The Two Other Senses

For this, you will need to trust me a bit. Unless you are in a weird place right now and can’t do this….please stand up and then close your eyes. Reach your right arm out to the right of your body, like airplane arms. Put out your right index finger and then, with eyes still closed, bring your right finger in toward your nose and touch your finger to your nose. Put your finger and arm down again, eyes still closed, and repeat it all with the left side. Now, open your eyes and sit back down.

Without your proprioceptive system working properly, you wouldn’t have been able to do that successfully; you wouldn’t know where different parts of your body are without looking. This system is responsible for helping you move through space and move your body effectively.  It’s an important sense!

Often children from hard places have deficits in this sense which can make it hard for them to stay regulated.

Research says that 15 minutes of proprioceptive activities can regulate for 1-2 hours! By adding some of these activities into your child’s day, this can increase their ability to regulate. Our body receives information for this sense through our muscles and joints.

Vestibular Input coordinates movements of the eyes, head, and body which affects our body’s balance, muscle tone, visual-spatial perception, auditory-language perception, and emotional security. The vestibular system helps us understand where our head and body are in space.

Vestibular is all about balance and movement. All children require this movement and input for proper development.

Some vestibular activities are:

  • Swinging
  • Linear movements
  • Vertical movements
  • Upside down movements
  • Horizontal movements
  • Challenges to balance
  • Inverted head
  • Starts and stops in motion (game of freeze)
  • Changes in direction
  • Changes in speed

When thinking of activities to strengthen your child’s brain, and therefore decrease their frequency, duration, or intensity of meltdowns, look for the following 6 “R’s” from Dr. Perry’s work.  Relational – these are experiences that happen inside, safe, connected, and attuned relationship. For example, instead of putting a child on a rocking chair, we rock with them. Relevant means developmentally-matched to the individual . Repetitive is patterned – happening over and over again. Rewarding means the activity is pleasurable. Rhythmic has a beat to it. Respectful (of the child, family, and culture.)

If you believe that your child has some sensory differences, please consult an expert in the field, rather than just try hit or miss on adding these activities. For the most part, anything that adds proprioception input is very regulating, but you do need to be more careful with the vestibular activities so as not to accidentally get your child overly stimulated and therefore dysregulated.  This website is a wealth of information:

The that Role Sensory Input Plays in Meltdowns

We want to find out, how come it is that on some days your child is pretty regulated, but other days, they have meltdowns? It turns out that we all have a certain amount of sensory input from our environment that we can tolerate before we become dysregulated.  This difference can be based on time of day, whether hungry or thirsty, not enough sleep, stressed out about something, not feeling well.

Experts say that children from early trauma, abuse, or neglect backgrounds experience sensitivities in the way they process sensory information, and these sensitivities can decrease their ability to tolerate stress. Please know that even in a loving and attentive home, some children are just born wired for some sensory differences. It doesn’t mean you as a parent did anything wrong. But in our population of hurt kids, we do often see sensory differences. So, I am suggesting that you become a detective and notice your child’s environment to see how you can make an adjustment, if necessary.

Just like learning about the brain can help children understand what is happening to them during a meltdown, also, learning a little about sensory processing can help them understand themselves better too. So the way I explain sensory processing is in a really simplified version; how you might teach your child. I am making this really simplified.

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We can easily think if sensory process as if we have a ‘cup’ which will hold the amount of sensory input in our environment. You can have a big cup or a little cup for sensory information. If you have a big cup it takes a lot of sensory input to fill your cup. If you have a little cup it doesn’t take much sensory input and your cup is full or overflowing. You can have a big cup for some senses and a little cup for others.

If the child’s environment is too sensory rich, or if it doesn’t provide enough sensory input, this can reduce their ability to regulate their emotions.

Think about your child and see if you can figure out whether their cups are large or small – in other words, whether they are sensory seekers or sensory avoiders. Let’s

start with smells.

I was told this story from an adopted 18 years old,  that certain cooking smells used to trigger early memories in his birth country. He said, “I’d be going along in my day, everything going just fine and then I’d smell something and all of a sudden I would be in a bad mood for the rest of the day.” If his parents or caregivers had known this ahead of time, they could have done things to eliminate that smell trigger for him, or prepare him for it, maybe de-sensitize him. But smell isn’t just a trigger like that, bringing back, in his case unpleasant memories. Some children are just more sensitive to certain smells and the smell – not an associated memory- can dysregulate them.  Cooking, cleaning supplies, other people, perfume, school supplies like markers and glue are possible culprits. Begin to notice if your child is affected by either seeking or avoiding certain smells.


