My True Identity..

Image

I have struggled with my issues with food for as long as I can remember. I have also in that time battled a lot of issues with insecurity and my worth. I have always struggled with seeing myself through God’s eyes. This post is going to be centered on just that, seeing ourselves through God’s eyes. I am going to go through scripture that tells us just how He sees us and all that He has promised us through Him.

“I was made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident. Because of this, I can’t allow myself to partake in anything that negates my true identity.”  -Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave (P. 53)

We are set-free. We are set free from all the addictions that have taken a hold on us. We are free from the temptations and the cravings that come along with them. We find our freedom in God, and Him alone. He is our refuge, our strength, our provider and He has provided us with freedom from the temptations and addictions that have holds on us. Let go of the bonds and move toward God today.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
~Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

We are accepted children of God, He loves us with an unconditional love that nothing, or no one could ever love us with. He accepts us with ALL our flaws. Nothing about us could ever change the way He feels about us. He sees our struggles and He accepts us despite them. He is our biggest fan, our constant source of faith and hope that we can beat our struggles. He accepts us just the way we are. What could ever be greater than this simple, yet life changing truth? Nothing. ♥

To God’s church in Corinth, you who have been made holy because you belong to Christ Jesus. You were chosen to be God’s holy people together with all people everywhere who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.

~1 Corinthians 1:2 (ERV)

We are made new. How amazing is it that God washes away all our past mistakes, sins, and replaces them with a new, clean, fresh start. We as believers are made new. The past is behind us forgiven by Christ, and the future waits ahead for us. We have a new beginning through Christ Jesus. He made us new creations so that we could paint the picture of Jesus on the canvas of our hearts for the world to see. We are made new so that we can fill our lives with more of Him and less of our old, past selves. We are redeemed by God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

~2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

We are confident children of God. Through Him we have a source of everlasting confidence. He gives us the strength to be confident in the decisions we make, and to turn away from the voice of doubt. We are confident that we can and will overcome our struggles with our addictions such as food, money, facebook, ect. Whatever tempts you, or steals you away from God, He has given you the confidence to trun away from them and to be bold. We CAN and we WILL make this change!

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

~Ephesians 3:12 (NIV)

And finally, sisters we are victorious children of God. We can and we will experience the victory that God has promised us. Each and every one of us will reach our goals. We all can declare the victory promised to us through Christ Jesus. He has promised us that no matter what we face, or how many times we feel the temptations or surrender to the cravings, that we will each have victory at the end of our battles. It is His promise to us, and we will receive that promise as long as we believe.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

~Romans 8:31-39 (MSG)

(I know its long, but isn’t that version of this verse amazing? It is His promise to us, and one that we all need to be reminded of. ♥)

Dear Father, We come to you in prayer and as you to help us be reminded of all the amazing and beautiful promises that you have left us in Your written word. Help us daily to remember the love that you have for each and every one of us. Help us Lord to beat these struggles and addictions that we have. Help us to win the war and experience the victory that you have promised. Lord give us the grace and the strength to get through this. We take refuge in You and Your word. You are so faithful God, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making us new, setting us free, and making us more than conquers through You, and You alone..Remind us daily that we are OVERCOMERS! We can and we will beat this, because we were made for more!

Amen!!

Much love and blessings to you all!
Raelene ♥

Made To CRAVE!

Image

As I sit here and think about the journey that I am about to embark on with the Lord I feel so many different emotions. I fell excited, nervous, confident, fear, but most of all I feel amazed.

I never thought that I would ever come to a point in my life where I would feel ready enough to make this bold decision and to make these changes. Food has always been my most relied on source of comfort. Its taken a hold on every aspect of my life and it’s taken a grip on me and I am more than ready to change that.

As I get ready to go on this spiritual journey I feel ready. I want to make this work, I want God to be my number one source of comfort, strength, and peace. I want to learn how to satisfy my cravings with Him instead of food. I want to have an intimate relationship with my God.

I am ready to make these changes.

I am ready to awaken my faith and renew myself.

I am ready for the hard battles that are about to come my way.

I am ready to be made new.

I know that this is going to be so hard and that its going to take a LOT of sacrifice but I am ready for whatever comes my way. Today I am committing to work on my relationship with the Lord. I am committing to spending more time in His word. I am committing to put Him before food. I am committing to make this work.

