Found And Free 

I was lost, but now I’m found.  

Blind, but now I see.  

Enslaved to the past, but now free.  

Broken, but now mended.  

Fearful, but now fearless.  

Anxious, but given peace.  

Alone, but now He’s with me always.  

Tired, but given new strength.  

Depressed, but now He’s lightened my burden and shown me that this life is worth living because it was worth Him dying so I could live this life abundantly; without regret, without fear holding me back.  

I may be my worst enemy, 

but God is my greatest friend, 

and because He’s greater in His strength 

than I am in mine, He’ll defeat me with His love and kindness and show me that 

when I’m weak, He is strong to deliver me from myself and the enemy’s grip on my life.  

As death is knocking on my door, 

so is God and his knock is louder than the enemy’s; the one who wants to kill, steal, and destroy me.  

Christ came so I might have life and have it abundantly.  

So, why have I not taken advantage of it before now?  
Because I was once deaf to His voice, blind to the light, and allowed the enemy to take me captive into a deep, miserable, and painful place of enslavement to that which God had freed me from even before I was born because as He hung on the cross He said, “IT IS FINISHED.” 

Those words encompass all that I have done, am doing, and will do in the future that doesn’t align myself with God. 

But because He is a loving God, 

He will keep showing up to grasp my hand and help me stand when I fall for the things of this world.  
I know I can’t fill the void inside with anything or anyone outside of God, for God created me with this void that ONLY He can fill.  
I want Him in my life more than this world has place.  

I want my life to be in align with God; 

a mind set on His will and plan for me, 

thoughts that are of Him, 

a heart that loves as Christ loved me, 

words that speak life, 

and actions that are pleasing to my heavenly Father.  
What He did for me at the cross I could never repay, but He gave me this life and these gifts and talents; what I choose to do with them for His kingdom is my gift back to Him.  

So, may I let go of fear holding me back from all that God has for me, and let God lead me into the way of the everlasting.

~ Bethany Anne 

Temptation 

WORTHY THOUGHT: When you flee from temptation be sure not to leave a forwarding address. -Unknown

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.~James 4:7 ESV 

The enemy wants nothing better than to upset you and get you on the road to self-destruction. 

Continue to walk in the Lord and serve Him. God will vindicate you in His time and His way. 

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV 

Temptation is something we face each and every day. It is possible to have victory over temptation. Jesus shows us how.

 

      ~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Boo Boo Bandaids 

Do you ever feel like you get one banged up knee, scrape or fall after another? I’m talking about emotional or spiritual hits now. 

You make a mistake and off you go trying to recover by placing a “feel better” bandaid over it, only to make the same mistake the next day. 
How many of us might find ourselves resembling this young lady’s banged up legs? 

We are all covered in bandaids trying to hide our weaknesses and shortcomings. I have medical health alert good news for you. 

Go to your nearest Bible clinic and look up the following verses.  

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

 The Message (MSG)

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Take a load off, sit down and soak up these soothing words from the Bible. We have amazing support from God. He is waiting for us to discover Him. 

We don’t have to do this alone. 

Jesus is waiting for you to surrender and allow him to bandage you up properly. 

Let Him take over and watch your boo’s boo’s disappear. 

Weak Me, Strong He,

Kelley Allison

http://www.bowlofsplendor.com

Lay Our Secrets Down 


“There is freedom found when we lay 

our secrets down at the cross, at the cross…..”

I recently heard this song and it really sums up what we believe at Restored Ministries.   

We are only as sick as our secrets! 

We do an event we call Release To Be Restored where we encourage others to release whatever secret, sin, or struggle to obtain real emotional deliverance. 
When we are delivered emotionally in our mind- then the body can follow and that is when we start to walk in dominion and wholeness- to fully live restored -Mind Body Soul! 
Enjoy this great song! ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

If We’re Honest by FRANCESCA BATTISTELLI 

Lyrics:

Truth is harder than a lie

The dark seems safer than the light

And everyone has a heart that loves to hide

I’m a mess and so are you

We’ve built walls nobody can get through

Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
[Chorus:]

Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine

‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides

And mercy’s waiting on the other side

If we’re honest

If we’re honest
Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not

Living life afraid of getting caught

There is freedom found when we lay 

our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
[Chorus]
It would change our lives

