9 Attributes to Look For if You Suspect You are Being Spiritually Abused

th  “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31 

 We see the Lord’s displeasure being expressed against those who operate an effort to control the people. Consumed with their own ambition, these leaders have convinced the people that their power is divine. Yet in reality, these false prophets are merely wielding their self-imposed influence for personal gain, claiming they speak for God.

Pharisee“From the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (NAS). Jeremiah 6:13-14 

A common characteristic of an abusive religious system is that the real needs of the people are lost in the never-ending quest by the leaders for personal fulfillment and happiness.  

And this has been my story.  Part of it anyway.  You will find my whole story in detail in my first book, ”Climbing Out of the Box, My Journey Out of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse Into Freedom and Healing” 

climbing-out-of-the-box-by-dixie-r_-diamanti-300x300-e1397103388170https://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Out-Box-Journey-Spiritual-ebook/dp/B00AZ9JKG6

 

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Some of my spiritual abuse experiences include:

  1. When I needed to go to work to help support my family I was told by the authorities of the church I attended that I needed to forfeit working and stay in the ministry because if I didn’t I would lose all my gifting to ever do ministry again. For years I thought my gifts would not be used again and that I was disobedient because I didn’t obey them. (Until I was shocked when I began to see my same gifts used out there in the market place..aha moment.)

  2. A church that repeatedly told us they basically had the corner on the market of Jesus and they had the fullness of God and His gifts, where other churches did not, and that if we ever had to go elsewhere, we would miss God’s highest.

  3. A pastor who found ministry to be a vehicle for his great gain, lying and manipulating donors to give more and more money. He actually took the offering in decorated trash cans…(not lying).  The wealthy had the high positions in the church.  There was the pastor who had the men of the church build his home for free labor, stating, that as Solomon had to have the temple built before he could help the people, he, too, needed to have his temple before he was free to really be a pastor.

  4. A leader who cornered me in a room alone, threatened me, and yelled because he said I was too “perfect” to minister to women. He said I needed to dress down and quit painting my nails if I wanted women to identify with me.  He also said I needed to project being poor.  I was devastated.

  5. Openly ostracized and lied about to a congregation of people to manipulate me to quit my women’s ministry outside his organization that was reaching hundreds of women. ( I didn’t quit.  I left his church organization that very night.)

  6. Innocently called into a pastor’s office alone and watching him lose his temper at me, yelling with spittle flying, finger pointed in my face, falsely accusing me of talking about him behind his back because I told a sound man I was removed from the worship team and had no idea why.  I sobbed so loudly I couldn’t gain control while he stared me down with contempt until I finally got up and left.

These are all true stories, and I could go on and on but,

…now, many years later I coach so many who relate their own stories of pain and abuse at the mercy of “godly men and women”.  My heart aches for them because I know this is not Jesus.  This is man or woman who wants to control and the power goes to their heads. 

But, this was just the beginning of my story.  Upon leaving these controlling ministries after 25 years of having a church building as home and family,  I went through a 5 year sabbatical where I had an encounter with Jesus such as I never had, after being in church and busy with ministry all those years.  

freedom  It took me many years to be set free from the damage that was done to my spirit and to be able to enter a church building without anxiety and tears. 

 So don’t lose hope in the pain of loss when you know you have to make a change.  Jesus promises to NEVER leave you or forsake you.  Even when you are brave enough to leave and everyone is saying to just overlook the sin.  

When all the control and crutches are gone guess Who is left standing? 

jesus6    Jesus!!  

And oh what a Man He is…never to leave us or forsake us.  He will reveal Himself to you in all truth and lead you to safe places to experience the true love of God in motion, and connect with believers who really care and walk in His love in confidence.

Things to look out for in your place of church community if you suspect spiritual abuse:

  1. Do they say you have to blindly respect and obey them, without having earned it, just because they said so and they are your leader?

  2. Do they demand your allegiance to them as ‘proof’ that you are a follower of Jesus?

  3. Do they use exclusive language: “We are the only church in town really following Jesus.”  “Our theology is the only sound doctrine.”  Everyone else is missing the “deeper” walk.

  4. Do they shame people, without grace, if they fail to live up to the church’s expectations?

  5. Do they quote scriptures about “not touching God’s anointed” when referring to themselves? Yet they often confront sin in others, particularly ones who bring up legitimate biblical issues. Or they have their circle of influence take on this task, silencing their critics.

