Tag Archives: heart

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 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.  

Can You Relate?

I truly love this life. It’s hard, it’s messy, it’s painful and I wouldn’t change it. My early years were full of love, abandonment, pain, healing, drugs, alcohol and destruction. I led a hard life for quite a while and then I lived in the regret when I came out of it. Can any of you relate?

When I was in those hard years, I was proud of it, although not proud of the circumstances I would find myself in. I had secrets. I was a wrecking ball and did not care who I trampled while fulfilling my current desired. I was selfish and greedy. I felt entitled and thought I was strong. Can any of you relate?

I was dead against Christianity and the hypocrisy that came along with it. I threw many a Bible away and actively sought to challenge these so-called Christians before me. Most Christians I came across were shallow and were not actual followers of Jesus. They could not answer my questions, they fumbled when I confronted them, they did not know what it meant to be a Christian. Christian was a term they just threw out there, empty and meaningless. Others were knowledgeable and judgmental. These were the ones that showed me why I would never want to be a Christian. Fake, narrow, shallow, manipulative. Can any of you relate?

What about those that walk around pretending that life is perfect now that they have Jesus? Just read the Bible, go to church, tithe appropriately and swear your allegiance to us and all the pain of this world will disappear. These scared me most of all. I swore off Christianity. I believed there was a Jesus that walked this earth, I couldn’t dispute history. I had no interest in being that fake, that disillusioned, that blind. There is no escape from the harshness of this world, I have tried. Can any of you relate?

Jesus has a funny way of showing up when you want nothing to do with Him. When I look back at my story, I can see how He was trying to get my attention all along. He was right there with me, every step of the way. When I first came to believe in the Living Savior, I was ashamed. I knew how I treated Christianity, I knew how stupid it would sound to those around me……Melissa is a Christian? Her? Seriously? Was the church struck by lightning when she entered? Do they know the kind of life she has led? Would they still accept her if they did? Can any of you relate?

Not only did everyone I ever knew think and say these things, I did too. Was I crazy? Why would this Jesus dude want anything to do with me? I was a hot mess and breaking all the rules. How could I possibly clean my life up enough to do this thing called Christianity? Can any of you relate?

Today I can say that I am a child of God and a follower of Jesus. I have learned to push past the fakes, the hypocrites, the judgmental people and the doubt. I stopped looking to people and submitted to Jesus. You see, nothing else matters. Words, intentions, pasts and pain mean nothing. Jesus loves every single person who ever existed and who will come into existence. No exceptions. None. Everyone is able to be real before our mighty Creator, all we need to do is give Him a chance. Be open, be real, be accepting. Let Him love you. Life will not magically be pain-free, it will probably be harder at times, but in different ways. He does make it easier to deal with the pains of this broken world. He offers a peace that words cannot describe. He breathes life into the most broken of lives. He truly saves your very soul and offers an eternity in His presence. I hope you can relate.

It is Time

I must allow myself to cry, as much as I hate to. This is part of the release that must take place. I must let go, I must feel, I must allow You into those secret places. Those secret places that were never truly secret. You were there, You are there, You know those places better than I.

Tears are cleansing, my sobs are those of a woman giving up her control. Control that I never had.

You are so kind to me. You were there when the wounds were inflicted. You were there when I sealed those places shut, vowing to never go there again. You told me that I needed to allow them to heal, I chose to walk away instead. I fooled myself into thinking that I was alright the way I was.

You blew it all away. You showed me just how hurt I am. You showed me that it is ok to be me. You held me close while I faced those horrors from long ago. You are so kind and gentle.

I thought You would look away. I thought You would turn from me. I forget who You are.

You are the Creator of this world. You knew me before You created me in my mother’s womb. You knew who I would be and the errors I would make, yet You gave me this gift of life anyway.

I hear the lies inside my head, the whispers that tell me that You will never love me the same once You know. Yet You know, You always knew. You are nothing like me. You never waiver, You never change, You ARE Love and Grace.

Why did it take me so long to bring this before You? Why did I hold on to this poison so tightly? Why would I choose this pain and suffering over You?

Let this guilt subside, let this pain be felt in it’s fullest, let the healing begin. It is time.

Thank You Jesus.

Willingness

Willingness to let go is key in transformation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

– John 3:16-17

If god did not send Jesus to condemn us, than why would we spend so much time condemning ourselves? I ask myself this question today. Why do I have such a long list of failures? Why do I carry these with me when I am free in Christ? There is no security in the baggage I choose to carry with me each day. There is a choice I make when I decide to strap on these heavy burdens. Pride comes through when I look to Jesus and tell Him that “it’s ok, I got it, I can carry this all by myself. Thank You anyway.” Take this pride and break it Lord!

