Tag Archives: God

Love is seek and find

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Love is seek and find

I had this funny thing happen the other day. I wanted to spend time with the Lord, but my son and husband were having a “camp out” in the living room where my Bible, devotionals, and journal were. I lay in my bed wandering if I could try something new instead of being stuck in my box of “this is how I do my quiet time.” Upon which the Lord reminded me that I had noticed an old journal and some pens in one of my bathroom drawers. What was is doing there you might ask? I have no idea. Since it was so out of place I remembered it, so I grabbed it and purposed to journal there. As I opened it, I saw prayer request from 2013, and I spent some time in awe of God’s hand as I could see specifically now each one had been answered abundantly. I praise and rejoiced and my faith was once again stirred. Next I noticed that I had written a challenge to myself- get outside more. Funny, that is still, in 2017, the same challenge. Here is what I am learning, to love myself well, which consequently aligns me to love others more, I have to honor what makes me come alive, and one of those things for me is the outdoors. I am making a choice to be intentional about getting outside and doing some outdoor activity multiple times a week.

As I am slowing down to focus on loving myself and others well, I thought it would be a good idea to read the Song of Solomon. It is a book in the Old Testament filled with love poetry between and woman and a man who are deeply and madly in love with each other. However, the book is full of seeking each other out, finding each other, and then having to seek once again. Sometimes, when one would find where other was, the other one wasn’t ready to be found. The book ends with them seeking for each other once again, not the ‘happily ever after skipping down jolly lane’ we expect from a great love story.

At first I thought this was strange but I sought the Lord to teach me something new. He began to show me how love is never finding the one you love and then staying in that blissful place forever. Love is being committed to seek and find, forever. We are always changing and growing and becoming. Along the different parts of that journey, different types of love will be required. I believe this could be a true piece to every relationship, even with myself and with God. As life flies at us, we have to continue finding new facets of God which in turn unveils new pieces of ourselves. Sometimes we find something new and amazing and sometimes we uncover something hard to process. We can choose to show up and love if we choose to invite Jesus into it all. Apart from Him, I think the notion of this eternal game of seek and find would be overwhelmingly exhausting.

I’m just beginning to embrace this notion and trying to live it out. It definitely feels less ‘wrapped up in a neat box with a bow’ than I want it to. But I can tell this type of perspective on love is more genuine than I previously expected and yet tremendously less likely to set me up to be deeply disappointed than what I’ve understood before.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about love or how you plan to love yourself well this year!

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Love others as you love yourself……

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Love others as you love yourself……

Moving at a snail’s pace this year helps me to really encounter the gifts inside of the people I get to be near. It is a beautiful gift to see, you know really see, someone. To see their value, hear their heart’s cry, and engage with who they really are. I love people. I mean that. People are my greatest treasure and the only source of true wealth I know. Taking the time to focus my energy on loving others well is such a deep gift to me.

One of those people I want to love better is me. I want to treat myself kindly. I want to say nice things about me. I want to see what is right about the girl in the mirror. I want to celebrate my imperfect progress and cheer on the woman I am becoming. Maybe that sounds strange, I know it certainly feels it. However, I believe this will be one of the highest and most effective investments I can make on my journey.

I  say that confidently because the fruit of small steps I have taken so far have had a broad reach in how I see, value, treat, and honor everyone else. Isn’t interesting that Jesus commanded us to love others as we love ourselves? Maybe that’s the part that has been missing. Everywhere I look, I see the temptation to hate myself a little more by comparing myself with everyone else. Well, I threw that game away a while ago, and now I’m finishing up clearing out all of it’s remains. Comparison- you are no longer welcome here.

I mentioned last time about a few new things I am adding to my life to help me slow down, but now I want to share about a few things I am lessening. Early last year I read a book where I finally learned the importance of non-productive activities. Meaning that we should all spend some time doing some things that are just fun,playful, or relaxing. I’ve shared before that I really like to work, I also love to learn, so before adopting non-productive activities into my life, I thought when people did those things that they could have been doing so much more! It seemed wasteful and wrong. But it was actually me who was wrong. So I began trying. I used that time in my life for browsing social media and watching Netflix. (Ok so maybe binge watching would be a little more honest.)

