Hello, Fear. I’ve Been Expecting You…Five Tools to Combat Anxiety

dixie1 My journey over the past two  years has been one of disbelief,  then shock, then denial, then  fear, then acceptance, and finally,  faith.  

 But maybe that is wrong. 

 Faith had to always be there or I  wouldn’t be sane right now.   I  have watched God sustain us on  very little work for my husband  for at least the last 2 years and  before that we slowly watched  our work source disappear due to  California’s changes and  cutbacks.  We literally live with no savings and only Him to provide for us.

(You can read about this journey in my new book, 50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, in the warfare section of the book.)

Manna from Heaven.

Well, not literally Manna…yet.   

But envelopes on the door step.   Acquaintances walking up and handing us money.  The givers, giving as my husband speaks at various church gatherings.  And my own income from coaching keeps me floating. It is so supernatural I can’t even tell you where it all comes from.   

My journey as a Life Purpose Coach is amazing too.   God seriously brings in the clients and it has been this way since the beginning of this career.  When my clientele gets low, I pray and ask God for more and He sends them.

All you have to do is let God know you are ready to reach out to people and He will send them.  No stress in that one.    He just sends them.  So, be watching or you will miss the opportunity.

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 What one usually fears, at  the root  level, is a kind of  death. We fear a  death of a  part of ourselves, the  death  of a job, the death of a  move,  death of an income,  death of  ourselves….and the  list goes on.  When we think  of certain big  transitional  periods in our lives, we  often experience a lot of  change.  Change invokes  the death of something in  our minds… the ending of something.

 A change usually requires some letting go of old thoughts, behaviors, people, situations, and ways of being .  And then we can experience the new and fresh.  But if we let anxiety take over we become paralyzed and defeated.

 

The truth is that we won’t actually die, but somewhere within our psyche, we feel as though we are LITERALLY going to die.

 

 Once we get past that initial fear and insert a healthy comforting tool, we can move towards the new. We must, in turn, accept what we most fear.  You have to ask yourself…what is the worst that can happen?  

And within that answer comes reality.  I won’t die!

Here are 5 tools for you to begin to gain ground in this fight against fear.

1.  Admit to yourself that you are experiencing anxiety because if you deny it.. it only gets worse. Face it head on.  Make a decision to not react to it.  Instead focus on deep breathing.   Focus only on the breathing and Jesus.  Picture Him right besides you and breathe in His all encompassing peace, and breathe out the anxiety and fear.   Make sure the breaths are from your diaphragm and not your chest in shallow puffs.    Take a deep full breath in through your nose, making sure your belly expands on the inhale, and out through your mouth, and the belly contracts.

2.  Listen to sweet worship music and focus on the words. Drown out the fearful thoughts.

3.  Whisper the name of Jesus…the bible says that at the mention of that name, every knee has to bow, in heaven and in earth….this means that when you say His name, the enemy of fear can’t stay around…it has to leave…

…fear and perfect Love cannot dwell together.

 4.  Learn to train your mind to be on guard against the thoughts that come from– THE VOICE–and that voice usually comes from our enemy or just our own minds (and past voices that spoke negativity into our lives) where the enemy has planted his imagery of death.

 5.  When you feel the thoughts coming of impending doom, immediately start the breathing, the name of Jesus, and a favorite verse you can say over and over again. And if you need it, put on that music!

Shoulder-Angel-and-DevilTwo thoughts cannot dwell in your mind at the same time.  One or the other has to go.  I choose to eradicate the fear thought.

 

Trust that, no matter what, within your new heart lies the ability to get through anything. Trust Him–He will walk you through it.

So, that is how I have gotten through this death of the old in my life.  I still don’t know what the outcome of all this will be.  But I do know Jesus has a plan and it will unfold when He is ready to show it to me. 

Meanwhile I can’t afford to let my mind wander into the unknown valley of fear for it will lead to a certain death of my peace.

 This is a battle with the principalities and powers of the air, the warfare for my life and the fight is not mine but His.  As long as I envelope myself in Him He will not let me sink into that raging sea.  

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 It is not complicated  though we try to make  it so, don’t we?  

