Let’s get straight to the point. God is bigger than ALL of this! Anything to the contrary comes from a place of fear and panic and is nothing but diabolical.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God has always provided. He will continue to provide and protect His people. This is the same God who shut the mouths of lions. God is not the author of confusion and chaos.
Let us be the calm in the storm. Let us sing praises to His name and be grateful for the little things we usually take for granted. Don’t drink the chaos Kook-aid, ya’ll. (I am pretty sure that is a long, lost proverb.) We can be smart, stay safe and not be fearful.
No matter what happens, God is with us. We can trust Him with the outcome. Share this truth with someone today who might need a word of encouragement in the middle of the storm.
When this is all over, go on that trip you’ve been thinking about for years, take the leap of faith and do that thing God has been nudging you to do, get out and enjoy God’s creation in nature, see other parts of the world…start marking those items off your bucket list. If you don’t have a bucket list, it is an excellent time to make one.
Be kind. Share with others in need. Show love. God’s got this…and us!
By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Hebrews 11:33-34
As an abuse survivor, I began looking back at my life to see how I got there. I didn’t just wake up one day in an abusive relationship. The layers I am peeling back are a much longer story, but it started with my definition of love being distorted at a very early age. For me, it wasn’t one big thing that happened, as a child, that I can point to that caused me to become that person. It was a million little things. That were just subtle enough to not be perceived as a problem at the time. But overtime, layer upon layer they escalated into the big thing-my darkest moments.
I still couldn’t recognize it- until I was out of it. Looking back- hearing the truth about love- real love, biblical love; God’s love. I began the process of peeling back those layers- digging in and taking a deep dive to figure it all out. I still don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, but I can see the big picture forming. I know it’s going to all come together someday, but it probably won’t be this side of Heaven. I do know all of Heaven is celebrating with me each time my healing goes a little deeper. I also know the enemy is lurking and attacking me each time I get a little closer, because he knows I am that much closer to helping someone else.
I feel compelled to share what I am learning about the subtleties of abuse, and the red flags, I could only see in hindsight. I share my story to make others aware, to break the generational cycles and repetitive abusive relationships, that will only continue if we don’t shed light on them. I will shout it from the mountaintops if I need to- just to be heard. It’s important to speak up and speak out to help other women who might be experiencing some of the abuse I endured and allowed in the name of love.
Not all abuse is as obvious as a black eye. In my case, the abuse came in the form of control and manipulation. The abuser knows all the right things to say- it’s called ‘grooming’ their prey/victim. They learn all too well how to sweep us off our feet and make us think they are in love with us so they can put us in a position to do anything they ask so we won’t be rejected. This type of emotional and mental abuse can ultimately lead to other forms as well including physical or in my case sexual abuse.
Here are a few of the red flags I experienced:
Said ‘I love you’ too early in relationship
Verbal criticisms (loss of self-esteem, belittlement, shame)
Picked out all my clothes
Wanted to know everything about my past and then used the info against me
For me, a big key to my healing has been validation. I blamed myself for so long- but it is never the victims’ fault. I hope something I said shined a light on other forms of abuse- awareness and recognition are important to help break the chains. If you resonate with any of these signs in a past or current relationship, please seek a counselor or other professional for help.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. I Corinthians 13:4-5
As I was driving to work one morning, focusing on the road in front of me, a car horn blew from somewhere nearby and it startled me. I began to think about all the distractions we have as we go through life every day that keep us from focusing on the path ahead of us.
Our car provides protection to surround us in case someone hits us. The seatbelts are designed to provide extra security if something did happen. What if we didn’t have these protectors in our life to guard us against the potential harm that could come to us?
I began to think of it like the armor we need to put on every day to protect us from the enemy. God’s armor is our protector from potential disasters. He surrounds us with His protection if we are putting on His armor every day as precaution.
The seatbelt could be the belt of truth – the more we are in His word the more we know His truth and can guard our hearts against the lies of the enemy.
Our body armor is God’s righteousness. For shoes, we are to put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so we are fully prepared. In addition, He says to hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
He says to put on salvation as our helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God with us every where we go. We are to stay alert, so the distractions of this world don’t get us off course from the path He has set before us. We are to keep our focus on Him and seek the kingdom above all else.
That is the only way we can deter the enemy and deflect his lies.
Many moons ago when I was married, in my former life, I made so many mistakes and bad choices I don’t even want to think about it. I didn’t know God’s truth even though I thought I was a Christian. On the outside the people in my life probably thought so too. But on the inside, I was a total mess.
