From Despair to Hope

We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret. The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.

There are two types of trauma that brings the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.” The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair and He can help us. Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity.

God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.

Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.”
Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

 

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The Balm of Truth Heals & Sets Us Free

Nothing hurts, and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually, healing will come, and we will feel better.

The truth heals us and restores us when we place our lives in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ’s love and grace, the truth can only hurt us, and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us. However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth.

The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God’s love and grace if we are willing to be His child.

This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us. After we are washed clean by Christ’s love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.

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Overcoming Fear & Anxiety

Fear and anxiety are normal emotions. As normal as fear and anxiety are, these stress-makers shred our ability to be kind, caring, and compassionate people.

Fear and anxiety turn us inward towards ourselves. Satan can and will use fear and anxiety against us at every opportunity.

When we experience fear and anxiety, we must take a deep breath and think about Christ and His assurance to be with us. We must remember to relax and place these negative emotions in a proper perspective.

Fear is the negative emotion generated by a tangible threat. Anxiety is the negative emotion generated by an intangible threat. Fear is the result of something real. Anxiety is the result of something imagined. Anxiety causes an unsettledness within, often people can’t identify what they are anxious about. Worry is different, the object of their worry is identifiable.

When we are worried, fearful and anxious, we must remember to pray. Obviously, fear and anxiety take away your prayerful moods. However, God cares about your coming to Him in prayer, regardless of your emotions or your circumstances. Pray God’s word over every fear, worry or anxious thought. By doing so, we are promised in Philippians 4:6-7 that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.

Always remember that negative emotions are rooted in negative thinking. Emotions will not change unless we change our thinking. Scripture backs this up beautifully, “Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25).

Saturate yourself in the Truth of God’s Holy Word. Meditate on the rich promises that are part of your inheritance as a beloved precious child of the living God!

No matter how your feel right now choose to embrace the truth, strength and wisdom and peace of God by changing your spiritual focus from darkness to light. Let the One who counts every hair on your head comfort and fill you with hope for the future. His perfect love casts away all fear. Set your fearful thoughts on Jesus. He is the greatest mood stabilizer of all.

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How Do I know If He is Truly Sorry?

Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they may genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment, but nothing changes.

The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between feeling sorry for what we do and repentance, regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.

Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to hardened and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly softens the heart and brings forth life.

If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling. We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others.  That’s where true change begins.

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Learning to Trust

Trust is learned. And once one learns to withhold trust it’s hard to “unlearn.” If people aren’t trustworthy, our sense of security is shaken.

It may be a parent who mistreated or didn’t protect you, a spouse that you trusted who let you down, or a close friend who betrayed you.

God wants you to learn to trust in a healthy way, with boundaries. He knows the pain you’ve experienced and the fear you have of ever trust anyone again.  That’s no way to live, though. That’s like living in a prison even though you are not behind physical bars.

Trust the Lord today. He is faithful today. Your Jesus, your precious savior, the lover of your soul will heal the parts of you that have trouble trusting.

Lord God,

I say that I trust You, God, but deep down I hold on to the reins. I can’t quite surrender all the control over my life. I try to control what happens around me. I don’t trust others to come through for me.  I try to do everything myself, but it’s not working for me! Help me learn to trust so that I can depend on others and upon you, Lord.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

“I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12:2

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Emotions & Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever stepped back and listened to your thoughts? Have you been surprised by them and wondered where they were coming from? In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge wrote, “We are being lied to all the time. Yet, we never stop to say, “Wait a minute…Who else is speaking here? Where are those ideas coming from? Where are those feelings coming from?”

The Apostle Peter warned us “ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We have a real enemy, a cunning schemer, highly skilled in the art of combat whose chief goal is to destroy God’s children. But he is a crafty one, he knows if he were to show up as a dark, scary figure with a pitchfork we would immediately flee sensing danger. So instead, he is a master deceiver who uses our fears, hurts, and insecurities to influence our thought life. The enemy knows that if he can control our minds, he can control our emotions and behavior. His weapon is lies. When we believe Satan’s lies over God’s truth, it leads to faulty thinking and wrong behaviors that enslave our souls. Our defense is the truth of the inerrant word of God.

The Bible gives a detailed combat strategy for defeating the enemy. We are to pull down strongholds and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Simply put lies have become strongholds in our lives that speak death into our souls preventing us from walking in the fullness of Christ. Satan’s lies must be demolished and replaced with God truth. If your thoughts are telling you that you are not good enough, that you are unworthy, that you are ugly, that you will always live in fear, that you will never, heal, that you will always live in bondage, stop for one moment and ask yourself…”Whose voice am I hearing?” God’s word tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and protects them from the thief who wants to destroy them. Our beloved Savior would never harm His sheep by speaking lies.

