Tag Archives: help

The Silver Lining is Always There!  Hope for Depression…

This week is a time of great trial, stress, and sadness for a precious family and their friends, who almost lost their lives in a horrific home explosion. They lost everything; their entire home and everything in it. They are faced with critical, life-changing injuries, which will change the course of the rest of their lives. Though a Go Fund Me campaign is in place for them, they need Jesus more than ever, to help get them through this trial. 

At times like these; when hopelessness and despair run rampant, it can be difficult to find the silver lining behind the dark, thick clouds looming in the storm. Of course life itself is a gift from God, and it is a reason to praise Him and give thanks. But sometimes it is difficult to live life; especially when we are suffering, in pain, depressed, and afraid about the future. Still, God promises to take care of us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 New International Version).

I’ve thought about how I would encourage my readers to “look on the bright side,” “think positive,” or “remember the light at the end of the tunnel;” when they are utterly drowning in deep sorrow, pain, and suffering. I know that words don’t help people who feel lost and utterly hopeless, because words didn’t help me either. 

Words don’t help hurting people, when they are too busy focusing on how to navigate their way through the darkness. I know, because I’ve been in that deep, dark, depressed place where I could not see the silver lining, either. The clouds were too thick and dense and dark. I needed to be rescued.  “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Ps. 69:1-2 English Standard Version).  Read: DEEP…A PSALM OF RESCUE…HOPE FOR DEPRESSION.

Words did not help; but truth, prayer and promises did. Truth provides hope. Prayer provides answers. Promises provide relief. They all work together, giving us God’s protection, and helping us to trust God, and grow in our faith. We begin to understand that our Almighty, Holy God loves us unconditionally; and this helps us to feel secure in believing His divine promises, which can never be broken.

We can pray for ourselves, and we can prayerfully intervene for others. Others can pray for us too!  The Bible promises us that God will never reject or abandon us in our time of need. Even if He’s silent, God is always there. Jesus promises hope which leads to healing, joy, and freedom. God promises to be our Rock; our Shelter from the storm, and a source of NEVER-ending protection. 

God’s Son, Jesus, is always lighting the way for us, even when we can’t see him. This is why searching for the silver lining gives us hope… because the sun never stops shining down upon us. The sun is still nourishing us; helping plants to grow, giving us daylight, warming our bodies, and providing energy to us here on earth… even when we don’t see it! The truth is still true, even if we don’t believe it! “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Heb. 11:1-2 New International Version).


God tells us to pray constantly, without ceasing. He promises to provide courage and strength. He promises to give us wisdom if we ask for it! God promises that when we pray together, He is in the middle of us! “‘For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst'” (Matt. 18:20 New American Standard Bible). God promises there will be no more tears or sorrow in Heaven. He promises us so many wonderful things! 

God is a promise maker, He is not a promise breaker! This is why we can put our entire trust in Him, even during our most difficult trials. Because God only tells the truth, we can look forward to the silver lining which awaits us in the next life. Our salvation is an absolute miracle, the greatest gift we could ever hope for, and that in itself… is enough. It’s FREE! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

But… God is also human; He is Jesus… so God understands that Heaven seems very far away from us. He understands that Heaven is simply incomprehensible for our feeble minds to grasp. So… God also has a plan laid out for us while we are still here, waiting to get to Heaven. It’s all meant to save more people, so they can come live in His Kingdom too! In His perfect timing; God transforms, heals, restores, calls, and blesses us… right here on Earth! How incredible is that? 

God takes our tears of sadness, and turns them into springs of gladness. Our depression is transformed to joy. Our hopelessness disappears, and is replaced by faith!  “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” (Isa. 61:3 New Living Translation).

You who are tired and weary of living; God understands! It is not His will for you to be depressed!  Pursue Him, and He will teach you how to grab hold of the lies which hold you down; and renounce them in the name of Jesus! Pray, ask for prayer, and seek out brothers and sisters in Christ who will pray for you. Cry out to God for HELP, in the name of Jesus! He will send you wise counsel, comforting scriptures, and truthful teachings to lead you out of the desert, and into the Promised Land! 

