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!

How God Turned My Pain Around (Part 2) by Luci

How God Turned My Pain Around (Part 2) by Luci

Abuse Recovery Support Group ARSG

How God Turned My Pain Around (Part 2) by Luci

(Before you read PART 2 , be sure to read PART 1 CLICK HERE)

The enemy wants to keep us in a place of uncertainty, not trusting God but believing the lifelong lies that were told to us when we were so young and impressionable, before we were exposed to the truth! He wants to see us frozen with fear and unbelief, believing that we are not “good enough” for the love God has to offer. These lies are powerful but have no hold over us because we have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus. God looks at us with pure and tender affection; He sees us as the cherished daughters we were always intended to be. Nothing can separate us from His love. We only have to embrace this truth.

The enemy has been hard at work since the dawn of man (God’s most beloved creation). My pastor shared something worth repeating:

“The devil never offers anything real, only imitations. He offers addiction as an imitation of peace, promiscuity as an imitation of love, hatred as an imitation of justice, greed as an imitation of security, isolation as an imitation of safety, entertainment as an imitation of meaning, self-righteousness as an imitation of forgiveness.” Pastor Michael Shockley

 

  1. Where are you in your process of healing from past abuse?

 

  1. What practical steps have you taken to achieve that goal?

 

  1. In what ways has God turned your pain of abuse around?

 

I cannot answer the age-old question as to why God allows certain things to happen in our lives. Notice I did not say causes? The sin of mankind causes brokenness and perversion, God allows these things for His reasons that are far beyond our understanding. But there are some passages that give us a glimpse of why He allows bad things to happen to us.

2 Pet 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”

Rom 9:22-24 “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

Rom 8:18-22 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the eagerly awaiting creation waits for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

Humans have been sinning against one another since the very first family (Cain & Abel). And 2 Peter 3:9 tells us about God’s incredible patience toward the human race. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

CS Lewis “We can ignore pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

 

CLICK HERE for Part 1

 

How God Turned My Pain Around (Part 1) by Luci

How God Turned My Pain Around (Part 1) by Luci

Abuse Recovery Support Group ARSG

HOW GOD TURNED MY PAIN AROUND (Part 1)
By Luci

When I was very young, still sleeping in a crib, I already felt unsafe. My older brother got enjoyment from taunting me which continued throughout my childhood. It was as if he had a demon leading him to cause me pain and fear! As night was falling, he would come to my crib, lean in and get very close to my face, scaring me so much that all I could do was lay there with my wide eyes, looking up at him, wishing he would go away! This brother continued to taunt me in various ways, throughout the years until the sexual molestation took place when I was 11. He got another brother to join in; I was still very afraid and kept it all to myself. I was a victim for all intents and purposes; my parents were not nurturers so I didn’t go to them, believing they would blame me. There was great shame attached to what was taking place. I built up a resentment and even a hatred for my brothers and my parents for not protecting me from the torment for so many years! I found out later in my teens that my father was reading porn magazines and that was the main source of my brothers disfunction. In addition, he was molesting my older sisters.

At the age of 12, I was lured and raped by a man in my neighborhood that was almost 10 years older. It was again, frightening AND painful. After that encounter, I began my journey of promiscuity and abuse. It was very rare that I found myself in the company of a respectful and caring young or older man. It was as if I had the words ‘USE AND ABUSE ME’ on my forehead! I hated my life and believed that I was ugly and flawed.

Having left home at the age of 15, I tried to make it on my own. But I discovered the world to be a dangerous place for a young woman on the streets. I would be raped, molested and abused multiple times, by various acquaintances and strangers by the time I was 18. I joined the Air Force at 19 after a local cop attempted to molest me. I decided the military would be a safe place to lay my head and provide regular meals. But my disfunction followed me as I continued to make poor choices with men. I was hurting deep down and felt hopeless. I can remember being sent to counseling the first year in and the man who was there to “help me”, made me worse! He told me I was fragile and he was right; I cried at the smallest thing! So, to make his point, while in counseling, he moved close to me and yelled loudly! I jumped and began to cry. He seemed pleased that he made his point so well. I never went back to him! Men were my enemy and most women were not to be trusted.

