Transforming Mistakes to Lessons Well-learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take Your Power Back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why It’s Important to Love Right

Most of us are pretty confident that love makes the world go ‘round. Love causes movement. It changes things. It creates! It makes things infinitely better than they could ever be without it. Love is easy, but our specialty as human beings is to make things far more complicated than they need to be, and so it is with love. We’ve tried to make different forms and types of it, compartmentalized it, and we’ve even tried to lock it away in our hearts for safe keeping, but as much as people have tried, love is a treasure that can’t be corrupted or made to be something that it isn’t. It comes from our Creator. He’s the Originator of love, and it isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is.

1John 4:8(NLT) tells us, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” The number of folks that have put their own spin on this verse are too numerous to count. This verse doesn’t mean just because a person has the capacity to love someone, that they know God. In the context of this verse, love has a higher definition than most of us are willing to acknowledge; this little thing called ‘arrogance’ keeps getting in our way. Love involves sacrifice. We learn this lesson from our Master Jesus, who when asked by Heavenly Father for volunteers to rescue humanity, he said, “I’ll go, Father! Send me!”

Love for the Father, and love for us led to the unselfish sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, and it is this love that sets the standard. It is the love of which 1John 4:8 refers. Through the Spirit of Christ, this same love is in us. It’s not the ooey gooey, butterfly churning, goosebumps popping sensation we get from being in the company of a Boo. That adds a sweet savor to life, but its’ aroma often fades quickly. The love of God in Christ is a transformative power that is at the core of our being through God’s Spirit. The discipline of self-sacrifice unleashes it. So, when you and I attempt to love without a willingness or understanding that we will most likely have to give up the thing we believe we deserve, our aim misses the mark of the love of God. He will not punish us for our motivations, however askew they may be. Instead, He will aid us.

Jesus Christ said in Revelation 3;20(NLT), “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” This is the heart of the Father. He’s knocking at the door of our hearts, wanting us to invite Him in through the Lord Jesus Christ, but there are more of us who refuse to let Him in than those who do. We don’t allow God to help us develop well-formed love. Because of this, we become confused by our own stubbornness and refusal to be in alignment with the love of God. Love, then becomes for us a kind, mushy, but selfish desire that is wrapped in affection, tied to conditions, and completely motivated out of the flesh. Operating this way runs counter to the very reason we were born.

God 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.” Heavenly Father is the One that does the directing, not us. He has set us apart for His divine purposes, and if we don’t allow Him to direct us, things like jealousy, obsession, desperation, and other remnants of fear can cause us to betray our identity.

Anytime that we make the practice and commitment of love more about what we can get instead of what we can give, we draw to us like a magnet individuals who will feast on our wrong desires. Love is and will forever be the barometer that measures how closely we align ourselves to the purpose for which God has created us. He sets the path that is laid before us all, and love keeps us on it. When we begin to love ourselves enough to make fulfilling our destiny in Christ our number one objective, God’s love is operating within and we’re loving the right way. We can then begin to build a momentum where God’s love propels us, and it will bring all the right resources and relationships across our path.■

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.

“Why It’s Important to Love Right” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

All Things Are Possible with God

“I don’t want to leave my husband! I just want him to stop hurting me!”  This is what a family friend shared over the holidays. A lot of people will hear a statement like this from a woman in an abusive marriage and think “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” But those that have been in an abusive relationship can understand what she is going through. The person that is now causing her so much pain wasn’t always that way. They were high school sweethearts and got married immediately after graduating high school. With over twenty years under their belts and three children together, leaving the marriage feels to her like the unthinkable.

When the life that you’ve built surrounds and anchors the lives of children, decisions are often complex and extremely consequential. Even in the best situation, the fabric of lives can be very fragile, and if abuse in any form is a part of the equation, that fabric is already unraveling. In the beginning, my friend didn’t tell anyone that her husband had started to say hurtful and demeaning things to her, even in front of their kids. The physical abuse started when the arguments became more frequent, and her husband started slapping her face when things got heated. Then, one evening he came home late, and when she said something about it, his anger became out of control. He wouldn’t stop hitting her and their oldest son jumped in to defend his mom.

Domestic violence and abuse is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse. But we know that it also happens in relationships between couples that are not married. Instances of abusive behavior is increasing among teens dating in high school and on college campuses as well. I recall a few instances of hearing about dorm-mates and other young women that were in abusive relationships when I was in college. I imagine there were many other cases of abuse where these women suffered in silence, too afraid to tell anyone about what was happening.

If it were as simple as just walking away, the instances of domestic violence and abuse would not be increasing at the rate it is. But we’re talking about patterns of behavior that are deeply rooted in both the victim and abuser, and when we’re stuck in patterns that are destructive to our souls, it is unquestionably a kind of bondage.  

None of us have it all together, and when it comes to someone taking the power that God has given us or our giving it up to them so freely, we need the kind of internal strength and help that only the Lord can provide. All of us are broken inside in some way. We can’t fix ourselves. It is impossible for any of us to come to Jesus Christ as perfect human beings. It doesn’t work that way. He tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me!” We are to come as we are, broken and all, because only Jesus Christ can do a work on the inside of us through his Spirit.

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.” This is exactly what an abusive relationship is—it’s a harness of slavery, designed to steal our joy and power so that we feel hopeless and helpless. We don’t have to live that way, because Jesus Christ has set us free to live a free life. He will help us take a stand if we will give ourselves to him completely. A victim may be financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, or even a place to go, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship, but Jesus Christ said in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible.

My friend is struggling to do what is right for her family. Her husband is not who he used to be, and only God knows why. We can never know what is in another person’s heart or why they harbor such anger, but God doesn’t want anyone to be abused. It’s not His Will. He also doesn’t want any child to witness or be involved in the abusive relationship of their parents. We must pray to Him in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, because God can and will help! For any person that is dealing with an abusive partner, know that God wants to rescue you and the very first step towards being free is believing that through Him, it is possible.■

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.

“All Things Are Possible with Godwritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!olved Mentio