A Time For Rest

My next assignment on my journey to wholeness was to read the book The Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allender which deals with childhood sexual abuse and the need to work through the pain, no matter what it takes to find healing. As I started reading, a passage spoke to me. It talked about honoring God and that the best way to honor God was to choose to change. I wanted to change, because I wanted to honor God and what He has planned for my life.

At this time I also added a new verse to the list that I wrote in my journal every day. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (NAS). I knew that I was going to have to find grace and mercy in my time of need as I read further in the book.

As I read further, I came across the revelation that God is committed to my complete healing and, because He is, He can use any situation or hard time I have endured in His wisdom to bring great joy and fulfillment to my life. When I read that passage, I prayed then and there for God to use all that had happened to me so that I could find that fulfillment and joy.

But I still struggled with repressed memories of what had happened to me, so how could God use “all that had happened” if I could not remember it all myself? Why couldn’t I remember everything from my childhood? During the next few days after making the decision to let God use “everything that is me” for His divine purpose, I started experiencing a sick stomach, throbbing pains, tears, and fear. I became afraid of the dark, always feeling as if someone were coming to get me. I began to dream troubling dreams.

Every day, I wrote in my journal the phrases that God had given me. Over and over again I would write that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that I can find grace and mercy in time of need, that I am free from any condemning charges against me.

Still, I experienced anxiety attacks over the simplest things, and I began to binge-eat. And again I started obsessing about a certain person who had hurt me. I kept waiting for those repressed memories from my childhood to come forth—for God to use in my healing—but they never came. My counselor encouraged me to pray for the Lord to give me pleasant dreams instead of haunting nightmares. I was skeptical, but I did it, and God answered my prayer. This prayer was an example of my drawing near to God with confidence as He promises in Hebrews. I prayed, and my bad dreams stopped.

For whatever reason, even though I wanted to recall those repressed memories, the time was not right for that to happen. Instead, God helped me in other ways. Looking back in my journal, I see three specific things that God did to help me through this difficult time.

The first thing that God showed me was that, if I am free from condemning charges, then I must stop condemning others, particularly the “problem person” who was plaguing me so. Wow! I had to confess my sin and give that person over to God. Then God reminded me of how he had used friends and strangers to encourage me. On two different occasions recorded in my journal, friends just texted me out of the blue to offer words of kindness, not knowing how badly I needed to receive them. And a phone call from a total stranger had miraculously and unexpectedly brightened a particularly dark day. The third thing that I realized was that I do have the power to control my eating. God had already given me the authority not to binge-eat, gain weight, and despise myself for it. For you see, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. With confidence I knelt before the throne of God and asked and received His strength to overcome this situation.

My word of encouragement to you today is for you to honor God and surrender your life so that He can work in His way, in His time to bring you joy and fulfillment. I wanted so badly to remember those repressed memories so that I could move on, but instead He used this time to show me other things that needed to come first. Maybe tomorrow will be my day of remembering, but today I am going to rest in Him and believe that He is working for my best interests.

What about you? Are you trying to rush what God has for your healing? Are you being impatient, wanting it to be done now? That’s how I was, but now I am going to rest in His grace and mercy. Come sit with me. Let’s just rest today and gather strength for the hard work that still lies ahead of us. He knows best.
Blessings – Lisa

I Am New – But I’m Still Fighting The Battle To Be Free

Last week I shared with you about my victory when I was made new by God after I missed an important trip with my husband because I felt unlovable. God gave me the promises of being new, cherished, loved, acceptable, and worthy. I wanted and needed to cling to those promises as I dealt with a new phase in my healing process, but the enemy would not give me up so easily.

The next day—and I mean the very next day after my spiritual high—I started feeling bad again. The enemy reminded me of all the other times that I had ruined trips or other opportunities to spend time with my husband. The battle raged all day, but I kept reminding myself of those three fundamental truths that I had written over and over again in my journal: I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am complete in Christ, and I will one day be perfected as His good work. At the end of that day, I went to bed exhausted, and that was when the enemy came at me again in a different way.

That night I had nightmares. I rarely remember my dreams, except for the bad ones, and before that night I had not recalled a dream in a long time. But that night was different. Even now I have vivid, disturbing memories of those nightmares. I dreamed of being raped and then not believed, I dreamed of being chased by people who were out to get me, I dreamed that others were trying to hurt me. Suddenly I was thrashing about in dark, murky waters, struggling to keep my head above water. It was horrible.

