Humbled: Seeing Correctly!

Throughout scripture we see Jesus continually meeting the needs of others, from a place of peace, knowing exactly who he was. He understood his identity and mission, and humbled himself to follow all his Father asked of him, even to death. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8) Today is Good Friday, the day that we remember this incredible sacrifice by which Jesus died on the cross for us, in our place. This is the ultimate example of love and humility. 

A common misconception about humility is that it is being down on yourself or talking yourself down in front of others. But actually, humility is simply knowing rightly who you are, as one uniquely created in the image of God. The gift of this lens is that we can also see the wonderful strengths and DNA that God has intricately woven into us. Humility allows for confidence in being fully who we are, knowing our assets and our shortcomings, yet still trusting we were made wonderfully and with purpose. From this place of assurance, we can begin to look outside of ourselves to meet the needs of others, just like Jesus did. 

In the message paraphrase of 1 Peter 5: 5-6, Peter shares how we are to approach relationships with God, self and others. “In every relationship, each of you must wrap around yourself the apron of a humble servant. Because: God resists you when you are proud but multiplies grace and favor when you are humble.”

Isn’t that a wonderful picture- wrapping around yourself the “apron of a humble servant”? Jesus did this when he washed his disciples’ feet, giving us the example to follow of right heart posture of serving others in love. In this place of ‘washing others’ feet’, “grace and favor” are multiplied. But let’s not be mistaken. These are acts motivated by God’s love and his Spirit at work in us. When we step through the door into God’s invitation of relationship and surrender to him, the fruit of the Spirit actually become evident and grow in our lives. The fruit developed within us are aspects of God’s character, such as love, gentleness, peace and patience, which actually allow us to humbly see and serve others. 

There are many things, however, that prevent the fruit of the Spirit from flourishing, things that actually cause division in our relationships with God and others, such as resentments, unforgiveness, apathy and shame, to name a few. God is continually drawing us out into greater levels of trust and freedom, and in order to live free in him, we must rightly assess and bring to light, with the Spirit’s power, these dark areas in our heart that we often choose to hide. The psalmist writes this prayer that we are invited to echo: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

When we know who our God is, our perspective of who we are gets renewed. Pride falls away, when we finally look through the right lens. We are always in the process of being refined, but as we surrender and step out in faith, it is God’s kindness and love that draws us to heal further from the past or current situations that have harmed us and others. In this place of being held by God, we can shine a light on the darkness and expose it without fear, trusting that God will enable and bring about healing. 

God wants to bring us back into right relationships, into community, and to let our light shine before others, not run and hide from him or others!  True humility grows as we become increasingly aware of  how great our God is to extend mercy and grace to us fallen humans time and time again. This is what we celebrate at Easter. Even though we are not yet perfect, God still desires a close relationship with us. Jesus died to pay the price for our sins- all the times we miss the mark- past, present and future, so we never have to run or hide from him, or feel separated from his great love. He continually invites us to come as we are, bring him our lack and failures and let him lift us back into freedom. This is living in humility. This is hope!

Released: Stepping into the New

Do you remember the last time you had to take a step of faith? Do you remember how you felt? Nervous, excited, vulnerable, supported? 

Faith is not sight, at least not in the way we usually think of seeing. It is the opposite, in fact. We don’t usually get the full picture of what we are stepping into, but we get the opportunity to exercise our faith, to step forward with confidence anyway,  trusting God in the process. When we come to know that there is a God who is willing and able to restore us and bring us the peace we so desire, the next step becomes affirmative action, DECIDING for ourselves to place our lives and will into his care. This is like opening a new door and stepping through it, leaving behind the old ways of self-sufficiency to take that step of faith into the new.

