Count it all JOY

Does it ever feel like things are not going the way you think they should? I mean, you are trying to do everything right and be a person of integrity, but it seems the Godless people are flourishing?

Yea, I had a few minutes pity party for myself today.

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It only took a minute for me to remember…

“If the world hates you [and it does], know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love [you as] its own and would treat you with affection. But you are not of the world [you no longer belong to it], but I have chosen you out of the world. And because of this the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the reminder.

 

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Be Free & Stay Free 

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Ultimate Makeover

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The question we all ask ourselves, huh. Who am I?

For many, the answer to this question changes depending on the season.  Sadly too many base the answer on emotions, experiences, or what others have said about us; as if someones opinions define us.

Times and seasons change. Society is a fickle people. With the ever increasing need in the world to be the best, it is not hard to understand why so many feel they are in competition. It is no wonder so many young girls are insecure and so many women are broken. Shew, it is even a no wonder why men do not even know how to be men anymore.

We have been robbed of our individual gifts and uniqueness. In all of the trying to fit in and be like everyone else to please someone else…

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You have heard the saying it is the suit that makes the man and the shoes that make the woman. Nope, that is not true and I have the sore feet to prove it.

who-are-you-really-21449257The beauty industry is making a lot of money on peoples insecurities. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying there is anything wrong with dressing up the outside, there is nothing wrong with accentuating the beauty we already have. Shew, some of us need some help. But, my dear friend, beneath everything, all the make-up, newest fashion, hair color, you are still you and I am still me. No amount of make-up is going to take the place of the inner peace and desire for acceptance we all have.

There is only One who can give you the peace you yearn for and He already accepts you. He created you, you are His masterpiece, with His very own hands He formed you.  He put so much detail in you that He knows the number of hairs on your head, He knows how many times your heart will beat, He knows where you will live, He knows your first day and your last breath. In addition to all of this, He gave you gifts and entrusted you with gifts to use to glorify Him.

While you may be looking around and comparing yourself to others, you do not even recognize what and Who He has placed in you and you do not see the one person only you can reach, or problem only you have the answer to. So you walk around, bent over, looking at your feet instead of lifting your head and knowing who you really are and Who you belong to. Royalty should not live like paupers. It is unbecoming to wallow in the pig pen and eat slop when your Father is the King.

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I am going to get personal with you for a minute, OK.  I didn’t meet Jesus personally until I was already an adult in my 30’s. Before Christ, I had already racked up a long laundry list of what was wrong with me; from childhood and on.  I made choices based on fear and insecurities that were ingrained in me. I believed every lie and was on the path to confirm every lie was truth.

After I met Christ, although all my sins were forgiven, I still harbored guilt and shame. Of course this was concealed very well; so well that I didn’t even fully realize I was carrying all the heavy baggage until later…

Then little by little my slip started to show (know what I mean, ladies?). So I tried to pull it up, tuck it in, cover it up, because I am a Christian and Christians aren’t suppose to have these issues.  The more I tried to cover it the heavier it got and on top of it all I took it upon myself to add shame, guilt, regret, and perhaps a lil’ unforgiveness to my suitcase.

I looked like this…

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Nah, I’m good, I don’t need any help,      I got this.

I just couldn’t understand why everything was going to pot; no matter how much I prayed or read my Bible. I was good at encouraging other people and believing the word, God’s promises for them, but not for myself… I was a mess.

You know why? Because I was sitting outside of the palace eating in the pig pen. I knew I was saved. I knew God loved me (even though I couldn’t understand why), but His word said He did so He must, right.

ThiefIt is like locking your door, but leaving your window open. Sooner or later the thief is going to try to break in and steal your stuff.

Jesus told us the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  He also told us that Satan is the father of lies.  When we believe anything contrary to what God’s word says, we are to cast it down, because it is a lie. We are not to believe it!  But it doesn’t stop here!

When you know God’s word, you can recognize the lie and you must combat the lie with the truth!  You can’t just ignore the devil and hope he goes away. No! You have to kick him out! He takes your silence as agreement. You have to open your mouth.

God has already set you free! To walk in His freedom you must take the steps. If you want out of the prison cell of shame, regret, fear, insecurity then you must walk through the open door.

