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It Wasn't Me

Life After Redemption

Month

September 2008

Moments between Miracles

There was a point in time, in our recent cultural history, where we as women took so much pride in our competency with what we could create with our two humble hands. A hand stitched garment, a meal cooked from scratch without the expedited ‘convenience’ of modern technology.

Somewhere in our technological advancement, our integrity of a job well done has been compromised by our ability to do it faster. When was the last time you prepared a meal and took the time to enjoy the process? It is a rare occurrence for me as well. With mouths to feed, faster and easier does seem better. But the love and joy that I put into a well planned meal, even gourmet (ish) brings so much more than just nutrition to the table. There is a deep consideration, a deliberate focus as you bring flavors into harmony and present your food with flourish.

It’s a different dining experience than if you slap chili mac in a bowl and throw it on the table. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bowl of chili mac… it’s not about gourmet vs. a boxed dinner choice. You can put the same passion into boxed macaroni as you would a five course meal; I know chefs may dispute this, but stay with me please!

It’s about the fruit of the spirit. What are you feeding your family? Or yourself? Frustration, bitterness, impatience? This is just another chore for me to check off in the laundry list of life… It’s on my list of “have-to’s”, not “want-to’s”. Joy certainly has difficulty raising it’s head when you have a hungry toddler squawking at you.

What if you can find the joy lost in those moments? As you fill your pot of water to boil, know that it is your culinary skills that keeps your family nutritionally sustained. The dishes that you lovingly fill with food brings such a comfort to your children; they know they are loved. It doesn’t matter to them that their meals are served on paper plates or fine china… you love them enough to see their needs met, there is a magical quality in that.

This joy is the joy of the Father. It’s the moments between the miracles where our hearts and souls are sustained. In keeping with the culinary metaphor, miracles could be like chocolate cake, amazing and perfect, but we need more than cake to survive. We need the meals in between, moments of grace, mercy and forgiveness. These tidbits of fullness are so sustaining and miraculous n their own right. It’s the moments between miracles where our souls grow and are healed.

Miracles are the catalysts where our eyes are opened and the moments between are when we process and give over to God control of our self-righteousness so that He fills us with anticipation for the next miracle. God is our food. He feeds us with the Spirit and in Him we are filled.


Psalms 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.


John 4: 32-34
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

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Seriously Irked

I am seriously bent this morning. Please permit me my little soapbox diatribe… I don’t normally get all worked up, but I really need to vent. What is it with our societal outlook as women, young or old, that has us valuing ourselves so little? I originally had this theory, with all my philosophizing, that it was a daddy issue. That if you had a skewed relationship with your father, of course you would become needy and codependent, seeking validation from others, but men especially. It may be true, but where does that leave women who don’t have daddy issues? The fortunate few who are loved and treasured like they deserve to be? They seem to fall down the same slope as well. Age isn’t really a factor, I see this with my friends of all ages.

I think we have this hole in our hearts, where we so need acceptance and validation that we will commit almost any act in order to be loved, truly loved. This need for validation spills over into our relationships with women tainting them with insecurity where in our heart of hearts we know that no one would truly love us if they really knew our true nature. This fearful shame drives a wedge between our hearts and we trust no one. We are alone and unloved and if you asked me to jump off a bridge in such a way that there was even a chance that you could change my heart… umm, no way. Thanks anyway.

We need rescuing desperately as women, and we look for heroes in the least worthy of candidates because we think that is all we deserve. I want to know WHY! Why is an illusion of love, the shadow of true love’s full glory all we hope to attain?! Why don’t we want more for ourselves? Why do we feel so unworthy?

I want so much more, I want you to want more, I want my friends to want more, I want the world to want more than a tasteless portion of not enough. Seek Him, seek God, seek Jesus… whatever you are struggling with, whatever you feel your inadequacies are… HE IS THE MORE YOU SEEK. There is not a hint of a shadow of true love with God, He is the full measure, the full portion, the big picture. Be validated in Him, seek Him as the balm that soothes your injured heart. Do not accept that you are less than, you are His creation and beloved are you. Choose. There is no struggle that God cannot mend, nothing that He cannot redeem. You are not the exception to His power and glory, He is mightier than your sins and all can be restored.

Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.


Freedom

What is basic freedom in God? How can you remain unchanged in the face of God? Day in, day out, we show up with no intent to modify our own response to life. Yet somehow, we have a growing expectation that the results will be different this time.

