My Shower Sanctuary

Justin 5/7/88-9/23/13

This encounter was on Jan 1, 2014. I journaled it right away. I have held unto it and it has carried me through. Still studying the implications.  

I'm crying in the bathroom, suffering in the shower, alone where no one can hear the sobs.  There is no reason to hold back here, in this solitude.

I cry out,
                                  I just want my baby back.

To me, my twenty five year old son will always be my baby.  My first born, my world changer.

I cry out to my God, seeking comfort, seeking answers.
I just want him back, I am repeating mindlessly in the shower between sobs.
It is just the gut wrenching reality of grief.  I have done it too many times to count.
Crying, begging, wailing, talking, to God.

Surprisingly, this time He answers.

                                    He wouldn't want to come back....
                                               it hangs in the air, or in my mind but whatever it is, it stops me cold.

I rarely(if ever) hear the audible voice of God.  To me this is shocking and borderline weird.
I am startled by the intrusion of my shower sanctuary.

I think about this piece of information, my son would not want to come back.
Why would he?  This broken, tainted world compared to heaven's perfection.

I think about that....then I cry out,
                                   Then, tell him I love him.  Tell my baby, I love him.

Again, I hear the Lord.
                                    He knows.  If I know than he knows.

This melts my heart.  What God knows my son knows.

I reply,
                                   Ask him to forgive me. Tell him I am sorry.  I wish I would have done more.

                                   He has and he knows, says my Lord and Savior.

There is unity in heaven.  One mind, the mind of Christ still rules collectively, yet everyone remains individual. We can't grasp this, such a foreign notion.  Heaven is a foreign land ruled by perfection not tainted by sin and division.

There is an open heaven.  Just as the Martyrs are watching and the great cloud of witnesses there is an open heaven.  Those who have gone before us know our love and our sorrow but somehow are untouched by the grief, because surely in the presence of the Lord they can see clearly that it is all for our good.  In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of Joy.  They know it is all so worth it, for the glory that is set before us.

This is no theological argument, some may take exception with my experience(please don't bother me with rude emails).   However for someone out there to know, that their heart cries are heard by their loved ones it's important and worth the heat I may take.

We are challenged to have one mind, here on this earth.  It stands to reason that work is complete in heaven and they(all of heaven) somehow have one mind.  Again, can't even imagine it because I am so limited in the creativity of my mind.

Scripture says we are seated in the heavenlies....I don't even begin to get it but we are the body, united with the head.  Christ being the head.  In my mind that implies an open heaven.  An implication that somehow when communicating with Jesus/God/Holy Spirit it is also communicated to all of heaven.  To one unit and yet millions and millions of saints.  They are one, one mind, one  The unity of the faith.

I can't wrap my mind around it, but I don't have to.  I just know that the losses suffered  here are a gain in heaven.  Those who have cried out to Jesus, those who were to young to ever cry out, the unborn and the born are rescued fromt this wicked world and received into a glorious Kingdom.  We can take comfort in that.

 I can let go of wanting greater clarity and recognize that what I need is just simply greater trust.  I can take Him at His word.  I included some scripture just in case you would like to go a little deeper.  To all my friends who mourn, our day will come.  Grab ahold of hope and find some joy today.  I love you all.

11 And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: 13 till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:11-13 (ASV)

5 Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus: 6 that with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.    Romans 15:5-6 (ASV)
1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, 2 make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;   Phil 2:1-2 (ASV)

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.   1 Cor 2:16 (ASV)

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Eph 2:4-10 (ESV)