I continued through the years with an extremely unhealthy sense of self and others. At 24, I found myself pregnant by a man I barely knew. Like so many other men I had allowed myself to be used by, he lied to me, said he had a vasectomy and really wanted to be with me! After he finished getting what he wanted, he was gone and I was alone. I didn’t have time to ask myself why all these terrible things kept happening to me; I needed to get busy and “fix this problem”! That was my MO; I concluded that no one would look out for me, I had to do it myself!

At 25, approximately 9 months after I aborted my child, the Lord showed me His forgiveness and that is when my journey of healing and restoration began! At that moment in time, when I surrendered to His Lordship, He gave me a new identity, one He always intended for me to have! I went from battered victim to precious, beautiful and beloved daughter of The King! I was now safe and under the watchful eye of my heavenly Father.

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

I had developed so many scars over the years that it was going to take some time to work through all the pain and multiple levels of lies and distorted thinking. I started to attend a little church and there I met an older man who mentored me from God’s Word. He was an amazing model of a godly man that treated me with dignity and respect! That is the point I began to open up to the possibility that there were other men in the world that would not abuse and take advantage of me, but could be respectful and actually love me without ulterior motives.

My journey of healing and restoration continues to this day; God is lovingly pouring into me, gently teaching and bringing others into my world that show me His gracious love. And He is also using me, precisely because of my wounds and suffering, to show other wounded souls that there is hope! My scars are no longer ugly to me but are, in the words of Shauna Neiquist, “holy places, reminders of the healer Himself.”

2 Cor 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

 

How God Turned My Pain Around (Part 2) by Luci (CLICK 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!

The Traps of the Devil (Series): Elijah

The Traps of the Devil (Series): Elijah

  • The Traps of the Devil: Elijah
    (A Series Taken from Dr. Charles Stanley)

 

Elijah
(1 Kings 18-19)

As we continue our study looking at the lives of Eve, Achan, David and now Elijah, let’s consider the following question. What was the one thing that Elijah focused his attention on causing him to flee and want to die? He was threatened by King Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, who was the most evil woman ever recorded in Scripture. She had a man cut into pieces because he would not sell his vineyard to her husband, King Ahab. She would stop at nothing to achieve her end goal. A worshipper and servant of Baal, she was cunning and deceptive like Satan the snake. To obtain whatever she desired, Jezebel would steal, cheat and lie. Ahab, on the other hand, was supposedly a believer of the One True God. However, with her idol worship and sacrifice, Jezebel caused her husband to fall into sin against God. Without a doubt, she was evil to her very core. As a result of the atrocities that Ahab and Jezebel committed, God punished them by withholding rain for 3 ½ years. At this same moment in history, God raised up the prophet Elijah to confront Ahab and Jezebel regarding their sins and to proclaim judgment as a result of their idolatry.

Following his proclamation against the King and Queen, Elijah engages in a battle of sorts between the prophets of Baal and the children of God on Mount Carmel. Read the full biblical account in 1 Kings 18. Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to call down fire from the sky to burn up the sacrifice prepared for their god. All day they worship, cut themselves and cry out, but Baal remains silent. I love Elijah’s response—Perhaps your gods went on a journey, or they are sleeping. Next, it’s Elijah’s turn. He drenches the offering and the altar with water. Then, he cries out to God. Fire comes down from heaven consuming the sacrifice along with the entire altar. Elijah proceeds to kill 450 prophets of Baal with the sword, after which he runs to Ahab to say that rain is coming. Ahab tells Jezebel all that has happened. After hearing this, she becomes enraged and vows to kill Elijah within 24 hours. When Elijah discovers this, he flees for his life. Out of immense fear, he asks God to take his life because he doesn’t want to live anymore—all because of one woman.

Let’s reflect upon this scenario and apply it to our lives. When were you fearful and running for your life; was it due to an abusive situation or were you running away from your past? The Lord has shown me not to run, but to face things head on, while I am holding onto His righteous right hand. He will protect us. May He give us courage to stand on His Word and His truth.

You are loved,
Toni

 

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!