Category Archives: God

Broken…but not destroyed

This is the third portion of My testimony a long time coming but, here it is. I do recommend that you read the other 2 parts before this one click here Broken, My testimony, and here Broken, My Testimony cont’d.

Sometimes we take a step in the right direction, but in all appearances things still look and feel the same. A lot of the time we want to see immediate results and if we don’t see them, we can get discouraged. I had made a decision that made way for change in my life, I was desperate, but didn’t fully understand my desperation. I wanted what I heard in church to be true and for it to be working in my life, the only problem was I didn’t know how to attain it. I went back to church and got connected with other believers, and although I was now around like-minded people and good teaching and preaching, my life still looked and felt the same. None of my problems just up and disappeared, the only difference was, was that now I was praying about things instead of just trying to take care of them myself. The first thing God did was light a fire under me, he sent an acquaintance of mine across my path and she began to share the good things that God was doing in her and her family’s lives. It was reminiscent of my Pentecostal days when I was young and it sparked in me such a desire to know God the way she did. That day my fire and desire for God was rekindled. I’m laughing right now looking back at all this because back then I had absolutely no idea just how much I didn’t know and still needed to learn. I embarked on a journey that I am still on today, however I’m much farther along the path now. One of my problems was that I way over estimated my faith, just like your mind tells you, you can run 5KM no problem even though you haven’t  run in a year… I can hear you laughing, its good to know I’m not the only one whose mind has over estimated their ability. You can know theory inside and out but that means nothing unless you put it to practice. You can know how to build muscle in theory, but unless you put it to action you will gain nothing. This was me. You have the picture now. Needless to say I expected BIG things to start happening and when it didn’t I started to see the first signs that I was broken. I was 29 before I even considered what happened to me at 13 to be rape. I with everyone else blamed myself. One night at church God spoke the truth to my heart, He wanted me to begin to face the truth and even though I didn’t know why back then I understand now. If we don’t face truth and be honest with ourselves we cannot change, and we cannot be healed. This was a big revelation for me. I was unaware how steeped in shame I was and how guilt ruled my life. I lived in a continual state of unrest, of negativity and I always felt I needed to try harder, I needed to be better, I wanted to be better, but failed miserably. It’s sad that I lived so much of my life this way and it hurts me that right now people are living this way, my heart goes out to them. I had learned love was conditional and even though the church taught Gods love as unconditional, I had never seen or experienced it. I believed Gods Love for me was conditional, that it was based on what I did and how good I was. So I drew the conclusion that I wasn’t good enough for Gods love. Any time I felt I did anything right I searched to feel that love and approval, but it was always over shadowed by my past, by my sin, and by  guilt and shame. I clearly didn’t understand the cross of Christ. I was seriously going out of my mind, my family so unaware. I withdrew from my family, I became very religious, trying to dot every I and cross every T. I lived by rules and more rules and I lost myself in it. I didn’t even attend my friends Jack and Jill party and I was a bridesmaid!!! how sad is that. I got to the point I didn’t even want to leave my house, when I did go out I’d come home and have a melt down. I would just cry. I wouldn’t have admitted it then but I was depressed and suffered from bouts of anxiety. In the midst of all this I was crying out to God asking Him to heal me, to heal my emotions. I began reading my bible, Christian books and listening to Christian teaching material. One day as I