Monday, January 28, 2013

I Win!


The name of the game is… “I win!” When our first daughter, Rachel, was big enough to understand games, we played many with her. Whoever gets to the bathroom first, wins. Whoever eats all their vegetables first, wins. On, and on we played. And we loved hearing her little voice yell, “I win!”

As she grew, she always made up ridiculous games with her younger sister and brother. We would listen to them playing, then referee when we heard Rachel yell, “I win!” and the younger ones start complaining…quite loudly!
But one “game” they all won was when each of them trusted Jesus as their Savior.

Life is definitely not a game. It’s also not to be taken lightly. But what many people don’t realize is that we really do win! 

We all have struggles in our lives. (Read Daniel chapter 3) But sometimes we get so caught up in the struggle that we forget that we are already winners and we allow the struggle to become a way of life for us. I did that. For years I suffered depression. I suffered anxiety and panic disorder. I also suffered under the hands of many oppressors because I just didn’t want confrontation and could not defend myself no matter what I did. I was always told I was wrong, or my ideas were stupid, or just basically that women couldn’t do THAT. It took a while, but eventually I began to question. Then I began to pull back. And then I began to read what the “Rule Book” said on what I was going through.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. ~Romans 8:37 (NLT) [emphasis is mine]

Eventually, God took me by the hand and said, “Enough!” Therefore, I am here today as a healed, stand-before-you-boldly-unafraid-to-speak-up WINNER! 

You are a winner, too! If you know Jesus, you ARE a winner! You do NOT have to suffer anything in your life. You are truly someone who can boldly take a stand and say, “I do not have to suffer anymore!” Not everyone will like what you do, but you don't have to let them control you, or make you suffer. Instead, you pray for them and keep your distance.

Oswald Chambers once said, “At the risk of being thought fanatical, you must obey God.”

I must obey God. Whether I have support, agreement, or disagreement, I MUST obey God! And in that obedience, I will have and DO have victory over the things of life.   I WIN!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Setbacks, Struggles, and Stress


I had a minor setback this morning. It didn’t feel like a setback in the beginning, though. What it felt like, to me, was the beginning of a heart attack. Trust me when I say that I was a bit concerned. Okay, not concerned as much as a little scared. Okay, not a little scared… A LOT SCARED!

Heart disease runs in my family. But let me explain something. So does cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, oppression, the need to control, and many other things. But I had decided that I was going to rise above it. I was not going to follow in my family’s footsteps and let these things dictate my life and how it would play out and ultimately end. No sir!

I had decided that Jesus was going to rule my life. I decided that He was in charge and through Him I can do all things, because He gives me the strength to do so (Philippians 4:13). However, I began to get a little comfortable in my new walk, my new healing, that I became a little too confident and let my guard down for just a bit… and I had a setback.

I realize that I will have ups and downs, just like everybody else. But what I hadn’t counted on was it sneaking up on me. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, because 1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” And when I say he's sneaky, that’s quite an understatement. Because he will lie in wait until I have forgotten to set my guard. He will wait until I’m not paying attention, or putting off my prayer time, or my Bible reading time, and then he will attack!

This morning, he attacked by giving me chest pain. I’ve had them before, because I have a hiatal hernia that sometimes flares up and causes these pains, in the exact spot I was having them this morning, and in just the same way I have always had them… but since I have not had them in many months, I had forgotten. And I wasn’t prepared. So I thought I was in the beginnings of a heart attack. So I did what every normal housewife does when in distress...... I called my husband.

My Grandma Ann used to tell me (repeatedly), “You’ve got such a good husband.” She was right. He came rushing home to check on me. When he walked in the door, I started crying. Then he reminded me of some things that had happened in the past 24 hours, and the light bulb came on! Ohhh, maaan! Because you see, as soon as I realized my mistake, the pains left. Ohhh, maaan! As soon as I realized what I had been going through, and when the pains hit, I knew. I had been duped by the enemy. Ohhh, MAAAN!!

