Just Say No

2 Aug

By Beckie Halaska

“The union of two bodies is nothing less than the union of two souls.” Ann Voskamp

When you have been married and had the freedom to be intimate with someone, the soul binding, bodily connection, there is nothing quite like it.  It is the physical expression of a loving heart. It keeps you connected.

The woman that finds herself single after the freedom to be sexual in a way that God made for us, within the confines of marriage, has extra needs for protection because this will challenge your faith like no other.

I don’t care how enlightened we are, I don’t care if we run companies and can rule the world, I don’t care if we are 20 or 60 years old.  As a woman, we are created with a chemical in our body that causes us to attach to someone when we are intimate.  There is also this other component that we are created in God’s image and in us, he mirrored His heart.  Our hearts are precious.

We as women, are loving beings. We are not built to do life alone. We are connectors. We certainly have the physical ability, we have the physical needs, my love language is “Physical Touch” which means I am literally a handful of trouble for myself.

I have to say there is a huge difference in language we need to say to our “Single Again” population. We are not naïve to what it feels like to have no constraints, we have had the freedom of a sexual life within marriage; within a safe and trusting relationship. We long for the connection of it, but that is the danger zone.

As a woman devoted to her relationship with our amazing, rich in grace, merciful God, my heart’s deepest longing is to be in His obedience and protection, to not let anything come to jeopardize or come between our relationship.  I have to place the armor of God on constantly to guard against all attacks from Satan. His easiest weapon is my own sin nature, my own weaknesses. When I am weak, Satan finds the cracks and begins pulling on the roots of faith, to separate me enough to stop me from being a soldier for the kingdom. Stop me from being submitted, equipped and engaged by Him to shed His great love and light in a world so dark.

In my limited dating relationships, I have found that as soon as my heart is stirred, my body wants to take the lead. I am wondering if the physical form of intimacy is to me a form of self-protection. Perhaps,, I feel I am going to be rejected at some point and have I fooled myself to think I am going to be less hurt if I haven’t been vulnerable with my emotion?  Perhaps maybe, I am concerned that if I don’t have sex, I will not have a chance with someone.

I will tell you, it is far easier to fall into a physical engagement than to discuss how I feel. This is of course, the lie. The truth is when we engage in sex, we attach. When we attach, we change everything by attaching to someone that may not be good for us, good to us. If we engage too soon, we lose the opportunity to learn about one another. To find out who someone is before the attachment.   We may even say, “oh you can fool around but just don’t do the whole act”.  We can bargain and manipulate it but it’s still a lie. We still attach. Period.

We had better be very certain this person has our very best interest at heart and is on the same journey of a marriage mind because honestly, that is what we desire, under all the lies. No matter what we tell ourselves. There is a big difference between lust and love. Ultimately, no woman is having sex with someone, without wanting to be loved. Period. It is how we are built. At the core, men hunt,gather and procreate; Women love, build and connect.

God tells us so many things in His word about protecting our hearts. He talks to us about our lust because He loves us. He isn’t condemning us, not in a religious, hell and brim fire way. He is not the church lady sitting on a chair with the words “Sinner” on his lips.  It isn’t that he is mad at us, or going to punish us. We don’t suddenly become filthy in His eyes. We actually already are filthy and undeserving sinners, and He already knows this about us. It isn’t the sin, it isn’t the lust. We have to stop seeing sin as a check list of the law. That is too legalistic. It is so much more about being protected from Satan’s lies.  Our faith is ultimately at stake, our purpose. That is what we need to protect with all our hearts, soul and minds.

The question we need to ask ourselves is this, do you have enough faith to trust God with every aspect of your life?

We, as women are hard on ourselves. It’s pretty easy to say that we all look at ourselves in the mirror and pick something we don’t like. We compare, we live in a visual world with visual men. We are created as heart connectors. If we have been abused, cheated on or discarded at all in our lives, there is a wounding so deep, and Satan knows exactly how to use that.  It affects our ability to be vulnerable in our hearts. It messes us up in how we see our value to man.  If our husband has passed away, we have to face our own vulnerabilities and inadequacies in the world of dating, out from under the protection of our spouse.

Remember that our young women are watching us, be they daughters, co-workers, social media followers. They are only getting the information that we have the capacity to share with them.

As women, we encourage one another, tell each other how good we look, how deserving we are. We love one another. Is that from God’s love or our need for love.

We listen to songs that tell us we are enough,oh, but we have to stop! That too is a lie. We are not enough and we never will be enough. Far from a bad thing, that is what is so precious and beautiful because we are loved and cherished by a God that is more than enough and He chooses us, pursues us.  Beautiful woman, why, oh why, is it that we don’t let that fill the holes within our soul. We keep telling God, “You aren’t enough”.

