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Darcy is rejoicing at God's touch

Darcy, far right, with her family.

I wonder how often you and I have received God’s touch, but we never knew it was Him.

In response to my recent blog “Three Ways to Hear God’s Voice,” I heard from Darcy, a beautiful woman I met several years ago and with whom I shared a heart connection.

Darcy informed me she is battling stage 4 colon cancer! She said she is hearing from God “very, very clearly” and she shared with me her recent experience of receiving God’s touch.

Her story slammed my life into perspective once again and I’m sharing it with you, with her permission, to encourage you that God knows when we most need to hear His voice and feel His healing touch.

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“Where is God when it hurts?” “Doesn’t He care?” “Why would He let this happen?”

Those are questions I often hear from women who are in the midst of suffering. A betrayal, an illness or injury, a devastating disappointment — they can all make us feel that God has been negligent.

And I understand.

It’s easy to believe that God doesn’t care about us when we’re experiencing pain.   But a closer examination of Scripture tells us that God is intimately acquainted with the events of our lives. In fact, in many situations in my life and in the lives of women I know, He is the One who has protected and comforted, in spite of the pain we have endured.

If you are believing right now that God wasn’t there or didn’t care about you (or you know someone who is feeling that way right now) consider these truths from Psalm 139:

  • God intimately examines you, not to find your faults, but to know all about you (verse 1).
  • He knows where you hang out, what time you get up in the morning, and what you’re thinking before the thought even comes your way. Not only are you noticed, you are constantly watched over (verse 2).
  • He familiarizes Himself with everything you do. He is not only familiar with your ways of doing things, He has them memorized (verse 3).
  • He knows what you’re going to say before you even say it (verse 4).
  • He places hedges around you to keep you safe. In other words, God hovers over you (verse 5).
  • He won’t let you wander out of His sight. He is aware of everywhere you go. And He sticks to you like glue (verses 7-12).

God is there. He is aware. And He does care.  And if He’s allowed something painful in your life, He has a reason. And He promises that reason is for something eternally good that you might not see this side of heaven (Romans 8:28-29).

Think about something painful that has happened in your life and something good that you now have because of it. As you do, you may find yourself saying, “Aha. God was there. He does care. And He is still working His plan in my life.”

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below about where you found God in your painful situation …and what blessings are now yours because you have gone through that pain. And if you’re still in that place of hurt, let me know how I can pray for you and help shoulder that load.

 

broken heart representing a husband who cheatsWhat does a wife do when her husband cheats?

That was the most frequently asked question I received last week since starting my new blog series on “Questions Women Ask.”

One woman emailed: “My husband loves me, he just loves her, too. He says the affair is over and I just need to get over it.”

Another woman who confronted her husband about an extra-marital relationship said “He said he was sorry and looked like he meant it but how can I believe him? I feel so insecure. I fear he might do it again. Should I stay or should I leave?”

And a woman who is seeking God’s will above her own says “”What if the man in question is your husband of 29 years and the father of your 3 children?  And he has been in a relationship with another woman for 10 years?”

My heart breaks that so many women are struggling with whether or not to stay in a marriage after betrayal. They shouldn’t have to make that decision. But betrayal has forced them into the question of God’s will for their heart and marriage. Scripture is clear that divorce was never God’s desire for His people (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:8), so it is imperative that we must take it before God carefully and prayerfully.

Marriage is defined by God as a “one flesh” union between one man and one woman, expressed through a commitment to forsake all others and cling to each other for a lifetime (Genesis 2:24). When one member of the marriage party brings another person into that “one flesh” union the marriage, as God has defined it, ceases to exist. The bond has been broken, and the union severed.

However, it does not mean it is beyond hope.

If you have been betrayed — or you know someone who has — and must decide whether to stay in the marriage or not, here are three points to consider that will prayerfully lead you toward God’s peace:

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Blog quote - Psalm 139I recently lay on my side in a dermatologist’s office as she cut a football-shaped incision into the back of my shoulder and carved out all visible traces of surface skin cancer.

“Basal cell carcinoma — it’s the result of long-term sun exposure,” my doctor told me — and echoes of my husband’s warning for the past several years (“Cindi, cover your shoulders, you’re going to get burned!) rang through my ears once again.

Funny how that cancer didn’t develop overnight. Or from a one-time stint in the sun. It was from years of neglect. Years of thinking I was fine and ignoring the warnings of the dangers of sun exposure. Years of living care-free, thinking “But I like the sun, and I want to be tanned, and this No. 4 Dark Tanning Oil will be just fine.”

I wasn’t cautious even though I was told of the dangers of sun exposure. I never thought it would happen to me.

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stressedwoman2These are stressful times we live in. But that doesn’t mean we have to fall apart as a result.

Everywhere I turn I hear of women who have experienced unimaginable heartaches, marriages that are in crisis, families that are financially strapped, and people struggling with cancer and disease.

Stress — whether it be personal, marital,  financial, or medical — takes its toll on us in many ways. And it’s natural for us to reach out to someone — primarily our husbands or those closest to us — to get the relief, encouragement or support we believe we need to get through stressful times. But depending on others during stressful times can backfire on us:

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mother-daughterWould you say your relationship with your Mom is as good as the relationship you have — or hope to have — with your own children? Or is it something you’d rather not talk about?

