From fear and bondage to love and faith. And FREEDOM!
What does that mean anyway?
According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, your brain was wired for love, you were wired for love.
God made us in His image. And He is love. So, doesn’t it make sense that He wired us for love?
Well, what does THAT mean?
There is a “perfect you” that we should be striving to live in. When we step out of our “perfect you”, we get into fear and other negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. We have to learn to fear, and when we do we put our body and brain out of whack!
When we learn to live out of fear and give into these negative thoughts, we actually cause brain damage!
We have learned to fear through living in this fallen world, through thought patterns and ideas that were passed on to us by people around us, the ways that people have treated us, by our own sinful ways, traumatic events in our lives, whispers of the enemy that cause doubt, and other factors that affect us and cause us to expect negative outcomes and to fear the future and dread the unknown.
But God wants to restore us to our “perfect you”.
You were made for love. God made you so that He could love you.
Here’s the truth:
God delights in you.
He views you as His little child who is in the process of learning what life is really about, what God is really like, and the reason that He made you, the purpose of your life, the thing that only YOU can do.
You can get back to the original blueprint that God had for you by changing the way you think. When you know that you are loved unconditionally, that God has wonderful plans for you, you learn how He sees you, that He favors you, He has extraordinary affection for you, He smiles on you, you have His heart, you have His favor, you begin to think differently. You begin to see yourself as a child of God.
The way that God sees Jesus is the same way He sees us.
We renew our minds.
We start to develop the mind of Christ.
Jesus had a great self-image. He lived in His “perfect you” all the time.
Jesus was wired for love, and unlike us, He never learned to fear. He never succumbed to the worldly way or the satanic way of viewing Himself. He always knew who He was.
We can be constantly becoming more like Jesus by thinking the way Jesus thought and the way Jesus thinks.
As we do this, we will be Changed By Love.
See what I did there?
We change the way we think by taking negative and toxic thoughts captive as soon as they come into our minds, casting them out, and substituting positive, loving, true, pure God’s thoughts in their place.
Simple, but not easy, because we have to overcome years and years of wrong thinking habits.
But we have to start somewhere, and there’s no time like the present to start working on changing our thoughts.
Become the best version of you. Change your thoughts.
And let God Change you By His Love!!!
If you are interested in brain research, you should listen to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, and read her books. She has a website http://drleaf.com that is full of videos, episodes of her TV show, her blog and more.
I am Penney Douglas. I have been Changed By Love.
I am still in the process of being Changed By Love.
What does it mean to be Changed By Love?
One way to be Changed By Love is to overcome fear.
I started out with lots of fear: Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of not measuring up, being insignificant, not being good enough, etc.
Can you relate to any of these fears? Maybe you have been plagued by other fears than these, but nonetheless, most of us start out with certain fears that we struggle to get over throughout our lifetimes.
But we need to do what it takes to overcome all types of fear.
Why try so hard to conquer fear in our lives?
Because there is no fear in love.
And perfect love casts out fear.
It’s not God’s will that we live in fear.
Fear is the enemy’s will for our lives.
Fear is faith in the enemy’s power over us.
God wants us to put our faith in His power over the enemy.
So who do you trust – God or the enemy?
God is love. Perfect love casts out fear.
So trust in God, and cast out fear.
The new person that you become – the new mindset you will carry – will be based on Love.
This is one way that Love changes us.
There are more ways.
There is more to come!
Well, I can finally talk about it after 7 years. We lost our house to foreclosure on Mar. 1, 2005. I haven’t wanted to talk about it openly because it seems like a bad testimony – at first.
Gary lost his job in Dec. of 2001, right after 9/11. When I saw what was happening that day, I told my mom on the phone, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” I didn’t know it, but I was prophesying. It really was the end of the world as we knew it. Gary’s company laid off about a third of their employees a couple of months after that, and Gary was one of the lucky ones.
