Leaving Things Behind

Leaving Things Behind

Leaving Things Behind

by Luci Boudreaux/Abuse Recovery

Scriptures: Philippians 3:12-17 and 2 Corinthians 5:17

Philippians 3:12-17 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”

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

 

From the time I was a young girl until the age of 25 when I surrendered my life to Jesus, I had established so many ungodly behavior patterns and unhealthy thinking (which led to unhealthy coping mechanisms) that I was having difficulty becoming the woman of God I knew He wanted me to be. I knew I was delivered from eternal damnation. But what about living an abundant life now?

I was unsure of myself, always secondguessing myself, very insecure and filled with painful memories, which made me angry and frustrated. It affected my relationship with the Lord and others. I knew what the Bible taught me; that Jesus loves me and cast away my sins as far as the east is to the west.

Just as 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I wanted to believe God’s promises were for me, but I knew who I had been, the things I had done. My faith and hope were weak, and the enemy was working hard to steal my hope for a better life. I was fearful to step out and trust God in all areas of my life that needed to be dealt with before I could move forward.

But one thing was constant and strong in my heart. And that is, I wanted to be healed and whole. I worked at it by spending time in God’s Word, in community with other believers, playing uplifting music, and listening to godly teachers who lived like they believed.

But I continued to struggle. I couldn’t understand why I was still stuck in this place and continuing to return to my old ways of thinking and doing.

Does this resonate with any of you?

You go to church, read God’s Word, listen to worship music, but it doesn’t seem to be moving you forward in your faith or healing. Perhaps you are holding onto that one thing that is weighing you down. Is it possible that pride is preventing you from dealing with it or asking for help?

At this point, I sought out ministries and two specific women counselors that understood my broken past and what it felt like to have no self-worth. I’m thankful that they had the courage to ask some hard questions that caused me to face my distorted thinking. These women saw beyond my pain to what God had for me. They taught me to understand my position in Christ and that I was a new creation; I no longer needed to revisit my past for the sake of condemning myself.

I learned how to recognize that the painful events of my past do not define me, nor do they have the power to control how I live my life today. I learned that healthy boundaries are important and that I have the power to use these experiences to forgive, which allows me to heal and help others in their journey. So, my past no longer has a hold on me; I now use it to glorify God!

I am a very different woman today. I embrace the truth that I am a daughter of the Most High and that I don’t need to fear anything in this world or in the spiritual realm! I am a warrior, an ambassador, who God promises to equip for every situation in my life so that I may walk in victory and display His character.

As Paul said in Philippians Chapter 3, we haven’t “arrived,” but we are focused on moving forward, towards the goal of becoming more like Jesus. In view of this, I see every situation that comes into my life as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to teach me how to live out my faith. He allows situations (positive and negative), so, I submit to them, knowing it’s for His glory and my ultimate holiness.

God is doing a spiritually renewing work in each of us. And my desire is that we all draw closer to His heart. One of the spiritually powerful things in my life is spending time with like-minded believers who I can encourage and be encouraged by. It’s important for us to pay close attention and seek out those who walk in the way of Christ. Follow their example; you will become like those you spend the majority of your time with.

I encourage you all to use the issues we discuss in our conference calls to propel you into a better place. Don’t settle for less than God’s best for you! We can experience the abundant life here and now! But it takes a lot of courage to change!

Questions to Consider:

  1. Are you allowing your past to hinder you from moving forward in your healing journey?
  1. What is preventing you from embracing what God is calling you to?
  1. How may we pray for you?

We are here to help you in your journey. Please reach out if you need to talk. You can email me at: overcomer982@icloud.com.

Your friend,
Luci

 

 

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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!

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

 

 

How to Overcome Trauma

How to Overcome Trauma

How to Overcome Trauma
By Toni Weisz/Abuse Recovery

Scripture References: Psalm 147:3, Psalm 27:10, Psalm 100:5

“Trauma can be more than a dark pit of despair or a spiral of depression. It has the potential to be our deepest source of empathy, strongest point of connection, and most forceful impetus (stimulus) for growth if we bravely choose to let others into both the brokenness and the mending. My Brokenness becomes beautiful when I see trauma as an opportunity to grow.” (Excerpt taken from the devotional, Suffer Strong: A Plan for Redefining Everything, by Katherine and Jay Wolf.)

 

Psalm 147:3
He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 27:10
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Psalm 100:5
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

 

It takes courage to face the trauma from our past. This is not an easy process. In fact, it is quite painful at times, and it is not for the faint of heart. That’s why many people don’t do it. They would rather live in their dysfunction because they know what to expect—it’s familiar.

Change can be hard, scary, and unpredictable. But it can also be beautiful, especially when we are able to come out on the other side of our pain and see the miraculous work God has done.

When I first started this ministry, the Lord encouraged me to be real.

When I am open and transparent with all of you, it gives you permission to share from your broken places too.

I have experienced tremendous healing as a result of doing the conference calls the past 10 years. The work of the Holy Spirit, self-examination, and a safe community in which to share are the most important elements for true healing and the ability to break dysfunctional unhealthy behavior.

You’re only as sick as your secrets.

Sharing your secrets in a safe and loving environment helps you to begin the healing process. It brings that secret thing into the light, and the devil no longer has power over you in that area. I am praying that each of you experience true healing in all of your broken areas. You are safe on our conference calls, dearly beloved of the Lord.

I also needed to practice what I preached.

If I was telling you to stand up to the bully and use your voice, then I needed to do the same thing.

There is a recovery statement: Say what you mean but don’t say it mean.

God has shown me how to stay calm, to allow the other person to speak, and try to stay on topic. Then when it’s my turn, I share my perspective but in a way that honors God.

I apologize when I need to, but I don’t allow others to just dump on me or yell at me. I walk away or hang up because that’s not an acceptable way to communicate. I don’t allow others to be verbally abusive to me. By sharing with you, it also helped me to practice those same principles in my life.

God showed me He wanted to be first in my life.

Once I put God first in my life, then what others thought of me didn’t matter so much anymore. I was trying to please them so they would love me, but that never worked anyway. It only left me feeling empty, unloved and depleted of my energy. I realized I could never make someone happy or sad; I didn’t have that kind of power. Only God can love me completely. So, I go to God when I need something because most people are not able to give me what I need anyway. They cannot give what they don’t have.

Questions:

  1. What areas from your past trauma from abortion/abuse are you struggling with right now?
  2. Are you able to share about them right now? Please limit your shares to 10 minutes due to the number of women on the call.
  3. How can we be praying for you?

Remember: When your father and your mother forsake you, Then the LORD will take you up. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. He binds up the brokenhearted and heals all of your wounds.

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

You are loved,

Toni

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!