Freedom to Love Well

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

The other day Marcel, Joseph, and I took a trip to a new restaurant we wanted to try.  Our waiter was friendly, but something was off.  He made a pest of himself.  He hovered, bragged, invaded space, and generally missed the million social cues I was throwing at him.  It occurred to me that he was likely high. I recognized the signs of drugs and I got furious.  I hate being conned and I hate even worse when people think they’re getting away with it.  I felt he was feeding us a bunch of lies in order to try to increase his tip. (Which in my mind was dropping drastically by the minute.)

server at restaurantMy husband and I have been praying for awhile now that God will show us how to love like He does.  So even though we were both irritated, Marcel engaged John (name changed), our server.  My frustration continued to sky rocket because my nice family dinner was being interrupted by someone I didn’t believe would remember the conversation due to his “flight status.”

But, I was nice.

As John talked to my husband he shared that he was in an outpatient program for heroin addiction but planned to quit and get another doctor because he wasn’t ready to face the emotions it was bringing up.  I thought to myself, “bingo.”  My gut appeared to have been correct.

As we pulled out of the restaurant, something inside me was wrestling with the entire experience.  I began praying about my reaction.  I felt my old compulsion as a Christian girl to be “nice” and I followed through with that.  And it made me angry.  It didn’t feel loving.  The actual result was that he seemed to feel we bought everything he said.

God says that the truth will set us free, but I hid every honest emotion I had during that exchange.  I also recall that Jesus never let people’s masks stay in place.  With love, he would gently and without shame (and sometimes not so gently in the case of the Pharisees)  expose their hearts for what was truly inside.

I am quite certain I didn’t love John well.  Being “nice” covered the issue.  

After several days of processing this and praying about it I came up with an idea of what Jesus might have done.  The restaurant was small and he wouldn’t have shamed him in front of his co-workers.  Words may have also gotten lost in a drug fog.  So I believe he may have written the following:

John,

I sense a deep pain in you that you try to cover.  I know you said you weren’t ready to deal with the emotions that were coming up, but I want you to know that God has the answers to your pain and when you’re ready to stop running you will find your freedom there.  When you take off your mask you will find that God is not like the ones who have hurt you and you are passionately loved just as you are.  Know that you are in our prayers and that if you ever want to talk more we’d love to get together.  You can reach us at noelle@stringofpearls3.com.

Noelle and Marcel

Peace came, I didn’t have to fake anything, but I realized this cut to the chase and didn’t buy a lie.  The only sadness came from realizing a missed opportunity.  So guess where I’m going for dinner tonight and guess who I’m requesting?

What I realize is that loving well is not what I thought it was.  It is confounding, confusing, and impossible without a source to draw from.  It’s also a little terrifying.  But as I look over my life, moments where I was loved well changed the course of my life and offered me healing and freedom.  I can’t live with myself if I don’t give it away.

What are the ways love has touched your life?

How do you practice loving well?

 

 

Freedom to Steward Wealth

Noelle Schwantes

Today is the day.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with God lately in preparation for this weekend.  On some level it feels like a turning point.  A start of something new and at the same time a continuation of things that have been growing since I was a child. This morning God woke me up earlier than I wanted but what He put on my heart was worth it.  There is a strong peace and a sense that this weekend will be powerful in ways we can’t foresee ahead of time.  I feel His gentle confirmation that He will show up in powerful ways.

I’m not writing this blog to urge everyone to come, but I am urging those of you who have felt a tug on your heart to come. If He’s asking you to come it is because He has something for you and this weekend is a part of His calling on your life.  We believe you will get amazing things from Him.  If you make sacrifices to come He will bless and make it worth it.  I’m not asking you to take my word for it, but to seek Him and feel the confirmation of this.  If He wants you there, we want you there.

I feel yielded to Him in ways I have not experienced before and I want you to be a part of it.  This issue has a history of causing agony in my life and I took it for granted that it was just how things were.  Most everyone struggled the ways I did. I believe with every fiber in me that our struggle is because we have not fully believed in the promises of God.  We are provided for elaborately when we believe.

If He’s tugging on your heart, please come.  We want you to experience what He has for you. He is so amazingly good.

