The Good Shepherd

Even now, my counseling sessions have been extremely difficult. I have had a few helpful glimpses into the dark corners of my past, but I just cannot seem to gather enough courage to face the true story of what really happened to me as a child. Though I have made progress, the deepest part of me is still numb, and I cannot dispel the extreme fear that I feel. But when I needed encouragement before attending another counseling session, God directed me to A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller.

As I read this book, I stopped often to pray what I was learning over one of my daughters. Oh, how I want her to know the Good Shepherd and to know how much he cares for her personally. She bears the broken, hurting heart of her own trauma. So, I stand in the gap for her and pray God’s Word into her life. On one particular day, I prayed over her the lesson from Psalm 23:2, “He makes me lie down in green pastures (NIV).” Keller, a real-life shepherd, writes that sheep will not lie down and be at rest unless they are completely free of fear and anxiety. The only person who can give them this assurance is the shepherd himself. His diligent management and care makes it possible “for them to lie down, to rest, to relax, to be content and quiet and flourishing” (Keller 42).

At this time my daughter, who had moved to a new state and started a new job, had fallen ill. She was already experiencing doubts about her job and her future, and being sick only added to her misery. In his book, Keller relates a story about how he responded once to sheep rustlers who threatened his flock. He, the shepherd, did what it took to keep them safe: he camped out with his sheep night after night until the rustlers became discouraged and left the area. So I started praying for this type of protection for my daughter, for the Good Shepherd to do whatever it took to keep her safe from the “rustlers” of this world. I entreated Christ to be present with her, to “dispel the fear, the panic, the terror of the unknown” (Keller 44).

As I prayed over my daughter, I was standing on a chair, cleaning a light fixture that probably had not been dusted in decades. I prayed and cleaned and hoped that I would not fall off the chair or break the light fixture. When I finished cleaning it, I stepped off the chair and took a close look. Wow! I could not believe my eyes. The cut glass of the fixture, newly cleaned, threw a beautiful pattern of light onto the ceiling and the room was suddenly so bright! I was amazed.

Then I heard God say, “You are like that light fixture.” I realized that, as I prayed over my daughter, I also needed to have my own fear and anxiety “dusted” away. Looking at the bright light now illuminating my ceiling gave me hope. I knew God was telling me that, when I eventually work through my situation, I will be like that light—clean, bright, and beautiful to behold. The Good Shepherd is working diligently in my life so that I will one day find contentment and be able to “lie down in green pastures.” My fear and numbness will be replaced with flourishing feelings.

Oh, dear Friend, the Good Shepherd will also do whatever it takes to protect you and allow you to lie down in contentment. One day our dust-covered hearts will be fully cleaned so that our lives can give forth a beautiful light to those around us. I am thankful for the Good Shepherd. Aren’t you?

Blessings – Lisa

A New Mindset

I experienced a genuine breakthrough at my latest counseling session. I have been struggling to understand the various personas who live inside me, not really understanding my fractured state. Please understand that I do not “lose” portions of time or have multiple personalities that take over my life, but, in my case, different personas live inside me, safeguarding some of my emotions. In particular, the little girl who lives in me is especially withdrawn and emotionally closed down. She is the one who took the memory of my sexual trauma away from me, along with the feelings associated with that abuse. In effect, she has been protecting me for over 50 years by blocking those memories.

However, I have been able to reconcile some of my other splintered pieces and gather them back to myself.  I have even learned not to fear those other personas but rather to love them for the roles that they have played in keeping me safe and sane through the years. Now that I acknowledge and recognize them, they have appeared to me during periods of fear or anxiety and helped me through those difficult times. But I have a different sort of relationship with the little girl.

I have not been able to allow her to come forward, because I have been deathly afraid of what she will reveal to me. If what happened to me as a child was so horrible that I completely blocked it out of my memory and consequently my personality fractured, then how am I going to handle the memory today? To be honest, I have been horribly afraid to learn the truth of what happened to me as a child. During the past year, bits and pieces of that devastating experience have risen to the surface of my consciousness, and they have been extremely difficult to handle.

I am amazed at how the body remembers things from the past so vividly that it is as if you are actually reliving and feeling them again. When this has happened to me during a counseling session, I have unintentionally—or maybe intentionally—put a stop to it and refused to go any further. I did not want to relive the pain and horror of the past. I was perfectly content for the little girl to go back into hiding and she was perfectly content to retreat behind that closed door.

