There is always a reason

FreedomNumber 5 in the series from the Sozo 10 Foundations of Freedom

On a recent business trip traveling with a couple coworkers I shared a bit of my story. Seeing the woman I am today with the one I described it eventually it comes out…there’s a reason for what you went through. It made you stronger and the woman you are today.

I struggle with the statement…there’s are reason for everything.

It implies God had a hand in the tragedies of my life. That he is a manipulative ogre pulling my strings while he sits back and gloats with glee.

Sad to say I believed this view of God. Isn’t part of God’s will to suffer for him? Seems rather cruel and hard. Of course I learned this isn’t who he is. It was a lie I believed based on my life circumstances.

On the other hand there is always a reason. But it’s not what you think.

At some point in our lives there’s an event, the event created a lie, I then self-protect, others respond and it reproduces the event. It’s a vicious cycle, going round and round like a warped merry-go-round.

So there is a reason for everything, it’s just not what you think it is.

I based my whole life on the lies I believed about events in my life. From abandonment, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Each event created a lie that struck at the core of who I am. From the events I believed the lie of rejection, self-hatred, never good enough, invisible, just to name a few. Out of the lies I protected myself through disconnection, rejection, numbing, and perfection, just to name a few. When the people around me responded, it recreated the events in my life. Which created more lies…and so you see my merry-go-round.

Stop the world I want to get off.

The event becomes an idol which is the definition of a stronghold. We can’t change what happened to us, we can, however, change the lie, the present and the future. We can break the cycle by identifying the lie we believed about the event and find the truth.

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NLT). The truth is Jesus. He is the one who sets us free. He is absolute truth. His heart’s desire for us is to find freedom.

According to the Basic Sozo Training, “There is always a source and a point in time when something happened that set into motion a course that ends up with an individual in torment, pain, and sin. It may be difficult to uncover, but it is always there. God knows the point in time of the wound, lie or sin. He knows the reason or cause. God is willing to help us find it.”

The question is…are you ready to start the journey to discovering your freedom and new life?                                                                                          

Issues are not random

Beloved 2Number 4 in a series from the SOZO 10 Foundations of Freedom

My first thought is…okay. But then I think back over my life. My childhood, the teen years, the college years, the married years, the single years, the married again years and I see a pattern.

The issues aren’t random.

“Each person is created and gifted to reflect, uniquely something of God to the world. Satan’s target is the place in a man or woman, a family, or even a nation that most reflects the glory of God―their destiny calling” (Sozo Ministry basic training).

Think about this a moment…Satan knows we have a destiny call on our lives. He’s not smart enough to know the particulars of the call God has placed on us. Yet his purpose is to thwart our calling. He wins when we lose.

Whoa.

It brings tears to my eyes to realize Satan played me for 61 years. I thought I was pretty savvy. Apparently not.

Every issue in our lives is designed to attack who we were created to be. He attacks our identity and belief about who God is. In the garden he manipulated the Woman to the point she questioned God’s integrity and character. Imagine what her life was like after leaving the Garden. I wonder how many times Adam threw it in her face that if it weren’t for her he wouldn’t have to work so hard. How many times did she condemn herself for her decision to listen to a slimy serpent?

Do you really think the enemy left her alone? I think he hounded her every waking thought. Pounding her with regret, rejection and shame. Keeping her focused on her mistakes. Every day was a reminder of her failure. Every one of us have heaped judgment on her ever since.

Adam worked with his nose to ground, a constant reminder of what he had lost. The woman came out of him and he let her down. Blamed her for his shortcomings. He knew better but didn’t speak up, didn’t stop her, didn’t shout to God for help. His failure was a constant reminder.

The enemy practiced his tactics on Adam and Eve. He’s perfected them. He knows if he can get us to doubt who we are in Christ he can sideline us. He starts from the moment we are conceived to distort our identity.

He will use all kinds of issues in your life to make you question who you are and who he is. I grew up believing I was unwanted and that God was a mean guy in the sky. It was constantly reinforced by the issues that happened in my life through being rejected by my father, sexually abused at 10 which brought on a whole new set of issues. Out of these issues I married a man who equated love with dominance and control.

Through the last 10 years God’s been leading me to reclaim my identity in Him and revealing His true character. God has redeemed every issue the enemy attempted to use to destroy and discredit me.

Guess what?

He’s a LOSER!

Why? Because I allowed God to redeem my issues.

Won’t you let Him redeem yours too?

Kick the enemy to the curb. Stomp on his head (oh yeah…Jesus already did).

I am the cherished daughter of the most high, his beloved bride, his delight, his crown. I am created in the image of the Creator. I am the living breathing proof of God’s goodness and love.

Who are you?

