Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust in the Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus on YOUR Race!

In Psalm 73:2-3(NLT), the psalmist, Asaph, said, “But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.”  In this passage, we can learn two very important lessons about this race we call life. The first is the reality that we can lose our footing, and sometimes the results of doing so are catastrophic. The other important lesson is that in the time we expend looking at how someone else is running, especially with envy, we could lose the entire race. God has given us the wisdom and power to prevent this from happening. He wants us to win in life, and we should most definitely want this for ourselves.

The one thing that you and I must know is that life is indeed a race, and it is given to each of us by God to run. Some of us would like to think we’re random beings, here to do our own thing. God, in His tremendous grace and love, will allow us to think this, but in truth, the race doesn’t belong to us; it belongs to Him. He predestined us to be born at the time He appointed, and in the place He appointed. We are here for the purpose He has ordained.

It’s not lost on anyone these days that ‘winning’ in life has become kind of clichés’-ish. But this is what we humans do, we take something that is meant for pure goodness and try to put our spin on it. Again, the truth is that God has established the race, and He also defines what it means to win. To make sure you and I don’t get it twisted, in His Word, He’s given us plenty of examples of those who ran their races masterfully. The Apostle Paul reminded us of these individuals in Hebrews 12:1, when he called them a Great Cloud of Witnesses. Their races were not easy, and God never promised they would be, but these individuals won because they ran in faith. You and I must do the same.

Just like them, God tells us in Hebrews 12:2 to lay aside the things that weigh us down so we can run the race He has set before us with endurance. Endurance requires focus. Every good athlete knows this. We can’t be looking sideways and turning backwards, trying to see what the other runners are doing. There’s too much to be done, and we don’t have time to waste. We should also know there’s going to be some things that will get in our way. There will be relationships, situations, and people that aim to slow us down. Sometimes, we get caught up with a negative mindset and we, ourselves, become the biggest obstacles to our own races.

Whether it’s a goal to be healthier, have better relationships, pursue a dream, or to get out of an abusive situation, God makes it clear that the solution begins with how we decide to run the race. At the close of his life on earth, Paul said in 2Timothy 4:7(NLT), “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” Faith makes the fight a good one! This is how all of us should want to finish our course.

Hebrews 11:1(NIV) tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It is the truth we believe about the goodness of God and the empowerment He has given us through the Lord Jesus Christ, despite what our circumstances and conditions may present. We are to wear faith like a second skin. It is important to know this because one of the realities of life is that the intensity of our desire for the blessing is going to be tested. There will be opposition as we seek to attain what God wants to place in our hands. You’re going to have to fight the good fight of faith to get what you want in life. Anything worth having will require work and diligent effort to get it AND to maintain it.  

Focus on YOUR race, not someone else’s. Again, you have neither the time or luxury to waste your resources. Everything in you is necessary for your journey forward in the victory of Christ! In Jeremiah 29:11(NLT), God tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you…They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Want what God’s has for you. Understand that an attitude of faith isn’t built on a whim, but on the persistence, endurance, and longevity that commitment requires. Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us that the fastest runner doesn’t always win the race. We win because we’re focused on trusting God, and we’re fully persuaded in His faithfulness to help us achieve and attain what we desire most in life.■

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

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

“Focus on YOUR Race!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Programmed for Success or Failure?

The mind and emotions are very big factors in shaping the kinds of relationships we have with others. Most importantly, our mind and emotions mold and maintain intimacy in the relationship we have with God. This is one of the reasons that He tells us in Ephesians 4:23 that we must renew our minds to His Word. To renew is to make new again. It is important because some of us have some programming running in our minds and hearts that is outdated. It will not support the new operating system of faith, elevation, and blessings. No matter how much we pray for certain things, if there’s not a change in our souls, then we’ll lack the spiritual resources to support what we’re praying to receive.

For some of us, it is shocking to hear that our way or mode of thinking may be flawed—that our own thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and feelings are causing us to fail in areas of our lives that are very meaningful. We may be successful in several areas, but where it counts most, we may have some kinks that need to be worked out. The building blocks of our personhood that we’ve learned or inherited since our births may be constructing a barrier instead of a bridge to brighter tomorrows. In most cases, these kinds of building blocks ignore the destiny DNA that’s written deep within. Instead, they build perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors that are toxic to our souls and spiritual well-being.

