Hiccups of the Soul

Ashley was obsessed with Derek, and when he broke up with her, the world as she knew it came crashing down. She believed she couldn’t live without his love. And although she ultimately acknowledged her emotional instability after the breakup, she rationalized this instability as ‘When I truly love someone, I love really hard.” Like many people, her definition of what it means to love hard is a willingness to put everything you’ve got into a person or relationship. It’s to empty one’s self of everything they can give, all for the cause of what they perceive as the other person’s need. Jesus Christ was the only true Savior capable of giving to this degree. He sacrificed all that he was in order to save us from eternal damnation. To believe that we are to offer ourselves to another in this same manner is a misappropriation to say the least.

Love is not hard. 1Corinthians 13:4-5 tells us that it is patient and kind, that it’s not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way and doesn’t get mileage out of someone else’s mistakes. Love doesn’t have to prove itself by supreme acts of devotion or self-sacrifice. That would be bondage, and it would not exemplify the liberty that Christ made available to us. God has freed us through Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father warns us in Galatians 5:1 to never allow anyone or anything to put us in prison again.

Contrary to what others believe, love is predictable. It’s not erratic or obsessive, and it doesn’t behave out of step with God’s nature. God is love. Just as God doesn’t need anyone or anything to be what He is, love does not require us to subtract or add to it to be what God intended love to be. It doesn’t force, so wherever there exists a need to pressure or forcibly pull out of someone something they have not willingly and lovingly chosen to give, we have stepped out of love and into fear.

We know at the most basic level we all need love. This is wired in our DNA; it’s how God created us. 1John 4:8 affirms that God is love, and everything He has created was made from His tremendous love. 1John 4:16 says that all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. It’s the God living in us that allows love to flow from our hearts to others. We must also recognize that this love emanating from our hearts is going to be tested. It will be tested by the devil to see if we truly love God with all our heart and soul, or if we have entered enemy territory by making a human being an idol.

We make idols of other people, substances, money, and material things because we think they will fill the void in our lives. There can be no mistake in owning the reality that humans were created with the aptitude to worship because worshiping is such an important part of our relationship with God. Worship increases intimacy with Him, but worship is meant for God alone. So, it stands to reason that we’d be in dangerous territory to take what God intended for Himself and give it to someone or something that pales in comparison to the magnitude of all that God is. But this is exactly what many of us do, and it causes hiccups of the soul.

The nurses in my family tell me that, in the physical sense, hiccups are involuntary bursts caused by the contraction of the diaphragm. This contraction causes a closure in the vocal cords, and it makes a ‘hic’ sound. It’s an interruption in the normal way we breathe and can be prompted by many conditions. Because of this interruption in normal breathing, we use this word ‘hiccups’ metaphorically to describe situations that cause interruptions to life as we define or know it. This is also a good way to describe what can happen to the soul. Our souls have a breath, and just as our bodies hiccup, so do our souls.

In Proverbs 4:23(NLT), God tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” This verse makes it very clear that we live from the inside out, and not the outside in. It also reveals that God has placed the responsibility of guarding the heart, which is part of the soul, in our hands. We are the protectors of our souls, and we need help to do it right. Many people are not aware of this, and they are also not aware of what their soul needs. Like the physical body, the soul requires a proper diet in order to remain in a place of wholeness and to continue to be well nourished.

Anything that needs to be fed will also have a hunger. The soul hungers for the very thing from which it was created, love. When we meet someone that we believe has the capacity to feed us, the guardrails come down, and we will latch on to them in hopes that they will latch on to us. Just as Ashley did with Derek, we allow them a place in our souls. And even though they present conditions that cause hiccups, or they are no longer interested in feeding us, some of us will attempt to maintain that connection at all costs. Why? Why do we ignore the warning signs and continue to put our souls at risk? Most of us do it because the pain and suffering of detaching from a soul connection can be devastating.

Many of us indulge junk food from time to time. Even though we know it’s not the best or most nutritious food, we eat it because we crave the taste. After we’ve eaten it, we might feel just as full and satisfied as we would have if we had eaten a nutritious meal. We didn’t get the nutrients our bodies needed, but it tasted good and the damage isn’t immediate, so we don’t think about it too much. If we persist in this behavior, it’s only a matter of time before the hiccups begin. Sooner or later, they will turn into a much larger problem, because it is inevitable that a malnourished soul connection will end in heartbreak.

