Shame on

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There are often times I think people should have some sense of shame.  Have you ever seen pictures from that website, “People of Walmart”?  People, save some that skin for someone special…as in not me and my family.  That’s just a little rant and also why I am willing to pay a little extra and shop at Target. (snobby, huh?  This is probably going to be a super offensive blog…if you are sensitive you should stop reading now.)

I’ve hesitate to write this blog for a while because I wanted to have a chat with my dad.  He reads my blogs and often comments.  Hi, Dad.  I hope that I don’t embarrass you.  (I had a short chat with my parents the other day and I forgot to tell them something important…I will save that for a later post).

At the last Kairos event we attended, they had a session on “shame”.  One of the speakers said something interesting.  He said that conviction is good and guilt is okay.  We should feel some guilt over some things but shame is always bad. Shame is bad because it attaches to our identity and tries (and often does) to define us.  The only identity we should have is who God says we are.

So maybe those Walmart shoppers could just have a little guilt over those atrocious fashion choices.

During the session on guilt I thought, “This doesn’t really apply to me.”  I’ve gone through some things.  Made some bad choices.  Made some good choices.  I’ve hurt.  I’ve healed.  I don’t feel shamed…I have shared my story with many other people to help them heal.  Then I realized…I have have been physically healed and I have not shared that testimony publicly.   I have been healed in my soul and I haven’t written about it in my blog or in a book format.  I have shared privately in ministry situations but I have kept it private.  Why?  The Holy Spirit began to reveal that I was carrying some shame.  You see, the reason I have not written about these miracles is because I have been ashamed for my dad to read about them.

My parents are wonderful people; godly people.  My dad has been a police officer, a firefighter, a deacon and and an elder.  He serves in the prison ministry at his church among other things.  He knows what goes on in the world.  He is half German…the German people do not stick their heads in the sand…they stoically accept the ugly truth.  I never in my life saw my German grandmother get “fired up” about anything (I must get my “fired up” side from the Czech side…although my friend James tells me I am ” very in touch” with my inner “black woman” so maybe that’s it…hey…he is a black man, he is allowed to say that if he wants.  It’s not racist if he says it.  The Hubs says it’s my “inner Mexican”….he is Hispanic so he can say that.  Everyone agrees that I do get “fired up”.  I’m digressing).  I should not think that my foolishness and things that have gone on in my life would shock my dad.

During that session, I wrote a note to myself to talk to my dad.  It only took me 6 weeks to do it.  I was very “fired up” about talking to him at first but that fire ebbed a little as I played out in my head how the conversation would go.  It wasn’t his reaction I was gauging it was the the “starter words”.  You know those first few words.   I hate the phrase, “We need to talk…”  I run away when and hide when people say that (mostly because it usually means I offended them in some way and now I have to endure a confrontation and apologize…it has happened.  By the way…to all my African-American friends and my Hispanic friends…I’m sorry about that previous comment.  Please don’t confront me.)  The more I thought about it the harder it got.  Then I talked to one of my sisters and told her about something that had happened.  I thought I had talked to her about it years ago…and she was shocked.  (She’s a little dramatic…get’s it from my mom’s side…the Scottish people I believe….really, I am just trying to include everyone in my remarks tonight…again, please don’t confront me.)  This made me realize that I may not have been as transparent as I had thought.

When I did finally talk to my folks, it was as they were leaving my house late one night after a riotous round of Mexican Train (I promise I am not racist).  We stood out on the front porch (so much for that conversation in a public venue so no one could act crazy…seriously, they would never respond that way.)  I think I started something like this, “Hey I’ve been wanting to tell you something…”  And the words flowed out.  I’m rarely at a loss for words.

Dad was quiet.  Mom wanted to know why I hadn’t told her.

The thing about shame is when you turn the light on the shame gets turned off.  Shame is only “on” in the darkness.  Once things are brought to light the power shame held is loosened.

I didn’t tell them EVERYTHING. Don’t do that to anyone.  DO NOT go dump everything on them at once.  (My mom is dying to talk to me now because she hates not knowing.  I’m sorry.  I really shouldn’t torture my momma like this.  She will be over this weekend…we will talk more).  Start somewhere.  Here’s the thing, you can’t change your past.  It happened.  It’s history.  It’s not who you are.   It never wasn’t who you are…it was just your identity crisis.

I often go back to a Graham Cooke quote.  “Revenge on the enemy is getting delivered and healed and then helping someone else get delivered and healed of the same thing.”

