Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who is this they call I AM...

I AM. The most powerful two words ever spoken in history. The very name of God. Spoken out of the burning bush to Moses, and then later spoken again by Jesus immediately before his arrest. I AM.

He is HaShem. The name.

What do the words “I AM” mean to you? Is it merely an expression used to describe a condition? I am sick. Or I am tired. Or I am happy. Or I am worthy. We throw around “I am” so flippantly that it begins to lose its poignancy. Oftentimes we don’t even recognize its definitive factors that speak to define the very essence of what a person is, has been, or will become. It is a passing phrase, as is much in modern day society.

The things we describe ourselves as using “I am”, are often not really “who” we are. If we were to use I am in its most basic definition, the only thing that we could call ourselves as Christians are the sons and daughters of the Most High God.
One of the simplest things that we could call ourselves, yet one of the most complicated mysteries that could ever occur on the face of the earth. That through the Son of God’s death on a cross, we could be called sons and daughters of God. So underserving, so unworthy, and yet we are heirs.

How does that happen? Does it even make sense?

Of course it doesn’t, it makes absolutely no sense at all. And what if it did? What if God did set out some criteria that made sense to us as humans? That a certain amount of good works would do it. Would we like that better? Certainly it would be a lot easier to wrap our heads around, but we would cry out as children do that “this is unfair”. We would wonder who gets to decide what a “good work” is and what it is not. We would argue, and call God harsh for His forceful and decisive hand.

No…instead he made it a mystery. Something that makes absolutely no sense. Crazy love. Love that surpasses all understanding. And I rather enjoy it that way.

My fellow daughter, what is it that keeps you from embracing the fullness of the” I AM”? What keeps you from embracing the fullness that you are His daughter?

That you captivate him.

That he is enamored with you.


What keeps you from taking in the full harvest of His love? Is it something that someone said to you, or something that they did to you?

So easily accepted are the lies, because to our human minds they make sense to us, no matter how twisted or jaded they are. How much more difficult it is to accept the divine truth that you are dearly loved no matter what? That there is not a shred of anything that could keep you from the love of Christ.

Now that is just crazy. Senseless. Unbelievable…almost.

But TRUE.

His love is one of the most simplistic yet complicated things on this earth, a crazy juxtaposition of faith meets fantasy in a land of truth. And for one time in your life, what seems too good to be true…IS.

Monday, May 30, 2011

And the winner is...

Last night I was snoozing lazily to dreamland when I awoke to a knocking sound. Literally, it sounded like someone was knocking on the door. Then as clear as day, I felt the Lord move in my spirit that it was Him who had awakened me and that I needed to pray.

Oh Lord, I am so tired I thought, I complained, I whined. And then, with reluctant obedience, I got down and prayed.

The moment my knees hit the floor, the tears started flowing. I am a bit shamed to admit that I had to quickly scroll through Facbook on my phone before I started praying. I saw the post by Melissa Taylor that we are getting close to 3000 signed up. She posed the question, could it be that 3000 will be set free? Could it be, not 2500, but 3000! Immediately, I knew why I was awake.

3000 Lord Jesus. Give me a heart for these 3000 women. Give me the words that they need to hear. Give Melissa the wisdom and guidance as a leader on this mass Exodus from bondage. Give dear Wendy sheer and delightful joy that not in spite of, but because of one of her most difficult moments in life, God will set the captives free. 3000 Lord Jesus. Could it be?

I have a book by Sheila Walsh that is titled "amazing things happen when a woman trusts God". What a loveley title to a book, yes? But that phrase is so much more than beautiful words...it is truth.

Tonight I used a random number selector and selected 5 winners. They are KJ, Hilda Quintanilla, Tava, MarryAnn, and peggyanncposs. Congratulations girls! If you will pleae message me your mailing address at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com, Proverbs 31 will get these mailed out ASAP!

But...I also couldn't help but select 5 more...God pulled me a bit further to the number 10. So the other five winners are...LNT, Shirley Ann, Christ1, prteyes, and the Anonymous who spoke about her 14 year old daughter being victimized by a 32 year old (anonymous, I would also like to pay for you to have conference calls if you are able to participate). Please message me your mailing address at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com!

Congratulations to all 10 of who will be recieving a book, but even more so, congratulations to the 85 of you who left comments. Comments that tore and ripped at my heart strings, or made me LOL, had me crying, or smiling ear to ear! I want you to know that I have written every single name down, even the anonymous ones, and am praying for you.

