Tag Archive | Christianity

Falling in Love in 2015

I was looking back at this year and realized that I fell into love…. not with a mortal man but with something so much greater.

I have faced unimaginable heart break and walked a fair amount of my journey alone with only the knowledge of God’s presence…..  but I have discovered what it is to love as Christ first loved me.   Its not about being loved by those around me.  It’s not about doing the right things to show my love.  It’s not about feeling loved or even others acknowledging the love I give to them.

I want to share how I fell into love this year, mostly because I know that the one thing everyone craves is love and it has been the only way that the desire has been met for me.

1 John 4:10

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Love isn’t just something that I’m called to give but rather receive.  When I receive God’s love my heart changes in ways that I could never accomplish on my own.

vs 16

God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: In this world we are to be like JESUS.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment!

When I fully receive God’s love I’m living in Him and I am made complete giving me the confidence that on judgement day there will be no punishment for me.  There is no punishment in his love….so I have no fear!  What a beautiful thought…..

Hebrews 12: 5-6

My child,

Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

and He corrects everyone he accepts as his child.

God disciplines or teaches me molding me into the likeness of him.  Punishment is causing meaningless suffering out of revenge………          not love.  Just as God loves me through people he will discipline me through people and if I am to love others I am called to discipline and correct others.

1 John 4:19

We love because He first loved us…….

It is only because I have seen and experienced Gods love for myself that I am able to love others.  The fruit of which is

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love does not envy….boast… proud….dishonor others…..self seeking… easily angered….keep record of wrongs…delight in  evil.

Love is….Patient….Kind….Rejoices in truth….Protects…..                    Always Hopes…. Always Perseveres….Most importantly

LOVE NEVER FAILS

I few years ago I shared how God had used the previous years struggles to show me his love for me through the people he brought into my life.  The hardships I faced forced me to reach out to others and allowed me to experience Gods love in a way that I never had before.  I knew of His love and believed in it but I had not experienced it through the people around me that way until I came face to face with my past.

Early on in that experience I didn’t understand what was going on inside of me.  I couldn’t see what God was doing to me, how he was molding me so that I could love others as He first loved me.  I tried to keep the people around me that I thought should love me and there was a part of me that knew they couldn’t love me in the way that I craved.  I thought that if God used people then I had to figure out how to keep those people who I thought would love me in my life.  That was stressful and scary.  I found myself anxious, worried and fearful for the first time of what others thought of me.  I knew that I shouldn’t be, but I couldn’t understand where this fear had come from.  I found myself wanting to test people to see if they would stick around.  No one had ever cared enough to stick around so why would these people.  I wanted to see how far I could push boundaries because I had never come close to anyone’s boundaries before.  When you never let anyone close to you and you never get close to anyone else it is impossible to cross a boundary.  Subconsciously I was sabotaging relationships to see if anyone really wanted or cared to be there for me.  I didn’t want to be someone’s project or someone who was loved out of obligation because it was the Christ like thing to do.  I honestly didn’t believe anyone was capable of loving me just for me.  That anyone would want to have anything to do with me once they knew the things I really struggled with.

I wanted people to want to do things with me….not because I asked but because they genuinely loved spending time with me.  I’m not sure if that ever really happened.  There was a point where I thought it did happen and with a small group of people I let a small piece of me shine.  I had begun to believe that some of them were sincere in the things they said and did.  I was experiencing a feeling that I hadn’t really felt before and it was so precious to me that it terrified me.  I thought that for the first time I was feeling truly loved and accepted by others.  Inside I was scared that it would be wrong because people shouldn’t have the ability to make me feel so good.  God was the only one who should make me feel that way.  When I tried to talk to a few people about it I was sadly misunderstood.  I walked away condemning myself for something that was a gift from God to be cherished and shared with others.  I actually believed that I didn’t know how to love right…..sounds silly I know…..but if you’ve never walked in my shoes you wouldn’t understand and to walk in my shoes you would have to know my story.  I’m not sure any of those people in that small group really knew me or even cared to. What I have come to know is that for the first time I was connecting with people on a level that I never had allowed myself to in the past.  That feeling was from being accepted as part of a family, a sense of belonging and most importantly not being alone.  Was I feeling love?  I don’t know and I’m not sure that I really care.

Sadly I was so conflicted  with what I should be doing, or even worse, what I should be feeling so that I wouldn’t lose them….. because I was told I needed them and without them God couldn’t love me.  I needed to make those relationships work but it turns out all my effort was in vain and I think its pretty safe to say that I have lost all of those relationships in the last year.  I could be wrong…. and I’m not dead so there is time for things to change.  I know that I have changed a lot in the last year and that other people change too.  I also know that God is bigger than all of this mess.

