Moms, Do You Struggle with Self-Hatred?

freedomI will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. — Psalm 31:7-8

I have a dear friend who is a mother of four and a sister in the Lord who has struggled fiercely with self-hatred for most of her life. About seven years ago, I encouraged her to believe this promise over her life and that God could and would bring her to a spacious place even in this.

Over the past seven years she’s done the hard work of persevering through the rigorous healing process that is needed when we’re dealing with such deep-rooted emotional scars in our lives.

Often my friend wondered if the battle was worth it, if she would ever see any real lasting change. Recently she emailed me the below story of her journey, her battle, and her victory. She ended by saying,

I am most excited that I no longer beat myself up and tear myself down.  I love the freedom of no more defeating self talk.

Do you believe God can set you free from your self-hatred?

Above All Else, Guard Your Heart
by Jill Reding

She grew up during a civil war. This civil war was in her mind. There was sweat, tears and rage. For years depression and anxiety followed every battle. Worry and fret filled her chaotic mind. She was emotionally neglected and played the role of caretaker to wounded hearts close to her. Her wounds were ignored. However, she was not always ok with this. She learned to manipulate, appear helpless or rage with anger in order to demand attention. But guilt would overtake her, guilt and shame would cover her, and so the attention from others fell short as she picked herself up, stuffed her needs and became the caretaker again. The role of the helper, or the good one, made everyone else happy. That was good on the outside. On the inside she was bleeding and hated herself.

As the girl grew up in this civil war era, she learned two different languages, or perhaps two different mind sets. One was called Grace and Love, the other beat up and self-defeat. Grace and Love sounded like this… I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone the new has come. God loves me just the way I am. I am content and fulfilled in Christ. He lives and breathes in me. He’s in control and in charge of my life and my circumstances. I love to serve and help others just like Jesus served and helped others. I am content to be who God created me to be. I belong to Him. He cares about my every need, so I can rest in His plan for my life. He’s got my back. It’s ok to make mistakes. He is all I need. He is enough. Nothing I DO can change God’s Grace and Love in my life.This vulnerable girl learned about rules and outward expectations from God believing adults in her life. She believed that these rules must be obeyed otherwise she would not be completely accepted by God and others. She carried around a ruler to measure herself, and since she always fell short, she would beat herself up. Therefore, the language in her mind called beat up and self-defeat sounded like this…

You’re not good enough… you can’t do it… you are ugly…you are fat…it’s all your fault…you should have known better…see, they better than you…you did this to yourself … no one really cares about you…if only they knew what you think…you better keep trying and trying…you’re still not good enough.

This girl often wondered why she seemed different, what was wrong with her. Others saw a normal girl, pleasant, fun-loving, beautiful and well put together. They would come to her for help. She loved encouraging and praying for others. But she rarely had contentment deep within. How could she speak godly truth to someone else, but not accept it for herself? No wonder she felt crazy.

God says, through Paul, she can learn to be content. Consider trials a joy. She failed again and again to measure up. Depression hurt those closest to her. Her neediness was more than loved ones could bear. When she hurt or annoyed others, she hated herself even more. When she hated herself, she would eat, or people-please, or exercise, or rage, or isolate. The treadmill of trying so hard was exhausting and she would turn her back from her feelings, and from a Grace and Love mind-set.

The girl heard a story that opened her eyes to her own conflicted heart. It was about a daughter who was hit by a car and the mother ran after the car in a rage of anger and guilt before rescuing the daughter. The daughter needed comfort and love from her mother. The daughter did not need to be beat up or measured up to see if she was worthy of comfort. The girl realized she was like the mother, she too had turned her back and she needed to rescue the little girl inside of her. She needed to rescue her own heart from being beat up and wounded.

It was time to put to an end the war. Would she choose Grace and Love or beat up and self-defeat? Would she listen to God’s truths or would she continue to believe the enemy’s lies? Once she faced her old wounds she was free to see truth in a way she never had before. It was not easy revisiting battle scars again. But she nurtured herself. She rescued her defeated heart. And she did not have to do it alone because she recognized she was worthy of God’s grace and love over her. She claimed the truth that was already in her, Christ her Redeemer.

