Fear vs. Love

It’s been a complicated week. Fear has threatened me on every side. Old wars raging for my soul. Thankfully, I know the battle has already been won. When fear creeps up and tries to steal my life, I remember that there is no fear in Love. I have a Helper and His very name is Love.

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

I have written poetry for as long as I can remember, but rarely do I share it. This morning I felt inspired to share what my heart wrote to remind myself of the Truth. I hope it can remind you as well:

Fear

 You do not own me, I am not yours. 

You shed no blood of your own to save a single soul.

In the darkness, never light,

You steal away my joy

The chains you’ve wrapped around me,

They cannot hold, they’ve been destroyed

Love

You give me freedom, you bring to life a choice.

You only shed your own blood to save all living souls.

In you there is no darkness, only light;

You give to me true joy.

The chains that once enslaved me,

With one look you have destroyed.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…For I, the Lord your God, hold your right to hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” Isaiah 41:10,13

Advertisements

Celebrate Your Strengths and Your Weaknesses OR Deep Thoughts While Mopping My Floor

I just finished mopping my kitchen floor on my hands and knees. Deep cleaning! It’s probably been a month…Ok, that’s a lie. It’s definitely been over a month since I last mopped. I would not recommend ever eating off of my floor, by the way. I sincerely dislike most deep cleaning tasks. Cleaning is definitely not one of my strengths. There is a great many reasons for that, besides sheer laziness, although that does come into play sometimes, but that’s a counseling session for another day. I have a great many friends and family members who definitely could say that cleanliness is a strength of theirs. They genuinely love to clean and get a “high”, so to speak, from cleaning, doing dishes, etc. I definitely missed out on that gifting when they were being doled out. From time to time I get to feeling extremely down on myself for not having a perfectly kept or organized house. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe my house to be a pig sty or anything, but I often feel I’m missing the mark when it comes to the condition of my home. So as I was on my hands and knees this afternoon, I chose to pray through this dreaded task and God showed me some truth I already knew but hadn’t fully digested. I thought it was worth sharing.

In this current season of my life, I have also been somewhat struggling to really comprehend what exactly my personal strengths or gifts actually are. As I was talking with a friend last night, she expressed a goal that she had set for herself that involved reaching out to others because it’s not necessarily something that she considers a strength of hers and she wants to make an effort to work on it. I quickly examined myself in this area to see if it was something that, I too, perhaps, need to work on. To my surprise, I realized this to actually be one of my strengths. I would say that friendship is definitely one of my gifts. For as long as I can remember, I have always been naturally good at reaching out to others and offering genuine friendship. When I was in elementary school, my grandmother was a Bible teacher. She had a poster hanging in her classroom and it read, “I went out to find a friend and could not find one there. I went out to be a friend and found them everywhere.” I have never forgotten those words. In times when I have felt that I had no friends, that phrase would always come back to my mind and I would be reminded to be the friend I would want to have.

During the years that I was not following God, my gift became my downfall, as is often the case. I have had so many co-dependent friendships and relationships that it’s just not even worth trying to count. Since then, God has been teaching me how to use my gift appropriately for His glory. Boundaries. Being a good friend means I can throw a rope down into your pit, but by no means will I jump into your pit with you or sit with you in your darkness. I am not God and I am not built to save you. I can, however, lead you to the light and to the one that can rescue you from your pit and darkness.

For the people I know whose strength is cleanliness and orderliness, when they are not using their gift for God’s glory it tends to surface as OCD and anxiety over what is seen as a mess in their eyes. This leads to all sorts of other issues, including breakdowns in relationships.

