Finding Peace Behind the Pain | {Fiercely His #12}

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We’re starting off our #fiercelyHis week with Jennifer Moye. Jen is an absolute inspiration as you will find out after you read today’s post. Our pain is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that Jesus felt. Jen’s a strong woman!

Is there peace behind the pain?

Is there peace behind the pain? Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. My Savior is no stranger to the pain I feel. Did He lay down and give in? No! He stood strong and pressed on in His Father’s will for Him. I began to see . . . I should too.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t hurt. Some days the pain is bearable.

Some days it hurts to breathe.

I’m a military wife and mother to three very energetic little boys who rarely slow down to accommodate mom’s aching body.

Medically speaking, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, bursitis, costochondritis, and osteoarthritis . . . and I am only 33 years old. My doctors have given up and referred me to pain management centers to try and get the pain under control.

I tell you this not for your sympathy. I tell you this because over 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain.Over 100 million Americans suffer w/ chronic pain. #fiercelyHis @jenmoyewrites #peacebehindpain Click To Tweet

Chances are one of you reading this is in the boat with me. Shortly after having our third child I reached a low point in my life. I was overwhelmed trying to juggle a 1 year old, a 2 ½ year old, and a newborn preemie.

All I wanted to do was sleep.

Sleep was the only way to escape the pain. Each day became a battle to keep from sliding down the slippery slope into depression pulling on me. I felt so helpless and weak, as though life was just happening to me.

In the midst of it all I heard the word a military wife dreads the most.

Deployment.

My precious husband was sent overseas for about 7 months, and there I sat with 3 boys.

It was in those 7 months that I wrestled with God over my pain and self-pity to the point of complete brokenness.

I physically could not get out of the bed to care for my own children. In that brokenness I was finally still enough to hear God speak to me. I began to slow down enough to listen for His small voice that is always there with me.

Instead of my usual pleas to take the pain away, I buried my nose in the Scriptures searching for hope. I finally began to see God for who He truly is, and who I am in Him.

Job, who endured unspeakable suffering, said “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)

This was exactly what I had been doing over the last year. I knew the Sunday school answers but my heart was too focused on me, and not on Him. The first thing I learned about suffering is that it yields intimacy with God. My pain draws me closer to Him.Pain draws me closer to God. #fiercelyHis #peacebehindpain @jenmoyewrites Click To Tweet

I was slowly finding peace behind the pain.

Isaiah 48:10  “…I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
This verse makes it clear that pain and suffering have a way of bringing our strengths and weaknesses to the surface. Is this what God is doing when He allows my pain to come? Is He trying to refine me and shape me to look more like Him? Maybe my suffering is God’s way of refining me.

Jesus understands our pain!

You see, when we seek God through His Word and prayer, we find Jesus. I sometimes forget that Jesus understands our pain because He, too, suffered. We read the words of Psalm 22:1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?”

My Savior is no stranger to the pain I feel. Did He lay down and give in? No! He stood strong and pressed on in His Father’s will for Him.

I began to see . . . I should too.

My husband was deployed in a war zone.

My children needed me.

My body was failing me.

The way I saw things, I had two choices:  

I could lay down and feel sorry for myself, wallow in my pain and depression, or I could choose to let God show off His power through me.U can lay down& feel sorry for yourself or you can let God show His power in you.… Click To Tweet

 

Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. You can either lay down and wallow in the pain and suffering, or you can choose to get up and let God show off His power within you!

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Finding peace behind the pain and becoming #fierce.

I needed to become fierce!

Not in my own strength but in His.

I needed faith that He was always on my side and even though others could not, God always sees my pain. God ALWAYS sees our pain! #fiercelyHis @jenmoyewrites Click To TweetNothing happens that He isn’t aware of.

“Faith isn’t thinking everything will go my way, it’s resting in the truth that God is in control.”

God protects me, and God is working for my ultimate redemption – even when the opposite seems to be true.

Faith means I stand strong with God in the good times and the hard times. It’s a daily decision. One I have continued to make since that deployment.

Each morning as I pull my achy body out of bed, before my feet hit the floor, I am asking God for my daily portion. Just enough to get through this day and glorify Him while doing it.

Are there hard days and tears of weariness and defeat? Absolutely!

I will never understand fully why we face despair while others don’t. It isn’t my job to know why. It is my job to believe that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.

He is my Redeemer and my Portion.

He is my Strength and my Firm Foundation.

I am weak, but in Him I am undefeatable.

When I choose to stand in the hand of my God I am fierce!

Is there peace behind pain? Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. My Savior is no stranger to the pain I feel. Did He lay down and give in? No! He stood strong and pressed on in His Father’s will for Him. I began to see . . . I should too.

Whatever pain or hardship you face today, know that God sees you right where you are.

He has never left you and He never will.

Stop trying to live in your own strength, it is too hard. Step out of your defeat and depression and step into His loving arms.

Find your fierceness in Him. Find peace behind the pain.

He understands and His heart’s desire is for you to draw close to Him in your weakness. In the midst of your valley, dig into His Word. Slow down enough to hear His still and small voice. He is there. He is calling you to Him. He wants to refine you a little more today. Trust Him. He is worthy.

Jennifer is a fighter! #FiercelyHis

mjennifer2Jennifer is wife to an Airman and mom to three rambunctious little boys. With excitement on a daily basis and grace around every corner, she believes we are meant to live this life in community with others and with the mercy to mess up and try again….and again.  Being a mom is hard, but it is also a divine calling we can have in this life. Her ministry to women is relevant and heartfelt with her core passion being that we learn to glorify our God in our parenting, our marriage, and in our everyday lives. Jennifer blogs over at JenniferMoye.com

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How to Surrender when you want to Defend| {Fiercely His #11}

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I’m honored to introduce you to my friend Rebecca! I’ve only known her for a short time, but I learned quickly that she is a great teacher of the Bible, and I love that about her. She’s also an excellent writer. Since we started this process she has been a pure delight to work with, and her heart is pure and genuine!

How to Surrender when you want to Defend.

It's hard to surrender when you want to defend. And sometimes it’s good to stand up against evil. But other times, God’s will is for us to remain silent.

 

I don’t know about you, but something deep inside me cheers victoriously when Jesus rises up against the Sadducees and Pharisees. I want to shout “Amen!” through a great big bullhorn while He admonishes that brood. Maybe that’s a wrong attitude. But dealing with bullies is exhausting. And hearing the Lion of Judah’s roar is empowering!

And while I’m being honest, I also would have loved to draw my sword alongside Simon Peter at the Garden of Gethsemane. “You’re not taking our Lord!” But just then … I feel Jesus take my arm, and whisper the same words he gave Peter – “return your sword to its place” (Matthew 26:52).

Wait – what?

I wonder if Peter stood there as dumbfounded as I would have been. Jesus told them to stay alert and keep watch for the approaching enemy. But when the enemy arrived, Jesus told Peter to stand down.

Why does Jesus seem to contradict himself?

At one moment Jesus is the roaring Lion of Judah, tossing tables and readying the armies of heaven. But when evil came to chain Him to death’s door, the Lamb surrendered.

No – thinking of Jesus as a sacrificial lamb isn’t the cross I want to bear. I want to rise up! How dare they accuse my King! How dare they rip the flesh from his bones! I want to cry out, “Stand up, Jesus! Defend yourself!” Oh how I wish He would have defended himself!

And there, my sweet friends, is the problem.

