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I’ve Been Set Free, But…

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So many years ago there was so much hurt and pain. The years of childhood were not happy ones and even though we go through many years of hard-core therapy to overcome those memories we can still be plagued by them.

How do we deal with the flashbacks, the times when we jerk straight up in bed awakened by a dream so real it feels like we’re reliving the event? Do we ignore what the Lord may be showing us through a dream? Do we assume it is a nightmare the devil is taunting us with? Do we wipe the sweat off our brow and finally go back to sleep ignoring it?

Several years have been spent reliving the traumatic events of an abusive childhood, the emotional attacks as well as the physical attacks. Child abuse leaves wounds to our hearts that seems to penetrate to the very cells of our bodies. God, with all His infinite wisdom, knows our past, our present, and our future.

He came that we may enjoy life. He came to give us the freedom to live an abundant life. Abundance does not mean just finances. It means freedom from pain and suffering.  It means that we do not have to live with memories of terror that leave us screaming, crying, and wanting to end it all. It means that He has given us a way to break the chains that bind us to our abuser/s.

Even after many years of therapy we will still remember the events that caused us so much pain. God does not give us amnesia so we never remember again. We can wallow in those memories and relive the pain, hold on to the anger that follows, let the bitterness turn our hearts to stone or we can sever the ties that bind us to them. If we do not sever those ties our abuser is still controlling us!

In Matthew 18:21,22 Peter came to the Lord and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  When we have those dreams, when we suddenly find an event that caused us so much pain come throbbing through our brain, or words that the abuser growled in our ear, isn’t that much like the sin is being perpetrated again? It feels like it.

But what did Jesus tell Peter? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” This is what breaks the ties that the devil is using to keep us bound! Every time a mental image comes of the abusive act say out loud, “I forgive (name the person) for (say what he/she did to you) in Jesus name. Satan hates forgiveness! You are naming the event that has been brought to mind.

In the case of an abuser’s hateful words being replayed, we do not have to tolerate the devil harassing us with hurtful statements from the past! When the devil starts spouting how horrible I am or how I’m nothing I say the 4 words that Michael said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

The Lord forgives us and says He will not forgive us our sin if we do not forgive others theirs. Saying a prayer of forgiveness for something horrendous that was done to us does not cover all time! It isn’t like a one size fits all. We are to forgive over and over and over again if that is what is needed, and many times that is exactly what is needed!

Every dream, every memory, every mental picture, comes from either the Lord, to show us something important that He wants to bring to our attention or heal, the devil to taunt us and keep us in pain, or ourselves because we haven’t healed. Regardless of who, what, or where the memory comes from if we announce out loud “I forgive….” we benefit! The abusers hateful words being slammed into our memory you can bet comes from the devil. Rebuke him in Jesus name!

I’ve done this many, many times and it stops the enemy in his tracks! The Lord does not taunt us with painful memories! In my experience, if it is the Lord, He has done it through dreams, not nightmares, but dreams that will leave me wondering what He is trying to show me. Occasionally it will be a mental picture. I do not ignore either. I told the Lord one time after forgiving my abuser for what he did that came to mind, “I don’t feel that in my heart.” I learned that we speak it out and in time it will enter and come from our heart.

We are not only set free from the deep wounds to our soul and spirit from an abusive childhood or an abusive relationship but we are given a tool to use against the memories that on occasion jump up unexpectantly. We have been healed and no longer have to live in emotional torment. That does not mean we will never have to revisit some of those events but a revisit does not mean living it! You have been set free or you are being set free. Walk in that freedom!

“Whom the Lord sets free is free indeed.” Jn. 8:36

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Blessings to you.

 

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Setting a Captive Free

Years passed since the physical, emotion, psychological, and sexual abuse has passed. But the lingering pain, the memories that were buried deep so as to stay sane began to invade and torment my mind. Little flashbacks, a dream here and there would skitter through my mind but I would shove them back and hide them again. Shuck them off like rain drops on my shoulders.

Our emotional states will affect our physical state and one day I went to the doctor for some physical ailment. During his exam he asked me various questions and somehow it slipped out that I didn’t care if I lived. Without further ado, no condemnation, no sermons or “Oh you don’t want to think that” comments, he simply wrote a name and phone number on a prescription pad paper and handed it to me, “You might like to give this man a call” was all he said.

That was the beginning of my years of therapy. He was a secular therapist and looking back I realized that the Lord knew that had I been sent to a Christian counselor I never would have set foot in the office. I was angry at God. Very angry! He said He would save me but He never showed up at my house or on my doorstep to rescue me. That preacher that said God saves us had to be delusional. Nope, not trusting God or anyone else to save this woman!

