Tag Archives: afraid

As He is, so are we.

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I was graciously afforded a few days at the beach. Weary, taxed, and just plain depleted from the day to day, my husband lovingly booked me a few days away at my favorite place. For some reason unknown to me, the ocean makes me feel ever aware of the closeness of the Lord. It seems as I look out upon the vastness I can see with my eyes, I always seem to consider how much greater is the One who created this ocean. I realize in stark contrast, just how small I am. How small I am and yet, how detailed and intimately He knows and cares and values me. I am always undone by this great revelation and when I stand along the ocean shore, it hits me with such a deep force, again and afresh as each wave rolls in.

I was lying in the bed, looking around at my family sleeping and thanking God for each of their beautiful lives. Thanking Him that I get the opportunity to love each of them and to know them deeply. Thanking Him for how I see His beauty reflected in their existence. I also was hearing the waves. You see we kept the balcony door opened and were each lulled to sleep by the consistent roar of the tides. As I listened and thanked and exchanged love with my Lord, I was noticing how the ocean never sleeps, stops, gets weary, nor depleted. The Lord created the ocean to be exactly as it is, and without ceasing, it continues to produce waves, shelter sea life, bring beauty and majesty before our eyes. And with that thought, I also was considering how the Lord never sleeps nor slumbers. He does not need to sleep. He does not need to, so I can rest easy. I can rest easy because He is watching and protecting and planning and loving me and all the dear ones who are His. I found rest and peace and joy and went sweetly to sleep.

As I awoke, my dream of spending the day soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves with my children was quickly deterred by the dense fog and misty rain and gray skies. This surprised me, but I knew it didn’t surprise HIm. I asked Him what He had in mind for me and my family that day. He showed me this lighthouse a few miles away, and asked me to go there. I grew excited because my song for the year is ” My Lighthouse,” by Rend Collective. The song gives testimony to how God is the peace in our troubled seas. I’ve been seeking Him and knowing Him as such this year through every wind, wave, storm, struggle, fear, worry, or anxious place. He is my Prince of Peace and He doesn’t change even when my circumstances do.

So I climbed. I climbed and climbed and climbed. 203 steps up a winding way. Heart pounding but still fixed on hearing His voice as I was literally standing in what I’ve been calling upon Him as. I knew that He had a fresh word for me. I was expecting, asking, waiting. I reached the top and walked all the way around. The rain was hitting my face and I was waiting. Waiting for Him to speak as I was so sure He had something it would please Him to share with me, challenge me, and call me to. And then He spoke, “As He is, so are we.” He went on to share that I have been seeking and finding Him as my lighthouse. He has been the light to help me remember where I was going in the darkness. He has been he One who keeps my journey ever fixed on where the light is. He is the One who leads me safely to where I am called to go. He is the One who doesn’t change and doesn’t dim no matter how relentless the storm is. He is truly our faithful lighthouse and will never fail showing us the way as we seek Him.

And again says, “As I am, so are you Jenna.” You are called to STAND. You are called to remain when the storm is relentless. You are called to be unshakable when the wind and waves batter with no end in sight. You are called to shine brightly before all men while the storm is still raging. You are called to be the light of the world because I live in you. Your light is supposed to show the ones who are tossed to and fro in the enormous waves and winds of life, how to return to Me. How to find safety, refuge, hope. You are called to be a lighthouse to them. You are called to let your light shine so before all men. You are called, by Me, for Me, and with Me, to lead them home, out of the darkness, to safety, to hope, to life, to love.

And I wept. And I asked for help. And I prayed for wisdom. And I’m still seeking. This is what I am learning. How can I stand in the storm? How can I shine a bright light when I myself and being beaten by the wind and the waves? How can I lead anyone home? How can this be possible?

You see, if I take Jesus out of any equation, none of it would be possible, or even worth it. But He says in His word that with Him all things are possible, and I love because He first loved me. Therefore, I can’t. I can’t do any of this without Him. But I’m not without Him. He lives in me. He is the light of the world, and He lives in Me. So all I have to do, is let His light shine through me.

Do you think I can withstand battering wind, waves, lightning strikes, darkness, pain, exhaustion and doing more than I ever imagined or believed was possible for me? NO! But can Jesus? Absolutely and so much more. He can do all things. Nothing is too hard for Him! He has given me everything I need to stand- He has given me Himself. I need nothing more. Further more- through every storm when I have wavered or forgot to ask Him for help- He has still been there. He has been faithful. He has been true. All of my days, and hours, and moments spent with Him is what brings the strength to stand when it’s hard. All of my love and adoration and awareness of His presence in each day good or bad, is the truth even when I can’t see it or feel it. I can stand in the storm because who He is when it’s calm. I can choose to believe what I know when I need it the most instead of choose to question it in that place.

In each day, each choice to live for Him, each moment of decision to believe is what has prepared my feet to stand still, on my Rock, who can’t be shaken, when everything is being destroyed around me. I don’t find strength from the storm- but from the One who can calm the storm and I know Him because He is with me always. In the good and the bad- I can praise Him. When it’s a time of rejoicing or a time of weeping- I can thank Him. He is faithful and He is true and I can trust Him. He is always good and I am always loved, no matter what it feels like. As He is, so are we. I will choose Him. I will choose to love and trust and stand upon Him- in all times and rejoice in all things.

1 John 4:17 17 In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.

Matthew 5:16Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [a]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [b]recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Ephesians 6:13-18The Message (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Job 38:8-11New International Version (NIV)

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

Luke 1:37Amplified Bible (AMP)

37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

Love and be loved=Success

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Trying to follow Jesus on this Earth proves not to be a task which entails comfort or instant gratification. Quite the opposite. It is a long journey, a process, of strengthening and endurance. It is filled with opportunities to make high quality decisions based on faith in who God is, or to reveal your unbelief and then be built up in that place by His power to be able to move forward with a firmer foundation. There are many times when you step out in a direction and the point of that journey wasn’t at all why you began- but something deeper. Our constant misunderstanding of what God is up to- is the very reason we are called not to lean on our understanding- but instead to TRUST. It is TRUE what the Word says- His ways are ALWAYS higher than our ways- and yet we seek to understand with our finite minds this incredible INFINITE God. Our lack of understanding doesn’t have to stand in our way- if we let go and lay down our need to understand, and we can only do that as we begin to enjoy and rest in the fullness of His great love for us, to move in the broad place of freedom and hope and joy and protection that is only found in intimate relationship with this With-US God whom we can know and love and not have to understand.

Recently I have been learning about how when the devil tempted Jesus- he tried to get Jesus to forget He was loved by the Father. I am coming to see, in my own life, every temptation I face- there is a moment of amnesia about the great love the Father has lavished upon me- I am found lacking in my own strength, my own wisdom, hope- there is actually nothing but lack when I take God out of my equation. If I choose to make decisions in fear and hopelessness and the urgency found in both of those states- I will never be making quality, forward moving, destructive-cycle breaking decisions. Instead, most likely, I will making destructive, pain-birthing, selfish decisions that will not only delay my becoming but could also hurt others.

So what is the disconnect? How can someone be moving fully in the love and liberty of being loved by God in one moment- and in another be in such despair that you can’t find one reason any of this life stuff is worth it? I believe the truth lies in the fact that our enemy comes to steal, kill, or destroy everything that God wants to give us. Our attack will always be directly aimed at what God is doing. The first lie you have to believe is that you are on your own- and in most cases in my experience this comes subtly from a person in your life and their message sounds like wisdom- except that they do not include God in their expectation of who they think you should be. If we begin to mediate on a message of perceived failure in ourselves that was communicated from someone who only values and see success as far as they can see on this earth- and you have been busy investing in the Kingdom of God- in eternal riches- you will begin to see yourself as foolish- a loser, a failure- this is often the first lie I believe when I begin to forget who God says I am.

Truly that is the hope of the enemy- to take our God-given IN CHRIST identity.Our enemy knows that when we take Jesus out of the equation we will find it near impossible to love ourselves. You see Jesus taught us that there are only two commandments we must follow- to love the Lord with all of ourselves- and then to love others as we love ourselves. HMMMM- how many do you know that love themselves, treat themselves with the value and worth that God says they possess? The core hope of any attack from the enemy is to get us to hate ourselves, whether we realize it and can articulate it or not- our actions, beliefs, interactions, and perspectives will show this. If we hate ourselves- we deny ourselves from being able to receive the full measure of God’s goodness and love towards us- and then we are depleted in our love tank- it is impossible to love others.

