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!

Dying to self and Meeting with the Pastor

Image

There are two topics on my mind this morning, as you can see from the title ūüôā

To die to self….this is another concept that I have heard time and time again, yet this morning it really seems to be clear. I see it more clearly then I have previously anyway.

2 Corinthians 4:11 says¬†For we who live are always given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may manifest in our mortal flesh.

Huh, so I need to die to self in order for Jesus to manifest in those places. I mean, I know I need Jesus in this mortal flesh. I am always pleading with Him to work through me, speak through me, walk in me. But am I dying to self before asking Him to do so? God cannot be at work in an¬†anxious¬†heart.This heart my friends, is often anxious. I often find myself clenched up tightly in the anxieties of this world. I may still be calling out to Jesus, but I am not letting go before doing so. How can He work under those conditions? He doesn’t. At least not to the full capacity that He could be, if I would only let Him.

Do you see a reoccurring theme here? I do.

Let Jesus in!

Really a simple yet so deeply profound concept. It is sinking through the layers to my heart. The love of God and all that He wants to do in this life are the things that I should allow to have a grip on this heart, not all the worldly fears and anxieties.

Funny that I am often told that I am a calming presence, funny because I am a naturally anxious person. The calming presence comes when I am allowing our God to do His work in me rather than allowing myself to be sucked into all the filthy fleshy things that drag me down and distract me from the true meaning of life. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30)

Now, as for the meeting with the Pastor portion. I find it funny that it can be so hard to do so at times! First, let me start by telling you that my Pastor is a really cool guy, down to earth and does not judge at all. Yet it can be intimidating to sit in front of him to discuss my struggles and to ask for advice.

Perhaps it is an authority thing? Maybe its this deep seeded fear that one day I will bring up an issue that will cause him to tell me that I have done it, I am just too far gone for Jesus? I know this is silly! This man sits in front of us all, at least twice a week, and tells us that we will never earn God’s grace, love and compassion. We cannot do anything to make Him love us any more or any less. God’s love is always there and always the same. He does not fluctuate in His promises. Only we do.

This is a fear I have had and continue to have with others I speak to. That part of me that holds her breath waiting for the other person to gasp in shock at something I have said or done. Waiting for that person to turn away from me because I am not worthy?

But isn’t that the point? We are not worthy! We are all stuck in the messiness of it all. Not one of us is perfect and the more we share that with each other, the easier it will be for us all. So I urge you to bite the bullet and meet with whoever it is that you feel comfortable talking to, and then with a person that you are not so comfortable talking to! I promise it will be rewarding.

Every time I feel that I need to meet with my Pastor, I can give myself a thousand reasons not to. He is too busy, I don’t need to talk to him, I can talk to someone else, etc. Now I am at a point that I am seeing that when I feel the need to talk to a particular person about a particular topic, it is for a reason. Once I am done playing the games with myself and step out of my flesh and into fellowship, I always, always, always come out feeling so much better!

So, i end this encouraging you to die to your flesh and allow Jesus to shine through those ugly places. Take a step out of your comfort zone and share whenever and with whoever you have a chance to. The harder the task, the better the rewards.

In His Love.

Coincidence?

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord , and your plans will be established.

Funny that this is the verse that was waiting for me this morning. After all my rambling yesterday on how I know that I need to put all my trust in the Lord so that everything else can fall into place. I know for a fact that when I do this, He is able to do the work He needs to do.

Coincidence that I woke up to this today? I think not.

I find it difficult to memorize scripture but feel in my heart that this is the verse where I will begin doing so.

Live in Christ.

Proverbs 3: 5-6…

Proverbs 3: 5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your paths.

Trust in God, it’s really that simple, yet it can be so complicated and difficult at the same time. The difficulty and complication usually comes into play when we are in the flesh, when we are too busy with self and what we want.

