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Salvation

You Don’t Have to Handle Everything All by Yourself


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Hi, friends!
 
Today, I want to introduce you to my dear friend Terry. I’ve known Terry since 2006, and we’ve become very close friends since that time. Terry has an amazing story of recovery from trying to do all things by herself. I wanted her to share it with you, so I now introduce Terry.
 
 


 
 
I grew up in Longwood and Winter Springs Florida. I was one of five children with two older brothers and two younger sisters. Our home had an atmosphere of fear and anger. My parents divorced before I was five and my Mom remarried when I was eight. Both my Father and Stepfather were abusive. In addition, my Mother was working so much and dealing with her own life that she had nothing left for us children. I found out early how to take care of my siblings and myself. By the time I was 11, I was cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning house, and babysitting to earn some money.
 
TerrySelf
At 14, the abuse worsened so, my sister and I went to live in Utah with my Dad for a year. That turned out to be a nightmare. He was even more abusive than our Stepfather was. We went back to Florida at the end of the school year but things there had only gotten worse. I imagine that the years of abuse had finally rubbed off on my Mom and she had become abusive herself. I started making plans and moved out 5 days after high school graduation.
 

When we were young, my Mom sent us to church on the bus. There I learned all about God and Jesus but never learned anything about knowing them or following God’s word. By the time I was a teenager, I felt like I had gone to Church as much as I needed to and left. I had been baptized when I was eight and had considered myself a Christian ever since. Only, you couldn’t tell that by looking at my lifestyle. I continued to search as an adult and tried several other religions along the way. None of them seemed to make any sense so I filled my life with work. I went to college off and on some but didn’t get to finish my AA degree until 2012.
 
I kept on with using my coping skills of staying busy with work and taking care of not just myself but everyone around me. I was very confident in my ability to take care of any situation that came along. I got married in 1986 and we seemed to have the perfect marriage. We never argued, not once in 10 years. It turns out that we were both experts at avoiding conflict, until he was no longer able to and suggested we divorce. So we did… in 1996.
 
After the divorce, I spent the next 3 years trying to fill the hole with everything the world had to offer but that just made the hole bigger. By the end of that time, I had sunk into a deep depression. I would go home from work on Friday and stay in bed until Monday. Going to work was the only reason I had to get out of bed. I’m so thankful I had a job I loved during that time. The depression continued for 3 months. I was finally up against something I couldn’t handle all by myself.
 
One day, a friend and I were talking about how bad the language had gotten on the radio. She said, “I know a station you would like where they don’t do that and they play the kind of music you would like.” So I thought I’d give it a try and she was right, they didn’t do that and I did like the music. That station was The Joy FM, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. One day, while driving to work, a song came on called I Am Not Alone by Natalie Grant. That song made me realize that even though I had been trying to handle everything all by myself, I didn’t have to. There was help available. In that moment, I was finally able to tell Jesus that I needed His help. After all the years of searching for love and approval, I had finally found it and it was unconditional. It didn’t rely on my performance at all.
 
I visited several churches and finally landed at my home church. In the early days of my salvation, I leaned heavily on the verse in Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those that are called according to His purpose.” I immediately started getting involved. I joined the choir and planned activities for my class. I took any extra classes available and within a few years, I was leading a Connect Group and a Ladies Bible Study. In 2004, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Moldova and then got to go again in 2006. I also led several sessions of Divorce Care and in 2008, I got involved in Celebrate Recovery at my church. After completing a step study, I volunteered and led small groups and eventually became a member of leadership.
 
After being single for 15 years, I married Jim in 2011 and now we both help lead a Celebrate Recovery at another church and I lead support groups at my church on Wednesday evenings. Oh, and Jim and I are involved in an adult class on Sunday mornings to plan and coordinate ministry activities.
 
One of the most amazing changes in my life is that before salvation, it seemed as if I was walking around with a giant mirror in front of me. I could never see a clear path to the future, only the distant painful past behind me. Now, it’s like that giant mirror is gone and I can clearly see the future that is in front of me. Like Natalie Grant says, “I am not alone.” With Christ, I can live in freedom from my past and even be used by God to help others find that same freedom. Now I lean on the verse in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for good and not for harm, to give you a hope and a future.”
 
Thank you for letting me share.

 
 

 
 
What a great story of moving from self-sufficiency to God-sufficiency! Thank you, Terry, for your courage and transparency. May God continue to bless you and use your story to help others struggling with giving control of their lives to God.
 
