Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dying light of the ego unveiling the presence of God.

I met Jesus again today.  I meet Him quite often these days.  It is a glorious, inexplicable encounter --- first brought on by deep feelings of separation and loneliness.  I actually had the thought today - 'who does God have to talk to?'

I ponder lots of things as I spend hours in my own mind.  I battle with this thought and that --- fighting off the ones that are negative and don't serve me.  I'm going through another preening process amidst some other changes, and man do I ever feel it.  Lots of tears today.  Tears are so healing.  The Holy Spirit revealed much to me this morning, as I made the gamut.

I began in that desolate place, that empty place that is so familiar ... where there is no one.  There is no one out there who knows what I go through, what I feel, how I ache, to be known.  A dark vast place that always comes up empty.  However today -  TODAY - I realized I don't belong in this place.  I never did.  It was the voices, that voice, my voice that put me there in the first place.  My ego is what wants me there.  My nasty, nasty, separatist ego.  The one that loves for me to FEEL all alone and blame people for it.  To blame people for everything.  For me, it IS the separation of  self and Christ.  I no longer want to dwell there.  Albeit --- recognition is the foreknowledge of change.

Jesus is the only One that truly knows me.  He knows me every breath.  Every emotional influx.  Every hair on my head.  How, how could I ever be alone?  I cannot.  I had that realization today.  I've had it before but not on this scale.  I did not realize that I was battling with my ego so much.  What a stubborn lot.  Wow.

I don't like that feeling that I have.  It's destitute, and alone.  I have to push myself to stop feeling those feelings.  I have exceeding great promises!!!  I just got a new job on favor alone, no reference checks, no grueling interview -- it was all Jesus, why am I groveling?  Because I'm in a tempered place.  I have few people in my life.  Things are changing.  The ego grapples for control.  It can't have control of me.  It just can't.  I won't allow it to ease Jesus out of my life.  This is just a fact.

As I begin this new chapter in my life, I wrestle with the newness.  It is the cold night just before the dawn.  Everything looks hopeless - but I know, I know, I know who holds my future.  And even despite looking like a stark raving maniac -- I write because someone may understand.  Someone may understand what it's like to have their ego attempt to choke out the presence of the Living God.

I AM NOT ALONE.  It has little to do with how I "feel", for we walk by faith- not sight.  It is not how it seems.  I must trust.  I know who holds all my tomorrows. I know who holds today.  I will rejoice.  Jesus knows. The pain of yesterday sometimes hinders me.  I believe it is the fuel of my ego.  This is what makes the tears so precious.  As these tears fall, so does the pain associated with them...  He replaces it with abounding joy.  Rejoice I say!  REJOICE!!!!  As much as my mother may have tried to have hindered if not destroy my spirit, the Lord strengthens me - I will walk it out.  Armed with my sword.  He'll repay me double for my trouble.  The favor of God is with me -- ahead of me making a way when there was none.

He is my refuge.  My everything.
Thank You Jesus for revealing to me today the loveliness of Jesus.  Thank You Jesus for dispelling my ego.  Thank You for the tears of healing.  I know you caught them all.  In Jesus name...Amen.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Boundless Hope

I watched a moving last night that has struck me so hard.  It is as if I can't move past the feeling that has resonated.  Nor do I want to.  It is an excellent feeling that I have - one of beauty and awe.  I have not felt like this I don't believe ever after watching a film.  I am deeply moved.  

I realize it was a motion picture.  Yet I cannot move past it.  It's shaken me that hard.  The movie is 'Seven Pounds', with Will Smith.  Smith is a man that seems to be fairly normal, an internal revenue man -- a daunting task by any means necessary.  He tracks down people that are behind (seriously) on there taxes.  At least this is what it seems. I'll not spoil it for you....  

What I am actually struck by is what this has driven up in my spirit.  It's awakened something inside my spirit man.  I've awakened to a urgency for what I don't know.  All I know is that I feel incredibly grateful for my life.  All of my experiences that have brought me to where I am at this given moment in time.  I've felt at times like 'I should be at a different place at 52'.  However, right at this very moment, it is like finding a penny on the ground and knowing that this penny is a penny from Heaven - placed there for you to find like a coordinate in time.  A destination marker deeming you are where you are because this is where you are supposed to be.  

I've always wanted to be the kind of person that made a difference in people's lives.  Always.  No matter how small.  This is why I write.  I write for therapeutic purposes, yes, but I write to dispense hope.  This is my calling.  Hope dispersion.  This is what God called me to do in one form or another.  It is the only way that I can do this at this present moment.  So this is my outlet.  My voice, if you will.  This will be my legacy.  It cannot be erased like my Father was.  This is under my control.  I am the administrator.  These are my words, my feelings, my thoughts.  

