Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ephesians 6:10-18

I’ve been sitting here quiet, in my chair from my favorite place in the world right now.  Colorado.  Such blessed and painful memories.  But, enough about that, for now let me tell you about the quiet and my Christmas.  There has been much fear and depression clawing at my heart.  I can literally in my spirit feel the battle of Satan trying to steal my joy and rest.  I won’t lie to you; I have doubted God.  Me, the daughter who has seen His glory, yet daily seems to forget some of the most monumental moments of His grace.  I doubted.  I, the once seemingly strong warrior daughter, have lost, or forgotten some of my deepest dreams.  Or should I say, more rather lost my passion for my dreams.  So here I sit, quiet.  Listening to Philips, Craig, and Dean sing their praise to Jesus.  How I long to know my Jesus again, better, more fully.  I want to be so full of abundant life.  Full of graciousness.  Yet, so often my heart is hard toward the very people I long to care for.  Ironic?  Yes.  This is what I long for Jesus to break me free from.  I wish some days He would just shatter the walls and make me brilliantly loving, like Him.  It’s funny though, I have to play my part as well.  I say I love Him?  That’s wonderful, but when my life is filled with everything but Him, there is very little room for Him to work.  It is so easy for me to get lost in a movie, in tv shows, in good books even.  He longs to have my full heart.  I long to know His heart.  So, here I sit.
I’m sure there will be days when very little of what I have written makes sense, but I’m finding that that is perfectly ok.  God knows what I’m writing, and He understands what I write even better than I do.  I have a large thing on my heart today; so my prayer is that what I write here will only bless and encourage.  I pray that the words I write bring only God-filled life to people, and that if there is anything that is not of God in what I have written, that God will protect anyone reading this from anything that is not of Him.  

 I got to cry again last night.  I got so tired of the depression and fear clawing me deep.  I got so tired of feeling lonely.  I got so tired of the drowning.  And, last night, He gave me rest.  But, I have to tell you; I woke up with it again this morning.  The deep, aching, lonely, tearing grasp of fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of man, ravishing dark fear.  Did I pray wrong yesterday?  No.  But it shows me the reality of the spiritual battle.  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12).  That spirit of accusation I sometimes feel?  From that person I love or someone in authority over me?  Oh, how wonderful that I’m not fighting against flesh and blood!  That spirit of anger, of depression, or lonely.  Those are not of God.  You see that it said, “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil”?  Satan has authority in this world, and he’s trying to tear every relationship, everything that is good, all my joy, away from me.  He fights to make me doubt, to make me refute God.  But, my God, the Creator, the Mighty Warrior, Alpha and Omega?  He already WON.  This is truth.  My head knows this, yet my heart quakes for fear that I don’t quite get it.  But, you see that theme?  The fear?  That fear is not of God.  For perfect love casts out fear.  How I long to rest in that perfect love.  Many days I wish there were simply some kind of quick fix that would make me understand right away.  I see this as an outcome of our society today, the instant gratification factor.  God is not instant rice.  Never was, never will be.  He is so good, so vastly pure and truthful, so forever loving.  None of us, as humans would be able to take it all in if He showed us completely who He is in one moment.  I don’t think we could humanly handle His glory.  There is no quick fix in Jesus.  This walk with Him, is lifelong.  It is painful, but blessing filled.  So, the thought on my mind today, with everything that I’ve been fighting is this.  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the Strength of His Might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  THEREFORE, take up the WHOLE armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In ALL circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for ALL the saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Claiming this today as a Daughter of the Only King! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Psalm 32:8

It was that moment in not being able to sing that made her stop, stop and finally listen to some of the words of the Christmas songs.  “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother; and in His name all oppression shall cease.”  “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinner reconciled.”  “What a glorious mystery: Once a babe in Bethlehem, now the Lord of history.”  She listened, silent, wishing to sing, feeling conspicuous.  Those around her sang on, finally coming to the last song, the one about candles.  “Take your candle, go light your world.”  Those words, so true…but she ached deep, feeling that she had little that would shine bright.  How could her life, at times so muddy and messy, bring light?  Thoughts kept pouring in; in the silence of not being able to sing, she was reminded of the spiritual battle.  That the father of all lies was doing his best to steal her joy, to make her drown in worry and the “what ifs,” to make her forget Who truly loved her.  That the One who made her was faithful. 

  “The Lord says,’I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.’” (Psalm 32:8)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Idle Worship

This Advent it felt like I was failing a lot more than I did last year.  I feel like I haven't retained most of what I've read, I feel as if I haven't done all the things I should.  But, maybe it's not being perfect in the Advent.  Maybe it has nothing to with making sure I retain every little thing I read.  Maybe it has to do with this amazing settled-ness that I have.  The fact that for once, I'm not freaking out over not being perfect.  That maybe, just maybe, keeping on simply trusting...

