What My Trauma Did For Me

If you would have told me, I was going to write a post about what my trauma has done for me six months ago, I would have said, “There is no way that is going to happen!” But here I am, writing about it and hoping I can help someone out there who struggles with it.

So, let’s talk about trauma. It isn’t the usual topic of conversation that you have with others. But, it is a topic that needs to be discussed because so many people are suffering from it in the world today. I think we can all agree that our world has dramatically changed in the last few years and because of that change, there are more and more people suffering from trauma and the repercussions from it. 

Before I go on, I want you to know that I understand how painful and debilitating trauma can be. I am not in any way trying to minimize the havoc it wreaks in our bodies. Trauma is awful and to live with it day in and day out is horrible!! It takes a very long time to deal with it and heal from it. The trauma that happens to us is bad, but God can bring good from it. 

I was born into trauma. I lived in a war zone every day of my life until I was old enough to get out of my house. I developed very destructive habits in my younger years that stuck with me for a very long time. Then, in my thirties, I started dealing with depression. My doctor suggested taking medication, so I complied. The medication helped, but there was still a deep sadness inside me. 

When I was 37, my world came crashing down after my brother committed suicide. When I heard the news, there was a shift in my body that I really can’t explain. I remember my heart sinking, my heart racing, and my body was completely overwhelmed with emotion. I felt out of control and lacked the ability to deal with what was going on inside me. It was my first experience with a panic attack. 

From that point on, little by little the anxiety got worse and so did the horrible panic attacks. By my 40th birthday, I was really suffering. I couldn’t hide from my feelings any more. It took days for my doctor to help me find a medication that could help me function and calm down. I was a mother of three daughters and I desperately needed to be able to take care of them.

One night, a good friend of mine was with me and witnessed me having a panic attack. She took me aside and strongly encouraged me to seek counseling. She gave me the phone number of a woman that she talked to. So, I called the number the very next day to set up an appointment. 

I want you to know that it took desperate measures to get me to pick up the phone and dial that number for counseling. I really thought I could handle my life, until I couldn’t. So, I know how hard it is to reach out for help. But, to be perfectly honest, you have to have help. You really don’t have a choice if you want to get better. I’ve spent thirty years on medication and twenty years in some form of therapy. 

That’s what trauma did to me physically and emotionally. But what I want to share with you is another side of trauma. A side that is is hopeful. I know when you see the word trauma, it’s hard to imagine seeing the word hope next to it. The two words side by side don’t compute in the brain, especially when you are in the midst of living in your misery. 

But… I have found hope and a purpose to my trauma. It has taken me many years to say those words. In order to explain why those words go together, I just have to talk about Jesus. I’ve read the story about Jesus dying on the cross since I was a little girl. This year, the verses about Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, jumped off the pages and burrowed into my heart. The words I am about to share with you gave me new meaning— a new revelation of Jesus. So, let’s get to it!

He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is crushed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting Him might pass Him by. ”Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:33-36

This Easter, for the very first time in my life, I looked at Jesus and realized He knows trauma. (You are never too old to learn something new!) He knows from first hand experience how horrible it is. Peter A. Levine says it best. “God-man is distressed, troubled, overwhelmed to the point of death—the very definition of trauma.” 

He was deeply troubled and distressed. He knew what was going to happen and even sweat drops of blood over it. He said His soul was crushed with sorrow to the point of death. Because of His distress, He wanted His friends to stay with Him so He wouldn’t be alone. He even asked for God to take away the suffering, but then said, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 

Jesus knows how we feel when we suffer. He can relate to every bout of depression, every panic attack we experience and all the anxiety we feel.  He knows what it is like to feel intense pain. He knows what is like to be deeply distressed and troubled. He knows how to feel extreme sorrow. 

The bottom line is… He knows. The day He died on that cross, He became so much more. He became our way through. He became our way through anxiety, depression, panic attacks and so much more. When you feel like you are alone in your pain, you have someone who knows how you feel. The men that Jesus asked to be with Him kept falling asleep. So, He knows what it feels like to be alone. He wants us to turn to Him because He knows. When no one else understands, He understands. 

