I wrote this seven years ago for those trying to escape the darkness of domestic violence. Today as I read those same words, I was overcome by thankfullness for how far I’ve come.
Several weeks ago, I received a message from an individual who attacked my character and spoke of things they knew nothing of. Someone who has never sat with me to hear my story or shared in my struggles. Someone who has never prayed with me, cried with me or even taken the time to get to know me. Someone who has made assumptions and judgements based on gossip and untruths. Had this message been sent to me years ago, I would have been crushed and devastated and lost my footing. But thankfully because of God’s goodness, I know who I am and to whom I belong, and the words of the enemy can no longer take that away from me.
Be encouraged! You are a daughter of the King. He holds you in His mighty hand and covers you with the feathers of His faithfulness and love.
“A Woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”
I’ve always thought that was a powerful statement. That in order for any man to find a woman that he should have to seek out God before he can find her. It’s one of those things that I can’t express loud enough to my single friends and daughters. But as incredible as that statement is, it shouldn’t stop there.
It’s easy to see that statement and think about what it looks like before we get married. That in order to find the man we’re supposed to marry that our walk with Jesus should be solid. And it should be. But we married women need that reminder too because that statement should follow us throughout the entirety of our lives. Even once we are married. Because once we’re married we shouldn’t give up on our pursuit of God. He should still be our number one priority. We should be so in love with God that it draws our husbands to Him. We should be so in love with Jesus and spending time with Him that our husbands can’t find us unless they’re sitting with Him too.
It’s easy in marriage to become cynical. It’s even easier to become bitter and resentful after years of unmet expectations and disappointments. It’s easy to cling to hurt and focus on what we don’t have. We women are amazing at doing that! But when we focus on our Creator those things sort of wash away as we take our eyes off our circumstances and look at the One who gave us our spouse to begin with. We can’t go wrong when we’re focused on the right things. Our heart won’t grow cold when our heart is full of love for our Creator.
If you’re struggling in your marriage today, if the love you once shared has run cold and you’re just ready to give up…don’t look in any other direction but up. Go to the source, the One who brought you together to begin with. Focus on God’s love for you and allow Him to place His hand upon your heart and as His love fills you up it will pour out of you and into your spouse. Because the more we pursue God, the more our love and affection for Him trumps all others and the more things in our life will start to make sense leaving us more fulfilled and content.
Those are big words and big steps to take if you haven’t already been living that way. Trust me. I know. It has taken a lot of painstakingly new habits and daily reminders to focus on the things above as a way to remind me to turn my eyes in the direction of the cross. But on the days that I remember to do those things life is different. My day is different. My attitude is different. My heart is different. My reactions are different. The way I love is different.
When we pursue Jesus with all of our heart and allow the Spirit to move within us…everything changes. So be that woman. Be that woman that chases after God so hard that the only way her husband will ever find her is through his own pursuit of God.
Over the years, life has been full of many disappointments and lost dreams with what often has felt like little promise of a turnaround.
If I’m being completely honest, had God given me the insight at 19 of what my journey might have looked like, I’m certain I would have done many things differently. Had I held the foreknowledge of the events that would transpire over the course of my life, I think I might have run the other way from many of the choices I made when I was younger. Yes, those words might sound harsh, but it is in the reality and harshness of life where we find our greatest blessings.
We were never promised an easy road, and I won’t pretend that life is without disappointments and pain. I’ve learned that to share my story and who God is in my story, all the parts; the good, the bad and the ugly should be shared so others can be encouraged and find the hope that can only be found in Jesus. So, the stark reality is this; life isn’t butterflies and roses. When we choose to follow Jesus, we are not handed a “get out of jail free” card and knowing that truth, we need to be there to support, encourage and remind one another of what stands on the other side of our doubts and fears. That there is hope in the but God moments.
