Tag Archives: christian

Know Him As Savior First

An excerpt out of Calling All Workers “The Harvest Is Ripe, the Worker Is You!” by Michelle E. Caswell
Get your copy on purelyhisministry.com, abooksmart.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com or Evangel Bookstore.Screenshot 2015-03-09 20.12.02

The more you realize how much you have truly been forgiven for, the deeper you will be able to love. You are not any better than anyone else. We are all horrible sinners. The quicker you know that, the more deeply you can connect with the Lord and others. God knows how bad we are, how good we think we are, and He still chose us. God sees the end from the beginning. He saw all the sins you were going to commit, and He looked at you and said, “See that one? I’ll take her as my own.” Let that one sink in a minute.

God has so many names and titles, but you need to know Him as your Savior first, because the greatest commandment is love—and the key to experiencing that kind of love is realizing what you’ve been forgiven for.
Those who have been forgiven much, love much.
— Luke 7:47 (paraphrase of verse)

What have you been forgiven for? Reach into the depths of your painful past, and recount the things He has forgiven you for—in order for you to love better. This will also give you the joy of your salvation back! Keep in mind, it’s important to look at your sin without downplaying it by comparing it to someone else’s “worse” sin.

Real Life Example:
I had been in rehab for a few months at the time, and I remember holding onto the “fact” that I was a good person who happened to have a drug addiction. I mean, “Come on Lord…I would give my last cigarette, smoke my last bowl of marijuana with someone, make dinner for elderly neighbors, I was even nice when I turned a guy down who asked me to dance. I was a good person, and I still am.”

I was trying to make myself not feel so bad. In fact, I was justifying my behavior to the Lord, while trying to convince myself that my “good deeds” could cancel out my sin. I wanted to hold onto some shred of self-esteem. That’s when the Lord knocked me off my high horse and showed me my motives.

He said, “Look at the reasons that you chose to do those things for people…it was all about what they thought of you, not that you cared about them. You made dinner for those elderly women, because a guy was watching you—and you wanted him to think that you would be a good wife. Apart from me, you are nothing.”

I doubled over, holding my stomach and bawling. I realized that I had absolutely nothing to offer, and there was no good in me. That’s the day I really began to change. I was emptied of myself, and the Lord was able to start filling me back up with Him.

When you realize the sin in your own life—whether past or present—and recognize Jesus as your much-needed Savior, it will help you relate better to those the Lord calls you to work with, and will give you a deeper compassion for them. You don’t have to have a super crazy testimony to have a deep understanding and appreciation for God’s grace and how to love His people. You don’t need to experience the exact same trauma or sin in your past to be able to empathize with someone’s deep pain. However, when truly recognizing your own deep pains and horrible sin choices, you will be more equipped with compassion than if you don’t allow yourself to go there. So GO THERE. Take some time with the Lord, and ask Him to remind you of all the things He’s forgiven you for—and then begin to thank Him.

Too many times, we want to compare our sins to another, and decide for ourselves that their sin is worse than ours. That is not how the Lord weighs sin. You have been forgiven of so much, so take the time to recognize it, and watch the joy of your salvation return!

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.
But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
— Luke 7:47

Please HELP!?

One of my dear friends is going through a “rough patch” in her life and sent me a text asking for urgent prayer. The basic content of her situation is that she just returned from a trip to find a message that her job had ended abruptly. On top of that, her savings are depleted, her 401k has run out and her daughter’s braces are only half way through the process and the payments will be due soon.

With this sudden loss of income it’s only a matter of time before they lose their apartment. She has plans in place if they lose their home, but they are FAR from ideal. Her son (a junior in high school) would have to stay with his aunt near the school and my friend and her daughter would have to move an hour away to stay with a friend, until she’s able to get “on her feet” financially, which means their family would be separated and her daughter would have to go to an unfamiliar school in another district.

After I got the text and asked more questions to clarify the situation, I immediately told my husband about it and started preaching a sermon right in our kitchen saying, “We as Christians are to take care of our own, we’re called to take care of the poor, the widows and the orphans. We are so stingy with our money and possessions and we need to knock it off. I’m so sick of people not helping those that really need help or saying, I’ll pray for you as a cop-out verses helping them in a practical way. We should just pay for her rent…all of it. I wish I had a stage right now to tell people that this is our duty…to take care of people who really need it. I want to spur people on towards good works. We need to be DOERS of the word not just HEARERS.”

