Thursday, May 30, 2013

Healing From A Sexual Past Leads Us To Pure Love

“Cry Face” by holohololand via FreeDigitialPhotos.net 




We may have engaged in sex before marrying but this does not mean we are less than. As a teenager, just because you may have already had sex outside the sanctity of marriage does not imply that you must now walk the path of shame and leave the path of unconditional love that Jesus walks. 



So many teen girls today wince with shame once they have had sex with someone, erroneously believing that they can never be seen as worthy again... that they cannot be loved, that their future husband (if he does judge you he's not the right guy) or even Jesus will think less of them. 




This is far from the truth. The truth is... Jesus loves you. He does not base his love for you on your behavior. His love is unconditional. He sees your sin but he asks you to turn from it, repent and move forward with him. Jesus looks at your heart as the root issue.... 



He looks at your heart for hate, envy, greediness, lust, unforgiveness, etc and how these are then  reflected in your life. No matter what issue(s) you are struggling with, He helps you overcome!



It is not holy to shame others for the sin, regrets, guilt and impure acts they have committed between the sheets with another person before marriage, for not one of us is perfect and perfection is impossible to achieve. We would all benefit to acknowledge the beauty and sacredness of sharing an intimate sexual relationship with only the one we marry. God designed marriage as the ultimate expression of love between two people. Prior to our marriage vows we can look within, at ourselves and at any sexual sin we have engaged in...



Sometimes we may grapple with the emotional fall out of having a sexual relationship that we later regret. We can choose to face it head on and immerse ourselves in the past we may not want to embrace. We can go into those dark corners, the pits, those muddied areas and force ourselves to languish in it... to feel it, to grasp it, instead of turning away and pretending it doesn't exist. Once we allow ourselves to feel the deep emotions we have been pushing away we can boldly throw on a coat of courage and meet up with Jesus. There, in those dark depths... that shame we keep trying to swat away, like an annoying mosquito that carries an infectious disease we can choose to face what we need to and find light once again. Jesus can help us become conquerers!



He won't condemn you. 

He won't shame you. 
He won't hate you. 
He won't ignore you. 



He will hold you.

He will convict you.
He will love you.
He will cleanse you. 
He will restore you.


We don't have to live in regret, in shame, in despair or grief over our pre-marital sexual past. Remind yourself that your past does not define you... what you've done or not done. It doesn't matter for God is here with you always holding your hand and walking beside you in pure love. 


© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013 




To My Readers: 
thank you for reading, 
commenting & sharing! 




Related Posts: 

Once Down In The Gutter & Called A Whore: 
But Came To Know Jesus Died For Me & You 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Women/Beauty And The Comparison Trap



Comparing to others. 




Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? 


Most everyone has at some point. 


But we know that comparison is a fruitless endeavor of the human mind. 




God made each and every one of us unique and once we realize this truth, that we can thrive using the gifts He has bestowed upon us we will find much more happiness within. 



It's when we begin to look around and compare ourselves to the Joneses, to our friends, to our co-workers, to our siblings, to our neighbors, etc... the problems begin. 



What if you knew two people who were successful, honest and kind... 


One had sailed through life building his now successful business from the ground up with relatively little to no problems. He didn't struggle financially, he didn't endure any loss or deaths, he had thrived with good health both physical and mental, his wife and children were the picture of happiness and health etc. 


Then you see your other friend who has struggled to create her own company... who maybe lost her parents young, perhaps she was raised by an abusive extended family member, she experienced huge difficulty with learning as a child, she endured quite a bit of depression... yet through much hard work and perseverance and faith in God... she pushed forward and is now incredibly successful. Her route was much more difficult than the first friend. 


Although you certainly see the hard work both friend's have dedicated to their careers... part of you just can't help but perhaps admire your friend a little more who went through the trials and tribulations to get where she is, but you also know one friend is not less than or greater. Certainly your friend who has struggled should not feel less than due to experiencing more adversity.  