This year in an effort to connect more through slowing down, I’m purposing to shift my non-productive activities into life-giving ones. Here are some ideas I have so far- taking pictures, looking at pictures, and creating photo-books. Canoeing, hiking, and being outside way more. Painting, writing, and reading more.

I can’t wait to share with you what has come out of these shifts already.What helps you connect with yourself, with God, and with others?

The Mind of Christ

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The ocean seems to be a place of rest for my soul. It seems while I walk upon the shore, feel the sand all round my feet, and hear the constant melody of the waves breaking, I can really exhale. I can release the pressure from the day-to-day, clear my whole self, and just be.

In this place of emptying out, I often find myself being filled. It seems as though when I release all of the yuck from the faster-than-the-speed-of-light life stuff, and I loosen my grip on everything I’m inevitably trying to maintain, that I can really receive.

The last time I was in such a position, what I found myself asking for, was for God to take my thoughts and transform them into His thoughts. I was intrigued by hearing myself ask for this. I just wanted to think about the things He was, and to see them through His heart, His perspective. I began to encounter His presence as I asked, and what I understood was that I was asking for the Mind of Christ.

I knew this wasn’t a one time prayer, and I determined to ask and keep asking. This has become quite honestly one of the deepest desires of my heart. But what I didn’t fully expect was how this prayer would begin to change everything about my life. I want to share 2 examples that have marked transformation to me personally.

One morning within a matter of moments, our air conditioner broke, our toilet overflowed, and our vehicle wouldn’t start. The thought arose, “Does this stuff happen to everyone?” And then immediately the truth came, “No! It doesn’t! The majority of people living on the earth do not have air conditioning, indoor plumbing, or their own vehicle. They aren’t lucky enough to have enjoyed these gifts in the first place to have to endure them needing to be repaired.” As my husband and I spoke of these truths, instead of growing overwhelmed, irritated, or frustrated, we began to give thanks to God in the midst of it for all that He has so freely given to us. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! As  I asked the Lord why were we able to have such a different experience than has been our norm, He showed me that it was an answer to the prayer to have the mind of Christ.

Most recently, there was a public attack against my character and as my husband presented it to me, the words that came out of my mouth were victory and love, even though I was not experiencing that emotionally. There was so much power in my response of truth that it totally diffused the anger that was trying to entangle us into being offended. As I later processed through what had taken place, the Lord showed me that again, I was equipped to have this response as an answer to praying for the Mind of Christ.

I share this testimony not to boast about myself, but to encourage you to join me. The reason these were notable is because for the past 30 years I have responded to similar circumstances in much different ways. This is a miracle to me to have reactions that do not devastate myself or those involved. It is growth that I mark personally as miraculous and give God all glory, honor, and praise for.

There have been victories in my life recently that I have never even believed to be possible. In fact, most areas that God is dealing with right now, I have for years just believed it was my lot in life. But as He is growing my vision and perspective to be united with His, I am beginning to really believe everything is possible with Him.

Will you join me? What areas in your life have you just settled into defeat about? Is there anything you aren’t willing to talk about with God and give Him the authority to be Lord of in your life? I want so deeply to continue to grow in His love, His truth, and His purpose for my life. It is so refreshing to actually believe that is possible! Praise God!

 

Rejoice

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Eyes open, first thought, I’m still tired. Next, oh well, you must keep marching on. Then, ok- I have so much to do, where do I even begin? Upon rising and brewing up hope for energy in a cup, I begin- already feeling behind. My whole day seems in the deficit. Not enough. Not enough energy, time, patience, self-control. All I see is lack. Everywhere. I hear the ‘shoulds’ in my mind. My children should know better. I should have exercised more. My house should be cleaner. Maybe I should be working. Should I wear this? Should my marriage be more? Should I serve others more? Should I have said that? I’m plagued, worn down, depleted. Day after day, the exhaustion, the frustration, just piles. I don’t even have energy to sort my piles. The piles eventually become a mountain. The mountain becomes hopelessness. How did I get here? How do I get out of this? Is this just normal life? Am I ever going to feel good again?

