From Frightened to Freedom

As a young wife and mother of three, my life was hectic at best. On top of this, I viewed life and reacted to its challenges and issues from a codependent and perfectionistic attitude – double trouble.

 

I wanted to please everyone, so they would like and love me; I thought that the only way to accomplish this feat was to be perfect. I was under the delusion that if I loved and served everyone – even to the detriment of myself – they would love me in return.

 

However, all I did was to teach people to take me for granted and to treat me like a doormat and their unpaid servant – chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter, housekeeper and problem solver. People took advantage of me, which stressed me out even further.

 

I even did this with God. I attempted to keep every “jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:18), hoping to please God with my undying service, in order to earn His love. I turned into a foolish “Galatian” and ran myself ragged, meeting myself coming and going (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Stress kept me from sleeping and sleeplessness made me grouchy, which caused me to be short-tempered with those I loved. I hated who I was…I hated me, but I had no idea how to change things.

 

My self-esteem was in the bottom of the tank and I felt like I was drowning in the details of life. Finally, in desperation, I started researching codependence: what caused it and how to get free from it.

 

I learned that I had to stop neglecting my own needs every day and to allow others to meet their own needs once in a while. The books promised that they would still love me anyway, even if I did not “earn” it.

 

I figured that even if they did not love me, then they had no true feelings for me in the first place. I also translated this into the spiritual realm. God already loved me when I was a lost sinner, and He would always love me unconditionally (Romans 5:8); therefore, I could enter His rest and enjoy His favor.

 

This fact stopped the codependence dead in its tracks. I did a 180 degree turn around and walked away from this driven lifestyle. God’s Spirit broke the shackles of expectations that I allowed to chain me to a meager existence.

 

When I entered into God’s rest, I found a security and warmth that I missed all my life. Over the ensuing years, the comfort of God’s rest brought me more peace and joy than I ever dreamed possible; and He continually supplies all of my needs with His glorious riches.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy, which lead us in Your everlasting way (John 10:28-30; 1 Peter 5:10). You teach us lessons all along life’s path and You bring us into ever-increasing intimacy with Your presence within us. When we let go of the impossible demands of pleasing people and focus instead on walking by the direction of Your Spirit moment by moment, we enter into Your rest, we receive Your gift of mercy and love, and we learn to trust in Your wisdom.

 

Due to Christ’s saving redemption on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer slaves of the demon of perfectionism. Instead, we follow the leading of Your Spirit and rest in Your goodness and grace. We trust in You with our whole heart; acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds; and glorify You as You direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

God invites us to bask in His love; abide in His peace and hide under His wings when life scares us (Psalm 91:4); we learn to accept love when it is given and to serve others only when God’s Spirit leads us to do so; this prevents burn-out and promotes joy in living regardless of our circumstances.

 

The Battle is the Lord’s

In a war, the soldiers sometimes surrender a battle but sometimes they actually surrender the whole war. Spiritual warfare is very similar to a physical battle.

 

If we surrender in a battle, we live to fight another day. If we surrender the war, we leave the outcome to a higher power. God is our Higher Power, and He desires that we completely surrender our life, love and will to Him.

 

Our Father knows best, and He wants only the best for us. He will never leave or forsake us, and He provides for our every need as we trust exclusively in His provision and care (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

The alternative is to fight the war from our own strength. This predictably ends in us suffering from battle fatigue with no more strategy to win the war.

 

Even if we surrender temporarily, with aspirations to return to the war in our own strength once we recoup, we end up right back where we are now…exhausted, discouraged and feeling overwhelmed.

 

We must come to the end of our self at some point in our life and totally surrender to God every thought, word and deed – led by His Spirit in everything we think, say and do.

 

We accomplish so much more with our remaining life than we ever did during all of the years on our own recognizance. We waste so much time when we live life our way instead of God’s (Ephesians 2:20).

 

Yet, if we completely surrender all of our life to God at a young age, and walk only by His Spirit with ceaseless prayer, we are so much more effective in furthering the Kingdom of God in the earth with better health, a more mature spirit and a fulfilled soul.

 

It is never too late to surrender, however, no matter how old we are. Sometimes, it takes us a while to learn to “let go and let God”. The point is to totally surrender every battle to the Lord and we will eventually win the war as well.

 

Prayer:

Father remind us to trust only in You with our whole heart, not to rely on our human intuition or wisdom, to totally surrender to Your will and purpose for our life, and to allow You to direct every battle of the spiritual warfare in which we are embroiled (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

We cannot trust our heart or our mind to safely lead us (Jeremiah 17:9). Only in Christ do we have half a chance of making a lasting difference in this world (Philippians 4:13). You give us Your wisdom and Your Word, directed by Your Spirit with a failsafe battle plan every time (James 1:5; Psalm 119:105).