Some final details.  Registration is from 4:00-4:30 today at Embassy Suites in the Hamilton Mall area. We felt impressed to prepare for more than are registered so there is plenty of space for you.  If you decide to come at the last minute you are welcome and there is a space for you.  Our preparation has been directed by God and has defied logic and any sort of marketing or business plan so we’re quite curious to see what He has in store!  You can click here to register online and get details of the weekend, or you can register onsite. We can’t wait to see you and we are waiting with breathless expectancy to hear and see what God does in your life. Until then…

Freedom to Steward Wealth

Financial FreedomNoelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

Something has shifted in me over the weekend.  God and I had a “come to Jesus” talk because there was something in my blind spot.  Well, God has cleared that up and now I’m supposed to get clear with you about it.  I’m nervous.

I’m nervous because I don’t want to be accused of preaching “prosperity gospel.”  I’m not and I think the whole concept of loving Jesus so we can be rich is ridiculous. When you really fall in love with Jesus and start having an amazing walk with him, the idea of something being better or more important is just silly.  If you think I’m wrong, you’re probably still a bit stuck in religion rather than a relationship.

So here’s the deal.  The Financial Freedom Workshop has a particular focus.  I’ve been unclear about it because what God has put on my heart is` a bit controversial.  See, I’m still tiptoeing around it!  OK, here it is, really.

The Financial Freedom Workshop is for people who are interested in hearing the voice of God as it relates to their finances.  Who are ready to be launched into stewarding wealth for Kingdom purposes. Who believe somewhere in their hearts that they aren’t meant to toil and be a slave to debt, bills, or the American dream.  For people who want freedom in this area regardless of the size of their bank accounts or debts. For people who are ready to see God move in powerful ways in this and other areas of their lives.

I don’t believe in Jesus as some magic genie who will shower riches if we rub the lamp the right amount of times.  But here’s the nuance: I do believe God is looking for people who are so faithful to Him, so sold out, that they’re safe to steward large resources to be used for His glory.  Think, Parable of the Talents and Joseph for example.  I don’t know that this workshop is for everyone.

But here is what I suggest; if you read this and it strikes a chord.  If something in you stands at attention or lights up for a minute, I hope you’ll make it a matter of prayer and remove whatever obstacles would hinder you from making it. I believe God has brought us to this workshop for such a time as this and there will be healing and miracles in the ways He sets us free this weekend.  I’ll share a little bit of those details at the beginning of the workshop.

If you’re in, here are the basic details.  It is held at The Embassy Suites on Friday April 11 from 4-8pm and Saturday April 12 from 9-6pm.  Registration will be open from 4:00-4:30pm on Friday but you can click here to register online. (Which is of course a big help to us.) :)

If you aren’t going to be at the workshop but you have been following this blog and involved in the other ministries of String of Pearls, we would covet your prayers.  Thank you for your support; for the emails, comments, and questions we receive.  We are building and growing as a result of your support and God is being glorified as He sets us free.

We hope to see you this weekend!

 

Financial Freedom Workshop

Racing heart

          Sweat

                Choking fear

                        Head in a vise

                               Shame

                                     Gut clenching

                                              Blinding panic

                                                        Pride

                                                              Anger

                                                                      Envy.  

These are a few of the words used by different people to describe their feelings around money. You may be surprised to know that these were feelings described by people who had a lot of money as well as those who had very little.  We have found the feelings to be almost universal and String of Pearls has a passion to see that change.

Fear Quote

String of Pearls is committed to seeing individuals obtain and live in freedom spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.  Often though, while we have seen many come to freedom in their physical, emotional, and spiritual health, finances are an area where many still struggle.  There are thousands of books on how to manage money and many people have read them and aren’t able to follow through.  They now know what to do with their money and the shame deepens as they make another poor investment or go back into debt…again.  What is the missing link?

We at String of Pearls believe that much of the missing link is simply coming into the light.  Shining it on your shame and fear and watching them disappear.  What would you give to have peace around your money situation regardless of the circumstances and get rid of the blocks that keep you from having more of it?

Emotional Freedom

String of Pearls is pleased to announce our Financial Freedom workshop  scheduled for April 11 and 12, 2014. 

In this workshop you will learn to…

  • Identify faulty beliefs around money and erase their power over you
  • Identify blocks to hearing directly from God and remove them
  • Learn how to give without guilt
  • Obtain boundaries so you are not ever manipulated into giving when it doesn’t feel right
  • Identify your purpose and pick investments in line with God’s calling on your life
  • Set a Biblical foundation for beliefs about money (that is guaranteed to surprise you.)
  • Address and clear shame in regard to finances
  • Practice listening to God
  • Leave the workshop with peace
  • If you wish, leave the workshop with coaching in place to solidify learning and implement new tools.