My past, that I had repressed and denied for so long, wanted to come forth and condemn me. The enemy wanted me to believe that I still deserved to suffer, even though God have given me His promises, and that I would never be a whole person again. He wanted me to believe that I would never be able to enjoy traveling with my husband. Once more, I asked God for a verse, for reassurance from His Word to help me combat this new attack. And it came from Romans 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (NAS).

Do you see that? “There is therefore now no condemnation.” Even when my dreams were trying to defeat me and cause me to lose hope, Christ Jesus is bigger than that assault. He can set me free from eternal death. Surely He can also set me free from what was done to me in the past. Surely He can do that. Yes, He can. And I am going to choose to believe it today. I know that I still have a journey filled with battles ahead of me, but I choose to believe that I can overcome those obstacles, too.

Has the enemy been trying to convince you that you are no good? Does he remind you of your mistakes and hurts from the past to try to build his case against you? Well, good news! There is no condemnation against you if you are in Christ Jesus. The enemy may try to attack you in your dreams as he tried to attack me, but we are not going to allow him to win even there. He is not going to win this battle because we are free, free in Christ, and we are going to walk with hope. It is hard, but it can be done. Believe, and be free.

Blessings – Lisa


I Am New

In Christ alone we can all be made new. For some of us, the transformation seems to come so easily. But for others of us, God uses hurtful, heart-wrenching times of struggle to speak to our lives. I find myself in the second category. I have believed and loved God’s Word since I was a child, but some of the concepts and promises of the Bible were just words on paper to me. I believed them, but they weren’t ingrained in my heart yet.

Oh, how much God loves us and works in our lives to bring us closer to him. Once, I had a chance to go on a trip to a city that I had never visited before—Chicago. This was a trip that I could have gone on with my dear, sweet husband. It would have been a great time, but I chose not to go. I chose not to go because I felt unlovable. You see, my sexual abuse not only affected how I felt about myself, but it was also affecting my relationship with my husband. I had shut down emotionally. I did not want to feel this way, but my emotional withdrawal had such a devastating stronghold on my life.

So I stayed home, and he went alone on this trip to a new and exciting place. I was home alone because I hated myself. I started feeling trapped and cheated. In fact, I started hating myself even more. My journal became filled with entries of how much I hated myself. I detested the way I felt, but I couldn’t find any relief or an answer. One of my journal entries ended with the passage, “I hate being defective.” You see, that is how I felt about myself. I was defective, I was not whole, I was not normal, I would never be free again, I was trapped. How those thoughts plagued me over and over.

I wept and wept. I called my husband and begged for forgiveness, and I wept some more. The pain just would not leave me. Later that night, lying on the couch alone, in the stillness and quiet of my empty house, I begged God for a word. Once again, God spoke to me and encouraged me. How thankful I am for His Patience and Love for me! As before, He used a song to speak to me. In his song “I Am New,” Jason Gray writes about living in the “shadows of shame” and not believing that there is a possibility of ever being able to change. That is exactly how I felt, as if this shamefulness was going to be my companion forever. Then in the lyrics I discovered a very important word: the word BUT. But God does not see me as I see myself!

Oh, what joy to know that God does not see me the way that I see myself. God sees me in a different way because He sees me as a new creation in Christ, accepted by Him even when I can not accept myself.  One day I am going to be totally made brand new. But in reality I don’t have to wait. I can claim all of those promises now. Oh, how I needed to know that. How I desperately needed to claim all those promises in my heart, and to rest in that assurance. Thank you again, God, for reminding me of who I am in you.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV). Are you feeling defective? Do you feel as if the ick inside of you will never completely leave you? Do you ever just hate who you are? Have you ever sabotaged your life because you felt unloved? Here are the promises I have for you: You are forgiven, you are Beloved, you are made in the Image of Christ Himself, you are Righteous and Holy, you are Reborn and Remade, you are Accepted and Worthy, and you are all of those things NOW. Let’s ingrain those truths in our hearts today. And let’s remember how God sees us when He looks at us—new, loved, and remade.

Blessings – Lisa