Archive | October, 2017

Grief Support

30 Oct

“Please listen to my heart’s cry for I am low and in desperate need of you!” Psalm 142:6a

I met with a grief counselor today. I finally realized I needed to sort some things out. I don’t know why I still get legalistic and hard on myself. I have this bar of excellence I hold myself to and when I don’t reach it, I feel like I have failed completely. He helped me see that my faith and grief were walking together, not against one another.

There is counseling, and there is faith, and then there is grief counseling. I found it to be such release. I am suffering. I am processing and also sure of the simple fact that this will pass but right now, it is pretty rough

Grief takes a toll on us. We can get so lost within the trauma of it all.  I feel this weight of expectation on me, to be so strong and joyful in trial… Isn’t that what James 1 says? People are watching us as Christian’s, right? To see if it’s all for real or not.

I thought that was the needed response, to be okay, frankly I am not;  To be strong and assured, I am not. People needed to see me to be strong in my faith walk, to remain upbeat. This is the truth, this is transparency; Though my faith remains solid and my hope is still with Him and I trust Him fully with this journey, this has just been a bit too much for me to keep smiling through. The cards came tumbling down this weekend.

I need my God, my savior so much. My most necessary grief support! This, this, is the precious, precious promise part. He hears me, he draws nearer to me.

When I finally dropped the weight from my shoulders, when it all came toppling down yesterday, He caught me. He said ‘rest’.  “He restores my soul” Psalm 23:3a.  And then He provided the unplanned opportunity to sit with a grief counselor. My blessing.

There is a release and a relief when we can finally set it all down and say, it’s too much for me. To tell another person that it is too much. For them to say “wow, that is just too much” , validating your turmoil. Reassuring you that you aren’t weak, you aren’t failing, you aren’t just complaining.

There is such powerful reason I share my journey including the reality of suffering. We need to know we aren’t alone here, that God is here and other people journey through trials too. He brought us people to share that burden with.

The truth is that we all suffer and we suffer whether we share the burden or keep it hidden. But… when we hide our pain away from others, it begins to seep out. Maybe it’s physical illness, depression or maybe it’s anger or bitterness, or we become less tolerant, less loving. Satan loves to see us isolate our pain so he can bring us lower. He wants nothing more than to separate us from other people, fellowship, and our relationship with God.

He heard my cry and rescued me. He brought me support.  I am God’s girl, the “apple of His eye”. He promised me in Isaiah 54 and Philippian 1:6.  Even when my heart is weary, He will never, ever stop loving me or rescuing me.

Humility is really difficult but so necessary for clarity , true peace and true relationship with Him.  One thing I know for certain, life is really painful at times.  The life in our head, never really is the life we live. It is a series of bumps and sorrows, but with God as our shelter, there is a hope for a future that is secured.

 

From Tenth Avenue North’s “I Have This Hope”

“As I walk this great unknown

Questions come and questions go

Was there purpose for the pain?

Did I cry these tears in vain.

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and you won’t let go. “

 

Amen. Thank you, Father.

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Blessed Lessons

22 Oct

As we journey through our lives, we will find ourselves either between trials or smack dab in the middle of one.  We can’t stop trials from happening, nor can we “snap out of it” when the very pain we feel is exactly what is meant to bring us to our knees, closer to Him.

Coming out from under darkness, from unraveling the lies, I can get very caught up in the why’s and the how’s and the what is the matter with me?  I wonder when I stopped listening to God, stopped hearing Him.  [The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (psalm 111:10) the fear of man is the beginning of folly]-Jen Wilken

When we think in terms of “our” decisions, “our” consequences, “our” pain, “our” journey,  we fool ourselves thinking we could actually stop the tide from rising.  How did I let this happen?

A friend quoted this to me yesterday. She said “ If we knew in advance, God’s plan for our lives, we would pray to be exactly where we are at, right now”.

Would I really? I pondered that question and even dreamed about it. I know the answer to most certainly to be yes. I just don’t want to suffer, none of us want to suffer.