My pastor started his¬†message¬†with this today and it really hit my heart. I am continuously wondering about where I need to be, what I¬†should¬†be doing, which direction I should be heading. I mean constantly. Questions about where I should be professionally, spiritually, where I should be living, where I should be as a mother, as a wife. These questions are always swimming around in my thoughts. There is a purpose behind these questions, my problem lies in the fact that I find it really difficult to just be. To rest in God’s promises and allow Him to direct my path. I pray for His guidance regularly, but I am not so sure that I trust in Him with all my heart. I think I try and can find myself believing that I am, even when I am not.

Confused yet?

I am.

Reading and thinking about this passage is really bringing to my attention that there are often times that I am praying for God’s guidance and telling my family to relax and trust that God will bring us to the place we need to be. At the same time we know that sitting idly by and just waiting for things to happen is not practical either so we actively try to pursue goals we have set as a family as well as personally, but in a way that we are keeping God in the loop.

I know that for myself, I am seeing that I have been falling back into that place where I am really making a list of what needs to be done and where I think we need to be and then praying that God shows us how to get there. I think I am leaning on my own understanding a bit more than I would like to admit.

When will I learn?

God has proven time and time again that when I step back, let,¬†trust in Him with ALL my heart,¬† that He steps in and brings us to where we need to be?? I think part of the problem is that my letting go in the past has been natural and not not deliberate on my part. It is only after we see the Holy spirit flowing in our life, only when we see the good coming out of the bad, the light breaking through the dark, that I look back and see…wow, if I just let go, He takes it and does what He wills! I mean I have been experiencing this for the past few months. God has been gracious enough to turn my stupidity and fumblings around and making wonderful things out of them. Now I already find myself in a place where I am feeling heavy and wanting.

So how do I find myself back here again so quickly? How do I get back to that place? That place where for a brief moment I was acknowledging Him in all ways and the rest was falling into place? How do I learn to deny self a bit more and keep my focus on Him?

Well, I think it all boils down to the same thing. Every question I have points me in the same direction. Pray more! Be in the word! That doesn’t mean just¬†breezing¬†through quickly, but to really allow it to¬†soak¬†into my heart. This all takes time and it all means that I need to make a conscious effort to get up earlier, shut the TV off, put the laptop/smart phone down and just be in His presence. Only then will I be able to put it all aside and be His instrument. Only then will He work mightily in my life. Only then will I be transformed.

So now I am going to focus on Him, on getting in the word, on allowing Him to work through me. In the recent months my heart was softened. I was allowing my heart to break and to be vulnerable. I now see that I have closed up once again and need to fight to keep myself open for His purposes. Seek His face, stay focused and to give myself a little grace when I fall off track. Allow this time to be a place of repentance before my Lord and Savior, for He cannot refuse a repentant heart.

I thank you all for sharing this walk with me, its difficult to share my ramblings yet feels great to share with my brother and sisters in Christ at the same time!

The berevity of life

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

Life truly is short, we are just a vapor in the wind. When we are younger we feel like we will live forever! The summer days seem to last forever and our only priority is to have fun. As we get a bit older and start taking on our own responsibilities our priorities begin to change and those summer nights¬† seem to go by to fast. I know I found myself in a place of not having enough time in my days any longer. I found that I can not stay up as late into the evening as I once did. I have to remind myself to have fun and worry more about work, bills and schedules. Everyone is always talking about finding that balance between work and play. How do you balance your priorities and where does God fit in? I know that I don’t always know tha answer to that question.

As my journey deepens in Christ I have started to look at how I am balancing my life in a bit of a different way. Now I have become focused on how to incorporate Jesus in my everyday life and how to fit meaningful time into my family’s schedules. I no longer think that I need to balance work and play but that I need to work to help support my family and that real face time with my family is so much more important than trying to figure out ways to have fun. When we are being present with each other in an honest way, the fun always follows. These days I look for ways to bring friends together for those real bonding moments as well, rather than looking to go out, drink and have “fun”. That “fun” always proved to be a lot less fun the following day let me tell you.

