Stolen!

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“YOU TOOK AWAY MY WORTH!”

The headlines screamed at me and caused me to slow down and do “a double take.” I am sure most of us have heard or read about the story of the sexual assault of the unconscious young lady by a Stanford student.  The story has caused outrage and division among people as to what is fair and right punishment.  What I find so disturbing from this entire event is the fact that the young lady who was assaulted now believes she has no worth….no value…no voice.

The demeaning assault made against her has formed a dark shroud of shame over her.   “Emily Doe” has now become intimately acquainted with dishonor, humiliation and mortification.  And by her own words, she emphatically states, “the damage is done, and no one can undo it.”

This saddens me because I know so many believe that shameful experiences have the power to define who we are as a person.   For sure, traumatic events come into our lives uninvited and they can be devastating, but there is something we can do with them.  There is someone who can “undo it.” Those harrowing and painful things done to us CAN be remedied.

Shameful events can and do happen to all of us – some are mild like bullying or name-calling, but others are deeply distressing and crippling. There are forces of darkness that want us to believe that we are the only ones who suffer with these issues and that it is unchangeable. This is simply not true.

Too often our sin and emotional baggage gets linked to what we believe about ourselves. In other words, our personality and identity becomes associated with the things we struggle with.

The strategy of the enemy is for us to believe that we actually “are” how we feel or behave, which is not true at all. Satan wants you to believe things like: you “are” depressed, unhappy, worthless, unable to change, stupid, a failure…the list could go on and on. It is important to realize that our feelings and behavior are situational and we can change them. The truth is feelings and behavior are not who we really are. They might be things that we struggle with, but they are not our identity, or who we are in Christ.

This includes the things that you may think about yourself at a deep level. You might not consciously recognize them, but you find yourself thinking them or saying them about yourself on a regular basis.

I have counseled and ministered to many young girls and women who have been sexually abused, trafficked and molested. All of them come away with a sense that their inward self is fatally flawed and that something is intrinsically wrong with them. I heard repeatedly the fact that they believed they were damaged or defective on many levels within themselves.  I remember one sweet teenage girl had literally carved in her leg the words, “I deserve to die.”  Her belief that she was deeply flawed led her to the conclusion that death was the only escape from her torment.  I am happy to report that this same girl is now a young woman who is living a life of peace, and joy because she has finally found her true value in the eyes of God.  The intense belief of shame can be consuming and excruciating because there seems to be no hope in reversing its condition.  In my humble opinion, it is the worst feeling ever experienced by mankind.

When someone is walking in deep shame, it becomes a wall that separates them from others. The very people whom you desire a connection with are the ones that are blocked access into your true self.  I believe shame is a tool forged by the hand of our greatest adversary, Satan.  With it, he wields blows against our self-worth and knocks us down to levels that are near impossible to rise up again.  Shame then becomes a barrier that has the power to prevent us from experiencing the love and destiny that God has designed for us as individuals.

All the modern therapy of the day will not be able to permeate the layers of shame and reach ones core identity unless they turn to the One who created them. It is what we do with the events themselves, that determines if and how we can overcome them.  When you allow yourself to be fully known by the God who created you, you can be fully loved.  And isn’t that what all of mankind desperately craves – to be loved?!?

As we understand that at the very core of our shame, we have lost our dignity, we can begin to ask our heavenly Father to reassemble the pieces of our identity. Our true self can resurface and restoration is possible.  All the fragmented pieces of our soul are able to be re-assembled back together into wholeness. True restoration results from being molded by the Word within, rather than the world without.

I keep a piece of paper in my bible that has the following statements regarding my heavenly Father. This is what I am convinced of:

He restores my soul – Psalm 23

He heals my soul – Isaiah 61

He keeps my soul – Psalm 121

He knows and understand my soul – Psalm 139

He allows my soul to live – Psalm 119:175

He will not allow my soul to be destroyed – Psalm 16:10

He converts and changes my soul – Psalm 19:7

Once we understand who God is and we see His character and nature, we can begin to see who we are. God does not change and He is not a liar.  What He has promised, He will accomplish.  When we realize that our lives have the ability to be wrapped up in the bundle of HIS life, we can walk out of shame and recapture our dignity.

