Tag Archives: healing

Abandoned by God

Original Post October of 2013

I used to feel Him all the time as a little girl, knowing He was with me wherever I went, even when I was in trouble and sent to my room. I used to make up songs to sing to Him and I could tell He really liked my singing! We did everything together. Jesus was my best friend.

Fast forward twenty something years…I was having a hard time with who God had become. In my mind, He left me and was way up in Heaven sitting on a throne where He judged me and every other sinner. It was like He had a G.P.S. unit on me, so He knew where I was and what I was doing wrong. He was not happy with me, in fact He was very disappointed and mad at me! He would look at me and shake his head from side to side in disgust saying, “Get it together, will ya? You know better!”

Down on my knees in prayer I would beg Him not to leave me. Over and over again I would pray “Please Lord don’t leave me, please Lord. I’m so sorry for messing up, please forgive me. I’m trying, I’m really trying this time!” I had so much fear of not “making the cut” and Him leaving me again. I knew that He could never love me or even like me with ALL that I had done, but I was still hoping He might let me into Heaven if I did enough good deeds and didn’t mess up anymore.

Fast forward another year…I was really struggling with anxiety over some inappropriate thoughts I was having, so I went on a “praise walk” through the forest with someone and began thanking the Lord out-loud for the blessings He had given me, just trying to get my anxiety to calm down. We decided to sit down on a bench and pray it out. With a very heavy heart and my head bowed, I began crying out to God. “Lord, I am so unworthy. I am so unworthy. I don’t even know why you chose me? I keep messing up! Please, please don’t leave me.”

As my head hung down in utter shame and insecurity, I felt the Lord come down off His throne and kneel down beside me. He put His arm around my shoulder and looked at me. To my shock and dismay, it was JESUS, MY FRIEND-the One I knew when I was little!!

He gently said, “Michelle, I AM the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I didn’t change, just your view of Me did. When I said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you, that meant I would never leave your body. I have always been with you and I always will be.”

Tears poured from my eyes and dripped off my face. I felt so happy to have my friend back and so relieved that He wasn’t going to leave me! That truth was HUGELY eye opening for me; from the time I got saved by confessing that Jesus was my Lord and Savior, He had been with me and had never and will never leave me! That was the day that the Lord healed my fear of abandonment (with Him at least). “Know the truth and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

This revelation was not just for me, it’s for YOU too. Take the Lord at His word today and be set free in this area like I was.

High Heels

20140503_171234Last week my husband and I had the rare opportunity to attend an evening church service together, without our kids, so we decided to make a mini date out of it. But shortly before we left I received a phone call from a woman I currently mentor who wanted to introduce me to her daughter that night at church. It was a pretty big deal, because I had been mentoring this mom on how to relate to her daughter who struggles with major sexual sin and calls her parents “vanilla” because they don’t have a clue when it comes to her current lifestyle. I told her I would make a point to get sidetracked on purpose while we were at church, so I could meet her and hopefully make a connection.

I shared the exciting news with my husband and he replied “That’s very cool…I know that you’ve been eager to meet her. It’s a nice night out, would you like to ride the street bike or take the truck?”

“Okay Husband, this might sound silly, because I would rather ride on the bike, but I also want to wear my new sexy high heels, which would mean we would have to take the truck, so I’m a little torn.”

“Well, what do you think this Girl would respond to most…you wearing jeans and carrying a helmet or a dress and your new shoes?”

“We are totally on the same page! She’s the reason I want to wear those shoes, first of all they’re awesome, but mostly because I think she’ll notice them and it might give me an in.”

My memories took me back to my lifestyle prior to going all in with Jesus. I always had a desire to be good someday, but my misconception of Christian women held me back. I thought “How can I ever be a no makeup wearing, baggy jean dress with no waist, bun on the head, with white socks folded over leather strapped shoes, soft spoken kind of Girl? NO THANK YOU!” Now I get that this is not what most Christian women look like, but it was my perceived reality.

At that time, sex exuded from every pore in my body. Not only did I think about sex all the time, but I dressed in a way to make others think about it every time they saw me. From the top of my head-down to my high heels, my look screamed stripper, prostitute or slut. I loved turning heads and raising the eyebrows of everyone I walked by and became addicted to the attention I got so I sought it constantly, but it was never enough.

