Friday, September 30, 2011

Just a bunch of rambling...

         It has been forever since I have written. I have been going through so much refining with the Lord lately (well...more like surgery) and words just have not come to share. He is good though. I don't have any mega encouragement, I don't have any precious story to tell, but I can say that He is faithful. Even when nothing makes sense, He is faithful. It is imperative we surrender to Him completely and listen to everything He says to us. Any check in our spirit should not be ignored, but instead we should sit in front of Him in stillness and ask Him what it is He wants us to know. I think we also underestimate the importance and value of Godly counsel in our life. A lesson I have learned is-- just because someone is a Christian, and seems to live a life in pursuit of the Lord, does not mean they are godly counsel. Let your godly counsel be someone who is wise and mature in their relationship with the Lord. Someone who's paths are straight and who is well grounded in the Word and very committed to prayer. If they are not looking into your life and using the sword of truth to cut through your own immaturity, if iron is not sharpening iron, then you probably need to pray about going to different counsel. I have made some decisions on the road in my life with the counsel of those that I really thought were godly. Yes, they are godly, in that they pursue the Lord, but  still immature. As I look back I see that there was a ton of evidence that indicated I should have tested/disregarded their counsel. I am not saying that God can not speak through the immature (heck- I am immature) but I am saying that you better know it is from God if you are trusting it. Our steps matter, our decisions matter. We should not be careless about listening to the direction of God. After all, His direction is founded in love, graciousness, and goodness.

This is completely unrelated- but there is a new song that I just love. I won't include all of the lyrics, but here are the ones I adore:

I will find a way
Jason Gray

At the end of this run down tenement hall, is the room of a girl I know. And she cowers behind all the deadbolt locks- afraid of the outside world. So how should I come, to the one I love? I will find a way.

Many thieves and collectors have used that door, but they only brought her shame. So she wont even open it anymore. Still I will find a way. I could call out her name with love through the walls, but condemnation is all she hears. I could break down the door, take her into my arms, but she might die from the fear. So how should I come to the one I love? I will find a way. I will find a way.

No hiding place ever kept her safe. So, she hides inside herself. Now to reach her heart, the only way, is to hide in their as well. I will hide in there as well.

All the beauty and joy will return to her face
And what of the loneliness?
Now it is gone.

Every sin that she suffered at the hands of man
Every single disgrace will be washed clean again
I will love her completely
I will carry her out of that tenemant home

I just love this song because I think it describes the character of God and His love for his children. He gives attention and thought (so I believe) into How He can get to His children. A godly man said to me once- "I can have all kinds of love for a person, but how I administer it is important" God is looking for the way to rescue our hearts, whether you are a believer of not. He is pursuing you. He will come to you in the way that He knows fits best, the way that will communicate to you His love, gentleness, and safety. He is good.

Luke 15: 4-6
4What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?
    5And when he has found it, he lays it on his [own] shoulders, rejoicing.
    6And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost.

Verse 6-- I love it. He calls us "Mine" We are HIS.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My defender, and yours too

So let me tell you that part of the reason I am blogging is because I feel like the Lord is doing and showing me some pretty incredible things. I've just got to tell you about them. Even if the Lord speaks to one person through one post and that is the only purpose it serves, than that is purpose enough. As you may have noticed- I don't really have information about me on the site. Location, picture, age, etc. Maybe that isn't right, but I don't care about you knowing me when it comes to this. I just want you to hear about Him. Yes, the stories and experiences are mine - but they are about the one true God. His love for me is just the same as it is for you. You have got to hear a piece of what He is capable of.

This story is hard for me to share. It is vulnerable, you will get to walk into a picture of my own personal pain, and good grief what if someone who knows me is reading it!? But the Lord reminds me and prompts me that it is His story, that He wants it shared. All to His glory, right? Isn't that what we mean when we say, Lord- I give you my life? Ok, putting my pride on the ground, and writing to you.

While there have been many times in my life that one could describe as horrific and hellacious, there is one time in particular that was uniquely more difficult.  I started to face a different intensity of battles when I learned who I was truly fighting. When I learned of the realms of evil that were trying to take me down, trying to squash everything the Lord had set out for me, I had to put on my armor and fight.

Most of this started in my mind. My thoughts were constantly being manipulated down the road of defeat and destruction. My emotions followed. My emotions screamed of despair, anxiety and rejection. Almost every lie in the book, this girl wrestled with.

