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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Inventory Part III

Search me O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

I am so grateful that you are working through your inventory. I am going to share another brief portion of my past. I know this can be difficult and I want to be transparent with my inventory in hopes that something will resonate with you or to just give you a better understanding how to inventory your past and present circumstances.

Your inventory may be different, but I had a lot of specific memories as it related to individuals in my past, but also God would give me visions and these visions usually revealed an instance that I would not have remembered, but they had a huge impact on my outward behavior. So what I am about to share was a vision.

I was very young and I was in the kitchen with my mother — I witnessed her telling a lie to someone and then she turned around towards me and she said that I had lied to her and she spanked me.

Now that was a very brief snapshot of my past. When I got this vision, I suddenly remembered some things that my mother did. I remember that she would purchase clothes and shoes and put them in the trunk of her car so that my father would not know that she had spent money, or how much money and on what. I also remember that my mother did that in her second marriage and even carried it to the point that she got a P.O Box and would have all her credit card bills mailed to this PO box…OR she would run frantically to her own mailbox everyday before her husband came home and she would possibly beat him to the mailbox. Looking back, because of her actions, she must have been filled with unnecessary anxiety everyday trying to hide her actions. It’s a lot of work covering up our sin. Are you creating unnecessary anxiety by trying to hide something?

What impact did this have on me? First of all, God was showing me that she taught me to lie by her words and her actions. However, if she caught me in a lie she would severely punish me. How confused I must have been to hear and watch her lie and deceive, but yet punish me for the same thing. The other effects it had on me is that I operated in a curse of lying and I have repeated the same patterns of purchasing clothes and hiding them when I was married. I even did this same thing in some relationships I had. The damage it caused was for me and for my partner… it presented me as someone who was not trustworthy whoever I was in relationship with. Which in turn would affect our intimacy. My part was carrying out what I was taught and I have hurt myself and others I have been in relationship with. I would have never realized that unless God revealed it. The same is true for you. God knows everything about us and he understands what is behind our thoughts and actions. That is why I so love this process, please submit to God and take time and quiet the phone, and tv and anything else that would compete for this precious time with God…..your healing depends on it.

I am going to give you some additional questions to help you continue the process of your inventory.

1. Since accepting Christ as your Higher Power, how has God transformed your mind? What worldly standards have you given up?

2. How have you used denial to attempt to guard your mind?

3. Have you filled or are you filling your mind with hurtful and unhealthy movies, television programs, internet sites or books?

4. How have you failed to concentrate on the positive truths of the Bible?

5. What past activities or habits caused you harm to your physical health?

6. In what ways have you mistreated your body?

7. If you have abused alcohol, drugs, foods, or sex, how did they negatively affect your body?

8. What have you done to restore God’s temple (your body)?

9. Have you mistreated anyone in your family verbally, emotionally or physically?

10. Who in your family do you hold a resentment against? Why?

11. Can you think of anyone to whom you owe amends? Why?

12. What is the family secret that you have kept denying?

13. How can you improve relationships because of your recovery?

14. Prior to recovery, what was your main reason for going to church?

15. How has your commitment to church increased since starting recovery?

16. How would you rate your past participation in church?
very involved, semi-active, sideline member, attender, went on holidays, never attended.

I am so grateful for this program and I get the privilege of taking it to the world. God has commissioned me to get it into prisons to help those individuals cope in society better once they are released. I have also been recruited by a local church to help them roll the program out for their congregation. So far this is what I hear that is very common. Most everyone says that they cannot ever see their life changing, or being without whatever unmanageable behavior they have been struggling with. They are almost convicted by my faith also. Here is what I remind everyone that I speak with. Even I had a starting point, and I was where they were at one time……. I am, and have overcome things that I have struggled with for years. The same is true for you — your life will be different if you commit and cooperate with God and spend time on your recovery — shut out all the things that compete for your time. It’s a sacrifice and we can all think of something better that we would rather be doing…. BUT, sacrifice, which is short term pain, WILL produce long term gain !!!! I love you and so does God !

