He Is Sufficient, I Need to Forgive

My personal battle with bitterness was not won in a day. Even as I relied on 2 Corinthians 12:9, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (NAS), I felt so weak in this area. Those black places in my heart that God wanted to clean up were still so very black. And God knew what was deep inside of me, beyond the victories I had had in my life. I had forgiven two people who had wronged me, and another situation was turning around, but God knew that there was one more person I needed to forgive.

God knew about my horrible feelings toward this man who had caused so much hidden pain in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. So for a couple of weeks, God constantly reminded me of this person, and my feelings on every occasion were far from Christian. When his name came up in conversation, I felt angry. When his name appeared on a memorial, I felt betrayed. When I saw “his pew” in the church sanctuary, I was filled with bitterness. This person was gone–deceased–and I would never have to see him again, and yet his presence was thrown into my face again and again. Isn’t that just like God?

I told my counselor the same thing I had told myself, that I could not forgive or forget the horrific things this person had done. As I struggled with this dilemma, I started having meltdowns and nightmares again. I was back in bondage. I had to keep reminding myself that His Grace is sufficient. I heard a sermon once that phrased that promise like this: “Sufficient for you is the Grace of Me.” I tried to claim that sufficiency in my life, but I couldn’t let go of my hostility toward this man. The harm and hurt and pain were so deep.

O God, I need Your help!

I had come to my weakest point. That Sunday, my husband and I attended church in another town, and God gave the preacher a sermon topic just for me. Can you guess? Bitterness. I knew I had better pay attention to that message! Interestingly, the Scripture lesson was Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. “Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others” (NAS). That morning, the pastor preached a powerful sermon about forgiving and moving on. As those verses state, everyone hurts others at times. No one is without fault. The preacher urged me to extend grace to others.

The very next day, I read my online Bible study devotional blog, and the topic of the day was “Taking Steps Toward Forgiveness.” Oh, how my heart was challenged. I knew that God was my Sufficiency. I knew that He alone could help me extend grace in this situation. I knew that I had to forgive this person who had caused such horrible pain. I couldn’t confront him face to face, but I needed some way to express my feelings toward him. My counselor again suggested that I pour all of my hurts, bitterness, anger, and frustration–and forgiveness–into a letter. I resisted as long as I could, but finally one day I gave in and wrote that letter. Let me tell you, that was a heart-wrenching day for me. I wept all day long as I composed the lines, and remembering that day makes me want to cry even now. But I released the pain. I wrestled with those hurts, penned them on paper, and gave them to God. When I finished the letter, I dated it and stored it away so that Satan would have no ammunition to taunt me.

What release and freedom I felt. My counselor even remarked about the difference she saw in my life after I wrote that letter. I let go of the person who had caused so much grief and sorrow in my life, and I was so much happier for it. For you see, when I am weak, He is Sufficient.

Is there someone in your life, someone you will never see again, who hurt or molested you? Though the pain may be horrible when you think about your abuser, you can still extend forgiveness and grace to that person. You MUST extend forgiveness and grace to that person. I am here to tell you that you can do it. As much as you may want that person to show remorse and admit guilt, he or she is gone and will never repent or express sorrow for what happened. Dear One, for your own heart and soul and peace of mind, please put that desire aside. Instead, offer your forgiveness and mercy. Allow God to erase those black places in your heart and free you from this enemy who is in the grave.

God is Sufficient. He alone knows what the future holds, and He wants you to live victoriously today. Then one day you, too, can boast of His Sufficiency to another hurting, hopeless, defeated child of God, someone else who is weak and needs to know that “Sufficient for You is the Grace of Me.”

Blessings – Lisa

Get Rid of Bitterness

Last week I wrote about God’s taking away from a believer so that He can replace old things with new things. In counseling, I discovered that the idea of taking away old ways of thinking and responding is huge for anyone who is searching for freedom. On of the things in my life that I had to overcome and take away was the enormous number of negative thoughts that constantly filled my brain. My counselor encouraged me to write down those negative thoughts and then to deal with them one by one.

I found that my thoughts were bitter, angry, fearful, and condemning. Only through God’s grace was I able to start taking these thoughts away from my life. In particular, I had bitter feelings toward some people who were very close to me, and those bitter feelings began to hurt my life. At one time, I actually wanted those people to hurt, to feel pain, not to have good things in their lives, and for bad things to happen to them. I was so far from what God commands us to be toward others.

