Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Am I Willing?!?!?!

This question keeps arising, and while I rush to proclaim "yes, of course I am," I also find myself strangely hesitant because I think my heart knows the answer I desire to give while my mind says "no ~ because you aren't!" For way too long now I have wrestled internally with myself ~ knowing what I know and what I should be doing, but ultimately not doing it. And God keeps asking, in different ways, at different times, "Are you willing?" While this question and those three words could apply in so many different ways, I know it is not that simple. He is asking me ~ am I willing to give it ALL to Him and get serious in this walk with Him? Am I willing to strive for goodness and righteousness, no matter what? Am I willing to stop living a lie by living on the fence between His ways and the ways of this world? Am I willing to choose Him?

...Because you can't have your cake and eat it too Alicia! It doesn't work that way. It's all or nothing! No more mediocrity in our relationship! No more lukewarm! You're so discontent with this life, and yet I am offering you a new way of life ~ but still you hesitate! I understand dear child why you hesitate ~ the draws of this world and sin are strong and many. And leaving them behind completely is not easy ~ at least from your perspective! Your sight is so limited and focused on yourself, but if you choose to follow Me I promise to offer you eternal beauty, peace, and rest. My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts, but if you follow me closely, they will resonate with one another and my ways will become your ways ~ my thoughts your thoughts, that I promise. I have promised you much more than you will ever gain here on Earth, living the way others do. But you have the choice because I will not force you to turn to Me. I will not make that choice for you, because I love you that much and want you to love Me because it is your choice. I love you regardless, no matter what. But your love is fickle and waivers depending on who you are speaking to and what you are doing. I want your heart Alicia, all of it, forever! I want you to walk with me daily, minute by minute. I want you to give it all to me because only I am capable of turning ashes into beauty. I am the way, the truth and the life. Be still and know Me dear child. I am waiting, but you must be willing.

I struggle with how to do this. How do I turn to Him fully and without restraint? What steps must I take? But yet ~ even as I type those questions, I already know the answers. He's already showed me the way. It is I who resists and makes excuses. It is I who holds back and doesn't do what I know I should. It is I who turns to the ways of this world. It is I who loses.

In case you can't tell this raging battle that is taking place for my soul is at a breaking point and I am at the true Crossroads that I think (hope) many Christians come to. I no longer wish to be a lukewarm Christian. I no longer want to live knowing that, while I am going to Heaven, it is only by a thread that I maintain my relationship with my Creator. I no longer desire to go from high to low, complete love to utter disbelief, recognition and a true walk to a turned back and short memory. And God is telling me that He no longer desires the crumbs I throw at Him. He loves me so much more than that and isn't ready to just let me be complacent. His desires for His creation are much greater than that. I can feel my heart yearning for His love and His ways and the life He intends for me.

Teach me Lord! I beg of you! Because there are still so many ties to this world that I can't seem to break on my own. But I can no longer live in limbo ~ between your ways and my own. It is only through You that I will be able to turn from sin and walk towards You. While my journey only started a few short years ago, it has been long and drawn out because I resist You. My fingers resist typing this right now because the honesty is painful. But You are here, all the while, waiting. I know that as I type these words change is occurring within my heart. The moment has come for the final decision to be made, once and for all of eternity. It is time Lord. It is time and I choose You. I choose Your ways. Regard me gently Father, because I don't know the way, but I know You, and I know You are all I need.

Break these ties within my soul Lord, please. Remove the need to drink alcohol in order to escape Lord. Remove the desire to take pills as a way to feel good Father. Remove the natural reaction to be hateful and angry and unjustified. Take away the need to be around people who don't know You but give me the strength to stand strong in their presence. Break my addiction to cigarettes which rot my body. Show me the way Father. Overcome my greed for material things and my worldly mind-set toward money Lord. Dig out the unforgiveness that resides in the deepest parts of my heart Lord ~ the places only You know but that lead my behaviors in a way that is not of You. Force all lies away from my lips Lord. Help me turn my thoughts to You always and fill my mind and heart with Your ways. Drag my will into line with your own. Bring me to my knees to help me Rise to You! Make me willing ~ I beg of You! You will never forsake me nor leave me, but Lord go deeper than that. Make me like You, please Father! It is time. I am ready and I AM WILLING, God willing!

...I see that you are willing Alicia. Leave these burdens here and walk with Me. We have much work to do, but Your choice pleases Me greatly and I will be here to carry you through so that you can stand strong in Me. It surely is time and I am willing and I will show you the way. Let it be well, My spirit is upon you and we will part no longer. My ways are your ways and we will work this out for your good because I love you and created you for this very moment. I have waited eagerly for this moment and am so very delighted that the time has come and your choice is Me. It will go well for you. You have My Word child. My love is upon you.

