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Hello again friend! Remember about a year and a half ago I asked everyone to pray for me as I embarked on a new adventure. I was beginning an online Emergency Chaplain course and had no idea where it would take me. Then, I pretty much disappeared from the world of blogging. Sorry about that. It was harder than I expected to add a class to my routine and I completely underestimated the amount of mental exhaustion it would cause.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for me! Your prayers gave me courage to walk into the unknown, trusting that God would be there every step of the way, guiding me and helping me through the Holy Spirit. Your prayers helped me to be in the moment, seeking God where I was, not worrying about what I was to do with what He was walking me through. Your prayers helped me focus on all the information given to me, without many distractions…..SQUIRREL!
I began the journey of studying to become a First Responder Chaplain because that’s what my husband is. He was a paramedic before I met him and a Deputy Sheriff when we met. I thought it would be nice to come along side him to help the spouses of the First Responders he assists, especially because I have been one for 18 years.
God has not chosen to use me in this capacity, yet, but wow, has it given me some great perspective. I believe God used this part of my chaplain training to teach me compassion for my husband and what he does. I was seriously lacking in this area. I have always believed that his ability to help others as a Chaplain was a gift from God, but now I have a deep love and respect for him and what he goes through each and every day, regardless of the pain and agony it may cause him.
If you have any interest in becoming an Emergency Services Chaplain, I highly recommend this online program run by Robby Jernigan.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:20-21
Let me back up a bit. I had my first taste of Chaplain training in February of 2016 when my husband suggested I take a 3-day class taught by icisf (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation), which was being sponsored by KLOVE at no cost. It was on Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention. I really didn’t think I belonged there amongst all the Nurses, Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Counselors, but found the information extremely helpful with everyday interaction with people. I’m not a Counselor, Nurse, Fire Fighter or Police Officer and I come across broken hurting people everyday.
July of 2016 is when I began the Emergency Services Chaplain Training courses. I studied Emergency Services, Christian Chaplaincy, Emergency Services Chaplaincy, Death Notification and Related Issues (this is what my husband does quite often), Psychological First Aid, CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) and Ministry to a Suicidal Subject. There are many more classes offered through this training center that will take you deeper into the life of a Police Officer, Fire Fighter, etc. but I hear enough first had from the work my husband does, so I didn’t go any further.
Then in January of 2017 I took an online class through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), an Introduction to the Incident Command System. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but I did find it very interesting.
As I was busy processing all of this information and trying to figure out what I would do with it, if anything, God opened a door, for more training! I signed up for a Church Compassion Team Chaplaincy Class put on by Educational Ministries in Rocklin, CA. This class was once a week from 6:00 – 10:00pm for 8 weeks followed by a Graduation Ceremony. This class was about an hour away, but I signed up with a friend, so we made it into a weekly fun and educational outing. We took turns driving, which was nice, and started each trip with dinner and dessert before heading to class. Dessert was the highlight of each trip, oh and of course the silly conversations that would come about each week.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~Philippians 2:13
I’m thankful God has given me the opportunity to train as a Chaplain and trust God will enable me to use this training when He sees fit. It was an amazing and fun experience bulking up my brain. More importantly, it’s helped me gain a greater respect for all First Responders; Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Dispatchers, Nurses, Doctors and Counselors. They have extremely difficult jobs and are on high alert 24/7 with your well being in mind. If you know someone in one of these positions, please find a way to express your appreciation of who they are and what they do.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the amazing men and women you call into the roles of First Responders. I pray we would see them through Your eyes and treat them with respect, compassion, kindness and love, Amen.
I’ve been on a journey of writing a book for almost two years now. It’s a story about my 2nd marriage and our family, before during and after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I never thought it would be this difficult. Getting the story and all the details I felt were important out of my head and onto paper seemed like quit the task. I started with a timeline of the events I thought were important. Then I began to add in the details. The who, what, when, where, how and why?
After accomplishing that daunting task I knew it needed a lot of clean up. If you’ve ever heard me talk you know I’m a babbler. Well, I babble on paper too. So I found a ghost writer who helped me tie it up in a nice pretty bow.
The only problem is my life wasn’t, isn’t and never will be a nice pretty bow. It needed to be covered with stains, rips and tears before it could maybe partially resemble our marriage. I didn’t try and paint our marriage or family as perfectly good normal people. I walk you through some devastating and difficult times in our marriage that will cause you to dislike us at times. After reading the finished product I knew it lacked something, but thought it was good enough. I wanted people to know how God changed our lives, our marriage and our family. I thought the book did a good enough job doing that so I was ready to for the next step.
Why wasn’t I excited to finally be done? Maybe because I had worked on it so long I was just ready to be done. Maybe I’m scared about putting my life out on display for all to judge me and my family.
The past month or so I’ve continually come across scripture and had discussions with others regarding giving your best to God regardless of what man says. For example:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~ Colossians 3:23-24
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.” ~ Matthew 22:37
Between God’s Word and a few friends, I’ve realized I wasn’t giving God my best. I don’t just want people to know what I went through, I hope they will feel what I went through.
Why is it so hard to deal with our feelings? Why do they have such control over us? Feelings make me feel so out of control, vulnerable and weak. I can’t think clearly and have a hard time controlling my actions and words when I let my feelings out. It seems easier to keep them tucked away so others won’t see how broken, confused and hurt I feel at times.
I find it easy to express being happy or excited. You smile and walk with confidence and a skip in your step. You want the world to see you when you’re happy or excited. I find it difficult to express feeling sad, angry, disappointed, panic, sorrow, embarrassment or disgust, to name a few. I’m worried my reaction won’t be acceptable to others and this could cause an awkward moment. It might make me look stupid, over emotional, insensitive, dramatic or awful. Who wants that?! I’m often told by others I look calm, content, peaceful or relaxed. To be honest, on the inside I’m running in circles, screaming with my hands flailing about.
I’m now going back through by book one section at a time. Thankfully with the help of a few friends (and maybe a glass of wine or two). I’m going to try and unpack the feelings I stuffed deep inside and allow myself to feel them before capturing it on paper. Feelings are so exhausting and emotionally draining. I would appreciate your prayers. Prayers that I courageously face my true feelings and to persevere through the pain, frustration and exhaustion of facing them.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for the gift of feelings. I pray we each seek You, not ourselves or others when struggling to face our true feelings, Amen