Clutter

I don’t like clutter.  Most of the people who work with me could back up that statement.  I’m always cleaning or organizing when I’m there.  And when there is clutter in my home (I do live with two boys!) I can’t fully relax.  So today while sitting at church listening to the sermon and my mind wandering off, I felt something say,  that this is how my mind is right now…full of clutter.

I can’t seem to think clearly lately.  And I have had an anxious spirit for awhile now.   There is so much in my brain vying  for attention.  Most of it is important stuff,  work, children, relationship issues and there is always that money thing.  But as I sat there I knew God was trying to get my attention by telling me that it’s cluttering up my faith and trust that He has a plan.  Just about this time Pastor John used a scripture in his sermon in 1 Peter 1:13

So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”

So think clearly.  This has been impossible for me of late.  I’m letting everything take it’s turn running me around in circles.  I’m trying to figure everything out all at once.  Instead of trusting the One that already has it figured out.  I can not exercise self control over my mind.

A friend recently told me that I have great depth.  Although I believe this is true, I can’t seem to live there right now on a consistent basis because I keep allowing my thoughts to run me.   Now, I am a thinker and I always will be and I’m ok with that.  But not when it takes over my life and makes me anxious and unable to focus.

How will I de-clutter my mind?  I don’t know.  But I know the One I will be praying to, that will help me figure it out.

Grace even for me

A couple days ago a good friend and mentor reminded me  I was the type of person to not only hand out grace but to also remind people of God’s grace over their faults and sins.  She told me this as I was talking to her about my own shame and guilt and that I was finding it hard to believe in God’s forgiveness.  As the conversation continued she gently reminded me that God’s grace that I so freely talk to others about is also the same grace that covers me.  It wasn’t God that wasn’t able to forgive me, I was finding it hard to forgive myself.

I will admit that I struggle with this.  I know in my heart that God loves me unconditionally and I know his forgiveness extends to all areas of my life.  If you read my last blog I talk about this very thing.  I’ve come to realize that I struggle more with believing in God’s grace over me when people in my life don’t offer the same grace.  I link what humans give out with what God gives out.  I am sad to say I put God in the same category as people.  If they are angry at me, then God must be angry at me.  If they love me little, God must love me little. If they can’t forgive me, then God must not forgive me.  I thought I had conquered this need for human approval, but I guess I still have a little work to do. 🙂   The biggest work is to separate God’s love and grace from the love and grace of people.

Most people in my life can tell you that I am all about grace.  I can never stay angry with someone and that I forgive quite easily.  Even those that have hurt me deeply, I can always find the soft spot in my heart that allows me to forgive and move on.  I try and find the motive behind the hurt and see why they did what they did.  Sometimes the answers are simple and I know they didn’t mean to and sometimes it’s not an answer I like, but yet I forgive and move on.  I have to admit sometimes it makes me angry that I am so forgiving because it sometimes allows people to continue to hurt me, but then I am reminded of the fact that my life is meant to reflect Jesus and I forgive anyway.

Forgiveness for myself?  Most of the time that is easy, but as of late with a couple things that have happened with the way others have treated me it has become harder.  But it is just a new journey and one I am willing to face and conquer.  The same way I look to find the reasons that people do the things they do, is the same way I need to approach myself.  Sometimes the answers will be simple and I can just admit I did wrong, but other times the answers will be ones I don’t like and I will have to face myself and deal with it. But to not forgive myself and believe in God’s forgiveness when I model this to others makes me hypocritical and this is not how I want to be.

My friend, Pablo put up a blog video a couple days ago that reminded me of what my friend/mentor was talking about the other day that God loves me on my worst day.  In all of my shame, my sin, my lack of faith and belief….He loves me and forgives me

What I need to work on now is to not to  confuse His grace with how people, friends or enemies model grace.  God’s grace is always present and always free.  The sinner in me finds this hard to believe, but the spirit of God in me gives me the faith to believe.

This will be my prayer for the next few days or weeks (however long it takes!):

Father, please forgive me for my lack of faith in believing that even on my worst day You still love me and that Your grace covers me even before I ask it of you.  Forgive me that I put you in the same category as humans and link Your love with theirs and Your forgiveness with theirs.  Help me to continue to have a forgiving spirit towards others and to find grace over those that hurt me.  Let me always be someone that others can find the grace that you so freely offer.  