I’ve watched God use this to take me places I would’ve never gone to otherwise.  When I first left last January it wasn’t meant to be a Goodbye.  I was loving them as Christ first loved me.  Sometimes that love is painful and looks more like discipline.  It may not have been my choice to leave but it is my choice to return.  I’ve found healing these last 11 months and have grown in ways that I never would have had I stayed and simply kept my mouth shut.

The word I thought God had for me in 2015 was forgiveness.  Now that I’ve reached the end I realize that while I learned a lot about forgiveness I learned even more about LOVE.  I thought I needed to forgive but I had already forgiven the people who hurt me.  I wanted them to understand my pain not because they could fix any of the damage done to me but so they could learn and be able to help others like me without doing more damage.

Learning to rest in the knowledge of God’s love for me has released me from the anxiety and worry of what others think of me.  I am no longer disappointed by those around me nor do I look to them to justify myself.  There are still many days that I spiral down and things set me back but God always pulls me back to his truth.  Love is everything,  the most important gift I can receive and offer to others.  It is only because of Love that I am able to be fearless where I was once fearful.

The word I believe God has for me for 2016 is FEARLESS!  I believe God wants me to learn to step out and face some of my worst fears and the only way I can accomplish that is by relying on the knowledge of His love for me and what it means for me.    I’m sure I’ll make mistakes and fall more than a few times but I know he’ll be there to pick me up with or without people in my life.

The last verse I would like to share with you is

2Timothy 1:7

For He has not given me a Spirit of timidity but rather one of Power, Love, and of Sound Mind.

God has blessed me with the gift of the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Spirit he reveals knowledge of who He is, which in turn gives me the Power that allows me to Love and have a sound mind.  This verse has become a foundational rock for my spiritual journey.  As I look to this next year my goal is simple ….. rest in the knowledge of Gods Love for me and not run in fear from the Love he is trying to bless me with.  I don’t know if it will be new people or people from the past but if the Spirit leads me I will have nothing to fear.11951370_10206212650048639_4150848054172693234_n

 

 

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Happy Birthday To Me!

Dear God,

I am so thankful for me!

The way that you have created me

The family that you have given me

How I look when you look at me

The things that I love to do

and the things I hate to do.

The things that bring tears to my eyes

and the things that bring life to my eyes!

All of these things are a part of who I am and who you have made me to be.

YOU have molded me and shaped me into who I am today….

Right now………in this place in time.

I want to thank you God

For the life I’ve lived thus far

For the good times and the not so good

For the things that have made me laugh to the things that have scared my heart.

I may not be perfect but I am……… perfectly broken just for you

You’ve taken all my pieces and your placing them right where you want them to be

Your turning me into who you’ve always wanted me to be

rather than who I’ve tried to be.

So today Lord

As I celebrate the gift of life

I want to thank you for

Creating me,

Loving me

and Most of all NEVER giving up on me.

I don’t have any Birthday wishes this year.   My only request is that if your going to say Happy Birthday please tell me something I’ve said or done that has touched your heart.

What do you think of….. when you think of me?

What is it that would remind you of me…… if I were to die tomorrow?

Please don’t wait till I’m gone to say the things you wish you’d said when I was alive.

Don’t save the best for last……..because it may never be heard.

And if you don’t know me then do this for someone you do know……..someone you love.

Don’t assume that they already know…….what if they don’t?

The greatest gift you can give someone on their Birthday is the knowledge that they are valuable, appreciated and loved for who they are.

Once a year everyone needs a little reminding of what it is that makes them special.

Anyone can say Happy Birthday! But only a friend can tell you what it is about you that cannot be replaced by another.

Remind them of their value and purpose, that is beyond what they can see.Birthday Quotes 1

So lets tell one another what it is that we enjoy about each other rather than assuming they know!

Crucify Him

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Crucify him, Crucify him

Was the cursing of their hearts

Crucify him, Crucify him

Was the cheer inside my heart

I hear their bitter cries

I can see it in their eyes

Perhaps their hearts were broken

Or blinded by words spoken

Either way its doesn’t matter

For nothing could be sadder

For they were deceived to believe

In a king that wouldn’t be

I know my heart was broken

Perhaps it was even stolen

Surely I was deceived

For believing in the creed

For the life I thought was mine

was never truly mine

He said I had a choice

And at that I surely did

 I chose nothing less than a life full of love

With the gift of eternity and a promise of a family

Now the question left for you

Is what choice will you choose?

Love or hate?

Christ is God’s Love for us

and all he wants from you……..Is your open heart

Who could possibly refuse this gift he left for us?

For we’ll all be bound together

With a life to last forever.

My greatest wish on earth is to see you in forever

Psalm 23 God’s Provision

God has provided me with this house and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to make it my home.

God has provided me with this house and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to make it my home.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters.

I listened to a  sermon recently that was on Psalm 23 and it was the first 2 verses that intrigued me.