But God. He is so good to remind us of where hard roads can take us. For me, He reminds me through the amazing gift of my 5 amazing kids. These five came from a situation I would have never chosen for myself all those years ago had I known the destruction and chaos that would evolve out of many years of dishonesty. However, God uses and continues to use those amazing kids of mine to constantly remind me of His ability to take the ugliest and most painful experiences and turn them into tapestries of beauty that far exceed anything I could create or even imagine on my own (Ephesians 3:20).
His reminders and provisions give me the tenacity to hold on to the unknown because of the confidence I can have in knowing what He’s capable of creating and doing in my life. I’m reminded that this story, my story isn’t finished and that there are many more chapters to be written. And with confidence I can expect that once this season, this chapter, concludes I will once again stand amazed at the way God works in all things when we trust and love Him.
I am aware that the words I have written may sound absurd to many who have made it this far in this post, but the truth is that God can use our most painful situations and turn them into great moments of joy and thankfulness. That as He continues working in our lives, we can discoverer a peace and faith that will transform our lives. Rest assured there will be pain and disappointment, but we can rest in knowing the truth of who He is.
Knowing all I’ve written to be true from my own experiences, I will encourage you to choose to hang on longer and to trust Him more fully. I encourage you to stand guard and be aware of the attacks of the enemy whose plan is to discourage you from trusting and remembering the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Life didn’t turn out the way I would have planned for myself as may be the same for many of you reading, but up to this point, I still wouldn’t choose for things to be any different. God has most definitely blessed me with way more than I could have ever hoped for myself and moved in ways I could have never imagined. So, until this season passes, I will find comfort in knowing that He is faithful and that He will move in mighty ways again! Will you choose the same?
With life comes seasons. The changing of seasons as one matures and develops is different for everyone. Life experience will often shift our perspective, change our attitude(s) and/or strengthen our resolve regarding those things that are important to us.
For me, my faith is the most important thing to me. The relationship that exists between myself and God trumps all other relationships in my life. Next in life is my relationship with my family: my husband and then my relationships with all my children. And then comes everyone and everything else (extended family, relatives, friends, co-workers, church, job, entertainment, hobbies and so on). Do you see how everyone and everything else fit into the parenthesis? There is no certain order. It just all falls in that space together.
It has taken a long time to create this balance in my life but life functions best when we set our world in motion the way that God intended it to spin. Above all else, He must come first in our lives. There is no getting around that fact. Scripture says it and because I believe the truth of scripture, I know that for there to be peace and harmony in my life, I need to follow that principle. To a “T”. The next two relationships can get tricky and can create a whole lot of havoc if not done in the correct order. I say tricky because we women are wired to nurture. We want to be “the best moms” we can be and strive for that. Often at the expense of our spouse/marriage. However, when that role, as a mom, supersedes that role of being a wife first, we will fail. When our priorities are out of order, the world will collapse. I can pretty much guarantee that.
Matthew and I are finishing a book by Greg Laurie titled, Married. Happily. It has been a fantastic book and helped us tremendously in priority placement amongst other things. But of all the helpful information, can I share with you what piece of information blew my mind the most? I am a tad bit embarrassed to admit it because I do not know how I have missed the significance of this passage for so long.
…This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Genesis 2:24
Now it isn’t the verse itself that I have missed all these years as I have read that verse a thousand times. It is the point Greg Laurie makes in this next paragraph that got me.
Greg Laurie writes: Long before there was a nation, government, a school or even a church, there was a man and woman brought together to be husband and wife. The institution of marriage predates every other human institution or relationship in Scripture and remains one of the key foundation stones of any society.
He goes on to say: Marriage begins with a leaving-a distinct departure and distancing from all other relationships. The closest relationship outside of marriage is specified here, which is the relationship of a child to his parents. This implies that if it’s necessary to leave your father and mother, then all lesser ties must be broken, changed or left behind. You leave all other relationship.
I have read the story of creation hundreds of times. I know a rib was taken from Adam and then Eve was created, and they were told to leave and cleave (from who they were to leave I am not certain since they had no earthly parents, but I do see the importance that is being placed on leaving and cleaving since it was commanded without earthly parents being present) and were now said to be one flesh. I know this story. But somehow, I had missed the significance of what was taking place. The first human relationship ever created by God was that of husband and wife.
