The Truth

Some days I have profound moments with God where I know He is speaking straight to me.  It’s not in a different voice, it’s my voice affirming a truth from His Word.

Seasons come and go and I’m in a hard one.  One that is requiring a lot of my time, energy, and attention.  Emotional growth is one of the hardest parts of my journey so far.  Connecting with my emotions, memories, hurts and pains.  I don’t like it.

What I am learning in this time is God’s Presence in my life is deeper than I ever have felt Him before.  Another layer, depth with my God, my Savior who promises to never leave me or forsake me.

I’d love to just have some comfort and an easy walk but to be honest I don’t really think about God being with me then.  I think about how I am crushing it and keeping myself together.

So today, I’m spending time journaling and putting pieces together that feel painful but I’m seeing fruit.  And the verse, John 8:32 comes to mind, “…then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  I kind of brush it off, because I have read this verse a million times praying it over myself usually in the form of freedom from anxiety.  But today something new came and I want to share it with you.

Sometimes searching for the truth feels a little like detective work.  But in this case God clarified for me I want you to experience the truth.  Truth that is real no matter what’s going on.  See freedom from anxiety is circumstantial.  Stressors will come and I will deal with the anxiety again, and hopefully less overwhelming the next time.

But God says to me I want more:

I want you to experience my love.

I want you to experience my forgiveness.

I want you to experience my closeness.

I want you to experience my grace and compassion for you.

And experience comes from being with other people and allowing them to minister to you.  Allowing them to speak over your life the truth when you are having a hard time holding onto it. And in this God shows us Himself, through people.  And it can draw our eyes back to Him.

John 8:31 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciple…”  from this verse I’m reminded of James 1:25, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”  I don’t know about you, but I need help remembering.

Freedom comes from sitting with Jesus over and over and over until we finally experience who He truly is to us.  And what I love is this is not an independent endeavor.  People are a part of this process.  Mine are a counselor, friends, mentors, and my husband.

Who are your people?  Who are helping you experience who God really is?  How are they teaching you?  What connections are you making from these experiences?

Lord help us to see you for who You are and how You see us in return. 

Continually

Man, what if I told you our work isn’t done until we meet Jesus face to face.

You’d say, yeah I already know that, thanks.

But what about your heart? I know there are still issues there, because there are still issues in my heart.

What if I said God continually wants to work on you?

I’d say, whew I’m already exhausted from this whole being made new thing.

And guess what, I’m exhausted because deep down in my spirit I believe I can pull one over on God. I think yeah yeah, but watch me God, I’m gonna do this super fast and we will work this issue until it’s gone forever. Then something happens and that old way is triggered and I find myself working on it once again.

Guess what, He’s not proud of us if we do it faster. He’s proud because we are His and we did nothing to deserve it.

Because, we all have sin. We all have pain. We all have needs. We all have areas God is not done with yet. We all have suffered and if we haven’t, we will.

Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world.”

In this world, we will be wronged. We will feel hurt. We will experience pain. We will be rejected.

And because of all that, we need a deep ever present God to be with us. And if we are constantly seeking Him, repenting and asking for forgiveness, and truly crying out to Him for wisdom and mercy:

He will give it.

He will forgive us.

He will meet us where we are.

Over and over again.

And one day we will be in His Presence and we will know Him because we walked with Him through it all.

So keep soldiering on and know this is a good process of continually being made whole.

New seasons

New seasons bring excitement, change, grow, rest, nerves, and the list can go on.

You might hear someone say, “I’m in a new season.” And with that brings all sorts of things to my mind. So, I think “are they doing okay?” “Ooo, Are they pregnant?” “Are they working on something?” “Are they hoping for something to come to fruition?”

And for some it might be all of the above (except for us pregnant=we done).

When I begin a new season I feel totally inadequate, wobbly, and unsure of myself and what I’m doing.

Isn’t this life though. The circling back through, changing the season so we can look at something in a different way. And if we are off balance that might be good so we can learn something new and go deeper. Deeper into who God is and what He wants for us.

Our world cycles through its seasons and God created it and us. He cycles us through things too and that’s okay.

The other night we were reading a book about how leaves change throughout the seasons. Leaves have all the colors for fall even in summer, but the green outshines the oranges, reds, browns, and yellows. And with each season something new is revealed.

So in this season, what is God revealing to you?

He’s revealing to me:

He is all I could ever want.

He will never condemn me and he wants healing, redemption and freedom in my life.

He loves me on my good and bad days.

He sees something in me I cannot see yet.

He is good.

Go into a new season with hope, because with Christ it will be good.

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.

Redemption

So I’m watching Downton Abbey and it’s marvelous.  Witty, funny, just the right amount of drama and love.

The oldest daughter, Mary, has a secret that her and her mother are keeping. She’s afraid it will scar her forever, and she will be a lonely spinster if word gets out.  So she pays a man to keep her secret quiet for her and she agrees to marry him.  All the while she is still madly in love with Matthew.

You are pining for them to be together, just tell him I’m thinking.  It’s okay, he will love you anyways.  You know the truth, but she’s unsure.  Her father, Lord Grantham does not know either.  And for fear of him outcasting her she stays quiet.

Then the day comes, her mother tells her father.  He sits down and absorbs the news.  Mary goes to her father and they embrace as he already knows and has forgiven her.  It’s a powerful moment.  He stands beside her, whatever may come, because he didn’t want his oldest daughter marrying someone out of fear.

Then, Matthew learns the truth.  And again, he takes some time, but walks right up to her and professes his love for her, in spite of the truth she has told him.

Whew!  Redemption.

It’s beautiful and powerful.  Undeserved, but needed.  Grace upon grace.

