Category Archives: Opposition

The Process Part 1 Battle Wounds (1 of 4)

For a couple of years now I have been on the journey of healing from multiple injuries due to a bootcamp workout. During the process of healing I’ve had multiple surgeries, injections, medications and countless hours of physical therapy. This has been a painful, emotional & taxing journey with each step revealing more along the way.

From the start of my journey to healing I had many rules, orders, medications & suggestions to follow. In my stubbornness, I did my best to follow them but refused to ask for help along the way. I could do it. I’ve got this thing. All the while claiming I am healed in Jesus Name & having an attitude of I’ve got this on my own.Clearly, I wasn’t fully letting God in much less anyone else to assist me along the way.

Having the best of intentions, I decided I did not want to bother anyone with what I was walking through. I didn’t need help, this is just a little bump in the road. I’m pretty sure this is pride in reverse & God is not the center of walking thru this mess. The intent was right, but the way I carried it out wasn’t. I carried this thought process for well over a year, I have a stubborn streak to the core.

During this time I had 2 boots & 2 casts to heal 5 fractures, the muscles & tendons I separated. I’ve gone through 2 sets of crutches, a wheel chair and 2 surgeries. It’s shocking how much I made myself do while wearing casts & being on crutches. I drug that cast all over the place while standing on one leg. While in the boots I continued to do a modified workout.I refused to look weak or not be able to do something on my own. None of  which being doctors orders by the way. It was my way of masking my wounds & not wanting to stop, take the time & focus on what was needed to heal.

The injuries to our heart are very similar,they hurt to our core & deep to the heart. We prefer to say things like I’m fine or it will be ok. In life when we are wounded by hurt, fear or rejection we can only cover it up for so long. The wounds will show up in places in our lives, relationships, jobs & family.

The wounds in our lives mean as much to God as the healed places in our hearts. God’s heart is, let’s take a look at this and go deeper.Let me in & heal the parts of your heart that have been broken & damaged.

After the bones & muscles healed I still had pain. This pain was a knife stabbing kind of pain in my heel. After what I had been through I did not want another doctor’s appointment. I did not want to be touched, looked at, tests ran or share my story with anyone. I was simply over it all, I wanted to be normal again. The problem was, I still needed to go deeper to find the root of the problem & pain.

Just like what the doctors wanted to do, God does in our lives. The pain had been masked by pain medications, so I couldn’t tell I was still injured. We often mask the wounds in our hearts with anger, insecurity, resentment, bitterness, or by cracking jokes often at the expense of others. God loves us too much to leave us wounded & broken.

My doctors followed the road of pain from my injury with all roads leading to the nerves in my back.  I had many tests and the results led to a blown back with my sciatic nerve trapped. I was in so much pain and was so miserable.

Like the root was to my injury, so is the root to the wounds in our hearts. I had compensated so much that I’d strained muscles & over worked parts of my body. Hearts that are wounded overused, strained & compensate by using substances, people & exhaust all we have to give.

I began a 13 month painful treatment of epidural spinal injections & medications. This was an attempt to treat the problem instead of fixing the problem.  Just like the doctors trying to treat a problem we also do with our hearts. We love to treat our wounds & mask them when they really need healed.

I had to make the choice to have back surgery and trust the surgeon. The surgeon had to go to the root of the problem. I knew it would be painful & I wouldn’t be able to do things on my own. I would cry and show emotions which I prefer not to do. However, I made the choice to no longer function at 60%, I wanted to be healed to 100%.

Often we choose not to look at the wounds in our hearts because it’s messy and we have zero control.  God says, “I want to live in your heart.” He wants to heal your wounds, hurts & brokenness. Yes, it can be a messy & we will have emotions we prefer to hide that will come out. BUT GOD! But God will walk with us, live inside of us & hold our hearts in His hands. When we choose to let go we become free & healing can begin.

Just like we have to do with our hearts, I had to do with my recovery & healing. I wanted to be free of crutches and a wheel chair. I had to decide to trust the doctors & the process towards healing. When we let go physically of what is holding us back and begin to trust the process, our healing can begin & heal the battle wounds in our life.

 

 

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Don’t Give Up

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I have walked through one of the most difficult times to date in my life. In short I had foot/ankle surgery 7 weeks ago. I just knew I would be back to it, the daily routine and being my ever so busy bee self within 2 weeks. Here we are 7 weeks later and I am still not walking and haven’t driven in months. I am literally learning to walk all over again and this process is so painful at times. Can you hear the screams on the inside? What? Are you kidding me? I am not going according to “my” pace? Not to mention I have to receive help, key word receive not resent the fact I must have help.

One of the key factors of the above paragraph is pride. I had no idea that was in my heart, I know I don’t ever feel I exalt myself above another. I without a doubt just know I have it together and that has been rooted out years ago. Clearly this isn’t the case.