Gradually as the psychiatrist and I talked the sexual abuse was brought out into the open. I can’t begin to describe the pain I felt as we waded through the horrific details and memories. For several years depression took control, dreams left me screaming and sweating sitting in my bed, suicidal thoughts flickered in and out as easily as a stream flows down hill. A few attempts to end the pain forever were made to no avail. Tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medication was prescribed and helped but God knew what I needed and that was the healing that only He could give.

Many years later, I found myself standing before a pastor, in a church I had never been in, asking the Lord to be my Lord and Savior. I got saved and Baptized that very morning and life has never been the same since. My husband had just died from a long illness and the Lord used his passing and my grief to bring me to where I should have been years earlier.

He knew my anger and He knew every detail of my life and my suffering and He knew my great anger even better than I did. I was still seeing the secular therapist but gradually he could not answer my spiritual questions that seemed to keep popping up. I began seeing a Christian counselor and little by little He walked me through the pain. With a Christian counselor who allowed the Lord to lead me down those dark, scary paths it seemed as though my healing was escalating. There was a difference in my journey this time. I had Christ walking the path with me and that is when the deep healing took place.

I’m not saying it’s easy, far from it! Pain, suffering, memories, regardless of where that pain and suffering began is not an easy path to travail. To wade through the muck and the mire is like walking through cement as it hardens. We get stuck but we tug and we pull until we are free from that one footstep that is holding us back. Then we rise up and take the next step and gradually we can see the end of the pain and suffering as each issue is brought to light and left behind. That doesn’t mean we forget what happened! It means that it no longer controls our emotions, relationships, and lives. We begin to understand why we may be a wall flower or why we have to control everything around us or why anger bursts forth at little provocation. Our attitudes begin to change and our misconceptions and all those false teachings are transformed into truth. Truth, not just what happened but more importantly how God sees us and that He loves us no matter how angry, hurt, or betrayed we were. We learn that He accepts us right where we are! We are not who we were told we are but who God says we are. There’s a big difference!

It took many more years of therapy; talking, remembering, crying, begging for it to be over before the freedom came. Forgiveness of all those horrible things that happened and forgiveness granted to those who did them was all part of that healing process. It was a huge step toward my healing process, and it is a process and it is not easy but with the Lord walking that path with us and whispering His encouragement in our ears and revealing the deep pain we continue the journey.

I have heard several pastors put down secular therapy but I am here to say that not everyone will go to a Christian counselor for whatever reason. And there are, sadly, Christian counselors that are Christians but do not council by the Word of God. Some are condemning, judgmental, and accusing leaving an already shattered victim devastated and turning away from God and all that He is. There is a big difference between someone who is a Christian but their method is by mans knowledge, book-learned therapy, and a Christian counselor who allows the Lord to lead the sessions, hears God’s guidance, and trusts God’s wisdom.

The Lord knows our hearts. He knows who we will trust and who we will not and He knew that in my circumstances that if I didn’t get therapy I would not live to be what He created me to be. He allowed, and may even have used that doctor, to lead me to a therapist where I would get the foundational healing I needed. The abuse was revealed and taken into the light, the issues were confronted in all their grimness, and when God’s timing was right He used my husbands passing and my grief and sense of great loss to bring me to Him. God is good! He knows our hearts, He knows our needs, and through His Son and Holy Spirit He will bring anyone who is suffering to Him for His healing. All we have to do is take that first step and trust. He’ll even teach us how to do that.

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted… to proclaim liberty to the captives…That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1,3

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Blessings to you.

We aren’t condemned any more!

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 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 8:1

“You aren’t worth the air you breath!” That was told to me as a young child.

Those of us that have experienced an abusive home life know all too well what being condemned means. We were yelled at for the slightest offense, and many times there was no offense on our part. We were just there! We were used as battering rams for those who could not express their anger at someone else. Maybe it was, or is, a parent, a boss, a poor driver,  a spouse, boyfriend, etc. The anger gets directed at us. We’re blamed for the anger that arises. “It’s all your fault!” And the cuss word’s fly!

In some instances we were used for the cruel jokes of another, made fun of, called stupid, told we were never going to amount to a hill of beans. We were poked fun at in many ways, some were physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, and emotionally tormented as though we were no more than a pile of numb and dumb rocks.

