Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 033 The Keys
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #033 – The Keys
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
I would describe myself as an extroverted introvert.
Quiet time to reflect and unwind at home is needed. Although I love people, can talk to anyone, and really am interested in knowing them, I need down time.
For the most part, our home is very relaxed and quiet, but last week my youngest had a melt-down. It has actually been a while since the last one. When she first came home from China, she wasn’t able to express her emotions, needs, or desires, so if something triggered memories, trauma, or fears, big feelings and crying sessions lasting two hours would take over.
This behavior or type of emotional release is very common. Most adoptive parents have dealt with melt-downs. They usually lessen over time and eventually fade away to a distant memory of early days together. Which is mostly what ours have done. Until last week.
As I sat on the floor with my precious girl, waiting for her to release her emotions, I thought about how far we had come. I felt blessed to have seen this one coming, I had recognized the trigger when it happened, and I was one hundred percent ready to sit on the floor and just be there with her. During the times this happens, all she wants is for me to stay there, to prove that she is not alone, that I love her, and I can handle the “bigness” of what she is experiencing. As extremely difficult as this can be on everyone, especially when children first arrive home, this process has brought us closer to each other. It has strengthened our bonds and attached us in miraculous ways. But it doesn’t make it easy.
This particular melt-down lasted less than an hour, and the tears were not non-stop. As I observed my youngest, I was thankful to know my girl much better now. I understood that she needed to laugh in between sets of tears and was joyful that I possessed the know-how and ability to cater to her particular sense of humor. I also knew when to hug. I knew when to be silent and still.
When a child is in the middle of a melt-down, their brain is not functioning normally. Although I understand that she isn’t able to process at that time, I still sometimes find myself asking her a few questions, attempting to help. We’ve been together long enough now that she allowed them, but wasn’t able to answer. I knew that whatever important words I said during that time needed to be repeated at a time she would understand and retain them, too. It was time to revisit what had happened during her outburst this week.
So, earlier this week I sat down on the same bedroom floor and talked to her about the melt-down. We talked about why it happened. I shared about how hard it is sometimes to find the right words to express exactly what we are feeling. We talked about other people and how feelings can easily get hurt. Now that her brain wasn’t in an agitated or upset mode, she was more capable of admitting her needs and wants. Even though she has been with us for five years now, English is not her first language, and it is still difficult at times to find the right words for her to express big emotions. I told her that it is sometimes hard for people who have always lived and grown up in America to know how to talk about what they are feeling.
I found a small box with a lid and showed her a demonstration I knew she wouldn’t absorb the day of, but had tried anyway. Although she looked like she was listening at the time of the melt-down, she couldn’t remember any of it. So I sat down in front of her with the box and shared again.
“See this?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said as she nodded.
“This box is a person.” Always up for make-believe, she smiled with interest as I continued. I took the lid off and held up a small stuffed animal. “Let’s pretend this is a feeling.” I dropped it in the box and held up another toy. “This is a thought.” In the box it went.
I reminded her of previous discussions we have shared about feelings, thoughts, and emotions. She remembered I had told her that although we have many, and we need to feel and admit them, they are not always accurate or true, even though they feel like it.
I continued adding items to the box, saying that people have many thoughts, feelings, and emotions every day.
“When we do not have the words to tell others what we think or feel.” I said, “Our head and heart get so full we feel many things. We may get confused, or scared, or mad, or frustrated.” I filled the box up all the way and showed her the inside of it.
“We wonder how to get the feelings and thoughts out. Sometimes it’s good to cry and even Jesus cried sometimes. But we can also talk to people and share how we feel so they can help us. In China you did not have anyone, but now you do. I always want to help.”
I do talk,” she said. “I always talk to God.”
“I’m so happy,” I told her as I gave her a hug. “When you talk to God, the feelings and emotions and thoughts can come out.” I started talking the animals out of the box one at a time. “Then the box feels lighter and we don’t feel like crying because we feel like someone hears us and can understand and help. The thoughts won’t make us feel heavy and sad. Remember that Mommy and Daddy can help. But I’m always glad you talk to God first.”
“I know,” she said as she moved closer to me. After a moment she said, “The box is like a puzzle,” she said. “We have to find the right pieces for us.”
What? I was astounded and in awe of my girl. She proved how far she had traveled in her time with us. She understood. She carried a deeper understanding than I realized.
Being a parent is one of the greatest gifts I have been given. Anyone who has been listening to this podcast for a while knows our story and has heard me speak on this before.
Adoptive parenting has humbled me even more than biological parenting.
Adoptive parenting forces mothers and fathers to face and admit insecurities while dealing with a child who was once an absolute stranger with no ties to them. They have to navigate and deal with their own hang-ups, pains, or disappointments while facing the raw terror and trauma of a child that only God can heal. Many parents get lost on how the child treats them or rejects them. If we hold self-doubts and uncertainties in our own life, then couple those with the rejection of a child we work so hard to bring home, a family can easily spiral into crisis.
Parenting is never about us.
Life is not about us.
The greatest sacrifice a parent can make is to face the responsibility of raising a child for God with a spirit of great humility. We know nothing about the child in our care, whether biological or adopted, until we release ourselves to our Heavenly Father and allow Him to reveal their special gifts, talents, emotions, and interests.
Only by clinging to God are we able to merge broken human personalities and hurts, traumas, fears, hopes, dreams, and love to meet the needs of another. There is no greater gift we can offer than to lay down our life for our child and strive to see them through the eyes of their Creator.
Without God, we are damaged vessels.
