Here are the songs I used
My dear lovely friends of mine, how I love each of you so very much. Saturate starts on Monday, I really want you to join. All you need is a bible and a notebook and the ability to watch the videos that will be posted. No heavy reading or homework load. Just a video posted by Nicci, Shirley, or I on Mondays, and then a discussion question shared Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If you happen to have a busy week, you have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to catch up. I think this is a very important study to walk through together. I know I am FAR from the only one here who has been or who is or who will ever be in a season when we just feel so tired of feeling weary and dry.
Please let me know if you want to be added to the Saturate DISCUSSION Group. The videos will be posted on the True Beauty in Christ PAGE, True Beauty in Christ WEBSITE, and the PUBLIC True Beauty GROUP… however, if you want to go a step further, and you want to join us for the discussion please let me know and I will add you to the Discussion group. It’s not too late to sign up 🙂
I shared this video with my True Beauty Groups – and because of their responses, I knew that it needs to be shared publicly. It is 50 mins long, but there are some crazy powerful truths that I share from Lisa Bevere as well as some of the things God has been sharing to my heart ❤ Please feel free to share this video with others ❤ I do want to say, there is a part where I talk about getting kicked out of the church and out of different family member’s lives… I do want to say that I have since reconciled with my beloved family. I did my fair share of pushing away out of shame. No longer – my chains don’t hold me captive any longer. I refuse to be silent. I will allow God to use me.
“The attacks on our life are not about our past, their about our destiny.” – Lisa Bevere
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.
I have gone through times when I can’t see an ounce of light, I feel lost and afraid, I want to hold on, but I can’t see a thing and I can’t tell where God is in that moment (which feels like eternity) that I am in. I can’t even make out my own hand that is right in front of my face. This moment for me lasted for many years. “Where in the heck are you, Lord?!?!”
Since my Leukemia fight and recovering from my bone marrow transplant, I have been in a season of rest and reflection. I think when you face life and death like that, it pulls you back and you examine your life. You get a new perspective. It’s like God puts on His glasses over your eyes and you can see things clearly. For anyone who wears glasses knows the major difference between things looking distorted and things looking clearly. Without the glasses, you can’t make out signs and words that you can with your glasses on.
Painful moments become very distorted times in life. A dark dark tunnel. I still remember the moment I started to see a faint light far away so I started walking towards it. I also remember the moment that I stepped out of that tunnel of the cold winter days and stepped into the spring sun… I closed my eyes and turned my face up towards the sun and breathed in the clean fresh air of the promises that come with spring, life will return and soon all the plants will grow and become a land of beauty once again.
Have you ever done that? Stepped outside into a new spring day? The snow is still melting, everything is still brown and lifeless, but you felt the warm sun on you and you know that life is just around the corner. You could stand there for hours just basking in the glorious sun. Even though your eyes are closed, when you open your eyes it’s kind of hard to see for a few minutes… you have to blink the spots away.
Spiritually speaking, after finally being in the sun, I turned around and looked at my tunnel of dark – and it was very very black indeed. I shivered hard and said, “I am never going back there.” You feel free and alive and ready to face the world again. I have looked at those years – 2005 through 2009, they were the darkest moments of my life. I could see nothing but black. 2010 I started to see a glimpse of the sun, and I started walking forward – I still tripped a lot, but I knew I was headed into healing. By the spring of 2011 I was standing out in the sun, feeling God’s love and approval and it was glorious. I didn’t want to move, I just wanted to stand in the sunshine with my face turned upwards. Whenever I looked at those dark years, they looked extremely dark. I couldn’t see an ounce of light in them. I remembered feeling helpless and hopeless and my world constantly caving in. I was so thankful to be free from all that devastation. I have had moments of clouds and rain and even some big storms since then, but it wasn’t the same as when I walked through those dark years.
Over this year of resting, my vision has cleared a lot. God has put on His glasses over my eyes and the spots from looking towards the sun have gone away. The last couple months I have looked back at the tunnel with a new vision and being able to see it clearly. Now I can see what was once an extremely dark dark tunnel, that it really had many many pinholes of God’s light.
