You Can Be A Conduit of Healing for Others

I always thought of the town where I grew up as a little slice of heaven. Individuals that I counted on in my faith community were always there for me. I’m sure they had imperfections, but I never saw them. I have many fond memories of hayrides and festivals in the fall, and fireworks and bike rides in the summer. But behind this backdrop of loveliness were pockets of dysfunction and abuse. They were utterly astounding given the size of our small community. Growing up, I looked upon my neighbor’s daughter as an older sister. She was my ‘big sis‘. She braided my hair and taught me how to paint my nails. We got on like normal small-town girls, but there was a familiarity between us that was comforting and tragic. We were keepers of the secret. The unspoken had robbed us both. We should have used our voices to scream to the roof tops, but instead we suffered in silence like the good girls we were taught to be.

The lives of my pretend big sister and I took very different turns. I went off to college and she tried to carve out a life for herself in the town where we grew up. No matter how much you love a place, sometimes you must move away to reclaim your destiny or stay on its path. Proof of this is found in God’s instruction to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-2(NLT), “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.” Abraham lived among a close-knit community of family and friends, like many of us. These are the people who love and want the best for you, but often their words, attitudes, and behaviors make us comfortable being the person we’ve always been. This will prevent us from growing into the person God has destined us to become.

There’s a saying that no matter what you’re going through, there’s always someone out there that has it worse. I think of this saying when I’m reminded of the horrible abuse my big sister endured. I was clueless about the extent of it until I came home from college during a break one year. My old neighbors had relocated to another area in town, and the parents had been separated for quite some time, but I had always been fond of my big sister’s mother. I paid them a visit. We started to talk about faith, and out of the blue, sis became very angry. She accused her mother of being a hypocrite. She said, “How can you call yourself a Christian when you knew what Dad was doing to me all along.”

Her father was notoriously abusive to her mother, and many people were fearful of him because he looked as mean as we all thought he was. Her mother was constantly in the hospital or doctor’s office with broken bones and bruises. Sis grew up way before her time and took care of her mother and four brothers. She had no real childhood to speak of. Only God knows if her mother knew about what she alleged was going on and did nothing, but I know firsthand that when pain is severe, it can blind us to the truth. We can become so consumed with licking our own wounds that we can’t see the wounds of others, even our own children.

For many years, her soul was screaming, but no one heard my sister’s voice. Her mental health declined very rapidly after our last meeting, and she never recovered to the point of having meaningful dialogue.

1Corinthians 6:19(NLT) says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” The Holy Spirit quickens us. This means that when we receive the gift of Holy Spirit through the Lord Jesus Christ, we become alive to Heavenly Father, because our connection to Him is restored. The more we grow in Christ, the more heightened our awareness and sensitivity mirrors that of our precious Lord and Savior. We see and feel things we haven’t seen and felt before. Not only do we have greater empathy for people’s pain, the Holy Spirit will tell us exactly what we should do to bless them.

We all have people in our lives that look just fine but are in great distress. They desperately need us, if for nothing else, to pray for them. In Matthew 25:45 (NLT), Jesus Christ said, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” As God’s beloved sons and daughters, we need to wake up before it’s too late. Our destiny is to be whole and complete in Christ. We can’t do this work on our own. The Holy Spirit will help us, and we have a responsibility to let God heal our pain. Invite the Spirit to do the work in you that God wants, so that you can be a conduit of healing for others.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“A Conduit of Healing for Others” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

What Happens When We Doubt Ourselves

Self-doubt is probably one of the greatest contributors to stress and worry. There’s an old saying which states that most of us typically worry about things we can’t control. At the end of the day, we really don’t control anything, but many people still run themselves in the ground worrying about the situations of life. It can be a never-ending cycle of trying to please others and looking externally for strength that should come from within. God wants us off this hamster wheel of insecurity and anxiety. It steals our focus from our relationship with Him and causes us to forfeit the soul work we really should be doing.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that everything, without exception, has a season; and everything has a reason—a purpose for existing. God doesn’t deal in happenstance and ‘what ifs.’ There is no such thing as luck for a follower of Christ. We worship and adore an on-purpose God, and we understand that He has made us an on-purpose people. He tells us in 1Corinthians 14:33 that He’s not the author of confusion. He doesn’t allow ambiguity and chaos to hangout in His crib. He anchors His kids in purpose. This is good news indeed, but what if you don’t know this about God? A person can’t rise above what they don’t know or believe. So, if this person doesn’t believe in purpose or buy into the reality that they have one, they’ll most likely cast their net in the shallow soil of self-doubt and worry.

In the New Testament Book of Mark, chapter 4, Jesus Christ taught God’s people using the parable of a sower that had some seeds. As any good farmer would do, the sower spread the seeds in several different places. Jesus tells us in Mark 4:5 that some seeds fell on shallow soil that had rocks beneath it. One of these seeds did what seeds do; it sprouted. Jesus tells us that it sprouted quickly, and the reason for this is because, again, the soil was shallow. He then tells us that the seedling soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it couldn’t develop deep roots because of the stony ground beneath it, it died.

Our Beloved Big Brother goes on to explain to us in Mark 4:16 that the seed on the rocky soil represents folks who hear the Good News about all that he has made available to us, and they get happy. They receive it with joy, because it’s so different from the negativity they’re used to. They’re accustomed to hearing the wrong messages about their uniqueness, gifts, and value. “It’s too good to be true…” the devil whispers in their ears. So, as soon as trouble comes—as soon as the abusive behavior begins again, it gets too hot. They give-in to self-doubt, fall away, and don’t allow themselves to become deeply rooted in God’s love.

Jeremiah 17:8(NLT)
“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

The seed is like us in many ways. We have more potential than we know what to do with. God has given us our purpose. It’s to spiritually grow, to be fruitful, and multiply in every good way. But self-doubt is rocks in the soil of our lives. It will only allow us to become a seedling, when God’s Will and intention is that we become a tree.

2Corinthians 9:8 tells us that Heavenly Father can pour on the blessings in ways that will blow your socks off. He wants to do this for us so that we thrive with confidence in Him, with roots that can reach water even when the sun’s heat feels too hot. We never have to doubt ourselves when our confidence is in God. So don’t give-in to negative thoughts about yourself. Instead, recognize how important you are to God and His plan, and let Him teach you about your purpose. He’ll nourish your roots if you’ll trust His Word. They’ll grow down into the Lord Jesus, and self-doubt will shrivel up and wither away.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“What Happens When We Doubt Ourselves” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus

Learning to Love God’s Way

The term ‘self-government’ is used to define the rights that God has given every individual. None of us have the capacity to look into another person’s heart and know what or how they’re feeling. We don’t have the ability to know exactly what another individual is thinking. Only God knows this. Psalm 94:11 tells us that He knows our thoughts, and Psalm 139:4 reminds us that He knows what we’re going to say before the thought of it is formed in our minds. Jeremiah 17:10(NLT) states, “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Heavenly Father knows us intimately. Even though we speak negative words that do not please Him, we think bad thoughts, and harbor feelings of resentment, anger, and all kinds of toxicity in our hearts; He will not prevent us from doing these harmful things. He will never violate our free-will choices to feel, think, speak, and do as we choose.

Jesus Christ tells us in John 14:6 that he is the way, the truth, and the life. His example provides access to God and to life everlasting. 1 Peter 2:21(MSG) says, “This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.” Jesus taught us that choosing a life of love isn’t always going to be the easiest choice, but it will forever be the best choice.

Every day, life presents us with choices to help us learn how to love through our Master Jesus. He demonstrated to the tee everything that God would do as a human being. He said, “The Father is in me, and I am in the Father”(John 10:38), and in John 5:19, he said that he doesn’t independently do a thing, but only does what he sees the Father doing. This is precisely how God wants us to live love, so that we will have victory and triumph in our own lives. We don’t have to know someone’s thoughts or see into their hearts, we just have to love with the wisdom, strength, and courage of God’s love.

When God chose the planet earth for our habitation and then created humanity, it was His intention that we would live in fellowship and harmony with Him. We should notice that He would not force this harmony on us, because forcing is not love’s way. He gave us freedom, and our choices could not be exempt from it. He has shown us by example that the way to govern wholeheartedly is through love. It is not a sappy emotion with no backbone. Loving God’s way is the epitome of strength and authority.

