Archive | April, 2013

Learning to Love

16 Apr

Learning to Love…Could it be I never loved before?…

I recently said this, but I am going to say it again: “If Kansas was ‘endurance training’ then Florida has been ‘strength training'”

Have you ever seen those people on the news after a tornado completely leveled their home and stole from them everything besides the shirt on their back? I know you have, it is a horrible, heartbreaking site.

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Kansas:

Kansas is simple. Tornado alley. I had no idea what I was walking into, and the best way to describe my stay there would be an image of myself, hunkered down in a storm shelter, holding on for dear life. Lies swirled around crashing all that I knew to the ground. I could not walk, I could barely breath. The fun loving, healthy, hopeful girl I was no longer remained. This new girl watched as the thousand piece puzzle that was her story swirled around her bunker, and all she had the strength to do was hold two puzzle pieces together– Puzzle piece: me and puzzle piece: Stephen. Puzzle piece: health, Puzzle piece: friends, Puzzle piece: identity, Puzzle piece: goals and aspirations, and most importantly Puzzle Piece: Faith, had whipped right out the window scattered across the corn fields. I was weak, so incredibly weak. Just holding on…..Endurance….

The Light that peeked through was Florida. There I would shine, I would piece it all back together! No one would even see my wounds. I would be instantly healed! (ha)

Once again….

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^ This is who showed up in Florida (metaphorically speaking). I was not ‘me’ I was something else now. I had gained 30 lbs in Kansas, I lost site of all the goals I set, and I had built a fortress around myself.

Well I was going to change that!

And so began the striving….

If I am the best friend ever, they will love me. If I meet all his needs, he will notice me. If I run a million miles every day, they will see me. If I say yes to every single request made of me, they will appreciate me. If I make money, don’t spend money, keep the house perfect, and continually add to my skill set, they will finally accept me.

Stacking weights, stacking weights….

Back to the post-tornado picture. What are those ladies holding? Boxes of stuff! I can imagine them frantically running around a half a mile radius collecting anything that remains, and stacking it in their boxes. Who wouldn’t do that? Thats what I did. I had lost myself, lost “it all”…so I frantically collected…exhausted all the time.

Holding stacks and stacks of weights, never able to drop them for fear they would shatter.

But then the heaviest weight came, without invite, and it was too much to bare. Everything I was holding fell to the floor. I could finally see it for what it was. Not because of anything I did, but because of what HE did.

“Because you are his sons, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, the spirit who calls to, ‘Abba Father’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:6-7

“No longer a slave”….need I say more?

God held me through the storm and watched me frantically stack my weights, so he could take it all from me. We cannot appreciate rest without work or peace without trial. Over the last 8 months. He has revealed to me, one by one, the strength that he has built in me by the weights he allowed me to pick up. I am in utter amazement. He turns ALL things into good.

So back to “learning to love”

My mission has been Jesus ~ His kind of love, the kind that truly surpasses understanding. In the past, my striving was met with a let down (striving always is). I can’t make people love me the way I love them, I can’t make people see me as I truly am.

Awhile back, I told Stephen, “Man, I wish I knew what my special gift was” (I had just been reading 1 Peter 4:10). Then he said, “You do know….its generosity.” At first I was a little taken back, perhaps resentful. I knew that generosity had hurt me time and time again. I wanted a special gift that would only make me happy! (haha).

So I prayed on it and I began to see Jesus from His perspective not from ours. We see the love he gives us, but sometimes we forget about the love we deny him or the love he was denied while he was alive. Had Jesus become discouraged he probably would have crawled back to Mary’s house and built little end tables the rest of his life (joking of course). Yet, he gave love freely and perfectly regardless of the response. His ability to do that established the greatest love story of our existence and the most perfect human example we have.

So through his life we receive the Holy Trinity of Love lessons:

1. How very much he loves us (beyond what our human minds can comprehend)

2. How to show love to each other

3. How to live in constant Love, not defeat (This is in relation to yourself, to others, and with God).

Its all in his life.

He is taking me on this amazing love journey and sending me little angels along the way, and I am so unbelievably thankful. I wear my gift of generosity like a bright shiny badge, because every good thing about me is of him 🙂

Love you all!!!!!!

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Gods At War

8 Apr

Last week I travelled to Nashville to reunite with a very dear friend of mine. I was taking the trip solo this time, so I decided to download the audio version of the next book on my reading list “Gods At War” by Kyle Idleman. This book defines several ‘false gods’ in our modern culture and how we worship them. False gods are nothing new to me, but my pull toward them is strong. So I intently pursue reading material like this to remind me of their destruction.

