God Blessed The Broken Road…

This blog has been quite some time in the making…  I started it ages ago during my lunch break at work.  I keep pulling it out and reading it and just was not released to finish and post it.  Tonight while visiting with a lovely friend, the discussion turned to how looking back we can see how things worked together to bring us to where we are now – and the Lord said, “Finish it now.” – so here goes…

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The realization hit me hard…  After a lifetime of frustration at hearing/reading “be thankful in everything”, I finally got it.

Last year I had the privilege of hearing Kim Phuc (The Girl in the Picture) speak about forgiveness and healing.  Ms. Phuc helped me to realize that, although I had made great strides in forgiveness and healing, I had even further to go.  She talked of forgiving and praying for the man who was responsible for the lifetime of horrible pain that she had endured.  (I wrote about this just over a year ago:  https://krislukings.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/do-scars-hurt/)

My mind heard that she prayed for him daily, but my heart would not accept this – could not fathom this.  It was clear to me that this in itself was a problem.  I would like to say that I immediately corrected my ways, that I started praying for the person (people) responsible for my abuse in the past – but I cannot say that.  I started praying for the strength to want to do that, that I could begin  to release whatever made me feel the extreme resistance that I felt as Ms. Phuc spoke.  Slowly but surely as I allowed, the Lord began to do a work in me.  After sometime, I began praying for my abusers.  It was strictly an act of obedience and submission in the early days.  God has been faithful to meet my willingness with more healing and more understanding.

Still, when I would hear someone talking about “being thankful in all things” I would get my back up and become defensive.  I still couldn’t quite wrap my head around how I was supposed to be thankful for the pain of the past.

A few days ago as I drove home, the song “God Bless the Broken Road” came on the radio.  I was a bit surprised at first because I hadn’t thought of it as a song that would be played on a Christian station.  Then the Lord told me to listen closely, and here is what I heard:

“I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love, along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow, kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign, pointed straight to you”

By the time Rascal Flatts got to the line “But I got lost a time or two” the tears started to stream down my face.  I got lost a lot more than a time or two, but I kept pushing through.  I took great pride in how I could take care of myself – didn’t need anyone else.  Broken roads often lead to more broken roads and more broken roads and, well – I suppose that you get he picture.

“I think about the years I spent, just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you
But you smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all a part of a grander plan, that is coming true”

More tears flooded over me.

“Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

Now I am just rolling home
Into your loving arms
This much I know is true,
God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.”

At last I got it and I can say wholeheartedly that I am thankful for the broken road that has been my life.  I was flooded with such a peace – you know, that kind that surpasses all understanding – yeah, that kind.  How I wish that I had the time back that I wasted on so many broken roads!

For the first time in my life I felt the true sense that the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful had been mixed up – molding me into who I am today.  I am so thankful that “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28  is so true.

So thankful

  • that he brought me through it all,
  • that He is taking all the bad and using those experiences to teach me about others,
  • to make me more empathetic to those who are suffering,
  • to help me help those who feel like they are the only ones,
  • to help those who feel like the abuse is their fault or that it is deserved, and
  • that I am alive and on the right road!

I finally understand how all the different, horrible roads that I have traveled were leading me back to Him, back to the One who gave up everything for me.  How every instance of abuse, every time that I fell because I was trying to do it on my own or because I couldn’t follow the rules closely enough – all of those things were signs or northern stars pointing me back to the One who loves me perfectly.

I had always thought of this song as a nice love song.  It fits how I feel about my husband -there were so many broken roads (for me) before we met.

But the Lord showed me that although it was indeed a love song – it wasn’t about finding the love of my life and having the privilege of marrying & serving alongside him.  It was about finding the Lover of my soul, about Him taking the mess that I had made out of my life and turning it into something beautiful.

It was and is about recognizing that God truly has blessed the broken road that led me back to Him.

Put Your Baggage Down!

