Archive | September 2012

Jesus and Emotions ~ Emotions Part II

Many people believe that you are sinning when you have certain negative emotions. Most emotions are not sinful; it is what you do with your feelings that can be sinful. Christ experienced emotions. Our emotions can be a great motivator when we know what to do with them.

It saddens my heart when someone is oppressed or depressed and a Christian will tell them that all they need is more faith or they need to trust God more. Faith and trust are important, but that alone does not get to the root of the emotion. Those Christians make the situation worse instead of better. Sometimes, a person just needs an encouraging word or help correcting the situation that is causing the depression. At times, the depression is caused by a chemical unbalance in the brain and medication is necessary. Other times, a person’s lifestyle is causing the depression and that person does not see the connection between the depression and their lifestyle. When it is a person’s lifestyle, we need to help the person see what is on the other side if they will make the proper changes.

Often times, people are thought of as crazy when they suffer mentally, causing people not to seek help when they need to. We, as Christians, need to let people know that emotions are there to tell them something and then help them walk through their situations. We need to let people know they do not need to be ashamed to seek help.

God Himself has emotions. He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5). He alone is to be worshipped. Just as there is a place reserved only for your spouse, there is an intimate place that is reserved only for God. When another enters that place, there is a righteous jealousy. God gets angry. Psalm 7:11 says, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Why does He get angry, He gets angry because of what comes from wickedness. Verse 14 in the same chapter tells us why God is angry, “Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.” God knows that sin and falsehood bring pain. He does not want to see people in pain. Emotions say, “Things are out-of-order, something is wrong or things are going as they should.”

Christ also experienced a number of different emotions. The difference between man and Christ is that Christ never allowed His emotions to rule or control Him. Here are a few examples:

  • Anger (John 2:15-17; Matthew 21:12) ~ Why was Christ angry? He was angry because people were using the temple for their own gain instead of what the temple was intended for, a house of prayer. The anger motivated Him to take care of the problem and make the temple a place of prayer and worship once again.
  • Compassion (Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 20:29-34) ~ Why did Christ have compassion? He had compassion because He saw hurting and lost people. What did He do with His feeling? He healed the sick and died a brutal death to reunite us to the Father.
  • Anxiety (Mark 14:32-42; John 12:27-28) ~ Remember that Christ took on a human form. He experienced pain. He was getting ready to go through more than any human would ever face (emotionally, He was mocked and made fun of; physically, He was beaten beyond recognition, and died a brutal death; spiritually, He was going to become sin so we could become righteous). Wow! He had to work through that in order to make it to the other side. What did He do with that emotion? He sought His Father’s face in prayer and then proceeded to accomplish God’s Will for His life on earth! That thought blows me away every time I think about it and fills me with thanksgiving.
  • Joy (Luke 10:1-24) ~ Christ was sending people out to do the work of God. They came back filled with joy because of how God used them. That brought joy to Christ? Why? It brought Him joy because the people were doing what they were supposed to be doing.
  • Forsaken (Matthew 27:45-50) ~ In Christ’s darkest hour, He must have felt like God had forsaken (means to renounce or turn away from completely) Him. God had to allow this dark hour because it was going to birth the most wonderful gift (eternal life for those who trust in what Christ did on that cross; Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”).

If you have a little time, look up each passage, and pay close attention to the emotion Jesus was experiencing. Think about the situation that caused the emotion, and what was Jesus’ response to the emotion. Doing this will give you a deeper understanding to the importance of getting to the root of your emotions and knowing how to process them correctly.

If you are experiencing emotions and you do not know what to do with them, please seek godly counsel (Proverbs 12:15; 19:20). If you do not know where to start, please leave a message below or email me @ lsvacha@sbcglobal.net and I will try to lead you to some wise counsel. Please do not feel ashamed. God uses others to set the captive free. Allow God to set you free from the bondage of your emotions.

Let’s be a part of changing the stigma that goes along with mental counsel. Counsel is a wonderful thing. It heals the mind and soul.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Understanding Emotions ~ Emotions Part I

In a previous blog, I talked about helping your children deal with their emotions. Today, I would like to cover what emotions are and why we have them. We can see by the amount of killings going on in our country that people do not know what to do with their emotions, so they react to them. It is important to work through your emotions so that you do not react negatively to them. This is the first of many blogs. I will cover different emotions to help you understand their purpose and how to process each emotion in a positive way.

Humans experience a number of different emotions: Love, joy, peace, anger, hurt, betrayal, humiliation, fear, compassion, grief, depression, and many more. I like how Mary Kurus divides emotions into two categories: love and fear. Fear emotions are: anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, hurt, inadequacy, confusion, loneliness, guilt, and shame. Love emotions are: joy, happiness, caring, trust, compassion, truth, contentment, satisfaction.