In Mark 1:15(NLT), Jesus Christ said, “The time promised by God has come at last! …the Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Many during this time heard this proclamation and looked at Jesus as if he had two heads. They had no idea regarding the meaning of all this talk about the Kingdom of God, which was invisible to them. They were looking to see things in a very literal or linear way. They didn’t know their identities as spiritual beings, so if it wasn’t something tangible—something they could see, smell, taste, hear, or touch, they weren’t inclined to believe it. Some of us are the same way.

Earth is not our home. We’re just passing through. We came from a place that must be seen with more than human eyesight or vision. Natural or physical vision allows us to see and interact on earth, but our homeland requires a vision that is exponentially higher and more acute. It’s spiritual vision, where we see with the eyes of our spirit. Comprehending this allows us to recognize the reality of the truth in 2Corinthians 4:18 The Message (MSG). It says, “There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” The things we can’t see are more real than what we can see. We can’t see love, for instance, but most of us would agree that it is more real and stronger than anything that exists.

Because of carnal thinking, some of us can’t see what the Lord desires us to see, and we can’t hear what He desires us to hear; for these things must be spiritually discerned and perceived. An internal change must occur, and this was the message that Jesus Christ conveyed in Mark 1:15. He said, “REPENT of your old ways.” To repent is to have a change of heart and a change of mind. It’s to change the programming to such a degree that we believe in what we cannot yet see. That’s faith!

Leaping from fear to faith is for many of us a very big step. We often cling to the things that make us comfortable, and yes, sometimes those things are the very toxic elements that hold us back. We must get wired to the truth that faith is the only way to travel to real success in life. God commands us in 2Corinthians 5:7 to walk by faith and not by sight. Proverbs 3:5 warns us not to lean on our own understanding—we can’t allow ourselves to settle into a carnal mindset. We ought to continually be reaching toward higher spiritual heights. We must aim to have what God has for us, as we lean totally and completely on Him, the God we cannot see. He will not forsake or fail us, and if we trust Him, He’ll give us good success. ■

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

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.

“Programmed for Success or Failure?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! ar

Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry

For people that are not familiar with the term ‘spirit-being’, after hearing it, more than likely it will cause one of three reactions; fear, apathy, or curiosity. Some people fear the term ‘spirit-being’ because of the errors they’ve learned or because of a lack of knowledge about their own identity. If you’re a member of the human race, you’re a spirit-being with a soul, housed in a body. God tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:23 to keep all three parts of us; spirit, soul, and body, blameless before Him. This means we are to keep all parts in harmony with the honor and integrity for which they were created.

God’s command in 1Thessalonians 5:23 allows us to know that it is very possible to not keep all three parts of us in the harmony, honor, and integrity He expects. We can neglect our spirits, and therefore, neglect the highest part of who we are. Upon a closer and more honest look at our lives, many of us can see that there’s a heavy cost associated with this neglect.  The cost of not appropriately valuing ourselves can be summed up in one word; it is indeed, fear. Ignorance is one of the things that creates a cozy, comfortable home for fear. It is manifested in our circumstances as the result of not knowing who we are, whose we are, and why we are here on this planet.     

Fear causes us to run from the truth of who we are, and this is why the devil uses it so vehemently against us. It is his number one weapon. We know absolutely that fear does not come from our Heavenly Father, for He tells us in 1John 4:18(NLT), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” To be perfect in love is to be complete in love. It is to own and revel in the space and place you occupy in the right now of this moment. It takes a certain confidence to do this, and therein lies the plot of evil in domestic violence and abuse.

Some are apathetic about their highest spiritual self. They’re not interested in the least, and it is usually because they are consumed with the issues of the body and soul. Pleasuring the flesh is their ‘get down’, and little else holds weight. So, if they’re clueless about their spiritual identity, imagine how they’d respond to the notion of spiritual warfare. They think by taking the posture of neutrality they will be safe. You might say that you don’t want to fight the devil, but it is very foolish and unwise to think for one second that he doesn’t want to fight you.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that the devil is in the earth to do three things, to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus also said in this verse that his very own purpose for coming to the earth is to fulfill the Will of the Father and give us a rich and satisfying life—a life that is more than abundant. It is a life we can most certainly have, for it is our right through Christ, but in order to have it, putting on God’s spiritual armor is a must! You must understand your spirit has an appetite, and only knowledge of God through Christ can feed it.

When it comes to the devil’s shenanigans, the question we should ask is why? Why does the enemy want to kill, steal, and destroy us? Well, it’s not so much your body that he’s after, it’s your soul; its what you carry that the enemy wants to destroy. For you to find out who you really are is his greatest nightmare. Keeping a person fearful and apathetic is his motive, and ignorance is one of the tools he uses to do it. This is why God tells us in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge, indeed they reject knowledge about who God is.

Romans 8:29(NLT) tells us, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” God has placed something precious in us through Jesus Christ. As our relationship with Him deepens, this treasure beautifully unfolds. So, the very best thing you can do for your life is to become curious about the treasure you carry. It is a treasure so valuable that the enemy will seek to destroy us through an abusive person, so we’ll never discover it. It is the destiny in your soul that the devil is after, and he desires to steal the enthusiasm and inner joy of your journey. Once this has been robbed, the world, too, will be robbed of the goodness you were destined to deposit in it. Pray, be courageous, and have faith! You have a destiny in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit, God will lead you to liberty, so that your spirit, soul, and body, will be free.■

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

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

“Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Life Matters to God

A parable is a simple story that is used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, and the Lord Jesus Christ used them often. The greatest teacher that has ever lived, he understood that there would be some folks that needed to have spiritual lessons broken down in small chewable bites. They weren’t quite ready for the meat and had to have milk instead. The extremely impressive thing is that for those that were ready for the meat, the very same lessons fed them in an undeniable way as well. Take for instance the parable about a lost coin beginning in Luke 15:8. It’s about a woman who losses something very precious to her, and if you’ve ever lost something that means a great deal to you, you’ll know just how she felt.

During the periods that were written about in God’s Word, women were not treated as a man’s equal. Genesis 3:16 gives us some insight about how this came to be. In this verse, God told Eve that the devil would curse her with pain during childbirth, and there would also be a curse of inequality in the marital relationship. This happened because of the influence of darkness and Adam’s and Eve’s decision to succumb to it. As we look around today, the devil is still up to his old tricks. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there’s still a spiritual war going on between good and evil.

Our souls are at stake, because that is what the devil is after—he is after our souls, but he is required to do his evil shenanigans in a legal way. This is an important truth that you and I must know. You see the devil cannot violate God’s laws. In order to harm anyone, he has to do it on legal grounds. Think about it, the devil couldn’t just take all the good stuff God had given to Adam and Eve. If that were the case, he would never have had to trick them into disobeying God. So, the truth is that the devil is always on the prowl, looking for something he can use against God’s people legally.

In the Book of Job in the Old Testament, Job 1:7(NLT) tells us, “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” The Bible refers to the enemy as the ‘accuser’ because accusing is what the devil does. Looking to find dirt on us, he patrols the earth for something he can use to levy a case and land a curse against us. Its why God warned us in 1Peter 5:8(NLT), “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

As a consequence for Eve’s sin against God, the enemy was able to land a curse that caused disharmony and inequality in the relationship with her husband. This persisted in relationships between men and women for thousands of years, then Jesus Christ came to the earth at the time God appointed and rescued us all from the darkness and fear that the enemy caused.

The knowledge of this curse, and understanding the backdrop of what women endured, will allow us to see how distraught the woman was in the parable Jesus taught in Luke 15:8 (NKJV). He said, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” This woman lost a silver coin, and at a time when women had no rights and couldn’t work, a wedding dowry of coins might have been the only thing she could truly call her own.

It was hers. If anything happened to her husband or if he no longer wanted to be married to her, she would at least have her coins. So, when Jesus Christ said that she lights a lamp, sweeps the entire house, and searches carefully until she finds it, her diligence is very understandable. Luke 15:9 tells us that when she finds the coin, she will call in her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. Luke 15:10 tells us that in this same way, God’s angels rejoice when one sinner repents and comes to Jesus.

Jesus wants us to understand how heaven rejoices when God’s family is expanded on the earth. Can you imagine? This is beyond wonderful!!! All of this rejoicing is done over each of us, and it demonstrates how much our individual lives and what we do with them matters to God. He doesn’t want you to be mistreated or feel insecure or bad about yourself. God gave His only begotten Son so that you would have the chance to be happy and blessed down here. He desires this so much for you, and the very least you can do is desire it for yourself. ■

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.

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

Flashing Red Lights

A few years ago, I met Amy in the courthouse lobby downtown. She had a familiar brand of nervousness and angst. It was a state of being I know quite a bit about, and it pulled my attention straight away. Growing up, my neighborhood was full of abused women, and some of their abusers did things that were more ruthless than I would dare write about here. But these women stayed. Their children were raised seeing their mothers abused, and seeing their fathers pay no price for it. Amy didn’t have any children, but she had witnessed her mother taking verbal and emotional abuse from her father for many years. Her mother rarely defended herself, became lost in many ways, and stayed in the marriage.

Amy was just out of college. She spent her last year as a senior with an obsessive boyfriend who would threaten to do her harm if she ever ended the relationship. He was local to the area where they both attended college, and she landed a really good paying job there after graduating. She tried breaking things off with him several times, and after she moved into her own apartment, she felt she’d have some peace. And it was for a while—it was peaceful, but after a few weeks, the phone calls were non-stop. There were times that he seemed unbelievably sweet and caring, and she found herself forgiving him and allowing him back into her life. For months she tried the ‘let’s be friends’ approach, but he wasn’t having it. And the final straw was when he started showing up at her job; waiting for her after work.

She didn’t want folks at her job in her business, but she had to get security involved. It was then that one of the officers advised her to file a restraining order. It had never occurred to her to take that step, and she was terrified of what might happen when she did. Abusive situations like these are tormenting, and we must know that God doesn’t want this to happen to anyone. He will give us the kind of wisdom and spiritual guidance that will lead us away from danger. He tells us in Proverbs 1:7 that respecting His counsel will build a lasting foundation of true knowledge, but He also warns in this same verse that there will be some people who despise wisdom and discipline, and they have problems because they won’t listen to Him. This is an avoidable mistake.

In His Word, God provides wisdom, and if we will allow ourselves to be guided by His wisdom, we can make good relationship decisions. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, we can love smart. The very first step to loving smart is to make prayer a continual habit pattern. God never gets tired of hearing from us. He loves it! Jesus Christ said in Luke 18:1 that we should always pray. Think about a loving couple that have been together a long time. They know each other so well that they can finish each other’s sentences. They share a communication that is deeper than words. This is because they’ve spent time with one another. They are interested in what the other has to say, so they listen to one another.

Establishing our relationship with Heavenly Father is like this in some ways. The relationship each of us has with God through Christ is a very personal thing. The more we talk to Him, the more intimate our communication and communion with Him becomes. Heavenly Father is a loving God, and He sees things that we simply can’t see or know. Psalm 121:3 says that He’ll keep our feet from falling; He will not let us slip. This is what God will do for us, but if we desire His protection, we can’t exclude Him from our decision making. He’ll warn us, but we must talk with Him often, so we can recognize those flashing red lights of danger that He provides.

It was a very turbulent ordeal for Amy to get away from her abuser, but the restraining order seems to be helping. She is still nervous at times, and constantly looking over her shoulder. We need to know that God offers us His peace and protection. During the toughest times of our lives, He is with us and willing to help. He tells us in 2Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is all we need, and His power works best in weakness. If we trust Him, Heavenly Father will always get us through abusive situations, but He also desires that we’re committed to pray and talk with Him more. When we do this, our spiritual senses will be sharpened, then we’ll be able to recognize His warnings and have the wisdom to heed them. ■

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