Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Got Your Posse?


“Come here and let me hug your neck!” she said to me. As I leaned down to hug this wonderful, Godly, woman, she held on tight, put her lips to my ear and said, “I love you, I love you, I love you… so much! Thank you for being a friend.”

As I hugged her back, told her that I loved her too, and started to lean away, she held onto my hand so that I would look her in the eye. “A real friend,” she added. My heart melted. I told her that I knew what a real friend was, because I had had friends over the years who stated that… yet were not. She agreed.

As I walked away, I took with me such a sense of joy. Someone considered me a real friend! Of course, I felt her to be a real friend as well, along with a scant few others. Then I realized: I have a Posse!

Picture ©123rf.com Text ©shelleywilburn.org
It may sound so grade school, or even junior high. But how important do you suppose it is to women to have their Posse? Women whom you can go to in times of distress, whom you can confide in, who will have your back when the chips are down, who will pray with you, for you, and for anyone else you ask them to. Your Posse.

Women need the companionship, fellowship, friendship, and relationship of other women in their lives. When they don’t have that, they begin to shift their needs to others who may not be able, or willing, to give them the things they need. I know. For many, many years I did not have that nurturing, caring, group of women (my Posse) in my life. So it fell to my husband to try to understand. And he did the best he could, yet it put a strain on him, and on our relationship.

A woman needs to hear, “I understand,” from another woman who has been there. Someone who has walked down that path, through that fire, that moment in time, and come out the other side a better, more experienced person.

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” ~Titus 2:3-5 NLT (emphasis mine)

Your Posse can be as little as one or two others, or as many as a dozen or more others. Regardless of the number, the important thing about your Posse is that they keep you grounded, point you toward and keep you rooted in your faith in Christ. They stand with you in prayer. They laugh with you. They cry with you. They help you understand when you’re wrong, yet they rejoice with you when you’re right. They don’t control, manipulate, or drag you into the trenches. They build you up. Your Posse are your “go-to girls” for everything from prayer, to laughter, to a shoulder to cry on, or even just a listening ear, or a companionable silence. Just knowing that the support is there is enough sometimes.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (emphasis mine)

It’s good to know that you have support. My posse came as the result of a gift from the Lord. For many years, I shunned getting to know other women because in the past, women had caused me deep hurt. They had been my oppressors and intimidators. But after God healed that brokenness within me, He began to place one Godly woman, then another, then another in my path. Before long, I found myself reaching out to a certain few for prayer… and they came through. My Posse. I fell (or thought I had) and they helped me up. They understood. They never criticized, berated, or made me feel inferior. Instead, they put themselves alongside me and walked right along with me. They built me up and helped me to see that I was still on the path, but just needed reassurance.

I hope you have a Posse. If you don’t, ask the Lord to show you some Godly women whom you can trust. Ask Him to show you some women who will be good for you and good to you. He will send them. Just trust Him and wait. It won't take long.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Short-Circuited

When I was fifteen years old, I slipped into a severe state of depression. It literally felt as if a giant boulder came and deposited itself on my chest and shoulders. Feelings of despair, hopelessness, fear – no, terror, and many negative things crept into my mind. I literally felt as if the world was going to come to an end and I was going to be left behind. I have absolutely no idea why I felt like that.

Pic ©123rf.com - Text ©shelleywilburn.org
The reason I can remember it is because I dealt with it… alone… for many years. Yes, years! Because when I slipped into it, I got no help at all. There was no medical help for me. I was never taken to the doctor. I was told that I would be committed to a mental institution. I was told the only person who could help me was me. I was yelled at to straighten up. Then ultimately the inevitable happened; my situation, I was told, was my fault. I brought it all on myself.

I tried to pray. I tried to trust Jesus. But it just wasn’t working. I was short-circuited. How, you might ask? Unbelief. Even after I had asked Jesus into my heart, had trusted Him as my Lord and Savior, some things just didn’t work for me. The main two were my continual spiral into depression and my struggle with my weight. I had a short in the circuitry of my faith that was preventing the Lord from helping me. It prevented Him from working His miracles in me!