The speaker shared how over in the middle east you don’t find pastures of green grass like we see over here.  Shepherds in that area would spend all day sometimes looking for patches of grass to feed their sheep for that day.  This was not always an easy job for them and finding water for their sheep could be just as challenging.

The Lord is my shepherd so he will find the grass I need for today.  I shall not be in want.  God will never leave me without shelter or food to eat.  So I say and meditated on that………I may not have the latest gadgets or trendy wardrobe but my children and I will be taken care of for the day.  I don’t have to know where our food will come from next week because next week isn’t here and God could lead me to another pasture that I cannot yet see.

I’ve learned to be pretty savvy with my money and manage it wisely.  I have zero credit card debt and own 3 cars which are all paid for.

However I just signed a lease to rent a house because I am being forced to move.  I have to admit I have worried some about this since my income is so little. My motto the last few years leading up to this moment has been that God will provide the perfect house, at the perfect time, at the perfect place, for the perfect price.

Boy did God do that!

God brought me to this little blue house out in the country and it is more than I could’ve ever dreamed of asking for.  But it is exactly what God knew that I needed.  It is so perfect to the tiniest detail that I know it is Gods provision for us.  The challenge for me has been believing that God could bless me with something so wonderful.  I have struggled for so long and when I put the figures down on paper it doesn’t look possible.  I have prayed about it a lot because I really don’t want to make the wrong decision and end up in a bad spot, not to mention I didn’t have the money they were asking for up front…………..God provided though through someone anonymously giving me exactly what I needed to come up with.  That is not something I asked for or even saw coming but it was God providing for me because I am his daughter and he wants to meet my needs if only I have the courage and faith to let him.  I know going into this my expenses will exceed the income that I can bring in and amazingly……. I am not laying in bed at night worrying about what I’m going to do.  Instead I wake up each morning and thank the Lord for blessing me with the opportunity to make this house my home.  I know that there is no need of mine that is too big for God’s wallet.  I may not always like the way that he provides for me but I have learned to be thankful and humble which has given me the privilege of witnessing some miracles that I can now share with others.

I know that there are a lot of Christians out there who would disagree with my decision.  Even Dave Ramsey would have a problem with my decision and would probably say that I need to get another job.  I am not sharing this to justify why I have made this decision but rather to be an example to others of how God has worked in my life through my financial struggles.

My options if I were to find a place with in my budget responsibly speaking would consist of……… living with someone else, government housing,  or finding a small 2 bedroom apt in a bad area of town for me to cram all 4 of us into.  I don’t know about you but I don’t think that if I am God’s princess any of those options are acceptable.

I have spent a good portion of my life working 40+ hours a week just trying to make ends meet.  I did whatever I could to make money in order to provide for my family.  All of the stress of working and keeping up with 4 kids as a single mom wore me out to the point that I couldn’t function.  It seemed that no matter how hard I tried we were barely scraping by.  I sacrificed so much emotionally and spiritually in my life to do what I thought I needed to do.

Now let me clarify here so you don’t get the wrong idea here because I was not working this hard to have 2 fairly new cars and a 4 bedroom house with a nice yard.  I was working this hard to keep 2 old vehicles running and a small 2 bedroom house that was falling apart.  I have spent most of my life time living beneath the poverty level and a lot of time trying to rise above it.

I have seen God’s hand personally in the first part of the scripture in the sense that even though I have been in some tough financial positions I have seen God provide with just enough to cover our needs time and time again.

It is the second part of the scripture here that I am experiencing for probably the first time in my life.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

That is to rest, to let go, to do nothing???????  Really?

Not just rest but God MAKES me lies down in abundance?  Am I getting this right?

I always believed that in order for God to provide I had to do something like work, or ask the right people for help or even maintain the right relationships………..come on now be honest……. we all have those friends with the pool in the backyard and if you don’t, you are probably that friend with the pool in their backyard.

Ps 23:2 implies that I have to do nothing……

In fact it implies that God insists that I rest and do nothing.  So what if I surrender all my efforts to God and lay down to watch what he does in my life?

As I look back over the last 9 months I can see how God has been forcing me to lie down in green pastures.

Last January I ended up in the Hospital for the second time in 2 years.  It was there that I was told I should apply for SSD.  I told the woman that it was ridiculous and that I could work and had been working.  She looked at me and said

” But you are here because it is not working for you.  If you want to get better you need to take a break from working before it kills you.”

I left the hospital and the thought bounced around inside my head for a few weeks before I decided to go ahead and apply.  I was told by my Doctor “Good Luck!  It will take you like 2 years to get it”  I figure in 2 years I wouldn’t need it so if it was what God wanted he would take care of it.

Long story short here….I did get SSD within 6 months and I saw doors fly open for me on the journey that people said I would have a hard time opening.

