A Scripture Prayer written by a client about her experience with True Life Exchange

Psalm 86

A Prayer of David.

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and distressed, needy and desiring. START OF COUNSELING.

Preserve my life, for I am godly and dedicated; O my God, save Your servant, for I trust in You [leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, without fear or doubt]. FEELS LIKE YOU ARE DYING WHEN YOU ARRIVE. TRUE LIFE EXCHANGE HELPED ME LEAN, BELIEVE AND CONFIDENTLY LOOK TO GOD.

Be merciful and gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day. I DID CRY A LOT.

Make me, Your servant, to rejoice, O Lord, for to You do I lift myself up. WHEN I COULD NOT LIFT MYSELF UP, TRUE LIFE EXCHANGE DID.

For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You. FORGIVENESS EXERCISES.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and listen to the cry of my supplications. PRAYERS FOR HELP.

In the day of my trouble I will call on You, for You will answer me. MORE PRAYER AND GOD ANSWERED IN SESSION.

There is none like unto You among the gods, O Lord, neither are their works like unto Yours. GOD, YOU ARE WORKING TO HELP ME.

All nations whom You have made shall come and fall down before You, O Lord; and they shall glorify Your name. IT IS FOR GOD’S GLORY.

10 For You are great and work wonders! You alone are God. WONDERFUL THINGS START TO HAPPEN. START TO HEAL.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth; direct and unite my heart [solely, reverently] to fear and honor Your name. THIS IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF WHAT TRUE LIFE EXCHANGE DOES… TEACH OTHERS/ME TO WALK AND LIVE IN HIS TRUTH.

12 I will confess and praise You, O Lord my God, with my whole (united) heart; and I will glorify Your name forevermore. CONFESSION COMES. PRAISE COMES. MORE HEALING. MY HEART STARTS TO BECOME WHOLE.

13 For great is Your mercy and loving-kindness toward me; and You have delivered me from the depths of Sheol [from the exceeding depths of affliction]. DELIVERANCE.

14 O God, the proud and insolent are risen against me; a rabble of violent and ruthless men has sought and demanded my life, and they have not set You before them. MY SPOUSE, BROTHER, SISTER, MOTHER, FATHER, CHILD, FRIEND, CO-WORKER, SUPERVISOR… WAS PROUD AND INSOLENT. HE DID NOT SET GOD BEFORE HIMSELF. SHE DID NOT SET GOD BEFORE HERSELF.

15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness and truth. THANK YOU, LORD. I AM GRATEFUL.

16 O turn to me and have mercy and be gracious to me; grant strength (might and inflexibility to temptation) to Your servant and save the son of Your handmaiden. GOD IS GRANTING ME STRENGTH NOW.

17 Show me a sign of [Your evident] goodwill and favor, that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because You, Lord, [will show Your approval of me when You] help and comfort me. ONCE WE GET WHOLE, THOSE WHO USED TO HURT US, NOW MUST FACE WHAT THEY DID.

 

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Tim Shutt

Tim Shutt has just completed his first year with True Life Exchange!

The fall of 2015 brought a career transition for Tim. Over the next several months he sought counsel from wise men and the Holy Spirit. Tim believes that God is calling him to help others sustain recovery and live from their identity in Christ.

Tim completed the Light University Professional Life Coaching and Recovery Coaching Program in 2016. He has thirty years of personal recovery. In addition he received his Advanced Discipleship Training through True Life Exchange in 2016. Tim has a diverse background professionally, in relationships and has much to offer to the discipleship counseling process.

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I’m a hugger

god hugI’m a hugger, I’m a holder, and I’m an embracer. I’m sure by this point that we have all heard of the five love languages by Gary Chapman; acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time and physical touch. Although I like all of these my favorite is physical touch. For me there is something so connecting that happens we two people embrace one another.

 

As my children were growing up I could tell when they needed a hug. Their eyes would be downcast, there might be a slump in their shoulders or maybe their body just appeared rigid. I would say, “You need a hug”. To which they would respond verbally or non-verbally but either way the message was clearly, “NO I DON’T!” Sometimes I was able to break through their rejection of my offer with a smile, some soft words or just open arms. Which would result in them rigidly walking toward me, standing like a stiff board in my embrace…then the melting would start and before long they would relax into the love that I was offering. I knew that they were fully receiving the love when I heard them let out a long exhale. Once that happened we were fully together in the moment and it felt good.

 

I see a picture of this kind of love in the bible, “The Lord your God is in your midst (He’s with you), a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness (He wants to be with you); He will quiet you by His love (this sounds like a hug to me); He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT, parenthesis mine. Of course God takes it a step further with the singing! Can you imagine God singing over you just because He’s glad to be with you?

 

Do you find yourself in need of a hug today? Is there a part of you or all of you that feels as stiff as a board? Take a few minutes; close your eyes and picture the God of the universe with open arms ready to embrace you. Take a few deep breaths and allow Him to be with you and you with Him. Let your body and your soul melt in His calming love. Listen to His voice, that sense deep in your spirit that’s singing over you! There’s nothing quite like being quieted by His love!

