Tag Archive | Bible verses

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Someone at another site asked me how I was doing…here’s what I shared:

“I’m sorry you are carrying such a heavy load.

I’m relatively OK.  I’m seemingly “stuck” in some type of quasi-PTSD hopelessness loop over not being able to get any positive traction on my son Josiah’s Special Education case.  I’m still furious about how they broke the law with impunity & how the legal protections for the vulnerable are twisted into butt-coverage for the bureaucrats…it makes one feel so helpless/hopeless.  I did Major work for like a year & a half on Josiah’s Special Education case & when we finally talked with an attorney (after some funding from a family member made such a conversation possible) he basically said “there’s nothing you can do for your son…but I’d really like you to go ahead & be an advocate for other kids”.

I’m not fully ready to concede defeat but am still so burdened by the pain & frustration of it all that it is Very Hard to move forward mentally or emotionally.

My husband wants me to speak with a Counselor but I am skeptical that there is really anyone out there (besides God) who can grasp the magnitude of what we’ve faced historically with our son, it’s ramifications in our lives & for me personally, & I can’t even muster the energy to attempt to contemplate having such (allegedly) therapeutic conversations.

I’m not (obviously) actually very good at “letting things go” & really need the Serenity Prayer conceptually to help with this process.  I hate to “give up” but I also hate to see the “system” escape unscathed & have Zero Accountability.  It’s also still too bitter & unapproachable to try to advocate for other people’s kids (even if I could muster the energy or find the appropriate avenue to do so) when there is still so much that needs attention in my own son’s life.

These are like those “first world problems” that lefties mock people for.  Not the basics of food, clothing, or shelter but more the apex of that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramids proverbial “Self-Actualization” BS arena, I think.

Sometimes I think I’m just too scarred from all the battles to even begin to know how to live in “regular” society.  I’m in pseudo-hibernation/cocooning in hope that (eventually) winter will end (my fat stores will melt off!) & I’ll emerge a beautiful butterfly with sufficient energy to pump those superfluous abdominal fluids into those nascent but hopefully beautifully majestic wings & somehow manage to soar above before my brief sojourn planet-side is over!

OK, so it’s very late & I’m expressing my self in verbose flights of fancy…Thanks for asking how I am…I hope you don’t mind my ridiculous reply!

If I may quote you here “I am an emotional basketcase and the pain is brutal and that’s the upside of my grief right now.”  I really do relate…”

Our conversation can be found here:

Prayer Requests – 9

Image result for butterfly scripture

from a Bing.com image search for “butterfly scripture”

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Righteous Anger

I just read an inspiring article at American Thinker.com, here:

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/why_rightwing_pundits_assail_the_righteous_anger_of_patriots.html

“Anger is among the first emotions in life.  A newborn baby, eyes still swollen and shut, asserts: I exist, I feel, if you hurt me (or not), you’ll hear my anger.  Anger provides vital energy for protection and survival.  It is the emotional state induced by the life-sustaining impulse to protect, to defend against or attack a perceived threat.  Healthy anger is hardwired into the nervous system as a reaction to pain and suffering.  Righteous anger is the highest form of healthy anger.  It is the beneficial force for good that forms in the self-respecting hearts of principled people who have been lied to and who are suffering because of it.  Righteous anger forms under conditions of oppression when moral, legal, or personal contracts are broken.  It is the force that impels, sustains, and advances political freedom.  In the fullness of time, it is the righteousness of anger that determines if it is creative or destructive.”

While this article is primarily dealing with anger as a motivator to action in the political arena…I am taking solace in the more personal applicability of using anger in a healthy response to injustice and abuse…at least in trying to find an avenue to channel the (understandable, at least to me) fury that still seethes just beneath the surface following the brutality and ineffectiveness of our recent foray into protecting our disabled son’s rights via a Special Education Due Process Hearing Request…

Josiah is by nature a warrior at heart.  He is a True Survivor and has Overcome many battles both medically and interpersonally.  Sometimes his passion can exceed his common sense and it is at those times of increased intensity that I often encourage him to do the bulk of his warfare on his knees.  His prayers are truly effective and focusing his effort on the spiritual battle is the way that we are most likely to see the walls come down.

In recent days when both my son and I have been so upset, and even enraged, by what has (or has not) happened in the legal arena it has been necessary to remind us both of what scripture says about anger.