“When your faith is not working, there is unbelief present somewhere.” ~Creflo Dollar

It took literally thirty years to finally splice my circuits together to see results! That is a very long time to deal with mental and emotional issues. But I honestly did not know that it was unbelief that was preventing me from having the life God intended for me to have! Not that I didn't believe in Jesus. I did. I do! But I had this little doubt that He could help me with my mind. Remember, I was always told it was my fault. I literally had to have intervention by people whom the Lord had prepared to intervene for me. Because of their faith, they helped me to have faith and to believe that maybe, just maybe, God could heal me. And He did!

“…This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.” ~1 Peter 1:1(b) NLT

After God healed my mind and healed me from the years of mental and emotional intimidation and oppression, I began to grow and learn. It was literally as if a veil had been lifted and I was stepping into a brand new me! And the first time I came under spiritual attack after that healing, I could literally feel my faith kick into gear. I knew I was being attacked spiritually. But I could also feel it being deflected off my faith. There was a shield over my heart and the attacks were literally bouncing off that shield (see my post, "Shields Up!"). God was giving me a physical demonstration of how He was helping me overcome the very things I used to allow to control me. That, in turn, helped build my faith even more!

What about you? What things are in your life, preventing God from working miracles in you? What unbelief is short-circuiting your faith? Don’tcha think it’s time to lay those aside and finally let God handle them?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Grasshopper... or Grape Taster?


Sitting in church, I listened as the pastor began encouraging us to be Grape Tasters. I love the analogies, because the Holy Spirit begins to speak to me and teach me things. On this particular day, I realized that I spent too many years listening to Grasshoppers!

All photos compliments of 123 royalty free pictures
text ©shelleywilburn.org

Grasshoppers are those annoying, nibbling, people who hop from one place to the next, criticizing everything and everyone in their path. They may be Christians, they may not be. Who’s to say? But what I’ve learned is that through many years, I allowed those Grasshoppers to intimidate me into thinking, acting, and speaking just as they did. And I was miserable.

Oh, I camouflaged it by acting like I was happy. I played the game, walked the walk, talked the talk. But I wasn’t happy at all. You see, I watched others around me who were Grape Tasters. These are the people who believe what God’s Word says. They believe GOD. They step out in faith. They stand out. They have tasted and they see that the LORD is good!


There are those in life who want to drag you through the trenches. They live there, so they think everyone else should, too. But what they’re missing out on are the biggest, sweetest, juiciest grapes they’ve ever had! I didn’t know grapes came that big, but apparently they do!

Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. ~Numbers 13:23

You see, the Children of Israel were given the Promised Land. The land “flowing with milk and honey.” But when they got there, the land was inhabited with giants (really big, scary-looking people). God had given the land to the Israelites, but because they listened to the grasshoppers (the negative people), they didn’t go in. So they lived in misery. (I’m paraphrasing here)

The point is that, we do the same today. We have such opportunities ahead of us! God has promised to give us more than we could ever imagine if we will only trust Him. But we don’t. We allow naysayers in to pick, poke, and criticize every tiny thing we do until before long, we are wallowing in self-pity. I know. I’ve been there. But finally, FINALLY, I realized that the only time said naysayers came around me was when God was working in and through me and my life was getting better.


Don’t let the Grasshoppers drive you out of the vineyard. Become a Grape Taster! Because really, those big, juicy grapes that God has laid out for you are wonderful! I want to jump right into the cluster and let the juices run all down my face, and my arms, to my elbows, and drip on everyone I come in contact with. Because maybe, just maybe, if they get a little taste of the goodness of God’s grapes, they’ll want some, too.

I am NOT a Grasshopper…I am a GRAPE TASTER!
How about you?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

He Loves Me Every Time!


Sitting at a women’s event at church recently, the other half of our senior pastor team, Pastor Melissa, asked this question: “Does anybody remember picking a daisy when they were young and plucking one petal after another, saying, “He loves me, he loves me not? What did you do when you got to the end of the daisy and it landed on, “He loves me not?” We all yelled, “Picked another daisy!”


