Thursday, January 20, 2011

No One Will Ever Love Me More Than Him

There seems to be a theme prevailing over my life recently, and I am still unsure of exactly how I feel about the message. But it is becoming clearer and clearer what meaning I am meant to integrate into this soul. I guess I'm just not sure where it is leading and this leaves apprehension mixed with peace and contentment. Strange combination right? Well here, take a look at what I've been shown lately:

"We can either let painful situations trigger increased dependence upon the Lord, or we can allow doubt, depression, and anger to fill us."

"Nothing comes your way that has not first passed through the filter of his love."

"Begin believing right now that you are about to see God’s goodness in your life."

Isaiah 3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.

And by far, the most cumulative message that He has been working out in me, straight from the AWESOME Philippians 4:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

As I said ~ there is definitely a theme, which I am coming to see as this:

I am to fix my mind on the Lord in order to find true peace and contentment, regardless of my circumstances ~ trusting in His strength and love to accomplish all that is needed. Acceptance and notice of each moment, wherever they may find me, is to acknowledge that He is more than enough and has already provided all that is needed. And love and kindness for others will show Him to the world, sharing the gift I've been given.

And POOF ~ gone is the apprehension! I now understand. Putting this all together in this way has allowed Him to speak to the untrusting areas of my heart that always assume the worst. I can see clearly now ~ there is to be no fear because, regardless of what happens, it is all of Him and my trust in Him will carry me through. I must open my heart and ears in order to hear Him and heed His direction in my life. And now I just have to let this settle in my soul as truth to live by, and let Him do the rest ~ because I know no one will ever love me like He does!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Yesterday consisted of an internal struggle of epic proportions for this life. Looking back, from the perspective of a day later, I have to say it was pure grace from God. But it sure didn't feel that way yesterday. The working out of my soul was in full force and I am not sure that I can put words to what I was feeling. There was much sorrow. There was much disdain. There was much worthlessness. There was much shame. Doubt. Despair. Longing. Realization. An honest, grueling, pain-infused look at who I am. A review of all of the ways that I am failing. I was down. Not able to get out of the shower because I didn't want to forget what I was feeling. I needed to feel the shame of how I am choosing to live. Such a necessary moment in my walk with God. Because I had to come to terms with my absolute imperfection and inability to change myself. I had to see the truth in my choices and my life. Not simply glaze over one mistake to move onto another. I had to be real with myself and with God. Crying out to Him ~ I repented in the truest sense of the word ~ knowing that if He doesn't change me, then this life is not worth living. I wept for the pain that I cause my Father. I ached for not following His ways. I grieved for the life I've lost because of my sin. This went on for hours. Me being completely unworthy and knowing it with every ounce of my existence.

Then I went to Church. Enter grace. I was embraced by several souls who love to love simply because they are profoundly loved. Then God entered full force and held me while I wept and gave to Him each of the truth-sucking feelings I was overwhelmed by. I was given the time to rest and see Him. I was given life-stirring music that had me screaming the words because I desperately needed God to hear me. I was surrounded by and given life. And in return, I gave Him my disdain, apologizing for not treasuring the life He has blessed me with. I gave Him my lack of worth, acknowledging that I have worth because I am His. I gave Him every ounce of this life. And here's what He told me:

~ I AM His Child
~ I AM His love
~ I AM worthy
~ I AM forgiven
~ I AM His purpose
~ I AM loved very much
~ I AM changing
~ I AM good
~ I AM capable
~ I AM created in His image
~ I AM sensitive
~ I AM wonderful
~ I AM tender
~ I AM rich with His love
~ I AM eternal
~ I AM cleansed
~ I AM exactly who I was created to be
~ I AM NEW!!!

This is what He had me write out during an amazing service of worship and renewal. I have read this list several times since last night. And I am proclaiming these truths for my life. I mean eternal?! Really? What a wondrous thought! I can hardly comprehend the beauty in that statement. And I really had to pause when He said I am good. I even shyly asked "Really? Me? I am good?" What an awesome truth to see directly from the one who gave this life. He thinks I am good. Insert here a smile in my heart! And really, what I think doesn't matter. I'm gonna take His word for it!!!

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
~Zephaniah 3:17

Friday, January 7, 2011

Free To Be Me, Through You

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:11-12

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31.

“You hear their joy? Do you see the simplicity of their life? That, my child, is what I want from you. Just enjoy the provision I have given you and I will take care of the rest.”

“And Jesus called out to them saying ‘Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’” Luke 1816-17

Lord that you would lead me to these verses so shortly after I prayed these heart utterances to you this morning… Awestruck wonder at your ways. I feel your presence as I type this and I have asked you to be with me today, step through the minutes with me. I need your presence Lord. I need to feel your arms around me as you carry me through each moment. And carry you must Father. As I prayed to you this morning, I can no longer walk this life. The striving is finished. It is only through you that I can go on. My ways clearly don’t work ~ we both know that. I will rise from these ashes only because you are lifting me.

I have dedicated this year to Being. Most of all you are showing me to be present, and with being present, I see you. In all of it. Every morsel is chock full of you. We talked this morning about my struggles and at this very moment I speak your words to my soul, that you are here. That you will not forsake me and you have forgiven me. You will provide ~ haven’t you always? Your spirit is upon me Lord. You have anointed me to do great things and I lay down this life to follow you. I leave behind the victim who strives and tries and tries and tries. She is no longer. I have tried my best and I have not succeeded ~ I have gotten what I wanted but not what I needed ~ I am so tired but I can’t rest ~ stuck in reverse ~ but lights will guide me home and I will let you fix me Lord (thank you Coldplay for the words I can’t form on my own).

