Taking One Step At a Time

Anxious, depleted, and overwhelmed, I decided to take a break in December. Lord, do I need to discontinue this blog? What direction do You want me to take?

As I spiraled downward with indecision, God finally answered my prayers. Not with a definitive “yes” or “no,” but with a gentle guidance as He whispered, “My child, just take one step at a time. Live more in the moment. Don’t obsess over what the moments or steps thereafter will be.” And peace spilled into my heart as He assured me He will light my way one step at a time. As He encouraged me to trust Him more to lead me. As He reminded me to “be” rather than always thinking I need to “do.”

It can be hard to keep grasping His proffered hand and to trust Him no matter what, can’t it? Even when we can’t feel His presence while our lives fall apart, our longings and prayers are unmet, and the future is unknown and scary-looking.

I need to trust that God is faithful. To trust His heart when I don’t understand where His hand is leading. When He says He is holding my hand, He is. He never goes back on His Word. When we stray and take our own way, He will redeem us and lead us to the right path. When we fall, He will lift us up again to take the next step.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
    and He will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
“For Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
    You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps His promises;

    He is gracious in all He does.
The Lord helps the fallen
    and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
The eyes of all look to You in hope;
    You give them their food as they need it.”
Psalm 145:13-15 NLT

“God won’t light your second step
until you have taken the first one.”
Woodrow Kroll

“As we trust God to give us
wisdom for today’s decisions,
He will lead us a step at a time
into what He wants us to be
doing in the future.”
Theodore Epp

“I will trust Him.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow
may be necessary causes of some great end,
which is quite beyond us.
He does nothing in vain.”
John Henry Newman

Trust His Heart
by Babbie Mason

“All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don’t see
How they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what’s best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just don’t see Him,
Remember you’re never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart
Trust His Heart…”

May God help us to take
one step at a time in 2020
and trust Him to lead us!

God’s Promise of Hope for Victims of Abuse

I posted this story nearly three years ago, but for some reason God brought it to my attention again. I felt His nudge to share it again. Perhaps there is someone who needs a reminder of hope. This is an edited version.

She was standing at the windows covering one wall. A nun staring out the window. As she stood there, a rainbow broke through the stormy clouds and brightened the sky.

The glory of the rainbow drew me to the window next to her. We were hushed with awe for several minutes.

“I asked God for a sign,” she whispered, “Now I know this is where He wants me to be.”

She opened her heart to me and shared her story of devastating abuse from a priest and how afraid she was to be at this retreat (for women victims of clergy abuse).

I was afraid, too. Shame, fear, and hopelessness consumed me, and I had almost run right back out as soon as I entered the building. But now I knew, too, that I wasn’t alone, and I needed to stay.

The rainbow inspired in both of us hope that God was on our side, He always keeps His promises, and He will never, ever abandon us.

Those days were gut-wrenching as we worked through the unspeakable pain of sexual and spiritual abuse from pastors/priests/ministers from various churches. I probably didn’t get as much benefit out of it as I could have if I had dared to open up more, but God still boosted me on the road to healing.

Two women pastors led the retreat, and on the final day, they held communion to whoever wanted to join them. Love, acceptance, and support warmed the atmosphere. One woman stood rooted to the floor several feet away. Her pain was so deep, and she wasn’t sure she belonged. Could she trust the love Jesus offers? Did He even want her? We gathered around her with love and assurance and God broke the chains of shame. She stepped forward with us, and with tears flowing, we together remembered how Jesus offered up His broken body and poured out His life blood for us to free us.

I was still in deep pain, but I had a renewed hope that God held us in His loving hands. Even though the healing journey would be painful, He would be with us every step of the way. And He has been, even though there were countless times when I felt like He had abandoned me. In hindsight I can see He was there even in those dark times of despair.

As one of the projects, each of us were handed a piece of construction paper with our name written in the middle of it and uplifting stickers on it. We were to write an encouragement or praise on each person’s page. After we went home, the leaders sent our page to us. I still have mine 25+ years later.

I want to share with you what one of the other women wrote to me, and I hope you will apply it personally to yourself.

“Keep talking. Don’t allow Satan to take anymore from you than he has. You know where your power lies. In the Creator of the universe, the Creator of you. Call on His healing. He loves you, (insert your name here), and so do I.”

If you have been abused, in whatever way, whether male or female, don’t let Satan silence you or discourage you with his lies. Don’t let him rob you of your God-given voice. His power is nothing compared to God who created you. God has the power and the willingness to heal you. He even finds joyous delight in healing you.

