Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I don't even know where to start this post. My heart is heavy for so many reasons and I have spent a few days trying to sort out just exactly what has me so burdened. It all boils down to our inability to let the past stay in the past. This is a favorite tool in Satan's tool box. In fact, he could keep most of us in bondage with this one tool alone. I have been slapped in the face with this from both sides this week. First, by someone who has accepted Christ's Salvation and moved on to a much better life, only to be shunned by the church because she wears her testimony in ink. Second, by someone who I had NO idea was in complete bondage- who cried out to me that she is held captive by her past.
Why do we not believe God's Word? The old has passed away, the new has come!
So, if you are a church member, please welcome all in with open arms and let God work in their lives as HE sees fit. Don't try and "fix" them so that they fit into your idea of what a church member looks like. If we all had our pre-Christ lives out in the open for all to see, we would all be very much the same. Remember that. My goodness, it is only by the GRACE of God that I am not in a gutter somewhere myself. The same goes for you. Jesus is in the saving business. Do we believe in the power of His blood or not?
Finally, if you are held captive by your past, please consider this...it is bad enough that it happened, but it is a complete travesty that Satan is keeping you in bondage to it. Take your eyes off of your past and off of yourself and look to Jesus. Take your eyes off of the person who hurt you and look to Jesus. Take that beaten, battered, bruised, and otherwise wounded heart that you are protecting so fiercely and offer it to Christ, for He is TRULY the lover of your soul. He is trustworthy. Every time Satan whispers his lies in your ear, look to Christ who is restoring you. Search God's word for His promises of restoration. HE will deliver you and HE will restore you.
Joel 2:25 says that the Lord will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten.
Exodus 14:14 says that the Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
Revelation 21:5 says that the Lord seated on His throne says "Behold, I am making all things new"
Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore.
And neither do you.
Monday, January 26, 2015
I so easily forget that God is real, that HE is present in my life, that He hears my prayers, knows my thoughts, understands my feelings, hopes, and fears.
Its crazy because He has done so much for me. It is absurd that I would forget the power He has displayed in my life personally...I will use healing me of cancer not once, but twice, as a decent example. You'd think that I would have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart every day of my life. You'd think that, as a pastor's wife, I would be solidly connected to my Savior and in constant amazement of all the things He does every moment of every day.
But I so easily forget.
I don't forget the "big stuff". I don't forget that He changed my heart. I don't forget that He healed my body. I don't forget that He saved my children's souls. I don't forget that He gave me a godly husband.
Instead, I forget the "little things".
I believe that I forget the "little things" because the "Devil is in the Details". He knows that he cannot compete with the "big things" God has done in my life, so Satan slips in and whispers hopelessness in my ear. Satan slips in and gradually crushes my spirit. Satan slips in and slowly steals my joy. Satan slips in and calmly drains my strength. Satan slips into all the little things and leaves me weary, broken, and beaten up by life. Somewhere between lunches and laundry and dinner and dishes and homework and housework and church-work and work-work and family and friends and teaching and preaching....I forget.
I forget that He hears me....even when I can't find words to pray.
I forget that He knows I am overwhelmed...by parenting and wife-ing and teaching and laundry and housework.
I forget that He knows the longing of my heart...that I want to feel cherished and protected and safe.
I forget that He knows that I am afraid...of not being good enough, of letting Him (and everyone else) down, of missing the mark, of not meeting expectations....of failing.
I forget that He can heal my marriage, my damaged friendships, and my wounded heart.
I forget that He can change people.
I forget that He can change me.
It is in the little things that God strengthens me moment by moment. It is in the little things that God restores my hope, my joy, my passion, and my faith each and every day. I so easily forget that He is in control, that He has a plan and a purpose, and that His will WILL be accomplished. I so easily forget the power of the One I serve.
Today I am thankful. I am thankful that I serve a God who loves me enough to remind me that He is here. I am thankful that He hears my prayers, be they timid, bold, spoken, or unspoken.
And I am so very thankful that He cares enough to remind me that He is present in the little things....because I so easily forget.
Friday, January 16, 2015
A friend and I were brainstorming about a women's retreat event to be held at her B&B...great idea! Before long, I was revamping the ladies' ministry, planning multiple events, discussing web design with Madhatz, designing new logos, putting together a new and improved mission statement, setting goals and making lists, enlisting prayer warrior friends to pray for this new chapter. I was on my way to being used by God again! WooHOo!!!! I was open and available to HIM so that He could use me to reach hurting women and I was soooo very excited!
I want to reach women with the healing love of Christ. I want to guide them to freedom in Christ Jesus. I want to show them that they do not have to believe the lies Satan tells them. I want them to see that Satan has them in bondage and that Christ will set them free. More than anything, I want to live my life so that, when I am gone, I leave a beautiful legacy. I want it to matter that I was here. I want to leave a mark. I want the people who know me to believe that their lives are better for it, not because of me, but because God loved them through me. Surely God wants me to do big things for Him, right? Surely He wants me to give Him my very best and be totally sold out for Him, right?
Then it hit me...I can't do everything I want to do right now. God gently, but quickly reminded me that my first priority is the family He has given me to care for. I am not going to be a success if I share Christ with thousands of women (or 5 women) if I do so at the expense of my family.