The enemy will lie, cheat and steal to gain his footing.  “The Lion is most handsome when he is hunting for food”-Rumi

He is the one that goes before me, behind me and nothing, nothing comes to us that didn’t go through His hands.  When peace is not mine, when the storm is brewing, He whispers “Come” (Matthew 14:23)

I am grateful for Him. For all He is and does, even when I don’t see it at the time.

The truth is: When I feel alone, He brings me someone who is alone too, to share the journey together. When my enemies lie about me, He brings me truth and reminds me of all that He is and who I am in Him. When I get lost in fears , He reminds me  He is the creator of all things.

Today, I am grateful for friends that bear with my crazy long enough for me to shut out the lies of satan and help me to hear my beloved Father’s voice again.

Today, I am grateful for this loving heart he put inside of me.  I am grateful for the truth:  This loving heart that without seeking wisdom, without discernment, was so easily misled. Grateful that  in the end, this is truly a gift from God. This heart He placed in me, was able to share the broken journey of a friend.  “Blessed to be a blessing”, we are meant to share our journey; Meant to carry the heavy bucket of trial together.  (Proverbs 11:25-31 and 2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

Today I am grateful for a God that has this difficult journey all mapped out regardless of how much I get in the way, for loving me even in my wrecked completeness. Grateful that when I bring to Him my bad decisions, my unholy thoughts, my wrong thinking, my lack of faith,my dishonesty, my yuck, He loves me anyways. Always brushing me off and putting me right back on His pathway.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:2 KJV

Right Place, Right Time

18 Oct

This afternoon is just one of many examples in my life of God’s perfect timing bumping up against my ego.

I was busy doing what I do well. I was getting things done. I was on a roll, “in the zone” so to speak. I still had a lot to finish and then…I had an interruption to that rhythm. Truth is, I was kind of put out by it.  To make me sound even worse, it was to meet with a family to discuss end of life options.  Ugh.
I  had to stop what I was doing, alter my plans, only to arrive at bedside to find a nurse has already joined the family.  I was not needed,after all.

Well, as you can imagine, that went over super well in my spirit. Outwardly, I had a smile on my face as I typed the finding in an email, with emphasis.

I, in my “must get back on track”, so important,  hurrying back to my car to get on with my day, nearly passed by an open door; my next interruption.

She only said “hello Beckie”. I almost just said hello, but backed up and stopped to chat for just a moment. I don’t know why, but I truly felt pulled back to the door. As I stood there, I felt the prompting to really be there, to be completely present. It took a moment for me to hear Him tell me to listen. As the chit chat turned to a heart talk, I realized God tangibly had moved into the room and we were sharing a very important discussion. My being there, to listen, to hear her and to pray with her, was an absolute divine appointment. I know it blessed her, but I cannot tell you how much it blessed me.

I was so grateful and humbled. Believe me when I tell you, I had to fall a good ways, in that moment, to hit my knees in awe of Him.  (Dang!  I really started this day so strong in Him!)

The truth is, we all get busy, we all have interuptions. We get rushed and interruptions do frustrate us in our hurried days. We do tend to take ourselves, and our time, way too seriously.

But, when God says stop, when He says, “feed my sheep”, He will put you there, even if you go kicking and screaming.

Much like my Jonah study, He will make sure you obey, especially when it isn’t about you. Now the choice you have is to do it right away, or from the belly of a big fish.

Happily, I listened. Happily, I was there to hear the pouring out of a heart in need.

Thank you, God for being so wise, so right and so perfect in your plans. One day, I hope I learn that this huge, amazing, wonderful, blessed life isn’t really coordinated by me and most certainly isn’t really about me at all!

  Remember what it says:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
    as Israel did when they rebelled.”

Hebrews 3:15

Filling Holes

17 Oct

There was a time in my walk that I found great joy and deep fulfillment in my one on one relationship with Christ. I loved my alone time with Him. I was also surrounded with constant activity and demands of my time and attention. He was my solace, my retreat.   He wasn’t my first and most, He was my refuge. He instructs us to make Him our firm foundation, not just our  ‘go to’ for peace.

