Me too!

Isn’t it reassuring when you find out that someone else has a similar situation or problem as you? When we are filled with doubt or concern, the words ME TOO, can make us feel less alone. Perhaps it’s a situation at work or difficulty in a relationship. Maybe it’s something from the past that we’ve been nervous to share. We begin to wonder if it’s just us and when we make that connection it is a relief! Finding others who have a similar past or current situation is comforting. This is why it’s important that we share our journey with others.

When a counselor who I had been seeing suggested that I share my story, my initial reaction was to laugh. I had kept my past, my secret, for all these years, why would I share it?

NO WAY.

But something kept nudging me and her words kept replaying in my head, “What if you could help someone who is suffering like you did for so long?”

I remember the sick, scared feeling I had in my stomach the first time I shared my story of being sexual abused with others. I feared being judged and feelings of shame and guilt from the past flooded my thoughts. When I finished, I was surprised to find that audience members were coming up to thank me for sharing. And then something that I hadn’t expected happened. The guests, people I didn’t know, starting telling me that they had a similar past…..what? Women told me that they too had never told anyone. As much as it comforted me, I also felt angry and sad.

How is it that in a culture of tell-all, reality TV, there are so many suffering in silence? We donate money and time to help others in foreign countries, but aren’t addressing the serious issues that are in our own churches, neighborhoods and schools.

We need to come forward, get past the shame and guilt and help each other heal. The more we do, the more we can bring attention to this all too common issue and prevent it from happening to others.

This is why I share my story.

20160303_091831

I recently had the opportunity to appear on Real Life and Real Life 360 on Cornerstone TV in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I shared my story with the hope of helping others realize that they aren’t alone. God loves us…messy past and all!

A Lesson in Grace

Yesterday morning it was 17 degrees outside. I do NOT like to be cold! However, I have a dog and he doesn’t mind it. And if he doesn’t get his daily walks he will do everything in his power to make me feel guilty. I mean, just look at that face!20160103_132634

So I reluctantly put on my down jacket, hat, and gloves. As we headed out across the street I realized that the sun felt nice and raised my face towards it. We walked to the end of the street, he did his “business,” and as we turned to head home I was thinking about the hot cup of coffee that I would enjoy when we got back home.

My thoughts were quickly interrupted as 2 dogs came running across the street towards us and I heard their owner yelling, “oh no, I’m sorry!” My dog likes to meet other dogs and wasn’t phased as the sniffing began until one of the dogs started attacking him. In a flash I heard growling, saw teeth, and started yelling, “stop it” to the dog. The other dog had my dog’s ear in his mouth, paws around his neck and I was terrified. A person driving by pulled over to help and the owner of the dogs was able to get her dog away from mine. I quickly walked away thinking very negative thoughts about the dog and the owner. After we got home and I assessed my dog and realized that he was fine, I was able to calm down a little bit. I went to work, but still had a bitter taste in mouth.

Later in the afternoon I was doing an errand and my son called me when he got home from school. I told him what had happened and he was immediately angry. I reminded him that it wasn’t the woman’s fault and that we should be thankful that our dog wasn’t hurt. A few minutes later he called me back and said that the woman had come over looking for me and wanted to make sure our dog was ok! As I drove home I saw the woman and pulled over to talk to her. She apologized and asked if my dog was ok. It turns out that she is the daughter in law of a neighbor and staying with them for a while. She was very kind and said, “That was not the way I wanted to meet you. I’ve heard you speak at church.” I was taken aback and felt guilty for my earlier negative thoughts.

I returned home and told my son about our exchange. As I pointed out that I could’ve been nasty and unkind to her, which would’ve been a bad reflection of Jesus (who I try hard to be a positive reflection of). As I reflected on the whole ordeal, I realized that it was a perfect lesson of grace!

We find this written out in Luke 6:31-37 (NLT)

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

Unveiled and Revealed

I am excited to be over at Unveiled and Revealed today with Brianna L. George. Unveiled and Revealed is a ministry resource for encouraging women to discover and live out of their new nature in Christ. Inspiring them to claim the identity Christ gifts them by grace and rest through himself.

Check it out and get a preview of my book Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse, which is being released on Monday!!

http://unveiledandrevealed.com/

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 5.53.40 PM

 

Grace is….

