Wednesday, March 30, 2011

random ramblings of a Jesus girl...

It’s gonna be a spirit filled day! I am just telling you, I can feel it. There are those days where I feel like God lives on some distant planet peeking his head down every now and then, and then there are those days where I know that is not the truth. I can feel His spirit like a thick blanket resting over every fiber of my soul. A spirit filled kind of day.

And no, I don’t have any fancy displays for you, there is not some cloud of spiritedness that follows me around like a cosmic glow – although that might be cool. But what I do have is my heart. It is open and ready and willing. Made soft by God, because at times it has been very hard. But God has made it smushy again. I love having a smushy heart. I think I should pray for it more often.

Anyways…and I wanted to let all of you know that I love you dearly. There have been times over the past couple of days where I have felt weighted by my own sin. Where I have felt like I am only serving myself – but I know that is not true. True – I did have some unconfessed sins that needed to be confessed. Mainly – that I had let my blackberry become my morning companion rather than my bible. It was on its way to becoming my best friend, but no, no more.

So maybe that’s why a feel all aglow with the spirit, because I decided that He was more important that a piece of technology that traveled over from China. And although my blackberry goes pretty much everywhere with me, it doesn’t go into my heart. And He does. So…I think my conclusion is that Jesus is way more lovely than a blackberry, or even an I-phone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Danger Danger…Caution…Slippery Slope Ahead!

This blog home is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. It is one of the few things I have in my life which allows me the complete and total freedom to express what is on my heart. I feel like I can write here, untempered and raw.

But…I would be full of poo if I said I don’t feel the pressure sometimes. The pressure to write a “good” post. The pressure to “hear” from God. And what if I hear nothing on link up day…do I write anyways just to write…or do I wait and listen and take a pass on linking up for the day?

I am not certain what to call the season I feel God tugging me into. But…I DO NOT feel as if I need to step away from blogging for a while…but I do feel that I need to take an honest look at how it is affecting my relationship with Him.

Get ready for gut-wrenching honesty…okay…here goes…I feel as if my bible reading time now is less spent on knowing Him and more spent on finding insight for my next post…I feel as if my prayer times are spent less praying for my family and more spent on desperate listening for the prompting for the next thing I will write.

Don’t get me wrong…I know that I need to seek Him in my writing. But that isn’t all I need to do. I need to tend to my relationship. I need to spend time just sitting and looking at the stars and laying in His arms. I need to “date” Him again…because it’s gotten to be more of a “what can you give me today God” kind of relationship, than a “what can I do to serve you today God” kind of relationship.

Yes, listen to the father when He corrects you…Proverbs 4:1…I stand corrected.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Listen and be corrected

Discipline. The word in and of itself just has a meaning of rejection for me, at least for the fleshy me. But, I know I know, God disciplines those He loves.

Tonight I was led to a verse for a "family memory verse" (got this wonderful idea from Samantha Reed by the way). So I prayed over my Bible that God would lead me to the right verse, and low and behold if I don't open to this "My children listen when your father corrects you." Proverbs 4:1. Perfect! My heart leaps! Finally a reason to MAKE my children listen! Ha!

And then God speaks to my heart, oh, this one is for you too my dear, rest assured, it is for you too.

So...short post this SDG link up day, because I'm listening. And probably soon to be corrected.

words with a price tag...

Words come with a price tag, don’t they? The very things that we write about, the things that move others to the point of tears at times, they come with a price tag.

Had it not been for our own bout of suffering with a situation, we would have no way of knowing what we know-what God has taught us-the ways God uses us to help others.

Our words have been bought, they came at a price.

The price was the death of the Son, Jesus. Because without his death, our own suffering would still stand to be meaningless.

Without the message of the cross, the hope to which we profess would be non existent. The power of the cross-that is why we do what we do.

Our words were bought at a price, and while we may have suffered for a season, we can rest assured that our joy comes in the morning. Why? Because He already bought our words with a price.

We may angst for a publisher to call us, or long for someone to send us on our way to the conference which we think will change our lives, but what we often forget is that the most awesome publisher that ever existed has already bought our story and marked it a bestseller.