Life isn’t easy and at times some of us have felt that life isn’t worth living. “They’d be better off without me.” Oh yes, we know what being condemned means and praise be to God that through Christ I am free forever from condemnation! (Ro.8:1,2)

God did not create us to be condemned by others. John 1:12 says that I am God’s child. That makes me think of when we see our first born immediately after he/she enters the world, the love that wells up inside. A love we cannot even express. How much more God must be filled when He looks down on His new child. The child He has adopted as His own. (Eph.1:5) I’ll bet’cha a months wages He was grinning like a Cheshire cat!

Because I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior He has forgiven me of my sins; past, present, and future. Praise God for that or I’d really be in big trouble! When we confess our sins and ask Him for forgiveness He forgives, and not only that, He never remembers them again! (Heb. 10:17) Then why the heck am I beating myself up over some sin that He doesn’t even remember any more!?

I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2Cor.1:21) Oh wow. He’s anointed me to do anything He calls me to do. Does that mean my little short fat legs can run a marathon or I can write a book or speak in front of thousands, or paint a portrait? Woooow. And I’m immediately a citizen of heaven. (Phil.3:20) Oh praise God, I hate really hot temperatures!

I’m now free from any condemning charges against me, by Him when I was an un-believer, and by those who have condemned me. (Ro. 8:33,34) See, they’re liars! The enemy tries to make me believe their lies. God says, “Oh My precious child, Sue, I created you and you are worthy of the air that I give you to breathe and so much more!” All of God’s children are precious in His sight and His heart and His mind. We children of God are worthy! We’re worthy because He has deemed it so through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

When the memories of abuse flood back I can find His grace and mercy. (Heb.4:16) I start crying to God and He’ll be right here to comfort me or to explain something I need to know to help me better understand. I don’t have to be afraid any more because Christ has given me power , love, and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear. (2Tim 1:7) I confess, at times I’m not so sure about the “sound mind.” But I definitely have the power to overcome all that was done to me because He is with me and loves me with an everlasting love that I can’t even fatham.

Hey Satan, guess what? You can’t touch me any more! I am born of God (1Jn.5:18) I can be influenced, I can have demonic oppression but I belong to God and there’s not a flippin’ thing the enemy can do about it except try to turn me away from God. That ain’t going to happen! So Get behind me, Satan! And God has told me that all things will work together for good (Ro. 8:28) and I’m confident that what God started in me will be perfected. (Phil.1:6)  So back off, devil, I’m God’s and I believe Him!

If all of this is true, and it is, then why do we continue to hang onto the lies and judgments and condemnation that others have placed on us through childhood and even adulthood?  By continuing to believe the lies of the past we are calling God a liar. Sorry, but that’s true. His word tells us just the opposite of the crap, (excuse my language) that others told us so why do we hold on to the crap and refuse to believe what God tells us? He loves us! He loves us unconditionally. He isn’t the one who lied, called us names, told us we were as stupid as a door knob or as dumb as a rock. He isn’t the one who used us as His tool in unspeakable ways. So why are we willing to continue to believe the evil one who worked through others to destroy us? God said,

“… that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.…”

Eph. 4:23,24

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Blessings to you.

 

Something to Think About.

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Blessings to you.

The Gift of Forgiveness

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I forgive you. Few words carry such an enormous impact upon both the speaker and the listener. It’s been my observation that forgiveness can break the chains that bind us to our past like few other things can. We all know we should forgive those who have wronged us, yet coming to a place of truly forgiving another can be fearful, difficult, or at times confusing.  Some find themselves in a place where they are unsure if they have forgiven or not. Still others ask, “Why should I forgive, I’m the one who was hurt?”

FORGIVENESS

SETS US FREE

FROM OUR OWN

PRISON CELL.

“What forgiveness is not”

Let me begin by sharing what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is NOT justifying, excusing, understanding or explaining away someone’s behavior. It is NOT denying angry feelings, forgetting about it, pretending it didn’t happen. Forgiveness does NOT require the cooperation, request or knowledge of the other person and is NOT the same as reconciliation, nor does it require reconciliation, as in cases of abuse or violence, etc. Forgive and forget is a myth. You are not capable of self-induced amnesia. We need to forgive and be willing to forget.

“What is forgiveness?”

I think the best way to understand forgiveness is to ask the One who invented it. Scripture is filled with awesome revelation of God’s incredible “transaction” with mankind. He took the sins of the world and placed then on Christ. He took Christ’s righteousness and offered it to all who would receive. Such an incredible offer, total forgiveness as well as Christ’s very life and righteousness made available to us. We first had to realize our “need,” then we entered into (receiving, appropriated) the work God had already prepared for us.