Why? Why do I turn from the outreached hand of Jesus each morning and choose to walk the hard road? What will happen when I look at the heavy load I have packed and decide to leave it behind? I am sure it will feel quite strange at first, as I have become so used to the weight. I would walk differently, talk differently, smile more.

Change is hard, accepting love and grace can be too. We have a choice every moment of every day. Will I choose to burden myself or will I choose to give it all over to Jesus?

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:32

I don’t want to look to myself or to the world for approval, I will never find it there. I know the truth and I choose to let it set me free. God’s word is true and He tells us to walk in it.

How do you feel after bringing your guilt, shame and pain before God? Do you feel like you have left it all there? Do you know that when you do, He will allow it all to fade away and to no longer burden us? Do you accept what God tells us to be truth? Will you rely on Him in all things? Accept the gift being handed to you, unwrap it, open it up and use it every day. It is meant to be used, not to just sit on a mantel collecting dust. Break these chains Jesus!

Lay it all down

Last week I wrote about where I believe the Lord is bringing me in terms of places to grow. We talked a bit about the guilt and shame we can all carry around with us and how we are not meant to do so. Jesus loves us more than we could ever imagine. Even when we are in a place of finally accepting that love, we still are not able to fathom the depths of it.

Did you take the time to write out all your failures, your guilt, your shortcomings? I would encourage you all to do so. Write them all out and bring them before the throne. Let our Mighty Yahweh wipe that slate clean.

When I choose to hold onto the baggage from past pains, I am stifling the Holy Spirit’s power in my life. I want all that Jesus has for me in the life He has granted me. I want the power of our Creator to shine through each day. I deeply desire for His love and compassion to pour out of me.

I want these desires to outweigh and overcome anything that gets in the way of that happening.

Lord, as I look over this list created, I ask You to show me how to let it all go. I give them all to You, they are Yours. I don’t need any of this. Wash them away, cleans me and free me. Break these chains Lord. You are might to save and I live for You. There are parts of me that I closed off long ago and today I ask You to break down those walls and to allow me to become whole again. Let me be as You created me to be. Shine Your precious light into those dark places that scare me so. You are stronger than anything. You spoke our entire universe into creation, how much more can You do in me when I give up control!

Where do you find it most difficult to go? Are you willing to allow Jesus into those places? Have you felt a release as you bring these desires before God’s throne?

Where do you come from guilt?

As I begin to delve into this guilt I deal with, I wonder where it comes from. My feelings of inadequacy certainly play a part. Past pains I have endured and caused. Feeling like I have to be everything to everybody. Generally speaking, I believe my high standards play a significant role in my guilt.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

So I take this before Jesus and ask Him what his standard is. How do I measure up Lord? How do I please You, for that is truly all that matters. When I am focused on pleasing Yahweh, the rest follows and my burden is lifted. This I can testify to and long to do more.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

When I allow myself to be consumed by guilt and anxiety, I am to confess it to Jesus. He forgives me and cleanses me. This is permanent! He does not keep a list of past failures to remind me of. So why do I?

Today I will take the time to sit down and make the list of failures I still hold onto. Once I feel like I am done, I will bring them before Jesus and ask Him to wash them away. I must repent and allow Jesus to cleanse me of these burdens I am not meant to bare. I must release these to our Lord so that He can break the chains. I must give them up in order for Him to take them away. I need to be willing to release and to accept the healing that Jesus offers. If I don’t take the first step, if I don’t allow the space, I will be stuck right where I am.

Our God is a wonderful God. He will not force anything and waits for us to go before Him with our messes. Today I will pour out all the guilt and shame I carry each day. Today I accept the promise of Jesus and lay it all down before Him. Today I ask Him to replace the guilt withe the joy, peace and love that He offers. I beg for the exchange to take place in the deepest parts of me.

Will you allow him to work in your hearts today? Will you dare to lay it all down for Him to take away? Will you give God the space to work miracles in you?

Let’s walk in this together.

Appreciation

Something I am reminded of often, in order to have true appreciation, I have to ask for it. It is so easy to take my life for granted. I can easily fall into the place of complaining and ungratefulness. This is especially true in my marriage. I have found myself slipping into the place of taking my wonderful husband for granted. I easily get into the place of complaining about the little things and forgetting what an impact my words have on his heart. My prayer for some time is that I would be able to step out of the critical mode and into the appreciative mode. I drive myself nuts, I can’t imagine how my poor hubby feels!

