Tag Archives: heavenly father

He Restores My Soul

Survival

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate? Here are the steps to get started. (Prompt idea by Biola ‘Leye.)


In response to today’s Daily Prompt, I’m simply going to share yesterday’s post, which is the best example of my current survival story.  Because of God’s grace, I’m not only a survivor, He has made me an overcomer!


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:3-4  NASB

For the last four years, I was in a dark and heavy place, and though I still breathed, I was dead.  You see, I was in the valley of the shadow of death, and in all truth, it was so overwhelming, that I gave up.  In the depths of my pain, both physical, emotional and spiritual, I fell down in that dark and deadly valley, and I had no will to get up and begin walking through it.  I just didn’t have the strength.  I thought my life was over, and what a horrible way to leave this world.  My faith was shaken, my heart and my body were broken, and so, I spent almost four years, sitting in my recliner and feeling sorry for myself.

Meanwhile, the dark valley of the shadow of death just got darker and darker, until the darkness was so thick and oppressive, that I was overwhelmed by fear and hopelessness.  My physical pain was so great, that I took multiple pain medicines, all prescribed by my doctors, and instead of lessening my pain, they only helped me to sleep through the last four years.  My mental and emotional state was so fractured, that I needed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to stop the pain inside my heart.  The problem with this was that these meds only helped me to stop caring.  They stopped the strong emotions that all of us were born feeling.  The sad thing is, though the anti-depressants were supposed to stop those painful feelings, in truth, they stopped my feelings of life and joy and hope, while the pain never completely subsided.

teen-prescription-drug-abuse

And then, two weeks ago today, I stopped taking all of my medication – cold turkey.  Hear me, beloved, this is not the smartest way to stop taking addictive pain medications and anti-depressants, unless the Lord leads you to do so.  The Lord led me to do this, and I went through withdrawal, but amazingly, it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it might be.  I had headaches, diarrhea, hot flashes, chills, nausea, and extreme weakness.  I cried when I read, cried when someone spoke to me, cried when no one spoke to me.  I just cried, and cried a lot.  And yet, despite these side-effects, life began to stir within me.  I was feeling.  I was alive.  My emotions had awakened, and even more important, my spirit awakened.

As for the chronic back pain that I have suffered with, for the last four years, it’s not that much worse without the pain meds.  Indeed, I now realize that they weren’t helping my pain at all.  If anything, they caused a whole different kind of pain, on top of what I was already suffering, and now that I’m no longer going through withdrawal (thanks be to God!), I find that while living with chronic pain can be devastating, living with deadened feelings and the emotional pain that comes from that, is infinitely worse.

I share all of this, not because I want sympathy or pity, but because I want to testify about what God has done to me.  I was dead, although I continued to breathe.  I could no longer hear the voice of the Lord through the fog that surrounded me, and consequentially, I lost hope.  I lost my joy, and those who have worshiped with me in the past, know that God has given me a wonderful spirit of joy.  Indeed, the joy of the Lord was my strength, and when I lost that joy, my strength ebbed away.

After leading me to stop taking all of my medications (yes, every single one of them!), something amazing happened, in the midst of going through withdrawal, and feeling pretty rough, some of the thoughts that have tormented me for the last four years returned to me.  In the last four years, I had to stop leading prison ministry, which I loved doing… I lost my job, because I was no longer able to work due to the pain… My husband and I became impoverished (no exaggeration)… My mother died, and a month later, my daughter and her family moved over 700 miles away… My daughter-in-law went through brain surgery, and she and her husband moved nearly 325 miles away… I had no ministry… I lost my family…

Suddenly, for the first time in four years, I heard the voice of the Lord, clearly – not through a dark foggy tunnel.  “Cheryl, My beloved, I have given you all of your heart’s desires.  You never dreamed of a career.  All you ever wanted was to get married and have children, so that you would finally have a family who loves you.  I gave you a husband who has loved you and treasured you for more than 35 years.  I gave you two children, who married, blessing  you with two more children, and they love you and treasure you.  Even though you came from a small family, you always wanted a big family.  I’ve given you 10 grandchildren.  You have that big family, and though they are far from you now, they are closer to you than many, whose children live near them.  Yes, you have chronic back and leg pain, but you are loved by your family.  More importantly, child, you are loved by Me, and that’s why I have given you your heart’s desires.  You are no longer able to minister in prison, but your ministry has not ended.  It has changed.  Now you minister by writing according to My will.  Even though you have suffered, My Son suffered more, for your sake.  Even though you were impoverished, I still moved on the hearts of others, to give you a home to live in, and food to eat.  Beloved daughter, your future is secure.”

