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“There are times when God will heal us immediately – instantly – and we will be able to walk in that freedom from the first moment of healing until death. I have heard testimonies of that type of healing… There are other times God will heal us, but will require daily or weekly obedience by walking in that freedom to maintain that healing. And this, my friends, is where I’ve been struggling.”

Excerpt from Day 13, Spoken from the Heart: God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

 

Four Book Series Available Now:

Spoken from the Heart:

Walking in Freedom

Living a Life of Obedience

God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

His Plan, His Purpose

Get the First in the Series FREE On Amazon:

November 3rd through November 7th

Please share with your friends

 

You can still buy the paperbacks at the low price of $5.97 for those who don’t have access to a Kindle or to give as gifts this Christmas

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

 

*** EXTRA BONUS *** 

Spoken from the Heart eBooks

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God wants a relationship with each one of us. While He asks us to trust Him, have faith in the path He chooses and obey His leading… when we choose to commit to doing life His way, there is Freedom and Joy during the journey.

 

Four Book Series Available Now:

Spoken from the Heart:

Walking in Freedom

Living a Life of Obedience

God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

His Plan, His Purpose

Get the First in the Series FREE On Amazon:

November 3rd through November 7th

Please share with your friends

 

You can still buy the paperbacks at the low price of $5.97 for those who don’t have access to a Kindle or to give as gifts this Christmas

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

 

*** EXTRA BONUS *** 

Spoken from the Heart eBooks

All Volumes Only 99 cents

Get all volumes here:

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

Freedom?  Obedience?  God’s Joy?  Purpose?

Are these areas in your life you would like to learn more about, from a Christ-centered perspective?

 

Four Book Series Available Now:

Spoken from the Heart:

Walking in Freedom

Living a Life of Obedience

God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

His Plan, His Purpose

Get the First in the Series FREE On Amazon:

November 3rd through November 7th

Please share with your friends

 

You can still buy the paperbacks at the low price of $5.97 for those who don’t have access to a Kindle or to give as gifts this Christmas

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

 

*** EXTRA BONUS *** 

Spoken from the Heart eBooks

All Volumes Only 99 cents

Get all volumes here:

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

 

I shared previously about how God burned my blanket of depression two short months ago.  Looking back over my journey with my Father from the past few years, He has given me a glimpse of the bigger picture of what He’s been doing and I’m humbled and so appreciative.  Today I’d like to share a little bit of that revelation with you for no other reason than to offer encouragement that He’s doing a “big picture” work in your life also.

My spiritual journey actually began over a decade ago when I told God I didn’t think I trusted Him, but that I wanted to.  So much so, that I was willing to go on a journey with Him to learn how to trust, but to please be gentle in the process.  A little over five years ago, God whispered to me to ask Him to give me a word for the entire year.  I asked and He’s been answering ever since. Balance/moderation, Grace, Hope, Peace, and for 2017 He chose to give me two words:  Joy and Blessings.  I wasn’t sure I was hearing right when I got two words (that seemed selfish) but I can tell you having traveled through half of 2017 already, He has definitely given both abundantly.

I didn’t realize the significance of the word of the year until this past year.  I think God got my attention with balance/moderation.  It took me longer than one year to work on that one… and I’m still adjusting it going forward.  The year He gave me grace was a tough year.  I realized it was more than just learning how to receive it, it was learning how to give it without expecting anything in return.  I didn’t want Hope in 2015.  I wasn’t looking forward to Hope at all – Hope meant to me I would never achieve what I wished (hoped) for.  It would always stay just out of reach.  Little did I know what God was really teaching me that year.  Peace.  2016 ushered in peace, but not in the way one would think.  It meant my year was full of opportunities to ask for, learn how to recognize and receive God’s peace.  Real peace.  It was an election year for the United States.  It was a year where I prayed silently for God’s peace to surround the classroom of first graders, their teacher and I as we sat through a lockdown for a bomb threat.  It was the year my other children had their own lockdown in their school for a similar threat a few short weeks later.  It was a year of waiting for doctor’s reports, disease diagnoses and having to wait.  It wasn’t a peaceful year; yet, I learned how to recognize and truly rest in God’s peace.

That leads me to Joy.  The word for this year. Blessings, too, but those are just a result of obedience, faithfulness and God’s amazing grace – very much appreciated and never to be taken for granted.  However, I want to talk about joy for a minute.  I never would have understood the significance of joy had I not learned the true meaning of hope and learned how to find God’s peace.  I never would be able to appreciate the full meaning of the word joy if God hadn’t freed me from the fear of winter driving or begun the healing work of food addiction and healing from emotional wounds.  I never would be able to experience the full measure of joy without the complete burning of the depression blanket that occurred over two months ago.  However, I’m finding that just because the blanket of depression has been burned, God gave me an entire year with the word joy because I need that long to remember how to live in it daily. I find I have to give myself permission to feel His joy, but I’m learning.  And I’m realizing that practicing can be a lot of fun.  Come back next time as I share with you the work that God continues to do and how I know He will finish His work of teaching me how to live in joy daily.

© Cheri Swalwell 2017

 

‘Because a loveless world,’ said Jesus, ‘is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.’” John 14:23-24 (The Message)

 

In the post titled God Burned the Blanket – Part III, I spoke about how God had used the summer of 2016 and the spring of 2017 to heal some areas in my life that needed His touch: food addiction and some emotional heart issues.  However, just because God healed them, I wasn’t walking in that freedom and healing so I haven’t been receiving the full blessing of that healing.  I had started to go backwards instead because without daily walking in obedience, healing doesn’t always look healthy.

There are times when God will heal us immediately, instantly and we will be able to walk in that freedom from the first day of healing until death.  I have heard testimonies of that type of healing from alcoholism and have recently experienced it myself from the heaviness of depression.