Hebrews 12:14-15 puts it this way: “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled” (NAS). As I read my journal, I realized how bitterness was beginning to dominate my life. I did not want the best for these individuals; instead, I wanted them to be in pain just as I was in pain. I knew that eventually, if I continued down this path, I would start acting out that bitterness and defile others, as Hebrews says.

So, as God began to take away my bitterness toward certain people, what did He give me instead? For one person, God gave me compassion and love. I had to believe that God loves this person more than I ever could and that He can take care of her. It was very hard, but I prayed daily for the strength to love that person as I should.

For another person, God gave forgiveness. I had to forgive the hurt that this person had inflicted upon my family. I wrote a letter of forgiveness and dated it so that Satan could no longer taunt me. The letter was not meant to be sent, but it was meant for me to release that person.

For another, God helped me set some boundaries. Because I had been abused as a child, I had often allowed people to run over me and dominate me. I had no power to make my own decisions, no real control over my own life. But, with God’s help, I began to set boundaries so that I could find freedom as a whole person.

Looking back, I can now see how God’s taking away changed my own inner life. I now have more love and compassion. I am able to forgive, and to set those boundaries that I need to function. If I had not gone through this horrible time in my life–the time of all God’s taking-aways–I would not have grown in these areas. I would have only continued in my bitterness and ruined my life as well as the lives of those around me.

My questions for you are these: Are you holding bitterness in your life? Are you bitter toward God for the life He has handed you? Are there people in your life who have harmed you, for whom you only want bad things? What about your abuser? Can you let go of your bitterness toward that person? Please allow God to help you with your bitterness. Working on the issue of bitterness is hard, but here is a promise for you to hold on to. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness; (2 Corinthians 12:9a, NAS).

God’s grace is sufficient as you let go of the bitterness you are holding in your heart. It will not be an easy taking-away, but it is a matter of choice. I have been so weak but God promised that, if I cry out to Him in this weakness, He will honor my plea and help me. So, give it up! Give up your bitterness, for, instead, there are love and compassion, forgiveness and freedom. Do not delay. Do it now. Get on your knees, give it up, and do it today.

Blessings – Lisa

 

Life on the Other Side

My life took a new direction when my anger and other negative emotions began to come out into the open. I began having a hard time dealing with everyday activities. I cried a lot and had trouble making decisions. New phobias appeared, to take the place of the ones God had removed from my life. I started retreating from life. I gave up most activities and resigned from my positions at church. But I turned to my counselor, and she gave me permission to give myself some space.

Other traumas were happening in my life at the same time, and the combination of them all was just too much for me to handle. I’m not saying that going to counseling means locking yourself up in your house, but everyone has her own path to walk for healing. For me personally, I had to step down from some leadership positions because I was not capable of performing them at that time. People at church started noticing that I was different, even though I thought I looked and acted the same as always. People could tell. Thankfully, my “safe” friends loved and encouraged me through it all without having to know what was going on. I needed this time apart to heal and to learn the truth so God could transform my life.

Different books and devotions ministered to me mightily during this dark time. One devotion in particular centered on a time of taking away. That is, God takes something away for a time so that He can give something new instead. In my own life, my daughter was growing away from me, my husband had a new job in another city, and my job had been taken away from me. We were putting our house on the market because we were going to move away from our loved and cherished town and I was removing myself from the jobs at church that I had treasured for so long. Wow. That was a lot of taking-aways. No wonder I could not function: I was on overload.

Where is this leading, Oh God? I cannot see what You are trying to do in my life. Please show me!

Then God gave me a book that painted a great picture for me. That book is Malchus by W. G. Griffiths. Through it, God revealed the hopelessness of the onlookers at the crucifixion, the despair they felt because at that time they did not know the TRUTH. They did not know that they were being set free. They saw one side of the cross, and they thought that that was the end of it. They could not even imagine what was on the other side.

All of my takings-aways had brought me great despair, but the truth was that God was using all of those things to change my heart. He was using those things to heal me. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (NAS). God did not kill, steal, or destroy any of those things that He took away from me. He was taking away so that He could replace all those things, fill my life so that I could live more abundantly. I had been just like those who looked at the cross and saw only hopelessness and despair. But, Oh, how their lives were changed when they learned the TRUTH. On the other side of the cross came the resurrection and new life–a more abundant and free life.

