Bitter Fruits?

axe carefully laid to the offending root of bitterness

Take an Axe to the Root

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is ‘ROOT’

I was excited to see this prompt-word last night, as I had just returned from a weekend of a prayer ministry course, which is focussed on eradicating ‘bitter fruit’ by identifying the ‘bitter root’ and laying an axe to that root.

The person seeking prayer ministry recognises some ‘bitter fruit’ in their life – issues that they wish were not there, aspects of behaviour that are problematic. These may be very obvious ‘bitter fruit’ like addictions and uncontrollable behaviour, or more subtle weaknesses which they may even consider to be ‘just the way I am’. It is something we want to change, but seem unable to change – it has become a ‘stronghold’.

The presence of the bitter fruit indicates the presence of the bitter root, whence it sprang, and the crux of the ministry is to lay the axe to the root, in repentance, and then bring all the habits of resultant behaviour to the cross.

The bitter roots are our sinful responses to the painful things that usually happen in our early life. The root is not the event or trauma itself, but my response to it. bitter roots (sinful responses) always cause ‘bitter fruit’ in our lives. God wants us to bring these to death on the cross.

The most common sinful response is to make judgments on the person we perceive to have caused our hurt (usually parents, siblings, family when we are so young). We also believe lies about ourself, the world or God, and we make vows to ‘always’ or ‘never’… in order to protect ourselves from further pain. In our young hearts, we create the expectancy that others will do this same thing.

This weekend I enjoyed the incredible (but slightly scary) power of this.

I wanted to receive this ministry to finally deal with some bitter fruit in my life.

One ‘fruit’ was never knowing what I need or want – decisions were treacherously difficult.

Another was being tired and resentful – sick and tired – of always striving to meet the needs of others to justify my existence. If you asked me why I said yes to everything, my answer would be ‘Why not? I see no reason why I shouldn’t. They need this and I have time.’

I didn’t think this was wrong. I thought it was good; that I was being a good girl.

I thought I was pleasing God by serving Him, because ‘inasmuch as you do this to the least of these, you do it for me.’

But I was feeling very tired, sometimes a little sad, sometimes resentful, lonely and weary. I was tired from constant striving to please, and striving to justify my existence, in order to deserve to breathe and live.

All my ‘service’ was coming out of duty. It was a sense of ‘I’ve got to do this today’, instead of ‘I get to do this today’.

In ministry I got to the roots – to judgments I made of my parents, lies I believed about myself and my worth, vows I made not to need or ask for anything. Therefore this is what I reaped all my life. True to my vow, I kept my needs and wants hidden from all, even myself. True to my judgments and expectations, my intimate experiences confirmed that my needs would not be met.

I felt exhilarated seeing this sure recipe for suffering as a direct result of my own responses to a child’s broken heart. I experienced the relief of repenting for my sinful judgments and responses, forgiving my parents, forgiving myself and God. I renounced my vow not to need or want and I confronted all of the lies with the truth.

Moving forward will not be quick and easy. The lies ran deep and no matter what my head told me, despite the word of God, my heart now needs to relearn how to operate and feel in truth.

I know that I cannot earn God’s love. I know that Jesus is my only justification. I know that Jesus forgives all the sins I bring to the cross. I know that He came to bring life to the full and that He is my provider and He gives us the deepest desires of our hearts. This is the truth and it is the truth that sets us free and brings joy.

I know this in my head, but it is not what my heart believed, nor was it the motivation behind my behaviour.

I came out of ministry feeling like my operating system had been wiped clean and all the functions need reprogramming.

But I am also so incredibly grateful and relieved, excited and full of joy.

I shall take it easy for a while. I want to learn what His will for me is.

I really don’t want to reach the end of my days saying ‘Phew! Are you happy, God?’ And to hear my heavenly Father reply, ‘Well, you were very busy, Dawn, but you didn’t do any of the wonderful things I had in mind for you. You missed out on freedom and joy and on your true calling.’

The word says in Ephesians –

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10.

I want to be vigilant to take contrary thoughts captive and watch for automatic patterns kicking back in, as I don’t want my healing to be snatched away by my own carelessness.

To be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

My first task is to meditate on this verse and spend some time allowing Father God to let me rest as a human-being and not as a human-doing.

Views and perspectives

FMF:View.

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday.

We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is VIEW.

I’ve gone on a little holiday.

I took a train up to Ayr, to join my sister and her family for a week, staying in a couple of caravans right next to the beach.

