Where Was God When I Was Abused? – Part 1

“Where was God when I was abused?” This question is extremely important for Christians that have survived abuse. In fact, it is a life defining question. As you know, I am on a journey to learn how to walk alongside people that have been abused in their quest to find healing. I am blessed to have a friend that has been guiding my journey, and one of the book she lent me is called, “Good News About Injustice,” by Gary A. Haugen. I am only 40 pages in, but the spiritual perspective he shares is invaluable.

where was god when i was abused

God Was There

One thing Haugen points out is that when Jesus ascended into heaven, He left two things behind: the Holy Spirit, and believers. He then goes onto explain that God expects us, you and I, believers of Jesus Christ, to seek justice, rebuke oppressors, and defend those that cannot defend themselves. If survivors and victims of abuse don’t qualify for this protection, I don’t know who does. He also writes that God feels very strongly and speaks specifically about abuse and injustice. Here are the scriptures that Haugen uses to prove this point:

“When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.’” -Isaiah 1:15-17

“For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.” -Psalms 72:12-14

“He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.” Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; Seek out his wickedness until You find none.” -Psalms 10:8-15

“The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. … “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. … “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” -Ezekiel 22:25, 27, &30

“So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” -Isaiah 59:15-16

Failure in the Christian Body

God has appointed Christians to seek out wickedness, intercede, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow, to stand in the gap! The church is guilty, guilty, guilty of victim blaming and shaming abuse victims into silence, but that is not God’s desire. Where was God when you were abused? He was weeping and asking where all the Christians were who should have stood in the gap for you. Do you see where it says in Psalm 10:15 that we should seek out the wickedness until we find none? That means that Christians must look for those that have been victimized, traumatized, and made helpless. I strongly believe that if we would be more vigilant to obey God’s Word, there would be a greater awareness about abuse. We would also be wise to remember that God’s plan for survivors of abuse is that “He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight,” as we see in Psalm 72:14. The victim blaming and shaming abuse victims into silence is sin and must stop.

Bear One Another’s Burdens

God never commanded us to avoid dealing with the effects of sin if they make us uncomfortable. Instead we are instructed, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” in Galatians 6:1-2. That means I am commanded to consider the sin you committed, or was committed against you, remembering how I feel when I am tempted to sin, or when I am sinned against. Then I am to respond to help you be restored spiritually, in a spirit of gentleness. If that isn’t clear enough, Paul clarifies with this specific command to “bear one another’s burdens,” so that I can fulfill the law of Christ. It’s a law of Jesus that I bear your burdens, and that you bear mine. That doesn’t mean I can dump all of my problems on you. I must always pray and be lead by the Spirit, acting in gentleness and with love.

Those that have been abused and silenced need someone to listen to them as God restores their sense of voice. They cannot share in the burdens of others at that moment. That is ok. This falls under the aspect of God’s perfect timing. God knows when we are brokenhearted and the Bible says during those times He is near to us (Psalm 34:18). During those times He will bring someone to help, to be near as He is near you in a supportive role. It is extremely unfortunate that so many Christians refuse to obey the commandment to bear one another’s burdens because it leaves a huge, gaping wound festering in the body of Christ. Will you pray with me that this will change?

Man Fails, God Does Not

We have to make the distinction between man failing to meet us in our most desperate need and God failing to be there. God is there, God was there, and man’s failure to obey should not discount God’s presence. This is a struggle to realize, and takes time, prayer, and proper support for survivors of abuse to accept.

I’m praying for you, and with you. And if you are standing in the gap to represent someone that has been abused, please don’t grow weary in doing good! You are obeying and honoring God in your actions. If you are the one that needs someone to stand in the gap for them, keep going! It is God’s desire for you to be redeemed from all the oppression and violence. You are precious in His sight!

