April 25, 2017

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 – The Causes Of Relapse (pp 208-211)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:10

 

Today we are going to take a look at the Causes of Relapse:

1. We Revert to our own willpower
2. We ignore the choices
3. We try to recover without support
4. We become prideful

I use to tell myself, if I just don’t go to a bar, drink any alcohol, start going regularly to church, and stay away from people who party and drink, then I do not ever have to worry about relapse. Ha! While these things are good to follow, it’s not always going to work. In fact, without any support—whether your addiction is alcohol, drugs, sex, food, etc.,—more than likely you will relapse without support. Why is it so hard for us to understand that we cannot do these things on our own? Here we go again with trying to take back control and do things our self. It seems like after failing so badly before, we would not try it again. There is that stubbornness in us. Here is a simple example—me cutting my hair (maybe you can relate). I always mess it up. I think that if I just hold my bangs at a different position, then it should turn out straight and will look better. Besides, I don’t need to spend money by getting a hairdresser to do it when I can. Reality is…I can’t. I always mess it up trying to do it myself. I end up with crooked bangs that always need to be straightened out by the hairdresser. It seems like after trying this so many times and failing, I would finally realize that I need someone to do it for me.

This may be a silly example, but the basic idea applies to everything we have a hard time with. We need help from others. When we are in the middle of a crisis, if we are struggling and thinking about picking up that cigarette we quit a few years ago, wouldn’t it be a good idea to talk with someone who might remind us that it’s not good to go that direction again.  We need someone to talk to. Yes, God above all is who we go to and pray for help, share our hurts, fears, and tears with, but He wants us to reach out to others and to be in healthy relationships. If someone we know can talk with us when we get frazzled and feel like we are falling, they can help get us back up. We cannot do it alone.

In the Bible it says, Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. The point is that we need others. We need someone who will hold us accountable, support us, and encourage us.

One of the biggest problems I deal with is my pride. During the last 2 years there have been times I thought, “Wow, I’m doing so good…not having cravings anymore…and I am finally getting on with my life, and it’s all good! My depression has lifted, and anxiety is lessened.  I don’t need to talk to my friends and husband about my problems anymore. They probably don’t want to hear it after all they put up from me in the past. Besides, they think I am doing so good, I can’t let them down or admit I am struggling a bit, that would mean defeat. All the work staying sober, forming new relationships, and my new life I have given to Christ, no way will I feel defeat!”

My pride is a HUGE defect. I blame others for why I react in anger. I tell myself it’s their fault and I shouldn’t be the one to apologize. Pride is something I struggle with and want to change. But, thankfully, I am starting to see it in myself more each day. I don’t like the way I feel afterward. Honestly, I can only describe it as a conscience and although I don’t want to admit I’m ever wrong, I do try. I don’t always do it, but deep down I know it’s the right thing to do. It feels super good to do the right thing and be humble. Pride can take us places that can destroy our relationships and it builds a wall between us and God. Baker states, “The Bible reminds us, ‘If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12.  Baker goes on to say, you have been working hard on “getting it all together,” “but you don’t have it all together.” So what’s the secret to lasting recovery? Baker states that we are to live in humility. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up James 4:10.

The best protection against relapse is Humility.

No one is perfect. No one has everything all together. If you think you do, watch out. Our greatest weakness is often unguarded strength. Just remember these words, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 1 Corinthians 10:12. Watch out, and be careful.

___________________

Let’s Pray:

Father God, thank You for Your love, forgiveness, patience, and strength You give us. Lord, it’s hard to humble ourselves. We seek help doing this. Teach us humility. Lord, reveal to us our pride. Help us to reach out and ask for help. Lord, we need You in all things! Lord, without You we fall. Thank You for always protecting us and giving us relationships with friends who we can lean on. We love You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Your Assignment:

Spend some special time with the Lord today. Ask Him to reveal areas in your life you need help with. Write these down and find that friend to share with. Let go of that pride!

***************

If you would like to send a private email to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at: Leslie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Choice 6 – How do you forgive others and (self)? (pp 171-175)

If someone had told me two years ago that, in order for me to become well and be healed, I would have to forgive someone that I felt helped get me there in the first place, I would have laughed, and shaken my head ‘no.’  That is exactly what I did, too. Yeah right, I need to forgive someone who hurt me so badly? They are the ones who had broken my heart in so many ways and did not care at all about it, why should I forgive them?  …Because the Bible says you can’t receive what you are unwilling to give: I need to forgive because God has forgiven me.

