Don’t give up! You’re on The Edge of a Precipice

20180618_133059I have a message burning deep in my heart that I want to share. When darkness closes in all around you and it feels like you are going to suffocate from lack of hope, don’t give up—you are on the edge of a precipice!

The definition of precipice is this:

Precipice

[presuh-pis]
noun
  1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
  2. a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.
I have been on this precipice many times in my life. Sometimes I found myself there from choices I made, but many times I found myself looking off a cliff from situations that simply presented themselves.There are a few choices we can make when we find ourselves here:
  1. Go back the way we came and deny it.
  2. Find other routes to escape it.
  3. Face and accept the seemingly impossible challenge.

I have tried all three! I can say, without a doubt, facing and accepting our challenges is the only choice we have to growing healthy and moving forward.

I have had situations all my life in which I had to choose not to give up. I was born to overcome; nothing in my life has been easy for me. I was the youngest of five, born into a turbulent time. My mother had given up and over to alcoholism, and my dad was an oft-absent traveling salesman. I got a lot of attention early on for being the “baby”, but that soon lost its luster, and I usually felt like I was just in the way, the third (or fifth) wheel, and definitely not preferred over anyone else in the family. Although I now see everyone was trying to do the best they could, the attachments at home were not secure for me.  I was abused in different ways, which further lead me to finding my own ways to detach and protect myself.

Elaine Aron, in her book The Highly Sensitive Person, says:

All childhoods are not equal. Some are truly horrible. And they can differ within the same family. Statistical analyses of the influence of family environment on different children in the same family show no overlap. Your brothers or sisters lived a totally different childhood. You had different positions in the family, different early experiences, even in a sense different parents, given how adults change with circumstances and age.

When I was in middle school and high school, I had the potential and some outside encouragement to really excel in music or writing, but I think the lack of concern at home made me lose motivation to exert any effort. I regret, yet accept not having the wherewithal to take advantage of those opportunities better. I felt unnoticed by my family whether I did something really well or not, so I took the path of ease. There was no support or excitement about what I might become; I only felt the annoyance of others if I asked for help. I have in recent years recognized when those feelings resurface as an adult, and have seen the same scenario play out in my marriage at times.

It has required a lot of dependence on God, prayer, and therapy to work through these deep wounds that have affected my person, marriage, and my own family. First and foremost, I have to believe that I am loved, accepted, pleasing, and forgiven by God. This is where all of my significance lies. I have found Robert McGee’s book Search for Significance to be authoritative on this subject and extremely healing to me.

When you find yourself stuck in life or turning to things you never thought you would engage in to get relief, you owe it to yourself and others to take the time to find out why. We deceive ourselves when we think we can leave one bad situation and move into another one that will magically be healthy without any work. It is a process and a journey that is lived one healing minute and hour at a time.

When you find yourself with your back against the wall, suffocating in the hopelessness, what are you going to do? Remember the three choices from the beginning: we can go back the way we came or stay in the same old ruts and familiarity, but I challenge you that is not the way of healing. We can find other routes and escapes. Again, this is where dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol, and idolatry of every kind comes in. We can choose it, but it will take us in to a greater bondage than the momentary relief it brings. I have made this choice in a variety of ways, I have been destitute, shed many tears and almost completely lost hope for choosing this way.

The third choice, however, is facing and accepting that our situation is hard and taking that challenge. This is difficult, but healthy, because it is walked out in truth. Of course, I am not suggesting that you should remain in a state of hopelessness or receive any kind of abuse. God came to set the captive free and loose the chains of bondage. We are not living healthy lives if we are enabling others to abuse us and perpetuate the cycle. God calls us out of darkness and into His light, and sometimes it is a bloody battle to get there.

I am saying that when we find ourselves in desperate situations, that is usually an alarm that there is something to address. This alarm contains the perfect opportunity for healthy change. The thing about precipices is that there is something vast waiting on the other side, a lively and healthy adventure that you will never know unless you decide within yourself that this is the way of peace, even if it is difficult.

Whether you are in a circumstance of your own making or have done nothing to deserve your position, do not give up! Take courage! Forgive yourself, love yourself, realize that you are accepted and pleasing to God and that that is more than enough, even if others are rejecting you.

I bought a plaque to hang on my wall. I bought it after I had caused a great disturbance in the lives of many because of some of my behaviors. It says: Let your courage set you free! I still look at it and am strengthened by it. I am weak, but Jesus says, “When you are weak, I am strong in you.” That gives me courage. I do not have to muster something that I do not own, but I can let Him do it through me as I am a container pouring out. He can supernaturally change situations if we are open to Him and have faith in Him to change us and change the situation.

You have to believe that you were created for something greater than you can imagine. Maybe you have been climbing up a sheer cliff for many years;  you haven’t reached a plateau or a resting spot in what seems like forever. I understand! My husband and I have gone from one hard or devastating circumstance to the next. Even if I chose to escape for a while, I eventually had to return to the place that I needed to accept the situation and see how I could change or grow while going through it.

It’s like being in labor with a baby; at the point that you think you cannot go on in labor, the baby is just ready to emerge. Every single time I was reaching a precipice, it felt excruciating, like I didn’t have the energy to go on. But every single time, there was freedom and a higher understanding on the other side. Just over the crest is where new life begins; there is no turning back when you keep that perspective.

So, the message that burns within me is this: You are not alone! Do not give up! You are only on the edge of a precipice.

