Bam! Bam! Bam! My head bounced off the wall behind me. Anger and rage, as if something dark had completely consumed his body. Blank, black, nothingness in the eyes of my father, as I looked back in anger and disbelief.
How could he?
Why would he?
I did everything he wanted me to—where did I go wrong?
Thoughts racing one hundred miles per hour through my head—as I experienced demons face to face.
The demons of my earthly father—stared deep into my soul—as I prayed- “Lord, help me! Forgive him for he knows not what he is doing.”
In the split seconds of this all unfolding—I remember thinking I hope the picture on the wall above me does not fall and hit us— how far is he going to go—When I get my feet back on the ground—I am out of here!
He finally let go, as my feet hit the ground, the words spewed out of my mouth—like word vomit “YOU ARE FLIPPING (only I said the real one—the big one—the “F” bomb”) OUT OF CONTROL—I AM OUT OF HERE!”
I quickly walked towards the door—grabbed my purse—in attempt to exit without any further exchanges.
I knew better than that.
As more words of hate, anger, and bitterness spewed from his mouth towards me—I stood in shock, anger, and disbelief—after everything I have done and been through—this is what I get?
And there it was again—the word vomit—It was like I had zero control over my words—and out it came— “IT WAS MY SON—MY SON—THAT THEY TOOK AWAY! HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL?” I screamed, before I quickly left—giving him a dose of his favorite angry gesture—I slammed the door behind me and b-lined home.
I lived next door at the time, so I did not have far to go and there was not much distance between us—we literally shared a yard. This was the beginning of the end, the boiling point that would bring me to where I am today. After about thirty-one years of struggling, fighting, and going through some of the darkest days of my life—It was time to Rise!
Rise Up! Be the woman I am called to be—take my life back—find my freedom and joy once again.
After many years of praying, seeking, and crying out—God answered me. His answer was NOT one I expected nor one I liked.
He said to me, clear as day—”Stephanie, are you going to listen to Me, God the Father, or your earthly father? You cannot live to please us both. Seek first my kingdom and all things will be added to you.”
“Ok, God—I am all in—I don’t know what this means or where you are going to lead me next—but I am all Yours.” I said, “You lead the way.”
Take a journey with me through a season of devastation, loss, abuse, and heartache. From victim to victor—from trials to triumph—from loneliness to surrounded by God’s love and presence.
Read through my time of struggle and see the relations to your life trials. Learn that no matter what, God is on your side.
When the pressure is on—it is not a time to quit—it is the time to rise up!
To read the rest of my testimony get your e-book or paperback copy on Amazon!
When I was a child in elementary school our school had a program called, ‘Challenge Ed’. Challenge education is a complex synthesis of a variety of therapeutic, educational, recreational, rehabilitative, and enrichment strategies. It was one of the best parts of every year.
We would take a field trip to a place that was set up in an obstacle coarse style. Each station had a goal to achieve as a class or individually. Each station was designed to help strengthen different strategies for approaching and solving tough obstacles.
One of the main lessons I remember that was consistently practiced and a lot of emphasis was given to is the trust fall. For those of you who may not know what the trust fall exercise is– let me explain.
It was a safety exercise that each person had to complete before each station was attempted.
The students were broke into groups of two– one as a spotter– one as the ‘faller’. The idea was to build trust with our classmates and learn that we all need someone reliable to catch us if we fall. The exercise went like this:
Faller asks: Spotter ready?
Spotter says: Ready.
Faller asks: Ready to fall?
Spotter says: Fall.
Faller says: Falling.
Then the faller– with arms crossed on their chest– falls back. The spotter is behind and catches the faller as they begin to fall back and help them stand back up. After that, the faller and spotter switch positions and the challenge repeats.
Once the trust fall challenge was complete– each student took their turn at attempting to complete the obstacle. The one completing the obstacle was the ‘faller’ in the trust fall example. Each spotter than surrounded the obstacle and would encourage and assist the faller in navigating their way through the obstacle– warning before missteps, and nearby to catch them if they fall.
The trust fall we did in elementary school reminds me a lot about the reality of life and the need we have for a spotter (a Savior) on a daily basis.
We navigate our way through life’s obstacles daily– some are easy– while others are rather difficult. Navigating through day to day life is a lot like navigating through a new challenge on the obstacle course– we are going to misstep, slip, or even fall off and have to start over.
The importance lies in our safety net– who or what is your ‘spotter’. When you slip, misstep, or fall off the wagon completely in your daily life– who is there to catch you? It is called a ‘trust fall’ are you putting your trust into unreliable people or things?
