Archive | June, 2018

Valuable Lessons

16 Jun

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT

I lead a study for women. I started this group for women walking alone from divorce, widowhood or never been married, but this summer, God opened this up for all women. It happened so naturally, it could only be Him.  When that happens, there is a magic that takes place, a blessing that comes because He placed certain people together.

Grief is grief, so perfectly shared last night, it isn’t just loss of loved ones, or marriages, but we can grieve our health, or anything we perceive as a loss. We all lose over time, things we value. A friend just lost her home due to fire, a family member just lost their job.

As I prayed this morning, read my bible and thought of our conversations about control, fear and loss, it dawned on me that the root for fear in grief is that we don’t see ourselves or our lives the way God sees us. Yes, we naturally mourn deeply when our life changes, when there is loss. Missing someone or the familiar or what we have had before is natural.

Where we get stuck in loss is when we think whatever we lost, defined us.We fear being nothing without that which we think defined us. Having made us valuable, and losing made us nothing.

I revisited Eve and found this truth in Genesis 3:6. “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.”  The snake was able to get to Eve because she wanted to have more. She wanted to do more. She wanted to  know more and mostly, she wanted to BE more. She wasn’t enough.

Somewhere inside us all, there is the fear that we are not enough. It comes alive when we go through our trials, when we are weakened. We become weak in our sorrow, or health issues, our sleep deprivation, our hunger. There are many ways our fears can begin to play havoc with the truth. We begin to compare and fall short.

God already displayed the grandeur and value of us when He created us. We are beyond valuable to him. He tells us over and over, in many ways.  When He created us in His image He didn’t make any mistakes. He made man in His image. Strong and sturdy. He created women in His image as well, though very different from men. He gave one word to name our hearts and it is only used to describe one other heart. HIS. He numbered the hair on our head!

He tells us that He thinks of us more than the grains of sand on all the beaches of this world. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!How great is the sum of them!18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; Psalm 139:17-18.  

Most of us at one time or another, have lived in a state of comparison. In some way or another. We compare ourselves not just to people, but also to God.  As crazy as that sounds, unless we are fully surrendered, we are trying to control our world, even if it comes from a pure heart.

God doesn’t ask us to be Him. He provides us the Holy Spirit to be our strength where we are weak. He promises to give us wisdom when we seek it from Him. He asks us to humbly submit all the pieces before Him. To trust Him. It is there, in that perfect place of humble surrender that we fully find His Grace and Mercy.

We must accept and battle, what Eve did not remember, the hardest truth to believe. We are who HE tells us we are. He is who He says He is.  Our bodies do not define us. Our marriages do not define us. Our jobs do not define us. Our social status does not define us. Our children do not define us. Even how well we walk with Him, doesn’t define us. We must come to, and then constantly returning, from a place of surrender. Become humble enough to embrace that He is Omnipotent and Sovereign. To stay in worship of Him only. To constantly let go of idols that mess us up!

God defines us and until we actually grasp of the fullness of that we will never have peace.

         

You Know All About Me

139 For the Pure and Shining One
King David’s poetic song
Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
    and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
3–4 You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
    You read my heart like an open book
    and you know all the words I’m about to speak
    before I even start a sentence!
    You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
    and in kindness you follow behind me
    to spare me from the harm of my past.[a]
    With your hand of love upon my life,
    you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
    Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.[b]
Where could I go from your Spirit?
    Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
    If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
    If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting![c]
10 Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
    your strength will empower me.
11 It’s impossible to disappear from you
    or to ask the darkness to hide me,
    for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
12 There is no such thing as darkness with you.
    The night, to you, is as bright as the day;
    there’s no difference between the two.
13 You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
    and my intricate outside,
    and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.[d]
14 I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
    Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
    It simply amazes me to think about it!
    How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
15 You even formed every bone in my body
    when you created me in the secret place,[e]
    carefully, skillfully shaping me[f] from nothing to something.
16 You saw who you created me to be before I became me![g]
    Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
    the number of days you planned for me
    were already recorded in your book.[h]
17–18 Every single moment you are thinking of me!
    How precious and wonderful to consider
    that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
    O God, your desires toward me are more
    than the grains of sand on every shore!
    When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
19 O God, come and slay these bloodthirsty, murderous men!
    For I cry out, “Depart from me, you wicked ones!”
20 See how they blaspheme your sacred name
    and lift up themselves against you, but all in vain!
21 Lord, can’t you see how I despise those who despise you?
    For I grieve when I see them rise up against you.
22 I have nothing but complete hatred and disgust for them.
    Your enemies shall be my enemies!
23 God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
    Examine me through and through;
    find out everything that may be hidden within me.
    Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
24 See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
    and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
    the path that brings me back to you.

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Finding Light in the Dark

9 Jun

As we hear about so many suicides, I think about all that I have walked in the nearly 8 years since my overwhelming experience with God; The night that changed everything.  July 9,2010.

What if?  What if I had not decided to go to Friday night church. What if I hadn’t told Pastor Jeff my plan. The plan I made earlier that week. What if Sue and Jeff hadn’t spent the evening talking with me, and praying with me? What if God had not intervened.

What I understand is the blackness. I understand the desire to not feel so much pain any longer, to not feel like a burden or invisible. To not feel so wrong and out of place. To not feel plastic in a plastic world. To not feel discardable. (is that a word?). I understand the isolation of being strong and not telling. No one knew.

What I found was an eye opening, amazing love from and for a God I finally believed was real. Everything crashed down around me and I had nothing left. I was at rock bottom. What I found there was Him. In all His sweetness and love, I found the beginning of a love for a creation He called Beckie. I found a purpose.

What I found was a peace that settle so completely on my soul that night. By morning I was walking on sunshine; From the pit of despair to pure joy. Free.

What felt like a bottomless black, a pain-filled nothingness; morphed instantly into a joy beyond measure. I found my redemption, my forgiveness, the promises of true forever. Hope.

God breathed new life into my weary soul.  I am one of the blessed ones. Blessed to be a blessing.

My sweet friend committed suicide when we were 19. I loved Julie and it broke my heart when she left us. I  still talk to her, still think of her so often. My friend Ron, just took his life 4 years ago this summer. My son, who loves Jesus deeply, through his own journey with coming to terms with his homosexuality, walked a depressed and difficult path. He didn’t come to terms with his own path until he was 31 and it has cost him much in this world. He once told me “if you knew who I was, you would hate me”.  He had his attempts, and many trials. This world is sure unkind to those that don’t fit the world’s view of “acceptable”, those who’s sin is obvious. Especially the saved only by Grace,from their own ugly sin” Christian world.

As christian’s, there is a disparity between being the judgmental harm-doer’s and walking as the truth tellers, not so much in word but in action. If our judgement is keeping someone from seeing God, then we are not walking in truth, nor with Him. I don’t want to be known by the rules I keep, I want to be known by The One that keeps me. Period!

God gave us a perfect savior; A hope despite this broken world. He makes us righteous. I really can’t even make it a day without sin. Sin is between God and I and in the end, all sin is equal. It all drives a wedge between us and Him, but at the end of the day, He loves us anyways. Submission isn’t free from sin, it is an act of surrendering your pride and self sufficiency and acknowledging that “I can’t achieve Heaven without you Lord. Embracing Christ and His death as your only hope.” Hard and easy to do all at once. But He is very helpful. Yes. He is.

Scripture states that we are saved when we proclaim and believe that we are set free by the blood of Christ. Once saved, always saved. It is a very dangerous place to dwell, inside a kind of “judge and jury” of other’s. I choose to take a more humble approach and know that even strong people, even excellent people stumble. Every day.

We have to stop with the right’s and wrong’s and get back to truth. Christians need to LIVE The Word of God in “transparent, less than perfect, need a savior  every single day of my life -because I stink at achieving perfect sin-less-ness without Him” Spending time in The Word, being transparent with God and allowing Him to change us. For His glory!

We need to look beyond the pointed fingers to see the need. To see sorrow in eyes that are haunted. To see anger in eyes that are weary, sick of how hard this world is. See into the eyes that can’t look at us, Eyes that are afraid or ashamed.  We need to be so apparent in our humble (not of our own making) loving kindness (because He has loved us so much) that people are willing to share with us. Willing to trust us.

This world is out of control in many ways, Our world is spinning so fast now. Pain and suffering all around us.

Seriously,  Be a light. Be hope for those that are grasping for a reason to hope.

Be the one that saves the one, like me. God leaves the 99 for the 1. Because the 99 already have a future with Him. He already has the 99 beheld. The one that wanders is more passionately desired and pursued by God than those of us already in His loving Grace.

When you sit in a judgement filled world, trying to protect the values you say you believe in, while you use your words as weapons, as unleashed punishment and sit on a bit of a higher plane, thinking you have this Christianity right, just know that I pray in earnest for you. For you to find the truth.

We need be truth tellers, absolutely. Mostly in our actions. Our tongue is too unpredictable.
God says: Ask, Seek and Knock!

Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Matthew 7:7-8 

He loves us. He loves us so much. He loves us in our broken down yuck. He loves us in our prideful state. He loves us regardless of how far off the path we have gotten. That is the God I found at the pit of despair. A loving, kind, strong, protective, never-ending presence, pursuing, giant of a God.

Blessings are not financial, they are Him. His peace. Grace and Mercy. Remember…”If it isn’t true for the believer that has to beg for food, or seek to find water for her child, then it isn’t true.” That is the God that is truth. The God that is beyond our circumstances, beyond what is here and now. He is every present, ever knowing, ever loving, always.  He doesn’t change. Not ever.

I don’t know why we reject Him. I know I sure did!  I think it’s partly because we think God makes life rosy, ( His own son suffered terribly, so no, that isn’t truth) I believe it’s because people have really messed up the image of Him. People have done horrible things in His name. But that isn’t God. That isn’t Christ. That is just additional people that need Him, need to really understand who He really is.
Being self reliant lead me down a dark path. Eventually, I had to come to the place where I knew I needed Him, being made whole has changed my world.  It is still changing me. I am still growing and learning and becoming a better Christ follower. But don’t look at me, look at Him. He is the model. I am the one running all over the place!
If you are that one, the one that is hurting and thinking that the way out is death, please seek Him first. Please see that it’s all lies. The idea that it will never get better, that you can’t get through this, that this is too hard. Please talk to me or someone like me. Try God!

“Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door Matthew 7:7-8 TPT.

[a]Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock andkeep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 AMP.