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September 30, 2014 - Leave a Response

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All for the King,
Barb

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in 
good health, just as your soul prospers.
3 John 2

Barbara A. Long LISW-S
Creator of: How to Fund Your God-Given Ministry Without Having to Beg,
Borrow, or Steal (from your own purse) Workbooks and Program
http://spiritual-vistas.com/fund-your-god-given-ministry/

Poem: The “Patchwork Quilt” of our lives… (Esther 4:14 )

August 5, 2014 - One Response

So often in the middle of those red, black and dark blue times we forget the entire pattern. Thanks for the reminder.

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

Beautiful handmade,
Patchwork Quilts…
Made over time,
and precisely built.

Made with pieces of cloth,
various patterns or lines.
remind me of people’s lives,
representing periods of time.

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Brokenness… The Turning Point in Our Lives

July 31, 2014 - One Response

When you feel beaten down and broken by life.

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

This poem is for all who have been struggling with life and it’s many challenges. It is in our brokenness that we realize that we can not overcome this world alone.

Brokenness…
is the turning point in our lives.
When we know GOD IS THE KEY…
and this realization finally arrives.

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Moving from Manna to Maturity in Ministry

July 29, 2014 - Leave a Response

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God is calling us to a new season. In the past many small ministries led by women have survived by having fund-raisers, asking for donations, borrowing, or reaching into their own purses (begging, borrowing, and stealing). However, the times are changing and God is taking us into new ways of supporting our God-given ministries. I want to look at two times in the Bible God called for a similar shift from His people.

The first is in the book of Joshua. The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years after refusing to walk in faith into the land of promise. During those 40 years God had provided food for them in the form of manna. Now finally, God was bringing the Israelites into their finest hour. They crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land! After they crossed into the land, God said it was time to circumcise the males, to restore an ancient tradition that the Hebrews had not completed for 40 years. While still there they celebrated Passover. On the very next day they ate of the fruit of the land and there was no more manna.

The second time is in Luke 22, starting in verse 35. Shortly before He was killed, Jesus asked His disciples, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals did you lack anything?” They answered, “Nothing.” (Luke 23:35-36). However, Jesus then told them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag…”

In Joshua, God took the Hebrews through a season of manna, a time of small victories against the enemy, a time of growing dependency on God so they could be ready to boldly enter the promised land.

In Luke Jesus was challenging the disciples to a similar type of growth. While there is a prophetic fulfillment to this passage another thing happening is Jesus was changing the way they went on missionary journeys. Now they were to carry a purse and a bag. They would now need money to carry on the work of the Master. Paul continued this new style of ministry as seen in 2 Thes 3:8-10.

In both situations, the previous experiences had been practical lessons to build faith. Just as the previous methods of begging, borrowing, and stealing (from our own purses) built faith in many ministry leaders. However, just like in the situations above, I believe God is calling us into a greater maturity.

He is calling us to move from being fed to fully partnering with Him and walking in our destinies. Are you finding that the ways you have done things in the past are no longer working to support your God-given ministry?  What are you doing to help you enter into the land God has promised you in your ministry? Comment below or on my social media sites.

If you are stuck, and can’t figure out how to fund your God-given ministry, I can help.

Written by Barbara A. Long LISW-S

All materials in this blog are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in any manner without prior written permission from Barbara A. Long, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content.  You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. You may link back to this blog.

www.BarbaraLong-LISW.com

www.spiritual-vistas.com

 

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Walls of Blocks

July 17, 2014 - Leave a Response

Walls. I saw many towers around me which were my works. They were works of ministry, business. They were so tall and beautiful. I imagined they protected me and showed the world how wonderful God is.

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Then I took a position in Christ in the heavenlies in Christ, looking down. I saw those towers as kids’s blocks, and I recognized the only reason they looked tall was because I was laying on my belly to play with them. In reality, they were totally insignificant by themselves.

I was faced with a choice. I could I chose to trust God as my shield round about me and quit striving to grow my works, or I could stay on the floor, hiding behind these little towers pretending they had significance. I stood tall, wrapped in the cocoon of His light and protection, no longer needing those little towers. And the result was that God’s glory shone through me, into and through all those little towers and illuminated the world beyond.

Do you get to feeling safe behind your walls of blocks? Share on FB @Barb Long at Spiritual Vistas

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 2 Corinthians 4:7a

Written by: Barbara A. Long LISW-S

 

 

Reprint Permission– If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

  1. Reprinted with permission from Barbara A. Long LISW-S with a link back to this blog ___________, (Copyright, 2012-2013) To subscribe to my newsletter for valuable information on upcoming events and current special offers

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Is God Calling You to Immediate Obedience?

June 10, 2014 - Leave a Response

 

 

Sometimes God calls for radical and IMMEDIATE obedience. In Deut 1 Moses is recounting the history of the Hebrews in the wilderness. Starting in verse 19 Moses tells of how when the people came to Kadesh-barnea. The people demanded spies before entering the land. Moses complied. Then the people refused to go because they were afraid of the people in the land. Moses called that rebellion. He could have said your fear held you back, but no, he called it REBELLION! God viewed it as rebellion and said none of the adults would then enter the promised land because of their rebellion.

By verse 41 the people had repented and said they were willing to be obedient. They confessed their sin. God, through Moses told them the time had passed and they were not to go now. However, in an attempt to recapture the blessing of God they tried to take the land. They were defeated.

God had already removed His hand of protection and blessing for them to enter Canaan and overcome their enemies. There are times the window of blessing is small. The people moved forward with the original command, but now it was too late. If they had faced that first battle when called they would not have had to spend 40 years in the wilderness so the old man could die off.

Is God calling you to move forward in something in your God-given ministry? Move when He calls, because His timing is perfect. Tomorrow may be too late.

Written by Barbara A. Long LISW-S

All materials in this blog are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in any manner without prior written permission from Barbara A. Long, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content.  You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. You may link back to this blog.

 

Zombie Desires

May 13, 2014 - Leave a Response

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I have noticed that in some Christian circles there is much talk about denial of self. Certainly, Jesus calls us to deny self, take up our cross and follow Him. However, I have a problem when that concept is taken so far as to tell people we must deny all our desires.

Desire is not wrong. In fact, there are more problems when we deny a desire. Now I don’t mean we are to give in to all desires. But sometimes when a desire is not fulfilled we bury it deep inside. We dig a deep hole in our hearts. We place that desire in that deep hole and call it dead. The problem is that the desire in us was birthed by God Himself. So it doesn’t die down in that hole we dug. We have only buried it alive.

When something comes along that seems to be the fulfillment of that desire we feel fear because that desire rising up more in us is a like a zombie, like the living dead. When faced with this zombie some people will continue to deny the desire. “It doesn’t matter to me if I see the fulfillment of this desire. I have given it to God,” they tell themselves. But like the zombies depicted on horror movies the buried desire keeps moving forward. It is in this type of situation that people find themselves pursuing things not of God, because this zombie desire pushes them forward, seemingly against their wills. Affairs are started because of a desire for a relationship. People are hurt by a controlling individual because of a desire to shepherd, or teach. Money is stolen because of a desire to do something where there is insufficient funds.

Instead, God calls us to hold that desire, to experience it. He wants us to live with it, even nurture it as we walk in submission to Him. So that when the time comes for Him to reveal the manifestation of it, we can fully rejoice in the goodness of our God to meet our every longing.

What desire have you buried inside of you?