Several years later I attended a church service while in rehab and I looked on the stage to see my pastor’s wife wearing a really cute suit, make-up and very sexy high heels. Not only was she pretty, but she was classy, Godly and spoke with power and authority. There was nothing soft spoken or frumpy about her. Seeing her dressed this way gave me hope that maybe I could become like her someday…Godly AND sexy.

My hope for this “chance” meeting at church with the young lady was that she would be able to see that Christian women come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds and that she could fit in too. So I decided on wearing a black dress and my new high heels, but as soon as I slipped the shoes on, the fear of judgment gripped me and I called out to my husband. “I can’t wear these shoes to church. There’s no way. They look inappropriate and people aren’t going to know why I’m wearing them and they might think I have the impure motives.”

My husband came back into the bedroom and gently but firmly replied, “First of all, you look gorgeous and Godly. You do not look impure, so don’t fear judgment. God is going to use you tonight to reach a very lost Girl, so you should wear the shoes.”

“Okay, if you’re sure that I don’t look inappropriate then I’ll wear them.” Even though I was afraid of judgment that night, I wore them anyways and pushed through the fear. Throughout the night as the fear came back I just kept reminding myself that I was a new creation, forgiven, pure and set apart for God’s purposes.

I did have the privilege of meeting her daughter that night and we connected, so now I have a relationship with both mother and daughter and I’m excited to see how the Lord will be using me in this family’s life!

What Satan meant for evil-God used for good. I used to use those types of shoes to lure men for dishonor-now they’re used to lure Girls for honor. You see, the Lord can and will redeem anything you surrender to Him…even High Heels.

Vanilla Coffee

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My husband came in the house with a bag of groceries the other day and said “Hi Babe, I decided to slow down on buying coffee from Dutch Bros, so I bought some flavored coffee from Winco to save money and cut back on sugar.”

I thought to myself, “Oh no…please don’t say vanilla flavored coffee.”

Feeling proud of himself, he pulled the small packages out of the grocery bag, looked at them and said “I got two flavors: vanilla and chocolate macadamia nut!”

Me: “Of course you bought vanilla flavored coffee.”

Husband: “I take it you don’t like that kind of coffee?”

Me: “No, the smell of it is a major trigger for me. It reminds me of the first abortion I had.”

Husband: “I’m sorry, I’ll just put it out in the truck and take it to work with me. There’s no reason for you to go through that.”

Me: “Tempting, but I think today is the day for me to face this trigger head on. I’m going to make a pot of it and replace an old horrible memory with a new memory.”

I walked over to our coffee bar, opened the white bag of freshly ground vanilla coffee and took a deep whiff. I instantly felt sick to my stomach, like morning sickness. “Lord, please redeem this smell. Please heal me and remind me of my new life. I do not want to fear this smell anymore.” I scooped the fresh grounds into the coffee maker, poured the cold water in and pressed the ‘on’ button. The aroma filled the air. Not only did I feel sick, but shame and guilt accompanied it. I wanted to go outside and get away from the smell, but I stood still instead.

My husband walked back into the room and noticed that I was pretty uncomfortable to say the least and asked, “When you smell vanilla coffee brewing, where does it take you back to?”

My body was stiff and there was a very distant look in my eyes, “I’m standing in the living room of my small apartment, looking towards the kitchen. My roommate bought vanilla flavored coffee. It’s brewing and the smell has permeated the room. I’m 19, pregnant, sick to my stomach and contemplating abortion. The thought of killing my baby feels like a part of me is about to die too. My son is only a year old and I’m working a dead end job, so I can’t imagine being able to take care of another child. The father of the baby is a nice guy, but that’s not going to stop me. I lied to him and said I miscarried.”

Husband: “I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that.” He came up to me, wrapped his arms around me and prayed that the Lord would heal me and remind me of the woman I am today.

Me: “I’m tired of avoiding this smell and getting triggered every time I smell it, it even bothers when I’m in the coffee isle at the grocery store.  I’m going to pour myself a cup and drink it while we sit together. I’m tired of the Enemy using this smell to torture me.”

