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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Zit cream and regret

I was once asked this question “what do you regret most in life?” I answered quickly and said “ my relationship with my father”.  As I think about that question a little deeper I realize that it was so much more than just my relationship with my father I regretted.  As a kid I couldn’t truly verbalize just how angry I was at him and so that led to years of pain frustration and vulnerabilities that led me into sin.  I would dress and do whatever I could to gain the looks of boys, I would hide food and binge simply because I felt pain and I would do and say what I needed in order to gain friendships.  You see the anger I had for my father gave root to lots of different sins in my life which led to many regrets along the way.  

James 1: 22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

As women we are control freaks. We want our marriages to be happily ever after, our friendships to always be in BFF mode. We want our houses to be spotless with beautiful decorations hanging without a bit of dust on them and perfectly behaved kids sitting by the fire-place reading their lengthy chapter books with smiles on their faces.  For some of you this may be your lives and I say to you WOW!! But for most women we struggle to keep the dish piles out of the sink, clean underwear on our kids and dust off the ceiling fans ha (well I just keep my going and I know no one will notice).  What I realized is that all throughout my life I have done things in order to gain some type of control just to keep the anger and hurt from surfacing. Food was a way out for me. Boys were a way out for me and so on. When I read verse 25 I see one word and that word is FREEDOM.  I desperately want to walk in freedom from guilt of measuring up as a perfect wife, mother and friend. I will always fail and yet God’s perfect grace is what causes me to walk in any type of confidence what so ever.  The first part of that verse says but whoever looks INTENTLY into the perfect law. When we look into the mirror and a zit, or a cold sore or a nappy hair day awaits us our whole perspective of how we view ourselves changes and we usually make some type of change whether its zit cream, toothpaste for a cold sore or our hair goes into a pony tail or we wash it and start all over. The same is when we look INTENTLY into God’s word it always reflects the parts of our hearts that keeping us from gaining freedom. When a wife who constantly is nagging at her husband because of their fear and lack of control looks INTENTLY into God’s word about respect and honoring her husband this pushes her to implement change.   You see God’s word isn’t meant to bring guilt shame or regret in our lives it is meant to bring redemption and forgiveness to us so we can walk in His perfect love and FREEDOM. So what do I regret most… I don’t think I can honestly say just my relationship with my father any longer.  He passed away 17 years ago and before he was killed I was able to share my heart with him and to tell him I forgave him and when He died he knew I loved him.  You see God’s word tells me I don’t have to walk in regret because he keeps NO records of my sins. Today as satan reminds you of ALL the wrong things you have said or done in your past remember you are a NEW creation and the Creator of the universe loves you with an intense love.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I'm not a risk taker by nature -

When I was a kid I wanted to be able to do all that the boys did in my neighborhood. I wanted bikes like them so I could jump ramps like them. I wanted to climb trees like them and set things on fire like them. I ran with the guys and held my on mainly because I was madly in love with all of them so if it meant eating ants I would do it to gain their affections.  One particular time my next door neighbor and I and my little sister decided we were going to try to out smart them by doing our own experiment. It ended with us throwing coke on a fire that could have quickly burned the entire woods down. Luckily we only left a small area scorched.  

My whole life fear has been something that has kept me from ever fully seeing my God size potential and because of that fear I have missed out on countless opportunities. I only saw the possible outcomes instead of God alone. I am not a risk taker really but over the years I have learned that taking risk isn't choosing to be brave it's surrendering to a God who equips and births a passion in you to GO, SAY and DO whatever it is He calls you to without hesitation. I am a dream chaser because I have seen the dream giver blow my mind. There are days where I don't want to speak to the lady in line because she looks stressed out with kids all over the place and frankly I am in a hurry but what I am learning is that the risk isn't in me taking a chance on a conversation that may lead her into a season of rest it is however me choosing to surrender all of ME including my disobedience which will open the flood gates of opportunities for her to simply see God in me. 