Lately I have been blessed with memories of when we were first dating and married. Clear memories and the flood of emotions that go with them. I have been remembering how excited I would be when I was going to see him, how heart wrenching it was when we had to part. A reminder if how luck  I am to have this man by my side every single day. I get to see his handsome face every morning and fall asleep in his embrace each night. I cannot take this for granted. I have a wonderful husband that is perfect for me. We balance each other out in ways only God can understand. He has made me a better woman, a better mother and a better friend.

Today I just wanted to share this with you all and remind you to take a step back each day and remember the reasons you have to be happy. you may be in a rough spot in life and you may feel overwhelmed, but you will come out of it if you allow God to work in it. He will show you the beauty that surrounds you if you open your heart and ask Him to. It may not come quickly and you will struggle still, but you will also find pockets of pure excitement and appreciation as well. Ask and He will deliver. Our God is always on our side and wants us to be happy in the life He has provided to us. Only we can get in the way.

Another perspective

Last night our Pastor was discussing Psalms 139 and it just reminded me of how my perspective is in need of adjustment. How could I be anxious for anything when the Psalms tell us this?

Psalms 139:1-24 NLT 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, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— 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. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 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. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O  lord , shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and leadme along the path of everlasting life.

As we read this I thought about all the anxiety I hold and that it’s completely unnecessary. God knows my story beginning to end. He is the author of my life and I can rest in the fact that He knows me, loves me and is with me in all things. Even when I was His enemy,  He was by my side. I often stress about the unknown and know that it’s time to replace that with being still and knowing He is God. He has always been there and has performed such miracles in my life, why do I worry? It’s never been a conscious thought of “how will God work here”, but I think I’m essentially saying that when I am anxious. My heart needs to be taught to rest in the knowledge that my God is greater and He is actively working in my life. I am comfortable with God’s timing and need to remember that His plans are always in place. I need not worry about the people involved, the circumstances around whatever I am anxious for, He is perfect and I am right where I should be. By now I can look back and see how each and every person and experience bin my life has shaped me and brought me to where I am today. I can’t wait to see how much more as I continue this walk. I will follow God in all things, I choose to put my life in His hands and to walk boldly, knowing that I need not fear anything of this world. The Creator is on my side and I want to always be on His.

Proverbs Study Day 30

The last Proverb! It has been a wonderful journey for me and I hope it has been for you as well. I love how God’s Word speaks directly to me, right where I am. Let’s see what today brings.
 


Proverbs 30

The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One. Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar. O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the lord ?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it. Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances. They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives. They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity. The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!” There are three things that are never satisfied— no, four that never say, “Enough!”: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire. The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures. There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman. An adulterous woman consumes a man, then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?” There are three things that make the earth tremble— no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress. There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer. Hyraxes —they aren’t powerful, but they make their homes among the rocks. Locusts—they have no king, but they march in formation. Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces. There are three things that walk with stately stride— no, four that strut about: the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything, the strutting rooster, the male goat, a king as he leads his army. If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame. As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.


 

 
What did I learn from this chapter today:

Today I am reminded that God knows exactly how I feel. He knows me heart better than I do. I think I can forget this at times. I often bring before Him my shortcomings, my lacking, my failures and He reminds me that He is with me in those places too. Without Him I would be lost.

I look around me and I see God everywhere and in everything. Everything and everyone is God breathed. He is our Creator and I can go to Him with all things. He understands so much more about me than I ever will. Who better to go to in all things?

I know I am full of imperfection and that’s ok. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is with me always and is transforming me dramatically. I am amazed, joyous and humbled by the works He has done in me, in my marriage, in our life as a whole. The more we give, the more He provides. As I step out in faith, uncertain of where I will land, Jesus meets me right there and raises me to places more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Truly amazing.

You can hear about the wonderful works God does or you can experience them yourself. Quiet your minds, open your hearts and sit before the living God. Ask Him to show you where He wants to work in you. Ask Him to show you how to grow in your faith. He is a kind, loving and gentle God, He will walk you through it.

My prayer for today:

Lord, thank You for walking me through healing and growth in a kind and gentle manner. You are so good to me. Today I pray that Your children turn to You in all things. I pray that You soften their hearts and open their eyes. I pray that they don’t get in the way of Your works, as only we can. I pray that they take those steps that can feel like leaps, in faith, knowing that You are right there. We know that You are a most powerful and merciful God and we choose You. You are amazing and You love with a love that we can only begin to understand. Do a mighty work in our lives Lord, we choose to pause and give You the space You need. We will do our part and follow You as You guide us to better things. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.