How can you get your revenge if you are hiding?  I hid some things so well that most people in my family didn’t know, even my sister who I share (I thought) everything with.  Being transparent requires us to flip on the light and turn off the shame.

We weren’t created for shame.  Hebrews 12 (beginning of the chapter) says that Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame.  As I was writing this I realized that Jesus carried all of our shame to the cross with Him.  If He took to the cross then why are we still carrying it around? My final thought…

My friend, Kimberly is currently working on a writing project about shame.  Check out her blog here  http://dailygraced.blogspot.com.

Some Random Thoughts

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The Hubs and I were talking about Jesus’ message the other day.  Jesus didn’t travel the country preaching the Cross.  He had not yet been to the cross.  He taught the Kingdom.  (Read the book of Matthew). He sent His followers out to preach the gospel and heal the sick (Luke 9)  The disciples’ “good news” must have been Jesus; just Jesus.

Interestingly, Jesus also told His followers in Luke 9:23 that to follow Him we must take up our cross….this was before He ever went to the cross.  He must have had an inkling that He would die on a cross.  That must have been a nightmare; knowing you would die on a cross.

 

 

My Plexus Adventure

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before and after

 

I’ve needed to lose weight for a while.  I still have a ways to go.  I’ve been using a little product called Plexus Slim to help me. (You can follow us on Facebook here) The weight is coming off slowly (that’s okay….I have found the slower it comes off it is more likely to stay off) but it is coming off.  I am down over 15 lbs.  This “before” picture doesn’t really show the whole story because I took the picture when I had been using the product for three weeks or so and I haven’t taken another “after” picture for three weeks.  Here’s the thing, the product was designed for people with type 2 diabetes and it helps balance out blood sugar; it curbs sugar cravings.

Plexus has some other incredible products too.  The X Factor is a vitamin that is designed so that all the vitamins and minerals can be absorbed…our bodies can only absorb 20% of what most other over the counter supplements have in them.  The Fast Relief cream is phenomenal.  I often have neck pain, especially at night.  I used a sample I had the other day and it warmed up (a little bit like bengay) and I was able to go to sleep pretty quickly after that.

If you have any questions about the product(s) feel free to post them here.

The DNA of your future

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I’ve often thought that David (talking about King David in the Bible…you can read about him in I and II Samuel) and Bathsheba were destine to marry and produce Solomon.   How they got together was one of the biggest scandals in the Bible.   You can read about it in II Samuel 11.  One of my recent posts was When the Enemy Uses your Strengths Against you.  I was thinking about how Moses’ calling to be a deliverer but how when he acted in his own time it was a mistake.  This is true of David too.  Of course, I have often thought that David should have been out of the battlefield with his army instead of hanging around the house bored.  My mother-in-law told her kids growing up (in Spanish…which I do not know), “Boredom is not from the Lord.  Go read your Bible.”  She also said excessive energy was not from the Lord….my husband knows his Bible very well.

Like David, our future is in our DNA.  David was very prophetic.  Prophetic people ALWAYS have to learn timing.  I’m not at all afraid to write a blanket statement like that.  Timing for a prophetic person can be a struggle.  I have often felt that God does NOT tell me things (like what’s next) until it’s time because if He revealed it too far ahead of time I would be off and running.  I once moved across 3 states in 6 weeks.  David recognized his future when he saw Bathsheba but instead of waiting until it was right, he took matters into his own hands.  He suffered the consequences of his actions too.

If you seek God, He will direct your paths.  It’s a promise.   See Matthew 6:33.   When God directs your path, you will often see where you should go before it’s time to move.   You can feel your future.  You can see yourself there.  I am not saying everything turns out the way you think or thought it would.  I am saying when you seek God and put Him first in your life, your future will be clear….and you will know it.  Be sure to seek Him about the timing of things.

 

Momlog 2014: Puppies and poop

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The boy has been begging us for a puppy.  Yes, I have a toddler and a crawler.  In a temporary complete lapse of judgement and a convenient free (free is never free) puppy, we got this guy

puppy

 

Well, I just spent 10 minutes trying to rotate this picture.  When we got him, we thought he was a boxer mix buy my dad thinks he’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback…which looks like this…

puppy

 

So I can see why he thinks that.

In either case…I am now running a zoo.  The boy, almost 6 years old now, is “in charge” of the dog.  I hope he learns some assertiveness but so far the puppy is running the show.  We take him out often however, he has been sneaking off and pooping in the house.  GROSS!