It would set us free

It’s what we need to be
[Chorus]

Restoration Stories – Melanie Schoenmaker 

   
I grew up in what appeared to be a normal and typical family. My family attended church and during my early years of education I attended a Christian school. Around the age of 13 I started to be disruptive in class and my parents allowed me to change schools. My rebellious behaviour only worsened however, I drank and partied and pushed whatever boundaries were put in place. At 15 I moved out of home and was living with my best friend’s family until they got tired of me too. By 16 I was living with a friend from work and trying to support myself but that only lasted a few months and so I moved back in with my parents. My life was out of control and I didn’t really understand why. After an emotional breakdown and thoughts of suicide I stumbled upon a card from a Christian counselor.

After a year of counseling I made the decision to become a Christian. I felt transformed, a new person with a new life. I began attending church and it was there that I met the man I would marry. He was the son of a pastor and I was smitten. Six years after getting married I was pregnant with our first child and the church we were attending hosted a marriage and intimacy seminar with Dr Allan Meyer. I remember sitting in the auditorium listening to him talk about a woman who had been sexually abused and how abuse of that kind deeply affects your soul. I wanted to cry, I felt like he was talking about me. Everything he described pierced my heart but I was confused and pushed the thoughts and feelings that tried to surface, away.

Three years after having our son I became pregnant with our second child. It was a difficult pregnancy and at 15 weeks my waters broke, a week later I gave birth to a baby girl. After her death I started to get horrible migraines that lasted 10-11 days at a time. I spent three months in and out of hospital but couldn’t get any answers. I had suffered from chronic pain for the last 10 years but this was unbearable. A friend from church suggested that I go for prayer counseling to see if that could help bring breakthrough. I had no idea how traumatic that breakthrough would be.

Memories came flooding back to my mind. The first memory was from when I was only five years old, violent, sexual abuse by my father. The image was clear and detailed and as the counseling continued more memories surfaced. For almost 15 years I had been subjected to consistent, violent sexual abuse at the hands of someone who should have protected me and not harmed me.

I began to see a therapist who educated me on trauma, dissociation and flashbacks. I was finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The stress, rebellion and anxiety of my teenage years and the chronic pain of my adult life were all symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and a deeply wounded soul. As I slowly remembered the horrific events of my childhood I was able to gradually let go of the shattered pieces of my soul. It is a long and painful journey but I know that eventually I will be whole again.

I’m so blessed to have a loving husband who supports me and a heavenly father who knows my every need, who created me in love, for love and who is capable of restoring every part of me. As I slowly untangle the lies and deception that the abuse has deposited in my life God is revealing to me his plan for my pain. He gave me a clear vision for a ministry that heals, restores, and revives women who have suffered the pain of sexual assault in their lives. He gave me the words Strength & Dignity. Out of this birthed our ministry Strength + Dignity, a non for profit organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault and educating the world on predator behaviour.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11. 

I believe God wants every survivor of sexual assault to know He has a plan and purpose for your pain, and He wants to restore you to wholeness. ~ Melanie Schoenmaker  

 
Connect with Melanie at Strength + Dignity 

http://www.strengthanddignity.net

http://www.facebook.com/sanddblog/ 

(Strength and Dignity) Instagram 

@_strengthanddignity_

 

The Prince Of Wholeness 

  
Prince Charming. 

 Every young girls dream. 

Ever since the fairy tales of Snow White and Cinderella showed us all that a Prince rescued a poor mistreated girl with her once lost but now found glass slipper and awoke a sleeping cursed girl with a kiss, we have wanted a Prince to rescue us. 

 Story lines still today show countless movies with a modern version of Prince Charming. The most popular one I think of is Pretty Woman where a millionaire businessman rescues and falls in love with a prostitute. 

Some people say their Prince Charming hasn’t arrived or is some how delayed. Some even claim a weirdo in tin foil showed up instead of a mighty Prince in armor on a white horse. 

Of all the names for God I have seen Prince of Peace, which I totally love that Prince; but The Prince of Wholeness… I had never seen before. 
I will totally take that Prince over all the others.  He is the only one we should be waiting for because He is the only one that can save us. 

