Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

Honesty’s Hardship-Letting Go Of Pride

*What you are about to read are common hardships I face when it comes to getting honest with others (or myself). This happens when:

  • I need help               OR
  • I know I will not like honesty’s end result.

Ephesians 4:25

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

I like showing up with a cheerful demeanor. It is so much easier than making an appearance with a broken heart mixed in with a cry for help. Smiles lead to conversations about sunshine and coffee and good deals, and that makes me feel good! For the moment.

Is that wrong?

Let me tell you. Superficial conversations allow me to forget the mountain standing in front of me, blocking me from moving forward. It gives me permission to feel temporarily content.

I like people to think I am strong, capable of life, and in need of little help.

(Oh you need help? Could you move out of the way please?  You’re making me uncomfortable.)

I want fun conversations and promised friendships.

I love happiness.  I love the laughter and joy that hurts so hard because I can’t stop smiling. The kind that keeps me up at night because I’m having such. a. good. time.

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So when things ARE NOT OK, or if I’m seeing things a little different than the rest, honesty feels like a big struggle. A trap. A place to go if I want wounds to surface or feelings to get hurt.

Why? Because if I stay honest,  I am afraid I will experience hurt and rejection …like I have, so many times already in the past. I’ve lost friendships. Friendships I really didn’t want to lose.

I’ve experienced the empty stares and the concerned silence. I’ve made people feel incredibly uncomfortable and it. gets. AWKWARD.

That sucks.

So pass the coffee, please, I’d rather get back to riding the surface.

 

BUT. Where am I going? Please someone tell me, where am I going?

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You know what I’ve also realized?

Honesty’s path (mixed with humility) may have been rocky, but it led me to Jesus…and Jesus met me, right where I wasI stood in front of him with brokenness, doubt, sin, fear. He saw it all. And he didn’t run away. He wiped it away, in love.

Honesty led me to the right people, with the right words, leading me to the right savior.

And.

The savior accepted me just as I was,  he showed me the father, he called me, and he continues to teach me his voice, just like he promised. (John 10)

He healed wounds. (Isaiah 53)

He became my truth (John 14)

He showered me with unconditional and authentic love. (8 hundred million verses..seriously)

He led me to the place where I really am ok when someone ‘hurts’ me. BECAUSE

I found that true acceptance comes from Jesus, and our Father. (John 14:23)

Can we let them in, or will we keep allowing our pride to stand in their way?

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What if true happiness happens after we hit our rock bottom, and honesty becomes our only choice? What if we realize the need for a living savior, not a historical one?

What if we decide that Jesus really is the answer and that he really will show us what it means to know true acceptance? (John 6:37)

What if we lose friendships, but we gain ones that we were meant to have in the first place?

Because God supplies our needs (Phil 4:19)

and he knows that we need people, too. (Prov 14:4)

What if the end result of honesty, is breakthrough?

 

John 6:29

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Will you be honest alongside me this week? It’s hard. It’s rocky. But in the end, you just might find that there are people out there who really do care, and they will help lead you to the one who handles all healing. The one who IS THE answer. We don’t have to be weary in doing good, for we WILL reap in due season, if we faint not.

“If We’re Honest”

by Francesca Battistelli

Listen to this, now.

Encouragement · Get To Know Rosie · The Hurt Christian · The New Christian

My Journey To Grace- Taking Off The Mask Of Religion

Written in 2016

Hi! My name is Rosie. I actually really do love you, and I mean that now.

Before, this wasn’t true. Why?

I lived a life seeped in religion.  In other words, bondage, at it’s finest.

I grew up in church and by the time I was 18, I was a perfectionist at slipping on a “believers mask”.

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For a long time, I thought that mask was the real me. I did and said all the right things, I turned up my nose to sin, and worked really hard at controlling my flesh.

I had a pathetic relationship with God, but I could tell you all about him. Oh could I tell you about him.

I read my bible faithfully and prayed every morning. And when I didn’t, I felt guilty. I would wake up wondering how to live my Christian life every. single. day.

I listened to hours of teachings. I took classes, went to weekends, held leadership positions.

I was ‘happy’.

I led a comfortable life with lots of friends, and thought God was VERY pleased with all of my efforts.

But, on the inside, I still struggled with sin and mounds of unbelief.

I hated the way I looked. I hated my weight. I hated my voice. I hated my failed efforts.

I hated that I didn’t pray enough. I was afraid, I was incredibly judgmental,

and worst of all,

I was a know-it-all elitist.

Pride was my weapon and I was really good at calling it “the word of God”.

This is not a bash on my Church. I believe this happens in EVERY CHURCH. In simple terms:

I looked in my bible and saw what was right. I tried to line up my life to be right…. With my own efforts.

