It is simply amazing to me how Jesus can remake all of the brokenness in our lives. He takes what the enemy means for evil and repurposes it for His own glory. As an creative type person, I strive to find ways to reflect His truth in my work. Here is a peek at one of the ways I do that. Enjoy!http://youtu.be/kRHXyFQD_cw
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Most people are familiar with the story of Cinderella. She is the unfortunate step-daughter of an uncaring woman. She wears dirty raggedy old clothes because that is what she has been given. Her stepmother uses this as a tactic to try and define who she is. She is told that she is unworthy of attending the grand ball hosted by the king, She doesn't even have a new gown appropriate to wear in the presence of royalty.
Cinderella has a glimmer of an idea and makes a new dress for herself which her stepmother & stepsisters quickly rip to shreds. Just when she finds herself utterly hopeless, her fairy Godmother shows up and provides for her with not only a fancy ball gown but everything she needs to go to the party.
Now imagine for a moment that Cinderella decides that she doesn't need to take off her old dress after all. She chooses to reject the gifts she has been given and do it on her own. She decides to keep wearing her own old rags and goes to the palace and seeks entrance. Do you suppose that she is going to be successful? It would be silly to think that she wouldn't use the gifts she was given.
Similar to Cinderella's fairy Godmother, Christ gives us everything we need to live a spirit filled life when we come to Him.
"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift."(Ephesians 4:7 NASB)
The enemy, like the evil stepmother, does everything he can to try to convince us that we are unworthy, our identity will always be wrapped up in who we were before. And unfortunately, many of us are deceived by that and choose to try to do it our own strength. Some of us continue to wear the old rags because they are familiar. The thought of having everything we need just given to us is difficult for us to comprehend so we buy into the thought that we don't need a new identity to be successful if we just try a little harder. We make self sufficiency our best friend.
However, in Ephesians Paul tells us we must remove those old clothes, that former identity and put on what Christ has provided for us:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)
Please know that Christ thought you were so valuable that you were worth dying for. Every good and perfect gift is available to you but you must choose to accept them and allow them to transform your life.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
There weren't construction workers, there were priests, neighbors, gold smiths, officials, daughters & temple servants all involved in the repairs, they all had a part to play in it.
Likewise, today we all have a part in sealing up the breaches where the enemy comes in to attack the family of God. Our shovels and trowels have just been replaced by the word of God, prayer and ministry.
The place that you are called to build up may be families, teens, children, women, men, drug addicts, sex trafficking, abused, elderly and so on. Be prepared to jump in and tear down the rubble first though. You must to have a solid foundation to rebuild on. It may take time to uncover all of the lies of the enemy and replace them with God's truth. This happens through love and relationships. Genuinely caring and pouring our lives into those God places in our lives is the best place to start.
Remember also that the inhabitants of the city were not working on the barrier because construction was their trade but rather they saw the need for and value in the safety the wall provided and they were willing to jump in and be a part of it rather than say "oh that's not my job". Many of them just worked in front of their homes & neighborhoods, others took on greater responsibilities. Be open to hearing from God what your part is and willing to follow through beginning with what is right in front of you. We are all called to build the kingdom of God.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Made For Battle
As Christians, we are made for battle. God's word tells us clearly that we will have trials and tribulations, or in today's vernacular, challenges and struggles.
"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm." Ephesians 6:13
The enemy can NOT win unless we give up, however, sometimes we don't throw in the towel but we do back away from the battle, we retreat to what we think is a safe place and we find that the struggles seem to ease up, the challenges appear to be a bit easier. We convince ourselves that we can take a break without losing any ground. What we don't realize is this is a tactic of the enemy, if he can't get us to surrender, he'll trick us into a powerless position. Much of our skirmish take place in prayer and study. We need to be on the offense and prayer puts us there. Our goal needs to be to continually march forward into the the battles laid before us. When we do, we grow and learn personally but we also make a way for those around us to step into their battles.
There may be times when we are overwhelmed and flat out exhausted, when we do not even know how what or how to pray for ourselves. This is why God calls us to live in community with other believers and why He calls us to me merciful, compassionate and full of grace for one another. When we find ourselves tempted to run for the hills, we need to instead sound the alarm. If we will share with our trusted brothers and sisters in Christ, they can come along side of us or maybe even surround us and battle on our behalf until we are strong enough to join back in. This way, no ground is lost, the enemy gains nothing on us.