Isaiah 9:6(NLT) states, For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Before the birth of Christ, humanity had taken God’s plan for harmony and love and we spoiled it. In many respects, instead of benefiting from God’s great love, we found incredibly destructive ways to brake the rules. Jesus Christ was sent to earth on a special mission. He came to wake us up and reveal the Father’s heart to us. The government rested on the shoulders of Christ. This means that the highest blessing, benefit, and righteousness that could be extracted from God’s plan rested on Christ. He did not let God down, and he didn’t let us down either. He accomplished all that God required and desired him to do. Love won!

Government is control exercised over actions. Again, God didn’t give us government over others. He gave us the ability to govern ourselves, and to do it so expertly through the love of Christ that all things will work together for our greatest good. This is God’s promise. We live in an environment where many allow their emotions to govern them instead of governing their emotions. This is not the way of Christ, and it is not the way to walk in faith. God created us to reign and have authority in our own lives. Studying His Word and learning to love His way, day by day, will bring us in alignment with His purpose. It will cause us to bask in the liberty and joy that Jesus Christ made available.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

“Learning to Love God’s Way” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

 

Kick Ambiguity to the Curb!

Growing up, the elders in my community would rarely commit to the success of anything before its completion, and even then, they were careful not to let the slightest hint of arrogance interfere with their assumptions. They would only speculate about their ability to be victorious over any challenge or task by making the statement “If it be God’s Will”. They had tremendous reverence for God’s omnipotence, and from them I, too, learned to honor His Will; but as I got older, I realized there was a pivotal piece of knowledge that I had missed. Because of this, I looked at everything from the perspective of disappointment waiting to happen, and not success.

This was especially the case with romantic relationships. My tactic was to try to overwhelm the throne of God with my sobbing pleas, asking for tons of assurances that the person I was with was indeed the ‘one’. I’d be terrified that he would do something to hurt me the way others had done, or that I would do something to mess things up. In my erroneous thinking, God was pulling all the strings, and could cause, if He so chose, the person to respect, neglect, or mishandle my heart. So I begged Heavenly Father constantly to please let everything work out the way I wanted…‘this time.’

I didn’t understand that God never violates His Word. So, my approach was not one of believing the right things about what God wanted for me. Even though I thought I was headed in the right direction, what I believed wasn’t the truth. I believed what I had been taught, and it wasn’t yielding the results I wanted for myself. God was not orchestrating the details of my demise. He was not trying to teach me a lesson by punishing me, nor would He alter someone’s mind or heart to make them love me. God offers liberty, but I was so accustomed to living in fear that it was difficult for me to see it.

The lessons I learned as a youth were very beneficial on one side. I was correctly taught to honor God’s sovereignty and holiness because He is all good, all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. But many of those who taught me believed Him to also be a punishing God, waiting to really give it to you if you did something wrong. They believed that you could never know what He wanted, that you could never know in advance whether His Will would provide for your success or failure. It was a dance of reverence and ambiguity that ultimately left me confused about what God desires for our lives.

I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to straighten me out, and as he did, I became a lover of faith! He taught me that fear doesn’t ask much of us, and we’re very comfortable with it, but in order to walk by faith, fear must be released. Ephesians 4:22 tells us to put off the former conversations we had with our old selves. You know, those chitchats we had with our souls about not being—looking—loving good enough; and don’t forget those feelings we had that made us wonder whether God truly loves us and wants the best for us. All of that stuff has to go. It doesn’t create a cozy place for faith to feel at home, and God isn’t pleased with that.

Faith requires us to kick ambiguity to the curb! 1John 1:5(NLT) declares, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” This is an absolute! God is light, and He has made us children of His light through Jesus Christ, His Son! I knew darkness. I was in it long enough to know how miserable it makes you feel. I wanted God’s light and took the leap of faith to get it. This meant that I had to abandon some of the things I believed and had been taught by people I love very much. They did their best, but we all will face a point in life where we must go higher, and leave behind things, beliefs, relationships or situations that hinder our journey forward.

We can’t have both faith and fear at the same time. That’s a doubleminded person, and James 1:8 says only unstable folks operate that way. 1John 4:18(NIV) tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” God’s plan is to help us to grow in love and grow in the knowledge of His Will. Approaching life as if it is an accident waiting to happen is not the mentality of someone who walks in the light. God is waiting to bless us in ways we’ve never imagined. Open the door of your heart, kick out fear, then, let God’s love drive you to the infinite possibilities His goodness holds for you.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Kick Ambiguity to the Curb!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Feeling Invisible

The first time I heard the phrase, “Complete in Christ”, I didn’t quite understand it, but I was desperate for the truth it holds. I had made the decision at a young age to become a follower of Christ, but like many people who have been abused, my brokenness was deep. Understanding the reality of being totally complete and whole presented a vision for which I had no blueprints to construct. I didn’t see it among those I loved and had done my best to honor. They couldn’t protect themselves from injury, and in my mind, they certainly couldn’t and didn’t protect me from it. My cherished ones were silent in their pain, and I learned to be as well. I made myself invisible that way.