Nevertheless, I exsude hope.  I have for years, but this morning -- the precious morn, I am filled with precious, inexplicable, bountiful hope.   My spirit is renewed.  Life feels new.  

I do not have time to write this morning but I will.  It's church day.  I need to let this simmer.  I need to let this combine with the Holy Spirit inside of me.  

God has great plans for you - Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (NKJV)

Father God, thank you for you excellence!  Thank you for you insight!   Your beauty is boundless!  Altruism is not dead.  It is alive in me, your daughter.  Thank you for showing me your beauty again Father God.  Thank you for showing me the deep things of the heart.  Your compassion is so elegant, your heart is beyond comprehension.  Thank you Father for this tiny vision of who I know that You are.  I am humbled.  You've set me free.  Continue to work in my spirit as only You can.  Amen.  

Thank you Mr. Smith for making this film.  You've touched me, deeply.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Through It All

Lots of idle time give one loads to think about.  I've battled a lot.  More than most (and I mean MOST).  Many tell me to write my story, but alas, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  I don't even remember my childhood.  I have huge gaps of time that I can't recall.

Pain has no memory.  Praise God.  Can you imagine what that would be like if it did?  We'd have horrific memories of such painful times.  I would, anyway.

My addiction has taken me down many roads.  I had many, many regrets.  Before I completely understood the Finished work of Jesus, I was full of shame and anguish over some of the places that my life had taken me in my use.  Now that isn't to say that I was a horrible person, because I was not - but for me, it was excruciatingly painful what I'd done to my family - my friends and the people that love me.  An then there is myself.  The times that I'd gone against my own values and honor.  I'm a very altruistic person, and a person of integrity - I don't hurt people nor do dishonorable things without it hurting me much worse than those that I've offended.  I've a very tender, intense heart.  Often times I wish I did not - but other times I'm grateful for it.  It makes me quite compassionate and very intuitive.  Every characteristic we have of our personalities has an alternative opposing side to it.  Or at least this is how I see it.  I've worked on myself and defined my character defects and came to learn that on the other side is an effective positive trait that can be brought out if one applies themselves.  It's sort of like what you feed.  Alas, I've digressed tremendously...

Struggles as of late. I've had to downgrade several of my much beloved things.  However, they're just things.  Most of you know how I feel about "things".  They don't make us.  So it wasn't so hard.  What is hard is this job search.  Having to put yourself out there -- and deduce yourself to a sheet of paper, now this is hard.  Idle time, is hard.  It's just me and Jesus.  That's easy --- but my past bubbles up.  My fears, my phobia's - and the like.  Knowing that I have to go into another work place and 'start - over'.  We all have the same kind of thoughts.  CAN I DO THIS?

I found this song by accident -- but you know me.  Not much happens in my world by accident.  I was getting ready and listening to music - and was praying.  I'd been praying to know the deep things of God.  I want to know God's heart.  This is my greatest desire.  I read twice today "seek His face".... which I thought was pretty cool.  An then this song came on.  Tears streamed down my face...

I have known that God has always had me, but this song verified it.  Memories came flooding back, of times that I'd rather not recall actually when I was out of control with my use.  Times that I know without a doubt that God had me in the palm of His hand.  Losses that I've endured that nearly broke me - and God saw me through.  God held me through.  Times I've actually prayed for Jesus to hold me.  Times I've hugged my dog because there was no one else.  Times that some people never see because they have just not been there.  Through surgeries and incidents when recovering, I was all alone.  I've been alone, most of my life -with the exception of God.  I would not be here today if it weren't for God.  I know this to be true.  Times I've prayed for God to catch my tears.  I know that He has too.  I'm "that" girl.

So whatever you're going through, right now.  Know, and I mean know that there is  a  God and He cares for you.  If He could have cared for me, He can care for you.  Trust me, I wasn't a likely candidate at the time.  Yet He was with me, the whole time, through the entire journey.  I'm living, breathing, professing, proof.  My testimony says it all.  But of the grace of God - there go I.

Father god, Thank You for saving me when I did not deserve to be saved.  Thank You for loving me when I did not deserve to be loved.  Thank you for saving my life when I did not respect it.  But Father most of all... for Your Son, Jesus who gave His life that we may have life, and have it more abundantly - here on earth.  Thank You for Your sacrifice - and your covenant of grace - and your mercy that never ends.  Thank you Father God for loving me, most of all, when I did not love myself.   In Jesus holy name, Amen.

