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

Sunday, July 17, 2016


For quite a while I had found my heart in a miserable state of thinking. Where once my heart hoped for the future and dreamt of what would be, in had crept a bitterness without my even knowing.

When I heard myself thinking things like, "It's nice to dream as a youth, but as an adult you face reality," and "I guess this is just a part growing up," something in me ached. I recognized that something was wrong with this way of thinking, but it also felt right in the moment and so I didn't question it. Instead I let it permeate my life and influence my decisions, which only reinforced that very notion of the mundane lack luster existence.

I had lost sight of hope.
I had misplaced my hope.
Maybe you can relate?

Maybe you too felt like dreaming was wasted, because now you must work to no end. You work to make money, but it feels insignificant. Feels like a waste, but what else are you to do? The words of Psalms 39:6-7 sparked something in me, bringing me back to life.

"We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.

So returning our hope to God alone is the key. My hope does not lie in what I do, or what I cannot do, it doesn't lie even in the dreams and hopes themselves, or in the future at all. My hope is now, my hope is Christ and yours is too.

In Ecclesiastes, amidst a monologue of the depressing conclusion of the meaningless fate of all being death, it says  "there is hope only for the living." And what hope we have that we, Gods children, have been granted life. "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me." (John 10:28)

It is is easy for us to think of our eternal hopes in Christ. That seemed the point of our salvation right? To not go to Hell when we die, but rather spend eternity with God in Heaven? 

But there is so much more to hope and eternal life than what happens at the end. The truth is that the moment you accept Christ, you are a new longer spiritually dead, but alive in Christ. That means that you don't have to wait until you die physically, to enter into eternal life with God. The veil in the temple that separated the sinners from the Holy Presence of God was torn in this world, this life so that you and I could live the rest of our earthly life and beyond with God and unto God. 

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

 That means that the moment we made Jesus our Lord and accepted His forgiveness, we entered into eternal life. It is now.

So how does that connect to the  beginning of this post? I'm glad you asked. 

Here it is: if my hope is in Christ, and not just eternity in the after earthly death sense of the word, but the one in which my eternity started the moment that I accepted Him, then my hope is alive. It is in a God who stands beside me today, not just later. And that means that I am not confounded to a boring, mundane life without dreams without means i have entered into an ordained life full of purpose, full of possibility, full of hope because the God of all creation is living in me, walking next to me, and going before me from right now into eternity.

When we move our hope, or lack there of, from what we can do, what we can see, what we can dream, and place it back onto the living God that gives us our purpose, there is no dream too big, and no task too small. Suddenly the future is bright, and the "mundane" life in front of us full of opportunity. 

This weekend my pastor said that when our confidence is in ourselves...there isn't much confidence...but when our confidence is in God, we stand in Godly confidence that anything is possible. He opened the message with a prayer that I think we ought to pray every morning to remind us just where our hope lies,
"For me, there are many things that are impossible, but for You, God, there is nothing that is impossible."




Thursday, July 14, 2016

New Beginnings

I have been thinking lately a lot about this blog...about writing.
It has sort of felt like an old shoe that no longer fits properly. I have written SO many posts over the past few years that have sat in this indefinite draft state, never seeing the light of day.
I have a lot to say, a lot to write...yet a combination of fear, and timing, and also just not knowing has silenced me, caused me to lose my voice.
So many thoughts swirl around in my head every time I begin to write...and today I decided to just stop.
Just stop over thinking...stop letting fear or anything else hold me back.

I need a fresh start, a new beginning....but I do not want to lose what I have already started here.

So in time, I will be changing this blog's name to something that fits the new direction. I will be adding different content from a previous blog that I mostly wrote poetry in years ago and writing new stuff too. I want a single place where I can just share whatever is on my heart be it a devotional, a funny story, a song, a poem, a picture, whatever.

Stay tuned for more...or don't, that's ok too. :)

I'll start by sharing a poem I wrote several years ago that has been on my heart lately.
This year God has challenged me so much regarding my faith...what I believe my purpose is here on earth, and where He is desiring to use me. I always come back to this sense of mis-direction.
The idea of how easy it is for believers to be in their own little world, not truly doing Kingdom work.

We attend church, we worship, we read our Bibles and that's all good...but that's not all we are called to. When back in the world (our families, our jobs, our spheres of influence), we ignore the issues that are around us, we ignore the pain and the lost state of the people around us.

We lose focus, so easily forgetting that our gaze ought to be on Jesus...YES...but that HIS gaze, is on the dying world and that His desire is to have their gaze too.
He wants them, just as He wanted you.
He died for them, just as He died for you.
And more than that...we forget that we have a role to play in helping them to see Him.

Empty Space
written March 18, 2010

Deep blue sea of restless
beating, angry waves
they crash all around me
and I seem un-phased
the darkness that surrounds me
I have began to see
as a distant thing once noticed
now not the place for me

The world cries out in anger
in pain, in fear, in shame
I cry out to you
yet never give them your name
I say you are the answer
to everything wrong in me
yet I sit back and watch them
slowly bleed in misery

So if my loud, long worship
is drowning out their cries
then is it still as pleasing
if it is not saving lives?
let this life not be one wasted
on selfish, greedy thinking
instead a life of sowing
planting and even growing

Your kingdom stands at risk
of having empty space
I don't want to be distracted
by simply staring at your face
My gaze must turn from your sweet face
to a heart broken and torn
for a world that is lost and seeking
needing to be warned.

Heart In Hand

Ode to you a friend of old,
And to the new beginning.
Time has passed and you have too,
that's just memory in the making.
At once you began with heart in hand
ready to unfold.
Secret dreams of flight and flourish
spoken to existence.
Each step of faith with one to follow
only brought us closer to this end.
At glance it seemed not much was left,
with inspection truth arose.
Much was lost, but much more gained
as days peddled into year.
A tale of firsts that brought much glory
would be this story's header.
Pages filled with life and love,
as visions became reality.
You once did say that in the end,
The will of God prevails.
A story then of victory,
is what we have to speak.
For the hand of God hath covered us,
we are but on our knees.
Humbled at the chance for part,
in the mystery of His plan.
I am at rest to begin once more,
another year with heart in hand.
I offer to Him my everything,
and ask but one request.
"Take each breath, each step,each word,
and use them for Your Glory."

Written January 7, 2012