Now, just because cleanliness is not my strength does not mean that God is not calling me to clean and take care of my home and belongings. Quite the contrary. His word clearly states we are to be good stewards of all that He has entrusted to us. What this means is that I must daily offer my weakness up to Him and ask for His help and grace to do the things that take more effort for me to do. This is also what my friend is doing in her weakness as she is offering it up to God. She is making the effort to reach out to new people and extend friendship and fellowship to them just as Jesus asks us to do. I know that God will bless her deeply for her willingness to do what does not come easy. God has already blessed me today as I chose to do the thing I did not want to do and offered that effort and time to Him in prayer.

As is usually the case with the way God works, our strengths and weaknesses often rely upon one another. For instance, my strength being friendship means that I LOVE having people over to my house to visit, have dinner, play games and enjoy life together. The problem tends to be that when I am not offering my weakness up to God as well as my strength, I tend to not want to invite people over because my house may not be as clean as I think it should be. What a loss for both myself and the people God wishes to bless through me.

Does this mean I should be a total stress case about cleaning my house every time I invite someone over? Absolutely not! It does mean that I need to keep inviting people over for fellowship as God puts on my heart regardless of the condition of my house. If I am prayerfully and genuinely offering up both my strengths and weaknesses for His glory and not my own, I fully trust that His grace will meet me in every single place that it is needed every single time. If my house needs to be spotless for a particular guest to be comfortable, I can trust that God will help me to find the time and motivation to accomplish the task. If my house needs to be left as is to make a guest feel more comfortable about their own house, I can trust that God will help me move past the feelings of insufficiency and trust that He will shine through my family and my home no matter what the condition.

What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Have you ever considered how they are often meant to compliment each other? It’s not a mistake. God created us to need Him. Have you offered your strengths AND your weaknesses up to Him? Ask Him to shine through every part of you. I promise you He will be faithful. He can’t help but be faithful. It is who He is.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

I Hear Voices

“You are unattractive and unlovable.”

“Your butt is too big.”

“You’re too tall.”

“You must have a gap between your thighs in order to be attractive.”

“You’re not skinny enough.”

“You’re not young enough.”

“No one wants to be your friend.”

“No one wants to have children with you because it will ruin your body forever.”

“No one wants to have children with you because you’d be a horrible mother.”

These are just a very small handful of the many, many voices I hear. Some are real voices that have spoken actual words to me. Some are my own voice interpreting what I believe people think of me based on how they treat me or respond to me. I bet you hear some voices too. Voices that spew ugly, terrible lies meant to destroy your self image and self worth. We all have them. I believe it’s one of the devils strongest tactics against us. Destroy our confidence and render us utterly useless. He skews our view of reality and what is really important.

For as long as I can remember, I have carried the belief that if I was not skinny enough, I was not worthy of being loved. It was spoken into my life at a very young age. This was for relationships with my family members, friends, and later into romantic relationships. I fully believed that no one could love me or even be my friend if I was not skinny enough. This obviously led to several time periods in my life where an eating disorder ran my mind and my life. During my mid to late 20’s I knew just how to starve myself enough at the right times so people wouldn’t be suspicious. It became a control game for me more than anything.

Being in a relationship now, where it is actually “safe” to have children and “safe” to risk my body being “ruined”, I’m sure you can imagine that those voices from the past haven’t just gone away.

Yesterday I found myself in a dressing room at a second hand store, face to face with my full body reflection. I came in because I am tired of wearing maternity pants and my old pants certainly don’t fit just yet. I tried to ignore my reflection at first as I slipped on the first few pairs of pants I had grabbed to try on. I grabbed a size I believed was “acceptable” for me to be at right now after having my second child. They would not go past my thighs. I hurriedly went back out and grabbed some pairs of the next size up. They would not zip or button up. Feeling utterly despaired and humiliated, I sat down in the dressing room in just my underwear. I needed a minute. How had I got here? What has happened? So many old voices from my past were screaming at me….”I told you it would ruin your body for good… No one will want you anymore….”

