Tag Archives: Growth

Wonders Beyond Words

Oh Lord, the work You are doing in this life is so powerful and needs to be shared, but the words I possess cannot even begin to express it all. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of it all.  As I continue to turn this life over, I can see You work. It boils down to trust and obedience on my part. As I let go and stop trying to control, You work miracles. You are putting my brokenness back together and it is a beautiful mosaic. Pieces of me were shattered and You have the ability to take those shards that cut me so deep and make them into a work of art. Why did I hold onto them for so long? I would clutch them so hard that I would bleed. I would think to myself, why would Jesus want these pieces of me? Doesn’t He know how ugly they are? How much pain did they cause to anyone that would dare try to hold them? I would convince myself that it would be wrong to unload these things upon You. Oh, how wrong I was.

I bought into a lie that I shouldn’t “over spiritualize everything” in this life. It has struck me that all things are spiritual in nature as You have created ALL things. You created this all out of nothing and yet I was taught to believe that the spiritual and the physical are somehow separate. One cannot be without the other. We are all Yours; there are no exceptions. Every ounce of this universe is God-breathed, and I can bring it all to You. Oh and the wonders that come when I do.

Thank You for showing me how powerfully You can move in the smallest of spaces I give over to You. And yet these are only small glimpses of what is possible in You. Lord, please continue to break down these walls and work through me, I beg. I give You permission and am so thankful that You wait for me to do so. How much we would miss out on otherwise.  The stories we can share and the beautiful pieces of art we can show others and to let them know that they too can know the Great Artist. Those miracles happen every day. That His work is all around us. That His love is pure and good and healing. That complete healing and complete deliverance are possible. We only need to be willing.

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” –  Philippians 2:13

 

Works

Do you ever feel like you’re just never good enough? Do you feel like you’re always falling short? I know that I can easily fall into this place if I am not careful. If I don’t hold these thought and feelings captive, I can slip into a place of basing my self-worth, my faith and my title as a child of God, purely on how well I am performing. The problem is that I have very high standards for myself and am also my own worst critic. This can be a nasty combination if allowed to run free. Luckily, we have an amazing Savior that offers us grace and mercy in all things.  We can’t earn it and we should stop trying to.

I have struggled with these things on and off for most of my life I suppose. I definitely see this in others as well. Just last night my husband and I were discussing this issue and how consuming it can become when left unchecked. The Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive because our Creator knows how we are! Thoughts left to their own devices can be used as a weapon against us. We can become consumed with thoughts of our unworthiness, our failures, our lives can become distorted and we no longer feel any satisfaction. The more we hold onto these thoughts, the more we keep them to ourselves, the further we drift from those around us and from Jesus.

This past Sunday’s message was about the importance of true unity in the Body of Christ. We must truly allow ourselves to be open, honest and vulnerable with each other. We are meant to be a support and to help one another find clarity in the midst of storms. We are meant to lean on each other and to seek counsel when our thoughts are seeming to consume us, when we are feeling like we are not good enough or when we are just feeling spiritual separation and are not sure why. We are meant for more.

Christ came and died for each of us. His death was to bring us true freedom. Basing our self-worth on our works only allows us to be held captive once again. There is no list to check off, we never arrive at a place where we are deserving, we are loved no matter what we do. This is such a hard concept to hold onto. Be free in the Grace and the Mercy that is available in all things. Every morning we wake fresh and forgiven, but only if we accept it. Essentially, we are rejecting Christ’s gift when we allow ourselves to become consumed by our negative thoughts. We are getting in the way of ourselves and of the Holy Spirit. We build walls that keep others out and keep ourselves alienated.

I have said this so many times, my personal prayer has been for our Gracious Lord to show me how He sees me. I know that He created me on purpose and He has used me in ways I could never have imagined. He tells me that I am made in His image and that He loves me, so who better to show me what that really means. Who am I to allow myself to become wrapped up in these thoughts of self-loathing? Who am I to say that I am not good enough to be of use in God’s Kingdom? Do I really think that Jesus has made a mistake? That in all the world, our Perfect Creator made this one mistake in me? That is not the Lord I believe in. The God I worship is a God of perfection, patience, kindness, and mercy. My Lord works all things for perfection and beauty. So why do I find it so hard to this see within myself?

I do believe that working to better ourselves, to seek true transformation, and to be true to our callings are important. I also know that we are not meant to beat ourselves up and to drag ourselves down. If we take the time to bring these things before The Living God, He will show us how He sees us. Jesus is ready and willing to bring us all on a path of true freedom, true joy, and true transformation; we only need to get out-of-the-way.

