Darn! I did it again!

Ephesians 1:7
in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

How many times do I have to say, “Darn!  I did that again!” and then spend the next few minutes, hours, days weeks or months beating myself up for something I had not intended to do and was against what I stood for.  As a Christian I have tried to live up to the standards of the Bible, yet there are times when I just falter and sink miserably.  Self-hatred comes from this issue of not living up to the expectations of a parent, teacher or minister.  Failing at work, school, marriage or relationships.  All of these things add up to hurt and disappointment and can lead to self-hatred.

Recently I had such an instance in my life.  I did not even realize what was going on.  I had a mom who yelled about everything:  room not clean enough, took to long to eat, walked home from school to slowly and other things, some of which I had no control over.  I felt like I failed at marriage and raising my children. Yet most of this was just Satan working his best to destroy me who should have been secure in who I was in Christ.  He knew if he could get me to hate myself I would not seek out the things of God and it would just become another one of my failures.

I prayed with a mentor over the situation and was surprised when the answer to what I was feeling was self-hatred.  What?  Me, hate myself?  No way, I like who I am.  We did some digging with prayer and found somewhere in me was this hatred for who I had become.  I was always changing things about myself and not really understanding why but as soon as we prayed for forgiveness, I felt such a release.  A way of acceptance swept of me as I wept in the lobby of McDonalds.  I was release the moment I asked God to forgive me for hating myself.  His mercy was felt in the places where I had been hiding from the pain.

In the next few minutes as I accepted myself for who I was in Christ, things in my life just began to make sense.  I wasn’t a cutter, but every time I changed my hair color or cut it off it usually was during a time of frustration.  I would get so angry at myself for things not going well at home or work.  I blamed myself for things I knew were out of my control.  Well, now that I know why I was reacting the way I was, I can counteract it with loving myself for who I am in Christ.  Asking for forgiveness and filling the anger with love is one of the ways to become more Christlike.  Letting go of my self-hatred allows me to see things more clearly through the eyes of Jesus….just the way God intended.

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Wondering Where God is Sometimes?

John 3:8

Only God‘s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.

 

Ever wonder how you got where you are?  Do you stop to think about where God is sometimes in your life?  Have you ever just cried out in desperation?  Ever feel like you just have walked so far out of the will of God it would be impossible to return to His grace?  Can you feel Him in the wind anymore?  Do you see Him in the starlit night or the array of colors of the sunrise in the morning?  We are called to seek His face.  Are we doing this?  Are we looking for Him in the tiny moments of life or are we too busy with the world to notice?  Tough questions I know, but I am tired of playing church.

I want to seek Him and His desires for my life.  I want to feel Him in the breezes and feel Him in the waves of the lake.  God created this earth for you and me to enjoy.  He spoke ALL things into existence, including us.  He made the trees, the birds, the oceans; everything which surrounds us, He created.  I want to get lost in love with God and see with His eyes.  I want to touch things and feel His Presence all around me.  I desire to hear His voice leading me.  I want to stop the worldly things I get bombarded with on a daily basis and just rest in Him.

I urge each of us to stop for just a moment each day and seek the face of God.  Be it a moment of listening intently to a song of worship or the chirp of a bird in the distance.  Take an extra glance at the stars that light up the night sky.  Stop to investigate the flight of a butterfly.  Be intrigued by the meandering of a ladybug.  Rejoice at the smell of flowers in the air.  Just stop.  Just stand in one spot and soak God in.  Rejuvenate yourself with the sweet Presence of God, He is there in every moment, we just need to seek Him.

I pray we will not be too busy for a minute with God each day, I know for a fact He is not too busy for us.  When we begin to stop and seek, our days will be brighter, our burdens lightened and our strength renewed.  Find peace in helping others.  Rejoice with the laughter you hear.  Begin to feel free in Jesus.  Let the happiness bubble up to the surface and take hold of your atmosphere.  I challenge us all to take time to practice seeking God.  Share your God experience with someone else, who knows where it can lead!

Broken Into Pieces

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

scattered about

longing for connection

wanting to be whole

my heart lays in pieces…..waiting.

As the days just continue to fade away, I have time to reflect on where I am.  My sole reason for writing is to touch hearts and reach those who are brokenhearted.  I long to help pick up the pieces and rebuild relationships simply by sharing what I have seen.  I am married to an addict, first alcohol and then drugs.  I was addicted to him as much as he was addicted to me.  Somehow in the strangest of ways, we needed to be with each other.  I needed him for acceptance and he needed someone to love him for who he was.  Kids complicated things as the marriage worsened, I wanted out, yet I just saw no alternative through the winding mess of  brokenness I had found myself in.

