Thursday, February 27, 2014

Soooo It's Time to be Honest

For awhile now I have felt like God has been really quiet. I was praying, I was reading but I wasn't really hearing much of anything. I don't like a lot of silence, especially from my creator. So I felt like I needed to change things up a little - and see if I could get a "better connection". So I started drinking coffee. Not because I actually like coffee (or that was the key to Jesus), but because I am getting up at 5am and need the coffee so that I can stay up and awake at that hour. I've been trying to condition myself to become a "morning person" - which is not an easy task - but I knew it was important. So, I've been setting the alarm and forcing myself up just to spend about 30-45 mins alone - just me, and Jesus, and a cup of coffee (with a lot of flavored creamer). 

The Bible says "if you seek me you will find me", and that is true - but be careful what you ask for. As I've started this new routine, it's been a challenge on my physically but more on me spiritually. God started really shining some bright spotlights on some dark places, I have to say I didn't like it. But friends, we don't always have to like it - especially if we need it. 

Soooooo - it's time to be honest. I have been chewing and stewing on a few things lately - wounds of the heart.  I put my heart out there for the world to stomp on, my feelings were hurt, my spirit crushed. I felt stupid, and angry, and foolish - wondering how I could let it happen, again. What I should have done was take to the feet of Jesus and leave it there. But, I didn't. What I did was cried about it to Jesus, I whined about to Jesus - and I let him know just how I felt about it - but then I picked it all back up and kept stewing. 

See, I felt very justified in my hurt, and frustration - very justified in my pain. I was the victim, and I wasn't ready to let it go. I wanted justice, restitution, the right to be wronged, I wanted the truth to be told! In my great and mighty wisdom I felt I needed to hold onto to it - to make sure it was taken care of. I mean if I leave it with Jesus - all he's going to want me to do is forgive and move on - and where's the justice in that? (told you I was going to be honest here)

The problem with holding onto pain, and hurt, and injustice is that it just turns to bitterness. It's not like you want it to, or you even know it is. It's like a weed that starts to grow and then take over, a vine that wraps itself around your very heart and turns it cold. As my heart grew colder, I did what anyone does - I bundled up - protecting myself with layers, and creating more and more distance from the people around me. It's a lonely place to be and it's exhausting. 

As God exposed my heart, He also showed me how my wounded heart, was hurting others too. I was so defensive, my words were sharp and quick. My reactions had become defensive, so worried about being hurt again - I would try to shut down or shut people out. I was making assumptions and questioning everyone's motives. My poor family was receiving the brunt of it all, hurting the ones I loved the most. 

God started bringing me to some scriptures like these one:

If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth, then think again. Your mouth exposes your heart, and your religion is useless. James 1:26

But the things that come out of your mouthyour curses, your fears, your denunciations—these come from your heart, and it is the stirrings of your heart that can make you unclean. Matthew 15:18

I was now hearing from God loud and clear at our 5am coffee meetings, but now I just wanted to turn down the volume. One particular day, I heard Matthew 15:18 from two different radio programs that I just tuned into for a min, it was in my reading for the morning, and later from a conversation. I wanted to scream up to heaven "OK! OK! I GOT IT!" 

The great thing about God is that he doesn't just expose things and walk away for you to figure out how to handle them, He stays right there - from the pre-op, to surgery, to recovery, and even the physical therapy afterwards. He NEVER leaves us alone to deal with things - even things we got ourselves into. As I started truly laying down my hurts at His feet, he replaced those hurts with His word. With new eyes, and a melted heart - I was able to see scripture in new way. He has changed my mourning into dancing - the weeping night is gone and the joyous morning has come.

My words have become His words. I feel like my conversations are sweeter, and not so rough around the edges. The stressful mornings of getting kids out the door for school, have become easier. There's laughter in the house before 9am, instead of tears. Instead of giving my not so great wisdom or advice with the kids I find myself sharing scripture, or an example from the Bible. Those 5am mornings have become easier to get up to (some days are still hard), but now 30-45mins doesn't seem like enough time with the Lord. I am thankful He didn't give up on me, and I am so thankful for His life changing word! 

