Last week, I read about another Hollywood celebrity that committed suicide. My heart always breaks when I read about someone who commits that act. Suicide is something that affects my heart because my brother David… More
I have been reading though some of my posts from 2017 and what a year it has been. But, when I look back at all the things I was able to do and places I have gone, the things that stand out the most to me are the times I have learned something about God. He remains my constant friend and Father through the good and bad times. He doesn’t change and His words are true.
When God told me in 2015 that He wanted me to write a blog, I said, “No!” I told Him that I couldn’t do it. I told Him that I wasn’t equipped to do it. I told Him He needed to find someone else. There was no way I was going to be able to do it. Well—because He can be a tad persistent—He didn’t allow my answer to be the final answer. It took about six months for me to realize He was right and I surrendered to His calling.
So here I am–a little over two years into this–and I still question Him and He keeps responding, “This is what I want you to do.” So, I keep writing and sharing. There have been many times I wanted to stop because I couldn’t see why anyone would want to hear what I had to say. Then, I would run into someone who told me they enjoyed reading my blog. (God knows I need encouragement!) And to be honest, we all need encouragement doing what we do.
With social media, it is so easy to get wrapped up in all the “likes.” And, it is so easy to get discouraged when you write something that you think is helpful and then only a few people respond. I have to remind myself that I am writing for the Lord and not for myself. As long as my heart is where it should be, that is all that matters. But, boy oh boy is that hard! You want people to like what you write.
But then I came across this comment from Ann Voskamp. “There is no need to produce or perform or perfect—simply become a place for God. That is all!” That statement has had a huge impact on me. So,I have decided that in 2018, I want to simply become a place for God. I want to quit trying to produce, perform and perfect because it has brought me nothing but stress, anxiety and panic. I want to sit before the Lord and just be what He wants me to be.
I am sitting in my chair—where I normally write—and I am closing my eyes and asking the Lord, “How do I become a place for you?” I had asked Him into my life when I was twelve years old, but I don’t think I had ever thought about becoming a place for Him. And, what does that mean?
Voskamp states, “When you are a space to receive whatever the will of God is in this moment as grace, you take hold of God. You most take hold of God when you simply receive Him in this moment taking hold of you. Taking hold of your unsure hand. Taking hold of your unseen needs. Taking hold of your unknown stress. He wants to take hold of you, to be with you. He wants to carry you, to be carried by you, to have relationship with you.”
It is dawning on me that in order to be a place for God, I need to be able to receive what God wants for me. There is a reason why God chose Mary to give birth to Jesus. She had the right heart and attitude to receive what God wanted for her. When the angel approached her to tell her about the baby she was to carry, her response was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38
Just think about that for a minute. I would like to say I would have responded in that way, but who am I kidding? I am embarrassed for all the times I have argued with God. I have doubted Him. I have tried to run and hide from Him. I haven’t listened to Him. I have said, “NO!” to the God of the Universe. (Who do I think I am?) I have even gotten mad and angry, which is probably how I would have responded to that angel! I am so glad the Lord has been so kind and patient with me. (I haven’t been struck by lightening yet!) And, I like to think He laughs at me, but I know I need to make some changes on how I respond to Him.
Maybe I have missed out on things because I haven’t responded to the Lord with a servant’s attitude. It breaks my heart to think that—but it is probably true. But I can change because the Holy Spirit resides in me. I can become a space to receive the Lord’s will for my life.
Part of my problem is that I have never been a good receiver. It has always been easier for me to give than receive. It is the curse of the performer-pleaser in me. But, I am ready to change. I am ready to be a better receiver. I don’t want to miss out on the gifts God has for me. When you think about it—in order to get a gift—you have to be able to receive it. If you refuse to receive, then you miss out on the gift. Well, I don’t want to miss out on any gifts that God has for me.
I know that being a receiver is out of my comfort zone. It is almost too simple. I think to myself, “You mean, I only need to come before the Lord and receive? He actually wants to give to me? All I need to do is ask?” John Wesley writes, “Nothing is more repugnant to capable, reasonable people than grace.” Ouch!