As I read through it again, I see that Eve was not a daughter or mother first. Adam was not a son or dad first. They were husband and wife first. The first relationship (outside of the relationship with God) created on earth was that of husband and wife.
As a mom, it is so very easy to want to place priority on to our children. Especially when they are younger. They need so much from us, and we give so much of ourselves to them but is that the way God designed it?
So many things can be jumbled and twisted to fit whatever agenda is trying to be sold. On just about any given day one can scroll through social media and watch as someone else has twisted Scripture to fit into their way of thinking or to excuse their sinful choices. But this is one right out of the gate that we cannot argue with. Creation happened. The Bible spells it out for us. Genesis speaks to what family is and the order to which each relationship outside of that should fall. So that leaves very little wiggle room to argue any other way.
Last year my oldest married. Our “family” grew in a way. But here’s the thing I realized as I watched them take their vows; my son has now started his own family. He and his wife are now one. I want them to cleave to one another. To be padlocked together in a way that makes them inseparable. Though he will always be my son, he belongs to his wife, and I have become part of his extended family. He has left this family (his parents and siblings) to begin his own family and that family should be what takes priority over all other relationships and things no matter how much his siblings may protest 😉.
As a mom, I once thought that watching my child leave and marry would be the hardest thing in the world. But instead, it has been one of the greatest blessings I ever thought possible. I think part of that blessing is the realization that God created order and His order is perfect. When we keep His priorities in place and we acknowledge that God knows what He is doing and live out our lives the way He has designed life to be, then everything else falls into place. I chose to place my marriage before my children. We have spent ten years working to make our marriage the priority and focusing on doing marriage the way God designed. My hope and prayer are that by living that out, though my children may not have always understood it, that as they go to marry and are married, they will grasp it and cleave to their spouse the way God intended and will continue to do so throughout their marriage no matter what relationships they encounter. Priorities are everything. Priorities change everything.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
This is one of those posts that I am hesitant to write simply because the words are hard to admit sometimes. But these words are my truth and for years I have sat on this truth, felt alone and kept quiet for fear that someone would think less of me.But today, as I was chatting with another friend who is going through a difficult time I realized that it is only when we share our insecurities or struggles with one another that people can begin to see they are not alone and not so different.
I am the mom of five super incredible kids.When I was young all I ever dreamed about was being a mom one day and having lots of babies.I feel like I fulfilled that young girl’s dream.I love my kids more than life itself.I would do anything for my children and I have. But, with that said, being a mom did not leave me filling fulfilled.Something in me knew there was more to my life than being a wife and mom. Because of that I began praying many years ago that God would fill that void in me with exactly what was supposed to fit there.
I remember as a young mom I would have huge conversations with my mentor at the time. She was my mother’s age and had two grown boys.She had always been a stay at home mom and still stayed home.When I would share with her what was on my heart she would tell me how my purpose was all about being a wife and mom.That those are the responsibilities God had placed in front of me and I needed to learn to be content in those things. Her response was always very frustrating to me. I was content and felt blessed to be able to stay at home, but I knew that one day my children would grow up and my role as a mother would change.I knew in my heart there had to be more and I wanted God to use me in ways I could never imagine.
We see if so often in our church communities where women are made to feel like there place is in the home and the idea of working outside of that home instead of caring for our children or homeschooling is scoffed.I lived in a community that very much viewed things that way and it left me feeling discouraged.
Over the course of my life I have watched people confine God to a box.Creating rules and boundaries according to the way in which they believe life should be lived and then alienating anyone living outside of their system. I’ve witnessed as they have placed limits on the power, the faithfulness and goodness of God because of their inability to believe that His ways are so much greater than their own then limiting His ability to display His greatness through them because of their small beliefs. I didn’t nor do I want to be that person.I want God’s purpose for my life fulfilled in ways that I could never even begin to imagine and so I prayed that way.Spoiler Alert….it happened 😊
For me, my purpose did not come until the age of 43.It took 43 years of living and a lot of life experience for me to finally find the place where God would have me.The place where He would use my life, my story, my personality, my faith, and my gifts to display His infinite goodness to those who are yearning for some hope and light in their very dark world. For the first time in my life, I wake up every single day eager to begin my day.Excited for what my day will hold. Knowing and believing that once again God will reveal Himself in times when I need Him the most so that I can display His goodness to those in front me.
