Endurance

Growth can be painful, there is no doubt about that. I would even go so far as to say that all growth involved a level of discomfort. Some journeys are more painful than others.

I have been walking with the Lord for quite a few years now and He has been gracious. He knows what I can handle and what I cannot. I tend to think that surviving the tragedies in my life is enough. I came out of it, I survived and that is all that needs to be done. I found Jesus, I am forgiven, isn’t that enough? Well, of course it is. I can rest in the peace He has given me through the years. He certainly is not holding my past against me, only I do that. He does however bring me back to the places of extreme pain in order to bring me healing. This is not comfortable. Whenever past pains surface, I try to push them aside and move on. This has always been my preference. What is the point of rehashing past hurts? Well my friends, the thing is, if these pains continue to surface than true healing has not taken place.

I have come to a place where I am beginning to see that when true healing has taken place, I can look back upon these experiences with acknowledgement and am able to share with the sole intent of helping others. The way I know that I still need healing in these places is when they surface with anxiety, depression, when I feel me closing off to not feel all that goes along with those memories. When there is still pain. When I am tired from the effort that it takes to keep that part hidden, I know it is time to allow God to work there.

All too often we try to keep parts of our selves separate. Sometimes this is necessary for survival, but cannot be a long-term solution. Compartmentalization  can be a great way to survive the tragedy, shame should not be the reason we keep those feelings and memories locked away. We can become prisoners of what may have started out as a survival technique. The funny thing is that we can become so used to this state that we forget how heavy a burden we carry. I carry many burdens and God has been moving in these places. It is not easy.

Personally, I would prefer that these parts of me would just die and disappear. I don’t want to delve back into the wounds that seem so far away. Yet they are ever near the surface and come out in the anger, anxiety, impatience and coldness that comes out of me. I must feel, acknowledge and replace lies with truth in order to heal.

The problem is that if I feel too much at once, it will cripple me. If I try to face my past without Jesus, it will make me crazy. This is why I chose to lock up those parts of me. It was easier. Safer. Just the thought of it makes my heart ache as I type these very words. Acknowledging, feeling, allowing these places to once again become part of me scares me more than words can describe. How can I allow such horrors to become reality again?

There is another side to this that I struggle with, guilt. I look at all I endured and compare it to others in this world and begin to shame myself for even feeling the way I do. I begin to look at the horrors people face that make mine look like nothing. There is a lie that I have come to believe, I have no right to feel this pain because it is not as bad as what other’s endure at this very moment in time. I have no right to feel this pain or to experience healing because the horrors I face were due to choices I made. I tell myself that it could have been worse, I should be thankful. What right do I have to mourn when others are enduring far worse than my wildest dreams?

The truth is that I can very easily become tangled in the lies of this world. Yes, there are people suffering through terrible terrors in this world. However, this should not keep me from feeling my own pain. Yes, I have made horrible decisions that have left deep scars, but that doesn’t take away my right to mourn and to find healing.

As I struggle through these things, I begin to think that I cannot be the only one. I am certain that some, if not all of you, can relate to this in some way. As I begin to see that I need to be healed in these places, I want to share it with all of you. We have the right to mourn, we have the right to work through the pain, we do not need to live with it locked away somewhere. When we try to keep portions of ourselves buried we set our selves up for failure. In an essence we are telling God that we don’t need Him in these places. We cannot hide anything from our Lord, He knows everything.

Today I decide to give it all up to God. Today I lay it all down and give up control. I cannot manage the pain on my own. No longer can I continue to bury my past in hopes that I will never have to face it again. Today I choose life. I know that when I allow Jesus to do the work He wants to do in me, I will find true freedom. Only then will I experience true healing and peace, not this made up contentment I keep trying to manifest and convince myself of.

I encourage you to look deep inside and ask The Holy Spirit to show you where He wants to heal you today. We do not need to manifest issues or to create problems where there are none, that is not useful. We do need to allow God to do the work in us that He desires. Allow him to free you from the pain, the lies and the wounds left festering. You and I are not worthy in and of ourselves, but Jesus has made us so. All we have to do is turned to Him, confess our failures and our sin, He will do the work if we allow Him the space to.

Love you all.

