A prayer

26 Mar

Today I was knocked on my feet. I don’t know what happened, but as I washed my face after a nice run, I began praying the Lord’s Prayer in my own terms. Then, I gathered my things to start my time with my Lord, and was smacked in the face with His power and glory. Here are the unedited words of my written prayer I composed with tears falling (quite like a gushing river) down my face:

Who am I that you desire to know me?? I have been hurting lately by what I describe as a lack of quality relationships and friendships, I hurt from the tiredness of feeling like I’m doing life alone. But who am I that the creator of everything longs to know me? To be my friend? To be my best relationship? Who am I? I get down because I feel sad for a lack of relationships when the God of this universe is trying to show me Himself, trying to get to know me. What do I have to bring? Lord, I have nothing. If anything, I bring you sin and struggles. I bring you no good gift. I have only brokenness to bring you. And even so, you embrace me, call me loved, call me beautiful, and you make me brand new. The rest of the world has slipped away in this moment as I feel you speaking to my heart. Highest God, You love me. I am in shock of that statement; disbelief overwhelms me. And although you desire to be my All, to be enough to satisfy all of me, you still care about that desires that I pour out to You, my struggles that I make such a big deal, my longings here on earth. Lord, I stand in awe and I bow in reverence. Forgive me for nailing You to that cross with my continued sin, and Lord forgive me for throwing insult in Your face by telling you, through my actions and my prayers for more in life, that you are not enough. How, oh Father, You could love a sinner like me, I will never understand. Thank you for pursuing me with reckless abandon. Lord, may my life echo this pursuit towards you. I fall at your feet, thankful for this moment, in awe that you are faithful to pursue my brokenness. May my life be a beautiful gift to be used by you. Thank you, Lord and Savior. I love you; help me to live it. Amen.

 

I write this in vulnerability, to encourage you brothers and sisters.

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God wants you.

He wants to be known by you. He wants to know you.

Watch this video of Louie Giglio discussing how whales and stars may be praising God. Then sing along with Chris Tomlin and praise him. Praise him for being God and for nothing else.

For the Ladies – start loving each other.

6 Mar

Ladies, I have a challenge for you.

A cry for help, not only for me but for the women of this world.

Encourage each other. No matter what woman it is, how different sheiks from you, how much you can’t stand her – encourage her.

You know what makes my heart break? Women and their foolish ways. We love to talk about each other, to point out another woman’s flaws, to gossip, to speak the enemies lies. It is ugly. “It’s just how woman are.” Bull honkey. I hate that. Hate. I am so sick of women, especially us Christian women, treating each other like trash.

I think about the words that have pierced my heart deepest, the actions against me that still cause me pain. These aren’t things my dad did, my brothers said, or from boyfriends telling me they were moving on. Oh no, friends, I easily recover from those wounds. But the wounds that have hurt me the most, that I still struggle to mend, are those caused by other women. I think it’s because I expect them to be allies, but in reality women seem to be out to get each other. I find myself thinking of those people I harbor bitterness towards and those I struggle to forgive (which is sinful) and each and everyone is a woman.

Why? I wish I knew.

Maybe you are different. Maybe you have so many hurts caused by men. That’s awful and also hurts my heart, but that’s an issue I don’t feel led to speak to (at least for now!). But no doubt there has been a woman in your life who has said something mean to you, about you, behind your back that still causes you pain. Maybe it was her actions. Her hurtful tone, her piecing look. Who knows. She is the one I’m begging you to love and encourage today.

I have two names that come to my mind and to think on blessing them or praying for them to be blessed at times makes me sick to my stomach. I am harboring resentment and bitterness and reliving the pain. This, dear women, is sinful. So I repent and ask for God’s strength daily (or…minute by minute) to forgive these woman and show them blessing, even if that’s only through praying for good in their life.
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When I saw Jen Wilkin speak a couple weeks ago, she pointed out the sad truth that motormen women want to impress other women when they are getting dressed. How true. She implored us to stop. She asked us to check our motive but also to stop,only encouraging women based on their dress, weight loss, hair, etc. It is superficial and only fanning the flame of self-consciousness and comparison. Gross. Get it out.

Encourage women for WHO they are! We are such beautiful creatures, on the inside!

These are the things we should praise women for! Praise her for her kindness, her strength, her pursuit of God, her child-rearing, her faith, her hard work, her boldness. Praise her for her beautiful heart!