Unfortunately, the negative consequence of my refusal to face the little girl was that, when she went away, she took some of my feelings away with her. For years I have struggled with feeling numb inside, but now I am just tired of feeling that way. I have worked on my marriage, using exercises designed to improve my relationship with my husband, but the numbness remained. I yearned to be different from how I was, and finally came to the conclusion that the only way to be truly whole again was to let the little girl step forward during counseling. I had to meet her face-to-face.

So I went into counseling the next time with a new mindset. I made up my mind not to be afraid. I would let the little girl say everything that needed to be said. Joshua 1:9 admonishes us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (NAS).” I had trembled before, but not today! I would be strong and courageous because I knew that God would be with me and help me face anything that the little girl shared. So I allowed her to share, and she did. As a result, more healing came into my heart and mind. And, though it was hard and worthwhile, it was not terrifying or horrible.

Is there something in your life that you are afraid to face? Is it something that would bring healing and move you toward wholeness? Know and believe this Truth: God is with us wherever we go. No matter how hard or how terrifying you think it will be, God is with you. Stop trembling. Do not be dismayed. Do whatever it is that you need to do to bring healing to those hurting places.

Blessings – Lisa

Are You Ready and Willing?

I have been reading the novel Rooms by James L. Rubart, the fictional story of a man who enters the rooms of his heart, soul, and mind, a story of restoration and breaking free from the chains that hold him captive. In the novel, the main character encounters himself as a child. By holding and crying with his child-self, he begins to find hope for healing from a traumatic childhood incident. Then God asks him whether he is ready and willing to heal that part of his heart that is still nine years old and still bound by the lies surrounding the event.

That question perfectly captures what has been going on in my own life. The little girl inside me is still six years old and in deep pain. In counseling, I have been trying to convince that little girl that all is okay now and that we can start feeling again. We do not have to keep our emotions locked away in a corner room of our heart. But I cannot seem to find her when I try to address this, and sometimes I wonder if it is because I am not quite ready and willing to follow through.

I agonize over the fact that as a defense mechanism I have splintered into different people who are all living inside me, and sometimes I wonder if it is just too weird. But like the character in the novel, I know that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, those whose hearts are literally broken. According to Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners” (NAS). This is the same verse that Jesus read when he stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth one Sabbath. Then he sat down and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” Luke 4:21 (NAS).

As I read these verses, my heart came to some understanding of what was going on inside me. My counselor and I had discussed this very issue, but somehow the novel made it more real to me. As I kept reading the story, one more thing spoke loudly to me: The main character in the book speaks directly to God Himself, and the LORD tells him, “You have been chained. You’ve hidden your heart in the dark places. But I came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free […]. Your heart is the treasure of My Kingdom. And I have done everything to set it free. And I love you with an unfathomable, unquenchable love” (Rubart, Rooms).

Oh, to really believe that and to be totally set free from that traumatic event that happened so long ago. Oh, for the little girl in my heart who has closed herself in that corner room and is unwilling to come out to hear and believe. Freedom at last! Oh, Dear Friend, do you need to have a face-to-face encounter with that part of yourself that is still hurting? I know that that’s what I need. But I also know this: I don’t have to do it by myself, and neither do you. God will be there with us every step of the way. In fact, His Word promises that He will even go before us.

“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name” Isaiah 45:2 (NAS).

What a promise! He will help me shatter the door of hiding, emerge from the corner room, and receive the treasure of a full life that has been hidden away. Then I will know Him more fully as the God Who calls me by name. Restoration. Chains broken. Freedom. Am I ready and willing? Are you?

Blessings – Lisa

Content with the Person God created me to be

I have been struggling with who I am as a person. Though I have advanced far in my journey toward wholeness and freedom, there are still some things—particularly my introverted tendencies—with which I struggle. I found an article in Guideposts magazine about overcoming depression, written by a woman who had difficulties going to the grocery store! Of course, this caught my attention. I now had written documentation that I was not the only one who suffered with this embarrassing, heart-breaking dilemma.

