Category Archives: Five Hundred Words

Perfectly Made

Compliments are a weird thing for me. When I am given one, I don’t know what to do with it. I try to smile and say thank you, most of the time I deflect and try to avoid them. I once thought that not accepting a compliment was a type of humility, then I began to think of it as a pride issue. Lately, I have been given another perspective.

I have had the pleasure of going through some healing of old wounds with a woman who is in the same place as me, on so many levels. We have both experienced some crazy traumas as kids and have rebelled and lashed out in some similar ways. It has been great to meet with someone who listens with an open heart and that is willing to share their struggles so freely. We went through a book that I thought wold be much more difficult than it turned out to be. This last book dug into past traumas that can affect current relationships and reminded us on how Jesus wants to heal those places. He was there, is there and is the only One that can bring true healing. How amazed I am by the love He shares so freely. How much I enjoy digging into those places that once hurt and see just how powerfully He moves through those places, brings healing and allows the experience to bring healing to others. We only need to be willing.

Recently we have begun a book on another topic my friend felt she needed to face. I did some searching and found a great one. I was excited to start this process with her and expect miracles to take place. The thing I did not expect was just how deep this would hit home for me as well. The emotions it has stirred, the memories that threaten to become clearer, the pain buried so deeply, so long ago. The topic of Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers. Ugh, it is apparently a place that needs to be dug up and brought into the Light. The good news is that when Jesus asks me to step into these hard places, I know that it is so that He can release me from the burdens I carry. Burdens that I was never meant to carry. Experiences that can be shared and that can be used for His greater Good once I learn to release them.

After I completed the first chapter, I was struck by the fact that for most of my childhood, my internal feelings and thoughts were never acknowledged. In fact they were replaced with my parents telling me that I was not good enough, I was not worthy of love and that I would never be anything more than a burden and a mistake. When you learn these things in these stages of development, you carry those feelings of inadequacy into adulthood. We become unable to accept when others acknowledge a gift or skill in ourselves. We were never taught how. We were raised to believe that anything we felt we were successful in was a lie. We were told, in many different ways, that we should not acknowledge any beauty in ourselves. We are not to see our talents as something good. We will never measure up.

Now, I don’t believe we are meant to dwell in these places for long, but I do think it’s important to gain a new perspective and to dig deep to understand the underlying issues. If we go there, when Jesus leads us, we can find true freedom. We can replace the lies that were told to us so long ago. We can begin to see ourselves as the creations we are. Our Creator has made us all for a purpose and we need to know that. We need this to sink to the depths of our hearts so that we can be free to move within that purpose. It’s important.

I have had a desire to see myself as Jesus sees me, for some time now. It’s not a quick process, but a life long one. To allow Him to undo the lies and guilt that we grip onto so tightly. The defenses we have grown accustomed to carrying around, fully engaged. We don’t even realize how exhausting it is anymore, we have forgotten any other way. Jesus knows our burdens, He knows our pain and He is the only One that can release us from them. We only need to give Him the space to do so. He is gentle, patient and willing to wait until we go before Him and lay it all down. How lovely it is when we are able to drop the defenses and to walk in His will with confidence. The beauty we are able to encounter within ourselves is amazing.

Today I would encourage you all to turn your hearts over to Jesus and to ask Him what He wants you to see within yourself. Focus on following the path that He laid out for you so long ago. Remember that you were molded into perfection by His hands and that He wants a close and personal relationship with you. He is the true Father and His love never wavers. He has the perfect vision of who you are and what you are meant to do for His Kingdom. Rest on that. Seek His will. See yourself through His perfect eyes. Receive His love and acceptance. Let those defenses fall away and know that no one can hurt you anymore, for you are His and He will always protect you. He laid down His life for you. Now live  yours for Him.

 

Psalm 139

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

An Amazing Year

I sit here and ponder the last year or so of this life. The path traveled was a windy and unexpected one. I left the field of hospice care and accepted a position offered to me that I clearly saw Your hand in. I knew for a fact that You meant for me to take that position, even though it meant leaving a field I had spent eight years in. It meant leaving a company I working with from the day they opened their doors here in CT. It meant walking away from the known and into the unknown. So I did, knowing that You had a plan and this was just a step towards something. I took that position, knowing that it would not be a position I would be in forever. It was scary, exciting and freeing in so many ways. The job was great, I was able to work from home and that allowed me to be there each morning to get my kids on the bus. It meant I no longer stressed on snow days, delays and when sickness hit. It allowed me to flex my time and get more involved in my church. It was great.