Heavenly Makeover

Heavenly Makeover....Sundays message

We all love a good before and after story…..
WE love to see houses before and after, think Extreme Home Makeover.
We love girly makeovers….think What Not to Wear, Mission Makeover, etc.
Our how about the Biggest Loser transformations?
Even Dancing with the Stars is a type of before and after….before they can dance and after they have been training for 12 weeks…
These types of shows, us ladies love them and maybe even some of you men. 
Don’t worry guys if you like any of these shows we are not going to pull your man card. 
Or how about for you guys…Pimp my Ride….they do all those fancy things to the cars inside and out to make them….better, faster and just plain cooler.
My point is just this, that we love a good story where someone starts out one way and then with the help of a team or somebody they  get a new look or a makeover. 
We love before and after’s and Jesus well, He is in the business of before and after’s! 
He chooses us, pursues us, no application process, no qualifying to be on reality tv….
He says, I love you and I pick you.  He offers us a heavenly makeover; a Divine makeover of sorts.
All of us have a “before Jesus” and an “after Jesus” story.… It is an ever changing story.
We get an instant makeover and then we get an ongoing, “look how I am changing” makeover until finally we are in heaven…Once there we will be surrounded by His glory, perfected in His presence.
The awesome part is it is a never ending supply….unlike all these shows that you only get the clothes and makeover one time….think about it, you gain weight you are out of luck…your wardrobe doesn’t fit anymore….or it goes out of style….The house gets made over only one time, etc.
 Jesus never goes out of style.
His makeover is a constantly updated, unending, you never outgrow it and you won’t outlast it.
It’s the best of all makeovers and it is all because He loves you.
So we have been going through the book of Ephesians….
Let’s do a little recap of Chapter 4 in light of this before and after….
So in this dressing room or in this garage to pimp your ride, depending on which you can relate more to….
Our heavenly calling/makeover requires a heavenly wardrobe….
These are some of the things we get to put on….
Our garments of holiness…. Or for you guys, our new paint job….
In verses 1-6 We get to be humble and gentle, patient and bear with one another….now you are thinking how do we get to be this? 
Here is the thing……
When we truly understand how much Christ loves us, how much we are forgiven of every single day, how we continuously miss the mark, how we are sinners saved by grace, when we grasp the love of God not in a religious weird way but in a, “I am so in love with the Father because He is so good to me every day” way. 
When we truly understand Who He is and whom we belong to; we are humbled, we can be long suffering with others because we recognize that He is so long suffering with us. 
We become unconcerned with pointing out others sins because we truly recognize our own and that breaks our heart because we love our daddy and we just want to make Him happy.
The very nature of understanding our identity in Christ, humbles us….Forgiven, accepted, loved, how can we not be like this then to others?
This is our walk….a way of living…humbly, lovingly, peacefully
We get to wear a banner that says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”  (Eph 4:5)
We are One, you get to be united with some of the most amazing people in the world and considered One with them!  You get instant family….
Eph 4:7 says we are adorned with grace…..His empowering grace fills and overflows us….  
But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.                         Eph 4:7 (ASV)
Last week we learned that part of this makeover or “pimping our ride” is that we get sealed with the Holy Spirit. 
·         This is like a young man putting an engagement ring on the love of his life’s finger…
·         It is the mark of ownership.
·         Like a pink slip for a car.
·         Like a tattoo??
We have been bought with a price, established in Him….so that we can be upgraded….and not only is it an upgrade, a makeover, but it’s free….Jesus paid the price.
I know some of you may be thinking, “I don’t need an upgrade.”
Turn to your neighbor and say, “yea, I think maybe you could use an upgrade.”
So if all these things are given to us what is our responsibility?  
 Ephesians 4 is rich in telling us what we get from God; chosen, adopted, equipped, sealed with Holy Spirit, but it has this to say about our part… this is from the message but I love how direct it is…
   The Old Way Has to Go
17 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. 18 They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. 19 They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. 20 But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! 21 My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. 22 Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, 23 a life renewed from the inside 24 and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. 25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. 26 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. 27 Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.                               
28 Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work. 29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. 31 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. 32 Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.   Eph 4:17-32 (MSG)
Verses 21-24 now from the New Living Translation 
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Eph 4:21-24 (NLT)

Seems to me like a small price to pay compared to the riches of Glory we get in Jesus!  So today we are going to look mainly just at one key principle.
Now that you know the truth….how much you are chosen, accepted, adopted, equipped and sealed with the Holy Spirit…..
Throw off your old self and put on your new self!