As heavy tears were threatening to escape my eyes, I stood up and turned back around to look in the mirror. I stared at it. I took it all in. I had just read a devotional that morning that was talking about how we can retrain and replace our thought patterns, those “voices” in our heads, with truth so that over time we will no longer think those things. It takes practice and it takes time. But you have to start somewhere and what better time than right now, face to face with my own worst enemy. I began to repeat truths that I know from scripture about being made in God’s image and being fearfully and wonderfully made. I took a picture to remind myself that this body is just a shell. It was created in love and continues to live on this earth because it has a purpose.

I’d like to say that I was fully transformed after that little moment, but I would be lying. I spent the rest of the day still battling between hating and loving my body, which means hating and loving myself. This battle makes me irritable and frustrated. It effects more than just myself. It effects my husband and my children. I have a daughter now and I do not want to be responsible for training her to think this way about herself. It breaks my heart to even consider the thought of her thinking that she is anything other than wonderful.

So I came home after church today and sought out some of those verses of truth to remember to speak into my mind when that battle rages. I am determined to retrain my brain to think on the truth. That is ,after all, what we are told to do! Philippians 4:8 “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Below I will list some of the other verses I found. I hope they will be helpful to some one else. I know I am not alone in this battle. So many friends I know battle with the same self destructive thought patterns. They may not all be exactly the same. They may be over other issues besides body image. But the root is the same. The TRUTH has and will always set us free, so let’s do our part and allow God to write the truth on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14

My prayer for any eyes that may fall upon this humble blog is that those voices in your head that tear you down; those words you hear that leave you feeling defeated, empty and broke down; that they would all be quieted. I pray those voices will be replaced with the truth. I am praying that you will understand that you are loved. You are a prized possession. You have a purpose. You are enough because you are exactly who God created you to be.

Reckless Love of God???

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

I’m sure many of you have heard and are familiar with the popular Christian worship song, Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. Beautiful song, it really is. But as I was driving to work yesterday, singing this song at the top of my lungs along to the radio, my heart stopped dead in its tracks. The reckless love of God? Wait a minute. Reckless. What does reckless mean? Does that really describe God’s love?

I began pondering the true implications of what a reckless sort of love would actually look like. When I look at my life, I realize I have seen far more examples of what reckless love is than I care to count or even share.

I decided to look up the meaning of the word reckless, in case I was missing something the writer was trying to convey.

Reckless: (of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.

When I think of reckless love, I think of all the unhealthy relationships I’ve had in my life. When I think of reckless love, I think of the empty feeling that it always leaves because the consequences of such recklessness are always pretty severe.

For me, the word reckless just carries far too many other implications that do not describe the love I have found in Jesus. Implications that make me fearful and untrusting.

No, I don’t believe the word reckless accurately describes the love of a perfect God. A God who created us because He wanted someone to reveal His love to. A God who knew we would fall and fail so He had the forethought to make a plan for salvation through Jesus. A God who knew exactly what the consequences of dying on a cross would be.

God cares about the consequences. God has a plan. He always has. There is nothing reckless about His character. He is the only name under heaven in which salvation is to be found. He is perfect.

His love intentionally destroys the things that would keep us from Him, and it enlarges and builds up the things that bring us near to Him and to His heart. His love is perfect.

So, I must beg to differ with the song writer in this circumstance. I will continue to sing this beautiful song as I do love the imagery of a God who stops at nothing to bring us back to Him, because that is the truth. He died and gave His life for us. However, I am simply going to replace the word “reckless” with “perfect” in my own singing and worship.

“I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, PERFECT love of God.”

Whatever and however you choose to sing and enjoy any song is completely between your heart and God. I just love when God prompts me to actually think about the things I may be “carelessly” singing or saying when I am worshipping Him. I want my words to accurately depict the truth I know in my heart. I don’t want my words to be meaningless when aimed towards the One who gave it all for me.

So my hope in sharing this is not that you will agree with me. This is my own personal journey, part of the vine dresser pruning my branches a bit and teaching me to stop and think. But I hope that you will consider the words you speak to and about Jesus. Make them intentional and full of the truth you know in your heart. As a reflection of our heart, words do matter.

A Pleasant Vineyard/Open our Eyes

Some of you may have noticed that my blog page is titled “A Pleasant Vineyard.” I suppose I have yet to explain the reason here on this platform. It comes from Isaiah 27. At that significant turning point in my life that I have referred to several times in past blogs, over 3 years ago now, I had moved in with my grandparents. My grandmother used to be a high school Bible teacher at Santiam Christian School for a number of years. That being said, it’s no surprise that her house is stocked full of Bibles of all translations and commentaries. On one of my first mornings in their home, I was tucked away in my room, crying out to God in my utter despair. I felt prompted to go grab a random Bible off of the shelf, open it up and see if by chance God was listening and might care enough to speak to me. It had been years since I had opened a Bible. I just happened to grab one that was The Message Version. I let it fall open to wherever it would fall. It opened to Isaiah 27. Before even reading the passage I noticed in the margin was written my name and a date several years prior. The date was the year I had graduated with a Wine Marketing degree and also the year I had married my ex-husband. Chills went down my spine… What in the world did this mean? What are the odds I would grab THAT Bible and open to THAT page that wasn’t even bookmarked or anything?… I went on to read the passage…

“At that time God will unsheathe his sword, his merciless, massive, mighty sword. He’ll punish the serpent Leviathan as it flees, the serpent Leviathan thrashing in flight. He’ll kill that old dragon that lives in the sea. 

‘At that same time, a fine vineyard will appear. There’s something to sing about! I, God, tend it. I keep it well watered. I keep careful watch over it so that no one can damage it. I’m not angry. I care. Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes, I’ll just pull them out and burn them up. 

Let that vine cling to me for safety, let it find a good and whole life with me, let it hold on for a good and whole life.'”  Isaiah 27:1-5

I came to understand that this had been my grandmothers prayer over me since that year. It just so happens that I got a giant tattoo on my side that same year of a grapevine with the date. That year I had spent much time working at a winery. It had become a refuge of sorts. As had my classes at the viticulture center. Grape vines were already deeply personal to me. Now here I was, a few years later, with a clear message from God himself speaking to me in “my language”. No coincidence.

God is a deeply personal God. He speaks to each of us at our level and through the things He knows we will relate to because He knows us intimately. He has continued to use the vine, grapes, and wine to speak to me since then in many different forms and formats. It’s like my own little love language with my Creator. During times when my heart is heavy or life gets hard, I am always drawn back to this passage because no matter how many times I read it, I know the words to be as fresh and true as that first day I read them at my grandparents house.

Where do you turn when your heart is heavy and life is hard? Has God revealed himself to you in your own personal way? If not, have you asked Him? Ask and you WILL receive! Listen. He knows where you are. He sees you fully. He loves you deeply and He longs to make Himself known to you.

I am leaving town tomorrow for a personal retreat of sorts. My heart was recently hurt and broken in an all too familiar way. I was face to face with the same rejection that I’ve dealt with most of my life. God is truly the only one who knows and understands the depth of the hurt. In my sad desperation, I had once again turned to Isaiah 27. My Isaiah 27. Clinging to the promise that God cares and is watching over me always; protecting and keeping me safe. In the course of what I believe was a day or two at most, God had presented this opportunity to me for this retreat through a seemingly random e-mail. Within that short period of time, through a number of small but very significant details, including it being on this specific weekend, I knew without a doubt that God was inviting me to get away with Him. To get quiet. To get real. To listen.

So as I am preparing to take off tomorrow, I am praying and anticipating. I am expectant of what God will do. Not just today or this weekend. But every single day.  Whenever I have intentionally lived my life in expectation of Him, He has been faithful. So why should I settle for living any day un-expectantly? I have learned that when God is working there is no such thing as an insignificant detail. He uses it all to shape us and mold us.

Are you anticipating God’s work in you and in your life? Are you seeking Him and asking? He IS speaking today, are you listening?

Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, we want to see you!

 

Mini Muffins

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” Luke 6:46

Every year our church puts on an Easter reception for Resurrection Sunday, as they call it. There are a handful of these events or “productions”, if you will, that our church puts on every year. These events are purposely held at times when we would typically expect a higher attendance due to a holiday, time of year or because of specific advertising for said event.

A few weeks ago, I signed up to help out with this reception by contributing some baked goods, specifically muffins. I figured, it’s easy, affordable and the least I can do in my pregnant condition to help meet a need.

I received a call last night from another member of our church reminding me of my sign up and asking specifically that I make “mini” muffins of a certain variety….Ummm…ok…. I don’t own a mini muffin pan! Do most people? What’s wrong with regular size? Why are volunteers now being asked to do something so specific and rigid sounding? What happened to the days of relaxed church potlucks where everyone brought what they had and came as they were?…. My mind went on and on with these questions. I was so bothered by this simple request. Thankfully, my mom has a mini muffin pan so I do not have to go buy one in order to contribute.

I continued to ponder why in the world am I so bothered by this mini muffin thing. It really isn’t a big deal. Is it my pregnant hormones getting the best of me again? Maybe a little. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was deeper than the mini muffins. It’s something that has bothered me for a long time now. It’s not just with our church, but with the whole “modern” church mind set. I personally only have our church to go off of for examples because it is where we have faithfully been attending for a few years now, but here is the problem I see: We are so focused on the production, making sure everything looks and sounds just right, making sure everything matches and flows together, making an appeal to people’s senses with things like low lights, feel good sermons and mini muffins. We are busy distracting people from the real, hard truth that they desperately need. We invite them in, fill them up with fluff and good feelings, and send them on their way still ill equipped to face the daily battles against sin.

Last fall, my father came to visit our church. He is not someone I would refer to as a “man of God”. He did grow up in the church. He no longer attends but he does know his Bible well and still reads it regularly. He’ll even quote scripture to you, if you please, but he does not lead the “Christian” life. After attending our church service, his response was, ” So where do you have to go to get fed the real ‘meat’ from the Bible?”

Ouch. This has bothered me for months that my father, being the man that he is, was fully aware of the condition of our churches: living on milk. Like infants. Appealing to the senses. Dealing genuinely, but mostly, with surface level stuff.

I know our church is not alone in this front. I know it is a nationwide epidemic. Just google the words “church marketing” and it’s enough to make your stomach churn if you know anything real about Jesus.

We live in a dying and broken world that is only going to get worse before it gets better at Jesus’ returning. We who know Jesus and have His spirit have the industrial strength medicine of the gospel truth that can save dying souls from the depths of hell. Yet, we are content to put on a feel good show, drawing people in so we can report a good attendance, and then letting them leave without the full strength remedy they need: Yes, God loves you as you are, even while you are yet a sinner BUT He loves you too much to allow you to continue on down that path of destruction. There is more than just the receiving of God’s love and grace. There is the part where we fall in love with our amazing Heavenly Father and surrender our whole self to HIS will. Only then, in true surrender, can His spirit come into us and change us completely. Only His spirit can help us win the every day battle against the enemy of “self”.

I could go on and on. Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one frustrated and even broken hearted at the sad state of our churches?

No, I am in no way saying that all is bad or that wonderful things are not being done in the name of Jesus. But I believe we are watering down the truth we know in our hearts because we want to be more appealing. We want to look good. We want to be liked. And since we have a church full of hundreds of people agreeing with us each week, we think we must be doing ok…. but what does Jesus think? What would He say if He were here? Oh wait, He is here with us! What is He saying? Are we listening? Are we obeying?

I know I am as guilty as the next person of wanting to be liked and accepted and not criticized for my fanatical beliefs. I am guilty of watering down the truth to my friends that aren’t believers because I don’t want to risk pushing them away from me. But the truth is, I may be pushing them away from Jesus. I am risking their souls and making my self more important. Are we making the appeal of our churches more important than the real, hard truth of the gospel? Are we measuring our “success” on the numbers rather than on the genuine, deep work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those around us?

Feedback is welcome. Let’s talk about it. What are your thoughts?

P.s. I will be making these mini muffins with a joyful heart and praying over our church reception all the while. These things in and of themselves are not bad things or even bad ideas. They can all be useful in bringing souls to Jesus. I am just questioning our true motives in all the pomp and circumstance we seem to come up with at times.

Quick Thoughts on Parenting

I just read something in one of my little devotional a this morning that completely blew my mind and it made me feel compelled to share it. How many times have most all of us said things to the tune of ” I will never do (insert any number of lofty ideals) when I am a parent…”

Often those deeper rooted “vows” we make are in blatant rebellion from how we were raised by our parents and we are so determined to not make the same mistakes. Enter this little excerpt from my devotional titled Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God by Mary E. Demuth…

“When motherhood is marked more by a reaction to the past than by a heart for my children, I am falling short of God’s design for motherhood. Reactionary living is a life lived in fear. If I parent by worrying whether or not I am damaging my children the way I was damaged, I will constantly be introspective. That introspection ends up sounding like You’re turning into your parents. You’ll never measure up. Your children will wind up in counseling.

Instead of the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit prompting us to love and cheering us even after we fail, we will constantly be living under the fear of failure. We will be ruled by our past.”

Whoa. Ouch. Guilty.

She then goes on to encourage us to be proactive in raising our children instead of reactive. One way to start is by reading and praying through Psalm 116. Here is just a few verses, but I encourage you to read it all and pray it aloud.

Another song came to mind when she mentions that reactionary living is a life lived in fear. Below are the lyrics and also a link to the music video. This song has been in my heart for weeks and today putting a name to one more fear and being able to call it out will help me to be intentional in my fight against that fear.

Fear is a Liar

When he told you you’re not good enough

When he told you you’re not right

When he told you you’re not strong enough

To put up a good fight

When he told you you’re not worthy

When he told you you’re not loved

When he told you you’re not beautiful

That you’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar

He will take your breath

Stop you in your steps

Fear he is a liar

He will rob your rest

Steal your happiness

Cast your fear in the fire

‘Cause fear he is a liar

When he told you were troubled

You’ll forever be alone

When he told you you should run away

You’ll never find a home

When he told you you were dirty

And you should be ashamed

When he told you you could be the one

That grace could never change

https://youtu.be/1srs1YoTVzs

Raw Journal Entry/Remind Me Who I Am

“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

Well folks, this is as raw as it gets. The following is my journal entry from this morning. I share not out of a need to be heard but simply because I know so many others who have so often struggled with the same mental barriers. I want to do my part to remind us all that God and His word is the only truth. Take it in every single day, even on the days when it feels mundane or seems unfruitful. You will need it built up inside you so you can draw from it on the day you are faced with those darknesses we are all inclined to every now and then.

“I sit on the edge of my bed. Lost in my own head. Swimming in emotions too deep for me to understand. Darkness. I feel like the 20 year old version of me, sad, depressed, confused and lonely. I feel like the insecure teenage girl desperate for someone to notice my existence. I feel like the little girl friendless, shy, afraid, and unsettled about life and where I belong. I feel trapped in these moments. They are brought on by current, yet very familiar situations. Suddenly, I am able to pull myself out of my head for a moment long enough to really examine myself. Examine reality. I am none of those things. I am 33 years old. I am pregnant with my 2nd child. I have a beautiful son. I am married to the perfect man to compliment who God intends for me to be. I am so blessed. I am so loved. I am needed. I am worthy. I am gifted. I am called. None of this by anything I have earned or deserve, but simply because God loves me that much. With God I am never alone, never forgotten, never left out. He sees me. He hears me. I have eternal security with Jesus that goes far beyond anything on this earth. I belong to my Savior and my place is by His side. I will have no fear because my God, my Father is near. I have all the proof I need in God’s word, the only truth I should ever allow to rule in my mind. I have more than enough proof in my personal life journey that God will stop at nothing to save me from all darkness. He is my light. He has never let me down or left my side. When I have been left out, looked over, forgotten, disappointed, He has always been my faithful friend.”

Sometimes our biggest enemy is our own mind. The darkness we allow to consume our thoughts and emotions. It is so crucial to daily, constantly fill ourselves with God’s word. They are words of life and truth and love. Without these words hidden in our hearts day after day, we render ourselves defenseless against any enemy. I’ve been there, defenseless, with nothing to draw from inside myself. It’s a scary place to be. Death looms nearby at those moments. I urge you, any of you taking the time to read this, if you have ever experienced those dark places and never want to be left defenseless, read God’s word every day. Build up your mental, spiritual, and emotional strength by taking in these words of life. You will not ever regret a moment spent with God in His word. Let it soften your hard places. Let it wash clean your opinions and perspectives. Let it give you the true vision of your life and what it’s meant to be. Let it remind you of who you are. We have a God who is personal and meets us each individually, exactly where we are, at the level we are at.

Praying for you all today to take time to quiet your heart and mind before the God who sees. Also praying all the more for you all because it takes my narrow focus off of myself and my struggle. It makes me consider the bigger picture: All of God’s people connecting to one another, as one body, through prayer, love and encouragement. Grace, peace, and love to any set of eyes that may fall upon this post. Remember who you truly are today: loved, precious, wanted, sought after, accepted, known, understood, important, and living for a purpose.

For those whose hearts are spoken to through song, here is a song you can pray today:

https://youtu.be/QSIVjjY8Ou8

Practice Makes Humble

In this quiet rest time of my life, God has awakened my desire to write. I still have no idea what that really will mean or amount to. The majority of my writing is kept to myself. I started my blog as an avenue to test the waters of sharing some things publicly. God has put it on my heart that a large part of “practicing” writing is also to read other people’s writing. Not only am I learning about different styles of writing and re-learning proper writing techniques, I am also learning about God’s amazing power at work in so many lives, past and present and how powerful it is when God calls people to share their stories. It goes beyond proper technique and style when God is on the midst.

My current line up of reading and studying includes several in-depth Bible studies written in different styles and with different purposes. I am also reading through a few different devotional style books with little snippets of people’s stories intermixed with Biblical truths revealed. I am slowly reading a parenting book that is radically transforming how I view our role, not just as parents, but as people called to be examples and “ambassadors” for Christ to all people.

Just within the last week God specifically placed on my heart to seek out more in depth, personal stories of lives being reconciled to Him. So here I have started my collection of memoirs written by people who have come to know God’s grace as a very personal and tangible part of their lives and have written out their stories to share with the world. I have a suspicion that God may lead me to share my own life story and testimony in a similar fashion some day. I don’t know when and I don’t know how. It may be years or it may be months. The timing is not up to me. Right now I am striving to be obedient in this resting, learning and practicing phase.

It humbles me beyond words to see and read these miraculous stories from the Bible and from people who have allowed the Bible to change their lives. Our God is so big! He absolutely does care about every intimate detail of each and every one of our lives. I am humbled by how much grace is needed daily for myself alone. But I am even more inspired when I can see in the lives of others that the more grace they have used in their life, the more grace they have been able to show and give to others. So I thank God that I need His grace every single day and I pray that the amount I am taking in will be multiplied on it’s way out to reach others.

Grace to all of you on this day! May it reach into your deepest parts and fill you to overflow into the lives of those you encounter on this day and every day.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