Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT I know 2020 has been quite a ride for most of us. Thank God, we are still here, and for the most part, we are thriving. For the […]Sunday Supernaturally: Thank You, Jesus! — pastorvirgil.com
Author: Brenda Mangen
What’s Next – RESTORATION
One of the problems with our fast food, fast transportation, fast internet, and fast communication era is that Some. Things. Take. Time. We are no longer wired to have the patience it takes to wait for a fully completed project. Patience has to be intentional these days because most of us forget what it really means to wait. Psalm 27:14 tells us, ” Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
We are God’s masterpiece. If we’ve been broken and flaws have appeared, then there is one place to go to be restored. That is to the artisan. Most of the famous artwork that we know of from the past can’t be restored by the original artist because they’re dead. Good news! Jesus is alive! We can have the very touch of the Master Himself…it may take some time in cooperation with Him. Don’t just let the work begin, let Him continue working on you as long as it takes. If we’re humble, we’ll admit that the work will be ongoing. There is hope, the pain of the past doesn’t have to have a voice in our future.
“God is in the restoration business!”
Joel 2:25-27 (MSG)
“I’ll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation—
Locusts savage, locusts deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom,
That great locust invasion I sent your way.
You’ll eat your fill of good food. You’ll be full of praises to your God,
The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder. Never again will my people be despised. You’ll know without question that I’m in the thick of life with Israel,
That I’m your God, yes, your God, the one and only real God. Never again will my people be despised.”
“See when the devourer destroys your harvest, he is also destroying your seed for future harvests.”
- Do you believe that He will restore what the enemy has stolen from you?
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
- What has been stolen?
- Good childhood memories?
- Jesus knows your needs.
Hebrews 4:15 (MSG)
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So, let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
- He understands – so we can trust Him to minister to us exactly as we need Him to. Healing is available to you. Believe you receive.
Isaiah 58:8 (NKJV)
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
- His righteousness goes before you…His glory is your rear guard! Hallelujah!
“His Glory covers your past. It’s not even the same past because once it’s touched by His Glory it is never the same and neither are you. The glory turns our pain and shame into His testimony and fame.”
- Your memory is malleable. Your memories can actually change over time. You can spend so much time focused on what happened that your perception of what happens changes.
- Caroline Leaf talks about our brains having neuroplasticity. It CAN CHANGE. We know God’s word says that, but guess what? Science agrees. There is hope that we can live anxiety free and PTSD free if you work with the Lord to experience a change in your thought life.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You Because he trusts in You.
- For a thought to manifest in action, it has to have 63 to 84 days of repeated attention. The more time spent focusing on the thought increases the strength of the thought, building it into a strong and influential memory. When we have painful events in our past, we know that God uses them for good in our future.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (MSG)
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
- He takes the pain, heartache, and tears from yesterday and they all become part of the masterpiece He has in you. He will use you to testify of His goodness and restoration power.
Isaiah 26:3-4 MSG
People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on GOD and keep at it because in the LORD GOD you have a sure thing.
Who are you? Do you really want to know? Into His word, you must go. Look and see, in Him, you’ll find your identity.
Romans 7:20 The Passion Translation
So, if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am.
He has installed into you immeasurable Greatness and Power!
And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,
20 Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],
21 Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.
A word from the Lord to me…Quit looking back to circumstantial evidence. Look forward to supernatural sustenance. Joy is your STRENGTH!
Be made whole.
Matthew 8:3 (AMP)
And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed [a]by being cured. And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed.
- Sometimes I’ve thought of sexual abuse as a kind of leprosy. It made me feel unclean. Society and sometimes the church reinforced that feeling rather than helped me to be cleansed from it. That shame came not only from inside me, but it came from others who felt ashamed for me. It’s ugly and as humans, we don’t want to look at ugliness and it’s simply hard to without the compassion of Jesus.
- Jesus wants us to hear the same thing that he said to the leper – He is willing – Be made whole.
- Let go of the past, press toward the good things God has planned for you.
Philippians 3:10-14 AMPC
10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
11 That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
“Look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, down in compassion, and up with gratitude.”
Let’s Thrive, Not Just Survive
Are you ready to live in the peace that passes all understanding? Are you ready to stop living in Survival Mode?
Our survival instinct is good, it gets us through trauma. However, we were never designed to live by our survival responses. They’re meant to be temporary. That adrenaline rush can save us at the right time, but it is detrimental to our health if it becomes a lifestyle of living in anxiety. We can take authority over our thoughts and change the chemical response in our body.
Speak life! Like this— “The peace of God rules and reigns in my heart, mind, emotions and body. I think on those things that are good, Godly, praiseworthy, true & of a good report. I think clearly, confusion is far from my thought processes.”
Then think on those peaceful thoughts. Personally, I have regular scenarios that I think about and meditate on that line up with who God says I am. You can practice His presence in any situation and any circumstance, if you’ll practice stepping into His peace and remembering His word.