Yes the victory is God's and in the heavenlies, it is already secured but we must still do our part, for ourselves, for our children, for the less fortunate, for the lost and wayward. Our role is vital and God has given us every tool we need to be successful and advance the battle lines for His glory. Be alert, be aware, be willing to sound an alarm when needed and be ready to respond to the battle cry of those around you.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
A Mother's Joy
This is my son's senior year in high school. He is a part of the marching band, serves on the loading crew, participates on UIL teams, and is the Debate Club President. In many ways, he is not unlike his peers, but I am delighted that he has found so many activities that he enjoys and so many places where he belongs. In spite of his many activities, I was quite surprised and excited to find out that he had been selected as a nominee for Homecoming King.
It is probably safe to say that most, if not all, parents would be beaming with pride and joy to have a child nominated for the Homecoming Court. So naturally, why would I be any different and why am I making such a big fuss about it? Some people may think it is from a place of parental bragging rights or some sort of assumed status, but in all sincerity, for me it comes from an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude. There was a time when my son's future did not seem to have such a wonderful outlook.
You see, when he was just two-and-a-half, he received a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. At that time, he had no communication skills whatsoever. He would not speak, he would not make eye contact, he wouldn't even point to things he wanted or needed. And if that wasn't enough to scare a mother of a small child, he also had uncontrollable meltdowns almost daily caused by a sensory processing disorder and our inability to understand what he needed.
Before his diagnosis, I had imagined grand things for him. I envisioned that he would be a great pastor, godly politician or honorable military leader. I dreamt of great and mighty things he would accomplish. So the news that he might never speak, might never develop social skills, might not ever be independent blindsided me in a way I never could have anticipated.
With a little time of processing this news, I came to realize that I needed to mourn the loss of my expectations for my child in order to really accept him for who he was and then become the best advocate and cheerleader for him that I could be. I might have had to lay aside my expectations but I refused to give up my hope that he might live a rich and rewarding life. One in which he would love and know love. One in which he would know purpose and be able to contribute to the lives of those around him.
It's been a long, and often challenging process, but as my husband and I looked for ways to help meet his needs, always pushed for what was in his best interest and educated everyone who had influence in his life about his challenges, we have seen him grow and blossom. Often times it required us to nudge him just outside of his comfort zone so he could learn what he needed to and gain confidence. Of course, we had lots of help along the way: family, church family, para professionals, and many teachers have all contributed to his success. We certainly could not have done it without them. The progress he has made is truly awe inspiring. Most people who meet him now never suspect he has an Asperger's diagnosis because he has come so very far.
So why exactly did his Homecoming nomination matter so much to me? Mostly words fail me, I feel my chest is going to burst at the seems with a joy I can not contain. There is no way to describe how amazing it is when something you thought could never be becomes a reality. But in the simplest way I can express it, I guess it is because it is the evidence that he is well liked and sociable, that he fits in and does make a difference and an impact in the lives of his peers. It is the fulfillment of so much more than I hoped for and it is the soft whisper of God to my heart that says "See, I am not done with him yet."
I think I will continue to believe great and mighty things for his life.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I love it when The Lord reminds me of a lesson He has been teaching me. I don't think I will ever master some of them this side of heaven and that's why I need reminders. Today's reminder came from listening to my favorite morning show on the radio, KCBI with Jeff & Rebecca. I only get to listen for about 20 minutes in the car as I am taking kiddos to school and I always enjoy every minute of it. It is often a source of inspiration as it was today. I had been wondering what I was going to blog about and on this morning's program was one of those reminders.
As a child, I had an abusive step-father for many years. He often said these words to me: "You are so stupid! You are never going to amount to anything when you grow up." When he said this to me I would think "You just wait until I grow up and we will see who the stupid one is!" For a long time after, it seemed to me that I had been so strong in those moments, that I hadn't allowed his hateful words to crush me.
Over the years I have come to realize that, although I wasn't crushed by his statements, I was indeed broken because I felt compelled that I needed to prove him wrong. What he said about me couldn't be right and I would not allow it to be. That's a lot of pressure to put on one's self. It may look like confidence but it becomes bondage because when you are always striving to prove someone wrong, you are never free to just be who God created you to be.