Oh, the crazy, silly, little love games we used to play when we were younger! We always wanted to know who loved us, whether in secret or in the open. We always wanted to know who we would end up marrying. Tragically, many people trust in, and believe these games. But they aren’t real. They can’t tell you whom you will end up with. It’s all just a game.

And while I did find my “knight in shining armor, riding a white horse” (actually, he wears work boots and drives a white truck), there is another who loves me even more than my husband ever will… and that’s okay with him!

Jesus has my heart of hearts. He loves me every time. He never gets mad at me. He never leaves me. He never fails me. Whether you have a Valentine today or not, know this: Jesus loves you every time! You don’t have to pluck daisy petals anymore!


You don't have to pluck daisy petals anymore!

In this world of trying to figure out where we fit in, we sometimes begin to feel hopeless. Will I ever have anyone to love? Will anyone ever love me? I have the answer to that. Someone already does! That Someone is Jesus! It might sound crazy to you right now. If your heart is broken, I understand that it may seem like nothing can make sense or mend it. But Jesus can, if you’ll let Him.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him…. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. ~Ephesians 3:17(a)-18 (NLT)

Jesus. He loves you. He loves you EVERY TIME!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Where Do I Fit In?!


Many people point and laugh at times, because I wear mismatched socks. Yes, I have matching socks. I choose to mismatch them. "Why?" is the next question they ask me. “Why do you wear mismatched socks?” There is a reason for it. No, I’m not trying to get attention, or to be silly. I’m not even trying to make a statement, although wearing the mismatched socks has in fact made one.

I started wearing mismatched socks because of a little joke I made in my “About Me” post, stating that I liked to wear them. After I posted it, I began thinking about them more and more. The thing is, I made a lot of silly statements in that post, just because I wanted to make people laugh, and wanted them to know that I was lighthearted and liked to have fun. But having posted things like the fact that I like candy and my family says I like Halloween because I can “legally” ride a broom (not so), those things didn’t remain in my thoughts like mismatched socks did.


I began to see mismatched socks in a people perspective. I was talking to my friend, Laura about my website and mentioned the mismatched socks. The next statement sealed the fate of them: “Mismatched socks, though they don’t match, are still useful… like people. I don’t fit in with things other people do. I AM a mismatched sock! But God plucked me out of the laundry basket of life and said, “I can still use her.” Laura looked at me and I could see understanding dawn on her. She began to smile and then said, “I totally understand that!”

I know many people out there who are suffering many different things. You wonder where you fit in. Whether you struggle with physical, mental, or emotional abuse, depression, feelings of hopelessness, or whatever drags you down, God wants to lift you back up. He wants to pluck you out of the laundry basket of life, too! He CAN still use you! There IS something He wants you to do! There IS someplace where you fit in!

God plucked me out of the laundry basket of life and said, "I can still use her."

When I look down and see my mismatched pair of socks, I am reminded of the healing God did on me. I am reminded that all the things of my past are forgiven and forgotten. I am reminded that God gave me a task to tell my story so that someone else out there can be encouraged and given hope. He placed me where I fit in. Whether that’s you, or someone you know, is beside the point. The point of the matter is that, YOU matter!

If you understand the mismatched sock theory, let me know. I have something for you! Contact me by sending me your name and snail mail address by clicking on the link to my email address, shelley@shelleywilburn.org, or in the column to the right, or through Facebook. Let me know your story. I also want to pray for you! God loves you SO much. And He has a place where you fit in. All you have to do is ask Him!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Can't Keep Me Down!


For years, I was knocked down by the words and actions of others. I learned how to read signs and body language so that I would know how to defend myself. I was broken, battered, and bruised…but God would not let me be kept down!

My defense and shield depend on God, Who saves the upright in heart. ~Psalm 7:10

Jesus was knocked down, too. He was beaten, battered, and bruised. He was ridiculed, spat upon, tested, and people talked behind His back. Then, ultimately, He was killed. But God would not let Him be kept down, either… Because three days later, Jesus rose from the dead proving that you can’t keep a Good Man down!