 


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Appearances

As a people we're most likely to judge things by how they look.  I don't fault folks, it's mostly how we've been programmed.  It is the way of the world.  You cannot meet someone without them having to tell you who they "are" by what they "do" in the world.  I think this is a shame.  I've often written about our really not being meant to be "human doings" but human-beings.

I praise God today that He looks at our hearts.  It  (nothing)  is dependent upon our pocket books, our education, our standing in the world -- our privilege - nor any of those things, because if it were, I'd fail miserably.  Yet the heart can be a deceiver too.  Because we lust after the wrong things.  It's a ball of confusion living in this day and age if one doesn't know Jesus.  Especially if one doesn't know that everything that He offers is in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ - it's bought and paid for -- in the precious gift of His death, burial, and resurrection.

There are many things in my life right now that look bad.  I've bills unpaid that would normally be paid.  I started out in the hole -- because I'm not doing so well financially.  Last month was a struggle to put it mildly - financially.  Oh I made it, as I always do -- and I made it fine.  I didn't fret much and I don't, because I know that my Jesus sits..... SITS at the right hand of God.  I have His favor.  I knew that even though I had  a lot going on, and bills that I couldn't pay -- I'd ran out of things -- and was eating things that I'd rather not eat.....to make ends meet -- that Jesus would eventually turn it around, and beautifully.  I just had to wait patiently.  My time would come to fruition as long as I was faithful.

To worry is useless.  It robs one of the precious gift that Jesus gave us:  Peace.  I just believe, as a believer that we must rest in what Jesus already did for us, and did so beautifully -- with a patient heart.  Now this doesn't mean that I'm perfect at it.  I am not.  I have days were I do occasionally worry a bit. I wonder how this and how that.  I think to a certain degree this is human.  But I'm a new creation in Christ -- and I can (and do) at any given time -- release it and restore my faith in Christ.  It's as simple as saying "Jesus."  Reading the word, or praying.

It hasn't always been this easy for me.  I have an anxiety disorder.  I used to have panic attacks.  Jesus has transformed me.  I no longer suffer from them.  It has taken some time, but I do know that when Jesus said that all we have to do is ask in His name and He will answer us -- I believe.  The hardest part is that we have to let go of the outcome.  It won't come how you think it will.  Know this.  This doesn't mean that is will be awful.... it means that Jesus and the holy spirit are creative.  The answers to prayers that I've had in my life have blown me away.  Literally blown me away.

Often times in my prayer life, I will ask the Lord to show me something beautiful and He does.  Most times it's daily.  I pray for a closer walk with Him, and to know His heart.  He shows me through other people, my pastor and various things.  I've so much going on right now it's amazing.  I'm on the verge of returning to work, and I mean meaningful work.  Steady successful work.  Work for me that will hold me until I retire.  Jesus is answering prayers at an astounding rate.  I couldn't even pay my electric bill this month but Jesus covered this too.  I got a card for money out of no where in the mail just a few days ago and I needed it so badly -- it was from whom I do not know.  However, it bought groceries.

Just don't limit God.  Rest in Him.  The greater the problems, increase your faith.  Count your problems as opportunities to trust God.  He doesn't give you trials and tests... only good things come from the Father of Lights.  He never tests us.  He is always there to guide, direct, befriend, aide, take our yoke, and quiet our spirits when we go through things in this world.  This world is the problem, not God.  Jesus is the answer -- always was, and always will be.  It may appear that everything is crumbling, but trust you me, it's not.  Jesus knows.... He and only He is sitting at the end of your life - waiting for you -- that to me is so reassuring.  What do I have to worry about?  The Father of lights is just waiting on me.  It may appear that everything is going to hell in a hand basket -- but just visualize Jesus, call out to him, and He'll comfort you.  He'll comfort you today - tomorrow - and into all eternity... <3  Amen.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Immeasurable Grace

I do not know where to start today - as I collect my thoughts.  My heart hurts.  I've had several  people tell me "not to feel" the way that I'm feeling - which I don't particularly care for, because they're my feelings - and I have a right to them.  I understand their sentiments, yet, they are not me.  They have not endured what I've endured - or walked my beaten path.  I feel that until someone truly understands one's path -- they don't really have a right to tell you how to feel, especially when it comes to the grieving process.  And this is what I've been going through as of late, a grieving process.

My beloved pastor of the last four years will preach his final sermon this Sunday at my church.  It's Easter Sunday on top of this - as well as communion Sunday.  A triple whammy.  Three really emotional things for me.  I'm sort of without words, but I know that on some level  I need to get this out of me, and on to some sort of medium.  So, alas - I write.

