A Letter for the Weary Soul

Dear Friend,

I’m sitting here looking at your picture. I see your smile, but I see your sadness behind it. The light that was once in your eyes has now been dimmed. I see the newly formed lines on your face, and I see what you are trying to hide. I wonder where you are and where you’ve been.

I wonder what horrible pain you’ve experienced in your heart that’s caused you to be a shell of your former self. If I could hold you against my ear, would I hear the ocean of your tears?

I wonder what was the breaking point that had you swallowing the first pill. I wonder how heavy those chains must feel.

I look at you and I see Death casting shadows on your face. I know you must have believed the lies. What were they?  “You’re not good enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not smart enough, no one loves you, no one sees you, you don’t matter, you never will. So go ahead and take this pill.”

I look at you and you’re running, yet you’re standing still.

I want you to know I have believed those lies before as well  and I want you to know that Death came for me too, my chains may have looked different, but they were no less heavy.

Maybe you’re tired of trying to fix people in your life, you and I have always been like that, you know? We have shared the common thread of wanting to mend a broken  persons glass, not realizing in the process we cut ourselves on the shards. And now I see your shattered spirit, and I want to put you back together.

I can’t put you back together. But I know someone who can, and I know you’ve heard of Him. Somewhere along the way, you-like I once did-believed the lies rather than Truth. But I want you to know that He’s never left your side.

I want you to know the freedom in His Truth. I want you to know that even though Death is gripping you, Life is clinging to you. I want you to know these chains that are binding you? Jesus is the only Key that will loose them and free you.

I want you to know that it doesn’t matter what you have done or where you have been. I want you to know that you are loved, that you are enough, and most of all that you as a person…matter.

I want you to know it is never too late. I want you to know the Enemy is after you and seeks to destroy you, but you have a Friend, and He seeks to make you whole.

I want you to know that it is ultimately your choice in which one of the two happens.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matthew 11:27-30

I want you to know I know what it is to be weary and burdened, Friend. I want you to know that there is Hope, and there is Light, even though all you can feel is darkness.

There is rest for your soul and it is found in the arms of Christ.

Please don’t believe the lies, please know these chains of addiction can be broken, please don’t give in. You’re a fighter, you always have been and this is a battle you do not have to fight alone.

You are loved more than you could ever know by someone who died to set you free.

He whispers “Follow me”.

I love you my friend, I’ll never give up and neither will He.

When It’s Hard to Trust God

I’m not sure there is a more hopeless feeling on earth as watching someone you love die.

I watched his life slip away on a monitor, steady beats becoming few and far between. The ventilator was breathing for him, and watching his chest rise and fall with such ease gave the false hope that everything was going to somehow be okay. I silently begged God in those final moments. I couldn’t speak because grief was already choking me, but I was screaming on the inside.  I willed with everything in me for his heart rate to increase, instead I watched it slowly decline until it was just a flat line that signaled the loss of a son, a husband, and a father.

I became a widow in that moment.

I was 19.

I was a mother to a two year old.

My heart felt like it split right into. Come to think of it, I think all the times my heart has felt broken since then have just been splinters off that first crack right down the middle. Like when a windshield is initially hit by a rock, there is the first big break, and then over time more spread until the whole windshield looks like an intricate spider web.

In all of the stages of grief that I went through afterwards, being angry at God was never one of them. Disappointed? Yes.

I was disappointed because I felt sure he would be healed. I was disappointed because I felt like everything that he had been through leading up to his death, was going to serve as a powerful testimony as to how God had healed him. I was disappointed because all my bargaining with God had not worked. I was disappointed because all the times I thought I had heard from God that he was going to live, were not the case. And didn’t Jesus say if you have faith as little as a mustard seed? Surely, I did. Surely, we all did.

Though I was never angry with God,  as I reflect now-seventeen years later- I realize this was the beginning of my trust issues with him.

Those few years leading up to his death, I soaked in scriptures such as  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”- Proverbs 3:5, and countless others. I wore the pages of my Bible out looking  up all scriptures that had to do with trust, faith, and healing.  I applied everyone one of those to his health, meditated on them, and prayed them over him constantly. And so did a lot of other people. Still, he died.

