My Identity in Christ (Part 1)

My Identity in Christ (Part 1)

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

When I was a little girl, I remember having an overall sense of happiness and freedom to be a child. But as I grew older and began to develop the awareness of my identity within my family unit and became the victim of verbal and physical abuse, my perspective on who I was began to change.

In my mind’s eye, I was ugly, stupid, and overall, a pathetic girl that no one loved or wanted to be with. I can remember my father saying over and over, “Why can’t you be like your brother or why can’t you be like your sister?” He was referring to the older siblings that had gone on and became successful, in his eyes. Out of his frustration and unchecked anger, he lashed out and made us feel unwanted as he put us down by abusing us verbally. My mother was a quiet, submissive woman with multiple (total of 15) kids to care for. She wasn’t involved in our lives except to care for our physical needs. And the brothers that were still in the home, treated me with great contempt and regularly beat up on me. At age 11, I was being molested by two of my older brothers and by the age of 12, I lost my virginity to a drug-addicted man that was 14 years older, who lived in the neighborhood. He literally took advantage of my desperate need for love and affection and convinced me to cooperate with his selfish intentions. I told no one as I thought they would blame me; I believed in my young heart that it was my fault.

I felt like such a failure, that by the time I was a young teen, I began to medicate with wine and beer, and at one point, I felt so hopeless, I attempted to take my own life! Obviously, I wasn’t successful, but at the time, I believed that I was a failure even at that! I not only felt unworthy to be loved but I also felt dirty and had a great sense of shame that covered me like a thick cloud.

As I grew into my teens, I continued to abuse alcohol, adding hard liquor and was introduced to all sorts or illegal drugs, which I experimented with daily. I lived a destructive life of substance abuse and promiscuity. And at age 24, I committed what I thought was the unforgivable offense by having an abortion, essentially ending the life of what would turn out to be my only biological child. This event plunged me deeper into a sense of self-loathing and emptiness that I had yet to experience. By the time I was 25, my sense of self-worth was in the pit; I had no hope and no purpose for my future.

Then it happened! The Lord Jesus, who had been pursuing me for years through the witness of other Christ followers, opened my eyes to His amazing acceptance, love and mercy for me. And I can remember the sense of hope and love that flowed through me like a rushing river! It was incredible! My self-perspective changed that day. I dared to believe that I could be something more than I had settled into. And I embarked on a lifelong mission to get to know the God who would be willing to die for me, a pathetic, sinful, ugly and stupid girl. It took years of Bible reading, support from other believers in Jesus and some Biblical counseling, for me to accept my new identity as I embraced 2 Corinthians 5:17, which tells us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Today, after walking with the Lord for over 37 years, having His amazing Holy Spirit living in me, I embrace the truth that I am God’s precious daughter, loved and cherished beyond my wildest dreams! He has given me dignity, self-worth and a future hope. I no longer condemn myself because according to Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I no longer accept the attempt of others to manipulate or put me down. I have come to understand that I can have boundaries and stay in control, by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

Luci

From Shame to Victory (Part 3) My Miserable Teens

My Miserable Teens (Part 3)

In my mid-teens, my view of myself became more distorted. I wanted to be wanted and I wanted to be loved. I turned to relationships, alcohol and drugs, and this left me feeling even more empty than I did before. I became very boisterous, very opinionated and I projected a false sense of security to hide how I really felt.

When I was 16 years old, I was intimately involved with an 18-year-old. We dated for over a year. When I tried to break up with him, he threatened to kill himself. Out of guilt, I remained in the relationship for a little while longer until I could figure out a way to break it off. I told him again I didn’t want to see him anymore, and he pulled a shotgun out and put it to his mouth and said if I broke up with him, he would kill himself. I took off running down the stairs of his apartment and he proceeded to chase me down the main street of the small town where I lived. As I ran down the street, I saw people I knew and screamed for help! I thought he was going to shoot me in the back. In fear, they turned and fled. I ran into the restaurant where I worked. I was hysterical and my boss grabbed and took me to the back of the restaurant. I told him what happened and he called my house and my brother came and got me.