Has God taken something away from you, and you are spiraling down in despair? Do you see only hopelessness and agony? Are you having trouble just going through the motions of life because it is filled with so much pain? I am here to tell you this: There is a more abundant life awaiting you on the other side of this painful time. Jesus Christ gave His life for you because He wants you to have a free, victorious, and abundant life. Let God have His way as He takes away and gives. Believe the TRUTH. Believe that you can be whole. Believe that one day life will be good and you will be able to smile again. There is life on the other side. And it is good. I am believing it.

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

This Mountain is Huge, But One Day I Will Walk Over It

As I write this, I have been going to counseling for quite a few months, but there seem to be more bad days than good ones. I feel as if my life is full of mountains right now. My issues seem so huge to me. I am up and down, angry and sad, fearful and confident–all at the same time. I have worked through resentments, negative feelings, anger, rage, disappointments, hurts. I have had so many victories, but that mountain still looks so massive.

Do light and peace wait for me on the other side of the mountain? All I can see today are rocks, boulders, and snow-capped peaks that I must dig through and climb over. What wisdom is in God’s Word for me today? I don’t hear anything. Even the Word is silent in my heart. I’ve searched for verses on mountains, but nothing speaks to me today.

All I can see is the mountain. I am that little girl again, and I cannot find my way. Where do I begin? So much is coming at me at one time. So, I sit still. I ask for God’s presence. And then it happens: I find relief in God’s Word.

He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (II Samuel 22:17-20, NAS)

These words hold multiple meanings for me. They speak of my abuse. God will deliver me from my strong enemy, my abuser of long ago who had hated me and hurt me at a time when I was weak and vulnerable. And now–today–God is my support and will rescue me from myself as I seek help. He Himself will take me, draw me out, and rescue me. And those precious, precious words: “He delights in me.” Oh, what wonderful words to hide in my heart and believe! I need to know that Someone delights in me.

But His Word doesn’t stop there. Verses 31-39 continue,

As for God, His way is blameless; the Word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? God is my strong fortress; and He sets the blameless in His way. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise; and they fell under my feet.

Here is the answer to my mountain. God will set me upon that mountain and, with His help, I will fight and defeat my enemies. Did you see the promise? They will be destroyed, consumed, devoured, and shattered. Those enemies who are looming over me like a huge mountain will not rise, but will fall under my feet. But I have to take that first step.

God promises to enlarge my steps under me and to give me hinds’ feet so that I will not slip on the mountain. I still have to do the work, one step at a time, to move that mountain, one rock at a time. One rock at a time, one thought at a time, one act of forgiveness at a time, one memory at a time, one open door at a time, one phobia at a time, one hurt at a time. These are the rocks that have to be removed from that mountain, and God promises that, because He delights in me, He will help me. Oh, what joy!

How about you? Do you have a mountain before you? Do you feel small and helpless, overwhelmed by the work before you? Has the enemy convinced you that you will never be rescued? Well, let me tell you now with confidence that your enemy will be defeated, destroyed, and shattered.

Believe it. One day that mountain will be removed. Come with me; let’s tear down that mountain one rock at a time because, you see, our God delights in us! He wants to set us up on high places. He is our strong fortress. He Himself came from on high just to deliver us from the enemy. He delights in me, and He delights in you. Let’s get rid of that mountain. Let’s take the first step today and start moving those rocks.

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

Blackness

During the darkest days when Dumb, Stupid, and Ugly still controlled my life, I felt so black. I felt weird and different. I felt as if no one could possibly understand what was going on with me. Had any of my friends ever felt like stabbing herself with a knife? And how could I even ask someone that question?

When my life was the blackest, I really struggled with these thoughts. Whenever I was in the kitchen with a knife in my hand, I had strong urges to stab myself. One time I just dropped the knife, and it cut my leg. Another urge I had to fight was the impulse to stick my hand down the garbage disposal and turn it on. I knew these were not normal thoughts, and I was afraid to tell anyone about them. These impulses were very compelling but, because of God’s providence, I never gave in to them.