His gentle response surprised me, “You do have a stage.”

Puzzled and a little flustered I responded, “What do you mean?”

He said, “Your website and Facebook. Tell her story and ask them for help.”

So here I am on my virtual stage asking for your help…

I took what my husband said and went to work on it right away, by putting the call out for help late Friday night…I posted a prayer request and a plea for financial help on Facebook and now I’m writing a blog to reach more people. I went to bed thinking about it  and woke up doing the same.
“What can I do? Who do I know that could help her? Lord, please, please help her through Your people.”

So far, only two women have stepped up to help out financially and one is a single mom and the other used to be. I don’t mean to condemn you, but I do mean to shake you up a bit and even upset you to the point that you will choose to help people when they need it. You never know, it may be you that needs the help someday and I could be posting a plea on your behalf.

This is my friend’s greatest fear coming true…losing her home and being separated from her kids. Now I know that there are those that “work the system” but this is not one of them. I run across these situations all the time and I’m pretty discerning about a person’s authenticity. This woman is a classy go-getter who is going through a difficult time in her life and just needs some help to stay afloat. She’s a respectable woman, who doesn’t use drugs or even date. She’s a hard worker, a dedicated mom and an awesome friend to those who get the privilege. She is down to nothing and needs a little time to get a new job, so she is able to support her family again.

Their rent is due on September 1st and is $1, 350. Will you help this family?

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” Proverbs 3:27-28.

To help them out financially:
Please write a check to “Purely His, Inc.” and mail it:
PO Box 656, Medford OR 97501

These are the types of things we do with donations…meeting practical needs is a part of mentoring sometimes. All donations are tax deductible.

Good Witch or Bad?

Screenshot_2013-11-11-18-35-17-1This blog was written by one of Purely His Mentors: Camille Trimmer.

As a kid, I loved going through my mom’s stuff. I remember being in her room one day; I saw this pretty little bag, colorful and decorated with shimmery stars. It felt like a deck of cards inside, so I loosened the draw string, which revealed that it was, in fact a, deck of cards. There were strange, yet intriguing pictures on each card. I knew enough to know that they were tarot cards. The ones that psychics used to tell the future. My mom walked in as I was looking at them and freaked out because now she had to “cleanse” them for a month before she could use them again. That’s right…. just because I touched them. I thought it was pretty goofy and dramatic, but still held an interest in them.

Freshman year, I met the lovely Nikki and her and I became friends and inseparable shortly after meeting each other. We were very much a part of “the weird group” in high school, consisting of your typical goths/punks/druggies/rebels. I spent the night at her house most of the time. Her mom was hardly ever home and let us smoke and drink. Now, I knew Nikki was into some weird stuff. She had already told me that she was Wiccan, “which was not to be confused with a witch!!” Heaven forbid I ever call her that. No, she explained that Wiccans had rules. Standards. Principles. Whatever.

Nikki and I got together at her place after school. She was teaching me to belly dance. After we were done one day, Nikki asked me if I wanted to call upon spirits with her. Well… why not? We already had the lights out, curtains closed, candles lit. I suppose I’ve always been perceptive to spirits, even before I got saved. I could sense energies, and I knew this was real and not just some fluke. Afterwards, I told her I wanted to become Wiccan. Then began my training process. She also began training my boyfriend at the time. It’s funny to think about it now… but he and I became very competitive throughout the whole thing. Witches vs. Warlocks?

My parents shipped me off to Arizona right before my sixteenth birthday. There I lived with my Grandma to learn not to be such a problem child. No more Nikki, no more Chris. I wasn’t even allowed to contact them. Living with my Grandma really brought my Wiccan activity to a halt for a while…. But after running away so many times, I landed up in foster care. There I had much more freedom to practice Wicca. My foster dad picked me up from Juvi and the first thing I did when I got my personal belongings was put on my pentagram necklace. It didn’t faze him. My foster mom said I was allowed to practice any religion I want without their judgment. Sweet, this was a first. So I made myself at home there and had my very own Wiccan altar in my room.