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Recognizing Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Today I found Leslie Vernick’s website through a suggestion from April Cassidy (aka The Peaceful Wife), and I was pleasantly surprised to find a concise yet thorough explanation of what emotional and verbal abuse entail. I experienced constant verbal abuse growing up, but I have also experienced it as an adult. During the second occurrence I didn’t realize what was happening, but looking back I can see that all of these things happened to me. This is one of the things God revealed to me during my journey to walk alongside those who have been abused, and it is important for everyone to know.

verbal and emotional abuse

Take it away Leslie

Proverbs says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword” (Proverbs 12:18), and “Wise words bring many benefits” (Proverbs 12:14). “Gentle words are a tree of life, a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4). “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

Most often we think of name calling, cursing, profanity and mocking when we think of verbal abuse. However, verbal abuse can also be more subtle or covert. Constant criticism, blaming, discounting the feelings, thoughts and opinions of another, as well as manipulating words to deceive, mislead or confuse someone are also abusive. Proverbs warns us, “The words of the wicked conceal violent intentions” (Proverbs 10:6b).

Emotional abuse can also be characterized by degrading, embarrassing publicly, or humiliating someone in front of family, friends or work associates.

Nonphysical abuse is more than using words to hurt another. Emotional abusers systematically undermine their victim in order to gain control. Abusers weaken others in order to strengthen themselves. They know what matters most to their target (for example, her children, his work, her appearance, her family, his pet, her friends) and they seek to destroy it.

Realizing that I was abused verbally has helped me to cope with an extremely painful situation that has haunted me for years. Just finding the words to articulate that it was abuse, and not something I imagined, has made such a huge impact on my emotional state.

Thank you for your continued prayers as I read my way through different books and articles. I believe God is doing a work, and He is showing me how to help people that have been abused. I know your prayers have kept me from nightmares and panic attacks after hours of reading horrendous testimonies. Please keep praying!

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Dealing With Difficult Parents

The holiday season is here, and that means that many of us will be spending time with our parents (or in-laws). My father-in-law will be joining us for Christmas, and I am seriously excited. But I know not everyone experiences that excitement when they are going to be around their parents. I was talking to a good friend and asked how her Thanksgiving was and she said something along the lines of, “Really hard because of my parent.” That just broke my heart. It can be exhausting and discouraging on the holidays when you find yourself dealing with difficult parents. I believe that God has a specific plan for dealing with tense parental situations. It can be difficult for adults to know how to interact with their parents, and vice versa. I have no idea what it will be like to interact with my children once they are all grown up, but I imagine the emotions I will feel will be complicated. I wanted to share this excerpt from my book, “The Truth About Godly Confidence.” I feel like this is one of the most important parts of the book, because so many people struggle to accept the fact that their parents are sinful and make mistakes. At the same time, that isn’t how God is, since He is sinless, and we need to remember that.

I pray that you would have a blessed Christmas with your family members, and that this post will help.

dealing with difficult parents

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There is nothing that a small child desires more than the knowledge that they are loved. Over fifty years ago, in any town in any state in the United States, Satan thought he had won a very important battle. He made it a cultural stigma for fathers to tell their children that they loved them. Even the most loving men gave into the lie that it was shameful to verbally admit their parental love. Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up never hearing your father tell you that he loved you? I know that some of you experienced this horrible cultural phenomena, and I’m sorry. That was never God’s plan. Why would Satan wage such a battle? Damaged men and women, on their quest to feel some type of love and acceptance, embraced drugs, sex, and empty solutions to their soul problems. When parents, especially fathers, do not tell their children that they love and accept them, bad things happen. I don’t think Satan, with all his worldly knowledge, saw the Jesus movement coming in the 1970’s, but it did. The weapon God used to destroy Satan’s tactic was the love of Jesus Christ. This is was an interesting time in Christian history for the United States, and I think that it brings to light an interesting concept. We have already established in earlier chapters that God created us with the desire to feel loved. When individuals do not feel loved, broken hearts lead to bitter souls. Read more