I would look in the mirror often and just wonder what I was doing here.  My heart was completely broken after 18 years of marriage.  My kids we 15 and 17 when my husband planned to commit suicide on my daughters 15th birthday with a 410 shot gun while high on methadone and even at the hospital as lies were being told about the situation, I was scared to say anything.  I feared a man who was clearly not in his right mind.  I was scared of what he would do if he found out I was the one who told the doctors finally about his addictions.  Looking back the only explanation as to why I could spill the story to the nurse, was God.  He took one look at me suffering in a situation I had placed myself in and found mercy; giving me the confidence in that one small moment of time to speak what I needed to say.  In that one small moment God was able to finally remove me from my situation so healing could begin.

In my weakness, God gave me courage.  In my crisis, He showed me they way out of the wilderness.  He heard my crying out to Him.  He was already finding all the pieces to my shattered heart so that He could begin the healing process, I just had to recognize I was broken.  This whole time I thought it had it under control. My kids were okay.  I was still working.  I went to church.  I just assumed God just let this relationship continue because He was serving a purpose for my life.  As I have started to get my thoughts in order, I have found writing this book about my situation has caused me to see I was not okay.  The kids were NOT okay.  Certainly I did not have things under control.  Yet God is using this now for good.

In the coming days, I will step into the reality of God.  He is real for every situation.  God is in every moment of the day.  He is our provider, our protector and our guide.  His love covers a multitude of wrong decisions and choices.  As we are beating ourselves up He is trying to find a way to encourage us.  Maybe for some it’s reading something that just hits home finally or He sends someone into your life for a season or a moment just to show you He is there….waiting.  Waiting for you to give it all to Him finally so He may begin picking up the pieces of your heart and put them back together for His glory.  He longs for you to be happy in all aspects of your life, this cannot happen if you think you are the one in control.

waiting….

staring at the pieces

wondering if it still remembers

how to beat.

What a Drama!

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 ASV

Unbelievable things happen to good people.  Undeserving stuff happens to those we view unworthy.  Strange unexplainable events take place everywhere around the world.   Soon mouths are moving and hearts are broken; things are done and words are spoken to change the perspectives of many.  Rumors are begun and accusations fly like birds scattered from a loud noise.  Drama.  Drama.  Drama.  It is everywhere you go.  It does not stop after you graduate from school or college, it just gets different to fit whatever situation you find yourself in.  As Christians we need to begin to see drama differently and take part in God’s Drama.

I try hard not to let drama control my life, however I work with two types of persons who usually are at the heart of it:  teenagers and restaurant workers.  I often can find myself drawn into the excitement of “he said she said” and the “didja hears”.  It is easy in this worldly time to forget for moments at a time that the words we speak can either bring life or death, healing or brazenness.  We need to see things in a slightly different light, a view point of drama maybe not seen before.

Drama Defined in Webster’s Dictionary:  a : a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance : play — compare closet drama b : a movie or television production with characteristics (as conflict) of a serious play; broadly : a play, movie, or television production with a serious tone or subject <a police drama>: dramatic art, literature, or affairsa : a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces

Drama is the unfolding of a story, often in skit-form.  Hmmm, could we not use the Bible as our drama?  It has verse, portrays life and it has conflict.  If we decide to use the Bible as our skit, all we have to do is learn the lines and then continually practice them.  By building up the character in us, we can be a spectacular sight for others to live by for they will see the star quality in us:  Jesus.

If we have troubles along the way say for instance, learning our lines or understanding the purpose for a certain setting, we can seek out the Director.  He will place people in the right places and guide us to the perfect performance.  (Webster:  di·rec·tor noun \də-ˈrek-tər, dī-\: one who directs: as a : the head of an organized group or administrative unit  b : one of a group of persons entrusted with the overall direction of a corporate enterprise people in the right places and guide us to the perfect performance.) The Director can change the scenery along the way to make more sense of the current scene we are acting out. The Director sets the theme and the tone for the entire skit and we just need to trust Him to get us through to the end.

So as you can see, drama can be a good thing in our lives when we look to the Director to guide us and show us how to tweak our performances.  He will give us confidence and an assured path to get us to the next act in the dramas of our lives.  By choosing to follow the Bible as our script for life, we can have a sureness about us as we look to the Director for all of our answers.  We however, cannot ad-lib our lines to fit the skit into our life situations.  We cannot make up things as we go along or deviate from the acts which have already been laid out for us to perform.  By seeking out the Director these mistakes can be avoided and a beautiful display of His handiwork can be seen by many!

