FROM DAMAGED GOODS TO TROPHY OF GRACE

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FROM DAMAGED GOODS TO TROPHY OF GRACE

OBSBlogHop

 

FROM DAMAGED GOODS TO TROPHY OF GRACE
#SHAREIT for 6/12/14

Damaged goods. Until my thirteen year abusive marriage and divorce three years ago, I’d never considered that label on me – but since then… well… it’s hard NOT to see myself as damaged when society, churches, and my own parents and sister and extended family and friends see me that way. It’s very sad, but yes, even many churches see divorced women – especially divorced abused women – as damaged goods.

Getting past that label, the stigma, of being divorced after abuse was very tough at first – especially when I had to put my kids into school for the first time (they were homeschooled prior to the divorce) caused me to feel that everyone was judging me.

It got a bit better when I got re-married last year – except of course for the fact that my parents were very open about their displeasure (they still love and stand behind my ex), my sister did not even bother to text us on our wedding day let alone attend the wedding, and my new husband’s oldest sister flat out refused to come – even to see her daughter in law who was there from Alaska.

Honestly, it has only been through the first 5 chapters of Limitless Life that I have come to realize deep in my soul that I, Jennifer Ann Stohr – divorced and re-married mom of three – abuse survivor – am God’s Trophy of Grace. Let me repeat that. I – JENNIFER ANN STOHR – DIVORCED AND RE-MARRIED MOM OF THREE – ABUSE SURVIVOR – AM GOD’S TROPHY OF GRACE! Wow! Powerful!!! This means that I am God our Father’s special object of favor and goodwill. Me! In spite of all that has happened in my life, God calls ME his special object of favor and goodwill. His treasured object. I don’t know about you, but that blows me away.

So – what does this mean in my daily life? It means that instead of walking around feeling judged and depressed and dejected – I can hold my head up high with the certain, heartfelt knowledge that I am God’s prized possession. Wow! What a difference this makes to my confidence and outlook when I’ve got this truth firmly in my heart!

The same is true for you, too! No matter what the circumstances of your life are, no matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, no matter what you think is in your life that God can’t or won’t accept – YOU ARE GOD’S TREASURED OBJECT! Let that sink in a bit – and repeat it if you need to. YOU are God’s treasured object, His Trophy of Grace!
*After I wrote this post, several interactions with my wonderful husband took place last night and this morning that reminded me that all I need to do to know just how much God loves me and values me is to look at the words and actions of this amazing, Godly man I’ve been blessed with. He personifies God’s love and acceptance of me every.single.day. that we’re together. He reminds me that he’s never seen me as damaged goods, but as the most beautiful and amazing treasure. I pray that all of you have someone in your own lives who does this for you. Thank you, Father, for the reminder to just open my eyes and my heart to what you are telling me.

 

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FROM AFRAID TO COURAGEOUS or The Most Courageous Thing I’ve Ever Done