As women, we are made too in the image of God and we get the unique opportunity to show His softer-side, if you will. Men and women were created in His image and each bear resemblance of a God who is all qualities posed in and by both genders. I’m not saying woman can’t be strong, work shed, providers – I am saying we have a beautiful opportunity to show a side of a beautiful God through how we interact with other women. Let us stop giving the devil a foothold.

And men – you are a part of this as well. We need you to come along side us and speak truth. Allow us to be the women we were created to be and please encourage us along the way! (And read this article!).

Women – please visit #shereadstruth and join an amazing community of women pursuing God! And please, ask God to give you the strength (it IS tough!) to love other women deeply!

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Do not grow weary!

2 Mar

The other day I was driving home from work. I was exhausted and thinking about a number of things going on in my life. As I battle how quickly I become discontent with the blessings in my life, I often get frustrated with the lives of others. On this drive home I was frustrated with how it seems I am pursuing God so strongly and just feel stuck while I watch those around me pursue their own will and seem to be enjoying life so much more. I could not even finish this toxic thought before the encouraging word of the day on K-love came on the radio. The day’s verse was Galatians 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

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God stopped my toxic thinking before I could allow it to permeate all my thoughts.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”

And it is important to note what Paul says prior to verse 9 in Galatians: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7,8) Do not give up in your pursuit of God. You will see fruit in your life and your inheritance is eternity with God in heaven!

In Genesis we see many examples of those going through difficult pursuits of God but who are also promised to be fruitful and multiply.

Check it out:

Genesis 1:28
Genesis 9:1
Genesis 17:2, 6
Genesis 22:17
Genesis 26:4
Genesis 28:14
Genesis 35:11
Genesis 48:4

Do not give up.

Don’t.

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Contentment

24 Feb

It’s weekend I attended the women’s conference at my church focused on being a new creation in Christ. Jen Wilkin from the Village Church in Texas spoke to the ladies about the parallels between Gods 7-day creation of the world and His creation of us into new beings upon salvation. It was an eye-opening discussion of Genesis 1-2 and the things we can learn from God’s creation of this world and His recreating of us upon claiming him as Savior. We were formless and empty, as was the world, but He gives us form and fullness! During this weekend I also attended two breakout sessions; one on forgiveness and the other on strongholds. Both were excellent and I was challenged in each, but one thing has overwhelmed me as I reflect on the weekend: the lack of contentment in my life, and how displeasing that just may be to my God.

Discontentment is something I’ve never really considered a sin. But now I view it as a great stronghold in my life. In this breakout session we broke down the definition of a stronghold: anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), steals our focus from God and who He is, and begins with false ideas and deceptions which slowly invade our lives. Strongholds can be a multitude of things, but what they always are is deceptively stealing our focus from God. Here are some examples from the session: depression, bitterness, forgiveness, disobedience, self-control, self-centeredness, discontent, temptation, patience, pride, fear, anger, coveting, trust, gossip, worry, lust, lying, work, and waiting on The Lord.

I had written down other struggles of mine (bitterness, forgiveness, waiting on The Lord) am totally ignored the “discontent” example. But it kept coming back to my mind and I realized – it’s one of the biggest struggles in my life and I never viewed it as much of a problem.

In his letter to the Philippians Paul claims to have learned to be content, stating, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV) How many times have I read that and thought, “oh yea, me too. I’m pretty happy right now…” But my joy does not mean I am content. And for so long I thought I was pleasing God by being joyful in all circumstances, even though I was begging for changes in almost every area of my life… And seeing no change.

“I need a new job.”
“Lord, bring new friendships into my life.”
“I’d really like to move to a more exciting city.”
“I lost 5 pounds, wonderful! Now how about 10.”
“God, I’d really like a husband because I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mom and this singleness thing just isn’t cutting it anymore.”
“I need a new wardrobe.”
“I just got my hair done but I’m ready for another change!”

I’ve said those things either directly or something like them… Probably more than once.

I’m praying The Lord reveals other ways I have not been content with the MANY blessings He has lavished upon me. And now it makes sense… I will never be satisfied if I keep,looking to everything and everyone to give me fulfillment. This is the source of my discontent spirit.

    Continue reading

sometimes God wants you to Himself (part deux)

10 Dec

I wrote about the purpose of a quiet time in your social life a couple weeks ago. You can read that here.

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Today, I am reminded of that need to be silent with God, not only just in a quiet time during the day, but sometimes my whole life has to be silenced in order for my relationship with God to grow. I’m also reminded of the need to pick my friends wisely, even when that means losing some. But when I think about that, I realize those people are not friends in the truest sense of the word. These people I speak of are those that are self-serving in their relationships, who are out to better themselves while leaving me drained and empty, without themselves helping to fill me back up. These are not the kind of people I want in my life, anyway.

