Tag Archives: joy

Other Gods

2 Dec

“If God isn’t enough, more than enough, no one and nothing ever will be”  

I have repeated this thought, that came from prayer time, several times lately; To myself and to the way too many discarded or left behind people I have come to know.

When we are faced with being alone (it can feel pretty awful, right?) it shows our faith by who or what we fill that space with.

Do you fill it with God, or do you fill with something else? Another person/relationship, or do you drink more, or maybe you fill it with busyness.

Maybe you have been brave or like me, simply kept apart. In that time of loneliness, of being set apart; did you rekindle the love you first had with the one Who loved you first? Did you seek to fill that empty space with your perfect Creator, Father, and with his Son, the Bridegroom?  Did you allow Him to minister to your heart, He whose promises never break, He who’s greatest desire is to know you intimately.

As you sought the distraction of anything, of others, instead of Him, who is enough, did you pray about something? As you ignored His request of you, did you petition your own requests of Him?

If you keep trying to fill the place He is trying to fill – you’re missing out on so much. He is enough. He loves us beyond measure.

Just a couple of His love letters to us:

Jeremiah 31:3

 The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying: 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. 

Psalm 91:14-16 (MSG)

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

When you spend time in the hurt and loneliness with Him, you gain the perfect comfort of Him, the lasting confidence in Him, you heal and grow in His unfailing, abiding love and from there – He brings you “THE people” the ones to walk beside you, and the ones to share His light with.

Beloved, you must guard your fears as much as your heart. Trust in Him with your fear. Tell Him you are lonely, tell Him it isn’t fair, tell Him you are afraid. He minister’s to your obedience with peace.  You are His and you were bought for a high price. All He wants in return is your whole heart.  From that intimate relationship, He can bless you to be the blessing you are called to be.

When you can’t be alone it simply means that God is not enough for you. It may not feel great at first, but it is the most obedient, healing, protected place you can be. If you fill that gap, You are worshiping another God, You have an idol and a faith issue with Him.

What you chase after is your God.

The beauty of this amazing, perfect, loving God? As soon as you put Him back on the throne of your desires and seek Him again, you are right back in His perfect path. Welcomed with loving arms.

Psalm 23 (TPT)  

The Good Shepherd

 David’s poetic praise to God[a]
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b]
    I always have more than enough.
 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c]
    His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.[d]
    He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
    and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness[e]
    so that I can bring honor to his name.
 Lord, even when your path takes me through
    the valley of deepest darkness,
    fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
    You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
    Your authority is my strength and my peace.[f]
    The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
    I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
 You become my delicious feast
    even when my enemies dare to fight.
    You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;[g]
    you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future?
    For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.
    Then afterward, when my life is through,
    I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!

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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.

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

Grace

19 Sep

Grace. What a powerful word.

There is a calling on each of our lives, plain and simple.

When we mature in our faith, and walk in Grace, we walk with The Lord and we are the light that shines hope. When we forgive, (because we are instructed to forgive), and offer grace to someone that by the worlds standards, we should despise and reject, we are heeding our call to  ‘lead like Jesus’.

In the process of grieving my short marriage, I often asked God why?  I have grown to understand, what He reminds me of; There is not one moment in our lives that has not come through God’s hands. Even betrayals (and hurricanes) have been allowed for reasons only He knows and understands.

Only because of His incredible mercy towards me, His healing in my heart, have I found peace.  Grace and Mercy through forgiveness that is not really possible without the fullness of God in our hearts.

There is something about seeing the full power of God coming straight for you that changes everything. What is good and righteous, surfaced within me.  It was purged through raw grief which poured from the deepest part of me. As quickly as it began, it healed, and it healed swiftly. My soul was raw and opened up to His final healing.

When you extend mercy and kindness to someone that caused anguish in your heart it is obviously God. Knowing Him, seeking Him, being surrounded by wise women that walked with me through the valley, all pointed me straight on the path He laid before me. I am so grateful for the peace found there.

Here is the important lesson: as with all trial, this wasn’t just meant for me.  As we grow in our faith, we realize that whatever we walk through, truly is meant to shine the light of Hope to one or many. My grappling attempts, my moments of humanness, are elementary, as common as the darkness in this world and they don’t heal.

But God! He placed his supernatural healing in my broken heart because He needed me to be the light for a soul that is lost.  Grace shown and shared with someone that harmed us is a powerful healer. For both.

