Reflective Hour with Tammy Toney-Butler

Lost in a Sea of Despair?

December 19, 2023 Tammy Toney-Butler Season 1 Episode 17
Reflective Hour with Tammy Toney-Butler
Lost in a Sea of Despair?
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Show Notes Transcript

Have you lost all hope? Depressed, lonely, suicidal, hopeless, full of shame, guilt? Did you relapse? Are you in need of a Word of encouragement? 

Listen to this episode of Reflective Hour with Tammy Toney-Butler to find the pathway to peace and freedom from despair, addiction, loneliness, and depression. Hope exists, and Tammy has found healing in the aftermath of complex trauma left behind as a victim of child sex trafficking and the loss of a father to addiction and suicide. 

Navigate the darkness together and find the light. 

Hotline info for help can be found on the Reflective Spaces Ministry website. 

NOTE: 

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
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Please check out Tammy Toney-Butler's blog and prophetic healing ministry working directly with survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, childhood trauma, intimate partner violence, and more at www.reflectivespacesministry.com.

Good morning.  Welcome to Reflective Hour with Tammy Toney-Butler.  I'm your host today,  but we all know who the real host is: Christ. 

Holy Spirit, come.  Have Your way in this time that we have together.  May they see You,  the Light.  May they not see me.  This can only be about You,  the Redeemer,  the Comforter,  the Waymaker, the Light.

Holy Spirit. We breathe You in.  We breathe You in.  We worship You.

Guide us.  Let us have ears to hear and eyes to see.  Let us listen with our heart—the love song of our Creator.

Let us know the truth behind these words that are spoken.  Let us know that they come from You and only You. You are the Redeemer, the Advocate, the Great I Am, and we worship You.

We're so grateful today,  grateful for this beautiful sunny day,  grateful for the peace and protection that living under the Shadow and the Wing of the Almighty God gives us.

May we always have a heart full of gratitude in the middle of our circumstances?  I'm so grateful; grateful for the peace that You bring that surpasses all understanding.  Grateful for You setting me free and breaking every chain.  Grateful for the work that You are continuing to do in my life.  Grateful,  humbled, and in awe of You, Lord Jesus.

Abba Father,  my Friend,  come,  bring Your Glory.  Have Your way,  have Your way.

I was preparing for this today, and  I really wasn't understanding the direction it was going. Then I realized that I was trying to insert myself and flesh into the equation.  It can't be about me.  It can only be about Christ.

Oh, Holy Spirit,  as we drive, listen to this podcast, or watch it on YouTube,  may we see with a spiritual eye and have that ear to hear the Truth.  And let the Truth set us free,  break every chain;  break every lie ever spoken over us.  We rebuke any spirit that would try to come in and stop the Word from falling on fertile soil so that it can take root and grow into that Tree of Life, of hope.

That's what today is.  Today's a day of hope.  I know it's dark where you are.  We live in a dark world.  Darkness is everywhere.  We can choose to be bearers of the Light and dwell in the secret place, tucked in and protected under the Shadow of the Wing of the Almighty God and loved by a lover that will never leave us nor forsake us, a  true friend.

Just breathe in that peace because the Holy Spirit is with us. His presence is everywhere.

Let us begin.

How many of you have been betrayed by someone close to you?  A father,  a mother,  a boyfriend, a spouse, a friend. 

How many of you lost your way due to temptation or sin?  Maybe you said yes to doing something when you knew it was wrong or not the path for you.  Are you in a pit of despair right now?  Sinking under loneliness, depression,  guilt, shame, sorrow?

How many of you believe you are so broken and full of shame that you cannot even pray or turn to God because He's turned His back on you?  There is no way He would help you in your current storm. Not you, not a sinner.  You had conviction in your heart and knew something was wrong, yet you followed that path.  You gave in to that sin or that temptation.

Now, you are shackled by shame, regret, fear,  guilt, hopelessness. Depression. Loneliness. Despair.

 How do you find your way to freedom?  How do you do that?

In the Bible, the Lord led me to the story of Samson and Delilah in Judges 16.

When I looked at Judges 16 and Samson and Delilah, I remember Samson was seduced by a Philistine woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sarek. She betrayed the secret of his strength to the Philistines, who captured him and led him away in chains to Gaza. There he died.  His relatives buried him between Zora and Eschaton (Life Application Study Bible, New International Version).

Where is it in your life that you look back and see you were betrayed by someone you trusted?

Someone that you believed was a certain way and turned out another. Someone you love so deeply, so completely that you're lost without.  You can't find a way as the darkness in your soul resides in the empty hole left behind from where they once were.

