Debbie Wayns

FORGIVING YOURSELF

Do you ever wish you could have a “redo”?  Some decisions I made in my past were hurtful to myself, and others and I am sure it saddened our Heavenly Father immensely. 

I know I’m not alone in these thoughts.  Even Paul said “For I am the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9).

So what do we do with these negative thoughts from the past?  My wise friend, Sue, told me that part of forgiving others meant you had to forgive yourself.  How do you do this?  God promises if we repent He will forgive us and then remove the sin altogether.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”        Psalm 103:11-12

If our transgressions are removed from us there is nothing to regret or feel guilty about , right? This seems so easy – yet it is so hard to wrap my head around. 

Someone once told me that guilt is from Satan and conviction is from God.  Guilt often consumes you – makes you feel hopeless.  I am here to tell you right now that if we are truly following God – we should have nothing to do with guilt.  It is where Satan loves to have his way with us.  Don’t let another day be driven by guilt.  Rebuke Satan right now.  

Conviction on the other hand is something God places in us through the Holy Spirit. Conviction is a way out.  It’s knowing what your doing is wrong. Its knowing you will never go back to those old habits. It’s where freedom is. We must be careful not to sit in conviction either.  Conviction requires an action from us.  We must respond to what the Holy Spirit is telling us.  Once we have responded, we are to move on.  It is all part of the process of forgiving yourself.

Let us never forget why Jesus died on the cross.  It wasn’t just for everyone else.  He died on that cross for you and me.  For us to be forgiven.  If we choose not to forgive ourselves we are saying His death was in vain.  That He shouldn’t have done that for me.  If you have these thoughts I ask you to be reminded of who you are in Christ.  You are a child of God and He makes no mistakes. 

I can say my past is my past.  But, I can also say I’ve learned some great lessons from my past and I am able to have compassion for others who have similar stories as mine.  I am able to not be judgmental. I am able to give hope to those in the midst of sin, who feel hopeless and unforgiven. I am able to do these things because our Heavenly Father has forgiven me and has removed those trespasses from my life – I am truly free. Freedom and forgiveness go hand and hand.

Now I can say all the glory goes to God – for He redeemed me and forgave me and has shown me how to forgive myself.  I live my life knowing this as I journey through this thing called life.  I am reminded of who I am today; reminded of where God has taken me and I am thankful.  He loved me enough to use my story to glorify Him.  How awesome is that??

So today I pray you find forgiveness in yourself.  Allow your story to glorify our Heavenly Father.  This can only happen if you forgive yourself.  Allow God’s light to shine bright so others have no choice but to ask you to tell them your story – the story of how God redeemed you, forgave you and used you to help others.  See how God uses your story.  Freedom awaits my friends. 

Debbie Wayns

Forgive(ness)

Forgive(ness)

Can I just be totally honest with you here?  I have written and re-written this blog probably 3 times. I even had a complete draft done that just needed to be spell checked and proofed and when I came back to my computer, it was gone.   At this point I questioned whether or not I should even attempt this subject.  Then our very own Courtney Kacer reminded me that this was surely Satan trying to stop me.  So here I am, writing this again, praying for some peace with this draft and hopefully finalizing something that can be posted. 

Lord, I pray for Your guidance in this series that I cannot shake to write.  I pray for Your wisdom and peace as You lead me in this writing.  Amen.

Forgive(ness).  Is this hard for anyone else besides me?  When I first became a Christian I put this on the backburner for quite some time. 

The Webster Dictionary simply defines this as

“to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) ; to stop blaming (someone) ; to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong) ; to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed).”

Sounds simple enough right? 

Shortly after I truly started following Christ my church had a women’s treat. I had no idea what I was walking into, but was excited to have a “mini vacation”.  I expected some bible reading, speakers who would speak about God, and maybe even meet some other women who were in the same set of mind as me.  I had no idea that God would reveal himself to me in a way that changed my life forever. 

