Tag Archives: inspiration

Light In The Dark

10 Aug

In the midst of all  the harsh realities of hard times,  we will sink, we will soar, we will say and do things out of hurt or anger and we will make mistakes. The truth is, the pain is not constant and it is only a portion of the journey. Light remains.

The beauty of having a relationship with God, in trusting Him, is knowing that this is not permanent. Having faith doesn’t stop the pain from overwhelming you at times, we are still flesh and bones and our hearts truly ache at times. This journey can be so painful. Faith is knowing, even in the depths, that you are not alone. He is suffering with you and you know this, even when you can’t find Him.   In this hurt, in this lack, you absolutely know He is there, you know this is an important time of your journey with Him, you know this won’t last.

God doesn’t cause suffering, hard things don’t happen to us because he’s an unruly, unrelenting, punishing God. Hard things happen to us because freewill exists, evil exists because sin lives in all of us, disease lives. The most amazing thing can be found in God’s living Word. The bible lays out experience after experience for what we walk through today. Not to control our response but to teach, empathize and encourage us; To guide us in hope from each trial.  Ecclesiastes says, nothing is new, and also, this too is just one of many seasons in life, this hardship.

God is faithful and He loves each life that roams this earth. He longs for all of us, knowing He will only know some of us. We are His creation and He adores us. When we embrace the life He laid out for us, we must trust that He knows where he needs us to get to,what we need to go through to get there, who is going to be touched by that. He also uses this time to minister His healing in our hearts.

There will be hard moments during these time where we don’t feel Him, where we feel lost in our sorrow or trial. Hre is still there, but there is purpose in that as well. We may be pulled deeper, we may be healed more, we may be called out on the water to trust a little more. It is in the looking back, that you see every blessing that came along just when you needed it to even if you couldn’t see it at the time.

He will slowly remove the barriers and strongholds from our past, He will show us the lies Satan tells us that attempt to deter us from healing and peace. As we suffer, we often cause ourselves to suffer more. Maybe we pick up some old legalism,that  we deserve it, that we can somehow fall outside of his grace and his mercy.  These are lies of Satan. God’s beloved Son,  promises us fully that His mercy and grace has been there every step of the way simply by believing that it’s truth.  He will not leave us,  He will not forsake us, He holds us, He guides us. He is and always has been our only true hope.

From my own journey through divorce and betrayal, my faith is assured, even in the hardest moments of all this life has brought my way. What shattered me two days ago has empowered me today. He is so gracious, so amazing like that. Peace comes for a moment and rests within me.

There comes a point as you journey through a painful time that you realize that this is your life’s path and it matters; not just for you but for others as well. We cannot be lost in the moment and lose sight that in the end, this will be a page, a chapter or even a section, but it isn’t the full story.

If you are walking with Him, I will bet that even the darkest parts had light. Praise God for that hope. The light may dim and flicker sometimes, but that light is shining bright within our soul and it is meant to be shared with the whole world.

What will your story tell?

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.”Psalms‬ ‭119:49‬ ‭NLT

Complaining Not Allowed

5 Aug

 

Philippians 2:14(GW)

“Do everything without complaining or arguing”.

Well…this scripture literally made me stop in my tracks.

Everything.

Regardless of how difficult, painful, annoying or unfair something is, we are asked to do so without complaint.

What does your conversation sound like over the past week?

My week was full of complaint. I don’t think I even realized how much until I saw this scripture.In truth,  it was mostly a really great week. I had so many wonderful things to be grateful for. He is truly blessing me in many ways.

It was also a very difficult, painful week. So, I spent far more time talking to friends about this part of my week, highlighting how weary I become in the trial. I sought empathy, support and encouragement for my hardship (complaint).

As we go through life, our fellowship is really important. Talking to our close friends is essential to our walk. We need to share our journey! However, before we vent, before we cry out to our circle, we need to go to God first.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

He wants our first of everything. He wants our gratitude, our woes, our heartache, weakness and our complaints, and… He wants it first.

