I miss them terribly?

Is my current position of solitude a problem? Here I sit on a single tower, drinking in the freedom others enjoy and yet, is that really what I want? There is so much of me waiting….hoping that there is something more.

I start new relationships, pursue new passions, and dream new dreams, only to have them peter out and fall by the wayside. I return once again to where I am, empty and alone. Will it always be this way? Will there be a time I look forward to waking in the morning, eager to greet the new day, refreshed and ready to go forward? I just don’t know.

Life is simply one more day, one more phone call, one more round of noise and confusion, one more time when my presence is needed. And yet my heart is left behind, lurking in the shadows…waiting. I always seem to be waiting for something, somewhere else that I can be.

I am in a constant state of anticipation. Like the paramedic on call, any moment the beeper will sound, and my heart will leap into action. I am poised, ready to help, ready to defend, and ready to move in an effort to save yet another person from drowning in the water before me.

Unfazed by the danger at hand, I throw myself into the brink, employing every muscle and sinew to reach them before it is too late. I surround them with the lifeline of my unconditional love, allowing them to rely on my strength, struggling with them as they make their way to the shore. We embrace. A moment of gratitude is shared, and they move on.

I watch them as they fade into the distance, marveling at the miracle that just occurred. There is nothing like being in the right place at the right time. A life spared is a family saved from being dashed to pieces and left to wallow in misery. In that brief moment, my purpose is fulfilled. My loneliness is gone, and I am content.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Leave a comment – How does loneliness affect you?

Change is Okay

Change

 

 

 

Change is a merciless task master. It lets us know that the status quo is no longer acceptable and in order for us to get back in sync, we have to do something different. For a time, we grope around in the darkness, hoping to find the light of understanding.

Before we know it, we are blinded by the glare of the obvious and suddenly realize that we have already shed the familiar garments of yesterday. They have been snatched from our grasp before we have time to even look for a wardrobe suitable for tomorrow. We are left exposed for the entire world to see.

Embarrassed and humiliated, we wrap our arms around ourselves, hoping somehow to protect our delicate ego before it is lost in total obliteration. Then, a friendly voice speaks our name. We look up only to find that we are already discovered, that others know about our weakness and imperfection.

We beg for mercy, hoping that somewhere in their heart of hearts, there is room for compassion. We plead and bargain, saying that we will do whatever it takes, just let us be given a covering for our cold, stark nakedness.

A hand comes forward, reaching out toward us with kindness. We see it and put our own forward, suddenly taken aback by the scarred imprint therein. Surely, it could not be! But is it? Truly, he loved and gave all that we might live. Can he really be coming here, just for me?

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” He says. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11;28-29).

His grasp is warm and inviting, his arms enclose us and we are brought into his bosom. There, amidst our tears and prayers, we are given strength and peace. He sheds his own garments and wraps us in them, and sends us on our way rejoicing!

We look down, aware that our nakedness has been covered. The garments are richer than any we have ever known. We feel the softness against our skin. We bask in the warmth and beauty surrounding us. Indeed, life is better now than anything we have ever known. We have been redeemed!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

Leave a comment – How does repentance feel to you?

The Gift

Christmas is all about giving.

On a cold, dark winter night, I stopped at the grocery store for a few last minute items before fixing dinner for my family. There she was in the check-out lane, bent and frail, looking as if a stiff wind would blow her away. Knowing that she didn’t drive, I asked if I could give her a ride home.

She said that she would get a taxi, but I insisted, “I am going home in a few minutes, I can take you.” She conceded.  She lived just behind us across the back ally. I purchased what I needed while she waited on the bench beside the front entrance.

We walked together to my van and I opened the front door to help her inside, depositing the few things she had purchased at her feet. I helped fasten her seat belt and she quipped that it would have been easier to climb into a taxi. I just smiled and replied that I was glad to be there to help.

While we drove the few blocks to our homes, she searched in her coat pockets for her house key, but to no avail. It was nowhere to be found. She told me she had a spare outside the house she could use. I drove into her driveway and shone the van lights toward the house.

The thought occurred to me to invite her into my home for dinner, but I quickly dismissed it, not knowing the condition of things, having left my children alone while I went to the store. I helped her out, and stood holding her groceries while she searched for the key.

After several minutes, I offered to assist in the search. Again, the thought occurred to me that I should invite her to my home for dinner. I dismissed it once again, thinking that surely, she would be tired after her excursion to the store.

The key was not found. Both of us shivering, I invited her into my home to get warm and have a bite to eat. I helped her back into the van, and we crossed the ally to my home. I offered to take her coat, and fix her something warm to drink. She smiled and thanked me.

As I held her coat, I felt inspired to check for her key. There were some small pockets on the outside of the sleeves near the shoulder. There was the key! I held it up to her. She smiled and said, “How did you know?”

“God told me!” I grinned as I gave her a hug. With tears in both of our eyes, we thanked the Lord that the key had been found, and our friendship deepened. She was finally able to relax and enjoy dinner with our family. Afterward, I walked her home and helped get her purchases safely inside the house.

It was not long after that the dear woman passed away. I will never forget that night. The most important gift given was our time together with the Lord.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Leave a comment – What special gift do you remember?

It Could Have Been Me

God Save Us

 

It could have been me in that six foot hole. This brush with death has taken its toll. I am naked before all the world to see. I’m lost and alone, being tossed at sea.

The waves are crashing beneath and around. I’m sinking fast, I just might drown! But look, there’s the Master, he is calling to me, extending his hand, but I cannot see.

