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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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!

The Memorial Stones: Remembering What God Has Done

The Memorial Stones: Remembering What God Has Done

We see several times in Scripture that God commanded the children of Israel to set up a memorial of remembrance for what He had done for them. These memorials were to be shared with future generations so they could see what God had done for them. I believe it is important for us to look back as well, to see where we’ve come from and remember what the Lord has done for us.

Think back to a time before you knew the Lord. When you were walking in the way of this world and living your life for yourself and your own selfish desires.

What did your life look like before Christ? Tell others the wonderous and amazing things that God has done for you. There is power in your testimony. I pray God leads you to share this with others.

When I was 12 years old, I decided the, “good quiet” persona was not working for me. I was not getting the attention that I longed for. So, I decided to take another path, one that would lead to self-loathing, addiction, and destruction. I was blinded and unaware of the evil that I would do to myself and to others. My unhealthy destructive choices would only intensify with age and become more and more grievous as I plunged headlong into drug and alcohol usage, promiscuity, smoking, and ultimately an abortion.

I just wanted to be loved, but instead I was used and abused and did the same to others. I would continue on this self-destructive path until I was 34 years old. Then, one day in January 1994 in a small Baptist Church, I heard the gospel for the first time: Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on the cross for my sins and the sins of the whole world, was buried and rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. It was His love for me and you that kept Him nailed to that cross. (1 Corinthians 15:3-6, Acts 1:9, Romans 8:34)

I don’t deserve His love, but it is the sweetest gift I have ever been given. I have been forgiven from my sin debt and I have been set free to live the life He created me to live. I am so humbled and grateful to Jesus for His work and for my relationship with Him. I am a new creation in Christ; old things are passed away, behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I have a new life, a new purpose, and a new song in my heart thanks to Jesus.

Joshua 4:1-7

“And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

In His love and service,

—Toni

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Why Didn’t I Trust You, Lord?

Why Didn’t I Trust You, Lord?

This week, it will be 39 years since I had my abortion back in 1980 as a 21-year-old college student. I was far from home and far from God. Why didn’t I trust You Lord and have my baby? Why couldn’t I go to my parents and say I made a mistake? I was paralyzed with fear, anxiety, and torment.

Why didn’t Eve trust God? He was not trying to control them or hold back anything good from them. He was protecting them. Why does God not want us to have sex before marriage? Is He trying to control us or rather, protect us? Sin is destructive, it hurts our relationships with God and others, and it cost our children their lives.

I didn’t trust you Lord because I was not following Your laws and I was not seeking Your wisdom in my life. I was in the clutches of the enemy who was directing my steps and tormenting me to do evil and ungodly things. I was blinded by my own woundedness and my unhealthy coping mechanisms due to my depression, loneliness, isolation, and torment. My spirit was grieved, and suicide became a real consideration, especially after that horrific day: the day I took my baby’s life. But You Lord are gracious and kind, and You pursued me until I came to the end of myself and relinquished control of my life to You. That glorious day was February 6, 1994. I finally realized my life was a mess. I was so lonely and hungered for true healing and fulfillment in my life. I no longer wanted to just get by; I wanted to truly live. In John 10:10 we read Jesus’ Words, The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Going forward from here, how do I trust God and give Him access to all of me? First, I must believe in my heart that He truly loves me and has my best interests at heart. I must recognize that His love does not compare with any other love in this world. It is pure, holy, unselfish, gentle, and eternal. I must repent and turn from my sins and recognize that Jesus died on the cross for MY SINS!!! In Romans 10:9-10, 13, That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I am so grateful for all the pain and brokenness I have experienced in my life, because it is the very thing that brought me to God.

In His love and service,

—Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!