Your Safe Place Is in God

“1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” 

Psalm 91:1-3 (NLT)

Falling in love with my man was the easy part. I loved how he pursued me. There were constant phone calls, checking in every morning before he went to work and making sure I had what I needed. He seemed to be genuinely concerned about me, and I believed he had my back. Coming from a traumatic childhood of domestic violence and abuse, my boyfriend’s persistent checkups endeared him to me, and it made me feel safe. The persistent and attentive behavior that had me swooning while we were dating intensified to horrific levels when we got married. I couldn’t go to work in peace without him constantly checking up on me, making sure I was in fact where I said I was going to be. I thought it was as simple as him loving my company and enjoying our time together, but it later became stalking and antagonizing behavior as the relationship continued. I was young and naïve, and I just didn’t recognize the signs. 

It isn’t uncommon for a person that has endured and witnessed domestic violence and abuse as a child to carry the trauma into adulthood. Some of those harmful patterns become entrenched in our psyches and because of this, the drama and trauma we experienced will need to be resolved so that the patterns they caused aren’t on repeat.

The fight or flight response is one that is triggered when we’re in danger, and like it or not, once domestic violence is experienced or witnessed, this response comes into play. The dangerous incident is indented on our brain cells; all traumatic experiences are. From that point, instead of seeing people as loving beings, it’s possible that we will see them only as predators, abusers, and aggressors. This is all playing out in the background, and consciously, we may not realize it. When women are abused or have witnessed abuse as children, it is very challenging for some of them to ever see men the same way. Even though their relationships may start out loving, the man may do something that she perceives as aggressive, and things can spiral out of control from there.

For some of us, the question of why Heavenly Father allowed us to witness or go through domestic violence and abuse in the first place isn’t resolved in our minds and hearts. We can’t reconcile the ‘why’, and it all feels so unfair. And because we can’t reconcile the ‘why’, we’re in perpetual fear. And this fear creates within us an insatiable desire to be safe—to get it right, so to speak. Our conscious mind tells us that if an individual can make us FEEL safe, we’ll BE safe. We buy into this person quickly, lock, stock, and barrel. We behave impetuously, without thinking through our actions, because we’ll do just about anything not to be locked into the torture of continual fight or flight. So, the fear we’re trying to escape is the thing that keeps us in bondage. This is the insidious nature of fear. It’s a vicious cycle that continues until we increase our faith and courage to stop it.

In Hosea 4:6, God tells us that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge. Many of us greatly underestimate the heft of what our Heavenly Father is revealing. We can be severely harmed because of the knowledge that isn’t currently in our arsenals, and this is happening to many of us today. We blame God when we should blame satan, the ruler of darkness. We are born into this world, and it is a place where very bad things can happen because most people have refused to honor God and His Word. A lot of us grow up in negative and corrosive environments. But when we learn God’s Word, and we learn what He has accomplished for us through Jesus Christ, we must come into the light.

Ephesians 3:18-19(NLT) tells us, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” You and I owe it to God and to ourselves to stretch as far and wide in our own understanding as we possibly can in order to fully digest every morsel of this passage. Heavenly Father wants us to comprehend the immeasurability of His love. If we started flying up towards heaven today and flew continually for the next ten million years, we still would not reach the top of the Father’s love. It knows no bounds.

It is incumbent upon each of us to understand that even though there will never be a tool that can measure God’s love, it’s immeasurability must be impressed upon our consciousness. One of the ways that we comprehend its infinite scope is by also understanding other truths that the Father has permitted us to know. For instance, God created the universe in such a way that everything has an opposite. There is truth and a lie. There’s love and hate, right and wrong, faith and fear, holiness and sin, humility and arrogance, liberty and bondage, life and death, and light and darkness. Fully comprehending the origin of these is so integral to our lives that not knowing the Source of all love, righteousness, faith, holiness, humility, liberty, life, and light will lead us to destruction.

We can’t co-mingle light and darkness. Darkness produces abuse, and without the knowledge of God’s Word, darkness prevails. This is why God said in Hosea 4:6 that we can be destroyed by what we don’t know. Ignorance belongs to satan, and he seeks to keep us blinded from the truth, but God is our Rescue. We desperately needed to be rescued from darkness, and God accomplished this for us through Jesus Christ. 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!”