Motherhood offers women the opportunity to face what is broken and allow God to mend and renew. Actually, parenthood offers us the opportunity to face what is broken and allow God to mend and renew. It isn’t just mothers who must face imperfections and bow to Him as we raise the children He entrusted to our care.
What is the best method for learning and growing as a parent?
As a person?
Possessing active humility and simple trust.
Last week on the podcast I read verses from Daniel 4:1-37 and shared about teachability. This week I feel the need to offer more, with emphasis on the best ways to be teachable.
Humility and trust.
We do not have to be the smartest person to learn, or the most intelligent parent, but we do need to pay attention, and carry a desire to learn or change, and maintain or gain, a humble spirit. When we are humble, we recognize that others may carry more knowledge or insight, and perhaps more wisdom than us. We recognize that God is the ultimate source of wisdom and as we seek Him, and desire to understand Him and His ways, we will also gain practical and godly wisdom.
Humility teaches us:
1. To be a better listener than speaker.
2. To be slow to speak.
3. To admit our mistakes.
4. To consider others more highly than ourselves.
5. To seek the wisdom of God in everything.
James 3:13-18 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
I think often about how God must feel when He looks down on this world; the pain His heart must feel. I purposely strive daily to view those I love and strangers around me through a lens that desires results from an eternal perspective that pleases God. I want what I do and think to give my Heavenly Father joy. Instead, how much pain does He receive from me daily?
The words in James 3:13-18 show how far so many of us are from where God is calling us to be. When we are wise, we show it through good conduct. Look at the streets filled right now with looting and murder. I see no meekness of wisdom. I see envy and self-seeking, lies, and confusion.
God’s wisdom fills us with more humility and wisdom that is pure from Him, peaceable, gentle, and willing to yield while full of mercy and good fruits. He tells us there is no hypocrisy or partiality. There is peace.
We cannot know Him, His fruits, His peace, wisdom, or humility without knowing Him. We cannot be teachable without Him.
Our world is so far from where we need to be, but that can change one person at a time. I always exclaim that the cure for what ails this nation is one simple thing.
The problem is the condition of our hearts.
Change the hearts, change the people, change our nation, change the world.
The solution is Jesus. That is not my opinion. Is it a fact straight from the Bible.
Jesus proclaimed in John 14:6, “I am the truth, the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
In John 8:24, he said, “For unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” The Apostle Peter assured us of the truthfulness of those words when he quoted the words found in Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Paul agreed in 1 Timothy 2:5 when he said, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Simply spoken, the Old Testament points the way to the coming Messiah and the New Testament is united in the fact that no one can know or come to God, our Heavenly Father, except through the person of Jesus Christ.
Only Jesus can heal hearts. This world needs Him much more than we realize.
Basic, but important steps are needed to approach change through Jesus and a relationship with our Heavenly Father. These steps allow our heart and mind to be changed and will keep us growing and maturing properly.
There are two important keys. What are they?
Humble submission and trust.
First, we must recognize and admit our needs. Next, we must be ready for change. Finally, we must want permanent transformation.
A shift begins with the willingness to be humbled and the desire to live with permanent humility. I’m going to share several verses to prepare our minds to see our need.
1 Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.”
Proverbs 22:4 says, “By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.”
Colossians 2:23 says, “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.”
James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.”
Ephesians 4:2 says, “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.”
Do you recognize these qualities in most of the people living today?
Do you recognize them in yourself most of the time?
We all have so much work to do. We must allow ourselves to be humbled and gain the desire and ability to trust God with our life. The whole of it.
What about trust? In our society, it is hard-earned. Are you ready to extend it to, and allow it to stay, in God’s hand?
How does trust in God help us?
1. Trust erases fear.
2. Trust produces peace and joy despite circumstances.
3. Trust enables us to turn away from evil.
4. Trust builds a fortress through the shield of God’s armor.
5. Trust produces a strong faith.
6. Trust enables obedience.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Listen to these additional verses about trust. Just like humility, trust is so important that God doesn’t speak on it just once, but continues to prove reasons for us to trust and shows us the only way to a life filled with the richness of peace and other fruits of the spirit we all desire and seek.
Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.”
Isaiah 12:2 says, “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.”
Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”
Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Remember the story I shared about my youngest at the beginning of this podcast? The same principles apply to everyone because we have all experienced different levels of loss, hurt, frustration, confusion, needs, and more. We all have the same desire to be understood and to be able to express ourselves and still be loved and wanted.
Think of the analogy I used with the box. Instead of releasing thoughts, feelings, and emotions from the box, think of our mind and heart as safe deposit boxes. If you use the example of the box with the lid, search the word of God and seek to study and understand it, then apply it safely in our hearts and minds to nourish our soul. In effect, we put it in “the box.”
When that box is filled with the word of God, conversations and prayers, active listening for His voice, words, and directions to us, humble trust, and active pursuit of Him, and obedience, we release negativity and false beliefs, hurts, bitterness, anger, and more from the box. We build a deposit of humble trust and love for the only One who understands us and will never forsake us.
Faith is a series of steps taken through a life of humility and trust with blind obedience through Jesus.
Are you ready to begin or expand your walk with the Lord? Me, too.
I know with certainty that anything we submit to and do for the Lord will bring us sweet joy on this earth and for eternity.
Father, I thank You for Your presence in my life. Please enable me to follow You with humility that is pleasing to You. Help me to trust what you teach and reveal to me. Give me the courage to be obedient to what and where You call me. Let my faith grow and not falter. Help me bring You great joy. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
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