Archive | August, 2012

Flying High

31 Aug

“I finally understand the difference between loving and pleasing, between making people happy and spreading seeds of joy ”

The stronghold I keep revisiting is the people pleaser in me. It is so natural to me to care what others think; to feel responsible for what others feel, desire, want. I am a “nice” person, afterall.

I gain such confidence from making someone happy.

There is a sense of confidence that we can feel or exhibit that is from our own ego. However we derive that confidence, when it isn’t from God, that feeling of value doesn’t last.

There is a peace that enters your heart when you rely on God for everything. When you walk this world with His purpose for your life in your mind, with His words on your lips, with His plan in your heart. It is a peace that requires only Him; filling your heart, filling your thoughts, that surpasses confidence, surpasses any attention, any recognition you will receive here. There is nothing worldly like it.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be so wise, so full of the Holy Spirit everyday that all strongholds, all temptation, were but a memory? Alas, I am just a weak sinner that is so loved anyways. He is amazing.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Shame On You

27 Aug

How He Loves Us, Oh…

“We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way that He loves us..”
~ by John Mark MacMillan

I had a conversation about shame tonight. God created so many thoughts in my head around that word. As I lay in bed, He shared scripture with me; key scripture from my studies or recent conversations. (I love when He does that)

Shame is not of God. Shame is of man, of the Devil. Walking in true faith means we carry no shame.

Think about Judah. He was a sinner amongst sinners. Yet, He is forgiven,released from his shame and his descendants become the most important people in the bible.

Humility, patience, trust, conscience, honor, love, forgiveness, mercy, grace; these are the words of God, these are the words of Faith. To have true faith, as the precious child of God, you entrust your life in His hands. You believe His promises and His words. Listen to His words.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20

God knows we will sin. He mapped our lives out before we were born. Our trials, our most difficult trials, will truly be our greatest blessing. To receive that blessing, we first must accept that we are worthy of the blessings. He loves us. He promises us this.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6 NIV

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

When you let go of self, you gain a deeper sense of being. A sense of value and preciousness. You are His prize and he is yours.

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words”. Romans 8:26

Transformed

24 Aug

“God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out. ”
Psalms 30:2-3 The Message

Have you experienced “hitting rock bottom?” The rock bottom of despair? I have.

God loved me so, and because He did, July 9,2010 I chose to go to church before I ended my pain.

The sermon was on gratitude. It was being there, in that moment, in the room I had slowly begun to know Him, with a heart so tired, I broke. There was nothing left of me. I had no purpose anymore. I couldn’t remember a time that I wasn’t taking care of someone; raising children, taking care of ailing parents, loving a husband, being a part of so much more than just me. Now, it was only me. I had my family, but I certainly didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I was so tired, lost and broken. Broken hearted, broken spirited, broken person.

God reached in and grabbed me that night, He closed a chapter of incredible pain, despair and fear. He healed me. Deep wounds were closed. It was the beginning of my new life with Christ; a new life with me as a whole person. I cried that night with my Pastor and his wife, like I have never cried before. I mourned so deep that loss, and we began the healing.

I woke the next morning filled with a joy that only God can explain. I had hope; an incredible, joyous hope that is within my heart every single day. I have certainly faltered, sinned, made mistakes, and had bad times since then, but the transformation was begun and my heart was changed. That unstoppable, undeniable joy has never left my heart since that day. I was filled to the brim with a love so amazing.

Over the years, I asked over and over for Him to fill me. The key difference was not that He wasn’t there, ready to show me, to fill me, but rather…. I stubbornly wasn’t able to receive all that He had to offer. From my devastation, from my pain, my despair, I was finally rid of all that stood in the way of my ability to fully receive Him.

Our pain, our suffering, our despair…can be our greatest blessing. From nothing can come everything.