Romans 10:17 declares that faith comes by hearing and perceiving the Word of God. We need to know that our safe place is in God, and then we need to actually make the choice of accepting what Heavenly Father offers or else we’ll remain in the punishment the devil doles out. We’re in the earth for this very reason, to make the choice between the light of Christ and the darkness of satan. It’s true that humanity has made the world a very dark place, but God has called us to be His children of light. This means we can expose darkness for what it is, because God has given us the faith of Jesus Christ, and there is no greater power in the earth. Jesus Christ declared in John 16:33(NLT), “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

It is impossible to comprehend the unlimited depth, width, and breadth of God’s love without also comprehending the magnitude of consuming darkness and hate that the devil has for God’s people. Part of our work is coming into consciousness about this so that we can make a different choice than those before us. We can embrace the light and come out of darkness and find rest in the shelter of the Almighty. Psalm 91:4(NLT) says, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” You will do yourself the greatest favor if you trust this truth with all your heart and have faith that God is your safe place and protection, and He is all you need. ■

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.

“Your Safe Place Is in God”, written by Kyada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Change Your Ways

“Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way.”

2Corinthians 7:9(NLT)

No matter how many times you seem to move forward in our lives, all it takes is one traumatic event or a word of bad news to set us back. The pain and hurtful emotions we experience, not to mention the fear and nervousness; they all seem to rear their ugly heads without invitation. These emotions can make us think that they’re running the show, and we feel so defeated, powerless, and down because of it. When I read the verse in 2Corinthians 7:9, I was reminded that pain can be purposeful because it can cause us to change in ways that we never thought possible. 

You might ask, “Why do we need to go through pain in order to change our ways?” I also asked myself this question, but what quickly came to me is the freedom that God extends to us by allowing us to choose. We have free-will choice, and we get to choose how we’re going to respond to situations. God is the complete opposite of the hurtful feelings we experience. He represents love and liberty for us, and He doesn’t ever want us to feel pain. But if we are going about our daily routines of life, walking around asleep to God’s Word and what He’s called us to do, pain and sorrow will inevitably find their way to us. They often do so at a time when we are not spiritually strong and mature enough to handle them.

This is the devil’s handywork for sure. Like the Old Testament Book of Job demonstrates, the evil one studies us for vulnerabilities, and pounces when we least expect it. As hard as it is for many of us to consider, the first thing that you and I must come to grips with is that our hiccups and missteps can almost always be tied back to something we could have changed or should have let go but didn’t. 

God is a loving Father. He is full of joy and love, and He wants us to be full of joy and love as well. Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that he came to the earth in order to make a more than abundant life available to us. So, we should be confident that Heavenly Father wants us to have a successful life. And in order for us to have the life that Christ made available, God commands us to live like Jesus Christ; we are to live through him. This means we must pattern our lives after the example Jesus left for us. 

We experience discomfort when everything around us is conspiring to help us recognize that change is in our midst, and we need to make some adjustments before life no longer cooperates with our refusal to do so. Emotional stress is often a blinking indicator that something is going on internally that requires our attention. Sometimes it relates to an area in our lives that we have not yet given God access to, like our significant relationships, for instance. 

Many of us have difficulty prioritizing when it comes to the love we feel for the significant person in our lives. We put this person above our willingness to demonstrate love and loyalty to Heavenly Father. We must understand that our love for God should be exponentially higher, more intimate, and more fulfilling than the love we have for anyone else. Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 12:30(NLT), “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”  We must love God with all that we are, and this is not up for negotiation. As we think about what we need to change, alter, or increase about ourselves and our faith, this is the first place to start. 

We need to ask ourselves if we are loving God the way Jesus Christ has commanded. Some of us never ask this question of ourselves, and this is sometimes what our sorrows will reveal. Going back to 2Corinthians 7:9, Heavenly Father reminds us that the positive change that our sorrows spark is the greater gain. In His Word, He tells us His expectations regarding how we should change. He spells out exactly what we should remove from our lives, and exactly the kind of love that should saturate our hearts, and not only this, it is the kind of love we should be receiving from others. In Ephesians 4:30-32(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us, “30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

As God’s children, we are created to house His Spirit within and to be conduits of His divine love. We aren’t built to hold on to bitterness, rage, anger, and evil behavior. Not only can these heavies break us down physically, mentally, and emotionally, but they take a toll on us spiritually. We can’t be who God has called us to be when our hearts are not flooded with His love and goodness.

