Friday, February 26, 2010

God Found Me

Lost. Confused. Alone. Curled up in a ball, crying on my bed. I had received some pretty heavy, shocking news. It rocked me to my core. I thought things were going pretty well and the rug was pulled right out from under me. Didn't know who to turn to. Didn't even know who I was or what we were anymore.

This is where God found me. For a couple of years we had been attending a non-denominational church about 10 miles from home. We had been looking for 4 years and God led us to "Faith". Unknowingly, he was preparing us; setting us up for this crisis. Church is not the building, it's the people. That became very evident when we came to Faith Church. These people were going to help us, love us when the tidal wave hit.

What actually happened doesn't really matter. Suffice it to say it was heavy and there were times I didn't know if we were going to make it, if I was going to make it. But this had to happen. The gauntlet had to fall. We had to become desperate and all alone so we could see HIM! I guess we had a choice. We didn't have to reach out, CRY out to Him, but then I think I would have died. "The Spirit helps us in our weakness" (ROMANS 8:26). Whether we knew it then or not, God was working. He wants our hearts. He wants us to choose Him. But sometimes we are so stubborn or blind to realize that. In our brokenness, He helped us. But we had to look up, we had to turn to Him, and accept His help. And we needed to KNOW the TRUTH about GOD. "I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you" (JOSHUA 1:5). God is good. He wants what is best for us. He wants us to turn away from our sinful ways. He wants us to SEE our sinfulness. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (ROMANS 6:23). My husband was on a path of sin leading to death. If it wasn't for the miraculous power of God working in his life, don't know where he might be. This is our story. It overwhelms me. Why God would choose to save us when countless others are still out there struggling? Not to say we don't still struggle. If it's not one thing, it's another. And when you surrender your life to God, he doesn't promise that things will be happy and wonderful for the rest of your days. But he does say that when trouble comes, He will help you.
"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it" (1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 The Message).
You may not believe. You may not know who God is. He may be working in your life and you can't see it. You may be struggling, hurting, feeling alone. I pray that you will see that God offers hope, help, and faithful, unconditional love. I pray that in the worst of times you will feel God's presence. I pray that you may experience His peace and comfort in the times that you need it the most.

Our story isn't finished. We still have bumps and bruises and scars. Some days I'm doggy-paddling for my life, just trying to keep my head above water. Sometimes my issues get in my way. But better is one day with God, the Father, then a thousand days trying to do it on my own.

How lovely is Your dwelling place, Oh Lord Almighty,
For my soul longs and even faints for You.
Oh, here my heart is satisfied within Your presence.
I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings.
Better is one day in Your courts;
Better is one day in Your house;
Better is one day in Your courts;
Than thousands elsewhere.

(excerpt from the song BETTER IS ONE DAY)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Privacy PLEASE!!

So this morning I walked into the bathroom, shut the door, and sat down to do "my business" and in barges my daughter with something VERY important to tell me. So important I don't even remember what it was. She's there, chatting away with me, asking me for something, gives me a hug, and the whole time I'm thinking, didn't I shut the door? It's not like this doesn't happen to me EVERY DAY! It's either one or both of my children, sometimes my husband (although he's often the one chasing the kids out for me). Certainly if you are a Mom you can sympathize. It's like a Mom phenomenon...we just cannot go to the bathroom alone.

Does this lack of boundaries mean something? In some ways I'm horrified (privacy people, privacy). But on the other hand, is it at all surprising? Why do kids open the door and walk right in, not thinking AT ALL that this is NOT RIGHT? In some ways, it's a compliment (I know I'm stretching it here). Kids think of their Moms as easily accessible and always "on duty" (excuse the pun). The beautiful relationship between mother and child means that you are always there, even when you're trying to do "your business".

Let's face it, this phenomenon only lasts from birth until???? My son is 7 and I have to constantly remind him of my need for privacy. We need appropriate boundaries, kids need to understand what privacy is. There comes an age when it's just NOT OKAY. Could I just go to the bathroom without my whole family needing something from me at that very moment? I have been told "No"...not for many, many years. Well, a girl can hope.

So for all those Moms out there who wonder if they will ever get the privacy they deserve...atleast your kids know the door is always open and they need only knock (if you're lucky) to come in. Just another reason why Moms ROCK!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where Nothing Else Matters

I don't know what to say. I can't articulate how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking. There is so much. Good and bad. I feel encouraged, but still grappling with the chatter in my brain. I'm trying to wait. Have patience. Trust. Believe Him. Believe His promises. Trust in His abounding, unfailing, enduring love. Overwhelmed, I get in my own way. Not my way, but His way. It's not up to me. It never was. Surrender. Who am I? I am nothing. I am a vapor. Prideful. See Him, not me.

BEAUTIFUL/BE STILL/SWEEP ME AWAY - by Kari Jobe (excerpts)
Here before Your alter
I am letting go of all I've held
Of every motive, every burden
Everything that's of myself
And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are
Here in Your presence
I am not afraid of brokenness
To wash Your feet with humble tears
I would be poured out till nothing's left
And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still
When the waves rise against me and the wind tries to draw me away
I will stand on the mountain, safe in Your arms I will sing I will sing
Be still I know He is God
He is here, He is here
Tears rolling down my face
Because of Your love and Your sweet embrace
The peace that just overflows
It's here that I know You have been waiting to
Sweep me away, sweep me away in Your love
Where nothing else matters
Sweep me away, sweep me away in Your love
Where nothing else matters
Just You and me, just You and me
Sweep me away, oh Lord
Your grace, it covers me
Your love, it covers me
Oh God, You cover me

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13)

I love you, Adam!
Yours alone-

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Accepted - Ant. refused, denied, nullified

My husband is working on a bible study on understanding your wife's heart (love sigh!). So the other day he asked me to write down my answer to "When do you feel most accepted by me?". Hmmmm...tough question. What does it mean to be accepted anyway? Did he mean as a person, as a woman, as his wife? I answered the question by telling him 2 occasions when I have felt unaccepted. It initiated a really great conversation and I joked about writing a blog about it. The more I thought about it, though, the more I felt compelled to write about being accepted.

From "Webster's New World Thesaurus"...
accepted a. taken, received, assumed, approved, adopted, recognized, endorsed, verified, acclaimed, welcomed, engaged, hired, claimed, delivered, used, employed, affirmed, upheld, authorized, preferred, acknowledged, accredited, allowed, settled, established, sanctioned, unopposed, customary, authentic, confirmed, chosen, acceptable, popular...
When you really think about it, being or feeling accepted is probably one of the strongest desires we have relationally as human beings. Doesn't everyone want to be welcomed, recognized, affirmed, acknowledged, and chosen? I want that, not just from my husband, but from other people. We could say we don't care what anyone else thinks, but is that actually possible for human beings? We may withdraw, build walls, act eccentric, say we don't care, but believing that God has created us to be relational, Adam was lonely without Eve, I have to believe that deep within it hurts to not feel accepted, no matter who you are.

I can't believe how much weight we give other people's opinion of us. People have the power to determine whether we are acceptable or not?!?! Unless we have a healthy dose of self-esteem and confidence in who we are the words & actions of people can really rock your world. God created us to be unique. There is no one on this earth like you. The special combinations that make up your personality, character, and talents are unique to you. Twins may look alike on the outside, but who they are inside is matchless. (Let me stop for a moment and say how amazing is God?) Who are we to decide whether someone else is acceptable or not?

Our desire to be accepted is really about love. How do we feel accepted by other people? Boil it all down and it comes down to love. After kind of processing through the idea of acceptance, I think I could have had a very different and much more concise answer to Adam's bible study question...I feel most accepted by him when I feel loved. I'm sure a follow-up question would have ensued, like "what makes you feel loved?". I feel loved & accepted when I feel like it's okay to be me. There is grace in loving someone inspite or despite their mistakes and/or their quirky, annoying habits. But it's the same grace we hope others will extend to us under the same circumstances.
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." ROMANS 15:7
I want to say that accepting someone does not mean enabling or denying their sins. We are not to judge or hold their sins against them, but we can love them. The Bible calls us to "speak the truth to each other" (ZECHARIAH 8:15 NIV). "If someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path...offer each other a helping hand" (GALATIANS 6:1-2 CEV). Knowing we are all sinners this just means we should all be helping each other, loving each other, accepting each other.

God loves you and accepts you, all the time, unconditionally.
"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (JOHN 3:16)

"Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it’s true
It’s my joy to honor You
In all I do, I honor You
I’m forgiven because You were forsaken
I’m ACCEPTED, You were condemned
I’m alive and well, Your Spirit lives within me
Because You died and rose again"

Monday, February 8, 2010

"New Day" by AVALON

New Day -- A song by AVALON

It's a new day, it's a new time, and there's a new way-
All the old has passed away and the new has come.
Thank God, it's a brand new day!

Looking back on yesterday,
There are things that I regret-
But I put the past behind me
And I never will forget.
YOU have covered my mistakes
And my broken dreams.
Now over the horizon I see the dawn is drawing near-
And I realize the sun did rise;
Tomorrow's finally here.
And it's a new day!

And now when I wake up thinking,
About the things I've done before.
Memories I could not escape-
Well, they can't haunt me anymore.
Now I can hold my head up high,
Because I'm not the same.
YOU've changed my whole perspective;
And with my eyes I see,
I've become a new creation-
Because of what YOU've done for me.
No I'm not ashamed.
This heart of mine is finally free.
I will never be the same-
Because it's a new day.
Thank God it's a brand new day!
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