One night, I could feel the torment and raging battle occurring over, around, and in me. Truly the work of the enemy and his followers doing everything they could to trick me, smother me and confuse me. I was so weak. I did not have the strength to fight. I felt like a leaf being tossed in the wind. I kept trying to grasp for truth to hold onto but it kept slipping out of my hands as the enemy seemed so convincing. His arguments were logical, they made sense. And I had believed them my whole life- God sounded more like the crazy one. Fear told me, "You aren't okay. You will never be okay. You deserve the grave. You are unlovable, undesirable. Rejected because you aren't worth loving. No one should want you. You are the crazy one."  "No. I know the truth," I said out loud. "God says I am chosen by Him. His love makes me worthy.   But how, but why. Look at who I am, look at who I have been, and listen to what all of them are saying about me. My own flesh and blood doesn't even want me."
Despair stepped up, "This is your life forever. Just look at your history, a life filled with pain and misery. How could anything ever be better? How could anything ever change? You'll just squander any good thing you are given. You don't know how to handle good things."  I clung to, "God is a god of hope. God is a god of Hope." 
I could keep writing you about the about the overwhelming torment, but it would take forever. It was all so fast, so quick. Like a lawyer attacking me in trial. It was too quick for me to think. I didn't know enough truth to stand against them. Like getting beat with a baseball bat, I didn't have time to fight, much less the ability to stand up. I didn't know how to defend myself.

I had no man here to fight with me. I had no strength. I didn't have a person who knew the truth that could stand firm over me and speak it as I was tossed to and fro.

I cried out to God. Make it stop, make it stop. I can't stop the flood and I am drowning! I cried. I bawled tears of desperation and panic. I'm going to drown Lord, I am going to drown, I am going to sink! I can't see, I cant see! Please God, please help me!

It was then that He did something I will never forget. He showed up. Not that He isn't always with me- but He showed up. I layed there and it was like He put this shield over me that completely encompassed me. I'm not kidding. I could feel it. I could feel His protection and presence over me. He said to me in a clear voice louder than everything my thoughts and emotions were telling me, "I am bigger than all of this." The battle instantly ended. It was like I could feel Him standing in front of me with His shield and sword in hand telling Evil, "This is my child- GET AWAY FROM HER." I felt His presence. He covered me in peace and love. He rocked me in His sweet arms and told me that He was there. Comforted me and told me that I was His. This is what it means to be hidden in Him. He is my protector, He is my defender, He will never leave my side. He despises the evil that tries to attack and destroy His children. But He is bigger. He is the Lord, the God almighty. The one who parts the seas and heals the blind. Who takes on our diseases and sickness. You think that is only a story of old? Let me tell you the truth- He took my disease and He carried my sickness. He set me free. He is setting me free.

If you're alone- let me tell you that God is enough. He is bigger than all of this. He can be your Family, your Best Friend, your Father, Lover of your soul, Comforter, Counselor, and Healer. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is your God and you are His child.

He is grounding me in truth and doesn't let me forget that I am His. Satan is just a bully, or maybe we should call him a cruel psychopath - powerful and cunning- yes. But I have Papa with me- and you should see the depth of His love and the size of His shield.

I, my friend, am His child. And if you know Him as your Savior, you are too.

Psalm 145:20
"The Lord preserves all those who love Him, but the wicked He will destroy."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lunch with Laura

God has recently brought a new, dear friend into my life. Her name is Laura, and she is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She is clearly spirit-filled, and the life of Christ beams from her.

We were having lunch and I was sharing with her some of the details of my life. I was discussing some of the things the Lord has rescued me from. See, I have been in some really awful pits. Some were my fault, and some were the fault of others. But God has rescued me and truly has replaced the old with the new. He has faithfully worked to bind the wounds from my past, and let me walk in newness and freedom. As I was rambling through the details of my story, I mentioned a few girls I had done some form of ministry with in the past. I spoke of how they are godly women from sweet families with parents that protected them and set them on the right path. They are women that a godly man would be lucky to have as his wife. They understand what it means to love, and have many people people in their life that cover them with it. (Mention of them was only a minor detail in my story, so I continued on to get to my point) But before I could get many more words out,  Laura stopped me, and she said, "You know that you are no less of a woman than they are, right?" I smiled, gave a small shrug, a half nod, and began to continue on with my story. She must have seen right through that because she stopped me again. Her eyes began to fill with tears, and she said, "We were all naked in the grave. We all fell short. They needed His rescuing just as much as you did. You are no less of a woman than they are." She spoke with conviction of how that was a lie straight from the enemy and was to be rejected.

I didn't realize how much credibility I had given to that lie. It wasn't something I had really even considered before.  But as I thought and prayed in the days to come, I saw that this had taken a root in my heart. I had been deceived.