“You want to surround yourself with goodness and with people who are uplifting and trying to be the best versions of themselves.”

Truth. Spoken by a friend of my who is exactly the opposite of self-serving. She is the truest friend I have ever had, and I deserve nothing of her friendship. But her words are so true.

These people in my life that I am losing have been of no benefit to me today or to my future tomorrow… Sadly, they were time-fillers and life-suckers. I am bad about letting go of relationships. Sometimes I feel bad that I have to be a little blunt to these people, letting them go. It’s like I’m firing them for doing a poor job. Often, they don’t get it.

I have learned over the past few years of my life, that letting people go is okay. I don’t have to be friends with everyone. I think it’s part of growing up – learning I don’t have to please everyone and I definitely don’t have to be everyone’s friend.

I struggled with that for so long, because, as a Christian I figured I needed to like everyone, and they me. That is so untrue. I can love everyone, but that will look differently from my best friend than it will my ex-boyfriend who speaks lies into my life. Loving him doesn’t mean hanging out with him. Loving him sometimes means keeping my mouth shut and praying for him.

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These thoughts are still not final. I am still walking this season of my life and have so much to ponder and to learn. God is working. For now, I am thankful for those who love all of me – the good, the bad, the nasty – and am praying for those brothers and sisters I will one day call my friends.

Sometimes, God wants you to Himself

28 Nov

I have lost a few relationships this year. Friendships. Romantic relationships. I have gained a few also, but lately I have just been yearning for close relationships. I miss the years I spent in college with so many friends. I have a lot of friends here but many do not share my desire to seek God in all aspects of life. That is huge to me, and I just yearn for friendships with people walking that same path.

This past week in particular I have cried out to God to bring healthy, strong, beneficial relationships into my life. And then today I read God calling and was literally blown away. God spoke so boldly to my need:

The Joy of meeting Me should more and more fill your lives.  It will. Your lives must first of all be narrowed down, more and more, into an inner circle of life with Me (the three of us), and then, as that friendship becomes more and more engrossing, more and more binding, then gradually, the circle of your interests will widen.

For the present do not think of it as a narrow life.  I have My Purpose, My Loving Purpose, in cutting you away from other work and interests, for the time.

To work from large interests and a desire for great activities and world movements, to the inner circle life with Me, is really the wrong way.  That is why so often, when, through all these activities and interests, a soul finds Me, I have to begin our Friendship by cutting away the ties that bind it to the outer and wider circle.  When it has gained strength and learned its lesson in the inner circle, it can then widen its life, working this time from within out, taking then to each contact, each friendship, the inner circle influence.

And this is to be your way of life.

This is the way of the Spirit. Man so often misunderstands this.

That perfectly defines that state of my life. I have prayed recently that God would use the last days of 2012 to grow our relationship. I am seeking God and asking him to define me and my life, to draw me close to him. And now, I get it. He needs me to himself to strengthen out relationship before allowing others into my “inner circle.”

 

Thank you, Lord, for speaking what I needed into my heart today.

because there is hope, I am thankful.

22 Nov

Today’s “God Calling“:

Then you may ask why have you, My children, to have tribulation if I have overcome the world.

My overcoming was never, you know, for Myself, but for you, for My children. Each temptation, each difficulty, I overcame as it presented itself.

The powers of evil were strained to their utmost to devise means to break Me.  They failed, but how they failed was known only to Me, and to My Father, who could read My undaunted spirit.  The world, even My own followers, would see a Lost Cause. Reviled, spat upon, scourged, they would deem Me conquered.  How could they know My Spirit was free, unbroken, unharmed?

And so, as I had come to show man God, I must show him God unconquered, unharmed, untouched by evil and its power. Man could not see My Spirit untouched, risen above these earth furies and hates, into the Secret Place of the Father. But man could see My Risen Body and learn by that, that even the last attempt of man had been powerless to touch Me.

Take heart from that, for you must share My tribulations. If evil is to leave you unchallenged you must be evil.  If evil challenges you, if trials press sore,  it is because you are on My side, and, as My friends, exposed to the hate of evil.

But be of good cheer.  You walk with Me.  I conquered evil at every point, though man could only see it proved beyond all doubt when I rose from the dead. And in My conquering Power you walk unharmed today.

 

I am thankful for my pain and my trials. I am thankful for a God that sent his son to die for me.

 

Thankful.

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