The book goes into several false gods (idols): Pleasure, success, money, food, sex, entertainment….you know the usuals

But the most profound message that I walked away with was our human desire to worship. It is deep within our DNA to worship and if we think by not worshipping God, we are not worshipping at all…..well we are wrong. We are all worshipping something!

{Side note: I have to mention that after returning home, my pastor preached on this exact topic the very next Sunday. Not a coincidence!}

Kyle asks the reader to look at their life like a closet. Everything hanging inside we worship (For many of us ladies, this doesn’t even have to read as a metaphor..lol). Our society tells us by simply cramming God in our closet, we are fine! That covers it!! All our gods tucked nicely inside….

What gods hang among the one true God in your closet?

I had to take a deeper look at this one.

I surveyed my past and my present very closely and examined the various paths my idols had taken me down. The discovery was remarkable. I was lured in by the same message and left defeated and depleted every time. Not sometimes, EVERY TIME! 

The only God that is Truth and Honestly tells us from the very beginning, “This will be hard, you will experience trials, I will refine you through the fire, and people will turn against you, but I will give you pure joy, peace, love, happiness, and eternal life in return.” Ok wait a second!!! All these other gods (The TV, this double fudge brownie, extreme diets and gym binges, video games, alcohol, and drugs), they tell me I can have all that great stuff you mention at the end without having to go through the suffering in the beginning. So why would I choose your way?– Deep inside we all know the answer to this. How do all of those “other gods” make you feel after you had your ‘high’? Bad, exhausted, not good enough, ashamed, disappointed….here is the best one: still searching? There will always be a void at the end of all these false gods. If you don’t believe me start looking for it, you will see. Our God fills that void instantly! He is the only one who can. The void is shaped in his image.

As I have worked to purge myself of the lies, and focus on his amazing love, “the truth”, I am reminded of David’s cup that “runneth over”(Psalm 23:5). For that is how I feel every day. I don’t worship God out of obligation or because what he promises me. I worship him because I love him. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John tell the story of my God in human form. They share his life and his sacrifice. What I see is the coolest, kindest, most amazing man I have ever read about, heard about, or met! I want to be just like him. I want to love others the way he did, and I want to forgive freely as he did. I want to run out in the streets, grab his cross and carry it with him. I want to spend the day with my face cupped in his nail pierced hands. I want to hear his voice, as he tells me who I am to him. I just want to be with him every second of every day. 🙂

There is no amount of worldly striving that can satisfy the way striving to be near the creator can. 

So I am not clearing my closet out of obligation to an old testament law, I am clearing my closet out of love. In the morning when I rise, he is all I want to cover me. My prayer is that as the world continues to bombard me with images that claim to satisfy, that I will stay reminded of the truth…the truth that is in him.

 

(Gods At War. Kyle Idleman. 2013. http://www.godsatwar.com).

 

His Promise

5 Apr

April 21-27 is Infertility Awareness Week! 1 in 8 women will suffer from this emotionally painful condition, and many of them will suffer in silence. Infertility is a “secret” disorder, yet its impact is massive and devastating. I believe it needs to be discussed, so couples who are experiencing it can feel comfortable seeking support. So please share this with as many people as you can, because I guarantee you know someone who needs to hear it.

This is my story, my poem….

His Promise

Its the moment when you reach out to him 
He looks in your eyes and there it all begins
The love that was shared just between you two
Is ready to bring into this world life a new
Soon everything we know will surely change
But we have said our goodbyes to the younger days
I can see it all so clearly, right before my eyes
My hopes and dreams, the promises of our lives

Then the days they pass on by into years
Families grow, but all I’m left with are tears
Where’s the life that this world promised me?
Where’s my kids, my joy, my family?
Didn’t you say to ask and I will receive?
Then why is it me, your faithful daughter, who cannot conceive?

Others look at me in pain, trying desperately to avoid
What can they say to comfort me, that doesn’t just annoy?
You cannot know, YOU CANNOT KNOW, how this possibly feels
As your children dance and play, wrapped around your heels
And it’s hard, it’s so hard, and I just can’t stand it
Im down on my knees screaming, “Lord is this how you planned it?”

But at first the answer doesn’t come and the time it moves so still
Every month that passes by, there is a funeral only I feel
And each and every time I say “God I have given this to you”
But each and every time, I know that is not the truth
And then one day he gave me just a little light to see
He whispered “I’m your comfort and a lamp unto your feet
You don’t know where you are going, but I’m already there
It’s the promise that I made you, but way beyond compare
So please just take me by the hand and know I’ve been here all along
I have surely come to prosper you and keep you from all harm
Give to me your baby and everything you own
And I will show you love beyond what you have ever known.”