Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday - We are Free

To truly know freedom is to know being held captive. Many of us don't know what it's like to be behind bars, but we do know what it's like to be held in bondage to a particular sin or thought-pattern.

This week I'm thankful for the deliverance of low self-esteem. For years I never thought there was any worth to my life. I lived like it, too. Fortunately, during an eight year period of intense prayer during infertility, I was strengthened and released from this thought pattern. As I read God's Word each morning I would find many references to how much He loved me. I read about how I was made righteous through Christ when I accepted Him as my Savior. I felt His strength flow through my bones and into my heart and mind. I overcame the thinking that I was not a woman of worth but that if God thought me important enough to delight in me and love me that I surely mattered in the realm of the world, too.

I began looking people in the eye when I said good morning or hello. (Free!)

I began to realize that the size of my body (I'm a big girl) didn't matter, but the size of my heart did. (Free!)

I began to realize that I had something to say and I said it. I discovered yahoogroups and joined a childfree group. For a season in my life this group of women who were, like me, biologically childfree (we chose not to think of ourselves as childless), helped me to grow in ways I could not imagine. I began to see that just because I didn't have 3.5 children that I still mattered. We even would meet up once a year at one of the lady's houses in Texas! I loved it. I met my very very good friend Bunnicula there. Not her real name, obviously. Although I have lost touch with these women due to a major difference of opinion, I have not lost touch with da Bunny. (Free!)

I began teaching classes at work to groups of about 15-20 people at a time on software programs and Windows NT (I'm dating myself, hah hah!). (Free!)

I volunteered to teach a class on the email system we used at a data conference and spoke to triple the number above. I still get nervous about doing conferences but I make it through. (Free!)

Then I got really brave. I began teaching GAs at church. (Free!)

Things just evolved from there and I gained a sense that what I had to say mattered, that I was beautiful in the eyes of God. I began to introduce myself to people and really open myself up to being vulnerable. I have always been the type person that never meets a stranger, but I went through a period in my life where I was so down on myself that people thought I was just the opposite, a snob. I came out of my shell and began to make friends easily. I met Harriett, who quickly changed from an aquaintance, then friend, to sister. I used to have a big sister. Harriett is not that much older than me, but she has fulfilled a place in my life that my big sister left void when she alienated herself from our family. When my earthly father had pacemaker surgery, Harriett was there. My sister (biological) wasn't, but Harriett, Momma and Jennifer (my little sister) were. Daddy even said, "All my girls are here." Oh how easily I get sidetracked. Reveling in a little bit of nostalgia about how great God is for leading me to meet her. If my self-confidence level was as low as it was before, I never would have even spoken to her for any length of time. God put us together. Speaking of Harriett, her 86 year old precious Mother is in the hospital right now. She had a fall from a seizure and they're doing some testing. Please say a prayer for her. (Free!)

Back to being set free from the bondage of low self-esteem. Things have evolved and now I've begun blogging. I have met (online) so many great Christian women. I am just amazed at how God has drawn us all together. Think about how big the internet is, ya'll. If my self-confidence level was still nil, I wouldn't be meeting Laurie and Jennifer for lunch in a few weeks! And through blogging, I have been given the freedom to share Christ with others through blogging. Who would have ever thought that God would use me? Me? Me. (Free!)

I do not think of myself more highly than I should. I do not think the sun comes up just to hear me crow. I know that I am no more important than anyone else in the world and I try to put others needs and wants above my own as often as I possibly can. I'm still pretty low on the totem pole in the world, in the country, in the county, in the city, in my neighborhood, in my job; however, through breaking the bonds of low self-confidence, God has taught me that I am beautiful in His eyes and can make a difference for Him here on earth. (Free!)

I'll let you in on a secret, just in case you don't know it. (Free!)

So are you. God loves you so much. Take a look at the post below and gain just a glimpse of how He loves you. (Free!)

I'm thankful for the freedom I have found in Christ to be who I am. A child of the Most High God. The daughter of the King. Oh my stars. How great is that? (Free!)

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? " ~ Psalm 8:3-4 (NIV)

Although this post seems like it's all about me, it isn't. Christ loosens the cords that bind us. One of the things that happened to bind me was low self-esteem. I praise God for freedom in Christ. (FREE!)

F - Fully rely on what the word of God says about you, not what the world says. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

R - Remember that freedom in Christ is not a license to sin. "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" ~ Romans 6:1-2 (NIV)

E - Embrace the truths God gives us through His Word and live according to His commandments. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise." ~ Psalm 111:10 (NIV)

E - Esteem others above yourself. "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. " ~ Romans 12:16 (NIV)

D - Devote time each day to spend with God in prayer, just as Jesus did. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." ~ Mark 1:35 (NIV)

O - Open your heart to reading and receiving God's Word every day. (Think relation, not ritual) "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

M - Make it your mission to share the freedom in Christ you have found with others. "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" ~ Romans 10:14 (NIV)

Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage is hosting Thankful Thursday for the month of March. Be sure and visit her by clicking on the button below for more Thankful Thursday posts and to link up and share your own list of thankfuls.



Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

Praising the Lord for how He made you....wonderfully, fearfully and we are all richer for knowing you!

Blessings, my sweet sister!

He And Me + 3 said...

The kids and I were talking about this just yesterday morning. About how we were blind but now can see...and how we were once slaves and now are free in Christ. It took some explaining, but I think they finally got it...I think.

Denise said...

God bless you, you are a beautiful daughter of the King, you are a princess. I love you.

Marsha said...

Laurie Ann, God bless you for sharing your struggle and freedom! I too am a 'big girl' (bigger than you, I'm sure). It's easy for me to hid behind the computer screen and not have to face that issue in my life. I took a giant step this week in that area. Yes, I'm working hard at some physical disiplines, but I also came out of hiding. I did a video blog this week! It's not real clear (bright), I need to work on better lighting, but it was a step towards accepting me for who I am and letting God work on my heart.
Have a blessed weekend, my friend.

Rita T. said...

Wow Laurie Ann, this is a very good post! I love the acronym. Beautiful. Thanks so much for your insights.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

What a touching post. Thank you for sharing your freedoms and your thankfulness with all of us. And the picture at the top is beyond perfect.

And thank you for stopping by and commenting :) It meant a lot to me!

Happy TT!

Joyfull said...

I feel like shouting!! Praise God for the freedom and liberty He gives. Thank you for sharing the issues you faced in your life and the victory and blessing you received.

The Real Me! said...

Yeah!! You are free indeed my friend. Hallelujah!!!
Big Freeing Hugs to you today my sweet friend!!!

Hazel said...

"All my girls are here" how sweet. I enjoyed reading your TT. Cheers from Bangkok!

Anonymous said...

You have a wonderful testimony! Thanks for sharing.

Ann said...

I love the acrostic! Thanks for sharing your story!

Pia said...

praise God for your freedom, laurie ann. i'm also expecting God for the manifestation of what i'm believing God for. God is good.

Jensmere said...

Thank you, Laurie Ann! Your story is one that so many share. It is wonderful when we can finally be free to see ourselves through the Father's eyes!

Bless you,