I sit with Jesus, and I say, “Lord, why do I always feel exhausted, frustrated, running behind? Is there hope for my future? Can I make a change? Is this what life will be like from now on?”

He showed me that He has poured out into my life blessings of every kind. He has given me salvation, life, health, food, shelter, friendship, love, hope, purpose, amongst many other things. He said that it was His delight to pour it out over my life, but that He cannot make me rejoice in it. He cannot make me actually enjoy, notice, celebrate, or rejoice in all that He has freely given me.

OUCH! As I heard this from the Lord, tears silently streamed down my face. I realized that, just like the Israelites, the Lord has provided abundantly for me and yet, I still find things to grumble and complain about. My heart broke and I repented before the Lord. I asked for grace to cover my selfishness and sin.

Repentance has two parts, turning from is first.  Turn from any destructive activity, belief, or motive that is less than the Truth. Then, turn towards something true, constructive, and motivated by love for ourselves and God.  My very next question, as I dabbed the tears from my cheeks, what how Lord? How do I replace my grumbling and complaining to rejoicing? What am I called to rejoice in? All I know to do, to find the answer, is search the scriptures.

First things first- He showed me that the word rejoice actually means to make oneself glad. It’s an action. It is up to me. None can make me glad but me.

Next He showed me was that the Scriptures call us to rejoice in the Lord, in our salvation, and in the righteousness we have been given in Christ, which makes having an intimate relationship with the Father possible. That alone, in my heart, is plenty to rejoice in for all time.

Finally, for my practical application, He gave me this scripture:

Deuteronomy 12:7

“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.”

I have to share that as I read this passage, my current perspective on the undertakings I’m tending to was in stark contrast to what this was calling me to. I was feeling like, “I have to ………” You can fill in the blank. Now as I read these words I saw that the things God has trusted me to tend to were actually blessings and to be rejoiced in doing. So my perspective shifted from I have to, to wow- God trusted me to do this.

He reminded me of all of those times I prayed, “God use me. Send me.” And showed me right now, this is the answer to that prayer!

I’m definitely not declaring that I never have bad moments or days, but I can say I believe this key of rejoicing is turning around my anxiety. Now a morning might look like this:

Wake up- Thank You Lord for another day of life. I have a lot on my plate today Lord, I admit right now that I will need You to do any of it well. Would you go with me and help me? Brew my coffee and anticipate what treasure He has for me in His Word that morning. What truth will I have to cling to as I live a life unto Him that day?

After my time with Jesus, the tape begins playing in my head of not enough. Now I am equipped to take whatever is not enough yet, and give thanks for it and ask the Lord to bless it. To thank Him for what I do have, and to hopefully expect an increase. In my rejoicing, the thoughts that used to defeat me, now lead me to prayer.

In the undertakings I’ve been blessed with, I’m so often aware that I alone am not enough. He has called me live a life beyond myself so I would need Him and others. Living out what I am called to leads me to relationships, which require love. The call on all of our lives is to love God and love others. I need Jesus, and I need you. And now, I rejoice in that! Join me?

Captured in His Love

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I am sitting in a hotel room by the ocean, balcony door opened and I can hear the waves. The incredible aroma of the salty air is clearing my senses and I am at peace. My babe is sleeping in the same room, and I give thanks in these moments. I give thanks that I have quiet space. I give thanks that I have crazy chaos, because one of the most amazing joys of my life is being the mother to my children. But what I am being overwhelmed with in these moments is how thankful I am that I know my God. I mean I intimately know the One who created the ocean I am being lulled by. How can this be?

I know Him, and He knows me. I know Him and He knows me and we spend time exploring the depths of each other. This love. This love is undoing all that I have done. It is unleashing all that I am. It is healing, moving, leading, guiding, correcting, providing, and enjoying me- the fullness of who I am is truly found in I AM. He is the One who my heart beats for, the One who I long for, the One who see me and completely knows me and yet somehow is still drawn towards me. This must be too wonderful to imagine, to great to comprehend- this must be something I can only receive. As I drink deep of the affections from the heart of my God- I am humbled and in awe of His beauty, His majesty.I am blown away by the gentleness of His fierceness. I am undone. I’ve come unglued. All the glue that held any of me together trying to convince me that I was at all in control of all of this life thing- has been melted in the fire of His great, pure, passionate pursuit of my whole self.

Somehow when I am washed in the coolness and fire of His presence- none of me wants to be in control. All of me wants to be found in Him. I long to move, to breathe in perfect unity with Him. I long that my heart would become more like HIs. I yearn to walk in beat with HIs symphony about me. Who is this God? I’ve been discovering Him for so long and yet somehow feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface. Oh but I want to know more. I am desperate to know more. I need more of Him to continue on. I simply can’t be without Him. He is life to me.

Somewhere between the waves and the birds singing to one another-I hear a voice of correction. Daughter, don’t you know you are worth the interruption? Don’t you know you matter as much as the ones you serve? Don’t you believe that all I say about you is true? Why then, why do you treat your own needs as less than important? Why do you not ask Me to help, or give others the opportunity to help you? As I share this with some trusted- I hear a warning- that is really a form of pride.

Then in the quiet contemplative place- I remember. I remember the marching orders given to me in a previous space and time- the call was only to rest, trust, and worship. To live, and move, serve, give, love and be only out of that place. How did I so soon forget- again. Rest, trust worship- first. Give thanks. Ask for help. Rejoice and again I say rejoice.

As the waves steadily roll in, and the fog lays heavy, I remember-again. I remember the stillness is where I see Him. I remember the calm, the sweet place of trusting even though no circumstance has yet shifted- is where I declare who is my Lord- He is. He is the One I trust. He is the One who does not change nor disappoint. I can trust the Only who is constant always. Oh and as my gaze yet again is filled with Him- I cannot help but to worship Him. Oh He is Majestic, Beautiful, Worthy. My legs go weak. I find my knees bent and my eyes spilling over whenever I behold Him. He is. Oh He is- alive and near and within and over. He is all. He is my all in all. I love Him so.

I see myself reflected in His eyes as He behinds me too. I didn’t know I looked like that? I didn’t know I was made of that! I didn’t know I could become that! I didn’t know I was so desperate. I didn’t know I was so needy. And yet- my portion is the One who I am looking upon and enjoying being with. My needs are filled, my soul is resurrected, and my journey has become secondary again to the One who I journey with. It is Him- it has always been Him. I am His and He is mine.

O Lord- help me. Help me to always place You in Your rightful place.Help me to see myself as Your see me. Help me to ask for help. Help me to ask for everything I need. I enjoy You- oh Lover of my soul. I enjoy your essence, I enjoy being Your reflection. And my heart is so desperate for more of You. I humbly bow low before you and cry out for more of You.You gently lift my head and pour out all of you into all of me again Filled to be emptied and filled again. I need You Lord. I want more of You. I just love You so. My Jesus, My King, My love. it is You- first- always You.

Rest = Trust

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In this recent season of my life, I have had to rest more than I believe I ever have in the entire 28 years I have been on this earth. This pregnancy has been much harder on me physically and emotionally than I could have imagined, being as though my first pregnancy was a dream! Here is the cool thing, as I entered into this pregnancy, I asked the Lord to spend the duration of it preparing me and equipping me for the next season of my life. Soon I will be a mom of two, and I have no idea what that will look like or feel like- and unchartered territories can always be kind of intimidating. Also, the last time I had a baby, was one of the hardest season’s of my life and I am asking Him to shape me, mold me, prepare me, and equip me so that together we can overcome and I will not go back into that dark place. And the result of those requests- rest.

