When someone you love dies, it feels like the world keeps running right by you. In the beginning, friends and family will say they are sorry for your loss or some other words that they try to comfort you with. Others will not know what to say and not say anything.
Everyone tries to help in their own way. But in reality, nothing they say can help, nothing can take the pain away. There is a feeling of wanting to cry out, “How dare you keep going as if nothing is different!”
Everything is different. The world is a darker place because they are gone. Sometimes, there is a feeling of people just wanting you to “get over it” and move on.
What if we cannot “get over it” and go back to work or doing whatever it is we typically do? Our entire life is different, and it feels like nobody notices, nobody slows down to acknowledge that an incredible life is now gone, and their laughter is no more.
There are feelings of wanting to shout into the air as people hustle and bustle by you, “Do you care?”
How dare others move forward as if nothing is different. Maybe nothing is different to them. Maybe you are alone in the hurt and not sure where to go or who will even listen. The pain is real, the desire for the world to just stop spinning and take notice of the loss is real.
I have learned that the world will not stop spinning, people will not stop hustling and bustling, work will not stop piling up. None of these things will occur. It is during these times that we must find a safe space, wherever that is to you, and we must pour our heart out to the only One who knows exactly how we feel. The only One who loved that person more than we did: Jesus.
We must allow Him to comfort us; we must. There is no other answer, there is no other path. I am not saying we will heal after ten minutes of prayer. Not at all. This wound may never heal, but with Jesus, we will learn how to function in our new world. One second at a time, then one minute at a time – Jesus is our Comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
We cannot move forward without Him. This wound is too deep for us to just absorb. Find your private time to talk to Jesus, do it for your loved one that is no longer there to tell you to do it. Cry, yell or sit still with Jesus whenever you need the world to stop spinning. Jesus never tires of hearing from you, and you can have the same conversation with Him 100 times, and He will hold you 100 times and listen to every word you say because He loves the sound of your voice.
Whatever men you have in your life–dad, son, brother, husband, coach, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, and so on–the enemy wants them weak and vulnerable. That could mean physically or spiritually weak. Once the enemy can incapacitate a man, those around him are much more vulnerable.
This is not a sexist view, this is Biblical. Man was created first:
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.'” Genesis 2:18-23 NIV
But you will also note that the serpent used the woman to get to the man:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:1-6 NIV
While women have influence over the men in our lives, that can be good or bad influence. As women, we need to be on our knees for the men in our lives. If you think, “Well, there are no men in my life – no family, no friends, no Pastors, etc.,” then be on your knees for our President, for instance, if you are an American. Whatever political view you have, the Bible commands we are to submit to the government authorities that God instituted:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:1-7 NIV
Men do not always pray for themselves. I understand that, for it can seem selfish to pray for yourself. David prayed for himself a lot, however, and he was a strong warrior and king. There are many examples of David praying for himself, and here is just one: “Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (Psalm 3:7 NIV).
We need to encourage the men in our lives. We need to pray for the men in our lives. We need to let them know we are praying for them, whether they are praying for themselves or not, and that we have them covered daily.
The prayers of a woman are incredibly powerful, as are all prayers. The point I am highlighting here, though, is that the serpent used the woman to bring down the man. Can you imagine how much more powerful it would be if God used women, through prayer, to protect the men in our lives?
If they are unsaved, cry out to God for their salvation. If they are wandering, pray they would become the prodigal son. If they are weary, pray for strength and tenacity to keep their eyes on Jesus. If they are walking with Jesus, pray that they would continue to deepen their walk. (From a wife’s perspective, I personally can attest that a man who loves Jesus above all else is extremely attractive!)
Ask them how you can pray for them. If you do not know, just lift them up to God to fulfill whatever it is they need. God knows. Just be on your knees against the enemy’s attacks.
Will you join me in a prayer now?
Father in Heaven,
We lift up the men in our lives, whether fathers, friends, family, mentors, or romantic partners. We lift them up to You.
Please surround them with hedges of spiritual and physical protection forged by the precious blood of Jesus. Let only that which is of You or from You dare touch them.
We pray for their souls to grow closer to You. We pray for their flesh to submit to You. We pray for them to aggressively pursue You and Your Will daily in their walks. We pray their relationships with Jesus grow deeper every single day.
Lord, fill our men with strength and courage. Lord, fill them with wisdom.
Lord, fill us all with the desire to be on our knees in prayer for Your Will to be done in our lives. May we draw closer to You with each passing day.
Father, we thank You and praise You for all You have done.