Few of us have ever realized just how deep our love for someone can go. Heartbreak bears this out. It also allows us to see the connection between our souls and our physical beings. The emotions and feelings of heartbreak can exhaust us; the soul feels almost breathless and this can translate to actual physical illness. The link between the soul and the body is one of the major indications that the care of the soul is monumental to a flourishing existence. When the soul breathes deeply from extreme jubilance, it is nourished in an indescribable way, but when heartbreak forces it to breathe deeply, the very core of our being can be ruptured. When this happens, it is very important to recognize that we’re not broken because the person failed to feed us what we needed. We’re heartbroken because we have come face to face with the possibility of life without connection.

Heartbreak forces us to experience a void, and a void can be the most painful thing in all of creation to experience. It is nothingness, the feeling of being in a perpetual state of falling, with never a bottom in sight. Fear is birthed from this place, because you are conscious of falling and you are panicking because of it. It is horrific, and it is why obsession can find its way to take root, because many of us will do just about anything to stop the pain of separation, chasing desperately after the person that once fed us junk food.

The thing with us is that we recognize that any ol’ connection won’t do. We want it with someone we’ve deemed compatible and to our liking. They have to make our heartstrings sing, and if they do, we let the guardrails down and give them a seat at the table. At some point, we will have to wake up to the reality that this is a very self-punishing exercise. What’s crucial is for us to decide if we’re going to believe the truth about the soul. The truth is that it wasn’t created to receive food from another human being. It was created to respond to God’s love. He nourishes the soul through His Spirit.

Genesis 1:2(NKJV) says “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” During the time of this verse, the earth was not as we see it today. It didn’t have structure, and it was dark and void. The earth was in tremendous pain, because everything that is in darkness and void is in pain. Hope entered the picture when the Spirit of God hovered. The power of the Spirit of God takes nothingness and makes a masterpiece. This is what God wants to do to our lives through His Son, Jesus Christ.He tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to bring our everyday ordinary lives before Him as an offering, and then we must embrace Him. As we change the way we think, and begin to think like Christ, God will transform us from the inside out.

It is very true that sometimes we must experience the pain of heartbreak to appreciate the blessings in life. The break can make a crack just wide enough for God’s love to get in. Jesus Christ said in Revelations 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.” He stands at the door knocking, but it is up to us to open our hearts and let him in: to let his love into that crack so it can be healed.

If we let the Lord Jesus Christ in, it will be the absolute best thing we could possibly do for ourselves. Jesus Christ rescued us from that perpetual state of falling and reconnected us to Heavenly Father, but heartbreak can reveal the degree to which we are still looking for a human being to do what only God can do. Heavenly Father wants us to love others, because this is His commandment, but we are not to offer ourselves as sacrifices to other humans, and we are not to depend on anything other than God’s love to nourish our souls. The very best thing we can do is surrender Lordship of our souls to Jesus Christ and then allow his Spirit to help us guard them. ■

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

“Hiccups of the Soul”, 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!

Learning to Walk on Water

For those suffering domestic violence and abuse, or who have endured it in the past, this time of such global unrest may be causing even more anxiety and fear. The sheer magnitude of all this confusion and chaos coupled with that in one’s own home can be the impetus for total break-down, but this break-down can be avoided. It should be all our prayers, that those who are continually in harm’s way will allow the strong tower of God’s love to blanket their minds and hearts. His love will give them the strength and power of Jesus Christ. Acts 17:28 tells us that it is in Christ that we live, and move, and have our being. And we see very clearly that the enemy is strategizing fiercely to divert our attention away from our Christ reality. Therefore, we must be equally fierce when it comes to the game the enemy is playing, so that we choose faith rather than fear.

Faith is the substance God used to create the entire universe, so we know it to be potent stuff. It is activated through thought, intention, and will. It meets us at a place that is higher than the conditional circumstances that surround our everyday lives. This is why God instructs us in 2Corinthian 5:7 to walk by faith, and not by sight. We can’t rely on what we see day to day, because what we see day to day represents the natural realm. The problem with relying on the natural realm is in 1Corinthians 2:14(NLT). It tells us, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Earth is the natural realm. It is an expansion of God’s territory, but He hasn’t taken it by force. He’s taking it by love. We are ones to introduce His love into this territory by completing the work that Jesus Christ began. God’s goal is that we live and move on earth by receiving from Him through the Spirit of Christ. 1Corinithans 2:10-12(NIV) says, “10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

If you and I were to rely only on information from what we see in the natural realm, we would be paralyzed in every way, because the things we see can be very scary. We might even think that God isn’t making all things to work together for good as He says in Romans 8:28. Be confident that God is extremely busy in the supernatural realm, and this is a realm we cannot see with natural or physical eyes. We experience it through our spirits. The truth is that the supernatural realm is more real than the natural realm. A follower of Christ must condition their minds and hearts to walk in this truth, because this natural realm of earth dwelling is a very temporary occupancy for us.

