Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sticks and Stones....And God's Loving Faithfulness to Heal

Today's post is extra long...You may want to copy & paste...or just sit with your cup of coffee...because this has to do with something we all face from time to time...The agony of words or actions of someone else which has caused us great pain....for ultimately we have to decide what we will do with it...As Christians, we are to be obedient to God's Word to bless our enemies and to forgive our debtors as we ask Him to forgive us. And by the power of His Blood, we do this in faith and obedience to His Word and out of our love for Him. Yet there are those times that we feel so shattered, that there seems to be no way to heal from it all. We're left reeling and feel like an egg which someone threw against the wall...just a blob at the bottom....Let me encourage you, that His healing is available and He will console those of us who mourn from the pain, and give us His beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Is. 61:3)...for He knows our frame and that He made us from dust. (Ps. 103:14)...For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16) These ARE His promises and He is not a man that He should lie.

I have been seeking the Lord earnestly for the past month about these heart hurdles that just were not healing within...and wrote in my journal yesterday morning: "The greatest battles in life come not from without, but from within. My greatest battles are personal. they come from the self-doubt and anxiety over personal issues. They are those experiences that feel like rusty nails driven into my heart...grinding, twisting themselves into gnawing, festering sores that just don't go away. My issue is that I accept them as the truth about who I am; allowing the words and behavior of others to define who I am before God and myself....ultimately, I allow the enemy full reign in defining who I am, rather than trusting and believing who I am in Christ.

And then a few hours later, my niece had posted the following on Facebook: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words....well, words will hurt me deeply, causing great emotional, mental, and psychological damage leading to a lowered self-esteem and a severe decrease in overall efficiency."....Proverbs 12:18 says it this way: "There is one who speaks like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health."....And I am going to say that it is not only words, but actions...or lack thereof...which also cause a piercing of the heart....We're left with a pile of ashes...dust caked in our mouth...and emotional blood spurting out of every orifice.

I tried as best I could to cope...telling myself that I was OK...continuing to push; much like the Little Engine that Could..."I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."....Until just this past week, the Lord revealed to me the house of cards that I'd constructed to keep myself I'd really turned away from Him...and He lovingly and gently blew my "house down"...whoosh....
For unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. (Ps. 127:1)...and I was laboring in vain. I had discussed it in confidence with a couple friends...but my agony continued.
I had resorted to familiar coping mechanisms which were "comfortable" in time of anguish of soul.

It's easier now to look at this and to understand how I got so far down this road. It's easier now to identify the lies of the enemy, but at the time, the blur seemed to be the reality....For in my heart of hearts, which God just revealed to me a couple of days ago, I had thought that God had passed me by and that I just wasn't good enough for Him....WHAM! Satan whispered in my ear. "See, you're not even good enough for God....".....The piercings from this situation led to my internalizing that even God had rejected me, and that I'd never be emotionally healed enough to minister to others. I had unconsciously determined that God Himself wanted to hurt me and I pulled away from Him - which is a natural, neurological response to pain, but it was not the truth of Who He Is and what was happening.

It is not unusual for traumatic events in the present to still crash headlong into events which happened in our past...thus "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD)....It's easier now, today, to identify the lies of the enemy, but at the time, the blur seemed to be the reality. It is much like mixing paint in a gallon sized can...At first we are able to recognize two separate colors, but the more the paint is stirred and mixed, the less we can differentiate the two...until finally, the two become one. This is the desired result for a can of paint, but not for us!....It occurs when our trauma triggers a neurological response for our body, mind and emotions to come back into balance after it receives the "tilt" signal...and it is an unconscious response to regain a sense of safety and balance, and we do that by reverting to our old ways of coping. The problem is that these "coping" mechanisms oftentimes keep us in bondage and vulnerable to the lies of the enemy, and then they become strongholds in our life.

Many years ago while still in counseling and the Lord revealing deep wounds from my past and then healing them, He helped me to understand that the emotional wounding of our past is in many ways like having been in a severe car accident. We go to the hospital for repair to the body for the damage done to it. The major, visible repairs are done. But it is not uncommon for particles of glass to come to the surface after being embedded for many years due their depth, location and size. Some of the remnants just had to "work themselves out"....And this is what happens over time in our emotional recovery from the past...bit by bit the Lord reveals and heals. So it is that at times...past and present smoosh into one. And even when the don't, current events can just leave us tottering at best to hang onto some semblance of emotional stability.

But as we return to the Lord in faith, He will reveal the pain and strongholds within our hearts which hold us captive - to be set free...for he whom the Son sets free is free indeed. His Word says that we shall know the Truth and the Truth (Jesus) shall set us free; for Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. For it is only when we allow the Holy Spirit to help us face the truth about what is really in our heart, and the pigpen of the enemy's lies and where we've been feasting...are we then able to come out and come back to the Father; allowing His Love to heal us and make us whole. (Luke 15:16-24) In essence, we return to feast at His table; to dine and sup with Him (Rev. 3:20), instead of returning as a dog returns to its own vomit. (Prov. 26:11)

For it is Satan's goal to have us doubt God and to turn from Him. The enemy comes to pound us deeper into despair with lies from the pit of hell..."You know, you're never going to be able to minister...You're a loser...You know the scriptures, but you're not applying them...God doesn't love you...He loves (-----) more than you, because see what they're doing and you're not? They are a better Christian than you...In fact, you're so stupid, you're believing my lies about you."...We could go on and on with the fears and doubts that Satan hurls at us to stop us at the door of His greatest plans for us....And I truly believe this is why....Satan knows the Lord's plans to defeat him through us! So, when he comes against us...he's actually showing us God's plans for our life...plans for good and not for evil - plans to give us a future and a hope....plans to defeat the enemy who fights against the Kingdom of God.

