I swear…..

Ok, I confess!! I have been swearing so much these past few months!! It is ridiculous. I can’t seem to stop either…..God is doing a work and I need to figure out what He is expecting from me in this.

So, here I am confessing to the world! Or the few readers that actually do read this little blog of mine :0)

C.S Lewis mentioned in Mere Christianity that we all too often think that we snap out of anger or swear when we are taken by surprise. As if these nasty behaviors come out of the blue when we are not prepared for whatever it is that caused a reaction out of us. He challenged me to think about the fact that perhaps these dark parts of myself are just hidden most of the time. I have learned to mask the uglier parts of myself and they slip out when I am not suppressing them.

This makes me think about how ineffective my attempts to be a better person really are. There is nothing I can do to make the changes that need to be made. Not on my own anyway. Things will not change unless I unclench this tight fists and bring it to the only one that can help me….Jesus. All my attempts to “improve upon self” all boil down to me just covering up the ugly parts. The problem with this is that these ugly parts begin to seep out without my knowledge. In this particular case, God has completely ripped away the camouflage and is making me face my cussing. I know this may seem silly, but it has been a huge battle for me! I can’t stand it and yet the words fly right out of my mouth in times of anger.

So maybe God is trying to make me address the real root here, anger. Another piece of me that I learned to reign in and cover…or so I thought. Anger is another piece that just comes flying out. Although I am happy to report that there have been more times of me stopping and praying than times of complete melt down. My family may not realize it yet, but I have found myself breaking down and crying out to God for His help rather than retaliating in heated moments. This has been a long and hard road I have been walking. There is deep rooted anger and ungliness to battle, but the great thing is that God is on my side and He is the only one that can bring me out of it to the place He desires for me to be in.

Ephisians 4:29 says: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

This is a commandment from my Lord and I choose to obey. Well, I am choosing to achkowledge that I have not been obeying, am repenting (often) and begging for his help in learning to obey!!

 

In the Darkness

And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:21-23 ESV).

“It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us…” ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

In the times of darkness, it may see as if you are abandoned. Today I challenge you to look back on those dark times and ask yourself if you were really alone or if God was protecting you in that place.

Not so different

2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

This morning this hit me!

Quite often I put myself down for my faults and can be way hard on myself. It is true that I need to repent and bring it to the altar, no doubt about that, but I am not so unique. This passage reminds me that ALL of man kind fails and this is the exact reason that Jesus was sent to save us from ourselves.

I am filthy and I need my Savior desperately. I fail constantly. I will never be worthy of His love and grace.

Today I will rest in the knowledge that God loves me anyway. He loves us all so much that He sent His only Son so that we might be saved. It is not just little ‘ol me that struggles moment to moment, it is not just me that drops the ball, we all do and God has know it since the beginning of time and He has made a way for us to be with Him once again. Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the light!

Praise God!

Prayer IS Action!

I heard this while listening to an audio book on the way into work this morning.

Prayer IS action.

This concept hit me hard today. Especially in the midst of the anxiety filled week I have been having. The hubby and I have been apartment hunting and it has been stressful. We have time, so there is no pressure on that end of it, but we have either been to places that are not going to work for our family or we find a place that is great and then it doesn’t happen. On top of this, I am driving all over the place and working my schedule around getting the kids to where they need to be each morning and afternoon and my work is no longer in a convenient location for this to happen smoothly. As all parents do, I am putting myself under all this stress in order to not change their routine until we find a suitable place for us to move to. Once we settle then we can decide if changing daycare and school will take place.

Some weeks have been harder than others and this past week has been one of those. The reason that the statements “prayer is action” hit so hard is because I have found myself wrestling with the decision to take action vs leaving it be. We were in the midst of working out a negotiation with a potential landlord that was not following up as she said she would. My personal struggle was to decide if I should be assertive without trying to force something that wasn’t meant to be. I am a doer! I want to get things done and finalized in a timely manner, this is how I function. The words of my pastor ring in my mind, you cannot sit back and wait for God to just make things happen, you have to continue to move forward while allowing Him to guide your path towards the goals you seek to accomplish. In His way and His time, not ours.

Prayer was most definitely part of this process for me, but not in the way it should have been. I now see that my prayers are action. We took the steps we needed to take by applying for the apartment and following up with her the following day, expressing our needs and when we were available to move. The only action that was needed after this was prayer. I was too busy being anxious and my prayers were not as deep as they could have been.

Sometimes the best course of action is to not take action at all, in the worldly sense. I am learning that sometimes the only action I need to take is to pray and pray hard. Pray for the circumstance, but more importantly, pray for the ability to rest in Christ. Pray for Him to take the stress away and to help me realize that He is in my corner! He is working for the greater good for my family. He loves us and will bring us to where we need to be. To the place where we will be the most effect tools for His purposes.

So this is the lesson I am seeing at the end of an amazing week. He has shown me that I need to rest in Him, He has brought my husband and I to a place of comforting each other and my daughter was a delight too! My little girls reminded me through it all that if it didn’t work out, that it was God’s will and He has a better place for our family to be. Amazing stuff going in what seemed like a time of uncertainty and anxiousness.

God is Good!

Miracles

Miracles come in small, everyday packages.

My hubby and I were discussing just how much we have been through and accomplished in such a short amount of time. All thanks to God’s grace and the mighty work He has been doing in our lives. We have been in hyper-speed mode since the day we met and yet we are both still pretty impatient.

Long story short, we have overcome quite a lot in the short 3 1/2 years we have been together….wow, only 3 years? Feels like forever! In a good way of course 🙂

Through most of the trial and tribulations we have ended up taking the frustrations out on each other. It’s hard! We have to keep our cool during working hours and get the work done, we have to keep our cool with the kids, even though we end up being short with them and at the end of the day we both lash out after being overwhelmed. It’s normal, people do it all the time, but it is not ok.

This is something that we have battles, discussed and prayed over for the 3 1/2 years we have been together and I am happy to say that God has brought us to a place where we came together in the midst of the anxious moments. We found ourselves in a place where we could lean on each other and share our craziness without backlash. If two stubborn, hot-headed individuals like us can get there, anyone can! Now I don’t expect us to be perfect, but I am marvelling at the amazing work God is doing in this life and am sharing with all of you in hopes that if you too find yourself in a place similar to this, that you will find hope in this account.

It is human nature to lash out on those closest to you, this is when the defenses come down and you are finally able to unravel. I just want to encourage you to allow yourself to unravel and be raw with your loved ones, but be cautious to not take your anger and frustrations out on each other. On the flip side, if you have a loved one who is struggling and it feels like they are directing all their anger and frustrations on you, well i encourage you to try to see that they are hurting. Try to deflect the hurtful words and see beyond to the heart of the one you love. Comfort them, pray for them and pray for the strength and wisdom to not retaliate!

Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the love. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

So lean hard on His truth, beg Him to show you His way and let Him love those around you in those moments you are not able to. Allow your Father to do a work in your life and you will be amazed in the places He brings you.

In the love of Jesus.

Psalm 25: 4 Mak…

Psalm 25:
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

This should be my daily prayer. This is how I should begin each day. All to easily I get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of my purpose here on this earth. To know God’s ways and to grow in Jesus. 

What is Love?

I love and I love deeply, but do I really know what it means to love?

I know what it means to sacrifice for my husband and my children. I know that I would give my life to save one of theirs. There is not a doubt in my mind about that. I am devoted to my husband and my children in ways that words cannot even begin to describe. Yet, I also know that as strong as my feelings of love and protection are, they pale in comparison to the love that God has for us.

I think this can be a really hard concept to grasp, it is for me. God loves me. God loves me? Me? Really? The defiant, short-tempered, ever wandering…me. The woman who falters and loses faith at times? The daughter that rebels…..daughter, I am His daughter, of course He loves me through all this.

As I ponder God’s love and how hard it is for me to wrap my mind around it, I begin to think back to the love I have for  family. They are not perfect and they bring me grief quite often. This does not diminish my love for them. I accept them all the way through, imperfections and all. My children rebel often and I still accept them and love them through it. So why is it so hard for me to accept God’s love?

I have come to realize that my doubt in God’s love is more so a reflection of my own self-love. I am my own worst critic. No one can bring me down like I can. I am always comparing myself to others and measuring myself up to my high expectations. I am not very forgiving of myself. So how can I accept that God forgives and loves me unconditionally??

Well, because God tells us that He does.

Romans 5:8 but God shows  his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for  us.

Of course God loves me! Why else would He send Jesus here to save us? While we were still sinners at that! Boggles my mind really. HE LOVED US FIRST. Amazing! Despite all my failures and because I am unworthy, this is why He loves me. This is why I need Jesus. I need God’s love. I need His forgiveness, I need His light to shine on my life. I need Him to cleanse my filthy soul. I need to stop trying to measure up, I never will. If God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, then I need to stop expecting it from myself too. I want to learn to rest in His love. Still l strive to be what He wants me to be but to stop relying on my own strength to do so. Know that God is there for me always. His love is unearned and eternal. If only I could love others the way He loves me.

Sure, I would do anything for those I love and I love them despite all the unpleasant stuff, but I could never love the way God loves. He is unwavering and constant. He is patient and kind, gentle and uplifting. God is great and I don’t deserve the love He pours out, but I am so grateful that He does!

