She Reads Truth | Soul Detox | Day 22


Today’s Scriptures: Proverbs 25:26-27 & 3 John 1:11

Today’s Reading:

Our lives are full of cultural toxins, which are those things that are culturally acceptable, but hurt our souls. Cultural toxins can be found in the books we read, the magazines we read, the music we listen to, the television shows we watch, and in the movies we watch. When we allow cultural toxins into our lives, it pollutes us. This week you will learn what God’s Word says about the dangers of cultural toxins and the importance of focusing on things that draw us closer to God.

What are some of the cultural toxins you currently have in your life? How have you seen these toxins pollute your life?

Lets just talk about emotional porn for a few minutes.

So back a few  years ago there was a huge rage about Twilight being emotional porn for younger girls, setting improper expectations of the perfect guy etc. Currently we’re seeing Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike all over pintrest, the internet, Facebook, etc. and a similar debate is being held.

The basic argument is that men are visual, girls are emotional, hence these things that tap into our emotions that we grab onto and dream about and may even get aroused about are emotional porn. Men would be chastised for openly viewing porn without shame, why are women allowed to post photos of ‘hot guys’ and make sexual comments and read these books without the same accountability being set for them? Women aren’t made into perverts, creeps or disgusting. It’s almost praised, actually. (Go feminism, be man’s equal!)

Why indeed…..

Jon and I watched The Vow a few weeks ago (ironically enough with Channing Tatum as the lead), and I’ll have to be honest. It really made me struggle with comparison of our marriage to that of the “perfect” one being portrayed in the movie. Would Jon love me if that happened? Would he fight for me, etc. It went from watching a beautiful love story to putting our relationship under a microscope and comparing it. And I talked to Jon about my struggle with it after the movie, so it’s not like it was keeping a big secret. I hate that I struggled so much with it. It left me feeling discontent for that evening although I’m married to a wonderful man who is no where near perfect, but has served and loved me in many ways in the last year. Satan wants us to use things like comparison to rip apart something beautiful, something real. And he does it anyway he can. For me it was comparing our relationship to a beautiful romantic love story in a 2 hour movie. 2 hours, clearly we only saw the good stuff. What is it for you?

This is not meant to be a guilt trip if you read 50 shades or watch Magic Mike, I was just using a relevant example. I read on a blog today that was having this debate that a wife and husband “didn’t care what turned their spouse on as long as they could reap the benefits”. And I vomited a little, and my heart broke a lot. Emptiness. That’s what we are seeing to escape, and we run to the things that empty us quicker than we can realize it’s happening.  We are destroying ourselves, we are destroying our relationships and then wondering WHY and HOW. We are believing Satan’s excuses of what’s acceptable instead of viewing things through the Truth.

Maybe you don’t struggle with emotional porn.

Maybe it’s materialism.

Maybe it’s something completely different.

Our lives are full of cultural toxins, which are those things that are culturally acceptable, but hurt our souls… When we allow cultural toxins into our lives, it pollutes us.

3 John 1v11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

What’s polluting us?

What keeps us from imitating what is good and seeing God?

She Reads Truth | Soul Detox | Day 16

Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 1: 1-18

Today’s Word: There are four types of fears: fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of rejection, and fear of the unknown. It is very likely that you are struggling with one or more of these fears. These fears can paralyze you and keep you from God’s best. Remember what 2 Timothy 1 says in that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

Which fears do you currently struggle with the most?

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Types of Fears: Loss, Failure, Rejection, Unknown

Losing, grief and loneliness.

Failing or lacking control.

Being rejected, compared or judged.

Fearing the unknown or being unprepared.

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Blue Letter Bible is one of my favorite bible sites and I wanted to share a part of today’s Day by Day Grace.

We are also engaged in warfare, spiritual warfare. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). As spiritual soldiers, we must use spiritual weapons. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). The promises of God are part of our spiritual weaponry. We can stand victorious in battle by the promises of God, just as the Apostle Paul did. “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you…And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:9-11).

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Friends our fears are due to spiritual warfare. We need to be aware of it. No matter how we address our toxins, or our fears, or try to deal with them and heal through them… the context is the same. We live in spiritual warfare. There will always be temptations to sin, and to fear. But Perfect love casts out fear. The LORD is already on his throne, he has won the battle and is on our side. We can stand victorious in spiritual warfare that is external and internal. Our relationships for example are always going to be under attack because Satan does not want healthy relationships, marriages or families to survive.

We must be aware to be proactive. Not the what if’s but rather the RIGHT NOW. What areas are we fearful?
Lets look through the lens of spiritual warfare to gain a heavenly perspective.
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline

How does fear hold us captive?
It holds us captive in the areas that the spirit of power, love and self-discipline are lacking.
Lets tip the scales back in our favor, for His glory.

She Reads Truth | Soul Detox | Day 12

Today’s Word: Ephesians 4:17-32

Today’s Reading: God’s Word gives us a very important instruction that we must all take to heart and obey. That instruction is to speak life-giving words to others every chance we get.

