Tag Archives: Jo Ann Fore

Are You a Stuffer?

Choosing-Soft-HolleyGerth.com_-150x150“Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.”          (Matthew 9:22 NASB)

Hello, Friend:

Have you ever struggled with isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, undiagnosed physical symptoms? I have!

The above verse (spoken by Jesus) is from the story of a woman who had been struggling with a hemorrhage for twelve years. She followed Jesus in the midst of a crowd, knowing if she could “only touch His garment, she could get well.” What faith she had in the healing power of Jesus! However, it is important to remember that the most significant healing in this life is spiritual. Many times our Savior healed the body and the soul in the same encounter with those drawn to Him.

John 8:36 says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (NASB)

I sadly confess that for many years as a Christian (and pastor’s wife) I did not walk in this freedom, as I was still in bondage to my past. I was a “stuffer,” stuffing the pain down deep, never choosing to think about it much less share it. The older I got, the harder it got to keep the pain under the surface. The pain began to manifest itself in ways that were anything but productive. As Jo Ann Fore says in her book, “When a Woman Finds Her Voice”:

“Those things we stuff, try so hard to ignore, they are the very things begging for release–the things that hold the promise of hope, the flame of freedom.”

What about you? Are you a stuffer? It may seem less painful at the moment to stuff, but I assure you it will come out in other ways, such as isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, undiagnosed physical symptoms, etc. Processing the pain at the moment hurts, but it hurts much more to keep it inside.

“The story you’re scared to share–that story has the power to change both your life and the lives of others.” Jo Ann Fore

“But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well.” (John 9:22 NASB)

Dear daughter of Jesus, take courage! As you step out in faith and share your story, you too will be made well.

“Every joy or trial falleth from above,

Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;

We may trust Him fully all for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”

(from the hymn “Like a River Glorious” by Frances R. Havergal)

Voices

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Childhood sexual abuse, teenage substance abuse, and a tumoltuous dating relationship filled with physical and verbal abuse had left me silent.  Held captive by the lies of the evil one.  Yet I thought returning to Christ and marrying a godly man and becoming a purposeful pastor’s wife would wash it all away.  For years never realizing that I was still wearing a mask, believing the lie of Satan that no one would accept the real me.  Yet by God’s healing grace I have now been set free!

What a privilege it has been to be on the book launch team for Jo Ann Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice. Those of us on this journey together have cried, laughed, held each other up in prayer, and have picked  each other up when we have fallen.  All through on-line relationships!  WOW, isn’t that just like God?

I have taken the pledge Jo Ann has challenged us to take.  “I will become a silence breaker, courageously speaking what God presses me to share.”  My name is Cheryl Lutz, and I will use my voice!

How about you? Order your copy of Jo Ann Fore’s book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice.  You will be blessed!

My chains are gone I’ve been set free My God, my Savior has ransomed me And like a flood His mercy reigns Unending love, amazing grace.”

Chris Tomlin, “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”

Take Courage!

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“It takes courage to hold to truth when lies blur our vision.”  Jo Ann Fore, When a Woman Finds her Voice.

The Scriptures teach that we are engaged in a battle, and it is “not against flesh and blood.” (Ephesians 6)

The week the Holy Spirit made me keenly aware of this truth, I began concerted prayer, asking God to rebuke the demons and deliver me from oppression.  The next Sunday morning, when the weekly attack began in worship, the floodgates seemed to open.  Instead of pleading with the Lord to allow me to make it through the service without an episode, I began rebuking the demons in the name of Jesus.  I began praying against the oppression and asking God to first and foremost “glorify His name.” Right on the heels of that silent prayer, my dear pastor and husband read from the pulpit:

John 12:28:”‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying: ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”’

Contemplating that moment still gives me chills.

I began to silently claim that I was property of my Lord Jesus and that the demons had no power except that which was given to them.  They began to rage, and I could feel my body beginning to crumble.  I stumbled to the sanctuary doors to make my escape.  I fell in the hallway and my Nalgene bottle bounced onto the tile floor, causing a very loud noise.  My faithful comrades leapt from their seats to assist me.  They carried me to the carpeted library.

Once inside they began to call on the demons to depart in the name of the Lamb of God. My body heaved and jerked violently each time they prayed.  I was tiny (at the time) and three strapping men were struggling greatly to contain me.  I was told my eyes rolled back and I made deep guttural sounds.

This was the first of several united prayer meetings to pray for my deliverance through the cleansing of my body and mind.  Satan’s scare tactics would have overwhelmed us all had it not been for the power of the Holy Spirit, who was present doing battle in and through us.  As was typical, once the worship service in the sanctuary drew to a close, the barrage began to dissipate.

The minute the service ended, my husband came into the library to check on me.  After learning I had had a long and violent experience, his first response was, “I need to get her up off the carpet.” Since we had believed my “seizures” were being caused by extreme allergens in the church building (possibly the carpet), this was a natural reaction.

