Edition 9, Issue 33 - 2019
IN THIS ISSUE Whatâ€™s your Therapy? On the Seventh Day Good Networks Leaving a Legacy and much more
WELCOME.... The LIFE publication is produced quarterly. Our desire is to bring you stories and articles that will encourage, inspire and perhaps even challenge you as you journey through life. Life is a journey with many twists and turns, valleys and mountains, laughter and sorrows. It is not always how we start that matters, rather how we choose to live everyday with the options and choices that are before us. Today, choose to live and love your life!
Table of Contents Edition 9, Issue 33 - 2019......................................................................................... 1
Whatâ€™s Your Therapy? .................................................................................... 2 When the Memories Hurt ............................................................................... 3 Whatâ€™s the Point?............................................................................................ 4 On the Seventh Day......................................................................................... 4 Shame ............................................................................................................ 6 The Importance of Good Networks ................................................................. 7 Restore ........................................................................................................... 8 Leaving a Spiritual Legacy .............................................................................. 9
What’s Your Therapy?
at ways in which to recognise ignored signs of injury or pain:
• • • • •
If you have ever experienced pain, then I can guarantee that you have a brain. Pain, be it physical or emotional, impacts the brain. The diagram highlights how an injury/hurt triggers us emotionally or physically. When we experience physical pain, we are quicker to respond, seeking ways to ease the pain. Yet we tend to go on for days, weeks, months and even years avoiding seeking assistance for pain that is emotional.
Disturbance to sleep Heightened stress Changes to eating habits Emotional changes Heightened senses
For any therapy to work, it is best that we recognise our need for taking care of ourselves and valuing who we are. Also, it’s not often that just one method or model of therapy will work. It may actually take a combination of therapies to get our desired outcome, as we work towards our healing. We can implement many things into our lives that will be therapeutic for our body, mind and spirit. We may also need to engage with a professional based on the level of distress, pain or injury. Here are some therapeutic ideas to consider. Keep in mind that some ideas may not be beneficial for you, while some you will need to take your individual situation into account. • Nature – engage with nature as much as possible on a daily or weekly basis. Go on an adventure and find a favourite spot, either close to home or further afield, and visit it as often as possible. Look for new places to explore at least once a season.
The challenge most of us face is that we tend not to understand the impact of emotional pain on our lives. Ignored emotional pain will affect us physically at some point and vice versa. When we acknowledge that there is pain and are able to accept that there has been an injury, we are able to act. It is the experience of pain that draws our attention to the possibility of injury. As we head into a new year, I encourage you not to ignore seeking assistance for your pain. Therapy is any treatment that brings healing. There are many forms of therapy and it is important to discover what works for us as individuals. Before we take a look at possible therapies you may find beneficial, let’s take a look LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
Move – walk, dance, go to the gym or take exercise classes. Incorporate 2030 minutes of movement that you enjoy into your life at least twice a week.
Social - put all devices down and engage with people face to face. Increasing interaction with social media is creating isolation and loneliness.
Music – be it listening or playing an instrument, music can be calming and soothing.
Communication – having someone who will listen, acknowledge and be empathetic without passing judgement or undermining your pain or injury. Ensure you connect with someone for talk therapy on a regular basis.
When the Memories Hurt
Touch – massage, holding hands, hugging, or patting a pet all go a long way in making us feel connected. Keep in mind that touch should only be by invitation of another.
Kate Reimer When even the most cherished memories are awash with pain because of what is no longer. When you want to share the memory with your loved one. When you just want the memory to come back and be reality once more. When you want it to live for just one more day. When the memory remains just a memory. The weight lies heavy on your chest. The weight of grief for what was. The weight of the loss of how you thought life should be. The weight that feels like it’s crushing your heart into a million pieces. The weight that leaves you feeling numb inside, unable to release the flood of tears dammed up within. The weight that leaves you feeling all alone.
Spiritual – prayer, journaling, meditation, etc., is soothing, calming and is a great way of externalising the stirrings that go on within our spirit. Spiritual practices are also considered as soul care.
In such hopeless numbness, you notice that someone is standing next to you. He arrived at this spot long before you did, even though you’ve never noticed him here. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder he gazes together with you at the devastation of your world. You look over and realise that tears are rolling down his cheeks. In that moment, you understand. What is breaking your heart is also rending his. He is crying the tears you could not.
Create – get creative as often as you can. Remember that creativity is not limited to drawing and painting. Creativity is about play, fun and exploring freedom of expression.
I am almost certain that there are other modalities of activities that people find therapeutic. These can range from being individual to group therapies that assist us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When we are grounded emotionally, we are foundationally equipped to be grounded physically, mentally and spiritually as well. Almost all therapies offer us self-awareness. Which is the beginning of knowing more about self.
And when the time is right, he whispers “I want to share these tears with you”. Then your grief flows out, giving love a voice through tears. This grief – this love – is shared. And in the sharing, you create a memory you never thought you’d have to make together. A memory born out of pain, but one that holds security. Relief. Companionship. Closeness. Love.
Find your therapy and put it into practice as often as you can. It will be a great asset to keeping you grounded. Keeping you moving. Keeping you living.
LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
What’s the Point?
good, my bad and my ugly, means prioritizing having fun with my family and friends, having the energy to smile at the sad person at the supermarket, taking the time to have the authentic conversation with my work colleague, sending that encouraging text, chatting with the homeless person about their dog, taking a walk in the park to enjoy the revelation of a creative God where I find moments of peace. It is also knowing I have an ever-present, ever-loving and ever-graceful God who accepts me in my goodness, my badness and my ugliness and is there during these life-altering circumstances when I feel sad, when I don’t have the energy to smile and help others, when I lose the plot and have a rubbish mindset. So, what’s the point? To make peace with our and others’ humanity—the good, the bad and the ugly—and to celebrate life in all its fullness.
Trudy Buchanan In the past two years I have had not only a husband diagnosed with cancer, but four other close family and friends also, all with fairly grim prognoses. On top of this we also have friends with neurological conditions, marriage breakdowns and other life-altering situations. These life-changing circumstances and conditions are not only sad, but they cause me to question humanity, who God is, and what is happening to our world. For me, Christmas is a time of God affirming our humanity—the good, the bad and the ugly of what it means to be human. The birth of Jesus, who experienced what it’s like to be fully human, means that we need not be ashamed of humanness —the good, the bad and the ugly— but celebrate what it means to be human—the good, the bad and the ugly. Life-altering circumstances are undoubtably ugly and challenging to navigate but amid it is a God who affirms our humanity—the good, the bad and the ugly—and is ever present and ever loving. Life-altering circumstances have a way of allowing us to see what is important, to understand what the point is and to realize how little control we have over our life. Whilst this is sobering and the circumstances often sad, it is also adding poignancy to the need to see the point of life. The grim prognosis of cancer or suchlike causes us to face our mortality and to work out what life means. Life is not just about looking forward to the afterlife but about celebrating and fully being human—fully living within the good, the bad and the ugly.
On the Seventh Day Jodie Chambers In the Bible, the creation story tells how God rested on the seventh day after He had spent six days working. God was doing what He loved doing over the six days and then on the seventh day He sat back and admired His work. Perhaps that is too presumptuous; however, He looked at what He had created and declared it to be good - very good. He was satisfied with His work and declared a day of rest from creating.
Fully living and celebrating life requires that we know and act upon our values. To do this we need to prioritise what is important. Often when we prioritise we make lists to try and then work harder. To me celebrating life in all its fullness and to be fully human within my LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
God also told us to rest on the seventh day, as described in the fourth commandment: “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” (Ex 20:9, ESV). Do we rest from all our work? What do we consider “rest” to mean? Also, what do we understand “Sabbath to the Lord” to mean? I am not a theologian, so my understanding of what God may mean in regard to resting is perhaps lacking. This is exactly what I have found to be true this past season, as my self-care was not working as well as I thought it would and my spiritual life was a little below par.
talks about sons, daughters, servants, and animals that we must also consider in our resting time. When I have a day off or believe I am engaging in self-care, what about those around me? Are they also a part of that or is what I require from them more about working than rest? There are many who set aside Sunday as their day of rest, yet what about ministers, shopkeepers and other professionals that work for us on Sundays? Do you enjoy gardening? Perhaps gardening is part of your self-care. However, what about the chore of gardening? For some people, mowing the lawn and pruning the flowers is a chore that is done on a Sunday because that is the only spare time there is.
At Life International, we believe caring for yourself is the most important thing if you want to lead a fulfilling life, to be the best you can be for your family and friends. If you are a long-time reader of this eNews, you would see it is something we all write about. Taking care of yourself in relation to resting may include having fun and socialising as well as spending quiet time spiritually and personally. You can imagine my surprise when I recently found myself being challenged by my own self-care and resting habits. I thought I had my self-care down well, including fun and rest and social activities. However, a recent book along with a hectic schedule has forced me to reconsider my ideas of resting.