Sometimes when we defend our flesh, we fail to carry out God’s will.

Jesus never came to defend his life. He came to carry out His Father’s will. In His obedient silence, Heaven’s power roared!

“Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Laying aside my will in moments of adversity is not easy for me.

It's hard to surrender when you want to defend. And sometimes it’s good to stand up against evil. But other times, God’s will is for us to remain silent.

I have a quick temper. I don’t like being wrongly accused. I have a strong desire for truth and justice. The enemy knows it, too. And in my weakest hour, he came prowling.

My husband and I had been married only six months when left for war. Those were devastating, fearful days. To make it worse, people I considered friends and co-workers used every moment to voice their outrage about the war – and our military members. They didn’t whisper, either. No – they stood right in front of my desk in their circles of dissent – flogging my broken heart with every angry word.

For ten excruciating months, I endured the fear of war – and the torment of hate. Everything inside me wanted to rise up and roar! I wanted to grab my sword and let my own angry words take revenge! But Jesus whispered to my heart, “Your sword is not one of vengeance, but is the Word of God.”

“In your anger, do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)

Holding my tongue was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever made.

I could have satisfied the desires of my flesh. It would have felt wonderful — for a time. Guilt and remorse would have quickly replaced the momentary pleasure.

Instead, I chose to surrender when what I wanted to do was defend.

Yes, the honest truth is it was more desirable to consider vengeance rather than surrendering to God’s will.At times its easier to consider vengeance rather that surrendering to God's will. #fiercelyHis… Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s good to stand up against evil. My husband and I know that truth all too well. But other times, God’s will is for us to remain silent. The Holy Spirit helps us to discern God’s will. Sometimes God's will is for us to remain silent. #fiercelyHis @rldevotions Click To Tweet

“There is a time to speak, and a time to be silent.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

Anger itself is not a sin.

Sin happens when we use our anger against the will of God. Was I going to allow the enemy to stir vengeance in my heart – or allow the Holy Spirit to create peace within me?

Being slow to anger helps us listen more closely to the heart of God, rather than the desires of our flesh.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty.” (Proverbs 16:32) #fiercelyHis @rldevotions Click To Tweet

Our lives are a testimony to the power of God. The more the enemy can stir anger and vengeance in our hearts, the less likely we will show the love of God.

And the world so desperately needs the love of God!

Interestingly, it wasn’t the roaring Lion of Judah that turned the heart of the Roman centurion. It was the Lamb of God! There was nothing weak about Jesus surrendering his life on that cross. Quite the contrary.

fiercesurrender2

The unfathomable love and forgiveness of Jesus was mightier than the centurion’s sword.

I’d like to think that maybe my silence still rings in the ears of those who hurt and mocked my husband and me. But they are in God’s hands. My heart can look back with peace. The enemy did not win the war. I forgave my enemies, my husband returned safely,

and a month later we discovered God had blessed us with a child.

Now, when I think of the Lamb of God, I see His mighty power and strength! It’s a cross I will bear gladly and thankfully.

Because the Lamb hung on the cross that day, the Lion will return victorious!

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Rebecca is a fighter! #fiercelyHis

Rebecca Lynn

RebeccaLynn is a wife, mother of two, and a passionate follower of Jesus. Her writing is focused on helping others develop a deeper relationship with Christ. She has worked in prison ministry and comes from a long ancestry of writers and ministers. Her message is that a devoted heart for Christ results in a wonderfully transformed life! When she isn’t writing, Rebecca enjoys spending time in the warm Arizona sun, going on hikes with her husband, and appreciating each moment of this beautiful life!

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Fight for your Calling. | {Fiercely His #10}

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I’m so excited to have Casey on the blog today. I had the privilege of working with Casey at an event for her church and she is an absolute joy to be around. She’s honest, real and just genuinely sweet..and I love those qualities in people. I know you’ll love her just like I do!

“Saying yes to God is never easy, and always comes with a fight. But we say yes to Him wounded and weak with the promise that His Grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.  A fierce woman is a surrendered woman.”

Fight for your calling! What is God calling you to do? Sometimes we have to fight for that calling. We have to fight for what God is calling us to do. Even when that calling, that dream, that hope is buried so deep down that it's barely still flickering to stay alive. You have got to purposely and intentionally lift your head every single day to where your help comes from and DECIDE to be willing to obey. DECIDE to say yes to God.

My journey of living perfectly weak began with over a decade of disappointment and hurt. When you start out ready to take on the world for Jesus and then real life, with real wounds sets in, you want to give up. Here is an excerpt of my book “Perfectly Weak,” of when God was asking me to say yes to planting our church and getting up one more time and fight. I just didn’t have it in me—but God had it in Him.

Perfectly Weak

One night, at my breaking point ready to give up, I was lying in bed crying while Justin was asleep, I heard God very clearly say, “If you will just be willing, I will do the rest.” He just wanted me to say yes. That’s all I had to do. And at the moment, saying yes to Him was the hardest thing I could do. It was actually physically hard for me to get the word out. But lying there that night, I said yes to God in the faintest whisper I could muster. I meant it, but I didn’t feel it.

As I began to say yes to God, I still felt overwhelmed, angry, hurt, and scared.  I felt too weak. I still did not want to start that church. I just wanted so badly to be safe, not risky. I wanted to be comfortable.

 But I had decided that if God asked me to be willing, then I could do that and I was going to watch Him keep His end of the bargain and let Him do the rest—because I just couldn’t.

Even though I agreed to obey and God was moving, I still was struggling. So much fear and anger was holding me back. It was going to be a fight and take all I had. As we moved to plant the church, I felt foggy and lost. I spent most of my day with our ten-month old and three-year old, whom I loved with all my heart and for whom I wanted the best, but I’d been crushed and hurt by the last nine years of ministry experiences. And there we were, moving forward with planting a church that I still did not want to be a part of. It was all too much for me.

I knew God was there. I talked to Him everyday, but I was angry with Him and didn’t understand why He allowed hurtful things to happen to me. I knew He was sovereign. I knew He was in control of everything. But rather than bringing a sense of peace and reassurance, the thought of His power and authority only made me mad, mostly because I knew life didn’t have to happen to us the way it did. He could have made things turn out different. But He didn’t. I cringed when well-meaning people would say things like, “God has a reason for everything, or God uses all things for good in our lives.” I knew that was true, but I was years away from being ready to digest that. I was terribly disappointed at where we were in life after almost ten years of marriage.

So, one day I began to tell God that I was angry, which was nothing new. I’d been telling him that same thing every day for quite a while. This time, however, I began to tell Him that not only did we not have things we needed, but that I couldn’t see any way we could ever have anything we wanted or see any of our dreams come true. They were dreams God had given us, but I had given up—for real this time. I was done. It all seemed impossible and every day I let Him know how I felt.

But even after saying all that to Him, God kept whispering to me, “If you will just be willing, I will do the rest.” So I got up everyday and said the words, “I am willing.” I said it, but I didn’t feel it. I so desperately wanted those feelings to come as we planted this church. I wanted to feel the joy and excitement about this journey that Justin felt—it was difficult to watch Justin and see his excitement every day about what we were doing and all the while I was so angry. But day after day, in spite of my prayers, nothing changed. So, I kept going, and just took one step at a time.