I had an opportunity to speak with one of the speakers.  Her name was Sue.  I had never met her, but she had been going to our church for a long time and was highly respected. When she came to my table and asked if she could sit with me I immediately got nervous.  I couldn’t understand why this women – who had just spoke to all these women – wanted to sit with me.  I know now that God totally ordained that whole situation.  She immediately asked me if I understood what it meant to forgive others.  I was taken aback for sure.  Who was this lady?  And how dare she ask such a personal question? My quick response to her was “yes – of course”, hoping she’d go away and I could continue my mini vacation.  Seeing that my bible was on the table she asked me to look up Matthew 6:14-15 and read it out loud. 

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:14-15

As we picked apart this verse I asked so many questions.  The more she answered, the more questions I had.  The more I understood one thing the more I got convicted about another.  We sat at that table for almost 3 hours – talking, crying, and laughing. It was at this table I truly understood what it meant to forgive and to be forgiven. My take away from this conversation was who had I not forgiven that would prevent me from being forgiven?  Thus began this journey I was on for some time.  It has been almost 10 years since this retreat and to be honest, I’m still on this journey of forgive(ness). 

I found out later, because Sue and I became very close friends, that God nudged her big time to speak to me all weekend.  She said she fought it because after she spoke she was exhausted and truly wanted to rest, but God wouldn’t let it go.  I’m thankful she was obedient and came to sit with me. 

So here I am – about to share a piece of myself about forgiving others and being forgiven.  I pray you join me as we venture into why this is so important to God and why it should be so important to us.

I leave you with this last thought before I sign off this week. 

“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves.  Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.” – Letters of C.S. Lewis (19 April 1951), p. 230

Until next time my friends, Be Blessed – INDEED!!

Debbie L. Wayns

LOVE

LOVE

As the sun set she walked down the aisle and at that moment I suddenly forgot about the beauty all around me.  All I saw was Courtney walking towards her now husband, Shawn, knowing that her prayers were being answered by our Heavenly Father.  I immediately got emotional remembering all the time and prayers of Courtney making personal changes to submit to God for whatever His will held for her future. She had been on quite a journey.

I didn’t think I’d get so emotional watching her walk down the aisle.  Because I knew God would bless her with either the husband she so desired, or a change of desire to live her life according to HIS will. Either way, I knew Courtney would be blessed and bless those around her.  Yes, I am speaking of the founder of Women180.org. Our very own Courtney got married this past weekend.

As I have had a week now to reflect and pray and ask God to reveal to me why so much emotion was felt by me I was constantly reminded of LOVE. There is something about God’s perfect love that gets me every time.

I remember a while ago my mentor telling me that Love is not a feeling but an action.  That confused me and really forced me to look deeper into that statement.  The bible says:

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18

“We love each other because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:19

What this tells me is that Love is a verb, an action. Something we are to do, not just feel.  As a married woman of 14 years, this was a hard lesson to learn.  I wanted to always feel loving towards and by my husband.  But life happens, right?  Through those stupid arguments and sometimes more serious disagreements, the love we have for each other is there – whether we feel it or not.

Let’s look at this deeper.  Jesus loves us.  This is a fact, right?  How do you think he feels when we blatantly sin against him over and over again.  I imagine he feels the same way, but on a much bigger level, when my daughter does something that she knows she shouldn’t be doing and does it anyway.  Am I disappointed? Absolutely!  Do I still love her?  Absolutely!  Jesus is love.  He loves us regardless.  He proved this when he sacrificed himself on the Cross for our past, present and future sins.  His actions showed us what Love looks like in action.

So why was I so emotional watching Courtney and Shawn getting married?  Although I know Love is an action, it’s also wonderful to feel.  I felt their love and it was contagious.  Everyone at that wedding felt love.

You can’t talk about love and not mention the below verses:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Yes, I am one of those mushy fairytale women who are in love with Love!! I’m thankful that as I have grown in my faith this has evolved into not just a feeling but an action.  It is something nobody can take from me.  I love because He loved me first.  This tells me I can be as mushy as I want.  I can love and be loved without hesitation. 

“Let all that you do be done in Love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14

So as I conclude today, let us be reminded to live and love others the way God intended and Rejoice in the Love He has for us.