So how on earth can we do this—forgiving others? Baker gives us the three R’s to show us how.

1. Reveal Your Hurt
2. Release the Offender
3. Replace Your Hurt with God’s Peace

I learned something very important a few years ago when I attempted to write my first resentment list. Turns out about 90% of the people on that list were loved ones. So how on earth can I love someone so much towards who I feel a great deal of anger, bitterness, hurt, and resentment? Baker states, “Perhaps it’s because we have a misconception that you can’t love somebody and be angry at them the same time. The truth is, you can.”

You can’t get over hurt until you admit the pain. Have you been able to do this? I have for years been able to tell my therapist, husband, and some family about people in my life who have hurt me. I have “on the surface,” talked about being angry, disappointed, and hurt by them. Truth is, I never really let myself be real and admit that deep pain inside completely to myself. I did not want to explore those feelings that I HAVE tried to cover up by instead replacing with negative feelings. I had become consumed with resentment over the unfairness of my life.

When I joined this ministry, the first thing I shared was my testimony. I have given my testimony at church about my hurts, hang ups, and habits. In my testimony, I spoke of relationships that hurt me deeply, scars and addictions that stayed with me and held me with chains. They affected me in the way I acted, the way I interacted with others, and the way I identified with who I am. But it was different in this testimony. I actually admitted to myself the truth—the hurt. It was wrong, and it hurt me.

In the beginning, it was not easy revealing my hurts. I felt so vulnerable for a while. It was not easy being honest and revealing the pain I have felt in some situations for over 30 years. I had tried to suppress my emotions for so long.  Doing so only made those hurts in me worse and I therefore became very angry inside. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:31, 32.

After revealing those hurts, it was time to release the offender. How on earth was that going to be possible? I had so much anger toward them that my heart was so hardened. I now understand that I can’t forgive them myself…I needed God’s help. With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God. Mark 10:27 ESV.  Not only does God want us to forgive, but He wants us to love our enemy who wronged us and hurt us. Whether the person asks for forgiveness or not, you do it for your own sake. I repeat, you release the offender for your own sake. The truth is there will be a time that you and I will need forgiveness in the future.

Let’s look at some things the Lord and His Word say about forgiveness and love. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44, 45a). Yet Jesus tells us to love as he did.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 ESV).

John13_34

I would like to share with you how I was able to release my offender: I prayed for them. I had much difficulty doing so, but I prayed asking God to help me to even want to forgive them because honestly I did not want to. I did this for a while, and also added in my prayer that I hoped they would have a good day. I started small, but that was enough. God started chipping away at that anger and bitterness I held in my heart toward them. The more I prayed to be able to want to forgive them, the more I could pray to forgive them. Then honestly one morning I woke up to the most unusual feeling inside (that I now understand is peace). My heart for that person was softened and God replaced the bitterness with love. God gave me peace and allowed me to forgive. He released me from that hurt. It’s just one of the amazing miracles He does for us. When we listen and obey, He helps us to love and heal inside. By blessing those who curse us, doing well to those who hate us, and praying for them He also helps us to forgive and love them. I finally started to have compassion for this particular person because I was able to see that he, too, had been hurt in his life (hurting people hurt each other).

That peace I received on the inside had changed me in so many ways. I felt better, I was so proud of myself after finally admitting to myself the truth of how I felt. And through God, I finally loved instead of hated. That’s what God wants for us all. He wants us to love and forgive;  He will help us to do that no matter what the circumstance may be. We may not ever forget what happened, but we will finally be rid of  that misery of resentment that hurt us so badly and had also hurt God. God is love; it’s not easy for us to fully show Him our love, if we don’t show others that love as well. Let’s show Him the love that He deserves. Let’s ask Him today to help us forgive that offender and replace that hurt with the peace He offers us.

Let’s Pray:
Father God, thank You for forgiveness. Thank You for the forgiveness You give to us and for helping us to forgive others who have hurt us. No one is perfect except You, Father. Each one of us needs forgiveness and we need to forgive each other. Thank You, Lord, for this help today as we do this. You bring peace and love; You heal our broken hearts. You are a God of miracles and we are so grateful and praise You for all You do. We love You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Assignment:
On a piece of paper, write down the 3 R’s. Start with that one person who has hurt you the most. Be honest and admit what you feel. Afterward, spend time in prayer asking God to help you release that person.