Now looking back, I realize had I never started praying at 25 for God to use me outside of my home I might have never known this life I know now.I might not have paid attention along the way for His hand in my life. I might not have learned to hear His voice above the noisiness of the world.I might have missed it all!Yes, it took 18 years to get here but it was not 18 wasted years.During that entire time God was shaping me, refining me and preparing me for the role in which He has placed me today.
God has a purpose for each one of us.He has a special part written in His story where we each play our own role where His glory is revealed. Sometimes it might feel like it is never going to come but He knows when we are ready. He knows when we have reached a place where we can move forward with confidence in who He is and trust His hand to guide us.
We each have a different journey.No two are the same. But each journey starts with a prayer.A request. Asking for His plan, His purpose, His will for our lives. So, don’t be afraid to start asking Him to use you in ways you could never imagine.And don’t be surprised by the doors He may open and ask you to walk through as you seek after Him.His journey for us is amazing!It isn’t perfect and free of pain but the reward for going through the dark valleys is so worth the victories on the mountain tops!!!
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.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
In January 2008 Matthew West released the song, The Motions. Little did he know when he wrote that song that it would change the course of my life and become a bookmark in my story. From the very first time I heard the words my heart was convicted and my prayers changed.
The song began with….
“This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break,
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life
I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?”
Quickly this song became the rhythm of my heart. I woke up each day and as I drove my kids to school it played on repeat. The words became a prayer that I repeatedly prayed. I wanted God to do something in me. I wanted a work done in my life because I wasn’t content with the complacent life I was living.
At this particular stage in my life I was dealing with a lot of different things. I had been in an unhealthy and unsafe marriage for 13 years. I was surrounded by a lot of superficial relationships. My life was lacking true community and a safe place to go for help. I was at a place where I knew something had to be different. I knew God wanted His best for me and I knew that my current situation had to change and so I began to pray.
I was uncertain as to what would come next but I knew it was going to be hard. I recognized then that by asking God to do a work in my life meant there would be a battle ahead. Nothing could have prepared me for what was in store. I had no clue the roller coaster ride I was about to embark on but as I sit back today on this New Year’s Eve and look at the road that I traveled I am ever so thankful God heard my prayer. He knew I no longer wanted to live a restless life. And I prayed hard to get out of that complacent state I found myself. And as I prayed i added that my life going forward never become complacent again.
Unfortunately life takes turns and things happen and we fall into situations that we don’t see coming. I had prayed and prayed that my life not become complacent but I am sad to say that I let it happen again.
Now deep down I don’t think I recognized my life had become complacent. Instead, I think that after a few years of some severe storms I finally found myself on top of the mountain experiencing peace and victory. The problem is that I became too comfortable on top of that mountain. I liked my life the way that it was. My kids were good. My marriage was good. I had a good community and a safe place to land. I was involved in my church and life was moving at a leisurely pace. I was so comfortable. But though life was good, something within me had become restless again. I felt unsettled. Maybe I knew I had settled into a rut. I wasn’t being challenged. My faith wasn’t growing. I needed an awakening. But I didn’t know I needed an Awakening.
Now I can tell you that I did not ask for an awakening like I had done 10 years earlier but it happened. I think this was one of those moments where my restlessness was my own doing because I was standing in the way of myself. As I now look back I know that God knew it was time for me to wake up. He knew I didn’t want to stay in the place of complacency. He created me, and because He created me He knows the deepest desires of my heart. And He knows that my desire is to follow Him and to live a life that is consumed by Him. But in those days that’s not how I was living. And so tragedy entered and the waves began to move.
