High Heels on the Rocks

water-3125113_1280Picture yourself walking along a rocky shore wearing high heels — almost impossible right?  When someone is involved in betrayal or hidden sin of some sort, this is a good way to describe the feelings of those close to them. If you are facing the known or very real possibility that your spouse, a child, or someone else you love, is struggling in an area of habitual sin, I am writing this in order for you to recognize and take active steps that will help you find the remedy for this very difficult situation.

The following thoughts may be familiar to you if you are in a relationship with someone whose heart is bound: “Why is it so difficult to have a conversation of substance? Why does (s)he seem so evasive, unwilling to answer any questions? Why does (s)he twist things and blame me? Why is (s)he so impatient and angry? What’s wrong with me, why am I feeling so frustrated and angry? Why won’t (s)he tell me where (s)he’s been? I feel like I’m going crazy! All (s)he wants to do is watch TV or sit on the computer or cell phone! I feel so alone and isolated. I feel like (s)he is overly controlling of me. I don’t know who I am anymore. What’s happened to us? I’m afraid, why do I feel this constant dread, “ and the list goes on.  If you have experienced similar thoughts, and even think you might be going crazy, take heart you are not alone.  There may be a good reason for your uncertainty, hyper self-examination, and confusion.

What I am writing about is common enough in the world around us; where addictive behavior has become normalized. But for those who profess a relationship with Jesus Christ, living this way is simply wrong. If you are attending church and experiencing this dynamic, intervention is needed. God’s purpose in saving us is for us to glorify Him and this will not happen in this environment. You will simply be going through the motions; showing up at church with your mask, yet dying inside — not to mention the effects this hypocrisy has upon your children.

high-heels-463770__480Let’s go back to the high heels. When someone checks out of life and into their secret fantasy world it creates a rocky road for those around them. Let me give you a few common markers that should help you discern if someone you care for is involved in habitual sin. Please remember, there’s no need to panic; this situation did not happen overnight. God has a redemptive plan in mind for you and your family, but you must act wisely if you wish to see good come out of destruction.

Here are three markers that indicate a major problem:

1)  Vagueness and ambiguity.  When you ask “normal” questions and are met with answers that really don’t answer, but deflect, turn it around on you, or skirt the question — beware.  Someone living with a secret has to cover and protect and this takes effort. The easiest way to cover one’s tracks and to keep ahead of those close by is to keep things vague or ambiguous. Antonyms for ambiguity are certainty, clarity, clearness. When these are lacking in conversation, and you have to pull teeth to get clear and concise answers to your questions, there is a problem.

2)  Blame Shifting.   Someone who lives with guilt and shame will, out of necessity, shift the blame somewhere else. This throws the inquiring person into a defensive position — and as in football, you can only advance toward your goal when you have the ball. When someone has a habit of shifting blame to you when asked a legitimate question, you have a power-play going on. The use of diversion is to remove the question from them and shift it toward you. To combat that, stay focused, and speak clearly, directly, and honestly to them about what you are feeling. Also, take a break for the moment so you can regroup. These are skillful patterns and you’ve likely learned to dance in submission to it. Sin and deception, by nature, work together to create an atmosphere of blaming (Gen. 3:12-13).  Manipulation and control accompany the blame in order to keep those involved off-balance.

3)  Impatience and Anger.  This response reveals internal conflict. When someone is living with hidden sin they feel frustrated with themselves, and very much like a failure.  When a soul is dealing with shame and guilt, the conflict will be pair-707505__480demonstrated. A knee-jerk reaction often occurs when someone gets close to the issue and impatience or ridicule is often used by the offender to control those around them.  If the invader’s threat continues, the reaction progresses to anger; then possibly rage and hatred because as sin progresses the bondage grows.

A few practical examples: “Honey, would you like me to pack a lunch for you?” or “Can I make you some breakfast before you head off to work?” Those are simple, kind, questions, right?  Well, if one day the answer is appropriate like, “Sure, thank you.”  — and another day it’s met with, “Why do you always have to bug me?” or “Why are you so controlling?” or “Can’t you leave me alone!” You have a problem. Depending on the dynamics of the situation and how long this has been going on, you will find yourself wondering, “Why this rotten behavior? What has happened to cause such disdain and this adversarial spirit?“ One day you get a normal response to a routine question, the next day its impatience, anger, and blame. Why? The change from one day to the next can be frightening and confusing.  Without understanding the sin, the cycle, the acting out, you may wonder, what’s wrong with me?  What did I do? You may become convinced that YOU are the problem — when in reality they are dealing with guilt and you become the scapegoat.

