Thursday, October 18, 2007

Father of Lies

What in the world, I have been so slack with blogging this week! I hate not "talking" to you girls! I have just been so tired since I got back from last has taken me a few days to get up and running again. Retreats are great, but when leading them, most off the time you feel like you need a retreat after it's over! Here is a picture of Laura, Katie and I, my two best girls that I sang and taught Bible study with. LOVE THEM.

And I started me new job yesterday!!!!! Ok, I know that most of you reading have children, as I hope to one day, but I must say, my nannying child is THE CUTEST little boy I have EVER seen in my life. And that includes one of my best friends who has 3 children that I couldn't love more if they were my own. But this little one definitely takes the cake on that one. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I could just cry thinking about him because I miss him already!! I'll try to put up some pictures soon...once I get my act together and buy some batteries for my camera...

I'm leaving in the morning for another retreat that I got asked to help with last minute, and because my nanny-boss doesn't need me for a few days I graciously said yes! Another opportunity to pour out to young girls...I would be silly to pass that up!! So I will be gone for another few days, and not sure I'll have access to the internet til I get back. (Your prayers would be appreciated...I was just informed that I'll be teaching middle school this time. Nuff said.)

But for now, I wanted to share something that stuck out to me from one of our Bible study days last week. I mean, a lot of stuff sticks out to me, but because of my past struggles, this one in particular hit home.
For 10 years I struggled with self esteem issues. I am only 22, so as you can imagine this started at a pretty early age...around 12 (about the time middle school hit, DUH.) I won't get into all of the issues I had (I think I wrote about them back when I first started the blog if you're the first couple of entries) but long story short, the devil got a hold of my mind and very quickly began manipulating my every thought through his filter of false information and lies of darkness.
So much of this Bible study has helped me with the bondage that I was freed from. What I'm finding is that yes, I most definitely was delivered from all of that stuff January 1, 2007, (Praise the Lord! I don't ever want to forget that day!). But I'm still very much in a healing process from it. I let Satan have TOO MUCH and the Lord is slowly filling in the cracks...every time I get to share my story with a girl or group of girls (like last weekend), a little part of that past is redeemed (oh I could just cry right now) and made into something beautiful, and the Lord is doing the very same thing through this study. Every time something strikes at the core of how those days affected me, I stand a little taller and stronger, with another weapon and snippet of truth to replace all those lies I once believed. One of the scriptures on the last day of last week really stuck out to me.

(Just before this, Jesus is talking to 'the Jews who had believed Him' and said to them "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." v31-32 and that if they really were children of God like they proclaimed, then they would love Him [Jesus] instead of trying to kill Him.)
John 8:43-44 "Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murdered from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for his is a liar and the father of lies."

That in itself was awesome just to punch Satan in the face by being reminded and saying OUT LOUD that there is NO truth in him. That he IS a LIAR and the FATHER OF LIES. But the thing that got me good was the next verse.

v45 "Yet because I [Jesus] tell the truth, you do not believe me!"

Oh, how MESSED UP I was!!!!Because that was me!!! I remember days and days of reading the Bible knowing how God's love and those words applied to other people, but wondering where I fit in, because I was letting my heart and soul bow down to a crock and a phony. I was so turned around that exactly as this verse says, when I heard, saw, read, or spoke the truth of God I didn't believe it for myself. As (embarrassing is not the word...) but foolish as I felt when I realized that was me, HOW MUCH MORE glory I can give him now from bringing me out of such a dark world. There was a quote from one of Kelly's missionary friend's in china and it ended with this...

"...a healed relationship or person can reflect more glory than one who never knew brokenness."

Not that God wants us to go through mess, but we do...and when He allows us to get so far that we realize He was the ONLY ONE who could have pulled us out, how much MORE glory He receives, which is the whole point of everything!! It makes me sick to my stomach to think about where I've been mentally and with the way I treated myself physical speaking, but every day I choose to proclaim freedom in Christ from all of that, and make it known that He is the KING of my heart, every bit of that pain and junk is redeemed in His name.

