I am a Big Time Failure....

I have been trying to see Jesus in everything.  I believe He is in all things, well most things....okay some things maybe not.  He is in the tears in the morning, in the prayers for my family, in the hope for our future.  Family is the basis for everything(Father, Son and the Holy Ghost).  God made families.  We replicate it in our churches.  We try to create that sense of family, that sense of community. I see Jesus there, in my family and in our community.  I am honestly trying to see Jesus everywhere. Maybe I am wrong about that....

I long for an encounter with Him, for answers from Him, for a vision of Him.  I hunger for the hope that only He can give.  I try to keep the balance of that longing with the reality of a life that pushes and pulls on me from every direction.  I have responsibilities, none more important than my family.  To love them, to cherish them, to honor them is to show them Jesus.  I fail them on a regular basis.  Fear overwhelms me, grief dulls my mind, circumstances are maginified.  I show them me instead of Jesus.  I give them a cheap imitation because I have failed to fill my cup with the living water. To remember that He is what I need.  To remember that He is what they need.

He is always there, looking out from the tabernacle of my heart and looking back at me from others.  My heart cries out for their needs, their pain as much as it cries for my own. I am not devoid of pain but rather my heart is large enough to feel theirs as well as my own and still I fail.

Jesus longs to meet every need and that is good because when I try to meet every need it always leads to failure.  Big time failure, because I can't be what everyone needs only God can do that.

Everyone craves the hope that only He can give, they just don't know it(sometimes I don't know it, that peppermint patty only offers temporary happiness then I want another one).   Sometimes, I am filling that craving in my soul with temporary, imitations of grace and love. Looking for others to be my answer.  They are lovely and grace filled but....only God can truly meet my craving.

Family and community places us in the middle of a mission field not to "fill a craving",  but to point to the one who satisfies.  To pass them the cup that never runs dry. Living water.  The only hope I have is rooted in Jesus Christ our soon coming King.  I have nothing to offer other than that.

I have to hunger and thirst for righteousness time and time again....my craving for Jesus never goes away. However, I can find myself filling it with other things.  Dulling it with the things of this world. Things that I cannot see Jesus in at all.  

Maybe I have it all wrong, in this looking for Jesus in everything.

Maybe it is more about letting Jesus be my everything, then maybe He will be in my everything.  I am thirsty, this much is true.  I do know the answer to the craving, and He lives inside me.  So today, I am going to look inside for Jesus instead of looking everywhere else. He is here. The King is here,  in me and therefore in my family and in my community of love and faith.  No more straining to see, today I will just drink of His love and mercy and take Him everywhere I go.  

13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
John 4:13-14 (NASB)

1  When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2  He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3 " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matt 5:1-12 (NASB)

Memorial Day reminds me of the Moms...

Remembering all the families that paid the price for freedom. All the Moms that grieve their children. We share a sorrow, a hole in our hearts.  Their children died for a noble cause but loss is loss whatever the cause. Today I think of them and feel their pain.  It is different but the same. No child should die before their parents and yet they do. For military parents the risk is high, so today as we remember the price that has been paid lets also remember to pray for the sons and daughters serving now. 

Rejection, sure it stinks but maybe it is also a good thing....

I love that Jesus is all about redeeming all things.  Turning the curse upside down...what was meant for evil turned to my good!  That includes rejection.  Since the beginning rejection has been at the root of all types of evil.  Think rejecting God and rejectting Jesus.  The last couple of days, I have heard two different statements about rejection that have punched me in the gut.  Made me question my mindset on rejection.  Seriously, I've had rejection issues my whole life(who doesn't).  I read a Joyce Meyers book on it each year to help me stay on track.  Rejection is a big issue in our kingdom, it is at the root of all types of strife and discord.  Rejection leads to robbing the Kingdom of glory and unity.

What if Jesus want's to turn that around too(not just reverse the curse of death but also of rejection)! Rejection is meant to make me feel less than, create a bitter root in my heart, make me fearful of being myself, make me afraid to love, etc.  In other words, rejection is meant to keep me from the abundant life. Keep me settling for "less than" in order to avoid the pain of rejection.

Here are the two words I have gotten in the last two days (thank you Connie and Lisa)

Rejection is protection.   What?  Blow my mind, why don't you?  Yes, it is protection.  It is a change of direction, when God knows best.  It is His making sure those that would hurt us, or drag us down won't get the chance.  It stings, that rejection.  What's wrong with me, I want to scream.  Why are you rejecting me?   Years of being picked last for playground sports taught me the hard truth of rejection.  It will happen.  It does happen, but maybe just maybe it is not because I am the skinniest, scrawniest, most uncoordinated girl the world has ever seen, maybe it is His protection, His new direction to keep me safe and protected from something I can't possibly see because (let's face it)I can't see the future.   Sometimes I think I can (I am full of myself that way) but then I realize, nope only God can see the future.

So let's review.  Point number one, rejection is protection.

Point number two.  What we see as rejection God sees as adoption!  When we are abandoned by others God steps in and says adopted, friended, picked, accepted, etc.  Before anyone else ever rejected me, He my loving Father had picked me!  Chosen me...warts(and by warts I mean mostly just yucky attitudy stuff) and all.  I have been looking at it all wrong, rejection just points towards the perfect adoption of a Father. The Perfect One has chosen me.  Chosen you.  Not that we should boast but that upon the pain of rejection we would turn to Him who will "never leave us or forsake us" and rejoice in our chosen stature.

So let's review.  Point number one, rejection is protection.
                         Point number two, rejection points to adoption.  

Once again we see that the curse is being reversed.  The enemy means rejection to be his tool.  Stinking devil means to take us to "stinkin-thinkin" over rejection.  Make us live in fear and doubt, run from love and settle for less than the abundant life.   There may always be someone that finds some fault in me that needs work, some reason to reject me.  C'mon people, let's get the speck out of our own eye first.  I think thats what Jesus was talking about...drop all the religous stuff.  Let's just love one another and bring healing to those awful gaping holes of rejection.  He has given us the power to bring healing to others and to ourselves if we can just change how we view rejectton.  Looking through the eyes of God we can reverse the curse of rejection and see rejection as protection from deeper pain and it can reveal how awesome our adopted and accepted status is.

I hate rejection, as much as the next person.  However, now that my mind has been substantially blown I think I can mentally reverse the curse of rejection and find myself rejoicing over His protection and adoption. He loves me, He picked me, He knows best and that is something to get deep into my heart.  Maybe, the next time someone rejects me because I am too loud, too authentic, too shy, too moody, too snappy, too me(It's not easy being a Pastor's wife ya know)....I will remember these two points and just maybe it won't make me sad but instead I will be glad.  Not that I don't need to work on those things...maybe I do but He is not walking away from me because of any of those things.  To do so would completely negate the work of grace.  He already knew all my failures and craziness before He ever picked me and still He picked me.  I am not that skinny, uncoordinated little girl on the playground anymore, now I am all grown up and I suppose it's time to act like it.  No more crying and fit throwing, no more fear and retreating.  The greatest gift of grace (Jesus) reversed the curse of rejection, now I just have to choose to live in that place.  The city on the hill known as acceptance!  Let's live there together.  I choose you for my team.

Rejection = protection and adoption.  Turn the curse upside down.  

For the Lonely Hearts Club

When I read this, I felt she shared my heart or I shared hers (not sure which). Somehow everything she wrote resonated within my very soul.  For me there is always hope and joy mingled with the sorrow.  I thought I would share it with my fellow strugglers, those who are walking the path of loss  with the hope of heaven. 

by Susannah Spurgeon (How she dealt with the
 death of her beloved husband, C. H. Spurgeon)

