Tag Archive | love

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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Thank You …….For The Little Things……….. That Matter To Me

I heard some dj’s talking on the radio this week and they were asking the listeners when the last time was that they had experienced God? How did I as a listener know that God was real and alive? And what was the evidence that I had seen of his existence?   Now just in case your wondering this was christian radio.

One of the dj’s experienced God’s amazing power over the weekend and he wanted others to share their stories so that other listeners could be encouraged.  So this immediately brought to mind several stories that I have tucked away but since he asked for the most recent one that is the one I will share.

About a month ago my daughter convinced me to let her purchase a baby bearded dragon.  Now I was not crazy about the idea for several reasons.

1   I already feed 3 children and 2 outdoor cats why do I want to add a reptile who eats bugs to the mix?

2   They are creatures that need heat and more than I like to provide in the winter in Ohio.

3   Who is going to pay for it?

4   It means I will have to learn about them…….because I will end up having to take care of it at some point.

Long story short here….. she convinced me when she showed me a video proving that they eat wolf spiders!

I absolutely hate spiders so anything that would take care of them for me becomes my best friend. hmmm (I wish I could put a smiley here but I don’t know how….sad face here!)     This how Maleficent came to be part of our family.

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She is a tiny thing still and loves to be with someone.  If she is left alone too long she gets stressed and I’ve discovered sunlight is much better for her than the lamps you buy at the store.  Because of this I have started taking her around with me particularly when I am outside so that she gets sunlight.  I have learned a lot from this little lizard in the last 4 weeks and have grown quite fond of her.  I’ve wondered why God created this particular creature and his motive or reasoning behind it…..until last Thursday.

I had gotten home from working that morning and I only had a short amount of time to get a lot done before I had to leave again.  I quickly turned on the stove to warm up some food for lunch and then I went and picked up Mel (that’s what we call her for short).  I placed her on my shoulder tucked just under the edge of my jacket since it was a little chilly outside.  I then headed outside to hang some clothes on the line so that they would dry.  I had gotten about half of the basket up when I remembered I had turned on the stove and started my lunch.   I took off running for the house figuring it would be filled with smoke and I would be cleaning my pan instead of eating.  I was blessed and my food was ok…not burnt!

But wait!

Where is Mel?

Crap! What if I dropped her?

I’ve carried her all over and she is really good about hanging on.  But I can’t find her…

I quickly look on the floor between me and the door and no sign.

I run outside to the clothes line looking and calling like she would actually come….(she is too little yet to do that)

I run back inside to stand in front of the mirror.  Maybe she is in my hair and I can’t see her?

I quickly take off my jacket, turn it inside out.  Off goes my shirt and I’m looking in the mirror to see if she is hanging on somewhere and I’m just missing her.

No Mel…..my daughter is going to kill me.

How am I going to find her?

I ran to the front door,  took 3 steps off the side of the porch….then I stopped and look out into the yard.  The path I had taken from the clothes line to the house was covered with leaves.  There were leaves everywhere yellow and brown the same color as her, not to mention she is only 6 inches long.  If she was out there she was going to be difficult to find.  These lizards don’t make noise and I’ve learned that they like to hide.

So I did what I do so frequently when I lose my keys.  I said….. God you know where she is.  You know how important she has become to us.  You know how heartbroken my daughter will be if I don’t find her and you know how sad I will be that it was my fault.  You also know how much fun I have had with her and how she has slowly warmed my heart.  Help me find her please.

I started to turn back to the house and for whatever reason I picked up my left foot.  There underneath my foot was Mel!  She was right in the arch of my foot and her little face was looking up at me.  If she could talk I wondered what she would say.

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That experience had God written all over it.  The first time I ran into the house I kicked off my flip flops…..If I hadn’t done that she would be dead!  But God knew what he was doing.  He knew how impossible finding her in all those leaves were and he also knew how perfectly my foot would land on top of her so that I would find her but that she wouldn’t be hurt.