What kind of drama will you choose today?  One with a Director who knows the way to a great performance and has already written the words for us?  Or will you take matters into your own hands and write your own skit, hoping it fits into the Directors plan for the performance? 

Sink the Boat

My Office for the Day

Matthew 14:29 American Standard Version (ASV)

 29 And he said, Come. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come to Jesus.

Today I worked on my book for quite some time and it is funny how God works.  A brief description of the book:  My life being married to a drug addict and how God walked me out of it.  I did not realize until today what direction scripturally I was going, but it seems to be a lot about the boat stories and trusting God to keep you upright in the water.  I was describing in my book the part of my story where I had to turn to God to be saved from the mess I was in, yet when things seemed to be going okay, I climbed back into the boat I had stepped out of only to find myself taking control again.  The following is a small bit of what I wrote:

Okay, walking on water.  In the story of Peter, we see that God asks him to trust Him and get out of the boat ONTO the water.  Notice it does not tell say to jump INTO the water, DIVE into the unknown or BELLY-FLOP into uncharted waters.  It clearly states:  Walk ONTO the water.  At this point in my walk with God, this was exactly what He was speaking to me.  Walk out of this marriage, spend a time separated, seek after the things of Me and I will surely not let you sink.  Well, it was easy at first and then as you saw my reference to the texting I began to sink. ( I am referring to an earlier chapter where I receive a text from my husband stating that when I was done playing church to come and see if he was till waiting for me)

I started to feel safe.  I began to think, okay God got me out and now I can handle this.  No worries.  Onward and upward.  Forward going.  And then I began to realize I could not do this alone and I had to re-step out of the boat I had climbed back into.  How many times as Christians do we do this?  We get all excited about the things of God, begin to think we know it all only to have it fall apart because we took it upon ourselves to get back in our safety boat?  Get out of the boat!  Stay out of the boat!  Sink the boat!  Stay on the water with Jesus.  Never look down.  Never look back.  Eyes on Jesus.

As I reread what I wrote today I was finally beginning to realize that I had to get rid of the boat I was holding onto.  I needed to know that I knew God had me safely in His arms and I did not need my old boat anymore, kind of like we don’t need the old self either.  By the renewing of my mind in the things of God I was able to come to this conclusion of sinking my boat.  Granted it has taken me a couple of years to get to this point, but I am here now…..let it sink!

As I was finishing up with writing and the battery was dying on my laptop, God decided to have some fun.  Since it was nice day out I decided my “office” would be at an area park where there was a pond and a river, however, God spoke and said it was not the place, so I drove further into town and found a place along the bike path by a local boat launch.  What an office!  The lake, the sun and the occasional greeting from skateboarding teenagers and bikers!  As I was beginning to pack up a gentlemen came down the bike path walking his bike.  He kindly asked if he could sit at the other table next to me and plopped down looking exhausted.

He began to converse with me and being alone, I was a little nervous but soon the conversation turned to God and I felt at ease.  We shared some thoughts on religion vs. relationship and then I began to explain where I was as a Christian writer and shared exactly what I just shared with you.  This man stopped and looked at me intently when I said you have to sink your boat.  He then proceeded to share with me his struggles and how God must have sent me to speak to him.  He said every time he bikes this path he stops at the tables and prays and gives thanks to God.  He said he had not stopped on his way through the first time passing by but he saw me typing away.

Two miles from where I was he popped a tire on his bike and he had to walk it back towards home.  We laughed about how maybe if he had stopped to talk to me the first time through maybe the tire would not have popped.  All in all, the moral of this is that God is at work in our lives every moment of every day.  I know that is hard to wrap our minds around, but He is.  He needed this man to hear the words I spoke as a vessel He uses.  This man was desperate and he needed a word of knowledge to get him to the next level.  I was also able to teach him in the short time we had that he had a testimony to share and as he denied it I began to speak life into him.  We parted ways and we both knew it was a God thing that we crossed paths today.

Last words:

Take a moment and evaluate where you are.  Has God walked you out of something only for you to turn right back around and climb back into the boat where it is familiar?  How can you choose right now to get out on the water again?  What is God preparing for you ahead?  Do you think it’s safe to walk on the water?  If the answer to the last question is no or maybe, then I encourage you to seek the face of God and decide how much faith in Him you really have.

Daddy Knows Best….Right?