If you hearing that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

If you are hear that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

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Let Go of The Past

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.“ Phil 3:13

Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another. So instead of running the race with endurance – they limp along the way.

There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,-negative behaviors – addictions, immorality, anger, etc.

The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing –  often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never deal with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies behind the pain.

Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.

Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10

How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work….sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.

Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go! Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.

“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. “ Hebrews 12:1-2

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Child Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Think of a precious child. Maybe it’s your grandchild, a friend’s little boy, the little girl you teach at Sunday school which God leads you to lavish extra love on.  Now picture someone screaming  “You’ll never amount to anything!” “I wish you had never been born!” “You’re worthless!”  into their innocent little hearts. It’s unimaginable that people could hurt a child in such a way. Unfortunately, it happens every day in homes across America. And the wounds in the heart of that little child can last a lifetime. Maybe that child was you long ago.

Often because all the child knows is abuse they will be drawn to people in adulthood who will abuse them much in the same way where control is at the forefront of the abuse.  Angry threats like “If you leave me, I’ll kill you!” Or, “You and the kids won’t get a dime from me.” Both are examples of verbal and emotional abuse and are controlling tactics in abusive relationships

Abuse can also happen without a spoken word – it can be degrading looks, threatening stares, aggressive body language or other threatening behaviors. These actions are meant to inflict fear with great success leaving the person who is on the receiving end with emotional pain that stunts emotional growth.

In some circles even Christian ones, people don’t want to talk about emotions and when they are discussed the importance of emotional health and wholeness is minimized. Yet, we know that with deeply wounded people negative emotions are at the center of thinking, feeling actions, and poor choices.

Emotional abuse attacks at the core of a person’s value, crushing their confidence, and chips away at their self-worth, breaking their spirit in the process. God’s word says,

 

“A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries us the bones. “

(Proverbs 17:22)

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

(Proverbs 15:4)

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Emotional Healing

Many of God’s people are unaware that they have emotional wounds. Often they struggle with various negative behaviors such as excessive anger, addictions, feelings of rejection, the need to control situations, anxiety, and depression.  The struggles are symptoms of deeper rooted issues of emotional wounds and brokenness often causing people to put up walls between themselves, others and even God. Some even blame God or have difficulty believing that God loves them.

There are many causes for emotional wounds. Whether it be betrayal, a loss of a loved one, childhood abuse, abandonment, divorce, physical or emotional abuse, or a broken relationship. In order to heal, the pain must be acknowledged and dealt with.

Deep wounds can also affect relationships and choice of a marriage partner. They also distort and skew our natural God given gifts and abilities –

Truth distorted becomes deception.

Love distorted becomes codependency.

Passion distorted becomes obsession.

Hard working becomes workaholic.

Strong leaderships becomes controlling.

Excellence becomes perfectionism.

These traits will poison relationships, marriages and affect how children are raised.

The question is “Do you want to heal?”

You are not without hope. Never forget that our God is Jehovah Rapha – The God who heals. He restores what is broken, is able to change your destructive thought patterns, and give you an amazing life filled with hope, joy, and the abundant life Jesus came to give.

All you have to do is stop running from the pain of emotional wounds and start seeking the wound healer.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

 

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Prayer for Emotional Healing

Holy and Heavenly Father God,
I pray that today and every day You will partner with me in a thorough examination and cleansing of my heart…reveal, heal and deliver me of all the strongholds I am bound by in my life.

LORD, please expose with Your Truth and Light all the pain, fear, shame, guilt and sorrow that is hidden within dark places of my heart…all the things that prevent me from living a life of freedom, peace and joy that come from a transparent relationship with You.

Father, please show me how to come before You in faith, trust, obedience and submission …and in this exchange, please reveal to me all the lies I have received and believed in my life…partner with me in replacing my deformed belief system with Your Word and Your Truth, which is infallible and endures forever.

Teach me Your Ways, LORD, and show me how to find freedom in forgiveness of self and others…to embrace myself as a new creation…to put away the former things and live each day in the way You designed and ordained long ago…and to see myself through Your eyes, as Your precious child and joint heir with Christ in Your Kingdom of Heaven.

Show me, LORD, how to receive Your Fatherly Forgiveness, Great Grace, Limitless Love and Marvelous Mercy…lead me to bathe in the peaceful, still waters of renewal and sanctification…anoint me with Your Holy Spirit until my cup runs over.

Write a new story on my heart, LORD…one born of The Holy Spirit and guided by the power of Your redemption and restoration…please bless and comfort me with a holy wholeness of healing that is only possible through You, Jehovah-Rapha, my LORD Who Heals.

Abba Father, I praise You for all that You Are, yesterday, today and tomorrow, and pray all these things in the Name of my Savior, Jesus Christ…

Amen.

“Be of good cheer. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”  (Luke 8:48)

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