Dissolving the Dark Cloud of Sadness

One of the residuals of surviving domestic violence and abuse is the feeling that everything is stacked against your happiness. Not only is it an alarming place to be, it is emotionally exhausting. Once you’ve placed your trust in someone you believed to be worthy of it, and they end up betraying this trust, something is lost. You no longer believe the world to be a safe place or that you can carve out a small piece of safe harbor for yourself. Living daily with this can make you feel like there’s a dark cloud looming over your head, and it follows you everywhere you go. For many of us, it is a sadness we can’t seem to shake.

Some abusers cloak their manipulative tactics with a very charismatic personality. They seem exciting and have a lot of fun, and this can be a very attractive and magnetic draw, especially for a person that is starving for attention and isn’t secure in themselves. Many victims fall for the abuser and latch on to them very tightly because of this. It’s the beginning of such internal conflict. One part of you, a very important part, is being fed in a way that is deeply satisfying. The other part of you is being zapped of all its vitality and strength by someone who wants you to believe they love you. To say that you are torn is an understatement.

Likewise, to say that a person in this situation needs rescuing is also an understatement. The first truth that we must accept is that we’re unable to rescue ourselves. God is our Rescue. 2King 17:39(NLT) states, “You must worship only the LORD your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.” Without God, we wouldn’t be able to do anything. Nothing in the universe happens without Him allowing it to occur. We are given this earth experience to grow in our relationship with Heavenly Father and to also increase our knowledge and understanding about Him, so that we can make wise decisions and choices. The goal in life is to trust Him more and more with each passing day, our trust in Him transforms us into all that He desires us to be. 

Believing God to this degree is a foreign concept for most. Some might believe in Him, but they don’t think leaning on Him for everything equates to the level of maturity an adult should have in life. They think it’s fine for children, but they equate a fully persuaded faith in God to believing in fairytales. Not understanding the accomplishment of Jesus Christ through his ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection, some people believe life is to be lived on their own terms and that’s that.

Faith in God is nowhere near a fairytale. Faith in Him through Jesus Christ is believing in reality, everything else is temporary and fading away minute by minute. 1John 2:17(NKJV) declares, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Society teaches us to place all our trust in people, governments, institutions, relationships, and material things. We start to believe that we can use all those things as a foundation for building ourselves and to undergird the kind of life we desire. The world is corrupting, so why would we use it to build anything we want to last? 1Colossians 3:11(NLT) teaches us, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” He is the Rock of our Salvation, and because of him we have received the gift of eternal life.

The dark cloud of sadness that hovers over many individuals does so because they refuse to have faith in God. Many of them are stuck in disappointment because they gave another human being a place in their lives that only God should have been given. They put all their eggs in this person’s basket, and the eggs were crushed because this is a responsibility no human being can handle successfully. God didn’t give any human the ability to see into the heart of another, nor did He give us the capacity to keep someone else’s heart. He lets us know in His Word that we are responsible for our own hearts. He commands us in Proverbs 4:23 to guard them above all else.

Dissolving the dark cloud requires our diligence to grow in faith. The fantasy was believing that another person could give us something that God could or would not. The fairytale is thinking life will cooperate with us when we don’t trust God with all our hearts, minds, and strength. He is our Rescue. He’s our strength from day to day, and He tells us in His Word to delight in Him. There is none that compares to our Heavenly Father, and He is all we need. We don’t have to live a life dominated by fear. We’re not built for that. Our hope is in Christ, and Romans 5:5 affirms that this hope does not disappoint! We were created from God’s love, and through Christ, we can live love every moment of every day. This is what God wants for us, and one of the greatest things any of us can do is to want it for ourselves. ■

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.

“Dissolving the Dark Cloud of Sadness”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Wants Our Eyes Open

Galatians 5:1(MSG)
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”

“Why am I constantly being hit with one problem after another? Why can’t I catch a break?”

I once heard a Domestic Violence and Abuse counselor say that many individuals continue to suffer abuse because they haven’t reached a point of not wanting the abuser in their lives anymore. I must admit that I was surprised and a little shocked when I heard this, but it expanded how I viewed the traumatic events of my own life and the mindsets of both the abuser and the person being abused. There is no question that a person being abused has to make a shift. They must come to a place of recognizing that God doesn’t want anyone to be abused. They must also realize they deserve better and that God will help them. This is part of what it means to come into the light of awareness about God’s plan for your life and align our steps with His agenda instead of our own.

Many of us will endure mistreatment and abuse a long time before we begin to trust God and free ourselves from darkness. When you pull back the layers of why we suffer abuse so long, the root of it can be traced to a lack of faith in God. We don’t have faith that He loves us and gives us strength. We don’t have faith that He will bring someone wonderful into our lives, and we don’t have faith that we can become the version of ourselves that He created us to be.