He is always the willing listener. Sharing our entire journey with Him is relational. He draws nearer to us as we draw nearer to Him. There is loving circle of protection that happens in that communion.

There is nothing Satan would like more than to have you complain, to not see the good, to not be in relationship with God. He would rather you gossip or complain to your friends about all that isn’t working in your life, rather than being grateful for all He gives.

Learn to go to Him first. Share authentically what you feel with Him before you say any more words. He loves us so much. He cares about our heartache and trials.

We don’t want to become like the Israelites in the wilderness, prolonging our struggle.

1 Peter 5:7 (GW) Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.

James 4:7-8 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

 

Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

Take Heart

19 Jun

There is a line in the movie “The Shack” that I really liked.  “Papa” is explaining what grace and trust look like when evil harms us; In those circumstances that we are collateral damage when someone’s free will results in grave sin.  “I am not asking you to excuse what he did. I am asking you to trust me to do what’s right and to know what’s best.”  He means inspite of what we see.  Forgive and trust God in all circumstances.

He knows our storms. He knows our sin and He knows the sins done against us. He is beside us, faithful, even when we can’t feel Him.

Faith is like a muscle. In our good times, our faith may not be getting a work out. Our gratitude may be strong, our worship may be strong but our faith truly is only tested in our trials.  Endurance is for the long term. Is faith really faith when the minute it gets painful, we fall apart?

Romans 5:3 tells us that our trials, through persevering, strengthens our character and builds us up in Hope.

He knows our circumstances and he knows our relationships. He knows where we are overwhelmed by the storms, uncertain how to navigate our way through. In Matthew 14:27 he says to Peter “Take heart; It is I. Do not be afraid”.   It is the middle of a storm, and the seas are raging, the disciples see the impossible, Jesus on the water. Peter, though he only had a small amount of faith, and probably a good dose of fear in that moment, was willing to trust and get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water: Jesus said “Come”.

Faith like that, faith that says “ok Lord, I am overwhelmed by the storms of my life right now, I long for answers that don’t come quickly.  I struggle to let go of the resolutions I planned for the outcomes you have planned. Lord, hold your hand out to me, help me find my way safely, and I will step out in faith”

How confident we can be friends, that He is there in the storms. In him we can find our peace, our hope, our courage. We can cry out “Father, our little faith can let us step out of our terror, even in the midst of storm, and walk on the water with you. You ask us to trust you, to take courage in you, in your presence, even when we don’t feel you near. You help us walk on the water in the storm.”

It is then that we find what cannot be found anywhere else. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Calm that belies the storms. Hope that even if it isn’t what WE planned, we know it will lead us to the exact place to bless us and to bless other’s with.

Lord you are just that amazing and good. Us of little faith, seek you and find you when we seek you with all of our hearts. Imperfect, scared to death, hurting and lacking in grace and mercy for other’s and for ourselves. We find perfect peace in all of that, the storms that this world brings.

Thank you, Father, for never letting me drown in this storm. Thank you for giving me the courage of Peter to step out in faith I don’t always feel!

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:1-4

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 4:7

 

Double Minded

20 May

I posted something on Facebook that touched me. This quote felt relevant to my studies, but also to where I am at in my trials.

Humility is perfect quietness of heart, It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

– Andrew Murray

Someone responded from her heart the following statement. “I hope you can do this, but it’s just not me. I am a worrier. I’m trying to change that to a warrior!”

I wanted to respond with something powerful. Something God breathed. But I didn’t have any words.

The truth is, I long to be that;The truth is, I am not, not all the time. I have however, had enough of the taste for that peace that goes far beyond what my circumstances are, to long for it constantly.

James 1 speaks right to the truth for our Trials and our difficulties. He says to us (James 1:6-8) “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

The truth is: I do worry,  I do obsess, I do have war inside. I get lost in my mind. I cry out constantly to redirect my thoughts. The truth is, I am completely exhausted from the battle. Job cried out to God and I relate. “Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household.” Job 16:7

If we could just unleash, in all circumstance, at all times, complete trust in the power that we have been given by the Holy Spirit; if we could simply stop being so double-minded and just dwell in that favor of strength, peace and hope at all times! Wow! Imagine all we could influence in this world of hopelessness and sorrow.

When God feels so far away and my mind betrays me with all that feels so wrong, I have allowed my worship and hope to be weak and given satan a front row seat in my boat.  I have forgotten every single promise and every single truth of who He is, who I am in Him. The fruits of faith that I have experienced and know so well.

When I am tossed about by fears, I have allowed satan access to my peace, my hope, my joy, my future.  He fills my mind with comparison, with feeling rejected and abandoned, I beat myself up over all that I should have done or could have done.  I become obsessed with the lies and betrayals. These are the exact opposite of the words of God. The world shreds us, Jesus refreshes our soul!

When we surrender all this junk that has us so torn up inside, He takes it. He just removes it.  We can’t stand not seeing into the future, we can’t trust an unknown future to our all knowing God. We think we need to fix it all because we don’t trust Him with our hearts, with our lives.  Humbly submitting this all to God is so brave and so difficult. It is so hard to relinquish our lives to Him.

Identifying this key decision I make to whom I am surrendering to, allows me the choice to make a different decision. I am not a victim tossed around like the waves. I am beheld by the one that makes the waves and calms the storms. Big difference.

I have known great peace in terrible trials, and I have seen God move mountains in my life. I have sat in wonder and awe at the great things He has done, the miracles I have witnessed, and the moments where I am struck by His obvious presence. Where I can say, “Oh, my soul, that was God!”.

I love God with all my heart, my mind and my soul. I am so grateful for the Grace and Mercy, bought by the blood of Christ for me! I am also keenly aware that my journey is not about earning anything. He knows my heart. This isn’t about failing in any way. He wants me to be stronger, more trusting, for so many reasons.

My Father wants to protect me, to provide for me, to give me peace in my circumstance, to keep my heart from breaking so much, to keep my spirit healthy, to keep me strong. He is there waiting to lavish all this and more on me, but mostly, He longs to have me near to Him, to worship Him, to humble myself to Him so I fully embrace and share the gifts that He has given me.  He longs to bless me because His blessings never just touch me. They flow through me and bless so many other’s. It is His way. Grace pours out so fully at times, it spills over on people that don’t even know Him at all.

So no. I don’t always have peace. I am not always humble. I do battle my ego and my fears.

But…. At the end of the day, I will always find my way back to Him that never leaves me, never forsakes me, never hurts me or lets me down. I will always long to be in the safety of His gentle arms, near to Him. I will always seek to worship Him fully, to know that He is near, to know it is Him that whispers in my ear, ‘You can do this. You can endure all things because I live inside your heart and I have made you victorious, strong, and courageous. And my beloved daughter, I love you dearly.  ‘

Deja Vu

13 May

If you have Facebook, you know there is a folder that reminds you of posts from years gone by.  Looking back at 3 years ago, I am watching my world unravel, to the beginning of spiritual warfare that I was not equipped for.

Prior to the spring of 2014,  my faith had matured and I had grown in so many ways.  I was surrounded by strong Godly women and I was doing alright; I was content. I was between trials.

Suddenly,  I found myself in the midst of change, a huge trial, everything was challenged. My daughter decided to move back to Minnesota and I was mourning her move.  My job was unstable and I was struggling terribly financially. I found myself suddenly lonely, for the first time in ages.  Moving into summer, things got worse and by July, I was worn out from the battle.

I honestly didn’t realize the depth of spiritual warfare I was dealing with at the time. It is only in looking back that I see the extent of the battle.

One night in particular I hit a new low.  As I cried out in sheer panic over finances, over my weaknesses, lack of faith, my temptations, a friend sent me a note in the middle of the night. She said I was on her heart that morning and she wanted me to read Isaiah 54. She emphasized Isaiah 54: 5. This is my response to her:

Last night, as I fell asleep. I cried out. I was deeply afflicted with sorrow and guilt and shame over how I am so double minded and feel so abandoned by God. I am surrounded with temptation and I don’t feel strong. I felt so distant from Him. So alone and abandoned, rejected, unwanted, I felt I had failed God in every way. I am weary of being alone and money and I felt like He was mad at me. That I must be such a disappointment to him. As I read Isaiah 54 my heart knew.. He wanted me to know He is there. “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. 6 “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God. 7 “[c]For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. 8 “In an [d]outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.