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New You!

shutterfly-2015-407

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Put It On

woman-armorEphesians 6:10-18 tells us to put on the armor of God and stand firm. It is a great way to start your day.

 

Move from head to toe:

 

  • Helmet of Salvation- The knowledge that I am saved, that He gave His life for me, He gave His life to me and desires to live His life through me daily.

 

  • Breastplate of righteousness- Understanding that all of my right-ness comes from Him alone. I can rest in what He has already done.

 

  • Shield of faith- I can put my big heart out there in life because God’s got me, He is my protector.

 

  • Sword of the Spirit- God’s word is alive in me; I know what to say and what to do.

 

  • Belt of truth- I am continually reminded who I am: loved, accepted worthy and secure.

 

  • Peace boots- I take the peace of the good news everywhere I go because I am His and His story is being lived out in my life.

 

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Go Ahead and Strike!

ngu-2016-1My daughter plays soccer. So, I am a soccer mom in every sense of the label. For the past nine years I’ve traveled thousands of miles to hundreds of fields to watch her do what she loves. In turn, I’ve loved every moment. All that time sitting up in the stands – those moments have taught me many things. Soccer has a lot to say about life… you know you’re a soccer mom when you have soccer                                                                                      metaphors and at this point I’m full of them!

 

My girl is fast! Because of her speed, at times her coaches can’t decide if they want her to create goal-scoring opportunities or stop the goals of opponents. Mostly she’s used her speed to stop goals. Because of some things that have happened off the field, she’s naturally defensively minded. The soccer field has been a place for her to learn to set some strong boundaries with goal-minded rivals. This has helped her in life as well. To defend in soccer you have to hold your ground, anticipate others’ movements, contain your opponent, possess the ball and use your keeper, which seems risky but is often the best option.

 

This season my girl is a woman. Once again she finds herself with a coach who is trying to decide where he wants her speed. She’s been playing forward more than defense. To be a forward you have to carry the ball, beat the defender, create opportunities and cross the ball. She is good at all of these things, but being a forward involves something really scary for the defensively minded – striking!

 

Strikers put themselves out there, they take chances, they take shots and those chances and shots don’t often work out. Strikers are willing to be vulnerable, fail and feel foolish, because every once in a while that vulnerability pays off. And then it is pure bliss to hear the roars from the crowd, to run and meet your team, high-fiving one another, to know that you just contributed in a way that puts a stat on the board!

 

As I’ve contemplated these aspects of soccer over the years, I see that I, too, am more defensively minded. I hold my ground, anticipate others’ movements and moods, contain others’ reactions, and keep that ball (life) moving. Sometimes I’m even wise enough to use my keeper (God). I can relate to being a forward as well, carrying the ball (life), being more efficient and better than what is against me, creating opportunities for others, but I’m not going to lie – striking scares me!

 

I was on a long walk, talking to God about the circumstances in life that concern me, mulling this soccer-talk around in my head and I sensed God say, “What about you? Isn’t it time that you scored some goals?” The question brought with it an enormous sense of vulnerability. I thought, “What if I miss, what if I fail, what if I look foolish?” I sensed God say, “You won’t score them all, but you will score some.”

 

In my life, this putting myself out there looks like stating my thoughts and opinions even when I know that others will disagree. Writing about what God has taught me over the years even though it seems to fly in the face of performance-based Christianity. Spending a little more time and effort in taking my opportunities, the ones that God has for me, rather than always being focused on creating them for others.

 

What about you? Are you a defender or a forward? Do you have the courage to strike? Take your place on the field of life no matter what season or position you find yourself in. Let God work through you, speak through you and live through you. When you are the striker – strike and leave the results to Him!

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How in the World Can I Love People?

I had a dream. It wasn’t the kind that you wake up and laugh about, and it wasn’t the kind that you are glad when you wake up and it’s over. It was the kind that changed my life!

Let me describe it. A group of young women were addicted to going to a theater. In this theater was an enormous screen. On the screen were all of the people in the young women’s lives. When they approached the screen the “people” on the screen would automatically interact with the young women exactly as the women desired them to. This is why the women were addicted to this theater.

In the dream, I actually could see two of me. One of me – the me who I am – was in a room to the side of this theater where she had access to the screen. The other me – the me who I want to be – was outside the theater. The me who I want to be walked through the theater to the me who I am. The me who I want to be was trying to convince the other me to come out and away from the room next to the addictive screen. The me I am didn’t want to. She wanted to stay where she believed that people should act a certain way. The me I want to be finally broke through to the me I am and we walked outside together.

When we arrived outside, the me who I want to be got down on her knees and pleaded with the me who I am. She said, “Please listen to me, those young women in there, they are living their lives based on how others respond to them. They are addicted to getting exactly what they want from the people they are in relationship with, but it is just a screen, the people are not real. The women are deceived because they are seeking a feeling and, in there, they have found it. Pay close attention to what I am about to say. That is not love! That is not a relationship! We GET to love people the way they are, not the way we want them to be. That is the gift!”

