Thursday, November 17, 2022

How Did I Get Here - Grace and Strength

It's been a rough night.  Yesterday was good.  Hopeful.  But the thief came in the night, after a long day.

Something crept into my pathway that wasn't supposed to be there, and it reared its ugly head.  It got me.  The enemy got me.

I broke.  I cried.  I vented to my two best girlfriends via text.  I fell asleep crying - again.  

I hate being weak.  We all do.

I want to be STRONG.  I want to be the Italian woman my family raised me to be, and dammit, I hate when the enemy wins.  

This morning, the leftover battle is raging.  I'm struggling, but I'm hanging on.  Slowly taking baby steps, through actions, to being alone and single again.  Trying to regain the person I knew.  Let me say this - I.HATE.IT.

Are you struggling with a battle?  It's the holidays, and that makes it a not-so-much-fun time to be struggling.  By the grace of Jesus and the people surrounding me, I will make it.  Flaws and all.

Remember this - not everyone abandons you over your flaws.  Jesus loves you with your flaws and helps you climb out of your valleys and back onto solid ground.  Your family and inner circle of true friends won't abandon you over your flaws, heap them like coals on your head, or refuse to reach out to help.

Sometimes, we have to bring our flaws to daylight to fix them.  Even when we extend our hands to those in our inner circle, and that we love dearly, they will not return the favor.

That doesn't mean we are less than.  It just means some people are not capable of or do not possess what they need deep down to love, serve, and help you or those around them on an emotional or mental level when those chips are played on the proverbial table.  Their love and acts of service may only be surface-level "deep."

That doesn't lessen you.  Remember that. ❤️

Maybe these people are empty themselves and need their pitcher filled consistently. 

Maybe these people will point the finger at you to say you are selfish, mean, or nongiving - when in reality, they didn't get filled from you, and they are now turning themselves inside out - allowing that emptiness to be projected onto you - even when you may not be able to fill them because you are struggling with something yourself.

The enemy is always looking to devour and consume.

I was devoured and consumed last night.  I tried to do the devotion below last night.

I was hungry and needy for it - but God.  BUT.GOD.

God said REST.  SLEEP.  You need renewal; read in the morning.  So, I did. ❤️

As always, I hope this Ben Stuart video and reading will help you.  It was right on time for me, and I try to always share my struggles with you, in the hopes it will help someone else.

My heart hurts; it's broken.  I won't lie.

I took one step forward, allowing a person "inside" - a peek into my bubble to what cripples me, and it was met with refusal, abandonment, and a simple statement of, "I can't help you."  Ouch.

Sometimes, it is painful to realize that those we love most can't help us.

Sometimes, they are not physically - mentally - or emotionally able to reach out a hand when we are in a valley.  For plenty of reasons...

This is such a great (and important) devotion from Ben, and a gentle reminder that it's not always just life pulling or knocking us down.  It's the spiritual realm at work.

The enemy knows us all well.  He knows how we tick.  He roams the earth to and fro looking for someone to devour.

It's just my turn, and sadly, my loved one's turn as well.  (I can't help but think of my loved one as I read today's devotion...)

I can't make people change their paths or make healthier decisions.  Each person has free will and they have to be cognizant of the choices they make and the effects each decision will have.

Maybe the presence of myself in my loved one's life was not enough - or not needed.  Maybe they needed to be filled in other ways I or even my family could not provide.  Sometimes, the enemy plays his hand extremely well and this time and in this case, I've lost the hand.  The house is winning...

So I'm thankful for a God and a Jesus that love despite our (my) struggles and shortcomings.  So blessed for an army of family and friends that uplift and love well.  I am humbled, as always.

Jesus, may I always turn to you first when my heart hurts, in a valley, or struggling.  May I understand that I am not perfect and I am a sinner, saved by GRACE.  Each day, you come into my heart to renew me and give me new life.  May I never leave a loved one in a valley struggling or not know what to say or how to help.  May I always show them the GRACE you have showed me.  I want to be a better server (a gift I do not possess).  I want to be a little bit more like you each day.  Thank you Jesus - Amen.

"So, what’s our enemy’s goal?

His goal is to get us to sin — for us to take a step away from intimacy and enjoyment with God. But in order to do that, he’s got to make sin look attractive.

How does he do it? Well, let’s look at what he knows.

What he knows is you. Specifically, he knows your wiring. He knows that you have a mind and cognitive processes. He knows you have affections that you’re inclined towards and averse to certain things. And he knows you have a will, a decision-making mechanism.

He knows you have a mind, affections, and will. You’ve got a brain, you’ve got a heart, and you’ve got hands and feet, and he knows your particular tendencies. He knows your proclivities — what you’re inclined to and adverse to. He’s watched the game film on you. So how does he work?

Well, to get sin to look attractive to you, he’s got solicit thoughts to the mind to stir your affections. And when he stirs your affections, you take a step, and you move to a place you were never meant to be because the enemy knows this principle: what you think about is what you care about, and what you care about, you will chase.

Now you may say, “Ben, where are you getting this?” Well, I’m getting it from James, who says, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (1:14 ESV).

Lured speaks of the mind’s attention, and enticed speaks of the heart’s affection, and then, when you enact the will, you sin, and you take a step in a direction you are never meant to go.

Jesus told his disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41 ESV). If I know temptation always leads to sin, Jesus says draw the battle line here at temptation. If this moment leads to that moment, we need to—number one—eliminate the moment."


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