#Transformingloveministries, TLM Blog Posts, TLM Encouragement, Transforming Love Ministries

PAIN: WHERE DO I BEGIN?

Reposted from Transforming Love Ministries / By Elaine A. Lankford / Article Written by Stacha Ashburn @transformingloveministries.org

Do I take it from a physical perspective? I have had pins in my right hip since I was thirteen years old. After the pin placement, I shattered my hip. The healing process caused my right leg to be shorter than my left leg. This in turn has caused back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, and knee pain that I still manage through today.

Do I take it from a mental perspective? I have been verbally assaulted all my life.

Do I take it from an emotional perspective? Thirty years I was hiding behind a mask, presenting what I assumed everyone wanted to receive. I was too broken to reveal the real me, so I created fantasies to keep from killing myself.

Do I take it from a social perspective? For so long, I couldn’t root myself into any community because I didn’t know how to push through the pain that comes with any authentic relationship, so I ran.

Do I take it from a financial perspective? My entire life I have never wanted for anything. I wore my heart on my sleeve and gave to folks until I couldn’t give no more. I have always had A-1 credit until one day I went to swipe, and I couldn’t swipe no more. The realization of being in over $100,000 of credit card debt alone grieved me!

Do I take it from a sexual perspective? I have had the unimaginable happen to me. I have stepped outside the covenant of my marriage in my space of dysfunction.

Or do I take it from a spiritual perspective? I assumed coming to Christ was going to be rainbows and kittens! That in my spiritual journey, I wouldn’t be caught up in conflict. I wouldn’t be hurt. That I would present myself to Christ and to HIS church and all the pain and negativity I had ever went through, I would never go through again. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus Christ is a healer and every one of us needs to be connected to a local body of the Church. With that said, connection itself is not enough. It’s a process! Father God restores us all through different processes.

What I see now, on the other side of all the pain I have been through and still function through, is He will use it all for His good.

God isn’t in the business of wasting one single tear. His Word promises us in Psalm 56:8 that He has kept track of all our wandering and weeping. That He has stored up all our many tears in His bottle. Not one will be lost. For every tear is recorded in God’s book of remembrance.

We so often avoid working through the pain instead of growing through it. We want to be like Job’s wife. We simply want the pain to be over. What if, instead, we would PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens) through the pain to meet its purpose on the other side.

I wonder at what point Job realized that his tragedy wasn’t going to be over very quickly. That he was going to have to settle in for a long period of suffering. Yet his faith did not waver.

I believe that there’s a way to find joy in the suffering. It’s all in how we respond. We don’t control the cards life deals us, but we do control how we choose to play them. Attitude is everything in the pain management world. It can have a profound effect on how quickly we recover.

In Matthew 26:33-35, Peter is confident that he won’t be offended by Jesus even when Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him. In the King James Version, it reads, “though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” Pain often causes us to feel offended by God. That’s why we all need an “eternal perspective” adjustment at times, so we can see the good in discomfort. In every circumstance, the disciples would return to Christ, leaving any offense behind. Yet, sometimes as Christians, we don’t realize this is part of the spiritual battle we face, and we can be angry at God for years.

Questioning God is not the problem, but stumbling, falling away, and staying away are. God calls us to get in the ring and wrestle with Him. When we are going through pain at any level, He wants us to present our real selves to Him. We are not “always” blessed and highly favored. There are times we are ticked off and tired of feeling like everyone and everything is messing with us. If that is where you are, then meet God there.

During these times, not only is it important to come to God in authentic posture, but it’s important that you realize who you are doing life with, your inner circle is so vital. Having people around you that will pray with you, stay with you, and lock arms with you through the storms of life matters. The enemy wants to silo us or keep us in a circle of toxic people that birth death. Everything touches everything!

If you are someone who finds yourself isolated: Heavenly Father, I pray that You will lead my sister to someone, or lead someone to her, that is led by Your light, Your way, and Your truth, to do life in community with.

If you are in a toxic circle right now: Jesus Christ, we come to You and ask You to wash this circle in Your blood. Clean and purify them. If those in the circle won’t adhere to the mandate of true repentance and turn from their broken ways, reveal them to our sister and help her to release them. Help my sister to find restoration regarding whatever hurt she has in her life that is causing her to stew in such a dangerous space.

