March 26, 2009

I’ve been cleaning house and clearing out some clutter. I cleaned out the pantry and threw out some stuff that was stale or expired and probably not that good for us when it was fresh. All this cleaning makes me wonder how many of us are walking around with emotional garbage, that’s expired and bad for us. But like the ignored pudding mixes and stale crackers in my pantry, we’ve hung on to it.

Many times we hang on to emotional hurts because of fear to let them out; we feel shame about them so instead of seeking help, we hide it and hang on to the hurt. It’s even sadder when those hurts were caused by someone else and we had no control over it. Like sexual assault.

How many women have been either molested or raped and are like I was for many years, walking around, wounded and fearful. Afraid of being hurt again, afraid of someone finding out.  I was very sure that if I told anyone about what happened, they would say it was my fault. After all I was with someone my parents trusted and was a friend. I only told my husband after we’d been married many years and I felt safe enough to tell him. He was angry, but not at me. Then it happened to someone close to me. She did not have to tell me what had happened; I recognized the signs in her eyes. I knew her pain and tried to talk to her about it, but she was afraid to tell me. Afraid I would judge her. It took her a long time to finally admit to me what had happened. It was not her fault, but she took the blame and the shame.

As women we do ourselves and other women a great disservice by continuing to carry the shame for something that’s not our fault. Let the men who did it feel the shame. Once we come out into the open and talk about what happened, we take back our power. If we are open about what happened to us, we will begin to heal. Once we’re healed, we will be in a position to help our sisters.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey there were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007.  That means that every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is the most under reported crime against individuals. One study shows that only 16% of all assaults are reported to the police. Another university study reported that 1 in 5 college women said they’d been forced to have sexual intercourse.  It happens to someone every 2 minutes.

Bad things happen to us in this life, but God offers healing and help if we only cry out to Him.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to [those who are] bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
(Isa 61:1-3, NJKV)

He wants to heal your broken heart. He wants to free you from the prison of shame. He wants to comfort you from mourning. He will give you beauty in living a joyful life for the ashes of despair. He will take that spirit of heaviness and give you a garment of praise. It will be a beautiful thing and God  will be glorified in you.

Peace and blessings.



Chaos to Calm

We’ve been doing some remodeling in our house the past few weeks. We moved out a wall enlarging our family room, added some built-in bookshelves, repainted the walls and ceiling, and today will get new carpet installed. Meanwhile, all the family room furniture, including my husband’s big-screen TV, is in the living room, the hallways, and office. There are stacks of books and board games everywhere there is available space to stack. Not to mention that all the dust generated from the construction covers every surface in the house. To say my house is in chaos at this moment, is a fairly accurate statement. But once the job is finished, the furniture moved back in and everything is back in place, it will be beautiful. The room will be larger and more comfortable for family and guests when they visit. It will be more comfortable for my husband and me to sit and watch “Dancing with the Stars” together. We’ve had to endure the chaos to get to the improvement.
I don’t like my house not being in order. I don’t deal well with clutter and I’m ready to get it organized. I’m tired of cleaning only to have a new layer of dust re-cover everything I just cleaned. I’m ready for everything to be complete and for the enjoyment of a new room.
Sometimes God takes us through a re-construction phase.  Sometimes we need to have some things moved around or moved out in order to make way for the new.  Old habits need to be broken and replaced with new ones. Maybe instead of watching the morning news on television, we need to spend that time in the good news of God’s Word. Maybe we need to replace that bedtime snack of ice cream and a soda with a piece of cheese and some fruit, or some of us should just give up that late snack entirely.
Maybe a job has become too comfortable and we’re looking to it for our provision, but God has something else He desires for us. When I left my job last October, I left a job I enjoyed with people I liked and enjoyed working with. But it was taking all my time and God called me to be a writer. I’ve known that for many years, but I kept finding other things I “needed” to do first. God made it very clear to me that it was time to leave my old job and to obey His call. It’s not been easy giving up a paying job in a climate where jobs are disappearing daily. But God is faithful and He is taking care of us. The blessings I have in being obedient are greater than any other reward on earth.
The chaos of hurts, disappointments, and hard times come into all of our lives. Jesus said that as long as we are in this world these things will happen, but He also promised to get us through them all.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)
Yes, He will take us from the chaos in our lives and to a place of calm, but we have to trust Him and keep moving through.
Peace and blessings.

What is humility?

When I was in school, I had a friend who was very popular. He was extremely good looking, athletic and very smart. All the girls wanted to date him and all the guys wanted to be him. And yes, he loved the Lord. He was in church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night. He was a leader in both school and church.
Too many people with all that going for them tend to be arrogant and snobbish, even some Christians. But not my friend. He was a genuinely nice person who treated everyone with respect. He would seek out people no one else paid any attention to and eat lunch with them. He always had time to help anyone needing help but never boasted about what he had done. He never bragged about his good grades or successes on the athletic field. Any honors given to him, he graciously accepted always giving credit to others for helping him. He exemplified humility.
We all probably know or have known someone whose life demonstrated humility. But have you ever considered the humility of God?  Philippians 2:8 tells is that Jesus, although he was God, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on the cross. I’ve read and heard that many times, but the reality of God being humble never really sunk into my consciousness.
“Who is like the Lord our God, Who has his seat on high
“Who humbles Himself to regard the heavens and the earth.”
(Psalm 113:5,6 The Amplified  Bible)
God humbles Himself. He is God – He does not have to pay any attention to man or the affairs of man. He is far above all. Yet he chooses to reach out to man.  Just as a parent kneels down to pick up their child, the Creator of heaven and earth kneels down to us so that we may reach up to Him.
“For though the Lord is high, yet has He respect to the lowly [bringing them into fellowship with Him].” (Psalm 138:6a The Amplified Bible)
God is God. He never changes. There is no weakness in Him, there is no deficiency in His nature. He could withhold Himself from us because we are so unworthy, yet He has respect for us and brings us into fellowship with Him.
“To Him Who [earnestly] remembers us in our low estate and imprinted us [on his heart], for His mercy and loving-kindness endure for ever;
“O give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure for ever!”
(Psalm 136:23, 26 The Amplified Bible)

Peace and blessings