After working in this new place for six months, layoffs began and I knew that my position would be one of them. I began to apply to some jobs I found I qualified for, but I hated the thought of having to give up my work at the church and my flexibility around my family. Then I lost my job. I was let go during the second wave of layoffs and went on unemployment. The only other time I have ever been on unemployment was ten years ago. It was a shock and yet I heard You telling me that this was all part of Your plan. You told me to trust You and I did. Between the pay I received “in lieu of notice” and the unemployment, we never skipped a beat financially. You just kept on providing. I was blown away each time. I adjusted my budget and saw the negatives glowing red. It brought me anxiety and instead of panicking, I rested on Your promises and handed them over to You. Our finances are not our own, they are Yours and I knew You would ensure that we were taken care of. I was blown away, week by week. You met us in those places of uncertainty every time. I am so blessed to see You move in my life. I am still amazed as I write about it.

The layoff came just three days before my step-daughters were coming to stay for the summer. I was able to be present. I was able to do more around my house and that allowed my husband to do less as he worked a ton of over-time. The over-time that was not supposed to be, the over-time that You provided. The over-time that filled those red spaces in our budget. As we walked in faith, You filled the gaps. We walked knowing that You were there and that You were working, but not knowing how. It is so freeing to be in that place once you let go of the fear.

As I continued to try to pick up more side jobs and applied to other “real jobs”, I was never called in for an interview. This is a first for me! I have always worked and have never had trouble finding a job. I took this to be You telling me that I was to continue to do what I was doing at the church I loved and with the family I adored. I kept walking blindly, just knowing in my heart that this was all going to be great. I also had moments of complete anxiety and fear, those became fewer and fewer. You brought me to a place of immense peace. You reminded me that I have always desired for more and that You were bringing me to that place. You reminded me that what seems like less to the world is so much more to You.

As my professional world lessened, my husband’s expanded. As I had more time to give, I gave it to the church I adore. I was able to serve the people there and use the skills You have given me through time. I never really thought I was “good enough” to serve as a volunteer coordinator at any church, yet my heart has desired it for so long. Here I was, volunteer coordinator at Your church. Crazy. Seriously. I knew I wanted it, but there was always this part that whispered to me of how unqualified I was. There was this part of me that didn’t think I deserved it. I mean, I don’t. The thing is, none of that matters. I knew God was calling me to a different place and I followed and just kept giving Him all my worries and doubts. He is so kind and gentle, He would remind me of who He is and what He was calling me to in so many ways. He used His people to speak just the right words at just the right time and blew me away every time.

As we approached the end of the year, so came the end of my unemployment. I was unsuccessful in finding a job that would offer what I needed to continue my work at the church and allow me to be available for my kids in the same manner that I have been. So now I am working at Your church part-time as I was able to grow into this position You called me to. You gave me this space and told me what to do with it. It was frightening, completely different from anything I have ever done before, yet I just knew that it was exactly where You wanted me.

So now I start a new year as a part-time volunteer coordinator in Your church, I am still with my kids before and after school, I am tending to my home more than I was ever able to before. There has been this huge shift in my life, but everyone here is happy and things haven’t really changed all that much. It’s difficult to explain. Walking in faith is hard, it’s a struggle. There is no easy way to follow You blindly, oh but the rewards are great. The things You have brought me through have hit my core. You have truly transformed this soul in ways that I couldn’t even begin to explain. The peace, the joy, the healing and the light that You have brought in this life are amazing.

I sit here in amazement of You. The path You have brought me through still boggles my mind. To know that so much more is still unseen is impossible to comprehend. Your vast love and kindness must never be forgotten. The freedom You have provided me is incomprehensible, yet I know I only taste a small portion of it. I know I have struggles to go through still and that each brings me closer to You. Each trial offers true strength, true peace, and unspeakable love. The weight being lifted, the pain I hardly know knew was there. Even as I struggle physically, my Soul shines brightly. The enemy may slow me down from time to time, but You’re always there. You lift me up, You patiently wait and You never waver.

To know that You truly want me to be happy, that walking in the way You asked me to would seem so irresponsible to me, yet brought such miracles. How I blindly followed You and it brought me to a place that I cannot describe. My words fail, but my heart sings to You. My gratitude pours out of me. You’ve met me at every step and I know that You always will.