He sings our praises even when we are drowning in our own pit of sorrows. He sings us songs of peace when we think we can’t take it another moment. He believes in us even when we want to give up on the dream He has placed in our hearts. He has bought our book. He has bought our words. He has bought our lives. The greatest life story that we could ever tell has already been written and published - it is the story of His healing. The story of His healing in your life.

He has bought your words. And He paid the highest price fore them, He paid his life. Now that is worth some rejoicing. Can I get an AMEN SISTAS!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seedy Saturdays: The Inbetweenies

Welcome to Seedy Saturdays! A place where we take an honest look at our thoughts and God’s word.

This week, we are going to talk about black and white thinking, or all or nothing thinking. We all know “those” black and white people, or maybe we are one of “those” black and white people. To them, things are either one way, or the other. My husband is this way. He is a police officer, and to him, behaviors are either right or wrong. A law was broken, or it wasn’t. But to me…it goes so much deeper than that. Why did the person act like that? Do they have a past history of abuse? Are they mentally ill? With me there is all sorts of grey.

When it comes to personality type, there is nothing wrong with being black and white, or being gray. We NEED them both. I know I would be an awful police officer, and my husband would be more like a drill sergeant than a counselor, LOL! But…when it comes to our thinking…I think we will find that being a black and white thinker can get us stuck.

What happens when you fail at something? Or maybe you don’t even fail. What happens when someone offers you constructive criticism that looks to you like failure? What goes through your mind?

For a long time, when someone gave me constructive criticism, my mind went whirling. I suddenly started hashing through all the ways that I would never be a good counselor, that I probably couldn’t even be a good mom, or even a good wife. I might as well go out and crawl into the dog house outside, because I was nothing but a complete failure. That’s black and white thinking…thinking that because someone suggested we could improve on something…that we are a complete failure. Either we are a complete success or a complete failure. Either we are mom of the year, or we aren’t even capable of caring for our children’s basic needs. Either we are Beth Moore or Satan’s spawn. No room for inbetweenies. It’s easy to see how this thinking can keep us trapped.

Satan loves to trap us in this type of thinking, especially if we are following God’s will. Remember, He is the father of lies. Let me use and example out of my own life. I sent of 3 scholarship entries to she speaks. I didn’t win any of them. If I had allowed, I could have trapped myself into believing that because I didn’t win a scholarship that I shouldn’t go…that I’m not good enough to go. I might have even begun to believe that chasing this dream of being a writer is a lost cause anyway. That I was a failure. Nothing would have made Satan happier…one more Word girl out of the way! But, NO, I must temper this black and white thinking with truth.

The truth spoken in 2 Corinthians 12:9, that His power is made perfect in my weakness, and that His grace is sufficient for me. The truth of Psalm 138:8 that He will fulfill His purpose for me, and that He will not abandon the work of His hands. That is the truth. He will provide, and I can take the suggestions given to me about my writing, and learn to write even better!

What kind of black and white thoughts have you struggled with? And what biblical truths have you used to battle them and keep them from growing into big fat ugly weeds?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The place between what we thought we could do...and what God can do

There is definitely a reason God places certain people in our lives. As I read Samantha’s post from Fields of God, which is absolutely astoundingly beautiful by the way (PLEASE go visit her today – you will be blessed), I was reminded. That I overthink sometimes. That I sit here and try to think of the “right” things to say on my blog, and in doing so, I completely cut out the power of the spirit and raise simply the power of the “Stephanie”, which is pretty much powerless. So, today, inspired by Samantha and the way she just lets the Spirit of the Lord flow through her, I want to do the same.

Self doubt. It is one of those things that walks along the gap between what we thought we could do and what we actually do. It seems as if it completely sucks our lives void of doing anything worthwhile. And while self doubt can be something that completely destroys us, it can also be something that God uses to completely heal us. Self-doubt can be one of those tools He uses to let us know that we must be completely dependent on Him. To know that nothing we do apart from Him will even begin to be worthwhile in the Kingdom of Heaven. In order for our lives to exude a pleasing aroma of love, we must extrude all of the hate, and guilt, and fear, and doubt – and be completely dependent on Him. And mind you, this is not easy to do by any means. Pride gets in the way. My own need to achieve gets in the way. My own fears get in the way. But God says NO, STOP IT!

