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Archive for June, 2012


Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You

Numerous times—whining and begging—

Beseeching You to bless my desires.

And all You did was refuse.

I would not accept Your answer,

And continued my relentless pursuit

Of making my will be Your own.

Question: Have you ever pursued a purpose like this? If so, what was the outcome, and what did you learn from it?

What do I need to unlearn from my experience? After we leave our abusive situation, before we become fit and useful, we need to unlearn the errors we readily accepted as true, while engrossed in our deception. Until we do, we will flounder, and our efforts to be productive will be close to useless. It does us no good to throw stones at the abuser. Our efforts need to be much more productive than that.

 

Journal: Take a few minutes and write about what you’ve needed to unlearn. Be specific about what behaviors and attitudes you need to change.

If you insist upon understanding why your abuse occurred in the first place, you are destined to frustration, bitterness, and failure. At some point, many people understand why, but most never do. God knows; that’s for certain, and He’s in charge of the outcome. If you can accept that, you’re on your way. If you can’t, you’ll experience heartache, whether you like it or not.

Question: Have you experienced heartache like this? Think about how insistent you have been with God. Does it make you wish you had not been this way? If so, tell Him about it.

If you don’t understand what God wants from you, purify your heart. Forgive the person who has offended you. Put away the self-defeating behavior which has you enslaved. Begin to purify your heart, and you will understand what God wants from you better than you ever have. You will begin to see God’s hand in practically everything—that’s His promise to each of us.

Journal: Forgiving others is the key to being forgiven. Write down the names of people you harbor resentment toward, and be sure and keep the list.

The Scriptures teach that we will never be stretched beyond our capabilities. Intellectually, I believe this is true, but it seems to me that God’s perspective on my capabilities is too high, as He constantly stretching me. Most of the time, I wish He wouldn’t. I want Him to use me, but in a nice way—not a hard way. But, from the depth of my being, I also know that my life is not destined to be easy. As I’ve come to realize, pursuing His way always seems to be a stretch.

Question: Do you feel like this? Have you been stretched so far that you’re certain you’ll break. If so, tell God exactly how you feel about it.

Jack Watts   Useful Recovery Resources

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Refer to STEP 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

—Christopher Reeve

Watching The Passion of Christ, I think of the events leading to the Lord’s death. As I do, I can definitely identify with one aspect of it. It’s when Christ asked if there was any way He could do God’s will, while circumventing the Cross.

Like everybody else, I want my circumstances and challenges to be easier—substantially easier. Obviously, there’s no real comparison between my trivial problems and dying for the sins of Mankind, but being faithful to God’s will still isn’t easy. Regardless of who you are or what your lot may be, life can be difficult.

At the same time, the Scriptures teach us that we will never be stretched beyond our endurance or our capabilities. Intellectually, I believe this is true, but it seems God’s perspective about my capabilities is too high. He constantly stretches me far beyond my comfort zone. Most of the time, I wish He wouldn’t. I want Him to use me, but in a nice way—not in a hard way.

From the depth of my being, however, I have an understanding that my life is not destined to be easy. As I’ve come to realize this, pursuing His ways—at the expense of my own—is always a stretch. I suspect that’s because God has such a huge investment in me, as He also has in you.

He’s determined to use each of us as He sees fit, and that’s why we are capable of having joy, even when our lives are filled with difficult circumstances.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Jack Watts

Useful Resources for Your Recovery

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People from seventy nations have used material from the 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom. Here is a guest post from Dianne, formerly known as Matilda in earlier blog entries.Since I got your book on Recovering From Religious AbuseI have been working hard. Here is something of the fruit of my labour to share with you and your readers. It is not what I was expecting to write but it is where my seach has led me.Yesterday it was 2 years since my mum died and today is the first day of MY life – a life that is mine without obligation to other people and duties like being a mother of a child and the daughter of dying parents. There is something truly lovely about this freedom from the burdens these chores have brought me even though I have truly loved the work involved.

I can understand something of how Jesus felt on his awful cross as his blood leaked out, his bladder and bowels failed and he breathed his last breath. I can sense his enormous joy as he said to God the father “Into your hands I commit my spirit!” then breathed his last, his blood and the water from his side slowly dripping away into the earth.

Jesus gave it his all but trusted God with his spirit as he breathed his last. That is what I have been thinking about today. Can I trust God with my spirit as my body fails?

Life is full of troubles and woes. Is there a remedy here?

Recently I have learned that it could be I am never going to be a grandmother and I am OK about that too. Today l am remembering what it is to truely be “a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, I have a right to be here!” – as it says in that well known verse called the Deciderata.

So TODAY IS the Happiest day of my life. Why should that be? The evidence of my life surrounding me does not appear to support my opinion.

The weather is overcast, I am unemployed and pretty broke, I am just about unemployable with significant physical limits due to my generous size, and I hold challenging opinions that I am not prepared to change just now. That simply means some people find me offensive and I don’t care.

From a wider perspective I can’t do anything about global warming, the international credit crisis or the plight of asylum seekers drowning in the sea between Indonesia and Australia. I could feel helpless and some may think I should be miserable with despair. Yet the truth is I am happier than when I was younger and could do so much more than I can now.

When I was younger I believed I was in charge of my life and able to take on the worlds woes to try to fix them.. I had the strength and education I believed would be able to meet the challenges I saw.

Truth is I am not in charge. I am just alive.

I could be like that unfortunate man sitting at traffic lights in his car yesterday when a trucks load shifted and he was crushed to death as the load fell on him. That could have been me – it may be me at another time and place. So I know for sure death comes to us all at an appointed time regardless of whose fault it is. Yes – I am full of survivor joy – not survivor guilt and I am so happy I am alive. Yet I was no closer to that accident than my TV broadcast on last night’s evening news.

