Last Resort

“He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.”

Mark 5:34

Desperation leads to Despair.

What things have to happen before we finally find ourselves turning to Jesus?

When Jesus walked the earth, we saw countless stories about those who turned to Him with their struggles. Most often, they had exhausted all other resources and He became the last resort. They had heard His name and word had spread that He performed miracles, so it was worth a shot to find Him.

The story of the women who bled for 12 years is one on my most favorite stories in the bible.  It is an incredibly short story, but it is packed full of so much goodness and promise.

This woman, who found herself at the feet of Jesus, had tried everything to heal her condition of bleeding that had lasted for twelve long years. Twelve years of balancing the tight rope of hope that this next medicine or treatment would work to heal her condition which would only lead to having her hope shattered. But now she finds herself pushing her way through the crowd of people gathered to get to Jesus. With hope of being healed, she finds herself at the feet of Jesus where she touches his robe, and she’s instantly healed.

But her healing does not go unnoticed by Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, Who touched my garments?” And in that moment, the woman “came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.”

This woman did not know that on that day she would have this powerful encounter with the living Son of God. She knew she wanted physical healing of this affliction, but she did not know that with this healing would also come a spiritual healing and salvation. But Jesus. 

In that moment, He wanted her to own her actions and to share the news with those around her of what had taken place within her body and so He asks, in a crowd of people, “who touch my garment?”. Though she was afraid and most likely expected punishment, she fell before Him and she spoke the whole truth. And in that moment, without judgment, Jesus looked her in the eyes and called her “Daughter.” No condemnation. No punishment. No mistreatment of her with unkindness. Instead, Jesus calls her daughter and tells her that her faith in Him has made her well.

This woman came for healing and though she received it, she also found peace in the security of Jesus. God’s power of love and mercy took away her illness and that illness was replaced with God’s love, His mercy, His compassion, and His peace.

Where in your life do you find yourself exhausted from all that has gone wrong, looking for relief in all the wrong places?  How many times has Jesus been your last resort?

Today, I want to encourage you to take a moment to think through the times He has been your last resort.  Ask yourself why and then throw yourself at His feet. Reach out and grab his robe. Trust that He is loving and merciful and will turn to you with compassion and love. Be confident in knowing that He will look you in the eye and call you daughter and that He will take away the pain and heal your broken heart in more ways than you could ever dream or imagine.

Peace over Pride

Being that this world is shouting at me how I should think, believe and live, I took the time to sort through all the noise and reflect on my own beliefs. This is what I discovered.

In a world that celebrates pride and uses the rainbow as a way to promote that pride, a symbol given as a reminder of God’s protection, His faithfulness, and a sign of the covenant between God and man, I cannot and will not celebrate pride or any other sin that cost the life of Jesus. I cannot celebrate something that ultimately leads to destruction. Someone said, “by God’s grace, I strive in the Spirit’s power to put my pride to death and one day, my God will put a full and final end to any pride which remains in me.”  Until that day when I see Him face to face, pride will be an ongoing sin I struggle to overcome but not one I will celebrate.

Believers are told in Deuteronomy 6:5 to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” This truth is so important that it was repeated by Jesus (Matthew 22:37). We cannot be focused on pride or sin or the things of this world and truly love God. He should be the priority! Joby Martin explains it like this when he says, “when Jesus is preeminent, when He is before all things, He doesn’t make top of the list. He is the paper on which you write the list so that everything in your world points to Him and Him alone!”  That’s the life I want to live and reflect. A life not based on a religion or a doctrine but a life reflective of an intimate relationship with Jesus. A life surrendered to the Holy Spirit that brings life and peace. A life that demonstrates a love for Him that is so great, that there is no need to fill a void in my life with worldly desires or sin. I know I will never be that person completely on this side of heaven because of my sinful nature, but I will, to the best of my ability, run this race as I have been called while pointing those around me to the true prize, a personal relationship with Jesus and to the Truth of His Word and His Grace.

In our home, we will choose to celebrate His grace, His Truth and His love because it is His grace, His Truth and His love that will win in the end! Today I am thankful for a God who is faithful to His promises and who gave the life of His Son for me. His love is the greatest love I know and the only love I need.

He is the paper on which you write the list so that everything in your world points to Him and Him alone!