We made our cups of coffee and headed to the sunny back porch. We enjoyed each other’s company and our coffee. I must say, I was surprised that I did not gag…I actually enjoyed it, as I thanked the Lord out-loud for my new life.

Smells and music are huge triggers for most people and you never know when a trigger is going to get hit, so it’s hard to prepare for. However, when it does happen, you can choose to keep the trigger OR  be healed from it. So the next time one of your triggers gets hit, try something different than before. Face it, walk through it and make a new memory on top of an old one. It is also powerful to talk with someone as it is happening and explain what it was like to go through it. Is there a smell or a song that you have been avoiding, as well, because the Lord wants to completely heal you, won’t you let Him?

Healed Again

A couple weeks ago, my husband asked if I’d be interested in joining a gym with him. A gym membership?? Uh…no. Well…I don’t know…maybe? I hadn’t been to a gym since I gave my life to the Lord and gave up all the things that blocked my relationship with Him and I still avoid certain places to keep from backsliding into my past and into the addictions that used to own me. I always considered the gym atmosphere as a “meat market” in other words, a place to check out guys and “hook up.”

It took years to train myself to look at men in the eyes and not just check out their bodies or use my body to entice them. I worked so hard at training my mind, eyes and body to follow the Lord and not my lustful desires. So when Matt asked if I wanted to join a gym, I got scared. Was it a safe place for me, him, our marriage?

I shared my hesitation with my him and explained that I understood that most people look at a gym and think of it as a place to get healthy, but I viewed it as an unhealthy environment full of temptation. There would be a lot of men there, but also the competition and comparison that I may fall into with other women. I assured him that I wasn’t afraid of having a wandering eye, I was just scared because of what it USED to be for me. There were so many fears, so many “what ifs?” However, I know that the Lord redeemed me and I needed to trust that He could even redeem the gym atmosphere as well, so we decided to take a tour the following morning.

We walked in the front doors and the smell of sweat, tanning oil, and cologne permeated the lobby. It smelled the same-it looked the same and the fear set in. Just then a cute little gal approached us with a warm welcome and off we went to tour the building. I nervously clutched my husband’s arm, looking at the floor or off in the distance trying not making eye contact or watch people work out. I probably looked insecure or stuck up, but I went into protective mode anyways. I was feeling really uncomfortable, but fighting through it by praying silently, “Lord remind me that I am new. Remind me that I am not that same girl and I have nothing to fear.”

We sat down with the young woman that gave us the tour and started talking about membership then she shared part of her story and my ears perked up. I asked questions and she answered. She really opened up to us and in return I shared parts of my past that she could relate to, including why I was so intimidated in that place. We ended up talking for quite a while about everything, but the membership. We shared some really intimate details and connected on a deep level.

I was completely in my element talking freely about Jesus and what He’s done in our lives. You see, the Lord used me to encourage her and used her to make what was once evil into something Holy. That was the day that God turned a “meat market” into a place of ministry. He took an unhealthy place and made it healthy again, just like he did with me.

The Lord has healed me in so many creative ways, but this was a good one, a really good one. He used a new memory to replace an old memory. I actually met with her a couple days later for coffee and we picked up right where we left off and both of us could see how the Lord has made our stories intertwine and now we’ll write a new chapter together. “Writing HIStory through our story.”

Let me ask you, is there an area in your world that needs to be redeemed, whether a street or a building? I encourage you to ask the Lord to redeem that place for you too.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:10

THAT Kind of Girl

I’d been dating Matt for a couple months when I felt compelled to share with him the last “Big One” about my past, before a serious commitment was made between us. I wanted him to know everything up front, so that he could make an educated decision about spending his life with me, plus I wanted to be loved for all the right reasons (not ones I made up or left out). I knew all too well what being “loved” for the wrong reasons felt like, so in order to avoid that mistake again I chose to be completely honest, even at the risk of losing him. Besides, I had worked too hard and waited way too long to settle for anything less than God’s best for me. I knew that He had an awesome plan and wouldn’t want me settling for a guy who couldn’t accept where I had come from, but more importantly who I was now.