8 Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet. 3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors: 4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.
13 A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing. 14 For she sits at the door of her house, On a seat by the highest places of the city, 15 To call to those who pass by, Who go straight on their way:
Hearts inclined to God hear wisdom. Hearts with little depth and no desire for God hear folly (lack of good sense; foolishness).
The tongue contains the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21) A good ‘spotter’ in life will always speak life and wisdom with the power of their tongue. The Bible tells us wise words bring healing (Proverbs 12:18), and a soft answers turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up strife. (Proverbs 15:1)
Choosing the Ultimate Spotter
We can choose a spotter that is of the world– people like friends, family, spouses– and they may be a ‘good safety net’ 50 percent of the time. Meaning half of the time or more– when you misstep or fall– there will be no one there to catch you and stand you back upright.
People fail us because we are human. We make choices daily that have an affect on us one way or another. Having a solid, unfailing safety net that works 100 percent of the time is essential.
So, who is the ultimate spotter- who is the one that we can trust to catch us 100 percent of the time when we fall- and the only one who is perfect- full of wisdom and speaks no folly. Who is the one who will guide you’re every step if you are diligently practicing the trust fall challenge?
Jesus- our one and only true Savior in this world.
Seeking wisdom through His word and exercising your faith- diligently practicing the trust fall challenge.
We are the ‘faller’- He is the ‘spotter’.
We ask Jesus, are You ready?
Jesus says to us: He is always ready.
We ask: are you ready to catch me when I step out in faith?
Jesus says: Step- I will catch you when you fall.
We say: I have stepped out in faith- and I am falling.
Jesus calmly, not phased, or surprised by our misstep– simply set’s us back up and encourages us to step again.
I have heard it said like this before:
It does not matter how many times you fall or misstep- what matters is that you get back up again.
Having the ultimate spotter- Jesus- with each step you take will ensure you have the support and encouragement to rise again.
For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity Note:(calamity is an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster)
I encourage you today to evaluate your trust fall. Where does your trust lie- with people or things-or with God?
If you are not consulting God or putting your trust into Him- you will likely face an obstacle in life that knocks you down and you will struggle to get back up again. Leaving you feeling hopeless, helpless, and stuck.
I am writing this to tell you that you do NOT have to stay stuck in a rut. God will be your rope of hope that lifts you out of deep trenches and calmly sets you back on your feet to try again.
Thank you Lord for being a God that we can trust. Thank you for being near to us and ready to catch us anytime we misstep or fall. I am thankful you are a God of encouragement and understanding- you take our missteps and use them for good for Your kingdom. Forgive me God, for putting my trust into the wrong things. Forgive me for not turning to you to lift me up and set my feet back upon Your rock of truth. I pray each person who reads this would hear the message You are trying to teach us. I pray each of us would evaluate who we have as our spotter for life’s daily trust fall challenge. I pray that each person’s eyes, ears, and hearts are opened and inclined to hear Your word. I pray that the voices of those who speak folly would be silenced as we seek to rise again in You. It is in Jesus name I pray.
Racing thoughts- elevated blood pressure- body sweats- and the sinking feeling in your stomach are common reactions when a crisis strikes in your life. Everything as you know it is about to change- your fearful and overcome with emotion- what am I going to do?
There are two options in this situation- Trust God or Do not trust God. Hand it all over to Him and let Him work it out or frantically start trying to ‘fix’ the situation yourself.
I will give you- a hint one works and one causes a lot more hurt and only further complicates the situation.
In 2 Chronicles 20:20 Jehoshaphat was faced with a serious crisis when he was attacked by enemies on all sides. This was a great moment of desperation for him and he ordered the nation of Israel to worship God and call on Him for deliverance.
Jehoshaphat said, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established, believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
He knew that he alone could not win the battle- so he focused the nations attention to the only One who really could deliver them- God.
The scripture goes on to explain that the Lord set ambushes against the people who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
God does not always take us out of a crisis, but He will always see us through it.
If we put our full trust in Him and cry out for His deliverance- He will protect us and bring good to us through the battle. When we put our trust in the Lord- we can not lose- when God is in control we always win the battle.
A few years ago a crisis struck my life and shook my faith like never before! It was an extremely ugly custody battle over my son. I was being attacked on all sides- the court- my family- attorneys- work- and a toxic home life, I had yet to face.
To say it brought me to my knees would be an under statement. My son is my life. How would I go on if he no longer was with on a daily basis. I felt my world begin to crumble around me.
I began seeking and crying out to God like never before. I was a Christian but I did not know God like I do today. He began to expose many chains that had me bound. He exposed my inner self to me- He exposed the toxicity that I was living with daily from my father- He exposed how little trust I actually had in Him.
I have always said I trust and believe in God. That He is my Savior and watches over me. However, saying these things and truly living them with all your heart is two very different things.
As I began to seek Him for answers to the catastrophe of a life I was living- He answered! It was not the answer I wanted, nor the one I thought I would receive, but in the end it was exactly what I had been praying and begging God for.
He knows the desires of our heart and He hears every prayer- it is our job to listen to Him and trust in His response.
I thought I would share with you the battle prayer I wrote when going through some of the darkest- most difficult- times of my life.
My Battle Prayer
Listen to me cry out for I am in desperate need. (Psalm 142:6) Lord God when they plot against me, they figure out how they can take my life, But I trust in you O Lord I declare “You are my God” you determine my destiny rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who chase me. (Psalm 31:13-15) Remind me you have not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Indeed Lord God you are my rock and my fortress for the sake of your name lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3) Lord Jesus when I am surrounded by trouble you keep me safe you oppose my angry enemies and save me by your power, you will do everything you have promised. (Psalm 138:7) For when I am afraid I will trust in you, I praise God for his word I trust God so I am not afraid. What can human beings do to me?(Psalm 56:3-4) Lord God I pray for the blessing you promised of giving words of wisdom that none of my enemies will be able to prove wrong. (Luke 21:15) Lord you are there and know what I should do when I am ready to give up. (Psalm 142:3) Lord help us to remember the weapons of our warfare is not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:4) Lord you said “the captives of warriors will be released and the tyrants will be retrieved for I will fight those who fight you and I will save your children” (Isaiah 49:25) and I pray this to be true over my life and my family. Lord God I pray you remind me of what you said in Isaiah 41 “Fear not, for I am with you, Be not dismayed for I am your God I will strengthen you, Yes I will help you , I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” “For I , the Lord your God will hold your right hand saying to you fear not I will help you” God I thank you for the blessing and power of prayer for Jesus answered and said, “Have faith in God, for assuredly I say to you whoever says to this mountain “Be removed and be cast in the sea” and does NOT doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you whatever things you ask when you pray believe that you receive them and you will have them. (Mark 11:22-24) I pray this to be true over my family and my current troubles Lord God. I pray you use this situation to turn bad into good to glorify your name and your kingdom. When we are feeling overwhelmed by all going on give us encouragement, when we’re running out of strength give us endurance. In spite of everything help us know your peace and joy. (Romans 15:5 14:7)If god is with us, no one can defeat us. But in all things we have full victory through God who showed his love for us. (Romans 8) Lord Jesus I pray you dress me in the armor of God having “girded my waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:14-17) and stop all evil and allow your will to be done. Lord Jesus thank you for all these promises and all the guidance you provide. I pray this unto you in the name of Jesus.
To have faith means more than just believing in something. Faith is defined in Hebrews as ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’. Faith usually starts out certain. When people believe that God will fulfill His promises to us- they are showing true faith. True faith believes even when you can not see any evidence, despite trusting in God and His character.
True faith is believing in God’s promises and that His works are always good for those who love Him.
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
When people have faith in God, they know without a doubt that He will always keep His promises, He will always protect them, and He will never leave them.
Each day people of faith have to make choices in this world- usually doing so based on their unseen reality of their eternity in heaven.
People of faith preserver- despite pain, hardship, and persecution, because they know that God is with them through it all.
People claim to believe in God all the time- but do they really know who He is?
To know God intimately- faith is required. There must be a willingness to believe through the unseen that God exists and that His rewards are certain.
When having faith people discover how to unlock the power of having full trust in God and relying solely on Him. The power of salvation- through a personal relationship with Him.
Do you ‘believe in God’ or do you know God through a personal relationship with Him?
I want to thank you for this beautiful day and for Your message on faith. Lord, I confess sometimes it is easy to lose sight of my faith because of the burdensome and painful circumstances that can arise on any given day. Lord I pray that my faith would be increased, that we would keep our eyes on You and Your promises. Remind us Lord that seeing is not believing but believing is seeing. I pray each person would want to come to know You and learn about Your unfailing love and promises kept. I pray that You would increase thee faith of each person reading this in the mighty name of Jesus I pray.
This Bible story comes from Genesis 18:1-15 and Genesis 21:1-7.
Abram and Sarai were now known as Abraham and Sarah. God had told them to change their names. They were living in a tent and just as Abraham had before, he sat outside the tent wishing that he and Sarah could have a child. Abraham remembered what God had promised, “I am going to give you children, Abraham.”
This was so long ago Abraham thought. Is God going to keep His promise? Abraham really was hoping so, since this was what he and Sarah both wanted badly.
When Abraham lifted his eyes, he saw three men next to him. He ran to them immediately, and bowed. He asked the men to allow him to get them water to wash their feet and prepare them a meal and drink, while they rest under a tree nearby.
The men agreed and told him to do as he has said.
Abraham hurried back into the tent and told Sarah to prepare three fine meals. He then hurried to the herd and got a calf; the meal was prepared and set before the men under the tree.
It’s obvious these three men are not just any men, since they just appeared. The Bible later explains that two are angels and one a manifestation of God.
The men asked Abraham where his wife Sarah was at and he told them she was there, in the tent.
The men then told Abraham that his wife Sarah would bear a child within a year.
Sarah was listening nearby and knew she had passed the age of child bearing. So, she laughed to herself, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
The Lord asked Abraham why did Sarah laugh and say she was too old to bear a child. Is anything to hard for the Lord? I will return to you in a year, and Sarah shall have a child. You can always trust in what God says.
God fulfills His promise.
One year later the Lord visited Sarah and He had done what He had promised. Sarah and Abraham had a child, his name was Isaac.
Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham was 100 years old. Sarah was so happy, she laughed. Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.”
This story shows that God always fulfills His promises. It may not be when or how we think He should do it but God’s Word can ALWAYS be trusted. He is in control and it’s never too late for God to fulfill His purpose and promises in You.
Learning to pick and choose our battles wisely is not an easy task to do- but it is possible! Every household runs differently and our home lives vary greatly. Some households are constantly on the move, have high stress levels, and often consist of bickering- resulting in total exhaustion daily. While other households look very different- peaceful through the times of high stress, making a priority of time for family, and not bickering over the “little things” in life. Accepting the unknown and living in peace while waiting for God to fulfill His purpose.
As humans we are often high strung, stressed out, and always “busy” with what is happening in life- often times- neglecting the things that matter most- God, Family, and Peace. These things should be the ultimate priorities- the ones at the top of our list- to ensure we our living a joyful and prosperous life.
Have you ever heard the saying you need to stop and smell the flowers? This is often said to someone you are trying to tell to “slow down” and enjoy the little things in life. The smallest things can be the most beautiful experiences and memories. Things we will cherish for years to come.
So how do we do this? To find peace you need to know the author of peace- God.
Then you need to build your relationship with Jesus and learn what the word of God (the Bible) says about each area in your life that you struggle with.
Resting in the Lord begins with learning to trust in the Lord. True peace and rest comes when you seek God above all else. Looking to Him for guidance and direction. Accepting His peace, that surpasses all understanding- knowing that we are not in control-He is. If we trust in the Lord with all our heart and all our might- He will always bring us through, be our strength and our refuge in the storm.
In order for someone to enter in to true rest with God they have to know He is trustworthy and reliable. God is on our side- He has a plan to help us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.
Once trust is established and one accepts and acknowledges Christ as their Savior- He begins to renew us and strengthen us through Him. This enables one to not fret or grow weary in doing good and waiting on the Lord’s will to be fulfilled.
God’s will is ALWAYS GOOD. Once we put our trust into Him- resting in His promises begins to come easier as we seek Him. Knowing and trusting that in His perfect timing we will reap what He has promised us.
The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
One who is sincere in searching for the truth will ask questions either directly or indirectly. Questions that help lead them to the truth, such as: What is truth? Where can I find it? How do I know when I find it?- and so on. On the other hand there are those who lack the sincerity of finding truth and often settle for the mindset- truth is whatever is true for me. The problem with this thinking is many people believe lies, false truths, and even have little to no knowledge of something, then go on to claim facts about a particular subject can not be true. This is a distorted way of thinking and living- robbing the person of the absolute truth which can and will set them free.
The good news is that the truth can be discovered, defined, and experienced. Making the reality- that what a person believes- DOES matter. Truth matters.
What is truth?
Dictionary.com defines truth as that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Truth can not be altered and refers to things how they really are- no matter what people may believe. In the world we live in today postmodernism advocates that “something is true, if its true for me.”
Christians deny this definition because we believe in absolute truth, meaning that truth is truth- regardless of a person’s personal experiences. In order for something to be considered “truth” it must be measured, but NOT against what they believe- but against absolute truth.
God is the Absolute truth and is the foundation for all truth because He is truth.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
God loves truth and hates falsehood.
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
God can NOT lie!
Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
Because God is truth- He holds His people to His standard of truth. Psalm 51:6 tells us we will desire the truth in our inward parts. People of truth exhibit behavior that matches their words. They seek to be accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
How can we be people of truth?
We can ask God to help us. Ask Him to lead you, guide you, and teach you what is true and acceptable to God. (Ps. 25:5) The Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, will lead us to the truth of God’s word, give us receptive hearts and minds, and submissive will to know the truth, be the truth, and do the truth. When someone is sincere about seeking the spiritual truth, the Holy Spirit, will bear witness in our spirit through God’s word and we will know it is the truth.
In order to be a person of truth you must be genuine and authentic. This includes being honest with yourself in all areas of your life. Truth will not settle for anything less than honesty with yourself and others. When you seek the truth- it has a way of shining the light into the dark areas of our life- so that we can clean it up, dust it off, and move forward in truth.
When we are people of truth and know the absolute truth, we will behave accordingly. Truth will inspire us to live authentic lives and speak authentic truth. Truth will refuse to rename sin in our life or the lives of others. Truth will urge us to speak the truth to people- out of love- as we seek peace with others. Truth will prompt spouses to be faithful to one another. Truth will stimulate parents to live consistent lives before their children. Truth will inspire us to pray that God’s will be done.
How can the truth help me?
Truth will help you be prepared and equipped to do battle against the enemy- Satan- the father of all lies! Satan and his demons will flee from the truth. If you are in truth with God you can withstand and quench every fiery dart from the devil. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. You are protected by the full armor of God. (Eph. 6:12-18) The belt of truth has to be in place before the rest of God’s armor will fit.
Truth plays a large role in helping relationships. We have to be truthful with ourselves and others in order to be able to help them. We also have to require truthfulness from those we are trying to help. We have to be able to speak to hurting people from a place of truth and experience.
The hurting souls around us need to learn truths such as:
Their relationship with God is not based on performance, but on His grace and what He has already done for them- Salvation is a gift from God- not to be earned only accepted. (Eph. 2:8-9)
In a relationship with Jesus, they are a person of worth and value- perfectly and wonderfully made. (Eph. 1:4-5)
They need to accept, they are human with failures and limitations and where they are weak He(God) is strong. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Their pain can be used by God to help them grow and mature and then help others. (Rom. 8:28-29)
They can experience freedom and joy in their life with Christ. (Gal. 5:1)
The Freedom’s of Truth
Jesus promised us that the truth will set us free.
John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
When people know the truth- that is Jesus Christ- it sets them free from the lies and deceptions of Satan. It breaks the bondage that spiritually and emotionally binds us. The truth of Jesus can break chains and generations of sin- deliver us from the pain of our past- and break us out of the imprisonment of our emotions and thought life. The truth will help people rebuild their self-image and worth and see themselves as the unique and powerful child of God that they are.
In absolute truth that is Christ- we can be all that He intended us to be- it gives us the freedom we need to enjoy building an intimate relationship with Him.
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Just as prisoner’s long for their freedom- those bound by sin and engulfed by a negative thought life long to be free of the sins and bondage that is keeping them miserable. Jesus tells us that we can have that freedom by knowing the truth- which is Him.
Truth is not an abstract concept- it’s a reality and absolute truth can not be changed, altered, or skewed. Jesus came into the world to ‘bear witness to the truth’ (John 18:37)- He was truth in the flesh.
Jesus frees us from the consequences of sin, from self-deceptions, and from deception from Satan. The truth in Jesus will set you free! Free from sin’s death penalty and the destructive, corrosive effects of sin and deception in our minds and over our life.
Thank you for Your truth and for the opportunity to know it and live it. Lord, help me to see Your truth in every area of my life, if there is deceit happening in me or around me- expose it in Your light. God, as I seek You and the truth- guide me, protect me, and surround me with Your love. I want to know You more, know Your truths and live a life of freedom and joy just as Your word promises. Thank you God for being a trustworthy and honest Father. Lead me in Your truth and teach me Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and gird my waist with Your truth so that I can withstand the schemes of the enemy- in Jesus mighty name I pray.