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Beauty for AshesReceiving Emotional Healing
By Joyce Meyer
Warner BooksCopyright © 1994 Joyce Meyer
All right reserved.
Some of the terms Webster's Dictionary uses to define "abuse" are: (verb) - "misuse"; "to use wrongly"; "to hurt by treating badly"; "mistreat"; "to use insulting, coarse or bad language about or to"; "revile"; (noun) - "wrong, bad, or excessive use"; "mistreatment"; "injury"; "a bad, unjust, or corrupt custom or practice"; "insulting or coarse language."
I believe that most people are abused in one way or another during their lifetime. Some common forms of abuse are: physical, verbal, emotional and sexual. Whatever form it may take, abuse causes a root of rejection, which is a major problem in our day. God created people for love and acceptance, but the devil works hard to keep us feeling rejected because he knows how rejection injures us emotionally and otherwise.
The above-mentioned types of abuse - whether they take the form of broken relationships, abandonment, divorce, false accusations, exclusion from groups, dislike by teachers and other authority figures, ridicule by peers or any one of hundreds of other such hurtful actions - can and do cause emotional wounds which can hinder people in their efforts to maintain healthy, lasting relationships.
Have you been abused? Misused? Treated wrongly orimproperly? Rejected? Has it affected your emotional state? Do you really want to be healed? Do you want to get well?
One of my favorite Scriptures (but a startling one) is John 5:5,6. In this passage Jesus is described as seeing a man lying by the pool of Bethesda who had been sick with a deep-seated and lingering disease for thirty-eight years. Knowing how long this poor man had been in that terrible condition, Jesus asked him, ... Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?] (v. 6).
What kind of a question is that to ask someone who has been hurting for that long? It is a proper question because not everyone wants to get well badly enough to do what is required. Wounded emotions can become a prison that locks self in and others out. Jesus came to open prison doors and to set the captives free! (Luke 4:18.)
This man, like so many people today, had a deep-seated and lingering disorder for a long, long time. After thirty-eight years, he had learned, I am sure, how to function with his disorder. People who are in prison function, but they are not free. However, sometimes prisoners - whether physical or emotional - become so accustomed to being in bondage that they settle in with their condition and learn to live with it.
Are you an "emotional prisoner"? If so, how long have you been in that condition? Is it a deep-seated and lingering disorder? Do you want to be free of it? Do you really want to be well? Jesus wants to heal you. He is willing; are you?
Do You Want To Be Free and Well?
Gaining freedom from emotional bondage is not easy. I will be honest from the beginning and say, point blank, that for many, many people reading this book, it will not be easy. It will provoke feelings and emotions they have been "stuffing" rather than facing and dealing with. You may be one of those people. You may have experienced feelings and emotions in the past that have been too painful to deal with, so each time they have come to the surface you have said to God, "I'm not ready yet. Lord! I'll face that problem later!"
This book will deal not only with the emotional pain caused by what others may have done to you, but also with your responsibility to God for overcoming those traumas and getting well.
Some people (actually a great number of people) have a hard time accepting personal responsibility. In these pages we will deal in a very practical way with forgiveness, repressed anger, self-pity, the chip-on-the-shoulder syndrome, the you-owe-me attitude and many, many other poisonous mental and emotional attitudes that will need cleansing if you are ever to be fully well.
You may be asking, "But, who will deal with the person who hurt me?" We will get around to that issue too. You may also be wondering, "What makes this woman think that she is such an authority on the subject of emotions - especially mine?" You may have questions you would like to ask me, such as: "Do you have a degree in psychology? Where did you do your study? Have you been through any of the things I am going through? How do you know what it is like to be caught in an emotional prison?"
I have answers to all those questions, and if you are brave enough to face your situation and have determined that you really want to get well, then read on.
I Was Abused
My schooling, degrees, experience and qualifications to teach on this subject come from personal experience. I always say, "I graduated from the school of life." I claim the words of the prophet Isaiah as my diploma:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives, and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.
In verses two and three Isaiah goes on to say:
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year for His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn ... to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes....
God has exchanged my ashes for beauty and has called me to help others to learn to allow Him to do the same for them.
I was sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused from the time I can remember until I finally left home at the age of eighteen. Actually I was abused by I several men in my childhood. I have been rejected, abandoned, betrayed and divorced. I know what it is to be an "emotional prisoner."
My purpose in writing this book is not to give my full testimony in detail. Instead, I want to give you a mini-version of my own experience so that you will believe that I do know what it means to hurt and can show you how to recover from it. I want to help you, and I can do that better if you truly believe that I understand what you are going through.
Before I begin the details of my childhood and some of the things I experienced, I wish to say that in no way do I mean any of these things to be degrading to my parents. I have learned that hurting people hurt people, that most people who hurt others have been hurt by someone else. God has enabled me by His grace to say, "Father, forgive them, for they really did not know what they were doing." I tell this story only for the purpose of helping others who, like me, were abused.
Excerpted from Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer Copyright © 1994 by Joyce Meyer
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|Part 1||I Once Was Bound|
|1||Trophies of Grace||3|
|2||The Ashes of Abuse||8|
|3||The Fellowship of Fear||13|
|4||Behavior Addictions Caused by Abuse||25|
|5||Rescued by Love||36|
|6||Follow the Holy Spirit||47|
|7||The Two Kinds of Pain||53|
|8||The Only Way Out Is Through||63|
|9||Let Go of the Past||70|
|10||Redeemed and Made Righteous||83|
|11||Self-Rejection or Self-Acceptance||96|
|12||Rejection's Effect on Relationships||107|
|13||The Confidence to Be Yourself||114|
|14||Forgiveness Frees You to Live Again||125|
|Part 2||But Now I Am Free|
|15||Forgiving Your Abuser||135|
|16||Blessing Your Enemies||141|
|17||Vengeance Is the Lord's||153|
|18||Free to Rejoice with Others||159|
|20||Intimacy and Trust||174|
|21||Ask and Receive||183|
|23||Free at Last||202|
|24||Build Bridges--Not Walls||211|
|25||Nothing Will Be Wasted||217|
|26||Double for Your Trouble||226|
|27||Shake It Off||235|