Change can be very challenging, but we cannot grow without it, and growing in Christ is our reason for being on this earth. We must always remember that we are never alone. The Lord is with us always, and He will never forsake us. We can be comforted in the reality that He is helping us to develop spiritual character, and when we have reached the level of spiritual maturity that He desires, He will be pleased, and we will be rewarded. ■

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.

“Change Your Ways”, 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 is Our Protector, Our Refuge, Our Everything

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1Timothy 6:12(NIV)

When life don’t come easy and its’ challenges seem to get heavier and heavier – do you sit on your hands or do you fight for faith like never before?

I was raised in a Christian household and family with strong women of God.  They demonstrated daily a relentless faith in God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and life didn’t always come easy. They dealt with some heavy-duty challenges. At a time when child-support wasn’t enforced and in some places wasn’t even thought about, some of them raised their children alone. Their example of strength left an indelible mark on my life, because these women didn’t ever appear to me to be deterred or discouraged. They kept it moving and created for all of us a safe and loving haven. They couldn’t have done this had they not known that God’s love is real, and we can depend on it come what may.  

In 2Corinthians 5:7(NIV), God tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” This verse doesn’t mean that we walk around with our physical eyes covered, but God is telling us that we can’t limit His power and blessing based on what our eyes see. The conditions and circumstances may look bleak to our eyes, but God sees what the situation will become through our faith and prayers. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that our faith is evidence of what we can’t yet see. Even though our prayer request has not yet manifested in our physical world, it is a done deal in the spiritual world. In this way, faith is the title deed to what we’ve prayed to receive. In the realm of God, He’s already released the blessing, and it’s our responsibility to continue believing, trusting, and doing what we’ve been called to do until it manifests.

When it comes to dealing with adversity, sometimes we interpret having strength as maintaining a certain amount of control over things. We think we have to know all the facts or know what’s going to happen before we can trust. Well, God tells us to trust first! He wants us to depend on Him to lead, guide, and direct our steps.

Ephesians 3:20(NLT) tells us, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” How many times have people told us that we couldn’t do this, or couldn’t accomplish that? How often have people tried to put us down, or to influence us to quit pushing when the odds were stacked against us? We serve a God who has no barriers! His power is limitless! Our Heavenly Father is in the business of blessing His people beyond anything we could ever ask or think. He far exceeds our expectations, but you and I are not left out of the equation when it comes to this verse. God tells us that His mighty power is working on the inside of us. He wants us to know that some important spiritual work is happening deep in our souls through His Holy Spirit who dwells within. Even though we may not sense it, we are commanded to trust God’s perfect work. Our responsibility is to bring what He’s placed on the inside of us out in the open, by trusting His love and walking in it.  

We serve such a loving Father. He grants us grace and mercy, and He forgives us for our sins, stubbornness, and unwillingness to abandon our worries and trust faithfully in Him. Many single parents face tremendous challenges, and it can seem at times that they come from every direction. You can feel like all hope is lost when you have mouths to feed and not enough finances to take care of your obligations. The enemy wants to use these trials to zap your strength by convincing you that God’s not going to handle the situation, but this is not the truth. God is working in you! To see His power flourish in us, we need to turn our thoughts and feelings to what Christ is doing, not on what the devil is doing.  

Hebrews 11:27(NLT) tells us,“It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” This is precisely what you and I must do! We can never make the mistake of drifting away from God’s truth, not when the struggle is heavy, not when the blessing is on the way, and not when we receive the victory we’ve been waiting on. Our eyes must continually be on God and our faith must be rooted in His promises. 

Psalm 95:7(NLT) assures us, “for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!” Don’t just seek God when your life starts to unravel, or when tragedy knocks at your door, and don’t just seek Him for His blessings. Seek Him because you understand who God is. He is our Protector, our Refuge…our Everything! This is the way we must see Him all the time. He tells us to listen to His voice and never take our eyes off of Him, and we can be assured that He never takes His eyes off of us. He watches over us, and He will reward us as we place our 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.

“God is Our Protector, Our Refuge, Our Everything”, written by KYada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Jesus Christ Will Solve Our Problems

Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

1Peter 5:9(NLT)

When you’re in a relationship with a partner that tears you down with every breath you take, you don’t think anyone can understand what you’re going through. You feel so isolated, but don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re alone in feeling this way. You’re not!