I picked up the phone to call; my heart was about to pound out of my chest as I took a deep breath…“I’m really scared to tell you this, but this is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ with my faith. I’m going to trust the Lord with your response, but more importantly with my heart.” I braced myself and spit it out.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I tend to get “buyer’s remorse” right after sharing something big like that, especially if I really want their approval or they can’t personally relate to my past. In this case, Matt qualified for both categories. After I was done sharing he asked me a few clarifying questions and then he got a little quiet. He likes to take his time and quietly contemplate and I like to talk through it, so his quietness made me even more nervous than I already was. We awkwardly said goodbye and expressed that we were excited to see each other the following day as I had planned to drive down and see him.

Early the next morning, the boys and I packed up the car and made our way down South. I was so nervous every time my phone made a noise, as I envisioned the dreaded call “I’m sorry Michelle, we get along so good and I really like you, BUT your past is just TOO MUCH for me.” But THAT call never came…it was the longest 4 ½ hours.

It was hard to share my past with him, because he grew up in a two parent Christian home, had worked for the same company for almost twenty years, never been drunk, never done any drugs or even smoked a cigarette. He spent his high school years in youth group and going on Mexican mission trips. He could count the number of women he’d kissed in his life on one hand and I’m one of them. So when I compared our pasts-I got really freaked out. Comparison is a killer and it stokes the fire of fear. I was comparing our pasts and coming to my own realistic outcome and it wasn’t good. I thought “There’s no way a guy like him is going to fall for a girl like me.”

We had a great time visiting that weekend (like always) and on the last evening he invited me on a walk, just after it had gotten dark. He grabbed a flashlight and his Bible and off we went. I felt like he was up to something, but I wasn’t sure what it was. We were walking around his neighborhood holding hands, as he showered me with compliments and expressed his gratefulness for what we had.

We found a semi secluded spot near an open field under a street light and sat down on the curb. We snuggled up together as he opened his Bible. He said “I’m sure you have heard this chapter a million times before, however I would like to share how it reminds me of you, but if you don’t mind I would like to skip verse 10 and start with 11 instead.” So he began reading out of his NIV Bible, stopping after each verse to explain how it related to me.

Proverbs 31:
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
         “Now Michelle, I know I’m not your husband, but I totally trust you and in my line of work that’s not easy for me, but your genuine and sometimes brutal honesty makes it easy.”

12 She brings him good not harm,
all the days of her life.
         “You are so good to me and you make me so happy. I trust that you have my best interest at heart.”

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
         “You are a very hard and thorough worker and I appreciate that about you.”

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
   “I don’t want to compare you to a ship, but you’re a good cook.”

15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
“You like to get up early and you’re always looking out for others needs, especially your sons and the Girls you mentor.”

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
“You’re frugal with money and you like to garden too.”

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
“You are really strong and you don’t give up.”

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
“You accomplish quite a bit during the day and are still busy at night.”

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
  “Not sure what that means, but you probably do that too?”

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
   “You are such a servant Michelle. You are always helping others, even with money you don’t have. I wish I had that kind of faith.”

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
“You always put your kid’s needs above your own, making sure their bills are paid for, they have a nice clean home to live in and you go to most of their sport events to support them.”

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
“I am honored and proud to have you by my side, because you are, who you say you are, and Jesus radiates from inside of you.”

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
“You are so funny…you always make me laugh.”

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
“Your wisdom amazes me. You’re always giving sound Godly advice.”

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
“I like the way you run your household, especially your relationships your sons.”

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
“You’re a really good mom to the boys and I believe that my girls are blessed to have your influence in their life too. I know that you would be a great step-mom to them, if God blessed us with you.”
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
“I have never met a woman like you…ever. You truly do surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
“You are gorgeous on the outside, but more importantly your relationship with Jesus shines through and makes you even more beautiful. I can see that you have a very healthy fear of the Lord and you deserve so much praise for that.”

