Change Your Ways

2Corinthians 7:9(NLT)
"Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way."

No matter how many times you seem to move forward in your life, all it takes is one word of bad news and the pain, fear, and nervousness rear their ugly heads and set you back. They make you think they’re running the show, and it makes us feel so down. When I read the verse in 2Corinthians 7:9, I was reminded that pain can be purposeful because it can cause us to change in ways that we never thought possible. 

You might ask, “Why do we need to go through pain in order to change our ways?” I also asked myself this question, but what quickly came to me is the freedom that God extends to us by allowing us to choose. We have free-will choice, and we get to choose how we’re going to respond to situations. God is the complete opposite of the hurtful feelings we experience. He represents love and liberty for us, and He doesn’t ever want us to feel pain. But if we are going about our daily routines of life, walking around asleep to God’s Word and what He’s called us to do, pain and sorrow will inevitably find their way to us. Our hiccups and missteps can almost always be tied back to something we could have changed or could have let go but didn’t. 

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

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

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

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

As God’s children, we are created to house His Spirit and to be conduits of His divine love. We aren’t built to hold on to bitterness, rage, anger, and evil behavior. Not only can these heavies break us down physically, but they take a toll on us spiritually. We can’t be who God has called us to be when our hearts are not flooded with His love and goodness. Change can be very challenging, but we cannot grow without it, and growing in Christ is our reason for being on this earth. We must always remember that we are never alone. The Lord is with us always, and He will never forsake us. We can be comforted in the reality that He is helping us to develop spiritual character, and when we have reached the level of spiritual maturity that He desires, He will be pleased, and we will be rewarded. ■

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

“Change Your Ways”,  written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

He Had Two Families and She Didn’t Know It

How does a woman with four children, all under the age of 12, find herself abandoned after 13 years of marriage by a man that has another family, and she knew nothing about it? Were there signs that she missed? Was she so busy with everyday life and the kids that she ignored what was happening in her marriage? Or could it be that she was so consumed with taking care of everyone else that it never dawned on her to take care of her own needs? Did she nurture her connection to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, or did she prioritize everything else ahead of it? It can be very challenging to hear and face, but there is always a reason behind every event, experience, and encounter in life. We don’t always know the reason, but God knows. If we are willing and ready, He’ll help to open our eyes, and we can begin to heal and restore our lives using these three very important guideposts.

God’s Kingdom and Righteousness
Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:33(NKJV), “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This is a piece of truth that is meant to ground us completely and thoroughly. It tells us definitively what we should place in the number one spot of every aspect and experience of our lives. God and the things of His Kingdom can never be number two. As a matter of course, every living and thinking being prioritizes. It’s something we humans do, and we prioritize beginning with what is most important to us. If at any time, we allow God and the things of His Kingdom to slip below first place, and we make other things more important to us than our relationship with Him, we will be in big trouble. We will see the opposite of what Jesus Christ has stated in Matthew 6:33. This means that instead of ‘all these things’ being added to us, they will be subtracted from us.

Our marriages and significant relationships are often attacked by the enemy, because he hates God’s institutions, and the devil vehemently comes against unity. 1Corinthians 14:33 lets us know straightforwardly that God isn’t the author of confusion. Confusion and chaos belong to the devil, so when we are severely attacked and emotionally distraught, we know who to blame, but we cannot stop there. If we do, we might miss the elevation and promotion God has for us. We must have the courage to look under the hood, so we more confidently put on the weapons of spiritual warfare and therefore will not continue to be outsmarted by the devil.

Forgiveness, not condemnation
None of us are perfect. We make mistakes, and some of those mistakes are doozies. We make these mistakes sometimes because we’ve been lured into a trap. God warns 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.” Just as angels see what we’re doing, demonic spirits do as well. Angels protect us according to our faith, and demons are dispatched by the enemy to identify our sin and weaknesses; they are looking for a legal way to cause chaos and confusion in our lives, because they cannot do it illegally. Our mis-prioritization of not seeking God’s Kingdom and Righteousness first, as well as any other sin we commit, gives the devil and his cohorts the legal opportunity to interrupt God’s agenda for our lives.

We are the ones to open the door. Sometimes we do it unconsciously or out of ignorance, but our failure to seek God and His Will preeminently is just the opening the devil is looking for. Heavenly Father does not want us wallowing in self-condemnation, blaming ourselves, and putting ourselves down for being blind. Romans 8:1 tells us that Jesus Christ has done away with that condemning business for those who walk after the Spirit. Through his sacrifice on the cross, he cancelled out all the charges the devil could bring against the believer. So, we shouldn’t want to minimize in any way the work of the cross. Condemnation is a tactic of the devil to keep the believer down. TRUTH will always lift us up and open our eyes to the light of Christ.