As we planted the church, people showed up and ministry began to grow, and I continued to hide. Afraid of being hurt. Afraid to step into the role He had for me. I was so wounded, and I responded by focusing on the wounds– and not the Healer—which meant I was disabling myself from stepping into the leadership He was calling me towards. I had to learn you can’t recognize the God of the impossible inside of you, while dwelling on the negative circumstances around you. –Excerpt from “Perfectly Weak.”

You can’t recognize the God of the impossible inside of you, while dwelling on the negative… Click To Tweet

Fight for your calling!

Fight for your calling.

I also had to learn that we have to fight for what God is calling us to do. Even when that calling, that dream, that hope is buried so deep down that it’s barely still flickering to stay alive. You have to purposely and intentionally lift your head every single day to where your help comes from and

DECIDE to be willing to obey.

DECIDE to say yes to God.

Saying yes to God is never easy, and always comes with a fight. But we say yes to Him wounded and weak with the promise that His Grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.  A fierce woman is a surrendered woman.

A fierce woman is a surrendered woman. #CaseyGraves #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

When we surrender our wounds and our weaknesses to God, and lean into that grace and power He promises, that’s when we can get up and fight even when don’t think we can. We can’t, but God can fight in us and through us. When we surrender it to Him that’s when Christ’s power can rest on us. It rises up in us to be powerful.

And that’s living perfectly weak.

Casey is a fighter. #fiercelyHis

Casey Graves/Perfectly Weak

Casey Graves is a wife, momma, women’s ministry director, and pastor in Tulsa, OK.  She spends her time keeping up with the craziest dreamer and God chaser she knows (her husband), and being mom to two precious girls that are her life’s calling to raise. She loves the remarkable people that she gets to pastor and realizes that God has facilitated His healing in her life through the process of planting Foundations Church. She has just recently published a book entitled Perfectly Weak about her Perfectly Weakjourney through brokenness, weakness, and fear. She heavily leans to Jesus every day to be the grace that is sufficient for her and power that is made perfect in her weakness.

 

Casey blogs at www.weareperfectlyweak.com.

You call also follow Casey on Facebook or Instagram.

I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. Also leave any prayer requests. I love praying for you!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

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How to be Fierce & Forgiving at the Same Time {Fiercely His #9}

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Every post in the #fiercelyHis series has been special. Today is no different. I’m particularly excited about today’s post by Melanie. When I asked writers to be a part of this series, I asked that they be vulnerable and open in sharing and Melanie hesitated, because as you will read she is very private. She later came back and said she’d felt led to contribute and I was THRILLED…because I KNEW that it was a Jesus-thang. This is a STRONG story,  y’all. LEAN IN. Melanie is the kind and tender, and I love her soul. I pray you’ll be touched!

I’m a really private person.

If you were to talk to my closest friends, they’d tell you this is true.

I typically keep my personal info PERSONAL!

But, my friend Shannon prompted me to share more freely today.

How can we be fierce and forgiving at the same time? All of us have relationships, friendships, and situations in which we get wounded. Even fierce women get hurt. How do we handle the pain? Here are some very wise and practical steps you can take to forgive those who have hurt you and move on with your life!

 

It happened many years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember embracing my precious friends one final time.

I remember pulling out of the long driveway of that brand-new, specially crafted, beautiful house for the last time.

I remember the forever drive to our new location.

I remember feeling so sad, so heartbroken, and so disappointed as we traveled.

I remember numbly unloading our belongings in the freezing cold weather.

And, I remember why we had to go through all of this.

All of this pain, change and hurt sprung from the actions of one man and his wife.

Without going into great detail, I can tell you that we were crushed by the situation and strongly compelled to leave.

We knew that our only option was to move to another position and another city.

It was the hardest thing we have ever had to do.

And, in the aftermath, I faced a really tough question:

Would I forgive this man and his wife?

Actually, I believe that ALL OF US will face injustice, betrayal, deceit, and rejection by friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, employers, and even by Christian leaders and pastors.

No one is immune to being wounded!

Not even a fierce woman!

How does a fierce woman forgive when she is wounded by someone else?

First, a fierce woman forgives by looking to Jesus and trusting that He knows best.

Trusting God was not my first thought, and it will likely not be yours either. But, God gave us a verse during this season, and I’ll share it with you.

‘But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”‘ (Genesis 50:19-20)

Joseph trusted God’s hand and His plans even when his own brothers sold him into slavery. It ultimately led to great joy and the salvation of many.

Similarly, in our lives, God’s plans will often lead through dark valleys of pain and rejection. When we are in these deep, dark valleys we must determine to trust God – no matter what. Why? Because He is able to use these moments in our lives for our good and for His glory.Fierce women forgive by trusting God no matter how hard it is to trust Him. #fiercelyHis… Click To Tweet

Second, a fierce woman forgives by praying for that one who has hurt her.

Oh, this one is so hard!

Your initial prayers may start out, “Get him, Lord! Get her, Lord!”

In time, however, you can learn to pray for God to bless that person who hurt you. You can begin to pray for God to heal them, restore them, encourage them, and help them.

How can we be fierce and forgiving at the same time? All of us have relationships, friendships, and situations in which we get wounded. Even fierce women get hurt. How do we handle the pain? Here are some very wise and practical steps you can take to forgive those who have hurt you and move on with your life!

Jesus told us to do this in Matthew 5:44, “I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer.”

And, somehow, praying for someone who has hurt you frees up your heart to forgive. It enables you to let that person go. Praying for your enemies will remove that root of bitterness that wants to make itself at home in your heart.

 

Fierce women forgive by praying for those who wounded them. #fiercelyHis @melanieredd Click To Tweet

Third, a fierce woman forgives by shutting her mouth when she wants to speak ill of that one who has hurt her.

It is so easy for hurt people to gripe, whine, and complain to everyone who will listen. We are struggling, and it’s natural to want to vent and vent and vent.

Don’t do this! Talk to a few trusted friends and prayer partners. Get the story out with a very small group of people – if you must. (And, most of us must!)

Then, move on.

Hush! Let the only time you talk about the hurt be with the Lord. He can handle it!

Pastor Adrian Rogers used to say, “When someone hurts you, tell Jesus on them.” Fierce women forgive by hushing their mouths! #fiercelyHis @melanieredd Click To Tweet

Lastly, a fierce woman forgives by showing kindness to that one who has hurt her.

This last step to forgiveness may be the most difficult.

To show kindness to a person who has wounded you or broken your heart, this is the ultimate test for most of us.

Look at what Solomon writes in Proverbs 25:21-22:

“If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.

You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.”

When we show kindness to our enemies, we heap burning coals of shame on their heads. (Some of you are enjoying this picture a little too much right now!) And, we are promised the reward of the Lord. Fierce women forgive by showing kindness to their enemies. #fiercelyHis @melanieredd Click To Tweet

How can we be fierce and forgiving at the same time? All of us have relationships, friendships, and situations in which we get wounded. Even fierce women get hurt. How do we handle the pain? Here are some very wise and practical steps you can take to forgive those who have hurt you and move on with your life!

Today, if you and I were to meet for coffee, you would be able to look into my eyes and know that I’ve been able to forgive that man and his wife.

Does the story still touch a tender place in my heart? Absolutely.

But, I’ve had the opportunity to practice all of the steps I’ve shared (even the last one) with this couple, and my heart is completely free.

The ultimate truth about unforgiveness is this:

“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong, it makes you bitter.

Forgiving doesn’t make you weak, it sets you free.”