Noelle Upper Body - Smile

For many years our presenter, Noelle Schwantes, would have used the same terms from the top of the page to describe her relationship with money.  The road to financial freedom is one she’s particularly passionate about because for years fears about money defined her every waking moment.  These fears and the shame about poor money habits defined all her decisions and drove her further into poor habits to cope with the negative feelings.

At one of the worst times in her life she cried out to God.  She was separated from her first husband.  She shared a cramped and dingy basement apartment and was working as a server at a restaurant because she couldn’t emotionally handle the job her degree had trained her for.  She was broke and driving an unsafe car and became hysterical when unplanned expenses came up.  She describes waking up at night with what felt like a python curling in her belly.  In a word, she was desperate.  She prayed that God would teach her financial surrender or that he would allow her to die.

2012-12-21 19.16.03

He didn’t allow her to die (Something you may have deduced since she’s the presenter for the workshop!) and she no longer has a snake in her belly!  Instead, God taught her a series of amazing lessons that have led to freedom from compulsive spending, preparation for habits that lead to wealth, peace around finances REGARDLESS of what her bank balance looks like, and a conviction on knowing that there is work to be done and God is looking for people to financially bless. She is thrilled to get this chance to share the amazing lessons God has taught her and looks forward to see freedom spreading!

Date: April 11, 4-8pm and April 12, 9-6pm

Cost: $25.00 Non-Refundable Fee to Reserve Your Space.

Location: Embassy Suites Chattanooga — Hamilton Place

Address: 2321 Lifestyle Way, Chattanooga, TN 37421

Directions: Click here

So you have decided you’d really like to do this workshop but feel some frustration because it seems like everyone who would like to teach you how to deal with money wants you to pay them thousands of dollars to do it.  This workshop is different.  There are limited spots as this is an experiential workshop so the $25.00 will cover materials and make sure we attract individuals who are serious about this area of freedom.

At the end of the workshop, there will be an exercise that will allow you to pay a workshop fee based on what you feel you got out of it in combination with what you feel God is speaking to your heart.  We are excited about this payment plan because it means that we are accountable for delivering excellence and you are able to practice skills you’ve learned in a tangible and powerful way.

If you have ever felt fear or shame around finances.  If you feel trapped because of your financial situation.  If you long for things to be different.  If you feel called to do something but face financial obstacles, this workshop is for you.  Reserving your seat now could change your life.  We look forward to seeing you there.

 

Freedom to have Discipline

Seasurf-Shonna Dalusong

At the beginning of December 2013, the Holy Spirit impressed my heart with the thought that my word for 2014 is “Discipline.”

My first reaction was a watered-down version of my old self.  Not a full blown temper tantrum on the floor, but definitely resistance.

He gently reminded me that in the fall of 2012 I had prayed and asked Him for more of the fruit of self-control.  Grumbling, but caught with my own words, I let a bit of my guard down.

I didn’t like the picture that was beginning to form in my imagination that included boot camp tyrant personal trainers yelling in my face, and the martyr in the circle watching others eat cake at a party.

When I walked into the Joyce Meyer Power Thoughts class I was attending that day, I found that the Power Thought that day “happened” to be “I am disciplined and self-controlled.”  I laughed.   Of course it was!  How like God!

As the month unfolded, God began to gently reveal His plan.  His idea of the word “discipline” was for me to focus on pausing, asking, listening and obeying step by step, day by day, throughout the year.  Considering I had also been praying that my heart would get into a place where I obeyed immediately, completely, and willingly, this too made sense.

I won’t be surprised if 2014 includes some discipline from a personal trainer and some denial of things that aren’t good for my health, but that’s not the focus.  (How like the old me to go straight to the perfectionism and the works.  Doing.)

I asked Him why we were beginning in December, a month early, and He chuckled and said, ‘This work needs an extra month.”

So enter the middle of January and I had my first A-HA moment for the year.

On a Saturday I was talking with a friend who has honed obedience to God’s voice for many years.  She talked about being obedient to get out of bed at whatever time God awoke her in the morning.  And how when she resisted and went back to sleep those days didn’t work out so well.

Shortly after that conversation I had a day where I was so exhausted that  I asked, when awakened, if I could go back to sleep and was impressed with a peaceful, “Yes.”

Then I had one of those days.  It began to rain while I was out and about.  I hadn’t taken the umbrella.  I’d had a really vague impression to check the weather report and carry it, but I hadn’t paid attention.

