June 4, 2014

An Invitation to Change Your Summer!

I hear beeping from the other side of the bed. Loud. Unrelenting. 5:30 already? I’m so tired. Just a few more minutes. I hit the snooze button. 

Again beeping. Loud. Unrelenting. 5:40. Just a few more minutes. I hit the snooze button. 

Again beeping. Loud. Unrelenting. 5:50. Shoot. Why did I do this? I promised to wake up early. To spend time with You, Lord. I’m so sorry. Why didn’t I just get up? Now I’m late.  My heart aches. Again, I disappoint You, Lord. I’m so sorry. I’ll do it later. I promise.

“You won’t…not today. You’ve got so much on that “to do” list waiting for you.”

Stop it!! Yes, I will. I can start tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do it.  

Why am I such a failure at this spending time with God thing right now? Why can’t I just get up the first time the alarm goes off?

Seasons of my life go like this. I have the best of intentions to begin my day with God. But instead, I don’t. It’s a tired season. A weary season.

Discouragement fills my heart. Recently, in the midst of one of these seasons, God answered my heart’s cry, My child, you are not a failure. You are tired and thirsty. Get out of “the routine.” Let’s begin a new season together. And just so you know, time with Me doesn’t have to fit a mold. Be creative. 

Be creative…not really one of my gifts!

Then I remembered a prayer of Moses. I searched the key words on Biblegateway and  found it in Exodus 33:18:

Now show me your glory. 

Moses asked God to show him His glory…to show Moses more of Him than he had ever seen before. Moses asked God outright for a FRESH vision of His glory…of His abiding presence.

Oh, that is what I want right now! What about you?

Let’s get out of our routine. Will you join me for a new season with the Lord this summer? Let’s pray together to experience a physical manifestation of God’s presence…to experience His Shechinah Glory.

What is God’s Shechinah Glory? It’s when the INVISIBLE God becomes VISIBLE, when He LOCALIZES His presence and MANIFESTS Himself in our midst.

Let’s be creative today.

Let’s not feel tied to a daily quiet time in this season INSTEAD let’s invite God to show us in real and concrete ways the reality of His Love and Presence in our lives in a fresh way!

Ways we can do this…

Tune your heart to worship music

A few weeks ago, I started a new routine. Rather than my country playlist on Pandora, I began listening to the Passion Worship playlist. Through song lyrics, God touched deep places in my heart that needed a fresh touch from Him. Below is a beautiful song, “Oceans,” to begin your time. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, listen and invite God to invade every part of you with the POWER of His presence.

 

Read through a book of the Bible

If it’s been a while since you’ve been in the Word, choose a book, open and read…without an agenda…without a study guide…without a notebook…without a teacher. Just sit and read as little or as much as you want. No strict schedule. Simply listen for God to speak to you…to minister to you through His Word.

Read a book from a favorite author

A few months ago, I read Donna Gaines‘ (a fellow InScribed Studies author) book, Leaving Ordinary. Donna took me to the Tabernacle and gave me a fresh vision of prayer grounded in the history of God’s people…the temple…the priesthood…the Great High Priest Jesus. Such a gift to read how God spoke to Donna when she invited God to speak into her ordinary life in extraordinary ways!

Memorize a passage of Scripture

Choose a passage of Scripture or some favorite verses and commit them to memory. Be creative in how you memorize.  It’s such a blessing to hide God’s Word in your heart. Check out these creative ways of memorizing “So That” verses from my Minnesota Living So That friends (Jenn Citrowske Elness and Tera Cory Elness).

 

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Create a prayer journal

Pray creatively. Text verses to friends throughout the week. E-mail prayers to friends rather than just pray for them. Create a prayer journal and journal what God lays on your heart.

DO SOMETHING NEW YOU’VE NEVER DONE!

And whatever you choose, EXPECT God to be a part and INVITE Him to show up IN ALL HIS GLORY!

Heavenly Father, forgive us for not inviting You into our lives each and every day. I ask that  for each one of us inviting You  to show us Your Shechinah Glory, You show up in very personal ways, manifest Yourself in ways that each of us will KNOW that it is You. In big and small ways show Yourself. Give us a word, a touch, a whisper, anything we need to experience You in a fresh way. Thank You for Your promise that when we seek You with all our hearts, we will find You. Today we claim that promise and invite You to show up BIG. Thank You that You will do great and mighty works in our midst. Show us Your glory, Lord, show us Your glory! I ask all this in Jesus’ powerful Name. AMEN

Share your invitation with us! Let us know how YOU are going to invite God’s Shechinah Glory into your summer.

