Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

New Beginnings

Spring is the time of new beginnings.  Soon, the trees will be budding.  Soon, we will see green on the ground. Soon, there will be flowers beginning to sprout from beneath the earth.

I once heard a teaching about how we go through seasons in our spiritual walk just like the seasons we see unfolding around us throughout the year.  It made me a little scared back then because I wasn’t walking with the Lord for very long when I had heard it, and I was currently in the midst of a season of harvest….total abundance, and I didn’t want that to go away.  Eventually, it did.  Then it came back.  Then it went away.  Then it came back again.  It’s been a very interesting journey, these past 3 years of my life.  It was actually just about this time in 2011, that I came to a new understanding of Faith, and especially, of Christ.

Here is what I can gather about the seasons of my spiritual journey:

1.  Spring:  a season of new beginnings.  A season of seeing the result of the growth that has taken place beneath the surface.  A season of seeing fruit from the work God and I did in the winter months.  A season of beauty.  A season of thawing out.  A season of change.

2.  Summer:  a season of abundance.  A season of basking in the beauty of the changes that God brought forth in the spring.  A season of the fruitfulness.  A season of warmth.  A season of activity.  A season of God’s Light shining at it brightest in my life.  A season of comfort.  A season of plenty.

3.  Fall:  a season of change.  A season of busyness.  A season of preparation.  A season of transition.  A season of beauty.  A season of awareness.  A time of dryness.

4.  Winter:  a season of inside growth.  A season of rest.  A season of deep heart changes.  A season of dormancy.  A season of discomfort.  A season of God working out difficult areas in my heart and life.  A season of deep rooted changes starting beneath the surface.  A season of not seeing the fruit from the work God is doing.  A season of scarcity.

I suppose, for me, just like the actual weather – my spiritual walk goes through times of plenty and times of famine.  Times of comfort and times of discomfort.  Times of growth and times of dormancy.  Times of change and times of consistency.  Times of transition and times of stability.  Times of joy and times of heartache.

I think that the main difference I have noticed in this – at least for me – is that God isn’t quite as consistent in the seasons of my spiritual walk as He is with earthly seasons.  Sometimes I will go through all 4 seasons, spiritually speaking, during one earthly season.  Although, I do have to say that it has been an extra-long winter this year, both in terms of the weather and of the changes God is working out in me.  I am noticing that, as Spring enters into the world, it is also entering into my heart.  For this, I am so thankful!  God has been doing some pretty intense work on me during these months.  I am so ready to see the fruits of this work begin to surface!

Yes, Spring is a time of new growth.  I cannot wait to see what He has planned for each of us during the spring of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls!

 

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Ready, Set, Go!

Today, I woke up and gave God the first 30 minutes of my morning.  It was an intentional decision to go before Him and to place Him first on this day.

Let me just tell you what happens on a morning like that.

I was able to make a pot of coffee because I wasn’t too rushed!  *yumminess* I was able to wake my children up in a calm manner, allowing them time to fully arise before rushing them into their morning.  There was no chaos.  Lunches got made, everyone got dressed, teeth got brushed, hair isn’t sticking up, and I even had time to put on make-up!  The kids had 10 minutes or so of down time where they could play on their tablets, and no one felt the pressure of rushing to get out to the car so we could make it to the bus stop on time.  There was no yelling, no whining, no complaining, no stress!

Here’s the interesting thing to me.  I got up at 5:15ish.  I sat down with God about 5:30-6:00.  I didn’t get dressed, didn’t make lunches, just sat with Him, read a few Psalms, read out of Jesus Calling for today, and journaled a little.  I didn’t actually get my kids up, or start getting ready myself until after 6:00.  Let me express, that this is the typical time I get things going.  And there is always frustration of some sort on someone’s end.  But not on the days when I place God first.  The exact same amount of time – a totally different experience.

Coincidence?  I think not.