When my husband got sick, we had a doctor take me aside and inform me there wasn’t anything wrong with him. “Men do these things when they feel they are not living up to the standards.” Frankly, I was shocked. But at the time, I took all the blame. If he was doing this because of that, it had to be my fault for the mistakes I had made. I thought I was being punished by God for my bad decisions.
It is only now that I can honestly say with no doubt in my mind that God does not punish us for our mistakes. He may want to more times than we will ever know. He might get angry or sad when we don’t come to Him. But He doesn’t punish us.
The bad things that happen to us are the circumstances of our own bad decisions and the enemy. God is Love. He may allow things, but He doesn’t cause them for punishment. He can bring good out of the bad and tragic situations and use it to bless us and others in a profound way that we could never have imagined.
What would your life look like if you stopped trying to control it on your own?
What do you think God wants for you?
What does God say about you?
Knowing the truth of what God says about us will help us stay strong in the faith and know we are free. All our bad choices have been covered by Christ on the cross. Grace and love carry us through.
“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then, my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken” say the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:9
Everything we have is a gift from God. Our house, car, job, everything. It may be exciting to get a new car and we can certainly thank God for it and the fact that we are able to pay for it, that is a gift from God. But these material things are temporary. They won’t last. The real gifts that matter are the ones He placed inside us by the Spirit. These are the gifts that shape our character and are meant to help others as we use them for God.
These are the gifts that are most important, and they are inside of us. If we take good care of our material gifts, we should take even better care of our spiritual gifts and the body, mind and spirit they are housed in.
One time, I decided to go on a sugar detox for a few days. I wanted to see how much better I might feel if I left off the extra sweetness. The main thing I noticed was that I didn’t get as hungry when I was eating more real food that didn’t have the added substance. I went off it because it was getting close to Christmas and I didn’t want to miss all the goodies. I might not have noticed a huge difference in the few days as far as how I felt but once I added it back, I realized some of the twinges and pains came back that had previously been prominent.
Since 2013, the year I had multiple fractures, surgeries and spent half the year in physical therapy, I have often prayed asking God to help me make healthier choices and take care of my body. As I wrote in my book, Beyond Yourself- A Spiritual Awakening, I began to figure out that the more I worked on my spiritual side the better shape my body and mind were too. It all works together, mind, body and spirit. I want to strive to take care of all three to the best of my ability as long as I can.
Not only for my own health and lifestyle but I also realize now that I belong to Christ – He is living inside me. I want to act like it by what I put my body through. Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship. We are to treat our bodies as a temple of God and not grieve the Holy Spirit by what we put it through. (Ephesians 4:30)
As I look at how I take care of myself in the light of these scriptures and others it gives me the motivation to do my best to treat it honorably for Christ. I want my thoughts to be pleasing to Him, my words to honor Him and treat my body like I know He is inside me every day.
What kind of house are we allowing Christ to live in? Are we giving Him our best and making necessary repairs and remodeling our house (renewing) to keep our minds, words and body holy for our Savior?
I want to challenge you to think about these truths and ask God if there are any areas of your life (house) that you need to do some spring cleaning. Read the above referenced scriptures and really meditate on how Christ is inside us and see if that changes your perspective on how you treat your body and your thoughts as it did mine.
Take care of your temple and keep it holy as God is holy. What’s on the inside will surface and be what is shown on the outside to others and will reflect how you treat others. Do not slander yourself or others. Show love and kindness to all including yourself. God’s grace covers us. Let us learn from our mistakes and move on. God has. Don’t dwell in the past. Today is the focus- not yesterday or tomorrow. Do the very best today with your focus on Christ.
As broken as I was, He still wanted me. He wanted to live in me so I would be blessed and experience joy as I love others, help others, and share words of encouragement and hope. He wants the same for you too.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:20-21)
Do you remember this little superstition from childhood? Maybe it has carried over into our adulthood? Maybe we need to take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves if we are still putting our stock in these old wives’ tales or an all-powerful God?
We can choose every day to put our trust in a loving God who can bring us joy through any circumstance. We can face any trial that comes our way through the day.
The definition of the word luck, according to the dictionary, is a success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than one’s own actions. But if you search for the word luck in the Bible, you won’t find it.
We don’t need luck- we need Jesus. We need to let our actions reflect our love for Him and trust Him with our day. We’ll have much better odds than by taking a chance on a penny.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3