“Releasing a Debt”

This is forgiveness, a transaction whereby the debt of one is released by the willful act of another. This release is not earned or bargained for. It’s a gift only to be received. This is precisely the definitions of the two words used in the original language of the Bible that are translated “forgive.” One means, to release a debt, the other means to give a gift of grace (an unearned gift). It’s important to note that God did His forgiveness work before we asked Him to. This teaches an important lesson on our forgiveness of others. Forgiveness only takes one, reconciliation takes two.

“Doesn’t sound fair”

If we are the one who was hurt, then why should we release the other person from a debt that they haven’t paid? This doesn’t sound fair to me. Besides the obvious fact that forgiveness is a scriptural command, I find consolation in the scripture that reminds me that God forgives for His own sake. (Isa. 43:25) We are then one’s who benefit from forgiving others. Forgiveness sets us free from our own prison cell. The sad fact is, I can’t undo the past. As much as I might wish it were different, debts (hurts by others) of the past are debts that can never be paid. In areas where I’ve been wronged or hurt I only have two options, carry that hurt with bitterness or release the hurt through forgiveness. If you’re thinking that it doesn’t seem fair, you’re right, it’s not. In reality the harm done to us by others was in fact paid for by Jesus on the cross, and the cross wasn’t fair. From God’s perspective the cross is where unpaid debt of others is finally accounted for. From our limited perspective, it’s hard to see how the account is settled.

“FORGIVE AND

FORGET IS A MYTH.

YOU ARE NOT

CAPABLE OF SELF-

INDUCED AMNESIA.”

 “…AS YOU HAVE

BEEN FORGIVEN” Scripture tells us to “forgive as God has forgiven us” (Eph.4:32) To briefly list how God has forgiven us would include the following. God had a focal point (the cross). He charged the debt, poured out His wrath and made a transaction. Based on that transaction, He forgave and accepted us. He then took the chance we would fail again.

“How do I forgive?”

Our forgiveness of others include all these points. Just as  God had a focal point, you may find helpful to picture this person sitting in an empty chair or prayerfully giving the hurt to Jesus, after all “He bore our griefs and sorrows.” It is not required  the other person be present. This is your decision, you’re deciding what you will do with your life.

* Acknowledge the hurt (ie. charge the debt) verbally.

* Acknowledge how it made you feel. This means you need to “feel what you feel.”

* Verbally release the person from the debt they owe you. (saying in effect, “I release the debt,” “You don’t owe me any more,” “You are forgiven.”)   Forgiveness is a transaction based on will, not a feeling.                                 

 * Accepting the person just as they are (Ro.15:7)  I am entrusting this person into God’s hands. God is now responsible for changing this person. This person is not freed from the consequences of his actions. God is in charge of letting people experience the consequences of their actions, we are not called to be enablers or rescuers.

“WE ONLY HAVE TWO

OPTIONS, CARRY THE

HURT IN BITTERNESS

OR RELEASE THE HURT

THROUGH FORGIVENESS.”

Most of us have people who have hurt us deeply and need to forgive. This list usually includes ourselves. Failure to forgive ourselves is holding onto what God has released. This is one of the enemy’s traps.

“Picket fences or Prison walls?”

When hurt, most people develop rigid protective walls. Unless we are willing to cautiously lower these walls of protection, reconciliation becomes impossible. They become prison walls rather than picket fences that serve to define healthy personal boundaries. There is always the risk of being hurt again. This will mean trusting God with the future.

“Residual feelings”

The fact that passing thoughts and lingering hurt feelings may still occur proves two things. The devil is alive and well, and we still retain the memory of the hurt even after forgiveness. As we focus on the reality of our transaction, emotions slowly follow. We literally change the significance of a hurtful memory when we change its meaning. No longer a victim, we are an overcomer.

“Decision or Process?”

Is forgiveness a decision or a process? It’s both. Allow me to illustrate, almost seventeen years ago Carol and I walked into a church as single people. We said a few words, and the pastor (my father) said a few words. When we walked out we were married people. It became true because we made it true. It started with a decision, yet the implications of that wonderful decision are discovered in a lifelong process. This principle applies to forgiveness. It too begins with a decision, but it’s clearly a process of walking out our decision on a daily basis. Keeping our accounts at zero is an ongoing process.

“Reconciliation?”

