Tag Archives: protection

Pretty Ponies? A Mother’s “Short Tale”

Yesterday, my daughter asked if she could give one of her ponies a hair cut. We had given a trim to one of her My Little Pony pets before, so I agreed. I reminded her that the pony’s hair couldn’t grow back, and gave her a small pair of scissors, and a piece of cardstick to set underneath.

My daughter returned to ask if she could give another pony a hair cut. “I guess so,” I agreed, while casually mentioning that if she later decided to sell some of her ponies at a yard sale, the other little girls might be looking for long manes and tails. She nodded her head, and then we both shrugged. Who cared about a yard sale? They were her ponies now, and she had a bunch of them. She skipped off to take them to the pony salon; and snip, clip, and shampoo their colorful locks into new hairdos.

After about a half an hour, my normally cheery, confident little girl came into my room, downcast. “What’s wrong, little one?” I asked.

She lowered her head, and her voice slightly trembled, “I don’t think I want to give my ponies a hair cut anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because…”

“How many ponies got hair cuts?”

“About eight…”

“Ohhhh!” I laughed; “Well that’s a lot of ponies. But that’s okay, because you have a lot of ponies. But that’s probably enough ponies getting haircuts.”

But I knew. I could feel the guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnation clinging to her; because it was all too familiar. I was immediately brought back to my childhood; where everything I did was wrong, every mistake was shameful, and no bad choices were forgiven.

NOT MY GIRL, DEVIL! NOT MY GIRL!

“Wait!” I grabbed her skinny little self and folded her into a hug. “Look at me,” I coaxed. She looked up with sad eyes. Her huge, teary eyes displayed a rainbow of colors; just like her little ponies. “Did you have fun?” I asked. Her head nodded up and down. “Do you like their haircuts?” She nodded yes, again. “Then that’s all that matters, Honey!”

I pulled her close into me, and said “Let’s pray…” But she was already bowing her little head, because she knows Jesus brings comfort when Mommy prays. My hands started at the top of her own long, curly, tangled mane. As I prayed over her soft, sweet head; I combed my fingers all the way down to the bottom of her hair, which ended at her waist.

I renounced guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnations for my daughter, in Jesus’ name. I told the devil to go “sit on a tack” in the name of Jesus, and that he was not allowed to steal her joy. I thanked God for my beautiful daughter and her endlessly creative imagination, along with the ability to try new, exciting things. I asked God to fill my daughter with His Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. I asked God to replace her sadness with  joy and peace.  I thanked God for my little girl and her love for animals, including ponies. I asked God to bless her future and all that it entails! 

After praying, I gave her a kiss, and she ran off to play. It was GONE! The sadness, the worry, the doubt… it was all GONE! That’s because I have the power and authority in Jesus Christ, to intervene on behalf of my daughter, and tell the devil to get lost. I can only do this because of who I am in Christ, and my daughter knows she has this same power and authority within her too.

The situation had not changed. The hair did not miraculously grow back.  But what did change, was the lies. The lies weren’t there anymore. They had been prayed away in the name of Jesus. The devil had lied to my daughter, and tried to ruin her day, by deceiving her, and stealing her joy. I was not fooled by his tactics. We had been here before when the devil had lied to her about her artwork mistakes.

NOT MY GIRL, DEVIL! NOT MY GIRL!

When our children are struggling with a  spiritual attack, the silver lining is that we parents who battle for our children, are already promised a victory! We don’t have to play or put up with the devil’s games; but we must pray, and fight back in the name of Jesus! There’s a battle for our children’s spiritual well being; so saddle up, and giddy up! The Bible says we win the race!

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”  (Phil. 3:14 New Living Translation).

Make your decisions, and ride your race without fear! 

She’s a Little Runaway: A Journey from Rejection to Acceptance 

As a teen, I lived in Alaska, in two different houses, over a five year period. I snuck out several times from both, and ran away from each one. Some of these times were known to others, and some were not. But of the two times I felt the most desperate need bolt, the most desperate run away attempt was the least successful. Maybe it was because I seemed to run backwards. Perhaps it was a mix of fear, false security, guilt, and concern over leaving a loved one left behind, along with worrying what my friends would think; but running away became a more desperate desire, yet I seemed to fall further and further from my goal of making it happen. 