The world is full of broken hurting people shattered by past mistakes, regrets, abuse, addictions, secrets, sins, and struggles. All are waiting and wondering who will rescue them. All are dreaming of their Prince to ride in on a white horse and save them. 

The really great news is, a gift, a Son, Jesus, our Saviour has already been given to us! 

He is The “Prince of Wholeness”

The even better news is that there will be no limits to the wholeness He brings when the Prince of Wholeness comes.   

Kisses and glass slippers are so overrated.

              
                    ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

The people who walked in darkness

    have seen a great light.

For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—

    light! sunbursts of light!

You repopulated the nation,

    you expanded its joy.

Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!

    Festival joy!

The joy of a great celebration,

    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.

The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—

    all their whips and cudgels and curses—

Is gone, done away with, a deliverance

    as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.

The boots of all those invading troops,

    along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,

Will be piled in a heap and burned,

    a fire that will burn for days!

For a child has been born—for us!

    the gift of a son—for us!

He’ll take over

    the running of the world.

His names will be: Amazing Counselor,

    Strong God,

Eternal Father,

    Prince of Wholeness.

His ruling authority will grow,

    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.

He’ll rule from the historic David throne

    over that promised kingdom.

He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing

    and keep it going

With fair dealing and right living,

    beginning now and lasting always.

The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies

    will do all this. ~Isaiah 9:2-7 MSG 

Avoiding Entanglements 

  
en•tan•gle•ment (ɛnˈtæŋ gəl mənt) 


n. 

1. the act of entangling. 

2. the state of being entangled. 

3. something that entangles; snare; involvement; complication. 

The dictionary describes entanglements as being like a spiders web.  

When you think of it, the spider weaves this intricate enticing web to snare his prey into the complicated but beautiful mess in order to devour it. That is pretty much what satan tries to do with his web of lies.  

But if we stay ever close to God and remember all the good He has done, fill our minds with His word, and learn to be led by the Spirit, we will avoid the enticing entanglements of the enemy that will try to lead us away from God and His plan for us. The enemy is subtle; he will even use something that seems good at first glance to try to entangle us. 

Lord, help me to never recount the wrongs or the negatives. May I only declare and speak of Your goodness and miracles. I love You, the Blesser way more than the many blessings. Show me how to avoid the entanglements of the enemy and the inner me as I learn to be led by Your spirit and no longer by my flesh. Your timing is worth waiting for. Help me to never rush or delay. Help me to rely fully on You and Your stability to move forward. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.~ Psalm 40:5 TLB 

God’s timing is always worth waiting for. If we look to Him for help, He will rescue us from destruction and despair and from the things that hold us down. He will also bring stability to our lives so that we can move forward again with confidence and joy. If we are to experience God’s best for our life (which far exceeds all we can imagine), we need to rely on Him alone and avoid any entanglements with those who will lead us away from God and His plan for us. ~ Life Recovery Bible 

Smooth Traveling 

  
Do you struggle with finding your words?
I know I certainly have. 
I know you may be thinking, what? 

The long winded run on sentence tell you the whole back story nitty gritty detail girl, has a problem finding words?

But yes, it is true.   

What about telling the whole truth even with the risk of someone taking it wrong or fear of offending ? 

God has been speaking to me that when I don’t “find my words” and speak anything less than the whole truth, that at the end of the day it is still a lie.  

God even took me back to what I teach my children about lying: 

It is never ever acceptable or necessary to lie.  

God’s word specifically states -Do Not Lie.

Embellishing is also a lie.

There are no white or gray lies, no matter the color, they all are lies.  

Not fib, no windy, no only joking, they are all still a lie. 

Then He took me to two areas He dealt with me personally on over the years….

When answering the phone and pretending not to be you with a sales call ? 

How many of us have done that before? 

Newsflash: that’s a lie- dishonesty. 

What about “courtesy falls” when in a prayer line? 

How many have done that before? 

  God will slay you if He chooses, but courtesy falling is deception, which is still a lie. 

So why was God bringing me back around to this lesson? 
Because I was still being dishonest when I don’t tell my true opinions or reaction or feelings about something. I don’t have to offer it up when not asked, but when asked or God tells me to speak up, I better say the truth, the whole truth and not just what they want to hear. 
God has been having me practice this and “find my words” lately as I have spoken some really hard words to people. God has honored my obedience to be truthful in all areas so He also thankfully prepared them to hear the truth, which was a huge relief. 