I stopped to run into a store for two items and locked my keys in my truck.

When I called AAA, there was a message saying that there were long delays due to the weather and the increased number of service calls. The dispatcher who finally answered told me the wait was going to be over an hour.

 

Maybe the average person wouldn’t care about an hour wait at a store.  One could browse.   But I’ve learned not to do that to myself while on a faith journey with no steady income, living on God’s provision for my needs.  The temptation to feel sorry for myself for all I can’t buy is too great when I browse.

No worries.  I’ve got a good book on the Kindle on my phone.  Then I see the battery status.  I best not even text or my phone might die before the locksmith gets here and calls me from the parking lot.

So I stand under cover and watch my truck… and think… and pray… asking God what this is all about…  And I remember the conversation from the prior Sabbath.

 

My initial temptation was to pick up the idea that God had done this to me… to teach me a lesson.  (And I wasn’t even going to be sore at Him for it!)

But then I realized the lie.

Each day has darkness in it.  My time with God in the morning prepares me to submit my plans to Him and to receive instruction.  When I start my day slow, with Him, I am tuned into the prompts to “check the weather report” and “carry the umbrella’ or to “put the spare truck key in my pocket.”  He KNOWS what is coming in my day and He prepares me for it when I take the time to tune in the radio dial to His frequency and listen before I head out into the day.

I wanted to grumble that He told me it was ok to go back to sleep.  And He reminded me about 2012’s word “freedom” where I learned how much He values choice.  He honored my choice that morning.

I am thankful I wore a hooded sweatshirt.

I am thankful that I had my cell phone and AAA card.

I am thankful that I had a dry place to stand and wait.

And I am thankful that I was listening close enough to catch the subtle heart shift between “He did it to me” and “He works all for good.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom to Wait, Part 2

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

African American Model 2

For those of you who are waiting on a life partner, I ask you this question.  You’ve probably written your list right? Good looking, healthy, good with money, working a stable job, good with computers, Spiritual…the list varies with the unique aspects of each of us.   But while we wait there aren’t many of us who haven’t day dreamed about what he will be like.

OK now I’m really going to ask the question…

On that list, are you the person you are looking for?

Let me explain.  How many of us want someone who’s good with money because money flows through our fingers like water…never to be seen again?  How many of us want someone who’s spiritual because we feel the lack in ourselves?

If you have turned your life over to God, if you’ve given him control of your life, he is likely putting you in a waiting period so you don’t ruin a good thing when it comes to you.  Do not ever doubt that if you really want a man in your life, you could have one tomorrow.  I’m not kidding.  Lower your standards and you will find men coming out of the woodwork.  If you have committed your life to God and are fully surrendered to Him, He says, “I’m not just going to give you any man, I’m going to give you far beyond what you could ask or imagine.  In the meantime, I want you to grow and be the wife that this man is praying for.”  If the answer to my question is that you are far from who you want to be, my encouragement would be to start to actively “delight yourself in the Lord.” and enjoy the ride while he gets the desires of your heart ready.

You may be thinking that you really are somebody you would like to be with already, God may be waiting on your partner to get his act together in which case some heavy duty intercessory prayer is in order.

Now one of the questions that came in was someone wondering if God means for them to be single.  Paul does talk about some of us being called to be single.  But I also know that God promises to give us the desires of our heart if we delight in him.  And if you delight in God and still desire a mate, my thoughts would be that there will be a mate for you someday.

Here is something important though, when we truly delight in God, we will get to a place where He is enough.  This happened in my own heart (and there are truly no words for how boy crazy I was my entire life) and I have seen it happen in the hearts of other single friends.  When we focus on God and seek Him the most amazing things start to happen.  Ironically, when I no longer cared, when it didn’t hurt anymore to be single because my heart was full of God, that’s when Marcel showed up and I began to experience my own “beyond all I asked or imagined.”

What do you think your future mate is praying for? Are you that woman yet?

DISCLAIMER: This in NO WAY covers all the aspects of waiting but it does cover what I know to be true this far in my journey.  Please do your own searching and feel free to send in other questions.  My baby was using me for a jungle gym during parts of the writing process so also please excuse the errors!

Freedom to Hear

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

I have mentioned in earlier blogs that I have had the sense that in January God was going to shift some things. Of course we hoped that it would be our financial situation, but regardless of what it was, I had the sense that it would be great.  Whether it was more Spiritual connection or more money!