Trash to Treasure

 

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

 

I write this as I approach my 47th birthday. It’s my testimony of sorts from the last year of my life.  It’s been a long hard path to confidence these 47 years of life. Yes, it’s taken me that long.  I’m not staying on the path at all times, sometimes there are obstacles that block the way and test my faith.  And let me not forget the sin of flesh that has me stumbling or falling or detouring onto another path.    That sin “that so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Easily.  That’s the word that stands out.  How easy is it to me to let the sin of the flesh play a part in who I think I am.  The sin of thinking I can find my self worth in people.  That sin of spending too much money on things that make me prettier or more desirable instead of giving to the less fortunate.  The sin of spending too much time trying to “fix” myself instead of letting go and letting God be the fix.  But most of all the sin of thinking of myself less then a daughter of a King.  I’m beginning to realize that it hurts the Heart of God, when I put myself down, when I think I am not worthy.  His word says that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”  (Psalm 139:14) and “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in you” (1 corinthians 3:16)  Wonderfully.  Temple.  Words that do not depict unworthiness.

Now, in some defense of myself the enemy has used many things outside of my control to contribute to my less than confident thinking.  I was abused as a child, mentally, sexually and physically.  This followed into my teen years.  I was neglected and made to grow up way too fast.  My own mother was a contributor to my abuse or looked the other way and it left deep scars.  I had no one to teach me what my worth was or even how to feel like a woman.  No father to show me how a true woman should be viewed.  I have been on my own for all of my life.

But there have been many times that I contributed.  Where I could have chosen the narrow path but instead chose the wider path paved with want, desire and paved with lust.  Times when I just wanted to feel loved and wanted and did whatever I needed to feel  that way no matter how fleeting the feeling.  I sought acceptance in the flesh.

I only started this path to confidence a little over a year ago.  After a painful break-up from someone I was in love with I set out to find myself.  I had lost who I was in who he wanted me to be.  I say I set out,  because in other words I went to work.  I worked on getting better.  I started helping others, joined a Bible study, read my Bible more, went to church every Sunday and starting working out on a regular basis.  My confidence bloomed.  I was finally getting to a place of knowing who I was and all that I brought to the table. Finally believing that I gave some beauty to the world. Looking in the mirror and liking what I saw.  Life was good.

Then I fell into the arms of a man again.  But, this time I had it!  Confidence in myself as a woman.  Oh, how he fed it too.  With words of affirmation, telling me I was beautiful, desirable everything that I had dreamed of hearing.  But sadly, as quickly as he blew in, he blew back out again.  I was no longer desired.  My world was ripped apart again.  But this time the pain went deeper.  The hurt was so strong that at times it felt like someone had actually taken a knife and plunged it into my heart.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here I was a confident woman and it took all of a few minutes of conversation what I had been building for a year,  for it all to be stripped away.  Many times I would chide myself to get over it, I wasn’t in love with this person as the one before. But yet the pain persisted.  Deeper and darker than I could understand.  I wanted to get over it and be that strong woman that I had always been.

It’s only in the not striving that I have gained what the enemy has tried for 47 years to keep from me.  It’s only in the hurt that I have found the confidence to be who I am. Instead of doing something, I did nothing.  God was whispering to my heart…”Stop striving. Stop striving”.  So it has been many hours just sitting on the couch, letting the pain fill me up, letting the tears flow and the prayers of “Help me, Father” come from a place deep within.  It opened me up wide and made me face the rawest part of my need.  It was through my pain and my sin that I found the only confidence I have ever needed.  See, I learned through that hurt that it was okay to feel confident, as long as my focus was on my foundation in who I was in God.  Instead I had put most of my focus on my physical beauty and God knew I needed  to see my true heart.  I now know what it means when it says that God will make good out of all things.  I now value the hurt, because although it took me to a dark place,  it ultimately led me to the light.