Everything in life requires faith. We can’t get out of bed each morning if we don’t have faith that we can do it. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the Good News about Jesus Christ. God is the Giver of life. He made it possible for us to have life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Most people understand that life is a gift from God; they at least know this from His Word, but most don’t invest the time to know more than this from His Word. They think they’re here on this earth to do their own thing, and that God doesn’t want to be bothered with the minute details of our decisions and choices. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT) tells us, “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” We’re to trust in God with all our hearts, but in an abusive situation, sometimes all our hearts aren’t available to us. We’re too consumed with either trying to protect ourselves or deal with the dysfunction of the abuser. God tells us to cease with leaning on our own understanding, because we’re blinded by the continual shenanigans of the devil. Only Heavenly Father knows and sees the big picture. He is the Only One that can make a way out of no way. Verse 5 instructs us to seek the Will of the Father in ALL that we do. We are to pray earnestly, diligently, and faithfully. He hears us. He is able and willing to help us, and only He can direct our feet on the path He desires us to take.

Galatians 5:1 tells us that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has set us free. He did this when he came to live on the earth, became human like us, sacrificed his life and was resurrected from the dead by the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 2:14(NLT) says, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” Darkness belongs to the devil, and darkness has many cousins like fear, doubt, insecurity, bondage, destruction, depression, and death. These are many of the things that the devil uses to overpower people and keep them enslaved. The weapon that he uses to do it with is ignorance. People can’t rise above what they don’t know, so when we are not knowledgeable regarding what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, the devil can keep us oppressed.

God has designed life in such a way that the more we know about Jesus Christ, the more we grow in faith. The more we grow in faith, the better our lives become. Jesus Christ said in John 8:32(NLT), “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If knowing the Good News of Jesus Christ sets us free, then not knowing it keeps us in bondage. This is the current state of many of God’s people, and it is because they haven’t learned about what Jesus Christ has made available. When we don’t hear the Good News and trust it, we live far beneath our privilege. The lights are not on in terms of us understanding our identity in Christ and who God has created us to be.

2Corinthians 4:4(NLT) says, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” Have you ever wondered why when one crazy thing happens, no sooner than you get it handled, another pops up right after it? Sometimes, it’s just one thing after another. Many people become so used to this bombardment of issues and problems, that they think this is the way God wants life to go. This isn’t true. 1Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God is not the author of confusion. He is a God of peace, and He desires us to live a peaceful existence, so that we can have peaceful fellowship in our relationship with Him.

If we submit to God, repent from our sins, and trust Him in faith, God will help us. When our trust is in Him, we can be courageous and refuse to walk in darkness any longer. God has given us victory through Jesus Christ, but we must walk in this victory.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to see the glorious light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. God wants us to know that Jesus Christ gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins so that we will saved from a life of bondage and darkness. Ephesians 5:8(NLT) tells us, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” Heavenly Father created us to be children of His glorious light. If we allow it, His light will shine in our hearts and begin to produce good things in our lives.

It’s time out for not seeing the truth of who God has made us. Whether it is a spouse or significant other who doesn’t treat us well, when you and I don’t know the truth of God’s Word, the enemy can use people that are close to us to keep us blinded from the light of Christ. We must wake up and see it for what it is. Know that every decision you make to walk in your truest, highest self in Christ is a move towards the light. We were created by God to be free, and when we repent of our sins, seek God’s forgiveness, and read His Word more, our lives will be transformed. ■

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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.

“God Wants Our Eyes Open”, written by Fran and Kyrene for written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Care for the Soul

What makes us pursue someone that hurts us? I’ve seen it more times than I can say. A woman is disrespected, abused, and sometimes cheated on, and when the man leaves, she does everything within her power to get him back. Is our fear of rejection and loneliness so severe that we will do just about anything to keep a warm body near? I personally know women that have compromised their integrity, put their jobs on the line, and even sacrificed the well-being and their responsibilities to their children in order to get the man back. What I’ve learned is that when we abandon the care of our souls, our need for intimate connection can take us down a very dark and dangerous path.

Genesis 1:26 very plainly tells us that God made human beings in His own image. One of the attributes of God’s image is that He is self-governing. He makes decisions, and He doesn’t have to consult anyone about them. He alone is sovereign, and He can do anything that pleases Him. One of the things that pleased Him was to weave this self-governing attribute into our beings as well. We make our own choices and decisions, and God doesn’t stop us from doing this. In all of humanity’s history, there wasn’t a more catastrophic choice and decision than the one Adam and Eve made when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and bowed to satan. Surely, if there were such a thing as God interfering with our choices and decisions, that would have been an occasion when He would have done it. He could have slapped that ol’ apple right out of Eve’s hand and prevented the series of horrific events that led to the fall of humanity, but God didn’t interfere.