Prolonged Waiting

“Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, ‘It’s all a lie’? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, ‘Oh yes, I believe God can do it,’ but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief.” -Oswald Chambers

The last few months have been really rough for me spiritually. If we’re being honest, I think we can all agree that seasons of prolonged waiting are no fun. The product is amazing (read James 1), but these seasons create plenty of growing pains, don’t they? Sometimes God tells us something, and it doesn’t happen in the timeline of when we assume it will happen, and it’s hard. It’s just hard to wait. I don’t know what else to say. There were so many verses that God gave me about waiting and trusting Him through this period, and while they made the waiting more bearable, I have still been struggling.

prolonged waiting

This weekend every member of my family had a nasty cold. I am still dealing with a cough and sinus headaches, but I’ve been able to function today, which I appreciate. When I get sick, I spend a lot of time praying. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because when you’re sick, you just need your parents. Yes, even as an adult. But my parents are thousands of miles away, so I spend a lot of time talking to my Heavenly Father. I actually think God caused the sickness on purpose to draw my husband and I closer to Him over the last few days. Our weekend had been jam packed, and slowly we canceled a few things and some other things got canceled until there was nothing to do but hang out as a sick family, and spend a lot of time praying once the kids were in bed. We also watched Star Trek TNG and Fixer Upper on Netflix, but there was definitely a lot of prayer mixed in.

I still don’t feel like going into all of the details about why we’re waiting and what we’re waiting for, and I don’t know if I ever will be, but I finally had this realization this morning. I trust God implicitly with the most important things in my life, my family. That was a lesson God taught me early in my marriage when my daughter had to have skull reconstruction surgery as a 3-month-old, but the things I learned back then still stick with me. If I can trust God with something so important, then why can’t I trust Him to take care of something I care about less? It doesn’t make sense. I know I can trust Him, and I just need to do it. Am I tired of waiting? Yes, I’m exhausted. I’m weary. I have no more strength. But God is the only One that never grows weary, so I know I can turn to Him to carry this for me until He gives us our answer. I have hope in Him. Here are a few verse chunks that God has used to encourage me lately. I pray they are an encouragement to you as well.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31

“Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.” -Psalm 25:3

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” -Romans 5:5

“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” -Isaiah 30:18

“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” -Psalm 27:14

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin

My Personal Struggle With Masturbation

Yes, you read the title right. Some of you are frequently saying, “Kristin, why do you even need a personal journal? You already tell us everything! You are so transparent!” Well, I don’t tell you everything. But over the last few months, I have felt God stirring me to share my struggle in this specific area, because I am finally far enough a way from it that I can talk about it. I can’t tell you how many years it has been since I’ve lapsed into this destructive and damaging behavior, because I haven’t been keeping track, but it has been a while. Am I mortified to share about this publicly? Of course, but God told me to, so I’m pushing through that.

my personal struggle with masturbation

But The Bible Doesn’t Say…

I will be the first one to admit that the Bible doesn’t specifically say that masturbation (aka self-gratification) is a sin. It doesn’t, and if you see people using the verse below to say that, you should humbly challenge them.

“And Judah said to Onan, ‘God in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.’ But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also.” Genesis 38:8-10

The point of this verse isn’t that “emitting” on the ground will get you killed. That is lazy Bible teaching. In this situation Onan’s heart was against God’s will from the very beginning, and his defiance against the Lord shows how rebellious his heart was. This post isn’t about an open act of rebellion against God (although sin is rebellion against God in nature). This post is about an addictive behavior that causes guilt, shame, and can damage our relationship with God.

