Journeying To A New Land

As I walked along my journey and finally began to address my sexual issues, strong new emotions began to surface. As soon as I opened one door, the feelings that had been stuffed away for so long flooded over me. One of those emotions was anger. I was angry because I felt so alone. I felt as if I could not tell anyone else about my problems with my husband. I had a terrible secret that threatened to explode from within me. I became furious with my husband over minor infractions. For example, he was late one day when we were helping our daughter move to a new apartment, and you would have thought that he had committed a felony by the anger that washed over me. Poor guy.

As weeks passed, my anger flared up more and more often, and over the littlest things. So, again I knew I had to discern the truth about the situation. The truth was, of course, that I was not alone concerning my sexual problems. God was with me, and the knowledge of that truth was enough to help me. God gave me Psalm 37:7-9, “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing, for evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land” (NAS).

Satan certainly wanted to carry out evil schemes against me, but I was commanded to rest in the Lord and not to fret. I had to release my anger because anger only leads to evildoing. As a result of letting my anger go, I would inherit a new land, and this new land is my marriage. God had promised me that my marriage would be restored. I chose to believe God’s word and to be patient in the work that He was doing in my life.

Another of the emotions that attacked me was hopelessness. I did not feel as if I were changing fast enough. In fact, I did not feel that I would ever really change. Again, I had to look at the truth of the situation, the truth that my marriage could be restored and that God can work miracles. I cried out to God to help me believe this truth and soon began to feel peace and hope. In Psalm 37 I found another promise. Verses 10-11 say, “Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Abundant prosperity—that was what I was going to hope for. Then one day I would be able to look back and see that my hopelessness had been replaced by healing and wholeness. What a promise to cling to in my time of need!

Along with anger and hopelessness, I also experienced fear during this period of my journey, especially fear of making decisions. For some reason, I started feeling as if whatever I said or did had no value. I felt voiceless and worthless. I felt bad about myself, caught in that never-ending cycle of negativity. Would it ever end? As I discussed my predicament in counseling, I was given a new assignment: to be more assertive about what I really wanted to do in my life. That assignment was more difficult than it sounds, because I realized that I really did not know what I liked or what I wanted. I had to figure out what was important and meaningful to me. Over the years, I had retreated so much into myself that I had become a non-person without likes or desires. So this assignment turned into an adventure.

In Psalm 37:23-24, the Psalmist says, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.” With these verses, the Lord assured me that he delighted in me, and that I was a person with meaning and purpose in my life. If I did stumble, He was there to hold my hand and lead me in the way I was to walk. Oh, how I needed to hear that word. I chose again to believe the truth, that I am a person of worth.

What truths do you need to claim? Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy your life, but God wants to give you a new land, abundant prosperity, and meaning and purpose to your life. Give Him those hurtful emotions and believe with me that there is hope, hope for a new life that is blessed and happy. Believe. Let’s take God’s hand and walk with Him in the delightful way He has for us.

Blessings – Lisa

Happy Thoughts and a Great Reward

Today I awoke feeling as if I should write about happy thoughts. But somewhere along the way I got busy, busy, busy trying to get ready for a trip. I’ve been too distracted to focus on any one thing and haven’t gotten anything accomplished. Finally God spoke to my heart and said, “Enough is enough. I want you to stop now and write. You will be ready for your trip when the time comes, but I want you to write this now.”

So, here I am, sitting and waiting to hear from God what He wants me to write. Happy thoughts? I ask myself to recall some of the good things that have happened during this journey from depression into freedom. And, as I look out the door this morning, I see one of the gifts that God has brought me. He brought two cats into my life. They literally just showed up out of nowhere. You may not think that there’s anything extraordinary about that, but they have become very special to me.

All of my life I have been highly allergic to cats. If I were in the same room with one I would have an attack of some sort and then have to leave the premises. But God, in His infinite wisdom, brought me two cats that live outside. I pet them and hold them, but I have never had an allergy attack. They have brought such comfort to me, especially during the days when everyone in my family would be gone and I felt so alone. The cats never cared if I cried; they just sat in my lap and purred. My husband and daughter thought I had gone loony when the cats showed up, but I know that God brought them to me. I cannot imagine life without them now.

Another happy thought that God has brought back into my mind has to do with music. Looking at my journal, I am reminded of all the times that God gave me just the right song at just the right time on just the right occasion. One song in particular would come on the radio for me to hear on some of my darkest days. Once, when I really needed encouragement, I heard that song twice in just a few hours, on two different radio stations. My amazing God orchestrated that for me.

