Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “hurt”

Flashback Friday

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Flashback Friday…the day folks who forgot to post on Throwback Thursday get a second chance to go back in time. I went back in time to a not so great time. You know it’s a trip when you say “those were the good old days,” and those days were not too long ago. I mean, seriously, I can almost look over my shoulder to those days.

I got hurt in church. That’s a fact…yep, it happened. The truth of the matter is that most ALL of the hurt I’ve sustained as a Christian has been at the hands of Christians. That is what has been on my mind on this fine “Flashback Friday!!”

If I were NOT a Christ-follower, I suspect the hurt would roll off of my back eventually.  I’d be irritated, bitter, hard hearted and unforgiving.  I would write off my oppressors and look forward to the day that they “got theirs,” preferably at the hands of another, but hopefully loud enough for me to hear about it.

If I were a Christ-follower I suspect the hurt may or may not roll off of my back, I’d withdraw, say I have forgiven, but be confused about what forgiveness looked like, and I’d probably be bitter, (if I was being totally honest), skeptical and unwilling to engage ever..period!

I was that hurt, bitter, skeptical unwilling to engage ever..period Christ-follower.  It’s crazy to even type that admission after I type “Christ-follower.”  Following the leader usually makes one look and act like the leader, huh? Not always, at least not in my case and I would venture to say I’m not alone.  When I left church on that last day, I knew it was my last day and I left unannounced, uncelebrated, unnoticed…just like I had arrived.  But I left with a secret, since I had a year to sit in my hurt right there at the scene of the crime.

I was pretty giddy as I got into my car that day.  Freedom feels good!!!  My secret?  Some church was about to be blessed big time.  Some church was about to be the recipient of a family who loved God, loved people and was willing to do whatever it takes to follow the leader…Jesus!!

I purposed in my heart to stay at that church and not take all of that hurt with me.

I had a residue when I left and I had to reprogram my heart and that’s where being stubborn and steadfast worked in my favor.  There was no way I was going to allow people to change or alter my course or rearrange my purpose.  Now, I so recognize the walking wounded and it hurts me in a different way.  I’m saddened because there are so many not plugged in…just roaming, some hoping to re-engage some day, some too embittered to want to try again, some giving up altogether.  This topic keeps showing up within me because I keep running into my brothers and sisters who don a fresh limp…a limp that makes me flash back.

Here’s a great quote I ran across in a study I’m doing in a “Think about it” section….

People we love have a unique capacity to hurt us. We are vulnerable to them in a way we are not vulnerable to others. Sometimes, this vulnerability is so painful that we pull away from connection and close off to others, hoping they won’t be able to hurt us again. But when we do so, we also close ourselves off to experiencing joy, happiness, gladness, and delight with them and even because of them.

What courage it takes to expose our hearts again after we have sustained great hurt. I would venture to boldly say that the people who hurt us were sent to heal us if that hurt drives us to the only One who can heal us.

The truth is that the enemy works the hardest within the walls of the church. There is no way he wants the church to be healthy, whole and free.  That would be too great a threat for him and his kingdom.

Be healed church…move forward.  There is a Body…there is someBody and you are the gift which that Body needs.

 

Once Upon a Time…

One of my favorite things about Jesus is that He remained consistent.  The other favorite thing is that He was not a respecter of persons.  Try as I may to convince others that I am His favorite, the fact remains quite clear that He wasn’t given to partiality…He loved everyone the same; wasn’t fazed by titles and never allowed riches to cloud His judgment.   He was busy doing the Father’s bidding…head down, ears open, forging ahead, all the while knowing what was to come and still He poured out to those who would ultimately deny Him and even turn on Him.

This post has been roaming around in my head for some time now and today I remembered the scripture found in John 16:32 (Amplified) “But take notice, the hour is coming, and it has arrived, when you will all be dispersed and scattered, every man to his own home, leaving Me alone.  Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”

stock-illustration-20651922-falling-from-the-pedestal

Notice her crown came right off too. Ha! I found that sucker:)
I AM Arlene the Queen!!!

Once upon a time there was a girl after God’s own heart.  A girl who had witnessed the power of God…who had been blessed mightily, healed miraculously…who in exchange for all that He had done for her, promised to know Him deeper, serve Him gladly and share Him unselfishly and so she set out to do just that…head down, heart open, forging ahead.  It took no time for this girl to be noticed and it seemed that just the “right” people were noticing and soon the wooing began.  She heard of praises from the “it” people targeting her and soon the invitations to draw near began as she kept her head down, heart open and forged ahead.  She became pretty well known in that circle and her reputation was in tact as she kept her head down, heart open and forged ahead.  There were many who reached out for her insight, her prayers; many were the invites and overwhelming were the praises and amazingly she was able to keep her head down and forge ahead.  Unfortunately her heart was a bit too open.

And then one day…poof, the grace had lifted, the favor seemed to be gone and with it all of the invitations and acknowledgements silenced, along with the praises…silenced.  “Friends” and acquaintances scattered; weapons formed against her, stories told…she was even unfriended and blocked by a few.  Her response?  She lifted her head up, she guarded her heart and forged ahead, explained nothing to the “theys” and moved on.