I apologize to those of you who may have had trouble following this post. And for the lack of any pictures or fluff. All that I can say is that the Lord just touched every last crevice of my soul. This moment has been long in the making and it is glorious and makes breathing a bit difficult, to see His greatness, glory and mercy! I can't put many more words to it because I just experienced it myself as I typed these words and felt in my heart what I was saying. But I can say that I know things will be different from now on ~ God is making sure of that. I also know you will all see the results first hand. My faith and path are set and it is well with my soul. Be well.

By the way, while figuring out what music to play with this post, God showed me the lyrics to the first song, and I just have to share them with you. It's "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, and it's perfect.

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Thank you Father. Thank you.

Then He directed me to an article that just tied together all that He's been saying lately, which you can read here. The theme of it was this:

If we want to mount up with wings like eagles and feel what it is to spiritually fly with joy and peace and strength from God, we must cease striving in our own strength, cast our cares upon God, and hopefully and expectantly wait upon Him. He will keep His Word, and our strength will be renewed.

Yes! Thank you Lord. Your work in me can be seen and How I Love Your Ways! Amen!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Will Wait

For the past several days, well actually weeks, this song has been popping into my head here and there. And I say that like it is random, but we know it's not random at all ~ it is my Father speaking to me. And this isn't the only way He's spoken to me recently. We have been having an ongoing conversation for days now. I ask, He answers. He speaks, I listen. And we are both delighted to be so intertwined in one another that our voices have become completely audible to each other.

To walk with Him in this way is like nothing I've ever experienced. I have cried out to Him, whispered His name, spoken through my heart, and turned to His ways rather than my own ~ and He has been right there the whole time! His presence is undeniable, His voice a sound I will know for all of my days, and His love ~ as I've said before, there really just aren't words for the ways He loves us. It is all encompassing and overwhelming all the while bringing the greatest sense of peace a person could ever desire. To know Him, truly know Him, and be known by He who created me ~ this is what He had in mind when He spoke and man was. The day He breathed life and love into Adam ~ He knew then that I would exist and that we would share this relationship and love for one another. While we may not walk in Eden, we walk together and that is all that matters. I would walk to the ends of the Universe to experience the amazing love He holds for each of us.

Just to know that His love never changes, never fails, never sways ~ no matter what my sins, and they are many, daily. But that is what this walk is all about ~ learning from one another and growing in love so that my heart is changed and pure and full of Him, and not the ways of this world. But I am also called to pour this love that He constantly gives out into this world and all over the lost and unlovely. His love is meant to change and transform my heart, and then the hearts of those around me. It is not to be held onto and kept to myself. It is when I get too wrapped up in myself that I lose my way. I don't ever want to go back to walking in darkness, separated from Him. He is my food and my strength and my existence. I have learned to truly wait on Him, as He says in Isaiah 40:31, which He showed me last night, and this goes in true conjunction with this song He's been playing in my heart. Just one of the many ways He has spoken to me. Pure loveliness!

He's also been showing me how to let go. Of all of it. That it is ALL His ~ the worry, the fear, the sadness, the money, the belongings, the relationships, the beauty ~ it is all through and of Him. He created the very ground that we walk on and all who walk here, and therefore it is ALL of Him. Man likes to think we created democracy, cars, science, flip flops and much more. But if God created us ~ He's already planted those ideas in our minds before we were even conceived here on earth. It is ALL of Him. He has given these things for His children to enjoy their time on Earth, not to do evil or create evil out of His goodness. Money is not the root of all evil ~ it is our perception of money being our own that is the root of all evil. Learn to give it back to Him and respect that it is His ~ and He will bless you more and more. Let it go.

You're struggling in a relationship? Go to God with it rather than placing expectations on that person for what you need. God is the only one who can truly complete and fulfill us. We set each other up for failure when we place our happiness in other people's hands. But give it to God, and He will either give you what you need directly, or He'll put it in someone else's heart to provide. His ways are not our ways, and His means are beyond our comprehension. Why limit Him to meeting our needs through one person? Let it go and trust Him.

Have a tough decision to make? Don't heap that responsibility on yourself, because His arms are wide open, waiting for you to give the choices to Him and let Him lead you. If He has brought you to it, He will bring you through it. He loves you that much ~ no worries are worth losing touch with Him. And if someone else offered today to take care of that issue for you, wouldn't you gladly relinquish control? He's asking! He's waiting! He wants it ALL!!!!

But here's the key to letting go of it ALL ~ Trust. It is trusting that He is for us and will be there to take it all, and use it for our good. Complete, unwavering, absolute TRUST in your Father who gave you life. If we will give it to Him and wait upon His ways ~ NOT OUR OWN ~ He will strengthen us. Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. Waiting involves letting go and having the complete faith that HE is right there ~ already carrying your load, which you are to bear no longer because it is in His hands now. And we are called to do this with every inch and ounce of our beings. He doesn't want bits and pieces, here and there, when we find the time! He wants it ALL, all of us, all of the time, forever!

My very favorite quote from my very favorite movie, the Notebook, is this, "So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day." All of you women reading this, who have seen this movie, you know what this scene does to your heart. For those of you who haven't seen it ~ we can no longer be friends! Just kidding, but really ~ go rent it! Please!

