Purposeful Faith

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Healing Deep Church Hurt

Church Hurt

Today, I am delighted to welcome Celeste Gonzales to Women’s Ministry Monday. Celeste points out a path to healing after being injured at church. Thank you, Celeste. It is a delight to welcome you.

Why does God tend to grow us through painful times? Ever noticed? In times where you want to withdraw, God asks us to be vulnerable, willing and open to new relationships and leadership.

Joseph is the prime example of this: sold by his brothers into slavery, appointed ruler of Potiphar’s house, thrown back in prison, then appointed second in command of Egypt.

Ups, downs, ups, downs… God’s ways are a mystery.

Accept the way God does things,
for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:13 (NLT)

So, how do you stay emotionally healthy when you’re hit with betrayal, accusations, and loss of friendships, all while being expected to shine Jesus?

Good question! To be honest, I haven’t mastered this…

I’ve had times where I felt so emotionally unstable from how cruel people can be that I needed to collect myself in the bathroom before entering the next meeting so I wouldn’t fall apart.

One day, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m not doing well. I’m sick emotionally and I don’t know what to do.” Unfortunately, he had no idea what to do with me either. It was rough!

I decided I’d had enough. I didn’t know who to trust or if I should even trust anyone, but I was determined to find healing.

Christ died to set us free, right?
By his stripes we are healed, yes?
Doesn’t that mean emotional healing, too?

If Jesus left gifts for us at the cross, isn’t it our job to seek them out? That’s just what I did—I sought answers and guidance. I asked for help…

And, you know what happened? 

I didn’t get a response. Nothing. It hurt. Discouragement settled.

However, one thing I knew is I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t giving in. Jesus’ healing was already prepared for me. He bought and paid for it on the cross over 2000 years ago! A good Father loves to give good answers. He’s not satisfied until we find them. So, on I went.

I saw a Christian counselor for deeper guidance.  I followed through on the homework he gave me, I took notes during every message from my pastor, and I continued in personal devotion.  Like physical therapy after a bodily injury, I kept pressing on toward the goal.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14

How is God calling you to press on?

What might he be calling you to pursue?

Let me assure you, God not only works for you, but he works with you and behind the scenes – for you.

It just may not come as you expect. You know, I hardly wanted to be open with people about my feelings. That’s tough work. After all, I trusted before – and I got hurt. But God, he had other plans. One way or another, God let people in on my secrets.

Frustrated, I wondered, “Didn’t He just see what happened to me? And He dares to give people insight to my life and tell them things only He knows?”

Well… yes, and yes.

We had a talk: “God I don’t want people to know these things.”
His response: “I know, but it’s good for you.”

Why does God always have to be right??

Because God is God and he has good deep down in the depths of our hurt.

I can attest to this. I really can. Today, my friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been, my home is peaceful, I love the ministry I’m leading, and my heart is full of joy.

Like Joseph, this path wasn’t easy, but still, I found fruitfulness in a time of affliction.

Today, you may feel pained, ashamed or out of the game, but let me assure you, your pursuit of God is not purposeless.

Let Joseph be your reminder. He didn’t stop leading, or stop getting out of bed, or turn his back on God. He got up, kept his heart pure before the Lord. God not only prospered him, but redeemed his pain!

Maybe these words by my pastor might resonate with you, “I’ve never been hurt more than by the local church. I’ve never been healed more than by the local church.”

Have you been hurt?

If you’ve found yourself in an emotionally weak place, today find encouragement – you don’t have to settle into it or ignore it! More awaits. Acknowledge it and seek wholeness; settle for nothing less!

God has already paid the price for your healing, and if you seek him through it – he will lead you to it!

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About Celeste

For nearly a decade, Celeste Gonzales has pursued the call to see women grow in their God-confidence and walk boldly in their calling. As part of the Celebration Church Austin team (along with her church hurthusband, Daniel) Celeste utilizes her relatable communication style, effective strategy, and heart for discipleship to help develop and equip women leaders. She has three things that get her up every, or at least most, mornings with a smile: Syrena (11), Luke (8) & Kya (4). Follow her on Instagram & twitter @celesteadores .

The Unexpected Repairing Ground

Repairing Ground

Dear eyes, you have looked through the glasses of not enough for so long. You have gazed upon other’s lots wishing to grab their “a lot”. Their kids, cars, houses, smarts, clothes, cars and blessings. You crave it all. You have hoped and dreamed, pleaded and called, but still, your eyes constrict when you see all you don’t have. There is hope.

Dear hands, you are trying, you are fighting and you are walking by faith, but sometimes the work of your hands falters. You trip up and chip up your nails, your best efforts, which only seems to send you into a cycle of defeat and discouragement. You feel like you can’t make it holy enough. Don’t give up.

Dear mind, you carry around the self-condemning thoughts of “I wish I could be better, love more, do more and be more.” You tend to miss the mark and punish yourself for doing so. Honestly, the way you run circles, chasing the tail of “perfectly all together,” may just rip you apart. There is more. 

Dear feet, you go to the places of need. You rise to the moments of emergency. You run to help others. You go far lengths. But, still, you wonder, do these feet travel far enough? Are they making a difference? Are the steps futile? They count.

Dear other person, I wonder, will you still love me entirely with my flaws? Will you be able to look past all my frame is not to see all I am? What would happen if I trusted you? Take a risk.

For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. Col. 2:19

Suddenly, my eyes open, my ears listen, my mouth waits, and my hands reach out to see God’s nourishing truth. While I always thought the freedom was centered on me, I am realizing it transcends time-sensitive bodies – it transcends our body. It is not just about one flawed and damaged part, but it is entirely about the whole part. The part he is moving and making into his greatness, for his greatness.

His body that makes my body. Why? Because my body is his body (I am his temple). His body is the church (we are his people). The church is God’s primary mission field to repair damaged bodies (if we let it work).

Founded in Christ and deployed through our willingness, we – together – become the healers of the awkward thoughts, the repairers of hidden shame and the bringers of the most hope inducing words ever – “me too.”

Unity creates immunity. An immunity that wards off loneliness, unsteadiness and unsightliness. We were at our worst, but together, we hit the potential to become our best.

If we give unity a fighting chance, we give let progress walk in – shuffle around –
and do it’s victory dance.

For then, a collaborative voice emerges, saying, “We can do it, make it and conquer it. We can see our bulges, our wrinkles and our indents and say, this body is very good.” (Gen. 1:3) Not because everything is perfectly beautiful, but because everything is beautifully transparent in a way where one needs Christ, where one needs another.

Holding hands, there is joy, there is a sliver of something – a glorious sunrise emerges in the center of the darkness of night and what appears is the new beginning to a story that we thought ended.

We see our ill-formed bodies, as a whole, formed into the image of Christ.

Our body emerges remarkable, radiant and restored.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song 4:7

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