31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
“I say all of this to give you the honor you truly deserve. Now I want to go back to verse 10 and read it.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small square box, my heart leapt with fear and anticipation…he gave me a smirk and said “don’t worry, I’m not about to propose to you.” Followed by a bit of a sinking feeling, cause I would have said “YES!!!” Ha…ha…I know that’s quick, but anyways…

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth FAR more than rubies.
“I am so proud of the woman that you have allowed God to make you into, you are a miracle. My hope is that God will continue to give me the privilege of dating you and someday I will get to be your husband, but until then I want you to know that I am all in. There is no one else. You have my full attention and my commitment to you. You are worth FAR MORE than rubies,” and then he opened the little black box and presented me with a ruby and diamond ring to wear as a promise ring.

I accepted of course with tears in my eyes and said “I thought you were going to break up with me not give me a ring.” He said “WHAT?? Why in the world would I let you get away that easy?” I sheepishly replied, “I thought you would think that I was too much for you after my last confession that I made.” He replied, like only he can “You are the perfect amount for me, not too much-not too little.” Oh my…that was better than any marriage proposal I had ever heard of, which made me wonder how he was going to propose to me later on. Stay tuned for that story…

What Matt didn’t know is that over the last several years I had been praying for God to make me into a Proverbs 31 woman, you see the Proverbs 7 woman (I suggest you look it up when you have a chance) was the perfect description of who I used to be, but I desperately desired to be a Proverbs 31 woman, however six years prior to that night there was nothing on that 31 list that described me. So although I was extremely excited about Matt and very relieved that we were still together, I was even more excited and relieved that the Lord had answered my fervent prayers and transformed me into “THAT kind of Girl” from a 7 to a 31. The thought (fear) of “a guy like him never falling for a girl like me” was so ridiculous, because he was falling for the Girl I was now, not then. THAT Girl was gone forever along with her addictions, false motives and cunning ways.

If you are in a position of trying to go from a 7 to a 31, just know that it IS possible, very possible, BUT only by the grace of God. He CAN change you into the woman that you have always dreamed of being-the woman you were created to be. I love how the Lord has taken new experiences to cover up the old experiences and used them to remind me that I am a different person now…thanks to Him.

“Why Does She Keep Going Back?”

I dropped to my knees on the back patio of the restaurant begging God for help. “God I am so tired. I’ve barely seen the boys lately. I need help! Either send someone to help me or take me out of this world. I can’t do this anymore.” I worked as a waitress and had one more table to finish off before I could get out of there. I got up off my knees, just in time to see another group of people walk in. Now I had two more tables to go. “Oh God help me.” I reapplied my lipstick, wiped my tears, put on a fake smile and made my way inside to greet the customers.

An hour or so later, I was finishing up for the night when one of my customers from the last table asked if he could buy me a drink. “No thanks, I have my own money. I don’t need you to buy me a drink.” He didn’t give up easily though, he proceeded to invite me over to his house for a little get together. “I don’t think so. I’ve been working double shifts for 9 days straight and I’m also a single mom of 2 little boys, so I’m exhausted. I need to go straight home tonight.” He perked up and said “What a coincidence, I’m a single dad.”

I decided to go over to his house that night, secretly hoping that he was the answer to my prayer. We pulled into a really nice neighborhood and up to a beautiful two story home, the garage door opened and there appeared 4 dirt bikes lined up, biggest to smallest. The door to the inside of the house swung open and a cross hung neatly on the wall and then he cranked up the music and the song that was playing had the word God in it and that’s all it took “Hook, line and sinker.”

From that moment on I believed that God had brought this man into my life and I held onto that LIE for the next 6 years as I endured that horrific relationship. I kept thinking it was me that needed to change and get better, which is exactly what he wanted me to believe. That’s what happens when a woman is in a desperate situation. I was tired, over-worked, disconnected from church, living a life of sin and looking for a rescuer. I was the perfect candidate for an abuser. I truly believe that it was Satan that actually answered that prayer, not God. I chose to ignore all the red flags to see what I wanted to see. “A way out.”

He took my car, driver’s license, passport, social security card, my self-respect, my family, friends, moved me to another State, told me I was a horrible mom, horrible wife, compared my body to porn stars and all his exes, made me do illegal things, got me hooked on hard drugs and convinced me that God could never use me. “They would never let someone LIKE YOU volunteer in the church.” Oh…if he could see me now.