 
Friends, I hope you will comment and encourage Terry for sharing her story with us. Tell us what part or parts of her story you related with and why. If you have any questions for Terry, feel free to ask her in the comments section below. If you need prayer, please share that with us as well.
 


 

Terry’s picks

 

 

My Declaration of (In)Dependence

 
 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 
 
In the course of my life’s events, it became necessary for me to dissolve the emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual bands that connected themselves to me, and to receive the power of Almighty God which He freely offered me.
 

 
I now hold the truths of the Bible to be self-evident, that I am created in the image of God and that He has endowed me with certain inalienable rights. Among these are eternal life, earthly freedom, and the pursuit of Him, which leads to true happiness.
 
 

Such was my suffering, which led me to declare my independence:
 
 
 

For my 33 years, I struggled with whether I was truly saved. I had done all the “right” things in my Christian life—I had always been in church, but that’s all I remember. I had gone through seasons of certainty, where I said, “Yep, I’m good.” To seasons of uncertainty, “I’m not so sure.” Every time, I rationalized it away.
 
In 2009, I admitted I was not 100% certain I was saved. This troubled me more than ever, especially given all the growth and freedom I had experienced the previous five years in recovery. Still, I did not want to continue with this inner restlessness any longer. I wanted to be certain. I wanted to have the assurance and the memory that I had truly accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
 
On that Sunday afternoon, I realized that through all my life struggles, I had come to love God so much that it grieved my heart to even consider the possibility that He could look at me at the end of my days and say, “I don’t know you.” That thought alone was enough for me to take the biggest step in my recovery from codependency. I ignored all the self-criticism in those moments and the “What would people say?” Once and for all, I did it. I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior – at the age of 33, with my accountability partner by my side. I am now 100% certain that I will spend eternity with the Lover of my soul.
 
I believe that from the moment I was born to April 5th, 2009, God had been wooing me with his grace – that undeserved favor toward me, a sinner. On that day, I was finally at a place where I had come to love him more than anything. Swallowing my pride and making it official – no matter how foolish it might appear having grown up in the church – was my way of showing Him. The very next Sunday, I was proud and humbled to have my Pastor – Pastor Jay – baptize me as a public profession of my faith.
 

 
Therefore, I, Daphne Tarango, appealing to Almighty God in the name of my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, declare I am free and absolved from all allegiance to the enemy of my soul. All emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual connection between us is totally dissolved. I am a free person, and I pledge my life and my dependence to the One who came to set the captives free—Jesus, the Christ!
 
 

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). 

 
 
Come alongside… Tell us about the moment you declared your independence. What led you to make that decision?
 
 

7 Ways to Prevent–and Reverse–Relapse (Part 2 of 2)

In last week’s post, I introduced three of the seven ways we can prevent—and reverse—relapse in our recovery journeys.

 

 

7 Ways to Prevent and Reverse Relapse

Let’s recap…
 

 

R is for Reflect.

E is for Expose your triggers and plan your escape strategies.

L is for Look up and re-learn scripture passages.

 

 

I hope you’re already putting those into practice. I know I am!

 

 

 

Today, we’ll complete the acronym “RELAPSE” with the letters A, P, S, and E.

 

 

Here goes…

 

4. Activate your accountability partners

Our enemy wants us to stay silent and pretend all is okay. He wants us to keep our struggles to ourselves. Remember: Silence comes with a cost.

 

When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. (Psalm 32:3)

 

Silence pains us physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually.

 

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone…. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble…. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

 

Accountability partners who struggle with similar issues can empathize with us, they can share what has worked for them, and they keep us on track with our recovery. They are there for us when we’re tempted to give in. Most importantly, they can pray for us.

 

If you haven’t talked to your accountability partner in a while, give him/her a call and catch up. If you don’t have an accountability partner, pray. Ask God to place someone on your heart and to lead you to the right person—someone of the same sex whom you can trust and share your struggles and victories—big and small.

 

 

5. Pray, pray, pray

We can do all of the above, and if we don’t pray to our Higher Power Jesus Christ, then we are still relying on our own power to get us through. Willpower will only get us so far. But listen to what prayer can do:

 

The Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

 

“You will not succeed by your own power or strength. You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,” says the God-of-the-Angel-Armies. (Zechariah 4:6)

 

Preventing—and reversing—relapse isn’t only a physical battle. It’s a spiritual battle for our daily freedom and, in many instances, our very lives. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons—weapons that only come from praying and spending time with God.