You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3 GNT)
I like the Passion Translation for this verse.
Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with you. (Isaiah 26:3 TPT)
Our imaginations can be a tool to work for us, or against us. You choose what to think and to meditate on. Like any muscle, it takes practice and proficiency with use. Build up the habit of focusing on the Lord and His purpose in your life. Imagine things going well and in your favor, instead of seeing a negative outcome (that’s called worry). See yourself doing what He has called you to do. See His purpose in the eye of your understanding, talk about it & then you will experience it in the natural. Glory to God!
I use my imagination to see myself in Jesus’ comforting arms. I rest there. Sometimes I hear Him speak to me. Oftentimes He says a simple, “I love you more than you can even comprehend.” Sometimes, it’s just a be-still-and-know-that-He-is-God moment.
Does this mean that God is just a figment of my imagination? Yes, and no. God was visible in the flesh form as Jesus for a short time on the earth. Now, He is invisible to us most of the time. He is a Spirit. In some cases, He has appeared to people throughout the Bible and history. His body on this earth is the Church.
However, He primarily communicates with & through our spirit. He will use other people to speak to us, show love and help us. Even so, He wants to have a personal, one on one relationship with you. Everything filters through our soul. Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. My soul may “see” Father God different than you do. Personally, my eye of faith sees a gentle version of Jesus, not necessarily the one knocking over the sellers’ tables in the Temple (Mark 11:15-18). Regardless of our internal, visual interpretations of God, the most important thing to remember is He will NEVER be anything other than His Word, the Bible, tells us He is! Nothing more and nothing less. The more time you spend getting to know Jesus in the Bible and getting to know the letters that the Apostles left for us in the New Testament, the better we will be at understanding who He is.
I know my husband better than anyone. Why? Well, we’ve spent 33 years getting to know each other. 31 of those we’ve been married. If someone tries to tell me something about my husband that doesn’t line up with who I know him to be, then I don’t believe it. I need proof. God’s word is our proof of who He is. Get to know God’s word intimately and you will know when something is true or not. It’s important that we get as clear a picture of Him as possible. The enemy, Satan, has been working on us our whole lives trying to distort who God is.
Would you to take some quiet time today and allow God to reveal Himself to you in His word and in your quiet time before Him and ask Him for help? He’s wanting us to ask. The Lord said to me many years ago, “If you allow me to reveal it, then I can heal it.” Let the master physician take you from surviving to thriving in this life.
Speaking of asking— if you’ve never asked Jesus to be Lord of your life, and would like to experience His saving grace today, simply pray this prayer.
Lord Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for my sins, you rose from the dead and defeated sin. Please be my Lord and my Savior and make me the person you’ve designed me to be. Amen.
If you’ve prayed this prayer, please let us know by responding through our “Contact Us” link. WOVEN in Grace would love to email you some free information. Also, if you’d like we can mail the info.
It’s been said, “Peace is not the absence of problems, it is the presence of God.”
Colossians 3:15 Philippians 4:7-9
Mark 11:15-18 Isaiah 26:3
1 Corinthians 14:33 Psalm 46:10
Matthew 21:12,13 Romans 10:9-10
Separating the Sin From the Sinner – Forgiveness is For You
It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So, it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself. -Patty Duke
As I get into this subject of forgiveness, I’d like to start with a few things that FORGIVENESS is NOT:
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting.
- Forgiveness doesn’t remove the pain.
- Forgiveness doesn’t excuse what has been done to you.
- You don’t have to FEEL like you’ve forgiven.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to TRUST the one who hurt you.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to LIKE them.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to allow them back into your life.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about who the REAL ENEMY is.
John 10:10-11 (NLT)
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
Who do you think the thief is that Jesus is talking about here in the Gospel of John? If you said the Devil, Satan, the Destroyer, the Father of Lies, or a combination of any of those, you would be correct. One of the unfortunate truths that most of us would like to conveniently forget is that there is a real enemy that truly wants to destroy all that concerns us. We have got to be aware of who the enemy is to successfully walk in all that God has for us on this earth.
Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
“It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” -Sun Tzu, The Art of War
One of the things I like about the above quote is it says we should know the enemy and also “know yourself.” As a Christian, the only way to really know yourself is to get to know Jesus. Simply put, that means spending time in the Word of God and in prayer. I have grown in my identity in Jesus by reading the Epistles or letters that were written to the churches. One of my favorites is the book of Ephesians.
The person that abused you IS NOT the enemy.
That person may be in jail, prison, or maybe they were never punished for what they did to you. Let me briefly remind you to look back up at what forgiveness is NOT. The person(s) who abused you were yielding to the enemy of our souls, the Devil. It was paramount, in my ability to forgive those who hurt me, to realize that the people who hurt me were deceived by the Devil just as I was before I knew Jesus. What? You say that they were a Christian when they abused you? That does make it harder in our minds, doesn’t it? However, God’s word remains the same.