The first few weeks I was totally 100% relying on my husband to do everything. Our church kindly provided meals for the first few weeks, thank the Lord for this or we would have starved. This is important to know because in the past I wouldn’t do that on any level. You know the “I can handle it,” “someone else needs that above me,” and the all to common “I just don’t want to bother anyone.” P-R-I-D-E!

In no way does our Heavenly Father do something to harm us, it would go against His nature (everything good, perfect, noble, kind and so on). However, I have learned he will allow a hardship, trial and test to show us what is in our heart. To root it out and grow us, which is for our benefit because He loves us so much.

Being in the 7th week of this process (which in retrospect of the rest of my life isn’t that much) I have learned to just trust my Father that He will protect me. Also, that everything will be completed and taken care of if I am not always involved. After all I am a Pastors wife and isn’t it my job to make sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted? NO!!! I have learned that my girls will be ok and they actually LOVE to help if I will give them the opportunity. Also, do not worry how others see you, I have in the past felt I needed to “look together” and be able to handle anything thrown my way always with grace. Well news flash, I have found I don’t and that is what makes this so perfect, it gives God the ability to show Himself strong on my behalf. Lastly, Josh, my ever so kind husband, I didn’t realize I have felt I didn’t want to let him down and look “weak”. Wow, what a mistake that was, because I was not giving him the opportunity to be strong for me and stand in the gap. I could go on and on but you get the point.

Pride will keep us from the blessing of letting others close into our lives. We will lose the ability to receive love by letting others in and be a blessing. Meekness isn’t weakness, but power under control.

I found is so interesting when my mom-in-law drove from Oklahoma this week to cook us dinner, I just set there. She mentioned to me that 3 months ago I wouldn’t even let her in my kitchen. WOW!!! That is years of behavior wiped out in this 7 week difficulty. To my amazement I could not believe how much change had happened in my heart.

It is important to mention during this time I have continued to seek Him through, loads and loads of teaching, reading my word and many great books and of course prayer.  I knew if  I just kept my heart open to what God wants to show me then I would overcome this very hard season in mine & my family’s life. Making the choice of getting into a place of why me, why can’t it be someone else or just giving up and letting “life” just do what it will (which is chance not faith in Jesus) will not help you to overcome. Just keep your Spirit open to all God has for you and let him transform you.

In conclusion, I have learned that often times God  will use people to show us love. If we are to busy (prideful) to not receive the help, care & support, we keep people/God our Father at the same arms length. I never knew this was part of my nature I had developed I believe as a child; with the loss of my father & abandonment of my mother. It is so important to just let those things go, they can help shape you into all God has called you to be. I am no where close to where I want to be, but I am not where I once was in my heart. God can use every situation to totally transform your life. Our job is to keep walking, don’t give up, walk in the love of God and his grace & forgiveness. Don’t Give Up!

 

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Scars

 

 

As I drove home from the gym this morning, I began to think about scars. How they look. How they heal. How did it get there in the first place. The Lord began to show me how scars relate to how He transforms our life.

Over 20 years ago I had a surgery that changed my life forever. A doctor made a mistake, which in turn caused me to have a total hysterectomy at age 19. I have a scar from one side to the other on my lower abdomen (along with others in the same area). These aren’t noticeable to others, however they are to me. They are reminder of a deep wound not only physically but emotionally. I don’t dwell on this, I have accepted it as part of my past.

I have experienced great disappointment of never physically being able to have children, and hurt from the trauma caused by the hand of someone I trusted (my doctor). What was an attempt to destroy life, turned into something that forever filled my life with great joy. Had I not had the hysterectomy,  I may have never adopted my 2 daughters. What the enemy meant for bad, God turned into good. The scars of the past, are erased when I see them. They are my absolute joy.

This is how Jesus is when we accept Him into our hearts. The wounds and things of the past are healed. We may have the memories and thoughts which are the scars but we have a future in Him, which heals the broken hearted.  I want to encourage you today that the scars of the past do not determine your future. They may take you in a different direction, BUT God will turn whatever was meant for bad into good.

The scars Jesus has in his side and hands, are the scars that reveal our future. Jesus took the most brutal beating that left him with scars of His past, but oh my goodness the promise of the future. Jesus knew that the wounds He took for us were to give us our destiny, a great future in Him. His scars from the nails in His hands, to the spear in His side are a reminder of Him being raised from the dead and the redemption for His people. Thank you Father that you heal the wounds of our past and have given us the promise of a great future through your only Son.

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Be The Best “You” That You Can Be

 

 

Recently I heard a pastor say, “be the best you, the person God created you to be.” If you think about that, it’s all He asks from us. Why is this such a hard task? Is it the media? A standard we place in our mind that we want to reach? Or is it ideological points of view that sets us up to fail before we even get started? What if we each just sought the Lord on how to be the very best we can be, and love who He created us to be.