Leave a comment »

Abundant Living

John 10:10

 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

I am stuck in the middle of a rotten-terrible-no-good-very-bad moment.  Everything about this moment feels blah.  I am lacking the motivation to do anything.  I don’t even want to be writing this entry.  Not really.  Literally, I have a major case of the “blah’s” right this instant.

Travel back to this morning with me, if you will, for just a minute.  This morning, I felt inspired to write.  And the inspiration was to write on John 10:10 – abundant living.  I started writing, but was unable to finish the entry, and set it aside until now.  As I re-read what I had written, there was nothing there.  My mind would not continue where it had left off.  It would have ended up be a myriad of things I am supposed to be feeling instead of how I really am feeling now.  And isn’t that the purpose of this blog? To document my journey in TODAY?

So, in this moment, I sigh a deep sigh as I stare at the screen, and I commit to honesty.  I commit to transparency.  I commit to looking at John 10:10 at a moment like this and to tell you what transpires from there.  So – John 10:10 says

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

I could start out by getting all wishy-washy about the abundant lifestyle I lead today. I could tell you how this abundance doesn’t come from material goods, relationships, or monetary reward.  I could say to you that my life is so amazingly full of all things good and wonderful, that I can barely contain my joy and it overflows to all those around me.  I could say those things to you.  And I wouldn’t be lying.  They are all true.

But that is NOT where I am today.  Not right now.  Right now, if I am honest with you – I am stuck in the stagnant waters of self-pity.  And, the funny thing is – I don’t even know why. Typically, I can pinpoint where my emotions stem from, but not today.  Not right now.  On the surface, my life is going well today.  I have everything I need, and then some.  I have a job, money in the bank, a warm bed, a roof over my head, food, wonderful relationships, a car to drive – the list could go on. Do you want to strangle me yet?  Do you want to shake me and scream, “What is the matter with you girl??? You have more in your life today than you ever have!! Why on EARTH are you feeling sorry for yourself????”  Well, if you did – you wouldn’t be alone.  I feel the same way.  I mean, just typing the words why are you feeling sorry for yourself made me sit up a little straighter.  Just typing out the things I have in my life made me think a little differently.  A little.

But sometimes, a little is enough.  Sometimes it is just a small change in perspective, a little flip of the thought-cycle, and small change in the angle I am looking at something, and WHAM!!!  Everything changes!  I can see the good, and stop sitting in the yuck. I can look at myself and honestly say “SNAP OUT OF IT!” and it actually happens.  Typically speaking, it is sometimes just the jolt from a friend’s words that will catapult me right out of my own destructive cycles of negative thought and emotion.

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Let’s look first at the thief – the evil one – Satan.

The thief comes to steal.  What does he steal from me?  He steals my peace.  He steals my joy.  He steals my confidence.  He steals my security.  He steals my emotional stability.  He steals my perspective.  He steals my sanity.  He steals my serenity.  He would steal my very life, if I let him.

The thief comes to kill.  What does he kill?   He kills my patience.  He kills my tolerance.  He kills my emotional sobriety.  He kills my progress.  He kills my vision.  He kills my desire.  He kills my motivation.  He would kill everything I’ve come to love, if I let him.

The thief comes to destroy.  What does he destroy?  He destroys my ability to walk with purpose.  He destroys my ability to see myself through God’s eyes.  He destroys my relationships.  He destroys my perseverance.  He would destroy everything I have, if I let him.

Please pay attention to the words if I let him after each of the previous paragraphs.  Satan can do nothing without my permission.  You see, Satan is already defeated.  Victory has already been established by the work Christ did on the Cross.  I stand a fully surrendered woman, sealed with the Holy Spirit.  I am a VICTOR with Christ.  Satan has no authority over me, unless I allow it.  He has no ground in my life, unless I give it to him.  It is up to me.  It really is.