  6. Do they cultivate a dependence on one leader or leaders for spiritual insights? Personal discipleship isn’t encouraged. Often the Bible gets pushed away to the fringes unless the main leader is teaching it. And if you have an insight from God they have to approve it before you can share.

  7. Do they demand blind service from their followers, but live prestigious, privileged lives.They live aloof from their followers and justify their material extravagance as God’s favor and approval on their ministry. Unlike Jesus’ instructions to take the last seat, they often take the first seat at events and court others to grant them privileges. They typically chase after wealth–at any cost, and often at the expense of the very people they shepherd.

  8. Do they hold to outward performance but reject authentic spirituality. And place burdens on followers to act a certain way, dress an acceptable way, and have an acceptable lifestyle, but they often demonstrate licentiousness, greed, and uncontrolled addictions behind closed doors.

  9. Use exclusivity for your blind allegiance to them. Followers close to the leader or leaders feel like lucky insiders. And, of course, this meant they are more spiritual than the rest of the congregation.  Did you ever feel like you are exempt from the “click” of popular people in the community of believers?  Everyone else is on the outside, though they long to be in that inner circle.

We are all one body in His church. 

hands  You are the church!  

We need safe places to gather together and grow together and share Him together.  Don’t settle for less, and be brave enough to change if the Holy Spirit is showing you that something is just not right.  In fact, run!!  

The longer I stayed out of my ‘loyalty’, the move abused I was in the end.  You cannot fix it!!   Run!

  There is healing and restoration from this horrible sin for both the ones who have abused and the victims of their abuse.    Remember we are all an important part of His body.  We ALL have gifts, callings and talents He wants to use.  We were never meant to sit in a pew looking at the backs of heads while listening to one man  teach, without using our own gifts too!!  No one is more important than the other.

Be set free today!!   

Call me if you need help with this issue and you find yourself sunk deep into spiritual abuse and feel like you can’t get out.  Go to the home page from this blog and send me a message.  Or please comment below.

Finding Life Again– After Dead, Scary Looking Plants Are All that are Left…

1472885_10202755278189381_741907270_nYep, that is a real picture of my prized Angel Trumpet tree. 

Remember the show the Adams Family?  Remember how dead their yard always looked and they thought it was so pretty—the deader the plants were the better they liked it?  Someone told me after California’s big 3 day freeze in December in which all of my beautiful plants took a major hit, that my yard look like the Adams family yard.  I knew exactly what they were talking about.  

I get attached to my plants; mostly outdoor plants.   I feel close To God when I am out watering and fertilizing these amazing growing things.   When I look in the face of a flower I marvel how anyone could say there is no God.  How could such beauty be just happenstance?  Just saying………..

Anyway, being a Californian I know I am spoiled when it comes to weather patterns and, I can’t help it, but I get so upset when a freeze actually happens and in one night most of the plants are all killed.  We usually have year round flowers….but it feels like the Passover of the plant death angel to me.  I lie in bed at night picturing the scary looking “freeze” wind of darkness blowing over my babied plants and them all crying and dying.  I rush out in the morning to see if any survived only to sob when I see the brown leaves and drooping dead flowers. I tried putting a cover on the plants to keep them warm but the cover was frozen solid too.  No one can console me.  1551592_10202981468884007_1610862569_n (1)

Now, in my heart I know that it is just a matter of time before Spring will arrive and, though I may have to buy some new ones,  (because I don’t have the patience to cultivate them all over again to their original beauty), they will once again spring to life. 

The spiritual application of this process is truly amazing. 

Having been through major changes in 2013 and tremendous trials in my personal life, I can already see the fruit of the testing and life being born out of what I thought was the END of life as I knew it. 

How would I ever change if something didn’t change that was out,of my control and get me out of my comfort zone, (Like a freezing of all my security props).  

God knows us inside and out.  He knows if we stay content in our comfortable caves we would never move from there, even when we know it is not our destination.  We would just camp there because even if we know it is not God’s best  we know this place and it seems safer than when we move out into the unknown; until the freeze comes over night.

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see the thaw and the blessing come into being. 

But we WILL reap if we DON’T faint!!