Ephesians 4:26-27 New International Version (NIV)

26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 4:26 Psalm 4:4 (see Septuagint)
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The above quote is from here:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+4:25-27&version=NIV

In my conversations with my son I’ve been referring to the scriptural principle without actually looking up the passage in context.  I’ve been focusing on the “be angry and sin not” version from the King James of my childhood, and did not realize the passage was followed closely by the “don’t let the sun go down on your wrath” passage.  That had always seemed a good practice in relationships, to not go to bed angry (especially with people you live with), but clearly the scripture provides no such relational limitation.

This is going to require me to rethink my approach to action going forward, in relation to the “special education case” that remains entirely unresolved currently.  I’ve been so upset with the trajectory of what happened that I haven’t yet been able to formulate a comprehensive course of action for moving forward toward some degree of resolution.  Also the intensity of the anger and disappointment has been such that calling or writing or meeting with people to discuss and strategize over this situation has needed to remain on the back burner for a while.  Now it appears, based on this scripture, that allowing the anger to unaddressed/unresolved could create a danger point in one’s soul.

Focusing on the injustice can seem an easy formula for getting caught up in bitterness in addition to disappointment and deep soulful hurts.  This is a hard place to be.  Moving forward in some type of action that can at least theoretically be effective for something as complex as our “case” is no simple straightforward task.  It requires reasoned regrouping and potentially some degree of research for other avenues of action.  As such it is unlikely to be something achieved before the sun goes down.  Can it be possible to retain the motivation that the extreme energy of anger provides without getting ensnared in the “devil’s foothold” of sustained rage?  How would God want us to address this?

These are matters that for me personally will require some prayer and contemplation.  If proceeding on a course of action, acting in “righteous anger”, it would seem counter productive to do so in a manner that manifestly violates scriptural teachings–especially if one espouses a Biblical Worldview, as I try to do, albeit imperfectly!

Perhaps there can be room for some degree of regrouping, such as happened with the prophet of old.  Following a tremendous victory he ran off and hid in fear and was so unable to care for his own needs that the Lord sent ministering angels to him for a period of time before he was sufficiently rested and refreshed to be able to continue on his way.

1 Kings 19: 3-9 New International Version (NIV)

Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.There he went into a cave and spent the night.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 19:3 Or Elijah saw
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The above passage is from this site:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings+19&version=NIV

 

Although this depiction seems more in keeping with being overcome by depression and anxiety it could indirectly apply to anger, I guess, in that I’ve read descriptions of depression as “anger turned inward”.  God knows how we are made/wired and certainly understands our weaknesses.  If He has given us a standard to live by then He will also give us the ability to live by it, even if it is only by strength that comes through Him.

One part of the above passage that is a great comfort to me is that God acknowledged, via his angel, that “the journey is too much for you” and He directly supplied what was needed to enable Elijah to then be prepared to undertake that significant journey ahead.  Although the passage may be somewhat ambiguous it is at least possible that this divinely provided physical sustenance is what enabled him to travel 40 days & 40 nights, as in possibly without any other food during that time.  Regardless, God Himself, via his angel, provided just what Elijah needed in order to continue on his important journey.  Won’t He do no less for us if we truly seek Him?

Lord, please give us wisdom as to how to proceed with the issues surrounding our “case”. May our words and actions be pleasing to you and in accordance with your will.  Would you please make a way, where there seems to be no way, that we may see Josiah’s needs met and our many issues and concerns addressed.  Please lead us to the right people, information, scriptures, organizations, and actions to have these complex situations sorted out in a manner that Glorifies You and is also for Josiah’s (and our family’s) greatest good.  I ask these things in the Mighty, Matchless, & Glorious Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Val’s Day & the Giving & Receiving of Names

Ok, technically it’s Valentine’s Day…but there’s just a bit of enjoyment by using this shortened moniker when your name also happens to be Valerie…

So I’m not actually much for celebrating this seemingly made up for Hallmark coffers “holiday”…but I’m all for the celebration of love!  And apart from the Love of the Lord there is no greater love than that of a family…and being the perpetual family historian for my own clan has lent a measure of appreciation for our names, their meanings (actual or folkloric), and the line stretching back into our personal, familial, ancestral past.

Given that my birthday is a half week off from Valentine’s Day I’ve always wondered if the proximity of that holiday influenced my parents in their naming of me…hmm?

Valerie means (at least this is the meaning I “remember” & assign to it now) “strong in body and mind; persistent, will succeed”…and that perceived meaning has provided a measure of comfort and perseverance during difficult seasons in my life.

Lynn, my middle name (that I really wish were spelled “Lynne”) means “clear, light, water from a brook”…and since my mother’s name is Elaine, it also seems like a shade/flavor take on her own name…

Stoddard, my maiden name, has at least one folkloric meaning from some of the genealogical books I’ve consulted.  In the legendary past this surname apparently applied to the Standard Bearer, and supposed cousin, of William the Conqueror.  Stoddard was a time modified distortion of “de la standard”.  Some genealogical tomes completely refute that potentially folkloric meaning.  The less romantic origin may be that of “stud-herd” as in the keeper of the horses.  I’ve often chosen (in the rare times I contemplate the meaning of my birth surname) to consider the “standard bearing” “origin” to be more meaningful, and this especially so being quite informed by my faith and the need to represent Christ, being in a manner of speaking a “standard bearer” for the King of Kings–the True Conqueror.

My husband, Michael, has a name with more spiritual roots, “one who is like God”.  It is interesting that when he was born his mother, who was Not a Believer at that time (nor, presumably, was his father) chose to “dedicate him to the Lord”…since she really had no idea of what that might entail nor did she have any sort of plan to raise him in the “fear and admonition of the Lord”.  Michael has in many ways lived up to his name in that he makes it a regular practice to submit his human/fleshly side to the Lordship of Jesus and in many ways is thus enabled to embody Christ to his family.

Michael’s middle name, Ellsworth, is also shared by my father, and our firstborn son, Nathaniel.  I don’t carry an “Ellsworth” meaning in my back pocket, so at some point I’ll perhaps supplement this post with a collection of some of the “meanings” available online.

When Michael and I were first getting to know each other we ended up having a conversation about our names and in particular middle names.  He wanted me to guess his middle name based on the initial “E”.  After entertaining several of the “usual suspects” like Edward or Eugene I ultimately said (with the half squint eye that is a Stoddard family inheritance) “it wouldn’t be Ellsworth would it?”  Michael was dumbfounded as no one in his entire life had Ever correctly guessed his name.  In an interesting twist, it actually turned out that we Both had fathers named “William Ellsworth”.

Tracing the Ellsworth name passage throughout our different lineages has been one of the interesting rabbit trails to indulge in periodically.  In fact I was eventually able to discover that Michael’s grandfather also bore the Elsworth middle name, though apparently with only one “l”…it’s is nearly “confirmed” that his great grandfather also carried that same name.  I am still actively pursuing that “Ellsworth/Elsworth” line of inquiry to see if it will lead any place interesting…and it would ultimately be interesting if it were possible to discover the origin in both our families…if that is even possible.

Our son, Nathaniel Ellsworth, and his girlfriend (and likely soon-to-be fiancee) have already discussed the passing on of the Ellsworth tradition.  They are currently planning to gift “Ellsworth” to the next generation should the Lord decide to grace their expected union with a son…

Here’s the current progression of Ellsworth in both our families:

William Ellsworth Curren

Clarence Elsworth Curren

William Ellsworth Curren

Michael Ellsworth Curren

Nathaniel Ellsworth Curren—future baby Ellsworth Curren, God willing

Valerie Lynn Stoddard Curren

William Ellsworth Stoddard

Elzine Munger Stoddard

William Ellsworth Stoddard

(I wish you could see the above names in the formation in this post creation…it involved indenting each succeeding generation so that Nathaniel and his theoretical future son were the tip of the arrow with all of our successive names the angled cutting edge of the weapon.  Given how the Bible refers to children being arrows in the quivers of their father this visual representation seems particularly apropos)…

Psalm 127:4-5 New International Version (NIV)

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+127:4-5&version=NIV

 

As you can see, Nathaniel has two grandfathers and two great, great grandfathers named “William Ellsworth”, though obviously with different surnames.  On the Curren side, the Ellsworth naming is unbroken while on the Stoddard side it is an every other generation practice…

When we were having children and during the course of giving them names we often would look to “baby books” on the meanings of names to help inform our decision.  In fact, prior to Nathaniel’s birth, we had actually “planned” on naming him “Brandon”.  As an aside I was almost named “Holly” and our daughter was almost named “Brianna” or “Patience Helanne”.  Anyway, Michael recalls that the hospital staff put “Brandon” on the bassinet label after Nathaniel’s birth, but before we had “officially” named him and filled out the required paperwork.  In a sadly ironic way we actually were reading baby names on the hospital discharge plastic bag (for carrying home the sitz bath paraphernalia, among other things) when we saw “Nathaniel” and its meaning “Gift of God”…and it fit and stuck…

Brandon, our second son, has a name meaning “beacon on a hill, a sword or a flame”.  His middle name, Emmanuel, means “God with us” and was also the middle name of my mother’s father, John Emmanuel Koski.

Josiah, Brandon’s twin brother, our third son has a name meaning “God will heal and protect”.  We did not specifically recall that meaning when we named the twins, though we tentatively agreed to call them B & J.  We made the final decision over the phone, while I was in the hospital and the twins were both in the NICU following a deliberate premature delivery at 33 1/2 weeks to “get the little guy out before he dies”–to quote the high risk neonatalogist/OB overseeing myself and the twins.  Michael was adamant that “we should call the little guy Josiah”.  Given the myriad medical and other challenges that ensued (and will likely fill Many Future Postings here) this name’s meaning was both providential and comforting.  Josiah carries my maiden name, Stoddard, as his middle name; so even though I am my parents’ only daughter I was still able to pass along the Stoddard name to the next generation.

Our daughter, and last child, is named Clarissa, which, I believe, means “clear, light, a babbling brook” so in a fashion, and more artistically and subtly naming her, to some degree, after my middle name, which follows loosely from my mother’s name’s meaning as well.  Clarissa’s middle name, Chantelle means “a stone or a song”.  Given my mother’s perpetual love for vocal music and lifelong pursuit of the same this name also obliquely honors her and her life.  The “Patience Helanne” possibility saw “Helanne” invented by me as a way to honor both of Clarissa’s grandmothers, Elaine & Anne.

My parents liked to link their initials together, WES & EEK to make WE SEEK.  This was reflective of their desire to seek the things of the Lord, a primary focus of their lives.

My paternal grandparents combined their names, Elzine & Vivian into El Viva…which was Latin, I believe, for “the life”.  They drew this “El Viva” into the cement pad they installed in the yard of their Northern Michigan Cottage (The Cottage) as the foundation for a river rock stone fireplace that were apparently being constructed near ubiquitously in their neighborhood in that era.  Several years ago my youngest brother, Michael, led the efforts to deconstruct the crumbling fireplace and re-purpose its stones into a glorious fire pit that now sees persistent use, unlike the former fireplace that was mostly a surface upon which to lay things.  The concrete pad with “El Viva” still survives and is sometimes used to support a picnic table in the summer.

Seeing “El Viva” when visiting The Cottage stirs warm memories and thoughts in my heart.  It is a tangible reminder of their love and vitality that continues to live on in the veins and hearts of their natural, and to some degree spiritual, descendants.  We still leave my grandfather’s name “E. M. Stoddard” on the rural mailbox label/sign even though he’s been dead nearly 3 decades.  There are times when Cottage conversations turn nostalgic and my father can speak of his father in the present tense, as if he were in fact actually still there.  In so many ways my grandpa’s essence so permeates The Cottage it can seem like he’s just been there…from the eternal perspective, that our lives are but a vapor, in a sense it is just as if he only just stepped out…

Back to names, and Finally wrapping up today’s posting…Curren means “hero”.  This is a meaning that may be frequently reinforced within our family.  I often call Michael “my hero” or tell my kids because they are “Currens” they are “heroes”.  This can be a reminder as to how to conduct themselves during times of intense stress, pressure, or conflict.

The meaning of names is significant.  There are cultures who keep names secret as a way to protect the perceived/presumed power of a person.  Names don’t have to either limit or define us, but they seem to, at least to the degree we may be aware of their “meaning”, influence us.  There is a bit of mystery here.  Is it a part of “self-fulfilling prophecy”, or do names impact how people treat us.  Would “Norma” have gone as far if she hadn’t changed to “Marilyn Monroe” or “Marian” has he not turned to “John Wayne”?  Hmm…

Here’s a couple of relevant biblical passages (copied from Biblegateway.com):

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
It seems that our “true name” is only one that can be bestowed by our Heavenly Father.  I’d like to think that my husband and I cooperated in God’s plan for our children’s lives in choosing names well suited to assist them in the unique and difficult journey of life.  My own name “persistent, will succeed” has at times given me that slight nudge to not give up and that tenacity has been a vital resource to endure and at times overcome some of the brutal realities life has seen fit to throw my way.  By God’s Grace and Favor this overcoming and persistence shall continue especially during these challenging & overwhelming times.
Obviously this is well more than enough for today, Val’s Day…a day for Love & Remembrances.  Thanks for reading and riding along a bit here.  God Bless YOU…may He grant you True Love…especially that which comes directly from Him.
Valerie