If I’m  honest, even now when I’m going through something and someone says to me “Just trust God”, I cringe at first, even though I have no problem telling the same to others and fully mean it when I say it; even though I have many moments when I can feel within myself that I have let something go and am trusting God.  When those moments come, it is a sweet release. There is nothing more freeing than to be able to let go in any situation and say “Ok, I’m trusting you, it’s all yours and I know either way that you see me, you know me, and whatever happens I will be ok with it, because you are God and even though the outcome might not be what I want, you have a plan and who am I to question  you?”  And let me stop right there. Because within that last sentence lies the real issue.

Trusting God with what I want…what I wantwant.  

The reason I cringe is because I know that trusting God wholly means that the outcome might not be what I want. I know that it means I might be disappointed,  and that learning and fully putting the practice of trusting him into place, is more about letting go of any control I think I have ( because I don’t) and surrendering it all to him. It means knowing and fully understanding that He has a plan. It means being okay with not always having answers when things don’t turn out the way you prayed they would.

I was reading the story of Hagar a few days ago.  If you’re not familiar I’ll do a quick re-cap but encourage you to look it up on your own. It can be found in Genesis 16. Abram was married to Sarai who had not been able to conceive. Abram had been told by God that his offspring would be to numerous to count, yet his wife had not carried a child and they were getting older. She grew frustrated and gave her slave Hagar to him so that she may get pregnant and she(Sarai) would have a child. In those times this was a common practice for women who were barren. Even though the child would have been born from another woman,  he or she would have been considered the wife’s child. Hagar did become pregnant and for reasons we can only guess, she treated Sarai with contempt once she knew she was. Sarai made her leave and as she came to the wilderness the Lord appeared to her. He told her to go back, and to suffer through the mistreatment of Sarai and that she would have a son, Ishmael. He told her of her offspring that would be too many to count.

What spoke to me was what I read next.

 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” Genesis 16:13

You are the God who sees me.

Seventeen years ago I lost my best friend- my first true love, but I’ve had many blessings since then. I’ve known love again and I’ve had the pleasure of becoming a mother to two more beautiful souls. I’ve made more mistakes than I can count and I’ve known more heartache since that first loss. I’ve struggled with trusting God in all areas of my life. Maybe you’re having difficulty trusting God right now, because all you see is what’s right in front of you. Or maybe like I once was, maybe you’re disappointed because a situation you were trusting him in, didn’t turn out the way you thought it would.

Just remember:

He is the God who sees me. He is the God who sees you.

He is the God who loves me. He is the God who loves you.

And he is the God who wants me and you to let go and trust him, because he sees us and if he is a God who loves us enough to look at us, then he is a God who has a plan for us.

That plan may not look like what we had planned, and it may even be one that we didn’t want, but freedom only comes when we become okay with that and simply trust our God who sees all.

When we can say:

“In you , Lord my God, I put my trust.” Psalm 25:1

and mean it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things I Learned In 2014.

 

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I’m a little late in writing this, as it is now ending the 6th day of 2015. But I’ve left this little space of mine for a while, and feel it is time to start writing again. So, as I contemplated what to write, reflected on this past year, I decided I would write about things I learned in 2014. Most people do this at the end of the year, but I’m nothing if not always late in most matters of my life.
I hope to look back on this at the end of 2015, God-willing I am blessed to live through it, and find that what I learned in 2014, I applied in 2015.

1. When you ask God to remove someone from your life if that person is not meant to come along with you on your journey, also ask God for the peace and understanding to cope when he answers that prayer by removing them. To accept the wisdom and knowledge that if you felt led to ask that of him, then deep down you already knew what his answer would be. Don’t act so surprised when he does.

2. I am an introvert. For years I heard these terms, introvert and extrovert. I never put much thought into it. What does it matter what I am? I would think. I always saw myself as being an extrovert, because I love people. I love having conversations, especially deep soulful ones, and I really don’t like being alone. I thought introvert was really just a term for an extremely shy person. And I’m not shy.
After reading on it, I discovered how wrong I was in that thinking, and that true characteristics of being an introvert fit me, and also explained a lot about me. Like the fact that even though I love people, I get exhausted after being in a group for too long. I do value deep conversations, but only with people who are in my little circle. A little circle because I find it more meaningful for me personally to have few close friends that I open myself up to fully, because I know it would exhaust me to have more than that.
That even though I’m not shy, I do tend to be reserved until I get to know you, and sometimes I don’t always want to get to know you. That last sentence sounds harsh, and snobbish, realize I don’t like this about myself, but it’s true. The list goes on but I will stop there as I don’t want this to turn into a post about being an introvert. One last thing I will say, for my friends that know me personally, if ever it seems that I’m shutting you out, or I go periods of not talking to you, it’s not personal. I have to be alone with myself at times, it’s how I refresh.

