Tag Archives: spirituality

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?

I’m HOPEFULLY devoted to You!

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So I am reading through the book of Luke with some amazing women and yesterday as I read Luke chapter 1, the Lord really spoke to me. As I was emailing them with what He brought out for me, He made it clear that this was a word to be shared with all. So, here goes…..why don’t you read Luke chapter 1 and then continue reading. (If you don’t have a bible handy, I LOVE biblegateway.com)

So, as I was reading I took notice of Zachariah and Elizabeth. The Lord had said He was going to give them a child. The bible states that they were both very old. Elizabeth had been unable to have a child, she even called this a ‘disgrace’.

25 “This is the Lord’s doing. He has shown his favor to me by removing my disgrace among other people.”

As I thought about this couple, who,” were both righteous before God, blameless in their observance of all the Lord’s commandments and regulations,” and had their dreams crushed time and time again. I can just feel the pain of month after month, no pregnancy. Prayers left unanswered. I can feel the sting of constant disappointment and heartbreak. And yet, they still continued to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

The Lord began to show me how this can apply to all of us. Have you ever felt disappointed because the desire of your heart was not given to you in the time frame you were hoping for? Have you ever been heartbroken by seemingly unanswered prayers? Have you ever given up hope on a dream because it seemed the time had past, the circumstances would never be right again, you had missed your window of opportunity, or maybe feel you are just too plain old to dream a little dream?

Well, what was the Lord doing for this devoted couple? He so longed to give them the desires of their heart. I know He was hurt watching their suffering, all the while knowing He had such an incredible honor and blessing for them. He sent them a child, in their old age, who prepared the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! WOW! AMAZING!

So what I believe the Lord is saying through this awesome example is, He could have given them the desire of their heart on their timing, but He loved them too much to allow them to miss His best for their lives. He chose to answer their prayer in a MUCH BIGGER way than they could have ever hoped for. He chose to bless them in such a supernatural way that everyone took notice and PRAISED GOD for this miracle, realizing that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD. He chose to use their blessing not only to bless them, but all of us for all generations.

EPHESIANS 3:20(NIV)

 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

I believe what God is saying is that if He makes us wait, it is because the blessing we receive, the answer to our prayers, the giving of the desires of our heart, will be so much grander, and have such a greater purpose than we could ever hope for or imagine, that it is worth the wait!

Also, we can learn from their devotion. They were called righteous, and it was noted they kept the Lord’s commandments. Can you imagine if the one thing you have asked God for, you felt He had asked you to surrender, and having such gratitude and reverence for WHO GOD IS, over who He seemingly wasn’t, and still serving Him with all of your heart? This is a big concept for me. Their example of being righteous, and serving the Lord, despite their hurt, confusion, and sorrow, has definitely caused me to ask the Lord to help me mature, so that this will be my choice in the midst of the storms I will face in life. I believe the Lord could use them for this honor and miracle because of their obedience, their love, and their wholehearted devotion. This lifestyle has become a desire of my heart.

So I guess what I have been asking myself, I will ask you too. Do you really believe, “37 For nothing is impossible with God?” Are we living in relationship with who God is, or with who we have known Him not to be? Are we remaining faithful through our hurts, heartbreak, and let downs?

Friend, we do not have the details of how they remained devoted, but I know the people in the bible are not fictional characters, they are real people just like you and I. I believe they were not perfect, in fact righteousness is a gift from Jesus, meaning: right with God, and that only comes from Jesus. I believe they were able to be real with God,expressing their deepest wounds and finding rest and peace above their pain in His love. This is not a message of :Suck it up and serve anyway with a smile on your face.” This is a message of: take your broken heart to Jesus, asking Him to make a beautiful mosaic out of it, more creative and passionate than the original. Run to Him, not from Him. I believe this is the only way we can remain devoted through our struggles. Lay down your need to understand, recognize He is God and we are not, TRUST HIM, but be real about where it hurts. It is in this vulnerable posture that His love will begin the healing process, and once you have been there and received from this place, you will NEVER want to be anywhere else. This is where true devotion, true righteousness, true deep and passionate intimacy with the Lord begins and never ends. Will you go there? I hope so.

Lord Jesus! Thank you for such awesome love. Thank you for being our healer. Thank you for knowing us so intimately that you can restore everything we have lost in the battle. Thank you for caring about us so passionately, that you won’t give us everything, to ensure we can be available to receive Your best. You are the best. All I want is You! I love You Lord. I need You Lord! It is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

Coming up Higher!

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The other day the Lord spoke to me about something which seemed to come out of nowhere because it was not something I was particularly dealing with or thinking about. Then it dawned on me, it’s not all about me. =) LIGHTBULB…..It is good to remember that He speaks to us not just for us, but often times to share with others. To add to that thought, what usually ends up happening, is something the Lord speaks to me for someone else, I usually end up needing soon thereafter. What can I say? It’s a process, so keep track and pay attention to everything you hear from Him.

I’m also being taught not to add anything to what God has spoken. Lately, He has been renewing my mind by showing me how I had made assumptions to what He shared with me. He is teaching me how those assumptions led to expectations I have placed upon myself which have actually been distracting me from His Will. He has even been showing me how we all tend to read His Word from our perspective instead of His, which then makes it hard to believe and even recognize it manifest in our reality. We tend to be looking for the wrong thing because we are expecting God to show up in the way we understood the written or spoken word.

I would like to share a revelation I had a few years ago with you to further illustrate what He is still trying to teach me. =)

Ephesians 2:4-6 NLT 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

A few years ago I read this scripture and the word, “seated” was like jumping off of the page to me. Seated, as in present tense??? I was so confused and a little angry. I began asking the Lord,  “How in the world am I suppose to believe I am presently seated in the heavenly realms when I am SO OBVIOUSLY here on earth!!!!!!!!!!” I told Him, “I believe your Word is true and that you selected EVERY WORD carefully. I cannot see that the tense of this verb could be a mistake, but I have never experienced Heaven even though I am in Christ!” I begged Him, “Lord, please teach me how this is true. Please show me how I can be in two places at once.”

After I had finished my passionate ranting, the Lord quieted my spirit and asked me, “Are you finished?” I was and finally he showed me a giraffe. A giraffe? That’s all He had to say???? “Lord, can you please explain?”

Finally, I got the revelation that the way we can be in two places at once, on earth and in heaven simultaneously, is that our minds are to be in heavenly places ( think of the giraffe’s long neck and mind way up high) while our bodies are on earth(the giraffe’s feet are on the ground). So I started to seek Him as to how our minds can be in heaven. How do we enter that place?
Psalms 100:4 MSG

4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

This is what I am still learning. When we come before the Lord, we first praise and thank Him. We do this because of who He has been to us, which means we do this by remembering His faithfulness. As we remember His faithfulness, our faith begins to swell. We are making an exchange. A transaction of worry for faith, fear for trust, hopelessness for peace, is taking place when we choose to magnify the Lord over anything else.

Once we have spent time worshipping Him for who He is, we have been lifted up higher. It is beautiful. We come to a higher place in His presence, where we see from His perspective. We can see what He sees, what He is up to, and then supernaturally we can come into agreement with His plans and purposes even though we still may not understand them.

Can I encourage you today to spend time praising and worshipping the Lord? Spend some time remembering His faithfulness, goodness, kindness, and LOVE upon you. Rejoice over answered prayers of days past and miracles that have no other explanation than God. Ask Him to bring you up higher, to show you His perspective. He will usher you into an intimate place and lavish you with Himself. If you then choose to open your Bible, you will see things you have never seen before. If you choose to open your spiritual ears, you will hear things you have never heard before.  You will never be the same.

(P.S. I would strongly encourage you to have a pad of paper and pen in hand so if He has anything to share with you, so you are prepared so you can remember later, ask Him more about it, and check it according to scripture.)