School cafeterias are the worst for smells and SOUND. Sometimes home isn’t much better. We had one of those large, busy and active families, and can I be honest, I am super sensitive to sound. My poor children were taught to be quieter than what was their comfort level because *I* needed it in order to function. I homeschooled them and let me tell you, we did a lot of things outside, where they could use their ‘outside voices’ when they were younger.

Other noises at home might be voices, appliances like the vacuum, a hair dryer, a blender. But there is the other end of the spectrum. Some houses are too quiet for some children. There’s the story of the 6-year-old, who, for example, freaks out if her environment is too quiet. She’ll manufacture her own noise to reach her own comfort level. If her caregivers didn’t know this about her, and they weren’t ok making allowances for that need in her, they’d probably butt heads a lot if the family didn’t like loud noises.

Some children have sensitivities to certain tastes. Maybe don’t extend the invitation to join the ‘clean plate club’ if there is a chance that your child has taste sensitivities. Go ahead and pass that hot sauce even if they ask to put it on your grandma’s prized casserole dish.

Some children, from the time they are old enough to move around on their own, will find the toy basket and DUMP IT ALL ON THE GROUND. These kids have to have a messy environment. They crave that visual stimulation. For other children, this kind of visual chaos is dysregulating. Often our kids won’t tell us that these things are bothering them, so we have to be intentional about finding it out.

The one who runs at full speed to give you a hug and is always up in your face is a touch sensory seeker. It’s a delicate balance between teaching them good personal boundaries and not making them feel ashamed for their need for deeper touch stimulation.  On the opposite end would be the child who avoids certain textures, or recoils at hugs.

The last two senses are proprioception and vestibular, which are also two general types of body movements that your kiddos can do which actually increase their ability to regulate. We’ll talk about those in a future blog post.

For now, be aware that there may be things in your child’s environment that make it harder for them to regulate and make them more prone to meltdowns. When you can teach even young kids about sensory processing, you can let them know that they are not a bad kid for having times of the day or certain environments that are hard for them to keep it all together.

Knowing that you are on their side even when they are having a really hard day can make all the difference on the world to them. And to you!


In the last blog post I wrote about shame’s role in your child’s meltdowns and dysregulation. And then I left you hanging, with but a mere promise to answer the question: HOW DO WE HELP THEM?

I propose that we can teach our kids a little bit about their brains, and this can take some of the stigma and shame out of those past meltdowns.

You can teach your kiddo about their brain in simple terms, so that they understand what happens behind the scenes in their brains during a meltdown.

When they understand how their brain’s actually go ‘off line’, they will experience less shame when they ‘blow it’ and flip their lid. This can reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of meltdowns. AND it can give them new experiences that challenge those old tapes playing in their head.

Now, natural consequences will follow in the aftermath of a meltdown, and there are times when they need to make restitution for what they’ve done. But if we can get our kids to understand that they are not bad people when a meltdown happens– that it is their ‘thinking brain’  that is ‘off-line’ so to speak, we can empower them to not re-cycle into further meltdowns because of the shame and confusion they might feel about what just happened.

Let me say this, shame is not the same as guilt. Shame is not a motivator toward better thinking and behaving. Its what keeps people stuck and dysregulated.  Guilt says, I did wrong, I can improve. Shame says : I AM wrong, I AM a lost cause.

In today’s post, we’re going to learn about Dr. Dan Seigel’s hand model of the brain. I’ve written about it here.

Please watch the video from that post, so you can educate yourself about what it means to flip your lid and become dysregulated, then come back here and we’ll learn how to take that language and make it understandable for your child.

When talking to your child, pick a time when you both are calm. Use toys or puppets if you want, to make the learning more fun and so your child doesn’t think they are going to be in trouble for anything. That is very important that they don’t think they’ve done something wrong. Use language similar to this:

“You know how you (or the name of the toy you are using) sometimes have a hard day and get upset about things and you don’t really know why? That can feel really scary if you don’t know why. Did you know that it’s because of something going on in our brain that you aren’t even aware of? Do you want to see your brain? I can show you what it looks like.

