Tag Archives: religion

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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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.

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.”

Still Someone

19 Jan

Beloved wife, soon to be ex; woman without her spouse, hear me. You were tossed aside as if it didn’t matter. There are so many intense emotions you feel, but when the waves are really rough, there is also a very steady truth underneath the dark, underneath the pain. There is a foundation of truth and faith so tangible that I beseech you to sink your whole grip into. Grab hold and hang on for dear life.

Our God hates divorce for so many reasons.
His plan for marriage was for two to become one; Inseparable. But now you are only one, severed and left to bleed. It is a ripping apart, a death for you. You have grieved and mourned it deeply.
He created marriage for us to help one another. You fought so hard for so many years, I know. He created marriage to help us walk through our lives with a helpmate. To prepare us for the day we meet our bridegroom. This is the piece missing in our churches. This is the piece society leaves out.

It will take a minute to let the aloneness become a comfort. It will feel like hell for a long time.  But the day will come when you have peace again…Maybe, for the very first time.

I know how you cry at night, every night. I know you have blamed yourself; I know you have blamed it on the other. I know you have tried to stop loving the one that no longer loves you. It is a dark and painful hell that none of us want to walk. When we divorce, we all have to go through each step of grieving the death of our other forever half. It is a death for us as difficult and tangible as the death of a loved one. But no one sees it like that. You are suffering and smiling as if you are stronger than you feel.

Trust God with every bit of hurt, every lie told about you, every friend lost during the divorce.  Trust Him when your spouse moves on quickly. It is commonplace, the one that jumps, replaces quickly, if not before. The one that is far from God has a hole they need to fill desperately and they do so, quickly.

You, the one caught off guard, is just worried about surviving. But look at you! You, on the other hand, have braved every awful, heart-wrenching night.  You learned new things, you became empowered in ways you never thought you could. You allowed God, out of need, to become your partner and provider. Look at what He did! With you, for you and through you. You had moments of panic and mistakes but you learned so quickly and altered your course back to His plan for you. You trusted Him in the dead of night to be your husband. You barely have enough to eat most days, it’s been so unfair, yet, you played so fair. Always fair.Now God will set things right.

You have lost people in this process. Let them go.  Not everyone is meant to be here when you don’t just survive your divorce, you soar!  Rejection is part of divorce. You have people that will never leave you, never give up on you, never pick a side. Never hurt you by not seeing how deeply your wound goes. You made new friends, we do that. God brings us healer friends, the ones that understand exactly what your world looks like and what your words mean, even if you didn’t know how to say them.  Friends that will always keep you on your path and point you back to Him.

And God.  He was there all along. You began to talk with Him more and more. You exposed your complete heart to Him. He knew it anyways. He sat there beside you, whether you reached for Him or not. He is always ready to refresh you, he was already to catching your tears, each one, in a jar He keeps forever. Your tears are so important to Him.  Even as other’s listened in on your prayers, your conversations with God, with friends, you just let God have that. You have given justice back over to God. This is His justice now.

You are stronger than you know my friend. Stay true to Godly truth. Stay true to God’s word. That is where your real healing comes from. People will believe all kinds of lies. You just stay with your moral compass, Our Lord. People will take sides. Let them. That is their cross to bear and isn’t about you. Just keep your eyes on biblical truth and God’s omnipotent, sovereign, all knowing, all seeing, ways, hope and blessings. He will never reject you, never take sides, never hurt you.

That is a beautiful, amazing place to be; With Him. Your world will only become more and more beautiful. Let Him show off for you. Let Him heal you. Let Him restore what the Locust has tried to destroy.

A family is broken now, yes. But God uses broken people, and He binds up wounds, making you better than ever. He will make beauty from these ashes. He always does.

Trust in Him. Do not dwell on the things of this world. See His Love in all things. Trust with unshakable trust. Let these waves wash over you and keep your eyes on Him and He will restore your peace, you will be loved beyond measure, you will want for nothing.

Amen.Amen. Amen.

True Religion

26 Nov

As I began my rediscovery of my faith, I promised to always be transparent. I may not always be completely accurate but I am always honest with you. Especially in the ways I doubt or mess up.

I think the hardest part of my faith journey these 10 years, is shaking off the beliefs, the ideals, the teachings that actually kept me from really knowing God, knowing Christ.  I think you can be saved, by simply accepting the gift of salvation Christ gave to you.  That mustard seed, if it took root, is enough.

Religions have made it difficult for us to really know Christ. To know God. To know the Holy Spirit. The rules and politics became magnified and we lost sight of the fact that people in need of a savior were the ones teaching and preaching and leading us.  Sadly, because of the sin in people, it is hard for people to find God.

Religion became about people; Like we did it, like we saved ourselves. We lost God in the mix. Even our non-denominational churches need a shaking up.  We spend so much time on wrong things. We waste opportunity after opportunity, simply because we missed the point.  WE are not the point. WE didn’t earn our salvation.

Sin is a black stain. All sin is a black stain. Whether you lie about why you’re running late or you harm a child. Sin is black. It is all black and in need of a redeemer. Period.  Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) fell to his knees and couldn’t even look at God because he was able to fully see the stain of his sin compared to the Glory of God.  That is us. Each and every one of us.

That is why Jesus was born.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”” Luke 19:10 NLT

He is the seeker, the all-knowing, just waiting to be known.   Period. 

God created every life. He loves every single life. He seeks every life to know Him.

If the creator of all things,  loves every life, cherishes and longs for every life to know Him, pursues every sinner, how arrogant it is to judge any single person anything.

He isn’t doing this to you. He is seeking you. He is saying “look at me, look to me, seek me and you will find me, hear me, follow me, trust me. ”  It is not a human responsibility to fix society. It is a human response to salvation to want to share that amazing advent with the world.

God could force us to worship Him, but he seeks us. He could reject us for not choosing Him, but He simply continues to pursue us.

There is a longing in us, for more. A hole inside our heart, a wounded sorrowful place that without Him, never becomes full. He left that space inside our hearts just for Himself.  I have times where I don’t feel Him there and it hurts. Physically. I miss Him.  When I begin to worship Him, glorifying Him, I feel my whole being fill up.

My faithwalk is one of ups and downs. I go through periods of deep devotion, humbled and reverent awe of all He is. I also go through periods of time where I forget about Him, I do things out of my own ambitions and needs, and not out of obedience and submission. I am prideful at times, without acknowledgement of all He provides. I am self sufficient, moving along without thinking of Him, at all.  There are times that I have literally sat in such a place of awe, knowing it was Him with me because the atmosphere completely changed.  I have also been edgy, worried, fearful, gossipy, insecure, all things that I am when I forget who He is and who I have dwelling within me.

Honestly, I am in a weird place in my journey. It is so different that at times, I worry that my faith is going cold, yet at the same time, knowing it isn’t. I am trusting Him with this new place, not because I am so good at being a Christian…(I am not), but because I have learned that I can try to be but it really works much easier if I remember that He is in charge and He has never let me down. He is sovereign.

It is so hard to imagine a God that can dwell inside of us. How crazy does that sound? That He would choose us, to dwell within us? We know, deep down, from that humble awareness that we are probably not perfect enough for Him to be inside of us. So why do we expect perfection from the world around us?

HE is the one that loved us first. HE, the one that created the world, also numbered every single hair on every single head. He is self reliant and self existent. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need one single thing because He is omnipotent and sovereign.  We just get to travel through this world, on our way to His world.

He didn’t tell us we were so wonderful, He said we were wonderfully made. He didn’t say we were worth rubies, He said we were bought with the price of rubies.

I forget this humility.  Often. We all do.  We need to do better at loving this world, and we need to start by loving God and loving every person God created, starting with ourselves. We all walk around with that hole inslde that only he can fill and we all walk around with the big black stain of sin. No sin is exempt and no sinner is exempt. No sin is darker. No sin is less than.  Neither are the sinners. We, every single human on this earth is a sinner. Period. It isn’t that we are free to sin however we choose, it is that we are called to humble our own selves before Him and surrender our own sin to Him. It is vertical, this sinner/savior relationship. This is what Jesus meant about the plank in your own eyes. (Matthew 5-7).

My faith may not “feel” tangible to me, but He is really opening my eyes to the truth. To my lowness in the big scheme of things. That lowness is blessed with promise and joy everlasting. Truth shall set us free. I want us all to know true freedom.

So, put your bible on your bed-stand and walk out your door today and see the hole in people. Not the black stain. Find the love inside of you and look around you, see the love needed and share that love, pursue it passionately. When we do this, then we are behaving like God. Oh that I would walk this, every moment of every day.

This is true religion.

 

Sweet Surrender

4 Nov

Oh, but if only we didn’t have to suffer!

Life is so many things, but there is something about discomfort that makes us not see anything but the discomfort. Why is that?

As I comforted a friend in her grief yesterday, I realized that honestly, sometimes we have to just be in it. Just be sad. There was a time when people wore a band or put on burlap and put ash on their face, to let the world know they were grieving. They didn’t buck up, they didn’t try to hide it, they announced it. It was their’s. They owned their own emotions. They were just going through what they were going through.

Somehow in our “enlightenment”, we became unable to endure anything but happy. Truth be told, I think this only makes us more unhappy!  We say “don’t dwell on it”, “focus on the good”, “take your mind off of it”.  What a disservice we do to real grief! The strength that comes from really embracing all of life. I see it in my work as well, people trying to “avoid” death. “If we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.”

