I decided that I wanted to share why we don’t charge for any of the services provided by Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries, the non profit that I founded.
The reason is my faith. In particular, the Bible is the basis of my faith. My personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe, through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the foundation of my existence, the purpose of my life and the relationship that has delivered me from a lifestyle of bondage and continues to heal and restore me up to this day. That faith came from reading and studying the Word of God and crying out to God intensely over a 9 month period during which I was homeless, moving from city to city across the United States over 17 years ago. My faith was increased to the point that on October 4, 2002, I made the decision to entrust my whole life to the Lordship of the personal relationship I had with Jesus. Simply put, I had fallen in love with the only being that had NEVER left or forsaken me and I came to realize He LOVED ME so much that He had given His life for me to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him in this lifetime with the assurance of spending eternity with Him. That faith came from and is still fed by reading the Holy Bible.
It not only feeds my spirit man whenever I choose to read, study, meditate, listen to or watch it, but it directs, and provides guidance, like a road map. I had an employer, who owned a hair salon where I apprenticed, then worked at after acquiring my license, who told me that the Bible was our instruction book for life. However, like most instruction books we get with just about anything we acquire now a days, most people don’t open and read them until they have a problem. She encouraged me to begin reading it and asking God to reveal Himself.
I had just turned 21 years of age when she took me to church for the first time since I had been a child attending vacation bible school with our baby sitter. My employer had taken me to her church that day, where I had been so deeply touched by the revelation that God loved me that I literally couldn’t stop crying during the entire service! I bawled like a baby, stuck on the idea that God loved me. I had been looking for love in all the wrong places and had the wounds and scars from the search embedded in my heart, mind, and soul. It changed my life.
The Word of God changed my life and continues to do so to this day. It is because of it and the stirring of the Holy Spirit in me, confirmed by others, that we don’t charge for our services, even though I attended graduate school, which by the way, was fully paid for. All glory be to God, because my husband and I could not afford such an expense. And I have been through multiple certification courses for counseling, have over 20 years experience teaching art, and still am in debt for my student loans, but I chose to not charge because freely I was given, so freely I give. It’s actually for a number of reasons and scriptures.
Steve and I believe, without wavering, in God’s Word, the Bible, and embrace the teachings and commands it contains. You basically, cannot out give God. As we have compassion and a heart for those who can’t afford counseling, art lessons, or the retreats we provide, we know that God will provide and repay us (Proverbs 19:17). As we give, even a cup of cold water, to the poor and those struggling financially, God will bless us, prosper us, and we will go without want (Matthew 10:42; 25:40). Our faith rests on, and we have over 20 years of countless testimonies of His provision of more than enough, to back up His promise that we will reap generously when we sow generously (1 Corinthians 9:6-8). We know that God is faithful and doesn’t overlook labor of love for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of His people (Hebrews 6:10).
You may be thinking that it’s a risk to ask for only donations for services and you’re right it is, however we don’t rely on man to provide for us, it is God who we trust to be our Provider. He uses man to accomplish His will and in those dry, desert like times when I’ve caught myself questioning whether or not I’m doing the right thing by not charging, if I simply turn to the Word to feed my spirit, it’s confirmed again that it is the right thing to do.
Let me share something else. In 2003, less than a month after Steve and I married, I was hired as the full time bookkeeper of Sanibel Community Church. This was about a year after I recommitted my life to Christ and I was provided, free of charge, professional helpers. The church paid for me to see a psychiatrist and a licensed clinical social worker for counseling. You see, I understand now as a therapist myself, when hurting people get around an unconditional loving environment and foster healthy relationships, pain from the past often resurfaces. The pain from our past affects our present, until it is dealt with. We often become very good, or at least we think we’re good at handling it, by shoving, cramming, and pushing it back down with activities, busyness, personal achievements, sometimes medications, behaviors; healthy and unhealthy, etc. but even the best efforts doesn’t stop it from resurfacing, especially when we’re faced with situations that trigger it. Then, it resurfaces.
That was what started happening when my supervisor would show me where I had made a mistake or did something incorrectly. I had lies embedded in my identity that nothing I did was good enough, I wasn’t loved, that I would never be accepted, etc. Lies that had been planted during traumatic situations in my lifetime beginning as a child. We all have them. Some much more traumatic than others, but they are there, growing with us, entangling our identity, choking it every chance it gets. My response was to try very hard to shove the thoughts and emotions back down in me, but it didn’t work. It came oozing out of me, like I now know it does in healthy supportive environments, but instead of rejecting and abandoning me, like so many had done through my lifetime (nearly 40 years), my supervisor, the business administrator, along with the senior pastor, and members of the church, embraced me and helped me begin the journey of walking through the process of deep emotional healing.
The Lord was faithful to increase the persons in my healthy support system, to include mentors, pastors, and others who were literally the hands and feet of Christ to me as I walked the road less traveled, that of the process of healing. It was not easy by any means. As a matter of fact, it hurt really bad, even to the point I would choose to quit, not wanting to face the pain of the memories of what happened when those lies were planted in my identity, my spirit, my soul, my being. But, then, the pain would be so bad from not dealing with it, I’d reach out for help again.