This resting stuff has been an interesting evolution. At first, I was resting and had to work less. That involved an onslaught of negative thoughts and beliefs that rose to the surface. I had NO CLUE that at my core, I thought my worth came from my work. The harder I worked, the more I was worth. However, the current problem was, I couldn’t physically work- so did that mean I was worthless? That is what I felt like. I felt like a disappointment, a burden, a loser, a let down. OUCH! Why was this such a big deal- I mean I could rationally tell you that I HAD to rest, my body would not let me do anything else, however my spirit believed that meant I was not earning my keep and this was effecting my identity. WOW! Thank You Jesus for purging this wrong thinking from my spirit before all I am able to do for a season is rest, feed a baby, be a mom, rest, feed a baby, be a mom, and not “EARN” any money, respect, accolades, or significance. I have discovered through this process that my worth and my value are full simply because I AM HIS, and none of my identity or worth is contingent upon how much I can make happen. THERE IS SO MUCH RELIEF AND JOY IN THIS TRUTH! He has shown me that working hard, making money, enjoying success are all wonderful and beautiful things- given that they are not a sign to us of how important we are- what we are worth- or what we deserve- but enjoyed out of a place that knows if it was all gone- I WOULD STILL MATTER! I think this is one thing the Apostle Paul touched on when he said, 

Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

 
As a result of this first lesson, the Lord has asked me to continue to research rest. I believe what I am uncovering is that resting in God is a place of total trust. I can only rest in Him if I have no other agenda than His. So long as I have my own plans, my own dreams, my own way that I want to go, and I try to somehow fit God into my plans, there will always be this struggle. But if I keep everything with an open hand and loudly declare, “With or without this, Lord, I HAVE ALL THAT I NEED IN YOU,” I can rest no matter what the outcome. In relationships, if I am resting in God, I will be able to release others from unnecessary expectations and allow them to be in process with the Lord, loving them at whatever stage they are in. In work, I can relax when I make more and when I make less, knowing that it all comes from Him, and ultimately it is NOT UP TO ME to provide for my daily bread. I simply go where He tells me to, and enjoy doing the things I was created to do, and watch Him cause that to make provision. These are just a few examples of the fruit of the shift in perspective that truly resting in the Lord gives.
 
I believe this is the only way we can,

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Also, I believe that if we trust Him we can truly keep first things first, such as;

Matthew 6:33(NLT)33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Which will help us to;

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do,and he will show you which path to take.

I really desire to learn how to live from a place of rest. Making all of my decisions out of that place, working from that place, worshipping from that place, relating to others from that place, mothering from that place- really LIVING EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE POSITIONED FROM RESTING IN GOD!

To me, living this way is the truest form of trust. I want to trust Him more. I am asking for more faith, more trust, becoming more and more like Him. This is just the beginning- and I will share with you as I uncover more. Will you join me in seeking Him for wisdom of a small step to take out of worry, anxiety, being overwhelmed, overstretched and into peace, joy, and love? That’s where I want to be found- resting in Him- in His Holiness, His Completeness, where lack does not exist! 

 

 

Hurting people

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Yesterday the Lord showed me the the epidemic of how “hurting people,” inevitably go around hurting people. When we are wounded, if we do not seek healing or wholeness, all of our perception, perspective, and response will come through a filter attached to our wounded places. We will wound others, which in turn, makes us hate ourselves even more, and it just gets uglier and uglier. In my heart, I can feel the Lord’s burden to break this cycle so that the generations to come do not suffer from the wounds you and I are carrying now. I can feel His pain for every single hurting person in the whole entire world. He LOVES every single person, in every nation, in this whole world He created. He desires to set every single person free. He want to break EVERY chain that is binding us from becoming everything He created us to be. If you are hurting, He wants to make to whole. You are worth investing in. You are worth the time and effort it takes to walk through the healing process. You are worth the fight. You are loved, cherished, valued, and one of a kind. There is no other person alive who can fill the purposes for which He created you for. He lavishly loves you with a love that will never fail. He gave it all for you. If you are weary, wounded, hurting, and just feel like you are too broken to be fixed, know this: There is no “too broken” for God. Nothing is too big, too hard, or impossible for Him. Your circumstances, the condition of your heart, your pain will not surprise Him- He has walked with you every step of the way already. Turn to Him, offer Him your broken heart, no matter how many pieces it is in, and then say yes, say yes continually, the the beautiful process with Him to find healing, wholeness, and purpose, driven by a response to being so fully loved. He is with you. He is for you. His love will conquer all. You can trust HIm! You are lovable and lovely! Today is the day! He cares for you!