***************

If you would like to send a private email to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at: Leslie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – Why Does It Take So Long to Get Rid of Our Character Defects?

There are four main reasons why it’s hard to change the defects in our lives:

1. Because we’ve had them for so long.
2. Because we confuse our defects with our identity.
3. Because every defect has a payoff.
4. Because Satan discourages our efforts to change.

All my life I have been a very anxious person. I have always felt I did not belong or fit in. I always felt disconnected and unloved by my father. I have felt like a burden to my husband and all of our family. I have felt like I’m not good enough, or smart enough, to hang out with or be accepted by my husband’s friends or around those he worked with because they were so smart and had much more education than me. I have felt shameful for things I have done out of my addictions. I have felt unworthy as a person and that I don’t deserve to be happy or to be loved. I have felt afraid to love, trust, and have intimacy with my husband because I did not feel this growing up from any male figure. I have even gone so far as feeling embarrassed at Bible study when asked to turn to a certain book because I had no idea if it was in the front, middle, or back; and therefore I felt I was ignorant.

So now you understand why I am the way I am. Of course, I needed to take Xanax and drink, because of my horrible anxiety. Of course, I needed to hide and avoid everyone, because I don’t fit in. Of course, I had to distance my heart and stay as far away from intimacy with my husband, because he might abandon me like my dad had done. Of course, I’m afraid to trust because of all the bad relationships that have disappointed me and hurt me. Surely you understand, too, right?

Now you can see why it’s been so hard for me to let go; because if I did, then who am I? Who will Leslie be without anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, fear, jealousy, envy, hatred, loneliness, bitterness, and unworthiness? I had no clue what it would feel like to want to live…to feel like a good mom and wife—or, especially, God’s child? Do you see where I am going with this? I honestly had lived my 38 years believing all of these defects are who I am and that I will always be this person who would always be depressed, a worthless person, and bound to be ill and miserable for the rest of my life or until I would finally take it. My life was hopeless and that’s who I was—just a miserable hopeless person. And, although life was excruciating, I couldn’t imagine things differently.

I remember just how frightened I was when I became sober. I was so fearful to face things without using something to get me through it. Emotions were almost unbearable to feel without that Benzo or glass of wine. It was so hard being alone in the house because the voices that I hid from were much louder and frequent in a quiet house. I was so afraid to be in certain rooms of my home because I remembered withdrawals and hallucinations that I experienced there. It was so hard to come home from outpatient program and do my assignment of looking in the mirror and telling that image looking back at me that I love me and I am a good person.

Letting go of these defects was not easy. I actually enjoyed the attention I got because of my illness. I felt wanted and loved when family members called and checked on me. I liked receiving cards and seeing my name on prayer lists. I actually liked being able to not speak to my dad because I wanted to have power over him feeling sad and abandoned because of all the years I felt that hurt. I liked being constantly pitied when I would do destructive things to myself because that not only got me much more attention from my family, but attention from doctors, also. For me, a life I was miserably comfortable in at least had a payoff. How about you? What payoff do you get by not letting go of your defects?

John Baker says in this chapter, “Satan constantly tries to fill our minds with negative thoughts. He is the accuser. He whispers in our ear, ‘This will never work; you can’t do it, you’ll never change.‘” Have you been hearing this alot?

When I started seeking Christ these whispers were constant, loud, almost paralyzing at times. I learned to rebuke Satan, and almost every 5 seconds I was doing so in the name of Jesus. Satan would stop for a few moments and start right back up. Being fragile and not trusting in God very much, I spent my days feeling weak and tired. Satan told me I would never be well, I would not stay sober, I was a loser, I had no real friends, that my husband pitied me and that he had lost hope in me. I had thoughts that my kids might be scared from seeing my actions and addictions. And that I did not have a real relationship with God because He did not love me enough to save me and take me out of that hell I lived. Why did I have to hurt so badly for so long? Does God not love me?

John8_32Please listen very carefully, ladies…SATAN IS A LIAR!!! There is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he shows what he really is like. The devil was a murderer from the beginning. He has never been truthful. He doesn’t know what the truth is. Whenever he tells a lie, he’s doing what comes naturally to him. He’s a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 God’s Word Translation). Baker states, “But counteracting Satan’s lies is the truth that sets us free.” Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). As we begin to grow in God’s truth and voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our life and allow Him to remove our character defects, we will discover the happiness of doing what God requires. So what are you waiting for?