God has seen every tear you have shed, and the bible tells us that He collects them in a jar. He has not forgotten your tears, and he asks you one more time, will you let down your nets?

I love you all dearly! Thank you for the opportunity to listen to your stories! I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you more! I hope you will be on the conference calls. I will be a guest on the first and second call, so excited!!! Blessings and Love! Stephanie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Let down your nets...


As I was perusing Lisa Harper’s book, “Untamed”, I came across her discussion of an old familiar story. It is from the book of Luke, Chapter 5.

Jesus is preaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, actually preaching from a boat that Peter was sitting in. Jesus taught, and when He was finished, He asked Peter to let down his net to catch some fish.

Peter, who had been working hard all night and the day before to catch fish, I am sure wanted to smack Jesus. I would totally want to say “dude, I know you are the Messiah and all, but I am a fisherman, and I tell you, that the fish just aren’t for catching today.

But reluctantly Peter says, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again”.
I wonder how many of us feel like Peter right now. Lord, I am the one who is in the midst of this trauma. I am the one who survived the abuse. I am the one having to make it work on one income. I am the one who has to console my children after their father died, and the one who cries silently alone after they go to sleep. I am the expert on my pain. Who are you Jesus to know how to heal it? You have no idea.

Could it be possible that Jesus is speaking to you, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets…” Luke 5:4

Will we be obedient and trusting enough to let them down, one more time. Even though we have been fishing for answers for years, trying to heal for years, hurting, hemorrhaging, and bleeding for years…fishing for decades having caught nothing…will we let them down? One last time will you go deeper still, and let the nets down?

“And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, Oh Lord, please leave me-I’m too much of a sinner to be around you. For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him….Jesus replied to Simon, don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people! And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” Luke 5:8-11

So once again, He asks you, are you willing to let down your nets?



Hidden Joy Video Blog - Your 2 am person!!!

What's up HJ girls!!!! I am so excited for week 1 of Hidden Joy! I just wanted to drop you all a quick vlog about your "2 am person". What is a 2 am person you say? Well watch this vlog and find out! Much love and blessings!!! Stephanie






video

Saturday, May 28, 2011

More replies!!! :)

Fiona Carney…Oh girl…I have spent some time in fear as well…it rears its ugly head up every now and then for all of us I think! But you are right, God can drive those little foxes right away! He is very good! Thank you dear sister! I look forward to getting to know you better.

Merrie! Amen. If it is anything I want all of us girls to be cities on a hill, proclaiming God’s freedom to anyone who may still be held captive around us!
Anonymous, I am so excited, giddy pretty much, too!

Joyce Chika, Praying too! And I am sooooo excited! Praying that you see your “burning bush” (what God is calling you to) and that you are fearless and relentless in your pursuit of His will!

Carrie! Yay for blessings! And yay for all 2500, okay well now 2700 of us!!!
Tammy Frost, so looking forward to doing this study with you sister!

PINKSSSS!!!!!! I am so excited that you are signed up too!!!! We must do coffee…and SOON!

Jodi Escapule, I just want to say thank you for being so gut wrenchingly honest here. I can tell you that my journal as I was going through the healing process was full of hateful words toward myself…cuss words, and I don’t even cuss. Praying that through this study you are able to replace that junk with truth!!!!!! That God loves you, created you fearfully, and wonderfully, and that is NOTHING to HATE!

Marisha, I so hear you girl! There are often times when I have wanted to do a study, but God said not right now, and then times when I didn’t want to do a study, and God said RIGHT NOW! LOL! Praying for God’s guidance as you make your decision.

Tina, so excited too!!! Yes all Glory to Him because we are mere dust without Him!

LNT, please private message me at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com or on my facebook page, it’s under Stephanie Clayton. I have some news you don’t want to miss out on!

Anonymous, deeper still, may that be the cry of all of our hearts!

Phyliss, I wanted to cry at the first of your post, and then jump up in praise at the end! A walking miracle!!!! God is SOOOOO awesome!!!

Amanda, thank you for sharing this wonderful prayer…beautiful…

Elise, so excited too!!! And yes, I am believing God is going to do an amazing work beyond our wildest expectations, not just for her, or for her, or for her, or for her, BUT FOR ALL OF US! AMEN!

Anonymous! Me too! Running from the dark to the light!!!

Janice, so glad you are going to be a part of this study!