This is going to be a hard new journey in my life. I’m going to need to rely on God more than ever right now. Food is my biggest addiction and I need to rely on God for my strength. I need to rely on Him to get me through this season. I want our relationship to blossom. I want to experience His beautiful love more than ever. I want to feel His presence in my soul and feel His light shine upon me.

Dear heavenly Father, I pray that you awaken our souls. We need you more than ever right now as we prepare to go on this journey with you. Please bless us and help us. We need Your grace, love and salvation more than ever right now. We are preparing our hearts for an amazing, wonderful, and beautiful relationship with You. We need more of You and less of food and as we take this huge step, please give us strength, wisdom and courage. Its scary to make any changes, but with You we can do ANYTHING. You work all things for Your good and glory. Please help us to see the beautiful daughters we are to you. Fill our hearts with Your spirit and be our constant guide. We need You to be our shepherd. We need to crave YOU! We need our King, our Savior, our Abba. Thank you Lord, for providing us with Your word to turn to in the hard times and to constantly meditate on. We are so ready to make this step into this journey that You have provide us with. We love You and forever worship You. In Your glorious name I pray, Amen. ♥

If you haven’t decided yet, its not too late to make this change. If you want to give up your desire for food and instead replace it with a craving for our Lord, I invite you to join Proverbs 31’s next Online Bible Study: Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. If you want to join 30,000+ woman as we all get ready to make this life altering, spiritual changes its not to late to join. Just visit: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/ and sign up. I would love to have you join us as we all get read to CRAVE GOD!!

Blessings and love,
Raelene ♥

A Letter to Renee Swope

Image

 

Dear Renee Swope,

First, before I begin, I just wanted to express my deepest gratitude to you. My life has been completely changed after reading your book, A Confident Heart. I have been transformed. My soul and my spirit cleansed and renewed and I am so grateful for your words of encouragement and love. It has been such a journey, and I’m so glad that I took it. Your book is a blessing to me and its one that I will hold onto and reread over and over for years to come. 

When I started the study of A Confident Heart, my life and my heart was full of doubt. I had been listening to the lies and letting it distinguish all of the confidence that I still had left. I was unemployed, and that left me thinking that no one wanted to hire me because I wasn’t good enough to work for them. I was full of worry and doubt. I had been hurt, broken, abused, and abandoned in my past and that left me feeling unworthy and useless. My life was being controlled by the voice of doubt and it was keeping me from engaging in a deeper more intimate relationship with Christ. I was living in the dark, and I just couldn’t make my way into the light. I was lacking confidence, in myself and in God.

When I started to read, the words were like medicine to my soul. Water to my thirsty body. I was filled with so much encouragement and felt a real change. As I read and we got into the deeper, more hard issues such as confronting and revisiting our past, I felt the Lord in my life like never before. He was there as I stepped into my past and dealt with the issues that left me broken and hurt. As I closed that chapter in my life, I felt a little more confident in who I was in Christ.

Chapter 8 and 9 were the two chapters that spoke to me the most. I have always struggled with knowing why God created me. Why was I here and what did I have to offer? Those questions have clung to me all through life, but when I read Chapter 8 and learned my personality types and the spiritual gifts that I have to offer the world, it really helped me to see who I was and all that I had to offer. It also really spoke to me that I do have a God given purpose here on Earth and that one day God will use me to do something that He planned. You have no idea how much perspective and encouragement that gave me. Chapter 9 was also a deep chapter for me as I am a BIG worry wart. I tend to worry about everything, and by worrying about everything, I tend to doubt and trust in God. When I read chapter 9 it really helped me see that God is in control, and that I don’t have to worry so much, because He is a great and mighty God who will provide for me. He has His eye upon me and all I need is to trust in His promises and He will come through in the end.

Another thing that really helped me was the When-Then statements. You really taught me how to take the lies from the enemy and replace them with the promises hidden in the truths found in God’s word. It is something that I will continue to do and carry with me for the rest of my life. It has helped me more that you would ever know.

I have changed so much during this study. I am no longer the woman who lets the voice of doubt control her life. Instead I am the woman who listens to the truth found in God. I let the light of God replace the darkness that I lived in for so long. I now have confidence in the woman I am becoming, and in the Lord of my life. I still have areas that I need to work on, but you taught me that since God’s love is perfect, I don’t have to be. I know live in the freedom offered from God. He broke my chains and set me free and I am now a woman with a confident heart.

Thank you from my heart to yours,
Raelene ♥

#IAmNot!