At certain points in my life, a few particular songs held bad associations for me, reminders of a very hurtful time that caused deep pain that I feared would never be resolved. But the happiest thought I have today is how God has taken away my hatred for those songs. There was a time when just hearing those songs made me angry and I would have to turn off the radio, but now I am able to appreciate them again.

My intense hatred for those songs and the anger they stirred inside me had really surprised me. But the Enemy can use anything to cause hurt and pain and agony. (There are other noises that still bother me today, noises that I associate with my molestation. I have learned that certain smells, colors, or images can trigger memories and bring on a violent reaction.) But with God’s help, there has been forgiveness and resolution of that hurtful situation, and that relationship has been transformed and made new. So today, as I rushed around trying to pack for my trip and get the house in order, I heard one of the songs that had had such a negative connotation for me. I stopped in my tracks. When I heard that song, I was amazed. I no longer felt the pain and the agony, but was able to enjoy that song once again.

Oh, what a happy thought! What a joy! It was as if God were saying to me, “Yes, this difficult situation has had healing and, yes, you can have a song in your heart once more.” Isn’t that a wondrous thing?

Is there something in your life that the Enemy is using to cause you grief and agony? Let me share Hebrews 10:35-36 with you today: “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (NAS). You see I had to endure and work through my situation. Don’t throw away the confidence concerning your own situation.

Do the will of God, work hard, and believe that God can take any noise, any color, any smell, or any song and turn it into a happy thought. His Word calls it a great reward, a promise from God Himself. He wants you to sing a song in your heart and be free from hurting, pain, and agony. Sit with me now, and let’s think about the happy things that God has brought into our lives. Be still. Listen. He wants to whisper those happy thoughts to you right now.

Blessings – Lisa

Not Perfect and I’m Still Okay…

As I continued to work through my challenging situations, God promised that He was with me always, and I began to see some evidence of hope–that God did have a plan for using what was going on in my life. Even when some traumatic family issues began to surface, I could see God at work in that situation, also. But then a new emotion began to erupt within me. Anger.

For so long, I had stuffed away not only all my hurts and fears, but my anger as well. I had essentially stuffed all of my emotions out of my life. I had become numb. But, as God worked on me, my feelings started to thaw. And as they thawed, I started getting angry. Angry with people. Angry with situations. Angry with myself, and angry with God.

I was so angry that I could not find rest, and was anxious about everything. My thoughts seem to spiral beyond my control so that I was not even able to read my Bible or pray. What in the world was going on with me? Hadn’t God just shown me His Faithfulness and Care for my life? I had had such a high, and now two weeks later I’m angry?

I started to feel guilty, but I kept praying over and over, “God, help me to rest in you!” My counselor assured me that what I was experiencing was normal, but I knew I had to learn to get those distorted messages out of my life. I believed that as a Christian I was not supposed to get angry. But my anger made me feel guilty, and my guilt made me feel angry. My feelings were turning into a vicious cycle, and I needed to get rid of the distortions and get an accurate account instead.

Again, my counselor reassured me that it was okay for me to be angry as long as I did not act on that anger and hurt others. I had permission to scream and cry and yell, because there really were some things in my life to be angry about. I could journal and journal, and that way give it all to God. My, how that freed my soul! It was okay to feel my feelings once again. I did not have to stuff my emotions away any longer.

So, I began to write about how I really felt about things. I began to release the anger–I just wrote and wrote and wrote. I did not know how much I had bottled up inside me. There were times I just wanted to stomp on my journal, jump on it, tear it up, shred it into a million pieces. but even as I released the anger and the disappointments and the hatred (yes, there were times I just felt hatred) I began to feel the peace of God. I realized that I had to process the anger before I could rest in the truth. I needed to practice Ephesians 4:26, which says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (NAS).

So, what was the truth about what I was dealing with during this difficult time? The truth, for me, was that I was not perfect and therefore I could not expect my family to be perfect, either, though most of my anger had been directed at them and their imperfections. Perfection had been my way to overcome Dumb, Stupid, and Ugly, and that didn’t work. The TRUTH was this: I can never be perfect, no matter how hard I try, and neither can my family. I will always mess up  and make mistakes, and that’s okay. Did you catch that last part? It’s okay.

Here is my encouragement for you today. If you have deadened your soul and are numb to your emotions, do not stay there. Friend, release the anger, the sorrow, the guilt, the shame. Whatever it is, release it to God. He can handle it all. Also remember this great truth: we all make mistakes, and that’s okay. Really. God loves you just as you are, and He loves you even when you mess up. Believe it. Live it.

Blessings – Lisa