_______________________

LETS PRAY
Father, we come to You today ready to submit to all the changes You want to make in each of our lives and remove our character defects. We ask that You reveal to us defects that we have lived with for so long and have become part of who we are. Help us to let go of these things. Lord, help us when Satan tries to discourage our efforts to change by trying to fill our minds with negative thoughts, and instead focus on the truth, Lord. For we know the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. Lord, we ask for Your help; and we thank You for Your forgiveness and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Find a quiet place and ask God to reveal to you your biggest character defect. What has been the payoff keeping it and not letting it go?

***************
If you are interested in joining us for this amazing Online Bible Study, click HERE to sign up.

Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private email to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at:
Leslie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Moving Past Guilt – Part 1 (Steps 1, 2, 3)

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:40 NIV

Two years ago when I went into recovery, I entered into AA as part of an out-patient hospitalization. I came to the part of needing to write an inventory of my resentments. At that time, I had pages and pages that piled up so high I thought this whole step would be impossible. I rushed through them leaving out important details. I could not face them all, especially the REALLY PAINFUL ONES. The really painful ones showed like movie reruns in my mind. I also experienced physical symptoms such as a racing heart, difficulty breathing, chills, smells, and vivid details. These physical symptoms caused me to run from them even faster because every time I thought of the place or person I felt like it was happening to me all over again. Finally when I could hit “pause” on the movies (my life), I would take those people and places and kick them into that corner of my closet and cover them with all kinds of pretty stuff so I would not have to look at them anymore. If I don’t see them, then they can’t hurt me right? LOL!

Today I have only a few on that list because I have not totally surrendered them over to the Lord. The resentments I did give over to Him were healed and I became set free in a very powerful way that only God can do. Why I did not do this with all of them, I still ask myself that question. God took many of my resentments and showed me just how powerful He is by healing them so quickly. In my heart, I believe He was showing me proof of who He is and what He does. Some healed slower and hurt in the process. I am not going to lie, it was not fun. It was hard. I remember sitting on the couch scared and not trusting that God could take those things from me, but He did.

But unfortunately today, I still have a few I just have not fully dealt with and want to store them away in that dark corner in my closet. I don’t even want to see an edge of one sticking out. This realization shows me it’s time to do something about it. I started writing down each of these resentments that I’m allowing control over me today. My new list is much shorter today than my first one from two years ago. There are a few people, places, and events that I have been resenting, causing me anger, hurt, and fear that just won’t leave me alone. They have caused a lot of damage over the years to my thinking, attitude, relationships and self-worth. I would say the HARDEST part of this section has been writing down and owning up to my part. This is not easy at all! Yes, I have been severely hurt, but in each item on my list, I see that I have sinned also, and I am responsible for things I have done. “The Lord gave us a mind and a conscience. We cannot hide from ourselves” (Proverbs 20:27). I cannot keep blaming others, rationalizing, and deceiving myself any longer.

Prov20_27

I would like to briefly share a resentment of a place and event I have written down on my list. About six years ago, my doctors suggested having shock therapy for my major depression/bipolar illness. This was a last resort because nothing else worked, such as medications, hospitalizations, and psychotherapy. Wanting to die, I was desperate and decided to get started. My shock treatments consisted of twenty-five treatments. My husband had to take off work and also drive me two hours each time to the hospital. There were times our girls had to come along for the ride and had to wait on me for hours until my treatment was finished. Some weeks they had to stay with friends and family. Our girls also had to witness me confused as a side effect from shock treatment and having memory loss. Are you hearing my guilt I have been feeling for years right now?

As a result of my guilt, I have been parenting out of guilt. I have for years felt like a horrible mother who subjected our children to trauma over the years witnessing a sick mom who went to the hospital frequently and being sad a lot. I have felt guilty for so long I have actually believed my illness is my fault. I carry that guilt around with me every single day. It effects the way I parent, it affects me when I see the road sign of that hospital, it affects me when I read the word ECT (electro-compulsive therapy/shock treatment), it affects me when I see electrodes hooked up to people at the hospital, and all the details of the actual event. This whole situation and guilty feelings from it have consumed me for years.

Today I am ready to ask for forgiveness and be set free!If we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable and straightforward-He forgives our sin and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil” (1 John 1:9).  I have been sinning by not forgiving myself. I have been consumed with fear continuing to let these past events hurt me deeply over and over again. The really exciting news is by confessing this, sharing this, God will forgive me! Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).  I don’t have to bribe Him, or beg Him to forgive me; I just have to believe He will.

Are you ready to Move Past Guilt? Are you ready to take this step and transform your life? Take this step and get ready for God to do really great things in your life. Let’s get to work and start taking a personal inventory.

– Make time to begin your inventory

– Open your heart and your mind

– Rely on God’s grace

– Analyze your past, honestly

– List both the Good and Bad choices and events in your life

***************

Let’s Pray:

Father God, we desperately need You. Lord, how incredible it is to believe that our sins are covered and our guilt has been forgiven! Lord, through this study, continue to reveal to us what makes You sad and lead us along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23, 24 TBL) Lord, please give strength to everyone ready to make a change in their lives. Please give us courage to confess faults and come clean. Father, we are all so ready to let You set us free from our hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

Your Assignment:

Make some time to be alone with no interruptions. Open up your heart and mind to let God reveal what you need to see. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything You find that makes You sad and lead me along the path of everlasting life” Psalms 139:23, 24.

 

***************
If you are interested in joining us for this amazing Online Bible Study, click HERE to sign up. Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private email to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at:
Leslie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 3 “The Commitment Choice” – What’s Holding You Back?

I have a question for you this morning: What is holding you back from surrendering your problems and your life to the care of God?

Today we are going to talk about five things that keep us from making this choice: Pride, Fear, Guilt, Worry, and Doubt.  

This has been, and to this day still is, a battle for me in a few areas in my life. I found it painfully hard to fully acknowledge to myself those painful feelings of guilt that I tried to push down deep inside that would continue to pop up and hurt. Satan loves to try and ruin our day by bringing up past scars. He loves to see us reliving that pain and being pushed bit by bit away from God. His desire is that the pain will always be there and we will not ever be able to heal.

Everyone has feelings of pride, fear, guilt, worry, and doubt from time to time. But God wants us to stop, let go, and give Him these feelings and hurts that cause destruction in our lives and to those we love. He simply wants to take care of our hurts; all we have to do is hand them over to Him today. For many, this is not easy. In fact, this was so very hard for me to do. I would like to share a situation in which I had a very hard time giving up control and putting my love and trust in God.

Due to the lack of male figures as a child growing up, I had trust issues and I yearned for male attention. I had my heart broken many times as a young child and I truly felt very sorry for myself and very angry toward men, but on the other hand, I wanted their love so badly. When I was 14 years old, I was raped by my boyfriend. He pressured me to be with him because he “loved” me. Although I wanted that love so bad, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give myself to him.  At the last minute, I decided not to go through with it, but he chose to continue…without my consent.  Afterwards, he threatened that if I ever told anyone what he did, or tried to break up with him, he would let everyone know what I had done with him; that I was no longer innocent and pure.

As time went on, anger, hurt, love, and trust turned into major resentment toward every man I came in contact with. I was not about to trust a man with my heart. I would be the one in control, and I would not have to fear rejection. I started using my body as a way to control that overwhelming need for love. I used sex lying to myself calling it “love.” I would now become the rejecter. Although, reality was that sex became disgusting to me because it was filth and not love that I always yearned for. That was when I decided I would be the one who would cause one to feel sad, hurt, and unloved. I wanted men to “want” me, because this is what I thought love was. I learned great ways to manipulate them with my eyes, the way I moved my body, the way I did things to cause them to feel jealousy so they would stay with me. This was (in my mind) justifiable behavior. I had been treated that way, so why shouldn’t I treat men that way. Isn’t that how love works?

After this, I turned very selfish and could not offer real intimacy and pure love to anyone, even with my devoted husband who truly loved me. I just never believed that love was real. I had never received it in any other male relationships before, so I thought how would my marriage be any different. That boyfriend I had, said he loved me, but look how that turned out. I believe this is my reason for having a hard time putting my trust, not only in my husband, but mostly with the Lord. How on earth could my Heavenly Father really love me that way?

Finally I woke up and decided to quit playing the victim. I chose to give this hurt to the Lord along with the control, pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt. In the beginning, I did not think He could change me, but God did. He was going to set me free!

