Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Land of the Living

So…Narnia-Voyage of the Dawn Treader is AMAZING if you haven’t seen it yet. It makes me want to go back and read the books all over again. And I just had to share one little quote, and mind you I am going from memory, so it is quoted loosely, but it goes something like this:

“I’ve spent far to long chasing what was taken from me, rather than what I have been given”.

I don’t know about you, but speaking as a person who is prone to the victim mentality, this quote hit hard. Victimization is a difficult thing, a very difficult thing. Anyone who would classify themselves as a victim in the first place had something pretty horrendous happen to them. People may have told them they deserved it. People may have dismissed their story and ignored their pain because it was to much for them to bear. Being a victim is often a plight that a person bears somewhat alone. Often, years are spent pining for what was “taken” from them. Be it their virginity, their ability to enjoy sex, their ability to have a normal relationship, their ability to sleep at night without torturing nightmares, the ability to be happy, the happiness of a “normal” childhood.-years are spent longing for these things. And some of these things will return. With healing a lot of these things, such as the ability to be happy and enjoy a normal relationship will be possible. However, things such as a “normal” childhood, well a person can spend years and years harboring hate and resentment and longing and chasing after what was taken. Seeking, and seeking it, completely ignoring the gifts of the present because the stench of the past is far too strong.

The first time my counselor told me that it was important for me to change my thought patterns, and to redirect my thoughts, I knew that she was right, but it felt so invalidating. I felt like yelling at her, and telling her that I have earned the right to be sad and miserable and I could think about such things as long as I wanted to. And I was absolutely right, I could think about these things as much as I wanted, but what I didn’t realize is that I was forcing myself to stay in the bondage. As long as I continued to focus on things that had happened in the past, there would be no moving into the future. But that was okay with me, because I had fooled myself into believing that the future held nothing for me anyways.

I don’t know what happened, other than a divine intervention, and some tough love from those I love the most, but eventually, I had enough. I came to the point where I had sufficiently spent enough time feeling sorry for myself, and realized that making other people feel sorry for me was not getting me the results I wanted. I thought for the longest time, that if I acted miserable enough, and had everyone around me feeling sorry for me, that I would finally get the attention that I deserved. What I didn’t realize was that it was doing the exact opposite, it was driving everyone away, and as for attention, the attention that I longed for-I was seeking in the wrong place. People couldn’t heal my wounds, only God could heal my wounds. God was the only one who felt my hurt as strong as I did, but He had no desire for me to stay swimming in it. He wanted to heal me from it. He wanted me to stop longing for the past and wake up to what I was missing in the present.

I know there are so many of us who have a tremendous amount of pain in our past, or even in our present. But that does not mean we have to let it permeate into every aspect of our future. We must fully acknowledge the pain of the past, find forgiveness for ourselves and for others, and when the time is right - LET IT BE. Let it be what it is. Nothing more and nothing less. A part of us in need of acceptance, but need not be our sole definition. If something is going to define me, I certainly don’t want it to be “sexual assault survivor” or “depressed girl who recovered with meds and therapy” - I want to be defined by Christ. So therefore, I must live this way. I must make the choice daily to focus my thoughts and my heart on Him. I must choose to think about whatever is right and lovely (Philippians 4:8), and when I do choose to think about such things, I realize what a gift it is. God has given us so much more than we could ever ask or imagine, and He does such amazing things with our pain when we are willing to hand it over to Him. I am constantly amazed by what He can do with a little bit of trust and humility on my part. He can do great things with us messy girls, so let Him. It’s okay to hand Him your pain, He knows exactly what to do with it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Romans 6:17-18 “ But thanks be to God that , though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

It has been a crazy Christmas season. Fun, and so filled with blessings, but so very very busy. So busy in fact that when I finally take a moment to breathe, I wonder where in the world I have been. I have been here and there and everywhere, with everyone else, doing everything else, but I have been somewhat absent to myself, and absent from God.

And when I say absent from myself, I don’t mean in a selfless kind of way, that might be kind of righteous, but more in a choosing to ignore my own internal state kind of way. More in a way that chooses to ignore the convictions and sinful tendencies I might be leaning towards, and just presses forward, ignoring it all. In fact, I might even venture to say, I have been somewhat passive aggressive towards God. Kind of saying, I don’t have time for you God, and if you wanted me to have time for you, you should have give me a job in ministry. The job I want, where ministry is my full time focus, then I could focus on you. But not now…I am to busy with other things. Too busy being a slave to my own sin, and my own junk, or too lazy maybe.

