A God Who Sees

Sitting in the pew, alone at the evening service, I had come into the weekend tired and worn out.  Looking for a place of rest. Often I attend church not out of obligation but out a need for grounding before the week starts.  This weekend was no different, but it was a special one. Mother’s Day. A day when children make pancakes for a breakfast in bed, where flowers are bought and the unspoken sacrifice of mothers are acknowledged.

andrew-seaman-649001-unsplash.jpg

A day of celebration for some, a day of grief for others.

I find myself around mothers a lot.  I know a lot more about breastfeeding and child raising that I ever thought I would as a single woman.  Most of my very best friends have 2-3 children and we often hang out after bedtime or on a weekend morning when they can get away.

In my seat, on this evening, something broke. The emotions were ready at the surface.  And it stemmed from struggling to put into words how much a day like this did to stoke the flame of a life I desire to have. 

We sang these words, that dug deep in my heart and I tried to push them away, “There is a God who sees, just right where you are.”  When I think about the fact that God sees me, the tears flow quickly because in this moment, I feel unseen, I feel forgotten.  

Many times I think I am supposed to just keep going, be thankful for my blessings and keep living.  But I also feel that this ache and longing are just permanent roommates that I will live with forever.  The silent struggle of longing is a constant unwanted friend. 

As I sat in that pew, I tried hard to disguise the tears, slowly wiping my eyes so that no one around me would notice. I tried to hide the sniffles and the hot mess I was slowly becoming. I didn’t want the pity, I didn’t want to explain why in this moment, the pain was bubbling towards the surface.  I didn’t want to be another single girl crying about her lack of a husband and children.

In the pain, it’s lonely.  Especially if we try to hide it.  It’s exhausting to disguise something that hurts.  If you are trying to hide a limp, you sometimes end up hurting everywhere else, because you are compensating for the bad leg. It’s often better to do the things necessary to heal or rest so you don’t injure something else in the process.

In many ways, I am afraid to admit that I really want this thing, motherhood.  Because there have been other things that I have wanted for years and I didn’t get.  Years of wanting something, praying about it, because that is what good church folk do. But this prayer it hasn’t been answered.  This turns into tears of praying that God would take away this dream, that it wouldn’t be on my mind or heart. That I wouldn’t feel so distraught at the turn of every year when nothing has changed.

Then I wonder is it wrong to still want it when the prayer has not been answered?  Even when it is painful to long, to want. Is it wrong to still desire this thing that is in my heart? We often pray that God takes away the pain, takes away the longing. Because it would just be easier if we didn’t want it as much, right?

However, I think if the longing wasn’t there, we would be missing something.  We would be missing what happens between us and God when we long and pray and come before him.  On this side of heaven, we will always be in wanting, longing, for something that this world cannot provide.  

michael-domanic-110442-unsplash.jpg

To be honest, the words that I typed at the beginning of this post were written a year ago. I couldn’t post them. I couldn’t admit that I was in pain because I was still in sitting in a painful longing.  I was in a spot that I couldn’t have imagined 5 years ago. Sharing them now is a little bit easier, because God has revealed himself in my longing and pain. There are still moments that the pain is acute and so overwhelming that I have begged God to take away the longing, the desire for a different life than I lead now.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,
And set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord,.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust,
Who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie.

– Psalm 40: 1-4

But He has given me a new song to sing, a new dream in my heart. He has given me glimpses of joy that I would have missed if my life were different.  He has given me a different picture of what motherhood and family looks like. He has surprised me in ways that I didn’t think were possible.

The longer I am on this journey with the Lord, God is gracious to expand my view of him. He isn’t a God that is transactional. We don’t pray, live good lives and he gives us stuff we want.  His desire for us is bigger than that. He wants to be with us, to be near us so much so that our suffering, our longing, our wanting, is all a part of his timing and plan.  It brings us so much closer to his heart. In the moment it can feel cruel and so unloving of God. But He is a father, a heavenly father, desiring for our eternal good more than our momentary fleeting happiness.