Often, I felt left out at social gatherings and functions, as if no one thought enough of me to pay attention, or to be interested in my opinions and what I had to say. It took years before I understood that people were simply responding to my tendency to hide. At work also was my need to be validated by others. All the self-help gurus tell us to avoid letting our choices be ruled by other’s opinions. We’re led to believe that seeking validation from others will harm our self-worth. “Be happy with yourself…” they say, but this is much easier said than done.

I didn’t want to be self-indulgent to the point of fooling myself that external pleasures would satisfy an internal hunger. Call it a keen instinct or a gift from God, but I’ve always been able to discern a surface reality from that of something deeply rooted. I wanted the latter for myself. So, on my journey towards accepting the wholeness that Christ offers, one of the greatest lessons I learned is that a physical fix will not take care of a spiritual problem. This level of awareness opens a person’s eyes to what may be buried beneath years of struggling for self-appreciation.

Colossians 2:10(NLT) states, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” God tells us exactly what makes us complete. It’s our union with Christ! He also warns us in Colossians against listening to folks that’ll have us searching under every rock for a wholeness that can only be found in Christ. He tells us to watch out for people like that. They try to dazzle us with big, intellectual talk. They spread ideas that really amount to fluff, and it doesn’t get at the root of our pain, or what we truly need for our souls to be healed. Everything of God is expressed through Christ, and when we invite and accept him into our hearts, he begins to live there. His love is the magnifying glass that makes the invisible visible.

God has blessed us with a physical body, but the bounty of His blessing rests within us. Our goals are misplaced if they are to find treasures in the acceptance of others, or in an identity that really isn’t who we are. We don’t have an excavation tool that will reach as deep in our souls as the love of Christ. He dwells in our hearts through faith. Like love, we can’t see faith. It’s invisible, but the reality of it is more impactful than anything we can see with human eyes.

We feel invisible because we look to things that can be seen to make us feel relevant. Heavenly Father wants us to look to Christ and become rooted and grounded in him. Something spiritual happens when we do this. We will gain a comprehension that defines our true essence, because it brings enlightenment of the width, length, depth, and height of the love of Christ. Our faith in him transforms us, then we’ll see ourselves through the eyes of his love, and that’s really what matters.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Feeling Invisible” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Understanding the End Game

In Hosea 4:6, God says that His people are severely harmed, and indeed many destroyed, because they lack knowledge. The Old Testament is filled with examples of individuals who thought they knew best, but ultimately landed themselves and others in serious trouble. This happened because either they didn’t consult with God or listen to His wisdom. He always knows best and wants the best for us, but we struggle with believing this. We refuse to understand that life is a corkscrew that in many respects can never be straightened.

The one fact that remains constant in life is that the more we think we know, the more we realize that we haven’t even scratched the surface. Solomon, the son of King David, cracked this riddle wide open long before any of us came on the scene. God allowed him this grace to spare us the time and waste of energy. Solomon was the wisest man that has ever lived. In Ecclesiastes 1, he tells us that he assigned himself with the task of carefully looking into everything with scrutiny. His final synopsis; it was a meaningless pursuit, like chasing wind. In Ecclesiastes 1:18, he said, “The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.”

Some people have interpreted the words of Solomon to mean that it’s useless to gain knowledge, but this isn’t accurate. Solomon was very young when he was called to be King of Jerusalem, and as any of us can imagine, it was a daunting task. He felt overwhelmed by the responsibility and knew that he needed guidance from God. He loved the Lord, and as was the custom of his father, King David, Solomon offered sacrifices and burned incense in what was known as the great high place in Gibeon. 1Kings 3:5 tells us that it was there, at night, that the Lord appeared to him in a dream and asked, “What shall I give you?” Solomon, considering his task, his desire to do it well, and the overall welfare of the people he would oversee, asked for wisdom.

