Transforming Mistakes to Lessons Well-learned

How do you move beyond the fear of poor decision-making? The answer to this question is one that many people will not seek, because it will require them to get closer to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them fear the possibility of intimacy with Him more than they do the vicious cycle of making mistakes repeatedly. The one reality that every living person must accept is that life doesn’t discard the lessons we need to learn simply because we ignore them. In John 6:63, Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Spirit who gives life. Life belongs to God, and He has designed it in such a way that spiritual lessons must be learned. When we do learn them, the fear of poor decision-making is put to rest, because if we are humble and willing to be led, God will lead us to the right choices for our individual lives.

Hebrews 11:3(NKJV) tells us, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Human beings have a propensity to become incredibly arrogant, so much so that we value the creation more than we do the Creator. We ignore the reality that everything we see was created by God from the things we can’t see; that there’s nothing humans can manufacture, produce, or build that isn’t made from the invisible realm of God. Most of us focus our attention on all the wonderful things humans can do. We don’t marvel in gratitude to God for His gifts, instead, we become puffed up on our own abilities. We depend solely on our own intelligence, and in this respect, we trust human beings more than we do the Creator who made them.

We now have an environment where ignoring our spirits and refusing to nurture our connection to God is very commonplace. Continuing down this dark path will be inevitable if we don’t wake up. Life isn’t a color-by-number situation. We’re not puppets, and God doesn’t pull our strings to make us move the way He wants. He’s given us free-will choice, and we can make any decision we’d like. However, God has a way that is always and forever going to be best. He invites us to follow this way through the Lord Jesus Christ. If we take Him up on His offer, we must begin to wake-up to the treasure of what lies within.

God’s Spirit is inside us, and John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit that indwells us will guide us to all truth. He will speak to us in marvelous ways, and he will show us dreams and visions that will help to steer us to the blessings that have our names on them. All of this is available to the believer, but we must slow our rolls and begin to press into God. We must pray and talk with Him often.

In Matthew 6:8(NKJV), Jesus Christ tells us, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” God knows everything, and one of our greatest mistakes is to behave as if we don’t know this. The greatest decision we can make is to wake-up to the reality of His omniscience, and to also wake up to His desire to keep us safe and moving on a forward and upward trajectory. The psalmist said in Psalm 116:8(NIV), “For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,” Heavenly Father will do this for us, but we must develop a habit pattern of paying attention to the Spirit within. 1John 4:4(NLT) tells us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Many of us have wondered why we can’t catch a break, and why, although the people are different, the situations and behaviors they bring mirror conditions and problems that continue to cycle back around. Through the Spirit of Christ, indeed greatness lives in all of us. We can get off the vicious cycle of mistake after mistake and reclaim the life we are destined to live. Wake up to the lesson of love God desires to teach you. James 1:5 tells us that if any of us lacks wisdom, we must ask God, because He gives His wisdom liberally to anyone who asks, and He won’t be upset with us for asking. Now is the time to recognize that we are spirit beings having an earth experience. We’re here to learn to walk in love like Christ. When we wake up to this and pay attention to the Lord, we’ll transform our mistakes into the victory that comes when lessons are well learned.■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. 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.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Transforming Mistakes to Lessons Well-Learnedwritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Take Your Power Back!

A friend of mine told me about a woman she works with because she’s concerned about her. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll call her Katie. My friend has worked with Katie over five years. They are very friendly, and about five months ago, Katie invited her to a dinner party for fans of the Downton Abbey series. Katie’s home was as beautiful as the exclusive neighborhood she lives in, and it was clear that her husband is very successful. They were having so much fun that evening, and Katie was the life of the party, but when her husband arrived towards the end, there was an immediate change in Katie’s mood. Everyone noticed and took it as their queue to politely say their goodbyes.