SSD is not enough to live on but it helps make ends meet so I can be the mom my children need me to be.  I have been learning through all of this that it is not me who earns the money but rather God who provides it.

Just like the green grass just for today I have what I need for each day and I may not know about tomorrow but I have total confidence in my shepherds ability to lead me to the green pastures that I need.

I’ve learned that when something crosses my path whether it is an opportunity to work or way to get assistance I listen to the promptings of my spirit.  Some times God even places people in my path with whom I can share my story with.  I’ve found that sharing my struggles allows others to reach out and meet a need that I have.  This type of experience can be quite humbling and I am learning to not be ashamed of my situations but to be open to allowing God to use them so that He can be Glorified through my unpleasant situations.  All of this takes a willingness on my part to be vulnerable before others and is something that can be risky but for me that risk has paid off on more than one occasion.

I just want to encourage you today to ask yourself if your overworked or if the numbers on the paper are in red……..

Take the time to rest before God forces you to and listen to the directions he gives you not the words of the world.

All the “shouda, coulda’s and what if’s” aren’t going to help you but God can lead you out of your situation if you listen and follow.

Disclaimer…..I am not saying to go buy a boat when you don’t have the money and expect God to pay for it or lead you to someone who will give you the money for it.  But if you want a boat pray about it and talk to people.  God just might surprise you and send someone across your path that is willing to give you a boat.

I am saying that if you don’t see how your going to meet the basic needs of your family you can trust God.  He is faithful and he wants to provide for you if you just let go and give him the control.

Rose Among Thorns

Rose

You are like a long stemmed rose, each layer of your inner beauty is revealed as yet another velvety red petal…..

The rose has been a symbol of love and beauty since the beginning of time.

Sometimes I wonder why?

Why red?  Why this particular flower?

There are so many other beautiful flowers so why the rose?

Is it red because it symbolizes the blood of Christ that he shed for us?

Does it remind us of the perfect love that God has shown us through his son?

and so my mind wanders on to……

What about the thorns?

Do they remind us to be careful …………..because where there is love there is pain?

Does it remind us of the crown of thorns that Christ wore in his death?

The pain he suffered because of his love for us.

Or maybe it’s because anything of beauty is worth fighting for…….taking risk……are you worth the risk?

Or perhaps its because beauty needs to be protected because it isn’t free and it’s priceless to those who obtain it.

 Then there are…….

Multiple velvety red petals that start off tightly woven together in a tiny bundle only to slowly open into a breath taking picture of beauty……

Is each petal a piece of who you are?

Each one a characteristic that makes you unique……

As time goes on do the petals fall and wither away just as seasons in our relationships?

Every heart has layers that slowly unfold when we take the time to stop and look.

So I wonder…….What does my heart look like?

It is said that every woman wants to be loved and wants to know that she is beautiful.

I believed that to God I was beautiful and that He loved me.

I told myself that I didn’t need anyone to love me or to think that I was beautiful because I knew God did.

Something deep inside of me wasn’t right though.  I didn’t fully understand what was going on.  I was still sad and there was a deep longing for something so much more.  God wasn’t enough for me but I knew he should be.

I was mad at myself because I couldn’t find contentment in just knowing that God loved me and thought I was beautiful.  I needed more of something cause I didn’t feel loved or beautiful and all I kept hearing was don’t believe your feelings.

What I’ve learned though after 3 years of running, losing 60lbs, and desperately trying to find friends that I can trust……

Is that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me.

I’ve been told I’m beautiful and that I’m loved ……..

But it still didn’t do anything for me…..

So What’s Wrong With ME?

No one could tell me I was beautiful or love me enough to make me feel loved and beautiful.

The problem wasn’t anything that anyone could fix.

Anyone but me……

So this is what I’ve learned

Mark 12:29-31

The most important command that Jesus gave us was to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our mind and all of our strength.  The second was to love your neighbor as yourself.

So how do I love God? 

(I know this question doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with feeling beautiful or loved so bare with me as I explain what God showed me through scripture.)

This was a question I wrestled with.  Do I love God by reading the bible and praying?

I found that I got discouraged because I always seemed to fall short somewhere.  I was trying to live up to the standards I found in the bible and I knew that I was forgiven but it didn’t make me feel any better so what’s wrong?  I wanted to be perfect for God but I couldn’t be no matter how hard I tried and I hated myself for it.  I was trying to be what I thought God wanted instead of who he created me to be.  I hated myself and that has been the root of my problem.

God showed me that in hating myself I was telling God he made a mistake.  I was throwing in God’s face his own creation.  Would you tell God he made an ugly sunrise?  or He should’ve made the leaves on the trees purple instead of green?  Every time I looked in the mirror and wished I could change something about my physical appearance I was doing just that.

