Can Faith and Doubt Co-exist?

Can Faith and Doubt Co-exist?

Last September/October I felt like the Lord was telling me that He had something for me.  He was preparing me and I felt so very close to knowing what He had purposed for me.  Then…….  I was diagnosed with a life-altering condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  To try to put things into context for those who haven’t heard of this condition, which most haven’t, wringerCRPS is considered more painful on McGill Pain Scale than the following:  childbirth, amputation of a digit, some cancer pain, and fractures.  This is not a little ache that I am talking about, it is a pain that never entirely leaves.  It seems to me as if it rolls around, sometimes just a low burn/ache and other times I feel as if my body is being put through a giant wringer washing machine, crushing my bones and everything else in its way.   Understand that I am in no way minimizing anyone else’s pain, I just want to lay the groundwork so that there is an understanding of the nature of the beast that I am dealing with…

I am currently awaiting an appointment that is critical to happen within the first 6 months after the first symptom appears.  I am 1 week short of the 3 month mark and I can tell you that I am concerned that I won’t be seen ‘on time’.  While people not seen in the ‘window’ do recover, it is much more difficult and from what I understand, less likely to go into remission for long periods.  Prayers appreciated that an appointment will come swiftly…

Back to the issue at hand:  Can faith and doubt co-exist?  So recently I was anxiously waiting for what God had for me.  Now I am in pain often, I have a modified schedule at work to accommodate a lengthy rest during lunch so that I can be productive through my work day, I nap most evenings to the tune of an hour or more, and most nights I don’t get more than 4 hours’ sleep.  I can’t help but wonder HOW can God use the mess that I am right now?

I want to make one thing clear:  I have not lost faith in my great God.  I know that He is able, but I also know that when I prayed for my own healing, He said ‘no’.  I don’t know if that is forever ‘no’ or a not right now ‘no’.  I just know that it was definitively a ‘no’.  In His hands I will rest my life and trust that there is a reason for this.

As I cried to my wonderful husband Tim about this, he reminded me that not every thought that is in my head is my own.  I said to him that the thought keeps going through my head that ‘I know God can do anything, so then why doesn’t He?’  NOW, I have fallen for one of the slimy ones tricks again and that make me angry.  Believing that his nasty little thoughts are my own.  Letting it wiggle in and try to uproot what I know:  God is good, He is just and right, His ways and thoughts are higher than my own.  He alone can see the big picture of my life and know what is right for me.

Tim also reminded me that when Paul prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be removed, God said to him:  “My grace is sufficient for you; My power is perfected in your weakness.”  Now, I need to do a lot of work before I can say that I delight in my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties – but I KNOW that His grace IS indeed sufficient for me.

So, to answer my own question:  Can faith and doubt co-exist?  In my opinion, no.  Can I question God and it be okay?  Yes, I believe that I can.  God is so gracious that He isn’t angered when I don’t get on board with what He is doing/trying to do right away.  He knows my heart’s desire is to serve Him and He is ever patient in helping me to come around to His way of thinking – even when I don’t begin to understand.  But doubt – doubt is from the enemy of my soul.  It is his job to try to feed me thoughts to make me doubt God’s love and intentions for me.  To this, I will answer with this scripture:  Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

So I will keep my trust in the One who loves me more than I can fathom.  I will strive to keep in mind Philippians 3:10-14 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  12 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. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

In my humanity and weakness, I still can’t fathom how exactly He can use me.  But I don’t have to work that out, He has had it in mind since before I was conceived.

This song expresses my feelings pretty concisely.  Take a moment and listen if you don’t already know it – I Will Trust In You by Lauren Daigle.

Also, when I listen, God speaks.  Take a look at the devotionals below.  I follow this on Facebook but seldom take the time to read them.

Daughters of the King Daily Devotionals
Yesterday at 6:21am ·
I Am Refining You

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Run away from youthful lusts—pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those [believers] who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” 2 Timothy 2:21-22, Amplified.

“If you want to be used greatly for My kingdom purposes, I will need to refine you. I will need to search your heart for what doesn’t look like Me and change you until you are a reflection of Me. I will need to smooth out every rough place. Fill every lacking place. Bring low every high place. Straighten every crooked place. I will accomplish this so that I can have My way in and through you with no blockages or delay. I will be glorified in your life. I will be glorified in your thoughts and in the secret places of your heart where no one sees but Me. I will be glorified in how you live before Me. You are My vessel unto honor and I am refining you.”

and

Daughters of the King Daily Devotionals
6 hrs ·
He Will Do It

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it..” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, ESV).