(Dave Willis)

Melanie is a fighter. #fiercelyHis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melanie Redd Profile shotMelanie’s passion is to offer HOPE! She wrote curriculum for Lifeway for over 10 years before launching her own writing and speaking ministry.

Melanie is the author of three books and hosts an inspirational blog at www.melanieredd.com. Married to Randy for over 25 years; the couple enjoys travel, golf, eating out, and hanging out with their two college-aged kids.

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I love hearing from you! Please say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. Also leave any prayer requests. It’s an honor to pray for you!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you identify with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

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He Is Our Fierce

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Today we get to read the words of Melissa Bronson. Melissa is an amazing and gifted writer. I was thrilled that she said yes when I asked her to write for this series. Her story about her daughter is powerful!

He Is Our Fierce. I’d been depleted – broken and emptied of self, reduced to what I am unto myself: nothing. So, I stepped outside the comfort zone, to the front of the line with Christ as my full covering. My fierce was nothing without Jesus. He is my armor, answer, and antidote. When we speak in His name, we have power. The devil is not amused by Christ’s fierce; he is terrified at the sound of His name.

He is Our Fierce

I couldn’t comfort her.  I racked my maternal mind and came up empty. My words fell lifeless; they meant nothing.  I sought His face, pleaded with the Father to take away her fear.  I read His Word to her.  It brought no comfort, only an otherworldly longing and questions I couldn’t answer.

“I just want Jesus to come back so I’m not afraid anymore.  I want to be in heaven.”  

While I was grateful for her longing, it weighed heavy.  Eight-year-old girls love life.  They run and sing and dance in the rain.  They play with friends and make believe.

But, fear ran and danced over her little heart.  She was so afraid.

She loved Jesus.  I know this because I heard her pleading prayers.   The Light flickered behind her eyes.  But, in the fear cloud, she couldn’t see clearly.  The fear cloud is dark.  It’s confusing and messes everything up.The fear cloud is dark, confusing&messes everything up. #anxiety#fiercelyHis @mdbronson Click To Tweet

Why doesn’t He take my fears away?  Doesn’t He hear me?  Why isn’t He answering my prayers? 

I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I don’t know.

I’m her mother, her earthly protector, so I answer questions.  I beat back the clouds.  But, I couldn’t this time, and it tore.

When she screamed and held the door frame, I wanted to enfold her, keep her in my arms, smoothing hair and wiping cheeks dry.

It’s okay.  I’m here. 

But, I couldn’t.  I had to peel fingers and draw and force her.  I had to push-pull her, and I hated it.  I couldn’t fix this for her, and so I reached end and yelled.  Then, she was scared of me, too.  I screamed at the devil to get out of my daughter’s heart.  I screamed from the pit of my own self, Get out, Satan!

A fire burned in my chest – smoldering, wrecking.  Heart and head sometimes don’t work so well together.

I knew she had go to school.  She had to learn.  It was so scary and neither of us knew why.  She has a beautiful, Spirit-filled school and loving, Christ-hearted teachers.  So, we did all the stuff: counseling, diet, medication, prayer, scripture cards in the lunch box and locker.  She even wrote verses on her skin.  All the reminders.  The fight, fight, fight.  My resources depleted.

I don’t know. 

Nothing.

What am I missing, Lord?  Why are you allowing this?  Why aren’t you taking this? 

Then, one day, Pastor said, “Claim it!  Don’t ask, don’t hesitate, and don’t run.  Stand and claim His protection in the name of Jesus, and be strong.  Be firm, wholly trusting; speak without anger.  Speak it calmly.  Devil, get out.  In the name of Jesus and in the power of His blood, get out.”

I’d been asking – over and over.  Please, take it.  Please comfort her.  Please, Lord, please.  I’d yelled, cursed, and demanded.  But, always in my own power, never His.  Satan laughed at my fierceness.  I amused him.  My fierce started and stopped at nowhere.

I couldn’t protect my child.

Father said, Where’s your armor?

I’ve got it; it’s right there.

Why aren’t you wearing it?

I wear it sometimes.

I’d been depleted – broken and emptied of self, reduced to what I am unto myself: nothing. So, I stepped outside the comfort zone, to the front of the line with Christ as my full covering. My fierce was nothing without Jesus. He is my armor, answer, and antidote. When we speak in His name, we have power. The devil is not amused by Christ’s fierce; he is terrified at the sound of His name.“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:16-17

Put it on.  Pick up the shield, strap the helmet, and lift the sword.  Now, use it.  I’ve given you authority, don’t you remember?  Speak in the name of my Son – Jesus Christ – and Satan will flee. 

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Luke 10:19

I’d been depleted – broken and emptied of self, reduced to what I am unto myself: nothing.  So, I stepped outside the comfort zone, to the front of the line with Christ as my full covering.  My fierce was nothing without Jesus.  He is my armor, answer, and antidote.  When we speak in His name, we have power.  The devil is not amused by Christ’s fierce; he is terrified at the sound of His name.My fierce was nothing without Jesus. #fiercelyHis #fierce #anxiety @MDBronson Click To Tweet

He is Our Fierce. I’d been depleted – broken and emptied of self, reduced to what I am unto myself: nothing. So, I stepped outside the comfort zone, to the front of the line with Christ as my full covering. My fierce was nothing without Jesus. He is my armor, answer, and antidote. When we speak in His name, we have power. The devil is not amused by Christ’s fierce; he is terrified at the sound of His name.

He is our fierce.

Praise Jesus, He’s restored peace.  He’s filled my precious child with His magnificent joy.  She’s happy again and no longer afraid.  She runs and sings and dances in the rain.  She plays with her friends and makes believe.  Mostly, though, she believes.  She’s lived the miracle of His fierceness.

He’s changed my prayer.  I don’t ask anymore.  I claim it.

Father, I claim protection over my child’s heart, mind, and soul.  Vaporize her fears.  Make them disappear in His name and for Your glory, Amen. 

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M.D. Bronson is mother to four daughters, sister to the Savior, and daughter of the King. She loves authenticity, her fanny pack, digging in dirt, sharp pencils, and watching her Father’s hand spin Life in and around her. Oh, and words. She loves words. You can find her blog @ www.mdbronson.com or follow on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/mdellabronson.  

I love hearing from you and would love you to take a minute to say ‘hey’ and share your thoughts below. I also love to hear what’s going on with you and love praying for you! Notice a common theme here?- LOVE!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you identify with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Friend? Co-worker? Family member? Who needs the truth today?

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How I Fight to Keep my Marriage Strong|{Fiercely His #7)

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I’m honored to bring Valerie to you today, talking about one of my dearest and nearest topics. Marriage. I met Valerie through the blogging community and she is a pure blessing to me. I love how authentic Valerie is and the practical wisdom and advice that she offers, plus she is an absolute gem.

We have to fight for our marriage. Fight the good fight of the faith, and take hold of the eternal life to which we have been called when we made our good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

How I Fight To Keep My Marriage Strong

I’ve been married to my best friend for 20 years! And friends, let me tell you, our marriage hasn’t been easy! It’s been hard work. There have been times when I honestly didn’t know if we would last. Times when I just wanted to give up because it was hard and painful.

But now I’m so thankful for the healing I see when I look back. I see how through time our marriage has grown and is still growing. Through time, brokenness finds healing, a heart learns to trust again and true redemption is possible.

God has been the glue that keeps my marriage together. I love the triangle graphic. The top of the triangle is God and the sides are the husband and wife. As each spouse grows closer to God, they, in turn, grow closer to each other.

And in order to stay close to the Lord, we need to fight the good fight of faith. We need to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:12:

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

I believe we need to do the same for our marriages.

And so I’ve learned over the course of my marriage when hard times come, I get ready to do battle. Battle for my marriage. Battle for my faith. Here are some ways I’ve learned to fight for my marriage.

Here are ways 7 to FIGHT in order to keep your marriage strong:

Know who the real enemy is.

And it’s usually not my spouse (even when I feel like it is..but I’ll get to that later…)

Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil.

Satan loves to divide a husband and wife. #fiercelyHis @cordof6#fightforyourmarriage Click To Tweet

When we understand those unseen forces at work, we can see the problem through a different lens.

And since my husband and I both love the Lord, this usually brings us back together.

Prayer is our most powerful weapon.

We must know who the real enemy is and put on the armor of God.

Pray for yourself.

Read the Word.

Pray scripture verses over your marriage.

Make a prayer journal and pray over every area of your marriage. I have seen God work little miracles in my everyday life in my relationship with my husband through the power of prayer.

Make sure your marriage is healthy.

Every marriage will have it’s problems. The Bible encourages us to seek counsel when we’re struggling. Sometimes we just need the support of others to lead and guide us when we don’t know what to do, how to forgive, or how to change. Often we come to a place where we need outside help for issues we can’t resolve on our own. If you are at a place in your marriage where you just can’t communicate or get along, seek counsel.

Do everything you can to get your marriage to a healthy place. God will help you.

*A spouse who is being abused can try their best to be a peacemaker and forgive but the problems just persist. The marriage needs outside help. Please get help and remove yourself from harm. Abuse of any kind goes against all that God is, and you are not required to take it.

In marriage when hard times come, you must ready to do battle. Battle for your marriage and battle for my faith. Here are ways to help you fight to keep your marriage strong!

Don’t let your feelings control you.

Feelings, whoa oh feelings…. Boy, can they paint a bleak picture and cause you to see your life through a dim cloud of despair. Feelings can fool us into making all kinds of assumptions. There have been days when I felt like my husband was THE enemy (as mentioned above). I could only see him through my negative lens.

And then a few days would pass and those feelings would fade and I’d begin to see the bigger picture of reality. My husband loves me. He cares for me. But sometimes I convince myself that he doesn’t.

I’ve learned to appreciate my husband’s differences and understand the way he shows love.

Stand firm in who you are in Christ.

When my husband disagrees with my opinion on something or is critical of me, I don’t need to let it affect how I feel about myself. Because I know the truth of who I am in Christ.

I stand firm in the fact that the love of Christ completes me.

I don’t need my husband to show love to me in a certain way anymore in order to feel complete, because, for one, I know my husband loves me….and I also know that I’m completely loved by Christ.

Give grace.

I’m humbled when I remember the grace that God has shown me. I’m humbled when my husband shows me grace and forgives me. And sometimes I realize I don’t give grace as I should.

God’s grace has allowed the power of forgiveness and continued restoration to take place in my marriage.

God’s grace gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to love as Christ loved us. And that kind of love can help restore a marriage.

Forgive.

This is huge. Forgiveness occurs every single day. We are two imperfect people. We sin. We fail. We disappoint.

Maybe you’ve been wronged and your spouse isn’t repentant. I’m so sorry for your pain. Bring it to the Lord. Find counsel. God can change hearts. He gives us wisdom when we don’t know how to handle a situation. All we have to do is ask.

I’ve learned forgiveness doesn’t mean you don’t work for restoration. It doesn’t mean you ignore problems that need solving.

Forgiveness means you work to restore brokenness.

Forgiveness means you work to restore brokenness. #fiercelyHis @cordof6 #marriage Click To Tweet

It’s part of the good fight to make our marriage strong. I know this may not be possible for every marriage…but I do believe if both partners are willing to fiercely fight for their marriage God can redeem.

In marriage when hard times come, you must ready to do battle. Battle for your marriage and battle for my faith. Here are ways to help you fight to keep your marriage strong!

God created marriage to be a beautiful companionship. But sometimes we need to fight for it.

God created marriage to be a beautiful companionship. #fiercelyHis @cordof6 Click To Tweet

You may be interested to read His and Her Tips to Keep Your Marriage Strong10 Essentials for a Lasting Marriage and How Conflict Sanctifies.

Valerie is a fighter! #fiercelyHis

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Valerie Murray is a wife of 20 years and a busy mom to 4 energetic children. She writes at Cord of 6 about keeping family strong through Christ. Her heart’s desire is to offer hope to others and declare the glory of God in her life through her writing. Her mission is to offer encouragement to struggling marriages, overwhelmed moms and people striving to face their fears and know their worth. Coffee, chocolate, and a good movie always make her happy! You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon & Google+.

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hey!’ and share your thoughts below. Is there something I can pray with you about? Please let me know and I’ll pray!

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Fighting for a Heart of Forgiveness | {Fiercely His #6}

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I’m so excited to bring you Dawn today! I met Dawn through the blogging community and she has been such a true and authentic light to me. She is full of wisdom, generosity and strength and it’s been truly a pleasure getting to know her. You’ll want to lean in to this one today!

Fighting for forgiveness: God made women with fierce, protective, mama bear instincts, for a reason. It’s sin that can confuse us, causing us to pick the wrong fights. I thought I needed to fight against some circumstances I couldn’t control- and when I saw that I couldn’t win, I became bitter. The rightful fight was against the sin in my own heart, the sin of bitterness. God was on my side in that fight. That’s why I won- and victory has been very sweet.

Fighting for a Heart of Forgiveness

I never thought of myself as a fierce woman until I had kids.  The depth and ferocity of my feelings, when I perceive something as a threat to my children, came as a surprise to me.

Instinctual.

Mama bear.

Fierce.

As a young mom, the first time I saw another little kid push over my daughter on a playground, I got a little glimpse into what kind of fierce woman I really am.  That time, it was a mild enough incident.  I picked my girl up, kissed her, and sent her back out to play…away from the other kid.  But what I felt inside, the intensity, it shocked me!  I had never felt like that before.  And that was just a little thing.  What would I do if my daughter’s happiness or her sense of security were actually threatened?  I was afraid to find out.

Yet soon enough, I would.

Fun family holidays, doting grandparents, and lots of hands to make lighter work of parenting were all blessings I took for granted until my oldest was four.  We had something very good.

And then we didn’t. 

It’s an old yet painful story.  It’s a story that has probably touched many of you.

Divorce.

It wasn’t my own marriage, but it was close family members- and it affected my own family, deeply.  It was ugly- and like the first tipped domino, it set off a series of terrible events that continued for many more years.

The mama bear in me came out in full force.  I had some fierce anger but nowhere to direct it.

Bitterness took hold of my heart.

Bitterness colored everything in my life like a thick layer of soot.  When I would read my Bible, all I could see was how it applied to the people who hurt my family.  I couldn’t see how it applied to me.  I felt distant from God.  My temper was short.  The grievances I had constantly occupied my mind.

I was fighting something I couldn’t control and I punched about, ineffectually, in a blind rage.  I was hurting myself and I was hurting my family.  This was a sad irony, since it was my protectiveness, for them, which brought out this fight in me.

