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Give it to God: Free Yourself

Respect and praying on nature background

Have you ever felt God was saying, “Give it to Me and I will take care of it?” If so, which person are you?

Are you the one quick to give your issues to God, with no questions and no objections? Or, are you the person refusing to give your issues totally to God because you fear the unknown? Many times, we (including myself) have had and still have a hard time letting God fix things. It is not that we don’t want Him to do what He is very capable of doing. It is because we have too many questions and too much doubt. “What if He doesn’t fix it like I would or like I want it to be fixed?” Some of us can’t understand and accept God’s greatness. We ask questions like, “What if Your plan doesn’t work? Why do You want to help me anyway? How can I trust You? Will You really make it better? Can’t you tell me what You are going to do first, then I will turn my problem over to You?”

Many times, that last question is the biggest in our head. We want to know how God is going to turn a situation around before we let go and truly give it all to Him. We go through this tug-of-war with God. He wants to help, but if He is to help, we have to learn to let go and give our issues entirely to Him, not questioning why and how He will make things work. Remember, God doesn’t owe us a “how” or a “why” explanation. But, we owe Him our trust and faith to accomplish what we know He can do.

We should be eager to do according to Peter 5:7, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” If we are truly seeking Christ first (Matthew 6:33) and trusting in the Lord, leaning not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), we should find comfort in giving our problems over to God. Some things are too heavy for us to bear. Many times, believers say He will never put more on us than we can bear. However, we have to be mindful not to put more on ourselves than we can handle. When God is trying to lessen our loads, we should not fight Him to keep burdens that He is willing to remove.

Are we willing to give our burdens over to God and trust Him to take care of everything, in His timing? Can we avoid making haste and wait on the outcome that is most certain to be greater if God does the work? Think about it like this: how many times did your “should have, could have, would have” options work when you tried to fix things on your own? If you could do it all on your own, why would it be written, “With Christ all things are possible” (Philippians 4:13) and “apart from Him you can do nothing” (John 15:5)?

Don’t allow your lack of faith or fear of the unknown to keep you in a drowning state. Remember, you have a choice. If you choose to refuse God’s helping hand, you are saying you can stop yourself from drowning. You are declaring you can defeat the enemy and your problems on your own.

Either trust Him and give it all to Him or continue to try it without Him AND without the expectancy of a Godly result. We can’t decide what pieces to give or how to help God fix our issues. Give it all and watch Him work. Remember, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Beauty for Ashes

 

pic with dad“How do you love God, the Father, when your only experience with a father has been anything but righteous or right?”

My biological father, who should have protected me, groomed, brainwashed, and abused me. I became his child-bride, and for over a decade, I was under his control: mind, body, and soul. I still remember how he made me “marry him” in a promise covenant before God. Initially, the promise was to last until I was seventeen, however, as I found out, breaking free was not going to be easy. By seventeen, I was ready for freedom, but he would not allow it, using tactics that were anything but loving. I was forced to continue being sexually abused for four more years.

Fast forward three years. I’d had a child, married my college sweetheart, had a second child, and was living in Europe. Although I knew God and believed in Him, I didn’t really understand how to properly view Him as my heavenly father…the fatherly example I had made it hard for God to connect with me. I had walls up unaware of how to let them down, or a desire to do so.

God knew He would have to intervene for true healing to take place in my life. In a pure God move, I connected with, Herb and April Adkins, a Christian couple that I attended church with while in Europe. They were the coordinators for a women’s conference that was to take place nearby in early 2012. I needed change, was tired of being tormented by my past and felt the women’s conference would be just the thing.

On the last night of the three-day conference, at about 12:30am, while sitting at a table eating Hawaiian pizza, Herb said God had revealed that I would be one of his spiritual daughters. Though I wasn’t sure what to think of it at the time, his words resonated with me. The following day, with tears in my eyes, I told him, in front of his wife, that I received his words as truth. I was going to have a second chance at this father thing.

I was going to have a real father. Wait! What?? What does that even mean?

After returning home, I told my husband about everything that happened, including the words spoken by Herb. To my surprise, he was excited for me. I then proceeded to ask my husband questions, with all sincerity. “How does this work?” “How do you have a father?” “What does the relationship look like?”  After much prayer, and with overwhelming anxiousness, I allowed God to show me, through Herb Adkins, what it was like to have a real father.