Causing emotional distress is an evil plot to keep us licking our wounds so we will not know and seek the deliverance God offers. In the case of our significant relationships, many of us get caught up in bitterness and resentment, blaming the other person for the tremendous hurt they’ve caused. We get angry and sometimes this anger turns to rage. The bitterness, resentment, anger, and rage we feel didn’t just suddenly show up on the scene. Even before the husband’s infidelity was exposed, those feelings were in us. But because the infidelity is out in the open, we can see our patterns of behavior. We can now lay bare before Heavenly Father, which is what He requires. We must seek His forgiveness for any sin we’ve committed and place our focus on our relationship with Him.

Jesus Christ is your hope
When there’s an issue in our families that critically impacts us and our children, we might feel helpless and hopeless. But we must remember that feelings and emotions cannot hold a place of governing authority in our lives. Only Jesus Christ can hold this position. He opened the door to the throne of God’s unyielding grace, love, and mercy. Our responsibility is to walk through that door, so that we might obtain God’s favor and mercy, especially in the time when we need it most. Our emotions and feelings will tell us to come apart at the seams, but Jesus Christ tells us to put our trust in God, and do not lean on our own understanding.

1Peter 1:3-4(NIV) tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…” Praise opens the door to deliverance! We should praise God with all that is within us for what He accomplished for us through Jesus Christ! Most of us haven’t understood the resurrection and all that was done through it. Because of what our Redeemer has done, God reconnected us to the brilliance of His purpose. This purpose is that we have His Spirit actually living inside of us. You cannot engage your victory in all the fullness of what God meant your life to be, unless you come out of emotional enslavement and begin to walk in the liberty of Christ. Your origin is not earth, it’s heaven, and in order to access its resources, you must grasp your completeness through Christ. He is the way! He is your hope, and he cannot fail.

If someone fails to honor who you are, never allow it to define your identity. That man may have another family and you didn’t know it, but now that you do, refuse to be defined by the trick the enemy has played. Open your eyes, pray often, and let the Lord lead you to the victory and treasures that He desires to give you.■

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.

 “He Had Two Families and She Didn’t Know It”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Will Fill Our Voids

Heavenly Father chose us to be His sons and daughters, and this is the highest honor of all eternity. He is a great big, wonderful God, and the expanse of His creation is incomprehensible to the human mind. In our current times, space travel has permitted some to go far enough outside earth’s parameters to see how very small it is. Earth is but a tiny dot in God’s universe, and He created this tiny dot as a beautiful place for our habitation. We haven’t been the best stewards of it, and we were headed for destruction because most of us chose hate instead of love. God rescued us from ourselves. He saved us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and He has called us to live holy as His set apart people.

2Timothy 1:9(NLT) tells us, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” Holiness isn’t like any other characteristic or quality. Holy is what God is, and because we were made in His image, He has commanded us to be and live holy as well. He tells us in Ephesians 5:1 to be imitators of Him as His dear children. This means that we live in love the same way that Jesus Christ did when he walked the earth as a human being.

Holiness is set-apart-ness for God’s special purpose. The psalmist said in Psalm 4:3(NLT), “You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him.” This verse demonstrates that holiness is an aspect of our relationship with God that brings us closer to Him, and our commitment to holiness causes our relationship with Him to grow. Therefore, it causes us to increase in spiritual strength.

Many people have often thought of holiness as an attribute that is only sought and achieved by a few religious people. It is also a commonly held notion that some that call or consider themselves holy must do uncommon or challenging things to prove their holiness. 1John 4:18 tells us that there is no fear in the love of God in Christ. In truth, love and fear are polar opposites, and they cannot exist in the same space. We don’t have to be afraid of any attribute or aspect of Godliness or holiness, and we should not walk in fear of what others will think, say, or do because they see us living and behaving as God’s set-apart people. We are to walk in the liberty of Christ. He has set us free from being beholden to society’s opinions and judgments.

Holiness and Godliness should be the nature that every believer in Christ strives to achieve. But sometimes we don’t quite hit the mark. Either because of the challenges of life or because of other situations and experiences we had in the past, we feel empty inside. We feel a void, and many of us attribute this feeling to not having something or someone to fill up this void. It is common for individuals that have lost someone very special to experience feelings of emptiness. We feel it when a relationship that was very precious to us has been severed. Single people are very in touch with feeling this gap or void also, it is why they want to be married. They see having a significant person in their lives as filling the void they have felt for a long time.