 There is no formula,  no works, no  traditions, nothing that  we can fall back on  that will move us out  of anxiety and into the  peace that passes all  understanding… except His love.

He is Love itself, and He promises that He will NOT ever forsake us.  

….for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not,  [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]  Hebrews 13:5b Amp.

 

I will announce the  winners of the free books on my next blog.  Read the last blog about the release of my newest book, 50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, and comment if you want to enter the drawing!

 

50 Ways to Meet Your Lover!~~ New Book Launch!

50-ways-to-meet-your-lover1-e139710312732150 Ways to Meet Your Lover, An Invitation Into a Captivating Daily Walk of Intimacy With Jesus, the Lover of Your Heart and Soul

My new book is launched today on Amazon!  Free book giveaway drawn from comments on this blog below!

The story of my life has been the story of a long and passionate pursuit for God.  He always came as the King in my story, and it was always to rescue my heart so I could live as a woman fully alive and completely captivated by my King

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1My most Intimate Stories Written For You. 

Because of a long childhood shrouded in pain and abuse, I pursued my King with all my heart from my earliest years because, somehow, I knew that He held the answers for my worth as a valuable human being.

Did you ever think Jesus could occupy the role of your lover?  Well, this book shows you 50 ways to do so.  What do you long for Jesus to do for you?  What places in your heart are crying out for healing and restoration and beauty?  Have you lost hope?

I see my journey through life as an adventure; a wild, passion-filled, full of love, full of many valleys and deserts, kind of adventure.  I refuse to see my life as mundane and I refuse to allow myself to think of myself as a victim of circumstances.  I don’t care how  hot the fires of a trial may be.

The reason we identify with fairy tales in some deep part of us is because they rest on three great truths: The hero really has a heart of gold, he is usually a Prince or a King, and his beloved possesses hidden beauty and greatness fit for royalty.  I want you to have a glimpse of Jesus’ golden heart.  I want you to know you possess greatness and honor.  This is how He sees you.

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nThe King is enthralled with your beauty! Ps. 45:11

This Jesus, this playful, fun, extravagant, and total lover of our deepest desires is enthralled by our beauty.

Imagine it!!

50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, is what I humbly share with you as we pursue this King, Prince, Friend, Redeemer, and Lover in a very real and personal way.  I hope you find it spiritual, deep, honest, transparent, vulnerable, inspirational, and humorous.

If you want to know how much you are loved by God, and if you want a closer walk with Him, I pray that my walk–with all of its peaks and valleys–can inspire you to know these very things, and truly give you joy and laughter along your own personal adventure with God.

I’ve written this memoir-driven devotional — with chapter by chapter daily stories from my own personal walk with Jesus~

~  in soul searching stories of discovery

~  find the real you : explore what feeds your soul

~  discover vulnerability and transparency to heal

~  understand how your personal story can be used to get you to the plans and purposes of God in your life

~  be inspired with faith and hope in never being alone on your journey

535697_353910861338135_812640802_nLet’s Celebrate!

FREE BOOK GIVE AWAY!

I WILL DRAW A NAME AT RANDOM FROM EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS  BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION OF THIS BLOG.

THE DRAWING WILL HE HELD A WEEK FROM THE DATE POSTED.

THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON MY NEXT BLOG

(I will notify you for your address)

 

The Woman Who had No Self Esteem, No Hope for the Future, and No Idea She Even had a Gift…..


50-ways-to-meet-your-lover1-e1397103127321 It is my story.  MY story!  We all have a story.  This is mine.  I  am  getting ready in a few weeks to launch my 2nd book, 50 Ways  To  Meet Your Lover, An Invitation Into a Captivating Walk With  Jesus the Lover of Your Heart and Soul.  

 A SECOND BOOK!   How crazy is that?

 Who knew this would happen in my life.  I could not have  dreamed that the little girl who was a victim of incest, abused by  her spiritual leaders; the woman who endured seeing her  own sweet little girl become a victim of the same travesty; the  woman who had no self esteem, no hope for the future, and no  idea she even had a gift to use for God could be here today  proclaiming to you that God has made me into an Author and a  Life Purpose Coach,

….and yet here I am.