So let me share something that was absolutely solidified in my life this week. Here is what doesn’t matter- other’s opinions of you. The essence of who you are is NOT defined by the amount of dollars in your bank account. The outcome of your life will not be how big your house was, what car your drove ( or if you even had a car). You aren’t defined by how right you were all the time or if your proverbial ducks were always in a row. The summation of our lives in the end is- did you learn to love? Did you freely receive and freely give love? That is all we are called to do. When we are loving, regardless of our circumstance, we are in the absolute will of God for our lives. Loving others, sowing into their lives, believing in them, praying for them, celebrating with them, supporting them, is investing in a eternal portfolio and the return on investment is greater than anything we can imagine. Choosing to follow Jesus- to seek out His will for your life- to rest in Him and not trust in the sweat of your own brow- is never foolish.  Even when you don’t land where you thought He was calling you- you are always going to land in Him- and that is success.

I AM HERE TO TELL YOU TODAY- don’t quit because the direction has changed. Don’t buy the lie that you are foolish because God has a surprise for you. Don’t judge your worth by the approval or disapproval of others. Get in close to your Father- rest in Him, and ask Him to remind you who He says you are. Ask Him to show you any lie you are coming into agreement with. Ask Him to help you in your unbelief. HE IS YOUR PORTION-and He is more than enough! Lay down your need to understand and be positioned to receive His love- and then organically allow it to overflow out of you onto others. Just be loved and love- (which is what happens when we seek FIRST the Kingdom of God) and all things will be added unto you!

Secure/Rescue

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A while ago I was reading something and on the page was the word ‘secure,’ but my eyes saw the word RESCUE- however it didn’t fit within the context of the sentence, so I re-read it and comprehended that I saw a different word than was actually printed on the page. I asked the Lord if that was Him- and indeed, He had a message for me- that I now have been working through and working out and living- and just now- a moment ago- He nudged me to share this with you.

Rescue- Secure- The same letters make up these two words with very different meanings, and yet, strongly linked!

As I sought the Lord, He began to show me how when I feel insecure- I run to what I think will rescue me- and inversely- when I perceive the need to be rescued- I run to what makes me “feel” secure. As I have been asking Him to highlight this to me- some of these cycles are constructive and pleasing to Him, and some are not.

One day I was feeling really low about some truly hard bumps I was hitting and I found the urge to run to something I normally would turn to to make me “feel” secure- and the Lord highlighted this destructive cycle to me, and I had the thought, ” I could deny my flesh right now and run to Jesus and start to break this cycle.” Unfortunately that day- I chose to continue in my quest to satisfy my desperate need for security- a quick fix, if you will.

Shortly after, as I was spending time in His presence, He showed me this. He also began to show me the negative effects these cycles have had on my life and how far reaching the outcomes are when we choose anything other than Him for our security. How when we buy into false comfort or security in one area of our life- it slowly seeps in undetected to all the other facets of who we are. With this wisdom before me, I repented and asked Him to help me break the cycles that keep me temporarily satisfied and quickly depleted- when I could be filled to overflowing with no lack. I asked Him to come alongside of me and help me in becoming a woman who would settle for nothing less than His best for me- and to be willing to wait upon, yearn for, and rest in Him alone.

Am I still struggling? Sure. Am I making progress? You betchya! Me and Jesus are celebrating this new season of breaking through yuck that I have just been accepting for a long time.

So, I am sharing this with you and I wonder what are you settling for? Is there anything in your life you are leaning on for security that is really sinking sand? Is there anything you expect to rescue you which could leave you stranded? He alone is our source and if we place our trust and faith in anything apart from Him- we will be disappointed. But God- our Almighty God- is faithful and we can trust with Him as our foundation we are firmly placed.

