A Check in My Spirit

A Check in My Spirit

A Check in My Spirit
by Toni Weisz/Abuse Recovery

Scripture reference: Ephesians 4:29-32
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

I had an opportunity this week to see a leader from my past. She was the abortion recovery leader at our local pregnancy center at the time I was also volunteering. We did many post-abortion Bible studies together for several years. I was very surprised to see her because we were at an event that had nothing to do with ministry. We sat next to each other. We shared about our families, and then we also discussed ministry. We both come from totally different approaches to ministry.

Over the years, I have learned a woman doesn’t need to be slammed about her sin of abortion, that it’s something that we talk about, and the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts her of it.

At My Ashes to Beauty, we are very clear that abortion terminates a life. But women come to our ministry broken, and they need someone to lift them up, to love them, to share the truth about abortion, and to share the love of Jesus with them.

As we talked about ministry, I noticed I was raising my voice; we are both very passionate and strong women. I was not feeling good about what was happening. I felt like we were in some kind of strange competition. I felt very uncomfortable. I felt like she was defending herself and also insinuating some things about me that were not true.

At one point, I just folded my hands and stopped engaging with her just to take a break because our conversation was getting kind of bizarre. In the past, she had hurt me in many ways by her style of leadership, and I suffered not only public humiliation in front of other leaders, but she also told me it was my sin that was causing problems in my marriage.

I have worked very hard over the years to forgive her. Lord, I forgive her, and I pray You bless her and her family, in Jesus name. God has taught me many things by looking at other leaders and learning from them.

She sent me a text the next day and was wanting to get together possibly. Honestly, there are some people that I have to keep at arm’s length, and she is one of them.

Have you ever felt like you had to keep yourself protected from certain individuals? For some reason, have you felt they are unsafe emotionally? Was there a check in your spirit, like a caution?

When I think about it now, I was a co-dependent people-pleaser. I had a fear of authority figures, and I considered her an authority figure. I gave her too much power over me, and that was my fault. But I was so wounded, and I had just started in the post-abortion ministry, so a lot of things were coming up from my past. I wasn’t equipped yet to handle all of that.

Perhaps she reminds me of other family members. I am very guarded around individuals like this who have hurt me in the past. I am also aware the evil one is prowling because I sent my ministry cards to some family members who are pro-choice. I know I cannot change their hearts; I am praying God does, but I want them to hear the truth from the other side that abortion not only takes a life but also harms women deeply. Please pray for God to open their hearts to hear the truth about abortion.

Questions to take to heart:

  1. Are there certain family members or friends you have to guard yourself from?
  2. How do you navigate those relationships? What do you do to protect yourself?
  3. How can we pray and encourage you?

I pray this topic was helpful for you. Please reach out if you need to talk, toni@myashestobeauty.com.

You are loved,
Toni

 

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Call Me Mara (Part 1 & 2)

Call Me Mara (Part 1 & 2)

Call Me Mara (Part 1)

by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines

Scripture References: Ruth 1:1-2,13b,19-20 and Romans 8:28, and Philippians 4:13

Ruth 1:1-2
In the days when the Judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife was Naomi, and their names of their sons were Mahlon and Chilion.

Ruth 1:13b
No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me!

Ruth 1:19-20
Now the two of them (Naomi and Ruth) went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’ But she said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly against me. I went out full and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?

What were Naomi’s thoughts about leaving the land and her home? Did she agree with her husband’s decision? They traveled to a pagan country to live and raise their children. It seemed Naomi’s husband had no plan of returning. She did not experience the blessings of the Lord. Instead, her husband died, and her two sons married women from Moab, which was against God as He had commanded that they were not to intermarry with pagan women. Then her sons also died, leaving her alone with her two Moabite daughters-in-law.

It seems that Elimelech did not trust God to provide for him and his family, and he took matters into his own hands. This probably did not sit well with Naomi.

Did she ever discuss it with her husband? Or did she just sit quietly, but in her heart, she was crying out to God for help and guidance?

