The Illusion of Self Esteem

i-love-myselfRecently, I saw a picture with a quote from a well-known Christian author and speaker.

Paraphrasing the quote, it said words to the effect of “being sure to speak more sweetly to oneself”. I must say that I respectfully disagree. Now I am not saying that you should berate yourself unless of course you feel as though you deserve it, and that is how you keep  yourself in “check”. Just kidding.

No but, I am going to illustrate how most people get too wrapped up in self-esteem. Personally, I do not believe in “self” esteem. I believe in being confident in who God is molding me to be.

To be made more into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  You see, I believe that our identity should be in Christ alone therefore there is no need for the “self” in esteem.

Besides, doesn’t God’s word say to esteem others higher than oneself? Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”(NKJV)

Hmmm… so where does self-esteem fit in there and mesh with God’s word? If anyone has an argument for that I would love to read it.

Often times I hear parents say that their children suffer from low or bad self-esteem and that they are reading such and such book, following such and such speaker, author or psychologist. Some parents are spending scads of money on therapy all to help their children have a better self-image or self-esteem.  self_esteem_pills

I understand that parents want their children to have a healthy image, be confident, productive members of society and that is all fine and good but, when the focus on self takes over, that is where the problem lies. I think that by and large, as Christian parents, of course, we try to do what we think is best but, are we truly instilling the word of God in our young ones from early on?

Are we truly investing the time to do a family bible study? Do we quote and use scripture appropriately to correct, encourage and strengthen our families? I know that sometimes I do a poor job of it and work and pray hard to do better all the time.

One thing that gets in the way of family time or time with God is the media.

Television, video games and the Internet… are all as I call them, “time stealers”. They all stealthily and incrementally steal chunks of time from our lives. They lull us to sleep and plant the seeds of wordly ideas in place of Godly ones.

There is a children’s song sung in Sunday schools everywhere that goes something like, “Be careful little eyes what you see, careful little ears what you hear”… Well, I have news for you, being careful with those things should never cease being important no matter how old you are.  God’s word also admonishes to guard our hearts and minds.

We can only discern what God’s ideas for our lives are if we take the time needed with Him in His word and listen for His still small voice. The world is noisy, the world’s voice and ideas about who you should be and what you should be eating, wearing, thinking and doing are easily heard. They fill our every sense, just about every minute of every day.

God’s voice is quiet, gentle, patient and loving. God requires us to be still, be quiet, to be in His word to know His character and discern the plans that He has for us. His plans are far better than anything we can conceive of for ourselves and are most certainly better than anything this dying world has to offer.

So whose voice will you listen to? The voice that says, that you have to consider yourself better? Or will you listen to the voice that spoke everything into being and tells us to esteem one another higher than yourself?

I truly hope that this article has encouraged you and blessed you this day.

Blessings in Christ Jesus,

Patti Cianflone

The Lord’s Lead Line

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Help Bring Muchacha Grande To Her Forever Home

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UPDATE!  A race horse trainer friend of mine has offered to pick up and deliver Muchacha to us in the next couple of weeks!
What a huge blessing! We are so very grateful to her! You’re an angel Mary Alice Caesar Pattershall x0x0x We will post all about Muchacha once she arrives at our barn!

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Hello All,

The Lord has put this horse on our hearts to rescue and bring aboard to our ministry. She will given to us on a free trial basis and after that her adoption fee is very low. We are fund raising for transportation costs to bring her from her rescue to her forever home with us.

Here are the links to donate and her story below. http://www.gofundme.com/HelpBringRescueHorseHome

OR  http://thelordsleadline.chipin.com/transport-costs-for-rescue-horse

MUCHACHA’s STORY 

Muchacha Grande was in a trailer accident, sold to slaughter, rescued and now has found a forever home after over a year of waiting. The only thing standing in the way is cost of transporting her to her new home! Can you help? ANY Amount is appreciated!