Resting means engaging. Engaging with family and friends. Perhaps it is time spent pursuing hobbies such as painting, bushwalking or going on a picnic with your friends. Resting means no work. No finishing off reports, typing up that letter or spending time on social media. Resting is spending time on your own with God to guide you, encourage you and fill you with His presence. Resting is spending time engaging in relaxing activities with family and friends. Resting is being alone with yourself for company and resting is exercising, watching your diet and spending time in God’s creation. Personally, I am still trying to work on the idea of a straight 24 hours without some sort of work-related activity, e.g. housework, shopping etc. Yet life is not about arriving, it is all about the journey. How do you think you would go if you turned off your mobile phone for 24 hours and spent that time engaging with your family, your spouse or completely absorbed in nature? I hope you will journey with me on your own discovery of the Sabbath rest and the challenge of 24 hours engaging in the life that is around you. You can do this by taking the first step in connecting with God’s creation and why He has placed such importance on it.
God seems to place a lot of value on us resting. What examples of rest do we see in the Bible? What is a sabbath day of resting? Do you set aside time to rest? Or are you setting aside moments that may look like rest yet are still work related? Would you be able to set aside a 24hour period of rest? So, what is this word “rest”? My version of rest actually looks more like work but in a different place. As for 24 hours of straight up “me” time, it is a struggle. The Oxford Dictionary defines rest as to “cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.” Sounds easy enough! However, the Bible doesn’t just talk about us; God LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
tural identity where Westernisation is interwoven by force through their own culture. Another huge area where shame may be present is in spirituality, where religious organisations give shaming messages and where those who struggle with life are considered spiritually inferior (Careforce-Lifekeys).
Donna Hunter What Is Shame? Do you carry it? If so, how do you get free from it? Shame comes from the Indo-European word skem, from kem – to cover, to veil, to hide. Shame is often confused with guilt, but the two concepts are completely separate. Guilt says “I did something bad”, whereas shame says “I am bad” (Brené Brown) Shame can be thought of as extreme embarrassment which damages a person’s identity by minimalising their true worth to the point of withdrawal. Due to its nature of withdrawal, shame is often difficult to identify and work with. Where guilt is an emotional reaction to doing something wrong, shame is about “I am wrong, I am a mistake”. We often see shame as feeling bad about oneself, self-disapproval, lack of self-love, loss of honor, unrealistic self-blame or self-assessment, or minimising one’s accomplishments.
People express shame through self-protective and self-minimising behaviours through passive body language, inability to have an opinion, constant apologising, disappearing through addictive behaviours, emotional and physical withdrawal and even suicide. Shame can also be seen in externalising with rage, attacking others, intimidating behaviour, inflexibility, blame and issues of control. Success and achievement can also be used to feel a sense of self-worth. Shame affects relationships through the extremes of fearing intimacy or holding inappropriate boundaries with excessive trust. Shame, especially where a person has experienced sexual abuse, can lead a person to mistake sex for intimacy, which can contribute to the ongoing re-experiencing of shame (Careforce – Lifekeys).
There are many reasons why someone may live with shame. Growing up with a parent - or parents - who imparts negative or critical words and/or actions, may lead a person to think “there must be something wrong with me” or “it’s my fault”. Family secrets, abuse and unresolved trauma may also lead to shame. Again, these are based in thoughts of “somehow I am at fault here so therefore there is something wrong with me”, when realistically it was out of your control. Another area in which shame can grow is when the basic needs of a person or family are not met. This may be seen in an area such as finances, where messages may be implied that there is something wrong with needing help. This has been particularly evident in schools, support agencies and through government policies where a person has not had the opportunity for restoration nor been empowered to break free of poverty due to a particular focus of what the institution offers. One example is the significant loss that cannot be restored to Aboriginal culture – loss of culLIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
How can a person living with shame be healed? The Bible talks about bringing those things which are in darkness into the light. Being able to recognize and acknowledge one’s own shame is the beginning of an incredible journey towards freedom. This journey connects with what Jesus has done for us all. Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day. The veil was torn; the veil into the intimate place with God, into the Holy of Holies. I believe the reason shame is such a significant issue is because it prevents us from connecting to our true identity, to be truly known, loved and accepted by ourselves, but also to allow God’s love into our lives. Jesus sent us the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to empower us to do great things. God’s love overcomes shame. The outworking of this is also journeying with a trusted person, who can help you process feelings of shame and empower self-worth through prayerful therapeutic care. This may come 2019
through a trusted friend or more formally through a counsellor. It is said that two are stronger together. Shame isolates us whereas true identity connects.
Disconnection can happen between individuals for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps the ‘power was turned off’ when one person was hurt by the words or actions of another and withdrew contact. Perhaps there was a ‘power surge’ when someone was perceived as too clingy, too demanding or burst out in anger at another. Perhaps in the busyness of life they just lost contact, like when the power plug gets tugged loose from the socket over time. Sometimes connections are easily restored. With computers, you plug the cord in the right point, reset the power button or type the correct password and the connection is restored. Sometimes the outage might be irreparable, where replacement parts or connectors need to be sourced, rewiring and new connections made.
SHAME is just a five-letter word, but the damage it causes can last a lifetime. But you don’t have to live with shame. Seek support and connect with the God from which your true identity is known.
The Importance of Good Networks Samantha Brown The past few weeks we have been having a lot of computer issues at my work. Our building is old, and with stormy weather and heat there are often power outages that shut down the server, causing havoc with our shared storage drive. While we all have our independent computers for storing our own work files, the shared storage drive is where the files that we all access and contribute to are saved. It is the network that keeps us all connected to this ‘pot of gold’ of shared information. When the network fails, the pathway to the pot of gold disappears and our access to and communication with each other is lost. Rather than being on the same page and working as a team, we are left in chaos, disconnected, alone, and in the dark with misunderstandings.
A major key in the strength of both computer and human networks is that they don’t rely on just a single connection. A good network will have multiple connection points so that when one line of communication goes down, there are other options. Our computers at work have had so many issues not just because the connection to the shared drive was down, but also because none of our computers are actually connected directly to each other. They are only linked via their individual pathways to the shared drive, and when that connection goes down, they are stranded and alone. In our personal relationships it is also important to be part of a network where we have more than one linear pathway, or one connection to a wider community. We might be linked to others through a central person, everyone having their own pathways to that person, but for us to avoid being disconnected, we need to map other pathways as well.
This experience reminds me that just as the computer network keep our computers working together, our human networks function in the same way. Though much more complex and personal, breakdowns or interruptions in our human networks can also result in fractured communications. Our human connections and relationships are more intricate than computer connections not in the least because they come with emotional attachments, egos and expectations. LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
Strong, healthy networks have multiple connections and interconnections. They are detailed and intricate, with various conduits so that when one way is blocked or lost, there are still other options to keep us connected. Not everyone is wired to be a social butterfly, with extensive networks and plenty of connections, 2019
albeit loose or tenuous ones. A good network is not about ‘the more the merrier’, or having lots of friends and loose acquaintances. It is about ensuring that we are connected to a community by more than just one tether. Even if that one tether is connected to many others, unless you too are directly connected to others you could be left unsupported when the power goes out. My workplace is in the process of revising our network setup so these connection problems do not happen again. I encourage you to do the same. Take the time to examine your people networks, the design and makeup of your community, so that you will not be left stranded, fumbling in the darkness.
I had extremely difficult pregnancies with my eldest and middle children. My eldest daughter was born with too little oxygen going to her brain, so it left her in a place of constantly fighting for her life. My second daughter was born premature, ending up in NICU. They were difficult times for us as a family, as I had to quit my job and come home to look after my kids. We spent all our married life in hospital and fighting off hospital bills. It got to a point that I didn’t know what to do, so I started taking old clothes and giving them a new life by separating the tops from the bottoms and matching it with something else. I painted some of the clothes and put a flower here and there. That carried us through and kept our kids clothed. This gave me a sense that inside waste there can be new life and a powerful story. I then looked at waste in a different way.
Restore Danolene Johanessen My name is Danolene Johanessen and, together with my husband, am the founder of Royal Kids. Royal Kids is a non-profit organisation that was established to look after the wellbeing of children within poor communities. Our main aim and core purpose has always been to restore the dignity of children and see them thrive in the midst of difficult circumstances.
To provide some statistics on how far Royal Kids has progressed over a period of six years:
My love for children came from being abused at the age of eight and my struggles through depression and low self-esteem. These experiences burdened me with a desire to help children in different places that are struggling with the same or similar issues, giving them hope and a will to live. In 2005 I married Tony Johanessen. Since the beginning of our marriage we have had three miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. I had surgery and lost one fallopian tube, which came with a report from the doctor that I would never have babies. I decided then to have hope and believe that I would have children, despite the doctor’s bad report. Today, 13 years later, I have been blessed with three children. LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
We have served approximately 29,000 children with brand new school shoes and freshly made uniforms. These uniforms were manufactured by Cut, Make and Trim entities and in the process, we empowered small businesses to remain financially sustainable.