Bring it to me and lay it at the foot of the cross. Bring it hear and lay it down. For this was never your burden to bear, or your life to hold. Your life has always been in my hands, and I will lead you, if you will follow. Follow me to places your heart longs to go, but never even knew existed. Follow me and I will lead you beside the still waters and the calmed seas. Follow me and you will find everything your heart has been looking for. For in the darkness, Satan longs to steal – kill - and destroy, but I bring life – and I bring it abundantly. I bring heaven, where your Sprit one day will swirl with disbelief that such a place could even exist. I bring you everything you always wanted, but never knew you could have. That’s what I offer. Come and follow me and your heart will find peace. I love you. No one else can love you like I love you. My love is perfect. My love does not doubt. My love does not fear the places in your heart that you have tenderly set boundaries around. No, I will run right into them and heal them. Let me be your everything. Let me place that self-doubt where it belongs, placed tenderly in my hands so that I can use you to further my Kingdom. Because you love me. And because I am crazy about you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Seedy Saturdays...a new series where we will water the truth seeds and starve the lie weeds!

Have you ever seen the “roll and grow”? It is that carpet looking thingy of seeds that you just roll out in your flower bed, water, wait, and shabam! – you have a beautiful floral garden growing right in your very own backyard!

I have never tried this product, but it sure sounds fantastic! The only thing that has kept me from trying it in the past is that you never know what you are going to get. I would much rather go to the garden store, pick out my plants, and know exactly what I am getting (can you say control freak!)

Have you ever thought of your thought life as a roll and grow? Abundant seeds lie in the carpet, yet which ones will grow? Some seeds have been there since childhood, some were watered, some were not. Some seeds are more recent additions, and again, some are watered and some are not.

There is an abundant carpet of blooming seeds growing in our brains. The good news is…we have a choice which seeds we want to water, and which ones we don’t!

Starting next week I am going to begin a series on cognitive distortions. What is a cognitive distortion you say? Simply things we tell ourselves that aren’t true. They sound rational to us, but only serve to continue our own negative thoughts – to water the weeds!

The first step we will look at will be identifying cognitive distortions. Then we will begin learning to refute them. And one of the best ways I have found to refute them is with scripture – the living breathing life-giving word of God. Before you know it, you will be using God’s word to water the lovely flowers, and those icky weeds will be dying of thirst!

I hope you will join me on this journey! I will be posting every Saturday! Seedy Saturdays! Where we will be watering the truth seeds, and starving the lie weeds!

Linking up with Tiffini for Word Women Wednesdays at the House of Belonging, and hope to see you Saturday for the first official installment of Seedy Saturdays!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Healing...not a one woman show

As a survivor, as one healing, I had certain expectations. I expected that the journey would be difficult. I expected to heal quickly. At one point, I expected my therapist to save me. I expected everyone to “get” what was going on with me. I expected God to bring me back to joy. I knew it wouldn’t be immediate in my head, but my heart expected it now. And I had countless, un-admitted un-acknowledged expectations of the bystanders.

The bystanders. Those that were a part of our lives while the abuse or assault occurred, often completely oblivious to what was going on. And somehow we don’t understand. The question is asked over and over again, “How could someone not have known”? Our pain is so obvious to us that we think it should be written across our face like a scarlet letter. But it’s not. Because, also, many of us developed a very convincing mask. The mask that told everyone that we were just fine. That mask that told ourselves we were just fine when we looked in the mirror, that we didn’t need any help. That we could carry this burden alone, on our one. We were survivors. And in that moment, survivor meant doing things on our own.

Yet, a part of each one of us had to want someone to help. We were too “strong” to ask for it. Too scared to let anyone see the turmoil. No, it was ours to bear, and bear alone.

I have never really seen this as prideful until tonight. I was too hell bent on doing it on my own, that I wasn’t going to let anyone else share in what I had endured. I had endured it, it was my piece of hell to survive, not theirs. And I was angry. I was much too angry, hurt, and prideful to reach out.

