Monday, February 28, 2011

by David Wilkerson - Part 5

One Week of Silence

This week I am taking one week of silence from the world's clatter.  All music, books, and media I watch, read, or listen to from today to Sunday will be spiritual in nature, uplifting, and unoffensive.  I'm so tired of filtering, tired of saying, "close your eyes kids!"  I'm tired of trying to push scenes from my mind, the constant assault against goodness and purity I endure daily as I partake of the entertainment industry that has pushed its way into into my home.  

Sweet silence.  Sweet rest.

This desire came to me the other day when I got home from a movie I will not mention, that I felt I was tricked into seeing, and I was offended and insulted by its content.  I then had a dream where I was screaming and ranting at someone for a choice I had made, blaming him, resenting him, working myself into a frenzy and frightening my children, losing my own self-respect.  I awoke in the middle of the night, and wept bitter tears.  I and no one else am responsible for my ALL my choices.

I remembered, like a distant dream, a time when I entered a place in my spiritual development where I felt the purity and peace Christ offers with such perfect intensity that I could not feel anger, resentment, or blame.  In that place, I had only the desire to do good, to see good, and had no hint of desire to partake in anything unworthy of a saint.  I felt an enormous sense of FREEDOM I could never have imagined.  I cannot stress that enough!  I felt as though I could fly!  Really!  I felt the deepest anguish for suffering and sins, and equally intense and thorough JOY for God and Love!  I felt released from all burdens.  Any troubles that came my way were easily handled, gently and simply, with all the effort of turning a head, or a releasing a warm smile.  Perfect clarity of vision and thought.  The clarity is physiological, so much that it appears to you that colors hold more vibrancy, shapes have more defined lines, your physical vision seems to improve, and your thoughts are orderly, without confusion or forgetfulness.  Things that once were old and stale become new, exciting, and fascinating.  This kind of experience can only be found when the Spirit of God is in you, driving you, and surrounding you.  It is Heaven on Earth.  Heaven in you.  That is my goal this week.  If I do not reach it, I will try again, and again, and again.  I testify that it IS possible to reach your personal heaven now, it is not necessary to wait until after we die.  In fact, it is crucial that we do not.

Who has not found the heavn' below
Will fail of it above,
For angels rent the house next ours
Wherever we remove.

-Emily Dickenson
HEAVEN is worth any effort to get to.  The reward is worth any sacrifice!  I promise you, He promises you, IT IS WORTH IT.

It requires a pure heart, it requires a deep, yearning desire, and willingness to surrender to God every moment of every day.  It requires studying scripture intently, and avoiding any possible temptations to darken or confuse one's spirit.  Love instead of anger, humility instead of indignation, kindness and mercy instead of impatience and irritation.  To think of Christ, to focus on myself instead of judging others, reaching out to others in service and love.  

The progress forward is easily lost, just one unkind word, one surrender to impatience or irritation, any degree of entertainment of non-virtuous or impure thoughts will hamper it.  But if we are seeking constantly, to only do GOOD, we will have no desire for these things. 

I recently heard a talk given, wherein the ability of Jesus Christ to remain unspotted by sin and darkness was looked at closely.  The speaker reminded us of the scriptures all throughout the New and Old Testament, that speak of His temptations, which means he was absolutely free to choose sin (spiritual separation from God.)  Yet he did not, as we so often do.  How?  The answer is revealed in the scriptures as well.  "He went about doing good continually."  He had the intense desire to always do good.  That must be our desire as well, if we wish to follow His path.   


I will seek, pray, and study during all my free time.  When I am not free to read or study or pray, I will work internally.  I will not waste any time this week.  He promises that "If ye seek me, ye shall find me."

This journey is impossible without deep humility.  I cannot say, "I am so glad I don't have THOSE problems, and I don't make THOSE mistakes!  I'm really doing pretty good compared to...(what I used to be, him or her, etc.)"  Instead I must look without blinking at my own flaws, not even thinking of others' flaws.  "I am nothing.  I am pained by my sins, and all sin in general.  I am flawed and weak.  I have no strength of my own. I could not exist without His grace and mercy. I am SO unworthy of His love, and yet he gives it freely!  My will does not matter, only His will.  My wants are meaningless, only His matter.  I do not want my wants.  I want His wants.  I am powerless against my addictions (can be TV, Internet, Food, Caffeine, you name it!)  I give up!  I, of my own free will and choice, give all I am--to HIM."  

