Well it’s been a month now since my last blog and I’m learning that there are many distractions that get in the way of sitting down and writing a blog! So please be patient with me as I learn to make this a weekly “practice,” and I’ll try not to get down on myself for being so far behind schedule! I certainly don’t want to join in with the enemy and all of his accusing spirits who just love to accuse us all before the throne of God night and day! I’m getting off track here, but by the way, God never speaks to us in an accusing, condemning manner – that is the nature of the enemy. When we accuse or condemn ourselves, in a sense we collaborate with the enemy, become the second witness that he needs to accuse, and we give him a handle or foothold in our lives! Who wants that? Not me! Well enough on that subject, I’ll leave that for another blog, for today is a day for me to celebrate! You see, my “physical” birthday was last Tuesday, but my “spiritual” birthday is today, March 20th!
23 years ago today, in despair at age 28 and no longer wanting to live, I asked God to take control of my life, and did He ever! He literally redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with love and compassion (Ps. 103:4), He did immeasurably more than all I could have ever asked or imagined (Eph 4:19) and all that I have and am today is His gift of grace to me.
I am so thankful to God for giving me a new life, His life! He truly came that we might have life and have it abundantly! (John 10:10) I’m absolutely amazed at all He has done in and through my life in these past 23 years! So in celebration and to honor Him and all of His amazing works, I’d like to share a bit of my story with you, and especially those who may just be getting to know me through this website!
Last year, for my 50th birthday website, I wrote a section called “My Story,” so I’ll start with some excerpts from that, and in an effort to keep these blogs from being TOO lengthy, I’ll break it down into a few different blogs for you! My prayer is that “My Story” would be an encouragement to you. As you see how radically God has transformed my life, know that He wants to do the same in yours. No matter how close to Him or how far from Him you are right now, and no matter where you’ve been, He desires a closer relationship, more intimacy with you. He has a good, pleasing and perfect will for your life and His plan for you is to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope!
So let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (yes, I just saw the Sound of Music again last week and I can’t get the songs out of my head:))
EARLY YEARS: I grew up in Cortland, Ohio, a small town of 1,000 – 2,000 people at the time, located about an hour east of Cleveland. When I was little, our house was the first in the development, so I grew up with lots of trees and farms all around and loved to play outside and go for walks in the woods with my collie. I was the youngest of seven, but I spent most of my childhood alone as the other siblings were so much older than me. I absolutely hated being the youngest, and all I ever wanted was to be and look older! (It’s a bit ironic that even now at age 51, I look much younger than my years. In another blog, I’ll explain how God has used that for healing in many ways!)
Now for a variety of reasons, many deep strongholds formed in my heart at an early age. Strongholds are false beliefs or old messages that we believe deep in our hearts about ourselves or about God. Some of the strongholds that formed deep in my heart were those such as: I’m bad, I’m worthless, I’m stupid, I’m not productive or good enough, I’m not taken seriously, my needs and opinions aren’t important or valid, I’m not worth your time, I don’t have a voice, I don’t exist, I don’t have a right to be here, I’m invisible, I’m on my own, I deserve to be rejected, I’m not wanted, I have to be perfect to be accepted, I have to hold all things and all people together, and that’s just for starters! So I hope you can see why God may have called me to teach on the topic of strongholds — I have had so many, I will never run out of examples!:)
Now the reason I even mention these strongholds is not to dwell on my past or to blame anyone, but simply to show how messages that we take into our hearts at an early age – whether or not they were intentional or ever even spoken to us – form wounds or holes in our heart, and then we end up acting out of these all of our lives, being controlled by them instead of God’s Word and Spirit, until we allow God to expose and heal them. He wants to be the Lord of our whole heart. He loves us too much to allow us to continue to walk around with these holes in our heart, which give the enemy a handle in our lives and which block us from experiencing and showing forth His love, wisdom and power in our lives!
To be continued next blog….