A “Natural” Curiosity

My husband and I have been talking about this topic a lot because we have kids, and we are trying to decide what age is appropriate to introduce more in depth facts about human physiology to them. My husband was shocked when I told him I wasn’t even aware I had a vagina until my mom told me when she was explaining God’s plan for reproduction. Listen, girl parts are not self activating like boy parts are. I just didn’t know. But once I found out I kept hearing things like, “It is natural to explore your body,” from peers, teachers in my health class, magazines, and television. If you think your kids won’t pick up on these clues from the world, you’re probably wrong. I wish someone had taken me aside and said, “This behavior is going to follow you into your marriage and cause you guilt for years.” But my parents didn’t know about it, and I sure wasn’t going to tell them! Read more

Free Devotional on Mark by Cheryl Brodersen

Hi there,

I have been on kind of a hiatus from this blog lately but I wanted to let you know that Cheryl Brodersen is giving away a free devotional plan on the book of mark through her website, “Gracious Words.” Here is the link to the PDF —> The Mark Challenge

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I have been dealing with a lot personally and family wise, but I am working on a few new podcasts that will probably appear sometime in December. I signed up for the National Novel Writing Month for November and am going to be writing parts 2 and 3 of All About Olive: Newfangled. If you are looking for a writing buddy, my user name is “knspence.”

Let me leave you with this, one of the many verses God has been using to encourage me to continue to trust in His plan for my life:

“For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: ‘Do not harder your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when you fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.'” -Psalm 95:7-9

Do you see that reminder not to be rebellious in there? Yeah, I need that warning right about now. I have seen God do amazing and miraculous things, and I don’t want to test Him. I’m praying that He will keep me until that day when I see His face.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Kristin’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I reluctantly share this post with the hope that all my Greek friends will still let me make these for them now that they have this recipe 🙂 and can make them at home.

chocolate chip cookie recipe

I had a standard family recipe that I tried to use here in Greece, but the results were never the same as the cookies back in the States, so I worked out this recipe, which I now like even better. Sorry Mom! My mom does have the consolation, however, that her recipe was the one I used to steal my husband’s heart. Yes, cookies stole his heart. My children and I call him the Cookie Monster.

Without further delay, here is my recipe for American style Chocolate Chip Cookies in European measurements.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe_2

Kristin’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients –

-113 grams Butter (left out of the fridge to soften)

-150 grams Brown Sugar

-170 grams Granulated Sugar

-2 Eggs

-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

-1 teaspoon Salt

-1 teaspoon Baking Soda

-2 teaspoons Baking Powder

-420 grams All-Purpose Flour

-200 grams Plain Chocolate Bars cut up into small pieces

Directions –

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (or 360 degrees F). If you have a fan option, use the fan (convection), because your cookies will turn out with a slightly crispy outside.

2. Cream butter until thoroughly smooth. You can do this in a stand mixer, with a hand mixer, or if you are old fashioned, a big fork.

3. Mix in both the brown and granulated sugar. Stir together well.

4. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla extract, mix again until all ingredients are combined well.

5. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt into flour and mix well. Add the flour mixture in three separate scoops. Mix after adding each scoop so that everything is mixed thoroughly.

6. Add chocolate chunks, mix again. By this point you should avoid using your hand mixer as the chocolate chunks make this pretty difficult to mix. This is great work out for your arms, though.

7. Use a medium sized spoon to scoop out individual cookies. You can plop them right onto your sheet pan (covered with parchment paper or a silpat), or you can roll them in your hands first then smash them down to make them look more finished. If you are going to roll them, it is easier if you put the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes first so it gets firm. Either way they will taste delicious. Leave about 5 cm between each cookie because they expand a little when they bake. I can usually fit 16 on a sheet.

8. Bake for 7 minutes (or 8 if you are not using a convection oven). Once you pull them out of the oven it is best to use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack, but if you can skip this step for simplicity’s sake. Although they don’t stay as crispy on the edges if you don’t cool them on the rack.

9. Repeat until you have baked all your cookie dough.

Enjoy!

You can also make this dough ahead of time and store it wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 3 days safely.

God Doesn’t Want You To Cut

Please make sure that after you read this article, you check out Part 2.

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I know that cutting, or self mutilation, has become a common way of dealing with anger an pain in many societies in different parts of the world. Over the past few months, this topic has come up over and over again, and I thought it was time to talk about it.