NOTE: Today’s guest blog deals with sensitive subjects, including abortion, in a candid manner. While we pray it is edifying, the material may be upsetting to some readers.
In the city that I live in, there are multiple abortion clinics. A simple Internet search provides you with all you need to know to select one. The location, the reviews, whether to expect picketing, where to park and so forth. The date was January the 6th. I had eaten breakfast and asked my best friend, who was also my ex-boyfriend, to drive me to my appointment at the clinic. He asked me if the baby was his, I said “No.” I did not discuss my decision to terminate the pregnancy with the father of the baby. I determined that it was my body, and so it was my choice. My decision was based on me feeling that I was too young to have a baby, the lack of relationship with the father of the baby, and that my mother would not be supportive.
I had not envisioned that my first pregnancy would be like this. I thought I would be happily married, and it would be an occasion to celebrate. I thought that both families would be filled with joy, and there would be so much love. At the time of my visit to the clinic, I was legally married and the father of the baby was my husband. He was dating another woman, he was possibly with her the day I went to the clinic, I am not sure. I was not thinking about him or what I was doing. I needed to not think about anything, just be numb. This was no big deal.
We pulled into the parking lot and maneuvered past the picketers holding up various signs, such as “Baby Killer.” They were pro-life Catholics. Instead of saying awful things, maybe just maybe, if one of them had said something compassionate. . . .
But it was my choice, I take responsibility for the decisions I made that day and leading up to that day. I entered the clinic and checked in. I was told to go into a room and strip down to just a paper gown. I was given a little bracelet that had the key to the locker where I would place all my items. I was to wear nothing, no jewelry, no watch and have no phone of course. Just the paper gown that covered some things and the little bracelet. I entered a holding room, full of pregnant women. There was one girl in there a few years older than me. I am sure it was obvious that I did not know what was going on and that I was scared. She had pretty blond hair and told me not to be nervous that she does this all the time. I asked what she meant. She shared with me that abortions were her birth control. She did not choose to use any other forms of birth control. She assured me that all would be fine, it would be over quick, and I would just feel cramping afterwards. We sat there together in those paper gowns, her comforting me and me trying to pretend this was no big deal.
I had been sexually active about a year at that point with two different men. My ex-boyfriend who drove me to the clinic was my first and the man I married was the second. I was not comfortable with nudity and certainly was still trying to figure everything out. The paper gown left little to the imagination, which made me uncomfortable. The little voice inside me was screaming, “Leave!” I was alone and scared and felt that there was no other path. I was called into the exam room where a female performed an ultrasound on me. She shared that I was 13 weeks pregnant and that I may be “too far along” for them to proceed with the abortion. I joked that I had “a big breakfast” and did not think that I was that far along. I had no idea how far along I was.
After my husband and I split up, I lived alone in an abandoned house. I had no furniture, no anything – just me sitting on the floor curled up in a ball as Christmas approached. I wanted to die, I did not attempt suicide to be clear, but I certainly wanted to die. I knew that I was pregnant, I knew that my husband was dating another woman, and I knew that I felt utterly alone. It was during that dark time that I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I reached out to my ex-boyfriend, and he promised to take me to the appointment.
After the procedure was over, I stumbled back to the room with the lockers and tried to find the one with my clothes. My head was spinning, and the locker number on the little orange coiled bracelet seemed so hard to read. I was pouring out blood and felt incredible pain. The nurse who assisted the male doctor during the procedure gave me very thick and long sanitary pads because she said I would “bleed a lot.” She recommended Tylenol for the cramping. I was embarrassed to have my legs spread wide with my feet up in the stirrups as a male doctor whose name I did not know was tugging hard on my insides as I lay there naked for all to see. I just wanted the procedure to be over at that point. I wanted the tugging to stop, and I wanted to put my clothes on and never think about any of this again. I kept thinking about what the beautiful blond girl told me. She had done this six . . . or was it seven . . . times. Why was I acting like a baby? Why couldn’t I be strong like her?
My ex-boyfriend stood up to hug me as I re-entered the waiting room. I was bleeding so very heavily, felt dizzy, and the cramps were bad by this point. He helped me out to the parking lot and into his car, past the picketers – shielding me as best he could. He knew I did not want to talk about it, so he talked about everything under the sun during the drive home to distract me.
In about a month, I recovered physically. I began to date someone new as the divorce proceeded. After the experience at the clinic, I went on oral birth control (I was not taking birth control prior). With my new boyfriend, I began to drink, a lot. So much that I would sometimes get alcohol poisoning. We were having fun and enjoying each other in every sense of the word. Life went on.