I am blinded by feelings of low self-worth. I’m regretting the day that my mother gave birth! I’m afraid he won’t love me in my weakened state. I’m sure I deserve this ignominious fate.

I’ve turned those away who needed his help. I’ve spurned the lost, those alone on the shelf. I’m just a sinner, a lowly mistake. I deserve every ounce of my watery fate!

But no, he’s beside me, lifting me up. He’s inviting me now to his table to sup. Could it be I am worth this and more? Will he help me make it past the rocky shore?

He’s embracing me now with a love all his own. He’s giving me feelings that I never have known! He’s drying my tears and taking my hand. He’s leading me on to the Promised Land!

The storm has now ceased and I feel a great calm. I see a new light, a brand new dawn. The jaws of death have been closed this day, for my Lord and my Savior has come my way!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

Leave a comment – Do you feel that the Savior has rescued you?

Be Still and Know

Stillness

 

Life has a way of knocking us in the head sometimes. We think that we know where we are going and what we are doing, and then something happens that leaves us stunned. We wonder who we really are and what our purpose is in this life.

We stop for a moment and think about the people, things, and activities with which we have filled our lives and ask some important questions. Am I truly happy? Is there meaning and purpose in the choices I have made? Am I doing those things that God would have me do?

In her book The Fear Cure, Lissa Rankin, MD, speaks of the space between thoughts, and how our ability to capture and capitalize upon this space allows us to experience peace and happiness in our daily lives, as well as overcome the negative emotions that threaten to consume us.

During a restless night prior to a recent musical performance, I remembered this principle. Slowing down my thoughts just enough to find this empty space, I suddenly found myself basking in the warmth of God’s unconditional love. It was as if the clouds had parted and warm sunshine was streaming into my consciousness. My anxious heart calmed and I was able to rest peacefully.

Now, in the wake of a family tragedy, I seek that same reassurance that I am loved, and that there is meaning and purpose in my life. I remember the scripture in Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” For a brief moment, I once again enter that blessed space that has become my salvation, that stillness of mind and heart that allows me to experience God’s unconditional love.

This is the love that is home. We knew it before we came here. We are God’s children and lived with him before this life. It is the love that carries us through the storms and tempests that threaten to destroy us. It is the love that when we leave here, will rise with us into the great beyond as we return home once again to his arms, fresh and new from the rebirth that we call death.

There, time will cease to carry its poignant reminders of our insignificance and nothingness. Our petty worries and the aches and pains of this life will be no more, and what we glimpse in those quiet moments of stillness will be ours, to have and hold, forever!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

Leave a comment – Have you felt the unconditional love of God?

The Heavens Weep

Rain falling on parched ground

 

 

The heavens weep each time it rains, they weep for you and me. They weep for those who are dead and gone, and those who are yet to be.

The heavens weep for the orphaned, the lost, for those who do not see the light. They weep for the silent who cannot speak, and for those who cry out in the night.

The heavens weep for the wounded, the maimed, for those who are not feeling whole. They weep for the childless, for those who have tried, and may not have reached their goal.

The heavens weep for the abandoned, the hurt, for those who have suffered abuse. They weep for the little ones who do not feel loved, and for those who cannot choose.

The heavens weep for the lonely, the poor, for those who live out on the street. They weep for the proud who turn their backs on the destitute that they meet.

The heavens weep each time it rains, they weep for you and me. For each drop comes from the presence of God, with love, unconditionally.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today for your emotional health!

Leave a comment – How do you feel when the heavens weep?

Abuse is Never Okay

Abuse

 

 

“You are less than the dust of the earth! You should never have been born! You can’t do anything right! You shouldn’t even be here! You are just a worthless piece of junk!”

We’ve all heard these words before, either from the mouth of someone we love, or from a supposed friend or colleague.  Abuse is all about power. The one in authority demeans, belittles, and intimidates, taking no consideration for the needs of the victim.

Just like a spider spinning a web around its next meal, perpetrators of abuse form a wall around their victims. They limit the person’s ability to access resources and connect with the outside world. Before long, the victim feels like a puppet, only able to act according to the perpetrator’s will and pleasure.

Abuse occurs in many forms: namely physical, emotional, intellectual, sexual, social, and financial. The most difficult form of abuse to identify and eradicate, however, is self-abuse. We hold ourselves hostage under the most cruel and inhumane treatment and end up feeling hopeless and worthless.

No matter the source, the traumatic effects of abuse wound our precious souls, leaving scars that may never heal. How can we tell if we are abusing ourselves or others? Is it possible to stop before it gets to the point of causing irreparable damage?

According to Hidden Hurt, Domestic Abuse Information, victims of abuse have low feelings of self-worth, tend to be emotionally or economically dependent upon others, experience depression, accept blame and guilt easily, are often socially isolated, tend to appear anxious or nervous, and have poor relationship skills.

When we recognize that we are experiencing these types of issues, we would do well to look at how we are treating ourselves. Are we self-critical, self-demeaning, and self-punishing? Do we make ourselves go through extreme measures when we make a mistake or say something we shouldn’t, even to the point of withholding forgiveness?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” we are at high risk of abusing ourselves and others. The expectations we have are so high that we beat ourselves up before we even start. Our relentlessness may spill over into our relationships with others as we hold them to unrealistically high standards rather than providing much needed encouragement for them to grow and blossom.

Our Savior said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matt. 19:19 KJV). When we accept our own personal weaknesses and imperfections and allow the Savior’s atoning sacrifice to be efficacious in our behalf, we feel his unconditional love for us and in turn, are able to love others.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

Leave a comment – When was the last time you were kind to yourself?