In any regard, not making that final run, was definitely not because I had suddenly decided home was a safe place to stay. It was more like the jail door was open, but a tornado was whirling at the front door. Which option was best for me? Years later, I now know which option was best…the tornado by far. It might have landed me some place safe, like the baby you read about in the news, who is scooped up into a tornado’s belly, and vomited safely into a dresser drawer two towns over; safely sleeping. After all, Dorothy survived a tornado, and while on her journey, was kept safe from lions, tigers, and bears; and also from the witches and the flying monkeys sent out to destroy her. But unlike Dorothy, the phrase, “There’s no place like home,” meant something entirely different to me.

The first attempt at running away came out of sheer desperation to leave the role of scapegoat I had been assigned by my family. I couldn’t take it anymore, being blamed for everyone else’s problems. As the scapegoat in a family reeking with dysfunction, I was tired of being the excuse for everyone else’s issues, problems, and bad behavior. Sure I was an imperfect teenager, fully capable of mouthing off and being selfish, but not to any extreme some would be led to believe. I was a good kid; compassionate, intelligent, and funny. Why wasn’t I loved? It was never enough, so I kept trying harder to prove myself, and I was about to break. Being labeled a “problem child” subtly causes a shifting focus, which is exactly the intent; for the idea is to blind others to the truth of the real chaos lying underneath, and to distract them, so denial can go on and lives of sin can continue without inspection. 

I’d given up on getting attention or love, but I still hoped to remain under the radar, undetected, left alone to live my own life in peace. But that wasn’t about to happen, so I became angry. I began to rebel, because I knew it couldn’t be all my fault. I knew the truth and began to fight for myself, because I realized no one else was going to. “A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel” (Prov. 18:19 New International Version).

However, it was getting harder and harder to see the truth, when the fiery darts kept coming. Though I was saved, I didn’t yet understand how to defend myself with prayer. The phrases were aimed at me, over and over: “Why can’t you do anything right… Why can’t you be more like (someone else)… What is wrong with you… Why do you have to ruin everything?????”  These were the lies which years later, I would learn to renounce in the name of Jesus. I still have to pray against them today, but they come less often. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16).

How could it be only my fault when my thumb was smashed black and blue after being slammed in the doorframe, and then my face slapped afterwards for cussing from the pain of the “accident.” And even worse, was when that cold hand forcefully slammed down flat dead center on top of my head; HARD. There was actually a witness then, but when everyone is trained not to tell, even adults remain silent. Reporting it doesn’t even cross your mind; it would likely be futile. Who would believe it? For, those things just don’t happen in families that go to church on Sundays, where girls wear pretty dresses, and invite their friends to come with them, because the family is a positive influence and a good example. 

Like any hurting teen, I believed if I didn’t protect myself, they would break me. I refused to be broken, not realizing I was already constantly gluing the precious broken pieces of myself back together. And that’s what l was doing… holding on to all my broken pieces, the night I was done being blamed. Of course no comfort; only condemnation, was offered that dark night when I shouted, “Then I’ll leave!” There was no reassurance of love, or a reminder that I was wanted, a gentle plea to stay and talk and pray about it. Instead, I was told that if I was going to go, I would have leave my coat behind, since I hadn’t bought it with my own money.

On Elmendorf Air Force Base, it was less than 30 degrees that evening, and pitch black outside. I had nowhere to go. But it took me less than a second to make my decision: I shoved off my new white downy coat with sporty blue stripes, threw it to the floor, and ran. I ran out into the black night, looking to the left and looking to the right. The icy clean air took my breath away. I ran towards my best friend’s house, but knew that would be the first place I’d be expected to be found. Her home life wasn’t stable either. It wasn’t an option. So I wandered. I wandered far past anywhere my friends and I ever wandered, even by our independent standards of doing whatever we wanted and going wherever we felt like going. I ran to warm up, but I slowed as the wheezing started. I was an asthmatic; just another way I’d caused problems for everyone else. I blew on my frigid fingers, and I scratched at the welts raising up under my jeans. I would get them when I got cold, due to a protein in my blood which reacts starkly to frigid temperatures. I didn’t realize then, that I actually suffered constantly from cold urticaria, which can in severe instances; cause low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, and death. 

I still didn’t want to go back. At the same time, I’d seen the footage they show all the military families upon first arriving to The Last Frontier: “Scary Survival Videos.” At 14, I was old enough to know that hypothermia was a reality, and frostbite was serious business, where I could actually lose my fingers and toes. This time, I had no runaway friends to be my hypothermia partner so I could keep warm, and I was never going to do that “naked hugging sleeping bag survival skill” anyway; not unless I was left for dead on a mountaintop. I don’t remember if I prayed,  but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.