This verse makes it absolutely evident that in life, we are presented with TWO very distinct choices.  It’s black and white – and at least for me – there is no gray area anymore.  I’m either walking WITH Christ or I am walking in the dark.  I’m either allowing Christ to give me life, or I’m allow the thief  to steal, kill, and destroy it.  I have a choice.  Every day.  More than that. Every moment.  With every circumstance I face, I have the opportunity to surrender it to Christ or to Satan.  We’ve already looked at what Satan has come to this earth to do.  Let’s look at what John 10:10 says about what CHRIST has come to do!

 I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

He came that I may have life.  Ok, you may say, we ALL have life – what’s the good news about that?  My answer to you is YES, we all have a life.  In the sense that we are living, breathing beings with a heartbeat and brain function. (which by the way, IS a miracle in itself and should never be thought of as anything LESS!!)  But, please pay close attention to the specifics of the wording in this verse.  EVERY word in the Bible has purpose.  This verse does NOT say that Christ came so that we may have A life.  No.  It says

 I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

To have life means to LIVE!  So, yes – I have a life.  The question is: am I really living it?  For so long, I merely existed in my life.  I survived – but I wasn’t really alive.  For me, it was like I was walking around in a constant state of passivity.  Like the life I lived was really living me instead of vice versa.  My circumstances ruled me.  I was a victim to the twists and turns, ups and downs, and the ever-changing state of my life as it unfolded around me.  I was like a reed being tossed by the wind – with no purpose what-so-ever.  And I was miserable.  I felt like I had no stable ground upon which to stand.  No roots to hold me firm in the constantly-changing soils of my life.  I was chasing my own tail.  Trying to capture the next big thing that would make me “happier”. Attempting to keep up with everyone around me, and never measuring up to my own expectations.  I was in a state of chronic loneliness even though my life was full of people.  I felt lost, unsure, scared, doubtful, pessimistic, and hopeless in the face of difficulties.  It was a truly depleting way to live life.

Is that what Christ came for?  NO WAY!  He came that I may HAVE LIFE and HAVE IT TO THE FULL!!  Abundant living.  Truly beautiful abundant living.  What does that mean?  That means, that when I CHOOSE to walk in the life Christ came to give me, I am amply supplied with all I need.  I have an abundance of peace, of joy, of confidence, of security, of emotional stability, of perspective, of sanity, of serenity, of patience, of tolerance, of emotional sobriety, of progress, of vision, of desire, of motivation, of purpose, of love, of perseverance, of LIFE!!  Everything the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, JESUS CHRIST comes to GIVE.

So, I guess, on a day like today – I need to take a step back and look at my focal point.  Where am I focusing?  Where am I living? What path am I currently on?  It is very clear that I have two choices.  The question is:  which one will I make?

Leave a comment »

Thorns

If I was being totally transparent with you right this minute, I would tell you that last night, I wanted to walk away from this entire Faith journey.  I was done. Exasperated is a good word for how I felt.  I told God I was done, and I was no longer interested in continuing this walk.  I felt an overwhelming sense of defeat last night, a suffocating of the very breath within me.  I felt as though someone had taken a fire blanket to the fire in my soul – and it was no more.  It was a dark moment.

If I was being totally transparent with you right this minute, I would tell you that last night, that ugliness was a result of my own sin.  My own choice to walk separate from God in a certain area of my life.  Yet, I must be honest with you in saying that it doesn’t feel like choice to me when I am in it.  No, it feels like a vacuum, sucking the life out of me.  It feels like a slide.  I make progress in this area of my life, just enough progress where I finally think I am going to be standing at the top, victoriously looking back on the journey…just far enough where I can see it, smell it, TASTE IT!  Then, WHAM!!  Out of nowhere it seems, I begin to slide.  It’s like the mountain turns to solid ice, and no matter what I do, my feet slip and I fall.