Today I choose to lean on my brothers and sisters in Christ. I seek wise counsel when I am feeling lost and weighed down. I spend time in the presence of our Lord and remember that He is the Creator of all things. He has a plan and it is a privileged to be part of that plan. I will not base my worth on works. I will continue to move forward and follow God’s path, even when I am not seeing results. I know in my heart that I am loved and He has shown me this so many times. Peace is found in Jesus. When I am feeling unsettled and distant, I need to evaluate my thought life and hold captive those that threaten to derail me from my calling. I am a child of God and am free in Him. Thank you, Jesus, for all You have done, for all You are doing, and for that which You continue to do in my life each day.

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

Dear Jesus 12/9/2015

Dearest Jesus,

Will you ever cease to amaze me? The promises you write on my heart seem so far fetched to a wreck like me. The deep transformations that have taken place, the healing that continues day to day, and the hurts from long ago being used to bring others to those places of healing. Words truly cannot give the magnitude of Your love justice. I hear words coming out of my mouth that sound so cliche and I know I once would have rolled my eyes at such things. The thing is, that there are no other ways to try to explain the things going on in my heart, in my life, in the lives around me.

Although I may seem young in years to some, I have lived a long life full of pain, destruction, and anxiety. The depth of that pain and devastation is still unknown to me as I have only just begun to see how far and wide they have reached in me. The dysfunction and darkness that wrapped itself around me as far back as I can remember no longer have a hold on me. Today, I can say that I am free. This has only come through the Grace and Mercy given so freely by my Lord, Jesus Christ. Trust me, I have tried many other ways.

Therapy, self-help, self-medication and denial only brought me to a point of being able to mask my pain easily. This I can see so clearly now. All things I tried before lacked an essential ingredient, God’s love. Without the Holy Spirit working in me, all else is pointless. Christ has a way of opening those places I shut down so long ago, He enters those places to bring light and healing beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. Nothing else could bring me to this place. The funny thing is, I know I still have so much further to go!

I share this with you all as a testament to the power that is available to every single human being on this planet. Don’t start thinking about all the people that are not worthy, don’t start thinking about all the ways that you are unworthy, just settle on the fact that Jesus loves you anyway. Let your heart hear that. Jesus loves you. He is not temperamental and He doesn’t expect you to get it together before you come to Him. He literally wants you to come to Him as you are. Right now, this very moment. Go to Him and let Him show you, true love. Let Him show you that You are His and always have been, always will be. He is loving you right this very moment, even if you are in a place of denying His existence, even if You hate Him. How we feel and how we respond to Him will never change how He loves us. The only requirement is that we turn to Him and accept it.

Let Him love you, let Him heal you, allow Him into those places full of pain, anxiety and darkness. There is no point in hiding, He knows us all better than we know ourselves. His love is a true love that we will never know or understand completely. The depths of His truly unconditional love are eternal. Take that step into the love that is waiting for you. Yes, you. He is calling you this very moment and all you have to do is answer. Turn to Him and accept the gift He brings. Know that your life has a purpose beyond what you could ever imagine.

Freedom comes when I accept Jesus into my life and begin to walk in the purpose He designed for my life long before the creation of the very world we live in. I only need to accept the gift He offers to all. I have to acknowledge that His grace is sufficient and that I could never earn that. This is not a life of doing this and not doing that. This is a life of acceptance, peace, love and life. The life full of guilt, shame, pain and trying to measure up is exhausting and fake. True life begins in Jesus. If a wretch like me, a woman that detested Christianity and all I stood for, can find Jesus then I know you can too.

Lord, I thank You for the forgiveness You offer to anyone that will accept it. I thank You that You do not require anything more from us, but present us with opportunities to change the world around us in Your name. You allow us to touch lives in ways that blow me away. You are merciful and loving. You truly take the unqualified of this world and use us to bring others to a life full of freedom. A freedom that cannot be explained, but only experienced. A freedom that cannot be intellectualized, but must be heard by the heart. I pray that whoever reads this today will stop and look to You. I pray that they will ask You to show them Your love in the midst of wherever they are right now. Pierce their core, soften their hearts and pour into them, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray these things. Amen.

