Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Growing pains

There’s a reason they call it growing pains. Cause it hurts like crazy. I know that God knows what in the world He is doing with me, but sometimes I want to holler out, “Hey God, I think you picked the wrong girl”. Did you know God that I get nervous in crowds? Did you know God that new people make me sweat (yes, I realize that may be TMI, but it’s true)? Did you know that I stumble over my words? Did you know that although I can write, speaking makes me want to crawl under a table? Did you know God that I am a mess? Did you know God that I can’t do this on my own? Did you did you did you did you did you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And He says, “Yes, dear, I know you better than you know yourself.” So I will trust Him. He is doing a new thing, and it hurts for now. Pushing a baby plant up through the wasteland of my soul requires some serious ground breaking, but the stream that waters it will heal the hurts.

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just an ordinary day...turned extraordinary

It’s been an odd day. Just one of those days where the spirit sits upon me, and I can feel every ounce of the presence. I thank God for days like this. For days when He is so thickly spread upon my heart that I know there is not a chance in hell that Satan can steal this healing. Days like this, when at the end of the night my hands are shaking because I am so overwhelmed with the power of his presence. Days like this are the ones worth longing for, worth living for. Not because anything special happened, not because I gained an ounce of approval from anyone, but because for just a few moments I can feel the Spirit upon my soul and I get the tiniest glimpse into what heaven might feel like. And it’s awesome. To even have the slightest touch of His hand holding mine, it overwhelms my heart so much I can barely breathe. Its days like today when there is not a single shred of doubt in my mind that He is real. That He is the one real thing that I can always count on, that this is what love, pure love, must feel like. So thank you Lord for today, thank you that you can make a normal day into an extraordinary day, just by doing that thing you do in my heart. I love you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random thoughts on Redemption

Redemption. The forgiveness of sins. What a blessing, what a gift. We have absolutely nothing to offer Him, yet he chooses us. What a privilege. Not only do we get to be forgiven, but we get to use the gift of forgiveness and redemption to bring others to Christ. He not only forgives us, but sends us to a place where we can share that forgiveness with others. We may not always say the right things, or do the right things. But that is the beauty of it all. For the times we have fallen, and the times others have watched us flounder, we get to share with them how we were lifted out. Even the times when we fall our hardest, there is no loss. Because the times when we fall the hardest God will show His glory the most. His glory, the only thing that could have possibly pulled us out of our mess, and others see that.

I keep asking him when he is going to allow me to speak. He has redeemed my life, when will I have the opportunity to speak about it? I don’t want to be ungrateful for the opportunities He has given me to write, but I want to speak. And yet every time I have tried to speak lately, I have floundered over my words, almost as if He is muting me for now, and He is. Kind of saving me from myself.

I think He sometimes withholds opportunities because it is not time yet. We are not ready yet. I am still recovering and learning how to be me, minus the fake me. I am not ready to speak yet. I first have to find comfort and confidence in my skin. I have to gain a sense of comfort in being who I really am, minus the smiley fa├žade. Then I will be ready to speak. When I am ready to listen, and ready to be still, and ready to say the things He would have me say, then he will gift me with speech. Until then, He will allow me to write, find Stephanie, and recover. Then, when I have been still long enough, redemption. He will speak through me because I will be blank enough to allow it. It requires a complete blankening of the slate before He can speak through us. Emptied of ourselves, and then and only then will we be ready for Him to speak through us.

Just hold on sweet girl. Just hold on throughout the pain. Once it all bleeds out, you will be ready to be refilled. And when you are refilled, you will be filled with the spirit. And I will speak through you. Just not yet, for now rest in redemption. Wherever you are, rest in redemption, knowing you are exactly where God wants you to be.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Lauren and Ryan both go back to school tomorrow! I am a bit sad, a bit anxious, a bit excited, and a bit uncertain. For some reason, this new start to the school year is reminding me of New Year’s resolutions. Although, the year on the calendar is not changing, in a way this seems like the start to a new year more than it did in January. So I am challenging myself. It’s a new school year, and I feel called to make some changes.