““He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Therefore, “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). The cross of Christ declares my depravity, and delivers me from it. The Christian heart is a broken and forgiven heart.

But something else happened when Jesus died. All his people died with him. When we are united to Christ by faith, his death becomes not only the punishment of our sins, but also the death of our sinful nature. Our old, rebellious, selfish, arrogant nature dies. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

A new creation comes into being. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Being loved by Christ with self-sacrificing love, and dying to our old selfish nature, shapes us into the image of our heavenly Father: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1–2).

A new way of disapproving of sin is built into being forgiven, dying to our old nature, and being recreated in Christ. Christians do not stop disapproving of what will destroy people (sin). They start desiring the good of self-destroyers (sinners). Forgiven Christians want others to join them in being forgiven. Hope-filled Christians want others to join them in the hope of glory. Christians rescued at the cost of Christ’s life are willing to sacrifice for the sake of rescuing others.

This includes all others. Our crucified Savior said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28). The apostle Paul said, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone” (Galatians 6:10). “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

This love for all others is rooted in, and formed by, the sacrifice of Christ. His sacrificial servant-heart forms ours. Paul put it like this:

In humility count others more significant than yourselves. . . . Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant . . . to the point of death. (Philippians 2:3–8)

Counting others more significant than ourselves does not mean approving of what they feel or do. It means becoming a servant of their forgiveness, their rescue, their Christ-exalting hope. Christians do not bear ill will toward any. We live for the good of all.”

-John Piper

Proverbs 11:2

Proverbs 8:13

Proverbs 29:23

1 John 2:16

Romans 8:5-8

Overwhelming Weight and Sufficient Grace

For years I lived in an oppressive situation.  Struggling for air,  I fought to keep my head above the water that worked to swallow me whole. I almost drowned.  In a situation that felt hopeless and dark my determination to survive brought me to a place of brokenness in a way that only Jesus could restore.
Years later, I am finding myself yet again facing great amounts of oppression but this time it is a spiritual attack.  An attack with an overwhelming weight looking to crush and destroy.  The devastating blows of these spiritual attacks leaves me nowhere else to go but my knees. 
The enemy wants me.  He wants my marriage, my family, my ministry and each of those things which God has placed before me to live out according to His purpose for my life. This is my reality. 
Daily it is an exhausting battle as I struggle to do the right thing but fear and doubt flood my mind leaving me to question whether I am strong enough to fight against each attack. 
My faith is so much stronger than what it once was but I recognize my own weakness.  Though failure is not an option, I am still susceptible to the attacks.
 With each fiery arrow released in my direction, my spirit weakens.  In my own strength, I am vulnerable.  On my own, I cannot fight this continued battle and win. 
The difference in the person I am today and the person I was years ago is that I recognize the power of the enemy when I am vulnerable. I acknowledge in ways that are so evident to me today that in order to win this battle, I have to surrender every aspect of my life into the hands of my Heavenly Daddy.
He is longing to fight for me.  He is waiting for me to look up at His face and say, “I can’t do this!  He longs to rescue me, to stand on the front lines of my battle and fight for me! 
The words echo through my head…
The Eternal your God is standing right here among you,
And He is the champion who will rescue you…

Zephaniah 3:17
Now in my weakness, I call upon the only One who can rescue me from the grasp of my enemy.  The one who seeks to devour my life.  The life that Jesus traded for His own.   The enemy lurks around each corner and he is waiting to steal, kill and destroy every good and perfect thing God has placed in my life. 
But I know, this battle belongs to the Lord!  I know this war is raging in the spiritual realms and my enemy wants nothing more than to declare my weakness before my God. 
But not today! Today, I surrender.  I will overcome but it won’t be because of anything that I do.  My victory will come at the hands of my Heavenly Daddy whose grace alone is sufficient for me!  And it is only His grace that gives me the strength I need in my darkest and weakest moments.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)
There is victory!  Jesus won the battle when He defeated death but now I must trust Him enough to fight this battle for me. 
Hey, Death!  What happened to your big win?
Hey, Death!  What happened to your sting?
Sin came into this world, and death’s sting followed.  Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law.  Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57


Aviary Photo_130595244444352172Liberty, not legalism, is what the Lord Jesus Christ offers. Freedom, not bondage. Relationship, not religion. We give up nothing for which Jesus will not abundantly offer more than we could ever hope or dream.