God doesn't want you to cut.

The Rush Of Control

I have never cut myself. I just want to be straight forward. I do know though, that there are some similarities between the feeling that someone who cuts feels when they cut, and the feeling that you get when you have hunger pains and you have disordered eating. If you don’t already know, I have a past of disordered eating, so that is why I am making this comparison. Hunger pains gave me a sense of being in control of something in my life, and they made me feel a release from stress. But it was always temporary, and it was destructive to my body. Not only that, but it was destructive to my spiritual self because I was feeding my flesh by taking control of my situation rather than trusting God to help me through whatever the situation was.

You Are Not Your Own

I’m not going to go into the Old Testament verses about marking your body and all that. I don’t think that most people cutting today are doing it as a sign of worship to another person or false god like they were in the Old Testament, but when you cut, you are taking part in an activity that is against God’s will. Here is the verse that anyone who has a disorder where they harm their body in one way or another should memorize:

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a prince; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

God loves you, and when He made you, it wasn’t part of His plan for you to hurt yourself. In fact, He doesn’t want you to try to deal with life’s difficulties on your own. I think that is a trap we often fall into. We don’t know how to get through hard times on our own, and so we set up coping methods. But what does the Bible say about getting through life’s difficulties?

Jesus Gives Rest To The Weary

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28

Go to Jesus. Does that sound too simple to you? Well it isn’t as simple as it sounds, because in order to go to Jesus and give Him our problems, it means we are giving up our right to be in control. If you want to receive rest from Jesus, you have to let Him take control. That is what it is talking about in this verse when it refers to the yoke. This was a tool that you could use to harness ox power to plow your field. Jesus is saying, “Strap in with Me, and I’ll drive.” The question is, do you really want to be given rest? If so, you need to make the decision to let Jesus drive, give Him control of your life. He won’t take it from you. You have to be willing to let Him give you rest.

The Flip Side

We can see clearly that God wants to deliver us from our burdens, but what does the opposite side look like?

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” -1 Peter 5:6-8

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” -John 10:10

One one side of this battle is God. He wants to give you life more abundantly. God wants you to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. On the other side we have Satan, aka the thief, who wants to devour you. He wants to steal every good thing from you. He wants to kill you. He wants to destroy you. This is why he uses things like cutting and eating disorders to give us false and temporary comfort while he is slowly convincing us that these destructive behaviors somehow empower us. We have to remember that Satan is a liar. God loves us and shares the truth with us so we can be set free. He cares for us. He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be with Him for all of eternity. What good thing has Satan ever done for us? Not a thing! Not one thing.

You Aren’t Alone

If you are struggling with cutting or any other kind of self mutilation or destructive disorder, you are not alone. Remember this from 1 Peter 5:8 from the previous paragraph,  “knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” Satan wants you to feel alone in this behavior, but like we established before, he’s a liar. Reach out and get help. There are people in your church that would love to walk with you through this trial. Go see a Christian counselor for help. They may refer you to a Psychiatrist to help you with underlying physiological problems that are contributing to your spiritual problems. There is nothing wrong with taking drugs. Pharmaceuticals will not solve all of your problems, but they can be used as a tool to help in certain cases as determined by your team of counselors and doctors. Just remember that at the same time you should also be addressing your spiritual needs by seeking out someone to work with you, discipling you and giving you biblical counsel.