 

Thought for the Day:

True power and wisdom come from Christ in us, not from our own resources; so the wise will totally surrender to Him each moment of life and wait expectantly on Him alone. –  John 15:5; Psalm 46:10

 

God is in Control – Through Troubles and Trials

We live in a world that often frightens us. Unexpected trials and trouble attack us from every side when we least expect it; so we develop the mentality of fear and apprehension.

 

We constantly wait for the next shoe to drop, anticipating trauma around every corner and never allowing our self to believe in or hope for the best. This continues until we realize that every day in Jesus is better than the day before.

 

As a melancholy personality, I struggled for years to come to this place of total trust in God’s goodness and to have faith in His faithfulness and perfect peace in His will for me, regardless of how bad the circumstances seemed.

 

Very few of the imaginary worse case scenarios, which occupy our mind, ever materialize. We end up worrying for nothing; and spending time, when we could be praising God with our thoughts, in trying to be prepared for ever circumstance life may possibly throw at us.

 

Elections, terrorists, natural disasters, financial strain and insecurity, disease, strained relationships, etc. all dim in importance when we realize in our spirit and our soul that, if we live in total surrender, God is in control of every aspect of our life.

 

Life as an authentic, Born Again Believer teaches us that life in Christ is an adventure. We are already dead with Christ in God, living in His abundant rest, walking in His Spirit and enjoying His perfect will for our life.

 

Trouble is merely a tiny bump in the road when we hide under the shadow of God’s wings and allow Him to live life in and through us. Fear, anxiety, insecurities and worry no longer overwhelm our soul, and our spirit draws strength and life from Christ within us.

 

We live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). God’s Spirit controls all of our decisions, trials and troubles. The shadow of darkness in this world is dispelled by the light of Christ within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we learn to trust in You, the issues which formerly sent us into the pit of despair, no longer rock our world. We learn over the days of our life spent in Your presence, that You have a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). If we pray without ceasing, walk in Your Spirit each moment of our day and trust in Your unfailing love and mercy, we have joy even in our trials (James 1:2-8).

 

Remind us to replace the negative self-talk and lies straight from the pit of hell with the Truth of Your Word, which is alive and powerful and able to separate the worries of our soul from the faith in our spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Give us Your grace to see us through the days when our faith wanes and the waters threaten to drown us (Habakkuk 3:7-19).

 

Thought for the Day:

Although the closets are bare, we have no job, the garden is overcome by weeds, the grocery prices are way beyond our means, our savings is depleted, and our relationships are hopeless, we can still rejoice in the Lord, because He is the God of our salvation, our strength, our provision, and our enabler in every area of our life. – Habakkuk 3:7-19

 

The Healing Journey – Part 1 – Schizophrenic Bride

As a young bride of 20 years old, I wanted to be the perfect wife. As a co-dependent, I did not want to nag or disagree – so that my husband would love me.

 

My uncle told me that if I was even half the wife my mother was to my dad, I’d be a great wife; so not to worry. I did learn a great deal about being a loving and submissive wife from my mom.

 

She lived with a manic-depressive husband. She learned to soothe the savage beast in him; but she had to learn not to take his words and behavior to heart.

 

She had her own interests and pursued them with a passion; yet, was home every day when her four children returned from school; and she had supper ready every night when my dad walked into the house from work.

 

As I started my new life as a wife, I would wince and swallow every hurt, disappointment, deprivation, abuse and neglect without saying a word, just as I learned from my mom.

 

I stuffed my feelings and opinions too. However, the trouble with me started because my threshold for pain was too low and my Italian temper, inherited from my dad, flared up too quickly.

 

I eventually started blowing up like a volcano, and then instantly cooled; but I did not realize the deep scars, which my outburst left on my husband’s soul. He thought I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

I was sweet and caring most of the time; and then without warning, I erupted at what seemed like the slightest provocation without any apparent reason.

 

This problem arose because of all of the power of all of that internalized pain. The full force came out in an Italian temper tantrum when I finally did blow over the last straw – which actually did appear – to any by-stander – to be a very small and inconsequential provocation.

 

I lived broken, fearful and insecure like this for 22 years of marriage until my former husband decided I was too wounded for him to live with any longer. He saw no option for us but divorce.

 

God used my husband divorcing me as my breaking point to help me to totally surrender my life to Him. With no job or alimony, I faced the future in total dependence on God and He proved Himself more than faithful.

 

I clung to Christ with every rasping breath and God redeemed my life yet again. He sent me to a minister who helped me to heal from my past; and He turned my mourning into dancing and restored to me all of the years, which the canker worm destroyed (Joel 2:25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, no one is perfect in this life. We are all products of our upbringing, but we are responsible for our responses to life as they occur. Although we try to overcome or hide them, we drag our wounds around with us like hindering baggage. Show us clearly that Satan’s lies are keeping us linked to these wounds from our past, buried deeply within our subconscious mind.