I can't stop listening to these songs, and as a sidenote, I can't fully express my thanks to you Father, for the way that music speaks to my soul. You always provide exactly the song that will resonate most, in your perfect timing. It amazes me to think of all of the different souls out there who live such different lives yet they can write and sing words that speak to so many hearts, mine included. It's pure beauty in exactly the way I know you intended. Thank you for allowing me to realize this grace that you've imparted through music. My soul wouldn't be the same without it.

And thank you Christina Aguilera for the words God must have put in your heart to sing loudly for every woman in existence. Lord I sing this to you:

I am timid
And I am oversensitive
I am a lioness
I am tired and defensive
You take me in your arms
And I fold into you
I have insecurities
You show me I am beautiful

Love me or leave me just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy just need you to see me
Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental
And I have imperfections
And I am emotional
I am unpredictable
I am naked
I am vulnerable
I am a woman

I am opening up to you

Love me or leave me, just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy, just need you to see me
Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

Now I stand before you with my heart in my hands
I'm asking you to take me just the way that I am

Please lay down your arms
Do you know me?
Make me feel safe from harm

Oh just take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental
And I have imperfections
And I am emotional
There'll be no more pretending

Father I am free to be who you created me to BE. I embrace this woman you have loved to life. I step aside now ~ please have your way with this life Lord. I feel your smile as you watch me type this, knowing that I will be content with much or little, praising and following you with the heart of a child, trusting your provision. Each step I take you have taken one before me and I follow your footsteps, knowing that these are not my own steps, but me watching you carry.

Thank you for your arms Lord, so sweet and tender and strong.
They are exactly where I belong.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year to BE Me

I have been very uneasy over the past week, trying to understand what this New Year would bring, or what I should bring to the New Year. And I am finally coming to the realization, through several trying moments recently, that God does indeed have big plans for me & my family. Those trying moments ~ which were all of my own doing ~ are now culminating to show me that God is serious about transforming me. No more sliding by on less than righteous behavior. No more acceptance of lazy sinning ~ where I know what I should be doing but choose to take the easier way out. This is not to say God will love me any less if I don't gracefully follow His lead here. But in order to do well with the big treasures He has in store, I must be faithful in the small things. And I haven't been. Little white lies here and there, not taking care of what needs to be taken care of, basically just not setting a good example and furthering His Kingdom. I would not be proud to call myself a Christian at this time. And that saddens me. Because I know it saddens my Father. No matter who knows what here on Earth ~ my Father knows all and I cannot hide the truth from Him. Nor do I wish to. I no longer wish to hide behind my small lies that add up to big problems. I no longer wish to skate by on partial truths.

This includes my view of myself and others. Do I look at myself through truth? Do I see myself the way God see's me, which is the ultimate truth? I think many times I actually just don't consider myself, at all. Maybe it's just been easier that way? If I don't truly look at myself, I won't have to see who I truly am. Because up until recently ~ whenever I did take the time to consider myself ~ I didn't like who I was. But that is slowly changing. The more God reflects who I am in Him ~ the more I learn to love myself. I'm learning to accept His love for me, and for those around me. But I'm still a work in progress. I fall to the temptations of sin and I regress. It seems for most of the steps taken forward, there are more steps taken backward. But there is beauty to be found among these ashes ~ God is slowly burning away the habits of my old self, revealing the new me. And I actually enjoy looking at the new me ~ considering who I am in His eyes. Because that draws me closer and closer to becoming that person.

I also desire to stop filling my time and mind with clutter. Taking the month of November away from Facebook and blogs and basically all the things that distract us (me) daily was the best thing I could have done to see clearer how much nonsense I fill my days with. I am constantly dissatisfied, or empty, or even bored. And I constantly turn to empty time-fillers to fill my soul. Can you believe I am left feeling even more empty? I know ~ it's crazy! And I am not just talking here about staring blankly at a computer screen while desiring another life. I am also talking about all of the things I "have" to do, like taking classes and counseling, and parties and shopping, and...well let's just call it life. And while I am definitely not saying these things aren't important (because they definitely are) ~ I feel that all things in moderation is also important. And I think we overwhelm ourselves with these "things" to fill our time because it gives us a false sense of purpose. Like if we're busy, then we must be doing what's needed. But I am seeing that I busy myself because I don't know how to just BE. I don't know how to be present in each moment and be ok to simply sit and enjoy existing. I am rarely present in the moment ~ and therefore I reduce the importance of each moment because I can't stop and give it the attention it deserves. An amazing woman, Ann Voskamp, wrote about this here, and it resonates with my soul in a way that I know it must be truth!

I have decided to name this year of 2011 "The Year To BE". It will be a year to:

~ BE truth ~ I will do what I say I will do and be who God says I am
~ BE present ~ I will be aware of the rare & precious gem that each moment is
~ BE grateful ~ I will seek ways to constantly praise my Father for His goodness
~ BE love ~ I will give to others the agape love that is given to me
~ BE me ~ I will see me, to the depths of my soul, and learn to love those depths

I love it. I love the idea of learning to BE. Of slowing down and searching for Him ~ the centeredeness of being. Of further refining this existence I've been gifted with. While the past several incidents that I've created in my life have been difficult ~ they've been stretching and changing me further into the person I am created to be. To see that I am loved and forgiven, that's grace. And I must have grace with myself. I am bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. And I look forward to another year to BE ME even further ~ closer and closer to the ME that He sees. Closer to Him. I wish a very Happy New Year to All ~ may this year be full of YOU through knowing HIM! xoxoxoxo

WOW! WOW! WOW! He just led me to this:

Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD’s Favor

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.