First-Timers Guide to Planning a Ladies Retreat (Part 1)

This last weekend we had our church’s very first Ladies Retreat. Out of the 16 ladies who attended, less than a handful of them had ever been on a ladies retreat!! Not only was it my first time to plan a retreat, it was their first time attending! HaHa! It was a lot of work to plan….but well worth it! I want to share some things I did right, and some things I could do better next time. My hope and prayer is that my notes on this experience will encourage and help some Church Planter’s Wife or Pastor’s Wife to know and trust God if He leads you to plan a retreat.

My personality (we are all different)

I’m 3 1/2 years green in the “Pastor’s Wife” department, and have never been the one who planned things out. I was NOT the girl in the group who did the planning. I remember growing up I always had THAT girl as a close friend or best friend. I was there for the fun of it. There’s no doubt I’m a choleric….but I’m not the planning choleric. I’m creative, and artistic…but get overwhelmed with the “big picture” and draw blanks. I have to be totally inspired to be able to plan something. All the Pastor’s Wife duties that involve planning events and retreats I have pretty much avoided…up until this year.

My journey (you have your own)

I am a “from scratch” PW. I did not grow up in a Pastor’s home, or even a ministry home. I met Christ, and 1 year later went to Bible College where I surrendered my life to whatever God wanted me to do. After graduating from Bible College, I spent 4 1/2 years as an Assistant Pastor’s Wife before God chose to call my husband to be a Senior Pastor. We came here, and have basically done a church “restart” so to speak. It’s been so fun and exciting, and I have grown so much!  In the last 3 1/2 years we have started, launched, and kicked off a lot of different ministries and events. God has given us people in our church that have helped us along the way. You may be alone, with no Assistant Pastor’s Wife to help carry the load… you may not have deacon’s wives who support you. You may not have ladies who volunteer to help out. You may be it! It’s all you! I understand. I believe in a God who created the universe, created me, and who knows my every weakness. He WILL send people to help and support as He sees fit. I understand being all alone in this whole PW duties thing, but I also can testify to God’s provision for me along the way. I could go on and on about the different ladies in my church who help me in so many different areas of the ministry. God didn’t give them to me overnight or all at once. Some of them were always there, but evolved into my right hand. Some of them, God added to the church 2 or 3 years into us being here. Others were a help from day one. God just knows. Don’t lose hope. His timing is perfect. Just keep doing what God wants you to do today. Always remember your priorities (wife, mother, then Pastor’s Wife) and keep in mind your season of life. Enjoy the seasons.

Pray for spiritual unity in your church 

I am overwhelmed by how God has encouraged me through ladies in our church. Only women who are submitting to His leading can come together in unity like these women have. Out of the 16 ladies who went with us, do you think we all had the same opinions and desires? So tell me… how could we ALL have been in complete unity? During the planning process I never one time had someone complain or tell me how their way is better (though I’m sure some felt that way at some point). This spirit is not from us. It’s merely an evidence of women who are walking in God’s Spirit. I am so thankful to be a part of it.

Getting Started:

1. Put it on your church calendar. This helped keep me accountable. This kept me from backing out. It also helped ladies plan for time off work and babysitting.

2. Reserve your location. Go and tour the location yourself. This (I think) is so important. You need to be able to understand the environment to promote and plan as it gets closer.

3. Come up with a theme. Do this after you have your location to make sure they will blend together. There’s tons of ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. Or just pray and ask God to give you one… (That’s literally what He did with mine!)

4. Schedule the speaker. Consider the cost. If you have a guest speaker you need to plan financially. You need to pay her way for the retreat, plus give her $ for each session. This is our policy…you may have a different one, or not have one at all. For example, cost to attend is $75 + you pay her $150 per session + her plane tickets are $600 round trip… you must divide up the almost $1,000 for speaker cost between the ladies who attend. For our 16 ladies this would have added $62.50 onto their cost. This would take the cost from $75 to $137.50 in our case. This all depends on the travel costs for the speaker of course. Just something to keep in mind. To keep our cost down, I was the speaker. 😉 The con was the mental drain on me during the retreat. I had my lessons running in the back (or front) of my mind the whole time. It was difficult to transition from the fun and activities, to… “Oh! I have to teach my lesson now!” Looking back, I would do it again. Affordability was a TOP priority for our retreat.

These were just the first 4 steps in planning, and also some personal background and history. Hope it was a help!

