Tag Archives: love

Just Say No

2 Aug

By Beckie Halaska

“The union of two bodies is nothing less than the union of two souls.” Ann Voskamp

When you have been married and had the freedom to be intimate with someone, the soul binding, bodily connection, there is nothing quite like it.  It is the physical expression of a loving heart. It keeps you connected.

The woman that finds herself single after the freedom to be sexual in a way that God made for us, within the confines of marriage, has extra needs for protection because this will challenge your faith like no other.

I don’t care how enlightened we are, I don’t care if we run companies and can rule the world, I don’t care if we are 20 or 60 years old.  As a woman, we are created with a chemical in our body that causes us to attach to someone when we are intimate.  There is also this other component that we are created in God’s image and in us, he mirrored His heart.  Our hearts are precious.

We as women, are loving beings. We are not built to do life alone. We are connectors. We certainly have the physical ability, we have the physical needs, my love language is “Physical Touch” which means I am literally a handful of trouble for myself.

I have to say there is a huge difference in language we need to say to our “Single Again” population. We are not naïve to what it feels like to have no constraints, we have had the freedom of a sexual life within marriage; within a safe and trusting relationship. We long for the connection of it, but that is the danger zone.

As a woman devoted to her relationship with our amazing, rich in grace, merciful God, my heart’s deepest longing is to be in His obedience and protection, to not let anything come to jeopardize or come between our relationship.  I have to place the armor of God on constantly to guard against all attacks from Satan. His easiest weapon is my own sin nature, my own weaknesses. When I am weak, Satan finds the cracks and begins pulling on the roots of faith, to separate me enough to stop me from being a soldier for the kingdom. Stop me from being submitted, equipped and engaged by Him to shed His great love and light in a world so dark.

In my limited dating relationships, I have found that as soon as my heart is stirred, my body wants to take the lead. I am wondering if the physical form of intimacy is to me a form of self-protection. Perhaps,, I feel I am going to be rejected at some point and have I fooled myself to think I am going to be less hurt if I haven’t been vulnerable with my emotion?  Perhaps maybe, I am concerned that if I don’t have sex, I will not have a chance with someone.

I will tell you, it is far easier to fall into a physical engagement than to discuss how I feel. This is of course, the lie. The truth is when we engage in sex, we attach. When we attach, we change everything by attaching to someone that may not be good for us, good to us. If we engage too soon, we lose the opportunity to learn about one another. To find out who someone is before the attachment.   We may even say, “oh you can fool around but just don’t do the whole act”.  We can bargain and manipulate it but it’s still a lie. We still attach. Period.

We had better be very certain this person has our very best interest at heart and is on the same journey of a marriage mind because honestly, that is what we desire, under all the lies. No matter what we tell ourselves. There is a big difference between lust and love. Ultimately, no woman is having sex with someone, without wanting to be loved. Period. It is how we are built. At the core, men hunt,gather and procreate; Women love, build and connect.

God tells us so many things in His word about protecting our hearts. He talks to us about our lust because He loves us. He isn’t condemning us, not in a religious, hell and brim fire way. He is not the church lady sitting on a chair with the words “Sinner” on his lips.  It isn’t that he is mad at us, or going to punish us. We don’t suddenly become filthy in His eyes. We actually already are filthy and undeserving sinners, and He already knows this about us. It isn’t the sin, it isn’t the lust. We have to stop seeing sin as a check list of the law. That is too legalistic. It is so much more about being protected from Satan’s lies.  Our faith is ultimately at stake, our purpose. That is what we need to protect with all our hearts, soul and minds.

The question we need to ask ourselves is this, do you have enough faith to trust God with every aspect of your life?

We, as women are hard on ourselves. It’s pretty easy to say that we all look at ourselves in the mirror and pick something we don’t like. We compare, we live in a visual world with visual men. We are created as heart connectors. If we have been abused, cheated on or discarded at all in our lives, there is a wounding so deep, and Satan knows exactly how to use that.  It affects our ability to be vulnerable in our hearts. It messes us up in how we see our value to man.  If our husband has passed away, we have to face our own vulnerabilities and inadequacies in the world of dating, out from under the protection of our spouse.

Remember that our young women are watching us, be they daughters, co-workers, social media followers. They are only getting the information that we have the capacity to share with them.

As women, we encourage one another, tell each other how good we look, how deserving we are. We love one another. Is that from God’s love or our need for love.

We listen to songs that tell us we are enough,oh, but we have to stop! That too is a lie. We are not enough and we never will be enough. Far from a bad thing, that is what is so precious and beautiful because we are loved and cherished by a God that is more than enough and He chooses us, pursues us.  Beautiful woman, why, oh why, is it that we don’t let that fill the holes within our soul. We keep telling God, “You aren’t enough”.

Sex is not the problem, rather,it is the reason (and the timing) we have sex in the first place. It is not the sin of it, it is our idolatry and misuse of it. We use it rather than trust God in a relationship. We forgo the boundaries that protect our hearts.  We put the cart before the horse because of many reasons, but the one thing we don’t do, is trust God to do a good thing in us and our relationships. Simply put, we want a man. We have a man that gives us a hope to be loved and we don’t wait long enough to see if he is actually worthy of our affection. We don’t wait on God’s timing.

I can see my lack of faith by the lack of self-control I have. My past dictates my present, not God’s words. I let what the men I trusted did, tell me I lack value. I chose their broken message over all that God has done and shown me, told me about His great love for me and how valuable I am to Him. Truth is; I am highly favored and deeply loved.

I know too many sad women, objectifying themselves, who truly want a good man.  Women that have slowly become embittered or given up on love.

Ladies, let me tell you what. I spent a lot of time getting whole. I spent a lot of time healing from things that never should happen to any one of God’s daughters, yet because I discarded my boundaries and attached before I was able to discern, I still found myself tormented and traumatized in a marriage that didn’t last.  Once again I have found that old skin is hard to let go of. Oh, but we need to learn from our mistakes ladies! We need to stop being wishy washy. The idolatry of a man, the wanting to please a man or more to the point, to be pleasing to a man is a fall from anything good and worthy. We will begin to lose ourselves in there. We are chasing wrongly. Trying to create and manage.  But God!

All we have to know is God. He is sovereign. We have to know He loves us and to trust Him. We don’t need to trust men; We trust God.  Ask any man if a woman should trust men, they will tell you point blank “no”. Men need our respect. They don’t need our trust.

The hard truth is, the reason we are having sex before we should, is that we don’t trust God with our heart, soul and minds. We have believed the lie of this world that we are not valuable, that we are replaceable. We are legalistic in how we see God and we place that on man too. We believe salvation is not free, that God’s love is not free, and that we have to earn it.  This lie has destroyed families, churches, and human hearts everywhere.

When we have suffered, we somehow put that on God as a fault. God is not man. We live in a world that suffering is part of the journey. Finding God in it, is optional. Trusting God in it, will undoubtedly be the most difficult thing we can do. If we lose our self-control, we do not walk in the power that God has given us by His words. We will have sex because we are not trusting God. Period.

Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than to have faith.Trust in God for all things… nearly impossible, but when you see it, when you hope in it, when you turn back to it and say, “ I surrender” ,I trust you, again and again and again, He embraces you fully.  Love like that is not found anywhere on this earth.

What I love most about my perfect God is this. No matter how many times I fall away (daily) or get it wrong (again daily), He welcomes me back again and again. He loves me. He loves me beyond all measure.  No need for penance, just a turning back to him with hope and faith.

This is the real cost of sex for those of us that have been married before; our heart, soul and minds. Quite a thing!

We have to take our time. We have to protect our hearts. We have to be careful who we place our hope in,God or man; Period. When we begin too soon, we lose ourselves and we suffer. Period. Not worth it. Not ever worth that.