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud.  I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.  Oh return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”  — Isaiah 44:22

Today, love is changing between me and my husband. I am “learning to trust” him and even more, trusting God in all things. God is calling out to all of us “This is the Lord, trust me, let go, and I will catch you.” (Baker)

How about you? Are you willing to lay down your pride and surrender? Are you ready to stop being tormented by your hurts that have controlled you for so long? Are you having doubts right now even though you want to believe? Ask God right now to help you with your unbelief. As John Baker says, “Jesus said, that’s good enough.” All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed. If you put that faith in our Big God then you will get results. (Baker)

Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

So what are you waiting for? Let go and give Christ control! He wants a loving relationship with you more than anything!

 

_____

Let’s Pray:

Lord, Thank You for Your love for us. You tell us, Lord, to come to You with all things and You will give us rest. Lord, we want to do this and surrender our problems and care over to You; but it’s not easy. The pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt get in the way. Lord, we ask You to help us right now to let go and surrender our problems and lives to the care and control of You. Lord,we need help. We need You in our lives. All this we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Your Assignment: 

Write down and explain which of these things God is showing to you about yourself such as: pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt that is holding you back from making a decision to surrender and give Christ control of your life. Remember, comments made here are public. You do have the option of signing in anonymously.

_______________________

If you are interested in joining us for the amazing online Bible study, and would like to join our private Facebook Discussion Group, click HERE to sign up. Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send Leslie a private email in regards to this blog, please email her at: Leslie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 2 – Truth About God

Today, as we continue to explore Choice 2 (the Hope Choice), we are going to talk in detail about the three magnificent truths about God:

1) God exists

2) I matter to Him

3) He has the power to help me.

My daughter loves to do science experiments. I realized how quiet she was one afternoon. I looked around the house and noticed she was on the back deck. She had a box of baking powder, 3 cups with water, and a bottle of vinegar. She wanted me to come watch her amazing (trick) experiment she learned at church. She showed me what would happen when adding different amounts of baking soda and vinegar to the cups. She smiled and giggled after showing me the cause and effect from her volcanic eruption experiment.

My reason for the story relates to belief in God. Do you believe God exists? The Bible makes it clear that belief in God is essential: “Anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek HimHebrews 11:6. Most people do acknowledge that God exists. Where there is an effect, there must be a cause, (just like the example of the volcanic experiment shown from my daughter). We can see that where there is creation, there must be a Creator. “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20. (NLT)

Ok, so most people believe God exists; but the bigger question is, do you believe you matter to Him? The reason a lot of us don’t know we matter to God is that we don’t really know what God is like. I remember right before I started my walk, I asked everyone I could to tell me what God is like. I even had a few tell me I could create who I wanted my God to be and the qualities I wanted from Him. Our personal perception of God is not what matters. What does matter is the truth of who He really is. This is where we have a hard time with trust. It’s very difficult trying to trust something or someone that we do not know about or understand. John Baker said in this chapter, “Until we know God’s true character, we can’t completely trust Him.”

Growing up, I had a very hard time with trust due to my relationship with my father and a few male relationships in my teens. Unfortunately, these feelings and hurts carried into my adulthood until this past year. I had a very hard time trusting, especially males. Our relationship with our parents can actually affect what our perception of our Heavenly Father might be. The truth is, as humans we are flawed. These flaws result in treating each other in hurtful and unloving ways. The truth is, God is love and can be nothing but love. We must be careful not to confuse our experiences with man/men with the reality of who God is.

King David had much sorrow in his life, and he said of God, “You have listened to my troubles and have seen the crisis of my soul.” Our situations in life are the same. Whatever you’re going through right now, Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. “Psalm 34:18”. God’s character shows us just how great His love is for us by sending Christ to die for us. I don’t know about you, but I think this is what gives me the trust in my Heavenly Father. God’s compassion for His children is so incredible and unconditional! How does that make you feel knowing God loves you so much and cares about every hurt that has you heartbroken?

In Psalm 56:8 (NLT) says: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” We may think nobody knows what we are going through, or can’t understand what happened…but God does. God knows us, cares about us and can change the situation.

Lastly, I would like you to really think about this question. What hurt, hang-up, or habit today, or from the past, just doesn’t seem to go away, such as a dead relationship, or even an addiction? Does this situation seem hopeless to ever change? I didn’t think my situation would ever change; in fact, I truly felt absolutely hopeless! Not one person ever told me that I would ever be healthy again. My doctors told me at one point, I was probably going to die, or continue to have shock treatments and hospitalization for my major depression for the rest of my life. Talk about feeling hopeless! But today, I laugh as I write this. Reason being, I know God has the power to change a situation because He sure changed mine! I no longer feel that deep depression and the desire to die any longer. I have been delivered from that agonizing depression deep in my soul and I feel great joy to be alive. Now this IS a miracle of healing that is only of God!