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, He made a way for me and for you to be able to get back up when the chips are down. We don’t have to be held captive by words, actions, neglect, intimidation, oppression, or any other negative thing that lurks in the shadows, seeking to destroy us.

When God healed me, He gave me a new heart, a new outlook on life, a new purpose, and He pointed me in the direction He wanted me to go. I felt as if I were being told, “They can’t keep a good girl down. Now, go out there and show ‘em what I’ve taught you!”

The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He helped and saved me. ~Psalm 116:6

When someone asks me, “Who is Jesus to you?” I smile and immediately say, “Healer!” Of course, Jesus is SO much more to me than that! But ultimately, He is my Healer! Because, without the healing, this website would not be here. These words of encouragement would not be here. I could not do what I'm doing now if it weren't for Him healing me! He is my EVERYTHING, but He is also my Healer!

I want Him to be your everything and your Healer, too. There isn’t anything you’re going through, or have gone through, that He can’t fix. You aren’t too far away. You haven’t done something so terrible that He won’t accept you. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy anymore. Instead, prove to him that he can’t keep a good woman, or man, down! Prove it to him! Step out and say, “God, I need to be fixed!” Ask Him to help you, to heal you. Then give it ALL to Him. Turn it loose. Let it fly like a helium balloon!

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You. ~Psalm 39:7

The next time someone tries to put you down, smile… and remember that God won’t let you be KEPT down!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Moving On!


Onward and upward! There is only so much you can do before you have to move on. For years I stayed in a constant state of oppression for which I was miserable. But one day I decided that I was sick of my mental and emotional state. I was tired of living day to day being knocked down by the words and insensitivity of others. I was tired of living by what others thought of me and what others tried to tell me to do.

Here I was, a 46-year-old-mother-of-three-Nonney-to-two-wife-of-one who couldn’t function throughout the day without her mind wandering and replaying hurtful things people said to me over, and over, and over, and over…. You get the picture.

I knew Jesus. I served Him (I thought). And I knew that there had to be more to life than what I was living, but I didn’t know how to access it, or get to it. But one thing I did know; there was something going on at the church I was attending and by golly I wanted some of it. No… I wanted a WHOLE BUNCH OF IT! I wanted my mind healed. I wanted OUT of this crazy, mixed up, broken record of a mental state that I was in. It was time for me to move on.
I got that on May 30, 2012. 

I talk about that date a lot and I will repeat that a lot, because that date is very significant in my life. It was a turning point for me. It was a day…well, night that God healed my mind and turned my life around. And while I started this website to write about my story, it isn’t finished yet. It won’t be finished until I step into eternity. I hope that won’t be for a long, long time. I would like to be like Mary Higgins Clark; in my eighties and still writing strong! That though, will be according to God’s plan for me.

But as I write about the things that God has healed me of, I also realize that even from that, I must move on. There is so much more to this journey than where I have come from. There is where I am going. There is what I am learning. And to you who are reading, there is also HOPE.

I came from a place in my life where I was ready to give up hope. I thought I was destined to live in this “hell hole” of mental destruction for the rest of my life, and to die a miserable, lonely, bitter, old woman. My maternal grandmother died like that. And I never wanted it.

My hope came rushing in on the night of May 30, 2012. I was given a new outlook on life. I was given a new mental state. I was given a new everything from the inside out and I was joyous! And I was given a story to tell. Because there are people out there who are suffering as I did who need to know that there is hope for them, too. You CAN get out of that mental state you are in. You CAN survive. The enemy wants to keep you down, but God wants to raise you up!

It is time to move on! It is time to move up! It is time to put your shoes on and let God lead you into something wonderful! It may sound crazy, but if you are in the trenches and can’t find your way out, let me tell you right now, grab onto the rope! You might be saying right now, “I don’t know how!” I didn’t know how, either. But someone led me out, and I want to lead you out. Trust me.  Jesus is the ONLY way to get out of where you’re at. But you have to trust Him.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6

Now that I’m out, I realize that there is even more than I realized. And since I have been writing, there is even more than that! It is time for me to move on and move up. My journey to forgiveness has just begun. Won’t you join me?



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