A Sister's Journey Devotional Week #1 I am writing this Devotional from the heart. I hope to share my journey with God and what I have learned along the way. My walk with God started later in life. Before that I lived with mental illness and hopelessness. The lies I believed about myself kept me in bondage for too many years. It wasn't until God's truth was revealed to me that I began to rise from the depths of despair to the mountaintop of hope. Check back every Tuesday as we challenge the lies we believe about ourselves and replace them with God's truth. See you next week as we look at the lie - "I am inferior". I encourage you to meditate on my favorite Scripture this week - Philippians 4:8.
Devotional Week # 2  When I was 13 my Grade 8 teacher called my parents into a meeting. I was not sure what to expect. I thought I had been a "good girl". In that meeting, however, I started to believe the lie that I was inferior. The teacher reviewed my report card and all was good until the teacher said "Karen has an Inferiority Complex". I knew that was a bad thing based on the delivery of those words and the ...reaction of my parents. However, I did not know what it truly meant. Definition- Inferiority is a persistent sense of inadequacy or a tendency to underrate oneself and one's abilities. How easy it is to believe a lie about our identity and worth. I believed this lie for over 40 years! Have you been believing a lie about your worth? What is God's truth? Check back next week as we take a look at that. I encourage you to meditate on Galatians 3:28 this week. See you next Wednesday.
Devotional Week #3 Last week I shared about feeling "inferior" and I promised God's truth. Psalm 139:13 spoke to my heart. It says "For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I know you have heard it said, "God don't make no junk!" It is time for us to believe this. This is a truth we can hold onto. In my walk with God I have come to believe that feeling inferior is a good place to start. For it is in this place that we can learn to totally depend on God to make us feel valued and loved. I encourage you to meditate on 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 this week. Blessings, Pastor Karen.
Devotional Week#4 Have you ever felt offended? I lived most of my life feeling hurt by others. What a terrible place to live. It is like living in a locked room where you can see the person who hurt you dangling the key that unlocks the door! You find yourself locked into all of the pain, emotions, anger and helplessness you feel. You speak words like, "how could they?", "why didn't they?", or "why did they?". The list is endless. Your mind thinks, "did you see the way he/she looked at me?" Or, "why didn't he/she say hi to me?" Satan loves this place in our mind. In the next few weeks I am going to share my journey and the truths that unlocked the doors and set me free. The first truth I learned was that I choose to be offended! Nobody can offend me unless I allow it. Join me next week as we walk through the lies of the enemy and the truth of God. I encourage you to meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:10 this week.
Devotional Week#5 Why is it that when we feel hurt or offended, we hang to the pain like our favorite Teddy Bear? We hold on to the story that goes along with the offence and each time we tell others the story tends to grow. With each retelling our pain grows stronger and before we know it, we are living in anger, bitterness and judgement. Why would we choose to live in such a state? I know, for me, this became my identity. The "victim". I became good at mind reading by believing that I knew what "they are saying/thinking about me." I could concoct such a great victim story. A lot of us play the mind reading game, completely forgetting that the only person who has access to another's thoughts is them. We tend to assume, quite unfairly, that we know the thoughts and intentions of another person. In my studies I have learned that over 90% of the time the other person does NOT INTENTIONALLY set out to hurt us. In fact, they (or we) have no idea that someone has CHOSEN to be hurt. As I mentioned in Week #4, it is OUR CHOICE to be offended. How do we pick up these offenses? I call it my personal filter. Check back next week for more on this topic. I encourage you to meditate on Hebrews 12:15 this week. Blessings, Pastor Karen
Devotional Week #6 Last week I mentioned our personal filter. It has been my experience that the hurt or pain we encounter in our lifetime serves to create a filter through which all other experiences, words, looks, and so on, pass through. If I have not dealt with rejection issues as an example, then my filter becomes one of rejection. When I perceive that another person is rejecting me, I immediately become hurt or offended. The truth is that the other person has no idea that what they have said, did not say, did or did not do in any given situation, would trigger MY feelings of rejection. This gets back to OUR CHOICE as to whether or not we will be hurt or offended. I challenge you this week to ask God about your own personal filters. Write them down and spend time in prayer. Meditate on Ephesians 4:2-3 this week and check back next week as we pursue more on this topic. Blessings, Pastor Karen.
Devotional Week #7 Last week I introduced the idea of each of us having a personal filter through which everything we experience goes through. This filter could be one of rejection or shame. It could be guilt or bitterness. The list is endless. When we are dealing with feeling hurt or offended we often find ourselves judging others for the hurt or pain we feel, when all along it has been our own personal filter that has heightened those feelings. How many times have we pushed others away when they had absolutely no idea why? How many people have we hurt ourselves? Satan loves to see us in this place of unrest. He has taken down many friendships and even churches due to this. If he can get us distrusting and judging each other then he has won. Are we going to continue to let him do this? I challenge you this week to ask God if you are allowing the enemy to keep you in the bondage of offence. Meditate on Matthew 7:1-5. See you next week ... Pastor Karen.
