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It Wasn't Me

Life After Redemption

Combo meal… do you want fries with that?

I think we get stuck sometimes, stuck in sin and it seems like we just can’t get out of our own way. We know that God is there, but He seems so far away and really why would He want to bother? We are sinning, by choice or circumstance, and to give up that for redemption becomes too much to bear. When we get mired down in our life, we get to a point where we know our pain so well that we can’t imagine living life without it. And that shameful knowledge blinds us to the simple truth that it is possible to survive without that all encompassing isolating pain.

The enemy comes in and feeds on our sin and covers our eyes from this truth. Without us feeding him, he will not survive. He doesn’t want you to know how easy it is to turn to God. There is no obstacle, no hurdle, no canyon too wide for God. The enemy tries to trip you up and keep you isolated so that he can continue to feast. Like some sort of convenient drive-through, he orders a combo meal that consists of your joy, passion and vigor for life… maybe with a side of fries. For him, it is so easy.

Consciously, would you really choose to submit these things, knowing that it will impact you everyday… that somehow your life will really be fine without joy? Stop enabling the enemy to run over and through you, he is weak unless we encourage him. He has no real strength or power but that which we give him. And when we turn our eyes back to God, baby-step or seek him slightly… He is there, waiting in the wings for you, just for you to even dare to ask.

Jesus is the bridge between us and God. One gloriously simple bond that connects us forever. No matter how far away we feel like we are removed from God – the truth is that because of the Jesus connection, God is no further away than our fingertips or our next breath. God is not the elusive ‘seek Me on the highest mountains’ because of Jesus, we can find Him in the everyday moments, the moments between the miracles. All we need do is turn our hearts to Him, and He is there.

We are connected, He sacrificed His only Son, just for you to live life in the fullness of His glory, His freedom. His joy for you is not that you be oppressed and afflicted, do not surrender, embrace His love for you. There are more miracles waiting for you to experience, ushered in by His faithfulness in the face of our infinite weakness and ineptitude. You do not have to be the most spiritual, the most Christian, the most anything to receive this gift. Unlike everything else in this world, your lack of credentials make you that much more desirable to Him. Your shortcoming pull on God’s heartstrings more than all the overachieving machinations of mankind combined. You don’t need a fancy endorsement or resume, you can show up in your jammies with every hair out of place and He will reveal His majesty. Be underqualified, because He is the only qualification you will ever need.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.

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Longing for more

What is my portion? What do I have a right to expect and what is beyond my graps? Am I too much, too lacking for redemption? How can God call me out with all my fleshly ways standing between us? Rhetorical questions, I know.

Nothing is impossible for God. My hardened heart, the shell of my old self that I carry in a secret compartment of my soul, these are not beyond the merciful healing of my God. He is more than all the shortcomings of my nature. He is beyond all my natural understanding.

My portion is not my past, not my sins of today. There is a promised wholeness hanging before me, a path of more than where I stand now or where I have been. A greater destiny than what I have ever dreamed possible. More healing, more signs, more wonders, more joy, more love, more revelation…. more, more, more!

I say bring it on, Your right to rule in my life and my heart, be unleashed. Whatever tethers I have restrained You with, be undone. Let there be no corner concealed, it is past time for Your glory to be poured out vigorously. More of You God, here and now.

Psalms 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Picked Off

So, it’s like this… somebody is getting on your nerves, somebody you love in Christ and in the natural, how much do you let it interfere with your relationship? How much do you jump up onto your moral high horse and let them know all the ways they are living their life wrong?

STOP! Dismount that horse. Are you really in a position to correct anyone? How’s your glass house today? You may want to rethink your strategy and put down the stone of loving correction and listen.

The enemy seeks to divide us from one another and each one of from Christ. When we let petty differences abide in our heart and bear grudges in our hearts, we are not allowing Christ to dwell in our hearts. Christ in a box doesn’t do anyone much good, you or your ‘somebody’. If you are truly letting Christ be the mediator and mighty counselor of your life, don’t hold Him back from healing some one else’s wounds by putting your foot in your mouth. Before you speak, PRAY.

I am no less guilty of feeling the draw of offering loving correction to all those around me, I think it’s my mama nature, I want everyone to be healthy and happy, and I am sure that I know the best way to ‘help’ them achieve that. But I am afraid that my way isn’t God’s way and that I will do more harm than good. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I don’t want to be helping that road any more than I already have.

So sit back and zip it. If you are not talking, you might be able to hear God’s heart for the person that you want to fix. AND maybe, just maybe…. if you aren’t trying to fix the world with your own strength, God will be released to heal those wounds…. yours and theirs. Maybe nothing, sit back and watch it happen… believe in the miracle that will happen.

Ecclesiastes 4:12
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Mundane Miracles

When was the last time you looked around you to find the miracles around you? It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering, burning bush kind of miracle. What about the things that we take for granted? Relationships, safe harbors, freedom. Well, some of those may be earth-shattering… but I think that I have started to take them for granted.