Weeks turn into months, and before you realize it, years go by. Hopefully, all of us will wake up and realize there’s another solution to the problem we’ve been dealing with for so long. Do we have to spend years in a miserable situation, thinking there is no other way? The answer is ‘no’. Through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, there is always a solution, and it doesn’t have to take years of being miserable to find it. He tells us in John 14:6(NLT),“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.Human beings are here today and gone tomorrow. We are but a whisper, yet we think that we have all the answers or that others do. The truth is that the answer to all our problems will always be found in Jesus Christ. Our issue is that we don’t always seek him as we should.

In Hosea 4:6, God tells us that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge; they actually rejected knowledge about Him. People today are much the same way. We love God, at least we say we do, but we don’t pick up His Word nearly as often as we should. Some people say they don’t read the Bible because they don’t understand what they’re reading. That excuse might have worked twenty years ago, but it doesn’t today. There are too many easily understood versions of the Bible out there, so no one can justifiably complain that they can’t understand God’s Word. We use our cell phones so much that they have become an extension of our hands. Through them, we can access the internet and on-line biblical resources in the blink of an eye.

If we get right down to it, many of us don’t believe God will solve our problems, and truth be told, sometimes we don’t want Him too. We want to figure things out on our own, because we don’t want to be forced to make a change. As chaotic as our lives are, there’s something about them that makes us comfortable.

I listened to a woman the other day share her personal story of finally having the courage to get out of a scary situation. She’s 45 years old with a thirteen-year old son that she shares with her ex-boyfriend. They talked about getting married early on, but never took that walk down the aisle. She shared that shortly after having their son, her boyfriend’s fits of anger and rage became her new normal. It took her many years to finally decide that she and her son deserved a better life, and for her to take the steps to make it happen. It wasn’t a good situation, but she stayed in it for thirteen years.

She’s not alone. There are many women who have spent most of their adult lives being abused in some way. But there are also thousands upon thousands of women that have been in abusive marriages and relationships, and they have made the steps towards the healing and wholeness that Christ offers. The first step is to know that God loves you and wants you in a good situation. The second is to know that it is possible through Christ to leave the person that constantly tears you down.

Domestic violence and abuse is about someone in a relationship taking the power of the other partner. To get your power back, you may need to build up your courage. The greatest way to build courage and strength is through learning about Jesus Christ. He tells us in Matthew 11:28-30(NIV), “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The Word of God is a spiritual book for spiritual people. It is rich with God’s wisdom and it is life to our souls. The more we read and study it, the more our eyes and hearts will be opened to Him, His love, and His wisdom. We will be encouraged and strengthened as we learn to walk in the power of God and allow it to transform us and change our lives.

Jesus Christ has all power in his hands. He will solve our problems, and when we depend on him, we can have confidence that God will work things out for our good. You don’t have to be in a bad situation year after year, but you will have to be courageous. You must trust God and have faith that He will lead and guide you every step of the way. Stay in His Word. It will build your faith as God shows you a way out.■

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.

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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

Now is Not the Time to Look Back

The past is gone, and the reality is that you will never see those days again. It is as true as truth can be that all you really have is right now. And what you do in the ‘right now’ of this moment will shape your tomorrow and future ahead. No matter how tempting it may be, now is not the time to look back. You’ve come this far, and God has some place for you to be. In Jeremiah 29:11(NLT), He told His people living in Old Testament times, “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.” God wanted them to know that they were not forgotten. It was true thousands of years ago, and it is true today. Heavenly Father has a plan for our individual lives. It is a good plan, and it requires us to always look up and look ahead.

Jeremiah, God’s prophet to His people, reminded those in captivity in Babylon not to listen to false prophets and allow their hope to be diminished. He assured them that they were on the mind of God, and that God had not forgotten them. We can relate to this, right?! When we’re in the thick of it, and problems are popping up all other the place, it can feel very much like we are without the anchor God gives. We might be tempted to believe that He has forgotten all about us and left us to fend for ourselves. This isn’t the truth, but in our weakened state of anxiety and fear, some of us convince ourselves that it is.

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.” Blinding someone’s mind is an extremely dastardly trick. It requires manipulation, and it also requires a willing participant. You might think, “Well that’s just crazy! No one would willingly participate in the devil’s scheme to blind them.” Well, the practice of always looking back and losing hope and trust in God’s plan is a sort of blindfold, because you can’t look back and look ahead at the same time.