Dear prodigal, do you not know your Father is waiting for you? Sweet woman, there is no need to die of thirst at the well when He gives you springs of life and a refreshing that overflows and never stops.

Stop looking at the outward appearance. Your beauty is deeper than flesh and your worth is far more valuable than rubies.

The next time that lying demon whispers in your ear you put your foot down, stand your ground and fight back with God’s truth!

I am leaving you with some thoughts, ammunition, to get you started. Read it, meditate on it, remember it, AND BELIEVE IT!

This is God’s word and God doesn’t lie. This is the truth of who you are!

If you would like to share more of Gods promises to us, please leave a comment below.

Until I write again, or we meet in heaven…

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Secure in Father’s House

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I do not live in Mayberry or Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, but I still like my neighborhood. I have only lived here for a short while, but I have gotten to know some of the neighbors and people and businesses close by.  As an extrovert I tend to say hello, good morning, or good evening to nearly everyone I come in contact with.

stick girl and dogBecause I have a little dog who loves to be walked I get the opportunity to be out and about the neighborhood several times a day. My little buddy is a people person and he loves to meet new people, too. Actually, I think he just enjoys all the extra attention, In fact, because of him I have made new friends with other women who walk their dogs.  Dog people are friendly people… just sayin’

Everyone knows JJ (that’s my lil’ buddy’s name). Most of the people I meet are friendly and harmless. Some are lonely and just need to talk to someone. For some reason a little dog helps to break barriers and people are more inclined to open up and tell you all about themselves. I like people, so I will smile and listen and try to leave them with an encouraging word.

But then there are people who are not good people. I am sure I do not have to draw a word picture for you to understand what I am saying. We have to use wisdom and practice boundaries for our own safety. Sometimes it is best to just cross the street and walk in the opposite direction.

I grew up in a big city, but I now live in a smaller city. Being a city dweller I am well aware of precautions and safety measures we have to take. For example, while it may be fine to say “good morning” to a neighbor, it is not wise to bring a stranger into your home.  While I do not live in fear and paranoia, I do lock my doors. If someone knocks on my door I will not just open the door without first knowing who it is. There are some people that I do know and I still would not just open my door or invite them in.

I may share the same zip code as my neighbors, but I do not share the same address.

When my children were small I was even more careful. I took great care to be sure they were safe. I allowed no one into my home who could harm them, be a bad influence on them, or steal from us. As a parent it was my responsibility to be sure my children were safe. And I am just a mere woman. No matter how good of a parent I am, God is a greater Father.  Which brings me to the point of this post…

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If you try to enter a home uninvited… you are a trespasser.

If you do not know the owner of the home… you are a stranger.

If you mean harm against the family in the home… you are a criminal.

If the Judge finds you guilty and throws you in prison… He is just.

There is a half truth circulating that is meant to deceive and to kill you. We all know what a half truth is… it is a lie.  This is how the deceiver tricks you. He tells you a half truth and because you do not know the full truth you will believe it, because it sounds familiar.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“God is love, we are all His children and He would never send anyone to hell. If you believe in God you will go to heaven. It doesn’t matter how you live, He understands.”

This is a very dangerous deception!

Here is the truth…

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Yes! God loves you. He loves all of us, saint and sinner.  If you believe in God then good, even Satan believes in God, but Satan isn’t going to heaven. Satan was thrown down from heaven and a place called hell was created just for him and his followers.

And it does matter how you live! If it didn’t matter then He would not have told us to repent. Of course He understands, that is why He died on the cross for us. Just as He gave His life for us so we may live, we must give our life so we can be born again and live for Him. It is through rebirth we become heirs with Jesus and we are adopted into His family as sons and daughters. His death and resurrection has reconciled us back to the Father and now all that He has is ours. We share in the inheritance of eternal life.

It is only through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved. It is not by being a really good person. There are many “good” people and old grandmothers going to hell. Not because God doesn’t love them or because He is unfair. But because they have chosen to deny Jesus and refuse the free gift of salvation. They are guilty and the penalty for their guilt (sin) is death (hell) and this is a just judgement.

