Coming in November on Reaching Hurting Women!


Working the Steps :: STEP 11


Let’s plug into our power source for guidance, serenity and healing by drawing near to God in prayer and meditation.




BOOK REVIEW


The Fantasy Fallacy: 


Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts

by Shannon Ethridge


As a recovering sex addict who struggled with fantasy for most of my life, I couldn’t be more excited about this book. If you have challenges in this area there’s freedom to be found!

Virtues ~n~ Vices :: MODESTY


We don’t hear much about modesty today, though it is much needed. Do we even know what modesty looks like? Let’s learn the meaning of modesty and how to walk it out daily.






Healing Hurts :: SEX ADDICTION

What sounds like a lot of fun to the world is in reality a desperate, lonely, and painful life to live. I know because I lived most of my life this way. Do you struggle with sexual addiction? Let’s get to the root of the problem and find true freedom!

Look for a New Article Every Wednesday in November on Reaching Hurting Women! 

Photos Courtesy 123rf.com

The Invisible Woman


Do you feel like no one sees or hears you?  People seem to look right through you like you’re not even there?




I’m the invisible middle child born into a dysfunctional alcoholic home, with a handicapped brother four years older and a sister three years younger. Life was unpredictable between daddy’s drinking binges. So to stay out of trouble I usually played alone with my invisible friends: Seebie Crewble and Campbell Mingle.  Since I was invisible why not have invisible friends too.


Invisibility brought a drive to act out for attention. This was common for me as a child, as a teenager and even as mid-life adult. It’s easy to see how sex addiction played right into this…dressing provocatively, using shocking language, telling inappropriate stories. As my sexual addiction increased my behavior became more extreme and risky.

The desperate acts we stoop to for love and attention is scary. Over time there was no amount of human attention that could fill the empty whole in my heart. There wasn’t enough affection to keep me from feeling invisible. The spiral continued downward to near self-destruction.

We teach others how to treat us. Because of our lack of self-worth, fear of rejection or simply not wanting to deal with things, we purposely avoid sharing our feelings with others and we don’t stand up for ourselves. By doing that, we teach others that our feelings don’t matter, that we don’t matter. This in turn causes them to not see us other times when we really want to be noticed.

As wives and mothers we often feel invisible, lost in all our family doings and goings. We work hard to clean the house and cook a nice dinner hoping someone will notice how beautiful everything looks or how delicious the food tastes. Then resentment sets in and we begin to feel used and abused.

It all comes down to the heart. Where is my heart focused? If I’m loving and respecting myself like God tells me to, I will stand up for myself, push through the fear of rejection and share my feelings. If my heart motivation is right I will do all my tasks for Him, trusting He will reward me in good time. 

The most important One who sees me is God, I’m always visible to Him. It’s a constant challenge — to keep an audience of One.  After all, it is because of Him that I am alive and free today. I should do everything for His glory not my own. 


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. ~ Colossians #:23-24 New Living Translation (NLT)


Do you feel invisible today?  Maybe you can relate to the woman in this excellent skit by Nicole Johnsonhttp://youtu.be/9YU0aNAHXP0

Photo Courtesy 123rf.com

Healing Hurts :: INFERIORITY COMPLEX

Are you always trying to measure up to others?

Growing up, and even as an adult, I was always comparing myself to others.  I don’t know about you, but I could never measure up. Clothes, hair, intelligence, abilities… it didn’t matter. I had myself under a microscope seeing every fault but never seeing the good. This kept me in a constant state of discouragement and feeling inferior to everyone.


When we grow up in an environment where individuality isn’t celebrated or encouraged, it’s very difficult to see ourselves as valuable. I don’t blame my parents, I know they did the best they could with what they had. Particularly because, they probably didn’t get the encouragement they needed as children either. 

I am so thankful today for the gift of God’s Word that speaks truth into my life. That is the only way I can keep my head on straight. To see myself, the good, bad and the ugly; knowing that makes me who I am. God knows my weaknesses and my strengths. And if I turn them all over to Him, He can use them to do something wonderful.

Be intentional. Be committed. To walk according to God’s Truth. Finding His promises and declaring them over our life each and every day will keep us in the right frame of mind, appreciating ourselves in the big scheme of God’s plan. Our standards can only be His standards for our life and for what He designed us to be and do. 

When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:12


Do you struggle with feelings of inferiority? How are you working through that?

It’s time for some great worship music to celebrate who we are! Turn up your speakers and get set free from inferiority with I Know Who I Am by Israel Houghton http://youtu.be/y3UOCVkYWIY

Virtues ~n~ Vices :: DETERMINATION


VIRTUE: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.

determination : a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.