These patterns of unpredictability, vagueness, impatience, and anger, have their root. Use whatever scenario you will, and look for the pattern. While you may be repeatedly blamed for the response you receive, begin to recognize what you are dealing with.

Do not take a victim mentality and give up.  You may feel like you are fighting a phantom! It really can be that confusing at times. While this is primarily a “spiritual” battle, it also has physical consequences. Habitual behavior is aided by hormones that rivet the pleasure sensors in the brain; that’s why people have difficulty letting go of their sin. Defense mechanisms are habitual too; they are a part of someone’s life when they live with guilt and shame from their actions.

Note: some habitual sins (addictions) are easier to spot, and can be dealt with before they become deeply embedded in the soul and brain function of the individual. Because lying and manipulation are central to keeping sin hidden, these patterns accompany habituation making it more difficult to detect. While the “user” is deceived, those around them often fall for these manipulative tactics and end up going deeper into the pit of confusion and despair themselves. Sexual sin[1] in particular is most destructive and is growing within churches. Yet, few pastors will speak openly about this particular sin with their congregations, paving the way for help. While there are men’s groups formed to help, often the wives are left ignorant or confused. This failure tends to keep spouses feeling uncomfortable in attempting to get help.

What Can I do?

Climbing that rocky slope in high heels is not easy. I believe a primary reason some never reach out for help is because of the recurring confusion this scenario brings. Because you are already experiencing disrespect, betrayal, and guilt you lack the confidence it takes to move forward.

Many spouses or family members of addicts have experienced the pain of attempting to get help only to regret it. The resulting pent up anger and frustration someone in this situation experiences can make it appear initially (to an inexperienced helper) that you are the source of the problem. While we all have sin issues to deal with, the dynamics of betrayal and abuse feed our frustration. Get help anyway, prolonged abuse causes some to go inward, silent, and recluse. For others, the pressure cooker lid blows and it all comes spewing out. Either response is a common reaction to the inability to be allowed to express your feelings and to be respected as an individual.

girl-1245678__480Gaining clarity and trying to express yourself takes effort and seems overwhelming because you’ve lived in such a confusing world of turmoil. You’ve changed, you don’t like who you are, your sense of normal is gone and it becomes difficult to express yourself. To be sure, Satan is delighting in all of this confusion. The hidden sin not only affects the one choosing to sin but everyone around them. This is why it is so important to get help. Also, even though the initial sin may have ceased, the behavior associated with protecting that secret is now a deep issue in the heart.

The constant emotional instability eventually breaks down our identity in Christ.  Our mind can become clouded and it seems an overwhelming task to confront the real issue. Along with the biblical mandate of submission and respect for authority, there’s enough confusion to keep many quiet. You may even wonder if you have lost out with God and are abandoned. You’re not. You just need a life-saver tossed to you. You will make it if you hold on to the Life-Giver, Jesus, and make the changes needed.

Bringing sin into the light (I John 1:7) is vital. This offers the opportunity for repentance and confession (I John 1:9).  Perhaps this hasbridge-19513__480 already happened on occasion with this person; you must realize that there is a deep, deep stronghold that comes with habitual sin — especially sexual idolatry. Coming out requires much more than confession and repentance. Intensive restructuring with God’s Word and accountability is mandatory. Don’t agree to just let it ride and become the accountability partner; that will not work.

Freedom, found in Christ, comes from walking in the light and hating sin; we must hate sin as God does. Consistent, honest openness and accountability is required. It takes work. Changing the mind and its patterns concerning what is pleasing to God is vital.  Humility is a major factor in overcoming the past, and pride will fight against this all along the way.

boy-1916204__480Action Steps: If you feel sin is present, don’t allow fear and suspicion to rule your heart.  Instead, take steps toward having a conversation about what you are feeling with the one involved (Mt. 18:15-17). If this fails, find one or two to come along and assist you.

In order to prepare yourself:

1) Think biblically: get biblical counsel if you are unable to think this through yourself. Living in High Heels on the Rocks for years will have its effects. The truth presented in love (Eph. 4:15) will be needed to set everyone free, including you.

 2) Act, instead of reacting: God’s Word gives action steps that bring hope. Write out what scripture says about your situation. Differentiate truth from thoughts based on the pain you feel.

3) Pray, instead of panicking: In order to trust God through this process you need to pray and gain power over the enemy, who uses fear to derail us. Reacting will not produce righteous fruit.

4) Exercise faith in God: Trust involves believing God. Responding out of your flesh will increase the confusion, which Satan loves to operate in.  God offers clarity to those who will trust Him.

