Secrets

Secrets

John 8:31-32, 36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

“You’re only as sick as your secrets,” this is a familiar recovery term and it is a true statement. Until we feel safe to share our secrets, we keep them locked up in a type of “Pandora’s Box,” where we keep all of our deepest and darkest secrets hidden, because we fear them coming out to expose the ugly truth. For the post abortion woman, it is the truth that we terminated the life of our child. This horrible secret is a child, our child.

God doesn’t want us operating in secrets, because He knows how destructive isolation and secrets are. I started secrets when I was a young child to hide from my parents the things I was doing, that I knew were wrong, but I kept those secrets until a few years ago when I told them of my dark past and my abortion, it was not an easy conversation. I wanted them to hear it from me because I was starting this ministry and I didn’t want them to find out from another source, it needed to come from me. I felt a great release when I was finally able to share this with my parents.

Why are secrets destructive?

First, they keep us isolated from God and others, and that’s exactly where the enemy wants us. He wants us isolated and hiding because then he can torment us over and over again, until we realize what’s going on. Secrets keep us from the very people that can help us.

Second, the dysfunction is perpetuated and will continue as long as we nurture this thing, and protect it, like it was some prized possession. The secret needs to exposed and brought into the light.

Third, we are already fearful of exposure and many of us have experienced abuse in our past, this secret is a way to keep us safe so we think, but actually it is causing us to stay sick. God gives us the courage to step out of isolation and secrets so we can be healed.

Fourth, secrets are destructive because they distort our view of reality and we feel like we are all alone. Secrets are usually combined with lies that we believe about ourselves, God, or others. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit help us to know the truth, so we can walk in it and so these secrets and lies can no longer hold us back from becoming the woman God created us to be.

God wants us free from bondage which is what secrets do they keep us in chains and in darkness. He has come to set the captives free.

What secrets are you still holding onto?

Why are you fearful to share them? Is it fear of rejection, fear of hurting another person, fear of abandonment, or fear of judgment?

How did you feel after you had the courage to share your secret?

I pray you have the courage to trust God and allow Him to show you the areas of your life that need healing. Trust Him with your secrets.

 

Blessings,

Toni

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Bread from Heaven

Bread from Heaven

I would rather go back to what is familiar even if it is bondage…

Exodus 16: 3-4a
And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you….”

When the children of Israel’s trials were too hard for them to bear, they wanted to go back to what was familiar: slavery in Egypt.

How many of us can relate to wanting to go back to the dysfunctional relationships or sins of our past because there is comfort in knowing what to expect?

Change is hard because it’s unfamiliar; there is no safety or comfort in it. But God doesn’t want us to stay in our dysfunction. He wants us healed. He wants us to trust Him completely with every area of our lives.

God provided the children of Israel with bread that literally dropped out of the sky, He called it, “Bread from Heaven.” If God did that for them, don’t you think He can help you too? I think the answer is Yes!!!

Let me ask you, what are you still trying to control and refuse to release into God’s Hands?

God wants you to trust Him to lead, guide, and provide for you. He has a beautiful plan for your life. Honestly, at this point, what do you have to lose? If anything, you have much to gain.

Step out dear one, and let God take control; you will not regret this decision.

If you need prayer or encouragement, reach out and we will be happy to pray with you.

God Bless you!

Toni and the Team at myashestobeauty.com

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Awareness, Acceptance, and Action

Awareness, Acceptance, and Action

Awareness, Acceptance, and Action:
The 3 A’s to true Healing and Hope.

There can be no change without AWARENESS.

 

AWARENESS is understanding and reflecting on a situation, person, or feeling with openness and curiosity (as defined by peopleleaders.com.au).

For me that day was when I started a new journal and called it, “Why are my relationships to those closest to me toxic?”

Kind of an interesting name for a journal, but I had awareness that something was terribly wrong with my relationship with several people closest to me.

I was the common denominator, what was I doing to encourage or enable this unhealthy behavior?

I believe God gives us awareness as we pray and ask Him to remove blindness and to show us our sins, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and our character defects.