“Your greatest gift is not your gifts, but your surrendered yes to be a space for God.” Voskamp So, I am going to surrender, and say yes to be a space for God in 2018. Being a space for God really takes the pressure off me when I think about it. When I close my eyes and say, “Let me be a space for you,” I can have peace because I know that He is the one that is doing the work, not me! Oh, what a relief that is!
A little over a week ago, God was urging me to do some things. Instead of my usual reluctance or procrastination, I decided to follow through on His leading. I can’t tell you the joy it brought me to see Him work. I need to remember on a daily basis that I need to stay in communication with Him because I will miss out on so many wonderful things if I don’t.
So, I am going to surrender my agenda, my dreams, my plans and my days to be a space for God. I am going to let myself off the hook and watch God work. His plans are far better than I could ever dream or imagine anyway. The pleaser, performer and perfecter in me is going to have to get in the backseat. I want Jesus to be the driver and I want to be in the seat next to Him. I want to be at His right hand because that is where I am supposed to be.
I am having this visual illustration right now of driving in a car. Jesus is at the wheel and I am right beside Him. The kids—perfection, performance and pleasing—are trying to get my attention in the back. (Which is what most kids do!) And I am asking them to be quiet, so I can listen to what Jesus is telling me. I need to keep those kids in the backseat and let Jesus take the wheel in my life.
I would love for you to join me on this adventure. I want to encourage you to be a space for God and allow Him to do the work in your life. I have a feeling He is going to do some amazing things through us and in us. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! Until next time…..
Like most of you, I am listening to Christmas songs every day. And for some reason, the words “joy” and “rejoice” have been speaking to my heart. So—because I have nothing better to do with my time—I decided to find out how many Christmas songs have those words in the lyrics. At last count there were fifty!!! So I started thinking to myself, there must be a reason why these words are used so much. I mean the obvious reason is the birth of Jesus, but I think it is so much more than that.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:10-14
Talk about a spectacular birth announcement!!!! Can you just imagine how those shepherds felt when they heard the good news? They were afraid at first, but then their fear turned to joy! They had a front row seat hearing about the birth of a new born King—and not just any King—He was the Savior of the world! For years the Jews had been waiting for their Messiah to be born—and when the news of His birth finally came—God chose to reveal it to the shepherds. Their evening was changed in an instant! I can picture them looking at each other, dropping their staffs, and running toward the stable to see their newborn King!
“The Lord will appear. The Lord sees. And He will see to it. And He will be seen.”Voskamp And that night was a night like no other. I can’t even imagine what they felt like gazing at the baby. I’m sure they couldn’t believe it! I can imagine them thinking, “Why were we chosen to witness this birth? That baby over there—born in this place—is our King? Why isn’t He in fine surroundings? What is He doing here with us? What in the world is happening here? This isn’t what I pictured the arrival of our King was going to look like.”
And isn’t it just like us to think that way. In our minds, we picture what we think things should look like or how things are supposed to happen. We have our agendas all planned out because it makes us feel better to have control over what is going to happen. Ann Voskamp says, “When we have an agenda for God, we can’t see the gifts from God.” So true!
There is a story in the Old Testament about a woman named Ruth. She had a very close bond with her mother-in-law Naomi. They both lost their husbands and were left alone without a way to support themselves. So, they decided to return to Naomi’s original home which happened to be the city of Bethlehem. Ruth had to find a way to feed them, so Naomi told her to work in a field for a man named Boaz. (She was doing a little matchmaking and it worked!) Boaz and Ruth marry and have a son named Obed. He marries and has a son named Jesse, who has a son named David, who becomes the greatest king in Israel’s history. And then many years later, a man named Joseph has a son named Jesus, who is no ordinary baby–He is the face of God–Savior to the world!