Even when we feel like a bruised and bleeding body tossed to the side of the road, not believed or cared about by anyone, Jesus loves to tenderly pick us up and hold us to Himself, cradling us with His love and compassion.

Yes, the healing process can be long and painful and overwhelming, but He is right beside us longing for us to trust Him as our Safe Refuge, to open our hearts to His love, and to allow His grace to heal us.

God is faithful and always keeps His promises. He will never abandon us. He is beside us even on those days when we can’t “feel” Him or see His signs.

“For every one of God’s
promises is ‘Yes’ in Him.
Therefore, the ‘Amen’ is also spoken
through Him by us for God’s glory.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember
the everlasting covenant
between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.”
Genesis 9:16 NIV
“Be strong! Be courageous!
Do not be afraid of them!
For the Lord your God will be with you.
He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 TLB


Overcomer
by Mandisa

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”
Isaiah 49:16

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ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added an “R” Word:

❤︎ Redeeming Love ❤︎

“In Him we have redemption
[that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood,
[which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in]
the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin,
in accordance with the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1:7 AMP

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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

 I AM: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is 
by Michele Cushatt

This summer I was so blessed as I read this devotional and soaked in the Bible passages that prove who we are because of who God is. I don’t think I can describe this book any better than through what is written at this book’s site.

“From the moment a woman wakes until she falls, exhausted, on her pillow, one question plagues her at every turn:

Am I enough?

After all, the pressure to do more, be more has never been more intense. Online marketing. Self-help books. Movies, magazines and gym memberships. Even church attendance and social media streams have become a means of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Am I pretty enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough?

We fear the answer is “No.”

When a brutal bout with cancer changed how she looked, talked, and lived, Michele Cushatt embarked on a soul-deep journey to rediscover herself. The typical self-esteem strategies and positivity plans weren’t enough. Instead, she needed
a new foundation, one that wouldn’t prove flimsy when faced with the onslaught of day-to-day life.”

Read more at I AM

Michele invites us to an online experience of identity transformation from October 2 – November 10! Sign up soon as it starts next week Monday!

 

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞  30 Days of Truth  – Being sexually abused as a child fills our hearts and minds with lies. Michele Viscuse shares 30 Days of God’s Amazing Truth that she discovered in her healing journey.

💞  The Trauma That Arises from Natural Disasters – “Like many causes of trauma, natural disasters can be sudden and overwhelming. The most immediate and typical reaction to a calamity is shock, which at first manifests as numbness or denial. Quickly—or eventually—shock can give way to an overemotional state that often includes high levels of anxiety, guilt or depression.”

💞  American Red Cross: Disaster Relief and Recovery Services 

To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

“Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help. But everyone, even the people that others look up to for guidance and assistance, is entitled to their feelings and deserves support throughout the recovery process.”

Nature Retreat

“God gives every bird its food,
but He does not throw it into its nest.”

~ Josiah Gilbert Holland

I love the view outside my office window. Usually the house finches take over the feeder and the nesting places (baby ones below), but once in a while a goldfinch will sneak in. The mourning doves hang around to eat the seed on the ground. The robins like to take baths, but they’re getting scarce here this time of year. This year I saw a Variegated Fritillary Butterfly and a lot of Painted Lady Butterflies on our Salvia plants. I didn’t get clear shots of the Painted Ladies, so I included a photo of one that I took at a park. Oh, and once in a while a ground squirrel decides to show up and fill his little cheeks with seeds from the ground. I love my summer visitors!








🐾 Breathtaking Blog – I can’t find the name of this photographer, but her photos depict an appreciation of nature and are awesome captures of its beauty. – “From the moment I go into the garden and surrounding countryside, it becomes an adventure, and I’m never happier than when I spot something of extraordinary beauty, but a thing of beauty is better when shared.” (A personal note from the photographer)

🐾 Ozark Grace – Connie is an illustrator and photographer who lives in the Missouri Ozarks, USA. She appreciates God’s wonders and shares the beauty of the Ozarks.

🐾 Burrard-Lucas Wildlife Photography  Awesome collections of wildlife from all over the world by a professional wildlife photographer

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Quotes

❤︎ Hearts are broken in ten thousand ways, for this is a heart-breaking world; and Christ is good at healing all manner of heart-breaks.” – Charles Spurgeon

❤︎ Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.” – Brennan Manning

❤︎ I know now, Lord, why You utter no answer. You are Yourself the answer. Before Your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” – C.S. Lewis

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