Don’t tell me God can’t use you because of your past.   I am a walking miracle and living proof.   And He uses my past to set others free now! 

Amazing!

You are a walking miracle!!  You may not know it yet, but you are.

After writing my first book, Climbing Out of the Box, My Journey Out of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse Into Freedom and Healing, I learned that it is in our vulnerability and transparency that others can truly relate and be transformed by our stories.   I learned to let my story go for the good of mankind, so to speak.   For I knew if my story could possibly change the life on one person it would have been worth it to me and to Jesus.

climbing-out-of-the-box-by-dixie-r_-diamanti-300x300-e1397103388170

Then I went a step further and realized that even if it was just an act of obedience and I was writing just for Jesus, it still would be more than worth it.  

The surprise was that in writing my story….

I FOUND HEALING!!

And this is why I am such a promoter of journaling your story and thoughts and prayers to God.  If you have coached with me you already know that.   In getting it all out your story begins to make more sense, your life purpose comes into focus, and you find a cleansing of the past like never before.

So, I moved forward in my writing at first never really knowing if it was real.  At first  I had no idea what I was doing.  It was blind faith.  We use the tools and gifting God has given us….sometimes without seeing the completed plan.  He grows us up to reach outside of ourselves to see others walk in the same freedoms.

And that is my goal, really;  To make a difference in the lives of others.

I love to write but I’m not really patient to wait for the plan, the dream, to unfold.  Especially if I have a vision of what I want to put down on paper.  I can see it.  I can feel it.  I am excited about it.  I want to do it now and see it published next week.

But then I wait and write.

And wait and write some more.

And then I don’t want to let go if it, again, and wonder why anyone would want t o read my stuff.

Looking at my motives I realized it is not just about whether my book will be a best seller or not, though that would be wonderful.  It is about being me and being true to who I was created to be and to my calling.  God has a plan.  Then I had to face the fact that even if I knew it wouldn’t be a best seller, I would write it anyway, if only to reach that one person who thought there was no hope left.

jesus-christ-widescreen-wallpapers-04There is a divine journey assigned to just me.   There is one assigned to you too.   It is a journey about reaching out, touching lives, healing hearts and being vulnerable enough with my story that it will truly make a difference in the lives of others. 

I want to flow in His plan and not get ahead of myself.  At least in my heart I do.  My head is a different matter.  It wants everything yesterday.  It’s because I have this dream, and it is not going away.  I have more stories to tell.  They are not going away either.  But when I am writing I have need of patience and I always learn in the process.

Maybe it simply means validation.  When my books make  it into print, it says to me, “Yes, you are doing this right.”  I am doing what I’m meant to be doing.

So, here I am with one book published and one about to be published in a week or two; waiting for them to get in the hands of the right people through social media and word of mouth,

..and being okay with it.

My soon to be released book, 50 Ways to Meet Your Lover, A Captivating Invitation Into a Daily Walk Of Intimacy With Jesus the Lover of Your Heart and Soul  is a compilation of my own personal journey– stories of faith, trial and temptations and humor.   It amazes me that many of you will be reading about my very private times of intimacy with Jesus, and actually growing in faith to the place that if He can do it for me, He can certainly do it for you.  At least that is my prayer.

It’s not as though I have a choice.  I can’t control it, this walk of faith –not if I want to continue upward.  And I can’t control the outcome or the wait.  But God knows and His timing is always best for our journeys. 

He zigs while I zag……I must continue to walk in the light of Him on my journey. It is all about surrendering to the process of growing.

Both books can be purchased on Amazon in a few weeks!!  You can get Climbing Out of the Box right now!

dixie1

I Fell Head-long Down a Flight of Unrelenting, Cement Stairs

stairfallWhen Greg and I were first friends and actually neighbors in our adjoining apartments, he was attending an event one day that he needed support from friends while there.  I decided to  go to the event just to support him.  I spent much time on presenting myself because secretly I was interested in getting to know Greg a little better, if you know what I mean.   I had on lovely white slacks and was coiffed just so.  I lived in an upstairs apartment and cement stairs led down to my car.  As I hurried out the door towards my car, somehow I stumbled heading down the stairs and fell head long down a flight of very hard and unrelenting stairs.

