There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Tonight the most beautiful reminder was shown to me as I walked out my front door and saw 20+ women in a circle in my front yard to pray on my behalf. Walking out and seeing all their beautiful faces I was stunned, I felt unworthy of their love and prayers but desperate for change and blessed that they were there to help plead my case to Him. As I stood in the middle I was embraced by their tender hands and bold prayers. After we prayed each woman placed a flag in my yard representing the circle in which they prayed around me. As I look out over the white flags placed perfectly in a circle in my front yard I am pushed to keep fighting the battle and reminded that God still has a purpose. I am so thankful for sisters in Christ whom I can be real, worn out, and hurting before and instead of seeing my weaknesses they are there to pick me up and be my team of warriors. My heart will forever remember this moment and when God has His victory in my circumstances we will all look back with excitement and know it was this very moment that our cries out to Him opened the door to a breakthrough. Thank You, love me :)
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Each day is a battle but yet a reminder of the trials conquered on the road already traveled. I am constantly overwhelmed at not what I posses right now but the journey which has brought me to this point. The journey hasn't gotten easier but the road in which I walk is less lonely. Each day I am reminded that I don't have to face the fears of tomorrow or sorrows of yesterday alone because the same God who conquered the past is holding my hand into the future. The God that I cling to now each day is the same God I met 12 years ago as a lost, hurt, and confused girl.At the very moment in which I surrendered my life to Him I was forever changed.
I stand overwhelmed that although I am so imperfect and unworthy that the God of the whole universe cares about every little detail of my life. When my heart is troubled and my soul aches from the weapons Satan has tried to beat me down with, God is my refuge and my strength. The very worries and joys that fill my life are even more personal and sacred to Him. The very thoughts and emotions that consume my soul are held tenderly and delicately in the palm of His mighty hands. Though life is full of uncertainties and trials my God is constant, unchanging, faithful and powerful. I will remain confident that in all things I will see the goodness of Christ. I will remain confident that the same God who brought me out of the muck and the mud and set me free will continue transforming me and redeeming my story.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Lately God has been challenging me concerning the "Mary vs Martha Syndrome"
We read in the Bible a story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Luke 10: 38-42 "Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.
So often we suffer from the "Martha" Syndrome, spending so much time and energy being busy and fussing with the little things in life when Jesus wants nothing more than for us to be like Mary instead, not consuming ourselves by actions but instead just sitting at the feet of Jesus in total adoration for Him. As I find myself staring at the clock through blurry tired eyes at 2 a.m. I realize once again I had managed to stay up way too late doing way too much. Just yesterday I had confessed my need and encouraged others need to transform from being stuck in the "Martha" Syndrome when God wants us to live in a Mary world, I had managed to find task after task to keep me busy instead of just sitting and being still for a few hours. Even though what I was doing was serving the Lord its still not what the Lord wants my focus to be on. Its great to serve the Lord but if we are constantly caught up in doing then how can we learn and be fed spiritually so we can grow more in Christ so that our actions will be spirit led? This is exactly what I had done, I was too busy and allowed myself to get caught up doing and spent too little time quieting my heart and really worshiping and listening to His voice. I'm not saying the Lord was displeased with my efforts but I think because of busyness so often we miss out on what God wants to say to us in the midst of them. God is tugging for our undivided attention each day free from running errands, the kids activities, cleaning, cooking and the list could go on and on. Obviously we cant just cut all those things out of our schedule but instead of penciling Him in on whats left in our planner we need to find a spot first for Him to sit and spend some uninterrupted time devoted to Him just like we do with our other commitments then fill the rest of our schedules up with the other stuff. God wants nothing more than for us to pull up a chair next to Him and just sit reading in His word or being quiet and listening to what He wants to say to our hearts. But so often instead of pulling up a comfy chair to sink down into and stay awhile we pull up this:
It may be called a chair but can we really sit unreserved and relax?? I wonder how many of us sit in chairs like this. We are trying to be Mary and sit at Jesus feet but yet we choose a chair that is missing an arm, a leg...pretty much half the chair so that we still can keep a little control on not fully letting go and relaxing. To sit in this chair you would have to consciously hold half your weight up only one arm and one leg could fully rest and the remaining part of your body would take energy and focus to hold up. This isn't what Jesus is asking of us. He doesn't want our half hearted efforts to sit with Him but have only half our focus on Him alone, while the other half is still in control and focused on something else. Jesus wants us to plop down into a big cushy chair facing forward focused solely on Him so that we can understand what it means to really adore and worship Him with our thoughts, and our time. Its a sacrifice to say that you are not only going to sit and be still with Him but that you are going to throw out the broken chair and give all your worries and control regardless of whats going on in your life and you will give Him your undivided attention. So relax and pull up a chair, a real chair and spend some time with Him.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
When I accepted Jesus into my heart and declared Him as my personal Savior at the age of 17 I had no idea the transformation and rebuilding that would take place within my heart. Although I had made the choice to commit my life to God's will and to surrender all the pieces of my past, present and future story it was a process. One of the things I remember struggling with the most as a new Christian was really trying to grasp in my mind that by giving my life to Christ I was a new creation, the old was gone and the new had come and no matter what I had done the blood shed by Jesus on the cross had washed every sin, failure, fear, insecurity and mistake. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!" It was hard for me to grasp the unconditional, real, raw, intimate and personal love of Christ at that time. Throughout this beginning process for me I remember being Baptized.