Behold, I stand at the door [of the church/of your heart] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with her/him (restore her/him), and she/he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20 paraphrased)

The old ways of fear, shame, hurts and addictions are often our prisons, trapping us internally from moving into freedom, but as we take a step of faith, open that door, and accept God’s head-spinning offer to guide us, and even “EAT with us”, his power starts the ‘restoration’ process within us. It is humanly impossible to change our own hearts and negative thought life independently. We know this, because we have tried and failed. No amount of “trying harder” ever worked. When we release our old ways of thinking and believing that WE know best for our lives, we are able to continue the journey of faith and healing. We no longer rely on our own intelligence, determination, or anything else, but instead rely on God’s wisdom, voice and direction. He is more trustworthy and his ways are far better than our own unstable, changeable feelings and thoughts.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Released” is such a word of God’s loving action in our lives, promising the joy of freedom, and lifting our burdens from us. It is in this space that we become open to explore new vistas, new ways of seeing that we have maybe never tried before. For the women and children we serve, we desire that they know they are loved and valued and that they, too, are invited to open that door and start the journey of faith, stepping into the fullness of freedom that God so desires for them. God is continually announcing and delivering “freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoner” (Isaiah 61:1). He wants to bring them and us into spacious places, no longer prisoners to our thoughts or fears, but free to know abundant life with him.  

Maybe God is guiding you to take a step of faith today. Maybe he is knocking and asking you to open the door to receive his freedom today. How will you respond?

Supported by a Greater Love

February is here, and this month so often gets marked by the romantic notions of Valentine’s Day. On that one particular day you show love for the special ones in your life. Love is a word that has so many meanings and often we get bombarded by messaging that romantic love is the ‘true’ love. God however gives us a broader understanding of the true meaning of love and how it is to be lived out. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul states the certain attributes that evidence this true kind of love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Patient! Kind! No record of wrongs, even! This sounds pretty fantastic, and totally not in our human nature to represent at all times! This also isn’t the kind of love that the ‘world’ has us chasing after. This kind of love is deeper, more steadfast, more unconditional. Humanly, we might desire to show each other this kind of love, but often we fail. We cannot love in this way independent of God. True love, therefore, is truly Divine. It is a gift that only God can display in its fullness, because it is his very nature. It is only in his perfect love, a love that “expels all fear”, that we find our self confidence, peace and belonging.

Isn’t this the love that everyone is really longing for?

For the women we serve, fear has been a predominant issue in their lives and sadly ‘love’ has  often been a manipulation strategy used by others. Due to this abuse of love, trusting in others is incredibly hard.  In their personal recovery journeys, as in our own, coming to understand, and trust, that a power greater than ourselves is willing and able to restore us and help us in our failures and weaknesses, is a challenge. We try for so long to do things on our own, admitting we need help, or believing that we are even worthy can be an obstacle. However, we know that doing things ‘our own way’ hasn’t resulted in the desired outcome of more peace, more love or more freedom.

This next step in our healing becomes a point of faith, where we need to have a willingness to open up our minds and hearts to consider a new way of doing things. This is where seeing and hearing others that have gone before us on this journey is vital for all of us. Our community helps point us onwards, towards the One that is offering us not only true unconditional love, but also the healing we all so desperately need. 

So, as we think about what being SUPPORTED means this month, let us look afresh to Jesus,  the One who is love and who is willing and able to restore us, the One who desires fear to be expelled and freedom to come in all our lives. 

“I LOVE FREEDOM….” Do you? Our love for freedom compels us at the SA Foundation to take action. This February stay posted for unique ways that you can join in with our community in putting your SUPPORT and LOVE into action for ‘Her’ freedom!


I think coming into a new year holds many different emotions for different people and we want to acknowledge that it can be tough and hold space for however you are feeling currently. The year 2020 has certainly left its mark on all our lives, and we may feel less than excited to run head first into a new, uncertain year. The word that came to mind in thinking of this season for us here at the SA Foundation was DETERMINED, for a few different reasons. Firstly, this is not the ‘determined’ that states: ‘Just keep trying harder and maybe you will get there.’ This is also not the ‘determined’ that is individualistic and believes purely in achieving it alone. No, this determination is actually derived from a place of what we call in the recovery circles  POWERLESSNESS. These two words at first seem to completely oppose one another, one striving forward, the other one admitting defeat. So how do these two strong, seemingly different words work in harmony with one another?

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that life is unpredictable. The things that we so dearly hold on to for a sense of peace and control, can be taken away from us in a moment. Powerlessness is admitting that there are things and areas in our lives, despite our striving, that we cannot push, hold or control according to our whims and desires. These things can include people, circumstances, illness, etc. When we try to manipulate and control things that are out of our control, we ultimately lose focus and peace, and our lives become unmanageable. 