God was pleased with Solomon’s request, because it wasn’t saturated in the selfishness of riches or revenge on his enemies. God’s nature and desire is to always go beyond what we can ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that He loves to deal in the exceedingly abundant, so he made Solomon’s wisdom unmatched by any human being before or after him.

Knowledge can be a never-ending pursuit. It seeks to uncover, expose, and resolve continually, but wisdom is the crown that few seek to wear. Wisdom will help us apply knowledge well. With Solomon’s request for wisdom came also a ravenous appetite for knowledge and understanding. He wanted to know what was down the rabbit hole of every subject and found it to be an exhausting and unproductive exercise. Solomon’s wise counsel and advice to us is to save ourselves from pursuing knowledge about things that are not aligned with our purpose. If we can’t use it to please God, it is not worth having.

We all carve out a niche in life. Satisfying and fulfilling or not, we move forward. We do so assuming we know who we are and what we should be doing. Sometimes the opposite is true, and there must be room in our beings to question this. The end game of this earth experience is to know who we are, whose we are, and why we’re here. Not knowing is the gap in our knowledge that causes wisdom to escape our choices and allows destruction a foot hole into our existences.

We spend way too much time obsessing about things that take us away from our destiny, and away from our true identity in Christ. We worry about the things that seem crooked, and we try to straighten them out. Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 7:13(NLT), “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Our time and energy are much better served in exploring all the glorious ways in which God has crafted us to share His love. Doing this will guarantee that we win the end game, and receive God’s eternal reward.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Understanding the End Game” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

 

What If No One Believes Me?

The time in which we now live is teaching us many lessons about, first, the value of truth; secondly, how the masses can interpret it, and lastly, how detrimental it can be when we don’t recognize it. Without truth, we are utterly lost, and there is no doubt about this. In John 8:31, Jesus Christ said to those listening that if they believed on him, and continued in the Word that he taught them, they were his true disciples. Their discipleship would be judged authentic and solid if they believed the Words of Christ, because Jesus Christ only spoke the truth. He then said in John 8:32(NLT), “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Knowing and acknowledging the truth ushers in freedom. This is an incredibly important piece of knowledge for any person that is afraid to speak a truth of their own.

The effects of abuse have many tentacles of pain and harm. One of them is its ability to rob a person of their voice. An individual can be articulate and well-versed in a wealth of subjects, but the trauma and violence of abuse will sometimes render its victim speechless; not for a lack of ability, but because the depth, width, and breadth of what has been stolen is inexplicable. It is inarticulable.

Shame is undoubtedly another of its tentacles. Brother Adam and Sister Eve taught us that with shame comes the instinct to hide, to cover up so that truth is never spoken, and the weight of the lie that shame tells is left to fester in our souls. There, it does its greatest harm. The weight of it becomes heavier as time passes. Meanwhile, the one who has been silenced is split apart, one side managing to look the part of a functioning, sometimes highly functioning, individual. The other side is slowly self-destructing, starved of the healing medicine of truth and restoration.

The fear of not being believed is the enduring curse from an evil manipulation of power. Generation after generation, it silences our soul’s greatest cry for help, as our ownership of the basic right to be heard is paralyzed. When it comes to abuse, the ignorant and unsympathetic resolve of lesser and fallen angels has birthed a culture where lies seem to breathe, and truth is suffocated. Let’s pray the tide is turning.

1John 4:18(NLT) tells us, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” The love of God demonstrated through the life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection of Christ, expels ALL fear. In other words, God’s love obliterates fear! This is the liberty blockbuster, and the enemy uses every tactic to keep it from falling upon our ears. We don’t speak the truth of what we’ve been through because we fear the punishment. We’ve seen others punished, and to us the risk seems too great.  Exactly the opposite is true. The greatest risk and harm to ourselves is that of not speaking our truth, of not ridding our souls of their burdens and giving our Master Jesus the load.

Our discretion and privacy can be preserved, and even honored to a degree, but not if it is surrounded in the lie that fear tells. There are individuals that cannot bear to hear the truth, because the truth is not in them. This is a quorum we must not join. Truth affords us the undeniable luxury of standing in it with unfeigned dignity, and with an absolute and unrelenting hope for liberty. Ephesians 4:15 encourages us to speak the truth in love—in love of self, and most importantly, love of God and truth. This is the way that we are released from fear’s grip and to be free to grow in the blessed existence that Christ has given us. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“What If No One Believes Me?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!