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Archive for January, 2011


Father,

In my pain and anguish,

When my heart was broken,

And I thought darkness would overwhelm me,

I felt so lost and all alone, but I wasn’t.

Despite my anxiety, You were there with me,

Diligently working in my heart,

Stripping me of all of my pretense,

Scourging me of all of my arrogance,

Revealing each of my self-serving ways,

Which have made my life a wasteland.

For so long, I had no concern or awareness

About anything You wanted for my life.

My only desire was to find relief from my torment,

But Your concern was far greater and deeper.

I thought my anguish would never end

And that I would never smile at the future,

But I was completely mistaken.

In my anguish, I revealed the desire of my heart,

Repeatedly asking You to grant it,

But You never would, which still grieves me.

But what I have gained through my loss

May have more value than I ever imagined.

Out of the painful void, You have raised me up,

Placing my feet on solid, immovable ground,

Which has strengthened me with power

In the inner man—at the core of my being.

No longer fearful and timid, I’m peaceful and confident.

Instead of fretful apprehension filling my hours,

My countenance has become calm, strong, and sane.

It’s because You have changed my heart—

Completely transforming my perspective.

Without Your loving, consistent care,

I would never have learned my lessons,

And would have been destined

To repeat my mistakes endlessly,

Like an unreasoning animal

And not like a man—not like a child of Yours.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Look upon my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with a violent hatred. Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for Thee. (Psalm 25:16-21)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Father,

Having been used, abused, and discarded,

By those who insisted they spoke in Your name,

But most certainly did not,

My self-worth has suffered accordingly.

Having accepted their shaming castigation,

Which was cruelly inflicted upon me,

I have acted in ways contrary to my beliefs,

Which You have set forth in Your Word,

Having established them long ago in my soul.

Having tried to run from You for so long,

I now see how flawed my judgment has been.

Returning to You has required me to renew my mind,

Learning to look at life in a different way.

Thank You, Lord, for enlightening me—

For revealing that You have good things

Planned for me and not for calamity to reign.

At times, I still have trouble believing

That You really love me—just as I am.

The stinging indictment of my abusers

Has found fertile ground in my soul,

And continues to resonate, telling me that

I am a person without worth—without value.

But, when that happens, all I need to do

Is come before You and listen to You tell me,

You are my child—worthwhile, loved, and valued;

And I most assuredly have a purpose for your life.

The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord—and with justice and courage to make know to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin. (Micah 3:7-8)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Father,

Having been wounded at the core of my being,

I have stopped seeking You—

Stopped praying, stopped looking to You

For leading, guidance, and wisdom.

Because I’ve been so angry, so hurt, and so humiliated,

I haven’t wanted anything to do with You.

In my pain, I have acted in ways

So shameful that I want to keep them secret—

To hide them from You and everybody else.

I didn’t intend for my life to be like this—

To become the person I know I am,

But my sins have exceeded my coping capacity,

And I am unable to control myself,

Which I foolishly believed I could.

My self-defeating behavior controls me,

And I can no longer hide from the truth.

I can no longer hide from You.

I am weary of hanging my head in shame—

Of medicating my pain with destructive behavior.

I’m also weary of churning my bitterness endlessly.

I know that my attitude feeds my rebelliousness,

And I’m fearful that my future will be controlled by my past.

I want to change—to regain control of my life,

But I am in a deep pit, from which there seems no escape.

I have frequently blamed others for my plight,

Choosing to embrace the role of a victim,

Convincing myself that I have been faultless,

But I can no longer justify my self-serving attitude.

I have been wrong and need to admit it

To You, as well as to myself.

For I joyfully concur with the Law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the member of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:22-25)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Father,

Having been used, abused, and discarded,

By those who insisted they spoke in Your name,

But most certainly did not,

My self-worth has suffered accordingly.

Having accepted their shaming castigation,

Which was cruelly inflicted upon me,

I have acted in ways contrary to my beliefs,

Which You have set forth in Your Word,

Having established them long ago in my soul.

Having tried to run from You for so long,

I now see how flawed my judgment has been.

Returning to You has required me to renew my mind,

Learning to look at life in a different way.

Thank You, Lord, for enlightening me—

For revealing that You have good things

Planned for me and not for calamity to reign.

At times, I still have trouble believing

That You really love me—just as I am.

The stinging indictment of my abusers

Has found fertile ground in my soul,

And continues to resonate, telling me that

I am a person without worth—without value.