I think I was born afraid. Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been afraid of something or everything. From little things like calling for pizza to bigger things like changing schools – everything everything everything scared me. I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe it was being unable to live up to the high standards my parents set, or maybe it was just inborn temperament. At any rate – fear has always been my constant companion.
I’ve always wanted to be one of those wonderfully confident women who appear to have it all figured out, who hold their heads high wherever they go, speak with confidence, and don’t try to fade into the scenery. Oh how I dreamed of that and prayed for it –yet never believed that I was good enough to be one of those women.
Well guess what? God believes that I AM good enough and special enough and deserving enough to be one of those wonderful, self assured, confident women. He has been working hard in my life to show me just how to do that.
As I look back, all of my life He has been slowly and gently teaching me courage. My biggest lesson in courage came when He told me it was time to leave my first marriage. I spent 13 years with a man who abused me in every manner possible – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, financially… You name it, I lived through it. While it took great courage to live with him for so long and to keep my kids safe, it took far greater courage to leave him.
In our 11th year he began to become more and more physically abusive with our kids (who are now 11, almost 9, and 7) and I began to feel God telling me that yes, I needed to get out. I’d wanted out for YEARS, but the timing never seemed right, and the people I trusted to tell them what was going on, turned on me and told me it was my fault. At any rate, 12 years in I began praying more and more fervently for God to show me the way out and give me the courage to escape since that was what He was putting on my heart. God was faithful, and sent people into my life to show me that how I was living was wrong and how and why to make the changes I needed.
As is typical in that sort of situation – the stronger and more confident I got (and the more often I told him that his days were numbered because I was done) the more he stepped up the abuse to my kids and myself, including stalking me on the way to and from work, calling me every five minutes with nasty threats , and waking me at all hours of the night to abuse me and yell at me. Luckily by then I had a plan in place to be able to tell my parents (whom we lived with at the time) why I was ending things. It came to a head before my plan (but according to God’s most perfect plan) one night when my ex attempted to strangle me to gain control of my phone because he was mad I was talking to my best friend. I was SO SCARED – but instead of backing down like I always had, God gave me the courage to fight back and make him leave! He also gave me the courage to show my parents the letter I’d written, explaining all of the years of abuse.
I wish I could say that doing that was the most courageous thing – but it wasn’t. Standing up to my parents (who are very toxic people) when they took my ex’s side of things in spite of witnessing some of the abuse to my kids – took tremendous courage and strength that only God could provide. Living in their house under their constant verbal attacks for another three months without breaking down – took courage that only God could supply. He sent me a wonderful counselor, some amazing friends who believed and supported me, and the man who is now my husband and soulmate to help and protect me. Not giving in and going back to him, and starting a new life for my kids and I was BY FAR the most courageous thing I’ve ever done.
Oh how I wish I could tell you that I am now the wonderfully confident and courageous person that I always dreamed of being! I am – sometimes, with more and more frequency. Some days, however, I get mired down in ptsd and panic attacks and feel like I’ll never be truly free. On those days, God sends people into my life to remind me just how far I’ve come, and that the setbacks just make me stronger and that I bounce back so much more quickly each time. God is oh so good!

 

#SHARE
FROM AFRAID TO COURAGEOUS or The Most Courageous Thing I’ve Ever Done

I think I was born afraid. Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been afraid of something or everything. From little things like calling for pizza to bigger things like changing schools – everything everything everything scared me. I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe it was being unable to live up to the high standards my parents set, or maybe it was just inborn temperament. At any rate – fear has always been my constant companion.
I’ve always wanted to be one of those wonderfully confident women who appear to have it all figured out, who hold their heads high wherever they go, speak with confidence, and don’t try to fade into the scenery. Oh how I dreamed of that and prayed for it –yet never believed that I was good enough to be one of those women.
Well guess what? God believes that I AM good enough and special enough and deserving enough to be one of those wonderful, self assured, confident women. He has been working hard in my life to show me just how to do that.
As I look back, all of my life He has been slowly and gently teaching me courage. My biggest lesson in courage came when He told me it was time to leave my first marriage. I spent 13 years with a man who abused me in every manner possible – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, financially… You name it, I lived through it. While it took great courage to live with him for so long and to keep my kids safe, it took far greater courage to leave him.
In our 11th year he began to become more and more physically abusive with our kids (who are now 11, almost 9, and 7) and I began to feel God telling me that yes, I needed to get out. I’d wanted out for YEARS, but the timing never seemed right, and the people I trusted to tell them what was going on, turned on me and told me it was my fault. At any rate, 12 years in I began praying more and more fervently for God to show me the way out and give me the courage to escape since that was what He was putting on my heart. God was faithful, and sent people into my life to show me that how I was living was wrong and how and why to make the changes I needed.
As is typical in that sort of situation – the stronger and more confident I got (and the more often I told him that his days were numbered because I was done) the more he stepped up the abuse to my kids and myself, including stalking me on the way to and from work, calling me every five minutes with nasty threats , and waking me at all hours of the night to abuse me and yell at me. Luckily by then I had a plan in place to be able to tell my parents (whom we lived with at the time) why I was ending things. It came to a head before my plan (but according to God’s most perfect plan) one night when my ex attempted to strangle me to gain control of my phone because he was mad I was talking to my best friend. I was SO SCARED – but instead of backing down like I always had, God gave me the courage to fight back and make him leave! He also gave me the courage to show my parents the letter I’d written, explaining all of the years of abuse.
I wish I could say that doing that was the most courageous thing – but it wasn’t. Standing up to my parents (who are very toxic people) when they took my ex’s side of things in spite of witnessing some of the abuse to my kids – took tremendous courage and strength that only God could provide. Living in their house under their constant verbal attacks for another three months without breaking down – took courage that only God could supply. He sent me a wonderful counselor, some amazing friends who believed and supported me, and the man who is now my husband and soulmate to help and protect me. Not giving in and going back to him, and starting a new life for my kids and I was BY FAR the most courageous thing I’ve ever done.
Oh how I wish I could tell you that I am now the wonderfully confident and courageous person that I always dreamed of being! I am – sometimes, with more and more frequency. Some days, however, I get mired down in ptsd and panic attacks and feel like I’ll never be truly free. On those days, God sends people into my life to remind me just how far I’ve come, and that the setbacks just make me stronger and that I bounce back so much more quickly each time. God is oh so good!