I was hooked on him and the drugs he supplied. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe that God could do a miracle in him. I wanted to prove my family and friends wrong, that we would make it against all odds. I didn’t want all the time I invested to be wasted. When things got really bad I would leave, believing that it was for good, but I always went back. Statistics show that a woman leaves her abuser on an average 7 times. I left him 11 times. Things got much more dangerous when he suspected that I was going to leave, so I had to be very cautious. I used to plan my “getaways” a week or two in advance. Putting clothes aside and acting like they were Goodwill donations.

I actually still have nightmares that I end up back with him and have no idea how I got there, but I’m frantically packing my stuff to get out when he catches me. I wake up startled and gasping for air. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it still occurs every few months. It has been almost 8 years since I’ve seen him, which goes to show you that the damage is long term, not forever, but long lasting nonetheless.

I thought he was so unique and crafty that no one would understand or even believe me. He would turn everything around on me, doing it so often and effective that I began believing that it was my fault too. I used to think “How could I have been so stupid? What an idiot I was.” However, I attended a class for abuse recovery where I learned that I was not alone, in fact, they not only believed me, but were even able to finish my sentences. Turns out that he was a classic abuser. The first day of class they passed out 2 papers called the “Cycle of abuse” and “Types of abuse.” It was as if they did a report on him and our relationship and wrote those papers. I shockingly discovered that I had experienced every single type of abuse from him. It was hard to swallow, but it was such a relief at the same time, because I had felt crazy before that.

If we as the church don’t open our eyes and start rescuing these Girls then someone else will and his name is Satan. Oh…he may look like a “knight in shining armor,” but he is the Angel of Light who uses these type of men to tear down his potential victims. Satan was out to destroy me and he almost succeeded, but God prevailed.

If you have a friend or family member that you suspect or know is in an abusive relationship, then it’s important that you maintain the relationship with her at all costs. She will need a hand to grab onto WHEN she finally decides to leave him for good. Talk to her, express your concern and then let it go. She now knows where you stand. Try to keep in mind that you are dealing with a victim, so she probably isn’t going to act like you would expect. She will most likely protect him out of fear of more abuse or fear of him leaving her. You need to have a ton of grace. Don’t judge her or shall I say, stop judging her, especially when you’ve never been in her position, it is a very unique position to be in, one that I don’t wish on anybody. She doesn’t need to hear “Why don’t you just leave him? Why do you keep going back?” She needs to hear “I love you. I’m here for you and you are not alone. Let me know how I can help.”

“He delivers me from my enemies: you lift me up above those that rise up against me: you have delivered me from the violent man.” Psalm 18:48

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…

Foolish Grace

A few years ago I got into it with one of my Girls. This was not an uncommon event with this particular one, as she had an explosive temper at the time. It is one thing to be angry, everyone gets angry, but the way she demonstrated it made others afraid and distance themselves from her. In fact, most of her relationships were strained at best, including her marriage which was already struggling. Although she really pushed my buttons, I chose not to back down or give up on her. I decided to look past her behavior and do my best to see the real her. It didn’t take long to notice that she had a huge heart that was full of compassion, a sensitive nature, protector of the weak, highly intelligent and knew the Bible much better than I did, but shame, fear and bitterness got in the way of people seeing the real her, all they saw was her anger out of control.

“Lisa” had just gotten back from town and was shocked to see her husband come up out of the river soaking wet with people cheering all around him. He had spontaneously decided to get baptized and didn’t think to wait for his wife to get there. She understandably felt hurt and excluded from the experience and that set her off, she was ready to blow. I noticed that familiar look as she made a B line for her husband. She was about to make a scene and let him have it.

I threw out a quick prayer to the Lord on my way to intercept her, put my arm around her shoulder and not giving her much choice I said “Let’s go for a walk.” I knew the Lord gave me a gentle reminder for her “Lisa, this is not about you.” That’s all I was supposed to say, but was that ALL I said? Of course not. She started escalating with complaints and empty threats that I knew didn’t match her heart or desires, so the louder she got-the louder I got.  I then proceeded to provoke her by sarcastically agreeing, in hopes that she would know I was calling her bluff and calm down. “You’re right Lisa, you should get an f-ing divorce. Oh ya, you’ll be so much happier if you just leave your husband and abandon your kids. You’re right, they would be so much better off without you.” One would think I’d stop there, but oh no…I told her she was acting like Satan, a victim, you name it-I said it. This exchange of unpleasant words went on for 20-30 minutes, so naturally I said what any good women’s minister would say at that time, “We should pray.”