 The route would be from Airville, PA. to Quakertown PA. About a 2 hour trip one way. Thus the high quote amount ~ Thank you for any help! God Bless!
Here is the horse’s story – she has been waiting over a year for her forever home: [Scroll Down To Muchacha Grande]
http://www.omegahorserescue.com/adoption.shtml

Muchacha Grande

Age: 17
Thoroughbred
Mare
15.2 handsMuchacha, as we fondly call her, is one very sweet lady. We were told that she was involved in a horse trailer accident a few days before she was sold for slaughter. We found her in the meat pen with a look of not caring if she lived another day or died. She was very thin and had many wounds and abrasions all over her body. A few short weeks with us and she is a totally different horse. She loves attention, getting treats and grooming. You can do just about anything to her. Super companion with other other horses, gets along with both mares and geldings. She has had training under saddle and appears to know her job. We would recommend a low level intermediate rider or above. She would make a very nice family horse for light pleasure or maybe even a fun show here or there.
We hope to have her home with us by August 1st. Any amount donated towards this cause, no matter how small is appreciated and a blessing to us!
Thank you & God Bless!
Patti and all of The Lord’s Lead Line Family
x0x0x

Steve’s Story

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The above verse is the basis of our ministry to the families who love the LORD Jesus Christ. To heal the relationships forgive the past overcome the obstacles and seek victory through the hope that is only provided by our LORD.

Inside the body of Christ there are many abused, neglected, bullied and at-risk youth. Marriages that are in turmoil, and relationships between parents and kids that need to be healed. Through God’s word, and through the amazing horses He has created, we seek to be used by God to start the healing process that is so desperately needed.

My wife has already told you from her perspective of why she was called to do this. So I only think it fair to let you know why I am as well. For many years, as a child, I was bullied by those at school, in my own family and even by the church.  I also suffered debilitating allergies and asthma that isolated me even more from others even when I was not being bullied.

All of this caused me to walk away from God.

I began to live a life that was filled with self-gratification. I sought those who would accept me even if it harmed me and my future. No longer did God matter and the sheer mention of the existence of a God, that I felt had wronged me and even thought hated me for allowing all that I went through in my life angered me. 

Those feelings and a sense of isolation followed me into my marriage. It not only sought to destroy me, but also my wife and eventually our children.

Again I fully blamed God for all of this. Yet it is through my oldest child who was 4 years old at the time, that the Lord chose to reveal Himself through her and call me as one of His own.  At that time, things were the worst for my family that they had ever been. Divorce was most assured. Losing all that I said that I held dear, was going to happen.  I was brought to the end of myself. I was crying in the bedroom when my daughter came to me wrapped her arms around me and said, “God is going to make everything okay!” It was that sentence, which if it had been spoken by anyone else, that person would have met with my full wrath. But coming from this precious little one that I was about to lose ,changed everything.

In an instant I knew she was right. It was then the LORD started to show me why I had been allowed to go through what I had been through in my life , why I was still standing and how He was there with me.

 

The LORD, in a very short time healed my marriage, my relationship with my child,  many of my wounds, and allowed me to overcome many obstacles.  Using the experiences that God has brought us through, and gave us victory over, we will serve His children. This is the mission of The Lord’s Lead Line. To God Be All The Glory!

Stephen Cianflone

Do You Get it?

I am 44 years old now and just decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.

How many of you are with me? OK put your hands down 🙂 I can’t see them anyway. But, a vast majority of you probably either physically or mentally just shook your head in agreement right? yep thought so.. I know, I’m good.. *smile*

Anyway, why the heck does it take so many twists and turns in life to finally “get it”?

THAT IS IF WE EVER GET IT... Some sadly, never do….

Well, after much pondering and soul searching. I have come to one conclusion. We cannot decide because we are too busy being busy! I mean, think about it. From the time we enter kindergarten – well.. now it’s pre-school! That means school before school! what?!…

We’re too busy figuring out how to go to school, how to fit in when we get there, completing tasks set forth by others, finishing school, find a job, make a living, pay for school, find a spouse….. we’re always busy! Mostly about what others want us to do…

We’re hardly ever resting. Resting in what God has planned for your life.

