by Destinee | Jul 2, 2021 | Destinee's Devotionals
I ran into the bathroom in a last-ditch effort to gain empathy from my then husband by harming myself in front of him. Maybe then he’d feel guilty for what he was doing, maybe then he would care about me, maybe then he would see my pain, maybe then he wouldn’t stay with her for yet another night.
It didn’t work… it only made him want to leave more. Where did I learn this kind of “love”, the kind that says, “I’ll die without you”. If God has taught me anything, it’s that the only thing we need THAT desperately is a relationship with Him.
The destruction of my first marriage has taught me a lot about freedom that I didn’t know before. I was a major hopeless romantic in the past. I loved all the Disney movies, love songs, and Romance movies like The Notebook. But it all gave me a false expectation of what love was supposed to be.
We romanticize the thought of “loving” someone so much that we can’t live without them and they can’t live without us. We idolize romantic relationships and disappointment is inevitable when we put god expectations on another human being.
God draws us in with his lovingkindness, but never coerces, manipulates, or guilt-trips us into staying in a relationship with Him. He gives us the freedom to leave, even though it breaks his heart.
Loving another person can be a terrifying thing. To truly love someone we have to let down our walls and leave our hearts vulnerable to pain and rejection. This vulnerability can lead to grabbing the reigns and trying to control our relationships in order to avoid negative feelings. Especially if we’ve been deeply hurt already.
I think we all do it if we aren’t intentional about leaving the care and control of our partner to God. It can be as simple as putting the weight of guilt on another person’s shoulders by telling them how devastated you would be if they ever left, how much you need them to survive, or even insinuating that they aren’t following God’s plan if they left because He told you they were your future spouse (cough, cough, Christians…).
This control and absence of real love is most prevalent in abusive relationships. People in abusive relationships are viewed as objects that are owned by the other person. We don’t love objects, we USE them. This is why abusive relationships are most dangerous when the survivor leaves. Loss of control will induce a rage in abusive people that can lead to more extreme abuse and sadly, homicide. Even if the abuse was originally emotional and verbal. Please carefully plan out, pray, and involve a support system when leaving these relationships.
The truest picture of love is God because He is love.
Jesus gave us the greatest example of real love when he was here on earth. He gave up all control and completely opened His heart to pain and rejection. “Real love isn’t afraid to bleed.”
We cannot fully surrender control of our significant other, or anyone for that matter, without having God as our solid foundation and fulfiller of our hearts. When we put God first, and go to Him first for our emotional and spiritual needs, we have an abundance of love to pour into another person. God has been teaching me this through my last year of singleness.
I was deeply wounded in my past relationship; knowing that kind of pain makes it easy to try and take control in subsequent relationships. We won’t perfectly execute real love all the time because we are frail human beings who live in an imperfect world. We will need to readjust and realign to God, we will need to seek forgiveness and start again, but I have found a few things that make this type of love possible.
1. Keep God First.
When my world fell apart and I felt it wasn’t worth living anymore because I lost an important human relationship, that was the first sign that I had let marriage take the place of God. Good things can become bad when we have them in the wrong position.
When we elevate a person to God’s position, we then need them to fulfill us the way God does, and that will NEVER. HAPPEN. We will inevitably be let down with those false expectations. When a person is our #1 everything, we will most likely take control to avoid ever losing our finite god. Some people are only in our lives for a season and that’s okay; grieve the loss, but don’t believe the lie that your life isn’t worth living without them. God is enough.
2. Become Healthy; Seek Healthy.
Past wounds make us want to take control, throw up the walls, and do what we can to control the person we’re with when we think a situation could lead to more hurt. It’s so important that we heal from these wounds and allow God to remove the fear of vulnerability with His perfect love. If we want to find healthy, we have to be healthy ourselves! Unhealthy relationships are ripe with control, manipulation, idolization, and emotional immaturity.
Singleness doesn’t have to feel like punishment… it can be a time of fully immersing ourselves in God’s love, working on our own junk and being the healthy, spiritually and emotionally mature person that we want to attract. I speak from experience, because I have felt both the exciting and positive parts of singleness along with the feelings of loneliness and longing for a new relationship.
3. Surrender to God daily.
Surrendering control takes the confidence of knowing that we have a big God who is always in control and we can trust Him with our lives. Recognizing when we’re trying to take control of a situation, which always stems from some sort of fear (they might cheat, they might leave, they might x,y,z..) helps us to intentionally give it to God and give the person in our life freedom.
We can trust God with our lives. We can trust God with our pain. We can trust God with who remains in our lives and who decides to leave. He loves us and can be trusted with these things. His love is enough to fulfill us. Knowing this love makes it easier to trust Him when we’re tempted with the fear and insecurity that leads to taking control of things and people in our lives.
by Destinee | Apr 27, 2021 | BLOG, Destinee's Devotionals
Hi, I’m Destinee and I have a major struggle with social anxiety. I’ve battled it my entire life… As I’ve gotten older and pushed myself to do what God has called me to do it has gotten better.
But it is still there; The breathlessness I feel when having to talk to someone I don’t know, the avoidance of making phone calls to make appts, the racing heart, the shaky hands, the chains that choke out the true me inside.
There was recently an event at my church called Carry the Love and we were invited to come down for prayer if we felt we weren’t giving God 100% of ourselves (basically). I knew I needed prayer for the social anxiety that kept me from being all God called me to be. I want to be that, I want to move mountains, but these chains choke it out of me.
As much as I’d like for this to be one of those things God removes completely with a snap of a finger, I see that it’s a thing he’ll allow me to work through and stick close to him to overcome.
Though I didn’t feel it, even had anxiety talking with the woman who prayed with me, I claimed healing in faith.
About a month later I was talking to one of my buddies from the worship team at church. I mentioned how I was socially awkward, as I often do. Normally I get, “don’t speak that over yourself, don’t claim that.” And well, I can stop saying it but I still deeply feel my awkwardness.
This wasn’t the response he gave me… he said, “Good! The people who did the most in the Bible were awkward!” My mind was blown…. no one has ever encouraged me to embrace the awkwardness as a positive thing.
He even gave a challenge for everyone on his social media to go out and be awkward with someone. When I heard that I was thinking, “yeeaaaahhh, no. I’m not looking for that. No thank you.” I feel anxious just thinking about looking for someone to talk to.
Well, God is funny…. a couple days later I was sitting at Flying Star trying to get some work done while the kids were at school. These two ladies sat down near me and I could hear parts of their conversation. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help but hear the struggle this woman went through, because I had gone through the same thing!
Then God urges me, “Tell her you’ve been through the same thing and show her your website (this one). ” Suddenly the anxiety struck, my heart started beating out of my chest, I couldn’t breathe, and I wanted to throw up. “Noooo, I can’t do that God, I’m so scared!”
I felt completely paralyzed. Luckily, it happened to be the time my friend, the culprit of this challenge to be awkward, was on lunch so I angrily messaged him, and I quote, “You and your darn challenge for me to be awkward! God heard you!! Arrrrgggghhhhhh!!!! “
After he laughed at me, he encouraged me, “just make it real awkward for one moment. You can do it!” After a ton of back and forth and many many excuses of why I couldn’t do it, I said a little prayer, “God give me grace, give me provision.” And I committed to not leaving the café until I said something to this woman.
Leading up to this moment it felt like I was standing in the doorway of an airplane, getting ready to jump from 10,000 feet. Once you hit that freefall it’s a rush of exciting adrenaline and the fear just dissipates.
Both women at the table were very kind and accepted my interruption to their conversation with grace. The other woman even exclaimed, “Isn’t that lovely!? An angel in street clothes!”
God gave me a short word to tell the woman who had gone through what I went through… It kept replaying through my mind as I battled the anxiety to approach her.
“God loves you and He is not disappointed in you.”
I’m not sure what all that meant to her, but I do know that it had to be something deep in her heart that she may have been wrestling with… That’s how the Holy Spirit works.
What if I let the fear win? What if I didn’t get to be a part of speaking God’s healing to this person’s heart? I want to be used to bring heaven down into the hearts of people, otherwise, what are we even here for? We must embrace the awkwardness of being that person who speaks life even when we know nothing about the person or what the word even means to them.
The things we fear never end up being as scary as we make them out to be. And I know as I continue to step out of my comfort zone, face these anxieties, and do what God has called me to (love people!) I will grow in confidence, it will become easier.
So take the dive, trust your parachute (Jesus), and watch the fear float away as you step into those awkward moments; They end up being the most beautiful moments.
by Destinee | Mar 9, 2021 | Destinee's Devotionals
Today is my birthday. About 4 years ago I began a tradition of not waiting on someone else to celebrate me, instead, I would plan to celebrate myself. And I had some really great celebrations with friends; from Starbucks trips, concerts, and fancy lunches to paint night, sushi, and late-night ice cream.
Then, one year, I just didn’t feel like doing anything. I think I was burnt out from ministry and over-extending myself. So, instead, I mostly took the time to rest. This year is weird too. Though I had been separated for about 4 years, this is the first year that I am divorced… officially single.
I am in a season of drought and burning fire. God spoke to me, He told me it was for my good, that this needed to happen and it would be painful and lonely… that doesn’t make it any easier.
So, instead of my usual, “Woo hoo! It’s my Birthday!” mood, I’ve just felt like crying all morning. I’m sitting in a coffee shop now holding back the tears. Ugh, crying in public is the worst.
Why write this blog? Well, maybe it’s because I am a known over-sharer… or maybe I just want to encourage someone who may be going through a similar season.
God has been teaching me how to love myself and how to allow myself to be truly loved by him. I’ve spent a good amount of my life codependently looking for worth and love in people. This way of living included never rocking the boat or speaking up for myself because I feared being rejected by people. I had rejection PTSD.
In my pursuit of love, I failed to love myself. And God tells me that I can’t even fully love another selflessly until I’m able to love myself and allow Him to love me. Why? Because without seeing myself as worthy and treating myself with love and respect which goes hand in hand with allowing God to fully love me, I will be looking for fulfilment in people. This means that I am not selflessly loving, I’m loving with the intent of getting myself filled up.
When I see myself as lovable and worthy and treat myself as such, I’m able to be filled up with God’s love. It’s not something I must strive for or earn. It just is. Once I can fully grasp this amazing, grandiose, heavenly love, I can extend that love to others from my abundance. Love that comes from a deficiency isn’t a godly agape love.
Agape love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.
The past few years have been a consistent lesson on loving myself, caring for myself, and allowing God to fully love me, but this new year has felt like boot camp in these areas. Sometimes God needs to break our hearts to get rid of the habits, lies, and things that never belonged there. He is refining with fire, purifying with pressure, and pruning every branch that doesn’t belong.
And that is exactly how my heart has been feeling: broken. Not broken for a person or a relationship, but broken from letting go of the codependency, people pleasing, and acceptance chasing that my life once was. Those things were comfortable, they were a source of feeling loved and worthy, but they were the wrong source. They were broken wells that couldn’t hold water. So, I’m transitioning from that life into learning how to be completely fulfilled by God, letting him be my ultimate source of love and being content in Him alone.
The space in-between those places is barren and lonely. It’s painful and it tests where my loyalty really lies. Under pressure will I run back to the comfort of fleeting, dysfunctional, toxic relationships, or will I run towards God, hang onto His hand and ride this out with Him? I choose the latter. I choose the creator of my heart, the one who has loved me beyond anyone else in this world, the one who has the words of LIFE. Where else could I go? That’s a rhetorical question of course… 😉
In love and understanding,
by Destinee | Jan 27, 2021 | Destinee's Devotionals
The Church needs to stop treating divorce like the unforgivable sin.
I want to be very careful in writing this blog because this is a very touchy subject.
I think it’s important to discuss the guilt that many abused women feel when facing divorce in order to get away from the rampant unrepentant sin that is causing them physical, mental, and emotional pain.
This blog is not justifying divorce, of course, divorce is an ugly thing for all involved. This isn’t about giving every unhappy person a pass to go file for divorce instead of working through their issues. Marriage is hard! Soldier up!
This is about a special group of women. Those who are not perfect but have poured out their lives to their husband who takes and takes and takes.
This husband is verbally abusive; he talks down to her about her weight, calls her names, says hurtful things and then claims he’s joking, he tells her that no one else would ever want her.
This husband is emotionally abusive; he never validates any of her feelings and tells her that she’s overreacting, he makes her feel crazy, when she wants to discuss something important he tells her that she’s just trying to argue, he cheats on her and lies over and over again, he is controlling and manipulative.
It’s hard for people on the outside to see this abuse because these types of men are usually very charming.
This husband is physically abusive; this is the easiest abuse to spot. He leaves “mysterious” bruises on her arms, face, and elsewhere, he uses intimidation to control her, he keeps her in fear so that she’ll never tell on him or leave, he isolates her from her friends and family, he showers her with love after hitting her to keep her confused.
These are not marriages that we should pressure women to stay in. The Church has made the mistake of putting the restoration of the husband onto the abused wife’s shoulders!
“If you love him like Jesus he’ll change”, “you just need to submit to him”, “you need to pray harder.”
Hearing these types of comments makes me physically ill. No wonder we live in a society where our men aren’t living up to the true authority and masculinity that God gave them!
I personally know a woman who asked her brothers in Christ to come alongside her to confront the obvious sin of her husband and they wouldn’t do it. They were more worried about offending the husband and pushing him away… which is not Biblical AT ALL. (Matthew 18: 15- 17)
Church, our women are fighting these battles alone!
Let me tell you, the type of mental strength it takes to leave an abusive relationship is immense! If a woman in your ministry had the strength to bring the abuse in her marriage up to you do not discourage her with a guilt trip on the sin of divorce!
Do not make these women out to be the “sinner” in the situation. God never called them to be martyrs for their marriage. The true injustice is the way their husbands are treating them.
Now, I want to speak directly to this special group of women. Somewhere along the road, something inside of you was broken. It could have been an absent father, abusive father or some other type of hurt from someone.
The point is this, they made you feel like you were worthless. They made you fear rejection. So you people please and pour yourself out until you have nothing left. You allow yourself to be used and abused hoping that your love will change them.