As we read in the Bible of many examples of those being Baptized we understand Baptism to symbolize the process of being washed clean and by coming up out of the water we leave our old selves in the water and are transformed into a new, clean child of God that is free from the bondage of our past and the sinful life that Satan had entangled us in. I can remember that day like it was yesterday. As I stepped nervously into the water my heart was flooded with so many different emotions I couldn't even process everything I felt at that time. After a few words by the Pastor I heard the phrase "we baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit" and within seconds I was placed down in the water and brought back up. As my body was pulled back out of the water and my sins and past left behind I remember emerging with the most amazing feeling of hope, excitement and freedom I have ever felt in my life. It's as if I truly felt the chains fall off and drop to the bottom of the water because Christ came in that moment and penetrated me with the cleansing, powerful and ecstatic anointing of the Holy Spirit.
I will never forget that day. I will never forget the emotions I had before and after, I will never forget the people, the sounds, the hope that I found, and the excitement that God placed within my heart because of His promises for my life. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you." The only thing I didn't hold onto that day was the person who walked down into the water of that Baptismal, she was gone and so were the strongholds that had came into that place with me as well. Instead I walked out of the water a new creation, forgiven, redeemed and loved so unconditionally. Thank You Jesus for new beginnings, thank You Jesus that by Your precious blood we are set free, thank You Jesus that I am a new creation the old has gone and the new has come. 1 Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can imagine the plans that God has for those who love Him."
Friday, September 14, 2012
Now that Macie is getting older its a whole new ballgame I feel like. Needless to say clothes were flying and it looked like a mad dressing room before bed last night trying to figure out what she would wear, then of course you have to see what compliments the background you choose, it really could be way less complicated I'm sure, but its not. There is a whole new level of mystery that comes along with picture day now though since Macie is in school and I'm not actually with her during pictures. Its funny because last night Scott and I both were caught at different times asking her how she was going to smile for her pictures, and she would flash that pretty grin of hers our way. I am sure I am partial but she is a cutie and always seems to radiate with that smile of hers. So needless to say there is a sense of anticipation that comes along with picture day wondering what they will look like after all.
As I was filling out the picture sheet this morning I realized they have so many box's to mark for so many different options. Now you can choose your pose, background color and even touch ups. Huh, touch ups??? I thought one of the joys of school pictures is to look back and see a all the missing teeth in First Grade a cut on your forehead in 3 grade from soccer, giant zit in 8th grade, braces in 10th. I know those all seem like world disasters when they were happening and I know I have a few embarrassing pictures from when i was younger also but its part of the growing process. It shows a little character and reminder of life at the time. Its everyone's personal decision but I just can't see touching up my 7 year olds pictures, I want to see her, every quirky, beautiful blemish, imperfection and freckle on her little face!
I feel like life each day is a lot like a major photo shoot. We put on her best clothes, makeup, practice that smile and venture out for that "perfect pose." We could be falling apart inside, dealing with the weight of the world on our shoulders but nobody else will ever know because we will put on this front and pretend its all ok. I have talked about this many times before but because it bothers me so much! Why do we feel like we have to put our "game face" everyday? I'm not saying walk around looking frumpy and like you just crawled out of bed all the time and completely burdened because there are times it helps to pull yourself together and walk with your head high trying to put a positive light in your position in life, but I don't think you should have to pretend and practice for what others see. Its ok to not always have that perfect smile and to walk around like your have everything together, honestly neither does anyone else its just maybe they practice for the "shoot" everyday a little more. "Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace" Joyce Meyers. So thankful that God is my strength and that we don't need to pretend but allow Him to sustain us and hold us up in those times where our smile gets tired and we are too exhausted to pose any longer.
Psalm 121 "
"I lift up my eyes to the hills.......
where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Macie may make the silliest face and have her hair sticking up everywhere in her pics today and if that's the case when she brings them home in a few weeks although they may not be the typical "pose" its her that makes it beautiful and her life. Its a witness to who she is behind the pictures not whats captured with a flash in 2 seconds. Pictures hanging all over each of our walls are just a tiny representation of the person it captures, its merely superficial and shows nothing underneath. It doesn't represent that persons character and story. As you go throughout your day be real, be supportive and be kind. Maybe someone treats you like dirt at the grocery store, or gives you an attitude at the doctors office but you have no idea what they are battling. They make look good on the outside but their hearts may be breaking within. There is a quote I heard once that is amazing and it says this "Be kinder than necessary for every person you meet is facing some kind of battle." Plato.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I can feel the weight of life's burdens one by one holding me down. A beam of insecurity, boulder of fear, shackle of shame and before I know it I'm no longer free but a prisoner to the chains that I have willingly helped enslave myself to.
Life gets difficult, relationships struggle, bills pile up, sickness happens, kids grow, cars break down and chaos happens. It always seems like its enough to just keep up and there is always one disaster after another waiting around the bend just when there seems to be a place of calmness. In the midst of the chaos the emotions that well up within us become a powerful weapon of survival. As I have shared before if we allow an attitude of praise to be on our lips continually then regardless of what struggles come we will approach it with confidence and trust, but if we continually allow our circumstances to dictate our emotions and are driven by negativity we will slowly over time find ourselves a prisoner to the disappointments of life. No matter how you look at it life is disappointing, I know this sounds negative but the things that we find satisfaction with in life are temporary because life is temporary. This world is merely a place in which we pass through as we run into the glorious arms of Jesus. “As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him-you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ….you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:4-5,9 NIV)
The enemy is purposefully perusing you continuously just waiting for any opportunity to sneak through the cracks of your circumstances and place those chains around you. At the time it seems like no big deal maybe you just took your eyes off of the cross for a second and allowed your human emotions to kick in and worry about a job, relationship, finances or whatever but the next thing you know Satan has quietly worked his way in and placed a stronghold on you. For me its been with health issues. Its easy to get consumed and worry about whats ahead but what ends up happening is I find myself worrying more about the situation and less about keeping up my guard against the enemy so then the heaviness starts building and the chains accumulating until I have surrendered not to Christ and His freedom but to the prison walls of my circumstances. Galatians 5:1 "In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery."
One of my favorite songs right now is "Overcome" by Jeremy Camp. The second verse says "All authority every victory is Yours. We will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony." Because Jesus died on the cross we can be confident that the chains of our past sins, insecurities and failures have been erased and redeemed. Because Jesus died on the cross we can hand over every piece of our lives and allow Him to have the ultimate authority and power. Allow the chains to fall off today and rest in the freedom that He has ransomed for You.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
In the midst of earth shattering, uncontrollable circumstances in my life I have learned what a huge role my attitude and perspective can play. If you were to ask me whether its better for the glass to be half full or half empty I would say both. What I mean is that in order to cling tight to the hope of the unknown we have to have some level of positive thinking and drive to push forward in the midst of the adversity. At the same time though there needs to be a level of emptiness within us to allow Christ to take that space and fill it up with Him, there needs to be an attitude of half empty so we can give up our dependency on ourselves and instead allow Him to fill us up. Basically if we are talking about our attitudes we should see the glass as half full, if we are talking about surrender we should seek emptiness so that we can be broken, poured out and filled up with Christ.
They say opposites attract and this is definitely one area where my husband and I fit the theory of opposite thinking. When it comes to our perspective on life and our circumstances my husband Scott is more the realistic/rational one and I am more the optimistic think positive one. Don't get me wrong my husband seeks to trust in a positive outcome in all situations but because he is a science major he also looks at the facts. Me on the other hand see's things a little more shiny and believes there will always be a positive, happy outcome. My glass appears half full and his half empty most of the time which can be helpful because we level each other out. There are often times I wish he saw the more flowery side of things but then I wish I could see the rational a little more too.
Throughout some difficult times in my life especially the past few years I have no doubt that seeing the glass as half full has helped push me towards Christ and the hope that He has. There have been many pieces of my life that if I were to sit back and focus on them I could get caught up in the sadness of whats been lost which is exactly what Satan would like. If we look at our circumstances through the lens of a half empty glass then we focus on whats been lost instead of whats been gained and then our eyes are taken off Christ. You can't create space out of nothing, you can't fill in the gaps unless you have emptiness to work with. What I mean is that in order to be filled up with Christ we have to be emptied out of ourselves. In order to be filled up and selfless we have to be poured out of selfishness.
Ephesians 3:14-21 "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
I heard a Pastor say this over the weekend and because I love fountain pop it really made sense When I pull up to a food drive through I can hardly stand the excitement within me for a nice cold coke. I love cold pop but there is a slight conflict with the pop/ice ratio. "If you go to get a 44 oz fountain pop you want the most pop possible right? But if you get your cup and its filled with 40 oz of ice then there is only 4 oz of space left for that cold refreshing coke. However if you only walk away with 4 oz of ice then you have space for 40 oz of coke. Regardless of how good the ice can be in your coke if your filling up your glass with too much ice then you are missing out on a larger portion of that refreshing coke. The same is true with our lives, in order to be filled to the top with the refreshing spirit of Christ we have to empty out ourselves so He has space to be poured into the space of our hearts.
When you look at your life each day do you see your cup as half empty and focus on the things that you don't have or do you strive to see it as half full and rejoice for the things you do. Do you rejoice in the emptiness because it means surrender and available space for Christ to invade your life?