Women’s Insecurities – Week Five

As I bring this series to a close, I felt like it was appropriate to post a declaration instead of a lengthy blog.  It only seems appropriate after we talked about the causes of rejection and how to overcome it though Christ that we declare God’s power over our lives.  Remember that “rejection never has the final say.  Rejection may be a delay or distraction or even a devastation for a season.  But it’s never a final destination.  [We are] destined for a love that can’t ever be diminished, tarnished, shaken, or taken.  With You, Jesus, [we are] forever safe. [We are] forever accepted. [We are] forever held.  Completely loved and always invited in” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).

DECLARATION:  (Written by Lysa TerKeurst in her book, Uninvited)

Whatever rejection has stolen from you, I declare that the deepest desperation you’ve experienced will lead to God’s greatest revelation in your life.

I declare that the Lord will give you relief from your unbelief.

He will restore you, redeem you, and write His story–His glorious story onto the pages of your life.

It will happen.

Doubt and defeat have no place in the sacred sanctuary of your heart.

Bitterness, resentment, and anger have no place in a life as beautiful as yours.

PRAYER:  (Written by Lysa TerKeurst in her book, Uninvited)

From now on when misguided voices or the enemy himself tries to put you down with lies or pull you away from the truth or push you into anything that could derail your destiny, I pray that you will sense the mighty hands and heart of God…

  • Lift you up with truth.
  • Draw you close with His loving tenderness.
  • And shame Satan back to hell with His resurrecting power.

The Christmas Blues

During the holidays, some people are excited about buying presents for the ones they love.  They enjoy gathering with their family and friends as they celebrate the joy of Christmas.  They cannot wait to put up the tree and decorations.  While others dread the awkwardness of gatherings and crowds.  They dread the decorations, because no one is there to see it.  The holidays remind them of the ones they lost this year or the singleness that it brings.  For me, the holidays bring sadness.  The gatherings remind me of how lonely I am.  I usually wait until everyone sits so all the couples can sit together.  I get asked if I am dating or when will I get married.  The response is awkward, and I get the “what’s wrong with me look” or sympathy.  I never feel like I fit into big crowds.  I am always singled out without anyone intentionally making me feel this way.  It just happens.

The holidays are supposed bring happiness and joy.  It is not supposed to make you feel alone and rejected.  This year I decided to make a change and decided to go on an online Christian dating site hoping to have a boyfriend by Christmas.  You see, I made a big mistake.  I have only had disappointment or fear by being on this site which made it worse for the holidays.  I set myself up for failure.

The thing is, Christmas is not about how I feel, but it is about Jesus’ birthday.  I should have joy, because Jesus was born to save the world. He was born of a virgin, and He was God and man in one.  He came to live on earth to teach us about His Father, on how to live a pure life, and what it means to sacrifice our lives for others.  He taught us how to love unconditionally and how to forgive.  Christmas is not about us; It’s about Him!

My pastor talked yesterday about how Jesus’ birth was not perfect.  It was full of disappointment and rejections.  Jesus was born in a manger with animals and hay around him.  My pastor reminded the congregation that the stable was not an ideal place to give birth, let alone our Savior’s birth.  It smelled and was damp.  It was not the most sterile place to have a baby.  The first Christmas was messy and not what Mary and Joseph expected.

We can all relate to Jesus’ story of His birth that life is not perfect, but we can enjoy what is good in our lives.  During the holidays, we need to see what we have rather than what we lack.  We need to enjoy the people we have in our lives today and be in remembrance of those who are no longer with us.  Let us not miss out on the people we share life with today.  Let us not grieve over what we do not have and miss out on the blessings God wants to give us through Jesus’ birth.  We have plenty to celebrate!  So let us, including myself, move past the Christmas blues and start making memories of today!

My Testimony

My Story Full of Regret, Past Hurts, and Being Unlovable

After asking you to share your story with others, it is only fair that I tell you my story.

The story of my home life growing up was much like a fairy tale. I grew up in a loving and caring home, never lacking anything. I lived with a mother and a father who loved each other and made sure their children were provided for. I was a very happy child who enjoyed life. But, even though I had a fairy tale home life, it does not mean there were not challenges and struggles in my life. My family was in and out of church until I was seventeen years old. We believed in God but, at times, did not devote our lives to Christ. There were many insecurities and wrong mindsets that I was raised in that I had to break away from and learn how to conquer them.

As I continue to conquer my childhood fears, God is teaching me how to be a confident woman in Christ. Recently, I have conquered my ultimate fear. It is the fear of rejection and being imperfect. I grew up with an unhealthy and unrealistic belief that I needed to be flawless to be loved. I did not want to disappoint others so I created a false image of myself. I would try to impress others by becoming just like them to feel accepted. If people were disappointed in me or did not like me, I would be very upset and try to win them over by doing anything to get their approval, even if it meant going against my beliefs. I created an unhealthy approval addiction that lasted over thirty years. I cannot say I have fully overcome these insecurities, but I can say I have boundaries. I allow God to have the final say in my actions and words.