What is even better than in the middle of our suffering, pain, and longing, he doesn’t leave us to deal with it on our own.  He is right there beside us, he is with us, to comfort, to love, to care for our aching hearts.

So friends, I don’t know where this lands with you today, whether Mother’s day is a great day, a hard day, or heartbreaking day, but as someone who experiences a wide spectrum of feelings on this day, God sees you.  He sees you right where you are at, he sees your aching heart, your joyous heart, your longing heart, your grieving heart.

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Photo by Michael Domanic on Unsplash

Advertisements

Throne

As children we play pretend princess, sending younger siblings to serve us juice and crackers, fanning us as we sit on a throne of pillows and blankets in our make believe castles.  Twirling in our dresses, making the neighbor kids into our subjects, and ruling our empires of the backyard with delight and imagination. It quickly dissolves once one kid questions our authority, but for a moment, we get the taste of the power and the throne.

No one has to tell us that this type of position is better. No one has to teach a child to order other people around.  No one has to tell us that a tantrum in a middle of a store is going to get us what we want.

william-krause-741173-unsplash

The idea of a throne, ruling, and reigning is entrenched into our DNA.  We are born with a desire for power or control, but also with the need for worship, the need to be lead by someone or something.  

We often question how people get themselves into bad relationships, pyramid schemes, a terrible job or even cults.  It’s because, unchecked, we are looking for something to lead us somewhere. We are looking for someone to tell us who we are and where we belong.It’s in us.  And maybe not everyone gets sucked into a cult, but it could be way less extreme than that.

There is a throne of our heart, and we are constantly trying out all kinds of things to put in that place. There is a place of control, reign, ideals, values, that drives us to act and live out as we do.

And this isn’t surprising, humanity has been this way for a long time. Throughout the old testament, you see the rejection of God as the true ruler, King over their hearts.

After God led his people out of Egypt, slavery and through the wilderness.  He gave them the promised land. But they weren’t happy, the strayed away, they followed after other gods.  He provided them Judges and Priests to try to bring them back, but when the Judges and Priests either died or didn’t follow after God.  They cried for a King, like all the other nations. They were warned what an earthly king would do.

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” -1 Samuel 8:6–9

Friends, let’s be honest.  We aren’t more evolved or better than those in the Old Testament world.  We are quick to run from idol to idol. We can even church those idols up and lie to ourselves that they really aren’t idols or all that bad.  We may not have altars with foreign bronze or gold statues in our houses.  We don’t go to a temple and offer burnt sacrifices.

s-o-c-i-a-l-c-u-t-1300639-unsplash

But we lay ourselves out on the altar of social media presence and notoriety.  We put up white fences and shiplap. We sacrifice time for financial security, entertainment and independence.  We step up onto the throne worshiping self-empowerment and heroism. When set up our lives to celebrate things and experiences like festivals and feasting driving us to live for the present moment more than anything else.  We chase after relationships and false loves, giving our hearts to things that will crumble under the pressure of the crown.

We reject God’s authority when it gets too uncomfortable, or means that we are vulnerable to lose everything we worked hard to attain.  We reject God’s reign of our lives when it means having a hard conversation. We reject God as King when get that ring on our finger, worshipping the gift instead of the giver.

Friends, may I even plead that we struggle with God as king, because it literally means that we are more lost than we thought.  We are more helpless and inadequate than we want to admit. No one wants to feel weak. And when God rules and reigns in our life as the true King, we have to face the facts.  We are in desperate need.

But it really is good news.  

Such good news.

ashton-mullins-138190-unsplashI need to hear that it’s not up to me.  The crown is too heavy. The pressure is too much. I can barely handle keeping my kitchen clean, let alone being sovereign over my days.  