So part of loving God is learning to love my own body the way he created me.

I now love myself by taking care of my body gently and not abusing it.  I still run but not excessively.  I try to eat better although there are days that I still struggle.  I choose though not to beat myself up over those shortcomings.

Luke 6:37

Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.  Give and it will be given to you.  For with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

I used to think that the standard I use to judge others is the standard that will be used against me but it’s so much more than that.

When I judge others I am at the same time judging myself or holding myself to that same standard.  I am the one who judges me not anyone else.  When I forgive others I am at the same time forgiving myself for those same mistakes.

So the other part of loving God is realizing that no one can judge me but me just like no one can forgive me but me.

Bottom line here is……Do I want to feel beautiful and loved?

Then I need to Love myself……letting go of imperfections that God doesn’t see because of the cross.

realizing that I am all I need to be and forgiving myself when I make a mistake instead of beating myself up.  Not trying to be something I can’t be and taking off the mask in front of people that love me.

If I can learn to do this for myself then I can learn to do it for others.  If I can’t love myself how can I possibly love others?

If God lives in me then it makes sense for me to love myself first and then love others second because after all God lives in them too.

I can’t say that I have perfected this but I can say that I do truly believe and feel Beautiful.  Sure there are still things I don’t care for but it doesn’t change how I view myself anymore.  Rather on focusing on what’s wrong with me I focus on the things I love about me and let those attributes captivate me.

Now feeling loved is another post I have yet to write.  I’m still learning this one, but for now my comfort is in knowing God loves me even when I don’t feel it.  So  now I leave you with my definition of beauty and a poem I wrote when I finally realized the beauty in me.

Beauty isn’t found in physical appearance or even outward behavior,

Beauty is found in knowing who I am deep inside and having the courage to be who I was created to be!

I am beautiful,   I am Beautiful

Those are the words I felt

I didn’t just hear them or read them.

I felt them penetrate deep within the protective barrier around my heart.

The words ignited a flame from within me

It grew and spread quickly

Its flickers warmed the cold hidden corners of winters past

The corners of my mouth slowly turned upward as the realization of what was occurring unveiled in my mind.

these words weren’t simply written or spoken to anyone who could see or hear

God spoke these words in the language of my heart

to me and only me

He told me I am beautiful

Therefore I AM!

 

Scruff of the Neck and Out of the Fire

Talk about a wild winter!   Who’s ready for some heat?

I think most everyone is a little tired of this snow and cold.

Everyone except me……

I’ve been quiet on my blog for almost 4 months and I’m sure some are wondering what happened to me.  So I thought it was time to share now that I have some answers.

I’ve been on a journey that has not been very fun.  Some people in my life have been hurt and I’m terribly sorry for that, but on the flip side I am not sorry for the things I’ve done or said.  I know that it must puzzle some of you reading this to try and understand but if you go back to my post titled “Balloons of Hope” you might get a better understanding of what I’m going to share.

I finally succeeded in popping that balloon that just didn’t want to pop.  The one you can bounce on ridiculously and it just expands to move the air out a different side.  Well I finally popped it and all the others that I thought would help my situation.  The only one I had left was God’s balloon and since it was tied to my belt loop there was no escaping when I got into some trouble back in December.

I felt like God picked me by the scruff of my neck and pulled me out of the fire.  He then set me down and told me to stop trying to jump over the flames.  That is easier said than done when you don’t see another way.  God then picked me up and began to carry me back across the burning coals toward the flames.  I was terrified as I could see the flames as we began to walk past and sometimes I even feel the heat, but I’m not burned.  It’s not always comfortable but Gods got me wrapped up in his arms protecting me as we walk through this furnace.  I didn’t create the furnace and neither did God, but I do have to get through it to get to the other side.  Sometimes I get anxious and try to do it myself but I’ve learned that if I continue to try to cross this furnace by myself I will keep falling short into the flames and will have to start all over again with a new set of burns.

Fires can be just like the balloons in life.  Balloons are good things that come along and give me hope but they can also distract me from my hope in God.  The fires though are challenges that can appear much scary than they really are.  If I allow my fear to overcome me and try to avoid them I will always wind up smack dab in the middle unable to see.  But I do know one thing for sure and that’s that God is faithful and will rescue me every time.

I have had situations in my life where I’ve gotten burned from jumping and I didn’t even realize I was jumping over a situation.  That has been my life for the last year or maybe even 2.  I didn’t even see the fire or even realize I was crossing it.  I could feel it and I knew it was there but I didn’t understand because I couldn’t see.  There were a few people in my life that I was screaming at in desperation for help but since I couldn’t see where I was  or the danger I was in…. I didn’t know what to ask for.  Instead, for the first time in my life, I screamed wildly and out of control lost in the dark billowing smoke.  I don’t know if all the people I hurt could see my situation and if they knew where I was but I hope they know that I’m sorry.