Romans 11:29(NLT) tells us, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.” Heavenly Father allowed Adam and Eve to throw away the treasures of life and holiness that He’d given them. He gave them, and He’s given all of us the gift of free-will agency, and He will not overstep or withdraw it. Understanding His allegiance to His Word also underscores the reality that there’s no mistake any human being can make that God cannot correct. His Will goes forth no matter how foolish we are. Adam messed up big time, and God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to correct Adam’s colossal mistake. Our Heavenly Father could have wiped Adam and Eve from the face of the earth and made it as if they had never existed, but He didn’t do this. He is a redeeming God, and His willingness to offer redemption reveals that He is forgiving, full of love, and He bestows grace and mercy upon those who seek it. This is indeed good news for us!

To redeem is to compensate for the faults or poor aspects of something by exchanging them for something far better. What God did for us through Christ was to redeem us from sin, so that we could be all He originally intended us to be before the first couple’s catastrophic actions. He did this spiritually, and it’s up to us to align our souls so they are in harmony with the overwhelming love God has shown us through Christ.

Sin is not doing things God’s way. Jesus Christ told us in John 14:6 that he is the way, the truth, and the life. So, God has shown us HIS WAY through Christ, but in the minds of most, sin seems like the easiest, most pleasurable and practical choice. The Bible tells us that thoughts like this about sin are those belonging to a person that has a mind blinded by satan. 2Corinithans 4:4 says that because satan has blinded them, they can’t see the glorious light of Christ and don’t understand it. This is the condition of an individual that craves the thing that causes injury to their souls and pursues that thing instead of the healing that comes from God.

Wanting a person so much that we are willing to chase after them even though we know they are not good for us; this shows us the degree to which our souls need nourishment. Fear is a lie from hell. It causes us to abdicate our rightful standing of authority and power in Christ. Fear causes us to hold tightly to what we think will bring us pleasure, because we don’t believe God’s way will achieve a better outcome. God is the One with the plan for our lives. We must not ever underestimate the good plan that He has in store for us, and we must never underestimate how much prayer will help to align our steps with what He has planned.

Darkness will cause us to think that our souls can lead us righteously, and arrogance will cause us to think that we alone can come up with a workable plan. Not so. The good news is that we can indeed become all that we were meant to be and have the life God wants to give us, but our humility is not negotiable. We must surrender our plan for God’s plan.

Heavenly Father told us in Psalm 46:10(NKJV), “Be still, and know that I am God.” Stillness is a spiritual practice, one that requires the discipline to put the soul on lockdown, so that we give our spirit a chance to minister to us according to the Lord’s guidance. We need to cease from responding and reacting to our circumstances and move to the place of spiritual quietness and renewal; it’s a place where we humbly submit ourselves to the leadership of Christ. It’s when we have surrendered all to God and are availing ourselves to Him, and Him alone, in every way possible.

We live in a time where everyone does whatever they feel is right for their own souls, and this is usually done without accountability or responsibility to what God says is right. It simply will not work, and the current state of the world proves this overwhelmingly. Our Heavenly Father backs His Word. He’s supreme and He does not lie. Even though our souls may experience discomfort, it isn’t the person that left they are aching for. Our souls ache to be fed manna from heaven, the everlasting power and virtue of God’s Word. If we’ll make the free-will choice to turn to Heavenly Father and trust what He says, we will receive comfort and calm, as our souls are transformed by the One who made them.■

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.

“Care for the Soul”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Obsessed with the Outer Reality

Sometimes, there are people that come across our paths at the oddest times, and they eventually leave as quickly as they came. I met such a person some years ago. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll call her Alexa. She’s nice enough, pleasant to talk to, and very savvy, but I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as uncomfortable around anyone as I was her. To say she was always impeccably dressed is truly an understatement. Hair beautifully coifed, makeup tight, with a perfect manicure to boot, I was super impressed and a little intimidated to be honest. Her kids were as immaculately kept as she appeared to be. Everything was designer this or that, and the Italian and French names rolled effortlessly from her lips.

As I got to know Alexa a little better, her obsession with status was hard to miss. The car, the home, private schools for the kids, all of it had to be top notch. Her need to keep up with it all was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. It would be wonderful to say that she was as adamant about her relationship with the Lord and with the condition of her soul as she was about shoes with red bottoms, but I personally saw no evidence of this. What I did see, however, was how a life can be totally devastated when an accountability to spiritual principles is ignored, neglected, or refused.

There is a very base level of consciousness that most human beings never seek to elevate. It may sound like a judgment, but truth is not bound, hindered, or bothered by any individual’s judgment. Truth stands on its own and proves itself. When we’re obsessed with the outer reality to the point that we’re neglecting the inner reality, every aspect of our existences will begin to mirror this neglect.

In 1Thessalonians 5:23(NLT), God commands, Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” We are made in the image of God. The Godhead is triune: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In like manner, He created humans to be triune as well. He is our Father, we are His children, and it is therefore undeniably logical and perfectly intelligent that our makeup should mirror His. He’s a God of order, and everything He does has order and purpose. We are an on-purpose people serving and honoring an on-purpose God.

