Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

"God is good. Man is not."

Last week I had to face a major trial, and I am still facing it. You see, someone who I really care for has an addiction. Without my realizing, the pull of this addiction became overwhelming for the person and lead them to steal something so precious and priceless from me in order to get the high that they needed.  Friday morning I had found not only evidence of the addictions grip but all noticed that the item was gone and with it my trust. They had broken into my room when I lay asleep, and now I feel completely invaded. I know that comes with invasion of privacy, but I think it also comes from trusting someone and being betrayed by that same person.

"You know the effort I have given
And you know exactly what it cost
And though my innocence was taken
Not everything is lost
Not everything is lost nooooo" -Brandon Heath "Your Love"

Over the last year God has been teaching me that He is in control. I have learned that people will sin and make bad choices but God is always true and timeless. He does not change. I have also been learning to share the grace and forgiveness that God has shared with me. I do not believe in forgive and forget... well at least not completely. I do need to forget or not hold things against the person. I need to show them love, but agape love (godly love) is not naive. Love protects and cares for the person. In order to protect and love a person with an addiction you need to remember the addiction so that you do not leave triggers out that will cause that person to stumble. For example if a friend has an addiction to alcohol, I can forgive them for their actions when they were intoxicated but I won't just forget and leave a bottle of whiskey on the table. 

Galatians 6:1-6 "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.  Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,  for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor."

Now, there is a difference in carrying someone's burden and in carrying their load. When someone is in sin or was in sin they have a load which is their natural consequences from their actions. After they have been lovingly restored, they may have a burden of an addiction or temptation that they carry. The burden is not a consequence of their actions, it is a weight that holds them down. We are to help them with that but holding them accountable, loving, supporting, and setting up safe guards for them. Beware a person who is entangled in sin should NOT be the person to carry another persons burdens. You can still pray for the person and love them but if that person is not able to carry their own load they are not in the right place to be helping others. My dad always told me, "If you can't swim, don't jump in to save a drowning person."

In dealing with the trials last week, I try to pour all my pain into God. I give it to him so that I can respond in a godly way. It was so tough because everything in my flesh wanted to lash out in anger and in hurt. I knew that I would not even be able to control my tongue if I were to speak to the person, so I separated myself from the person, not out of anger but out of protection for the person. Any words that are not godly would only lead to more pain and hurt in both myself and in the person. Expressing anger can be godly but only when controlled and when used to express the pain and encourage healing, but when used as a sword against the person it does not bring any good. I had to pray for the person, not that they would just change but that they would experience God's love and grace, that they would be able to be free from the grips of sin, and that I would be able to love them even through my feelings. I know that God did not do this to me. God has given us all free will to make our own decisions, even if that means to sin. The same free will that allows me to choose to praise Him, allows someone else to cause me pain. But God, in His abundant love for me, still protected my heart and is comforting me through this. 

A friend had posted a link on Facebook to a blog from a Christian woman who was at the movie theater with her children at the time of the shooting. She was responding to the questions of God being merciful in allowing someone to do that. I had email her and asked her permission to post some of it on here and link it to her page. It was such a blessing and a reminder. You see, I know that God is good. I know that He is loving and merciful, but sometimes my heart doesn't agree with my head.

"He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.  It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act.  Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness."... 

Romans 8:28 " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Sometimes it seems as if no good can come from a situation. It seems hopeless, but God does. He weaves things together and is glorified. How great is God? 

"Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What  can mere man  do to me? Psalm 56:3-4
God is always good.
Man is not.
Don’t get the two confused."....

I love this. How true. God is good. He is and always will be good. We need to remember the difference and be so quick to blame God. Just like when Job questioned God and God said, " Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me if you understand." God allows us to ask Him and seek wisdom, but we need to remember our place. God is God.

Please check out her entire link.  She has an amazing story of God's peace and love, and I didn't want to post the whole thing and prevent you from reading it yourself.

"Your grace is enough, Your grace is enough, Your grace is enough for me." -Chris Tomlin "Your Grace is Enough"

Update: As I have said and will continue to say, God is good. He is already providing restoration and healing in the situation. It might be a hard and bumpy road but I know that I am in good hands. Today, the person I had mentioned in this post, had accepted Christ. How great is our God? Thank you for all the prayers. Thank you God for you unceasing grace and abundant love. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 6

What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

There have been many difficult times in my life. My struggle with Bipolar, teen pregnancy, health issues, and friends betrayal. The most difficult though would have to be the separation from my husband. 