 

Choosing Forgiveness

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I’ve been understanding forgiveness on a whole new level over the last year. I’ve dealt with asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving others and not being forgiven. One thing I completely agree with James McDonald on: “Christians need to be masters at forgiveness.” This is a challenging thought, but it’s true. And whether you’re a Christian or not, you know forgiveness changes your life and allows things to move in a healthy way that would be impossible otherwise.

The biggest challenge and help to me has been to understand that, “I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted, deeply loved and absolutely complete in Christ” (Robert McGee, The Search for Significance).

With God’s help in believing this is true, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I want to be rebuilt and energized in that truth, so I can do everything I was created to do in this life and not waste one more second in unbelief.

I want to encourage you that this is possible! You can change your life, your patterns, your habits, your hangups, and your failures. You can take that mustard seed of faith and it can grow into a flourishing tree!

I completely relate to King David when he said, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Forgiveness is not an easy road, and the battle is mostly in the mind. But unless I believe (without seeing) that forgiveness produces good fruit and leads to a more abundant life, I will give in to hopelessness and despair. I have been there many times, and it does not bear anything good! Not for me or any one else around me.

So, I am encouraging myself even as I write this, and hope I encourage you today!I encourage you to check your heart, investigate the things that weigh you down, and ask yourself if there is an area in your life (or that situation you can’t let go of) in which you really haven’t forgiven a person, or even God. Don’t let this day pass without getting it out in the open, confessing it, and receiving forgiveness for it. Don’t carry it around another minute, day, or year. This is precisely the Reconciliation Jesus Christ provided to us through the cross and what we can meditate on further through this Resurrection weekend. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can greatly aid us on this journey of forgiveness<3

 

One Thing I Do…

cook forest.jpg

This picture was taken at one of my favorite parks in Pennsylvania, during an anniversary weekend with my husband this past fall. The picture paints a thousand words in my mind.

It was a significant weekend for us, because we had been separated prior to this trip. When we went there the year before, we did not think we would ever return there as a couple, and I did not even want to take any pictures to document our time there.

We have been through a lot in the last several years. Many things had taken a toll on our marriage and we both reached points where we really didn’t want to work at it any more.

When you are weak and tired and other seemingly exciting opportunities present themselves to you, it is almost impossible to resist (but it is not impossible). I made a lot of poor decisions during that flat time in our marriage.The ramifications could have been so much worse, but the consequences will never go away. I can only thank and praise God for His mercy and unfailing love to me.

When I look at this picture of the road in the woods, I can’t help but think of the words of Dan Fogelberg’s song, “Along the Road”:

Along the road
Your steps may stumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way.

The Bible calls God’s Word “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” This is true, and this is how I got back onto the road.

Another exceptional truth is that, as long as we are looking back when we are trying to move forward, we will stumble. The apostle Paul had something transforming to say about this.

He was born a Roman and a Hebrew. Both those qualities gave him many rights, much authority and power. He lived during the time when the Christian church was just emerging, and by Jewish and civil law, he was zealous in the murders of people following Jesus. He then had a life-changing encounter with Christ and began to defend the faith. He now had great understanding and knowledge concerning both sides of the argument. He also had great understanding of forgiveness and mercy, and most Christians would look at him as a man who had “attained it” who had “made it,” who “got this”.

However, he saw it differently. In his letter to the Philippian church, he said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected … I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil 3:13 NKJV).

One thing I do: forget what is behind and reach for those things that are ahead! This is easier said than done. It is not easy to forget what you have done, especially when it has caused a great disturbance, not just in your life but in the lives of others as well. I think it is human nature to wallow in self-condemnation until we feel we’ve reached a sufficient penance. And some religions teach this. But this is not the way God deals with us; that is the way we humans deal with ourselves.

God is instantaneous in His forgiveness when we ask. God, through Jesus Christ, answers us with “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (John 8:11), “Though you sins are as scarlet, They shall be as white as snow”( Is. 1:18), “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and … returns to you, saying, ‘I repent’, you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:4), “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

God is outlandish and lavish in His forgiveness toward us, as proved through Jesus’ death on the cross!

This amazing forgiveness is what I have been experiencing both personally and with my husband. It is not from this world. It is supernatural! Forgiveness is a beautiful, precious gift, and it’s Christianity’s pinnacle!

When doubts and thoughts clamor at the door of your mind, deal with them! Have you asked God to forgive you, or do you just keep thinking about them? If you haven’t asked for forgiveness, do it now. If you have, meditate on the scriptures I listed above and look up more of them. I don’t know anyone who does not need to hear this good news! I hope it has been challenging and renewing to you today.

What are your thoughts on forgetting what is behind?  We want to hear from you today!

You Don’t Have To Be A Nabob!( A very wealthy, influential or powerful person;-)

As promised, I am highlighting a spectacular oil at the perfect time of year! The resin form of this OIl has a very deep history…enjoy:-)

Honest Aromas

Do you remember the account of the three wise men? Three wise men from the east came to Bethlehem following a star and a prophecy and wanted to worship the king who was born. By the time they found him ( just camels, no modern transportation!!), he was a small child.

“And when they had come into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him, gold, frankincense and Myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

What important visitors!! The gifts represented were prized, unique and uncommon for a simple carpenter and his family. I do not personally know any one  who has had dignitaries to come and  celebrate the birth of a child or personally know royalty! But we common folk can use this ancient resin in our modern lives and aromatherapy repertoire!

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