Three parts make up the sum of our being, and without all three parts, we would not be human beings, we’d be something else. We have a human spirit, a human soul, and a human body. All three parts are to be in harmony, and to be unified to such a degree that all are functioning and operating in the very same way that Christ did. A Christ-level of being is the ultimate and the highest state than any living creature could ever hope to attain. To help us achieve this highest state of living and being, God has given us a part of Himself. He’s given us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and sealed our human spirit with His Spirit. Ephesians 1:13-14 The Message(MSG) affirms, “ It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This down payment from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.”

Our human spirit was recreated by Jesus Christ through the born-again experience and is perfect in every way. It is the highest part of us, and the soul and body must obey it in order to be in harmony with the Lord. A base level consciousness refuses to be obedient to the ways of Jesus Christ, and because of this refusal, the souls of many people are not fed the diet of God’s Word they desperately need. Our recreated human spirit contains our new nature, and this new nature wants to do what is right, but the soul is a very different story. The soul has the old nature, one that craves whatever will make the body feel pleasure. It is a flesh driven existence, one that keeps a person craving the very thing that defeats them.

The old nature rebels against the ways of Christ, and it causes the kind of self-sabotage that not only destroys our lives, but it can take others down with it. I saw the beginning of this with Alexa. Her need to control, her temper tantrums when she didn’t get her way, and the nastiness of her arrogance were corrosive. When her life began to crumble, the shame of it was too much. The marriage, the home, the car…all of it gone. As quickly as her life had crossed my path, it faded from my view, as it did for many others.

To give ourselves the greatest chance for fulfillment and peace during our sojourn on earth, we’ve got to disconnect from the old nature and feed our souls the diet it desperately craves, which is life in the Spirit. Everything in our entire being is aching for us to let the Spirit be at work within. Ephesians 3:20(NLT) says, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” God’s power works in us through His Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit is His seed, and He has placed His seed within our human spirits to help us lead a successful life as followers of Jesus Christ. Letting the Spirit take the lead over our lives through Christ is the very best decision we can make, and it will benefit the whole of our existence. The question that you and I must ask ourselves is whether we’re allowing the Holy Spirit to be at work. If we aren’t, now is a terrific time to start.■

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 quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

“Obsessed with the Outer Reality”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Practicing the Peace of God

Not long ago, a friend said to me that she’s rarely had occasions when she didn’t feel the gut-wrenching discomfort of fear churning away inside her. With everything that is going on in our world, she believes her fears are getting worse. She’s often heard folks speak about the peace of God, but she finds it very challenging to accept. My friend is afraid of everything, and much of her time is spent preparing for the worse. Many of us have been there, and some of us are still there. The anxious gnawing away inside us is the response to our fear of eminent danger, and it’s because we feel powerless to do anything about what we perceive to be a threat. Whether or not we can readily identify any immediate danger is irrelevant. Our internal register tells us that we’ve been wounded before, and we are in jeopardy of being wounded again.

Romans 8:37 declares that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ who loves us! The “more than” takes it over the moon for me, because it conveys overwhelming victory through Christ. A life filled with fear is operating in a whole other dimension than a life fully operating in Romans 8:37. It’s almost as if the two individuals, one trusting Christ and the other overwhelmed by fear, are on two different planets. Our fears, worries, and doubts do nothing to help any situation that arises, yet most of us gravitate towards these heavies more than we do towards faith in God through Jesus Christ.

The thing that I shared with my friend is that fear has a ravenous appetite. It doesn’t know how to take one bite. It just wants more and more and more. Anxiety and worry feed it and continue doing so until this cycle of feeding and wanting more takes over a person’s life. At some point, we have to get off this rollercoaster and realize that although it’s fast moving, it’s not getting us anywhere.

The peace of God is our destination, and there are certain choices and decisions it requires for the journey forward. The first of which is understanding that we’re not in charge of God’s peace. It isn’t something we calculate, manipulate, or ration. Fear makes us think that by feeding it, we have some degree of control. We don’t, and this mindset will not fly with the things of God. He is sovereign. This means that He’s in total control, and the only way that you and I can experience His blessings is through our humility. We must humble ourselves before all that He is. Fear is from the kingdom of darkness, and fear does not acknowledge that God is in control.

Another important choice we must make is that of no longer practicing fear. This is not to say that we must totally eradicate every drop of fear in our lives. From where we stand today, none of us are even totally conscious of how much fear and doubt is in our hearts. But to the extent that we are aware, we must focus our attention on God through the person of Jesus Christ and allow Him to do what only He can do in our lives.

Philippians 4:6-7(NLT) tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” We have to be willing to surrender everything to God in prayer, understanding that our faith in Him through Jesus Christ is what transports us from chaos and confusion into His perfect peace. We cannot steer, and we don’t own the map. All we are required to do is to trust Heavenly Father and train the eyes of our hearts to continually look to the Lord, as we allow our souls to rest in His peace.■

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.