Wicca is an interesting religion. While I did believe in gods and goddesses and even felt a connection with certain spirits… I remember feeling that I was really my own God. My only true rule being “and these eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, and harm ye none, do as ye will.” Living in a very prominent Mormon town, I got into religious debates on the daily. Most classmates thought I was a Satanist and I thought they were stupid. I didn’t even believe in absolute good or absolute evil.

My practice continued for years, up until I moved again.

Now we’ll skip ahead to where I get saved, baptized, and start living for the Lord. I’m at a Ranch in the middle of nowhere Oregon. Life is good and I’ve left Wicca behind along with a ton of other junk. I was living with Michelle in her cabin and I woke up one morning very distraught. We had a Girl’s meeting that morning and right afterward I said “Michelle, I really gotta talk to you. Something happened last night and it’s hard to explain.” She replied with “I have to talk to you too. I have a feeling I know what you want to talk about.” Well, what happened is that I slipped into the astral plane. I suppose its best described as lucid dreaming, but not always being able to control what happens throughout the dream.

I explained to her that I was in the woods nearby and I could see the eyes of demons staring at me. I could feel them burning with hatred towards me. I knew they wouldn’t, and even couldn’t, attack me, but I was still fearful. They knew I wasn’t on their side anymore. After telling Michelle the dream, she told me that she had a dream about me and woke up with a loud thought “WITCHCRAFT.” Weird! It was definitely the Lord. I think He was preparing her for what I was telling her that morning, because here was Michelle who knew nothing of Wicca on a personal level, telling me that we need to close that door. We prayed that morning and I denounced Wicca aloud. I haven’t had any accidental slips into the astral plane or any desire to practice Wicca since that prayer.

Thinking back on it now, I can see how lonely I was practicing Wicca. I don’t know how to better explain it, but I believe this goes for most other religions as well, because you can’t have personal relationships with these gods and goddesses. There’s rituals and ceremonies and offerings that must take place and even then, you can only hope that they’re pleased with you. When you ask Jesus to be your Savior, you know that He died to have a relationship with you. That you are not just praying to a distant God, but to a loving Father who calls you His child.

You see, Purely His Mentors like myself come from all different backgrounds. Michelle has been mentoring me ever since I gave my life to the Lord, sharing the hope in Christ that SHE had, so that I may share the hope the hope I now have in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the old things pass away and behold a new creation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 This scripture is an amazing truth to me and can be the same for anyone who gives their life to the one true God who laid down His life for you.

Stephanie’s Story Part 2

This blog is written by Stephanie Thorne, who is one of our awesome mentors!

….continued from Monday’s blog.

I bet you’re wondering how I went from pregnant and alone to having a wonderful family…the answer is: a car accident and God’s crazy sense of humor.

At the end of February 2008, there was a horrible car accident on a back road that I often drove. The driver’s name was Stephanie Baker and my maiden name was Baker, fortunately I was not the driver of that car. There was another girl with the same name and age, with a male passenger that was the same age as my baby’s biological father. I started getting phone calls around midnight and the phone continued to ring for three days. God used that horrible accident to show me how many people truly cared about me, including my ex-husband. He also used it to soften my heart for what was to come.

My ex-husband frantically tracked me down at work after checking the hospital that he thought I was at. He was adamant and said that he needed to speak with me and refused to be put off. After much pestering on his part and a nagging feeling in my heart that I should meet with him, I finally agreed. We decided to meet at a local restaurant, thinking if nothing else it would get him to leave me alone. I was about four months pregnant at that point and was totally showing, so it was pretty hard to hide.

I sat in front of him ashamed of where my life had taken me, and was waiting for his inevitable, judgmental kiss off. After all, he knew that I was pregnant and he was not the father obviously. Besides, why would he treat me any different than everyone else had? They all treated me like the outcast I already believed I was, so I braced myself for what he was about to say.

However, his response shocked me…he told me how scared he was when he thought it was me that had the accident and that’s what it took for him to realize that he still loved me. He asked my forgiveness for his part in our divorce and everything else. I couldn’t believe what was coming out of his mouth. He went on to tell me about this little church that he had been attending and how accepting they were of him and how much he had been learning.