Okay so we all have a “before Jesus” the old self…..When we give our lives to Jesus there is an immediate change that takes place.  It is like red rover, red rover….
You were on the losing team—Satan’s team and God called you over to His team….(describe the game)
You ran towards him maybe thinking it was going to be hard to break through the line to get on His team but in reality, He already made a way and all you had to do was the “run to Him” part and instead of arms blocking you they embraced you….He threw His arms around you.
Immediately you were on the team.  Chosen, accepted and equipped.
But you have to choose to grab arms with others…you can’t keep going back to the other team and saying I just wanna be on your team for a little bit….the Bible refers to this as double minded(wavering in your faith, in the book of James).

You are on the winning team now and it means a shift in how you play the game…a shift in which team you belong to…You have to take off one jersey and put on another jersey…..God always wants us dressed appropriately for His team, clothed in His ways as an outward expression of whose we are and whom we serve. 
Made over in His image…Not in a weird religious way but in an “I love God and I love His people way.”
When we love God and we see His character as it relates to us the natural outflow is that we are changed and become more like Him. 

This is not a set of rules that we follow, or a giving up of all things fun…. this is the road of love that leads to new life.  This is exchanging playing at making mud pies with making glorious sweet apple pies!

Children do not give up playing dolls or cars, they simply outgrow it.  This is how it should be with us….we simply outgrow the Old Self as we become more and more aware by the renewing of our minds of who God truly is. 
Christ adds so much to our lives that there is no room for the old things.  I didn’t have to work at changing, I simply outgrew the old. 
There is always something to be learned, we should never stop growing…
When a fruit tree bears fruit….it doesn’t have to think about bearing fruit it is a natural result of who it is….. A fruit tree.  
His divine life releases His supernatural fruits in me…..
As I read His word and am around His people, I begin to be changed. 
The old me begins to drop off and the new me begins to blossom. 
Example:  Can you imagine how ridiculous I would look if I went into buy a new outfit at Nordstrom’s and the tailor came to the dressing room to make alterations but I had the new outfit on over the old one? 
She would say I can’t make this fit over the old clothes, you need to take the old clothes off….If want the new clothes to fit you….
What if I argued and said no…she would say well these new clothes are not going to fit you well because of the old ones.
We need to take the old off in order to put the new on….in order to know you love making apple pies you have to quit playing with mud pies. 
This is the put off and put on biblical principle that works whether you are a Christian or not.  Just like the tithing principle it is timeless and always relevant
You quit stealing and get generous and guess what your life is going to be better…put off being bitter and put on forgiveness and you sleep sweeter and life is better. 
Think about that?  How do we break a habit, we replace it with a new one…in all sorts of ways we have to get rid of the old in order to get the new….our baby teeth,  old boyfriends, tires on a car, the list goes on and on…
In the Greek that word throw off or put off is specifically talking about garments….so that we could get the visual…we have to remove something….it’s an easy process because we are replacing with something even better….
I don’t just walk in my closet and go ta da….and my old clothes fall off and my new clothes jump right on me….Contrary to the rumors I am not Cinderella with birds flying all around me and dressing me….
It takes effort, sometimes more than I like.  I have the clothes.  I am equipped but there is some action required to get them on me….
I was thinking about in the 1980s when pants were so tight and I had a special pair of pliers used for pulling up the zipper on my very tight pants.  That was a lot of effort.  There is some effort required but it also has a huge payoff! 
We have to renew our minds with the word and put off the old habits that in actuality if we are honest about disrupt and bring chaos to our lives. 
The old way is not who we are anymore even though for some of us it may be how we act! (repeat)
It is not that these are awesome, lovely things that we are encouraged to sacrifice and put off….
Let’s look at the list of old and new….
 17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ.21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.       Eph 4:17-32 (NLT)
Paul is giving us a mirror here….helping us to decipher who we truly are….
Just like when you do demolition on a building sometimes things may look okay on the outside but when we start looking deeper we see the dry rot, mold, mice, termites, etc. Makeovers can be messy, it’s hard to see behind the curtain sometimes, to get real with ourselves and with others…..
In Colossians Paul says it even blunter than he did in Ephesians…in Col 3:5
   5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.  Col 3:5-10 (NLT)
He says put to death that which belongs to your old nature.  Now, that is some strong language. We once were dead in our sins….now we are alive and no longer need to be slaves to sin. 
So what do we put off?   Hard hearts, lustful pleasure-(chasing things that make you feel good temporarily, things that feed your flesh, impurity, lying, controlling and manipulating anger, stealing, greed, bitterness, rage, harsh words and slander and any type of evil behavior.  Bitterness by the way is just nursing anger…These are all behaviors that feed the flesh and fuel chaos in our lives. 
God is trying to teach us how to make our lives better, more enjoyable…..these things to avoid and put off are the guard rails that keep us from danger… from messed up chaotic lives.