“Forgiveness is not a feeling – it’s a decision we make because we want to do what’s right before God. It’s a quality decision that won’t be easy and it may take time to get through the process, depending on the severity of the offense.” –Joyce Meyer
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,”Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
Forgiveness helps us stop being the victim. We take back control of our life when we quit blaming other people.
You don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive.
Unforgiveness can be addicting and an automatic response.
I was ministering at a recovery house one evening and the Lord showed me an analogy of our thought patterns being like a wash or stream in a desert. My husband and I have a wash behind our house. It doesn’t always have water running in it. But during monsoon, it can flow like a fast running river. The wash behind us is fairly deep and you can tell it’s been there a long time. Year after year the water takes the same path down to lower ground and to empty into a larger wash or river. It would take quite a bit to reroute the water because it is a well-established route.
Our minds tend to have built-in routes or ruts of thinking. We emotionally react to something and then our minds are trained to take a certain route, ending up in the same place each time. If that rut for you has been back to bitterness, unforgiveness, pain and depression, then it is time to start building up a new route for your brain to take. We know the end of that route is not healthy for us. We choose to think godly thoughts and establish a new route for our mind to take.
We can create habitual thinking that is based on Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Now take each one of those descriptions of what we’re to think on and write a statement out.
- I will think on the truth that says I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me! (Romans 8:37)
- Father God, your word says your ways are higher than my ways and your thoughts than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9), then your word says that I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Therefore I have the ability to have noble thoughts. My thoughts take the high road from this day forward!
- For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever (Psalm 37:28). You are a just God and therefore I can put my complete trust in you with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I acknowledge you in all of my thoughts, my ways, and my life and you direct my path (Proverbs 3:5). GOD WILL HELP YOU DIRECT THE PATHS IN YOUR MIND TOO! You just need to ask Him. He will direct you to His word, the Bible.
Keep going, these were just a few examples.
Forgiveness is a choice we make…it is NOT A FEELING. You may not FEEL like you’ve forgiven initially but the more you control the streams of your thoughts, the more you will build a habit of forgiveness instead of the habit of being a victim. It is a process; stay the course.
WE FORGIVE BY FAITH
- Ask for God’s help
- We confess with our mouth and believe with our heart.
- It takes some time to reprogram ourselves to be quick to forgive.
- Like anything worthy, it takes some time to build the habit of processing forgiveness quickly to guard our own hearts.
“Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got.“—Author Unknown
Grieve…Then Prepare to Receive Healing
I’m asking that you bear with me on this one. This post is longer than what I had planned. However, after writing what follows, I realized that this couldn’t be split up and that it just needs to be all inclusive. Please take the time to read through it all. Then schedule some secluded time with the Lord to let Him minister to you. I pray that you allow God to prepare your heart for healing.
When I was a young Christian and had just started dating my husband, a couple people said some harsh things to me. They said that I was damaged and not worthy of him. They also said that John, my boyfriend at the time, should not even consider marrying me. Of course, when I heard these kinds of things they made me angry. I was hurt and confused because I truly believed that when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior that the following verse became a reality in my life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
The new creation that is being talked about is our spirit. That’s what we term born-again. So, what does that mean for our physical, mental and emotional realm? The answer to that is found in Romans 12:2 (NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. So, now that our spirit is renewed, we need to renew our mind and allow God to work on our mind, our will and our emotions. So, here we go.
I got on my knees and began to seek the Lord about why I felt that I wasn’t good enough for John. I actually realized that deep down I agreed with them. The next few hours were some of the most heart wrenching that I’d experienced. You see, up until that day, I had learned to turn off almost all of my negative emotions. I lived behind a carefully constructed wall of denial that I put in place early on when I was being abused. I’d learned that if I could check-out, by imagining I was elsewhere, then I wouldn’t feel the pain of what was happening to me. I eventually became so proficient at escaping that even years after the abuse stopped I couldn’t remember whole chunks of my life. But during this time, in the presence of God, those lost moments, days and weeks came flooding back. I remembered the fear, heartache, betrayal, disgust, embarrassment, pain and the biggest emotion of all…shame.
So you may be asking, “Why go through those awful memories?” Well I’m sure I didn’t go through them all. In fact, what was being remembered was not the gruesome details of the abuse, but how I felt. That is what was shut-off in my life and needed to get opened back up again…the ability to feel. No, I’m not asking you to re-feel all those things but to allow the Lord to clean out the old wounds so that He can disinfect them with His love.
I began to see that child again. The floodgate was opened. I wept for her. I grieved for that little girl that was hurt by the very person that should have been protecting her. I had never felt so much pain and grief. I’d never cried that hard in my life. I felt like I was being cleansed, in a way, to the very core of my being by the tears. Through the whole experience, I knew that the Lord was right there with me. During this time with Jesus, I felt that I’d finally let that little girl feel again. Before that, she was always hiding, both physically and emotionally. When we are so full of shame our typical response is to hide, just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden when they were ashamed. They hid from God.