When Naomi returns home with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, she tells them to call her Mara because the Almighty has brought great bitterness to her. She was bitter because she had lost everything and felt God had abandoned her. She could have never imagined what the Almighty was going to do next. She would be the grandmother of Obed, who begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David, and so on in the line of Christ.

God chose a Moabite woman—Ruth—to be in the line of Christ. Sometimes we don’t understand why God allows certain things, but we know nothing is a surprise to Him. He knew Naomi and Ruth would return to Bethlehem-Judah and God would fulfill His plan. A Messiah would be born of a virgin named Mary, espoused to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz.

We too have taken matters into our own hands, just like Elimelech did, when we aborted our babies. We didn’t trust that God had a good plan for us. We had to do it all on our own because there was no one else, which was a lie from the enemy. We didn’t seek godly wisdom. We hurried and made our decision without even talking it over with our parents, trusted family and friends. It’s interesting to me that we women who talk to our closest family and friends about important matters would keep this a secret.

For those of you who have suffered abuse by the hand of another, perhaps even a family member, it’s hard to not become bitter and feel like God has abandoned you. I want to encourage you, dear one, God sees you and it broke His heart every time you were abused. When you cried, He cried. I am so sorry that happened to you.

But GOD also has a beautiful plan for our lives too. He can make all things work together for our good for them that love God and are called according to His purpose (ref. Romans 8:28).

He didn’t leave Naomi broken and feeling abandoned, and He will do the same thing for us. Will you trust Him today to take the ashes from your life, the abortion and the abuse, so He can use it to heal you in all your broken places so you can help other women heal from their trauma too?

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Let’s talk about bitterness. Are you bitter because of what happened to you in your past or something you are dealing with right now? Are you struggling with a prolonged illness, your finances, a broken or dysfunctional relationship? Are you struggling with trials that are lasting years with no end in sight? How do we keep trusting God through these situations and not become bitter and despondent?

It’s OK to go there and to feel what you are feeling and share it in a safe environment and then move on. You are safe here to share.

Questions to take to heart:

  1. Are you bitter over the bad things that have happened to you in your past and/or things you are struggling with right now?
  2. Have you felt like God has abandoned you?
  3. What has God done to show His great love for you?
  4. How can we pray for you?

The first step is recognizing you are bitter and feel alone. Just by being on this call or reading this blog, you are beginning to heal. God wants to redeem your past. He wants to give you beauty for ashes. Will you trust Him to do that?

Please reach out if you need to talk. You can email me at: toni@myashestobeauty.com.

You are Loved,
Toni

 

Call Me Mara. toni Weisz blog. post-abortion and abuse recovery support group

Call Me Mara (Part 2): Hardship and Pain

by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines

(Click here for Part 1)

Scripture References
Ruth 1:19-20, John 16:33b, Romans 12:2, and John 8:31-32

Ruth 1:19-20
So, they both went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women asked, ‘Is this Naomi?’ But she said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has brought great bitterness to me. I was full when I left, but the LORD has caused me to return empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has opposed me? The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me!

We have all felt abandoned by God at some point in our lives because of the trauma we have experienced through abortion and abuse. We were vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.

When Naomi arrives back to her hometown to her friends and neighbors, she states, “The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Naomi’s husband Elimelech made a series of very bad decisions, and Naomi says, “I left full and came back empty.” She states that God is against her. Have you ever felt that way? Have you also felt God has abandoned you?

Sometimes we suffer the consequences of our decisions, and it has nothing to do with God’s judgment. We make decisions based on our doubt or fear. I know I have, and they have never turned out to be good ones. I rushed to have my abortion, and I rushed into marriage so not to be caught living with my boyfriend. These two things alone are lifealtering decisions, and both were made out of fear of man. I wanted to cover up my sin, unfortunately, with more sin. That never turns out well.

I didn’t trust God because I didn’t know Him. My perception of God was distorted due to what I observed as a child. I thought He was an angry God and that He didn’t care much about me. Going to God with my unplanned pregnancy was not even a consideration. I was fearful of His wrath.

Even though Naomi knew God, she doubted Him. She was overcome by her grief and loss, and she lost sight of the goodness of God and His faithfulness over the years. It’s easy to forget those things when life becomes so hard and the trials last for years. It is easy to become despondent, depressed, and bitter.