Make a fist with your hand, tucking your thumb under your fingers (see picture above, the hand at the top left ). This handy little model of the brain can go with you wherever you are. You may already know that you have has a left side and a right side of your brain. You also have an upstairs and a downstairs part of your brain. Each part of your brain helps you do very important things.

The upstairs brain is where you make the best decisions and do the best things, even when you are feeling really upset. Some people like to call it the big brain, the thinking brain, the upstairs brain, or the wise leader.

Now, open up your ‘brain’ model and peek inside. Lift your fingers a little bit, see where your thumb is? (see picture above, the lower part of the hand/palm on the bottom right)That’s part of your downstairs brain, or little brain, animal brain, or feeling brain. That’s where your really big feelings come from, it lets you feel really upset, like when you are mad or scared or frustrated.

There is nothing wrong with feeling upset, that’s normal, especially when your upstairs brain helps you calm down. Close your fingers again. What do you notice about your upstairs brain and your downstairs brain? (top left picture). The thinking brain and the feeling brain are touching! When the two are touching, the upstairs, thinking brain can help your downstairs, feeling brain express your emotions calmly.

Sometimes when we get really upset, we can flip our lids (see lower right picture). See how your upstairs brain is no longer touching your downstairs brain? That means it cannot help it stay calm. This is what is happening when you have a meltdown. Then what we need to do is find a way to get your thinking brain working together with your downstairs brain.”

At this point, you can explain to your child that everyone has this happen to them – even mom and dad! The idea is to teach your child about what goes on behind the scenes of a meltdown so they can know that we don’t think they are bad kids when they flip their lids. And neither are you when YOU flip your lid.

There is a lot you can do after teaching this hand model of the brain, maybe then teaching some calming techniques such as this .

Or you could just use the time to let your child know that you’re there to help him or her when things feel really out of control. How might you use this brain model to help your kids feel less shame about their past? I’d love to know!

Meet the Need Before the Meltdown: the role of shame in your child’s meltdowns

I am familiar with a boy, when he was younger, would often get dysregulated over something that triggered him – he’d hit, scream, fight, say terrible things to his adopted mother, but then, once he finally calmed a little, he would often ramp up again, for no apparent reason, certainly not for the original reason. Do you know what was happening? The ‘new’ meltdown was because of the shame he felt for having just done whatever terrible thing he did. And so, the meltdown would start all over again. I mean, at the time, it looked to his mother like just one continuous meltdown, and it was only later that she realized the mechanics going on.  When he was operating out of his shame core, this only fueled the meltdown.

We must never forget that our children have a story that started long before we met them. Your child’s history affects their body, brain, beliefs, behaviors, and biology. One way their history affects their beliefs is how they feel about themselves as persons.

All infants deserve to be seen, heard, and valued by their caregivers. What happens when this very basic need goes unmet in infancy or early childhood? How does that affect how they see themselves as precious people?

Our children from hard places often come to us with a very well developed shame core. They’ve already received many messages given to them before we ever met them, that were negative. Some of our kiddos are swimming in shame and their drowning looks like bad behaviors and meltdowns.

It’s been said that abuse sends the message, “I hate you” and neglect sends the message “You don’t exist”. Our kiddos (and if I’m being honest here, the kid in me still struggles with this) aren’t separating their experiences from who they are. They’re not separating out their history and their behaviors from their own self identity and worth. They need us to support them to do that.  BUT HOW????

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some strategies and techniques to help our children break free from the shame of their histories and the shame of past and current failures. Please stay tuned…


What To Do When Your Child Has A Hard Time Accepting ‘No’

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Even though your child is now safe with caring parents, accepting no is still hard for children haunted by feelings of being unloved, unwanted, and uncared for in the past. Research tells us that sometimes when the abuse/neglect happened to them before they were verbal, these memories get stored in their bodies and are carried as vague impressions and feelings without clear events recalled, or a time and place associated with them.* They can react to today’s no by reliving all the no’s of yesterdays gone by. “No, you may not have a cookie 10 minutes before dinner time” feels to them like the years of having to go without food, comfort, safety, or connection.

Here are three strategies that have proved sucessful to help children accept no:

1)Validate those feelings.