Last night while we were playing Mexican train, he pooped (for the third or fourth time) in the Hubs’ music room.  He was banned from the upstairs when I found poop in my newly painted baby girls’ room.  The Hubs showed the boy how to pick up and clean up the poop.

Sunday mornings are hectic.  The Hubs leaves super early to setup and play the bass.  So I’m on my own.  I get a text around 8:45 (I need to be out the door by 9:20 if I am going to get to church a bit early) from the Hubs that says I need to have the boy pick up the poop in the music room.  I look and it’s a pretty significant pile. I don’t have time to deal with dog crap on Sunday morning!  (This is an appropriate use of the word crap).

After the Boy ate breakfast I told him to pick up the poop.  I called down (I was getting the girls dressed) and asked him what he was doing.  He said that he was cleaning up the poop.  I asked him how…  He should have taking a plastic grocery bag into the music room and using a paper towel, pick up the poop and put in in the bag.  Well, he was carrying the poop to the big trash can (across the house).  I yelled (sometimes there is yelling) to him to get a grocery bag the way daddy taught him.

When I came down he was rubbing some type of cleaner into the carpet.  I told him to go wash his hands we had to go.

We get loaded up and the drive to church was pretty uneventful.  I was reminding him he needed to use grocery bag, etc.

As we pull into the parking lot he says, “I am going to have to walk on my toes.”  (Every mom knows there is some reason to ask)  So I ask him, “Why do you need to walk on your toes?”  He answered, “Because I stepped in the poop.”  (My eyes almost popped out of my head)  “WHAT??”  You walked in my truck with poop on your feet?”  I checked it out.  There was so poop on the shoe.  I wiped it on the underneath of the running board.

Unfortunately, I forgot to to tell him NOT to put the shoes back into the box with all the other shoes.  He’s breaking me, y’all.  In the past I would have marched up removed those shoes, cleaned out the whole box…but I just couldn’t muster the energy to care.  Just another reason the babies aren’t allowed to chew on shoes.

When the Enemy Uses your Strengths Against you

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I’ve been thinking of this topic for a while and then our pastor, preached message about Moses in a series titled, “God of the Underdog” (click here to listen) and it hit me in a much clearer way.

We all have strengths and weaknesses.  We assume that the enemy uses our weaknesses against us.  We expect to be attacked in the area of our weaknesses.   I propose that many times, actually, most of the time, it is our strengths that do us in.  This can happen in several ways.

In my own life I see where my fierce loyalty to a church or person has caused me to stay in a place too long or opened my heart to being assaulted by the object of my loyalty.  Loyalty to God is good. There are times when our loyalty to people can be taken advantage of or lead us astray.  I have found that my loyalty has to have built in priority and that priority is to obey God above all else even if I am perceived as being disloyal.

Keep in mind, these strengths are not just part of character, they are part of our identity.  I’ve always been loyal (I think). I cannot think of a time when loyalty was not a part of my personality.  I do not remember being taught to by loyal (although my dad is a fiercely loyal person as well so it is ingrained in me).  Another example is the area of leadership.  I am a first born; a natural leader.  I heard a woman recently says that her siblings said about growing up with her, “She didn’t really play with us so much as she organized our play.”  In other words, she was directing the orchestra.  I can see that in my own life.  My mom had a daycare while I was growing up so I told everyone what they were going to do.  Some people labeled me as “bossy”. Recently,  I read a series of articles on women being labeled “bossy” and how detrimental it can be.  (click here for CNN article on “Banning Bossy”)  Even the world recognizes that the word “bossy”, which is primarily used to describe women, is an attempt to undermine leadership characteristics in girls and women. When a girl is called “bossy” often enough or is told repeatedly she is “too loud” she begins to change to accommodate others. I remember being free as can be when I was around five years old.  There were some people in my life who labeled me as “bossy”.  My first grade teacher said I talked too much….I’m pretty sure it was on my report card.  She also couldn’t understand me because of my deeply “Texas” accent.  She kept switching my seat because I made friend with everyone I sat next too.  She didn’t like me.  I cannot pinpoint a single event that happened between 1st grade and 6th grade….maybe it was puberty, an awkward stage or maybe I wasn’t as “cute” any more but by 6th grade I was dreadfully shy; dreadfully.  In 7th grade, I had to take a speech class and I was horrified.  The crazy thing is I was born to lead and I was even born to speak.  If you would have told me in 7th grade that I would stand up in front of 1500 people and speak, I would have thrown up but I have spoken in front of very large groups and I didn’t throw up.  That’s how the enemy works…most times it isn’t the obvious weakness he goes for but our strength; our identity; who God created us to be. Let’s face it, we use our weaknesses against ourselves all the time…no one has to do that for us.