God made women with a capacity for some fierce strength.  We can be fighters when we need to be.  Yet this strength, if not properly directed, can also be dangerous.God made women with the capacity for some fierce strength. #fiercelyHis @dawnklinge Click To TweetWe can’t always control our circumstances- no matter how much we want to fight them.  But there is something we CAN fight for.  And it takes fierce strength.  It’s a heart of forgiveness.

We NEED to FIGHT for forgiveness because bitterness destroys everything in its path.

We NEED to FIGHT for forgiveness because bitterness destroys us. #fiercelyHis @dawnklinge Click To Tweet

And then, of course, there’s this….

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.Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)

I didn’t want to be a bitter unforgiving person.  I didn’t want this sin to hurt my relationship with God and I didn’t want it to hurt my family.  I knew I would need to fight for a heart of forgiveness.  So that’s what I decided to do, with the same intensity and fierceness that I had previously directed towards other people and unwelcome circumstances.  I had to pray often.  I had to change my thoughts, words, and actions. This was how I did my fighting.

Forgiveness isn’t a one time occurrence.

Sometimes, whatever it is that caused the hurt in the first place is ongoing.  So forgiveness needs to happen again and again.  During the time when I was fighting for forgiveness in my heart, I would sometimes think I had reached that point where I was “done”.

But then an unwelcome thought would come into my head and I would have to fight again to come to a place of forgiveness.   Over time, taking those thoughts captive has become easier, but they haven’t disappeared entirely.  I still have to forgive, once again, when they come back.

I had to learn that I wasn’t alone in this fight, either.  I couldn’t do it alone.

In fact, it wasn’t me at all, but Christ in me that not only gave me the desire to forgive but the strength to fight for it.

Christ gives us the strength to fight for forgiveness! #fiercelyHis @dawnklinge Click To Tweet

Fighting for forgiveness: God made women with fierce, protective, mama bear instincts, for a reason. It’s sin that can confuse us, causing us to pick the wrong fights. I thought I needed to fight against some circumstances I couldn’t control- and when I saw that I couldn’t win, I became bitter. The rightful fight was against the sin in my own heart, the sin of bitterness. God was on my side in that fight. That’s why I won- and victory has been very sweet.

My strongest, fiercest, mama bear instincts are not enough on their own.  That’s what the Gospel is all about.  Jesus came and did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves when he came to earth and lived a perfect life, died on the cross, on our behalf, and rose again.

I can forgive because Christ forgave me.

I also had to learn what forgiveness was and was not.  I learned that forgiveness is not denying the hurt or excusing the sin.  It’s about killing the resentment in your heart that makes you want to hurt the other person and make them pay.

I knew I was coming out ahead in my fight for forgiveness when I started to want good things for the people I needed to forgive.  Bitterness has now been replaced with love, by the grace of God.  I can honestly say, there’s peace, where there used to be strife.

Fighting for forgiveness: God made women with fierce, protective, mama bear instincts, for a reason. It’s sin that can confuse us, causing us to pick the wrong fights. I thought I needed to fight against some circumstances I couldn’t control- and when I saw that I couldn’t win, I became bitter. The rightful fight was against the sin in my own heart, the sin of bitterness. God was on my side in that fight. That’s why I won- and victory has been very sweet.

The real fight.

God made women with fierce, protective, mama bear instincts, for a reason.  It’s sin that can confuse us, causing us to pick the wrong fights.  I thought I needed to fight against some circumstances I couldn’t control- and when I saw that I couldn’t win, I became bitter.  The rightful fight was against the sin in my own heart, the sin of bitterness.  God was on my side in that fight.  That’s why I won- and victory has been very sweet.

Dawn is a fighter. #fiercelyHis

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Dawn Klinge is the author of Look To Jesus:  How to Let Go of Worry and Trust God.  She writes about Christian faith regularly at Above the Waves, drawing on her experience as wife and mom to two.  She holds a degree in education from the University of Idaho.  A pastor’s kid and a church girl her entire life, she’s still trying to figure out what it looks like to put her trust in Jesus.  Dawn and her husband, Derek, live near Seattle, Washington.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hey!’ and share your thoughts below. Is there something I can pray with you about? Please let me know and I’ll pray!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

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Brokenness: Where Fierce Begins | {Fiercely His #5}

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I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Terri. I met Terri 3 months ago at a retreat. She’s one of the sweetest and most caring person I’ve ever met and I’m so blessed that she is in my life. Her words speak life and move deeply. Prepare to be touched!

If you have not dealt with a painful past, it WILL deal with you. Brokeness is where fierce begins.

Brokenness is Where Fierce Begins

When we were little there were toys called Weebles. The jingle from the television commercial was “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!” It’s true. They are made with a heavy ball inside at the base. The center of the mass is always near the bottom and the force of gravity pulls it back up.  If you pushed it down and released your finger, you would see it pop back up, wobbling back and forth.

One of my brothers often called me Weeble because he thought nothing could keep me down. I have failed to live up to that childhood nickname.

I’ve fallen many times, sometimes flat on my face with the wind knocked out of me.

There was a time in my young adult life when an unhealthy relationship blindsided me. There were elements in my life that created a perfect storm for impending disaster, both external and internal. My initial gut reaction was a prickle of distrust but I didn’t heed the warning.

I would have been wise to pay attention.

Loneliness is a powerful current and I was not anchored as tightly to the only One who would keep me from crashing. It was a costly mistake. But it was a season where God’s healing light came in through the wounds and redeemed my soul.

Let me stop right here.

If this is your tiny whisper in your gut about a new person in your life ask God to open your eyes so wide that you cannot deny what the spirit inside you may be saying amidst the pain, noise, loneliness or busyness in your life.

I can’t blame anyone for not listening to what I now know was a warning.  For me, it was a blip in thought that got buried by my own foolishness.

It seems I was anesthetized by a vapor I didn’t smell or see.

Seeds were sown but they were not from God. Their roots grew into the tangled roots of my past that I hadn’t worked through. Take this with love and as a warning:

If you have not dealt with a painful past, it will deal with you.

The things planted in your past go deep and often become strongholds. They are not erased when you get married, have children, get a degree or go to church.If you have not dealt with a painful past, it will deal with you. @Fullerton51T #fiercelyHis Click To TweetThey will emerge in your relationships no matter how hard you try to make it work or how hard you strive for the things you’ve always wanted.  You may feel that you don’t want anyone’s help. You may tell yourself you have to hold it together and handle it on your own. I get it. But it’s like driving on black ice at night.

It’s in the brokenness where He plants seeds to be fierce. When we see how weak we are, we have the opportunity to grab hold of the One who is strong.

It wasn’t long before I woke up in the midst of a train wreck. I shook my head and wondered how in the world I got there. How did this go so wrong so quickly? Initially, I was numb and confused. My distrust of people skyrocketed, along with a new revelation.

I didn’t trust myself either.

I withdrew internally. I went to counseling. I went through the Psalms and wrote out every verse that revealed something about God.

I didn’t rush through it because growing new roots takes time.

But it was worth it.

I wish I could say I bounced back quickly like a Weeble. I was broken in ways I didn’t even know I could be broken. I didn’t know how I would ever get up. But there is a God who longs to help us get back up.There is a God who longs to help us get back up. #brokenness #fiercelyHis @Fullerton51T Click To Tweet

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18 (NIV)
The depth of your pain and grief call out to the heart of God in a holy mystery. No one can help you like God and there are times you know this with every cell in your soul. You feel the palpable presence of Christ. My simple prayers sobbed from my core. God please help me. I am so sorry. I don’t see a way through this. Do whatever you need to do in me. Help me to do whatever I need to do to grow.