Almost 10 years ago I specifically cried out to God and said, “Move in me. Do what needs to be done to draw me closer to you.” However 2 1/2 years ago I wasn’t asking for that. But God knew that I was in the way of myself. My complacency had allowed me to settle in and get comfortable with life. I no longer focused solely on Him because I had become less reliant on Him to get through my day. But God knew that if I stayed settled and bunkered down that I would truly suffer later from a lack of His touch in my life. This meant that He allowed suffering to enter so that devastation wouldn’t drown me because a false sense of security that can come from living a comfortable life is leaps and bounds worse than going through the process of suffering.
Because God loves us and wants our best He knows we have to go through the fire. This fire looks different for everyone but it means moments of disappointment and hurt. It means pain and unmet expectations. God allows these moments of suffering so that we learn how to be fully reliant on Him and draw closer to Him.
And because I had forgotten how to be fully reliant on Him and life had gotten too easy, He knew I needed a wake up call.
It’s much like training for a marathon. If we want to win the race we can’t lay on the couch all day. We have to get up and move. We half to exercise as a way to gain physical strength. And it is much the same way spiritually. We have to be poured into circumstances that might be difficult so that we can gain spiritual strength. Because it’s in the moments of our disappointments and difficult times that transformation occurs where our minds begin to think more biblically, we process those things around us through Truth more instinctively, and we learn to trust God more completely. During this process we have to get rid of things such as fear, complacency, weakness and hopelessness because those things lead to the thinking as the world thinks. Scripture tells us that to think like the world will lead to death. It will lead to the death of hope, the death of peace and the death of joy. But if we think like Jesus then new life is breathed into us and His peace will flow through us (Roman’s 8:5-6).
Making that first move off the couch is not always fun nor is it at the top of our list of things to do. Much like moments of disappointment and pain are not something we would willingly ask for. But being uncomfortable and allowing life to become chaotic for a time may be the only hope we have in truly knowing what God wants us to see and His way of teaching us to solely trust in Him no matter what we face. We are called to be like Jesus. And through His suffering He became more and more aligned with God and less and less with the ways in which humanity dealt with circumstances and suffering.
If you want to know God’s will, God’s perspective and the good God has in store for you then you simply have to ask. And when you ask and invite Him into your circumstances He is faithful to answer. He will pour into your circumstances things such as strength, peace, courage and the ability to overcome. He will pour into your circumstances whatever is needed to help you grow in those areas and He will infuse you with the very things you have asked of Him. And it is good to desire these things because they cause maturity within us and though the process that must be completed in order to acquire these attributes may not always feel good at the time they will lead to good things because you’ll be living out the very best of what God has planned for you.
So as we enter into a new year ask yourself, “What is my life missing? What would God have of me in 2019?”
As you start off the new year invite God into your story. The ride may be bumpy and a little bit scary but it will forever change your life and the way you walk ith Jesus!
On May 28th 2016 we had an incredible plot twist. We went from being the happy and madly in love couple who rarely fought to a couple who began a journey that would take us on a path where we truly began to think that separation was the only option. It has been maddening and crazy and exciting all at the same time. It has taken me 923 days to get to a place where I am beginning to see that day as a blessing and not a curse. God has been up to a lot in our lives. He’s been opening doors and giving us the opportunity to share our story with others and to help point them to Jesus. And through that He has been using these moments to grow our faith, to grow our marriage and to draw us closer to Him and to one another.
You see God knows Matthew and I better than anyone else. He knows our hearts. He knows our faith. He knows our desire to serve Him. He’s known that from the beginning. He’s known what He could do with us. He knows that we’re moldable. He knows more about us than we know about ourselves. Which means He knows what we’re capable of. He knows what ways He can use us even when we may be clueless. And even when we may not see ourselves as sufficient vessels to carry out His message and mission. But He knows and He’s offered us this opportunity to be a part of this journey with Him. To be a part of His story in sharing His story of redemption and hope. He knew Matthew and I would struggle. He knew that we would hanging by a thread and on the brink of divorce. But He also knew the enemy wouldn’t get the best of us. Even though at times it felt like the enemy was going to be victorious. God knew differently. He knew our love for one another. He knew our commitment to one another and He knew our strong desire to please Him!