Dear Jesus 10/3/15

Dear loving, kind, gentle and patient Jesus,

I first want to thank You for Your kindness, You have been by my side through so much and just wait for me to see things your way. How patient You are! Not once have you rushed me, pressured me or lefts me in frustration of the stupid things I do. I can only hope that I can learn to give others a fraction of the grace and mercy You give us all. My heart is filled with joy, happiness and appreciation as I type this. The words I can use to describe the depths of my gratitude can’t even come close to the emotion I feel when I think of all You have done, are doing right now and all the plans You have for my future. I am Yours.

You have created me on purpose and with purpose, of this I can never lose sight. Oh how easy it is to look focus on this when the storms of life hit. How I must rely on my faith, buried deep in my heart, when I cannot see You clearly. It has taken time for me to learn and trust that I can simply close my eyes and follow Your lead in these times. I don’t have to get lost in the messes of this life, I don’t have to focus on all my shortcomings. In fact You tell me NOT to focus on all these things, look past them and look to Your loving face. Always near, always ready, always with purpose. I am never lost. You always know right where I am and why. When things are unclear I can rest easy on the fact that they are always crystal clear to You. The more I learn this, the more I can feel that peace that surpasses all understanding. The lighter I feel, the deeper I feel, the easier this walk becomes. Thank You.

Recently I was in a place where I couldn’t understand another person’s dislike for me. Why do they have to make those snide comments that feel like paper-cuts. They are shallow, small and they burn. I was angry at one point, but did not react so. I can thank You for that. You have changed this heart of mine and it surprised me how far we have come together. The transformation that has taken place in this life is amazing. All I can do at times is to sit in complete awe of who I have begun to be in You. Who am I that You would take such interests and to invest such power and transformation in?

As I meditated on my feelings and this person, You began to show me just how hardened their heart is and how far from You they are. Then an amazing thing happened! For the first time, I felt sadness for this person. I was moved to praying for them to find You as I have. My heart began to ache as I am sure Yours does too. A child of Yours that chooses to turn against You and to live in a place of darkness, oh how that must cause You pain. A life that You crafted to be a things of beauty and light. Will they turn to You before they find their life ending? Will they find that You have loved them all along and have been waiting for the day that they turn back to You? How my anger and frustration melted away and was replaced with sadness and hope. How my heart aches for them to get a glimpse of Your magnificence and for them to never be the same.

I too was lost and my heart was also hardened against You. All I can do is share my life, my heart and the amazing transformation that has taken place in me. I can be a testament to the power You are so willing to place in us. How You will never force us to come back to You and that You never forget us. No matter how far we have fallen, when we turn around You are right there, ready to catch us.

For these things I praise you Lord. Thank You.  

Out of My Element

It has been far too long since I last wrote. For that I apologize to myself, to the readers and to my Lord. My writing is a way to process, to share, to testify of His love, grace and kindness.

These past few months have been a whirlwind. For a very long time I have been praying for freedom and change in my work life. I have felt unsettled and a craving for more. The craving was for a deepening purpose in my professional life. I know that Jesus uses us right where we are and I know that He has used me to work in the lives of those I worked with. Of this I never doubted, yet there was always an underlying need to change.

As I look back, I am beginning to see that it was more than a desire for change, it is always the Holy Spirit telling me that there is more. I am familiar with the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Many times He has pushed me to do things that were hard for me! I think I am just now beginning to understand the way He shows me that there are other things He has for me to do. All too often I have allowed my flesh to drown out His vision for me with anxiety, doubt and disbelief.

In these past few months our Lord has brought me to a place of uncertainty, complete change and humility. He is bringing me closer and closer to a place where I can rest in Him completely. He is stripping away my need for control, my insecurities and my constant need to know.

This is terrifying and freeing!

Losing self is not easy, is not comfortable and is not the type of loss our flesh tell us it is. True spiritual loss give room for us to gain so much more than we could ever imagine.

I know we hear people speak of how loss is gain all the time. I know that I thought I understood that….and I think that I did to a degree…now I understand it even more and it is beautiful.

Again, it’s never comfortable! The process gives us opportunity to persevere and rely on out precious Savior. This builds faith, lifts us higher to Jesus and brings a peace that surpasses all understanding.

As I go through the process of dying to self and being built up by the Spirit, I squirm and tell Him just how much I love and hate it all at once. We need to be honest with Jesus and tell Him exactly how we feel, what we fear and then we need to let it all go. Give it to Him and allow Him to work through us in the way He desired.

This is where we find our true freedom and peace.

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.