While standing at a church altar, I had gone up for prayer. Tears running down my face like a river, I felt scared. God was having me step out on faith and trust Him in a way I had never trusted Him before. I was totally out of my comfort zone like a baby standing for the first time. “What if I fall?” “Can I really do this?” “Lord help me.” And with all of these thoughts going through my mind, God came to my aid and encouraged me. He reminded that He had called me and He will do it. Not me…Him.

A lot of us are wondering how we are going to do the things that God has called us to do, but let me encourage you with the same thing God encouraged me with. It is not you that is doing anything. It is God. Didn’t He say, it’s not by power, nor by might, but by My spirit says the Lord? If any great victory is going to be had by you, it will be by His strength and power. If any change is going to take place in your life, it will be changed by His power. If you are going to walk the straight and narrow way, it will be by His grace and power.

All God is requiring of you is for you to yield to Him and trust in Him.

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A Story About Faith and Authority

I want to tell you a little story about faith and our authority in Christ.

There are so many pits that we can fall into in this life.  A couple weeks or so ago,
I LITERALLY fell/stepped into a pit in a pitch black room (actually a trench but you get the gist).

trench

In 2003 I ruptured my L 3/4 4/5 and have been quite careful with my back since that time.  Once the reality of what had just happened registered in my mind, I began to think about how injured I was going to be.  Having had ruptured discs in the past, I knew that normally you do not jar your back, even a little bit, without serious consequences.

I crawled out of the trench and, thinking strictly in the natural, prepared myself for a serious problem with my back.  It took almost a week for it to get serious but it did, I could hardly walk or do anything else without being in agony.

You don’t always know the extent of a back injury immediately and I thought that I would be very lucky to be able to walk the next day.  It took almost a week for the real pain to start but when it did, it came with a vengeance.  The doctor said that the pain was likely delayed because my back had clenched and as long as it stayed in that clenched state, I didn’t feel the extent of the injuries.  It was only after a massage that the muscles be an to relax and the pain hit hard.

I have been hobbling around in pain as I tried to go about my daily life. Tim took over walking the dog because it just hurt me too badly.  He also took over lots of the other things I typically do in the house because I just couldn’t do them anymore.  I was doing everything I knew to do and had been told to do and the pain would not relent.

Sunday rolled around and I was dreading church because it is the place that I was most uncomfortable.  The pews put my back in a terrible position where I couldn’t find any relief.  I am so glad I didn’t give in to staying home because the Lord had a word for me.  Tim’s message was called Walking in Authority.  He talked about how we have the same authority to do things that Jesus did while on this Earth, to take authority over things that did not positively affect their lives.  One of his points highlighting this authority was when Jesus commanded the fig tree to never bear fruit again because it had no fruit at their time of need.  There was so much more to this message that is important about the absolute need to know the Father’s will in order to use this authority and reasons why your authoritative prayer might not have been/might not be answered (message is up on the ECC website Thursday or Friday if you want to listen).

As he was speaking, if occurred to me that if I truly believed what he was saying, I had authority to command my back to stop causing me agony and to start operating as God designed it to do.  I grabbed ahold of that truth and did just that.  Instantly, I could feel the difference and had relief for the first time in at least 1.5 weeks from the terrible pain.  The longer I sat ‘testing it’, the better it felt.

You see, God healed me of problems with my back that stemmed from the surgery (i.e. scar tissue) years ago so I KNEW that God’s will was NOT for me to be limited in my life by back pain..  I realized that my reaction and expectation when I fell was totally without faith.  It was a completely natural reaction and for someone God hadn’t already touched, understandable.  I should have crawled out of that trench and supernaturally laid claim the healing that had already been provided instead of just accepting the natural consequences/repercussions.

Still, God held my hand and shined a brighter light on this truth.  He did it without anger at my not immediately turning to Him, He did it without shaming me, He did it so that I could live life and live it more abundantly.  He did it, not because I deserved it (hardly!), but because He loves me.  He loves you just the same.

One more quick thing:  if I had not recently participated in a study of Christine Caine’s book Unashamed, I don’t think that I would have clued in to a message saying that I have the same authority as Christ.  God’s timing is perfect!  He pointed me to that study preparing me for the message that Tim was going to give last Sunday.  And by the way, the message was something like 109 in a series on the life of Jesus done chronologically so don’t think this was all coincidental, we have a great God working on the finest details of our lives.  Believe it!

Jesus Isn’t Into Sharing

For some reason this week I was reflecting on how hard I used to have to work at being a good Christian and how it comes so naturally now. Why is it so different?

Flashback to the early to mid-90s, I truly had myself fooled that I was representing the Lord pretty well. I was always in church, at the church, or chasing whatever revival was nearby. I just couldn’t be in church enough. In looking back I can see how much I was struggling to be ‘a good Christian.’ I couldn’t see it then because I was too busy doing church stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with church involvement – just that for me it was a hiding place where I could feel like I was being a good Christian. After all, I was busy for the Lord right?