(Some even said they wanted to punch me, but they knew it was the truth)  

We don’t have to hurt someone’s feelings, but we can be honest and let them know we did not agree or like something when asked. If God is asking you to share something to help them, we must tell the whole truth.   
For me, I may give you every detail before around and after it, but you can be sure that it is nothing but the whole truth.  

I am no longer stuffing the hard words since I stopped stuffing my face.
I am finding my words. All my words.   

As I have allowed God to guide and direct me through this fasting experience, He is showing me that I am to be guided by total honesty. 

A good man is guided by his honesty; the evil man is destroyed by his dishonesty. ~Proverbs 11:3 TLB 
Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life. Proverbs 11:5 MSG 

Lord, let complete and total honesty always guide us. Please don’t let us be destroyed by dishonesty or deception or even embellishing the truth. May we find our words and even when not easy to still speak the whole truth in love. Build and develop our Moral character so we may have smooth traveling to do all You have called us to do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 
                     ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

A Quiet Growth 

  
Today’s title could not have summed up what I am feeling any better. This Fasting Experience has been amazing! Today is day 14 and we are 14 for 14 on the downloads. 

I have to say the last two days have had me day dreaming of food. The kind that is not beneficial and the kind definitely not on my fast. I wrestled and wrestled it seemed with temptations on all sides!

Last night I did choose to deviate for one small item and I confessed it to my daughter before I ever did it so it would not be something done in secret. She cheerfully gave me grace to make that decision. I also took it to God and did not feel like He was beating me up or even upset. I felt completely at peace.  

That one bite did nothing, it didn’t take the edge off of feeling deprived, it gave no sudden rush to my brain. Nothing, it was actually quite boring. But the biggest thing I noticed was my heart motive….it was very different. I believe because I confessed prior to my daughter, that was a move of being held accountable. I took it to God and He did not seem to indicate anything wrong, and afterwards there was no quilt or beating myself up over it either. It was a very controlled moment and then I moved on.

So you could say that I am learning a quiet growth in character and grace through this experience. It is not about perfection; it’s about progress. Keep keeping on friends! 

                                 
                  XXOO Michelle Bollom 

 

Being punished isn’t enjoyable while it is happening – it hurts! But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character.~ Hebrews 12:11 TLB 

It may hurt when God removes our defects, but this in itself is a display of love. God’s correction is always right and for our best good, that we may share His holiness. Our recovery is a time of correction; it is a time of facing problems and character flaws and changing incorrect beliefs. There may be seasons when we do have to pay for our past. God will use this time to redirect our life toward something better. His correction isn’t arbitrary or abusive, but it is still painful. Knowing that God’s discipline demonstrates His love for us can be comforting in the midst of the pain. It helps to remember that His love will allow only that which is for our ultimate good.~ Life Recovery Bible 

Restoration Stories 

  

Today we kick off our new Blog Series Restoration Stories. I decided to share my story as the kick off even though many may have seen it before when it was featured on the Broken Girl Blog last year. 

 I look forward to bringing you many more amazing Restoration Stories that will inspire and encourage you in the coming months. 

Here’s my story……

  

Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin to share my story. God has brought so much restoration into my life and He continues to Restore me daily. Like many mom’s and wives we can lose ourselves and pour everything into our families that we rarely leave any room for ourselves. We put our health on the back burner and burn the candle at both ends. We buy the lies of the enemy and grieve our losses without the Hope that Christ offers us. We are wounded and broken and don’t know where to turn. 

To fully understand my story, you have to know my history. 

I was a broken girl from as far back as I can remember. My first fracturing came when my parents divorced when I was too young to even remember my parents ever together. My dad got custody of my two sisters and me while my two brothers went to live with my mom. Little did I know, we would not see our mother again for several years. My dad was broken. My mom was broken. My whole family was broken.

