Abuse isn’t always as obvious as a black eye or broken arm, not even to the victims themselves. It sometimes comes in subtle forms through manipulation and control that our co-dependent, people-pleasing tendencies play all too well into the scenarios. These are things I could only see in hindsight in my personal experience. I now realize all my past relationships were riddled with the subtleties of abuse that led to the darker moments in my life.
It is my hope that we can start recognizing these signs in ourselves and others so we can help each other break the chains of repetition. Whether you are a victim or a victor or just interested in learning more about how to recognize the red flags of abuse, this support group is for you.
We will share personal stories and help others navigate through theirs and support each other with love and grace.
This support group will launch in early February for thirteen weeks through Southland Groups. The registration began Sunday. I wanted to share this with you in case you or someone you know might be interested. This is a way for me to gauge the interest and need for this type group and continue it through Faith Walk Ministries as a monthly support group as needed after the thirteen weeks are complete.
This group will meet on Saturday mornings from 9 – 10 a.m. at the FWM office. If you are interested in more info about joining please contact me at email@example.com or simply sign up at the link below.
I read an amazing story recently about a blind skier who trusts her guide to navigate her down the treacherous mountains. He goes before her to lead the way. She not only makes it down safely – she has won many medals along the way. Her guide also happens to be her husband; and her eyes. They use a headset for him to speak every move into her earpiece. She admits it takes a lot of trust but that has only made their relationship closer. They enjoy the adventures together and the communication along with the trust factor has strengthened their marriage.
Here is the link to the story if you would like to read it yourself:
I see this as a beautiful picture of what God is asking of us. If we trust Him to lead us and listen to His every direction, He will navigate us through the difficult terrain we encounter in our lives and we can enjoy the adventure of life a lot better. Our relationship with Hm will become more intimate as we communicate with Him through the Holy Spirit and allow Him to prepare the way before us. Even if we can’t see where we are going, we can still enjoy the journey.
When we let other people lead our lives, that can be more like the blind leading the blind and we end up in worse situations because we are following the wrong people.
God is our ultimate guide. He can sharpen our spiritual eyes and ears to hear His direction and discern His voice in the darkness. He is our wise counsel and the lamp at our feet that lights our path. In order to know His instructions and hear what He wants for us we must know His word and be in it daily, listening and praying for wisdom and discernment of His truth.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
“…If one blind person guides another, they will both fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14
So, I say, let the Holy Sprit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:6
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
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)
There is a very large dog in our neighborhood who is so disciplined the owner doesn’t need a leash. He faithfully walks with or just behind the owner at every step, focused and unwavering from his path.
This dog is so big he could easily take out any dog in our hood in a single bite. But he doesn’t even bark back or seem to get distracted by anything around him.
Isn’t this the model of the ultimate Christian life? To be disciplined in our daily walk with Jesus. No leash…we are completely free. Yet, we choose to walk with Jesus and let Him lead us on the path He is preparing before us. Unwavering, even when life’s circumstances are thrown at us, we don’t get distracted.
We can put our complete trust in the One who created us for this journey. If we are putting our faith in Him and walking with Jesus daily, everything else falls into place.
I had the opportunity recently to hear a minister in another county speak about 2020 as it relates to our 20/20 vision. It piqued my interest. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Even though God has been placing a message about the new year bringing new opportunities. It all makes total sense.
I believe we have the perfect opportunity with the new year to begin a new life with a new vision that aligns with our purpose; God’s purpose for us. You can see your vision, as it aligns with God’s, come to fruition; but it will take discipline and focus on a daily walk with Jesus. I hope this excites you beyond measure. It does me.
Are you asking God what He wants for you and… listening for the answers? I am speaking from experience here when I say this. We can pray about a situation and ask for God to help, but if we don’t trust Him with the outcome, whatever it is, it won’t manifest. But when we align with God’s will in our lives our vision and God’s vision for us becomes one in the same.
God wants complete control to lead you to your best life; to the calling He has for you. We can’t see the big picture; only God can. Will you trust the One who has the blueprints? If you are like me, your choices haven’t led to a life full of joy and peace. The key is being flexible and ready to move in any direction God wants for you. To know what God wants you must listen; the only way to listen is to be still. What have you got to lose? It is only UP from here.
How is your Spiritual health these days? Do a mental scan and see how many you can check off the list: In the word daily, being still, praying continually, thanking God/being grateful even in undesirable circumstances, ask God’s will in your life, surrender to Him every day, pray on your knees, humble obedience, ask for wisdom and discernment.
These are a few things you can implement into your daily routine for the ultimate Christian life and let your 2020 vision manifest. We can start planting the right seeds today that will grow into the life we want to harvest tomorrow.