In Matthew 14, we can see a vivid example of what’s possible when we receive from the supernatural and rely on God’s power. This chapter in the Gospel of Matthew gives us the record of our beloved Savior walking on water. When his disciple, Peter, saw this, he said in Matthew 14:22(NLT), “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come.” And briefly, Peter walked on the water! He did what he saw his Master doing, but in an instant this changed. For a few moments, he was saturated by the faith of Jesus Christ, and when he heard the word “Come”, he didn’t think, but simply obeyed, and moved by the Word of the Lord; the results were miraculous. But then, Matthew 14:30 tells us that Peter allowed what he saw in the natural to override the truth of the supernatural. This is always a detrimental step backwards. Peter saw the wind and became afraid, then he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus for help.

Oh, how I have wished over the years that Peter’s mind and heart had stayed free, that he had remained caught up in the faith of Christ he visited for that brief little while. Where would we be today if he had learned the secret of remaining in a mountain-moving faith, and then taught others? Even still, Peter did what no human has done since, and showed us through Jesus Christ what is possible when we refuse to be bound by the limitations of the natural realm and live through the faith and power of Jesus Christ.

Most of us will never encounter a situation that will make it necessary to walk on water, but we should learn more about Christ and seek to grow in the faith that would make it possible. We were birthed from that supernatural place, and we must learn to put the truth of our reality in Christ above what our emotions and feelings sometimes tell us. They might tell us to breakdown, but our spirit is reminding us it’s possible to walk on water. We must strive to increase our faith by trusting God through Christ, so that we are not rocked by our circumstances; we are not moved to emotional hysteria and breakdown by what we see. Instead we can know with every fiber of our being that God will protect and shield us. He will put a hedge around us and our loved ones if we are diligent to trust Him first, and let our emotions and feelings follow. ■

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.

“Learning to Walk on Water”, 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!

Keepers of the Secret

Melissa was one of the few people I felt comfortable around, and it is only now, after looking back at our lives, that I know why. She was a few years older than me, and before I moved to another state, she married David, the only man who she felt ever paid her any attention. In my eyes, Melissa was an extraordinary person. She did even the small things with the greatest amount of care, and as long as everyone else was having fun, she seemed content to be in the background and remain unnoticeable. For as long as I can remember, she talked about becoming a teacher for children with special needs, but she always let things get in the way of pursuing her dream. And when she married David, she gave up on this dream altogether. She let him convince her that college was an unachievable goal. After he manipulated her self-esteem, he took control and had the final say on all her friendships and just about every other aspect of her life. She accepted and excused his emotional abuse.

An abusive environment is breeding ground for insecurity and low self-esteem. Often children learn to be keepers of the secret, and they sometimes gravitate towards one another, never speaking their truth verbally, but knowing it spiritually. Melissa and I shared this unspoken truth, and the moment I witnessed the interaction between she and David, I knew exactly what had happened. Like a magnet, her insecurity had attracted that familiar cursed and deceptive cyclone we both knew so well. Its rotations are both oppressive and comfortable, pushing its victim further in the shadows. It was what she knew, but she would not acknowledge abuse for the web of dysfunction and evil that it is. Instead, she would cling to it as if it was all she deserved, like it was her last and only hope to be loved.

The Creator of the universe loves us. The enormity of this reality should fuel our every move. When it does, we hear the voice of confidence resonating in our hearts, because Romans 8:16 tells us that the Spirit will testify within that we are children of God. If we allow it, the confidence of truly knowing God loves us will bring us out of the shadows and into the light as we begin to walk through God’s process of Fathering us. He pours His love into the gaps that we have tried to fill with other things.

There is no question that if those we love most have harmed or caused harm to come to us, the ground that would normally secure the foundation of our minds and hearts will break; and it is a sizable crack. The tremors from this crack vibrate brokenness, and it is so uncomfortable and hurtful, that some of us will let those with parasitical tendencies latch on. Everything that an abused person in this cycle of insecurity and denial is fed just goes right through those cracks and adds to their brokenness. We can never get full this way, but many who have been abused will continue to chase the thing that keeps them empty.

We must see ourselves as worthy, not just a little bit, but a lot. Galatians 5:1 declares that Jesus Christ has set us free, and we should never again let anyone put a harness of slavery around us. This freedom that Christ offers is our birthright. He is our Brother, and we are his siblings because of his sacrifice. He gave his life for the remission of our sins and rescued us from the kingdom of darkness. He delivered us from the bondage of low self-esteem, insecurity, and feelings of worthlessness. All this self-loathing negativity comes from satan’s kingdom, and he wants to continue to rob us of life’s vital juices so that we will walk the earth completely depleted of joy, and dependent on his kingdom of fear, sadness, and shame. We can resist this plot of deception and destruction, and we should.

Jesus Christ said in John 3:19(NLT), “And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” To love light is a choice, and there is no gray area. We will either love it or love darkness, and loving darkness is not a good choice. It’s the worse one of all. God hopes we will not make that choice. The thing is, sometimes we’re not aware of what we’re doing. We’re accepting whatever comes our way, not discerning what’s from heaven and what’s from hell. We must know that we have a choice, and we can rely on God’s help. We have to wake up and realize that the packages from hell we can and should refuse. We owe it to ourselves to receive freedom from the secret, so we can be released from the pain. When we take even the tiniest step to love ourselves this way, God will begin to fill the cracks and teach us what it means to be free.■

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.

“Keepers of the Secret”, 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!

A Prayer to God for Help

Heavenly Father,

You said in 2Chronicles 7:14 that if Your people would humble themselves, pray, seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, You will hear their prayers. You will respond by forgiving their sins and allowing Your healing, restorative power to flow into their lives. Please, hear our prayer for Your help! Humility requires that we acknowledge the honor You are due and recognize that You always know what is best and Your way always works best. Humility means that we come to You with a heart that is truly sorry for not giving You the place in our lives that You deserve. We humble ourselves before You, Father God. We know that You love us, and we demonstrate our love for You right now by confessing our faith in what You accomplished by giving Your Son to die on the cross for our sins.

You are Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Your name is holy, and You are like no other. May Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There is so much confusion and sorrow in the world, and many people think this is Your Will, that You are punishing us because we haven’t listened to Your instructions and guidance, and we haven’t been good stewards of the earth. Your blessings are not earned, because we could never do anything good enough to earn all that You have done for us. You are not punishing us. You love us, and You bless us because love is Your nature. Love is who You are. Your Will is for us to live the more than abundant life that Jesus Christ came to the earth to make available. You want us to have a life full of Your grace, peace, and joy. This is Your desire for every person, and it has not changed.

Giving Your Son as a sacrifice for our sins is the greatest love act in all eternity, because Your Son is Your most precious treasure, and You didn’t spare Him for us. When we believe that You love us this big, we value ourselves differently because we can have confidence in our worth. We begin to see ourselves as children that are privileged to imitate Your nature. We cannot forget both the joy and unprecedented hate that Your Son was greeted with. Yet, he didn’t allow this to alter or stop him from doing the work You commissioned Him to do. He is our example of supreme love, and like Christ, we must be committed to do the love work You have commissioned us to do as well.

Philippians 2:13(NLT) tells us, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Heavenly Father, we invite You to work within us through Your precious Holy Spirit, because we want our lives to please You. There were times when we went off and did our own thing, not realizing that we could invite You to take the lead, and that we would have access to Your incredible love, power, and strength. We got ourselves into all kinds of trouble by choices that involved the wrong people, relationships, and connections. In many cases, we denied our identity in Christ and behaved in a way that was beneath our privilege. Please forgive us for this.

We’re in an environment that is extremely challenging, and so many of us feel very limited in our ability to access resources or to be resourceful. We’re experiencing feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and we can’t see a way out. We feel desperate and alone. Please help us, Father! You tell us in Your Word that You are our Sufficiency. You are our Source for all blessings. You declare to us in Psalm 84:11(NLT), “For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” You love us way more than we could ever love ourselves. You are our Rescue in the time of trouble. Please, Father, give us a pure heart and renew in us a right spirit. Let us abide in Your shadow so that we are continually covered beneath the umbrella of Your care.