As I heard those words so clearly, the withdrawal symptoms and my physical pain became tolerable.  I suddenly realized how blessed I am, and I repented and asked the Lord to forgive me for not appreciating all that He’s done for me.  And then, in the midst of going through withdrawal, I began to praise Him for giving me my heart’s desires.

Then, last night, I read a post about an upcoming evening worship service, and the Spirit within me leapt for joy.  You see, in the last four years, I’ve only been to corporate worship services a handful of times, because Sunday mornings are so difficult for me.  Arising early in the morning has been impossible for me, because the pain is always worst in the mornings, and when you stop attending worship services, you lose contact with the friends you had made over the years, because their lives have moved in different directions than yours.  Also, I felt lowly in the sight of faithful church attenders, because I was no longer able to attend regularly, and I was sure they were judging me as one who was lost.  Indeed, some did judge me, but certainly not everyone, as I had thought, in the midst of my depression.

Also, there were a small handful of people, who genuinely loved me, even while I was in such a dark place.  Many people have lots of friends, but I never have.  However, the few friends that I do have, are priceless.  Those friends sought me out, when I had shut myself away.  They prayed for me, and encouraged me, even when they were unable to visit me.  Two friends in particular stand out to me, my beloved friend Tammy, who would talk to me and encourage me on Facebook, and my beloved friend Laura, who lives with chronic pain as well.  Yet despite her chronic pain, Laura has gone out of her way to visit me, pray for me, listen to me and love me, even when I was unlovable.  You see, God didn’t give me a bunch of friends.  Instead, He chose to give me just a few exceptional friends that I truly treasure.  I remember, during my depression, thinking that if I died, no one would come to my funeral, and be there for my husband, and perhaps there won’t be, but God will be there for him, if anything ever happens to me, and really, how many people have the kind of friends that I do?  Many simply have a lot of acquaintances.  I am blessed.

You see, the demons from hell may have thought that I was down for the count.  I thought so, but that’s because I had been blinded to the great power of the God who loves me and created me.  You see, He has always pursued me with His love, and He will always continue to do so.

Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Psalm 23:6  NLT

The most wonderful thing to happen to me these last two weeks is the realization that came to me last night, as I was rejoicing over the upcoming worship service I’m attending.  For, the Lord has restored my soul.  I can feel, love and rejoice again.  I have hope in the God who has loved me, when no one else did.  I have hope in this God who has healed me from so many other problems, and now He has once again healed me and delivered  me from prescription drug addiction and a four year bout with the darkest depression imaginable.  Hallelujah, I am alive again.  He has restored my soul!  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:3-4  NASB

I have shared this testimony for two reasons.  First of all, I share this testimony to give others hope.  For if God would deliver me from living in darkness and death, He will surely do the same for you as well, if you will allow Him to.  You must simply obey His voice.  In my case, He commanded that I stop taking all drugs, and He made it unbearable for me to continue taking them, despite what the doctors said.  I don’t know what He will command you to do, but whatever He commands, do it!  Then, watch Him restore your soul!

The second reason I have shared this testimony is very simple.  I share my testimony for my sake and for the sake of others who read it as well.   There is still a devil who wants to steal from me, kill me and destroy me.  Indeed, he very nearly did, except for the unfailing love of the Father, who loves me.  He wants to do the same to you.  Therefore, there is only one way to overcome him, and that is by the blood of the Lamb, which has already been shed on my behalf, and by the word of my testimony.  You see, in the face of Jesus’ blood, and my testimony of Christ’s salvation and the goodness of God, the enemy is overcome!  He is defeated.

10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

“It has come at last—
    salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of His Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
    has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
    before our God day and night.
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
    and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
    that they were afraid to die.

Revelation 12:10-11  NLT

Beloved reader, whether you are dealing with the same or different issues, be encouraged.  The God who unfailingly loves me, loves you just as much as He loves me, and He wants to heal and deliver you from the dark hole that you may find yourself in.  Simply cry out to Him in Jesus’ name, listen for His command – then obey Him!  Fear not!

13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14:13-14  NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

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Words of Jesus – FORGIVE if you want to be FORGIVEN

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT)

http://reflections-of-the-unseen.blogspot.com/2010/09/when-you-feel-you-really-messed-up.html

What a powerful word Jesus spoke here. Did you pick up on the fact that God’s forgiveness is conditional? Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you that forgiveness is unconditional, because it isn’t. If I want to be forgiven, must first forgive those who have hurt me. And get this – Jesus doesn’t say just to forgive those who committed a little sin against you. Oh no – He said that if I refuse to forgive others, my Father won’t forgive my sins… Are you catching this? That means I am required to forgive everyone… even the ones who have damaged me the most by their sins against me.

