A Penny-wise thought…What’s in a Name?

Image result for picture I have called you by name

Isn’t that the statement! God has called us by our name and we are His.

I was curious: what does the name Penelope mean? I started by searching “What does Penelope mean?” and reading the descriptions. I suggest you do it for your own names too (don’t forget your middle name!). You might find some pleasant surprises.

Penelope means faithful, weaver, intelligent, wise. In Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope was the wife of Odysseus. She was faithful to him for the twenty years he was away. She kept suitors at bay by pretending she had to finish weaving a burial shroud for Odysseus’ father before she would choose a suitor. I like to weave stories.

People with this name have a deep inner desire to create and express themselves, often in public speaking, acting, writing or music. They also yearn to have beauty around them in their home and work environment.

People with this name are excellent at analyzing, understanding, and learning. They tend to be mystics, philosophers, scholars, and teachers. Because they live so much in the mind, they tend to be quiet and introspective, and are usually introverts. When presented with issues, they will see the larger picture. Their solitary thoughtfulness and analysis of people and world events may make them seem aloof, and sometimes even melancholy.

I can see myself in this description. Perhaps others who don’t have the name Penelope can see themselves as well!

Now, to turn this around, what names does God call us? We’re the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8), a friend of God (John 15:15),  God’s handiwork – or work of art, or masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), God’s treasure (Deuteronomy 7:6), His sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18), heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), and His beloved (Song of Solomon 2:16). Can you find more?

What’s in a name? A whole character description – from the names we were given at birth, to the names God has lovingly called us.

Enjoy your research!

Affectionately,

Penny

 

 

A Penny-wise thought…Thunderstorm!

In my part of the world, we are experiencing a heat wave. Temperatures of 35º to 45º Celsius with the humidex (95° to 113° Fahrenheit for my friends in other parts of the world). This is creating the right ingredients for a thunderstorm. Warm, moist, unstable air is rising and as it cools, it forms a cumulonimbus cloud, out of which comes a thunderstorm.  As you know, thunderstorms are characterized by sound and fury – the lightning causes a loud crack, or a deep rumble, and hail, fierce winds and tornadoes may be devastating. On the other hand, there may be no precipitation or fierce winds or tornadoes at all, and we are treated to a magnificent sound and light show. This is a time when we are in awe of God’s creativity.

What about the storms in our lives? In particular, what if someone becomes hot under the collar and tempers erupt? Is there a path of destruction as words that can never be retrieved are spoken, devastating those who are caught in this path? I knew someone long ago who said how much better she felt after she had “let off steam”. She may have felt better, but those upon whom her invectives were hurled certainly did not feel the better for it. It was alienating and hurtful.

What to do when tempers start to flare? Immediately separating oneself from the situation is an excellent move. I don’t know that counting to ten gives a long enough space between anger and action, unless one is accustomed to using it as a means to cool down. If a person cannot separate him or herself from the scene, and this pattern repeats itself over and over again, perhaps a long-term solution needs to be found. This could take the form of therapy, or a physical move. It doesn’t have to be forever – only until the person has his or her anger issues under control.

.A good discussion – and even a heated discussion – where no one is vilified can be productive. It’s all in how we say it.

The Apostle James has a very descriptive way of representing the power of the tongue:

James 3:3-6  “A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest  winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” (The Message)

In contrast, listen to the prayer of the Psalmist: Psalm 141:3 “Post a guard at my mouth, Godset a watch at the door of my lips.” (The Message)

May the thunder and lightning in your life be a dynamic source of creativity, rather than a source of destruction and devastation.

Affectionately,

Penny

A Penny-wise thought…Joy!

What is joy? It is not happiness. It is more deeply rooted than that. It is in our very wellsprings, something that bubbles up from beneath the surface. I may not be happy about my situation. In fact I can be angry, frustrated, sad…you name it. But I can feel joy.

Joy is a separate entity. Our babies give us joy. Victories give us joy. We sing joyful songs to the Lord for He is great. Creation sings for joy.

Joy is being able to feel good when everything else around us feels bad. It is the inexplicable sense that no matter how terrible our predicament is, we can still feel good. I believe optimism is rooted in joy.

Depression can mask joy, can thwart joy.  But we have the Comforter. Romans 8:26-27 says, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” Let the Holy Spirit pray for you if you have lost your joy.

Seek joy. Happiness is ephemeral. It is fleeting – sometimes here and sometimes not.  Joy will stand the test of time.

I welcome your comments!

Affectionately,

Penny

A Penny-wise thought…Divorce

I don’t mean divorce in the usual sense of the word. Not divorce between two people. I would that two people, when they say their vows to each other, would remain life-long friends, lovers, and soul-mates.

