16 Jan The Spirit of Connection
I first met Victoria Sarvadi back in October of 2014 when a mutual friend introduced us. I had just finished helping Susie Jennings, the founder of Operation Care International, to write and edit her first book; 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles. She wanted me to meet the ministry founder of a growing outreach who was contemplating a book project, and she felt strongly that the Holy Spirit was impressing on her heart that I was the person for the job.
As the author of 30+ books, including the best selling Setting Boundaries series, I spent the majority of my time working alone on one book after another. At this time, Susie was one on a very short list of private clients the Lord had begun to bring to my life. And He used Susie (and her willingness to listen to the prompts of the Spirit) as a bridge that would connect me to a person—and ministry—that would influence my life in a completely unexpected way.
“Oh Allison, you are going to LOVE Victoria! She’s an amazing teacher and she really knows her Bible, plus, she is a Hebrew scholar!” Susie is a petite and passionate spitfire from the Philippines, and it was clear she had a deep respect and appreciation for this Christian woman who had a prophetic calling to teach about the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith. The more she described Victoria and her unique outreach, the more fascinating this woman sounded.
It turned out that Susie’s Spirit-filled intuition was right. During the 18+ months we worked on her memoir, Just a Little Girl, I came to understand why Susie felt so strongly called to connect Victoria and me—it was to build and strengthen several very important bridges—bridges that would turn out to be purposeful, powerful, and prophetic.
One of the first was the bridge between me and the Jewish Jesus.
As a Christian inspirational writer and speaker, my faith is very important to me. However, at the time I met Victoria, I was wrestling with the dynamics of denominational dogma—confused with how fragmented the body of believers had become. I was growing weary of the “business of church” and questioning just about everything I had once found comforting.
“Lord, please give me clarity of thought,” I often prayed.
He did one better—He gave me an incredible book project with a Spirit-filled client who was a passionate teacher with a Th.D. in Hebraic Studies. I had never given much thought to how far Christianity had strayed from the first-century faith of Jesus—who was, after all, Hebrew—and Jewish. But I was about to start a journey of discovery that would change my life.
The process of helping someone write their memoir requires the development of a life-history timeline, and it was in reliving the details of Victoria’s life that I began to see the miraculous progression of her faith, marriage, and ministry. As her story began to unfold on the pages, our conversations would weave in and out from past to present, but it was when the talk shifted to the prophetic that I began to view the story of my own life and the progression of my faith from a different perspective and through a very different lens.
As we worked on her memoir, I was given countless opportunities to learn more about Yeshua the Messiah in His Hebraic context and the Jewish roots of my Christian faith from both Victoria and Paul. It didn’t take long to see that the Sarvadi’s are conduits in the providential movement of God building bridges between Christians and the Jewish people.
Over time, the bridge that connected Victoria’s spiritual gifts and mine continued to grow—spanning more and more territory. When Just a Little Girl released in the summer of 2016, we had been working together for almost two years. With the publishing date on the horizon, Victoria hired me to help with her book release and with the development of a new outreach ministry, an endeavor that may be one of her most ambitious yet.
The Bethany Center in McKinney, Texas, has a mission to provide quality programs to educate, train, equip and empower the followers of Yeshua. The ultimate goal of this truly anointed ministry is to introduce the First-Century Messiah to those who desire to know Him. To illuminate the authentic traditions, the culture of the land and the people of Israel. Through the First Century Genesis project, the Sarvadi’s hope to bring a clearer understanding of the Hebrew language, its colorful idioms, and the actual words of Yeshua to those who seek to know the Messiah in His true context.
I have become one of those people. And my work at The Bethany Center has been some of the most gratifying in my entire career as a writer.
As a Hebraic theologian and passionate believer at the helm of an anointed ministry, Victoria is a prolific writer of Bible studies and contemporary teachings based on first-century faith. Her dynamic teachings have impacted countless lives and helped to strengthen the roots of their faith. She is a leader who supports my often out-of-the-box thinking, and I’ve had the ability to exercise my creative chops in ways I never imagined.
Together with her growing team, we have developed press releases, brochures, mission statements, staffing responsibilities, website content, forms and flyers, and this Kaleidoscope Bi-Monthly email newsletter. And as both the ministry team and outreach avenues grow, there are literally dozens of projects and programs in various stages of production at any given time. For her upcoming study trip to Israel, I’m writing a Tour Guide “memory book,” as well as audio and video scripts for the First Century Genesis project. We’re working on another book—a collection of Victoria’s Precious Gems teachings, and that’s just a portion of what is in the hopper. As a writer, I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime to be involved in so many creative writing, development, and editing projects, and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t thank and praise God for how He has worked in my life.
Because the truth is, my life hasn’t always felt this blessed. A fact that is often threaded within the text of my books on boundaries.