We should have prayed at the beginning to avoid it escalating the way it did, but better late than never. My intentions were to meet her where she was at emotionally and even go a little higher than her, so that I could bring her back down with me. I had used this tactic with several Girls before, but this time I lost control of my temper right along with her. We walked over and sat on the front porch and I prayed that she would forget EVERYTHING I had just said and open her heart to what Jesus had to say to her. Then I encouraged her to go on a walk alone, so that she could listen to Him.

We both walked away at the same time, but in opposite directions. She went towards the forest and I went over to my cabin that overlooked the river and sat on the bench to have my own talk with the Lord. I was so embarrassed and ashamed of my horrible behavior. I knew I was wrong and asked Him to compensate for me, where I obviously fell short. It’s a good thing the Lord knew that my intentions were to help her, despite my foolish tactic. Feeling humbled and ready to apologize I went to find her.

Out of nowhere, she came bounding up to me with so much joy on her face! Puzzled, I began apologizing for my behavior. She responded, “For what? I just want to thank you Michelle…I had the biggest breakthrough just now!” She began repeating the things I said to her, minus the cuss words and name calling and said that a light bulb had gone off, she now understood what the Lord was trying to teach her. Then she saw her husband off in the distance and said to me “I just want to run and jump in his arms! I love him very much. I’m so excited, is that weird?” “Not at all…go for it,” I said.

I walked away shocked and confused, shaking my head in disbelief. I went inside to add hot water to my tea and said “Lord, you just used me in spite of me.” I instantly burst into uncontrollable laughter…to the point of not being able to breathe or talk. I even stomped my foot to try and catch my breath, but I was laughing too hard, even my cheeks and stomach hurt because of it. I went out onto the back porch, so that no one would interrupt whatever was going on in me and all I could think about was that God had just used an absolute fool in her foolishness to bring healing to another fool. I asked Him “Why can’t I stop laughing, what is this?” The words “Unspeakable Joy” came to mind. It was a blast and a blessing and I enjoyed every second of it. How’s that for a picture of grace?

I know that grace can be hard to understand, but the easiest way I’ve heard it explained is that God gives us what we do not deserve. You see, I didn’t deserve God’s favor after I acted like that. I didn’t represent Him well at all, but He still chose to use me with all my imperfections and bless me with joy on top of it.

I’m happy to report that Lisa and I are very close friends these days and she is doing fabulous! She did the hard work it took to heal from the things that caused her to “blow up” and all of her relationships are healthy now. She currently leads a Bible study group for women and her marriage is going great and is a blessing to everyone who has watched the transformation, in fact I recently spoke to her husband who said “The Lord has healed my wife and has set her free to be the woman He created her to be. She is my Joy.”

Although, I do believe that it’s important to learn from your mistakes and make better choices that don’t hurt people, but be encouraged that no matter how big of a fool you have been, the Lord is able to compensate for you and even use you, in spite of you.

1 Corinthians 1:27 even says “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

All In

Surrender done right is not a one-time act, it’s a lifestyle. There is the initial time where you make the choice to go “all in” with the Lord and surrender anything you can think of, but then it’s important to continue in that manner and begin living a life of surrender, by daily giving everything to Him.

On New Year’s Eve 2011 we were having a huge party, Christian style, in other words, no drugs or illicit sex, just a bunch of people having fun together who used to partake in all of that. Everyone was dressed up, everything was decorated and the bass was bumping. It reminded me of my clubbing days, except that I was in my right mind and not intoxicated. Going dancing at clubs used to be my favorite hobby, so giving it up was really tough for me, but I knew I needed to though, because of all that went along with it. I actually started going to dance clubs twice a week from the age of fourteen and it had been 5 years since I had been, so this party was a safe way for me to enjoy something old in a new way.

