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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Falling Knives, Part 1

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ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

“…A morning of tears, remembered fears
Withering looks from the past
Cut the heart, tear you apart
Pain racked soul heaves your body
Causing you to tremble and shudder

Cruel words spoken with loathing
With no care for the innocent soul
Who listens carefully
And believes this to be truly
The way things could be…”

– Marie Williams, Damaged People

Some days are darker than others.

Perhaps we have had an oppressive dream, now half-remembered. Perhaps an icy rain is falling, sharp as knives, and the weather determines our mood. Perhaps a misplaced word pierces our already injured psyche or our blood chemistry is off or the stars are misaligned.

Self-Criticism

Whatever the reasons – internal or external, identifiable or not – for abuse victims, particularly those of us suffering from depression, the most innocuous thoughts and observations can quickly morph into self-criticism, calling up faults and failures, real and…

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Can you count the stars…?

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This is a powerful testimony and hopefully it will reach hearts and help change some “pictures.”

kingspeech

“And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and

said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars – if

you are able to number them. Then He said to him, so shall

your descendants be.

And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained

steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to Him as righteouness

(right standing with God).

Genesis 15:5, 6

I love this scripture and I really love how God works. I love how God

is always trying to make us see more. Abram had left what he had

always known to follow the Lord. The Lord had told him to

pack up and leave to a place unknown. Did Abram know what

was waiting for him? I seriously doubt that.

Before God called him did he have a vision for his life? He probably

did but I don’t think it was…

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Are You Married to a Selfish Spouse?

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Does your spouse define you? Do you live out a marriage of reaction to their sin and selfishness? What if they don't ever change? Will you? Your marriage does not define your heart, God does. Here's how to honor him with a heart of worship, even in a marriage that is struggling.

Victoria (not her real name) is married to a selfish spouse. She prays for him. She encourages him. She seeks ways to serve him. Her husband soaks it up but hasn’t learned to give half as much in return. If I give examples, I may blow her cover, but most of you know marriages like this.

Maybe you’re in one.

Somewhat understandably, Victoria struggles with bitterness. If her husband only knew how much just a small bit of giving back in return would mean, how if for one hour of a weekend he could make it about her instead of about him, the relief she would feel would be enormous, buther husband’s selfishness seems to run through his core.

They have talked about it, even with a counselor, but the thing about selfishness is that the more selfish you are, the less you realize it. Her husband thinks he’s doing “better,” but not by much, and usually only when Victoria brings it up, which ushers in a new kind of pain.

Victoria’s husband tries to be a little less selfish so that he doesn’t have to listen to his wife complain about it. So he’s fighting his selfishness with, yes, selfishness.

Victoria has prayed. She has gone to a counselor. She even brought her husband with her to the counselor—everything advice-oriented people tell her to do. But the situation hasn’t changed much, and doesn’t appear likely to. In that light, she asks me, how do you maintain a godly attitude?

Keep in mind—I wasn’t talking to the couple. I was talking to Victoria, and about her spiritualattitude, not resolving the situation (that’s a different discussion). What I’m about to say may make some of you married to selfish spouses angry, but I believe this advice is rooted in spiritual reality.

“Victoria,” I said, “you need to start thinking of yourself as the postal worker, not the store. You see all this good stuff that you do for your husband coming from you, but in reality, it’s coming from God. Your graceful attitude, your servant’s heart, your inspiration and motivation are all evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. At root, though, you’re just the postal worker delivering God’s package to your husband. A postal worker doesn’t expect a thank you letter when she delivers the gift.”

I said this because I didn’t want Victoria to let her husband’s selfishness engender poisonous pride in her own heart. This wasn’t to chastise her, but to protect her on her journey toward God.

“Second,” I said, “and here’s the hope—if God is the owner of the store, and we’re just the postal workers, God can use any number of postal workers to deliver what we need. You’re acting like what you need can only come from your spouse, and since he refuses to deliver it, you’re stuck. With some things, that’s true. There are certain things only a spouse can provide. But God can deliver a fulfilling, meaningful life through any number of channels.