I’ve been on a long journey with God. I have been trying to understand His ways. I’ve been desperately searching for answers to my questions. But what I didn’t realize, was my seeking and searching was giving me so much more than I asked for. My searching gave me more of Him. My seeking brought a deep attachment to my Trinity and that attachment is giving me healing.

“We don’t need answers from God like we need attachment with God.” Voskamp

Yes, it is nice to have answers. Yes, we need counseling and sometimes we need medication. But, the attachment I have with God is what is truly healing me. The time I spend with my Trinity is giving me the insight and the growth I desperately need to endure my life in this world. 

“Let our mysteries lead us to deepen our relationships, heighten our gratitude, strengthen our God-attachment, and grow our soul resilience, this is the way we find meaning and keep standing. All is meant to grow the soul toward the goal of God.” Voskamp

When I attach myself to God, sit at His feet, learn from Him, listen to Him, talk to Him, wrestle over issues with Him, give Him my struggles and my will—the trauma lessens a little each day. I have realized that everything that has happened to me is meant to grow me not destroy me. 

There is a great return when we pray for His will to be done in our lives. We gain His wholeness when we give Him our brokenness. We gain more of Him to help us with our pain and our suffering. He is truly our way through the trauma. 

I feel so much as I write these words. I am grateful. I am in awe of God. I am proud to be His child. I am excited to learn more. But most of all, I am deeply humbled at what God has done  in my life. My mind is blown away by how good He is. How faithful He is. He has been so kind  to me when I have questioned His every move. There is nothing on this earth that compares to Him. He is my reason for living. 

I could go on and on. But, what I want to leave you with is hope. Hope in Him. Attach yourself to Him and don’t let go! He is the Way through our messy lives. 

I love you dear friends!  Until next time…This is my journey to joy!

The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made

Have you ever gone through a stage in your life where you are filled with so many questions that frankly make you feel a bit overwhelmed? Questions that plague your mind and your soul. Questions that you desperately would like to have answered. Questions that you are asking yourself and questions you are asking the Creator of the Universe to answer. Life just seems to get so desperate sometimes, and if you just had an answer, it might just help your life make sense. 

The question “Why?” haunts me. It rises up within me because I’ve done a good job stuffing it for so many years. It rises up and won’t leave me alone. This question demands an answer.

I instinctively go get my pen and my spiral bound notebook, that I call my journal, so I can get my thoughts and questions down on paper. I go before the Holy Trinity and ask the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to help me find the answers I am searching for. I know this is a holy work. This is hard work. This is the core work of my being.  

I knew when I accepted Christ into my life that I would never be the same. I knew it in my bones. I knew exactly what I was doing. I was only twelve years old, but I knew that having a relationship with Christ would be the best decision I could ever make. It was actually the first big decision that I made in my short twelve years of life on this earth. I attached myself to Christ. I knew He was going to make a huge difference in my life. I just knew in my soul that He was my life.

Let me share with you something C.S. Lewis wrote. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” 

That statement by Lewis makes so much sense. I was not made for this world. This world is not my home. It will never satisfy the deep longing in my soul. 

I long for a world where everything will be made right. Where we can worship God all day long. Where there will be no disease. Where no hate exists. Where good will triumph. Where there will be no more hurt or pain. No more addiction. No more sin. Truth will prevail. No more wars. No more lies. No more killing and especially no more evil!!

That is where my heart is. But, I am living on this earth right now because this is where God wants me to be until the day He calls me home. So I ask, “Lord, why am I here? What is my purpose?” And every single time I ask those questions, He tells me my purpose is to spend time with Him. Share my life with others. Share what I am learning and share what His word says. So, that is what I will continue to do.