My Chayla (Ch=church) has always struggled with fear. She doesn’t like anything scary. If there is a scary part in a movie (which can be as simple as Pa from Little House on the Prairie falling from a tree and breaking his leg) she would always close her eyes and plug her ears. By the end, she would deem that she hated the movie because of that one scary image, instead of remembering the times she laughed throughout most of the movie.
God has been showing me that I have done much of the same – I didn’t see Him because I was afraid of the dark and I closed my eyes. He has been showing me that even though the tunnel I was walking through was dark, there was light in my tunnel too. He has been showing me that in every second of that dark time He never let go. I have been going through old journals, and so many entries were telling about how God was speaking to me and how God was moving in my life during those difficult years. Somehow once I got into the sun I had forgotten about those small moments. The moments I felt God’s love. The butterfly that floated passed my window. The light dusty snow that looked like glitter. The friend who brought a meal to show her support. The phone call that came at the most perfect moment. Listening to my children sing praises to God all on their own. Hearing my husband laugh. There were so many God moments in those dark years. They would happen, and then I would look back at the dark around me, get scared and close my eyes once again, forgetting what I had just laughed about.
If you are in your darkest moment right now. I want to encourage you to open your eyes and unplug your ears and look up at the many pinholes God is giving to you. Don’t forget the joyous moments. Don’t forget yesterday’s laughter because of today’s sorrows.
Psalm 139 is truly amazing. If you are in the darkest night right now – please get out your bible and read the entire chapter – read it out loud if you are able. Your darkness – the total blackness you feel closing in on you is a lie from the pit of hell. I am praying for you right now – that God will reveal to you the lies that have become truth and the truth that have become lies. I am praying that you will put on His glasses and really see the truth of the situation you are in.
Psalm 139: 11-12
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick. I am so very sick of the things that hold me down so that I don’t grow. I am so sick of placing my worth on everything but what God says about me. I am so sick of being weighed down by things I am not even suppose to be carrying.
This is what the LORD says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8
I don’t want to be a person that doubts God when things get scary. I don’t want to be a person that feels like I have to dance around to get His attention. I don’t want to be a person that prays and yet feels like those prayers never reach His heart. I am over it. Seriously over it. I am no longer going to allow the enemy to come in and steal my joy.
I am going to be a tree that stays green. I will dig my roots deep down into the water of life. (but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – John 4:14) I will be unmoved no matter what storm comes my way.
How can I state something like this so boldly? How can I be so arrogant? Well that is the thing, I can do nothing without Christ. I could never make these types of declarations apart from Christ. He has given me the tools that can change my life forever.
1. I have to remain in Him.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
2. I have to trust in Him.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
3. I need to keep myself focused on Him alone.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3
There is no way for me to stay green and ever fruitful if I do not set my life with Christ at the center.
I cannot get mad at God for the yuck that keeps creeping in if I never spend time with Him. Soaking in His word. Spending time in worship. He will change me, but I have to be willing to give Him my time.
I cannot doubt God and then expect to feel full of life. I have to trust Him. I have to trust His word even when everything else tries to prove it is a lie. I have to stand against things that come against God’s Word.
I cannot expect to feel anything but disappointment, if all I ever do is complain about what I don’t have. What I can’t have. I will never find joy if all I do in my prayer time is give Him my list of the ways HE isn’t taking care of me or the people that I care about.
He is good, and greatly to be praised. Period!
Blessed is the man who TRUSTS in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
It is then and only then that:
— I will NOT fear when the heat comes.
— My leaves will remain healthy and green.
— I will NOT worry in times of drought
— I will NEVER FAIL to bear fruit.
Yes, LORD, Keep GROWING ME!
Day 90: Friday, April 3rd
On March 23, 2014 I wrote this on my wall on Facebook:
“Most don’t know about my long battle with eating disorders. Even my close friends during those ages didn’t know. I wore baggy clothes because I thought I had to cover up the fat from my 5’6 110lb frame.
The first thing we saw at Fine Art’s this year was a team of teenagers doing a human video to a powerful song called Mirror Mirror by Barlow Girl. This song is very powerful to me as it speaks to my life story. Tears streamed down as I watched the human video (kind of like Charades put to music) as I thought back to my battle. However, it wasn’t just the battle of eating disorders from ages 12-19, but it was also the comparison game I lived out as an adult. Looking at other women – how do they have it all together and perfect and here I feel like a continual screw up?
