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

CLICK HERE to read additional blog posts written by Toni Weisz on abuse trauma recovery.

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Will You Allow Jesus to Heal You?

Will You Allow Jesus to Heal You?

Abuse Recovery Support Group (ARSG)

Will You Allow Jesus to Heal You?

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

Only Jesus knows what it feels like to be verbally and physically abused, mocked and spit on, and publicly humiliated as He hung on the cross naked and beaten and rejected by His closest friends. I believe only Jesus can heal us physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally from all the forms of abuse and trauma we have experienced in our lives. In Isaiah 53:5, the Bible says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Thank you for joining our first support group meeting on abuse. We will be covering all kinds of abuse from emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual. We want to give each of you an opportunity to share your stories and your hearts in a safe and loving environment so that the healing journey you started will continue. One thing I have learned through the abortion recovery ministry is that we need a community of women who have experienced the same things we have, in order for us to open up and be vulnerable. God is providing you with a group of sisters who love Jesus and each other, and who are courageous and committed to this healing journey. They are willing to do the work necessary to reach the next level in their healing as they grow closer to God in the process. They no longer want to settle for barely existing. No, they want more. They want the abundant life that Jesus died to give them.

In my home of origin, I never developed a voice because of the chaos and unpredictable home environment I grew up in. From an early age, I believed I had the power to make someone happy or angry by my behavior. That was a lie from the pit of hell, but I would not discover that truth until I got into ACA recovery work in 2010-2015. I have no such control, but this lie lead me down a path of people-pleasing that opened me up to all kinds of harsh treatment and abuse by others who would use and manipulate me. I enabled this behavior because of my need for love and acceptance. I did not understand codependency, emotional and verbal abuse, and how it was having an effect on me and the choices I would make in my life. I thought this was normal; it was my normal but, God knows it wasn’t His plan for the family.

I started rebelling at the age of 12, drinking Scotch Whiskey from my parent’s liquor cabinet, getting high at 13 and having sex at 16 and then, my abortion at 21. I struggled with depression as a teenager, and when I got drunk, I acted out and kicked out a window in my college dorm. I punched walls and was so filled with rage and hatred towards myself. After my abortion, these unhealthy coping mechanisms just increased in intensity. My abortion was the nail in my coffin. That act plunged me headlong into the dark pit of despair and suicidal thoughts. I just wanted to end this torment of a life; I did not see a way out.

Then one glorious day, I met Jesus and He forgave all my sins, and He began healing my broken body, soul and mind. It’s been twenty-seven years, and He is still healing and loving me. And it has been a beautiful journey.

What was your home of origin like?

How did that affect your decision making?

Did you make healthy decisions or ones based out of fear?

Have you received help in this area to stop this unhealthy cycle in your life?

The Abuse Recovery Support Group (ARSG) meets on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month, at 4:15 PM EST. More information regarding the Sunday calls is found on this page, Trauma of Sexual Abuse.

Please reach out, email us at arwsg4u2@gmail.com, we can help you heal from your past trauma with our loving and caring support group, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and accountability.

You are loved,
Toni

CLICK HERE to read additional blog posts written by Toni Weisz on abuse trauma recovery.

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Good Friday—His Life for Ours

Good Friday—His Life for Ours

Greater Love hath no man than this that a man lay down His life for his friends. John 15:13

Luke 23:44-46 Now it was the sixth hour (noon) and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour (3 PM). Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last breath.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour (3PM) Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

I want us to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for each one of us. We will never know the immense pain He experienced not only physically but spiritually. On the hours that Jesus hung on the cross from 12 noon to 3 PM the whole earth was darkened, and so was the sun. God had forsaken His only Son when He bore all the sins of the world on His body. Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The word forsake in the Merriam-Webster dictionary means to renounce or turn away from entirely. Holy God darkened the earth for 3 hours because He could not look upon Jesus when He bore our sins upon Himself. The Bible says that Jesus became sin for us, who knew no sin. I read a commentary that said God caused the darkness so humans could not look upon Jesus and see the turmoil and agony that He went through on our behalf. It was a sacred sacrifice that only the Father could see. This was His perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.

At the same time the veil in the Temple, between the Holy of Holies, was torn from top to bottom. The very hand of God tore the veil, giving us access to God through Jesus His Son. Jesus was the new and living way for us to go to God, we no longer had to go through a Priest to make atonement for our sins. Jesus paid for our sins so we could have free access to the Father by Him. This gives us, you and me, access to God anytime day or night, that we need Him. That is so comforting to know.