This world will never satisfy me because I yearn for so much more that it can give me. Everything I am and ever will be is tied to my relationship with Christ. I am attached to Him. Nothing else on this earth will ever fulfill me the way Jesus does. My life only makes sense because of Him. 

We are created for connection to others and connection to our Trinity. When our connection is broken, we feel loss and that loss can feel overwhelming at times. There is a deep hole within all of us that only Christ can fill. I have tried to fill mine with other things and they have never truly satisfied me.  

When I am with my Trinity, asking questions, learning, seeking, finding, listening and writing, there is Communion. There is safety. There is love. There is truth. There is revelation. There is deep attachment. There is intimacy. “Healing comes through the closeness of hesed-attachment because He knows how close we need Him to actually experience His healing touch.” Ann Voskamp

Psalm 31:7 “Lord, you see my affliction and know the anguish of my soul. I will be glad and rejoice in your love that attaches itself to me.” 

Did you catch that? God’s love attaches itself to us. I have been on a healing journey for twenty two years. I have read countless books. I have finished many Bible studies. I have sought wisdom from counselors. All of those things have added to my healing. But…. the time I have spent alone with my Trinity has been the most profound experience of healing in my life.

I can’t put into words how much we need to attach to the power of the Trinity. The Trinity listens. They speak. They give wisdom. They enable me to do things in their power that I normally can not do. They enlighten me. They ask hard questions. Everything they do brings healing to my shattered heart. I have struggled with many things in my life and I know that I would not be here if it wasn’t for the divine love of God. 

“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts, as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians 3:17

‘You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God Himself is a present in you?”  1 Corinthians 3:16

I share these verses because I need to be reminded, and maybe you need to be reminded, that if you have a relationship with Christ, He is in you. He is a present and a presence in our lives. We need to develop intimacy with the Trinity and attach ourselves daily to them. “Lose connection to your loved ones, your dreams, your community, your maker, and what you will always find is trauma.” Voskamp

I’ve lived through a lot of trauma. Trauma caused by people and situations I couldn’t control. Please listen to me when I say this… I have survived because of the connection I have with my Trinity. I have endured because of the attachment that I have with Christ. It’s so hard to put into words what they mean to me. 

This period of my life has brought a lot of questions to my mind, but also a lot of clarity. I was reading the other day in Ann Voskamp’s latest book The Waymaker and was reminded of Deuteronomy 8:2 “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness…to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.” 

I know there has been a tremendous number of days that I have wandered in the wilderness. My heart has been tested many times, but what I’ve learned is… I want Christ more than anything else in life. I want a thriving, growing relationship with my Trinity. I want their ways and their truth to reign in my life. I want to trust them even when what I am seeing sends deep fear inside me. 

I have situations in my life right now that are shaking me. I have to dig deep and trust God because it’s impossible for us to please God unless we trust God with the impossible. Hebrews 11:6 He can do the impossible. He can do anything. My job is to choose to trust His ways and then choose to trust Him again and again. 

Easter Sunday is quickly approaching. Have you taken the time to think about what Christ did on that cross for us…the horrible death He endured for us…the sacrifice He made for us…the way He loved us and still loves us…His desire to be in a relationship with us…The fact that He lives in us. The fact that our body is a temple and we should honor that temple by the way that we live. 

It has been fifty years since I made my decision to follow Christ. I can still say it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am in love with my Savior. I can’t imagine my life without Him. Oh, how I long for everyone to know Him and love Him.

He deserves so much from us. He simply asks us if we would like to be in a relationship with Him. We have the free will to say “yes’ or “no.” I will say “yes” over and over again!

I am going to leave you with a statement by A.W. Tozer. “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So, what comes into your mind when you think about God? Let it marinate inside you as we approach Easter. 

Until next time my dear friends. May this journey we are on together bring you much joy! The joy that can only come from Him!

HE IS RISEN!!!!