Two other points in the article also spoke to me. The author asserted that God had made her introverted and that being introverted is okay. She also emphasized that she has had to accept herself as she is and not as she wishes to be. She writes, “The very things I like least about myself, indeed, may be those He values most” (Sherrill 64). What a novel thought. It is okay that I am content to sit at home and pray and write cards. Lately, I have felt the most urgent need to write prayers, words of encouragement, words of wisdom, and Scriptures to my children and grandchildren. (Now, if I sat at home all day every day and never left the house, that would be a whole other story. Rest assured that even though I spend more time at home now than in previous years, I still spend intentional time with my friends.)

I broached this issue with my counselor, and she shared with me the concept of analyzing my SHAPE as a person. SHAPE is an acronym representing different aspects of one’s being. As we talked and she quizzed me in depth about my likes and preferences, my SHAPE emerged:

            S—Spiritual Gifts                     Teaching and encouragement

            H—Heart/Passions                  Prayer

            A—Abilities/Talents                Organization

            P—Personality                          Introvert

            E—Experiences of Life            Molestation, my children’s struggles

Wow! I look at that list and feel such freedom. Because I have a passion for praying for my children and others, it is okay that I am being more diligent, organized, and intentional about doing it. Don’t writers go away to be by themselves to write and painters slip away to be alone to paint? So I have permission to find a quiet place to pray and to write cards of encouragement to those whom God brings to my mind. It is okay for me to forego buying conventional souvenirs when we take trips and to get thinking-of-you cards instead. My family thinks I am a little nutty now, but that is okay with me because I am becoming more and more content with the person God created me to be.

What about you? Are you depressed about your SHAPE because all you see are weaknesses or undesirable traits? Do you ever wish you could be someone else, or not have had the life experiences that God allowed in your life? Remember that even my molestation and all the problems it has caused over the years are part of my SHAPE now, and God can use even that.

Read this verse carefully, looking at it phrase by phrase. Colossians 3:15 assures us with, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from the Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts—deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds—(in that peaceful state) to which (as members of Christ’s) one body you were also called (to live). And be thankful—appreciative, giving praise to God always” (Amplified Bible).

Friend, embrace the peaceful soul harmony of knowing that God created you to be the SHAPE that you are. Once you know and accept yourself as He created you, those questions are settled forever and you can live in the way He designed you to live. But always remember to give Him praise for His infinite grace, mercy, and wisdom in your life. How I pray that we can settle the matter in our hearts and live in the peace that Christ has for us. I am praying for you even now.

Blessings – Lisa

Elizabeth Sherrill, Guideposts, April 2014, pp. 60-64

SHAPE: developed by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church

It’s Time to Stop and Rest

On my road to wholeness, I have worked hard to be steadfast and constant in my effort, driven to do what needs to be done. I have faithfully attended my weekly counseling sessions, unpeeling layer after layer of hurts and pains. But after all these weeks and months of “doing,” the healing process seems to have stopped suddenly. I have had to sit still instead of forge ahead, and I feel as if I am accomplishing nothing.

But, boy, am I wrong. It turns out that God has decided to test me, to see whether all that I am learning is just head knowledge or whether His Truth is really permeating my soul. In His great wisdom, He has designed this test in the form of tremendous changes in my life. The first major change came when both of my daughters moved back home. One of my girls has moved home just for the summer, but she is really unhappy about being here with her dad and me. And the other daughter, who moved out on her own seven years ago, has had to move home for an indefinite stay to recuperate from extensive foot surgery. She is so incapacitated that I have had to help her with literally everything and, like her sister, she is angry about the loss of her independence and freedom. While the girls are here, I have no time for weekly counseling.

On top of that situation, my mother-in-law is dying and is not expected to live much longer. And my grandchildren are scheduled for a week-long visit at my house while their parents enjoy a much-needed vacation. There’s no time for counseling. I can hardly even leave the house.

This is not good. I have more issues that need to be resolved, but how am I going to complete my recovery if I cannot go to counseling? What am I going to do? Instead of healing, I find myself shutting down, and old fears have started to reappear. Wait a minute. Haven’t I already worked through all those things? But my family situation has made me tired and worn out, with little time for myself. I am so overwhelmed that I have even stopped reading the Bible and praying. What a mistake! In my mind I have started condemning myself again, and my thoughts are troublesome.

But wait. There’s more. A hailstorm has put our new car in the body shop for repairs, road debris has wrecked the rental car, and the possibility of a career change looms over my husband. My stress level is rising. I have started to long for someone to talk to about what is going on in my life, but who could that be?