Sex is not the problem, rather,it is the reason (and the timing) we have sex in the first place. It is not the sin of it, it is our idolatry and misuse of it. We use it rather than trust God in a relationship. We forgo the boundaries that protect our hearts.  We put the cart before the horse because of many reasons, but the one thing we don’t do, is trust God to do a good thing in us and our relationships. Simply put, we want a man. We have a man that gives us a hope to be loved and we don’t wait long enough to see if he is actually worthy of our affection. We don’t wait on God’s timing.

I can see my lack of faith by the lack of self-control I have. My past dictates my present, not God’s words. I let what the men I trusted did, tell me I lack value. I chose their broken message over all that God has done and shown me, told me about His great love for me and how valuable I am to Him. Truth is; I am highly favored and deeply loved.

I know too many sad women, objectifying themselves, who truly want a good man.  Women that have slowly become embittered or given up on love.

Ladies, let me tell you what. I spent a lot of time getting whole. I spent a lot of time healing from things that never should happen to any one of God’s daughters, yet because I discarded my boundaries and attached before I was able to discern, I still found myself tormented and traumatized in a marriage that didn’t last.  Once again I have found that old skin is hard to let go of. Oh, but we need to learn from our mistakes ladies! We need to stop being wishy washy. The idolatry of a man, the wanting to please a man or more to the point, to be pleasing to a man is a fall from anything good and worthy. We will begin to lose ourselves in there. We are chasing wrongly. Trying to create and manage.  But God!

All we have to know is God. He is sovereign. We have to know He loves us and to trust Him. We don’t need to trust men; We trust God.  Ask any man if a woman should trust men, they will tell you point blank “no”. Men need our respect. They don’t need our trust.

The hard truth is, the reason we are having sex before we should, is that we don’t trust God with our heart, soul and minds. We have believed the lie of this world that we are not valuable, that we are replaceable. We are legalistic in how we see God and we place that on man too. We believe salvation is not free, that God’s love is not free, and that we have to earn it.  This lie has destroyed families, churches, and human hearts everywhere.

When we have suffered, we somehow put that on God as a fault. God is not man. We live in a world that suffering is part of the journey. Finding God in it, is optional. Trusting God in it, will undoubtedly be the most difficult thing we can do. If we lose our self-control, we do not walk in the power that God has given us by His words. We will have sex because we are not trusting God. Period.

Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than to have faith.Trust in God for all things… nearly impossible, but when you see it, when you hope in it, when you turn back to it and say, “ I surrender” ,I trust you, again and again and again, He embraces you fully.  Love like that is not found anywhere on this earth.

What I love most about my perfect God is this. No matter how many times I fall away (daily) or get it wrong (again daily), He welcomes me back again and again. He loves me. He loves me beyond all measure.  No need for penance, just a turning back to him with hope and faith.

This is the real cost of sex for those of us that have been married before; our heart, soul and minds. Quite a thing!

We have to take our time. We have to protect our hearts. We have to be careful who we place our hope in,God or man; Period. When we begin too soon, we lose ourselves and we suffer. Period. Not worth it. Not ever worth that.

Look up daughter and see that you didn’t fall from grace, you didn’t mess it up, you didn’t lose your value, you didn’t become unworthy; you just got off track. Come back, again and again.  Keep trying to find that perfect faith in Him. That is all He asks of us.

Amen.

 

 

 

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Through The Tears

16 Jul

By Beckie Halaska

The thunder rolls, the rain pours down as I sit in complete still and silence.
I am in awe of our awesome God. His power. His love.

I bring my grief and sorrow to Him and just lay it wide open for Him.

I feel a sense of His presence.  When I can just be still, I become so aware of Him around me. My heart is so full. So overwhelmed.

This is a practice of being aware of Him. Seeking Him.
When I stop being me focused, silence the crazy world and be still, alert, aware of Him, He shows off for me in big ways.

How can I not worship this knowing, protective, worthy, infinite, unchangeable God?

I will never be strong enough.
I will never be loving enough.
I will never be whole enough.
I will never be beautiful enough.
I will never be worthy of His beautiful Grace.

It pours over my heart, my spirit as I soak in His greatness.
It is a free gift He showers on me. Over me
His peace is beyond all understanding.
It is well. Deep within my soul, my heart, it is well.

My beautiful Mom knows this God, this rescuer and lover of our souls as much as I do.
It is all well with her soul. This brings me so much comfort.

She may be preparing her goodbye’s to this world , but her joy has only begun.
As the storm gives way to blue skies, I am so blessed by His love and comfort.

As the tears fall, the sorrow leaves.
Because of Him.

Joy overwhelms me, peace that makes no sense in these circumstances, transcends through my whole spirit.

And I sit in gratitude. Such a good, good Father.

Amen.

Whispers

15 Jul

I don’t “hear” His voice. It’s not audible ever to me. But as I drew nearer to Him and started just following prompts I saw Him in it.