God wants our eyes open to the tricks of the enemy because if you’re blinded then you can’t see the truth. Many of God’s children are suffering through the struggles of financial hardship, depression, sadness, isolation, spousal abandonment, and many other debilitating issues of abuse. Our Heavenly Father wants us to see the glorious light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This light of Christ will bring healing and solutions to the darkness of the circumstances many of us face.

It isn’t uncommon for individuals to define themselves, and indeed their whole lives, by the hurt and pain they’ve experienced. Their disappointments and failings, and not their triumphs, become the narrative of how they describe themselves. These things become branded on our hearts and souls. They become the mark in the sand. We have to realize sooner or later that although our struggles, disappointments, and loss may represent the mark in the sand, our mission as more than conquerors in Christ is to move beyond the mark. We can do this not because we’re so strong, but because God is greater than our pain, and He heals all wounds.

It’s time to remove the blinders and see the truth of who God has made us. Whether it is the spouse or significant person who doesn’t treat us well, or it may be a person who doesn’t want the best for us, sadly these are folks the enemy uses to pull the wool over our eyes. We must wake up, see it for what it is, and then begin to structure our prayer lives around God’s strength and the deliverance He freely offers us through Christ.

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. Galatians 5:1(MSG) tells us, “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.” Taking a stand means to boldly believe in the power, love, and strength of God and that He will use His unlimited resources to rescue you from all hurt, harm, and danger. It’s not about what’s happened in the past. The past is the past. It’s about what God is doing in your life today, and what He will do every day as you make the decision to surrender to Him. Take His hand and allow Him to guide and teach you. The blinders will be removed, and your life will never be the same.■

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.

“Now is Not the Time to Look Back”, written by KYada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!

I bet just about every woman knows the verse in Philippians 4:6(NLT). It tells us, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Look at how simple Heavenly Father has made this for us. First, He tells us what not to do, then He tells us exactly what to do in order to restore His peace in our lives. We shouldn’t worry about anything because worry isn’t the nature of a believer. Faith and gratitude are our nature, and anything outside of those two doesn’t tell the truth about the goodness of God. Many of us know this, but we let worry and doubt get the best of us anyway. We’ve got to stop giving over our power and authority in Christ this way. We can’t allow the devil to pick us apart, especially now.

I’ve heard many women that are believers speak about the incredible circumstances and situations that God has brought them through. From marital abandonment and financial ruin to domestic violence and abuse, they’ve dealt with it all and some of them did so with darts flying from all angles. As soon as they felt some degree of ease about one thing, two or three other situations came out of nowhere. They felt like throwing in the towel, but they didn’t. One of the common threads in their testimonies of overcoming incredibly painful situations is the lesson they learned about anxiety and doubt. They wasted a lot of time worrying about whether God would come through or if He’d allow them to fall through the cracks. He always delivers on His promises and in the end, He rescued them from darkness and despair.

We all know the grips of that sinking feeling. It brings you so low that you can’t even define the depth. Every part of you feels upset and bothered, and nothing—no thought or feeling, seems to bring comfort. In our darkest moments, we know God’s healing power, and we also know that He’s commanded us not to worry, but we make ourselves sick with worry any way. No matter how many times our friends, loved ones, and spiritual mentors tell us to give it to Jesus, we vacillate back and forth, giving our burdens to him one minute and taking them back the next.

As God’s children, we can learn a lot about having a constancy of faith by the pattern of good parenting that many of us have demonstrated to our own biological children. We love our children and will do anything for them. We must remember that God is the One who has given us the heart and mind for parenting. We didn’t come up with it on our own. We love our kids because He first loved us. Not only has He shown us real and genuine love through Jesus Christ by giving him as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, but God created us with the capacity to respond to each other with His love. We are made in His image, and we understand that His love is the force that propels us forward.

As good parents, we would never harm our kids, but will do everything in our power to protect them. To make sure their well-being is preserved, we would move heaven and earth if we could. God’s love is infinitely higher than the love that any of us can give. In Isaiah 55:9(NLT), He said of Himself, “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” God loves us more than we can ever imagine. Our thoughts can’t think that high. It’s a deep, unconditional and abiding love, and nothing can separate us from it. No one can love like He loves. To get a glimpse of how He views our worry and doubt, consider the thought of your biological child sitting somewhere, feeling scared, and worrying that you have refused to take care of them or that you won’t do it for some reason. This would hurt you to the core. Imagine how God feels when we don’t trust Him to take care of us.