Dear God, please be with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering today. Remove from us our strongholds, and the lies which persist and plague us. Lord, heal our physical ailments that cause us pain and frustration. Heal our emotional hurts, which cause us depression; due to a build up of guilt, anger, and fear. Heal our mental challenges, which stem from disabilities and hardship. Heal spiritual injuries brought on by abuse and false prophets and false teachings. In Jesus’ name we pray, and we ask for Your will to be done; not ours. We know Your plan is perfect and Holy, and so is Your timing. Thank you that the silver lining is always there! Please bless us, in Jesus’ name!

Be encouraged! God promises to provide light and love for His children; both here on Earth, and in Heaven!

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’m now three weeks into my recovery from back surgery, and more appreciative than ever, of what God is doing in my life! Because of the many prayers, great care, support and encouragement I’ve received; I’m healing really well for someone who went home from the hospital after a lumbar fusion just three weeks ago.

Does love heal? You bet it does! Love was in the delicious foods brought to my front door, over the last two weeks! With cheerful smiles, my sweet friends greeted me, afraid to hug me; because they didn’t want to hurt my back. But I grabbed them into a bear hug and said, “Yes! Hug me! Your hugs are my favorite part!” And we laughed like children, as I told them the hugs have been helping me to heal! 

When you’re healing, every little thing seems like a big thing: every hug warms you deeper inside, every tasty morsel tastes extra delicious, and every visit makes you appreciate the fact that your friends have chosen to give you some precious moments of their time. The travel was for you, the meal was cooked and baked in love for you, and the laughter and kind concern was for you

When you’re healing, it’s a struggle when you can’t get in the car and drive yourself to your appointment and grab some groceries on the way home, and sneak in a quick stop at your favorite thrift store, Hope’s Treasures. But wait! God has already planned out everything, and His plan is even better!  One of my teenagers volunteered to drive me to my appointment. We enjoyed lunch nearby, at TooSso a kitchen-style restaurant, which quickly serves up delicious Pakistani favorites. TooSso means “stuff yourself!” I asked for its meaning the first time I visited. There is an entire cool wall covered in bottle caps…  I love interesting, artsy things!

Then leaning on my cane, for my daily walk, we went into… YES! Hope’s Treasures! There were records and books which kept him interested, even though he’s always patient with me, so I can look around! The money spent there goes to help the homeless community of Loudoun. I like the spirit of compassion at the center of this place. There’s always something fun and inexpensive to take back home, like this funky collection of beads, which my daughter used to create into party hats for her Oobies! 

Meanwhile, my other son, was at home, caring for my daughter. She is very social and constantly  needs to be learning and engaged. She’s like a beautiful flower that needs to be sung to, along with being watered and set in sunlight. If you didn’t sing to her, she’d still be beautiful, but it’s always a shame to miss out on the extra blooming of beautiful flowers, just because you didn’t stop and take the time to give them that little something extra that they need. My son did that for my daughter. They did one of her favorite things; which was to create a movie together using her stuffed animals, their voices, and his editing software on his computer. It was my favorite movie yet! 

Our family came home at different intervals, to a delicious home-cooked meal, made by my precious friend, Sharon, who attends our church, and is famous for her delicious pies! We enjoyed slow-baked chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fresh salad, and oh; my husband’s favorite and mine… a real old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie! The message was lovingly carved into the crust, “Happy Easter, Pellemans,” with a little heart as the finishing touch!  I could have cried when I took my first sweet and sour bite! But Instead of tears, I was laughing at the movie my kids had cleverly created while the rest of us were out. I took it all in… the joy of it! I knew it was part of the gift of the healing God has been bestowing upon me. 

After the last scheduled meal, all of which had been perfectly planned to assist during my most difficult time; my husband made a stop at Costco to get us set up for the coming week. He does this all the time, but this time it was so much sweeter. It’s like God has been showing me everything through a finer lens of appreciation. For this is something I absolutely cannot do at this time. He got all our favorites: ice cream, mango salsa, Asian salad, filet mignon, salmon, strawberries, sweet n salty popcorn and more! He topped it off by bringing us hotdogs, which we enjoyed outside that evening, picnic-style. Picnics are my favorite. They contain all things beautiful: family and friends, food, fun, and the freedom and beauty of enjoying all of it outdoors! 