 Many people ask questions like, “What if the other person isn’t sorry for what they did, or what if he never asks to be forgiven?” These questions are more about the issue of reconciliation than forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness takes one, reconciliation takes two working toward a common goal. Scripture implies that we will not be able to reconcile with everyone. (Rom. 12:18), however reconciliations is the natural goal in mind in most cases. We are responsible for our own willingness to reconcile, but not for others. I like to use the illustration that reconciliation is like two people on opposite sides of a large river and you only have enough lumber to build the bridge half-way across. The point being, if the other person doesn’t want their half of the bridge, you won’t get across. True reconciliation won’t take place. At best what you will have is an “arrangement” not a relationship with the other person. Arrangements are where two Peoples interactions with each other are governed by unspoken but clearly understood terms of rules.

“Forgiveness takes

one, reconciliation

takes two… what

you have is an

“arrangement”

not a relationship…”

“You are a forgiven person”

While forgiveness seems awkward at first, we soon discover that it is completely consistent with the new nature (2Pet.1:4) we received at salvation. In other words, we discover the truth that all believers are in fact forgiving people by virtue of God’s process of changing our hearts. Any time our daily walk becomes consistent with our new nature (Christ in us) we are on the path to freedom. Let’s walk in His freedom.

Written by James Eubanks – Grace Ministries, Inc. – Angels by Grace Publication-May 1998

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Blessings to you.

Just a Blob?

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Just a Blob?

Those who advocate abortion say we are “just a blob.”

We can be tossed in the garbage can or heaved onto the ash heap. 

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But God says,

“So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.” Gen. 1:27

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And…

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” Jer.1:5

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We are also likened to clay.

“We are the clay…”  

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that needs transformation.

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“…and You are our potter;…

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… we are the work of Your hand.” Is. 64:8

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You came

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 …to heal the brokenhearted…

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To proclaim liberty to the captives…” Is. 61:1

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And You gave me beauty in place of the ashes.

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Blessings to you and may God bless you with His peace in this New Year. 

Are your hands full?

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“Therefore if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

One of the first articles I wrote for the new Cyber Support Group blog (Rocks in my Garden) was with an assignment of placing rocks in a basket as each issue was healed. Survivors carry much guilt, shame, unforgiveness, low self-esteem, anger, etc. The healing of these many issues takes time and much work. They did not happen over night and will not be healed over night. As each issue is looked at we go through the pain of having to relive some of the events of the past but as we do so the Lord is with us and helping us to delve into the deep dark secrets and the effects it has in our present life.

Shame is something that is placed on us through acts that defy what we are created to be. God did not create us to walk with shame or guilt or rage because of what was done to us. He wishes each of us to be free to laugh, love, and rejoice in Him with the freedom much like a child happily playing.

If we have these issues bearing down on us we cannot be free to be as He created us to be. We must take each issue and deal with it. We cannot do it alone! We need Christ’s wisdom, guidance, and insight. We need the support of others and possibly a good counselor that is willing to walk with us through the pain.

Anger is a volatile emotion that can debilitate us and affects every relationship we have. It’s as though we have a volcano deep inside just waiting to erupt. Healing the issues we have to deal with helps in easing the effects of the volcano. It brings about forgiveness and as forgiveness is granted, for us and our abuser/s, we are set free from the devastating effects. I have seen survivors who felt as though a million pounds had been lifted from their shoulders by the act of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is difficult when we have been so violated by another human being that we trusted. Betrayal of the deepest level is difficult to forgive but it is absolutely necessary for us to be able to move forward and become free. It is the most important step in gaining freedom. It is the goal that we can set before us – to be able to forgive the one/ones that so harmed us. I’m not talking about lip service forgiveness but the kind of forgiveness that truly comes from the heart. We can start by telling the Lord that because He forgives us we choose to forgive (abuser name) and eventually we will be able to forgive from the heart.

Forgiveness is a choice! It does not mean what was done was right. It does not mean you have to have a relationship, or even contact, with this person. It does not mean that you will forget what was done. It means you release the consequences and judgment to God. Unforgiveness is wanting revenge. Forgiveness means that you have broken the ties that your abuser has you bound up with. It means you have taken a most important step in being able to move forward and live the life that God wants you to have. It means freedom.

Here are some scriptures to help you with various issues you may be facing:

Eph. 4:20

Eph. 4:31, 32

Phil. 4:6,

Gen 28:15

Mark 11:25

Is. 26:37

Ps. 91:4-7

 If you have confidential questions/comments feel free to e-mail me at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

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 Elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.