Years were spent ensuring that my pride was validated. Years were spent proving to myself that he hadn’t hurt me, and that I was so strong that no one needed to know what happened, and that I would achieve regardless, on my own.

It was only when the valleys in the road started to get so deep that I could no longer pull myself out, 10 plus years of ever deepening valleys, that I RELUCTANTLY went for help. God forced me to a place where I had no choice. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus that you force deliverance out of us sometimes, because that is the only way that our stubborn hearts are going to move.

I had to let God be God. To let the Savior do the saving. To realize that what should have happened, did. To realize that no amount of achievement on my part was going to change the past. That the only thing that could “change” my past, could redeem it and make it something beautiful, was Jesus.

If you are a survivor, please don’t be too afraid to ask for help. It’s your time, and yes, you, are worth God’s time and healing. You are worth getting help. You weren’t meant to bear this alone. It’s time to make some beauty from ashes. Your life is a praiseworthy testimony of His amazing grace and power, bring some praise for that dear sister, and let the redemption songs begin!

Linking up with my awesome sister Jen at Finding Heaven!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The aftermath

I love the warmth of the sun of my face.

I wish I could sit here forever, praise music in my ears.

I feel so close to you (to Him).

Basking in the light, I love it.

Reminded that you are the light.

How awesome it feels to sit in the light, the Son. To bask in Your presence.

To let ever part of me be covered by your light, your warmth.

“You are with me. Your love will light the way. I am found in the light of the aftermath.” Hillsong United, Aftermath

Monday, March 14, 2011


Up way too late, LOL! We are going out of town tomorrow for some much needed R&R, but I just couldn’t leave without leaving a quick note for my sisters!

I just want each of you to know how much you bless my life. What a blessing it is to have such a beautiful group of women to share with. To know that I can pour out my heart at any time, about anything, and know that I am not alone. So…just a praying a prayer for all of us this week.

Dear Lord,
You know exactly where each and every one of us are. We are all in different seasons, surrounded by different circumstances. But somehow you lead us all to the same spot on Tuesdays. Thank you for the rich blessing that this sisterhood is. Guide us this week. Hold us where we need to be held. Love us where we need to be loved. Forgive us where we need to be forgiven. And teach us where we need a good lesson. We love you Lord, thank you for being our Savior.
In Jesus Name,

Prayer is just on my heart this week. I feel like praying. So please, if you have a prayer request. Leave it in the comments, and rest assured knowing that you are being prayed for, by name, every day until next Tuesday.

Love you girlys! See you next week!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

PLAY Therapy!!!!

Play therapy. It’s not just for kids!

I tend to take my life a bit seriously. But, later this week, I am packing up and heading to Six Flags theme park in Dallas with my kiddos and hubby, for some hardcore PLAY THERAPY.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to dear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 11-12
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

So….here we go! A few days of laughing and giggling with some of my favorite peeps on planet earth!!!

And meditating on these verses the whole time…and wondering peacefully what season God has in store for us next.

Are the seasons turning for you? What do you see?

Linking up with a new friend today!!!!

Picture of my kiddos by Jana DeArmond...visit her at

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guest post at Fields of Gold

On Friday and Saturday, I am very honored to be guest posting on Samantha Reed's blog, Fields of Gold.

She is doing this AMAZING series on jumping off the "negative thought train". So if you are ready to take a leap of the train, hop on over to her blog! I know you will be blessed by the entire negative thought train series. Sam's words always pierce my soul to the core. Her blog is one of my absolute favorite places to rest my weary head.

Blessings, and hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!!

She Breathes. She Speaks.

I still remember the day. It was a bit windy outside, and I sat there waiting for my counselor to arrive. Today was the day I had decided to speak.

We sat there in her office. Halfway mumbling, I told her I was ready to talk about it. She just said okay. What I love the most about her is that she never pushed or prompted me before I was ready. I’m quite certain it took me the better part of an hour to get out the sum total of about 10 sentences. Sentences filled with words that had always haunted my soul, but had never been spoken before. The words describing the night it happened, the date rape.

My memories were still very sporadic at this point, and I still envisioned myself in the front seat watching the whole thing happen. But, I spoke. She spoke. For the very first time the little girl that had been silent for 11 years was allowed to breathe. She speaks.