I was stunned and shaken when I reached the bottom and, true to my nature, I looked around to see if anyone saw me and then jumped up and ran back up the stairs in denial that my whole body was in pain.  I hurriedly checked the mirror to make sure my hair and makeup was still in place and my clothes were still presentable and then rushed off to the event, ignoring the ache in my leg and that my body was shaking.

I entered the building and took my seat to observe and when Greg saw me he came and sat with me.  I acted so together as I smiled.  But the minute he looked at me he wanted to know if I was okay…we looked down at my leg with the white pants and there was blood seeping through.  I leaned over and pulled up my pant leg and had a large goose egg on my shin and it was bleeding.  I was embarrassed and said it was nothing and that I just fell down the cement stairs between our apartments before coming.  He looked at me like I was from another world.  Greg still tells the story.

This was typical behavior for me at the time.  I was so good at covering the real me and hiding my imperfections and my clumsiness in most any situation.  I had been through a time of great suffering and pain and was still in hiding from my true self.

Restoration Comedy Mask 1Have you ever struggled with the fear of showing your true self to the world?

Do you back off of things you are gifted in and you know it’s because of insecurity?

Would you be surprised to find that most everyone struggles to reveal their true self instead of a masked version of themselves that they feel is a bit more acceptable?

Why do we hide our true selves?  Are we afraid that no one will like us if they knew who we really are?  And, yet, most of us love it when someone reveals their real selves and all of their imperfections because we then start to feel more “normal.”

I had this recurring dream once.  

I would be rushing to get somewhere…didn’t matter where…shopping, school, parties…and I forgot to get dressed and my make up wasn’t on…fear would grip me in the dream and I would be terrified.  I would be putting on eyebrows, and mascara, and whatever but it would never quite stay on me–it would just slip right off; my clothes kept dropping off.  I would find myself in the midst of people totally undone and without makeup or proper attire, terrified and looking for a hiding place but none could be found.  People ignored me and everyone would just look at me as if I was not even there.  There was nothing about me that made a difference.  I was ugly.  I was unacceptable.  I had nothing to offer if I didn’t look the part, according to my own perceptions.  I would wake up from these dreams in a cold sweat.

hidingThese dreams revealed to me my deepest insecurities born out of being violated as a young child sexually, and for all my years after the violation I tried to paint a picture of a very together girl that had a perfect life.  But inside I knew I was ugly and unworthy and full of shame.

It took a lot of energy to keep my true self hidden and I was always drained.

It takes courage to step out into self discovery and the pain of facing yourself. 

Many choose to walk this way for the rest of their lives rather than be courageous enough to face their hidden pain and let it go.

We fear failure and not being good enough or that we won’t fit in.

I believe on our deepest levels we are actually afraid of who we could be.  Who we know deep down that God has created us to be…so much more than we could imagine and we know it in our spirits!

You are a precious child of the most high God!  Keeping your light hidden only robs the world of what God has gifted you with.  As a Life Purpose Coach I am convinced that He has a plan for each and every one of us.  But not all walk into that plan.  Some resist it because of fear.    

2You were born to shine forth His glory in this world.  That glory is on the inside of you.  As you let that glory shine, you give others permission to do the same. 

Think about how you are one-of-a-kind.  You carry a voice…a resonance.  You have a message. The way you do things is totally you.

 Focusing on this uniqueness will help you to succeed in life.  To grow to love your story.  To find joy in the freedom of being you.

It’s when you discover your uniqueness, that you’ll be open to become who you were meant to be.

The real war is in becoming your truest self. 

I know this struggle too.  Many years I wandered, trying to find who I really was and where I fit in.

But through many years of self discovery in my journey with Jesus, I have to say I am absolutely amazed at how much the struggle to reveal the real me has stopped and I am more comfortable and confident to be who I am called to be.

If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will see I have endeavored to be transparent and vulnerable with my own story…as humorous as it sometimes is…in hopes you will relate and also realize I am no different than you. (Well, maybe some of you aren’t as clumsy as I am.)  

It is through this very transparency that my healing has come.  It is through this vulnerability that others have been able to relate to my story, and feel the courage to share theirs.

How exciting is that?

I am on a mission to proclaim the freedom into the world that deep relationship with Jesus provides for those who want to pursue it and to help them find their voice–the very thing He is calling them to.

I am passionate to help people uncover obstacles that have held them back and to walk with them in a new journey they never knew existed for them and one that  they love.  I would love to work with you in Life Purpose Coaching in uncovering more of “you” and the uniqueness you have to offer the world. 

535697_353910861338135_812640802_nMy friends, you are made unique for a purpose.  Finding your voice starts by being fully alive, inviting people in and having relationship with them by being truly you.

It is letting go of the fear that holds you back once and for all and free falling into the arms of a King who adores you!

Give yourself permission to be free to love you and people wherever you go in life, in what you create and in your business.

Be who you were created to be, find your voice and go change the world. 

 

Does Fishing for People Mean I Have to Stand on the Corner and Yell, “Repent?”

526890_497796150276836_1535264190_nOne day as Jesus was walking along the shore of  the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.  Jesus called out  to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”  And they left their nets at once and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:18-20 NLT

I don’t have the gift of evangelism.  My husband does and he loves it!  I love people and have a shepherd’s heart, but I am not one to focus on evangelism.  I am called to share daily Kingdom living with those who are interested, and I write, and I have the gift of counsel through the Holy Spirit’s guidance. 

It took years for me to get over the fear that someone was going to make me stand on a street corner and cry out like John, the Baptist, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  

One day I was caught up in a crowd of people in an amusement park and I found myself slip into a different perspective of the people, who, quite frankly, seemed to be cutting off my air as they pressed in around me.  I had to purposely focus on breathing to avoid taking off running and screaming to get out of the park.  But as I stood there in the line of humanity I felt myself rising, somehow, to a God’s eye view of the multitudes.  It was like I was still in my body in the sweltering crowds, but another part of me was lifted up into the heavenlies.

1It was really pretty amazing. 

I perceived in the spirit what God sees when He looks down on earth and the very expansiveness of the amount of people He sees and I knew He knew each one by name.  And for a brief moment I experienced His kind of love for them.  That is how I knew it was Him.  I didn’t know these people from every nation that seemed to be surrounding me.  

It was pretty much blowing my mind.  I felt very, very small as I looked on with Him from His vantage point.  I thought of how our small groups we hang out with think they have it all figured out and have all the answers…and I saw how absolutely bazaar it is to think we have God, the universe and all the people in it, figured out.

Only God knows each and every heart.  Can you even imagine?

“So Lord”, I said.  “What does it mean to fish for people?  I don’t think it means to grab them and scare them into repenting!”

And as is His custom with me, He began to teach.

The common image of a fisherman in our day is of a man with a fishing pole casting a lure into the waters of a stream or a lake. However, such was not the case when Jesus called his disciples.

They caught fish with nets and by experience they found that their best fishing took place at night.

25276_347990456355_4322645_nWe know that this is true by looking at Luke 5:5, when Jesus told Peter to cast his nets on the other side of the boat he said, “Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing.  Never-the-less at your word I will let down the net.”

How did they fish at night?

They used a very powerful and effective method.

Light!

Fish were attracted to light!  Now I was onto something!

Just as fish are attracted to the disciple’s light, God wants people to be drawn to His light shining through His people. The light of every believer is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

Paul stated in his second letter to the Corinthians (4:6-7), “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power of God may be of God and not of us.”

We are not the light—we merely reflect the light of Jesus. 

Now let’s look at what kind of man Jesus was while He walked this earth.  I have heard it said that Jesus was not strolling through the Israeli countryside offering poetry readings.

He was on a mission to rescue a people who are so utterly deceived, most of them didn’t even want to be rescued.

I saw that Jesus talked straight.

Sometimes He’s playful; sometimes He’s fierce; the next moment He’s generous.  As He is so are we in this earth!  This is the beauty of his wonderfully disruptive honesty—you can count on Jesus to tell you the truth in the best possible way for you to hear it.

Could this be one of the reasons why we struggle to spend time with Christ or to listen to His thoughts on our life, world and relationships—because He’ll tell us the truth?