For some time now I have been contemplating how connected healing is to willingness to forgive the source of abuses and painful memories.  The more that I think about their connection, the more that I believe that healing is actually contingent on forgiveness.  If I had not come to a place where I could conceive forgiving the ones responsible for the pain and painful memories – I don’t believe that my heart would have been truly in a place where it could be healed completely.

I have talked with my husband Tim many times about the journey of healing that God is walking with me.  I have said so many times that I wish I could identify steps for people to begin taking so that they too can be on the road to healing instead of stuck in the past – stuck in the pain.  But I couldn’t really identify exactly how or when I began this journey.   I just realized one day that I was walking this road named Forgiveness and that the longer I chose to stay on this same road, the easier the walking became.

Tim’s message this morning was really awesome and was based on the text Philippians 3:10-13.  “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Emphasis mine)

Tim also used the text Matthew 6:33 ”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As he was delivering the message, realization began to flood into my mind and at last I understood how and when my journey started.  When I began to focus more on knowing and pleasing God (straining toward what is ahead) I began to forget what was behind me.  When I began to care more about what I did with God in my life and what God wanted to do with my life – I stopped looking backwards and focusing on the pain that was inflicted on me, on the old wounds that still often festered and infected every part of my life.

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  My memory wasn’t wiped clean.  I didn’t suddenly have a case of amnesia that allowed me to forget all of the bad times in my life.  It was more like a choice that I made, with God’s help, to move the magnifying glass from the dark times over to the good things in my life.  Instead of dwelling in the dark memories I began walking toward new memories – toward what was ahead.

Tim said this morning “The spiritually hungry aren’t hung up in the past; they are anticipating what God has for them now and to come!”  Bingo.  I got hungrier than I have ever been in my life – I was desperate.  I started looking at God instead of looking backwards and suddenly the past began to grow dimmer and dimmer.

He also pointed out that it is vitally important to forget our past identities and move forward.  This particularly struck me…  That would mean that we also have to forget the past identities of those who have abused us or hurt us and move forward.  That is powerful.

If I can’t forgive the abuse and hurts of the past, I cannot move forward.

If I am not constantly straining toward what is ahead by moving forward in Christ, I am bound to look backwards.

We all have baggage in our lives from one thing or another.  Whether yours is/was abuse, financial distress or whatever your baggage may be, God is saying to stop looking at circumstances, stop looking at the past and look at Him, the One who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.  He is inviting you to walk closely with Him looking forward and never backward.

So put your baggage down
there is rest and healing in this place – in Christ.

Rest for the weary

Don’t spend another moment looking into the past and dwelling on the pain that lives there.  Allow God to come to you and flood your life with love and peace and joy.

Thanks for the message honey, once again it got me thinking about how to do things better/differently; it got me thinking about straining for what is ahead and forgetting what is behind.

I have a song floating through my head this afternoon.  I don’t think that it will ever cease to be true and that is okay.  “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.  It took Him a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.  How loving and patient He must be…  He’s still working on me.”  43 years and counting…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

How Could It Be Okay?

Tim is reassuring me over the phone “It is okay.  Everything is okay.”  I am screaming back into the phone “NO IT’S NOT!  IT’S NOT OKAY!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”  Totally hysterical, sobbing and almost hyperventilating, I can’t seem to get a grip on myself…  How can I?  In the past it wouldn’t have been okay – it would have been the beginning of another nightmare.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – or a flashback of sorts – I am not sure what to call what happened.  Whatever happened, I didn’t know that I could or would have something like that.  I know that it took me years to not flinch when someone was nearby and moved too quickly; that I still feel the need to apologize for every stupid thing that happens, regardless of the fact that it may or may not have anything to do with me directly.  I don’t know what it was – but it was completely unnerving I must tell you.  It has taken me some time to understand exactly what had happened.