I’d wandered for at least a couple hours, and I was far away from home. I knew I needed to get warm, or my body could be permanently damaged. I had on tennis shoes, instead of boots, and there was snow and ice on the ground. I didn’t much care about living right then, but always in my mind, was a loved one I had back at home, and being a teenager, I was also worried about my reputation, even among my friends. They would ask me why I ran away. I’d been trained not to tell family secrets. I’d been trained to pretend I came from a perfect “Christian” family. Who would believe me? It was too much anyway; a mountain of madness which no one would understand or believe or care about, and many don’t; even to this very day. Telling them would be impossible. Now I’ve gained enough wisdom to know that some things are only revealed by God in His perfect timing. 

That night I found myself at the chapel, and was mortified to find a friend of mine was there too. He sang with the adult choir, so he was often up at the church. I didn’t want him to see me, but it was too late. He was an intelligent, kind boy, and our mutual friends had mentioned he had a crush on me. Maybe he wouldn’t tell anyone. As far as I know, he never did. He asked me what I was doing there, and if I was ok. I shook my head, and took a deep breath, so I wouldn’t cry. He didn’t know how bad it was at home, but I think to this day, he knew about one of the secrets. His eyes said he knew. He wanted to ask more questions, but seemed to understand I couldn’t answer them. When I said I had to go, he put his hands on my shoulders and gently shook me. His dark eyes looked scared. He said the M.P.’s (military police) would come looking for me, and everyone would find out I had run away. He said I would freeze to death if I went back out in the cold. And finally, out of wanting to help, he convinced me to call home. 

When I made the call from the church, I did it on my terms. I’d learned a thing or two about manipulation and control tactics. I’d been taught well. My terms were that I’d tell where I was, but there would be no talking about it, and no punishment. If the terms were broken, I’d run away again, and I’d tell people why I was running. The terms were agreed upon, and the ride home was just as cold, if not more frozen, than the air outside. I was surviving. 

The next attempt at running away came out of a desperation that had turned to hopelessness, and the plan came down to no running away at all. I was found out before I even got a chance to get out of the house. I’d spent too long packing in the bathroom, and refused to open the door even when a hole was punched halfway through it. If there’d been a window, I would have exited. But with no escape in sight, I stuffed my school bag into the lower shelf of the bathroom closet, put some towels on top, and exited the bathroom. After hearing about how it was my fault that there was a hole punched in the door, I shrugged and announced that I was going to bed. I slid under the sheets in my clothes. I’d have to wait until about 1:30 or 2 a.m., because darkness in Alaska doesn’t come till then during its super short spring and summer months. 

My bag was packed with a few necessities, my tiny teddy bear, and about $100. The car keys were on my dresser, since I drove to school each day. The car wasn’t really mine, so I’d have to drive somewhere and leave it with a note, saying I was sorry and that it wasn’t stolen. I planned to drive from Eagle River to Anchorage, and then park and walk until I found a hotel. I KNEW there were some areas that were dangerous, like 4th Avenue, where everyone warned you never to go. But I was headed that way, because I thought it was the last place anyone would look. I never got there. I never got anywhere that night. 
The door to my bedroom flew open, and my escape bag was swinging back and forth before my eyes. I was shocked, and my heart sunk. I was completely deflated… hopeless. I must have raised suspicion by staying too long in the bathroom, packing up my things. My key set was whisked up from my dresser amidst angry shrieks. I’d be taking the bus next day to school, which I hated. I lay in bed that night with my tiny brown teddy bear, tears soaking his curly fur. I’d never get out. I don’t remember if I prayed, but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.

Though I managed to move out of my house quickly, because I was snapped up for a teaching position immediately after graduation, I never really got away until my husband and I moved from the state of Texas, out to Virginia where we didn’t know a soul. It was especially hard to leave a loved one back home, and I missed my friends. But being on my own was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I began to write my prayers in a prayer journal, participated in a bible study, and pursued Jesus in peace. All my life, I’d been bashed over the head with a bible and forced to go to church, with scripture used out of context to guilt and shame me. I was a victim of spiritual abuse, and was running from God, because I thought He was always watching me from the sky, waiting to condemn me and punish me, and tell me what I was doing wrong. I was afraid of Him, and angry with Him too. I was now discovering the joy of having a relationship with Him! My eyes began to open up to the truth for the first time in my life, and God’s teachings showed me that everything I’d been taught was completely upside-down… and completely wrong. I do remember that I prayed! 