Do you ever wonder what in the world Jesus could be thinking? This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. How do you forgive the one that you loved and trusted, the one you called “Daddy” for stealing your innocence? How do you forgive the one you loved and trusted to protect you, the one you called “Mommy” for not only failing to protect you, but for turning a blind eye to the abuse and making it clear that she did not want to know about it?

http://jesuschristblog.blog.com/2010/08/08/forgiveness-part-1/

And yet, if I wanted to be forgiven, how could I not forgive? Have any of you ever struggled with forgiveness? Have you ever wondered how a holy and just God, a righteous God could allow you to be hurt, and then expect you to forgive your perpetrator, even though your perpetrator never repents? If so, my beloved, it’s no accident that you are visiting this blog at this time, and reading these words.

My friend, please allow me to share with you, because I know what it’s like to be bound, chained and trapped in unforgiveness. I know how deep the pain of unforgiveness goes, until it takes root in bitterness, and I don’t want you to suffer a minute longer than you already have. In Jesus’ name, I want you to be free of unforgiveness, free from the pain and suffering, free to be forgiven.

Please allow me just a few minutes to talk to you about forgiveness and unforgiveness, so that you can see the advantage of forgiving, and so that you can know how to forgive. First, let’s slay some myths about forgiveness:

  • If I forgive, it’s like saying that what happened to me didn’t matter… This is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Whatever sin and abuse was perpetrated against you did matter. It was wrong because it went against God’s will for both your life and the perpetrator’s life. It was wrong because it damaged you, and God does not want his beloved children damaged or hurt. Beloved, God loves you, and your pain matters to Him. That’s why He has collected every tear you’ve ever cried and kept a record of them.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Do not touch these people I have chosen, and do not hurt My prophets.” (Psalm 105:15 NLT)

  • If I forgive, then that person gets away with what he/she did to me… Again, this is another deception from the enemy, to keep you bound up by your pain and your unforgiveness. Don’t forget that we serve a righteous and holy God. Even if the person never repents and never asks for your forgiveness (like my stepfather), they still have to live with themselves and they still have to face Almighty God, our Father.

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 NLT)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT)

  • If I forgive the person who hurt me, he/she may think that what they did to me was ok… Beloved, he/she may feel justified for what they did to you anyway, if they even bother to think about it. Regardless of whether they feel guilty or ashamed of what they did to you, your unforgiveness is hurting you much more than it is hurting them. You see, as long as you refuse to forgive the person for hurting you, it’s as though you are handcuffing yourself to him/her, and you can’t get away from him/her, can’t stop thinking about him/her and can’t stop thinking about what they did to you. So, in reality, my beloved friend, you are the only one suffering for the crime committed against you. Don’t you want to be free?

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NASB)

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. (Psalm 119:45 NLT)

  • If I forgive this person for what he/she did to me, it will be like I’m saying it never happened… Oh beloved, that is not true at all. When I forgave my stepfather, I told him what he had done to me, and how it had affected the rest of my life, and as I forgave him, I told him what I was forgiving him for… Both he, my mother, my husband and my sister were present as I listed each thing that I forgave him for. There was no denying what he had done to me, and the same was true for my mother. I told her what I was forgiving her for, and how it had hurt me and impacted my life. Don’t you see? The Lord knows the truth, and the people involved may try to deny what happened (my stepfather tried to blame me for his sin), but I refused to accept his blame. Just because someone tries to give you a gift (in my case it was the gift of blame and shame), doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. The Lord knows what happened, and He wants to restore you to wholeness.

Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy. (Isaiah 61:7 NLT)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NKJV)

Beloved, this word that Jesus delivers about forgiveness is not so much for your perpetrator’s benefit as it is for yours. You see, He wants you to be free, whole and healthy. He wants you to abound in joy, but it’s impossible to do that as long as your wounds keep getting ripped open by bitter memories and  unforgiveness.

The Lord is saying to you, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!” (Isaiah 52:2 NKJV) Beloved, as you read this scripture aloud, put your name in the place of Jerusalem… (i.e. – I would say, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Cheryl! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!”) Memorize these scriptures, because there is healing in them.

Forgive, my beloved, so that you can be free. Forgive, so that you can be forgiven. Forgiving doesn’t come natural to us. It is normal for our flesh to want revenge, but don’t allow yourself to go there, because the only one who will end up being destroyed is you.

Ask the Lord to  help you forgive. He said if you ask anything according to His will (and forgiveness is certainly His will for us) that He will give it to you. Beloved, I’m praying for everyone who reads this post, that the Lord will help each one to forgive, so that you too may be forgiven. And now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. 🙂

© 2012 
Cheryl A. Showers

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