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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Inventory Part II

Get rid of all bitterness, passion and anger. No more shouting or insults. No more hateful feelings of any sort. Ephesians 4:31

Last week I gave you an outline for you to begin your inventory. That is the center piece of inventory and you should be adding more and more to that as God is revealing specific individuals to inventory along with the situations and emotions associated with them.

Inventory is a lifestyle for me now. I have been in recovery since 2009 and I still get revelations of my past hurts, the damage and how it is affected me. Also, I inventory present situations. Inventory is ongoing, because recovery gives me new coping methods so that way I don’t run back to an old habit.

Let me give you an example of something present. I mentor a teenager and we get together a lot. About a week ago we talked about her up coming graduation. She has a mommy abandonment and rejection wound and she lives with her father. She did not know if she should invite her mother to her graduation or not. She said if I don’t invite her then she will be mad even though she most like will not come. I told her to take the high road and invite her and let her mother make the decision whether she comes or not. As you can imagine the worst happened. Her mother declined to come and it upset her so much. For days she could not get over it, she was acting out by laying in her bed all day, being ugly to those around her and starting fights and crying. She is like me and has a hard time with acknowledging her emotions. I told her that she needed to inventory that whole event. I walked her through how to write it all down and then reach out to God — God is the ONLY one who can heal our wounds — Lord that hurts me so much, all I want is to be accepted by her and why am I not enough?! I just want her to be proud of me! Why does she love my brother and sister more?! Give that to God and ask him to reach deep into your soul and heal that hurt along with the emotions and actions associated with that hurt. Then always ask God to replace what he has removed with his love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and acceptance. The one lie we believe ‘time heals all wounds’ most of the time we fester and get more and more upset OR we stuff it down and those emotions come out some place else in our lives. Each step of the way, ask God to heal and to replace what he has removed.

This week I am giving you some things to write about. This will help you with your inventory. Set aside quiet time and pray. God knows everything about you and your past, ask him to help you as you reflect on your past and for him to bring to the surface what needs to be dealt with. Remember, being honest is crucial. Facing the truth, no matter how ugly it is, because it’s the truth about you (not someone else) that is going to set you free. This is YOUR recovery.

1. Who has hurt you? How did they specifically hurt you? Go back as far as you can.

2. Who are you holding a grudge against?

3. Who are you jealous of? why?

4. Who have you hurt? How did you hurt them?

5. Who have you been critical of or gossiped about? Why?

6. How have you attempted to place the blame on someone else? Be specific?

7. What areas of your life have you been able to turn over to your Higher Power, Jesus?

8. What areas of your life are you still not putting God first?

9. What in your past is keeping you from seeking God’s will for your life?

10. What are your personal goals for the next 90 days?

11. What areas in your life are you thankful for?

12. In your past, what things have you been ungrateful for?

13. What causes you to lose your temper?

14. What in your past are you still worried about?

15. How have you exaggerated to make yourself look good?

16. Does your walk as a Christian match your talk? Are your actions the same at church vs. home vs. work?

17. In what areas of your life have you used false humility to impress someone?

18. What areas have you been dishonest?

Don’t quit and give up, push through the pain. Just like working out, you cannot grow without resistance and pain. I know several people who compete in Iron Man competitions — talk about pain!! After an event the euphoria so great and you gain this confidence that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Think of your recovery like that — and once you begin to see a progression of change you get encouraged to keep going, just like someone who is trying to lose weight, they lose a couple of pounds and they are excited and it gives them the motivation to push towards their goal — why because they see results, their hard work is paying off!!!

I am praying and believing the best years of your life are yet to come !!!

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Inventory

Principle 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

This is a crucial piece to your recovery. I cannot stress to you that this needs to be a place of complete honesty with yourself. I understand that its difficult facing our past. Remember, you can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there, whether harm has been done to you or you have harmed others. Your recovery depends on this and you are the determining factor how much healing you receive based on the level of honesty your are willing to have. How do I start? It is broken up into five sections and I will share with you a portion of my inventory to help you.