I wrote this ten years ago, on my return from Mentone, that beautiful village on the sea-coast; when with one hand the Lord had smitten me well-near to death, while with the other hand He had poured into my wounded heart the oil and wine of His choicest consolation. It was a wonderful time to my soul, and He helped me to sing aloud of His faithfulness, and to bless His Name—though He had taken from me my husband—the joy and crown of my earthly life.
Because of this, because He had glorified Himself in my sorrow, and out of the inmost recesses of my heart had drawn forth this canticle of grief, the words went straight to other lonely hearts, and rested there like "the dew of Hermon." For a long time, I received constant testimony to the fact that, in a very remarkable way, God was using the experience He had given me, as a balm and cordial to heal and soothe others of His bereaved children; and none but myself can tell how precious was this knowledge to my aching heart. It seemed indeed worthwhile suffering and sorrowing, if God's love and pity turned it all into a sweet symphony of praise to Him, and enabled stricken ones to honor Him by a response of sweet submission and perfect truth.
So, to the glory of my dear Lord, whose grace was sufficient for me in my darkest and most distressful days, I have had my "Song of Sighs" reproduced; and my one earnest desire is that, as the Lord then gave it the approval of His blessing, so now he will not withhold the grace which alone call make it His voice of comfort to those who mourn.
* * * *
How shall I sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
For I am brought into a strange, weary land of loneliness and sorrow. I am a captive to grief, and the light of my life has been suddenly quenched in darkness.
Yet there is a song to be sung.
Mercy has outrun misery. Divine love has pierced the gloom of an unspeakable sorrow with a ray of celestial glory.
The anguished cry of a stricken heart has been hushed by the sweet compassion of a comforting God! "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!"
It is the Lord's song.
"He Himself has done it!" "The Lord gave—and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord." Is our dear Master to hear only sobs and sighs, and see only tears and sorrow, when He asks for His own beloved ones back again, that they may be with Him, and behold His glory? Nay, truly. For all His will is love.
The harp may often hang on the willows, and some of its choicest strings may be snapped forever on earth; but faith's hand must reach it down, and love's skillful fingers will soon find some tender chords of thankfulness in which to repeat His praise.
He will help me to sing it.
All the weeks and months since the pearly gates opened that my beloved husband might pass into the excellent glory, there has been, (for his sake,) deep down in my heart, a low undertone of joy in God, like the singing of the pebbles on a beach when the tide comes rolling in.
I thank God for this. And now that the deep waters are somewhat assuaging, this hidden music ought to be more distinct and appreciable.

Throne Room Mentality

Pain eclipsed by Glory

The Throne Room is where it all happens.  In His presence.  Beauty for ashes, blessed are those that mourn, redemption, praise replacing heaviness, joy and more joy.  It happens in the throne room of my car, or at my kitchen table, or in my church, anytime I enter His presence, I enter His throne room.
What happens there is indescribable, but I have to get there.  It is my choice.  The glory will eclipse the pain if I will just get myself into the Throne Room.
           3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."                                                 Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)
That is where transformation happens, the Throne Room.  I am undone and remade there.  Where I was pummeled by tragedy I am reformed into a new me.  To be called a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.  We all must come undone in order to be redone in His image.  Loss changes us, but if we choose to enter into the Throne Room and allow it to be redeemed and our hearts reshaped it will only make us more like Jesus.  There is always purpose in the pain and I must choose to trust the Masters plans.  

I am sad....stupid Mothers Day

I am sad
Somewhere between almost there and nowhere
I can't sleep, it takes forever
It slowly creeps upon me and finally takes me under
It wakes me up quick, startled awake by reality
I turn to God
I have no choice but hope
I remember its not always this painful, this fresh                                                                     Birthdays and Mothers day are the worse so far
I am clinically sad and at the same time anchored to hope
I am bobbing along on a brutal sea of loss but I am not lost
I am like Paul, on a sinking ship                                                                                                                      I can say with certainty this storm won't kill me
Shipwrecked with messy insomnia, mental anxiety, tears and fears
Choking on the pain, floating on the sorrow
Soon the storm will pass but the wreckage remains.
Soon the Triumphant Parade will come
I will jump in again, I will pick up the broken pieces
I will shake off the pain, pick myself up and dance
I promise, I will

Cut and paste this link into YouTube to watch my last teaching...I promise it's happy, good news to encourage your spirit.  

Monday blues....I say no way!

I hadn't preached on a Sunday(some other events but not a Sunday) in a year.  Last Mothers day was the last time that I can remember.  Now everything is different, just one year later.  Our lives changed, our faith changed...broken and battered yet somehow stronger....

I preached yesterday, it started out rough.  I started crying before service, I got scared and sick to my stomach.  I worked myself up good.....I felt vulnerable.  I knew I would talk about Justin, how could I not?  I didn't want to cry, I wanted to communicate hope and victory.  I can still be sad and have hope and joy because of the Word of God.  First service was hard, second better (sorry about that if you were at first).

Preaching Sunday reminded me....I love sharing His goodness and the fact that I am walking through grief does not negate that goodness and the joy that can be found in Him. Studying for Sunday reminded me of how much I love the word.  It got me out of all the other books (grief and heaven books) and into the Word.
As I preached and looked into our church communities faces, I felt such love. Love for them and love from them.  I felt safe.  I felt stronger.  We laughed and we danced and in the end there were salvation's!  So today I am thankful and going to hold unto the experience and look forward to the future.

 It was a good start to what may be a hard week....or maybe not...whatever it is, it is... and that's okay.  I'm okay either way because He is with me.

He loads me up with gifts and wipes away my tears.

18 You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there. 19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Psalms 68:18-19 (NKJV)

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