Soul Care

Soul Care: Knowing Who You Are It is well with my soul care[Part I]
I’ve been a victim of identity theft several times in my life. Each time varied from petty theft of stolen checks and debit card information to a former tenant taking my name for her financial gain. At the time these incidents were stressful but in the bigger scheme they were nuisances—we lost some money and spent time in court. But the real identity theft occurred by abusers who stole my innocence, messed with my mind, beat me and raped my soul. I will spare the details but I became a repeat victim unable to stand up for myself.
Soul Care is vital for us to live a good life. There are tough dark times when we seem to barely survive. Then the good times come and we thrive. But there are so many ups and downs with variations of good and bad in our relationships. It hurts to love and it hurts not to love. We are created to love and be loved…but sometimes it is hard to trust.
1. Soul Care begins with knowing you are loved.
God pursues us…this is the good news. We love because He first loved us. I had a very hard time believing this…in my victim mind I couldn’t reconcile a loving God with abusive relationships. I couldn’t trust anymore yet I was still willing to risk loving. Thankfully God didn’t stop pursuing me and I was finally able to embrace His love.
Soul care is really listening to God as He repeatedly tells us to love ourselves. * Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments. He also said the greatest commandment is to love God and then to love others as you love yourselves—with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Clearly the essence of God’s character is love. Obedience is the best response to God‘s love. Let’s agree it is good for your soul to love. It is totally great to be loved.
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s far reaching love for us. God is active in His pursuit. He will never let go, never leave you nor forsake you. He will heal our broken hearts and crushed spirits.
One of the worst consequences of being abused was the deep inner soul damage. I could heal physically. I sought help but the scars remain. I failed miserably at caring for myself. I had no boundaries. I became highly sensitive and didn’t stand up for myself. To avoid conflict I became a people pleaser and strived to keep peace at any cost.
I determined there are people you can never trust. First I found real love, inner peace and joy in Jesus. I know I can trust my soul with God. God pursued me and restored my ability to trust and love. I learned through trials, suffering and grief but my love is fuller and richer.
When I opened myself to really receive God I got to know Him. We share a deep abiding relationship. God’s Word teaches me how to love.
I now know that soul care is not … selfish; it is not about being self-absorbed or self-indulgent.
Soul care is compassionate intelligence. When we care for ourselves we make better choices for healthy living and wellness. When you truly love and nurture yourself you can be your best.
2. Soul Care is cherishing who you are— You are His special treasure.
 We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and formed by God’s hands and breath (Genesis 2:7),
 We are accepted and loved. We are redeemed by His one and only Son (Matthew 26:28)
We are adopted into His family…precious daughters of the KING.
 We are secure in His love and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
 We can trust that God will work all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
 We are free from condemnation. (Romans 8:31-39)
 We are God’s Masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

3. Soul Care is about fully recognizing our value and His special calling.
Think with me of all that God has done to bring you to this very moment in your life. God, in eternity past, chose you…He loves you!
The Bible says that long ago, before the very foundation of the world, God thought you up and chose you for his very own (Eph 1:4).
Long ago, before you were even born, God formed and numbered the days of your life (Ps 139:16).
Long ago God planned the path for your very own personal journey in life (Heb 12:1).
Long ago God decided and prepared good works that you would walk in (Eph 2:10).
 You are chosen and very significant in God’s creation. (John 15)
 You are God’s workmanship—His masterpiece created for good works. (Ephesians 3:12)
 You can be confident that God will complete the good work He started in you. (Philippians 1:6)
 You are complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
He brought you forth into His world and set you on this life journey toward heaven.
Stay focused on the big picture of God’s eternal purposes.
Your calling as a woman–deeply involved in ministry
is a vital part of God’s eternal plan.

I am thankful God pursued me and drew me close to His heart. I am grateful God healed my wounded heart. God gave me a new identity. I am free to love and it is worth any risks. Only God’s love can complete us. Only God’s grace can change us.
May you experience the depth of His love
& truly love yourself as God loves you!
***
“And you shall LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD
With all your HEART,
And with all your SOUL,
And with all your MIND,
And with all your STRENGTH.’

The second is this, ‘You shall LOVE your neighbor as you LOVE yourself.”

There is no other commandment greater than these.“

Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:28 & John 13-14-15; 1 John
Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 13:2; Joshua 22:5

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Focus: Trust

     My Reckless Abandonment – Part I

“What she trusts in is fragile, what she relies on is a spider’s web.
She leans on his web, but it gives away, she clings to it, but it does not hold.”

This verse aptly describes my formative years as the continuous strands of abuse, betrayal and abandonment formed my web of destruction. A spiral of sticky naïve ignorance kept me from making good choices and blinded me of my true worth. The venom caused painful symptoms in my mind and body; but fortunately it was not so dangerous to take my life. Although my past web has been abandoned the cobweb scars linger…so I learned to trust and found healing in a loving God.

My first twelve years I did what I was told; the next twelve years I did life my way! I was rebellious against every person who broke my trust especially my abusive addictive parents. My father was a raging alcoholic and my mother’s drug of choice were “Black Beauties” (the Rx for weight loss). I hated the agony and abuse they inflicted upon themselves and their six children. Since they abandoned me, I chose to leave the chaos and foolishly continued the destructive ways enlarging my own web of destruction.
I began a pattern of relocating and seeking love in all the wrong places. I preferred older men of influence: someone who would provide a way of escape. I settled for the “bad boys” choosing drug dealers who numbed my pain; then I switched to incredibly wealthy selfish men in Palm Beach. Next I sought the educated and dated successful business men, my community college professor, my Real Estate Instructor and Amway leaders. I eventually turned away my doctor, Willie Nelson’s drummer and even Jimmy Buffet. The reality was none of them proved to be trustworthy of my love.
My choices minimized my value and filled me with shame, guilt and sorrow. I added more addictive traits to my web portfolio. I knew it was time for another escape and relocation. I became a seeker replacing my self-destructive choices for a new spiritual journey. First I experimented with new age, meditation, yoga, Hinduism and Scientology. I was open to invitations so I attended Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist churches.
God seemed so distant, so far away and mysterious. I could not comprehend a loving Father nor could I understand His ways. To begin life, unwanted and abandoned is incomprehensible. To experience repeated abuse, abandonment and rejection over and over again creates deep wounds. I did not want to live my life as a victim. At 23, I was exhausted, wounded and ready to give up. I didn’t trust anyone especially myself and definitely not God. It was difficult to be unable to trust, so isolating without someone to love and so awful not to be loved.

I finally found hope in Jesus Christ. I fell deeply in love with God and found my first really satisfying relationship. I began a new journey of intentional abandonment to a loving Sovereign Lord. I learned how to experience absolute trust even in suffering, in spite of circumstances, even in the face of death, beyond my fears for genuine unfailing love.

A prayer of abandonment and trust in God:

“Dear Father-God, Open my heart that I may receive your love. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may abandon my selfish and destructive ways. Forgive me and help me to graciously forgive. Lord, create in me a new heart, renew my mind and restore my soul. Guide me in your everlasting truth, grant me wisdom, and set me free in your grace. I believe and trust in You. I love You with all my heart, mind and soul. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

My next post will be how I learned to trust again and how to practice complete abandonment  to God and His divine providence.

A few of my favorite TRUST Scriptures:

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:4

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” Psalm 37:3

[1] Job 8:14-15 The first quote was actually a false accusation from one of Job’s friends Bildad, whose name means ‘son of contention.”