We really did see it that way. Things had been really bad there at his job – with people planting things in his personnel file to make him look bad, accusing him of things he didn’t do, etc. He was ready to meet a few guys in the parking lot or just quit. He had been trying to start his own technical writing business on the side, so when his job ended, we thought God was setting him free from a job so he could work from home. We were kind of excited about the whole thing. The only problem was, God didn’t do what we expected Him to do. We were assuming a lot of things. We didn’t really pray about the business. It just seemed like the logical thing to do, and it was what we wanted.
But Gary couldn’t stir up any business because at the time, nobody in our area wanted to contract out their technical writing work, which involves the documentation (operator’s manuals, troubleshooting manuals, etc.) they have to provide along with their product. Every manufacturing business he called said they were handling it from inside and didn’t need any help from outside. They were all trying to save money, and trying to hang on to what they had instead of putting out more money during those uncertain economic times. Nobody knew what was going to happen after the World Trade Center was taken out.
So Gary finally went to the Lord about it after so many disappointing calls and no results, and the Lord told him He wanted him to lay his Isaac down. He knew that meant his business. He did not want to give up on it, but he knew he had to obey God. God also told him not to look for another job.
So we knew that our time of living by faith was starting in earnest now. I was excited about it. I had been wanting to just trust the Lord for provision and see what He would do. I had read lots of testimonies about God providing for people in miraculous ways.
So we lived by faith from the time his 6 week severance pay ran out. We got Unemployment and food stamps for a while, but that opened up a whole can of worms that I’ll write about another time. We were forgetting something important. We kept forgetting to pray about things before we did them. And we kept finding ourselves in messes.
But God did sustain us supernaturally for 4 years with no income, and we never went hungry. We didn’t have one single bit of income from the end of 2002 until Gary got a job at Walmart in Kansas City in 2006. We are not from Kansas City. The house we lost was in Ohio where we both had lived our whole lives. Our families are all still there. But we’re not. God had other plans for us.
When we first started trusting God to provide everything, He did some amazing, miraculous things for us. Gary asked the Lord what he was supposed to do if he wasn’t supposed to get another job. And the Lord told him to go pray in the field every day. We had a field right beside our house. So Gary went out there every day and prayed. He wasn’t even sure what to pray sometimes, but he went out in obedience. Meanwhile, I was in the house with the kids handling everything by myself as I had always done, but I was not happy that Gary wasn’t helping me since he was home now. We had 6 children, 10 and under at the time. I did all of the care of the nursing baby, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, educating, and keeping toddlers from destroying everything and themselves, while Gary went out and prayed and then went into his office and did whatever he did in there. He didn’t help any more than when he had a job, and I was getting very resentful.
I finally made a list of everything that needed to be done each day. I checked the things that I would do and asked him to check the things that he would do. He checked a bunch of things, but he didn’t really follow through on many of them. I don’t think he knew how to do them.
About that time we met a man from Nigeria who started mentoring Gary. He taught Gary that he needed to make sure his wife’s needs were met before anybody else’s. Every time he called, the first thing he asked was, “How is your wife?” Gary would look over at me and ask me how I was. At first I found it kind of annoying because I always assumed I was fine. After a while, I caught on and realized that I was feeling pressured and tired because too much was on my shoulders, and I started really telling him how I was. Then he started understanding how I really felt and what I really needed and how he could help and things really changed after that. He started spending more time in the house with us, interacting with us and helping with things that needed to be done. He took over the grocery shopping, and he started cooking. I found out he was a very good cook! He had always told me he was, and I finally got to see it and taste it.
Gary started enforcing the rules of the house and making the kids do the chores that I had been trying to get them to do but just couldn’t make happen because I wasn’t really sure I should be asking such a thing from them.
He got more involved with the family and learned how to be an integral part of our family.
We still had trials and problems, but we had learned to pray together as a couple and as a whole family. We prayed together every day.