was cleaning my house, memories from my past kept coming across my mind. This disturbed me to my core, I had spent all my time burying my past and now it was trying to dig its way out. I naturally thought it was the devil and I kept rebuking him and casting down those thoughts, but they just kept coming. I eventually caught on that it wasn’t the devil, God wanted to do something with this. So I got still and asked God what He was trying to get across to me. He brought back to my remembrance a teaching I’d heard about forgiveness, I by the power of the Holy Spirit understood that God wanted me to forgive all the people who had hurt me from my past. I went through each memory one by one, starting with my earliest memory. Out loud I said “by faith I forgive (name of the person) for (and mentioned the hurt and what they did to me), so for example I would say ” I forgive “Johnny” for calling me names and hurting my feelings causing me to feel bad about myself, I release him and hold nothing against him anymore in Jesus name Amen”. I don’t know how long it took me, all I know is that after I had done that I had a new freedom, and it felt so good that I just wanted to stay there. Although I had moved a step forward there was still more to be done, more things that needed to come up and out for my sanity’s sake. There were  many lies that I believed about myself, things others said I was and things I determined on my own I was. In order to be free, truth and light had to come, but they couldn’t come unless I had invited them. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, actually I had avoided digging up anymore of my past for weeks until finally one day I couldn’t take it anymore. One night when everyone was in bed I got alone with God and I opened myself to Him and His truth. The bible says that the Holy Spirit is our teacher. ( John 14:26  But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you).The Holy Spirit taught me that night and brought truths to my heart from His word and with each incident that had taken place in my life God was healing and truth was bringing more freedom. In that I began to finally learn why Jesus died for me, my view of God began to change, He was starting to no longer be this harsh, unaccepting God that I had to earn my time with, but to look at Him as Father. That night wasn’t the last of the healing that needed to be done, God knows not to overwhelm us, so He will bring things to us a little at a time. On another occasion not long after I was sent an emotional healing package in the mail  from Joyce Meyer ministries. I opened it up and read the letter and proceeded to open a pamphlet of women’s testimonies about their emotional healing. As I read every testimony I refused to relate to these women. I remember thinking I was fine and that these women clearly had been messed up  by sexual abuse and rape, oh but not me, those things didn’t affect me (can you hear the sarcasm?). I stood there all set to reject this package, thinking I didn’t need it I wasn’t messed up like “those” women. How utterly sad, I was so oblivious to my pain. So God stepped in, I was standing in front of my couch as I went through the pamphlet, I all but wrote it off when I heard my 7-year-old son playing in his bedroom, in that moment inside of me, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but right on the inside of me I heard, “Lisa is it ok for someone to come into your house walk up your stairs and sexually abuse your son”? I got so mad, with clenched teeth I was like “absolutely not, why in the world would you ever say that to me”!? and ever so gently He said “if it’s not ok for someone to do that to your son, then why is it ok that someone did that to you”?  I got it, I fell in to the couch with tears in my eyes and realized I needed more healing emotionally. Needless to say I ordered the package. I was sent cds and a book called “Beauty for Ashes” by Joyce Meyers. When I opened the book to read it, all of my held back emotions came out, I couldn’t see the words through my tears and I hadn’t even read one word. Eventually I read it and Gods word in it brought even more truth and freedom to my life. I began to dare to believe that God loved me and my fears began to dissipate.