-Adrian Rogers

Not often in life are we given a do-over.  A second chance to get it right. When we do experience a second chance, it is definitely a beautiful blessing. 

I have been pondering that thought for some time now. How exactly does the idea of a second chance fair in the minds of those who follow a religion instead of Jesus.  What does that look like?

Back when my marriage woes became obvious, and my future included divorce, I repeatedly heard I would no longer be in God’s care or under His blessing.  It was typically followed up with that verse found in the Old Testament that says,

“For I, the God of Israel, hate divorce!” I, the Commander of heavenly armies, despise it when people wrap themselves in violence like a garment.  So guard yourselves: be true to your wife and not unfaithful. 

Malachi 2:16

The way in which some use God’s word to manipulate others is frustrating at best. As one who was manipulated, I remember being terrified at the notion and thinking that this predicament I found myself in was not one that I chose or wanted.  Divorce was the last thing I had imagined for my family.  Would God truly “kick me to the curb” because I was divorced?  Would He seriously abandon me in my darkest days?

Oh, the joys of legalism and the way it leads people astray.  For some, this kind of teaching could lead them straight down a path away from God.  Honestly, it led to doubt in my own mind and I withdrew myself from God and the church all together for a short time.  However, God proved them all wrong.

This next bit serves only as my two cents and comes only from my own experience of walking the path of divorce and walking it with God by my side.

In my opinion, there is no doubt God hates divorce.  I am confident He hates what it does to the people involved.  The heartache, the destruction, the negative picture it paints of His love and grace and everything else horrific that follows.  For me, it was the worst experience I have ever faced in my entire life and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  Ever!  However, no matter what “religious” men say, God does not turn away His children and stop blessing them.  Instead that “God stops blessing you” statement just serves as another lie told by religious men/women to manipulate the scared and hurting.  

The more I think about it, the more I am confident that God hates divorce because there is no way He wants any of His children to endure the pain that it includes. Especially the loneliness. And He surely doesn’t want us walking alone.  I believe He hates divorce, however He does not hate the person struggling through divorce.

With that being said, divorce happens.  Whether we choose it or not, it happens.  For me, I did not file the paperwork and did not ask for it to be processed, yet happened.

Does that mean God no longer wants me and will no longer use me? According to some, the answer is yes. According to God, a gigantic resounding no! Nothing can separate a child of God from the love of God. 

But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us.  For I have every confidence that nothing- not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing-can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

Now being one who can usually appreciate the good and bad in life, my divorce allows me to say that though horrific, it served as one of the best things that ever happened to me.   I understand that may sound crazy.  You’re probably thinking this chick has fallen off her rocker, especially if you witnessed any of what took place over the last few years. But in all seriousness, it’s true.

The heartache and pain of my divorce left me with more than I could have ever dreamed possible!  Divorce caused me to search after God.  To run after Him in total surrender which brought me to a new place in Christ.  The heartache and pain brought me to a place where I finally understood His grace and His love for me and it taught me the difference between religion and relationship. Even more, it taught me faith and trust in the One who holds my entire world in His hands. 

Just because divorce entered my life, God did not leave me.  Not once. In fact, I felt His remarkable added presence during that time.  He never left my side.  Yes, there were plenty of dark and painful days, but His comfort and strength flooded my life! Because of Him, I made it through the darkest season.  But only because of Him!

I have countless regrets in my life.  A LOT! We all have regrets.  If given the opportunity, many choices in life would be done differently.  Unfortunately, certain choices just can’t be undone. Thankfully, because of Christ and His work on the cross we receive a second chance.   We can have a fresh beginning.  We can have more than we ever dreamed possible! Like abundant joy and a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe just to name a few!


With Love, The Adulterous Woman

waitNot many will understand or know the pain of betrayal that leaves deep wounds created by those we’ve loved as they walk away.  

For me, the wounds created began with the title, adulterer.  Stories were told while the people in my life clutched hold of gossip and walked away.  I patiently waited.

Rumors spread like wildfire.  Whispers full of judgement followed by raised eyebrows brought pain that couldn’t be ignored.  I patiently waited.

The screams of the world yelled fight back.  God said, “Be still.”  

My children cried at the cruelty caused by ignorance.  I patiently prayed.  

From court hearings filled with lies to documents full of untruths, the fire grew tall and the smoke suffocatingly thick.  I patiently waited.