Hebrews 6:13-20The Message (MSG)

God Gave His Word
13-18 When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

Intimacy- Open to Me- Into-me-see

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A few years ago- the Lord began to ask me if I would open to Him. I could tell this was a call to allow Him deeper into my heart- and I wasn’t so sure that is what I wanted out of our relationship. I was pretty happy to love Jesus and to know He loved me. I was pretty happy for our relationship to not cost me much but to have some benefit in my life. I was pretty content just knowing we were good. But He was asking for more. When He asked me to open to Him- I saw a vision of my whole body being opened down the middle, exposing my innermost parts- my heart. Totally exposed, totally opened, nothing able to hide……

My dear friend is a potter and she described to me how what I was seeing was similar to what the potter does when working with the clay. First they work the clay in their hands, softening it, warming it up to respond to their touch, preparing it to be stretched, shaped, and molded into their organic vision for that particular lump of clay. The next thing is the throw it on the wheel and center it. After being centered, they begin to open the clay up by putting fingers right down in the middle of the lump. It’s the opening process that allows for something beautiful, unique, the vision of the potter to become known to others. The process is so delicate she tells me, that sometimes when she is working, she can’t even breathe, she keeps her eyes fixed on what needs to stay, what needs to go, and what needs to be stretched so gently to encourage the original design to become the outcome of what just a little while ago was a shapeless, purposeless, lump of clay.

My heart began opening to the idea of being opened more to the Lord. I felt loved that He wanted to shape my life. I felt ‘seen’ that He wanted to form purpose for my life and that He was going to personally decide what needed to stay, go, or be added to ensure that His original plan- design- His vision would be what I actually get to become. However, can I tell you that there was a massive part of my heart that knew this was going to be painful. costly, and a long process- possibly life long? Can I share with you that I felt so drawn to know the deeper places of His heart- but I was afraid of what would be revealed as He excavated the recesses of mine?

I knew that saying “yes” to His invitation to really be His- with all that I have, would change everything. I could hear the deepest places of who I am crying out yes- but fear was telling me to hold back- to wait- to just be happy with what I currently had. So I began asking Him- “How do I open to you?” And do you know how loving our God is? This process wasn’t as big and scary as I was making the decision out to be, it is step- by- step. As I said yes- He would dig a little into the parts of me I was trying desperately to hide- out of shame or fear of being exposed. Then, as He gently revealed it needed to go- the decision was always mine- I would say “Take it- I want to look more like You.” Then the next thing would be something He wanted to add- and the choice would be mine. I would say, “Ok Lord, I’ve never done that before, and it seems scary, but will You help me?” Then, sometimes He says that something is good but it needs to change a little to be a more excellent portion for my life and the ones I’m called to minister to. By now, I’ve been in this process for a while that I can recognize the feel of the pull to open and I mostly yield quickly because I’ve learned a common thread- the process is FOR ME- it’s because He loves me that He does not desire to allow anything to be part of my journey that is destructive or will lead me astray if left unattained to. WOW- what a kind King. 

I am not saying that the process is any easier than it was when I first began opening to Him. I am not saying that I often understand why something isn’t allowed in my life or why the timing is the way it is, in fact, I rarely understand- I obey by faith. I am saying that the common thread through the entire “opening” journey I’ve been on has been love. Most often, as I listen and open, I can look back and see how much protection I’ve been given- how much I have been saved from before it even became an issue. I can see how much I’ve been stretched and how much I can believe for because of how faithful He has been- and I know that He never changes.

I began to look up the word “open” in the scriptures and I found something interesting. Open and Commit are interchangeable. They are both like rolling away the stone from the tomb. Wow- isn’t that what happens when we say yes to, commit our lives to Jesus? He takes us from the grave of our life- He opens it up and resurrects us to new life with Him? And also, isn’t the point of every attack in our lives to cause us to close up- to hide- to run from intimacy? What if you and I decided to have a new resolve? What would happen in our relationships with others and with the Lord if we chose to commit- to stay committed- stay opened up- even when we do not understand what is happening or why it is happening?

The enemy loves to get us to doubt the goodness of God- His faithfulness- and His love for us. When we don’t believe any longer that we are being loved- we retreat and begin to self-protect and take a defensive stance. But if I have said yes to being opened up- to being seen- known- and clay in the Potter’s hands- then my response to life cannot be closing up. I am going to continue to commit- to open to the Potter- and allow Him to use every thing that flies at me to shape me, mold me, and create His unique shape and purpose for my life. Will you also commit and open to the touch of the Potter? Will you say yes to intimacy with Him? Will you let Him “into-me-see”?

Although it is terrifying to take that first step, and maybe even the next 500 are rather shaky, Who you get to know and who you get to become is worth doing it afraid. He said you were worth it as He journeyed to the cross- and from that extravagant sacrifice and offering, you can rest assured that anything He is calling you to is more than worth the cost!

Jump all in- say yes- and then say yes again! You WILL NOT regret it!