I kept tripping and falling over and over again. I was always losing my temper or control of my tongue. I was constantly in a cycle of hyper faith, failure, and repentance. Sometimes the cycles would last only hours and others I might have squeaked out a little longer. I would try so hard to follow all of the do’s and don’ts I heard laid out week after week but I just couldn’t seem to live Christianity out. Over and over again I would start praying a prayer of re-commitment and stop because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to live it out.

The Lord showed me this week the problem, He said to me “It is because in the past you tried to share your life with me instead of giving your life to me.” To me that answer was so simple and yet to profound.

That was exactly it – my problem all of those years was that I wanted Christ in my life but only when, where, and how I wanted Him. I have control issues and I was not willing to give up control of my life so I tried to share.

The Bible tells us:

  • I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing – but I planted myself just close enough to the Lord and church to have the association but not close enough that it would really impact my life and I could still do everything that I wanted
  • If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me – but I followed just close enough to see Him and His work in the far distance – but not close enough that I might be expected to be a part of the real stuff
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness – instead of seeking Him first I sought whatever I deemed right for me at the moment
  • Do not worry about tomorrow – I lived in a constant state of worry over every.single.thing every.single.moment of every.single.day

It just wasn’t working for me – because Jesus isn’t that into sharing. I was trying to serve two masters and that never works.

I realized that because I chose not to give Him my life, chose not to completely surrender – my life could never have been that reflection of Him that I wanted it to be.

Without giving Him my life I was unwittingly not giving Him my pain, my heartbreak, my anger, my sins. Without giving Him my life I couldn’t receive His peace, His love, His forgiveness, freedom found only through Him, and reconciliation to God.

I could see all the He had to offer to me, all that He had died so that He could give me but I was unable to grasp Him and His free gifts because my hands we too full holding onto the tatters of my life. The more I tried to hang-on and control my life, the more that I was pulling it apart at the seams.

I can remember praying “God, I want to be good but I can’t. Take away my free will and make me be good. I am okay with that because it is the only way I can make it.” But God in His wisdom and His unfathomable love for me would never have done that. Instead, He let me keep making my own choices good and bad – mostly bad for a very long time.

Instead of leaving me when I made those bad choices, He was always there. I chose not to see Him. As a matter of fact there came a point where I believed that I had gone too far and that I was beyond His love and His grace. I didn’t care then because I believed He had let me down – after all I had done for Him. Oh yes, these were my thoughts and beliefs for many years. Still, I know now that He stayed very close to me.

After a long time, my heart began to soften and I began to think that God wasn’t such a monster using me as a pawn for His entertainment. I began to think about Him again and began exploring who the Bible teaches us that He is. What I found astounded me, how could I have missed it for so long? I missed that He loved me with a love beyond my imagination, far beyond my comprehension. He loved me whether I was living for Him or not. He loved me enough to die for me even if I turned my back on Him. He loved me when I spat at Him and His church for the pain I was feeling and He loved me when I swore never to grace the doors of another church. HE.LOVED.ME. and nothing that I did or ever could do would change that.

Don’t just read the words in that last paragraph – inhale them. Let Him make them come alive in you if you are not already overcome by that love. HE LOVES YOU and there is NOTHING that you can ever do to change that.

The power of that unfailing love washed over me as never before in my life. In the presence of that kind of love I freely and willingly gave my entire life to Him to use as He wished. In the presence of that kind of love there was no fear of what He might do with my life, no fear that I might fail Him again. The revelation of His love was a life-changer for me. Now I wanted to serve this God, before I only wanted to not go to Hell. I wanted to live my life to bring honour to Him, to bring glory to Him.

That laundry list of do’s and don’ts became a thing of the past because we do not live under the law but under a new covenant. In the revelation of His great love was freedom and security. In the revelation of His great love I could truly rest in Him.

Now I cling to Him for my hope and my support. I know that there is no other place that my help comes from but Him.  I know that if I do trip and fall that He is right there to catch me or to help me get back on my feet again. I know that He doesn’t get angry with me and start looking for ways to punish me when I disappoint Him. Now I am quick to believe the best about Him because I have come to understand His character as a loving God who pursued me through some very ugly things when I thought He would wash His hands of me and my filthy rags.

I cannot live in the presence of a love like this without wanting to give myself over to it. In the presence of a love like this there is an eagerness to please because there is an assurance that my best interest is His primary goal.