Thank You Lord

You Amaze Me

Dearest Jesus,

You amaze me more and more each day. The depths of healing, peace, and restoration You have bestowed upon me are beyond anything I could have hoped for. The way You have taken such a mess as me and made me part of such beautiful things. I once thought this world full of only darkness, corruption, and disappointments. I long ago counted so much as lost. Yet You have brought me to places that have shown me the true Hope, Peace and Love of all creation. You have shown me that all the misconceptions I once held were lies. Those lies kept me from You for so long and how I hope that I can be a testimony to those that believe those lies now.

I one was lost, a wretch, a liar, and full of destruction. Now that I have You, I can feel the life being poured into me and I am amazed at all  that You have used to bring good into this life. The baggage I once carried has been lifted and I am now able to use my past as a tool to bring others healing. Regret, shame, and guilt melt away with each passing day. Thank You for that.

I see now that I allowed what human beings did in Your name, keep me from You. I see it in people all around me. We are all human and no one is perfect. Following Christ is not an easy road to travel and how easily we can be pulled into the things of the world. How easy it is to use our Lord’s good name to bring pain, suffering , and guilt upon others. We must rely on Jesus every moment. We all fail, we all fall short and we all make mistakes. The Good News is that Jesus died for us and we can repent and be used for greater things. All we need to do is accept Jesus into our hearts. Welcome Him into our lives, learn about Him, let Him into those deep places we try so hard to hide. Let Him be our shelter in the storms of life. Stand firm on the knowledge that He has a plan for each and every person on this planet.

Thank You Lord for Your mercy, your love, your patience, and your kindness. Thank You for answering my prayer and allowing me glimpses of how You see me. I am honored that You look upon me with such affection, for I am most unworthy. Let this life be a testimony to Your greatness, to the transformation made possible in You. You took a lost, destructive, wreck of a life and made it beautiful. I pray that more people can come to know the healing I have experienced. I pray that You continue to heal this life and to dig deeper. I lay my life in Your hands. You created me and I will follow wherever You go.

Thank You, You are amazing.

So good

Our Lord is amazing. He really is.

Jesus is kind, sweet, gentle and loving.

As I have been walking this road of recognizing and releasing my anxiety and guilt, He has been right there. He has been showing me where it stems from, speaking Truth into those places and bringing freedom.

I still have these moments of anxiety gripping my heart, but it is not for long and I am able to work through it. I can feel Jesus softening my heart and showing me how I just need to trust Him more. Not the kind of trust where I say that I trust Him while I am still freaking out about the outcome of any given situation. I give it up in prayer and then I take it right back to over analyze and obsess over. That is not true faith. I need to let it go over and over again. I have to stop taking it back and looking for my own solutions. I need to take these thoughts captive and continuously give it back to Jesus.

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5

When I live in obedience to God’s Word, I live in a place of peace. I gain such freedom. The stressors don’t go away, life is still a struggle. The difference is that I am no longer looking to the wrong places for answers, I am no longer relying on myself. I look to the only One that really matters. To Christ.

Jesus loves me. He loves all of us. He wants us to rely on Him in all things. We need to give up control and allow our Creator and Savior to lead.

The more I give up control, the more peace I feel at my core. The more I follow where He leads, the more I get to experience Him working miracles. Every time I take a step in the direction He prompts me to, I am blown away by the results. Obedience allows me to be a better instrument in God’s Kingdom.

I am the type of person that likes details and I like for things to follow a series of events that makes sense to me. I like to see where I am going. I like guarantees. I look at the long-term potential of all things before I act. This is how I have lived for so long. It felt safe to me. In reality, it was hindering me.

I am still a planner and I still think about the long term. The difference is that I know that the future is not guaranteed and I know that things change when I least expect it. I know that when Jesus prompts me to make a move in my life, I do it. No matter how uncomfortable it is, not matter how I may doubt myself, I trust in Him. I know for sure that wherever He leads, whatever He tells me to do, is going to be beautiful.

When I allow anxiety and fear to hold me back, I miss out on God’s plans. When I falter and hesitate, others may be missing out too. See God uses us all to move. He wants us to show His love and mercy to those we come into contact with. So when I decide to ignore His prompting, I am quenching His Spirit. This is why I must not allow my fears and anxieties to get in the way. God will move, with or without me. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in his will and moving where He moves. I don’t want to “play it safe” and stay in my comfort zone. I desire to be more, to do more and to bring Christ all the glory.