As for work, well I am fortunate enough to be in a field that allows me to incorporate my Christianity and explore with my co-workers. Being in hospice, we are constantly addressing spiritual issues with patients, families and each other. For this I am thankful. A long time ago I said a little prayer, this prayer was for God to bring me to a place where I could continue to work full-time¬†to support my family but that there was a deeper meaning to it. At the time I was working for a high-end¬†kitchen and bathroom fixture company. I spent most of my day hearing people complain about spending $5 on a part to get their faucet working properly when they spent over a thousand dollars on it 5 years earlier. I remember that I would often think to myself, where are these people’s priorities?!? Life is short! They are spending all their time being angry over cartridges for their faucets and venting their life issues to me, a customer service agent that they have never met. To have so much anger in yourself that you feel the need to yell at and swear at others over a $5 piece of material. I was really looking for a better way to spend my 40+ hours per week.

Well, they say that you should be careful what you wish for! A friend of a friend of a friend (yeah, one of those) told me about an “office manager type job” available at some place that specialized in something called hospice. After a year of dealing with this type of work I was desperate! I am sure I can do this and I always wanted to get into the medical field, here was my chance! Interview went great, the benefit package was fantastic and I was on my way! Man, I did not know what I was getting myself into! I started working for hospice the same time I started my walk in Jesus. Let me tell you that He definitely brought me to a place where there was meaning and growth! Something about working in End of Live Care that really forces you to grow on so many levels. This has also made me realize just how short a life really is.

So, what I have taken from my short experience here on this earth and from the verse quoted above, is that life is super short, it can fly right before your eyes. Take your time, be with God, be with those that you love. Really be with them. Allow Jesus to work through you and don’t sweat the small stuff. Grow in God’s wisdom. He has a plan for all of us and all too often we are too busy and don’t let him use us in the way we were meant to be used!

Love as Jesus loves, let things go, be yourself and allow yourself to be vulnerable. You really never know when you’re gonna go. I know this has become a clich√©¬†and a reason to live a reckless life but I propose that we use this as a challenge to lead a purposeful life instead. Slow down, smell the roses! Have real conversations. Allow people in, as hard as that may be. Go to God and be still before Him, let Him lead the way. Really, stop and tell those around you that you love them. Reach out a helping hand. Share, even when you feel silly doing so. Move on when it is time to move on.

Jesus loves you and He wants to work mightily in your life, let Him.

For you are all one in Christ Jesus

Ok, first let me give you an idea of where we are when reading this passage. In this book of Galatians, Paul is addressing the churches of Galatia and in this particular passage he is addressing the law and what it means for all us us that have faith in Jesus Christ. He was referring to Jews and Gentiles being one in Christ and no longer set apart. 

Galatians 3: 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law,imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.¬†24 So then,¬†the law was our¬†guardian until Christ came,¬†in order that we might be justified by faith.¬†25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,¬†26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.¬†29 And¬†if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring,¬†heirs according to promise.

Bible.com/app

Wow, as I read this passage this morning on my Bible App and it really hit home, specifically the portion I put in bold. I think it is the fact that he is telling us that we are all one in Christ. Those of us that were baptized into Christ have put on Christ, we are all one in Christ. I know I have heard this time and time again, we are all part Christ’s body, we are brothers and sister in Christ, etc. For some reason that concept is finally sinking in as I am typing this post.

We are ONE, TOGETHER, IN CHRIST.

If only we would see it that way more often! It doesn’t matter what ethnicity, gender, social or economical status you claim, we are all united in Christ. That is amazing. Sure we all have our strengths, weaknesses and personalities that we bring to the table, but we are all equals. This is not a concept we here very often in our society. We are taught to excel in order to be better than the competition. We are taught to look at ourselves as though we are special¬†because¬†of whatever talents and abilities we¬†posses. I am beginning to see that this is not what God intended for us. I am seeing that God intends us all to excel and use our talents for His glory alone. We should be coming along side one another and work towards the same goal rather than just trying to “out-do” one another. We pretend to think of each other as equals in this life, but do we really? It can go quite the opposite way also, I often find myself thinking that another believer is better than me. I get caught up in the idea that they are further along in their walk, so they must be a better person than I, they must be closer to God somehow. He must love them more than me as I am a wreck! Truly this is not true and God loves us all, He meets us all exactly where we are in each moment and we should do the same for each other.