If you are thriving in a healthy circle of life-giving friends: Lord, we say thank you! Keep us thriving, not just surviving, and help us to remain in a space of wellness despite our circumstances. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen!

Written by Stacha Ashburn

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Burn out, Discouraged, encouragement, Exhausted, Journey, Keeping It Real, Weariness

Life Is Real, The Struggles Are Too

Just throwing some real life out there….

So all before 7:45am I have the cleanest smelling house in my community.

I managed to discover my hot water heater is leaking right after I opened up a fresh new bottle of bleach. As I discovered some wet stuff on some things in my laundry room, I left my bleach sitting on my dryer and went to get a bowl to put under the leaky hot water heater (as it is a little guy who is elevated above my head). While I was getting my bowl I heard something fall. I returned to my laundry room (which is off our carpeted family room) to find my bleach on the carpet spilling out with 3/4 of it emptied on my carpet. 😪

Now I am totally frustrated as I was hurried to get a few things done before trying to get some work done before Kiddo has her 2nd of 5 appointments between today and tomorrow afternoon.

Now my carpet is ruined and I should get my shop vac to absorb the extra water spilling out of my hot water heater tray when all I wanted to do was get some work done.

Oh boy, turn the cheek… make lemonade out of lemons and move on. I hope God provides me a few extra hours out of my day today.

Now to try to fix my problems.

I decided to show the real and and the raw behind all the encouragement I post.

Life is a struggle and life is real.

If this resonates with you, know I am right there with ya friend.

I decided today to write about it and to share it with you with the hopes you will be encouraged knowing you are not alone with the struggles of life.

Make the best of your day!

Comfort, Encouragement Today, Grace, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Rest

Stop…Rest…Breathe…and Repeat

Today’s reminder is to take a step back and find some time to just be still.

Rest my friend.

Allow your mind, body, and soul to unwind.

Allow that small quiet voice of God to speak to you and allow Him to breathe peace into your very being.

Stop…Rest…Breathe…and Repeat today! 💜

#Findingyourcourage, Bravery, Comfort, Courage, Encouragement Today, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Strength, Trust

You Are Stronger Than Your Greatest Weakness

““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today’s Encouragement is to remind you how important you are.

Do you question your value or your worth?

Do you struggle with the difficulties life offers?

Do you ever question, if this is how life is going to be, then why did God create you?

My Friend, I am here to remind you God doesn’t make mistakes. He created you with a specific purpose, one which is specifically unique to only you. He knows what you can handle.

This is why no matter how familiar your story could be to someone else, it is still only yours, uniquely yours.

God reminds us in Jeremiah 1:5 that,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Today’s gentle reminder is that you are not a surprise to Him. Your circumstances are not a surprise to Him. He knew you and what you would be doing long before He created you.

My Friend, find peace today in the assurance that if God brought you to your pain or crisis, He will bring you through it. He created you for this situation. Nothing is a surprise to Him.

Be encouraged My Friend. God will strengthen you today and will provide you a peace that passes all understanding.

Accept His grace to conquer your battles and rest in His peace today.

Breathe today My Friend! You’ve got this. Walk in the peace and assurance today that God is with you. You are not alone because the same God who formed you in the womb is the same God walking with you through this storm.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Challenge, Courage, encouragement, Goals, Grace, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Peace, Real, Strength

Functionality Reigns in The Chaos

Do you have a to do list that is so long you do not know where to begin?

If you do then you are not alone.

I have taken this week, that we didn’t have any doctor appointments, to find order in my chaos and peace in my frustrations.

I found by making my home functional that this brought me peace this week.

I came to a realization in my attempt to find “me” that the biggest waster of my time is chaos.

I found if I can reign in the chaos monster and better use my time on stuff that matters and is important, then I am in better control over my stress.

And let’s face it… (nothing against dads here at all as we all love our husbands (most days), but when mom is stressed, the whole house is usually.)

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to find where our source of stress is and we need to learn how to tame it better.

So in my new found revelation this week, you will begin to see me post more practical every day tips to help us be better stewards of our time while encouraging and motivating each other along the way.

Are you game for this inspiration?