She speaks. Proverbs 31 hosts a conference called She Speaks. I have decided to attend this year, and would be honored to receive a scholarship. It is a conference where I hope to learn how to be a better writer, and maybe even a speaker someday. But to me, she speaks means so much more than the name of a conference.
Proverbs 31:26 says that “she speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue”.

It never ceases to amaze me how much wisdom was held in that sweet little 15 year old me that was raped. When I finally allowed her to speak, she flooded me with her strength. When I finally allowed her out of the dark and let her breathe, God lavished her with a beautiful crown of grace and mercy. And any faithful instruction that ever comes forth from my lips is because God has given it to her, to me. She speaks.

It is my prayer today that if you have a little girl buried inside you, that maybe you will give her the opportunity to speak. She may be scared, and feel weak, and broken, and shamed, and dirty, but if you hold her, if you allow Jesus to hold her, she will speak. She speaks.

If you also feel the call to attend She Speaks, I would greatly encourage you to visit their website. They offer a speakers track, a writers track, and a ministry track. I just know God is going to do some amazing things here, through some amazing women. And you can win a scholarship! For more info on that, click here! I would love to see you there!

Oh, and please drop by Samantha Reed’s blog, Fields of Gold, on Friday where I am honored to be guest posting. I will be telling a bit more of my story, as well as how Christian Counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you jump off the “negative thought train!”

Much blessings and love,

She Speaks Conference

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

i wish i had an easy answer...

I have had a lot of questions voiced lately about how I have found a way to live in freedom. First of all, let me say that it is a daily struggle. I wish I could tell you that I live in 100% freedom 100% of the time. In heaven some day, we all will. But for now it continues to be a daily battle for me, and for all of us. I am a mess of a girl, a sinner, and continue to be, but so thankful to be forgiven and to be God’s mess.


And I wish it were as simple as providing a step by step process or checklist of the exact steps to follow to freedom. Trouble is, those steps are different for every individual. Just as not a single one of us has the same fingerprint, not a single one of us has the same soul, so the path to freedom will be very different for every one of us.


What I can tell you is that my path to the place I am currently involved 2 years of very intense weekly cognitive behavioral therapy with a very experienced Christian Counselor, a bible study of Beth Moore’s called “Breaking Free” through  my church, the support of family and friends, and many days and nights spent crying-writing-screaming-and weeping. Sounds like loads of fun doesn’t it, LOL!


I am not saying the process was easy, it was anything but easy. But…God sustained me and continues to sustain me. And was it worth it? Does it continue to be worth it? 100% absolutely yes!!!!!! Whatever your road to healing – it is essential that it includes daily time diving into His word, and daily time on your knees in prayer.


In the end I am confident that each and every one of us will look back over the journey, and not say “boy that was easy” but “boy that was worth it” and we will see God’s footprints with us every step of the way.


Here are a couple of books that helped greatly on my journey that you might want to consider:

Beth Moore: Breaking Free and Get out of that Pit

RT Kendall – How to forgive yourself, TOTALLY

Lysa Terkeurst – Becoming more than a good bible study girl

Devotional – Streams in the Desert


Monday, March 7, 2011

It is for freedom....

Photo Credit Here

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

That verse always seemed a little redundant and strange to me.

I always assumed that it was for my own freedom that I had been set free. But, standing there ironing my pants, suddenly it occurred to me. The moment that I know all too well, when God gently taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that, gulp, it’s not all about me!?!?

It is for our individual freedom that He sets us free, but if we stop there, we sell an amazing God waaaaayyyyyy short. It is for freedom that we have been set free. Not just for our freedom, but for the freedom of others.

It’s hard working breaking free of bondage, it requires a heart that fully submits to the Savior and allows Him to come in and tend to the wounds. But what good is it to keep that healing to ourselves? Yea, we might feel a bit better, but what good is freedom if everyone around you still lives in captivity?

I have been struggling lately with showing my freedom anywhere other than behind a computer screen. For a while, I kind of felt like sharing my thoughts on my blog was good enough. I didn’t need to share things in person, after all, if I just friended them on Facebook, they could read my blog, and I would never have to speak!