Tiffany, finding freedom from our past is not an easy journey, but SOOOOO worth it! Hang on for a wild but wildly awesome ride girl!

Cathy, thank you!!! Your comment brought tears to my eyes! I know the internet can be an awful place, but it is what we make it right! So glad it can be used for God’s glory!!!

Cindy, me too!

Kim, I am so sorry to hear about your father. I don’t know if you have perused Melissa Taylor’s blog much, but she recently lost her mother and has written several moving posts about this. I am praying for God’s guidance for you dearest sister, and that you will find comfort and peace. Grieving takes time, is a process, and no one persons journey is like anothers. Most importantly, please don’t impose a timeline on yourself, there is no such thing as an appropriate time period. When the time is right, you will come to peace, but rest assured you are in God’s hands, and He will never let you go dearest sister.

Maryann, so glad God led you too this study! Look forward to getting to know you more!

6 Happy Hearts, a funk, oh girl, I have spent many a time there! Praying the funk passes quickly and that this bible study leads you closer and closer to the Father!

Anonymous, I am so sorry dearest sister, but please know you did not fall to Satan’s lies that you should blame yourself. It is not yours or your daughters fault. Please private message me at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com. I would like to help you get signed up for the conference calls, as there will be a mother and daughter on the call with a similar situation.

Angie!!!! I am so pumped up! Here we go!!! Freedom here we come!!!

Replies!!!

I am so overwhelmed right now by the goodness, no GREATNESS, of God! I am floored by all the comments! Some have me laughing, some have me crying, some have me saying, yep, me too!

My blog is not set up to reply to comments. So...I figured I would just take a couple of posts to list replies. I replied to as many as I could this morning...and will reply to the rest tonight and as they come in.

Thank you all so much, your stories are amazing! Praying for each and every one of you by name!


Psalm 56:8-11 "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! I praise God for what he has promised; Yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?"


Just4us3, I would love for you to do the study too! God’s hand is so evident in this study…it’s an awesome thing!

Debbie, you are absolutely right…Jesus is our one steadfast and unfailing hope in each and every storm. Our one place of rest and solace. I am praying for you and your daughter, it has to be so difficult to watch her knowing that she will have to find her way in her own time, and that sometimes that process can be painful. But…like you said, He will bring beauty from the ashes, and His timing is always perfect. We just have to lean into Him and trust…

KJ, thrilled with you…it is so cool to be in the midst of the awesomeness of God!!!

Kristi…wow…you have such an amazing testimony…every single one of us are broken in one way or another…rejoicing with you that God uses parts…even the broken ones! I am praying for you and your mother as you both continue to heal…what a blessing that the two of you have each other! That is awesome! I so look forward to getting to know you more throughout this study…God Bless to you to girly!!!

KitKatRN, hitting the pit is rough, but so thankful we have a Jesus that never walks blindly past the pit, that refuses to let us stay there, and always reaches out His hand to pull us out, lock eyes with Him dear sister, and so glad you are going to be a part of this study…praying we ALL experience some amazing growth!

Prteyes, I wish I could see your face, and those pretty eyes. But I know that Jesus does…and that He looks into his beautiful daughters eyes and tells her how much He loves her. Oh to be one with Christ in His suffering, sometimes it seems as if we know this suffering all to well… I don’t understand, or even pretend to understand why we face some of the things we do in this life. Sometimes it seems as if we beg and beg and beg for God to take this cup of suffering from us, and He does not. We are left blindly asking why? I wish I could answer the why’s for you. But I do know that God is good, I do know that He loves you, and I do know that if He has the power to raise Christ from the dead, that there is not a single aspect of our lives that he is not powerful enough to bring back to life. Praying for you dearest sister, that some relief from his illness will come, and that God will heal according to His timing and will. Hang on girl, don’t give up, and thank you sweet sister for sharing your story, I promise you there is someone else reading your comment that identifies and finds peace in the fact that they are not alone, all because you trusted God and shared. You may be down sweet sister, but you will rise. The sun will shine again. I have battled hard with depression myself, and it was only a few short years ago, that nights were spent on the floor crying in agony, I tell you this so that you will know that it does get better, hang on dear sister…it does get better.

Melissa Taylor…I am praying with you dearest sister. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this study. Clearly God is using you in such amazing ways. You are meeting a need that has been gasping for air for a while now, providing a safe place for all of us who so desperately need healing. Thank you dearest sister, from the bottom of my heart. And thank you JESUS for Melissa! I love you girl!