Rest in His love today.

Bloooming!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19

I am a wasteland. I have been a wasteland for some time now. I started my journey with Christ about 6 years ago and can say that I am beginning to feel the streams that God has been placing in the wastelands of my soul.

I am beginning to feel the new, the springing up, the bloom.

It takes time for the planted seed to grow, it must be planted, tended to, watered, cared for. Lucky for me, Jesus planted a seed that needs little maintenance and can survive periods of drought. How lucky for me that even when I am not tending to the garden that God is trying to plant, I am surrounded by those that help water those seeds that have been so carefully placed.

Over the past few weeks I have been in the position of testifying to a co-worker. Speaking with her has been fulfilling and has been full of teachable moments, for both of us. I have come to realize that I retain much more than I thought. I never realized. I tend to feel like there is soooooo much to learn and that I am so far from knowing the word compared to others.

Compared to others. Why do I do that? Why do I compare my walk to the person next to me? What does that accomplish? Other than bringing me down while I tell myself that the person over there is so much further along in their walk than I am. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. We don’t really know what another person struggles with and it’s not our job to try and top them. Jesus wants us to come along side each other and walk. Just walk. Talk with each other about what is going on, lean on each other when the walk gets too steep and to love each other through the good times as well as the bad. Learn from those around you.

If you are spending all your time looking at those around you in order to see how you are measuring up, well you’ll miss out on some great experiences! When you’re hiking with a group, you should go at your own pace and enjoy the scenery. You will find yourself walking next to different people at different times, talking about your experience in that moment and learning from each other. Now, if you spent all your time on this hike worrying about what other people were thinking of you, or wearing yourself out while trying to keep up with the faster, more experienced hiker, well you wouldn’t have such a great experience now would you?

Anyway! Let me get back to the point at hand lol.

Booming. I have been blooming!

I have been in a place where a woman had been asking me about Paul and wasn’t he a thief…and I actually had answers! Hey Pastor John, I have been listening! I have been finding scripture pop into my head in times of struggle and anger. I am beginning to understand things that I have heard over and over and over again and thought I understood.

My knowledge in the Word is deepening.

My relationship with Jesus is deepening.

I am growing and blossoming in His love and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Now, all I need to do is remember to water these shoots and blooms. Jesus will take care of the pruning. God will pour out His light. If I hold up my end of the bargain, then I will reap the rewards.

Thanks for being on this journey with me, it’s an honor to have you all by my side.

Who am I?

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart…

That song comes to mind everytime I hear that question. Not an easy question to answer.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. – Matthew 16:15-16

I am a child of God, that is who I am. A child of the living God.

Simple as that.

Don’t get me wrong, I can attach a lot more labels to myself, but which ones really matter? Just that one.

In Peace, Love and Joy

New Glasses

Distortion

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

I picked up my new glasses last night and forgot about the whole getting used to seeing through a new pair of glasses part of the deal. I put them on and lost my depth perception! Since then I have been adjusting to these new glasses and learning how to go about my every day tasks with them.

This made me think. Made me think about where I have come from, who I was compared to who I am today, and how my perspective has changed as I take on Jesus’ point of view. It is really very similar to the new glasses. When I first take on a new idea, a new angle, a new behavior, it is awkward. My first steps in being more Christ-like were more like stumbles. Reminds me of when my kids were learning to walk. I was excited and ready to run with it! Confident that I knew how! Unfortunately we all know that you cannot learn to run before you learn to walk and this caused me to fall flat on my face…..often. Taking things slow has never been my approach to things, but I have come to learn that in my walk with Jesus I just need to be patient and take my time.

To do things in His time. Not in my time.

Last night I was tempted to take these glasses off and put on my old ones. I was used to those. Sure, these new glasses are clearer and have better lenses in them, but it would be so much easier to go back to my other ones.

Do you struggle with this too? The temptation to just go back to how things were because it was easier? Easier to not care about how my actions are effecting those around me. Easier to drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine rather than to pray through it, lean on God and grow through the pain. Easier to be in the flesh.

Is it really easier? Or is it just more familiar? Just something I know more intimately becasue I have spent more time in it.

Really, when it all boils down, it is easier to be in Jesus. It is easier to know that my God loves me through all the times I fall flat on my face. Better to know that through it all I have Jesus in my corner. Easier to see clearly through my Christ tinted glasses. Better to be firm in the adjustment periods and allow Him to do His work in me.

So today I urge you to resist those temptations to fall back into your old ways, whatever those may be for you, and allow Jesus to adjust your perceptions in this world. Take your time and grow in those periods of adjusting to the changes that transpire and reap the rewards!