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A powerful way to help children accept no the future is by validating the feelings they have now, right in the moment. “I know you really want (whatever it is he wants but can’t have) and I understand how hard it is for you to not have it” is an empathetic message that doesn’t give in, it acknowledges the struggle.  Remember that when their flight, fight, or freeze response kicks in, in their world, at that moment it is the worst possible thing they can experience. What they need now from you is compassion for their histories and empathy with their deep feelings. A hug, eye contact, getting down on their eye level are all ways of staying connected with them in the moment, offering them your strength and safety. It is hard to accept no. Whenever you can enter into your child’s world and acknowledge their deep pain, you bring them connecting compassion, which helps them better accept no the next time.

2)Practice accepting no in a gentle and kind way.

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A fun way to teach a child new skill or reinforce a lesson is through role playing with puppets or stuffed animals. This helps to not make the activity about your relationship with the child, or what they have not done correct in the past because the toys do all the talking

You’ll demonstrate to the puppets the better way to accept no and then encourage your child to teach it again to the puppet or toy. This reinforces their learning. Then repeat with teaching your puppet the not gentle and kind way of accepting no. Here is where you can get as silly as you want to, demonstrating funny ways of not accepting no very well. Invite your child to come up with a few more not gentle and kind ways.  Your child and the toy can take turns each being mom or the child, demonstrating both ways. The idea is to make it fun and connecting, not shaming. Keeping it fun and silly when you practice will help in the real-life moments too, next time you have to say no. This role playing is best done when your child is calm and regulated. Stop before it loses it’s fun.

3) Give lots of ‘yeses’ whenever you can.

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Giving ‘yeses’ as often as possible to your children is like ‘money in the bank’ or in this case, good feelings in the bank. The more times you can say yes to even the little things, the better it will be when you have to ‘withdraw’ from the emotional bank by saying no. We’ve all been there, telling our children no just because it was easier, when really it would have been ok to let them have or do whatever it was they asked for. What can help is taking a breath before answering their request, to get that extra time needed to think before the autopilot no. This won’t make you a permissive parent, but it will open your eyes to more opportunities to say yes to them.

* Reference:

A., V. D. (2015). The body keeps the score: brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Penguin Books.

The Storm Before the Calm

Have you ever done what God asks but then everything seems to get worse? That’s one of those experiences that can really try one’s faith. I was reading in Exodus the other day and I realized that Moses is no stranger to this, but I have the vantage point of seeing the whole plan of God unfold, beyond that part where things really go south quick.

Remember when Moses had that amazingly faith-building talk with the the Holy One right before he and his brother Aaron went to the elders of Israel for the first time?

Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people,  and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped” (Exodus 5:29-31). 

It had been a long time since any of them had heard from God, and now they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was about to do something to alleviate their misery. Moses and Aaron must have felt pretty empowered as only one can, when they’ve just had a word from God.

Has this happened to you? You will be reading along in His Word when all of a sudden, it is as if the words are only for you, speaking into your spirit for your life at this moment in time. It’s as if a portal between heaven and earth is opened and you are right there with The Holy One. Some people experience this through music worship and they know it is not merely that the music is stirring their soul – they know that they are meeting with God. If you have not experienced this kind of heaven on earth, where God speaks to you ‘face to face as a man speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:11), ask God now to come to you this way. And so He speaks and you obey.

Moses and Aaron know by personal experience that their God, the God above all others, is on their side. Or maybe it is that they realize that they are on God’s side. And now they go with God’s plan to speak to pharaoh – arguably the most important , feared, and influential man in the land, considered a god by the Egyptians – with an emboldened war cry: “Let God’s people Go”.

And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness (Exodus 5:1).

These are the mountaintop experiences are they not? The pinnacle moments of one’s faith. No one can touch me now, God is with me. I know I am on the right track. Nothing can stop me. The thing for which I have prayed has been answered and I am moving forward in real faith, not just that fake-it-’till-you’-make-it kind that, if we are honest, gets us squeaking by most of the time. It is time to act, and I do it. It was time for Moses and Aaron to act and they do it.

But then, after doing what God says to do, the unexpected happens. Nothing goes as it was assumed it would. And in fact, things get worse. Confusion sets in. Pharaoh gives a new order as a direct result of Moses and Aaron’s speech to him.

“You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.  But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota” (Exodus 5:7-8). 

We can imagine how Moses must have felt in this moment and in the moments after the Israelite leaders blame him for their increased work load. We can imagine because we’ve been there ourselves, when what we do for God seems to backfire and make things worse.

Has God given you a promise, asked you to act upon it, but then things seem to be worse for having done it? I call that the storm before the calm. When  what seems to me to be unanswered prayers because of how circumstances look,  I keep asking – pestering, like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 when she keeps hounding the unrighteous judge. But I wonder….at what point will I stop ‘asking that he will’ and start ‘thanking that He is’.