How many of you are facing that storm today,  that sorrow, that grief?  How many of you maybe said something you regret or are afraid to say something you need to say,  afraid to set a boundary that you need to set?

How many of you fell for those lies or spoken words? They felt good then,  and your soul needed to hear them. But you were broken when you realized that a deceitful heart had led you astray. 

What are you to do now when you find yourself in the middle of a storm? 

I look to the Word of God to help me get out.  It can be our only guide.  We must never compromise the Truth of the Word of God. 

Jesus loved the sinners. He didn't condone the sin. He didn't like the sin.  We are not to partake in the sin.  But that doesn't mean He stops loving us because we sin.  We are to stretch out our hand, and He is waiting. He is always waiting.  Always. 

Holy Spirit, help me speak this the right way, always. 

Let's look at Judges.  We're going to start at Judges 16: 20-30.

20: Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

21: Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.

22: But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.


(What does that say?  When his hair was cut, he believed that's where his strength was,
and it said the Lord had left him. Was that just his perception,  that the Lord had left him?  He said his hair started to grow. I look at that and see hope).

The Death of Samson
23:  Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”

24: When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,

“Our god has delivered our enemy
    into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
    and multiplied our slain.”

25: While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars,

26: Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.”

27: Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.

28: Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

29: Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,
 
30: Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.


Samson thought all hope was lost and the Lord had truly left him.  But then, in his moment of need,  when he grabbed the temple to hold on to the pillars,  he actually held on to the Pillar of Truth, to God Almighty.  And he decided that he would trust once again.  And he called out. Let's not miss that.

Then Samson prayed to the Lord.  He called out,  Oh, sovereign Lord, remember me. Oh, God, please strengthen me just once more.  Please strengthen me just once more.

 
He prayed.  In the middle of a storm, in the middle of his doubt,  in the middle of believing,  because he had revealed a secret to Delilah, he fell for her temptation.

She wore him down because he kept coming to her and coming to her and coming to her. And finally, he just gave in,  which is what she wanted. 

How many of you keep getting attacked by those you once loved or by those in your inner circle who keep coming to you?

Keep wanting you to sacrifice for them, to compromise, to be tempted to turn away from God. 

How many of them have led you astray?

Maybe you sought love in the wrong place. Perhaps you lost your sobriety for a night,  did a line of coke,  took a pill,  snorted something, or grabbed a drink of alcohol for comfort.  And you feel such shame and guilt and conviction because you don't know how to get your way out of it,  how to get back on that righteous path or that path toward freedom, towards peace, and get out of that gutter that you're in.

Be like Samson, break every chain, let go and let God, trust  God,  repent of your sins. Say, Lord Jesus, forgive me,  Lord Jesus, forgive me.  I wandered. I wandered from you.  Maybe I had religion, and I didn't have a relationship.  Maybe I never truly was saved.

There were so many years that I had religion, and that I trusted religion. And one of my rapists when I was a child was sitting in the front row of the church. And I thought, how can God celebrate this abuser,  this rapist, and people of faith come up and shake his hand.  And yet I knew the truth because when we went home on that Sunday, I was going to return to being that sex slave as a child. It was hard to reconcile for a while.

Where was God when I hid in the bathroom and prayed for a deliverer out of Egypt?

Out of my pain,  my shame,  my guilt,  my fear.  I had such profound fear.  Where was God?  Then I realized, later on, He was there with me in the middle of the storm. But I couldn't call out to Him.

As an adult, I did.  I repented of all my sins. I said, wash me clean by the Blood of the Lamb. Forgive me, O God, and help me to forgive others.  I said, I surrender, Lord. I surrender my life to You. I surrender my victim to You. I surrender that little girl to You. I surrender all the sin, all the people I hurt, everything.

Wash me clean from it all, God.  I was so dirty, so broken,  so dirty and so broken,  yet,  He came to me.

He actually helped me be delivered from all of that.  He gave me the prayer to pray. Showed me how to find my way past the darkness and into His Marvelous Light.  I'm sold out for Jesus. I owe Him everything because I was dead like Samson.  Samson was now literally dead, but  I was walking around dead; I had such depression, loneliness, and despair.

I'd put a smile on my face and walk into work or wherever I needed to go,  feeling worthless inside.  It doesn't matter what you've done; repent of your sins, ask  Jesus to forgive you. Know that He is the son of God,  that He was raised from the dead to save us.  His work on the Cross saved us.  Sin has no hold on us now.

We have to repent, ask Him to forgive us, and say, Holy Spirit, come live inside of me.  Wash me clean.  Renew my heart. Renew my mind so that I look, hear, and speak like Christ, that they see You and not me.  Wash me clean. Forgive me for sinning. Forgive me of the thought of sin. Forgive me, forgive me. Repent, turn towards Him, and reach back out.