At this point I am going to end this blog, there is so much more I could write, however I will leave it until next time. My prayers are for all those who are suffering, that you would find peace and rest in Jesus. That truth and light would be brought into your life so that you experience the freedom in which Christ died for you to have.

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Have we forgotten?

Over the past few months I have been pondering some things. I have been wondering how did we get here, to a place of such division, to a place where our opinions matter more than the people around us do? We can blame social media, because that’s the place where our opinions have mattered the most. It is the place where anything can be said “no holds barred” because I am at my house and you are at yours, everyone can remain anonymous. I for one won’t blame social media or any other outside causes. I mean we can have valid arguments for why we believe these things are to blame or at the least partially to blame, but here’s a question, does that take away our individual responsibility? I have a few questions more that run through my mind, like, what am I responsible for and who am I responsible to when it comes to my life? When did “my opinion” become the only right one ? and Whatever happened to “I agree to (respectfully) disagree”?  Opinions are not facts, they are a belief system held by a persons own thoughts toward any given topic. For example, it is my opinion that vanilla is better than chocolate. I’m not saying  that those of you who like chocolate better than vanilla are wrong, I’m simply stating my own preference and belief. It is clear that something is wrong if we get offended by someone else’s opinion, and its not usually their problem we are offended. Are we not free anymore to have a difference of opinion? I am going to touch on a sensitive topic in this post. I am going to touch on the elections and the voting in of now President Donald Trump. I have stayed as far away from the topic as I could get because of such strong, no forceful opinions on the matter. I don’t live in the United States, but I know what its like to have someone I didn’t vote for get elected and  I also know what its like to have someone I did vote for get elected. This particular election shocked me, I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen such biased news reporters, who gave their opinion and made it obvious what “side” they were on. I say this unbiasedly because I’m on the outside looking in, whom ever was voted in would have nothing to do with me. In all honesty, (please don’t let this ruffle your feathers) neither candidate was a good candidate, they both had their issues. I can see and I have also been there that if you like or want something you can turn a blind eye and willfully not see the problems with it, where do you suppose the saying “love is blind” comes from. We choose as individuals what we want to see and how much we see. Right now  I’m still seeing (I do thank God for free speech), the news, articles, blog posts and social media stuck on this topic. This is very sad to me. I’m actually not surprised with the “worlds” behavior, they are doing what they know to do. As for me and I know I’m not alone, I believe in God, and I choose to put my faith and trust in Him and His word. If I claim to be a believer then, *I must be a doer of His word and not just someone who hears it and knows it in my head, but to know it in my heart and do it (James 1:22). For” a moment” I got carried away with this topic, until  I was reminded of (King) David, who frequently in the Psalms  would remind himself of the things God had already done for him, that God had been faithful and that it was God who brought him through all his troubles. I realized that somewhere along the way I had forgotten who God is. I had forgotten how big God is and how powerful God is. I had let  these circumstances, *the cares of this world (Mark 4:19), to dictate my words and my actions. This isn’t right, because  I’m saying to God that these troubles are bigger than what He can handle and that the resurrection of Christ has no  power to save and that is simply not true!   Today I was reading in Daniel chapter 4,  the story  of  King Nebuchadnezzar who dreams of a great prosperous tree that gets cut down to its stump is bound with an iron and bronze band, and a harsh declaration is made over the tree, this becomes very troubling to the King. As the story goes he calls on all of his people for the interpretation of his dream and none of his people can interpret it. Finally Daniel is called and God gives King Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of his dream through Daniel. The interpretation;  the tree represents King Nebuchadnezzar and the cutting down of and the declaration over the tree means  that the king will soon be cut down. The angel declares that the stump and its roots remain in the ground, that it be bound by an iron and bronze band……. and that the king will be drenched with dew of heaven and for him to live  with the wild animals and that his mind would be changed from that of a human to that of a wild animal and that he would live like that for 7 periods. Daniel urges the king to repent that he might not suffer this plight. Sadly the bible says that 12 months after the dream and interpretation King Nebuchadnezzar declared from his balcony over looking Babylon “Is this not great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? “. What I read next struck me, the voice from heaven spoke these words to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven  from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, UNTIL YOU LEARN THAT THE MOST HIGH RULES OVER THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD AND GIVES THEM TO ANYONE HE CHOOSES”. It hit me, Daniel chapter 2 says it best…He (God) removes kings, and sets up kings. Have we have forgotten that our *God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)? If God set up King Nebuchadnezzar and in the kings pride removed him for a time then  that is true of him today. God rules over all, the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water,HE turns it wherever HE pleases (Proverbs 21:1). If we have been doing what 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says and we have been praying for our own countries, our government, our judicial systems and for those in authority, then we can expect good things from God. *We should expect God to keep his word (Hebrews 6:18). If the man/women chosen to lead your country/ my country isn’t the person you would have chosen you should NOT panic, you should NOT go with the flow and to let the negative media and the negative people around you  get you to forget YOUR GOD! *The one who gives grace to the humble and resists the proud (James 4:6). If the person running your country now seems the furthest from capable one can get, take your eyes off of them and *put your eyes on God (Hebrews 12:2), put them on His word. Like King David, remind yourself of how big God is and what God can do, because I’m telling you this,  there is strength in unity and *if we are divided against ourselves our nations our kingdoms will fall(Luke 11:17), these are not my words but Gods. He is bigger than all this, *rest in His unfailing love (Hebrews 4:3, Psalm 6:4). He knows what He is doing, *let us not be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:5-6), we don’t know everything! *God on the other hand knows the end of a matter from its beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10). Use the power and the privilege of what God has given you, *PRAY (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and *cast all your care on him for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)!

