#292 (01/07/07)
Reframe Your Relationships Through the Power of the Cross

The Message

By: Donna Schuller

Special Guest

STUART & SHELBY STOUT
In 2003, their life was radically altered when they learned that their 12-year-old daughter Hope had terminal cancer. On January 4th, 2004, less than a year later, Hope lost her battle with cancer but today her legacy lives on. We are pleased today to hear from Hope’s parents, Stuart and Shelby as they share their story of overcoming tragedy through faith in Christ as it is captured in their book, “A Legacy of Hope.”

Special Music

Hymn
"Joyful, Joyful..”
" Yes, God is Good! "
" In the Cross of Christ I Glory "

Anthem

“ Cantique ”
" Sanctus "

Solo
PAN FLUTE SOLO – ALEX CHERNYY – “You Raise Me Up”

The Message

When you are driving around in your car, have you ever noticed the different messages people have on their automobiles. Have you ever seen the different stickers, and then the license plate frames? People come up with some really bizarre things. Robert and I were on our way home from work the other day, and we were heading down the 5 freeway and all of a sudden he said, "Donna, look at that license plate frame." As I looked up, there was a beautiful brand new luxury sedan driven by a woman who looked to be about my age. There she was driving down the freeway and framed in broad daylight in big letters around her California license plate,(and I can't say exactly what it said, but you can fill in the blanks.) On the top part of the frame it said, "I am not a b..." and the five-letter word, and the lower part of the frame said, "I am the b..." and you can fill in the blank! Can you believe it? It dawned on me it wasn't just a frame around her license plate. I would bet that is a frame she has put around her entire life and how sad that is. How many years has she carried that? How many people would like to learn a better way to reframe yourself, others and God? I know I would. I know I always can work on things. You know, people think oh you are a pastor's wife, you must have it all figured out. Well, I don't! These are things I need to work on daily. I need to reframe myself, I need to reframe others and God and the thoughts I have about all three.

 

Why is it important to reframe? I believe it is important to reframe these three things because until we do, until we put the proper frame around ourselves, others and God, we cannot begin to look at others the way that Jesus looks at us. That is an important thing.

 

As my father-in-law has said for many years, "The me I see is the me I'll be." So, I'd like to start by helping you look at yourself. In the Old Testament, we also read in Proverbs 3:7, "As a man thinks," (and you can substitute woman in there, too,) "As a man or woman thinks, so is he." You know I learned a little bit about framing last year, when I took a group of women to Shreveport, Louisiana and we framed a house. I learned something about physical framing. One of the things I learned is that to frame a house, you use either two by fours, or two by sixes. The important thing in framing is you have to place them either sixteen or twenty four inches apart. You can't just haphazardly hammer things where you want them. Depending upon what you are framing, they either go sixteen or twenty four inches apart. Now what happens when you don't follow the directions, when you don't frame properly? I can tell you because we made some mistakes. You have to rip out all the nails and it is difficult because you have a lot of nails hammered in place.  

 

If you look at your life, sometimes the framing you put around your life is the same way. It's time to rip out those nails and start over. I know framing that house was difficult when we had to start over, it was very frustrating. It's actually more frustrating when you have to do this with your life. Does it hurt? Yes. Do you stub your fingers? Do you get blisters? Of course you do, but it's worth it. We are all given a framework, we all start this life and we put a frame around us as the years go on. We frame our life with past experiences, our family experiences, our experiences with our friends, with teachers in school. We also have a God given temperament and these are called the genes of nature versus the genes of nurture. So we all have this framework. It's not easy to learn to reframe ourselves, so how do we do that? Reframing is a psychological term that is used in psychological circles by doctors and also various mediators. The process of reframing is simply to take a thought, or a situation and you change the way you perceive it. It's not denying that a situation exists. It is simply finding another way to look at it. It's interesting, I was studying the word repent the other day. Those of you who have grown up in church have heard this word repent. The word reframe is another way of saying repent. To look at yourself the way Jesus looks at you, you may need to reframe some of your negative

thinking, some of the things you've carried with you throughout your life.

 

What are the messages you give to yourself? Do you sit there, do you talk to yourself and say I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, I'm too fat, I'm too thin, I'm not successful enough? I challenge you today to replace those messages. How do you do that? It's not easy. Again, remember, "The me I see is the me I'll be."

 

I have a couple of scriptures for you. The Bible is so powerful. It's not to be left on your shelf. It's to outline even the simplest scriptures that can mean so much in building yourself up.

"I am God's workmanship." (Ephesians 2:10)

"I have been redeemed and forgiven." (Colossians 1:14)

"I am the salt and the light of the earth." (Matthew 5:13-14).

 

Claim these promises. Once you begin to reframe yourself, you can begin to reframe others. Everyone has a unique and special story. We all have our pains, we all have our joys, but each person is valuable to God. Each person is truly a child of God. Everyone is equal. It is an important thing to remember.