5) Ask for help — this is so important! Do not try to handle the situation alone. There are plenty of resources available to you; there are caring people who can help. Start with your pastor, church leadership may need to become involved to enact biblical discipline. Glorifying God, and freeing yourself and those you love are worth it.

Remember, Satan wants to destroy you, your spouse, and your children, but God wants to give you abundant life (John 10:10).  Bringing sin into the light is the first step to freedom.

[1] 1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

For further help, please go to the Resources Tab.

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Painful Pasts

autumn-2857032__480If you have lived through a very painful past then you are able to understand how exhausting and emotionally dark it can be to recount these experiences… you feel the pain and turmoil all over again — as though you have purposely gone back for more. Who would want to do that to themselves? That is why many never come to healing because they fear the process – but you do not have to.

I recently had a taste of this experience upon my visit home to Wisconsin. After several days into my visit, I scheduled a day to go and visit several friends from the past. I had not previously taken the opportunity to tell some of the details of my recent journey and felt free to share more of my story during this visit. All went well with these friends and I enjoyed my time, but that night in my sleep a floodgate of pain poured into my soul. Upon waking, I felt like I had lost the victorious ground I’d gained – like I had traveled back to a very broken place in my climb; what happened? This experience caused me to think about why this occurred.

When we re-enter the large room of our painful past and relive it, that doesn’t mean wewoman-837156__340[1] are still there. It may feel that way momentarily, but what we do with these feelings will determine how we think. We can choose to restructure our minds and return to the place of peace God has given or continue ruminating upon the feelings that have resurfaced.

Many face fear when thinking of their past, and so leaving it alone is the solution they choose; yet God has a better way. In my view, if you are not holding tightly to God’s healing hand and being guided by the power His Word offers, it is a fearful and dangerous proposition to regurgitate the past. Hope and healing that proceed from your Creator’s heart is the safest arena from which to process the painful experiences you’ve lived through.

Truthfully acknowledging that we have suffered is honest and right to do. Bringing into the light all that is darkness (or sin) is needful (I John 1:7). Forgiving our offender is necessary (Matt 6:14-15) and is a process that we want to pursue; a good counselor/mentor can help with that. Allow God to set things straight (Romans 12:19). Healing from the wounds is God’s will and if you desire that, it can happen — that’s is God’s specialty.

I’m thankful our hearts and minds can be powerfully renewed and rebuilt through the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Sharing our testimony about what God has done for us is good. When Jesus Christ suffered and died for sin, He offered the possibility for us to gain freedom from our past. This includes sin we have committed as well as those committed against us. Jesus suffered the awful price and penalty for our sin on the cross 2000+ years ago, we are now left to respond to this great gift He offers. How we appropriate His sacrifice for sin will determine our freedom and healing, or not.

If you are struggling concerning the pain of your past, through poor decisions made and/or violations committed against you, I hope this helps you in your climb to freedom. God’s plan is to recover and deliver you from destruction. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy us, but Jesus said He came to give us abundant life! (John 10:10).

There is hope for you! No matter what your journey has been, remember God can redeem it and give you great purpose in your future because of it.

This is part 1 of a 2 part message. We will look at the steps to recovery and deliverance from the pain in the next message.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

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Continue to Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fields of the Fatherless

Today is Father’s Day. A time to celebrate and think of the many blessings a father provides to his family, especially his children. But it is often a difficult day for those whose fathers have failed them.

BOUNDARIES

Remove not the boundary (landmark); and do not enter into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee. (Prov. 23:10-11)

God has placed boundaries everywhere for our peace and safety. He provides guidance so that we may choose to live fruitful and joyful lives. Harmony in relationship with Him as our Father and one another is His plan. Family is His design, and it’s beautiful.

TOUCH

I couldn’t help but think about those who are having a hard time “celebrating” their father today.  As my pastor was speaking about the value of people, he listed the ways we can value people, sharing a point about how important touch is. He illustrated the importance of babies receiving touch and how they thrive. He very specifically emphasized appropriate compared to inappropriate touch. The message was from Luke 13:10-17 how Jesus touched a woman with a spirit of infirmity and healed her. Jesus touched many women appropriately. Think about Mary washing his feet with her hair and the precious ointment she rubbed on his feet; he was receiving her genuine love and appreciation for Him; at a Pharisee’s house no less. Instead of pushing her away to save his reputation, He allowed her to touch him, appropriately, and He healed her soul. You can always reach out to Him!

Fathers who have physically abused, and/or touched their childrenperson-409127_1280 inappropriately, have placed a stumbling block in their way. Jesus talks about offenses in Luke chapter 17. He said they will come. But then in verse 2 He goes on to say that if someone offends (violates) a child, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea, rather than causing a child to stumble. Wow, that is severe! The violation of a child through sexual molestation is severe. It does not slide into the category of forgive and forget. It requires diligent effort on the part of the perpetrator to work toward godly sorrow that brings repentance.