So, I am going to try to be more Christ like and keep all this in mind as the day, week and month go on. My prayer today is that this concept sinks in deep and stays with me. I pray that I am able to meet those around me exactly where they are. I want to stop trying to be right, better, smarter or less of anything and just be with those around me. We are one and I want to meet you exactly where you are.

Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the whole armor of God. This passage in Galatians tells us that when we are baptized  we put on Christ. This is something we need to do each day as a protection and as a reminder of who Christ is and who He wants us to be. I pray that we do this each day.

This little blog of mine

Welcome to Smoothing out the rough edges!

I have given this blog that name because¬†that is exactly what¬†God has been doing in my life. I¬†have not had an easy life by any stretch of the imagination and this has caused me to become jaded and closed off. I have not always been a believer in Jesus and only come to Him in 2007. Funny that as I am writing¬†this, it really seems like a lifetime ago that I came to Him, but I can see that He was at work in my life all along. If it wasn’t for God always being by my side, even when I didn’t want Him there, I most likely would not be here today writing this blog. He is amazing.

Going through the process of having my edge smoothed out is not always pleasant. Through out this journey I have found myself in the place of pretending that all is well and that I am just fine. This is the place where I slap on that happy face each morning and try to hold it all together inside. My prayers are more along the lines of just asking God to help me hold it all together. This is a time where I feel like things are ok, not necessarily smooth, not necessarily rough, but also not in an especially happy or content place either. In this place I find that I am just trudging along and hoping for the best. This is not a bad place to be when I am here, but when I move into a place where I am actively seeking God and fellowship I can see that it is not where I want to be at all. Unfortunately this place is where I am most comfortable and I fall back here often.

Actively seeking God’s will to be done in my life is a completely different place to be. This is a place of miracles, a place of peace and a place of upheavals all at the same time! This is typically the place I find myself when going through the motions fails miserably and I find myself in a broken place. This follows a break in my facade of I can do this all by myself. This is where God humbles my proud heart. I am not one to reach out for help, it’s easier to just try to make ends meet and not feel like a failure or a burden. Despite the fact that I know that I cannot juggle everything that is being thrown at my, I typically do not look for help until I have dropped a huge ball and am forced to stop and clean up the mess. Only at this point do I reach out, and even then it is so hard to! So, broken, overwhelmed and feeling helpless I will reach out to those around me and finally let them in. I finally stop and look around to see those that have been there for me all along. This is the place where I rest in God’s promises, the place where I am too broken to fight Him and get to see how wonderous He is and the blessings He brings when I allow Him to. This is when I no longer have the strength to pretend and can just be. I always find it funny that I need to go to such extremes before I will allow myself to be in this place.

Naturally, I find myself in the places between the two I described above but these are the 2 I am in the most. At this point in my life I am recognizing it, learning to reach out and talk about the struggles. facing the harsh reality that I cannot always be on the side of giving to those around me but that I must also be on the side of receiving. Learning to not shut God out and that it really takes time and persistence on my end to allow Him to do the work that needs to be done in me. He is always there and is always seeking to work wonders in this life, it’s me that shuts Him out. God never turns His back on me, it’s me that has the audacity to turn my back on Him. I know that I am not alone on this journey and that I am not the only one who struggles with these things.¬†I am beginning to realize just how important it is to share our trials and tribulations with all of those that I come into contact with, in one way or another. God speaks to me often and it is high time that I stop telling Him to wait a minute and I’ll be right with Him. He is always there and I need to always be listening.

The beauty of Jesus and His love really starts to shine when I take the time to be still before Him and open myself up to my Lord and Savior. When I give Him my all and surrender my life to Him, I do not lose. This is when He does the best work and brings me to those wonderful places He has planned for me.

I look forward to seeing where Jesus will lead me and I am happy that you are all here to be with me on this journey.

God transforms if we let Him.

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