This is Scotland and this week the weather is cool, with dramatic shifts of sunshine, showers, storms and sun-bursts again and again. The children love it despite the weather, as there are many activities to enjoy.

But the beach – that is what I love!

I took two of the children off to explore the coastline, believing there to be a castle somewhere nearby, but not knowing if we could reach it along the beach, or if it was in walking distance. But the children were game for the adventure.

Armed with sunglasses, raincoats and carrier bags for treasure, we set off towards the beach and our adventure…

It was slow going towards the first headland, because they decided to hunt and collect ‘sea-glass’.

As soon as I was drafted into the search, I got distracted by my own passion for pretty coloured stones… My focus moved from dancing under the wide expanse of sky, to scouring the sands and drifts for treasure.

Looking for treasure during the first part of the adventure. Reaching the first headland…

Finally we rounded the headland and whooped, as there in the distance, at the next headland, was the ‘castle’ we’d hoped to find. There were still several minor obstacles and a whole load of beached jelly-fish, but we reached the castle rock and imagined the possible stories told through the generations of history of 16th Century Greenan Castle.

Delighted to have our hoped-for destination in sight!

Pushing them to their limits, I persuaded them it was good to climb up to get a closer look, since we had come so far; brambles and nettles tried to deter us, reminiscent of the tale of ‘sleeping beauty’, but we reached the top and were immediately silenced by the beautiful views.

views looking back to the whole length of our journey from the far headland

The view made the destination more than worthwhile, though the adventure itself was such fun and a memorable afternoon out.

There’s more than one lesson in that!

The journey of life itself can be explored as an exciting adventure.

Push through to your destination, despite the obstacles and don’t give up.

The nearer you lean towards God’s heart, the closer you get to His perspective – and from heaven’s perspective, the view is amazingly all-encompassing and glorious.

I want to enjoy all of my life’s adventure from a heavenly perspective. Do you?

Life update

The theme I keep returning to for this week’s blog is to give you all an update on my life – or more accurately – on the progress of one of my current projects. Part of the healing work going on in me, is to recognise that, just as I am very interested in the actual lives behind all you wonderful bloggers and readers of mine, so also might you be interested not just in the random thoughts I scribble down from week to week, but you may also like to know something about me. If I am wrong, you can ignore this blog.

Since January of this year, 2021, I have been writing a book about the strategies and processing tools I found helpful in the task of finding the voice of my wounded inner child. The first section of the book explains why and how I did it and the impact it had. The second section contains excerpts from the writing during the main strategies I used to hear the silent inner child. I called my wounded inner child Suzie. The strategies I used have given Suzie a voice to express her long-buried trauma and her dreams, disappointments and emotions. It has not been an easy journey, but it has been necessary and hugely transformative. My dream was to share those strategies and processing tools to help others to deal with trauma, with hidden issues, and to come to a place of acceptance. Having heard my hidden child’s voice, I have been able to bring her pain and fear to the Lord, for healing. Confessing one’s emotions, one’s story to oneself is powerful! Confessing it to another safe person and receiving acceptance and validation – being really heard – is powerful and healing. Pouring out one’s heart and confessing to God, is powerful, transformative and brings wholeness. It is still transformative for me – it is a journey I am still on and there is more work to do. It is a healing of relationship – me with Suzie, with memories, as well as me with God and with others.

Section Two contains some of Suzie’s story, but Section One explains the why and how of it. This first section I have written, rewritten and rewritten again. I have written it in my own level of understanding of what the process has meant to me. Now I am holding my breath as it is being read by four people. One is a very close friend who is a psychotherapist and who will be writing a Foreword for my book, to explain my processing in the language of a therapist. My youngest son is reading it, with a view to illustrating some aspects of the story. Two friends are also reading it to provide me with some more general feedback, before I do the final edit and look for a publisher.

This is little me, an image of the hidden Suzie.

Obviously I am continually consulting God about these next steps towards publishing, as the whole process and all of it belongs to Him. He asks us to comfort and bless others with the comfort and blessing we receive from Him. This is the aim of the book – to share the great blessings and healing I have received. He is the Author and finisher of my faith; He is my healer; He is my wisdom and understanding; He knew me when I was hidden, mute and hurting and He was with me. He knows every thought before I do and He knows when I lie down and when I rise… and do you know, He cares! He knows my story, my thoughts and my deeds, and He still loves me and cares for me, as His own precious daughter.

You are the other child He knows and loves so deeply.