Last night, I fell AGAIN.  And, you know what?  I got angry.  I got angry at God.  I got angry because I have handed this struggle up to Him time and time again.  I’ve surrendered it to Him.  I’ve asked Him to take it away, I’ve admitted my powerlessness over it – I’ve fully acknowledged that ALONE, there is nothing I can do to stop the cycle from happening once the emotional boundary line has been crossed.  I have fully handed this sin to God, from the depths of my soul I have cried out to Him in this specific area.

He has redeemed me from so much!  My past was laden with sin upon sin.  He has completely freed me from the chains that used to bind me to the vast darkness that was once characterized as my life.  He reached down and pulled me from the deep waters and placed me on dry land.  A spacious place (Psalm 18).  He called, I answered.  I surrendered and He redeemed me.  I repented, He forgave!  So, why do I continue to struggle with this same sin over and over again without reprieve?  Why do I continue to find myself in the same defeating cycle I have been so many times before, and feel like I canNOT escape until it has come full tilt?  It is beyond frustrating.  It is beyond humiliating.  It is beyond my capacity to understand.

The anger inside my heart last night was deafening.  I could hear nothing else but the roaring of my spirit.  I wanted to run, I wanted to leave this life of right living and hide back in the shadows of my past.  I wanted out.  Sincerely, I did.  The words “I’m done God” actually left my mouth.

I don’t know much, but I do know a few things. I know that God is a BIG God.  He is big enough to handle my little temper tantrum last night.  I can just picture Him sitting there patiently awaiting me to come to my senses and stop kicking and screaming like a 2-year old.

I also know that God is 100% Faithful.  He is faithful even when I am  not.  Last night, I was acting in total defiance.  I wanted out of my relationship with God because I didn’t like the way I felt.  It was childish and immature, and it was a faithless act of self-indulgent pouting and whining.  And what did He do?  He loved me right through it. Relationship with my Creator is nothing like my human relationships. When I act out in such an ugly way – the human side of anyone retaliates.  I know this because I’ve been there many times.  But there was no retaliation from God.  There was no “Fine, then I’m through with you too!”  or an angry response of  “If you want out, then leave!”  There was no silent treatment, no storming away from me, no ultimatum.  Just love.  Pure, complete, absolute, LOVE.  It had nothing to do with me and everything to do with HIM.

When I feel worthless, He sees me as worthwhile.

When I feel useless, He sees me as useful.

When I feel defeated, He sees me as victorious.

When I feel ugly, He sees me as beautiful.

I could go on and on, but the point is, the way I feel has nothing to do with how God sees me.  The way I act has nothing to do with how God treats me.  So, basically – what I am understanding is this:  My feelings about me have nothing to do with God’s feelings about me.

So, this morning, upon waking, I was prompted to read about the “thorn in Paul’s side”.  The concept every rose has its thorn entered into my heart.   Every rose. What does a rose represent?  To me, the beautiful life I lead today is like an ever blooming rose.  What does a thorn represent?  To me, it represents the pain and the ugliness of this sin that just won’t seem to go away. I cannot say that I have any answers.  What I can say is, even the great Apostle Paul had a thorn.  A thorn that he begged God to remove.  A thorn that God told him would not be removed.  Why? So that he didn’t become too confident in his own strength. When Paul asked for God to remove his thorn, this was God’s reply:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

His grace is sufficient for me.  I do NOT find this coincidental that all of this is happening on the tail end of a weekend retreat where we dug our heels in to the most amazing, powerful, wonderful, almighty GRACE of our Father in heaven!

Yes, every rose  has its thorn.  Every beautiful has its ugly.  Every up has its down.  Every right has its wrong.

The only perfect is GOD Himself.