Which brings me to yet another connecting bridge—the one between my audience and Victoria’s. My readers come from many walks of life and denominations—an amazing group of people who have found their way to me primarily through our shared challenges in setting healthy boundaries. I’m excited to introduce them to VictoriaSarvadi.com and this Kaleidoscope newsletter.
Victoria and I have had many opportunities to talk about boundaries, because in addition to the work I’ve done for her over the past three years, I’ve also written two more books in my best selling series from Harvest House Publishers. The newest is Setting Boundaries with Negative Thoughts and Painful Memories – How to Stop Hoarding Your Hurts, and when it released last year, it didn’t take long to realize that I had struck a chord of commonality in the topic. It seemed a great many people could relate to being in bondage to memories from their past.
It was that book and the one I am currently working on about how to connect with troubled adult children that had Victoria and I talking often about the need for tough love and God-honoring boundaries. As last year came to an end, we were in a Bethany Center team meeting when Victoria presented me with yet another amazing opportunity.
“How would you like to write a column on boundaries for Kaleidoscope? I think it could be something helpful for our readers.”
I jumped at the chance, and Bridges and Boundaries was born.
In order to build strong bridges of connection with both God and the people He has brought into our lives, there are times when we must set healthy boundaries with things in our life that can often prohibit us from making those much-needed connections. I believe that as Christians, it is possible to build healthy connective bridges and protective boundaries in challenging personal relationships that honor God. It’s not always easy, and the process can be painful at times—particularly when past experiences have left lingering scars.
God knew what we would be up against in our twenty-first-century world —a world deeply entrenched in sin and sadness. A world in which the enemy has so skillfully woven his lies into the fabric of life that even the most faithful sometimes have difficulty separating fact from fiction, truth from the enemy’s deceit. Further complicating this reality, our memories can play tricks on us, our thoughts are not always fact, and—we need to learn that we don’t have to listen to the inner voices that want us to believe we’re less than who we really are.
God knew our greatest battle in these times would happen in the mind, and Scripture is filled with truths that will help us take victory over negative thoughts and painful memories. Nowhere is that clearer than in 2 Corinthians 10:5 where Paul wrote, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
I survived early-childhood abuse, extreme domestic violence as a teen-age wife, and a host of traumatic experiences over the years—and statistics show I’m not alone. Making sense of my violated physical boundaries was hard, but making sense of my violated psychological boundaries has been much harder.
While my relationship with the Lord has brought healing and hope to my life, it’s impossible to deny that many of my traumatic life experiences have left lasting impressions on my heart and imprints of painful memories on my brain. These imprints haven’t been easy to erase. In fact, some may never completely go away, and with God’s help, I’m learning how to live with that.
For many of us, our painful memories and our negative thinking began in childhood. For others, these were acquired over time. We’ve been abandoned, abused, neglected, molested, bullied, and bruised. We were underachievers or overachievers, trying to fit in or never fitting in. We’ve struggled with issues of inferiority, insecurity, and identity. We’ve made choices we’re ashamed of and mistakes we regret. We’ve lost parents, siblings, spouses, and children to death or self-destruction. We’ve suffered the devastation of divorce. We’ve been betrayed and bewildered by people we trusted. We’ve had wayward children, grandchildren, and siblings. And we’ve fought depression, anxiety, disabilities, and a host of mental health and emotional issues.
And these are just some of the things that leave painful imprints on our lives—imprints that can forever alter the way we see our world, whether or not we know it, whether or not we admit it. By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have collected a suffocating amount of toxic emotional trash.
In the Bible, God says, “I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment” (Exodus 6:6 NLT). For many of us, Egypt is the gray matter in our heads, and we are enslaved to our thoughts and memories.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can learn how to set healthy boundaries and nurture a mind/body/spirit connection that allows us to walk in renewed faith, hope, and victory. This connection begins with six steps that—with God’s grace and mercy—can change your life.
In coming installments of Bridges and Boundaries I’m going to introduce you to the Six Steps to SANITY and how to call upon these steps in situations and circumstances that threaten your peace, rob you of joy, and keep you from being all that God intends for you to be.
The “S” step is to STOP.
Stop repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. Stop hoarding your hurts. Stop settling for less. Stop whatever attitudes and behavior are keeping you from walking in God’s divine plan and purpose for your life. I get it—sometimes life isn’t easy. However, with a firm foundation in the One who created us, I believe we can acquire tools that can strengthen our faith, protect our thoughts, guard our heart, and bring us freedom from the bondage of whatever is troubling us.
And I believe that together we can build the connecting Bridges and Boundaries that will bring us into right relationships with God, with others in our lives, and even with ourselves.
Until we meet again, to God be the glory for the great things He has done!
To find out more about Allison and her extensive body of work, you can contact her at any of the locations listed below.
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