The blessed thing about all of this…there was an instant God connection. Over the next few months, Herb and I talked via phone, text, Facebook messenger, at church, and via hand written notes. He and his wife, April, invited my family to be a part of their family. They even went so far as to discuss an adult adoption (that’s a real thing) to make our family bond official. Our families grew closer and closer, to the point where newcomers in the area didn’t know that we were not blood-related. My children looked forward to seeing their Granddad and Nana April, Josh was happy to have some wisdom talks with his father-in-love, and I was ecstatic that I actually had a father, on this side of heaven.

God was showing me that He did love me, He had not forgotten me, and He would restore what the enemy took from me. He allowed me to experience the love of an earthly father, which caused me to be more open to God’s fatherly love and affection toward me.

It has now been more than five years since God placed Herb in my life, and our genuine, Godly father-daughter relationship has only grown stronger. I refer to him as Dad, not Herb, not spiritual father…affectionately, sincerely, Dad. Why? Because that’s who he is to me. In five short years, he has shown me more about Godly, fatherly love than I had previously learned in all my prior years. I have God to thank for that. Dad, along with Mama April, considers me to be one of their own, no different from their biological children, and it’s a beautiful thing.

God gave me beauty for ashes. Because I finally understood what it meant to have a real father, and what that love was to look like, I was able to open up to God, my Heavenly Father, and develop a closer, more genuine relationship with Him, the One who loves me unconditionally.

So, how do you love God the Father when your only experience with a father has been anything but righteous or right? For me, it was nearly impossible, but because God loved me so much, He extended grace and mercy and provided another, Herb, who showed me what a father’s love looked like, enabling me to truly accept and embrace my Heavenly Father’s love, and open the door to true healing, peace, and joy.

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Me Too

When I first heard about the #metoo movement, I didn’t realize the magnitude and how this would impact me emotionally and mentally. Not because I wasn’t sympathetic to it, but because I had experienced it. Though I wanted to put up my own #metoo status, I didn’t. What will people think? Not everyone knows that part of my truth.

I allowed fear to stop me from showing support to a community that is larger than many people realize, a community of women and men that have been battered and broken, if not physically, then mentally, and emotionally…at times, losing our identities due to forces beyond our control.

So, today I say #metoo. I was only a child, confused, manipulated, and abused. It caused turmoil, confusion, and more trauma than could be imagined. But, God! Though this recovery road has not been easy, He has never left my side. Even when I wanted to quit on life, God wouldn’t let me. He, with the help of trusted family, friends, and mentors nursed me back to a place of peace and sanity, helping me see that my story has not been in vain.

Yes, I was broken mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Yes, my heart grew cold and I found it hard to find beauty in anything. Yes, I lived a life of numbness, and initially lacked the ability to be a great mother or a loving wife. But, because I chose to trust God, because I chose to put off shame and pick up grace, because I chose to tell my story, to own the truth and forsake the lies, I have been able to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding and joy that no man can take away.

This is not to say that I never have rough days, but to show that God can work a miracle out of a mess. God can redeem your #metoo no matter what it looks like. I challenge you to own your #metoo, not to shame you, but so you can heal. Being honest and telling the truth is the first step on this road to recovery. John 8:32 makes it plain: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Don’t let it define you; instead, let it propel you into something greater than your circumstances.

As always, be blessed and be a blessing!

- Erica Inspires

 

 

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Dare to Dream, Choose to Pursue

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To dream, one has to do little more than imagine. The real work comes once we decide to pursue the thing we have dreamed about for far too long. For the longest, I was unable to imagine a life filled with joy and peace. Imagining anything positive took work, and to be honest, some days, it seemed nearly impossible to do. Life had kicked me, knocked me down, and almost knocked me out. However, I finally realized (after years of feeling unworthy) that I deserved to imagine endless possibilities. I was good enough to dream about a future I wanted, and I now know that I am capable of pursuing the dreams God placed inside of me. I don’t expect everything to come easy, but I do know that the pursuit of true purpose is worth it every single time. Today, I choose to pursue passion, and I refuse to be stopped by fear. Don’t you want to do the same? Yes? Good. Let’s Go!