So, here I sit on the other side of another fall, still not sure when the next one is coming – but fully aware that it will.  In case you are wondering – I’m not walking away from my Faith journey.  I’m not giving up.  I’m a little more humbled than I was yesterday, I’m a little more aware than I was yesterday, and I’m a little more ready to move another step forward.  This life is a journey.  And we are always being prepared.  For what?  For better things to come.  If a persistent thorn in my side is what it is going to take to keep me leaning into God’s strength instead of my own…if a thorn is what I need so that I don’t get too confident in my own abilities…..if a thorn is what I need to stay “right sized” and God focused….then I fully accept the pain.  And next time, when I am throwing a temper tantrum…perhaps God will lead me back to this blog entry.  Maybe He will remind me, that yes – indeed – I have committed it ALL to Him.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan,to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.     2Corinthians 12: 7b-10

Leave a comment »

THINK

So, God has definitely prompted me to enter into a time of “listening”.  It is not an easy place for me to exist, as my general nature is that I am far more comfortable speaking than I am being quiet.  I am just tiptoeing into this space, and already I feel the discomfort of not being able to be audible when want to!

I have already found myself wondering, just how long am I going to have to exist in this space? I have also thought that perhaps God isn’t really calling me into more silence and less noise….which, in itself tells me that He is.  If that doesn’t make sense to you, let me explain. When I am uncomfortable with something, or it doesn’t line up with my nature, my typical response is to try to avoid, evade, escape, or, brush it off as nothing.  The truth?  It has been my experience that God calls me into these uncomfortable spaces to INCREASE my comfort level outside my comfort “zone”.

It also feels like I won’t be able to be quiet because my JOB is a TEACHER.  How can a TEACHER be QUIET???  Well, I think I may have heard a word on that this morning.  I felt the burden on my heart to speak only “what is necessary” when I was praying about this today.  Which means to me, when I am in the spaces between my educating or necessary communications with other staff members – I am to be quiet.  That prompted another notion inside of my mind.  Something I heard about through the process of “recovery”:

THINK.

Is what I have to say….

Thoughtful?

Honest?

Intelligent?

Necessary?

Kind?

****More to come as this journey progresses…..  God is definitely preparing me for something.  This I know.  For what?  NO IDEA.

1 Comment »

In the Quiet Stillness

In the quiet stillness,

I can  hear Your heart

I sit before You yearning,

I long for Your impart

Of knowledge and of wisdom

Only of Your ways

Of hope, joy, peace, and love

To cover all my days.

I know that You are with me

I feel Your warm embrace

I want to stay here with You

I long to see Your face

Sometimes I don’t see anything

Sometimes I hear Your voice

I continue to come back to You

I’ve finally made the choice

That no matter where I end up

It’s where I’m supposed to be

You’re guiding every move I make

I just have to wait and see.

Leave a comment »

Listen

Yesterday I wrote about the power of God’s Amazing Grace!  As I was writing, He convicted me of something:  I may recognize the beauty of His Grace, I may long for it, I may have experienced it, but I am NOT living in the fullness of it!  I am not standing in the waterfall of His constant outpouring of love, because I am too busy doing life.

I don’t know about you, but I actually kind of like the idea of “doing life“.  In fact, I have used those exact words with my fiance!  I have told him how excited I am to “do life” with him on many occasions.  So, I don’t necessarily think that the words doing life have any negative connotation in and of themselves.  I do think that, for me, the doing part has gotten a little out of hand.

I can not exist in a state of being if I am constantly doing.  Have you ever considered that?  Can you actually just be when you are in the middle of a never-ending, always escalating, totally overwhelming to-do list?  I don’t know if it is the same for you, but when I get stuck in the to-do lists of my life, I seem to always end up chasing my tail, or running breathlessly – just trying to catch up.  Catch up to what?  To my own, self-imposed to-do list?  Seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it?  I can’t be the only one who does this, can I?