The Holy Spirit, is referred to as the Spirit of Truth, who gives us wisdom and reveals truth. (John 16:13)

ACCEPTANCE is recognizing this is where I am right now in my life.

I recognized that my relationships with those closest to me were fear-driven; my fear of rejection and abandonment caused me to become a people pleaser.

My need for love and acceptance had plunged me deep into drinking and drugs in my early teen years, in order to find some kind of relief from the emptiness I felt.

I also was not able to communicate how I was feeling, which would cause me to enable all kinds of unhealthy and emotionally abusive treatment from others.

I had no voice and no boundaries and as a result of my destructive lifestyle, I hated myself more and more as the years went by.

The nail in the proverbial coffin for me was when I found myself with an unplanned pregnancy at 21. There was no way I could tell my parents; they would be so hurt and disappointed in me.

I was fearful. I panicked like so many of us do; I needed to take care of this quickly.

How many of you can relate to that statement? I want you to know you are in the right place. There is no judgment here just love, encouragement and the forgiveness that God offers everyone through faith in Jesus Christ.

Action; I realized I needed to get my life right with God.

I confessed my sins to God, I recognized and professed that Jesus is the Son of God, and He died on the cross for my sins and was buried and on the third day, rose from the dead, and is in Heaven seated at the Father’s right hand.
(Romans 10:9-10,13, 1 st Corinthians 15:3-4, Hebrews 10:12)

Once I had this relationship with Jesus, I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is given to all of who believe.

My relationship with Jesus began on 2/6/1994, and I have never been the same. He has given a new purpose, a new hope, and a new song.

I have been made alive as one that was plucked out of the depths of despair and darkness and being tormented by the evil one, who wanted me to end my life, but God had a better more beautiful plan for my life that I never imagined I could have.

He has turned my ashes, my darkest moments, and has made something beautiful out of them for my good and His glory. (Isaiah 61:3)

It was my relationship with Jesus that gave me the courage to get the help I needed so that this dysfunction would stop with me and not be perpetuated to the next generation. I pray God gives you courage too.

 

In His love and service,

—Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Come to Jesus

Come to Jesus

Let us therefore come boldly onto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time
of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

I was fearful to speak up as a child, continually striving for perfection but never attaining it. I had an over developed sense of responsibility and would take on shame and guilt immediately for any wrongdoing. I also was a very anxious child; I was so worried about disappointing people or doing something wrong. Unfortunately, my parents were unaware of my drinking, drugs, and promiscuous behavior. I did a great job hiding that part of my life. But the truth was I suffered from depression as a teenager, and since my childhood, I felt I had no voice. I allowed others to manipulate and control me with their angry outbursts and their hurtful words. Because I was a child, I did not develop the skill of communicating in a healthy manner. In fact, I stuffed for so long that I could not stuff anymore. My rage and anger came out sideways. I had become a rage-aholic. I hated myself and thought I was not worthy to be loved and that I had no value to anyone; I felt invisible, alone, depressed, and hopeless. Especially after my abortion at 21, I thought I deserved to be abused because of my sins.

I came to personally know the Lord Jesus as my Savior and friend at the age of 34. I found in Him a Savior to take my sins away and a Friend who would love me just for me. I didn’t have to be perfect to be loved. It took me 15 years to truly take hold of and to believe in the inner most part of my being, that I was loved. How precious those words are to me. I am loved by God; I am not abandoned I am adopted into His family. I am not rejected. I am accepted.

Dear One, whatever you are fearful to share or even look at today, trust God and come boldly onto His throne of grace. He is lovingly calling you to come and lay down your burdens because you cannot carry them anymore; they are crushing you and are preventing you from truly being set free to enjoy this abundant life He has promised His children.

Let me ask you:

What are you struggling with today, is it a situation, or an individual?

Do you need to speak to someone and share your heart?

What is the Holy Spirit leading you to do or say?

The Lord wants us to be bold and courageous, what are you fearful of?

