Tag Archives: Love

When the fog rolls in

This morning, as I was letting my chickens out, the fog was so thick that I could not see the beautiful mountains that I usually enjoy, yet I know that they are still there.  This made me think about spiritual discouragement, fear, anxiety, depression. These things can sneak in and block my view of all that God has blessed me with. The enemy uses these to try to steal my joy and to block my view of the Truth, yet I know that Jesus is still there.

See, even with the fog completely erasing my view this morning, I could close my eyes and envision what I know is there. I can stop and appreciate the peace that it gives me each day when I take it all in. Isn’t it so much easier to do this with the physical world? I know that the wind will come, the weather will change, the sun will be out once again, and my view will be restored. Of this, I have no doubt.  Why then is it so much harder to do this with spiritual blockages?

This is a reminder that it is so important to record the beautiful things in our lives so that we can go back and look upon them in times of struggle. When we can’t see God clearly before us, we need to pause and remember who He is. Nothing can move Jesus from my life; nothing can take me away from Him. I can rest in the knowledge that I am forever His and that He is always at work in my life. I have the free gift of salvation, and the Holy Spirit dwells inside of me. These are facts that can never change.

Today I pray that the Lord would apply these Truths to my heart. Lord, please blow away the anxiety, depression, and discouragement that creep in when struggles come. Shine through my doubts and fears. Holy Spirit, remind my soul that there is so much more than this very moment, You are always working in ways that will bring Glory to God. You are where I find my Truth. Let me seek that which I cannot see when the storms of life begin to rage. I stand firmly upon You, close my eyes, take a deep breath and wait for You to answer. For you are always there.

I want to encourage you to take time today to write out all the wonderful things in your life today and from the past, whatever beautiful things come to mind. Do this often and read back upon them when you are in a place of discouragement.

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

 

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.

Giving is Difficult

Giving is essential, giving is rewarding, giving is downright difficult to do. I think people tend to believe that it should be easy to give of self, otherwise they are doing it wrong. This is not true. If you are giving and you find it to be easy, then I don’t believe you may not be giving enough or perhaps not of the right thing. I know that was true for me.

When I finally found a church that I could call home, I struggled with Tithing on a regular basis. You can read more about that in my post, I’m Sorry, How Much?? My husband and I knew that we wanted to give and we did, just sporadically and not the 10% that God asks for. I feel like this is a topic most Christians avoid due to guilt, shame and not wanting to really think about it. I still think I avoid it at times as I don’t want others to feel like the shame I once did.

There is no reason to feel that shame and guilt. Jesus died so that we could be free, so first look to Him in this and allow Him to show you where you need to go in your own personal walk. Trying to be perfect can bring about unnecessary anxiety and lengthen the struggle.

Today I would say to you that you should take some time to see where you are spiritually, emotionally and financially. Start with the 10% goal and see what that looks like for you. Get used to the number and ask Jesus to help you see just what a small percentage that really is. For my family, we took a look at all the money we were wasting on Starbucks, pizza and junk food. If we could find the money for that, why couldn’t we honor God’s command? We were in a place on understanding and conviction when we started giving. This is a much different place than the one of guilt, shame and defiance.

Jesus is all together Holy and all together Good.  He will not fail us and He does not lie. He tells us to trust Him and to take that scary leap of faith, knowing that He is right there, ready to move mountains for us. All we need to do is walk in that faith. Again, this is not easy to do, but so rewarding when we finally do it.

So, we have been tithing appropriately for some time now and it has been amazing. I don’t even give it a second thought now. The 10% that once seemed unattainable is now a weekly constant that we will not touch. That is God’s money and we will not change that. I will move other bills around when we hit those unexpected difficulties, but we will NOT move God’s portion. Without Him we have nothing and we want to honor Him in all we do. It has been a struggle at times and I can say that today it is just what needs to be done.

Now my family has come to a place where we know that God is telling us that it is time to give to the less fortunate on a regular basis. This is another area where we give “when we can” and “what we can at the time”. Honestly, that was exactly ok for the time. It was recently that Jesus has been prompting us to do more. He has been showing us that it’s time to give again and that it needs to cost us. For us, I knew that it meant the ministry in Africa that our church is doing.  We just never “got around” to setting that regular payment up….funny how that happens! 🙂

This past Sunday, my Pastor and his wife shared about their trip out to Africa and the Holy Spirit convicted us in such a way that I could no longer ignore. (hear their testimony here) How selfish and greedy with have been! There are Pastors in Africa that risk their lives to share the gospel and I have the option to be part of that each month. My family can give such a small portion of our income to support an entire family for that month. Why is it so hard to do?!

Well, today we went into our budget and made it happen. Every month we will be giving what is needed to support one Pastor and his family. We are walking where Jesus has told us to. It’s not easy. It’s hard to part with that money. My flesh cries out and swears that we cannot afford it! Jesus tells me otherwise. Today I am choosing to allow it to cost me. Today I am choosing Jesus and not allowing my selfishness to get in the way of blessing others. All we have is His and is to be used to bring Him glory and that is why I am sharing this with you today.

I want you to hear my story and to know that you are not alone in your struggle. I want you to know that when I first put the 10% tithe into our budget, I couldn’t see how we would be able to afford groceries. I want you to know that today, we still live in abundance and groceries are just fine. Our bills are paid and we are far from struggling. We are blessed Americans and are finally starting to see that. We may not be rich by our culture’s standards, but we are rich by Jesus’ standards and as compared to the true poor in this world.

Let Jesus make a change in you when if comes to your finances. It is scary, it seems uncertain and you will struggle hard. That’s ok, you’re not alone and Jesus is right there with you when you take that leap.

Thanks for listening, I love you all.

 

 

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.

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.