There were times I refused to look in the mirror when I lost my hair and gained weight from being sick. I remember when I hit the 200lb mark and cried so often – I was so ugly. At least that is who the mirror told me that I was. I was just a fat bald old 35 year old woman. It was such a huge struggle.
Honestly, it is still a struggle. God is bringing healing in such a deep way learning to define myself with His Word instead of trying to measure myself up with a “skinny” measuring stick, with a “beauty” measuring stick, with a “gotta be a perfect mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend” stick…
This is a powerful song. I pray it moves you. Sometimes it is scary to be this honest on FB, but I challenge you to look deep and honestly at yourself. What stick are you measuring yourself up to?”
Did you see where I said “with a ‘beauty’ measuring stick,” well it was at that moment of typing that out that day, a little over a year ago that God brought to my heart the desire to find my beauty in God, my True Beauty. The words True Beauty became a passion of mine as I dug through God’s Word and spent time in worship to really learn my True Beauty in God. What does being a True Beauty mean? I believe it is being real. Think about it. Jesus’ death was awful, painful, ugly… and yet it was in that moment of ugly that beauty appeared. Our way to salvation.
I have spent so much of my life either wishing I had someone else’s life or pretending mine was way better than it was. I was ashamed of the ugly truth of who I had been in the past, and if being totally honest, I was still ashamed of who I still was. My tainted heart just seemed to fail all the time. I believe I found my beauty in my most ugly moments, because they were honest, because they honestly demonstrated my need for a Savior. True Beauty is not found in perfection. It is found when I finally admit that I desperately need a Savior. True Beauty is found when I know that I cannot do this life alone. I need my Savior.
Through my year long journey finding my True Beauty, I have found a secure place with my Savior. Yes, I have lost weight, quite a bit of weight actually. Though, that isn’t the victory. The victory that only Christ could have done, is that I don’t need to play the comparison game anymore. I am not perfect, I screw up all the time, but it doesn’t make me a screw up. I fail, but that doesn’t mean that I am a failure. It doesn’t matter what my weight is, I know that I am a beauty in God’s sight.
I know that we as women tend to shy away from getting our picture taken. When one is taken, we crop out as much of the fat as we can. June 2014 Sam and I had a Celebration Party. We renewed our vows, we dedicated Nisa Faith to the Lord, and we celebrated the one year birthday of my new bone marrow. When I started looking through the pictures that were captured, for just a moment my heart sank. As I clicked through pictures, tears formed in my eyes, because of this roll there, that roll there, ugh I was so heavy… but then I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “Open your eyes my child.” I saw picture after picture of my friends smiling, some hugging me, many with their arms around me. And for the first time in a long time I realized, my friends find me beautiful simply because God had healed me and I was still alive to hug. This powerful moment changed my life and the outward view I had of myself forever. I am losing weight because I desire to be as healthy as I possibly can be for my family, not because I need to feel beautiful. I already feel beautiful, because I am beautiful. Yes, I still have plenty of rolls, plenty of wrinkles, plenty of scares… but those things tell a story about my life. I am no longer ashamed to be me. I giggle too much. I say things backwards all the time. I am not book smart. I quickly forget many important things. I slip and say things that aren’t nice. I can get caught up in my own life that I don’t notice others. I am not perfect. I fail often. I am a child of my King. I call the God of the Heavens and the Earth, Abba Father. I desire to know His heart above anything else. I am a work in progress. I’m not where I want to be, but I am so much closer than I use to be. I know God adores me just who I am today.
God doesn’t love you for who you aren’t. I know I am not the only one who has ever felt that way. Like God loves me today but only because of who I will become. When I first gave birth to my three beautiful daughters, I didn’t love them because of the women they would become. I loved them because they were a part of me. I looked at their tiny scrunched up faces and my heart flowed over with joy and love, not because they did anything to perfect themselves, not because they were just naked and screaming their lungs out, but because they were mine. The God who made the universe feels even more love for you. Do you believe that? If you were like me, you may have grown up singing “Jesus love me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so.” I found it easy to believe as a child. Until I started becoming a child who sinned. I heard once that God hates sin. I believed for a long time that if God hated sin, and I ended up sinning every day, that He no longer loved me and hated me too. Oh how I wish I could sit down with that 16 girl and tell her God loves you. You aren’t making the best choices, but that doesn’t stop God’s love. Oh, to show her the truth of God’s Word, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. He died for us because God loved us that much.