 

Believe The Love

There is nothing more sobering than being corrected, when you come face to face with the failure of not doing right it can be a hard pill to swallow. Recently being corrected myself, I know the feeling, however I also now know the freedom. The bible says * “whom the Lord loves He corrects” I didn’t believe that before, I didn’t believe that correction or discipline came out of love, I believed that it came out of the disapproval of me. The “love” I experienced growing up was conditional, based on how “good” I was, and so I concluded that I was unacceptable and I was being disciplined because I was bad. I hated being in trouble, but I couldn’t escape the bad behavior, the more I didn’t want to do it the more I did it. As I grew older, I accumulated more disapproving people in my life, people who didn’t know true love themselves and discipline was harsh. I went to a church who preached Christ from the pulpit but truly didn’t understand the love of God. I was part of the youth group there and there came an opportunity for all the youth to go to Acquire the Fire in Oklahoma. Our youth group planned fund raisers to help pay for the trip and  I was a part of it, I had a hand in raising those funds. My parents were going to send me and pay what I needed to go, this was a big deal because I had strict parents and this would have been the first time they ever let me go anywhere without being under their watchful eye. Sadly the Pastors and youth pastors of the church called my parents in to meet with them and that’s when they told them, I wasn’t good enough to go, they didn’t want me to come because they “thought” I was a bad kid. Knowing what I know now I was their best candidate to go, if anyone needed it most it would have been me, but I was denied. That hurt me so badly, it only served to  reinforce that I was unacceptable, I mean these were the pastors of the church certainly they knew their stuff right!? This was punishment because I guessed they were right, I was a bad kid. These things set me up to look at God wrong and take discipline the wrong way. I avoided God and stayed distant from him, I felt like he was always mad at me. Maybe you can relate to me, to my story. Perhaps the people who should have known better just didn’t and they treated the precious and beautiful to God as worthless and ugly and tried to imply that’s how God sees you. Now I know the truth, I know that* Jesus came for the broken hearted, he came for the ones in prison, he came for the one who didn’t know any better, he came for me, he came for us all. *For God so loved THE WORLD He gave His one and only son. We are priceless to God, He paid so much for us. If we wouldn’t waste our resources on junk then why would we think God would!? If you will bare with me for a minute, let me give you an analogy. If you bought something of high value, a prized possession you would put it on display. Now lets say that that possession is breakable, so you of course would go to great lengths to protect it, you want it on display but you want it safe. What if one day your prized possession was sitting in a precarious position, its sitting right on the edge of a ledge and any big movement could knock it off. What would you do? You would walk over to that prized possession and move it to a safe place, you would “correct” if you will its position. That’s what God does with us. His correction is never to hurt us but to protect us, it helps us. Sometimes we are careless with ourselves and we forget our inherent value and we hurt ourselves through disobedience and a lack of understanding. However, we are never beyond repair. *God is good, His word says that *its His kindness that leads us to repentance, He came to save, rescue and repair, *His love is so great that we will never get to the bottom of it. What I want for you to take a way from this is that Gods correction is your protection and its because he loves you and values you so much that he is not willing to lose you. We cant look at/to people to lead us we must look to God and by *His spirit He will lead us and guide us into all truth. So instead of feeling bad about being corrected, remember this God loves you and you are valuable to him and he wants to keep you safe. *Believe in the love God has for you, its freedom.

