Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yielding Rights #2

This posting may not be appropriate for minors or for those who get easily offended.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my daughter and the lesson of yielding rights. I thought that it was finally time to tell my story about a part of my life that I don't often share. It is how I learned to not only yield my rights, but also how to forgive.
When I was 30 years old, I was so full of anger and bitterness that you could not get within three feet of me. I did not like for anyone to hug me or touch me, except for my daughter and husband. I trusted no one, not even God. Life was dark and miserable all the time. I had no joy nor any peace. My mind was tormented by constant thoughts of suicide and hatred. It was hell on earth. As a christian, I had a head knowledge about most of the Bible, but almost no spiritual knowledge. My brain was a sponge and a rock at the same time. I could take in the information, but could not and would not apply it to my life.
In January of that year, our pastor told us that we would be having a revival the end of April. He wanted us to start having prayer meetings in folks' home every week. Since my husband was (and still is) a deacon in the church and we were very involved in many ministries in the church, we felt that we needed to open our home to the prayer meetings and go to some as well. During those weekly prayer meetings, God began to move in my heart and mind. I wanted Him to show me the sin in my life, but when He did, I kept repeating that I had a right to those sins because of what had occured in my life. I didn't want to confess that they were sins, because I believed that I had a right to think the way that I wanted.
When, I was a child, I was sexually abused for years. I was also verbally abused for even more years. I grew up not having any idea of what was real love. So, I became sexually promiscuous at a young age because that's what I thought love was. I was then raped as a young adult. I hated my relatives for not protecting me. I was so angry with them that I sometimes wished that I could hurt them as much as I was hurting. Those who were closest to me, my own family, had failed. Not only had they failed, some of them were to blame. I couldn't wait to get away from my parents and yet, I was too scared to be alone.
I went to live with my oldest brother and his wife for a few months and felt some love and peace. They took me to a good church where I began to hear about salvation. I thought that I already was saved because I had walked down the church aisle when I was eight years old. (You can read about that in one of my earlier postings.) However, a couple months later, my brother's job got transferred and I would have to go back home. I went, but within a month, I was back in Colorado living with some family friends. Life was horrible, but it was better than being at home. The best thing to come from living away from my family was that I got saved and began to change. I still hated my family, but would at least say I was sorry when I got in an arguement with my mom.
Fast forward several years. I got married to a wonderful man and we had several miscarries, then I wound up needed a total hysterectomy at the age of 27, and our only child was diagnosed with developmental disabilities. I was MAD! Mad at God, mad at my family, mad at myself, mad at mankind. And I thought I has every right to be that way.
And then God began to show me the truth. I was not prepared. It was a sunny April day and I was out on our front porch when the Holy Spirit spoke to. No, not some audible voice and revelation, but that still, small voice within my soul. He told me that He had already forgiven those who had hurt me. I was shocked and couldn't believe it. I replied that He couldn't. And this is how the conversation continued.
HS: I forgave them when Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood to pay for the sins of all mankind.
Me: Noooo!!! They hurt me too much for you to forgive them.
HS: Not only did I forgive them, but I also love them.
Me: WHAT??? You can't love them. They are wicked and they sinned against me. How could you love them?
HS: I love them because I am love. And I love them as much as I love you.
Me: You love them as much as you love me? They have no right. They sinned.
HS: Yes, they have sinned, but so have you.
Me: But I have a right to my feelings. My sins aren't as bad as their sins.
HS: You have no rights. Your sin is just as bad as their sin. It is sin that sent Jesus to the cross. Your sin and their sin. I love them and I love you. I forgive them and I forgive you. Will you obey me and yield your rights?
Me: Yes, Lord.
It was later that evening, in our church, where we were having a God sent revival, that the Holy Spirit was finally able to fully break me and begin to heal me. With tears pouring down my face, I confessed my sins...and there were so many of them that needed to come out. I thanked God for His forgiveness and cleansing according to I John 1:9, "If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sin, and to cleanse from all unrighteousness." I was able to yield my rights and die to myself (see Rom.6, 12, and Gal.2:20). Then Jesus could begin to fill me with His truth and with the Holy Spirit.
So, was it a one time for all situation? Nope! I must "die daily" and constantly yield my rights and myself to the Lord. And He is faithful to fill me with Himself and with His truth. Yielding rights isn't something that we are taught to do here in America. Instead we are often encouraged to demand our rights. That is the way of the world. But as a Christian, this world is not my home, worldly doctrines aren't my truth; I claim the truth form the only source of truth and that is the Word of God and I yield my rights to the Lord. If you want to be blessed, then you would be wise to do the same thing.

Just Praising God

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18. "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20
As I prepare to do some counseling, I have been looking back over the last twenty years. (Ack, How in the world can that be? 20 years already? I can't be that old.) It is just so awesome and amazing to me the mighty work that God has done in my life and I cannot begin to give Him the praise which He deserves. The Lord has healed me of tremendous pain. He has changed the very thoughts of my mind into those which are true. God has given to me His peace and joy. He has taken away the aweful and replaced it with the awesome. The Lord has freed me from the bondage and delivered me into His glorious freedom.
Twenty years ago, I was a woman who was full of hate and anger and bitterness and lies. I was so wrapped up in my self that I couldn't see anyone else. Darkness clouded all of my thoughts and depression was my familiar friend. Many a time I considered suicide as the only way to be set free from the torment I endured. And then, God began to show me the truth from His Holy Word and the Holy Spirit began to convict me of my sins and the Lord Jesus Christ cleansed me from every sin and unrighteousness.
Over the years, God has continued to work in my heart and mind to help me speak the truth in love to myself. I remember the day, just about six years ago, that I could finally look myself in the eye (using a mirror, of course. Would have been kind of impossible otherwise.), and say to myself, "You are forgiven and I love you." Up until that day, I had so much hate towards the person that lived inside this body. I felt like I was just a piece of smelly poop that wasn't worth anything. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of God's truth: that I God loves me with an overwhelming love and that nothing I do or don't do can ever change that fact. And now, I look forward to the Lord using me to help someone else who is in pain.
As I looked back in my photo albums and realized the amazing and wondrous work that God has done in my life, I can't help but praise Him and thank Him and exalt Him and praise Him.