For women other than the Pastor’s Wife, maybe this will inspire you to be an encourager and support to your Pastor’s Wife. She NEEDS it…she desires it… don’t ignore her…

 

God Made the Snow Too

Running outside…just something about it brings my heart to my Creators heart. I love my conversations with my God out there all alone.

It was freezing…no…below freezing. It’s March for crying out load!… more snow?! I really needed to run, and I hate the gym. So completely against my own will, I got all my winter gear on and dragged myself to the trail. I sat in the car and got everything all situated…seriously grumbling. Headphones secure with a sermon podcast in play, I started down the trail. I was thinking, “this is insane!.. there’s no one else dumb enough to be out here. I’m all alone…but I don’t care.” Easy pace… the Pastor talking in my ears began speaking about the “Joy Killers in Ministry” and I was engulfed in his words immediately. It was just what I needed.

Only 1 mile in and it starts to really snow…and of course I’m running into the wind, snow blowing right into my face. I tightened the gator so only an opening for my eyes was left. The snow poured into the hole, creating a little ice nest around my eyes. “This is crazy…” Oh and I couldn’t feel my toes…is that ok? “Well I’m out here so might as well keep going. Stopping won’t get me home any faster.” I keep going. I keep listening. Next thing I know, my toes are back, the sermon is over, and I’m not ready to be done. So I just keep running.

Sometimes in ministry the sun is shining, and the flowers are sweet. Sometimes the birds sing, and the squirrels play. Other times though, the clouds are dark, and the frigid air cuts into you. Sometimes there’s not a living thing in sight, and you are all alone.

Just keep running.

Working through the pain and discomfort means not giving up in the day of adversity (Proverbs 24:10, Psalms 10:6). Being patient as you wait for the sun to break through the clouds means keeping your eyes on hope (James 5:8, Psalms 40:1). Not quitting when it’s hard means although you can’t see the end of the trail you know eventually you will get to it (Hebrews 12:2).

Whatever the weather, the run is always worth it.

Summertime runs are so joyous…especially in the evening when the fireflies are lighting the way, and the stars are greeting you with cheerfulness. I just love those runs. But you know what, there is just something special about the quietness and solitude during the winter (or Michigan Springtime) runs. God’s face is evident and powerful in both. There is enjoyment found in both, because He’s the Creator of it all. I can be thankful. And I can just keep running.

 

Who Does The Pastor’s Wife Talk To?

The Pastor’s Wife… you know what “they” say… The loneliest person in the world is the Pastor’s Wife. Very encouraging of course, whether you just became a PW, or you’ve been one awhile. So then, WHO does the Pastor’s Wife talk to? Is she just left to be that lonely and isolated woman forever? Can she ever have friends? Is it a good idea for her to even confide in anyone? Who can she trust? Is it right for her to have friends within the church? What about a friend outside her church (gasp!)? Isn’t she supposed to be the best friend to everyone? 

Along with the Pastor, the Pastor’s Wife is just a sheep like everyone else in her church. An isolated lonely sheep becomes prey to the wolves very quickly. So why should she be expected, maybe even demanded, to be a solitary soul… all the while criticized if she doesn’t have the spiritual gall and strength of the virgin Mary herself? 

Hitting the Restart Button

I’m a social type person who’s always had a “BFF” plus other close friends. I guess that’s how I’m wired. I love being around people, and I’m energized after a good conversation. I’ve met “Military Brats” who have explained to me how difficult it was to have close friends when they moved every 2 years. They grew accustomed to starting over, never truly developing long lasting friendships. Cody and I started in ministry, and developed very deep relationships with the people there. 2 years later, God moved us. Restart. I was devastated, and was convinced I would never again find those close relationships. It was over. I found, however, that about 2 years into our 2nd ministry…I had developed different relationships that were just as special! I grew together in these friendships for 4 1/2 years, only to be blind-sided by…yep, another move! God led Cody and I here to Michigan 3 1/2 years ago. Again…devastation in being plucked from the friendships I had cultivated and established! How could I ever be the same? Would I be able to do it again?