Instead, God wants us to focus on who we are in Christ.

In this world, you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33b).

Second, we must renew our hearts and minds daily with the living powerful Word of God (ref. Romans 12:2).

Third, we must resist isolation and reach out and send a text or call and say, “I need prayer or I need to talk.”

Fourth, we must have a safe community to share what we are experiencing so we can slowly unravel the chaos and the pain.

Our healing is a lifelong process. It is hard but also very beautiful. You are not alone. We are here to help you.

Never compare your story to someone else’s. The traumatic events that happened to you distorted your view about who you are and who God is from that dirty lens. God wants to remove the dirt and replace it with His truth.

John 8:31-32
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

There is victory in our Savior’s love. He has come to set the captives free (ref. Isaiah 61:1).

Questions to take to heart:

  1. List some LifeAffirming Statements with the Scriptures you can meditate on?
    Toni (my life-affirming statements):
    I am adopted into the family of God.
    I am more than a conqueror through Christ.
    I am never alone.
    I am a child of God.
    I am forgiven.
    I am redeemed.
    I am victorious in Christ.
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
    I have an inheritance incorruptible that can never be taken away.
    I am loved by God.
    He has a good plan for my life.
  2. How can we pray for you?
    Toni (my prayer request):
    Please pray for continued wisdom and guidance for me in the work of the ministry. I want to be humble and teachable.

I pray this topic has been helpful for you. Please reach out if you need to talk. You can email me at: toni@myashestobeauty.com.

You are loved,
Toni

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

His Eye Is on the Sparrow (Part 1)
by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines

 

Scripture References: Matthew 10:29-31, Isaiah 61:1-3 and 1 John 4:7-8

 

Matthew 10:29-31
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from Your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered, Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

1 John 4:7-8
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.



On Monday afternoon, June 5, 2023, while taking my dog for a walk, I came across a baby bird. Poor little thing didn’t even have feathers yet, and its eyes were closed. I immediately brought the dog in and called my daughter about what I should do. When I sent her a picture of the bird, she said, “Mom, it’s a crow.” She and I both hate crows because of the way they travel in a group called a “murder” to prey on all the helpless baby birds.

I called many animal agencies and one suggested making a nest in the tree where the original nest was and the parents will feed it. So, I scrambled trying to find my makeshift nest and put it in the tree. Then to my surprise, a pair of mockingbirds came several times and fed the baby bird. I thanked God for sending them.

I hate to see the weak, vulnerable, abandoned taken advantage of and abused or killed. I hate the fall when all of nature and humankind fell into sin. I long for that time when there will be no more sin, death, pain, sorrow or tears. I thought to myself, “This little thing will be lucky if it makes it through the night,” but it did to my amazement.

On Tuesday morning, I looked out the window and saw a red-headed woodpecker near the nest, and I darted out the door to chase it away. I thought to myself, “This is crazy, you can’t do this all day; you will drive yourself mad with panic every time another predator comes. Toni, you need to give this to God and surrender.”

A little while passed and I noticed the nest had flipped out of the tree, so I searched and found the little bird and put it back in the tree. The mockingbirds were flying overhead to keep me away from this bird. I tried to assure them, “It’s ok.”

I cried and came in the house and wrote these thoughts:
“Lord, I cannot help everyone and everything. I cannot save anyone. I can protect and help those that You bring to me, as best I can, but ultimately, I need to surrender all to You, whether it be an abandoned bird, my son’s health issues, a woman You bring to the ministry or a family member’s salvation. It’s all in Your hands Lord; I relinquish control to You.

Watching the mockingbirds take care of a crow, their enemy, I heard the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.” (Matthew 5:44)

These birds working together to protect and feed this little one reminded me of the body of Christ working together to help the vulnerable, the weak, and the wounded in this world. In this ministry, we want others to see the Father’s heart towards them. We want them to experience His great love and compassion and to care for them the way He would.