I'm sure you and I have had very different stories in the last few years, and I can't help but think how much beautiful and stronger our relationships with the Lord are because of the MESS He allowed us to endure. Most of my 10 year struggle was completely hidden and an internal battle...a secret world I wouldn't have dared shared with anyone then. They were some of the darkest days I can remember. And I can only imagine some of the things some of you have dealt with that some of us will never know. But what peace and joy we can have at the thought that because we experienced brokenness in different ways, and allowed God to be the one to do the restoring, we know TRUTH and the author of it in ways we would have never imagined (or probably asked for if we knew what it would take us through).

God is so good. SO GOOD. And I have never been more in love with Him than I am right now. Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) wrote about something on her blog the other day that I just loved. (Check it out if you have a sec) But she was talking about how she was glad that she didn't love her husband as much as she did the day she married him. She loves him so much more now. Isn't that the way we should be with the Lord?! Yes the love that we feel for Him when we initially come to know Him is like nothing we've ever experienced. But think if it stayed there. I wouldn't want to go back to the days of those 10 years if you paid me all the money in the world. But I also wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. My prince of peace and the author of my salvation saved my scrawny (well, no it's not so scrawny...hahaha) butt from the meanest enemy you and I will ever know, and delivered me into the greatest love relationship of my life.

And by-george I'll be danged if the devil ever gets a piece of my heart again.


Marion said...

This reminds of one of my favorite verses:
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,so that Christ's power may rest on me...For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:8b-10

Isn't it so awesome the way He takes all our sin and turns it into something so beautiful? He can take all our darkness and turn it into light to reach those who are stuck in the same muck we used to be in. I think God was preparing you at last weeks retreat for this weekend. You didn't know this retreat was coming, but He did. I will be praying for you as the Lord brings you to my mind. How awesome it is to be used by Him. What a privilege!
Seeking His Heart, Marion

Three Fold Cord said...

The greatest love relationship of all of our lives! He has been soooo good to even take me deeper in Him in ways that I thought my husband would satisfy. He has loved me in areas i was sure he hated and has healed me so that i may go and heal others through my testimony.

Girl, you have a testimony and we overcome the evil one through the BLood and our testimony. You keep on shoutin' His praises and the walls for you and others will fall down. Your honesty is precious to us siestas and the Lord!!

Sharon said...

One things I am learning still is that it is in the rough times that He teaches me to love Him more.
Even in my relationship with my husband- it is after walking through the rough times that I find my intimacy grows with him so much more. I would, in my flesh, want to avoid those times if I was in control. They just do not make sense to my fleshly mind. But I am glad that He allows satan to sift me. What is left after those times is pure.
Have a great weekend.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

You are so precious! Thanks for sharing your story. I am so amazed at the ministry God has given you. No doubt He is using you in BIG ways! I am praying now and will continue as God leads that the retreat will be a great one where these students are open to God. That He will open their hearts and eyes and ears to see and hear and apply these truths. That they will follow Christ and not the liar. That they will break free from any area of bondage or be protected from going down that path. That you all will be safe and covered with a hedge of protection.

Much love,

ImPerfect said...

Oh how I miss Caswell! All 3 of you look beautiful, sing beautiful and are great teachers and leaders. I'm glad things are going well for you and hope you get some time to relax!


Jackie said...

Glad you are loving the new job- PTL!! Also, hope you get some "restorative sleep" after another retreat- you'll need it!! You are one BUSY lady!!! Enjoy this weekend and I'll be praying that God moves in a big way!! Love ya!!

Profbaugh said...

Another retreat? The LORD is really busy with you right now Siesta. I will be covering you in prayer as you minister to these middle schoolers (oh, what an age). Know that He has you exactly where He wants you right now. Praise Him for that. . and praise you for coming out stronger after the past ten years. Can't wait to see how He's going to move this weekend!!

Love ya,

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Can I just tell you that you radiate God's beauty!

He has annointed you and I'm so blessed to "know" you.

I sure hope to meet a bunch of you in San Antonio next August!


ImPerfect said...

I actually had some time and read your entire blog and when you said this

"because I [Jesus] tell the truth, you do not believe me!"