So what changed?

I was tired. I was SO tired. I was tired of thinking I knew it all- because it wasn’t working. I was tired of “trying to believe”. I was tired of singing empty praises. I was tired of putting up a front. I was tired of studying my bible and getting excited about ‘new knowledge’ only to end up angry with myself and other people.

 I envied people who were outside of my box, and I envied their freedom.

So what did I do?

In my room, with no one around, I asked God for help. To this day I can close my eyes and remember the exact moment.

“HELP GOD, PLEASE. HELP. I’M TIRED. I’M SO TIRED. GOD. IF YOU ARE THERE, PLEASE HELP ME.”

I had prayed this before and God would start to answer my prayers…. but pride would get in my way and I would close him up. God was intense.

This time,

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October 2015

The next day, I did the same thing I always did. I tried controlling my flesh.

But I browsed Amazon’s Christian parenting books and I ended up buying

Parenting The Whole Hearted Child  by Jeannie Cunnion.

When it came in the mail, I put my daughter down for an early nap, curled up on my couch with some coffee, and started to read.

I thought I was reading a book on parenting. BUT.

Grace spoke to me within the pages of this book, and that’s all I needed to get started.

One of Jeannie’s many quotes spoke loud and clear to me:

“On most days I acted like Jesus’ final three words on the cross were “make me proud” instead of the actual three words he exhaled, “it is finished.”

This was October 22nd, 2015.

I cried and cried and cried. I called my husband and practically yelled “THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN MISSING.” I frantically texted all of my friends. I posted on FaceBook. I wanted the WORLD TO KNOW.

This was only the beginning.

So many more prayers and questions sprung from that book and God put countless people and situations into my life that shouted

“AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND, THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME”.

I met Jesus. I MET JESUS. I met his grace. I finally stopped trying and started looking at his glory. At 28 and 29 years old, I finally started to understand how grace worked.

This is why I started my blog. To help other Christians find grace, too.  

To me, grace is summed up in these two verses:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image

No joke, looking at the glory of the Lord has radically changed me and is he is still continually changing me into his image.

I. STOPPED. TRYING.

I. STARTED. BEHOLDING.

We do not have to change ourselves. I am not joking.

That’s it. No more controlling the flesh. No more failed efforts. No more fake relationship. No more setting up comfortable circumstances to keep me happy.

Amazing grace comes by looking at his glory.

Do you struggle with living the Christian life? Are you tired yet?

Start looking at him. He is beautiful. He is so beautiful.

Start beholding the Lord’s glory. He will change your life, I promise.

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

Loving Those Who Struggle With Faith

The days I doubt God are days that start out like any other-I wake up to the pitter patter of little feet and little voices demanding food. I toss and turn, and I beg for more silence.

Sleepy eyed- I prepare breakfast, I pour coffee, I wipe faces and tables. And then I sit. I wait for clearer thoughts while tiny hands and loud voices require attention. Days demand action! Wake up Ro, they need you.

But then the lie comes as a soft question and I entertain it longer than I should:

“What if those tender whispers are really my own?”

Anxiety builds.

The days I pursue this thought without a solid battle plan, I end down a path that leaves me feeling empty and scared: Without actually seeking God, I talk at him….

“Why did this happen to __? Where were you when___? Why haven’t you answered __ ? Are you listening? Are you even there? ”

The questions get worse, but you get the point.

And yes, this happens to me. The girl who has seen and experienced healings, answered prayers, daily victories. The girl who reads her bible and clings to Jesus with all her heart. God is SO good and his word is always true.

But.

It happens.

You see my friend? We all enter into battles of Faith Vs. Circumstance. Faith is confidence in what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.

But.

Sometimes circumstances still win.

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There are beautiful hearts out there who were fighting for the faith but the loss left deep scars. The heart was not placed in intensive care so beautifully made available by the body of Christ. It was not surrounded by relentless love mixed with timely and pure words of God.

And then what happens? A new reconstructed idea of God forms to cope with the loss.

And we say,

“They should have _____. They didn’t do _____.  If only they______.”

I want to stop placing judgement on those who have lost their faith, and I want to start fiercely loving them instead. I want to chalk up the loss and blame it on the devil. Because that’s where the blame goes.

I want to reach out and watch Jesus lift that person out of their wheelchair.

I want to listen while someone word vomits all over me. And then instead of getting scared or judgmental, I want to hug them.  I want to ask them over for a cup of coffee. I want to live the life of Christ in me, reach out, and with Gods beautiful word, begin to mend wounds.

That’s what someone did for me. They listened. They loved. They cared. They saw me through the eyes of Jesus when I was struggling with faith.

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Jesus never gave up. Ever. He dealt with sin, carnality, and unbelief his entire life. When he was on the cross, he never said, “That’s it, I’VE HAD ENOUGH”

He loved them until the end.

Yes, I agree we shouldn’t yolk with those who deny Christ. We need to yolk with fellow lovers of light.

But I’m not asking for us to yolk, I’m asking for us to love. And too often, we separate ourselves completely… and we appear as self righteous haters. No, this is not our intention. But we live with heads in the ground if we are not willing to admit our own frailty.

Love involves time spent in the trenches with beautiful hearts who have been hurt by the enemy. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not self seeking. And love covers a multitude of sins.

And instead of focusing on the mote in their eye, I want to take out my beam. I want to build my faith, the only way I know how.

By hearing the word of God.

By walking out on the word of God

By spending time with the one who wrote the word of God.

And.

By looking at the glory of Jesus, who is continually transforming me to his image

2 Timothy 2:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian · The New Christian

Letting Go Of Shame- When Dark Secrets Come Out

I would like to start this post out by saying I do not have all the answers on the subject of secrecy and shame. There is more to be said and considered. I encourage you to seek counsel from a grace filled Christian if you need help in this area of your life.

There was this sin I committed as a teenager that was very, very terrible. I didn’t have the courage to confess it to even the closest of friends and instead, I kept it hidden inside the darkest corners of my heart… where it would never become exposed. When friends would jokingly bring up ‘dark secrets’, I would laugh it off and say I didn’t have any. But inside of me, the memory of my action would always creep its way back into my heart and into the forefront of my mind.

Along with the memory came shame. I “knew” God had forgiven me. I really did. I had apologized to him in secret a million times over…. and yet the memory would still show it’s painful face weekly, sometimes daily, and I  would shudder at the mere thought of my mistake and shove it as far back as I possibly could.

This was a burden of mine for 10 years. 10 YEARS people. That’s a long time. What’s even  worse? I got married and KEPT THE SECRET from my husband. Wanna talk about shame? I know the feeling well.

Once I got married, I would justify this “un”confession because I believed God had already considered it gone.(He did by the way, I just didn’t really know it)  I would close my eyes, visualize the sin upon the cross of my savior, and feel temporary relief. I would yell at the accuser and remind him that I was clean in Christ. But no matter what I tried, I still felt the pang of secrecy, and shame had become a regular part of my life.

I also believed the lie that if I ever DID tell my husband, he would no longer love me or see me the way he once did. What would I do if he looked at me in disgust? This scene would replay over and over in my head, and I would recoil with a new found determination to never let that happen.

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And then…

Grace. Can I show you another corner of grace?

I was in a women’s bible study and the topic was on shame. This bible verse was read:

James 5:16a

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

I had confessed my sin in front of God, but I still covered the nakedness of my sin in front of others. In doing so, I wasn’t allowing grace filled Christians to re-iterate the truth of the cross.

That night something clicked. I knew that if I walked out on this scripture, the accuser was no longer going to have this area of my life. Why? Because what happens after confession before grace filled Christians isn’t disgust.  It’s grace that brakes down walls of shame in mere seconds.

I was afraid, but I was ready. I was ready to watch my savior kick the devil in his face while I held his hand.

So that night, I confessed to my grace filled husband.

That same night, the chains of shame fell off.

My husband so gracefully took me in his arms and reminded me of my savior.

He was proud of me, not disgusted. He cuddled me that night a little harder as I cried tears of relief. It was out. The dark secret was out. And as SOON as it was out, it evaporated into thin air.

Thin. Air. It was like the devil had lost his firm grip in an instant. That shame went right where it’s supposed to go, the cross of our savior.

Gone. 10 years of shame, gone.

The devil has since TRIED AND MISERABLY FAILED at bringing up my past sin that it’s almost laughable.

There is freedom in walking out the uncomfortable verses of God’s word. There is grace that shows up when you’re ready to jump off the cliff. There is mercy and love and forgiveness and help when you decide it is finally time to not let the devil have an area of your life anymore.

If you have shame and you have never shared your ‘dark secret’ with the family of God (who understands grace,) I would encourage you to consider that verse in James 5. Read it’s context, pray, and seek counsel. God is ready to show you that your shame doesn’t belong on you, you beautiful child. God is ready to use the cross of Christ as a permanent eraser on whatever dark secret you hold**

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The week after I confessed to my husband, we went on a vacation together! Added bonus.

 

 

 

 

**Friends, if you don’t confess, you aren’t going to hell. When you confessed Christ as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, he paid for your sins….. past, present and future. (Eph 1:7, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6, Rom 10:9, Heb 10:12, 1 Jhn 2:2)