Don’t Force a Purchase

I had this gift card from Christmastime, and I scheduled a day to use it. I arranged for Cody to have the girls, and I got myself all set to go with snacks, and water, and my gift card! This was gonna just be the best thing ever. I got to the store, and I began looking from one department to the next….to the next…and next… and next. I saw lots of things I would love to use my gift card on! Oh…but to decide… oh my… well, I bet if I just go through the departments another round, it will become clear what item I should get. So, I restarted my journey through the store. By now my snacks are gone, and my purse heavy and my mouth parched. Oh boy, what should I do? My mind is all fuzzy, and I’m ready to take a nap in the bedding department. So I wearily conclude to buy one of the items I’d seen, and can’t wait to just be done and go home. The next day I start to examine my new purchase. Hmm… it seemed to be nicer in the store. I go on Amazon, and read reviews….oh great! I did NOT choose the right item. I take it back, and get a store credit to use on another “scheduled” shopping day.

As Pastor’s Wives we can get so eager and excited to find a friend in ministry, we end up making a wrong decision…forcing a “purchase” as our time is running out and we are weary from all the shopping. This turns out to cause us unnecessary discomfort and even pain, regret, and remorse. 

Trust He is Working

He knows your heart…He knows the future…He knows what you need…He knows. He has not forsaken you. David was so eloquent in his raw, brokenhearted cries to God as he waited for him to move. I love Psalms 9:10...”And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Being patient is difficult at times. Our timetable is completely different than God’s. “Be still, and know that I am God..” (Psalms 46:10) is a gentle reminder to just let God do what He wants to do. Stop moving around. Stop trying to run from person to person trying to force a friendship. Just allow God to open doors. He will. Trust in Him to bring the right person. Be open to His timing, and His seasons. It might be that He brings a friendship into your life for just a season, a short period of time…and that’s ok. We have to learn to let go too. Follow God’s leading. If it seems He’s closing a door to a friendship, just “be still” and know that He’s working. 

Ask the Creator 

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)…what a relief when we cast our care upon our Savior. Just ask. Ask Him to fulfill your desire for friendship as you wait. “God, protect me from the wrong friendships, and guide me to the right ones”… is an example. Just ask. Ask Him to lead, and be prepared to follow.

Let God Release You

There are ministry wives who are like a wounded soldier with scars, wounds, even some fresh bandages. Been there? Scary right? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition among Pastor’s Wives. Their handicap leaves them to suffer alone. As someone goes to hug them, they unintentionally rip a scab off an old wound…leaving it bleeding and hurting all over again. She then is tormented by flashbacks of the hurt for days, or weeks. It’s best for everyone if she stays at a distance. She accepts her life as a martyr, or she eventually gives up altogether. This is a reality. Another reality is that healing is possible through the power of Christ. Psalms 46:1 is clear who can save us from this prison of desolation… “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God is “very present”… our husband, best friend, mom, etc can’t always be there. The Great Comforter is there. He created the universe, but He also wants to be the creator of refuge and strength for us! 

God created friendship, and wants the Pastor’s Wife to enjoy this gift just like any other breathing human being on the planet. It is part of His plan. We are to bear one another’s burdens…pray for one another… laugh together… It’s not His will for us live a life void of relationships. Do God’s will, and focus on Him. Let the critics do what they do…while you live. 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 

 

Katie’s Cancer Update

On February 15th 2012, Katie was diagnosed with cancer. Our lives would never be the same… We are honored and privileged to have had this opportunity to experience God’s grace and peace like we have. We are so thankful for the prayers for Katie’s healing.

June of 2012 Katie finished chemo treatments and was cleared of all cancer cells. Praise the Lord! Since then we have gone back to the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital to see our “Hospital Family”… they will forever be family.

We turn in to parking garage 3 from Michigan Street. Level P-4 has the best spots so I always head straight there! Elevators to bridge, across the bridge to lobby, then to security desk for my badge before heading all the way up to floor 10 where the chemo clinic is. They always call Katie up right away…no time to browse magazines or books. Vitals looking good with Rich… “you’re getting so big Katie!” Now we head to our room, which hopefully is one with a floor to ceiling window! Katie’s Oncologist Dr. Mitchell visits with us, and examines Katie. John comes and takes blood… each time trying a cool new gadget to distract from the “poke”. We head down to the basement for either CT Scans, X-rays, or Ultrasound…depending on what visit it is. She does not get scared of the big dome scanner…she laughs at the “jelly on the belly”, and she’s totally cool with getting “pictures” of her torso. Katie is my adventurer. Dr. Mitchell calls later that day to tell us that “everything looks great. She’s clear.” We made it through another 3 months cancer free. Praise God. These are the memories we hold dear. Might sound strange. Holding memories of such a horrible event so dear… that’s the thing… it’s not horrible.