***To clarify ahead of time so nobody will be concerned, the things I am going to discuss have been resolved. We have had a healthy marriage for almost six years now. This passage, also, is not to bash my husband but to show what God has done in our lives since and to show what a drastic change both of us have made. I love my husband very dearly and could not be more proud of him, though I do complain from time to time.*** 

2007 was a year that was stained with my sins past and my husbands addiction. The anger from my prior infidelity had boiled up over the years and began to fester in his heart. At first he was just a little controlling. I would be asked where I was going and what I was doing. Slowly it turned into a state of isolation and complete control. I was not even allowed to go with my mom to the grocery store. He was very emotionally distant from our oldest daughter, Abbie. I would have to pay him to babysit her. I am very thankful that we were living with my brother and his wife. Even though they didn't know what was happening, it kept things from escalating and kept me from becoming completely isolated. 

When I went to stay with my mom for a week after she had a surgery, he moved out and left me in debt. I moved in with my parents at that point. We were separated for several months and he would not offer to help take care of Abbie. When we reconciled and he moved in with me I noticed that he was much more verbally cruel to me. I felt constantly attacked verbally and weak. I felt like a empty shell of myself. I wanted so much to be a good submissive wife, but at that time I didn't know that a submissive wife isn't a doormat. Someone had shown me a website with a verbal abuse quiz on it. As I sat at the dining room table reading it my eyes were opened. The pen in my hand checked off almost every box on the quiz. I was warned that often there is an escalation to violence if nothing is done, but I didn't care enough about myself to do anything about it. I continued to take it. I am very thankful that I was at my parents home during this terrible time.  

It was five thirty and I went to the store with my mom. To make things easier on the hubby, I put my daughter who had just turned three into her highchair to color and watch television. When we got back I asked him where she was. He told me that she was in bed for the night without dinner because she kept disobeying by breaking her crayons. I explained that you can't just leave a child alone in a highchair with crayons and not expect them to be broken. Trying to be submissive I just accepted her punishment and went on with my night. A few hours later, when he was in bed, I went to check on her. She had welts on her bottom from being spanked  hours prior. That was the point I decided to no longer accept the abuse. I didn't care if he hurt me, but I wasn't going to let him hurt my daughter. 

I sat down with him and had my parents there to mediate. I showed him the checklist and told him that he was abusive. I made a list of demands. He had to move out for at least six months. In that six months he had to get a job, get in counseling, get on medication, find a church, and financially provide for his daughter. He could not say or do one abusive thing, he couldn't see me, and he had to have his mother present if he wanted to see Abbie. If he did everything I asked then we would go to marital counseling for a period before deciding whether or not to reconcile.  

One night he put Abbie in bed and then didn't see or call her for over a month. This had a terrible affect on her. For several years she was afraid that her daddy would just leave if she went to sleep. Sometimes, she still sneaks into our room to check on him. 

I was extremely depressed, confused, and angry. I had felt lonely in a marriage for so long that being lonely by myself wasn't as difficult. I tried to focus on making myself a better person. I went back to school, got a job, made new friends, and became involved in church activities. I had assumed that since I was the main one taking care of Abbie, that being a single parent wouldn't be much more difficult. Unfortunately, I had a long time to realize that it is more difficult because you have to financially provide and there is no breaks. I am very thankful for the amazing support system God had in place for me then. 

I was looking through the poetry I wrote during our seperation... here are some passages:

Don't You See? (May 25, 2007)

Do you see me? Have you forgotten that I feel too? 
Do you see her? Her little cries missing you.

You don’t blame us for why you go,
But it is us you hurt when you don’t show.

You can hurt me, I am strong.
But with her is where you belong.

She doesn’t know why you aren’t here. 
To me your selfishness is very clear.

I’m glad you are enjoying your little break,
But letting you hurt my baby is my mistake.

Melting Away (February 1, 2008)
How dare you,
I am the snow in your heart.
You walked all over me as you watched me slowly disappear.
At one point I was pure and delicate,
I was beautiful. We were beautiful.

You trampled me into slush.
You stepped all over me.
You pissed on my purity while trying to mark your name on my life.
Your hot temper melted me,
I was beautiful but now I am ugly.

Will I ever be what I once was?
Can I regain what you took from me?
Why did you burn me like you did?
I don’t want to disappear anymore.
I was beautiful when you were ugly.

I blame myself for being blind.
I hate myself for still wanting you.
You made me weak and I began to believe your words.
I can’t heal if you are near me.
I am beautiful and you are ugly.

She too is as pure as snow.
I wont let you step on her.
I refuse to watch her disappear, melting into nothingness.
She is still delicate and happy.
She is beautiful. We are beautiful.

Dear Little One (February 15, 2008)

Thank you for loving me,

When I feel unloved.

Thank you for understanding me,

When I feel misunderstood.

Thank you for trusting me,

When I made you hero leave.

Thank you for smiling at me,

When I felt like crying.

I'm sorry I didn't protect you,

Before you got hurt.

I'm sorry you saw him hurt me,

Before saying goodbye.

I'm sorry I wasn't stronger,

Before he changed me.