The truth is the Old self is ruled by selfish desires while the new flesh is selfless.

So what do we put on?  Let the Spirit renew your mind, be kind, tenderhearted, forgive one another just as you have been forgiven.
In Colossians 3:12 Paul talks about this again….
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel (here is some physical work) each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs(come together and worship) to God with thankful hearts.17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.    Col 3:12-17 (NLT)
WE have heard this many times, but it bears repeating…..above all clothe yourselves in loveLove is the little black dress, it’s the perfect suit, it’s the most pimped ride, etc…
Then practice being thankful!!!!  Attitude of gratitude!

 The Key to success is not just to put off but to put on…don’t leave a big void but fill it with the things of God and most of all fill it with LOVE AND GRATEFULNESS!!
Love is what holds it all together…love is what fuels the kindness, longsuffering, humility,
He has seated us in heavenly places; given us new identity but we must choose love.
In Col 3:12-14 He calls out the identity we have in Christ…as God’s chosen people , holy and dearly loved….
It is not about the rules that we follow, or rigorous self-discipline. 

It is simply a deep understanding of our identity in Christ and that becomes a pure expression of compassion and love for others.

Our Holy Makeover isn’t seen in the rules we keep but in the love we express.
Our Jesus did the exact opposite of a makeover for us….
He the King of Kings, came to earth as a peasant.
He the only Righteous one took on our sin and covered us in His robe of righteousness.
He the loveliest of all, chose to love us, the unlovely.   He takes these broken vessels of humanity and makes us carriers of His glory.
He chooses us, forgives us, accepts us and equips us and all He ask is that we put off the old man and put on His beautiful garments of peace, love and humility. 
I heard this story about an old Indian who had two horses one white and one black constantly pulling against each other.  Which one won the contest?  The one he decided to ride. 
What will you choose today? The choice to put off and put on is all up to you.  The new man will win if you follow this practical key….

Put off the old but always replace it with the new and don't forget to let love fuel it all!

The Morbid Mondays and Resurrecting JOY!

I just had a great weekend.  A lovely Ladies brunch and a couple of wonderful events on Saturday and then a power packed fantastic Sunday morning followed up by a marriage class Sunday evening followed by some fellowship over dessert with some new friends.

So then why did Monday hit the ****'s?  Yes, I know I said a bad word.  What is it that made me so melancholy today?  I woke up crying, I woke up feeling loss....I suddenly had time to feel and sometimes that "time" is not my friend.

In the beginning of grief you can't help but feel it, but as time passes you learn to avoid it.  You can't avoid it entirely(it's always there), but I try to avoid prolonged encounters with it.

I am busy, really busy.  I work, I minister, I am a wife, a Mother and for the most part a lousy friend. Mostly because of the really busy part and some because I just can't seem to prioritize. I get lost in the small stuff and can't seem to make a decision about any big stuff.  Most of the time I am a shell of the me, I know I can be.  I don't want to do anything and don't want to do nothing.  You can probably see the difficulty here?

There are no easy answers here, in this weird place.  This place where grief is no longer expected from the outside world, but inside my heart it was just yesterday.  This is the marathon.  It was a sprint to survive. This is the marathon to thrive with the grief.  To drag joy into the grief, to choose hope instead of hopelessness. This is the exchanging that has to happen daily....taking off the grave clothes and resurrecting joy.

I stand at the tomb and cry out,  "DEBBIE come out!"  No one answers.

Unlike Lazarus, I can't seem to find my way out of the tomb.  I lay bound up in the guilt, the questions and the regrets.  Let's be honest don't we all have these kinds of "weakdays" sometimes instead of "weekdays"?