All the years of fighting and the tug of war of divorce left a vulnerable child without adequate protection who became an easy target for others. The next fracturing came from sexual abuse from not just one, but numerous people who were in my life from the age of seven to around twelve. From that abuse I became good at self-blame and began my search for love in all the wrong places. As I grew up I attracted broken people myself. I lived most of my life trying to pretend I was not broken. I was out of balance in almost all areas of my life. I was a person that carried those secrets for far too many years. I learned to operate in a false self, burying my secrets deep. Smiling on the outside to cope with those feelings of guilt and shame from my buried secrets, I tried to medicate with alcohol, drugs, shopping, and sex. There is no balance in brokenness.

I married a wonderful man in 1996 that did not know of my brokenness. When I became a mother three years later to twins, I was fractured by post-partum depression and then medically-induced menopause after a total hysterectomy. With my emotions now out of control I became a workaholic to try and escape the despair I felt as a broken mother. I ran my family into credit card debt three different times from buying things to compensate for my guilt of being an absent mother. I also bought things to fill all the aching voids I felt inside.

My next fracturing was the one that almost shattered me. In the spring of 2006, my brother died suddenly. He had lost his battle with addiction. By this time I had learned to hide my brokenness in the church pews practicing religious rituals. However, because of his death, I became very angry at God. I wanted nothing to do with Him. That summer, I found The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It was a life-changing book for me. I made a barter with God that if He was all that people claimed He was, I would follow Him…if He would deliver me from my smoking addiction. He was faithful and took that addiction away from me in 2007. I began finding comfort for my brokenness in God and His word, but still I did not fully trust God enough to surrender all my secrets to Him. In 2008, at age 38, I was fractured by a stroke that later uncovered diabetes. Right after came another fracture from my Dad’s sudden death later that same year. The months following my stroke led to an overload of doctors and diagnoses. Looking back now, I realize that all my health issues were a manifestation of trying to keep my secrets buried and turning to everything for comfort except God, The Greatest Comforter. I had revealed my secrets to my husband and a few others over the years, but it wasn’t until I released my secrets to God and became obedient to Him to let Him use them, as He wanted to, that He could finally do some of His best restorative and transforming work in my life. It is true, “We are only as sick as our secrets.”

My secrets of abuse, addiction, and debt were bad, but my biggest brokenness was from a secret I had buried for over 20 years. Abortion. Abortion affects 1.3 million women each year. It is the one topic that gets people really fired up. I have been in churches where pastors went on and on about the Sanctity of Life and many so-called Christians get so riled up over the subject that they come across as condemning. 

Condemnation from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ only tends to make the isolation and shame worse for many wounded women. I saw no one offering to help restore lives after the effects of abortion or reaching out to these women to offer them Hope.

When I saw all my brokenness that was weighing me down by the shame and guilt I was carrying from my secrets, I cried out to God. He knew all my brokenness all along. He was waiting for me to release all of it to Him so that He could use it for His Glory. I wrestled with God for two years before I let go of the fear and let God strengthen me to the point of sharing my secrets with the world.

I clung to this verse in some of my darkest moments:  

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:10 AMP).

God did strengthen and settle me, but I was desperate to overcome my brokenness. 

Then one day I saw: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the words of their testimony;” (Revelations 12:11)

That was it! God was confirming to me that we only overcome by sharing our stories. Sharing how God has restored us. 
There are far too many people not operating in the best that God has for them. Whether that secret be abortion, abuse, unplanned pregnancy, not finishing school or college, yelling at your kids, anger at your spouse, vanity, a critical or judgmental spirit, cursing like a sailor, having an affair, getting a divorce, self-hate, turning to pills, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, work, volunteering, or food for escape or comfort.    


It doesn’t matter what it is, God can use it all to create something beautiful out of our brokenness. Vulnerability is not weakness; it is courage! 

We can’t repair our stories until we share our stories. The broken, the ugly, and the messy. 

Real Wholeness from our brokenness begins when we release ALL the broken pieces, all our (secrets, sins, struggles) to God. Only when we release it are we able to obtain real emotional deliverance.
My hope is that everyone will begin to Live R.E.S.T.O.R.E.D.

~XXOO Michelle Bollom                             

  

 Michelle Bollom is Founder of Restored Ministries, http://www.restoredministries.org

Happily married to Joe for almost 19 years and mom to twins Connor and Curran. Michelle resides in the North West Suburbs of Houston, TX. She is a Lover of Jesus, people, words, and enjoys encouraging others. 

If you have a Restoration Story- contact us, we would love to feature you in our blog series.