But here’s the best part about it. Even though I still had a slight twinge of pain (more a nuisance than anything), I realized that I had not had my prayer time. So, I went. And while it was just a short prayer time, I denounced the pain. I thanked the Lord for His love and for His always being there. And I apologized for my negligence. Oh yes, He can and still will use me. His word promises that. But my minor setback only proved to strengthen my resolve to pay more attention and to focus even more on the Lord.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~1 John 1:9

You see, stress and the Holy Spirit don’t mix. In fact, the Holy Spirit knocks stress right out the door. I have but to think the thought, and He comes running in and takes care of things. I had not been under any stress at all for months. Not like I was having this morning. But one evening, I had a visit from a family member who was struggling with some issues. And as we talked, as I listened and gave comfort and encouragement, I forgot to pay attention to the fact that for this reason, I keep my distance from family. The oppression, the need to control the lives of others, the lack of encouragement and support, the constants throwing the past back at you, and the constant feeling that you aren’t good enough for anything, is what God healed me of many months ago. I had not dealt with any of that in so long that I had forgotten what if felt like…until this morning.

The weight of oppression was so strong that it literally gave me chest pains. But through Christ, his mercy, and His grace, the Holy Spirit took care of it. It was like a re-charge to my spiritual batteries. Oh how my heart hurts for those suffering under the weight of oppressing and intimidating people. I lived it for years. And when I married out from under it, the mental and emotional scars that it left kept me in a continual state of oppression and kept me under the control of the very people I married out from under! Nearly 47 years of being controlled by various people, being manipulated by others, being intimidated by others, suffering depression, panic, anxiety, feelings of unworthiness, loneliness, despair, rejection, and ultimately thoughts of suicide… all these things were swept OUT of my life with one touch, one breath, from God.

People want to know why I write the things I do. This is why: The fact that I was healed of it; the fact that I struggle every day with keeping Christ FIRST in my life. The fact that I KNOW there are others out there who are suffering needlessly. If my story helps just ONE, then I did my job and it was well worth it.

I can’t just walk up to someone and say, “Hey, I know what your problem is and if you’ll let Jesus heal you, your life will be so much better.” One, they’ll think I’m crazy, and two, they’ll tell me it’s none of my business! BUT, by writing about my own experiences, by writing about the things that are so personal to me, opens up my life to others and lets them see that yes, I have been there, yes, I have suffered, and yes, I know exactly what they are going through. Because I have lived it…and I survived!

I’m a survivor! You are, too! Don’t let the enemy rule over you anymore! Don’t let him use others to control and manipulate and intimidate you! YOU have power over this. If you know Jesus, then you have all the power you need to stomp the enemy and his games. Use it! Use your Trump Card! If you need reinforcements, contact me. I’ll be happy to pray for you, declaring victory over you, in the name of Jesus! Because if you read the back of the Rule Book (the Bible)… we win!

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. ~Romans 16:20
Oftentimes though, we feel as if we won't survive. And while God is our Healer, sometimes we need a little professional help. If that's you, if you feel as if you could use a little extra help, it's no disgrace to seek out a good counselor to help steer you in the right direction. 


If you don't feel comfortable talking face-to-face, you might try an online counseling service. Better Help online counseling has counselors who can help you through the stressful times. They boast having affordable, professional, and confidential counseling services. If you're skeptical, you can find answers at www.betterhelp.com. Let them help you be a survivor. Let them help you get through the setbacks, struggles and stress.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Perfectly, Powerfully, and Permanently

I'm learning so much in the short amount of time we've been in 2013. When I set out to do this website and write about my "Journey to Forgiveness" I had NO idea where God would lead me. But lead me, He is definitely doing...and I'm following along. Sometimes reluctantly.

When I started this journey, I was newly healed from almost 47 years of mental and emotional abuse from various sources. Being healed of mental and emotional scars is quite a release of many things. But the most difficult part of it for me has been trust issues. I have had to learn to trust God more, lean on Him more, and I have also had to learn how to be bold in talking to Him. Because growing up in a home where one is yelled at a lot, I had transferred that to God as well, thinking that if I talked to Him about my innermost fears, concerns, and such, He would get mad at me and yell at me. I was truly misguided.

I was watching a video in a marriage apps class at church, and in the first session I learned something very important. God loves me perfectly, powerfully, and permanently. He will never turn His back on me. He will never get mad at me. He will never leave me (Hebrews 5). He has promised this. I knew this in my head but since, have learned it in my heart.

In my friendships, I had transferred my feelings to my friends. But they couldn't give me what I needed. In reality, they often made things worse. They didn't know that deep inside me, I was just longing for someone to trust. But people will let you down, just as I let them down.



In my marriage, I realized that I had also transferred my feelings to my husband, and was trusting him to give me what I needed...which he can't. Nor can I give him what he needs. I was using what I saw in my parents and grandparents to base my feelings for my husband on. Which was and is a very bad idea. I had no earthly idea that in order to have the kind of relationship with my husband that I was supposed to have, I needed to put my focus on Christ. For years, I struggled with this, fearing that if I did that then my husband would get mad at me. Little did I know that he was desiring the same thing. We can't depend solely on ourselves or our spouses (or others) to fill what only God can.

God's love in us produces the fruit of the Spirit, making us capable to love and receive love (Galatians 5:16-25). It is a must to stay connected to Him in prayer, fellowship, and His Word.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ~Galatians 5:22

But something else that I have learned is that listening to the advice of others will only cause more problems in my marriage. For years I allowed the controlling, oppressive people in my life to dictate what I did and how I "felt." Wrong ideas create wrong mindsets. The very thing I sought was the very thing they ridiculed. But thank God that He healed me of these wrong mindsets and set me back on the path I'm supposed to be on! 

Matthew 6 talks about wherever your treasure is there your heart will be also... Where was my treasure all these years? It was wadded up in the misconception that someone needed to serve ME. Here's a little secret for you; Trust God, NOT your feelings. Because feelings can be fickle, and the enemy will twist and turn them to manipulate you into believing that you NEED people, places, money, etc. in order to be happy. When all you really need is JESUS. Every time we turn to God He fills us with His supernatural love. When you do that you won't have to rely on the "advice" of others to figure out what it is you need out of life. You'll already have it. Perfectly, powerfully and permanently!

See more about Jimmy & Karen Evans' marriage ministry, or check out Jimmy's book, Lifelong Love Affair, at the links below:

http://www.marriagetoday.com/

http://lifelonglove.marriagetoday.com/

Monday, January 14, 2013

Seeking Answers


There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. ~Proverbs 14:12 
Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. And while it’s not a good idea to always look back, I do believe that it’s a good idea to learn from things we did in the past. Especially if those things were mistakes or something that brought us into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Coming out of a week-long fast, I began to realize many things. One is that while in the fast I struggled to find out what it was that the Lord wanted me to do. During the fast, I had a couple of little “breakdowns” wherein I truly did not know what I was supposed to do. I don’t really know what I expected, but I went into it with the idea that I was going to “hear from God.” Well, I DID hear from Him! A lot! And I also spent the entire week under spiritual attack, with many distractions, which made it difficult for me to “hear” from God. What a “Hello? Wake up!” moment!

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. ~Philippians 2:3

However… just as DA and I decided together to do the fast, we also decided together to end it. And when we did, I had another breakdown and confessed to him my concerns. Here is a paraphrase of what I said:

“I really wanted to hear from God during this fast. I wanted answers. I NEED answers! But I think I just really need to set aside time to write and to get back into the closeness I had with the Lord. I need to be writing and doing what I know I’m called to do.”