We are each given our own God-given unique set of talents, gifts and abilities to use during our time on earth. When we embrace them and acknowledge our trials that have been temporary roadblocks but yet we have powered forward with faith in God.... that is the ultimate success in life! 


We all have things we may not care for about ourselves. Maybe we wish we were born with curly hair, blonde hair, we were skinnier, we were taller, etc. When we begin to listen to those internal voices that offer no positivity and try to compare us to other's we know we need to address that. 



When I was in kindergarten, one of my friends had the longest prettiest blonde hair. It looked like buttery strands of silk... I was so jealous I went home crying because I was brunette. I cried to my mother about how I hated having brown hair. For years I've embraced my brunette hair and I'm thankful for it, knowing it fits me. God has given each of you a beautiful head of hair, features, personality, and spirit. Each of us are unique in our own special ways. 


In middle school I hated having glasses and was teased mercilessly over something I had zero control over. My prescription was so extreme, my lenses so thick they looked like bottle caps. I felt hidden under all that plastic and taking those off for the first time and wearing contacts was the most liberating feeling in the world. It felt like the end of the world at the time but I got through it and now that period of time feels like a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things. 


As a young adult in my early twenties I struggled with wanting to be taller, wanting smaller boobs and a smaller nose. It took some time to see the beauty in what God gave me. For many girls and women this is a similar struggle. Even though we all may have those days we begin to doubt.... we can firmly tell ourselves "No. I am.... (insert your awesomeness here) and thank you God!" If you are struggling and grappling with your height, weight, hair, jeans size, etc.... you can remind yourself; assert yourself in knowing that you are beautiful! 




Just like when we are happy with our talents, our beauty, our personality, etc... we will be happiest when we are content with being ourselves. Your beauty is not just rooted in your eyes, lips, hair, age, size or figure. It's rooted in being YOU...  people are attracted to those who are themselves and don't try to be something they aren't. When we embrace our spirit, our wit, our laugh, humor, generosity, God-given talents, warmth, goodness... etc, we will no longer succumb to the traps of comparison but instead thrive in confidence! 
































Saturday, May 25, 2013

Imperfections One Day Made Perfect By A Perfect God





Are you living by society's standards or God's standards? Society teaches us to strive for perfection which is unreachable. Likewise we can never reach God's standards on our own, as we must have His guidance and grace. One day when we reach Heaven we will be made perfect but here on earth all we can possibly strive toward is greater holiness than what we were yesterday and greater tomorrow than we are today all the while knowing that Jesus already paid the price for us. An imperfect person attempting to obtain perfection is going to be a miserable one. We are all imperfect and striving to please God and become more Christlike but when we begin limiting our love toward others based on factors such as they are atheists, they look differently, or based on their past, etc... we ultimately lose compassion for people and fail miserably as loving Christians and instead become intolerant ones. Jesus actively sought out people who knew they were imperfect. Those who believed they were perfect didn't have any reason to seek Him because they never saw the issues they had within. Self-pride prevented them from realizing the issues they needed to address to make the necessary changes. God can see us trying despite setbacks and and knows our heart... if we seek to love others, forgive, and give others the same grace we want we will flourish. Seek God and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you through your journey... only then do we gain grace, power and strength... 


regardless we always have


His perfect love. 
















Monday, May 20, 2013

One Brave Act = LOVE


I think about her often.... 


Sometimes in life our path crosses other's in unexpected ways and it's not until much later when we look back we realize the enormity of how much that one individual's presence however fleeting impacted us. Maybe they encouraged us with words that spoke to our heart and never really left us because they touched us so deeply. Maybe they showed us a kindness that surpassed any kindness we've ever experienced in our life. Maybe they saved us. Maybe they were the one who God used to help us when no one else was there, willing or able.


Mai


Her name conjures up strength, resilience and beauty... I can picture her kind smile and the beautiful hues of pomegranate and persimmon in her shift dress. Her cheeks were rosy like ripe apples, her touch warm and reassuring and although we struggled with language barriers we connected through a kind hearted bond as women joined in sisterhood.



