Freedom…

The Lord spoke to me on my way home from church today and said the word FREEDOM. I knew what it meant…it was the answer to why I have been feeling such complete peace and joy since moving down to Arizona. Why freedom? Since putting my trust in Christ three years ago, I have been changed. I’m not the same person I once used to be, I truly am a new creation. I don’t act the way I used to act, I don’t think the way I used to think, and I don’t talk the way I used to talk. There are a few close friends that I was able to discuss the changes going on within me but to everyone else, they just saw the change of my outward appearance as I lost weight. They were completely oblivious to the changes going on inside…the changes that were transforming me as a result of following Christ. We lived in a small town back in North Dakota, the kind where everyone knows everyone. Although I was slowly coming out of my shell and getting to the point to where I was confident in my new identity that I was being able to let it shine through in some respects, there was still a lot of me that felt I needed to hold back from showing the real “new” me. I didn’t feel comfortable to completely reveal what I had become. I felt like I was somehow trapped within two different dimensions, and wanted badly to be able to break through and just fully live out the new me.

Since moving to Arizona, I have been able to just be me…the new me! No one here knows the old me or has any pre-conceived notions about my past. I get a completely fresh start. When I meet someone here, I don’t worry about offending someone by talking about my faith or saying something that might sound strange. I can raise my hands during worship in church and I don’t care who looks at me strange. I don’t feel like I’m being judged and quite frankly don’t care if I am. I have a confidence now that I’ve never had before and it’s growing stronger every day. I am finding who I am in Christ, and letting my true light shine.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Praise God!!! He is so amazing, words just can’t describe…

I am redeemed!

Redeem: to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

I have been physically and spiritually transformed; I am no longer the person I used to be. What did I gain possession of? Freedom! Freedom from the physical weight. Freedom from the sins I had committed. Freedom from the negative thoughts I had about myself. Freedom from the guilt I carried around. Freedom from the shame I felt. So what was the payment that I had to pay for this freedom? That’s the really awesome part –the only thing God asks us to do is to bring it to the cross. We have freedom because of His son Jesus Christ. We have freedom because of His death on that cross. I gained complete freedom the very moment that I brought it all to Him; brought it all to the cross.

The enemy never gives up though; he is always trying to tempt me back to sin. I have found that he tries to use those same things that used to be “hooks” to hook me back into sinful behavior. I found myself starting to allow my old hook (food) to take up residence in my life again. It wasn’t that I was overeating again but I was allowing cravings to take up thoughts that no longer belonged.

Last Sunday at church the sermon was on “What The Bible says about footholds and strongholds.” Our pastor talked about how sin can take a foothold in our lives and if it is not stopped, it can become a stronghold that gets harder and harder to break away from. There was a cross down in the front and at the end of the sermon, he invited anyone that had something in their life that had either a foothold or a stronghold over them to write it down on a piece of paper and come down and literally nail it to the cross. I had to admit to myself that I had allowed a foothold back in my life. After I went down and symbolically nailed my foothold to the cross, I literally brought it to the cross and asked the Lord to remove those cravings. Later that day, The Lord blessed me and reminded me that I AM free. The chains HAVE been broken. I AM NO LONGER THE PERSON I USED TO BE! The enemy no longer has control over me or my thoughts. He HAS BEEN defeated! When the enemy tries to remind me of my prior faults and accuse me of the things I was once guilty for, I need only to think of nailing it to the cross because I am redeemed.

I AM redeemed! (And the cravings are gone again – yay!!)

Think about this for a second – do you have something that is out of control in your life? Is there something that controls you more than you control it? Thoughts, negative emotions, substances? If something just came to mind, you have something that has a foothold or stronghold over you! Ask for freedom from the only one that is able to grant it to you – bring it to the cross of Jesus Christ!

I know there are some out there that do not believe all of it – God, Jesus…the whole thing. Let me leave you with something. Here are before and after pictures of me. These are not before and after weight loss pictures – these are before and after REDEMPTION pictures! The physical transformation is merely an external indicator of the spiritual transformation that has changed my life. God has changed MY life! His son Jesus has changed MY life! What will you let Him do for you?

photo 1

photo 3

Thank you Jesus for the redeeming power of the cross! Thank you!!