I just get so sick and tired sometimes. Maybe it is all the dreary and cloudy days in Winter. Maybe it is all the trials and tribulations that just won’t go away. Maybe it is… More
Do you ever feel like you are in a stage of life where one thing after another keeps happening? That is how this last year has been for me. I just want to throw the covers over my head—hide in my room—and never come out. I study and read God’s word. I pray over and over again. It is so hard for me to put into words how I feel. I feel like I have been banging my head against the wall! (Maybe that’s why I can’t think straight.)
One morning last week, when I was studying “the Quest” by Beth Moore, she mentioned a verse that I have had trouble understanding for a very long time. James 4:2b “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Is there anyone else out there that has had trouble with that verse too?? Because I do ask. I do pray. I talk to the Lord. But, after reading some of Beth’s very wise words, I have found out that I might just be asking for the wrong things.
These next words from Beth got my heart pounding. “Since we can’t avoid difficulties and sufferings, we can ask, seek, and knock with everything in us for every gorgeous thing that is ours in Christ, so that we not only can bear up in this race, we can shockingly thrive in it. No we will not always have fun, but, based on the authority of God’s Word, we can always abound.” Read that again.
So, sign me up for every gorgeous thing that is mine in Christ! I want to thrive! I want to abound! Beth states, “We have birthrights in Christ that can inject curious happiness into copious hardships. Let’s fight for them. Let’s fight for the things that make following Jesus so gloriously good that the sufferings won’t even be worth comparing.” I want my birthright! I want a curious happiness when I experience hardships because I definitely haven’t been happy with them. I whine. (Oh how I hate that about myself!) I complain. I feel sorry for myself. I feel defeated. UGH!
Are you ready for some spiritual truth? “So here are the seven graces that are our birthrights we need to fight for: Audacious Love, Ecstatic Joy, Unabashed Delight, Astonishing Faith. Unquenchable Hope, Extraordinary Fruitfulness, and Overflowing Gratefulness. Love, joy, delight, faith, hope, fruitfulness and gratefulness are the will of God for His children. We’ve got mounds of problems. We may as well take God up on heaps of privileges.” Moore
I sat there and let all of that information soak in my brain. (It takes awhile for me.) I do have lots of problems in my life. I always have and I always will. But, God gives me grace that I can count on to help me get through all the problems that I face. I really have never looked at it that way before. I would pray for my difficulties to get better, or for a person to change, or for me to change, or pray for certain answers to certain problems. I have never—and I mean never—realized what “I do not have because I do not ask” really means.
Yes, we should pray for people. Yes, we should pray for issues. But, sometimes we don’t see answers. Sometimes, we wait and we wait for answers for years. If we keep our eyes on the things that aren’t happening then that is not healthy. We get bogged down. I know I haven’t been thriving because I haven’t been asking for love or joy or delight or faith or hope or fruitfulness or gratefulness in my circumstances. I have been overlooking what God wants for me. I have been missing out on the beautiful birthrights I have in Christ my friends and maybe you have been missing out too!
I have seven beautiful privileges to ask for in my life. This gives me hope. Right before I started studying this particular part of “The Quest” study I was journaling. I was writing out many questions that I had for God. I am going to share some of them with you. “What lies am I believing Lord? Do I think that some day I actually won’t have problems in this world? I think I do. I want to be free of problems. How do I accept this life I am living? How do I come to terms with all the pain and sorrow? How do I keep putting one foot in front of the other? How do I change my mindset? How do I continue to deal with suffering for myself and others? How do I toughen my mind? I still believe in good. I still have trouble accepting all the bad. Should I? How do I stay hopeful? How do I keep my eyes on you?”
Because God is so good, right after I wrote all of those questions down, I read the part I shared with you in paragraph three above that got my heart pounding. That’s why I said to read it again. If you need to, go back up and reread it. The answer to my questions is to ask, seek and knock for all the beautiful privileges God has given me. Love, joy, delight, faith, hope, fruitfulness and gratefulness are now the things that I am asking for because it is the will of God for me. When we pray for the will of God in our lives, He will give it to us. I want happiness amidst my hardships. I want to thrive! I want to be a conqueror!