It’s a word that stops me in my tracks and I readjust my thinking. It’s someone crossing my mind as I read a certain scripture or hear a certain song. It’s a pressing to do something (most recently in church to go back and ask someone if they needed prayer). It’s someone coming to my mind and just praying for them and letting them know.

It never fails that when I am obedient to those things, it is confirmed. The other person needed Him. Needed encouragement in their battle.

God shows us His presence in a thousand ways and maybe He whispers to us about others, so we have to draw closer to hear Him.

Little Bits of Wisdom

29 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

God has been really putting some very real truth within my heart.
Little pieces of wisdom, morsels as it becomes my understanding and knowledge.

I am not wise; He is wise. I am learning to be wise, like Him, through Him.
I am imperfect. I have very good moments. Moments that I am absolutely a useful tool for God’s love and grace. I also have moments of pure human emotion and reactions.

I can be very hard on myself, very religiously legalistic, where I expect myself to be perfect. Perfectly His image. That is a lie that Satan uses to make the world think God is not real, that our Christian faith is a joke.
I am so not perfect. I am completely human. Paul really hits home to this point in Romans 7 and 8. I am nothing without God. I will never be perfect. I will need Him always, and without that knowledge, I will either fail miserably or I will take complete credit for everything God has done on my behalf.
I had a few things happen this week that confirm I am hearing Him fully. Last Sunday morning I was talking to God that He seemed to not be close to me. I don’t “feel” him like I used to. I have all this head knowledge, but He feels far away. Later in church, as I was leaving, I saw acquaintances that were sitting behind me, we greeted one another, joked a bit, and as I walked away, God pressed hard on my heart to go back to the husband (If you know me, I have a heart for women and really don’t talk to that many men!) and ask him if he needed prayer and within my soul I knew he did and knew it was health related. He choked up because he in fact, has some very real and very new health issues. God showed off for us both.

Later in the week as I sat listening to a chaplain from work present at a meeting, he shared about how he overcomes his inner voice to minister to people at the commitment center for sexual abusers.
I realized a new layer of truth about God. I have always struggled to understand how God can allow so much suffering here, especially the kids. In that moment I saw the truth. We are here for such a brief moment. This time here is short, and our time with Him is beyond our comprehension. We will absolutely suffer here. Sometimes it just seems too much! Jesus is a perfect reminder of just how much suffering we will have here. This world is hard! We are all so imperfect and there is very real evil here. We are all fragile and suffer illness, abuse, hardships. Not one of us is above it. But God!

This does not take away our purpose here. God is Sovereign over all of it. He knew every single thing you would suffer here and also said He will not leave you alone in it. He never said you will have happiness and joy all the days of your life. You didn’t get the raw deal if you have suffered great loss, been abused or watched a child suffer. Our hearts are too pure to endure it well, for sure. He said, though, don’t focus on this world too much. This world is very hard and broken, your trials will be many amongst your blessings. This world is short, heaven is forever. Colossians 3:2. Heaven is our victory one day. This world will be no more for us and we will dwell in peace forever.

Religion and misled believers, have done a number on who God is. People have misunderstood that our relationship with God is a vertical, one to one relationship. Jesus said over and over that we absolutely cannot judge anyone’s walk with Him. Our job is to love Him so much that we can’t help but have that spill out of us. Our job is to be so humbled by our own lack of ability to perfect faith that we give the same grace to everyone we meet and especially those that harm us, or hurt us.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter who loves us or doesn’t love us. It doesn’t matter how successful we are or if we are learning to be good stewards of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you have walked closely with God your whole life, have a successful marriage and family or if you have just found redemption from your jail cell. God is the equalizer. His grace, His pursuit of you, His dying on the cross for you, His love and plans for you are equal. No more, no less.

I have learned fully that even really bad people can be saved. You can be unkind, slanderous, a trouble maker, a liar, a cheat and still be saved. You can be arrogant, mean, manipulative and judgemental and still be saved. You can be super kind and righteous in your own humble way and not be saved.
It is not what we do, or don’t do. It is not sin, it is not success; it isn’t how we look to the world that saves us.

God is still that prodigal father sitting on the stoop, offering his grace through the sacrifice of His son, simply because He is love. Not because you are. Not because you are without sin. He loves us because that is who He is.

I have come to this understanding of God’s sovereignty. Our lives were planned before we were born. We will go through all of our trials and all of our joys, and at the end of the day, they are all for His purposes. To bring Him Glory. Our real free will is whether we choose Him in it or not. We sin because we have sin in us. Even when we walk close with Him. Period.

As this begins to really settle on my soul, I am filled with such a peace, knowing He has it all figured out. If I could only just keep my eyes on Him at all times and not be so wishy washy… But God.
Yes, He works it all out for our good and for His purposes. Always Grace. Always more grace.
And it is well, with my soul. Amen.