 

#SHARE
FROM AFRAID TO COURAGEOUS or The Most Courageous Thing I’ve Ever Done

I think I was born afraid. Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been afraid of something or everything. From little things like calling for pizza to bigger things like changing schools – everything everything everything scared me. I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe it was being unable to live up to the high standards my parents set, or maybe it was just inborn temperament. At any rate – fear has always been my constant companion.
I’ve always wanted to be one of those wonderfully confident women who appear to have it all figured out, who hold their heads high wherever they go, speak with confidence, and don’t try to fade into the scenery. Oh how I dreamed of that and prayed for it –yet never believed that I was good enough to be one of those women.
Well guess what? God believes that I AM good enough and special enough and deserving enough to be one of those wonderful, self assured, confident women. He has been working hard in my life to show me just how to do that.
As I look back, all of my life He has been slowly and gently teaching me courage. My biggest lesson in courage came when He told me it was time to leave my first marriage. I spent 13 years with a man who abused me in every manner possible – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, financially… You name it, I lived through it. While it took great courage to live with him for so long and to keep my kids safe, it took far greater courage to leave him.
In our 11th year he began to become more and more physically abusive with our kids (who are now 11, almost 9, and 7) and I began to feel God telling me that yes, I needed to get out. I’d wanted out for YEARS, but the timing never seemed right, and the people I trusted to tell them what was going on, turned on me and told me it was my fault. At any rate, 12 years in I began praying more and more fervently for God to show me the way out and give me the courage to escape since that was what He was putting on my heart. God was faithful, and sent people into my life to show me that how I was living was wrong and how and why to make the changes I needed.
As is typical in that sort of situation – the stronger and more confident I got (and the more often I told him that his days were numbered because I was done) the more he stepped up the abuse to my kids and myself, including stalking me on the way to and from work, calling me every five minutes with nasty threats , and waking me at all hours of the night to abuse me and yell at me. Luckily by then I had a plan in place to be able to tell my parents (whom we lived with at the time) why I was ending things. It came to a head before my plan (but according to God’s most perfect plan) one night when my ex attempted to strangle me to gain control of my phone because he was mad I was talking to my best friend. I was SO SCARED – but instead of backing down like I always had, God gave me the courage to fight back and make him leave! He also gave me the courage to show my parents the letter I’d written, explaining all of the years of abuse.
I wish I could say that doing that was the most courageous thing – but it wasn’t. Standing up to my parents (who are very toxic people) when they took my ex’s side of things in spite of witnessing some of the abuse to my kids – took tremendous courage and strength that only God could provide. Living in their house under their constant verbal attacks for another three months without breaking down – took courage that only God could supply. He sent me a wonderful counselor, some amazing friends who believed and supported me, and the man who is now my husband and soulmate to help and protect me. Not giving in and going back to him, and starting a new life for my kids and I was BY FAR the most courageous thing I’ve ever done.
Oh how I wish I could tell you that I am now the wonderfully confident and courageous person that I always dreamed of being! I am – sometimes, with more and more frequency. Some days, however, I get mired down in ptsd and panic attacks and feel like I’ll never be truly free. On those days, God sends people into my life to remind me just how far I’ve come, and that the setbacks just make me stronger and that I bounce back so much more quickly each time. God is oh so good!

 

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