VICE: a practice of wrong doing, corruption of virtue; an unholy habit.

procrastination : the act or habit of procrastinating, putting off or delaying.

Starting in 2006, my husband’s new business consulting company took us on a cross country adventure. From the Gulf Coast to the Pacific and back again, we moved eight times in four years. In 2009, after growing many other people’s businesses, Bill decided to start his own. So thankfully, in 2010 God brought us back to Texas!

As you can imagine, starting a new business is quite painful. It requires a commitment to long hours, courage to do the seemingly impossible and dedication to the long-term goal; all which my precious husband has. I, on the other hand, have the simple job of supporting him… simple but not always easy. 

This calendar year has been one of the toughest for me for various reason. I’ve struggled with courage, patience, hope and faith… all the required ingredients for Determination.
I like how we discussed the Virtue of Determination in my church class last year. Specifically because Determination didn’t stand alone but was taught along with Diligence and Perseverance. What I found most interesting was how they were linked together. But first let’s look at their working definitions:

DETERMINATION is looking at insurmountable obstacles as opportunities to cry out for God’s supernatural intervention. It requires patience, hope, discernment, courage and faith while remaining committed over a long period of time.

DILIGENCE accepts each task as a special assignment from the Lord and uses all energies to do it quickly and skillfully. Diligence is duty bound. It requires deep faith during trials, courage against despair, patience in strife and mirth to stay balanced.

PERSEVERANCE is the steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose. It says, “Yes” to a vital cause, refusing to take no for an answer. It may fall down but always gets back up. 


Like I said before, what I found most interesting was how these three virtues are linked together, how they blend and build each other up…


DETERMINATION is the cognitive decision to tackle an obstacle

DILIGENCE is the action walking out that decision. 

PERSEVERANCE is the energy that drives the action.

                                   …All three critical ingredients to successfully completing a goal.


Certainly the last three and a half years starting our business has been a daily exercise in Determination. However for me personally, the last calendar year has been one of the most difficult. It hasn’t been so much about faith in God to provide, because He has come through in the most incredible ways time and again, meeting all our needs. 

Rather, my challenges have been with living out what I know God has called me to do in ministry to reach hurting women with the freedom I have found in Jesus Christ. 

When I get discouraged because I can’t see a clear plan for what I’m supposed to do, I have to be determined to press through procrastination and answer the call. But that determination must be driven and energized by perseverance so I will diligently study each week and continue to write for my blog while I wait to see God’s greater purpose.

So don’t lose your confidence. It will bring you a great reward. You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised. ~ Hebrews 10:35-36


How do you struggle with determination? What keeps you moving to your goal?

Let’s be determined together and Press On  http://youtu.be/_Bg2cJ5bw2k


Resources:

Christian Virtue by Patty Woodmansee

BOOK REVIEW: Relentless ~ The Power You Need to Never Give Up by John Bevere



RELENTLESS:

The Power You Need To Never Give Up

by @JohnBevere


WaterBrook Press December 2011

237 pp

In Relentless John Bevere challenges us take our faith to another level. Many Christians aren’t walking in the Power available to them through the life-changing Grace of God through Jesus Christ. Why? Because they are unaware.

My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 TEV

“If you look up this verse in a red-letter edition of the Bible, where all words spoken by Jesus are in read and all others are in black, you’ll see that the words above are not black. They’re red. So although these words are reported by the apostle Paul, they are not his words–they are straight from the Lord Himself. God defines His grace as his empowerment. Yet according to a survey, only 2 percent of U.S. Christians know and understand this.” ~John Bevere

This was eye opening for me! How can so many Christians be unaware of the authority and power they have in Christ. Through personal stories and Scripture John dissects the true grace of God and shows us how it can bring us the power we desperately need to live in our world today.

Relentless by John Bevere is a must read for serious believers. It’s an easy, enjoyable read that delivers on content while supplying the tools we need to reach our goal.

“God doesn’t author hardship but uses it to strengthen us for greater conquests. He never leads us into a storm that He doesn’t give us the power to overcome.” ~ John Bevere, Relentless

Working the Steps :: STEP 10

Step 10:  We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12

Life is a process of growing, changing and hopefully maintaining.  Step 10 is the beginning of our maintenance work, essentially reviewing Steps Four through Nine. Daily we examine our lives: the good and the not so good, admit our wrongs when necessary, and make amends promptly. But to do this properly we must be attentive to our words and actions at all times.