3. I really stink at being a friend-most of the time.

I’ve had friends and family go through physical, emotional, and spiritual pain this year. They’ve suffered in health, loss of loved ones, and various other trials. And though I wish I could say I was by their side through every bit of it, that is sadly not true. The only one who’s side I did not leave was my sons. I could tell you a long list of excuses, but ultimately it will always be just that-an excuse.

I pray often that the Lord will bring to light areas in myself that need improvement, things I don’t realize that I am either doing or not doing, this is one thing that he brought to my attention, and one of the most important. Christ was a servant to his people when he was here, and talked much about being a servant to others. And he’s taught me that being a servant means many different things and there are many ways to serve, you do not have to be grandiose in your nature of serving, sometimes just being a shoulder to cry on, holding someone’s hand when you can’t find words, offering a smile, these are all ways of serving. And friends are important, true friends are. They often know more about you than family does, and in many cases are there for you when family is not. Being a good friend back is important.

4. Depression is real and there is nothing wrong with taking medication.

I have been through some tough times in my life. Just as most people have. I have frequently and flippantly used the phrase “I’m just depressed, I’ll get over it.” Those times some just refer to as the “blues”.  There is a difference between depression caused by circumstances, and clinical depression. I won’t get into all that here, not on this post, but as for me, I fall into the former category. I don’t deal with depression every day, and I don’t have to take medication daily. I used to be of the mindset that taking medication was a sign of weakness, that it was wrong to rely on anyone or anything but Christ to get me through. That if it I took medication, it would mean I must have a lack of faith. Oh, how he changed me.
As I type this, I know there will be people that read that are still of that mindset, and will totally disagree with me. That’s ok.

I still believe that God can remove depression and deliver a person from it in a miraculous instant, but I also know that he doesn’t always do that. I know that his grace abounds in all areas of our lives, and sometimes that grace and miracle comes in the form of a pill, doctors, and therapists. I can swallow a pill, and still hold faith that there will be days when I don’t have to. In the meantime he has delivered me from the shame in doing so.

5. Darkness can be a gift.

I love the quote from Harry Potter in the  image above. I loved it when I read the book, I love it even more now after going through my own kind of darkness this year.  When I told someone very dear to me on the phone this the other night she sounded shocked. “Did you say darkness can be a gift”? So, I’ll do my best to put into words what I mean by that, like I did with her, so that it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to encourage you to convert to some dark cult/darth vadar dark side type of thing.  I don’t mean darkness as in “evil” darkness.

Last year my prayer for the new year of 2014 was to fall in love Jesus. I knew from much soul searching that what I was lacking was a deep personal relationship with Him or better words would be, I realized I was lacking a desire for that deep personal relationship and fellowship with Him. I realized going to church on Sundays and picking up my Bible occasionally, or reading a devotional daily, wasn’t cutting it if I only was doing these to feel better about myself as a Christian. Even my prayers felt stagnant, and it was because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. So, I began to seek daily fellowship, I began to talk to him on a regular basis, like I would talk to you if you were sitting in front of me. I began to be thankful in everything and learn to give thanks in everything. I prayed hard prayers, un-selfish prayers. And things began to happen that I was not comfortable with, even though I had prayed for it to if that were His will.

What followed for a time was a feeling of isolation, and the only thing I can describe as darkness. A spiritual winter, where everything inside of me felt cold and brittle and gray. The odd thing for me during this time, was that I became hyper-aware of the bigger picture. The bigger picture that spiritual battles go on every day on my behalf. That Satan has all kinds of tricks up his sleeve and he will go to great lengths to use them and in becoming aware of all this on a deeper level, I leaned into Christ.  I still had my days of tears, questions, and doubts because I’m human and I always will. I felt so broken, yet I felt His presence. And for once in my life, I embraced this feeling of brokenness, deciding not to hurry up and “fix” myself ( which I can’t do, by the way), I didn’t ask Him to fix me either. I was still. And little by little, light started breaking through that darkness, through the cracks in me I didn’t even know I had.

