Tag Archives: praise god

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

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 8 – Friends

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. – Proverbs 18:1

Recent events have shown me that isolation, when feeling uncertain, achieves nothing.

I know for sure that I cannot be left to mull over the things that are bothering me. That is a recipe for disaster, it gives our enemy space to whisper lies and distract me. I need to bring it before the Lord, I need to seek council. God uses His people so I look to my Christian family for advice. I will ask them for prayer and then I bring their words before the Lord and ask Him to show me truth.

Isolation kills community, kills communion and breeds paranoia.  When I choose to cut myself off I am no longer able to hear words of wisdom. In am choosing to sit in the darkness.

Seeking other’s advice is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. It’s harder to put my pride aside and to allow myself to be vulnerable before another. Sometimes it’s physically difficult to do so.

Why should I worry about what others might think of me? Should they choose to judge me, well that’s their problem to deal with. I am a child of God, only Jesus can pass judgment and He taken my judgment upon Himself.

I only need to keep my eyes on Jesus and follow where He leads, speak to those He tells me to speak to and rely on Him in troubled times. Isolation is not an option.

Merely being in the presence of others does not guarantee that you’re not in isolation. I have walk through crowds and sat with friends while isolating myself and cutting myself off. Connecting takes effort and we must watch that we don’t shut others out.

Some days are easier than others. Some people are easier than others.

Choose to share your burdens as we are called to. Let people in, Jesus will keep you safe. Lay down your pride, push past the struggle, release the urge to build those walls. We are all part of a body, we must care for each other and function together. This cannot be done if we start isolating ourselves.

Your brothers and sisters love you dearly. Let your family care for you as you would care for them. Don’t take that blessing away from them. Let Christ work through them. Be in prayer and acknowledge where you are.

Choose life, choose community, choose healing and choose love. Don’t walk away from those that would help carry your burdens. Don’t cut off those that know you better than you know yourself at times.  Let us all push past the shame, the guilt, the pain, and choose to be vulnerable.

Love one another as Christ loves the church. Acknowledge that we need each other and that it doesn’t make us weak. See the strength in community and cherish it. In joy, in sorrow, I choose Christ and the family that I have found through Him.

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.

Day 5 – Surrender

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. … Genesis 22:2-14

Can you imagine surrendering to this degree? Am I the only one that reads this and flinches at the thought of out great Creator asking this of me? How would I respond? I am sure I would falter.

How can I have a faith as great as Abraham? How do I get to the point that I follow Him no matter what? How can I get past myself to that point? I know for sure that He always has my best interest at heart. So why do I waiver when I hear Him speak to my heart?

I am weak, I am emotional, I am so very human. This world blinds me, I am so easily distracted. The funny part is that so many will look at me and tell me how spiritual I am. Sure, I am always looking to deepen my relationship with Jesus, this does not take the challenges away.

The further I travel on the road Jesus lays before me, the harder and easier it becomes. It’s easier for me to know that He is with me always, it is easier to release the chains I have allowed for so long and it is easier to turn to Him in all things. The challenges are always right there too. I struggle moving forward at times. I struggle with the unknown and uncertainties when He is silent. I fight with my emotions as the cloud my sight and prevent me from hearing the Truth.

Surrender, oh how I want to surrender all.

Our Lord did not walk with the well respected of the times. He did not choose to teach those that had it all together. He chose to be side by side with those that fell short often. He looked past all that and looked right into their hearts. That is key. The heart is what He wants.

I lay it all out. I want to stop hiding when I struggle. I want to let it all out and not feel ashamed and self-conscious. My God knows my heart and that is all that matters. I cannot hold onto regret and shame, that only gets in the way of the work Jesus is doing in me. I must put my pride aside and care not what judgments man could bring. It matters not.

I surrender this life, this heart, this foolish girl turns it all over to You and You alone. I pray that the Holy Spirit fill me and to bring healing in the broken places. We all fall short and we all must extend the grace that is extended to us.

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.

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.