Friend you know the pain.  You’ve sat in that same cold courtroom listening to the words of betrayal.  The feelings of darkness from the other side leave you bewildered and questioning your own sanity. You know the dark filled lonely nights full of tears crying out to God for His rescue.  You too have heard Him say, “Be still and wait.”

Waiting.  The hardest part of waiting when you have been trampled, talked about, lied about, and labeled, becomes that of waiting. The longer the wait, the more you begin to believe the lies and you’re left questioning all you’ve done. The longer the wait, you begin to accept the titles. For me, my title became the adulterous woman.  But God.

Through all the name calling and shunning, I found something.  I found a love like no other. In the midst of pain, I became desperate.  A mighty thirst for genuine community and relationship grew deep within my heart.  I wanted to know the love and loyalty of a true friend. I prayed and patiently waited.

Suddenly, a door opened and a glorious light shined into my loneliness.  As He walked through the door, Jesus wiped away every tear and began mending my broken heart.  As He wrapped me in His arms, enormous love and kindness filled His eyes as He said, “You are MINE.”

This man began picking up every piece of my broken heart and meticulously worked them into something new.  As He worked, He spoke to my broken heart.  “You are my beloved child.”  
How had I forgotten?  

For the first time in too many years, my heart began to beat again as the healing words of His truth and love were spoken into my life. His presence and peace overwhelmed me. He cast aside those “names” given by others and replaced the, with “Daughter of The One True King.” 

You see it is easy to be defined by the words of others.  It is easy to fall prey to the attacks of the enemy as he works to discourage and torment leaving us to forget our true identity.  

It is easy to forget that sin is sin.  Gossip, lies and betrayal. No one is without sin and no amount of “good works” makes us any better than another. The enemy points to our sin and calls us failures but Jesus redeems and calls us His own.

So from one sinner to another and who has been redeemed and restored, take the childish playground name calling and untold truths in stride. Don’t allow it to define you.  Remember who you are and to Whom you belong.  He knows every heart and every thought.  He knows what has happened behind closed doors.  He knows every ounce of pain and every tear that has fallen. He will rectify all the wrong that has been done.  He makes all things new because His mercies are new every morning.  

Wait patiently and trust His timing.  Allow Him to fight for you because in the end, I can promise you, He will give back to you all that was taken and so much more. When we walk with Him and choose good over evil, we win! Just have faith my sweet friend ❤

With Love,

Daughter of the One True King

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14:14

A Broken Angel, A Shattered Heart and One Extravagant Christmas Miracle

 Constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Living in a state of anxious thoughts that God can’t bless me.  I cannot be this happy.  I am divorced. My home is broken.  God is angry with me.  He doesn’t want me.

Because of a bad decision, a sin I committed at the age of 15, I lived many years dealing with the consequences.  I also lived believing God was angry with me and had no true purpose for my life.  I lived my life wanting to serve Him and did so in hopes of gaining His approval. Wanting His love. But never feeling worthy.  I felt my life could not be used because of my sins.  My past haunted me daily.  

Almost six years ago I embarked on a journey down a very dark path that drew me closer to Jesus.  As I was cast out by a church and turned away by friends and family, I learned what following Jesus truly meant.  I learned how to listen to His voice and follow His leading.  For the first time, I embraced His love and understood and accepted His grace.  

When you make a choice to go against the beliefs and advice of others and hold fast to what you know to be true, you expose yourself to great challenges.  Defying another, especially a pastor, leaves you vulnerable to enormous ridicule and loneliness.  When you make a choice to follow the Holy Spirit as He leads, you don’t always win the favor of those around you.  

That was me.  I had spent hours and hours upon my knees in prayer.  Praying for so many things.  Looking for answers.  Looking for change.  When the Spirit began moving in my life and I stood up against those who attempted to manipulate me into following their voice, I faced severe consequence.  But those consequences changed my life forever and grew my faith in ways I never thought possible.

I was left totally on my own.  My church, my friends and certain family abandoned me.  They cast me aside.  At the time, it was devastating.  It was heartbreaking. But now it has become one of the greatest blessings and lessons in my life.  

God taught me to trust Him in all things.  Even when it seemed all hope was lost and I felt like I was sinking, He was there.