Because you see, you can go in a room, and turn off the lights, shut the blinds, and close the curtains. And for a brief period of time, there will be darkness, but when you get still and focus, and look for light, you’ll find it. It will seem small at first, but the longer you sit, the more light you’ll see. As your eyes focus, the clearer everything around you becomes. The shadows that seemed scary, only become the harmless things they really are.

For me, it took being in darkness, to appreciate the Light. It’s where my deepest growth spiritually has begun. And for that I’m thankful.

There’s more I learned, but I feel I should stop here. I have a lot more to learn, a lot more to grow from, and God will always be working on me.

Here’s to a new year, and all God has in store for me within it. And for you too.

May His grace fill you and His light guide you.

Matters of the Heart

So the doctor said he has a hole in his heart. This eighteen year old man/boy of mine, who took after his father in so many ways. From his coarse thick hair, the shape of his eyes, his height, the way he walks, the way he stands, right down to the hole in his heart.

Genetics, one of many things you can’t outrun in life.

It’s been there since before he opened his bright blue eyes for the first time in this world, before he ever took his first breath. As his heart was being formed, genetics left a hole there and all this time we didn’t know.

Not that I never had him tested, I did. But this hole is hidden and had it not been for the consideration of his father’s history, might not have been found at this time, but it would have reared its ugly head eventually, and eventually could have been too late.

Makes a mother shutter to think.

Come Tuesday, the physician will insert long scopes and a metal mesh that will sandwich that hole right up, close it off so it won’t leak, so the blood will flow where it’s supposed to flow.

So my son can go off to college and be healthy when he goes. So he can live life fully with a heart containing mesh, but functions as it should.

And I lay awake at night and wonder at how for eighteen years we didn’t know. How does one walk around and seem healthy, yet has a big enough hole in his heart that it has to be repaired?

I lay there and whisper thanks that it was found early and thanks for physicians who will make it whole.

As I sat in the waiting room on that third day, nervously awaiting the arrival of the doctor to tell me whether or not he found a defect in my boy’s heart, I was watching evidence of this defected world on the television.

Talks of Genocide of children, fathers and mothers. Starvation and desperation of innocents because of their beliefs by a group of people who have gaping holes in their hearts that have been filled with hatred and bitterness. Pictures of frantic families in mass exodus up a mountain, thirsting and hungry and scared and wide-eyed with the horror and grief,  splay across the television. My heart hurts looking at it.

I’m thankful to my God that He makes us whole.

Because we are all born with holes in our heart. Because we’re all broken. Holes in our souls that can only be repaired by The Great Physician, whose blood flowed right out of His heart down into the ground from where He hung so we could all live life fully.

So we could all live life eternally.

And right now it seems the world has gone mad and we’re all in need of The Healer. We’re all in need of the eternal filling of the heart that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Because the truth is that we can search for every kind of quick fix patch to fill that empty space we are all born with, but the truth is the only way it will ever be repaired is by the Truth Himself.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”-John 14:6

And as I silently cry out for my son to be fixed, as I cry out for the heart of the world to be mended, I am reminded:

“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

 

 

 

 

 

When It’s Hard to Have Hope {facing death}

Her voice is weary and heavy with sadness.

I listen to her through the phone and can see with clarity the look on her face. Tensed, worried, and eye-lids half closed. Begging to shut so the world will calm around her. I’ve seen this look many times, I know it’s there just by the sound of her voice.

She asks me to write something. “Anything”, she says.  And even though I ask her what she wants me to write about, I know she wants to read something that will bring her some comfort; that will give her some hope.  She needs this from me. This woman who has been so influential in my spiritual  life,  who has taught me to seek God in everything I do, to read His Word for guidance, and to really strive to know Him- she needs assurance. Assurance from me, who feels like I’ve failed God in more ways than I can count. So, I feel inadequate to offer any words of wisdom.

I’m realizing that our roles are slowly reversing. The season is changing for both of us.

It’s because she has cancer.

That most dreaded word in medical diagnoses, the word that once spoken from a doctor’s lips tends to suck hope right out of a person like a tornado sucks a tree up by its roots. Cancer…and it’s growing right inside her lung.

