Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 21 The Afflicted, Battered, and Bruised

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Job 1:5).  God made this statement to a broken man. A man who had lost everything: sons, daughters, money, home, health, and friends.  A man who loved God, was favored by God, but also was allowed to be tested by God.  You may have felt forsaken, forgotten, battered, bruised, alone, helpless, used and broken.  This simple verse carries so much meaning and kept me hopeful during difficult times. This verse sustained me when I felt no love from others, used by some, manipulated by the enemy and rejected by the church.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God is faithful. 
             There are numerous biblical accounts of women who were afflicted, used, enslaved, hurt, rebuked, mistreated and raped. I’ve read these accounts and thought to myself, “Why Lord? I do not understand.” I have family members and friends who were either raped, molested by trusted adults, abused sexually, physically assaulted by boyfriends, verbally abused, neglected and rejected by husbands.  I’ve listened, cried, loved and prayed for those closest to me.  The hurt is real, so painful there are no words to describe or are spoken.  Just tears, just anguish, just pain from a broken heart and spirit.
            “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I wonder if the woman raped from dusk till dawn had ever heard that verse. I wonder if the little girl given to men for their depraved pleasure has heard of the Living God’s promise. Has the molested, beaten and neglected know that Jesus Christ loves them and will never leave them? You may ask where is God? Where does the healing begin? Why is this happening to me?
            My sweet sister in Christ, whose heart is so tender, so broken, I understand the very mention of memories, a look, touch, smell can send a quick flinch or chill, and the healing for unanswered questions or forgiveness seems unattainable or out of reach.  But, there is hope in Jesus Christ.  I pray you do not believe for one second the selfish, depraved and sinful mind of man is the portrait of God.  I pray you do not believe the evil in the world is an exact replica of God.  That is a lie. If one’s pain can bring ten, hundreds, thousands or even millions to a life of healing, a relationship with Christ and Heaven’s door open for them, then what the enemy uses for harm, God uses for good.
            A friend of mine whose husband packed the family up and moved to a different state manipulated her in moving, joined a cult and was determined to give her two toddler daughters to this ungodly group.  Isolating her from her family and friends, leaving her alone in an apartment for months, God allowed her escape.  While her husband was in the shower, my friend grabbed only the diaper bag and her two daughters, keys in hand, drove to a women’s shelter for safety.  What the enemy uses for harm, God uses for good.
            A family member of mine was raped by a trusted teacher.  This same sweet girl was molested by a friend’s father and brother.  She was physically assaulted by a boyfriend, neglected and manipulated by her 1st husband.  The same innocent girl has been plagued with health problems from a small age to the point of having her head drilled into three times! Through all these things, her love for Christ never wavered, never doubted Jesus loved her and through the surgeries, spinal taps and pain, she would picture His feet on the cross.  Christ has gotten her through so many tragedies, giving her a beautiful son, a gentle husband and loving friends.  What the enemy tried to destroy, God used for good.
            A friend of mine was physically abused, but more so mentally abused by her Christian husband.  The marriage ended, but the pain and hurt is still there. Trusting God for a godly, Christian man is still painful, but she presses forward.  Believing and hoping in something she can not see, but has the faith God will provide.  What the enemy has attempted to destroy, God is using for good.
            Another Christian woman, suffering from mental disorders has been neglected, unloved and rejected by the church, her husband and family.  Determined God will change her husband’s heart from loveless to loving, she continues to pray, fast and believe in her marriage.  She does not give up and continues believing in the power of the resurrected Lord.  What the enemy is trying to destroy, God is changing for good.
            A family member of mine was addicted to drugs.  Living with addicted dealers and accompanying them for selling their substances, she was almost given sexually for payment of a ball of cocaine.  She tells me her dealer boyfriend looked at her a long time once the request was made at a random truck stop bathroom.  Helpless, alone with two men who were looking at her, one with intend to sexually abuse, the other looking and deciding her fate for money.  God intervened, stepped in and dissipated the horror that probably would have left her completely broken in a dirty, filthy truck stop bathroom. She was sexually abused by her boyfriends and has suffered the consequences hence forth.  She laid her head in my lap one night and cried.  I am still praying for her salvation, and I believe what the enemy has tried to destroy, God will use for good.
            The woman raped to death in the book of Judges 19 is an example of the same rape existing today in sex trafficking and brothels around the world.  Where in the mind does one man think he can take another and use them for his sick pleasure, taking the innocent from a small child, manipulating them into sexual abuse and beating them into submission and fear?  The enemy has tried to destroy the heart and spirit of a woman since the Garden of Eden.  Eve, innocent and manipulated, Satan will stop at nothing to destroy what God’s deems as beautiful.  Why has the devil set out on a destructive rampage to kill, destroy and shame women since the beginning? Why would he hate us so much?
