A Life Transformed!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go to the Free Indeed class with His Truth Transforms International. My husband and I were going through a pretty tough time. I can’t remember a time where I had been hit so hard in every area, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially, all at once. Maybe two at a time, but they never seemed to really bankrupt my faith, like this did. I felt empty. I wasn’t sure if I was more angry or more hurt. We hadn’t gotten any work in months, our marriage was going through some hard trials, we were getting sued, and we were going through a miscarriage that ended with a class 3 hemorrhage that took us to the ER, without insurance.

After some weeks went by, I told my husband, I don’t know why I can’t pull myself out of this, this time. I mean, I’ve always thought I was pretty strong when things would happen. There were several things I could turn to in the past, but they came from a physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial area. Those were all empty, broken, and completely down for the count.

I had to decide if I should spend $30 on a baby shower gift (it was the same day Free Indeed started) or on the 9-week Free Indeed class. I asked my husband what he thought, and he told me my friend would understand and I could get her a gift later. He thought I really needed to be fed spiritually. So, I chose the class.

Every week of the Free Indeed class felt like God gently guiding me back and reassuring me He was so present through all of this. The classes, the material, the ladies, walked me through each area I was struggling with, without realizing it, because it was all from the Spirit using them and this material to speak to me and answer my questions. The lies I was believing that my circumstances were telling me, the Truth was able to free me from them.  And they were giving me the Truth in the way God knew I could hear and take it in fully.

The week we covered Emotions, was perfect timing.  When you get hit by a train, as I had felt like I did, it can be hard to know which emotions are OK and what those emotions are really saying about where you are in your faith. The Free Indeed class delivered it in such a way, it felt like it was the first time I truly understood emotions and where they came from and how we are supposed to learn from them and truly be Spirit led. And actually, at 40, it probably was the first time.

Through Free Indeed, the Holy Spirit has taught me and reassured that He is my strength (physically), He is the fruit that I should be baring (emotionally), and He is everything I need, He is enough (financially). Christ is my true identity. It was hard to make sense of that, until now. And it’s a process.

We didn’t get a million dollar client, people will try to hurt us, I may never get pregnant again, we will always have bills to pay, but I can rest now. I can find joy in all the things God has given me, us. And most importantly, I can lean on His promises instead of my efforts. And it feels so good.

In An Unhappy Marriage:

When I came to His Truth Transforms International, I was in a position of needing to learn how to be happy in an unhappy marriage.  That was my goal.  I was "stuck" and needed to learn to make my own happiness even if my husband wouldn't or couldn't.  I was a committed Christian and did not want to break up my family nor the lives of my children the youngest nearing graduating from high school.  I have had various stages of a "bad marriage" through 30 years, slowly improving, but only at a snail's pace. 

I have never been able to sleep well during our entire marriage.  We had constant fights and bickering that left my mind full of hurt.  At night, these hurtful insults and put-downs would replay through my mind.  I often would physically get up at 3:00 a.m. and go and pour my heart out to God.  He was always faithful to "lift my head" and help me to go on.  I knew that this fighting was not normal, but my husband would not get counseling or help for his anger and jealousy.  He did not know how to love and I was not able to let his insults go without telling him they hurt me.  He could never say the words to heal my hurt that he caused.  I was always so happy and chipper except with him.

We flat didn't get along.  He would tell me I was so different from him and insult the way my parents raised me in any way that was different from his upbringing.  I must say that his parents divorced and he was left a wounded child that never grew up in his hurt.  He was angry and did not know how to build up or encourage or bond and enjoy union together or friendship.  I needed that from him.  Although he kept the doors locked and the bills paid, I felt very insecure.  My security came from the lack success of our relationship and the countless times he said "get out". Sometimes I did for a few hours, mostly I just dreamed of living without such strife and disharmony. 

My counselor met me right where I was, broken, sad, with a deep sense of loss.  I tried not to hate him for hurting me and constantly desiring to argue.  I was tremendously defensive and in a state of mental anguish.  I was rejected, walking wounded.  I replayed his hurtful words and lamented his lack of apology or remorse for my swollen eyes from crying. How many nights I slept on the couch and slammed doors in my hurt and exasperation?

My counselor helped me to recognize my own faulty beliefs and lies I unconsciously believed that were contributing to my pitiful marriage and lack of a soul mate I so desperately desired.  She told me I could be free of this control of my emotions even if my marriage never changed. I felt that I was not complete without a fulfilling and happy marriage.

She showed me that my beliefs were based on emotions rather than on Truth.  She helped me to learn to pause and think Truth.  "I am perfectly loved already!"  I don't need to defend myself for I have a Defender in the LORD.  She helped me to change my perspective. 

When my feelings were hurt, she taught me to recognize the 'renegade emotion' and apply Truth of God's Word.  I was hurt because I was believing a lie!  I had to learn to recognize these lies. The Truth has set me free.  I learned how to think!  Renegade emotions lead me to feel:  "I'm not valued, I am rejected, I am "less than", I am not loved or cherished.  I learned to recognize that emotions come from my thought life.  Our thought life needs to be on God, not my husband's failures or insults.  My counselor showed me that I have the Holy Spirit as my Guide, Advocate, Counselor and Defender.  That is empowering!

My counselor helped me to focus on what I do have not on the "have nots".  I was fixated on having a happy marriage rather than on focusing on Jesus.  He is bringing me from "Glory to Glory" as my counselor said often.  I learned precious Truths that are to be my focus: "I am very loved.” “I am adopted and chosen by God.” “I am valued and accepted.” “I have been given a brand new life.” “I have God's comfort”...

In my counseling, I learned and experienced the Truth that becomes a reality through the process of renewing the mind.  That is what happened each week.  My mind was renewed and mended as I became dependent upon the Holy Spirit and as a Volitional act of faith and will.  I was taught that my responsibility was to engage with the Holy Spirit, to respond to the Lord and not my husband's hurtful and insensitive words and ways.  Wrong beliefs promote wrong thoughts which produce wrong emotions which produce wrong behaviors. 

One of the most powerful tools we learned was seeing my Christian Identity. I am worthy. I have no lack.  I have God's comfort. I am protected. I am never alone.  I am accepted and worthy.  I am free.  I am secure.  When my husband sees me as the enemy and is hostile, rejects closeness, puts me off, doesn't want to be with me, won't bond or connect, I go to these powerful Truths!  I have come to be more understanding rather than being hurt.  He has his own distorted perception of God based on his own personal experiences. 

My counselor helped me to know who God really is.  I saw in my life that I did not know God for who He really is.  I have looked to others, namely my husband to meet my deepest needs for so many things.  I am to desire for God to meet those needs!  He is the only one who can by His unconditional and Perfect love for me.

To fix any marriage, we first have to fix the heart.  We cannot be any stronger in Christ than who I identify with.  God is not a weak God!  We had many wonderful times of insightful prayer.  Many times, I wrote down my counselor's prayers, because they were so powerful and filled with tender compassion.

I am sorry to see my time with my counselor end, honestly.  I want to continue what I have learned- to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh, living a life dependent upon the LORD.  Renew Truth. Renew Truth. "Function outwardly in what has already been done inwardly".

 Thank you, HTTI and my counselor.  I am forever grateful for God bringing you in my life.

A LIFE WORTH LIVING!

Testimony of Christi Craddock, Founder, President and Counselor at His Truth Transforms International

I never felt like I measured up. Emotions ruled me.  Poor self-image led me down a pathway of starving myself, then ultimately to binge eating and purging. My vice was food.  At fourteen my identity was based on the belief people would like and accept me if I looked a certain way. 

I had Christian parents that loved me unconditionally. I was in church and knew God but turned from God and began a downward spiral. I chose to abuse food, drugs and alcohol to fill the emptiness within me.  I believed Satan’s lies that I was worthless, ugly, stupid and fat.  I felt totally hopeless,  out of control and my life was not worth living. 

Now in my thirties I longed for something deeper and decided to try God. I started meeting with a Biblical counselor who helped me understand how to have a personal relationship with Christ. The truth from God’s Word spoke of His acceptance of me.  Everything I needed was in Christ (2 Peter 1:3). 

Previously, every negative word is how I viewed myself, but now I saw myself as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). My negative beliefs based on the world’s system began to be countered by God’s truth. I chose to believe how God sees me as beautiful, whole, smart, equipped, redeemed, loveable, and self-controlled. I learned of my identity in Christ and how I no longer needed to turn to alcohol, drugs or food to fill my needs.  I could lean on God instead.

Through the Holy Spirit I began to recognize the lies and evaluate why I thought that way.  I would go to God and express these beliefs and He would take me to His Word for the truth.  Even in the midst of my struggle with an eating disorder, I saw in scripture He did not condemn me (Romans 8:1).  He loved and accepted me even when my behavior was not lovable. As I chose to believe His truth, change took place.  

I gained freedom.  I recognized Satan’s condemning voice, “See you failed again, you will never get better.”  I tried to change the outside but I needed changing on the inside. God showed me that He was bigger and as I believed His truth, not my feelings or emotions or Satan’s lies, change continued to occur in me. I realized I could make a choice to stop at any time and say, “God I need You, I can’t do this on my own.”  I let God conquer this struggle through me.  I evaluated why I was eating emotionally and let God reveal the truth. 

I no longer have an eating disorder but there are times I battle with eating emotionally. Renewing my mind with God’s truth and letting the Holy Spirit give me self-control is a life-long process.  As I give my life to Him, He will equip me to resist the devil (1 Corinthians 10:13).  This is done moment-by-moment as I relinquish my heart and will to His will.  I put off the lies and put on the truth (Ephesians 4:22-24).  I let God’s truth be the final authority, not my emotions, beliefs or thoughts. 

I have found peace and joy in God. Not the God of my making who I thought failed me, was mean, and pointed His finger at me but the God of the Bible, who loves and accepts me, doesn’t condemn me but died for me. Through faith in Christ and believing the truth I am set free and continuing to be set free. I realize my life is worth living!

I am forever grateful for my counselor who patiently and lovingly spoke God’s truth to me. Because of how drastically my life changed and the inner peace and joy I found through Christ, I am passionately helping others today at His Truth Transforms International. Praise God!