FLEE!

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” He is warning us about something significant here. Additionally, we are warned that fornicators (sexual activity outside of marriage) shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Anyone engaging in sexual behavior beyond God’s permitted boundaries is playing with fire, in more ways than one. The sins we commit against ourselves through sexual immorality are devastating. We may not see it immediately, but the fallout will eventually come. We are warned numerous times to flee; get away from it. And incestuous sin often carries from one generation to the next [1], UNTIL someone decides to break the chain.

Sexual sin is the most devastating sin a family can suffer. It is manifest in many ways; and so many are suffering in our day. We are truly reaping the consequences of sexual freedom in our culture where little seems wrong anymore. I can remember back in the 80’s when a Christian radio commentator spoke about NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association), we were appalled and could hardly believe it. Today there is still some semblance of community standards concerning this, but sexual sin has so overtaken the idolatrous hearts of men and women that we find many within the church struggling to understand the confusion and overcome sexual immorality. Remember, Satan is set against mankind to do one thing, to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus told us this in John 10:10 and that is why He offers us abundant overcoming life. It’s this Zoë life that empowers us to walk victoriously; Holy Spirit empowered life! So we are left to choose.

CHANGE

Wherever you may find yourself today, choose His life! Whether you are living in eyes-730750__480guilt because you have been violated as a “little one” and that sent you down a dark road of sexual temptation, know that you can recover. The bad dreams can end. The proclivity toward sexual fulfillment, outside of God’s boundaries, can be turned around. Recognize that the patterns you are shamefully finding yourself in can change. There is always hope in Christ, the divine Savior! The all-powerful God of heaven and earth offers you the power to overcome anything by the indwelling divine Holy Spirit! God’s Word is sharp and powerful and able to discern the thoughts and intents of your heart. And He offers you His Word as a solution to your heart problems. If you will dwell there, think upon Truth and believe it, you can change the way you think, act and feel. It’s His remedy. Seek out biblical counsel so you can be made new and become the victor that God designed you to be.

woman-164547__480Remember, you may have been a victim, but you can choose today to walk toward a victorious life.  God will take all of your dark places and bring light. He will give you the ability to walk in the light (I John 1:7). There is no better place to be.

YOU HAVE A GOOD FATHER

I pray that you will recognize that you do have a Heavenly Father who is faithful and does not desire you harm in anyway. He is the One who takes ALL things and can turn them around for His purposes (Romans 8:28). God wants to be glorified in your life. There is no greater joy than to walk in a way that brings glory to Him. Will you take the steps to begin walking in this way? Focus on thanking Him for what you can now, it will grow and you will become a rejoicing Christian, glorifying God and turning what Satan meant to destroy you with into a weapon formed against Him instead.[2]

Sins against you may have propelled you into the fatherless fields, along with countless others. But remember, you have a home and you have a Good, Good Father, never forget that.

[1] The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.  Numbers 14:18 (ESV)

[2] Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.  15 If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

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Now what? When loving care is exhausted…

What do you do when you see someone you love and care about heading down the wrong road?

checkmated-2147538__480.jpg

1) ASK for guidance from the Lord. Hold on to what the Holy Spirit shows you in the midst of prayer and His Word. Psalm 63:1-3 (KJV).

2) DISCERN if you should speak or hold your peace.  Discerning when and what to say is important. Prov. 9:9 (KJV).

3) PRAY always and sometimes with fasting. Mark 9:29 (KJV): 2So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Prayer prepares our hearts with the heart of God toward grace and mercy for all. Through fasting we overcome our flesh and rise to a place of power with God to overcome self and the works of the Devil. Deliverance comes in the spiritual realm. We are dealing with demonic workers of iniquity. Christ knew their power and our weakness in the flesh.

Keeping ourselves daily in God’s Word and prayer will give us guidance in these matters. We should also rely upon the authorities God has provided both in our church and/or civil government.

Note: This was primarily written for those situations that do not require the involvement of civil authority as proscribed in Rom. 13:3-6.  If this is warranted, then as a Christian the situation should be brought into the light (I John 1:7) for necessary correction and consequences.  Consult with your pastor if you are uncertain about matters that are questionable. There are many more verses to be considered when it comes to knowing how to respond, such as Hebrews 12:12-14 (KJV) and your pastor should be able to guide you. A Biblical Counselor can be an additional resource.

Continue to read full article under tab: HOW TO WALK IT OUT

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