First and most important: God is the driver of your inventory and you are the passenger. Before beginning your inventory, have quiet time and pray that he reveal ALL wounds of your past. He will reveal people, situations and circumstances. You just get ready to receive and write. I have to say that during this portion you can absolutely EXPECT emotions to begin to rise to the surface. You may experience anger, you may cry, just don’t be caught off guard and don’t run from the emotions, feel them and let them pass. This is tough, there are a lot of layers of hurt and anger and sadness and it has taken a lifetime for them to build up AND you have spent a lifetime running from them. You have probably coped by being controlling, co-dependent, abused alcohol or drugs, developed an eating disorder, self mutilated, have issues with over spending, pretend to be someone you are not, indulge in pornography, become a sex addict, to name a few. It’s time for the SYMPTOMS to stop by dealing with the root cause. Stop focusing on your outward behavior because that is NOT who you are, but trust God for your healing.

My grandfather (dad’s father) was not on my inventory. In fact, I did not realize that I had an issue with him. I can recall experiencing anger for about 2 months. No one had really prepared me for the intense emotions that I had experienced. The anger went on for so long that it began to frighten me. I felt that I would end up in the hospital because of it. I was afraid that it was causing serious harm to my body. One night I had been given a vision of my grandfather. I loved him so much!!! I think I loved him more than my parents. I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. And one day he left our family. You see my grandmother had died when I was 2. He met someone when I was around 13 and he married her and adopted her whole family. He left us. We did not see much of him unless it was a holiday. My world shattered. I lost the person I loved the most. Over time, I just began to protect my heart and it became hardened to him. I was not mad or upset so I thought, I was just ok with never seeing him again. When he was on his death bed I did not go see him because my heart was still protected. When he died I was very upset. That was the vision that God took me to and he showed me that I was so hurt and that I just stuffed it down and pretended that it was not there, metaphorically saying that he could no longer hurt me. That was where all the anger was coming from, for two months it bubbled to the surface. I was shocked at the impact that had on me. If you were to ask me if I was mad at him, I would answer with no, because I did not feel anger towards him. I had to inventory the loss of my grandfather. He left us and I had not grieved that loss because I did not know how to acknowledge my feelings and also, we think that we just forget about it and it will go away and we are deceived at how great the impact the abandonment was. When God revealed that wound, it softened my heart. When I went through inventory he had already passed. I had so much guilt because I wondered if he knew how much I loved him? I regret not being there when he was dying. I miss him so much! I cry always when I think about him and cry out to God to forgive me for not being there and that I hope he knows I love him.

What effects did this have on me? Remember I acknowledge that I most likely loved him more than my parents, I mean I loved him with the greatest love I have ever experienced. Invisible walls went up and I walled people out to a certain degree. I have been told by many people that I have walls up. I never let anyone too close to me because of my fear of you hurting me. It has robbed me of relationships because I have a hard time becoming intimate with anyone, I keep them at a distance. It might even be fair to say that it has caused me to have commitment issues. The past couple of relationships I have had, I remember fear coming up very early and me saying to myself that I have the potential to get hurt and I became afraid. The fear is the wall and its purpose is to protect me. That is a lie that I have believed and the truth is, I am called to Love. In relationships I could never take the high road or love no matter how I was being treated because I did not like the risk of being vulnerable. Now that God has revealed this wound and I have asked him to tear down the walls that I have built up, I am now ready to love and allow someone to get close to me. Love is like entrepreneurial —- that type of person takes great risk because he knows the great reward…..so is love, you have to risk because the reward is great!

Here are the 5 sections to help you begin to inventory your past.

1. The person — begin to list those you believe you need to inventory — I did the same, but God added people because I was unaware of all my wounding.