The gap, void, or emptiness we experience is the place where God would like to be. He fills the voids with His matchless love. Genesis 1:2(NLT) tells us, “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.” The earth was dark and void, but God filled the void with His light. Genesis 1:3(NLT) declares, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” This is what He will do for us as well when we trust Him.

God’s holiness fills our empty places. He commands us in Ephesians 4:22-24(NKJV), “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Our old self believes that people and things can fill up our empty spaces and make us feel whole, but if you try to build the foundation of your life on people and things, you’ll have a shaky foundation at best. 2Samuel 22:32(NLT) boldly affirms, “For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock?” The Lord invites us to fill our voids and gaps with Him. He fills our cups. He tells us in Romans 15:13 that He is the Source of our hope! If we will cling to Him in faith, He will completely fill us with joy and peace, so that we overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ■

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

“God Will Fill Our Voids”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Pain Is A Calling Card for Change

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. If we have a pessimistic mindset, we may not be as excited about this verse as we should. In truth, we should be over the moon about it, because our Heavenly Father is teaching us the potential of something that we all have, our mouths. What we speak and how we speak have tremendous impact, because it is a determining factor as to whether we are walking in the newness of Christ or still stuck in old patterns that do not serve us well. Romans 10:10 makes it clear and plain that confessing the truth regarding the accomplishment of Christ through his sacrifice and resurrection transfers us from eternal death to eternal life. Our confession ushers us into new life! This is huge! It demonstrates how powerful our words are. It also demonstrates that heaven, and everything beneath it, pay attention to the words we speak.

And when it comes to the words we speak, there isn’t one in the English language that can express the enormity of speaking life into your own existence. Whether you believe it or not, your own voice carries more weight with you than any other person’s voice. Your conscious mind will believe your own confessions over the confessions of another person. So, when you make a habit of telling yourself the truth, your heart will believe it and your mind will accept it. And ultimately your life will manifest the truth of your confessions, because this is the authority and power of Christ that God has placed in your hands. By the same token, if you confess a lie, it will diminish the value you place on your own life. If you speak words that underestimate your worth to God and convey that you doubt His love and empowerment, your life will manifest circumstances that match the lie you have confessed.

Pain, heartache, and hurt are often the byproducts of false confessions. These false confessions are echoed from wrong beliefs. Pain is a calling card that signals its time to change your confessions and beliefs. We must believe ourselves worthy of investing in our own minds and hearts to this degree. Patterns are entrenched and they have a voice. They bring up all kinds of excuses to keep us stuck in our comfort zones, but we must break out of them and the Holy Spirit will help us. He abides in us, and He is our Comforter, Teacher, Friend, and Guide.

Jesus Christ said of him in John 16:13(NLT), “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” The Holy Spirit lives within the born-again believer, and he will guide us to God’s truth, but we have a responsibility to allow ourselves to be led. We must partner with God through His Holy Spirit and begin to speak the words of truth that Jesus Christ taught us in God’s Word. Negative people are negative because they speak negatively, and they think negative thoughts. This should not be said about a born-again believer. We’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, and we must rise up in our thoughts and confessions to the level of what we have received.

You’re not in control of anyone else but you. When you begin to speak and think like Christ, people, situations, and circumstances must line up with the truth of your confessions and thoughts. Failing to do this causes life to feel like we’re going around in circles. This is not what God intended for us. He commands us to depend on Him alone, because He is our Source and Sufficiency. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:5-6 The Message (MSG) “I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!” This verse communicates the wonder of God’s unspeakable, never-ending grace and overwhelming love for us. His love is a consuming fire as it says Hebrews 12:29. This is the path of love and goodness that God wants us to remain on continually, and to do this we must wake up and come into consciousness about our words and thoughts.

Some may think that their plate is too full to be bothered with the process of change, and others may not value the importance of the transformation God requires, but He is the orchestrator of our original design. He knows everything there is to know about us, and He has set the path that we should walk. He knows where we need to be, when we need to be there, and He knows how to get us to the place that He has destined us to be. In heaven, there’s a complete book written about your life on earth, and it was written long before you entered your mother’s womb. Our Heavenly Father has included all the good things He planned for you, but He will not force you to walk the path that He’s laid for your life. He will not force us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to His Word if we do not want to be committed to Him the way He requires. This is our choice. We must wake up and recognize that the continuation of wrong beliefs and confessions keep us from the plan God has for our lives.