The whole time I was holding this little bird in my hands, I was thinking of the old hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow. The Bible passages this hymn was taken from are in Matthew 10:29-31; “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from Your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered, Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

I just want you to know, dear one, that God sees you and He knows you so intimately because He created you. And He knows how many hairs are on your head.

Come to Him and bring your broken dreams, your broken heart, your broken life, and He can make something beautiful out of it if you are willing to trust Him.

Questions to take to heart:

  1. Have you been able to love your enemies?
  2. Have you experienced a time when the body of Christ worked together to minister to others? Can you give an example? How did that feel?
  3. How can we pray for you?

https://youtu.be/ku2RUdcku_w
His Eye Is on the Sparrow, Selah

I pray you know the love of God in your innermost being because when you do, it will radically change your life forever. Please reach out if you need to talk. Email me at: toni@myashestobeauty.com.

You are loved,
Toni

 

His Eye Is on the Sparrow (Part 2)
by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines

 

I had to make plans to put my dear loyal friend to sleep. We had Mozzie for 12 years. He was my constant companion and my protector; he really loved that role, lol. He was almost blind and deaf, and he could not walk very well. I knew in my heart to keep him alive would be selfish on my part. He had fulfilled his purpose on this earth. It was time for me to let him go. I gave myself a few weeks to grieve and to let go.

On September 1, 2023, I drove him to the vet, and while in the waiting room, the Lord brought the song, His Eye Is on the Sparrow, to my mind. With tears in my eyes and my voice cracking, I sang the song to Mozzie while I was holding him in my arms and rocking him. It was a sweet moment and I thank God for it. I wasn’t planning on being with him until the end, but I guess God wanted me to be there with him. I stayed with him until his eyes closed and his little heart stopped beating. I thanked him for being such a faithful friend. I thanked God for the gift of Mozzie.

The next morning when I got up, I sat down at my computer to start my morning devotions. The Lord whispered to my heart, “I am proud of you for the way you showed kindness and how you took such good care of him. It blesses my heart when you love my creatures.” I smiled and my heart was filled with His love. I want to please You, Lord, in every area of my life.

Please reach out if you need to talk. Email me at: toni@myashestobeauty.com.

You are loved,
Toni

 

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Who Are Your Balcony Peeps?

Who Are Your Balcony Peeps?

Who Are Your Balcony Peeps?

By Toni Weisz/Recovery Tools

Scripture References: Hebrews 10:24 and Matthew 11:28–30

Balcony peeps (people) are individuals who cheer you on in your life. They are literally hanging over the railing of a balcony, cheering you on in your walk with Jesus and in the hard things you have experienced in your life. They are your cheerleaders.

Who do you see as your balcony peeps? Can you see their faces? Can you hear their words of encouragement?

Too many people, even in ministry, are not kind, gentle, loving, or supportive. I have experienced a lot of pride lately in leadership roles, and it makes me very sad because I know that is not pleasing to our God.

In the book, Balcony People, the author talks about the toxic people in our lives and how much importance we put on their words instead of focusing on the positive people God has put in our lives that help stir us up to love and good works. (Ref. Hebrews 10:24)

 

Here is a poem by an anonymous source taken from the book, Balcony People by Joyce Landorf Heatherley:

I was hungry and you formed a humanities club to discuss my hunger.
THANK YOU.

I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel to pray for my release.
NICE.

I was naked, and in your mind, you debated the morality of my appearance.
WHAT GOOD DID THAT DO?

I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
BUT I NEEDED YOU.

I was homeless and you preached to me of the shelter of the love of God.
I WISH YOU’D TAKEN ME HOME.

I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
WHY DIDN’T YOU STAY?

You seem so holy, so close to God; but I’m still very hungry, lonely, cold, and still in pain.
DOES IT MATTER?

 

How do we meet these women’s needs? They need a safe place to come to lay their burdens down. That’s why we do the Sunday Conference calls. We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these dear precious women. We provide a community of women who have experienced the same trauma because we have walked the same walk. We know through experience what they are feeling.