I think that’s where Moses and Aaron were. They had to make a decision whether they would trust God to the end, despite what they saw, despite the fear that looking at current circumstances would have brought. We know the end of the story in Exodus. We know the victory, the calm. But for that space of time they did not. It is, I believe, in those moments like that where we have to really solidify in our minds whether God is trustworthy or not.  When things look worse is not the time to give up and it is not the time to keep praying for that which He has already said He will do. Maybe this is the time we thank Him for it. Even if we can’t see it coming to fruition. Maybe this is the time to recount the faithfulness of God to His other Promises. If you don’t have enough personal experiences where things get worse and then get better, maybe this is the time to mine the riches of the Word for all the other examples where He shows Himself faithful to that which He promised and we already have the evidence that He brought it to pass.


Hebrews 10: 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised



Walking WITH or Walking BEHIND?

Have you ever considered how shepherds walk and guide their flock from behind, while the sheep move forward ahead? From the perspective of the sheep, the shepherd is ‘unseen’ and with the gentle movements of his staff, barely perceived by them. Have you ever had your faith derailed because you expect to walk WITH God, side by side, so you can ‘see’ and ‘feel’ Him, because you believe ‘feeling’ and ‘seeing’ is believing? I have! Isn’t it usually when we can’t ‘see’ or ‘feel’ Him that we accuse Him of not being there for us? Remember He is our shepherd! We can take a lesson from Jacob/Israel who knew God as: “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd for my whole life until today (Gen. 48:15).


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Behavior modification is often the method sought out by well meaning mothers and fathers parenting children, whether the children come from hard places or not. See a behavior you don’t like? Let’s change it. There are a variety of methods available for behavior change, some more parent-child connecting than others, some actually harmful to the parent-child relationship. But what they all have in common is the belief that at the root of mankind’s problem are some behaviors we need to be altered by renovating or making over what is already there.

King David knew this is not the way toward lasting change. And he needed lasting change.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.Psalm 51:10-12

This is David’s prayer after becoming overwhelmed with the weight of his sin. He prays for something he doesn’t currently have – a heart clean from corruption that stems from sin. In Hebrew clean heart is lev tahor. Lev is heart and tahor is clean. To the ancients (the ones to whom the scriptures were written) heart didn’t mean that blood pumping organ, and it didn’t mean just where we ‘feel’ things; it meant the seat of the mind and will. We moderns might think of the brain to be the seat of these things, but to David it was in the heart that not only emotion lay, but also volition (the power of one’s will) and cognition (thinking).What made him him resided in the heart.

What David recognizes is that he needs something new, and a plain reading of this verse in English suggests that. But there is something wonderful that is hidden within the Hebrew language that is missed in English. Hebrew has two words that are translated as create: bara and yatsar. Of course David knows these two words and their significant differences.

David does not use the standard verb which means to do, to fashion, to make (yatsar), referring to shaping something from existing material. Instead, David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), uses the Creator verb, bara’.   Bara’ is about bringing into being something that was not there before. “In the beginning God bara’ the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Bara’ is only used in the scriptures with God as the object. Only God can make something out of nothing.

David’s lev houses the essence of who he is and he knows that it is inadequate to be ‘re-built’ by anything already existing. In other words, he can not provide this building project himself – only God can bara’. David doesn’t need a renovation project, he needs a new house; he doesn’t need a makeover, he needs a new birth.

David teaches us that we can’t reform ourselves apart from God creating a new heart in the way that only He can. It is Creation week all over again.

May we look for only for that which brings lasting behavior change to your life and the lives of your children. Quick fixes through behavior modification only shape what is already there. Pray that God will bara – it is what He is so good at!


(Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Proverbs 127:1)


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Do you ever feel powerless to effect change in the chaos of trauma in your son or daughter’s life? I know I sure have. Some days it was so bad that I questioned whether my sons were even better off in our family.  Those were hard days, but they passed. Not because of anything I did, but just because of the natural ebb and flow of parenting children from trauma backgrounds. Some days are just harder. Then they get better.

Webster’s dictionary defines power as “the ability to act or produce an effect”. In my attempts to gain power over the chaos, I often turned to self help books on parenting traumatized kids – even in the early days I had a shelf of them. I’d try this method, then that. I was looking for a power source to battle their issues. I looked for power, out of love for them. And desperation. Knowledge is power, to quote Thomas Jefferson.

