Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Day

This month has flown by! Where did October go? I haven't been on here much. My main focus has been my family, studying God's Word, and trying to build up and encourage women all around me. It is amazing to me how God uses my testimony almost every day. Somehow, someway, I am able to share with others how He is getting us through a long-term trial. He is good and He won't forsake us.

But every now and then, I get down in the dumps. The enemy taps on my shoulder and reminds me just how far we have left to go. Strangely he does this after each and every victory. When I am on a wonderful God-high and I am singing his praises, these times are when I am most vulnerable for the enemy to swoop in and create doubt and confusion. I am recognizing this tactic, though. I am starting to get ready for him.

God has been gracious and has taught me a thing of two on this journey of pain. He introduced me to Al-anon. Hmmm, you are thinking, oh no, her husband is a drunk! Well, he isn't. Actually, it was because of his issues with food that I started. During our 18-year marriage, I have tried every tactic to try to get him to lose weight. I have been shameless. I have not trusted God with this issue. Fear of being left with six children to raise drove me to new solutions, and manipulation tactics. It was driving a wedge in our marriage. There were many broken promises to change so bitterness has taken root in my heart. My friend, Catherine and my mom, urged me to get an Al-anon devotional book. I had grown up watching my mom read it so I went ahead and ordered it. Wow! I found that I didn't just use this book in my relationship with my husband, I could use this with all the people and situations in my life that caused me stress and anxiety.

It is all about changing YOU! You don't have the power to change anyone else. Everyone has their own bottom to hit. It teaches you have to be supportive and loving, with boundaries. It was a missing piece of the puzzle that God used to set me free.

The One Day at a Time concept has been profound for me. It is a Biblical concept (found in Matthew 6). "Do not worry about tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of it's own". I just had to share this with you...

"There are times when the "poor me" mood is upon us; we're overwhelmed by all the troubles we have to face. This is especially likely to happen when we have begun to try to change our thinking about ourselves and our relation to others. We may, at first, become too analytical and try to solve too much at once.

This day is mine. It is unique. Nobody in the world has one exactly like it. It holds the sum of all my past experience and all my future potential. It belongs to me to do with whatever I like. I can fill it with joyous moments or ruin it with fruitless worry. If painful recollections of the past come into my mind, or frightening thoughts of the future, I will put them away. They cannot spoil today for me.

"Today is my special gift from God. how will I use it? The less I let others affect it, the more serene and satisfying it will be for me."

                                 -Taken from One Day At a Time

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sisters, Be Vulnerable

I am continually amazed at God's goodness and mercy as He uses our devastation for His glory. I went to a women's retreat this weekend. There were many women from our small little church there. We came guarded, shy, and protective. We left with our hearts open and our hands and our faces lifted up. Many of these women were brave, opened up and shared old and new wounds and received healing from the Great Physician. The strong rallied around the weak. The weak were encouraged and began the process of forgiveness. We left encouraged that God IS working in our lives and He IS setting captives free from their heavy chains of bitterness and unforgiveness. I saw strongholds of shame be broken. I was able to share how God has erased my own shame for my child's failures.

I go to church with these women almost every Sunday. Why is it I did not know their pain? Why is it that we don't feel safe sharing with others. One word I heard over and over was "judgment". We live in a small community, they have felt judgment and so they shy back. They hide. They numb their pain in unhealthy ways.

Why must we judge others for their mistakes or for their children's mistakes? God help us!!! We need each other. The enemy's strategy is to trick us into thinking no one would accept us if they only knew what our family is going through. Every person in our church has a story. Some are worse than others, but pain is pain. It is all relative.

It is so easy in group settings to do "safe" prayer requests like asking for someone else's healing. Physical healing is safe. But what about spiritual and emotional healing?

As we went around the room and asked for prayer requests, we started the typical physical healings, at the end, one lone lady (not even from our church) asked for something personal. It was like an avalanche. All of a sudden, people were sharing some terrible things they and their families were going through. It just took one person being vulnerable.

We were given two gifts:

1) We know the person sitting in the pew in front of us is struggling. They aren't perfect and they are hurting. Now we have the privilege of walking beside them, encouraging and praying for them.

2) We get to refresh others with the refreshing we ourselves have received. We are the ones blessed!

Are we called to be safe or take risks? Are we called to keep our testimonies to ourselves or are we called to share them? God has given them to us as a gift. Be wise and never glorify sin, when you share. But we need to rip these perfect "Christian"  masks off our face and start being real. That is where the healing begins.

Take a risk and be vulnerable.
 See what God does with it!

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