They are yearning to feel deeply connected in a safe community. They have been used and abused and feel isolated in their pain, and they are vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one. They desire to be seen by others. They need love, support, and encouragement that one day, if they seek God with their whole heart, they will be healed. But it’s hard work, and that is what we are here for, to cheer them on and to help them heal from their past trauma. It is God that leads them to us, and it’s through the power of Jesus, the Word of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit that they are healed. We are just vessels God uses to accomplish this miraculous work.

We meet their spiritual needs as well as physical needs. We do not judge them for the things that have happened to them in their past because that does not define them. We love them, and we know they are weary with their pain and trauma from their past.

We are reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28–30: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I thank God for each of you on this call today. I know most of your stories, and I am in awe of God and the work He has been doing in your lives. I get to watch God miraculously heal your broken hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits. I am truly honored and humbled by the privilege to serve in this ministry and for each and every one of you.

Questions to take to heart:

  1. Who are your balcony peeps, your cheerleaders?
  2. Do you see them hanging over the balcony cheering you on? What are they saying to you?
  3. Who are you encouraging? For those that are just beginning your healing journey, take care of yourself and your family first, then you can reach out to others.
  4. How can we pray for you on your healing journey?

Please reach out if you need to talk this week. Send me a text at: 561-327-7274 or email me at: toni@myashestobeauty.com.

You are loved,
Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Lord, I Want to Be Healed

Lord, I Want to Be Healed

Lord, I Want to Be Healed

by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines

Scripture References: John 10:10b, Ephesians 3:20, Isaiah 41:10, Luke 19:10 and Psalm 40:13

 

If we truly want to be healed from our past trauma, we must be willing to surrender all to God. We must step out and trust Him completely in this process even when it gets scary and it’s unpredictable and out of our control.

For those who have experienced abuse and abortion in our past, it is hard to let go of control because it was our protection, so we thought.

We have to come to the point where we don’t want to just survive, we want to live the abundant life Jesus came to give us (Read John 10:10b). We no longer want to just settle; we want to experience true love and acceptance, perhaps for the first time in our lives.

If you are reading this blog, you most likely have decided you want to be healed, too. You are courageous and tired of the life you were living and want more. You want to stop the cycle of dysfunction in your life and for future generations. This is a long and very hard process, but it is worth it.

If you are willing, God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than what you can ask or think (Read Ephesians 3:20). That’s the God we serve. He is not limited by time and space. He is eternal.

I remember back in 2006, when God called me to the postabortion ministry, starting a journal called, “Why are the relationships closest to me toxic?” God gave me awareness that there was something going on in my relationships with those closest to me. But what was it? I was the common denominator, so what was I doing to enable these toxic relationships?

I discovered over a ten-year period of relentlessly going to God as a broken surrendered woman, “Lord I want to be healed from all the pain, rejection, abuse and my abortion. I want to be set free from my peoplepleasing and fear of man. I want to know your love in the innermost parts of my being. I want to feel loved, cherished, and safe, but how do I get there?”

God was so gentle with me because He knew how fragile I was after a lifetime of pain, rejection and trauma. He was leading me with His righteous right hand on a path of healing that was so difficult at times, but it was also beautiful (Read Isaiah 41:10).

I discovered the heart of God on this journey, and for that, I am most grateful. To know the Father’s heart towards us is life transforming. He is love, gentle, kind, faithful, peaceful, generous, powerful, and eternal. He is close to the abused, neglected, abandoned, and broken. He came to seek and to save the lost (Read Luke 19:10). We were all that at one point. But God in His infinite wisdom, His abounding grace and love picked us up out of the pit and placed us on the rock, Jesus Christ our Lord, our strong foundation (Read Psalm 40:2).

Hallelujah!!! Thank you, Jesus.

 

Questions to take to heart:

  1. When did God show you the dysfunction in your life?
  2. What was your next step after your awareness?
  3. How is God healing you? Who or what did He use to accomplish this?
  4. How can we pray for you?

Please reach out if you need prayer or a word of encouragement. You can email me at: toni@myashestobeauty.com.

I watched this movie recently that truly blessed my heart: Kendrick Brothers’ Show me the Father.

Here is the YouTube trailer: https://youtu.be/k4g0CFfGkMk

I pray it blesses your heart also.

 

You are loved,

Toni