As I was writing my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I discovered that some of the deepest wounds in a woman’s life can be traced back to her relationship with her mother. Whether it was having a critical mother, an emotionally distant mother, or a mother who never affirmed or spent time with her children, many women today still feel affected by the dynamics of their  relationship — or lack of one — with Mom.

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In my weekly bloheartbreakg series on “Answering Life’s Tough Questions,” Charity asked: How do you let go of the fear and begin to trust again when you still feel so nervous after he cheated? I’ve reconciled with him and I love him but things just aren’t the same.”

Assuming this question is in the context of marriage, I applaud you, Charity, for reconciling. God expects us to freely forgive (as you have done) just as He has freely forgiven us. But God does not command us to trust immediately after being betrayed. Perhaps God knew that would be something we would have to ease back into, after the one who betrayed us has earned our trust again.

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There are two kinds of women in this world: Those who have been hurt and continue to feel hurt,  and those who have been hurt and have surrendered it to God and now help others overcome their hurts, too. I know which woman I want to be — the one who is a blessing and encouragement to others, regardless of what I’ve been through. read more

 Women ask me, on a regular basis, “How can I know God’s will for me?” I love when they ask that question, because the answer is so clearly spelled out in Scripture. Are you ready for it? It’s simple, yet profound: Praise Him in the pain.

In First Thessalonians 5:18, we are told “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  God knows it doesn’t take much effort — or sincerity — on our part  to thank Him when things are going great in our lives. But to thank Him for everything? Even the difficult and painful things? That’s another story. That requires obedience and putting aside our feelings and saying “I don’t understand this, but I choose to trust You and thank You for it, anyway.” That is an act of love. That makes us more Christ-like. And that is God’s will for us. read more

Are you struggling with how to forgive your offender? free yourself when you forgive your offender

After 20 years of counseling women, I’ve discovered the main reason a woman doesn’t want to forgive her offender is because she doesn’t want to let the person who hurt her “off the hook.”

Yet, to forgive your offender — a  person who has hurt you deeply — means you are letting YOURSELF off the hook.

In my book When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I talk about the healing power of releasing yourself through forgiveness.  read more

Having faced rejection from an abusive father, abandonment from an abusive husband, and then betrayal by a boyfriend she thought was the “real deal,” Becky asked “What’s wrong with me?”

But Becky, as many of us do, was asking the wrong question. The question is often not “What is wrong with me?” but “What is wrong with this representation of ‘love’?”

At the root of our hurts, as women, is what I call “distorted love.” We thought it was real. But then we were burned. We trusted it as love, but discovered it was manipulation. Sadly it can take several years, multiple relationships, and countless scars  to finally realize that true and perfect love exists only in the One who is truly perfect: Jesus Christ.  read more

I tend to be a control freak.

I don’t mean to be. It just happens. I want things my way and in my timing and I get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. Just ask my husband.

Yet, one of the basic steps to wholeness, as outlined in my newest book, When a Woman  Overcomes Life’s Hurts, is relinquishing our “rights” and admitting we are not in control — God is.read more

Are you one of those people who believes you’ve done something that God could never forgive?

It took my friend, Jean, about a year to even bring up the subject with me. She had done something years ago that she was still ashamed of. She couldn’t forgive herself or believe that God could forgive her, either.

Jean had made a decision, years earlier, to abort her unborn baby. Although her doctor advised that she terminate her pregnancy because of a history of miscarriages, she never questioned the doctor’s advice. Today, she wishes more than anything that she had. She could barely talk about it with me, let alone forgive herself.

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I’ve heard many women, through the years, tell me their story of pain and frustration and ask “Where was God, anyway?” “How could He just stand by and let that happen?” “Didn’t He care?”

Have you ever asked found yourself asking those questions? If so, it’s possible you’ve been believing some lies.

In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts,  I point out the third step to healing and wholeness: Reject the lie that God didn’t care about the hurt you experienced. read more

If you’ve ever found yourself saying “This wasn’t supposed to happen” I know how you feel.

I heard myself saying that at 19 years old when my father’s alcoholism was revealed and my parents divorced. Everything I found security in seemed to crumble beneath me. I found myself wondering why God didn’t hold my family together.

My comfort came when I stumbled upon these verses in the Bible:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

It was as if God was saying “I know what is going on here, Cindi, and although you don’t understand it, you must trust Me through it.”

I chose to trust God that day, rather than question Him. And I can honestly tell you today — nearly 30 years later — that God has worked that entire situation for good in my life,  in the life of my father who is now 30 years sober and ministering to countless other recovering alcoholics, and in the lives of my other family members. Did God cause those hurtful situations in my family? No. But He was able to work through them to bring some purpose out of our pain.read more

When I started writing my eleventh book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I figured I’d overcome most of the baggage from my past.  I was healed and whole and it was time to help others get that way.

But funny how old wounds creep up on you when you least expect them.

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It took interviewing 50 women and hearing the worst of the worst stories for me to come to two conclusions:

  1. Although my hurts in life pale in comparison to what’s out there, they have affected me, nonetheless.
  2. It’s a daily surrender – not a one-time thing – to focus on the Healer, rather than my hurts, and to stay in a place of healing and wholeness.

So, just when I figured I was doing pretty well, emotionally and spiritually, God showed me how very much I still need Him.

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