Back to Moses.  When Moses was a youngish man, he saw an Egyptian beating a Israelite.  He killed the Egyptian and fled into the wilderness.  He was out in that wilderness for YEARS (interesting….Moses had to know that wilderness like the back of his hand.  When he led the Israelites out of Egypt, he probably knew the way to the Promiseland but he waited on God to lead them anyway…another blog, another day).  It was in Moses to deliver the Israelites. It was part of him from the beginning; He was created to be a deliverer; it was part of his identity and a strength.  However, when he tried to be a deliverer on his own without God, he became a murderer.  His strength used against him made him something he never should have been.  It was in Moses’ DNA to be a deliverer but it had to be in God’s way and in God’s time, when God called him.  The enemy will always try to get us to move forward in who we are without God.  The enemy knows that apart from God will end up doing things that will cause us to lose touch with who God says we are.  Moses was raised in Egypt.  He had the education of an Egyptian prince.  At that time in history, Egyptians were the best and brightest in the WORLD.  He was raised as a prince and taught from his earliest age to be be a leader.  God made a way for the enemy to educate, provide for and train up the future deliverer of the nation of Israel.  How cool is that?  God will cause your enemy to invest in you.  He will cause your enemy to pay the price for your benefit.  When Moses killed the Egyptian he had the right idea, perhaps the right motives but he had the wrong method and the wrong timing.  When we see Moses again after years in the wilderness he seems to have become timid.  Imagine the beat down his identity must have taken.  He went out into the wilderness where he was a nobody, not a prince…he was nothing.  He wasn’t leading anyone…no one was following Moses.  Day after day for forty years and you become numb.

Thank God that He restores identity to us and not who perceived ourselves as but He restores us to who He designed us to be in the first place.

I imagine Moses walking into the familiar palace of a new pharaoh and remembering playing in those corridors.   Who he was created to be began to stir in him.  He starting to remember what it was like to lead.  He remembered the authoritative strides of his youth.  He remembered his training.  The stirrings of a leader began to emerge.  Think about it, Moses took his backup, older brother, Aaron with him to speak.  Yet, chapters later in the Bible, it doesn’t read that Moses instructed Aaron to go talk to the people.  Moses found his voice.  He lead the Israelites, not Aaron.

God is good.

Consider today who God says you are.  Has that been attacked?  Have you been living up to who He says you are?  If not, it’s time to get healed and sealed.

God bless you all!

Signs of Spiritual Abuse

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Found this interesting.   While attending Kairos 2 they spoke briefly about 4 signs of Spiritual Abuse.

1. Power Posturing

2. Performance Preoccupation

3. Unspoken Rules

4. Paranoia  (I think….I left my book with all my notes in the Hub’s vehicle and I keep forgetting to fetch it).

I have been involved in a church that had all of these characteristics.  Long before blogs, I am talking 15 years ago, I wrote an article about Spiritual Abuse which is out there in internet land but I am not going to link to it because there was at least one paragraph I would edit today. I will share some of the article at the end of this blog.

The topic still interest me today.  Why?  Because spiritual abuse is everywhere and it is subtle and it’s so detrimental to our souls.  Even after having experienced spiritual abuse through an organizational church, I still was not immune to attending a church where spiritual abuse was going on and I didn’t recognize it right away.  Much like a person who is physically abused, spiritually abused people can fall into church after church of spiritual abusers if they aren’t healed.  You can’t just recognize the abuse and get out of it, you must seek to be healed from the abuse in order to form healthy relationships in the future.

As I dug a little deeper, I found a flyer that outlined seven characteristics of Spiritual Abuse.  This flyer is an adaptation from a book titled, Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, The: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson  and  Jeff VanVonderen.  Click here for a link.

Their list includes:

1. Power Posturing – Leaders focus on their own authority constantly reminding other of it and even siting the Bible to promote their own authority.

2. Performance Preoccupation – Focus is on members performance and promotion is based on performance.  Strict adherence to the law or rules.

3. Lack of Balance -Members are taught that they cannot interpret the Bible but must rely solely on the leader.  Beliefs are based on primarily on feelings or experiences especially those of the leader.