There are many people in prison right now, maybe even on death row, and ex-cons, drop-outs, wash-ups, thieves, unwed mothers, you know… people who would clear a sidewalk; who will be accepted into heaven.  Don’t believe me? Remember the thief on the cross?

No matter how much you think you know… you better know Jesus.

I don’t write this to condemn anyone. Rather, I hope this challenges you to pause and ask yourself, do I know Him? Does He know me?

We all have our struggles. Trust me… no, don’t take my word for it, take His word for it.

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

No matter where you are, you do not have to stay there. You want peace of mind? Then know you can’t save yourself, no one else can save you either, only He can. No matter how far you have fallen, you can still come home to Jesus.

He is a place of refuge for those who call on Him. He is a good Father and He is preparing a place for you and He will come back and collect His children.

Home with Him is a safe place to be. You have no need to fear. Just as a good father here on earth will not let anything in the home to cause his children harm, you better believe God is even greater!

The next time you hear someone preach salvation without repentance… run from them!

Your best life is not now, your choices do matter, you matter,

If you are truly His then your character will become like His, the fruit of His Spirit in you will be evident. The things you used to do will no longer be appealing to you, because quite simply…. you are dead to the old you and alive in Christ.  With God this is possible.

Listen! We are all HIs creation, but we are not all His children. Many are called, but few are chosen.

If you want to know peace, then you better know Jesus.

Call on Him now while He may still be found.

If you have any questions, or if you want to follow Jesus and just don’t know what the next step is, then contact me or leave a comment and I will be happy to introduce you to Him.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

Mercy Over Judgment

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Straightening up, Jesus said to her,“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said,“I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]  John 8:10-11

A woman was caught in the act of adultery and the religious people of the day thought they would just march her right on down to Jesus. They were certain they had the law on their side and if Jesus was who He said He was then He would agree. They were testing Jesus.

Imagine the woman was trembling inside. She knew what the law required; she was to be stoned to death. They stood her in front of the crowd, in  public humiliation, announcing her sin. Can you imagine the whispers and shaking of heads that must have been going around the crowd? I imagine the pious religious men, chest puffed up and standing tall in their own self righteousness, believing they finally caught Jesus.

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You see, the scribes and Pharisees knew the law, but they did not know Him. If they knew Him they would have known God desires mercy over judgment. Religion wanted to condemn this woman and the law wanted to stone her; but Jesus stepped in.

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment. -James 2:13

When we use your hand to point at someone, our finger is pointing forward, but the other fingers are pointing toward us. Try it, use your hand, point at something. What do you see? What are the position of your other fingers? That’s right, they are pointing back at you. How easy it is to see another persons sin out and ignore our own, huh? We have all been guilty.

The woman had no defense. She could not deny her guilt. All she could do was hope for mercy. I have been there. Have you?

Our sin not only affects us, it affects our relationship with God, and with others. The world says if it feels good so do it, it’s not hurting anyone; this is a lie.

Let’s read the rest of the story.

Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. It is not recorded what He wrote, although some speculate it was the sins of her  accusers. While He was writing in the dust her accusers kept  on ranting and demanding an answer from Him. When they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, “Let him who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.” Then He bent back down and continued writing in the dirt.

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Can you hear the silence as each one of her accusers were dismantled of their own self righteousness? Do you hear the stones dropping  as they turn and walk away? Their conscience was pricked, one by one, from the oldest to the youngest, until there was no one left standing in the center of the court but Jesus and the woman.

Jesus raises Himself up and say’s to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”

No one, Lord.” She answers.

“I do not condemn you either. Go your way and from now on sin no more.” And with these words, she is free, made new, and forgiven.

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Did you hear that? Jesus said to her and He says to you, “I do not condemn you. Go your way and from now on sin no more.”

Yes, God desires mercy over judgment. His heart is for us. For this reason He came down as a Man. He was fully man and fully God. His great love for us encompasses us and covers our sins and the affects of sin in us. Do you understand this? The guilt and shame you are tempted to carry because of sin, He has freed you from it!

Beloved, perhaps it wasn’t adultery you were entangled in. Sin is sin, and the accuser stands at your door waiting to devour you with condemnation, guilt, and shame.