I am so grateful that we have this option. I am so thankful that Jesus is so patient with me and guides me to a place of better understanding. I am honored to be His servant and choose to move when He tells me to, no matter how uncomfortable I may be.

I choose His will over mine. I choose to work where He tells me to and to apply the gifts He has bestowed upon me in a way that allows others to see Him.

Lord, I pray that You use me each day. I want to make an impact on those that I come into contact with each day. I want to bring You all the glory and I am willing to walk wherever You lead. I ask that You give me the strength to push past the anxiety and fears that creep in and replace them with the knowledge that You are always in control. Nothing is out of your reach and nothing goes unnoticed by You. Help me to stay on the path You lay before me. In The precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

Wives

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you. – Genesis 3:16

In the very beginning, when sin first entered the world, we were told that we would desire to control our husbands. Some time back I came across this and was floored by the realization that I am not alone in this. All married women deal with this on some level. This is part of the curse passed onto our ancestors. This was such a relief to me.

I don’t think of this as an excuse, but as a deep seeded issue that God already knows about and already has a plan for. He is the one that told Eve that this would be true for all women, for all time. It is not just a Melissa thing. It’s a woman thing. Normalizing an issue has a way of easing the burden.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:22-23

This verse can strike a nerve in many a women, I get that, but push past your pride and hear what this verse is truly saying. Submit to your husband as the church submits to Christ. Let your husband lead and love you the way you were meant to. This is not a command to lay down and be a doormat, it’s an invitation to go beyond our pride and to give our husbands the room to grow and lead the way they are meant to.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to talk too much and act out of emotions when I shouldn’t. The best moments in my marriage are when I die to self, raise my husband up, and give him the space he needs to seek our Lord’s guidance. This is not a place of lesser power, it is a place of great responsibility and we can cause damage when we choose any other way. I know that I can attest to that. Oh, how many times my sharp tongue has torn at my poor husband.

1In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.

3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 1 Peter 3:1-5

I am beginning to see more and more that when I am obedient in God’s Word and choose to be silent and respectful, even when my husband is not being loving, it makes a huge impact. There may be suspicion in the beginning on his part, waiting for the wretched woman in me to lash out, but he eventually is changed by my soft response.

I am far from perfect and I fail in this often. I do want to share that those times when I am able to give it all over to God and allow the Holy Spirit to move, I am blown away at the difference. I choose to submit, I choose to respect, I choose to not react to the outbursts towards me and it allows Jesus the space He needs for my husband to hear Him. If I am reactive and sharp, I drown out the Spirit and that is not something I ever want to do. I want to be a tool for Christ to use, not a distraction.

Lord, I am thankful for Your Word and I pray that You continue to strengthen me in my weakness, show me how to follow Your will and to pour Your Spirit into my marriage. I thank You for the amazing work You have already done in our five years together and am so excited to see where You will bring us. You are so good, there are no words. Thank You Jesus.

A Sheltered Life?

Since I have not written everyday, I will stop the count 🙂 I will still be striving to write a minimum of 500 words each day.

I find it funny that I sometimes wish I lived a sheltered life. A life of ignorance, a life of simplicity and a life of routine. The funny thing is that, as an American, I do live a sheltered life. Sure, I am aware of some of the terrors that plague this world and have experienced some terrible things myself. The reality is that in this country I do not face persecution and I am not living in bondage. I live a good life.

Why is it that I can get so lost in feeling like this life is such a struggle? Sure finances can be burdensome and stressful, but we have access to so much in this country. I have such freedom.

So there are times when I wish I lived under a rock and was not aware of the things I am. I also know that God made me purposely and that I am right where I need to be and know exactly what He wants me to.  I am His child and He knows the outcome of this life I lead. I  can rest on that in all things. He shows guides me along a carefully planned out path that is just for me. Sure, I have people who are by my side on this journey, but my journey is my own. We all have our own personal journeys. We are meant to share our stories.

Are there parts of your journey that you would rather not remembers? Are there parts of you that you would prefer to leave behind? I have them too. The thing is, if you allow God into those places, He will use them for good. It may not seem possible right now, just trust in Him and He will show you how. Take a leap of faith and dare to share with others. You never know who you will touch and how you can bring a shimmer of hope to those struggling in the very things you were delivered from.