As I lie in bed, chewing on my circumstances, I can feel God telling me that He Himself is the only one to whom I should go. What a novel thought. I know that (in my head), but I have not been practicing it (in my soul). I must go to Him alone. I must stop and rest in Him alone. I feel as if I don’t have the time to stop and rest, but I am wrong. I can make the time, and I have made the time. James 1:2-6 tells me,

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (NASB).”

So during this time, I have been facing various trials—a freak hailstorm, an unavoidable obstacle in my lane of traffic, an unexpected life-changing job offer—all so sudden and piled on top of my family troubles. What am I to do?

I am to consider it and then count it as joy. But for this to happen, I must ask God for wisdom. Instead of freaking out and becoming distraught, I will rest in Him. I will not doubt, but will believe and rest in Him and count it all joy. Then the result will be a perfecting of my faith as I walk on the path that He has set before me. Have you found yourself stopped dead in your tracks, right in the middle of your path to wholeness and healing? Are you wondering what in the world God is doing right now?  Does your whole life seem to be going haywire, and you just cannot figure it out using your own power? Then just stop. Sit still. Consider what is going on around you. Count it all joy. Ask Him for wisdom on how to proceed.

What perfect work is God trying to accomplish now? Let’s rest in Him together and find out.

Blessings – Lisa

NOT WHISPERS, BUT SHOUTS

The human mind is an amazing thing. It holds thousands upon thousands of bits of information gathered by the senses—things that have been seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled. Our brains catalog and store all that information. Then sometimes a particular sight or smell will trigger a good memory. Or perhaps, on the other hand, a certain taste or noise may bring back a bad memory of a hurtful situation.

Going to counseling has helped me to realize that specific sights, sounds, tastes, smells, or sensations often trigger memories of situations from my past. When this has happened, I would tense up and feel afraid, or I would hyperventilate and feel smothered, or I would scream inside and feel shame. It was as if I were experiencing again the pain and trauma that I had been dealt in my childhood.

Unfortunately, this type of sensory trigger affected my marriage in a significant way. I had come to hate the noises—the usual, natural sounds—that occurred during my intimate time with my husband. Part of the problem was my fear and embarrassment that our children might overhear us even though we were in different rooms. But another part of the problem was the feeling of deep shame that I associated with those sounds. My journey to wholeness was progressing as I dealt with issue after issue, but this one difficulty seemed to intensify as I became more aware of it.

How could I talk to my husband about this without hurting his feelings? Would he understand? Would he ridicule me? How was I going to overcome this situation? My counselor had two suggestions. First, she instructed me to play music in my bedroom and then go to each of our children’s bedrooms and lie on those beds and listen. To my surprise, I could not hear the sounds coming from my bedroom. I was so relieved! That simple little exercise took care of one of my anxieties.

My counselor also instructed me to interject some sort of alternate sound into our bedroom during my private times with my husband. So I chose to play music from my phone to provide a sort of auditory focal point. However, before I could put this strategy into practice, I had to talk to my husband and tell him what I was doing and why. That was a very difficult task for me. He and I had never talked about that. But I opened up and told him. He loves me, so he understood and we made a plan.

As my counseling continues, and I work through the bad memories associated with my molestation, I know that the shame that I now feel will be defeated and that my intimate relationship with my husband will flourish. I wanted a Bible verse to claim, and God whispered to me to read the book of Zephaniah. So I got out my Bible and found these verses that He wanted to speak over me. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, ‘a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing’” (ESV). I needed to hear that God is near me and loves me.

Verse 19 continues, “Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.” I heard Him say to me that He Himself will help me deal with all of the oppressors who are battling against me, and that my shame will be turned into praise. What a glorious thought! One day, all of my feelings of shame that have been buried deep inside of me will be forever turned into praise. I cannot wait. And just think: He is going to do all the work.

Is there some area of your life on which shame has a grip? Is shame stealing the good from your life? Remember this verse with me and let us claim the promise together. One day there will be great praise for us. God will rejoice over us with shouts of joy. Not whispers, but shouts! Let us take our victorious warrior’s hand and walk with Him now, as He fights this battle for us.