Have you fully given your life over to Him or are you just trying to share it and hold onto the things in and of the world? Do you realize His great love for you? I know you may sing the songs and have likely heard the words all your life. But do you KNOW it in your heart? Let the words sink in deep – JESUS LOVES YOU – meditate on them and let Him show you just how real this love is. Ask Him to flood you with His presence and fill your senses with Himself. He is right there waiting for an invitation…

Dehydration

I recently was feeling not well.  Not really sick – but certainly not well.  For over two-weeks I suffered with severe headaches, bouts of dizziness and a myriad of other symptoms.  Try as I might, I was unable to figure out what was going on…  I would have times that I felt perfectly okay but my well-being was inconsistent to say the least.

Finally one evening as I was staring out at the snow and praying that my headache would just let up a little bit, the answer seeped into my mind.  I was dehydrated.  My initial reaction to the idea was that it was just too easy an answer.  As I thought back over the previous couple of weeks, the thought really took root in my mind so I decided to investigate the condition online.  What I found was that there are a few stages of dehydration – the final stage is where emergency medical attention should be sought.  I was right there – lacking only one or two of the symptoms.  Self-inflicted agony for the first few weeks of the New Year – nice…

desert

Dehydrated

In looking back, it didn’t take me very long to figure out how I got into the situation and what I needed to do to get myself back to health.  Since June, Tim and I have been eating better (mostly) and following the blood type diet.  I had restricted my Dr. Pepper intake to one a day and was attempting to drink juice and water instead.  Over Christmas vacation we allowed ourselves to relax the food restrictions and unfortunately, I went too far.  I fell back into drinking lots of Dr. Pepper and stopped drinking water, stopped eating so much fruit and started eating a bit more grains.  It was inevitable that everything would get a bit messed up in my body.

I read up on how to safely get rehydrated and began treating myself.  Within a couple of hours the headache & dizziness were gone and the other symptoms were dissipating.  The cure was as simple as the cause.

Now after a bit of time feeling normal again and I began to wonder…  Might dehydration have been what was the matter with me spiritually some time ago?  A time when no matter how hard I tried to hold my life together by myself, I just couldn’t.  My life could be described in one word during that time:  INCONSISTENT.  Actually, there are a number of other one word hits that I could use to describe my life back then – depressed, messy, disastrous, ugly, bitter, painful, RUINED – I could truly go on and on.

I have often thought about my former life and wondered how things could get so very messed up.  One day I would be relying on God for my help (or at least, I thought I was) and the next I was scratching and clawing my way – trying to make a life for myself on my own terms.  Looking back it almost seems as if I was trying to be a Christian but on my own terms.  My terms did not include taking in nourishment that would feed my soul the good things that it needed.   I was at church every time that the doors were open, even during revival after revival and I was a proud, in-your-face with God kind of Christian.  BUT, all of the praise and the words of the preacher’s would wash away before I got home and I was left alone in my messed up life.  I didn’t bother opening that bible on my own, that wasn’t a part of how I wanted Christianity to work.  I wanted to be spoon fed during church and never have to do any work myself…   At the same time, I was spiritually proud – self-righteous.

To stay hydrated physically, we must bring good and pure things into our bodies.  I was drinking lots of fluids – but Dr. Pepper is far from pure (as heavenly as I think it is).  So to stay hydrated spiritually we must bring good and pure things into our minds to be devoured and absorbed.  My time outside of church in that former life was spent watching television and spending time with people who I was allowing to influence me rather than the other way around, time spent focusing on what was wrong in my life instead of on the solution – God.

Just as Dr. Pepper (and other caffeinated drinks) has a dehydrating effect on our bodies, so do the things that are not good and pure for our spirits.  We may go to church and listen to an awesome sermon but spend the rest of our weeks bringing garbage into our minds and it will dehydrate the good that we brought in.

The Bible is the Word of the Living God, we should need no other reason to want to study and understand things for ourselves.  If you need more convincing (as I once did), the Bible tells us many times how important it is to read and study God’s word.  It tells us of the benefits that we will reap if we invest our time in bringing this good and pure thing into our minds.  1 Timothy 3:16-17 says ”All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Mark 4:4 tells us that “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”.

If I didn’t read for myself some of the encouraging things that God had to say to ME, would it really sink into my brain and hydrate me as it is meant to?  I don’t believe that it will…  Here are a couple of scriptures that I am finding incredibly encouraging lately and I found them only by reading for myself.

  • Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
  • Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
  • Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.”

I could go on and on with scriptures that encourage the heart – but that isn’t the point here.  The point is how many of us go around spiritually dehydrated?  We take a couple of days off spending time with God and little by little, we are drying up.  We don’t even realize it until suddenly we are in the midst of a mess and we are trying to figure out how we got there.