In the end, nothing we endure is just meant for us. With God leading us, we will be shown beautiful mercy in our trials when we focus on shining His light. What we journey through is meant to bless the broken with hope, to be the beacon of possibility to a lost and broken world.

When we are well on our journey of faith, we know our lot is already secure and we know who has us, who holds our future. We may get tossed a bit, but we remain steady in the end. We know the outcome.

When we let that Grace fill us to overwhelming joy, it spills over and pours out on everyone. No matter the circumstances, no matter the trial; That just builds more joy.

Thank you, Jesus.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deedsand glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  Matthew 7:1

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14

The War

27 Aug

As we look back over our lives, there are many battles won and lost. This is true of every life that walks this earth.

Most wars end with deep human loss.  Like Hiroshima, an addiction or affair, or the shock of an unexpected divorce announcement; The devastation is  something you didn’t see coming, you didn’t plan for it. You are completely devastated by it and you must start from scratch to rebuild from.

The pain slowly dies, and healing begins. Scars form and memories slowly fade, changing the landscape of a life. From that destruction, growth and renewal begin; new things happen. When in this time, you are fortunate to find deeper faith, when you guard against bitterness by forgiving, this is where true miracle happens. God fulfills his promise to bestow beauty from ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) What was meant to break you becomes a part of your testimony of strength, and how much God loves you.

When we are at the bottom, when our spirit is crushed, when we cry out  to Him…He comes closer to us. (Psalm 34:18). How sweet is amazing grace as we begin to heal from that devastation and destruction.  His grace is enough, we slowly begin to heal, we forgive, we seek forgiveness and we grow. Hope builds and joy returns. Redemption.

Now, I ask you to pause and imagine what it must be like for the person that has caused significant damage to heart after heart. What of the one, always on the move, onto the next thing, hoping this is the one thing that will finally bring them happiness. What must that look like, when all they see behind them is lives tossed aside, hearts crushed by destruction? How it must feel to be that one that has to keep hiding, lying, running, always avoiding looking behind. What must that feel like?

This is the liars cycle, the abuser’s cycle, the addiction cycle. This is the cycle of unforgiveness and holes the size of humans inside hearts so lost and dark. This breaks my heart as it must break Gods. Not the gravity of the sin behind them but the distance they  keep from God Himself as He longingly holds his hand out, offering sweet redemption.

As a Christian, so desperate to walk this world like Christ did, with deep compassion and love for the broken and lost of this world, this should break your heart; Even if the bomb was dropped in your heart! This doesn’t mean we have to walk with this person, but we must offer the gift of Grace (forgiveness).

Humans want penance and a reckoning. God simply wants reconciliation.

There is only one healer that can miraculously set a person free from what must be complete hell. To be a slave to darkness and sin with no idea the freedom that salvation brings; that Jesus brings. To be so lost. We are all broken  but it is the lies of Satan himself that tells a person, they are too far gone. It is only in salvation that one can begin to see this metamorphosis take place. It is only in absolute, utter surrender.

We as the body, longingly to look like Christ, should bear deep compassion for those that will suffer in their shame and unforgiveness; never understanding the gift that is there for the asking. Jesus died and set us free from our past.

Paul (Saul) was a murderer of Christ followers. He was there in the stoning of Stephen! He was freed from that sin and shame . Paul said “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”(Hope and believing the promise)~ Isaiah 43:18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” Paul knew what the crucifixion set us free from.  There are epistles upon epistles about this very thing.
Stop letting your past keep you locked in darkness. Let Hope and Grace choose for you, None of us is righteous; Not even one.

Grace is grace and grace never ends. Nothing is too far or too much or too big for God. He just gives us more grace!  ( James 4:8)  That said, you can empty a soul of it’s past sin, but like a parked car –you are not going anywhere even if it has power. You MUST engage in a gear to move forward and reverse is the wrong direction.

Lean in, seek to understand the mercy that is in Christ, ask God to change you, to forgive you. It is only then that you can begin to heal. And accept the gift that is Christ… because my love, no one is too far gone. No one.

Here are a few great links.

A few great songs:

Listen and hear the lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A0irzN9hOk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqjU2taeGrA

Todd White is a former addict turned preacher…. He is the real deal, full of hope and wisdom. Great sermons.
https://www.youtube.com/user/ToddWhiteChannel

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

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. “