The 29,000 students came from approximately 160 different schools reaching as far as Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape.
The Sheets to Shirts initiative was birthed out of a desire to create sustainability within our Royal Kids project. We thought it would be a great idea to create an authentic shirt that kids could wear to school, helping parents who are struggling to clothe their kids and in the same breath supplying jobs to women who are unemployed. 2019
Leaving a Spiritual Legacy
Today, I am the owner of a company by the name of Restore SA - a company that looks at breathing new life into old things and, in the process, restoring the lives of people who need a little help to cope in this life. Some of the people we serve are in dire need of employment. We come alongside them by creating a sustainable vehicle that causes children from rural and poor communities be properly attired for school. Along with this, a sense of purpose and hope in this life returns. We design and manufacture a clothing line from the decommissioned sheets solely supplied by a hotel who caught the vision.
Shane Cook Currently there are just over seven billion people living on the planet. Every year there are 131.4 million births. The flip side is that 55.3 million people die every year. Most people born on the planet will be a mere statistic in the annals of history, leaving no mark of significance. Of the billions who are living at present, or of those who have gone before, there is only a very small percentage remembered as having left a mark. How do you leave something of worth? Over the years I have been researching my family ancestry. It is a sad fact that as I have gleaned through countless historical records not much remains, except for pockets of information that seem to be the sum total of an entire life. An entire life lived but they can only be summed up in a line or two.
Here is a shirt that was designed and created for Restore SA. We look forward to confining to put smiles on the faces of many.
What is really important in this life? Billy Graham, the famed evangelist and minister, said, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” Character and faith go hand in hand. Faith needs constant character that can be seen and demonstrated before others. If I were to ask the question of those of faith, “How many of you wish your children and youth have a stronger faith in God?”, I am certain that the vast majority would affirm and say “yes”. While it is good that everyone desires that our children / teenagers have a stronger faith, the truth is that what we see in our teenagers' faith is a mirror image of our own faith. So, the issue is not their faith, but your faith.
In a day and age where there is constant negative publicity relating to South Africa, the world is watching this nation intensely to see whether something good or great could emanate from here. Today I want to say an emphatic YES - something good can come forth from this wonderful land we call our own, South Africa. If I can rise above my circumstances and create something out of nothing, then so can the next South African. Impossibility is not an option. All things are possible with perseverance, faith and consistent hard work despite the odds sometimes being stacked against oneself. LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
There is no doubt that the vast majority of parents invest in their children hours, guidance, and nurturing of their emotional, physical, mental and educational needs. But how many give the same investment into the spiritual 2019
needs of their children? The greatest need your children have is your living faith in God. Your legacy of faith is the spiritual journey markers that you put in place for your children to observe and take a hold of as a beacon to follow.
What does it look like to intentionally show your child how to live God’s way? It looks like small steps taken every single day. It requires showing and telling them some of the same things over and over. It is being transparent with them from day one, so they not only understand what the goal is, but will also desire it themselves. It starts with the faith in your own heart. It starts today, whether your children are younger or older.
What will the record of your life journey look like? What are the stories of God in your journey? How will they know what was of value to you? Will they understand what was surface and what was substance in your experiences? Children don’t always see Jesus, but they see you. You are His representation to them. You may well be the only Bible they ever read. Our children are looking for those who will not merely tell them the way but show them the way.
Some practical strategies to leave a spiritual legacy: • Let your children see you read God’s Word and pray. • Tell your children how you are growing and learning new things in God. • Enjoy getting together with other fellow believers. • Pray with your children every day. • Begin today.
How do you create an environment where your faith is enticing, welcoming and desirable? Consider this assignment to ‘flesh it’ or ‘flush it’: What hinders or harms your faith relationship with your children? Psalm 139: 23-24 says, “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”. Notice David’s prayer for God to turn His searchlight on him to search his heart and thoughts. It is an intimate inspection to see if there are any offensive ways in him. The word search has the idea of ransack. It conveys the thought of a policeman coming with a search warrant, giving him the power to overturn every area in search of evidence. David prays that God will ransack him and search him to see if there is any hidden sin, anything that grieves Him. David is praying this prayer from a hungry heart that seeks to ‘flush out’ anything that would hinder, harm or hurt his relationship with God. In our context: anything that stops you being able to ‘flesh out’ Jesus before your children, ‘flush it’. Invest in your spiritual life so that your spiritual life can be invested in your children. LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33
LIFE Edition 09, Issue 33