Here are the symptoms that I was experiencing when I was physically dehydrated:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Sluggish

I can see when looking back to that time long ago in that former life that I had many of the same symptoms – only these symptoms were spiritual and they were affecting me more deeply.  I was weak in my walk with Christ, with every blow that the world offered I would become dizzy and almost fall, my heart was in a continual state of spiritual palpitations, I was confused on every side and I was certainly sluggish.

Just as my physical dehydration almost got me into trouble – the spiritual dehydration led me down a dangerous road that I didn’t even know I was on.  This road led me to falling away from my God when I needed Him most.  When the world offered one blow too many I decided that god didn’t care anything about me if He would allow such things to happen.  I walked away from Him and spent a number of years in a life that was utterly devastated.

I am so thankful for a God that pursued me, who didn’t forget me when I arrogantly swore Him off and everyone who was associated with Him.  It took years, but one day I woke up and realized the state that I was in and when I called out to God, He answered.  I lived too long even after this in a state of spiritual dehydration but as He so often does when we are willing, God took my hand and began to teach me and show me how a healthy relationship should be working.

Bible

Image via Wikipedia

Take a look at your life.  Are you perhaps spiritually dehydrated?  If so, the cure is as simple as the cause…  Take a look into the good book and find out what God has to say to YOU today.

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.

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.

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…

A Humpty Dumpty Kind of Story

I want to tell you a bit about my life now before I get to what my life used to be like.  I guess that you could say that I am starting with the good news first.

The good news of my life is that I truly know the grace and the incredible, abounding love of my awesome God.  He loves me so much more than this human mind can fathom.  He has healed me physically and emotionally to the point that who I was is almost unrecognizable to me now.  He has poured His love into my life in incredible ways and is still working to heal things that are buried deep within this bruised and battered mind and heart.  I am so totally overwhelmed by His love, His grace and His faithfulness.  The more that I allow myself to be covered by His love, the more amazed that I become in the depth and breadth of that love.  I am also amazed by His patience as I walk this road before me, stumbling now and again; He keeps me from falling too far and He always encourages me to continue on.  When invited, He shows me things that I could never have understood on my own and helps me to be a better person that I ever could be without Him.

He has given me the greatest gift that I ever could have imagined in my wonderful husband Tim.  A kind and loving man who, more important than anything, has a heart that seeks after God.  To me, Tim is proof that God gives good gifts to His children – even when they don’t deserve it.

There is a lot more good news – but the information above was important to know before you read further.  The rest isn’t so pretty – but there is good news even in what you will read.  The good news is that God can redeem our pain.  He can take what was meant for evil for us and turn it into something to show His glory.

Now, I feel like I need to give a disclaimer of sorts.  I will be writing about my life quite some time ago so it is going to get quite personal.  As I said, there will be a lot of things that aren’t very pretty.  Some of you are likely going to recognize ‘character or characters’ in my story.  I ask that you remember that this was a very long time ago.  Just as I have changed greatly, they too are not likely the same; I pray that they are not the same.  I ask that you please do not make judgments about them – we must look on them from a position of grace.   Their lives are between them and God just as it is for each of us.  I ask that you seriously let God examine any reaction that you might have to this before you decide to share it with someone else for any reason other than to help someone.

The intent of anything that I write is never to hurt anyone or to tear them down, but to help others who have or maybe still are suffering from abuse.  I want to begin to share my story and the things that God is teaching/showing me so that maybe someone else will see this and they won’t live in the dark and in so much pain for so very long.

Here we go…  I want to take you back in time to a place in time where this all started.  To a place where I had no self-worth and thought that I should be thankful that a boy would like me…  I won’t go into a lot of details about how I got to that point in my lack of self-esteem, you can read a bit about that on my post Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?.  I was 15 when I became involved with my first serious boyfriend.  I thought that he treated me okay, although looking back I can identify lots of things about his behaviour as controlling, jealous and a little bizarre.  We were together throughout the remainder of high school and got married within a month of graduation.

Shattered

Image by LexnGer via Flickr

I had lived a sheltered life.  I came from a Christian home and could only recall one argument between my parents – ever.  I don’t know if they were just good at keeping that away from us or if they just didn’t argue.  I don’t want to give the impression that I was perfect because that is certainly not the case.  But imagine going from a nice, peaceful home to a home with your new husband, where peace was all too soon non-existent; where the norm was to learn to be afraid of opening your mouth for fear of saying something wrong that would unleash a rage that you had never known could exist – especially coming from someone who supposedly loved you.

