Monday, July 25, 2016

Why, Not What.

Bride...what comes to your mind when you hear this word?
Perhaps you think of a fluffy white dress, tiara, and a princess persona.
A room filled with adoring family with tear stained faces as all the attention is the one walking towards the love of her life. Maybe your own wedding day romanticized and filled with fond memories.
Or images of crazed women, dramatic, frustrated, controlling as they plan their "perfect" day.
For others it brings to mind longing and loneliness...a desire for a life of togetherness, while they stand alone...the cliché line their often quoted, "always a bridesmaid, never a bride."
Others perhaps a bitter taste of regret and brokenness as they recall the beginning of a failed marriage...their own role as a naïve bride that was blindsided when the fairytale ended.

The other day as I was out to lunch with some friends, the topic of singleness came up. This innate desire to find the one to spend your life with, yet the struggle to not be consumed by the search. What an incredible balance that we have all found difficult to find at times. Here we sat, a diverse group of people all at very different points in our lives, yet all wondering the same things.
The desire and the conflict isn't just for those who are not yet married either...many people put so much hope in the ideals and idea of being a bride or groom that they are disappointed when the fairytale is over and it isn't the daydream they'd been hoping for.
We spend so much time and energy thinking and hoping for something that we miss the reason behind it all.

The same is true of any innate desire that we hold, not just for marriage and family. Longing for acceptance, connection, longing for promotion, success. All can be misguided if our focus isn't in the right place.

If all I do is dwell on what I long for, and do not give any thought to why I desire it, then I will never appreciate it when I find it and never meet the purpose for which that desire was placed in me in the first place.

I've been challenged to look at my life from a different perspective a lot that is far less self centered, and instead Christ focused.
In this search God has reminded over and over again how much I am like Him. How this world and His presence here, His evidence all around is all meant to point me back to Him. That means that even the innate desires of my heart that He has given me can point me toward His love and His desires.

Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. (we learn this in the New Testament from Jesus Himself)

 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” (John 17:25-26 NLT)

In this passage we learn that Jesus revealed the Father to us, then allowed His love for Jesus to be in us, so we can in turn love Jesus and be filled with Him. In 1 Corinthians it tells is that we can understand the truths of the word not by our own understanding but because we have the mind of Christ. Because Christ is in us, we have the mind of Christ and the he ability to understand things that were once hidden...
Hidden desires, hidden purpose, hidden identity.

You see Christ, in revealing who the Father is to us, also reveals who we are in Him...that is, who we were created to be before sin and the world turned us into what it wanted us to be. Without knowing the Father, we would not know ourselves who were first  created in His image with a divine purpose. 

The example above of the bride is just one of many desires that we as women have that are a representation of a deeper desire. A desire for love ( created in an image of God who also desires to be loved), a desire for commitment (God also desires your commitment), the list goes on. 
Each gifting and divine desire that lies within us is meant to point us back to the God that created us in His image. Creativity for example...God, creator, master artist made men and women in His image who too desire to create beauty and works of art. 

When you can see that God created you in His image, then you can begin to ask why. God wants to reveal Himself to this dying world...He sent His son to reveal Himself to us, so that we can love Him, be filled with him....and then in turn do the same for others. Jesus calls us to go and make disciples. He wants us to show the Fathers love to others and has uniquely created each of us in his image with different traits  and gifting's that reflect a side of Him that the world needs to see. 

You were not created just to were not created just to live...if you were, there would be no need to not have been the only one created. 

This weekend Pastor Zane Anderson from Victory Assembly in Tucson was a guest speaker at a church I attended. His message was so timely and struck a cord with what I have been writing here in this post. He began his sermon holding out a tiny apple seed in his hand. He said, "I have a tree in my hand, can you see it?" We all understood where he was going with this....the seed was not meant to stay a seed, but instead to reach its potential and become a tree, which is was created to be.  But then, he went further. "Not just a tree...but inside this seed is fruit....and more than that...inside this seed is an entire orchard!" If that seeds purpose was to just become a tree, then it would never need to produce would grow up and then die off. But it's as made for a harvest. And so were you.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Weep Now, Sing Later

Praying that God will give you strength to fight feelings of unworthiness, and replace any doubt/fear with His courage and strength and purpose. No matter where you are or what you are doing, there will always always be people there to criticize you. You can choose how to respond. You can be brought down and discouraged by it, you can become prideful and calloused by it, or you can choose to take it to God...ask Him to reveal any truth that will strengthen you and grow you from it, and choose to leave the rest behind.

 You need to give yourself grace, even if no one else does. AND know that just because someone criticizes something, that doesn't mean that they are right. You have the responsibility to take everything to God and let HIS truth be the judge. Everything else, you must release, forgive, and move forward in God's call

I understand. It can be hard to wade through other people's opinions. Ultimately, God's matters more than anything else. His should hold the most weight, even far above your own.

 I read something on Facebook recently from Sadie from Duck Dynasty. So I many people were taking about her family. This  article  was talking about how her family has been under attack and such and she said something along the lines of, "if you're holding the football, you're going to get tackled."  That's kind of how life is as a Christian....when you are holding the football (aka doing what God has called you to do) you will get tackeled (criticized and poked at...persecution comes with every calling)

This is all a part of the refining fire. It hurts. IT's hard. But you're being shaped and molded by this all. At the hand of the safest, most loving creator God, you are being shaped into His most precious creation.

It's not meant to hurt you, although it will bring's good for you ultimately....cake batter must be put in the oven to cook before it can be what it was designed to be.
You are being brought through the fire and being shaped and made into what God designed you to be from the very beginning of time
Without the fire, like the cake batter, you're just a sweet gooey mess.
That could potentionally give someone salmonella..ew . But how true is that? When I am not healthy, when I am not refined and matured in my faith, allowing God to prune me and heal me as he grows me, I often do more damage to the people around me than I realize.

Press on towards the goal... bend...bend to the hand of God. LET HIM have you. Let Him have His way in your heart, let Him mold you and teach you...break you, and then build you. "pressing on" = yielding to what He's doing in your life. Oh what a glorious season. Although difficult, THIS season is what will produce the fruit in the next. Tilling the land, planting the seeds so that the growth may spring forth

Perhaps you are thinking, "I feel like He's tilling my entire life right now.. It couldn't have been just one area at a time?"  It seems to all come at once, we want relief, we want less... But what good would that do? To have an entire field that could produce a crop, and only prepare a small corner of it...that wouldn't make much sense. A small corner of harvest wouldn't produce enough food to sustain you.
You must have the  whole that you can live in the abundant life He has planned.

"Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They will weep as they go to plant their seed, but they will sing as they return with the harvest." Psalm 126:5-6