When you are dealing with storms, often through the darkness, God parts the clouds and gives you a beautiful glimpse of His love.  In dark moments He reveals to you those things or people in your life you need to separate yourself from but also those you need to pull closer.  He provides when all hope feels lost and emptiness is overwhelming. I experienced those moments. They became precious and intimate gifts from my Heavenly Daddy as He made His presence known in my life.  

When the gossip spread that I was running from God, having an affair, and had walked away from my faith, He intervened and revealed Himself in mighty ways.  From simple messages from those who loved me to finding bags of groceries at my front door, His presence was undeniable.  From each verbal attack from those who questioned my character and made me doubt myself, God spoke into my heart and reminded me I was His and He had great plans for me. Though others walked away, His presence never left me.  His arms were always there to hold me up as He embraced me with His love.

The past couple of years have been amazing.   God has blessed and provided for my children and me in more ways than I can write in one post.  But this Christmas He sent me a precious reminder. Many months ago, my daughter broke something of mine that was very special to me.  It was something from my previous life that held a significant place in my heart. It had served as a reminder of God’s faithfulness through my trials and storms.  The day it broke, my heart shattered.  But God.  

On December 1, 2012 God gave me the most wonderful blessing I had had in many years.  He gave me my husband. Some know our story, others have formulated their own version but to summarize, we were two broken people, God redeemed and gave to one another.  My husband is my dream come true.  This Christmas God used him to remind me of His restoring love.  

Unbeknownst to me, but not my boys, my husband had collected the pieces of my broken angel and was determined to repair the damage. He spent months gluing back the many broken pieces. Each time I left the house (which was rare) he would pull out those pieces working to repair what I had lost.  Behind the scenes he worked to restore the brokenness.  

On Christmas morning, as I pulled the angel out of the bright red bag, overwhelming joy flooded my heart.  As I took it all in my mind immediately went to the love of my Heavenly Daddy.  For years my shattered heart laid a broken mess.  Broken and unraveled, I needed fixing.  

But God.  He scooped up all my broken pieces and one by one began putting them back together.  It took time allowing for the “glue” to dry. It took great precision as each piece now fit a little differently. And some were no longer needed. Things didn’t go back the way they had once been but instead fit together in a new and more beautiful way.  

He took the entire broken and shattered mess I had become and turned it into a masterpiece that became a display of His restoring love and grace.  A magnificent portrait of His faithfulness.  Just as my husband restored my angel.

My husband is a beautiful reflection and reminder of God’s love and faithfulness.  His love is something I have never experienced.  Each day because of his love for me, I get a taste of how my Heavenly Daddy loves me.  So complete and selfless.

I look at my life and see what others do not.  Many feel pity for my children and sadness for what we’ve endured. Heavy hearted because they come from a broken home.  But God has shown me something different.  Each time my children smile and laugh, I am reminded that God restored our broken home.  He put together all the broken pieces of our lives and gave us something beautiful.  A home full of love.  A home where He is welcome. He took our shattered broken mess and turned it into a extravagant tapestry of His love and grace.

How enduring is God’s loyal love;
the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.
Here they are, every morning new!
Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day.
Have courage, for the Eternal is all that I will need.
My soul boasts, “Hope in God; just wait.”

It is good,  The Eternal One is good to those who expect Him,
to those who seek Him wholeheartedly.
It is good to wait quietly
for the Eternal to make things right again.

Lamentations 3:22-26

God, a box and a slippery slope: No room for grace

I am divorced and remarried.  In my younger years my feelings on those topics varied greatly from where they do today.  I was guilty of judging those who were divorced and even them as ungodly. Their story did not matter to me. My focus was the choice made to walk away from a covenant put together before God.  I was judgmental and ignorant.  One might even add arrogant.

I’ve grown up a lot. Learned a lot. Realized that things are not so cut and dry.  And now understanding this, I love people with all the answers. The ones where everything in their world is black and white.  No room for error.  No room for grace. Sadly, I must admit, I used to be that person.

As someone who spent the entire first half of her life believing that divorce was an abomination against God, I will be the first to admit my own ignorance.  I grew up assuming, from what I was told, divorced people were not in God’s will and could not be blessed.  I heard, accepted and preached it. I put God in a box and did like many people, used it to manipulate and control.

You see for years, my God was not big. The God I followed could easily fit into a box. That has changed. Over the course of the last few months, I have come upon several discussions over sin and what constitutes sin.  From there, the discussions turned into what sins can be committed and one still be truly saved?  I got caught up in the discussion and started measuring sin. But this can be a very slippery slope. Those discussions served as a distraction and they distracted me from what is truly important.  Following Jesus.

So all this “discussion” turned into distraction that then led me to doubt.  Not in my faith but the people of my faith.  Wondering who I should follow.  Questioning my allegiance and loyalty. Am I too wrapped up in following people?   With that said, I’ve spent a great deal of time asking for direction and discernment. During this time, John 3:16 has played repeatedly in my head.  The words, “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” have played over again like a song on repeat.

I grew up in church.  The first verse I remember memorizing was John 3:16, and it was the King James version.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only  begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

To this day, I remember that verse word for word.  It has been so hidden away in my heart, surprisingly enough, I often forget the words and their great gospel message.

So now I am going back to the start.  Back to the essentials of my faith.

God made a way when He sent Jesus. He loved us so much He gave up the life of His Son to save us even in the midst of our sinful ways. John 3:16 tells us that if we believe in Him, we are His. Believe what?  God is Holy and Jesus is the Son of God. We are sinners separated from God and in need of a Savior. Jesus lived a perfect life. He took our sin and our punishment when He was nailed to the cross.  Three days later, He rose from the dead.

If we believe those things while placing our faith and trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and repent of our sin, we are born again and become a child of God. The “basics” of my faith.

So as of today, I am walking away.  I am turning away from those who “believe” they have God figured out.  I am going back to my Bible and I am going to follow Jesus.  To read His words, His teachings and follow His Truth while I seek after His will for my life.  A fresh start.  I spent years of my life following the teachings of men and trusting their interpretations of scripture as gospel truth but it ends today.  I want to know Jesus.  To follow Him more intimately.  To do that I have to seek Him with my whole heart and allow the voices of the world to fade away.


My journey begins today.  I challenge you to turn off the world around you and focus solely on His voice.  It’s time to meet with Jesus.

Come thou fount: Blessings and Backwards Thinking

Spend much time in a church setting and you’re likely to hear the phrase, “he/she/they are so blessed.”  I grew up hearing that phrase used repeatedly.  If people had money and/or nice things, “they were blessed.”  I grew up with the idea that people with stuff were under God’s  “favor.”

Imagine my surprise at 30 when I realized that the “stuff” in my life was not the real blessing.  My stuff at the time consisted of a half a million dollar home, a sports car, a luxury mom mobile and the opportunity to purchase whatever I wanted.  I believed that I was “blessed.”  How could I not?  Every person who walked through the doors of my home verbally reminded me how “blessed” I was.  Really?  Then why was I so incredibly unhappy.  Why did my life feel empty?  

Now I believe there are those who are financially blessed.  People who have made God the center of their world and are faithful to follow Him wholeheartedly.  I believe He (financially) blesses those who are good stewards and generous with what they have.  Those not pretending to have and be something they are not.  

In my past life we spent money recklessly and obtained it in deceptive ways.  The “blessings” in my life were acquired in ways that would not have pleased God.  It took time to realize what was happening.  But God lifted the veil and revealed why I felt such misery. Stuff did not equal joy.  Stuff satisfied for a brief time and then faded.  I wanted more.  I heard the voices telling me I was blessed.  I believed the voices because of what I saw but the feelings did not line up to the words.

As time passed God began showing me how backwards my thinking about blessings.  At 35, smack dab in the middle of a divorce,  I had no home, no car and no stuff.  I was happy.  What?   That could not be possible.  Especially in the world in which I lived.  The people whom I surrounded myself with at the time all believed stuff meant God had blessed our lives.  Were we wrong?  Ask God and He’ll answer.

It did not take long to see the true blessings in my life as I began to experience joy.  I finally understood contentment from walking with Jesus. It didn’t mean an easy life.  In fact, as I began making hard choices, I realized the difficulty in following Jesus.  It meant making choices that didn’t go with the natural order of the world.  It meant making hard choices causing pain and fear.  But I realized those dark patches and trials created intense moments of growth.  

As my faith in God and obedience to His calling increased the joy and happiness I experienced increased as well. I learned when I was down to nothing, He provided what I needed.  When all seemed lost, He saved the day.  God began moving in my life and I reaped the true blessings of following Him.  Blessings of grace, streams of mercy, peace, joy, hope and His redeeming and rescuing love.  Blessings that brought more to my life than anything else ever had and it was amazing!