And now there’s further tests that have taken place and surgery to be scheduled and statistics to mull over and complications to discuss and the what ifs and maybe nots that can leave a person who wears anxiety, draped around her shoulders like a heavy shawl, feeling hopeless.

For her  it’s not just the cancer she faces, there’s a long complicated medical history there and she’s tired.

Hard questions come.

The fear of suffering is palpable. It’s not dying she’s afraid of, it’s the process. And who isn’t afraid of that?

 

And what words of hope can I give that won’t sound like a vain,  clichéd attempt to smooth over the fact that this is real, and the possibility of suffering is very real?

Sometimes you don’t want to hear that everything happens for a reason. Ask any grieving parent at the moment their child takes his or her last breath.

Sometimes you don’t want to hear that you just need to have faith. Ask anyone who’s never doubted that He could heal their loved one, yet sat hopeless as they watched them writhe in pain, begging for the miracle that never comes.

Sometimes you don’t want to hear that everything works for the good of those that love the Lord, because you have and everything hasn’t always been good.

Sometimes you don’t want to hear that you always have hope, because when life is spiraling out of control, the instant reflex is to grab on to the sides of fleshly reason rather than reach for the spiritual lifeline that is hope in Christ.

In times like this, you relate to Job, and you read his cries, his laments, and you understand them and you think you could have written that yourself. You just want to know why, and you feel guilty for questioning your Creator. You just need a word of hope, you just want to hear from God.

And this mess of a woman prays hard to know what to say to a woman who’s led her spiritually for twenty years and as my fingers move along the keyboard this is what I have to offer, even though I know she knows this deep down in the marrow of her bones, in the innermost recesses of her soul, sometimes you just need a word…even one you already know. And sometimes God gives you a word through someone else, because that person has some things to learn as well.

You are not alone in your suffering. The One who died for you, suffered for you, and just as He was resurrected, so your hope in Him is that you will also be.

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
that He might bring you to God,
after being put to death in the fleshly realm
but made alive in the spiritual realm 1 Peter 3:18

 

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy, has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (1 Peter 1:3)

It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to have all the emotions you are feeling. Jesus prayed His cup of suffering would be taken from Him as well. Yet He also prayed for God’s will to be done, not His. (Luke 23:42) He knows your agony, you are not alone.

Just because you’re enduring pain and suffering, does not mean you lack faith. Hebrews gives us great examples of faith, and yet tells us that even though these greats had a reputation because of their faith, they did not receive all God had promised.

The hope you have is that Jesus is the perfector of your faith.

The hope you have is that He promises to give you strength, so release the white-knuckled grip you have and give it all to Him.

The hope you have during Job moments, is to remember Job was restored.

The hope you have is the joy that awaits you, no matter what you endure on this Earth, just as He had to endure as well,  when you take your last breath.

The hope you have is that death no longer has any sting, because Christ conquered the grave to set you free from its power.

The hope you have is that when it is your end, it is actually only your beginning.

Oh, what a day that will be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes

His voice is loud and gruff as he speaks, loud because he’s elderly and can barely hear, gruff from all the years of smoking. He’s getting stitches because he fell letting his dog out this morning and because his skin is so worn thin it doesn’t take much for it to slice wide open.
I’m there to assist the doctor if he needs anything handed to him. I just stay silent and listen as he begins to talk about church in the old day for him. He’s 92 years old, and sharp as a tack, even though he doesn’t see this in himself any longer. Says his memory started fading in his mid-seventies and I can hear the disappointment in his voice at this.

I laugh a little as he jokes with me not to live until I’m 92, everything just falls apart.

He starts speaking of years long ago. Old Southern Baptist churches on dirt roads, churches with no window panes or screens that had more wasps and bees inside than it did congregation members, a preacher who went on for so long that a woman drifted off to sleep and fell out of the pew.  He told of nights of revival when people would come in their wagons. Babies would fall asleep and the men would carry them out and lay them in the them. Often, someone would put the wrong child in the wrong wagon and they wouldn’t realize it until they got home! He casually said, “Well, they’d just bring ‘em back the next night. You’d see the women congregatin’ in a circle swapping their babies out. We didn’t have telephones back then ya know? So, ya just had to wait ’til the next night.”

I found this particular information shocking, horrifying, and somehow funny all at once. The doctor and I both looked up at each other with wide eyes of amazement at the same time. He said, “Well things is sure different now.”  And we both nodded in agreement and expressed our disbelief over the baby swapping incidents.