One of the most heartfelt pleas I have heard is A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson.  I ask you to ask yourself the questions posed there. Godly anguish is a clear first step, if we are ever to experience true joy.  I hope this will have the effect on you it did on me, to shake you out of apathy and contentment, and give you a desire to mourn for your own sins and the sins of the world.  "You allow HIM to melt and break you..."  and if you have done this before, do it again!  Do it again and again, and your heart will change within you.  You will become an instrument in His hands.  You will find a place of peace, rest, and rejoicing in Christ, which joy is always deepened by  your anguish for sin.

I do not know if any of you have been to the place I'm speaking of.  But I do know, and promise you that it is worth ANY effort you make to get there, even if you can't maintain it forever, just a small taste will be unforgettable, and you will strive your whole life to get back there.  The memory will be an anchor, a constant fixed point you can use to gauge your decisions, and take your spiritual temperature.  You will never forget, and there will be times you may say, how did I get there?  You will feel homesick for it.  You will mourn for it.  You will feel lost without it, and beg Christ to help you back there.  And when you find it again, it will be sweeter than you remembered, it will be as though you awoke from a very deep sleep, and you are now finally living!  You will rejoice with all your heart, and you will bless others beyond your imagining.

The Children Will Know, and Thank You

Perhaps the sweetest reward of arriving in the place I speak is that you will be a catalyst to your children through this journey.   Young children are so homesick for heaven, they will feel that touch of HOME immediately, and rejoice!  Their mouths will be loosed, their faces will beam with an almost visible light, joy will pour from them, as they speak things so profound you will be astonished, afraid to speak, lest you spoil the moment with your unworthy words.  
This was our experience, and it is beyond description. You will see them as wise, privy to knowledge and understanding you do not have, and it will humble you further.  It will effect them in ways they will remember for a lifetime.

click here for Heavenly Music

OH, I wish I had the words to adequately describe it--the purity, the freedom, the overpowering joy!  The sweet, sweet feeling of ultimate rest, the calm assurance, the LOVE, the cleanliness, the PEACE.  It is available to us ALL!!  We can begin TODAY.  I choose THIS day, to strive for Heaven.

"Remember that the only REAL control in life is Self-Control."

-Jeffery R. Holland

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ScreamFree Marriage, Part 2

Thank you so much to those who participated in yesterday's GIVEAWAY!  The winner has been notified.  I so badly wanted to give a copy away to everyone who wrote me!  I do hope that you who did write to me, and were serious about wanting to use the book to improve your relationships will purchase a copy of it yourself, or at least request it at your local library. 

As promised, here are some highlights from the book:

One of my favorite parts of the book is the Preface.  It is an eye-opening, appetizing spoonful of the hearty meal he is about to serve.

Preface pg. xvi  "I believe all people function best when given clarity about their situation--the truths about their situation--and then given clarity about their specific choices within that situation.  Which choice you make is up to you and can never be determined by another, even a so-called expert like me."

pg. xv The Only Commucication Skill You Need to Learn Is Authentic Self-Representation (ASR)

pg. xvii  "I am writing this book directly to your integrity, because your integrity knows that life and marriage are difficult, and that no growth in life or marriage can happen without clarity, challenge, and truth.  Your integrity also knows what you want most, and the very fact that you're reading this book testifies to your deepest dream:"

"Again, hold on, because if you dare to keep turning these pages, you're in for a bumpy ride--a ride that may turn all that you've been taught about marriage upside down."

The real meat of the book begins immediately:  

pg. 4 "If you want a warm, lasting marriage, you have to learn to keep your cool.  "Keeping your cool" does not refer to simple anger-management techniques or artificial rules of engagement (fighting fair)....

pg. 5 "Here, keeping your cool means discovering and holding on to your truest self...It means willingly and calmly facing the natural fires of marital commitment, and actually growing up--and getting closer--through them...It means keeping your cool as you face conflicts with your spouse that may have previously set you off in some form of "screaming."