How perfect is that?

God also answered my questioned….He created them for enjoyment……To play with and have fun.

He also revealed something else…cold blooded animals need warmth to stay warm, they reflect the temperature just like we reflect God.  Without God touching us….giving us light….warming our hearts…..

We would be cold and dead inside.

1John 4: 16-17

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love.

Whoever lives in love, lives in God

and God in him.

In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement

because in this world we are like him.

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

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!

 

Thanksgiving

 

Beautiful MaumeeThanksgiving…….

A time to look around

A time to take note of where we’ve been……. and where we are.

A time to look at what we have……… and not at what we don’t have.

A time to acknowledge what matters most.

So what matters most?

 

 

Is it how the Turkey is cooked?

Is it the words spoken over the table?

Is it who is sitting at the other end of that table?

 

 

This year I was blessed with three Thanksgiving meals:

 

The first was with my extended family.

Conversation got a bit too personal……. and was quickly followed with the accusation.   Then I heard it…..it only took them two years to dig in with this one so here it is….. when I am I going to start dating?  I’m quite sure I am not the only person out there with family members  who like to ask too many questions with the excuse of “we only ask because we care.”

 

The second was joining a friend with her family.

I didn’t know everyone but that was okay.  I was quickly introduced not that I remember all the names but I can remember their faces.  It was a bit awkward ……but the food was good and it was nice to not be alone.

 

The third was with my children.

A turkey that I prepared along with mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and pie.

We all squished around a table that was too small, with me sitting on broken chair and my daughter on a footstool.

There was no fancy dishware or wine to share…….. But the memory we’ll share.

The thing that mattered most in all of these was not what was served………… or what was talked about,………. but who was there and the love that was shared…..That is what I am thankful for!

Thankful for the opportunity to be graced with the presence of others even if it is sometimes uncomfortable.

Even if…….. sometimes the conversations hurt.

Even if…….. its with someone I may not ever see again.

Even if…… its under humble circumstances.

So this year I looked around

I saw where I was and where I had been.

I could see what I had……… not what I didn’t have, and I am choosing to acknowledge what matters most.

Love……

Love matters most…..

Love is all encompassing….it makes the world go round.

Without it there is no meaning, no purpose, no hope.

Love is, Love does and Love will always be what matters most.

So this Thanksgiving if you have Love open your hearts and your arms wide.

Give freely of what matters most.

Love holding nothing back.

Galations 5:14

The entire law is summed up in a single command;  Love your neighbor as yourself.

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now theses three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the GREATEST of these is LOVE.

 

 

 

All I Need

Having a Change in our Concept of Value as we See the Preciousness of Christ - We need to have a change in our concept of value!

          Dear God,

All I really have in this world is you.  You give me purpose and meaning to all that I do.

  Without you I am merely dust and all that I do is meaningless.

I have clung to you for most of my life.

You have warned me before my enemies attacked,

  You prepared me because you knew my life would be nearly stolen from me.

For a brief moment in time I thought I had failed you.

  You sent me help in my time of need.

You picked me up and showed me truth that I had never seen before.

  Now I walk a little bit slower but I am stronger.

I am no longer in a hurry for I know all things shall come to pass.

I live for what you place in front of me, not to chase after the things of this world.

  Your Love is all that I have, all that I need and really all that I am.

  So I guess that makes me like you.

  If you are love and your desire is for me to be like you, then you are turning me and everyone else who believes in you into love.

  You are knitting us together to be one with you because your desire was for companionship.

  You Lord did not want to be alone, so you created us to be the body of Christ.

  You want desperately for us to be united together in your Love.

So when I say all I need is “you”  know that “you”  includes everyone who believes in you

For with out them “you” would not have been able to warn me of my enemy

without them “you” would not have been able to prepare me

Without them “you” would not have been able to rescue me

Without them “you” would not have shown me the lies that held me captive

So please Lord use me

So that “you” can rescue, restore, and redeem others through me