Things sure are different.

We talked a little longer and when his stitching was complete, he apologized for having kept us so long. He shuffled out slowly, fingers grazing the walls as he walked out just in case he lost his balance. I watched him leave, thinking to myself that I  would love to sit across from him with uninterrupted time. I would love to hear more stories of those simpler days.

I pondered living almost a century. What’s it been like for him? Going from days of dirt roads, no automobiles, no telephones to highways, airplanes, and phones that fit in your pockets in which you can access the whole world in just minutes, and all the in-between.

I think how the days of slow seem to be long gone, even though we have everything at our fingertips now, it’s only made us move faster through this life.

Change is always inevitable, sometimes welcoming and sometimes painful. Sometimes planned, sometimes unexpected. And can you imagine the change in one’s life after 92 years?

I am never comfortable with change, even when I know that it will bring about better opportunities for me. Even when I know if I don’t change a certain something it’s going to be detrimental to my overall well-being.

The winds of change have blown in like a hurricane for me this year. It was not welcome, and certainly painful, but as I pray and learn everyday to trust God, I see that it was necessary.  It is necessary. It is necessary if I want to walk deeper with Christ.  The one thing God has reminded me over and over is that I am not in control, only He is. And to be honest, if it were left up to me to change things, I wouldn’t.

From the moment I prayed a heartfelt, soul-searching prayer months ago, things have changed. Even though I prayed for the change, I wasn’t quite prepared for what God had in store. I’ve wrestled with it, and never have I understood the scriptures of Jacob wrestling with God like I do now.

I’m coming to terms with these changes and even though I still don’t know what is going to come of all of them, I do have the hope and joy that God keeps his promises and that I can rest peacefully in this knowledge.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

As I watched the elderly man walk away from me, I thought again of all the change he’s seen in 92 years, and I gave a nod of acknowledgment and thankfulness for the gift of hearing his stories and for the reminder that though there are many changes one has to endure, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love for us, will forever remain the same and in the end…that’s all that matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Mess

So I’ve been silent here for several weeks, mostly because inside my head has been loud, and I’ve been afraid if I let any of it out it would come in quick bursts and make no sense. When I started this blog, I had just begun to settle into the life I was living. I thought I had a clear vision of what I  was going to write about, and to an extent I still do. I was feeling driven by God to do so and for the first time in a long time, felt I was finally answering His call.

And I went and said I wanted to be like Ruth.

Faithful, noble, Ruth.

And God said, “Ok, how serious are you?” (let me be clear, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but God has His ways)

My life took a drastic change, one I was not expecting, and it has left me reeling. You can read about that here. And I’m sorry to say, I didn’t react very nobly at times.  And isn’t that how life goes? Twisting and turning on a dime when you least expect it.

It has taken me quite some time to come to any kind of peace with this. Each day gets a little better, but it has been some of the darkest of my life. Why? I’m not sure what has made this time harder. The one thing I can say is that just before, my relationship was growing in Christ like never before. I was beginning to experience joy and intimacy with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So, you would think I could have handled it better. Somewhere in the depths of my soul, these words are fighting for air:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Fighting to remind me of the bigger picture here. Fighting to remind me it’s not all about the flesh. Fighting to remind me there is always going to be a battle and that the closer I get to God, the real battle is not taking place on this Earth.

And something tells me the Snake has asked to sift me as wheat. And can I tell you? I’ve been sifted. I’ve been sifted my entire life.

When I started this blog I said that I was going to be honest, open, and raw. It’s time I start sharing all of my experiences openly. This will be a healing process for me. A sort of discovering who I am. Because honestly? At 34, I’m not so sure.

I believe God has brought me here to share my story. Everyone has a story, but we like to tuck them away out of fear of what others will think. We hide behind masks because we think the real us will be more acceptable if we cover up. Most of us, rather we admit it or not are like a cross-stitch piece of art. Have you ever seen one? What you see framed on the wall is beautiful, but if you turn it over and look on the backside, it’s an ugly mess.

And maybe that’s what God wants me to know, maybe that’s the whisper, the gentle tugging- All your ugly messes, all the crossed threads of your life, they’re all woven and stitched together to make up the beautiful you that I created you to be.