Due to this sense, I was bound and determined to get some answers once January came so Marcel and I decided to spend New Years Day talking with God and seeking Him for direction.  For Marcel, it looked like writing a list of 10-12 of the opportunities he’s facing right now and asking God which ones to pursue.

BONUS: If you try to do several things rather than narrowing your focus to the things you really want, you will not excel at any of the things and will burn yourself out.

My sweet husband knows this well as a life coach (Leadership From the Core) and was asking God for direction on how to focus.  He got two answers and was rather surprised.

Now I should also say that this, “hearing from God” business is relatively new to my husband.  He is logical and intelligent and has always figured that God works through that.  Often He does, but let me tell you, just as often God will give direction that makes no logical sense but after we obey we see the amazing things that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t.

Soooo, my husband started working on what he heard and asked God to confirm it.  Without going into all the hairy details, I will just say that God confirmed it in a big way last week.  It also confirmed my sense that something was going to shift in January.  I’m sure I’ll write more as things play out, but here is what I want to leave you with.

When you surrender and obey a few things happen,

1)You get tested to see if you mean it,

2) You find this amazing illogical peace in the surrender, (no matter how you fought it before)

3) God opens doors and shows Himself in amazing, miraculous ways.

4) You find your soul, the very cells of your being, satisfied in ways you never thought possible.

Tell us about a time you surrendered and obeyed?  What happened?

 

Freedom: The Plot Thickens

20 Dollar Bill

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

It started a couple weeks ago on Friday night while listening to a sermon by Bill Johnson titled, “The Theology of Blessing.” The sermon was great and I highly recommend it, but one phrase in particular nailed me to the wall.  Pastor Johnson asks the question, “How much (money) is too much?  I don’t know, it’s whatever amount causes you to withdraw your trust from God and place it in money.”

WHAM.

Those of you who follow the blog know that I have been sharing about our journey lately specifically as it relates to a promise of stewarding wealth and how ridiculous that seems lately due to our current financial circumstances.  Back when we heard about the lay-off I began to pray that this would be the time that God brought us into our callings more fully. I felt I was ready.

Well, Bill changed all that in one sentence. In an instance I knew that when I have a lot of money in the bank my trust is in the money.  I naturally feel more peaceful and confident with a fat bank account.  Maybe some of you are saying “that’s normal”…I would gently respond that it is not the walk of faith.  We are called to walk by God’s promises and not what we see in the natural realm.  This blog is about freedom and to be true freedom, it  has to work under all circumstances.  It has to be something that can’t be taken away from us.   It is my belief that to be ready to steward wealth and know in my soul that it’s God’s means I have to be able to trust Him and rest fully in the lean times.

So all of a sudden I’m at an impasse, something I have no idea how to fix.  I blurted out upon hearing that sermon, “Well God, take it all then if that’s what it takes to learn this lesson.” Crazy maybe, but I ACHE to be in the calling God placed on my heart all those years ago and this is part of the puzzle.  Every time I sought God about this I felt a strong impression that He was not going to reveal any new direction until January.  Strange, but this impression has come consistently with my prayers. And so the ache continued without clear answers, just a knowing that I was to stand firm.

Now let me back up a bit…since this journey began there have always been options.  Savings, stocks, increase work hours, etc.  But I’ve been able to stay relatively calm because there were options.  I may not like them but they were there.  I have always been able to figure something out.

Coming back to current events, Marcel found out that the unemployment we made a part of our current budget was over the last week in December. We thought we had 6 months. This knowledge came just days after my prayer to take everything if it is what I needed to learn this lesson.

It appears God is answering my prayer.  In the next blogs I’ll share more about what has happened thus far in January.

How much money does it take to replace your trust in God?

What  happens when you find you’re out of options?

Freedom from Humiliation

photo-2Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP

I’ve found it difficult to write my promised series lately because I keep running into topics I’m hesitant to share about.  Case in point, this journey we’re on has led to a sojourn in the house of my parents.  We are renting our house out to lovely ladies we care about because we can’t afford it right now.  We share a cozy loft room and I realize after my time with God today that Satan has gotten a little foothold in my heart by whispering horrible things in my ears.  You see I have turned down a lucrative job lately and continued to keep the hours in my private practice limited.  When talking about it I have told Marcel, “That’s why God gave me the boobies.”  I am very clear that my first priority is to Joseph.  But we have made some significant sacrifices to lean into that. Marcel is working full time to build up his coaching and consulting practice rather than go to corporate jobs he is less than thrilled about.  God is clearly moving but it all takes time.