The need to strive for human perfection is an idol, and I am far from at rest when I'm striving to be perfect.  I was made to worship just as I am, so why am I seeking to worship perfection which I can never hope to attain.  I can be perfect, but it's only through Jesus who perfects me through Himself.

I look at the habits I have when I worship everything but God.  It becomes idol worship.  It becomes idle worship.  Idol worship lays down in front of me, everything that I've done wrong or can't do right.  It lays down my insecurities, my deepest fears, and taunts me.  It shows me everything everyone else is doing wrong or how they fail.  It begins to distract me from serving God, from showing His glory.  It makes me idle, lazy toward God, because I'm striving to prove perfection wrong, that I'm good enough.

But for Jesus, His blood, and the cross.  Through Him, there is strength to fight all the lies: fear, insecurities, imperfections, others faults.  Through Him, we have grace for ourselves and for others.  Through Him, we have love that shines bright.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Not Forgottens

I started this post several times, added a few things, took something else away yet nothing seemed right.  I felt such a desire, an urge really to write, but nothing was coming to me no matter how hard I I simply asked what I should write...and call me crazy, maybe it's because of some of the conversations I've had with random people lately, but here goes...

To the beautiful whitish-haired woman who was in my group a while back, the one who thought she didn't fit in.  You do, oh, so very much, you do!  You sit now, silently waiting, that slow ache, deep in your heart, waiting with sadness, as you watch.  Your Heavenly Daddy gave, and now it seems He may be calling your second dearest love away from you.  May we all stand beside and around you, aching silently, gently with you.  You matter, dear very much. 

To the woman at rest who questions her at-restedness, oh, your struggles, they're very real, but so is that inner peace that shines out.  You've weathered great, you'll weather even greater.  You questioned some very true things that day, but I saw His strength radiate from you.  Hold on, this is part of the journey.

To that breathtakingly beautiful aching mama, you make me very much.  Your heart seems to be quite an unending ocean of grace.  I know it's not perfect; to be honest, I'm glad it's not.  Your real heart and vulnerability, makes me ache with you.  You're smile has years in it, years of everything that brings God glory...the pain, the joy...  Whether it feels like it, it makes you blessed and highly favored. His ocean will not cause you to drown but to live.

To that precious young soul, a reminder of myself.  Ah, if only you knew how beautiful you truly are.  And those struggles with not feeling God?  They so real in each of us from time to time, and that you are courageous because you could admit it.  And those lies?  That's all they are, is lies.  Cling to the truths, choose to believe them even when you aren't quite sure.  The light at the end of the tunnel will come.  He will never leave you or forsake you; He promised that.  But, it is your choice to pursue Him right back.  Beautiful one, come learn about Him with me, sing about the things He gives you, count those gifts, dear one, He's giving them to you all the time.

To the God-taped together breathing woman, the breaking hurts, yes.  Oh, but how He loves you.  You wonder, almost devastated sometimes, if He is going to heal all your wounded babies and family...or if maybe He's forgotten about healing your own very tender heart.  He hasn't forgotten.  No, that sweet song you hear during the day?  That's Him reminding you all the ways He hasn't forgotten you.  It's at the foot of His cross is where you'll find Him...every day all you need is the tree.  The one that was broken apart (dis-membered) so you could be put back together in your brokenness (re-membered) see that?  Remembered.  Jesus hasn't forgotten you!

To the smiling real pj-clad woman who gladly welcomes my spontaneous notions, you are beautiful, no RADIANT.  You say you're learning and you are.  I see it in your eyes, your smile, your graciousness, and above all your heart.  He, my Abba, has your heart.  Oh, it almost brings tears gushing down my face.  He's got your heart, so precious.  And your frustrations...guess what...He's got those too.

To the woman playing so many roles, some days she might wonder where all she could actually go right...ahh, the smile lighting my face says you have gone right!  So very right.  A testimony simply by the faith I've seen and even more simply heard of that you have had.  Yes, the pain brought, and still brings struggles, but you, oh, strong woman, you also know the face of our Savior.  And He brought even more beauty to still and know that He is God.

And finally, to my aching friend and sister, wondering, longing to know and feel the presence of God again.  The teacher may be silent...keep persevering in this test of faith.  "There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary--we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" (Romans 5:3-5 [the Message]).  He hasn't forgotten you either, wait expectantly, seek passionately with all your heart, He'll show up for you.

To all of you and to me, dear sisters even brothers, anyone feeling forgotten, unwanted, oh how He loves each and every one of you.