I think we can all see our world is struggling with a severe case of identity crisis. There is so much confusion.  Am I a woman?  Or a man?  Children are questioning which bathroom to use in school and the very fabric of our society is becoming frayed.  Our culture, perhaps parents, or friends, tell us who we are based on our actions. “I drink excessively, therefore, I am an alcoholic.  I have killed therefore, I am a murderer.”  Or maybe words spoken over you “You will never amount to anything.” You are good for nothing, I wish you had not been born.”

Our thinking has been shaped by our environment, the world systems, and the art, music, and literature around us. Some of us have received more identity from the world, flesh and devil than we have from the kingdom of God.

Religion calls us a sinner – God calls us a saint. Our parents may have called us illegitimate but God says you are my son and my daughter.

What we desperately need is a lens change – a change of perspective

In the bible, knowledge is about experience. Not merely hearing something but, believing a truth to the point where it changes you and your behavior.  Our thoughts line up with God’s word and who HE says we are and we receive His truth as the final word.

When we come out of “this world” and into the Kingdom of God – we need to realize that the mindset of the Kingdom is counter culture to the things of this world – to the mind of Christ.  A Kingdom mindset thinks the opposite way of the world.

We are not capable of fully existing inside of God’s love and power until we fully understand who we are. The great news is, things in the past do not have to negatively affect our present or future.  I beg you dear reader, dive into God’s word.  Believe every word and allow His thoughts and plans to wash over you and cleanse your soul.

We need to “re-frame” our thinking into an alliance with Christ and what He says: the renewal of our thinking is the essence of transformation – Romans 12:2

Upgrading our identity in Jesus requires 3 things:

  1. Receiving God’s perspective of who you are IN HIM
  2. Adjusting our thinking in line with His thoughts over us
  3. (MOST IMPORTANT) Using the same language over ourselves that the Lord God does – so that our confession, declaration and proclamation expands our territory or inheritance in the Holy Spirit.

I have prayed countless times for the young victim named “Emily Doe.” I pray she realizes she doesn’t have to be a victim forever.  She has an opportunity to be an over-comer…an over-comer of shame, pain and loss.  I pray she realizes what the selfish young Stanford boy did to her doesn’t have to remain imprinted on her body and soul.  She can walk out and regain her dignity and self-worth.

Listen! Can you hear it?  There is One crying out…lift up your ears and hear the voice of Him who is calling out through the darkness of injury and agony…. “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

In the Power of His Love – Lisa

How Desperate Are You?

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One of my favorite stories of healing in the bible is the woman who couldn’t stop bleeding. It is found in Mark 5:25, Matthew 9:20-22 and again in Luke 8:43.

This obscure woman was desperate….desperate for an encounter that would change her life! The account of her story tells us that “no one could heal her.”  However, because she was an audacious woman and resolute within herself, she thought, “if only I may touch the man’s garment, I will be made well, and so she did and immediately the blood dried up and she was healed of her affliction.”

What is so significant about the hem of Jesus’ garment? At first reading, it seems an odd practice.  However, once we understand the significance of the hem of one’s garment, these passages will have much more meaning.  The word translated, hem, in Hebrew, is tzitziyot.  It means fringes or tassels.  In the Old Testament God called the sons of Israel to put fringes or tassels (tzitziyot) on the bottom of their garments (Numbers 14:37-41)

The woman on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, who came to Jesus for healing, knew this command. She knew that the tassels or fringes represented the law of God, the authority of God, and tied up in all of that are the promises of God.  In this account, the tzitziyot, or fringe tassels, were her point of contact, in order for her miracle to manifest.  Those fringed tassels represented the word of God which is always the place where we can find healing for all the needs in our life.

The fringes also represent the authority of Jesus, that He taught with authority and when He spoke, people were healed. We see in another account in the gospels, that people clung to Jesus and touched His garment. “And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Jesus that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched His garment, were made perfectly well.”  Matthew 14:35-36

The nameless woman in the gospels had heard of Jesus. Perhaps she had heard of his power to heal and deliver and remembered the promises of old.  I imagine that she remembered these promises…released her faith… reached out…touched…and her miracle appeared!  This woman received her healing when her faith touched the power of God, the hem of Jesus’ garment, and she was made whole.

