Do You See Bars, or Stars?

Two inmates looked out of the window of their prison cell.

One saw bars and the other saw stars!

My dear friend, blog follower or visitor,

As you negotiate your life’s journey, what do you see ahead – prison bars, or celestial stars?

Do you feel imprisoned by your past history or current circumstances? Do you wonder whether you will ever be free of that emotional cycle of depression, or rejection, or low self-esteem? Or do you feel you will never be one of those fortunate people who makes that quantum leap out of life’s debilitating set-backs?

May I tell you something?

And when I do, will you believe me… will you accept the life-saving branch of hope that I’m holding out to you?

There is Hope for Tomorrow

My dear friend, this is my heart-felt message of encouragement and hope. You can break free of your past and experience joyous freedom and liberty.

Yes. You. Can!

You can see the beauty of life, rather than the devouring beast of wretchedness.

You can see beyond the bars of perplexity and reach for the stars of possibility.

You can put victimhood behind you and walk on in life, as a victorious overcomer.

Yes. You. Can!

Why am I so sure?

Because it has happened for me. It has happened for others.

Grab Hold of God’s Goodness

God is no respecter of persons. That means, the same opportunities for breakthrough, deliverance and freedom promised in his Word, are available to you, as well as to me. Isn’t that good great news?

Dear reader, I have even more great news for you. Jesus has already done the ground work for you. And God is committed to helping you. You are not doing life on your own.

Listen to what your Heavenly Father has done for you, as relayed to us in The Passion Translation:

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. […] You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past.

(Psalm 139:3-5)

Learn from inspirational stories

A few years ago, I watched a YouTube video that deeply affected me… in fact, it totally inspired me.

It was about a man who’d been imprisoned for 30 years (28 of which were spent on death row), for a crime he did not commit!

When I looked into the face of this man and heard him speak (he was being interviewed by Oprah), there was not a trace of anger, bitterness, hatred, resentment, or self-pity. Not a single trace!

If there was, then he hid it well. I’m not saying there never has been, at least in the beginning. In fact, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t. However, by the time he walked free from prison, this man had not only made lemonade from the sour lemons life had served him, but he also sought to serve others around him with the sweet beverage of encouragement.

What this man had endured at the hands of America’s justice system, put all that I have “suffered” into perspective. I may not have been unduly incarcerated in a literal prison, but I had certainly allowed myself to become imprisoned within the confines of victimhood.

Now, when I think of how I allowed a few people to make me deeply unhappy for years… how I allowed them to make me a victim… make me feel like I was a nobody, and when I consider how I allowed that cycle of negativity to affect me for years and years, I feel ashamed.

The truth of the matter is, people may have provided the materials, but I was the one who took those materials (the malice, rejection, scorn and ridicule), and shaped myself into that victim.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
http://www.womenofwarfare.wordpress.com

Christ’s Cross or Satan’s Constraints – which will you choose?

In comparison to this man, what I’ve been through is nothing. And I’m so grateful to God that I did not have to carry that particular cross.

Every follower of Christ has to carry their own cross of suffering, pain and shame, and God knows exactly what type of cross we can carry, and how much we can bear. He knows just what it is we need to hone our character, strengthen us emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

I do not believe I could carry the cross of a Joseph, who was also unjustly accused and imprisoned (see Genesis 39:1-20). And I hope I am never put to the test of those individuals who find themselves incarcerated, or placed on Death Row, for a crime they did not commit.

I salute this man – Anthony Ray Hinton.  I salute his mother, who single-handedly looked after him and 9 other kids, after his father developed mental health problems when Anthony was only 4 years old. I salute Anthony’s friend, who went to visit him every single week over those 30 years! What an amazing friendship! What an incredible show of loyalty and commitment!  And, I also salute the lawyer, who battled for 16 years to set Anthony free.

I am challenged in terms of my Christian conduct when I consider this man’s story. I am challenged in terms of my thought life and self-mastery. I am challenged that this man endured what he did for 30 years, yet managed to walk out of prison resentment-free, write about his experience and have his story published. In my book, this man is an exemplary Christian, an amazing and most wonderful figure of inspiration.

If Anthony Hinton can walk free from captivity without the stench of bitterness hanging around him, if he can walk out of prison after 30 years, without the stamp of anger and hatred imprinted upon his face, or the seal of victimhood branded upon his soul, then regardless of what we face, or have suffered, you and I can also walk forward into our future as victorious overcomers. If Hinton can take his terrible ordeal and use it to encourage, motivate or fight for others, then so can you and I.

Aim for the Stars!

So my challenge to you this week dear reader is this – when you consider the difficulties of your past or present circumstances, when you view them through the murky windows of remembrance, do you see bars, or do you see stars?

Wishing you a stress-free and victorious week.

With love,

Carol E. Hind – Author, Blogger & Prayer Advocate

The effectual, fervent prayer avails much!

Related Reading/Resources:

Listen to this moving video (11mins) about Anthony Hinton’s experience.

Blog post: Underdog or Overcomer

May I also recommend a book by a dear blogger friend of mine (Shell Vera) who travelled the paths of victimhood and emerged a victor? I have also written a review on this book, which you might like to read. If so, please click here.

 You may pick up a copy from Amazon.

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Dear reader, your visit is appreciated. Would you be so kind as to share your response to this post in a comment box below? And if you know anyone who could benefit from its message, please don’t hesitate to share it. Thank you.

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