Fleeing from God

Fleeing from God

Jonah 1-2

When Jonah decided to go against God’s plan for him, he took a ship to Tarshish, the opposite direction of Nineveh, to flee from the presence of God. God continued to pursue Jonah but it was impossible for Jonah to get away from God.

God sent a great wind and a mighty tempest so that the ship was almost broken. (Jonah 1:4) Even the mariners were afraid, men who were used to the sea and storms, but they knew this one was different. Jonah tells the mariners that he is a Hebrew and that he fears the Lord, the God of heaven and he tells them to throw him over board, so that the sea would become calm. (Jonah 1:8-12) The mariners were exceedingly fearful, but God in His mercy prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah and he stayed in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights. God had to isolate Jonah to get his attention, finally he cried out to God, (Jonah 2) and God rescued him and Jonah did go to Nineveh and all were saved.

When I think back at my abortion, I see that I too was fleeing from God. I isolated myself from Him and my family. I allowed the enemy to lie to me and tell me, “Your parents will never accept you and the baby, it’s a big mistake. Take care of it now before anyone finds out.”

God had pursued me also and he gave me a way to escape. the first time I went for my abortion, I was partying the night before. I was hung over and needed food, so I stopped on the way, but when I got to the clinic, they said I could not have the abortion because I ate. When I think back to that day, I drove myself and I was all alone. what was I thinking? That’s the point, I wasn’t thinking clearly. Whenever I have made decisions based on fear, they have never been good ones. But I didn’t allow this bump in the road to stop me from having the abortion. I bought into the lie that my child would be deformed because of my heavy drinking and drug usage. This was something I had to do; I didn’t see any other options.

I finally did have my abortion on December 10, 1980 and at that moment everything changed. My heart was broken, my body was broken and my spirit was broken. It was the worst decision I ever made in my life. My heart goes out to you precious sisters who were forced by someone else to have an abortion against your will.

I struggled with depression, crying episodes, feelings of isolation and loneliness. I still continued with the drinking and drugs and thoughts of suicide started entering my mind. I just wanted the pain to go away. Then one glorious day I heard the gospel for the first time on January 2,1994 and in 4 weeks I had given my heart to the Lord and asked Him to forgive all my sins and to heal by broken heart. From that moment and going forward I will never have to feel alone again. I have a Savior who will never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you, Jesus.

God has a beautiful plan and purpose for your life too. In Jeremiah 29:11, “FOR I KNOW THE THOUGHTS I HAVE FOR YOU, SAYS THE LORD, THOUGHTS OF PEACE AND NOT OF EVIL, TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.” God can turn the darkest times in your life into something beautiful for His honor and glory.

I pray this blesses your heart.

Blessings,
Toni

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Less Control & More Trust

Less Control & More Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

Who or what are you trusting in: yourself, another person, an institution, or God?

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, 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 feeling and identity.

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; He was angry and He would punish me if I was out of line, this is what I heard and saw as a child. Church was dark, they spoke in another language, it was not warm and welcoming. So, I attributed these attributes to God. I felt He was dark and harsh and unloving; nothing could be further from the truth.

I had everything under control so I thought, until my life and health started spiraling out of control, I couldn’t 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. This was not a life it was a prison; I was just surviving 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, His name is Jesus, 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, forgiving, and He is your Savior and friend. Why not relinquish control of your life to God, honestly what do you have to lose at this point?

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Blessings,

Toni

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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: Anxiety

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:25-26, 31 and 33

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (humbly asking) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-26, 31, and 33
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather in barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; 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.

I become anxious when I negatively project into the future without God in it. When I do this, I feel weak, hopeless, and discouraged. My head and eyes are cast down and I feel like giving up. But when I recognize I am looking inward, then I remind myself that my help comes from the Lord and I look up to heaven. God has promised us in His Word, that He will meet all of our needs. Are you not of more value than many sparrows? But unfortunately, I did know Him nor did I trust Him, as a result I have made some very bad decisions because I did not trust Him with my future.

I thought I could minimize my anxiety by trying to control everyone and everything. But I realized this was impossible to do and it was very frustrating and emotionally draining. I used to jump in to fix and rescue people because I would become anxious about all the what ifs. I was sinning against God by not trusting Him with my marriage, my children, my business, and ministry. I remember in my journaling, God telling me, “Get out of my way you are preventing me from working.” IN ALL CAPS, TOO. God was not happy with me. God showed me that my lack of trust in Him was a sin and putting others before Him was an idol. I repented and turned away from my sin and turned to God and now I am not anxious about anything, because I know God will provide for all my needs and my family’s needs as well. I am finally free.

Let me ask you, what are you trying to control?

Are you feeling anxious?

 

Blessings,

Toni

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Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Genesis 3: 8-13 and Proverbs 11:14b

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; 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.

I define justification, more specifically justifying sin, as the belief that I am making a right or reasonable decision, when in fact the opposite is true. I have heard almost every excuse to justify a woman’s choice for an abortion; I had several myself. I allowed the enemy to isolate me and to lie to me, just like he did to Adam and Eve when they ate the forbidden fruit and sinned against God. As a result of my sin, I rushed to make my decision and not ask for help or discuss it with anyone. It’s the one thing we as woman don’t ask for help with, why is that? We talk to our friends or family about other decisions we make, but why not this one? I believe the enemy immediately swoops in and starts flooding our minds with all kinds of chaos, coupled with lies, fear, and anxiety. This combination is overwhelming to our minds and we scramble to stop the noise in our heads so we can return to normal. I did not have my abortion until my second trimester, but I had my mind made up immediately I was going to have an abortion. I had to wait months to have my procedure because I didn’t follow protocol and ate before my first scheduled abortion so I had to reschedule. I had to make 2 abortion appointments! Perhaps God was giving me a way to escape, but I wasn’t seeking His counsel. Instead I felt justified in my decision to move forward with the abortion.

The reasons I used to justify my abortion were the following: I believed the lie that my baby would be severely deformed because I was doing heavy drugs, drinking excessively, and smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes per day. I was still in college in Ohio with no job and I thought I can’t have a child now! I believed the father of the child would leave me to raise the child on my own. But the biggest reason was that I was afraid to tell my parents. I regret that I did not have the courage to admit to my parents that I made a mistake. I never gave them an opportunity to have a say in my decision because I took matters into my own hands. My fear and pride prevented me from telling the truth, I wish I would have told them, because I could have my 40-year-old son with me today. But I cannot go back and change my past, all I can do is learn from it and understand why this broken frightened woman could not tell her parents the truth. I remember when after watching the movie, “Unplanned”, I was at my laundry room sink and the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Every child in the womb is mine,” tears filled my eyes and I replied, “I know Lord and I robbed you of the baby in my womb and I am so sorry.”

Sin is never justified. Looking back at our first parents, Adam and Eve. We see they pointed their finger at someone else to justify their sin before God. The exchange is quite interesting and we use the same tactics today. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, God is calling to them, “Where are you?” God called Adam by his name wanting him to confess his sin but instead he justified his sin and accused the woman who God gave him, and Eve likewise accusing the serpent. Instead of taking responsibility for their sins, they blamed someone else. Their pride prevented them from humbling themselves before God and repenting of their sin. My pride prevented me from asking my parents and God for help in my abortion decision. Instead I listened to the devil, and I suffered for years as a result of my decision.

We are here to help you make life affirming God glorifying decisions in your lives. Proverbs 11:14b, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Please reach out if you are struggling with making good decisions.

May I ask you a few questions?

What were your reasons for your abortion(s), that at the time you felt were justified?

How do you see your decision-making process now?

What were the lies you believed?

What is the truth that God has shown you?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!