I read someone venting on Facebook the other day about how a mom was using food stamps and had a Coach purse.  We have considered applying for food stamps and I have a few Coach purses and drive a Lexus! These used to be things I could afford and still live well under our means.  There have been many temptations to give into shame…The funny thing about this time period is how fully it has shifted any care I have about material things.  I’m grateful for my fancy purses because of the quality that doesn’t wear out.  And for our fancy car that is one of the most dependable on the market.  But the car is for sale and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest to lose my purses, clothes, etc. (OK, the clothes would hurt!)

So while I battle voices of condemnation, I get quiet and shed a few tears this morning as I talk to God about it and He says this…

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced.” Isaiah 54:4

and this…

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new.” Isaiah 43:19

We know the callings that God has put on our lives, we know that He loves faith, and we know He has promised to care for us.  We are not always certain that we are taking the right steps; we are toddlers on this faith journey.  There are times when we falter and agree that our choices lately are crazy.  But peace is in our hearts and we trust God’s grace to work for our good even if we are misguided!  It is amazing to walk with a God who promises to bring good out of everything!  So we walk one step at a time, grateful to family and friends who support us and look forward to the new things that God has in store.

What new things is God doing in your lives?

How does it feel to have God say you won’t be put to shame?

What are the ways God is asking you to let go of the past?

Spiritual Freedom: Belief

Spiritual Freedom

Alan Heartfield – Dreamtime Stock Photos

-Shonna Dalusong

1 Sam 16:7b NIV  “The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I have had two completely defining moments in my life where my heart made pivotal choices known only to myself.

The first choice happened when I was 23 years old.  I clearly heard God ask me to walk away from a situation.  And I said IN MY HEART:

“I DON’T TRUST YOU GOD… to give me something different as good as or better than this.”

From that day forward no one would have seen a change in my outward behavior.  I was still a “good little Christian girl” going to church, serving at church, reading my Bible, paying my tithe.  BUT I could easily have been classified as an unbeliever because I chose in my heart not to trust God.  And I chose to try to make my idea of a “happy little life” happen on my own.  I believe the Word calls this “being wise in my own eyes.”  (Proverbs 3:7, 26:12 and Isaiah 5:21)

The next defining, pivotal choice happened around 20 years later.  My “happy little life” wasn’t.  My world was slowly but surely unraveling.

I was taking a Beth Moore Bible study with friends at the time called Believing God.  One night as we discussed the lesson, I chose belief.  I spoke aloud something along this line, “I choose to trust God.  No matter what.  Even if it doesn’t make sense to me.  Even if God’s sovereignty is uncomfortable to me.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Life isn’t working.  It’s the only option I have left.”  This was such a defining moment in my heart that I can still clearly see the room, feel the rocking chair beneath me and see the looks on the faces of my friends in the circle.

From that point on, the natural consequences of my own choosing still continued… the life of my making continued to unravel… to the point of bankruptcy and my marriage falling apart.  But my interior world was COMPLETELY different.

The only way I can describe the feeling is this:

Stand up and go to a door.  Shut it to the point where it looks shut but the latch isn’t quite clicked into the door frame.

Think about that.  It looks shut.  It can feel shut.  But it isn’t shut.

What happens if a strong wind blows? (Because it will blow.)

What happens if a person or an animal pushes against the door?

Now push the door and FEEL the click.  That click of the latch is belief.  And each successive step of surrender in the Holy Spirit adds a type of lock to the door.

We’ve been talking at String of Pearls mid-week meetings about taking our thoughts captive and being wise about what we speak with our tongues.

What I’ve found is that when I’m having trouble with this… when I’m stuck in a place of bondage and lies with my thoughts and my words, it’s almost always stems from a place of unbelief in my heart that needs to be exposed, renounced and brought into agreement with Truth.

And for me… almost all unbelief has stemmed from an inaccurate picture of WHO God is, often colored by filters of my parents (or authority figures’) faces between His face and mine.

Also from Beth Moore’s Believing God curriculum, here’s some Truth to hold onto this week:

  • God is who He says He is
  • God can do what He says He can do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ
  • God’s Word is alive and active in me

Questions to ponder this week:

  1. Where I am afraid to trust God?
  2. What stands in the way of choosing trust?
  3. Has belief latched the door of my heart shut?
  4. What am I afraid of?
  5. Am I willing to examine the filters between my face and God’s face?

Wishing for you this week the heart FREEDOM of choosing BELIEF and deep abiding TRUST in the One True God.