After his sincere apology and forgiving each other, we started dating each other again. It took a lot of grace, healing and marriage counseling, but we decided to get remarried! My wonderful husband not only took me back with wide open and accepting arms, but he also adopted my daughter before she was even born. She heard his voice from inside me, and he was there to feel her kick for the first time. She was and is always on his mind and heart. He has loved her as his own and has never treated her as anything less than his princess.

Even though God had blessed both us in this way, I still constantly dreaded the day that we would have to tell her that the only daddy she had ever known was not her biological dad. I kept imagining the questions she would ask and rehearsing the answers that I would be ashamed to give her. Just a few months ago that much dreaded time had come where I had to face my fears and tell her the truth. We wanted her to hear it from us, so that we didn’t risk her hearing from someone else, as we live in the same town as the biological father.

My heart felt like it was about to pound out of my chest when the time came, but once again the response I dreaded, didn’t happen like I imagined. When we finally laid it out in an age appropriate manner, she simply accepted it and went on with her night. This daughter of ours is crazy smart for a five year old and is so secure in her daddies’ love that it was no big deal. I looked at her confident response and thought “What an incredible picture of the Father’s Love for us. We should all be as secure as she is.”

So there you have it…my life went from bad to worse and now a miracle. God has brought me to a place of redemption through His mercy, grace and protection. I am secure, most days, in who I am to God, but when the hard days come and it’s hard to remember, all I have to do is look at the security in my daughter eyes and I snap out of it. Thanks be to God, who restored everything that my sin and rebellion had stolen from me.

Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie Thorne FamThis blog was written by one of Purely His Mentors-Stephanie Thorne.

In December 2007, I discovered that I was pregnant. After my initial reaction of panic wore off, shame set in. I feared being labeled a “slut,” because I was recently divorced and it was not my ex-husband’s child. I disappointed my family, friends and myself. There I was, a Christian in my darkest hour…I turned from God to do my own thing and I ended up getting pregnant out of wedlock. I chose to keep my daughter, even though the biological father didn’t like that idea, because he wanted me to abort her. I left him when I was three months pregnant, because he physically abused me in hopes of terminating the pregnancy.

I needed help, so I decided to have coffee with an upstanding Christian woman who had been my mentor for a couple of years and I had believed that she cared about me. I poured out my trouble and how terrified I was of the man I had invited into my life. She callously told me that I reaping what I had sown, because sin has consequences. She basically told me that I needed to “suck it up.”

REALLY!? I already knew that…I already felt convicted and even believed that God had turned His back on me. I didn’t need anyone to point out that I screwed up…that was pretty obvious. Her comments and icy demeanor convinced me that I was right. I needed someone to SPEAK LOVE, not condemn me. I didn’t come back to the church for quite some time after that meeting.

In a month and a half at the ripe old age of 22, I had become a divorcee, an alcoholic slut and an unwed mother with a bastard child. I felt like I lost everything…including my faith and even my own family turned on me. I felt unlovable because I acted out of the hurt in my life and made poor choices. The way that others treated me at that time, made me believe that I had failed at life. This is why people who “get it” need to teach others how to effectively mentor, so we can stop hurting others. What does that look like? I’m so glad you asked, let me share with you.

We need to be intentional, by speaking LOVE AND TRUTH over these Girls and their children. Walk up and talk to her, ask about her week and wait for the answer. If you’re not sincere, she’ll know it and you just wasted your words. Make sure that you tell her that God loves her and her child, no matter how the baby was conceived. She needs to know what God really thinks of her and her child. SHOW LOVE to them. STEP UP and be a friend by offering to babysit, maybe become an auntie or uncle to her child. WALK BESIDE them and make sure they know that they’re not alone. INVEST time in her and her child and be stubborn about it, because she will likely try and push you away, because she feels rejected and abandoned, so to protect herself she will want to reject you first. Don’t let her, aggressively pursue her on behalf of our Lord.

I know that this message may be offensive to some of you, but I’m okay with that…because I love you enough to offend you in hopes to be like Jesus and get down on my knee and write in the sand on behalf of these Girls. This is part of the reason that I am so excited to be a part of Purely His, because I can be part of a movement to reach young moms who are heavy on my heart. I am learning how to effectively mentor alongside a group of awesomely diverse women who “get it.” With the Lord’s help and our commitment to helping each other, we’re ready change the world one Girl at a time!