“If I keep waiting for a package from the U.S. Postal Service that has been sent and resent a dozen times and is always lost, eventually I’m going to ask God to send something via U.P.S. or Fed Ex. Maybe you can buy your own flowers, and thank God that your husband earns enough, together with you, for you to enjoy the weekly luxury of fresh flowers in your house. No, your husband didn’t think to buy them, but in a way God used your husband to make their presence in your home a reality. And no, your husband might not think to send you to the spa, but if you need a ‘pampering day,’ perhaps you’ll have to set up the appointment. Yes, it would be much more delightful if it came through your husband, as that would show his care for you, but think of it in this light: there are a lot of wives who could never afford to have a day like that even though their husbands would be inclined to provide it if they could.”

Every particular application is going to be different, so I won’t go on any further with Victoria’s story. But if you’re married to a particularly selfish spouse, hold on to these three points:

  1. Fight pride by remembering you’re just the postal delivery person. Everything God gives to your spouse through you comes from God. Your desire to serve, your creativity in serving, your commitment to serve, your conviction to love—that’s God’s work, not your own heart. You are choosing to be faithful in delivering those blessings, but without God, you wouldn’t have the blessings to give, nor likely even the inclination.
  1. God can deliver life’s blessings through many channels. We’d all like them to come in a certain way, but wouldn’t it be rather ungrateful of you to complain about a pair of diamond stud earrings if they came in yellow wrapping paper instead of red? Ask God to bring what you legitimately need as He wills, in His timing, and in His way. It may not be your ideal, but even in this, your spouse’s selfishness is simply helping you to press deeper into God. That, in itself, is a gift, when you think about it.
  1. Don’t stop giving. Don’t allow someone else’s selfishness to infect you. Set the positive example rather than join in the negative one. There’s a certain fulfillment that comes from being faithful when it’s done in the right spirit; seek to capture that.

I write this because some of you may live the rest of your lives still married to a selfish spouse, and the last thing I want to see is your spouse’s selfishness affecting your spirit with resentment, bitterness, and eventually your own selfish demands. Nobody gave to Jesus a tenth of what He gave to them, yet He lived a supremely glorious, powerful, faithful, and joyous life.

In other words, don’t allow what your spouse isn’t to define what you become. Yes, in one sense this is an act of “spiritual self-defense.” But when a spouse sins in a way that doesn’t rise to the cause of divorce, and traditional methods haven’t worked, what else is a spouse to do? There may be a time, further down the road, when you can re-engage with this issue. But when you know it’s time to just accept it for the time-being, these three steps will keep you on track spiritually and even help you to grow in love rather than collapse in bitterness.

Blessings,

Gary Thomas

(If you’d like to learn more about Gary’s newest book, A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, Friendship, and Purpose in your Marriage click here:http://www.garythomas.com/books/lifelong-love/)

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Blessings to you.

Unforgiveness makes you sick

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Blessings to you.

Love your neighbor…

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Sue's Pen2PaperBlog

It may seem odd to some that as a Christian I have often wondered about the verse in Matthew 22:39       that says that we are to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When I read that for the first time my immediate thought was, “What if you don’t love yourself?”

I know Christ is the perfect example for us since He showed His great love by dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. But does that mean that I have to die on a cross or step in front of a bus to save  someone from being hit?

Those of us that were raised in abusive homes were not given examples of love. Many were not shown what love is or taught how to show love. So as adults why would we not be confused about this loving others as ourselves verse? Many hate themselves!

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Broken Girl… NO MORE

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Listen to the words of the song. God can heal your brokenness.

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

As I sit here with tears in my eyes, I am remembering some of the “broken girls” and this song that has touched many hearts. This song has connected me with several victims of abuse who have been broken but through God’s grace and mercy, have realized that they did not have to stay the “broken girl”.  I have seen God transform lives as the broken turn to Him. I know… because I was once one of them.

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What’s with all this Suffering?

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And we wonder why we suffered. There is a reason.

Sue's Pen2PaperBlog

I don’t think there is a human being alive that hasn’t questioned the reason we humans suffer. Many have given the very simplistic answer that, “Well, it’s just God’s will.” Others go into all sorts of long exasperating explanations that make no more sense than the simplistic answer.

Can any of us ever really understand why we humans suffer? I don’t think so! God is so far above us in all aspects that there are just some things that we will never fully understand until we are standing before Him and He’s explaining some of it to us. Personally I like the idea that I have all of eternity to question Him.

I am no different from someone else who questions why did my husband die in the prime of his life? Or why do children suffer abuse from the hands of those who are supposed to love them? Or…

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