4. Unspoken Rules – Performance is based on rules but the rules are not written down or stated rather they are discovered only when broken making them impossible to follow.

5. Paranoia -The leader projects paranoia on his/her followers usually by teaching they are persecuted and people are out to get them.

6. Misplaced Loyalty – Loyalty to the leader or system must replace all other loyalty, even loyalty to family and friends.

7. Secrets – Leaders cannot live up to their own rules so they hide their own short comings.  They also hide money and most decisions are made in secret.

You may not have experienced all seven of these at one time but it is likely that you have experienced some of them.  Why?  Because often time leaders begin to feel the need to guard what they or God has built.  Call it fear.  Call it pride.  It happens.

If you see these signs in your church…what do you do?  Here is an excerpt from the article I wrote many years ago:

Fighting Spiritual Abuse

We have come to the conclusion that Spiritual abuse exists
and is in fact  thriving. So what can we do about it? What can we do
about family and friends that are in spiritually abusive situations? Individuals
in spiritually abusive situations rarely recognize the abuse.

Since spiritual abuse is a spiritual problem the battle
must be fought on a spiritual level.

What causes spiritual abuse? Two major factors play a
part in spiritual abuse. In the spiritual realm the abuser becomes blinded
by a spirit of pride, spirit of religion, and a controlling spirit. The abused
individuals take their eyes off Jesus Christ and begin to worship the religion
and the man instead of Jesus, thus setting up a situation of  idolatry.
The abused individuals will also become blinded by the spirit of pride and
the spirit of religion, thus they do not recognize any abuse.

What can we do about spiritual abuse? All spiritual battles
must be fought in the spiritual realm. We cannot fight a spiritual battle
with physical weapons. We must learn to fight this battle in the spiritual
realm. God in His Word has provided all the weapons we will need to fight
and win this battle. Our main weapons are the Word of Jesus (the Bible is
our sword in the Spirit, sharper than any two-edged sword), the Name of Jesus
(in which we have all authority over Satan), and the Blood of Jesus (which
can cover any situation).

How do we use these weapons? Every good soldier knows
that before we can go into battle we must prove our weapons on the practice
field. Our lives are our practice fields. Read the Word of God everyday.
Hide the scriptures in your heart. The Bible has something in it for every
situation we face. Speak the Word of God on the situations in your life.
If you need protection in your life read Psalms 91 out loud over your situation.
Isaiah says that the God’s words will not return to Him void. When we pray
God’s Word the prayers will not return to us void. We must know the Word
of God in order to effectively fight in the battle. In the name of Jesus
we have all authority over Satan. Every demonic spirit must obey when we
come in the name and authority of Jesus Christ.

We have to remember that some battles take longer to
win than others. You may have to pray for something everyday for months or
longer in order to weaken the enemy’s hold, once weakened the enemy will
very easily be removed. Begin to bind the demonic force in the name of Jesus
everyday during your prayer time. Also, ask God to shine His light in the
situation and open the eyes of the blind so they recognize their situation.
Finally, plead the blood over the individuals involved and the situation
in general. If you can, anoint the individual with oil or the physical church
building where the situation is taking place. Before using the oil be sure
to dedicate it to represent the Blood of Jesus. The oil can be washed off
or wear off so it must be reapplied occasionally.

Remember that the individuals involved in spiritual abuse
probably did not set out to abuse or be abused. They have been deceived by
Satan. They are blind to what is actually going on spiritually. They cannot
be reasoned with. If you attempt to enlighten them they will probably tell
you that you are the one deceived. Even though they are deceived and very
often they view all other believers with contempt and condemnation, it is
our duty as Christians to love them and pray for them. We must model our
lives after Jesus Christ, He said we are to forgive our brother seventy times
seven. We must forgive them. Most of these individuals have known Jesus at
one time or another. They have felt the Holy Spirit, they knew God at one
time. They just got off track and lost sight of Jesus. When they lost sight
of Jesus, they lost their love. It is very easy to become abusive when you
have no love.

How will the battle be won? When we (the church) bind
together in unity and begin to battle and pray for our lost brothers and
sisters. The Bible speaks of only one church. God’s church will be united.
Even though most of these individuals do not recognize any beliefs other
than their own, God still loves them and wants them to be united with His
church. Every religion seems to have taken a portion of the truth and recognize
it as the whole truth as opposed to only a part of the truth. They get off
balance by doing this.