Sometimes, it is just easier to be a slave. To sit in my own chains of bondage, rather than try to fight my way out of them. And the thing is, I have been set free of so many chains. For a moment I got lazy, and thought that I was home free. But unfortunately, Satan has a never ending supply of chains. Once we are set free from some, he has plenty more that He can pile on. And he will keep piling and piling away, as long as we let him.

But God says we don’t have to. We don’t have to be a slave to these things, because He has entrusted us with the gift of salvation. Not only has He given it to us, but he ENTRUSTED it to us. Entrust: to give to another for care, protection, or performance. You see, He did not just give me salvation so I could put it in my box and pull it out when I get to heaven as an entrance ticket. He gave it to me so that I could use it. He gave it to me so that I could use it. So that I don’t have to be a slave. It’s not just my key to heaven and eternal life, but the universal key that unlocks any chains of bondage that Satan wants to try and wrap around me.

Even the internal chain that has me believing that if God wanted me in ministry, I would already have a job doing it, so I might as well give up. Even the internal chain that says, no one gets anything out of what you write, quite wasting your time. The chains that tell me trying to lose weight is a pointless effort, I can’t do it. The chains that tell me not to try any more. I know that all of these things aren’t true. But yet their undercurrent runs through my thoughts time after time throughout the day. But only if I let them. I am entrusted with the key to change, the key to joy, and the key to righteousness - forgiveness, salvation, and unconditional love. Thank you Jesus, that time and time again, you set me free.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Chirstmas!

What a blessed year! I couldn't ask for more :) Merry Chirstmas to all of you! I hope your home is filled with joy and blessings and lots and lots of fun remembering the birth of our Savior!!! Here are just some cute pics from Lauren in her first Nutcracker, Ryan in his first Triathlon, and my sweet studly hubby Kevin! Blessings to all!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Neither Holiness...nor fitness...are achieved all at once

“Don’t be in a bigger hurry than God. Holiness is not achieved all at once. We need to pray all of the time. And how can we pray all to him without being with him? How can we be with him unless we think of him often? And how can we often think of him unless by a holy habit of thought. You tell me I am always saying the same thing. You are right. I say it because this is the best and easiest method I know, and it is the only one I use.” Brother Lawrence, The practice of the Presence of God

A holy habit of thought. Wow. This is something I so very long to have. A Holy habit of thought. My thoughts tend to be more in the habitual habit of feeling sorry for myself, and rarely drift over to Holiness. However, as the author states, Holiness is not achieved all at once - don’t get in a bigger hurry than God. I suppose God has me exactly where He wants me, learning and tripping so that I may use my own trips to warn others of the boulders on the path. But, I also know that Holiness isn’t bestowed on me by God’s cosmic size magic wand. It is something He can gift me with more and more, but only if I am seeking Him more and more.

My mode of functioning over the past month or so continues to be laziness. I need to get to the gym. I need to get back into my Bible. I need to spend more time with God so that He can help me overcome some emotional eating habits that were formed over the past year or so. And none of this I can do alone. I must think of Him often, I must be with Him often, so that He can lead me into a bit more healthiness and Holiness.

And unless I do all of this out of efforts to glorify God, all of my efforts will be in vein. So, I will try my best to be happy exactly where I am at. To know that God will bless my efforts, and even though one day at the gym will not have me back in a size 6, that if I stick with it, He is faithful to bring results.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh My Goodness? Did they really say that? Really? I'm so offended!

There is nothing like to Holidays for a person who is harboring a spirit of offense. Thoughts can swirl through our mind if we aren’t careful, stealing our joy and attacking our self worth.

“They didn’t eat my pie! They ate grandma’s pie, but didn’t touch my pie. What is wrong with my pie? Am I a bad cook? I thought my pie was good! What is wrong with me, can’t I even make a pie right?”

“I am not having Christmas with THOSE people. Do you hear about what happened last year? I’ll show them. They can spend Christmas alone this year.”

“A sweater? Really? My brother get’s an I-pod and I get a sweater! Seriously! What the heck? I deserve way more than my brother. Who is the one who helped cook dinner? Who is the one who is always there for them? And I get a sweater! This is ridiculous!”

Offense. It can ruin our Holidays, or really our anydays, but only if we let it.