Sometime later, I had a friend who was a Pastor at a Presbyterian PCA church. He was always talking about Jesus and the Bible. I would listen, but not grasp what he was saying or really invest the time to try to understand. One day, I learned that there was an unwed young lady who was a regular attender of that church. She was pregnant and the church ex-communicated her. I wondered, how can a group of people who said they love everyone and are “pro-life” kick someone out who needed them now more than ever? I had to wonder if she had quietly gotten an abortion instead, nobody would have been the wiser. Nobody knew about my abortion, except the father and my ex-boyfriend who drove me. I never told a soul.
It was shortly after this incident that I met Jesus. I realized many things. That He is with me always. He forgives me for everything, yes, even abortion. He loves the pregnant, unwed lady in the church, too. He creates every life. A baby is alive at the moment of conception. He loves me. Yes, even a terrible sinner like me.
You never fully heal from an abortion. Your body may recover, but the scars are there. You carry them daily. It is not the easy way out; it is riddled with pain and hurt. There are also “what if?” questions. What if the baby I carried was a boy? What if the baby I carried would have cured cancer? You think about how old they would have been and what their life might have been like. You think about what your life might have been like. The pain that you carry will always be there, and nobody but Jesus can understand what you went through. We must give our pain to Jesus, because it is too much for us to bear. 1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
In Jesus, we are forgiven. I am sorry if you have experienced a decision similar to mine. I am sorry for your loss and for your pain. I am sorry if you have been hurt by “the Church.” We are all sinners and mess up. Please do not turn your back on “the Church” if you have had negative experiences. Ask God to show you a new church that He would have you connected to.
Ask Jesus to forgive you, for He will. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Once He forgives you, forgive yourself. Do not hold yourself in chains that the Savior has freed you from. Journal through your pain, open up to someone who will hold you while you cry and pray for you. There is hope and healing and power in the name of Jesus. He will bind up your wounds and give you the strength to carry on. All you have to do is allow Him to heal you.
Father in Heaven, we lift up all of the Esthers of the world. May they find forgiveness in You and themselves. May churches remember that You are love, that all of us are sinners, and that You love and forgive us all. May we all find You and walk closer to You. In the blessed name of Jesus. Amen.
Thank you to Esther for having the courage to share her story. If you are in need of a personal prayer, please contact Wounded Butterflies. We commit to praying for you and walking with you.
The life that I have known for over two decades has been completely blown up – some of it by choice, some not. It is interesting that God did not change or remove a few pieces of my life, but all of it. Every piece has been gutted. So that leads me to ask, “Why does God wipe a slate clean?”
Whenever I have a question on my mind for God, I look to the Scriptures to find answers in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. He is a God who does not change (Hebrews 13:8), so the examples we see in the Scriptures apply today, just as when they were written.
The first example I thought of in the Bible was Jesus. He wiped our slates clean with forgiveness when He died on the cross. Why did he wash us clean of our sins? We are commanded in both the Old and New Testaments:
“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
from Matthew 22:37-39 NLT
In this context, our slates are wiped clean to focus solely on God and loving others.
A different example, found in the Old Testament, is when God commanded Abraham:
“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”
from Genesis 12:1 NLT
The objective of God wiping Abraham’s slate clean was to bless him and all families of the Earth to come from him:
“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3 NLT
Sometimes God wipes our slates clean to prepare us for blessing. The trouble with God removing pieces of our lives is that as soon as a relationship concludes or a job ends or an illness arrives, we want the answer or the next step right away. He may not provide that insight immediately, though. He may want us to rest in Him or learn to trust Him more or refine the skill of remaining joyful during trials:
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 NLT
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Proverb 3:5 NLT
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2 NLT
The goal of every Christian is found in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (NLT).
This means seeking Jesus, who is the Word of God, the Path to God, and the Giver of the Holy Spirit. Seeking first the Kingdom of God enables all else to fall into place. We are to seek Him and live righteously, and He will give us everything we need (not everything we want).
This is what we do while waiting for God to reveal our next steps. We focus on seeking Him and drawing closer to Him by spending more daily time with Him, more daily worship of Him, and more time listening to Him. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (NLT). Drawing close to God also means we will hear the Holy Spirit clearer, which is what we ultimately want and need.
In order to obtain our next steps after God has wiped our slates clean, we must be still and listen as we draw closer to God. He has a plan for renewing or changing our lives.
