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I cry to you, O Lord- I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.

We’d attended the quaint, family-oriented church for years. I’d joined Bible study groups, attended morning meetings for young mamas, and participated in Sunday school. Still, loneliness gnawed at my insides. Somehow, I just didn’t fit. One day after the traditional morning greeting, I once again watched as the women flitted from one pew to the other laughing and hugging each other while I stood awkwardly waving and smiling. I felt like the gangly little girl I’d once been-the last one to be chosen to play on the kickball or softball teams.


That afternoon, I spoke with my husband about looking for a different church. It’s terrible to feel invisible when you’re surrounded by people.


King David also experienced isolation. Having been handpicked by God, he’d slain a giant, married royalty, and had a meteoric rise to fame. Unfortunately, Saul was bent on murder. In an effort to escape, David found refuge in the cave of Abdullum along with 400 desperate men who followed him there. (1 Samuel 22)

Still, David felt alone. Unseen. Unnoticed. Was he? Was I? Are you?

The Secrets of the Cave

I’d been living in a cave. Unlike David, my cave was imperceptible. Its walls weren’t made of limestone or located in a barren desert, but they were real. My cave was called Anxiety and Depression.

My cave was called Anxiety and Depression. Click To Tweet


Some of you may have a cave, as well. Perhaps yours is named Trial, Difficulty, Sorrow, or Illness. It could be Divorce, Trauma, or Loss. We all find ourselves stumbling into desert caves at some point. While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David and his time in the cave of Adullam.

While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David.. Click To Tweet


• Caves Make Us Better Prayer Warriors
A musician and poet, David penned Psalm 142 as well as other poems and prayers during his time in the cave. He learned to “pour out”, or spill, his heart before God and set an example for future believers. While God already knows our needs, anxieties, and troubles, he longs to communicate intimately with us.


• Caves Help Us Realize Our Condition
David was surrounded by the enemy with Saul on one side and the Philistines on the other. He saw no way of escape. But God provided a route of victory. Even when we’re confused or uncertain of our future, God clearly sees the way. He is never unsure of His plans for us.

Caves remind us that God is constant. Click To Tweet

• Caves Remind Us That God is Constant
While David felt as though nobody cared for Him, the maker of heaven and earth heard his prayers. Isn’t that incredible? God hears every cry that spills from our hearts. Oh, what blessing to be known and loved that intimately.

Caves aren't our home. Click To Tweet


• Caves Aren’t Our Home
Something comes after the cave. When God brought David out of the cave, he’d prepared him for battles, victory, and then kingship. Perhaps you, too, are being prepared for a battle. Or, perhaps your cave is the battle and afterward, you’ll experience victory. Whatever the case, the Lord will bring you out the cave with purpose, fully prepared that “[you] might give thanks to [His] name”.


Peace and grace,
Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

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Psalm 46:1

Before color kissed the sky, I awakened-already weary from a series of imagined twilight horrors. Matching the tempo of my husband’s rhythmic breathing, releasing the fear trapped inside. His arm, heavy with sleep, draped across my waist like a rope strung between a boat and its mooring.

This has become my Holy Spirit hour; a time of communing, listening, interceding, rejoicing, and weeping. Five weeks of pre-dawn wakefulness coupled with a knowing within-this is part of my calling, my equipping, my serving.

The terror of the night seeks to invade from within but loses its battle when whispered words of truth penetrate the inky space. Click To Tweet

The terror of the night seeks to invade from within but loses its battle when whispered words of truth penetrate the inky space between physical and spiritual. The enemy is shrewd, his bloodlust an open cavity for the unprepared. Palms open and eyes closed, I release the anxieties that lead my thoughts directly toward fear and utter, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

I meditate on Psalm 46, the familiar words of the Psalmist reminding me of my position. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

God is my refuge. 

He is my refuge from inner turmoil. He is a refuge from the haunting memories of childhood. He is my refuge from the silent illness crafted by my own body.

He is your refuge, too. 

Only six letters, the word seems simple. Benign. And maybe I’ve just read or heard the words too often to allow them to penetrate deep. Refuge.

To the Psalmist, a refuge would have been a watchtower, a pillar of stones positioned on a hill above the fields of a town or in the mids of ripening vineyards. From his vantage point, the watchman guarded the livelihood of his people from marauders and animals scavenging for food. Gathering family to live within the safety of the fortress; the sentry stood watch-his dear ones far from threats of impending danger.

God is our refuge.

An unshakeable pillar, God who is our strength is the one to whom we can flee. In Him, we are raised to a position of strength and encircled by safety.