Sandy! I am so thrilled that you are a part of this study too. I think the path is well worn for all of us in that we give Him things then quickly run to take them back, over and over and over again. I wonder if He gets the giggles out of watching us run back and forth franticly!!! LOL! Praying that this will be the time that many of us are able to lay it down and for once, not run to pick it back up!

Paula, I am so sorry to hear about your marriage…this has got to be such a difficult time for you. Praying for much healing and blessings through this study. God bless to you too dearest sister!!!

Kim! Yayyyy! I am so glad you are enjoying the book. I think all of us could use to trust Him more!!!

Amy, your comment made me smile! That is what this study is all about! WANTING freedom, because WANTING it is half of the battle sometimes! You are in a good place dearest sister! Praying more and more freedom for all of us!!!

SuzanneStock…don’t you know Jesus is up there jumping up and down at all of us climbing aboard that freedom train!!!! Yay God! So glad you are enjoying the book, I think we will all find that some of the parts are difficult to get through, but on the other side, there is freedom!!!!!

1stlovedbygod, I love your name, first loved by God! You are so loved by God!!! Let those chains of bondage begin to fall!!!

Sandi, therapy was a HUGE part of my own healing. I was also blessed to be part of a Bible Study similar to this, but on a much smaller scale during my own individual therapy. I cannot tell you how beneficial it was to do both!

Shirley! So glad you are claiming truth and joining the journey! Amen sister!!!

Heather, I cannot even imagine the pain of losing a child, praying for you and your aunt, for healing that abounds…

The Tulloss Family, love your comment about “not sure what God has in store”. I think we all live much of our lives in that very spot, but trusting Him!

Brenda, abuse is abuse dear sister. I am so sorry for what you have endured, but so joyful that you will be a part of this study…

Christ1, what a beautiful comment. You trust God dearest sister, what beauty there is in that. Praying for you girly as we begin this journey together…

Peggyanncposs, AMEN dearest sister!!! He will raise you girl! No doubts! There is nothing on this earth that we can endure that could require more than raising the dead! Praying blessings beyond measure for you sister, for our suffering we receive a DOUBLE PORTION of joy!!!

Anonymous and Nance! So looking forward to doing the study with you!

Anonymous, that is so very thoughtful of you to think of your friend. I too have a friend I walked the healing journey with, and it meant so much to the both of us. Still does, knowing we can always go to each other in the tough times, giggle together and be silly, and go together in front of the Lord in prayer.

Swr4Him, Amen girl! I am studying Exodus right now In preparation for a book I am hoping to get published on freedom! Onward we go on the freedom journey sister!

Jennifer Dormany, excited and ready with you! Don’t you know we have Satan shaking in his boots with all of us ready to drop those chains!!!

Gallerhea, it is not to late! For a book, or for freedom!!! Praying for provision as well.

Jen, I love that…find what we want…plus extra goodness…the double portion!!!

Nite Owl, HOW COOL IS THAT!!! I am praising God with you sister! Looking forward to getting to know you better as we travel this journey together! God is sooooooooooooo good!

Hilda Quintanilla, It always cracks me up when God does that, throws something in our face so many times that we can’t possibly ignore it! It just makes me smile to know that God cares about us that much!

Danitza, Amen girl! Lock eyes with the Father, all beautiful you are to Him my darling!!! Your savior!!!

Shirley Ann…your strength is amazing dearest sister. I am praying healing and peace for your heart, body, spirit, and mind. Praying for His provision in every aspect and all things. Much love and hugs!!!

Marilyn, I love what you said about you carrying Him in your heart and Him carrying you in every circumstance! Beautiful! And so much truth in that statement!

Mrs. V, praying for God’s provision!

Jennifer sears carter, How cool for you to do this study with your 16 year old daughter!! That is awesome!!

Anonymous, yes dear sister, I will join you in the poolside reading!!! Love me some summertime!!!

LeAnn, I lead a survivors of sexual abuse group and suggested this study to them as well! I think it is a great study for finding freedom in Christ!!! So thankful for Melissa and Wendy for their awesome leadership! And so thankful for you for what you are doing for your fellow survivor sisters!

Michele Caseca, I love that! Dark corners into aisles of joy! AMEN!

Friday, May 27, 2011

TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED!!!!

That is how many women are signed up for the Hidden Joy bible study.

2500 women, bent in reverence at the foot of the cross.

2500 women needing them some JESUS! NOW!

2500 women on their knees, Jesus brushing the ash from under their eyes.

2500 chains of bondage clanking, shattering, and hitting the ground.

2500 captives...set free.

2500 of God's image bearing princesses lifting their eyes and locking with His.

2500 breathless from the mercy and grace flowing freely at the foot of the throne.

250,000,000,000,000 tears in a jar. He has seen every single one. He has felt with you, every single one.

2500 women SEEN and HEARD by their beautiful Savior.

2500 women singing JESUS! Worthy is the LAMB! We lift you HIGHER JESUS! THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Thank you Jesus for every single woman you will set free through this study. Thank you for bringing us together.

WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!

You have seen every tear. You have heard every cry. You have felt every earth shattering event that tore them to the core. You were there. You are still there. You never ever stopped loving each and every one of them.

God may every single one of us fall hard at the throne of your grace. Falling so deeply in love with you that we can’t see straight.

Thank you Jesus.

Will you be the next one? The next one that holds your broken chains of bondage high for the world to see?

Will you let Him set you free? If you have been thinking about doing the Hidden Joy study, but are still hesitant, is it time to put your trust in Him?

HEAR THIS AT A YELL, A TEARFUL LOVING YELL!

IF I KNOW ANYTHING!!!! I KNOW THAT MY JESUS IS FAITHFUL!!! HE WILL SET YOU FREE GIRLFRIEND!

I am giving away 5 copies of Wendy Blight’s “Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner” to 5 women who are ready to take the next step.

What do you have to do to win, you ask?

The first part is simple. Leave a comment.

The second part requires a bit more. Make a commitment in your heart that you want freedom. That you are willing to walk through Melissa Taylor’s online bible study for the next couple of months…committing yourself wholeheartedly to the process of healing.

I will be using a random number selector to select the 5 winners…I wish I could give everyone that comments a book! But I do assure you that I will pray for every single individual that comments on this post, that one way or another, if you commit to the study that God will provide for you a book! And I am having faith that He will!
Will you have faith with me? It’s time girl…take the next step. He won’t let you fall.

You have until Monday night at 9:00 pm CST to comment...and I will announce the winners Tuesday morning!

I wanted to share this song with each of you. It is Natalie Grant’s “Your Great Name”. May this be my prayer for each of you…the enemy will LEAVE at the sound of HIS GREAT NAME!



For more information on the study, please visit Melissa Taylor's blog. Her strength, honesty, and joy amidst the storms never ceases to amaze me.

For the amazing author of “Hidden Joy”, Wendy Blight’s website, and to read her AMAZING prayer for this study…please click here.

To swish through the peaceful fields of gold and jump off the negative train of thought, visit my fellow dear sister Samantha Reed’s website here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

He uses parts...even the broken ones...

I still remember like it was yesterday…the day I went in to talk about “it”.

What would I call it when I talked about it? Would I have to use the “r” word?

I couldn’t tell her about the sweat, about the touching, about the body parts. What was I going to call the body parts?

They made me cringe just thinking about them. It was as if they were just that. Just body parts. Not even attached to a man or a woman. Just parts that existed. Parts that existed to inflict emotional pain. He did not touch me, He touched parts. He did not hurt me, he hurt parts. He did not rape me, He raped parts. Just parts, that’s it. Nameless, faceless parts in a truck that night. Parts that I left there, and never wanted to talk about again. Buried parts. Parts that I hated. Parts that I despised. Parts that I could never forgive myself for.

That day I talked about it for the first time. The parts. For the first time the parts of me that had never been seen before were now exposed. And when the air hit the wound…it stung…big time.

Over time, my counselor helped me clean the wound, and Jesus began the long process that still continues of healing the wound. It certainly didn’t happen overnight…but somehow Jesus brought me to the point where I could breathe again.

The very parts of my life that Satan had used to bind me to the rock of shame, are now the parts that bind me to the rock of my Savior.

And starting May 29th, God will again astonish me with His use of broken parts as I begin Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study using Wendy Blight‘s book “Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner”.

Two years ago…if you ever would have told me that “God could use this”. I would have wanted to slap you. How could God ever use such pain?

My dear sister, I don’t know the answer to "how", or to all the questions we ask about the “why”. But, I do know this. You have a choice. To allow God to take the pain and draw you closer to Him, or to allow it to drive a stake through the core of your heart, never allowing Him to come in.