What would it be like to have someone in your life that knows you intimately, loves you regardless, and is willing to be completely honest with you?  Yes, it would be a little unnerving, certainly disruptive—but doesn’t part of you also crave it?

Jesus heals a leper.  He doesn’t ask Him if He is saved first.

What?

He forgives a prostitute.  He just told her to go and sin no more. 

309148_275390375904036_1522969089_nWouldn’t you want to know more about this man?

He dines with tax collectors and in that day and time that was taboo for “righteous” folk.  Would you be intrigued?

Jesus wasn’t concerned with His reputation.  Why isn’t He?

Jesus doesn’t seem to care what people think.  But we know He cares very deeply about the right things.   

What does Jesus’ scandalous freedom in living and relating to others stir up in you?

Jesus sets before us a deeper, truer view of holiness.   

We are in a world full of darkness.  We are the light of Jesus where He has placed us in the this world.  The fish are attracted to light.  The people are attracted to the light of Him in us.  

“What is it you have that I don’t have?”, they say.

And you reel them in as you simply introduce them to source of the light.

Profoundly simple, yet so profound.

All those external “rules of men” do nothing to promote a genuine holiness.  But they do make people Pharisees.

By the truckload.

Remember, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).

The only possible way that can happen is through an internal revolution, a changed heart.  When we have a heart like Jesus’. Bingo!  Open door to share Him in all of His uniqueness. 

The more you fall in love with Jesus’ genuine goodness, which is true goodness, the more you will absolutely detest the counterfeit of a false piety and a shallow morality.  And the more they will swim around the light and grab the bait!

As they did with Him. 

 

I’ll Call Her Hannah

303161_414645191931368_893377415_nI’ll call her Hannah.  

Sweet girl, but she walked in that day with a cross between terror and distrust on her face.  On that first day she came she brought reinforcements.  Her protection sat in a car across the street in case she needed to make a quick getaway.

I greeted her with a hug and she was shaking and determined to not talk.

amazing graceShe sat at my table overlooking my flower garden staring at the Amazing Grace plaque I had nailed to the fence, and tears just waiting to be released.

There had been other attempts from other people to help her heal from a childhood that had lied to her and robbed her of her innocence; a childhood that had picked her up and spit her out into the emptiness to fend for herself; a place she had locked herself up within a cage of torment, but was safer than venturing out into the unknown…and so that no one would see or notice.  But those well meaning attempts to help her were not welcomed nor were they successful because according to her she did not trust them nor did she think anyone would love her if they knew her secrets.

And now here she was at my table, eyeing me with suspicion and maybe a little of, “what makes you any different than the others.”

For the first session I did most of the talking.  I explained that for this to work she had to do the work.  She had to talk.  She had to give me something.  She would drop her head and tears would flow down her cheeks and we were left with silence.

I felt Holy Spirit prompting me to just wait, not be in a hurry.  So, I waited and became comfortable with the silence as the weeks turned into months.  Sometimes we sat there for 5 to 10 minutes with neither of us saying more than 2 words.  I refused to speak for her, though it was tempting to break the silence and uncomfortableness.

I just loved her.  Peace

I eventually began to share with her what a precious daughter to the King she was.  I told her He rejoiced at her loveliness and none of what happened to her defined who she was meant to be and would be one day.

I told her God had a plan for her and He was enthralled with her beauty.

And He wanted to heal her from the past.

Week after week, we made little progress it seemed.  Many times she would start to tell me a secret and would take at least a half hour to get out only part of the secret and then she would collapse into sobs.  I assured her it was okay and that we would tackle these obstacles together.

Then one day she finally started coming on her own– without the reinforcements.

She eventually started to trust me and slowly…very slowly…began to open up with her dark secrets.  Sometimes she would only get out a sentence and then crumble again into tears.

She loved to say, “I don’t know” a lot.  I told her she could say anything but “I don’t know”….and she broke the habit of hiding behind those words.  She really did know.

She had tried to hurt herself many times, she finally told me.  She felt ugly inside and couldn’t imagine Jesus wanting her as she was so undesirable. She felt dirty and caged and covered it up as best she could.