I saw this on my phone today and took a screen shot of it. It is such a simple explanation of what grace is.

Grace is a constan12226994_169547633394369_1524742725250443883_nt theme in the Bible and the only way we can enter into a relationship with God is because of His grace towards us.

“For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves.”(Ephesians 2:8)

Grace is a gift that started from God and we have the ability to pass it on to others.

Write 31 Challenge- Word of the Day and a CONTEST!!

October 15 Word of the Day: Grace

31 day word challenge

I love this word so much that I named my blog after it! How lucky are we that God saved us from our sin?! All we have to do is believe….what a wonderful gift!

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8

I believe that my life is a perfect example of God’s grace. I have endured pain and trauma, but thanks to God and my faith, I was able to forgive and have been able to overcome my past and become who I am today.

My pastor recently spoke about this explaining, “Grace is what we need, not what we deserve.”

Please share what you have been able to overcome thanks to God’s grace.

Write 31 Challenge CONTEST

DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October!

To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ff92849712/?

Grace at the movies

This weekend I kept hearing the word grace and reference to God’s grace towards us. Of course, this word means a lot to me, so when I hear it, my ears perk up. At our church we are doing a series on finding your way back to God, no matter what has happened in the past. At the movie theatre, War Room is an incredible film that gives a wonderful example of this.

images

When you feel that there is a hole in your heart that you just can’t fill by doing what you’re doing, it’s time for a change. God gives us the opportunity to turn from our selfish ways and welcome him in our hearts. He will be ready for you. In the movie, the main characters, Tony and Elizabeth Jordan, are having trouble in their marriage. They live in a beautiful home and have an adorable little girl, but they are both unhappy. Elizabeth meets a new client, Clara, and with her help, realizes that she can’t change her husband without God’s help. She opens her Bible, prays for her husband and asks God for help.

“Why spend money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen and you will find life.” Isaiah 55:2-3 (NLT)

In War Room, Tony, the husband, is on a path for failure as he is lying and cheating his company and almost cheats on his wife. After losing his job, he realizes that he needs to change and turns to God. He realizes that with God you can start over and our sin, broken, and failures are wiped away. God will help you, but you must ask for help and let him have control of your life. As Tony does this, he and his wife are given the gift of God’s grace.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)

I recommend this movie and think it is a great reminder of the gift that we have all been given.

The story behind my blog

l-173187

When I first started blogging, I chose the title “Grace” and Ephesians2v8 because I believe strongly that it was God’s grace that allowed me to survive a childhood of physical and emotional abuse from my parents. I pursued Him my entire life and once I understood what it meant to have faith, developed a relationship with Christ, and believed, He gave me the strength to forgive them. Not long after that, He gave me another gift; the power to share my story with others. I have written a book and hope to have it published by the end of this year.

This scripture means a lot to me and know that I can’t take credit for what I have accomplished. It is a gift from God!

Me, brave?

I’m scared of snakes and don’t like heights. I’m not a big risk-taker, and yet, several people have called me brave recently. My friend sent me this and said it made her think of me. I’ve really never thought of myself as brave. I’m choosing to share my story so that I might be able to help others who may be struggling. I hope that by doing so I can show a real example of God’s grace for us all. Yes, it’s a little bit scary, but not as bad as snakes!Screenshot_2015-08-07-16-00-04 Continue reading

Late bloomer

Each winter as the snow melts and temperature gets warmer, I look forward to seeing flowers and fresh leaves grow. I like to plant bulbs and seeds and wait with anticipation for them to push through the dirt. But sometimes they don’t grow. Perhaps there was a late frost or an animal dug it up? Either way, the result can be disappointing.

There are times in life when we all feel like the flower trying to blossom. We’re on our way up (through the dirt) and then something comes along and steps on us. Whether it is job, a relationship, or personal goal that we’ve been working for, rejection, fear, and self doubt can undo all the work that we have put in.flower_under_snow_spring_20140127_1318698541

Fortunately for us, we aren’t finished when that happens. We can lean on our God and ask for help and direction. God has a plan for us all and sometimes our desires aren’t part of that plan, but he will guide us to where we should be. It may take another season and the result may look different from what we thought it would, but with our faith in God’s love, we will bloom!

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (NIV)