Let’s pray.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for Your love for us. That You care for us, and that You desire to help us through any difficulties that come into our lives. Please help us to resist the devil and his destructive nature? Help us to trust You, and to allow You to have control over everything we do? Thank you that we are not alone in our struggles, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen

I hope that this post has encouraged you. I’m praying for you, that God would give you victory over these destructive coping mechanisms as you learn to trust more and more in Him.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

A Love Note From My Heavenly Father

Let me preface this post by saying that today has been rough. My faith wavered for a moment and I had to remember that God is greater. My kids yelled at each other. My amazing husband and I had an argument (which we later resolved). In general it was a depressing day for me. But this post is not about today. This post is about yesterday, when God made sure that I know without a doubt that He loves me.

love notes from my heavenly father

Fresh Figs

There are some things I enjoy in life, that I simply cannot afford. One of those things is a batch of fresh green figs. They cost around 7 euros per pack at the grocery store, and those ones are not even that great. The good stuff comes from the village. Last year my neighbor brought me fresh figs and fig jam when she came back from her village. It was my first time tasting fresh figs from the village, and I was elated. I cannot begin to explain how amazing these things taste, but it is a sweet, fresh, and unique flavor that makes my mouth water. Plus they are healthy, an added bonus. I have to keep running back to the fridge to get more figs as I type this. Seriously, yum!

A Random Prayer

Earlier this summer I faced the sad fact that my neighbor would be gone until early September, and that meant no figs would be pleasuring my palate. I knew I was not going to pay over 7 euros for a six pack at the store. These figs are seasonal, and if you don’t get any in August, you won’t get any fresh for the rest of the year. So I prayed. I said, “God, if you could somehow send some village figs my way, I would love it.” I prayed it once, and stopped drooling over the idea of figs, until yesterday.

Our other neighbor, Sophia, an adorable and very active γιαγιά (grandmother), stopped by randomly yesterday to drop off 10 figs she brought me from her daughter’s village, two hours away! Travis answered the front door, and as soon as I heard the word “σύκα” (Greek for “figs”), I did a fist pump and said, “Yeesssss!” My daughter asked me what I was so excited about.

You need to understand that this blessing was specifically for me. No one else in my family likes figs. My kids could not understand why mommy was so excited and hopping around like a bunny in the living room. I even heard a, “Ew, I don’t like those!” from one of my little darlings.

So when you ask, “Does God really care about the little things in my life?” I respond with an emphatic, “Yes!” He really does. He sent figs from two hours away to my front door, just to bless me. God loves me, and yesterday He made sure I had a tasty reminder of that amazing and unfailing love.

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” -Psalm 103:6 (ESV)

He sent me a love note, if you will. He listens when I pray, and He cares about the little things that other people would forget. This is just one of many examples of these “love notes” in my life. Another time I prayed for God to heal the leather on my Dad’s old Bible that I use, because it was cracked and falling apart. That love note required the help from several other individuals, but God made it happen (and not the way I thought). But that’s a story for another post. For now, I’m going to go eat my figs. Thank You, Lord, for this delicious reminder of Your love for me personally.

Has God ever left you a love note? What was it?

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin

The Basics: To Hear God’s Voice

This post is part of “The Basics” series, a series all about the basics of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

The last post in this series was about praying. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. But what comes next? Well if you want to get to know God better, and start trusting Him, you need to give Him opportunities to talk to you, to teach you, to love you. This starts with the regular intake of God’s word, but we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand what God is trying to tell us.  We need to hear God’s still, small voice.

We need to hear God's voice

Nothing At All

One of the things that alluded me most when I was a baby Christian was hearing from God. I remember that I wanted to hear from Him so badly, but days would go by without anything. Not a verse, not a word, not an answered prayer. I read my bible every day, but some days I didn’t understand the connection between the words on paper, and my life.

Looking back on those times has made me think about you, dear reader. I have spent a lot of time praying about this specific topic, asking God to show me what He would have me say to you about it.

The Practicing Stage

When I was praying about it God reminded of a common scene that took place in my life at that time. I can still see myself, sitting at my desk (under my lofted bed), resting my feet on the ledge while I reclined in my office chair, quiet. Not saying anything. Trying not to think. Practicing. Listening.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they know Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28

I don’t mind being the dumb sheep in this equation as long as the brave, strong shepherd is Jesus Christ. Sheep know the specific voice of their shepherd, but why? Because they hear it over and over again. They spend time with the shepherd until one day they would be able to tell his voice apart from any other voice. That is the same thing we need to do when we are getting to know Jesus. We need to spend time listening to Him. That doesn’t always mean we will hear Him, but we need to practice so that day can come when we can tell His voice apart from all of the others. We need to invest time in trying to understand our Father in heaven. Do you ever pray and then just sit there waiting for an answer? I used to do just that. I would sit there and try to focus on hearing from God. Many times nothing would happen, but it was good practice, and these days I do hear from God a lot more often.

Sitting Still

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

I could take this verse very literally and say, “Sit still!” when you want to hear from God. But I don’t think that is what this verse means. On one level, sure, but there is so much more to it than that. For men maybe this verse means, “Stop trying to fix this!” For women I feel like this verse means, “Stop worrying and overthinking everything. Relax and trust me. I’m God. Stop letting your mind run scenarios like a hamster on a wheel, going nowhere. I’ve got this.” Notice that God has to use a few more words to get through to us women 😉 I don’t know about you, but I am very tempted not to sit still. I want to do something when I have a problem or something comes up. I always want to go talk to someone about everything. In fact I want to go talk to many someones. I think talking over everything in detail will make me feel better. Over the years, however, God has shown me that I need to take my worries and hurts to Him first. First of all, I may be overreacting, which He lovingly reminds me of once I calm down if that is the case. Secondly, I don’t want to involve anyone else in gossip, if the thing that is upsetting me has to do with someone else. Sometimes the best way for me to tell God about what is really bothering me is to think about what I would say to a close friend, and then say it to God instead. Being still means that you don’t react based on your emotions, but take a moment, talk to God, and try to deal with the situation based on God’s Word and God’s desires for your life. As a parent, I am constantly being tested in this area.

Am I Really Saying That God Speaks

I know that everyone has different experiences when it comes to hearing from God. I think we all know when He is speaking to us through a verse in the bible, when we hear the same phrase from several different people within a few days, or when someone prays for us about something that we never told them about. These are generally accepted ways of hearing from God in the Christian community. But then there are arguments about whether people actually hear from God individually. I can tell you that in my own life, I also experience God as a type of consciousness.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Sometimes I hear a voice in my head telling me to do something, or responding to a question during prayer. It sounds a lot like my inner voice (like when you read) but it is a lot quieter, gentler, and doesn’t get angry like I do. This voice also says things that are far too wise to come from myself. If you think I’m being crazy, I don’t care, that’s ok. But if you relate to what I am saying, then I wrote this for you.

That Other Voice

If you already thought I was being crazy when I talked about hearing a conscious form of God speaking to me, you are not going to like this next part. There have been a few times in my life when I have experienced hearing another voice, kind of like the voice I described earlier. However it actually sounded and felt different— it wasn’t wise, at all. It was condemning and challenged me to do stupid things that would put my family and I in danger in a quest for self righteousness. God would never do that. I don’t want to scare you, I just want you to know to be careful. We do know this about satan:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10a

This is Jesus talking about satan… whom he calls, “the thief.” If you don’t think that satan will try to imitate God’s methods of communications to make you an ineffective Christian, you are wrong. Use discretion and listen for the Holy Spirit warning you, telling you not to listen to this destructive force that seeks to manipulate, steal, kill, and destroy.

That is all I have for this week about hearing God’s voice. If you have any questions about this topic, please send them in and I would love to do my best to answer them.

Next time, I will be talking about my new book, “The Truth About Godly Confidence,” that will hit online retailers next week. I hope you will join me for that.

Let’s pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this time. Lord, I pray that You would please help my sisters to know how to hear from you. I know that there is a specific way that you desire to speak to each one of them. I pray that they would learn to be still so that they can hear Your voice, which we all need so desperately. Thank You that You actually want to communicate with us, and that You love us so much that you sent Your Son to die on the cross so that we can be with You in heaven for all eternity. We love you Lord.

In Your Son’s precious name,

Amen

I hope you tune in next week!

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin