Ultimate Makeover

who-am-i

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

 

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Safe in the Storm

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I cling to the cross when the storms roll in and the dark clouds try to distort my vision. The work Christ did and completed on the cross is my anchor.

When the waves tempt me to row in the opposite direction, Jesus calls me to the stern and He tells me to rest.

I have no need to fear when the One who created heaven and earth and speaks to every storm (even the waves obey Him) holds me in the palm of His hand.

My eyes do not have to see what my faith believes.

He is andI find my being.

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

 

Beauty for Ashes

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Shame does something to a person. It produces a judgement of guilt and unrelenting condemnation.

Shame distorts a person. It suffocates the future and feeds on regret. The showering of fear hinders growth and stifles a person from becoming who they were created to be.

When I think of people in the Bible who overcame shame, I see a common thread.

Think of the woman at the well, for example. Shame ostracized her right into isolation. Or how about Rahab the prostitute? You better believe she could clear a sidewalk when she walked down the street. Even Gideon hid because he was the least of the least; he didn’t see himself as a man of valor; but God did. The list could go on and on, because God chooses such people.

Do you know what they have in common? They encountered the living God!

Are you there, my friend? Are you carrying shame like a dirty little secret and trying to cover it with  lie upon lie; afraid of being exposed? Have you isolated yourself in your closet of regret and you no longer do the things you used to enjoy, you hide from people, your prayer life is non-existent, you don’t even read your Bible anymore, and your head is too heavy to hold up?

If this is you, then there is something you need to know. There is no sin so great that He can’t forgive. There is no wrong that He can’t make right and no reason your past has to rob you of your future.

Jesus came to set you free! Do you believe this?

When He gave His life for yours, He took the shame to the grave and left it there, and then He rose victorious! His victory is your victory.

He gives beauty for ashes. Do you believe?

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3

Call on Him. Repent and receive His forgiveness. Let it go. You have been created for so much more. When He formed you, He held you in His hands and He said, “It is good.”

We make mistakes. We don’t always make the right choice. Sometimes we do it willingly and sometimes not. But, He has made a way for us. Come to Him just as you are, because this is one thing you can’t do on your own; you need Him.  We all need Him.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

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!

woman at well

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

Come Home

 

 

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I can’t think of a worse place to be than in a backslidden state; to know Jesus and then try to hide from Him.

It is folly to think we, His children, could hide from Him. He promised He would never leave us. Seriously, it is impossible to not be in His sight.

But that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it?

A few years ago I was foolish enough to try hiding from Him. When it seemed everything in my life was coming undone; I grew weary and began to rely on myself instead of trusting Him. In disobedience, I made one bad decision after another. I was on a slippery slope and boy was I sliding back fast. What a mess I made!

imagesYou see, that’s what happens when we give in to “thoughts” and emotions. The enemy uses our injuries to drown out the voice of God and then we find ourselves in a dark place, believing lies, and hiding from the truth.

I was once like Peter. Remember when everyone was running from Jesus and He turned to His disciples and asked them, “Will you also go away? Do you too desire to leave Me?” And Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

After we have tasted and seen that God is good, it is a bitter pill in our bellies when we walk away.

I had mistaken conviction for condemnation. I was living in fear and depression. I opened myself up for all kinds of demonic attacks. Because of my injuries, I injured others and there was nothing I could do in my own strength (or cleverness) to stop it. God’s love for me allowed me to come to the end of myself.

I do not recommend backsliding. But, if you are already there, if your feet have already begun to go in the wrong direction, stop! You can turn around now. You do not have to be afraid or think you have committed the unpardonable sin. God is not angry with you, He is for you, not against you.

He loves us enough to give us a free will to choose. It is not His will or purpose for us that we should be in a position of injury; it is by our own choice.

Even though Peter was so confident he would never leave Jesus; he did. The same Peter who said he would die for Jesus still denied Him; not once, but three times!

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Did Jesus stop loving him? No! Did Jesus know Peter was going to deny Him? Yes!

We can learn much through Peter about the love of Christ.

Can you imagine for a moment? Peter walked with Jesus His entire ministry; side by side with God. He witnessed the miraculous! He watched Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead! Peter walked on water with Jesus. Now you would think there could never be a way for Peter to deny Jesus, but he did.

Before we can come down so hard on Peter and naively declare, “Well! I would never deny Jesus after seeing all He had done;” take an inventory of how many times God has answered our prayers and still there have been times of doubt in our own mind.