“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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

In His love and service,

—Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Blind Spots—a Tool the Enemy Uses

Blind Spots—a Tool the Enemy Uses

Fear, Busyness, and Blind Spots:
3 Tools the Enemy Uses to Keep Us in Bondage

 

Part 3 “BLIND SPOTS”

Part 1 “FEAR” (here) Part 2 “BUSYNESS” (here)

 

The last area we will look at is blind spots.

Blind spots are areas in my life in which I have been wounded and where I cannot see my character defects, sins, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. My life was filled with destructive choices all of which contributed to my woundedness and blind spots. Only God could show me these blind spots and help me to see what areas in my life I needed to work through and change.

In the past, a blind spot for me was being overly protective of my children. The sins of my youth helped create this blind spot; I didn’t want my children to suffer like I did. Furthermore, as a post abortion woman, being overprotective is a common fear. But God’s Word shined light in these dark areas that were hidden for so many years. This light set me free from my fears, helping me to trust Him to release my children into His capable hands and allow them to make their own choices.

Another area, I had a huge blind spot, was in my relationships with others, I did not see how I was allowing others to abuse me mentally and emotionally. I had no voice and I was fearful of rejection and abandonment which caused me to accept unacceptable behavior. I felt I must deserve this abuse as punishment from my past abortion and other sins, which was a lie from the devil. I hated myself and did not respect myself so how could I expect others to love and respect me? I allowed others to control and manipulate me because I put their opinions above God’s in my life.

My people pleasing was out of control and I could never say no, because I didn’t want to disappoint others. So, I ran around like an idiot, exhausted physically and emotionally drained and all along feeling very empty and unloved inside. Why was I doing these things? Oh yes, so others will see value in me and will love me. Well that never worked. The only one who ever saw value and worth in me was God. Over time God was removing the blindness and I started seeing my unhealthy thinking. As I was seeking Him more and the truth about my past, He started revealing things to me that I did not see before.

I am so thankful for the day when God filled me with His love so completely that I finally stopped looking for humans to approve of me or love me. I was content solely in my relationship with the Lord. He was the only one I needed. This perspective changed my world forever. I am so grateful for God showing me my blind spots so I could see the truth and be set free.

Ask God to show you what your blind spots are; will you allow Him to show you these areas so He can heal you?

What areas has God revealed to you that you were blinded to?

Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of Your Law.”

John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you will be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’”

 

In His love and service,

—Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Busyness—a Tool the Enemy Uses

Busyness—a Tool the Enemy Uses

Fear, Busyness, and Blind Spots: 3 Tools the enemy uses to keep us in bondage.

Part 2 “BUSYNESS”

(Part 1 here)

Another tactic the enemy uses is busyness.

God’s Word says, “Be still and know that I am God….” (Psalm 46:10)

I was so involved in my children’s school and after school activities, teaching and serving at church, and raising my family that I did not have time to look at myself and recognize that I was enabling unhealthy behavior.

God also took me out: I spent 7 weeks on a couch, unable to walk. I had pain shooting through my body caused by a fall on the tennis court and physically overworking myself.

I couldn’t do anything for several months.

In November 2001, for the first time, God whispered in my heart, “I love you regardless of whether you serve me on all these committees at Church or you lay on the couch for the rest of your life. I love you the same. My love for you never changes. My love for you is not based upon your good works or being worthy to be loved; My love is based upon My Son’s death on the cross for your sins.”

In the spring of 2010, God encouraged me to get help after suffering through severe bouts of depression that left me feeling weak and hopeless.

I then contacted some organizations and started intense inner healing and high accountability recovery groups.

Then, in 2011, God told me to step back from all serving. My reaction was, “Oh no Lord, I can’t do that.”

He gently nudged me to stop running, to finally look at myself and my dysfunctional relationships, and to stop worrying about what others thought of me.

I call this my desert experience with God. It was during this time that I went to another location. I left my home and went to live with my parents so I could truly find out what my problems were, get the perspective I needed, and the healing I so desperately wanted.

I can now say with confidence that I have been adopted by God, I am His child, and nothing can separate me from His love. (Romans 8:15, 38-39)

 

What are you doing to keep yourself so busy that you are not dealing with things?

What are you running away from?

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Read Part 3 here

 

In His love and service,

—Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!