So, my mundane miracle is this restored friendship. I know, I know, old news… but it is such an amazing gift and one that I didn’t know that I had missed. We have all ‘had’ to do the kiss and make up, but you know it’s still there. That looming elephant of resentment watching in the corner, waiting to remind you why it is that you fought with someone, or where the well of hurt sprang up. We have all pretended not to see that elephant, but we know it’s there. And occasionally we throw it peanuts so it never really wants to leave. You think you are fine with your friend, if only you could figure out how to get rid of the elephant of resentment and long memory.

I didn’t technically ‘have’ to make up with this chick, we travelled in the same circles, but we were civil, the elephant for the most part was kept at bay. I had nothing to gain, or lose by maintaining distance. Really, when I called to chat with her on that fateful day I really didn’t intend to remove any barriers, maybe just make sure that we both had our elephants on a respectable leash and maintain the status quo. So, when I said we should hash out our remaining differences, or let God heal them, I meant it in a nebuolous kind of polite way. Like, I see you still have your elephant, so do I. Maybe we should acknowledge them and what I don’t know, maybe get something smaller, like a hippo?

Never, and I mean never, in a million-bazillion years would I have thought that what would really happen was that God would just take our elephants away and leave us with this whole lovey-dovey cr… er, stuff. The overnight manifestation of God’s holy love… WHAM, and now it’s LOVE.

The weeks have passed, but the feeling hasn’t. Now, we are even better friends than we were all those years ago. Isn’t God funny? It’s funny because I didn’t know that I needed this, just one more sign of God’s living abundant life around us. It’s humbling how much He cares, and doesn’t want us to fall out of relationship with one another. Together we are so much more, so much stronger than when we try to make it going our own way. The world is such a dangerous place, you don’t know who you can trust, except for God.

It is such a simple solution to a complex problem, learn to love as God loves us. If only we can find a way to get that elephant out of the corner. I am sure that I have others lurking about, but God will work with that. I have such peace about this renewed friendship that I don’t even get wiggy about it anymore. For me this is my mundane miracle.

Are you ‘in’ or ‘out’?

I was never in a clique, well not really, I don’t think. I was friends with different people in different groups, but I never really fit IN. I don’t embrace conformity well, especially when people expect me to act or dress in a certain way… ie. like the ‘in’ crowd. So, I spent many years of my life bucking the system, going against the grain, holding myself apart. It was frequently very lonely and isolated, like I was my own enemy. Maybe I should conform? Will they like me if I am like them?

The answer today is duh of course not… if they don’t like you for who you are, they will like you less if you sell out and become something that doesn’t suit you. Falsehood in any form does not flatter. Looking back, I think there is a definitive value in being held apart. Today, I don’t have to unlearn patterns of behavior that would give me a false sense of belonging to the in crowd. I have no holy elevated status, I am just as scarred as the next person, I am weak and critical of those who are weak. I despise weakness in myself, and pull away from the needy weakness I see reflected in others. And I am not the in crowd.

Since becoming Christian ten years ago, there have always been the questions that arise, like what about gays, the homeless, addiction afflictions, prostitutes… what do you think about THAT? Like I am some sort of moral authority? So not even close. But I would say that I wouldn’t move away if someone from the ‘out’ crowd were to sit next to me. In a women’s group very early in my Christian walk, someone had posed the question… we are all happy to be with each other, but what if a prostitute sat down on the couch next to you, would you move away? My answer then as it is today is is no, emphatically no way. Maybe if she were packing a knife and trying to steal my purse, but generally I am not moving.

Why is this important? Because, for me, I am not so far removed from my former self that I have forgotten who I was and where my life had been leading me. I have been in situations that are not so different from addiction or prostitution, did I sell myself for money or drugs… no. Drugs were never my thing, but I would throw myself into ‘relationships’ with no value for my own worth desperate for someone, anyone, please love me, validate me, fill this aching void. Never thinking that my own emptiness could not be filled with someone else, especially someone who was emptier than my own self. WE cannot redeem someone else, we don’t understand the level of sacrifice that this entails, it surpasses all human understanding and passes into the supernatural. Beyond all doubt, there is only one sacrifice that has redeemed me and the world. I didn’t ask to have the shadow of Jesus’ sacrifice carried in my heart, but His blood of freedom flows freely through my veins. He is my Father, part of my DNA composition beyond earthly conception, and I am fulfilled in Him.

So, would I move my towel away from the ‘out’ crowd? no. The shadow of forgiveness and salvation hangs in the wings waiting to be accepted across the whole world. Who am I to say who is doing it right or wrong? Facing the Father, all else falls away. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on His will and your testimony will draw people in. Be inclusive, we are not a country club with some sort of elitist mentality, all be made welcome.

Galatians 5:13
You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love.

What is the word of the day for you?

The word for me that keeps popping in my head is: indomitable. So, just to clarify I kinda knew what it meant, but I still had to look it up… and I so want to claim this word forever!! Check it out: Indomitable means incapable of being overcome, subdued, or vanquished; unconquerable.

From the very tips of my toes I want this to be me, everyday, breathing this victorious word until it becomes my natural response to life. Unstoppable me, unconquerable me… oh, yeah I like that word!! Rather than my current natural response of striving, managing and worrying, I am indomitable!