This isn’t how God designed marriage to be. This isn’t what God created you for.
Do not raise your children to believe that this is okay, just to perpetuate the cycle in their adult life.
Separate from the abuse.
Be wise in how you go about this, some men can become very dangerous when they lose control of their victim. Enlist supportive people who will give you godly counsel and protection.
Stay on your face in prayer, you will need all of the wisdom and power God can give you.
DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.
God loves you! He hurts seeing his beautiful daughter being treated this way. He won’t even listen to your husband’s prayers because of the way he treats you! (1 Peter 3:7)
You can not change that man, only God can. So give God full control of your marriage. While you’re separated work on healing your soul, growing into a deeper relationship with God and becoming whole on your own.
Never jump into a new relationship without godly counsel, healing, and seeking God first.
Many women sadly skip the self-reflection and healing and immediately jump into another relationship with a man who ends up being abusive in a different way or much worse than the original husband.
Heal what’s broken inside of you first.
Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. You don’t have to jump straight into a divorce either, you’re aloud to separate from the abuse to get a clear mind and seek the next steps God wants you to take.
I can’t say it any better than Gary Thomas, “If the cost of saving a marriage is destroying a woman, the cost is too high. God loves people more than he loves institutions.”
Please share this for one of these special women out there. ❤️
by Destinee | Jan 30, 2020 | Destinee's Devotionals
I’ve always heard that being your child’s friend is a bad thing. I agreed with this sentiment for a really long time, until God started showing me what a REAL friend is.
Yes, I agree that you shouldn’t be the world’s definition of a friend; someone who will enable you to do self-destructive things, sugar coat, and tell you what you want to hear for the sake of the friendship.
This is the reason there is a negative connotation with being your child’s friend. Parents who take on this role of “friend” enable their children to remain in the negative life choices they’re making, often being influenced by the parent.
This is the “cool” parent because they buy their kid alcohol or smoke weed with them and sometimes worse.
As you can see, this is no friend. A real friend doesn’t drag you down with them into their addiction or other behaviors that could negatively affect your life. A real GODLY friend will lovingly call you out when you’re going the wrong direction. They will inflict necessary wounds for YOUR good.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
God is our example as a parent. He has so many different aspects to Him through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that we can learn from.
God is so many different things to us. He is our father, he is our FRIEND, he is our healer, he is love. (I could go on, but for the sake of time…)
He laid down his life for us, his friends, showing us the greatest love, he taught us the mysteries of the Bible, He has loved us through everything, yet never enabled us. He ENCOURAGES us to rise up and do better.
God is BOTH our loving father AND our friend.
This tells me that I can be that too. I can enjoy spending time with my kids, being silly with them, playing games, laughing, and being able to LIKE each other.
It’s one thing to know you love your kids (and they love you) but to actually LIKE each other too? This is a blessing.
I’ve made it a habit to constantly tell all four of my kids that they are my best friends, and maybe, just maybe they will learn what a true friend is through me.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts below!
by Destinee | Jul 17, 2019 | Destinee's Devotionals
– An open letter to God –
Who do you say I am? Because I don’t feel like I can be what you’re calling me to be.
Who do you say I am? Because I feel so insecure in who I perceive myself to be.
Who do you say I am? Because I don’t think I’m capable of being who you want me to be.
Who do you say I am? Because I need some reassurance that I can continue this walk with you.
Who do you say I am? Because I need some inspiration to get outside of my head.
Who do you say I am? Because I need some truth to battle the lies that have held me down for so long.
Who do you say I am? Because I need some of you to erase what I am… or was… or what I no longer want to be.
Who do you say I am? Because I feel like I’m not worthy of anything good!
Who do you say I am? Because these voices of past people keep telling me that I can’t, I’m not, I will never… be something better.
Who do you say I am? Because your voice is the only one that matters to me.
Dear Beloved Daughter,
You are more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
You are more than the heaviness that your feelings, thoughts, and insecurities hold.
You are more than the lies that replay inside of your head.
You are worth my discomfort, pain, suffering, and death.
You are greatly loved and cherished.
You are worthy of great things, no matter what your past resembles.
You are purposed to do good deeds in this world.
Through me, you are POWERFUL, STRONG, and QUALIFIED!
It is me that pumps inside of your heart and through your veins.
It is me who gives you the words you need to say.
It is me who puts you on a solid foundation where I will NOT LET YOU FALL.
It is me who walks beside you through every difficult journey.
It is me who makes you good enough, worthy enough, capable enough to be who I am calling you to be.
YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER.
You are an heir to the throne.
You are ROYAL, HOLY, PRECIOUS, MY CHOSEN descendant!
Who do I say you are, you ask?
You are worth it.
Abba Father ♥