May you experience the joy that comes with knowing Christ, now and in the year to come. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
Reclaim Your Life and Confidence After Sexual Abuse. Written for teens, but all can benefit. Visit youth.ag.org and find it under articles.

God Candy - An Answer

God delivered a whole box of chocolate-covered cherries today. The first email I read today was from my daughter. She wanted to encourage me about today's Internet radio interview about my book. She brought tears of joy to my eyes. It should be me encouraging her as she struggles to maintain a 4.0 GPA, pay the bills and take care of her 7-year-old son.

Fifteen years ago our relationship lay in ruins, like shards from a broken window, due to my husband's sexual abuse of her. God took those shards and put them back together to create a beautiful stained-glass window. What Satan meant to destroy us God used for good. My daughter is studying to become a doctor of psychology and intends to counsel girls who have been sexually abused. I have written a book for mothers of abuse victims and publish a magazine dedicated to encouraging those whose lives have been damaged by abuse.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

A quote from a Christmas gift my daughter received last night said, "Dreams have no expiration date." God will work in your life to make something beautiful from tragedy. ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield
To learn about an encouraging resource for mothers of sexual abuse victims, listen to today's interview at www.theChristianAuthorsShow.com

Still the Chaos

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Keeping my mind still is very difficult. It is an activity I have to practice. My mind wanders even while I read. Thoughts race through my mind with the chaos of a Midwestern tornado. And the chaos grows worse if I am wrestling with difficult circumstances.

One of the best ways for me to get still is to spend time in praise and worship. Webster defines praise as “the act of expressing approval or admiration” and worship as rendering reverent honor and homage. What an amazing activity praise and worship is. The Bible tells me God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). When I praise God, my focus is on him rather than on my problems or needs for the day. My emotional state improves and my hope in God —my confident expectation that he’ll do what he says he’ll do—is restored. The gloom of my problems is gone. I can be still and listen for his voice.

One of my favorite worship songs is “I Worship You, Almighty God” by Don Moen. Here are the words: “I worship you almighty God. There is none like you. I worship you O Prince of Peace; that is what I want to do. I give you praise for you are my righteousness. I worship you almighty God, there is none like you.” Here is a video link to listen to the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o0bARRMYQ8

Make praise and worship a regular part of your time with God. You’ll be amazed with the results.

Hidden Wounds

Not that I intend to be crude, but an old wound snuck up and bit me on the butt today. The affects of traumatic events leave wounds that can hide for years. It’s been 15 years since I learned my husband was sexually abusing my daughter (his step-daughter). I thought I had dealt with all the fallout, but recent events have proved otherwise. The issue at hand—trust.

The events of 15 years ago have severely compromised my ability to trust people. Not only that, but they also infected my relationship with God. While I can function in the world with a level of distrust, I most definitely do not want my relationship with God tainted by anything. I praise God he has allowed his light to shine on this hidden wound so I can let it heal completely and continue to grow in my knowledge of him.

What about you? Are there areas in your life into which you have not allowed God? Together, let’s pray. “God, I open my heart to you. Shine your light on my hidden wounds one at time. Bring your healing and make me whole. In Jesus’ name, amen.” ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Mark your calendars! Dec 16 and 17 Don McCauley of The Christian Author’s Show interviews me about my book Help! My Husband Has Sexually Abused Our Daughter. To listen, visit http://www.thechristianauthorsshow.com/
Catch my interview with Don McCauley about my book Help! My Husband Has Sexually Abused Our Daughter. It will be broadcast on Dec. 16 and 17 at http://ping.fm/h1CqS

Hamster Days

I had a very frustrating day yesterday. One of those days when you feel like all you did was spin your wheels. Lately, those days have really been adding up. When I stopped to think how I could stop spinning, the Holy Spirit prompted me to remember two devotionals I read recently. They were about determination and standing firm. Then I remembered my goals and my desire to serve God and I was able to see I had allowed other things to distract me.

If you find yourself running alongside the hamster, here are some steps you can take to get off the wheel and back on the right path.

1. Take some time to refocus on the important things. What are the priorities in your life? What are your goals? Write down your priorities and goals. Review them regularly and make adjustments if needed.

2. What you are spending your time doing? Are these activities just sucking up your time and energy or are they moving you closer to your goals? Do they support your priorities?

3. Develop a routine and set a time limit to your activities. The laundry has to get washed and the meals cooked, but activities such as these need not eat up all your time. Schedule time to work toward your goals. As a freelancer, I read my email first thing in the morning and then try to spend the rest of the morning writing. (My creativity is at its best in the morning.) I save the afternoons for activities such as research, writing queries and studying markets. Use whatever resources are at hand to help you. Set an alarm clock or kitchen timer to remind you that it’s time to end the job search activity and move on to the next task.

4. Stay focused on the positive. Worry saps your emotional and physical energy. Take steps to change what you can change, and let go of what you can’t control.