I would like to suggest that we be mindful of what power we are trying to harness in our pursuit of healing for our children. It may be that our best intentions will lead us down paths not meant for us. To whom or to what program are we looking for solutions? Psychology? Neuroscience? Evidenced-based practices that are trauma-based? At what point do allegiance to and reliance on these powers cause us to veer away from the only real solution?

I came across a shocking (to me) realization in the Word of God today. God doesn’t want us looking for any other power source except Him. Ok, sure, I have always thought that was a safe assumption. But perhaps it is not only an assumption, but rather a command that we need to adjust our lives around.

Exodus 20 tells us And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

First off, let’s be mindful that deliverance from slavery in Egypt parallels deliverance from anything that had us (or our children) in bondage, including traumatic past experiences.  We are reminded that God brings people out of bondage. Then we are told how to partake of that truth.

Have no other gods.

At least, that is what I was taught is the plain meaning. And if I was being honest, I thought it a bit archaic to modern life, because, after all, our cultural doesn’t celebrate a plethora of gods does it? And for those of the Judeo-Christian beliefs, we’re mono-theistic anyway, so it seems unnecessary, or a ‘duh! moment’. Even when I read it (with the help of translators) in the Hebrew, it reads “you shall have no elohimbefore me.

Elohimand the shortened form El are universally recognized as a name of God, and also translated as god with a lowercase g. So far we still have the same translation: have no gods before me. Ok, we are back to a command toward monotheism. Or are we? What if el and elohim are not just a name of God, or reference to false gods.

Take a look at this verse from Genesis 31 (especially notice the Hebrew words in bold).

It is in my power (EL) to do you harm, but the God (Elohim) of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’ Genesis 31:29 NASB

This is Laban speaking to Jacob. The word ‘power’ is the Hebrew word el, shortened for elohim! No one translates this verse as “It is in my god to do you harm”. Context tells us that Laban uses el as “power,” not “god.” Now let’s take another look at the second commandment:

“You shall not have any other elohim before Me.” Now we know that sometimes el or elohim can just as easily signify any force believed to be powerful, even if it is not divine.

Are we actually being told to not have allegiance to other “powers” besides God? Does that change the commandment for you? It does for me. And this includes what kinds of power sources to choose from in the fight against the chaos of traumatic early life experiences. What are YOU looking to to deliver you?


******thank you to the following source: David Fohrman, The Exodus You Almost Passed Over



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“Fidelity to the program” was something greatly emphasized by the organizations that trained me in trauma-informed care, as part of the education I received to do the work with adoptive families that I do. Fidelity means “the extent to which delivery of an intervention adheres to the protocol or program model originally developed”. For example, the ones who created Circle of Security Parenting and Trust-Based Relational Intervention did not want me attaching their name to the work I do in their name if I was going to deviate from their protocols. Therefore, I had to sign my name to documents attesting that I would stay true to their message, or not use their name for some hybrid method I came up with myself but said I was practicing their methods.

Fidelity to the program clauses are written to keep the integrity of the organization’s message the way it was originally intended by those who created it. It keeps from diluting the message, and preserves the name (or character) of the organization.

God has a fidelity clause for those who will take on His Name and His Covenant too, and I came across it today. It shows up here:

Deuteronomy 4: 2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12: 32 [a]Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

May it be sobering to realize that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is judged by the world based on what the world sees in us – based upon our actions as His ambassadors! He is ‘unseen’, we are very visible to the world. What we do ‘in His name’ carries weight for how the world views Him.  It carries weight for those in our family and other spheres of influence.  When we ‘sign on’ to come under His protection and jurisdiction as our King, He expects us to be faithful witnesses of His holy standards, which are His commandments.

But are we? Or do we listen to those who have changed His message, tweaked it to suit themselves/ourselves? Are we muddying His character broadcast into the world by the ways we have deviated from His original message/commandments? Do we bring His Name honor or do we bring His name shame when we do not have fidelity to His program?

I pray that we all will spend more time seeking what it is that we are called to do when we say we follow Him. Seek what the Word says that His ‘program’ is. And do it, just as He said to do, adding nothing and taking away nothing that He has not authorized to be changed. Fidelity is the mark of the good and faithful servant (Matthew 5:23)

I am a work in progress in this area.