Look up daughter and see that you didn’t fall from grace, you didn’t mess it up, you didn’t lose your value, you didn’t become unworthy; you just got off track. Come back, again and again.  Keep trying to find that perfect faith in Him. That is all He asks of us.

Amen.

 

 

 

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Through The Tears

16 Jul

By Beckie Halaska

The thunder rolls, the rain pours down as I sit in complete still and silence.
I am in awe of our awesome God. His power. His love.

I bring my grief and sorrow to Him and just lay it wide open for Him.

I feel a sense of His presence.  When I can just be still, I become so aware of Him around me. My heart is so full. So overwhelmed.

This is a practice of being aware of Him. Seeking Him.
When I stop being me focused, silence the crazy world and be still, alert, aware of Him, He shows off for me in big ways.

How can I not worship this knowing, protective, worthy, infinite, unchangeable God?

I will never be strong enough.
I will never be loving enough.
I will never be whole enough.
I will never be beautiful enough.
I will never be worthy of His beautiful Grace.

It pours over my heart, my spirit as I soak in His greatness.
It is a free gift He showers on me. Over me
His peace is beyond all understanding.
It is well. Deep within my soul, my heart, it is well.

My beautiful Mom knows this God, this rescuer and lover of our souls as much as I do.
It is all well with her soul. This brings me so much comfort.

She may be preparing her goodbye’s to this world , but her joy has only begun.
As the storm gives way to blue skies, I am so blessed by His love and comfort.

As the tears fall, the sorrow leaves.
Because of Him.

Joy overwhelms me, peace that makes no sense in these circumstances, transcends through my whole spirit.

And I sit in gratitude. Such a good, good Father.

Amen.

Little Bits of Wisdom

29 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

God has been really putting some very real truth within my heart.
Little pieces of wisdom, morsels as it becomes my understanding and knowledge.

I am not wise; He is wise. I am learning to be wise, like Him, through Him.
I am imperfect. I have very good moments. Moments that I am absolutely a useful tool for God’s love and grace. I also have moments of pure human emotion and reactions.

I can be very hard on myself, very religiously legalistic, where I expect myself to be perfect. Perfectly His image. That is a lie that Satan uses to make the world think God is not real, that our Christian faith is a joke.
I am so not perfect. I am completely human. Paul really hits home to this point in Romans 7 and 8. I am nothing without God. I will never be perfect. I will need Him always, and without that knowledge, I will either fail miserably or I will take complete credit for everything God has done on my behalf.
I had a few things happen this week that confirm I am hearing Him fully. Last Sunday morning I was talking to God that He seemed to not be close to me. I don’t “feel” him like I used to. I have all this head knowledge, but He feels far away. Later in church, as I was leaving, I saw acquaintances that were sitting behind me, we greeted one another, joked a bit, and as I walked away, God pressed hard on my heart to go back to the husband (If you know me, I have a heart for women and really don’t talk to that many men!) and ask him if he needed prayer and within my soul I knew he did and knew it was health related. He choked up because he in fact, has some very real and very new health issues. God showed off for us both.

Later in the week as I sat listening to a chaplain from work present at a meeting, he shared about how he overcomes his inner voice to minister to people at the commitment center for sexual abusers.
I realized a new layer of truth about God. I have always struggled to understand how God can allow so much suffering here, especially the kids. In that moment I saw the truth. We are here for such a brief moment. This time here is short, and our time with Him is beyond our comprehension. We will absolutely suffer here. Sometimes it just seems too much! Jesus is a perfect reminder of just how much suffering we will have here. This world is hard! We are all so imperfect and there is very real evil here. We are all fragile and suffer illness, abuse, hardships. Not one of us is above it. But God!