In my mind I know all the answers, in my heart I know what I should do.  Doing it, well on Mondays that seems extra hard.  The grave clothes seem to cover me and it's hard to see my true identity. Isn't that what Satan always wants to give us, an identity crisis?

 Monday becomes a weak day, not just a weekday.  It's supposed to be a recovery day for me, but if I am not careful and don't govern myself well it becomes a weak day.  I am too weak for the rest, to weary to hear His voice and I am suceptible to Satans whispers.  Monday becomes condemnation day instead of a Holy day.  Ratz, why did I let this happen again (I know better)?

So I preach the gospel to myself and I keep reminding myself this is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  Just like in a marathon, I sometimes hit the wall.  Today I choose to run my guts out, even though nothing in me feels like I can make it past the next mile marker. I know from experience, I can and I will. I have muscle memory with Jesus, I know how to keep moving forward.   I don't know who I will be when I cross the finish line but this I know......I will cross it, even if I have to crawl across it.

So here's to all my friends who have "weakdays" sometimes instead of "weekdays".  Friends, who share their struggles and remind me that tomorrow is another day and joy comes in the morning!

I am Soul Thirsty

I am overwhelmed much of the time and yet strangely okay with it.  Life seems harder than it has ever been.  I think that is not the reality of the situation, but it is my perspective.  I forget birthdays, can't seem to keep up past the immediate needs, don't care as much about the details(or can't), don't mind the flying rascals gathered around my bananas, can't plan hardly anything, but I seem to be able to write.

It is a way to connect with what I feel.  I feel sad, it's true but it doesn't define me anymore. It's better and sometimes it's worse, I am so tired.  I thought it would feel better by now.  The nagging drip of grief and pain still pounds away in my mind...less and sometimes more.  I feel like one who has survived zombie land and I am literally the walking dead now.  I am dying more and more to myself than ever before.  Dead people don't feel pain, is that what Paul was getting at?  Die to caring about what others think or say.  There is a special place of freedom in that, in the being dead.  Grief is changing me and I like it.  I like that I don't care as much about things or what is said and I care more about people. I like that I know pain and I know His presence to be in the center of that pain.  That I can share.  That love, I can deliver to others.  He is in the center of our pain. He never leaves us, sometimes we may have to endure the pain but never alone.

I like that hope is encasing the pain like a cocoon.  That something beautiful is on the horizon.  That this place is tragic yet there is a glory that fills it.  That this life is an adventure, an epic adventure and like all adventures there is an up and down plot line, tragedy and a happily ever after.

The mundane is made holy in this light and nothing ever feels small again.  Meaningless chatter becomes annoying and calling out destiny is the new normal.  Building the Kingdom one limping step at a time and seeing the Kingdom through the mess of this reality.  I don't see it perfectly yet, but when I squint my eyes and tilt my head sideways I see love everywhere, not in me but in Him.

Love exploding through worship and hugs.  Love, long suffering in the grace of those to believe for better days.  Love demonstrated in words and deeds.  Love ruling a community, dreams and visions shared and celebrated so that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."(Joel 2:32).  I am soul thirsty for this love, this manifestation and I want more.

So I  gather at the well with the other soul thirsty women in our group and the Lord speaks, He never fails us.  I may fail and have nothing prepared, but we worship and there in the presence of the Lord He drops down manna from heaven.  His word delivers.  In the midst of this I want more.  I am not sure what it looks like, I just want to hang out and gather with those who want more.  I want to be with the hungry, limping God lovers that are running their guts out in this race, this adventure for Jesus. I want more and so I study my word and I go to everything I can, and I am open to new adventures because I won't have enough of this Kingdom living until I get to heaven.

Broken? That is perfect.

Yesterday, I was talking with a dear friend.  Talking Jesus and talking theology.  Theology should be Jesus, but so often it becomes something else.  We are all a bit predisposed to believe one way or another.  I personally have been very black and white all my life so it was easy when I was younger in the Lord to become legalistic.  Now, well now, I just say give me Jesus and everything else seems to fall into place.

So as we talked, she shared how she was broken and wasn't sure she could move in the destiny she felt the Lord had shown her.  Broken.  I stared in awe at this beautiful friend.  I feel sure my mouth was open.  She rambled on a bit more because of my silence.  Finally I said, "Broken, we are all broken.  That is why we love Jesus so much."
 Brokenness doesn't disqualify us, it positions us.