Last year was difficult, at the start of the school year, I was studying for the NCE which was enough to make a girl crazy in and of itself. However, I was also still trudgeing through depths of past issues and depression. I was not the mom I wanted to be last year. Too consumed with my own issues and depression, I was not emotionally available to my children or my husband like I wanted to be. Not that I am faulting myself for these things, this was just a difficult season in my life where some baggage needed to be dropped, painfully dropped. But this year is different, it is kind of a year of new beginnings. This year, no matter what I am feeling, He IS my hope and my strength.

This year I want to not just struggle through the days, and go to bed at night thinking I survived another day. I want to enjoy myself, not selfishly, but I want to enjoy giving to others. I want to enjoy loving people. I want to enjoy loving my kids, and loving my husband. I want to enjoy cooking for them. I want to enjoy sending cards to their teachers just because I know how hard of a job they have. I want to enjoy reaching out to the students I see, because God may use me to speak the truth of His love in their lives. I want God to work an incredible amazing work in the moms group I lead. I want to go on a walk to Emmaus. I want to refocus my passions. I want to give depression a kick in the booty once and for all, and tell Satan that He doesn’t stand a chance against God’s truth. It’s a new year. It’s a new beginning. I pray that God will do some amazing things, and I want to drop myself at His feet as a willing vessel to do His will. I just want to love, like Jesus loved, holding nothing back.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No stained and dirty

My beautiful Lauren has her first tryout for Nutcracker tomorrow, and although I would love to see her up dancing on the stage at Christmas time, the true joy this week has been watching her twirl around in ballerina outfits believing with every fiber of her being that she is a princess. And it’s true; she is a beautiful, happy, carefree, loved, confident princess! A princess that is starting Kindergarten in 2 more days. I can hardly believe it, before I know it, it will be 6th grade and boyfriends. And I find myself asking God, "can’t she just stay 5 forever?" No stained and dirty God, I NEVER want her to feel stained and dirty.

Stained and dirty. I don’t know that I quite understand how it is that we go from twirling in princess dresses to believing we are stained and dirty. I don’t suppose it has to be any one thing, but things happen somewhere between girlhood and adolescence that we all of the sudden no longer believe that we are beautiful. Is it our changing bodies, is it hormones, is it just part of life, part of growing up?

I hear about and know so many broken women, with hurting crying little girls inside and I desperately want to pull that little girl out, wipe the ash off of her face, put a beautiful dress on her, and twirl her around until she gets dizzy and falls down giggling. I don’t understand why we are wounded. I don’t understand why some of us seemingly hurt the way we do burning with loneliness, fear, insecurity, pain, memories, shame, and regrets. I don’t know why our hearts burn so tenderly with pain. I suppose it is part of living in a fallen world, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I don’t like it. And I just want to pray today for all the woman, teens, and beautiful little girls still twirling innocently in their princess dresses. Because today, just for a moment we all have the opportunity to go back. To let our minds slip back to the place before “it” happened. Whatever happened that first left you feeling dirty and stained, go back and tell that little girl she is okay. She is beautiful. She is loved. She is not broken she is not damaged. She is healed, by the loving beautiful scared hands, she is healed. Burdens at the cross, head in His lap, healed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Under Tables

There we are at school registration - only a few kids around, the principal, some teachers, one of which was Mrs. Edwards, his teacher from last year, and some cafeteria tables. To me, I walked in and saw the people and the papers which needed to be filled out, and looked forward to visiting with the principal and Mrs. Edwards. Kevin I am sure thought about the same thing. And to Lauren, she was just excited about going to big kid school. But to Ryan, he made a b-line for the tables. He saw him some people and he saw him some tables, and tables seemed like the friendlier option, under the tables that is. And I did my usual mom routine, “Ryan, come out from under the table and say hi to Mrs. Edwards”. He just giggles under the table. As my face turns redder and redder and the thoughts of what the first day of school is going to be like with him under the tables are running through my head. And eventually we get everything done, and we leave and Ryan dashes out from under the table to the door, hoping not to have to talk to anyone. And I do the not so smart mom thing again, and ask the stupid question, “Ryan why were you hiding under the tables”. I really don’t know what I would expect him to say, but he just giggles.