But seriously, I just realized why this scene resonates with my soul the way it does, every time. It's because this is what God has been saying to me for a very long time. He wants all of me, forever, me and Him, every moment of every day. And it's not going to be easy ~ the steps taken away from this world will hurt and it will be difficult to let go of that which I know and is comfortable. And we will have to work at it every day, but He is willing to do that for me, because He loves me. And it will be beautiful for all to see!

So am I willing, to let it go? Give it all to Him? Trust? Wait? Yes, yes I am. And I hope you are willing also because I can tell you that it will all be ok if you do. He promises and He is waiting on us, when it should be the other way around ~ learn to wait on Him and all that encompasses. It is worth it!

I want to leave you with His words which He is bringing to fruition in my life! Love you all so very much!

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
~ Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Simple but Fantastic!

Do you have those moments/days/weeks where it all just comes together and you think, "why can't it always be like this?" After a difficult week last week, this one is surely redeeming itself nicely. And no, we haven't been on vacation, or off doing crazy awesome things. No, this week has consisted of simple but fantastic. My favorite combination!

It consisted of helping my children sell lemonade out front, and watching people's faces as my two explained that they were raising money for a group from our church who was going to Haiti with shoes. I love the hearts of those two, and how their hearts remind others to care.

Being blessed with a lifting and "Wow, that one hit home and I cried the entire time" Church service on Sunday followed by time with family, sharing a meal and cuddling up to watch a movie together.

Sitting in the back yard with the tiki torches lit, looking at the stars and wondering aloud which name God has given each one.

Even getting a call at 4 in the morning to come pick up my daughter from a sleepover ~ only lovely because she reminded me that I told her to call her if she ever needed anything ~ and she needed me.

Reading scripture with my husband and discussing matters of our heart. Something we've never really done but that I want to do all the time, now that we have. Want a strong marriage? Read the Bible together and talk about it. Simple, but life-changing!

Spending more time with God than ever before, left wanting more and more, and knowing He is for me!!!

And it's only Wednesday! What simple but fantastic thing has blessed your week so far? I hope there are many! xoxoxo

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adoration Through Strife

The past week held much trial and strife ~ swirling all around. And as hard as I tried to keep it only around, and not in, it seeped its way into my heart and corroded that which is dearest to me ~ my relationship with my husband and children. I tried...really hard...to turn to Him and not the ways of this world. I looked to God for understanding and to guide my footsteps because I was lost in a haze of attack, struggling to loose the enemy's hold while also remembering God's promises to finish the good works He has started in me and to work out ALL for my good. These were my lifelines, and I truly did turn to Him with it all. Whereas before I would have leaned much on my own ways and hastily reacted in a less than savory way when attacked in the many ways I was ~ I did look to Him instead. And His work in me is true and good because I didn't completely lose it and fly off the handle at these hurtful verbal attacks from those I care about dearly.

But I did let my frustration and pain be heaped onto my family, and they felt the blows all weekend. I resisted my daughter's plea to forgive and apologize ~ because I am stubborn and human. She is seven and spoke with the wisdom of our Father, yet I couldn't heed her ways that ultimately would heal but would also cost me pride. And she witnessed my resistance to choosing His ways, and we both know it. Hmmm...that one hurts.

I also unleashed the fury of my mouth onto my husband several times because I am angry and want to be justified in that anger. All the while my heart was screaming "Noooo, that's not the truth you stand in. That is the devil!!!!" I chose the need to be right over...well...over it all. Over my walk with Christ, over His ways, over my husband and children. Yeah, it's been a tough couple of days for us.

But last night God held me as I cried and begged Him to be there, to change me, to change my heart and to take these burdens from me. To wash my heart clean from the impurity's I had allowed in. Because those impurities will spread like cancer and cause much decay in our lives, if we allow them to. I begged for His forgiveness. For His forgiveness to enter my heart and help me find forgiveness for those who have hurt me. But more importantly, that my husband and children find forgiveness for me. I understand that God is allowing these tests in my life because He is hard at work building character within. And I feel that overall I have passed this test ~ not with flying colors by any means, but my turning to Him speaks volumes of our walk together. I still have much work to do, but in all of this I find progress and steps closer to His ways. So for that I am grateful and trust His ways, perfect and good. Continue to work this out in me Lord. Help me beg my husband and children for forgiveness that speaks of what you're doing in my life ~ in a way that shows them you're in there and while I stumble ~ You are carrying me. Help them to see you Father in all that I do. I beg that your ways wash away my ways.

If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof, behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make my words known to you.
— Proverbs 1:23

I am standing strong today in the message I heard last night ~ that Jesus IS TRUTH! It's still marinating, as are the words of the wise women and men who have spoken His truth into my life over the past week, helping me to remain strong and walk with our Lord, or actually to loosen my grip on this life and let Him carry me. I adore you Lord for giving me truth and love and your ways to be emulated. May I walk even closer to you today than I did yesterday. In Jesus' name ~ Amen!!!