Image

I have always struggled with my weight. I’ve always been the bigger girl, trying to lose weight to be better, healthier and smaller. Its been one of my biggest areas of struggle. I’ve always been very insecure when it came to the way I looked and I’ve always condemned myself with thoughts like I can’t do this, You’re a failure, You will never lose the weight, Why even bother?

I never thought that I would ever be able to shed the pounds that I so desperately wanted to lose. I tried and tried all these different diet plans. I tried to cut down my portions, and I tried to eat healthy and increase my activity, but it just didn’t seem to work. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to get rid of it.

I finally had a revelation to as why I wasn’t getting anywhere with my weight loss journey. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was doing it to feel better about myself, to prove to those people who always called me fat that I could get skinny, to wear smaller clothes, and to be beautiful..

God simply said to me, Raelene, sweet child, you are beautiful. You don’t have to lose weight in order to see that. I have made you in my image just the way that you are. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I see you struggling, and I don’t like to see you in so much pain, but you have to learn to see yourself through my eyes. For you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your body is my temple. Don’t let this world let you think anything different. You are my lovely, beautiful and beloved daughter. I made you the way I did, I made you in my image. The reason you aren’t losing weight is you haven’t discovered the real reasons as to why you should.

That left me thinking, I am looking at this so wrong. I am made in Christ’s image. I am made by a loving God who thinks I am beautiful. I have to find the right reasons to lose weight. I have to do it for my health. I have to learn to see myself through God’s eyes, and then, only then, will I begin to lose the weight. I had to shift my perspective.

I am still battling. I still have weight to lose, I still face issues with the way I look. When I’m shopping and I see a real cute top in a smaller size I still get whispers of condemnation from my accuser such as You will never fit in that, You fail at this, You will never win. But instead of letting those voices win, I instead replace them with promises of God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I have always thought thoughts like I am such a failure when I step on the scale, or gain back the five pounds that I struggled so hard to lose, but the truth is, #IAmNot!! I am not a failure. I am not going to let my setbacks keep me from experiencing the joy of the Lord. I am no longer going to listen to the voices of my accuser. Instead I listen to the promises found in God’s precious word. I am going to press on, and keep moving toward my goal!

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

Dear Lord, Today, I pray that You will help us to see ourselves through Your eyes. Remind us of the beautiful masterpieces You made us to be. Don’t let our clouded eyes and the lies of our accusers keep us from the beauty found in You. For you have called us to press on toward the goal and to keep fighting. We are precious in Your eyes and You love us. Please help to remind us that we are NOT failures. Our mistakes don’t define us, only Your grace does. Thank you, Father. All the glory and praise goes to YOU! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. ♥

Who I AM!

Image

I have had my fair struggles with hearing the whispers of doubt. I have battled my own insecurities and listened to the voice of self doubt and ignored the truth found in God’s word. I have listened to the lie “I am not good enough” so many times I’ve lost count. Its one of the biggest lies we as woman after God’s heart tell ourselves. It is one of the biggest struggles that we as believers face. I am here today to tell you the truth. God doesn’t want us to believe those lies that we tell ourselves. He wants us to instead replace the lies with the truth found in His word. We need to learn to replace the lies with His promises found in His written word.

I am God’s child. John 1:12 tells us that we are children of God. We belong to Him and Him alone. He is our Father. How great is that? He is our ultimate role model. We are His! We are His children. We are called by Him. Loved by Him. Raised by Him. We believe in all that He calls us to believe in. We are protected by Him. His grace covers us. 

I am a friend of Jesus Christ, as His disciple. John 15:15. How amazing is this truth! WE are a FRIEND of Jesus! How amazing is that?! Let this truth settle into your heart. Let it over take the doubts that arise. You are not alone in this battle. You have a big, amazing, wonderful friend fighting it with you. You are not alone in your battles, Jesus is with you. He teaches us His strengths. He gives us power through our faith in Him. I don’t know about you but I just love this truth. It makes me smile real big. I personally battle with loneliness and feel as though I go through this journey of life alone, but this truth proves that is a lie. I have a friend, Jesus. He is always there for me. I am never alone, for He is always with me. Amen to that!!

I have been chosen by God and adopted as His Child. Ephesians 1:3-8 tells us that we have been chosen. Those 4 words pull my heart strings and make me want to rejoice and sing my thanks to God. He has chosen me?! How great is that! This makes me think about back in school when the teachers would have two kids choose teams. I was always one of the last to be chosen to be on a team and it left me feeling unwanted, useless, and hurt. But those are lies. I AM wanted! God has chosen ME!  He has chosen me to be a part of His family. He has picked me from the crowd and has chosen me to be on His team. And He has chosen you too. Thank you, Lord, for choosing me. I will forever cherish this simple truth.