Your voice has a vibration. When you use it to speak #1 what God says about you, #2 what God says you can do, and #3 what God says you can have in Christ, you come into agreement with His goodness and truth. Whenever we do this, His Word accomplishes that for which He purposed it. Use the conviction of your faith and the sound of your voice to align your life with the newness Christ has made available to you. Speak life into your existence and refuse to allow doubt and darkness any place in your mind and heart. When you take your rightful place of power and authority by being responsible and aligning what you do, think, feel, and say with the example of Christ, God will transform your 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.

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

“Pain Is A Calling Card for Change” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

He’s Not Who You Thought

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Psalm 34:18(NLT)

Marriage is one of our most rewarding relationships. Outside of our relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, marriage is the second most significant relationship of our lives. This is exactly how our Heavenly Father planned it. When it comes to human-to-human interaction, marriage is the relationship God established first; it is the foundation upon which families are produced and expanded. God intended marriage to be sacred and uncomplicated. It should be stamped with His brand of love, unity, and peace, because that is the way He created and desires everything to work. The problems and complexities of the world have increased, and one of the downsides is that many of these issues have spilled over into our relationships with one another, particularly marriage.

Because marriage is so important to Heavenly Father’s agenda, it is no secret that the adversary tries to vehemently attack it. As a result of the adversary’s lies and attacks, many of us do not view marriage in the light that God intended for this beautiful blessing. Most individuals see it as a very difficult relationship to maintain, but in truth, marriage is not difficult, people are. Of course, marriage comes with its challenges, but this is the case with anything worth having. Marriage will stretch us to love beyond the threshold of our perceived capabilities. People have free-will. They have choices, and they can change very suddenly. This can be mild, or it can be extreme. But either way, one of the most challenging aspects of marriage is when you think everything is going fine, and out of nowhere, you see a side to your husband you never saw before. It’s one of those instances that stretches our faith, but not to the point of being physically or mentally harmed.

Ephesians 4:31-32(NLT) tells us, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” This is God’s instruction to us all. He wouldn’t have told us to conduct ourselves this way if we lacked the ability to get it done. Heavenly Father doesn’t want anyone disrespecting another person. And by the same token, He doesn’t want any of us being disrespected by someone, especially in a marriage. The love of Christ should be in our hearts, and his love should surround our respect and adoration for our spouses. But sometimes our spouses surprise us with their lack of understanding about honor and respect. We see things we couldn’t have imagined or expected to see, and the person we fell in love with is not the person we thought we knew. For some of this, we can apply the powerful combination of prayer and the love of God in Christ, and our spouses are transformed. But we must know that when it comes to violence and abuse, God doesn’t want us in that situation, not even a little bit.

Violence and abuse is more than disrespect, it’s an abuser’s attempt to control, manipulate, harm, and devalue. No one deserves to be treated this way. In most instances, violence and abuse in a relationship doesn’t just go away, as most abused partners will attest. It requires serious spiritual, mental, and emotional intervention, and in all cases of healing and restoration, the abuser must be willing from the depths of their hearts to change.

While dating, many of us fail to discern if the person has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, or if they hold themselves accountable to Heavenly Father’s moral and spiritual standards. When a person refuses to be accountable to God for their conduct, it is a gigantic red flag. We really don’t have anything to work with when this is the case. It is one of the reasons that God wants us to grow in Christ to the point that we use good judgment and wisdom in our decision-making. When we listen to God, we don’t rush into things. Instead, we wait patiently, walk with Him, and move only as He guides.

The bottom line is that many spouses discover that they weren’t as prepared for marriage as they thought. The spiritual lesson from choices gone wrong is to begin to live our lives in such a way that we depend totally and completely on God in everything we do. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT), “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” It doesn’t matter how old we are, we are still children to God, and no matter how many mistakes we make, He never holds them against us. He wants to help us, because He loves us. He’s our Heavenly Father, and we will never be too old to totally trust Him with all that we are, especially when it comes to marriage.■

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

“He’s Not Who You Thought”, written by Kyada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Rest in the Power of God’s Love

“1 Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. 2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. 3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. 4 Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. 5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. 6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. 7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.”

Psalm 86:1-7 (NLT)

“God didn’t keep me from meeting my abuser, so why would He save me now?”

When you are in need of help and protection, all you can think about is wanting it as quickly as possible. It’s devastating that the person you love is causing you physical and emotional pain. It feels overwhelming, and you desperately want relief, but you’re not sure how it will look. So much seems to depend on the willingness of the person that is abusing you to change, so the abuse will end. But you’ve been down that road before, and the promises that your abuser has made to stop the abusive behavior have never been kept. You hate what this person is doing to you and the relationship, but you don’t know how to let them go.