We are able to walk with Jesus...on His path of righteousness...on His path of emotional well-being...toward the brighter tomorrow that He has for us. (Ps. 23:3b, Jer. 29:11-14) He will bring to light that which is in darkness to lift us out of the miry clay, because he who promised is faithful and true. A bruised reed He will not break. His mercies are new every morning. His compassions, they fail not. And there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1) We are more than conquerors through Christ and nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. God is love and there is no fear in love....for if God be for us, who can be against us. (These are all scriptures that I trust you are able to find...if not, please contact me.)

Let me share a personal experience with you from my piano studio....As a piano instructor, it is my responsibility to lovingly correct and disciple my students....There is a great vulnerability in playing piano...What will others think of me?...What does my teacher think about me?...What do I think about me?...I don't play as good as so and so....And one little girl sadly lamented about two years ago, "I'm not very good."....By the way, you should hear her now!
What do they really want? Loving acceptance...even when they need correction...They want to hear "Well done! Bravo!...just like we want to hear "Well done good and faithful servant", when we go Home. We want to know from our Heavenly Father, that no matter what, He loves us and we are special in His sight...and that He's there for us...even when we stumble and fall.....So, I decided to "take a break" from teaching so to just sit back and listen. I've asked my students to play their favorite piece of the week for me...and then I've said, "You know, I so enjoyed listening to you play this piece. Would you please play it for me once more...just so I can enjoy hearing you play it again...because you did such an outstanding job!"....Their faces beam with pride.

So come with me now, to the place where we hear Jesus speak lovingly and tenderly to our hearts with all compassion, mercy, long-suffering and gentleness of heart...."My precious little lamb, I've been looking for you...for you were lost for a little while in your wanderings. But know this for sure, I have not passed you by. I have wonderful things in store for you that you cannot see at this moment. I am calling you back to My heart...I know you've been deeply wounded. But I want you to know that everything you experience on this earth, I've felt and experienced, too. They pierced my head with thorns; they spit on Me; they ripped My beard off My face; they left Me in the Garden of Gethsemane alone to pray while they slept and I asked them to watch with me for only an hour. Was that too much to ask? They called me crazy and said I had a demon; My own fleshly family was ashamed of Me; they gave me a kiss and sent Me to My death...I understand. In this, I was wounded for your healing. I understand. My child, I love you with an everlasting love. I have never left you nor forsaken you; even in your darkest hour. I am by your side always; more than you realize. I promised to never leave you as an orphan, but to comfort you in your affliction and deliver you. Come to Me, My child, with your heart's heavy burden and I will give you rest for you soul." (Matt. 11:28-30)

In closing, may I pray with you as we come before Him together...."Oh Lord, I am so very sorry that I turned from You all this time during my pain and anguish. Forgive me, Lord, for how I ultimately blamed Your for my hurt. Forgive me for how I turned my back on You. Lord, by Your Blood, by faith, I forgive those who have hurt me, and I ask You to bless them, Lord. Help me, Lord. I can't get over this heart hurdle by myself, but You can get me there. I lay my heart at the foot of Your Cross for Your healing. I am willing to give You my bitterness and my pain. I ask You to reveal and heal those areas of my heart that await Your healing as only You can do. I look to You, Jesus, the Glory and Lifter of my head...My Redeemer...My Friend...the Lover of my soul. And Lord, I thank You that You will bring Your Glory to this situation. Amen."

~Back with Him....He will do the rest....

Tenderly and lovingly yours,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

His Grace and Beyond Our Beyond

In seeking the Lord about His direction for some issues that have surfaced over that past couple weeks, I have been drawn to this verse from Psalm 123:2 "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy and loving-kindness for us." (Amplified Version)

So it was that this morning while entering the date in my journal, I began to ponder 10/5/10....Well, 5 is the number of grace...and 10 is a double of 5....So I wrote: Double Grace/Grace/Double Grace....

Then the Lord began to speak with all tenderness and gentleness.....
"My Child, have I not said that My Garce is sufficient for thee? In that what is impossible for you to accomplish on your own, I will do in My Time, My Way, My Power. Just look to Me, My Love; The Author and Finisher of your faith; the Glory and Lifter of your head; the Bright and Morningstar; The Way, The Truth, The Life. I AM.

For I tell you the truth, what you do not yet see, I do. And I will take you there as you continue persevere and trust Me.

O how I love you with an everlasting love. You are Mine and I AM yours. You have Me with you at all times; for I never leave you nor forsake you. You have nothing to fear. I care for My own - yes, even when the winds blow.

Have I not said that I shelter thee under the shadow of My wing? My wing is full of My love, tenderness, mercy and grace.

Come to Me all ye who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest for your soul for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

For trust Me in this: I see beyond your beyond. When you look out - you see an end point, but there is no end point with Me....only eternity; for I see beyond your beyond.

May your heart and soul be encouraged. This is the day which the Lord has made; I shall rejoice and be glad in it.
Ever yours in His love, mercy and grace~
Crista Simmons

Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)