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that nothing is new.  There will always be times of joy and times of sorrow, times of birth and times of death.  Sadly we have gotten so fragile that we can’t even bear someone cutting us off in traffic or having a different perspective.

This is the root of all hatred and bitterness. This set up we create of how we think our life should look instead of embracing what we have and where we are at.

As for the modern church,somewhere along the line, we decided that being Christian meant that we would be blessed with happiness. We are blessed with peace in the trials, because of Hope, Hope for more than this hard world! Jesus was pretty point-blank when he said “you will have trials in this world”

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. 

I am growing to understand the depth of what He meant.  My friend and I have both walked through this harsh reality this week. She helped me really awaken to the truth. We, (me), tend to think we deserve something good because we are walking with God. Not consciously, but we still do it. This is legalism;  As if our works do anything except glorify Him. We tend to think we should be blessed with more than what Jesus was blessed with.

Jesus was alone in the garden, abandoned, betrayed. He suffered greatly, went to hell for us, all before His final Blessing.  What is it we think we actually deserve again?  It is pretty humbling to think we try to put ourselves above Jesus?

Submission is hard, faith is hard, life is hard.  We have sin in us, so this world is full of hardship. There is both good and evil here. We have to stop worrying about everyone else’s sin, about what other’s do, especially when it is aimed at us. In the end, it isn’t really about us. Our journey is our own.  We can’t control the wind, we can’t control people and we can’t control God.  As much as we love beginnings, endings are as important and natural. They just come with discomfort.  And we don’t like that. We expect it be better than that.  Disappointment is just unrealized expectations. What really do we have a right to expect?

Works is just a form of worship and glorification, not about earning.  Blessings are not rewards just as hardship is not punishment. It is just part of our journey. Nothing new. Nothing is a surprise to God. Just us.

Feel your hurt, feel your sorrow, feel your pain, feel your anger. Stop being so afraid of the hardship that you miss out on the fullness of God’s Glory.  There is something very precious about climbing into your sorrow with God. Just being still in your pain and in Him. It is a tangible closeness that I have never felt any other time.

It really blows my mind when a christian judges another for their journey. Especially when calling another christian a hypocrite. None of us is above another and humility comes as a blessing, not a punishment.  What a joy it is to know I will never be perfect and it isn’t an expectation. What a blessing it is to have exposed my entire inner thought life to Him, shared every dark detail of my thoughts, my actions and to know I am still seen as beautiful, beloved, as precious as a ruby.  To be forgiven and set free from guilt. In the end, it is His opinion of me that matters.

Now for those that are not Christian, this is where it gets really muddy. We as christians have been so legalistic that those that aren’t Christian expect us to be something different that what we can really be.

Being set free from sin, does not mean we don’t sin. There are those that think this means we are free to sin. No, we are not free to sin. Sin is our burden, we will always mess it up, but when you know you are forgiven by God, it honestly begins to change you, it brings you closer to Him, you begin to think more like Him, talk more like Him, and hopefully, love more like Him. God can’t change what you try to hide. He sees it, nothing is hidden, but being afraid to surrender it all, expose it all, before the throne, keeps you enslaved to it. We are set free from it. Confessed sin is cleaned.  It is between us and God.

Legalism is a hard, hard thing. It is prevalent in our churches as much as this world. It is prevalent among believers and non believers alike. It says, you must look and act a certain way. You must do. You must or must not be this or that. You must not sin, you must be joyful all the time, you must be… or not be. False. Relationship with God is vertical. The horizontal is the welcoming portion of the cross. The love. The all.

Faith is actually about surrender. We are all sinners and the one common thing we share is that not one single one of us has it all figured out.  Faith is this, Jesus died for us, because we couldn’t earn our way to heaven. We failed.  Faith is trusting in this. Faith is dying to your own ego and thinking it’s about you at all! It’s about God.  This is the safety to fully process everything but from a place of surrender. This is the peace that is above your circumstances, because He is beside you. He is your Rod and Staff, and refreshes your weary soul. (Psalm 23).

So feel what you feel. Climb in and let God’s glory lighten your sorrow, your burden’s because with Him, it’s not heavy.  Surrender yourself. Confess your dark.  With God, it is healing. It is freedom.

Laugh, fellowship, enjoy your life. Cry when you hurt, cry out when your are afraid. Don’t judge, not even yourself:

Submit.

Be.

Be still and let Him be God. Because He is, anyways.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Tend To Your Own Weeds

29 Oct

I am that girl. The Jesus freak girl.