Blessings – Lisa

STEP BY STEP

During the process of my coming out of the closet—literally coming out of my bathroom closet to dress and undress—I received a new assignment from my counselor. She encouraged me to go shopping for a new nightgown, one that did not hide who I was as a woman. At that time, I usually wore un-feminine sleepwear that covered me up and made me invisible. Honestly, I was very skeptical about this assignment and doubted that I would even be able to fulfill it.

But I got up my courage, and went to the mall, and found the lingerie department of a well-known chain store. (There was no way I could have visited Victoria’s Secret or a similar store. I was not far enough along my journey yet!) So I shopped around in the department store and found a nightgown that was modest, comfortable, and soft. But when I tried it on, I stayed inside the dressing room a long time, talking to myself. I was trying to convince myself to leave the dressing room, go to the checkout, buy the gown, and go home. Finally, I did just that.

However, once I got home, I stuffed the new nightgown, bag and all, into a dresser drawer. And I left it there. For weeks, I was at a stand-still. For days and days, I thought a lot about that nightgown in that bag in that drawer, and I even thought about opening the drawer, but I didn’t do it. Every day, I tried to rake up the courage to open the drawer but, alas, I always turned around and thought, “Maybe tomorrow.” Then tomorrow arrived, and I actually took the bag out of the drawer and looked at it…and put it right back into the dresser drawer. I had discovered that I really could open the drawer and take out the nightgown-in-the-bag, but it was a few more days until I opened the drawer again. But eventually, I did open the drawer again, I took the bag out of the drawer, and I laid it on the chair next to the bed. Whew! I had finally gotten the nightgown out of the drawer, so now I could start thinking about actually taking the nightgown out of the bag. It would take a couple more days of walking past the bag and thinking about it before I could move on to the next step.  But I took that next step. I took the gown out of the shopping bag and laid it on the chair. Of course, I covered it up so that no one could see it. I alone knew that the nightgown was there on the chair. Finally, I tried it on and then hid it once more on the chair. Then, at last, I put on the gown and wore it to bed. This was not an easy task. There were many steps, and days would elapse in between the steps. The process was exhausting, emotionally exhausting.

Philippians 4:13 assures me, “I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me” (NAS). I was not able to put on that nightgown in my own strength, but God’s strength and encouragement through those weeks are what kept me on track. I CAN do all things. That is the message that God wants me to receive and understand. I had been working so hard for so long to make changes in my life, and I was feeling like such a failure in this area. But what does the book of Philippians tell us? We can accomplish all things, because He gives us the strength to do the hard things. He gave me the strength to go shopping, to buy a new feminine nightgown, and to wear it.

What hard thing is God asking you to do on your road to healing and wholeness? Does this task seem impossible? Let us remember the Truth that God has for us in His Word—that we can do all the things that are needed for our restoration, no matter how large and overwhelming or how small and insignificant they may seem. In verse 19, Paul continues, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Do you see that wondrous Truth? God strengthens us and then He supplies our needs richly.

What about you? Is there some difficult assignment that you must fulfill before you can move on to the next step on your road to recovery? Believe that, when you complete that step, He will help you with the next one, and then the next one, and so on until you find yourself basking in the riches that He wants to bestow upon us so freely and lovingly. My message to you is this: Do not give up! Keep on relying on His strength and help. Someday, in glory, we will finally be completely whole. Until that day comes, let us walk our road here on earth in His strength. Grab His hand. Let’s go.

Blessings – Lisa

How Precious and Vast is God’s Love for Me

I am very assignment-driven. But one of the most difficult homework assignments that my counselor ever gave me centered on my closet, or more specifically on my need to dress and undress inside my closet. For you see, I did not want my husband ever to see me without clothes. I had not always been that way but, as my sexual issues became more and more intense, I became more and more adamant about not being seen naked.

I did not want my dear husband to see me while I dressed or bathed. I demanded that my “bathroom time” be totally mine, even though my husband and I share a bathroom and walk-in closet. Admittedly, some of this reluctance was due to the weight that I had gained through the years, but mostly I just did not want to be seen.

Then, as if this problem was not bad enough, it escalated to include my not wanting to be seen during our intimate times. That meant that sex occurred in total darkness—no lights, under the covers, and wearing as much clothing as possible. Of course, this was a very difficult and frustrating problem for our marriage.