My friend said that initially no one else at work spoke of the awkwardness, but because she grew up with an abusive alcoholic father, the shift in the energy in the room that night was for her a very familiar thing. A few months later, Katie spent a couple of days in the hospital. A brand-new luxury vehicle was waiting on her when she was discharged. It was rumored to be a ‘makeup’ gift from her husband. If you have any familiarity with domestic violence and abuse, you know the rollercoaster ride of fear and emotions that come with it. Constantly walking on eggshells is a given, and you hide behind a mask that you put on every day, because you don’t want anyone to know what’s really going on in your life.

If asked, the person that remains in an abusive marriage or relationship will have a thousand and one different reasons for staying. Often those reasons involve children. I’m intimately acquainted with instances of women in my own family leaving their abusers several times, and each time going back to more abuse. They tried to make it on their own and support their children but found it incredibly difficult. So, leaving an abusive situation for some can be very challenging, and the reasons are sometimes more complex than we might know.

Being on the other end of abuse is often about the abuser’s need to feel powerful and to syphon this power from the person they claim to love. This power isn’t a tangible reality that we can touch or handle. It’s a spiritual reality, and we need the spiritual strength of Christ to take it back, because it is in Christ that the victory over satan has already been won. Romans 8:37 cements the reality that overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus Christ.

Throughout God’s Word, we find His encouragement and commandment to all of us to be strong and courageous. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 31:6(NLT), He told His people, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” In the New Testament we see many instances where our strength in Him is affirmed as well. 2Timothy 1:7 tells us that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the power and strength of His might.

In all these scriptures, it should be clear to us that our strength comes from God. We are to meet Him in that place of faith, with a willingness to be totally dependent on Him. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5 to trust in Him with all our hearts, and don’t lean on our own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He’ll direct our paths. Putting on a little piece of God’s armor here and there isn’t going to equip us to take our power back. We need spiritual intelligence to outsmart the devil, and this requires the whole accoutrement of God’s armor.

Heavenly Father tells us in Ephesians 6:12(NLT) For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” The devil works through people to interrupt our destinies and steal our power. People are not our enemies, but the spirit that works through them is, and we must open our eyes to see this spiritual reality. Galatians 5:13 tells us that we have been called to freedom, and Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:36(NLT), “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” No gift that any person can give us is worth the price of our God-given power. Pray, study God’s Word, submit to the leadership of His Spirit, and be patient as He teaches you how to take back your power.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Take Back Your Power!written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Turning Pain into Gain

The notion of turning your pain into gain sounds a little pollyanna-ish for some folks, and I get it. Domestic violence and abuse can drastically change the way a person views the world, and sometimes it is very hard to snap out of being pessimistic. Personally, I felt so down on myself that I made a practice of always expecting the worse so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was in that place so long that I had to be reprogrammed mentally and emotionally. It took a while for me to start believing that good things could happen to me, and that I was as deserving of them as anyone else. The thing that I got caught up on was how in the dickens did I end up with so many bad things happening in my life in the first place. There was no way I could get on the good foot if I couldn’t make sense of why I kept ending up with the wrong person and making the same mistakes over and over again.

I’m a person that loves organization. I’m not always organized, but I love it when things are in a place that makes sense and stay that way. Part of my professional life involves assessing the pieces of the puzzle and putting them together so that a cohesive picture emerges. In my profession, I understand from the get-go that the pieces I’m working with are not perfect and that the puzzle isn’t perfect either. Almost without fail, each and every time, I’m able to organize the pieces in such a way that my work blesses me and countless others. This very simple approach to my work gave me a foundation for comprehending how God could take someone like me and make the pieces fit. With all my bumbling around and making a mess of things, He continually pulls me together so that, like my work, my life blesses me and countless others.

We are not random beings, detached from the divine order in which God created everything in the universe. There was a time in my life that I felt very random and disjointed, but this was because I didn’t know the truth of God’s purpose for my life. Proverbs 16:4(NLT) tells us that the Lord has made everything for His own purposes. When it comes to our individual lives, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11(NLT) ““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” When the heft of this truth became anchored in my heart, I understood more clearly why Adam’s and Eve’s actions were so catastrophic. God had provided beautifully for them, but they no longer wanted to be under His sovereignty and declared their independence.

