February 22, 2018

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Finding Forgiveness and Freedom from Guilt

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Dear Coach Megan,

I am really struggling with letting go of feelings of guilt I have had over things I did a long time ago. I am hoping that you can give me some direction on how to let go of this guilt that is keeping me locked up inside. I know God needs me free from this so that I can truly live free and forgiven for his glory. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give! ~S.J.

Thank you so much for your questions, S.J!

I remember when my kids were little and they would fall and scrape their knee on the playground. They would come running towards me at full speed, tears in their eyes for me to kiss it and make them feel better. It always worked, every time….a big hug and lots of love always made the sting of a scrape feel that much better. A few moments later, they would run off again, to play in the sun without a care in the world. The same is true when we take our bruised and broken lives to God…. He forgives and forgets, and it ALWAYS works! AND…when we trust in Him, He takes away all the guilt.

Luke 5:20

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Please, dear friend, do not stay stuck in the ditch of guilt! God has so much bigger and better plans for you that cannot be fulfilled to their fullest until you let yourself be FREE and transformed! I have some practical steps for you today that I pray will help you grow in Christlike maturity and bring all your guilt to our forgiving God for good! Grab a journal, print this out, and get ready to work through all the guilt that is holding you captive so you can finally be set free!

1. Find the source of your guilt

  • Examine why you feel guilty
  • Determine if your guilt is true or false
  • Use Scripture as the ONLY standard for determining true guilt

Psalm 51:6

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

2. Own the responsibility for your sin

  • Agree with God that you are guilty of sinning
  • Ask God to reveal your personal sin patterns
  • Make restitution to those you have sinned against

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.

3. Realize and believe that God means what He says
  • Thank God for the gift of His Son, who paid for your forgiveness
  • Thank God for His unending forgiveness, even if you don’t feel forgiven
  • Choose to believe what God says

Ephesians 1:7

 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

4. Stop and give up for good dwelling on the past

  • Give up holding on to past pain
  • Give up self-condemnation
  • Give up refusing to forgive others

Isaiah 43:18

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

5. Invest time in renewing your mind

  • Memorize scriptures that reinforce God’s forgiveness
  • Remember that in Christ, you are a “new creation” {2 Corinthians 5:17}
  • Learn to see yourself as a valuable child of God

Ephesians 4:22-23

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

6. Verify satan’s lies to God’s truth when satan accuses

  • Learn to discern the difference between the Holy Spirit’s voice and that of satan
  • Answer satan’s accusations with truth from Scripture
  • Verbalize a personal prayer receiving God’s forgiveness

Isaiah 54:17

“No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

7. Exchange your life for the life of Christ

  • Understand you cannot live the Christian life in your own strength
  • Allow Christ to transform you and live out His character through you
  • Continue to nurture the Holy Spirit’s presence through personal prayer and Bible study

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

8. When you obey Him, God brings your feelings in line with the facts

  • Know that God is a God of second chances
  • Know that your feelings won’t change immediately
  • Know that feelings usually follow thinking

Psalm 32:1-2

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them 
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Dear God,

We ask You to give us the discernment to know when we are feeling false guilt instead of true guilt. Please Lord, have Your Spirit convict us when we are headed the wrong way so that we will get on the right path and be in line with Your will. We also pray that we will always be sensitive to the convicting touch of the Holy Spirit’s hand. Thank You that we are forgiven and set free through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. We pray these things in Your holy name, amen <3

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Girls with Swords: Chapter 5 – “Scapegoat” (pgs 76-78)

Every single word that Lisa has written on these two pages of the book have touched my heart in one way or another.  There is so much “good stuff” in this section of the book.  I have enjoyed the whole book so far, and I have really loved this chapter.  This chapter has caused me to look at the Cross in a whole new way.  The Cross as a sword is something I never visualized before.  This idea was all new to me, and it brought something to mind.

We all have a journey to the Cross.  Everyone’s journey is different.  Maybe we can all relate with the scapegoat in different areas as we journey to the Cross.

  • Guilt: How many times have you blamed yourself for an event in your life in which you carry around an immense amount of guilt from?
  • Lonely nights: How many nights have you fallen asleep next to your husband, or at home with your family, yet the loneliness that you feel inside is strong enough to cause you to think you are alone in this world with no one to love you…care for you…or be there for you? 
  • Oppression: How many times have you felt a heavy burden on your heart, one that crushes you to your core causing you to panic and shake the calm life you once lived? 
  • Rejection: How many times did you just want to fit in with your friends, family, co-workers; just to find out that no one wanted to be around you, and when you tried to surprise them you overheard the cruel words they spoke of you that cut deeper than any knife ever made?  The list goes on and on.  There are so many words that are used to describe the scapegoat we once believed we were.

Let’s consider Jesus’ journey not to the Cross, but with the Cross.  Jesus knows the pain and the hurt behind each and every word used to describe what a scapegoat represented.  Jesus went through more suffering than our human bodies can ever imagine.  Yet your depression, your loneliness, your hurt, your pain, your guilt, your betrayal, your shame, your (insert others here) were all taken with Jesus on the Cross.  Could you imagine the weight on His shoulders as He fell up Calvary’s hill?  The astonishing part is that Jesus’ innocent shoulders were not the ones meant to carry all of these things.  We deserve all of it, yet Jesus loved us so much that He took what was meant for our cross and sacrificed Himself so that we can be saved and free in Him!

As Jesus approached the spot where He was to be sacrificed, I can only picture Him taking the Cross with the weight of it all and sticking it into the ground.  Then I imagine the Cross as a sword and I know that when that sharp point hit the ground, our world was shaken.  Not for the worse, but for the better.  Jesus IS the ultimate sacrifice.  As I write those words, “Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice,” I begin to tear up because I stand in awe of Jesus and His love for me that He died and rose again, defeating all that was on the Cross, FOR ME, that I may live eternally with Him.  Lisa is right: the Cross is a sword of love.

It is time, ladies, to follow Jesus’ footsteps to the Cross.  For when we arrive, we will meet Jesus waiting to hand us His sword.  As He gives us His power, we must be able to echo His words in our hearts, “Forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  We must forgive ourselves, too.  We must leave all the burdens we carried to the Cross in His hands where they belong.  We must pick up His sword and follow JESUS TO HEAVEN!

Make time to meditate on this Scripture today:

 

Isaiah53_4thru6

Let’s Pray: 

Heavenly Father, how can we find the words to thank You for what You alone have done for us?  Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your only Son to die for us.  Lord, some of the ladies in this study may have already traveled to the Cross and found Your healing and have picked up Your sword.  I pray for these ladies, that You empower them to use Your sword and stand firm in You against Satan as You guide them to Heaven.  Lord, maybe there are some ladies who are in the middle of their journey or have not started yet.  Lord, I pray for these ladies that You show them Your paths to the cross, that You give them Your strength to reach the point where they find You and give You all of the burdens that lay so heavy on their hearts.  I thank You for the power of the Cross.  I thank You for guiding us every day to You.  We love You, Lord, so much!  Amen.

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

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

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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