I have been broken, bruised, beaten, used and abandoned and I have by the grace of God put myself back together again many times.   But this is where I found confidence, in my need.   Not through strength of character or sucking it up, but through facing my sin, facing the pain and just STOP trying to fix it. I found in my sin that I am loved unconditionally by my true lover.  I found in my pain that I am desirable, I am beautiful and I am of value.   This is true now in all aspects of my life, both in the spiritual and physical.  I say physical too, because I still take care of myself.  I work out, eat well (well most of the time!) and dress well.  I like to look pretty and there is nothing wrong with that.  God made women, and he made us to be beautiful.  But at the end of the day my outer beauty is but a part of the reflection of who I am.  I am heart and love.  I love furiously. I love deep. I forgive easily.  I love easily.  And, I give of myself easily.  All reflections  of His beauty.

To all woman who are reading this (men can believe this too!) We are not an end product of our past or our mistakes.  We are redeemed through the blood of the Cross and we are love unconditionally.  We are not what others or society thinks of us or has labeled us.  We are daughters of a King.  We are not “woman hear me roar” type of confidence.  We find our confidence in being soft, pliable and in our willingness to be molded.  We are not about our physical body or beauty.  We are heart and love.  And grace.  Never ever forget we are a model of His grace at it’s very best.

Someday I will write a book on this (even as I write that my confidence wants to take a nosedive!).  Someday I will have a degree in counseling that will help lead others to this same knowledge.  Someday I will have a safe house  for young women to run to that are wounded from life. Someday I will pass on this knowledge it took me 47 years to get  to my granddaughter due next year,  be that person to her that I never had. (See, God redeems all things!)  Someday I will find a man that gets me for who I am and will love my heart most of all.  These are my dreams.  Until then I will grow wiser.   Until then I will walk the path of renewed confidence and I will face any obstacle with a faith that transcends all of them.  Until then I will be all that He created me to be….His daughter.

‎”I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards & will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth…” Hosea2:14-15

(the title of this post is to not say that I was trash, but only to communicate the vast difference in my thinking from before to now.  I have ALWAYS been a treasure. God doesn’t make trash!)

Letter to self

Hey you,

Yes, you hiding from this letter.

I need to tell you something.  Don’t hide.  All your life you have felt like you needed to hide.  Hide the abuse.  Hide the need to feel loved.  Hide from your true self by finding useless “love’ from others.  Hide from your out of control feeling by desperately fighting to be in control.   You will hide behind legalism, thinking if you are a really good girl, someone will love you.

You will work so hard at hiding from what your mother had become that you will end up unmarried and pregnant and then you will hide that pain by marrying the father, a man you don’t love because you are scared of being classified as “just like her”.   You will hide in an affair at the end of your marriage, once again searching for love.

What you don’t know is you are hiding from the one thing that can set all that free!   Don’t hide from the one true thing that can soothe your broken spirit.  Broken by the pain of neglect and abuse.   God’s love is the balm and you just have to come out of hiding long enough to let Him apply it.

You will grow older and find Him and begin to apply this truth, but you will make mistakes time and time again.  You will swear to hide your broken heart behind big walls.  You will try and hide behind your looks, thinking this is what makes you desirable.  But what makes you desirable is your heart.  The one God gave you.  A heart big enough to love fiercely, deeply and full of forgiveness.  You ARE beautiful inside and out.  God doesn’t make anything less.  Believe it.  Need His reassurance.  Play the victim of brokenness with Him, he wants to be your Savior.

Don’t hide, baby.  There is so much life to be enjoyed.  So much to learn in the light.

I’ll be here with you every step of the way.  And so will the God of the universe, who loves you wholly and without reservations!

Love, Me

Risk

This picture reminds me that I’m a risk taker. I try and say that I’m not, but deep down I know I am. I take a lot of risks in a lot of different areas. Just over a month ago I took one, well really, I took a giant leap off of a tall cliff. On the way down the wind felt good and I felt like I was flying but then I hit the ground and laid there bruised and a little broken.