If so, feel free to leave a comment or a symbol below in the comments and together we will learn to tame the chaos in our lives, one step, one chore, and one day at a time.

#Keepingitreal, Friendship, Image, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Thankfulness

Unconditional Love Is Priceless

I struggle to share my private life and I know this post is going to seem a bit weird to some who do not understand the depth in which you can love your pets, but this dog is my world.

This is my doggo, Shadow (the one with floppy ears). If you follow me on Instagram then you know how much he means to me, but to those who do not, you will quickly learn, he is my life.

We adopted this gentle guy when he was only seven months old because our sweet family friend was unexpectedly transferred to a new duty station and had been informed by the U.S. Navy that she could only take one of her sweet babies with her.

She had to make an extremely difficult decision and had to find this precious baby boy a new home. We already knew the boys because they lived across the street and so she asked my family if we would consider adopting this baby boy and give him a good home for her. She entrusted us with her most precious baby whom we agreed to adopt.

I made her a promise when we agreed to adopt Shadow that we would take the best care of him as we knew how. It didn’t take him any time to melt the hearts of our family and become one of us. As a result of his adoption, it enabled his Mommy Sarah and brother, Baby Bear, to remain in his life.

This was a win win situation. His mommy Sarah has the pleasure of seeing him as often as she comes to town while we share pictures and videos with her often. This allows her the unique opportunity to remain in his life.

Friends, if you have a special dog in your life then you will understand this statement,

Shadow is my sunshine on cloudy day.

We originally thought we would train him to be a service dog for my husband who struggles with the effects of PTSD, but it did not take long to see Shadow had a different plan.

Shadow quickly became “my” side kick. He goes on walks with me. He waits on me at every chance he gets. If I go out of sight, I know he is always there and exited to see me come back. He even loves to go for car rides every chance he gets.

He loves the rest of the family, but him and I have a unique relationship. He is truly my life (outside of my human family and friends).

“Shadow Puppy” is the bestest buddy any human could have or wish for. He has truly changed my life. He filled a void I did not realize I had.

If you have a dog in your life who has done this for you, then you understand what I mean when I say,

I truly love my dog!

He is the bestest doggo friend I could have ever wish for.

He is my life in dog form.

My friend, if you have a special pet in your life, give them an extra hug as well as an extra treat today. They earned it through their unconditional for you.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Blessings, Comfort, Encouragement Today, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life

Today Is A New Day

Encouragement Today

Good Morning Friends!

Today is a new day.

No matter what happened yesterday, today is not yesterday, “today” is a new day.

Embrace the newness and walk into it with your head held high knowing today can be what you make it.

What failed yesterday does not have to fail today.

Change the pattern and make it yours.

Happy New Day!

#Findingyourcourage, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Blessings, Bravery, Challenge, Character, Courage, Encouragement Today, Faith, Focus, Grace, Gratitude, Hope, Journey, Life, Motivation, Peace, Strength, Thankfulness

The Path Less Traveled

You’ve got this Friend!

 “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go; just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” -Unknown

You’ve got anything life can throw your way.

God has empowered you with the strength, determination, and endurance to battle what lays ahead.

Remember, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1 ESV.

Take one step at a time and lean on God for your strength as well as your refuge.

One day you will look back on today and give God the praise for helping you get through it.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 ESV.

Hang in there and know, whatever you may be going through, it will not last forever.

You’ve got this Friend, you’ve got this! 💜

Challenge, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Rest, Weariness

Refresh, Recharge, & Rest

This is your weekend reminder to take some time to slow down.

Take some time to refresh, recharge, & rest today.

Clear your schedule of the busy life you live and allow yourself the time to decompress.

Bravery, Courage, Grace, Holiday, Journey

Honoring Our Fallen on Memorial Day

I am remembering my dad today. If he had not been wounded on the battlefield in Vietnam, he would be here today.

He was an amazingly gentle and humble man who became a Marine by choice and he died a Marine by grace.

As I remember and honor my dad today I am keeping my mom in my thoughts and prayers as not a second of every day she doesn’t think of or miss him.

He touched many hearts and lives of those who were blessed to know him for he never met a stranger.

Time and death separates us now, but Heaven will reunite us one day.

Until then, God blessed me with many memories that keeps him close at heart.