I have never been a big fan of making New year’s resolutions. Usually those are never kept all year. I am not talking about something you start today and don’t continue throughout the new year. I am talking about the kind of daily disciplines that are life changing and last a lifetime. We can only do that with God’s help and guidance.
What footprints will you leave behind? It is not too late, there is still time to plant new seeds; and make better choices for a better life. Are you ready to learn more about having a closer relationship with Christ and implementing the disciplines it takes to get there? Faith Walk Ministries can help you determine your desired goals for 2020 and give you the action items for success while walking beside you on your journey. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
Happy New Year! God loves you and so do I.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and He will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
when others don’t know what we are going through, a dog is always there to
comfort us. They listen and seem to understand when no one else does. They are
known for their faithfulness, loyalty, obedience and are anxious to serve.
the grand design of things, I believe God must have created dogs for human
companionship and they seem to show up in our lives when we need them most. We
can mask our feelings to others, but not to our dogs. They sense when something
is wrong and offer a loving nudge with the nose and are always willing to
snuggle, well almost always.
my son was going through a rough period in his life, he decided to get a dog to
keep him company. It wasn’t long that I started to notice how much the dog resembled
the same behaviors as my son. Either he got the perfect dog – personality wise
or the dog adapted to her owner.
he has grown, and his anxieties improved- likewise she has come out of a lot of
her own nervousness. Granted when they moved in with me and I started sharing
caretaking duties, she began to adapt to my personality at least partially.
I know is that she came into his life when he needed her most. They have been
good for each other. She is so smart, loving and gentle with everyone. What a
sweetheart and delight to have around.
my sister adopted a little dog at a time in her life when they were both
looking for their way in a sense. Abundance, “Bundy” for short, was full of
energy and a free spirit at heart. She did not want to be restrained to any
limitations- not even the 140-acre farm in which she had free range, most of
the time. She would still get a wild hair and take off up the road to ‘visit’
the neighbors or maybe just see the world. Could be that she just went to say
she went because she could. People often reported seeing her in the road, on
her hind legs, begging with her little front paws in the air. What a sight. She
was one adorable little doggie.
this time, my sister travelled regularly, (like a free spirit) and had a sense
of freedom that she hadn’t experienced in a while. When she would go on trips,
if I wasn’t tagging along, I would keep Bundy for her at my house in the
suburbs. I walked her on a leash and kept her in the house with me.
was also at a time in my life where I was finding my own way and enjoyed her company.
I guess you could say she had two foster moms. I was trying to redefine who I
was as a person and believe I was allowed this time with her for a reason. She
showed me there is a different way other than following another person and
being controlled by them. She was certainly not doing either one of those.
As my sister began traveling more frequently and I was settling into my new life, we had the conversation about me taking her full time. I know she didn’t like the leash and the confinement of the suburbs as much as the farm where she had freedom to roam, but I hoped she would adapt and enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed hers.
we could make the transition, this little individualist made her way back up
the hill to the road and was hit by a car. My first thought was that if I had
taken her, she wouldn’t have been hit, but in my heart, I know she was doing
exactly what she wanted to do. She had served her purpose for more than one
person in her short life- and no telling how many others before us.
am grateful for the time I had with Bundy and for the lessons she taught me. I
know in my heart when and if I personally need another furry companion in my
life, God will provide it at just the right time.
now, I enjoy the long walks I share with my son and grand-dog, Alley.
your relationship with Christ dependent on your current circumstances? Do you
only go to Him when you’ve reached your breaking point and exhausted all your
other options or are you a fair weather friend who praises Him when things are
good but as soon as a shift occurs and the tide turns to rough seas you turn
your back on Him?
relationship with God should be that of a Father and child. He’s the same
yesterday, today and forever. Our relationship should be too. When we learn how
to praise Him through the dark times and thank Him for the lessons, we will
start to feel the closeness of our Father. He wants to experience the bad and
the good, the sad times and the joyful times; with Him by our side.
is through the tests and trials that our character is formed. How we handle our
reactions to the bad things in life is a good indicator for where our heart is.
The more we put our trust in Him through all circumstances, the closer our
relationship will be. He always wants the best for us and delights in His
little children coming to Him in thanksgiving and praise but also for respite and
rest under the shelter of His great wing.
my daily devotional this morning from Jesus Calling, this line stood out to me:
“It is impossible to spend too much time thanking and praising Me.
is so true. How many times day do you thank Him? It should be more than you can
count, especially through the hardest days in the middle of the storm. That
is how we keep Him close and rely on Him for strength.
brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your
endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is
fully developed, you will be perfect and complete., needing nothing. James 1:2-4