In order for us to have a healthy relationship with Jesus, we have to be open and honest with Him. No hiding! Often, the Lord speaks to my heart saying, “If you allow me to reveal it, then I can heal it.” After allowing myself to grieve the bad things that happened to me then I could move on to my journey of healing. I could actually feel again. Having so many years of bottled up emotions left me emotionally stunted. But the good news is that He heals the broken-hearted.
Luke 4:18 (NKJV)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
Just as each of us is a unique masterpiece fashioned by the Lord, we each have a unique story. We have been broken differently through what has happened to us. Even if we hold up two identical sculptures and drop them from equal distance onto cement, they will break differently. Their pieces will have different ways of fitting back together and if you try to glue a piece on the wrong sculpture it will be distorted or deformed. So it is with us. Allow the Lord to direct you in your grieving process if you haven’t yet grieved. He is the artist.
If this process is too hard for you to do alone with the Lord; if you feel like you’re sinking into darkness with the memories, please contact a pastor or someone you trust to talk to. If you feel deeply depressed, please contact a professional. Don’t let this part of the process leave you in darkness. The goal is not to wallow in the emotions but to process through them to make a fresh start. If you feel you’ve already grieved, then don’t go there again. It’s not necessary. Also, you may be tempted to yield to feelings of resentment or self-pity at this juncture. Trust the process. God will not bring you this far to abandon you now. You are worthy of being healed and it is His will that you are completely restored to emotional health. Trust Him!
If you don’t know Jesus, personally, as your Lord and Savior, then that is where we need to start. The gospel is so much more than getting into heaven when we die. We can experience a bit a heaven while on this earth when we give over the Lordship of our life to the One who designed us. Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. It’s that simple. Just ask. Romans 10:13 (NKJV) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Just pray, “Lord God, please forgive me for all my sins. I truly want to make a fresh start. I believe that your son Jesus died for my sins, was raised from the dead and is alive to hear my prayers. Jesus, please come into my life and be my Lord and my Savior. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me from this day forward as I purpose to live for you.” Amen.
You don’t have to have any outward evidence of your grieving, you don’t have to make yourself cry. The important part is asking the Lord to cleanse you from the pain of your past. The important part is to cast your cares on Him. I pray that you will begin to feel the joy and freedom that comes from releasing your grief and pain to the Lord.
Here are a few more scriptures for you to meditate on concerning scriptural grieving by giving it over to the Lord. Please take the time to read these. Read them in context including the verses around them. Take time to write in your journal about what you think these verses mean. Record anything that stands out to you that the Lord speaks to your heart or just simply how you felt going through this exercise.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 147:3 (AMP)
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].
1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)
7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.
John 14:26 (AMP)
But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.
Let’s Get Real – We Need Help
My husband and I have had conversations with my son about hiking in the Grand Canyon. Now, none of us are consistent hikers so it would be a lot safer for us if we were to hire a guide in navigating the terrain. I live in Arizona and there are many dangers here, heat being just one of them. There are indigenous creatures that we don’t want to accidentally rile up. We really need help if we are to embark on this adventure. So it is with us in this adventure of recovering from abuse. We need help. The good news is Jesus Christ came to help and then He left the Holy Spirit here on the earth to be our Helper, Comforter, Counselor and much more. I hope you reach with your heart to Him and freely receive His help through this process.
We all fail in our own efforts. None of us has the ability, in ourselves, to be anything without complete surrender. There can be no “faking it.” He can’t heal what is not revealed.
For me, after grieving for the hurt little girl, I needed to just come to the point where I had to be willing to admit to the adult Brenda that she had some major issues. Some of them were not as obvious as others. It was painfully evident in my failure to have decent relationships. I only knew dysfunction, I expected it, and I drew dysfunction to myself. It wasn’t just my male relationships but my female friendships that suffered. We won’t even touch on family relationships right now. I trusted no one.
I grew up with such a high level of secrecy surrounding all the gross things that happened in my family. I’ve found, in speaking with many people who grew up in the midst of incest, alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts or, whatever type of problem(s) that was prevalent in the family, that there was an unspoken, or possibly loudly spoken, rule – nobody tells. Don’t let the neighbors know what goes on behind these closed doors. The very habit of hiding keeps what’s lurking in the darkness from being exposed in the light.
From the time when I moved out on my own at the tender age of 15, I’d known that I was broken and was trying to find out how to fix it. I looked into all the fads, psycho-cybernetics, and self-help books of all kinds and finally decided on psychology. In my part-time, alternative high school, I started pursuing that as a possible career path. I even interned for a semester at a mental health facility. All to realize that no matter how much I performed the steps in the process that was given me…I was still the same. I could think better for a season. I could act better for a time but eventually my willpower would simply get worn out.