Written by: Barbara A. Long LISW-S

Reprint Permission– If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

Reprinted with permission from Barbara A. Long LISW-S with a link back to this blog ___________, (Copyright, 2012-2013) To subscribe to my newsletter for valuable information on upcoming events and current special offers

Sign up for my counseling newsletter by visiting www.BarbaraLong-LISW.com

Sign up for my Women Warriors newsletter by visiting www.spiritual-vistas.com

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Women Warriors for Jesus

February 13, 2014 - Leave a Response

Women Warrior

 

You live in that place where it is supposed to be safe. You create a sense of safety for others, but few (if any) can offer it back to you.

You take your strength from Jesus. You are utterly dependent upon Him.

Even so, at times you feel overwhelmed, isolated or weary.

You long for communion with other sold out, blood bought Women Warriors walking this journey of a life for Christ.

Women Warriors serve Jesus in many ways: Pastor, Pastor’s Wife, Ministry Leader, Business Owner, Life Coach.

We are sold out, blood bought Women Warriors of Christ with our eyes set on Jesus whom we follow no matter the cost. Along the way we battle for others in prayer, in exhortation and encouragement. We often carry scars from the attacks of those we have served.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4: 8-10)

Women Warriors are often isolated even when surrounded by many. There are few we can be brutally honest with, and even fewer on whom we can can rely on to hold us accountable, challenge us, to call us into the deeper things of God.

Women Warriors are surrounded by many who either idolize us, or find fault in all we do. It seems there are hardly any who see us as simply women with a heart on fire for the Kingdom of God.

Women Warriors need support in a safe context. We need a circle of sisters to keep us accountable, to walk with us when we are overwhelmed, to be a listening ear, to hold us up when we are weary, and to spur us on to all God has created us to be. We need a place to be healed, connected, and empowered.

Spiritual Vistas has been called to create a place of healing, restoration, empowerment for Women Warriors for Jesus. There will be changes in the current website to reflect the changes. The counselling website will be moved to a new domain. In order to learn more sign up for my Women’s Warriors Newsletter

http://forms.aweber.com/form/96/1487011496.htm

Written by Barbara A. Long LISW-S

All materials in this blog are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in any manner without prior written permission from Barbara A. Long, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content.  You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

 

 

Supporting Others Through Trauma

January 21, 2014 - Leave a Response

I have been busy lately, REALLY BUSY.  One of the things I have been so busy with is preparing for a virtual Expo called They Busy Woman’s Toolbox Expo. Here is a little blurb about that.

The Busy Woman’s Toolbox Expo
March 18-19, 2014

Busy, busy, busy! Does that describe your life? It describes the lives of most women. I have a treat for you! Being a woman has its special, lovely quirks. Along with those lovely quirks are special needs, unique to us as women. On March 18-19, 2014 Spiritual Vistas Counseling and Services is hosting an incredible virtual free Expo called The Busy Woman’s Toolbox Expo. Get valuable advice on topics important to you from experts who do the work every day. The information provided will be excellent additions to the Toolbox of your mind to help you solve real life problems you face.  I will be adding more information as speakers confirm. The presenters will be experts in their fields and will be coming to a computer, tablet or smart phone near you with free information you will want to know!

And not only do you get access to all this GREAT information targeted to the special needs of women like you, each speaker will gift you with a free resource too-filled with pertinent information for you!

Keep your eyes on this http://www.spiritual-vistas.com for updates. I will be talking about dealing with anxiety from a Biblical perspective.

I know I haven’t been posting here as much because my time is so pulled by the upcoming Expo, a devotional I am doing for women who struggle with anxiety, and advanced training I am doing in bringing together evidence based clinical skills with Christian inner healing. So I admit I am taking the easy way out by sharing someone else’s article. David Brooks talks about supporting others through trauma in “The Art of Presence.” Enjoy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/opinion/brooks-the-art-of-presence.html?_r=4

Blessings,

Barb

When PTSD Crashes Your Holiday Plans

December 18, 2013 - Leave a Response

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For many the holiday season is a time of year filled with happy family memories and expectations of a joyous season. It is a season full of expectations. Everyone expects you to say you are looking forward to family gatherings, and after they are over you are expected to say you have more happy memories. Your family expects you for holiday gatherings. Your friends expect you to attend their parties. Co-workers expect you to join in the annual Christmas party. Even complete strangers expect you to be full of the “Christmas Spirit.” However, when you are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) the holidays can be especially difficult.

