Familiar Bondage

Familiar Bondage

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

Exodus 16:1-4a and John 3:16,

And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of Egypt. And the whole congregation of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 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 trials of the children of Israel were too hard for them to bear, they wanted to go back to what was familiar: bondage in Egypt. They wanted to be in control; they felt safe knowing what to expect.

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, and there is no safety or comfort in it. But God doesn’t want us to stay in our dysfunction. He wants us healed. He came to set us free from our bondage to sin. 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 Manna, “Bread from Heaven.” If God did that for them, don’t you think He can help you too? I think the answer is Yes!!!

What is the spiritual factor to consider when I want to be in control, instead of God being in control?

I am saying to God, “I don’t trust You. I don’t believe You are good. I don’t believe You care about me.”

So, what is the sin I am committing when I don’t trust God? The sin of unbelief.

Definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

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

I learned at a very young age to take control of every area of my life; that, unfortunately, was not a good thing. A 12-year-old is not mature enough to take on such a responsibility. I controlled my voice but I did not use it. I controlled how I performed in school, sports, and in anything I set my mind to do by practicing until I could do something perfectly. When I was older, I controlled my weight by taking speed and diet pills and exercising excessively. I controlled what others perceived about me by wearing a mask to hide my true feelings and identity. It wasn’t until I felt safe to let God in that I was able to relinquish control to Him. By spending time in His Word, I began to understand the heart of God and discovered how much He loves us and wants us to be set free from our pasts, so we can live the abundant lives He came to give us. It’s by relinquishing control to God that we are set free. There is beauty in surrender.

Why are you not trusting God to help you in this area? What are you afraid of?

Relinquishing control was not a comfortable thing for me because I didn’t trust others not to hurt me. I became very self-sufficient and proficient in all I did. I had a huge wall around my heart that no one was going to penetrate, not even God. I grew up with a distorted view of God. I thought He was angry with me and would punish me if I was out of line, which is what I heard and saw as a child. Church was dark; people there spoke in another language, and the atmosphere was not warm and welcoming. So I associated these attributes with God. I felt He was dark, harsh, and unloving, which could not be further from the truth. I was fearful about trusting God because I was afraid of being hurt again. I didn’t know God’s heart toward me. When I got saved in 1994 and came across this verse from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life,” I started believing that God does love me. And once I received His love into my heart and believed that He died for me on the cross, I started trusting Him more with my heart. But it was a long process. I am so grateful today for His love. That truth changed my life forever.

I had everything under control, so I thought, until my life and health started spiraling out of control. I couldn’t afford stuff anymore and my health was failing, my marriage was on the brink of divorce, and I didn’t know what to do. I was plagued with suicidal thoughts because I just couldn’t deal with my depression and self-loathing anymore, due to the sins from my past. This was not a life; it was a prison. I was just surviving because I needed someone to take my pain away, someone I could trust to love and accept me for who I was. Did such a person exist?

Dear One,

I want you to know that there is such a person who loves and accepts you for who you are. His name is Jesus, and He is the only one who will love you right where you are. He will never hurt you or force you to do something against your will. He is kind, loving, dependable, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. Jesus is your Savior and friend. Why not relinquish control of your life to God? Honestly, what do you have to lose at this point?

You are loved,

Toni

 

What is the spiritual factor to consider when I want to be in control instead of God being in control?

I am saying to God, “I don’t trust You (God). I don’t believe You (He) are good. I don’t believe You care about me.” So, what is the sin I am committing when I don’t trust God? The sin of unbelief.

Definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Our Perception of God and Why It Matters

Our Perception of God and Why It Matters

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Romans 12:1-2
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I can’t remember where I got this quote from but it makes a lot of sense. “Science tells us that repetitive thoughts over time become physical ruts in the brain that effect reasoning, choices, and eventually our beliefs.”

What was your perception of God as a child?