God provided food every day. Sometimes He used people to bring us groceries or give us money. Sometimes He used food banks at churches. But we never went hungry the whole time. Our bills got paid, too. God gave a friend of a friend a dream about us, and she brought us a check for $1000 and leftover food from their company Christmas party. A group of our friends put their money together and gave us enough money that we could get something for the kids for Christmas that year. We got several anonymous money orders in the mail inside cards that were signed “From Jesus”. Gary had money slipped into his hand during handshakes many times at the small worship group we attended. We never told anybody our needs.
God paid our mortgage many times through friends. We paid a double payment on our mortgage during our first year of living by faith and the next month we paid a payment and a half. I thought, “Wow, this living by faith is great!” But I started to get kind of dependent on the mailbox instead of God for our provision. I started feeling kind of neglected because our needs were barely being met, and none of our wants were being met.
We had to do without a lot. We never went to stores. Gary did all the grocery shopping, and he only got the bare essentials.
Then the supernatural provision for the mortgage stopped coming in. We had been watching Kenneth Copeland – Gary did more than I did really, but I couldn’t really get the faith message into my spirit. I kept trying to earn what the Lord wanted me to use faith for. I couldn’t use my faith to receive because I didn’t really believe that was right or that it would really work.
The day came when we knew that the bank had us in foreclosure. We prayed that God would keep us in our house. We had marched around our property praying and giving it to God. We tried to sell the house since we couldn’t keep up mortgage payments, but it wouldn’t sell. We didn’t know what God was doing! We didn’t try to make plans for a place to go because we thought that would show a lack of faith.
We just prayed that God would do something miraculous when they came to make us leave our house. Well, He did, but it wasn’t what we were expecting – at all.
On Feb. 22, 2005 we all gathered in the living room to pray. The little ones were still in bed asleep. The twins were only 1 year old. Morgan was 4. The knock came at the door. Gary answered the door and let the sheriff in. Two other men followed him in. They looked around the room in amazement at all of us calmly sitting in the living room – Shawn, Katie, Patrick, Anna and Kelsey and me. They asked what we were doing, and Gary told them we were praying. They kind of looked at each other and shook their heads. Gary said he would go wake the other children. One of the men followed him to the kids’ bedroom. The sheriff asked me if we had somewhere to go and I told him no. He asked if we had family in the area, and I said we did, but we couldn’t go to live with them. He seemed perplexed. So was I. Where was God? Where was that miracle we were looking for?
They guy who followed Gary into the bedroom came out and conversed with the sheriff. They went outside to talk. Then they came back in and called me and Gary to talk with them privately in our bedroom. The guy’s name was Tony. He was from MERS. They were the mortgage people. He told us that he had made some phone calls and told them what he found. They agreed to let us stay in the house one more week if we promised to pack up and be ready to leave the house in that time. We agreed. Then he asked the sheriff to leave so he could speak to us privately. He asked us if we had any food. We had just run out of food that morning. For the first time during the whole 4 years, we didn’t have cereal or milk or the makings for a meal. I told him that. He nodded and said, “I thought so.” He and the other guy (who we found out was a realtor that was going to handle selling the house for the mortgage company) put money together and gave us $500! And then Tony told us to give him a grocery list and he would go buy us groceries. And then he took an order from us and went to McDonald’s and doubled everything we ordered and brought it to us. He went to the grocery store and got us twice the stuff we had put on the grocery list, too. He said that in the future it could be him in this situation and he was showing mercy in hopes that he would be shown mercy if it ever happened to him. We were so grateful and shocked at everything he was doing. We sang some songs for him. He couldn’t believe us. He took Gary aside and remarked about how calm we all were and how well-mannered all of the children were. He asked how we did it. Gary told him we were just believing God to take care of us, and we prayed all the time, and we were trying to obey Him. Tony was blown away by the whole thing.
We spent that week packing halfheartedly. I still didn’t believe that God would let us lose our house. I thought He was going to rush in with some kind of miracle that would let us keep our house. I took some special things that I didn’t want to lose over to Mom’s house, but I didn’t tell her why. I didn’t want to upset her, and I didn’t want anybody to hurt my faith.