 

Thank You for teaching us to recognize these lies, to hear Your truth about them and to discard them as we walk away from them with healing from Your wings (Malachi 4:2). We live to serve You another day with all of the fullness of Your Holy Spirit within us.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

Thought for the Day:

God works out even the most debilitating circumstances in our life for our ultimate good. – Romans 8:28

 

A Fulfilling Marriage

The marriage of a man and a woman is a union of two individuals joined as one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11; Ephesians 5:31). God intends for them to serve Him, as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

 

At first, a couple’s attraction increases their love for one another. Yet, over time they gradually stop considering one another, doing the tiny thoughtful gestures for one another that mean so much and sharing the same goals and purpose in life (Ephesians 5:33).

 

As the years progress, the couple eventually take each other for granted, stop romantic overtures and make other pursuits their priority in life. They co-exist, but do not work as a team or care about each other’s needs as much as they care about their own.

 

To the Wife:

There are many women who take their husband for granted. Some insist on spending more money than he makes. Others find their fulfillment in their home and children or in their job and ignore their husband’s needs.

 

They get caught up in the pressure of their daily demands and make no time for their husband. They forget that men need visual stimulation to feel loving, and they make no effort to groom and dress nicely for him at home.

 

They forget to make his favorite meal, to shop for his preferences and to make time to listen to him share about his day. A wife is given the privilege of following the outline given in Proverbs 31.

 

She will flourishes as a wife, mother, homemaker and business woman in this creative capacity given to her by God. God’s Spirit will give her wisdom and strength to minister to her family.

 

To the Husband:

A man will expect his wife to be sweet and accommodating and to keep him as her primary focus (Ephesians 5:25); yet, it is often the husband’s poor choices, which keep the marriage in a state of perpetual insecurity and financial loss.

 

No woman can be sweet and submissive when her husband stops considering her needs and keeps her life in turmoil. Then he blames her hormones or personality for her negative reactions to him.

 

God desires to charge the husband to dwell with and to provide for his wife with love and understanding (1 Peter 3:7). If he does, then his wife will more easily submit to His loving leadership.

 

A man’s responsibility is to protect his wife and to give her the feeling of safety and security she deserves. He will not take her for granted, if he realizes everything which she does for him throughout the day after day (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Romans 12:16).

 

To the Couple:

Any couple can keep romance alive with spontaneous little gifts, daily times to snuggle, helping each other around the house, date nights, listening with focused attention, and an unexpected phone call or an email during the day proclaiming their love for one another (1 Peter 4:10). Try it and see!

 

Prayer:

Father God, the opposite sexes are just that – opposite. It seems that You played a trick on humanity by causing opposites to attract. However, Your plan all along was for opposites to complement one another.

 

We can draw from one another’s strengths to make up for our own weaknesses. Remind us that we are a team, and we will dwell together in unity as we work and pray together under the direction of Your Holy Spirit (Psalm 133:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we make an effort to increase our love for each other until it overflows, we will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Ephesians 5:21

God’s Fullness – His Spirit and Word

Once we fully surrender to the power of God’s love within us, we can experience the unimaginable treasure of that love, which surpasses anything we ever experience in our life without God.

This happens as we submit to His Spirit, who will strengthen our soul and spirit with God’s glory until He completely sanctifies and transforms our character, nature and personality (2 Peter 1:4; Psalm 51:10; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:22-24; Titus 3:5).

Jesus Christ makes His permanent home in our spirit, and we exhibit total faith in His absolute faithfulness. He is always with us and never leaves or forsakes us for any reason (Hebrews 13:5).

We send the roots, of our faith in Him, deep into the soil of His love for us. This firmly establishes us in His Kingdom and strengthens us through every trial we ever experience.

God’s love is much more multi-faceted than human love. Our love is self-centered and biased. God’s love is sacrificial, unconditional and all-encompassing.

He gives us His love to enjoy and to share with those He brings into our life. Living in Christ removes the drudgery of life on this earth and gives us purpose and meaning.

When we live in God’s presence, we actually live in the fullest life possible for us on earth, because Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 10:10). We obey His Spirit and His Word.

God’s Word is quick and alive and sharper than a two-edged sword, helping us to discern between what comes from our flesh, the world or the devil, and what is God’s will for us (Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:50).

We stop focusing on the petty concerns of this world and we walk in a new life, embracing God’s truth and enjoying the fullest measure of His presence each moment of the day.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank you for flooding our life with the richest measure of Your presence. You comfort, encourage, calm, and instruct us by Your existence in our body, soul and spirit. Remind us to immerse our self in Your Word, to consult Your Spirit, and to walk in Your will every moment of our day (Galatians 5:15-25).

Enlarge our heart by Your presence, Your love and Your Word throughout our lifetime, so that we can view each moment from Your perspective instead of from our narrow human focus. Draw us ever closer to Your heart and make us aware of Your presence abiding within us (Psalm 119:32).

Thought for the Day:
It is God’s Spirit, which gives us His new life, and His Word, which are full of His Spirit and abundant life. – John 6:63