Being a single parent/guardian is not easy. For starters, you are the spiritual leader of the home. You are the sole provider for the children God blessed you with. There is a lot of pressure to keep food on the table, clothing on their backs, and a roof over their heads. You cannot just “take a break” when you need one. The more children you have, the less time you have to yourself – including trying to shower or get any sleep.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am incredibly grateful to God for my children. Throughout the years of abuse endured at the hands of their father, my kids were the only things to keep me going. And even more so since we left their father.
My kids are each funny, full of laughter and have different perspectives. One of my children has multiple cognitive disabilities. She has taught me more than I could ever teach her. The way she looks at life and how she processes information is incredible to me. I consider each of my children a gift and her “disabilities” are also gifts to our family.
While you might feel alone raising kids, I have learned that I am not alone. Jesus is with me (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is the One who holds me at night when I am scared. He is the One to whom I bring problems and fears. Daily, I pray earnestly for His wisdom to help me raise the kids in a manner that glorifies Him. Through the storms of life – illness, tragedy or job loss – we simply must trust in Him.
If you are a single parent/guardian, know that you are not alone. God is right there with you, co-parenting. You may not always feel that way, but He is. God loaned us His kids, we are the stewards of His children. He loves them more than we do. We must trust in His love and provision for the kids and for us. If you are raising kids alone because of the choices of others, forgive those people. Forgiveness does not mean you agree with what they did, but instead you are freeing yourself from their control over you (Colossians 3:13).
We moved out of the house to escape an incredibly toxic environment. We no longer have interactions with their father except when he reaches out demanding money. We are surrounded by thoughtful neighbors, and God has certainly blessed us! If you are not a single parent/guardian, please consider making dinner for a household that is. Or in these times of COVID, a gift card for pizza or other food delivery would be incredibly appreciated. In our new place, we have a neighbor who cooks for us. I am grateful to him for giving me a “night off,” so to speak, where I do not have to cook. We have another neighbor that has given the kids gift cards for pizza delivery.
If you know someone who is a single parent/guardian, please pray about how to help. Maybe place a gift card (for pizza delivery or for a grocery store) anonymously in their mailbox. Or perhaps cooking them dinner if everyone feels comfortable during COVID. Babysitting is a bit tougher depending on how well they know you and COVID, etc. Offer to pick something up for them if you are running to the grocery store. I can tell you that I have another neighbor that does that for me, and he is a God-send.
I come from a long line of single moms. We are stubborn and independent, which is what has protected our children through the generations. If that is you, please consider this. Some of the people that help me are saved and some are not. Perhaps me accepting their help will pave the way to have a conversation about Jesus. God sends people to help His children. While it may be hard to accept help, pray about it and see if God wants to use you to speak into that person’s life.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV
When you hear the word “abuse,” many ideas come to mind. People have their own feelings and ideas about that word. I have not shared my full story because it is scary to acknowledge you have been abused. People see you differently.
There are many emotions that run through people when we realize we are being abused and even more so when we choose to do something to end the abuse.
In my life, I have survived different kinds of abuse: sexual assault, mental, verbal, emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse to name a few. Most of the abuse came from my spouse, but not all of it. I first learned about how a grown man can attempt awful things with a young girl when I was an 8-year-old on a subway. When I tried to tell my mom what happened, I was ignored and told to, “Forget about it.” So, when similar things occurred when I was 15 and again at 16, I did what I was told.
I firmly believe in the Bible, every word of it. It is to Romans 8:28 that I cling, looking for good in everything that has happened to me and continues to happen to me: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
I share my story to find the good. My goal in telling my story is to help just one person and to give God all the glory. God has used every event in my life to make me stronger and firmer in my relationship with Him. Healing does not happen overnight. It takes God first, then work and love and help and support. It has taken me years to get to the point of being able to talk about some of the events in my life.
I recently left my abuser. The wounds are still fresh for me, and now that I am no longer in this person’s presence, I can see with clarity just how deep those wounds are. But, with the help of many people, the raw wounds are becoming scars. I bear them proudly, as each one has a story that may help someone. I am not ashamed of my scars or my story. I am not ashamed that I need help or to ask for it (this is new for me). I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and Savior. He was my Lord during the abuse and He remains my Lord after the abuse has ended and as my healing begins.
My body has scars and tattoos that are a daily reminder of my story. As survivors, we are not to be ashamed, but instead share with who we are led to share. I am led to write here – for the first time – my story.