Like going through the drive-thru, ordering a super-sized big, jumbo burger meal, yet we are surprised by the carb-overload cheeseburger, drink AND fries inside the bag! Then we bemoan our increasing waistline and our inability to lower our cholesterol. Seriously, if you want a different meal intake experience, stay away from the golden arches. Convenient? Sure. Nutritionally sustaining? Not so much.

We exist… trapped in a society of drive-thru convenience, sorely lacking anything that resembles authentic substance. Stuck, enslaved to a cultural perspective that we are free to proclaim our own manifest destiny, footloose, unencumbered by our own responsibility to true freedom.

We are as of yet unsatisfied by the results of our own choices. Unfulfilled by what we are consuming to survive. Poverty of spirit is where we seek satisfaction; nothing changes.

Freedom of the heart means relinquishing control over our own manifest destiny and embracing our inheritance as God’s children. Break free from the fear that God will not meet our expectations. He can only exceed the boundaries that we set… that whole ‘free will’ thing coming into play. When you allow God to move you from your own prison walls, miracles will happen.

Remove the lid, let God out of the box and prepare to be amazed. Supernatural freedom…. Be free, released, loved children of God.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Sidebar

So, this is not what I meant to origianlly blog… I have pages to add later but I was tripped up by my inbox this morning and wanted to blather about waning joy and broken pieces. I don’t intend to promote other websites, I can’t stand commericials on TV, so why would I want to add them to my blog? However, this is my sidebar, and I totally blame this woman and her spiritual genius for this sidebar, so she might as well get some credit!
Mary DeMuth, she has a monthly newsletter that you can sign up for on her page, if you are so inclined: http://www.marydemuth.com/.

Waning joy and hope, who hasn’t felt that desert of isolation creeping into their lives. Like life isn’t hard enough and then suddenly you realize that your last trip to an oasis was so long ago all you are tasting is sand. I have been focused so much on the reclamation of joy stolen that I have overlooked some of the importance of its loss.

We leave little pieces of ourselves behind all time, in broken relationships, in disappointments and in death. These are some of the major joy stealers, but sometimes we just hand over our hearts with no regard for the condition in which it will be returned. Or if we can even recognize it when we get it back. If we don’t consider the impact of freely given our hearts away to another, how can we expect others to? Then at the end of a relationship how do we reclaim our passion for life and love?

There is a process, like in most things, of reclaiming what is lost. Unfortunately, in matters of the heart it is difficult to get a full accounting and return, we all prescribe a different value to our pain and nothing is equal in suffering. My bad is bad for me, but not necessarily for another. So pieces get lost, and sometimes they don’t come back. Which is a very Ecclesiastes perspective… the futility of life and all that, so what’s the point?! Considering that I am listening to “Everything Glorious”, I will swing this back around, too much darkness for the morning.

There is a value in brokenness, if you can see it. Rather than scrambling around to reclaim your pieces, let them fall. Give them to God, let Him whittle away the unnecessary and refine your heart so that you can see Him more clearly. My childhood was like a shattered mirror, my own self image was lost until I no longer recognized myself and trying to reclaim the piece was likely to result in more woundedness. Moving past the ‘survivor’ mentality and giving that control over to God was so unbelievably difficult for me… those are my reins, that is my pain, I know what I am doing, only I can push through this pain, there is no one that can manage this for me, only me, only me, only You? You?

Resting in that, not having to take action over my own wounds or healing, was freeing. I didn’t have to DO. God did it all for me. There is no strength that I have today that doesn’t flow directly from Him. And He values that, I still get to overcome, I still get to battle… when He calls me out to act, not before. Suddenly I am not twisting in the wind, but am safe and secure, knowing that I am called to be a daughter of the King and there is so much fullness in that.

The pieces that were broken away, were meant to be. I am not being trite, truly there is much that I lost that I don’t think I really need. Would I be able to give over to God the right to rule without knowing the things of the world that I know? If my life were perfectly comfortable, why would I need to yield anything to an unseen God? For me, with my stubbornness of will, there would have been no point in that. This is not a permission slip to mistreat or be mistreated, I have been both. Only you can reconcile with God, I cannot speak for you pain or loss… only you can do that. But it doesn’t matter if your mirror is merely chipped or completely turned to dust, God is the true restorer. Your pain doesn’t need to be more than or less than somebody else’s… it is yours in all it’s questionable glory. God can heal YOU, whatever your pain. Nothing is too great or too little for Him, be released to rest in Him and see what pieces you no longer need.

Psalms 23:3
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

witticism, unspoken

I know you get this one… somebody says something kind of snarky to you, and you think of the perfect comeback, like three hours later. My problem isn’t usually in this arena. My religious upbringing was very much self-indulgent, anti-organized anything with a heavy influence of sarcasm. I learned how to wield a double entendre with a true master, my mother… but I never realized the impact that a double meant comment could have on others, that wasn’t part of my education until later.

I had moments growing up where I fumbled for a quick reply that came out more like a stutter than a smooth retort. I ended up becoming the butt of my own jokes, despite the fact that in my head I always had the quick reply. Then the pendulm of life swung in my favor, I was the queen in training of sarcastic annhilation. None were safe, I had acheived a miniscule triumph over the stuttering and I was so witty.

It wasn’t until later, when I heard one of my own offhanded remarks from years previous, did I realize that I was contributing to the woundedness of my own friends. Funny for the moment, the words we speak have a lasting echo in our hearts, for good or evil. I was once again speechless. How can I undo my words to a friend? An apology, much overdue, did not salvage her heart towards me. Time and God will heal; but I still get the pleasure of remembering her face when she handed my words back to me and the voice that I knew was mine still rings in my ears. I am so small.

Now, weird things are happening again. I have discovered the balance of sarcasm and friendship, or love. You can be witty, you can be funny… but never when it is at someone else’s expense. I am sure my foot still gets caught in my teeth, but I genuinely try to catch it before it knocks them in. So, now conversations occur, the words pop in my head, but they don’t always leave my mouth and despite knowing the devastation words can cause, I still wonder about God’s hand in the unspoken.

Here’s the example. I meet ‘Dude’, I know only a couple of things about him, one of which is that he did my friend wrong… but there are a couple of other things that should make me more compassionate towards him. I am so not feeling it towards him. He hurt my friend, she’s on my ‘list’… the list in my heart of people I will not allow to be mistreated… so no mercy, no compassion, please can I just annihilate him now?! no. I know, no.

ANYWAY. I meet Dude, he is pleasant to me, we shake hands, he invites me to join them for dinner and proceeds to describe what he is making to eat. It sounds very, um, nice. But there is this voice in my head that SO wants to squish him and his little prideful dinner plans. It goes something like this, “Um, no thanks. Your homemade Italian chicken strips and salad sound delicious, but I have leftovers at home. What? No, I said leftovers. It’s grilled flank steak with a bacon balsamic reduction with fresh marinated beets with feta and a lemon couscous. Are those tears little man? That right, my cooking is SO superior to yours, pathetic poser!”

Okay, the last bit was a little overdone, I don’t remember actually thinking out loud, in my head, that he was a poser of any nature, but you get the idea. I did think the rest though, and almost disdainfully said it… why? And I guess more importantly, why didn’t I say it out loud? Obviously my friend wouldn’t have liked it, but it was bigger than that and I knew it, but for the first couple miles as I drove away I didn’t know exactly why.

As I drove away, I was haunted by this man’s eyes. There was a deep and profound sadness echoing in his there and a shadow of spiritual warfare hanging over his head like I couldn’t believe. Just to clarify, I didn’t see demons floating around him with my eyes, but there was some kind of ‘something’ that has attached itself to him like a noose. And his pride in describing what he was making for dinner, was so tenuous and genuine, that for me to squish him would have been beyond rude, it would have been heartless and so unnecessary.

Like I am somehow the moral majority that I should should crush him for my own pleasure is just cruel and shameful. I am a better person than that, Christianity aside, I know better. Even now two days later, I can see those wounded eyes and they just call out to my heart.

please. please. hear me. i have nothing to give. i am nothing. here is my small portion. let me share it with you. can you see me? i am lost.

Who am I God that I should ride in and forget my own small portion? Are we not all lost? Do we not all desire to be loved and accepted and do we not all fear the same cruel rejection that I myself so nearly handed out?

Those moments where the words get stuck in your head, Praise God. May He bind my jaw against evil. Let the words flow freely that reflect His mercy, not mine. Because mine is not right or perfect, not even close. I prayed the whole way home for this man, and hopefully I learn from the blessing of this encounter.

2 Samuel 14:17
“And now your servant says, ‘May the word of my lord the king bring me rest, for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you.”

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