I am that girl that found Jesus late in life, though I had religion much of my life.  I am a bit of a rebel  at heart. I am an “I can do it myself” kind of girl. It’s been hard for me to surrender to God. I have found great peace in this place of surrender, but obviously I have trust issues as I keep finding myself back in the driver’s seat.

I am also the girl that always hated injustice. I’ve stood up for people, fought battles for people, alongside of people.

I am that girl; the one that brought home the stray pets and outer fringe people.

I am also the girl that at age 47,  finally heard the words of Jesus, echoing in my heart as I read, and reread “The Sermon on the Mount” (*Matthew 5-7).   Literally, I understood my salvation as I read the words of Matthew 5:3-5 in the Message version.  It changed everything.

Church friends…We can talk about needing a revival all we want, but we have to start within our own four walls. It’s time for the church to wake up. It is time for us to hear what He has been saying to us, in Matthew, Mark, in John, in Roman’s. Stop with the rules and rituals. Stop thinking that your actions determine your salvation. They don’t.  Stop thinking you have to fit a type! Stop rejecting people based on sin. Seriously!

Love God and Love your neighbor. Believe that Jesus is exactly who He said He is.  Our redeemer. For the man hanging next to him on the cross, it was as simple as saying “remember me”.  It isn’t hard! Stop making it so hard!  These are the simple rules we have unless we want to go back to trying to earn it again by doing our best to follow the Ten Commandments.  I can’t even get through traffic on my way to work!  I am desperate for a Savior!

This is my takeaway on the very words of Jesus from that sermon.  It is the philosophy of not throwing stones before you look into your heart to see if you have ANY sin.

If you are going to call out Homosexuals for not “turning from their sin”, you had better be free from every single sin you meant to turn from. Every single one.   Because that is how you will now be judged.

If you are going to hate or judge a person for the color of their skin, their religion, for their economic status or their politics, you are acting as if they are your enemy. You have villainized them and you are  not loving your neighbor. Period. Period. Period.   The verb.

If you are not going to forgive every single person, every single thing they have done, every single time, then you don’t know what redemption is.  (This isn’t about boundaries, this is about forgiveness).  See, I can say all this because I know how prideful I can be, I know how unfair it can seem in my tunnel vision of looking at other’s instead of myself. The really sad truth is, when you don’t love the people of this world…then you have not loved God.

I have walked through grief, fear, anger, un-forgiveness and I have walked through peace. Unshakable peace even in the midst of great trials. Oh how I wish I could sit here and write this from a place of having it all together.  Some days, I am there. Some days, not so much.

I have had great faith, great joy, deep peace and I have really messed it up.  I have hurt people I loved, I have been selfish. I am never perfect like Christ. Never!  But this is the truth. I have zero secrets from God. I have confessed all of my sin. I can walk in freedom knowing this.

I really wish I was so faith filled that I would ALWAYS come from love, always forgive everyone everything, always be filled with supernatural peace.  One day, in Heaven. I will have all of that and more.

I don’t care what your sin is, because we all do it. We all have our thing, the thing we know the bible tells us is wrong, but we have this thorn in us. Stop letting ANYONE tell you that it separates you from God ‘s redeeming Grace. It never has and it never will. He loves every single one of his beautiful sheep.
He probably loves his homosexual sheep a bit deeper because they have been treated like lepers.  Just sayin!  They are like the tax collectors, and remember who Jesus spent time with!

I want every single person I come alongside to see so much of God in me, that they want to know if it applies to them. (It does, but that is YOUR journey).

What real faith looks like, perfected: Being grace filled when someone slanders you, when someone lies about you, when someone blames you or uses you, rejects you, or disrespects you.  When you watch a loved one suffer or there is more month than money. When things unravel or no longer look the way we thought it would look, that is the kind of disappointment that makes faith really hard.  Oh but when our faith is that big, NOTHING can touch us.  This is MY religion.

Grace is perfect. I am not. No matter if I mess it up or remain in Him, He never stops loving me. He never leaves my side or stops reminding me to check myself first.

Before we look over the fence at anyone, ever… we may want to check our own yard. We have to constantly look for new weeds, especially the ones hidden in corners.

My friend and I were on the phone the other night. She was driving around, retracing her stops, searching for her son’s missing glove. When she finally found it, she happily texted me to share the good news! We were both happily giving God praise. That is how God feels about the people that He is searching for. When they turn to Him, Heaven sings praise!

God’s words of loving affirmation belong to you, whether you know them or not.
He lovingly knit you together, carefully planning every detail of you, even numbering the hairs on your head. Even if you never stop to wonder at His amazing creation that is you, He still loves you.  He pursues you, longs for you to know Him. Not the church, not the rules, not the teachers, not the religions, not the writer of this blog.

Him. He just wants you to know Him.

 *Matthew 5:3-5 The Message (MSG)

“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.