I am very much a visual learner. I believe that is why I made an A in geometry and bombed algebra. I could see shapes and figure out how to make things work and algebra was too many words on a page with formulas that made absolutely no since. This past Sunday my husband stood in the pool at the YMCA where our baptisms take place and he baptized his brother who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I sobbed like a baby through the entire thing. Michael surrendered his life to Jesus last week and wanted to immediately follow in baptism. As I stood there watching I closed my eyes and asked God to roll back the heavens so their mom could watch. I could see the heavens roll back and angels singing and Janice smiling with such joy. I imagined what she must have felt because in heaven there is no pain so she couldn't see her son diagnosed with cancer she saw her sons praising the God she gets to worship daily in Heaven. As I watched Michael come up out of the water I was reminded of what bold obedience and surrender looks like. The moment we talk ourselves out of obeying we have surrendered to fear instead of deepening our faith. All throughout scripture when Jesus called someone to follow Him it was always an immediate response. I can look back to times in my life where I chose not to obey immediately and then I would question the very sovereignty of God's plan. Every season filled with heartache, or numbness didn't come out of seasons of surrender but of my sin. Maybe it was pride that led me into thinking my dream was about me and so when things weren't happening I blamed God or pointed people to my insecurities. I made it about me. Maybe it was my unbelief. I chose to deliberately not believe the things my Creator said about me in scripture and again it was about me. Obedience is hard and gut wrenching bravery that takes every ounce of energy you possess but the results of that pure surrender is what deepens your intimacy with your Creator and takes your faith to a whole new level. This past week I was reading in In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and I stopped at verses 23/24..
"23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."
The word sanctify is defined as; making pure, set apart to a sacred purpose, to free from sin, to make productive of holiness. As God begins to purify our hearts and our minds the process isn't something that is easy. We experience droughts in seasons and we become numb and often disobedient. God calls us into living a life of fullness that is wrapped in His goodness and grace yet we stiff arm the very process of cleansing. My disobedience is sin and this verse reminds me that He is freeing me from sin THROUGH AND THROUGH. Which tells me that its ongoing process of making me more like Him and less and less of looking like the world. I want more of Jesus but with that comes the process of sanctification. The burning away of sin that hides in my thought life, to the disobedience that often follows my insecurities and fears of moving forward. My mother in law is in Heaven and here on earth she had bad lungs, a bad heart, two fingers missing and a spirit that was broken through years of circumstances that piled up and yet she now stands before a perfect God worshiping Him whole heartedly without a flaw. We strive for this perfection here on earth and yet we always end up either wanting more or feeling as if we will never measure up. In the last part of that verse it says "The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it". I will not always obey but I serve a God who is ALWAYS faithful. He will do whatever it takes to bring me back into an intimate fellowship with Him. I am thankful for His constant pursuit of my heart because it is the very thing that sustains me and allows me to feel true peace in my life. Even when circumstances are so out of control from my disobedience or someone else His faithfulness is what moves us into a deeper understanding of His sovereignty. Psalm 107 verse 35 "He turns a wilderness into a pool of water and a dry ground into water springs;" Let this sink in to your heart today because there is NO season of disobedience that can't be redeemed and transformed for God's glory. In His presence is where FREEDOM happens and healing begins! Be encouraged....
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
In the middle of the word rejection stands a word that can separate friendships, stir emotions of never measuring up and will also set isolation in motion. When I was in elementary school everyday after lunch our class along with 2 or 3 more would come out of the lunchroom in a straight line put our lunch boxes against the brick wall hear the instructions and then boom we would run to the equipment we wanted to claim. I remember one day in particular. I ran to the spaceship looking monkey bars and before I could even climb into it a few girls said to me " you can't play on our playground". I responded "this isn't your playground its the schools and with a whole lot of sass they said words that cut deeply. "Yes it is our playground our parents paid for it and your parents are even on the PTO". I didn't know what PTO was but I knew that my parents were not together and it was if they knew it and were pointing at me and laughing. I felt so rejected and because of that I no longer looked at the playground the same and I found myself walking the track with the grade above mine swooning over the boys. I am not saying that it was their words alone that made want to chase the boys but what if I would have played that day. Would I have snuck off into the woods to kiss the boys? I honestly don't know. In the middle of the word rejection stands the word EJECT. Webster defines it as; to throw out especially by physical force, authority or influence. For me I allowed their words to force me out and gain authority in my life. Here it is over 30 years later and that day seems as if it was yesterday. Rejection is something that starts within our minds and brings such toxic thoughts and we remove ourselves from our dreams, our marriages, our friendships and what is rightfully ours for the taking. That playground was just as much mine as theirs but I didn't believe it therefore I allowed that to keep me from experiencing all the fun it offered. Our marriages are meant to soar and mirror the very heart of God and because the way we view our spouses at times we allow rejection to set in and so we pull out grace, love, patience and our marriages suffer. I hear teen girls constantly saying that so and so doesn't like them or they wont talk to them. I know that feeling they are describing and in their minds and hearts they have removed themselves from even wanting to feel anything so they peg those girls as enemies and begin to put walls up. Its easier to put up walls then to tear them down because it hurts to release emotions that we have allowed to harden around our hearts. What about your dreams. The hidden fear of not being good enough is rooted in your fear of rejection and because of that you don't try. The enemy wants you to stay still, be without hope, be without passion, be without love, be without Jesus being enough and you need to see clearly all the areas that rejection dictates your next steps because victory will never seem to be in reach. Rejection is a form of manipulation and we either surrender to the lie or we grasp on to truth. Those girls did reject me but it was how I responded to their rejection that removed me from experiencing all the other fun. I could have easily punched them (I kinda wish I would have haha) or I could have ignored them and went to play on the slide, or swings or the other stuff. I could have told on them but instead I removed myself from the entire playground. Don't let words that taunt or feed thoughts of rejection become the truth you set your dreams and your heart to. John 8:31/32 says this; Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE." You see its what you do with God's truth that determines where your thoughts end up. Rejection is real and the enemy will use it to derail every area of our lives if we let him. However the beauty of God's truth is that it is the very thing that makes us free. To know who we are in Him without any outside influence or distraction. To abide means; to accept or bear, to stay or live somewhere to remain or continue. We have to stay hidden in God's word continually allowing it to penetrate our hearts so that we are able to see the enemies lies as well as embrace the Creators truths. If you go fishing in your thought life you will see that rejection is rooted in so many of your fears. God wants you to know and embrace that in Him is where FREEDOM exist. Get off the playground of rejection, pull back and see the bigger picture because there is so much more. Let these truths be what you cling to today. God will never ever reject me. God loves me no matter what. God's grace will never run dry. In Him is my acceptance and my ultimate completion and that is enough.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
There comes a time in someone's life where they begin to look at their circumstances through a different lens. They begin to see their husband, kids, dreams, goals etc through the eyes of either "only if" or "if I could just do over" or "why God" and often those very statements can take us to a place of giving up. I believe that God needs you to hear Him say DONT stop. Gods sovereignty should be the driving force behind any decision and our love for Him should be the driving force in our daily surrender. He is in complete control and there are times where you have done ALL the right "churchy" things and yet you feel absolutely nothing and abandoned. God wants you to know that He is still God. There are days you have positioned your heart to be moved and to be broken and yet nothing but pieces surrounding your life exist. God wants you to know that He is still God. There are days you can barely breathe and your circumstances have literally choked any ounce of passion and joy and there is no sight of what your next step is. God wants you to know that He is still God. Our hearts can take brutal beatings from broken relationships to perceived failures to broken dreams and yet Gods sovereignty reaches down lifts our faces up, strengthens our knees, holds our broken pieces and reminds us through His sunrises, encouragement, His word and often times in complete stillness that He is God. Today there are many who need healing, some need a financial miracle and others of you who are soaring and the beauty of it all is that God is God in ALL of it. You are loved. You are being heard and nothing you do or don't do will effect your love or response from Him. He needs you to lean in rest in His loving arms and NO matter the outcome trust Him fully because on the other side of
what seems like a never ending broken mess beauty awaits. I remember when my family went on a cruise last year and the days we were out at sea I was always so amazed at how nothing surrounded the boat except for a massive amount of water. We would never stop all day and yet the next morning we would be stopped and out from the deck you could see the most beautiful islands. What if I would have stayed in one spot the entire day just hoping to see land? I would have missed out on all the fun that was happening all over the boat on the way to the islands. Now I know that the season you are in may not have a lot of fun things happening but I do know that God has blessings waiting for you and He doesn't want you to focus on anything other than Him because in Him you will find exactly what you are in need of. I promise...