In my counseling sessions, I learned that these destructive desires are normal for people who have experienced sexual trauma. Maybe my friends and family would never understand or know what I was going through, but there are other women out there who will nod their heads and understand completely. But the blackness was still with me. I felt tarnished and stained and ugly and useless. The early months of my counseling sessions were difficult because blackness had such a grip on my life. I had already lost hope, and my recovery seemed to be coming so slowly. I cried out to God for an understanding about what was happening in my life.

Then God showed me a great truth. As my husband and I were preparing to sell our house, I was going through the cabinets and purging because I knew we were going to have to downsize. I found a pair of silver candlesticks at the back of a cabinet. I knew they were silver because I remembered receiving them as a wedding gift, but when I found them again they were black with tarnish. So I went to the store, bought some silver polish, and began to clean them. It was hard work! I polished and cleaned, and got black all over my hands and polishing cloths. But my reward was a beautiful pair of gleaming silver candlesticks.

God spoke to my heart. He told me that I was one of those candlesticks, and that He Himself would lovingly polish the black from my life. It would be hard work because, just like those candlesticks that had been hidden away at the back of a cabinet for years, my life had acquired years and years of blackness. The process would take time.

But, when the time came, I would be polished and beautiful and useful. What joy! What comfort! The Creator Himself wanted to get His hands dirty to polish my black heart. Proverbs 2:3-5 says, “For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God” (NAS).

Friend, He wants to do the same for you. Let Him do it. It will not be instantaneous; it will be hard. But, oh, to know that our lives will one day give joy to others! Give Him your black heart today. Give Him all those hurtful things that you have hidden away from the world. No one else may understand, but He does. Cry out to Him and you will discover the understanding He has for you. Let’s be those silver candlesticks together, shining with a bright light to give Hope to those around us who need healing. Let Him start today.

Blessings – Lisa

Hopelessness to Faithfulness

When I first started my counseling, I struggled with feelings of hopelessness. For a month, my journal was filled day after day with my questioning whether God could really help me, one day crying out to God how much I wanted change and the next drowning in utter despair. I was on such a roller coaster ride. I just kept praying to God that I wanted more from life. I wanted to leave my past behind and move forward. I wanted an abundant life, a life without fear, a life with dreams, a life of victory, a life without defeat.

God, please show me a sign. Give me some sort of hope. I just can’t seem to see it clearly yet.

God answered my pleading in a way that only He could orchestrate. One night while lying in bed, I felt God saying to my heart that He wanted me to give my tithing testimony in church.

What? What does that mean, God? My tithing testimony? What is that?

He took me back to my journal, where I had pleaded with God that I would surrender and do whatever it took to move forward. This was the next step. I had to make a choice: believe and do what He asked, or not do anything and stop the plan God had for my healing. So I started writing everything I knew about my tithing, starting with how my parents taught me to tithe as a child. Then I moved on to my first job and tithing, my marriage and tithing, and on and on. I wrote and rewrote until I had a testimony to share in church.

As I worked on my testimony, God showed me how, through the ups and downs of our money struggles, rearing children and now helping our grown children with their own financial struggles, God had been Faithful. That was the real message He had for me–His Faithfulness! And I had it all chronicled in front of me. There was the evidence in black and white, ready to be given in front of my church family. God had been Faithful for over forty years. Couldn’t I trust Him now?

Matthew 4:18-20 says, “And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him” (NAS).

God was saying to me, “Dear, precious child, I want you to drop the net of your past and move forward to what I have for you! Drop those feelings of hopelessness, despair, fear, and defeat and move on now with Me. Now. Don’t wait. The evidence is before you. Give your testimony and then walk forward.”

What testimony do you have of God’s Faithfulness in your life? Ask God to show you His Faithfulness so that you can hold it before your face and believe and move on. The enemy wants you to have hopelessness, despair, fear, and defeat. God wants you to drop the net and leave it all behind. Friend, move forward, drop that net, take His hand, and walk with Him now as He leads you to freedom and victory.

Blessings – Lisa

 

Fear, I’m Closing the Door on You!

Everyone has some sort of fear. So many different things in life can cause fear and anxiety: things, people, places, animals. The list seems endless.

