An unexpected guest

My husband and I have four sons, a big dog and 2 cats. In other words, my house is usually a bit messy. At any given time there are at least two pairs of shoes left at the front door, a backpack lying in the kitchen, dog toys under the dining room table, and laundry waiting to be folded. I’m usually ok with it and don’t freak out unless I know that someone is coming over. Even then, there are degrees of the freakout. If it’s good friend from across the street, I may pick up the shoes and ignore the rest. But if it’s not a close friend, I may go into a tailspin and start nagging my kids to pick up their stuff. Ocassionally, I look around our house and think, “what if someone came to the door right now?”

It’s sort of like our relationship with God. We know we need God in our life, but we often invite Him to join us when it’s convenient (when our life is nice and tidy). Imagine if He was there when you didn’t “invite” him…..when you were rude to the waiter, told an inappropriate joke, or cheated on a test. We invite him when we need help or when things aren’t going well and ocassionally remember to thank him, but what if we really went “all in” and lived our life so that He was present at all times? Imagine living life in such a way that Jesus could come alongside for an entire day. A week? A month?

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NLT)

I challenge you to think about what area of your life would you need to “tidy up” if you knew that Jesus was going to be with you even when you didn’t invite him. Are you willing to let God take control of all the areas of your life?

You are good enough!

I have a friend who is a wonderfully talented singer. She leads worship at our church and every time she opens her mouth, it is amazing. I often find myself wishing that I could sing as well as she can. I have another friend who has a high powered job and is very successful in the business world and travels a lot. I think about how great it would be to have a job like her.

Isn’t that typical? We compare ourselves to others wishing that we had their job, voice, hair, skin, or talents. Our culture encourages us to do this and it leads to us feeling inadequate. We are left wanting more….COMPARISON-590x295

Who you are and what you do already pleases God!

He has given each of us a unique gift and wants us to use these gifts to show our love for Him. How can we do this?

“If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” Romans 12:7-9.

The best way that we can show our love to God is to use the special gifts that He has given us. Remember that we are all designed to have different talents and that is what makes us unique. So the next time you find yourself feeling less than adequate, remind yourself that we each have our own special gifts. Not sure what yours is? Ask a friend!

Do what you do best and do it without comparison, for it brings Him much joy!

Bloom In the Dark

Today I am super excited to have my friend Paula Mosher Wallace on Grace. She and I have the same passion to help other women who have been victims of sexual abuse. She has published an amazing book, “Bloom In the Dark” that is helping many. I had the opportunity recently to ask her some questions about her book and the vision for her ministry.

Bloom_In_the_Dark_Cover_for_Kindle

Q: What was your motivation for writing Bloom in the Dark?

A: God made me write it. He cornered me and told me He wouldn’t open any other doors for me until I obeyed on this one. I know that sounds dramatic, but that was my reality. I’d had the nagging feeling in the back of my head for over a year, but had fifty excuses for why I couldn’t write a book—especially not one as painful as this one. Besides, who would ever let me tell her most painful experiences? Like the intro, “Naked on Stage”, I already knew how difficult it was to go public with your shameful brokenness. But God. The same God Who inspired me to share some of my story in the book, inspired all the other women to share their stories. I feel humbled that they entrusted me with their darkest pain.

Q: Who should read your book?

A: Everyone. Of course. LOL. It is written specifically to the woman who’s still in denial, still feeling isolated and alone, still thinking she’s stuck and has no hope. Women who’ve been healed, should read it to inspire them to share their testimonies so they can help and inspire others. Women who are in abusive situations should read it to give them courage to get out. Women who haven’t been abused should read it to develop more compassion for broken women and to be grateful for the life they’ve had without abuse. Women leaving home at eighteen should read it as a preventative tool to help them understand how to avoid dangerous situations. Women in counseling or ministry positions should read it to understand how the women they minister to think and feel. Men should read it to better understand women and darkness.

Q: What was the hardest part of putting the stories together?

A: Coordinating with all the women who had lived the stories. They are from all around the country. They come from different generations, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different ethnic groups. I already knew some of them, but some of them God brought my way just for this book.

Q: What are your goals for your book?

A: My goal is to get this book into the hands of every woman in prison, every woman in battered women shelters, every woman in prostitution or sex-trafficking, every woman on the street, every woman in church, every woman in college, every woman in business, every woman in counseling, every woman in ministry, etc. In 2016, my goal is to get 10,000 books into the hands of hurting women.

Q: What does the future hold for Bloom in the Dark?

A: Right now, my team of ex-victims is helping me form a 501c3 charity called Bloom in the Dark. Our goal is to raise funds to give away books to charities helping hurting women, to raise awareness about abuse and brokenness of all types, and to create a hub for resources around the country available to help hurting women. I want to join all ex-victims in amplifying our voice to give awareness and hope to others so that we can drive away the darkness and BLOOM to our full potential.

Wallace_June 07Born in the jungles of Peru to missionary parents, Paula’s beginning in life was anything but typical.

Raped at the age of 5, Paula was caught in a cycle of damage and abuse which lasted into her thirties. From sexual abuse to later mental, emotional and even spiritual abuse, Paula developed a victim mentality, which fueled decades of continued abuse. The trauma she experienced caused her to develop a variety of psychosomatic illnesses which, at times, left her bed-ridden.

Broken beyond endurance and suicidal, Paula cried out to God for help. He miraculously intervened, faithfully walking with her through a dramatic healing process. Along the way, Paula learned to stand up to her abusers and stop attracting predators. She now knows, from personal experience, the healing, deliverance, and hope that only God can bring.

As an ex-victim, Paula’s passion to help others resulted in her writing Bloom in the Dark, a compilation of true stories shared by women who have walked through personal darkness and abuse. Each story tells how God met, healed, and restored an ex-victim. Readers discover that they are not alone and that there is lasting hope and healing! To learn more about Paula and her book, visit her website www.bloominthedark.com.

 

Lead Me

It must be you God,

leading me down this path.

l-301503Sometimes slowly,

other times at a lightning pace.

It must be you God,

leading me to be a voice for others.
.

Years ago I couldn’t have,

but now I feel your grace and love.

It must be you God,

encouraging me to to push ahead.

I feel your presence now,

guiding me when it gets tough.

It must be you God,

trusting me with this task.

You’ve shown me how to forgive,

to leave my hurt in the past.

It must be you God,

giving me this courage.

I’ll do my best to make you proud;

you’ve given me so much.

It must be you God,

Filling me with this joy.

I feel a sense of urgency,

a new found purpose.

It must be you God,

leading me down this path.

My story is not just mine.

When people read my book, I often hear, “Wow, you’re brave.” Telling a personal story that involves pain is scary and makes you vulnerable, but I feel strongly that it is important in order to help others. I kept my secret until I was 43 years old. Scared of being judged, I was full of guilt and shame. Today I am able to tell my story as a testimony to God’s grace. I will continue to share in order to help other women understand that they are not alone. My story may shock some, but it is one of many….

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):

Victims of sexual assault are:

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

I am one of the lucky ones. Thanks to God’s grace and my ability to forgive my abusers, I am able to live a life full of love. As you can see from the statistics above, many aren’t as lucky.

My goal is to help others find freedom and healing through God’s grace. This is why I chose to share my story.

My story is about much more than just me. l-298041