Immediately DA looked at me and said, “Did you hear what you just said? You just got your answer to your fast.” I turned and looked at him and asked “what did I say?” … Really? I can’t even pay attention when I TALK! *eye roll*

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. ~Jeremiah 33:3

The point of all this is that I did learn a great deal in the one week that I fasted. Below I want to share that with you, so that you don’t suffer as I did. I’m making it easy for you, so pay attention.


  • ·         You need to focus your attention on HIM and don’t be distracted.
  • ·         Relax. Don’t be in a hurry.
  • ·         You need to BELIEVE…not just exist. This stuff is REAL.
  • ·         God isn’t interested as much in how you act as He is in the heart you have when      you act. (Are you doing things to get attention or to serve God?)
  • ·         Truly seeking a deeper relationship with God is key to success.
  • ·         A face-to-face encounter with God can, will, and does come…when you least expect it.
  • ·         Hindsight truly is 20/20

There are ways that seem right at the time. But if they aren’t the way that God is leading you to go, you will definitely find yourself in a pickle. Looking back on my fast and seeking God time, I realize that He was there the whole time. All He really wanted from me was a deeper commitment. I wrote about it in my post, “Stepping Onto the Next Level.” At the time, I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I do know that I had slacked off on prayer time, Bible reading time, and writing time. I had lost my focus. The “next level” for me is getting back into that, but in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… ~Philippians 3:13

My focus needs to be solely on the ministry God has called me into. I don’t necessarily find myself needing to speak publicly…I kind of already do that in my writing. It is made public. I don’t necessarily need to be published. I kind of already do that too, by making my blog posts public. God, in essence, is my Publisher. Now, if a publishing company, editor, or reviewer, wanted to read my stuff and publish it to get it into the hands of many others…I would not be upset about that. Because that would only mean getting God’s message out to more people!

Do you have something you need answers to? I would suggest fasting for a few hours or a few days. There are many different types of fasts out there, but one that worked for me was the Daniel Fast. You can find some links at the end of this post. Also, when you fast, go into it privately (without making a big scene or telling a lot of people), with a clear conscience, pure thoughts, and with the belief that God will give you the answers you need. If you would like extra prayers, contact me. I would love to pray for you during your fast. Then let me know how things went!


http://www.daniel-fast.com/

http://www.daniel-fast.com/recipes.html

http://danielfast.wordpress.com/

Friday, January 11, 2013

Focus!

My husband, DA, and I ride motorcycles. We love the freedom we feel as we ride down the road, wind blowing all around us. We actually love riding in the mountains of North Carolina, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Leaning into the twists and turns are refreshing and exciting all at the same time. And the scenery is absolutely beautiful!


But while we enjoy riding, we also know that it is very important to stay focused on where we are going if we want to stay on the mountain road. One wrong turn of the head can send us plummeting off the side of the cliff. We have to keep our focus.

...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith... ~Hebrews 12:2(a)

You see, when you are riding a motorcycle, whichever direction you look that's the way you go. So if you're riding along and suddenly see something across the median on the highway, guess where you'll end up? In the median! Or, in the case of riding in the mountains, off the side of the cliff. That nearly happened to us once. I was riding behind DA and was looking out across the mountains at the clouds. I suddenly looked forward and saw that we were at the edge of the road. A quick, hard, knock on DA's helmet and we were skidding on the gravel at the edge of the road and back on track. 


"What are you DOING?!"
     "I'm looking out at the mountains!"
"Well, watch where you're going!
     "I wanted to see the scenery!"

You know, when we begin to watch the scenery around us instead of watching God, we can end up like DA and I almost did...skidding in the gravel... and ultimately going over the cliff. And there are many things in this world that can cause us to lose our focus. Many of them are things that we don't even realize can make us slip! But when we put our eyes on Christ, He will give us more beautiful scenery than we could ever find anywhere else.

As we travel into the third week of 2013, I wonder... where is your focus? Are you watching where you're going? Or are you watching everything else around you? I want to challenge you to trust Jesus this year. Keep your focus on Him. Let Him guide you and see the marvelous, wonderful things He can show you!


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