“Practicing the Peace of God”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Can You Turn Your Life Around?

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 19:26 that with God, all things are possible. This is extraordinarily good news! The words of Jesus Christ should break through the haze of doubt and sadness that many people have been walking around with for years, but they feel hopeless, as if nothing and no one can lift them up. When the hiccups and mishaps of life just keep coming, one after another, our enthusiasm for the possibilities that life holds can get buried under layers of emotional stuff, so much so that we don’t know or can’t find the path to joy anymore. Instead, sadness and numbness become the way we move through our days. Some of us are so used to not feeling anything other than sadness and numbness that we think it’s just a part of our personality now, when in truth, it’s a wall. We put it up to try to protect ourselves from getting hurt and to shield ourselves from the pain of experiencing yet another disappointment.

Nehemiah 8:10(NLT) says, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Many people have heard this verse but don’t understand it. Is it that we’re to be joyful because God is our Creator? Should we have joy because of what He did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross? Does God have joyfulness, and does it make us strong? The answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘yes!’. But it isn’t enough to agree with the answer, Heavenly Father wants us to live the answer, and He is ever willing to help us do so.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10(NLT), “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus Christ came to the earth to give us life, and not just life, but life more abundantly. He is letting us know that life on earth isn’t always peachy, because we’ve got a spiritual enemy that will go for the jugular. Our Master Jesus doesn’t sugarcoat the truth but tells us straightforwardly that the devil’s mission is to steal, kill, and destroy; and he’s not messing around. But Jesus Christ also tells us that we shouldn’t lay down and become the enemy’s doormat. We weren’t created to be continually tricked, manipulated, and influenced by darkness. And in this, we can have joy! We were created to be victorious in every way so that we receive all that God has in store for us.

There’s a better way! Knowing this doesn’t take all our sadness and numbness away. We may not feel like skipping through fields of daisies, but the truth of God’s goodness is a seed that must be planted in our consciousness in order that we might have hope. 2Thessalonians 2:16-17(NLT) says, “16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” We need to be confident that our Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ love us, and with their love there’s hope, because they are committed to help us through anything that we might be facing.

As Christians, we’re called to be realist, and truth is reality. God has all power in His hands, and all things are possible with Him. This is the truth! You and I are called to have faith, hope, and love. Through the Apostle Paul, God tells us in 1Timothy 6:12(NLT), “Fight the good fight for the true faith.” This means we must be fully invested in the practice of totally leaning on God for everything. This is what faith is, it’s totally leaning on Heavenly Father to take care of all our needs; this is the kind of relationship He desires with us, and He tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that this total dependence on Him is what pleases Him.

It’s not that God isn’t seeing the challenges and difficulties we face in life. He does. We need Him to move in our situations, but He needs us to have faith in Him. And sometimes, when we trust Him, things don’t get better right away. This is where hope makes its grand entrance and the faith muscle gets a workout. You and I might not be able to see the future, but we can hope for a good future because that’s what God promises. So, we have to trust in what we can’t see. Even though at times we might feel like the bottom of someone’s shoe, we have to take authority in Jesus Christ, and let God’s Word have the final say and not our emotions. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel some type of way, but we must turn to God, continue to trust Him, and our emotions will begin to follow.

God is indeed a joyful God. He delights in blessing us, and He commands us to delight in Him. Delighting in God is our strength because it means we are coming in agreement with the truth of His sovereignty and divinity. We have no strength to call our own. 2Corinthians 3:5 teaches us that our sufficiency comes from God. So, as much as we think we are, you and I are not in control. Life proves this to us every day. Psalm 24:1(NLT) declares, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” Heavenly Father wants you to succeed in life, and you can turn your life around if you are willing to place all your trust in Him.■

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.

“Can You Turn Your Life Around?”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Making A Faith Move When It’s Dangerous

We had been staying at my grandmother’s house for a few weeks, and I was both relieved and terrified. My father thought it was just a temporary thing. We had done this lots of times before, when my mother was too weak and emotionally exhausted from his abuse. She’d threaten to leave him, and we’d retreat to my grandmother’s. She’d rest physically and emotionally, and we always went back. I was familiar with the drill, but this time was different. We had stayed longer than any other time before, and my father was becoming agitated.

Determined to make a new start for us all, my mother had planned to move us to another state to get away from her abuser. Her cousin, notorious for partying and drinking on the weekends, got drunk and told someone of my mother’s plan to leave my father for good. Being a small town where everyone talks, it wasn’t long before my father got wind of it.

The plan was that my mother would leave first to secure a place for us to stay and then send for my siblings and me. Her ticket was purchased, but my father started digging and found out the details of her late-night flight. That evening, my aunts and grandmother gathered, and I remember them being unusually quiet. My aunt would go to the front door and peek through its small window to check periodically. My sweet respite in times of trouble was now a battlefield, and the soldiers were preparing for war. The energy was extremely tense, and my heart was in my stomach. I was accustomed to stress and worry, but I was more concerned for my mom’s safety than I had ever been before. My father had a gun, and I did not doubt that he would use it.