I promise to love you,

When you feel unloved.

promise to understand you,

When you feel misunderstood.

I promise to be honest,

When you need the truth.

I promise to hug you,

When you feel like crying.

Why Goodbye (February 16, 2008)

You hurt me, leaving bruises on my soul,
Then dare to ask what’s wrong.

You trap me in my home, a cage with walls,
Then ask why I don’t get out.

You constantly lie to me and cheat on me,
Then ask why I don’t trust you.

You are killing me with each word you say,
Then wonder why my eyes cold.

You tear down my confidence in public,
Then tell me to smile.

You treat me like a hostage, not a wife,
Then wondered why Goodbye.

I will heal from the bruised soul,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will not be a prisoner in my home,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will learn to trust once again,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I someday will come back to life,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will have my head held high,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I refuse to let you hurt her,
That is why.

At the end of the eight months, I had no interest in reconciliation. I was having an emotional affair with a friend. I had become extremely angry at my husband and wanted to be free. I also had a lot of fear that when we would get back together the abuse would just resume. My father, being a very wise man, told me that I needed to go to marital counseling so that my husband wouldn't use my bipolar to fight for custody and because for Abbie's sake we would need to be able to communicate. So we went back to counseling but I made my stance clear... I wanted a divorce and even had the papers written up. 

Through months at counseling God softened my heart towards my husband. Alvin had made so many great strides and wanted to heal our family. He was repentant. We took things slowly and began to date. I had asked the counselor how I could trust that he wouldn't be abusive. She assured me that since we had a clean break for such a long period of time supported by medication and counseling, we would be fine. I am so thankful that God gave us a strong Christian counselor who could speak the words I needed to hear. 

Looking back now, I can see how God used the time apart to help us both grow.It is almost as if our marriage really did end and an entirely new one appeared. Alvin is becoming a strong godly husband and father. I love him so much and can see drastic changes he has made. I find it amazing that the entire time, though I was going through great trials, God was there and had provided people to help me make it through. 

Jeremiah 29:11 "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."

Psalm 46:10 
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

What has God brought you out of? What is the hardest thing you have gone through? Do you believe a person can change?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Struggle and Victory

Tonight for some reason I was feeling down. I was feeling so low that I just wanted to lay in bed and not talk to anyone. I wanted to have a pity party for one and wanted to let depression take control instead of having self-control. It took everything in my being to not lay down and wallow. I decided to go on a jog. Now this might surprise those of you who know me, especially my friend Christine who goes walking at the mall with me occasionally,  and know that I hate jogging, I hate outside, I hate the heat, I am overweight, and I have asthma. I said to myself, "If you want to punish yourself I will punish you in a way that will do some good." I went to put on my shoes even though I, in my flesh, just wanted to just sit down. I pressed on. 

I asked Alvin for his headphones so that through worship and prayer, I could draw on God's strength on my walk. I put Eb in the stroller and told Alvin that I was going to walk until I wanted to give up. 

When I took the first steps onto the sidewalk I told myself, "Try to make it to church, if I don't make it at least I tried." Immediately my lazy flesh pleaded with me to only go to the end of the block. I dug my feet into the concrete, turned up the music, and I pressed on. 

When I made it up a block I saw the steep hill of torn up land before me. I felt defeated as I creeped towards it. "I will glorify God with my every step. I will push myself until I can't go on and then will take one more step." My calves were on fire, my lungs were collapsing, and my face was pulsing; but I pressed on. 

As I continued things became a little easier so I decided to run in spurts. I made it to church but then saw the stairs. My flesh would have rather turned back and walked home then walk up the stairs to the bible study, but I knew that God had brought me that far and I could not give up. I dragged Eb's stroller into the church, picked her up, and I pressed on. 

It took almost ten minutes for me to catch my breath but even when I was out of breath I felt invigorated.  I was so glad I went and got the chance to fellowship with my brother and sisters. I was so blessed with my time with God that I looked forward to the trip home. 

God used tonight to teach me so much. None of what I did was in my own strength, it was through God's awesome power. God taught me about being willing to fight my flesh and just take a step out onto Him. The entire time I was fighting my flesh, from my wanted to lay in bed to each step. He taught me self-control. I find it interesting that often self-control is just knowing when to give Him control. He taught me to depend on Him in my weakness. The physical state of my body is not God's fault. It is my fault that I am lazy and gluttonous, but God still uses me as I am and helps me, strengthens me, and encourages me. He taught me that He can bless me in my faithfulness. Finally, He taught me that I can give Him glory in everything, even in just walking. 

Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Today God gave me victory, actually God always had the victory but I hadn't laid claim to it. My prayer is that God uses this in other areas in my life that He has victory waiting for me. I pray that I choose to press on to receive His victory instead of giving up, instead of choosing to feel defeated, and instead of being lazy. God is so good.