We lost our house in 2011 to Bank of America through a set of circumstances that was totally out of our control.  We were lied to until one day our home was gone.  We are now renting the home through a set of miracles that could only be God.  You can read the story in this blog space….just type in “A Sure Dwelling Place” in the upper right corner of this page. There are about 9 blogs of the whole story.  It will one day be a book, but God has told me that the story isn’t over yet, so to hold off. 

Then our Investigation business took a hit and work has practically stopped.   We believed God like never before for provision and discovered the truth of who our real provider is through the fear of not knowing where any of it would come from.   And yet, we never missed a bill or went hungry…ever!!

Then my husband went to the desert, literally, to take care of an ailing step mom, so he could be a care person and be paid for his time.  He was gone most of the summer.  

So many transitions were wearing us out. And the not knowing what was going to happen.  In times like those you remember Job and the enemy of our souls brings in fear of how long this can go on before we are overcome with misfortune.  We tried to just be busy about the Lord’s work in our lives and I worked hard to just believe. 

But, it felt like death to our life in general. And there seemed to be no end in sight.   The whole year of 2013 was a year of uncertainty and disappointment and fighting fear of change and wondering what that change looked like.

 I didn’t like it.

I need to be in control of something, Lord,” I told Him. 

No, child, you don’tLet me!”  He whispered. 

Just like with my plants,  it felt like during the night the destruction descended quickly and ripped up my life and left me drooping and brown and ugly…..feeling as if nothing will replace what I lost.

But then I began to really take a close look at what was happening to us. 

At the same time all these negatives were happening, our home ministries took off.   

Both of our bible studies are prospering.

 God increased my clients in my Life Coaching business and still is.  It seems people really are drawn to vulnerability and transparency in my life.    Who knew?

Greg began a local weekly community bible study….and is invited to speak at various churches.

 I was invited to do a weekly podcast on a station out of San Diego.  You can listen to it here:   http://e2medianetwork.com/reflections-of-grace-10-10-steps-to-healing-from-childhood-abuse-reaching-others-with-empathy-and-compassion/

My blog has gained a bigger audience. 

My book, “Climbing Out of the Box”, is selling more and more on Amazon and I am getting ready to publish another book, and maybe a kindle mini book.

How could I separate my private life from my spiritual life?  How did that happen?  They are the same.  He is providing through miracles that, honestly, sometimes I have to stop and think how is this happening?

 In the natural there is no explanation.

Now I know God has been saying that He is preparing each of us to be the vessel He wants to use in the life of another person.  But we will never be that vessel if we give up and hide in our cave of discouragement. Not only must we keep moving, we must move into a new realm. Our attitude must move from discouragement to praise. It is when we move past discouragement to praise that we begin living above our problems.

It is a choice.

It is a decision of excellence.

And He wants relationship with us!!   If we never had any trials would we know Him as our provider or our comforter?  

Would we?  

He wants to get personal with us and the sooner we relinquish the control of our life the closer we will grow to depend completely on Him!

Soon Spring will be here and my yard will look like this again.backyard-2012 002backyard2011 002

Soon, my life will blossom like my yard into the extravagance of His riches in glory!

Hey, Have You Noticed that Telephone Pole in Your Eye?

log-eyeHave you ever noticed that the guy who is obsessed with someone else’s “sin”, and can’t shut up about it, kind of stands out like a sore thumb?   Does it make you wonder if he struggles with the very thing he feels compelled to expose in others as his “Christian” duty?  You may not have even been made aware of it but now that he has taken up this daily “soap box” tirade, you really take notice of him, not the ones he feels compelled to judge and draw attention to. 

It makes you wonder why he is so obsessed with judging others in their comings and goings and never points out any of his own failings.  Could it be that he is harboring secrets, and he thinks if he can point the finger at others enough it will take the focus off of himself?  When in actuality it has the opposite effect. 

Now, you are looking at him. 

 Why is he focused on one thing particularly that he considers sin, when sin is sin and there is not one that is worse than the other?

  Okay, so now he has your attention; and your irritation.   I personally want to run from these types of people.   They judge and condemn others with the speck of dust in their eye, without even noticing the telephone pole in his own eye.  We all know these people, don’t we? They are the first to throw that rock of condemnation.  It reminds me of the guy in the bible who watched a man weep before God in repentance, and he thanked God he wasn’t as sinful as the other man weeping.