"Being ScreamFree means holding on to your deepest desires for connection and boldly making yourself vulnerable...without knowing how your spouse will respond." 

"It means viewing old marital patterns through new lenses, no longer seeing those patterns as indications of irreconcilable differences, but rather as opportunities to grow your personal integrity and transform your relationship.  It's not a journey for timid spirits, but the rewards are certainly worth the struggle."

"Chapter 1-- If You're Not Under Control, You Cannot Be In Connection"

pg. 12 "We all scream too much.  We are either screaming at our spouses on the outside, or screaming at ourselves on the inside.  We scream because we react to the anxiety of the relationship and the anxiety of the moment."

"Now I hear what some of you are thinking.  "But I don't ever scream at my spouse."  Screaming is the term I use to describe...emotional reactivity...allowing our worst fears to drive our choices, instead of our highest principles."

(See appendix A for the five ways we scream...only one of which entails raised voices.)

That is just through Chapter 1!  It gets even better from there, but since I can't go through the whole book.  Here are just a few of the gems I found:

Runkel speaks honestly about his relationship with his wife:

pg. 86 "I wanted to grow up and assume more responsibility precisely because she didn't need me to."

Runkel on adults growing up beyond our parents:

pg. 123 "skiing is hard.  Really hard.  There is just a natural difficulty to it.  And when children encounter this natural difficulty, if their parents are anywhere in sight, they will naturally go to lean on them...and never learn to lean on themselves."

Chapter 7 A ScreamFree Marriage Leads to Scream-Filled Sex

Let me just note here that as a strong Christian, I worried about what I might find in this chapter.  I found it enlightening, intense, and still porn-free.  Here's an example:

pg.183 "One thing I always investigate with couples who come to see me is their practices of sexual initiation.  This is because learning how couples dance around this most intimate and risky of proposals is a fantastically clear window into the relationship, and the individual partners as a whole."

pg. 187 "'s not about your spouse validating your efforts--it's about you validating yourself as a whole, mature, sexual person, capable of owning and pursuing your deepest desires."

pg. 189 "It is no use wishing to see Europe if you're too afraid to travel."

"You got married with a biological, emotional, and spiritual desire for intense connection.  Now, the years and kids and mortgages and fights have a way of disconnecting you from that's not completely dead.  It is within you, waiting for you to Calm Down and Grow Up enough for you to Get Closer to your partner."

Chapter 8  Intimacy Begins With An "I"

pg. 220 "...self-representation is the answer to every problem in marriage...[it] makes for a remarkable connection because it ensures that the two trying to connect are at least trying to be authentic and truthful...[it] eradicates the villain of marital boredom."

Chapter 9 Let Love Rule

"When you are calm and present, you become a calming presence."

pg. 229 "Stop focusing on what your spouse is trying to do to you, and start focusing on something much more fruitful: changing yourself."

Readers, I will leave you on that note, with a disclaimer that Runkel is a much better writer than I, and if I have taken these words out of context and made them seem rote, or uninteresting, I apologize.  The fault then would be mine, because this book is riveting--downright hard to put down. It is funny, sad, exciting, emotional--all the things a good book should be.  I highly recommend it if you are ready to take the plunge into a deeper, more satisfying relationship with yourself, your spouse, and everyone else around you.  

I do not recommend this book if you are looking for ways to manipulate your spouse.  You will not find those answers here.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

Screamfree Marriage by Hal Runkel-a book review

I waited anxiously for the arrival of my package for days and days.  When it finally did arrive, the package was covered in black scuffs, torn, and re-taped.  Inside, stuffing and debris mixed with the anticipated cache.  This little package had been severely abused.  But inside, the two books it contained, both copies of the same book, needed only to be dusted off, and were good as new.  I opened the book with great anticipation, knowing I would find gold inside.