Blessings,

May 23, 2014

Moms and Daughters: Tips to Protect Yourself from Being a Victim

How I wish someone had shared with me what I’m about to share with you. If they had, perhaps the events of June 7, 1987 would have ended very differently.

Today I’m continuing the post I began on Monday, sharing my journey of healing from sexual assault…from victim to victor! To read the post, click here. For a free chapter from my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, sharing my story, click here.

A few years ago, Oprah Radio invited me to Chicago to share my story and the facts, statistics and practical lessons I learned from my experience. I’m sharing that same information with you today. I write this NOT to instill fear but to inform and educate. I invite you to read through to the end…inform and educate yourself… and share it with your friends. Today we’ll take about…

  • The facts
  • The effects
  • Ways to prevent becoming a victim
  • What to do if it happens to you

The Facts

  • Did you know that 1 out of 4 college women are sexually assaulted every year?
  • Did you know that 1 out of 6 women some time during their lifetime will be the victim of sexual assault?
  • Did you know that approximately 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported every year? And 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail.

The Effects

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

(Statistics taken from RAINN )

For help, contact 1-800-656-HOPE

Ways to Prevent Becoming a Victim

Monday I shared spiritual lessons I’ve learned through my journey of healing. But I have also gained practical wisdom and want to pass it on to you to keep you S.A.F.E and protect you and those you love from being a victim.

Sexual assault Is A Crime Of Opportunity!!! What do I mean by that? Rarely is a woman assaulted by a stalker. A perpetrator selects his victim because, by her unintentional actions, she has made herself an easy target. By following a few simple steps, you can avoid being an easy target. I learned some of these first hand. Please share them with all the women you know!

S - Avoid Compromising Situations

When you go out….

  • never leave your drink unattended (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • never accept a drink from a stranger and accept drinks only when you see the bartender pour it and hand it directly to you
  • never leave the keys to your home with anyone (valet, service station, car wash)
  • never be alone with someone you do not know
  • always be sure a friend or family member knows who you are with and where you are going


A - Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • know where you are at all times
  • know what is going on around you
  • know who is around you
  • never have conversations within range of a stranger that reveal you will be home alone, closing a business alone, traveling alone, etc.

F - Go With Your Feelings

  • if your intuition tells you something is not right, pay attention and respond (chills down your spine, hair stands on end)
  • flee if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable
  • call 911 if you sense danger
  • never ignore your feelings because they may save your life

E - Don’t Be An Easy Target

  • secure your home and car by locking your doors and windows at ALL times 
  • never walk alone at night ANYWHERE
  • never open your door to a stranger and ALWAYS ask for identification when expecting workmen

Some of these sound simple and obvious. But I violated three of these prevention steps. I had a conversation outside at the pool which unintentionally announced to everyone around me that I would be home alone that afternoon. We left our front door unlocked, which allowed the rapist easy access. I had a “strange” sensation when I walked in the apartment and saw our front door locked because we usually left it unlocked for each other. But I ignored that “feeling” and walked up the stairs right into the arms of an armed, masked man.

THE KEY TO AVOID BEING  A VICTIM IS AWARENESS. Please read these, learn them, and follow them! Pass them on to your friends. You may very well save a life!

What to Do If It Happens to You

  • Immediately call 911 no matter what your attacker threatens
  • Do not change your clothes
  • Do not shower
  • Do not move or remove any item from the location of the attack
  • Write down anything you can remember immediately (race, age, height, weight, hair color, hair length, eye color, distinguishing marks, facial hair, clothes, weapon, odors
  • Go to the emergency room

This is a message I’ve shared on many college campuses and radio and television interviews. I invite you to share what you have learned today with those in your sphere of influence…women you care about…it could save a life! If you do, please leave a comment and let me know who you shared it with and why. Just as I did Monday, I will do a giveaway. But today I will choose two comments to win a copy of my new book, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.

**The winners of Hidden Joy from the Monday post are Kat who posted on May 19th at 1:53 pm and JJWD who posted on May 19 at 4:55 pm. Please contact me via e-mail at deuteronomysix@aol.com by next Friday with your full name and mailing address.**

Blessings,

May 19, 2014

Sexual Assault on College Campuses…Joining the Conversation

****Be sure to read to the end for today’s giveaway and the winner of last week’s giveaway, a copy of Suzie Eller’s The Mended Heart.****

Sharing my story..