I hear Jesus’ words so clearly….they left me alone, yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

I will forever be grateful for lessons learned.  I believe that every single occurrence in our lives should leave us well aware, better equipped, stronger and wiser.  I thank God for every bruise, every scar, every war wound sustained in my journey.  I thank God for strength in His word and a deep knowing that nothing can separate me from His love.  Yes, I had fallen from grace, but I landed in a soft place, a better place.

How about you? Have you taken a tumble off of your pedestal…have you fallen from grace?  Have you been betrayed, come against or hurt in any way?  Let me remind you that there are better days ahead, the worst is over, the past is just that….passed!  Don’t you get left behind too!

I’m praying that you not remain in a “pause” position; that you not allow anyone to stop your forward motion; that you run to and not away from the One who knows you the best and loves you the most; that you are able to forgive and release those who have hurt you and place the memory of the hurt where it belongs…in your past and not allow it to keep you enslaved.  I’m praying that you would be strengthened in your inner man and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be wiser, stronger, more anointed; that you live life filled with joy and loud!  Loud for Him!  Head up, heart open, ears in tune to one voice…now, forge ahead!!

There is one other thing I’d like to point out, even though I can’t seem to find it anywhere in the word….

I AM HIS FAVORITE! I AM HIS FAVORITE! I AM HIS FAVORITE!!!

A Wrong Turn Down Memory Lane

Taking a walk down memory lane is the best and the worst thing we can do. My husband and I were doing just that yesterday, the conversation starting off pretty funny and pleasant and with one wrong turn, I stumbled down a lane riddled with thorns, speed bumps, pot holes and quick sand. I completely ignored the Holy Spirit who was holding up a sign that said “Road Closed.” Ugggh!!! It was amazing how with one question, I found myself taken back down a road I should have never been on; one which I just knew I would never visit again. I would tip toe past it from time to time; I’d even do a “fly over,” being very careful not to set foot down that path again, but here I was reliving it all over again, allowing the thorns to once again pierce me; being slowed down by the speed bumps as I tried in vain to quickly get off that lane, tripping on the many pot holes which littered a once beautiful lane….stopping short of the quicksand which I knew if I would tread on it would take me down…no way I’d let it take me down again!

So I side stepped the quicksand and found myself at the end of that once lovely lane feeling like Lot’s wife who was to be spared but just couldn’t resist looking back one last time.  Looking back is just not natural when what you are looking at is just not pleasant. What’s wrong is that a glance over your shoulder to a time of adversity should only serve to strengthen your resolve not to pay adversity another visit…not if you can help it, anyway!  Sometimes we allow adversities to paralyze our forward motion.  The problem is that a glance becomes a stare, becomes a lingering gaze and before you know it you’re hot once again. I was bummed that I had stirred up emotions that were supposed to be “dead” and as I turned back to continue doing what I had been doing before my husband and I began “reminiscing,” I thought to myself, what would make it better?  What could be done to finally bring closure?  Would opening my heart to a “public viewing” help?  Would a confrontation be the ticket?  In the end the only one hurt is the one needing pay back so the answer is no….a big fat resounding NO!

Vindication ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…so you get heard and understood and then what? Though the speed bumps are flattened, the thorns trimmed and the pot holes filled, it’s still up you to make the choice not to allow yourself to be swallowed up by that quicksand..the quicksand of anger, hurt, bitterness…sucks you in to take you out!

In the end, I took a dose of my own medicine and began to think about all the good that resulted from that time; how God uses every part of our lives…every season we encounter to grow us and show us things about others, but mostly about ourselves.  What I learned about me is that I am one tough cookie! I do have self control…shocking for someone who at one time in her life would go from zero to 60 in a blink. I learned what I’ve always known to be the case…Because I love hard, when hurt comes I take it hard; I learned that I love truth, so when lies and accusations are hurled I react; I learned that love is a verb…ALWAYS and at all times; I learned that “I’m sorry” is way overused and trust is earned; I learned that I am quite discerning, so I’m rarely surprised, but sometimes shocked!! I learned never to allow myself to be placed on a pedestal again and if I slip up, I’ll make sure it’s close to the ground:)

I hit the light and in the dark, I decided that renewing my mind with the word of God was still the best approach so as I envisioned myself walking around the patch of quicksand at the end of that once lovely lane, the scripture which came to mind was “It is Finished” – for now anyway!