This does not take away our purpose here. God is Sovereign over all of it. He knew every single thing you would suffer here and also said He will not leave you alone in it. He never said you will have happiness and joy all the days of your life. You didn’t get the raw deal if you have suffered great loss, been abused or watched a child suffer. Our hearts are too pure to endure it well, for sure. He said, though, don’t focus on this world too much. This world is very hard and broken, your trials will be many amongst your blessings. This world is short, heaven is forever. Colossians 3:2. Heaven is our victory one day. This world will be no more for us and we will dwell in peace forever.

Religion and misled believers, have done a number on who God is. People have misunderstood that our relationship with God is a vertical, one to one relationship. Jesus said over and over that we absolutely cannot judge anyone’s walk with Him. Our job is to love Him so much that we can’t help but have that spill out of us. Our job is to be so humbled by our own lack of ability to perfect faith that we give the same grace to everyone we meet and especially those that harm us, or hurt us.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter who loves us or doesn’t love us. It doesn’t matter how successful we are or if we are learning to be good stewards of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you have walked closely with God your whole life, have a successful marriage and family or if you have just found redemption from your jail cell. God is the equalizer. His grace, His pursuit of you, His dying on the cross for you, His love and plans for you are equal. No more, no less.

I have learned fully that even really bad people can be saved. You can be unkind, slanderous, a trouble maker, a liar, a cheat and still be saved. You can be arrogant, mean, manipulative and judgemental and still be saved. You can be super kind and righteous in your own humble way and not be saved.
It is not what we do, or don’t do. It is not sin, it is not success; it isn’t how we look to the world that saves us.

God is still that prodigal father sitting on the stoop, offering his grace through the sacrifice of His son, simply because He is love. Not because you are. Not because you are without sin. He loves us because that is who He is.

I have come to this understanding of God’s sovereignty. Our lives were planned before we were born. We will go through all of our trials and all of our joys, and at the end of the day, they are all for His purposes. To bring Him Glory. Our real free will is whether we choose Him in it or not. We sin because we have sin in us. Even when we walk close with Him. Period.

As this begins to really settle on my soul, I am filled with such a peace, knowing He has it all figured out. If I could only just keep my eyes on Him at all times and not be so wishy washy… But God.
Yes, He works it all out for our good and for His purposes. Always Grace. Always more grace.
And it is well, with my soul. Amen.

Truth in the Storms

8 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

When storms come, no sign of sunlight
My soul betrays me, waves coming crashing in

I silently cry out, tired from the battle.
I hear your voice. “Look at me love, you will be safe with me”.

Fear seeps in, my mind building doubts.
Reminding myself over again, “Trust in Him. Follow Him. Dive in. “

I cry out for you, that your promises stand true
I give up my need to control the direction of the tide.

This world weary traveler longs to know rest in you.
Longs to know there is no journey too hard for her again.

You grab my heart, as my mind surrenders the fear
Peace transcends. You are here. You are sovereign.

You become the air filling my lungs again.
You are sun in the darkest of spaces. Peace in the hurricane’s that come and go.

Oh but I can get lost in the mess of this life. You never change.
I hesitate a bit as I surrender and say “I need you, I trust you”

And you come. You remind. You rebuild.

And you say… “It’s going to be alright”

Beautiful traveler, there is a future waiting… just a bit more.
I need you strong for just a bit more.

In this world you will have trials, but you are no longer a slave of this world.

You were made for so much more.  I am your strength.

and you say.,, ”It’s going to be alright”.

Amen.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights ~Habukkuk 3:19

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand~ Isaiah 41:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; ~Proverbs 3:5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:5

 

 

Suffer with Hope

20 Apr

I don’t know why we think life shouldn’t be hard?  Where did we ever get this idea from?We all (ALL) have this idea that life should be easy.  I had to work this out myself, this legalistic idea that I somehow had become “good enough” to deserve less suffering.

My non-believing friends speak about  controlling the things that happen by “what we put in the universe”

What if I told you that it was never intended to be easy or without sorrow. Jesus, the “Son Of God” himself drank from the same cup of sorrow we suffer, on our behalf.