10440802_696494227073693_7724385406213002777_nWith each new disclosure, her trust grew, and I began to see a new beauty emerge.  After many months, week after week of spending time just sitting together and her slowly revealing her childhood to me, she began to change more and more.  She eventually gained an empowerment that was solely from the Holy Spirit.

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nShe confided to me finally that she loved my hugs.  I gave them even more freely then.  I sensed that the little girl inside of her had not received many in her life time…and every time I hugged her she cried.

She would melt in my arms. 

She won her way into my nurturing heart.  But I knew that without His grace reaching down into her heart, revealing to her the value He placed on her, I, myself, could not help her.

Because I had been in that very place myself as a young woman and I knew that without His intervention I had no strength to pass on to her.

But God had plans for Hannah.

After 8 months of our weekly sessions she showed up one day at my door with a smile on her face, anticipating my hug, and I saw no fear.  There seemed to be a break through.  She began to open up more and more and started making herself accountable to me if she was tempted to do something that she knew was destructive.  She began sharing more details of her abuse and her feelings and fears that had entrenched themselves into her very fiber.

And with each disclosure came more healing.

Oh, she tested me a couple of times.  She wanted to see if I would walk away.  But I didn’t.  I am not the walking away type, and by this time I knew God was working in her in a big way and had great plans for her.  I confronted her and loved her through it.

She learned that forgiveness is real.

One day I knew God was going to move Hannah out of the area.  I just knew that she could not stay where she was and continue to grow.

And it was time she left the nest and flew on her own.  Oh, I would still be there, but I knew it would be a different role.

And I had to face my own issues of letting go.

Sure enough she was offered an opportunity in another state to start a new life.  I told her God had told me she would go and that it was okay, it was time.  After a year of coaching she was ready to go into the face of fear and go out on her own.  I wasn’t prepared for the deep sadness that overtook me.  We had become very close.  And those last few weeks before her departure was hard on both of us.  We would sit and talk about all the opportunities God was going to open up to her with excitement and within moment our eyes would well up.

We planned a birthday lunch on the beach.  We went together like Mom and daughter.  I bought her a heart necklace engraved on the back so she would always be reminded that I am close in heart and that Jesus is even closer.  We sat at the beach and talked and talked.

Boy, what a change from that first day of sitting at my table as the clock ticked.

I couldn’t help but remember back a year ago when that pale faced, young girl, showed up at my front door shaking and terrified, not able or willing to utter a word to me.  And now I was looking into the face of a young woman glowing with promise and she had a huge smile of gratefulness and unabashed love on her face; A woman with hope and excitement about her future.

Don’t tell me miracles aren’t for today.

Hannah is one.  378095_526317080764178_826390852_n

Don’t tell me coaching backed by the Spirit of God doesn’t work.  It is revealed in an awesome display of His glory on the faces of those who bravely submit themselves into His trust when they come to be coached.

I wrote a poem for her before she left.  I don’t know if it was as much for me to let go–as it was for her to leave.  She has given me permission to use it here…to share with you…to give you hope in whatever you face.

She came in tears

shredded and spent

sorrow and guilt

hope lost for comfort

destitute

The journey began

into new awakenings

A Princess you say?

alone and shattered me?

hope?

a melody began to play ♫  

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nHer Prince  appears

 

“Dance with Me”  He whispers

“Come put your head on My shoulder

let Me hold you

breathe with Me

I’m healing all your wounds

and taking you on a journey

are you willing to go with Me?”

 

adventure and abandon to Him awaits

 

I am taken with your beauty“, He says

My love for you knows no bounds

 

and the true Princess emerges from the abyss

and dances into her new life with Him

and the past has lost its hold on her……forever

 

Church and Fast Food…What Do They Have in Common?

drive thru We are so fast paced in our country.  And we have incorporated this into our relationship with God.  We are a fast food nation.

We want instantaneous answers, overnight transformation, speedy growth.  We want drive up and drive through service.

But God desires to speak to us daily through His word.  He wants to have direct conversation with us.  When we only rely upon others to feed us on Sunday mornings, we are relying upon the processed word; what we are being fed by someone else…not the pure word that God speaks directly to us.  It is great to share the word with others and hear their insights, but if that is all you rely on and don’t commune with Him yourself and listen to His voice for yourself, you are eating processed foods, spiritually, and it is not enough to sustain you or show you how to walk in the Kingdom every day.