Peel that Onion Please

This morning I had some great girl time with my baby girl.  She was telling me all about her yesterday.  She met up with her “BFF” at church where they served together on the last day of VBS.  Afterwards, she went to her house where they swam, ate dinner, went shopping and ended the day at a yogurt shop.  She was showing me pictures and showing off her latest “BFF” gear.  How many BFF’s does a girl have, I wondered.  I asked her what her other “BFF” would think when she saw her pictures on Instagram.  “She’ll know how I feel when I see her pictures with ‘Roni.'”  My mommy ears perked up and I asked her if it hurt her to see those pictures.  She said no and was adamant about it not hurting.  Were you at least tweaked?  Pinched?  Bothered at all by it?  Nope, she said as her eyes welled up with tears.  Oy!!  I’m needing some quick wisdom here.  Do I impose MY belief on her that I do not believe in best friends?  Do I break it to her that your best friend usually has a best friend besides you and chances are great that your best friend has shared a tidbit or two about you?…that’s what best friends do!  I was on a quest for an answer before I broke it down to her.  I switched roles with her and asked her to teach me.  Show me how one can have so many “best friends” without there being a conflict.  She named her besties and it would appear that they are separated by category.  There’s the school BFF; the neighborhood BFF and the church BFF.  What happens, I ask, when you have a party and they all come?  Who’s your BFF then, huh?  She looks at me all puzzled, like I’m the one who is confused.  I’m thinking I may be overthinking this BFF thing, so I’m thinking I should stay in my lane and instead address those tears I saw in my girl’s eyes.

Well, that exchange prompted a discussion regarding emotions and the reality that we have ’em, but they shouldn’t have us.  They shouldn’t change us, paralyze us, debilitate us.  I encouraged her to acknowledge her emotions so that she could avoid the tendency to cover, conceal, deny them, which would invariably give them power over her.  I told her not to be ashamed to be vulnerable with someone she could trust; someone who won’t judge her (LIKE ME—CHOOSE ME); someone who could be her soft place; someone who will encourage her; listen to her; pray for her; hold her and tell her it’s gonna be better.  With that she snuggled next to me and put her head on my lap.  I brushed her hair back and did just that.  Instead of breaking it down to her (my BFF theory) I told her about my onion theory.  I explained that an onion consisted of many layers and  peeling those layers back makes you cry…it’s uncomfortable, messy and rather annoying, but it’s necessary.  I told her how people have a tendency to cover their hurt…to never address their issues.  Instead they add layer after layer thinking that if they cover the hurt and not address it, it will go away.  It never goes away, though.  We just create onions and the peeling away of those layers make you cry, is uncomfortable, messy, rather annoying, but necessary.  “I don’t want you creating onions, Mariah.  Address your emotions, acknowledge them and heal.  Don’t bury them…disable them!”

We were interrupted by my husband who reminded her that her BFF would be by to scoop her up for day two of BFF time.  She sat up and gave me a kiss.  I walked into her room a short time later and as she was tying her shoes, she looked up at me and said, “thanks for loving me, mom.”

Should I have shared my BFF theory?   No, she’ll either see it my way or prove me wrong.  I’m hoping and praying for the latter!

Hurt hurts

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19

Hurt hurts!  I learned that the hard way.  One of the toughest seasons for me began when I noticed this scripture several years back.  What I thought was a great revelation for me to be able to share in a teaching atmosphere turned out to be preparation for what I would endure.  Actually, I believe it was the Lord prompting me to prepare for what was to come and instead I was preparing a message.  In the end I was the one who learned the lesson when all of hell raged against me to prove that I was no match for my adversary…that I had no authority.

My heart was broken after two very special people passed away back to back and I had barely recovered when an all out assault against me began by people who were considered my “friends”…my “sisters,” people I had opened my home to and with whom I shared myself, my family.  You know, the enemy strikes most times when we are at our weakest point.   I was hurt, then shocked, then offended, then irritated, then angry, then bitter, then hardened, then unforgiving, then withdrawn, then silent.  I saw each step of this hideous chain reaction unfold in my life, unraveling my purpose, threatening to choke the life out of me…I had the notes for this process; was prepared to teach on how to guard against living this process and here I was smack dab in it.  It took a year to climb out of that hole.  The irritating part was that I had a heads up and ignored it.

I sought Godly counsel, I confronted the offenders (once I was able to do so in love, of course) and I forgave them.  I may have lost the battle, but I refused to waste another minute and lose the war.  I stepped into my authority as a believer and used the word as my weapon…to live again, to love again!!   One day my sister asked me if I had gotten over that time and whether I had really forgiven those involved and I told her I thought I had.  I measured that response by the fact that I could be in their presence and not want to spit, so of course I had forgiven, but now that she brought it up I was wondering again.  I guess not wanting to spit was not good enough so I asked the Lord to show me whether I had really forgiven and the answer came .  He’ll answer if you ask, you know.  I learned that a good way to measure when hurt has healed is when you can talk about it and it no longer hurts or elicits any other unhealthy emotion; when your experience can become a lesson by which someone else can heal.

I learned that while we are healing if we continue to discuss the issue and rehearse the hurt, it takes longer to heal, to forgive, etc.  When I no longer talked about it to garner sympathy and I finally stuck a fork in it, I found myself taking back the authority I had given the enemy.  I knew not to run from the situation or those involved so I stayed put until the Lord released me, once the lesson was learned to move forward and away to begin again.

Hurt hurts…but He heals!

Praying for those who have experienced hurt..that you would allow the healer of the broken hearted to do a work in every area that has been breached by the enemy; that you would stand in the midst of the hurt and release the Word of God over your situation; that you would seek Godly counsel who would encourage you, agree in prayer with you; that you would forgive those who have come against you so that you too would be released and propelled into your destiny in Jesus’ name..Amen and so be it now!

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