And maybe you need to know that too.  So I’ll share my thoughts, my past, my present, and my hopes for the future. I’ll share my journey with God and people who have inspired me along the way.  And I hope you comment below to share yours as well.

I’ll share all my ugly messes and I hope you stick around to see something beautiful.

 

ME

 

 

Climbing My Mountain

In two days, I will begin a journey to the mountains to stay in the cabin by myself. This cabin, booked just last week, was supposed to be my honeymoon. Just two days later, I learned that the person I loved and had spent the last two years of my life with, did not feel the same way. Rings were already bought, a small ceremony planned, and excitement of a future living happily ever after was in the air. And in an instant, the wind was knocked out of me. Once again I find myself trying to pick up broken pieces of my already fragile  heart and glue them back together. Once again, I’m left with unsanswered questions, emotions reeling and a need to trust God like never before.

I know He has a plan, and I know that He loves me, and I know that He is always working in my life so that through any experience, whether good or bad, He will be glorified…if only I trust Him.

But this is where I have always struggled, and I know He knows, and I know His grace is sufficient.

I believe that He’s teaching me something. Too much in my life have I placed my own value in what a man has thought of me. I give and give of myself until I lose myself in the process, just so I can make someone else happy. I KNOW this, yet I repeatedly do it.

I’m positive this stems from something in my childhood, and I could probably see a psychiatrist and they could probably have a field day with me, but I’m not going to do that.

I’m going to that mountain-top alone, because for the first time in my life, I’m actively seeking Him. And I felt immediately that this was what I was supposed to do. God knew before I ever hit the confirm reservations button that this was going to happen, He knew when I unchecked the option for travel insurance.

I know I can seek God anywhere, and I have been. I know that He has never left my side, throughout all of my mistakes, but I feel Him leading me there.

So, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m traveling to unkown place, and alone. With only myself, my Bible, a few good books, coffee, and a heart that’s willing and ready to spend time in Him, and Him alone.

He proposed to me before He ever knit me in my mother’s womb.

And even though I said ‘yes’ early on, I’ve never fully committed to our relationship.  In all His grace and all His mercy, He’s loved me anyway.

For your Maker is your Husband—the Lord of hosts is His name—and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called.-  Isaiah 54:5

Yes…my Maker is my Husband, and after all these years together,  it’s time we took our honeymoon.

Are You Hydrated?

“Push fluids” are always his orders.

 Whenever someone calls or comes in sick to our office with a stomach virus, that’s always the first order of treatment from the doctor I work for.

 “Push fluids” (drink water, and a lot of it)

 Of course the obvious reason is because of the risk of dehydration. When our body loses water either by sweat from exertion, loss of fluids through illness, or just simply not drinking enough, we will become dehydrated if we don’t replenish what we have lost. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body and if left unchecked can cause your organs to shut down and lead to death.

 Because water is our life-line in these physical bodies.

An extremely healthy person could only live 3-5 days without it, and that’s dependent on conditions they’re in, and if they don’t exert themselves at all.

 And in most cases, dehydration can be avoided if only we took the necessary steps to hydrate ourselves. We must replenish, on a daily basis, it’s a never ending cycle, if we want to stay healthy. Thirst, is the first sign that we need it.

And just as the body gets thirsty, so does the soul. And the only way to quinch the soul’s thirst is to drink from Jesus. When the soul is cracked and parched from lack of water from the Well of life, which is Jesus, the only way to survive is drink His water He gives so freely.

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:37-38

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:13-14

And we can drink of the things of this world and our soul will always be thirsty, always searching for more, always parched or we can drink of Jesus and let Him heal the cracks, let Him quench the thirst forever, rehydrate the soul.

 And just as we must replenish our bodies daily with fluids, so we should replenish our souls daily with Jesus, letting Him well up in us, so the living water He gives will flow from us.

 When we stop going to the Well, we become weak in our flesh. When we stop going to the Well, the spirit gets dehydrated, when we stop going to the Well we become like the man who’s lost in the desert and drinks the stagnate water- he reaches for what looks good but it only makes him sicker.

So how do we stay hydrated?

We go to Him in prayer, we read His Words daily, because His Words are the spring of water that will rise up in us and only in Him will we have eternal life, and thirst no more.

I also guest blogged this as a devotional over at www.awakeningyourday.com