Was He kind, loving, and approachable or cold, distant, and angry?
My perception of God as a child was that He was unapproachable angry and would punish me for the slightest offense, He was not a God of love but of wrath. I grew up in a church that I saw punishment for the slightest offense with rulers and scolding. The people there were very harsh and critical. And that God was all about following rules. I did not see the love of God there.
You can read my Blog under stinking thinking: https://myashestobeauty.com/stinking-thinking-my-distorted-view-of-god/

How did that affect you growing up?
Because of my distorted view of God, when I found myself in bad situations, I decided to take matters into my own hands instead of asking God what I should do. I didn’t think He cared about me. I was in such darkness I could not see His light at all. Because of the unhealthy relationships I had with others closest to me which were quite manipulative and controlling, I didn’t think I was worth very much to God or others. So, what does it matter what I do to my body, my baby, or others? But God was showing up ever now and then when I felt like He was there and He was interested in my life. But I would not come to know Him as my Lord and Savior until I was 34 years old.

Ephesians 3:16-19
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

How do you see God now?
I now have finally received the beautiful redeeming work of Christ in my life once I was able to receive His love into the inner most part of my being, that truth changed me forever. Even after I was saved, I allowed people to abuse me and use me because I had no boundaries, and because I didn’t love myself, others didn’t treat me with love and respect either. But once His love permeated my heart, I had courage to put up boundaries and I started taking care of myself and loving myself. It was the most freeing and beautiful thing I have experienced, to know the love of God for myself. To feel and know in my heart, that no matter what I have done in the past He loves me.

How does He see you?
I am grateful for the truth from God’s word that every person is created in His image and is given intrinsic value and is created with a purpose for His kingdom. I am no longer bound to Satan and sin instead I am adopted into the family of God; I am a daughter of the King of Glory. He loved me so much He died for me on the cross. His love is so deep, and wide, and high that I cannot comprehend it, but I believe in my heart I am cherished and loved by God. And I will be with Him forever in heaven for all eternity. In July of 2017 we were having my extended family in town, my sister and brother and their families. As a result, I started feeling anxious and started feeling rejected by all of them, because you see they do not know the Lord yet, so I am not apart of their family anymore. Rejection was a huge wound for me and I can go there very quickly if I am not grounded in the Word. To Combat my rejection wound God had me write out specific Biblical truths about, “Who I am in Christ,” it goes like this:

Who I am in Christ

I am worthy
I am loved
I belong
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 will fear no evil

I am so proud of you for having the courage to step out and trust God to heal you.

You are safe her beloved sister.

You are loved,
Toni

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (NKJV)

Toni and the Team at myashestobeauty.com

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

My Life Would Be Forever Changed (Part 5): Unhealthy Choices

April’s Story

What was I doing? Was I using sex, lingerie modeling, and stripping as my drug to cover up all the pain (drunk dad, kidnap, rape, insecurity, sex, guilt and shame)? What was I going to run to next? When would I get to end of myself? I was involved in another relationship and engaged to be married. We were living together and planned for a wedding. I always knew he smoked pot and drank a little. And I told myself it was ok, but deep down inside I knew it wasn’t. I grew up around that, and I surely didn’t want to raise children around it. My fiance decided one night to go out drinking to a strip club. Little did I know that he would be snorting cocaine in the wee hours of the night. When he came home, I felt something wasn’t right, so I checked his car and there were bloody rags on the floor. I knew something was wrong. I confronted him and he denied it. I felt like I shouldn’t be with this man, but I chose to stay with him; I didn’t want to be alone. Soon after this incident, the Lord would enter my life and make radical changes, as you will see.

 

Angel of Light (Part 1 & 2)

Angel of Light (Part 1 & 2)

Luci’s blog

Angel of Light (Part 1)

There he was with his beautiful smile and wavy brown hair with streaks of sunlight in it and those eyes! They had mischief in them and flirted with me! I just knew He was an answer to my prayers, finally!

I was 33. I had been following Jesus for 8 years and loved serving Him. I was involved in multiple ministries, leading post abortion recovery groups (having experienced my own horrific abortion experience), women’s ministry, church functions and small group bible studies.