It was not purposefully planned that this 90 Day Faith Walk would end on Good Friday. When I felt I was supposed to do a 90 Day Challenge and I was supposed to start on January 4th, I counted out the days and found that we would be ending today on Good Friday I just had to chuckle at God. It is not an accident. What is hindering you from the freedom that Christ has for you? Christ died for our sins, yes. That in and of itself is downright amazing. Jesus did go through horrific things so that we would be saved. But most importantly He defeated death. Our Jesus, He is alive. We do not need to be defeated any longer, we have the ability to live in victory. Jesus’ resurrection came with a price… you can’t be resurrected if you do not die first. We will never be victorious if we do not surrender ourselves to Him. One of the biggest lessons that I will walk away from the 90 Days Faith Walk Challenge is truly believing the importance of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Surrendering my TIME is so vital to my Christian walk. Spending time with my Maker is the only way that I will ever be a tree that is strong and doesn’t fear the heat of life. Spending time with my Savior is the only way I will know what His fruit looks like, so that I can bear it too. Spending time with my God is the only way that I will walk forth in my deepest prayer: I will not even smell of smoke.
The Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the open door of the flaming furnace and yelled: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God! Come out! Come here!” So they stepped out of the fire.
Then the princes, governors, captains, and counselors crowded around them and saw that the fire hadn’t touched them – not a hair of their heads was singed; their coats were unscorched, and they didn’t even smell of smoke! Daniel 3:26 & 27 (bold mine)
The Refiner’s Fire Story – Author Unknown
Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse. “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
One lady’s opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he full described to her.
“But Sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?”
“Oh, yes madam,” replied the silversmith, “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”
The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression,
“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had still further to mention, that he only knows when the process of purifying was complete, by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.
Beautiful example! When Christ shall see His own image in His people, His work of purifying will be accomplished.
Day 89, Thursday, April 2nd
We are almost to our last day of our challenge. Thank you all for walking this road with me. It has been a huge blessing to me (and I am sure to so many others) reading Faith stories from some of my dearest friends. These ladies are all from the Facebook Group I started in July 2014, called True Beauty. We would love to put you on our waiting list (Membership will open back up at the end of this month). If you are wondering if True Beauty is for you, here is a check list to see if it will be a good fit.
You are active on Facebook at least weekly.
You are trying to lose weight – eat healthier – maintain your weight.
You are looking for support and encouragement while making healthier choices in your life.
You have found victory in your life and you want to share that hope with other women who are trying to find victory in their own lives – we are always looking for mentors.
You need an accountability group to help you stay on the right course.
You have a supportive and encouraging attitude. There is no room for judgement in our group.
The biggest rule at True Beauty is that you must post or comment at least once a week. However, I have found that those who only post once a week don’t often stick around for long, because they don’t form friendships with the ladies. True Beauty is a safe place for ladies to share their deepest parts of their hearts knowing that no one will judge them, and yet will encourage them towards God’s Truth! In the last 9 months we have watched Marriages grow stronger, relationships between parent/child restored, miracles with financial issues, and faith grown to new levels, as well as weight loss. We have seen each other through deaths of family members, job losses, and some situations get tougher and tougher, but we love each other through them and encourage each other to keep on going.
If True Beauty sounds like an answer of prayer to you; please contact me on Facebook and I will put you on the waiting list. We will be slowly adding ladies to the group at the end of April through May.
Here are some more short testimonies from some more of my True Beauty ladies.