So through a journey of ups and downs, of sin and selfishness and many bad decisions and wrong turns, God is redeeming our story. He’s taken what I viewed as a no good horrible bad day and turning it into a day that now I see as a pivotal moment in my journey of faith. That day has now become the day God extended His hand and invited us both to be a part of His story. He invited us that day to be on mission though we didn’t realize then what was happening. Or what we were in for. It has taken 923 days to recognize that total surrender will be the only way that this story (our part of the story) is successful. It took breaking us both down completely and stripping away all that we thought we needed so that He could replace it all with what we truly need….Him!
Yesterday I spent the day writing out the many names of God. Searching the scriptures and meditating on His many different names. I filled up pages and pages of my notebook and as I thought of each name and read about each one, I recognized that over the past 923 days we’ve experienced God in these different ways. I think I could fill my notebook with different stories from the last 923 days that would align with each different name of God. Throughout our journey so far, God has shown up in all of those ways.
God’s faithfulness and goodness through the most difficult challenges of our life becomes so evident when we stop and step away from the world. When we disconnect from the chaos and noise around us and just focus on His voice. He’s always there. Always waiting to be allowed in to work. He’s wanting to show us which way to go but sometimes we’re too stubborn or too deaf or too blind or too angry or too afraid to recognize it which means that sometimes it takes almost a thousand days for Him to get our attention. But man, when we finally sit still and just listen… He will blow our minds with the way He shows up and makes Himself clearly known!
I cannot deal with any more of these posts where the gospel is trampled and Truth is shuffled around so as to fit someone’s agenda. Each time I see another post I get knots in my stomach and become physically sick. I understand that we are living in a time that the Bible clearly talks about (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 2 Peter 3:3-7, Matthew 24:12). When people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). I get that we are living in a time where people have walked so far away from God that they have become blinded to the Truth that has been placed before them (2 Corinthians 4:4). I know this is what is supposed to be happening but it is still heartbreaking.
It is so difficult to watch people being led astray. It is even more difficult to watch people who profess to follow Jesus speak against the Bible, against Truth and speak it as if their words are truth which then leads people astray (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). It is so hard to know that the hearts of people are becoming hardened and that an eternity spent in a devastating place will be a real destination.
I know that there are those who will disagree with me. Who do not believe what I believe. And that’s okay. I’m not here to argue with anyone. But instead, I’m speaking up and speaking out the same way those who believe opposite of what I believe do on a daily basis and instead calling out those of us who profess to follow Jesus yet choose to sit back and stay silent. It is time we got called out because we are failing miserably at the mission.
Scripture tells us that none of us are good. Not one (Romans 3:10-12). That we all are sinful (Romans 3:23). But not just that that pretty much every single thing we do is sinful. Our lying, jealousy, foul language, selfishness, abuse, gossip, slander, pride, gluttony, divorces, homosexuality, abortion, adultery, infidelity, hatred, murder, discrimination, racism…all of it is sin! And all of it goes back to pride and the selfish desires of our own flesh and followed by the unwillingness to acknowledge sin (1 John 2:15-17).
The truth is that sin causes us to “miss the mark.” What is the mark? The mark is the standard of perfection which God has established which was lived out by Jesus. Our inability or unwillingness to acknowledge our sin then becomes the issue. God wants us to recognize and confront our sin because that sin is what distances us/separates us from Him. He loves us too much for that and so He sent Jesus (John 3:16).
How do we combat all this? Jesus told us that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:37). In addition we are told that if we love then God we will keep His Commandments (John 14:15). The simplest summary of the Commandments were given by Jesus and said that we are to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:38-39). But it all begins by loving God first and above all other things. Most importantly, loving God and others more than oneself or one’s (selfish and sinful) desires. Following God’s commands leaves us better prepared for battling and recognizing our sin.