Debbie Wayns

Can I be honest with you?

Can I be honest with you?  This past week I’ve been pretty irritable.  I can’t tell you why.  Nothing happened.  Nobody upset me.  I was just plain irritable for no apparent reason.  I think I played it off for the most part to the world.  But at home, where it’s safe, I don’t think I hid it well.  I never addressed it in my quiet time with God, because there was no reason for the irritableness.  So I just remained irritable thinking this too shall pass. 

During this time, I’ve been praying to God to give me what HE wants me to write about next for this blog. He’s been very quiet in this regard.  So I leaned on my go to verse “Be Still and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and just waited for His guidance.  Then today in my quiet time I came across this verse:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” – 1 John 5:14

I dug into this verse a little deeper in my commentaries.  One of them mentioned that our hearts had to be right with God and then our prayers would be a mirror vision of His will. So I sat and asked myself was my heart right with God?  Was something keeping my prayers from being heard?  Was there sin I wasn’t acknowledging?  Was I being unforgiving towards others?  Then bam, just at that moment, the question of the day – was my irritability keeping me apart from God?  Do I need to ask for forgiveness and acknowledge this sin?  Why hadn’t I thought about this sooner?

Well, just yesterday I acknowledged my irritability to my husband and apologized to him.   I was honest with him and told him that I really didn’t know why I was irritable but he surely was not the reason.  Bless his heart, he immediately said “no problem” in the most loving and tender way.  But I know it was a problem.  I wasn’t being nice and it was not ok. I knew that just acknowledging it to him would help me be more mindful and thoughtful towards him.  It was pulling my sin out of the darkness and bringing it into the light.

“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” – Acts 26:18

Today I woke up and was not irritable.  In fact, I was in a great mood – almost silly.  It’s no surprise the verse that stuck out to me today was that “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” According to His will.  If your heart is right with God – it will be according to His will.  If you are in God’s word regularly – it will be according to His will.  If your sin is not in the dark and in the light, acknowledged and confessed – it will be according to His will. 

And just like that, this blog appeared. 

Father, thank you for this lesson.  Thank you for your unconditional love for us.  Thank you for hearing our prayers.  Bring to light of what is holding us back from you as we continue to grow with you. Show us how to restore our relationship with you and have the relationship you so desire from us.  I ask this confidently and with expectation that you hear this prayer.                                                                                                                                                                                        In Jesus Name I Pray.  Amen.

I Am HIS Masterpiece

For we are Gods masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

The other morning while having my quiet time with God, I looked out my window and noticed the sun rising slowly.  Just then I saw these magnificent colors appear.  God was literally painting a masterpiece right in front of my eyes.  I grabbed my phone to take a picture but the colors just werent justified through its lens. I have the same reactions to sunsets as well.  My 12 year old daughter now has the same passion of sunsets as I do, and will quickly shout out Mom, look at that one. How blessed are we to witness such a creative God. I once was in a bible study and I remember the author of the study once said that when we see such beauty such as sunrises and sunsets its Gods way of saying He loves us.  And our response should be I love you too

Ladies, just like a beautiful sunset that God created, he also created you exactly how he wanted you to be.  With every stroke, He colored your hair, your eyes, your skin tone, your smile.  He made you perfect in HIS image.  We are one of Gods work of art.

I have a pretty big personality always have really.  My mom used to say I could make friends anywhere I went and they all would become my best friends within 15 minutes.  Its true.  I love meeting people, getting to know them and growing relationships with them.  Most people would have been surprised to know that when I was younger, I was comparing myself to anyone I met and always fell short from who I truly wanted to be.  My self-worth was pretty bad.  If only I could be like that person or this person.  The more people I had in my life, the more inadequate I felt. I was one of those people who could be in a room of 50 people and still feel unworthy and lonely. But you wouldnt have ever known this because I usually made myself the center of attention. I realize now its how I controlled the situation. I was funny and loud and portrayed the confidence I wanted everyone to think I had.  I had horrible insecurities that most people never even knew about.  I often lied about myself and who I truly was.  I lied so often about myself I started believing them. I made myself into someone I wasnt. This person I created was much better than who I actually was.   In my eyes a masterpiece was not part of my description of who I was. You should know I come from an extremely loving family who would tell me often that I was loved.  These insecurities came from deep inside me that stemmed from me truly not knowing who I was in Christ.

