Tag Archives: Life

Leggo My Ego

16 May

Every day, as I head home, I begin to cry. I wonder what people on the road think of me as they pass.As the days turn into nights, my mind begins to betray me.
Thoughts of what if’s and why’s, my strength turns into insecurity
I wrestle with the words God says about me and who HE is, and begin to listen to other voices.The storm that I allow to be weakness in my heart leaves me wondering what I have done to deserve this.

In my study of Esther, I am realizing something so profound. I see no difference between pride and meekness or insecurity.  If you feel entitled to something you are either going to feel slighted or you are going to want recognition. It is ego. God will take you down from that mountain in a real hurry.  We either lament not having what we thought we deserved or we take credit for what we think we deserve.

Haman in Esther (Esther 6) was an insecure man that longed for recognition. He needed to puff himself  up with false pride and envisioned great honor for himself. He had a very dark heart, clouded by his own needs of entitlement. God humbled him in a moment.

Ego is a tool of Satan whether your ego is bruised or puffed up. You may not be arrogant; You may be insecure instead, but don’t think for a moment that this is humility. It is so ego driven, and because you think it isn’t self-centered, you may feed it more frequently than someone that is arrogant may. You may be easily offended, you may feel slighted more frequently, hurt deeper than most. You may focus more on what you are getting verses what you think you should be getting.

Humility is the opposite. Humility is only full of worship. Humility isn’t self-seeking in any way; It isn’t self-satisfying. Humility isn’t self-deprecating. It is a dying to self (ego)and knowing your worth. How we find true humbling of our self, is to look up to Him in full on worship and faith (obedience), regardless of where the latest trials or successes have taken you.

When you are truly humbled in your experience, though you feel the pain of trial,  you will know you are exactly where you are meant to be on this path of life. Humility let’s see that even though everything looks shattered and war torn, you can breathe. You can sigh deep within your heart and know, really know, that this is the plan. It is good.

It is painfully difficult but it is good.

Letting go of ego, starts with worship. If you read David’s words in Psalms, he often begins with statements of dire conditions and pain of heart. His circumstances are awful. But he turns to praise and worship of who God is.  I am turning to worship. I am worshipping Him for all He has planned and for all He is doing in my heart. He is removing all seeds of ego, He is replacing ego with humble and noble fearlessness*. He is reminding me of His powerful love and mercy. His Grace is pouring down on me in so many ways and when I am lost in ego, I miss it. I don’t want to miss that!

As a woman of faith, I have courage. In Him I can do all things for He gives me strength.  I am brave (in Him). I am strong (in Him). I am loved (by Him). I am purposeful (by Him). I am gifted (by Him). I am not alone (with Him).

I don’t have to earn anything. Not respect, not honor, not my place in Heaven. I am an heiress. I am in the will. It isn’t about what I do. It isn’t about my worth. It isn’t about me at all. It is who He is. It is what He has done. It is His love for me. I am worth more than rubies to him. I am His and He is mine.

Peace like a river. Even in the painful times. I trust in a perfect Father and believe Him and who He tells me He is. He is working out everything for my good. Yeah!

*Noble fearlessness is trusting in a higher purpose for every single what if, and why. The root work for noble in Hebrew is the same as Valor.

[b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose Romans 8:28

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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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.

 

 

Lost At Sea

2 May

In this life of blessings, there will also be loss.

It is in these desperate, painful longings that you reach for Him. It is unbearable to be alone.This is when our beautiful God shows himself fully and shows off mightily.

We are swiftly reminded that we are not lost, adrift at sea. He is our anchor, our eagle, our Lion of Judah; Our hope, our peace, our light, our rest.

Oh my, but, there is a true beauty within the raw agony of grief.

When you seek God, from such a humble, wounded place, His presence is just that much fuller. The Holy Spirit holds you tighter and is more present than any other time.

How grateful is this one broken heart, for a Savior that is so loving, so responsive, so perfect?

Cry out to the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. You don’t need to have words. He knows. Cry out to God to hold you tightly while you pour your heart out in tears. Cry out to Jesus, our rescuer for the redeeming hope he gives.  Write His words on your heart: “Thy will be done.”

I feel more beautiful in this raw state. Not to the world but to my Heavenly Father. It is such purity and truth.

Oh what an amazing life this is. Even the sorrow is so rich with life, peace and hope. Grace pours from Him, covering me, and then outward from the depths of my soul, bringing healing.