1994

names have been changed or omitted 

**************




Night time came as it always did and Mai brought me a couple of blankets and a pillow, setting them on the arm of the short burgundy couch in the living room. I thanked her and she retreated down the hall to her bedroom for the night closing the door behind her. The guys that Bao had reluctantly entrusted me to temporarily until he found me an adequate place to stay were sprawled among the various worn out recliner chairs around the room watching the television in the pitch darkness. I could just make out their outlines in the dim light flashing from the oversized TV screen. Exhausted, I propped my head up on the blankets and pillow sitting on the arm of the couch and pulled Bao’s black leather jacket up over me as a blanket and as some sense of comfort, slipping into a light doze. 

                  
                         *****************


Not sure how much time had lapsed, I suddenly felt someone sitting next to me and a hand on my knee. I slowly opened my eyes to reveal three of the guys were surrounding me on the couch. Oh no, I thought immediately sensing what they wanted…

************

Suddenly there was a bright light to my left. Down the hallway in her now open bedroom door Mai stood there illuminated in the yellow light wearing a faded patchwork robe holding a baseball bat in the air. She headed toward us purposefully screaming "Stop!" in Vietnamese waving it at the young men who now hurriedly stood and backed away from me. I collapsed back on the couch disheveled, with my hips exposed, completely drenched in sweat and exhaustion. I hadn’t realized I’d had tears streaming down my face I’d been so focused on trying to wield them off me. I laid there gasping for air I was so winded from the physical exertion I’d just gone through, my breath coming in gasping waves and my heartbeat moving like a galloping horse untamed and off course. Mai took one hurried glance over at me with sheer horror and then turned back to them screaming again in Vietnamese this time "Get out!", waving the bat at them in renewed rage, her pretty face now darkened crimson red. The guys didn’t argue and immediately ran out of the house into the dark inky night letting the backdoor bang loudly behind them. 


Mai checked to make sure everything was locked behind them then came back to where I was now sitting on the couch. With shaking hands I’d pulled my jeans back up and refastened them, pulling Bao’s leather jacket to my chest as a sort of protective shield, my knees drawn up close to my chest. My breathing was slowing a bit but my entire body was visibly shaking. One would have thought it was the dead of winter, as my teeth wouldn’t stop audibly chattering. Despite the mix of emotions coursing through my mind I already felt better knowing she was there. 


Mai had saved me... 


If it hadn’t been for her courageous act, that night would have had a much different outcome. She had crouched down next to the couch beside me and touched my shoulder.


“It okay. I’m here. I help you. They bad.“


I had thanked Mai and hugged her tightly... it was on this night I was given the gift of help from someone I’d have likely never crossed paths with in my lifetime. This woman was a pillar of strength and goodness. Mai took a chance and stood up for the right thing when in a modern world of complacency many people wouldn’t have been that brave. 


I think about Mai  often... 



And when I think of her the one word that comes to my mind of what she represents is... 


LOVE 


© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013




Thank you for reading






Saturday, May 18, 2013

Divorce: Your Status Doesn't Change


"Hello?" 

I answered my cell phone as I placed my SUV in park...


After a few niceties and chatting about how we each were she sighed on the other end of the phone and asked…  "My dear... I heard you are getting a divorce and I'm so sorry to hear that. But I have to ask you, do you really want to go through with that?"


I replied... "Yes, I'm sure. Why do you ask?"


"Well, the reason I ask is because it's extremely difficult to be on your own."


I spoke...  "I'm not afraid of being on my own. I've done it before. Besides, God is going to provide and look out for me. He cheated and is not repentant. He chose to not repair the marriage. I've been set free from it. This is very simple and merely a matter of doing what I need to now to move forward."



She recoiled at my words and began telling me certainly there were times she was not treated right in her own marriage over the years but as women we turn our heads... " as she rambled on I began feeling a small pain in my head first begin slowly then gradually increase into the beginnings of a headache....



yet she continued on... 

how it's just too difficult for women to (gasp) become divorced when they have children and manage financially and lose their place of status 


Behind my aviator sunglasses I closed my eyes against the late afternoon sun coming through my windshield and flipped the visor to block it. Seated in the front seat wearing frayed jean cut off's, a soft thin henley in charcoal gray and flip flops I suddenly wanted to be transported anywhere but where I was listening to this... as these little scenarios had popped up every so often the past six months leaving me wondering why people continuously felt the urgent need to intervene with their undoubtedly well intentioned nuggets of wisdom but unsolicited words... and why as a society, as a whole it really seems to come down to "status" as to what's important... murmurings of despair over the love lost between two people and most importantly the dissolution of an entire family rarely if ever leaves their lips... instead it's a verbal sputtering over the loss of homes in older established neighborhoods trimmed in weekly manicures by lawn companies, high end cars, fine clothing from Nordstrom's, handbags from Louis Vuitton, shoes from Brian Atwood, the coveted tennis bracelet, nannies, maid services, trips to time shares on the coast... why did the misguided focus seem to be on these items of wealth and place in society as if automatically because you have them consequently you are deemed more worthy... and when they disappear (gasp) your worth as a human being plummets like the stock market when it's taken a hit... at that moment I wished I was laying on a warm beach with white grains of sand between my coral polished toes… I could almost hear the sound of the cerulean blue waves rolling in nearby to lull me to sleep like a bedside machine set to white noise.... but there would be no escape into paradise because she was still talking into my ear....



After she let up for air I voiced I had to let her go but I appreciated her concern and wished her a good evening. She wished me the same and after our goodbyes I hung up. I tossed my phone in my purse, exited the vehicle, clicked the key fob to lock the doors and began crossing the parking lot ready to move on and leave that conversation behind.



I may want to mentally escape at times, I may want to flee from trials and tribulations, I may want to cling to my pillow and not drag myself out of bed, I may want to shut out other's questions and opinions, I may want to hop aboard a plane and travel to another place far away... but I can instead choose to keep my feet firmly planted where I am.... firmly planted in what I believe. That God is good... that there is no reason to fear... no reason to retreat, no reason to flee. That He will comfort me in my hurt, provide and see me through each trial because He has my back... that what other's say; their unsolicited advice, criticism, opinions etc... at the end of the day really don't matter... because they haven't walked in my shoes.



Nor have they walked in your shoes. 



God has witnessed the scenes of your life behind closed doors and intimately knows the pain, the hurt, the tears and the disappointments for you and me. It's about not allowing other's opinions to sway you and persevering. It's about faith. It's about God. It may be an uphill battle right now and may be daunting to take on but sometimes those are the very battles that mean the most in the end. The path you are taking might be narrow and entail dangerous curves with only enough room for you to trek but... God is there to help you with the mountains not just the molehills of life.



You may feel as though you keep facing those who question your decisions, who question your faith and question your life. They may be coming at you like birds pecking at you incessantly and as soon as you've shooed one away with kindness yet here comes another dive bombing at you...


But we don't have to submit to fear... to submit to doubt, or to society's standards of "we aren't worthy if we don't keep our status". The truth is... our status has never changed... at least not the one that matters... last I checked it was still the same....


Status: 

God loves you and me. 

We aren't defined by our trials. 

Faith is bigger than fear.  

Someone, somewhere, can relate to what you've been through. 

Faith means surrendering your control. 

Trust is ongoing, an ongoing practice 

we have to commit to with God. 

We have to surrender to God's ways; 

our status is not contingent

 on material things and the ways of the world. 

God will give you the wisdom you need. 

The strength you require not just to survive but to thrive. 

We see everything we've dreamed of far off in the distance

 but we don't have to stand frozen in fear.

God never fails with His perfect love 
and everything He plans for you will prevail. 



© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013




To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 




Monday, May 13, 2013

Instilling The Good In Your Child: 6 Tips


Goodness. 


We as parents, as mother's, all want our children to have the good qualities necessary for a successful adult life. We want to instill good character in our children so that they feel motivated from within to "do the right thing" even when no one is watching. Just doing what is morally right and not for any selfish gain.... if everyone abided by that philosophy the world would surely be a better place.



But how do parents reach that goal? 

As parents we may read book after parenting book searching for "the answers" we desire. In a world that often seems sold on the mantra of "do what you want", "do what feels good" and "what do I get?".... instilling good character in our children can certainly seem like a daunting task at hand.




Here are a few ideas of things to keep in mind when striving to instill the good character traits you believe to be important for your child...



1. Empathy:  Today empathy often seems to be rare and yet if you ask someone today what they believe the most important trait for a person to have... it will often be empathy. To be able to put yourselves in someone else's shoes and be able to imagine the pain they are experiencing. To be understanding and have the ability to express how you feel yourself and listen to someone else's plight or concerns... including your spouse, these are important to connecting with others.


2. Positivity:  Encouraging other's either through affirmation, validation, a hug or some other type of support in the form of flowers, a homemade gift or invite to join them for dinner, etc. Bringing light to other's lives and making someone else's day better has great value. Included in this is teaching our children the importance of including other's in the classroom, at lunch and on the playground. When we include others and don't partake in bullying (ignoring is a form of bullying also) it lifts other's up and has a domino effect on everyone.


3. Kindness should be free: We as parents don't have to reward each and every kind act our child does for others. They need to learn that just because we do something nice for someone we aren't playing a game of "let's make a deal." Instead they can learn that to do something for someone else in itself brings great joy.... we can say "Wow, I bet that really made Jacob's day when you let him play with your favorite truck all afternoon!" We can point out the positives our child's choices lead to when they make selfless decisions.


4. Respect:  As parents often one of the most stressful times of day for us is breakfast and dinnertime. Hurrying out the door in the morning and rushing to get dinner on the table can often lead to stress, curt answers and sighs of irritation. But when we slow down and take pause to speak and react respectfully to our children it makes a big difference. They are learning to model after us and just because they are little doesn't make them any less than. In addition to showing them respect we can model respect to other's we come in contact with each day... our spouse's, cashiers, waitresses, tellers and teachers. When our children see us use our manners and treat people with kindness they learn that not one person should be treated rudely.


5. Responsibility:  Having some chores around the house that should be done simply because they are part of a family is essential. Teaching our children that everyone should pitch in and help gives them responsibility and if additional chores are desired perhaps then compensation can be implemented. But regardless children will excel when they learn that the great feeling of accomplishment from within is much more important than any monetary gain.


6. Behavior:   When we model good behavior for our children it speaks volumes, much louder than anything we tell them to do or not to do. When we are faithful to our spouse, when we don't run red lights, when we admit we were wrong, when we don't resort to bad mouthing people, our children pick up on those behaviors and are very aware of them. All the books today on parenting practically scream from the pages about how parents shouldn't bad mouth the other parent and point out their flaws.... regardless of whether they are together or not. The truth is.... your child doesn't need their mom to point out that dad is the reason for the marriage ending... because he now has a girlfriend. Your child doesn't need mom to point out that dad is a workaholic... because your child can clearly see with their own eyes he's never home. Children are incredibly smart and as adults we all need to give them more credit. Adults are not fooling them. Children inherently know which parent is setting the better example and each parent has the ability to make the conscious choice at any given time to begin making better choices.


Each and every day we have the opportunity to instill the good character traits we believe to be important in our children... but it begins with us.


Each time we model the good behavior we wish for them to live we are shaping them bit by bit for the better...


God is there to guide us and although we may reach for an occasional parenting book to read.... the best one is already on shelves at a bookstore near you... possibly on your bookcase at home or resting on your bedside table...


the bible.


© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013