Today I know who I am in Christ.  I am perfectly made in His image.  I still have a lot of friends, and if I am honest, still often the center of attention, but for completely different reasons.  I still have no problem talking to strangers and making friendships quickly. The difference is there is joy in it all now.  I am no longer comparing myself to anyone because I am exactly who God wants me to be today.  I know that as long as I am open and willing to grow with Him, He will reveal Himself more to me and I will gain a better understanding of who I am.

 This is why knowing who you are in Christ is so important.  Whether you come from a loving or tragic background, if you dont know who you are in Christ you will seek your identity in places that are not secure or everlasting.  God promises us He will never leave or forsake us.  This we can hold onto and walk in confidence with.

This has been quite a journey weve been on together.  I cannot believe this is the last part of the Who Am I series.  So here I am Saved, Chosen, Free, and HIS Masterpiece.  O ladies, there are so many more amazing descriptions of who you are in Christ.  I pray today you commit to knowing who you are in Christ.  Dont stop here. Dig deeper in the bible and find out more ways who you are in Christ.   

Thank you for allowing me to introduce myself here on Women180.  The feedback some of you gave me was encouraging and I hope to continue down this journey God has me on with writing.  Until next time my friends, Be Blessed INDEED.

Debbie Wayns

I am Free

I Am Free.

On August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we're free at last!’”

We have heard these words spoken time and time again, and they are a perfect depiction of Dr. Martin Luther Kings desire for freedom for all mankind.

So what does freedom mean in Gods kingdom?

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.- John 8:32

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.- John 8:36

 In John 8:32, 36 Jesus declared that he will make free anyone who puts their trust in Him. This type of freedom allowed me to walk away from my own selfish desires and serve God the way He intended. This is freedom Freedom from self-deception, sin, and the lies Satan continues to try and convince me to be true. 

You may ask how do I know the truth?  For me it is in Gods Word.  My quiet time with God is the time I learn Gods truth. I am constantly learning ways to be more and more like him. If not for this time in Gods Word, Id surely start believing the lies Satan tells me.  The truth is in the Bible.  We must be in the Bible to rebuke all Satans lies. We must be in the Bible to know who we are in Christ, which eliminates self-deception.

This morning in my quiet time, God revealed a picture of Jesus when he was a man that surprised me.  In Mark 13:32-33 Jesus said:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

Ive read these verses time and time again, so its not new to me.  But today, as I was preparing my heart for this topic of Being Free I began to think about how at this time, not even Jesus knew when He would be back.  Because He was man at this time, he didnt have this knowledge.  Stay with me here  While Jesus was man, he was restricted.  He was limited and held back.  My dictionary states that to be free is voluntary, without restraint; without cost, to set at liberty.  This was not the case with Jesus when he said “…no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son. When Jesus was a man he was limited, but when He resurrected he was free to be who He truly is with all His divine knowledge. Dont we all want this?  To be who we are truly intended to be without restraint or limitations? this is Freedom.  As we know who we are in Christ, we can have this freedom.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23, 24

I had a conversation the other day about sin whether one sin is greater than another.  It is easy to imagine that murder is a big sin, especially compared to lets say, a white lie.  But let us all remember that a sin is a sin and any sin keeps us separated from God. The good news is that we have redemption through Christ Jesus. When Christ died on that Cross, we were forgiven.  We are free from what we so justly deserve. This makes me want to sing the words: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we're free at last!

But wait, there is more! 

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more Jeremiah 31:34b

Not only are you free from your sins, but they will never again be remembered.  But you have to do somethings first.  You have to confess your sins, walk away from them, and live your life in freedom. My friend, stop living in your sins.  Stop believing the lies that you are not worthy of Gods love.  There is no sin that cant be forgiven.  Redemption is there and God is waiting for us to claim it by laying our lives at Jesus feet.  You are His child and you are FREE from the bondage you live in today.  You just have to believe in Jesus and realize any feelings that make you feel tainted are LIES.  I pray you walk away from this blog knowing a little more of who you are in Christ knowing YOU ARE FREE. 