We repent of our sins, and we place ourselves under the guidance and Lordship of Jesus Christ. We trust him with our whole hearts to lead us in the path of Your purpose and Will. You tell us in Philippians 4:19 that You will supply all our need according to Your riches in glory, and that You will do this by Jesus Christ. He is the channel by which Your abundance and blessings flow, and we rejoice in him, because through him, our hope is complete and unfailing. You tell us in Philippians 2:9 that You have given Jesus Christ a name above every name and have highly exalted him; and it is in his precious name, the name of Jesus Christ, that we pray. Amen. ■

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.

“A Prayer to God for Help”,  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!

Walk in Wisdom, but Don’t Worry

There are many people speculating about why it is we find ourselves facing a global pandemic. The most prevalent of reasons out there is that God is punishing us because we’ve strayed so far away from His Will. This belief does not square with His Word, because God does not punish people. He doesn’t need to use fear to show His people the way. He used the love of Christ to do this. 1John 1:5 tells us, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” Fear is darkness, and many of us that have endured or are enduring domestic violence and abuse can attest to this reality. Fear cripples in many ways, and it is designed and used by the devil to do just that. When our minds and hearts are gripped by fear, and we’re in panic mode, we can’t think clearly and act wisely or decisively. We must be extremely careful not to fall into this trap.

God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in Him at all; not one drop. He doesn’t use fear to get people to do what He wants. Our Heavenly Father is the Creator of all that exists. Genesis 1:26 tells us that He created us in His own image. He gave us the gift of free-will—the ability to make our own choices and decisions. So, we can be confident that He’s not in the business of forcing us to do anything. He’s a loving God, and love doesn’t force, restrict, or imprison. 1John 4:18(NLT) tells us, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

Darkness is dispelled as soon as light is introduced. Likewise, fear is dispelled when the love of God is introduced. One of the things that our current state bears out is the reality that we still have much work to do when it comes to introducing the love of God. We still have a way to go when it comes to learning to lead by the example of Christ, so that God’s perfect love will squash the darkness of fear and all its cousins.

Individually, our actions may not have immediate impact globally, but we can certainly do our part personally and in the lives of those we influence. Heavenly Father tells us how important having and using wisdom is in Proverbs 4:7. This verse says that wisdom is the principal thing and getting it is the very wisest thing any of us can do. This verse also says that whatever else we do, we should gain a clear understanding of how to implement wisdom so we can develop good judgment. Through media and several other channels, we’ve received lots of communication about what to do and what not to do. Using the wisdom we’ve received from public health officials is responsible in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, and we should be thankful to Him that we’re receiving the information we need to care for ourselves and others.

God tells us in Philippians 4:6(NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Another incredibly important way we can positively impact as many people as possible is to take care of ourselves spiritually. Heavenly Father tells us not to abandon wisdom for worry, but instead pray about everything, from our families and loved ones to the many we’ve never met all over the world. And when we pray, there must be a level of gratitude in our hearts and minds that although we are enduring challenging times, we know the Lord will bless us to get through it. As long as we are committed to not let fear override our faith in God’s love, we will continue to grow spiritually stronger and be a blessing to many others. ■


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cripture 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.

“Walk in Wisdom, but Don’t Worrywritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Help Yourself, Then Help Someone Else

For many people, one of the more challenging truths to accept is Proverbs 23:7(NKJV). It’s a very well-known verse in the Bible, and it says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” It’s pretty astounding actually, because it speaks to the reality that we are all spiritual beings, and this is a reality most have not accepted. Our spirit-man or ‘inner man’ is the highest part of who we are. The brain performs functions that are so complicated we can hardly fathom the intricacy of its inner working, but even so, the brain does not define us. The heart is a wonderful piece of machinery, but it doesn’t define us either. People receive heart transplants all the time, but a new organ does not change one’s identity. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that the substance of a person is shaped and molded by the invisible activity of the soul. The soul’s centers of will, emotion, and intelligent creativity determine whether we will align with our highest self or betray it.  

1Corinthians 6:19-20(NLT) tells us, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” Our physical body is our temple. It is made of dust, and when it is no longer alive, it will return to that of which it was made. This is not to say that we should regard the body any less than the magnificent creation that Heavenly Father formed it to be. However, we have no right whatsoever to assign to it functions higher or lesser than the ones sanctioned by our Creator. He has told us that the body was created to be a temple that houses the presence of His holy and powerful Spirit. If we worship the temple rather than the Holy One who lives within it, we have made our body an idol. Idolatry is the practice of worshiping the creation and not the Creator; this is a sin.