Maybe it’s in the brokenness where He plants seeds to be fierce.

Brokenness is where God plants seeds to be fierce. #fiercelyHis @Fullerton51T Click To Tweet

Maybe this is where God sows seeds for:

strength,
resolve,
wisdom,
compassion,
and forgiveness.

It’s in the brokenness where He plants seeds to be fierce. When we see how weak we are, we have the opportunity to grab hold of the One who is strong.

It’s where He nourishes us with understanding of our true identity. He reveals the depth and width and height of His love. When we see how weak we are, we have the opportunity to grab hold of the One who is strong.

The prayer that has been a thread since then is Lord, empty me of me and fill me with you. 

Being a fierce woman of God is a fruit that grows, as we abide in Christ. It is nourished by the teachings of His Word. We can trust Him to plant us by streams of living water. We will bear fruit, even if we started in broken places, and it’s to our Father’s glory.

Terri is a fighter. #fiercelyHis

Terri Fullerton, Fiercely His

Terri is a wife, mom, Bible study teacher and mentor.  God’s creation and His Word nourish her soul. She loves stories of redemption and things that are funny. She longs to encourage others to find hope and freedom.  She is a freelance writer, has a blog and is working on her first book. She is contributing writer at The Glorious Table. She shares posts at Life Letter Cafe and has also written for The Huffington Post.

Connect with Terri on    TWITTER      INSTAGRAM      PINTEREST

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hey!’ and share your thoughts below. Is there something I can pray with you about? Please let me know and I’ll pray!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

You might also enjoy:

Fighting to Know God | {Fiercely His #4}

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This is the second week of the #fiercelyHis series and your response has been overwhelming. My prayer has been not only for the reader, but for the writer as well -that you both would experience new or deeper healing and that you would be encouraged to live fiercely for Him!

I’m thrilled to bring Lloydetta to the blog today! I LOVE her. She’s real, authentic and just kind. When she told me her story, I knew it needed to be told and I’m honored to have her writing it down for you all today!

The last words I spoke to my dad before he passed away were, “I hope you die and go to hell for what you did to my sisters, and to our family!”

I didn’t shed one tear. The fact is, I was glad he was dead.

Do you feel lost? Lonely? Like you are fighting to know God? He is in relentless pursuit of you!

I often hear those who were raised by Godly parents talk about the wisdom, life lessons and unconditional love they learned from their fathers.  There are times I feel jealous and robbed because I was never able to experience that and it is still painful to this day. 

While there were fathers who instructed their teenagers to not drink and drive because they could get killed, my father was doing, well.. almost the same.  Instead of  “you could get killed,” my father would say “you might hit a bump and spill your drink and I don’t want you wasting good whiskey,” always throwing in a curse word or two. For the longest time I thought my name was “dammit,” because he said it so often.

My dad was an alcoholic.

He was also deep into pornography.

He had stacks of pornographic magazines and video tapes in our house. It wasn’t something that he hid. In fact, he would show the pictures to me and make disgusting comments about the sexual acts.

Dirty Little Secrets.

Did I mention I am the youngest of five daughters? We were never taught that sex was a sacred thing between a husband and a wife but simply something that you did because it felt good.

When I was sixteen years old I learned that my dad had gotten my two oldest sisters drunk and raped them.

I remember that day vividly. There was an argument between my oldest sister and my parents and she just blew up and blurted out everything that had happened. After that, no one spoke of what happened for years, and there was certainly no counseling.

It was our family’s “dirty little secret.”

From that day forward my life spiraled out of control. I couldn’t process what had happened and no one would even talk about it. I started experimenting with speed and marijuana but I needed more so I started doing hard stuff like LSD and cocaine. I would also take Valium, and anything I could get my hands on to mask the pain.

I would be gone for days and nobody ever came looking for me.

Instead of  “are you okay -we were so worried -we love you -let’s talk,” I heard “where the f*** have you been?”  

Just Like Them.

So, at the age of seventeen with a heart full of anger, confusion and rebellion I left home determined to have a better life because I didn’t want to be like them.

Thirteen years later I realized I had become the very thing I had tried to escape.

I was everything that I hated and I did the one thing I said I’d never do.

I had become just like them.

I was a functioning addict. I wasn’t addicted to a specific type of drug or alcohol,  but I was addicted to sex and getting high on whatever was available.

By the time I was 26 I was an unmarried mamma with two sons from two different fathers. I went through jobs, rental houses and men like they were candy. I used my looks and my body to get what I wanted, or at least what I thought I wanted. All of my relationships were built around sex and getting high.

My dad passed away shortly after.

The last words I spoke to him before he passed away were, “I hope you die and go to hell for what you did to my sisters, and to our family!”

I was numb.

I didn’t shed a tear; in fact I was glad he was dead.

Fighting to know God.

I realized that this family curse of alcoholism and addiction had to end, and somehow I knew that I had to be the one to end it. I wanted to be a good mother. I wanted to be a good person, but I just didn’t know how. I desperately cried out to God.

I didn’t understand what was going on at the time, but certain things just didn’t feel right anymore. At the time my youngest son’s dad was living with me. At night I would scoot over to the very edge of the bed and would not let him touch me. I was ashamed, and although I didn’t know it at the time, I was starting to become very aware of my sin.

The Holy Spirit was convicting me and over the course of several months God began to show Himself to me.  I started noticing the beauty of nature just like I did when I was a child. I remembered how carefree I was, and how fascinated I was with God’s creation. Suddenly the sky was beautiful again. I could hear the birds singing and smell the flowers.

I began to have divine encounters with God. Some were not pleasant and I just didn’t get it. God was foreign to me. I was trying hard to be good but I still didn’t realize that I couldn’t do it on my own.

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. Ephesians 6:12
There was an intense battle between the dark and the light.
Between the forces of good and evil.
On more than one occasion I was at a bar when God opened my eyes to see into the spirit realm.I literally saw demon-like creatures operating through the people who I was with. It was terrifying, I can remember looking at those around me and thinking “I don’t belong here!”

I am so thankful that He is relentlessly in his pursuit of us!

He is relentless in His pursuit of us! #God #fiercelyHis @lloydetta Click To Tweet

Fight to know a God who is in relentless pursuit of you!

I called His name.

These “encounters” went on for several months. There was a battle for my soul. I felt like I was being pulled to and fro. But even in the battle I couldn’t shake the wonderful presence that would come. And I had no idea what it was, but it would envelop me as I inched to the edge of the bed every night because I didn’t want to be touched in “that way” anymore by a man who was not my husband

When he {the Holy Spirit} comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. John 16:8 (NIV)
And then it happened.It was in the middle of the afternoon. I was high and just disgusted with myself. I felt confused and helpless.Ricky Lake was on the television. I have no idea what her show was about that day, but something about it must have overwhelmed me and I thought to myself, “is this is it?!  Is this what my life has become?!” And yet at the same time, there was that presence that always seemed to just “be there.”

Finally, on that glorious day while watching Ricky Lake I was no longer able to resist the wooing of the Holy Spirit. I fell to the floor and wept with my face in my hands. I was exhausted.

I was empty.

I was afraid.

Okay God! If this is you please save me, I can’t do this any longer, I want to be a good person but I need your help.