The refuge stands, unmoving and Almighty. Click To Tweet

The enemy may rattle his saber and destruction may batter the stronghold, but their roar is useless. The refuge stands, unmoving and Almighty. Neither the abuses of men nor the sword that pierced His side defeated the Rock and we, cradled in heaven’s watchtower, discover the love and security of our rescuer.

God is your refuge. 

Are you distressed? Brimming with worry as Death travels where it will? Has isolation brought you to the end of hope? Do you long for relief from the world’s trials? Seek Him, Friend. Move into the security of your Salvation and rest. He’ll watch over you, nourish you with His strength, and shelter you until time fades into eternity.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

P.S. I’d love to have you join me tonight as we meet to discuss and consider how to be set free from fear. I hope to see you online!

Refresh

 

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers-

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The frustration ran deep and the journey was long. Decades of caring for anyone with a need left me collapsed on heaven’s doorstep. Lord, I’ve been serving a long time. When do I get to enjoy that abundant life I keep hearing about?

Don’t get me wrong. I saw glimpses and enjoyed seasons of fulfillment. Raising my daughters as a homeschool mom was a sacrifice rich in joyful memories. Befriending women in the church in various settings blessed me with delightful relationships. In spite of the good times, somehow along the way, I lost my bearings.

Why

Women are prone to that process. We tend to focus our empathy and compassion outward, doing our best to contribute to everyone else’s happily ever after. And there’s a reason for that. We live in a fallen world where mankind’s vertical connection with our Creator is broken, and horizontal relationships take precedent.

Eve may not have grasped the significance of God’s words when He explained the security of her divine friendship with Him was replaced with the uncertainty of a human bond. But she surely sensed the trauma triad of fear, shame, and panic when she and Adam were sent from the Garden, the only home she’d ever known.

 

What

Like Eve, the trauma triad grabbed hold of me. Violence and denial turned my childhood home into a fight-for-survival environment. Hypervigilance became my coping skill of choice as I worked to de-escalate the atmosphere. As a result, the people-pleasing habit plowed deep furrows across my path right into adulthood.

The people-pleasing habit plowed deep furrows across my path right into adulthood.#habits Click To Tweet

When I heard life would be grand if I trusted Jesus, I was ready for grand and walked the aisle. My immature reasoning latched on to what the Christian community taught. If I wanted to please Jesus, which I did, all I needed to do was become a servant. And everybody knows a good servant pleases the one they serve.

Family, friends, and fellow church members were already on my list of responsibilities when neighbors were added. Since God describes our neighbor as any needy soul with whom we interact, in order to please Him, I would need to please everyone around me. The vertical-horizontal effects of the Fall overwhelmed me.

 

Who

Collapse is a good description of the moment I realized I was twisted into a shape I didn’t recognize. My dedication to reach out to others to satisfy God led me to abandon the unique me He designed with a purpose. Worse still, my efforts to secure the Eden intimacy I craved with Him brought little more than a nodding acquaintance.

In mute despair, I looked to Jesus. His response was gentle and compassionate.

Jesus invited me to rest in His presence and His Word. As I responded, He reminded me how precious I am because I am His, that His promises of protection and provision are for me. He taught me that I need to set my focus on Him because what fills my thoughts becomes the object of my worship.

...What fills my thoughts becomes the object of my worship.#worship #rightthoughts Click To Tweet

In confession and repentance, by God’s mercy and grace, my view is clearing. His call to love others is based on our loving Him with complete abandon, to include a healthy dose of awareness and love for ourselves as His creation. With this relationship, we become divine conduits for His love to flow at His will.

Worship is my new weapon against trauma or anything that threatens my peace.#prayalways Click To Tweet

Worship is my new weapon against trauma or anything that threatens my peace. Scripture, prayer, music, change of scenery . . . whatever it takes to rip my focus away from the struggle and set it back on the One who made and cherishes me. The peace and joy that fill me are the best description of the abundant life I can imagine.

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 30:11-12 NIV

 

BIO

 

Sandra Allen Lovelace has been walking beside women cross-culturally for more than 40 years. She’s a popular speaker and biblical teacher known for her warm authenticity and practical approach. She’s also an author with an award-winning blog, two titles in print, and a third book in process.

By experience and training in the journey, Sandra informs, affirms, and inspires women as they heal from the impact of trauma. In her role as mentor and coach, she delights in watching fellow Wallflower Women step into and enjoy their God-given design and purpose. Sandra’s easy to reach.