 

Dr. Viktor Frankl is one of my mentors. I think he was one of the most marvelous individuals that ever lived. He was a Holocaust survivor, a very famous psychologist. He was the father of logo therapy and actually was also a friend of my father-in-law. I believe Viktor Frankl died in the late 90's; I would love to have sat with him and talked to him. One of my favorite books is a book he wrote called Man's Search for Meaning. One of the things Viktor Frankl is famous for saying is "What counts in life is not what is in the depths, but it's what's in the future." This statement and this practice is what got him through the Holocaust, through the concentration camps.    As you're reframing yourself and others, if you can continue to think about the end result; i.e., how would you like it worked out? It won't always happen. But if you expect the best in people, there's a lot better chance you are going to get it than if you don't.

 

I will never forget the morning of March 29, 1969. My mother woke up my brother and me early. I was 13 years old, my brother was 10. She sat us both down and she said, "I have something to tell you and it's going to hurt you for a very, very long time. Last night, your father was killed in a car accident."  So my mom shared with my brother and I that there was something that was going to hurt for very, very many years. It did indeed hurt for a very long time. Recently, at one of our High School events here at the Cathedral, one of our high school seniors shared how she also had experienced the death of her father. Alex shared how she ran towards God and got closer and closer after she went through the shock of losing her father. Unfortunately, in my case, I didn't run towards God.  My family had always been to church. I was raised a Presbyterian, baptized as an infant in the Presbyterian Church, but we did what a lot of people do when you go through something so tragic. We ran away from God for many, many years. I looked at God and I questioned him and I couldn't believe that He would do this to me. Why did You do this to me? Why would You take my dad? I had the anger; the frustration and I had the blame. I blamed God. I always believed in God, that was one good thing. I've had people ask me, "Did you lose your belief in God?"  I never lost my belief in God. But I did blame God and guess what, I also blamed myself. Had I been with my Father that night, and not been with my friends, he probably wouldn't have been in a car accident, etc., etc.

 

Some years later, I finally grieved that loss and believe me, it was some years later. I was about 35 years old before I finally came to grips with what that meant, losing a father when I was a teenager. Some years later, after I'd healed and through marrying into this incredible wonderful family with a positive faith and learning to embrace such a positive faith myself and learning to have a great positive relationship with Christ, I've been able to look back and I see of course that would happen to me. Why wouldn't it happen to me? I truly believe that is one of the reasons I'm standing here today and one of the reasons I did marry into this family. God uses our pain. He uses our pain and our knowledge and He helps me now empathize with some of what all of you go through on a daily basis.

 

About five years ago Robert and I we were talking about death and dying and grieving and it was one of the years where I believe my husband had about 13 funerals of people that we knew very well. Robert asked me a question, which was very interesting. He said, "When do you think it's ever easy to say good bye to somebody?" I have thought a lot about that since. I don't think it's ever easy to say good-bye. It was very difficult on me not having a father growing up for my teen years through my 20's. Now, I have an adopted father in my father-in-law. Now, at my age I see a lot of my friends losing their parents. I've given this a lot of thought. I don't think it's ever easy to say good bye. But I know one thing: every day is a gift from God. We need to frame God that way. We can't second-guess Him. We just have to trust Him.

A little over a month ago, I lost my grandmother. She was a hundred years old. She was almost a hundred and one. I thought when she passed away that it would be an easy transition. I expected her to go, on one side of my mind, on the other side, the nonlogical side; you know when a person is around that many years you think they are never going to pass away. I miss her, but what I'm struggling with is how bizarre the human mind is that I actually had convinced myself that she was never going to go. It's never easy to say good-bye.

 

I know we serve a loving God. I'm convinced of it. I look back at my own past, my own life, and I know that all things work together for good. They truly do. God also uses your past pain. How do you see God? Do you see Him as a punishing angry judgmental God? I hope not. If you do, you can replace your thoughts with love. Read daily affirmations. Read some of the Bible verses I quoted. Go through the Bible. Outline them. Put them on a separate card. Carry them with you in your car. Jesus was the ultimate re-framer. Jesus was dying on a cross between two thieves. And you know what some of His last words were? Let me remind you. "Forgive them Father, for they don't know what they're doing." He was the ultimate re-framer. Jesus will help you reframe your thoughts of yourself, your thoughts of others and your thoughts of God. Repent. The kingdom of God is here today.

Let's pray:

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the many blessings, and also the struggles You've shown me through life. Lord, I pray for each and every person reading this, that You would continue to show them the way of love, that You would reframe their thinking, that You would reframe them through the power of Your cross. I pray that You would reframe their thinking of themselves, reframe their thinking of others, and Lord I mostly pray for them to reframe their thinking of You. You are a good and loving God. You have a purpose and a reason for each person. We love You Lord. We praise Your name, Amen.


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