Luke 18:10-14 gives us the story:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even  like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who  humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus warns us about the danger of despising and judging others.  Contempt is more than being mean-minded.  It springs from the assumption that one is qualified to sit in the seat of judgment and to ascertain who is good and just and who is not. 

Pride leads to illusion and self- deception. Humility helps us to see ourselves as we really are and it inclines us to God’s grace and mercy. 

I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15).  9977_467688173299942_1040397805_n

I don’t think God can help us if we despise others. Pride in our hearts prevents us from hearing His voice regarding our own issues.

Then there is this story out of Matthew 7

“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized.For others will treat you as you treat them.And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own?Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own?Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother.

Whoa, now that is heavy!!

The bottom line is that only God can see the heart and the reasons behind your actions.  No one is equipped to look at someone’s actions and judge why they do what they do.  Only God.  And He may be doing a work that you know nothing about.   When you judge your fellow man you are putting yourself in the place of God in their lives and that is just a dangerous place to be in, I have to tell you.  

Living blissfully and pridefully unaware of realities in our own lives that blinds us to ourselves,  is no way to live. It may not be fun to assess yourself and face your own sins or shortcomings, but it’s the only way to have a realistic picture of who you are in order to grow for the future.  I believe the bigger sin is when we give in to that religious spirit born out of pride and think we are the saviors of the world and can honestly judge the lives of people.

When we assume that people won’t change unless we fix them, as if we ourselves don’t need fixing, we show that our ultimate trust is in ourselves, not God.  When we don’t accept people because we don’t believe they will change if we do accept them, we admit that our ultimate confidence is in the conditions we place on our acceptance of them, rather than God.

We need to simply trust God to change others in His time, and if we don’t, we reveal that we think when we shame, intimidate and manipulate people into change that we are greater than God’s transforming spirit. 

Do we trust that God is working in the hearts of all people?  Or do we really believe that our pointing out their sin and shunning them will truly change them? 

Seriously?

Oh how glad I am that Jesus came to set us all free from feeling like we have to do His job.  He already did it—He has paid the price for it!!   If we focus on Him alone and how to press into true relationship outside religious judgment and pride, we can trust that He will do His work in the innermost hearts of all of us who need His cleansing fire every moment of the day.

In the Pit of Greatness…But I Have a Leak!

leaksI am beginning to see this pit I am in as a kind of  “holding ground” that promotes His work in my heart with great intensity.   Each time Joseph was thrown into a pit it placed him in a position to achieve higher Kingdom purposes.  I think that is what this is about.  The pit of greatness!!

 joseph-pit-slide

Is God saying…

 

“I want my sons and daughters to endure every test faithfully so I can strategically place them in positions to reach my people.” 

You know this rings true in your heart, even if your head wants to run the other way from, yikes, testing!!!

Are we willing to say, “Lord, I’ll gladly go wherever you want me to?   

 Do we pray, “Lord give me your eyes so I can see what is ahead?”  

 We say we hunger for this kind of faith, but do we really?  We don’t want to just occupy a space on this earth.  There has to be more, right?  We want Him to work His purposes in our lives, to impact the Kingdom of God.

 

But I know many believers who are afraid to dream  in faith; who would rather stay in their present pit than risk a move to higher ground,  For with that move comes testing.  

 That sacrifice of comfort that involves the unknown ahead, frankly, scares us to death.

 So we hang on to those familiar “friends” of  mediocrity and compromise.   We would rather stay with the destructive patterns and darkness in our lives than be willing to accept and  move out into the unknown in faith, Because we don’t totally trust Him to have our backs and take care of  us in what could possibly be ahead.   Or maybe we just fear pain.

So, we try to fly under the radar.  And we are ineffective in the Kingdom of God, so we won’t be a threat to the enemy, so we won’t get tested.  

Sometimes God has greater ideas and plans for our lives.  In fact, He always does.  More than we think we are capable of doing.

God has been  stripping away the old wineskins and creating  new ones in my life.  I wish I could say it has been fun but, not really.   I want to live a life of leisure and fun and accomplishments, without the testings of my faith.  But, wow, can I really have  genuine faith if I never have to walk in the dark for a while to see what I am believing for?  I think not.

It says in Psalms 119:105…

His word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 

Sometimes all I can see is the lamp illuminating my feet step by step so I don’t stumble on a tree stump (which I have literally done and it isn’t fun), but I can’t see further than 3 feet ahead of me even with a flashlight.  But He promises to light my path even when I can only see my feet.