All good relationships are built on individuals responding honestly, compassionately, thoughtfully, and lovingly to one another. God set relationships up to operate this way. These responses build faith and trust, and without faith and trust, a relationship will collapse or be injured. You and I are here on this earth to build an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of life! Jesus Christ tells us that he is the door to the Father. We must have the faith of Jesus Christ to please God. Faith and believing in Him is how we respond to His overwhelming love.

Fear is a cloak of deception that the devil tries to pull off as being real. It is a false evidence of reality, and worry is a sign that we have bought into the lie. We can’t let the devil continue to pick us apart with his tactics and tricks. Let’s resist his plots by doing as Philippians 4:6 says and get really specific in our prayers. We have the authority of Jesus Christ to plead his blood over situations and circumstances. Colossians 1:13 tells us that his blood cleansed our sins, and through the blood of Jesus Christ, God has delivered us from the power of satan’s darkness and transferred us to his Kingdom. We don’t belong to worry and doubt, and we should never claim them.

Yes, it takes time to develop the habit pattern of choosing faith and not fear, but God tells us how to strengthen the muscle. He said, “Thank him for all he has done.” This is a strategy for Godly living. A person can’t be thankful and fearful at the same time. To keep fear from rising up and overtaking our hearts, Heavenly Father commands us to think of His goodness, and do it continually. This is how we constantly hit the “ON” button of faith. Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us that as we practice thankfulness and gratitude to God, “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.”

God doesn’t leave our relationship with Him to chance. He tells us exactly how to respond to Him, and to do it in a way that causes Him delight. Our obedience and commitment to respond to God with faith and gratitude will invite the indwelling Holy Spirit to saturate us with God’s peace. This peace guards our hearts and minds, but we must live in Christ. This means we must do our part, and Philippians 4:8(NLT) tells us exactly what that part is. It says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” We can change the way we handle obstacles and adversity by resisting the urge to respond to what the devil is trying to do, instead, we can respond to the goodness of God, be thankful and abide in His perfect 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.

“Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!” 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!

Refuse a Life of Regrets

‘Destiny’ is probably one of the most significant words in human vocabulary. Destiny is coded in our spiritual DNA, and long before we actually arrived on the scene, God wove it in the bloodline that made our very existence possible. At this moment, the search to fulfill our destiny is either driving our aspiration to expand into the person we are meant to be, or the neglect of it is fueling a level of ambivalence that frustrates our every move. Fulfilling one’s God-inspired destiny is the measuring stick by which the umph of life is gauged. Without it, we don’t understand what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. The epiphany that many realize sometimes very late in life is that everything about them was destined for a purpose, and it didn’t become clear until so much had been wasted. When we talk about regrets, this is often a doozy.

The psalmist wrote about the Lord in Psalm 16:11(NKJV), “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Who better to show us the path of life than the Creator of it? He will reveal what He has in mind for us IF we’re interested in following it, but there are a few other things that we must know as well. One of them is about how the Father reveals this path of destiny to us. He’s a God of the exceedingly abundant, but the golden rule of abundance is that it doesn’t support wastefulness. God has structured the laws of the universe in such a way that ignorance and poor stewardship are not rewarded. So, if we have no interest in fulfilling our destiny or gaining knowledge of it, it is doubtful we’ll recognize the path to its treasure; for we will not position ourselves anywhere near its proximity.

Very often, Heavenly Father reveals our purpose in pieces. Once we’ve shown ourselves interested in following the path He’s placed before us, He reveals a nugget and then waits on our response. What should this response be? Primarily, it should be one of gratitude, for this is the key that opens the door to a blessed life. In Old Testament times, people worshipped God by offering the sacrifice of animals, but God made it clear to them in Psalm 50:10 that everything they offered belonged to Him anyway. In Psalm 50:14(NLT), He gives us a directional cue that leads to the path and tells us, “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.”

The sadness of regret is often caused by believing we are worse in the present because of something that happened or didn’t happen in the past. It’s something we perceived as a missed opportunity. We should never become emotionally distraught or vexed over one or two missed opportunities. Our God is a Redeeming God. Nothing is lost to us when His love is the driving force of our lives. Heavenly Father has seen to it that opportunities are strategically positioned all around us, but when our hearts are closed to gratitude, we are blind to opportunities we might otherwise see. This is another very important truth for us to nibble on. Colossians 4:2 encourages us to devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart, because the more thankful we are to God for His blessings, the more opened our eyes will be to what He has in store for us.

