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. 

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.

Still learning

We had a week of the stomach bug in our house. Which left us feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally.

But I learned something this week I’d love to share it. A lot of these writings are so I can remember and maybe remind you as well of simple truths I’ve learned along this journey.

So back to this week, my kids were not feeling great and needed a different level of care this week. We had to help them get to sleep, waking through the night to help them, and using our resources to get them better.

And through it all, I loved them more.

Their vulnerability, their inability to care for some of the simplest needs made me kiss their foreheads, hold them tighter, and whisper I love you so much. Then telling them how special they were to me.

My daughter calls out across the room “mom, I love you…” like an exhale to my care for her.

I’m honored.

Grateful.

I felt as if God was reminding me, see daughter when you need help I’ll give you more. When you need love I’ll give you more. Whatever you need I have it and I want to freely give it, my child. Chosen. Loved.

He doesn’t care what we produce for Him, He cares if we let Him go with us. He cares if we let Him love us when we have nothing left to offer Him but ourselves.

It’s enough, always enough.

Affirmation

I like for God to affirm things in my life.  Kind of like Gideon, if you really want me to pursue this show me a sign, I’ll put out the fleece and you make it wet or dry.   You know.

Clarity.

Show me a sign Lord.  Then another sign, because I’m not sure that was a clear enough.

Then maybe we don’t move at all, completely fearful we misheard God.  Unsure if He even cares.

Oh boy.  I am finite.  I am vulnerable and desperate to be known and reassured.

Is it just me?

I love that even in this frustration with myself He is not the slightest.  He sees this all working out, He sees all that I’m learning.  He sees the knew connections I’m making and He will restore and make all these things work together.

Typically I like to know what God’s affirming, but is that the point?  Are we supposed to move and then look up saying is that right God?  Or do I go left?  Do I serve you here or there?  Do I love this person, or make time for this one?  It can get very confusing.

What if He wants us to look up long enough so He can say I love you anyways.

I know You want to know.  I know you need this affirmation from me, but what if I told you I love you.  I love you, even if.  I love you, and I’m proud you are making steps.  Because once you get there you might face trouble, but if you know I love you…  Oh daughter, if you know I love you, if you abide in that love, then that will make all the difference.

As you go about your day, think about how God is showing you He loves you.  It’s everywhere.  For me it is flowers, taking pictures, my kids laughing, naps, slowing down, rain, my neighbor bringing me saltines for my sick kid, or curling up with a good book.

He is faithful.  He’ll show you too.

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On waiting

Sometimes waiting is enough to push me over the edge.  Then sometimes I love waiting, like waiting for the coffee timer to ding that the coffee is done.

But sometimes waiting is painful…

  • waiting for the doctor to call, i.e. high blood pressure
  • healing to come
  • relationships to restore
  • falling asleep
  • coffee to finish brewing (its both, anticipated and taking way too long the next morning)

How are we supposed to wait well?

How do we let our heart take courage, when it’s difficult?  When what we are waiting on we are not looking forward to?

Psalm 27: 14 says,

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I don’t know why you are waiting, and I’m betting that answer wouldn’t help.  But maybe we can allow ourselves to wait, so that our heart can take courage.  We don’t have to know why, but we can know that there is purpose.

Maybe, our hearts aren’t ready yet.  Maybe you are waiting to see a black and yellow butterfly drinking nectar out of your zinnias out front.  So we can stop and be in awe that we aren’t the ones holding this whole thing together.  That we are loved, cherished, adored.  Strengthen your heart with that truth today.

So what are you waiting on today?  Let your heart take courage.  img_1299-1

To be a daughter

Oh my sweet girl. She’s a delight. I enjoy sitting and looking at her. It’s a delight just to be in her presence.

Even when she’s ornery I still delight in her. All sides of her are wonderful because they make her, her.

When she smiles it’s from ear to ear. When she talks she has something to say. She’s strong. She’s sassy. She’s kind. She loves helping.

I’m in awe most days we get to have her and raise her.

Today I’m reading Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray and she’s talking about God naming us.

My name is Tara and it means a crag in a tower. I don’t know what that means. But it sounds cool. It makes me think of how I’ve tried to be a tower for so many people, strong, steady, keeping it all together. I didn’t know they really didn’t need me to do that, but I found significant worth in doing everything for everyone.

Then slowly a couple of years ago, God started to call me by a new name. Daughter. A name that made me feel vulnerable. Uncertain. Delighted in. Loved. Cherished.

Similar to how I feel about my daughter.

And it’s been a process to let myself sit there a little longer each day. To sit and be loved. To sit and be cared for even when I don’t deserve it. To lay and have peace because His love for me has nothing to do with what I do but what He’s done for me.

So what’s your name mean? Is God whispering a new name? Let Him, it’s a good one.

Maybe we are all chosen.

Sitting in my living room, listening to little snores from a baby boy who hasn’t felt good lately.  Stomach bug has taken him down.

Sitting, thinking on what to write and how to write it today.

I have bacon cooking and coffee brewing, planning to enjoy a little down time before picking the older kids from school.

“For such a time as this” a verse from Esther.  We were created for such a time as this.  This world we live in right now, we were created to help, to encourage, to lift their eyes up to Jesus.  That feels like a huge task.

I find myself saying, yeah, they are definitely chosen but not me, not my gifts, not my talents.  I have no influence.  No space to create to share with others.  Not true.

Chosen does not equal perfect.  It does not equal complete, whole.  It represents the willing.  The ones willing to allow God to use them, all of them. The good the bad and the ugly.

And we are chosen because we are loved.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know brothers, loved by God that He has chosen you.”

God loves all the parts of our story.  The good and the bad.  He loves us in everyone of those moments.  John 3:16 says “For God so loved* the world…”.  He loves the whole world.  You are included, I’m included.

So the first qualification is

1) to be loved by God (whew, this requires nothing of us)

And the second is to be willing like Esther, in the face of such danger, to step out to stand up.  For her it was for her nation.  What do you need to stand up for?  (…whew I’m challenging myself with that question!)

2) be willing.

Be willing to fail.  Be willing to rise up.  Be willing to accept accountability.  Be willing to let others look into your life.  Be willing to show people where God has been in your life.  Be willing to heal.  Be willing to wait.  Be willing to step even if you don’t know what step is next.

3) ask God.

This one might be scary, because if you are like me you know He will answer and what if you don’t like it.  When you step into a plan God has for you, you will like it one thousand times more than you own.  Don’t settle for sitting back, because you are scared.

Clarification: this doesn’t have to mean ministry or mission field, but it could.  I’m taking this as day to day living.  This is me sitting in my living room writing as my baby sleeps and my kids are at school.  This is my small step.

Take a step today, toward a dream, a word, a gifting you know you have that you’ve not used for His glory.  Go, just enough today.  He’ll give you the next step tomorrow.

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.

 

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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.

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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.