Jesus doesn’t want us to just help a pregnant Girl choose life for her unborn child and not abort. He wants us to help her choose LIFE for her CHILD and HERSELF. He wants us to bring her back into the fold, His fold. Let’s make sure that my story stops repeating itself within our churches, by teaching mentors how to speak to the Girls who have lost their way and draw them back to our Lord, The Father, Healer and Great Redeemer. They may not have anywhere else to turn-they should be able to turn to us.

 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11 (NLT)

Walk It Out

I would surrender my sexual addiction several times a day. I did everything I could to get rid of the thoughts and desires, I would sing “Jesus lover of my soul” every time I had a sexual thought or saw a cute guy, so basically I sang that song all the time. I would beg God to deliver me from it “Lord, take it away…I don’t want it! Please Lord…please.”

“I’m sorry Michelle, but this one you’re going to have to walk out.” That was NOT the answer I wanted or believed was in MY best interest.

I questioned why the Lord would not deliver me from the thoughts and desires that seemed to plague me. Was God choosing not to help me?  Did He want me to experience the consequences of my sin?  Was I just born that way?  I began to think of it as a “thorn in my side,” similar to the affliction the Lord declined to deliver the Apostle Paul from. I wasn’t participating in the act of sex, but the pornographic thoughts still ruled my days. Here I was in a Christian rehab setting surrounded by the word of God, prayer, and classes about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but I still couldn’t look at person without picturing them naked, including the pastor. I felt horrible about myself, I would often think “What is wrong with me?”

The worst part was that NO ONE could relate to my struggle…I was surrounded by women that were comfortably abstinent and didn’t feel the need to have male attention. They thought that I should just “knock it off and get over it.” I felt so alone and ashamed. I even prayed for the gift of celibacy, but never got it. My cravings never went away, they changed, but it was a constant struggle that I had to work on. Time and time again I would surrender it to the Lord and beg Him to take away the desires, but He simply repeated himself while affirming that He was walking beside me WHILE I bore this burden.

I finally decided to ask, “Why Lord? Why won’t you just take this from me? You delivered me from all my other addictions, why not this one? Why do I have to walk it out?”

He replied, Because you will be walking other women out.” Oh…wow! His answer gave my struggle a purpose. It became another motivation that the Lord used to encourage me not to skip any steps in my healing. He knew that He would someday use my experience and the story of my healing to encourage others through similar struggles.  In His infinite wisdom, the Lord did not allow me to take the easy route. He “blessed” me with the burden of having to walk through my healing in order that the ministry He was preparing me for would be legitimate and fruitful.

Since I’ve been set free I’ve encountered many women who share the same struggle I once did. I love that I am able to be used by the Lord as a source of comfort, encouragement and guidance. I longed to have someone in my life that could relate to me and share in my struggle, but that didn’t happen, however I love that am I able to fulfill that role…to be “the someone” these women can relate to and trust to help them navigate the path to becoming Purely His.

Is there something that you’re walking through or healing from that you believe no one understands? Perhaps the Lord wants to use you to blaze a trail for others that are struggling through the same issue you are. I encourage you to look to the Lord for the strength to “Walk it out.” It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, SO THAT we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Drugs are Fun!

I know my title may throw you off a bit, but people wonder “Why does she do drugs?”

Well… when the rest of my life was spinning out of control, at least I could FEEL good for a little while. The drugs made things seem euphoric which tricked me into feeling happy and content, like all was well in the world. It was my escape from reality. It came with a false sense of security in trusting the people around me, I would get into conversations with other people who were also high and would feel like we totally connected and could become great friends, only to find that my CD’s disappeared when they did. It gave me the freedom to be “me” without reservation, in other words I would do things without restraint or inhibitions. I would get involved in dangerous things and it would feel exhilarating, not intimidating. I could get more done as a single mom, it even made chores fun. I lost weight, had more energy, and didn’t have to worry about “missing” anything while I was sleeping because the drugs kept me awake and active. Even the sex was better. It was cheap and easily accessible. Sin is pleasurable for a time and drugs DO feel good, which is why people choose to indulge.

