The Vanity in Victimization

Very few people have learned my story of being physically and sexually abused in the past. In extreme transparency I open up about the dangers of falling into the trap of living in a state of victimization, and how powerfully Christ can redeem trauma by transformation.

Vanity manifests from victimization because your focus is only on YOU.

Your pain. Your burdens. Your unfairness.

Victimization breeds bitterness, resentment, a constant state of suffering, and completely prevents you from healing.

It becomes all consuming, exhausting, and isolating.

Instead of dealing with my trauma, I chose to repress it.

As a result this is what happened to me:

  • I longed for control in any area of my life because at one point it was robbed from me
  • I struggled to cope when things didn’t go as planned because I couldn’t function when control was taken from me
  • I built up walls that were once seen as “protection” that lead to defensiveness and victimization
  • I couldn’t sit still or have any “free time” in my life because it served as my outlet to compensate for actually processing my pain
  • There was little room for grace because any pain inflicted upon me convinced me to believe that person had to automatically be against me
  • When I was abandoned in my marriage, I had the prime opportunity to feed that deeply engraved victim role. Instead, God took hold of my heart and told me, “I’m going to use your pain as a trajectory”.

    See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” Isaiah 48:10-11

    I realized there was something rooted within me that allowed me to always feel like the victim, and as if the world was falling apart every time control was ripped from me.

    I prayed for The Lord to reveal everything to me. In turn, through my dreams, He replayed my traumatic events before me that I fought for so long to run from. I finally had understanding.

    Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

    I decided I was going to be done with being the victim, and choose to take the stand as a victor. I could stand confident as a victor because Christ already declared it into existence before me.

    I was a survivor. I was rescued. I was healed. All because I allowed Jesus to reveal the hidden root, and with open palms welcomed redemption to begin.

    Are you going to be the person who points the finger? Or are you going to fight to be the person who draws the circle? The circle that says, let me step back and examine ME.

    Develop an acceptance and awareness that each and every one of us is fallen and broken because of sin. We are not perfect, and that’s completely okay.

    What’s not okay is to blame someone else or the circumstances you’ve faced in your life for the state you choose to live in.

    Yes, I said choose. Because it’s our choice.

    People and situations are not responsible for how you respond.

    Tragedy can become a trajectory because of the power behind Christ’s mighty love for you.

    We can either be free and believe the truth that Christ will heal me, or succumb to the lie and blame the people or places around me.

    Our circumstances don’t define us when Christ defied our circumstances by His sacrifice on the cross.

    Stop living in the blame, and instead ask God to reveal how He can utilize you through your pain to bring glory back to HIS name!

    Yes, the trauma or pain you have endured be so dang difficult to fight through. Friends, remember there’s absolutely nothing you can’t do with Christ walking alongside you.

    Your pain will NEVER go to waste. Your pain has purpose.

    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

    Once you shift the “why me?” to the “how can you use me?”, you will see freedom and healing and transform that victim into victory.

    Surrender before our mighty defender, and expectantly watch your beautiful transformation unfold right in front of you.

    Believing in the Breakthrough

    You know that feeling. Thick heavy clouds weighing oh so heavily down on your heart. Anxiously anticipating the weight of the downpour to break you at any moment. Feeling like the flood of tears could sweep away the faintest ounce of strength you had left.

    The weariness.

    The darkness.

    The hopelessness.

    The questioning.

    Are you sure, God actually keeps His promises?


    12/11/2018 I was walking my dogs and weather outside was on the brink of a storm. It was early afternoon, but you could’ve been convinced to believe it was near dusk by the bleak darkness that filled the entire sky.

    Then, I just had this peaceful moment with God. I realized despite the heavy thick gray clouds, I’m still able to see all that’s around me. It couldn’t ever be complete darkness during the day, no matter the clouds, because the sun is more powerful. The sun is so incredibly far above that the storm can never overtake it.

    Although it may not be as bright out, we’re reminded the storm will pass and the sun will shine again.

    When the clouds begin to part and the sun starts to breakthrough, it slowly begins as single rays.The rays stretch far out across the sky to remind you hope is rising.

    When the sun finally, completely, breaks through, it becomes so blinding and powerful that you forget the clouds even exist around you.

    Isn’t it beautiful that this is exactly what Jesus does for us??

    In our storms, JESUS IS THERE!

    He is HIGHER than the storm because He is GREATER than our storms.