While there are still many wounds that are being healed with the help of loved ones and an amazing Christian therapist, I choose to remain silent no longer. This is not a series of posts to say, “I figured it all out, and here it is!” But instead to share what I have learned so far along my journey.
As someone who is a survivor and not a victim, I offer the below thoughts to those who love a survivor and to those who will become survivors.
There is a huge difference between calling someone a “victim” versus a “survivor.” Survivors fight, and we literally have survived abuse. We have lived to tell our stories, and we do. Not to make spectacles of ourselves, but to help others become survivors, too.
Unless you have been in an abusive situation, please stop saying, “I don’t know why you just don’t leave.” It is not that easy.
Leaving is a massive undertaking. You must have a plan, and it sometimes takes months to execute that plan in a safe way.
Please do just LEAVE if you or your kids are in danger.
I understand some statistics show it takes on average seven tries for someone to leave, and not all survive that long. I am grateful to God I survived to leave. I was scared, but God sent me a video featuring Joyce Meyer a few weeks ago, deeply impacting me. I will continue my story here next week, as I have much more to share.
Heavenly Father, we lift up the survivors and the victims of abuse. May they always feel You with them. Please show them their paths. May there be no further victims, only survivors. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Always keep your eyes on Jesus, this life is temporary; He is your eternity. Look for Him every day, He is the Creator of all and is seen in the colors in the sky, the flowers, nature.
Get an education; nobody can ever take knowledge away from you.
Knowledge is a gift to be shared, not a weapon to be wielded.
Always listen to your internal instincts. God gives you these instincts to protect yourself and your family.
Never take anyone or anything for granted. Never.
Sometimes we invite pain into our lives by the decisions we make, and other times it just happens when we did nothing to invite it. Regardless, God allowed the pain into your life for a reason; place your energy into figuring out what He is looking to do in your life and how you can grow in Him instead of wallowing in self-pity.
“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers. And having chosen us, he called us to come to him; and when we came, he declared us ‘not guilty,’ filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with himself, and promised us his glory. What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven. Who then can ever keep Christ’s love from us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because he doesn’t love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or in danger or threatened with death, has God deserted us? No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day—we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.” —Romans 8:28-39 TLB
Sometimes no answer to prayer is an answer. Never confuse silence with Him not hearing you.
When you sin, pray Psalm 51:1-17: “O loving and kind God, have mercy. Have pity upon me and take away the awful stain of my transgressions. Oh, wash me, cleanse me from this guilt. Let me be pure again. For I admit my shameful deed—it haunts me day and night. It is against you and you alone I sinned and did this terrible thing. You saw it all, and your sentence against me is just. But I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom. Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood and I shall be clean again. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. And after you have punished me, give me back my joy again. Don’t keep looking at my sins—erase them from your sight. Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires. Don’t toss me aside, banished forever from your presence. Don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to other sinners, and they—guilty like me—will repent and return to you. Don’t sentence me to death. O my God, you alone can rescue me. Then I will sing of your forgiveness, for my lips will be unsealed—oh, how I will praise you. You don’t want penance; if you did, how gladly I would do it! You aren’t interested in offerings burned before you on the altar. It is a broken spirit you want—remorse and penitence. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not ignore” (TLB).
God is not a God of confusion. If you are confused, that is not from Him. When you have clarity from God and others say you are confused, you are not confused – follow God. Always.
Never take on debt.
When life gives you trials, pray. When things get so hard you cannot breathe, repeat the name “Jesus.” There is tremendous power in the name of Jesus: “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” —Philippians 2:9-11 NLT
When you are in a situation of conflict, read Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (NLT). Rise above the conflict.
Keep perspective. Your soul is safe for all eternity, the thing or person you are dealing with cannot touch your soul: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” —Matthew 10:28 NLT
Know your cause in life. Your calling is to worship God. Your cause is what keeps you up at night, what gets you upset or motivated to see change – that is your cause. As you fulfill your cause, keep in mind your calling – praise Him as you fulfill your cause. When you hit difficulties, knowing your cause will enable you to rise above the conflict. Satan works very hard to keep you from your calling and your cause, do not help him.
Have a personal relationship with Jesus that is growing every day.
Marry someone who loves Jesus more than they love you.
Experience a marriage as designed by God, not as defined by this world.
Love God and love people.
Love deeply and forgive. Forgiveness does not mean you condone the behavior, it means releasing the control that person has over you that you have given them.
Teach your children the Truth.
Always tithe. Always. “‘Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! But you ask, “What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?” You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!'” —Malachi 3:8-10 NLT
Read the Bible and pray everyday. Never miss a day.