(* all scriptures used , Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6,Luke 4:16, John 3:16, Psalm 34:8, Romans 2:4, Ephesians 3:19, John 16:13, 1 John 4:16)

Remembering the past

Memories can be funny things, I mean some memories we want to and readily do remember, others we are indifferent to not caring to remember them at all, and some, we would rather never be remembered again. A couple of weeks ago God brought a memory back to me that I had completely forgotten about, It played out before my eyes like it was a movie. I saw my 13 year old self at the starting line of the 100 meter dash, ready to race and ready to win like I had done so many times before. The gun went off and so did I, as the race progressed a sickening feeling came over me as I saw not one but two of my classmates pass me, I pushed harder but it was too late the race was done and third place was best I did. I was devastated. There’s where the Movie ends and old feelings came flooding back. You see I was or should say I am an athlete through and through, I like playing and participating in all kinds of sports and at school is where I shone the brightest. In those days the only place I didn’t feel like a reject at school was gym class and on sports teams. Before that day I had won pretty much every track and field event that I was strong in, the 100 meter dash just happened to be my favourite. Losing that race was so devastating to me, like someone pulling the rug out from underneath you. That’s who I was and who I was, was being changed from winner to loser and in my already fragile emotional state it was almost more than I could handle. The worst part of losing was that I was losing to two of the “popular” girls, who taunted me. These girls tortured me making my life a living hell at school. In the early days they used to pretend to be my friend they would set me up and do stuff like invite me to sit with them at lunch and then when I did they would make a big production out of it, they would act all disgusted with me and ask me why I was sitting with them and telling me to get away from them because I was “such a loser” ! They embarrassed me more times like that than I care to admit. I fell for their tricks over and over again because I just wanted to be liked by them. Big sigh, oh those were the days. I lost a piece of me that day. Learning now who I am and putting all the puzzle pieces together, my life is taking shape. I can see that loss in a different light and with a new perspective. The best part is that I’m not that desperate kid anymore, I am not longing to fit in and fearing rejection at every turn. Gods love and acceptance has transformed my life. I have learned that to be able to accept love I need to love myself and to be accepted I need to accept myself,and Gods acceptance and my acceptance of me are the only ones that matter and any others are just bonuses. It’s nice to be liked by people, but people are not the gage by which I see myself anymore, Gods word tells me who I am, I am loved by God, blessed, accepted, chosen, adopted, forgiven, redeemed, and free!