How I overcame these fears was not a simple task. I had to go back into my past hurts and failures to see the root of the problem. I had to relive moments that I was not proud of and work through the emotions. As I was trying to find peace from my past, it brought on more guilt and shame into my life.

Through trying to process these hurts and failures, I became depressed. I hurt my family with my harsh words, lost friendships due to isolation, and missed big events in my family’s life due to depression. I was haunted daily by the fear of rejection and loneliness. The fear became a reality, and I created a life filled with negative mindsets and false accusations. I thought everyone was against me, and I had to protect myself from being hurt again. I tried to look normal on the outside when everything within me was chaotic.

During this time, I broke off an engagement, stopped communicating with my family for almost a year, lost my best friend and roommate, almost lost my job, and left my church due to being judged. Life was falling apart, and I did not know where to go for help. In the midst of all this chaos, the doctor put me on antidepressants and a strong sleeping pill. The prescribed medicine put me into a deeper depression. I could think clearly but did not know what to do with my thoughts. I felt like a zombie with no control over my emotions. I became an angry person, not caring what others thought about me.

One night I was tired of hurting those around me by my actions and words and did not want to live another day. I was miserable and afraid. This was not the first time to think these thoughts, but it was the first time that I wanted to act on them. As I am writing this, tears are rolling down my face knowing that this was a very low moment in my life. I still struggle with the fact that I wanted to end my life. I picked up my prescription sleeping pills off the bedside table and thought about taking just enough so I would not wake up in the morning to another dreadful day. No one was in my home to stop me. Not many people knew I was depressed, because I kept my thoughts to myself. No one would have guessed that I had suicidal thoughts.

God saved me that night. Instead of taking the pills, I fell asleep with the pill bottle in my hand. I woke up the next morning with the bottle next to me on my bed, never opened. Since that day, I have fought for purpose over my life and asked God back into my heart. I am thankful for waking up every day and having the opportunity to share God’s love with others. This is not a moment I want to relive, but that night God brought me back to Him. I am reminded daily of the Scripture, Psalm 30:5, which says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” I am grateful for God’s unconditional love for me. Even when I turned away from Him, He was there to rescue me. This happened in spring of 2007, and it has taken me nearly seven years to heal the hurt and shame from these events.

I pray that my story touches someone’s life, maybe even yours. I hope you can see how God loves you no matter where you are in life. Our stories matter, and we need to share them with others. To be honest, it took me two weeks to finally write my story in this blog. I was fearful of being rejected or looked at differently because of my past. God empowered me to write my story for the very first time so I can turn my past hurts and failures into a testimony. Before now, my mother and head pastor were the only ones who knew my story. I have been too fearful to speak it out, but now I am learning what it means to be transparent. I am learning how to completely trust God with my story. It is now time for you to trust God with your story, and let Him turn it into a testimony.

Share Your Story – Part Three

THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING YOUR STORY

The Bible has great stories of men and women who shared their stories with others. They shared how Jesus healed them and saved them from their sins. These people did not just tell their stories, but they told about Jesus’ miracles.

Biblical Examples

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

In the Book of John, chapter nine, Jesus and His disciples saw a man who was blind from birth. The disciples question Jesus asking Him, “’who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ and Jesus replied, ’neither this man nor his parents sinned […] but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (verses 2-3).

Jesus approached the blind man. He “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (verse 6). Jesus told the man to “wash in the Pool of Siloam,” and the man obeyed (verse 7). Jesus gave the man his sight by using spit and mud. Now, this is not a story that many people would believe unless they saw the miracle firsthand.

The man went home and his neighbors questioned whether or not this was the same man who was blind. His neighbors began to ask questions. The man told them about the encounter with Jesus. They brought this man to the Pharisees. The man was questioned by the Pharisees, and he proceeded to tell the story. He declared that, “’[Jesus] is a prophet’” (verse 17).

The Pharisees did not believe that this man was ever blind and asked to speak with his parents. His parents refused to answer the questions and told them to ask their son directly. They spoke with the man again and the man repeated his story for the third time. In verse 25, he declared, “’I was blind but now I see!”

The Pharisees released the man. The man had a second encounter with Jesus and became a Christian. Jesus’ miracle did not just bless the blind man, but Jesus’ name was spread throughout the neighborhoods and to the Pharisees. This man’s story turned into a testimony once he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Whether or not anyone believed him, he shared his story with others and gave God the glory.

The Samaritan Woman

In the Book of John, chapter 4, verses 1 through 42, Jesus was resting alone at a well “when a Samaritan woman came to draw water” (verse 7). Jesus asked her for a drink of water. The woman responded, “’You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’” (verse 7). During Jesus’ time, the Jews and the Samaritans did not associate with each other.