Yes, healing is tough. But the silver lining is that there’s joy along the journey if we remember to praise God and thank Him for all the good things we have in our lives. I may not even have had the chance to enjoy a strawberry rhubarb pie for Easter, if I had not gone through a surgery! These sweet touches make it all worth it! “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Thanking God for the sweet things in life, is kind of like biting into a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie… perfectly delightful!


Blog posts related to this surgery:


Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials

Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…

Recovery Week 2:  The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Recovery Thoughts:  Healing is a Journey

Recovery Week 2-1/2:  It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

Narcissistic Abuse? There’s Hope!

Have you been abused by a narcissist? You’re not alone! Really! If you would like some links about narcissism, please message me, and I’ll send you some helpful information which relates to your specific situation. Narcissistic people all act the same way, and do the same things. This is because they are all pretending to be different (and false) personalities. They are also all involved in self-worship ( idolatry) when they should be bowing down before The Lord God, with humble, repentant hearts. Visit The Silver Lining blog, and learn how to do spiritual warfare against selfish, self-centered people. Find out how the battle the spirits at war against you! Learn why it’s so important to pray for your enemies! “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12 New International Versions).

If you are, or have ever been the victim of a narcissist, you already know the damage, detriment, and destroying which occurs as a result. But the silver lining is NOTHING compares to the life-changing truths, love, and protection which GOD has for you! Also, with JESUS, narcissists are powerLESS to ruin your life! Not only that, but YOU have the POWER and AUTHORITY in Christ Jesus to go forward, heal, and follow God’s amazing calling for your life! “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?

Only Jesus can heal the deep-rooted pain inflicted by a narcissist it. Only God can reveal it! Visit and subscribe to my blog, The Silver Lining, and type ‘narcissism’ in the search tab. It’s just a fancy word for the sin of extreme self-centeredness. It will give you a head start, and hope in Jesus, towards healing and turning your life around; you will finally begin gaining your freedom in Christ! Learn how God can pick up your painful broken bits and pieces, and put you wholly (and holy!) back together again, by giving you the joyful life He meant for you to have in the first place! Why? Because God Loves YOU! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).

I invite you to ‘like’ The Silver Lining Facebook page, so you won’t miss a single post. From there, you can easily invite your friends to join.In addition to my blog posts, my Facebook page contains crucial content by other Christian authors on the topic of narcissism. There are also more encouraging uplifting posts on a variety of topics to bring you light on your darkest days. Let’s share beautiful bits of The Silver Lining on Instagram too! I hope to see  you there! May God bless you as you pursue Jesus, and search for The Silver Lining! 💙

 

YOU Are Worth More Than A Gorilla…God Says So!

I love animals. They were created by God for us to enjoy. We are to care for them, as they help us with our work and comfort us.  However, given a situation where I had to choose between the lives of my children or the life of an animal, I’d choose my children’s precious human lives in an instant. I’d also choose the lives of other children and adults over any living animals.

Each human life is unique and created with love from the beginning of conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well ( Ps. 139: 13-14 New International Version). There is no one like you, or me, in existence, and never will there be again.

Animal Kingdom
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” ( Prov. 12:10). This verse shows God clearly cares about how animals are treated. He is angry when animals are abused, just as we are. However, God did not create animals to be equal to humans, just as humans are not equal to angels.

Humans were given dominion over animals, and expected to treat them well. God gave Adam the job of naming animals and reigning over them. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’ ” ( Gen. 1:26). Noah was given the job of saving two of every kind of animal from the great flood. Then he was given the job of caring for them for forty days and nights as they bobbed around in a storm, on a gigantic ark. God wasn’t playing around when it came to saving animals.

Sanctity of Life
God gives permission in the bible to hunt. Native Americans and other respectful people used every possible part of the animal: meat to eat, fur hides for blankets and clothing, and bones for tools. God demanded specific animals to be killed as sacrifices for people’s sins. Though the sacrifice of Jesus replaced animal sacrifices, hunting animals as a source of food supply is permissive and mentioned multiple times in the New Testament: “He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat’ ” (Acts 10: 11-13).

However, one of God’s Ten Commandments is “You shall not murder” ( Ex. 20:13). This sixth commandment refers to the killing of human beings. God’s laws, which were brought down from Mt. Sinai by Moses, are still in effect today. These commandments are repeated over and over again in the New Testament. God clearly differentiates between killing an animal for food, versus killing a human being, which is murder.