Waiting To Heal

Have you ever realized how much time you find yourself waiting? We wait in the grocery line. Maybe, you are waiting for the right job offer. You might be waiting for positive test results. We wait in huge lines to go to sporting events or concerts. We could be waiting for a loved one to stop their addiction or destructive behavior. We could be waiting for a miracle. The bottom line is… waiting is a huge part of our lives. 

I think waiting can be one of the hardest things we do in life, but it can also be a life changing experience. I have been watching the Winter Olympics since they started a few days ago. I love watching the athletes compete, but what really inspires me is each individual athlete’s story of what they’ve gone through to get to compete at the Olympics. No matter what sport they are competing in, each athlete has had to wait for this moment in time. They have faced many challenges in life and have persevered to get where they are now. They’ve learned to wait. 

We can’t all be Olympic athletes, but we can learn to be good at waiting. Let me share this quote I saw on Instagram yesterday that Toby Mac posted. “Healing takes time. There is a reason the Lord waited 22 years to reunite Joseph and his brothers. The lessons were found in the waiting.”

After I read that quote, I knew I needed to sit down and write. I fell apart 22 years ago when I started experiencing panic attacks that completely took over my life. If you have experienced panic attacks, you know how scary they are. I felt like I was going to die. I really didn’t know what was happening to me. I just knew I needed help! I finally got some relief after my doctor  prescribed some medicine that calmed the attacks down and I also started seeing a counselor.

I had a major misconception in my mind about healing from my abusive childhood. I thought it might take a few years and then I should be better!!! Boy was I wrong! The panic attacks continued for years before they went away and I am still in counseling. People that I love have made comments to me about why it’s taking so long for me to heal. I have beaten myself up over those comments. I have pleaded with the Lord to heal quicker. But, I have finally realized that there have been many lessons that I’ve needed to learn the past 22 years.

I have been very impatient with my process. I have gotten angry, cried a lot and pleaded with the Lord to heal me. But, the bottom line is… I want to know God. I want to learn. I want to understand. I want to change. I want to help others. I am determined to move forward and I will do whatever it takes to move closer to a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior. He is my gold medal. He is my reward. 

I want to share a story with you that is in the Bible. This story is about a paralyzed man in the book of John. I’ve read this story so many times, but I have learned a new way to look at it. This man, and several others with disabilities, were lying by a healing pool of water. Jesus enters the scene and learns that this particular man has been paralyzed for 38 years.

John 5:6-9

Jesus walks over to him and asks, “Do you want to get well?” 

   “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

   Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The question that Jesus asked the paralyzed man is the same question that He asked me 22 years ago. “Do you want to get well?” My response was a little more challenging than the paralyzed man. “Why would you even ask that question? Of course I do! Why do you think I am sitting here shaking all over?” (Thank goodness the Lord is patient and kind!!)

The next words that Jesus says to the man are, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 

My response, again, was a little more verbal than the paralyzed man. “Do you see that I am shaking over here? I am asking for healing, but I want it right now! I can’t keep going on like this! I am going to have a heart attack from these stupid panic attacks. Get me out of this mess!!! How am I supposed to just get up and walk?” 

I am laughing now, as I remember those words. I was a very desperate woman! I didn’t want to wait. I wanted healing right now! But if He had healed me at that time, I wouldn’t have the lessons I’ve learned while I was waiting. I wouldn’t have the journals, the books, the Bible studies or the counseling that He has given to me. I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with Jesus and I wouldn’t be writing this post. 

I wanted to be healed immediately, just like the paralyzed man. That was his story. My story is different. I have had to wait for my healing. Now that I can look back at those really hard years, I am so grateful He has gotten me through them. I have learned that His timing is not my timing. His will is good and perfect even when it is really hard to understand. 

At times, the waiting process can been excruciating. The paralyzed man waited for 38 years to be healed. When Jesus came to him, he had a choice to make. Do I believe this guy can heal me or will I ignore His question and just keep lying here? He chose to believe Jesus, so he was able to get up and walk away from his spot by the pool.