Jeremiah 29:11

The Message (MSG)

10-11This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Recently there have been several difficult changes in my life.  My boss passed away and we received a new owner where I work.  I feel as though I have lost an entire family just to gain a new set of strangers in my life.  I am still struggling with the separation from my husband of 19 years.  My kids are growing up so fast and with my son moved out and my daughter a camp these past two weeks, I have a taste of empty nest syndrome, and I dislike it.

As my job seems not to fit me so much any more, I am beginning to seek God out more and more, finding answers which just honestly scare me a bit.  I feel my destination in this life is more than being a restaurant manager.  I have a call on my life to be a writer, speaker and a teen leader.  Is it time for me to step into what God has called me to do?  Am I ready to take the leap of faith that I need to?  My friend has given me some material to read, which prompted me to start this blog, begin a website and finish writing my book.  One of the books I read said the average job is 2 to 5 years, I have been at my current job for 25 years and it seems as though I have settled for where I am instead of living and doing my dream job.

A few months ago I attended a revival that lasted 52 days.  I know it is a touchy subject for some, but God showed up in such a real way to me at this revival that I hunger for more of it.  Tonight as I struggled to sort some things out in my recent events, a close friend of mine reminded me of the night we prayed to have the Holy Spirit “wreck” our lives during the revival.  To give Him permission to change us in a way that we would be forever changed.  Is this what is happening to me now?  I get so excited about the prospect of writing full time and speaking to others about the ordeals of my testimony and offering the peace of God to many along the way.

Our Father in heaven, our Creator, knows the plans He has for our lives.  Even though we may not understand through the struggles just exactly what is on the other side, we have to believe that He knows best.  We have to trust Him to open the right doors and to light our path.  We need to let Him use situations and people to teach us right from wrong.  We need to seek Him out around every corner and trust in the revelation.  We have to proclaim,  “Daddy knows best!” even when everything around seems not to make any sense.

Are you going through unexplainable things right now?  Children not following what you think is the right path?  Stuck in a rut financially?  Going to a dead-end job you dislike day after day?  Going through a divorce?  Whatever it is, step back for a minute and find God in it, earmark the place you are and ask God where you are going.  Ask Him to direct your life and begin to fashion yourself into the image God sees you as.  Yes it may take a  giant leap and a tremendous amount of faith, but won’t it be worth it when you are doing the work you were designed to do and changing lives?

Are You Ready to Spark?

1 Samuel 10:7
“When these confirming signs are accomplished, you’ll know that you’re ready: Whatever job you’re given to do, do it. God is with you!

Ever get the chill down your spine or goose pimples on your arms?  Do you feel these things when you are discussing the things of God?  Is God trying to get our attention?  Are these feelings just mere confirmations of God that we are moving in the right direction?  How do we know it’s God?

It seems like lately that each time I am speaking with a fellow Christian and it is the direction I am suppose to go, I get this little electric “prick” in my spirit.  If I decide on my own what is or is not God, I do not get this same feeling, however if I am conferring with another Christian brother or sister, I often get a sure answer about my situation.  God tries to get our attention in many different ways, however when you are working amongst Christians there seems to be this electric spark which flows between those seeking spirit-filled answers.

Websters Definition:

1spark

noun \ˈspärk\
1
a : a small particle of a burning substance thrown out by a body in combustion or remaining when combustion is nearly completed b : a hot glowing particle struck from a larger mass; especially : one heated by friction
Well, if there is a fire burning in each of us, then I think we can feel that spark or shock of electricity through our spirit as confirmation.  I was speaking with a teen today about how to hear God’s voice and how to tell the difference between your own thinking and Gods.  Not having all the answers I told her that if I hear something and I have to put a bunch of flesh thoughts together for it to make any sense, then it was me speaking.  On the flip side, if it was God, even if it did not make much sense, there would be confirmation somewhere, maybe through a friend or internet post, that would show me without a doubt it was God.
If we are vessels of His will, then we are carriers of His fire and can spark into others lives around us, so if we accept who we are in Christ and listen to that still small voice, wait for confirmation, then our life decisions have just become an easier task.  We can become a much bigger blessing to others if we just inject our spark of Jesus where ever we go, trusting in what we feel led to do by God; if it is not God, the spark will not ignite.  There are times when I write and I get an excited shock when certain persons I know read it and comment or like it, it confirms to me that I listened to God and conveyed His message.
Are you ready to spark?  Can you trust that God is using you?  How willing are you to let God become an inferno inside your spirit?  Tune into God and see what fires He can start with you!

By Your Testimony Others Will Be Healed