It is so easy to get offended; I speak as one who knows this ALL TOO WELL. When people hurt our feelings, or don’t meet our expectations, oftentimes our immediate reaction is to get offended. The sad thing is that over time, each of these seemingly small offenses add up and up and up and eventually can build into a huge wall of resentment that completely separates us and forces us into an inner angry state that follows us around wherever we go.

So what do we do when we get offended? Surely we don’t just let people walk all over us? Of course not! First of all we have to look at the offense. Is it something worth spending our mental time and energy on or is it simply something that we have built up in our minds into something way larger than it actually is (such as the pie incident or the Christmas present that didn’t meet our expectations). Or is it something that needs to be addressed. Sometimes things happen in our family or with our friends that genuinely do offend us and need to be addressed appropriately. They are things that we do not need to ignore and things that will not just go away because we pretend they didn’t happen. However, once they have been addressed, forgiveness is the next step. Unforgiveness hardly ever hurts the one who offended us and much more often becomes a seething splinter within ourselves. And lastly, when we are offended, oftentimes it is because whatever the person said to us, unfortunately, they were ALL TOO right. They said something that we know to be true, but SOOOOO did not want to hear. In this case, sometimes all that is needed is to humble ourselves, and take the correction.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 “…my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure, in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

False guilt

Guilt. It is a very strange thing. So often I find myself feeling guilty for things that I have no idea why I feel guilty for. I find myself feeling sorry for the one who wronged someone rather than the person they wronged. Isn’t that strange. Even when someone does something wrong to me, I am much quicker to blame myself for “provoking” the wrong rather than be angry at them for committing the act. I am not sure why this is, I just know that my heart immediately jumps to the perpetrator rather than the victim. Perhaps it is because I know that oftentimes the one who perpetrates has been a victim in some way themselves. Even concerning my own victimization, it was a lot easier for me to forgive the perpetrator than it was for me to forgive myself.

You might think, a victim, what do they have to forgive themselves for. Well, part of the victim mentality is that the perpetrator uses anything and everything you have ever done wrong to make the victim believe that they deserve anything and everything they are enduring. That someone what goes around comes around, and somehow this is “their” fault. It is a horrendous viscious cycle, and this guilt is often the reason people stay in an abusive relationships despite horrendous circumstances. They believe they deserve it, every single ounce of it.

The thing is, it is not real guilt, it is false guilt. There is such a thing a real guilt, guilt that comes from God. Guilt that drives us to repentance of sins, but is immediately removed once repentance is acted out. It should not hang around like a cloud once forgiven. Guilt that moves around like a rain cloud, following us wherever we go, and constantly raining on every parade, that is false guilt. False guilt puts you at risk for removing things you never needed to remove. It puts you at risk for coughing out your very soul, and handing it to another because they have made you believe you are worth nothing. False guilt makes you believe that everything you are is ugly, and you must do everything you can to cover yourself up. False guilt can make you hate yourself, and has even driven people to believe that if they simply removed themselves from the equation everything would be better. False guilt is not from God.

Despite all circumstances, I can assure you of one thing, God does not want you to walk around with a cloud of false guilt over your head. And another thing, this cloud is somewhat difficult to remove. Depending on how long it has been there, it has had ample time to build and build and build, layer upon layer. And it will take time to remove, layer by layer by layer. But when it is gone, you can see the sun. It is a beautiful thing when your vision is no longer clouded by false guilt, and though it takes time to dismantle the cloud, you and God can do it. God never meant for you to carry this cloud around, and when we are willing to let it go and hand it over, bit by bit, we will see Him and His love a little more clearly, bit by bit. We will begin to understand His forgiveness more, and that when He says you are forgiven, He means it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quick Prayer Request

What’s up my bloggy peeps! So I have a MASSIVE prayer request. It may not seem massive to you all who don’t know my baby girl ballerina Lauren, but trust me it is massive. She is doing her first year as a ballerina in the Nutcracker this year and was blessed with three, yes three, wonderfully beautiful parts. She is an amazing dancer, and knows her parts well. However, her confidence is shaky, and the rehearsal schedule is UNBELEIVABLE! We are talking night and day live eat and breathe ballet for a solid two weeks!

If you know my Lauren at all, you know she gets SUPER cranky when she is tired, and throws massive fits!!! I mean MASSIVE! So I am begging for prayers for her the next two weeks. That she falls in love with dancing even more, rather than getting burned out. That she is filled with Nutcracker giddiness and joy and makes tons upon tons of new best friends! And that despite the craziness of the schedule she abounds with happy joyful energy! Thank you all for prayers! You all are AWESOME!