Can you think of a time when someone was brave enough to share their story and it pierced your very heart? As you listened you began to think, “I am not the only one”? Have you ever read, heard or watched a person’s story and thought about how brave they were and felt that maybe you could be a little more brave too?

We have such power in our stories. Jesus loves to use us and He is always ready to help you through anything He asks you to walk in. He is so kind, so gentle and so loving in all things. Today I ask us all to sit before the throne and ask Jesus to show us how we can use our stories. As Him to bring people into our path that would benefit from us. There are so many people who will benefit from you! As you go about your day, be aware of that small voice that prompts you to speak. Don’t ignore it, don’t push it down, let it flow and watch the power of Jesus flow.

Day 12 – What Am I Owed?

Most of my life, I walked around being upset that I never received what I was owed. I didn’t get the love my parents owed me, the security I needed or the guidance I deserved. I acted out of this place and it took Jesus to show me that I don’t deserve anything at all.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:23

I deserve death and nothing more. Only in Jesus have I found true life, true love and true faith. This has been given as a gift. This is given freely despite the fact that I truly don’t deserve it.

I don’t deserve anything from anyone in this world. I find myself reacting to the way people treat me in certain situations. In reality I am reacting to them not reacting the way I predetermined that they should. Does that make sense? I have a standard that others have to meet in order for me to accept how they are treating me. I decide what is acceptable and what they owe me in terms of love, respect, etc. The truth is that they really don’t owe me anything.

This goes both ways. I cannot feel guilty when i don’t meet another person’s expectations either. I can remember that they owe me nothing, that I owe them nothing and that we can choose to love each other despite it all. See acceptance, love and true relationships are a choice. Not one person on this planet deserves the awesome gift of eternal life in the presence of God, we all fall short. He chose to send Jesus to bridge the gag, to cover our sins, to allow us to be with Him once again. It was a choice.

So I am going to remember that I am no one owes me anything. I am going to let my pride die a little more. I am going to look at people’s reactions differently and try to see where they are so that I can meet them there rather than expecting them to meet my standards.

I choose love, life and transparency. I choose to lower my standards and to be real. I choose to accept that I don’t deserve the life Christ gave to me. I choose to live in the place of acceptance, humility and peace.

I must let these standards go in order for this life to be used by Jesus. I must learn to let it all go, love through the offence and choose Christ above all things.

What do I deserve? Death. What do I have in Christ? Eternal life. How can I not love everyone in my life unconditionally? How can I choose anything other than to let it all go, lay it all down and die to self? Live in the eternal and allow Christ to work through you the way He wants to. I am free indeed and I must never lose sight of that.

Day 11 – The Cross Matters

the cross matters

 

Last night the message at church was about staying focused on the cross and to not take it for granted. Have you ever found that you tend to take things for granted when they are readily right before you?

I can think of several things that I tend to take granted as an American. I take my clean water, easy access to an abundance of food, the steady income my husband and I have.

I know that these may seem cliche to some, but it’s a reality. I am fully aware of just how fortunate I am to have been born here in Connecticut. I may struggle from time to time, but my version of struggle is much different from that of others in this world. I believe this applies to my spiritual walk as well.

I often take my salvation for granted. I have eternal life in Jesus and am so thankful. Do I really have any idea how lucky I am? Do I really see the others that do not have this in their life? Do I actively seek to save those around me? I think I need to step it up.

There are believers dying for their faith as we speak. I am free to walk the streets of this country, letting all know that I am a follower of Jesus. I may be judges, I may be shunned, some may even hate me for it, but I will not lose my life. This is huge and I need to exercise that freedom daily.

I don’t think that we should pressure people to believe what we believe, but i do think that we need to share our stories and let people know that they too have access to God. All too many think that they need to have another go before Jesus on their behalf, this is not the case. Jesus is right there waiting for you to turn to Him. Jesus is by your side, protecting you, waiting for you, praying that you will allow Him into your heart. This matters. The cross matters.

We cannot possible comprehend the magnitude of the work accomplished on that cross. We have glimpses and vague ideas really. To think of the burden our Jesus took upon Himself so that we would be saved. That He willingly took on sin, was separated from the Father, conquered the grave, all for us.

I know that I would sacrifice my very life for any one of my children if it would allow them to live. I know in my heart that I would, I believe most parents would. Yet, I know that I still don’t even come close to understanding the sacrifice Jesus made so that we may live.