A few weeks later when I was biking home after work, the boyfriend that I tried to break up with, grabbed me off my bike and chocked me as he told me he loved me and couldn’t live without me. I somehow broke free, grabbed my bike and raced home as fast as I could. I told my parents, and at first they seemed upset, but then they just dismissed it. And the ex-boyfriend that had frightened me so badly would call my mom and she would tell me he was sorry and to give him another chance. But I didn’t want anything to do with him. A few weeks later, I came home from work one night and saw him sitting in the basement drinking a beer with my dad. I was shocked! My dad looked at me and said, “Tony’s going teach me to play guitar!”

 

Rhonda’s Blog

From Shame to Victory (PART 1)

Read Part 2 HERE!

 

From Shame to Victory (Part 1) My Broken Childhood

My Broken Childhood

When I was a kid, I remember being happy, wanting to understand why everything was the way it was, full of curiosity and questions. I loved playing outside, I loved my brother and I loved animals. I loved Sunday fishing, car rides and visiting family. I had a vivid imagination that helped me to escape from the reality of my dysfunctional childhood.

My parents had been dating for a while, and then they eloped. My dad decided he wanted to see Sault Ste. Marie. My mom wanted to go, so they got married. They never made it there; they stopped short in North Bay and rented a place. Dad got a job and along came my brother. Mom’s pregnancy was difficult, and she was told not to have any more kids. My Dad refused to have one child, so two and a half years later with much resentment from my mother, I was born; she and I never bonded.

I remember being afraid of my mother when I was young as she was angry a lot. She told me she had me because my father made her and that she never wanted me. I felt like I was a burden, an inconvenience. I understand now that she was angry about her life and her inability to speak up for herself.

When I was about five, my mom was in the living room crying. I asked her what was the matter, and she looked at me and said my dad had slept with his boss’s sister, he may lose his job and she didn’t know if she was going to stay married to him. I remember being scared, not really understanding and thinking I did something wrong to cause this.

 

Rhonda’s Blog

 

Read PART 2 (The Abuse Started in Adolescence) HERE!

Read PART 3 (My Miserable Teens) HERE!

 

The Deception of Selfishness

The Deception of Selfishness

Genesis 3:6, Luke 1:38, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and Hebrews 12:2

Selfishness is being consumed with thoughts regarding self and not being concerned about others and what the consequences of our actions would have on another person. Sin is pleasurable for a season, but it is very destructive to us and those who love and care for us.

Where did selfishness start? It started with Adam and Eve in the Garden, in Genesis chapter 3:6 we read, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” Eve’s desire to be like God knowing good and evil caused her to become self-absorbed and only thinking about what it could do for her and not what the sin would do to her relationship with God or her husband. She had no idea that her sin would plunge all of mankind into sin, despair, and death. Perhaps if she would have thought for one second prior to taking the fruit, wait God told me not to do this, He loves me and has provided everything I need. Why would I go against Him? The devil caused her to doubt God’s love. Instead she felt she was entitled, it was her right to this, and God was holding back something good from her. But the truth was He loved her so much He was protecting her, because He knew the destruction that would be done as a result of her choice. Just like with us when we had our abortions. God gave us a way to escape, but no, we had our minds made up and we were doing this! All the while His heart was breaking for us because he knew our very souls would be shattered into a million pieces and we would be devastated and, we would struggle with our choice for many years to come. God allows us to make our own choices just like He did with Eve. God wants us to choose to love Him and obey Him.