Aren't we all broken? We are all walking around on this earth like the misfit toys. Trying to fit into a world that we don't belong in.  Broken and missing pieces we search for belonging and love.  Jesus scoops us up and gives us a home for our weary, scarred hearts.  We are the misfits and cast offs.  The forgotten, the lost, the broken and then He chooses us and makes all things new.  The brokenness continues as we see more and more of our Jesus.  His glory reveals our weakness and desperation for a savior and who can remain unbroken in His presence?  His glory, His forgiveness, His healing power should break us every time. Broken?  Yes, I am broken.

I really haven't been able to quit thinking about this.  The sweetness of brokenness.  I am broken, tattered and torn, pummeled and bruised and yet I feel more love than ever before.  In this brokenness there is a sweetness that comes, a fragrance of grace that overwhelms and satisfies. The past doesn't define me or my calling, it shapes and molds me for destiny.  Broken, yes we are all broken.  None of us escape failures.  big or small we fail Him with cold hearts and rebellion.

We come to Him with our broken pieces and we see the grace of the Master and fall madly in love with Him.  This is the theology that changes us, this is the Jesus that we should be teaching and sharing.  The Jesus that takes our brokenness and pieces us back together into something beautiful that positions us for destiny.  So when I feel broken, I run into His presence and there He turns it into a place of victory.  Who doesn't like to feel victory?  Brokenness qualifies us for victory.  This misfit is running as fast as I can into His presence and there in that brokenness I experience the sweetness of victory.

Sometimes its the little things...

Hey, so I know I can be a little reclusive, a little nervous, skittish even sometimes.  I can be a little loud and a little brash.  I can be a little insensitive and a little demanding.  I can be a little opinionated and a little excitable.  Sometimes I can even be a little mean....Don't take it personal. 

Basically what I am saying is it just takes a little of any of these things to make a big fat mess.  Just a little bit of any combination of these things can bring consequences.  Doesn't take much for offence to come...just a little, itty bitty "something" can create a ginormous bunch of conflict.  

Seeds, really that is what I am planting all day long and the crop that I get reflects what I am planting.  I know don't get all weird on me...sometimes something grows in my/our garden that I/you are not responsible for at all, but that's rare.  Most of the time, these weeds they are growing up totally legit, as a result of a little bit of "flesh". A little itty bitty seed....or a tiny little spark that starts the fire...a knee jerk reaction...a thoughtless comment...this list could go forever....and you can probably fill in this list yourself, because according to your life experiences you have your very own list of "little things".

I have for the most part gotten over the big things, it's these little bitty things that tangle me up now.  They keep me from the best that God has for me.  These little itty bitty things cause me to look hard at myself and think hard about what I still need to change.  What weeds need to be pulled, what bugs are still milling about causing damage to my life....

His grace is so great, it covers.  I am surrounded by wonderful people that cover my weeds, sometimes they help pull the weeds and sometimes they let me choke on the weeds.  Sometimes they scream about the bugs they see devouring my fruit and sometimes they spray some Raid on the bugs.  The bottom line is in this garden of my life, just when I think I am gonna get an amazing crop,I wake up one morning and it looks like I have spoiled it with some crazy itty bitty weed that is draining all the nutrients out of the ground and taking all the water.  Sometimes it is the smallest of microscopic bugs that has becomes an infestation because I haven't handled it promptly and boom it ruins my crop. It always starts with these little things....

A garden isn't a one time thing...ask anyone that gardens.  It is an ongoing constant battle between yourself the weeds and the bugs.  It is an everyday tending and you can't let your guard down for even a day.  

So it is in my life, in our lives.  It is often the little things that are keeping us from the full bounty that the garden of our lives can deliver.  Giant colossal fruit awaits, if I can just keep the darn weeds and bugs at bay. One day we win, until then I garden on.  Tending to my crazy, faulty, garden of a heart and paying attention to the crop it produces.  I want the colossal, crazy, sweet fruit that draws others to Jesus

Working on it every day(except when I forget and start slacking) until I don't have to wins in the end. 

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