We have all certainly felt the unmanageability creep in this last year, so how do we get grounded again? There is a wonderful prayer used in recovery communities and beyond that we find incredibly helpful and also necessary for our lives to become manageable again and for peace to return. These simple petitions express a profound awareness that we are in fact limited, but there is One who is not. 

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

Prayer is an integral part of our life as a Christian organization, for only through relationship with Jesus can we recognize our powerlessness and not be paralyzed by it. In fact our need for him actually becomes our strength, as it leads to greater dependency, trust and faith. We are still in uncertain times and there is still so much we can not control. But we can trust in a loving, strong and trustworthy God, who is able to do the things we cannot.

So for focus and determination to take root, there is no need for unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, no anxious comparing and compulsive striving. Moving forward is first of all about  humbly admitting that we are lacking. Our focus, instead of self, must be directed to that power greater than ourselves. God is able to meet us in our limitations and can and will renew us with his strength. In Isaiah 40:29 (NLT) the divine Spirit declares: “He (God) gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”

God provides us with the determination we need to press on, one day at a time in hope of seeing freedom come. God has planted in us the hope that with his guidance and provision, we will one day see the end of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. We know that this is a big task for us, humanly speaking, but not when we partner our powerlessness with his power- “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37, NLT)

What Does Generosity Look Like in God’s Kingdom?

When we speak about generosity we often think about it from our own worldview and how we were taught to be “generous”. This might look like sharing your toys with siblings, or inviting friends over for dinner, or lavishing wonderful gifts on others. How you’ve experienced generosity, personally, often governs how you show it to others. 

As followers of Jesus, we have experienced personally the incredible gift of grace- getting what we don’t deserve. This gift of grace allows us into freedom and right relationship with our Creator. It is the most generous gift of all, since there is nothing in us that has merited this gift. It was freely given, for us to freely receive. God has given us the ultimate example of how to extend grace and how to be generous with all that we have. In the book of Romans, it states that “God does not show favouritism.” He desires that his love and generosity extend to all his creation, and he wants you and me to be vessels of his goodness. 

Sometimes we think, even subconsciously, that there are those that ‘have’ because they worked hard for it, and those that ‘have not’ because they have made bad choices in life. In our minds, there are those that “deserve” our generosity and those that do not. The trouble with this thinking is that we become judges over one another and in the process we fail to offer the very grace that we have received.

Generosity is in God’s very nature and character. Time and time again, through his Word, he calls us to reflect this to others, our neighbours. In order to do this, we must first be challenged to see one another as equals and thus equally worthy of grace and generosity. We will then recognize that generosity starts in a heart of gratitude, that leads us into desiring to live open-handedly with all that we have. We are stewards of the resources God has given us. All that we have is through his abundance, not primarily our works. The amazing reality is that you can never out-give God!

Jesus shows us through this parable in Matthew, that generosity in action, what you do to serve those with need, actually brings the Kingdom of God. 

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”— Matthew 25:35-40

What a beautiful picture of Jesus inviting us to serve him in love through our generosity and love for those around us. This is the opposite of selfishness, the heart condition that leads to injustice. This is having eyes to see those on the margins, those with needs. To be generous, or to see outside of ourselves to the needs of others, we might need to release or reprioritize the things we hold dear. If time is what you hold very tightly, then to be generous might be allowing yourself to be divinely interrupted, like the ‘Good Samaritan’ in Luke 10:25-37. He chose to extend himself to serve the needs of another, when others were too busy, even paying the bills incurred to see the injured man cared for. 

We are entering into December, the month many associate with Advent and Christmas, gifts and generosity. It is good to note, however, that this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for many! The women and children we serve are worthy and deserving of love and life in all its fullness, yet as they come into our safe harbours we know that they may never have experienced the things that make life abundant and which many of us take for granted. It is our desire to share with them the heart of our generous God, that they would know and feel that they are valued and belong, also at this time of year.

There is great need in our world, for others to be seen, valued and loved, and that can feel overwhelming at times. You and I are not able or expected to meet every need, except the needs that God places before us. It usually starts with having our hearts and eyes open to notice our neighbours needs, which will lead us into action. 

So who is that “fearfully and wonderfully made” individual that God is putting on your path to see and to share his nature of generosity today?