Broken, My Testimony cont’d

This is a continuation of a previous blog called Broken, My testimony if you haven’t read it click the link, I reccomend you read that post first so that this one will make sense. I’m writing it in pieces because it is quite lengthy, There will be another post in continuation to this one so stay tuned.
Continued
…After that night in my parents bedroom I wasn’t the same. When everyone else didn’t fight for me, I stopped fighting for me. The negative feelings I had about myself interfered with my ability to make good choices. I turned to food, mainly sugar for comfort and by the time I started high school I weighed just over 200 pounds. Weight was a problem for me because food was my addiction, it is a vicious cycle that keeps you in a perpetual down ward spiral. I could share a whole blog post on my struggle with weight, However this post isn’t about my weight although it plays a roll, so I will save it for another day. The summer before grade 10 I lost 30 pounds and I maintained that weight loss give or take a few pounds until I got married. I was never at a comfortable weight and was self conscious all time about it. As I’ve said in a previous blog I was in one bad relationship after another. Sex was completely off the table for me and in high school that’s what all the boys wanted it seemed. I got rejected for that reason more times than I can remember. When I was 15 I met a guy and thought He was the one for me. He was two years older than me finishing grade 12 and he was already enrolled in a nearby college for the next year. He had his life figured out and that was a big plus. He was also of the same mind set that we would  not have sex before marriage and that was mind easing for me . Six months after we started dating he began to hit me, it started off slowly but gained momentum as time went on. The mind games and mental abuse were awful.  I wasn’t allowed to meet his friends, he said I was too fat and I had to lose some weight first. I didn’t lose any weight, but eventually almost 2 years after we started dating I met his family and a couple friends. He had managed to convince me that everything was my fault and I deserved what was happening to me. I think about it now and I don’t know how I managed to survive mentally through this time, it was truly only by Gods grace. Another blow to my self worth came one day when I was fed up with him hitting me. A lot of the time if he didn’t like what I said he would slap me across the face. This particular day we had ordered pizza with another couple at my house, my parents were not home. I asked about the price of the pizza because I could tell that he was upset about it, he told me it was none of my busines and not to ask him again. When the pizza came I answered the door he was standing beside me ready to pay, when I asked the pizza guy how much it was, my boyfriend didn’t like that at all, he paid the pizza guy quickly and right in front of the other couple he slapped me across the face. Feeling brave and knowing I wasn’t alone, I hit him back, he threw the pizza across the floor and proceeded to beat me up, the other couple that was with us turned their back on me and went into the other room until it was over. Again I got the message that I wasn’t worth fighting for. What is even more terrible is that we ate the pizza together as if nothing ever happened. I didn’t have the courage to leave him, but I knew I couldn’t stay. One night he dropped a bomb on me, something he knew could cause us to break up,but he was optimistic that we could work through it and stay together. After that confession I was able to muster up the courage to tell him we needed to take a break and he agreed. For the next four months I didn’t hear from or see him. I didn’t realize it then, that even though I felt alone I wasn’t alone and even though I felt hurt and abandoned, God hadn’t abandoned me. God saw me in my pain and sent me a rescuer, someone who would stand by me, someone who would eventually help me walk away from that toxic relationship for good. He was truly a God send, because I did contemplate going back to my abuser to spite everything he had done to me. Once out of that relationship I began to seriously date the man God sent me the one who “rescued” me. He was a complete gentleman, nothing like I had ever encountered before, he was so different from the rest of the guys I ever dated that I didn’t want to let him go. He was almost 6 years older than me and had a lot more life experience. I soon began to worry that he would he would leave me. I told him in the beginning that sex was off the table and he completely respected that, he said he would never make me do anything I didn’t want to do. This however did not bring relief to me, in fact it pushed me toward securing him by using sex.  One day I flat out asked him to sleep with me, he was a gentleman and he tried talking me out of it,  because he knew what had happened to me and what I had told him from the start. I convinced him that I was ok with it all. It took a while but eventually we did sleep together. After our first time I was instantly freaked out, I told him I changed my mind that I didn’t want to do that again, I was sorry and he too was sorry and we agreed to not make that part of our relationship. Sadly once we opened that door, it was quite difficult not to sleep with each other, with every time we did it, it got easier and easier to do. Eventually we got engaged and 2 years later we were married. I finally felt that my life was on the upswing and my past was completely behind me, but I was wrong. I struggled in my marriage, I struggled at work and I struggled to be the person I wanted to be. I tried to be perfect, I thought that if I did everything perfectly I would have no problems, and everyone would like me, but trying to be perfect just put me face to face continually with my failures. I had a constant underlying forboading feeling. I Attributed that feeling to the mess that my marriage was in and the negative circumstances happening in my life. I tried repeatedly to “fix” the problems, but to no avail. At the age of 25 after having my second child I became restless. We had just moved away from everything we had known for the last several years, to a new town where we knew no one. We found a church to go to shortly after we moved here, but we didn’t end up attending it.  One day it all just got to me and while the kids were napping I went to my room to pray. I sat on the edge of the bed and I remember thinking that I couldn’t ride any longer on my parents coat tails and I couldn’t run to mommy and daddy every time I had a challenge. I was now a mommy and I was responsible for them. I was thinking quietly to myself when I asked myself this question,  “do I believe in God because my parents do and because that’s the way I was raised or do I believe in God for myself”? As I sat there and pondered it over there was no denying that God was real, He was real to me and I believed in Him because I believed in Him. In that moment I rededicated my life to Christ and  I made the decision that I was going back to church and bringing my kids with me even if my husband wasnt going to come. It might seem cliche but the truth is that day my life began to change. To be continued.