But my sweet Ryan taught me something that day. Don’t ask why I run under the table!!! Wouldn’t you want to run under the table if you had a hard time reading at school, felt a bit awkward, and were a bit embarrassed over the way you act sometimes even though it’s super hard for you to control your actions? Wouldn’t you want to run under a table? The only difference is, when I would want to run under a table, Ryan actually does it! I am not sure who has the better deal hear, lol!

So my sweet sweet Ryan, one of my prayers for you as you begin the school year, and all the other little kiddos with Autism is this – that you will feel completely accepted and safe, that no one or no thing will make you feel like running under a table, and if they do, that Jesus will meet you under that table and dry the unseen hidden tears. I love you big man! I love that you love hiding under tables, and I love that you love how the garage opens and shuts, and that you can talk for hours on end about Star Wars. You are perfect just the way you are, and God has an amazing plan for your life. And next time you crawl under the table, I may just get under there with you and hang out for a while.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swirling in a Dustcloud of Achievements

My mind could be summed up quite well in one word, “swirling”. Yes, I have one of those minds that just swirls and swirls things around in my head over and over again until something knocks me over the head and makes me stop!

Lately it seems as if I am swirling in a dust cloud of achievements. I am making progress, accomplishing things, yes things are going well. However, I am still swirling. Swirling and twirling for more. They never seem to fill me up, nor were they designed to. But yet I swirl and twirl and strive for the one achievement that will make me say, “That’s it! I can now know that I am okay!” I have had several things that I hoped would be “it”, but every time they disappoint. They provide momentary satisfaction, but soon I am left with that same nagging feeling of emptiness.

And I am stubborn, I really am unsure how many times or how much it will take for me to say that I have had enough and I will just seek joy and contentment from Him. Apparently, I really enjoy circling the mountain of achievements. Circles and circles I run in, and along the path, I do enjoy achievements. But what is at the base of the mountain is much less satisfying that what is at the top. So I have a choice to make, run circles around the bottom or stop dead in my tracks and hike a new trail up the mountain. And from here, at the bottom, it looks impossible to climb. So today, I think I will start with just flattening myself out before the mountain, flat on the floor, and asking for strength to begin to climb.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Generations of Facebook and Blogging

I listened to a little blip on K-Love today touting today’s teens as anxious, stressed, and self-centered. Seemingly this generation has more depression and anxiety issues than those of the past. We have indeed created an environment where it is all about me. We even have things like blogs, HA, and facebook, HAHA, that are pages dedicated completely to us (I laugh because I obviously have both of these)! When you look back at the generations before us, we never had a place just about us that was visible worldwide should we choose for it to be.

And although many of us would choose to post things on our blogs and facebook pages that we hope in some way will help others, and will help us connect to others, we cannot help but be affected by the fact that our thoughts can so easily be posted, visibly, to hundreds upon thousands of other people. We can’t help but hold our thoughts and ourselves as a little more important than they might have been had they not been “liked” or “commented” on by others.

The danger comes in when we start to base our self worth outside of who we are in Christ. Perhaps that is the difficulty facing this generation. When internal thoughts are posted so visibly and subjected to instantaneous feedback, it is very easy to begin to crave that feedback rather than living on the bread and water of life, Christ.

As blogging and writing becomes more and more of my identity, I am beginning to feel the pressure that having a life filled with social networking can put. I can’t deny that I like the feedback I get from a blog post or a wall post, and dare I say it, yes I will, sometimes I post things out of a selfish need for feedback on my writing rather than communicating what God would have to speak through me for that day. Sigh.