You will become fresh and renewed in mind, body, and spirit; The renewal of your mind will transform you as I was.  I struggled with a food addiction for years. I would cope by eating.  He set me free of all that.  I'm down 70-plus pounds and healthier than I've ever been.  I sit in a place of peace.

It does not matter what storm I faced; it does not matter what the world says or who's talking or saying what. Because all I care about is my Jesus.  I'm sold out for Jesus.  I love Him because He set me free of it all. He took the "icky," the weight of the trauma away, the despair, the loneliness, the hopelessness.

He removed it all.  And those of us who've been victimized,  And we say the "icky" or "it," we can't even define "it, " but we were one way, and then another after sin knocked at our door and after the devil came to our home and after we were violated, hurt,  let down, abused by those that were supposed to protect us.

We live in a dark world.  They failed us. God didn't fail us.

I chose to do things that separated me from Christ,  the sin. It has consequences,  but when you repent and turn, He is there when you seek freedom. When you choose life, choose hope.

Fight your way to victory.

Fight your way to victory.

Fight your way through school.

Fight your way through the challenges that you currently face.

Fight to be the Light and not compromise in a dark world.

Fight to bring hope to all those in your circle, all those you are called to serve. 

Fight. 

Never lose hope; never lose the fight. 

Christ is in us,  working through us. He was sent to redeem us,  coming again for His bride,  the true church.  Will you be ready? Is your lamp full?

Have you asked Him to forgive you of things? And help?  And to give you help to forgive others so that a tree of bitterness and unforgiveness doesn't branch forth from your heart and corrupt the True Vine.

It's so hard to walk in the Light in such a dark world where the world wants us to compromise, to culture,  to many things.

If you have fallen away and sinned,  Christ is ready, willing, and waiting to redeem you.

Call out to Him.  Seek His Truth.  Seek the freedom that God brings true freedom,  true release.  

Go to that AA meeting.  Go to church.  Attend a service. Worship, service.  Go where God's leading.  You may even go to the church on a day off and sit there.

You may sit in the parking lot because you can't even get the strength to go inside the building.

Go to a park, reach out to a suicide helpline, hotline for help if you need it. All those numbers can be found on the Reflective Spaces Ministry's website—hotline numbers.

I was in a dark, dark place of panic attacks, drinking a bottle of wine or more, washing Ambien down to get to sleep. 

I realized I was in trouble when I woke up one morning and had such a thirst for a drink for a beer.  Now, I wasn't sure.  I wasn't sure, you know, I was a nurse at that time, and I did work nights, and you know, it wasn't uncommon for me,  for the day to be my night,  but it woke me up, and I said, Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I'm in trouble. 

And I cried out to God for help when He led me to a bench where I bore my soul and laid down that little girl where all that stuff was attached. I  had to let her go so I could live.  And I had to let people leave my life that threatened my peace.  And it may not be anything they did, but I couldn't be around them at the time. Maybe I was triggered by them.

We don't wrestle or look at people as the enemy. Remember, wrestle against spirits that operate, and it's okay for us to set boundaries and goalposts and say, you know, I  can't be around you for a season because I'm trying to grow into who Christ has called me to be or into that person that I know I was always supposed to be. And I have to leave you behind.  You can't go where I'm going.  I don't even know the direction,  but I know enough that I must choose a different path this time.  I have to let go of those friends and that circle that is corrupting me and leading me to temptation.

And I need to choose the path that leads me besides still waters into peace, joy, happiness, and hope. 

There is hope.

Christ has not left you.  God has not forsaken you.  

Call out,  ask Him to help you, and help you with whatever storm you face.  

He will be there.  He's always been there.  I am not perfect.  I have sinned.  I could not even parent my daughter.  I'm not even sure where she is.  I made choices.  But I was a  teenage mom,  pregnant, back then when it wasn't okay to be a teenage mom.

(more accepted today with resources than many years ago).

I had to make choices based on survival—trauma responses. 

God washed me clean. Jesus washed me clean with His blood.  And I plead the Blood of Jesus all over you to wash you clean and to give you hope and strength.  

And I rebuke the spirit of depression. I rebuke it.  I break it off now and any spirit of infirmary. 

Christ came so you could live. He died on the Cross to carry it all.

We don't have to.  

Wherever you are,  wherever you are,  He's with you in that dark place.  

And I pray, oh I pray,  That if nothing else today, I could shine His Light into that dark spot to bring you hope.  

Follow the Light.  Follow the Light. 

That's today's episode of Reflective Hour.  

God bless you and keep you.  May His peace that surpasses all understanding surround you today.