I DECLARE HE HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE YOU AND YOUR SITUATION!


Let’s Pray:

Father, we come to You today because we believe in You. We can trust that You are always with us and care so much for us. Thank You God for showing us Your great love by sending Christ to die for us. Lord, we believe You have power to change us and our situations that have seemed so hopeless. Lord, we thank You for Your love and the hope we find in You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Write down what situations you have been dealing with that have seemed hopeless to ever change. Then ask yourself, do I now feel and believe in my heart, that God can change it? Write it, pray about it, and please share it. (Remember this is a PUBLIC forum. You do have the ability to sign in anonymously, if you wish.)



If you are interested in joining this Online Bible Study, and becoming a member of our private online discussion group, please click HERE to sign up. Once you are registered, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private message to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at: Leslie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 1 -The Consequences Of Our Problems

“No! I do it by myself!” Awe the famous phrase of a toddler. Unfortunately I still use this phrase at times today as an adult. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand to be told what to do! I don’t like not having control, and truthfully I rebel a lot of times and completely do the opposite of what’s being asked of me, even though I know it’s not the right thing to do.

Every one of us struggle with circumstances in life that we know are not good for us, but we still do them anyway. I have struggled with insomnia ever since childhood. There are many ways my doctor tries to help me by giving suggestions to help with falling asleep. However, I don’t always do them. For example, no caffeine after 3pm. (Honestly, I never listen to this one.) When I go out to eat, I order that coke with my meal because I think my meal is much better with one. I will drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee with my husband in the evening because it’s a special moment together we share. Yes, there are non-caffeinated drinks, but who cares! I want the real stuff! As a result of doing wrong, I suffer the consequences of being up late at night, not getting enough sleep, and SO cranky the next morning.

If the cause of most of our problems is our efforts to control everything, then what are the consequences of playing God? Isn’t that exactly what we are doing? There are 4 consequences listed in this book:

1) FEAR: When we try to control everything we become afraid. In my life I felt so out of control and scared inside that I faked being happy. In high school I acted like I was so happy and I smiled all the time. I was a good actress and thought that if I could get others to believe I had it all together, than maybe I too would somehow convince myself it was true. But truth was, I was hurting and so scared of people finding out this was not true. I was scared they would not like me and wouldn’t want to be my friend. I have remained in fear this would happen to me my whole life. Do you ever feel like this?  What is it that you fear today?

2) FRUSTRATION: Although I tried my best to hide my problems, a new one would arise. It never seemed to fail that I never stop with one pop up, I would have numerous ones and they never went away. I felt so frustrated all the time! Are you walking around today pretending your God thinking you can handle all your problems yourself, and you don’t need anyone’s help? Here are two examples of people in the Bible talking about feeling frustrated. Apostle Paul felt frustration: “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I eventually do what is wrong…There is something else deep within me… that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:21-25 commentary)…David also felt frustration: My dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration.” (Psalm 32:3 LB)…Are you Too feeling frustrated today?

3) FATIGUE: I feel so tired all the time when playing God and pretending everything was ok when it definitely was not. Every day I felt weak and tried faking how I was feeling with everyone I came into contact with. I started feeling like I couldn’t keep up my lies much longer. I felt like my strength was almost gone. David experienced fatigue: “My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to find them.” (Psalm 32:3-4)

4) FAILURE: I always fail at playing God. Every one of us will fail at doing this and that’s a guarantee! The wisdom of Proverbs tells us, “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you. Are you being honest and open about your weaknesses, faults, and failures?

 

Psalm 32:3-4

Psalm 32:3-4

LET US PRAY:
Father God, I come to You because I’m weak, so tired of trying to handle everything on my own. I’m afraid to let others know what’s going on inside of me. Lord I give to You my hurts, my failures, my faults. I’m tired of running and I’m going to let YOU be GOD. Thank You Lord for Your amazing love
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

ASSIGNMENT: Review these 4 consequences and list fears you have right now and how they cause you to react and feel. Share with us what you have been trying to control that have you tired today.