My sister once told me to either wear a higher-cut shirt or lay off the drugs and eat for a few days, because the bones in my chest were showing. At the time I only weighed 90 pounds, a far cry from my “current” weight of 140.  I didn’t realize how obvious it was to everyone else that I looked like an unhealthy, strung-out drug addict.  I thought I looked good and was doing a great job of deceiving everyone else. I remember panicking before work one day because my dealer couldn’t deliver my drugs until after my shift started. My employer had never seen me sober before and I was scared they might think something was amiss if they saw me in my “normal” state.  In my desperation, I crushed up an Ecstasy pill (the only drug I could find), snorted it up my nose, and headed out the door to work.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve taken notice of a few ladies at the grocery store who were completely “tweaking” out of their minds. It just amazes me that they don’t think anyone can tell. I want to walk up to them and say “You know that everyone knows your high, right?” It makes me wonder if I looked that bad. Oh my…how embarrassing to look back and ponder the answer to that question. I probably looked the same way they do now.

There comes a time when a person has to admit that they are no longer controlling their sin, so let’s “keep it real.” We all choose different ways to deal or cope with the disappointments in life. I chose drugs and sex. What did you choose? What are you choosing now? Instead of coping, how about healing, so you don’t have to cope anymore? Coping is what we have to do when we are surviving through something, but I am here to tell you that you have survived. It’s time to heal now. So when and how are you going to stop?

The consequences of my decision to use drugs severely and negatively impacted my life and the lives of my children. I wish with all my heart that I had chosen another route, but by God’s grace I overcame my addictions, received healing and learned how to cope with difficult times in a healthy manner.

A message to parents…don’t forget to include that “drugs are fun” and that’s why people start doing them. Parents usually only say “drugs are bad” and here’s the consequences and that’s true and should be talked about, but they forget to tell their kids why people start and that they are fun. The same goes with the sex talk…it feels good and that’s why people do it. Sin is pleasurable, but only temporarily,  addictions are much longer and anything but pleasurable.

“He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:25-26

Pregnant Again?? Part 1

I’d been sharing my story on a regular basis for years, but would exclude talking about the abortions, because I wasn’t healed yet. I was full of shame and guilt, believing it to be the unforgiveable sin, especially since I knew better. I was tormented with the fear of being thrown into Hell, because of my choices. I didn’t believe that I was actually saved, even though I professed to be a Christian and was living like one too. How could Jesus forgive me for what I did, TWICE??

Throughout my years of intense healing this one ranked in the top 3 for the most painful. It took EVERYTHING in me to accept forgiveness from God and then to forgive myself. It may sound crazy to you, but once I did-I was able to freely share it without the presence of shame. I WAS FREE.

We all have our reasons for why we chose to have abortions such as, coerced by a parent or boyfriend, rape, lack of financial stability, timing, drug addiction, whatever the reason, there are no excuses-only reasons. It is always our choice and that’s why it is so hard to forgive ourselves, because we have to own our part, truly own it.

The good news is, you can be healed from the shame and guilt, but there are other consequences that last longer and can be triggered when you least expect it. For instance, my boys were coming to watch me speak at a church and I knew I would be sharing about the abortions, so I needed to share with them first. I didn’t think it would be that difficult for them, because they knew a lot about my past already, however the response they gave was not the one I anticipated at all. The boys were probably 12 and 15 at the time and they responded by saying “So…wait a minute. Was it a boy or a girl? So…we’re supposed to have 2 other sisters or brothers? How old were they? What were their names? So…you killed them? Why?”

Answering their questions was extremely hard, but necessary for them and me. God used that situation to deepen my healing and I was able to use it to warn my sons about the reasons why they shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage and really thinking through their choices in life, because when I made the choice to abort my other two babies I also made the choice to abort my son’s siblings. I sure wasn’t thinking about that when I did it. I was only thinking about my inability to provide financially for more children and the inconvenience it would have been on my life.

A few years later a friend from church approached me after a Bible study and asked if she could meet with me that week? She looked like she was about to “drop a bomb,” but I didn’t have a clue as to what it was. Two days later she walked into my office, sat on the couch and simultaneously grabbed a tissue in anticipation of what was to come.