Speaking is just different. When someone reads my blog, I don’t have to watch their reaction, I don’t have to open myself up for questioning, I don’t have to be quiet as vulnerable. But when I speak it, I get all nervous and red and sweaty, and I bind myself all up in knots.

But why? It is for freedom that I have been set free!!!! And for the first time I get it. I have been set free so that others may receive freedom. It is for their freedom that I have been set free. How selfish of me to keep this freedom to myself, it is for FREEDOM that I have been set free.

The verse goes on to say, stand firm then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

I must stand firm! I must be brave. I must not let myself be bound up in knots, because it is for freedom that I have been set free. Others need to know that there is freedom! That there is life. That they can too be set free.

Girlfriend, if you have been set free, please join me! It is for freedom that we have been set free, and everyone needs to know it! Don’t just write it, but speak it! Live it, shout if from the rooftops. Take that suit of shame, and that yoke of slavery and send it straight back to Satan where it belongs. You have been set free, for freedom! Stand firm then! And speak it sister!!!

And if you feel captive right now, don’t give up. Seek counseling, reach out to friends/church members/family members, dive into your bible like it’s the only thing you have left, and pray till your knees dent the floor. And most of all, know that He will never leave or forsake you. A bruised reed He will not break. I don’t always understand His timing, sometimes it seems all too slow to the hurried girl, but I know that His timing is never ever a single second late. Trust Him with all your heart, plead with Him to help you overcome your unbelief that He loves you, and give Him your everything. He won’t let you down.

I have the awesome privilege of guest posting over at Samantha’s blog this week at Her line up of guest posters this week include some amazing women including Melissa Taylor, Wendy Blight, and Mary DeMuth – not to mention the AWESOME Samantha Reed herself!!!! Come on over and visit as we learn lessons about how to jump off the negative thought train!!!!

And linking up with my awesome sisters over at Jen's Finding Heaven!!! How does a girl like me get so blessed with so many awesome sisters in Christ!?!? Basking in the awesomeness of it all! I am one happy, freedom, shame suit free girl.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Unzipping the suit of shame

Photo Source Here

I walked in to church today. Confession…it had been about a month since I had been. So, I went to church, and you would have thought I was a 9th grader on the first day of school. I felt as if everyone was looking at me like “where have you been” and “why haven’t you been here”, and the ones that read my blog, I even felt nervous seeing them, as if they had seen me in my most intimate spiritual underwear.

It’s been a while since I have felt shame like that. I knew full well how ridiculous the thoughts running through my mind were, but that did not change them. I knew they were ridiculous, but I kept listening to them. I walked around with my head down, hoping not to have to talk to anyone, lest I have to explain why I had been absent for a month.

I didn’t even realize it, but somewhere on the way from my car to the front doors, I zipped up the full body suit of shame. It was like a wetsuit, sucked tight to my skin, letting nothing out and nothing in.

It wasn’t until I sat down almost in panic attack mode that I realized what was wrong with me.

In fact, this is not a new battle for me. I can preach it with the best of them behind the computer screen, but see me in public and I bow my head as if I have not been changed. I struggle to be “me” in person. I struggle to let someone else see how passionate I am about my Lord. I am almost embarrassed to show off the healing that God has done. It’s almost like my heart has had a complete makeover, but I wear a bag over my heart so that no one can see it.

Then the sermon, it would be about being salt, and light, and a shining city on a hill. About how silly it is to light a lamp, and then place a bowl over the top of it.

I am not afraid to be a lamp online. But, I am in person. I walk around with a bowl over my head so no one will see me. I zip up the suit of shame so that no one can see me. So that I won’t be vulnerable.

But…I don’t want to do it anymore. Today during communion, I laid my suit of shame at the foot of the cross. I unzipped that life sucking shamesuit, and laid it down. And I am praying like crazy that I won’t pick it back up in the morning. I want to reflect his glory, to be light, to let the whole world know how my life has changed.
But that is not what Satan wants. He wants me to be embarrassed, to make me believe that my story is not worth sharing, that my thoughts are not worth speaking. Not true-Mr. Father of LIES!!!! No sir! I am a changed person in Christ. I am a light, each and every one of us are lights, whether we like it or not! So shine sister shine!!! Unzip that ugly unflattering shame suit, and trade it for your princess dress, because you are His princess, and that is nothing to ashamed of!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

How to be loved...