5. Stay connected to God by spending time in his word. I find I can keep things in better perspective by feeding my faith and affirming God’s promises to me. When I wake up discouraged, like I did this morning, I can stand firm and determined by quoting Scripture and praising God.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV). ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

God Candy

Every Christmas when I was little, my mother would buy a box of chocolate-covered cherries. As soon as she opened the box, I would breathe in that wonderful scent. Rather than eat the candy whole, I would bite into one and the cr√®me would dribble down my fingers. I didn’t want to lose one tiny drop of that scrumptious juicy center so I immediately popped the rest into my mouth. Mmmm. They are so delicious and part of the enjoyment of the season. For me, chocolate-covered cherries are little moments of delight.

Recently a friend sent me a Thanksgiving greeting and told me I was a blessing to her. Our society doesn’t often express encouraging words like those. But kind words can go a long way in helping us feel appreciated and loved. Reading that email was like eating a chocolate-covered cherry. It was a little moment of delight that fed a weary spirit. It was God saying, “I love you and I’m watching over you.”

God drops those bite-sized candies of joy into our lives everyday. We simply need to slow down to taste and enjoy them. A fiery persimmon sunrise after a week of clouds. A cardinal pecking for food outside the patio door. A sweet word of blessing from a new friend. A phone call from your son who says he’s homesick. Each a tiny moment in time, yet it can feed our spirit for the whole day when we recognize it for what it is.

Today and everyday stop and look for the chocolate-covered cherry moments God brings your way. Before long, you’ll know the moment he opens the box. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14, NLT). ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Dealing with Loneliness

For many people the holiday season isn’t the happy celebration they would like it to be. Instead it is a season of deeply felt loneliness. The reasons are as varied as there are people, and the reasons aren’t important. What’s important is they feel lonely.

I am well acquainted with loneliness. As a child I didn’t have a lot of friends. Too shy, I guess. As a military wife, we moved often. In fact, before I came to know God, I often felt lonely even though my husband was lying in bed next to me. This year my youngest son has left home to begin his life as an adult. The quiet emptiness of my apartment is as gloomy as a dark cloudy day.

Here are some tools I use to help me overcome my loneliness.

· I put on a praise CD and spend time praising God. Knowing he loves me with an unfailing love chases away my sadness.
· I ask God to fill the void—because he is the only one who really can.
· I call to visit with a friend I’ve left behind in the latest move.
· I call a new friend and say let’s go out for lunch.
· I spend time with family, either on the phone or by going to visit if they live nearby.
· I count my blessings.
· I get outside myself by getting involved in church and community activities such as helping serve at the local food kitchen.

We’ve all experienced loneliness at some point in our lives. Please share with our readers the positive tools you use to help you deal with loneliness. ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Trash or Treasure?

Do you struggle with insecurity? It has plagued me nearly all my life.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “insecure” as “subject to fears, doubts, etc., not self-confident, not firmly or reliably placed.” That’s me. We all want to be accepted, loved and valued. We want to be secure in who we are, but life experiences can knock us off our feet. Abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to love us can leave us wondering is there something wrong with me? Am I lovable? In fact, we may have grown up hearing “You’re good for nothing; you’re trash.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

Our security and value lies in what God says about us, not people. Luke 12:7 tells us God knows the very number of hairs on our head. Who in their right mind would want to know that unless he treasured us so much it mattered?

How to grow secure:

· Read the Bible and learn what God has to say about you. Use more than one version of the Bible as you search for verses. Here are a few verses to start with. You are the apple of his eye (Zechariah 2:8). He loves you with an unfailing love (Psalm 117:2). His precious thoughts about us cannot be numbered (Psalm 139:17). The LORD is your security (Proverbs 3:26).
· Write out verses and carry them with you. Repeat them everyday, as many times a day as you want, until the truth is firmly established in your spirit.
· Be conscious of your thoughts. As soon as you catch yourself thinking negatively, take action: “That’s a lie. I am ….” Fight back with the verses you have written and memorized.

We are his treasure. “For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” Isaiah 41:9b NLT ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Welcome to the Glory and Strength Blog

One might think that because I’m a writer, editor and publisher I would find it easy to blog. Nothing could be further from the truth. Blogging by its very nature is a spontaneous activity. It is not in my nature to be spontaneous. A friend of mine is a personality trainer. She often comments on my melancholy personality—analytical, practical and leaning toward perfectionism. Melancholies often tend to be insecure too. I want every word to be just right and can spend hours writing my Christmas letter. So for me blogging is going to be an exercise in spontaneity and a vehicle of growth.

This blog is a place to find hope, healing and fellow travelers on the road to victory over life’s battles. If you read Glory and Strength.com and would like to comment on what you read, feel free to do so here. Know also that you can post here in complete anonymity.

Together with Christ we can be victorious.