God is the God of the valleys as well as the mountains. He works all things together for good. When we allow the power of Christ to rest upon us, there’s nothing horrible about it. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I’m thankful that the Great Physician has allowed us to see Katie turn 5. He’s even allowed us to watch her blossom into 6! We thank Him each night for letting us have our girls for another day. Our life, it’s but a vapor that appears for just a little while…then vanishes. Vanishes away.

Lord, I just thank you for your Word that never fails. Thank you for my family… I love them so much. Lord I’m so thankful for Katie, and her desire for you. Thank you for cancer…it’s a powerful tool to bring us closer to you and cause us to see our need for you.

Survival Tips for Pastor’s Wives During Spiritual Battle

Just wanted to talk about things that have been going on for the last 7 months… I have taken an absence from my blog, as I felt the Lord wanted me to focus on some other things.

Last summer, the Lord allowed a trial to come into my life….and no, I’m not referring to Katie’s cancer… Last summer Satan began attacking me in various ways. It came on suddenly, and often without a break it seemed. I’m still facing this attack today, and I am so thankful for the Lord’s grace on my life, and in my family.

All you Pastor’s Wives know the target that is on our lives, as our husbands are in a position of spiritual leadership. If Satan can take down the Pastor, he’s got a better hold on the flock by which he is overseeing. I understand that Satanic attacks are “part of it”… and I want to grow and learn as much as I can from them all. The Lord has taught me so much over the last 7 months.

1. People are critical by nature

Romans 3:10-18 is very clear about our spiritual state…. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:17 And the way of peace have they not known:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

So, I need to realize, I’m a people, you’re a people, we’re all a people! I know how people can be, cuz I am one! When I became a Pastor’s Wife I didn’t suddenly become an angel….though my husband may think I am sometimes! hehe! This takes me to my next lesson….

2. I am human too

I make mistakes, I am human. People will hold me up at a ridiculously high standard because of what I am. That is very tragic and unfortunate…and there’s no way any Pastor’s Wife can fulfill that kind of standard! This is one of the greatest battles every Pastor’s Wife faces….the “pressure to be perfect”… and the criticism and unforgiving spirit she receives when she’s not… tragic. Just tragic. I thank God for churches who let the Pastor’s Wife be human, and they love her in spite of her own mistakes and shortcomings…and even love her more because of it.

3. God still wants me to do right

 1Peter 3:9 is very clear on how we ought to react. It says, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”

Just because of #1, and #2… that doesn’t give me licence to get bitter, to withdraw from life, or even retaliate. As a Pastor’s Wife….you understand #1 and #2. But God still wants, and expects you to do right as His child. I like the poem by Mother Teresa, “Do it Anyway”…

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

4. Don’t look for appreciation, or thanks

I’ve been there done that…. I am the type that honestly needs some reassurance and some appreciation. Especially when I did something that was very hard and difficult to do. I need that, “thank you” or “I appreciate that”… God’s had to deal with me on this though. Especially as a Pastor’s Wife… my whole life is given to serving. And I watch my husband give his life for serving others. So when there’s a lack of response, or the response to my efforts and work is actually negative and critical…I have to give it to God, and He reminds me in Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. This leads me to #5….

5. God will reward me

God’s appreciation has to be more important to me, than man’s. God’s rewards are so much greater than man’s. When I do something, I must continually be reminded, and ask the Lord, “Did I do good, Lord? I did it for you.” Great joy comes from really truly knowing that the Lord is happy with something I did, especially if it was something hard and difficult to do. I can hear Him say, “I know that was hard, I’m so proud of you.” When I get my focus on the Lord’s opinion and appreciation…nothing else will matter.

6. God opens hearts, not me

    Jesus dealt with the unbelieving hearts after His resurrection in Luke 24. Verse 45 says, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” 

     Remember Lydia? Who was responsible for her open heart? Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

I can’t change people. My “doing right” as mentioned in #4 is not gonna change anyone’s heart. Just because I show love (or at least try) towards someone, doesn’t mean their hearts will open… in fact, it can have a contrary effect (read Proverbs 6:34-35).

