Tag Archives: joyful place

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.

 

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Harbor

5 Apr

No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

I am sitting in meditation after my morning readings. I am completely blown away that God still even wants us. These Israelites are so evil. As I walk through Judges, it consists of these cycles of breakthrough, strength and redemptive faith, restoring what was promised only to fall away to sin and worship other God’s again. It cycles over and over. God never wearies, and we never stop messing up!

As I look at my own life, the choices I have made, and will continue to make; the times I have been so devoted to seeking truth and wisdom, rather than thinking I had the answers, to the times that even within minutes my mind (my heart) betrays me.
Isaiah 6 starts out with Isaiah standing in the presence of God himself. He is overwhelmed with his own dark heart,

5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

God doesn’t just hear what we say outloud, he is aware of your heart and intentions even before your words are ever spoken, even if you never speak a word.

4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD. Psalm 139:4

 

Our hearts are full of corners and closets. Like Isaiah, we will stand before the King one day. What is in our hearts will be revealed to us for all that it is. Sometimes I get a glimpse, when I am feeling close to God, when I feel I am being obedient, I get that glimpse of the dark that still hides in every corner. This is why we need our precious Jesus. These things are not a surprise to God.

45 People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words. Luke 6:45 (TPT)

We can’t fool God. He knows if we are being lead by right or wrong motives; jealousy, encouragement, judgement, love or hate, lies or truth, peace or war. He sees it all.

He knows before we say a word if we intend to honor, respect, guide, or build others up and He knows when our heart wants to harm, derail, disrespect, undermine or hurt others. Even if our words are unspoken, even if we never act on these things.

“Harbor in your heart” means you keep it safe within your heart. What do you shelter in the corners? He tells us to ask Him to show us:

Psalm 19:14  (TPT)
14 So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,
and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,
acceptable before your eyes,
my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

The promise is given to us, from Him, Ask and you shall receive: Matthew 7:7. We can ask for God to show us everything that lies in our hearts and to help us remove it. But I warn you, it is not always pleasant, but always, so very worth it, so redemptive, so healing.

Christ takes away the sins power to grow and fester inside of us.  Like with Isaiah We will never have to fight this battle alone. We just have to spend time before Him, honest with ourselves that He already knows every single thought dwelling in our hearts. Standing before Him with complete willingness to change and be transformed. Humility like that is hard! Because from that request comes truth and it can be painful as He pulls the rooted weeds from deep inside of you.

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”

Isaiah 6:6-7

Reminder of Love

11 Feb

This is huge!! God has suddenly shown me and is giving me huge understanding. All 3 of my studies have collided today. It is so powerful.
I’m reading –
the Bible and today is Exodus 19-20
-the sermon on the mount
-Hosea
None like him by Jen Wilkin

The law is/was about love. His love for us. He wanted us to focus on Him, to love Him and in turn to love others.
His love never stopped. These Israelites were so unfaithful, so unruly. They would not stop focusing on the problem of the moment to sit in wonder and peace of all God was doing. They were so unworthy of the promised land. Truly so shortsighted about their own selfish wants and desires.

He gave us the law, Exodus 20+ and then His Son to be that perfect love for us, Matthew 5-7- because that is who HE is. Not because of us but because of Him. It’s about His love.
The law is Love. His love. If you obey him and seek him and love him, you become holy through Him…And then you can love His people.
That is the purpose of love. To become holy. To love Him and to love others.
Honestly -that is why God hates lies and gossip, judgement of others. His law says stop looking at others, stop looking at what you don’t have. Stop thinking you are the one that deserves something- honestly – That is why God hates divorce. ..because we are to love each other, and to seek to help each other become Holy. Marriage is holy- It is the same covenant promises that He made with us that we make in return to Him and each other. To love Him and to love each other.
Because we are like the Israelites- so selfish, so quick to defend ourselves and our rights, but we are not worthy. But when we Love God, He gives us that love. He makes us whole. He makes us holy. We become like Him, He works through us. Not because of us but because of Him.
Don’t think for a moment he wants you to be happy while you live in sin- that’s a very destructive lie. He wants you to obey Him, so He can be loved by you. When others break our hearts or don’t love us, love them anyways because that’s the sum of the law.

He isn’t loved by us when we seek our own satisfaction. !!! This world is so fallen and our flesh is so weak but the love of God is as powerful today as it was when He came down the mountain and declared His law to the Israelites.
We make our own rules up to justify our sin. To set ourselves apart as more deserving of His Love. Ha! Fools. We are all sinners. He loves us not because we follow the law to the letter. He loves us because HE IS LOVE.
Wow. Pray for those that don’t know this. That harm us,that hurt others. They don’t know God. 💔

“Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
““Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:36-40‬ ‭NLT‬‬
““Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NLT‬
“‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭19:4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
“We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“I will plant my people in the land. Those who are not loved I will call my loved ones. Those who are not my people I will call my people. Then they will say, ‘You are our God!’ ”” Hosea‬ ‭2:23‬ ‭GW

Walk This Way

31 Dec
Isaiah 30:20-21(HCSB)
20 The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher[a] will not hide Himself[b] any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher,[c] 21 and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”

Sometimes events in our lives leave us so completely devastated – things we had no control over, couldn’t have predicted, and cannot explain nor justify. Something that simply just happened. All we can do is try to figure out what comes, seeking answers from God to help us find a supernatural peace that “surpasses all understanding.”

Honestly, we didn’t do anything to cause what happened (though we will replay the events in our minds a million times, just to be sure). We beat ourselves up, we torture ourselves with blaming ourselves, we beat ourselves up with  the rejection of it, we try to make sense of it. It is a torture to be sure, along with the constant desire to be rescued from the pain, the trauma and the cry for mercy and healing. Cries of  ‘ Yahweh, Where are you?’ ‘Why are you leaving me alone in this God? ‘  We are lost as to what are we expected to do now. We seek forgiveness, we seek grace. We seek to be set free. We seek to be made whole.
We grieve, we get angry, we obsess, we pray, we submit. It is all a process we have to walk. We take our time, being careful not to miss a step in the process. (and shortchange our own healing). Eventually you begin to see that though you felt He left you alone, He was beside you. He needed you to walk all the way through this, to see how strong He has made you, amid the complete heartbreak and missteps.
In the end, he doesn’t make us perfect…and we learn to accept that we are loved in our incompleteness. He makes us wiser, stronger. He makes us own our faith. He tests our trust in Him. He breaks strongholds.We learn, we grow.
So, as we look back, as we heal and see our path before us again, we learn:
It is in these time that He chooses not to rescue us; these are the times He walks with us, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”  Amen.

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!

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.

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