I want to be desperate and have faith as this dear woman….that I would know the promises of God so intimately that even the smallest point of contact, can help me release my faith toward God for HUGE miracles in my life and in the life of others.

I do not believe this woman had a “hunch” or that she even “hoped” that perhaps Jesus would heal her. No!  She had much more than that, she had a promise!  Promises from her God about His goodness and kindness to heal His children.

Moreover, there was another element to these fringes that most people don’t know. Another promise, found in the words of the prophet Malachi, “But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings”.  The word wing in Hebrew is kanaf, which is a word that specifically means the “fringe-like” feathers or edges of a bird’s wing.  Most places in the OT where kanaf is used it is referring to God.  Therefore, the place of refuge is under the kanaf of the LORD, under His word and His authority (Psalm 91:1 – “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”)

Read the story of Ruth and Boaz. As Ruth went to Boaz and lay at his feet on the threshing room floor, she implored him, “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”  (NKJ – Ruth 3:9)

The word in Hebrew for wing is kanaf. In essence, Ruth was asking Boaz to heal her of her affliction of widowhood and abandonment – to take her as his wife.  This was a custom that was known in that culture.  Ruth was stating her belief that she knew the power of a kinsmen redeemer, to deliver her of poverty, disorder and ailment.  Boaz does indeed take Ruth as his wife and their child, Obed, is in the lineage of Christ.

In the New Covenant, through Jesus’ blood, we are taken as Christ’s bride, and His healing virtue is available to cover us, heal us and empower us for abundant life.

Take refuge under His wings my friends. Cover yourself with the hem of His garment….release your faith today to believe that Jesus can and will touch you in whatever area you have need of.

Indeed, the good news is that Jesus died and rose again to pay our debt, but the ultimate good news is finding out the true nature of who God really is. Jesus said, “If you see Me, then you have seen the Father.”  The nature of the Father is made manifest in Jesus’ ministry on this earth…..Jesus came to put a face on the Father for us.

The woman with the “issue of blood” saw the face of Yahweh, the Most High God, in Jesus, the Son of God. And she reached out and believed!

Shalom,

Lisa Roitsch

http://www.lisaroitsch.com

 

 

 

Tell Your Story

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The cries of our soul often reveal deep and hidden mysteries. They expose the sorrows of our own life – things that have happened to us or things we have engaged in either unintentionally or voluntarily.   Deeper still, they reveal how our heart is connecting with God.

There have been times when I find myself frustrated that I still falter and stumble at some of my deep emotions.   It is in those times that I cry out to God in desperation-unashamed. As I allow God to come alongside me, His kindness and mercy begins to shine forth.  His word becomes a soothing haven for my soul and I see myself inside of Him and all of His goodness.

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God”  Psalm 42:1

These concepts began to solidify within me by my fascination in meditating on the Psalms.  I realized David cried out to his God a lot like me.  In fact, some of his prayers are mine!  Through the Psalms, God shows us how to engage with Him in our struggles.  God created our emotions and He wants us to acknowledge and experience them (although not to always allow them to direct our actions or beliefs).  In doing this, we learn what true intimacy is supposed to look like as we partake of God and share our deepest thoughts and emotions with Him.  It is then we can allow Him to untangle everything that is going on within us.

“Search me, O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties”  Psalm 139:23

I believe that true healing and restoration occurs when we courageously step into our stories of pain and harm and are empowered to share it with others.  I believe everyone has a story to tell, even our heavenly Father had a story – one He has shared with the whole world.   A story filled with pain, brokenness, and evil. And yet out of that story there is hope, strength and restoration for all!

As we begin to share our pain and emotions with others, something very organic and powerful happens.  We find comfort in knowing that we are not the only one that has been shattered by the evils of this world.   And we begin to begin to find shalom in every dimension of our lives- peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility.