I began to feel that there was no real hope. I discovered that I pretty much hated myself. I hated how I felt; I hated what I thought about; I hated what I was willing to do just to feel loved. So, what did I do? I went back into hiding, emotionally. I started to live the “fake it ’til you make it” mantra. Never let anyone see you in pain. My best defense, at the time, was to stay high on pot. That way, it minimized how I felt and helped me live in my fantasy world where everything was alright. It was a place where I could lie to myself, that I was okay. Never rock the boat. All the while I started to not feel at all – not good, not bad, and I just knew emptiness. I really didn’t care if I lived or died.
It wasn’t until I surrendered to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior that I was able to actually know that something in my very nature changed. That is what was missing before, even after doing psychological calisthenics. Please know that this is not a commentary on psychology. It has it’s place. This is a testimony of understanding that real change begins at the deepest part of us. Our spirit.
Maybe you are like me, in that you just totally believe that you can go through the motions and pretend that you are okay? It might have worked for a while, or so you lied to yourself. Maybe you’ve just decided that it really doesn’t matter enough to make the effort to want to be emotionally healthy? Maybe you are already a Christian but are still dealing with the remnants of things that you suspect are linked back to the incest, molestation or abuse as the root cause. Maybe, because you are a Christian, you feel pressure from some to automatically be healed, so since faith is an action – you act healed. Now you pretend that you don’t secretly feel pain, abandonment, rejection, shame, etc. Well, whoever you are, wherever you are in this journey, there is a path to wholeness. There is hope. There is healing available to you.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. –Jeremiah 29:11
The most important step in any recovery, in my view, is that we get to the point that we admit that we need help. We surrender to the Lord and commit to a plan that compels us to seek Him for wisdom walking through this journey to health. We will spend a scheduled time with Him daily. We will read His Word, and we will talk over what we read with Him. We will listen to what He’s saying to us. Let Him love on you. We will have our journal ready. We will write down what we hear Him saying to us and also whatever questions we have for Him.
You see, a key to being healthy, is thinking healthy. As we are surrendering, we are letting His Word & Spirit begin to renew us in our mind. The more we look into the mirror of God’s Word, the more we see the image from the mirror begin to take shape in our life. We begin to believe what we see, and then start to look like the person God created us to be. No, this doesn’t happen in a week, a month or even a year. It’s a lifelong process. However, you will see results in your life before you know it – so don’t delay. Consistency is the key. Don’t give up.
I will be giving you little scripture assignments for each week. You will read the verse given, if you want to go the extra mile – read 10 verses before and after the one given so that you can understand the context. Then, I will give you some jogger questions to help you in seeking the Lord so that He can reveal to you how the verses apply to you.
Here is the meditation scripture for you to start off with this week.
Ephesians 4:21-24 – I encourage you to read this in at least 2 different translations or more if possible. These are the ones I recommend. New Living Translation (NLT), Amplified (AMP), The Message (MSG), New King James Version (NKJV). Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your reading, thinking and meditating of these verses.
- What do you think it means to be deceived? What is the dictionary’s definition of deception?
- What is verse 24 asking you to put on? What do you think that means? Ask the Lord what He means for you to do.
- What does it say corrupts us?
- What are we to do with our old life, old thoughts, and old habits?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how to apply these verses to one thing, maybe a bad habit, this week. Write down in your journal how you will work on that one thing and pray. Ask for God’s grace to do it.
- Write the following verse on a piece of paper or an index card and put it on your mirror in your bathroom, if possible.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:13
We are beginning to build an image of the new you.
You are His Masterpiece!
Tools for Transformation-Meditation
What type of tools do we need for the job? This is a question that we each must ask as we start any project or endeavor. If I’m going to be working on a car then I will be looking for mechanic’s tools. If I’m working on building something out of wood for a house, I will likely need a carpenter’s tools. How about if you’re cooking a big meal for a potluck or family gathering? Then you will need cooking tools. The point is, whatever we are doing, we are more productive if we have the right tools for the job.
There are some instances that you can “make do” with a tool that isn’t for the specific purpose you are using it for. For instance, I’ve been camping and having forgotten the can opener, we ended up using a screwdriver and a crescent wrench to open the can. The crescent wrench was used like a hammer to pound down on the screwdriver to poke holes around the edge, so that the top of the can could be pulled back enough to get at the pork & beans. Let me tell you – it would have been SO much easier to just have had a can opener! Not only easier – but safer too.
After we obtain the correct tool for the job, it is important to become well-trained in using the tool. Otherwise, we don’t get the full benefit of the tool. I can get by with some tools in the kitchen. However, if you give me a fancy food processor that slices, dices, chops and puree’s, I guarantee that I would be lost in trying to operate it. However, I’m pretty sure my sister, who is a wonderful cook, would be able to utilize it to its fullest capacity. The tool we need for life is God’s Word. Most people in free countries either own a Bible or have access to a Bible. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to get the most benefit from it.
What tools do we need for becoming healthy and whole women who are fulfilling our purpose on this earth and not being victims of our past? There are a few, and they are all related to our need to reprogram our soul realm which is our mind, our will and our emotions. It’s so important to replace those negative thoughts that tell us we will never be able to have good relationships because we will never trust with the truth that God’s love is poured into our heart by the Holy Spirit – Romans 5:5 AMP Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. With His love we have the capacity to trust again. When you replace bad thoughts telling you that God doesn’t care with the truth that is given to us in the following verse then you grow in your ability to trust Him. John 3:16 AMP This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
The primary tool that we need for transforming our life is the Bible. But then to get even more specific, we need to locate the scripture verse(s) that apply to what we need. Since this blog is dedicated to recovery, in the area of emotional healing for sexual abuse, I’d suggest verses that apply to building your faith that it is God’s will to heal you. There are numerous scriptures that we can memorize and meditate on to build our faith for healing. However, the most important verse for you is the one that the Lord leads you to and that is the one that becomes alive to you. Yes, His Word is ALIVE – Hebrews 4:12 NLT For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. We put our trust in the Holy Spirit’s leading us to exactly what we need. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior then you have a direct connection to hearing from Him. Romans 8:14 NLT For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message (MSG)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Find one or two verses that minister to you. Trust the Lord is leading you to them. Those are the verses that you will meditate on. Write them on an index card. Keep them on your nightstand. Tape them to your bathroom mirror. Speak them to yourself before bedtime and when you awake.
Psalm 1:2-3 NKJV
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The word, meditates, in the verse above is the same Hebrew word, hagah, used in Joshua 1:8. The Strongs Concordance shows that this Hebrew word, hagah, could also be translated as: mutter, speak, imagine, study, utter or talk.
I’d like to encourage you to take your verse concerning healing and say it out loud. Mutter it. Utter it putting a different emphasis on each word in the verse. Say the verse to yourself in your own words – paraphrase it. This will build your faith. Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is imperative that you hear the truth because that will build your faith. Notice that Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing. It doesn’t say that it comes by reading. It doesn’t say it comes by having heard. Faith doesn’t come from wishing. It comes from hearing the Word of God! In my opinion, this is your most important tool. The more skilled you become at wielding the tool of meditating on the God’s Word, the more revelation and the more faith you will acquire to enable you to take hold of the promises of God.
Example: Psalm 107:20 NKJV He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
Emphasize each of the highlighted words as you say the verse out loud. Think about the emphasized word. He = Who?
Sent=From Where? His=Jesus? Word=What word? Healed=spirit, soul or body?
Thank the Lord for healing you and delivering you. Part of meditating on God’s word is also being in communication with the author of His word. The Holy Spirit is your teacher and He’s ready to help you understand His word. Ask Him questions. Talk to Him.
Make sure to write your verse(s) in your journal and the results of your meditating on them. What did you learn from the Holy Spirit? Did you see something new in that scripture?
This is the first of many tools that we will be talking about over the next few blog entries.
- Find a verse or two.
- Write it down on an index card (a few copies).
- Put it where you will see it regularly
- Bathroom mirror
- Meditate on the verse – mutter it out loud.
- Ask questions & let the Holy Spirit lead you and teach you
- Write in your journal the verse(s) that you’ve meditated on and what you’ve learned from the Holy Spirit
Here is a song from one of my favorite Artists – Michael W. Smith – “Healing Rain.” Let it minister to you.
He Restores My Soul
One of my favorite Psalms turned out to be tremendously healing to me early on in my recovery from sexual abuse. I began to see a different picture of God than what I’d imagined Him to be. In order to have a healthy relationship with our Father God we must see Him as He is displayed to us in the Bible and not the picture painted for us through our life experiences, television, parents, ministers, movies, books or any man-made idea of Him. The 23rd Psalm was important in my journey to discovering Him as my loving Shepherd whose very job is to lead, feed, and protect me. I’m so thankful that He does!
I’ve included the Amplified version of this Psalm because that was what I was reading when a new picture of a loving, caring, protective God began to form on the inside of me. As we read and meditate on each verse we can see how it describes meeting every need we have. I’m just going to share my study with you and will write my observations and comments between each verse and they will be in ITALICS so you will be able to discern my thoughts from the Amplified Version of the scripture.
I enjoy using The Strong’s Concordance to better understand what the Hebrew writer was trying to convey to us. I also used Matthew Henry’s Commentary in my study.
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
The Shepherd’s job is shown above in the brackets. He is to feed, guide, and protect us. I am comforted knowing that it’s His job to care for me. Then it goes on to say, in the KJV – “I shall not want.” The Hebrew word for lack (want) – Chacer, is also translated as want – 7 times, lack – 6 times and fail – 3 times. Essentially telling us that our needs are met when we are following our Shepherd. I also like replacing the word lack with fail. I shall not fail!
