“We don’t have to be marked by where we’ve come from.” ~Jo Ann Fore
It’s amazing how we allow our past to dictate our future. I suppose, if we were honest, we would all admit to having a “secret”-something we don’t want the rest of the world to know. The problem with that is that the longer we hold onto our secret, the heavier it becomes. Maybe you don’t have a secret, but simply aren’t proud of where you’ve been or something you’ve done. God never intended for us to carry our burdens alone. He never promised a burden free life, but He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. He did say in Matthew chapter 11 verse 28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Somehow we seem to manage to get this whole thing all wrong. We wrestle and struggle with areas of life and wonder WHY we are so miserable. We hold on to memories we’d rather forget. We harbor hate & anger and wonder why we can’t feel love. We recall words that have been spoken toward us or about us, and allow the torment to change how we think, feel, and live. I can relate to the fact that we internalize our pain, hurt, disappointment, shattered dreams, and worthless feelings. If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve tried to give your pain to Christ. Maybe you’ve prayed and asked God to take it away only to wake up the next morning with the heaviness of it all still weighing on your heart or in your mind.
“Sometimes it’s easier to hide behind the familiar pain, to replay the same old movie, repeat the same mistakes, blame the same people. But that’s not God’s plan.” Jo Ann Fore (pg. 136)
Through the chapters of our book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice, Jo Ann has helped us learn to stop the negative thinking and to guard our hearts and minds. If we do not learn to stop the negative thinking, we will never move from where we are into what God has for us! We can not think negative thoughts and whisper His words at the same time. Jo Ann reminds us that this will be a fight, but God has called us to fight! “The fight starts with our hearts, that which matters most of all, the source of everything we do.” (pg. 137)
Espesians 6:10-18 reminds us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
As we go through this week, I’d like to encourage you to remember who’s child you are! Let’s all look upward as we move onward! Knowing life won’t always be easy, but celebrating the fact that God has a plan for our lives and hope for our futures!