They made a big mistake, and the consequences were dire. This is what happens when we buck up against God’s plan, consciously or unconsciously. When we fail to yield to the One who has all power and knows best—the One who has a plan for all of us, life loses its flavor. Many of us walk around feeling lost because we say we don’t understand how God designed this thing called ‘life’ to work. Some bad stuff happened to us, so we figure we can’t trust Him because He didn’t prevent it. We use this as an excuse to abdicate faith and cling to fear. God will judge us for running from His Word and abdicating faith, because He knows that we get ‘woke’ with a quickness about the things that are important to us. If we wanted to know Him and find refuge in Him, we would.

Like the many that have endured domestic violence and abuse, I was confused, angry, bitter, and resentful. There may be aspects of what I experienced that I will never get over, but the Spirit has turned my past pain into gain, and this is something God wants to do for every person that is suffering or has suffered. The Apostle Paul said in 2Corinthians 4:17(NKJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Paul went through some pretty rough stuff and here he calls it light affliction. He lets us in on the reality that God will take our suffering and make it work so gloriously for us that the joy we experience will replace the pain.

1Corinthians 14:13 tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace and order. He is life, and He has given us what He is. Heavenly Father didn’t give us such an extraordinary gift of life so it would be a vicious cycle of negativity. None of us have a perfect story, but all of us have the ability through Christ to transform and turn things around. Paul said in 2Corinthians 4:16 that we should never lose heart, because even though our outward bodies are growing older, our inward man is being renewed day by day. In other words, life gives us an opportunity to grow spiritually stronger through the Holy Spirit every day, and we should do our very best to embrace this grace we’ve been given.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Turning Pain into Gain” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?

A wonderful lady became very emotional while sharing her concerns for her older sister. They were very close at one time, but her sister has been in an abusive relationship for years, and it has caused a rift between them. Her whole family has begged her sister to leave her marriage, and a few times it looked promising. Things were so bad that they just knew she wouldn’t let herself be in that relationship another minute. They were in a huge fight and this couple’s seven-year-old son jumped in and tried to defend his mother. Surely this was the last straw, the family thought; but it wasn’t. Even after its clear that her child is suffering, having to defend one parent against the other, her sister still will not leave this abusive marriage. In the concerned woman’s words, “We are all so devastated, and we don’t know what to do anymore. She refuses to leave him, even though it’s tearing everybody apart.”

It is true what they say; no matter how much you want a person to change, they have to want to change for themselves. We can’t make a person change, and we can’t make them want to change. God doesn’t allow human beings to get inside each other’s heads and hearts. We have enough on our plates to keep our own temples in check, and we simply can’t do this for another person. It’s very plain to see that when it comes to the wounds and pain in someone’s life, only God can heal and help them change. He knows what to do and how to do it. His ability is leaps and bounds beyond our own. So we must understand that in these instances, often prayer becomes the only, most loving and effective gift we can offer.

When we pray for someone that perhaps isn’t praying for themselves or doesn’t know how, we’re standing in the gap, asking the Lord Jesus Christ to intervene with his unlimited resources and power. Our faith is integral in this. We must not ever view prayer as a small role in situations like these; it is truly the greatest thing we can offer. It takes our responsibility to a whole other level because we are in partnership with Christ. 2Corinithians 5:20(NLT) tells us, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”” We can be of tremendous help through prayer and be effective in ways that go far beyond our physical and mental limitations.

How else do we help with a domestic violence and abuse situation like this, especially where children and family members are involved? It can make us feel very inadequate, overwhelmed, and anxious, but God tells us Philippians 4:6(NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Spiritual warfare will always require believers to kick it in high gear through our faith. The first thing we must do is shift out of the natural plain and breach the walls of the supernatural, where resources are infinite and powerful.

There are so many dynamics involved with domestic violence and abuse, and sometimes what lurks beneath the surface is not apparent, and it is beyond our ability to understand it. The greatest thing we can do is be a vessel for the Lord to work through in any way HE deems fit. This means that we don’t interject our own emotional stuff into the situation, and we do our best to remain calm. We have to be attentive to the Spirit’s leading, as he tells us what to do and how to do it. Philippians 2:13(NKJV) tells us, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And sometimes, His Will is that we stay on the wall in prayer, and He will take care of the rest. In any case, our faith in God and His ability is crucial.

Witnessing the impact and effect of domestic violence is a very difficult thing. There’s no doubt that we must do what we can to be supportive and compassionate, but it is very important not to make an already troubling situation worse. Those that are being affected need us to be spiritually strong and very patient. They need to know we’ll give them a safe and discreet space and place to talk openly, without judgment. If we are led by the Spirit to do so, we can help with finding legal support and other resources, but again, God is the Healer and Provider. We’re not to try and takeover or control the situation. More than anything, a person that is suffering the abuse of domestic violence needs to feel and be empowered. This begins internally first, and only God can do this work within the people who need it most, and we must partner with Him through prayer. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Blueprint of What to Expect

By now we’ve become used to the reality that when bad things happen in our pasts, they can impact our present and futures. When seeking emotional therapy and counsel, we are often asked about our relationships with our parents as well as traumas that might have occurred in our childhoods. One of the reasons for this is because children who endure abuse, neglect, and dysfunction within their homes begin to struggle as early as kindergarten. As they physically mature through adolescence and adulthood, they can become stunted emotionally, and cease to mature beyond the trauma they’ve experienced. Although many of us that have endured domestic violence and have been in abusive relationships may not link it to a childhood event, often challenges with recognizing or breaking negative patterns is a symptom of a traumatic childhood experience.

Spiritual growth through the Lord Jesus Christ requires us to shift out of a mind-and-heart-set of fear and into one of faith. The very nature of spiritual living is to believe in what we cannot see—to trust our spiritual sight more than our physical sight. Our flesh is a temporary house for our spirits and souls. It isn’t an eternal temple, and only allows us to dwell on earth for a season. We’re supposed to use life’s lessons to release our fears and cling to our faith. This is the only way to embrace our true identities. It is the only way that love will become anchored in the very core of our highest spiritual self in Christ. Then, we will be prepared for the next chapter of life in the Spirit after we leave this place.

A childhood trauma like domestic violence and abuse is a disruption in our emotional growth, and if unaddressed, it can prevent us from growing spiritually. Impressionable and vulnerable, children don’t have the necessary tools to discern the truth and make the right choices about what to believe. When a trauma occurs in their young lives, it profoundly impacts their emotions and responses to life. It can make fear, and not faith, the governing emotion of their existences.

1John 4:18(NLT) says, “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.” God’s love has no fear, and in truth, it kicks fear to the curb. This gives us a clue about how we should be handling fear; we must let God’s love into our hearts, and we also have to recognize when we’re allowing fear to run the show. Because of trauma, our minds can become stuck on trying to protect ourselves from danger and fear habitually. We don’t often realize we’re doing this, and it can do a number on adult relationships and social interactions. Of course, we all want to be loved by a quality individual, but a mind-and-heart-set of fear can keep us from recognizing exactly when a quality individual is in our midst; and furthermore, we don’t have an appropriate blueprint for what we ought to expect from him or her.