I was confused and felt betrayed.  I became convinced that if I could just be good enough or make him happy enough the abuse would end.  I would have thoughts like “my dad never hit my mother so it must be something that I was doing wrong”.  Each time there was an episode there would be a period of strained quiet afterward.  A time where he would apologize and tell me he didn’t mean to, that he couldn’t help it and then he would manage to convince me that if only I could do things the right way, his way, that everything would be okay.  He would masterfully convince me that it was all my fault, no matter how ridiculous the trigger had been, it was my fault.  Then to tie his little package of guilt up around me he would promise to never let it happen again.

There is a deep shame associated with being abused.  Just as my abuser did, most are able to convince their victims that they are at fault and that adds to the shame.  My family lived all around me, people that I have known all of my life were minutes away – but I didn’t tell them.  I didn’t leave.  I was too ashamed.  How could I let people see the bruises on my body?  How could I let them know what was happening?  A victim of abuse often comes to believe that, because the abuse is their fault, they deserve what they are getting.  The last thing that I could think of doing was telling someone that I loved about the abuse, I was afraid that they would desert me.  I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me – so I hid the bruises and I lied about them if anyone accidentally saw them.

I was saved as a young child and have gone to church as long as I can remember.  My childhood memories of church are of red-faced preachers talking about people burning in hell if they didn’t follow the rules.  I am sure that there must have been different topics – but I don’t remember a single one.  These guys were very good at painting pictures of people screaming in agony as they burned for eternity.  My imagination grabbed a hold of this and I could practically feel the flames licking at my feet every time I made a mistake.

I don’t remember ever being told that God loved me, but maybe I got hung up on the images of the fire.  Unfortunately, any relationship that I had with God was based on fear and guilt.  I never remember knowing that God cared about me, that He wanted to be involved in my everyday life, that He cared about the smallest detail of my day, that I was so precious to Him that He numbered the hairs on my head.  I only knew that there was a set of rules that I could never seem to live up to no matter how hard I tried and tried.  Fear and guilt were not enough to keep me following all of those rules.  I was never involved in alcohol or drugs, but I still had plenty of sin in my life.

As the abuse progressed, I threw myself into work at my church.  I would go as often as the doors were open thinking that if I worked hard enough at church maybe God would fix things.  I was fooling myself into thinking that just because I was spending time at church that I was building a closer relationship with Him.  The illusion of closeness evaporated in the blink of an eye when I discovered that my abuser was involved in an affair with someone from my church.  I was devastated and felt as though I was the one who had done something wrong.  I was hurt, confused and very angry.  I blamed God for all of it; for the abuse, the affair, everything that had gone wrong in my life.  My reasoning at the time was that He is the God of the Universe and He could have stopped any or all of the awful things that happened.  Now I understand that though He is in control, the things that happened to me come from living in a fallen world.  He has given us humans’ free will and we are royally messing things up.  I stayed in my little home town as long as I could take the stares and the pity.  Then I found a way out and ran 1000 miles from home, trying to leave all of the ugliness – and God – behind me.

Not surprising, my life continued to deteriorate further and further.  I soon became involved with another seemingly good guy.  It wasn’t long before the abuse started and I reasoned that my now ex-husband must have been right.  It was all my fault – I did deserve this…  I accepted that and I was just an awful person who didn’t deserve any better and I tried to keep from drowning in this new assault I was experiencing.

For years, I tiptoed around on eggshells and tried to keep things to a minimum roar.  I was hurting so badly but still couldn’t tell anyone.  Now I was living in a new city so far from home.  These people would certainly peg me as trash if they knew about the abuse.  I would keep quiet and suffer in relative quiet for what seems like a lifetime.

As I began to sense that the abuse was escalating I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I finally got the nerve to break-up with this gem of a man and surprisingly got away from him with relative ease.  Now I was without an abuser for the first time in 17 years.  God was speaking and for the first time in a long time, I was listening.  He began to show me that the abuse was not my fault, that I didn’t deserve any of what had happened.  I was His child and He had much better plans for me.  It was then that I realized that even though I thought I left God when I left Alabama, He had never left me.  He had followed me every step of the way, grieving when I was hurting and longing to comfort me.  He was there waiting for my stubborn and angry heart to once again hear Him.

As I began to try to release the trauma of my life to Him, I realized that I had made a near fatal mistake when I blamed Him.  I had put my trust in the people around me, in my church, in my family.  I put my trust in every frail thing around me instead of trusting Him above all else.  I got my eye off the prize.  He began to tell me how He loved me and flooded me with an overwhelming sense of relief and love that I had never known.  For the first time in my life I understood that He loved me, that He wanted to be a part of my life, that He wanted to help me to move beyond my past.