Don’t get so comfortable with your own salvation that you forget just how huge it is. Don’t allow yourself to become so complacent that you forget about those around you that are destined to an eternity separated from God. Use your freedom, bask in His Glory and share your stories. Let Jesus be known.

Day 10 – Steadfast

Seeking counsel and fellowship are important. Seeking God’s face is most important of all.

God is good and that is all that matters.

The walk is long, hard and backbreaking at times. The great thing is that we are never alone.

I lean on You most of all. A war is waging all around me and only You can protect me. All too often we walk around blind to the damage, pain and brokenness that surrounds us on all sides. Jesus is beginning to open my eyes to it and for that I am thankful.

I live in a place that is hardened against Jesus and I must remember that He has put me here for a reason. When God brought me into existence, He did so with a purpose. It is so easy to lose sight of that and just go through the motions.

I don’t want to take this life for granted. I don’t want to fall. I don’t want to curl up and fade away. These are the whispers of the enemy. He tells me that I am no good, that all I want to do is not worth it. The darkness creeps in and tries to render me useless. I will not succumb.

The burden is heavy at times, but all I have to do is remember that Jesus us by my side sharing it.

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

I am learning to be ok with being weary and heavy-laden at times. It is alright to acknowledge it so long as I bring it before Christ. In all I have been challenged with, I have seen that it is deepening my understanding and strengthening my faith. I can feel Jesus lifting the burdens off of me and showing me the way to walk.

I am not perfect in the struggle. My emotions have been all over the place as my heart has been tested. I have lashed out and I am not proud of that. The great thing is that I am seeing where it is coming from, I am learning to pull it back and open it up before the throne. I am using this time as a place to be still before the Almighty and to ask Him to heal the places that are ripping apart inside.

Every moment is an opportunity and a lesson. God moves in all things. God uses everything for His greater good if I allow Him to.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28

This verse reminds me that I have a responsibility in all things. We live in a broken world and in the center of a spiritual war. Bad things will happen. Spiritual attacks will push us to the edge. It’s ok to struggle, it’s ok to fall apart, and it’s ok to not have the answers. I must always remember to turn back and bring it before Jesus so that He can turn it all around. He will bring all things to a place of goodness and love, it’s up to us to allow Him the room He needs to do this work. He will not force Himself into our lives, we must invite Him in.

Day 9 – Beginning and End

Part of a song we have been singing in worship has been on my heart.

You, you are my first, You are my last, You are my future and my past…..

…You are the beginning and the end

I find myself humming and singing these words without even realizing it half the time. This morning it resonated deep within. Jesus, You are the beginning and the end of all things. You were here before the creation of the world and You will continue to be after it is not more. These are facts that I can rest on. This brings me comfort.

More than that, You are the beginning and the end of all things in my life. When I face a trial, I bring it to You first. I lay it before You and ask for Your guidance and protection. Generally, I get lost in the middle somewhere. I being to lose focus of where I am going, I struggle to not allow the anxiety to swallow me up, I cling to You. At the end of it all I know that You were there all along, that You are still there and I give You all the glory. At the end I am falling on my knees in thanksgiving and praise.

You are the first and the last. You surround me. Nothing can get in the way of You, Lord.

Many think that making Jesus your everything diminishes the other relationships in your life, this is not the case. Jesus magnifies and deepens everything, especially relationships.

My life was a shallow one compared to how I live today. Jesus has a way of peeling away layers that you didn’t even know were there. He is faithful, He is transforming and He is beautiful. When You invite Him in, You gain access to all that He is and there are no words to describe the power in that.

Christianity gets a bad wrap and for some good reasons. I would say that you cannot judge all the followers of Jesus based on those that chose to abuse His name. This applies to all cultures and races. I know that I once attacked the Christian faith and am so glad that Jesus loved me through it all. I am so happy that I gave Him a chance, that I walked into that church all those years ago. I am so thankful that I swallowed my pride and embraced His forgiveness.

I am still me and that will never change. I am flawed, I am a wreck and I have a long road ahead of me, but I have a peace that I have never experienced before. Jesus brings such contentment, such love and compassion that it is impossible not to pass that along to the people in your life. As you deepen your walk with our mighty Creator, you automatically deepen your relationship with the world around you. As Jesus transforms your heart, you no longer are capable of indifference and selfishness to the degree you once were. The key is allowing Him in to bring about that transformation. Only you can get in the way.