The ‘Empty Container’ Syndrome
One of the habit patterns of many victims of domestic violence is choosing partners that are not equipped for healthy relationships. When we’re stunted emotionally, in some ways we don’t mature. The radar isn’t all the way up when a rachet’ individual is lurking around, trying to run a serious manipulation game on us. We can’t tell when someone is just an empty container, so we begin to invest our hopes in them. The program running in our minds computes that they might rescue us from the fear we still haven’t addressed through the love of Christ. This person doesn’t give us nearly enough to hang our hats on, but we cast our anchors anyway. Incapable of loving us in the way we deserve, the empty container accommodates our insecurities, expands them, and then moves on to the next willing vessel.

A New Blueprint
Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) warns, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our hearts can be magnets for people who keep us comfortable in fear, and this is why Heavenly Father tells us to stand guard—to watch what goes in our hearts and watch what comes out of them. One of the first things we must do as good ‘watchers’ is to interrupt the program of fear that is running in our hearts and minds. And we can know the extent to which this fear is imbedded by what we are willing to accept. Love doesn’t hurt us, harm us, tell us lies, play games, keep secrets, manipulate our fears, exploit our insecurities, keep us in the dark, or make us feel less than the treasure God says we are. We must reject this treatment and nip it in the bud immediately, because if crumbs is what we’ll accept, crumbs is most likely all we’ll get.

When we love ourselves enough to interrupt fear’s programming, we can change the way we think so that we wear God’s love like a second skin. In 1Corinthians 13:4-7(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us exactly what love is, how it behaves, and what we can expect from it. This passage says, “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Renewing our minds and hearts to God’s standard of love allows us to draw a fresh blueprint with new expectations. It gives us the wisdom to make sure that only a truly loving person can follow them.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“A Blueprint of What to Expect” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!

Fear and regret are a combination that can wreak havoc on our lives, especially when domestic violence and abuse is a part of our history. A biblical teacher that taught me a great deal about God’s Word would often warn, “Don’t let doubt get stuck in your craw.” She would say this because she understood that patterns are a big part of the way every human being operates, and a pattern of fear and doubt is the biggest conduit to getting stuck in life. We start learning patterns before we learn how to talk, and we carry them into every facet of our existence. Patterns of behavior impact the way we treat ourselves, the way we interact with others, and most importantly, the way we approach our relationship with God. For the most part, regrets impact our lives after we’ve matured some, but fear is a blocker right out the gate. The insidious thing about fear is that it can be stuck in your craw and you don’t even know it.

If you’ve been around people who speak openly about the domestic violence and abuse they’ve suffered, you’ll know they often speak about its vicious negative cycle. Some will say that, like a magnet, they tended to draw individuals to themselves that were wonderful in the beginning but turned out to cause them tremendous heartache and pain. After repeating this pattern of choosing a partner who abuses, many people become insecure in their judgment and decision-making. They are fearful of making a catastrophic mistake again, so they don’t trust themselves to discern between someone who loves without harm and a person who tries to manipulate love through harm.

Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) tells us, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” To keep your heart is to watch what goes in and what comes out of it. God tells us the reason we must be watchful of our own hearts. It’s because the heart is a springboard for the issues we’ll face in life. God wouldn’t tell us to be watchful of our hearts if we lacked the ability to get it done. Neither would He tell us to watch our hearts if we didn’t NEED to get it done. We are to watch our hearts so that we can recognize negative habit patterns that work against us, and then correct them. There are more people who don’t do this than those of us who do. Many people are comfortable where they are. That ol’ sneaky, manipulative, and evil devil keeps them comfy in self-sabotaging behavior, so they’ll continue to be blind to it. God commands us to wake-up and snap out of it. We accomplish this by changing the way we think, introducing new patterns, and then eradicating the stuff that ain’t working for us. It’s recognizing the stuff that ain’t working for us that ought to become our motivation to seek a better way.

When we learn that our hearts can draw something that harms, we must have that much, and even greater faith that our hearts will draw something that fulfills our purpose and keeps us continually attuned to the Father’s love. His love is no ordinary love, and through Christ He makes us complete in it. God tells us in 1John 4:18 that there’s no fear in His love, because His perfect love will demolish our fears. We begin to see this in real-time when we no longer allow the doubt and fear of making a bad choice to occupy the driver’s seat of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord! He’s the Head! He has earned and deserves all the driving privileges that come with this job.