The next Saturday was Mar. 1, 2005. They came with movers and moving trucks and started loading up our stuff. There was still a lot to pack, so they had to do it for us. Tony told me I had to leave and take the kids, but Gary could stay and help pack. I got the kids loaded in the van, then sat there. I had no place to go. That’s when it hit me that we were really going to have to find somewhere else to live and that our house was no longer ours. But I still didn’t know where to go, so I just sat there. Finally, my friend Gina who had been helping me pack told me to come to her house. I followed her then went into her tiny house and sat, not knowing what to do. She called a few friends and asked if they knew of any place for rent, but nobody did. She made a decision and told me that we could stay at her house. I couldn’t believe it or see that it was possible. She said that she would pay for a hotel for us for 2 nights and she and her daughter would clear out 2 bedrooms for us and we could just stay there until we found something else.
Meanwhile, back at the house that was no longer ours, Tony was doing some more amazing things to help us. He told Gary to find a local storage facility to take our stuff to so that we could actually get to it instead of the movers taking it to some warehouse where we could never get to it and would never see it again. Gary found out where a storage place was, and Tony had the movers put our stuff in two storage units there. Then Tony paid the first month’s storage!
He talked to Gary about programs that would help us find a place to live and help him find a job, but we didn’t feel that we were supposed to go that route, so we politely turned down any of those offers.
I know now that I should have been standing on the Word and saying it and believing it instead of just hoping that it was true, but really doubting in my heart. I should have saturated myself in faith teaching and saying the Word over and over again, but I wasn’t convinced in my heart.
God had to take us through a lot to build true faith in my heart. In the process, He built up my kids’ faith so that they trust God for everything. My prayers for my children that they would believe in Him, know Him and love Him with all their hearts have been answered. It was a difficult journey, but the results have been very good.
Gary and I are still recovering from the shock. But there’s no denying that God took good care of us through the whole ordeal. We never went hungry, and we always had a roof over our heads. Even in Arizona, Colorado and Missouri, where we didn’t know a soul and we didn’t have any money.
I tell this story in the hopes that someone who is facing foreclosure or something similar will be encouraged to trust God and know that no matter what happens, God will take care of you. He takes us where we are and makes all things work together for our good even if we’re not to the point where we can use our faith like the Copelands do.
Our story isn’t over. I believe with all of my heart that God has great things in store for us. I believe He will give us a house and land debt-free. I’m saying these things out loud now. I really believe them now. Our situation now is so much better than it was in Ohio in so many ways. And the best is yet to come! For those who believe!
If you followed my caterpillar-to-butterfly saga back in August and September, you might find this interesting. I was looking for the meaning of all that happened. I knew that God was speaking to me. But I wasn’t sure what He was saying to me exactly. These posts told more of the story here and here.
I think this paragraph gives some more insight into what he was saying to me through the process of my finding a surprise caterpillar and watching it transform.
WORD TO PONDER: CHANGING YOU
Just like the birthing of a butterfly, I AM changing you. I AM bringing you into alignment with My mind, the mind of Christ. Your mind, will and attitude will be transformed into the beauty of one who is meek, gentle and humble. I shall thoroughly prepare you to be among the living blossoms of glory and spread nectar to the world around you. You shall emerge with the full wings of faith and be a source of vivid, yet delicate beauty, displaying My glory and love.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:1-2 NKJV)
I pray that He will change me into His image and prepare me to spread nectar to the world around me and fly with the full wings of faith, displaying His glory and love.
I found the above paragraph in an ebook I bought from The Elijah List today for only $4.99. It’s called Beautiful Butterfly – God’s Mystery by Sandy Warner. As soon as I saw the title, I knew God had a message in it for me. I didn’t get far before I found that amazing paragraph that I just quoted.
I have felt spiritually dry but restless and seeking and wanting more. I believe that God keeps giving me encouragements like these to let me know that I AM changing and things are happening whether I see them or not.
Praise Him for His abundant mercy and steadfast love.
Let me know how God is speaking to you even in the dry times when you feel like you’re not really connecting with Him.