This seems scary, and uncomfortable.. to just be completely victorious over life and all it’s pains and wounds… or NOT. Dude! THIS word is strength and power, worry does not rule over this truth. It is freedom, in God, to go forth and triumph mightly! Like some sort of crazy Xena Warrior Princess, who even in defeat emerges victorious, so that’s TV, but this is real.

Can you claim this word for you, do you desire victory over the things in life that drag your soul down? If this isn’t your word, find one that inspires you to triumph over adversity to become more than you ever thought you could be. Unleash God’s power to free you up of the roots of suffering that you yourself cannot escape. For me, I like indomitable. I think it goes well into my vocabulary. I will not be subdued, I will not be vanquished, I will not be conquered! Victory through submission to God. When you willingly hand the reins over to God, that yielding moment somehow strengthens you beyond all earthly measure. Let God be your pilot, navigator, sovereign and He will lead you into the fields of His glorious mercy.

Exodus 15:11
Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you– majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Rescheduled lately?

When I have an appointment scheduled, it’s kind of inconvenient when they call to change the date and time. I have a toddler, my husband’s work schedule, and certain times to take into consideration. I have picked the time that works for ME, whadda mean come in at 8:30?! One o’clock in the afternoon works better for me! It’s either 8:30 or sometime two weeks from now? FINE. 8:30 am is just F-i-n-e with me, no thank you very much!

This was an excerpt from a phone rescheduling call that I got from my eye doctor’s receptionist. Very aggravating, seriously. Please don’t mess with MY plans, cause it is so all about me… right? Whatever.

So, my eyes are fine, thanks for asking, but the rescheduled appointment was amazing for reasons not optical. The chick that orders my contacts for me was back today after being sick for the last three days, she wouldn’t have been there the day before during my original appointment. This was like my third time meeting with her, she’s nice, I like her, we could so hang out, but this meeting was divine. She shared things about her life, relationships, kids, etc. that would have normally been out of place for where we were at, but somehow, it was just perfect.

She ended her first abusive marriage, saving herself and her children, and has learned not to settle for anything less than the best for herself and her kids. By example, she has shown her daughter not to be a victim and her son that it is not okay be abusive. I shared some of my own experience with escalating abusive relationships and told her she has done right by her kids. We both were kinda like wow, by the end of our conversation. I made her laugh and she needed it (her words).

I left feeling blessed, thinking man, I would have missed out if life had gone according to my plans! God is amazing, you never know what blessings you will experience when your schedule get rearranged! I so can’t wait for my next inconvenience!

Psalms 138:3
When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.

Get inspired!

What or who inspires you? Obviously, it may depend on what you are doing. For example, I totally am inspired to be a better scrapbooker by Ali Edwards and Stacey Julian, but for my day to day stuff, my best friend Kimmy is it for me. Even my kids inspire me, especially to be a better and more worthy momma to their awesomeness!

But really it is God who inspires me to be more than I ever thought I could become. My whole life has been about surviving my baggage; dragging it around with me from relationship to relationship always wondering why dysfunction and drama always found it’s way to center stage in my life.

God inspires my to be more than my natural self, my knee jerk reaction to life. Through God I have learned how to reclaim joy, which has caused my baggage to transform from a massive steamer trunk to a carry-on… way more manageable. Honestly, I still think that my past aches and pains could fill a trunk, but God has just whittled it all down into what really matters, what I need to focus on and share versus feeding the dysfunction.

Beyond all else, He inspires my to share His delight and joy with everyone I know and LOVE, even with those I have yet to truly know.. be warned, this means that anyone could be a target of love and joy, you won’t even know what hit you and then WHAM! Hey, dude… I love you!

Psalms 36:5-12
5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight. 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. 10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don’t let the proud trample me; don’t let the wicked push me around. 12 Look! They have fallen! They have been thrown down, never to rise again.

Where are your toes?

First, I didn’t sleep well last night either, partly allergies and partly stress, I guess. But when I was having problems falling asleep, I would just pray about misc. things until I fell back asleep. So, during one of these random unrelated prayer sessions, I got the following picture that relates to my toes to the line picture from a couple of months ago.

(Recap: I am standing on a nice sunny beach with my toes planted on a line drawn in the sand; all I have to do is stand in this spot and God has the rest covered. No armor, just standing.)
Last night, the beach is not really all that tropical anymore, more like the Oregon beaches, rugged and beautiful but cold and rough too. I was looking around trying to figure out where I am and what I am supposed to be doing… and then I see my line in the sand. But its cold out, cloudy and windy, and it’s harder to put my feet on the line. At this point I literally had to pray “God help me put my toes back on the line” One foot at a time, I get there. Then the beach is calmer, but still Oregon-y. Still no armor, but I am thinking it may be time to think about suiting up.

I think this is a time of testing, what will you do when the landscape shifts? So, your line isn’t in Margaritaville but on Beverly Beach… it’s still YOUR line, all you have to do is get there by whatever means necessary. The enemy doesn’t like that it’s that simple. Dude, stand where God wants you to be? I don’t think so… how about a little windstorm to slow you down, or fatigue or sickness? Stand firm in faith, it is all covered by God’s amazing merciful Grace.

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

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