 


If you would like more information about this online Bible study, please email us at: GCH_VH@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

If you would like to send a private message to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at: Leslie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

 

 

GCH_VH “Life’s Healing Choices” Gear Up!

Goodbye, 2012!

Hello, 2013!

We, at GCH, are so excited about our new online Bible study ministry – GCH:Victorious Healing! Our first online study begins with “Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker. We will take a close look at our hurts, habits or hang ups (HHH) and realize that God wants us to turn them over to Him – no matter how BIG they may see to us.

GCH_Is57_18

Between the four of us bloggers here at GCH:VH, we have seen marriages & divorces, welcomed children, shared recovery stories, laughed at the personality quirks, and planned great things for each of you. We know what it’s like to raise children, care for family members, struggle with finances, and argue with anxiety. We come from different parts of our country: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee & Ohio. Our stories are varied, but one thing is consistent … we wouldn’t be where we are today with our God’s divine work in our lives.

Each of us brings our own level of enthusiasm & excitement for this study. Here’s what your some of the team has to say about the “Life’s Healing Choices” study.

I am so excited that you have decided to join us on the journey. God is so ready to heal our brokenness and give us the freedom to praise and worship Him – then take this news and testimony to others. But first we have to come together, lay down those hurts and habits and encourage one another. Through this study we will pray together, write about our HHH and share what God is doing in our lives. This awesome group of women will become your encourage, accountability and sisters. Welcome to each one of you. (Laurie)

Once out of rehab while in outpatient hospitalization, I went to AA for 8 months. It was good for me to go to a meeting everyday to keep my mind off of myself and out of the house. However, I had a very bad experience there. Also, it didn’t help matters I wasn’t ready to accept it was my life choices that brought me to where I was in my life. It was so much easier to blame others in life who had hurt me and using my mental illness as an excuse for my behavior. My pastor suggested Celebrate Recovery and by this time I was determined to work on myself and accept responsibility. I went there for a few months, went to therapy once a week, got involved in serving and in my small group, and dove into my Bible. About 6 months later a spot opened up at C.R. to begin the Life’s Healing Choices study. It would be a commitment 1x week for 2 hrs on Wed nights. Honestly I was doing so well, but I was afraid to reveal those hurts again. When I received my book and study guide I would feel so anxious trying to read. The book brought up hurtful emotions and also memories associated with AA. I hid those books for about 1 1/2 years. Through a friend, God told her to tell me about GCH. After the decision was made to add me to the blogging team, I learned what book we’d be studying. Who knew it would be the one I have been running from! I think God is telling me I can do this, I’m stronger and ready! So here I am. I am ready because I know God wants me to and He has confidence in me that I can and this time I’m not afraid because I know He is with me. I love how He does cool stuff like this! (Leslie)

When I first spoke with Laurie & Christi about this study, I questioned “why me?” My story & life experiences didn’t stack up to those I felt were more qualified to lead this study. I have never done drugs, or abused alcohol. So why did I need “recovery”? Through prayer, reading and pondering, I realized that God could still use me. He also revealed that I did have hurts, addictions, and so much baggage to overcome. It may not have looked like what other’s carried with them, but it was still mine and no amount of pushing it aside would make it go away. I am thrilled beyond words to be standing with Laurie, Kim & Leslie for this study. I’m excited about what God has in store for each of us. I know that my life has a purpose, all the good, bad and ugly of it. (Amy)

This study is going to be amazing; to continue the healing He started a few years back. Celebrate recovery will now be a part of my everyday quiet time with Him and His Spirit will permeate every fiber of my being. And to join each one of you is the icing on the cake!!!! This is where it all begins! (Kim)

Things you will need for the study:
The book, “Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker (click HERE to purchase,  Your purchase here, helps our ministry financially.)

Highlighter

Journal or notebook

On Sunday, January 6, we will post our outline for the week. You can also find the study schedule under the “Schedule” tab at the top of this page. Each day, you will have the opportunity to be encouraged by one of our team bloggers, share your own thoughts, and grow closer to God. If you are not comfortable sharing your thoughts here in this OPEN FORUM, we do have a Secret Facebook set up to help you dig deeper into this study.  If you would like to join that Facebook Group, please click HERE to sign up.  You will be given further details, once your register.

We’re so happy to have you with us and look forward to the journey He has planned for each of us!

God bless you!

The GCH:VH Ministry Team

Life's Healing Choices<br />
by John Baker