Peter was broken. Strong, boisterous, quick to speak, Peter, was broken. But he didn’t stay broken. He grieved, repented, was forgiven, and then was used mighty by God.

I had finally come to the end of myself. I was so low the only way to go was up.

One night I was awakened by a clear voice, “Romans 8:28.” I tuned on the light, grabbed my Bible and read:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

In brokenness and repentance I cried out to God and in mercy and love He answered. This was the beginning of my restoration. There are no surprises with God, He knows it all, He knows our coming and going, our sitting and standing.  Where can we go that He is not already there? (Psalm 139)

Where could I go from Your Spirit?

Or where could I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”

Even the night shall be light about me;

Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,

But the night shines as the day;

The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psalm 139: 7-14

Beloved, where are you? Are you ready to lay down the guilt and shame? No matter what you have done, there is no sin greater than His forgiveness. Confess your sin, He knows it anyway, repent and turn back to Him. This is the Father’s heart; to leave the 99 and go after the one lost sheep.

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There is no condemnation for those who are in Him. His forgiveness is available; His love is without measure, unfailing, and never ending.

Search me, Father, know my heart and renew a right spirit within me. I confess my sins to You and I thank You for Your forgiveness. Fill me, God, with Your Spirit and steady my feet on Your straight path so that I will not stray away again. Hedge me in so I will know Your borders and boundaries. Thank You for working in me for the good and for Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

Fear is a Poor Bedfellow

fear

Fear will kill dreams, destroy relationships, paralyze, cause illness, put you in the poor house,  bring depression and even cause physical death.

Fear is hellish!

Fear comes from Satan. Throughout your life he planted those little seeds of death. He manipulated people to hurt, offend, or misunderstand you. He magnified every failure. He whispers accusations in your ear. He is so good at what he does he is able to have you believe those lies are truth. In fact, you may not even recognize it is coming from him, because ya know… he can sometimes disguise himself as an angel of light.

I spent the first half of my life living in fear and running. I fell for the lie that I was never going to be good enough and that I was stupid. Why? Because he manipulated people who were closest to me to speak those lies; starting at childhood. Not only did Satan use others to speak lies to me, he caused me to believe it enough to speak the lies to myself.

I couldn’t finish anything! I failed at relationships because I was too afraid of being rejected. I didn’t even know who I was because I was too busy being someone else to be accepted. Always the actress and in self-protective mode. Can I just tell you how exhausting that was?

Fear! A hellacious bedfellow. Fear will crawl up with you at night; and as you lay awake, unable to sleep, fearing the nightmares that come with the closing of your eyes, you rehearse every stinkin’ offense, every judgement, every hateful word, and you begin to drown.

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Listen to a lie long enough and you will start to believe it.

Did you know the Bible tells us to Fear Not! 365 times? Yes! That is a fear not for every day of the year.

Now, we know the devil is a liar and the father of lies. And most of us have heard the verse from 1 Peter 5: That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But can we pause for a moment and look at the whole text?

Here, read this out loud…

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].  Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 1 Peter 5:6-10 

You can be free from fear 100% when you know and know and know the One who loves you!

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. 1 John 4:18

Jesus told us to resist the devil. He said stay close to Him and resist the devil. Resisting the devil is not ignoring him. Resistance is an active stance, it is firmly planting your feet and pushing back.

How do we push back?

We push back with the Word!

We follow the example our Lord set for us when the accuser tries to tempt us. Jesus answered, “It is written…!”

For you to know it is written, you must know what is written, and this takes discipline. You must be in fellowship with Him. You must be in the Word. If you find that you struggle with this, your mind wanders around, and a thousand and one distractions happen; then my friend, you must discipline yourself. EVERY DAY! Read your Bible, do not wait for your feelings or for the energy or for whatever excuse you may use. Even if it is only a couple verses a day, read it and meditate on it. Even if you do not understand what you are reading, still read it and meditate on it. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you and to give you revelation. Return to your first love with Him and believe Him when He says when the time comes He will bring to your remembrance His Words. But, He can’t remind you if you do not have it in you.

After spending the first half of my life living in fear I have purposed I will not finish my life living in fear. I choose to believe what Abba Father has to say about me. I choose to believe His word is true when He says, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world!

My friend, choose today to not let fear have you. You have been created for so much more. He has a plan and a purpose for you, from the foundation of the earth He already knew you. Go! and pursue Him and finish the race strong, fulfill your calling, and God, our Father, will be and is with you. He is for you!

Fear not! Be strong and courageous! Believe!

Be Free & Stay Free