He suffered rejection and betrayal, especially at the end of His life. He sat at a table, washed the feet of those that would abandon Him and betray Him.  The disciples fled and left him, Peter denied knowing Him; Judas sold him out!

I saw this photo and it really brings home the fullness of suffering.

Mary, who bore our King in the most difficult of ways, also had to watch Him be beaten, dragged, mocked, spit on, nails driven in his feet and hands so he could hang on the tree until he died. His side was stabbed.

This mother, aside from being the Chosen King, loved her child,her first born son!She loved him beyond measure. How her heart must have suffered! She must have begged and had her own prayers not mentioned in the bible.
Our Lord, how He suffered! Imagine the pain and the fear! His prayers in the garden, his frantic beseeching of  his friends, his disciples to stay awake while he prayed.  He was alone, afraid, he was human in that moment.

Yet, His words “Thy Will Be Done” is the overall theme of trusting in God, trust that has so much Hope behind it.

Life is hard! This world though it has life, love, joy, and health, it also has death, sickness, betrayal, loneliness, fear, unkindness, evil.  Our poor kids don’t get to see the posts on social media about all the good there is. There is an epidemic of hopelessness.

Jesus understood us.  He knows your thoughts even before you speak them and he completely understands, completely relates to you, because he walked through this world, just like us.  He is full of acceptance, love, encouragement and understanding.

If you really get to know Him and His life, you can see how he worked out his obedience through all the suffering he witnessed to and all that he endured. He modeled it all for us.
It isn’t about how you react, it’s how you walk out a trial. We work through things. It’s not that we don’t suffer at all. We will and we do.

We stumble, we fumble, we fear, we cry…BUT peace, hope and joy can co-exist within those same feelings, when we just come to Him with it all, with every bit of it. We are set free and placed back on the path. Our circumstances may not be changed, but our peace returns, even while our trial still rages.

Mary loved her son. She was chosen by God. She suffered terribly, I can’t even imagine her mama’s heart!  But Hope.

This world doesn’t need more politics, more laws, more leaders, more religion. This world needs more hope. Hope is what I see so lost in this world.

Placing our hopes on success or people, or politicians or husbands, or friends… we will never be at peace. Placing our hopes in the finished work of Christ, the hope of all hopes, our perfect salvation, the one we don’t have to work out for ourselves, gives us renewed vigor to get through everything.

There is a divine Hope, an unsinking, unshaking, unrelenting hope I have found in my Savior. It is there even when everything falls apart. I celebrate this with so much gratitude every day., even more on Easter.

Even in the hard times, even when I sorrow, fear, or have anger. He is always near.  I am unreliable to Him, but He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. He is who he says he is, no matter what we do or say.

This beautiful Easter season, find Him. Seek Him.  He died for everyone, even those that will never acknowledge Him. He is waiting, never giving up, always pursuing you.

1 Peter 1:19-20 – “He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you.”

Re-Solution

30 Dec

Every year at this time, we talk about resolutions and goals.

In truth, 2018 was the year for me to heal. 2017 had so much loss, so much sorrow, so much crazy. I needed a year of peace and God was gracious. Though there were moments, some my own doing (and in some cases, my own undoing), some were completely out of left field but God in His amazing Love, truly walked me through quickly. He nourished me, refreshed me, tested me, and strengthened me. He made me suffer through my emotions and expectations to seek truth and to find Him, who He really is, not the God I had in my head.   I had to come to terms with what faith really meant to me, from the depths of hurt and disappointments and find what trust in God really meant.  What exactly are His promises and how do they apply to me.

At the end of this year, I can look back and see how much I have changed, how I have grown.  I can see the blessings.  Yes, I was able to do some really great things, a trip to Greece, trips to the kids, a trip to Minnesota.  I have been blessed with amazing friendships, a job I absolutely love, having a social calendar again.  But the greatest blessing is finding the truth that none of this matter’s without my full surrender to Him.