Jesus Christ said in John 6:63(NKJV), “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” The vitality, fulfilment, and richness that God intends us to experience in life can only be found in Him through Jesus Christ; it cannot be achieved through efforts of the flesh. It is impossible for you to give yourself life. You may have honed or increased the gifts, talents, and abilities you have, but you didn’t gift them to yourself. All that we are, everything that you and I own or have in our possession comes from God. Acts 17:28 tells us that it’s in Him that we live, move, and have our being. So what most of us have to do is to change our thinking about our relationship with God. We must begin to see that He’s at work on the inside of us, and then we must allow Him to come into our hearts in a greater way so that our lives will change. Romans 12:2(NLT) tells us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

When we don’t understand the partnership between the human spirit, soul, and body, and that all must be aligned and humbled to the Spirit of God, we become disconnected from our own hearts. It shows up in the form of being constantly disappointed and continually emptied of life’s nutrients and favor; all because we seek treasure where there is none.

As a spiritual being, God saw fit to give us this earth experience. Ephesians 1:11(NLT) tells us, “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” He chose us way before we passed through our mother’s womb. He knew us as His spiritual children, and He ordained that we should help others see the light of Christ. He appointed the time and place of our births, and we were handpicked by Him for such a time as this. It’s an enormous, incomparable gift, and we must see it this way; for we are in time, and God is not. Therefore, it is pressed on us to be conscious of the reality that life on earth is a necessary and beautiful process. We are going through it, transforming into the person God already sees when He looks at us.

You must align with the reality that your spirit contains the treasure, and it’s with you everywhere you go. Yes, Christ is just that close. It is not selfish to choose to free yourself from the affliction and bondage of abuse. It is an action to move yourself and your thoughts to higher ground, where Jesus, not pain, is Lord! Don’t allow anyone or anything to stall or impede your process, because you are transforming into the very image of Christ, then you can help someone else do the same.■

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.

“Help Yourself, Then Help Someone Elsewritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Without the Light

1John 4:12(NKJV) tells us, “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” The first part of this verse tells us that no person has ever seen our Heavenly Father at ANY time. Some that have studied the bible may say, “Hey, what about Moses?” The Old Testament tells us that Moses honored and loved God, and he wanted to see God’s face, but he was only permitted to see God’s afterglow. Heavenly Father told him, “Moses, you can’t see me and live. My Holiness is too much for you or any other human being to behold because of your sinful state, but here’s what I’ll do, I’ll pass by. And when I pass by, Moses, you can look out and see the afterglow.” This was such a loving thing for our Heavenly Father to do. He gave Moses this extraordinary gift. Through it, Moses received an undeniable testimony of the splendor that even just a trace of the Father’s glory will leave. His afterglow radiated Moses to such an extent, that he had to cover his face with a veil.

Moses’ countenance was lit up by the Father’s glory, and those who tried to look at him could not take the brightness of it. Moses hungered for God and wanted to draw as close to Him as humanly possible. Many of us have this same longing. And although no one has seen God at any time, there’s a way for us to be closer to Him than even Moses. 1John 4:12 says, “IF we love one another…” This is the key that opens the door that many people refuse to go in search of. God says that if we love one another with the love of Christ, then His love is perfected in us.

We are not perfect, but the love of God that Jesus Christ made available for us to have in our hearts—this love is perfect, and it can have its fullest expression in us. You and I are not yet where God’s wants us to be, but we are on our way. Making sure we get there, and perfecting us through God’s love, is the work of the Holy Spirit. 1John 4:13(NKJV) says, “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” So often we try to do this ‘perfecting’ work ourselves. We run to whatever is trending, thinking it will be the missing piece of the puzzle, the solution to all our problems. We seek externally what can only be found internally through the Spirit of the Living God who abides within.

Dwelling on the inside of us, we have all we need to be whole, for Colossians 2:10 declares that we are completely complete in Christ Jesus! This is good news indeed! It’s good news for us all, but especially so for the person who looks to another human being to be their all-in-all. Some of us link ourselves up with the most toxic and broken individuals. We develop soul ties with them, and even though they seek to do us harm continually, we match our malnourished souls to theirs. We let ourselves be fed with the most corruptible and contemptible toxins, and our souls drink it up like those ensnared and intoxicated by addiction.