Who do you need to start speaking life-giving words to? How will you go about doing it?

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I think over and over again over something I once heard. That as Christians we lose the RIGHT to take offense. We have no right. Wait a minute… we DO have rights! Our society teaches us about our rights from day one. How hard it is to relinquish our rights to take offense so that we can extend grace, forgiveness and love. Not withholding proper discernment of where a healthy boundary with that person may be…. but not responding in anger.

It’s OK to be angry! God has redeemed our emotions as well!

26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27
 and do not give the devil an opportunity.

It’s difficult to come to the realization that anger, pain, rejection, love, all these feelings remind us that we’re ALIVE and well PRAISE THE LORD we’re redeemed!!!!!  Without pain and suffering we can’t truly know love and grace, without forgiven we can’t appreciate being forgiven. Sure we can board ourselves up and become numb to pain but we start to slowly wither away and that’s exactly where Satan can take hold of us. And I struggled. With depression, with countering suicidal thoughts, not of my own accord but that would be planted and I would think “LORD where did that come from? Am I that big of a mess? Do I no longer value life?” And they were things I had to speak truth over, and had to start speaking out about because I could feel myself snowballing. Some of you walked this with me or observed it, others walked the following years recovery, and I made it because of you. A slippery slope, depression. You almost wake up in it and wonder, how the hell did I get here? Toxic thoughts and emotions that go unaddressed. They’re most dangerous when they lurk in the dark corner and accumulate unnoticed.

I revisited this yesterday. I was ANGRY. And I responded in anger. Thankfully Jon was the one I was getting upset with (not at the other person directly) and he calmed me down and put me back in line from my “over-reacting”, but there was a trigger and I felt every inch of my body start to suffocate me and my response was sinful. I felt the LORD saying “separate these situations Leslie, this is a different time, different people, you are a different person, do not revert back to your old ways”… and revert back I did. Lord forgive me for acting out my anger in sin, instead of giving my anger to you. And thank you for a great husband to snap me into reality.

I’m realizing more and more how sinful my true nature is, this faith thing is not for the feint hearted…..

Be grateful – our life is only for his GloryYou can’t live for Me unless you live from Me


7 days of no complaining:find a positive in the situation
– Love this. I’m going to ask Jon to help keep me accountable too.
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

She Reads Truth | Soul Detox | Day 11

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 4:1-27

Today’s Reading:

Even as you strive to stop saying toxic words to others, you will still have to deal with toxic words being said to you. As a result, you must do what God’s Word tells us to do when others speak toxic words to us: you must guard your heart against them.

How will you guard your heart against toxic words?

v13) Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

I think as Christians we get a skewed perspective on what wisdom is and what discernment is. I love that this describes wisdom as gentleness.

Whenever I’m upset, or hurt, and am seeking reconciliation or whatever… If I’m truly praying about it and listening, seeking wisdom, etc. My approach towards that person is much more gentle than when I’m lashing out in anger, hurt or frustration.

I think as Christians we are naturally discerning about more surface level things, but seeking the LORD in our discernment gives us an additional gentleness (even if stern) in regards to what we are being discerning about and our approach and response changes, our tongue becomes more tame. We are more cautious to not add to the toxic things spoken over someone else and respond in truth.

I know I took this one a little bit different direction, but this is how this scripture spoke to me.

I think seeking the Lord and his wisdom and understanding is what helps us to learn to guard our hearts and respond in love. To prevent the toxic thoughts within us and from speaking them to other people. When we sit and realize the gravity of someone’s passing comment in our lives, how much more do we say things that affect others to the same degree. Sometimes these things are even said with good intention and love. I learned by my closest friendships how important it is to trust the other’s intentions, and therefore seek understanding instead of letting something snowball into something it was never intended to mean.  

I agree that we are responsible for our words and actions, not how those actions are interpreted. But in seeking wisdoms our actions should reflect that of the LORD and that includes being wise about how to present those actions and words to others in a non-toxic way. 

She Reads Truth | Soul Detox | Day 9

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 15:1-33

Today’s Reading:

Our words are powerful. They have the power to kill and the power to give life. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon often writes about the dangers and the life-giving abilities of our words. He was very aware of the power of words. As a result, Solomon encourages us all to be aware of the types of words we speak to others and the positive and negative affects they can have.

What types of words do you tend to speak most – toxic or life-giving? Explain.

Continue reading

She Reads Truth | Soul Detox | Day 2

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

Today’s Reading:  To battle against your toxic thoughts, you must identify and reject them. As 2 Corinthians 10 tells us, the battle against our toxic thoughts is like none other. It is not a physical battle, but rather it is a spiritual battle that requires God’s help in fighting.

What are some of the causes of toxic thoughts in your life?

The second part of 10 v 5 says… we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

Every thought captive. Every thought.