Justice
Sometimes people make grave mistakes, and sometimes they just participate in outright sin. In these situations, animals may be placed in danger, hurt, and sometimes killed. These tragic events make people angry, and they seek justice. But God is just! People who hurt animals will have to face God and answer to Him. So will those who kill humans.

What about when a human falls into the dangerous path of an animal, such as a child falling into a gorilla’s habitat at the zoo? If it’s in our power to save a human life God considers to be of utmost value, will we help? Tragic events do not change truth. God has gone through great lengths to protect his children and keep them from being killed. Wouldn’t he expect us to do the same if it is within our power to do so? One saved human life can lead to another saved life. God doesn’t play around when it comes to saving people, especially when their eternal salvation is at risk.

Judgment
People are life guards, doctors, and nurses for a reason; they want to save lives. Human life is more valuable than that of any other creature. Unfortunately, protecting human life may occasionally mean taking the life of an exotic, endangered animal. In the midst of the shock, won’t we at least rejoice and praise God that a child has been spared from death? Would anyone dare judge, demanding, “That child better grow up and be somebody special!” Sadly, yes. People judge, as if an animal has more right to life than a child in peril.

Do people not understand God doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Him? As sin threads its way through our society, people become blind to the truth. Yet, God waits: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” ( 2 Peter 3:9).

Privilege
Those who love animals more than humans, do not understand the sanctity and value of human life. To not understand this, is to not understand the truth of God’s scripture. It’s true that many humans are in a place where they need healing. They may have been rejected, abused, and abandoned by humans. Animals may bring temporary comfort, but they will not bring the comfort that comes from living eternally in Heaven with Jesus Christ. Humans are given the opportunity to make this decision; animals are not. It is a privilege to be given another chance at life, a gift to be offered eternal life, a free gift!

Sacrifice
God made it clear in the bible that Jesus died for PEOPLE. He did not die for animals. In the Old Testament, God demanded animals as sacrifices for people’s sins. In the New Testament, that changed. God sacrificed His one and only Son, so that PEOPLE, not animals, could receive Jesus and have eternal life. Jesus died, but God loved him and us so much, that he brought Jesus back to life! There is no death in Jesus! Nor is there death for those who accept him!

Death
In the bible, Solomon muses, “Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth” (Eccles. 3:21)? There’s a distinction of questioning the difference between the spirits of two different kinds of living beings. However, God makes it clear that humans have a soul and will face judgment in the afterlife. Who wants to go through judgment without Jesus? We need him to tell God, “They’re with me,” as he opens the gates of Heaven and walks us through!

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8: 34).

Eternal Life
Even though the life cycle can be sad at times, and we do experience sorrow when a beautiful animal is killed, the silver lining is in knowing that our lives are much more valuable to God…so valuable, that God is willing to redeem us and give us a second chance at life, so we can live eternally in Heaven with His Son Jesus… “For God so loved the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Won’t you pray, and ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart today? He loves YOU! He is knocking at the door of your heart. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Matt. 10:29-31

 

The Silver Lining: Join us for encouragement, giveaway, and fun!

I will soon be hosting the “The Silver Lining Spring Giveaway!” Also coming up are some fun things to brighten your day, along with another psalm accompanied by gorgeous butterfly photographs taken by a dear friend. Some of my future blog posts will focus on how people can heal and be set free from narcissistic abuse. Narcissism is a sin. It’s a fancy word for extreme selfishness rooted in bitterness and unforgiveness. It is self-centeredness at its worst, the prime focus being oneself. It’s the opposite of everything Jesus has called us to be: sacrificial in picking up our crosses to follow him, rather than following ourselves, or even other people or causes. This sacrifice we offer, can only lead to goodness and salvation for our souls. 

In addition, I will give insight on how we can leave painful, damaging, toxic relationships behind, while forgiving those who have hurt us, and entrusting them to the one and only God who can change their hearts.

I believe God is leading me to minister on these topics to reach even more hurting people who need to understand that Jesus is THE answer for life change. Sometimes we know it’s all about Jesus, but we don’t know how to tap into the power and authority we have in Christ. I’m looking forward to sharing with you what God has taught me. Please invite others to join The Silver Lining, so they can receive the spiritual encouragement that we all need to get through each week. 