7. Limit contact with poisonous people

(Poison is a strong word, I know…but the Bible is pretty strong.) Don’t be fooled, the poison will begin to infect you. Whether this is a neighbor, friend, family member…doesn’t matter. When I was a kid, and I was having a bad attitude, my mom would sometimes ask me, “Who have you been hanging around?”.. Because we are who we hang around. When hanging around those poisonous people, there is one purpose and one purpose only….to win them to Christ, or to administer the Word of God.  Sometimes avoiding the person is necessary  like Romans 16:17  admonishes, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”  We definitely should abstain from certain relationships as 2Corinthians 6:14 explains, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  There are other Christians we need to limit contact with as well, as 1 Corinthians 5:11 clearly communicates, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”  Having discernment that is Holy Spirit driven is necessary in knowing who to keep company with, and what the purpose of that company is. The principle from Proverbs teaches,  “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3, and Proverbs 27:121)

8. I am not the Pastor

My husband is! I’m not responsible for keeping watch over the flock, he is. I can still support him, as he oversees, and feeds the flock…. I daily need to give him over to God in prayer. This leads me to #9….

9. Remember my role

My job, or role, is to love my husband, love my children, keep my home, and grow in the Lord. If I feel led to teach a class, or work in the nursery…that’s fine…but it’s not my primary role as the Pastor’s Wife. This I’m sure is also one of the tougher ones for us Pastor’s Wives! God will provide workers and teachers….maybe He’s just waiting for us to get out of the way so He can work! lol!

10. Study hard, pray hard

I WILL NOT LAST as a Pastor’s Wife if I don’t! Study harder than ever before, and pray harder than ever before. This is your source of strength to do what you do! Don’t settle for mediocre in this area. For everything else rests on your walk with God.

11. Seek help

As the Pastor’s Wife, guess what….it’s ok to need help. I sometimes need an outside perspective. The Bible even says there’s safety in having several counselors. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Biblical counsel will even lift your spirits, as Proverbs 27:9 poetically explains  Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. If necessary, seek professional help from a Doctor, there’s no shame in that. In fact, it is wise!

Above all else….God is faithful.

In my moments of fear,
Through Every Pain Every Tear
There’s A God Who’s Been Faithful To Me

When My Strength Was All Gone
When My Heart Had No Song
Still In Love He’s Proved Faithful To Me

Every Word He’s Promised Is True
What I Thought Was Impossible
I’ve Seen My God Do

He’s Been Faithful
Faithful To Me
Looking Back His Love And Mercy I See
Though In My Heart I Have Questioned
Even Failed To Believe
Yet He’s Been Faithful, Faithful To Me

The Stronghold of Lies: Guest Writer

A true story, from a friend. A girl…who looked in a mirror.


Shonda, thank you for writing about lying. A little self-exposure here, as I’d like to share my story of how lying was once a stronghold in my life. Let me start from the beginning. I’m a sinner, so naturally I was (am) a liar. But when I was ending junior high and starting high school, it got really bad. My desire to hide partying and hanging out with the wrong people gave me necessity to lie because what I was doing would not have been okay with my parents, or others in my life that wanted me to do the right thing. Usually the reason I lied was to defer either disappointing someone, making someone upset at me, or simply to prevent others from knowing the awful truth about me. So I would lie about where I was, who I was with, where I spent the night, etc. I even made up friends that did not exist. Everything that came out of my mouth was a lie, even when I didn’t have to lie!! It became first nature to me.

So now add 7 or so years to that. I was an adult, no one to be accountable to, and I was still lying. About everything. Not even to get out of trouble anymore, just because I hadn’t ever practiced doing anything else.

No kidding, I lied so much, you would probably laugh at the things that I made up to get someone to like me or to look cool. Don’t judge, I’m just telling you my story. ha!ha!

I was a liar, now by nature, but I seemed to “function”. A conscience or sensitivity to lying was not something I possessed. I never felt bad for it.

I lied my way through a series of struggles that included drinking,  being pregnant when I wasn’t married, and the biggest and most damaging: being addicted to meth. I remember the day CPS came to my door. Knock, knock. I quickly opened the door expecting to see a friend. This lady was no friend. She asked me if I used drugs. I lied. She asked me if I would pass a drug test. I lied, and said yes. I even went so far as to get my hair chemically stripped so that I could pass the test. That in itself was a lie. What I wasn’t expecting was a urine test to go along with the hair test. So I lied to the lady and told her I couldn’t pee at the time, and I ran to a smoke shop to buy some system cleanse. Again, to cover up my initial lie that I could pass a drug test. I spent the next 24 nail-biting hours in fear. Not even 36 hours later, the judge told me that due to my extremely high levels of meth in my system I lost custody of my child. I couldn’t even pick her up at the friends house that I had left her at. No contact. The world stopped spinning. Everyone’s voice’s and movement seemed to be in slow motion. I. Got. Caught. And now everyone would know. My  family, my child’s dad, my employer. Everyone. I couldn’t lie about this one, and I did not know what to do. So, I ran…….

I ran from the truth. Are you kidding me? Face that? The truth about ME? What I had done? Who I had become? Who I hurt? I hated myself. I wanted to die. At one point I did try to take my life. And now, I had grown so addicted that the only thing that helped me forget it all was the one thing that got me where I was in the first place. Lying and Drugs.

I continued to run and continued to lie (to myself) for about a year. I was so ashamed and so deep into my addiction that my own family did not know if I was dead or alive. It wasn’t until I got arrested and could physically run no more that things started to change in my life. No drugs to take away the guilt, the pain and the shame. Just me, in a cell, with a toilet and a mirror. That mirror became the best thing that could have happened to me in that place. Because I looked in it. I HONESTLY saw who this person was that others saw. I was a snake. I was a liar, a cheat, a terrible daughter, sister, mother and friend. Facing those truths was the hardest thing I had ever allowed myself to do. But without doing that, the healing process would never begin.

I got clean,  and had done a lot of what AA would call “soul searching” and was ready for my life to change. I would say that I was in my right mind. It had been 5 months of no drugs, and no alcohol when my sister brought me to church with her.  That morning, with the pastor’s wife, I asked Jesus to save me. My life changed. My desires changed. But, lying was still something I had to really work on. It was almost like trying to teach the old dog new tricks. Most people say you can’t do it. At one point I really questioned my salvation because I had never been truthful or sincere about anything else before, so was I really being truthful and sincere about my salvation?

I remember lying to my sister about something that I had done. Lying had ALWAYS been easier than telling the truth. But this time, my heart ached after I did. I knew that lies wouldn’t keep me in the place I needed to be. I swallowed hard, and went to her. The truth did set me free. That was a huge step for me. While Jesus was changing my life, I still found myself having the tendency to lie. Like I’d pay a $20 for an item and when someone would compliment it or ask about it, I’d say “Oh, I got it for 15 bucks!” Why? No clue. I just did, and I did it often and about the silliest things. I did it almost without thinking! I lied about other things too, but that’s just an example.

It’s only by God’s grace that I was saved. Through years of being forgiven over and over again, I have purposed in my heart to tell the truth and to THINK (true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, kind) before I speak. Just like I had a mirror in a jail cell at one point, I now have the Word of God to be my mirror. To see myself in my sinful state, in need of forgiveness and God’s grace. But I also see myself through a heavenly Father’s eyes who loves me and wants the best for me. Now, a conscience and a sensitivity to lying is something I do possess because of the Holy Spirit. Sure I struggle. Sure I fail, but my heart aches when I do. I often have to rethink a conversation or an excuse for why I can’t do something because I desire to please the Lord. I still find myself exaggerating my good deals by rounding down to the nearest dollar. Just ask my husband 🙂 He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be…… Please keep praying for me. I got a long way to go.

Don’t we all? I sure am grateful for her transparency, and her encouraging testimony of the goodness of God. Do you have a testimony about God giving you victory? Send it in to Letterstoeve777@gmail.com

Book Review

Deception: Letting Go of Lying (Resources for Biblical Living)

As I have been studying through the Bible about lying and deception, I came across this book. It is around 32 pages, very short booklet. It was a tremendous help to me as I have been doing this series of posts on lying. I would highly recommend this booklet. I would say it is Biblically sound. It is extremely convicting, and revealing. The format is simple, and easy to understand.

As I continue writing about this topic, I look forward to delving into what the Bible exposes to be deception. I will go into deeper study on my blog about some of the “styles” of lying and deception this author briefly mentions.

I can’t wait! This study has been the most convicting Bible study I have ever done. I am already seeing the “light” in this area of my life. I desire to grow more like Christ…where better to get the food to grow thereby than His Word! Yay!

Here is the link to buy this book on amazon, though your library or Christian book store may have it. http://www.amazon.com/Deception-Letting-Resources-Biblical-Living/dp/1596381299/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348011837&sr=8-1&keywords=Letting+go+of+lying