The other night I stood in awe & wonder at how incredibly big my God is. I got to attend a Bethel worship experience and as I watched all over the room some held one hand high singing with all they had and yet in the other hand they held their phone recording the moment. I know they were wanting to capture the moment and I'm not saying it was wrong but God spoke so clearly to me.  He said this is not how I want others to perceive Me one hand stretched out towards the heavens and the other clenched to only an idea of who I am but never fully experiencing Me.  My selfish desires cannot co exist in a place and posture of surrender. My hand held stretched to the sky cannot also reach for comfort.  When I was that little girl growing up in a predominantly boy neighborhood taking risk meant getting to be noticed and yet today my risk and my surrender can only be for my God to be noticed. It's not about me and it never can be no matter how bad I may want it to be.  When the source of all I do is about God then my dreams reflect that my marriage reflects that, the way I serve reflects that and on and on.  Our purpose is to bring glory to our Creator and my dreams become an avenue for others seeing Him in BIG ways. I do dream BIG and I'm not afraid to do things or say things (I wouldn't jump ramps or eat ants anymore) because I know that God opens doors for us but we have to choose to turn the handle and walk through that door.  Today let this resonate in you by asking yourself, what is it in me that looks nothing like you God and with my hands empty or my hands full, either sinking in circumstances or overcoming struggles are you my source of hope and if not will You reignite a love and passion for YOU ALONE! 

Galatians 5:24
 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

butter popcorn & I have a love hate relationship

I love going to the movies and I love the butter popcorn at the movies even more. It always makes me sick and yet I always get it. I have been eating mostly clean now for about a year and I am so thankful I made the switch.  Sometimes it's hard to say no and sometimes it's really easy to turn down foods that have literally no reason to be in anybody's body. Movie popcorn is one I have a really hard time turning down. The butter dripping from your finger tips to the saltiness of each bite I mean oh my goodness. You can't just pop one kernel its a cramming your whole mouth full type of thing. As soon as I leave and the rumbling in my stomach starts I promise to never eat it again and also regret ever spending my life savings on movie theatre refreshments & this past Monday was no different.  I went to see Taken 3 and because of the high impact of suspense I just needed something to calm my nerves (yea right). I smelled the popcorn as soon as I walked in seducing me with the smell of fresh butter and I couldn't walk by I just had to have it. I enjoyed every bite and when I got home I once again repented and said I would never eat it again.  This morning I thought about the viscous cycle of bad habits and also sin in our lives. The moments where you know what you are doing is wrong but the pull to keep doing it trumps the choice to say no. Paul was on to something when he said in Romans 7

"15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me."

What a paragraph of conflict. We read this and we can relate on so many levels. We don't wake up and choose to be enslaved to a certain sin or a habit. It's daily choices and our thought life that leads us into bondage. We become so entangled that breaking free seems harder than just existing within our bad choices. I have met girls who have given themselves away so many times and yet they don't want to continue living in promiscuity but the desire to be wanted trumps the desire to embrace their true worth. Ladies who shop excessively to keep up with others often hate being in bondage to the approval of others but that feeling of not measuring up trumps the choice to just be themselves without any regrets. I get it and Paul knew we would need to see this passage and more than that God created us with a desire to be filled. He wants us to desire Him and for His love to permeate and penetrate the darkest places in our hearts and yet also fill the gap when what Lysa TerKeurst calls the "disease to please" hits.  We are loved beyond what we can wrap our minds around and that is why we also struggle with wrapping our hearts fully around the love and grace from our Creator. We are tangible beings at times and that outfit, piece of food or a relationship gives a temporary a fix to a much deeper problem. That deficient grows and sin sets in because suddenly God isn't enough and we desire more.  And just like the butter popcorn on my stomach we become sick and walk in defeat. Today you need to hear that Gods love and grace reaches over and over into the dark places and suddenly we are free and we begin to shine for Him. Envision yourself standing before Him this morning with His hands holding your sweet face. He forgives you. He wants you to experience freedom from your sin. He has a plan for your life and He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Ladies there will never be anything outside of His presence that will satisfy you. I may once again find myself elbow deep in butter popcorn and yet I pray for the will power to say no haha but in this moment it was the butter popcorn that reminds me that Gods grace never runs out & that surrendering is not a sign of weakness. Let His redeeming love shine on the dark places because you have a lot of SHINE left! Be encouraged!