I just need to lay my problems and issues at the feet of Jesus. I need to give Him the things I yearn and pray for. Sometimes I care too much. I yearn too much. I want to see change. I need to let go! I care so much about people, but it can be really hard on me. I want change for people so much that I ache inside. I have seen so much destruction. But, I need to entrust the Lord to work and I need to back off and pray.
I am asking for the Lord’s truths and promises to invade my bones. I have let too many issues and problems weigh me down for too many years. I think a lot of my issues stem from a Dad I couldn’t trust. That has been difficult to overcome with my heavenly Father. I am praying for God to get me over that feeling. I can trust Him. I can entrust Him to work in my life and the lives of everyone I care so deeply about.
I am a visual person. That can be good and that can be bad. I focus too much on what I see or can’t see. I have to trust that God is working even when I can’t see it. Instead of getting discouraged, I need to ask for joy or hope or love or faith or gratefulness or all of the above to thrive in my circumstances.
It is almost Thanksgiving. It is a time of year for us to focus on what we are thankful for. I am so thankful for the truth that God shows me on a daily basis. I would like to encourage all of us to focus on those things and ask for overflowing gratefulness this next month. Beth states, “Grateful people are the loveliest humans on planet Earth. They smile easy, eyes crinkling, like they know something the rest of us don’t. They delight easy. They manage to retain a certain playfulness and childlike sense of wonder that make them sparkle like fireflies in a world of hornets.”
I want to be a firefly that sparkles for Jesus. Can you imagine what a change we could make in our world if we were just grateful??? I remember reading Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” a few years ago. Each chapter is a reflection of finding everyday graces. I bought the one with a journal in the back where you could fill in 1,000 lines with 1,000 gifts from God. It took me awhile to fill in all the lines, but what it did was make me grateful not only for the good but also for the bad. My heart became happy. I need to revisit this book and writing down all the daily gifts God gives me. Writing my blessings down, really does make a difference. It needs to become a habit of mine again.
Today, I would like to you ask you to join me in praying for audacious love, ecstatic joy, unabashed delight, astonishing faith, unquenchable hope, extraordinary fruitfulness and overflowing gratefulness in our lives. Let’s take God up on the privileges He has for us. It is our birthright as children of God. May we shine like fireflies for Him!
Until next time dear friends……
*I would love to hear your stories of what happens when you count your gifts or claim your birthrights in Christ!
Do you feel like sometimes your life is just a mess? You look around you and you see chaos everywhere. So many questions that aren’t settled. So many people having issues. It makes you afraid of what is going to happen next. Boy, have I been there and lately it seems like I am right in the middle of a lot of yuck! I try to find the positive but it is hard! Fear is banging on my door.
In the midst of this madness, I hear God’s voice saying,” I want you to come to me as a child. I want you to see me as your Father. I hear you. I see you. I want you to run into my arms and tell me your problems. Ask me questions. You are free to speak here with no condemnation.”
You see, I really didn’t get a chance to be a child. I was forced into adulthood at a very young age. I became responsible. I became a pleaser and a pacifier. I wanted to keep peace on the home front so my father wouldn’t erupt. I didn’t ask because I knew what the answer was going to be. If I wanted something—I would figure out a way to get it. I was afraid to tell the truth. There were bad consequences for the truth. So you can imagine the unhealthy habits that developed over the years in my life.
God has been showing me lately that He wants me to ask. He not only wants me to ask—but boldly ask. He wants me to look into His eyes as my loving Father and tell Him what is troubling me. Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus asked His people? He was constantly asking questions. He was also constantly answering most of them. He wanted people to pursue answers.
I learned from Beth Moore that Jews are traditionally taught to question in order to learn more deeply. “Judaism tends to encourage individuals to explore their own personal relationship with God.” I am a person that learns from asking questions. I want to know more—so I ask. I know I probably ask too many questions, but I want to know answers. I love discovery. I feel like you grow more when you ask. Sometimes you get an answer and sometimes you have to keep searching.
While studying “The Quest” by Beth Moore I was reminded of a story about Jesus.The story is in Luke 2:41-50. Jesus and His family were in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. He was twelve years old at the time. After the Feast was over, His parents, relatives and friends left town to return home. It took them a day to realize Jesus wasn’t with them and that He was still in Jerusalem. It then took them three days to find Him. (If you have ever lost your child for over a minute you know the sheer panic in your heart. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world!) They finally find Him in the temple courts, sitting with the teachers, listening to them and also asking questions. Of course, everyone was amazed at His knowledge of the scriptures.
The one thing that hits me the most about this story is the fact that God Himself in human form was asking questions. He knew the answers—but He was asking. Doesn’t that make you pause? I think He was genuinely interested in knowing what the teachers thought. He wanted to know where they were coming from in their faith and interpretation of the scriptures. I can just picture Him listening intently to them talk and answer His questions. He wanted to know where they were coming from. That picture gives me great comfort because it shows how much He wants to know us—and even more—He wants us to know Him.
When you are walking down the street—and you see someone you know—what is the first thing you normally say? “Hello! How are you?” You are immediately approaching someone with a question. When you are studying or doing homework, the majority of the time you are answering questions. That is how you are learning. (I am having another “AHA” moment.) We don’t learn, unless we ask. We don’t get answers, unless we ask. Most of my spiritual growth has been because I dared to ask. This study I am in called ”The Quest” is about asking questions because learning is an adventure. Beth states, “Nothing swings a door wide open like a question.”
I have to share with you a verse that I just read in my study. I Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” This verse made me say,“OUCH!” (I am so convicted!) Most of the time I don’t feel like my brain remembers that I have hope in Christ. I usually respond with all the things that are wrong in my life. I get so overwhelmed that I forget about the hope that I have in Christ. And then there is the gentleness and respect part. WOW! Do I respond that way most of the time? (There are tears in my eyes!) It is important to ask questions, but it is equally important to have the right response.
When God decides to point something out to me that I need to deal with—like He did just now—I need to respond with the right attitude. I am actually responding with an apology. I am telling Him how sorry I am that I have been so negative. It is so easy to let hope get sucked out of my life! It happens before I even realize it. I get in a negative pattern and my thoughts go to the dark side. Does anyone else out there feel that way? Hope is hard!
Hope is hard because I tend to look around me instead of look within me. I forget to remember the things that the Lord has done for me. I dwell on what isn’t happening instead of what He is doing. My hope must be based on Christ—not on anything else. His love, devotion, caring, kindness, teaching, answering and listening to me is where my hope comes from. I want to get to the point where my circumstances aren’t ruling my thinking. I know God is working. I know God is teaching. I know God is answering. I know His answers are perfect–even if His answers are “Wait!” or “No!” (Those are the hard ones!)
The point is—He answers. Sometimes we don’t like the answers, but He always does so with gentleness and respect. That is the kind of God that He is. He doesn’t ask us to do anything that the Holy Spirit can’t help us do. I am proof of that!
I hope this post has made you think about asking and answering questions. The hardest part of my journey has been to realize that I have a heavenly Father who wants me to ask questions. He longs to give me answers and in the process teach me great things. My journey has been hard! I am not gonna lie! But the spiritual ground I have gained because of it is priceless.
I love adventures. I love seeing new things and learning new things. I don’t want to ever stop! I will be on this journey until God calls me home—and then an even greater adventure will begin!!!! I will get to be with my Savior and sit at His feet and ask as many questions as I want to—or I will probably just sit in wonder of all that I see. (I will be speechless for the first time in my life! ha ha! That in itself is a wonder!)
I am going to leave you with verse that brings so much hope to me. I hope it does for you too!!! Until next time dear friends and thanks for reading!
Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” I am praying that we can see what He is doing in all of our lives!! If we can’t—then ask for eyes to see!
I turned 59 two days ago. It is hard to believe that I am that old. In my mind, I am still in my twenties. I still love to do silly things. I love being spontaneous. I love going on adventures. I love listening to the music of my youth. I still have dreams and aspirations. I still want to do so many things. I can get kind of freaked out when I dwell on my age because I am definitely closer to the end of life than the beginning.
I was reminded recently—while studying the story of Abraham and Sarah—that good things can still happen when you are old. So, hopefully this post will be an encouragement to those of you out there that are in the same age category that I am in. I have known this story for a long time, but God always manages to show me new things whenever I study.
To refresh your memory or if you are hearing about this story for the first time, it begins in Genesis 17. Abraham was 100 years old and his wife, Sarah, was 90 years old. They thought their child bearing years had come and gone. Abraham is told by God that they were going to have a child. Abraham then falls face down and laughs. He also says to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a 100 years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90?”(verse 17) God goes on to tell Abraham that He was going to establish an everlasting covenant with his son. God even tells him to name him Isaac.
Then we go to Chapter 18 of Genesis, when three visitors come to visit Abraham. Sarah is listening at the entrance of the tent and hears that she is going to have a child. Sarah, thinking that she was way beyond capable of getting pregnant and having a child, laughed. She thinks to herself, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”(verse 12) (If I were told at the age of 90 I was going to have a child, I would do more than laugh!)
Then God asks Abraham why Sarah laughed and says, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (God knew she was listening at the door!) God goes on to tell Abraham that He would return next year and Sarah would have a son.
There is a reason why I have to share this story. When God impressed on my heart that I needed to write a blog, I laughed. I told him there was no way I could do it. I didn’t feel like anyone wanted to hear what I had to say. I still have to remind myself that this is what He has called me to do. I want all of you out there that are getting older or are in impossible situations to know that God can do the impossible. (Even when we think He can’t.) There are tons of stories in the Bible that prove that theory! There are also tons of stories from people we know that prove that theory. I want to encourage you to believe that God can do the impossible in our lives. He has done it many times in mine.
This story hits home to me because I still want to do so much for the Lord. There are still so many dreams that seem unattainable to me. I want to write a book or a devotional. I want to help people with my story and what God is teaching me. I want to move out of my comfort zone. But, I don’t see how that is going to happen. I can’t see how I am going to do it. But, God has put that desire in my heart and I am going to trust Him to do what seems impossible to me. (I am way out of my comfort zone sharing this with you.)
I have shared my dreams and had someone laugh at me. It hurt. But, it also fueled a passion deep within me. I have also gone through phases of giving up. I have asked many questions of the Lord. Lots of whys, when, where, how and what? I have begged and pleaded. But, I know that sometimes He answers and sometimes He is just waiting. (That’s the hard part!) I just want to tap my watch and say, “You know I’m not getting any younger, Lord. We need to get moving here!” But He just wants me to trust. And, that is exactly what Abraham did. He trusted. He trusted God to come through on His promises.
Thank goodness God is patient with our questions and our doubts. Exodus 34:6-7 “ Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.” He is nothing like any human being we know. He is perfect and good. He does no evil. He listens and He cares. What bothers us, bothers Him. He rejoices over us! How often do you see someone rejoicing over you? (I love picturing Him doing that!)
I want to go back to the Abraham and Sarah story one more time. There is one more gem to mention. I learned about this from the Beth Moore study called “The Quest.” God confronted Sarah about laughing at the entrance to the tent. She tried to deny the fact that she laughed, but God knew she did. He confronted her and she was afraid to admit the truth. I am assuming she thought she was going to be in trouble. God confronted her, but didn’t condemn her. I think that is quite interesting. How many times have you or I been afraid to admit the truth because we thought we would get into trouble? I know I have many, many times.
Sarah states in Genesis 21:6 “God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” God told Abraham the child was to be called Isaac, which just so happens to mean “he laughed.” Do you think there is a concept that God wanted them to learn? Every single time they said Isaac’s name they were reminded that they laughed at God when He told them they were going to have a child.
When I look back at the things that God has done, I smile. I laugh. It brings me so much joy. At the time, I thought there was no way in the world things were going to work out. I laughed at the mere suggestion of Him asking me to do something that was different or hard. I remember shaking my head several times over things he asked me to do. “Really, Lord. You want me to do ________? I can’t do that. There is no way this is going to happen or work out. I just can’t.” He has been so patient with me. He has loved me and waited for me to come around.
I am writing this post as much for me as I am for you. I need to be reminded and encouraged that God is not through with me yet. There are things He wants me to do and I want to do them. You know what really makes me smile? Time with Him. Watching Him work. Learning and listening to Him. I love Him so much! I just want more and more of Him. I want to laugh with Him and see His face smile down on me.
I hope I am an encouragement to you. God isn’t finished with us yet! There are still things to do! God is working and I want to be part of that work. Thank you for reading my post. Keep believing this verse. Genesis 18:14 “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” Give Him your impossible situations. I know how hard it is, but I wouldn’t want anyone else in charge of my life!
Until next time….
I have been in a wrestling stage of life lately. When I say that, I mean there have been some issues that I have been wrestling with God over. I have been at my wits end. I have been paralyzed with emotions. I haven’t been able to write. I have been dealing with so many things that have made me crazy. I am in the “fake it till you make it” mode.
It seems like whenever I am in a difficult stage of life, Satan pounces on me with many lies. He knows how to get to me. So, I have to fight back with God’s word and what it says. Sometimes just reading scripture makes me feel so much better and it gives me the ammunition I need to survive. And also one of the best ways I know to fight the enemy is to do a Beth Moore Bible study! I felt led to start “The Quest” study a few weeks ago because it is geared towards intimacy with God and who doesn’t need more of that!
One of the ways to gain intimacy with anyone is to ask questions. That is how you get to know someone better. Now, I have always been a person who asks a lot of questions. I like to get down to the nitty gritty. I want to know answers. I want to know people. I like hearing people tell me things about themselves. I am one of those people who strikes up conversations with complete strangers. Ask my kids. They have seen me do this many, many times. (I can see their eyes rolling right now!) I just like to talk–I guess– but I also like to listen. I like to learn. I like to understand. So, when I come across things that are perplexing to me, I go into crazy mode to find the answer.
Beth points out in the beginning of the study that God wants intimacy with us. He wants interaction with us. He wants us to communicate with HIm. He wants us to verbalize our feelings even though He already knows what they are. He wants us to get things out in the open. He wants honesty. Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes that is hard for me, especially when I am really mad and hurt. I have to remember who I am talking to. I am talking to my Father who is good and loving and kind. I have to see myself as His child whom He loves.
“Who you increasingly believe God to be and, in His light, believe yourself to be is not only fundamental to intimacy, it is fundamental to victory.” Moore So, I have been asking myself questions as well. Who do I believe God to be? How do I believe He sees me? My answers to those questions help me connect my identity to Christ.
Here are some gems I discovered about God that I wrote in my journal. “You will be with me wherever I go. You are my God. You will strengthen me and help me and uphold me. You have redeemed me. You have summoned me by name. There is no one else like you. You are pleased to give me the kingdom. You give me peace. You don’t give as the world gives. You don’t want my heart to be troubled and You don’t cause me to be afraid. You have me in the palm of your hand. There is no one else like you. You are righteous and just. You ride across the heavens to help me. No one else knows me or loves me like You do. You are faithful. Your are devoted to your people. You are full of blessings. You keep your promises. You watch over your children.” I could go on and on and on. He is so wonderful!
I have been blasted so many times by the enemy because of my fearful thoughts. I know God did not give me a spirit of fear. Fear is from the enemy. Moore states, “Fear is the consummate robber.” She goes on to explain the distinction between a thief and a robber. “A thief works by stealth and a robber works by threat. A pickpocket is a thief. At the time of the crime the victim is oblivious. A robber, on the other hand, confronts and threatens. He wields a weapon, be it literal or psychological. Sometimes the robber follows through on the threat. But what he is banking on is the success of the threat.”
When I read those words it helped me make sense out of my fears because I grew up with a “robber” as a father. There were physical or psychological threats on a daily basis. I didn’t realize how much of a robber he was, until I read those words. A light went off inside me. (I had a “AHA!” moment) My fears made so much more sense to me. My Dad got away with so much because we didn’t know how to stop him. How do you stop someone who was so good at masking his behavior to others? He made us all crazy and full of fear!!! When you grow up with someone like that as your Dad, it messes with you.
Beth states, “Fear and faith fight for the same space. Each is territorial. They cannot be roommates. They will not coexist.” For years, that battle between faith and fear has been going on inside me. That’s why my body has fallen apart and my mind has too. I have had many ups and downs. But, I am determined to not give up! I am not going to allow what has happened in my past to dictate my future. I will not let Satan have that victory in my life. I want to please the Lord and I want faith to rule in my life.
I am learning that it is okay to ask questions of God. It is a great way to build intimacy with Him. Sometimes I get answers and sometimes I don’t. Jesus says in Luke 11:9, “So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Sometimes I am pounding on that door!) I also just realized that the first letter from ask, seek and knock spells ASK. How have I not seen that before? So, I think maybe God is trying to tell me something. I know I settle way too much for the way things are instead of asking for things to change or for me to change. (Usually I am the one that needs to be changed!)
I think this is a profound statement by Beth Moore. “The human soul was fashioned to prize discovery above luxury.” I can honestly say that is what I prefer. I want to discover all the wonderful things about God that I possibly can. The older I get, I just want more of Jesus! I would rather have revelations than answers. I want Him to reveal things to me. I want spiritual change.
I want all of you to know that I find no satisfaction in talking about my Dad the way I have to. I only share this because I am lead to. I don’t know many people in my immediate circle of friends that were raised like I was, but I know that there are a lot of hurting people out there that need help. That is why I write. I want you to know that I care and I want to help. Following the Lord is the only way I have survived. I could easily have been a statistic without Him in my life.
I want you to know that God sees you and He sees me. Hagar beautifully states in Genesis 16:13 “You are the God who sees me.” An angel of the Lord pursued her after she ran away from Sarah who was mistreating her at the time. God sees what is going on. He knows what is happening. Because of sin and free will, we all suffer under the hands of evil people. There is no way to get around it. But, we do have someone to turn to. Someone who can help us get through the difficult things in life.
I know how hard it is to keep moving forward day after day when you feel like dying. It is the most miserable feeling in the world. I have had many, many days like that. I recently read about a pastor in California that ended his life because he suffered from depression and anxiety. I know all too well what that feels like. My heart breaks for his family. If you know someone who suffers with both or either one, please pray for them. Please pray for me.
I have had to take medication, been diagnosed with PTSD, gone through intense counseling, EMDR therapy, exercise and eat healthy. I have poured into books and Bible studies and spent hours with the Lord. I don’t regret any of it. It has brought me to where I am today. Have I felt like giving up? YES. But I have a determination to seek the Lord like crazy and I am blessed He made me like this.
I have realized that there aren’t clear cut answers for so many things. I will never understand why people are evil and cruel. But, I realize that I need more of Jesus in my life. More of the Holy Spirit to give me the ability to live my life. More revelations! More time spent in His word. More focus on Him because He truly is the answer. Just recently, I had to ask myself if I wanted an answer more or if I wanted Jesus more. I finally was able to say that I wanted Jesus more. (Sometimes it is really hard to have an inquisitive mind.)
I have always kind of felt guilty about all the questions and wrestling that I have done. Beth made me feel so much better when I read this: “In the very same breath Abraham brought questions, he breathed faith. Feeling conflicted and confused is not the same as faithlessness. It takes faith to wrestle with doubt.” THANK HEAVENS!
I know this post was a little lengthy, but I felt the need to share so much this time with you. If you are wrestling like I have been, hang in there! Keep talking to God. He will reveal things to you. Keep at it! Don’t ever stop! There is light at the end of the tunnel. I am experiencing that light right now and it feels so good!
Until next time dear friends……
I grew up watching a lot of tv. It was my escape. I had many shows I loved to watch, but one in particular that I would like to mention was “Bewitched.” I just loved watching Samantha twitch that nose of hers to get herself out of trouble or fix something that was wrong. I used to think it would be so nice to have a nose like hers. (Hey! I was a kid!) But seriously–sometimes–wouldn’t that be nice?
Because I lived in an unhealthy environment, many of the decisions I made were also unhealthy. I didn’t see a healthy marriage between my parents, so I really didn’t know what a good relationship looked like. Thankfully, I became a Christian when I was twelve and had a church and Young Life that gave me great Bible teaching. I was also hungry for God’s word in my life, so I enjoyed learning and studying. I had a good foundation for my faith. But, because I was living a lie, I had a hard time being honest with myself and with God.
Of course l struggled with my self-image. I had red hair and freckles and got made fun of a lot when I was little. The two phrases I heard a lot were: “I would rather be dead than red on the head” And, “Freckled face strawberry!” I had tight curls around my face that I absolutely hated. We didn’t have straighteners back in the olden days, so I put tons of Dippity-do and tape on them. (Anyone out there remember that wonderful product?) I would look at many of my friends who had beautiful long straight hair and be so envious of them. (You can see those wonderful bangs in my class picture above. I am right in the middle with the red hair.)
God blessed me with wonderful friends during high school and college. (He knew I needed them.) Because I was a leader with Young Life, I had a community of believers who were supportive in helping me grow my faith. I still treasure all the fun times I had with them. They were saving my life!
The biggest problem I had was the fact that I couldn’t see how unhealthy my desire was for my Dad to accept me and love me. I almost killed myself trying to get his approval. I didn’t see that I wanted him to love me more than I wanted God’s love. He was my abuser, but I still wanted Him to love me and give me his approval. I didn’t see how sick that really was. He caused me so much pain, but I still wanted to have a relationship with him.
I have learned so much since then and I am so grateful that God opened my eyes to see how unhealthy I was. I think I might have been able to see things better if I would have been honest with myself and with others. I never told anyone about my Dad and now that I have read and studied all these years, that was the worst thing for me to do. Satan wants us to keep things in the dark and not bring them into the light. Once the light hits them, they begin to unravel and Satan does not want that! He wants us to stay it in the dark.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. “
Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
I believed so many lies. I thought my Dad’s approval and love was the key to my happiness. I thought if I could just get him to see things differently then he would change and my life would get better. I was placing my personal happiness on a person and I was so very wrong! I think we all have a tendency to do that! “If this situation or this person would only change…..then I would be happy.” My thinking was wrong for so many years. I was in a constant state of disappointment because of that thinking.
The person that needed to change was me! I needed to quit placing my happiness on other people and what they were or weren’t doing. I actually thought if my Dad would just listen to me, he would change. I was putting myself in God’s place. I thought I could fix him if he would just let me. Boy oh boy was I wrong! I look back and think, “Who in the world did I think I was? I can’t fix anybody. I can pray for them and guide them, but the real fixing needs to come from God. I mean…He created them in the first place and He knows them far better than I do. I need to back off and let Him be God.” Even if we have to step back and watch painful things happen to that person, we need to back off. And that is very hard to do when you love someone!
I have been reading the book “Audacious” by Beth Moore. She said something that made me stop and take notice and reread over and over again. I just have to share it. “Any relationship that ultimately and absolutely cannot withstand your audacious love for Jesus will almost certainly be a snare to you. If you remain strongly influenced by it, it will trip you up over and over, fog your spiritual vision, cloud your mind with confusion, and keep you in a perpetual state of frustration. Any profoundly controlling relationship that curtails your right to love Jesus Christ with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength could cost you your calling. It could suck the air out of the lungs of the life you were born to live.” Read it again if you are struggling with a relationship that is controlling your life. This could cost you your calling!
Those words are truth! it took me 50 years to see that! You see, you just can’t put anyone or anything above God. You will be miserable. I know! I have been there! Only God can change people. We can talk till we are blue in the face, and sometimes that works, but most of the time it doesn’t. People need to want to change. And most of the time, we need to get out of God’s way in order for that to happen. We need to walk away. We need to pray. We need to trust Him to do the work. And we need to stay strong and not get sucked in when they say they need us or want our help. Refer them to a counselor or a pastor. Sometimes the healthiest thing to do is nothing. You can love from a distance. I learned the best thing for me was to stay out of God’s way. And when you are a “fixer” by nature, that is a hard thing to do! Beth says, “Bow down and don’t play God. Let Him do His job.”
She said something else that really got to me. “We humans desire most what we love most.” This made me think about my desires. I think most of them are pretty good, but when I love my desires more than God, I get myself into trouble. I become the fixer instead of letting God be the One to fix that person. I have always struggled with intervening and not allowing God to do the work. I guess I think He needs my help! (Ha Ha!) So for all of us out there who struggle with this, I have a great reminder for us.
“Look, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too difficult for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
One of my biggest problems my whole life has been believing that I can ask God for something. I learned when I was a child that I was better off not asking for things. I became self-reliant and a fixer. I was better off taking care of myself. “Don’t ask, just do.” (I still struggle.) But, I have been asking, searching, and knocking for eighteen years now and I have found that God answers—He shows me truth—and He opens the door—He acts!
“He is at work. That we, too, get to work with Him. That He surrounds us. Meets with us. Abides in us. Abounds with love for us.” Moore
I want to encourage you to ask your friends to stand with you while you seek the Lord. We all need people to support us and pray for us. We need people who will speak truth to us when we need it. Basically we all need a support group! We need to be honest with our struggles and love one another through them. Find people you can trust to do that for you. We all need help and encouragement throughout our lives.
I want to be a follower of Jesus until I take my last breath. I want to help as many people as I can along the way. Because of the power of Jesus in my life, I hope I will one day say, “Hello. My name is Laurie. I was once a fixer, but now I am free!”
Until next time…..
**If you would like to pray for me, I would appreciate it!