As I sat at my table catching up with some folks a techno song came on that I used to dance to when I was high on Ecstasy. I instantly felt paralyzed as I stared off into space. It was like I was back there. Most people who use Ecstacy take a half of a pill and sometimes a whole pill for an entire night, however there were many times that I took multiple pills in one night, sometimes as many as five. It still amazes me that I made it out alive. The song reminded me of my second marriage…my ex-husband, you see, he is the one who introduced me to hard drugs which he encouraged me to use with him for the purpose of “spicing things up.” In my healthy frame of mind, I now know that His definition of “spicing things up” is equivalent to what most people would consider to be sick perversion. Due to the drug induced daze I was in, it took me a long time to realize that I had passed from Party Girl to Drug Addict.

I was shaken out of my triggered state as I heard clapping and people chanting my teenage son’s name “Stefan, Stefan, Stefan” I turned around to see that they had made a big circle out of people around him and wanted him to show off his moves. He jumped into the circle and danced to the song that had reminded me of something evil. Without Stefan’s knowledge, God was using him to heal me. Happy tears filled my eyes as I knew the Lord was taking that moment in time to replace an old evil memory with a new innocent one.

We were having a talent show that night and everyone was working on their talent, but I didn’t have anything in mind yet. Then the Lord impressed on my heart to dance for Him to that song. So as the talent show was coming to an end I asked someone to start flickering the lights as if to create a strobe light effect. I had everyone make a huge circle on the dance floor, grabbed the mic and said “Earlier there was a song that played that triggered me really bad to the point of almost ruining my night, but then I saw my kid dance to it. I used to go “all out” in my past for Satan, so tonight I’m going to surrender all that I am and dance for my Savior Jesus Christ.” I made my way into the circle and danced like I’d never danced before, giving all the glory to my Lord. A bunch of my Girls joined me on the floor to show their support. I started bawling. It’s a good thing it was dark, so they couldn’t see my tears. A bunch of my boy’s friends came up to me after and were shocked “Dang, we didn’t know you could dance like that.”    “Ha, ha…there’s a lot of things you don’t know about me.”

Once again I chose to surrender all, not holding anything back. I went all in for the Devil in my past and now I needed to do the same for my Savior only in an appropriate way. I even gave Him dancing-one of my favorite things, He changed it and gave it back. What are you still holding onto that the Lord is prompting you to surrender? You’ll be glad you did, I promise.

Secret Struggle

Well it looks like my week to be humbled, again…I was secretly hoping they would cancel my appointment due to icy road conditions, but no such luck. Fear crept into my heart as I anticipated going to the dentist today. Being new to the area I hadn’t seen this particular dentist, which is intimidating for a lot of people, but for me it’s especially humbling too. Sitting in the waiting room trying to calm my anxiety by asking the Lord to give me courage and peace, as I waited for my name to be called.

A look into the past: I actually dated my husband for several months before he finally asked the dreaded question, “How did you escape the damaging effects of being a drug addict, like losing your teeth?”  My body nervously shook as I texted, “I didn’t. I just got really good at hiding it, my sons didn’t even know until I told them. But God blessed me with a really good Christian dentist who donated his time and made two partials for me.”

You see, most people are shocked when they hear that I used to be a drug addict, especially one who was hooked on Meth. I don’t look like the “typical” recovered addict, primarily because God has healed me in so many areas and even provided me with a wonderful dentist who donated his time to restore some of my dignity. Now I can smile and laugh without covering my mouth in shame and on a practical level I’m able to chew food properly again. The usual response I get from people whom I choose to share this secret with, including dentists, say they’re proud of me for coming out of that lifestyle and staying out. They don’t judge me, like my fear declares they will.

This is a secret I usually reserve to share with recovering addicts to encourage them when they’re feeling ashamed of their looks and fearful that no one will be able to see past the stigma of their past. However, as I sat nervously in the dentist chair today, the Lord prompted me to share this secret with all of you. Quite possibly to give me the opportunity to further humble myself by sharing something that is still pretty embarrassing, but as I’m typing this tonight I have a hunch that there’s a reader that needs to hear this tomorrow, so if this is for you than my embarrassment is completely worth it to encourage you in some way.

Lord, have your way in this person’s life, like you have in mine.