I turned the pages, underlining and taking notes, enjoying immensely the stories, the laughter, and the insights.  I knew I could recommend this book with no hesitation.  As I began to end the first half, however, something began to change.  I found myself slowing down.  My vision blurred if I tried to read too quickly.  I found myself reflecting, not on whether my readers would enjoy such and such, but on my own marriage, my own relationships, and myself in general.  In each example he gave, I began to see myself.  With each page were deeper truths, truths that I could not skim by quickly without stopping, and taking some kind of action, even if it was just pacing around.  This book, I found, is about change.  It is for real.  It is not for the light-minded.

You cannot read this book and be the same.  You cannot read this book and feel there is not some new action you want to take to alter yourself in your relationships.  This book may cause you to look at your relationships with new eyes.  It may shift your perspective from onlooker, receiver, victim, or passer-by, to doer.  You may begin to formulate a plan in your mind.  If you are not ready to face your demons, you may feel a sick feeling of dread, realizing that if you do not do something differently, you won't be able to live with yourself, because now you see clearly, the gap between the relationships you want, and the relationships you have.  This book will not allow you to gloss over problems or stuff them away for another day.  It will not let you push them to the back of your mind, and hope they will fix themselves with time.  This book will show you how a small problem left unaddressed, will grow to a bigger problem, and maybe even a fatal problem down the road.  Gradually, you become aware of the very real truth--you have the power to change all your relationships for the better, and it will take courage.  

I thought I was a courageous person.  I thought that I had little to change, and nothing to hide.  I thought that I was already pretty honest and open with others and myself.  But the thought of facing my demons came crashing down on me after 2/3 of the book was finished, and I found myself resisting.  I was so unaware of how the truth would affect me so deeply, I was embarrassed and ashamed.  I began thinking, "Who am I to review this book?  Who am I to write this blog?  Who am I to preach hope and change, and then panic when I am called by my own conscience change again?"  I found myself weeping.

And then, slowly, I began to feel the sweet assurance that Runkel offers, that this is not something to fear.  I began to understand that he wasn't leaving me to do this alone.  I had his words beside me.  I had his wisdom and could read it again and again, before taking any action of my own.  Runkel is so honest and warm in his communications, that I felt as though I were looking at him--almost as if he were my own personal counselor.  He spoke so informally, with a genuine admission of his own faults, he caught me off-guard, and I found myself easily admitting my own faults, many of them I had not realized before.  

I sit here, still stunned by what I found.  What I found was something different than I expected.  I did not find a treasure of secrets; I did not find a wealth of "tips," or ways to inspire others to change, or even a recipe for how to change my own behavior.  I found instead, a mirror--a special kind of mirror that when looked into revealed all the parts of myself that I desperately tried to hide.  The parts that were quietly sabotaging my relationships in little and big ways.  

I found out from this book why I have trouble getting close to people; why I have never had a best friend; why I have been holding people I love at arms-length; why I sit and write this blog---really.  I discovered more about myself and my habits of relating than I ever wanted to know, and now I can never be the same.  Do not read this book lightly.  Do not read it if you are not serious about wanting your relationships to improve.  As Runkel says, "Hold on.  This may not be the marriage book for you."  

While I cannot casually recommend this book, I can give you a warning, and an assurance, that while you will not be the same when you close the pages, you will not want to be the same, either.  I found not only a wake-up call, but also a way to improve and heal myself and my relationships, that, while not easy, is simple.  And it is possible, for anyone, even me, to do.

Tomorrow I will give some quotes from the book, and other gems I found, teasers, if you will, that will give you a greater understanding of it.  But today I wanted to share with you my reaction.

Just like the scuffed, torn and ripped envelope that my books arrived in, many of our relationships are being taped together on the outside after being dragged through terrible ordeals.  Many of us don't even realize that there is a way to discard that ugly cover.  Inside each of us is a gem that perhaps needs only to be dusted off, and we will find therein a gleaming, fresh relationship where the dust, dirt and stuffing used to cling.  

Valentines Day!  GIVE it AWAY!?!

I have been given a great opportunity to give away one free copy of this book on Valentines Day.  