Here is an inside view of my one (and I sure hope) only episode:

It was a Monday; my husband Tim had just started his position at a new church out of town.  Because of the distance, he

macro water drop

Image by Tanya Puntti via Flickr

would be staying a few days in our soon to be new city.  I have always credited myself for being strong and perfectly able to take care of myself so this didn’t seem like a big deal to me.  I came home from work, had dinner and was having a normal evening.  Normal until I decided to retrieve something from the basement office.  As I am rummaging around my desk for the item, I hear drip, drip, drip. I step out of the office and into the washroom to find the source of the noise.  I immediately see little drips of water from the ceiling falling into the base of the shower.  My first thought was how lucky I was that it was dripping into the shower instead of getting anything else wet.  I look up to see the ceiling sagging over the shower – not good.  After consulting with Tim, I got a ladder and a hammer so that I could gently remove the hanging piece of ceiling and see what was really happening.

As I begin to remove the ceiling, the water runs down onto my head.  Lovely…  I can see the leak now – just a slight little drip right at the joint.  It must have been leaking for days to soak the ceiling the way that it did.  It seems that all that needed to happen was to turn the water off to the shower.  Wow – that is a no brainer I thought.  Unfortunately, the plumber who did the shower was about as much of a plumber as I was.  The shut off valves were metal and the pipes plastic.  The weight of the metal was actually pulling itself off of the plastic piping – making the shut-off valve completely ineffective.

Now, if you happen to know me well, you likely saw my status on Facebook later this same night.  I am going to repeat it just in case someone new is reading:  IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE MAIN WATER SHUT OFF VALVE IS (AND HOW TO USE IT) IN YOUR HOUSE – FIND OUT NOW!!!

So, the plastic piping slips out of the metal shut off valve and wouldn’t you know it, it was the HOT water.  Now pouring down onto my head and scalding me.  I had no idea what to do now, the water was going into the shower and overflowing onto the tile floor.  I got off the ladder and ran around the basement like a mad person trying to figure out what to do.  I tried to call Tim and couldn’t reach him immediately.  In my running back and forth around the basement, I slipped several times and smashed my leg into the ladder.  At this point, water is flowing onto the unfinished basement floor towards the carpet – I run, fall but still get the water stopped before it gets to the carpet.

Now envision this, I am soaking wet – through and through.  The bathroom is drenched – the shower is full (bits of the ceiling are clogging the drain) and the floor is soaked.  Water is still pouring from the pipe hanging from the ceiling…  Finally, I am able to reach Tim.  He directs me to the main shut-off valve and instantly the water stops flowing.

I am trying to explain to Tim what happened – what a mess that everything is and I am sobbing and screaming (or at least screeching).  Tim is reassuring me over the phone “It is okay.  Everything is okay.”  I am screaming back into the phone “NO IT’S NOT!  IT’S NOT OKAY!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”  Totally hysterical, sobbing and as near to hyperventilating as I have ever been, I can’t seem to get a grip on myself…

We hang up.  I start trying to call a couple of our friends from the area who can help with getting the problem fixed and get the water turned back on and finally I got myself cleaned up as much as possible.  As I sit numbly waiting for one of the two guys to come, I begin realize that it is actually going to be okay.

What you need to know is that Tim is the kindest, gentlest man in the world.  Still, these old feelings were suffocating me.  Soon I was afraid again and stayed nervous until he came home a few days later and inspected the mess.  Then he came upstairs and nothing happened.  A sense of relief ran through me that I can’t explain.  Nothing worse was coming – it truly was okay.

It is strange to know someone like I know Tim – to know that, of course it would be okay but to still have such a deep-seated fear that you can hardly breathe.  The Lord really began to speak to me about those things that I had hidden away so well – at least, I thought they were hidden well.  Obviously they were still there, still raw and bleeding and they needed finally to be tended to so that they could mend and heal properly.

If you have ever been involved in wound care, you know that a wound should heal from the inside out – not the outside in.  If it heals from the outside in, infection becomes trapped and can cause so much more damage than the initial injury.  I think that is the way that I tried to heal – I decided that it wasn’t a big deal and closed up the wounds.  All of these years infection has been there and now it is time to allow those wounds to be opened back up – this time to be cleaned out the proper way so that they can heal completely.

You see, what happened was that in the stress of the situation, my mind pulled me back to Alabama; back to a time where everything was my fault and where the price was very high for making/causing such a mess.  It was as if I was instantly transported to a time when I was 15-20 years younger, terrified of making a wrong move and completely isolated when I did.  My mind and my body seemed to go into defense mode.  It took quite some time for the barrier to come down and for me to realize what this incident meant.  Actually, I think that I am still learning from it…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

God’s Holy Scooper

The recent writings about my previous life have left me a bit raw.  It feels like there is a cleansing process happening – that the Lord has me opened up and He is scooping out the garbage that was deposited into my heart and mind.

At first I was afraid of this – I was a bit afraid of what would be left when He was finished.  I have been this way for so long.  Would I know how to even be without all of that stuff?  Would I know how to feel about life or how to respond to the things in the world around me?

Would I feel hollow inside?  It hardly seems conceivable to me that all of that stuff could be gone.  It was unsettling to think that way.  The Lord began to show me that because I was uncertain of what was to come, I was not allowing Him to do the work in me that He so longed to do.

I think back to a message that my husband Tim shared recently about the Israelites.  He talked about how, when Moses was on the Mount Sinai spending time with God, the Israelites turned away from God and back to idols.  They convinced Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship.  (Ex. 32:1-6)

They had been delivered from plagues, from Egypt – God even parted the Red Sea to facilitate their freedom.  They were first hand witnesses to miracle after miracle yet when their spiritual leader was gone for a little while they fell back.  They got their eyes off of God and decided that they needed something to look at – something to worship.

I can’t fathom this, but we know that it is true.  I try to understand why they didn’t just wait for Moses to come back…  Why did they feel this strong desire to have something familiar to worship even though they knew that it was God who brought them through and kept them safe and fed?  But they didn’t wait, they turned back to idols, to religion because it was familiar – they knew what to expect – they could control the out-come.

Choosing to wait on Moses would be out of their comfort level.  They wouldn’t know what to expect and they certainly couldn’t control the out-come.  They were not willing to give over control of their worship or control of their lives to God.  They would rather have the known than the unknown – even if there was pain and slavery and no power for them in the known.  To stay inside their comfort level they gave up freedom and power – and for some, their lives.

Was I doing the same thing with my memories, with  my pain?  Was I holding on to the familiar so tightly that I was not willing to let God work in me because I was afraid of the out-come?  I wasn’t in control of the process so it seemed safer to stick with the familiar than to trust God and allow Him to begin His work in me.  Once again the father of lies had been whispering in my ear, filling my head with these fearful thoughts of the unknown.  Whispering suggestions that I was doing okay now – why not just stay in my comfortable place at least a while longer…

But God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and He will illuminate the lies of satan if it is truly our hearts desire to follow God.  He has a standing invitation in my life to mess with my thinking, my emotions and any other thing that He sees fit…  I know that He doesn’t start stirring the pot for the sake of stirring.  He starts stirring things up and showing me things for my benefit, so that I can grow in my walk with Him, so that I can heal from things that I didn’t even realize were still hurting me and holding me back.  He stirs things up so that I can fulfill the work that He has laid out for me to do without hesitation.  He stirs things up so that I can be whole and live a life pointing back at Him as my source, my strength, my all.

Back to that cleansing process that I feel like God has started in me.  I truly do feel like God has got a big scooper and He is meticulously scooping out things and we are dissecting them together.  He pulls out a pile of stuff and says “Look Kris – we need to work on that for a bit.”  The work isn’t always easy, but He holds my hand He guides me and helps me when I feel like I just can’t do anymore.

I am no longer afraid of what will be left when He is finished, whenever that may be.  I know that what will be left will be from Him, new attitudes towards the things of the past, new ways of looking at things and new ways of dealing with them.  I know that what will be left when all is said and done what is left will be glorious because it will be a work of His hands – a masterpiece.

I can close my eyes and see that He has other scoopers all lined up.  He will begin to use the smaller ones as we go along until finally there will only be a tiny one that can hardly be seen with the human eye.  He will leave nothing that doesn’t belong inside me – He will work diligently at pulling all of the pain and the lies into the light for dissection.  He will complete a perfect work in me as long as I continue to allow Him to do so – and I will.

I saw this over the Halloween season (and you probably did too).  Just as I was about to publish this post I remembered it…  It is cure and so very true:

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.

pumpkin guts

Image by ¡♥ıʞns via Flickr

God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.

He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff– including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see.

How about you?  Are there things that He wants to dissect with you?  Are you willing to trust Him to go into those deep places and allow Him to begin a work in you?

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

Surreal

I almost can’t imagine that my memories are correct.  Did I live like that?  Did I once try to measure every word that came out of my mouth for fear some strange little something would cause an explosion that would end up in pain and degradation?  It seems surreal to look back now.  The memories are often shadowy.  They seem to be blurry around the edges, trying to hide things I once thought were best forgotten.  I have come to understand in the last year or so that I wasn’t quite as “okay” as I thought I was with all of this stuff.  I discovered that I wasn’t quite as strong as I pretended to be and that unnerved me.  Someday I think I will be telling you that story.  I can look back and almost laugh now – just almost…

This evening I was searching for an image dealing with abuse.  The images of abuse were so shocking to me, they made me sick to my stomach and they made me feel ashamed.  The images brought to mind a number of years ago when I was asked to briefly talk about my life during the abusive periods.  As I look back now I realize that my answers were spat out with much anger and hatred.  I used to relive a bit of the past each time that I discussed my former life.  I would get angry at the unfairness of it all, angry when I remembered the pain and the fear and for me, most angry at the complete loss of control that I felt in my life.  Everything just seemed to be in a perpetual spin cycle and life was just a dizzy mess most of the time.

I began to ask myself the same questions that people who haven’t been touched by abuse ask.  I realize now that if I was not careful the questions would add more guilt and could easily shred my self-esteem.  I felt that I had to answer these questions for myself once and for all and deal with everything that came with them.

1.       How did I let it happen?  I no more willingly “let it happen” than I would willingly have a car accident.  It just started happening and I was never taught what to do when someone abused me.  I defended myself as much as possible from the physical blows, but the verbal blows were impossible to ward off.

2.       How could I not have seen that I was being manipulated or controlled?  Lack of experience in the field.  No one had ever tried to control me before.  Besides, my life was all about choosing my words carefully and trying to respond appropriately to life around me.

3.       Why did I feel such shame over something that was not my own doing?  I believe that the shame came because the very person who was supposed to love me the most in the world deemed me fit only to receive treatment that was worse than anything I could ever fathom.  There must be something wrong with me…

4.       Why did I work so hard to hide the evidence from everyone in my life?  I didn’t want people to ask questions – they would surely see that I was a lousy wife and deserved what had been delivered.

5.       Why on earth did I stay? This was a hard question to answer.  I took a lot of time and the following is what I have come to understand about myself. I imagine that others have similar reasons and sometimes a lot more.

a.       SHAME – as mentioned above, there is a serious deep-rooted shame that (for me) grew from the first incident.

b.      A breakdown of my self-esteem and the feeling of complete UNWORTHINESS.  He loved me once and I just didn’t think I deserved any better. I had to have done something to deserve what was happening.  I couldn’t make sense of it any other way.

c.       FEAR
i.      of being alone– no one else would ever care about me.  The experiences that I had during that time filled my head with hopelessness that there was any other way.
ii.      of going to Hell – at that time in my life, my beliefs said that divorce equaled Hell*.  There was no other way – I thought I had to accept that this was the life I had chosen and I had to live it.

*Now, I don’t think that divorce is God’s first or best plan for any of us – but I no longer see it as unpardonable.  To me, saying that divorce is unpardonable is like saying that the blood of Jesus Christ is not good enough to cover it.  That it was the one thing that He wouldn’t forgive – it just affected too many people to deserve to be forgiven.    Nothing in our lives deserves to be forgiven, but He forgives us anyway and tosses those in the sea of His forgetfulness.  Oh my, as my hubby says – I am going down a dangerous bunny trail.  I will say this and then I will get back to the real business at hand.  Take a look at the people that God used throughout the bible, there are murderers, adulterers, and all types of characters that we might deem unworthy to be forgiven, unworthy to be used of God.  I thank God that I don’t make those judgment calls – they are left for the One true God who is perfect in all things.

During my marriage, every incident caused me to die a little inside.  It was the strangest feeling.  I could almost feel my heart shriveling up around the edges with every blow.  Soon I became withdrawn and almost zombie like.  I was always trying to walk an invisible line that kept moving.  I felt like I was just going through the motions most of the time.  I seemed to always be desperately trying to find the right motions, the right reactions that would in turn get the right reaction from my abuser.  I just wanted peace.

As I was searching for the image I was confronted with images of horrible abuse and pain.  It seems so far away from my life today.  For many years I tried to forget it but couldn’t.  Now sometimes I try to retrieve something seemingly innocent from my mind and I come up blank.  It is almost like I have somehow put a lock on that part of my mind and thrown away the key or at least it has been hidden amongst the haziness of this time in my mind.  Our minds seem to be very good at crafting protection.

There was one other thing that I noticed again when I was looking through images that represented pain, anger and most assuredly, hopelessness.  I was once again justifying or minimizing my abuse.  As I looked at pictures of people covered in blood, with broken bones, with tears of sorrow streaming down their tortured faces, I told myself that what I experienced wasn’t that bad.  The internal conversation continues and something tells me that I shouldn’t really even say that I was abused; that I had no right to say that.

I recently came to believe that this justifying or minimizing was just another form of protection.  I began believing that it helped me to not feel victimized and out of control.  God is showing me that this is faulty thinking on my part.  In a book that I read recently (I believe that it was one of Sharon Jayne’s books) there was a suggestion that we can apply a few words to our thoughts to see if they line up with God’s view of things.  These words are simply “in Jesus name”.  So, I tried that on for size. “In Jesus name all of the different types of abuse that I suffered at the hands of others was not really a big deal.  Those incidents are nothing to get my drawers in a wad over and nothing to cry over.”  Hmmmmmm….  Nope – that just doesn’t sound right to me.  So then, if it isn’t truly my thought what is it?  It is a lie from the enemy of my soul.  he sees that I am headed down the road to healing and wholeness and that makes him mad.  If this enemy can get me to believing that what happened wasn’t really such a big deal then he will soon have me believing that I actually did deserve the things that happened.

he is trying to pull every trick in the book but it just isn’t going to work on me.  I might get turned around for a second, but God is the chief voice in my head and He says that if I resist the devil he MUST FLEE.  he can’t bother me, I don’t have to keep suffering with the thoughts he tries to plant in my brain.  he is just wasting his time planting those seeds in shallow ground – the word of the living God points out his lies and gives me the power and the choice to uproot the lies.  Make no mistake, I meant to say the choice.  I have the choice of living in self-pity, shame and sorrow over what happened to me so long ago or I can choose to forgive the trespasses, let God work His miracles in knowing who I am through Christ and moving out of the place of being a victim and into the place of restoration.  That isn’t going to change what happened, history can’t be rewritten.  But it will and it has changed my life and how I feel every moment of every day.  I have chosen to start the road to victorious living and I know that I will be successful because I have got Jesus holding my hand all the way.

I am coming out of the shadows and into the light of His glorious love.  This is a process that cannot be rushed I am finding.  I have to wait until God begins to speak to me about little things, such as He did tonight, before I start exploring them.  Otherwise, I am trying to get ahead of Him.  He knows the timing that is right for my heart and mind to be able to work its way through these things.

I mentioned this in my last post and it is worth mentioning again.  All of the revelations, realizations and healing that I talk about starts with inviting God to walk more closely than ever beside you.  If you trust Him and truly desire to fight for your freedom, for your sanity, for your victory – invite Him.  I keep trying to figure out how my slow journey to wholeness began but I really can’t.  I just know that it started.  It continues now because I am willing to confront memories when they come and because I know that God is by my side and I can lean on His strength when mine fails me.  It continues because more than anything in this world, I want to be completely obedient to Him and to His leading.  I want to be exactly who He wants me to be, nothing more – but certainly nothing less.  I don’t want to have to face Him once I get home and know that He had to give the job that He assigned to me to someone else because I wouldn’t do it.

 

Jesus

He is reaching out to you today...

 

Choices.  Will you choose to fight for your own victory?  Don’t let yourself grow too weary, He will strengthen you.  The ONLY thing that can keep you from succeeding in gaining your victory, your freedom, is you and your choices.

 

 

Romans 8:35-39 (NIV) says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:  “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”   No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Emphasis is mine.

Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Finally, 2 Corinthians 2:9 says “But He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Choose to start living victoriously if you have not already.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

Do Scars Hurt?

It seems that I keep thinking about forgiveness a lot lately… I have been doing some reading and more thinking and wondering and praying.

If you happen to a FB friend, you might remember my question a few weeks ago – Do Scars Hurt. I began thinking about this because in the book I was reading at the time the author was likening physical scars to psychological/emotional scars. To a point, this made sense to me, after all the definition of scar is “an indication of damage”. This really got me thinking because if we follow that comparison all the way through, that means that if we have scars that are psychological or emotional in nature, they won’t hurt once they are healed. I have lots of scars from physical injuries and/or surgeries and none of them hurt.

So I have been turning this over and over in my mind for almost two months now. Questions have been rolling around and refuse to be quiet in my head… Have I really not forgiven what I thought that I had? Am I still holding a deep seated grudge? If I had truly forgiven the injuries from the past, why do they still hurt me? Why are chunks of years of my life still mostly blocked from my memory? And why, if I have forgiven and that scar has healed, why does it hurt when I go digging into those years to try to retrieve information? My conclusion was that perhaps I hadn’t forgiven at all.

I began to wonder if maybe I needed to start excavating and digging up things to forgive. Was I going to have to start at the beginning and force memories to the surface so that I experienced them in order to fully forgive each and every offense? Do you have to remember ALL the details in order to forgive? I decided that if that is what I really have to do to forgive completely – okay. I wasn’t looking forward to it – but okay. I knew that if that was what needed to happen God would cover me and bring me through it all. Still, not in a hurry to get started.

Life gets a little busy and flash to this past Sunday when we had Kim Phuc, The Girl in the Picture, speak at a community-wide service. This woman began to tell her story took us back to 1972 to her village in Vietnam, she was 9 years old. She told of how villagers were told to leave their place of hiding and how, as they ran she saw four bombs being dropped from an airplane. Napalm bombs – gasoline mixed with thickening agents that would cause it to stick to whatever it touched. The next thing that she remembers is that her skin was too hot, her clothes had instantly been burned off and her skin was being burned off too. This woman, who has lots of reasons to not forgive, holds no grudges. She talks about meeting and forgiving the man who coordinated the air strike that changed her life. She doesn’t know the pilot who changed course to drop the bombs or many of the other details about that day, yet she has forgiven all and been healed. She is very gentle in her nature but her message of forgiveness is very powerful. As she spoke, she cried. She cried as she recalled the pain and the loss that she suffered…

As I listened and watched this woman’s life story unfold I realized that I had it wrong – at least a bit. I knew that forgiveness was a choice and I knew that it wasn’t always instant. I knew that I had to choose to exercise forgiveness almost every day. What I didn’t realize that it was okay that the past still hurts a bit. It is okay if recalling painful times causes some discomfort and even some tears. I don’t have to try to be tough and act as though it never happened in order to forgive.

More thinking… Some time ago during a massage, the therapist began to ask me about some areas that she identified as particularly sensitive/tender. She was questioning me about how I had been injured. She talked about how our body has a memory all of its own, how injuries had a way of causing us seemingly mysterious pain years and years later. The muscles and nerves seem to recall the pain even when we don’t consciously remember it all. Interesting…

I think that I am learning that not only is forgiveness a process, it is an active process. We can’t be passive about forgiving. We need to ask God to examine our hearts and help us know if we are exercising forgiveness continually from all injuries, from all wrongs.

One last thing stuck with me as the speaker concluded her message. She said that she prays everyday for the people involved in her injuries. Honestly and earnestly praying for someone would seem to preclude any build up of ill feelings or thoughts.

Do scars hurt? Yes, I believe that they can… But for now, there will be no digging expeditions for me, except to dig deeper into the Word and into prayer. The scars may hurt, but we don’t have to let the memories or the pain consume us. We can call on God for help and comfort and He will answer.

I would love to hear your comments….

Forgiveness Is God’s Specialty

I was going through my notes in my MySpace account last night and found this one that I had written after talking with a friend who was unable to forgive themselves for their past. I immediately had a sense that I needed to share it, but I was nice and cozy in bed and my Ipod just isn’t the best place for me to do such things so I decided that I really didn’t need to worry about it. Turning back to the book I am currently reading and what are the first words I read as I turn the page – the same as the very last words in my rambling below. So maybe someone needs this today.

March 17, 2009 – Tuesday

Forgiveness is God’s Specialty
Current mood: blessed
Category: Life

I have made a whole lot of mistakes in my life. Things that haunted me for years and years, things that kept me awake at night and drove me half crazy.

It seemed to me that no matter how many times I tried to commit myself back to God, these things would play themselves out in vivid colour every time I tried to sleep.

One sleepless night, as I lie awake beating myself up over my past, God spoke to me very clearly. I almost felt as if I turned around, He would be standing right there… He whispered to me so gently and said, “Who are you to not forgive yourself when I have forgiven you?”

It was a bit shocking and humbling. God had sent His only Son to die to cover my sins and for me it was as if that wasn’t enough. I was still holding a grudge against myself.

I won’t say that it was an instant change, but I realized after His words that I can’t hold on to that stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I still would go back and change so many things if I could, but that is not an option.

My only option is to commit myself to Him daily, live an upright life that is pleasing to Him, doing all things to for His glory.  Allowing God to make you into a new person requires learning to forgive yourself. People are relational. I can relate to others more easily if they have gone through or are going through things that I am familiar with. If I cannot forgive myself, how can they see the amazing grace and mercy provided by the blood of the most Holy Lamb of God? How can they see that their sins can be forgiven and that they can have a new triumphant life in Christ if I couldn’t when we share the same (or similar) pasts?

Let God give you heart knowledge of what forgiveness is – let Him show you what freedom feels like. He has already paid the price for our freedom, don’t let it be a waste – grab hold and never let go.

Forgiveness of someone who has deeply hurt you can be difficult but certainly not impossible. But something that most people don’t realize is that forgiveness is a choice. There is only one person in this world that I have forgiven thousands of times over, sometimes it is easier than others, but I choose to continue to forgive them – endlessly. Choose to forgive yourself, even if it means doing it continually. You will find that if you lean on God, He will help you to grow and prosper in that freedom and those times when you have to remind yourself of forgiveness will become less and less.

Do you trust Him? Trust Him to carry you through. When things happen to torment your mind over past sins, remind yourself that you are covered by the precious blood of Jesus.

I love this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xUK2Dx5RkY) because I have learned at the first hint of the tormentor showing up at my door, to sing the second verse. I am suddenly saturated with that reminder that God does not see those things anymore and if he doesn’t, why should I?

Look at the story of Saul, when God made Himself known, Saul never looked back – only looking forward toward walking in God’s will for his life…

Forgiveness IS a choice. Will you choose to forgive yourself?

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