It’s taken a long time but I finally found the light.  The last 4 months God has been shining the light around showing me just where I have been and what I have been in the midst of.  He’s shown me how much danger there has been and how much he has saved me from.  So to say that I’m sorry for the things I’ve done would be wrong because if I hadn’t done or said them I wouldn’t know where I am today.  I would still be lost, feeling the excruciating pain of the flames I couldn’t see.  So if you feel like God’s got you by the scruff of the neck perhaps it’s time to relax and let him lead you out of the fire so he can show you where you’ve been and where you’re going to go.

Psalm 27:5

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling.

What if I was Jesus?

What if the blind man could see the stars in the sky but fail to see the hands that painted it?

What if the deaf man could hear the sound of whispers yet miss the calls of a loving Father?

What if the paralytic could feel ground but never the arms of a loving Father?

What if the lame could walk on water yet never make it home?

What if the man who could taste the richest of foods could not taste the sweetest of honey?

What if the man who lived the longest was the first to see his death?

What if the strongest man could lift a car but not his own heart?

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho a large crowd of people followed them. There were 2 blind men on the roadside just outside the city gates. They heard that Jesus was going by and cried out “Lord, Son of David, Have Mercy on Us! The crowd turned to the blind men rebuking them and telling them to be quiet. It was wrong for them to call out to the Messiah for help. Wrong of them to ask for what they so desperately needed. They were not worthy of Jesus’s time. That is what the crowd was saying to these blind men. The 2 blind men wouldn’t listen to the crowd of people instead they shouted louder and louder until they were screaming “Lord, Son of David, Have Mercy on Us!” Jesus stopped and called back to them saying “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” they answered “we want our sight.”

Jesus had compassion on them and he touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and they followed him.

How many times have I walked past the city gates and seen the blind, the deaf, the paralytic, the adulteress, the prostitute, the orphans……….How many times have I tossed my coin and kept on walking? How many times have I said to myself “that’s all I am called to do.” How many times have not given it another thought? How many times have I inflated my ego by their misfortune?

Too many! That’s how many.

God showed me a very important message in this small passage.

What does this look like today, in our society? We don’t exactly have city gates, we do have those beggars on street corners with their card board signs. I’m not sure that is the same thing so hear me out on this. What if this little passage was more than just Jesus healing two blind men? What if it is an example of something far more important but shown in a physical way so that we might understand.

What if Jesus was showing us how we as Christians can reach out and touch someone? And no I’m not talking about calling them on the phone, but then again maybe I am. Maybe it is all about “reaching out and touching someone” not in the physical sense as Jesus did but in a relational sense.

Look around you and open your eyes. What do you see? I see a world of broken people. People who are hurting and wounded inside. Many of whom are blind and deaf, but don’t even know it. Some though are blind and deaf but do know it and are crying out for healing. They are even crying out for Jesus to heal them just like those two blind men. What if in order to experience healing they need to experience the touch of Jesus? How does that happen? I’ve been told by so many fellow believers that we are the hands and feet of Christ. If that is true then don’t we have the ability to reach out and touch the hurting? We can’t just touch them where we feel comfortable touching them. Jesus didn’t touch the blind men on the arm or simply shake their hands. He touched their EYES. He touched them in their wounds, where their deepest pain was. He didn’t tip toe around it either. He went straight for the heart of the pain and didn’t waste time.

How many times have I avoided a topic of conversation with a friend simply because their pain made me feel uncomfortable? Or maybe I wasn’t willing to be that person they needed me to be, because I was still hurting. Maybe I am too afraid of experiencing the pain they are in, as if it were contagious. How many times have treated someone like a leper? I know I am guilty just as much as I know I have been treated the same. So this brings me back to the main point. How much suffering is going on in the world around us because we as Christians are unwilling to be the hands and feet of Christ where it really matters? Giving of our hearts and sharing the joy and love we experience within the body of Christ with those that are wounded and hurting.

There are some things in my life that I have never experienced and there are areas of my heart that are deeply wounded. I have cried out in frustration and it seems as if the only response I get is the rebuke of the crowd so I wonder to myself “are they right???? or do I just scream louder?” The two blind men screamed louder but I wonder how long I will have to wait for the hands of Jesus to touch my pain so I might find healing. I always thought that if I prayed for healing for an emotional pain that it should be instantaneous, if I ask for forgiveness I should be able to snap my fingers and move on. I don’t believe it works that way. I believe God brings healing through people who are willing to be used to reach out and “touch” us where we need it. If we are hurt in a relationship it will be a relationship that brings us healing. It might even be a reconciliation of the same relationship or it could be a totally different person filling the same role that brings healing to the soul. I also think that sometimes it takes time because we are all human and we don’t always do what we are told, when we are told to do it.