“I bet you already know why I’m here, huh?” “Actually…no. I’ve been praying about this meeting and all I know is you’re probably about to confess something, but that’s it,” as I shrugged my shoulders. She went on to say “I’ve heard you tell your story several times and would think to myself, ‘My story is far worse than even Michelle’s’ until you shared another part of your story in Bible study.” Puzzled I tried to recall what I said, but couldn’t figure it out. “What did I share?”

She burst into tears…“You committed the same horrible sin that I did…you had an abortion too,” and she lost it…sobbing hard. She continued by saying “Nobody knows this secret except for my sister, not even my husband. That decision has been haunting me for over 20 years! I am constantly ashamed, full of anxiety and won’t get involved in any type of ministry because of it. I am so afraid of people finding out what a horrible person I am. I knew it was wrong and I did it anyways. How can I ever heal from this? How do I get to where you are now?”

I had walked this path myself, so I knew what she needed to do. I helped her accept forgiveness from Jesus and then to forgive herself. Right before my very eyes a MIRACLE took place, the shame instantly left her tear stained face and the burden was lifted from her shoulders. God set her free from a 20 year torment in just one moment and all she had to do was allow Him to. Every time I look at her now-I see a woman who is free, free in Christ. I wish more women knew that they didn’t have to stay in bondage to the shame that accompanies this type of sin. Hmm…maybe they will now?

I love being used by God to assist others in getting free from the pain that held me captive for many years, not only does it help them, but it continues to heal me at a deeper level too. My favorite part is realizing that all the pain I’ve endured in this life can be used to help others as long as I’ve been healed from it. If I wouldn’t have been healed enough to share what I did that day, my friend would still be in bondage and so would I.

I want to encourage those of you reading this to get the healing you need, so that you can be an instrument of healing for someone else. Everyone has a different method to heal, choose what will work best for you. Maybe you don’t have a desire to mentor like I do, but I bet you can relate to someone through your story, pray for them and give them a referral for someone else who could help them heal? Just sayin’. Please don’t let your story go to waste. It has been written for a reason, use it to help someone else write their next chapter. Think of the steps you could save them, because you have gone before them.

To be continued on Wednesday…

A Good Trade

20131013_094312A dear friend of mine asked me to pray for his niece who was hooked on heroin and involved with a much older man in an abusive relationship. Over the next several months I prayed earnestly and specifically as I could vividly imagine what she was going through. Several months later the Lord had His way and brought her to live in the ministry that I worked at. She strutted in with her hardened exterior, sunglasses to cover her black eye, dressed head to toe in black, topped off with a leather jacket, combat boots, a tutu and several piercings on her face.

She didn’t believe in God at the time, but she knew of Him through her grandpa whom she dearly loved. She was in no way a Christian at the time, on the contrary she actually used to be a practicing witch. We shared similar personalities and past experiences, making it easy to become very close as I took her “under my wing.” I didn’t push God or my beliefs on her, but I in no way hid my faith either. I shared my past experiences and how I was able to get out and stay out.  She watched and wondered, later telling me that she admired the freedom I had and secretly desired it.

A former Atheist had the privilege of leading her to the Lord and a former drug addict (me) had the privilege of teaching her how to surrender her life to Him. Keep in mind that I had nurtured this relationship for some time, so she knew I cared about her and respected her. Once she was saved and had the desire to get free and grow in Him then I was able to help, because it’s impossible to help someone who isn’t ready or doesn’t want it, but if she is…watch out, she’s about to grow rapidly. And she did!

The scripture God gave me for her was “Old things pass away, behold a new creation” 2 Corinthians 5:17 or as I like to say “out with the old and in with the new.” I always challenged the “fighter” in her to get rid of ANYTHING that stood in her way of total freedom in Christ. “You went all in for Satan, so why would you give God any less?” I lovingly nicknamed her “Camarillo the Southwest Princess” or Cam for short.

I always start small, so the first thing I asked her to surrender was a shirt she wore all the time (including to Bible study) that said “Satanic” on it. She said “What’s wrong with my shirt?” I laughed and said “You’re kidding right?” She giggled and then chucked the shirt into the dumpster. I encouraged her to get rid of anything from her old life that triggered her, made her feel shame or represented glorifying another god.