Truth in the Storms

8 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

When storms come, no sign of sunlight
My soul betrays me, waves coming crashing in

I silently cry out, tired from the battle.
I hear your voice. “Look at me love, you will be safe with me”.

Fear seeps in, my mind building doubts.
Reminding myself over again, “Trust in Him. Follow Him. Dive in. “

I cry out for you, that your promises stand true
I give up my need to control the direction of the tide.

This world weary traveler longs to know rest in you.
Longs to know there is no journey too hard for her again.

You grab my heart, as my mind surrenders the fear
Peace transcends. You are here. You are sovereign.

You become the air filling my lungs again.
You are sun in the darkest of spaces. Peace in the hurricane’s that come and go.

Oh but I can get lost in the mess of this life. You never change.
I hesitate a bit as I surrender and say “I need you, I trust you”

And you come. You remind. You rebuild.

And you say… “It’s going to be alright”

Beautiful traveler, there is a future waiting… just a bit more.
I need you strong for just a bit more.

In this world you will have trials, but you are no longer a slave of this world.

You were made for so much more.  I am your strength.

and you say.,, ”It’s going to be alright”.

Amen.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights ~Habukkuk 3:19

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand~ Isaiah 41:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; ~Proverbs 3:5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:5

 

 

When Evil Seems to Win

30 May

There is an ever present evil in the world. We can see it every single time we open social media or turn on the news. None of us will be spared evil in some fashion.

When your life has been touched by evil, one of the biggest challenges will be to not become embittered in the battle, especially if it seems to not touch the one that caused the harm.

We want things to be fair, and when there isn’t justice, we can lose sight on what actually is true. Evil may seem like it is winning but the truth is, there is no “win” in evil, only destruction.  Evil also loves to seduce in numbers.

Maybe that is the real goal of evil, to make us really question if there is any goodness left, to stop believing in the goodness of the world. Obviously we know the goal of evil is also for us to ultimately question our faith and hope.

Guarding our hearts against bitterness is very important during this battle. Bitterness can choke out the light in us, God in us. It is a daily battle; A war for our souls.

When we filter our thoughts on what has been done, no matter what has been done, we begin the battle of unforgiveness. When we begin to want justice, we begin our battle against bitterness. The battle will be fought in many ways, but at the end of the day, the real battle with be within your own mind, your own heart.

Trials will absolutely always come. Evil will be at times, be very strong against us. It is a spiritual war and a battle for our soul. Evil will come in many forms to wear us down. There will be attacks. There will be slander. There will be times you are or feel all alone in the battle. You will feel overwhelmed, defeated at times and you will want to give up the fight.

That is exactly when we must stay focused and steadfast in our faith. Practicing even what we can’t feel. Trusting in God’s plan for our lives even when it seems so unfair or worse, impossible. Reading His promises even when we can’t seem to believe it fully. He tells us that His word never falls void. Keep reading it.

Evil utilizes comparison, isolation, judgement and fear. The word of God, prayer and steadfast commitment to Him is the anecdote.

God will always triumph. This is His story. Evil doesn’t win. We may not appear to win in this world, but we are not to conform to this world, we are to remain in Him.

Our journey is not really about our success, how we fit in, or what anyone else does, thinks or says about us.  Our journey is to become Holy.

There is only one absolute truth, we are in a vertical relationship with Christ, He and us alone. There will not be anyone else with you when you take your knee at the throne.

When evil mocks you, pray.  Tell Him your wish for justice, He understands. He believes in justice as well. He is also merciful and gave you grace.

Praying not only for your faith to remain steady and confident, but importantly, pray for anyone being used by evil. That is the greatest weapon we have against bitterness.

Grace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

Trust Factor

16 May

Faith is not for the weak! Faith is hard work!

We tend to blame Satan for everything but he can only creep into the areas we leave vulnerable.

Our trust is vulnerable because it means letting go of our own ability to control outcomes.

Where we place out trust is what shakes us up; It’s what shook the Israelites up.

God is never changing.

He is immutable. Malachi 3:6 says “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

His omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign reign over our lives never changes. We do.

He loves us beginning to end. Whether we ever choose to love him back.

As believers, as followers of Christ – if we want to mimic Him more – which we are called to do-we have to know where to turn when fear creeps in. Because it will. What to do when our need to know the outcomes creeps in. Because it will.

What is faith in God without our trust. As we weave in and out of trials, we must learn to praise him and trust him at all times.

Trust is the hardest part of faith… thankfully He tells us He sees our heart. If we are seeking after the trust – crying out to Him to help us trust Him, we actually are in good company. Jesus did the same in the garden. He worked it out with His Father. Our father. He was also fearful…and prayed until God helped him utter the words of submission and acceptance.

“Thy will be done. “

Amen!!