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
Green pastures, especially in Israel which is a desert, is a safe place to rest and recover. When animals are led to a place to be watered, they are there to be refreshed, revived, renewed. In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, he says, “The consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters by which the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of living waters.” Is there anything more refreshing than a fountain of LIVING waters?
I can’t help but think of another verse where Jesus is speaking in John 4:14 – “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Take note of where the fountain is!
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
The Hebrew word for restore is, shuwb, means to turn back or return. I am believing for a complete restoration from the damage done to my soul, which is my mind, will and emotions. He repairs the brokenness that came from the abuse. God is not only able, but He is willing to heal us, just as He was willing to heal the leper in Mark 1:40, Matthew 8:2 and Luke 5:12. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever – Hebrews 13:8.
He leads us in paths of righteousness, not our righteousness, but the righteousness that is freely given us who believe in His name – Jesus.
Yes, I realize this is the Old Testament and Jesus had not died for our sins yet. However, the O.T. points to the New Testament toward the redemption that we have been given.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
Now when I think of shadows of anything, I think of how they can be scary but can’t actually cause any damage. That is what a shadow of death is to a believer. It is just meant to cause fear but has NO teeth. He has the rod, which is also translated as sceptre which denotes authority, and a staff to support which are both comforting in their protection.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
Whenever a table is talked about it is obvious that it is saying that He has made provision available for us even when the enemy of our soul is around. The devil is active on this earth but as a child of God we have our needs met.
If we look back to the time that this was written, in the desert of Israel, it was customary to pour oil on for many reasons. One of those reasons was as an act or custom of hospitality. It was refreshing and as shown in the story in Luke 7 could be quite expensive. Our Shepherd spares no expense in anointing us with the oil of His Holy Spirit. One of the uses of anointing oil is healing as shown in James 5:14.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
Before I’d actually asked Jesus to be my Lord & Savior, I read a book on positive thinking and this was one of the verses, Psalm 23:6, that it said to write down and say out loud to myself daily. I put it on the back of one of my business cards and stuck it in the speedometer area on my 1982 Chevette. I said it out loud a lot! Little did I really know the impact this one verse would have on the rest of my life. I think it is self-explanatory and I’d encourage you to put it on an index card and say it to yourself whenever you see it.
1. What does it mean to you when you think about Jesus being your Shepherd?
2. Do a quick study on the internet about what a shepherd does and how the sheep react to their shepherd.
3. Read John 10:1- 30.
4. How do sheep know their shepherd? What else did you get from these verses?
I hope this little study will help you to see how our Lord wants to lead us and it is our responsibility to get to know His voice so that we do not mistake it for an impostor. He has so many assurances He wants to give us as to His love and intentions for us as HIs beloved. I pray that He reveals these to you as you study Psalm 23.
Be in Health – Even as Your Soul Prospers
The Bible is so full of testimonies of God healing both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Most of those are for healing in our flesh from diseases. Healing in the soul realm – our mind, will, and especially our emotions are harder to quantify and therefore not as prevalent in the written Word. Does that mean that the same scriptures that speak of healing don’t apply to our mental/emotional areas? Of course not. In all that we receive from the Lord, we receive it by faith. Healing scriptures that promise healing for our body also promise healing for our soul realm. I’ve had the privilege of receiving healing immediately through the laying on of hands as described in Mark 16:18 and Acts 28:8.
Mark 16:18 – they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Acts 28:8 – And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.
On October 12, 1986, at a Sunday night service Pastor Lynne Hammond of Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, said that God wanted to heal ladies that had female organ problems. I had been in pain for months in my womb area. I didn’t know what was going to happen because I’d never been in a church like this. She laid hands on my womb area and began praying. I heard in my heart to just believe – so I did. I actually felt my insides moving around like they were being rearranged. Pastor Lynne said yes, there you go and the pain completely left me. Later in the service Pastor Mac Hammond gave an altar call and I went up and asked Jesus Christ to be Lord of my Life.
I’ve also received healing from deep emotional pain that at times had me paralyzed in depression and rejection. Serious soul distress comes from being separated from God or feeling like He is afar off. Conversely, true joy comes from being in His presence. Did you know, if you believe that God is not with you then your feelings will line up with what you believe or what you’ve meditated on? If you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and begin to speak the truth to yourself that He will never leave you nor forsake you and greater is He who is within you than He who is in the world, then you begin to become more aware of His Presence (Hebrews 13:5; 1 John 4:4). Let’s look at a Psalm of David.
Psalm 4:1-8 (NKJV)
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
2 How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
I really like what it says in verse 8. For many years I’ve had a problem with sleeping and anxiety during the night hours. I know that the root of that problem comes from my childhood. However, I have a heavenly Father that is the protector that my earthly father never was. As I began to renew my mind to this verse, I was able to be confident that I could have peaceful sleep…and then came kids – ha, ha, ha!