If you are waiting right now for something to happen, let me share some things that have helped me in my waiting process. First and foremost, I have to spend time with Jesus. I have to talk to Him. I journal because it helps me get my feelings out. Counseling is crucial. Find a reliable friend or friends to support you and pray for you. Spend time reading and studying the Bible. God’s words bring the truth that you are desperately searching for. I have read countless books that have really inspired me to keep moving forward. If anyone wants a specific list of books that I have read or studies I have done, please contact me. I can give you many to choose from. I am here for you! I want to help you move forward. 

May I also add that friends and family mean well when you ask their opinions, but God is the One who truly knows the right answer. We need to ask ourselves if their opinions or comments line up with God’s word. I know I have fallen into the trap of listening to others more than God. 

Let me leave you with some very wise words by Oswald Chambers and Jim Cymbala. 

Chambers  “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go.” (Or, get up and walk!)

Cymbala  “Faith enables us to see God on top of all our problems. If we see only the problems, we get depressed and start making wrong decisions….”Unbelief” talks to itself instead of talking to God…. When we talk to ourselves, we’re not talking to anyone very smart, because our outlook is very limited. But if we talk to God, we’re talking to someone who knows everything. He knows what He promised in the beginning, and He knows exactly how to fulfill those promises no matter the circumstances.”

If you asked me if all the time reading, counseling and studying is worth it, I would definitely say yes! My mental health is worth it and so is yours!! The lessons I have learned have gotten me to where I am today. I won’t be completely healed till I die and see Jesus. So, while I am waiting, I will keep moving forward towards that finish line where Jesus will be standing with my gold medal in His hand. Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

Until next time….This is my journey to joy!

Looking for Hope

I used to go to a lot of football games when I was growing up because my dad was a football coach. There was one item we always carried with us—a set of binoculars. My mom and I would take turns watching the game on the field with those binoculars. But what I really loved to do was watch the people that were cheering in the stands. Watching people can be quite entertaining. (I promise. I am not a creeper.)

I guess you could say that I am observant. I had to be that way growing up in order to survive. I became the daughter that I needed to be thinking that would make my dad happy. And if my dad was happy, then he would quit hurting us verbally and physically. I really thought that I could make him want to be a different person. Well, that strategy didn’t work! 

For years and years, I placed my hope on my father changing. I thought if I could do enough, he would change for me. My biggest mistake was placing my hope on a person and not on God. There is nothing wrong with hoping someone will change. The problem happens when we place our hope on that person changing. After many years of soul searching, I realize that my desire for him to change became more important than my desire for God. 

If you have read any of my posts before, you know I am a word nerd. I love to look up definitions of words. So bear with me while I give you two different definitions of hope.

Hope (as a verb)— to cherish a desire with anticipation; to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence; trust. 

Hope (as a noun)— trust, reliance; a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment. Someone or something on which hopes are centered.

While I was looking up verses on hope, I remembered reading a verse in Proverbs several years ago that bugged me because I couldn’t understand it.  Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” So, I decided to do a little research on what “hope deferred” meant. I am so glad I did!

When we eagerly hope for something important, and it keeps being postponed, the longing we feel can make our heart sick. It can cause despair and affliction. When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed. Hope deferred can lead to depression, anxiety, and actual physical sickness. When we wait for a good thing for so long we can become hopeless. Dashed hopes can sicken our hearts. When we keep hoping and hoping things will change we can be tempted to allow that thing to become an idol because we start to want that thing more than God.

While I was reading about “hope deferred”, I recognized that I have been living with a sick heart for most of my life. I have been through depression, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and physical sickness. My heart hoped for my circumstances to change and for people to change for so long that my heart has taken quite a beating. It has been sick over the destruction I have seen and lived through. 

I am realizing there has to be a mind switch on what we hope for. We can hope, but it is Who we place our hope on that makes the difference. Let me give you an example. You might have a friend, a family member, or a spouse in your life who is living a lifestyle that is sinful and destructive. You are hoping and praying that he or she will see the light and decide that they no longer want to live that way. Day after day you hope and pray they will change. And, day after day your heart becomes a little sicker when you don’t see a change. 

I am learning that I have to catch myself when I am headed into despair. I have to stop, grab hold of my mind, and pray. “Lord, you know how much I want ________ to overcome the sin in their life. I place my hope on You, not on _________ to change. I pray for Your will above my will to be done in their life. I release my hopes and dreams for them to You. No matter what happens, my hope is in you and your will for ________. Help me to handle whatever happens. You are the Source of my hope.”

I know it is easier said than done. But, if we are going to survive emotionally, we have to place our hope on the Lord. This mindset can apply to any situation. My hope has to be on the Lord during this pandemic. My hope can’t be placed on anyone or anything else because, “Hope remains constant when we get to know the Source of all hope.” Kent

Let me share some verses with you.

Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Lamentations 3:25-26 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the One who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Psalm 62:5-7 “I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.”

Psalm 39:7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.”

What are we looking for? What are we hoping for? Where are we placing our hope? Are we placing our hope on an answer or a change? Are we waiting quietly before the Lord?” Take some time to ask yourself these questions and process your answers.

All of us are facing many things in our lives that are trying to suck the hope out of us. I have spent too many years allowing that to happen in my life. I want to do better. I want to be better. I know that my eyes have to focus on God and not anyone or anything else. He is the source of hope for all of us. If we put our hope in Him, there are great benefits. 

For me, it is a releasing of my will. I need to completely trust His will in my life, and those I love, even if I don’t understand what He is doing. I need to want His will more than mine and mean it when I pray, “Your will be done.” I have hope in Him. I have hope He will always work things out for good. I have hope He is working and moving even when I can’t see it. I must trust Him and His way of working. 

I have to be okay even if what I am seeing isn’t okay. It has taken me a long time to get where I am right now. I still struggle with hope because I am so used to being that young girl with the binoculars. I am trying so hard to change the way I process what is going on around me. I am asking for the Holy Spirit to help me retrain my mind to switch from what I see to Who I see. I want to see the Lord through those binoculars and not the people around me. My focus has to be on Him. He is the only way I am going to survive.

I just read this verse and want to share it with you before I finish.

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

“Hope floats because it has an anchor. And what does an anchor do? It keeps the ship on course when wind and waves rage against it. But the anchor of hope is sunk in heaven, not on earth.” Carol Kent and Gregory Floyd

My anchor, your anchor is Christ. Our happiness comes through hope in God. 

I pray this post is helpful to you. I pray that we can find our hope in the Lord and not on things on this earth. Hope does not disappoint when we place it on God. He will accomplish His good and perfect will no matter the circumstances. We can have hope that He will do that!

Until next time…..This is my journey to joy.

New Year’s Resolutions

I didn’t expect to write another post this year, but I am compelled to sit here and write. I simply can’t get this sentence out of my mind. “Christ came into the world for you — and you came into the world for Him.” Voskamp

Most of us make New Year’s resolutions every year. We contemplate what we would like to do differently in the new year. But this year, I would like to challenge myself and you to bring God into what we decide our resolutions need to be. Maybe we should ask ourselves a few questions before we write down our resolutions. 

“Lord, we came into this world for you. What would You like for us to change in our lives? What lessons do we need to learn? What things do we need to do differently? What do you want us to do with our days? How can we bring glory to You?”  

It is pretty simple when it comes right down to it. Why am I here? Why are you here? Our purpose in life is to display Christ. Our purpose is to glorify Him in what we say and what we do. He wants us to love others and live our days walking with Him. 

How often do we include God in the process of writing down our resolutions? He wants us to include Him in the process. He came down. He came down to this earth for us. He came to give us life. He came to be our Savior. I think we forget the simplicity of it all. 