We are all created with a unique purpose, with unique talents and abilities. No two of us are alike; even twins have their very own set of finger prints. As a pastor’s wife, I have learned this the hard way. I really look up to and watch those who really impact so many in ministry, I have quickly realized the trail I am called to blaze isn’t like my predecessors. They have their unique call and I have mine to forge, with the talents & abilities given to me by the Lord.

Growing up I never seemed to fit in the family I was raised in; I always felt I stuck out like a sore thumb. I grew up on a farm, a rather large farm at that, with every kind of animal you can think of running around our house. My grandmother had an enormous garden where we grew our veggies and canned to last through the winter. I have to say,  I believe my work ethic came from this but nothing else. I never enjoyed one second of it, however my brother has carried on some of what he learned about canning. I always had a dream in my heart greater than I could see. I really struggled trying to “fit in”, from time to time being called, “the city girl” with zero idea of what that meant. I always had an ability to create and draw just about anything, but felt I was the odd one. The confusion of celebrating and growing in my strengths, ended up in an identity struggle and low self-esteem.

Over the years I have had many positions, different jobs & changed my major countless times in college. I have ALWAYS been drawn to the Lord, even in the middle of my mess I always had Him pulling at my heart. I always knew I wanted to help people, and have tried to do that throughout my life. Still, who am I called to be? What am I good at? How achieve the vision in my heart? How can I get there with the tools I have?

It starts with knowing before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry and a specific purpose. No accidents here, all divine purpose and destiny.

The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Our English word “poem” comes from this Greek word translated “workmanship.” You’re God’s handcrafted work of art. You’re not an assembly line product, mass-produced without thought. You’re a custom designed, one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece.

God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique. He carefully mixed the DNA recipe that created you. David praised God for this incredible personal attention to detail God gave in designing each of us: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous” (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT).

This means nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others and shape you for your service to him. God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use them for his glory. God does want our very best. And He actually put some eternal thought into us before He made us. In Romans 12, Paul writes that God has graciously given each of us gifts. He has given us skills and abilities that are unique to us. I don’t know about you, but this is great news to me!

We should humbly seek to be great at what He’s made us for. Romans 12 4-5 says that we are all part of one body in Christ. The body doesn’t need the heart to be a mediocre heart. It needs the best heart it can have. Nor does it need bad hands or weak feet that can’t do what they’re intended to do. God can, and does, use us in our weakness, but we should also seek to be great stewards of the us God has made.

I found this on a website on how to be all God has created us to be, I believe it bares repeating:

Speak good things about yourself. Declare what God’s Word says about you. For example, say to yourself, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am made acceptable in the Beloved. God formed me with His own hand, He loves me, and God doesn’t make mistakes.” Speaking who God said I am over my life has radically changed me, I share this with folks daily.

Avoid comparing yourself to others. God must love variety, or all of us wouldn’t look so different. He has created each of us differently right down to our fingertips. We can look to certain people as good examples to follow, but even then, good traits if duplicated will manifest differently through our individual personalities.

Focus on your potential instead of your limitations. Refuse to concentrate on your weaknesses except in an effort to turn them into strengths. Keep your flaws in perspective. People with a high level of confidence have just as many weaknesses as those without confidence, but they focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses.

Learn to cope with criticism. If you dare to be different, you’ll have to expect some criticism. Going along with the crowd when you know in your heart that God is leading you in a different direction is one of the reasons many don’t succeed at being themselves. You won’t be comfortable in your own skin if you go against your own convictions. This has been one of the greatest challenges I have faced, overcoming criticism. However, like Jesus encountering many critics we will as well if we oppose the things in the world.

Remember this: God will never anoint you to be anyone other than yourself. Let now be your time to go forward and be set free from the torments of comparing yourself with others and trying to be someone you’re not. God is proud of who He made you to be!Start today by being the best you He created you to be.

 

Scriptures to Encourage You

Psalm 119:73
Your hands have made me, cunningly fashioned and established me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

Psalm 139:13-18
For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].

Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.

Romans 5:5
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

 Philippians 4:6-7Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor), comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word.

 

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In The Midst of Adversity You Are Covered

Rather than saying “God, here is my problem,” we should put the problem into perspective by saying, “Problem, here is my God! 
Anonymous 

We’ve all had to face adversity in our lives. It’s a time of hardship, affliction, recession, depression and otherwise unfortunate circumstances. If you are like me, you probably thought adversity would be a breeze after you sold out to Jesus.

Wow, was I ever wrong! In the beginning of my Christian walk, it seemed the more I obeyed God the more adversity came my way. I quickly discovered that I didn’t like adversity. I still don’t. I like peace. Like a severe storm, you can almost sense adversity coming…the calm before the storm. When the storm of adversity comes, it demands your total attention.