My husband and I are finally resting. No we’re not unemployed or beach bums somewhere, nor are we back packing across the Himilayas. What we ARE doing, is we are heeding God’s calling on our lives to start this ministry for Him. To help care for and nurture and heal His glorious equines and those whom He calls His children. For His purposes and glory.

Currently, my husband is still working and getting recognition for good work at work. He even recently received a raise and promotion.  But, he realizes that man’s praise and goals are empty. He does the right thing because it is what God would have Him do. He loves the Lord and so do I. We are finally getting “it”. To live for Him and what He has called us to do with the lives He has blessed us with.

Do you have a calling on your life? Are you currently busy about other people’s work and goals? If so, I challenge you to evaluate where you are. To start, just sit still and be quiet. Listen to His still small voice and pray. Pray about what blessings God would have for you if you just stop being busy and be still.

My husband leads us in a home study of the bible on a regular basis. We are in my favorite book. Ecclesiastes. The Lord had me in this book for two years until I finally “got it”. This verse in particular really struck me..

Ecclesiastes 3:14

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.

OK take that first line. Whoa.. “Whatever God does shall be forever”

Yep it’s true! Simple example “old as dirt” check.. ok dirt is forever 🙂

Nothing can be added to it. – Can you make what God made better? Umm the answer is no. Staying with the dirt example, here is a favorite joke of mine.

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God.

So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.”

God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man making contest.” To which the scientist replied, “OK, great!”

But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”

The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!”

Ha! Simple truth.. right there. Something we walk on every day. God made for us to plant in, play in, make houses out of, heal bee stings, throw at your little brother.. uh.. scratch that last one…. *grin*

And nothing taken from it. – Self explanatory 🙂

God does it, that men should fear before Him. – God’s word says that the beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD.

Anyway, you see? God took care of it all. He owns it all, made it all to bless us. His children.

Now I am not advocating quitting your job, eating just beans, making your own clothes out of animal hides and wearing tissue boxes on your feet. No, I am simply asking you, challenging you to sit still and ask yourself and God, “Is this what I am called to do with my life?” If you’re not sure, then seek hard after what it is that you ARE called to do.

You my friend, are missing out on huge blessings not living for Him! I know that you’ll figure it out in time just like we did. Whenever I prayed, I prayed specifically and told God (like He didn’t know already) that I’m a little thick and a lot hard of hearing Lord, so could you make your plan reallllyy clear?! So I don’t mistake it for my own selfish nature and go down the wrong path? OK Thanks.

Then I would get a “sign” something someone said, a divine appointment, a word in the Bible.. then I would be like Gideon and ask God for more and more signs. Finally God gave me the ultimate sign. He put so many people in my life to help kick start this ministry all at once, that there was no denying that YES. This IS what He wants for my family’s life!

So with that, I will end my little story and remember, be still, pray, seek, be still, pray, seek. I’ll be praying that you “get it” too!

All the best & God Bless!

Patti

Waiting on the Lord and Lady Pony’s Story

It seems like yesterday that my husband and I spoke about starting this ministry with horses & children.

In reality, it has been about 11 years since that idea was planted in our hearts by the Lord. This series of articles is being written for two purposes.

1. To give you a little history of our journey with the horses specifically and tell you their stories individually.

2. To thank the people that have prayed for us, helped us start to network with families and given financial and spiritual support.

Part 1 – The Horses

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Pogo (Left) & Lady (Right) Grazing

Lady Pony’s Story

I was born with a defect of sorts, a hole in my heart, a hole not in the literal sense, but a hole in the shape of a horse. From the time I was born, I loved all horses. I was privileged enough to fill that hole for a time when I was twelve years old. I was able to rescue and own a horse through high school and kept him at a barn in Northeast Philadelphia. Fast forward many years, now with a twelve year old of my own. One 4th of July weekend, I decided to take the family to visit the old barn then go for a family picnic in a park. It was during this visit that an old ex-stable mate’s daughter pulled me aside and asked if my daughter would be interested in taking care of and riding a pony that she and her mom had recently rescued from the New Holland Auction.