We have hidden enemies

OceanWe live in a world filled with such beauty, it takes your breath away. Places so splendid you want to stay forever just to bask in the beauty. The beauty of standing on the beach, curling my toes in the sand, listening to the waves as they crash around my feet, as I breathe in the scent of salt air. Watching the sun dip into the ocean anticipating a sizzle as it disappears into the ocean.

We also live in a world filled with horror. Places not fit for vacation yet millions are trapped with no way out. Scrounging for food and clean water. The simplest of things most westerners take for granted are luxuries for millions.

This world we live in is filled with atrocities and unspeakable things going on behind closed doors. Pedophiles. Rapists. Murderers. Abusers of all kinds. Serial killers. Greed. Neglect. Sex traffickers. Cancer. Disease. Accidents. War mongers. Gangs. Cults. The list goes on and on.

Do you feel slimed? You should. Don’t think for a moment the Church isn’t impacted by this and more. It is. The horrors of this world have invaded every part of our society.

And who do we blame for every bad thing happening in this world and in our lives?

We have an enemy who quite frankly doesn’t like to draw attention to himself or his minions. He likes to stay behind the scenes imitating God since he can’t be him. And believe me when I say, He wants to be him with every fiber of his being. What drives him as he stands before God accusing us, pointing out all our flaws? Jealousy. On his best day he can never and will never be God. It eats at him, so what does he do? He goes after us, causing as much damage as he can and making sure we blame God as he hides in the darkness.

“Why do bad things happen to good people?” It’s the age old question which I’m not going to respond to or try to solve in this post. Bad things happen. Period. We live in a war zone. The enemy is defeated, only he doesn’t know it, accept it or believes it. He continues to prowl around like a roaring lion imitating the One he wants to be.

He all knows God has a destiny for each and every person in this world. All 8 billion of us. Yet every day millions are killed before they are ever born. Millions are killed by war, disease, genocide, suicide, drugs, murder, accidents and the list goes on, before they ever reach their destiny or potential.

You have an unseen enemy. He hates you. He hates the destiny God has placed in you. He wants to destroy you. It seems as though he has unlimited resources to torment you. It’s an illusion. He is on a limited budget as Graham Cooke would say. He doesn’t own a cattle on a thousand hills. Actually he doesn’t own anything. He uses God’s resources and distorts them for your destruction. He will use your family, your church, your friends and you to either destroy you or make you doubt what God has placed in you.

He makes you think his thoughts are yours or God’s. All the while saying, “look what God did, why he didn’t stop it. He could have you know.” We buy it hook, line and sinker. We rail against God all the while the enemy snickers and runs off.

These enemies of ours have no authority or power of their own. They are impotent. They can’t be everywhere and there are more of us than there are of them. Recognize them for what they are. Nothing, with less than nothing.

How do you overcome this enemy? Hear God. Know His voice. Study Him. Learn Him. As we know His voice, His character then we can best know how to defeat the already defeated. We take what he enemy meant to destroy us and allow God to do what He does…bring beauty out of ashes, blessing out of mourning, and praise instead of despair. He will comfort the broken, release the captives and set prisoners free. He will put broken bones back together again, wrap them with muscle and flesh and breathe life into what was dead. (Isaiah 61 and Ezekiel 37).

For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against might powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesian 6:12 NLT

We are in a battle. But the war has been won. “Pray in the Spirit at all time and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent…” Ephesians 6:18 NLT

I jumped to the end of the book. WE WIN!

 

 

Your freedom is God’s will

FreedomThe clang of metal the echo of groans as Marley works his way through the closed door into Scrooge’s room. Though he’s a ghost the weight of the chains are evident by the look on his face. Each link shouting out the bondage he was in. Even in death. All he wanted was to be free of the chains. He could never be free but he could help his partner find freedom before he too died.

FREEDOM

This. Is. God’s. Will.

“God does not give us sickness (or pain, death, abuse…fill in the blank) to teach us a lesson or to build our character. God will cease every opportunity to build our character but He would rather heal us.” Pastor Alan Smith Catch the Fire DFW

Our chains are not God’s will.

Shortly after Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness Jesus walked into the local synagogue in his home town of Nazareth. When it was time to read the scriptures, He stood to read from Isaiah 61.

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim captives will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will be set free, and the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Freedom. Your freedom. It’s why Jesus left joy of heaven for the confines of earth. The Greek word for salvation is sozo. It means salvation, healing and deliverance. Not only did He come to save us, He came to set us free.

What do I mean by freedom? Pastor Alan Smith of Catch the Fire DFW puts it this way, “Freedom isn’t the absence of a problem, but the presence of the Father. Freedom is when I can respond to God as I was created to be. Freedom is becoming who He called and redeemed me to be. To be satisfied with His love. Freedom isn’t about what’s absent, it’s about whose present.”

We stop focusing on the problem and allow God to be our source.