Because God is holy, we must be pure/clean/holy to be in His presence. Unfortunately because of Adam and Eve and the sin that entered the world through them…we are incapable of holiness/righteousness on our own and this leaves us unable to be in the presence of God. This means that we need Jesus. This means that only Jesus and His blood can make us acceptable and righteous to God who is holy and who is our Creator. Our Heavenly Daddy. Once we have placed our faith in Jesus and recognized ourselves as sinners and then repent of those sins, we are forgiven. It doesn’t mean that suddenly we are perfect and will never fall into sin again but instead that we will now become aware of our sin and our need for Jesus.
There are moments when the fear of the future for my grandchildren can overwhelm me when I read about the things taking place in the world but I know God is greater and His plan is beautiful! Though it is incredibly difficult to watch as people continually reject Him and spit in His face knowing the love He has for us all and the sacrifice He made to bring us into right standing with Him, breaks my heart. To see people mock the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. The death that He died for every person so that all might know Him (if they choose to believe) and spend eternity with Him often leaves me speechless. I ache for what this world has become but I believe that God has raised up a generation of people who will reflect His glory and not just their own. A group of people who will walk in His character and be vessels who bear His image.
For those who follow Jesus, we need to stand up and speak out. It is time for Truth to be spoken with both love and grace. It is time to stop being afraid of who may hate us or call us intolerant. It’s time to stop allowing darkness to keep us cowered in the shadows. A spiritual battle is taking place every single day in front of us and we are expected to be soldiers on that battlefield (Ephesians 6:12). We are fighting for the very souls of those people we work with, those we call family, those we call friends, those who live next door to us and for some, spouses and children. We can’t afford to be passive any longer. We’re talking about the difference between an eternity spent with a loving Father or an eternity spent in a place of eternal damnation. How much do you really love those people around you? Lack of action and complacency speaks to our true loyalties and beliefs. And I’m just as guilty. It’s time I check myself and start seeing the battlefield around me as one where I should be fighting. What about you?
Society has become so gifted at confusing evil with good. It all started in the garden with Adam and Eve and it continues today.
Our present-day social righteousness is a complete contradiction from the righteousness talked about in the Bible. It has been said, “A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.” This very principal has set in motion the shifting of our standards over the generations. The Bible says, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light, and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (Isaiah 5:20). The standard God sets for us has not changed and the Bible tells us that one day we will be held accountable for our sins (Romans 14:12).
Evil makes its way into our lives each day. It presents itself as harmless. We often wrap it up in a pretty little bow, but sin is divisive and dirty. And it often leaves us to lie to ourselves as we call it tolerance and confuse it with love.
We have to step back and ask ourselves how we have become so deceived. How have we fallen into the trap set for us by the enemy? A lot of it boils down to our sinful desires and an immediate need for pleasure instead of God‘s desires. This leads us to believe that evil is good.
It is so easy to make excuses for what God blatantly calls sin. A lot of that comes from people choosing to say that morals are relative. It has been said, “As the occasion, so the behavior.” We’ve reached a place where our morality has been modified to fit our sinful behaviors instead of our sinful behaviors being determined by our morality. Today nothing is solid. People will shift from one extreme to the other because they lack Truth. The present-day ideology is twisted and distorted so badly that it is near impossible to separate Truth from lies.
Self-centeredness is also a factor in this idea that evil is good. It makes us more prone to call evil good because we tend to think that if sin or immorality brings a profit or gives pleasure it has to be good. Even if we know it’s wrong.
However, if we were really listening to the voice of Jesus, we would hear him say, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously (Matthew 6:33). And what does living righteously look like? Second Timothy says, “To run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (2 Timothy 2:22). And in James we read, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly except the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God‘s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:19-22).
Sadly, we look at Christianity like we look at everything else in the world…by asking what’s in it for me? We think that God wants to do what we want of Him and that His plan is to give us the desires of our heart. We have basically turned God into a genie. We also rationalize. We make excuses for the sin in our life, or we try to blame it on other people or other things. Even Adam, in the garden, tried to blame Eve for the choice he made. So, this issue has been around for a long time.