There are other times God will heal us but will require daily, weekly obedience to walk in that freedom for healing to remain.  And this, my friends, is what I’ve been struggling with the summer of 2017.  I know that God has healed my food addiction.  I don’t even like the food that I eat at times.  Other times, I enjoy all food God has created and am able to eat within the limits that God allows.  I’ve also grown with God to the point where I hate when I put food and its temptations above my love for Him.  I struggle in the area of eating too much, eating the wrong things and eating out of emotional responses instead of physical hunger.  I believe that God allows me to have this push-pull because it keeps me dependent upon Him and His strength, knowing I can’t do this alone.

However, that doesn’t mean God has left me hanging in this area either.  He has given me some very clear guidelines that He has instructed me to follow.  Guidelines that a four-year-old could understand.  Because when God gives me a direction, He doesn’t mince words.  I can understand precisely what He is asking of me.  He wants me to succeed more than I want to succeed.  He doesn’t create a treasure map with hidden clues to find the answer… He lays out clearly what He wants followed.

If I choose to do it His way, then I will walk in freedom.  If I choose to do it my way, I will continue to struggle.  My choice.  His way?  Freedom.  My way?  Constant struggling.  It should be a no brainer, but instead I’ve spent the summer fighting against my fleshly desires to do it my way even though I know my way makes me miserable. I want His blessings.  I want to live in the freedom being offered.  I’m choosing to take the long way to the right path.  While God’s love never diminishes no matter how long the detour takes, I can’t step into His blessings until I choose to do it His way.  While my head understands that, there is something stubborn inside of me that hasn’t completely surrendered yet.

Healing doesn’t always look healthy.  Only I can choose when I’ll get off the detour I’ve been on and just obey.

© Cheri Swalwell 2017

 

Available on Amazon…

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“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?  Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.” Psalm 42:11 (The Message)

 

I’ve been sharing for the past two weeks about how God burned the blanket of depression that had weighed heavily on my shoulders for years.  Within the first two weeks of that healing, the enemy tried to derail me with circumstances that were less than ideal and I wondered if the blanket was returning.

I braced myself for its weight to settle back down.  I reminded myself with Scripture that when God delivers a person, it’s for good, not a temporary Band-Aid.  And I praised God for the healing that He had instigated, He had given, choosing to believe it was permanent, not temporary.

Then God reminded me of a healing He had performed in my life in 2016, a healing that wasn’t on my radar but one God knew I needed.  I speak about the journey of healing from a fear of winter driving in Spoken from the Heart: Walking in Freedom.  God took an over 15 year fear of winter driving and healed me from it, one I had learned to accept as normal but He chose to release me from its grip.  God brought to mind the memory of how I felt the first time I realized what it felt like to be “normal” when driving in snow and ice.  Instead of having that death grip on the steering wheel and living in fear that we would all die every time a snowflake fell, I drove cautiously and defensively but could look up and even acknowledge the beauty of the season.  That didn’t mean I actually enjoyed every single winter drive I took, but it did mean that I had graduated to living with the normal dose of caution that most Michiganders face with the elements.

It was then I was able to stop being afraid that the blanket of depression was going to settle back onto my shoulders when I least expected it.  It was then I could praise God with more than just my lips but with my entire self.  It was then I could look up and start to notice how green everything was around me.  How alive and… yes, full of joy I started to feel on occasion.  I started to feel joy.  A little bit here and a little bit there.  Not always but I noticed that I started to smile more, laugh harder, and that my smile and my laughter reached my eyes.  I didn’t live with the heaviness I had lived with for so long. I was living lighter… and lighter felt joyful.

It wasn’t instantaneous.  I still get sad.  But there is a distinct difference between a bad day with sadness and the heavy weight of depression.  I still am burdened but it’s a different kind of burden. I don’t feel hopeless anymore… the burdens I feel are for people who I so desperately love and want them to want to know Jesus personally, but they don’t. It’s for people who seem trapped in situations that don’t want to break free.  It’s a burden and a brokenness for people and situations… very different from the heaviness of all consuming depression.  And it feels good.

I finally got up the nerve to share with my husband the freedom God gave me from depression.  He allowed me to share with him my feelings.  I’m pretty sure he’s noticed the lack of certain statements that used to pepper our conversations constantly, statements that stemmed from the depression and not from my true self.  I hope he notices that I feel more connected to him emotionally than I have for years.  I believe that’s because that barrier of depression that was between us has been burned.  Not lifted… burned.

At the time I’m writing this, it’s been almost eight weeks since God burned the blanket and I’m ready to share that freedom with you.  I can say with honesty that it’s gone.  Burned.  Ashes.  It’s never coming back.  Do I still need to choose peace at times?  Yes.  Do I get sad and feel burdened?  Yes.  But I believe I’m now feeling sadness and burdens the way a person without depression feels them – deeply, with a sense to bring them to God and lay them at His feet and then the ability to do just that.  Lay them at His feet where they belong. Where they can be answered because the One who answers has them.  And it feels good.

Do I know why God chose to burn my blanket instead of using medication or diet or exercise to control it?  No, I don’t.  But I believe that because He chose to do that, He wanted me to give Him the glory for that healing and let others know it was Him who did it.  And as I love to say, because it’s the truth, “what our Father is willing to do for one of us, He’s just waiting to be invited to do and much more for you.  All you have to do is ask.”

While God burned the blanket after two days of consistent prayer, it took four years of bringing this burden before Him for me to be in the place where I could hear His invitation, dig deeper, and recognize the true miracle that He performed.  And when I say God gets all the glory – I mean that with every breath I’ve been given.  God burned my blanket and it is gone.

© Cheri Swalwell 2017