What Causes the Injustice of Human Trafficking?

What causes the injustice of human trafficking? Well, let’s start with the heart!

We all want a world free of injustice, a world of peace and freedom. I believe that it is ingrained in the human heart to desire Eden, the paradise-utopia we were created for. Yet, here we are living in a world where there is so much division, pain and brokenness. It spills out into our own lives and actions, often without us even realizing that we are missing the standard set by our Holy God, the Good Creator. We want to live right, but in fact, by our own doing and standards alone, we cannot! We require the help of someone greater than us to show us the way. 

“A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2

Each person, in their own eyes, thinks that their ways are right, that their ideas are right, while in reality only God can accurately weigh and know our hearts. He knows our intentions and our pride. Since we are each determined to go our own way, it is impossible for us to achieve the unity and peace that we so greatly desire. Our ingrained self-focus sets us up against one another and causes judgement and fear. It breeds intolerance. Is it any wonder that the world is in its present chaotic state?

One of the root causes of injustice is human selfishness, where the interests of one brings about the suffering of another. This is reflected in the global travesty of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The incredible and alarming profits that traffickers make from the repeated selling of other human beings for sex, feeds their selfish lust for money and power over the basic rights and needs of the person enslaved. 

If we believe that our desires come before another person’s dignity and value being upheld, then we have definitely missed the mark. We are called to serve others, seeing and meeting the needs of those around us, especially those on the margins and oppressed. We are not to elevate our own selfish desires above the basic rights of a fellow human being. Instead we are to see the other as better than ourselves. This requires humility. This requires patience. This requires love. These are attributes of God, not ones we humans readily possess. Without his Spirit changing our hearts and desires, we seem to gravitate to selfishness. Paul exhorts us in the way of servanthood in his letter to the Philippians:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2: 2-4

So much behind one word—selfishness! This is a heart issue that all of humanity must wrestle with. Human trafficking is a complex issue of injustice with many facets to consider. It is the tragic outcome of brokenness and sin in our hearts and world. We want peace. We want the end of slavery. We want justice. Advocates, today we get the opportunity to focus on our own hearts and desires that lead us to bring freedom to the captives. Jesus shows us the way of his kingdom, and empowers through His Spirit to love like he does. So where are our hearts today? Are we seeking the Spirit’s guidance to be more like Jesus today?

Advocacy: The Power To Transform Nations (Part Two)

Fact: The victims of the injustice human trafficking and sexual exploitation face physical and sexual violence, mental and emotional abuse, control and manipulation on a daily basis. 

These women and children are treated as a commodity that must generate a profit for the “owner”. They are devalued, dehumanized with their dignity and value stripped from them by their abusers. Forced to serve many “customers” daily, this painful and inhuman treatment leads to many physical injuries, severe psychological trauma and often a reliance on drugs to numb the pain of their existence. Drugs are also forced upon them by their traffickers, as a means of controlling them. An early death is often the tragic end to their story. 

The challenge to us on this advocacy journey is: Do we believe that this is her choice? Do we believe that she wants to live this life? …….Or do we believe that God wants to change this story from one of tragedy to one of hope, and that it actually might start with me? Do you believe you can make a difference? You see, what we believe in our hearts will often determine our actions. 

The good news is that we have a God of justice on our side, desperate for his people to see and meet the needs of the oppressed in this world, to reflect his character and bring him glory. Psalm 146:7-9 states,

 “He (God) gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly. The LORD protects the foreigner among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.”

This is our God. He is a God of of protection, rescue and restoration!

Scripture tells us that advocacy is also a desire of God’s and therefore is a privilege of ours as his people. 

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9

Yes advocacy is using your voice, using your resources to help others…. But it is also more than words. It is a journey of deep awareness, of allowing the darkness to be revealed, so that in the light it can be transformed. This is also what is needed with each of our hearts as we bring our prejudices, wrong motives and sexual or other types of sin to God and allow him to do the renewing that will lead to personal transformation and ultimately cultural reformation. How do we expect others to change, if we are not willing to do so ourselves? 

