Tag Archives: Wisdom

Privilege

Yesterday I was struck with what a privilege it is to be able to speak into people’s lives around me and to have them speak into mine. As Christians, we are called to share each other’s burdens and until I came to Calvary Southbury, I never actually understood what that meant. Through the years we have grown close to our family at this church, and it doesn’t just end after service is over. I know in my heart that people are praying for me as I pray for them. I am confident that I can reach out to a friend with any problems I may be facing and know that I will be received with warmth, truth, love, and understanding. I can be me without fear of judgment.

I am so thankful for the people in my life all around, and at this particular moment, I am just struck by the depth of my Christian family connections. There are people I have known for only moments, and they have entrusted me with their burdens. That is such a privilege. The fact that people are willing to be vulnerable with me is amazing to me. That we can take the masks off that we wear for the world and just be with one another is beyond words. The depth, the beauty, the peace that comes with this type of relationship is to be treasured.

Thank You, Lord, that You designed us to need each other. The perfection I have found in all of our imperfections is beautiful. Thank You for allowing me to be part of the work You are doing in this land I live. That You speak through me and into the lives of those around me is confounding and humbling. You never cease to amaze me.

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

 

You Amaze Me

Dearest Jesus,

You amaze me more and more each day. The depths of healing, peace, and restoration You have bestowed upon me are beyond anything I could have hoped for. The way You have taken such a mess as me and made me part of such beautiful things. I once thought this world full of only darkness, corruption, and disappointments. I long ago counted so much as lost. Yet You have brought me to places that have shown me the true Hope, Peace and Love of all creation. You have shown me that all the misconceptions I once held were lies. Those lies kept me from You for so long and how I hope that I can be a testimony to those that believe those lies now.

I one was lost, a wretch, a liar, and full of destruction. Now that I have You, I can feel the life being poured into me and I am amazed at all  that You have used to bring good into this life. The baggage I once carried has been lifted and I am now able to use my past as a tool to bring others healing. Regret, shame, and guilt melt away with each passing day. Thank You for that.

I see now that I allowed what human beings did in Your name, keep me from You. I see it in people all around me. We are all human and no one is perfect. Following Christ is not an easy road to travel and how easily we can be pulled into the things of the world. How easy it is to use our Lord’s good name to bring pain, suffering , and guilt upon others. We must rely on Jesus every moment. We all fail, we all fall short and we all make mistakes. The Good News is that Jesus died for us and we can repent and be used for greater things. All we need to do is accept Jesus into our hearts. Welcome Him into our lives, learn about Him, let Him into those deep places we try so hard to hide. Let Him be our shelter in the storms of life. Stand firm on the knowledge that He has a plan for each and every person on this planet.

Thank You Lord for Your mercy, your love, your patience, and your kindness. Thank You for answering my prayer and allowing me glimpses of how You see me. I am honored that You look upon me with such affection, for I am most unworthy. Let this life be a testimony to Your greatness, to the transformation made possible in You. You took a lost, destructive, wreck of a life and made it beautiful. I pray that more people can come to know the healing I have experienced. I pray that You continue to heal this life and to dig deeper. I lay my life in Your hands. You created me and I will follow wherever You go.

Thank You, You are amazing.

Wives

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you. – Genesis 3:16

In the very beginning, when sin first entered the world, we were told that we would desire to control our husbands. Some time back I came across this and was floored by the realization that I am not alone in this. All married women deal with this on some level. This is part of the curse passed onto our ancestors. This was such a relief to me.

I don’t think of this as an excuse, but as a deep seeded issue that God already knows about and already has a plan for. He is the one that told Eve that this would be true for all women, for all time. It is not just a Melissa thing. It’s a woman thing. Normalizing an issue has a way of easing the burden.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:22-23

This verse can strike a nerve in many a women, I get that, but push past your pride and hear what this verse is truly saying. Submit to your husband as the church submits to Christ. Let your husband lead and love you the way you were meant to. This is not a command to lay down and be a doormat, it’s an invitation to go beyond our pride and to give our husbands the room to grow and lead the way they are meant to.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to talk too much and act out of emotions when I shouldn’t. The best moments in my marriage are when I die to self, raise my husband up, and give him the space he needs to seek our Lord’s guidance. This is not a place of lesser power, it is a place of great responsibility and we can cause damage when we choose any other way. I know that I can attest to that. Oh, how many times my sharp tongue has torn at my poor husband.

1In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.

3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 1 Peter 3:1-5

I am beginning to see more and more that when I am obedient in God’s Word and choose to be silent and respectful, even when my husband is not being loving, it makes a huge impact. There may be suspicion in the beginning on his part, waiting for the wretched woman in me to lash out, but he eventually is changed by my soft response.

I am far from perfect and I fail in this often. I do want to share that those times when I am able to give it all over to God and allow the Holy Spirit to move, I am blown away at the difference. I choose to submit, I choose to respect, I choose to not react to the outbursts towards me and it allows Jesus the space He needs for my husband to hear Him. If I am reactive and sharp, I drown out the Spirit and that is not something I ever want to do. I want to be a tool for Christ to use, not a distraction.

Lord, I am thankful for Your Word and I pray that You continue to strengthen me in my weakness, show me how to follow Your will and to pour Your Spirit into my marriage. I thank You for the amazing work You have already done in our five years together and am so excited to see where You will bring us. You are so good, there are no words. Thank You Jesus.

A Sheltered Life?

Since I have not written everyday, I will stop the count 🙂 I will still be striving to write a minimum of 500 words each day.

I find it funny that I sometimes wish I lived a sheltered life. A life of ignorance, a life of simplicity and a life of routine. The funny thing is that, as an American, I do live a sheltered life. Sure, I am aware of some of the terrors that plague this world and have experienced some terrible things myself. The reality is that in this country I do not face persecution and I am not living in bondage. I live a good life.

Why is it that I can get so lost in feeling like this life is such a struggle? Sure finances can be burdensome and stressful, but we have access to so much in this country. I have such freedom.

So there are times when I wish I lived under a rock and was not aware of the things I am. I also know that God made me purposely and that I am right where I need to be and know exactly what He wants me to.  I am His child and He knows the outcome of this life I lead. I  can rest on that in all things. He shows guides me along a carefully planned out path that is just for me. Sure, I have people who are by my side on this journey, but my journey is my own. We all have our own personal journeys. We are meant to share our stories.

Are there parts of your journey that you would rather not remembers? Are there parts of you that you would prefer to leave behind? I have them too. The thing is, if you allow God into those places, He will use them for good. It may not seem possible right now, just trust in Him and He will show you how. Take a leap of faith and dare to share with others. You never know who you will touch and how you can bring a shimmer of hope to those struggling in the very things you were delivered from.

Can you think of a time when someone was brave enough to share their story and it pierced your very heart? As you listened you began to think, “I am not the only one”? Have you ever read, heard or watched a person’s story and thought about how brave they were and felt that maybe you could be a little more brave too?

We have such power in our stories. Jesus loves to use us and He is always ready to help you through anything He asks you to walk in. He is so kind, so gentle and so loving in all things. Today I ask us all to sit before the throne and ask Jesus to show us how we can use our stories. As Him to bring people into our path that would benefit from us. There are so many people who will benefit from you! As you go about your day, be aware of that small voice that prompts you to speak. Don’t ignore it, don’t push it down, let it flow and watch the power of Jesus flow.

Day 12 – What Am I Owed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.