I am a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20 tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. That is our ultimate home. We are just visitors here. No matter what country you live in, heaven is your true home. One day we will all be called back to be with our King. We must hold on to this truth. Our country doesn’t define us, our God does. Don’t get caught up with worldly things. Keep your heart fixed on God. He is our identity. 

I am God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that we are His masterpiece. We are created in Christ to do the good things He planned for us long ago. We are His workmanship. We are created to do His will. He created us to be new. He created us to be made in His image. This truth tells us that we are enough. We are His masterpiece! Next time you get that lie in your head, when you hear the dark voice of doubt whisper “I am not good enough” yell back “No, I AM good enough! God made me a masterpiece.”

 

Dear Lord,
I pray that we learn to ignore those whispers of doubt and replace them with the promises written in Your word. How great is it that we have these precious promises to look to when we feel the seeds of doubt trying to drag us down. You promise to give us freedom. You promise to give us beauty for our ashes and You promise to be our rescue. Lord, help us to use Your word as our protection from the enemy. Help us to hear the truths You left us to live by. Lord, help us to find our identity in You, not our past or our insecurities. Help us to live with confident hearts by Your beautiful truth. Help us to see the beauty in Your grace. Let our hearts accept Your truths. Let us find security in the promises You left us. We were made by you. Remind us of Your plans of hope for our future. Thank you, Father for always being there for us in our times of weakness. Thank you, for choosing us and loving us with Your unconditional, unfailing, everlasting, redeeming lov
e. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Much love and blessings to you,
Raelene ♥

Beauty for my Ashes.. ♥

Image

#MovingForward

“God’s plans for us are found when we surrender ours and seek His each day. God’s plans unfold each time we come to Him, talk to Him, and really believe He’s listening.” Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p.81)

To bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
~Isaiah 61:3

We all have a past. We all have experienced some sort of pain that has left us broken on the inside filled with doubts, fears, and shame. We all have have battled our own demons and lived in darkness. We have worn masks and hidden away from the world and kept our story a secret. We all have our own pain, our own insecurities and our own broken pieces, but we also have an almighty God. An all powerful, redeeming, savior named Jesus to help put those broken pieces back into something beautiful. He gives us beauty for our ashes and garments of praise. We are His beloved daughters, beautifully broken, We are children of God.

“God wanted to heal my hurts and that eventually He could use my pain to comfort others with the same hope He wanted to give me.” -Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p. 67)

In my post last week I shared my story which dealt with abuse, bullying, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and depression. I opened my past and exposed it. I shared some of my deepest secrets that left me with shame and guilt. It was hard for me to write and to be honest I was scared to post, but I felt the Lord telling me and encouraging me to post my story for the world to read. To get it out there so that maybe someone who was dealing with the same demons or living in the same darkness could see the hope that He offers.

“We can trust God’s plans as we realize that His story is being written in ours. His power is perfected in the broken places we consider to be our greatest weaknesses-our most vulnerable emotions we don’t want anyone to know about. in those hiding places, God calls us out of captivity. When we’re willing to let Him, He brings hope to our future despite the pain of our past.” Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p.76)

We as children of God are called to live in the light of God. We are to show others the light that He offers and to guide others to Him. We are to be models of salvation and show how His grace can truly change someones life. We are suppose to be models of redemption and show others that it is possible to move on and move forward; that it is possible to have hope for a better future and through Christ we can embrace that future that He invites us to live in.

“Hope comes when we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring truth into our wounded places.” -Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p.73)

Hope. It is defined as:

  • the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
  • a person or thing in which expectations are centered

God is hope. He offers it to all who will just believe in Him. He wants to help you move on and move forward. He doesn’t want you to live in the pain of your past forever. He loves you and is calling you to step out of the shadow of doubts and into the hope in Him. He is there, all the time. He is your source of strength, wisdom, peace, and courage. He can help heal all your wounded places and He can give you a purpose for the pain.

