The Turtles Got it Right.

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Chronic Pain Series ~ Hearts Can Be Harder to Crack

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This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

As I continue to share the things I feel the Lord is doing in me in the midst of this yucky health stuff, I find myself coming back to the heart today. I find myself asking God why He keeps nudging me to share about this part of all of it when I don’t even fully understand it yet.

But then I remembered….

He may not mean for me to fully understand it yet. He may just want me to share as it is happening – piece by piece.

So, I  am sharing about my heart today, friends. I am sharing about one wretched aspect of my heart today. I am sharing about the part that involves fear when it comes to praying for “His will to be done.” I am sharing about the fact that this fibromyalgia is trying to cover up the heart work that still needs to be happening, but that God is victorious, and He is not letting go.

He is not letting go of my heart.

The big revolving thought that keeps on returning to me: The cup did not pass from Jesus when it came time for the cross.

Is it possible this cup of chronic pain shall not pass from me? Is it possible the greater issue lies in the fact that I feel badly because my cup is beautiful and lovely as compared to the one Jesus had to partake of? Is it possible that the fact that I am bummed out sometimes an indicator of he fact that I haven’t fully surrendered this to Him?

Yes. It is very possible. Oh, the line between surrender and resignation is so fine, is it not?

Hearts. We think they are so soft, so pliable. We tend to think they are the really tender part of the body, and maybe the actual and physical heart is. But the heart of me….who I am inside ~ what it is filled with ~ It never ceases to surprise me. I really cannot believe sometimes just how quickly it can get polluted. (It only takes one drop to spoil the well water).

And that’s it right there: Who I am inside. There’s still too much Annie in there.

We are very good at protecting our little hearts, aren’t we? So good, we sometimes don’t know we are even doing it. And what we think is protection, could actually be pollution. And God knows it.

Break my heart for what breaks yours. If we pray that, we better be ready for some pain. And some joy and some peace and some really awesome and cool stuff too!

About three years ago (maybe a little longer) I realized my heart had become quite hardened to people. It seemed ironic in a way. Here I was ~ feeling that something new had truly awakened in me regarding my relationship with Jesus, and I had been growing closer to Him for quite some time already.

But…..after the first sprouts of new seeds that He planted in me began to bloom, eventually, it was time for some more pruning.

And I felt it.

I resisted at first. (Of course I did – ug) and I wrote a lot about those pruining sessions as they were happening.

Why? Why do we think that once we start to bloom again and the pruning subsides, that we are done with that for longer than we really are? Yes, I was grateful when the season of what seemed like respite from the breaking down of stuff occurred. I thanked God for it every day. Yet, something inside of me thought it would last longer than it did.

Something just a leeeeeeetle bit prideful.

Sometimes I feel like I am utterly insane…always falling into that pattern or line of thinking. Maybe I am. I smile as I write that not because it’s not possible that I am nuts, but because I have somewhat accepted that it really may be true. Ha Ha! (Really, though…I kinda wonder sometimes).

Well, I am going to tell you today that it is clear that I am being pruned again. Yes, again. I don’t know what about, or what for, but it’s happening.

Wanna know how I know this?

Because as the body has broken down, and the flesh has softened up and the bones and joints and range of motion has become TOTALLY MESSED UP, all I thought I had left that was somewhat in tact was the heart.

No, I didn’t think I had it all together. But yes….I thought my heart was in a better place than it really is.

Yep – this chick’s heart is still kind of messed up, friends. I just see it more clearly now that there’s less stuff on the surface to mask it all. This is how God is making my pain enemy become a friend to the heart. Jesus saves us every single day.

Revelaton. Illumination. Sanctification.

This is what this pain stuff can do if we keep coming to the feet of Jesus. And He gives us the pieces that He wants for us to see just at the right time.

Chip, Chip, Chip.

My heart still feels like it needs an icepick taken to it at times. It saddens me in a way to have to say that. But our loving Father doesn’t use an icepick. He uses His beautiful and divine hands if we just hand our hearts over to Him (ALL THE WAY) and let Him mold us.

So, I can celebrate. I can celebrate and yet I cry out all at the same time.

  • I can celebrate the fact that God is still working in me.
  • I cry out for relief from the pain.
  • I can celebrate the fact He will never give up on this heart of mine.
  • I cry out when I realize there’s still ugly in there.
  • I can celebrate that He is faithful and true and knows that even though I can be rebellious or deceive myself at times, that this heart of mine is really meant to be owned by HIM.
  • I can cry out and share how much it hurts to realize I am still withholding.

There can be no darkness in Him. If He is going to live there, He must expel it.

Did I say this part already? “ALL OF IT”.

It’s going to keep going, this heart stuff. It’s going to keep going until we go home for eternity. But it is part of the healing. The breaking is part of the healing.

For those who may feel I am being hard on myself, I must say…”it is okay.” Really, it is. I need these heart checks, friends. I want to be able to hand my whole heart to God, not just most of it. I am one seriously resistant little lady. If I am really honest, I have to admit it that I am. I don’t like broken stuff. I resist it. I don’t like pain. I lash out. But I know God has this under control. I know it.

No…this girl’s heart is not pure. It may be in the “right place” at first glance, but if I really dig in there with the icepick, I can find stuff that needs to be melted. Then I have to hand the sharp object over to God and let Him do things the right way. (Sharp objects + insane woman = NOT GOOD)

Revel in it, friends. Revel in the truth that He is continuing to mold us and take these hearts of ours that we offer and empty them of self and fill them with HIM.

They are His. They are all HIS. They may be tough to “crack” but He has no intention of shattering them and leaving them that way.

Our God builds things. He creates things. He really and truly does make all things new. We just may not always understand it.

Oh, Lord, please help us not to condemn ourselves as we walk through difficult times. Please help us to resist the temptation to get angry or frustrated with others in the face of chronic pain or other kinds of suffering. But most of all Lord, help us to allow You to continue to work in our hearts ~ not to build ice fortresses around them as our focus is on doctor’s appointments and coping with illness. Help us to remember that when things hurt, we can turn to you. You are the rebuilder of everything, dear Father. You make all things new. And we saw what Jesus chose to do in order to offer us salvation and an opportunity to have a true and eternal relationship with You. Lord, we turn our icepicks over to you along with our heart warmers. We ask you to do Your will within our hearts and in our bodies as well. Help us have the courage to really mean it when we pray for “Your will to be done.” Give us the love and the strength and the desire to share with one another what you are working within us as you mold us ~ especially when we do not fully understand it yet. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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Chronic Pain Series ~ God’s Grace is for Real

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Grace seems like something intangible or elusive at times, doesn’t it? It’s not like a chocolate sundae that we can see, smell, or taste. But if it’s God’s grace that we are partaking of, it is no less real than that ice cream; and by far more satisfying.

And just when we might think we have a true taste for and understanding of His grace ~ that somehow, we actually recognize it ~ if we follow after Jesus with all our heart, mind, body and soul, we learn that His grace will continue to surprise us.

The Grace of God is Real ~ and it is ABUNDANT.

He shows up ~ our wonderful Savior. He shows up with His grace a’ plenty. He shows up with it in new and different ways as we walk throughout life hand-in-hand with Him. It just becomes more cherished when the going gets tough, doesn’t it? Too bad that we are such fickle children.  But our loving Father understand us. And He loves us anyway.

I think sometimes even Christians put too much stock in that which we can experience in the physical realm. We are creatures made up of the physical and sensory, after all. Aren’t we supposed to be abundantly “blessed” and walk around pretending to be perfect and happy all the time no matter what is going on?

NOT!!!!