Emotions are a state of feeling. They are a conscious mental reaction toward a specific object or situation. Like gauges on a dash board, they are there to let you know if your life is running smoothly or if there is a problem. Some examples are: Someone wrongs you, you experience hurt or anger; your husband brings you flowers, you are filled with joy; a very close love-one is killed, you experience extreme grief and sorrow. Emotions are normal reactions to everyday life situations.

The brain is an amazing organ. The hypothalamus is one of the busiest parts of the brain. Its job is to keep the body at a “set point.” It regulates breathing, blood pressure, pulse and arousal in response to emotional circumstances. When there is danger, the hypothalamus sends out messages to the body so the body can react appropriately. When there is fear, your heart will start beating faster, your blood pressure will rise, etc. This allows you to react quickly to a situation if necessary. The bad thing is that fear-based emotions cause chemicals to be released that can harm the body. You want to work through those emotions as soon as possible so that the body can go back to normal. Love-based emotions release chemicals that are good for the body. I found it interesting that love-based emotions are emotions that God encourages and fear-based emotions come from actions that are not godly or lack trust in God.

In order to work through your emotions, you must get to the root of the emotion and work on fixing the problem causing the emotion. I will give you examples on how to get to the root and work on the problem that is causing the emotion as I cover various emotions in future blogs.

Note: If you feel you have emotional swings, it is good to write down the emotions, the date, and what is currently going on in your life. For women, hormones can cause anxiety. Personally, I feel more anxious before my cycle begins. When the kids were younger and I had a lot going on, I would wake up feeling anxious. When that happened, I would let my husband know. If I started to become emotional, he knew not to get upset; instead, he would give me a hug. I still have an anxious feeling before I start, but it is not as intense. Another reason for charting your emotions is that you could discover that you have a disorder which requires medication. Many people are ashamed to be “labeled” with a disorder, but if something is physically going on in your brain, there is nothing to be ashamed about.

Today, if you are experiencing negative emotions, ask yourself, “What is the root cause of the emotion?” (something physical or a situation) “What do I need to do to correct the situation?” It may be good to talk with someone that can help you work through what is necessary to change the situation. If you do not have someone you can trust, you may want to seek counseling. (I will be giving examples in future blogs so you can understand how to work through your emotions)

Again, my goal is to help you understand different emotions and how to process them in a positive manner. The blogs on emotions are not to be used in place of counseling; they are to give you a better understanding of emotions and what to do with your emotions (which could be going to see a counselor).

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

September 10th ~ What That Date Means to Me

I look at September 10th in a whole new way as I think about the fact that on this day over 60 years ago my mother gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock. Abortion was not legal and the government did not provide food and housing to women so they could keep their children. My sister, Carol, was given to a family that desperately wanted children. My sister had a wonderful life growing up, currently has a beautiful family, and today I am privileged to call her my sister. I wonder if her life would have been different if my mother had the choices that are available today. I will never know the thoughts that went through my mother’s mind because she died before I found out she had given a daughter up for adoption. All I know is that I’m thankful that my mother chose to give her life because on this day not only do I get to celebrate the day of her birth, but many others who love her do, as well.

My mother grew up in a time when it was a shame and humiliation to get pregnant out of wedlock.  When her family found out she was pregnant, her mother and brother forced her to go away, have the baby, and place her up for adoption. If abortion was legal, would my mom have chosen an abortion so she wouldn’t have had to face the humiliation she did? My best friend in high school was faced with the same situation. Abortion was legal, even for minors without parental consent. Needless to say, not to suffer shame, she went and ended her child’s life. She never told her parents. She even went bowling that night so they wouldn’t suspect anything. Her child never had the opportunity to live, have a family, and touch people’s lives.

When my mother was in the rehabilitation center after having a stroke, she was having a very down day and I wanted to get her to smile. I asked her, “Mom, what was one of the happiest days of your life?” Her response was, “When my children were born.” When my mother died, the one word that best described her was LOVE. All of us children KNEW that my mom loved us. There were times when my mom suffered mentally and wasn’t able to take good care of me, but there was NEVER a time when I could say that my mom didn’t love me. Thinking about how much my mom loved her children, I wonder if my mom had the choice for the government to take care of her and my sister, would my mom have chosen to be a single-mother. If she was a single-mother would my sister have the life she has today? Looking at statistics, I don’t think so.

Research has found that in single-mother homes, children have a greater risk of falling into poverty, failing in school, being incarcerated, and suffering with emotional and behavioral problems such as drug and alcohol use. I know single moms and was a single mom. Believe me, the kids suffer even if aid is provided. I personally know many single moms who get aid from the government and sadly to say in most cases they abuse the help they get. Some have the father or another man living in the home, yet they still get government assistance. Some received food stamps and sell them for cash. Others take their check and use the money for drugs and alcohol. There are cases when ignorantly people made bad choices, want to turn their life around, are given help, and aid does make a difference. I am one of those cases and am thankful for the help I was given to get me on my feet. I am not judging people; I am stating facts and what I have seen with my own eyes. The current system does help some, but it also enables many.