My mom’s cousins had been on the lookout for my dad’s movement, and when one of them met my aunt at the door, I could tell something was going down. I then heard a couple of cars parking inconspicuously as my aunts moved into position. My mother had been told to remain in the backroom with the ‘youngins’ while my aunts handled everything, and she knew they would. They were not strangers to abusers and were prepared to do whatever it took to make sure we would be okay and that my mom got on that plane.

I heard my father’s car as it raced around the sharp curve in the road nearby and stopped mid street, in front of my grandmother’s house. In those days, children were not allowed to witness or speak about the things happening before my eyes, but for whatever reason, maybe because I was the eldest of my mother’s children, I had been allowed to be a silent and shocked observer. When I heard the tussling at the door, it felt as if I had left my body. My mind couldn’t absorb what was happening. There was horrible profanity and threats, and I put my hands over my ears.

My father had encountered a force he had not anticipated. He began to whine, and I felt faint. I knew that if my mother heard his diminished rage, she’d acquiesce. Oh, how I didn’t want that. The instincts that only couples intertwined can share must have kicked in. My mother abandoned her post, and the next thing I knew, she was standing at the door, in front of my father. This time, she did not yield, but held tightly to what strength she had. Outnumbered, my father tore off in his monte carlo, and my aunts and cousins stood watch until my mom departed for the airport.

It took a village to give us a start to a new life, and they put themselves in harm’s way to do it. I was forever changed by this event, and I learned a lot about faith and courage. We all fight in different ways and at different times, but the truth is that we must do exactly that, fight! Our lives are worth fighting for, but we must be smart and strategic about how we do it, and we cannot do it well without faith and trust in God. We must lean on His wisdom and guidance.

Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.” This isn’t a suggestion. It is a requirement for living life. Faith in God is the foundation that gives us the courage to move when it’s time to do so. Our Lord and Savior also tells us in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible. The mind-and-heart-set of any person being abused must be strengthened in the reality that freedom from the bondage of abuse is God’s Will for them. And not only this, but God will make freedom from the clutches of an abuser possible if you place your trust in Him through Jesus Christ.

God tells us in Romans 8:28 that He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Living in an environment where there’s domestic violence and abuse is dangerous. There can be no doubt about it, but a commitment to the practice of prayer and to lean on the Lord Jesus Christ will turn what seemed impossible into the miracle we need.

There’s a saying that “God will keep you if you want to be kept.” Some individuals that are being abused do not want to be kept by God’s love, strength, and power. It’s possible they’ve not come to a place of believing that through Jesus Christ, they can fight for their lives and win. Please know, that if you are being abused, God desires to keep, preserve, and protect your life. Never doubt His ability to help you make a faith move to be released from an abusive situation. He has unlimited resources, those that we can’t even imagine. Let the Lord help and guide you, so that when it’s time for you to make a faith move in a dangerous situation, you have the courage and strength to see it through. ■

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.

“Making A Faith Move When It’s Dangerous”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Should I Stay When He Cheats?

Would you stay in a relationship if you found out your spouse or significant other had cheated? Don’t answer too quickly. If you’ve never gone through it then your answer could possibly surprise you. 

Out of the blue, a close friend asked me that if by chance I found out my spouse was cheating, would I continue to stay in the relationship. I didn’t hesitate to answer with a resounding “NO!” He quickly said to me, “You say ‘no’ because you’re not in the situation right now, but when you’re married with children, the answer doesn’t come that easy.” After giving this some thought, I realized that my immediacy in answering this question speaks to my inability to consider that there are always two sides. Spiritual maturity begs us to seek God before we rush to judgment. It also demands that we have a humble and forgiving heart. So regardless of our pain and anger, we must seek God for the best course of action.

Many women are hurting today, at this very moment, and the reason they’re in so much pain is because their hearts have been broken by someone they love. A few years ago, my pastor taught about deliverance from a broken heart.  What resonated so deeply was understanding that when our hearts are broken, the ultimate take-away is always going to be the lesson our hurt teaches us about ourselves and about our relationship with God.   

This truth stuck with me because there have been times when hurt has come my way, and if I’m honest, I was baffled as to why Heavenly Father didn’t prevent it. I was utterly devastated, and I didn’t understand why God had allowed me to experience such despair, especially by the person who claimed to care about me. It wasn’t that I had mastered the art of relationships and thought I was untouchable, but I thought at least I knew enough to dodge a bullet when it came to getting my heart broken again. I was wrong. 