It’s Saturday morning…the Saturday after my college graduation. I can’t believe four years have come and gone. Four of the best years of my life. I pull up the covers for a few more moments of sleeping bliss. Finally, I slide out of bed, throw on some shorts, and run out the door to meet friends for an afternoon of roasting in the Texas sun.

My last Saturday with my best girlfriends.  Treasured memories fill my mind…formals, weekend trips, date nights, spring breaks, late nights studying…so much fun and laughter. How could it be over?

Hours later, I rush back into my apartment, golden brown, smelling like a perfect blend of coconut and the the great outdoors. I head upstairs to shower, thoughts flitting from outfit to shoes to jewelry. What will I wear tonight?

As I hit the top step, I see him. A masked man wielding a large hunting knife. Behind the mask, two cold eyes staring into mine. Who are you? Why are you here? Surely this can’t be real.

The cold blade on my neck jolts me back to reality. The intruder shoves me into my room. He commits vile and horrific acts against me. When he finishes, he leans in close and whispers,  ”I know where you live. If you tell anyone, I will return, and I will kill you.” I watch him walk out the door and turn toward the stairs.

I listen intently. Is he gone? Is he waiting downstairs? I muster every ounce of courage, step gingerly out of my bed, grab my crumpled  towel, wrap it around my naked body, and creep down the stairs. Finally, I reach the front door, swing it open and run.

At age 21. Every dream shattered. Every hope dashed. I feel abandoned by God and so very alone.

Not a single soul understood the depths of my pain. I locked myself in a prison of fear. At times, living seems too much to bear. No one knew…my loneliness…my helplessness…my hopelessness.

Thankfully, this is not the end of my story. But my journey to get where I am today was long and hard. That day in June 1986, I had no idea where to turn or what to do. I was thousands of miles from home. School was out. There was not an instruction book for what to do after your raped.

Joining the Conversation…

Part of the reason I write this post is to say how grateful I am for the conversation happening nationally about sexual assault on college campuses…both stranger rape and date rape. Sadly, the statistics have not changed since my attack over 25 years ago. One in five women on college campuses are raped. We don’t report our attacks because someone has stepped into our world and cracked our hearts wide open. We have been violated in a most intimate and personal way. The words don’t come easily: I’ve been raped. We believe our attacker’s threats. We fear the administration, the police, our peers will not believe us. We fear the unknown in the investigative and prosecutorial process.

I celebrate our federal government! I’m so thankful for the new federal guidelines to provide victims with a road map on what steps to take after they’ve been raped…both personally and with regard to their institutions. And to provide those institutions with practical instructions on how to identify, prevent and respond to sexual assaults involving their students.

I’m grateful for this conversation. I’m grateful for the proactive stance our government is taking to protect young women. Victims need a voice. We need an advocate.

Finding Hope…

But I also want to be a voice of hope in the midst of this conversation. God makes an amazing promises in His Word.

James 1:2-4 says,

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Romans 8:28 says,

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”

After my attack in 1987, fear held me captive for nearly 15 years. I fed it, nurtured it, and allowed it to infiltrate every part of my being. Anger and bitterness consumed my heart. I held daily pity parties for myself. Until one day, desperation led me to my Bible. It was in the pages of God’s Word that God healed my gaping wounds. He restored my soul. He freed me from my fear. He gave me NEW LIFE. He did as He promised…He took my shattered heart and, piece by piece, created something good and beautiful.

My vicious assault now serves as a backdrop for a ministry. What I once thought destroyed my life now gives it great purpose. You are reading these words today because God now uses my transformed life as a vessel to draw others to His love, His grace, His hope, and His healing.

Never forget, we are created for God’s purposes alone. We live in a world where bad people will make bad choices that hurt good people. But God promises that the trials and sufferings that enter into our lives, when surrendered to Him, will be redeemed to bring about our good, His glory and point others to Him!

I share my story of hope and healing in my first book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story.

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If you or someone you love has been the victim of a sexual assault, please leave her first name in the comment section today, and I promise to pray for her. I will choose two comments to win a copy of Hidden Joy. To purchase a copy from Proverbs 31 Ministries, click here. If you order before Friday, we’ll send you a signed copy. And for a free sample chapter, click here.

Come back Friday for the winners and for a list of tips on how to keep yourself safe and steps on what to do if you are the victim of a sexual assault…great to share with young women headed off to internships in new cities or off to college in the fall.

****The winner of Suzie Eller’s book, The Mended Heart is  Brittany who posted on May 9 at 2:18 pm. Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your address so Suzie can send you your book. ****

Blessings,