2. The cause — it is said that hurting people hurt people – what did they do to cause your resentment?

3. The effect — how has this hurtful action affected your life?

4. The damage — which of your basic instincts were injured? social (broken relationships), security (physical safety, financial loss), sexual (abusive relationships, damaged intimacy).

5. My part — What part of my resentment against another person is my responsibility? Ask God to show you your part in a broken or damaged relationship, marriage, distant child or parent. In addition, list all the people whom you have hurt and how you hurt them. Examine me, O God, and know my mind, test me, and discover if there is any evil in me and guide me to the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24.

I am so excited that you are here because I have experienced the other side of inventory, I faced the pain and I am different today, your victory is close and that is what I am celebrating! I pray for strength and courage and that you will be steadfast during your inventory. Running has got you where you are today and I have to ask, how has that worked for you so far?

Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Accountability

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.

As we are on this journey we are to establish accountable people in our lives, such as an accountability partner and a sponsor. Most people have issues with this because it’s hard to trust people plus we are uncomfortable with others knowing the worst about us. While it is uncomfortable, however, its biblical. There are scriptures all throughout God’s word that speaks about two or more individuals being together and the power that is available. In Genesis 2, God established the first relationship by saying that it is not good for man to be alone, I will make a suitable helper for him. Notice what God did not say: woman, person, wife, spouse. No he actually referred to her as a ‘helper’ We were not created to be alone. God created covenant between man and woman and it is never to be broken until death. We see a picture of covenant between David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of Saul, who was an enemy of David. Amazingly, Jonathan initiated a covenant between him and David, Jonathan understood covenant was until death and the bonds of that were so strong that he would betray his father by protecting David! David’s son, the wisest man in history (Solomon) wrote ‘Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another’. He also wrote that ‘two are better than one because they will have a good return on their labor’.

My accountable partners bring such value to me. They help me to see something where I have a blind spot. They also bring a great deal of wisdom to me and they also do not allow me to stay in areas where I am believing a lie from the enemy. They are walking beside me, they have my best interest at hand. I received a daily devotional once that was about battle lines. When troops are at the enemy lines, they are together with other soldiers, if one man were at the battle lines it would be a suicide mission. We are also in a battle and we need to wage war with others, not try to solo it on a suicide mission. As an isolator, I get it when others isolate. It is a part of my hard wiring as a contemplator. Contemplators are natural born isolators and we tend to fill up when alone where extraverts fill up around people. Too much stimulation drains me. What happened to me as a young child when I was abused and my feelings were dismissed as important to my parent, I began to cope by hiding by my bed in silence, just trying to stay under the radar so to speak. As I got older I just became more and more out of balance with my coping method and when I was facing something difficult I would just run and hide metaphorically. Now being in recovery, I hardly isolate. I immediately reach out to someone I trust. It helps to put my situation in perspective, wisdom reveals itself, I am prayed for and am in warfare with someone else. The enemy wants to isolate you and keep your issue in the darkness. Why? Because as we see our foundational scripture here in James, that we confess our sin (fault) to another person and we pray so that there may be healing. There is power in our confession, because if we do not confess something, we can’t possess what we want. I have shared in previous blogs that I could never really talk about my past trauma in detail because I would begin to have chest pains. The trauma that was trapped inside of me took a physical toll on my body. I believed a lie from the enemy that IF I talked about my trauma that I would die. He did a really good job of keeping me silent and avoiding any kind of help for 12 years. Finally, the pain of my body and its dysfunction became greater than my fear. I dedicated a second step study solely to my kidnapping. I went to recovery every week crying and afraid that something terrible would happen, but through my tears I would say, God, I trust you. The worst things that I feared NEVER came true. I have graduated in December and my body is recovering slowly and I am finding healing after years of dysfunction. Another thing is that I am able to talk about what happened to me and I am also re-writing my first book which is about my kidnapping. The reason I am re-writing is because I kept the content at a surface level, I could not even write about the worst things that happened to me. God is also using me to give my testimony in prison. I cannot tell you the feeling of when I share the worst things that have happened to me to hear strong men groan and cry when I tell my story, something has touched them — that is the glory of God. What lies could you be believing that keep you silent?