Let this Psalm be your prayer. Then receive His forgiveness, His mercy, His love, and go and sin no more.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

Be Free & Stay Free

The Most Unusual Place: a short story

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Her reflection in the mirror showed a tired woman. Her skin was blotchy, pale and discolored with dark circles under her eyes; dull brown hair replaced a once thick and glowing crown. She looked at herself as if looking at a stranger. There was barely any resemblance to the woman she was in her youth. She pulled the wiry strings of hair into a single braid, splashed water onto her face and paused for a moment to savor the coolness of her hands on her brow.

“What are you doing, woman?” She cringed at the gruff sound of Ben’s voice. “Quit looking at yourself and come back to bed.”

“I have to go to the well and get some water.” She couldn’t look at him when she answered.

“It is too early for that!” He reached over and grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back into bed. “Satisfy me first, woman.”

“Ben, I need to go before the other women get there, or I will have to wait until this afternoon when the heat will be unbearable.”

“You talk too much!” He gruffed. “Always talking when you should be listening.”

Ignoring her protest, he forced her legs apart to lay on her. She closed her eyes against his stale breath as he used her body. She hated this act because she despised him. She let her body go limp and her mind go numb. He was not deterred by her lack of participation. She remained still until he finished and rolled off her.

“Laying with you is like laying with a dead fish!” He pushed her out of bed. “Make me something to eat and then go get me some water.”

Her eyes stung with the tears she refused to let fall. The wretch in her stomach made her want to vomit. The feel of her own skin was more than she could bare. She felt used up like garbage wrapped in dying flesh.

Her life was not suppose to be like this. She was the oldest of three daughters. Even though sons were the pride, her parents loved her and her sisters. Her childhood was filled listening to stories by her father. Sitting on his lap and tugging at his beard, singing, “Tell me another story, Poppa.” He would laugh and say, “OK,Galilah, one more before you sleep.”

Her childhood came to an end when her father fell ill and was buried beside his brothers. Her mother, doing what she thought best, married her off to Lameck. “He will be able to provide for you,” her mother cried on her wedding day. “I cannot feed four bellies.”

At fourteen, she was the sacrificial bride to a man old enough to be her father. True, Lameck was able to provide for her, but what the marriage was supposed to provide for him was a son, yet she could not conceive. He lost his patience with her after a year and took another wife. When the second wife conceived Galilah was forced out of the house and given to another man.

After five marriages, tossed aside by four and widowed by one, she did what she had to do to provide for herself. Shamefully she shared her bed with men passing through. Prostituting herself kept just enough bread in her belly and a shelter over her head. This is how she met Ben; he came and didn’t leave. With Ben, she released one shame to pick up another.

She held the memories of her first fourteen years close to her heart. She would not be robbed of her identity. She may not be who she could have been for the years have taken their toll, but she always believed there was a greater purpose for her.

It was too late to go to the well now, the other women would be there. She hated their idle chatter and their judgmental attitude. Sometimes she envied them, sometimes she pitied them, but mostly she despised them. Given a choice she would have never chosen the life that was handed to her, but she did learn something with each abuse; she learned to listen. The men would talk and disregard her as an ignorant woman, but she listened and she learned.

When the sun was high in the sky, Galilah picked up the water jar and began her walk to the well. The heat was almost unbearable as sweat trickled down her brow. Although her face was shaded by her veil and her robe shielded her from the sun it did not offer much reprieve from the heat.

She could see a solitary figure sitting by the well. As she approached, she pulled the veil closer to her face, squinting into the sun to identify who it may be. It was a man, sitting peacefully, he was alone. Perhaps he was a foreigner passing through?

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There was nothing particularly handsome about the man as he sat and patiently waited for her to approach. She made brief eye contact with him; his eyes were warm and reflected the sun. There was something about his eyes which made her feel as though He was looking into the depth of her, not in a judgmental or seductive way, but as if He knew her. She quickly looked down.

She did not feel threatened by his presence, but her experience had taught her hostility and disdain for men. Yet, in the few brief moments of assessing him she could sense he was not like other men.

“Give Me a drink.” He broke the silence. His request was not a demand, but matter-of-factly spoken.

“How is it that you ask me for water?” She said, pausing at the well. “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

“If you knew the gift of God, and who says to you, ‘give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” He answered.