I personally have an intense fear of spiders. Regardless of how large or small it is, a spider really creeps me out. I cannot watch television episodes or movie scenes that have spiders in them. If I see a picture of a spider in a book, I immediately close the book or turn the page quickly. Every nightmare I have ever had has been a dream with a spider in it. And if I see one in my house, it must be destroyed or I will not be able to function because I will be constantly looking for it.

Fear is just that way. It causes people to retreat, to close the books on their lives, and always to be on the lookout. Fear keeps people frozen so that they cannot do what needs to be done. Unfortunately, I passed my fear of spiders on to my children . So I decided that I had to start dealing with my fears, for my children’s sake as well as for my own. I wanted to be free and to be able to walk through life without being held back.

I had another fear in my life that cripples me as much as my fear of spiders. I was afraid of a closed bedroom door. What’s so scary or fearful about that? But ever since I could remember, I could not sleep in a room with the door closed. As a child, I would cry if a babysitter tried to close my bedroom door after my brother and I had been put to bed for the night. Even after I was married and the mother of three, I still could not sleep with a closed door. I often wondered why it mattered so much, but it was huge. I just could not sleep with the bedroom door closed.

So God said, “Let’s work on your fear of the closed door.”

As memories of my molestation began to resurface, I realized that bad things had happened behind closed doors. Rooms with closed doors were not safe places. It was strange to me that I had never feared the dark–only closed doors. Even now as I write this I want to weep for the little girl who was hurt behind those closed doors. She was so small and innocent, never knowing why those things had to happen.

It was difficult at first, but with the help of my godly counselor I was able to walk through the pain and the fear. Over and over, she had to remind me that those things were done to me, they were not something that I had brought on myself. I had to let go of the shame and know that I did not have to fear any more.

Over and over, I have had to claim 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity–of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear–but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control” (Amplified). A calm and well-balance mind. How marvelous is our God! He can take our fears and give us instead a mind that is whole, so that we can move on and do the work that He has called us to do.

Are you living in fear and shame because of what someone did to you? Well, then, stop cringing and cowering in fear, and give those fears to God. He wants to give you rest and calmness and a well-balanced mind. Turn to Him today.

Blessings – Lisa

 

Perfect and Complete

The truth of God’s great love for me was not the only truth that I found while dealing with Ugly. After working for a while on my list of the physical attributes that I liked about myself, I started getting comfortable with it. Then my counselor started meddling again. (Please understand that I say that with the greatest respect.) She gave me a new assignment, to list the specific ways that God was showing His great love for me. So I began to list them in my journal.

Here’s a part of that list:

  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Of course this is first on the list, since I had been writing it daily for weeks and weeks.)
  • I am a new creation.
  • I am a person worthy to be liked.
  • I am loved by God and very special to Him.
  • He guides me.
  • He protects me.
  • He shows me His ways.
  • I receive His Grace and Mercy every day.
  • He made me unique.

Now, let me clarify something about writing these lists. When I am writing one, it usually takes me about a week, and I cry a LOT! I never knew that a person could cry so much. When someone like me, who was sexually traumatized but then stuffed it away for forty years, starts feeling and healing — well, the emotions just come and come and come.

God started sharing a truth with me through two verses.  Colossians 2:10 says, “[A]nd in Him you have been made complete” and Philippians 1:6 continues, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NAS).  It was not by my looks that I was made complete, nor by what others thought about me, but it was Christ Himself Who completes me. I am not ugly because Christ made me, and He made me complete.

God also promised me that the work He had started in me will one day be perfected. As I looked at these verses again, I realized that it was not just any work but a good work that He wants to complete in me. So I began to write these two precious Scriptural promises in my journal every day. I believed that God was using what had happened to me in the past; the mistakes I had made; the struggles with Dumb, Stupid, and Ugly; my unforgiveness of others; the fears and phobias I was facing; and my deep, deep depression to complete the good work He was doing in my life. Someday I would be perfect! Oh, what a blessed thought.

Do you need to see that TRUTH today? Do you need to know that God is able to work through all the horrible times in your life, through the hurts, the pain, the loneliness, the loss of hope, or the fear of what you have experienced? Then cling with me to those precious promises. We must believe and live knowing that one day we will be made complete and whole. We may feel like damaged goods at times, but God uses our damaged vessels and He will make us complete because He loves us so much. Oh, how I long for it even now.

Complete. Whole. New.

I believe. Will you?

Blessings – Lisa