It’s risky I know. But if there is one thing I know about my Jesus, it is that His word is true. And He tells us, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

He’s got you girl…with His right hand He WILL uphold you.

I would love it if you would consider joining me as part of the “Hidden Joy” Bible Study. All you have to do is click here to sign up!

God has already showed His hand in this study in so many ways…don’t let fear hold you back one more day…it’s time to plunge into the His swimming pool of healing…He will teach you how to swim!


Friday, May 20, 2011

because i never had the option not to...

I have been asked multiple times how I forgave. I have racked my brain for an intelligent sounding answer to this question...some wisdom I could impart that would provoke freedom.

But all I have is this...I forgave because there was never an option not to.

Maybe I'm to tender...maybe I'm so bitter that I don't even know it...but honestly...the thought of not forgiving him never entered my mind. I hated myself so much for what happened that to blame it on anyone else would have been too much for me.

For me...it was never him that I had to forgive...it was myself.

I blamed me for everything that happened. That made it rather easy to cloak my true self in shame...because if anyone ever saw what had happened to me...I was sure they would hate me too. I was damaged goods. Broken.

I have been through therapy...I have received much healing...and honestly...I still struggle with believing it wasn't my fault. But I know that's not true. To live each day to the fullest...to accept His love as real...his sacrifice as true...I forgive myself....because there was never an option not to.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the sneak attack!

I really had no intentions of talking about it. Panic attacks, yes, I have those. But that is it.

I had no intentions of talking about it, but God did.
Have you ever gone up to the attic or into storage to look for something, and you end up finding something you never even remembered putting there? That’s kind of what happened to me. I had put that memory into storage, and really didn’t remember putting it there. It wasn’t like it was this constant memory that plagued me for the ten years that would go by before I talked about it. I barely even knew it was there. Except for the symptoms, I certainly was experiencing some symptoms.

I went into the storage facilities of my mind trying to locate a reason for the anxiety that was troubling me, but what I found was a huge surprise (even though I was the one who had stored it there in the first place). It was that dirty dusty box in the back corner that had been covered up with mountains of perfected looking sunshine-ey accomplishment boxes.

I didn’t go into counseling looking for healing, but somehow healing found me. It was kind of like a sneak attack. I am certain I would have never gone into counseling under any circumstances other than the ones I did - that it was a bonus point in my techniques of counseling class, and that I only had pesky panic attacks to deal with – I felt as if there were no “real” issues.

A sneak attack of healing – that rained down out of a corner box containing a thunderstorm that was soon to erupt. Maybe that is part of the reason why we can’t see into the future…because if we could…we might not go…the road would look to bumpy…and even though we saw sunshine at the end…the clouds would look to scary. So we would choose to stay right where we are at, never moving an inch.

That’s the beauty of the Lord…of our Savior…even when we weren’t looking for healing, He was. He saved us before we even knew we needed to be saved. Is it possible that the circumstances you are facing right now could be a sneak attack of healing in the making?

Monday, May 16, 2011

I seem to have misplaced my princess dress....




God…where is my princess dress? I seem to have misplaced it among the baggage I have been carrying. I just cannot find it. And what about my tiara, it fell down, and I stepped on it. Now, it’s all crooked, and when I place it on my head it just falls off. Didn’t you call me a daughter of the most high King? God I don’t understand? If I am a princess, why am I having to deal with all this?

I should have royal servents to carry my baggage, and a personal organizer to keep everything in its place. If my crown gets broken, you should give me a new one.

Where are you Jesus? What have you done with my princess dress. Give it back God! I want it now. You promised me that you loved me! Give me back my princess dress now God! I need it now!

Do you see this God? Do you see the clothes I have on? All my messiness is out in front of the world to see God. I can’t stand it if they see me in this. I don’t want them to know who I really am. I am so messed up God. I am ugly. I am dirty. I am stained. Give me back the princess dress God, it is the only thing that makes me feel worthwhile. Where have you hidden it? Why have you taken it from me? I don’t understand.

How many times have you felt this way?

So ugly, so stained, so broken and hurt that there is nothing about you that could possibly be appealing to anyone, much less to God.

Frantically we look for things to cover it all up, the perfect princess dress to hide all of our flaws. If Jesus died for our sins, we are washed in his blood and forgiven anyways right? So why should we not have a princess dress right now that shows the world how clean He has made us?