The shift in our focus from self to Christ is a requirement for believers, and it is the best thing we can do for our lives. Going higher in him is often achieved from a vantage point of viewing all the mistakes we’ve made in the past. Through those mistakes, we earned the right to declare, “Been there, done that, not doing it again!” No need for regrets. Our mistakes helped to bring us to where we are today; still living and growing, with a chance to be better and stronger than we’ve ever been. Jesus Christ is why the combination of fear and regret can be kicked to the curb. When we’re trusting his love and following his example, we can have confidence that we’re no longer who we used to be, and that the magnetic force of the love of Christ will keep us on track to God’s blessings.■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Trust in the Process

A friend suffered through domestic violence and abuse during her entire childhood. Her mother took the brunt of physical abuse as she watched in horror. In shock from the trauma of witnessing these attacks, she remembers being paralyzed by the fear, of literally not being able to physically move. Today, the trauma of what she endured as a child has had tremendous impact on her adult life. She feels as if she’s constantly in fight or flight, fearing that something dreadful could happen at any moment. Her anxiety and stress levels are through the roof, and although she is taking medication, her sadness is still very heavy and the impulse to flee danger seems to be constant.

Patterns of fear can develop as a result of the childhood trauma we’ve experienced. These patterns can become firmly entrenched. They can be locked so deep in our consciousness that we don’t even recognize them. We’re constantly reacting and responding to life by the behaviors, feelings, and attitudes the patterns dictate. In a sense, the patterns of fear take the position of authority in our lives. It should come as no surprise to us that this interferes with our relationship with God. He tells us in 1John 4:18 that His love has no fear, not even a hint of it. His love is perfect, and it dispels fear—totally wipes it out! He tells us that a person that lives from a place of fear hasn’t been made complete through His love.

You and I can know from this verse in 1John 4:18 that one of the defining characteristics of God’s love is its power to make a person whole and complete. Everyone that says they believe this hasn’t manifested it. In truth, it takes a very long time for some of us to process this truth. We can’t pretend to know it, and simply saying the words “I trust in God’s love” doesn’t mean that a person really does. The reality is that this trust we have in God must be anchored in the deepest part of who we are. When it is, it will ooze from our pores. It will be infused in everything we do, and every person we influence will be affected by it. This is God’s goal for us.  

God articulates this goal through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:16-17(NLT). Paul said, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” This truly is phenomenal, because God allows us access to knowledge regarding the way that He empowers us. He tells us that He administers strength to our cores through the person of the Holy Spirit.

Fear is a dream killer, and most of us underestimate the degree to which it robs us of vitality, enthusiasm, and the splendor of life that God intended us to have. Fear is an enemy of God, and faith in Him brings Him great joy. Our faith in God is an expression of our appreciation for who He is. It is an acknowledgement of not only His love, but our faith in Him is an acceptance of His love. And just as we can’t physically, visibly see love; we can’t see faith.  Like love, faith becomes visible through our commitment, attitude, and deeds. This is why James 2:26(NIV) states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” We must back our faith with actions that demonstrate a willingness to release fear.

As we do this, it is so important for us to trust God’s process. You and I are not able to reach the places within us where fear is hiding out. We’re not able to get to the root of it so that it can be kicked to the curb. We can’t do this, but God most certainly can, and He will if we trust Him. It may not feel like the Holy Spirit is doing a work on the inside, but truly He is. Philippians 1:6(NLT) tells us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Jesus Christ has a front row seat to our pain. He’s not going to crack us open like an egg. Lovingly, he’s guiding us. Take hold of his hand and follow his lead. It may not happen overnight, but he is helping you release the fear, so that your grasp on a relationship with God is firm and built solidly on trust.

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.

“Trust in the Process” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! s