Oh, how MESSED UP I was!!!!Because that was me!!! I remember days and days of reading the Bible knowing how God's love and those words applied to other people, but wondering where I fit in, because I was letting my heart and soul bow down to a crock and a phony. I was so turned around that exactly as this verse says, when I heard, saw, read, or spoke the truth of God I didn't believe it for myself.

That is exactly how I have been feeling lately! Which is why I'm confused, embarrassed, and am not sure what to do!

He Knows My Name said...

now i understand the awesome name unshackled. i love it. i know God will use you in these girls lives this weekend. your living testimony will be a becon for Him, and they will see Him thru you.


connorcolesmom said...

You 3 are so cute!!
I love to hear that the nanny job is going well. I had a nanny job in college. I watched twins from the time they were 12 weeks until they were 6yrs old. They will always be my babies although they are 13 now :)
I also related to your testimony. I also had serious self-esteem issues for so long. God has finally set me free!!

Love ya,

Anonymous said...

Oh how I miss you Abby! Your words today were extremely encouraging and were EXACTLY what I needed to hear! I'm so thankful that God's light can be shown through such unexpected words, and I'm so glad they came from you!!

Fran said...

Just a big ole AMEN for you Abby!!
Thank you dear one for the most timely words. I hope this weekend has been AMAZING with Jesus. You inspire us all.

Lots of love~

tulip girl said...

Hey, you probably don't remember me but it's been a while since I have ventured over to your blog or commented when I was here. One thing I love about your blog is how you change your blog background and style. How did you change it using the pyzam blog backgrounds. There is one I want to use but I'm not sure how to do it? If you have a spare minute to let me know on my blog I would be so appreciative. I love changing my blog's appearance. It's so much fun.
On another note. I love the living water of God's Holy Spirit that flows from your key board as you share your relationship with God with us in the blogosphere. We are blessed to have such a passionate sister in Christ.

Nikki said...

Abby, I am so glad that you have an opportunity to share with others the way that God changed your life. How he used all the hard things you went through to help others. My sister has made some poor choices and had a difficult time of things for most of her teenage life and especially in the last four to five years. I want soo much for her to see what I see. That God hasn't turned away from her. She has said that she doesn't talk to him and blames him for alot in her life. I see how God could use her story to touch others. And the thing is, she is constantly put in places to share her story. I just worry that she will not have the best answer for those seeking help because she is still soo bitter.
"...a healed relationship or person can reflect more glory than one who never knew brokenness."
I love this statement. It is soo powerful. I wish that she could see that and help others the way you have done.
You are an awesome gal, Abby! I am soo glad that we have had the chance to meet and get to know each other better!!
Love ya!!

jennyhope said...

come over to my blog for some blog lovin award!

Leigh said...

Came across your blog on Jenny Hope.
Great post! You are encouraging.

Bev Brandon said...

It is so obvious in your story that His Eyes have stopped on you. He determined for you your exact places. Acts 17:26, 27. And God did this so you would seek him and reach out for Him and find Him and you have...your story is so inviting, intriguing...keep on telling it to those young girls...and older peeps like me too!

Lindsee said...

Do you really know how absolutely beautiful you are? You are precious, sweet friend!

Hope this weekend was good. We really should start a girls ministry together. I love em' all!! ;)


Bev Brandon said...

I commented a few days ago but I bet I only filled in the secret code once instead of here goes again and I don't have a clue what I said...but I skimmed it again and I am so impressed with your thirsty heart for Him. You know, the woman at the well didn't know she was thirsty---Jesus said to her, if you only knew you would ask Me and I could give you Living Water...but you dear Abby know what you thirst for and are not filling that thirst with other things---only with Him! That's so obvious! May He fill your thirst tonight with His Living Waters that make you feel refreshed and alive! You are so alive in Him!

jennyhope said...

girl I am coming to TN in November so we will have to meet up for sure! :) BTW I could use a retreat. How I miss those days!!! It seems that married depts dont do much of that at my church! I may need to get involved with the youth or something...LOL!