I am fully aware that my pastor is just a man.  I've never thought of him as more than this -- for I have been in position in a church where I have been devastated when a pastor left -- and stopped going to church as a result.  I know now that my foundation was not in Jesus - at that particular time -- but hey -- I was 13.  This time round is a whole new ballgame.

As a very small child I was taught about Jesus.  I was Seventh Day Adventist.  I could not tell you now what that means, but I was taught about Jesus the man, the Son of God and the Savior of the world.  I thank God for this -- and my dad.  I knew from a very small child that Jesus was very kind.  Somewhere in the growing years however, I went to other churches that didn't seem to tell me much about Jesus -- but about God and how intolerant, and mad He was.  I've always had a conflict in my spirit about this.  It wasn't what I'd been originally taught.  I suppose that I learned to accept it, for I took it in, but somehow something just wasn't right.  Yet and still, I set about trying to keep "the law" as best I knew how.  Being raised by a perfectionist did not help any.  Not only did I feel like I needed to be perfect in life, but to God.  All the while, filled with fear and terror - I knew from the get-go I was (as was my life) going to be a huge, horrific, let down to all parties involved.  Including, and to the utmost, God.  I led a life of feeling like an alien, and completely different (from day one that I can recollect) from other people.  Different in our society is not good.  Different stands out.  Or at least that is what I thought.  It's how I felt and I felt it deeply.  I wasn't just a person that had problems, I WAS a problem.

I suppose in many ways this is what began my addictions.  It was (my using and drinking) the only thing that made me feel somewhat normal --- or it gave me courage.  Alcohol has (for years) been attributed to being a social lubricant - and it's why for the most part it's the high light of parties.  People become wittier, more lively, and just more fun to be around.  It just made me feel Okay.  Because I did not feel okay without it, or some kind of substance.  The difficulty here is that it begins to take more and more to make you feel okay -- and then eventually it just doesn't work, and your life becomes a living nightmare.  The alcoholic doesn't understand why it isn't working, so one continues to do it in the hopes that it just might work... this time - over and over and over.  Because that's the only coping skill he or she has.  And denial protects this -- like Fort Knox.

I lived this way - for years.  Despite consequence after consequence.  Two inpatient treatments - and one out.  I eventually lost my career over it.  Grace has been the only thing  that has given me back my life....  The grace of God has given me back my life -- literally.

Finding Midland church was just a whim.  I'd decided to try churches until I found one that fit me.  Midland was the one that I went to first - and I never left.  What I heard preached that day from Paul White was that God wasn't mad at me - and that Jesus was who I originally knew Him to be -- who I'd been taught He was as a small child.  After the sermon, I sort of sat there in awe.  At first I didn't quite know what to think -- but that I knew I'd found my church home.  I had to shake his hand.  I had to meet this man.  And I did.  And I sought him out for the next three + years.  

Now this Sunday is his last until he comes to visit us.  He is going to take and preach grace to the rest of the world.  I'm happy about this - but I'm not happy that he is leaving Midland.  How could I be?  This man is extraordinary.  The holy spirit in this man is beyond any I've ever seen - nor heard.  Talk about anointed?  This is an understatement.

Easter is such a precious time.  A time of celebration.  Yet every Sunday at my church is glorious - because we celebrate the finished work of Jesus Christ.  Not just on Easter.  This Sunday will be hard for me.  Despite people telling me that I should feel this way or that.  Pastor Paul has been the first pastor that has ever been able to reach me at a depth that I could let go of the shame of my past -- and fully understand that I'm not a mistake - I've made them, but that did not make me one.  It never did.  There are times in your life when you meet people that have tremendous impacts on you.  How this man has presented Jesus to me has forever transformed my life.  I will NEVER be the same.  Now I know that it wasn't Paul White that did this, it was Jesus.  Jesus healed my heart.  He washed away the shame, and taught me how to forgive myself... but some times the vehicle in which you get to the destination is just as important as the destination itself.  I give credit where credit is due.  The Jesus in my pastor is like no other that I've ever seen, and I doubt that I will see again.  Some may say that this isn't having hope, or faith --- but I have plenty...  and I know that God can/has/will do amazing things YET- and that I'd imagine this is only the beginning for me.  However what a beginning it's been.

Farewell  my brother in Christ, my beloved pastor.  May the peace that passes all understanding and joy unspeakable follow you all the days of your life.....  for the gifts, the immeasurable gifts that you've given me.  Because of you -- and the Jesus in you:

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  (NKJV)

Amen.