“Let my soul live and it shall praise You; may Your judgments help me”  Psalm 119:175

I have learned that in telling “my story”, yes, my emotions rise to the surface, but this needs to happen in order for a loving Father to bring healing. This requires the courage to break through my fears of someone else knowing my weaknesses and failures.  When I am brave enough to share my story with others, it creates a community that is authentic and real.  As I find others who are willing to share their story and hear mine, we actually start building the pure house of God.  A free and open place of refuge and safety where we can be fully known and fully loved.

What is the cost involved to let Jesus into your soul?  Only you can answer that question.  But I can tell you that when you venture out and embrace the fullness of who you are -it will empower you to be an agent of transformation in the lives of others.

Precious one, allow the Holy Spirit to talk with you regarding your emotions.  He will speak and show you things about yourself you did not know.  I must warn you however, this is for the brave at heart.  Some things you may have tried burying in the recesses of the dark because they feel too painful, but God wants all things to come to His marvelous light.

“…..The Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reaveal the counsels of the heart”  I Corinthians 4:5

My own healing journey has moved me from a place of shame and failure to a path of goodness, honor and delight.  I write these truths to encourage and inspire others to courageously reach out and begin to tell their story.

You can start with telling your story to your heavenly Father who loves you like no other.  But press on and share it with trusted others  who are able to name both your deep woundedness AND your deep goodness.   As a result, you will grow a deeper capacity to know and live out your calling and engage in life-giving relationships with God and others.

“Because he has set his love on Me, I will deliver him; I will establish him on high beause he has KNOWN my name. 

You shall call upon Me and I will answer you.” 

Psalm 91:14-15

 

God Will Meet You Where You Are

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 If I was stranded on an island and offered only one book from the bible, I would choose the prophecies of Isaiah.  Within its pages are beautiful promises on the character and nature of God.  It is full of the decrees that Jesus would accomplish while walking on this earth.  One of my most favorite passages in Isaiah is chapter 61.  We are told that Jesus, the Messiah, would heal our broken hearts and give us His beauty for our ashes.  Most of us love this promise, but soon get frustrated when we don’t see everything become pretty all at once.  I have found, when this has happened in my own life, it is because I am hanging onto some of my ashes/mess.  Sometimes I am just not willing to give them to the Lord because holding them close gives me the feeling of being powerful.  Perhaps it is too scary to let go of all the pain, hurt and frustration.  Possibly, carrying your ashes brings you a level of comfort.   Or, it could be, that no one has ever taken the time to help you unload the weight of what you have been bearing.

I want to share with you an encounter with God’s word that helped me unpack the load I had.  One day I was reading in the 8th chapter of the book of Matthew.  Jesus is ministering to the people who had come to hear him speak.  The text tells us that Jesus “cast out unclean spirits with a word and healed them of their sickness.”  The passage goes on to quote a scripture from Isaiah 53:4, saying all of this had to be fulfilled in order for the prophecies of Isaiah to be true -“He Himself would take our infirmities and bear our sicknesses.”  Immediately, I turned to Isaiah 53:4 and read, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…..”

Two words caught my attention – infirmity and grief.  I looked up both of these in the concordance and the definitions:  Infirmity – feebleness of mind and/or body, malady, frailty.   Grief – to be rubbed or worn down; to become weak; to be grieved or in pain; sore, anxiety, calamity.

I recognized that part of Jesus’ mission towards us as His body, was to minister healing to our emotions and soul.  Jesus understands what it means to be worn down and rubbed raw from painful experiences.  He knew that our souls needed to be restored so that we could have a better relationship with the Father.  While on this earth, we will have trials, suffering and pain, but Jesus came to return your soul back to a place of health and vitality.  One of my favorite Psalms reminds us that God is our good Shepherd and He restores our souls to places of stillness and calm.

Where are you today?  Are you lost in tragedy, problems or even sin?  Are you sick or lonely?  Are your emotions a mess because you have been abandoned, betrayed or rejected?    Maybe you are living the results of all your mistakes and you don’t know what to do.  Are you ready to let go of all your ashes my friend?  If so, cry out to your heavenly Father and He will meet you right where you are.  You may not know where you are, but God knows and He will come and find you.  You are never hidden from His sight!  The best prayer is sometimes the simplest, “Father God help me!”

 

“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:29