In our current day, so many more people are struggling with anxiety, depression, unhappiness, than statistics will ever show.  We can’t keep up. But we don’t have to. No, our Father in heaven, sent Jesus as the true and better King, to establish his reign and rule here on earth as it is in heaven.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdomto establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”  -Isaiah 9:6–7

It’s on his shoulder and he will uphold it.  We don’t have to.  We can live in peace and rest because He is on the throne.  He came, bore a crown of thorns, not just to sit on a golden throne here on earth, the throne of our hearts forever.

 

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

Danger in the Hustle

“Hustle hard” rings as the anthem of this generation.  “Make your life what you want it to be. ” “Be your own hero.” Good intentions or not, this anthem is all over the place these days.  Kings and queens of this generation are writing books, hosting conferences and podcasts and preaching daily through insta-stories that “you are standing in your own way to success.” 

Yes, discipline and grit are great qualities to have in your life.  But to what end. To build a life on your own efforts and capabilities?  To work toward that American dream? To be the queen of your own kingdom? But we see, “kingdoms” fall all the time, so we know that it is a lie that we are sold since birth.  

The funny thing is that I am really good at hustle.  I am really good at building a schedule full of activity and making things happen.  However at some point that system stopped working for me. Being capable and maybe a little stubborn, ended with me dragging myself out of bed and trying to white knuckle through the day. 

Because, those qualities that helped me lose 90 lbs and run 4 half marathons, while getting 2 masters degrees, didn’t actually fix what was broken.

emma-simpson-153970-unsplash

On the other side of a decade of doing that, I find myself clinging to a shred of the vision that I once had for my life.  And honestly, at 23, I was just excited to have a job and live near all my friends. I never really thought what 10 years later would look like.  

I spent a lot of that time, pushing forward, living under guilt and shame… manipulating myself into thinking if I just lived more disciplined, more self controlled, more busy, my life would mean so much more.

Now, at the beginning of a new decade, I sit wondering, what IS IT really that I am living for?  What is the thing that is going to drive me forward, get me out of bed every day? Let’s be honest, that is what we ALL ask ourselves on some level every day, what is the point? Who are we sacrificing our time, energy, and life for?  Whose agenda are we trying to accomplish on a daily basis?

See, I have had this nagging feeling that I was trying to settle for the American dream (a happy, content, safe life, building up financial security, and building up a career), which might be the worst thing that could happen for me.  Those things in of themselves are not bad things, but not ultimate things. 

Now, I am not saying that hard work is bad.   I am not saying that you don’t suffer or benefit from good choices in life.  But there is something underneath this message that I think weighs heavier on our souls.  Hustle will only take us so far and deludes us into thinking that we are sovereign over our own life in the end.  Hustle is a drug that we take to try to distract ourselves from having to trust in our heavenly Father.

In college, in studying ancient Orators, such as Plato and Aristotle, I came across idea that human beings were constantly searching after the divine, because human beings were mortals split from a divine being and were were constantly searching for the other half.

greg-rakozy-38802-unsplash

My heart, my body, my soul, and my mind crave more.  I wasn’t made for this earth and as much as I hustle and work hard, if I am doing it to make a more comfortable home on this earth, I will always feel a little like I am trying to settle into an alien home.

“Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” – Heb. 11:12-13

In the midst of this restlessness, my mind has been my own worst enemy, hurt and pain from the past is resurfacing, calling out for healing, that I have long ignored or pushed aside to survive.  But now, as I push in to the restlessness my brain is crying “Danger Danger” often causing me to shrink back, to escape to numb myself from these feelings. I am heading towards the more for which He has for me and my flesh senses that there isn’t certainty or safety.

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Can I risk my safety, can I stop hustling,  and trust that God is good?  Can I trust this restlessness to move me towards good things and not toward danger?  This is the hard part, because I can’t hustle my way out of it.  I can’t make a to do list and check things off and think it settles the restlessness.  This is a matter of trust and patience. 

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! -Psalm 31:24

We don’t like to wait, we don’t like to be still.  Even though it is instructed many times in scripture.  We want to make things happen on our own.  We want to hustle hard to make our life in the way that we think is best.  We dream and plan from our own strength and vision.