Even recently, I’ve asked God “why is that it is a process for so many of us?” I know that He has the ability to speak so we would be totally healed; mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have countless testimonies of His miraculously healing me and others, but then I pondered why is it that we go back to struggling? I also know that under the anointing, He breaks strongholds, but then I know from personal and professional experience that the majority of people go back to struggling. It’s not as simple as a quick fix, which I know God could do and there may be cases in which He does, but for the majority of us, it is a process.
The Lord revealed to me this past week that the reason people go back to struggling is because even though under His anointing, which is His manifested presence, bondages are broken, that we are sinful people by nature and that satan is constantly working to steal the Word from us. His main means of acquiring access, is by getting us to open the door through sin. You see, sin is sin. God doesn’t rank it, even though we do. And although many sins are evidenced through behavior there are sins that occur in our minds. The battlefield is our mind.
It’s in our minds where satan can get us to question God’s Word and if we ponder on it too long, it’s only a matter of time until we begin to act it out. It’s why I love the mental health treatment theory of cognitive behavioral therapy so much. It’s because it lines up with the truth of the Word of God, the Bible. What a man thinks, he will become (Proverbs 7:23). We are told to take our thoughts captive and line them up with the truth of the Word (2 Corinthians 10:5). If they don’t line up with the Word, resist them, cast them away, be done with them. Problem is that when we have lies embedded in our identities, contrary to the Word, implanted from trauma, often complex trauma over the years, even unconsciously our minds will begin to think about the lie, eventually it exalts itself over the truth of God’s Word, which is what sets us free.
I call it the slippery slope of deceit … also, known as stinkin thinkin … and it typically has roots in lies that are grounded in selfishness, self centeredness, a victim attitude, and all about us: what we don’t have, should have gotten, were wronged, what was held back from us, done bad to us, injustice, etc. At the very root, if you go deep enough, it typically comes down to pride, which is a lack of trust in God’s love and faithfulness. Trusting that He is Who He says He is and we are who he says we are, His children, royalty, chosen, loved, priceless, and that He has our backs and our future. And that future is a good plan, to use everything that was meant for evil for good (Genesis 50:20) , to His glory.
The amazing thing about Him is that He provides, defends, protects, and makes a way where there seems to be none for us because He loves us, because we are His children. It is in Him that I trust to take care of us and I know that as I give, in His name, even without mentioning it, that He will provide for us, that is why I give services free of charge. I know that He will provide and that He will lay on a person’s heart to give to us, the ministry He entrusted to us Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries. He is lavish in His giving too, even if man isn’t.
All I have to do is look around to see His goodness. It was the secret petition of my heart (Psalm 37: 4) for over 30 years to be a hospitable house wife, artist, and teacher, with the desire to help hurting people, in particular women and children. He has provided the experience, degrees, credentials, ordination, licensing, and the gorgeous 5 acre farm we reside on with horses, cows, chickens, dogs, cats, and rabbits. He opens the doors that no man can close and He closes those that need to be in order for us to follow the path and plan He has for our lives. He does exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond, what we could ever dream of, ask for or imagine (Eph. 3:20), when we commit our lives to Him. Oh, there will be valleys and desert times, it’s not all easy by any means, but it’s in those times that we learn to cleave to, rely on, trust in, believe in and have faith in our Creator, our heavenly Father (John 6:28-29). He’s a good father, greater than even the best human father can be. It’s because of Him that we share the gifts He has blessed us with, with others. I would never want someone to not receive the services they are in need of receiving or simply want, because they can’t afford them.
And what about when people don’t give back? Well, God will deal with them. Oh, it’s happened, don’t get any idea that doesn’t. People take and don’t even give reference to where they received the help, idea(s), program / grant proposal, training curriculum, models, concepts, encouragement or support. It’s part of the process, unfortunately. What’s critical for me during those times, realizing someone has taken without giving anything back, is to remember that we don’t give to receive. We give for the King, because He gave for us. He handles the return. And it’s not about us, it’s about Him. Right before He took His last breath after being falsely accused, judged, beaten beyond human recognition, He demonstrated our ultimate response, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Interesting how often, when processing the emotions and thoughts connected to the pain, that it comes back to forgiving the offender, whether they intentionally or unintentionally did it. It’s vital we let them go in order to free ourselves. How do we do that? By focusing on Christ and the Word of God. By intentionally feeding our spirit man with the Word, seeking His presence through meditation, prayer, worship and praise. We learn to fight the battles in our minds, recognizing that our emotions cannot be trusted. Eventually, our emotions will line up with the thoughts that are rooted in the truth of the Word of God. The truth in who we are in Christ and Who He is. Funny, how it almost always comes full circle, one way or another. Some refer to this as karma, others ying and yang, but the Bible calls it the law of harvest. Either way, it does come back to us, whatever we sow, we reap, multiplied. Therefore, we choose to sow professional helping services God has divinely trained, equipped, and prepared us to give. Also, the resources He has lavishly provided to us, we share, for His name’s sake and glory. In the end, when we stand before Him, it is our hope that He will say, you were faithful with what I gave you … well done, good and faithful servant.
P.S. I’m creating artwork again … which has been a big reason that I’ve not been blogging much lately, but I plan to change that! Be sure to follow me on instagram and my facebook fanpage for daily inspiration and encouragement. I’d LOVE to hear from you as you #embracethejourney #4FREEdom of #beautyfromashes so message, tag, or DM me! If I can be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. God bless!