My answer to him was, “No, they are leaving.” He replied, “Who is leaving.”

I said, “The demons.”

Sharing this excerpt from my book I am working on, Securely Held: My Journey Through Spiritual Warfare, causes me to tremble.  Reader, will you pray for me to take courage? Will you pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to give me boldness to find my voice?

I am linking up with Jo Ann Fore today.  Check out her book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice.  You will be blessed!

Do You Want to Get Well?

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“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,
Do you want to get well?’”  John 5:1-15 (NIV)

“Sometimes it’s easier to hide behind the familiar pain, to replay the same movie,  repeat the same mistakes, blame the same people.  But that’s not God’s plan.”
Jo Ann Fore

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What about you, dear reader? Do you want to get well?  As Jo Ann Fore says in her book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice:

 “Being healed changes everything.”

But oh how blessed the change is! The pathway to healing is like a marathon, not a sprint. Are you willing to press on in Him?  The rewards are eternal.

Experiencing victory involves walking through the pain of our past. It involves confrontation.  And as Jo Ann says,

“Speaking out means being real and being imperfect.”

This has been one of the hardest things for me in finding my voice; I have had to speak out about my past, revealing where I’ve come from.

Yes, I am a Christian.  Yes, I am a pastor’s wife.  And, yes, I have a painful past.
Yet my past no longer defines me!

And you, dear reader, “Do you want to get well?”

Jo Ann’s book has helped me work through the pain, by using my voice to make a difference.  She has assisted me in this journey to freedom and purpose:

Enabling me to move beyond lingering hurts and reclaim my stalled dreams.”

Purchase your copy from Amazon today, and join the FREE online book study:

http://joannfore.com/find-your-voice/

Or consider joining the Facebook party on November 4th.  She will be giving away a complete Book Study Package.

https://www.facebook.com/events/652230054808731/

I close with a quote from Matthew Henry on why Jesus asked the invalid if he wanted to get well:

“To teach him to value the mercy, and to excite in him desires after it.   In spiritual cases, (sometimes) people who are willing to be cured of their sins, are (still) loth to part with them.  If this point therefore were but gained, if people were willing to be made whole, the work were half done, for Christ is willing to heal, if we be but willing to be healed.”

Damaged Emotions

“Being honest about our hidden hurts is important.  To heal the pain, you must acknowledge it.” Jo Ann Fore, When a Woman Finds Her Voice

We were driving along in my 1984 red hot Mustang, arguing about something; when he suddenly grabbed my long dark ponytail; and whipped my neck against the back of the seat.  I was mortified as I looked to my right and saw the guy in the car beside us, staring in disbelief.
I was an attractive and capable 18 year old girl, working and going to college.  Why was I putting up with this?  We were in MY car!
Why didn’t pulling into a public parking lot and demanding he get out of my car, and threatening to call the police if he didn’t, ever even enter my mind?
Or why did I go to the beach with him the day after he slammed my head against the concrete driveway in front of my parent’s house, after a fight we’d had at the bowling alley?
Why did I put up with that type of verbal and physical abuse for four years?

I now see it was because I had bought into the lie of Satan long ago; that I was stupid, worthless, and unlovable; and that people had the right to treat me however they wanted.  Deep down, I didn’t believe I had any rights.
Childhood sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse had left me silent. I believed my job was to keep everyone happy, and never rock the boat.
My emotions were damaged.

“Swimming on the surface is easy when you’re steeped in denial.”  Jo Ann Fore

Friends, did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Have you ever tried to help someone escape an abusive situation, only to see them return to the abuse?  I remember my friends would get so angry with me, when after helping protect me in the moment, I would soon return to the volatile relationship.

“Manipulators can derail God’s purpose for your life if you let them.”  Jo Ann Fore

My emotions were damaged.  But praise be to God that through Jesus Christ and His healing power I have been set free.  God has taught me that my true identity is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Will you help walk along side one that is caught in abuse, living with damaged emotions?

Will you help teach her her true identity in Christ?  That is what Jo Ann Fore is doing through her book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice.  You can order your copy through Amazon today.

I’m amazed when I contemplate the fact that I never told anyone about the abusive relationship I had been in as a teenager, (not even my pastor/husband) until I told a counselor around 5 years ago.  I allowed silence to continue to hold me captive to the lies of the evil one.

“There’s an undeniable healing power in telling the truth to someone who validates you by simply listening-
honor washes away the stench of shame.”  Jo Ann Fore

I’ve found my voice.  You can too!

I close with the following scriptures from, Freedom in Christ Ministries.

I AM SECURE

Romans 8:1-2  I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28     I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39  I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22   I have been established anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4        I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20        I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7   I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18     I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.