She looked around Him with some exaggeration and saw that He had no jar with Him. “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.” She motioned to the well. “Where then do You get that living water?”

He remained seated, He did not flinch at her words. She felt the need to keep talking, divert His attention. She sensed there was greater meaning behind what He said, but she did not want to appear ignorant. She straightened her back with feigned dignity.

“Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

“Whoever drinks of this well will thirst again,” He gave a gesture to the well. “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst. The water I give will become a fountain of water, springing up into everlasting life.”

“Well then, Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst or come here to draw.” She wanted the water He spoke of, especially if it meant she would never have to come to this well in her shame again. Her thirst went deeper than this well and even if she were able to drink this well dry it would not be enough.

“Go, call your husband and come here.” He answered.

She felt a sting from His request and in the answer she would have to give. She didn’t have a husband. No man wanted her. No one that cared for her, covered her, or protected her.

“I have no husband.” She felt no need to lie. She allowed the truth to fall from her lips. What would He say to this? Would He mock her, too? Would the conversation cease here? Would He regard her unworthy for the water He spoke of? She braced herself for His response, expecting it to be the same as everyone else.

He smiled at her. He knew her confession and He felt her shame, but He looked past it and He saw her. She was His appointment. She was worthy. His heart broke for her and He saw what had been done against her. He saw her strength and her weakness, her hurt and her healing; He was moved with compassion for her.

“You have spoke the truth,” He said. “You have no husband. You have had five husbands and the man you are with now is not your husband.”

She looked at Him. How could He know this unless God revealed it? He must be a prophet. She fought the apprehension stirring in her. A respectful man would walk away from her and not want to be seen talking to her. She did not want Him to leave. She sensed there was more to Him than met the eye. Perhaps if she changed the subject?

“Our fathers worshipped on this mountain.” She said. Perhaps her intellect would shift the attention from her sin and the shame she felt. “You Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” He spoke with confident authority. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him.” Pausing, the man stood, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

She felt her heart quicken within her and her spirit lept. She was captivated. She listened to his words, watched his mouth speak and although He spoke as a man of authority she did not feel condemnation.

“I know the Messiah is coming.” She said. “When He comes, He will teach us all things.”

He looked her in the eye. “I who speak to you am He.”

Could this be? Yes, she could feel that He spoke the truth. She could feel the washing of His words come over her, like a welcomed shower. Just being in His presence lifted burdens from her shoulders. She began to realize she felt lighter, the sky was bluer, the air was clearer. She felt a calm she had not felt before. She also felt something rise in her she had not sensed since she was a child; hope.

Is this the Messiah that she heard about? Is this the man who they have waited for? Has he come? He didn’t look like she expected, but she had never experienced such compassion and kindness. She had never witnessed authority wrapped in gentleness. She believed Him. In just a few moments of conversation, in just a few moments in His presence she was changed. The hopelessness she felt, the shame; was gone.

Other men appeared at the well. They stood a few feet back and watched. She could see their curiosity of why He, the Messiah, would be talking to her. But, it did not seem to bother the man. He did not try to hide His talking with her. He just looked at her with a warmth of understanding and smiling eyes.

“Rabbi,” one of the men interrupted. “We have brought food to eat.”

She could not contain herself. She left the water jar, turned and hurried back to the city; she had to tell others. For the first time she felt clean; forgiven.

The men were gathered at the city. “Come!” She urged. “Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?!”

The men noticed there was something different about her, her countenance had changed and it gave cause for them to listen. “Is this the same woman?” They questioned. “She looks different.”

The men followed her back to the well. The man was sitting with His disciples.

“That’s Him!” Galilah said, picking up her pace to sit with Him.

“Come, join us.” The man welcomed them.

Time no longer existed as they listened to Him speak and teach as no one they have ever heard. Thirsty for more, they urged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days and many more believed because of His own word. He spoke and taught with great authority and compassion.

Through it all, Galilah sat at His feet, listening, bathing in His words, and her soul was dry no more. The shame and fear she carried for so many years fell to the ground. Her regrets were replaced with thankfulness, for she knew her redemption had come.
When it was time for Him to leave the city, Galilah wept.