We can’t run on autopilot anymore. Self-awareness is critical.  It’s all too easy to numb out of reality. With overwhelming amounts of media at our fingertips, self-control and discipline are required to reel ourselves back in. While staying attentive to the present we measure our words and behavior not to the world’s standards but to God’s moral code.

Humility is key to recovery. We must take care to not become over confident. Our flaws and defects are healed only to the degree that we recognize them and submit them to God’s power. Aware of our weaknesses we walk gently through life, carefully planting seeds for our future with healthy behavior today. When we don’t tell lies today-we won’t have to lie tomorrow. By not taking advantage of people today-we won’t have to deal with anger tomorrow.

Step 10 alerts us to the pain we’ve caused others and urges us to apologize quickly. Admitting mistakes as we make them isn’t easy. However, because we have turned it all over to God, every step is accomplished with and through His strength and not our own. We can trust Him to give us the self-awareness to recognize mistakes and the humility that won’t protect our self-image when amends are required.

Some find it useful to have a chart of personal weaknesses and strengths to check off each day before bed. By mentally reviewing our day we can decide if an event caused uncomfortable feelings. Below is a helpful acronym to inventory our actions or words: 

T  Was it Thoughtful?
H  Was it Honest?
I   Was it Intelligent?
N  Was it Necessary?
K  Was it Kind?

What helps you to apply the steps when life gets tough? 

I hope you enjoy the theme song I’ve chosen for our journey: Step by Step by @Bryan_Duncan http://youtu.be/swNgb9ya6WM

Resources:

Life Recovery Devotional
Life Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians
Paths to Recovery-Al-Anon Steps, Traditions and Concepts
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice 


Coming in October on Reaching Hurting Women!

Preview October’s Articles on Reaching Hurting Women!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Working the Steps :: STEP 10


With the first nine steps we got our house in order and changed some destructive habits. In Step 10 we begin the maintenance work of sustaining our accomplishments.

BOOK REVIEW 

RELENTLESS: The Power You Need to Never Give Up

by John Bevere


Many Christians are not walking in the life-changing Grace of God available to them through Jesus Christ.  In Relentless John Bevere challenges us to take our faith to another level.

Virtues ~n~ Vices :: DETERMINATION


Do you have insurmountable obstacles in your path today? Are you trudging through life discouraged at every turn? Let’s study the ingredients of determination that can help us on our journey.

Healing Hurts :: INFERIORITY 


Are you constantly measuring yourself? Trying to be what you think others want you to be?  I have fought this battle most of my life. Let’s overcome the plague of inferiority together.

The Invisible Woman


Do you feel like no one sees or hears you? Everyone just looks right through you as if you weren’t there. How can we stop feeling invisible?





Look for a new article each Wednesday on Reaching Hurting Women!

BONUS BOOK REVIEW: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography




A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography:

It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem (Kindle Edition)

by Shelley Hitz and S’ambrosia Curtis

Body and Soul Publishing 2012
146pp
I like how social media makes it so easy to get connected to new people, especially those who are working toward the same goals!  A few days ago, I was introduced, by way of Twitter, to Shelley Hitz. After we contacted each other, Shelley told me about her new book and asked if I could read it and post a review on my blog. I’m happy to support a fellow sister who has struggled with the same issues I have and is striving to help other women with their struggles, too. 
Shelley and S’ambrosia have done an excellent job. By sharing personal stories in a delicate but transparent fashion, readers see they are not alone in this addiction. But the most important thing A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography is exactly what it’s title says… a guide that explains the problem of pornography addiction and then takes us step by step to the freedom found only in Jesus Chris. 
These ladies have done their homework and I know because I’ve read nearly everything they reference. Shelley and S’ambrosia have filled this book with an incredible amount of research material explaining scientifically how harmful pornography is and what it does to our brain. But they don’t stop there, they lovingly give us answers to our pain and struggle.
If you or someone you know struggles with pornography, please don’t hesitate to get this book. In fact, every woman should read it, because chances are a woman you know is addicted to pornography. I’m excited to find Shelley Hitz and her ministry and am proud to partner with her in the fight against pornography and helping women who have been affected by it. 

HEALING HURTS :: 2 Steps to Overpower Anger

Can you hear the scream?  How many times have you found yourself in this position?


There was a time in my life when I looked just like this photo. I was so full of anger that I couldn’t function normally. God showed me a vision of a volcano boiling deep inside my spirit; bubbling up and overflowing, the anger spewed out of my mouth with vulgar hateful words followed by actions that destroyed anything in my path. 



