Overcoming Fear by Trusting in Jesus

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 NIV

Fear has always been my constant companion. It doesn’t take much to trigger fear in me. I’m often afraid of something. In fact when I’m not afraid, I worry about what will happen next and the cycle of fear continues.

When I finally realized why I was so scared and that I didn’t have to live afraid anymore, then fear lost its grip on me.

Fear still visits me more than I’d like to admit, but when it shows up now, I’m armed and ready.

Are you ready to say, #ByeByeFear?

Click below to watch as I share my story of “Overcoming Fear by Trusting in Jesus” at the Hope Restored Women’s Conference.

Additional Resources:

Fight F. E. A. R. by…

F – Fixing your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3)
E – Engaging with safe community (Hebrews 10:23-25)
A – Admitting you’re struggling with fear (Psalm 34:17-18)
R – Releasing it, and replacing it with God’s promises (Psalm 56:3)

Questions for Personal Reflection:  

  1. What fears are holding you back?
  2. What lies were whispered to you that make you feel unworthy, unloved and insecure?
  3. Have you given Him full access to your story?

Key Verses:  

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My King, My Redeemer

He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death. He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king. Psalm 103:4 VOICE

I was in a pit.

Discouragement blew in like a tornado and I started to sink.

It was a slow and steady decline.

There was so much noise in my mind, and everything felt intense.

Glancing at social media made me feel inadequate, insecure, and intimidated like I was in junior high again.

The darkness was so loud.

So many “too’s”.  #metoo #themtoo #churchtoo

Words echoed all of the aches and pain.

Comments made me nauseous.

Hypersenstive and full of doubt, I felt like I was whining as I prayed that morning, “God, what is wrong with me? Help!”

As I stepped out of the shower, a song was playing on Pandora called “I Won’t Go Back” by William McDowell.

I wasn’t feeling it, but I was singing it. I was declaring it with him, “I won’t go back, I can’t go back, to the way it used to be. Before your presence came and changed me.”

And then the very next song that played was “Take Me To The King” by Tamela Mann and I was immediately reminded of how far God has brought me and how He has delivered me! That was the song of my heart years ago when I began my journey to heal from Childhood Sexual Abuse. It helped me to see Him as my King, and reminded me that I was His Daughter, His Princess.

How in the world did I find myself in the pit – again? Was I pushed or did I just slip in slowly? I honestly didn’t know the answer, but I knew without a doubt that the dark, hopeless pit was no longer my address.

I don’t live there anymore, and I won’t go back!

My Redeemer has delivered me.  He has already brought me out.

I immediately started to praise Him for what He has delivered me from, for where He has brought me, and for all He has done for me.

My King is faithful.  

Maybe like me, you have landed in the pit, again?  The enemy likes to make the pit seem nice and cozy, as if it is our home sweet home. When the walls of that pit are staring back at you, look up and let the One who lifts your head bring you back with a grateful heart of praise – for He is our rock and our redeemer! That pit is no longer our address. We don’t live there anymore and we are not going back.

We have been redeemed.  Let’s declare it together:

Praise the Lord, my soul;

    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins

    and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

    and crowns you with love and compassion, 

who satisfies your desires with good things

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

Why I Didn’t Tell:  This Is Why 

I was sexually abused throughout my childhood and I kept the secrets until I was 38 years old.  I started seeing a counselor and one by one the secrets finally came out like pieces of a puzzle.  It took over three years of weekly sessions to process it all.

I still cringe inside and out when I hear anyone ask, “Why didn’t you tell?”

Or “Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“Why are you just saying this now?”

“Why now?”

While it was incredibly difficult to even admit that I was abused, it is even more complicated to explain why I didn’t tell. 

But, this will be my attempt to try.

Why I didn’t tell:  This is why

I was terrified.

I didn’t want to be in trouble.

I didn’t want the police to take me away.

No one would believe me.

I believed everyone would be angry with me.

One of them said he would kill himself.

I believed really bad things would happen.

It would be all my fault.

I would lose everything and everyone.

I saw pornography which reinforced the idea that this is what women are, it’s what we do. It’s normal.

It also made me hate my body and everything about it.

I heard conversations about rape that would include discussions about what the victim was wearing, whether or not she was drinking etc.

I heard at least two other children speak up about abuse and they were promptly silenced, even dismissed.

No one said it was wrong or bad.

All of the shame made me feel like I was wrong or bad – like it was my fault and there was something wrong with me that made it happen.

I was groomed, brainwashed and manipulated into silence.

I dissociated, which is like an out-of-body experience.

I thought it was just me.

Again, no one said it was wrong or bad.

I did not know it was abuse.

As complicated as that can be to understand as an adult, can you imagine carrying the weight of all of that as a child and at the same time desperately trying to appear okay?

The only conversations I had about what was happening to me went on inside of my little mind, with it’s very limited understanding.

As hard as it was to endure and survive, it truly seemed easier to stay quiet and never tell because too much was at risk and it was up to me to hold it all together.

Fear, lies, shame and denial kept me quiet for many years.  

And today, lots of people are coming forward like never before and saying #metoo.

Before you dismiss any of them, or minimize their experience, or offer your opinion on whether or not you think they are telling the truth – please consider that someone you love may be suffering in silence and longing to whisper “me too” to you. 

Be a safe person and lend an ear to their pain. Listen. Believe them. Thank them for trusting you and sharing with you. Ask them what you can do to help them.

Don’t be upset with them for not coming to you sooner.  Eventually, they will share their own #thisiswhy with you, but for now just let them know that you love them, and tell them the abuse was never their fault.

Let them know they are not alone, anymore.

Eternal One: As a woman fiercely strains to give birth, I will gasp, pant, and cry out.
        I have been quiet for a long time; I have held back in the face of it all.
    Well, no more.

Isaiah 42:14 VOICE

If you experienced abuse, what kept you from telling?  Share your #thisiswhy.

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Pink Elephants & A Faithful God

IMG_09302016 was a rough year. It was also the year I was intending to put a lot of energy into my ministry, Journey Pink.  I wanted to write a book, which I affectionately called my Pink Elephant. Pink because I loved the idea of it so much, and elephant because it seemed so ginormous and overwhelming.

I’ve been to conferences and I have taken online writing classes, but the reality is writing and speaking about Childhood Sexual Abuse is taboo. It’s off limits. It’s too dark. It is not a popular topic. It is not encouraged.

But, like the Samaritan woman at the well who finally found THE living water in her life, I have tasted that living water and I want to share it with others who are thirsty and longing for refreshment from the mud and the mire of shame.

This pink elephant was HUGE, and my mind was filled with doubt and insecurity.

Me: God, you have picked the wrong girl! This is Bigger than me. This is elephant size BIG… but it is also pink.
God: How do you eat an elephant? 
Me: One bite at a time.
God: My grace is sufficient

Just when I started to take small bites, the big pink elephant was suddenly surrounded by baby pink elephants.  These baby elephants needed my immediate attention. Baby pink elephants like my daughter getting hospitalized and the months of unknowns and recovery that followed.  Or, the stalker situation that landed me in court and on Amazon purchasing Pink Mace. Fear hit very close to home with those baby elephants and He was  faithful to show me how to take one scary step at a time with Him.

When the intense fear was at its peak, I spent a weekend in Charlotte at a conference and the keynote speaker shared about overcoming fear.  She had experienced a similar year with an injured child and a stalker. I knew God was speaking to my heart. I longed for peace and healing from my overwhelming fears. I rushed to the altar in tears, and acknowledged that I was terrified and tired of being terrified. As the worshippers sang and prayed over us, His amazing love covered me and gave me great peace.

He also brought me confirmation.  That same weekend, at Bethel Worship nights, a man gave a word that there was a pink elephant in the room. I have no idea why he said that and he did not elaborate, but once again – God had my attention. I smiled as I thought, “I will keep going. God is with me.”

And yet, I couldn’t stop the whispers in the back of my mind from that mostly mean voice that demands protection and safety.

“Do you really want to go after that pink elephant?  Look what is happening in your life!  Maybe you should take a hint and just chill out.  Better to play it safe.  You are playing with fire. Who do you think you are???”

Who do you think you are?

Side note – this is a very frequent thought that pops in my head and it can hold me back the fastest. I’ve learned over time that having an immediate answer will shut it down.

Who do I think I am?  I am a princess, and Jesus is my King. I am his daughter, and I am loved, cherished and precious to Him.

Not all small pink elephants are challenges. There were times I wanted to give up, and the image of a pink elephant reminded me to keep stepping, one foot in front of the other.  One day, when I was so weary and full of doubt, my youngest brought his prize from the gumball machine to me and encouraged my heart.

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It reminded me that every bite is worth it.  Yes, God I trust you. I will keep going. Help me to not be afraid.

He knows I struggle with trust and fear, and this tension keeps me from walking in my calling.

But God.

He is faithful, and it all came full circle last weekend when I shared at the Hope Restored Women’s Conference.  At check-in, I was surprised to find out there was a package waiting for me from my friend, Angela. I met her at my very first writing conference in 2014, and when she asked me what I wrote about I couldn’t answer her and finally just said, “I’m not going to tell you.”

She kept asking and I remember how hard it was to finally whisper to her, “I write about healing from childhood sexual abuse.”

Angela knew this was a Pink Elephant weekend for me so she sent me a care package full of my favorites. Besides the caffeine and the yummy chocolate, her gift reminded me of how far God has brought me and how He continues to open doors and give me opportunities to write and speak.

It’s still not easy to speak and write about childhood sexual abuse, but it is so important and worth it! My calling seems so BIG and Overwhelming to me, but Jesus can handle Pink Elephants. I just have to fully trust and surrender, and let Him guide me, one bite at a time. I will savor every bite and remember all the ways He has met me.

His grace is sufficient.

He opens doors no man can shut.

He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

He left 99 for one and He calls us to do the same.

He has brought me this far, and He will not leave me.

I am not alone.

You are not alone.

You are loved, cherished and precious to Him, princess.

Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. Psalm 23:4 TPT

What feels like a pink elephant in your life right now? Maybe you have a Pink Elephant Dream? What keeps you from walking in your purpose and calling? Is there an image or vision that helps you to keep going?

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