We can see that having children out of wedlock is hard, no matter what the choice. The only way not to suffer the pain out-of-wedlock pregnancies produce is to teach young people to wait until they are married and ready to take on the responsibility of a family before they have sex. I wish someone would have shared abstinence with me. Even with government assistance, my children suffered. My children did not suffer because the government did not give me enough money; they suffered because of the choices I made. I pray that through my classes and my book, Pass God’s Legacy to Your Children: One Talk at a Time, that I will be able to be a part of educating parents and young people about abstinence and the option of adoption. Hopefully, educating more people about adoption will help many see what a wonderful option it is. One of my goals is to help young people who find themselves with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy see that there are people who will be there, not judging, to walk alongside of them through the adoption process and beyond. I pray that many lives will be saved because more people will be educated about adoption.

I cannot imagine the pain my mom went through on September 10th, the day she placed her daughter’s care into the hands of another. I often wonder why my sister looked for our mother after all these years only to miss, by just months, the chance to tell our mother what a wonderful life she had. Maybe, just maybe it was for me. Maybe it was so my conviction on sharing what a wonderful option adoption is could be deeply embedded in my heart. In May, I was able to spend a week with my sister. It was one of the best weeks of my life. We literally did not stop talking the whole week. She shared the life my mom allowed her to have and I shared with her the mother who gave her that chance to have the life she did and does have. I am thankful that I now can be a part of my sister’s life and witness firsthand the benefit of adoption. I want to be a part of encouraging women to give their children life and helping them see what a wonderful option adoption is.

Happy Birthday, Carol!!! Today I celebrate YOU and the life you have and I celebrate Mom for giving you the life she did. I love you both!

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Parenting Styles

We know that the goal of most parents is to teach their children to be respectful, responsible adults. That does not just happen. Good parenting takes a lot of work and planning. It takes a lot of TIME (a four letter word that a lot of parents do not want to hear). High-quality parenting may mean that parents have to sacrifice that television show or that night out. I’m not saying that you can never do those things, but if you are not there to talk and teach, who or what is? Are you willing to give up some things so that you can spend more time teaching and training your children?

There are different styles of parenting and only one gets the above results. Before I go over the styles, I want to review some things that I talked about in previous blogs. In Deuteronomy 6:6, God told parents to TEACH His commands to their children and TALK about them throughout the whole day. Proverbs 22:6 says to TRAIN a child in the way he should go. As I list the different facts about each style, ask yourself which one involves teaching, talking, and training. Diana Baumrind gave each style a name. I renamed them to make them easier to remember. My name is in parentheses.

Permissive/Neglectful (Whatever):

  • Allow their children to do basically what they want
  • Try to be more of a friend than parents
  • Do not sit down and give any real guidance
  • Usually conflict avoidant
  • They enable wrong behavior by bailing their children out of the consequences that go along with the behavior
  • They do not have good parenting skills
  • Teens usually make a lot of poor choices
  • Parents can have either a good or a poor relationship with their children

 Authoritarian (Military):

  • Rule based ~ High expectations of conformity ~ Demanding
  • Say things like, “It’s my way or the highway.” “Do it because I said so!”
  • Parents are not willing to explain the rules and boundaries
  • Parents do not offer much emotional support
  • Show conditional love and are not there to walk alongside their children when they make a mistake
  • Parents are not willing to get to the root of why their children think the way they do
  • They get an attitude if their children disagree with them
  • Parents usually have a poor relationship with their children
  • Children rebel against what parents want them to do

Authoritative (Teaching):

  • Give their children the right amount of rules and support
  • Expressing feelings and disagreements in a respectful manner are allowed and encouraged
  • Explain and discuss the rules and why they are in place
  • They listen to their children’s hearts ~ have empathy
  • Allow their children to make choices
  • Do not bail their children out of consequences of wrong choices, yet walk alongside them to help them learn from their mistakes
  • Parents show love to their children even when they are rebelling
  • Make their children feel loved instead of a burden
  • A relationship with their children is top priority (doesn’t mean they let them do what they want)
  • Children learn to problem-solve and make wise choices

You can see that Teaching parents spend a lot of time working with their children doing just what God commanded them to do, TEACH, TALK, and TRAIN. Start building a good relationship with your children. Spend good quality time together. When you do things together, there are always lessons to learn. Look for ways to encourage good behavior. Teaching your children how to make wise decisions does not just happen, it is taught. Give your children choices, talk about the pros and cons of those choices, and then let them decide. (Note: Do not allow them to do things that can harm them.) Love them and walk alongside them when they make mistakes, yet let them suffer consequences. Yes, being the Teaching parents takes a lot of time and work, but your investment will pay good dividends.

By: Linda Svacha:)