Chambersburg, PA

Re-Emerge

Dragoon by Daniel Zedda

Dragoon by Daniel Zedda, edited

There have been many times in my life, were I have been abruptly interrupted and thrown into a state of trepidation.  Moments were I have gone from enjoying a peaceful day, awaking from a restful slumber, or even celebrating a joyous event, only to be thrust into the reality of a devastating blow.

An email informing me of my employment separation, a letter disclosing a professional investigation, encountering the presence of a vile perpetrator, and worse of all, a phone call . . . the kind that everyone fears, from a tearful, grieving loved one, with unexpected heartbreaking news.

I have experienced them all.

Each traumatic event, each with it’s own unique impact and pains.  And yet my response to them all was the same.  SHOCK. FEAR. DEVASTATION.

When shook by such intense emotions, my body, mind, and spirit are too overwhelmed to handle life’s unexpected moments, and so I run and hide.

This is my trauma response.

My tendency.

But I am not alone in my proclivity, matter of fact, the bible speaks of a mighty prophet of God that had the exact same inclination.

In the book of 1 Kings, during a wicked season of the Israelites’ history, the people were no longer solely serving the one true living God.

There was a division.

False prophets had risen within the people and encouraged them to worship their apocryphal Gods.

In response to this idolatry the Lord sent Elijah, the last of his kind, to go to the people and challenge the prophets of the false Gods.

Elijah said to them,

“Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire – he is God.

Elijah boldly confronted them in this test to reveal the identity of the true living God, and the faithful Lord obliged with fire from heaven, and lit ablaze his sacrifice.

It was a momentous occasion. A triumphant victory.  A thrilling moment in Elijah’s life . . . however it was one that was very short lived.

Only a few verses later, Elijah is running for his life, ridden with fear, so much so that he even cries out to God to end his misery and take his life while he sits under a tree and hides.

It so strange to me that we can be living one second filled with excitement, confidence, and victory, only to transition into the next instant filled with fear, pain, and intense grief.

And yet our God knows and understands it all, including exactly what we need when we encounter those moments of shock, fear, and devastation.

It says that God dealt with the discouraged and greatly troubled Elijah in a very understanding and compassionate way.  Once Elijah was at a safe place to rest, the Lord allowed Elijah to fall into a much needed sleep. He even sent an angel to provide nourishing food to restore his strength and countenance.  And finally the Lord himself visited him, and gave him direction to move forward.

Perhaps the tendency to run and hide is somehow all part of God’s greater plan to restore, refresh, and revive us.  If only we will run to Him, and hide in His dwelling places to receive the strength, grace, and encouragement we need in order to move forward.

But at some point, we must be willing to move. The problematic predicament of running and hiding is when we never reemerge.

We can waste a life time by staying in a continual state of running and hiding.  Remaining stuck in our fear and pain, refusing to reenter back into the life the Lord has for us.

Elijah used his time of respite wisely, and returned with newfound strength and purpose.  My prayer is that we all would follow that model and do the same.

If you are finding yourself struggling with the reemerging process, take heart and know that Jesus himself performed the greatest act of reemerging know to man.  He walked through the most devastating events, the most painful torture, and even entered into the state of death itself, and yet  . . . He reemerged! And He did it just for you!

He did it so that you too can face anything and everything, come into His presence of rest and refreshment, and reemerge.  Ladies it is your time, I pray not one single moment of your precious life is wasted, and you walk in His spirit of peace, rest, and strength.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weak and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

diane square  Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: [btn text=”Facebook” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://www.facebook.com/sevenswansministries.org?pnref=lhc”] – [btn text=”Twitter” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://twitter.com/sevenswansmins”] – [btn text=”Pintrist” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://www.pinterest.com/sevenswansmins/”] – [btn text=”Website” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://sevenswansministries.org”] 

Healing and Hope

Alone by Pierre Guinoiseau, edited

Alone by Pierre Guinoiseau, edited

Violated.

That is what I felt . . . I felt completely violated. That one word speaks so clearly to the complexity of my emotions, and defines the sum of a horrible situation.

Violated.

A situation where a man disregarded law, acted in a manner to purposely and intently cause harm, deliberately attempted to inappropriately visually assault, and cruelly interrupted and disturbed my moment of safety and peace.

Violated.

Every sense of the word, every possible definition for this term was experienced all at once.

Perhaps it was because I was so caught off guard, or maybe it was because I spent such a peaceful, beautiful day in prayer and preparation for that evening’s bible study.  Whatever the reason, I was not prepared in the least to be in the presence of something so evil.

As the hours past, and the incident lasting only a matter of seconds was long over, I still couldn’t shake the feeling.

Violated.

I tried to reason with myself, remind myself that I was safe the whole time. After all, I was in my car.  He couldn’t get to me, and yet I didn’t feel safe at all.

In my life, when I feel an absence of safety, my tendency is to hide.  And so once at home I crawled into my bed, covered myself with multiple blankets, and wrapped up tightly within my makeshift cocoon.

And yet it was still there . . .

Violated.

I began to cry. I relived the experience in my mind. How I first froze at the shock of the event. How next my flight response kicked in and I sped off in my vehicle. And finally how I arrived at fight, and I whipped my car around to get his license plate number and call the authorities.

All three trauma responses, all within less than one minute.

I could’t help but feel like I should have handled it differently. Scenarios played out in my mind of what I could have done if only I had a weapon. If I had a knife I could of got out and stabbed his tires. Then he wouldn’t have been able to get away before the police came.

For a moment I started to think about purchasing a weapon when I felt God remind me of a weapon I already have . . . prayer.

Interestingly enough that was what my bible study topic was to be on that evening. The weapon of prayer.  

So even though it was hours past the incident, I decided to use it, and I began to pray. I cried out to God in pain for having experienced this awful encounter, but I also thanked him for keeping me safe. I voiced my frustrations that the man got away, and then I asked him to assist the police in finding him so he never does this to another woman.  I even prayed that God would change this man’s sinful heart.

But even after praying I still felt discouraged, that was until the Lord reminded me of another weapon . . . His Word. I immediately opened my verse for the day and it was Psalm 27: 14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Comfort finally appeared as I began to trust God to work out the details, and use His ways to make good out of something bad.  I just had to choose to be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord.

I must say through this horrific ordeal the Lord did open my eyes to see the enormity of crimes against women.  Many women not being so fortunate to have the safety of their own locked vehicle to protect them from the pursuit of preying perpetrators.

One good thing is that this has left me with a heart to be more mindful and sensitive to woman that have fallen victim to these types of crimes. It has also developed within me an urgency to pray for protection and healing for women all over the world that are also feeling violated, and hiding in their own cocoons.

If that is you or someone you know, please believe this, there is a God that loves you.  That never intended for you to be harmed.  That weeps with you as you weep, and that is powerful enough to bring healing and hope to those that have lived through the violation of the most sacred parts of their lives.

My prayer is that the God of healing and hope be with you forever!

 

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: [btn text=”Facebook” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://www.facebook.com/sevenswansministries.org?pnref=lhc”] – [btn text=”Twitter” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://twitter.com/sevenswansmins”] – [btn text=”Pintrist” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://www.pinterest.com/sevenswansmins/”] – [btn text=”Website” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://sevenswansministries.org”]

Our Walk With God

hole me by the hand

Curiosity by Alio Viera, edited

I hate when I get stuck in the middle of the two m’s . . .  and no I don’t mean M&M’s. Being stuck in a jar of those sweet, little, delicious dots actually sounds kinda fun.  The two m’s that I am referencing however are not fun, in fact they are the opposite of fun because these two little nasties leave me stuck in a place where I can’t eat my way out.  These m’s are my two greatest fears . . . the “Im afraid I’m going to miss it” and the “I’m afraid I’m going to mess it up”.

They produce so much fear and anxiety within me that when I am sandwiched in-between them I don’t even have an appetite or desire to eat, not even for chocolate (ok that might be an exaggeration because I do not need an appetite to eat chocolate, I just need to be alive and it be around me). But that’s not my point, my point is the m’s cause so much grief on my body, mind and spirit that it accomplishes what on any other day is an impossible feat and that is turning off my hunger switch!  (Well, thats not really my main point, that’s actually a positive side effect to an otherwise extremely negative experience.)

My main point is when my two greatest fears  surround me, when I am so afraid that if I don’t move I’m going to miss my opportunity or that if I do move I’m going to mess up God’s plan . . . the end result is always the same.  I stay standing, feet stuck in that sticky fear based place.  I don’t move forward and I definitely don’t enjoy the moment I’m in.

This is such a place of torment for me because my heart’s desire is to live out God’s plan and purpose in my life and yet I’m afraid to move, uncertain that the steps I make are the right ones.  Have you ever felt this way? Please say yes!

Thankfully the Lord has not left me alone to face these fears on my own, and in His loving kindness He gave me a memory. A sweet memory of a time when my little ones were exactly that, wee little ones, just beginning to learn to walk.  In my memory I saw how I helped my youngest daughter Ella take her first steps.  How I held her hands and guided her little clumsy feet toward me. Then all too quickly she went from being a fairly containable infant to a walking, exploring toddler.

For awhile she still needed me to hold at least one of her hands while she learned the tricky steps of managing two moving feet simultaneously.  As she walked I was in control of the navigation as I guided her safely around rooms in our home.  Eventually she progressed and did not need to hold my hand as we walked together, except for when we went to new areas or ones that could be a danger. She then would reach for my hand and immediately start walking, knowing that I would stop her if she went too far or was heading toward a dangerous path.  There I would gently guide her to where she needed to be, or I would stand and wait with her until it was safe to move forward again.

Such a powerful memory, yes? And the beauty is God revealed to me through this memory how to finally over come my fear of the m’s.

First, I saw that as my parent He is always with me. The Lord says in Hebrew 13:5 “. . . I will never leave you nor forsake you”, and there are over 70 scriptures in the bible that tells us this same truth. How I love that He repeats things because Lord knows I need to hear them again and again!

He told me next that He is the one that guides me by His hand, not me guiding Him. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:23-24.

I also saw that my daughter had to be willing to move her legs and walk forward.  If she just stood still holding my hand she would gain no new ground.  I realized that is exactly what I had been doing.  Just standing still, holding God’s hand but too afraid to take a step. “The righteous keep moving forward …” Job 17:9. Oh Lord, help us  trust you and keep moving forward, just as my little Ella trusted me.

Lastly, God whispered to me that as I walk He is faithful to keep me safe while He leads me to a glorious destiny, and He will never let me enter into areas He does not want me to be. “These are the words of Him who is holy and true . . . What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.” Revelation 3:7.

Thank you Lord for showing me and anyone that reads this that our relationship with you is called               “Our walk with God” for a reason.  No more standing afraid of missing it or messing it up. Today the only thing I am standing on is the truth of these words, and I invite all of  you that are reading to step out onto these truths with me, and  move forward in living out our God given destiny.

 

Please come back on Friday and hear more about our walk with God as I share what the Lord spoke to me during the Women of Purpose Conference this past weekend.

And when you come back, find out how to win this beautiful bracelet . . .

believe bracelet

Blessings to you Ladies and remember to step out in faith toward your glorious destiny!