We cry out over and over, that it’s not fair. That if he really loved us he wouldn’t let us continue to get dirty, to experience pain, to fall flat on our faces in the mud, to wear the filthy rags of sin that tainted us before we gave our lives to him.

Why God? Why do you let me continue to suffer?

Tough questions aren’t they. But my dearest sister, there is a princess dress for you.

A perfect beautiful princess dress. I like to think mine is a size 2, my pre-baby size, and that when I get to heaven it will fit perfectly! HA!

What would happen if he gave it to you know?

Would you drag it through the mud of shame? Would you break the string of pearls in anger because your husband left you for another woman? Would you step on the skirt and rip off the lace as you became overconfident and ran a bit too fast. Would you sit on the floor in brokeness, crying because of pain that was unavoidable…mascara stains dripping all the way down to your beautiful neckline?

Your princess dress was not made for this world. Here and now, it would get torn to shreds. It is far too beautiful to even begin to grace the tumultuous battles of this world.

You have a princess dress, dear sister, but in the meantime...there is NOTHING TO KEEP YOU FROM HIM! Beauty from ashes girl! There is hope and healing for every broken place, hope where we learn to find that His promises are true, that all lovely you are to Him my darling...

Could it be that the brokenness of today, fashions and forms the very beauty of the dress that awaits?....

Linking up today with my fellow princess sisters at www.findingheaventoday.blogspot.com :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

courage to heal...

There is a courage component involved in healing. Lately, I have been studying Moses. If God helped him to lead the Israelites to freedom, surely reading about him can help me on my road to freedom, right?

I’m only through the first few chapters, but I wanted to share something that is burning in my heart about to burst through my chest!

If you ever read Exodus, you will notice that the Lord hardens Pharaoh’s heart, repeatedly, so that he would continue to resist freeing the Israelites.
I have sat here wondering why the Lord would do this. Why wouldn’t He just soften Pharaoh’s heart and let the people go!!!

I am no biblical scholar, that is FOR SURE, but I have a few ideas. I will share one.
If Pharaoh would have immediately released the captives the moment Moses threw down his staff and it turned into a snake, what would have happened?

Well, for one thing, Moses would not have learned to trust God like he did. Moses was forced to trust God over and over again, for bigger and bigger things, as Pharaoh continued to resist. God proved himself faithful to Moses over and over again, because He knew what was coming. He knew that soon, Moses would have to have faith to part the red sea…

Sometimes healing feels like this doesn’t it, like an impossible task, nothing short of parting the red sea…a miracle. Often we want God to part the sea immediately so that we can go dashing through to the other side. But…if He did, could it be possible that He would be cutting us tremendously short?

Learning to trust God is no small task, He knows this, so He allows baby steps, not because He needs them, but because we need them.

Are you willing to take the first step towards healing in your life? If so, you might consider, prayerfully, signing up for Melissa Taylor’s online bible study on Wendy Blight’s book “Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner”. You can read and find out more at www.melissataylor.org.

I promise you, He will not let you down dear sister. It takes time, yes, but He will not let you down.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the nesting in the flux

Sometimes I feel as if I live in a constant state of flux between what I see and can’t see. Heavily involved in an ever present battle of the wills to consult my flesh or consult the Father. So many things are yet to be, and so many have come to pass, yet my heart remains anxious for what is to come.
Will it be what I wanted?
Will I want more?
Will the state of flux overwhelm me and will I tire of waiting, leading to a cold, distant, hardened heart?
One thing I never tire of is the knowledge that God is faithful. He has proved Himself to me time and time again.
Yet in the flux, I doubt.
The truth gets mangled somewhere in between my brain and my heart, and emotions and abandonment fears start building a nest. They hope to lay hatch-able eggs of hurry induced self reliance. Baby bird-lings that will eat up trust in Christ, and take flight on an undesirable path.
So I must chase off the abandonment fears, the raw, untried emotions, with biblical truth. Faith in the Father that trusts in the “I AM”-ness of Jesus. The flux may continue to press, but the only thing I pray the Lord allows to hatch is more faith and trust in Him.

Linking up to Word Women Wednesday today at www.thehouseofbelonging.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Melissa Taylor: Devo and Bible Study

Good morning! I just wanted to take a minute to tell you about a devotion that is running on Proverbs 31 Ministries today. It is Melissa Taylor's story of surviving sexual abuse, and one of the most beautiful testaments of freedom I have ever had the privilege of reading. Please drop by and visit here if you have time, I know you will be blessed by what you read!