    I will continue to praise His name and give thanks even when my breakthrough hasn’t happened yet. I believe in this because I know in full truth He will not forsake his promises.

    Right now I know your weariness and exhaustion may be holding you down. I challenge you to fight and persevere because your prayers never fall on deaf ears!

    “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13

    Your sun will shine again. Friends, your storms don’t have you. Your mighty God does, and He’s GOING TO BREAKTRHOUGH for you.

    Choose to believe in the breakthrough.

    “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalm 107:28-31

     

     

    Materialism Manipulated Me

    Investing confidence in financial or materialistic things robs you from the freedom Christ died to bring.

    Don’t get me wrong, having or desiring really nice things are not always a bad thing. While I say that, it’s imperative you sustain an awareness of it not taking root and becoming a heart issue.

     “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

    Keep in check where your driving factors come from:

    Does it drive you closer to Jesus, or dig the hole deeper into sin?

    Does it drive you to work hard to convince people you’re happy, when reality is you’re nothing but empty?

    Does it drive you to be selfish in places you should be selfless?

    Does it drive dependence in the world or on the One who created the world?

    It’s important to keep tabs on the places you find your deepest drive in selfishness. It’s in those places that God is trying to show you that there is something in you that needs to be humbled and renewed.

    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

    The scary thing about glorifying our lives with worldly things is you end up preaching the wrong gospel.

    You proudly preach, “look at me – then you’ll be happy”. By this people start to believe success, money, travel, and materialism really will satisfy.

    Reality is, it’s nothing but a massive lie because we know the truth is this world can never satisfy.

    “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

    Don’t let materialism manipulate you

    Instead, we should be more proud to say, “look at what Jesus has done for me, within me, and what He can also do for you – so you can find freedom too”.

    I had my own fair share of battles with financial status and security. It became an ugly idol. This idol conformed my identity to the likeliness of the world, and made me my own enemy.

    • I was driven to have my dream car (Explorer) because it looked like a Range Rover.

    • I was driven to go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner for better hours and higher salary.

    • I was driven to believe going on fun trips would give me the opportunity to escape problems or things I was avoiding.

    • I was driven not to tithe because I was so worried about building a significant financial security blanket, yet I made sure to have money for things I deemed “worthy” – superficially.

    What a stab, worthy. Isn’t is sad how easily we find ourselves just so entitled and worthy. Truth is, we deserve absolutely nothing, but our Savior gave us everything.

    How is it that I could be so consumed in doing what was “best for me” while I completely neglected praising my savior for how HE blessed me.

    He blessed me so I could bless others, not to live for self.

    “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

    While sometimes having and doing nice things can be fun or de-stressing, I allowed myself to get carried away to fill the void of needing Jesus.

    *Enter conviction*

    I started tithing. I sold my dream car. I withdrew from NP school. I moved to the suburbs, and gave up city life.

    When my paycheck comes, my first 10% is now immediately tithed before any other financial obligation – no matter how scary it may seem. I can affirm without a doubt God will provide and bless me. Scripture says so.

    He knew I didn’t need the fancy car. He knew I wasn’t meant to be a NP, but instead, He wanted me to pursue ministry. He knew I didn’t need a high-rise because He wanted me to have an extra room to better serve HIS people who may have a need.

    I gave up several material things that were significantly driving me, and today I feel freer then free.

    My prayer is that you too will search your heart, and ask Him to reveal if there’s anything that could use a little “less of me”.

    Trust me, God has no problem giving us a dose of humility. God convicts us each differently, but longs to do it lovingly – to give you freedom.

    Let’s spend less time making our lives look pretty, and instead make our hearts and how we steward others pretty.

    Be financially free and trust God will make you rich by the grace of His promises.

    “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

    Show Me Your Scars

    We all have scars.

    Some, more prominent than others, yet none serve as a lack of significance.

    Our scars tell a story.

    Where we’ve been. The trauma we’ve lived. The fire we’ve walked through. The pain once rooted deep within.

    We’re quick to cover up our scars out of shame, or the potential of dimming the beauty that’s found within. Scars usually aren’t pretty. We don’t want people to see them because we don’t only want to be seen by them. Our initial response is more than likely not to be proud of them. Depending where you’ve been, you may feel they’re best to never be talked about again.

    We don’t have to be proud of where we’ve been. More times than not we’d probably wish those circumstances or decisions would’ve never existed.

    While you don’t have to be proud of the events, things, or places that created those scars, I do challenge you to be proud of what they’ve made you, and who you are because of them.