I have thought long and hard about how to go about doing this.  I can choose only one friend or family member to share this with at no cost to you, and I cannot in good conscience give it away lightly.  I will decide, based on your letters to me today and tomorrow, which of you wants (notice I did not say 'needs') it the most.  I will include my contact information below, and if you write me, and give me your solemn word that you will use this book as a tool, and not "throw it out the window" once it gets a bit uncomfortable, (which believe me is very tempting, as Runkel himself admits,)  you may find a book coming to your door!   

If you read this blog, but are not yet a follower, click on the link on the top left side of the page that says, "follow."  That way everyone will have a better idea of how many people actually read regularly.

Email Ginny at:

Here is just a sample of a part of Screamfree Marriage's message.  Runkel sites Shel Silverstein's creations, "The Missing Piece," and "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O" as some of his favorite books.  He describes the story line, but does not include the ending, hoping we readers will look it up on our own.  So here is The Missing Piece Meets the Big O for you, readers, with the ending intact.  

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I recently allowed a teenage girl to help watch my kids while I got some things done.  I was embarrassed and disturbed at how immature this girl was.  It was like a magnifying mirror being held up so I could see how I look when I act like that at times.  Whining at the kids, bossing them by raising her voice, telling them to "stop it!" constantly, getting madder and madder each time they did something she told them not to do, acting like they should obey her simply because she was bigger; all tell-tale signs of immaturity.  She is a teenager.  She's immature by nature.  What's our excuse?

The children were uncomfortable and went about pushing the limits, trying to establish some sort of boundaries.  She only saw what they were doing as a challenge to her authority, which she had never established in the first place.  She was too lazy to come up with a suitable distraction or even a consequence for doing things that were off limit, so she just raised her voice and maintained, a constant, "I'm about to lose my temper if you do that again," kind of attitude.  It's easy to see the flaw in someone else, harder to see in ourselves.  One of my favorite posts,  Response-Ability, draws a line between being Responsible, and Response-able.  Both attributes go hand in hand.  How do I respond when children want to exercise their own will?  How do I go about motivating them to be responsible? Do I just boss them around?  When I'm lazy, do I act like that immature teenage girl?  

I told the girl at one point, "anything that gets an emotional rise out of you, they will do over and over again."  Yet she still used her emotions to scold and try to control them negatively.  Then I asked myself, 'do I do that?'  'Do I listen to my own advice?'  I am so annoyed with this girl, but is it because I see myself in her?  Is it really myself I'm irritated with?  

I noticed that she would whip them up into a frenzy, being wild and encouraging them to run and scream , for about 5 minutes, and then she was done, and would then go about pushing them away, and yelling at them for taking it too far, as children always do.  She couldn't seem to keep on an even keel at all, and so neither could they.  By the end of the evening, my children were emotionally exhausted and frustrated.  My daughter acted out the whole time, with a smile on her face, and then when we got in the car, she burst into tears.  She needed the calm, controlled, security of someone she could trust.  

Needless to say, teenagers are not going to be babysitting my kids anymore, even if I'm in the room.  I am more determined than ever to be the emotional rock in my home, so that the children can not move me.  I am in control of myself, and they can count on me.  If I feel strongly about something, I will control that feeling so that I express it in a constructive way, not just explode when my "buttons are pushed" or other nonsense.  

"Button Pushing" is my current pet peeve.  It really 'pushes my buttons' when someone tells me someone is 'pushing their buttons!'  Stop letting people control you!  You are powerful enough to choose your own reactions!  I can CHOOSE to bless someone who is cursing me.  I can CHOOSE to show kindness when someone else is showing contempt.  I can lower my voice when someone else is raising their voice.  I can feel love for someone who is seething with hate.  I CAN CHOOSE to smile warmly when someone is scowling or glaring at me.  It is possible with all relationships, but it is especially crucial when dealing with children.  When they are out of control they desperately need an example of disciplined self-control to fall into.

I renew this goal right now.  I promise myself and my children, I will be the opposite of the immature teenager.  I will be the rock they need, and I will never allow them to be at the mercy of such insecurity again.  Cross my heart.