Puppets

So here’s the situation, life is going well, you’re feeling good, strong and confident and then BAM! Suddenly a jerk reaction you had no idea was coming has taken control of your emotions and you get dragged totally out of synch. You’re left thinking “where did that come from? Why did I do that?”

I have a nasty habit of doing this, and I was thinking to myself and praying about WHY I do this and the answer I was given was Puppets. Weird yes, but let me explain….

Imagine a person walking around, living their normal lives making their own choices and doing their own thing. Imagine that there is a string tied to their arm, maybe their foot, or head, or hand; the person can’t see this string, they have absolutely no idea it is there.

Imagine that it got there some time ago in the past, that day when they were hurt really badly, when they refused to forgive someone, when that sin crept into their heart, when they started believing something untrue about themselves. Imagine it latched on and quietly took root in their life.

Imagine that the person cannot see it, cannot feel it and cannot know that it’s there until YANK. The string gets pulled, they react like a crazy person, out of character, full rage or fear or anxiety. The string gets pulled and they become a puppet to the one who’s holding the strings.

Not God – the other.

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How many walking puppets are lying in wait ready for the enemy to use any time he wants to?

Lets cut off these strings! These ties to the past have to go!

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,  14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT

Jesus I pray that you will cut all ties between us and the past and that YOU have control of those places in us. Cut off the work of the devil in my life and in anyone reading this, set us free to choose to live for You.

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The Forgotten, Rotten Potato

Yesterday I was so blessed by someone who took the time to share with me some of her testimony, and I saw the power that a transformed life can really, fully and concretely have to change someone else’s life. I thought that I had all my life in order and that I had fully let go of my past, yet this testimony seemed to reach right inside of me and jiggle something buried so deep that only God could know about it. God spoke to me yesterday and showed me the forgotten, rotten potato deep inside me.

A Potato? You ask… Let me explain.

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When I was turning seventeen my friends kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday, and not one for presents in the end I blurted out “A Potato!”. Sure enough on my birthday there arrived a potato, decorated and dressed like a person. I thought it was great, so I took it home and placed it pride of place on my desk. Skip forward to August (my birthday was in September so there’s a fair bit of skipping to be done here). I had gone away for 2 weeks and when I came back my Mum was victoriously regaling the tale of how she had found the source of the smell in my room. My potato had lodged itself somewhere in my room, hidden from sight, months had gone by with no repercussions, but at some point it had started to sprouting, growing and stinking.

Do you know what the worst part is? I didn’t even notice the smell. It’d snuck up so gradually I didn’t notice the change. The rest of my room looked spotless, it was clean and tidy yet there was something hidden from view poisoning the whole area. And I couldn’t see, I had no way of knowing, that it was there.

This brings me back to yesterday, this testimony put a spotlight on the potato hidden in my soul. My forgotten, rotten, festering potato. And just like my Mum was the one to see, find and get rid of the potato of the past, I’m giving this potato straight to my Father in heaven. I honestly don’t know what to do with this, but through reminding me of this situation I can see that my God does! Amazing!

As you read this today I pray that you will be bold to share your testimonies with other people, because they have real power! I also pray that God will dig up any “hidden potatoes” in your soul today or in the coming days. Let’s live in freedom – He died so we could have it!

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Spring Cleaning!

I work as an office monkey in a Care Home for people with Dementia, and yesterday I was merrily typing away when I heard sobbing coming from the reception lounge. One of our beautiful residents had tears dripping down her face, completely distraught; and this lady, who can barely put a legible sentence together spoke clear as a bell and said that she was “no good to anyone”, that “she was useless and couldn’t do anything for herself” that “everyone thought she was a pointless old woman”. It broke my heart, and as I sat there holding her tissues and praying in my mind I tried to tell her we loved her. That we loved her for just who she is, that even though she could do so much less that before we loved her, and nothing she could or couldn’t do would change that.

It was so clear to me and the people around her that she was loveable, yet to this lady she just couldn’t believe it. Her mind was soaked in so many lies about herself that the truth had started to sound like lies to her.

Cue a Lightbulb Moment for me. That whole morning I had been drenched in thoughts that people were annoyed at me, that they wished I wasn’t there, that I should never have reached out to this or that person; I would just disturb them. Where did I get those beliefs from? People had never said this to me!