All who call upon the name of the Lord SHALL be saved. Romans 10:13 #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

All I did was call His name. I didn’t say a fancy, long, eloquent prayer. I didn’t renounce the devil (I didn’t know how or what I was even doing). In that moment I didn’t repent of all my sins. I simply called His name and He came!

Unexpected Forgiveness.

I felt an overwhelming sense of forgiveness and I immediately thought of my dad. I suddenly had a glimpse of him; a vision. I saw him in a beautiful grassy meadow and his face was bright and almost child-like. I knew he had made it to heaven. Somehow I knew that the devil was behind all of the evil things he had done and I completely forgave him.

Several years later I re-connected (on Facebook of course!) with my uncle; my dad’s little brother. He was with my dad when he passed away. He told me that he prayed with my dad and he had received Jesus on his death-bed. We wept together and I shared the vision I had with him.

Over the years several of my family members have come to know the Lord.

I have three amazing children who all love the Lord.

My oldest has five children of his own and it blesses me to know that he is raising them to love Jesus.

I often let my mind go back to that day in my living room and I am filled with gratitude because that is the day that He came to me!

He is my first true love and my forever. I promised Him that day that I would live for Him for the rest of my life. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it truly has been worth it. In this world we will have trouble. But when we put our trust in Him we can have peace in the midst of anything that comes our way.

Lloydetta is a fighter.

13330896_1020562451314317_6796526074729495990_nAfter several years of serving in the local church and prison ministry, Lloydetta began her own ministry called Precious Fruit Ministries. Lloydetta developed a passion for victims of human and sex trafficking, and in 2012 her central focus shifted and Precious Fruit Ministries formed Restoration House as a project of the ministry. Restoration House will be a long-term home to help minor girls rebuild their lives after being exploited into the sex-trafficking industry. PFM/Restoration House is recognized with the IRS as a 501c3 charitable organization. If you are interested in partnering with Restoration House please contact Lloydetta at lloydettak@gmail.com.

In addition to her charitable work and ministry Lloydetta brings over 20 years of sales and customer service experience to Coldwell Banker team as a licensed Real Estate Sales Executive. She is passionate about serving others and would love the opportunity to work with you. You can connect with Lloydetta here:

www.preciousfruitministries.com  Facebook  Twitter

 

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Are Fierce Women Weak? | {Fiercely His #3}

9

I’m so honored to have Keri on the blog today. I met Keri through a writer’s training program that we are both a part of. She has a beautiful story and such a beautiful heart. I know you will just love her sweet spirit to pieces just like I do!

“Though outwardly smiling to the world, inside I was crying out to God. I was suffering physically and spiritually. My prayers for healing went unanswered, and I found myself drifting away from Him. I was weak and in a state of brokenness.”

Are fierce women weak? Sweet sister, I don't know what weakness you face, but please know that when you are facing weakness, His grace and power is enough to make it perfect! By allowing Him to perfect what is weak, He is glorified and you are made fierce, for Him! So, I ask you, is a fierce woman weak? Absolutely. A weak woman, who gladly boast in her weakness, means she readily relies on God and trusts in His perfect power. That is a woman we should all strive to be!

Are Fierce Women Weak?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 11:24

Though outwardly smiling to the world, inside I was crying out to God. I was suffering physically and spiritually. My prayers for healing went unanswered, and I found myself drifting away from Him. I was weak and in a state of brokenness.

The journey that led me to that dark place began when my husband Ryan and I decided to have a child.

Dreams

I had dreams of a pregnancy full of smiles and laughter. I couldn’t wait to enjoy the feeling of life growing inside of me.

Two weeks after conception, I knew I was pregnant before any test or doctor confirmed it, as I began continually feeling nauseous and throwing up.  

Morning sickness is a common ailment in the first trimester of pregnancy. I didn’t want to complain as there are women who are not able to conceive or have experienced miscarriages. I had a healthy baby and this was just morning sickness- it would pass.

As I journeyed into my second trimester, it became obvious that the persistent nausea and vomiting were not going to let-up. I was throwing up nearly every hour of the day.

Shattered Dreams

My dream of being pregnant began feeling like a nightmare.

I felt sorry for myself and wondered, “Why me?”

Instead, I should have asked for His power to be made perfect in my weakness.

How often we tend to do that. We forget the promises He has provided us with when our pain becomes great. We stop asking Him to rest His power in us and start allowing our weaknesses to separate us from our Father.

Don't allow your weaknesses to separate you from the Father. #fiercelyHis @kerimosier Click To Tweet

Isolation and silence are what I felt during my pregnancy because I stopped looking to God’s truth. I mistook His refusal to heal me as unloving, when what He wanted was for me to see that His grace would be enough.

While I was missing what God wanted me to understand, Satan was capitalizing on my despair.

I shared my hardship with few. Hiding when I got sick with restroom breaks and walks outside.

When I thought about asking others for prayer and support, Satan whispered, “ A good mother makes it on her own. She doesn’t need help from anyone else.”

I refused to boast gladly about my weakness. To me, boasting that I was weak and struggling would be a sign of an inadequate mother. I wanted to be fierce and strong and do this all on my own.

Thankfully, God still quietly poured out His power into me.

He remained faithful when I was faithless.

His power first poured in through the form of motivation. Taking sick days was not an option if I wanted to spend time with my daughter after she was born. God motivated me with thoughts of the arrival of my daughter. This motivated me to get out of bed when I wanted to pull the covers over my head and wallow in my weakness.  

His power also came to me through a passion to write. I began writing letters to my daughter with pieces of wisdom, pictures of her ultrasounds, and sentences full of love. Writing helped me through difficult days.  

Dreams that came True.

After 40 long weeks, I was holding a baby girl in my arms and my heart overflowed with a love that overshadowed all the pain of the last 9 months.

She was the perfection God created from my weakness.

Are fierce women weak? Sweet sister, I don't know what weakness you face, but please know that when you are facing weakness, His grace and power is enough to make it perfect! By allowing Him to perfect what is weak, He is glorified and you are made fierce, for Him! So, I ask you, is a fierce woman weak? Absolutely. A weak woman, who gladly boast in her weakness, means she readily relies on God and trusts in His perfect power. That is a woman we should all strive to be!

Praise God He poured out His power into my weakness even when I didn’t know He was doing so. Power that got me through to the beautiful moment I first held my daughter in my arms. Perfect power that taught me the lesson God needed me to learn.

I am now a better mother, wife, and woman because of my experience. I am no longer shamed by weakness and seek out other believers to pray with me when I struggle. I invite God’s power to rest on me!

Sweet sister- I don’t know what weaknesses you face, but please know that when you are facing weakness, His grace and power are enough to make it perfect! By allowing Him to perfect what is weak, He is glorified and you are made fierce.

Fierce for Him!

So, I ask you, are fierce women weak? Absolutely! A weak woman who gladly boasts in her weakness means she readily relies on God and trusts in His perfect power. That is a woman we should all strive to be!

A weak woman who gladly boasts in her weakness means she readily relies on God& trusts in His… Click To Tweet

Keri is a fighter. #fiercelyHis

Keri Mosier | Fiercely His

Keri has a passion to live out 2 Peter 1:3 everyday- “Before we reach that eternal reward—let’s strive to be godly women, together”   Her #1 goal is to strive to be a Godly woman in all she does. She is wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend and writes on her blog at kerimosier.com.

You can find on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

 

I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. Also leave any prayer requests. I love praying for you!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

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