But if we continue to lean in ~ lean in really hard to Jesus ~ especially when things are not perfect in our lives, the Spirit of the Lord grows within us and replaces the need for the perfect human sensory experience with something far better.

I think that’s a better witness for what Jesus does for us in some ways, don’t you?

By the way: God’s grace is not fickle, and it sticks around in a much better way than the result of that chocolate sundae I mentioned. He brings about contentment, acceptance, surrender, or even joy during times that chocolate syrup is just not gonna cut it.

God, through His grace and mercy, makes all things new ~ even when the stuff we are dealing with ~ even our own physical bodies ~ are flat-out broken.

I wrote about pain yesterday ~ my pain ~ your pain. We all have our seasons of various types of pain or hardship in life. My whole life isn’t all about pain right now. There is a lot of good stuff happening too. But as I mentioned yesterday, physical pain is quite pervasive. This is the body we are “living” in right now, after all, right?

But that is not everything.

Yah…this physical pain stuff?  I am finding it is heavy on the sensory side, friends.  Heavy on the physical and fleshy side. Not hard to notice ~ at ALL. Easy to let it overtake and overshadow everything.

I must tell you: It’s caused me to more actively search for God’s grace in the unexpected places. I don’t just mean in recognizing the grace that I receive myself, but the grace that He fills me with and allows to spill out around me as well. It’s all His though. All of it comes from HIM.

Sometimes we shut down a bit when we are in pain, don’t we? But overall, if we are trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, He is firming up our faith each and every day.  I find lately, this has mostly been done by showing me His real grace in even the little things.

  • Someone actually talked to me today about their own trial, pain, or suffering.They felt like someone understood and it ministered to them and their heart….

God’s real grace showed up.

  • Someone was nice to me when I explained why I couldn’t go to the annual picnic. They showed me care, understanding and concern.

God’s real grace showed up.

  • I was able to be nice to my customers at work today even though I was gritting my teeth intermittently throughout the day as a result of having tried to exercise yesterday…

God’s real grace showed up.

  • I was able to thank God for being able to make that attempt yesterday instead of focusing upon the fact that it somewhat “failed.”

God’s real grace showed up.

Yes, this ugly Fibro monster is real and yes, I can feel it with me all the time. I told someone the other day that it feels like there is something that attached to me; jumped on my back, and has claw-like and alien-like sharp tentacles that are inside of my body. (Think the Matrix)

But as real as it is, God’s grace is even more my reality. I am trying to focus upon that. Maybe that’s part of what God is doing  in me as all of this is going on.  Showing me how to sharpen my grace vision. Maybe He will use that to help others some day. I know it’s helping me. It helps me when you share your own stories of God’s grace in your life.

God’s real grace shows up. God shows up. God.

Do you deal with chronic pain of some sort? Is it hard for you to feel anything else as tangibly as that pain? It’s easy to be overtaken by it, I can attest to that.

Here’s what I think can be really good about this pain stuff, friends:

  • If we don’t choose to permanently shut down, we will emerge vulnerable, and willing to share that vulnerability with others. This leads to sharing. Period. And sharing is good.
  • We will be able to understand others in ways that certain folks can’t. And that is a gift. A gift from God.
  • We relate to Jesus in a way that maybe we hadn’t before. Jesus knows suffering – all kinds of it. Maybe our pain helps us to lean into Him the way we should even when things are going well.
  • It teaches us about gratefulness ~ being thankful for the good in the middle of the icky,and being even more grateful for the things that are going quite well.
  • We learn not to live as much for this world. When there are more bad days than good (physically) we don’t really feel as emotionally attached to these bodies, the next physical feat we can achieve, or put a lot of stock in how we feel in relation to how we will find a way to live with the joy of Jesus in our lives in spite of the cruddy stuff.

I kid you not: This has really helped me to look forward to the day we receive our heavenly bodies in eternity. No joke.

Do I still hope that one day I will enjoy good health and fitness again if I am here much longer? Absolutely yes.

But either way, I have seen that God’s grace is even more real and more satisfying than any perfect circumstance that could be offered to me on this earth.

Friends: This does not mean we should not pray for healing. It does not mean we shouldn’t have a healthy mixture of hope and expectation, mingled with acceptance and surrender.

What it does mean, is that regardless of whether or not our pain, our trial, our suffering, or our hardship is removed ~ we get to lean into Jesus and look for His grace in the midst of the unknown, the difficult, and the heart-wrecking stuff as much as we do when things are going well.

Has pain or suffering made God’s grace seem even more real to you in some way? If so, hang onto that. Hang on to Jesus in the middle of the pain and in the midst of the beauty. There may come a day when you are physically healed and you have to begin to look for grace when everything else is going well.

We forget to be thankful when we aren’t suffering sometimes.

Paul said it so well….

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8: 24-25

Yes, I am hoping to be healed while I am here. But our true hope lies in Jesus Christ and the life we will live with Him for all eternity.

So let’s keep our eyes wide open ~ not for the things that we actually see in the physical realm that produce false hope or fleeting happiness, but for the very real grace and mercy and love and hope and peace and joy and beauty and divinity and redemption and glory and sanctification, and triumph that we possess as children of our Father in heaven!!

And it’s all because of Jesus. Our very real, utterly grace-filled Savior.

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How Fibromyalgia is Helping me to Know God Even Better

Hello dear Friends,

Well, today I made an attempt at exercise again. I don’t know if you have been reading lately, so if not, I will tell you that the doctors are pretty sure I have several things going on (all at once) that are impacting my health in a very negative way.

We do not yet know the root cause and are working on that as we speak. However, one thing seems pretty certain; and that is that the Fibromyalgia beast has come alive within my body.

The larger the beast grows, the more I feel I am getting to know some things about God that I never could clearly see when I was enjoying the epitome of good health. I cannot fully articulate those things just yet, but I can tell you most assuredly, they are real. And they are good.

Anyway, today I tried to do some cardo activity on my treadmill. The yoga isn’t cutting it when it comes to my heart rate stuff and weight control. It’s been an ongoing battle; trying to get cardio back into the picture. Every time I have attempted much, I have paid dearly for about four days after.

Today I just tried walking, with a few very small little one-minute jogs interspersed in there. Only time will tell what will happen in the days to come. But I have included a little of my heart and where it was at the time I was on the treadmill battling my Fibro enemy, as well as where it is now…. hours later.

Maybe some of you can relate.

Any of you dealing with chronic pain out there – I wish to encourage you. I hope that the writings that I share regarding this help you feel supported, less alone, and give you a few moments in which you can be comforted in the knowledge that any crazy thoughts you may have as you fight the beast are not lost on me and others like yourself.

We are children who may feel trapped right now in a broken body…but there is freedom in Jesus, friends. There really is.

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Pain….mingled with will, determination and desire. Shooting, throbbing, and radiating down my legs. Knees locking up, sharp pains shootng like daggers through my lower back and buttocks. The desire to hold it all in and grit my teeth is overwhelming.

The treadmill is moving – slowly. My feet are wobbly, but determined.

Can we do it this time, Lord?  Am I making a wise choice?

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The will to go on – as I attempt this once again…it is here. It is palpable.

Did you place it there Lord? Or is this self?

Continue moving – listen to your body – pray and talk with Jesus. Trust Him that it may not be so bad this time – the aftermath – but that if it is, He has a reason and He will pull you through the coming days.

The treadmill feels like it is about to sprout claws and slice me in two.

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What will I learn tomorrow if I wake up regretting this, Lord? Will you help me move through the day and fulfill my responsibilities? Will I learn more about You as I pray for you to help me put one foot in front of the other?

Walking…..not too fast. Four small jogs peppered in for about a minute over a period of thirty in total.

How did I get here, God? A year ago I could run six miles easily.

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I am still learning – growing – becoming stronger in You. As my body has deteriorated, in some ways You have grown larger inside. You burst forth in ways I never thought imaginable without the help of my energetic and fit body. Nothing is beyond you, Jesus.

Ahhh….that lovely reminder: You don’t need my “help”.

How long will I need to be broken down before you rebuild me? Have you already built something better and I just don’t see it yet?

Hours later….right now. I write. I ponder and pray. It has been long enough now that I see the beginnings of what will be setting up inside of my joints.

I want to resist.

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You placed the desire within my heart to try today. You gave me the ability physically to even be able to try.

I praise you and share how grateful I am that you gave me this opportunity. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but my body may tell me something that tries to lie to my soul.

Do not let me be conquered, Lord Jesus. Do not let me fall. Make Your truth more clear than the lies.

I want to nail it to the cross – the pain and the lies. I want to nail it all the way in.

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I knew pain of other types before. I am sure I will know them again. But today…this day, I have been given a small victory in the pain of the physical. Even if I end up paying for it tomorrow.

There’s always a cost anyway, isn’t there?

But there is also always a reward.

This is nothing. Nothing compared to what others are experiencing and I know it.

This is nothing. Nothing compared to what You did for each and every one of us.

Lord, give me YOUR power. Give me YOUR strength. Help me to resist the enemy as I limp through these setbacks. Help me to focus upon the small wins that You hand over to me as we conquer the pain together.

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 Lord, help my friends. Help them to know they are not alone. Help to heal their pain. Remove the lies. Cut out the self. Fill every one of us up with more of YOU.

You are the Great Physician. Because You know suffering best.

And You are victorious!

We are victorious in YOU.

 

 

 

My Dad Fought for Freedom in More than One Way

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Lt. Col. James Michael Basile – Air Force Pilot – Wonderful Father and Husband – Follower after Jesus Christ.

Lt. Col. James Michael Basile – Hilarious dude – Intelligent beyond description – Lover of His One True King

Lt. Col. James Michael Basile – Dedicated to Holding Value of Country, Family, and Hard Work dear – Value of following Jesus held closest to the heart.

Lt. Col James Michael Basile – Lived to the fullest – died for his country – born again and living forever in eternity with Jesus.

This photo…this is how I remember my dad best. The military, clean-cut man who had the most hilarious side to him! Here, he is wearing my fabulous eighties-style hair clips!

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Note: The pens in the pocket HAD to stay.

Oh, how I loved my dad. Oh, how I laugh when I think of all the things he did that made up “Jimmy.” Oh, how I sometimes slip back into feeling his life got cut short when he died in a helicopter rescue mission in El Salvador…just shy of 20 years of dediated service to his country.

He missed his family. We got to see him in Panama for a bit before he returned and then passed away. We got to write a Father’s Day letter to him and found and confirmed that he had actually opened it and read it before he died.

But you know….it’s so comforting to know that this man not only fought for his country, but he also fought to raise his children along with my mother, with good values – and to act upon them every single day.

More than this – more than contributing to the gift of freedom we have in the United States of America – this man fought for true freeom – the kind we only find in Jesus Christ.

I am so glad I will get to see him again one day! That day, that blessed day, when I will leave this life and go to heaven with Jesus – with dad – with mom.

That day when we will live out true freedom with no distractions, temptations, or limitations!

I am so thankful that this man and my mother introduced me to true freedom – introduced me to my Savior – and showed us what it is to love Him with all “their heart, mind and soul.”

It wasn’t easy – fighting for freedom. I’m sure Jim had to withstand a lot of backlash as he fought to do what was right for Jesus at the same time he fought for this country and our freedoms here.

But in the end – I know he would say….”It is worth it. Jesus is worth it ALL.”

I don’t know what he felt in those last moments. But I do know that Jim knew where he would be going when he left this earth.

I miss him – many people that I love miss him too. But because of that freedom we have accepted in Jesus Christ – because of accepting His gift of salvation – we will see him again.

We are truly free.

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Xanax: The Final Answer for Annie! (Hee Hee)

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I am laughing so hard right now, friends. It appears that those out in cyber space think that Xanax may be something I should consider. Strongly. (tee hee, I can’t stop laughing).

If you are reading this post and you take Xanax, please do not be offended. I think there is a time and a place for certain medications, and in no way am I trying to make fun of any and everyone who may need such things at this time in their life. This chick has been there – been through chemical depression and anxiety – and she undertstands that God gave us doctors and medications for a reason.

However…..

The things I write about and share on this blog are not usually those kinds of things: the kind that one might need Xanax for in order to get through their particular struggle. They are the groanings of my own heart….the celebrations of my soul and my love for Jesus in the midst of the crazy and the messy stuff we contend with day to day that tries to drag us down.

These aren’t things that any medication can take the edge off of – at all. These are spiritual things, friends.

Several of my very close friends I have met through blogging have the same approach to their writing. We write what God places in our hearts and share it – in raw form – with others here. We write as we would speak it to you. We write it the way God lays it on our heart. Even if it comes across as imperfect. (We are flawed, after all).

This is what we are feeling led by Jesus to do. This is not what every writer is led to do with their gift, and that’s okay. But for me, this is where He has me – sharing it all, the good, the bad, and the edgy and the ugly – of what it means to be a true follower after Christ in an imperfect and fallen world.

  • What it means to realize (daily) that we are His children, and that He loves us just as we are.
  • What it means to realize our need for our Savior because sin and iniquity is becoming easier to see, but harder to deal with when we fall back into self-sufficiency type behaviors.
  • What it means to keep watching for the enemy and looking to Jesus as we move through this life we have been given.

So, back to the Xanax and the part of it in relation to myself that has me laughing right now………

I rarely check my stats on my blog – this includes the “spam” comments that come through. But today, I checked them out as I was replying to some of your beautiful comments and saw that there were 52 things in the spam folder.

Guess what? About 40 of them were ads for Xanax!

I know this is because when I tag these blog posts, I often choose to tag them under encouragement, inspiration, parenthood, fitness (cause runners need encouragement too) AND under things such as grief, depression, stress, anxiety. (P.S. I’ve never once tagged any one of them under “medication”.)

I do this because out of all the tags in the world, I want to be sure that anyone who searches anything under “grief” – who may be feeling alone, lost, or in an otherwise dark place, might see what the Lord has laid on my heart to share. Maybe they won’t feel as alone as they did earlier that day. Maybe Jesus will reach out to them through me as He does to me through others so very often.

Most of all: I hope others who come across these matters of the heart will see and think upon Jesus and simultaneously realize they are NOT CRAZY.

Correction: They are not crazy in Jesus’ eyes – but they may be crazy according to what the world thinks.

Ok……so….not crazy ALONE.

Tee Hee. Hence, the Xanax ads.

Guess the world thinks I am crazy – how about you? Have you checked your spam folder lately? What is in there that might help to confirm for you that the world thinks you might need a little help right about now?

And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:17

  • I don’t need Xanax for the struggles I have with self and the flesh…
  • I don’t need Xanax for the fact that I find myself being selfish the more I try to follow after Jesus and love others the way that He loved us first.
  • I don’t need Xanax to help me realize the world wants to hear about puppy dogs and sand in your toes, bouquets of flowers and balloons and the smell of a freshly bathed toddler.

I need Jesus – and the world thinks otherwise. The world is “concerned” for our well-being, friends, if we are not happy, happy, happy all the time!

The world thinks that Xanax may help my state of mind so that my writings would be more airy, fun, feel-good and light. Is the world concerned for me? I tend to wonder just who it really is that needs  for Annie to take the Xanax…ha ha.

There’s a time and a place for fun – I’m all over it when God leads me in that direction. You’ve seen it here in many of the things that I’ve shared.  But, I didn’t have Xanax then, and I don’t need it now.

Not for this, my friends.

I am not sad. I am finding beauty in the turmoil that is caused by living for Jesus while simultaneously trying to walk in this world. It is such a twisted and hard thing to walk through – it does make me anxious at times, I admit. Sometimes I get really frustrated too. Sad, even. Bummed out, I guess you could say.

But guess what that does for me? Guess what that does in regard to my relationship with Jesus Christ?

  • It makes me never forget to remember my need to turn to HIM.

I think that is what it is all about. I think that it’s important that I be here right now.

Sometimes, when I think about the few thorns in my side I am “suffering” with, I almost don’t know whether to ask the Lord to remove them, or just allow them to stay and help me meet Him where I am at and live with them. He’s been showing me a lot through this stuff that I am contending with – I am learning more and more about Him each and every day. I don’t know if I would be able to say that if life was just a bed of pretty little roses.

I enjoy it when things are going well – just as much as the next guy. But if I am really honest with you, I would say that those times are only “good” because it feels good and I have less difficulty to contend with. They “cut me a break” for a while, and that is good. Our Father knows just when it’s time for us to have that particular blessing come about.

But if it lasts too long, I find myself leaning in less to Jesus. I find myself focusing upon sensation and perfect circumstances more than digging in to the mud and getting my hands a little dirty. My Father knows this too, and He blesses me by disciplining me, or using hard times to draw me closer to Him. It’s the blessing in the seemingly ugly stuff that really makes  you know that “what you are made of” is not enough.

Only God is enough.

Toes in the sand? Good stuff. Covered in muck and mud? Also good. Just not in the same way. Not in the feel-good way.

If you are struggling and need to take medicine right now and feel the Lord has led you to do so, please do it – please know I support you, care for you, and would love to pray for you if you wish to send me a message. I get it – not your individual and personal story – but I do get it when chemical imbalances take hold. Trust me.

But if you, like me, know you don’t need medicine for what currently seems to ail you, please look upon the attempts of this world to soothe you for what they really are.

  • They do not know what they do…..
  • They are just trying to “help”…
  • They want to try to fix you or help you fix yourself…
  • Some of it really may be coming from what they think is a pure motivation.

Friends, oh friends. The world thinks we are supposed to strive for happiness. The world thinks we are supposed to achieve balance. The world thinks that we deserve better, should take care of ourselves first and foremost, and be a positive (feel-good) person to be around.

The world thinks….”this is IT. You only get one life. Better make the best of it NOW.”

I always say this…..”It’s hip to be mellow.” The closest this chick ever got to mellow, was when she was smoking pot and dumbing down every negative or uncomfortable feeling she ever had by pouring alcohol down her throat. And even then, it was fleeting, it was fake, and it didn’t work, friends.

Dudes: None of that is going to fix us. It’s all a lie.

Pot and alcohol may be legal here in Colorado and in other places- legal in the eyes of this world – but it ain’t where I am headed. Not even close.

  • No, I will take what the world may call angst and live with it – raw.
  • I will take the frustration and the stress and press into Jesus – daily.
  • I will live in this momentary shell of discomfort with the blessed hope that it causes me to reach out for over any amount of happpy feel-good stuff this world has to offer.
  • And I will celebrate the seasons of lightness and good feelings when they come.

Truth is, the best of this world is nothing compared to what is to come. And these struggles we go through that are just a part of being a follower after Christ who is not yet home, help us to endure what we need to until such day that we leave this temporary life and begin to really live!

Xanax? Ain’t got nothing on Jesus.

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You Had Me at “Hellno”???

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Fire and Brimstone…

Furnace of Fire…

Judgement by Fire…

Lake of Fire…

Separated from His glory….apart from Him….FOREVER.

Pits of Darkness…

Eternal Punishment…

Burning Wind…

Unquenchable Fire…

The place where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth…FOREVER

Not a popular topic, Hell. Conjures up uncomfortable feelings, makes us feel unpleasant, even disgruntled or angry, right?

But the fact is, hell is for real. Yet there is another place – an awesome place – that is just as real. And it most certainly won’t make us feel unpleasant if we really think about it for a while.

The best thing about all of it really isn’t about the place anyway.  It’s about who we choose to spend eternity with that really is what should be grabbing our attention.

Hell no? Or no hell?

I guess we all get to decide that for ourselves. God does indeed give us that choice to make.

So. Did Jesus have me (was I really “all in”) at the point that I realized I didn’t want to go to Hell? Did he really and truly have my whole heart?

  • That moment in which, as a very small child, I thought about heaven and hell and the fact that they are both very, very real places?
  • That point in life in which fear overtook me and I didn’t want anything to do with burning up in that lake of fire and residing with Satan and his demons when I die?

Had I truly decided to give all of myself to Jesus at that point?

What I know for certain is that I definitely knew that I didn’t want to go to Hell. I most assuredly knew that I wanted to go to heaven when I leave this earth. The realization that hell was a scary and horrible place, to say the least, definitely got my attention. I felt love for Jesus, but really didn’t decide to also make Him the LORD OF MY LIFE NOW at that time.

Not even close. I was still Queen Bee.

So I began to ask myself (much, much later in life) ~ Is this really all there is to being a “Christian”? Why do I feel like something is missing? Is the life I am living really representative at all of being one of God’s children? Simply being able to say without a doubt that I will choose to go to heaven over hell?

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I accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation. And if realizing that hell is very real helps someone to do the same, that’s a good thing. But we really do need to remember that Jesus wants all of us – He loves us! We are saved by His grace alone, but it is also true that He wants for us to live for Him now.

Jesus saves us every day that we come to His feet and remember all that He has done and is still doing for us. He saves us from going our own way if we draw near to Him. We may only need to accept salvation from residing in hell after we pass away from this earth once, but life on earth in the meantime can be a living hell of it’s own if we aren’t living in Him, through Him, and with Him.

Being born again leads to a life in which we must die to self. This doesn’t just happen once, but each and every single day. And it hurts sometimes. But it is very fulfilling.

As we empty ourselves, over and over again, we leave more room to be filled with Jesus.

But until a few years ago, I really wasn’t leaving much room for Him at all. I still catch myself at times getting filled up with self and forget that He is not meant to be shoved into the nooks and crannies of my heart. He is meant to overtake it.

How much value do I hold in a gift if I unwrap it, play with it for a few minutes, and then toss it into a corner and let it get dusty?

No. He didn’t really have me at “hellno.” Not “fully.”

I hadn’t given myself – all of me – to Him. I tossed Him aside. I Ignored Him. Heck, I even flat-out stomped on Him.

And He still loves me. He is faithful. He was and is waiting right there for me in spite of the fact that I deserve the exact opposite. I deserve the separation from Him that I chose for so many years, but instead of that, He offers me everything. I am redeemed by Him and the blood He shed for me and my sin. I get to live with Him for all eternity.

That includes right now!

Part of living for and following after Jesus is not just about deciding to accept the gift of salvation He offers us, but comes with realizing He wants a true relationship with us.

  • We decide to grow with Jesus.
  • We decide to ask Him to help us to truly die to self and live for Him and His glory.
  • We decide to know Him – not just to treat Him as our one-way ticket out of Hell.
  • We decide whether or not to be all in for Jesus Christ or not.
  • Then, we take action.

Active Pursuit.

It’s only a bleak picture if we are not choosing Him.

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Throne of God…

Streets of Gold…

Tree of Life…

Night no more…

No more crying, no more mourning, no more pain ~ NOT EVER.

God Given Light…

Perpetual Worship…

Many mansions…

Glory of God…

He makes all things new – we will reign with Him- Forever.

He has me now. I’m still a tough nut to crack sometimes. But He has me now. He has me forever.

And oh….thanks be to God…

I. Have. Him.

This I KNOW.

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The Pull of Me

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Sometimes I struggle listening to others when I think too much about my own concerns.
Sometimes I find myself replying to someone and relating what they just said to ME.

Sometimes I pray more for myself than for others. I take the good seat, take care of my own needs first, or pass someone else by because I am more concerned with my own agenda.

The pull is strong – to think of me.

It is a part of living on this earth – gravity.

I cannot wait to fly. But in the meantime, I am going to practice, practice, practice.

Practice pushing me away and drawing HIM closer. Practice changing what is in the Center.

Oh, Jesus. How do I avoid self-deprecation in the process of trying to think of myself less? How do I think less of myself when this is the mind, the body, the flesh that I live in? How do I turn it all over to You and think of YOU, YOU, YOU (not me), yet still put one foot in front of the other. Please show me. Show me every day. Every minute. Every second. Oh Jesus, as much as it hurts, cut the ties of me that pull at me.

Set me free from Me.

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10 Minutes Above the Waves

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If you can do it, I highly recommend it.

I recommend you do it tonight.

Take 10 minutes out of your life…

Just a few moments of focus.

10 minutes to get into a quiet, preferably dimly lit room.

10 minutes to just….listen.

10 minutes to absorb. Maybe even close your eyes and see Jesus there with you.

Nothing else.

Just listen – just rest in the words. Rest in Him.

Think on Him. Think about your ocean today. Are you drowning? Are you being rocked by the many waves?

He wants to pull you up. He’s there with you.

He’s making you stronger.

10 minutes.

Are you ready? Just play the song below and truly listen.

Maybe then you may want to take 10 more minutes…just to pray.

To thank Him.

In the midst of the waves, He is there.

And there is calm. There is Jesus.

 

 

 

Fear Not

What do you fear as you walk through this day?

Is it what someone might think of you as you have to turn down an invite, an offer for coffee, or a need you are unable to meet at this moment?

How about the health issues you or a loved one are facing – all the unknown, the stress, the hurt or the pain involved?

Are you afraid to be alone or feeling misunderstood and not certain if you will ever feel connected or vibrant again?

Or are you simply just scared ~ afraid of a challenge ahead that seems daunting, too complicated, or just plain stressful in an already filled and overwhelming schedule?

You can do this. Together, with Him. It may not be easy, but He’s got you.

He wants to help you to overcome – all of it.

He wants to help you to fly.

And if it’s scary? He’s right there to catch you.

You are in good and mighty hands.

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Things Most Chronic Pain Patients Don’t Talk About

Getting Through By God's Grace

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When I started this blog, I explained how it would be a way for me to document my journey of overcoming an accident, not giving up and most of all, letting God guide me through it all. And I can honestly say, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I have had the pleasure to meet so many new people online through support groups and informational pages and learned so much. And for each one of those people, I am truly grateful that our paths crossed. (You know who you are.) 😘

All of us are dealing with many different type chronic illnesses. I’ve met many with the same diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Met others that share a new diagnosis I have of RSD. Meeting more that have already been dealing with Hashimoto’s disease, which as I write this, I am waiting on lab work to confirm that diagnosis. And for…

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Just Write ~

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Yes, I have waited so many times for things to be just right before even making an effort at all.

I have waited and waited and waited.

The area I waited the longest in, it seems, was following after Jesus – truly and fully.

Right next in line with that, would be using the desire (again, to the fullest) that He placed inside of my heart to write what lies within it and then share it with others.

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After much prayer and years of waiting, I have finally decided that will be the topic of the book that I will finally write (unless the Lord leads me to something else, which I don’t think will be the case).

It has been on my heart for years – well, actually forever – to write a book.

But something wasn’t just right.

Now I know that the writing will never be just right, but the timing is – and that is what I have been waiting for – for it to be something that will truly glorify Jesus and it will happen in His perfect timing. The rest doesn’t have to be just right.

There is freedom in that – in oh, so many ways, there is freedom there!

The other day I realized: why not write about something that writers struggle with – why not also write about something that we all, as Christians living in this world struggle with at the same time? Why not write about how we wait for things to seem “just right” before we step – risk – grow. How when we hold back because we are waiting to be perfect first, we become stagnant. And then NOTHING actually really ever happens.

Why not write about how we often struggle with multitudes of things simply because we are waiting for them to be just right?

I’m glad Jesus doesn’t do that, aren’t you?

You, dear friends of mine are the first to get to hear of this – the first to know that I decided along with the Lord to write this book about the fact that stuff is not always going to line up to be just right for us.

It almost never does. (sing it with me now…”FREEDOM”!!!!)

We have to risk if the Lord leads us to – step first – trust in Him. Let Him make ALL THINGS NEW in and through us.

I do not wish to write a book for the sake of it. If that were so, I would have done it a long time ago.  I just want to place down what Jesus is moving me to share with others. Even if only my family and close friends read it, that is okay by me.

I will share more as things progress – please pray for me, friends. My greatest wish is to let this book develop at the pace that the Lord would choose, but that I move forward, in spite of the fact that not much of any of it is just right at this point.

~I am busier than ever and don’t know where the time will come from.

~I have health issues impacting my motivation and morale, even though I still have Jesus joy inside of me!

~I will not sacrifice this blog for any book as Jesus has placed this forum in which to write down the words that are on my heart in the forefront – it remains there to this day. There is community here – there is love and sharing here – Jesus speaks to me here. Clearly.

Here is a little excerpt of what I have written so far (in the middle of one of the chapters).

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Just as a musician could not imagine life apart from using his gift of making music, a person with a love for writing needs to do just that – write down the words, the feelings, the thoughts that fill them up, and share them, express them, even celebrate them.

When I write, it feels like something happens that is simply, yet wonderfully, an extension of who I am in Christ. I feel near to Jesus when I write.

He teaches me how to magnify Him, glorify Him, commune with Him, and worship with Him through making what is on the inside come out in a tangible way.

Most importantly, through writing, the Lord reveals more of Himself to me, and allows me to see just how much He really loves others, including myself. He motivates me to become more like Him as he shows me these things.

But for so very long, I pushed it down – stuffed it. I didn’t like the rugged edges of my writing, but I didn’t want to sacrifice truth either. So I wrote the stuff that wasn’t “just right” in my own eyes, or by the standards of the world, for that matter.

I wrote the not-just-right stuff anyway and simply hid it from the world.

No…it had to be perfect in order to be shared. It had to be “just right.” And so, for many years, it was not just right. Not at all. And because of that, it was just…..nothing. It was as though it didn’t exist. Because I hid it. I was ashamed of it.

And it was then that I realized….

This is how I was treating my Savior as well. The way I approached my writing was the same way I approached my Christian walk with Jesus. If I couldn’t do things just right, I would do it halfway, but then hide that from the world. If I couldn’t do it just right, I might even throw up my hands for a while. Talk about backsliding!

I would play this game with myself for many, many years. I still catch myself trying to do it at times without even intending to.

But now I am on the hook.

I am on the hook with Jesus. And the words He fills me with – the ones I express through writing – they help make what I try to hide – intentionally or not – come to the surface.

~ Jesus is in my writing – it is now no longer my own.

~ Just as my writing is no longer MINE, the same goes for my life.

~It all belongs to Him. And that is right. It is just right.

But make no mistake: I battle with it still – all the time. And that reminds me of how not “just right” I am without Jesus. Every. Single. Day. It may seem odd, but the full knowledge of that is what makes me feel the freedom that I have in Jesus, friends. I don’t feel bummed out, bound up by facing that I am imperfect. I don’t like it at times, but I still have the “peace that surpasses all understanding” about all of it now.

So I am just going to write about that. I’m gonna write about how glorious it is to be saved from our “not-just-rightness” by the blood of Jesus.

I am going to just write about how very “just right” that truth really is.

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Love is not Lost on YOU

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Was someone rude or mean to you today?

Don’t forget to remember.

Was it an all-around stressful day, and maybe you didn’t handle everything just right?

Don’t forget to remember.

Did you feel like you were left out of something, lost or alone?

Don’t forget to remember.

Feeling misunderstood, laughed at, ridiculed, or picked on?

Don’t forget to remember.

Think you’re not lovable, too far gone for redemption, or just a fish out of water?

Don’t forget to remember.

Out of place, no where to go, wondering if you really have a “home?”

Don’t forget to remember.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

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A Child for a Mother

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This Mother’s Day I bask in the beauty to be found and treasured in the gift of our children. I also found myself thinking differently today about the blessing that motherhood really has been in my spiritual life.

As I prayed this morning, Jesus revealed something pretty neat to me. It wasn’t something I had never thought about, but He showed it to me in a light I had never quite seen before.

We tend to think that being a good Mother means all of these awesome and exceptional things. Taking care of our household, showing up to and doing a good job at work, putting our children’s needs before our own – those are all good things. But they aren’t what I think the end-all, be-all of good mothering really is. At least not in the eyes of the Lord.

See, back in the days when my children were younger, I wasted some of those years trying to be that “perfect mother”. In the process, I failed miserably to meet my own expectations or those by which the world might measure it by. My kids didn’t have a horrible childhood by any means, but I was trying to step into what I thought motherhood was supposed to be. I found myself feeling like an alien. I was never going to be that soccer mom, that mom who bakes and crafts, the one who could work to help supplement the finances, stay fit, do all those mom-type things, and still put God first.

I struggled. And somehow I knew none of that stuff was going to make me a good mom anyway. But I felt like a failure anyway.  I felt like a failure that I couldn’t be that good mom.

Then I felt like a failure when I gave up trying to be that good mom, and what was left was just….me. The flawed and imperfect way that I was.The mess that I was at times. The mom who yelled sometimes, couldn’t strike the balance between her work and home life, and sinned all the time when she felt she was losing control.

That didn’t seem to be what I would call a “good mom” either.

  • I struggled with being a grown up
  • I struggled with being responsible for all of these people that I loved
  • I thought all the other moms seemed so “together” – especially the Christian ones.
  • I struggled with being the role model that I thought I should be for these dear children.

I reached a point where I threw up my hands and prayed and said “God, help me accept that I stink as a Mother.”

Before you think I am embarking upon a self-deprecation thing here, please read on. It was in that moment, that freedom in Christ began to come into my life, friends. In realizing I couldn’t be the “good mom” I think God actually empowered me to become a good mom. The real kind of good mom. The real kind of Godly Mother.

Even during those younger days, I loved my children through it all, see. I didn’t love them as well as I would have liked to have, but I did love them. I loved them through my failings. And in turn, I loved them through theirs. As I prayed this morning, I realized…”isn’t that what Jesus does for us? Loves us through our failings?”

I got so caught up before in the fact our Father loves US in OUR failings, but that HE is perfect, that I forgot for a time that .. “oh yeah….I am human too.” I just kept thinking that I was supposed to never fail – to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, etc. I was bound up. I was in my eyes a “walking failure” as a parent.

Has that happened to you? Does it still happen to you sometimes?

From the beginning, tried very hard to listen to that inner voice – the Holy Spirit about how to parent these beautiful souls that the Lord entrusted to my husband and myself. Some of the things I was supposed to hear, I did. And those things went well. Things like “each child is different and fair does not always mean equal…equal is not always fair.” I heard that from the get go.

But a lot of what I was supposed to hear, I think I pushed away. I squashed it. I didn’t listen. Things like “it will help your children to see that you are not perfect either and that you bring that to me, your God, to wash away and to help you grow stronger in me.”

But even though I didn’t hear or didn’t listen to some of these important things…guess what? Through those mistakes and through that willful disobedience that my children’s own mother displayed toward the Lord and the Holy Spirit, much growth occurred.

God has his hands around us, see. We are HIS. And He didn’t let go of us. Not one of us in this little family.

Yes, I acted like a spoiled brat as I was trying to be an “adult” all those years. I dstill do sometimes. Ironically, in the face of trying to learn to be the mature, perfect, motherly role model, I acted in the most immature and irresponsible ways much of the time. But God really did use that for good – beyond what I ever expected. I see the fruit of that today. It is evident in all of our lives.

A few years ago, as I realized that I had accepted the gift of salvation as a child, but had not actually made Jesus the Lord and Savior of my LIFE; that I had not turned over the reins of my life to Him; it dawned on me –  the difficult truth:

I was not a true follower of Jesus Christ. I was not a real Christian. I didn’t know the first thing about grace, surrender, or my real need for my Savior. And I hadn’t decided to give my life up yet.

Things began to change as I went back to the beginning – I struggled and gave up and was finally a baby Christian – a real one. I had finally been “born again.” And I felt like an infant. I probably acted like one too.

These last five years I have prayed more than ever to remain child-like in my faith in Christ and my walk with Him. I still struggle with the line between being an upright and responsible adult with adult-like tasks and duties before me daily, while remaining child- like and coming to the lap of Jesus every single day.

It’s hard to be a grown up when you are truly just a little baby. I find myself wanting to scream “Waaaa” all the time. (I do it sometimes in the car, by the way – just so ya know).

It has been in these last few years that motherhood has become more what I feel it is supposed to be. As a full-blown child screaming in need of her Savior and His grace, I have been fortunate enough to be able to show my children just how flawed every one of us is, yet how beautiful we still are to Jesus. And that is an awesome thing.

Jesus has used me to show my children we are all His children, no matter what age we are. Jesus has shown my kids that we can be good stewards, work hard, yet need to come to Him for guidance and support all the time – cause none of us will ever not need it.

It’s life that is a struggle at times, but not trying to be a perfect mother is what has helped me to see the good parts of what kind of mother I actually am. The real kind. The flawed kind. The one who loves Jesus more than how awesome and perfect she can be, kind.

And that is the only kind that I can be.

At the end of this life, I feel that the things I can feel best about regarding my role as Mother to these three wonderful children are as follows:

  • My husband and I introduced them to Jesus and they all love Him more than anything or anyone else.
  • We were fortunate enough to give them one another and emphasize that family is vital – church family most definitely included.
  • I was able to embrace that I am the child of God as well, and that is the one area in which I feel I have been a good role model as a mom….showing that we all are His children and we all NEED our Father, our Savior, our King.

I am a child for a mother – sometimes I can still be a bratty one, but most of the time I just enjoy being one of God’s kids along with my own kids now.

Sometimes I throw tantrums – so do my children.

Sometimes I get silly – so do they.

Sometimes I cry and get confused – they do too.

But one thing we all have in common is that we are ALL coming to the feet of our Father .. we are ALL in His mighty grip … we are ALL saved by His grace and mercy and the sacrifice He made for us.

I am a child for a Mother – this Mother’s Day and every day. I am so thankful for this – there is freedom in that – freedom in no longer struggling constantly to be something that I can never be. Freedom in being God’s child more than my children’s “perfect” mother.

In that release, in that surrender, the true “good” mother in me gets to come out. The true friend in Christ emerges.  The true follower after Jesus, through the good, the bad, and the really ugly, shines. The true child, down to the nitty-gritty, below the molecular, most simplified level possible of who Jesus is in ME, bursts forth.

His perfection covers and then outshines my many little flaws.

If there is one thing in life I hope I teach my children, it is this precious piece of wisdom given by God:

~ Remember you are a child of Christ ~ and act that way, live that way, walk that way. Come to His lap daily and be his little one. He is your one true parent. He will never leave you, never forsake you, and values you beyond your comprehension. ~

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9

This is where my dignity as a mother resides: I am a child of God. He lives inside of me. I am saved by the blood of Jesus and the daughter of the One True King!

He lives inside of my three beautiful children and my wonderful husband. We are his children and we will live with Him for all eternity. And we are loved.

This world will try to steal our child-like spirit as we try to walk with Jesus, friends. Continue to follow after Him anyway. There are oppositional forces at work that are very real, and very intent on destroying it – making you “grow up” or distorting what being responsible and hard-working really means for one of God’s children.

But God is greater than this – He has conquered the world!

We can walk as we should, but sometimes we may still lose our way – that’s when we have to open our eyes and pray and ask for Him to reveal His footsteps to us. Sometimes we even have to allow Him to carry us for a while, and that’s okay.

It’s part of what children must do sometimes. Our Father’s got this!

And this is the ultimate in comfort and motherly love that I can offer my children:

~That He is watching over them even more than I am.

~ That He is ready for you to come to Him and sit on His lap every single day.

~ That there is no shame in taking shelter under His wing.

~ And that we must be willing to receive even more than we realize.

May my children know these words that Jesus has given to their mother – their child of a mother. May they live it. May they bask in it. May they place it inside of their very hearts, souls, and let it live there. Forever.

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Green Lines and Fences

Dear Friends,

It will be a while before I write to you again on here ~ could be a week, could be a month. I am not certain yet. But the Lord has told me clearly it’s time to break away for a while….from here, from facebook and emails (as many as I can, at least) and press in more with Him and with family members.

I think of you all the time ~ you, out there…you who are connecting with others and walking with Jesus ~ you, who are living in His peace and joy but sometimes struggling with the hard stuff in life. You will be in my prayers, dear, dear friends.

The post below comes across heavy to me as I read it myself before pressing the “send” button. I hope you see the light in the midst of the hard that I write about here. I hope you see that the heavy that I have been writing about is a weight we all bear in our own way when we walk in this world, but not live for it. I hope you see the love, the peace, the joy, the comfort, the triumph we all have in Jesus – even in the midst of the tough and sometimes harsh stuff.

May you be blessed as you continue to walk in His love and light ~ I will talk with you soon.

Soon and very soon.

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I love the color green. It’s so vibrant, yet not overdone. It makes me think about growth ~ unchained growth. Growth with no bounds. Growth that spreads.

It makes me think about life. It makes me feel good, healthy, and think of an abundance of refreshing and good things.

Green is good. Most of the time.

I’ve  been thinking a lot about all of the lines that fill the spaces of life a lot today. Over the last week I pondered much about the tiny, fine lines…the ones that often go unnoticed. Do you see them too? Sometimes they can be quite antagonistic. When they bother me, I tend to surround myself with green. Then I feel better.

But for the past two days, I’ve thinking about the hard lines too. The big and thick ones – the more obvious ones –  the ones that intimidate, yet, at the same time, create more clearly delineated boundaries or obstacles.

At least they seem to do that from our human perspective. Those are the ones that seem to be harsh. Maybe they can even delude us into thinking they are even refreshing, depending upon the circumstance.

The fine ones seem more delicate and gentle, don’t they? Yet, to me, they can be so much more confusing. They’re always there ~ hiding ~ trying to make us think all the walls have been torn down and we are just…..home free.

We aren’t home yet. But we are free.

The thick ones are rugged, harsh ~ rough-seeming when we encounter them. But as edgy and sharp as they might be, at least we see those for what they really are much of the time. We settle in on our side of the dense line and make what we can of it until it’s time to move.

Do you see the boundary in this photo below? Where are you if you imagine yourself in this picture today? Are you mixed in nicely with the beautiful flowers? Or are you somewhere beyond them, on the other side, in that open space?

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At least in the above photo, both spaces are green. That’s something, isn’t it? There’s continuity there. Or at least it appears that way. Something that ties it all in together and makes the two different spots seem to at least be a part of the same whole.

The green softens the boundary.

That’s kind of what I feel it’s like to walk with Jesus through this earthly life; living life as we can with Him, but not in our perfect, eternal home just yet. We are trying to grow in Him, with Him, yet fences and walls, lines and obstacles seem to keep on coming.

It simultaneously represents the way that spiritual warfare rages in our present circumstances, doesn’t it? Sometimes we are right where we think we want to be; either amongst the pretty and nice smelling roses, or laying out in an open field. What about Jesus? What about where He wants for us to be?

Are we willing to meet with Him ~reside with Him ~ on either side of the line? Is Jesus our green in life?

We live in a fallen world. But with Jesus as our stronghold; with Him as our foundation – even if we are in the open space and wish we were where the flowers are, at least we are still connected to the beauty in the midst of what may seem desolate, plain, isolated, and just….not as interesting.

Is Jesus our foundation and sense of all that is reliable, secure, or worthy of our praise in this life? Is He who we look to for continuity, strength, comfort? Do we live with Jesus as we walk amongst the roses or in the open fields?

Or is it just the green that we are looking for?

How about this photo? What do you see here? Which side do you feel you are you on right now in your life?

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Do you feel you are in the dry spaces with little growth, nourishment, or beauty to gaze upon and experience? Or maybe you are you in the water – on the other side. Are you drowning there, or receiving refreshment? What connects the two spaces for you on either side of this fence? Can you see Jesus in both places? He’s there, you know. We carry Him with us in our hearts.

But we have to seek ~ and we need to listen.

I must admit sometimes I get lost and all I see is the dividing fence. I forget to remember that Jesus is everywhere – He’s with me in the pretty and in the ugly. He’s with me in the blue and in the brown. I don’t think that the fence means much of anything to Him.

So why do I allow it to take up so much of my own focus and energy? I need to stop looking at what seems to be a roadblock. I need to stop gazing upon the fences even if I am not sitting on one of them.

I only need to open my eyes and look for Him… Right where I am at.

There’s no green in that second picture anywhere, anyway. But there is Jesus.

The green might be pretty, but it isn’t lasting. Green turns to brown quickly. And I hate the fence. I struggle at times with not feeling able to decide which place to go or how to accept the place that I am in at the present moment if it’s not pretty. Then I look over at the fence again.

Fences are fakers. They give us a false sense of security when we don’t know which way to go. Either that, or they become a perpetual prison of sorts. Depends upon whether you are sitting on it or just toying with it by looking at it ~ wishing you were on the other side.

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See, I think some of us – we spend so much time wishing we were having a better time where we are, or trying to hop over to the other side and obtain that which appears to be just within our reach, that we miss Jesus and what He has in store for us in the process of it all. We set our eyes on what is right there in the distance, yet so impossible to grab.

I am sad to say that I do this all the time. I know I do it, and I don’t want to do it.

But I do.

Sometimes we need to ask Jesus to just tear the fences down – remove them from our line of vision. But even when we do so, those fine, harder-to-see-or-detect little lines are still always going to be there – waiting for us. What to do?

Fatalistic view? I guess one could say that. But I think when we realize this truth, we can actually then surrender the fight against the lines and stop looking for the green grass and just ask Jesus to meet us where we are at. If He chooses to have us do battle, we will then do so with Him on our “side.”

Maybe He will just show us a rainbow instead.

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So I figure this about all of it right now: We need to accept there are lines in this life, friends, but that they aren’t our masters. We will contend with them no matter how hard we try to tell ourselves we’ve erased them all. It’s a question of whether or not we are trying to know Jesus and rely upon Him in the midst of it. Are we trying harder to fight the lines or to know Jesus better? Are we seeking the green stuff more than we are looking for Jesus?

Those lines in and of themselves are not what is bad. And the green isn’t always a bad thing either. It’s letting the lines deceive us into thinking we can’t have access to our Savior. It’s looking for security in what the things of this world might seem to lend us, but in reality, can just be distortions of the truth.

Because of Jesus, all lines are transcended ~ even the green ones. All the walls that need to be demolished are utterly torn down. Even when physical walls and lines do exist, He reigns supreme.

We may feel like we are bound up by situations or circumstances, but He is always there for us. He brings freedom in the midst of what can appear to be chains, prisons or formidible obstacles. He gave us freedom and salvation from sin and eternity apart from Him, while NAILED to a cross ~ taking all the sin of the world upon Himself ~ being separated for a time from communion with His Father.

  • All so He could tear down the fences that try to keep us apart from Him.
  • All so that there would be nothing standing in the way of us living in relationship with Him.
  • All so that we would see and look for and live to know Him, instead of looking for the glorious green instead.

If that isn’t breaking down all the boundaries, I don’t know what is.

If that doesn’t stare borders, lines, roadblocks, walls, fortresses of division and darkness right in the face and scream, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13) nothing does!

He conquered the GRAVE.

HE is our rock. All the others ~ the ones that build up tall walls and prisons – the ones that try to divide us from fellowship with one another – the ones that try to isolate us and make us think we are blocked from all that is good – particularly our relationship with HIM ~ they are but dust to Jesus.

He said “it is finished.” And then all the “lines” were decimated. I’ll take that over all the green in the world.

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split.” Matthew 27:51

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Creepy Little Lies

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It really is true: We must be vigilant and ever-ready to lock up those wayward, yet powerful thoughts that try to infiltrate our minds and hearts.

Every. Single. Day.

We also must remember that we can’t do it in our own power. We have to be on-guard and armed with the power of the Holy and Mighty One; the Loving and Redeeming, Sovereign One.

The Only One ~ the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Why would you share such a thing today? Your blog is just always so deeep. People don’t want to read all of these deep and intense thoughts. You need to lighten up. How are you going to glorify Jesus with all this kind of stuff? Why can’t you be light and fun all the time? What’s the point of it all anyway?”

I had a good day today as compared to all the others over this past week or two. The physical pain I have been experiencing was still there, but not as intense as it’s been the last four days. It was a relief to experience only what now seems to be my “normal” or “average” kind of pain. I am grateful for it. I really, really am!

I had a feeling this would be a good day when I woke up, as I could walk without limping. As I prayed this morning, it came to me that I might wish to ask the Lord to help me to pay attention to these little thoughts that the enemy tries to plant into my mind throughout a good day. It’s so hard to notice them on the really rough days. So I thought I would ask to use this relief-type day as a day to take notice. Just to see.

And they were there. He gave me the discernment to notice them. They came at random times. They came in the midst of a GOOD day, friends.

They are creepy. It’s hard to notice them when days are foggy. It’s even hard on the good days. But if we pray, we can see them coming. He will help us to notice them, and to combat them too.

“You still don’t feel good and you have worked so hard to be disciplined about how to take care of your body and the pain that God allowed to fill it all week long! Doesn’t He care about you? This seems really hopeless. Shouldn’t you be feeling better than this? Is this what it is coming to for you now? You are just going to be content with not feeling AS bad today as all the other days? Really?”

SMASH.

We must be ready. All the time. Ready with Jesus.

We must call upon the name and the power and the love and the truth of Jesus so that the creepy little lies that come into our minds and try to separate us from each other, ourselves, His love, His truth – can’t take root!

They do take root if left alone.  They do eventually trickle down and lodge firmly in our hearts. They build darkness there. They build walls that are thorny and thick. They overtake, separate, infiltrate, poison, control, and destroy. They are creepy little liars and they breed.

“Maybe that person doesn’t like you already and they haven’t even given you a chance to build a relationship with them. Don’t talk to them – just leave them alone and you will be safe. Keep your head down. Don’t try to be so darned nice, already! People don’t care. You need to stop.”

BAM.

It’s hard work when we try to control our minds in our own power. It’s a tough job to go it alone. It also yields really fruitless results. Positive affirmations and mantras just don’t do it for me. To me, they are ways to just fake ourselves out or do it halfway – the man-made way. If we don’t guard our hearts and minds through a relationship with Jesus first and foremost, the affirmations are nothing but little arrows that the enemy laughs at and flings right off with the tip of his little pinky.

“You know you are getting really out of shape, don’t you? You can’t give up on jogging or you will be as heavy as you were before. I thought you said God helped you lose all that weight a few years ago the healthy way. Why is He allowing that to be taken from you now when you worked so hard and even gave all the glory to Him instead of yourself in the process? I just don’t understand why He is letting this happen to you. Maybe you had better just really buck up and take control again. It’s getting pretty out of control – all of this, you know. Are you just going to lay down and take it without a fight?”

BAP BAP BAP!!!

Yes, on this good day the creepy little lies tried to take over. They kept coming and  coming and coming. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me a day of relative clarity to focus upon this. I have a small taste of just how intense these attempts to draw us away from Jesus and our relationship with Him and interactions with others really are. And there were many, many more creepy crawlers than the few that I shared with you that happened today.

It was still a good day.

There can be no kindness towards our battle against taking such thoughts captive. There can be no diplomacy involved when we protect our hearts and souls from the dark and destruction the enemy tries to throw our way. No half-hearted platitudes will do the job. No phenomenal attempts of giving it all we’ve got will really work.

Only the power of Christ Jesus is sufficient to help us as we thwart the goals of the enemy.

The creepy, little lying enemy of our blessed Savior is relentless. But as creepy as he is … as pervasive as his lies and attacks are – Christ is sovereign.

Christ is divine. Christ is Almighty. Christ is right out in the open. He doesn’t creep.

He has already won. And that makes those of us who follow Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior winners too.

“I am His child. I am one of His. He loves me and nothing that happens to me cannot be worked together for His glory and my good. I will remain vulnerable, because I have asked Him to make it so. I will open up because I know He lives in my heart and wants to be shared. I will relinquish control and accept His discipline where it’s needed. I will trust in Him to help me see when I am being dense, stubborn, or not turning to Him for strength. He has delivered me from darkness, and He will deliver me from all evil that tries to overtake me.”

I give my thoughts to Christ. I give my heart to Him too. The enemy will fight as hard as he can and I operate under no illusions to the contrary. I ask for His supernatural power to take captive every thought that tries to go against Him, my knowledge of Him and who He is in me.

He is the only thing that is truly real. He is my all.

Christ is Love. I am Christ’s child. I am not a prisoner for the enemy to hold captive. I am a follower and servant of the One True King.

“Christ is TRUTH. And I am armed.”

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