This pony had a three month old foal by her side and was blind in one eye. She was taking care of and training the foal but, they wanted someone to give some TLC to the momma as well. I had no idea what to think, say, or do. Our intent was to come for a quick visit, say hello how’s it going after all these years, pet a few horses and then head on to the park for our picnic and fireworks not get into commitments of caring for a pony.

We were told that she was somewhat shy of people and was purchased for this ex-stable mate’s niece who wanted no parts of the pony. My daughter entered the pony’s stall and it was love at first sight for both of them. Oh great! (Insert best sarcastic voice here).

Well, how could I refuse? They were not asking for any money, just help with some stalls in exchange for helping to care for and ride this pony. Sensations of the deep, hot ache through the once empty horse shaped hole in my heart shuddered through my body. I knew that God must have arranged this meeting so I prayed that He would show me what to say and do. Well, we agreed. It was not long before Lady (previously known as Cloud) became my daughter’s best and dearest friend.

My husband was Mr. Mom at the time and we homeschooled our daughter (another story for another time). So it was that they faithfully went to the barn daily to muck stalls and work with Lady, get her more acclimated to being handled, groomed, saddled, ridden etc.

Since I was the one with the horse training experience, I would give my husband and daughter some tips and they would implement them into Lady’s daily program. Hubby came up with some good techniques of his own as well! Soon Lady was pretty “bombproof” – in horse people lingo that means that nothing much bothered or scared her.

After several years of being at the barn faithfully and helping out where we could, chores, stalls, laying concrete, fixing fences, installing fence posts etc. for some reason, our relationship was starting to decline with the woman who had offered this pony to us so freely. It occurred to me that if we were ever asked to leave, that this pony that was so near and dear to all of us was in fact, not technically ours.

I prayed that the Lord would make a way for this woman to offer us the pony and, or that He would soften her heart towards us. Well the time came when I sensed that she was getting ready to sell a few horses. In my heart I knew that Lady was one of them. I prayed and then asked her how much she wanted for Lady.

She said $400.00 well, at the time we were on a very tight budget. My husband drives to client’s offices to repair machines and our car had just died. We had to buy a relatively new one that would be reliable and large enough for my husband to carry his equipment, parts and tools in. Needless to say, this put a huge dent into our cash flow.

Knowing there was no way we could afford to buy the pony on our own. I prayed again that the Lord would make a way. He put on my heart to ask my friends to help out via Facebook. Within 24 hours we had exactly enough money to purchase Lady! God is so good and my friends are so kind and generous! I was moved to tears! My daughters and I danced around the living room!

Then, as suspected, a few weeks later, we were asked to leave. I still have no idea why, or what happened with the relationship but, am so thankful that the Lord allowed for her heart to be soft enough to allow us to buy Lady from her.

Now Lady is an integral part of our ministry with these wonderful children and their families! So you see God is faithful no matter what things appear to be on the surface. Our ministry’s verse is Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We have experienced this verse over and over again in our lives in real and mighty ways! God is always making beauty from ashes over and over again. He even uses our own mistakes and short comings to bless us for His good intents and purposes. How awesome is that?!

Just think of it! If we had continued to just be at that other barn, day to day, happy & content with just helping out for the privilege of riding and working with Lady, we would never have had that “shove” to get our own place and start this ministry that we have been praying about for so very long!

For more background on that, see our about page here. http://www.thelordsleadline.com/about

Until Next Time, Thanks so much for reading & God Bless!

Patti Cianflone

President and Co-Founder of The Lord’s Lead Line (Pending Non-Profit 501(c)(3) status.