Tag Archives: light

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.

Day 12 – What Am I Owed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 11 – The Cross Matters

the cross matters

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 10 – Steadfast

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

God is good and that is all that matters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 9 – Beginning and End

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

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

…You are the beginning and the end

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 7 – Trust

Do you trust in all that you see, hear and feel? I believe I do at times. Other times I begin to see that it is all so temporary and always changing.

15 “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 16 “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours. – 1 Chronicles 29:15-16

Today I am reminded to keep my eyes on eternity and not to be too distracted by the world around me. This will all fade away and be a distant memory. This is how I should be living every day.

I have been in a place of uncertainty and sadness these past few weeks. I have been wondering, wandering and struggling to understand. I know that God is at work and the He will never allow me to be brought anywhere other than where I am meant to be, but it has still been hard.

Tonight I was reminded that He is in control. He is so faithful and has brought all these “coincidence”s before me as a way of showing me that He is right there. This I know for sure. Today is the first day in a while that I have felt that peace sweeping over me. I was allowing anxiety to creep in where it does not belong.

I cannot say for sure that I will not be anxious over this again, but I can say that right now I am so thankful that Jesus is there for me. I am blown away by the way things all line up and point to Him. The timing of all things at once, from places that don’t seem to connect, and they all point to Him being in control.

My place in all this is to be obedient. Look for the work that is being done and trust in all the unknowns. Trust. Trust in the one who is eternal, not in the temporary things that are of this world. We are only passing through. This is not where we will land. This is not the end. This is the beginning.

Will I choose to get wrapped up and emotional over the things that will no longer be in the blink of an eye? No, I will choose to look past it all and see the bigger picture. I am a citizen of Heaven and a child of the Almighty Creator, the great I AM. He is for me in all things. He has protected me and guided me through so many things, how could I even think that He would not be in something so important to me?

His will is my focus. His plans are my desires. I crave to be lead by His Spirit, so why am I worried in the least?

Today I choose to trust more deeply. Today I choose to be thankful for the struggle so that I can grow in ways not possible otherwise. I lift it all up and lay it at the His feet. My Lord will always work my life to bring Him Glory and that is all that matters.

Day 6 – Connections

Today I am deep in thought about real human connections. Do you give it much thought? I don’t know that I generally do, outside of those I know and love on a regular basis. This article on a different view of drug addiction sparked my thoughts.

Reminded me of the same concept in the Bible.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. – 1 Corinthians 12:12

We are separate, yet we are one. Do I live this way? To a degree, I believe I do, but I can take it deeper. You will often hear me tell my children to be aware of those around them, to not pass judgement as we never know what their lives have been like, to be willing to give to another that is in need. Know that we are all human beings and are all dealing with the difficulties of this world. Some, so much more than we could ever imagine.

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? – 1 Corinthians 12:14-19

These verses apply to the body of Christ as the church. As believers we are one in Him. I ask that we look at all the human race this way. We are all children of God and He has created each and every human being on purpose. Many turn away and refuse to accept Him as He is, but that does not change the fact that they are meant to.

Can we look past ourselves, past the surfaces of the people before us and see that we are all connected? Can we see that we are meant to love one another? Can we stop causing unnecessary pain? Isn’t this life hard enough?

20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable,24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:20-27

Can we care for others in the same manner we care for ourselves? Better than we care for ourselves? Can we stop telling people that we don’t need them? Can we let go of that fierce independence we have come to envy in others? Do you see that needing another is not a weakness but a necessity? Don’t let past pains keep you from living the way we are meant to live. Keeping people out is not self-preservation, it is self-destruction.

Where can we start? With ourselves. Take the time to examine your own hurts, your own inability to trust, your biases and ask yourself why. Allow those old wounds to be healed. Let Jesus into your life so that He can shine light into those dark places, they are much less scary when He is by your side. Let that healing overflow and touch all those you come into contact with. Don’t fear what they will think or how weird it may seem. Let’s put all that aside and be real. Let’s function the way we are meant to.

Find a real connection today.

And Sometimes…

The answer is to just wait.

I am a need to know kind of person and struggle with being patient. Funny that I have actually been described as a patient person from most people I have worked with.

Generally, I can drive myself nuts when I am dealing with unknowns. Yet, when you think about it, isn’t everything unknown? Is it not true that there are no certainties in any given situation? Why do I spend so much time looking for them?

Sometimes, the answer I get from God is simply for me to wait and see. This is not easy for me, but I am learning.

Just wait on the Lord, He will prompt you when it is time to move forward. Trust in Him and you will find your way. Know that the only thing that is certain in this life is Him. The only thing I can count on is Jesus. I know for sure that He is my Lord and Savior and is always on my side. He is on my side. Another statement to write down and place everywhere.

JESUS IS ON MY SIDE!

He loves me, He loves you. He loves those that hate Him just as much as He loves those that cherish Him.

If He is for us, then who can possibly be against us? On this I can rest, on this I can wait, in this I choose to move.

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!