 

We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

 

We can destroy those strong places—those habits we keep gravitating toward—when we capture every sinful thought with our prayers and make them give up and obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

 

6. Share your story

What is your recovery story so far? Have you shared it? We can prevent relapse—and reverse it—when we share what God has done in our lives. It grows our faith, gives us hope to keep going, and increases the faith of those around us.

 

Many times, the best opportunities to share our stories come when we serve others—when we step outside of our own situations and focus on how we can help those who are also struggling. Each time we share our story with others, we take one more step to freedom and we help others to do the same.

 

Faith comes from listening to this message of good news — the Good News about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

 

They overcame because the Lamb gave his life’s blood for them [and] by giving witness about Jesus to others. (Revelation 12:11)

 

 

7. Evaluate regularly

I would love to say that if we do these things, we will never misstep, dear ones. But the reality is that we will make mistakes. The key to preventing—and reversing—relapse is to continue in our recovery marathon and to be intentional about evaluating our progress on a routine basis.

 

Ask God to reveal the habits that have snuck in and taken up residence in the hidden places of your heart and mind. Ask Him to show you the things in your life that He doesn’t like—and to help you live in the way that is always right (Psalm 139:23-24).

 

Remember: We started this marathon. Let’s finish it!

 

Strip down, start running–and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1-3)

 

 

Come alongside…What steps can you take today to prevent—or reverse—relapse?

 

Book Review: On a Quest for Christ by Lisa A. Wulf

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading author Lisa Aré Wulf’s devotional, On a Quest for Christ. If you’re looking for a meditative devotional, I highly recommend this book.

 

 

Here’s my review:

 

Lisa Are Wulf’s On a Quest for Christ: Tracing the Footsteps of Your Spiritual Journey is a thought-provoking 30-day devotional for Christians interested in documenting the key events in their lives, including their decision for Christ.

 

Lisa shares snippets of her story in each of the devotionals, encouraging readers to uncover their own sacred journey in a workbook style format. Readers can reflect on how different life events have influenced them, taking notes along the way. Each devotional closes with a “Give it to God” prayer and an opportunity for the reader to write a prayer to God, unique to their own life. At the end of the 30-day devotional, readers are empowered and encouraged to create their very own Christ Quest Time Map, highlighting milestones for important events or achievements, breakthroughs or significant insight, God moments or spiritual encounters, and times of uncertainty or struggle.

 

I felt Lisa’s loving, calm, and soothing voice as I read the devotionals. Documenting our life stories can be intimidating, but Lisa gently and prayerfully leads readers on the journey. She tells stories I related to—as would many others. Her carefully-crafted prayers show her sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the delicacy of each person’s sacred journey.

 

On a Quest for Christ is a great tool to help readers leave a legacy of their faith journey to children and grandchildren. It is also a great resource for taking inventory of a person’s life, as is required in many 12-step recovery group programs. On a Quest for Christ can be used by a single reader, one-to-one mentoring, or in a small group format.

 

I highly recommend Lisa Are Wulf’s On a Quest for Christ: Tracing the Footsteps of Your Spiritual Journey for any believer.

 

 

For more information on Lisa, visit her blog, One Woman Sanctuary. If you would like to read more reviews of On a Quest for Christ–and to purchase a copy, visit GoodreadsAmazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

Blessings!

Daphne

 

That’s Jesus?!?!

My eight-year-old son beamed to show off his class picture. We were equally excited—the new parents that we are.

 

He pointed to a fair-skinned boy with a floppy hair-cut and cute ears.

 

“This is so-and-so.”

 

Then he pointed to a dark-skinned boy with a mini-afro.

 

“This is such and such.”

 

And then he pointed to a Hispanic boy with a Mohawk.

 

“This is Jesus.”

 

That’s Jesus?!?!” asked my six-year old daughter in disbelief.

 

“Not Jesus, Jesus,” I replied—trying to keep my composure. “His name is Jesus, just like in the Bible.”

 

“Oh.”

 

They carried on as if nothing happened, but I laughed about it on and off throughout the day. It still makes me laugh.

 

But it also makes me think.

  • Do I know Jesus?
  • Do I know His love?
  • Do I know His voice?
  • Do I tell others what Jesus means to me?
  • Do I show them what He’s done in me?
  • Do I dare say, “This is my Jesus!”

 

Do I know Him?

 

Well-known Pastor, S.M. Lockridge, of Calvary Baptist Church in California, knew Jesus. And he wasn’t afraid to say that his Jesus—my Jesus, the one and only Jesus—was—and is—King.

 

Enjoy this brief message, “That’s my King,” by S.M. Lockridge.

 

 

Do you know Him?

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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