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So this morning I sorted through the cupboards in my mind. I looked all through the forgotten drawers, dusty corners and dark recesses. I found things I thought I’d thrown out years ago.

“You’re always a burden to people – you need to stop telling people your problems”

“You’re too shy – No matter how hard you try you’ll never really make people feel at ease.”

“You’ve got nothing interesting to say – Keep your mouth shut so people don’t realise how broken you are”

“You’re selfish, standoffish and rude”

“People are fed up with you – stop taking up their time”

No-one has ever said this to me. Just the nagging thoughts that pop into my head. These are lies, pure and simple; it’s time to clear them out.

Suddenly it dawned on me…. Oooooh so this is why I’ve been so oversensitive lately! This is why I’ve been struggling at Church! This is why I’m doubting reaching out to people my age about Jesus.

This is the devils plan to keep me silent. He’s a liar a great deceiver and he’s been laying traps for me.

Praise God who sets me free with Truth! I am innocent – because Jesus took my sins I will NEVER be found guilty. I am made in God’s image – introverted is how I’m made to be, and that’s ok! Jesus loves me independent of what I do, how I fail and who I speak to – He loves me when I have nothing to give. I am not unwanted – I am bought with a price into a family! I’m not just humoured I am adored!

Goodbye lies and dust and dirt – this mind has had a spring clean! Jesus is all I need.

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No Shame in Brokenness

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Yesterday was the first day in about a year that I felt like my depression had come back. Everyone has something they struggle with and this is the main temptation I face.

There is a part of me that feels ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian and can spend a whole day crying, fighting thoughts of self harm and thoroughly doubting that I have a good future. But I have no reason to be ashamed. Jesus has taken my shame away; in my weakness He is strong.

So I am praying that Jesus catches your attention through what I’ve admitted. Your deepest darkest parts, your lying, stealing, jealousy, pornography, unforgiveness, bitterness, reckless and any other temptation you fight is His strength.

Keep rejecting your temptation, keep trusting in the grace of Jesus to pull you through. Keep on telling Him how you feel. Yet at the end of the day come back to praising Him. He is our strength.

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13 Niv

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How Depression stole my Faith

This is my testimony about how my faith was affected by the illness depression. Another blogger (who also focuses on hope!) asked me if I had any posts about how my depression changed after I met Jesus and so here it is!

The first thing I have to say is that becoming a Christian did not heal my depression, I was a Christian before it happened. In fact, my illness causes me to completely lose my faith.

I suffered from reactional depression caused by watching my dad and sister battle with suicide, my stress levels rocketed and my brain chemicals got out of balance. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I stopped feeling any emotion apart from despair and simple things became impossible to me. Getting out of bed felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done.

Why did I lose my faith? Because I had conditions attached to being a Christian. Life had to make sense, life couldn’t be difficult and Jesus had to answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to.

I walked away because my faith was shallow and I started to play games with God. I put myself in situations I knew would hurt me, surrounded myself with a relationship that I knew was abusive and thought “if I stay here God will have to break in and rescue me”. He didn’t and all that happened was I got hurt really badly.

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When Jesus didn’t rescue me I decided He didn’t exist. I turned my back on him and things got worse, oh so much worse. I toyed with suicide and lived a secret but very reckless life.

I lost my faith and religious set of rules to this illness. I got secular help in counselling and medication. I never once mentioned to my counsellor that I used to have a faith.

I was empty; even when the drugs worked and I could function again I was so, very empty.

I am so glad my story doesn’t end there! Jesus found me, not religion or faith or a massive conversion experience but a relationship with Him saved me.

I became so down trodden I was ready to either end my life or try one last thing. I had a feeling deep down that if I read the bible all the way through maybe things would change. So I started, manically, hectically and angryly to read and underline any verse that spoke of suffering and God turning His back on people. I didn’t like the promises and praises but I read the verses none them less.

Slowly, but by bit, chain by chain, lie by lie, my mind got clearer. I had started reading in a place where I wanted to throw my life away; I chose to give it all to Jesus rather than just kill myself. The more I read about Jesus the more I could see He understood the things I was struggling with.

He suffered more than I did and I couldn’t argue with that. He didn’t need to suffer but He chose to so He could trade places with me; so that He could pay the price for my mistakes. It felt like He hadn’t turned His back on me, but that He knew I would go through these things so thousands of years before they actually happened He suffered and died so He could help when I needed Him.