Friends, go ahead and hustle but also sometimes wait on and have courage in the Lord.  Remember that a life based on patience and trust in God is a life full of an eternal contentment that can’t be obtained in hustle or working hard, but given in grace and mercy that we don’t deserve, but because he loves us in an abundant unrelenting way.

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

 

Invited to the Party

Simply laughing, letting yourself in to the present moment, like you opened the door to the party that is happening all around you.  To lay down the weights you have been carrying, and let your shoulders drop in comfort and relaxation, feels strange but sweet.

Joy sparks joy, producing a lightness, both in level of gravity and brightness.  The bright light causing the darkness to scatter away like critters in a dark room.  

Joy gives way to breath and clarity and deep belief and faith.

priscilla-du-preez-229302-unsplash.jpg

I write a lot of about struggles and hard things, perhaps because I am trying to find the words that accurately describe where I spend a lot of my head space.  However, in this year of seeking out the abundance of God, I want to also name the places of joy in my life. Seeking to laugh and step into a space of gladness.  To experience the fullness of joy that God promises in his presence.

I wrestle to stay in the glad things, to remain there.  Maybe I feel some happiness at the surface but it feels fleeting.  Maybe I see it as superficial and irrelevant when there are bigger things happening.  However, finding what brings you joy, finding ways that God delights YOUR heart is so essential.  

It is a part of discovering who God made you to be, just as much as figuring out your talents and your calling.  It is just as important as digging into your past and present memories or struggles.

Joy in the Lord, is about experiencing all of who God is….God is full of gladness.  

ethan-hoover-738116-unsplash.jpg

You can see that in how Jesus loved children, how he enjoyed the company of many different kinds of people.  He hung out with twelve dudes, they had have cracked a joke or two, right? All over the Psalms it talks about gladness.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. – Psalm 16-9

What does it look like when your whole being rejoices? Think about David dancing or celebrating.  David sang and wrote poems, not just when things were hard but he was glad in the Lord. Think about the celebrating that Elizabeth did when she figured out she was expecting after years of barrenness in Matthew. 

I used to think having joy was all about having everything go super great, that life was just as you expected, and every day was perfect. It was about being happy and content. But if that is all that having joy is, then I miss out on the deep joy of seeing the good in a day that is really crappy.

I miss out on the deep laughter that can come after a dark day.  I would miss out on the joy of smiling with tears in your eyes after praying with a friend.  I would miss out on community surrounding you when life isn’t at all what you expected.

By expecting life’s joy to be a certain way, you miss out on the unexpected.  God showing up in ways you didn’t know that you needed.

That is often how God shows up, in the unexpected and unasked for ways.  We didn’t even know that we needed to ask for that friend or extra $5 in our pocket.  We didn’t ask for that affirmation at work or that encouraging conversation at the grocery store.  We didn’t know that we needed to slow down and having a sick toddler actually provided that.

These days, for me that looks like running into a friend in a coffee shop. It means a sweet text from a dear friend, or even extra space to be with God on a Friday night.  Or spending my weekday evening giggling with middle school girls.  And even though life doesn’t look at all what I expected, God shows up to bring me into his joy.

I just have to choose to see it.  I have to slow down and name it. I have look behind the curtain of “this isn’t what I wanted” and step into the joy party.  

joshua-coleman-654602-unsplash.jpg

Being in the joy, changes me.  It changes my heart reflexes. I am quicker to see it.  Maybe it’s like any other muscle that needs to get stronger, maybe I need to do more reps like I do with my core and hamstrings.  

So friends, where is it that you can see the joy in your life today?

I hope that you take a moment and counting the joys, the places of gladness, how often you smile.  And let it change bring brightness and lightness to your heart. 