The amazing truth is that God wants to use each of us to bring his kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, to be peace-makers, to be advocates. But as we advocate, we ourselves need to recognize our own brokenness. We need to come to know that in our weakness, he is strong. It is through broken vessels like us that his light shines through and illuminates who actually has the power to transform our desperate world. So do not fear! Shine as he has called you to do so. 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

So will you let him shine through you, in all your brokenness, to bring hope, healing and transformation to this world?

Advocacy: The Power To Transform Nations (Part One)

To be an advocate means to be “one who pleads the cause of another.” (1) The word ‘advocacy’ is derived from the Latin word ‘advocare’, which means ‘to call out for support’. (2) So when we are discussing advocacy, it is important to keep focused on this context of the meaning. “Pleading” and “calling out” suggest that we have opportunity to use our voices to speak up about something that we have an urgent appeal about, or for. We at the SA Foundation have seen the urgent need for advocates to arise due to the drastic numbers of women and children being sold into sex slavery, often leading to their deaths. We know this is not the life God intended for them and we want to pursue freedom for all enslaved in trafficking and sexual exploitation. This life of slavery is not their desire. Rather, it is the desire and greed of those who hold them captive, generating much profit from their repeated sexual abuse. Let’s not hide from this disturbing reality, because the truth is, they need us to see and understand, so that we can be better equipped to fight for them and meet them in their need. So in these next blog posts let’s look at the facts and the issues surrounding them.

Fact: Sex trafficking and exploitation is a growing concern, with rising numbers globally, because there is a growing demand. 

Sex in our world is so far removed from God’s original intention and design. No longer regarded as a precious creation given by God to humanity, it has been treated as  something trivial and light, where individual pleasure is the highest goal. There are people buying women and children for sex, because they believe they are free to do so. We live in an individualistic culture that says my need or want must be served. The solicitors desire to please themselves, without considering the other. 

Is this what freedom looks like today? Has exploiting those who are weaker, more vulnerable or without a voice become acceptable? 

So what is our response, our plea?

Paul writes in Galatians 5:13-14:

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.’” (3)

What a stark contrast to the ways of the world. Yes, we are free in Christ, but how does that change how we should live? We are called to use our freedom to serve humbly and in love. We are called to use our freedom to love our neighbour as ourselves. These are beautiful expressions of God’s love and grace to our broken and hurting world. 

As an advocate, I want to live in a world where men and women stand up to say we will not contribute to this pandemic of sexual exploitation and trafficking; where instead of judgement, we identify with those enslaved, as if they were our neighbour, and say “if it’s not OK for me…it’s not OK for ‘her’; where the love of God compels us to look outside of ourselves and our security to see those on the margins and take action to right the wrongs done to them. It is in this place of laying down corrupt desires  and choosing the life of the Spirit that we can see transformation to our lives, families, communities and nations! 

So how are we using our freedom today for Gods glory and kingdom? 


1- Merriam Webster Online Dictionary:

2- What is Advocacy and How Can it Help? Anush Begloian:

3- The Holy Bible- New International Version (accessible online at

Success Vs Fruitfulness

Don’t we all long for success and to create something of meaning from our lives, maybe even a legacy through which we will be remembered? This isn’t necessarily a bad goal…unless of course, if what we are actually desiring is to build our own kingdoms and reap the glory. There is a difference between what we consider success in this world, and what God considers success or fruitfulness in his kingdom. In our daily lives how often are we asking ourselves and God if we are being fruitful?

Fruitfulness is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work within us, producing spiritual qualities that reflect God to the world. These qualities or ‘fruit’ are not produced or sustained by us- they are not things we can just work harder to achieve, they are practices that require spiritual refining and discipline, which only the Holy Spirit can do in our hearts. One of the greatest things to realize in this world is that we cannot change our own hearts, nor the hearts of others. A life of fruitfulness is the result of a Christian being matured in their walk with Jesus, listening to his voice and learning to seek and obey all that God desires. The journey of refining is a process through which we are pruned, where the dead things in our lives can fall away and the good can be strengthened and encouraged on. Through this refining, good fruit can actually be produced in our lives. Jesus describes it in gardening terms like this:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…..This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:1-2,8 (NIV)

We are actually identified as his through the fruit that we bear. This brings glory to God- that others might see him through our lives. This is his kingdom’s work! So in these days, are we striving for worldly success or are we asking to be fruitful disciples?

So what is the fruit that brings God glory?