I would like to say that the moment I turned my life back to God He wiped the slate clean and I didn’t have to do anything to be all shiny and new and free.  That just isn’t the way that it is – at least for me.  I have been working hard to turn loose of the hurts and the pain of the past.  It was a long time before someone could move around me that I didn’t flinch or jump.  I don’t like for people to be in my personal space and I am sure that is a remnant from the past as well.  God continues to heal me from all the hurts and I keep thinking that there can’t possibly be more, He shows me that He isn’t quite finished yet.  It has been about 25 years since the first episode of abuse and it still affects me today.  I don’t know when, or if, I will be completely healed here on this Earth.  I will just keep working on things as God reveals them to me.

Soon my husband Tim and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary and I am still amazed that somehow God cared enough to give me my best friend.  The God of the Universe cared enough to cause our paths to cross and to bring this little Alabama girl all the way to Canada to fulfill His calling.  He has shown us His love for us and His faithfulness in our marriage so many times.  We have learned to trust Him to make a way when in the natural, there just wasn’t a way.  Again I say that God gives good gifts to His children.  I know – I am living proof.

Are you wondering about the Humpty Dumpty reference?  I stumbled upon this poem that I have hung onto for at least 20 years and it seemed to describe how I feel about my life perfectly.

Thanks Sharon Wilson! I love it...

Humpty Dumpty

“Good morning Humpty Dumpty Sir,
How amazing, you are still here
By legend you were shattered!
How cohesive you appear!”

Humpty jumped and said with a smile,
“The tale of horses and men wasn’t the end!
The King Himself put me together again!”

He truly did put me back together again when I was fractured and shattered beyond belief.  But for the grace and love of God I don’t know where I would be today.

In wrapping up, I will just say TRUST HIM ALWAYS.  He sees the big picture while we only see fragmented pieces of the puzzle.  Jeremiah 29: 11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.”  Know that God loves you so much.  If you happen to be (or have been) in such a place as this, know that He cares about every little detail in your life.  He is waiting for you to turn to Him for help…

If you want to hang around, I will take you on more of my journey to healing and wholeness as God leads.  Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

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…

Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?

Boy I have.  All of my life, as far back as I can remember I was afraid of being found out.  You see, I have never felt like I was good enough for anything, literally – nothing.  In school, I was never one to have very many close friends and I still find that to be a struggle all of these years later.  It has just always been hard for me to show someone who I really am.

I learned several years after graduating that many people thought that I was a ‘snob’, that I thought I was too good for most people.  I cannot tell you how much that stunned me…  When I questioned the person who revealed this to me explained that I wasn’t easily approachable and I was very difficult to get to know.  Wow – that is so not who I was and I had no idea that was the face that I was presenting to my classmates.

Scared Child at Nighttime

The way that I remember it was once I reached Jr. High School I felt so lost.  I was afraid of absolutely everyone, afraid that they would figure out that I wasn’t good enough to hang out with them or even be seen with them.  I was afraid of my own shadow, afraid that someone would not like me if they got to know me, afraid they would make fun of me for something.

I remember once trying to emulate my older sister.  She was popular, smart and well respected.  I felt like such a dork compared to her…  One day I overheard several people complimenting her on an outfit so I decided that I would borrow the same clothes (down to the shoes & socks people) within the next few weeks.  I figured if I could imitate the way that she dressed it would make me feel safe from anyone deciding that they didn’t like the way I was dressed for at least one day.   So feeling more comfortable than usual I arrive at my locker and while gathering supplies, it happened.  One of the very people that had so complimented my sister was having a field day criticizing me for the very same clothing.  “So now I know, it was just me; there was something wrong with me…”  That was my first thought and then all of the other ‘I am not good enough’s’ started playing in my head.

I am wondering now in looking back if this was the moment that I really bought into those thoughts.  Was this when I started allowing myself to begin accepting that I just didn’t measure up?  Oh, the thoughts had been there before but now I felt that I had confirmation.  So when the tirade started, I just agreed and decided that if they didn’t want me to fit in I would stop trying.  I believe that was the final straw for me and I started to feed on those thoughts and almost no others.

The list goes starts like this:

  • You don’t fit in there, it is easier to not even try
  • They won’t like you, keep your distance so you won’t get your feelings hurt again
  • You aren’t good enough to have that kind of friend
  • Your aren’t smart enough, skinny enough, strong enough, talented enough, pretty enough, nice enough etc. etc. etc.

The list seemed endless and hopeless.  I wondered what was wrong with the few good friends I did have.   I was always racking my brain to see what their angle could possibly be…

I have been out of high school for 25 years and until recently I was still buying into those lies and many new ones associated with my life now.  You know, “you don’t have a job because you are useless, no one wants to hire someone like you, you don’t fit into that ministry/group/company” etc. etc. etc.

Until recently I believed that they were my own thoughts and further reasoned that if that is how I saw myself, I didn’t want anyone else to see me for myself.  It was just easier to keep my distance.