But, when that happens, all I need to do

Is come before You and listen to You tell me,

You are my child—worthwhile, loved, and valued;

And I most assuredly have a purpose for your life.

The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord—and with justice and courage to make know to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin. (Micah 3:7-8)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Father,

When I come before You,

I always pay lip service

To how awesome You really are.

When I say it, I mean it—sort of.

I know it’s true, but I’ll have to admit

That what I’m really interested in is me.

I acknowledge Your sovereignty because

I want “things,” from You—many things.

I want You to bless me—

To make my life easier and, most of all,

To make my will be Your own.

Nearly all of my prayers focus on

What You can do for me.

I’m interested in Your benovelence—

Not in getting to know You better.

That’s the truth, and I need to admit it.

I wish I was a better person than this.

I wish I had more character. but I don’t.

Admitting this embarrasses me,

But I have to be straightforward.

Father, I need You to change my heart,

To learn to seek You for who You are,

And not just what You can do for me.

Give me a heart to seek Your wisdom,

Rather than just Your generous hand.

Help me see beyond my limited world

To what You are doing with others.

Give me a heart for someone other than myself.

I recognize my selfishness; it’s ever before me.

I also know that You are busy in my life,

Changing me from the inside out,

Helping me to become a better child of Yours.

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart. I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results on his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Father,

Understanding Your will is not always difficult.

You are crystal clear about so many things—

About honesty, fidelity, compassion, and caring for others,

Which makes it nearly impossible to not know what to do.

But most of life isn’t that simple—

Nor is Your will that easy to discern.

It’s not black and white, which is what I would like.

Instead, it’s various hues of gray, making choices perplexing.

It seems like I never know in which direction You’re headed,

And yet You expect me to follow You blindly,

Putting my trust in You wholeheartedly—without reservation.

As I try to follow Your will, I have been forced

To step out boldly in faith so many times,

Never having a clue what the result will be.

When I do, nothing ever ends up the way

I thought it would or the way it should be.

It forces me to question if I heard from You accurately,

Or did nothing more than project my own desires,

Calling them Your leading, when they were not.

As I walk by faith, I never receive the answers I expect,

Which You could disclose but choose never to do.

I look at my situation, demanding to know the outcome,

While You look at it already knowing what that will be.

Your ways are beyond my ability to comprehend.

As others view my life, scornfully mocking,

Delighting at what looks like my certain failure,

I can only look to You for assurance that

You know what You have planned for me.

No matter how ridiculous others may view my plight,

From the depth of my soul, Your voice constantly assures me,

Be still my child and know that I am God.

I acquiesce, quieting my soul, becoming very still,

Acknowledging that You are God Almighty, and I am not.

When I do, I release all outcomes to You,

Accepting that I may look foolish to many,

But on the inside—where it really counts—

I know I’m becoming incredibly strong

In ways destined to have value.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Refer to Step 3: I accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is mine and no one else’s.

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.

—Erica Jong

In the many years I have been a Christian—some walking with the Lord, some not—I’ve noticed that a large number of believers have an incorrect perspective on life. They attribute their difficulties, especially their interpersonal conflicts, to the Devil. They will say something like this: Satan really has a hold on that person’s life, or The Enemy has really been coming against me in this situation.

Because the Scriptures teach that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness, their conflicts assume a cosmic significance. While there may be a great deal of truth to that in some instances, my experience tells me that most of the problems come from the people themselves and not from forces of darkness. It’s easy to blame the Devil for everything. It absolves the person of the responsibility for their own actions.

For your recovery to work the way it should, however, you must accept the responsibility for your actions and not take the easy way out by blaming Satan for them. It simply doesn’t work, and in most cases, it isn’t true. When a problem manifests itself, you must always look for your part in it, and the sooner the better. If you’re being honest, you’ll usually find it.

If you’ve been foolish, admit it. Don’t deflect; don’t rationalize; and don’t project your problem onto another. Repudiate the darkness immediately and come to the light. Additionally, do whatever is necessary to make amends to the one you’ve offended.

It’s natural to want to avoid the responsibility for your actions, but as a child of God, your behavior must be different. If you’re to become as useful as you desire, looking to the Lord first has to become an engrained response. When difficulty comes, as it always does, your reaction to it is what determines your growth and how valuable your recovery will be.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (I John 1:8-10)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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