You can subscribe to The Silver Lining on my homepage at angelaslittleattic.com or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/angelaslittleattic. I invite you to leave comments, share posts, and invite your friends and family to join us, especially those going through their own storms in life, who could benefit from a reminder to always look for the silver lining. The silver lining is always there, because clouds are only a temporary cover for an ever-present, shining sun! God’s son, Jesus is the same. We can call on his name when we need him: 

God is our refuge and our strength, an  ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1 New International Version).

 

Insult to Injury on Social Media…Jesus Understands

“Hahaha!” Another mean, degrading, or crude insult has been put on social media, and you’re tagged in it…but…you’re not laughing. You may be the target, or you may just be invited to join in on the “joke” at the expense of someone else. Maybe it’s even at the expense of the unknown person in the photo itself. 

Many times, both teens and adults get caught up in making fun of others to get a laugh. The truth is, there are a lot of people who aren’t laughing on the inside. Jesus isn’t laughing either. Sometimes people will go along with it because they feel intimidated, embarrassed, or confused. They may be trying to figure out the friendship, but deep down they wish the rude post had never been shared in the first place. 

No matter what anyone insists to be true, this just isn’t the way real friends treat each other. True friends encourage and uplift each other, instead of tearing each other, disguising it as a “joke.” Those who approve of this type of behavior are listening to lies. The devil cleverly uses denial and deceit to eventually turn people against each other. Insults and dirty “jokes” about others, turn themselves around in a person’s mind, and begin to do their damage. They hurt everyone involved, including the offender, but especially the victim. 

Constantly making people the “butt” of jokes, even clean ones, is a form of bullying, even if everyone pretends it isn’t so. It’s also a sign of underlying issues not being addressed…sin issues. Usually it’s a sign that forgiveness needs to occur. 

Even subtle bullying, the sharing of inappropriate posts, can contribute to depression in a teen. Adults aren’t immune either. You can help a friend, by checking in with those who have been tagged or targeted, and giving them your support. You can let parents know what is happening, and you can report inappropriate posts when necessary. Most of all, you can pray with, and for someone who has been the target of online joking and teasing. Teens should ask a trusted adult to help them handle the situation.

Regardless of what the crowd thinks, it only matters what God thinks. Here’s what God says in the bible about crude jokes:  

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5: 3-4 New Living Translation).

Just because someone says something about you, doesn’t mean it’s true. Only God’s words are good and just and true. A person’s word is only good if it aligns with God’s scriptures in the bible. Pray against denial and deceit in Jesus’ name. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and tell you the Truth. 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (Jas. 1:5).

If you’ve been insulted, you can go to Jesus and talk to him about it. He will comfort you, and help you to heal. Jesus knew all about being insulted. He was mocked and spat upon, even though he was the Son of God! 

 “Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you’ ” (Matt. 26: 27-28)? 

If you’re the offender, and it’s possible, go to that person and ask for forgiveness. Ask Jesus to forgive you for your sin. Even if the offended party does not forgive you, there’s a silver lining: God forgives you, which means your sin is wiped clean. 


” ‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’ ” (Isa. 1:18).

  

Other related articles from The Silver Lining:

Gossip, Lies, and Slander? No Worries! God Has Your Back!
Freedom from Bullies for the New Year and Beyond

Drowning in Stubborn Pride? Jesus is your Life Preserver!

If you knew you could help someone who was drowning, but that person didn’t want your help, would you try and help that person anyway? How would you feel if you threw her a life preserver, and she refused to grab hold of it? Instead she chose to sputter and choke, ignoring the white Styrofoam ring floating in front of her. Why wouldn’t she take it?

You watched in dismay, as that person started to sink, too proud to grab onto the life preserver, because you were the one throwing it into the water. You knew this person hated you, and was determined to hold you at arm’s length. She didn’t want the help you were offering. Stubbornly, she refused to believe the life preserver would keep her afloat, even though the bobbing evidence showed it was her only source of hope to stay alive.

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Though this person hurt you immensely, you were offering safety.  Yet this person was too proud, wanting to prove that she could keep swimming, even though she was dead tired. Gasping for air, she even started to try and swim away in the opposite direction. This person didn’t want to feel obligated to thank you for saving her life, and was willing to lose it instead.