Adversity visits us all from time to time – and in many different ways. It can come disguised as marriage trouble, sickness, financial calamity, hardship from personal attacks, or even difficulty in the workplace and many other ways. Adversity is no respecter of persons. All of us will face it. The question is how will we respond to it.

There is a  scripture in the Word of God that reveals, “If we give up in the day of adversity our strength will be small” (Proverbs 24:10). In this context, giving means to withdraw, let go, or to show yourself slack. Instead of pressing through of what is a time of growth, we shrink back because we prefer to not go through the opposition. This will stunt our growth, I personally prefer growth.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape…shrink back and say it’s not worth it. The Lord is very specific in this verse, though. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

Let me tell you stepping into the call of God on your life, does in fact come with adversity. As I have began to fulfill the call of God on my life it seems there are plenty of times to shrink back, or grow through adversity. Folks think that being a leader is something so great and is so breezy easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth, to get to where God is taking you, there is always opposition you have to overcome.  I have purposed in my heart, I will not give up, I will not give in. I will keep pressing forwarding, keep growing in Him, and love people. All the while knowing that in adversity I grow deep roots of strength.
Over the past few weeks I have seen several go through adversity and opposition. Cancer diagnosis, offense of a church member, illness, financial attack, a driving accident and so on. Some have grabbed ahold to the word of God and not given an inch. Others have taken to offense and left the place God put them to grow.  The attack on finances has caused folks to stop giving instead of standing on faith continuing to give; knowing that God will not let them fall but is faithful.  One friend had an accident and proclaimed the good news that God  protected her, giving Him all the glory. One group shrank back another group grew deeper roots.

I have personally been walking through a mess. Both of my daughters had strep then I  had it. Which turned into bronchitis and now into pneumonia. You name the symptom I have had it, and it’s not been pretty. As I thought about this adversity and my attitude through it, God has began to show me where I need growth & where I have  grown. One area of growth, I have received help and have reached out, not trying to do this alone. The pride I had isn’t there in the area of thinking I have to “do it all”, and not receiving help. Did you know that people really do want to help? Letting yourself say, “I need help, now,” is huge. That’s a place of letting God work in your life and a step of surrendering.

Another area I have noticed is the desire to just watch as much bible teaching as I can. I watch and re watch my favorite teachers. The enemy didn’t win in shutting my spirit man down. I felt myself just get so sad the other day and lonely, Josh has been gone so much I almost wanted to throw a pity party for myself. Instead, I asked my friend Rachel to come and set with me (for goodness sake she only lives 5 minutes from me) and just talk for a few hours, that is HUGE for me. My spirit man grew a little bit bigger this week.

Now the areas I have seen I need to surrender to the Lord. I have really struggled with how others perceive me. I am a pastor’s wife and I haven’t been to a service in 2 Sunday’s. My girls were sick then I became even more sick. What will others think, and will they be upset with me?  Seriously God is the only one I need to seek approval of, and now I see how I really need to give that to the Lord. I felt the same about my trainer, is he going to be upset with me because I can’t go to the gym? Not that I could do one workout without throwing up all over the place. Lastly joy, oh my how we let joy be stolen in the midst of adversity. I have had moments of just not wanting to talk, to upset, then crying and snappy.  Let me tell you, I still tried to be joyful. However, how I felt would take over from time to time. This is an area the enemy will attack the most, trying to get us to be led by our feelings. By faith we have to surrender our feelings to the Lord and speak we are full of joy until we see the evidence of it in our life. This is possible and there is so much power in doing so.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape.. Shrink back and say it’s not worth it.  The Lord is very specific in the verse Proverbs 24:10. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

When adversity attacks, run to Jesus: When adversity attacks, the first thing you should do is run to Jesus. Don’t flake out, shut down, break rank or isolate yourself from those who can help you. Run to Jesus. Remember that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus will not let you down. You can trust Him to get you through this turbulence. After you run to Jesus, check your heart. Go down your personal checklist and check yourself. If you have sinned, repent. If you violated the Word in any way, repent. Running to Jesus coupled with repentance should always be our first reaction to adversity.

One thing to help you overcome adversity – get back to church. God’s Word is very specific: don’t forsake the assembling of yourself together with other believers (Hebrews 4:9). Listen, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Isolation is not healthy. Find a good Bible-believing church where the power of changed lives is visible. Plug in and help that church fulfill its vision.

Adversity attacks everybody, but with your love for Jesus you can overcome it every time. Remember this, God causes all things to work together for good to those that love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s you! With Christ in your life you can make it through every sorrow, oppression, trouble and adversity.

Psalms 91:1,2  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,  my God, in whom I trust.”

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