It isn’t God’s will for us to suffer abuse, death, pain or heartache. On the other hand He doesn’t stop all those things from happening either. He’s not a puppeteer. There are no invisible strings tying us to a great manipulator in the sky.

What He has promised is to never leave or forsake us. When life gets hard He doesn’t fade away or hide from the hard questions we ask. He can shoulder our cries of pain and anger.

So how do you find freedom? Is it forgiving and forgetting. Is it putting the past behind you? Or pretending it never existed? I can tell you I tried them all. Yet, in pretending the pain didn’t exist you could hear the clang of chains I was dragging around.

Freedom isn’t elusive. It’s a choice. A choice to dig through the lies we believe and replace them with truth. It’s discovering who I am in Him. It’s about God being my source.

Have you ever been blind-sided? Someone says or does something to hurt you to the core of your being? We’ve all been there. It happened to me recently. God didn’t cause the pain or bring it about but He sure did use it.

My first reaction was to make sure everyone knew how much I hurt and to understand why I was hurt. I even spread the hurt around myself. Hurt people hurt people.

God’s will is my freedom.

For a time I didn’t want freedom. Wallowing in the pain felt good until I realized it only made me a victim. Not going there.

From the moment I sat in my seat at Church that night. I sought the Comforter…he began to speak my language as Pastor Nancy Smith would say. He first reminded me who I was in Him. During worship I lifted my voice in praise. The presence of God was heavy as each song built on the other as I offered him all my hurt and allowed him to comfort.

Then it happened, as I offered my love and adoration to Jesus the song shifted…”Things we thought were dead are breathing life again. You cause your Son to shine in darkest nights.”

The scab was ripped off and the blood of my tears flowed…God knew I was hurt and reminded me this was an old wound that needed healing. Just when the pain eased, God did a little surgery by cleaning out the root of the infection as Pastor Alan talked about rejection. To say I was a sobbing mess is an understatement. And oh by the way He wasn’t done yet.

He used the message to begin the healing process to cover the wound with salve so the real healing could begin.

Your freedom is God’s will.

Soak in the song Jesus We Love You by Bethel. We Will Not be Shaken CD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Master Designer – The Song

The songMovie review

Are you a lover of animal documentaries but get frustrated with their assumption it all leads back to evolution? Even as you watch the uniqueness of the animal kingdom it seems so obvious a creator is behind creation.

You will enjoy this documentary by Exploration Films. Hosted by Brian Corsetti, you will learn nuances and characteristics of the animal kingdom from the bees to the crickets. With wolves, bison, elk and even the camel thrown in.

How do bees know the best design to build their hive and store their honey? Why a hexagon and not a triangle? They communicate through dancing and are mathematicians. Scientists have studied the bee and their uniqueness is extraordinary. Did they happen by chance or is the honey bee a tiny miracle of God?

The movie tackles the age-old question, was all this created by God or did life just happen? There are arguments on each side. This documentary pulls it all together for you.

Did you know Bison’s aren’t buffalo? And they have 4 stomachs? Camels have 3 eyelids, one they can close in a sand storm. And oh if they get sand in their eye, the eyelid will wipe the sand away. They aren’t pretty but they are distinct and tough. The original 4 wheeler.

Let’s not forget the creepy creature, the cricket. I’m good with crickets as long as they are outside and I love the sound they make. I will never look at the cricket the same way again and neither will you.

Kids of all ages will enjoy the movie. Most documentaries lead you to evolution this movie leads you to creation. And yes you will wonder how anyone could believe all this happened by chance.

Beautiful scenes of our earth are eye candy and the music complement’s the movie without being overwhelming or distracting. No bible thumping or put downs, no bashing of evolution. Just the facts presented so clearly and . It’s what you always believed but had trouble putting into words.

The question the movie continues to ask…is there a conflict between science and creation? Can you believe in God and science? The answer is a resounding YES!

 

God is good. Satan is bad.

Sand Castle2You’ve been violated, betrayed, shattered. Our natural inclination is to place blame. Someone must be at fault. The question is who?

Most often we assume God is at fault. After all He’s God isn’t He? He’s everywhere all the time. Was He not paying attention or am I not important to Him? He could have stopped it. Right?

We question the very nature of God. God is good, he doesn’t cause bad things to happen to teach us a lesson or to build our character according to Pastor Alan Smith.

The question is…who is seeking our destruction? Who hates us with a passion? Who wants to skew your view of God? Satan. He wants to be God but he can’t so he imitates Him. According to I Peter 5:8 he prowls around like a roaring lion. Jesus is the Lion of Judah. Satan is a fake who uses smoke and mirrors to deceive us into believing God is the cause of all our pain.

God is good. Satan is bad.