In our everyday dealings, we cast serious shade on an individual that walks around like they deserve the best but does nothing to earn it. There’s some biblical basis for this, because Jesus Christ tells us in Luke 6:43-44 The Message (MSG), “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.” A tree is known by the fruit it produces. In other words, we know the treasury of a person’s heart by their deeds and actions. Our Heavenly Father has shown us who He is, and proved it, through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.

Our God deserves the highest form of praise and worship. He deserves the greatest of all we have to give, because this is exactly what He has poured into us. Our well of gratitude to Him for what He’s done through Christ enlightens our understanding in ways we can never articulate. Ephesians 3:17 tells us that as our gratitude deepens, our roots grow down into God’s love and keep us strong. This is how we refuse a life of regrets, by clinging to the One who loves us more than we can fathom. The sacrifice and resurrection of Christ shows us how wide, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is. And when we experience this overwhelming love through Christ, Ephesians 3:19 tells us we will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from our God.■

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.

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

The Spirit’s Fruit Producing Business

Ephesians 1:4-6 declares that long before God laid down the foundations of earth, He knew us and predestinated us according to His purposes. He made us the focus of His love and even before we entered our mother’s wombs, He adopted us into His family. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to accomplish this mission. Jesus Christ initiated God’s plan by which you and I would become transformed into the very image of Christ. And it is through Jesus Christ that we find out who we are and the purpose for which we are created.

If you and I could transform ourselves, we would have done it long ago. The truth is that we can’t do it ourselves, and because of what Jesus Christ accomplished through his sacrifice and resurrection, we don’t have to. Christ restored the connection to God that Adam lost. He made it possible for us to receive God’s seed, the gift of Holy Spirit, in the inner sanctum of our being. Our Creator set the precedent. His pattern of reproduction is such that a child must have its father’s seed to be that father’s offspring. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Big Brother, by the consummation of our faith, we receive the same seed that Jesus Christ has.

God is our Father, and we carry His seed, the Holy Spirit. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not the other way around. If we miss this, we’ll miss a whole lot. Every moment on this earth affords us the opportunity to affirm our identity in God’s truth. The gift of this opportunity is monumental because once this life is over, there’s no chance for back-tracks or do overs. This is it! We will either accept our call and walk in God’s purpose, or we won’t. Choosing not to accept His call is catastrophic, but it is indeed our choice to make. However, if we accept our call, we will become rooted and grounded in God’s love through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

With Christ at the helm, there is no regression or going backwards to our old state of darkness and dysfunction. God’s trajectory is forward and upward, never backward. His call is that we abound in Christ, to increase in him in every way, because Christ is God’s blueprint for humanity. Becoming like him is the highest, most excellent existence available to any living thing. And to increase in Christ, we’re going to have to leave our comfort zones. That’s an absolute.

A comfort zone is the place where we hang out emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s the familiar. Anything outside our comfort zone will press us to change, and change is what many of us resist. We know what we know, we like what we know, and we don’t want to know anything different. That’s a recipe for being stuck, and our destiny in Christ will not support that stance. Rather than being stuck and afraid, we will need to make room in our lives for this hugely supernatural word called ‘surrender’. We must surrender our fears to Christ, take his hand, and allow him to lead us through his Spirit.

Jesus Christ tells us in John 16:13-14(NLT), “13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.” The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Friend, Teacher, and Guide. He guides us through life according to the purpose and plan God has set for us, and walking by, with, and in God’s Spirit is no ordinary life. We must completely take our hands off the wheel, and let the Spirit do what only he can do for us.

Walking in the Spirit requires us to make a switch. We can no longer allow our flesh to be our guide. That occupation belongs only to the Spirit. We must surrender to him, and when we do, it’s a total faith walk! We can’t lean on the flesh and please God at the same time. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” The flesh doesn’t want us to surrender, it wants quick pleasure and to keep us marching to the tune of rebellion. It leads us to think that we can direct our own paths, be self-reliant, and become grounded in self-security. Life will teach us how wrong this line of thinking really is.

