Parenting Through Pain | by Britta

freedoms

We all have pain don’t we. Pain comes in different ways. It comes in the heart break of infertility, it comes with divorce (either our own or our parents), it comes in the loss of a baby, it comes with raising hurt & broken children, it comes in the failed adoption, it comes in the form of health issues (our own or someone we love), it comes when we sin or others sin against us, it comes when we get offended, it comes when…you fill in the blank. In John 10:10 the bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. There is a “thief” who wants to cause you pain and destroy you. The enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to keep you stuck in your emotional and physical pain because in doing so you won’t be as effective for the Kingdom of God. So stay with me and take in what I have to share with you today.

Recently I was facing a lot of physical and emotional pain. This pain was robbing me and my family of many things. I was crying most days and I was trying to parent through the pain but it wasn’t going that well. When things usually happen in my life I tend to jump to Google, the doctor, essential oils, friends, food/diet, books, Pinterest and so on for my answer. But these past 6 months I’ve been really practicing going to God in prayer FIRST and I’ve been practicing listening to the Holy Spirit for direction. (See Philippians 4:6-7) So I prayed, my family prayed, my friends prayed, my church prayed. We prayed for healing. We prayed for wisdom for me to know what direction to take. I felt good about going to a new doctor in Seattle and I met with a team there. I had lots of tests and everything came back fine. There was no diagnosis. But I was still in pain. I knew deep in my spirit that this pain was more than just physical. This pain had a deep spiritual root.

John 10:10a “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”    

The Lord took me on a journey. A very long journey. A hard pressed, shaken down, tear stained journey. When I felt like giving in I pressed in. When I felt like giving up I reached up. I cried out more often and louder to the Holy Spirit. I got up off the ground and I ran to Him. When I was at my weakest I just cried Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He could have healed me instantly but instead He showed me something so I could share it with you. I want you to understand that the steps the Lord showed me you can apply to your life too. So here you go.

1) I asked the Holy Spirit to show me why I was in so much pain. He showed me that unforgiveness and being offended had created wounds in my soul which then gave the “thief” legal right to enter in and start to steal, kill, and destroy me and my family and cause me emotional and physical pain. I began to repent for my sins and forgive those who had sinned against me. I applied the blood of Jesus over myself because what washes away sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!! See 1 John 1:7

2) If we only focus on asking for forgiveness we will miss the amazing power of Jesus to heal our soul wounds. There is supernatural power in the glory of Jesus. When we grab a hold of this truth we are taking part in ALL that Christ has for us. His blood AND His glory. After I completed step one I focused on the glory of Jesus. I meditated on the Word of God day and night. I asked Him to shine His glory light into my soul and heal the wounds that were created by unforgiveness and sin. Jesus wants our souls to prosper (be in good health)!! See 3 John verse 2

3) Finally, after all that time repenting and applying the blood of Jesus and soaking in His powerful glory, I told the “thief” that it was time for him to go. I told him that he no longer has any legal right over me because Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross and the glory of Jesus had healed my deepest wounds completely. I commanded the “thief” to leave in Jesus name…and guess what? he left…and my pain left too. Peace flooded my mind and body. There is power in the name of Jesus. We as Christians have the same power that conquered the grave living in us. See Romans 8:11

No pain is too much for Jesus. There are too many of us carrying heavy burdens. We walk around wounded, angry, hurting, sick, and broken. Our spouses and children need us whole. We need to share these tools with our children to see them set free. Our friends need healing too. I shared with you what the beginning of John 10:10 says but you need to read what the end of that verse says to us…Jesus came to give us life, abundant life. That means that God is a loving Father who wants good for us and not evil. A lot of Christians and non Christians alike blame God for their situation, blame Him for their pain. If nothing else I want you to know today that the God of the universe, your Creator, is FOR you and LOVES you!!!

John 10:10b “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Shout it out!!! When you have been set free like I have and healed like I have you want nothing more than to shout it from the rooftops. I want every person on this earth to experience this kind of freedom in Christ. I can testify to you that the Lord is returning to me all the years that the locusts ate.(See Joel 2:25) Jesus has given me back the ability to parent my children without pain. Jesus has restored my marriage. Jesus has given me back my joy times seven. Hallelujah!! He wants to do those things and more for you too!!!

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. 

****I learned about the healing of soul wounds by listening to teaching by Katie Souza on YouTube. I really like the one called Stay Un Offendable. You can also go to her website at www.expectedendministries.com  for more info.****

****In no way is Three Strands Ministries affiliated with Katie Souza or her ministry. This is just my personal journey and the teaching God used to heal me.****

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Walls Fall Down by Dudley Rutherford | Book Review by Patty

walls fall down book

Walls Fall Down – by Dudley Rutherford

Have you ever heard the expression, “I have hit a wall”? I grew up saying this when I was exhausted, tired or had done all the work I could do, and no more progress could be made until something else was done. I had hit the wall. I could not go any further. I wonder where that expression came from anyway? … maybe I’ll look it up later.

But along the lines of hitting the wall, and waiting for something to be done, I will transition to the Battle of Jericho- the lesson we all learned in Sunday School as kids, which has been retold from a unique perspective by Dudley Rutherford in his book, Walls Fall Down, 7 Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome any Challenge.

Rutherford sets the stage for one of the greatest moments in history by drawing you into the lives of the people that lived it: the people of Israel, the people of Jericho, the soldiers in the army of Israel, Rahab the prostitute, and Joshua himself.  Each chapter begins and ends with a historical fiction account of what could have happened in the lives of each of these people in the 7 days that Israel marched around the walls of Jericho. It is the perfect balance of story telling and real-life application that anyone from any background can relate to. We all know how the battle ends. Walls Fall Down is about how the Battle of Jericho begins. It is about knowing that God is bigger and stronger than the challenge you are facing. With God all things are possible.

When I first learned about Walls Fall Down, the title of the book, “7 Steps to Overcome Any Challenge”, left me a little skeptical. I tend to over analyze things anyway, and in true form, I was skeptical, and thought it a little risky to claim to have seven steps to overcome any challenge. After all, there are so many complex issues in the world. How could any challenge be overcome in just seven steps? I took the book home and stared at it for a few days, preparing myself for another well intentioned, self-help book making great promises that it couldn’t possibly keep.

Finally, I started reading the book.  And I was so wrong. This is not a self-help book at all! But a call to believers to humble themselves before the Lord, and ask Him to go before us and to claim victory over the impossible for us in His name. That is powerful!

Each chapter I read left me feeling encouraged and eager to keep reading. Rutherford’s unique style combines Biblical teaching with contextual understanding to help the reader connect with the scripture, and testimonies of real people to help the reader make a personal connection to the message that he conveys.

There were two personal testimonies that really stood out to me: the story of Raul who was abandoned as a child and overcame incredible odds, and the second is the harrowing story of Louis, a WWII Veteran and POW. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say this: these men overcame unimaginable obstacles and impossible circumstances only by the power and grace of a God whose power knows no boundaries, and whose strength knows no weakness. Their testimonies are powerful reminders that no matter the battle you face, God will be with you; you are not alone.

Joshua 1:5-6 (NIV) says, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”

What an amazing promise!  Walls Fall Down reminds us that we can go forward with confidence because the battle is the Lord’s. He has promised us the victory; it is up to us to put one foot in front of the other, and trust that He is big enough and strong enough to overcome.

So maybe you’re thinking, “Who is this book for? Why is a blog geared towards mo, of course, but I mean out of the home) and recently moved my family to a different state and am trying to figure out what the new norm is for my family.

I spent 5 1/2 years shaking my fist at God, asking when He was going to give us another child only to be blessed with two children within the same year. Life has not turned out the way that I thought it would, but I have seen and conquered my share of Jerichoes, and I can tell you that whether you are wandering in the desert wondering where the heck this promised land is or have just found your Jericho and have no idea how to conquer it, this book is for you.  There is a saying, “If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”  My friends, this book will give you the hope and encouragement you need to face whatever impossible challenge you are facing and make those walls fall down.

If you would like more information about Dudley Rutherford visit theshepherd.org .

For more information about Walls Fall Down, visit the official website wallsfalldownbook.com or find it on Amazon.com.  If you’re visual and you like trailers, click here for the promo video.

Blessings,

Patty

When our Dreams and Circumstances Don’t Match | by Seana

stockvault-forest-fog142490 Since I became a mom, I have wrestled with what seemed to be contradicting desires: to love my family well and to change the world. I am a missionary adventurer at heart and my dream is to be an active part of every person in the world having a viable opportunity to know Christ. How do I do that from my kitchen sink?

For several years I believed a cultural lie: that what women do in the home is “nice”, but real work and value are found in what she does outside of the home.

That simply is not the message we receive from the Bible. The message I receive is this: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength… and to love your neighbor as yourself. THIS, Jesus said, is the sum of the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37). THIS is the way to honor God and live for Him, whether in the home or outside of it.  Our value is in Him, not in the work of our hands.

When I am honestly seeking the Lord and following Him step by step, I can trust that His assignment for me in each season is what He deems most valuable and effective for His kingdom. That might mean working a job, focusing on the home, volunteering, and/or writing a blog post (lol). God is creative! His assignment for each of us can look different. Our responsibility is to seek His face with a willing heart to do what He says.

When we long to be somewhere else doing something else besides the assignment God has led us to, we are basically telling Him, “I don’t trust You to know what is best for me or the world.”

Is that how I really feel? No!

So, my new approach is this: live fully where God has placed me and pray for what He places on my heart. He may move me to specific ways to sow into my passion for lost people groups (like praying through unreached people groups and encouraging missionaries), but in the meantime, I will be worshipping Him by joyfully embracing His current assignment. After all, if I am willing to do anything for Him, I can trust what He gives me, as the work of my hands and heart, is what is most effective for His kingdom right now.

What is a passion or burden on year heart? God has a plan! Commit to laying out all your thoughts to Him in prayer and He will bring you peace in the current season and opportunity to engage in your passion in creative ways.

Fly Little Butterfly, Fly | by Britta

photo credit Angela Lyons Photography 2013

photo credit Angela Lyons Photography 2013

Seasons.

Life has seasons.

Some seasons are busy with clearness of purpose. Others we are kept waiting in anticipation of what is to come. Ahhh deep breath. I’m a mother of teens and toddlers. I’m changing diapers…times two!! I’m breaking up fights and bandaging boo-boos. I absolutely love this busy, busy season. The teenage and toddler years are a struggle of independence and they really make me crazy but there is no place I’d rather be than with my children.

A new season.

The season has come. My family is changing. My daughter is marrying the man that God has chosen for her. As I am preparing for her wedding day in just a few short weeks my mind is flooded with memories of raising my sweet daughter. The time went by so fast. One moment I was holding her in my arms and now she is taller than me. I have been blessed to pray with her, guide her to God, and watch her blossom into the woman God created her to be. I am so incredibly proud of the choices she has made to put Jesus first and to trust Him with her everything. I am so grateful for the seasons that make up her life.

Recently my three year old son made up his own song. He sings “fly little butterfly, fly. Fly little butterfly, fly.” over and over again. It is very sweet. This song has a deep meaning to me today. I will be singing this on my daughter’s wedding day as tears stream down my face. As I watch her walk down the aisle and as I watch her drive away to start her new season of life.

My prayer for you is that you take this day to stop being so distracted by the seasons of your life and enjoy them…really, truly, enjoy the season that God has you in right now. It may be hard, it may be painful, it may overwhelm you at times, it may be joyous and happy, it may be fun, or you may want to run away and find a new season.

STOP!!

This is your time. This is your season. Embrace what the Lord has set before you. Trust in Him who is the Creator of the seasons. Press into your Heavenly Father and seek Him for strength and peace. I can testify that He will be there for you through the seasons of your life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV
“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

*Shalom*