Thursday, August 30, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Yesterday afternoon I was thinking about all that I have to do before our Disney vacation. I made a list and called Disney to make sure I had everything taken care of. She laughed and said “ma’am you made all these arrangements back in March, come down here and enjoy your vacation”. I laughed and as I got off the phone I thought to myself how I daily make “to do” list and when I don’t complete it I end up frustrated and have an even longer list for the following day. I realized that we set ourselves up for unrealistic expectations. We have our own agendas in place every day rather than listening to the heart of our Creator. He holds each day in His hands and He doesn’t need our help shaping our days. God wants nothing more than for us to walk in victory and yet our perspective of victory is often living in bliss. Victory is overcoming something, defeating something and walking away often tired, beat down and almost to the point of giving up. God shines in those moments because His power is made known in our weakest moments. When we have NOTHING else to give He gives us exactly what we need to walk away victoriously. I am reminded of a Psalm this morning .
Lord, I call to You; my rock, do not be deaf to me. If You remain silent to me, I will be like those going down to the pit. Listen to the sound of my pleading when I cry to You for help, when I LIFT MY HANDS towards Your holy sanctuary.
We have all found ourselves at some point just like David asking God to do something in what seems like a desperate situation. My favorite part about this Psalm is the beautiful picture of total surrender. “WHEN I LIFT MY HANDS”…. What a beautiful picture of saying God I can no longer do this on my own. When soldiers surrender they take their hands off of their weapons and walk with hands held high saying we surrender. In our lives we have our hands in everything trying to accomplish daily task, to trying to please God or trying to overcome something. We can do so many things and still miss God’s voice. We can find comfort through food, shopping, addictions or our busy schedules and still miss God’s voice. We can’t see God’s hand at work in our lives if we are busy using our own. To do list aren’t wrong in fact I love to make list. I have chore list, what I need to pack list, school supply list and a work list, oh and a church list. I mean I love to write list. The funny part is that those list daily go unfinished and what I am learning is that in the midst of all the “to do’s “ God just wants my heart fully positioned with my hands held high walking in surrender as He shapes my dreams, molds my future and relentlessly pursues my heart without any expectations. He simply wants ME.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I often wonder how hard it would be to train for the Olympics. I am sure they eat, sleep and breathe whatever sports their participating in. I recently set a goal for myself to be in a size 16 dress for my friend’s wedding. I was in a size 24 when I set this goal and I often would laugh because I really didn't think I would walk down the aisle in that dress. Brittany is one of my very best friends and I never wanted to disappoint her and tell her I couldn't be in her wedding simply because of a dress. She came into my life when she was only 13 and God allowed our relationship as youth leader/mentor to deepen into what is a genuine friendship just 10 years later. Both Brittany and her husband are on staff at Revolution and they are incredible. She chose me to be her matron of honor and I wanted this day to be all about her and not my insecurities. After breaking my ankle I was terrified to step on the scales and yet I had not gained a single pound back. As the date grew closer I turned up the heat. I began doing Jillian Michaels level two (WITH REAL BOY PUSH-UPS) with my sweet friends and I watched every calorie. About a month before the wedding I tried the dress on and IT FIT!!!!! This victory would have made anyone be so excited and don't get me wrong I was ecstatic to say the least. The day of the wedding my anxiety was out of the roof. I knew I had to walk in front of at least 200 people in a dress. I remember going into the restroom and getting down and saying God please fill me with confidence to get through this wedding. Everyone was congratulating me on the weight loss and telling me how incredible the dress looked, but if you have ever struggled with body image or food addiction those compliments mean the world but when you are insecure the demons usually speak louder. I had to literally quote scripture in my head all day long. From 5:30am up until I pulled into my drive way at 10óclock that evening. Then Monday rolled around and suddenly there was no goal in front of me, nor any desire to work out. I felt physically exhausted from the emotional marathon I ran in my head just 2 days before. I fell flat on my face and nothing was going to stop me….I ate ALL day. Satan began telling me "I knew you didn't really find freedom" over and over I heard this until this morning I said ENOUGH not audibly but I screamed loudly in my head. I began this day in the presence of my Creator and not ONCE have I struggled today. I feel renewed and I feel confident in the power of my Creator. I don't fight He fights for me. God whispered so gently into my heart and said "Holly, (ahh He said my name) take one step at a time, not one day but step" I realized that grace is something that is poured out when I simply look to Him. I am excited that I have lost 60 pounds. Today if you are stuck, numb, or even angry know that satan isn’t fighting you he is fighting your Father! The very ONE who spoke the world into existence. Your struggle brings out just how powerful He is and you can walk in FREEDOM!! Be encouraged today and SHINE-
Joshua 23:10 Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
A few days ago I went to see the dark knight rises for the second time. I had a free movie ticket and we were killing time so we decided to go see it again. This time I knew where things were going and who was who and all the surprises were behind me, so I looked intently into the detail of the scenes. I noticed so much more this time around such as the seemingly obvious things that I somehow missed the first time around. This week I was in Luke 10 and I re-read the “good Samaritan” parable and this time around I paid closer attention to details. This time I focused on the people who passed by him.
Luke 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
I realized that we pass by people almost every single day in some capacity. The people who hurt us the most, we declare some type of revenge even if it’s as simple as the silent treatment or maybe even a no text back policy. There are also those people who rub you the wrong way. They say the obvious things or the wrong things at the wrong times, and they often point out your flaws publicly. So in return we shun them in public, make them feel dumb by not laughing at their jokes, nor do we invite them into our inner circles. We truly miss the picture of the “good Samaritan” when we fail to see the people who CHOSE to pass by and even cross the street to avoid the situation. A priest was the first mentioned and as Christ followers we have a picture in our heads of the only way of serving is to somehow go to that sweet little kid living in a third world country whose hungry for both food and affection. This is beyond true and I am so thankful for the missionaries who pour out every day of their lives as full time missionaries. But If I am going to be real with myself I also know that there are people who I have in my life that I want nothing to do with, I don’t want to be their friend and yet I know they are desperate for friendship. How can I say that I am the “good Samaritan” when I pass by daily? Think about when we order food and the waitress fails to smile and we are so quick to complain. What if she was beaten before she got there and she has no smile left to give? If I knew that would I still pass by? What about that co-worker or family member that literally drives you bonkers. What if she or he feels so rejected by others and even contemplates suicide because the depression seems too much and they need someone to invest in them. Knowing this would I still pass by? No matter how much I focus on the men who passed by my heart takes me back to the man who got messy for the sake of saving that poor man who was beaten and yet he CHOSE to touch him both physically and emotionally. Jesus did the very same thing for me. When I was at my lowest place feeling dirty and so out of His reach, Jesus saw me and without blinking got in the midst of all the dirt, the pain and the gross areas of my heart and began to pour His love and grace over me and because of that I began to heal. I want to see past the friendships, past the family members and those around me that I choose to see and really SEE people just like Jesus. I want to see messes as a way to give hope. I want to hear crazy stories in order to connect with someone and show them the Creator who is madly in love with them. I want to experience a level of serving like never before. I must keep my eyes open for the people right in front of me and allow God to show me what it truly means to be just like Him.
Who needs you right now?
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Over the last few weeks our couple’s life group has been studying the book of James and in the past I have always pulled out the importance of guarding my tongue or how to treat those around me. As we read through chapter 5 I couldn’t get pass these 2 verses.
James 5: 7/8 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
As I read this over and over my heart seem to press down on the “early and late rains” that would come and it hit me, what about the time period in the middle when nothing seems to be coming? I have been in seasons of my life when I literally thought God had forgotten I even existed and l truly had given up on ever hearing His voice or chasing my dreams. I would read my bible, pray, and seek His guidance and still nothing seem to be happen and then out of nowhere God would pour out His direction or bring some type of healing. It was always just what I needed in that moment. I thought about the farmer and how he had to sweat and plow and work for hours when he knew that nothing was going to happen that evening or even the following day. We want instant results and yet God has called us to wait patiently. Last week I was in one of those I want to clean out all the closets and wash all my clothes/blankets moods. I literally gathered up 8 loads of stuff from blankets, to towels to sheets and all our dirty clothes and decided to take them to the laundry mat. I think I was more excited about sitting and just waiting in the quietness of my car. I had just come off an incredible week and my heart was so full and the thought of getting uninterrupted time with my Creator made my heart skip a beat. It didn’t go down quite like I had planned. As I loaded all of the clothes and added laundry detergent and adjusted the settings my back had sweat running down. I couldn’t just put them all in a row NOOOOO I had a few here, one there and a few on another row and I would forget where I was and have to open like 10. I was so flustered that I decided to not sit in the coolness of my air conditioned car but instead I would enjoy the BRAND NEW dollar tree store that had just opened up down the road. I went in and killed literally 45 minutes doing nothing. I went back to the laundry mat and as I began to change over my clothes from the washers to the dryers I was so disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of that time in between the loads and then it hit me. God knows my hearts desires and my struggles. He placed within me a passion, He hears the depths of my cries when I am in a season of dryness, He knows my finances, He knows my desire to overcome food addiction and yet instead of handing over all of those at one time I hand Him one at a time thinking it’s too much for him to handle. I stood there looking at these massive washing machines and all at once I was able to clean all I had brought. I was able to accomplish 8 loads of laundry AT ONE TIME! The farmer doesn’t choose a crop to nurture and hope that when the rain comes only that particular fruit or vegetable will grow instead he gives all he has to every single crop in his fields. In our minds it’s a never ending cycle of not getting what we want and waiting while we hurt in a season and we desperately need a touch from our Creator. Waiting patiently means you trust Him no matter what as you diligently prepare your fields. If you are dreaming of doing something then you pray and use your gifts where you are and allow the bloom to happen in His timing. If you desperately need His touch of healing in your marriage, finances, past scars or even lost and broken dreams you have to keep pushing through because the rains are coming and you don't want your fields to be unprepared. When dryness happens it’s an opportunity to press into the heart with such intensity that His love being poured over you is the very thing that sustains you. In 1 Peter 5:7 it says… casting ALL your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. I love that it says ALL your cares. God wants all your “laundry” at one time. This includes your struggles, your dreams, your fears and all the other areas of your heart that keeps you from waiting with expectancy and patience. God wants to do amazing things in you and through you! Its time to let go and allow Him to do some cleaning out and preparing of your heart for the rains to flood you like never before!