“You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.”
Psalms 30:11-12 the Message

Nehemiah Everywhere

22 Aug

For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.~ Job 33:14

July 4, 2012

Dearest friend,
I wonder if you could help me decipher my dream. I went to the house. My ex was there, we talked. Alot. We loved each other so much it was apparent. He showed me improvements. I saw the grandkids and broke down sobbing, in the sand was Nehemiah 1 , not sure what it said, but it was stamped over and over in the sand. All around the house. I am still crying, it was so real, so full of emotion. Does it mean something or is it just a really sad dream? Letting go more and more.

~ I just don’t know the significance of Nehemiah 1.

July 4, 2012

God is not done with your connection with your ex. You are to pray for him, for his salvation, for what Satan has knocked down of his own walls and the destruction that came to him and his household. You wept as Nehemiah wept over his home. You felt a great love for your ex in your dream. That love is what you need to pray about. You need to pray for him like you pray for other people. You need to pray for his life, the life of the children and grandchildren. This was your people. You are to pray for God in the lives of your people. Nehemiah wept. You weep. The scripture was around his entire household. God still sees you as coming from that household. You are to pray for God’s restoration and it looks like the recognition of any part you had in the destruction of it along with him. To acknowledge it, which I believe you have. I know you have forgiven him, but now God wants you to pray blessings for him and them.For their lives to be back in His hands. For your people, your household, your family.
That’s the interpretation that came. I’m praying for you. I think God sees you strong enough to do this now with the kind of God-loving heart as Nehemiah.

This is a true correspondence (identities removed) between myself and a very wise friend. It has been a very difficult task, to pray blessings upon one that hurt me. Taking stock of our own wrongdoings, and repenting, is the first step. Forgiveness is the second. To pray blessings over the one that hurt you, is powerful and honestly, the most difficult journey I have ever begun. This is Agape Love and I am learning as I go.

Nehemiah 1:3-11 NLT

3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I said,

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’

10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.[b] Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”

Leap of Faith

21 Aug

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour (1908-1988)

I wasn’t sure if I was running away when I left Minnesota, I just felt that pull to go. The only sure thing was the obvious; I was leaving my hometown, my people, my safety net, my support, and it felt right.

I had now accepted the ending of the chapter I held on to so tightly, there was no reason to hang on to hope any longer. My divorce was to be final in a matter of days. The end. I was moving forward without my marriage. I knew it was time to find new purpose.

I begged God to guide my steps. I honestly had no idea what to look forward to, to pray for. I didn’t know where to begin. God answered my cry to Him to help me move forward. In a deep pull. A sweet little voice that said, “Grandma, come see me. I miss you.” As I weighed options, my stepdad had a heart attack in Florida. No more doubts, I dove into the deep end.

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

God lead me to obedience by love. God beckoned me to obey Him, to trust Him deeper by leaving my support. I had no fear in my decision to go, I trusted God and leapt.

This journey with God driving, is amazing. It has brought a healing, a hope and a joy in my life. He spoke, I listened. My grandson is a beam of light in my life and I am blessed by the time I have with him. Gratefully.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. Proverbs 3:5 The message

Missteps to Holiness

18 Aug

People will judge you from their heart, God will judge your heart. Be sure you are playing to the right audience ~me

We, as a church, did a study on the book “Counterfeit Gods”. Some chapters were so glaringly obvious to me how they applied to my walk. Other chapters were glaringly obvious how they applied to other people. Ha!

One such chapter was the idol of success. I was married to two different workaholic types, money, success driven, you know the type. Well, after reading that chapter, I decided, to the point of idolatry. I went to church that Sunday with less enthusiasm for my journey, but rather, looking for insight into those that this chapter actually applied to. At the very least, I would have fellowship.

God is so funny.

As Pastor Spencer began speaking on the idol of success, I realized it was all about popularity. The more he talked, the more I became uncomfortable. I was dumbfounded. Success includes caring about what others think of us. Our desire to please people. I do not care for being disliked in fact, it really bothers me. I thought being a likable, popular person was important. How is that an idol?

Idolatry is to value something or someone in a way that detracts from the love and trust we owe to God.If we are distracted by other things, pursuing other things more fervently than we pursue Him, then it is an act of theft from God. Convicted! Again!

We will get hurt when we put faith in people and not in God. When we care about being popular, important, liked, we put ourselves at risk to sell out, to not be true to our faithwalk.

Our journey here is to become Holy, not popular. God will never let us down. Ever.

In my letting go of this desire for people, I find myself feeling closer to God than ever before. You are never alone but you have to let go of the things that stand between you and Him.


“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Cor. 12:9 – 10

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” John 15:18-20 NIV

A Shield of Humor.

16 Aug

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.”~unknown ..

While there are many things to take very seriously about our Holy journey, there is a topic that requires much attention; humor!

A sense of humor is such an incredible gift from God. There is so much to find humorous in each of us; give me 10 minutes with you, I will find something humorous about you. I will laugh with you or at you, your call. Just kidding. Okay, not kidding, but, humor is essential in our walk with God.

I find humor in most situations and most people. I laugh at myself easily. I am a happy girl, with a happy heart. I have always had a sense of humor but I wasn’t always happy.

There is a gift in seeing the humor in our ups and downs,our mistakes, our fumbles and our hardships. When we laugh at ourselves, we take away any power the devil could ever have over us, in any situation.

Tonight, I shared with a friend that while I was going through tough times as a single mom, eons ago, I had a friend that started laughing at me when my power had been turned off. Within 10 seconds, she had me laughing instead of crying. That is a gift and that is love. The devil is in the worry. God is in the humor.

We all know people that are serious, solemn, striving for perfection. We are not meant to be perfect. We were designed to make and will make a mistake, feel foolish, be misunderstood, mistaken, do really silly things at times. Life is a gift. God intended for us to learn, to love, to be humble, and humbled, to bless, and to laugh. I believe that. If we have a sense of humor, imagine God’s sense of humor!

I am sort of funny and that is something I am very grateful for. It’s a blessing. I laugh; every single day, with God, with others, even alone.
Thats the way it should be, For, there is a time to laugh.

A Time for Everything

3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 3-8 NLT

Welcome home, beloved.

15 Aug

The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

I cannot count the number of times or ways throughout my life I have reached out to God, from childhood wishes and desires,the heartfelt cries of my suffering teen years; I found Him many times in my life.

I found a deep appreciation for Him during my first pregnancy.  I went into a deep awe of all He was creating in my body, it was amazing to me.

I was close to Him as I raised my small children. I turned away from that relationship during my divorce,  I am certain it was my shame and I felt hated by God. Surely I was condemned, I failed my children, my promises. I had my reasons, but God hates divorce and we all suffered terribly because of that decision. I was unworthy after all.

Over the next 20 plus years, I would desire that relationship. I longed for Him,  I needed Him.  I sought Him. But I never had that connection again. Nine months before my second husband left me, I got on my knees, sobbing and begged God for solid, christian friendships; friendships that would help me in my walk back to Him. I was seeking Him, and wholeness, without really understanding what I was asking.

As my second marriage was ending, I died a little. I was rejected, unwanted; all the fear of being unlovable, unworthy, were being validated.  But, He was bringing an army of loving women into my life to battle that belief. He brought women that uplifted me, fed my neglected soul, surrounded me and kept me safe while I mourned. I found a core group of women that is so beautiful, so Holy, so loving, gentle and connected. It was answered prayers. My prayer.

There are many key moments in my new life with Christ, but there a few that stand out; moments that gave me clarity, moments that changed me instantly.

A sermon on the Prodigal Son healed a part of me, swiftly and astoundingly.   The pastor pointed out that in the parable, the father ran to his son when he was still a long way out.  He was waiting. Waiting! Every moment that his son was gone, he was watching and waiting for his return. When he saw his son in the distance, he ran to him,  heart overflowing with the joy and love only a parent understands. That is our God. He is waiting for us. He loves us that much. We are that precious to Him. He waits, until we seek him, until we come home to Him. He takes us in as if we were sinless, perfection. In His eyes, we are. It is us that doubts that.

Humble yourself to know you are that worthy, that precious, that blessed. ~ Peace.

