Wednesday 18 July 2012

Redefining…SAD! by Rich Novek

Wikipedia:  Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is a psychological condition in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (e.g. a parent, grandparents, and/or siblings). SAD is characterized by significant and recurrent amounts of worry upon (or in anticipation of) separation from a child or adolescent’s home or from those to whom the child or adolescent is attach.
People experience separation anxiety when they are put in a position where they are having to leave a loved one, or just as relevant, when the loved one is having to leave them.
I have been separated from my kids, geographically speaking for over 10 years, and every time we come together it is a joyful feeling, everyone is elated, and we enjoy ourselves and our time together.  But when it’s time to part company, it’s a whole different feeling, and I don’t like it and I never will!
Now please don’t get me wrong, I may be separated from my 5 kids geographically, but we have an amazing relationship, which I owe all to the Grace of God!  And when it’s time for them to leave our house, or us to leave them, it just plain stinks!
So what is the feeling?  Well, we have all experienced it at one time or another.  It’s kind of an underlying feeling of sadness, and an empty feeling in the pit of ones stomach, though it may be dealt with in different ways.  One way I deal with it is by kidding around, telling jokes, and keeping the atmosphere as lighthearted as possible.  This is usually accompanied by fake smiles to cover up or ignore what everyone knows is about to happen, the distant feeling that is about to hit like a ton of bricks.  And then the inevitable happens…Physical Separation.
Now think of our relationship with Christ, and the fact we know He will never leave us or forsake us, and that nothing can ever separate us from His love.  Ironically, it’s because of this “knowing” that I don’t experience that anxiety to the degree I once did.  When they were all little and in school, and we would play together, it would kill me to leave them or have them leave me, but God remedied that for me by revealing Himself as the God who would never be separated from me.  He then gave me three simple words so I could ”once and for all” completely release my kids into His hands!
Release, Rest, and Receive.  And I have never looked back!
When Linda and I were newlyweds, about 7 years ago, I woke up in bed one morning in stark terror!  At that time I was living in California, and my kids were in Florida, where they still are, all except one that is.
I woke up thinking, “oh my God, how are my kids going to survive without their dad, what are my kids going to do without me?” And it was “my kids” this and “my kids” that, as I sat in bed completely swallowed up with the fear of thinking I would always be separated from them!  And it was then, in my brokenness, condemnation, and fear where He spoke!
“Your kids?  rich, these are my kids, and I have a purpose for you being here, and for them being there, so can you trust me with them?  NOW…Release them to me, Rest IN my unconditional love, and in doing so, simply wait on Me to Receive what it is I have for you…NOW!”
In fact, it was here where He took me from the reality of seeing Him as being the God of my Today, to bringinging me to how I see Him NOW!  Because He knew unless I knew Him as the God of my every moment, and surrendered my kids to Him. I would never be able to survive the many years that lie ahead, the years where I would be physically separated from them.
I have experienced  SAD like nobody I know, and for some reason, I have always had this “disorder” in front of me.
If it wasn’t concerning my kids, it would be other family or friends.  Or as a truck driver and in sales, it would be because of having to be away from my family for long periods at a time.
Linda and I just returned home from an amazing 8,000 mile trek around the country.  First, we visited our dear friend and ministry partner, Joan Reilly, and while there, we saw God move in ways none of us had ever seen before, it was like a dream!  During our time with Joan, I spoke in a church in Las Vegas.  We had an amazing visit, probably one of the most relaxing trips Linda and I have ever had, at least this first phase of it.  We then visited her daughter in California, it was also something we will always remember.  After that we went back home to Texas for a few days, before heading to Nashville, to meet with another wonderful sister IN Christ who walked us through the process of rebuilding our new website, Rich “IN” Christ!   And then we went to see my kids in Florida.  It started out nice and ended nice, but there was some “stressing” as well, and some “daddy” fires that had to be put out!
I say all this for two reasons, the first being every time we had to leave, that SAD feeling of being separated came back with a vengeance, and it was horrible!  The second reason?  Well, one morning Linda wanted to sleep in while Joan and I wanted to fellowship, so I went out to my van and called her.  It was while I was sitting in my van in the hotel parking lot, getting ready to call Joan, that all of the sudden the Lord spoke to me!
He said, “do you know the real reason why I have kept you separated from your children for over 10 years?”  I said, “Lord, I have an idea it concerned my kids and their relationship with you, but no, not really.”  He continued, “and can you NOW feel exactly what I feel when my children see themselves separated from me?”  It was right then I felt God place His arms of love around me and right there where I broke down convulsively weeping, while sitting there and seeing one picture after another of all of the things I have misssed out on in my children’s lives over the past 11 years.
My youngest was 5 when I was separated from my ex wife, she is going to be 16 in December.  My other 4 kids, are 27, 25, 24, and 22.
God continued, “do you know all of the things you have missed out on with your kids?  And can you imagine what I have missed out on with my children, the ones who I love without condition, but who still see me as being separated from them?  And especially as it is my one desire to love them, and to reveal the truth of who I really am to them?”
And is that wasn’t enough, it was the next thing He said that really blew me away?  I hope you are sitting down for this?
“And do you know the real reason why you still have a wonderful relationship with all 5 of your kids, though you have only been able to see them in small increments of time over the years?  It’s because I have prepared you because I need spiritual Father’s!  Not just dads, but Fathers who know separation inside and out, backwards and forwards.  Why?  Because today’s divorce culture has created multitudes of Father’s who don’t know what being a real Father is all about!
And Rich, NOW you do!
So you will tell them all about the REAL separation anxiety disorder, from every perspective known to man, and from my perspective as well?  Will you will tell these Fathers who think have been abandoned by me, that just because they can’t “physically” be in my presence (in the same way you have not been able to physically be with your children), it doesn’t mean they still can’t have a living and real relationship with me?  And one final thing, will you also tell them that they can have that same kind of relationship with their kids as you do with yours, because of the power of my Grace, and because of three simple words…Release, Rest, and Receive?”
Separation Anxiety Disorder, otherwise known as SAD.  The often unbearable feeling of being separated from those we love, the people in our lives we care about more than life itself, who for one reason or another, can’t be physically near.  And then contrast that with the invisible God, the One God who we can’t see, but wants to reveal Himself IN us as the God who will never leave us or forsake us!
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns?  No one.  Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is IN Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

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