Picture Credits:

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Abundance

Sitting in silence, just God and I, without the noise of life, of traffic, of busy, I have the courage to ask, “What do you want from me this year, God? What is it that this year holds for me? Where would you have me go from this spot that I am in with you?”

It feels scary to ask these questions in light of the year that I just had.

max-saeling-802354-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Max Saeling on Unsplash

In the last year, God broke apart knots of pain in my life.  At times, I felt undone and completely broken. He uncovered things that needed to be brought into the light. Honestly, at times, it felt awful and probably like someone doing surgery.  I had started the year with an expectant hopeful heart that 2018 would be a different year. That God would make all things new or better.

Except, it didn’t feel like that.  Something needed to be different and I was ready to do anything it took for it to change.  And God did just that.

But by bringing me through a valley of pain.  He opened the eyes of my heart to the junk in there, and not all of it self inflicted.  He dug up things of the past, helped me face them and began the healing process. He awaken dormant places, he jump started places of lifelessness and renewed hope that had been lost.

Standing on this side of last year, I can honestly say, I am still expectant.  I am still staring down winter months but with hope. I am not in the same spot that I was in the last year and now, I am longing to see this God that didn’t let me remain in pain work mighty to bring me to Himself.

galina-n-189483-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Galina N on Unsplash

This isn’t to brag or proclaim how God is going to give me all the things on my prayer list, which He is fully capable of doing, but because I believe with every fiber of my being, that I am just scratching the surface of understanding who this God is that I trust.

If I were to call this a resolution, it would be that I resolve to find out.  I resolve to lean in, to dig deeper and be present with God to find out what happens when I trust Him and I run after what He is made and called me to do.  To fully believe and trust in the abundance that He has already given me in himself.

Often when we think of the word Abundance, we conjure up images of store houses of gold or food or the extravagance of the western world.  Perhaps to being able to order whatever we want from Amazon and put all the Target Dollar Spot items in our cart. 

God certainly promises to take care of us, but what I believe is that he cares more about is our hearts and souls.

We might always feel like we are lacking on this side of heaven.  Waiting for something to actually fill us, waiting to be full of joy and happiness. I have found in thinking about all that God has to offer, that whatever it is, it is in abundance.  He is abounding in love, grace, mercy, strength, power, wisdom, and so much more.

Searching the scriptures, I came across many verses with the word “abundance” but one that I think I will cling to this year is..

“But, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” -Lamentations 3:32

It feels fitting after last year, to expect to learn about how much God loves me. And He does love me. I pray that I would sit in, reflect on, live out of the fact that He loves me far beyond anything I can comprehend.

So friends, I don’t know where this hits you, but I want to encourage you that if you ended the previous year with a longing or ache in your heart, if you feel like you have been through the wringer and then some, remember that God offers you an abundance. Not of more stuff, but of himself.

He created you, he knows you, loves you and offers all of himself FOR you.  

We already have that in Him. We don’t have to go searching, we don’t have to tidy up our stuff or lives, we don’t have to clean up our diet or go on a media fast, or do a juice cleanse.  None of that is actually going to earn you more of Him. He has already give all of Himself, life and death, for us. All we have to do is step into that abundance, receive it and live out of it.

christian-chen-492254-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Christian Chen on Unsplash

I pray that your year, like mine, would be one of discovering and deepening knowledge of who God is, that your eyes are opened to what He has for you, that you would stop hustling to be better for God and truly know His “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever kind of love.” (Jesus StoryBook Bible)

Roots and Lies

I took a 6 year break from the dentist.  It was all because when I had my wisdom teeth out and it was an experience. I had a hook on a tooth.  The root had grown into a hook shape. I won’t describe to you the process of getting it out or talk about the fact that I was awake the whole time, hence the 6 year break.

But that memory reminds me that the lies we believe have hooks on them.  The longer we let lies live in our hearts and minds, they will form roots. Not spindly roots like small weeds, but big gnarly roots that you can only get rid of with a chainsaw.

The hook has tentacles, grabbing hold of of the memories and thoughts.  Like a disease this lie begins to infect everything. We don’t even realize it.  We go about day by day, living a life shaped by the lies. We make decisions and move forward believing false things about ourselves, the world and who God is.

This could be believing the lie that we have to live to impress other people or we are what we make and do.  This could be that marriage will make us complete or that we are only good parents if our children are always well behaved.  Or even believing that we aren’t worthy of love or acceptance. That we aren’t beautiful or created perfect.

Whatever the lie, it doesn’t have to define us or hold us hostage. Thankfully, the roots don’t have to stay in us.  God is a rescuer.

 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.

(ESV) Psalm 40:1–3

robb-leahy-512378-unsplash
Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash

But in our world, we are really good at the self-help talk, the positive mantras and the affirmations to say daily.  There are people who make millions of dollars in the self-help industry.  Sure those can work, but those don’t mean anything if they aren’t based in who God says you are. 

The best kind of weed and root killer is one of truth.  

His words are the strongest and will carry the most power.  His word brought about the earth, it carries enough power to combat the lies. 

For God’s Word is solid to the core;
    everything he makes is sound inside and out.
He loves it when everything fits,
    when his world is in plumb-line true.
Earth is drenched
    in God’s affectionate satisfaction.

The skies were made by God’s command;
    he breathed the word and the stars popped out.
He scooped Sea into his jug,
    put Ocean in his keg.

Earth-creatures, bow before God;
    world-dwellers—down on your knees!
Here’s why: he spoke and there it was,
    in place the moment he said so.

(MSG) Psalm 33:4–9

Also God understands roots, His word is filled with the all sorts of root imagery..  He talks about being planted and rooted next to streams of living water, about being rooted and built up.  All of these things have to do with growth in our faith and belief.

Being planted and rooted, is powerful and painful. Think about it.  To be planted, means to be dug up, to be buried again, to breakthrough.  To uproot something, to dig out means pain.  To break free of the old roots meant to walk through pain.

zach-reiner-631920-unsplash
Photo by Zach Reiner on Unsplash

But when it is your heart that is broken and wounded, where do you even start?  When I started digging out the roots of lies, it left me broken, depressed and hopeless.  That felt worse.

In the midst of the brokenheartedness, I tried to live in the same way as before.  I tried to be the person I was before I dug out the root. It didn’t work. I felt fake and like a liar all the time. I tried to mask it. That just wasn’t me.  I held on to other lies in the midst of that season.  “I can’t let anyone see me weak.” “I have Jesus, I can’t be sad.”

The deepest wounds don’t heal overnight and not on their own.

You can’t self-heal. These wounds take care and procedures, medicine and rest, giving the place of the wound a break from the constant stress and strain of use.  Funny thing though, just as it is really hard to do a medical procedure on yourself, we won’t be able to remove the hook on our own.  Mostly we won’t get all of the root.    Healing comes in time.  And often you aren’t the same afterwards.

It’s like I needed a physical therapist for my heart. I needed someone to show me how to be wounded and yet still heal.

What it took was, first to say it out loud, to tell my people.  And to be honest, it was to find the people that I could trust to help, to walk with me as I continued to do the work.  It was the people that I could be broken around and they accepted and even welcomed my brokenness.

So many of us are walking around wounded and broken, looking to the things of the world to heal.  We busy ourselves, try to live out of old patterns, and just get through. Waiting for the next weekend, next vacation.  We distract ourselves from dealing with the wounds.

Friends, don’t wait, don’t hold back.  Don’t wait until the wound is infected.  Dig it out now.  And don’t do it alone.  The enemy wants us to believe that we have to live alone in our pain and brokenness.  That because of that we aren’t love and accepted.  But we are…we are chosen and loved and welcomed in. Brokenness and all. Not because of anything we did, but because of the one who opened the door for us, the one that has the power to dig out those roots and help us establish new ones.

Speak It Out Loud

So many of us are walking around with words from childhood still taunting us as adults.  We make decisions based on a belief about yourself that maybe started with a few simple words. “You aren’t that smart.” “You are a quitter.” “You don’t belong here.” “You’re ugly.”

Words have power.  Power to change a moment. Power to change a mind. Power to make someone believe.  Power to numb a spirit.

I don’t have to convince myself.  Words that are said out loud can break a heart, can pivot someone’s life. Think about when someone tells really good news, “I said yes.” Or when your child says “I love you, mommy.”  Those words mark moments.

Even more so words that you don’t say have even more power.  The words that you speak to yourself in moments no one is listening or that your mind speaks to your soul. This could be those words that were spoken good or bad over you as a child.  

matt-botsford-197870-unsplash

But as I think of power of words, I know that God’s word carry even more effect.  God’s words have the power to move mountains, devastate nations, and part seas. God’s words created the heavens and the earth and then he declared them good.  He spoke those words over this earth and us in it. Think about what his words can do for our hearts.

When we speak God’s word over ourselves and others, in those moments of unbelief, doubt, fear or pain, he opens our heart, shakes away the dust so it can beat again.

He was just a guest speaker at church.  But in the middle of a sermon that I can’t remember, he started repeating the phrase, “God loves you.” “God LOVES you.” GOD loves you.” “God loves YOU.” He captured our eyes and said it to us, like little children, we soaked up that reassurance from who had lived on this earth longer than us, with more wisdom and perspective.  Like a small child with a tear stained face needed to hear precious, kind words with eagerness. Not a single dry eye could be found.

Those words.  God loves you.

The words that I need to hear and soak in everyday. I don’t realize that I need them, until I hear myself saying things like:

  • “If I could just get my life together.”
  • “I just need to be more disciplined.”
  • “I should trust God more.”
  • “I don’t know where I went wrong to end up here.”

Most of these are conditional statements.  That idea that you are more worthy of God’s love if you were just a better person. Or life is better if we just live up to some crazy standard. These are behavioral statements. As if by being more obedient we can make God love us more.

The miracle we experience everyday is that God knows exactly who we are.  He knows all of the terrible things we have every thought or done and still said, “I sent my Son to die on the cross, to absorb all my wrath, so that I can be close to you.”

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:8

He doesn’t love us because we are his hands and feet.  He doesn’t love us because we reflect who he is to others.  He doesn’t love us more for following his commandments. He doesn’t love us because we go to church or don’t or vote one way or the other.  He doesn’t love us more or less because we make good or bad choices.

No, he loves us because he loves us because he loves us because he loves us.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

As I sit here on a rainy day, contemplating some hard things in my heart, I know that a shift happens in my thinking when I rest in the truth that God loves me.  A powerful shift happens in my hopefulness, in my outlook, in my desire for what God calls me to. A shift happens in my heart toward God.

His love unmotivated, unprompted, because that is just who God is.  We need to speak those out loud to ourselves and to others. We come to God to hear about how much he loves us, and that love will transform our hearts.  Not the other way around.

So what if you told yourself, or someone in your life, that God loves them.  Just the way they are, in the mess, in the muck of their life. How many of us need to hear those words over and over again, especially in a world that shouts that we aren’t enough, that we need to hustle harder, that with these 5 steps you can make your life better.  Especially in a world that is angry right now, that is divided, that is crying out for a balm for bleeding wounds.

“Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offenses.”  -Proverbs 10:12

What if we were just able to say, God loves me, God loves you, no matter where you are, no matter how far you are, but he loves every single part of you, especially the broken parts.

kristina-litvjak-50445-unsplash

It feels trite to say, but only if you say it once.  Say it again and again and again. Saying it like you are desperate to believe it.  Because to be honest, I don’t always. I doubt it, I question it, I stumble over the fact that God loves me.  I stumble over the power of those words, that all my mess and brokenness are loved by the Sovereign God of the Universe.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Photo by Kristina Litvjak on Unsplash