Everything is spiritual, from the smallest to the greatest detail of life. God isn’t keeping anything hidden from us. He is one hundred and fifty million percent transparent, and then some. Our responsibility as God’s sons and daughters is to bear fruit through the Spirit for God’s Kingdom. The Spirit’s power is unlimited, and he gets busy. IF we will allow him, he will work through us to produce good works. If we doubt this to any degree, all we need to do is ask God about it. He’s not shy. If you earnestly want to know the truth about why you are here and what you’re supposed to be doing with your life, ask the Spirit. But you can’t ask just for the sake of asking. When you come to God, you must recognize and honor who He is, and you must be ready to surrender and to let the Spirit lead, guide, and direct you in his fruit producing business. ■

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.

“The Spirit’s Fruit Producing Business”, 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!

Your Alabaster Box

I was seven years old when I began spending my summers in Chicago with my aunt and cousin. To my cousin’s friends and neighborhood playmates, I was the country cousin who spoke funny. My words were often met with odd looks and “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” I entertained these youngsters simply by being me, and sometimes this was more hurtful than it was amusing. Now that I’m much older, I remember my aunt’s friends more distinctly than I do the children my cousin and I played with for hours. Her friends were colorful with big personalities that took up all the space in a room, and there was one in particular that I will never forget.

I was nine or ten, and she was wearing all black when I first met her. So lean and stylish, she looked as if she had been a model in her younger years. It was a Sunday afternoon after church, and she had stopped over for a plate of my aunt’s Sunday dinner. My aunt was southern bred and could burn in the kitchen almost as well as my grandmother. Somewhere during her friend’s visit, it dawned on me that she had been the woman that ran to the altar for altar-call at church and fell to her knees, whaling with moans and tears. Her big hat had kept her face hidden from me during service, but when my eyes were supposed to be closed for prayer, they had been locked on her the entire time. I wondered why no one else seemed as mesmerized by her distinct and gushing cries as I had been.  

Luke 7 contains the record of a woman with a beautiful alabaster box. She came to Simon’s house where Jesus Christ had been invited for dinner. Simon was a Pharisee, and they notoriously hated Jesus, but masked it at times for the sake of tricking him or finding something they could use to discredit him. This woman heard that Jesus would be in Simon’s home and came weeping at his feet. Luke 7:38(NLT) tells us, “Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” She took the contents of her alabaster box and anointed the feet of Jesus with rare perfume.

It was customary in those times to anoint the heads of guest with olive oil as a sign of hospitality, and even though Christ was more worthy of anyone to receive this courtesy, Simon had not given it to him.  Jesus Christ said of this woman in Luke 7:47-48(NIV), “47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” The humility of the woman with the alabaster box in Luke 7 is palpable, and my aunt’s friend, the thin, stylish woman in black, is in my mind a symbol of her. She was drenched in gratitude, and humility oozed from her being like a river of anointed oil.

When I was older, my aunt explained that this woman, her dear friend, had endured many years of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of her husband. He had been at times ruthless, and she endured it for the sake of their children. Not long after she turned to Christ and gave her life to him, her husband’s health began to decline. My aunt told us she had committed herself to his care, as he no longer had the strength or the heart to do her any harm. Her praise to God was unabashed and in total awe of how our Heavenly Father took a life as pitiful as hers and made peace where there was total desperation.

1Corinthians 4:20(NLT) tells us, “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” Life is not stripped of all adversities, obstacles, and troubles so that we can walk a path devoid of those things. God has designed life to teach us to walk in His power despite the hurdles that come with living on earth. Faith would not be faith if there were no challenges that reveal the magnitude of its brilliance. God’s deliverance and power manifests in our lives in many ways. There is no limit to what He can do, and we must remind ourselves of this continually.

All of us have a beautiful alabaster box. The woman who anointed the feet of Jesus Christ with rare perfume showed us that it isn’t the beauty of the outside but what we do with the contents of the container that makes all the difference. Whether our troubles are prolonged or swiftly moved out of the way, Christ will forever be the reason for our joy. Our hope in him does not disappoint, and in him our every expectation for fulfilling God’s glory is complete. We don’t have any excuses to feel distant from God, He’s brought us close to Him through Christ. And now that we have the great privilege to give back to Heavenly Father the treasure He’s placed within us, we should let the sweet perfume of our faith in Him anoint everything that we do.■

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.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Your Alabaster Box”, 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!

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!