How would you feel in this situation, as this person started sinking? Helpless? Hopeless? Angry? Afraid? Desperate? Would you say this person got what she deserved? Or would you jump in, give it all you had, and push that screaming, squirming, stubborn body back to shore? What if you managed to get that person back to shore, and then she just buried her head in the sand? How frustrating!

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If a person continuously turned her back on you and refused to acknowledge the truth, would you try to share truth anyway? How? Would you speak to that person? Would you reveal the evidence on hand to help you prove your point? Would it help? Or would you simply pray for God to reveal the truth and trust in His timing?

Oh how Jesus must feel when he sees us drowning in a great sea of sorrow, refusing to grab the ring that will allow us to get pulled into the rescue boat! All we have to do is surrender, so we can be lifted up into safety, and onto God’s great big cruise ship. God has the most incredible vacation planned for us, an eternal vacation which never ends. The sights we will see! The sounds we will hear! The places we will go! If only we would let go of our pride and get into the rescue boat!

Jesus is offering us eternal life in Paradise, yet God’s children continue to sin and turn away from Him. There’s a cold dark storm out there, and the wind is about to destroy everyone and everything in its path. What person even deserves to be saved, when we laugh in the face of God’s weather advisory? No one! Not one of us deserves grace or mercy. Yet, there’s a silver lining: God gives it to us anyway! He freely offers us the perfect gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. All we have to do is say yes to Jesus, our rescuer. He’s throwing each and every one of us a life preserver. Say yes! Get in the boat!

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“The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.” Luke 8:24  New International Version

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12 Steps to Forgiveness with Boundaries

Have you forgiven someone, only to be accused of harboring unforgiveness, because you’ve had to establish necessary boundaries for healing and protection? If you’re feeling guilty about having less contact because of an unhealthy or abusive relationship, the guilt is not from God. God does not want His children to be doormats. How can we forgive others, while keeping boundaries in place? How can we do both, while continuing to please God, as we daily walk with Christ?

We can recognize that God set boundaries and expected them to remain in place: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors” (Prov. 22:28 New International Version). We can take comfort in knowing that Jesus, himself, set boundaries: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58). We can take godly steps towards forgiving others, by seeking Jesus, as we put boundaries in place:

1. Set aside time to step away from your offender. Even Jesus retreated, and stepped away from the crowds of people in order to spend time with God, and pray. If the offender lives with you, step outside to clear your head, or go visit a friend. Walk away, and give yourself some space. If you need a quiet spot to talk to God, and can’t get away, find ten minutes to pray in the bathroom or your closet. Sit in your car, and read a Psalm. Retreat. Jesus is an example.

2. Pray this simple prayer: “I forgive (name of offender) in the name of Jesus.” We can’t do it alone. That’s why Jesus died for us. He died to forgive us of our sins, and to forgive others. Through Jesus, we can forgive others, grow our relationship with him, and show others the way to salvation. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14). Jesus is forgiveness.

3. Ask God to remove your pain, and fill you with His Holy Spirit. It hurts when people sin against us, whether directly, or indirectly. Ask God to remove your pain. Then ask Him to go to the empty spot where pain once resided, and fill it with His love for you, until it’s overflowing! Jesus is a healer.

4. Ask God for wisdom in establishing healthy boundaries. God gives wisdom freely to those who ask. Wisdom will help you to discern what kind of boundary you will need to allow for healing: some contact, little contact, or no contact. You can do any of these, while still continuing to walk with Christ. Jesus is a teacher.

5. Ask God to give you strength and courage to keep the boundary. The devil will do everything possible in order to try and make you remove the boundary. He will find people to spread lies, gossip, strife, fear, and chaos. His intent is to plague you with anxiety, so that you will not change. He wants you to settle for staying in your old, familiar rut. If he can keep you ignorant of truth, you won’t go forward and learn about how Jesus can heal you and change your life. Jesus is strength.

6. Ask God to provide you with support. The devil has the goal of isolating you. He will use rejection, depression, doubt, and any other fiery darts he can throw at you, to try and convince you to remove your boundary. He knows the boundary is there for your protection, healing, and growth. He hates that God is going to heal, change, and use you to win others to Christ. God will put people in your life to replace those you’ve lost when you established the boundary. Your support will be comprised of Christians who know your heart, pray for you, and encourage you in your walk with God. They will fill in the missing gaps. Jesus is a friend.