When my hubby and I first got together and then married, he made certain promises to me. Some big and some small. He promised me contact lenses, got those. He promised me a trip to Las Vegas, did that. He promised me to always love me, no problem there. There were a few others that he took care of. The big one was, my own home. Well that one was a tough one. We had been together many years and that one still hadn’t happened yet. We lived on one income, so it was at times tough to make ends meet. Once his health started to go downhill some, he started really sweating that promise. He started praying, asking God’s help on this promise. Well of course God’s timing is not out timing, but his timing is perfect timing. In Sept of 2005, he was able to keep the big promise. We got a house, not a mansion, but our own home. It needed work but hey doesn’t most houses. He was so relieved, he told me and others that, now he could die in peace. He had no worries left. He knew I had my own home. October 2005 we moved in. Sadly January 10, 2006, he died. As heartbreaking and horribly sad that is. I had so many blessings and answered prayers. We got to have a couple of good months in our home. We had a great Christmas. My hubby was able to keep his last promise to me.
At the first home we owned, which came to us as a miracle itself, the original owner/builder had planted 2 pine trees on the front & back corner of the house. The pines were huge, overtaking the area, growing over the roof and pressing into the house. My husband trimmed the trees to the roof line. He was practical, I was sad! (Trees take a long time to grow.) BUT, even after the trimming, the trees continued to grow! You wouldn’t see the growth in the summer, fall or winter. In the spring the light green growth popped out of the paper like brown husk on the tips of the branches, the pine cones would grow at the tops of the trees! Then you saw GROWTH & FRUIT!
I think in our lives it is like that as well, we are growing, even in “trimming” or pruning times-but we might not see the evidence of the growth until a “seasonal change”. It was for the benefit of the homeowner to protect the gift God has blessed us with, so the trimming took place. It was for the blessing of the home dweller to enjoy the fruits of that labor as well, shade, birdsong, protection from the wind & storms, even health etc. God is good, he brings to completion what he begins and has purpose in His plans: He is the All Wise God! Be encouraged sweet sisters.
My testimony of the last 90 days is This Perseverance in faith in Christ Jesus pays every time. I don’t believe things happen in our timing but we hurry blessings away they happen in God’s time because is a God of perfection and abundant Blessings and does not want you too miss out. Just in these last few weeks Mom and I had to keep getting things shut off and bills are behind I have put in application after application and resume after resume…. But then I ran a post in my Facebook news feed of a job opening with immediate start and fairly good start pay I messaged the post and went back and forth I was asked in for an interview and it took two days before I was offered the job I love it have had only a minimal amount of panic attacks and even was blessed with a very nice bonus my second week….. Be faithful and Christ will always Show Himself Faithful.
I have never attempted to write anything about my life before. I have a very normal life. I didn’t know my Savior as a child or a teen. I knew He was out there but not for me. There was a lot of drinking in my young world … a lot of pain both physical and mental… I thought all kids grew up with this being in there world. At a young age a wonderful man came into my world and I married him at eighteen. My husband showed me what love is. Then soon he taught me who God is and took me to church. Several beautiful children later I’m still deep in the arms of my Lord. I know that I am His beloved. I know He knows me even more than I know myself. Finding this group and having these incredible ladies care about me and allowing me to care about them has been and incredible ride. I have a great amount of negativity at my work and my share of problems at home. Everyone does. But getting on line for a while with my dear friends and praying for them is a wonderful blessing. I love you ladies. Each one of you. Thank you for sharing my world.
One more day people ❤
Day 88, Wednesday, April 1st
I cannot believe that we are drawing to the end of our Faith Walk… or at least this portion of our Faith Walk. I would love to hear what this Faith Walk means to you – what stands out the most? What are you walking away with? Please feel free to comment here or personally to me on Facebook – if you are a reader but we are not friends on Facebook – please feel free to find and add me – Allana Belrose Guidry.
From now until the end of our Challenge (Friday, April 3rd) some of the True Beauty ladies are willing to share a testimony about their personal lives. I pray that all who read will be blessed!
Recently I was asked in a meeting to share who it was in my childhood that walked with me, who supported me, who encouraged me. I sat there dumbfounded, not being able to recall a single person that did not abuse me, or ignore the abuse, in my childhood. No one. A really brief history – my earliest memory was being raped by my father at the age of 4. This continued until I was 18, when he raped me on my 18th birthday for the last time. 3 paragraphs is not enough to tell you the extent of everything – but I think that gives you a small window into my growing up years.
Back to the meeting. I walked away, sad for the little girl who never knew anyone that taught her what it meant to be loved, cared for, protected. I’m not afraid to talk about my past because my future is so bright (sorry to be cliché). But – in that moment, I was taken aback at something I had never thought about before. Like Mary – I pondered this in my heart for a few days. And then I realized something.
I was wrong. I DID have someone who walked with me, someone who loved me, someone who protected my soul and my spirit. Jesus. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff comfort me.” Psalm 23:4. I walked through the valley of the shadow of death – always hovering, always whispering in my ear, always lying to me, teaching me to fear. But I was not alone. Jesus walked with me. Jesus stood beside me. Jesus heard my cries and He cried to. He loved me, He supported me, He encouraged me. He was my everything. I was never alone. As the poem goes, when we see only one set of footprints – it is not ours. It is our Saviors and we are in his arms.
My friend’s husband said this about me, “It is always 80 degrees and sunny in Shirley’s world.” Oh how I wish that really were true! Others have nicknamed me “Sunshine.” My coworker complains that I giggle too much. I have to tell you, though, that there are days in my world when the sky is black, lightning strikes, and there are even threats of tornadoes. I am a pretty optimistic person, but I think that I might have developed a great deal of my optimism as a coping mechanism growing up. If I allowed myself to look away from the positive, I don’t know how I would have made it through my childhood. You see, I was molested by three different men until I was a freshman in high school; my father, stepfather, and another relative. I was also verbally abused and grew up in a home that was ruled by alcohol. A strong emphasis was placed on finding a man and keeping him through physical contact. Due to my love language being physical touch and my years of having been molested and being a people pleaser, I went out in the world as a young lady with a very warped sense of what love really is. Going through a string of relationships, I was used and cheated on in almost every single one. In trying to figure out why I was treated this way, I came to the conclusion that since I was a good person, my appearance had to have been the cause. I lived my entire life in shame. I was ashamed of my childhood and blamed myself for things that weren’t my fault, ashamed of choices that I had made as a young lady, and ashamed of all of my lack. There have been countless times in my life that my insecurity has caused me behave foolishly and feel unworthy of anything good. I am sure that you all can relate to this part of my testimony. We are all glaringly aware of our lack, aren’t we? I am not this and I am not that. I think that if we women had our way, we’d have God send us down a conveyor belt and allow us to personally pick out each attribute that we would like to possess. “I want her hair, her body, her ambition, her confidence.” Why do we do this to ourselves?
I have been reading a book by Beth Moore called, “So Long Insecurity.” In this book, Beth quotes a verse that I have been holding very dear in my heart for several weeks. The truth in it has just really blown me away. It is found in Proverbs 31, which is the chapter of the Bible that gives direction for what all women should strive toward. Proverbs 31:25 says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Because I am a word nerd, I found myself looking up the definition of dignity. Dignity is defined as “a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect; self-worth; self-esteem.” Beth says that we need to get our God given dignity back. I think that maybe I never possessed that dignity in the first place; that it was robbed from me along with my innocence and childhood. I have chosen to believe God and receive my dignity from Him. He has clothed me; He has clothed you, with strength and dignity. We are no longer emotionally exposed, for He has covered us. She goes on to say that all insecurity is a cover-up for unbelief. I might not always feel this, but I have chosen to embrace it, to receive it, to know it, to live it. Since doing so, my self-worth no longer has to be wrapped up in my husband, child, job, or friends, and it never should have been. God has deemed me worthy. “She is clothed with strength and dignity.”
One of my absolute favorite verses is 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.” I have quoted this verse to myself numerous times. For me, it was proof that my life hasn’t been for nothing; that God does have good things in store for me; that even though I spent a lot of time in some very dark places, He does care for me. I recently saw that verse just a bit differently, realizing this time that He says that He knows the plans He has for me. Wait a minute! He has plans for me? Then I recalled this verse, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13. So, the very same God, Who is the Creator of the universe, Who knows everything that I’ve ever said or done or ever will do, created me. He knit me together AND He has a plan for me. To me, this clearly states that He created me for the very specific plan that He has for my life. Me. This is my plan. This plan is not for the girl with the amazing figure or beautiful singing voice that I wish I were more like; nope, just plain old absent-minded, forgetful, clumsy me. And guess what? You were also created with your very own specific special plan in life that no one else can fulfill.