“This night a battle has been waged and won for you. Love had to come back for you. Love had to get to you. The Love that has been coming for you since the beginning—He slays dragons for you. This is the truest love story of history, and it’s His-Story, and it’s for you. All the other fairy-tale love stories only echo your yearning for this truest, realest one—this one that has its beginning before the beginning of time. This night, you on this visited planet, your rescue is here. You can breathe. Your God extends now on straw. He lays Himself down in your mire. He unfolds Himself in the stench you want to hide, in that mess that is your impossible, in the mucked straw you don’t want anyone to know.” Voskamp

When I read those words, it makes me want to live my days for Him. Look at what He did for us!!! He came down. I can’t get that fact out of my head! And, He not only came down, but He also wants to lay Himself down in our mire! 

Word nerd alert! What does mire mean? 1. a stretch of swampy or boggy ground. 2. a situation or state of difficulty, distress, or embarrassment from which it is hard to extricate oneself.

He wants to get into the things that drag us down. He wants to be with us while we battle the things we want to hide from everyone. I have learned that the only way I am going to get out of the mire, is to grab onto Him for dear life. He is my only rescue! I might try to attach myself to other things, but HE IS THE ONLY WAY OUT! 

If you want to get free from something in the new year, you have to invite Jesus into the stench you want to hide. He wants you to ask for His help. He wants to rescue you, but you have to do your part. 

I know what it is like to be desperate for change. I know what it is like to be stuck in my own sin looking for a way out. I have felt utterly helpless because I couldn’t see how I was going to be able to break free from the bondage in my life. But, I am here to tell you that Jesus came down in the muck and mire of my sin and brought me out!

There isn’t a magical pill you can take. You simply have to be honest with God. No more hiding or lying to yourself or to Him. He knows the truth anyway. That issue or issues in your life aren’t going to go away without inviting Him into them. I have spent many years getting honest with God. I have had so many strongholds that needed to be broken. But God has been right by my side setting me free from the sin that was keeping me in bondage. He got in the mire with me and brought me out. But, I had to do my part. 

We have to be willing to give up what we desperately want to hang onto. A drug addict has to be willing to give up drugs. An alcoholic has to be willing to give up alcohol. A sex addict has to be willing to give up sex. We have to be willing to give up whatever is keeping us bogged down. If you want to be set free, you have to be willing to give it to God. 

I know that there is someone out there that is reading this post and thinking, “I want to change, but I just don’t think I can give up _________.” Let me tell you right now, you can. And the reason why you can is because Jesus came down. He came down for us. And if He can come down and die on that cross for us, then we can give up whatever it is that is controlling our lives. 

I am very passionate about this because I have lived it. I have had to go before the Lord many, many times and lay things down. I have had to ask for His help so I can walk in freedom. I have journal after journal that documents freedom from the sin in my life. I know how hard it is to give things up or give people up. But, what you gain makes the people or the issues in your life lose their importance. And that my friend is pure joy! When you gain more of Christ, there isn’t anything else on this earth that can compete with that!

Philippians 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

There is never a day that I say, “I wish I had that bondage back. I wish I had those people back that were a big part of my problems. I wish I could go back and live in the mire and stench of my sin.” I kind of like living in freedom. Once you taste it, you don’t ever want to go back. And there is freedom to be had for all of us!!!

So this year, when we make our New Year’s resolutions, may we be mindful of Christ and include Him in the process. Ask Him what changes need to be made and seek Him for His wisdom and strength. Call on Him to get into the messes we have made and rescue us from our sin. He is there waiting to help us. That’s why He came down. He came into the world for us and we are in this world for Him!!! 

I am going to end with some verses from Isaiah that I learned when I was taking “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore. These words depict who Jesus is and why He came. 

Isaiah 61:1-3 

“The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

     because the Lord has anointed me

     to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

     to proclaim freedom for the captives

     and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

     and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

     instead of ashes, 

the oil of gladness

     instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise 

     instead of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, 

     a planting of the Lord

     for the display of his splendor.”

Happy New Year!! May 2022 be a year of freedom for all of us!! 

This is my journey to joy. Until next time…