There is no easy path on the road to freedom. Once we are freed up from one area of bondage God seems to enlighten me towards another. Let me speak through you, hold your tongue on that, don’t post that yet I have something else to tell you He says, and sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t. And I am praying that I will desire His approval alone, and stop craving the approval of man. However, how much harder must it be for teens? Raised in an environment where it’s all about me, that’s a scary place to be. Let’s pray today for all of us, that He is our bread and our water, and that the only thing we would crave would be more of HIM!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Peace in Me

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you might have peace in Me.” Peace in Me. Not peace in financial stability, not peace in love with another person, not peace in success or accomplishments, not peace in a new purse, but peace in Me. I’ve looked for peace in many places, and haven’t yet found its home. But there really is only one place we can find true comfort and everlasting peace.

Peace in Me.
And yet I say it again.
Peace in Me.
The words don’t seem enough.
Peace in Me.
Could this possibly be true?
Peace in Me.
My heart longs for you.
Peace in Me.
Could it finally be the answer?
Peace in Me.
To what I’ve longed for all these years.
Peace in Me.
Could I finally have found the love?
Peace in Me.
That I’ve searched for through the tears.
Peace in me.
Is love really everlasting?
Peace in Me.
Does it really speak the truth?
Peace in Me.
Could it be the home I’ve longed for?
Peace in me.
The home I’ve longed for is the truth.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Obedience

Why is it that we want so badly what is so not good? Wouldn’t life be more simple if we just craved what was good for us? Like broccoli and water and whole wheat bread. If we never wanted to watch that show that glorifies having sex with multiple partners, or if we never wanted to hang on to that person or thing that we know is hindering growth. What to do, what to do…?

Obedience. That is the word of the day, or maybe even should be the word of the year, or even my lifetime. Obedience. We all know that God only wants what is best for us, that he would withhold no thing that would bless us, but yet we seek what we know will not bless us. I often crave these things like some type of weird addiction.

Obedience, how do I get there? Maybe we could start by working on the trust issue. If we really believe that he wants what is best for us, would it be easier to obey? Maybe? So then our prayer becomes, help me overcome my unbelief. Help me to believe that you always have my best interest at heart, and then when I face the temptation I can walk away knowing that you have something better in mind.

In case you can’t tell, I have had a battle with this obedience thing this week. There is something in my life that served a purpose for a time, something I needed for the time. But, lately God has been telling me, “see I am doing a new thing”. But I am struggling to let go of the comfort of the old thing, so He can do the new thing. Fear is what it boils down to. I am asking, “God if I give this up, can I trust you to fill this need for me”. In my mind I know that I can, but wrapping my heart around that is a completely different thing. The heart is definitely deceitful above all else, so well, I guess then I need to ask God to take my heart. To help me overcome my unbelief, and help my heart to rest knowing He can meet the need, He can surpass the need. Is God enough for me? Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just something from Beth Moore's Breaking Free...

Tonight I am reading, again, some of Beth Moore's book Breaking Free, which might I say is PHENOMENAL if you have never read it. The section I read tonight was powerful enough for me to want to share it with all of you. I hope it blesses your life as it is blessing mine in this moment.


Imagine going to heaven and standing by God as He lovingly shows you His plan for your life. It begins with the day you are born. Once you received Christ as Savior, every day that follows is outlined in red. You see footprints walking through each day of your life. On many of the days, two sets of footprints appear. You inquire: "Father, are those my footprints every day, and is the second set of prints when You joined me?"

He answers, "No, My precious Child. The consistent footprints are Mine. The second set of footprints are when you joined Me."

"Where were You going, Father?"

"To the destiny I planned for you, hoping you'd follow."

"But, Father, where are my footprints all those times?"

"Sometimes you went back to look at the old resentments and habits. Sometimes, you chose your own path. Other times, your footprints appear on a another person's calendar because you liked their plan better. Sometimes, you simply stopped because you would not let go of something you could not take with you"

"But, Father, we ended up OK even if I didn't walk with You every day, didn't we."

He holds you close and smiles, "Yes, Child we ended up OK. But, you see, OK was never what I had in mind for you."

We are so wise to learn to walk with God instead of begging Him to walk with us.

Monday, August 2, 2010

All pits should have a built in trampoline!!! Weeee!

It seems to me that a lot of people in and around my life are hurting right now, or maybe it is just that God is forcing me into a place where I am able to look outside of my own trials and have compassion and love for others. So weather it is that more people are struggling, or I am just noticing it more, regardless, I am hurting for them.