Wow! That reminds me of obedience.

Moving on to that last little line in the story. Actually it’s not even a line it’s more like a phrase. Immediately they received their sight and they followed him! So if I take the time and the risk, to touch a wounded heart where it is the ugliest….. Healing could be immediate AND they could see the same Jesus that I see and follow me home to our Fathers house.

So now in the words of my Pastor “you think about that!”

The One Thing

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I was sitting at my kitchen table eating dinner with my youngest daughter who is now eight years old.  She is the youngest of my four kids and on this particular night we were on our own since the other three were off with extra curricular activities.  As I sat there watching her eat I began to wonder if I was doing what I needed to with her.  Was I teaching her the most important thing?  I have been so busy in her little life with her siblings that I really haven’t had the time I wish I had.  I have ten years left with her and then she is off to college.

What is the one thing I want to her to know when she leaves?  What is the one thing I would want her to know if I died tomorrow?  What is the one thing I would like her to achieve?  I know these are deep questions to ask yourself over dinner with a little girl but they are questions I think every parent should ask themselves at some point before it’s too late.

I sat there pondering my own questions.  The one thing that I would like her to know before she goes off to college is that God loves her, faults included and will never leave her because he gives her more grace than she could possibly need to cover any mistakes she may make.

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The one thing I would want her to know if I were to die tomorrow…..

That I loved God more than anything in this world and to know that I had an intimate relationship with my Savior.

The one thing I would like to see her achieve…..

I long to see her develop a personal relationship with God that will carry her through life’s worst trials.

Nothing else really matters.

If she goes to college or goes to work.  Does she get married or have kids?  Or how about the harder things like does she drink, smoke or do drugs?  What if she screws up and gets arrested or even pregnant.  It doesn’t really matter because I know that God will use the negative to draw her closer to him and the positive to bless her.

I hear of how some parents have a very difficult time “letting go” of their children. Letting go was something I had to do when I had my first child nearly 17 yrs ago.  I remember that night clearly as if it were yesterday.  It was my first night home from the hospital and I was up feeding her in the middle of the night.  As I sat there looking down upon her tiny little hands, listening to the sweet sound of her breathing I began to wonder what on earth was I thinking?  I had wanted her so badly and now that she was here, I wanted her to die.  The thought mortified me at the time but it made perfect sense…..Here was this baby that I waited in anticipation for nine months and now I had fallen in love with her more than I could have ever imagined.  I wanted her to be safe and I knew that the world was not safe.  In fact I knew that it was a guarantee that she would suffer.  I would not be able to protect her and I loved her so much that I couldn’t stand the thought of watching her in pain.  I prayed that night and asked God to please take her home before anything could happen to her.  I didn’t want her to suffer and I was willing to lose her if that meant she would go to heaven.

God answered my prayer that night.  It was not the answer I wanted but it was an answer.

He said “Monica think about how much you love this child…How much more do you think that I love her?  Do you not think that the one thing I want for her is to come home?  Do you really think that I want to see her suffer?  It is not your right to decide when she comes home.  She is not yours she is mine and I have claimed her from conception just as I have claimed you. I have entrusted you with her for this moment in time and I will protect her because I know you can’t.  I am trusting you with her now so I need you to trust that I know what I’m doing”

That night I let go of all my rights to her and handed them over to God.  I did it with my other three children before they were ever born.  I don’t look at them as my children but as little souls that God has entrusted me with.  I gave all control to God and promised God that I would do my best to do that one thing……To teach them to love God.

So as I sat there at the dinner table with my youngest I was questioning whether I was really doing my best to teach her to love God.  Watching her eat I asked her “Christy who is your best friend?”

She looked at me and nonchalantly said “Elise is Mommy” she paused and said “no! no! she is my second bestest friend”

Curious I was looking at her expecting her to name one of her friends from school.  But she surprised me and said “God is my first best friend!”

I smiled at her and said “your right honey he is the best friend you could possibly have”

I said nothing more.

I may not have had a ton of time to spend with her reading bible stories but what I have done is lived it out for her.  How I have chosen to live my life has had a bigger impact on my children than anything else.  She went to VBS this last week and one of the things the teacher there had her do was write a note telling your Mom what one of her talents are.

I have posted pictures of the little notes I have received from her because they are so much sweeter when you view them in her handwriting.

ImageSimple words that spoke volumes to my heart.

Simple words that told me what her heart sees

Simple words are all it takes!

But Where Mommy?

Faith that can move mountains!

What does that look like?