    Some scars may be superficial while others are deep gashes that took what seems to have been forever to mend.

    I want to share a significant portion of John 20 about Jesus and His scars. When Jesus was resurrected He came back to see his disciples, and they knew for certain it was Him because of His scars.

    “…He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord…Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” John 20:20, 24-28

    When I came across this story, I personally was inspired to write about it from a different perspective of the scars we bear in our own lives.

    Jesus wasn’t ashamed by His scars. He knew His people would know it was HIM by witnessing the scars He showed them!

    My friends, why don’t we do the same!

    Why don’t we instead take a bold stance and tell the world that our scars are just fruitful testaments that God faithfully fulfills His promises!

    Jesus’ scars from the cross didn’t just define Him by where He’s been. It wasn’t left at crucifixion – It was boldly glorified by His RESURRECTION! The story of the gospel lives and breathes because it didn’t stop at the cross. He was meant to do what God ultimately destined Him to – to RISE, LIVE, and BREATHE so He could powerfully live on in each and every one of you.

    Your scars don’t define you by where you’ve been. No, instead, they give you the opportunity to share the gospel by faithfully proclaiming of what Jesus has done WITHIN!

    Your scars may have really hurt, and still may. But friends, it cannot even begin to compete with the testament of what Jesus Christ has done in you, and the legacy you now leave behind you.

    So, show me your scars.

    Share your story.

    Proudly be bold to bring God all the glory.

     

    “You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:16-17

    Simply Be Still

    “Be still”. What does it mean to “be still”?

    For some, the word “still” may not even exist in their vocabulary. I can humbly admit I’ve faithfully lived in this place at times. Life itself finds a way to  barricade our spare moments and engulf them instead with opportunities to do more, see more, be more.

    More. More. More.

    If it’s not good enough, it’s not done yet. If it’s not successful enough, it needs more work. If it’s not fulfilling enough, it needs another outlet.

    Are you tired of not enough? I am. It’s exhausting. It’s a never ending cycle with an aimless destination. Completely empty.

    I spend a lot of time reading biblical commentary to give me greater depth and understanding to the passages I read. This quote below is from “Enduring Word Biblical Commentary” on what the bible says about being “still” and how to apply it.

    "...as you know the glory and greatness of God, stop your mouth from arguing him or opposing him. Simply surrender." - Enduring Word

    I became fixated as to why the commentary chose the adjective “simply” to describe our process of surrender. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we have this pretense that surrender appears to be far from “simplicity”. Some may even equate the thought of surrender to a near tragedy.

    But ask yourself, does it have to be?

    Truth is, there is absolutely no simplicity found in control. Once you deal with one thing, you’re already 5 steps into the next thing. There’s never any time to stop and breathe because you’re so consumed in believing “I know what’s best for me, but thanks God”.

    We grasp for and grip control in any shape or form because we cling to the belief “I’ve got me”, instead of in faith declaring “God’s got me”.

    We do so because of the battle with living in fear. All too well we know if we surrender we blindly step into the unknown. That’s what scares us, the unknown. We long for control because we long to know the destination and outcome. In our way, our time.

    But what we fail to understand is that it’s amidst the unknown, The God of all creation, faithfully sustains us to be complete and whole.

    Surrender actually frees those exhausted, tight, clenched hands, and serves as the key to releasing the blessings God has already intended and planned.

    When our palms are too busy gripping our own selfish desires, we end up completely closed off to accepting  all God transpires.

    So let me ask, what are you desperately grasping on to that could instead use a solid “God I trust you”?


    The stillness is meant to refresh us. One of my mentors, Tammy, always says to me “He never once tells us to figure it out, but to trust and be still”.

    She’s right.

    In being still we are met with peace. The peace is found in knowing that with The Lord leading me nothing will be lacking or taken from me. The simplicity lies in believing God is for me; therefore, allowing myself to rest because nothing can or will stand against me. (Romans 8:31). Being still is confidently trusting whatever direction the unknown goes is ultimately to bring Him glory, and teaches me how to grow. 

    “The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul, He guides me along the right paths for His sake.” Psalm 22:1-3

    So my friends release,

    simply “Be still“, andknow that [He] is God”. Psalm 46:10

     

    Raw + Real

    Being a Christian isn’t about pretty, put-together, prayers.

    It’s raw. It’s real.

    Sometimes, if not most times, filled with the honest gut-wrenching tears.

    We live in this false pretense that it gets easier when you decide to become a believer.