I have been quick to say with my lips that the hurt I have experienced is there so that I will have empathy for others and be able to help others. But, how often have these words passed through my mouth and never penetrated the depths of my heart. It was more a phrase I would say to get others to leave me alone and not delve any further into my pain. By putting on a happy face and saying, oh everything happens for a reason, they would leave me alone. But, I didn’t really believe it. Until now. I can see outside of my pain enough now to know that it’s not all about me. To realize that the things I go through aren’t all about me, that maybe God is training this selfish stubborn bull-headed mess of girl to follow Him so that I might someday lead others to the same amazing grace that saved me and saves me again day after day.

The depths of the pit, the depths of depression, are deep. And dark. And lonely. And if you are there, it’s only for a season and don’t let Satan convince you otherwise. The sun will rise again. Bu for me personally, I think it might do me some good to place a trampoline at the bottom of my pit so that every time I fall in, it launches me back out with a giggle! LOL! And the trampoline is God’s grace and the joy that can only be found in knowing his grace IS enough. He does have a purpose even for those of us pit dwellers, who have preferred for years only to stare at the cold dark walls of ourselves. Through him we are risen from the dead, so don’t let Satan bury you alive! Put up a fight!

Ephesians 3:20 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. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jesus, He is not a one hit wonder or a McDonald’s drive through, although I have had to learn these things the hard way.

Oftentimes I find myself “needing” something. Something I want right now, and if he could just fix it right now, then I would be happy. Oftentimes I find myself praying for something genuinely worth praying for in a moment of passionate emotion and then never praying for it again. And then I get up off my knees and think, well that didn’t work. And stubbornly crossing my arms, thinking and mumbling to myself “God doesn’t care, he never answers my prayers, even when I ask for something biblical, He is yet to answer”. Then I never pray for it again, I give God one lightning bolt shot to send down whatever it is I think that I need, and then am too lazy to ever ask for it again. It is almost as if I view him as a McDonald’s drive through, and I can just pull up and order some peace, fulfillment, purpose, love, and self-acceptance-immediately drive to the window and have it handed to me neatly packaged in some kind of to-go wrapper and go on about my day. Wouldn’t that be nice? But, well, I am thinking that is not quite the way it works.

I tell God how desperately I long to be filled up and joyful with Him and Him alone, needing and longing for nothing more, and then I just sit back and expect him to just hit me with his best shot and I will never long for anything else again! When reality is, he hears those prayers, but he tells me to seek Him with all my heart, and when I do I will find Him. To cast down all idols, to tear down the high places, to walk away from everything and walk straight towards Him, and I will find Him. Joy and fulfillment, a sense of self-worth, release from captivity, cannot be ordered in a drive-thru. These are gifts that God can and will give us, but we can’t be lazy. We can’t foolishly ask for them once and expect them to fall from the sky. We must persevere, and pray for what we long for daily, and do the work He asks of us. Salvation is free, thank you Lord for that, but giving up ourselves to fully live in Him, that will cost us our pride. We might have to give up our idols, tear down the high places, and put all that energy into knowing Him. The gifts he gives really are free, but often we must move ourselves aside, starve our flesh, and make room to accept them.

The blessings he gives are for all eternity, they are not one hit wonders that wham us on the head, end of story. The blessings He gives, are much greater than a cheeseburger from McDonald’s that satisfies for one meal, but then leaves us starving again for the next. The blessings he gives are eternal. “And now, it has pleased you to bless the house of your servant, so that it will continue forever before you. For when you grant a blessing, O Lord, it is an eternal blessing!” 1 Chronicles 17:27

Thank you Lord that you feed me real lasting food, not an unhealthy dose of grease from a drive through, even when that might be what I crave, you know what I need. Help me to patient, help me to persevere, help me to cast down the high places so that I may worship you and you alone. Help me not to view waiting as abandonment, because I know that you never abandon me, but sometimes I am not ready and sometimes eternal blessings take time-but they last forever. In Jesus Name I Pray. Amen.