Today looking at this picture I reflect on my “pilot” the man strapped to my back that did all the work. The only part I had was to take the risk of actually jumping out the door, putting my faith in my pilot. The rush was exhilarating, profound, breathtaking (literally! it’s really cold at 14,000 ft.!) and watching the world beneath me will forever be a memory I carry with me. This is God to me. My pilot strapped to my life. With Him I can take risks (faith) and enjoy the ride as He guides. Sadly, I left Him at the top of the cliff the last time I leapt and although the ride down was exhilarating, profound and breathtaking…the landing was not. Suddenly the world spun before my eyes and came up to meet me. I didn’t know how to work the parachute.

I will continue to take risks. I’m not going to back away from something in fear of what could happen! I’m going to step out in faith, giving my all, in hopes of exhilarating, profound and breathtaking goodness. The difference is this time I’ll make sure I don’t do it alone, but with the God who loves me and will safely see me to the ground.

Need

I’m in a place of need right now.  This is hard for me to admit.  A large part of me believes this isn’t spiritual, that it’s selfish.  But in my case it’s the truth.

I need to be poured into.  I need someone to walk beside me daily and tell me how to take each step.  Everyday I pour into people trying to please them or make their lives better.  I give to work, to work people, to friends…..   And I am empty.  I’m not getting filled up.

It’s in my nature to be there for people, especially hurting people.  To make them feel loved, valued, wanted.  It’s a good spirit to have, but if you are not getting it back it leaves you dry and hurting.

I prayed today for God to minister to me.  To minister to my emptiness and pain.  Praying also for a family, a sense of community that allows my soul to be filled so that I can continue to fill up others.

Realization

In the last couple of days I have come to the full realization of  sin and the pain it brings.  Nothing prepared me for the heart wrenching pain that would come when I fully admitted my sin.

My brain knew  what I had done was wrong, but it hadn’t become a heart thing yet.  It took another hurt from someone  that finally dropped me to my knees in repentance.  The pain of the hurt and the pain of the full realization of what I had done was almost more than I could bare.

There I was in my bedroom crying out the ugliness of my sin, my selfishness, more than a month later.  It’s sad it took me getting hurt to finally realize my part in the sin.  I was choosing to hide in me being done wrong and in my forgiveness to the other person for the hurt.  All the while not getting to the root of what I had done.

I’ve gotten hurt so bad at times and some of those bad times is because I stepped out of the will of  God.  Yes, I know I shouldn’t haven’t been treated the way I did in some of these times, but when we make sinful choices we must be willing to take the pain that comes.

God will redeem my sin.  It’s his love of me that makes it a fact.  My heart is a little lighter now.  The pain is still there, but it’s a little more tolerable.

Nearness

I have no words of deep to say

It’s only the surface that sees the waves

Prayers skim above the depth of my need

Just as the sun reflected on the surface doesn’t reach the darkness of the deep

So my heart doesn’t reach the nearness of you

 

 

The Charmed Life

I decided today to live in a grace mentality and not a victim mentality.  It took me just a little less than a week to get there.  Not bad coming from the girl that usually likes to linger in pain.

It’s hard being the victim of a hurt caused by someone else.  Rejection is one of the hardest hits.  But I want to believe that one wrong isn’t the answer to who I am.  I am not a victim unless I choose to play the role.  I had a part in the play that caused the hurt and I can let the curtain fall or I can continue to replay the scenes over and over again.

I chose grace.  I chose to give it out despite if I wasn’t in the wrong.  I chose to give it to someone that has been hurt, because I KNOW how it feels.  And my heart softens because causing pain is sometimes reflected in our actions with others even we don’t mean too or set out to.  Hurt people, hurt people sometimes.  I also chose to receive grace into my mistake too.  This is probably hardest for me.  I am always very hard on myself.  Mistakes are meant to teach us what to do better next time.  I’ll try and learn from that.

I’m realizing that I have a soft heart.  Sometimes this really ticks me off.  I want to stay angry.  I want to stay depressed, down on myself and believing that I matter to no one.  That no one is worth time or effort.   But my heart, the one that God gave me isn’t shaped that way.  I’ll stay angry for awhile, but then I will feel your pain and hurt with you and feel the grace that covers us all.

That’s the charmed life.

 

Seeing through a blanket

This feeling isn’t new

It covers the back of my eyes with it’s blanket

I can see the world

But I can’t see the truth

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