    It’s easy to pull scripture + pour out truth when you’re not the one desperately grasping for an ounce of a breakthrough.

    It’s easy to say, “trust God” when you’re not the one hanging by the thread of only having “just God”.

    It’s easy to say, “I’m doing okay” to fight off the pride in humbly saying, “I honestly don’t know how to make it through another day”.

    But amidst the brutal, honest, tears, you end up being met by the God who knows exactly how to calm your fears.

    “Cast your cares on The Lord and he will sustain you; he will not let the righteous fall” Psalm 55:22

      The God who hears you.
      The God who sees you.
      The God who believes in you.

    Maybe right now you’re not okay.

    Maybe right now you need to hear it’s okay if you’re really not okay.

    But I will FIGHT to tell you, God with his goodness, mercy, and faithful heart never intends for you to stay that way.

    There will be a day your tears of mourning radically become transformed into tears of rejoicing and those that are adorning.

    Some days + nights you may find yourself clenching your Bible, and earnestly seeking a place to rest your head.

    My beautiful friend, it’s completely okay because it’s in the midst of the raw, real, dependence, you become a witness to experiencing His fulfillment of promises.

    “I have heard your prayers and seen your tears. I WILL heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5

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    Many days + nights this was me.

    In full transparency, it still can be me.

    Your growth in The Lord shouldn’t make you more confident in self, but drive deeper the roots in dependence on God himself.

    I’m okay with this every once in a while being me, but Lord how I PRAISE YOU and THANK YOU for knowing you’ve set this captive 100% free.

    My prayer for you too, my friend, is to rejoice in the gift of freedom – freely gifted upon you, to heal you.

    Rock Bottom. The Brunt of Brokenness.

    When you hear the phrase “hit rock bottom” it’s fair to assume the context is one of negative connotation.

    Darkness. The lowest point. Excruciatingly painful. The end.

    In dealing with family, friends, or relationships where a loved one has strayed into a prodigal, it’s incredibly common you hear,

    “they’ll have to hit rock bottom at some point”

    But why?

    It’s a hopeful cry of desperation that they’ll come back around. Come back around as the old self they once were, or a completely new self – exceedingly better than before.

    Maybe at one point you were, or currently are, that prodigal.

    Is it not in our moments of desperation, where we literally have no deeper to fall, that we finally look up and cry out to Jesus that we need him, “now more than ever”? When you’re in a moment, or season, of hitting rock bottom it’s so easy to feel defeated.

    There’s no hope.
    No reason to carry on.
    You’ve finally messed up too much this time.
    There’s no way you can possibly redeem yourself.
    You’re unforgivable.
    You’re not worthy.
    You’re completely alone.

    What I find so fascinating about the term “rock bottom” is specifically the word, rock .

    Think about it – who is our ultimate rock? Jesus.

    It’s not surprising then when we hear testimonies of people who finally came to the end of themselves at rock bottom. In turn, they became completely transformed by Jesus.

    You have to believe, understand, and receive this truth: there is nothing you could do to destroy God’s plan for you. Jesus wants nothing more than to open his arms up to you, and welcome you home with merciful unending love and grace.

    “…but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘ father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be your son’. But the father said to his servants, ‘quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet…for this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  – Luke 14: 20-24

    Jesus eagerly anticipates the day you choose to look up in hope + truth instead of remain face down in the lie that your life is nothing but destitute.

    Rock bottom is finally putting an end to wrestling God, and creating a beginning of surrendering to God. What appears to be the end, in return, is an opportunity of a brand new beginning.

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    Are you at rock bottom, friend?

    I’ll say this.

    I find freedom in rock bottom. While you may be in the brunt of your brokenness, you can fully trust that Jesus is going to fight to help you overcome + conquer this.

    Your brokenness, it doesn’t define you; it’s an opportunity to powerfully refine you.

    To heal you. To free you. To redeem you.

    “…I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” – 2 Kings 20:5

    The lies the enemy has tried so hard to use to entangle you, have already been freely broken + defeated by the mighty Savior who died for you.

    I don’t know about you, but there’s no other solid ground I’d rather completely fall to my knees to – that of Jesus.

    My rock, my fortress, my defense.
    “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2

    It’s on that rock, whether on your knees or on your face…

    You will rise. You will stand. It’s only the beginning, not even near the end.

    You have a story God will use 100% for HIS glory. Choose to humbly submit. I promise you’ll be blessed by your testament.

    “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18