Miracles

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

A man once said that all the miracles that have taken place in the Bible have one thing in common, they were in response to a problem. We all have problems, being a Christian does not make us exempt. Quite the contrary, it can open us up to even more. Being a Christian also allows us to experience miracles in response to those problems that arise.

“Trust in the LORD with all you heart; and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Walking through this life on earth can be so tiring at times. The storms around us can become fierce and I know that I can find myself seeking to find shelter and struggle to keep my eyes on the only true shelter. My flesh screams out for me to turn to things of this world when my Soul cries out to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

I do trust! Even when I am feeling tattered from the pressures of this life, I trust that the Lord is in control and will not forsake me. I know that every single person that breathes, has struggles. In these moments, the Spirit is with us. He meets us in these places and this is where those miracles happen. If I am not experiencing a problem that seems impossible to overcome, then how will I experience the Lord moving? I will not.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

When I choose to be content with what the Lord provides, I am acknowledging that He is in control. I struggle with control quite a bit and don’t even realize it most of the time. I am not in control. Alone I am powerless and at the mercy of circumstances. In Jesus I am protected and cared for beyond measure. I am a child of God and need not worry or want for anything. In Him I find my strength.

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” – Ephesians 3:17

I am human, I walk this land in this body made of flesh and experiences stressors all the same. Unexpected trials and speed bumps come up out of nowhere it seems. My emotions respond and I grow tired. I am grateful that I have a strong foundation and can stand or lie down on this foundation in full knowledge that miracles occur every day. I am rooted in the knowledge that God is moving in every moment of this life given. As trials come to be, I have a choice, I can allow my faith to grow in this knowledge or I can succumb to the pressures of this world. I choose to lean on my Lord in faith and to wait and watch the work He performs. In my struggles, I need to leave the space God needs to perform the beautiful miracles I long for. If I don’t step back, I am not allowing Him to step in.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.“- Matthew 6:25-34

Thank you Jesus for walking with my in all my days and for taking care of me in all things.

The Salt and the Light of this Earth

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

– Matthew 5:13-14

During the first night of our women’s bible study last week, we were discussing the Holy spirit and came upon the point that He suppresses darkness in this world. Did I know that? Yes, but something hit a little deeper this time. Think about the fact that we are instruments here in earth and that we are here to be a light in the darkness that surrounds us. What if we weren’t here? How much crazier would life be? I cannot even begin to imagine what it would look like. We are the salt and the light of this earth. God tells us this, but what does it mean?

Salt preserves and cleanses, the light clarifies and brings warmth. These are the things that first come to mind as I ponder this. As the salt of this earth, I am to preserve God’s word, bring light to this dark world and to heal the wounds it inflicts on those around me. We are to stand firm on God’s truth and awaken those around us that have been lulled to sleep by the corruption in this land. I don’t pretend to be a scholar or to know all the answers, I can only share what I experience and what the Spirit shows me as I study His Word.

We are to prevent the growth of corruption and filth in this world as salt prevents bacteria on meat. The key is to apply it properly. We are to remain sensitive to the Spirit and take care when applying God’s Word and Wisdom. We also need to be in the Word and to have the Spirit within us to be of use. For if the salt loses it’s saltiness, it is of no use. If the light is hidden under a basket, it is of no use to those around it. We must extend God’s grace to all those around us. We must share our testimony and be open with our struggles, out triumphs, our failures and our God. If we do not allow God to work in us, if we do not share what Jesus did on the cross, then what good are we to those around us? If we hold it all inside, it will impact no one.

Salt enhances the way food tastes, light enables us to see more clearly. We, as Christians can make this life more palatable for others and help them to see more clearly, if we follow God’s commands and extend the grace and love extended to us through Jesus Christ. We are to love on one another, come along side and carry each other’s burdens. It is not our place to judge, lecture or guilt anyone. I think we can easily be thrown off and begin to act in the flesh without realizing it. We live in dark times. We must remain diligent and wait on the Lord.

Marriage is….

Beautiful, difficult, exhausting, fulfilling…what do you think?

I think relationships of all kinds are challenging and that is a good thing! We need to be challenged in order to grow. My friends challenge me differently than my children, who challenge me differently than my husband and so on.

