Her Story – What does the exchanged life look life?
“It’s hard to explain how greatly God has changed my life since I began attending counseling sessions in June. For 35+ years I have “done life” in the only way I knew how—I knew I was afraid, but I had no idea why, and I had no idea what to do about it. I was ruled by my emotions and by my circumstances, and, again, I knew it, I knew it wasn’t the way things should be, but nothing anyone told me about how to fix it ever “worked” for me. I just couldn’t wrap my head around why I was ruled by those things or grasp the real meaning behind the solutions being handed to me.”
“Specifically in regards to my dad, I thought I was doing right and being “spiritual” to simply pray my way through my times of intense anxiety and fear, that I was being self-focused and needed to just “get over it,” “stop thinking of my own feelings so much,” “stop being so sensitive.” Lots of “don’t, don’t, don’t/stop, stop, stop” with really no framework for how or why, and even more importantly, no true grasp of the *positives* of who I am in Christ, Who He is and what He has done. I knew, and I believed basics, but I didn’t understand experientially how those truths actually transform the believer’s life. My way of coping was through control, and I have been very, very proud of the fact that I have been independent, perfectly well organized, and “in control” at all times.”
“Yet now I see that I was never independent or in control—I was completely a slave to the opinions and feelings of others and to the need to perform at all times in order to feel loved, accepted, valued, and secure. I demanded the same performance for acceptance from others that I believed God and others demanded of me, and I self-righteously condemned anytime my expectations weren’t met, just as I assumed God was condemning me. As my “good flesh” coping mechanisms became more and more “fine tuned” as I grew older, so did my self-righteousness.”
“My time with my counselor has unleashed the floodgates of understanding and has SET ME FREE. God has answered prayers I’ve been praying for a long time in ways I never could’ve imagined—the needs I *thought* I had were nothing compared to the needs my Father *knew* I had, and He patiently, gently is meeting those needs according to His loving care for me, as the Creator Who made me and knows exactly who I am and who He wants me to be, and as the Father Who loves and accepts me compIetely in Christ.”
“I am thankful to be on the road to truly understanding the difference between my identity in Christ and my behavior; the fact that I have complete love, acceptance, worth, and security in Christ now and forevermore as a daughter of God; the coping mechanisms I have been using to “make life work” for so long, the lies I’ve been believing, and what it looks like to believe the truth—how that impacts my emotions and actions; the safety I have in Christ and through the truth (bear proof cabin!) that FREES me to love and obey God and to be loved by Him; the reminder that I died with Christ and am no longer a slave to sin/it has no power over me; what it really means to renew my mind—it’s not just a spiritual endeavor, but a physical changing of pathways in the brain through the rejection of lies, the belief in the truth, and the creation of new habits/patterns of thinking; and what it’s like to truly experience the freedom and peace of God, no matter the circumstances.”
“The new habits of believing truth after so many years of believing lies are not yet formed, and I know it will continue to be a daily, moment by moment battle. Satan does not want me to live a victorious Christian life. He wants to keep me in fear. Yet I know Christ will continue to perform His good work in me until He returns, and I’m so thankful for His love, patience, grace, and mercy toward me. He is my life, and I will continue to seek to understand what it means for Him to live *through* me, rather than me trying to do things in my own strength. I’m thankful for how he’s used Abundant Grace International and our sessions together to show me how much He loves me, all the grace He extends to and pours into me, and how He wants me to be free–truly free. “There is now therefore no condemnation…” Thank You, Father.”