“Hope never goes away no matter the circumstances!” -Natalie Grant

My story consists of hurts, heartache, and so much pain, but it also speaks of redemption, purpose and hope. I am making the choice to ask Jesus to heal my wounded places and I am letting Him use my mess and turn it into His message. A message of hope. A message of faith. A message of His saving grace. Don’t let your past define who you are, instead let Him define you. Let His hope, mercy, love, grace, and faith replace your past. I am #MovingForward, I am not going to live in my past any longer. I have my heart focused on Christ. I have been saved, I have been forgiven, and I have been redeemed. I no longer live in darkness, instead I walk in light with Jesus holding my hand; spreading His hope to the world.

“God’s love is not only perfect and unfailing, it redeems and restores. His truth cuts to the core of our struggles, bringing purpose to our pain, redemption from our past, and hope for our future!” -Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p81-82)

Dear Father, today I pray that You help lead us into Your hopeful future and help us to leave the past in the past. Please give us the strength and courage to move forward with faith. Thank you Father for all Your wonderful, beautiful blessing. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Much love and blessings to you all,
Raelene
♥ ♥ ♥

**Click here to read my post from last week if you’d like to read my story.

My Saving Grace.. ♥

Image
 
Topic #3:  A Heart Surrendered to Christ
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
~Isaiah 12:3
 
I never grew up knowing God. All I knew of Him was that if you believed in Him you went to church, you said grace before you ate, and that’s pretty much it. I had been baptized in the Anglican church when I was a baby but that was basically just a ceremony and piece of paper. My parents didn’t follow the Lord so I never thought of Him.

My family was the typical family on the outside, but on the inside we weren’t. I was sexually abused by my neighbor when I was young. My parents both battled with  addictions. Depression runs on my mom’s side of the family. I grew up in a small town, went to a small school. I was bullied a lot in school by the same kids for 12 years, mostly for being overweight. I didn’t have a lot of friends. In high school I started to get really depressed and began turning to self harm as a way to cope with the depression. I battled that demon for years. Cutting was my escape. It was my addiction.

When I graduated I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t find any work right away and was in a very dark place in a very unhealthy, unstable relationship. I was also starting to remember details of my abuse as a kid and trying to work through that. I just couldn’t cope. All I wanted was to die. So I attempted suicide but by God’s grace I failed. When it didn’t work I was desperate. I just wanted to feel better. I just wanted to stop the horrible feelings that I felt inside. I wanted the loneliness to stop. I wanted the pain to go away. I just wanted help.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
~Psalm 13:5
I met a new friend soon after my attempt and she happened to be a Christian. She talked to me about God and she shared that she had struggles with cutting and depression as I did. She bought me a bible as well as a Skillet cd and cards of encouragement and told me to give it a try and let her know what I thought. She introduced me to God and told me only He could help heal me. When I got her package I was so curious. Could this be my solution? Could He really help me? I glanced at my bible but still felt so depressed. On October 29, 2010 I cut myself for the last time. That night I cried out to God. I begged Him to save me. I cried out for His help. I said the sinners prayer and let go of the burden I had been struggling with. I finally accepted that I couldn’t do it on my own and that I needed Him. I gave my life to the Lord and accepted His invitation to be my Lord and savior.
 
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come.
~Romans 11:11
Almost 3 years to the day and I am still clean from self harm. I have been redeemed! I attended celebrate recovery (a faith based 12 step recovery program) and surrendered my all to Christ. I still have a battle with depression but God has provided medication and His comforting word and promises that He is with me, encouraging me. HE SAVED MY LIFE! I know now that He is with me everyday. I know of His unfailing love. I know that my demons will always haunt me but I also know that I have a bigger and better God on my side fighting the good fight with me and that I’m not all by myself anymore. I am not alone. I was desperate for hope; and that’s when God came into my life and found me, His lost sheep. (Matthew 18:12-14) I no longer live in the dark, instead I live and walk in His light. My past is NOT my future and it does not define who I am. I am a beloved daughter of the King of Kings and I will serve Him for the rest my days. 

The Lord is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:14

Dear Father,
I pray today for anyone who is out there suffering. Please Father be their light and guide them into your salvation. Lord, thank you for your perfect, unfailing, unconditional love. Your grace and mercy saves us each and every day. Blessed be Your name as we continue to praise You and Your plans for our lives. You have given us hope and a future and that through You we may do the good things you planned for us. Lord, I pray that You bless my words and speak through me to anyone who needs hope. Praise to You for we are fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image. Thank you for saving us Lord. Thank you for Your sacrifice, Jesus: the savior of the world, so that we may live a life serving You. Blessings and peace to all. In Your glorious name I pray, Amen.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. -Ephesians 2:10 ♥
Raelene ♥