            Woman was the final creation of God.  I once heard John and Stacey Elderidge explain it as woman was created not as an afterthought, but as a final crowning of God’s masterpiece.  I believe she is beautiful, giving life to God’s children and able to give man such pleasure.  She is warm, soft, enticing and has a heart to love.  Satan was considered the most beautiful angel, but when God made woman, He trumped this prideful angel with a soft curves, a gentle spirit, a miraculous life giving womb and the desire of her husband.  Satan does not hold a candle to a woman of God; her beauty has surpassed his and the devil will hold at nothing to destroy this innocent and beauty God created and formed in the womb. 
            To hold the memories, to hate, to let your life succumb to bitterness, and cursing God allows the enemy to stick the final dagger in for his victory and succession in your life and family’s.  But there is One who understands your pain.  One who suffered the hurt of rejection, abuse, beating and suffocation for all mankind.  He was rejected by His people; He was bruised for our transgressions, whipped for all to see (Isaiah 53).  He suffered as no other person has ever suffered.  Christ came down, in the form of a man, and suffered to understand our pain, hurt, tears and shame.  He knows how you feel. 
             Jesus suffered the cat of nine tails ripping apart His flesh, but uttered no word. He was beaten and mocked for another’s pleasure.  He was rejected, cursed, and hung an excruciating death on the cross, not for man’s pleasure, but to save man’s soul.  He understands physical pain.  Christ understands your rejection, abandonment, and asked the same question, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus experienced something no one else has ever, total separation from God.  Christ, selflessly, suffered.  The Living God, where no other religion can claim, came down to this sinful earth, and walked to understand how you feel.  Suffered to understand the human heart, pain and hurt Satan attempts to destroy us with.  Yes, Jesus of Nazareth knows how you feel.
  During a very challenging time in my walk with the Lord, where I felt no one understood what I was going through, God spoke to my spirit.  I do not hear an audible voice, but when I pray, am seeking God or reading His Word, and a thought comes to my mind bringing healing, aligned with His Word and bringing glory to Christ, I give Him the glory to God for that thought hence, God spoke to my spirit.  The thought was this, “Your heart and spirit are wounded. I can mend the wound, but there will be a scar. At times, it will be tender to the touch, but will one day be completely healed.” These scars on my heart are my testimony. 
 I am so thankful for the words of Christ on the cross, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). Forgive them.  The very ones who ripped him apart, the ones who mocked, spit and cursed him.  The very ones who nailed him to a cross where also laid on the cross but in a very different way.  Christ died so we are saved through His sacrificial offering, His precious, sinless blood and resurrected for our salvation.  I lay the ones who have hurt me at the cross; I pray the ones who have rejected me God’s forgiveness and those who have mocked and laughed at me blessing them from the cross.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, including forgiveness (Philippians 4:13).  My scars are there, but the healing through God’s power is nothing short of joy.  I am no longer bitter, angry or resentful.  My girlfriends are pressing forward, believing in and holding on the God’s Word of redemption that it will never return void (Isaiah 55:11).
 Has someone killed or darkened your dreams? He can restore them. Has someone taken your innocence? Christ makes all things clean.  Has someone physically tormented you? Take His yoke for He is light, easy and not hard harsh, sharp and pressing (Matthew 11:28-30).  Forgive them.  Through forgiveness and letting God heal those wounds whether physically, mentally, spiritually or psychologically, doesn’t remove the memories, but will cover those scars with the blood of His Son. How does the healing begin?
 Praying, reading God’s Word, serving and gleaning from other godly women will allow God to being laying a foundation of a healing process like no other.  Step by step, the wounds will begin to heal.  Prayer by prayer, the burden will be lifted.  Give Him your pain, tell him you are hurt and be as Mary of Bethany anointing Christ with a beautiful prayer, asking for healing.  Bring your pain to the cross and lay it down!  When you do this, God may bring memories so deep rooted you heart is surprised they surfaced.  The memories may still be fresh in your mind or your spirit still tender, only the gentle hand of Christ could ever touch something so broken. 
            The Lord will begin a courtship with you.  Christ will woo you so lovingly, so gently, so beautifully it can honestly bring you to tears.  There were memories, emotions, situations that have happened to me I wish to forget.  Drunken stupors, fuzzy morning memories of men, rejection from those who are suppose to love you and rejection from the church are challenging to let go.  My friends and family would tell you it was hard to forget the one who molested, hard to forgive the violent hands, hard to let go of the rape still fresh in the mind from someone else’s selfish lack of control and difficult to forgive being the brunt of another’s sick, ungodly pleasure.  But, they did.
 God needs you and your precious story of redemption.  When you are able to know Christ and His healing hands, His love for you and the plan for your life, to suppress this truth is uncontainable.  This mystery the Apostle Paul writes about in his letters to the churches, explains God’s love and no matter the pain, you will find yourself able to forgive, to abound more in love and become a prisoner of Christ.  There will always be another woman, another daughter, another wife, another young girl suffering, just as you did.  These women need your voice.  They need to hear how God saves, how Christ gives them beauty for ashes, turns evil into good.  There will always be another abuse, another rape, another used, another manipulated and another woman rejected.  Will you be the arms that accept them? Will you be the courageous one who tells her story?  Will you be the bold one who takes a stand for those who have no voice or no one to stand with? I pray you cast all fear, anxiety, and anger aside, pick up your cross and carry it.  Your testimony of Christ will heal another woman’s life. I pray you be a blessing to those in need.
For my precious sister who needs Christ’s healing, for restoration, and revival of your spirit to boldly proclaim your testimony, boasting in Christ Jesus, open your heart to the Living God and pray.  Give your heart to him in closing those wounds, leaving a scar, a testimony in planting a harvest for His Kingdom.

Pray and CONFESS the Word of God:

            I come to you in Jesus name and give my heart to you.  I am hurt and broken.  I feel no one understands; I feel isolated and alone.  I feel I am in a dark pit of anger and bitterness (Psalm 40).  I want out! I know you make all things clean (John 15:3).  I know you give beauty for ashes, to bind up the broken hearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release form darkness, the oil of gladness instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:1-3).  I know you can turn what the enemy has tried to destroy and use it for good (Genesis 50:20)   I believe my testimony, the test that I have walked and suffered through, will glorify you.  I pray for the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7).  I pray I can diminish and you increase with the portion you have given me to enhance your kingdom (John 27-30).  I pray I know you and the power of your resurrection.  I know many have doubted including John the Baptist when locked and thrown in prison for fulfilling your plan, asking “Are you the Messiah?” (Luke 7:20).  If I have been a Christian and this tragedy has happened to me, I pray I never curse you and fall into the trap of walking away from my faith (Job 2:9-10)
            I pray I am filled with the fruits of the spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).  I pray I am diligent in studying your word, memorizing scripture for when the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy, I use the Word of God, get behind me Satan, for you are concerned with the things of this world and I am concerned with the things from above (John 10:10, Matthew 16:23) Help me to bless those who have hurt me.  Forgive those who used me, and love those who have rejected me (Ephesians 4:19, 5:1).  Forgive them Lord for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).  As it is written, I believe I have all spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3), and I believe I am an adopted daughter of Christ (Ephesians 1:5-6).  A princess of the Most High, clean and restored, loved and revered as a woman of God.
            I pray I am unashamed of the Gospel and plant this seed for you (Ephesians 6:19).  I pray I can help bring healing to those who have suffered as I have suffered.  May I be a blessing in the church, using my gifts and talents for your glory (Ephesians 3:20-21).  I pray you increase my faith and I abound more and more in love.  I pray to be a prisoner of Christ and ambassador in chains for you (Ephesians 6:20). I know whether I am abasing or abounding, you have given me all strength for all situations (Philippians 4:11-13). 
            Thank you for dying on the cross.  Thank you for knowing exactly how I feel, my hurt, my shame, my pain and my suffering.  Thank you for giving me an example to follow.  Thank you for your precious love that has carried me through painful memories, fearful dreams or nightmares, heal my heart, renew my mind in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2).  I am a new creature in Christ; the old had passed away including my past.  I press on toward the goal and prize awaiting me (Philippians 3:13-14).  I will continue to prepare my heart and mind for action (1 Peter 1:13).  I pray to encourage others along through my own healing process. If I backslide, push me forward.  If I fall down again in sadness, why me and painful memories, life me up to stand firm with the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), preparing my mind daily with the Armor of the Lord.
            Thank you for turning evil into good and I am confident the plan and purpose you have for me will be completed in the end (Philippians 1:6).  I believe my life has purpose, a plan set for me, not for evil, but good (Jeremiah 1:5).  I believe this is my season, a time I can never get back, help me to use this time wisely, growing daily in the Lord with spiritual meat, lacking no good thing (James 1:4).  If I am faced with my past, if I am faced with the very ones who painful hurt me, help me to love them as you love them.  Show me this mystery, filled with the Holy Spirit to love them as Christ loved the church (Colossians 1:27). 
            Praise be to God the Father of Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Thank you for your Word and the women in the bible I can learn from.  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.

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