SandraAllenLovelace@gmail.com

FB/SandraAllenLovelace

IG/SandraAllenLovelace

 

 

Thank you Sandra, for sharing part of your story with us. I see myself in what you’ve written and appreciate your wisdom and encouragement. Friends, please hop over to Sandra’s wonderful blog or meet up with her online. I know you’ll be blessed!

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network

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The year is 1995. Being a self-employed counselor is a real challenge. From time to time I say to my God, “Is this really what you want me to do?” Deep inside from around the region of my heart, I hear the answer, “Hang on.”

Sometimes God is a person of few words.#faith #perseverance Click To Tweet

Sometimes God is a person of a few words. I keep questioning, “Should I be doing something else?” Sometimes I feel like a failure and now I am overwhelmed with shame at having to ask for help. I stare at the phone in my hand. You can do this Evelyn, do not give up, do not back down, do not lose faith. Do not worry about what people think?

It’s been a hard winter. My business has dwindled to almost nothing, partly because of the weather and partly because I don’t feel equal to the trauma and pain I see in front of me. Money is tight. My fear is that homelessness is imminent.

My friend in Oklahoma City tells me about an organization that is coming to the clinic where she works to do some free trauma training that can help untold numbers of hurting people. But it’s just for Oklahoma counselors. I live in South Dakota.

“Can I come?” I ask. She says “no” on three different phone calls,

“Just ask them,” I say. “Please just ask?”

Finally, she says with a deep sigh, “I will give you the number and you can ask.”

I’ve wanted this training for a couple of years. I have heard of the extraordinary healing it produces—but the cost is beyond my reach. I’ve been praying for guidance for months, hanging on, believing God when He says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear”. (Luke 12:22.) Waking up stressed and fearful in the middle of the night, I repeat this verse over and over, desperately trying to drown out the negative messages rattling around my brain. The messages telling me: “Give up, send your clients to someone who can really help them. Stop humiliating yourself by being persistent. Go find a job. Why would anyone want to help you anyway?”

Now it’s 8:00 am on a cloudy Monday morning. Sitting with the phone in my hand, I have prayed all night for a “yes” answer or the faith to endure a “no.” Taking a deep breath, I dial the number; it rings five times before the man on the other end says “Good morning. Bright Counseling, Joe speaking.”

My heart is in my throat. “This is Evelyn Leite. I am a friend of Barbara’s—I understand that the EMDR corporation is doing a free counselor training in Oklahoma City, because of the bombing of the Federal building. I hear my breathless voice coming out fast and force myself to slow down.

“Joe, I am a counselor in South Dakota. Do you think it might be possible for me to attend the training coming up at your clinic next week?” A long moment of silence follows (I’m holding my breath) then he says “I don’t see any reason why you can’t.” Geared up for a “no”, my “thank you” comes out in an emotional squeak. Joe takes my name and phone number and promises to see me there. I’m in!

Overwhelmed with gratitude, I say prayers of praise and swing into action. Using frequent flyer miles and with ten dollars in my pocket, my amazed friend will meet me at the airport and I will stay with her. I will be only the second counselor in SD to have this training-my business booms and people are helped. God is Good!

 

 

Evelyn M. Leite MHR, LPC  

Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.  She also founded a non-profit corporation called A Center For Training And Restoration.  She is the author of 14 books and she holds workshops nationwide that are devoted to teaching individuals and families about mental health and addiction. Evelyn does a lot of trauma-related work with men and women who have been abused.  Because her work as a humanitarian has been widely recognized, she was installed in the SD Hall of Fame in 2008.  Her work has included founding a youth center in Ft Pierre, SD, helping establish a women’s shelter in Pierre, SD, and helping to establish the Hope Center, a day shelter for the homeless in Rapid City, SD.  Most of her work for the last 15 years has taken place on Indian Reservations.  She released a new book in December 2019, A Fix For The Family Rift Caused By Addiction. Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.

https://evelynleite.com/

 

P.S. Hello, friends. I’m so glad you stopped by today. Evelyn and other counselors who do the hard and important work of helping people heal from their trauma wounds are such a blessing. Evelyn and I have never met personally and she is unaware of my background, but EMDR was one of the tools God used to bring hope and healing into my own life as a survivor of child abuse. If you have any questions about EMDR or other aspects of healing from trauma (i.e. C-PTSD, domestic violence, sexual assault, etc.), please know you aren’t alone. Reach out to one of us or another safe person in your life. God is in the business of “restoring the years the locusts have eaten”.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network

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