It is a peculiar thing that we would look to a person, flawed in so many ways, and place more faith in what they dole out than in the splendor of God’s love and in His unfailing provision. How can we take the attention and adoration that God so overwhelmingly deserves and give it to someone who hasn’t a clue how to express God’s love? This is why remaining in situations of domestic violence and abuse is so harmful to our souls. It robs a willing vessel of the vision of Christ they desperately need to see. A person that is sent by satan to steal our joy and vitality will block our view and skew our vision, so that we cannot see the glorious light of Christ. We can and must change this.

Jesus Christ said in John 8:12(NLT), “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  Know that this light—the light of Christ—is EVERYTHING!  Without the light, you and I can’t see the glory of who God created us to be. But through the light of Christ, our deepest longing will be satisfied as we begin the glorious journey in him. Let’s be courageous and trust God completely. Everything that we could ever want or need, our Heavenly Father has it. He will happily supply it, because He is our Sufficiency, but He wants us to be as eager to be in His presence as Moses was. And because Christ has removed the veil for us, we can boldly approach God with open eyes and see the reflection of our highest, most noble self staring back at us.■

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

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

“Without the Light” 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!

Weary, but Never Tired

Until I met Mrs. Baker, I didn’t know there was a difference between being weary and being tired. Everyone knew her in our town, and her generosity and kindness were notorious. A foster parent for many years, she adopted my cousin when she wasn’t much older than two or three. She then fostered three other little ones and raised them all until they were adults. I don’t think the word ‘rest’ was in Mrs. Baker’s vocabulary. She was always on the go—always doing something for her church, for her children, or for someone in need. Her service is indeed an example that I admire until this day; it motivates me in many ways. But the one thing I never saw in Mrs. Baker’s life was a person that offered her the same care she so generously offered others.

Mrs. Baker never confided in me personally, but it’s not too much of a stretch to think that when she was weary, no one knew about it. And it’s entirely possible that no one noticed. She just kept doing what she had always done, and people were happy and thankful to receive her special brand of kindness. In Isaiah 40:31(NKJV), the Prophet Isaiah tells us, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Mrs. Baker, like so many of the women I knew, gave of herself continually and expected nothing in return. They knew the giving side of Christian service but didn’t stay in a place of rest long enough to wait for a renewal of their strength. They didn’t feel they had the luxury of waiting, but times are different, and we have nothing like their excuse.

Isaiah 40:31is an extremely comforting and wonderful chapter in the Book of Isaiah, affirming God as our Sustainer, Provider, and Protector. He’s our everything, and He tells us through Isaiah, that whatever we need, He’s got it, and will give it to us. Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to run ourselves in the ground, nor does He want anyone putting us in this kind of situation. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  It is very true that some people don’t know how to rest. They feel compelled to surround themselves in an environment that doesn’t invite it. Jesus Christ extends an invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 to all of us, but in order to receive what he offers, we must be willing to accept it.

It was no surprise that as I’d dot in and out of my hometown, coming home for holidays and visits, Mrs. Baker was still doing what she had always done. Her daughters were older and helping some, but she seemed busier than ever. Imagine my surprise and sorrow to hear she had passed from this life before her sixtieth birthday. My cousin told me that on her dying bed she told her family that she was so very tired. She was a treasure for so many, but as I reflect upon her life, I’m not convinced she ever enjoyed a deep and abiding rest in her heart, or that she received her flowers while she yet lived.

Ignorance will keep us blind to the reality that God has beautifully woven balance into life. A life lived well is indeed surrendered fully to Him, but lest we forget, Hebrews 11:6 affirms that He is a Rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. He will lavish us with rewards, but we have a part to play in this as well. Ephesians 2:10(NLT) tells us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God calls us His finest work. Therefore, we should be as tenacious about loving life as we are about work, service, sharing and caring for others. We must learn to be good to ourselves and recognize that this, too, is service to God.

Yes, in life we will get weary, but we shouldn’t exhaust ourselves to the point of losing vitality. That’s what it means to be tired, and we’ve got too much life to live for that. People mean well, but they will take, and take, and take. To be sure, the walk of a believer means there will definitely be times when we must give more of ourselves than we thought possible, but not to the point of damaging the masterpiece that God has made us. We can never count on a singular person to treat us better than we treat ourselves.  So, let’s make a commitment that we will do our best to be a blessing, but that we will also take time to enjoy the good things God has planned for us as well.■

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

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

“Weary, but Never Tired” 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!

Turning Pain into Gain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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