The Bible is full of wonderful verses that reveal God’s promises. One particular verse whispered to her heart words of truth. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

What does a guard do?

A guard protects the enemy from entering the castle. It protects! It fights. It rescues. The girl is guarding her heart from a beat up and self-defeating mind-set. She will not accept that language anymore. She learned its ok for a broken girl to truly embrace Grace and Love.

The war has greatly settled down in her mind. When stressors tempt her to beat herself up and use the measuring stick of perfection, she remembers Christ in her is enough. Christ in her enables Grace and Love. Together, this girl, with the help from her Loving Father, chose to guard her heart from the lies that once consumed her being.

She speaks like this once again…

… I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone the new has come. God loves me just the way I am. I am content and fulfilled in Christ. He lives and breathes in me. He’s in control and in charge of my life and my circumstances. I love to serve and help others just like Jesus served and helped others. I am content to be who God created me to be. I belong to Him. He cares about my every need, so I can rest in His plan for my life. He’s got my back. It’s ok to make mistakes. He is all I need. He is enough. Nothing I DO can change God’s Grace and Love in my life.

Do you believe God can set you free from your self-hatred?

For More:

Princess of the Most High King

The Ultimate Journey

 

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Do You Believe God Long Enough to Receive His Promises?

waitingNo unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. – Romans 4:20-21

Abraham waited 25 years for God to carry out His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son. Yet, Abraham didn’t waver in unbelief during those long years of waiting.

How about you?

Are you wavering in unbelief concerning the promises God has spoken over your life?

As a prophetic intercessor, Father has me spend hundreds of hours praying His promises over the lives of His people. Sadly, I am astonished and amazed again and again by how quickly Father’s children let go of promises He has spoken over their lives because it’s taking too long, in their mind, for Him to fulfill the promise He spoke over their lives.

How does Father speak promises over our lives?

Through . . .

  • Bible verses — He highlights in our reading of the Word and speaks specifically to our hearts as a promise He has for our lives
  • Other believers — promises they sense Father is speaking over our lives and then Father confirms it to our spirit and mind as we pray about it (For more: When Father Speaks – see Receiving and Testing a Word of Prophecy section and Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge by Adrian Warnock)
  • Prayer — a verse of Scripture He brings to mind that He wants us to pray and believe over a situation or circumstance we are praying about

In His hometown, Jesus did very few miracles.

Why?

And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. – Matthew 13:58

May that not be the truth concerning our walk of faith . . . that Jesus did not do many mighty works in our lives . . . He didn’t carry out His promises spoken over our lives because we didn’t believe Him long enough to receive them.

The question is not whether God can carry through on His promises (Isaiah 46:9-11, Job 42:1-3).

The question is are we willing like Abraham to not waver through unbelief while we wait for God to carry out the promises He has spoken over our lives.

For More:

5 Pitfalls While Waiting on His Promises Series

Prophecy Isn’t a Formula

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Let Your Strength Come from Jesus [Called Series]

mountain peaksThe Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!
Habakkuk 3:19 AMP

When you are low on strength, what a promise to remember!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

At your weakest point, this is His promise to you.

For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me. – Colossians 1:29 ESV

When you have nothing left, His energy is powerfully infusing your very being.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor 12:9-10

Life is full of countless points of weakness in our lives, and yet those can also be our greatest moments of strength.

A great book that illustrates these truths within this struggle is Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet on High Places:

Adult version

Kindle

Audible

Youth version

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When You Don’t Know Why [Called Series]

Comfort and GriefOne of the greatest ways believers lose heart and stop moving forward in their walk of faith is when they don’t know why.

Why did they have to die so young?

Why do I lived with constant pain and fatigue?

Why didn’t I get chosen?

Why didn’t God give me that job, that spouse, that house, that promotion. . .?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why was I abused?

Why was I raped?

Why didn’t my parents want me?

Why me?

Each is a valid question of the heart. The experience of each contains deep sorrow and pain.

Yet the choice each person asking the question is faced with: to heal and go on or to be stuck, lose heart, and stop moving forward in their walk of faith.

We live in a world full of sin and thus sorrow and pain.

Revelation 21:3-4 gives us an anchor of hope and a beacon of faith when we choose to move forward in our walk of faith:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

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For More:

When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Eareckson Tada

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada

Rest Ministries, Inc.: Joyfully Serving the Chronically Ill

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God Who Brings Life to the Dead

new lifeEaster is an amazing reminder to us that Jesus rose from the dead.

How many of us live in the victory that He is daily the God who brings life to the dead?

We have no trouble with the concept of Spring and new life bursting forth in the midst of dead things.

Yet, in our own lives it seems more of a stretch.

Can God really bring life to the deadness of my marriage?

Can God raise to life the deadness in my heart after my divorce?

Can God revive my spirit after the death of my beloved?

Can God heal the deadness in my heart after the abuse and trauma I endured as a child?

Romans 4:17 resounds with the answer to every one of those questions:

. . .the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

This verse speaks of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise that He would give Abraham and Sarah a son though they were well past the age of being able to have children.

Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for God to fulfill his promise.

Yet during those 25 years, Romans 4:20-21 says concerning Abraham:

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (ESV)

God has power to do what He has promised.

Today and everyday He is the God who brings life to the dead.

What dead part of your heart or life is He asking you to believe He can and will resurrect?

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Hearts Directed Like Streams of Water: God Is In Control

water streamThe king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will. – Proverbs 21:1 ESV

Sometimes in the midst of the storms of life, it’s easy to lose sight of the powerful truth of this verse.

Most of us don’t live under the authority of a king, but we get the connection. The most powerful people in the world — God directs their hearts like a stream of water in His hand.

That job you didn’t get — God directs employers’ hearts like a stream of water in His hand.

The school you didn’t get into — God directs the hearts of administrative heads of schools like a stream of water in His hand.

That promotion, partnership, and the like — God directs the hearts of those over us like a stream of water in His hand.

Take heart and remember those who have gone before us. . .

  • Joseph’s attitude of unconditional forgiveness after he was ruthlessly betrayed by his own family. 

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:19-20

  • Mary’s attitude of joyful acceptance of a God-given reality that ostracized her and Joseph from their family and friends (being an unmarried pregnant woman in a culture where the consequence for such an offense was being stoned to death)

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38

  • David’s attitude of courageous trust when faced with impossible odds in defeating Goliath.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” – 1 Samuel 17:37

Find courage and remember His promises:

  • He will work it for His glory and your good – Romans 8:28-29
  • What He speaks, He brings to pass. What He purposes, He does – Isaiah 46:9-11
  • No matter how dire your situation seems, He will save you victoriously and valiantly – Deuteronomy 33:26-27
  • Keep trusting; He will save you – Isaiah 25:1,9
  • Remember that what is impossible with man is possible with God – Matthew 19:26

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Gutting It Out or Giving In

Running the RaceIn John 16:33 Jesus encourages us, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s common knowledge that trouble being nonexistent in our lives is a rare experience.

And yet, when faced with trouble do we have peace, take heart, and lay claim to both the promise and the hope that Jesus has overcome the world?

Do we also lay claim to the promise and the power Jesus speaks of in Luke 10:19?

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Although not many of us are marathon runners in the physical sense, as believers we are life-long marathon runners in the spiritual sense.

Father trains us, prepares us, and has us run spiritual marathons for the duration of our walk of faith.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – 1 Cor 9:24

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Tim 4:7

Marathon and triathlete Coach Joe English, does an excellent job of explaining the value of gutting it out or giving in during workouts in his post, Training — Why do the Tough Get Going?

Paula Rinehart includes a quote in her book Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Gerald May that powerfully portrays the same concept on a spiritual level:

Because real risking in faith can occur only in those areas of life where we feel most impoverished and vulnerable, it never becomes something we are really comfortable with.  For each layer of trust that  builds up, another, more challenging risk is offered.

True faith choices, therefore, always feel like risks; they just go on, involving deeper and deeper levels of our being.  Each choice remains difficult; what really becomes conditioned in this process is simply our willingness and readiness to take the risks of faith.  They never stop feeling like risks.

If you’re currently being faced with the choice to gut it out or give in, I pray you remember inspiring words of truth from Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP):

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

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