I have found the rest, joy and peace of knowing that God is sovereign.  My life will always have really difficult times. My life will have amazing gifts.   It is a constant receiving and letting go. The only true constant is God. He never changes; Never.

He tells us in His word -1 John 2:15- “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”
Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount to build our foundation of our acknowledgement of just this truth. He is sovereign. Our faith is a vertical relationship that is not distracted by the things that other people have, say, do or what we lose or gain. (Matthew 5-7) It is solid in the trust that as long as we stay focused on Him, we are okay.  He is able to work on us, through us, and for us.

I have discovered all of my barriers to really surrendering to His Sovereignty. My lack of faith in areas that I think I can do better I suppose. I hold tight to my idea of what this world should look like, fairness, goodness. I had this idea of what happiness was, especially if you are doing it “right” such as marriage, love, family, constant peace, no issues, no loss. I have grown weary trying to make it better. I have found the very last stitch of control I thought I had.
The truth says, stop looking to this world to give you anything you need. This world is flesh, this world is false.  It doesn’t last. Nothing lasts forever.

But God.

The truest lover of your soul is calling you, wooing you, pursuing you to love Him. It is the LAW.
Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. This doesn’t mean fit in, like run a 10k or drive a fancy car or be invited to the finest events. This means to love yourself enough to lose yourself completely, regardless of your circumstances.  He doesn’t just ask us to obediently surrender to Him every need for food and shelter; He asks for so much more. He wants all of it. .  He longs for every desire. Surrender every longing for popularity, fitting in, being loved, being accepted, success, things, beauty, adventure and of perfect joy.

From His perfectly designed place of surrender, knowing who God is, and who you are and are not, who can offend you? Who can speak against you, who can hurt you, what can shake you to your core?  Oh please let these trials shake off the lies and expose to you, God’s nature.

Why on earth do we think we should suffer less in this world than the one that sent His own Son, His Son that suffered so greatly , just for us?   If we get stuck in the place of trying to play God, trying to make it make sense, we become bitter or we lose our faith.

Our resolutions should be made, intentionally, to draw near to God. Our goal should be to shake of this world and the distractions and just Love God and Love People. Learn to draw near to Him at all times and in all circumstances. Grow in your trust that this is all for His glory and His purposes. These are healthy resolutions. These are the plans that do not direct our steps but give God the reigns to speak into our lives and direct our steps.

Surrendered.

James 4: 4-8 NLT

You adulterers!Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 

Christmas Devotional

1 Dec

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Luke 2:17-19

We all have times of trial; Times of frustration or pain, loss of loved ones, rejection, physical pain. When we have an issue, big or small, we talk about it, we pray about it and we focus some time on it.

As we read Luke, we see a still, quiet worship in Mary. She was quiet, obedient and calm. She didn’t talk about it; she didn’t focus on the hardship. She stored and pondered “these” things in her heart. They were the promises of God.

So much of God’s Word tells us to be still and to be quiet. Mary is our example of what that is. It is worship.

What if we, like Mary, stayed fully aware of the providence of God. We have to really imagine the culture and how shameful it was to be pregnant. She knew her Heavenly Father. In those days, the stories would include our God that wiped out towns. Mary was not shaken. She was calm. She knew the scriptures, but she also knew God. He was her husband first. Isaiah 54:5. I am your husband.

If we stored the same promises in our hearts, and we trusted God with the same fullness that Mary did, writing them on our hearts and remembering them often, her peace would be our peace. The Peace of the Lord would be ours regardless of what was happening around us. God made us promises. Those promises are there whether we remember them or not.

I pray as we journey through this Christmas together, we begin to write the promises of God in our heart. To remember the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, who is there to guide us and help us.  I pray we too become so full of peace, calm and joy. To always remember to first ponder these things and remember them always.

Merry Christmas