Encouragement from my beautiful daughter.

(my daughter sent this email to me and I hope it encourages all who might read here.) I read this again today … what a priceless treasure.

Dear Mom,

I kinda understand what you are going through there at work.  It’s hard to live in a secular environment, be criticized for faith, and still remain positive. 

I hope I can encourage you with what I have learned here.

I now feel like I understand what is meant by “The Truth shall make you free.”  I go to classes where no one believes in absolute Truth.  I find though that it is not discouraging or limiting.  It is freeing in the sense that I know the Truth, and regardless of what people think of me or believe about me falsely, I am free in Christ.  I am free to be able to hold my beliefs regardless of what society says.  I can see clearly how postmodernism has become a prison for people because they are trapped in trying to explain the world and events without fully understanding the whole picture. 

I know you may not be experiencing this as I am.  However, I think some themes here are similar.  I know that no matter what happens that I am secure in my faith and in my God.  I have Truth on my side.  I have God on my side.  I have security regardless of what happens with the economy or school in knowing that He will take care of me.  These facts give me confidence.  I feel that there is no reason to be sad or worried or fearful.  Those aren’t from God.  Those are things that come to attack us and make us think that God isn’t in control or on our side.  I can’t explain enough how good it is to know I serve a BIG God, not a tiny one, a dead one, a confused one; but a GREAT BIG GOD that is all-powerful, and all-knowing.  It gives me confidence and that is where I draw my strength. 

I understand its hard to keep going in the face of adversity, especially at work or school where our lives are literally lived.  However, God wants you to know that he supports you and is “keeping” you in his perfect Grace.  He is BIG and can handle whatever people may say to you or do to you.  Just live for Him and in light of His grace.  He will take care of the rest. 

I could go on and on here because I really get it now, but I hope that in some small way you can feel encouraged knowing that others are going through the same types of struggles, you are not alone, and regardless of what people are around you God is always there.  He identifies with us in a way that no one else does.  He asked Saul on the road to Damascus why he was perscuting Him.  God said “ME” meaning that when people speak wrongly against you or bring evil against you they are essentially doing it to Him.  That, I believe more than anything demonstrates our identity in Him.

When life gets hard, remember Who’s you are!

Love you!

Wail On, Pit Dwellers

(Please note, I totally believe GOD wants to hear from us. I have been a pit dweller at times in my life this is written for a reminder to myself as well )

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! No one just wakes up with an emotionally burned out crippled and  crumbled  life. It takes time to get to any destination.  You might retort to me look at  Job and point a finger and say ah ha .. you have no clue what you are talking about.  Yes, Job is a person in the Bible who suffered greatly and we point to him often when we are in storms to try to get the courage to gut it out. I think we do ourselves a disservice doing that for several reasons because when we look at Job, we see the end of the story where GOD restored him. That keeps the focus on what we can get out of our brokeness rather than what it does to us in molding our character. We also need to look at Job’s life fully, not just that he suffered.  I am not talking about a person who is being tested in the way Job was. I am talking about when our circumstances are orchestrated by our own bad choices. Choices that have consequences that can not be restored. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying God doesn’t restore. He promises to restore what the locust have eaten. I am saying the suffereing and  restoration Job had was not the kind I am speaking about. There is much to learn there but I am talking about when sin damages us.

  Our lives do not crumble overnight.  I woke up at 3:00 am with this thot in my head and decided it will be today’s blog. Where I am at today came through many tough water that were deep and challenging.   So this blog seems to be more or less dedicated to trading your sorrow for joy of the LORD.  My intent and purpose is to give folks a glimpse of what  I found elusive in many of my storms. Not that I can change anyone but that  the things that changed me were the WORD of GOD and soldiers in the body of Christ who shed their light at a time when darkness surrounded my soul as wave after wave of my journey collided with my faith. I just want to shed what light I have been given. 

 My life could have been much different if I had not have taken the trip I did to get where I am now. What if each moment in our lives we could have an instant replay. We surely wouldn’t get to the place where we are sitting broken and burned out if we could just replay those things that didn’t go as we hoped. Of course we  really can’t do that and if we could it would create disaster in our lives. By sheer human nature we would abuse such a gift. It’s a kind of winning the lottery pipe dream lets get back to reality.

One of the most sheep like qualities of Christians is our ability to depend on ourselves to be our own shepherd. We acknowledge GOD, even have a wealth of knowledge about Him but lack the ability on our own to stay out of the ditch.  In storms knowledge of GOD is useless without intimacy with Him. It’s like being all dressed up and no place to go. I lived that for many years. My knowledge was performance and fear based. The times I have been in the ditch were usually when I was steering the vehicle. We can’t just ask GOD to come along in our lives as we take on burdens He never intended we carry or as we try to orchstrate our way out of the storm or into a better place, or deny it’s complete existence. We know GOD, what His WORD teaches but we filter it by our lives and the parts we line up with we feel good about. The parts we don’t we dismiss or deny. It should be the other way around .

I know when I was deeply stuck in the mire, no one could talk to me. I was insistent that life  was going to work the way I had prayed.  Basically I am glad it didn’t in some cases. I was praying for my way and not God’s way.

The mire is so ugly.  If you have ever tried to walk in deep goopy mud you know what it’s like to try to pull one leg out, take a step, then pull the other leg out. It doesn’t take long before you tire completely. Spiritually, we create mire pits when we stop believing what God has said is true. When we do not watch His character to always keep His WORD and work in a way that is for our good.

We create a problem or make a huge mistake and the first thing that happens if we are not intimately walking is that our natural selves take over and rationalize how things can not work instead of seeing the beautiful plan God has to restore and renew our faith by transforming our mind.  We become a dead man walking so to speak. You will stink if you play with dead things but every believer has the Holy Spirit who is always ready and willing to walk you through the situation.  Psalms 40:1-3

 
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

I love this passage!!! Really let it sink into your heart that sitting on your spiritual hiney is not only keeping you stuck in mire, it’s also keeping people from seeing GOD at work and fearing and trusting Him. It’s not all about us.  LOOK! and see that HE takes you out of the pit and He establishes our steps. Whew the pressure is off of us and on to Him. We just have to just follow the Shepherd. 

 Now don’t get the idea you will just sit there and wait for God to show up. NO! You wait paitiently but wail on! Wait on it to be God that answers but cry out to Him. He will incline and lift you up and put you on a rock, a solid foundation. If you know anything at all about walking in mire it is this, you are on shaky ground getting dirty and sucked in feet first. Your life is not too burned, it’s not over, it’s not done if you call upon your Father to lift you out. Dear ones I need to see that in you and you need to see that in me. Let’s let GOD hear us and get us out of the pit that keeps us hidden from the lost and dying world.

Whatever it Takes

I used to sing a song called Whatever It Takes. I remember a man in my church saying to becareful because God might just do whatever it takes. Within a few years I was divorced facing life alone after 20 years. That being said let’s look at this idea. Some people say after a long bout with trials and temptation that they would not have had it any other way.

Ok, honestly I would have had it a different way. My family would have been whole and my girls would have never had their heart broken. I would have never had to relearn almost my entire existence. I would have been close to God in the first place. Not that everything that has happened to me is the product of divorce.

I know our Father had in mind so many things when He revealed so much to us in the Word. I could go on and on but I want to say this with all clarity. Apart from the Word of God where He expresses His desire for our lives intimately, you will never get out of the mire.

I say that because even though I would not have signed on for this chaos I also know after regrouping and banging my head on the wall there is only one way. God’s Way. I can try my way but it always leads to destruction. Not because I lack intelligence or the determination, but because my ways do not always draw me closer to the LORD. My ways are on a good day very inadequate compared to the ways of the LORD for my good and HIS glory.

Cliche as that might sound, I have the tears and heartache to back up that what I am saying. I have memories of people telling me what I am saying to you now. God’s Word is what will bring you to a place where the storm doesn’t overtake you. Now you might say I have read the Bible and I am still stuck. You might read the Bible as I did but there came a day when I read the Bible looking for God instead of looking for bandaids  and solutions to the problems I created. Hope this helps,time to go to bed. Nothing more to say. Test me on it.  GOD bless all 🙂

We weren’t meant to survive-huh?

I know it sounds misleading but hear me out. I was listening to a message this week and wanted to share some of the ideas that it prompted in my heart.  I always have side table discussion with myself when I hear something because I am evaluating things constantly. Here’s the thing. Why do we live and cling and cower when we are supposed to live an abundant life? Did Jesus die so we could just merely survive? Was he bruised for our transgressions so that we can just meagerly make it.  What I am saying is this, the joy of the Lord is my strength. Wait, joy equals strength? I thought if you were strong you would automatically have joy because strong folks do not get run over by life and do not struggle and fail. We have to be careful in defining strong. Sometimes it is an insult to people to think they are just strong. Every strong thing in the universe becomes strong by a stressor not by just being.

 Well that is the key strong folks don’t do those things but get this, they are not strong and then have joy, They have joy in the Lord which makes them strong. Something inside is driving them like a power plant giving them energy when things seem hopeless and giving them the last mile that folks always tell us we are supposed to go. Something inside gives them joy when life is not picture perfect. That power is Christ inside. It is revealed as this world challenges and has always challenged His existence. It’s a given that Christ in us is going to be challenged.

Women of strength and valor are that way because of the indwelling of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Lesson One in moving on.

Here’s a great question. Is there anything bigger in your mind than your pain, or your suffering, or your past, or your relationship with another? Are you getting me, if there is nothing in your life bigger than your problems, then your faith is misplaced. IF your mind wraps around your pain, suffering, and trials as you emotionally curl up and think nothing is ever going to change, then your faith is in your pain.

Trust the one who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross.  Joy of the end result of doing something bigger than his pain. You heard me it was joy leading the way to the cross for Jesus who not only is the author of our faith but the finisher as well.  It was a shameful endurance all the while joyful for HIM. Wow what an example the next time I am tempted to call whine one one.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

My All In All

 

         

  When I first was saved years ago I was taken in to a family that basically exchanged my broken family for a new one. I did not understand Christ living in me and I wanted to be saved for a reason that was not only about salvation but about family.  I wanted the love people seemed to have among God’s people. I wanted a God who would love me and make all my hurt go away. I was so hungry for that I ached inside. It was great at first, but you can imagine the hurt that came with that notion which is a very faulty perception of the family of God.  I remember praying and asking GOD into my life to be my Lord and Savior. I prayed that because that was what I was told to pray.  I had no real deep clue what that meant. I spent the next two decades trying to please a GOD who didn’t seem to understand me or seem to love me. I was wrong about that but I didn’t know it.

What a cruel joke I thought had been played out on me. Here I had gotten saved and my Dad was still an emotionally distant alcoholic. My mom was still weak in my eyes at that time,  suicidal and my brother was beginning to indulge in drugs. Nothing was fixed!!! I didn’t understand. Everyone talked about how wonderful this life would be.  Where was wonderful? I then started developing in my mind that I must be doing it wrong. I watched others who seemed to have no problems and tried to copy them.

 I wrote notes during the sermons and tried my best to do what was preached. Still nothing was getting better. I went off to PCC thinking Bible College would straighten out what I was missing, still more of the same. Misery, rejection, distance, God where are you?  I met and married someone in Bible College who was supposedly my white knight. He was going to be a preacher and seemed to love the Lord. He turned out to be a carbon copy of my distant dad with a porn addiction. It took 20 years for me to stop trying to fix him. I did everything I could do and went to every how to be a good wife meeting I could go to yet no change in him. Praise God there was a change beginning to take place in me. I was not able to see his true person or strong enough to kick him out, but an affair on his part caused me to finally get that courage, I divorced him.  His betrayal was the most significant event in my life aside from salvation and my children’s births.  It wasn’t significant  because of how much it hurt, because it did hurt like crazy but because of what it started in my life.