Are we married to a habit that is costing us too much, both financially and emotionally? Are we closely bound to something that is having a negative impact on our life? It could be a toxic relationship, or a way of life that is interfering with our overall quality of life.

It’s time to get a divorce! It’s time to distance ourselves from whatever is impeding us. We can say, thus far and no more! We can set firm boundaries! Psalm 104 expresses this in poetic language:

You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved.
You clothed the earth with floods of water,
    water that covered even the mountains.
At your command, the water fled;
    at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
Mountains rose and valleys sank
    to the levels you decreed.
Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
    so they would never again cover the earth.

Perhaps we feel we are trapped forever in whatever situation we find ourselves. Pray for separation, for escape, so that we can live whole lives, lives of peace and comfort. It’s not easy to disentangle ourselves from a destructive pattern. We need support.

Let me cheer you on, as you take steps towards freeing yourself.

As always, comments are welcome.

Affectionately,

Penny

 

A Penny-wise thought…book proposal

I have a book in the works, A Ledger of Tears. This title is taken from Psalm 56:8: “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book. (MSG)

I am shopping for publishers and agents. The brief synopsis of the book is this:

Catharine Roberts, a strong, independent, yet sensitive woman, is tormented by memories of her past. She comes to Jonathan Webster, a compassionate and insightful Christian therapist, for help to untangle the knots that bind her.

Jonathan helps Catharine to resolve the conflicts and to understand the dissonance she experiences in her relationships with her birth family. We discover that on top of everything Catharine has had to bear, she has Bipolar Disorder. Her trauma – and her disorder- spill over into her adult life, and we follow her experiences through good times and bad.  Catharine is steeped in scripture, and readily shares the passages that have meant the most to her during harrowing times.

Much as Jonathan likes and respects Catharine, the sanctity of the client/therapist relationship must not be broken. Is there a budding relationship?

So, dear friend, this is a tidbit of what A Ledger of Tears is all about. What follows? Tears of Joy!

I have processed a great deal through journalling. Perhaps you have found that journalling your path has been helpful. I strongly recommend it, for it brings clarity, and often helps resolve issues that are rattling around inside our brains 🙂

Affectionately,

Penny

A Penny-wise thought…Reconnoiter

reconnoiter
verb (used with object)
1.
to inspect, observe, or survey the enemy, the enemy’s strength, opposition, a region, etc. in order to gain information for military purposes.

2.
to examine or survey (a region, area, etc.) for engineering, geological, or other purposes.

verb (used without object)

3.
to make reconnaissance.

Armies on the march need time to rest. Rest is essential. If it’s not part of our routine, our minds and bodies will protest in unmistakeable ways. If we don’t heed the warnings, we will shut down in unexpected ways. Our march forward will be anything but efficient.
This holds true for everyone, whether Bipolar or not, but perhaps especially if one has Bipolar Disorder.

Sometimes the best strategy is to retreat and then attack from a different position. Going backwards to go forwards? Retreating to advance? We may have to go back to square one in order to regain our bearings, collect ourselves, and set out with a renewed purpose and sense of mission. During the course of this exercise, we may come to the realization that this particular battle doesn’t need to be fought at all. We have reconnoitred – surveyed the territory – and come to a decision. Then it’s a matter of informing the troops. If they protest and disagree, well, we are the ones in charge. It is our health and resources that are at stake.

What tactics work in one set of manoeuvres may not work in another. Again, taking time out to reconnoiter may save a great deal of frustration.

There are at least three options. You may think of more.
1. Decide not to proceed.
2. Decide to proceed as planned, fully cognizant of the contingencies involved.
3. Decide to head in a different direction, if that suits the objectives.
What is the objective? To achieve our goals, to enhance our quality of life, to??? you fill in the blank.

What is amazing is that we don’t have to fight our battles alone. We have an awesome Commander-in-Chief who promises to march by our side. At times we don’t have to fight at all, for the victory is the Lord’s.

One of my favourite stories is found in 2 Kings 7. The people of Israel are besieged by the Syrians, who are camped outside the walls of the city. The price of food has gone through the roof. Four lepers decided to surrender themselves to the enemy, in the hopes that their lives may be spared and that they will be fed. If not,well, they were doomed to die anyhow. What happened when they entered the enemy camp? They found a treasure trove of loot and animals, but no enemy! God had caused the enemy to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses – the noise of a great army. The enemy ran for their lives. No one struck a single blow! The famine was over. A fine example of God fighting on behalf of His people.

Take time to take stock. Reconnoiter what’s ahead of you. Make an informed choice about next steps. May your march forward be rewarding!

Affectionately,

Penny

Source: reconnoiter. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved January 31, 2018 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/reconnoiter