I desperately wanted to be married and have a family. I felt so out of place in the church, with the couples (both younger and older) and their children that seemed to be everywhere. But I promised my Lord that I would not sleep with any man or marry unless He chose that man, one who I could serve Him with. I prayed fervently and waited impatiently. But 8 years passed and I was growing anxious as I felt my biological clock ticking away! At this point I was beyond the point that most couples began their families; I was becoming very anxious about my singleness.

My “prince” was charming, friendly and polite. He captured my heart the moment I laid eyes on him. I shared my faith with him and he said all the right things that lead me to believe he too followed God. But the deeper into our relationship I went, the more red flags I saw that told me to “RUN”! But I was so infatuated with the idea of being his girl, marrying and raising our own family that I couldn’t see the danger I was heading toward. Satan used this man to lure me into a trap. He lead me to believe that this could work. But the harder I tried to conform this man to my ideal god fearing partner, the more evident it became that he would not.

At first, I refused to sleep with him, attempting to keep my promise to God while dancing with the devil. By this time, several months into the relationship, all my protection and resistance was gone. I stopped going to church, abandoned all my ministries and isolated from my believing sisters. I gave in to his constant seductions and once I had sex with him, I felt truly trapped. I had the overwhelming sense that I made a grave mistake! But I believed I had to marry him so I could honor my promise to God that I wouldn’t sleep with any man until I was married. It sounds ridiculous now but the guilt and condemnation I put myself under was suffocating. Along with that I had succumbed to his control over my life; he was a master manipulator and I felt that I was under his spell. Little did I know, he was just a pawn of the devil, using this relationship to pull me further and further from my Lord.

I was stressed out, couldn’t eat, had insomnia (cried in the dark most nights), experienced panic attacks and lost all my confidence and joy.

My prince turned into a nightmare! He manipulated me and criticized my words and actions. He slept with other women and lied about it even when I exposed him. He turned out to be a very warped and perverted individual. He was literally a pawn of the devil and didn’t know it. It took me three years to see it and finally get help. When I gained the courage to stand up to him, I threw him out and began my journey back to intimacy with God.

In Christ’s love,

Luci

See Angel of Light (Part 2) below.

Luci’s blog

Angel of Light (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this story, I left off when I threw the man out, I will call “abuser” that had been living with me, who I was allowing to ruin my testimony, my peace of mind and keeping me from a relationship with the Lord. I had discovered that you cannot serve Jesus and the devil or another way to put it is, ungodly/sinful desires, at the same time.

He had threatened me as I told him to leave so I worried that he would retaliate, having seen him do it to others who crossed him. But I had turned a corner and began to trust in the Lord again so I was resolved. Although I knew I had done the right thing, I was so unsure of my future. And in spite of feeling so broken and vulnerable, I trusted the Lord and moved towards Him. I asked for forgiveness for leaving the path He had so firmly planted me on and asked him to restore me to Himself.

Through the tears and the shame, I began my journey back to my Lord, one step, one day at a time. I began attending church again and as I sat in the services, I felt numb and unable to respond. I just took it all in and allowed the Lord to begin the healing process on my heart, mind and my sick body. I got back into the bible and read everyday and slowly returned to fellowship with other believers which was so good for me! It took five plus years to be restored to the closeness that I once had with the Lord and to feel confident in my role as His child.

I still had a deep longing to be married but this time I was leaving it up to the Lord. I learned that I could not make it happen on my own, not the way God would have it for me! I knew I wanted to be with a devoted follower of Christ, a man who would put Jesus first in all things and cherish me the way God intended.

After a couple of years no men of this caliber had come into my life so, I assumed that the Lord intended for me to be single. And shortly after I accepted this and began to settle on the idea that God would use me in my singleness, He sent me a godly, ethical, gracious man who would eventually become my husband! The way we met could only have come from the Lord! We lived in different countries and found one another on a

Christian dating website. So after 42 years, I married my soul mate. It has been 17 wonderful years that we’ve been together. He is perfect for me!

If you ask me, would I want to go through that horrible relationship with the abuser again to get where I am today, I would say NO. But having experienced it, I can appreciate how God provides and does it so much better than we can imagine! Praise Him for His faithfulness!

In Christ’s love,

Luci