Overcomers by Mina R Raulston

Revelation 12:11 (KJV) says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…”

OVERCOMING TO HELP OTHERS

Every one of us has experienced something in their life that we have had to overcome. No one is immune. I’ve had people tell me sometimes when I try to encourage them that they are not as strong I me. I quickly tell them that I do what I do, or overcome what I’ve overcome by my own strength. I have overcome through Christ, literally by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. I remember times when my strength was gone. I remember when I was hanging on my fingernails, crying out to God to save me. And, God in his grace and mercy heard and answered my prayer.

A few years ago I published my first book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims. That was my first book length attempt to use my experience with domestic violence to help other people to understand the who, what, when, where, and why of domestic violence. I told my testimony of healing in the last chapter of the book. I struggled for many years about whether or not I should say more, but I held back because there were people I knew well who told me I needed to stop talking about it and “get over it and get on with it.”

But, God wouldn’t let me get away with what was comfortable to me or other people. You see, when God healed me I asked him to show me what he did in me so I could help others. Soon after that God gave me three visions in answer to my prayer. Now, when I read my Bible, whenever God gave someone a vision, it wasn’t a gift. It was an assignment. And, God has let me know that my first book didn’t completely fulfill my assignment. God continued to bring my story to mind, along with the scripture from Revelation 12:11 to let me know that even though some may not want to hear my story, many need my story of healing and wholeness to show them that they too can be healed, delivered, and restored.

BROKENNESS

Some victims of domestic violence were broken by the abuse, while others were already broken before the abuse. Regardless, even after they escape they don’t know what wholeness looks like. They either forgot or didn’t know what it looked like before the abuse. They need to read my story to know that God does care about them. They need to that healing and wholeness is possible, and they need guidance in how to get from their present brokenness to complete wholeness that is only available through Christ.

So, after three mis-starts, I have completed my first draft of my book and it is with my four Beta readers so I can obtain some feedback on what might need changed, tightened, relaxed, or left out. So far I have heard back from two of them. I appreciate their opinions.

PICKING A GREAT TITLE

One thing I’m working on is the title. My working title up to this point is, “Roadmap to Healing.” Although I do lead readers through my journey to healing, I’m not convinced the Roadmap is the best way to describe it. Although it has been a journey that word doesn’t feel right either. I think journey has been overworked and overused in recent years. I’m considering several possible titles.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE TITLE

  • Roadmap to Healing
  • Finding Your Path to Healing
  • Pathway to Wholeness

 

I look forward to your responses.

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The Masterpiece – Book Review

My daughter gave this book to me as a Mother’s Day present. She does know her mother well. Over the years I have read many of Francine Rivers books both fiction and non-fiction. Her newest book, The Masterpiece, is one of the most riveting books I have ever read. Two people who seem so different on the surface, yet have much more in common than they ever thought possible, come together in this book to discover what God has in store for their lives. Each has their own dark past. One hopes for a better future, while the other has given up believing that hope is possible despite a hunger that can’t be denied.

Roman Velasco, a well-known artist, formerly a teen gang tagger, has a near-death experience while on a road trip with his personal assistant Grace Moore. Although he’s only in his mid-30’s he has a sudden heart attack on a restaurant sidewalk. While others work to bring him back to life, he experiences the terrifying grasp of demons pulling him down to the depths of hell. After just discussing Jesus Christ with Grace, Roman screams for him to save him. The next thing he experiences is seeing a bright light and feeling Jesus take his wrist and pull him to safety while telling the demons to release him.

That scene alone overwhelmed me because many years ago, after escaping an abusive marriage and finally finding healing in Jesus Christ, I asked God to show me what he did in me so that I could help someone else. God gave me three visions. One of those visions was a similar, though not exact, scene that Rivers describes with Roman. Even now, more than twenty years later, I can still hear the demons taunting me. I can still feel the heat from their grasping fingers trying to pull me off that sharp cliff. I can still remember trying to hang on by my fingernails feeling that I was lost. I can also remember Jesus Christ coming to my rescue and demanding that the demons release me because I was his child.

If you have ever doubted that God is real. If you have ever wondered if Jesus will really save you. Whether you are new to the faith or have never had the gospel shared with you, you have to read this book. Rivers writes stories that are realistic, putting her readers in the midst of the story. I promise that once you start this book you won’t be able to put it down until you reach the end. Even though it’s more than 400 pages, I finished it in two nights of reading. Get your copy as soon as possible.

Book Review – Together Forever (Jody Hedlund) by Mina R Raulston

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because it is an interesting way to learn about history. Much more interesting than simply reading a history book. Stories about the orphan trains of the mid-1800’s give us a view of the challenges of people to survive during a time of great economic struggle. The first book in this series, With You Always, told about something new to me, that of single women going out on the same trains as orphans, but to obtain employment since there were no jobs left in New York City at that time. This second book tells about the actual orphan trains and the agents charged with placing out children who either had no families or whose families gave them up for one reason or another.

Hedlund uses the tale of the orphan trains to tell the story of two agents, Marianne Neumann, sister to Elise Neumann from Book 1, and Andrew Brady, a teacher, and pastor. Marianne is searching for her youngest sister Sophie while Andrew is escaping a painful past. As the two of them travel west on the train, attempting to find suitable homes for the children in their charge, they learn about each other and about God’s provision in their lives. Hedland tells a wonderful story about history and about God’s unconditional love for his children. I have already put Book 3 in this series, which tells the story of Sophie, on my wishlist for its release later this year.

I want to thank Bethany House for the opportunity to be one of their early readers and obtain books from them in return for posting honest book reviews. For an avid reader, this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

Book Review – Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for your Anxious Heart by Mina R Raulston

I am so grateful to Revell Books for the ability to participate in their Blogger Book Review program. They provide me with a list of books to choose from and I write an honest review of those books. Most of the time I can give a positive review. Unfortunately, I cannot do that with this book.

The author, Maria Furlough, speaks about fear from her personal experiences. She has evidently lived a life overwhelmed with the spirit of fear, a fear that grew from simple worry to outright panic. It was also compounded by the diagnosis of her unborn child with a syndrome that would cause his death within minutes or hours after his birth. I can’t imagine the pain she endured during her pregnancy and delivery, followed by his death.

But, I do know that her method of fighting fear is not workable for me. She searches countless scriptures about fear, which is fine by itself. But her battle tactic is to read the scriptures to herself and journal her fears in detail. I was taught to fight the devil and his minions with the Word of God directly. When Jesus was in the wilderness and Satan taunted him and tempted him Jesus set the example for how to fight the devil off. He spoke the Word of God back to him. An example is in Matthew 4.

In II Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Then, in James 4:7 it says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I grew up with a mother who was the embodiment of the spirit of fear. If I had given voice to my fears through journaling and speaking about them I would have been overtaken by them. But by learning to rebuke the devil and the spirit of fear I have been able to overcome that fear. Does it still attempt to attack me? Yes, on occasion. But, then the Holy Spirit reminds me of the full Armor of God and how to fight the devil with the Sword of the Spirit.

If this battle tactic works for Mrs. Furlough then I pray she becomes adept at it. I would never tell someone to stop fighting in a way that helps them. I just know the more direct approach works for me.

Adamant – Book Review by Mina R Raulston

I have read Lisa Bevere’s books for many years. Her Bible studies are insightful and challenging for women of all ages. Her current book, Adamant is no exception. The subtitle, Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions, gives a hint as to the content of the book. The definition of adamant means immoveable and unyielding, among other things. In ancient times it was believed to be a stone that hadn’t been discovered yet and for a time was compared to a diamond in its hard and impervious substance. In her book, Ms. Bevere teaches that adamant was not a rock yet to be discovered, but Jesus who is the stone that the builder rejected our cornerstone. Her study is in-depth while at the same time she comes across as personable and vulnerable. I would encourage any woman seeking a serious study of the word to take advantage of Adamant, Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions.

Why I Continue to Tell My Story

Ever since God healed and delivered me many years ago I have made a point to tell my story, to give my personal testimony. Despite the fact that it occurred many years ago, my story is ongoing. My life is nothing today like it would have been had I remained broken and under the control of my abuser.

But God! Although I was saved at 13, at 19 I was completely untrained in how to choose a husband, completely naïve in male/female interactions, and totally inexperienced in using my gift of discernment. Add to that abusers are known to be charming beyond belief during the dating phase and only gradually build their control, manipulation, and abuse over time. I was married for several months before I saw any inkling of his manipulation, control or abuse. Being a Christian I was not one to simply give up and run home to mommy, not that I’d have been received by mommy.

After spending 14 years doing everything humanly and Biblically possible to save my marriage, I was finally forced to divorce my husband for the safety of me and my children. I spent the next 4 years suffering from PTSD even though it was diagnosed as such back then. In interviewing counselors for my ministry and my book I’ve been assured that the symptoms I experienced were indeed PTSD. I was a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual basket case. And, then God reached down and healed and delivered me.

For those of you who still want to show me pity, take a fresh look at me. I’m no longer broken. God has recreated me and given me a new life filled with his presence, one of joy, peace, and freedom of fear.

For those of you who only want to hear the happy ending, I have some questions for you.

How can you appreciate the Victory over Japan without knowing about Pearl Harbor?

How can you appreciate the Victory in Europe without knowing about D-Day, Normandy, or the Jewish Holocaust?

How can you appreciate the Resurrection of Christ without knowing about the Crucifixion?

And how can you possibly appreciate the work God did in my life until you know something of the hell I lived?

So, I will continue to share my story, as God leads me, to those who will listen. And, after I share my history I will tell them the miracle of healing and deliverance God did in my life and the joy, peace, and freedom from fear I now experience with God.

 

Journey to Wholeness

My first book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims was informational and instructional. It described and defined the various forms of domestic violence, gave historic examples of abuse as well as a biblical foundation for God’s disapproval of it. The book also teaches what type of help victims need to get free and get safe compared with what help is available. It also tells readers how Christians can make a difference in helping victims.

My new book, Journey to Wholeness, expands the discussion of finding wholeness. It doesn’t matter if you are broken due to abuse, or if you are broken because of some other life experience. God doesn’t intend us to go through life hurting. God is Jehovah Rapha, our healer. The Bible tells us many stories of Jesus healing the sick and raising the dead when he was on earth and he is still our healer. Scripture tells us that “by his stripes we were healed.” I Peter 2:24.

As I work on this new book I’ll be posting entries here on my blog and other social media about our journey to wholeness. It is God’s will that we all be whole in Him, not eternally broken. If you are broken, regardless of the cause or source, please post your questions, responses and prayer requests. If you have found wholeness, please post your testimony here to encourage others.

I look forward to interacting with you about God’s healing as I write my new book. I pray it will be a blessing to many.

Thank you