Luke 15:20-24 (NIV)

20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Running on Empty

12 Aug

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
~Tenth Avenue North

In my journey with Christ, He has shown me one very important lesson that I wish to share with you. It is so key, so singular in its importance, that I feel it is the one thing that stands between us and real joy.

In this society, we are taught that we deserve comfort, success, happiness. We are shown images of what happiness looks like, what “good enough” looks like. Bodies should be thin and toned. Cars, homes,name brand trinkets, the right politics,popularity, these will make you happy. We seek outside of ourselves, all the feelings we long for. Feelings of love, acceptance, happiness, value, appreciation. And still, there is such dissatisfaction all around us.

My heart hurts for those that are chasing happiness. I have been on that Gerbil wheel. When I crashed, I hit a bottom so low that just breathing was difficult. What I found in that gasping for air time, was peace. I lost my husband, my home, my future, my dreams, my plans, my hopes, my security, my pets, in one swift motion. My outside measures of happiness, gone. My children were grown and busy with their own lives. I was faced with me, just me. And God.

As I began to embrace God in that hour of need, there was nothing outside of myself to think about, to soothe me, to seek validation from, to blame. I was raw and facing God with a strong desire to die and a heart so full of feelings of hopelessness and unworthiness. I knew somewhere inside that I was completely at fault,unworthy. In the collapse of that deck of cards, I found the core, the center. I needed to believe that I was worth something, even in my broken state. Rejection was so raw and damaging because, I had placed all of my value with what others reflected. Not the reflection of my heart,outward. Not who I was inside, the precious daughter of God.

It was starting to sink in that we didn’t have to earn God’s love. A song came on the radio, the lyrics are above. It struck me like a ton of bricks. Why? Why are we seeking what is ours by promise? We don’t earn Gods love, we embrace it. We climb in. It never fades, never changes. It is the center from which all things come from.

Embracing that truth that God never stops loving us, never fails us, even as our hearts are broken, that His promises are ours, always, is the cornerstone from which we build our faith. Its the beginning and the end. From that comes the trust, the light, the hope, the peace, the joy. The joy is knowing that God is enough. To humbly say, I am enough for Him. Just as I am. And He is enough for me.
He filled me up when I wanted to die and never left me alone again. I can do all things with Christ. All things.

The surrender of seeking is the acceptance of promise. From that acceptance, we find joy. From that acceptance, we find peace.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him”. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)

By Design

11 Aug

“In time we can accept great loss if we have someone loving us through it. God sends friends and companions to love and support us.”~ Robert Schuller

Grief has a way of feeling insurmountable, while in retrospect, you were only really walking through pieces at a time.

Looking back over the past few years, I am able to see what I wasn’t able to see at the time. I see deep growth, I see the letting go of parts of me that didn’t serve me well, new growth that took its place and the reaching out. I see the friendships that didn’t make the journey and I see the friendships that came instead; Loving, God inspired friendships that kept me moving forward with God leading the way.

The words of my Sister in law, echo in my head, forever embedded in my heart. She hugged me tightly as I sobbed, she said ” I am not letting go until you’re okay”. Those words, that outpouring of hope and love profoundly impacted my growth. They were Godly words, love filled words. The compassion and love from such beautiful women and men,completely surrounded me, protected me, allowed me to heal and to grow. What I saw and what is and was evident, is God. Every turn, He was there, in that love. It was so deep, so unconditional, so determined, so inspiring and hopefilled.

I was put on this journey of deep learning. Deep growth. I made many mistakes along the way, each misstep another lesson. They were teaching moments and I learned. I sometimes refer to it as 2×4 training. It wasn’t easy but it was amazing. I love the people God has brought to my journey and I intend to be the blessing I was blessed with.

I am becoming the woman God intends me to be. It is humbling to know this. It is also so exciting. I have softened in the right ways and toughened up in the right ways. Each hurt, each joy, each frustation, each mistake, each annoyance. I learn. I grow.

I have embraced God’s Design in me.

Matthew 5:3-5 (MSG)
3″You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

4″You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

5″You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”