“Do not weep, beloved.” He said comforting her. “I am not leaving you, you will see Me again. I am always with you. Do you believe?”

“Yes, I believe.” She looked into His eyes. “I believe.”

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After He and His disciples left the city and were no longer in sight, the people turned to the woman and for the first time they saw her differently. Could it be that she has changed? Or perhaps they have changed? Or maybe it was both? One thing is certain, Salvation came to the most unusual place.

“Now we believe.” They said to her. “Not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

 

 

Hope for Healing

John 14 18

I didn’t know my Father as a child. He knew me long before I was born, but I didn’t meet Him personally until I became an adult.

The father I knew as a child was a hurt, abusive, and angry man. I spent my early years being the recipient of his hostilities.  Since a seed reproduces from it’s own kind, he passed his hurt, abuse, and anger onto me; just as his father passed it down to him.

The trauma of living with an abusive parent manifests in different ways; causing a survivor of childhood abuse to adopt a chameleon personality. I learned to be whoever I needed to be according to the situation. Don’t misunderstand me; it is not that I purposely set out to deceive people, it was a self-protection defense. Growing up in close quarters in fear of the one who is suppose to nurture and protect you can alter your self identity and value.

You see, when you grow up walking on eggshells, you quickly learn how to tip-toe so you will not upset the one you fear. Unfortunately, this skill does carry over into other areas of your life and relationships; it’s a learned behavior. The very thing I ran from, I ran to, and if you have ever experienced long term abuse then you understand what I am saying. I ran-away from an abusive father to end up in one abusive and unhealthy relationship after another. I was so beat down I didn’t know my own worth or who I was; and if you don’t know your worth then you will accept anything.

The pattern that was embedded into me led to failed marriages, depression, anxiety, and an inability to finish things. Where I failed in one area I would try to overcompensate in other areas, leading to imbalance, more failure, self-loathing, deeper depression and guilt. I was plagued with the constant thoughts I was never going to be good enough. I became an expert at self-sabotage.

I share this with you, not to bash my father, because I have long since forgave him. Nor do I seek any kind of pity, because I have learned I am not a victim, I am conqueror. I share this personal information about me to give you hope.

What I have done in the past (and probably what you are doing now) to numb the fear and anger I had inside of me, simply did not work. Healing is for you now and for your future; it is not to change your past. Your past can’t be changed, but you can be empowered to not let your past dictate your future.

There is only One way you can truly be free. Any other way is only a temporary fix and will lead to more heartache.

Allow me to backtrack to the beginning of this post and start over. OK?

I didn’t know my Father as a child. I met Him at a time in my life when I was so low that death began to look like an option. I was weary and tired of being tired. Know what I mean? Have you ever been there?

Yet, there was this quiet inner voice of hope, almost like a whisper, and He told me to not give up. Then His voice redirected my footsteps right to the bookstore to buy a Bible. I have tried everything else and failed, so I figured I will give God a chance. Of course I didn’t understand a word I read, it may as well have been Shakespeare to me. But, He still continued to call me, He didn’t give up on me, He led me to a church filled with people who loved Him and it was there I met my Father for the very first time. Well, it was actually in my car, but God used His people in this church to lead me there.

At the advice of my pastor, I opened my Bible again and read the book of John. It was no longer Shakespeare, it was the voice of God speaking to me. It was as if my eyes had been opened for the very first time and all I could do was weep as I read about His great love for me. It felt as though Jesus Himself was sitting right next to me. Have you ever experienced this?

Can I tell you what the difference was? It was His Spirit!

For the first time in my life, I did not feel alone. For the first time I felt loved.

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What He did for me, He wants to do for you, too. He fully immersed me in His love and bathed me in His righteousness.

All the shame I carried… gone.

The fear… gone.

Anger… gone.

There is something you need to understand. From the foundation of the earth, before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, God knew you. All of your days were fashioned before Him when there was none. 

It was, and still is, never God’s will for us to suffer; especially children. You may ask, “Then why does He allow it to happen?” Ah, my friend, you are His Beloved, and because He loves us He gave each of us the freedom of choice to choose to love Him, so we may be conformed into His image. He never overrides our own will; though I can personally testify there have been many times He has super naturally came to my rescue. He has written His law in our hearts, this is what is known as a conscience. Since the fall of man, sin has entered the world and the consequence affects generations, even the innocent. Do you understand this?