Then, I went the exact opposite direction and began dating my husband.

During that trial,  I didn’t share the depth of my fears and sorrows with my friends. I didn’t tell them all that I was going through. I skimmed the surface and hid the depths of my fear,my shaky faith and loneliness.

Today, I find myself in a similar place. Almost a ‘Groundhogs day’ experience!

I am navigating the grief and pain the end of my marriage brings, and now my daughter is once again preparing to move away from me. This is an excellent move for her and my grandson, but my heart is torn in two.  I am shredded.

But God. But God. He is more than enough.  His love letter to me in Isaiah 54 still stands true.  I know His words are true.  Now I need to walk in it, to trust it completely.

How does one do that? It is a persistent faith;Believing what you don’t see or feel.

You start by sharing the burdens in your heart. You share your faith questions, you humble yourself and admit you are weak in trust, you accept that you are weak and need Him terribly. You let people know your journey. You let them pray over you. You ask the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. Then, you seek Him. You seek Him constantly. You pour your heart out to Him at all times. You yell, you cry, you beg, you bargain, you read His word back to Him.

And….you still your words. You quiet your mind and breathe. He is in the quiet. He is in the everything. He is in your tears. The quiet is when He speaks to you.  I can’t tell you the comfort of that time. When You just sit with Him, no words, just stillness.

The rest of Isaiah 54 has such promise. He makes promises to us all the time. He also gave us the free will to choose.

I am putting all my trust in Him whom has never let me down. Even when I falter, even when I run the other direction, He never stops pursuing me, never stops loving me. His covenant is forever.

Amen!

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken

    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

 

 

Blessed Arms

7 May

It happens without warning.  You are doing something, or look up for a second from your task and the vision hits you.

Them….Him with her; It is almost a physical blow. You are thrown off kilter and it‘s as if your mind is betraying your fragile, broken heart. You can’t breathe.

Why does this thought come to me out of nowhere? Every time I think of them together,   a piece of me dies inside. I grieve from the depths of rejection, sorrow and abandonment.  Literally, it breaks me.

At a certain point, you have to let go, say goodbye… Grieve fully and let go. Only… he isn’t dead. He just became someone you didn’t know. In an instant.  In a moment, he changed your world without warning and without a discussion. You had no say. You were duped.

BUT… God. Amen.  God leans in and whispers in your ear,” I suffer this with you. You are my beloved and I suffer beside you. Your sorrow is felt by me as well. “

The Holy Spirit holds you a bit closer. God shows off a bit brighter, more brilliantly. Jesus shows up in unexpected ways, right when you need it. He is in a friends text, a friends voice, the friend that holds us and cries with us.

Jesus mourned. He suffered terribly from betrayal, from sorrow. He knows what we suffer. He cares deeply about our suffering. We are not alone. We are never alone. He understands.

Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and stay awake and keep watch with Me” Matthew 26:38

We don’t hold people, we don’t control them.  What they do with their free will is not really within our grasp to predict or direct.

What we do have, is a Perfect Savior, He is in our hearts.  In this moment, even in this devastation,  I feel so held, so loved.  I have been alone in my life, but the truth I have walked for 7 years, is the truth that holds me so tightly now.

I am not alone.

He is with me in this sorrow. He grieves with me. He cries with me. He hold my tears in a jar.  He won’t change this. Not now. Not in this time. This may not be what I chose, but He holds it all in His hands. I just need to trust that.

And I do. And I cry. And I grieve. And I accept.

Thy will be done. Amen.

 “My eye grows dim with sorrow. O LORD, I have called on You every day; I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].”

‭‭PSALM‬ ‭88:9‬ ‭AMP‬‬