Masterpiece

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More than a decade ago my husband spoke this verse over me.  He was my boyfriend at the time and I’ll never forget that moment.  I was doubting my worth, my purpose.  I was so unsure of myself and if God could use me.  Timid, fearful.  I still struggle with some of those same identity issues.  However, when I struggle and I hear this verse I am able to go back to that suspended memory of my sweet man pointing my eyes up when all I wanted to do was look at my feet in discouragement.  Yesterday I looked up at the sky and saw a masterpiece.  Sun shining and the clouds were painted beautifully, I was reminded again of this verse.

Workmanship.  Poetry.  Masterpiece.

I’m not sure where you are in life.  Wondering what your purpose is?  Unsure if God is even doing anything in your life?  Maybe you are not sure you “deserve” for God to use you.

If it’s yes, me too.

Today I heard the song “Symphony” by Switch.  “Through all of this chaos, YOU are writing a symphony.”  A symphony.  God already knows the end of your masterpiece, He knows the notes, the details, the highs and lows.  He knows the notes that will be hit and the ones that will be missed.  Maybe, life with Christ is letting Him teach us the song He wrote for us or the masterpiece He is revealing one brush stroke at a time.  He is making us aware of the masterpiece we are in Him.  Maybe the masterpiece is us learning and growing and unlearning and regrowing.  The undoing of our old ways and allowing Him to make us new.

Being made into a masterpiece doesn’t always feel beautiful.  But I bet anyone who has laid paint to a canvas isn’t sure what the end product will look like, but at the end they step back and say, “Yes!  This is it!  I didn’t even know it would look this beautiful.”  Or someone sitting down to write a song, the words begin to flow, the lyrics fall together, and the rhythm makes you tap your feet.  It all comes together.

As we learn to walk in this truth that we are God’s masterpiece, a work He is proud of.  It’s ugly at first, we miss terribly.  Our dance moves are less than.  But all the sudden we start putting one step to the next.  Seeing connections, feeling His presence more and more.  Healing.  We begin to lean more into Him, trusting He is who He says He is.  We can trust this process of becoming.  Becoming His masterpiece.  It’s worth every step.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  And telling you too.  It is worth it.

 

Sometimes

Sometimes it’s hard to walk this faith thing out.

I was praying last night and telling God how frustrated I was.  I have been trying to memorize verses to have a more “positive” mindset, and it just felt like a lot of work, reading books, listening to podcasts, and feeling tired.

I realized I have so much head knowledge, and now I need it to connect to my heart.  Those broken places in my heart need God’s love and redemption too.

Then, in my human dust like state, I realized that I did not have the ability to change my heart.  I could think new things and do more Bible study, but if it wasn’t sinking in to the deepest part of me it was just work with no heart.

And work with no heart is not pretty.  It shows up as pride, self-righteousness, anger, frustration, and the list goes on.  It looks like having all the right answers, but no victory to back it up.

So I cried out to God, “I can’t change my heart!”  And He reminded me of a verse.

Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart…”

What?!?!?!

This y’all is what I have craved all along.

Then another Matthew 11:28, “COME to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”  It DOES NOT say “come to me when you have it all figured out and it looks pretty with a bow on it.”  It says come to me with it even when its messy and you are exhausted from trying to fight and make things right.  And I will give you rest.  Beautiful rest for your soul that is tired and weary.  Oh the promise.

Another verse, Philippians 2:3 “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Ephesians 2:9, “…not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I had been working, checking things off, but I was doing it in my own strength.  I’ve come to the end of myself, realizing that this battle for my heart belongs to Him.  And He will work this out for good.  He will do a mighty thing.  Because He loves me, and He loves you.

Maybe your saying, wow that sounds great, but how does this look.

Reaching out is essential.  We get lost thinking we are the only ones fighting when there are believers right beside us who are saying the same thing.  Pray and ask God for friends who you can trust and let them love on you.

Support and encouragement go hand and hand in this battle, even Jesus didn’t do life alone.  Having others around you allows God to use people to encourage you and for you to encourage them.

None of this is to be done alone.

We may be the one swinging the sword in our personal battles, but is there any army behind you-praying for you, encouraging you, and speaking verses to you when you’re lost.

No man is an island.  Reach out.

Calm

This past week my husband preached on the Armor of God out of Ephesians 6.

We were discussing the sermon and how to apply it in our small group. We got to the armor of “shoes readied with the gospel of peace.” We began discussing it and how we are supposed to apply this verse.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure.

Sometimes in this is the joy of discussing scripture, we get to put more pieces together that help it make sense, because we are talking it out loud, and the spirit is not only working in us, but the lives around us too.

I’ve struggled with anxiety; therefore, peace is a word in the Bible I’d run to in anxious times hoping it would come flying off the pages into my heart.

However, this night one of my fellow sisters said, “I’ve learned peace has nothing to do with calm.”

This rocked me to my core, to an untruth I’d believed for awhile. I looked at her and audibly spoke “yes.” Exactly. Clarity. Truth.

We spoke about what peace meant for our feet. I believe in this passage it’s meaning was to sturdy us. I suggested that maybe peace in the gospel is that the gospel has made us right in God’s eyes, giving us peace with ourselves. (Ephesians 2:14). Peace with the war that goes on within us. Like Paul talks about in Romans 7, he does what he doesn’t want to do then ends with but “thanks be to my Savior Jesus Christ.”

There is peace, and it’s not always the calm I once looked for. It’s peace with the fact that my God accepts me exactly as I am: wholly and freely His, because of my Savior Jesus Christ.

Love perfected

Paul prays it for us in Ephesians 3:19, “… to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…”.

John lays out in 1 John 4: 7-12, “Love is from God, God is love, Jesus-the epitome of God’s love in flesh, that God loved us, calls us to love others, and in all that His love is perfected in us.”

To know Gods love is to give it away.  Believing He will still fill us up at the end of a hard day, with hard people to love, and that He will do it again tomorrow.

I’ve been fearful.  Stingy with my love at times.  Afraid I didn’t have enough to give out.  But slowly I’m trusting, this perfecting, that God will refill me.   But that requires some practices on my part, like praying for others, so my heart softens and changes towards them.  Praying for patience with my littles.  Praying the Holy Spirit shows up for me, because I am not able to love in a way God has for me.  It is beyond me.

I love Ephesians 3: 19 says “…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.”   I love more that this is Paul’s prayer.  He understood what it took for us to know Christ’s love for us.  It has little to do with us, we don’t have to organize perfect prayers, just honest ones. Like we need Him.  We can’t do this thing on our own.  It is impossible without Him.

As we pray, I’m challenging myself to look less for the answers, and more for where God is showing up in this mess.  I’ve focused hard on the answers for so long, instead of the One with all the answers.

Love is perfected:

  1. as we get to know our Savior’s love for us through:
    1. Prayer
    2. Reading His Word
  2. as we love our neighbor:
    1. without expectation
    2. with anticipation of God showing up and making His love known

Life goal: to know His Love for me, because it will undoubtably pour out.