Our Voices Matter to Our Creator

“There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU!” So true, isn’t it?

God created each of us as His unique creation, even down to the tiniest details. We weren’t created on an assembly line. Each of us is a masterpiece of the Master Designer.

It may be hard to believe we are personally valuable to God, but we are. Every part about us is important to Him and created for His purpose. Including our voices, those deepest emotions of our inner souls. That one-of-a-kind way we express ourselves. How we feel in our heart of hearts. What are we passionate about? What are our dreams? What do we feel committed to? What makes us cry? What gives us hope? What revives our strength? What depletes us?

Painful experiences we’ve been through can crush our voices and make us feel like it doesn’t matter how we feel or what we think or say. We may become afraid of the consequences of speaking up. Afraid we will be hurt, rejected, or slandered again.

Sometimes I still ignore my inner voice, the true me God has created. She can get buried inside of me until I remember again how precious I am to God, how much He loves me, and how He wants me to be myself. To believe I am special to Him and to recognize the true feelings, gifts, and rights He has given me. To say and do what He has placed in my heart, not to say or do what others want me to or to run and hide in my shell.

Have you ever in your heart felt strongly about something but you kept silent? Have you ever tried to fill the expectations others have for you? Perhaps out of fear, to avoid conflict, or to make them feel better? Have you ever hid behind a smiling mask because you’re afraid if you expose your brokenness, you won’t be accepted? Then you’re not alone.

It can be hard not to beat ourselves up for not speaking up when it’s important. For not being authentic like God calls us to be.

It’s a comfort to know that God’s love is unfailing. He cares about us, even when we hide the unique person He created us to be. He is love Himself and will never hold our failures against us. He longs to heal all the hurts inside that hold us back from expressing the true voice He has planted within us. That voice that was created in His image and needs to come out to His glory. May He give us the grace and strength to do so!

“Who I am does not change who God is;
yet my knowing who I am, in God, changes me.
It changes me from a false identity to a true one,
from a life of slavery to one of freedom.”
Jennifer Camp

“To know what you prefer
instead of humbly saying Amen to what
the world tells you you ought to prefer,
is to have kept your soul alive.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

“Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance,
you feel a loss of energy, loss of power,
a sense of spiritual deadness.”
Shakti Gawain

Remind Me Who I Am
by Jason Gray

“When my heart is like a stone,
And I’m running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I can’t receive Your love
Afraid I’ll never be enough
Remind me who I am
If I’m Your beloved
Can You help me believe it
Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You, whoa
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You
To You…”

 

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

God Can Breathe Life Into Your Voice

voicematters
A Child's Trust
Joining Faith Barista’s writing prompt:
Finding Your Voice

I’ve been struggling with this writing prompt. How can I write about finding my voice when it sometimes feels like it’s still trapped inside of me?  I really don’t know how to describe it, but sometimes it feels like there is this pressure deep in my soul crying to get out, to be the real me. But when my voice starts peeking out, that’s when the lies hammer me even more persistently. And I want to shut down again. 

I was about to give up writing this post until I read Bonnie Gray’s post: The Top 5 Lies of Perfectionism, and she encouraged us to take the Love Dare Challenge. To just take the next step that reflects only on the unconditional love of God for us. To let ourselves be loved.

So even if this post sounds as mixed up as my “real” voice does sometimes, I’m going to take the Love Dare Challenge and write anyway. I’m trying hard to JUST BE ME and not feel guilty about it. To not feel selfish if I nurture the true voice of my soul. To not feel I don’t deserve to be healed.

Deep down in my soul there are seeds.

Unique seeds God planted that make me different.

Seeds that have a special purpose in His plan.

Seeds that are meant to grow and bloom.

Seeds that have been smothered with negative words and actions.

Seeds that I’m trying to allow God to breathe life into again.

There is hope in the story of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. The Spirit of the Lord brought Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. A jumbled up mess of dead, dried up bones with not a speck of life in them. But what happened?

Feel the shaking of the ground. Hear the thundering and rattling as thousands of bones connected to each other. Then muscles and tendons, flesh, and skin covered those dry bones. But they still needed God’s breath to come alive.

“Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath and spirit to enter you, and you shall live.” (Ezekiel 37:5)

God breathed a spirit of life into dead, dried up bones.

So I tell your heart and mine…

You sometimes feel your voice is so buried,

That it will never come to fullness of life.

Take courage in this story.

God can bring dry bones to life,

And He can resurrect your true voice

To fully live and love as He created you.

Truths About Legalistic Christianity

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs

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