The Enemy wants us to be convinced that we are not quite as adequate, lovable, desirable, worthy, valued , and possibly godly as others. We need to reset how we define godliness. Godliness has a definition composed by the state of one's heart. Godliness is one's desire, pursuit and commitment to the Lord. It is walking in His light and living a continual life of repentance in order to counterpart in His glorification. It is not measured by appearance, one' past, the number of people who love or accept them, or one's actions alone. It is something that can only be truly measured by the Lord, because He sees the heart. Some of us may be starting the race at a different place because of our past, but the heart is what He cares about.  His love calls you worthy. He calls you His precious treasure whom He delights knowing. He sees your heart and He alone gets to make that judgement call. He is your defender, and He is a god of Truth.

Your turn. Are there women in your life (Christian or not), that you deep down believe are more of a woman than you are? Her breasts are bigger, she is able to bear children, her husband didn't leave her, why wasn't she broken, abused and rejected like I was, she is desired by all, her in laws want her in their family... you fill in the blank.

The Lord reminds me of these words:
I don't care where you have fallen, or where you have been. I'll never forsake you, My love never ends. It never ends.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sometimes the godliest thing you can do is take a nap

I am noticing this pattern in my life. Towards the end of a busy week, I start to get tired. (Crazy concept I know.) Mornings are harder to wake up, coffee turns from a treat to life support, and I am pretty sure I start requiring more under eye makeup. I am also finding that my emotions start to get a little off kilter. Yes, I am like that little kid who starts to get crabby when they have missed their nap. I just feel more angry when I am this tired. Angry because somebody made me get up today before I wanted to. My muscles are tight, I hadn't finished my dream, and my sheets are 400 thread count. What a child. I also feel like things are much bigger than they really are. None of my clothes are cute all the sudden, that driver in the little blue car is suddenly a complete idiot in my mind, and ... well lets just say the love of Christ is not being exhibited in my thoughts.
The beautiful thing is that we have authority over our emotions, so they don't HAVE to run us, or our day. But I am finding that practicing good self-care is important for us. We have got to keep the consistency of eating healthy, exercise, and sleep if we want to be functioning in good order-- and after all, God is a god of order.

Did I mention I have spilled my coffee THREE times this morning. For real, who does that?

While on the topic of exhaustion, I think it is important that we consider what is exhausting us. It is important that we are serving the Lord above all else, and that means that He gets all of us. After we give all of ourselves to Him, He then decides where we place our investment, energy and time. If we are pouring into something that is not of Him, or that He has not directed us to, then we are essentially throwing our pearls to the swine. If something in your life is sucking your energy and time that isn't of Him, then you can expect to run on empty. However, if we are exhausted by being obedient and doing what He has asked us to do, then He is faithful to restore us and bring all we need to continue in obedience.

Don't let anxiety, worry, or any other emotion that opposes truth steal what the Lord has for you. Do not let it steal your energy and time. We are to rest in peace with the Lord because we know that when we are in His will by obedience, then everything is taken care of. It is when we step out of His guidance that anxiety and despair are more fitting emotions. If you are unsure about His will, you seek Him and you ask Him to make it clear to you. You seek godly counsel and you wait on the Lord to provide direction. God is faithful and He says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart." Jeremiah 29:13. So seek with all of you, and He promises you will find Him. He will show you His will. A good friend of mine recently said to me, "God doesn't play games. He isn't going to trick you. If you seek Him, He will let you know the path He wants you to take." And we can have peace while seeking His will because we know that He sees our hearts. If your heart truly is to obey Him, then He is already taking care of the rest. Sometimes at night as I lay awake I think, "But God I don't have all the answers to this, I still don't have a grasp on this issue or a plan or know what to think or do about it." He says to me, "And you don't have to. Trust me that I have got all of this under control. I see your heart, I know your desire. Let me take care of everything." It is then that I can remember the burden is not mine to carry, because He already has everything figured out. A beautiful plan is already in place that is for His glory and my care. He will take care of it. I just get to be that little kid in the huge parking lot that has no clue where the car is. All I have to do is hold daddy's hand while He navigates me through the chaos. He knows exactly where He is going. I get to rest in His knowledge, and the fact that He loves me and cares for me. He isn't going to leave me stranded somewhere. He is faithful to care and love for His children.

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep".
You are His beloved. He gives you sleep so that you can accomplish what it is that He asks of you. If something is stealing our sleep or our ability to peacefully rest in Him, that isn't by His design. Some adjustment needs to happen.