For people who had traumatic childhoods and the resultant PTSD, the holidays can be full of painful memories, toxic relationships, triggers and flashbacks, broken dreams, feelings of abandonment, and more unpleasantnesses.

  • If you grew up in an abusive home your memories of Christmas’s past may be full of memories of abuse, feelings of fear, embarrassment, and shame. Anniversary dates of past trauma and loss are difficult. That difficulty is compounded when everyone around you is happy and enjoying themselves.
  • Crowds are hard enough for many trauma survivors. Add to that the frenzy of shoppers in the store just before Christmas.
  • Even if your family isn’t the source of your painful memories it is uncomfortable to feel too overwhelmed to join in the family activities. This may leave you feeling isolated. Then, to make it worse friends and family keep asking what is wrong leaving you trying to figure out how to respond-often feeling fearful of saying too little and hurting those who love you, or saying to much, knowing the other person doesn’t want to hear all the details of your anxiety and depression due to the PTSD.

Even so, there are tools to help you cope.

Coping Skills

  • If big gatherings are difficult it is perfectly OK to limit your time. Go for dinner and leave shortly after it is over. Yes, people may not understand, however, better to take care of yourself than allow yourself to spiral into a deep depression.
  • I give you permission to not attend every holiday gathering. Pick one or two that you want to attend and decline the rest. Don’t participate out of a sense of obligation or because your feel you “should.”
  • Take breaks at gatherings. Go for a walk to get away from the crowds for a bit.
  • Understand your triggers. Knowing what triggers you is the first step in establishing a plan to cope or avoid. Use a mindfulness technique to determine what your triggers are.
  • Develop coping strategies. Again you can use a mindfulness technique to help you cope by bringing you back into the present. You can find an example of a mindfulness technique in my audio download: “5 Ways to Deal with a Panic Attack.” It is free on my website. http://www.spiritual-vistas.com/christiancounselingmaterials.html
  • Have a plan. If you know that being with your family will be uncomfortable and laden with triggers know how you want to deal with it. Have some coping strategies written down and keep it with you. When you are feeling stressed it may be difficult to remember strategies, but if you have them written down on a paper you can pull out of your pocket you can then employ them.
  • Give yourself permission to leave if it gets too overwhelming. If there are people you feel safe with sharing what is really going on, let them know. Otherwise you don’t have to give a full explanation, just say you don’t feel well. Isn’t that the truth when you are feeling overwhelmed?
  • Know what you are walking into. Often it helps to know how many people may be there, who will be there, what will be happening. Don’t be afraid to ask the host. Even people who do not struggle with PTSD ask those types of questions. You will not sound odd.
  • If possible create a support system. If someone there knows you are struggling and they are supportive it can help you cope. Bring a friend along who can watch for signs of anxiety in you.
  • Don’t use alcohol or drugs as a way to cope.
  • Redefine what your holidays look like. Don’t be afraid to change traditions that are too painful. Create new rituals that feel healing to you. If being with your family is overwhelming, create new traditions with friends, go to a shelter and serve.
  • Isolation is not a great technique. However, it may be better than being with people who are toxic to you. Don’t make isolation a new holiday tradition, but it may be appropriate for one year as you adapt to new things. If being alone on a holiday will be depressing to you, DON’T DO IT! Find a way to be with others.
  • Lean on God and ask Him to show you how to cope.
  • Reach out for help. Call and set up an appointment with a skilled therapist. There is freedom from PTSD. You do not have to live with it forever.

Written by: Barbara A. Long LISW-S

All materials in this blog are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in any manner without prior written permission from Barbara A. Long, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content.  You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

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