Is life still unfair? YOU BET! Do I still want justice? Or even an apology? Sure! Who doesn't? But is it worth my heart? Is it worth my relationships with family and friends? Is holding onto things I couldn't control worth God's silence? NO! 
*Let me say that God had never stop talking - I had just built such a big wall of hurt, and pain, and disappointment that I couldn't hear Him. 

This scripture has become my daily prayer - (OK - sometimes my hourly prayer) 

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Is everyday perfect? OH MY GOODNESS NO WAY! Not even on a good day, are all the moments right. I still have so much to learn, and so much to keep working on - it's a life in progress (THANK YOU GOD!). I will say I try to shut up faster, and apologize quicker, and let it go more often.

This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean—you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! Deuteronomy 30:14 (The Message Bible)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dear Facebook Friend

Dear Facebook Friend,

I saw your post again today. It made me sad. I know we haven't spoken in years, and not really much at all online. The last time we saw each other we thought we knew it all. Young adults with only dreams in front of us, and lots of time. But the years have gone by, and though I don't know all you've been through - and I can't imagine to pretend I understand - I see that more than time has changed you.

I remember when we would sing together, lifting our voices in praise to God. Many tears we shared, and prayers. I watched you, so many times envious of your strength and your faith. Together we saw lives changed, we saw God move. I know you remember - those things you can't forget. So when I see your pictures of your nights on the town, drinks in hand, eyes glazed over, and tired. I wonder what happened in those years since then. What changed, that now you are chasing a different plan.

Please don't get me wrong I don't look at you with pity, or shake my head in judgement. Oh, Friend, life is hard. These years in between have not been easy. Though our lives have taken different paths - my road is littered with regrets, and mistakes. I carry the bruises of the many slips and falls along the way. Even as I write this my life is not perfect! Honestly, I'm a mess most days - sometimes before my feet even hit the floor. But somehow, for some reason, God's grace and His mercy keep bringing me back, and I'm thankful.

I look back on those years we knew each other, life, and ministry, and church - and I am ashamed. Ashamed for being so "super spiritual", for not being real. I struggled then with things, inner battles, and pain - that I felt I couldn't share, even with friends. Because I thought if I was weak it meant I didn't know Jesus enough. But in all truth - when I am weak, that is when I know Jesus the most. Friend, I was wrong - and I'm sorry. I can only hope and pray that someday you will forgive me for my arrogance, and selfishness, and pride. What a fool I was to waste such a precious time more concerned about what people thought of me!

When someone's life is falling a part - there are some people who stand around and watch it burn. These people stand there and pass judgement, speculate why this happened, or take credit for knowing it was going to happen. Then there are people who walk away, it's too hard for them - they don't want to get involved, they don't know what to do - so they do nothing. And then there are the people that go running into the burning building - willing to get dirty, willing to get burned themselves, because their concern for that friend is greater than their concern for themselves, or others. I use to be the spectator, or even the one who walked away… but NO MORE!

Friend, I want you to know that I running in for you. Every time I see a post from you on my newsfeed I pray. I count it a privilege, an honor, that I have another chance to be the kind of friend I should have been so many years ago. I don't want to preach to you - you know the truth. My prayer for you is peace, abundant life - and joy that fills up the empty places. I pray that God protects you, and blesses you - shows you every day just how much He loves and cares for you. I want you to know you are not alone! And in those moments of dark doubt, when sleep won't come and too many thoughts do - that God brings light to your darkness and mercy to your pain.

Friend, I love you. I'm so glad that we could find each other on Facebook. I selfishly pray that we get to meet again in person, and I can tell you, in person, just how much you mean to me!

Your Facebook Friend,


The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus came that we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. John 10:10