Perhaps I am. And that is alright by me.  The point is, as I was writing yesterday – God showed me something.  He showed me that I am so “drawn” to the visual representation of his Grace as a waterfall, because He is drawing me there.  He is beckoning me to stop all my doing and get back to my being.  Being in communion with Him.  Being present in my moments (as opposed to always thinking about the next thing I need to accomplish when I get this thing done…) Being active in my listening. Being where my feet are planted.  Seems like a simple concept.  I had a friend put it like this:  Grow where you are planted. Now, that makes sense to me.  I can visualize (can you tell I am a visual learner yet??) a flower growing – this is something I can understand.  It would be strange if I planted a seed in my flower bed, and that same flower began sprouting a few feet away from where it was planted….and bloomed a few feet away from there.  That makes no sense right?  So, then, why is it so hard for us to be where we are?  Why are we constantly striving to get to the next big thing in life?  The next home?  The next relationship? The next job?  The next season?  The next…the next….the next.

Is it that we are in constant search of something….something we feel we are going to attain around the next corner of our life?

I know, for me, I actually have been very intentional about being present in my moments.  Even so, I have managed to wander away from that and become sucked into the life of doing rather than being, once again.  The beautiful thing is, that today – I am aware.  I am aware of the need to stop.  I am aware of the need to exist.  I am aware of the need to breathe, to notice, to be.  It takes a lot of discipline (believe it or not) to set down the to-do list, and let God work on my heart in the way He wants to.  I’m ready.

Lord…speak!  Speak, for I am listening!

 

Leave a comment »

The Waterfall of God’s Grace

There is an image that will not leave my mind.  It is an image of  an all-consuming, roaring, unceasing, powerful waterfall.  I see it cascading over the edge of a rocky cliff, moving past obstacles in its path as though they were not even there.  I see it meeting the waters below with a passion, with an intensity that is so thunderously powerful, it can actually be felt in the heartbeat of all those who stand in its presence.

This beautiful, heart-grasping, breathtaking, knee buckling, mighty, constant outpouring of water!  It moves effortlessly, regardless of what stands in its way.  It covers everything that comes within its encapsulating liquid embrace.  Everything. Covered completely.  The waterfall doesn’t change for anything, or anyone.  There is nothing anyone can do to make it stop, to make it more or less present than it already is.  It just is.  It continues regardless.  It’s there before you see it…it’s there when you become conscious of it…..it’s there if you choose to walk away from it…..it’s always there.

Anyone who goes near this waterfall, is drawn to it without words.  The constant rush of water seems to beckon to them, to call out to them, to welcome them.  There will be those who experience the waterfall from a distance.  These people will be amazed by its beauty. They will be enthralled with its power. They will find themselves full of fear at the thought of coming too close to such might.  They will not experience the fullness of all the waterfall has to offer.

Then, there will be those who experience the waterfall from the calmness of the waters that surround it.  They will not venture too near – for fear of being overpowered by its strength.  They, too, will be amazed by its beauty.  They will also be enthralled with its power, but unable to experience the fullness of stepping in to the water.  They will feel the ripple effects of the mighty falls, but will only choose to watch it move from the comfort of their calm place in the water.

Finally, there will be a select few who are drawn to the breathtaking falls with an inner intensity and passion that they are unable to suppress. These people will wade into the waters that surround the terrifyingly beautiful waterfall, and will be unable to remove their gaze from its beauty.  They will be so completely overtaken by its power that they forget all self-preservation.  They will move past the illusion of fear and allow the intensity of their calling to become the fuel to move them forward, one step at a time.  They set their own fears, worries, and rationales aside, keeping their gaze on the waters, until they stand beneath the thundering wall of water.  They will feel the waters pouring down on them, covering them and overtaking their senses.  They will experience an overwhelming sense of powerlessness, as the force of the water, the roar of its might, and the beauty of its presence take over all ability to think, to speak, or to even move. These people will find such amazement at the experience, they will long to remain ever-present in its midst.  Yes, these are a select few.

I’ve never laid my eyes on such a waterfall.  Not literally anyways. Not in the sense that I have felt the waters physically touch my body.  I have, however, been blessed to experience this figurative “waterfall” I speak of,  in an intensely beautiful way.  I have literally stood in the mighty waterfall of God’s Amazing Grace!

Waterfall of Grace?  I’m glad you asked!  This weekend, I was blessed with this image during one of the messages at the retreat I attended.  She spoke of being (literally) in Hawaii and watching a beautiful waterfall, and then deciding to stand under it….she then said she felt that God was showing her that His Grace was just like that waterfall.  What a beautiful image this presented in my mind.  It really grabbed a hold of me, and begged me to expand on it, connect to it, and fully engage with the image that God is creating in my mind and my heart surrounding the teachings I heard this past weekend on His Amazing Grace.  I couldn’t fully commit to meeting with this image until tonight.

Tonight, as I stood in the shower, I found myself asking myself “When did you stop believing?”.  Believe me, this question came out of nowhere and snapped me out of a daydream I was having about something so important I can’t even remember what it was!  This question caught me so off guard, I actually started an argument with myself.  Of course I believe!  I talk to God all day long, I pray, I read the Bible, I long for a deeper more authentic relationship with the Lord every day.  I practice spiritual disciplines, I journal, I read spiritual books, I listen to praise and worship music all day ….  Oh BOY.  There it is.  It happened.  I am doing things I think I should be doing to meet with God the way I think I should.  And it’s become routine.  It’s become “thoughtless worship”.  Ooooh…that stings to even write.  I have filled my life so full of “God things” that I am spending all my energy doing rather than being.  I am exerting energy thinking about the things I am doing, the things I need to be doing, the things I am not doing, the things I’d rather be doing…  It’s all about me.  Oh, when did I stop believing?  Stop believing that I am NOT the Blessed Controller of all things, stop believing that God longs to MEET with me, to SIT with me, to be PRESENT with me.  He longs for a tender time of communion, not a list of “godly” things that I am doing.  I’ve created a mental “checklist” of the things I need to do in order to be in right standing with God!!  OH MY GOODNESS!  How quickly and quietly that snuck up on me!

Ahhhh….the waterfall.  The image.  I’m getting it God!!  I’m seeing what He is showing me with this image of the waterfall.  His Grace is constantly flowing, inviting me to bask in all its Glory and Beauty!  He’s calling me IN to the water, IN to the waterfall of His Grace, where I can be STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.  I love God’s Grace.  I love to talk about it, to sing about it, to read about it, to write about it.  I LOVE GOD!!  But, I’m doing all of these things from a distance.  I’m admiring the beauty and power of the waterfall, but I’m too busy with my “living” that I am unable to rest beneath its never-ceasing flow of peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  These fruits are lacking in my heart and life right now.  Their blooms are sporadic, at best.  The winter months have taken its toll, and there are branches on my tree that have begun to lose their luster.

Oh, Lord!  I know you have much more to reveal to me in this season.  Thank YOU for showing me that my belief in YOUR POWER is waning, when I allow myself to become complacent in my faith and lose the Truth of my role in this relationship.  Lord, you are GOD!  You are the CREATOR of heaven, of earth, of all in between!  You know every thought that enters my mind before I even do!  You know when I sit and when I stand!  You know my comings and my goings!  You knew every breath I would breathe before I even took my first breath!  Oh, Lord! When did I stop believing in that?  When did I make you so small again, so insignificant.  When did I allow my “doings” to become more important than my “being”.  Father, only Your grace can move me through this season.  I long to be pulled into the strength of your heart by your Amazing and Wonderous Grace!  Lord, my eyes are on you!  Draw me closer Lord, draw me HOME, to your heart, through the gate of Your Amazing Grace.  Remind me WHO YOU ARE!  Show me your GLORY Lord!  Let me never again allow you to become less.  Lord, I pray that would become less, and You would become more!!  Hear my prayer Lord!  It is in the precious name of JESUS that I pray!  Amen!

3 Comments »

The Grace Journey Weekend Reflection

I last wrote from a hotel room.  On the first night of a Women’s Conference on Grace.  Wondering what God had in store.

Today, I sit on the other side of that experience….still reveling in the process that God always leads me on during these events.  Sometimes He brings me to a new level of understanding.  Other times He reveals Himself to me in an entirely different way.  Perhaps He places someone in my path and gifts me with the knowledge of why He placed me there.  Or He convicts me.  Or He strengthens me.  Or He changes me.  No matter what….He ALWAYS meets me right where I am, but has yet to leave me there.

Here I am.  On the other side of my Grace retreat.  In awe of His amazing omniscience.  He truly knows exactly what He is doing!

The words still aren’t coming.  I desperately want to convey to you the AWESOME things I gleaned from the weekend.  I want to deliver to you a beautifully wrapped gift of words that will create a stirring in your heart for God the way He created a stirring in my heart this weekend.

But I can’t.

I don’t know why.  I just know that there aren’t words.  Not yet.

What I can say is this:  Grace.  Amazing Grace.  It TRULY is AMAZING.

That’s all I have tonight.

 

Leave a comment »

The Grace Journey

So, today I am writing to you from a hotel room, about an hour from my house, where my daughter, a friend of mine, and myself are staying for the night.

We are out here for a woman’s conference, on Grace.  Yes – my 10-year-old daughter actually wanted to attend this conference with me.  I am very interested to see what she gleans from the teachings, the worship, and the time spent with God.

So far, we have heard 1 teaching on Grace.  Here is my reflection of what God spoke to me:

The night started off with a powerful statement on what grace really is:  Grace is a free, unmerited, precious gift from our Heavenly Father – to each and every one of His children!

Grace is Love for the unlovely.

It is Freedom for the captives.

It is salvation for the sinners.

It is sanctification for the saints.

To live in GRACE is to live in FREEDOM.

Freedom from the past, freedom from the burden of guilt, shame, remorse, pain, resentments, and other bondage brought on by our sin.

Grace is the pardon freely given to the one who deserves the death penalty. Grace is my pardon.  If I accept it.

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  She was told she was at stage 4.  The words terminal and incurable were placed before this beautiful 20-something-mother-of-2.  She literally looked death in the face.  And you know what she did?  She stepped into the ring, boxing gloves on, hands raised, and ready to fight.  How?  She knew who her manager was.  She knew that her Savior was in her corner, and she trusted that He would give her everything she needed to fight.  Watching from afar, as she lost her hair, lost even her eyelashes, I was unable to experience her inner fight.  But I was able to witness her outer fight.  When she was losing her hair, she had a hair-pulling party with her kids.  When she was losing her eyelashes, she got fake ones.  When she was completely bald, she wore her baldness with pride.  She embraced her changes as they came, and she put one foot in front of the other.  But most importantly, she placed it all in God’s hands and trusted Him with the outcome.  And just what was the outcome?  Well, for today she stands Cancer FREE. The doctors are amazed.  Her friends and family are amazed.  I (and I am pretty sure she, as well) am amazed as always by God’s amazing Power, but NOT surprised.  God’s GRACE is bigger than Cancer.  Why does He heal one and not another?  No one knows.  It is not a matter of deserve – this I can assure you.  None of us deserves to be healed.  No – rather – I believe that in His mercy and compassion, God heals because He desires us to know Him.  He heals to show His glory, so that those who have been healed can carry His beautiful message to the world!  He has extended His Amazing GRACE to my sweet friend.  What a beautiful, tangible expression of a spiritual gift that God wants to bestow upon each and every one of us!!

Will you accept His free gift?  My friend sure did, and I am absolutely certain that she does not regret making the choice to allow God to come into her life in a very real and powerful way.

Which is exactly what happens when we open our hearts to His Grace.  Grace – The Way Home.  That is the name of the retreat I am attending.  I wonder just what God has in store for this little weekend journey!!

Leave a comment »