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I wanted nothing to do with clichés and religion and the prosperity gospel but I wanted Jesus. I read books and books by missionaries who really knew Jesus and knew that to really know Jesus you had to understand suffering.

Everyday since then it has been a two-step forward one step back type of journey of knowing Jesus. The man who died and came back to life. The man who knows me in and out. The man who rescued me.

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Day Release from the “Funny Farm”

This is part 2 of my series on how good things can come from AWFUL experiences.

I may have used a bit of poetic license on the title… perhaps it should have read “a day visit out of the mental hospital with two minders” but that didn’t sound as catchy to me. So yes, today is the first time my Dad has come home for a whole year, he’s been in a high security mental hospital two hours away, so our contact hasn’t really been frequent and I am feeling lots of things about it.

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In fact I am shaking, all the memories of the panic and paranoia whilst he was at home is getting to me. I don’t have any idea how he will react, or how we will react either and I really don’t want to think about it.

I’m hoping to update you with the truth of how God has used this situation once I have got my head around it – but I also want to show you my honesty for right now. I am feeling awful, full of fear and despair and memories I wish, well, memories I wish I couldn’t remember.

However I am setting my hope on something higher and I want to remember some amazing truths which came from a comment on my previous post….

“I deal with a similar situation. I too had a childhood that kept me on high alert, depressed, and emotionally alone. When I was in high school I would always sense when something was about to happen…. As the years went on, if someone was sick and I would pray for them I would have a “sense” of their healing or their death. And like you I’ve been pretty on the mark. This has caused me to one be sensitive to seeing signs and warnings that opened my eyes to seeing God in ways that many don’t. But this has also caused me to panic in fear that someone else is going to pass.… I know this is long and seems depressing, but the truth is through these experiences that always led to heartache and loss, I became dependent completely on the Lord. I am able to see His Voice in ways that  I would never trade. But I’ve also come to realize that every moment of my life, (and yours) had been preplanned. God knew exactly where and what I’d be going through and He purposed GOOD for ALL of it. Just like Joseph going through years and years of what appeared to be undeserving punishment, it was actually Gods plan all along, that He told him in advance. Genesis 50:20 has given my past a purpose, and I pray that you know that although your life here as a child was hard… and “the enemy planned it for harm, God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

You have PURPOSE! Jesus chose you and KNEW you would glorify Him and by doing so you will Shine HIS LIGHT among other women who are where you once were. … You have the Creator of the Universe living inside of you. Remember that when the days get hard. You are CHOSEN!”

This blogger has not had an easy time and some of the details she shared in her comment are really distressing – yet through it all she can still say this. Check out her writing here, you won’t regret it!

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Staying Happy when Life’s not Right

When I was a teenager my Dad had a breakdown and suddenly my reasonably normal life turned into a terrifying place full of suicide attempts and hospital visits. I have always been a worrier and I decided that the best way to protect myself would be to imagine the worst case scenarios and expect that to happen – that way I couldn’t be taken by surprise. It seemed to make sense – and most of the time I was right. If I saw a police car driving in the direction of my house I would assume it was because my Dad went missing – and usually it was because he had. If I woke up in the night I assumed that my Dad had slammed the door and left, or that he was trying to drink himself to sleep – I was nearly always right about this one (I sleep deeeeeply).

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Did my method protect myself? I thought that it would as so often I was right about my fears, but the actual result was that I became depressed myself. I suffered from reactional depression, which is a depression brought on by the situation I lived in. I was in a constant state of panic and my body over produced adrenaline, this meant that all my systems went out of whack – most importantly my limbic system or my brain. It’s complicated but the chemicals which help you to think, and help the nerve endings in your brain to work, leak out of your brain when there are high levels of adrenaline in your body, meaning you become depressed and simple tasks become a struggle. At university I studied Biomedical Science and when I learnt more about reactional depression I saw the massive danger in expecting the worst and keeping adrenaline levels high.

So this brings me to the next series of posts I am hoping to write. I am, again, in a situation where the health of someone I love keeps getting worse and the temptation to “protect myself” by expecting the worst is kicking in….. So in an effort to see the hope I have (in Jesus!) and not to get negative I am going to post stories from my life about how good things, sometimes even amazing things, have come from the worst times. I would absolutely love to share some other stories too so if you have any inspirational, hope filled experiences I can include please, please leave a comment below 🙂

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