To be known to our depths and loved.  I pray and hope you have someone in your life that knows it all and loves you still.  Because that truth points us to the one and only true God who said, I know all you will do, and I’m sending Jesus anyways.  I love you that much.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, that all who believe in Him will not die but have eternal life.”

Out of hiding

When my daughter was born, Frozen had just released on DVD and my mom obliged and got us a copy.

I fell in love and so did my anti-napping, two year.  So each day after lunch, I’d turn on Frozen and our oldest would fall asleep within ten minutes.  And I’d be holding a sweet sleeping baby girl, so I’d usually finish watching.  It quickly became one of my favorites and I really didn’t mind when they wanted to watch it.

I love the story.  About a girl who is scared and trying to be in control of something powerful.  Something she’s scared would be dangerous and hurt someone else.

Then love steps in, her sister sacrifices herself for her and she knows that love is the answer.  Isn’t this what Jesus did for us?

Forgive the correlation if you don’t agree  (I know Anna is not Jesus, and this is not a story like Narnia).  But stay with me.

He saw us.  He saw us about to be taken out by our sin, our hiding.  He saw all the broken places, all the fear, all the hurt and He came.  He came for you.  He came for me.  He came for us.

We all have places that feel too broken within us.  Places that we are scared of, but those are the places that need less hiding and more love.  Redemption.  So God can use it for good.

That lonely hidden self will show up in insecurities, fears, anxiety, depression.

Maybe you find it hard to let God in and let those places be loved.  Me too.

It’s scary, its new.  But is the right way.  To healing, freedom, being loved and the core of who we are.

Find a counselor, mentor, someone to walk with you.

Go listen to Steffany Gretzinger “Out of Hiding.”

Acceptance

I learned young you should push back on areas you don’t like about yourself.  For example, I don’t like that I get overwhelmed easily, so I’ll pretend I don’t feel overwhelmed.  Then struggle and toil against that overwhelming feeling, that is one hundred percent human, and typically make myself more overwhelmed.

So I’m writing this for me today, I hope you get something too.

I think at the heart of the gospel is acceptance.  I think of the woman who had bled for years without any relief, I think of the man with leprosy who was not accepted by society, both completely accepted by our Savior.  And the Samaritan woman at the well who had five husbands and was living with another man, she was cast aside by her community, but totally accepted by her Savior.  Embraced.

We can’t surrender what we haven’t accepted has happened.  But when we believe we will be accepted by our Savior, we can accept some hardships ourselves.  Because He accepts us today, tomorrow, forever.  That acceptance is what can change this heart of stone into something beautiful.

I believed for a long time that I just had to “look good” for God.  That’s not what He wants.  He wants me to come, be seen, and known for exactly who I am, a sinner-then I can leave accepted, loved, cherished, whole. And this isn’t just for me, but for my neighbor too.

I don’t have this all figured out, but I know the times I resist accepting help, accepting truth, accepting love, accepting grace, or accepting joy I make my life harder.  It’s like going against the current.  It’s hard to withstand.  Until you lose your grip and you’re sure you’ll drown, but all of the sudden those truths pull you up and you accept them.

Then they move into your heart, and they start to come out of you.

He’ll do that- He will accept you, all your faults, failures, all the good things you think you’ve done.  He accepts it all.

Is there a piece of your past that you cannot accept?  It will not kill you.  Freedom comes from being freed from something.

Is there a part of yourself you distain?  Trust me, it’s the part that can makes you real to others.

Is there a part of your family that hurts too bad?   Accepting it can make it hurt less, because then you can move beyond yourself and into love.

Acceptance doesn’t mean condoning.   Acceptance means once we do, we can ask for help.  We can move.  We are no longer stuck.  We can use our resources.  But there are very few resources to the one who “has it all together.”

Don’t be the one who “has it all together” its a lonely place to be.  Real matters.  Real is the best way.

You are accepted.  Live out of that truth.

img_8771

Enough

Enough: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. Competent. (m-w.com)

Last night I was doodling, playing with my watercolor calligraphy pens and listening to music, trying to find inspiration.

 

7B45B180-FEE7-4CEA-AD6F-F5A10FF17232

I have always loved lettering.  I remember sitting in class in junior high and high school spelling “SMILE” and making block letters.  So calligraphy feels like an adventure back in time for me, with some added excitement with all these different types of pens!  I have always loved pens and journals too.  A natural tendency if you will.

I was listening to King’s Kaleidoscope “Rain” and the chorus is “I am enough, always enough.  You are enough, precious and loved.  Morning will come, sure as the Son,
I am enough, you are enough.  You are enough.”  (Go listen immediately*)

Not only am I enough, but you are too.  This song sings deep truths over my soul.

I didn’t always feel like I was enough growing up.  I fell into patterns of “pharisee” living-trying to earn my salvation.  Maybe you’ve been there too, trusting Jesus for your initial salvation, but after that you needed to get your stuff together instead of trusting in His work on the Cross continually.

Through counseling and tons of encouragement from friends, I am moving into recovery as a Pharisee.  Its a terrible way to live.  It eventually bites you.

So on this Tuesday, my kids are all home, I’m writing while one naps and the other two play and fight.  Reminding you and myself, we are enough.  We don’t have to earn or merit our salvation.  It’s done.  Jesus on the cross and raising three days later.  It was enough.  For you.  For me.  For the whole world.

A68A987E-0A02-4371-BAFC-CB8A6754084D
The Garden Tomb just outside of Jerusalem

 

I have written on my cupboard in the kitchen “You are Enough, because Christ is in you, and He is enough.”  (reference John 3:16, Colossians 1:27, and 1 Corinthians 12:9)

I pray those words sink deep into your soul, and mine too.

Those are the words that will change us for the better.