I had a conversation with a pro-choice woman, and as we were talking, she said how much she loves children and that they are a gift. And I thought, how can she love children and still be pro-choice? Then it dawned on me that she has bought into the feminist ideology. The lie feminism tells women is, this is your body and your right to have an abortion. They do not want to be accountable to God, they want to be in control. They want to decide what is right or wrong for them and they want to be like God, just like Eve did. The world tells them whatever feels good, do it, you deserve it. They have put their selfish desires for control and have made themselves into little “g” gods, having control over their own bodies and destiny. They do not see that abortion is terminating a life. Instead they see it as self-serving and self-preservation and they are courageous for doing so. And they become angry when anyone tries to take their control away. Because deep down, they know it’s a baby, but they would rather sacrifice their child’s life for their selfish desires.

There is another woman in the Bible, who had a choice to be selfish or to obey God. Her name was Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she found herself with child from the Holy Spirit as an unwed teenager, she risked her very life because she should have been stoned, which was the law; or she would have been divorced from her betrothed Joseph. But instead she was courageous and said to the Angel in Luke 1:38, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” I pray we will look to Mary as our example, a woman of courage who loved and obeyed God, especially when it was hard, or inconvenient, or difficult; she never wavered. She showed us that God’s grace is sufficient and we can be victorious, if we keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Thinking back to your own abortion, how were you selfish?
In what ways are you now trusting God and wanting to obey Him?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Philippians 4:8-9

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, brining every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV

“Finally, brethren whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received, and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with.”

All of us know a person who can suck all the air out of a room because every word that comes out of their mouth is negative. Have you ever experienced that before? It is emotionally draining to be in the company of a negative person for a long period of time, before we too are dragged down into the pit with them. Are you plagued with negative thoughts?

The enemy is continually trying to trip us up, because his goal is to get us to focus on the negative things, instead of all the things we should be thankful for. Do you have a gratitude list? If you don’t, I suggest you do one today, and write down all the things you are thankful for. When you feel a negative thought coming on, just get out your list and remind yourself, God is still on the throne and He is in control and He is aware of everything that is going on in the world. He uses all of it for His purpose and plans in all of our lives. We must remember God is good all the time, and He is love, that is His character. He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The battlefield truly is the mind, that is where spiritual warfare starts and that’s where we have a choice to take it on or not. Right now, we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic, many are fearful, but as believers we need to be seeking the Lord even more now, so we have His perspective on this. What are you focusing on now? Do you feel peaceful and hopeful or depressed and hopeless?

I have a list of Biblical truths that I read over every morning to remind myself that I am adopted and loved by God. This is how I put my armor on to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy.

Who I am in Christ, to Combat Rejection.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am accepted.

I am adopted.

I am confident and competent.

I am a child of God.

I have the Holy Spirit within me.

I am victorious in Christ.

I have a home in heaven.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

I am valued by God, I am His precious child, I have a home in heaven.

I will fear no evil!

When I read this every morning it protects my mind from the lies and negative thoughts that the enemy wants me to focus on. When I don’t read my list, I am vulnerable to the enemy’s devices; I am impatient, unkind, and easily frustrated. Lord You are showing me that today in fact, I must make time with You each morning; You are my priority, reading Your Word daily is food for my soul, praying is a time for me to hear from you and to talk to you, and journaling is a time when I go even deeper with You seeking your wisdom and wanting so much to hear from you to lead and guide me in my life and in all I do, because I want my life to be pleasing to you and I want you to be glorified through it. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me and convicting me of that today.

Father in heaven, I pray for each woman on this call and for the women on-line reading this blog. I pray they will seek you with their whole heart. Show them how much you love them in a very real and tangible way. Protect them from the lies and negative thoughts of the enemy and help them to focus on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Renew their minds daily as they read Your Word. Heal them and bind up their wounds as only You can, for you only, are their Mighty Counselor and Great Physician. Meet them where they are and lead them by Your righteous right hand. Forgive all of their sins and heal them Lord. Thank you for Your love, mercy, grace, and compassion upon them. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts?

How often are you plagued with these thoughts?

Is there a person or situation that causes you to start thinking negatively?

What have you done to help protect yourself from this kind of negative thinking?

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!