The question becomes how do we correct our warped sense of thinking? How do we remove the blinders that the enemy has so cleverly placed upon our eyes? The only answer out there is the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Bible speaks to us those things God considers good while the Holy Spirit directs and convicts.
Evil exists within every one of us, yet it disguises itself as good while controlling and deceiving us (Romans 3:10). But it is only by the death of Jesus on the cross that we are good. That we are made righteous. His death was necessary because man without God is a contradiction and an atrocity. This very thing is why some people love evil and then hate what is good because they are still so attached to their own sin.
It can be difficult to make our way back to Truth when the enemy has placed such blinders over our eyes. However, Scripture is very clear to those things that God hates. You don’t have to look too hard in the Bible to find them. God hates pride, He hates a lying tongue, He hates hands that shed innocent blood, He hates hearts that devise evil plans, He hates evil thoughts that eventually lead to sinful actions, and He hates those who create discord among their community. (Proverbs 6:16-19).
I think we would each do well to sit down and carefully think about the things that God hates. The hypocrisy we create by believing that it is always someone else that is evil will get us into this whole vicious cycle of calling evil good. Because at the end of the day it begins with pride and our own sinful desires to be right and to do as we please.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
If you know me at all you know that one of my greatest fears is to not be where God would have me. To be walking the path of my own choosing instead of walking out His will for my life. Twenty-three years ago I made that choice to do my own thing and I am painstakingly still living out the consequences of what came from doing what I wanted to do instead of being where God wanted me to be. You can say I’ve learned from those choices and because I have felt the pain of the consequences of those choices, I am constantly looking for God’s direction in my life.
Right now I am entering into a new season of life. I graduated in May and was ready to take on a full-time job. I just knew that’s what was next for me. So I applied for positions thinking that doors would open because that was what God wanted for me. But I think that’s what I wanted for me.
Twenty years as a stay at home mom can sometimes take a toll on the way you see yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than being a mom. Especially one who got to stay home with her kids. I poured myself into to my kids and soaked up every minute but now I’ve entered a new season and it’s a season where I want to work outside of my home. But it’s also a season of trying to figure out exactly what that looks like.
Right now I have one of the greatest jobs in the world for me. I am doing something I am passionate about by working at a domestic violence organization and loving on women every day. It was like God hand-picked this position for me because I get up every day wanting to go to work and excited to see how God will use me that day. However, it’s only a part-time job. And so there are days when I don’t feel like that’s enough. And I’ve beat myself up over it. Because I feel like I should be doing more.
Over the last couple of weeks God has really been showing me the importance of being still. To take the time to separate the noise of the world from His voice. He’s been reminding me of how I came into this job in the first place. What to some would seem like a fluke to others would be evidence of His providential hand. He’s been reminding me this week that He gave me this opportunity to work this job in the morning which then allows me the afternoons to minister or serve or write or to invest in the lives of those around me. And what a reminder that has been as I recognize that for the past six months as I’ve wrestled with wanting to work more… I’ve wasted six months of missing out on the opportunities to do these things because my focus was on the wrong things. I wasn’t content with what He had for me. I felt like I needed more but He has shown me that what I have is enough.
Being able to trust God‘s plan for your life means that you have to be content and find joy in Him and not your circumstances. So as He becomes your everything, and where your hope and happiness comes from then His will for your life becomes much more evident. Because instead of looking for things that make you happy, you’re seeking out things that bring Him glory. And ultimately that is the purpose of your life and what He has planned. What a revelation!
Once you finally wrap your head around that truth… His voice becomes much more clear. You certainly start to recognize when He is speaking and when He is leading. The nudging of the Spirit within you becomes much more recognizable and suddenly you find yourself taking steps that you were once afraid to take. It becomes all about trusting His plan all the time even when it might not make sense or might not exactly be what you think you need.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.