Lately I have been reading a few books, articles and listening to podcasts that have revolved around marriage and want to share with you a few points that really hit home. I think we all need to be reminded of these key points.

  • Your partner is not responsible for your happiness.

Again, I think this can apply to all relationships we encounter. We are not responsible for another’s happiness, nor should we rely on them to bring us happiness. The thing is that we need to find our own happiness in this life. We make that choice every day. Those we choose to have relationships with in our lives can most definitely enhance our happiness, but they are not meant to be the source.

‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song I will praise him.’ – Psalm 28:7

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and He needs to be the source of my happiness. This does not belittle the happiness my husband brings to my life. Quite the opposite takes place when I put this into action. When I decided that I was expecting too much from my husband and that I needed to really look deep inside myself to see what was missing, I found that I was expecting my husband to fill a place in me that is only meant for the Spirit. Sure I was still praying and studying and asking God to fill my life, but something was off. I was essentially expecting my husband to be perfect. I was not extending the same Grace that is extended to me with each and every breath I take. I was holding my poor husband up to a standard that he could never meet. I was stunting his growth by not allowing him the space he needed. I was stunting my own growth by expecting him to satisfy my every need. I expected him to read my mind, know my thoughts, see my emotional turmoil and to respond in the exact manner I wanted him to. Well, that is just impossible. There is only one that knows my inner most needs and that is Jesus.

‘You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ – Acts 2:28

When I saw what was happening and decided to make changes, my marriage was transformed. It was difficult to make the changes needed, but God is faithful and He has brought me such a long way. I know that I have a long road ahead of me, but I am already seeing the fruit being produced in my obedience.

  • We are to minister to one another.

I don’t know about you, but I was in a place where I thought I was ministering to my husband, but I was really just telling him what he was doing wrong. When you are in as intimate a relationship as a marriage, you see the good, the bad and the ugly in that other person. They also have the great pleasure of seeing these things in you. At this time, I believe you have another choice. You can start weighing the good and the bad, take notes, and hand them a plan for how they can be a better person. The other option is to love them completely and walk beside them on their journey. We need to be ministering to each other, this includes our spouses.

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – I Peter 4:10

There is no competition in marriage. Really, we should not be competing with anyone, not spiritually. We all have our own, unique walk and cannot race to a finish line. It is my job to minister to my husband. Without manipulation! I have begun to see that I need to seek only to serve him and not remind him of how he should be serving me. That was tough, I didn’t even realize that I was doing this. I was telling him how he fell short of my expectations. I thought I was sharing with him how I was feeling, but I now see that I was really coming from a place of expectation. I was expecting him to change his approach and behaviors in response to my emotional needs. I have started a different approach and am trying to be mindful of the words I use. I try to not speak out of emotion, typically I regret anything that comes out of my mouth when I am emotional. I have been looking to serve him. I don’t want to take this for granted. I am the only person in this world that can be this close to him and I want to be the light and love that he needs. That he deserves.

On one of the pod casts I was listening to, a gentleman said something that I absolutely loved. I do not have the exact quote but it was to this point. “The problem is that we keep asking the wrong question. We should not be asking how to have a better marriage, we should be asking ourselves how we can be better spouses.”

We cannot control other people. We cannot control circumstances. We can only control our own actions and responses. An attitude is an outward response of our inner feelings. Change cannot take place from the outside in, transformation can only come from the inside out. Today I choose to have a good attitude. I choose to minister to all people who God places in my life. I choose to look to the Holy Spirit for my joy and peace. I choose to give up all my demands and to ask Jesus to replace them with opportunities to serve. I choose to give up control and know that when I do, it is replaced with so much more than I could have ever imagined or demanded.

I choose life. I choose love. I choose to have an ever-deepening relationship with my husband and to not settle for a shallow version where I think I am getting what I deserve. The truth is that I don’t deserve any of it. I am a sinner and deserve nothing. I am an imperfect human being who has caused so much wreckage in my life and I cannot expect anyone in my life to live to a higher standard. That is not my job description. I am to love, I am to support, I am to pray, and I am to be still. I choose to keep my eyes on God and to let Him fill me so that I can minister to my loved one the way that they need me to.