When I confided in my counselor, she gave me a new set of assignments. I was to stand in front of the mirror at home fully clothed and make a list of the things that I liked about my body. After that, I was to repeat the exercise but without clothing, making a new list of what I liked about my body. And all the while, I was to remember the verse that had been with me since the beginning of counseling and to say that verse aloud every day: “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, NASB). The Psalmist continues in verse 17, “How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

Revisiting my journal from this time, I realize that it took me a full week to write anything positive after looking at myself fully clothed. Then I needed an additional two weeks before I could undress and look at myself in the mirror. It was a very difficult assignment. However, as I tried my best to fulfill my counselor’s instructions, I finally started seeing a few things that are unique to me as a person: my hands, my good complexion, my hair, a little crooked place on my left ear. I had a list!

About this same time, I saw an episode of What Not to Wear that centered on the unhealthy issue of using clothes to hide your body. The client receiving the makeover was experiencing exactly the same problem that I was fighting. Like me, she felt shame and guilt, and longed to be invisible. Through the television show, God reminded me that I am not alone. I’m not the only woman going through such a journey.

I wish I could tell you that I was instantly healed overnight. Thankfully, things have gotten better. I still have a way to go, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that God’s thoughts toward me are precious and vast, and I remember that my husband loves me very much.

Do you dress in the closet and try to hide yourself from your loved one? Has this impulse caused a problem with your spouse? Then I want you to repeat along with me, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Say it again, and believe that God’s thoughts toward you are immeasurable. All the oceans of the world could not contain them.

Do not let your abuser win this situation and take those priceless truths from your mind. No! Again I tell you from God’s own Word, YOU ARE fearfully and wonderfully made! Believe it, and come out of your closet. Come out of the darkness, out from under the covers. You are so very precious to our God, and He wants you to live a life of light and freedom. Let’s believe it, and let’s start today.

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

An Inspiring Word of Hope

I survived sharing about my deepest hurt and sharpest pain! My counselor gave me a new assignment, to deal with the truth of my situation. And here is that truth: My husband is not my abuser. Every day I wrote that statement in my journal. Every day I meditated on the fact that my husband is not the person who had inflicted great pain on my mind, body, and soul. Then, the next week, I added another truth to my arsenal against the enemy who wants to defeat me. Like the first one, this new truth was critical to my healing. My husband loves me very much. During the following weeks, these two truths became imbedded into my heart and consciousness.

Whenever I sensed the approach of negative feelings about sex, I remembered these truths. Over and over, these two truths had to be written and rewritten in my journal. How strange that something that had happened to me when I was six years old could dictate how my body would react to my husband over fifty years later. Like all my other battles, the battle over my sexual issues has always been about truth. I needed to rewire my emotions. The devil is the father of lies, and his lies had filled my mind long enough. I decided to walk in the truth.

When I was finally able to confront my sexual problems, God gave me scripture from the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1:4-5 says, “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations’” (NAS). God reassured me that He has known me since before time began and that I am special to Him. He has consecrated my life to His Purpose and His Plan. As I write these blogs, I see that He has also appointed me a prophet to the nations, a voice for those who may need these words to find hope and comfort in Him during their journeys to wholeness.

Jeremiah 1:6-7 continues, “Then I said, ‘Alas, LORD GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am a youth,” because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.’” Jeremiah was making an excuse. My excuse—my fear—was that facing my sexual issues with my husband was going to hurt more than I could bear. I was afraid that I would never be able to change, that I would never be restored. That fear had followed me for months.

But God responds to my fear in verses 8-10:

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. Then         the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me,          “Behold, I have put My word in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over           the nation and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to           overthrow, to build and to plant.”

God tells me not to be afraid of the feelings and emotions that I have to work through, for He will deliver me from my bondage and pain. He encourages me and assures me that I will “pluck up and break down, destroy and overthrow, and build and plant.” What an inspiring word of hope! I know I must cling to those words, because all those actions take time. Those actions also take diligence and a plan. But I am ready to move forward and taste the fruit that will one day be ripe for the picking.

What about you? Are there lies in your life that need to be replaced with the truth? Are you willing to believe that all that has happened to you has been consecrated by God so that you can do a work in His Kingdom? Do you believe that one day those wicked things in your life and mine, whatever they may be, will be broken down, destroyed, rebuilt, and planted anew? Oh, let us believe! Let’s get that plan together and move forward to bask in God’s love for us. I can taste that fruit now.

Blessings – Lisa