Also, she is starting an online bible study soon using Wendy Blight's book "Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The transforming power of God's Story." Melissa's website is www.melissataylor.org. Here you can sign up for the Bible Study and find out more about the book itself. It is a wonderful study for anyone seeking to live a little more in freedom! I know that applies to me! Ha!

And also, Melissa has asked me to sit in on one of the conference calls she will be offering along with the study. I will be talking about sexual abuse/assault from a counseling as well as survivors perspective. I am SOOOOOOO EXCITED! So be sure you sign up for the conference calls as well! There is a fee for these calls, but please don't let that hinder you! You just let me know and I will be more than happy to help you with that fee!

Love and Blessings, and hope to join many of you in this journey to living in more and more freedom! Amen to that!

Stephanie

Monday, May 9, 2011

I AM...

Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh?...” (Exodus 3:11)
God replies “I AM WHO I AM”…(Exodus 3:14)
A fearful heart protests…I AM.
A lonely cry whales out…I AM.
A baby breathes her last…I AM.
Innocence it taken…I AM.
Blood hits the floor…I AM.
Flesh fades away…I AM.
Chains hit the ground…I AM.
A mommy sings a lullaby…I AM.
A family sits down to dinner…I AM.
A princess finds her castle…I AM.
She grasps a nail pierced hand…I AM.
Yes Lord, my ears have heard, but now my eyes have seen…YOU ARE I AM.
Well done my good and faithful servant…I AM.






Saturday, May 7, 2011

What is the status of your bondage? Freedom is made to walk in.

There is a place in between the fallen world, and the realms of heaven where prayers are answered.

It’s no where we can walk to, or see with our eyes. It’s not contained in a church or some sort of magical cave that we can go to and have a holy experience. Rather, it is a space that exists separately for each one of us. No ones journey to the space is the same, and no ones experience the same. But for each of us who have received Christ as our Savior, the Holy Sprit is inside of us, and he can lead us to this place.

A place where steel chains of bondage fall freely, and the good kind of chill bumps on the back of your neck exist in abundance. It is a space where time stands still, and the world seems to stop moving. A space where love flows freely, and time ceases to exist…for a moment.

Sometimes I wish I could stay here. In the space where I meet Jesus, and I wonder why it must ebb and flow. Why my mountaintop can’t move around with me through my day. And I am reminded that this is a glimpse of what heaven will be like, and my home there is not ready for me yet. So, I must go about the work He has for me here.

For a while, I found weariness in this. Just the mundane average things of the world, that don’t seem to cause my heart to jump out of my body. Why must I be here Lord?

He reminds me that my time on earth is limited, and that this is how He uses us. That this is how He loves others, through us. That He gives me glimpses of the mountaintops so that I may be renewed and do the work.

“Don’t be weary my daughter.,” He speaks. “This is what you were made for, the mountaintops yes, but for now, I want you in the molehill”.

So what is the state of your bondage? Does it seem to disappear in the moments where His heart envelops yours, only to reclasp tightly to your skin the moment the emotions fade?

Just because the overwhelming emotion isn’t there, doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Your prayers are still answered, you are just as free as you cook dinner, as you go to work, as you clean the house, as you are when you are lost in the sanctuary of your church singing worship. The space between earth and heaven exists in you, freedom exists in you.

Stand up and walk in it. Not just when you feel it, but even more so when you don’t. Before you know it, the chains will be broken, not just in the chill bumpy moments, but also in the hill bumpy moments.

What is the state of your bondage? Broken, sometimes it just takes courage not to tie it back on.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just what is it all about anyways...

Do you ever wonder…just what is life really all about? So you were hoping I would have the answer? I don’t. But, I do know what is was about this weekend.

Going to church with my husband. Sitting next to him soaking up God’s word and praising the Lord…pure bliss.

Watching Mary Poppins with my kiddos, giggling and snuggling…a piece of heaven.

Relaxing with my computer and a warm cup of coffee on a cloudy cold May day…calming.

Cleaning the house…strangely soothing, when completed that is.

Stawberries and blueberries with Eagle Brand milk drizzled on top…scrumptious.

Sitting with my Jesus, and loving life, wanting nothing more…contentment.

Bliss, heaven, calm, soothing, scrumptious, contentment in Jesus…yep…that’s what it’s all about.

Linking up with Michelle at Graceful today!!