The second greatest gift He gives us is the ability to forgive. When you have reached the sweet place of being able to forgive the one who hurt you, then you will be truly free from your past. Please, understand forgiveness does not excuse or justify the wrong, it sets you free from the injury. Forgiveness cuts all ties with what was meant to destroy you. Forgiveness works hand in hand with the cleansing of God to purify and renew you. It brings healing and deliverance and sets you free to be the person He created you to be from the foundation of the earth. It is like taking off the sunglass in a dark room and suddenly everything becomes bright and you are able to see.

When His Spirit helped me to remove my sunglasses of unforgiveness I was able to see who the true enemy really was. It wasn’t my father. It was Satan and the works from hell working through my father. Forgiveness gave me the ability to see my father as a hurting man who carried injury from his childhood and passed it down to me. He is a lost man in need of a Savior, just as we all are before we know Christ. We have all hurt people out of our own injury; it may not have been the same injury that was caused to us as children, but we have all been in a place of needing forgiveness.

For your own soul’s sake, do not withhold forgiveness. I am not saying it will be easy. You may have to forgive everyday until you come to the place where you can say, “It is well with my soul.” You may even need some help walking through this, a Christian counselor perhaps. But, I do know His Holy Spirit can and will comfort  and help you.

And know this, you are never alone. Your Heavenly Father is close to the broken hearted and He has not left you as an orphan.

 Be Free & Stay Free

 

You Can Because I Am

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Her life didn’t turn out the way she planned. Everything was a struggle, from childhood to adult, it was a constant struggle; as if she was under a curse.

All her life all she ever wanted was to be loved.

As a child she would envy other children who had parents who loved them. She wanted to be like the other girls who walked with their heads high and carefree. She wanted friends to laugh with and parents to ask her how her day was.

Of course, she over compensated for the affection she hungered for, her flirts for love and validation only left her with deeper wounds. She was misguided by her skewed perception of what love is, mistaking touch and empty words from lovers as the real; even though, deep inside, she knew…

Yes, all her life all she ever wanted was to be loved.

Years have passed, five husbands and the lovers in between have come and gone. Resolved in her belief that it was too late for her, she settled and accepted this is as good as it will ever get.

Everyday she would go out of her way to avoid people. Her dreams were replaced with shame, regret, and disappointment.

But…

A day, a Man, a God, that changed her life forever!

There He was at the well. The audacity He had to even talk to her. Didn’t he know who she was? He must not be from around here, because if He were then He would know to not talk to her; if He wanted to save His reputation.

But…

He did talk to her!

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He asked her for a drink? Really? The nerve! She had nothing to give and she was on guard because she couldn’t trust the kindness in His voice. There was definitely something different about Him. He wasn’t undressing her with His eyes. He didn’t talk down to her or try to puff her up with flattery and false compliments.

He didn’t even seem to notice her uncomfortableness (even though she was intrigued, there was something about Him) He talked to her with respect and dignity. Ah, yes, dignity… as if she was someone.

She felt drawn to Him, but she needed to be on guard; she couldn’t trust men.

No matter how she tried to talk circles, He brought it back to her; her need.

She learned to never look a man in the eyes. She had been cast down so low she couldn’t even look up.

But…

This man! There is something different about Him. He told her everything about her and for the first time she didn’t feel judged. It was as if He knew her personally and still He was not ashamed of her.

She felt it in His words. She felt it in His tone.

Her eyes went from looking at her feet, across the ground, to His feet and then up, slowly up… to His eyes.

He paused.

She paused.

He smiled.

“I Am.” He said.

It was then she knew… she was looking into the eyes of God!

Her life will never be the same. She no longer looked at her past with regret and shame.

I Am set her free!

I Am wants to set you free, too, Beloved.

Are you at the well of decision? Have you been beaten down? Do you feel like this is as good as it gets? Oh, my friend, there is a more abundant life waiting for you at the well.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Read this and listen to this while you read and let it sink in! There is no chain His love can’t break!

Be Free & Stay Free