7. Ask God to reveal truth in the hearts of those who come against you. The devil will deceive well-meaning people into believing that they are helping, when they come to you, trying to convince you to break down your boundary. They may not have knowledge about the whole truth of your situation, so they don’t understand. They may accuse you of being unforgiving, cruel, fake, or even anti-Christian. God knows your heart, and that is all that matters. However, God knows our need for love and fellowship, and He will provide everything we need. Don’t be afraid! God knows what He is doing! Jesus is truth.

8. Know that when you’re most tempted to break down your boundary, God is about to give you a big break-through! Keep your boundary. Continue to forgive others who hurt you, disrespect you, or shun you. God has a plan. The enemy wants to destroy you, but God means to use it all for good! Live your life, honoring God, knowing that the boundary is there for good reason. If it needs to come down, GOD will show you, and He will make it obvious. Be ready when God says it’s time. You will have a heart that has already forgiven, and your past pain will be behind you. Jesus is courage.

9. Read or listen to scripture, and pray. Scriptures keep us wrapped in truth. When we are struggling, God’s word lets us know that we are doing the right thing. Knowledge of the bible keeps us ready for the battles that will come our way, when we are doing something against the grain of what everyone else thinks we should be doing. God’s word is living and healing. It helps us to see others through the eyes of God. The bible helps us to see that Jesus loves everyone, even people who hurt us. The bible changes our thoughts. We can begin to develop love and understanding for our enemies, even if we don’t approve of, or accept their behavior. Jesus is comfort.

10. Pray for salvation for those who have hurt you. God says to pray for our enemies. The goal is for others, no matter how much they’ve hurt us, to gain salvation through Jesus Christ. Our prayers, and yes, even our boundaries, can help another person to receive eternal life. Jesus died for everyone. Pray that those who have hurt you will come to know Jesus. If those people are already saved, pray for their walk with The Lord. Realize that many people who profess to be Christians, are not really saved, and do not have a relationship with Jesus. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ ” (Matt. 7:22-23)! Jesus is salvation.

11. Seek your own relationship with God, while the boundary is in place. During a time of separation from someone who has wronged you, allow God do His healing work in you. You will begin to see the damage in the people who hurt you, and realize they are broken just like you. This doesn’t excuse what they’ve done. It does give us insight into what Jesus did for us. Our sins put Jesus on the cross, and he died for us, even though we didn’t deserve it. It’s love beyond measure. “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23). Jesus is love.

12. TRUST GOD. Understand that your boundary may allow time for the offender to draw closer to God. Recognize that the person who hurt you, is also deeply loved by God, and needs a relationship with Him. He or she may need time to dig deep down, and repent of his or her own sins. The boundary may create a void of loneliness and desperation, which only Jesus can fulfill. Your boundary may bring someone to true repentance, and draw that person towards a relationship with Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, your offender can heal, receive forgiveness for sins, and receive eternal life. This allows him or her a chance to live a godly life on earth. Only then, can true reconciliation occur. Jesus is protection.

There is a silver lining…God is in Control! Though your offender may continue to try and hurt you emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually, God is your protector. His Son, Jesus, heals our pain. Recognize that people may be struggle with jealousy, anger, or fear, when you place boundaries between them and yourself. Some people lash out in frustration, when they lose access to their ability to manipulate and control you. The devil thrives on ruined relationships, but God is All Powerful! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God is the one who is ultimately in control. With God as our protector, strength, and shield, we have already won every battle.

Though reconciliation is the ultimate goal, it’s not always possible. You do not have to allow an abusive person back into your life, to prove your forgiveness toward that person. This could even delay all the work God is doing in your life, and in the life of the abuser. Pray against guilt in the name of Jesus. We need godly relationships in our lives. Often, we need to step out, and let God step in and do His work. Sometimes we need to let others catch up, before we can be in a relationship with them.

It’s difficult to create a boundary, and even more difficult to keep it in place. But God’s silver lining is found in the amazing things He has planned for you during the storm. God will use your experience to make you stronger, healthier, and joyful. He will use your experience to bring glory to His name! God knows your heart. Forgive, leave your boundaries in place, pray, and continue to follow God. God will let you know when, and if, the boundary should be removed. Trust Him! He knows what He is doing! Jesus is Savior!

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Ps. 16:6

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