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP)

Isn’t this great news that the fruit is a result of his presence within us and not about us earning it in our independence? The 12 step process the leaders and the women in our programs use for personal recovery and transformation is a powerful tool in recognizing the ways we try and control our lives and the things we use as “coping mechanisms”. God is constantly working through this tool of the steps to show us that he is the author of our life, that he can be trusted and that he is the one able to do the heart surgery necessary for healing, freedom and fruitfulness. The growth can seem so small or slow at times, that we can often miss the significance of what God is doing in and through us. Yet fruit, like anything planted,  takes time to grow, so it is important to have community that can encourage this process.

So let’s not be discouraged, for we are in this journey with a good God and the people/ community he has placed around us to thrive, so we can be “…certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

The Transformation Journey

We have all been shaped and moulded by different people, circumstances and environmental influences, such as our cultural. These things may be positive or negative. They may have caused us joy or pain. Ultimately, experiences and influences are what guide our thinking, our understanding of who we are, our values and behaviours today. This is the human experience of living. God’s design for all humanity is that we would have our identity and value rooted in the truth of who he is and who he has created us to be—loved. In many ways this is what we are all searching for: meaning and purpose, rooted in unshakable and unconditional love.

Transformation can look like a process of renewal. Things that have trapped us in the lie that we are not loved, we are not worth much, or that we have no purpose, can actually be replaced with truth. Within Christianity, we call this process sanctification. Allowing God to change our minds, hearts and desire to the truth that we were made for a good reason and purpose, we were made in his image, and we were made by and for his love.

For many of us, it is easier to believe the lies, mainly because they have been our default pattern of thinking for a long time. When we surround ourselves with others, however, who are able to speak into our lives with godly encouragement and love, when we read and believe God’s promises in his written Word, and when we take time to be still and listen to God’s voice, incredible change is possible.

In one very important letter in the Bible, Romans, Paul is giving instruction to followers of Jesus in the city of Rome, about how to now live out their faith in Jesus, and urges them in Chapter 12 verse 2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” NIV. He is saying that we can have our minds—our thinking patterns—actually renewed to be more aligned with God’s. Through this we will experience transformation.  We will no longer be controlled by the things of this world, such as the lure of success, wealth, people-pleasing, selfish ambition, but we will know the desires of God and want to partner with him to see these things happen in our lives and the lives of others. What a gift!

In the recovery classroom, the women we serve courageously step into the hard work of heart work. They no longer want to be trapped. They desire true freedom. The way out of darkness and into the light is the same for all of us. We must allow the pain to surface, be revealed and be processed. There is no side-stepping healing….BUT, the incredible reality is that what is revealed and brought into the light no longer has a hold over us. The women get to recognize this truth as they journey alongside wise and loving counsel and use helpful tools to process the hurts, such as the 12 Steps. Through these committed relationships and tools they find out who they truly are, and how they now want to live, in light of this new identity. Recovery is a long process, and we need others to help us along the way. One of our core values is in recognizing that it takes time to heal so we allow for that space, relationship and time for each woman. Parenting is a part of this journey too, for as they come to know their worth and value, develop new tools and community, they are able to parent in ways that they had never experienced. This is the power of personal transformation: it can positively affect generations to come!

As Christians we all are on this journey of healing and sanctification—becoming more like Jesus. God is in the business of renewing and transforming our lives for our good and his glory. He is the God of life and is always doing a new thing. He is not stagnant, in him there is no darkness, and he desires the same purity and freedom for his children. This kind of transformation is an internal process. It is where we become fully ourselves—our true selves, as God designed us—and get to love that person.

The beautiful reality is that as we transform from the inside out, our external behaviours also begin to change. As our hearts are set free, our thinking also changes, and ultimately our way of living, as behaviours and actions also undergo Spirit-wrought transformation. Maybe instead of running from close relationships, we stay and become curious about the other person. Maybe instead of speaking hurtful and negative things over ourselves and others, we start to use our words to build up and encourage. Maybe instead of getting angry at things we can’t control, we allow God’s peace to flood us and move past anger into joy. As the serenity prayers states: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr)

Maybe that is your prayer today? Know that transformation is possible, that renewal of the mind is a crucial element to this process, and that he is with you and for you on this journey. You are loved!