On the surface my anger was directed mostly at God because my husband and I had been betrayed by some Christian friends. Below the surface I had unknown childhood hurts and wounds that fueled the raging fire I carried within. I managed my pain with substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors which only fueled the fire. Soon my anger was out of control and so was my life. Then my loving Heavenly Father put me in a time out compliments of the county jail. It was the best thing that ever happened to me!


When anger runs our lives we are a danger to ourselves and to those around us. Uncontrolled anger is devastating and no one is exempt from its repercussions. It destroys marriages, shatters friendships, brings down businesses, breeds violence in our communities and war among nations.


There are many reasons to be angry today. Just watching the news can get tempers flaring. The world has us running hard and fast with emotions in a frenzied state. Millions are unemployed and those fortunate to have jobs are over committed, overworked and often underpaid.  Many people are outraged with their corporate pensions slashed, homes lost, or suffering with painful debilitating illnesses.


Anger is an emotion that centers on getting control. With God’s hand seemingly absent we take over the situation. Anger clouds our judgment as we become consumed with problems and pain. Before we know it our anger escalates from a simmering indignation to a blazing rage.


What can we do to keep anger from taking control?

**2 Steps to Overpower Anger:

  1. Ask yourself: Can I change the situation?
  2. Take action:  If you can change the situation, change it. If not, release it to God.

These steps may seem oversimplified but they are basic common sense. The challenge is dealing with our emotions. Once we can step back from the situation and remove our emotions, all we need to do is access the situation and our ability to change it. If we can’t change it the only thing left to do is give it to God.

My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. ~ James 1:19-20 (Contemporary English Version)

Acknowledging our powerlessness over situations we humbly go to God not demanding our rights but surrendering ourselves and the situation to God. We may feel powerless, but in fact we are the only one with the power to release our anger to God. No one else can do that for us. Once we release our anger God will give us the grace to overcome it. 

In what recent situations have you struggled with anger? 


How are you dealing with your anger?



Meditate on Surrender with Hillsong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcnfT4arZtI&feature=colike


Resources
**Biblical Counseling Keys: Anger~Facing the Fire Within by June Hunt and Hope for the Heart

Virtues ~n~ Vices :: FORGIVENESS


VIRTUE: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.


forgiveness:  the act of forgiving – to no longer feel resentment against an offender

VICE: a practice of wrongdoing, corruption of virtue, an unholy habit.


resentment: a sense of injury or insult regarding a person, an act or remark.

The process of forgiveness is neither simple nor painless. Before we can forgive others or ask others to forgive us, we must examine our relationship with God, accept the forgiveness He offers us and check if we have forgiven ourselves for wrongs we have committed.

Harboring unforgiveness, either against ourselves or others, blocks the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. I was told once when we refuse to forgive ourselves we are pridefully putting ourselves above God. Who are we not to forgive someone God has already forgiven? That puts forgiveness in a totally different perspective.

How do we forgive ourselves? Can we divide in two parts: one who bestows forgiveness and one who receives? 

The essence of forgiveness concerns relationships not individuals. The process of forgiving ourselves takes place within our relationship with God. When we confess our wrongs to God and then receive the precious forgiveness He pours out on us we are cleansed of our wrongs and freed to no longer carry that burden.

Can we find freedom from the resentment we have for those who have hurt us? 


It’s often said that “resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” When we hang on to resentment, rehashing and recycling old hurts and anger, we are harming ourselves. The family member that hurt your feelings ten years ago probably doesn’t think twice about you. They have no clue you were hurt and are going on with their life. Yet you rehearse the anger and self-pity daily to the point of illness.

We have to let go. The price is too high to not forgive! People who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. Studies show improved cardiovascular and nervous system function by those who forgive an offender. Forgiveness is not only powerful spiritually speaking but it is excellent for our health.

God forgave us so we too must forgive.  God wants us to be healthy and happy and will give us the power to forgive if we put it in His hands. If we can see our offender as God does it makes it easier to let go of our pain. One of the best things we can do is start praying for our offender. As we do God can bring about healing in our wounded heart.

How can we know if we’ve truly forgiven someone?


Forgiveness requires hard work but it is possible. Forgiveness means that we aren’t going to let experiences from the past to control our future and keep us from the blessings God has for our lives. When we can honestly wish the best for the person who wronged us as God does for us, we are well on our way to true forgiveness.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. forgive as the Lord forgave you. ~ Colossians 3:13

Contemplate Forgiveness as you watch this beautiful music video by @Matthew_West.   http://youtu.be/VquoupNiypI