Hope, Encouragement, Love, and Direction for Women and marriages wounded by sexual sin.

I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.~ Isaiah 41:10

Friday, September 27, 2013

Don't Miss It!

This week I had the honor of traveling 'home' to Ohio to see old friends and bring a couple of new friends to meet with one of our favorite pastors of all time. A man who has counseled many and who God uses to facilitate emotional healing that honestly blows me away every time I see it. I was blown away again this week as God did what he always does, and heals where we need it most, in the most gentle way possible. 3 women left Minnesota on Tuesday, and 3 completely different women came back on Thursday. I did not have the privilege of meeting with my pastor and friend, but my life changed just being a participant in all the things God was doing this week in those around me. And this is the resounding beat of my heart today...Will I continue to let God change me by participating actively in the things that he is doing?
I honestly have to say I was feeling a little bitter when I started my week. I was angry that my trip was so short. It almost felt like a waste. But as he does so often, God reminded me to trust him. This was his trip. I can't even explain to you all of the things God did this week, but I can tell you that the moment I surrendered my short trip to him and trusted him that he could and would accomplish all he needed to, I saw the hand of God move. God reminded me that he is bigger than I give him credit for and that he is not constricted by time. The things he did would seem little to some, but they were huge to me. I was able to talk with a dear friend as she worked through some generational strongholds and made a choice to give them to Jesus and pursue change and healing for herself and her family. I was able to watch another dear friend minister to one of the ladies I brought to ohio with me, and in the process I got to see first hand the calling that God has on her life, and the healing he has brought for her. She would never have been able to minister like that 5 years ago and it brought me to tears to see the faithfulness of God. When we give him permission to heal us, he does it. I was in awe of the work he has done in the friends that I love. And I was so blessed that he allowed me to be a part of these things. He was not restricted by the fact that I only had 30 hours, he multiplied my time and blessed my steps as I trusted him with my life.
It is a reminder to all of us. Do we trust him when things don't go our way? And do we actively look for the works of his hands around us? Or do we miss the blessings he has for us because we are mad that our plans don't go exactly the way we want them to?
I could have missed all of the amazing God moments this week if I had stayed in a place of frustration. Surrender brings so many wonderful rewards my friend. The heart of the Father delights in us when out of a pure heart we trust him and surrender our will to his saying "Ok Daddy, I know you have me, and your plan for me in this moment is better than my plans could ever be, so I trust you...Have your way in my life, take the steering wheel, and lead me to where you want me to be. Open my eyes to see the things you want me to, don't let me miss the things you are doing around me."
I challenge you to take that approach this week when you face something that doesn't go the way you hoped it would.
And remember, the best place to practice this, is in your marriage. Don't let anger or hurt or a need to control blind you to the things God is doing in your spouse. We miss so much when we try to hold on to our own way. Let God have his way in your marriage. I PROMISE you that when you surrender to him, he will do miracles on your behalf. And if you are paying attention, you will see them and give glory to God for the Good things he has done.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking every thought captive

Because of past wounds, Ray doesn't even have to do anything for trust to be hard for me. All it takes is satan whispering in my ear "He is probably cheating on you again".  Does that happen to you? Or how about when you are having a really really good time with your husband, and all of a sudden an image pops in your head of him drooling over a woman on a computer screen....special moment ruined right!?
I have come to realize through many ruined moments, and many self inflicted pity parties that went on for far too long, that I always have to make a choice when that lying voice invades my space. Will I give the enemy power to lie to me today? Or am I going to take that thought captive? You see just like we hope, NO expect our husbands to take their thoughts captive if they see a half naked girl, or hear a crude song on the radio, God hopes for the same from us.
2nd corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
How are you doing?? See it isn't just for your husband, and it isn't only a command for those who struggle with lust. When the enemy comes at me telling me that Ray is a no good liar who is cheating on me and doesn't love me...my GOD GIVEN job is to consider the source and immediately make those thoughts come under the Lordship of Christ.
What about when the enemy lies to you and tells you that you are too fat, or not worth the love of those around you? Is that the truth? Cause I can promise you that God would NEVER tell you that. So it obviously isn't coming from him. I know it is hard, but in those moments, the most powerful thing you can do is take the enemy's power away by agreeing with the truth of who God says you are. God's hope for you is that in that moment, you will not even give satan 5 seconds of your time.
Taking every thought captive comes with an enormous blessing in our marriage relationship as well. Not only does it role model a Godly attribute that inspires your mate to work on his thought life, but it blesses the restorative work that God is trying to do in your marriage. Let me explain- if you are not constantly giving way to lies that cause you to nag and control your husband, or hound him with accusations, he might have a chance to believe in the work God is doing in your marriage. He might have enough break from guilt and shame to have a glimmer of hope again.
And what about the lies you believe about yourself? Our words have power, and if we are constantly telling our husbands how fat we are and how worthless we feel, or how there is probably a better wife and mother out there, he will slowly begin to believe it. When someone hears something over and over again, it eventually starts to resonate in their brain as a truth. Why not take those thoughts captive and speak life about yourself?? When you believe in the beauty that God has put inside you and walk out your day in confidence instead of oppression, your husband will take notice. And there is nothing in this world more attractive to a man than a woman who knows who she is and isn't afraid to be confident in it.
So, my challenge to you is to examine the areas where you may be letting satan lie to you. If you see some, be conscious as you walk out your week. When a thought comes into your mind that doesn't line up with the truth of God, take it captive, refuse to go down that road in your mind. Sometimes I honestly have to just sing a worship song in my head to get my perspective back on track. Or maybe get out a scripture that I keep in my purse, but whatever works for you to bring your thoughts into obedience with Christ....Do it! I know you can, because.....I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-14 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The destructive power of shame

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1, NIV)

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."(Hebrews 12:2, NIV)
Shame and guilt are tools that only come from one source-Satan himself. God does not use those tools to train his children, it is not in his nature. He came us to save us from these things. 
God does use humbling, Godly remorse, and conviction of sin. These things are very very different from shame and guilt. If you look up shame in the dictionary, one of the meanings you will find there is "dishonor and disgrace". God does not ever do this to his children. He is a God of honor and grace- the complete opposite of these things! I am not saying that he doesn't have consequences for sin, and judges us accordingly, but as I said before, his motives and methods are different. His great love for us compels him to die for our sins, not to rub them in our face and dishonor us with our sin. 
Have you ever seen someone under the heavy weight of shame? I have...My husband. The hope was gone from his eyes, the weight was so heavy it looked as if it was hard to even stand. "I am not worth it" was his response when I told him that I loved him. What a heavy weight to bear....what a lie from the pit of hell. 
Shame does not offer hope, it does not offer a clear path out, it does not point to the cross. 
I hope you don't desire your husband to feel shame or guilt for the things he has done. I know that I desired that at one point in my life..."put him to shame" oh I feel sick when I remember that I ever hoped for that. I thought that if he felt true guilt and shame, that it would drive some radical transformation in his life...just the opposite my friends. Those tools do not offer the hope and joy of Christ!
If you want God's great and wonderful purposes in your husband and in your marriage, it is time to change your prayers. Pray PROTECTION from the enemy's tools of guilt and shame, for they will only drive your husband to despair. Pray for Godly remorse, humility that brings wisdom, and true conviction of sin. All of these things have the hope of the cross at the end. They all come with a clear path out. God will meet your husband when he can come out from under shame and run to the cross, to find the grace, mercy, and hope that is poured out there. 

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2, NIV)
God, give us as wives, the humility and wisdom we need as well. We know that even though our husband's sin inflicts pain, we are no better. We all have sin that separates us from you and we would be nothing without you. Let us move forward with humility in our prayers for our husbands, not prayers of vengeance, but of hope, agape love, and in agreement with your perfect will for our families. Protect every woman who is reading this, and cover her family from shame and guilt in your perfect love, wrap them in peace and hope. Amen