There is a fine line between seizing every opportunity God sends my way and just looking for ways to be really busy. I was well on my way to crossing that line. Thankfully, God graciously tapped me on the shoulder and helped me to see the danger in traveling that road. As I am embarking on a year of making the most of the life Christ has given me, I must stop and consider how MUCH God would have me do.
I still want to live more intentionally. I still want to breathe in every bit of life that God has given me. I still want to experience the life God has given me to the absolute fullest. My friend and I are still planning to have ladies' retreats at her B&B. I am still over the top excited about that and can't wait to do the first one! At the same time, I am so very thankful that God gently reminded me that my FIRST mission field is my home. Before He called me to ministry, He entrusted me with His pastor and 2 wonderfully amazing PKs and my FIRST job is to nurture and care for them.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Over the past few months, I have started to discover things I enjoy, not because I think that they will make me cool, more likeable, or better; not because I think that they are things others want me to enjoy, but simply because they are things I like to do. I've spent too much time striving to be who I think I "should" be in order to be "good enough". So, I am on a journey to discover what I like (as opposed to what I think others want me to like.) I’ve added several things to my bucket list in the process. Some are things that I want to learn to do. (Tatting may be removed from the list…it is harder than I thought it would be…just sayin) Others are things that I just want to do or see or be.
I am tired of just surviving, and I don’t want to continue to try and be what I think anyone else thinks I should be. I am tired of just making it through another day. It is wearing me out. I want to live the life God has given me, and I feel like I am running out of time to do that.
When I hear other people say things like this, it concerns me because it reeks of recklessness.
I am eternally grateful that my heart is faithful to my First Love and that the things I truly desire to try, taste, do, see, and experience cause no harm, no conflict, no chaos. I am not going to do anything reckless, I just want to be more “me” and less who I think “everyone” thinks I should be. I am eternally grateful that, in the midst of struggling to find myself, I see Jesus Christ and His imprint on my soul. I am not who I once was. My desires are not what they once were. This is absolutely amazing to me.
So, I am crocheting an afghan, even though it seems that it will take 100 years to complete, my husband calls it “sewing”, and my son says only old ladies do it.
I have joined a book club, even though my son said that doing so catapulted me straight from “a bit nerdy” to “total lame-o” and others will never understand why I want to “waste my time” with this.
I am going to paint what I want, when I want, and right now, painting feels like a springtime thing to do. (its really cold in the paint shack)
I am going to continue to learn how to make stuff out of wood, and woodworking feels like a summer time thing to do, since it has to be done mostly outdoors.....unless I can take over the hubs' "shop"....hmmmmm that may be a possibility.
I am going to grow more flowers, because they make me happy.
I am going to play the piano and the guitar and the flute, for me, because I love music.
I am going to go to the gym because I don’t want to die yet and my body is betraying me daily.
I am going to memorize the Sermon on the Mount, because I want to know and be able to share what Jesus said about life and living whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I am going to learn to tat because it cannot POSSIBLY be as hard to do as it seems.
I am going to love people even when it hurts, because that’s just how God wired me.
I am going to look for God’s hand in every situation.
I am going to see things as from God or from Satan, even if that makes me "super spiritual, yet unrealistic".
I am going to water, fertilize, weed, mow, and protect the grass on my side of the fence. (there’s a blog post in there somewhere)
Yesterday, I taught my preschoolers that they are Fearfully and Wonderfully made and it made me realize that I have spent too much time trying to be who I think I “should” be instead of being who I am…who God created me to be. I think that too many of us spend so much time trying so hard to be who we think we “should” be that we don’t enjoy who we are. I read something last night that said, “What if you painted someone a picture and you waited until it was absolutely perfect to give it to them and, after giving them this perfect gift, you had to listen to them tell you every day all the things that they thought were wrong with it?”. This went on to say that the author wondered how God must feel when we constantly point out what we perceive to be our flaws (God given, not sin-born). I’m not sure how I feel about that, only that I know I am not living an extraordinary life spending so much time and energy trying to be someone I am not. I am tired of comparing myself to others instead of cultivating the strengths, talents, and gifts God has given ME. I cannot recreate myself to be more exceptional than God created me to be.
So my resolution this year is multifaceted, but can be summed up something like this:
I resolve to stop comparing myself to others and focus instead on cultivating and expanding the gifts, strengths, and talents God has given me so that I can grow to be the woman God created me to be.
I resolve to try new things and to seek to discover the fullness and richness of the life God has given me with the people He has given me.
I resolve to nurture and protect the grass on my side of the fence.
I resolve to trust that God knew what He was doing when He created me & that He has a plan and a purpose for my life.
I resolve to write from my heart, and to paint and create things that are beautiful to me, and to do these things for myself… because they bring me joy and satisfaction.
I resolve to invest in people, to love people, be a source of encouragement, and to allow people into my life, trusting again that, God has a plan in all things, even if I get hurt.
Finally, I resolve to enjoy my husband and my children, to encourage them, care for them, support them, nurture them, pray for them, and help them become the men and woman God created them to be.
Happy New Year!