Early after my divorce I began to chat on yahoo. I was the most hurt I had been in my life and the most confused and vulnerable.  I felt that Christianity worked for people GOD loved and I was not one of those. Ironically, I still wanted people to know him. I would say that chat was one of the most damaging things I did to myself but I didn’t know it at the time. It filled the hurt like salve to a burn but the minute you were offline you were alone again.   I was far too naïve to chat with folks who were from almost another world that was foreign to me. I can’t believe how stupid I was about people, relationships, and the games people play. I met people who were wolves waiting for their next prey. You can’t go to even Christian chat and meet a God need. 

 I was desperately trying to stop the bleeding from open wounds of a life- long rejection and shattered dreams.   This is where it gets touchy. I would love to make amends and have a do over. I would love to reconcile with some folks I hurt, to undo some of the experiences I have had and learned the hard way. I am sure I simply can’t change the past. I can’t dismiss the hurt of others, but this is where it becomes even more hard to say but necessary. Please HEAR this!

 I am crucified with Christ and all of those hurts I caused are crucified with HIM on the cross.  I have said how sorry I am to folks and I have to leave it at the person’s feet to forgive me or not and also at the throne of Grace where I am forgiven and my sins remembered no more. I still face some of the aftermath of my early healing after divorce, in lost time with the girls, lost love, hurt feelings but that I will deal with head on by God’s grace each day I am given breath and life.  I will leave that at the throne of Grace for the Lord to restore as He is willing.

That is where my life picks up today. I was taught a lot of bad religion and never taught about relationship. I don’t know how many times I have said, “it’s about relationship not religion” when I no more had a clue either.  I was taught works salvation even though I was taught eternal security. The work was that you are blessed if you please GOD and not blessed if you don’t. What a shameful condemning way to live.  

The very best part of my story is where I am now. I am totally in love with and totally crazy about God, who He is, His Word, and His pleasure to be my Father and accept me in the gift of His Son.  I have grown up to know that GOD is sovereign, holy, patient, loving, and just. I could name other characteristics and many come to mind.  

The depths of God, the riches of His Word are life and breath to me. I am totally into knowing Him and in that knowing, I might feel lonely and even ache for human companionship but I know at the end of the day when the pen is put down, I am not alone.  I am not trying to sell you on where I am or who I am.

 I have more to learn and growing to do. I am trying to say that if GOD can lead me beside still waters and restore my soul…….. He can do it for anyone. I was a prideful, entitled, stubborn prodigal who was bent on doing it my way because of lack of trust of the almighty GOD of the universe who is and was and will be forever and ever.  

Beloved, turn to Him, cry out and seek Him while He may be found. He will love you and walk with you. I am not saying it will be a rosey posey life.  I am saying you can have peace in the storm. You can be forgiven. Nothing is too much for my GOD.

Ephesians 5:8-11
8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Healthy Things Grow

Reposted from 2008

I have been learning and growning in the Lord. It’s amazing how my past has come full circle. I would love to say that I have been on a perfect journey that has always walked toward the Lord but that would be a lie. I lived 13 years of my life in legalism that I thought would save my marriage and keep my family from harm. When I divorced, which was to me a death sentence I found myself lost in the law of God. I didn’t know how to move forward and sumarily heal when I was expected to just get over it by those who keep check list and score with the law of God. Being alone for the first time in my life set things in motion that I had never experienced. First being my determination refrain from bitterness. I remember a conscious thought that if I became bitter I would sink into a mire I could not escape. I would not grow past the pain. It was some of the hardest days I experienced and all that I could do daily to resist the oppression of my situation. Even today with my ex neglecting the needs of his children financially and with my shouldering all of the burden of helping them get on the road to adulthood, I have moments I am angry more than I like to admit. Second I remember being overwhelmed. I didn’t understand the concept that I wasn’t protected from pain because I had served God. The third I think I was the hardest and that was the reality of it all.

What a long road I traveled. I had to learn of the sufficiency of Christ and who I was in Him. I had to understand a new Grace that I hadn’t been taught before because the grace I was taught was unmerited favor with God but it was buried beneath so many laws that you felt a thimble of it once in a while. It wasn’t what God intended for me to know.

I remember feeling free for the first time in the Lord to know the liberty of Christ. I remember the first time I reckoned myself to be found wanting in knowledge of God but also holiness of my own character. I know that well of life springing up in me is still being filled but I never before understood the grace of God in light of my life in Christ.

Divorce was not in my life plan, but when it happened God didn’t say “oh no now what will we do?” It has take me almost five years to be in this place of uncertainty but decidedly committed to press on. Discontent? Well my life isn’t settled and rosey yet. It might well never be. I would never promise anyone that life in Christ is picturesque.

There are decisions to make about my future that I have to settle daily. There are lessons to be learned to continue to grow in the Lord. The hurdle of loneliness is still a constant friend and sometimes ardent enemy. This one thing I know, God’s Word is forever settled in heaven and I will follow its precepts and grow to know Him more each day. That is something I can say that I aspire to and that I also know is as necessary as air.

There has been some progress and I would love to report that five years later God has restored my life to new heights but that just isn’t so. Not because God can’t do it but because the integral part of the equation, ME, has not always been a willing participant in obedience as I should. Yes, I have slowed down some processes that should be in place. I am sure I should be more healed and more mature, yet this is the precious beauty of God. Right where I am in life right now I can grow toward that restoration.

I don’t want to lie or paint pretty pictures, I want to be real and to say what is real. The real truth is Healthy Things GROW. If you are not moving forward or are not growing, there is a stronghold exalted above the knowledge of God in your life. For me it was my own pain. I hope you are honest with yourself. It was painful but so freeing for me to admit not only that I had a problem but that I was the problem.

I am excited about the future because of the solid basis I have to stand firm in the Lord’s grace and mercy and allow myself to be molded by the potter.

God bless and be a light.

Stumbling in the Darkness

Lost at Gettysburg
I was talking on the phone to a loved one who was visiting Gettysburg and as darkness was ensuing he became lost on one side of the battleground and was struggling to find his way out. I remember hearing his struggle in the thorns and tripping over the uncertain terrain. Each time he stumbled or struggled I gasped in care and concern for his safety. It was a frantic time and of course as cell phones all do the battery began to fail. Now I was concerned me as to how he would even call for help. He finally got out of the woods and had to walk quite a way from where he parked or started his journey. Today I was reading God’s Word and it occurred to me that his experience  of being lost in the woods paralleled my life. Praise the LORD for the light of Christ in us to show us the way. Praise the LORD for all that he is, was, and will be. Lord willing tomorrow will be a day of light and clearer paths of forgiveness and grace. He promises to be a lamp unto our feet (where we are right now) and a light unto out path (where we are headed in the future)
Jeremiah 13:16 -17 reminds me of the darkness I once lived in
16 Give glory to Jehovah your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. 17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because Jehovah’s flock is taken captive.

That’s the key phrase “once I stumbled” so terribly in the thorns and uneven ground. I tripped and fell in the darkness and couldn’t see. My pride kept me from being free. I was taken captive and forced to stumble when I could have been soaring with the eagles by my own foolishness.  Every circumstance grabbed my heart and attention.

 Dear one the heart of GOD does not want us stumbling in life. We are going to be tried and tested but not on shaky ground. We are on a firm foundation whose builder and maker is GOD. We can be stubborn lambs and try to lead our own way but the price is peace when you live that way. Seek Him with your heart and come out of the darkness to His light where your foot will be sure and your heart will be safe. Trust the one who died for you. Christ.
Proverbs 3:26 For Jehovah will be thy confidence, And will keep thy foot from being taken.