We will not be having anything else for our challenge this week. Put on some of your favorite worship at the Cross music and give God glory for all He has done in your life.
Day 87, Tuesday, March 31st
From now until the end of our Challenge (Friday, April 3rd) some of the True Beauty ladies are willing to share a testimony about their personal lives. I pray that all who read will be blessed!
After losing our first baby just months after we got married, my husband and I fought. We were screaming at each other nearly every day for over a year. My husband’s way of coping with the loss led him to believing that I was never really pregnant. Whenever I would cry or be down about it, he would get so angry and tell me that I needed to get over myself because I was never really pregnant in the first place. I couldn’t grieve the loss of the baby. It wasn’t until after our daughter was born, at least six to nine months after she was born, that he finally came to me one night and realized what he had done. But by that point I had built up so much resentment towards him, while I loved him, a part of me hated him. I am still dealing with the resentment and I have to work every day at forgiving him. I am so deeply in love with my husband but a part of me has a wall up. I realized that I cannot live with the wall I had built up so I now seek God to mend my heart and I pour over scripture to learn how to build the trust and respect back that was lost over those long months.
Lamentations 3:25 – The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
Tom and were going rough a very rough patch in our usually rocky marriage, and I was done. We had gone to counselor after counselor and nothing helped. I couldn’t cope with being a lone parent any more while my husband still lived in his mess and escaping and anger and denial. Our kids didn’t want anything to do with him because they saw how he neglected us and controlled us when he bothered to try to connect. I told him that he had one month to pack his junk…all of it…and find somewhere else to spread it all over and live his miserable life. I also told God that our marriage was done unless He moved in both of us. He needed to either change Tom or change me.
He changed both of us. Tom cleaned up and threw a lot of junk out, and I learned to shut the door and stop caring so much. When I stopped wanting his attention and was satisfied with my socialization elsewhere, he realized he had lost me and wanted me back. It took a lot and a long time to win my heart again, and the issues that tore us apart are still there but much smaller in size and importance. He isn’t such an angry person and I’m more understanding of the dysfunction he grew up in and how far God has brought him. We don’t go to marriage retreats anymore because they are were too painful and I would get my hopes up that finally something would sink in. I’ve lowered my expectations of him and become more reasonable.
Our kids have better relationships with him and they all see what they want to do differently in their lives and relationships with others. They have amazing conversations now and I’m so happy they have healed together.
We share our story with the hope that it will help someone, encourage others.
2 Corinthians 2:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefor I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 Forgiveness is easier said than done. Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone? This verse spells it out plainly for us; if you want God to forgive your sins you must forgive the person you feel has wronged you. Some people see this as an unfair request from God. Let’s look a little deeper into this.
I had a very hard time forgiving my ex-husband who had cheated on me during my entire pregnancy. I kept trying to voice my feelings to him, but as we all know, some people just aren’t willing to listen to anything, while others really don’t even care how you feel. It was also hard, because this wasn’t an isolated affair, it was an ongoing relationship; he actually had a girlfriend. I struggled with feelings of depression, insecurity, unworthiness, and of being unattractive. A few months after our son was born, my husband got into an accident and was then in a coma. During this time, I was desperately trying to get over my feelings of inadequacy, because I wanted to be a good mother and be able to focus on my son. I got this idea of writing him a letter, though I knew he’d never be able to read it. I just poured my heart out and declared that I had decided to forgive him. I then emailed the letter to my friend for her to read, so that I could feel as though I had gotten my feelings “off of my chest”. Almost immediately, the healing began. I even decided to open up my heart to God, once again.
See, harboring bitterness towards someone is a very dangerous thing. Not only does it hinder our walk with God, but it can also emotionally cripple us. There is no need to punish ourselves for something that someone else did. By not forgiving them, in essence, this is exactly what you are doing; punishing yourself. By choosing not to forgive, you are also giving the person that hurt you power over your emotions and your future. The best we can do is to forgive that person and hand it over to God. Forgiving them in no way means that what they did was okay, it just releases you from the negative emotions, allowing yourself to heal and to grow. Don’t worry about revenge for God sees your tears and pain and will take care of it.
Hebrews 10:30 – “For we know Him Who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.'”