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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's NOT take a trip down memory lane

This past Monday Richard and I took Rebekah to visit two colleges in Charleston SC. The scenery alone would make anyone want to go there. The people are friendly, the food is good and the beaches are beautiful. Rebekah was already sold before we even finished the campus tour at College of Charleston. She has such a magnetic personality and she craves community and that is what she saw all around her.  While we were there Richard wanted to hit some good food places and so shrimp and grits were a priority along with a good crab cake. We ate in this cute little place called the Hominy Grill before we left.  The service was incredible and the strawberry jam was to die for.  I am a clean eater most all the time but I decided to step out and eat the special of the day. It was a pork belly sandwich with a fried egg and some magical sauce poured all over it in between two huge pieces of homemade bread.  I took the first bite and I think my knees got weak. It was so delicious and I just ooh'd and ahh'd over and over.  After the 2 or 3 bite I just took the bread off and begin enjoying it that much more because all the (extra carbs) fluff was getting in the way of the middle.

As I reflect on that yummy sandwich this morning I also looked at a particular verse in Isaiah just like a sandwich. Not that the outside is fluff but the meat is such a beautiful truth that should be written on our hearts and constantly reflected on.
Isaiah 43:18/19 "Remember not the former things not consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a NEW thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it." 

As women we tend to let our thoughts dictate our feelings and our feelings lead us into this perception of reality whether real or not to us we act as if it's real.  We keep our thoughts locked in on what should have, could have happened and then we get stuck there and we can't see past what is surrounding us.  I want us to look beyond our circumstances this morning and really begin to see what's going on. The beginning of this verse says:
"Remember NOT". which implies we often keep our minds on something that has past. It also says "nor consider the things old". To consider something or someone literally means to gaze on steadily...WOW!  I am so guilty of this. I will see a picture of myself and if I see only my weight it's over & I am suddenly stuck there in my thoughts. I feel defeated and I will stop at nothing to retake the picture or to delete if from ever being seen.  I have "un" tagged  myself from many of photos on social media.  I have also gazed upon a dream so long that any no's that came my way sent me into a deeper stare with what I thought was someone attacking my dream and never understood it was all my pride. It's where and who we lock our eyes with that sends our hearts and feet to follow. The next part of this verse got me and I have read it tons before this week. "I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Two things jumped out at me doing and springs.  The word doing simply implies an ongoing process. Which means I may get stuck staring at pride or envy or my weight or the lack of discipline in an area but Gods radiance and glory will draw me back in and set my heart in the direction of redemption and His holiness. The sunsets on the beach this past Monday literally took my breath away. I said how can anyone not see God in this. But I often have missed the beauty of Gods glory because of where my eyes were. This verse encourages me to know that God doesn't want me to stay where I am. He is doing something NEW daily in me and around me to pull me into a deeper intimacy with Him. The word springs means "rises up out of".  As I looked at this verse and understood that this NEW thing that is rising up has to rise up out of something right? So I began to look within my life and the areas that still lead me into defeat and other areas that I have found victory in and why. For years I wouldn't put on a bathing suit, for years I would binge until I was sick. I took diet pills, I purged, I hated looking in the mirror and I hated my body more than anything. What a place of darkness. It would be easy to remember and look back to those defeating days that often left me with such anger & pain within my heart. BUT out of ashes rises beauty. I look in the mirror now and see myself as yes overweight but it no longer drives my emotions because Gods word says I am beautiful. I have not binged in years because I realized that stuffing oreos in my mouth didn't fix my issues. I have found my completion and my worth in my Creator alone. My dream no longer drives my existence because I chose to just follow God and leave the results to Him.  You see sin and places of defeat in our lives will keep us in this place of memory lane until we choose to remember NO more.  You can't undo an image but you can replace the words that follow in your head with the truth of Gods word.  Today be encouraged to write continuous truth on your heart because that is the very tool of fighting the enemy. He will tempt you with old ways, he will remind you of who you once were, he will tell you that no one loves you, he will tell you that you are fat and so much more BUT the truth is that the enemy's loudest roar can't trump even  a whisper of our God.  You are beautiful. You are chosen. You are a world changer. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are set FREE. You are loved. You are His.  Fix your eyes on a God who makes ALL things NEW today and then believe it.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

do you really just want attention?

This past 
Friday night my oldest daughter won homecoming queen. She looked so beautiful and she was also very shocked that she had even won. She told me over and over not to get my hopes up because she wasn't going to win but let's be honest as a parent you hope deep down your kid wins.  After the football game we were bombarded with excitement through phone calls, text sweet words and hugs.  Several people said "weren't you the homecoming queen?"  I laughed and said no but that I had won Miss Huss back in the day.  Miss Huss was the school beauty pageant. I thought about the two and It hit me that she had won through the approval of her peers without performance and I had to compete to win.  What a sobering thought because I truly feel like I have performed my whole life just to win smiles, friendships and relationships so I could feel a sense of wholeness. I could barely keep up and that's why I believe food became my go to. It didn't talk back to me, hurt me from the surface, it gave me a immediate happiness and helped me to not work so hard to prove myself.  I was reminded this week about performances and how they mean absolutely nothing to my Creator. 

Psalm 51:16/17 (the msg) 
Going through the motions doesn't please You, a flawless performance is nothing to You.  I learned God worship when my pride was shattered. Heart shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape Gods notice. 

As I read this passage three things began to surface in me. The first is that a performance based relationship will keep you in a state of always seeking perfection and completion other than Gods presence alone. The second thing is that being desperate for God no matter what season you are in will always lead you into deeper "God worship" moments. The last thing is that living brokenness "heart shattered" lives is what moves the heart and hands of God. In fact it's what leads us to seeing His faithfulness over and over again.  If you aren't desperate for the voice of God start there. The word desperate is defined by Webster as this; done with all your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding.  My whole life I have been desperate to succeed but only in the eyes of others never fully seeing Gods overwhelming grace and affection for me.  This year is closing out and my word is peace and I have never felt such peace in my whole life. The applause of people are silencing and the heartbeat of Jesus is growing louder. I am choosing to follow the footsteps of my King and not the footsteps of my dreams.  I am choosing to dwell in the beauty of Gods presence and saturate myself with His word. To saturate means you fill something completely with something else. God fill my heart with ALL of You!  Ladies in His presence the fear of brokenness fades and the courage of waiting, being still or stepping out is what will sustain you. Happiness is an emotion that is evoked by false pretense and its held in the palm of circumstances, love, friendships and often our dreams and material things.  Joy however is rooted in our intimacy with God.  To be blessed simply means; connected with God. We tend to let our happiness stem from blessings that have nothing to do with being connected with God.  I have found out that the level of approval you think you need is never enough but the wisdom that comes from letting God fill your tank not only brings you a joy that you can't contain but a life filled in fullness. We have to be in Gods word there is no other way to learn, gain guidance and fully connect to His heart.  Writing Gods word on our hearts sets up and positions our lives for deeper intimacy, a deeper passion and a growth that leads to world change. 

Jeremiah 31:33 
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LordI will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

It's time you stand before God with all your brokenness pain and all and know that when you have positioned your  "heart shattered" life before the God of the universe He will see you and He will restore you.  Let the cry of your heart be this today..

God I want you and nothing more!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cardigans, pumpkins and the lingering shame within -

October 1, 2014

Fall has arrived and the smell of burning leaves have begun to fill the air, pumpkins are being carved and boots are being worn. There is such anticipation for the changing of seasons. We begin to prepare months before and sometimes prematurely leave the season we are in. It's in the 80s today and when I dropped my girls off so many girls were dressed as if it is 60.  The fall clothes hit the stores when summer hits so I know the excitement behind wearing those fall clothes. Cardigans are one of my favorite pieces of fall clothing. You can change the look of any outfit with a simple cardigan.  
      A few nights ago we decided to go get a few pumpkins to paint. We sat in the floor with every color of paint & every size paint brush.  We all had a theme for an image in mind of what we wanted to paint. I was simply going to write BOO on mine. It only took me about 7 or 8 tries.  After I finally got it kinda like I wanted it I noticed that the other paint was lingering and not coming off as clean as it was the first few times.  This morning I looked at our pumpkins and that annoying lingering paint is the very thing that is bringing it character. It actually looks better. I believe that as women and girls we try so hard to wash away our weaknesses, our pasts our defeating thoughts to the point that we either give in to them or just stop trying.  We forget that God has a bigger plan and takes the shame and guilt that the enemy throws at us and uses it for kingdom building and instruments of change.  He grows us and sets dreams in motion by linking our surrendered hearts to the power of His healing hands. The smears across my pumpkin reflect the smears that once lined my heart. Years of pain from losing my dad not once but twice. Once by divorce and the other by death played a huge part of how I was shaped. I look back now and see that the ministry I am called to of pouring into girls and women of all ages stemmed from who I once was. Paul spent the entire New Testament pointing people to Jesus and away from who He was. The struggle isn't the issue. It's when we stay in it, ignore it that we find ourselves paralyzed in fear and marked with shame.  God is calling you out of that place this morning. October 1 means NEW month, NEW day & a NEW season.  You don't have to be that person you were yesterday or even five minutes ago. God searches the darkest places of our hearts looks for the lingering effects of past shame and sin and the struggles that haunt us and transforms them into instruments of change, hope and redemption for not only ourselves but for those who look to you. Stop running from Gods truth and embrace it with your heart positioned for change. If your marriage is falling apart pray for your spouse & honor Him & husbands pursue Your wives and let God do a work in YOU first. If your finances are overwhelming you, give to God what He gave to you and leave the results and provision to Him. If you need direction then get into His word and seek Him from a place of actively listening so you can actively follow through with WHATEVER He calls you to do.  In Acts chapter 9 verse 1 says "Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lords disciples."  Just like Paul was in the middle of sin Jesus reached into His heart and transformed Him from the inside out and God used Him to connect and draw people in by not rubbing his nose into what he had done but instead what His redeeming power had did in Him was then made known. Today is your day of change. What do you need to do? It's time you follow through... 

Now tell me what's your favorite thing about Fall?