He calls us deeper and we tend to put more energy, more weight in the tangible: Leaning on friends in hard times and trusting Him from a distance. Like the Wizard (Oz)  behind the curtain.

I have just walked through a season of loneliness.  I am reminded that Jesus wants the firsts and the most of us. He tells us over and over that we are not alone. Yet…we are all afraid of being alone. We seek friendship, we seek love, we occupy our spaces of alone times. We focus on our kids or keep the television on as a distraction.

Learning to enjoy Him, to lean into Him first, truly is the foundation of faith- removing all idols and just be still with Him. He wants to sit with you one on one before anyone else pulls up a chair.  No distractions, no other loves before Him, no busy life. He wants to be that call on the drive home.

When life changes and you find yourself alone, as well as lonely; Trust Him.

Commune with just Him. Let Him show you the deep content of relationship with Him. Over time He will bring your people to you – the right people will show up at the right time.

In His infinite wisdom, He has kept me to himself until I finally stopped hearing the silence and began to hear Him. Feel Him again.

Until being alone with Jesus is enough, more than enough – even a full room won’t fill the ache, the hole of loneliness we feel and strive to satisfy. So, turn off the world -begin to speak to Him of your day, your thoughts. Join Him. He is waiting for you.

 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”‭‭John‬ ‭14:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬                 

““If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”Matthew‬ ‭10:38-39‬ ‭MSG

“I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:18-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.””‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Call Me Peter 

11 Oct

I am such a Peter in my walk. I love Him so much and long for that full surrender, full trust. Like Peter, I am obedient, I DO get out of the boat, but like Peter, I sink. Every now and then I have a night where I wake around 3 am and can’t return to sleep. In those quiet hours, He is there with me. From the minute I wake, waiting for me. As I climb into His word, to work out whatever thoughts, ideas or emotions I need to work out, He is there. 

This night was no different. As I lay there thinking about my brokenness, my aloneness, my broken marriage, about my response to all that was thrown at me, about God and His desire for my life, about healing; I have questions… So many questions. My mind strives to put this puzzle together.

What is the purpose, what outcome do I expect? What is God’s desire for my path? 

In the middle of the night, I am vulnerable, exposed. Satan attempts to capitalize on this time. I seem to always come up with a doubt or a fear. It takes The Word and an intentional shift to allow God to speak to my heart instead. 

Tonight I realized, I need Grace, desperately. 

Grace is so relational. I give it far easier than I apply it to myself. Logically, I understand the cross and what it means. and I know that it applies to me, yet I keep it at a distance. I share this part of the Gospel, yet I fall short of it.

Being a perfectionist is self-defeating. I understand that I can never achieve perfection, never arrive at good enough, without grace, but it is for this exact reason, Grace was completely lost on me. 

Jesus is showing me that Grace has nothing to do with my lovability, perfection or my ability to earn it. Grace is a gift, from Him, the only Perfect One, for me, one of all imperfect people. Trusting in this means I surrender my whole heart, to the one that never has and never will harm me. I accept that I am loved by my Father, that Jesus died for me, just as I am, that God has pursued me in a way no man ever can live up to, that He loves me. Accepting that, logically, is joy in my heart…Oh but to trust that, means I let go of the self-protective, abused, injured, broken heart that has such a hard time letting go and letting God’s Grace replace it. It means I trust fully. And that frightens me. 
To surrender to Him as to make Him the head of my life, to accept Christ’s death as my salvation, this is done. But to accept the full on Grace is a leap of faith like no other I have taken so far. 
Grace: This is the answer. This is the path to holiness and joy. This is the truth that will set us free. This is the chasm between us and Him. So worth it. 
Ephesians 1:2-10(AMP)
2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 [a]Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, 4 just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will— 6 to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ]. 7 In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight] 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, 10 with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages]—to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth.