Questions

A thousand thoughts racing through my head, yet none that seem coherent right now. Maybe it’s the time, busyness and exhaustion, or just the fact that I’ve birthed humans into the world, and “mom brain” should be allowed an excuse since one’s first conception.

Questions. I get asked a million a day it seems, yet the moment I try to think of a few asked recently to start this blog post, my mind goes blank. It seems that my oldest comes up with a whole new set of them as soon as she’s supposed to be in bed. Ugh. Not again. I’m not going to lie, she probably gets that from me. I’m always questioning everything. I wish knowing that gave me more empathy during the unending questions.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately how much God wants us asking questions and seeking. How much He wants us to be like little children, and little children are wired with a surplus of questions. I think it’s a problem when we get to the point that we don’t think that there are any questions left to be asking. If you don’t ask questions; you won’t seek. He promises that if we’ll seek; we’ll find. In the last few weeks, I’ve read “Face to Face with Jesus: A former Muslim’s extraordinary journey to Heaven and encounter with the God of love” by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene and “Only Love can Make a Miracle” by Mahesh Chavda (a former Hindu). Since Sunday, I’ve been reading “Something Other than God” by Jennifer Fulwiler (a former atheist). All three of them were seekers, wanting to know purpose and meaning in life. They were open and vulnerable, or at least got to that place over time.

I feel like no matter where I’m at, I’m always seeking more. I always have questions. It seems like so many don’t have questions and seem ok. I just don’t understand how others get to that place. When I feel complacent even for a little while, I feel like life seems so meaningless. I guess I don’t ever question whether God’s real, just because I’ve had some miraculous healings and experiences that I can’t deny. I feel like to deny He exists, is to deny myself in a way. I don’t know how to separate the two. I tried to once, but the hopelessness was so unbearable, that I didn’t think life was worth living. I realized that period of time stemmed more from being angry at God for allowing me to walk through years of what seemed like a dark tunnel with no end in site and what felt like an inability to breathe. I felt so incredibly uncertain of His love for me or my ability to improve anyone or anything’s quality of life at all. Thankfully, despite all that, God gave me a second chance, and a fresh new start. With that came even more questions. However, I’ve come to realize it’s good to be uncertain. Being uncertain keeps one humble, keeps one asking questions, and keeps one seeking. You can’t find what you don’t seek.

Keep. Asking. Questions.

Questions of Existence
Everyone’s bound to have an off day,
But what about more than two?
What if you spent the last few years
Realizing off-days are what got you through?

What do you consider an accomplishment?
How do you measure success?
What questions of life are you answering
When ignoring the Creator’s test?

Why do you drown out the silence
Whenever your thoughts run too deep?
Why do you ignore Purpose’ whisper
When asking you to take faith’s leap?

Why does loneliness hurt you so?
Seeking happiness from meaningless lovers
And when you find they’re just as selfish
You go searching for another?

And how do you view yourself?
Is happiness only found with perfect body size?
Then why are countless models killing themselves
After listening to society’s lies?

Have you ever wondered what you’re seeking
When your soul always hungers for more?
What are your reasons for living
When you have nothing you would die for?

Is life supposed to be an endless chase
To reach happiness on the “come-and-go?”
And while going this false route
Why does your conscience hurt you so?

Is life meant to be this painful?
Is love supposed to hurt?
After living your meaningless life
Do you just decay into dirt?

When you don’t know where you’re heading
Which direction should you go?
Are these questions you’d like to keep asking
Or would you really like to know?

And if someone found true answers
Would you take it as reason enough?
And would you be willing to keep on going
When the going gets real tough?

And what if one that found Truth
Said Jesus is the only way
Would you follow ’til it wasn’t so easy
And then again be led astray?

And now that you’ve heard truth
Have you counted the cost?
Between a life of gain
And a life always lost?

What’s it going to be,
Your response to His call?
Will you live a life worth living?
Or one worth nothing at all?

-R.A.D.

On Learning

I love this guy & his intelligence! When Bella first chose to do schoolwork rather than take naps when she was 4- those were her 2 options & I was kind of hoping she would choose a nap originally 😉 & I had read most of the book “How to Teach Your Baby Math”, I had learned a lot about how kids learn & actually crave learning, but the way we usually teach & our attitude towards education makes them start losing interest. I usually tried to make things fun for her & the days we were having bad days, we just skipped it as she wasn’t even kindergarten age yet & there was no pressure. There have been some days as she has gotten older where I would tell her we might have to work through the harder times or work through something she started even if it’s not so fun to teach perseverance, but for the most part, learning should be fun! When Bella went to a good school with a waiting list as a kindergartener, the teacher told me that she’s so far above everyone else that she had to come up with extra stuff for her. Most kids were learning the abc’s & trying to memorize a few sight words while Bella was reading American Girl books on her own & very fluently. Bella would always tell me how all the kids in her class started going to her to ask how to spell words rather than her teacher. 😛 (She had an AWESOME teacher so definitely not knocking her in any way at all!) One of my favorite memories though was when they got a picture of all the students & were supposed to describe everyone. For almost every single kid she would say beautiful or nice or handsome or funny & for herself she put “smart” & was so proud to show me it. (Not so fun dealing with just how “smart” she can be & thinks she is though some days- still working on the humility thing at times & feel like I’m already dealing with a teenager… 😉 😛 )

However, as I started this homeschool year for what I consider the technical first time though she was taught a lot already at home just not really school age, I started putting so much pressure on myself to make homeschool like what I grew up with in school. There was so much busy work involved. My kids were no longer enjoying learning & I was putting so much pressure on them to complete so many different assignments when originally they begged for the curriculum books at Costco & couldn’t wait to do those the same night we got them on their own on top of their other school work. It was as though I forgot all I had learned the more pressure I put on myself to get different books completed to have something to show for what they were “learning”. My 7 year old daughter whose favorite movie in kindergarten was Akeela & the Bee (a spelling bee movie where Bella kept asking how to spell every ridiculously long word that after a while I told her I don’t know to look over & see her writing every word down in a notebook! *haha*) & who absolutely loved learning, writing books, art, reading on her own, & just learning anything she could get her hands on, started dreading it. She started misspelling words in definitions she even copied from the book & hated for me to look at her work as I was quick to point out her mistakes as I didn’t understand how she of all people could be struggling with that as she originally LOVED spelling. I was absolutely killing their love for learning. Austin already had enough of a hard time with wanting to know as much as Bella did but not realizing how much work we put in to get her there & he just started absolutely refusing to do schoolwork some days because he dreaded it so much. I’m not one to take that attitude from my kids, but nothing was cutting it. I told Drew I could “spank him to death” metaphorically speaking & it would do nothing for this & there’s not much of a fitting punishment I could think of. I started praying & just had absolutely no idea what to do. Wanting to do what I set my heart on well, I felt like a failure. I didn’t want them to go to public school with the common core, I couldn’t sign up for a parental involvement school where you volunteer so many hours per kid with nursing my youngest & being unable to bring him, & we just didn’t feel like we could realistically pay for a Christian/private school. I felt absolutely stuck & at the end of my rope. People would think that I was this amazing mother because I was homeschooling here which isn’t as common as it was at our last church (where I didn’t fit in so much sending Bella to a good but public school there… I just don’t fit in anywhere 😉 ) , & all I could think about was how they didn’t know me clearly because I felt like I was a failure. I wanted to be transparent with my failure, but it’s one of those things where people think you’re just being modest & I really wasn’t. I just was failing. Period. I was taking my kids’ love of learning & squashing it. You pretty much can’t fail teaching more than making your students hate learning. I started crying out to God at that point & sometimes just crying to be honest. I don’t know why it often takes me getting to the end of my rope (“I’m at the end of my rope & now it’s starting to show that if I’m going to survive, I’m gonna have to let go”… Seven Day Jesus 😛 ) & why I continually try to be self-dependent by this stage of my life, but it does & God’s still working on me in that area…

It wasn’t until that point of realizing that something has to change & feeling at the end of my rope that I started cutting their load almost in half & telling them after reading, a bit of math, throwing in some more cooking “classes” for those who wanted to learn, & once a week a verse for them to copy to practice spelling & penmanship & their daddy reading to them from a history book occasionally at night (& sometimes a few other things but these were the more consistent ones) & telling them they can go play more often after their work that I started seeing them THRIVE again. Austin seemed to figure that was more doable & stopped refusing to work & often wanted more! He ended up finishing the entire Kindergarten & 1st grade curriculum books from Costco a month before school ended & LOVES math! Before I changed my ways, he could maybe read around 10-20 words a minute on a good normal day & seemed to greatly struggle with MAJOR dyslexic tendencies not only passed his Victory Drill Book with 72 pages that get much harder by the end, but starting the 2nd time around started reading around 60 words/min. consistently (shorter words that they hope kindergarteners can read around 25 words/min. & improve by 5-10 words/min. each year) & Bella was reading around 80 words/min. consistently in list form even through the more difficult pages, though had gotten 109 words/min. at one point (they hope to 100 by 5th grade) & I realized in paragraph form she read even more & wanted me to time her & she passed 200 words/min.)! Instead of dreading writing assignments, she came to me with excitement the other month & told me she had such a great idea for a book & wrote 4-5 chapters with around 11 pages each within 2 DAYS & made her own book cover! I started seeing how much she loves fashion (& often ask her advice when I’m having a hard time deciding 😉 ) & just tried to let her know I think she has a gift that if she wanted to develop, i would support her work. She has now learned some sewing & crocheting thanks to asking her aunts Laurie & Laura, a tiny bit of help from me in the sewing part from my youtube learning, & thanks to her Aunt Becky & her headband-making skills & supply of headband stuff as a birthday gift & my fabric glue, has made her own money selling headbands for “$1 or more” as she says to her customers around the neighborhood. 😉 haha. She also LOVES to cook & made banana bread mostly by herself the other day. I have so many more examples from both of them, I could go on & on.

I’m honestly not trying to brag at all, because clearly I was squandering their love of learning for at least half a year & holy cow am I aware of my kids’ issues because they are definitely not perfect & have just as many issues as the next person along with myself. I was so excited to homeschool at first with all the ideas I had, but then just resorted to “dry” teaching & what I’ve seen a lot at schools & honestly, I had some pretty amazing teachers that did their best with some of the textbooks they had to work with. I started finding out more about Charlotte Mason this year & her work as well & so recommend “The Charlotte Mason Companion” & “How to Teach Your Baby Math” I mentioned before which is actually a fascinating book that talks about how babies & kids learn. Until they get into the nitty gritty details, it’s a super fast, really interesting, & enjoyable read. 🙂 I just wanted to share for anyone else who has thought about homeschooling & was overwhelmed by that thought or who is homeschooling & dealing with similar issues. There is hope! Educationally speaking, I am by no means qualified to be a teacher. I didn’t even technically finish the whole first year of college as I stopped showing up to some classes the last couple of weeks when we thought originally we were getting married that summer & I was trying to finish paying off all my school loans & to help with our wedding & figured I didn’t need it to be a stay at home mom or artist or writer that I wanted to be. I don’t even technically know how many college credits I have as I didn’t take all the finals because of that fact so, not sure if my credit hours actually counted. I have taught kids how to read following some of the steps I remember from a super amazing teacher i had in first grade who stayed after school to teach me & a few others who were behind how to read after I learned no phonics at a public school & The Victory Drill Book (the best phonics/reader book I’ve come across & HIGHLY recommend). I worked my way up to be a paraprofessional the first year of my marriage though they usually use people with at least 2 years of college & it was amazing seeing the improvement of some of the troubled kids I assisted. People have seen some of my kids’ work & complimented me, but honestly, I feel like they’ve learned more the less strict I’ve become (as far as learning, still strict in other ways 😉 ).  Here‘s another amazing video which also only confirms that theory.

I think we put so much pressure on ourselves & our kids wanting the best for them or just by feeling the need to compete with others & their kids as validation for ourselves. I hope me sharing about my kids isn’t another thing for others to feel the need to compete with. I completely know that struggle. The more kids I have, the less pushy I am with their learning as I know they’re all different, it takes time, & frankly, they need to have the drive themselves to enjoy it. My youngest is now a little over 14 months old & just doesn’t want to walk on his own quite yet. My oldest would fall down & get herself back up & keep challenging herself on her own & started walking at 10 1/2 months. They’re all different. I figured my youngest just wants to exercise his brain a little more with his crawling. 😉 haha. It is hard though, as a parent, & especially as a Christian parent with a strict upbringing that’s always been taught to “train up a child in the way he should go & when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It’s so incredibly hard to not put so much pressure on ourselves or our kids to validate us. It feels like an ongoing struggle for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a stay at home mom & even more so a homeschooling stay at home mom now that I feel like they’re basically the work I have to show for, but I feel like it’s at least partly a universal feeling. Obviously, there is so much judgement on the mother when kids do anything to act up. It’s all over the media & parenting is just so tough in general. I used to have the verse “A tree is known by its fruit.” on our family branch at our old house, & at our new house, I made a family tree, & I told Drew, I don’t want to put that verse because I don’t want people to think that some of the attitudes & actions our kids are portraying come from me. 😉 haha. A super sweet dr. lady at the wellness center I had to go to for a while was telling me some amazing feats her son had accomplished, & I remember complimenting her by saying how much that speaks about her as a mom. She said something along the lines of how heavy of a burden that would be to carry for a person & how he did that all on his own accord & how he’s a person just like anyone else. He’s made some bad choices & mistakes as well as good ones & he’s a whole different person. To carry the burden of another person & their choices is too heavy of a load for anyone to carry. Those weren’t her exact words & I so greatly wish I had a recorder to record her wisdom, but I couldn’t help but try to glean from it. It’s such a hard thing to remember at times, but I want to always remind myself of it when my kids make bad choices at times which they often do, it’s not a direct reflection of me & that I need to stop being so harsh with myself when they do that in fear of what other people think of me.

I never really considered myself to act as a fearer of people as I try to conquer those types of fears at least; however, the more kids I have, the more aware I am of how much we stand out & the media’s portrayal of bigger families (4 isn’t even that many no matter what people say & I happen to love a lot of way larger families!) & of course the more accidents that are made, the more messes that happen, & the more my patience & anger & self-control is tried, & frankly, I got a lot of crap to work on & all these kids just make it all the more obvious. I mean, I could just have less kids & not have as many issues brought to the surface, but then less issues would be brought to the surface that I need to let God shine His light on. Plus, whatever I allow God to teach me, hopefully my kids will learn even sooner & better & become world changers like this world absolutely needs. That is my hope. I am so far away from being the perfect parent a couple people have told me lately. In fact, I lost my temper a LOT today due to a lot of sleep-deprivation from painting my friends’ cabinets the last few days & apologized a lot, but I basically told the kids to not look at each other or talk to each other or be near each other quite a bit today after they continually fought & told on each other for looking at each other & hurt each other. Then after they settled down a bit & I could barely keep my eyes open, let them watch a movie while I napped before painting again. So yeah, far from a perfect parent. Yet, God still showed me so much grace as even after all that, Austin told me “you’re the best mom ever” & hugged me. *Phew*, my eyes are tearing up thinking about my reactions to them & his reaction to me- after he got out his anger for his sisters & my reactions of course. 😉

Blah blah blah… about that teaching & what becomes from my lack of sleep apparently 😉 , all this is to say, what I’m learning & hopefully teaching, is to allow some grace. I have only the weight of carrying my choices. Yes, parenting well & training them up in the ways of God are absolutely encouraged, but these little kids are people. They were granted free will that’s often selfish just like the rest of us. God doesn’t control our every action & He isn’t a bad Father just because His children make bad choices. I need to cut myself some slack when my kids make bad choices. It’s not necessarily a reflection on me just like my lack of making good decisions isn’t a reflection on God. This might not seem like it has to do with the learning I started speaking about, but eh, it’s what I’m learning lately. Learning doesn’t end just because school does, and learning often happens outside of school. I just know that I know from speaking with others & feeling the weight myself how easy it is to pick up the weight of the little people in our lives not just physically but metaphorically speaking. There is hope when it comes to parenting. Our little people can become world changers & if you want, you can be an amazing teacher. We often need to take the pressure off of ourselves to perform & our kids to perform up to the world’s standards (ha…standardized tests :-P) to uncover the gifts that are waiting to be developed right in front of us. And honestly, who doesn’t want to know more about the things we’re passionate about? I can easily get addicted to watching HGTV or listening to good music or good poetry or truth being shared. We want to develop our passions. That’s natural. What’s unnatural is how much we’ve tuned out our passions for “living” & how much we’ve tuned out learning for “education”.

PASSION DRIVE
Passion gives life to my soul
To not live out of it
Would put death to my life’s role
Why do people choose routine?
Why live life so serene?
When passion wishes to take the scene
And I know that each attempt I would make
To live a life so fake
Would never be me
I refuse routine
As my false identity
Passion drives me
It’s what I live for
Nothing less
Nothing more
Passion’s taking over me
I’m not putting my life in cruise control
Passion is the engine of my soul
The tire,
That will have its roll
The wheel,
That’s taking control
It drives me
-R.A.D. (a poem I wrote as a teen…technically as RAJ 😉 )

Random Thoughts

625449134810a0c8ae7be761a0ed627dI had a very vivid dream this morning followed by some random thoughts that I can’t get out of my head so thought I’d share. It was just going to be the first paragraph or so on a status & kept growing so here it is on my site. 😉 This is to no one in particular-for real- just in general & to myself even.

If you feel like you HAVE (meaning you have absolutely no desire to, but feel the need to, not that you must because of a great desire) to share the gospel, maybe you still need to hear it yourself. The gospel by its very definition means GOOD NEWS. If what you have to share isn’t good news, then it’s not the gospel & could very well be intermixed with the shackles of a religious mindset. I don’t know about other people, but when I have good news, I have a really hard time holding it in. The people who were touched or healed by Jesus in the Bible did too- even when He told some to try to keep it to themselves or just share with their family. That’s just what good news does. It begs to be shared. The people who have it have a hard time keeping it in & the people receiving it usually want to hear it.

Jesus is the desire of the nations (Haggai 2:7). The nations DESIRE Him. If you’re a Christian; at one point, you did too. Remember the darkness you were in when you first heard of Him, & put yourself in other people’s shoes. We were comforted in order to comfort others. Share what He did for you, & in so doing, wants to do for somebody else. There is NO one too far gone-even yourself. If you have a hard time believing it over yourself, but would never tell that to anybody else, maybe you need to forgive yourself. I know I do & have had to many times.

“The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.” In Revelation, the saints overcome the accuser of the brethren (Satan), by the blood of the Lamb & the word of their testimony. Nobody can take your testimony from you. That’s your personal experience. Many would love for it to be shared! As I’ve shared before, when I was around 6, I broke my collarbone so badly that the dr. told me he wasn’t sure if it would fully heal. I went to a church that night with my mom & people were sharing their testimonies how after being in a drought, their nation repented & God healed their land. They had vegetables bigger than people’s arms from what I remember. Nobody even prayed for me. I just thought while watching it that if God could do that for those people, surely He can heal my arm. As soon as I thought that, He did. I felt it & raised my arm with no pain & excitedly yelled without thought of where I was, “God healed me!” & remember the whole church gathering around me praising God for what He had done. That’s the power of the testimony of Jesus. If God did it for someone else, He can & wants to do it for you. Don’t be jealous over God’s blessings; receive them for yourself! God is no respecter of persons!

It’s not God’s will that ANY should perish. Jesus’ name means “God saves”. God doesn’t need us, but He WANTS us. God cared about us so much that He stooped down to our level & came in the form of a baby- Jesus, for the very reason to seek & save those who are lost. We’re ALL lost without Him. If you don’t believe that, then you’re believing a lie.

Also, if you’re wasting time accusing people who could be your brethren, you’re wasting your energy & might just be following the one you call your enemy as he is the accuser of the brethren. Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” My pastor just spoke about sectarianism yesterday & it’s probably the best word I’ve ever heard on it & a little of what I’ve been talking to my husband about lately after seeing different Christians accuse others of being false teachers. He shares it so much better than I could so please listen (part 6 when it’s added- it is OH SOOO GOOD, everything I’ve heard has been though-so feel free to listen to others as well!).

C.S. Lewis put it this way:
“Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.”

John 13:35 says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” I’ve seen a hurtful, manipulative status shared that has accused others of not being Christians just for disagreeing with the way to deal with Syrian refugees. Honestly, I’m on the fence with that one. I see wisdom on both sides regarding the issue. I don’t believe it’s ever been the government’s job to take anyone in. It’s the government’s job to protect us. I can see why so many people don’t trust our leader (though I do believe that God calls us to respect him in his position) & seeing his reaction to different governors wanting to protect their states has felt really manipulative. I do feel it is our Christian duty to love others & do unto them what we want done to us & maybe God is calling different Christians to invite others into their homes & love on them. If God is calling you to do that, please do. I don’t think it’s okay to force that on others though or to say they’re not Christian if they don’t feel the same way as you do on that. God has called different people to do different things. The legs of a body aren’t called to do the same things as the hands. We as Christians are the body of Christ. To say someone isn’t being a part of the body because they don’t feel called to do the same thing as another part of the body is just silly. If you’ve seen “Inside Out”, you should know that all the feelings are an important part of the body. 😉 We all need to work together & love each other. When we pick apart each other, we’re doing exactly what Satan wants us to do & isolating each other so he can attack easier. We lose our strength. There is strength in love, strength in joy, & strength in number. Don’t isolate others just because they’re called differently than you.

Along the lines of what my pastor shared yesterday, God is so big, we can’t even comprehend Him fully. We’ve only seen glimpses of God. Surely He can give others a different experience than we’ve had. Surely He can speak to others different aspects of Himself than He has to us. That’s why we need each other & to hear others’ testimonies to see more of the whole picture. Honestly, I’ve had a hard time understanding how God can give different people so much love for the refugees but not their own brothers & sisters in Christ. Frankly, if I were others looking in at how we’re treating our family, I wouldn’t want to be a part of it. Maybe your brothers & sisters are being Pharisaical. Maybe you are. Maybe I am. Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Maybe we should stop wasting our energy trying to decide who’s being what & doing the job they’re supposed to do & just focus on what we are called to do. I feel like I have to tell my kids that on a minute by minute basis at times! “Stop focusing on whether or not others are doing what they’re supposed to be doing & just make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.” I know I struggle with that at times, but I’m trying to improve & maybe these thoughts are doing the same things I’m saying not to do. I don’t know. I just know I’m called to love God & love others & share the things I feel like God wants me to share. I couldn’t shake these thoughts this morning & thought maybe I should share them. Maybe we are supposed to allow refugees over here, & maybe we aren’t. I don’t think calling other people who don’t agree with us not Christian is going to change anybody’s mind, & even if it did, it would be in a controlling, manipulative, unhealthy way & nobody would enjoy being led that way. We’re better than that. We’re God’s children & Jesus’ brothers & sisters as He’s the firstborn among many brethren. Maybe we should just do our best to follow His example, & in so doing, people will want to follow us, just like they wanted to follow Him. We just need to be making sure WE are following the way, the truth, & the life & leading others to Him. All else is just meaningless, joyless, perverse (devoid of truth). The truth sets people free. We are supposed to set people free as Jesus did.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Who doesn’t want to be free? I know I do. I think others do too. 🙂

One Heck of a Mess

for love covers a multitude of sins.

for love covers a multitude of sins.

“Would you like me to cut you up an apple too?” The words slipped from my mouth as I could hardly even recall the last time I had taken the time to do to my husband what I would want him to do for me. I remembered a moment in time several Christmases ago when as I was getting myself something to eat, I asked he & his friends if they would like something too. As one of his friends looked shocked, my husband said, “That’s just the kind of person she is.” Or something along those lines. And I was. For many years.

Somewhere along the way, I’ve started acting like an entitled brat.

There was a hard 8 years my husband put me through what seemed like hell in many ways. It wasn’t all that way, there were some good times he likes to remind me of when he thinks I only remember the bad. However, through the roller coasters of dishonesty, pain, & extreme selfishness & manipulation at times, it was hard to think that the good times weren’t somehow just a rug put over the accumulating mess that needed swept up. Somewhere along the way, God got a hold of my husband’s heart, & I was left dealing with the mess left behind because I had let my heart grow too calloused to ever allow God to disrupt my self-sufficiency. But the thing is, being self-sufficient isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s making a god of myself because I forgot that God cared about me anymore. It was thinking that I could take the reigns & do a much better job than He did.

But I couldn’t. I can’t. Nobody can.

For years, I tried to act like I could overcome all the mess. Like I could clean it up on my own. I did all the wifely duties & then some. I thought if I just did this & this, then my husband would love me. If I just do a little more, then he would appreciate me. I started playing my own manipulative games unaware of the enemy’s hands I was playing into. Looking in from an outside perspective, my husband didn’t deserve the treatment he was getting. If I were a guy, he would have been told he was lucky to have me. Being the girl in the family I grew up in, I was just doing what was expected of me. Which really didn’t help. When I was told by those who didn’t know all I did for him & all he had put me through how lucky I was if he helped out in the least, it made me furious at times. I wanted to share with them my story, what I had gone through. What I was put through. As though I had no choice in the matter. And truth be told, in ways, I felt very stuck. Like I had no choice.

My husband was dishonest about a lot of things until we were engaged. When I found out, I didn’t want others to think badly of him, & kept it to myself. Originally, I felt awful & then furious at Satan that my husband would think I wouldn’t accept him completely as he was, that he felt the need to hide who he was from me. But after getting blamed for his dishonesty due to my lack of trust at a time I was completely vulnerable, I was just blindsided. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I bottled it up. I lacked any knowledge about boundaries. As my findings of more dishonest areas grew, so did my confidence in the fact that God brought us together. I tried to run away from the relationship. I gave him back the ring many times & was just told to put it back on, & I did. Part of me knew I was supposed to marry him, but I knew it shouldn’t have been under these circumstances. And my lack of boundaries & my growing insecurities didn’t help. The rockier things became and the more lies surfaced, the more I wanted God to come through, & when it didn’t feel like He did, the more I started building a wall around myself to protect myself from the hurt. I felt if I couldn’t physically separate myself from the pain without leaving him & ruining our marriage & in a way, our kids’ lives through divorce, the only way I could stay in it, was if I mentally separated myself from it with my imaginary walls. The problem is, when you build a wall around yourself to protect yourself from pain, you also trap yourself from ever feeling love too. Or any good thing.

And I didn’t. For many many years. My walls became my prison. When I didn’t feel hurt, I felt numb. Nothing could get in. Or go out. My dreams became tormenting. I could literally feel when another lie was about to surface from the tormenting dreams I would go through, & my walls would go higher. If that’s not hell on earth, I don’t know what is. When my walls cracked & let some of the pain get in, I would get controlling. I wanted to control our circumstances because I felt like I physically, emotionally, & spiritually couldn’t handle another hit. And truth be told, I couldn’t. I was already in survival mode & I was drowning. I read once that a person with my personality’s body often manifests on the outside what they’re going through on the inside. It didn’t matter how controlling I became with my food or how much I withheld from myself or how much discipline & hard work I put my body through, my physical body went into survival mode. There was a point in time, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. And it wasn’t even the time I tried not to.

That’s what bottling in pain & becoming a victim can do to a person. It’s not pretty. It often feels like hell on earth. It’s scary to even admit I allowed myself to get so deep that I couldn’t even see the surface.

And the even harder part was having tasted intimacy with God in the past. If I didn’t know what could be, I might not know I was missing out on so much. But I had. To know how good & great God is, & then to go through almost a decade of intense tongue lashing flames with no God in sight, is agonizingly painful. I was ashamed of who I had become. I felt He would no longer accept me. I didn’t want to be where I was. Who would? I cried out to Him. I just cried at times. I tried and tried. And tried harder. Hoping He would accept me. Playing the same manipulative games with God that I started playing with my husband. GOD, PLEEEASE ACCEPT ME. LOVE ME. FORGIVE ME. I CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS! I NEEED YOU! The pain was unreal. I gave to Him, I gave to others, I obeyed all I knew how. I honestly wouldn’t wish what I was going through on my worst enemy, yet at times wished someone knew what I was going through so I could have someone who could relate. But all I felt was alone. And in a way I was. I was crying out to this wonderful amazing gentle lamb of a Father, yet all the while knowing He can seem like an untamed lion at times that could allow me to go through this dangerous “adventure” & I was too terrified to truly let my guard down. To let Someone so wild that didn’t have to answer my growing number of questions in. Knowing some questions might never be answered in this life. And I didn’t know if I could deal with that.

Yet despite my growing pharisaism, God completely ruined me one day in a good way. He burst right through my built up walls, and lavished His love on me in a way I can’t describe. I was literally trembling and a complete puddle of a mess for a whole day. He showed me the beauty He saw in me & what He imagined me to be despite the beast that was growing inside. He brought back this innocence and childlikeness I had long forgotten. I thought it was too wonderful to be true. Yet, it felt so real. More real than anything I had ever experienced. Too wonderful to experience on this earth that I thought He was going to take me to be with Him then. I wrote my family and some old friends just in case so they’d know what happened to me & what He had in mind for them as well. It might seem crazy, but nothing felt more real. When it happened, I knew that all I had gone through was for a reason & forgiving my husband & others seemed easy. I lost 14 pounds in the 2 days following just confirming what was going on spiritually & the burdens I was carrying so long were starting to be lifted after not being able to lose any weight for almost 2 years & going to doctor after doctor who couldn’t tell me why my body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients I was eating & one told me how I couldn’t fix all the problems I had physically even if I had all the money in the world.

But despite it being the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me & despite it giving my husband & I a second chance on our marriage, there was so much that happened after that made me afraid to ever let it happen again. I started realizing how much I cared about what others thought after all. I enabled a spirit of rejection to grow stronger than my love of God in my life, and the areas that I had swept up & cleaned, but not yet allowed to be filled with God’s love & His spirit, I only allowed something 7x more ugly to start growing in my life. And being put through a hard miscarriage, 2 cysts rupturing, being told by a dr. what I mentioned before, almost 11 weeks of bleeding & severe pain after my miscarriage worse than any of my natural full-term births, followed by a super busy reffing & athletic directing season on top of teaching my husband had, a super hard pregnancy I had, followed by all the changes mentioned in the last post, I have felt wiped. And while I’ve felt wiped, I haven’t given much thought to how any of this has affected my husband either. I’ve been too busy attending to my own wounds. Too busy trying to convince myself that none of the insecurities I feel have to do with my identity. Too busy trying to convince myself that while my security & stability seem to have been severely shaken, my husband’s a new person.

God got a hold of him.

My sister reminded me how all our lives we had a really nice grandpa. He made us feel so loved. He was married to our very bitter grandma who we never felt loved from. Apparently, he acted stupid early on in their marriage & the rest of their lives she could never forgive him. He grew up to be this amazing, loving family man, & the beauty she once possessed seemed long forgotten.

It’s kind of been passed on through the generations.

I don’t want to be like that.

My husband was stupid. Apparently, a lot of guys start out stupid. It takes a long time for some to grow up, even if they are 6 years older. But he has. He’s grown up. He’s become an amazing man. I don’t need to remind him how stupid he’s been. I don’t need to keep re-hashing all the negative years to make myself feel better about how far I’ve fallen or to allow myself to keep my victim mentality. If he’s allowed God to change him & I’ve seen him at his worst, then I can allow Him to change me too. You jump; I jump, hubby. 😉 I don’t need to be an entitled brat. Nobody should deserve what I went through, but in a way we’re blessed when we don’t get that. Only Jesus dying & paying our price has even made Heaven on earth & beyond attainable. My husband doesn’t owe me anything for all the years of selfishness & pain that affected me. And I don’t have to go the rest of my life acting like he does.

I want to love recklessly again. I want to break the chains of bitterness & unforgiveness of past generations. I don’t want to pass it onto my children. And boy, is it strong. But my God is stronger. 🙂 And God’s love can even pour through this dried up wasteland of a person I’ve become. He can make these dry bones live again. 🙂 And you know, giving is just the kind of person I am (as my husband once said)-the person God created me to be, that I’ve buried for so long. It’s time to let Love in-& you know, out too. 😉 And if He can do it through me, you better believe He can do it through you because I’ve been one heck of a mess.

 

~*Weathered Heart*~

You left your heart open
For far too long
Thought it was invincible
Couldn’t be more wrong

You didn’t use an umbrella
To shelter it from rain
You didn’t know storms
Could weather so much pain

Now you’re left
With a torn, weathered heart
You’ve tried to mend it some
But it’s easily torn apart

And your heart
Once thought to easily survive
Is just dying
Dying to stay alive

In an attempt to
Rescue itself from more pain
It closed itself up
To shelter floods of rain

And the door of your heart
Was shut to many-a helpful knock
And in order to survive
It would have to unlock

It would have to open up
To see blue skies again
And it would need to let the Son
Take the place of sin

It would have to risk dying
In order to survive
And it would have to open up
If it ever wanted to thrive

And with one last gasping
Breath of air
It cried out with strength
You never knew existed there

It cried out for mercy
It cried out for grace
It cried out for healing
To take place

It cried out for forgiveness
Of not opening up before
When the Helper chose
To knock on its door

And it opened up
Wider than ever
It chose to risk everything
If it was its last endeavor

And the floods came
And the rain
But it wasn’t like ones before
It washed away the pain

And the Son came
He helped your heart thrive
And with His help
Your heart will always survive

You leave your heart open now
Never to close
Sometimes storms may come
But they leave with rainbows

-R.A.D.

Identity Crisis

1234202_766438165028_1791408816_nThere’s been a huge identity crisis going on in our world. Not just in the world but in the church too, and I feel like part of the problem is coming from us in “the church”. For a long time, many in the church have put people on pedestals causing many to be shocked by sin, almost to the point that people feel afraid to even admit that they struggle with different sins. For too long, people have felt as though they need to put on a mask to even go to church or they will be judged un-rightly. Often this judgment is even worse for leaders as they are often put on the biggest pedestal of all. Yet, we often forget that the whole message of the gospel is the fact that we were deserving of death for our sins and yet, Jesus died for us WHILE we were still sinners and that our testimonies lie in His goodness and nothing that we’ve done or earned. Some of us have walked with God for a while, but have forgotten where we started on our journey. We’ve forgotten that while sin may be pleasurable for a season, it is absolutely miserable to feel as though God doesn’t care for us. It is that sin that makes us feel that we’re enslaved to something that is often a huge burden. We often act like the older brother of the prodigal son. It upsets us when God saves someone who clearly didn’t deserve His forgiveness, forgetting that we too never deserved it. This realization has been causing a rift among Christians. We oftentimes forget to extend the same grace to those who are in the place we just came from. Maybe you’ve never been guilty of that, but I know I have.

As wrong as I have been, I’ve been having an even harder time with so many Christians accusing others in the church of being unloving for calling a sin a sin. I feel like the church should be the safest place to be open and “come out” of whatever sin we’re struggling with. There, one should be able to get help from others who have been forgivensometimes for the very sins or temptations others are struggling with. I feel like Christians should be the most transparent and open and honest, and not be afraid to ask the most questions. These questions should lead us to seek; and when we truly seek God, we will find Him. I’m all for that. God’s all for that.

I’m all for loving everyone. God is love. The Bible tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We’re even told to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us, persecute us, use us, etc. As far as the Bible’s concerned, we’re not off the hook when it comes to loving any person. However, I never thought that calling sin what it is would be considered hateful and that defining someone by their sin would be considered graceful and loving. If anything, if someone were to define me by all the sins I’ve struggled with, I would feel discouraged, hurt, and hopeless. And if something in my life was causing a separation from God, I would hope that a loving friend of mine wouldn’t be afraid to point out what I was unaware of. All of us have struggled in some way or another. We’re all undeserving of God’s love. Right now, there’s been such an identity crisis going on that it’s understandable why the amount of people struggling with homosexuality and transgender issues seems to be on the rise. Why are so many struggling with these identity issues?

There are plenty of reasons for this. First, what used to be thought of as innocent child’s play and curiosity has now led many parents to believe that their child is gay. In an attempt to show love, they have accepted this belief and spoken it over their kids. Secondly, there are many more kids who are being raised in broken homes or who have been physically or sexually abused. Some are belittled at a young age for being “different” than what others consider the norm. Others feel undesirable among the opposite sex. Many are tempted with same sex attractions. Many don’t know how to have close friendships with boundaries. The media’s lies definitely haven’t helped, etc. (Not all of these things will lead to someone struggling with homosexuality. These are just some of the things that can clearly lead to that struggle and temptation and are clearly causing an identity crisis).

It’s really sad that so many are growing up not knowing who they are. Those same kids are being defined by their struggles and a lack of understanding on our part. For a long time, if you were to say to most Christians that a person is born gay, they wouldn’t have believed you. It was clearly a chosen lifestyle.

Somewhere along the way, many of us have accepted the notion that people are born gay.  I’ve actually heard some Christians who use the argument that we’re born sinners that I addressed yesterday so they guess some people can be born gay. There was a huge article written and shared by a Mormon (I think?) that was spread widely in the past year or so. He said that although he’s married to a woman, he knows he’s gay because he’s attracted to men, yet has never acted upon those attractions.  Obviously, there’s a difference between being tempted, entertaining and lusting after those thoughts, and acting upon them. As I addressed yesterday, if being tempted alone made someone a sinner, then Jesus would be considered one. Yet as the Bible says, Jesus was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. Being tempted just means we’re human. I always wonder if the people spreading the article would consider someone a liar who is tempted to lie, but has never lied?

When Christians use the same lie that people are born gay, we are only contributing to the bondage they are in. If God created people to be born gay, then it would be wrong for Him to ask them to go against their nature. The question then becomes, what is natural? What did God plan from the beginning? Is homosexuality what He had in mind for anyone?

Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:2, Matthew 19:4, and Mark 10:6 all say that in the beginning God made mankind male and female and Genesis 2:20b-25 goes on to say:

~*But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.*~

First off, the Bible makes it pretty clear that He created man to be male and female, and that a man and his wife-woman shall become one flesh.

Genesis 1:26-28 says:

~*Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”*~

Second, God tells man to be fruitful and multiply. Can homosexuals be fruitful and multiply?

In Ephesians 5:25-33 it says:

~*Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body,[a] of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[b] This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.*~

Third, not only does it share about husbands and wives/men and women becoming one flesh again, but also states how our marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church (which I agree, very few marriages look like today). Satan hates anything that is a picture of Christ’s love for the church, and it makes sense why marriages are under such an attack today.

But really, what does the Bible say about homosexuality in particular? I know many say that the verses stating that homosexuality is an abomination in Leviticus don’t qualify as they were mainly written for the Israelites and how not many people follow all of those laws anyway, so let me use some others.

Romans 1:18-31 says:

~*For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.*~

How are God’s invisible attributes clearly seen since the creation of the world and understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (what many refer to as the Trinity though it’s never mentioned in the Bible and the Godhead is mentioned three times)? Why would God say that people are without excuse because of this? What are God’s invisible attributes clearly seen and understood by the things that are made SINCE the creation of the world? Remember, Genesis 1:26-28 says:

~*Then God said, “Let Us (the Godhead) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.*~

In other words, man made in God’s image- male and female, being fruitful and multiplying, filling the earth and subduing it, and having dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth should clearly show His invisible attributes and His eternal power and Godhead since the creation of the world and it is understood by all that is made.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

What does natural mean? Some definitions from Merriam-webster.com says:

-existing in nature and not made or caused by people : coming from nature
-not having any extra substances or chemicals added : not containing anything artificial
-usual or expected
-based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice>

a : being in accordance with or determined by nature
b : having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature
-implanted or being as if implanted by nature : seemingly inborn
-having a specified character by nature

I could go on. If it wasn’t clear enough, a man and a woman’s body fits together naturally. Our God- our Creator, created us in a way we naturally fit together. It says that

~*…God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts (not love as many argue), to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen*~

And that BECAUSE man served the creature rather than the Creator, He gave them up to vile (evil) passions. What is a picture of those evil passions?:

~*For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust (not love) for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.*~

If God made nature and everything that is untouched by humankind is what is inborn and natural, and God made man in His image, male and female, then how could He have created people gay when it clearly says that goes AGAINST nature?

It goes onto say that God gave those who did not retain Him in their knowledge a debased mind to do those things which are not fitting (and lists all kinds of wrong-doings), but goes on to say, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Does God ever say that homosexuality is deserving of death besides in Leviticus twice and a few other times in the Old Testament? Here are just a couple of the times, though there are more.

1st Corinthians 6:9-10 says:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

1st Timothy 1:9-11 says:

“knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

Sodomite: a person who has anal sex with another person : someone who practices sodomy

Clearly, God is opposed to homosexuality. Clearly, it goes against what He intended. However, does that mean people who have chosen a homosexual lifestyle are without hope? Absolutely not! Ist Corinthians 6:9-11 goes onto say:

~*Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] (some translations even say those who practice homosexuality-showing that it is a choice once again) nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.*~

There’s hope! First off, since people aren’t born gay and it’s unnatural unlike being born as a man or woman, black or white (God’s variety is a beautiful thing!), He can lead us back to what He had intended in the beginning. He can and wants to wash us and sanctify us and justify us in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God of whatever sin is separating us from Him– and yes, one of those is homosexuality. Should we love homosexuals? Certainly! Like I said, we’re not off the hook to not love anyone. If anybody should be best at loving homosexuals, it should be us because we should know how undeserving we are of love and should be the most grateful. However, like I said, I don’t find it loving to ignore the fact that someone I care about is heading down a path that leads to separation from God and all sorts of other consequences. I also don’t find it loving to say they don’t have a chance to head down the right path because they were “born that way” and will not continue to speak that lie over them. And I most certainly don’t find it loving to define someone by their sins or struggles. If that person has asked for forgiveness, as far as I’m concerned, they’ve been clothed with Christ’s righteousness and God now sees Jesus when He looks at him/her. And did He not create us from the beginning in His image?

Me, faithless?

My youngest daughter looking skeptical...taken by her Aunt Laura. :)

My youngest daughter looking skeptical…taken by her Aunt Laura. 🙂

For the past year, I feel like God has been really challenging my faith. In essence, I’ve been challenged with questions such as “Do I really believe what I say I believe? Do I really believe God is who He says He is?” And not only that, but “Do I believe I am who God says I am?”

For so long, I have been faithless. Not faithless in a sense that I’m disloyal, but faithless in a sense that I’ve lost faith in God’s ability and my ability through Him. I lost faith in what He clearly says in His Word. I realized that everything I did, while they may have been “good” things, were really things that I could do on my own apart from Him-nothing I did really caused me to go beyond my ability into His ability. Yeah, I could work hard and maybe had talents that others might not have, but a lot of that can just come through hard work, practice, or might be said to be a hereditary trait. Anybody can come up with something to give to those in need, save their first kiss for their spouse, tithe, keep a nice house, etc. Although with young kids, the whole keeping a nice house is a little easier said than done. 😉 Anybody can even pray for the sick. Honestly, none of those things really require faith.

However, to speak healing over someone requires faith. To believe that I am the bride of Christ when I have been so faithless requires faith. To believe that I am dead to sin and alive to God requires faith. To believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He not only died for my sins, but all power over sickness and death was handed to Him and that He later handed all that authority to us requires faith. I could go on and on. I read today how He didn’t just say or rather, command us to pray for the sick, He told us to heal the sick. By the way, in those verses, He also tells us to raise the dead. Talk about requiring faith!

Like any good parent, God doesn’t do everything for His children, but rather equips us and gives us the tools we need to accomplish what He has commanded us to do. Yes, there are boundaries and rules just like in any loving household, because there are consequences when rules are broken. For instance, having a rule to not touch the stove top, is not to keep a kid from fun, but rather to protect them from being burned. A toddler might not understand that, but the older they get, the more understanding they’ll have. It would be unloving to just watch them do that without saying anything! However, it’s a sad state when the church speaks more about the rules and what not to do than about the loving Father behind those rules.

Colossians 2:20-23 says:

“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations  “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”  which all concern things which perish with the using–according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

When I was younger, I was fairly dramatic-ok, so not much has changed. 😉 As with most kids, there were many times I questioned my parents’ love for me, yet was given a lot of chores. I did them and would later write in my diary how I felt like they only had kids to be their slaves (pretty humorous and yet humbling to read my old journal entries). My mom used to even boast that she didn’t have just one dishwasher, but five and then would state our names. I was taught to do different things because they were the right thing to do. Nothing wrong with that, but it definitely helps an attitude to know the love behind those commands. Many people aren’t able to realize that until they have kids of their own.

I remember when God first really made Himself known to me, I started asking my older sister to use the restroom and maybe bring a book in with her, then would try to surprise her with doing all of her dishes. My older brother used to pay me to clean his horrific room in the basement, yet after God touched my life (I’ll go into more detail in another post), I remember trying to give what little money I had to clean his room just to bless him. I know what you’re thinking, what a sister! 😉 I remember wanting to do everything unto God and I truly loved blessing people. I remember standing at the kitchen sink trying to envision Jesus coming into our house and wanting to clean and make things nice for Him. Talk about a major change in my life and attitude! What used to seem like slavery became a way of worship!

However, it wasn’t until I realized just how much God loved me-silly old me with my dramatic attitude, and that He cared about even the little things in my life! His love for me entirely melted my perception of Him and of life. Rules no longer seemed burdensome and I knew He gave me my parents and wanted what was best for me even when I didn’t always understand or feel it from my parents.

Like most people, I’ve had things happen in my life that has led me to question God’s goodness. I think it’s interesting that when the serpent spoke to Eve, he didn’t say that God didn’t say to eat of the fruit. That was an obvious lie. He knew the rule was there and he knew Eve knew the rule (though obviously she didn’t entirely know it as she said God said to not eat or touch of it, when he only said to not eat of it), but he knew he could get her to question the reason God gave her the rule. He knew he could get her to question God’s goodness. Breaking the command might have been the sin, but what led to her sinning was questioning God’s goodness and thinking He was holding out on her.

Recently, I was led to read Matthew 7:9-11 that says:

“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Within less than a week, 2 other people shared that same verse with me! I knew then that God really wanted me to read it! It’s caused me to start hoping again when I pray. I know it may seem silly, but for a long time I had grown so disappointed with God and His answering of my prayers that while I may have asked at times, I wasn’t truly able to do it in faith. The Bible says that whatever is not done from faith is sin.  It saddens me that I had been sinning so long without even realizing it. I started building on a foundation that God maybe didn’t want to heal everybody, maybe He didn’t want to answer every prayer, yet when I read in the Bible, not once did Jesus turn anybody away who asked of Him in faith. Not once did He not heal someone who knew all He did was have to say a word or if they could just touch His garment, they would be healed. It was the Pharisees around Him who said that the people’s sickness or blindness was a result of their sin and that God was trying to punish them, not Jesus. He doesn’t teach people lessons by striking them with sickness, disease, or blindness. Obviously, those can sometimes be natural consequences for certain actions and He may allow them (and promises to redeem them for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose), but it’s Satan who came to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus came to give life abundantly!

What I find even more mind-boggling is that Jesus told us that we would be able to do even greater things than that-even greater than someone touching His garment and being healed, even greater than raising Lazarus from the dead, even greater than calming the storm. Sometimes I think I’ve always pictured Jesus as a super human in a way-not in the sense that I thought He looked like what we perceive a superhero in movies, but in a sense that He could do anything He wanted to do. Yet, even He says that He had no power in Himself, and only does what He sees the Father doing.  I think sometimes we think it’s heresy to believe that. Yet, God says that those who are born of the Spirit of God, are not only children of God, but heirs, and that Jesus would be the first among many brethren. God’s word requires faith. He didn’t just come to save us from our sins, but to make us heirs and co-heirs with Christ. Christ in us is the hope of glory! When are we going to allow God to adopt us as His sons and daughters? When are we going to believe His Word? All of creation is longing for it!

Through Love

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“Through Love”- My hubby & youngest daughter 2 Christmases ago-absolutely melts me! 🙂

I actually wrote this in an old blog post on July 24th, 2006, but I recently came upon it and thought it was really fitting today as well. Kind of like the last post, no matter where I am in my journey, God keeps bringing me back to this:
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In the book of Job, Job and three of his friends started having an argument/discussion about who God is (sounds familiar in Christian circles, eh?). They all have their own thoughts and some seem pretty good in fact. However, none of them really knew who God was- not even Job- whom God proclaimed that there was none like him in all the earth, being a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil in chapter one. Job didn’t even know exactly who God was. So finally God spoke up for Himself and proclaimed who He is in Job chapter 38-40:2 (I originally had copied the verses, but in order to make this shorter, added the links-though it would be awesome if you wanted to look it up in your own Bible.)

Job responds in Job 40:3-5:

Then Job answered the Lord and said: 4 “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. 5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

God’s response in Job 40:6-24; Job 41.

Job’s final response to God in the book in Job 42:1-6:

Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”

The end of the story from Job 42:7-17 (which I noticed something new tonight that I highlighted in bold print):

And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job. 10 And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. 12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. 15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. 17 So Job died, old and full of days.

(I just love that God didn’t restore his losses until he prayed for his friends-you know, the ones who kept falsely accusing him of doing something wrong and saying that’s why he was being “punished” by God because of their poor misunderstanding of Him. I just think it’s such a picture of God’s love and how it works that I never really noticed until now!)

Onto my old post:

So, what was the point of all this? I realized something. I don’t know God. I may have heard or read a lot about Him. I might know parts of Him from spending time with Him, and I may have seen glimpses of His majesty, seen glimpses of His healing and saving power, seen glimpses of His beauty, but there’s SO much more that I have not yet even touched of Him.

If I can be enticed by sin and ever think of it as a good thing when it’s settling for less than God’s best and will for my life and is something that can hurt Him and hurt me, if I can be enticed by such a disgusting thing, I must not know Him or His greater plans for my life.

If I can purposely cause a child of God to stumble by the way I dress or act, I must not know that God cares so much about His children that it’d be better for me to have a millstone hung around my neck and me to be tossed into the sea than for me to cause a child of God to stumble.

If I can walk around with bitterness in my heart and unforgiveness towards another, I must not have experienced His complete forgiveness and will not until I forgive the other person just as Christ forgave me.

If I can go but a moment thinking only upon myself and not caring about others, if I cannot be absolutely disgusted with abortion and praying against it, I must not know His heart.

If I can ever look upon someone and think myself better than them and let a prideful look cover my face or enjoy and linger upon a proud thought, I must not know that it was not my hand or my righteousness that saved me, but His.

If I can go one whole day without being in awe of something He has done for me THAT day, I must have looked out to appreciate even a glimpse of His beauty. It’s EVERYwhere!

If I don’t believe He can heal someone or even me right then, right now, the moment I lay my hands upon that person or myself in His name, I must not believe in His healing powers.

If I can be more concerned with receiving love than giving love, His love must not be real in me, not all the time at least. If I can ever go a second without knowing I am completely and utterly loved, then I have not experienced His fathomless, unconditional love for me.

If I can judge someone before taking the plank out of my own eye or believe the worst about someone instead of believing the best, I must not love that person as He does because Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things and never fails.

If I can ever let fear overpower me, I must not know His perfect love for it casts out fear and I must not trust He has everything in His hands and that everything’s under control.

If I am afraid of death or do not know that I am going to Heaven after I’ve given my life to Him, I must not believe in His Word and what He says.

If I can ever doubt Him, I must have forgotten His uncompromising faithfulness.

If I cannot look upon the least of the least and see Jesus, I haven’t experienced the beauty of seeing through His eyes.

The fact is, we proclaim we know God. I say I know God. We get into little divisive arguments/discussions about who God is, and we maybe have seen a glimpse of Him. We may have seen a glimpse of His beauty and love through the eyes of a child, but we have yet to see all of Him. We have yet to show all of Him either, but that’s what we are called to do, and we do it through Love.

~*For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.*~

~1st Corinthians 13:9-13

This is Your Time

 

This is Your Time

This is Your Time

The other day, I was taking a quiz called Which Biblical Character Are You? I’m not going to lie; I enjoy most personality/character quizzes just to see who I can supposedly relate to. After all, according to the Myers Briggs Personality Type Test, only 1-2% of the population has my personality. Sometimes it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with all these crazy thoughts if you know what I mean. At least 1-2% of the population can relate to me, and I with them! Hallelujah! 😉

But onto the Biblical character quiz…(I got John the Baptist if you must know); after I took it, I had this strange thought, “I don’t want to be John the Baptist…or Esther, or David, or Joseph, or any other Biblical character. I want to be Rachel Dittmer because that’s who God wants me to be.”

Every time I put my kids to bed or pretty much every time I pray, I always end up praying something along the lines that God makes each of us in our family who He created us to be. He knows better than I do; and frankly, I’d much rather Him accomplish the work He’s started and envisioned than the one I have in mind because my vision is so limited sometimes. After all, His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts higher than my thoughts.

Yet, I started thinking about how often we in the church compare ourselves to those stories in the past; how often I do. And I just had this vision of when Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” I know; it seems so harsh. He had just told Peter that he was going to be the rock upon which Jesus built His church and then several verses later, after Jesus shared with Him what’s going to and needed to come to pass, Peter wants to stop it. I honestly think Peter thought he had Jesus’ best in mind. After all, He didn’t want Him to die. Isn’t that the right thing to not want your friend and the one you look up to so much to die? And yet, Jesus responds to him with, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

He wasn’t telling Peter he was Satan. He was saying that Peter was allowing Satan’s plans to be spoken through him. Satan didn’t want Jesus to die. He knew what it would lead to. He wanted to keep us his slaves forever. God’s plan was to set us free. Peter thought what He was saying was thoughtful, yet he didn’t have the vision God had. He was only seeing with man’s limited vision.

I feel like in a way, when we compare ourselves to those stories in the past, we’re only seeing with limited vision and in a way, I feel like God wants to say the same thing to us as He said to Peter. “Stop limiting Me! Stop only seeing through your eyes and pray that you can see through Mine! That’s not what I have in mind for you!” So often, I feel like we glorify those Biblical “heroes” in the past in the same way that we condemn the Catholic church for glorifying Mary. Of course, we would never admit to it, and maybe not everyone takes it to that extreme, but I just feel like God wants to say, “Wake up! The hero in those stories is ME! Why on earth are you glorifying these people when even they knew that what made their stories great is Me?” David even said, “O my soul, you have said unto the Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.” Yet, how often do we put David on a pedestal because after all, he was a man after God’s own heart? I mean, we think God must have really loved him so we want to be like David so God will love us in the same way. Yet, that verse right there has David’s secret. He knew his greatness was nothing apart from God. That’s not false humility. That was why he was a man after God’s heart. He could see himself through God’s eyes and realize that God was the One and the only One who gave him his goodness, and he was going to allow God to do whatever He wished through him.

We forget that God already loves us so much. He said we’re worth His only Son’s blood and while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We don’t have to earn His love! We already have it! We just need to walk in it and believe in His love for us and realize that just like Esther, we’re all made for such a time as this! If we weren’t or if we were supposed to be in any other time, He would have made us someone else in some other time. He’s the only One who makes any of us great and when we are so focused on comparing ourselves to those in the past, we’re not being wise! He said that over and over again. The beginning of wisdom is to fear God and realize that all of this, everything is to glorify Him. And then, realizing His perfect love for us should cast out any fear of Him we might have when we want to return that love and glorify Him. That’s wisdom-not comparing ourselves to those who commend themselves. We need to stop making idols of mere people and put God on the pedestal in our lives and see how He wants our lives to glorify Him just as we are, in the story we’re in!

He wrote it after all. He put us here after all. We’re made for this time, in this place, and as 1st Corinthians 1:26-31 says:

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,  that no flesh should glory in His presence.  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

That’s the only reason He used the stories He did in the Bible. He wanted to say, “Look at this guy who stutters. I had him talk to Pharaoh on behalf of Me and made him a great leader of all My people. Look at the short, youngest brother of a bunch of taller, stronger men. He’s a man after My own heart and I’m going to not only use him to kill this giant that all of My people are afraid of, but I’m going to help him kill 100’s of thousands of men for Me and be the King of Israel. Look at this guy who speaks before he thinks. He’s going to be the rock upon which I build My church. Look at this kid I gave strange dreams to and who has a problem with pride. I’m going to allow his brothers to throw him into a pit because of jealousy and sell him and his dreams off into slavery and allow him to go into imprisonment for something he didn’t do, and still turn this story around and help him forgive his brothers and make him ruler of all Egypt and 2nd only to Pharaoh. Look what I can do!” You can do that with any story in the Bible because God is the One doing it! He makes possible what man thinks is impossible! His strength is made perfect in our weakness! He wants to show His strength through each one of us! Look to Him! See Him! Stop comparing yourself to those in the past!

Also lately in the same way, I’ve been convicted to let go of comparing myself to the Proverbs 31 woman. I’ve made such an idol of her at times in my life. I wanted to be her. She’s basically so many church women’s (and men’s- wanting their wives to be like her) idol. We want to be her because she’s the perfect woman to so many of our imaginations. Yet, I’ve been realizing lately that a lot of me wanting to be like her was out of an insecurity of mine that I’m not loved. (As a side note- recently, I’ve actually wondered if that’s why Bathsheba told Solomon to marry a girl like that too. After all, she’s his mom. I can’t even imagine how badly she must have felt after she committed adultery with King David-you know, the one we put on a pedestal- and the man she committed adultery with had her great, respectable husband killed in an awful, dishonorable way and then, the son she got pregnant with as a result of their sin ended up dying. So, she paints this picture of a woman that’s entirely different from her and who she thinks is this perfect woman and tells her son to marry a woman like that. Yet, so many of us base our worth on this perfect, unattainable woman-who had servants I might add. 😉 ) I have often thought that if I was just like her, maybe I would be loved-by God, by my husband, by whomever.

Yet, that’s not God’s heart towards us. Over and over again in scriptures, He reminds us that He loved us first. Before He formed us in the womb, He knew us and knit us together. He loves us. He envisioned us. When Jerusalem was left in an open field to die and saw her in her blood, He took her and cared for her and said to her, “Live!” When Adam and Eve sinned, He clothed them just as He clothes us with Himself and righteousness when we sin if only we accept Him and repent of our sins. If only we own up to who we are without Him, then He can do His work! He wants so badly to show us the vision He had in mind when He made us, yet we’re stuck on the mess we are instead of realizing we’re all messes without Him or maybe even we think we’re something apart from Him! He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called, and He’s calling us and yearning for our hearts to turn towards Him just as His heart is for us. It is His goodness that leads us to repentance! It is His goodness that is the only thing that makes ANY of us good! Apart from Him, we can do nothing! He’s waiting for us to allow Him to write His story through us! This is our time! We need to live like it and become the sons and daughters that all of creation is waiting and groaning for with birth pangs together until now to be revealed! When we become stuck in stories of the past, we don’t allow Him to write a new story through us. We make ourselves clones, when God makes new creations! This is the time to let Him shine and do His mighty works through us!

Embrace Your Mess

     ~*Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up.*~
                                                                          -El Anatsui (Artist)

As an artist, I normally have a vision in mind when I create something. It’s that vision that always gets me started, and it’s that vision that carries me through the tedious, monotonous, and often draining process that creating can often have. Sometimes I embrace those times and enjoy the process, but part of me gets so excited about my vision finally coming together that sometimes it can just seem so draining during the long process it might take to make the best masterpieces. Often, I get a vision and think, “I can do this. If it can be done, I can do it. God’s given me that gift.”

As with any piece of art, before it really starts coming together, it doesn’t look anything like the vision I had in mind. Sometimes it looks nothing short of a big mess. If anybody else sees my unfinished piece, I often find myself either feeling like I need to explain my vision or reassure them and myself, it won’t look like this in the end. Often, I start doubting myself and my abilities during that time and wonder what in the world I got myself into. Thankfully, the vision I had in mind and the passion God has given me or sometimes even just the fact that I have to get my artwork done helps push me to finish the final steps of my creation. I never regret it when I do.

There have been times that the piece might not be entirely what I had in mind, but I’ve grown to learn during those times that they can always be corrected and perfected. All artwork can be. Some of the greatest masterpieces in museums were done over an old piece of art due to the lack of money an artist might have had during their time- as the term “starving artist” didn’t come out of nowhere and most artists weren’t made famous until after their lifetime.

As a perfectionist, there have been times I’ve feared my mistakes or the messy part of art. There have even been times I’ve dreaded my gifts or hated that other people knew of them. I grew to resent them because when you create something great at a young age, then people just expect greatness all the time or expect you to get even greater. Sometimes it was myself and my own expectations- which can lead to a fear of mistakes and the process it takes to get better.

However, to become a great creator, you can’t fear the mistakes and the messy process. Often, as mentioned before, the greatest masterpieces come from the worst beginnings. I experienced this firsthand when I created my latest piece, “The Heavens Declare” when I decided to do acrylic underneath of oil. Paintings often require many layers and it was my first time using acrylic paint on canvas and I decided to use it originally because I knew that it dries faster and I had a quick-approaching time frame, but also grew to realize I could use it with the oil paint to create the effect I want for the angels. However, the first few layers looked like a huge mess and I was embarrassed when we had two different visiting families at our house during the unfinished process and kept reassuring them and myself that it wouldn’t look like that in the end. Thankfully, it doesn’t and ended up being better than I could fully envision. Here’s the final product:

THE HEAVENS DECLARE. Original is 36" x 36", 2013. Oil over acrylic on canvas.

THE HEAVENS DECLARE. Original is 36″ x 36″, 2013. Oil over acrylic on canvas.

 

My husband- who hasn’t always appreciated art- thinks it’s my best piece. *smile*

Sometimes I forget that God’s a Creator too. Obviously, He’s the Creator of the universe, but sometimes I think people forget that He’s not just the Creator of the universe, He functions as a Creator as well. Only He not only has a vision for each of our lives, He also has the whole picture in mind. Each of us are His masterpieces. Often, we go through messy times in our lives or we might go through a tiresome or draining season where we forget the vision of ourselves He has in mind. We forget that we are His creations and He has our best in mind and we get fearful of the messy process He’s leading us through or the fact that He has our whole picture laid out before Him and has the passion and vision to carry Him through our messy process. He will always finish a work He’s started in us.

Oftentimes, during these seasons, others who can’t see the vision over their own lives or who just have a hard time believing the visions God has spoken over them try to discourage others from believing God’s vision. Maybe it’s because He started a work in them in the past and the difficult seasons were too much that they couldn’t see the visions He had in mind for them anymore. Maybe their unbelief caused them to doubt the new creations God was starting as they were once new creations and they felt the need to speak their unbelief over the new creations. Maybe it was jealousy over another creation’s beauty after not seeing the beauty God had in mind for them. Maybe it was just not understanding God had to bring others through a messier season to create the work He had in mind for them. Maybe it was just hurt.

The messy seasons are HARD. So hard. It’s hard to keep the vision God has in mind for us sometimes when nothing in our lives looks like the vision He has spoken over us. It’s hard to see ourselves the way God sees us when not only do we have a hard time believing, but others are speaking their doubts over us and have a hard time envisioning the final picture as well. People often act out what they believe about themselves and it can be a very harmful thing to speak words of death over God’s creations no matter the reason. God wants us to trust Him with the process- even with the messy seasons…especially with the messy seasons.

suffering quote

It isn’t always other people though. Obviously, it normally comes off as an attack from a person, but we often forget that we’re fighting in a spiritual battle and we take what others say to heart not realizing they’re fighting their own battles. In case you haven’t noticed, Satan hates God’s creations and seems to especially hate new life/creations, creators, and life-givers (you can be a life-giver without being a physical mom. I believe that with all my heart.) It seems like during the messy seasons, he uses his army and others to try to take away the vision God has given us. Unfortunately, with how discouraging these seasons can be, many of us place our trust in what Satan or others speak over us rather than continuing to trust in God.

I know I did for a time. Like the prodigal son, I stopped believing in my Father’s love for me. There were a lot of people believing and speaking lies over me and I was in a really oppressive environment and I started believing them and acting out those lies spoken over me. I stopped hoping for the vision God had for me, and I know I had a hard time at times even being around other people who were already beautiful creations or who had the joy that new creations have, thinking that if only they experienced what I had gone through, they would understand. It was very dangerous and very harmful. I don’t know that I actually spoke those lies out loud, but I know I believed them over myself and others at times. I wanted so badly to believe what God had spoken over me during other seasons of my life, but I lacked the vision He had. I couldn’t see the whole picture.

When God started restoring my husband’s life, he said he was praying for me and he felt like God was saying how all these hard things I was going through were needed for me to become God’s beautiful bride He had in mind. At the time, I wanted so badly to hope for that and loved the thought, but was also so hurt by the messy seasons in my husband’s life, it was so hard to see. However, my husband’s extreme transformation started getting me to hope again. One of the greatest changes I saw and felt in his life was how much freer he was to be around. He didn’t feel the need to be controlling anymore and realized God can use anything. It was that freedom that I experienced that helped set me free.

While I wouldn’t wish upon anyone some of the things I’ve gone through (not just in my marriage)-and I know some others have gone through worse- and would have a hard time choosing to go through those times again with how hard it was to keep God’s vision, I’m so so thankful that nothing I did ever worked. While I know I’m a pretty good artist at times, God is the absolute best. I couldn’t have created the masterpieces He has given me with my husband and kids and I’m so thankful for them.

Sometimes, it seems that the more we do “for God”, rather than allowing God to do the work in and through us, we forget that He makes all things new. We limit Him to creations He’s already done, to books He’s already inspired, not realizing that He only included the testimonies and stories that are in the Bible to show us how vast His creations can be and how nothing’s impossible for Him. John 21:25 says:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

So, please allow Him to write a new story in and through you. Ask Him to give you His vision for yourself and others. Be a life-giver, not a life-taker. Be a visionary like Him, not an accuser of the brethren. God wants to free us and help us free others-not hold others captive by our fear of the messy He’s working in us or other people’s lives. He doesn’t fear it and neither should we. He makes all things new and some of the greatest masterpieces start out with the messiest lives.

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P.S.~ I just stumbled upon this video and it has so much that God’s been laying on my heart lately and went so well with this, that if you have 40 or so minutes, it is so worth it! *Not for those listening to a religious spirit, or maybe especially for those with a religious spirit.*

Every Wasted Second

Engagement photo of my hubby and me.

Engagement photo of my hubby and me.

There he is. He’s hurt you countless times. You can’t even remember the last time you only had good memories. Every offense brings back a painful wound that has never seemed to fully heal, and yet he expects to be loved. He hopes to be forgiven. Oh, the nerve of him! How dare he! Doesn’t he know you have a right to be mad? A right to get even?

You. You’ve been so good to him. You take care of his kids. You clean his house. You fold his laundry. You work out and try to look nice for him. You even pack his work lunches on occasion. You even look forward to time spent in the bedroom and you hear that’s rare. You’ve been the perfect wife.  Anybody would be happy to be with you, but him, obviously. I mean, if he were happy, how could he do this to you? He’s the luckiest man in the world and he takes it all for granted. He takes you for granted.

You’ve never done that to anybody, have you? Surely, you’ve never treated anybody so badly, especially not someone who’s treated you so well; or, have you?

I think sometimes we forget, sometimes I know I forget, that there is Someone who we have all betrayed who has only ever loved us. Someone who’s been nothing but good to us and yet we’ve nailed His wrists time and time again. Someone whose forgiven us way past the 490th time. Yet, somehow, we turn our eyes to other things-things we know are going to hurt Him. We know in our heads He has our best in mind and yet fail to really know in our hearts.

Somehow, we forget just how many times we’ve failed Him over and over again when He’s never deserved it. Somehow we forget that throughout all our mistakes, all our purposeful failures, all our faithlessness, He’s been faithful and He will never deny Himself. He’s our Anchor and support when our whole world crumbles.

Then, a spouse, a significant other, a child, or even just a friend, fails us. How could they? We’ve never done anything to deserve it. We haven’t failed them. So we start keeping mental records of the times they’ve hurt us and feel justified in not loving them. We forget that love suffers long and remains kind and keeps no record of wrongs. We forget that love never fails even when everything else does. We forget that Jesus will never leave His bride, the church; yet think that He’s all for a separation when we’re not treated fairly as though He was and is treated right. We forget that nobody’s perfect and we’re debtors ourselves in need of forgiveness; yet, we turn to those “in debt” against us and act just like the unforgiving debtor in the gospels of the Bible.

I understand. I’ve been there. In fact, I lost so much hope for our marriage and over myself and knew I would beat myself up if I ever got divorced my whole life, that I just tried to end my life instead. It was an ugly mess. Honestly, I knew there were issues -major trust issues before we got married. I couldn’t stop shaking and bawling and could barely force myself  into my wedding rehearsal and needed major prayer from my sister and her husband just to get me through the doors. I know it might seem weird that I didn’t call off the wedding. Believe me, that thought crossed my mind plenty of times. I even gave the ring back probably 10x while we were engaged and was told to just put it back on and I did and I pretended like we were happy and not many people knew anything I was going through because of it. I didn’t want anybody to think badly of him and I stopped talking to any of my guy friends because I knew I was vulnerable. And somehow, through all the mess, I had to lean on the fact that God did show us, plenty of times actually, that He had a plan over both of our lives together. With all the trust issues, I started doubting those promises God made over us, but I knew that He did make them and He’s always been faithful to me, and I knew He never gave me peace to end it.

While I didn’t go into my marriage blindly, I didn’t realize just how badly the sins were that we were both entangled in. His might have seemed worse at the time, but I was believing so many lies myself and I grew angry at God for ever bringing us together because I knew He did. I had read “Created to be His Helpmeet” (read with caution if you choose to read it please-there are definitely pros and cons to it as I have grown to realize) about 4x before marriage and even again after marriage and was determined to be the perfect wife. Somewhere along the way, I started taking up burdens not only over myself and my actions, but over my husband’s actions and his salvation. I definitely never meant to be manipulative and honestly normally had a heart for my husband the majority of time, but when he would hurt me again, you would have never known it. And he knew that. My husband knew my “love” wasn’t strong enough to love him through his flaws because I lost hope in God and started trying to love him out of my own power, which was limited. I grew so hopeless and so angry at God that my works weren’t producing the results I wanted. I couldn’t make my husband love me. I never felt loved. Our love was flawed and imperfect, and honestly still is, yet God has slowly been redeeming lost time and giving us a marriage we had long ago lost hope of ever having. Our love has grown immensely for each other in the last year! That itself is a miracle!

Time can’t heal our wounds, but God can. When we walk in His wisdom, God can redeem lost time.  Un-forgiveness and bitterness are not worth it. Trust me. It’s a death trap. Literally. You cannot live fully when you have un-forgiveness and bitterness in your heart, no matter who you’re with. The Bible says divorce covers one’s garment with violence. I get it. There are issues you might need to separate yourself from until you and maybe even your kids can heal, but please even then, pray for your spouse from afar and lean on God and His strength that never fails, and seek wise, Godly counsel from people who fear God before making such a huge decision-if not even just for the protection that might be needed in those circumstances. You never know what God can do through you being willing to stay, even without the word at times, by your chaste conduct, accompanied by the fear of God. God says whatever He has joined together, let not man separate. He wants to be glorified in any and every marriage and wants us to show the mystery of God’s covenant love for the church. God can restore the most difficult marriages and use your struggles to help others going through similar situations. And when He restores difficult marriages that would have completely fallen apart without Him, He gets all the credit.

I wrote a new poem tonight kind of through my husband’s eyes when I felt justified to bring up his wrongdoings, but also through eyes that have been hurt just by not being loved well. We all want and need Love and are lost without it. However, we cannot love without receiving love from the unending Source of love. You may be right in feeling justified to not love someone; but in the end, it won’t do anybody any good and you’re wasting your time. Anyways, my husband seemed to enjoy it and I hope you do too.

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~*EVERY WASTED SECOND*~

You talk to me, mentioning
All the mistakes that I’ve made
The last thing I need to hear
Are all the times that I’ve strayed

I wish I could take back
All those painful memories
I wish I could say sorry
In a way you believe

I wish to be forgiven
Through all my mistakes
We need to cast an Anchor
Whenever our world shakes

You’re right to be mad
You’re right to accuse
But every second we waste not loving
Is a second we lose

I want to love you
In the good, the bad, the in-between
I live to want you
When you’re nice and when you’re mean

I need to hold you
In the times you want to leave
I’ll give you a reason to smile
When all you can do is bereave

I want to be loved
In the good, the bad, the in-between
I live to be wanted
When I’m nice and when I’m mean

I need to be held
In the times I want to leave
Give me a reason to smile
When all I can do is bereave

Can we move forward now?
Not dwell in the past
Every second not loving is wasted
And the years go by so fast

-R.A.D. (me) 1/25/14

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*If you have been divorced, please know that God can and wants to forgive you and restore you and especially with my past actions, it would be silly of me to ever think less of you!

**My hubby has read this (honestly, I have him read all my stuff- normally before, but sometimes after if he’s not around ’cause I normally need the reassurance and he’s been gracious to give it to me!) and even said, “You’re on a role.” 😉 God has truly transformed him far better than I ever could have done if I had my way! Thankfully, for the most part, I’ve been learning to get out of God’s way; though, occasionally, even tonight, I struggle at times remembering to do that. Live, screw up, and learn all over again I guess. 😉

***If you want to read any poetry on screwing up in relation to God, go here.

A Burdening Lie & the Power of a Testimony

Original is 24" x 48", oil on canvas.

GOD IS IN THE RAIN. Original is 24″ x 48″, oil on canvas.

My whole life I’ve felt like a burden. There isn’t any one thing that I can attribute to this, but rather a whole lot of little lies I’ve believed from different experiences I’ve had. I won’t go into specifics because I don’t want people to think badly about others because I know that even when people have hurt me & made me think those things from my experiences, it was really because they were going through different battles of their own & often believing the same lies they were saying out loud to me.

I caught myself not long ago telling my kids that I was embarrassed by how they were acting in front of others. They asked me what that even meant & when I basically explained in kids’ terms what it meant & realized it was because of me feeling ashamed of how others  might perceive them & ultimately me, I realized I was feeding into the same lie I’ve always believed over myself & putting that on them. It was a fear of man that I hadn’t really realized I had & right away, felt the need to apologize to my kids & tell them they are not an embarrassment to me, but rather a blessing.

My little blessings loving on each other November 1st, 2013. :)

My little blessings loving on each other November 1st, 2013. 🙂

Believing the lie that I’m a burden has led me to go down some very troubling places in my life-ones that are shameful to even admit sometimes because who knows what someone might do with that information? I try to be honest to a fault for the most part & I’ve lost friends from experiences I’ve had or had people-friends, I thought- literally put me down & say how ridiculous or disgusting I am for sharing different parts of my story with them. It’s caused me to shy away at times from who I share my story with or only disclose different parts to those I can really trust. And worst of all, it’s fed into the lie I’ve believed over myself that I’m just a burden.

And that’s just it. It’s a lie-a lie from my enemy who only came to steal, kill, & destroy my life. I realized that I walked right into his trap when I tried to take my own life over 6 years ago & had to spend over 10 hours in the ER just waiting for my aspirin level to start going down some. I experienced the after-effects physically for 3 days, but of course it hit me hard emotionally & spiritually for quite some time. But honestly, it was a wake up call for me- & my husband. Neither of us had fully realized just how low I had gotten, how enslaved I was to the lies I was believing until I hit rock bottom.

What really helped me get out of that place was being able to share my story with a friend I could really trust who wasn’t shocked by the ugly places of my heart & how low I had gotten with the lies I was believing- feeling like a burden was just one of many. Before, I felt like I had to keep all those ugly places-all my ugly sin & all the ugly sin others had committed against God (that I felt like were against me)-hidden because of the experiences I had been through in the past which only led me to being more enslaved to my sin & my enemy than I ever thought I could get-which was pride for me. Somehow I felt like all my past experiences & my seeking whole-heartedly after God made me exempt from falling so hard, but it didn’t. 

You might think that this story is sad, hopeless, or depressing, but it doesn’t end that way. Because I fell so hard, I was able to realize that my goodness could never save me. It didn’t matter how much I sought whole-heartedly after God in the past. it didn’t matter that the only guy I ever kissed was my husband. It didn’t matter that I tried to give cheerfully & really wanted to bless others with my life. Nothing I did could ever save me & it was only by falling so hard, that I was able to fully realize that. I could never ever get myself out of the mess I was in, but God could. Only Him sending His blameless Son on earth to take my punishment of sin was able to defeat death & the power of sin over my life. But you know what? He already did that! He did it for all of us to free us from the power of sin over our lives! THAT’s the good news! We no longer have to be enslaved to our sin & walking the path to eternal damnation-hell! How can we not be joyous over that?! Our joy is our strength! Because ONLY God & what He has done for us in this hard life gives us true joy that can overcome & last through the hardest trials of this life! That joy that was set before Jesus, helped Him endure the cross!

If you don’t have joy, it might mean you’re carrying burdens you weren’t meant to carry. While God has given me true joy & saved me from so much, I know that I’ve taken up burdens I wasn’t meant to carry at times. God’s been helping me realize that I have taken up a lot of burdens I was never meant to carry & has recently been helping set me free from them.

Any time I feel “embarrassed” by how my kids are behaving, I’m taking up the burden of other people’s feelings/opinions. Any time I believe what other people might be saying about me, I’m taking up the burden of the fear of man, rather than only fearing God- the only One I’m meant to fear. Any time I’m worried about weight gain from pregnancies or being able to take care of one more child, I’m taking up a burden that’s preventing me from allowing God to bless us with a gift of life that’s so precious to Him & that can be used for His Kingdom & His work on earth! And to think, almost a month after I tried to take my own life & follow the path Satan had for me, God put another life inside of ME-someone Satan was trying to get rid of! My 3 little blessings wouldn’t be here if Satan had his way with my life! Honestly, we could probably do this about pretty much any subject. The only thing I’m called to do is the work that God sent me here to do, just like Jesus. No more. As long as I follow His lead, I’m doing exactly what He wants me to do & it’s so freeing!

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I know this may seem a little unrelated & honestly, I was thinking about this last night before I ever read this article or watched the video with it, but I was about to share it on facebook & started to write this as a little commentary on the video, but instead decided to just share it on this post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7ZVWIELHQQY

“Really good video. I wish more people realized this, especially in the church. I know whenever I’ve put someone down in my life, I felt awful afterward just realizing that those people are human & I’m no better than them. We ALL have different issues we deal with. You never know where you’d be if you were in their story dealing with their issues. You can’t say that you’d be better than them ’cause you haven’t walked in their shoes. Nobody can argue with your testimony & while I can’t say Craig Ferguson is a Christian as I don’t know him personally, his personal story he shared can only be seen with respect from me. Hidden sin always grows. When you’re willing to share your story & come into the light, you’re either looking for help & a way out or you’re finally free & looking to help others who aren’t. THIS is what the church needs more of- personal testimonies. It makes my heart hurt every time people bash others trying to make themselves look better. “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” -Anais Nin”

And I felt these were both a little related. So, that’s all. I’m always open to hear others’ stories & thoroughly enjoy people who share them. I think God uses our stories in powerful ways & wish more people shared them!

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~*When you realize your story was never about you but all about God, you lose your leading role as the hero or the victim.*~

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

The Lies We Believe

"LOST IN THE WOODS". Original is 20" x 16", oil on canvas. Done in high school. 4:5 ratio.

“LOST IN THE WOODS”. Original is 20″ x 16″, oil on canvas. Done in high school.

For length purposes, I won’t go into all the details, but after what I believe to be a couple of encounters with a witch-who by the way was a very nice lady-not at all what I expected (not really sure what I expected, but nice wasn’t really one of my expectations), and hearing her messages and how interlaced they were with all kinds of other messages out there that honestly sound great and true by the world’s standards, and reading an article like this last night, I have been really stirred up lately.

Articles like that sound great, right? There shouldn’t be a reason for me to be stirred up against it, should there? I mean, we can’t love our neighbors as we love ourselves if we don’t love ourselves first, right?

Did anybody have to tell you to wake up this morning (or sleep in if you so preferred)? Did anybody have to tell you to feed yourself when you got hungry-or shower, shave, workout, put on makeup, or do whatever you do to get ready or not do just because you didn’t feel like it? Did anybody have to tell you to put on more clothing to keep yourself warm from the cold? Anybody have to tell you to take a drink when you were thirsty? No? Or how about when you had to be around someone who has hurt you badly-did you cringe or try to get back at them or even just try not to be around them ’cause you wanted to shield yourself from more hurt? No? Interesting. So, in other words, it came naturally to you to protect yourself and take care of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. God made us that way.

This might be a long stretch, but I’m guessing that’s why He said that we should love our neighbors AS we love ourselves (Mark 12:31-though it’s in all the gospels) because we do not need to be told to love ourselves. We already do that. In fact, I think there’s too much of that. Murders, drunkenness, envy, strife, divisions-those do not come from loving others too much, but rather acting out of our own selfishness.

This witch I met, like I said, was really nice to me. She spoke all about having self love, about finding your center and truth in yourself, unleashing your inner power, finding your inner strength, teaching about the circle of light that “we all have within ourselves”, making vision boards to learn from our past, and she wanted to act as a guide to help others find that same truth and strength inside of themselves and apparently was very intuitive and knew all about other people before they even shared things with her. I’m very intuitive and can understand that, and all these things sound great, don’t they? I mean, you hear things like that in yoga, in Kung Fu Panda, in holistic practices (I’m all for being natural and using homeopathic remedies, by the way), really, it’s ALL around us, over all kinds of internet articles, and even from different teachers/pastors that are supposed to be speaking God’s truth. So why would I have a problem with it?

My problem is with the source of that strength and power. Psalm 16:2 says:

~*O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.”*~

Nothing good comes from us. NOTHING. Apart from Him we can do NOTHING. Our strength does not lie within us, it lies within Him.

In fact, my pastor just brought up some verses on Sunday (so thankful we have a pastor who is not afraid to speak the truth whether or not it’s popular or easy to hear!) where Jesus was saying we’re to love God so much that it would seem like we hate ourselves in comparison to how much we love Him (Luke 14:26-27).

Do I think God really wants us to hate ourselves? No, I don’t. I do, however, think that if we love God first, and others as much as we love ourselves, and in humility serve others as we would ourselves, and are willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him that we’ll finally find the life that we were searching for all along (Luke 9:23-27). Not to mention, you cannot truly love until you have received love from the Source of true Love who loved us first-whose love does not run dry-meaning you can love people who don’t love you back and who don’t deserve it since we don’t deserve it from Him.

God’s message is not a popular or easy one. We’re not meant to carry the weight of trying to do it though. By His grace, we can give Him our burdens and take on the burden He gives us where His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When we cast our cares upon Him, He will take care of us and you can realize just how much HE loves US that we don’t have to worry about taking care of ourselves since He does such a good job of it already. The Creator of the UNIVERSE cares about US that much-SO much He sent His only begotten Son to die for us-He thinks we’re worth Jesus’ blood-& He sent His Son to die for us while we were still in our filthy sin! This is amazing news! He does think we’re valuable and He wants to be with us! Can you even fathom that?! Seriously-the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Creator of ALL good things wants to be with us!!! It’s seriously giving me goosebumps and tears writing that.

To say that He doesn’t want the best for us is a lie from Satan and exactly what he made Eve believe in the garden-that God was holding something back from her, that He didn’t have her best in mind. It might seem that we can discern between the knowledge of good and evil, but the world’s wisdom is foolishness to God. If you’re trying to find truth outside of God’s Word, you’re only deceiving yourself, because Jesus is (not was, is-past, present, future!) THE way, THE TRUTH, and THE life-you cannot find it or any of those apart from Him.

~*SUBSTITUTING THE ABSOLUTES*~
How easily we substitute
Every lie for every absolute
Because we’re free to believe
Our own truth
How easily we’ve been deceived
Every religion clashing with what we believe
Forming different beliefs by every book we read
Every example we see
And every person proclaiming truth
With opinion
We think to be free
Means to state our mind
Claim our rights
And we ignore the liberty
That Jesus Christ died to set us free
And we’re binding our own wrists
We’re banging our fists
We’re chaining ourselves down
But all the while, we’re claiming
A new freedom we’ve found
Because love,
Yeah loves makes the world go ’round
Or at least that’s how musicians put it
And we believe every minute of it
And there’s maybe some truth to it
But the truth is, we’ve substituted
Fact with feeling
Separation from God with healing
And it’s got me wondering
When did the serpent speak to us?
Or did he ever leave us?
Because we’re substituting
People with God
Beauty with immodesty
Worshipping with TV
And I don’t think we even realize
We’re being deceived
Lust of the flesh
Lust of the eyes
The pride of life
Satan always appears as an angel of light
And somehow, we think
He has our best intentions in mind
Because nobody, not even the devil
Could be so evil
Murderer, Thief, Father of Lies,
Stealer, Killer, Destroyer
He’s got us all blind
And somehow we’ve substituted
Satan’s lies
For Jesus Christ
Now’s the time to open our eyes
Substitute the absolute lies
With absolute Truth

-R.A.D. (me)

 **I have all kinds of Bible verses in those links because I don’t want to speak on my own authority and so if you want to have an awesome Bible study through it, I already did all the hard work for you. Hopefully though, it’ll make you thirst for more of His living water. 😉

Wisdom

 

My 4 year old daughter's "school work" the other day. My favorite part is the "m" below "wisdom". I had told her the day before when she was copying her alphabet that it looks better if she stops at the red line/margin & she took my advice even when writing part of her verse. :)

My 4 year old daughter’s “school work” the other day. My favorite part is the “m” below “wisdom”. I had told her the day before when she was copying her alphabet that it looks better if she stops at the red line/margin & she took my advice even when writing part of her verse. 🙂

If you were to ask me what I would like to impart most to my kids, it would be wisdom. It wouldn’t be for an easy life or that they would become famous or rich or well-educated or a fit, healthy athlete. Some of those might be nice bonuses, but more than anything, I want them to become wise. I want them to fear God, but then to grow so in love with Him, that they have nothing to fear (1st Peter 4:17-19).

       God has really been impressing upon my heart to teach them wisdom more than anything. This summer, I read both Duggar books & “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” (along with others) that both shared that they read a Proverbs a day to their kids. I thought that was a great idea and this month decided to give it a go and I hope to continue to until it’s no longer just in their heads but deep in their hearts. It’s been amazing to see what they’ve already picked up on and to hear what God has put on their hearts at such an early age. And really, what could be more important to pass onto your kids?

        “My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,  So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;  Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,  If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;  Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;  He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;  He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.  Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.”
                                                                            -Proverbs 2:1-9

 

~*THE WAY IS YOU*~

What am I supposed to do?
Where am I supposed to go?
Are there really “supposed to’s?”
I’d really like to know

I’m hidden in a crowd
And I’d like to know my way
I’m going around in circles
That I walked just yesterday

But I saw all the same people
They took the same route as i
Am I the only one lost?
Are we all following blind?

I stopped to ask the woman
Who was next to me
If she could go anywhere
Where would it be?

She looked confused
All battered and bruised
The scars I saw upon her soul
She wondered if you
Could even choose
Which way you would go

We’re not stuck in quicksand
We’re not even blind
We don’t have a dictator
Only limited time
And the experiences we encounter
Always consume our mind
And we’ve closed off truth
To listen to Satan’s lies

And if only one person
Could find that Jesus is the way
Wouldn’t be consumed
With religious play

If only one person
Gave up his rights
Gave up self attempts
Let God shine His light

We would all be led
To live a life beyond ourselves
With purpose, direction
Lives without question
Of whether we lived in vain
Because if people opened their eyes to see
They’d find the truth lies in Jesus
Not you and me

But we all keep following the crowd
Of pointing to ourselves
Our self-attempts at religiosity
And I wonder if we
Ever stopped to think
We’re leading others to our own personal hell

Where would we all be?
If we ever stopped to love Jesus
And others more than ourselves
If we stopped to let Jesus in us
To work through us
And let Him be the light

Instead of dimming His truth
And following blindly in the dark
Or showing half-truths
Because we’re afraid of the stark contrast
We might be among the crowd

When all we want is the light
The purpose, the Truth
To stop hiding because of shame
And we all want to know His name
But we’re to afraid
To say it

Jesus, Jesus, be our light
Be our Guide
Through this thick darkness
That covers the night
Help us find our way back to You
Uncover the truth
That the way is You

~RaCHeL aNN

P.S.~I have no idea why my posts are cut off in the middle of a word & why the format is continually messed up. I don’t write it that way & no matter how many times I try to fix it, it messes back up when I publish it.