My husband asked me why I was so happy this morning and I don’t really know the whole answer, I just am. So this morning I have been wondering why and decided to write the answers down as they have come.

I guess self acceptance is the answer I have settled on. I accept myself warts and all – I accept I will never be perfect, I will always stumble, I will get slower and more disabled as I grow old and that seems fine to me now.

If I live long enough I will be wearing nappies and someone will have to change my nappy just like my mother did when I was a child. I will probably have to wear a bib and someone will have to feed me too. Yes – there truly is so much to look forward too – loosing control and letting go of everything. Its seems strangely liberating!

Today it seems right to me somehow that I should let go of this world and all that is here and I know this will seem odd – but it is Ok – it is how our life really is and I am happy to accept that now. We have and hold our world till death do us part and then its over.

In my mind’s eye I can see Jesus dead on the cross still dripping and it is a beautiful sight to me now. We gave him death – in return he gratefully gave us his life we all live in our flesh – it was only his spirit he committed to God. Now that is pretty special and I know that now. Dying can be a truly joyful thing once it comes to an end. It is the spirit of Jesus he freely gives us now so that we can know he and our Father are one and we are one with them.

I have a feeling I just felt the first hint of Jesus resurrection in my life and Jesus is smiling with me as we witness together his body on his cross. This is one of the most wonderful of all the mysteries of faith – Jesus is with us always – even unto the end of the age. There is so much to be glad about.

From a very VERY happy me. Hallelujah!
Dianne
Friday, June 29, 2012

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Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He wishes, and I ask Him to heal my pain.

 

 

Man flows at once to God when the channel of purity is open.

—Henry David Thoreau

You’ve probably heard this saying before: “The pure in heart see God.” But what does it really mean? Is it simply a sweet, idealistic thought, or is it substantive, having value for everyday life?

Here’s a hint: Christ never said anything that didn’t have real, tangible value. Every word He spoke had purpose, and understanding this “Beatitude” is an essential step in your recovery.

When you experience abuse, you become angry, cynical, bitter, and jaded. That’s normal, natural, understandable, and even predictable. If you allow poor behavior or toxic emotions to rule you, however, you will have trouble understanding God’s will and direction for you. Your life will seem to be filled with confusion—and for good reason.

If you don’t understand what God wants from you, start purifying your heart. Forgive the person who has offended you. Put away the self-defeating behavior that has enslaved you. Begin to purify your heart, and you will understand what God wants from you better than ever before. When you do, you will start to see God’s hand in practically everything—that’s His promise to each of us who do the purifying work of renewing our minds.

Some mistakenly believe God will speak to them regardless of their behavior. That simply isn’t true, nor is it taught in the New Testament. God loves you regardless of what you do, but only the pure in heart have the ability to discern God’s will and direction in life. This is not a subtle difference or an interpretative nuance. It is an entirely different thing. When you learn the difference, it will make a profound difference in your recovery.

Tragically, we live in a generation that doesn’t value purity but, as a child of God, you have the option to remain pure—an option you must exercise, if your recovery is to be strong and permanent.

 

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (I Peter 2:1-3)

Jack Watts  Recommended Resources

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Refer to STEP 4: I came to believe that God understood my wounded-ness, and He alone could heal me. I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted. I recognized that God is not the abuser—people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

If working the 11 Steps is the key to recovery from religious abuse—or any type of abuse for that matter, developing a different mindset is the key to making your recovery easy and fruitful instead of being difficult and empty. Like most things in recovery, the choice is yours.

For example, if you insist upon understanding why your abuse occurred in the first place, you are destined for a long period of frustration, bitterness, and failure. At some point, many people understand why, but most never do. God knows; that’s for certain, and He’s in charge of the outcome. If you can accept that, you’re on your way. If you can’t, you’ll experience heartache, whether what’s what you want or not.

You’ve heard the Bible verse that says, “Yea though He slay me; yet will I trust Him.” To most, this seems like sentimental nonsense or poetic hyperbole. To those of us who are in the process of recovery, however, it’s neither. It’s exactly how we feel. Having had our spirit crushed by an abuser, we understand the Phoenix that rose from the ashes to experience a new, more fulfilling life.

This is the attitude each of us needs to maintain; “Yea though He slay me; yet will I trust Him.” With it, God is free to work in our lives to produce everything He wants for us. Without it, we chafe, living in bitterness and self-pity, producing nothing of value. Our lives will amount to no more than “wood, hay, and stubble.”

If you want more, renew your mind. Accept the Lord’s purpose as your own and press forward. If you can do this, your life will begin to exhibit valuable character qualities that have intrinsic, value like gold, silver, and precious jewels.

If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)

Jack Watts   Helpful Resources

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I have been doing a weekly radio program from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. (EDT) on recovery issues. You can listen live or to the archived messages at : http://tobtr.com/s/3400101

This is always the link, and here is some recovery material you might like.

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Lord,

What does the future hold for this great nation?

Will we return to the values that made us great,

Or will we continue down the path of perdition,

Legalizing wrong and criminalizing right?

The answer cannot be determined by me, Lord,

Or by others still willing to bow our knees

To you, knowing our days are in your hands.

Be merciful to America, Lord,

Even though we have strayed so far

From your precepts and the values that

Once made us so great.

Heal our land, Lord, and spare us from the will

Of unscrupulous men and women—

Evildoers who hate You, while smiling

Pretending they seek Your Face and Your will.

Having strayed so far from our core values,

We do not deserve or merit Your mercy, Lord,

But we desperately need Your intervention

And ask that You restore us to what we once were.

Regardless of Your decision, regardless of the outcome,

You are God, Almighty, and we are not.

Jack Watts

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