Devotional Week #8 We have spent the last few weeks talking about feeling offended, our personal filters through which all experiences go through, and our choices. I also shared my belief that I was a "victim". I have come to a place in my journey where I no longer believe that lie. I am a "victor" and so are you if you have Jesus as your personal Savior. God has taught me that I am a strong tower who has victory over the enemy. I (and you) are a chosen child of God and nobody can take that away from us. Do I still get hurt or offended? Absolutely. However, that hurt lasts for less than a day in most instances. I now CHOOSE to look at why I feel this way. I deal with the "why" and then I move on. I do not spend my time focusing on the "who". When I focus on the person who I believe hurt me, I fall into the sin of judgement which puts me back into the enemy's camp! Check back next week as I look at how we can defeat the enemy through forgiveness. I encourage you to meditate on John 1:12 and Matthew 5:9 this week. Blessings, Pastor Karen
Devotional Week #9
Last week I mentioned the word forgiveness and how it is through us forgiving others that the enemy can be defeated! I know this to be the truth. Forgiveness unlocked the "bondage" I had placed myself in for many years. If you are living in a place of hurt then I believe this is critical to your healing. In my recent studies, the following spoke loudly to me. Alf Davis' book says, "We want grace and mercy for ourselves, because we know our own failings and weaknesses, but for others, we want justice. It is easy to slip into a double standard." The time has come to show grace and mercy to those who we have chosen to be offended by. Alf goes on to say, "Since you are going to live with the consequences of another person's sin anyway, your real choice is to live in the bitterness of un-forgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness." What choice will you make today?
I encourage you to pray this prayer: "Lord, bless me with the power to forgive. Give me the grace to unconditionally forgive those who have hurt me. Give me the strength to let go of the pain and the strength to forgive myself for the sin of judging others. As I repent, I thank you for Your forgiveness. Amen."
Meditate on Colossians 3:13 this week.
Devotional Week#10
I have spent the last few days arguing with God about what to write about next. Have you ever argued with God? We all know how that turns out ... so here goes.
I had my first attempt at suicide at the age of 16. At the time I had no idea why. My life was not terrible. I had made some very bad decisions but nothing that could not be worked through. Today, I simply thank God that he stopped me in my footsteps and rescued me from the darkness.
In my late 40's I started to recognize my own personal filters. My filter was one of believing that I was worthless, useless and unlovable. As I grew older other filters got added but I realized, that at the age of 16, I had already formed these lies in my mind. Where did they come from? How did they form?
In the coming weeks I believe God wants me to share my experiences with attempted suicide (not the details) - how the lies we believe can lead us down this pathway. I also want to talk about those filters.
It is going to be a long journey, but I believe God wants to heal others through it.
I encourage you to read Psalm 34:18-19 this week.
Blessings, Pastor Karen
Devotional Week 11
I have struggled this week to write for various reasons. Hence, I am a day late in posting! The question is where to begin. You see, living with a mental illness has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It became my identity in many ways. I lived with the knowledge that "something wasn't right" and with the stigma of those around me who simply did not understand, or believed they had far better reasons to be ill than I ever had. I guess reliving some of the pain, however briefly, has been difficult for me.
Before I share my testimony in great detail, I want you to know that there is hope. If you are struggling in any way with mental illness there is hope. I found my hope in God's love and in a group of believers who demonstrated that love. They continue to encourage and lift me up today!
If you are struggling with mental illness and you haven't sought help, please do so today. Call your doctor or reach out to a friend or family member. There are resources available - call 211 to get a list of services in your area.
Hopefully by next week my "writer's block" will have lifted! Until then I encourage you to meditate on Galatians 6:2 this week. Reach out and help someone carry their burden.
Devotional Week #12
How do our personal filters, beliefs or lies begin? I have questioned this for many years. As I shared in Week #10, my filter became one where I believed the lies that I was worthless, useless and unlovable. With these beliefs how can anyone succeed? Yet, I have led a successful life. I worked for over 20 years as an Executive Assistant, I led local community support groups, I raised two children and the list goes on. I remember the days where I would make it to work, only to find myself unable to remain there. I remember the days where I wanted to just give up and on three occasions attempted to end my life.
The mind is a battlefield. It never shuts off. All of the things we have been taught, all of the experiences we have had and how we have interpreted them are stored in its massive database. If we retrieve the lies from this database often enough, we start to believe them!
How to combat those lies? We need to counteract them with the truth! I have read many books, taken many courses and have seen many professionals. I have spent weeks in the hospital. In 1998 I had 12 ECT treatments. However, it wasn't until I started to believe the truth that the word hope entered my database.
A book entitled, "Telling Myself the Truth" literally saved my life. I believe God wants me to share my journey through the principles in this book. Check back next week ....
I encourage you to meditate on John 8:31-32 this week.
Pastor Karen
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