Jesus and the Samaritan woman continued to ask each other questions. The woman observed that Jesus did not have a pail to draw water from the well and inquired about it. Jesus answered, “’everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (verses 13-14). In verse 10, Jesus says He is “living water.”

The woman was eager to receive the “living water” that Jesus was talking about, and He began to speak truth over her life. He revealed that she was not married and was previously married five times. The man she was currently with was not her husband. The woman did not deny Jesus’ statements and said, “’I can see that you are a prophet’” (verse 19).

The woman was instantly changed by Jesus’ encounter. She left her watering jug at the well and walked back to town. She said to the people, “’come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’” (verse 29). The people followed the Samaritan woman out of the town to find this Messiah that she was talking about.

The Samaritan woman brought many people to Christ by sharing her story. In verse 39, it says, “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days and continued to share God’s love with them. In verse 42, the people of the town declared, “’we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”

Why we Need to Tell Our Story

After reading about the blind man and the Samaritan woman, we see the importance of sharing our story. We must be willing to be transparent with others to bring people to Christ. God has transformed our story into a testimony. It is not just a story about heartache and regret. It is a testimony of God’s love in our lives. He has changed our story from something we thought was ugly to something beautiful. God healed us and brought hope into our lives.

When we tell our story, we tell about Jesus! Jesus tells the blind man in John 9:5 that “I am the light of the world.” If we are created in God’s image, then we are to be the “light of the world.” Will you tell your story to the world?

Application:

Telling our stories are important. It helps ourselves as well as others grow in Christ.  I encourage you to re-evaluate your life to see if there are any areas that you are ashamed of or too embarrassed to speak out loud. If you feel comfortable, write down what these areas are and pray over them. During your prayer time, spend some time in the Bible looking up Scriptures for boldness and courage.

Miracles

Miracles and blessings are an everyday occurrence. We sometimes miss them because our perspective is distorted. What we consider a coincidence is really a miracle or a blessing from God. We do not give God the glory when something good happens in our lives and we call it a coincidence. A coincidence is “a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected” (Merriam-Webster.com). A coincidence is the world’s way of thinking and it distorts our perspective on life.

God performs miracles every day. Miracles are “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” or “an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God” (Merriam-Webster.com). According to this definition, miracles only come from God and when miracles happen we see God’s power in our lives.

Miracles come in all different sizes! Maybe someone in front of you at a fast food restaurant paid for your meal unexpectedly. Maybe God provided for your financial needs by lowering or eliminating a bill. God may have healed you from an incurable illness. Whatever it may be, we can all think back to a moment where we have experienced God’s miracles in our lives.

Jesus performed 37 miracles in the New Testament. The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – records all of Jesus’ miracles. The first miracle Jesus performed was in the Book of John, chapter 2, verses 1 through 11. Jesus was attending a wedding and they ran out of wine. In verses 6-8, it explains in great detail of how Jesus turned water into wine. The wine Jesus made was better than the original.

In the Book of Luke, chapter 5, verses 1 through 11, Jesus was by a lake talking to a crowd of people. Jesus saw that two boats were by the shoreline and the fishermen were washing their nets. Jesus stepped “into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon” and finished the sermon in the boat. Jesus then told Simon to “’put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (verse 3). Simon exclaimed that he was unable to catch any fish all night and was physically exhausted. Simon did as he was told and “they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break” (verse 6). Back in those days, fishing was a livelihood and it depended on the catch on how much money they brought home to provide for their families. Jesus took care of their financial needs and this story was a great way to show God’s supernatural power. In verses 10 through 11, it says that Simon left everything behind and followed Jesus. Simon’s encounter with Jesus changed his life forever.

In the Books of Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-15 tells about Jesus feeding more than 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. John 6:1-15 explains in detail how Jesus and the disciples fed over 5,000 people with a handful of food. In verses 5 through 6, Jesus asked one of His disciples, Philip, where they can buy enough food to feed the entire crowd and Philip said “’it would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’” Andrew, another disciple, said “’here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”. According to verse 6, Jesus was testing Philip to see whether or not he had enough faith to know that Jesus had the power to feed the crowd with no one lacking food. As we continue reading, we find that Jesus not only fed the 5,000 but they had left overs. Matthew 14:20 says that “they all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketful of broken pieces that were left over.” In one moment, Jesus witnessed to over 5,000 people by doing something that was unexpected and impossible.

Jesus’ miracles never ceased to amaze the crowds. Jesus healed the sick, the crippled and the blind. He cast out demons and raised the dead. His works on earth showed people that His Father, God, was real and He can do the impossible. Jesus gave people hope when the world shunned them. Jesus brought light into a dark and weary world and He continues to bring hope into this world.