Lately, I have been working on loving others. But yesterday, something occurred to me. I could also use some work on learning to be loved.
It comes along with the “victim” mentality I think, that ability to learn not to be loved.

My first real dating relationship was misery. I went in expecting love, and to be loved. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except, he was not ready to love. He was manipulative and pushy, and I knew the red flags were there. But, he liked me, and I liked having a boyfriend. I liked that he told me I was beautiful, never mind if he used that to manipulate me. I needed to be told I was beautiful, and for the moment he filled the void.

And through this, I learned that to be loved, I had to perform. The constant threats of suicide if I didn’t do what he asked, the constant threats that he would leave me, the constant ridiculous sick requests that I would comply with – why – out of fear. Fear of being unloved. Never mind you that my parents loved me like crazy. Never mind you that I had heard all my life that God loved me. It wasn’t enough, I needed his love. And it eventually led to date rape, the ultimate violation, where I learned that not only did I have to constantly reciprocate to receive what I saw as love, but that being loved meant being hurt.

So…to me…being loved is difficult.

It is difficult for me to accept a compliment as genuine. In the past, if you complimented me, I believed one of two things. That I didn’t deserve your genuine compliment, and I must instantly reciprocate so that I can maintain my shame. Or that you are completely in-genuine in what you say, and I need to keep you at a distance to protect myself.

You can imagine the disasters this can create in a relationship. My natural tendencies would be to either smother you with reciprocation because I believe that I am not worthy of anything you say about me. I have to give it back to you. Or…I am completely fake and tend not to believe a word you say – thus maintaining the protective wall.

Counseling has helped me with these tendencies. But, my natural pattern, the pattern I revert to when I am stressed, goes back to the above.

I guess that’s what I find so amazing about Jesus. He requires that I learn to be loved. He reminds me that there is no way I could ever deserve or earn an ounce of his love. I am not worthy of it, and even if I smother him with praise, I still am not worthy. Only through Christ, only through learning to accept Christ’s love, to be loved, can I be made worthy. Learning to be loved…a step on the journey.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

He loves that a statement or a question to you...

Did you know He loves you? Such a simple question. But do you know?

You read the words. You hear the songs. But do you believe?

I often wish there was some way to just impute into someone’s brain the love that God has for them. I want it so badly for them because I know the sting of feeling unloveable.

I know what it is like to sit and feel lonely and broken. I know what it is like to read about God’s love and believe that it flows for everyone but me. I know what it’s like to blast right through an encouraging scripture, not paying it 2 seconds thought, because before I could even process, my automatic thoughts told me that it wasn’t for me.

So what changed?

I wish I had the magic answer to that question. It wasn’t instantaneous. It was a process. It is a process.

But, I believe. I made the choice to believe that God loved me even when I didn’t feel it. Not because I wanted to. But out of obedience. Not because it made sense to me. But because I knew the bible was truth, even if it baffled me. I had to decide that I would choose to believe God over my own thoughts.

Did the emotions follow? Not immediately. Did I all the sudden begin to “feel” loved? No, not all of the sudden. But…God allowed some time to pass.

I looked out on the beach. I saw a big ocean. I was afraid. I put my toe in, just the tips. And I stood there for a while. Choosing to believe that the sea of love was for me, but not willing to step in yet. And then, over time the waves just carried me out. And before I knew it, without knowing how I got there, I gently drifted into a place where I was surrounded by such powerful waves of love, I would never ever ever be able to get out, even if I wanted to.

Once we give God our heart, He takes it and makes it His own. He will not let you down. Choose to believe He loves you, and soon you will be swept away in such deep and enveloping seas of love that it will drown out all of the negative thoughts Satan could ever plant in your mind. And despite anything that has happened or will happen to you, you will know that God loves you. Jealously. Passionately. The kind of love that dies for you….