God moved me more times with my husband. Then God moved me more times with my children. Many things happened during those moves, and I’ve had many homes, but instead of running away, during each of my moves I have learned to draw closer to Jesus. When I start to run away, he doesn’t let me out of the door, without first insisting that he loves me and doesn’t want me to go. 

Whenever the pain becomes too hard to bear for those who have been running and running all their lives looking for a little bit of love, there lies ahead the silver lining: One ends up desperately running straight into the arms of Jesus! And in that most desperate time, the running away will stop, before you even realize it. Why? It’s because Jesus has been waiting here for you the whole time, with his arms outstretched, already wrapping themselves around you! I discovered that Jesus had been holding me in his arms the whole time, crying tears when I cried tears. He was waiting for me run in his direction and cry out his name, so he could save me. He is doing the same for you. Though I was already God’s child, I hadn’t understood the power and authority I have in Christ Jesus. I didn’t realize that I was loved by God, unconditionally, without condemnation or judgment. 

We don’t need to run away from Jesus, for he does not reject us! He loves us in spite of our imperfections, and in spite of our sins. We can run into his everlasting loving arms, and he will greet us with acceptance and unconditional love each and every time. If we forget how much he loves us, and start to run away, we can always turn back, repent, and ask him to forgive us. He will help us to battle the negative lies we have been falsely led to believe, and heal us of our guilt, fear, and anger; which will then banish depression; leading us to freedom and joy! We will discover that God is not far away up in the sky, but right inside of our hearts, and He’s been loving us our whole entire lives! For there really is “no place like home” when your eternal home is in Heaven with Jesus Christ. 

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:20).


My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

If you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful, you may like PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION.

Write to the author, and find daily encouragement to give you hope, as you heal and find freedom and joy in Jesus Christ at The Silver Lining Facebook Page. 

Fill Your Shopping Cart With Love

A couple weeks ago, as I stood in line at Costco to purchase my groceries, a young mom struggled with her three children in line. She wore a baby in a pouch, had an older baby in the top seat of the cart, and was trying to calm an angry preschooler who sat in a friend’s cart on the other side of her. Her friend was another young mom with her own baby, and they were both trying to buy their items while keeping all the kids under control. 

I had seen this young mom earlier in the store, begging the older baby to stay in her top seat in the cart. The baby was attempting to stand up in the top front seat of the cart over and over again. The young mother would sit the baby down and run to get something, and dart back to the baby who kept wriggling herself out of the unfastened seat while trying to stand.

Honestly, it was scary! I was so concerned the baby would fall out and hit her head on the concrete. It was an accident waiting to happen, as the mother kept turning her back, and returning quickly to the cart, begging the baby to sit back down again. 

I didn’t understand why the mother didn’t just strap the baby into the cart, or just push her a few feet over to the next aisle. But I did know that the young mother was incredibly stressed out, and I surely could understood that! Perhaps the cart was difficult to push with the smaller baby sleeping in a pouch attached to Mommy’s belly. Maybe something was wrong with the strap. Maybe it was painful to push the heavy cart. I don’t really know why safety wasn’t being practiced or put into place. I thought maybe I could stand nearby to catch the baby in case she fell. So that’s what I did.

As the mom returned, I was coaxing her baby to sit down. I gently let the mom know that I was standing there so the baby wouldn’t fall. But it was obvious. Her baby was wriggling upward in the cart again. She asked the baby to sit down again, and thanked me for being there. I said bye-bye to her little one, and we both continued to shop. Now, a half hour later, we were in parallel checkout lanes, and the pattern was being repeated. 

In my head were visions of toddlers falling out of grocery carts onto the hard concrete floor. I’d read stories about children having concussions, and even dying, because they had stood up and fallen from grocery carts. I thought about the brazen attempts of kidnapping that had been caught on video camera, where children had been grabbed, while distracted parents had left them unattended, beyond their reach. Why would any mother take that chance?  

But I saw the stressed out face of a young mother who had way too many balls in play. I’ve been there too; multitasking, forgetting something important because of my long list of priority to-do items. This young mother definitely had her hands full, even with her friend there to help her. She also clearly did not want anything to happen to her sweet baby. Taking a deep breath, I walked over to her cart, once again. Meanwhile, the nice man in the checkout lane at Costco, unloaded my own groceries for me. He was aware of the dilemma, as well as many other customers. As the mother returned to her cart in line, I once again told her I’d be glad to stand near her baby until she could come back to the cart. I looked at the baby and told her she was a wiggle worm. The baby’s eyes twinkled, and her mommy laughed. 