Sometimes, the significant people we love are not meant to journey with us any further. They are not the person we should marry and spend the rest of our lives with. We try to cling to them, but their destiny is on another path. We should allow ourselves a little time to grieve, and then get ready to proceed onward and upward in Christ. The only way to really do this is to learn the lesson about the love of Christ that this person has revealed to us. A big part of this lesson is to look before we leap—to seek God before making huge emotional investments.

And if we don’t do this, and it becomes apparent we’ve make a wrong choice, we should repent, release the thing that isn’t working for us, and reprioritize our relationship with God, so that He is in the number one spot. Jesus Christ teaches us in Matthew 6:33 that we must put God first in all things and love Him with all that we are. Our Lord and Master affirms that blessings will chase us down when loving God is our prime motivation in life.

When a spouse has betrayed the marriage vow, it is a very different situation than when someone that isn’t a spouse cheats and goes outside the relationship. Because marriage is God’s institution, if the spouse that has cheated desires forgiveness, and the Lord says so, anyone can be healed, and any relationship can be restored. But boy do we have to walk in wisdom and hear from God with this one. You don’t want to set yourself up to be repeatedly lied to and cheated on, but by the same token, you can’t play the victim and shift all the blame on the cheating spouse. We must at all times remember that God holds us accountable for our actions, and sometimes we’ve done things that caused our spouses to feel hurt and isolated as well.

Relationships are challenging and there are complicated issues to deal with. Even before we go into marriage, God expects that we will have saturated our hearts and minds with His Word, so that we have the endurance and spiritual strength to weather storms. Many of us have not put on His whole armor, and we take that walk down the aisle without it. Then, when something happens and knocks the wind out of us, we are faced with a situation that requires more spiritual maturity and strength than what we’ve acquired.

Ephesians 5:25(NLT) says, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” This is not some abstract concept. It’s God’s standard for the way a man should love and treat his wife. Jesus Christ said in Luke 12:48 that to whom much is given much is required. So, if a man loves his wife the way Christ loves the church, she has a responsibility to make sure she reciprocates it; her actions must be deserving of this kind of love. Considering this, the very best course of action when cheating rears its ugly head is to come to an agreement together to seek the Lord. Both spouses must have humility and be willing to rededicate themselves towards making Jesus Christ the center of their marriage. Then, every step they take together can be guided by his Spirit. ■

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.

“Should I Stay When He Cheats?”, written by Kyrene, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Taking Matters into Your Own Hands Isn’t A Good Idea

Learning to love through the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual lesson in wisdom, power, humility, and forgiveness. It’s all wrapped together in the most beautiful package, and we’re entrusted with it. Wisdom is the first place to start. Proverbs 4:7(KJV) tells us, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” When something is a principal thing, it’s first in line in the order of importance. This gives us a clue about how we should value and view wisdom. God tells us to be sure we don’t skimp on it. As a matter of truth, He tells us it’s a necessary tool in our toolboxes, and if we don’t use it, we’ll be in big trouble. Some of us have learned this the hard way, especially when it comes to relationships.  

The Book of Genesis in the Old Testament takes us to school on creation and the very beginning. Our Heavenly Father is meticulously masterful, and thoughtful beyond anything we can fathom. Before He created Adam, the first man, He took six days to make a place for Adam’s habitation. Woven within this paradise called earth were the duties and work that would keep Adam occupied and instill within him the administrative and management skills necessary to reign. When God created the first human, He placed him in this paradise where all he would ever need was already provided. God wanted to make sure that you and I were tuned-in to the pattern He established when He created human beings. 2Corinthians 3:5 declares that “Our sufficiency is of God.” He’s our Source, and from the very beginning He established the reality that humans must rely upon His provision. This is a pattern that will never cease.

Heavenly Father took a rib from Adam and made Eve, Adam’s wife. This was the first couple, and this established another pattern and precedent for humanity. Genesis 2:18(NLT) makes it quite clear. It tells us, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;” In today’s world, we’ve gotten so turned around that we label what God says is good as being bad, and what He says is bad, we label it good. What God says goes. He created us and He knows the best way for us to operate according to His love.

The Lord established the relationship between a man and a woman from the very beginning of their creation. This demonstrates for us that this significant relationship is fulfilling and meaningful to our existences, but most importantly, it is purposeful to God’s plan and agenda for creation, and for our individual lives. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t deal in ambiguity. He’s extremely precise, and everything He does has a purpose and reason. It is therefore perfectly aligned that we should seek Him for His wisdom, because it will allow us to walk the path He has purposed with confidence and specificity.

Isaiah 14:27(NLT) says, “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken— who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” Anything outside of God’s purpose will not prevail. It won’t be good for us, and it will not yield success. This isn’t negative or punitive. It’s wisdom! If we begin our pursuit of a significant relationship with the wisdom of God’s purpose firmly in our grasp, we can be continually guided and directed by God’s Spirit to the right person for us. It’s a big mistake to assume we don’t require His divine leadership in this very important part of our lives.

Romans 8:32(NLT) tells us, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son. He is God’s most precious treasure, and God gave him to the world to save us. God did this, so it is without question that He will not withhold any other good thing from us. He is more concern with protecting and preserving our lives than we are. He knows that the wrong person can cause you dreadful harm and the right person can cause you tremendous good.

Jeremiah 29:11 declares that God has a plan for our individual lives, and it is a good one. Understand that God will allow us to take matters into our own hands and make choices without His input, but this is never a good idea. It’s such a costly mistake, and it can be avoided. Life is not a random chain of unfortunate coincidences. It is the journey that God has ordained for His purpose and for our spiritual benefit. Pray before you leap into relationships. Walk in the Spirit so that you are in tune with God’s wisdom. Get His approval before you make emotional investments in folks that are not aligned with where He wants to take you. God has left no detail to chance, and we need to invite His leadership and guidance into our decision making, especially when it comes to the relationships we want to last. ■

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.

“Taking Matters into Your Own Hands Isn’t A Good Idea”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

He Wants to Fit You in His Back Pocket

Shana said that she sometimes feels there’s a sign on her back that says, “I’m an easy target.” She no longer trusts her ability to chose someone that is right for her life because all her relationships in the past have been abusive. Emotionally exhausted and still in shock over her last boyfriend’s attack, she desperately wants to understand why this keeps happening to her. She’s a very attractive, savvy, and deeply compassionate person. She would never hurt a fly. Her friends and family adore her, and they are always on red alert whenever she dates someone new. Her mother is very concerned and even suggested, “Marriage isn’t for everyone. Maybe you should try being alone for a while.”   

The truth is that Shana loves being in love. Getting married and having a family of her own is her dream, and deep down, she believes it will come true. The thing that has troubled Shana greatly is the men she meets are completely different in the beginning than who they appear to be at the end. The difference is night and day. It’s as if they meet her and after a while, turn into someone she doesn’t recognize. If this had happened only once, she may not have questioned it, but it’s happened with all her adult relationships.

2Timothy 1:7(NLT) tells us, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.Taking it one step closer, Romans 11:29 gives us everything we need to be anchored in this truth and tells us that God’s gifts and His call cannot be withdrawn. Heavenly Father has given us the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. He calls on us to stand upon His gifts, because they are good gifts. They are given to us to aid our lives, increase our faith, and most importantly, to help build our relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. The spiritual goodies that God did not give us are those that should be rejected. If it doesn’t come from Him, it comes from darkness, and therefore, we should mark it “Return to Sender.”

There is nothing random about our lives. Everything about us is created with a purpose specific to God’s Divine Will and Plan. He doesn’t make mistakes. Everything He does is perfect, and there is a reason for everything He does. Romans 8:28(NKJV) tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” To our great disservice, most people underestimate their purpose in God’s plan. They think it’s an arbitrary thing and it doesn’t matter whether they pursue it or not. Because of this cavalier attitude, they also underestimate the unrelenting and evil attacks against them. They are blinded to them—never see them coming.

God’s call is everything. It is life itself! Fulfilling the thing for which we were born literally transforms every detail of our existences. We need to wake up to the reality that when we walk in our purpose, God will cause every detail of our lives to come together, cooperate, and work out for our good. Just the opposite will happen when His purpose is far from our view. And make no mistake, when God’s purpose is far from our view, the devil will try his best to keep it that way. Destiny snatching is the name of the devil’s game, and when we find ourselves stuck in the way that Shana is, the evil minions of darkness are whispering poison in the ears of those who can be used to harm us most.

Blocking your shine, trying to snuff out your light, attempting to squash the magnificence of your call is the abuser’s aim. On every hand he wants to minimize all that you are, so that he can fit you in his back pocket, where you are hidden, silenced, and can only move as he permits. 2Corinithians 4:4(NLT) tells us, Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” The light of Christ is the truth, and when we can’t see the truth, we live beneath our privilege.

To keep us blind, to minimize our Christ authority and power, and to silence us so that we will not capture the blessings and power linked to our destiny is the objective the devil achieves through an abuser. When we’re blinded from the truth, we don’t recognize abusers. Our spiritual senses are dull, and we can’t smell the demonic activity of darkness when it’s in our midst. The solution is not to resort to fear, because God didn’t give us a spirit of fear; it doesn’t come from Him. The solution is to turn to Jesus Christ!

Don’t let anyone hide your light. Don’t let them put you in their back pocket and cancel your destiny. We must be as diligent to protect the treasure we carry in the inner sanctum of our beings as the enemy is to destroy it. 2Thessalonians 3:3(NLT) tells us, “But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” God is faithful, but we have an obligation to trust Him. Our faith is not just lip service. We must be committed to walk with the Lord every moment of each day. When this is our heart, and we’re growing in His Word, we will grow in spiritual maturity and authority in Christ, and nothing in the earth is more powerful than that. ■

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

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.

“He Wants to Fit You in His Back Pocket”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!