Every time I think I’ve figured it out I find myself in a situation that requires even more faith.  I used to think that I had a lot of faith and could weather any storm God allowed to cross my path. Don’t get me wrong.  My life wasn’t easy, but I had grown used to some of life’s rotating struggles and every time they came back around it got easier and easier to trust God. I had fallen into this comfortable little rut in my walk with God and eventually God said “enough!  It’s time to crawl out of your rut and start moving again.”  At first I didn’t mind because the road was straight and easy.  However it didn’t last long before the hills and curves came, and then my faith really began to get a workout.   A few months ago I was really struggling with not having enough faith.  I just didn’t think I had enough faith for what God had placed in front of me.  I would waver back and forth between “God’s got it covered” and total freaked out panic thinking ” What in the world am I going to do?”  I would be going through every possible scenario in my head of how I could possibly fix the situation.  The problem with my solutions was that they were all practically impossible.  Every time I would set out with a plan, it would get squashed. Finally at the last second everything would some how all fall into place at the perfect time.  I cannot tell you how many times that has happened to me and yet here I am panicked.  The thoughts going through my mind are not healthy ones and I will be the first to admit that. I should have a grasp on this with all the things God has done for me and I try to remind myself of all those things but this time it’s different.  This time its not the loss of work, or the loss of a car, or what ever the challenges prior may have been so…. its different….or so I think..

On the outside if anyone asks I seem calm, collected and as if everything is under control.  I can tell everyone I have faith and that I believe God’s got it under control,  but somewhere deep down inside there is a whisper that haunts me.  Its begging the question “is God really going to come through for me?  What if he doesn’t?  What if I don’t like his solution?  why am I struggling with this?”  Then I think I shouldn’t be struggling with this and I am such a weak christian because I am questioning God.  Questioning God…. who am I to question his ways?  Then that horrible feeling that I try to ignore because I know in my head its not true but it feels true.  I am a complete failure.  I shouldn’t be an example to anyone why do people even look up to me?  These are all lies and I know this.  But honestly not believing them is really hard.  I am not going to lie to you.  Telling myself the truth everyday over and over is the hardest thing I do because every time I turn around there is something going on that causes me to question my faith in God.  Then to add to my own struggle to hang on to what little faith I can muster up.  The enemy comes along with tempting little solutions that I know are just wrong.  But hey…everyone else is doing it.  Gods grace has me covered Right??? I really don’t want to do it and deep down I don’t think I could, so even struggling with the thoughts can be completely horrifying.  I just never understood why people did some of the crazy things they do.  The harder life gets though the more I understand and can have empathy for those who have given in to those temptations.   I can have momentary lapses in judgement when I’m panicked and wonder “what in the world am I doing?”  that is what grace is for.  God knows exactly how much I can handle and he may let me get right to the edge of the cliff but he never lets me fall.

Today was a rough day.  People who I thought were there and cared for me…bailed and then the enemy made a surprise attack and I lost hope.  Hope in people that is.  God reminded me though that my hope is in him and not people, not even respectable, good, safe, christian people.

Ps 62:5

Find rest O’ my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him alone.

I meditate on this verse as I think of what it looks like in action.  What does it look like when I hope in God?  Perhaps it’s resting in knowing that I can’t do it but at the same time not worrying about how God is going to do it.  I’m told I just need the faith of a mustard seed and that I know I have.  But what do I do while I wait for God to do his thing?  I think my daughter gave me the answer to this one tonight.

I had just finished bedtime prayer with her and she asked me “Mommy do we have to move?”  I told her “yes, we have to move”

“But where to?” her brows all furrowed up with concern

“I don’t know” I sigh in response

“Mommy I don’t want to be homeless” she whispers softly, her little voice cracking as she holds back her tears.

My heart breaks as I know her pain and worry all to well.

” Do you know the birds in the trees?”  I ask and she nods yes

“If God can provide homes for them don’t you think he can provide a home for us?”

“but where Mom? we can’t live outside” she asks

“I don’t know honey but I do know that God knows”

she looked at me with a smile and said “He has the perfect house, at the perfect place, at the perfect time for us.”

I smiled at her and said “yes dear he does”

with that she rolled over and went right to sleep.  As I sat there watching her as she breathed, looking so calm and innocent, God whispered in my heart and said “Child like faith” That’s it!  Being able to talk to God and hear his truth, accepting it without questioning it.  She had such trust and faith that she could let her worries go and fall to sleep as if I just told her that if it rains we’ll move the party inside no big deal!

knowing where I’m going to live might be a big deal to me but to God its as easy as moving the party inside when it rains.  I don’t know where I’m going and every time someone asks me what I’m going to do.  I have been telling them I don’t know but I do know that God will have the perfect place at the perfect time for the perfect price.  My daughter’s been listening and she spoke back to me my own words of life giving faith in the one God that can do anything.

So tonight even though the storms will rage outside my window I will sleep.  I will sleep, because I have quieted the voice inside of me that questions the validity of my God and his desires for me.