Her appearance offended a few people who thought that she shouldn’t be “allowed” to wear certain kinds of clothing or have all the piercings on her face, because she didn’t “look” like a Christian. Well what does a Christian look like anyways? Some suggested that I have her take them out, but I knew that I needed to wait on the Lord’s timing, so that she would be ready to surrender that part of her past. I have learned to follow Jesus’ example by focusing on cleaning the inside rather than the outside, besides the outside eventually begins reflecting the inside on its own. Side note: I am NOT against piercings or tattoos, I have them myself, in fact my son is a tattoo artist and I even paid for his first tattoo as a graduation present. This was a personal journey that this particular Girl was on and the piercings represented her old life that she was trying to rid her present of.

Several months had passed and Cam was now living with me. She came in one day with some of the Girls and noticed a ring I was wearing that had a huge amber colored stone, she grabbed my hand to admire it “Shell that is a seriously awesome ring!” She giggled and said, “Can I have it?” I kept showing it to her as I plotted my move. “Here, want to try it on? I’d be willing to trade you.” She responded, “For what? I don’t have anything.” I replied, “I know…I’ll trade your tongue ring for my ring.” She started cracking up as she proceeded to unscrew it from her tongue and spit it into my open hand. Then she took my ring, put it on her finger and said “Thanks Shell that was a good trade.” I went over to the garbage can to throw away her spit covered tongue ring. “Out with the old and in with the new.”

Camarillo still comes to me for advice, encouragement and prayer, but I also go to her for the same things now. That’s how this whole thing should work. The Girls you mentor should pass you up or at least become your equals, spiritually speaking. She has over three years clean and hasn’t been in an abusive relationship or any other romantic relationship since. I can’t wait to meet the man that the Lord has picked out for this precious beauty of His. She faithfully serves Jesus wherever she goes, looking for opportunities to share His goodness with others. Her outside is still edgy but her heart is all mushy for Jesus. Her demeanor is full of joy and humble confidence in Him, all because she made the choice to give it all up for Jesus who gave it all up for her and now she’s one of His miracles. She recently informed me that in the not-so-distant future she’ll be moving to this area to work alongside me in Purely His, so we can reach the un-reachables together. My heart is overjoyed by this news!

I spoke with The Southwest Princess today to ask permission to share this story with all of you and she said “Yes!!! I’m honored that you would want to write about me. Surrendering is never pleasant at the time, so glad I did it!!! Still have to do it constantly though. Lol.”

What’s in the way of you becoming all that God has destined you to be? Is there something that the Lord is asking you to give up for Him today?

Worth the Wait

I was in rehab when I made the commitment to wait for marriage before having sex again. I went public by confessing to those around me “I’m going to stay celibate the whole time I’m in here, but as soon as I get out of here I’ve got to get married right away, so I don’t backslide, besides it’ll only be a year from now.” What I thought would only be a year, ended up being almost seven years. Needless to say, I learned how to wait well. It was so important to me to experience living in God’s perfect will for my life, verses settling for part of it, like I did previously. Waiting to meet my husband was THE longest and most difficult lesson on waiting that I’ve endured so far and let me tell you-he was WORTH THE WAIT. My husband is the most awesome man I have ever had the privilege of meeting and I waited a long time for him. Meeting him didn’t end my lessons on waiting though, oh no. Due to our long distance relationship we waited weeks at a time to see each other, we also waited to have sex until our wedding night, and then to top it off we waited until six months after getting married to live together.

I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting. However, I do love the fruit that waiting has produced in me, especially in learning how to love the way God designed it. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and it always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

You may not FEEL patient in a love relationship or waiting for it, but love is not just a feeling, it’s an action. I didn’t feel patient while waiting, but I demonstrated patience by waiting. If you’re currently in a dating relationship that has become sexual, let me challenge you to start demonstrating true love for one another by waiting until you’re married to have sex again.  If one or both of you is unwilling to wait, you need to ask yourself if what you have is true love, or simply lust. Despite falling into temptation, it’s not too late to finish strong and show each other that you are both WORTH THE WAIT!