That bondage also carried over into other relationships for me. I ended up in conflict with someone at a church I attended over something I was sure God had called me to do. This wasn't something I had taken lightly, I had sought counsel and prayed over it. Since I was already carrying this big chip on my shoulders, I was deeply wounded and offended when my motives were misjudged and I wanted to rise up and prove them wrong. God calls us chosen, blessed, redeemed. He wants us to step out in faith to minister to others. He gives us gifts and talents to do that so I also wanted to prove what God says about me was right. That there was a calling on my life. Because if I could prove God right, then that would definitely prove my ex-step-father wrong.
As I struggled with this "I'll show you mentality", God began to reveal to me that He already knows my heart. He knows all of my thoughts. He is my perfect judge and advocate. He is my redeemer, creator, loving father. And then He impressed upon me that I do not have to prove anyone else wrong, because God knows the truth anyways and what do man's opinions really matter? We are not to seek our affirmations from the people around us, we are to look to Christ for our identity, (Galatians 1:10). I also do not have to prove God right either. He is sovereign, almighty, all powerful. What can I possibly do to defend His honor that He can't do a million times better. What can I possibly do to force His purpose to be fulfilled in my life in my timing? Nothing at all. He is the author and perfecter of my faith, my calling, the purpose He has for my life. He simply calls me to submit to being remade in His image and to follow His lead. He is calling you to the same.
God loves you! It doesn't matter what the world thinks or what you are unfairly criticized for as long as you are chasing after Christ. There is nothing any amount of striving can accomplish so believe what God says about you and REST in it. You don't have to prove anything, you don't have to prove anyone wrong and you don't have to prove God right either.
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession..."
1 Peter 2:9a NASB
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
My life tends to be messy. It has almost always been that way. I have been told by a few that it is messier than what many people’s lives are and yet I know that is not as messy as others. Some of it is my own doing, consequences of my sin and bad choices. More of it is the fall out of the sin of other people in my life and a portion of it is just plain old circumstantial, a part of the journey.
For a very long time I have had this perception that life just isn’t suppose to look like this. I have thought that if I work hard enough to reach my goals and dreams, if I love God enough and am faithful to chase after Him, if I serve Him well then life will be far less messy, I would have everything I think I need and this journey would become easier. Because of things I experienced as a child, I have had it stuck in my head that it is all, always, my responsibility, if I don’t do this and that and all of the other things, life will always be this way with the next mess happening before the last one is ever cleaned up and it will be my fault when it does.
I never had the opportunity to learn how to just “be” as a child. An enormous amount of responsibility was thrust on me at an early age and as a result I have spent the majority of my life thinking that who I am is based on what I do instead of just being a child of God. Redeemed, rescued, saved by grace have never seemed like enough. Oh, I believe that my salvation is secure but I have struggled with the fear that all this mess is meaningless unless I turn it into something bright and shiny and magnificent to bring God glory. I strive to clean up all the messes and attempt to get it all together so that I will feel worthy enough to be who He created me to be. Responsibility has become a stronghold and an idol, one that I am in the process of tearing down by admitting my limitations, by recognizing that I am very hard on myself, by acknowledging it’s not even within my power to make something out of it all. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
I am also learning to accept that this IS life, it is challenging, it is messy and that is okay. It’s okay for me to acknowledge my hurts and disappointments, then carry them to my Father in Heaven and exchange them for His truth and promises, His strength and His grace. God does want me to do my part but my responsibility is not the planning, doing and trying to control that I have made it. Rather it’s the sitting, waiting and trusting that God really means for it to be.
God doesn’t intend for me, or for any of us, to do by works what He wants to accomplish by grace. He wants us to bring all of the pieces of our life to him, to surrender them and allow Him to do as He will with them. Maybe He will make something magnificent and breathtaking out of it for all to see. But maybe, sometimes the really magnificent thing is the healing that He brings to our own hearts when we learn to live where grace and responsibility overlap, when we learn how to just be His child who daily brings to Him the messes of our lives, not out of any agenda of our own, but out of trust and faith that whatever He does with it, His plan is perfect.