I had a lot of bad “blessings” in my previous life.  Many “things” and people had to go.  In the beginning letting go proved difficult.  It was hard to let go of what I had been told was God’s blessing.  But as His true blessings were revealed, my heart leapt with thankfulness at His faithfulness in all things.  I have learned to cherish those who understand love and grace.  Those who understand His true blessings.  I have learned to cherish those things He has provided to care for my children and me.  An amazing marriage to a man who loves God and puts my needs before his own.  A home that provides all we need and does not drain me of my joy.  A car that though it is on its last leg continuously carts us back and forth to school, church and wherever else we need to go. (not to mention taught me a lot about prayer 🙂  And for the first time in my adult life, friendships that go deeper than the surface.  Relationships where Jesus is at the center and true joy is found.

I can be honest and admit there are days when I wish we didn’t struggle to pay a bill or we could take the kids on a fancy vacation but God.  But God so sweetly reminds me of the tremendous blessings He has bestowed by a simple gesture from my husband or an act of kindness from a friend and then tears of joy flow for the blessings I have finally found.

But blessed is the one who trusts in Me alone;
the Eternal will be his confidence.
He is like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots beside the stream.
It does not fear the heat or even drought.
Its leaves stay green and its fruit is dependable no
matter what it faces.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Obstacles and old signs: Freedom from a failed system

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

God is setting me free from my
past. He is breaking the chains of
the obstacles that I once found as my security.  Obstacles standing in the way of God being my Father. I am on a new road still surrounded by old signs. God is making it clear those old signs are nothing more than myths to prop up a failed system.

I used to believe that suffering was a sign of God’s disappointment in my life.  I’m learning that suffering often indicates something different. It is a new work being done so that I am free to experience Him more deeply and follow Him faithfully.

Walking by faith and following Him is not easy. It means going against the grain which means my circumstances will not just fall into place and line up to the journey I am taking. There is resistance at every turn.  So God must teach me how to walk with Him.

Only through His teaching and my brokenness along with total surrender am I able to experience His great joy and peace.

God will always provide the right direction. He knows me better than anyone else and knows my needs better than anyone else. He provides better than anyone else. 

He is bringing me into a life aligned with Him. Instead of rescuing me from the things I’m having to endure, He chooses to use every trial and circumstance to show me what true faith, true freedom and life really are when I live a life surrendered.

God is leading me on an incredible journey. It is more amazing  than anything I can imagine. By following Him in obedience, His work in my life will not only astound and amaze but bring glory to His name.

Evil and goodness: The cry for revenge

Feelings.  We women have a plethora of feelings.  Our feelings can drive us in all sorts of crazy directions.  Sometimes when we are dealing with hurt, it is incredibly hard to rein those feelings in and look for truth at the heart of a situation.
Every second of every day, evil is at work.  Not a minute passes by that evil is not attempting to trip us up or get us tangled in the mess that feelings can bring.  When we are hurting, human nature cries for revenge.  We want payback.  We want to see someone get what is coming to them.  Those feelings can drive us to do evil things.  That is where truth steps in and we let go of feelings.

Romans 12:21 says that we are “not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good.”  Not particularly the thing in which we want to do when we are hurting.  It is much easier to lash out. It feels good to get those feelings out.  In that moment anyway.  Later when conviction sets in, we realize what we have said or done to hurt another and begin feeling worse. Suddenly our troubles have grown.  We have created quite the mess.

There is a reason why we are told to overcome evil with good.  There is a reason why we are told in Ephesians to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (4:32)  When we walk a life professing to follow Jesus, we are to promote peace, kindness, love and forgiveness.  When someone has wronged us, we are  to turn the other cheek.  We are to follow the example set for us by Jesus.  If we want forgiveness from God then we must offer forgiveness to others. Personally, it frustrates me.  It is hard when my family is constantly being hurt. Truthfully, I am tired of being bullied.  I am tired of people who use their power to abuse others.  However, I follow an awesome God.  He sent His Son to give up His life for me and so I choose to be a reflection of His Son.  I choose to forgive and do good. I choose to overcome evil with good and God blesses when we choose good.  

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Galatians 6:9-10