Now think of all the sins you have ever committed, they are too numerous to count, yet all of them have been covered by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, if you have received the gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins. If you are born again, the Bible says you are a new creation in Christ, old things are passed away behold all things become new. (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

It is good Lord, to be reminded of the miraculous work you did in me when I became born-again. Thank you for forgiving all my sins, my rebellious actions, my drunkenness, drug usage, fornication, my abortion, my lying, stealing, my pride and my idol worship. All these I lay at your feet Jesus. I no longer have to carry these sins on my back. You have exchanged my sins for your righteousness. I am so grateful to you Lord, the day you had mercy on this broken woman and opened my eyes to see that what I was doing was not working and I needed you in my life. I surrendered my will and my life to you and confessed my sins and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. It was the most beautiful day of my life, February 6, 1994. A day I will always cherish.

Questions:

What is the Holy Spirit bringing to your mind right now?

First, Are you born-again? Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you asked Him to forgive all your sins?

Even after we are saved, we need to confess our sins daily to God. Is there anything the Lord is putting on your heart that you need to confess publicly?

What are you most grateful to God For?

I pray the Lord will bless you as you seek His wisdom and discernment in your life.

 

You are loved,
Toni

 

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

The Traps of the Devil (Series): David

The Traps of the Devil (Series): David

The Traps of the Devil: DAVID
A Series Taken from Dr. Charles Stanley

(2 Samuel 11:1-17-12:1-10)

This week, we will look at the sins of King David, a successful military leader and a man after God’s own heart. Led astray by lust, he actively pursues another man’s wife and opens himself up to all kinds of evil. David attempts to hide his sin of adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. She becomes pregnant with David’s child, which leads David to murder Uriah. God sends Nathan the Prophet to show David the error of his ways, and David is convicted. Although, he does not escape punishment and the consequences of his sin. His child’s life is taken by God, and the sword never leaves David’s house (2 Samuel 12:10a).

Through Scripture, we observe the rapid progression of sin in David’s life so that we can learn to guard our own hearts from the devil and his devices. No one is exempt from sin. We must do all we can to stay untarnished from the world by confessing sin daily, by being in the Word and praying throughout the day.

David’s first mistake is when he chooses to stay at the palace in the spring when kings customarily go into battle. One day, bored from laying on his bed, David decides to walk upon his rooftop from where he observes a beautiful woman bathing. When we are not doing what God has called us to do and we become lazy or bored, we are prey to the devil and his demons. Be sober and vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Who do you think would be living close to David’s palace? Most likely, his most trusted warriors. He inquiries about Bathsheba and learns that she is the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah, both of whom are members of David’s special forces known as David’s Mighty Men. He knew them well, for they had served the King for many years and had sacrificed their lives to keep him safe. But that doesn’t stop David from pursuing her.

Let’s apply David’s situation to our lives. As I remember, I had made my appointment to have my abortion, and I knew how to prepare for the upcoming procedure. However, on my way to the clinic, I was so hung over that I stopped to get something to eat. I was also driving myself, which shows you how unaware I was about the effects of abortion on a woman’s body. When I finally arrived at the clinic and they discovered that I had just eaten, they canceled the procedure. Here was God giving me a way out. But did I take it? NO! I rescheduled my abortion for December 10, 1980, and at the time of this writing, next week will be 40 years since my abortion. I should have stopped to reconsider what I was doing, as David should have, yet neither of us did. As a result, many people suffered a horrible fate because of our sins.

Did God give you a way to escape sin but you did not heed His warning?

We read that David involves other people in his sinful plan when he asks his servants about the beautiful woman and tells them to bring her back to his quarters. At this point, his secret lust has been made public and known to his servants. They know he loves the Lord, and he is about to commit adultery. When one is in leadership, he or she is a target for the enemy to destroy, especially a person of faith in Jesus. We must protect ourselves and be diligent because the enemy would love to destroy our testimonies and our ministry. Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

How do you protect yourself from the enemy?

As we move further along in the story, David devises a plan to bring Uriah home from battle so that he will sleep with his wife and appear to conceive a child thus hiding the pregnancy from everyone, except from his servants and Joab, his military commander. Uriah refuses to go home to his wife because the Ark of the Covenant and his fellow warriors are still on the battlefield. As a result, he does not sleep with his wife but lays at the king’s gate with all of the other servants. They were probably whispering, Isn’t that Uriah the husband of Bathsheba?

Whenever we try to cover up our sin with another sin, it never ends well for anyone. During the time of my abortion, I had to hide the fact that my boyfriend, the father of my aborted baby, and I were living together. My parents would be coming to town to attend my college graduation, so I needed to find a quick solution. In the 3 years I lived in Ohio, my parents never visited, so I was able to live like the devil without fear of being discovered. But the day of reckoning was coming. When my sister called off her wedding in the summer of 1982, six months before my graduation, I decided to get married to cover up my sin. That way, when my parents came in December, my lifestyle would be acceptable. Looking back, it took many years of Christian counselling and recovery work for me to finally become the woman God created me to be. Over the years, my husband and I had a very rocky marriage and were on the brink of divorce twice. God graciously intervened, and now our marriage is stronger than it has ever been.

When have you tried to cover up your sin with more sin?

A famous quote, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

You are loved,
Toni

 

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!