We will be focusing on more healing verses and testimonies in the next few posts. The most important thing that I’d like to impart to you is that there is healing available to you in God’s word. It is His will and testament written for us. If your grandmother passed away and left you some wonderful things in her will, but you never read it and so never understood what she left for you or how to get a hold of it then you would live without the benefit of the blessings that she meant for you to have. It is the same with the Lord. He has so much more available to us if we just take the time to learn what that is and how to apply it to our lives.
A new testament passage that has always been an encouragement to me, to stay focused on making sure my soul prospers is 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. Yes, our physical health can be directly affected by our soul – emotional health. Doctors and psychologists have been telling us this for years. The good news is that Jesus heals!
1. Do you have any personal testimonies that help to remind you that God heals?
2. If sleep is a problem for you, what do you do to try to get enough each night?
3. What other Bible Verses can you find that specifically address sleep?
4. Do you have times where you just feel like God is not with you? What is your self-talk like when that happens?
5. What other scripture(s) can you locate that can encourage you of His presence with you?
It’s a Journey Not a Vacation
As I was seeking the Lord on what He wanted me to share, I was reminded about the fact that all change, all spiritual growth, all of our strides to be emotionally healthy are, in fact, a lifelong journey. It is definitely not a vacation because work is involved, as well as the fact that vacations typically have a beginning and an end. Because of God’s wonderful grace, He only shows us what we need to see. We may not see the end of the path but we trust that He leads us. He is trustworthy. Relax and make a decision right now that you will purpose to find some joy in your journey every day. Ask the Lord to help you and He will.
One of the challenges that I’ve faced is the realization that I will always be repenting, growing, and being changed. Even when I think that I’ve experienced a great deal of growth in a certain area, the Holy Spirit lovingly enlightens me and shows me that there is a fuller, deeper revelation and furthermore puts a desire in me that compels me to seek for more. It is not like a task that has a clearly defined beginning and end that I can say is finally finished. The work of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing life-long process.
As we are determined to go after the roots of destruction that were planted in our soul through sexual abuse we need to be cognizant of the fact that as we excavate and pull weeds out of the soil, there are sometimes other things that are unearthed and pulled to the surface as a result of our digging. Some of those things may be depression, anxiety, fear and anger.
You may stir up feelings of rejection at work, church, home, in friendships. Insecurities may rear their ugly head. Just remind yourself that these are the things that will be directly affected as we take hold of our healing. Those roots will be plucked up. We are pressing toward the ultimate goal of being spirit led and not emotionally driven.
Don’t get discouraged in the process. Stay the course. The outcome of walking as a secure, confident, stable, whole child of God is His plan for you so that you can do the things He’s called you to do.
What are some of the things we can do for ourselves to aid us in the journey?
- Have a trusted friend’s number ready and let them know you may call for support if you hit a rough spot emotionally.
- Give yourself a break from journaling, grieving, or any other thoughts that may be causing you to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Use positive experiences to refocus your emotions.
- Read a relaxing book.
- A Positive Movie or TV show (no violence or stressful situations, etc.).
- Go fellowship with a friend over coffee.
- Fun exercise – go for a walk, run, tennis, workout, etc.
- Take a nap and recharge.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Feed yourself healthy meals/snacks. Junk food and emotionally driven eating tends to have the opposite effect than we want – which is comfort.
- Go to sleep at the same time each night to promote healthy sleep habits.
- Avoid Sugar or Caffeine in late afternoon/evening.
- Avoid stressful things toward evening.
- Intense conversations
- Have a bedtime routine – Ex. read, drink chamomile tea, brush teeth, pray, sleep.
- Remember HALT – The devil uses these things to trip us up. Have a plan in place to address each area.
- Don’t skip meals. If in between meals then snack on a healthy piece of fruit or cheese stick. If I’m really hungry, my “go to” is a protein bar.
- Read James 1:19-20 – write it out on an index card.
- Write down in your journal what, at this exact moment, you feel angry about.
- Tell yourself the truth about that situation. Examine your self-talk and redirect your thoughts and words to God’s truth.
- While going through this process, if you’re married make sure you are spending quality time with your husband. If you’re single then be sure to have time with family or friends that are supporting you in this recovery. Go be with people that are uplifting. Don’t be around people that are negative during this time.
- Try to get enough sleep.
- Retreat – Sometimes when I’m tired it is a reflection of doing too much, being around people too much, giving out too much. At that point it’s time for me to spend some additional time in God’s Word or praying. This refuels me.
- Begin to praise the Lord. Praise stills the enemy and stops the attacks against your mind, will and emotions.
- Psalm 8:2 – Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
- Matthew 21:16 – And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
Recovery from the effects of sexual abuse is a process. It is an emotional journey that can be exhausting at times. You may ask yourself why am I going through this and will it make a difference. I believe that if you are committed to the program and let the Holy Spirit do His work in you while in your quiet times, then you will progress.
“Don’t compare your
to someone else’s