He is doing a good work within my soul and it is well. Trusting in Him, knowing, this too, came to me, sifted through His hands. It is meant for my journey. It is meant to bring Him glory.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

Matthew 5:3-5 MSG

My Christmas Wish

20 Nov

 

 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 



In my lifetime, like most, I have walked through pain and heartbreak. I have known pain that took my breath away; the kind of hurt that hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. Fortunately for me, it was in the darkest moments of my life that I found my lighthouse, my compass, my hope in God.

My Bible tells me that God loved us so much that he sacrificed his own son for us. When I think of my children, this humbles me; This is truly a love beyond anything I can imagine. His grace and mercy are as vast as the oceans.

I imagine as He watches us (nothing goes unnoticed) His heart must break. His pain and heartbreak must be constant. We have imagined that we are somehow so incredibly important. As if WE run the show. We are thoughtless and unkind, we are opinionated, we are selfish, we are hypocrites and yes, that is a blanket statement that actually applies.

We are here for such a short minute; some do great things, most just do their best. We matter for a blink of an eye, to only a few. Just a few generations actually will know us or remember us. But God will remember us always. He is and was and always will be. Satan will seek to keep you from Him and he is deceptive.

Ecclesiastes say “to everything there is a purpose under heaven”. What if we sought to learn and gain wisdom from one another rather than fight ? What if we stopped looking outward and started to look inward. Just because many agree on a matter, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Here is truth-and logic- when you have extreme positioning, the truth has been lost.
When I sit back and I think about what God says in Genesis, that he created us in his image, you have to pause and humble yourself for a minute and let that sink in.This means that all of us no matter our homeland, what we look like, whether we are born “different”, rich or poor, we were all made in his image. By design; In His own image.

I love my fellow mankind. I love those that have different beliefs than I. I love those that have different shades of skin tones. I love those that have different customs than I. I love those that hate and even those that hate while calling others hateful (they challenge me most). I can ONLY love when I lift my heart up to lightness rather than darkness. When I do that, everything is brighter, clearer, better.

We are the light-bearers or we should be. We are so blessed in this country. We have miles to go before we are perfect ( as individuals and as a collective whole) but that doesn’t mean we aren’t incredibly blessed. We have gotten so distracted by our discontent.

For me , I have divine peace and my hope is for heaven. When I get out of my way and allow God to press that on my heart, my whole world is bright and full of peace. Peace! We have to start with being quiet, being peaceful, start by inspiring hope in even one person.
If you want change: surrender and Do! In all due regards, Facebook posts do not change the world. Not this one – not any. We are just not that powerful.

This has been a draining year. We have our amazing season of hope and peace, Christmas.

Take time to pause, to consider, where does your peace come from. Find out what you truly believe in that and be that, from peace. When you know where your hope and peace come from, nothing in this world can change that. You become that.

I encourage you to find a cause: the vulnerable children adults and pets, poverty, immigrant needs, homelessness, sexual trafficking, addiction… whatever pulls your heart strings, and do that! You will become a better person, you will grow in ways you had no idea you could.

Let God break your heart for what breaks His heart and follow that call.Maybe we will stop breaking His heart so much. Maybe we truly can be the peacemakers, the peacekeepers.

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” 

Proverbs‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What Guilt Could Not Do

3 Apr

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

~Tenth Avenue North – By Your Side

Easter has always been my favorite time of year. It symbolizes the transformation from winter to spring, with the promise of summer. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and the coats get put away.

I have always felt this newness to everything.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize that the hope and newness was exactly what Easter is about. I just didn’t quite grasp the full measure…yet.

My catholic upbringing made me aware of God and Jesus. I loved and accepted Jesus my whole life. But the religion of it clouded what He taught and what his death meant for me, what Grace was and that hope of salvation for me.

I learned guilt and shame in my faith walk. I learned that I was never going to be good enough for heaven and probably would just barely make purgatory. I couldn’t stop sinning. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I could not be. When I would be judged, it went very deep within my shame.

As I became a mother, I was keenly aware of God. He kept me safe and strong in times of need. I sought Him constantly. Trying so hard to find Him in my life. What I still did not understand was His love for me, His desire for me.

I was in awe of His creation and His Holiness, I just could never seem to connect the dots, to “get it”. I was trying so hard to be good, to be perfect, to earn my way. I worked so hard at being a “good person”, to be a “good christian”.

In the blink of an eye, everything came crashing down at once. I was humbled by the sheer loss of it all; Beautifully shattered.

From that place of humility and rawness, God slowly showed me what Grace was. He taught me so methodically, it is only in the hindsight that I see His plan unveiled.

What guilt could not do, complete failure and sorrow did. Suddenly, at the end of me, from my dark and hopeless place…I gave up on me; I quit. In that moment of I can’t do this anymore, there was nothing left. I had no fight, no pride, no ego, no hope left.
Finally, I was able to look up and be saved. I was the veil that stood between me and Grace.

In my moment of despair, I surrendered.

The peace that settled on my heart that day is the joy and light in me that people comment on all the time.

The lyrics to the song (above) remind me…Heaven has been won, not by me, but by Jesus. I can’t earn it.

Grace and Mercy are ours for the asking. Being saved is the beginning of a journey. Easter is now about new life, new hope. I am in awe of the sacrifice for me and how much He Loves me to suffer so greatly for me. When you truly surrender, you allow God to guide your life, transform your thoughts and you begin to see your purpose here and to love people from His eyes. The best feeling in the world is looking at you and loving the you He created.

His Mercy, His Love and His unending Grace…are ours for the asking.

If you want to know that love and grace…If you understand that you are a sinner and long to know hope…accept Him. Pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart.

“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior”.

Then let Him guide your heart. (A bible based church is so helpful and important in sustaining that journey)

This is what Paul said about religion vs. faith:

Galatians 2:17-21 MSG

17-18 Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Amen.

I Need a Holy Night

14 Dec

The greatest lessons in my life have come from struggle and trying times. The greatest gifts from loss and pain. It has taken me a lifetime to understand this.

I can look back and see how poverty, the family dynamic and having a father with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s helped create the person I am today, good and bad. Lessons learned in childhood bring us our reactions and coping skills for struggle and pain, it is only when we revisit those lessons as an adult that we can heal. As children, we do not have wisdom in which we can learn and grow from our experiences. We haven’t lived long enough to gain the wisdom that is necessary. The deeper the hurts, the stronger the resilience and thus, the longer the journey to heal can be.

Poverty and loss really shaped my independence, my controlling nature and my need for security. I became very self sufficient. I thought that material things didn’t matter to me, but I lied to myself, they did. I had a vision of comfort in my head that included a home, decorated to be comforting and warm; Food cooking and a family around the table. That was security. That was peace and comfort. I created a comfortable picture, yet it fell apart anyways, leaving me stunned.

I remember a Christmas of my childhood that was very meager. My poor mom was so sad for what she couldn’t provide us. What we did have was God, shelter, family and love, but that wasn’t the focus. We were living in a place and time of material giving for Christmas. What was lost, in the desire to gain gifts, was the Greatest Gift of all. Jesus had lost the focus as our provider, our hope and our joy. He is the Father to the fatherless. We were fatherless. We had each other, but it was too much to process. I lost both my parents in one disease, dad to the illness, mom had to work. The burdens of adulthood fell on little shoulders, much too early. Abandonment was not something I was equipped to feel, to process.  It created a real lack of trust in my heart and relationships with men that were just as ill equipped to build a life as I was. Money, yes, relationship, no. When you live waiting for the other shoe to drop, you would think you are prepared for when it actually does. I wasn’t. When you live in fear, you don’t know God and you don’t trust. When people leave us as children, we somehow wrap our value up in that. As if we had something to do with the leaving. Children are so vulnerable. Divorce, abuse, death, illness, emotional abandonment.. these change our children.

In the process of walking in my faith, of gaining a relationship with Him, learning to gain my security in Him, learning to trust Him; I have grown to see myself in His eyes. He created me to be this person. I see the gifts He has blessed me with, my ability to bring people together, to build, to create. I have a genuine love for women, and I am learning to have a Christ like love for men. God has put incredible men, Godly men, loving men, respectful, committed men in my path. He put His loving light in my heart and when I am connected with Him, plugged in, people respond to that light.

Christmas is about the people I am around and the light that shines in all of us. Christmas is about the kids, but maybe for Christmas the best thing we can do is love them, spend time becoming whole and plugged in to the Father. Maybe the best gift we can give our children is to reconnect with God and also their other parent. Heal the wounds that make kids think they are a little less lovable. Spend time with a child that is vulnerable. Breathe life into their wounded souls.
Finding Christ in Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t love Santa and enjoy the fun of this time of year (actually I find it a great way to share the love of Christ).

Christ came down for us, to save us. He carries us, as adults we need that, imagine the need in our children. I know, I need the Holy Night, the quiet night. Spending time in quiet, reading the story of Jesus in Luke or Matthew, renews me, moves me. Maybe it would do the same for you. Maybe let that bring you back to the Holy Night and the gift that was offered to you. Maybe,let that change you.

Matthew 5:3-5 (MSG)
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (MSG)
6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John 15:2-6(NIV)
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Hebrews 12:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

2 Corinthians 8:9
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich
Proverbs 28:6
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
than the rich whose ways are perverse.

Luke 12:32-34(NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Isaiah 65:17-25
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
 nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
 and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more