Satan is a thief. John 10:10 NLT “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give you a rich and satisfying life.” It’s the very core of his nature. There’s nothing redeeming about him. If his lips are moving, he’s lying. He counterfeits everything good that God is.

Can I explain why my childhood was like it was? Or why I married an abuser? I can’t.

For years I thought God was at the center of all the bad in my life. My view of God was skewed. I thought He was the great punisher in the sky. I was bad and unlovable so this was my lot in life. How distorted my view of God was. Over the last 10 years my view of God has changed. I’ve grabbed hold of the belief that God is good and Satan is bad.  

I had a reoccurring dream through the years. In the dream I could seeing myself sleeping and a shadow of a man sitting on my bed with his hand on me. I never understood the dream until a few years ago when God showed me it was Him sitting on my bed each night watching over me as I slept, caressing my arm and bringing comfort.

Before I knew Him, He was there.

It was such a gift and a dawning of the depth of His love. It all started with a question, “Father, show me where you were when…” and show me He did. I didn’t ask out of anger or frustration but from a desire to know. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of His great love for me even when I thought I was unlovable.

In my first marriage, there were many times I begged God to rescue me or kill him. I was waiting for a white knight to rescue me but it never happened. It took years to realize it was never God’s plan that I marry him or stay with him. They were my choices, I ignored the red flags, then chose to stay. I was too blinded by fear to see an escape. I believed the good times out weighted the bad. They didn’t.

There was no purpose for the bad in my life. God didn’t fall asleep on the job. Yes it made me the woman I am today. BUT. If I had made a different choice I would still be the woman I am today but with a different story of how I got here.

Change my past? In a heartbeat.

God is good. Satan is bad. Will God use my story? Absolutely. He already has. Do I wish I had another story? A thousand times…yes. Have I come to accept my story? Yes. Though it has taken 10 years to get here.

Satan spent his energy trying to destroy me. He failed. He wasted his time and energy. Why? Because I choose to believe God is good and Satan is bad.

Many books have been written on this subject and we could spend hours in debate and scour the bible for answers and try to explain it. At some point each of us must decide for themselves…

God is good. Satan is bad.

Do you want to begin to heal? This is the foundation you can build on…God is good. Satan is bad.

No matter what your story is, don’t let the start stop you from finding freedom. Begin the journey today. Next post “Your freedom is God’s will.”

Want someone to chat with? Email me at ChaostoCastles@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Hurt people Hurt people

IndulgenceThe fairy tales I grew up with were the Disney animated version. I’ve read parts of the original fairy tales years ago. They are much more gruesome than what you see on the big screen.

The theme is the same, the damsel is in distress and prince charming rescues her from the evil Queen or step mother. In the end they fall in love and live happily ever after.

I’ve enjoyed the live action remakes of some of my favorite fairy tales. Most of the remakes still involve the damsel and prince like Cinderella (Ever After) and Snow White (Mirror Mirror) and my new favorite Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent).

In the animated version of Sleeping Beauty the evil queen is truly evil. Hard and bitter are two words that come to mind. She is wicked. What makes someone evil? Are they born that way? Or were they so deeply hurt that they chose hatred, anger and revenge over healing. I admit I hadn’t thought about the evil characters in my favorite fairy tales until I watched Maleficent.

Spoiler Alert ~ Go no further unless you’ve seen the movie.

Maleficent is a story of hurt, betrayal, anger, bitterness, revenge and in the end redemption. What began as a budding friendship develops into the bud of love. Until greed and power take over and Maleficent is betrayed by her true love. She allowed the hurt to fester and turn into anger and bitterness. Creating a wall around her kingdom no one could breach. She sought revenge on her betrayer by cursing his child. The cure for the curse is true loves kiss. She chose it because based on her experience it didn’t exist.

This isn’t the version I grew up with but it won my heart. Seeing how hurt and betrayal can destroy not only us but those around us.

The king sought revenge on Maleficent for the curse on his child. Instead of protecting his daughter, he sent her away. He began his journey of self-destruction by closing himself off and looking for ways to destroy Maleficent.

It’s a never ending cycle of revenge.

Hurt people hurt people. The first time someone said this to me I wanted to punch his lights out. I was so angry, it was as if he was making excuses for what my then husband did to me and our children. Over the last 10 years of healing I can see just how true it is. Even of myself.

As part of the healing process I had to look at how I hurt others because I was hurt. It was a hard reality to face. It broke me completely. Here I was the victim of another’s abuse yet I too caused pain to people around me.

The cycle splashes on the innocent.

Aurora was beauty and innocence. Her acceptance of Maleficent was pure. Over time Maleficent’s heart softened and she looked for ways to end the curse. The solution was a young prince. Or so she thought. It never occurred to her that she was the answer, that it was her love for Aurora that was true loves kiss.

So yes, hurt people hurt people. What’s more important is free people free people. This is the cycle which should never end.