Debbie Wayns

I Am Chosen

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” – Ephesians 1:3-6

What does being Chosen mean to you? 

My daughter, who is 12, auditioned for Oklahoma a few weeks ago, and as she waited for the results, I asked her what happens if she wasn’t chosen?  She immediately said she would feel sad and unwanted.  I’ve felt like this 12 year old many times – “sad and unwanted”.  Before Christ, my identity was based off of acceptance of others.  I wanted to be “chosen” so badly I often made decisions that would ensure my spot in this group or that group. When accepted it was instant gratification, although short lived because I soon had to fight for my right to stay in that group.  I still felt like I had to find my perfect place to be understood, often being like someone else – mimicking someone else’s behavior to be liked. Don’t get me wrong – I chose to do everything I did.  I was fully aware of the consequences.  Although none of that mattered.  All I wanted was to be loved, accepted and CHOSEN.  You see, I was seeking acceptance from everyone BUT God. 

In my teens and then 20’s I remember saying I wanted to be married.  Innocent dream for most, but this desire went much deeper for me.  I wanted to be chosen.  I tried to manipulate guys I was dating to choose me, to no avail.  Instead, I was left feeling “sad and unwanted”.  It was a vicious cycle.  I was seeking acceptance in all the wrong places.  Thankfully God also chose my husband, Justin.  I admit when I first met him I felt chosen.  He sought after me, loved me, and chose me to be his wife.  But as I sit here in this reflection, I realize that God chose both Justin and I to be together.  We were both already chosen well before we ever met.

So what does this look like today?  Knowing that God chose us long before we even existed allows no room for pride to set in.  We had nothing to do with it.  I didn’t have to act a certain way.  I didn’t have to wait for someone to pick me.  In reality God had to wait for me to finally reach out and grab the hand that He had already extended.  I admit it took me awhile to choose Him. If there is any regret of my past it is that.  So here is God Almighty who already chose me long long ago, just waiting for me to seek and choose Him back.

Then there is me, who thinks I can do this without Him… and therefore denied Him time and time again. Like Peter who denied Jesus (Matthew 26:34), God knew I would deny Him, yet He still chose me!! Thankfully when He chose me, He already knew how stubborn I was and would continue to be. He knew the journey I would have to take to finally get to Him.  So He waited patiently.

As a parent of a 12 year old, I admit my husband and my patience run thin with our daughter at times.   As her parents we see what her potential is.  We see just how she could affect the world in a positive way with her gift of empathy.  We want her to understand this gift now so she can use it immediately.  It is sometimes frustrating because she is not mature enough to fully understand what this means or how to use it.  So we wait patiently.  To see what God will do with her and this gift.  We will have to go through some struggles and trial and hope her journey leads her right where God intended her to be.  These trials will be painful and frustrating. But we will never give up on her, because the love we have for her outweighs all the mess she has and will gets herself into. 

I say all this because it’s the only way I can imagine what God felt like waiting for me to come to Him but on a much bigger scale. As He sat patiently waiting for me I’m sure He was painfully watching me make decisions that would lead to consequences that I would not like.  He may have gotten frustrated because I would make those decisions again and again never learning the lesson He was providing..  I remember when I finally turned and chose Him. I felt this immediate LOVE like never before.  I felt complete in that I had finally been ACCEPTED.  HE chose me long long ago, and now we can live together in harmony, on the same team.  Being chosen to me means my acceptance is no longer in other people.  It is solely in Him.

Do you ever feel like you are missing something?  Like you are searching to fill this void and nothing will quite fill it?  We are here to tell you the solution has a simplicity to it that you would have never thought possible.  It is whether or not you are willing to accept the hand of Jesus as He has already CHOSEN you.  If you need prayer or would like to reach out to learn more, please contact us on our website www.women180.org

Debbie L. Wayns