Confession. I struggle with jealously, specifically with my husband. I doubt my worth in his eyes, I doubt his loyalty to me. I doubt. I’m a doubter. And it eats me away on the inside. And he has done nothing to make me question his love, affection, or loyalty. It’s just the enemy, trying to destroy marriage. Trying to destroy family. Trying to destroy holiness.

Jealousy…. Toxic.

Every thought captive.

Lord… these thoughts, these insecurities, I give them to you.
Forgive me.
Give me the wisdom and strength to take every thought captive.
Let me turn the energy that goes into these toxic thoughts towards prayers for my husband, and for our marriage.
Let me find my security and worth in you, not in men, and not in my man.

#17 Clear Out Emotional Clutter

It’s been a while since my last blog, and I figured it was about time for another post. I never seem to finish what I start and I’m determined I can make it through this one goal. I know I can!

‘Clearing emotional clutter helps you live life more freely from the heart’.

I have always told people and tried to convince myself that pain is liberating because it reminds you that you are alive.

This year I’ve had plenty of painful reminders that I’m alive.

January 11, 2011 I became an aunt to Mikah Skye McLain. The most beautiful joyful baby you’ve ever met. And I love him. I dare say that I love him as my own, but being that I have never had a baby I feel that is a claim beyond my grasp of understanding. There were complications in the birth and Mikah was resuscitated and my sister began a long healing process of her pelvis that was separated during delivery. To say Mikah brought joy into our lives would be the biggest understatement that I’ve ever made. Beyond the joy of being an aunt I felt as though I had my sister back in my life. The two of us were never as close as I wanted, mostly because we lived very different life-styles. I don’t think either of us doubted that we loved each other, we just weren’t highly involved in each other’s lives. She moved from the hospital in FL back in with my parents in OH, bringing her geographically close enough to me that I could take weekend visits to help her with what she needed and smother Mikah with more love then he was already getting.

Then Jon came into the rest of my life. My relationship with him put understanding into the phrase that ‘when you know, you just know’, and truth to ‘it happens when you least expect it’. I will spare any gushy details and just say that his timing was perfect and inconvenient. Perfect in the sense that the LORD was providing for me in a way that I didn’t know I would need, and inconvenient because Jon wasn’t a part of MY plan and the direction I was prayerfully taking for my life.

In addition to the many things Jon has been juggling recently, on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2011, I received the news that little Mikah didn’t wake up. The phone call you know you will eventually get one day about a parent, or a grandparent, and eventually siblings, and it will be heartbreaking. But your 4 month old nephew… you are just never quite prepared. You hear stories of parents losing their children at a young age, and I am so thankful that Mikah’s passing was in his sleep and not by way of an automobile accident, or sickness, etc. He’s spared from all the hurt and pain this world has for us. But you also mourn for the life he could have had. The birthday parties we never got to celebrate. The soccer games that will never happen. The memories are so few and are full of his infant and dependency on whomever is taking care of him. But never a bad memory either. 3am feedings helping my sister. Waking up and holding him while he is snuggling. Falling asleep on your chest. His lip that quivered when he cried, which was only when he was hungry and needed his diaper changed. His little giggle. The look of recognition when you took him from someone or he heard your voice.  And I was only the aunt that got to see him about a week out of the month. My heart breaks and grieves for my sister, and my mind can’t grasp what she is going through.

Mikah not only made me an aunt, he set me on the path to emotional healing and freedom. We all have growing pains, and all deal with them differently. I bottled mine up and decided I didn’t want to deal with them, which eventually led to not being quite sure how to differentiate the emotions from each other to deal with them. It’s not easy to express love, not unconditionally. There’s so much risk involved and it’s unnatural for us as humans. But a baby, babies are easy to love, and you can love them fearlessly because it’s not a two-way relationship and expectations cannot be unmet. Were it not for Mikah, I truly do not believe that I would have been able to trust and fall so easily for Jon. Not to say that I love Jon because of Mikah, but that Mikah allowed me to fearlessly love again. And there’s so much redemptive power in that love that you are more willing to take risks. And being able to take that risk on Jon stretches me and gives me more reward than is possible outside a relationship that is seeking unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness, and grace. One day at a time. Each failure tackled and handled better the next time… hopefully.

“The shell must break before the bird can fly.” Tennyson

Emotional Clutter really can keep you from living. Being overly emotional, and lacking emotions. As everything in life there is a balance to find, and work to keep getting better at it. To find the balance and realize that in all things contrast is so important. The pain and joy that have been going on the last six months have been in stark contrast to each other, and although I wish all the pain could be removed I know that the LORD can and is being glorified, and that without that contrast of pain I wouldn’t begin to truly understand real joy, peace and love.

Grief is a funny thing. Your range of emotions switches to without warning, and then all emotions happen at once. Until you really grieve yourself, true empathy is near impossible. But grief brings healing as well. For the situation you are grieving, and all the facets of life that are intertwined with it. I don’t know that grieving ever ends, because life blossoms out from it. But we have to let ourselves be broken.

Brokenness… that’s the hardest part, and the most rewarding.

“Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”