Until recently, even when I accomplished something, was recognized for doing anything well or was just plain recognized for anything at all I just wanted to hide.  I didn’t like the spotlight because it might shine enough light for someone to figure that I am just a dumb, scared little girl who is just not good enough for anything.  Then they would know that I was a fraud pretending that I was actually good enough.

So what is happening that is causing me to change?  Why don’t I feel so much like a fraud anymore?  God has been shining His light onto the truth and onto the lies.  He is on a mission to show me who I really am and I am absolutely loving it.

No more do I have to worry about someone seeing that I am not good enough because now I know that I am!  Now I recognize that all of those thoughts that I used to have, you know, the ones that say I am not good enough and that someone is gonna find out – they are not my thoughts after all.  I now recognize them as lies from the enemy of my soul.  Lies to destroy me, to make me ineffective in whatever God calls me to do.

So now when that endless list starts I know that it is no longer hopeless.  I can refute everything that it says to me by using these scriptures and many more:  Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  How cool is that?  I am God’s masterpiece – YOU are God’s masterpiece.  If that wasn’t enough, try 2 Peter 1:3-4 on for size “As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!  And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.”

I read this quote the other day and I love it.  It made me look at what I am afraid of a bit more closely and realize that I have been playing it safe for all of my life.

“Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, WHO AM I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in SOME of us; IT’S IN EVERYONE. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Nelson Mandela

I am a child of the Most High God and I am most certainly GOOD ENOUGH.  I won’t ever let me or anyone else say differently again.

Have you ever read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31?  It basically says that God chooses the foolish, the weak, the lowly & despised and the things that are not to nullify the things that are.  That means that He chose me precisely because I am not a perfect and spotless person.  He chose me because without HIM I am broken, I am a mess, I have no talents and nothing to offer this world.  He chose me so that I can glorify His Holy name by following Him.  I don’t feel that I have done a very good job of that up until recently but it is not the time to beat myself up about lost time.  I spent too much time doing just that – crying over spilt milk instead of cleaning up the mess and moving on.  I declare that I will glorify His name for the rest of my life with every opportunity.

Can I just tell you that I am so excited?  I am still praying for and desperately needing His leading but He is showing me things left and right about the truth of who I am.  I don’t know where He is leading me but I am so incredibly excited about following Him there one stepping stone at a time.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below or send me a private message to the email address in the photo badge to the right of this message.

Stepping Stones at Gargrave

Image via Wikipedia

God Speaks in the Most Unusual Ways…

So, I recently noticed that the thumbnail on my left hand has a small indentation in it. Curious, I thought as I took notice and I ran my finger over it as if to try to understand it. Then there it was, the memory of my thumb being closed in a car door when I was a child. We were just arriving at my grandparents house – excited to be on my way to the county fair with my aunt and my sisters. I am not sure exactly how my thumb was closed in the door – but I will never forget the immediate moments that followed.

Since I found this little scar from my childhood, it seems that I focus on it a lot. I remember the pain that was associated with that injury. I remember how I screamed and cried when the door had to be opened to release my thumb, how the nail turned an array of colours finally turning black and eventually falling off. I remember being amazed that beneath what had become such a grotesque part of me was a brand new nail. At first seemingly perfect with the exception that it was a bit thin and not a lot of protection for a tom-boy such as me… As time progressed, the tom-boy in me was becoming a smaller and smaller part of who I was. I was trying out more ‘girlie’ things and wanted to grow my nails out. Funny, the replacement nail would grow only a little and without fail, it would fracture. I learned to accept that my nails, especially that nail, would never be lovely and feminine. Still, I never noticed the indentation which I am sure now is exactly what causes the fracture to occur in the first place.

As the Lord begins to speak to me about things much deeper than my fingernail, I am as surprised by what I am hearing and finding as I was about the indentation that I somehow missed for over thirty years. The Lord is asking me, “What other damage was there so long ago that you think has healed and maybe, it hasn’t?” “What else has left a mark that inevitably causes things to be fractured?” Most importantly, “Will you let me show you and let me heal those things completely?” Wow.

Why is it that when I trust God with my whole heart, this is a frightening question? I know things that I have hidden away that I don’t want to remember, to me, they are healed. If they aren’t, what will I have to endure to dig them up? I do trust God with my whole heart – with everything that is within me. So truly, why am I afraid? I fear because God never said that life would be painless and I don’t like pain.

However, because I do trust in my Saviour, I know that His plans for me are for good and not for evil. If there are things that He is telling me to deal with, then it is because He loves me and wants me free from even the things that maybe I don’t see with my natural eyes. And more than anything, I want to be the woman that He wants me to be.

Here goes………………..

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

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