Something else that I have learned is that relationships are important to God because of the power of two. The enemy has come to create division knowing that if he can create division between two people that power is lost or in other words, the vision/mission that God has for those two is lost. My pastor puts it like this…. division = die vision. So with this in mind, I have learned to value relationships on a greater level and do what I can to protect the relationship. God’s word says in Psalm 133 – that there is a blessing in unity so the opposite must be true, that where there is division there is a curse. Why am I saying all of this? Because when we are in relationship, whether accountable, friendship or marriage, the enemy will seek to divide, to kill whatever vision or purpose the relationship has. Keep in mind that they enemy is after the ‘vision’, because if he can stop the vision, then God is not glorified. That is why its so important to protect the vision or purpose that God has.

Make all relationships important and put an army around you because God says that its not good that you be alone. I believe as you take this step and become accountable, ask for prayer, seek God, and that the prayers of a righteous man will accomplish much and your healing is possible and what has kept you from dreams, opportunities and visions will be restored.

God loves you so much!

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Moral

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

This is the place that the rubber really begins to meets the road. For us to recover, we must not dwell on our past, but it requires us to understand it so we can begin to allow God to make necessary changes in us. The process of inventory, where we are examining our ways, we must look at the positive and negative. Inventory is supposed to be balanced, what have others done to me and how have I caused harm to others. No one is flawless, we have all done harmful things and have missed the mark. The enemy has stolen and robbed in our lives, but Jesus came to give us life. Our life is what we are taking back as we examine our ways. We have to be honest with ourselves, in fact, that is what the word moral means. If you are not honest and face the truth, you are only hurting yourself. Jesus said, you shall know the truth and the TRUTH will set you free. I will help guide you as you walk through this process. Remember in the book of Jeremiah, You can’t be healed of a wound by saying it’s not there…..honesty. Today I want to focus on MY ways.

I have caused harm to people that I have been in relationship with. My parents have lost sleep and worried about me because I had a drug addiction. I lied to people I loved. I was selfish. I had a low self esteem which caused me to have a what about me attitude. I did not trust men and I put them under a microscope and micro managed them because I believed that all men lie and cheat because of my father’s actions, I falsely accused them, I screamed and said undermining hateful things in an attempt to hurt them. I have been jealous of anyone who has been a threat, such as children of someone that I have dated. I took my anger and hurt out on people. All of my actions were rooted in fear from deep wounds of my past. My pastor asks this question: when you are angry, ask yourself, what am I afraid of? I was always afraid that someone was deceiving me, going to leave me, that they were rejecting me and that they were trying to hurt me, that they were looking at someone else, I was afraid that I was not enough! What were some of the effects from my wounds? I was a people pleaser, I abused drugs, I was promiscuous, I found my value in men. Those are just a few causes and how they affected me. This was TRUTH for me and it was not always easy to face. Because I was determined to be different, I asked God for courage to help me face the painful truth about myself. Today I just shared MY ways, there is also another side of this inventory. What others have done to me and I will share more about that in the coming weeks. I have worked through it all, the positive and the negative, my part and their part.

What does the second part of our foundational scripture mean, ‘let us return to the Lord’? I believe that situations, circumstances, mind sets, emotions and decisions squeeze God out. I believe we stay laser focused on what has happened and our actions and they take us away from God. With everything that has happened to us, we have unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger and hurt. When we examine our ways and release situations and the emotions and actions associated with those things, we then create a greater capacity for God and the things of God such as love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Recovery is ongoing for me, because it’s ongoing for me, I am not where I want to be, but I not where I used to be. I am always keeping connected to accountable people and I am still working my program because my tools need to stay sharp. It would be easy for me to fall back into an old pattern. I will say that recovery is a tough process but staying where you are at is even tougher! Don’t quit, your best days are ahead.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized