This past Saturday, I had to drive over to an area of town that was close to where I grew up. Good memories of my childhood came back to me. During the summers, we played outside from morning till night. We loved being in the woods near my house. We built forts, waded in the creek, built tree houses, played softball and kickball and rode our bikes all over the place. My neighbors were my friends. At night, we played kick the can, ghosts in the graveyard, flashlight tag and capture the flag. We told stories with the flash light up under our faces to give us an eerie look. We stayed outside as long as our parents would allow us to. Those were the good old days! (I am sure many of you can remember those days!)
I think that is why I love being outside to this day. When the weather gets nice in the Spring, I simply have to be outside. I stay outside as much as I possibly can. I love everything about warmer weather, except the bugs and the mosquitos. (Why do we have to have mosquitos Lord?) I am outside right now—typing on my laptop. I love the breeze that is blowing, the birds chirping, the sun that is shining and those beautiful blue skies. You get the picture.
When I was thinking about all the wonderful things about my childhood, I began to cry. (I am a crier!) I thanked God that I had those good times to get me through all the things that were happening at home. He gave me all those summer days and nights to help me escape being in my house. He gave me friends to play and laugh with. He gave me neighbors, who let me hang out at their houses, so I didn’t have to be in mine. I had a lot of good times away from the abuse at my house and I am very thankful to God for giving them to me. “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18
I grew up a dreamer. I still love watching the good guy win and love watching movies that have happy endings. I am even one of those people that read the last page of a book because if it doesn’t end well, then I am not going to waste my time reading it. (I know! I get a lot of flack for that one!) I root for the underdog. I feel sorry for the teams that lose by one point. I also feel sorry for the teams that get creamed by the other team. I have a lot of empathy in me. I feel things for people. I have an innate ability in me to tell me when something is wrong. It is the way I am wired.
Throughout my life, I have learned that God is good. No matter what happens—that truth never changes. When I became a Christian, I knew that I had made the best decision of my life. I wanted to know Jesus and I also wanted my friends and others to know Him. I knew in my heart that He was the real deal and He was the only way I was going to survive. I have spent most of my life walking with Him and learning from Him. It has not been an easy life, but one I couldn’t have lived without Him in it.
“Nothing Jesus will ever woo us to lay down on His behalf is worth what we’d miss if we didn’t. If He wants your hands free, He has something to put in them. If He wants your feet loose, He has somewhere to plant them. If He wants your mouth shut, He has a new set of words to put in it. He’s not trying to cheat you or trick you. He’s not placing bets on you or playing games with you. He does not dispense grace with an eyedropper. He drenches us with it. He does not offer bare existence. He extends life abounding in blessing, power, passion, and purpose. If people told you God was stingy, they didn’t know their Bible.” Beth Moore
The other day I was journaling and I could hear these words spoken to me. “My sweet child, look at your life. Your life wins. Your life proves that I can make something beautiful out of a complete mess. Your life show others that I am here. I am working and I never stop. I am at the center of your life and that is always a win!” I needed to hear those words because I was allowing a situation to discourage me. God knew it and He was stepping in to speak truth to me.
The life I was born to live is wrapped up in Jesus. Everything I do or say is wrapped up in my relationship with Him. Beth Moore beautifully says, “The person you are when you love Jesus with everything in you—with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength—is the real you. The brilliant you. The bring—it you. The breathtaking you. The born-for-this you. The person you were born to be crawls out of the shell of a heart cracked wide-open to the audacious love of Christ. When your heart, your soul, your mind, and might are engaged in a wholly invasive holy affection march your self into the nearest bathroom and look in the mirror over the sink. That’s you.”
When I write and share my stories with you—that’s the real me. I really didn’t see that until I started writing my blog. When I sit and journal, that’s the real me. I guard my time with Christ as much as I can because I feel like I am truly myself when I am with Him. I know that He wants all of us to feel that way when we are in HIs presence. He wants us to be who He designed us to be. So, I am going to ask you… What makes you look in the mirror and say, “That’s the real me.” What do you feel driven to do because of Christ’s love for you?
When I felt God’s nudge to write this blog, I thought there was no way I could do it. I battled with the Lord over it for months. I questioned and I doubted. But I knew deep down inside that it was what God wanted me to do. He gave me the strength, the words, the insight, the years of journaling, the books, the studies, the counseling and people to pray for me. When God asks us to do something, He will supply everything we need to do it! Philippians 4:19
I am driven by Christ’s love to do this. I have no formal training in writing. I only have real life training. I write because God gives me the ability to do it. There are many times when I type the words and go back, read it and think, “Where did those words come from? I don’t remember thinking that?” That’s proof that God can and will speak through us. I am telling you this to encourage you to step out and do what God has called you to do. He will supply everything you need to do it.
I also need to say that you will also go through phases when you doubt and feel hopeless because Satan does not want you to succeed. He wants you to quit. He wants you to get discouraged and give up! He has done that to me many, many times. But, we simply can’t give in to those feelings. We have to fight them. “If you and I are going to live and love audaciously, we’re going to have to quit answering the door when hopelessness bangs its ugly fist at it. It has no place in our lives. Hopelessness is a liar. A convincing one. We offer no welcome, no couch to rest upon, no meal to feast upon. We do not cater to it in any way.” Beth Moore
One of the reasons I study and read so much is because I need so much encouragement! (I need lots of it!) God encourages me to keep going and He puts things in my path to help me. I am ashamed to admit that I have wanted to quit many times, but then the Lord sends someone my way to tell me that they enjoyed reading my blog. I think to myself, “Thank you Lord! You knew I needed to hear that!” He has done that for me many, many times. God knows our needs even more than we do.
Even during the roughest days of my childhood, He gave me summer days and nights. He gave me the music of the sixties and seventies. He gave me Young Life camps and weekends in caves. He gave me the friends that I needed. He gave me a Momma who loved the Lord and made me want a relationship with Him too. He gave me my parent’s station wagon so I could go and pick up kids to take to Young Life club. He gave me Chinese fire drills, jobs to make money and laughter every week when we did skits and mixers at club. I have no doubt that His eyes were on me! He knew what I needed and He gave it to me.
I am going to leave you with another gem by Beth Moore. That woman has meant so much to me and my walk with Christ. She has gotten me through some pretty heavy issues. She speaks to my heart. I just want you to know that nothing that happens to you is ever wasted. God is growing you up to be exactly what He wants you to be. Unfortunately, it takes turmoil and trials in our lives to bring out our real selves. I pray that God will help you see who the real you is.
“He knows exactly what we’re made of and exactly what He invested in us. He knows the immensity of the treasures He tucked way down inside of us in a place that can only be tapped by turmoil. God knows precisely how He gifted us and to what unfathomable degree He empowered us through His own Holy Spirit. He knows to the minutest detail how thoroughly He has equipped us. God cannot be conned. He requires no proof to quell His own curiosity. Confusion is human, not divine. God knows exactly how real or pretentious our faith is.” Moore
Until next time……