 We want the maturity and accolades but without the testings to mature us.  When you see someone that God is using mightily and find yourself envying their life, be careful.  Are you willing to walk in their shoes awhile to see what has been burned out of them with fire, to make them what you see today? 

OS Hillman said, “When God called the Israelites from their place of slavery they had to walk through the desert. There is no way to earn a living in the desert. So God provided manna each day for them. Sometimes He even brought water from rocks. They had to experience a new way of gaining provision that was not rooted in sweat and toil. God had to demonstrate His faithfulness as Jehovah Jireh to His people.”

This is where I am at.   We are more than provided for every day in this juncture of our journey of no work coming in.  And there is manna from Heaven.  That isn’t even a concern anymore because, truthfully, He has proven again and again He knows right where we are and He provides miracles of abundance every day.

But, interesting enough, I still find room to feel sorry for myself.  I still want security and assurance about the future.   I want to make plans.  I want to know if I will be living here next year at this time.  treasures-in-heaven

I want, I want, I want.  Yep, that’s me. 

So, I return to the love of my life,

Whisper the name of Jesus.

People whom I love and who love me deeply are not able to satisfy my longings for security.  Friends have tried to fill me, my husband has tried to fill me, but they couldn’t do it.

But, as Stasi Eldridge puts it, “I have a leak.”  My pipes are broken.  My needs of filling these enormous holes of insecurity can only be filled by Jesus.  I can’t put that kind of pressure on those that I love. He has to do it!

Just about everything I have learned in life has been the hard way.  You would think I would get used to it and just go the route I know best by now.  But in my humanness I still find myself feeling depressed before I realize I need to return to my Love, Jesus, to fill me up again.  He is actually the only One who was ever meant to!

Winds are Howling—Change is on the Horizon

Storm-Clouds-54

I wonder sometimes why others look at me and think I have it so together.  

“You lead a wonderful life, Dixie!”   I can assure you that I am far from wonderful.  Walk a few days in my shoes.

However, I know Someone who is wonderful.  Without Him walking besides me I would drown in my own delusions. 

Life is hard folks.  But we have hope!!  

If you are feeling lost or alone right now, allow me to take your hand and whisper a sweet, “I know”.  

The struggles.

The unbelief.

The fear.

I can relate to the fear that weighs you down at the whisperings of your enemy that it might always be this way.

You want to know what I want?

I want to sit there in my lack, holding my basket, and watch Jesus fill it to overflowing. 

I want to step out of my boat, and skim across the water to Jesus!

 

For too long I have wanted Him to calm the storms before I leave my boat.  

I have wanted the water to part into dry land before I put my foot in it. 

I have wanted Him to tell me where I am going before I depart on my journey.

But, not so, with Jesus, my friends.

He is looking for a church without spots or wrinkles.  Boy, do I have wrinkles.  Those you can see, and some you can’t see.

If we want to be mighty warriors we have to learn how to fight the mighty battles. Sometimes it might just be with only a lantern and a horn.

And sometimes He says to fight the battle by being still and waiting.

Most times it is believing what I cannot see; and always ever learning that it is Him that will fight for me. 

But He can only do the fighting as I surrender my control.

And I have resisted so.  I hate waiting, don’t you? Sometimes I have allowed circumstances to be my dictator.  And then I am loaded down with despair.

Do you just sometimes want to stop the struggle and surrender?  Surrender is exactly what He wants.  Just to let go once and for all. 

We get tired in our own strength, don’t we?

Yet, surrender is what He is looking for.  We cannot do it in our own strength.  As long as we want to try, He will stand back and allow you to try.  He is a gentle man.  He has all the time in the world. 

But when I finally give up trying to make happen with I want to happen, and just relinquish my plans, He comes walking towards me.  

I see Him approaching me with such love and desire on His face I come totally undone.  Once again, I am totally sold out to Him, no matter what is going on around me.

I don’t want my own concerns to obliterate the heavy loads others carry.  I want to see their hearts and their fears and help them get to the root of their pain and see it disappear as the light comes in and dispels the darkness.  I can’t do that as long as I am fighting for air myself.  So, I continue to hold myself to that standard of faith, to not look at my own issues, but the issues of others. 

Whew, it is not easy!

 

Each day is a new day with Jesus.  I have no idea how or where this life will lead me as we are in a part of our journey that not even a lantern would illuminate.   I can only see one step ahead of me, but you know what?  That is enough.  I have what I need today.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.

All I know is right now I have got to lean hard into His loving embrace.  I hang onto His arm tightly like a little girl.  I will not let Him go.  I would rather hold His hand through the howling winds and thunder, than be on a silent sea shore without His presence.

Awakening and owning isn’t about acquiring stuff, or a big name.  It is about embracing who we are in HIM.  

We can’t love Him with our whole heart if we are asleep in our secure lives, can we? 

To love Jesus is about taking the risk to stand on the mountain top with lightening striking all around me. We can’t out love God.  To take a step towards Him means that He takes 5 steps toward you.  We were created for relationship with Him. 

I hate to say it but if I was so secure in my earthly life, with all that I needed, and I knew where I was going every day, would I really continue pressing into an intimate relationship with Him?   Would I be motivated enough?

I do wonder. 

And I pray I remember this time of molding on the potter’s wheel, always.  

 

But Lord, the Desert is Too Hot…and I am Thirsty!

488089_174658782681930_87433307_nWe all have had desert experiences in our lives at different seasons of time along our journey.   Some seasons of trial are short and some are very long.

He loves us so much that sometimes He allows us to stay in those deserts for a while to bring us back to Him.  When it gets hot and dry we start looking for Him for relief.  You know why?

He misses you and desires relationship with you.

Hosea 2: 6-14 says

“Therefore will I block her path with thorn bushes.  I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.  She will chase after her lovers but will not catch them.”

He does this to bring us to the end of ourselves and to get us to turn to Him in thirsty longing.  Then He begins to draw us to Himself. He often takes us aside from every source of comfort so that He alone can have our heart’s attention.

Then He says in 2:14

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”

And it is here that we begin to experience him not as the God up in heaven, the big guy in the sky, the God of Sunday Mornings, but as the pursuer of our hearts; As our lover.

“In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me “my husband” and you will no longer call me “my master”.   I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” (Vs 16-19)

This love is not something we struggle for, earn or fear.  It is bestowed upon us. 

He has chosen us. 

We are made for such a love.

Our hearts yearn to be loved intimately, personally, and romantically.  We are created to be the object of His desire and affection and He is totally and completely in love with us.

It is for each and every one of us.  God wants intimacy with YOU!  In order to have it you must offer it to Him and surrender yourself over to Him.

Part of my story, (you can find the whole story in my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” on Amazon) is that I was forced by extremely painful circumstances into five years of desert where I met Jesus face to face. In the first couple of years of my sweltering in the desert I experienced:

Anger

Desperation

Depression

Abandonment

Emotional Agony

Empty Nest

Financial woes

Heartbreak

Then out of my own depth of pain I sought Him. 

I began talking…and he did too. 

Outside of performance I was alone and free to pursue Him as my lover.   I started listening to Him again.  And He was faithful to show me how my own denials led me into the wilderness, and He allowed it.  He allowed it to show me the difference in true relationship and performance driven religion.     We took walks, drives, and had long talks together.

And when the revelation came that I did not have to do anything to make Him love me more than he did at that moment, nor did I have to DO anything but love Him, I was set free.

It is for freedom He has set us free.  (Galatians 5:1)

For the whole story of my journey click here:

“Climbing Out of the Box,
My Journey Out of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse Into Freedom and Healing. “

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Christmas Nostalgia

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This time of year turns my heart back to family, and those warm memories of when my kids were little and all the excitement of the holidays and watching their faces of wonderment as we decorated the tree and prepared for all of our family traditions.  

I actually conjure up tears of longing for those days gone by since my babies are not babies anymore.  It was one of the happiest times of my life.

When they were little I never wanted them out of my sight.   I kept them so close.  I endeavored to build into them a confidence that I would always be there for them.  Beginning with that first step at around one year old; when a mom has that sense of uneasiness that already they are beginning to move away from us.  I sensed it.  I was like any other Mom when their adorable child takes the first step.  You feel like they are the smartest kid in the world.  But deep down was this feeling of dread; that each new day in their young lives they would move a little bit farther away from us, until one day, God forbid, they would leave and start a life without me there.  Ouch!

