Posted in Cinderella Released, Crisis, True Stories

Crisis & Trauma Care…Praying for Louisiana and Emergency Personnel

before-after-denham

It is hard to imagine losing everything you own in just a few minutes.  Many in Louisiana right now are still reeling from the devastation.  Please Pray for Louisiana.  I just received a request to volunteer in Louisiana, however I will be leaving for an assignment in Alaska, August 22nd.

In the meantime pray for the families and responders heading to Louisiana.  Below are some ways you can help if you are in the midst of a crisis and trauma.

Here are 4 methods for healing from post-traumatic stress.

1. Move your body to disperse stress chemicals.  When a trauma occurs, our first reaction is to freeze like a deer in headlights, take flight without thinking or flood with emotions that are out of control and many times do things we would not normally do. We hold our breath and tense our muscles. Meanwhile, our brains are being flooded with stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and histamine.  It’s vitally important to move your body to disperse these chemicals so the trauma doesn’t become frozen into muscle memory. To recover from anxiety and fear related to trauma, gentle stretching or restorative (gentle) yoga can help you to release and recover a sense of inner peace and feelings of safety and security.

2. Stay away from news reports. It’s easy to fall into the trap of obsessively reading or watching news stories, to try to make sense of tragedy. There’s also a belief that news gives you more control, safety, and knowledge of what to expect next. However, studies show that traumatic news stories flood the brain and body with the same amount of stress hormones as if the trauma had occurred to you personally. This can lead to Secondary PTSD, and the symptoms of PTSD (flashbacks, anxiety, worries about safety, feeling unsafe and insecure, addictions, etc.).  Limit your exposure to news stories. If you feel anxious while hearing about news, be sure to engage in stretching exercises to disperse the stress chemicals. This is especially true for the elderly or shut-in.  Please check on them and make certain they aren’t on media overload.

3. Listen to gentle music.  Soothing meditation music lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and soothes us like a lullaby.  Pandora Radio has a gentle music station called Nature, or you can search for music genres like “Spa music,” “Worship music,” or “Nature Sounds” to find soothing background music. I highly recommend playing soothing music at home, at work, and in the car.  Please note:  Sometimes the sound of rain can trigger additional trauma in the cases of flooding.  Please be aware and cautious of this.

4. Spirituality.  When tragedy occurs, it may test your faith. Still, studies show that those who have spiritual or religious beliefs have healthier responses to traumatic events. Believing in God’s protective power, and/or “that everything happens for a reason” helps you to feel peaceful. You retain a sense of safety, instead of believing the world is dangerous and haphazard.  Praying and meditating are instantly effective ways to heal from stress and anxiety.

 

If post-traumatic symptoms continue or interfere with your relationships, job, or other functioning, please seek professional treatment from a trauma-specialist therapist. Please let me know if I can help in any way.  Email me at CinderellaReleased@gmail.com or 24/7 prayer 850-661-6104.

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Posted in Change, Cinderella Released, Crisis, Overcoming Fear, Teaching, Trauma, True Stories

“I”s that will Incinerate You – Immobility

Fear

Immobility  – Fear will immobilize you as was in the case of Pastor Bobette Stubblefield,

Soon after our marriage began, my husband began to isolate me by forbidding me to spend time at church and with my family and friends. Isolation then begins to break down a person’s worth; and little by little steals their identity.  My husband would shove me down and overpower me physically.  …He would then urinate on me.  Fear became my captor (Stubblefield. March 20, 2004).

She also described how she would shake uncontrollably whenever she would think about going home or would drive toward her house. She stayed in the marriage for 12 years and faced fear daily.  Finally, one day, when she had to defend herself in a court battle over her children, she was forced to face fear head on.  Fearful, but determined to overcome it, she took courageous steps toward the courtroom door.  Just before entering the courtroom, she realized she was not alone and that God had stationed angels around her.  Bobette recalls that day:

But, before I walked in front of the judge, God opened my eyes like He opened the prophet Elijah servant’s eyes.  Elijah’s servant saw thousands of angels standing ready for battle on he and his country’s behalf.  When God allowed me to see into the spiritual realm, He showed me six angels dressed like Secret Service men.  They were with me walking arm in arm into the courtroom. I realized I was not alone anymore. The Bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and a sound mind.”

For More information about how you can overcome fear….
Contact Marlene Hoenig
Cinderella Released….from ashes to beauty.
CinderellaReleased@gmail.com

 

 

Posted in Encouraging Stories

Crisis Crushes, Prison Straw Softens, Evil Passes Through All Human Hearts

Image

Chuck Swindoll always talks so realistically and hopefully about life’s crises: Crisis crushes. And in crushing, it often refines and purifies. You may be discouraged today because the crushing has not yet led to a surrender. I’ve stood beside too many of the dying, ministered to too many of the broken and bruised to believe that crushing is an end in itself. Unfortunately, however, it usually takes the brutal blows of affliction to soften 

and penetrate hard hearts. Even though such blows often seem unfair, remember

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s admission:

It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirring of good. Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through all human hearts. So, bless you, prison, for having been in my life.

Wright, H. Norman (2011-12-09). The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling: What to Do and Say When It Matters Most! (p. 142). Gospel Light. Kindle Edition.

 

Posted in True Stories

Follow-up on Blog Post by Marie who was in theater during Colorado Shootings

So you STILL think God is a merciful God?!

Posted on July 20, 2012 

July 22 – a note of explanation

I’ve tried to leave this post just as it was originally written because it was a heartfelt response after a very traumatic experience.  But I’m sometimes clumsy with words and even when I think I am writing clearly, there is always the reader who doesn’t know my heart or doesn’t hear the words the way they were intended.

I feel as though a few people have taken what I said and twisted it. When I wrote my post on Friday, I had a grand total of eleven blog  followers. Yes, eleven. I generally post on facebook and have had a loyal little group of readers that numbered thirty or so. That is who I generally write for.  People who know me  know that I dislike talking on the telephone. I’d pretty much rather clean a toilet than spend time on the phone. I am not a speaker. After the shooting,  friends and family began calling. I knew I had to let people know what happened and that we were safe.  Since I also really wanted to respond to the people that were blaming God for this tragedy,  I wrote the blog post and put it up on facebook. I never in a million years would have anticipated the readers to skyrocket past a million , including strangers from all over the world. Only God could do that.

I realize that the vast majority of readers are complete strangers; they know nothing about my heart or my faith. Those who do, know  I would never, ever imply that God chose to keep me alive instead of another individual or that I think I am more worthy of being alive than any of the victims. I am grateful to be alive but still there are struggles with being a survivor when so many others lost their lives.  What I did mean to say, and what I do believe is that as His child in Christ,  my life has a specific purpose to draw others to Him, and that is how I can use the gift of life.  I believe that He can take something as horrific as the tragic, unfair and senseless deaths of twelve innocent people and create some good things from it.  Their deaths were NOT the good thing, their deaths were NOT God’s heart but the result of a man bent on evil.  God is a redeemer. He takes ugly, ugly situations and can bring something good out of it.

Original Post (with parenthetical thought reworded)

(I don’t know why I am still alive while others tragically lost their lives.  Someday I will have the answers. Butbecause I am, and because I believe the Bible, I want to share this message with you: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.)

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.

Yes.

Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.

In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line asThe Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or  fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body,people were screaming and pushing, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught. Proverbs 3:25-26

He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.  It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act.  Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness.

We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional.  But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.   I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:

Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise.  

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What  can mere man  do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

God is always good.

Man is not.

Don’t get the two confused.

We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.

Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways.

As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.

Still grateful for this wonderful life,

Marie

Posted in Encouraging Stories

Bouncing Back After Trauma

Bounce Back

“The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” -General George S. Patton

“bounce /bouns/ verb – to cause to bound and rebound — to spring back in a lively manner…”

To “bounce” means the ability to fight through an issue, to be resilient, to be able to stabilize after adversity. To recover — and to thrive.

In 2009 Rick Hoyt completed the Boston Marathon. This race was officially his 1000th race. Since 1977, Rick has competed in marathons, duathlons, and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). In 1992 Rick “ran” 3,735 miles in 45 days. Coast-to-coast.

Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt. As a result of oxygen deprivation to Rick’s brain at the time of his birth, Rick was diagnosed as aspastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. He would never walk or communicate as we do. He would never be “normal”. His life would be lived in a wheelchair.

In 1977, through the use of a special computer, Rick “told” his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Not being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair. They finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. “Team Hoyt” rose up from seemingly insurmountable odds and adversity. That’s “Bounce”!

When life simply isn’t fair. Filled with sickness… debt… or abandonment…

When the walls are pressing in… and you don’t even know your own name.

When you feel like you can’t breathe — or see. And there is absolutely nothing you can do.

When life isn’t the way it is supposed to be…

CONSIDER THIS:

  1. He understands. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that “…we do not have a high priest (Jesus the Son of God) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses(frailty — feebleness — sickness — infirmities — troubles), but one who in every respect has been tempted (the trying and testing of our faith, virtue and character)as we are …” (Hebrews 4:14 ESV) He’s been there. He goes before you… and with you!
  2. He will strengthen you“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace… will Himself restoreconfirmstrengthen, and establish you.” (1Peter 5:10 ESV)

Bounce back!

Put the devil on notice in your life… It’s time to get your dreams back… Get your family back… Get your marriage back… Get your anointing back… Get your strength back… Get your step back… Get your confidence back… Get your fight back!

Claim the life changing principle in Genesis 50:20. What satan, or even other people in your life, meant for evil, God can turn it for your good.

“You are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 ESV)

Bounce back! It just might turn your life around.Image