Life is very challenging sometimes, and at the toughest moments, we wonder why God has not kept abusive people away from us. In hindsight, we know we would have been so much happier if we hadn’t met the person or started a relationship with them. Some of us are angry with God for letting us go through the situation, but in truth, we are really angry with ourselves. Companionship was created by God to be a very lovely thing, and He established it with Adam and Eve from the very beginning. He wants us to walk together with a person who equals our capacity to love, but God also desires that we allow Him to help build this capacity within us first. Then we can rest in the power of His love and learn to love His way.

We all think we’re on point, and that we are healed and built up in all the places that count. Our choices for companionship show us that this isn’t exactly accurate. We sometimes choose individuals that mirror our weak places. And since we don’t acknowledge our weak places, but hide them, we sometimes choose people who do the same thing. If we don’t want to see something within our own selves, we’re not likely to readily identify it in anyone else.

We make choices out of our brokenness mostly because we don’t realize the extent to which we’re broken. We may not know it, but our hearts are torn into pieces way before abusive relationships begin. Often, we don’t recognize it until something makes us question our choices and decisions. It’s in this condition of seeing our need to become stronger and wiser that surrendering to God is the very best thing we can do. He will make us strong if we are humble and obedient to His Word.

James 4:7-8(NLT) instructs, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” What does it mean to humble ourselves before God? Well, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. There isn’t anything He doesn’t know, and there isn’t anything He can’t do.1John 4:8 tells us that God is love. His majesty is beyond anything you and I can imagine. His sovereignty is absolute, and He is a God with no equal. There isn’t anything in all the universe that compares to Him. He’s God all by Himself, and He is glorious beyond glorious.

This is not just a lot of talk. God’s Kingdom is POWER! He’s all that and infinitely more. This is the truth! To humble ourselves before God is to recognize the truth! It is to know with every fiber of our being that God IS exactly who He tells us He is in His Word. We all think we know ourselves so well, but our Heavenly Father knows everything there is to know about us. He knows us through and through. He knows our level of spiritual maturity, intellect, and ability. He knows whether we are really in a place to be patient and to listen to Him, or whether we’re caught up in the emotion of needing to be taken care of by a man. The truth is that most of us make our own decisions and choices about relationships, and then ask God to bless them afterwards. We don’t wait for His clarity and would not listen to Him anymore than Adam and Eve did before they sinned.  

 We can never second guess the wisdom of God. Doing so runs the risk of us thinking that we know better than He does. God doesn’t let us down, not ever. Quite the contrary, He helps to lift us up! The psalmist cried out to God for help in Psalm 86:1-7 and like many of us, he did so after facing many hardships. He was not perfect, and neither are we. That’s why thousands of years later, his prayer is just as relevant today for all of us as it was when he first prayed it. God does not cause trials and tribulations to happen in our lives. They originate from the kingdom of darkness. Trials and tribulations come from the devil to attack us in our most vulnerable places, and the devil does this to cancel out our trust in God. We must not allow this to happen.

Heavenly Father knows that we want to be loved because this is the way He wired us. Loving someone and being loved by a quality person is one of life’s most fulfilling rewards. God wants this for us, but we have an enemy that does not want to see anything good happen in our lives, and we cannot be ignorant of this. The other thing that we must never be ignorant about is that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. When we stand in faith, we are not defeated and cannot be defeated as long as our trust is firmly planted in the Lord.

As believers, we know what the enemy means for bad, God can use it for our good if we are faithful to trust Him with all our Hearts. He tells us in Romans 8:28 that He will cause all things to work together for the good of those that are called according to His purpose. We must not think that God has withheld His help. Our situations show us how much we need Him. They teach us to surrender to Him totally so that He can free us from abuse, and free our minds and hearts from the thoughts and feelings that kept us in it. ■

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.

 “Rest in the Power of God’s Love” written by Kyada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Safe Place Is in God

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

Psalm 91:1-3 (NLT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t co-mingle light and darkness. Darkness produces abuse, and without the knowledge of God’s Word, darkness prevails. This is why God said in Hosea 4:6 that we can be destroyed by what we don’t know. Ignorance belongs to satan, and he seeks to keep us blinded from the truth, but God is our Rescue. We desperately needed to be rescued from darkness, and God accomplished this for us through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:8(NLT) tells us, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”

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

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

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

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

Change Your Ways

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

2Corinthians 7:9(NLT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is Our Protector, Our Refuge, Our Everything

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

1Timothy 6:12(NIV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Christ Will Solve Our Problems

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

1Peter 5:9(NLT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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