67608_415530141853983_985983354_n    My determination became to teach them about Jesus every chance I could.  I would not leave it up to their Sunday school teachers, Christian school teachers, or anyone else to do my job of bringing my kids to Christ and to the best of my ability teach them how to live.  I wanted them to know that whatever came into their life they would always have Him and He would direct their paths and be their constant companion.   

They both came to me at around 4 or 5 years old and asked if I would pray with them to invite Jesus into their young lives.  What a joy that day was!!  Now, as a Grandmother I have endeavored to be the same kind of example to my grandchildren.   And what wonderful memories are being created!!

Then my babies started school.  And this is how it went:  Kindergarten and first grade when they would return to me at the end of their day they were always full of joy to see me, we had a snack together and they would play and rest.   

I would say, “I’m so glad you are home”….and I meant it.

The following years came and went with each new year they grew a little more independent.  At first they wanted to be where they could see me, but not too hovering or clingy.   Every day when they would come home the instant they opened the door they always said,

“Mom, I’m home”,

and I would breathe easy once again because my babies were mine again, at least for that day.

Then came Junior High School.; the time when I became an embarrassment to them if they were seen with me in front of their friends.  And the time when you wonder if aliens have inhabited your kids.  One day they get up and they even look different. 

Then they open their mouths and then you know for sure it is not them…and a part of you grieves.  You know that your babies are not babies anymore.  That time is past. 

But wait, they still come home at the end of the day and yell,

“Mom, I’m home” and for a moment all is well with the world again. 

They still have weak moments of reverting back on occasion and when no one is looking they would lay their head on my shoulder or hug me, and my heart would soar once again.

And High School followed.   This was a tough time for me because it was when my own life fell apart.  To learn more about that you will have to read my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” and you will find it on Amazon.  (How’s that for a book plug?)   The kid’s Dad had left us and so we were driven closer together in adversity by having to move out of our house and into a tiny apartment, but farther apart because it was a time they tried to find their bearings in life, and it seems like they slipped right out of my grasp.  It was painful in not only the loss of my life as I knew it but also I couldn’t pretend my kids were babies anymore.  And I was alone; double whammy.  Now, we all went different ways. 

But they still came home at the end of their days at some point, and I would always hear,

“Mom, I’m home”…..and for a brief moment I closed my eyes and hung onto those memories once again.

Then they left. 

They flew out of the nest.   And oh, it was so painful to let my babies go.   All you parents out there who have had kids leave, can relate.   A hole is left in your heart that it takes a while to figure out how to function again without your kids always being in the back of your mind and how whatever you are doing might affect them.    They have their own life now.

But then they would come back to see me and once again I heard that welcome phrase when they would walk in the door;

“Mom, I’m home”……I realized at that point that to them, it wasn’t where I lived that was their home…

It was the fact that home is where I am .

They are 37 and 41 today and when I look at them I still see my babies. And they will flinch when they read this but, no kidding!   I think that is how God sees us.  Not by our age but because we are His children He always loves us as such.  Of course we have to grow up, even as our earthly kids do, and mature into an even greater relationship with Him.  And this is what I want for my kids.   My kids still say,

“Mom, I’m home”, or sometimes, “Mom, I’m here”, always knowing that I will be overjoyed to see them at any time.

One day my life here on earth will be through and I will be in Heaven

My vision has always been that on a given day in Heaven as I am going about my tasks that Jesus and I decide will be my calling there, everything will stop for me.  

Suddenly an awareness will fill my being that something wonderful is about to happen.  I hear a distant familiar sound!  The anticipation and joy lifts me off the ground in awesome glory.  

And then, I will hear it oh so clearly;   the voice of my children is as familiar as my own voice. 

“Mom, I’m Home”….”Home” now being our real home, Heaven, where we were always meant to be after this brief life on earth.  

Oh what joy will fill my heart.   We will never be apart but we will all be home with our wonderful Jesus and each other.  

“Mom, we are home”….to dwell together for all eternity. 

This is our heritage dear parents.  This life with our kids is so short compared to eternity spent with them in God’s kingdom.  Tell your children about Jesus every chance you get for as they grow in Him He will be their stabilizing force!!  It is never too late, either, to share this good news with your kids if they don’t already know it.  There is a wonderful place we are all going to live after this life. 

Here is a picture of my babies today…♥

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