Costco is a place for packing up your food, keeping your kids happy, and getting out the door. This young mother didn’t need criticism. She needed some support, and she needed it NOW. Judging her parenting skills wasn’t going to help, but showing her Christ’s love, could! God was leading me to be the hands and feet of Jesus for a young mom in a short moment of desperation. Isn’t that exactly what God does for us? 

When we are left without food or shelter, caught up in our messy storms of life because of mistakes we’ve made, there’s a silver lining. Instead of scolding us, God sends Jesus to meet our needs…right where we are standing. Instead of condemning and criticizing us for all the things we’ve done wrong, Jesus comes alongside us with compassion, mercy, and grace. He offers us protection, even when we aren’t paying attention. Then, in God’s timing, The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts, giving us wisdom and discernment for us to use in the future.

The Holy Spirit warmed my heart, as I got a chance to chat with the two young moms that were together, and ask questions about their cute kids and how old they were. They walked out with happy smiles, laughing together, with full control over their very energetic babies! I know God can be trusted to care for that young mother and her child in a way I never could…just as He cares for my own children when I make mistakes. 

Criticism and judgment fall on deaf ears, are self-elevating and non-productive. It’s like having someone offer you a meal or clothing or a prayer, with the expectation that you first promise to get a job, stop every bad habit, admit all your wrongdoing, and promise to immediately change your life completely around. Love opens up the path so those things can eventually happen in God’s perfect timing. If we are going to help, let’s offer it in love, or we may as well not bother doing it at all. 

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” 

(1 Cor. 13:1 English Standard Version).

  
When criticism and judging attempt to make a stand, we can sit them down in their rightful place, by filling our shopping carts, and hearts, with love! 


#Spreadlovenothate!

It Only Takes A Spark

As a Christian I’ve been judged and called a “bigot,” because I know God’s truth and follow His laws. I’ve been ridiculed for talking “bible speak,” because I enjoy sharing the scriptures God commands us to share. I’ve been accused of being “unforgiving,” because I have healthy boundaries, and choose to take God’s biblical advice about avoiding certain types of behaviors, for my personal protection, and that of my family. Because I have confidence in Christ, these insults slide off of me. I know they are lies sent from the enemy to separate and divide our brothers and sisters in Christ.

People get angry, because they do not understand the joy that comes from knowing one is standing, unwavering, in God’s truth. God reveals truth to us when we pursue Him! When I pursue Him, He showers His love upon me, giving me even more strength and courage to carry out the plans He has for me to do His will. The Holy Spirit fills me with warmth, similar to that of being around a cozy campfire. When I’m insulted for loving Jesus, it only adds further fuel to the fire, giving me even more desire to spread the truth about my GOD! Just like the words to an old childhood favorite song of mine, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going…And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing…That’s how it is with God’s love…Once you’ve experienced it…You spread His love to ev’ryone…You want to pass it on…”

We can share God’s truth by word of mouth, writing, praying for friends, reading God’s Word, getting involved with the youth in our neighborhoods and churches, leading bible studies, sharing on social media; whatever God calls us to do. Every Christian can make a difference. God speaks truth through us. Find your spark. Share God’s words. Place your confidence in Christ!

“Pass It On” lyrics by Kurt Kaiser

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 New International Version

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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Gossip, Lies, and Slander? No worries! God has Your Back!

by Angela Royse Pelleman

The bible tells us we shouldn’t be concerned when others gossip about us.  When others slander us behind our backs, telling lies, it’s so good to know that God has our back!  We can trust in Him completely, because He is Truth, and it will eventually come out.  Those who belong to the Lord don’t have to be discouraged, because when people slander you for walking in truth, you will be set free.  The bible says you will be blessed for it.  “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”  (Matthew 5:10-12 New American Standard).

One day, I sat down specifically looking for bible verses that prove God protects us from slanderous lies.  Immediately, I discovered an email from a spiritual sister who does prayer drawings each day.  She draws, while praying, and then writes her devotion based on the image God has provided.  I opened my email that day to find the perfect verse sitting in front of me:  “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.  Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them.  Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.  For I am the Lord, you God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you’ ” (Isaiah 41: 11-13 New International Version).

My spiritual sister had been given a drawing of a jester; her devotion was about fools, and how we are not to contend with them.  God has a sense of humor, and confirmed His message, when a co-worker showed up at her door in a silly jester hat she had just made.  Bells and all, she modeled it from the doorway, as my spiritual sister finalized her devotion!  My sister had even prayed her message would reach “someone specific” that day, and that it would be verified.  I was that “someone specific”.  The devotion’s message contained a warning; contending with foolish people robs us of our peace.  God wants us to have peace.  I’m so excited about the freedom that this brings!  This knowledge takes all kinds of stress off my plate!  It means I don’t have to do anything at all, except to trust in my Father God to take care of it for me.

If you are anything like me, your first reaction to gossip, lies, and slander, is to defend yourself.  I used to jump to this immediately.  “Lie about me?  I’m going to set you straight!  I’m going to email you right back and tell you like it really is.  Then, I’m going to call all my friends and family members and tell them what you just did to me, and make sure they know the truth!  How could you do this?  It needs to be fixed…right now!”  No, it doesn’t.  Yes, your name is out there.  Yes they are talking about you.  Lies are told, and your name is being slandered.  The bible itself says, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends”  (Proverbs 16:28).

Perhaps God is allowing this trial, because someone along the way needs to learn a simple lesson: If someone is gossiping to you, then they are gossiping about you.  Everyone gets hurt at some point, and we are all blind until God opens our eyes.  Perhaps healing is needed in someone else’s life, and God has given you the strength to handle it.   Perhaps you need growth in this area yourself.  Sometimes a few hearts get broken along the way. God offers a wealth of advice and warnings throughout the book of Proverbs, in order to help us avoid getting involved in some of these situations.  When things are not our fault, we can take comfort in the fact that God will take care of it at just the right time.

You can get all worked up about it, and lose sleep over losing friends, or you can turn it all over to the Lord, and let Him take care of it all in His perfect timing.  It may be that He’s filtering out “friends” who do not know how valuable you are to God, or “friends” that are unhealthy for you.  Perhaps some of these people are not your “friends” at all.  God may be doing His work through some of these people and you, to accomplish a higher purpose for His glory.  He will not leave you behind while doing this.  He will lavish you with blessings.

Jesus was insulted, spat upon, beaten, and ultimately killed.  He did not deserve it, but he accepted God’s will, because he knew it would give us a chance to be saved.  He loved us that much.  Can we do the same? Even though people sinned and treated him terribly, he overlooked his mistreatment, and still loved, healed and prayed for all sinners.  That means you and me.  “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Luke 23:34 English Standard Version).

When you are slandered, follow God.  God gives boundaries.  Boundaries protect our well -being.  We should pray for people who hurt us, and love them in a Christ-like manner, but we do not have to accept or tolerate behavior that is bad or abusive. “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul” (Proverbs 22:24-25 New Living Translation).  People who lie and gossip are angry.  Get away from them, before you become trapped in their webs.  “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard, or swindler.  Do not even eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11). It’s clear that it is acceptable not to communicate with people who slander you.  This is not unforgiveness. In fact, it is obedience to God, and He will protect you and bless you for it.

Jesus also used silence as a boundary.  He knew that his Father, God, would take care of him:  “Then Pilate asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer?  See how many things they are accusing you of.’  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed” (Mark 15: 4-5 NIV).  You are not obligated to answer questions involving slander.  It gives you more free time, and it is liberating for your spirit when you realize you don’t have to do anything at all, except leave it to God!   The bible says so!  “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14 ESV).  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good deal to me!  “You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.  These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself.  But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you” (Psalms 50: 20-21 ESV).  Jesus knows all about it.  That’s because he went through it too.

God gives many opportunities for people to ask forgiveness for sin and to truly repent.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful ad effective” (James 5:16 NIV).  The bible gives clear instructions on how the church is to deal with unrepentant hearts.  The book of Matthew, chapter 18, clearly outlines what should be done.  Until then, boundaries must remain in place.

When there is true repentance for slander, lies, and gossip, there comes a change within a person, a desire to be more like Jesus.  It is possible for a person to change, and turn her life around.  Until God shows you without a doubt, that a person has repented of slanderous behavior and is now living life with a true, Godly change of heart, as difficult as it may be, do not remove the boundary.  “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28 NAS).  Take comfort in the fact that God is the ultimate boundary, and He’s in charge.  All we have to do is follow Him.

A 33-year-old drawing created by Angela when she was in sixth grade. The blonde girl in the foreground is observing three girls in the background. Sadly, two girls are gossiping about the third girl behind her back.

© 2014 Angela Royse Pelleman – The Silver Lining