The me who I am joined the me who I want to be on her knees as we humbly accepted this truth, that the gift of life is really loving and accepting people as they are, not how we want them to be.

Jesus did this for the me who I am, so I can be the me who I was made to be.

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Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Tullian Tchividjian’s book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything, is a great read for all, but especially for those who are tired of trying to measure up and exhausted by the standards of the religious community.

Tullian wrote the book during a trying season when he was experiencing difficulties in his newly merged congregation and was grieving the loss his father. He understood in a new way how the gospel of Christ redeems and transforms us especially in the complicated times of our lives.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything takes a deep dive into the book of Colossians. As Tullian puts it, “As I read those verses, my eyes were opened. God’s Holy Spirit helped me see the incredible sufficiency of Christ and the gospel. I could see with greater clarity and deeper personal application than I’d ever experienced. I sensed my miserable chains falling away. My true situation came into focus. I’d never realized before how dependent I’d become on human approval and acceptance until so much of it was taken away.  I realized just how much I’d been relying on something other than – something more than – the approval and acceptance and love that were already mine in Jesus.”

Some of the topics Tullian addresses in this book are:

  • The primary enemy of the gospel, legalism
  • The theory that if you behave, you belong
  • Our self-salvation projects
  • Hard work vs. His word

Reading Jesus + Nothing = Everything brings home the true answer of the gospel, that Christ gave everything for us and to us, therefore we already have everything we need.  Because we have everything that we need, we are free to give our lives away. The only way this can be accomplished is if we preach the gospel to ourselves each day, bringing a deeper and deeper awareness of what we already have in Him.

I recommend this book to anyone who is weary on the journey. Jesus + Nothing = Everything will renew and hopefully transform your faith to the point of believing that He is all that you truly need.

If you resist the grace of Christ and want to learn how to rest in His finished work contact me.

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Total Surrender

   

Photograph by Dazzy Gidds

Many times after our salvation experience we end up trying to live the Christian life through our own resources apart from God. We don’t even realize we are doing this. Experiencing Christ as our life is found in surrendering all things and all that we are to Him and admitting that we can do nothing on our own. The following prayer is a great way to surrender all that we are to Him. 

“I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have and ever will be. I take my hands off my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it All to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that I was raised from the dead and seated at your right hand.

 I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me; to do what I can’t do; quit what I can’t quit; start what I can’t start; and — most of all — to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says — to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory.

I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Permission to reprint by IOM America: http://iomamerica.blogspot.com/p/the-selfers-prayer.html

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Honor is Best Ingredient for Blending Families

Photograph by billjacobus1

If you are part of a blended family, you know that often means someone is going to feel chopped up. Think of adding ingredients into a blender! The dynamics that exist between members of small groups (families) can be from one extreme to another. However, blending people together is not the right goal; honoring individuals within a family is.

There is a process that takes place in groups – forming, storming, norming and performing. Forming is when the individuals first come together. Storming is when the individuals in the group are figuring out who is in charge and where each one’s “place” is. Norming is when the group begins to operate in a specifically predictable way. Performing is when the group operates together toward some common goal.

This group formation process is helpful to know if you are in a blended family. When you take two groups of people, a parent and child(ren) grouped with another parent and child(ren), you are attempting to form one group out of two. Even if one spouse does not bring a child to the mix, you are still joining two things. The process of forming, storming, norming and performing starts when the blended family joins. Every time a person leaves or joins the group the process starts all over again. This is a great explanation as to why when kids go to their other birth parents’ home over the weekend; it feels like you are back at square one when they arrive home!

An abundance of advice on doing the blended family thing is available. I want to focus on one area, an awareness of triangulation. Triangulation is most commonly used to express a situation in which one family member will not communicate directly with another family member, but will communicate with a third family member, which can lead to the third family member becoming part of the triangle. Triangulation can be rampant in blended families.

A child rejects a stepparent and does not want to communicate with them, so their birthparent becomes the communicator between the two. Divorced spouses don’t communicate well, so the child becomes the go-between. The scenarios could go on and on. The point is, in triangulation someone is going to feel strangled! I have found it helpful to encourage the “non-communicators” to communicate directly with one another. For example, if a stepparent does not like the behavior of a child, at some point he or she is free to communicate that. If the child does not like the response of a stepparent, the child, too, can respectfully communicate that. If an ex-spouse is displeased with the way things are being handled with the kids, he or she should not use the child to communicate this. When we triangulate we are ensuring that communication will continue to break down.

If we want our blended families to be families where individuals are honored, recognizing how groups are formed and maintained and encouraging direct communication are two huge steps in the right direction.

As I trust in Christ as my strength in all things, I have experienced more harmony in my relationships as I let go of what is not my responsibility and embrace communication and acceptance.

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