Archive for the ‘real life stories’ Category

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WHAT ABOUT BOB?

A number of you have been asking, “What about Bob?” …  “What about RLM?”

 “What About Bob?”

Bob is involved in a full-time graduate program at Olivet Nazarene University that will lead to his licensure as a professional counselor in both Illinois and Wisconsin.  Bob is very busy in his studies and practicum experience.  Because of his extensive experience he qualified for an intense two year program that allows him to take his practicum & internship concurrent with his other academic courses.  It combines a three year program into two years.  He is seeing clients at Lake Geneva Wellness Clinic under their tutelage and supervision.

 “What about Real Life Ministries USA (RLM)?”

We are still here and still ministering to some.  Bob is still open to speaking and teaching, but the ministry itself has intentionally backed off seeking to move forward and expand and here is why:

As we were moving forward and gaining momentum and supporters were beginning to fall into place (pending tax exempt status) we apparently got caught up in the IRS (apparent) practice of discriminating against faith-based organizations.  A tax exempt application which should have found approval in a few months still sits over a year later on someone’s file still waiting to even have an agent assigned.  That will not occur until at least March of 2014.   So we have been unable to seek support from those who wanted to help fund this ministry to broken hurting people as a tax exempt organization.  We could of course seek support hoping that donors would at some time in the future receive a deduction for their support once approval was granted.  We opted not to do that believing it would be unethical and unwise.

 Please know that even during this interim period we have been able to come alongside quite a few people with the Genesis Process and other teaching opportunities.  Our core group still meets regularly for prayer and mutual support.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if we may be of service to you or your organization in some way.  Sorry that the articles and blogs have stopped for a while but time has not allowed for it with the new academic schedule.  We are still here.  We are keeping the tax exempt application in the works and maintaining our corporate status.

Our intent is to move forward again in the direction that God might lead when He makes clear to us that the time is “now.”  Thank you for your encouragement and prayers as we wait on him and Bob continues his studies to be used for God’s glory.

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WHEN GOD STOOPS

I received a wonderfully encouraging letter from a dear sister in Christ…someone whom I hold in very high regard.  Her note brought God right into the core of my own issues in dealing with depression…loss of hope and self-esteem. That was over a year ago, but her thoughts are just as relevant and encouraging today to all who bump up against the rough edges of life. It is a note that I recently went back to to share the same encouragement with another. Here are the verses she shared…given by God:

“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, ‘you are my servant, ‘I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am Your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “Isaiah 41:9-10

 ‘YOU GIVE ME YOUR SHIELD OF VICTORY,  AND YOUR RIGHT HAND SUSTAINS ME;YOU STOOP DOWN TO MAKE ME GREAT.”  Psalm 18:35

She shared, “I have prayed these verses over you with astonished awe over a God who stoops.  Not the posture that is normally associated with deity, but the only one that brings hope.”

The God who stoops is the God who brings hope. Through this dear friend and sister in Christ and others who seek to encourage as God has called us to do, I am thanking God for His fathomless love for me, and the promise of redemption that He has given.  I am thanking Him today for the great things He has in store for me in serving Him and knowing Him….and for His sustaining strength I feel in my life today.  All because of someone who truly walks with God took the time to pray and care and share.

Thank you to those who continue to love as Jesus loves…

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I am pushed along with the crowd of people.  Church is over!  We are outside.  I blink my eyes in the bright sunshine.  What is all the noise about? Oh, I see!  Look at all the balloons!  Red, white and blue.  Not regular old balloons.  They are floating on strings!  I have seen balloons floating in pictures, but I have never held one. The men are handing out balloons.  Will they give one to me?  Could I have one of those magical, floating balloons?!    Oh, I can really have one?!  He says to be a big girl and hold on tight.  He says not to let go.  I am a big girl.  I am almost four.  I will hold on tight.  I won’t let go!

Oh, there are so many!  Everyone is excited.  We stand in the bright sun, holding all the balloons.  I am holding on tight!  A man is talking loud.  He is saying numbers.  His voice is getting louder!  But now, what is happening?  Oh no!  People are losing their balloons.  Red, white and blue, all floating away!  Going far away toward the big, bright sun!  But, I am a big girl.  I won’t let go!  I am so happy that I did not lose my wonderful, floating balloon!

But, people are looking.  Do I have the only balloon left?  Mom and Dad are looking.  They are angry.  Their faces are red.  Why are they so mad?  I did what the man said!  They want me to lose my balloon?!  Oh, I don’t want to.  Please don’t make me lose it!  I start to cry.  They get madder.  They take my fingers and move them so I can’t hold the white string.  Oh!  Oh!  There goes my wonderful, floating balloon.  It is going up high, but I can’t look at it.  The sun is too bright.  I am hot.  I am crying.  They are angry.  I am not a big girl because I am crying about my balloon.  The man who said the numbers wants to take a picture.  All the people smash close together on the steps in front of church.  He says to smile. I cry.

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Now, in the hot car.  Boy, are they mad.  They say to stop crying.  We are going to a party.  I don’t want to go to a party.  I want my balloon.

The party.  It is hot.  Grandma and Grandpa are here.  I don’t know them.  I am afraid of them.  There are lots of big tall men.  I don’t like them, either.  They hold silver cans and little white sticks that make smoke.  They have dark, pinched faces.  I feel sad and afraid.  I stand by Dad’s leg by all the big tall men.

One big man looks at me and says my eyes are all red.  What’s wrong with me?  Dad starts to tell them about my balloon.  But, what?  Now Dad is not mad.  He is laughing.  He laughs to tell them how I wanted to keep the balloon.  Now all the big tall men laugh.  It is not nice laughing.  My eyes are hot and start to feel wet.  They laugh because I am crying.  Now Dad is not mad that I am crying.  He is happy!  He is happy because he is laughing.

I look for Mom.  She won’t look at me.  I am all alone with all the big tall men.  They laugh and laugh.  I try not to cry.  I am not a baby.  I am almost four.  I’m a big girl.

I did what the man said.  I held on tight!  Mom and Dad are mad that I held on tight.  They are mad that I cried.  But, they are happy, too.  Happy that I held on tight and happy that I cried.  I don’t understand.  I want to go home.  I hate floating balloons.

It is thirty years later.  A long time ago I learned that the big event was a balloon release to celebrate the bicentennial on July 4, 1976.  I know because I have seen the group picture from that day enough times.  I’m the little girl in the front row, crying.

Even though I am a responsible adult, I get anxious around helium balloons.  Especially if I see a child holding one.  “Hold on tight!” something inside me screams.  My stomach gets knotted up and I look away.  I hate floating balloons.

I have come to realize that it’s not only the helium ones that I hate, but all the other ones, too.  My parents sometimes gave me the ones called Promises.  I tried to hold on tight, but they usually managed to pry my fingers off. I could only watch helplessly as the Promises floated away.  Sometimes I had the ones called Hopes, but I couldn’t keep those, either.  And, while I tried hardest to hold on to the Dreams, somehow they always slipped through my fingers, too.  Where are they now?  Probably lying in ditch somewhere, next to an ancient, deflated bicentennial balloon.

Lately, God has been showing me how helium balloons and other things like that are keeping me in chains.  They are heavy, shame chains that I drag around with me.  I have heard of a place called Grace, where there are no chains, and where the balloons don’t fly away.  Oh, how I want to get there!

And, that is why I am the grown-up woman, sitting in her pastor’s office, crying about a lost balloon.

But, Pastor Bob asks me to pray.  To tell God what it felt like to be the little girl who couldn’t keep her balloon – the little girl who was shamed into the ground by big, laughing men who thought her tears were funny.  It is a different way to pray, but through my tears I tell God the story.  And then, Pastor Bob tells me to ask Jesus to show me where he was.  After a few moments, I choke out an anguished, “JESUS, WHERE WERE YOU??!”

Oh, those big tall men look scary when they laugh.  I want to run away.  I want to hide.  Oh no, now there is another big man!  I don’t know if he is tall because he is down by me.  He doesn’t have a silver can or a little white stick.  I wish they would stop laughing!!  The big man by me wants me to look at him.  He is so close to me!  I don’t want to see a pinched, laughing face that close.  I look at the dirt.  He puts his arm around me.  He feels strong.  Slowly, I look up to his face.  Oh!  He is not laughing!  He is not mad!  Oh.  His eyes are wet.  He is crying, too.  He squeezes my shoulders.  He says, “I understand.”  Oh, he does!  He does!  Now he looks at the big tall men.  His face is sad and angry.  But he looks back at me.  He holds tight to me.  He won’t let go!  I can’t hear the laughing anymore.  He is down here by me.  His eyes are wet.  He understands.  I am safe.

And now, it is several years later.  I like helium balloons!  I buy them for my kids.  They are an essential part of birthdays and parties around our house.  And, I did get to the place called Grace.  Along the way, Jesus healed many more deep, old wounds.  He has taken the shame-chains away.  And while I know that I am not perfectly free, I live a life that is lighter than I ever imagined possible.

And, I learned that all those Promises, Hopes and Dreams did not just end up in some dirty ditch.  They didn’t float away into nothingness.  Jesus caught them.  Every single one!  I know because he has given some of them back to me.  They are in my hands again, and you better believe that I won’t let go!  He is keeping the others for me, and because I know that he understands, I’m okay with that.  Every so often I get surprised by a long lost hope or dream suddenly becoming a reality.  Jesus has perfect timing!

The desires of my heart matter to him.  And so, I won’t be a bit surprised if he meets me in heaven with a big smile on his face, holding on tight to a wonderful, floating bicentennial balloon.

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Written by a woman of excellence, a wife and mom who has gone through the Genesis Process and found inner healing, hope, and freedom…                          (Pastor Bob Barnett, Real Life Ministries USA)

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“PRICELESS” — The Tremendous Worth of a Woman

Bob Barnett is speaking on this topic on Sunday, May 12th, at Westlake Community Church in Huntley, IL.

The Westlake Community Church is located in Huntley, Illinois and is currently holding  services at the Cosman Cultural Center located close to the center of town just off route 47S. The service will start at 10am.

Quick words from Bob:

I am excited to be speaking on this topic.  I get to speak on womanhood on a day that we celebrate motherhood. They are not the same thing. Womanhood is not defined by motherhood. Neither does motherhood determine the worth of a woman.  We will learn what really does from the life of a young woman who battled infertility for a decade, then lost her husband to death, and had to make her own way in a male dominated culture.  She is held up as a model  of excellence, courage, love, strength, and character.  She knew the secret of the tremendous worth of her own person-hood and womanhood.  From her we will learn why all women are priceless

Added Thoughts From Bob:

I have counseled hundreds and hundreds  of women many of whom struggle with feelings and beliefs such as:

“I don’t really matter.”

“I am worthless.”

“My needs and feelings are not as important as those of others.”

“I am responsible for other people’s feelings, behaviors, and problems.”

 “My worth-value is based upon my __________________ (you fill in the blank).

So many women fill in that blank with words such as performance, my looks/appearance, or being needed, or even motherhood.          So  many men impose a very wrong view and value of woman as well… God sees it otherwise…

I am excited to be speaking on this topic.  I get to speak on womanhood on a day that we celebrate motherhood. They are not the same thing. Womanhood is not defined by motherhood. Neither does motherhood determine the worth of a woman.  We will learn what really does from the life of a young woman who battled infertility for a decade, then lost her husband to death, and had to make her own way in a male dominated culture.  She is held up as a model  of excellence, courage, love, strength, and character.  She knew the secret of the tremendous worth of her own person-hood and womanhood.  From her we will learn why all women are priceless…

We invite you all to come and be part of a tremendous day and life changing teaching!

 

Gods's Unfailing Love

Gods’s Unfailing Love

HEALING OUR WOUNDS –Part One

Not all wounds are visible.

Crash!  The sound of two cars colliding at high speed in the street brought me to my feet and out the door.  Two badly smashed cars, several people injured, and one bleeding profusely right in front of me.  I tore off my shirt and made a compress to stop the bleeding from his head wound. His mother took the compress and held it tight. I proceeded to assess the others, some still in the vehicles.  One young man involved in the accident was walking around directing me to the others who might be injured. He seemed unscathed, just as the paramedics arrived  he collapsed and was quickly taken care of and transported by ambulance to the hospital.

He had no visible wounds because his were internal.

Sometimes the wounds that you cannot see are the ones that are the most damaging of all.

 So it is with soul wounds… injuries to your soul, heart, and/or mind. 

What happens when your emotions are torn, there is a hole in your heart, and your thinking and beliefs have been damaged?  How can you identify your soul wounds and what must you do to heal from them?

Why Identifying Our Soul Wounds Is So Crucial —

Here are some key thoughts, proven principles about this:

  • Soul wounds affect how we think, how we feel, and therefore affect how we act and relate.  The wounds are at the root of everything in the sense that they affect everything.  I heard someone say that a heart early broken will grow back crooked and that crookedness will make us live and relate that way.
  • We are powerless to change that which we are unaware of, do not understand, or deny.
  • Soul wounds hold us back I life, in relationships, in loving, in serving or work, and even in our ability to receive love from others.
  • Soul wounds become walls to protect us from being hurt, but walls don’t keep just one person out.  The walls we erect (and they take many forms) keep all people out.
  • Our protective but destructive behaviors anesthetize, numb, or push down unwanted painful thoughts, feelings, and memories.  But, listen! We must feel in order to heal.

How We Can Begin To Identify Our Own Soul Wounds—

  • Look at your own copes:  What do you do to cope? Why? If you were not doing what you are doing to cope (to numb the pain), what might you begin to think about, begin to feel, or remember?
  • Look at your over reactions or under reactions.  When have you over reacted to a situation or person?  How about a gross under-reaction?  Either may point to an earlier time, event, or person that hurt or threatened us and how we learned to cope in a situation where that “button” gets pushed.  The soul or heart (limbic system) does not tell time, so when that same type of wound is opened the soul or heart react the same way. Who made you feel this way before? How old were you? What did you tell yourself as a result of what was happening to you?
  • Look in the mirror:  Who do you dislike?   What about them do you dislike the most? What negative quality in other people do you dislike a lot? It could be that you are projecting something about yourself onto others…something you can’t accept in yourself.
  • Ask Others.  I have at times of personal evaluation asked others, “What is it like to experience me?”  When honestly answered the results are very revealing though sometimes painful.  At one point of burn out I told my wife I had asked my staff that question.  She then asked, “When do I get to answer that question?” Sometimes the truth hurts, but truth is necessary to our healing.
  • Ask God.  A great man once asked God this of God: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
  • Ask Yourself.  Where does it hurt? Why?  Your wounds may be internal but they still hurt and they still “bleed.”  Write it down.  Discuss what you are thinking about with someone who can help you identify truth and discern the real issues.  You see, the truth is, we are all wounded.  So do not be embarrassed at that being the case for you.  Safe people are also vulnerable and honest people who are real and authentic and caring rather than judgmental.

 What We All Need To Heal Our Wounds —

Part Two, to be released later this week, will address a Ten Part Process of Healing.  But for now let me give you a few keys to get started with:

First, no one heals from soul wounds and destructive relationship patterns through counseling alone. I counsel many and it is essential.  But people are wounded in relationships and people are healed in relationships, but (LISTEN!) it takes real people in real community in real relationships. Find or create a safe forum of safe people for yourself and for others.

Second, we must experience truth in our soul, truth that identifies and replaces the lies or false beliefs we may unknowingly hold in our hearts.  When Jesus of Nazareth said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” He wasn’t talking about facts or head knowledge.  The word he used from that culture meant to know by experience or to know something in your soul.

A number of years ago Dave, a counselor  I was seeing asked me a question.  “What are the three deepest hurts in your life?”  “Let’s ask God to show you,” he said.   And God did.   

Dave had me pick one and relive it in my mind, narrating all that had happened.  IT involved rage and abuse from someone dear to me but much older.  I was a young boy. When I finished, Dave asked, “Do you sense Jesus coming into that room in the scene?”   I answered, “Yes.”

“Well,” Dave asked, “What does He do and say?”  To my surprise Jesus came over to me, held me close, and said, “I love, you, Bobby.”

There is more, but my life changed that day.  The lie I had learned to believe, that I was not loveable, was erased and rep-laced with the truth that I was lovable and deeply loved by God.

I knew the truth (experienced it) and the truth then set me free….

Well there is more to come about healing our wounds.  Next time we will look at the 10 or 12 keys to our healing….

PART 2 Coming Soon…

Gods's Unfailing Love

Gods’s Unfailing Love