Now, physically speaking,  the healthiest natural organic foods are whole foods… not processed foods.  

organic-vegetables2Our bodies need choice fruit and vegetables straight from the vine.  Processed foods make the body sick.  They lack vital nutrients and contain impure additives and dyes that have no value to our bodies. Though filling, they are toxic and do nothing but promote disease.

It takes work to go get good, healthy food.  The planning and cooking and just the overall inconvenience of having to take the time to eat it.  It is so much easier to run by the drive through and eat something that tastes good and fills us up, but is killing our healthy cells.  We can deny it for a while, but when we get physically sick we either let our addiction for fast food kill us or change our ways.

In the same way, it takes time and persistence to walk with Jesus every day and to pursue Him with all your heart.  Going to a building on one day a week and thinking that is enough for true Kingdom living is deceiving ourselves.

It is not enough!

The collective body of Christ is sick from eating processed foods, spiritually speaking.  They have been doing it so long that they do not know how to eat and drink freely from Him…to meditate with Jesus, to spend time with just Him.  They think just going to a church institution will be enough.  But then they wonder why they go back to a defeated, mundane life the rest of the week.  

drive through churchWe eat fast food on Sundays and then wonder why we are starving and miserable the rest of the week.  Yet any minute of the day He is standing there waiting for you to listen to His whispers in your heart.

It takes an investment in time, deliberate focus and purpose to eat well.  As it is with our body and natural food, so it is with our spirit and spiritual food.

The pursuit to find any formula that can be applied to produce His righteousness and provide me with New Testament church life or even grow my trust, is foolish.

It will fail, time and time again, until in the end we come to realize that this reality only comes through a growing friendship with Him.  The more I know Him and the more I see His hand at work the more free I will be to trust Him and live in His kingdom.

Any time we choose to follow someone else’s formula for success, or an agenda no matter how well intentioned, we will end up living by our own limited wisdom.

The invitation to this Kingdom is to follow a person.

Jesus doesn’t give us the way; He is The Way.

He doesn’t have life; He is The Life. 

He doesn’t just speak truth; He is The Truth itself.

Everything about His kingdom begins and ends in Him and we experience that through a growing friendship with Him.

To grow in this life, I am continually cultivating my relationship with Him.  I intentionally spend time with Him as I grow in my awareness of His working throughout my day.  I have a running conversation with Him about everything in my life and express my desire to follow His will at every turn.

I try to saturate myself in the word to learn how He thinks and acts.  And it is important to join in what God is showing others by what I read and listen to, and the conversations I have with others I gather with on this journey.

This means letting go of the lies of shame and the demands for performance that drive us from him and find our security in His devotion and love for us and let that transform us.

For me, it has been great freedom to realize that I never had the power or wisdom to accomplish God’s purposes in my life, and how losing confidence in my flesh actually freed me to live more dependent on Him and more grateful for His working. 

What a joy to wake up in the uncertain adventure of life and not be distressed at what might happen today, because He is with me!  I can’t explain how wonderful that freedom is.

How could fast food Christianity ever produce this?

The pattern in everything is this:

The greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain—things you must force yourself to do when you don’t feel like it—while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are as inviting as a big old feather bed and down comforters.

God, in great mercy, is showing us everywhere, in things that are just shadows of heavenly realities, that there is great reward for those who struggle through and persevere (Hebrews 10:32–35).

He is reminding us almost everywhere to walk by faith in a promised future and not by the sight of immediate gratification (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Each struggle to overcome becomes a gigantic flag to us saying, “Look ahead, past the struggle itself, past the temptation of the puny, vapor joys to the great, sustained, substantial Joy set before you!”

See your Father pointing you to the reward he has planned for all who endure to the end. (Matthew 24:13). 

Transpose it from reluctance to a reminder that God is calling you not to indulgence but endurance.

Then lay this weight aside and run with faith the race he has set before you.  God will meet you with the grace you need (2 Corinthians 9:8).

jesus and meAnd the thing is: This light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17–18)