My point in mentioning all of this to you is…. no matter what our plans are or whatever has happened to us, God has an agenda for us that is far better and greater than ours could ever be! Even in tragedy, He is working on our behalf. Even though sometimes it is hard to understand or see, God is working. “God comes through mangers. The mundane holds miracles. Every little thing is going to be okay—You have a Kinsman-Redeemer who takes you and is redeeming everything. The miracle of gifts is always unfolding under the impossibles.” Voskamp
“Joys are always on their way to us. They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they are not coming.” Amy Carmichael I know that is a concept that is hard to grasp sometimes. At times, I have a hard time comprehending it. But— when I look back at Ruth—it isn’t so hard to see. Even though she experienced the death of a husband, a move to a different city and culture and being destitute—she met a man who wanted to marry her and take care of her. She then had a child who became a descendant of Jesus! God redeemed her situation.
The great thing is that God can use any situation and bring joy from it. We have to turn our focus off of ourselves and on Him. It has taken me my whole life to do this! When I decided eighteen years ago to go after God in a way I never had before, He changed me. He has given me the assurance that no matter what happens, He is right there with me. I have gone through a lot of trauma in my life. Trauma that brought on intense pain. Trauma that caused many emotional issues. Trauma that I never thought would end. But because Jesus is in the business of redeeming—He is turning it around and I am getting stronger every day. He is redeeming my past. God greets me every morning and shows me who He is. My joy comes from my relationship with Him. He is my JOY!
If we want joy, we have to let our agendas go! We have to let our dreams go! We have to let our expectations go! We simply have to or we aren’t going to see the gifts from God and experience joy! I can testify to that. I have learned to say something like this. “Lord, I would really like for such and such to happen or so and so to change. But no matter what, please keep me focused on You and your will for me. If that isn’t what You want for me, then I don’t want it! I place it in your hands and You do what is best. Help me to let it go and trust you with it!” After 58 hard years on this earth, I am finally learning to do this. I am constantly asking Him to redeem things and turn them into good. I want to have joy despite my circumstances or the people in my life.
“Looking comes first if you’re ever to find the life you want, if you are ever to ”see you a king.” Always, always—first the eyes. Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.” Voskamp
“You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see” is truth! My life has changed because I have changed the way I see. I pray this Christmas season, you will be able to see Jesus’ birth with a changed perspective. I pray you will look at Him as our great kinsman-redeemer and experience joy like never before!
Before I end, let me share with you what kinsman-redeemer means. “In the New Testament Christ is often regarded as an example of a kinsman-redeemer because, as our brother, He also redeems us because of our great need, one that only He can satisfy. In Ruth 3:9, we see a beautiful and poignant picture of Ruth, unable to rescue herself, requesting of Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer; that he cover her with his protection, redeem her, and make her his wife. In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ bought us for Himself, out of the curse, out of our destitution; made us His own beloved bride; and blessed us for all generations. He is the true kinsman-redeemer of all who call on Him in faith.”
Merry Christmas dear friends! May you be filled with joy and wonder when you look at Jesus! Until next time……
I was listening to Christmas music the other night and a song came on the radio by Amy Grant called “I Need a Silent Night.” I have heard this song before, but this year it really resonated with me. Let me share some of the words with you.
December comes then disappears
Faster and faster every year
Did my own mother keep this pace
Or was the world a different place?
Where people stayed home wishing for snow
Watching three channels on their TV
Look at us now rushing around
Trying to buy Christmas peace
I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night
Amy Grant and I are about the same age, so we grew up in the sixties and seventies. I only had three channels on my tv and life was much simpler. The expectations were simple. We got a few gifts for Christmas and we didn’t expect anything more than that. I knew my parents did the best they could and I was happy with what I received and I had a grateful heart. (Well… most of the time anyway. Except for the underwear–not “Victoria Secret”–and the socks!–not the cool kind! You get what mean!)
So, how in the world have things gotten so out of hand? Maybe we’ve created a monster trying to give our kids what we couldn’t have as children? Maybe the media has influenced us so much with commercials telling us we are horrible parents if we don’t get a certain toy or electronic device for our kids? I don’t know for sure what has happened—but I have noticed that Christmas has become more of a nightmare than a celebration of the birth of Jesus. With all the craziness, Christ has been left out of Christmas.
I feel like I have to fight harder and harder every year to focus on Jesus and His birth. I find myself running around trying to keep up with everything I have to do. My soul is telling me to pause–take a minute to stop–and slow down–and focus on the birth of my Savior. I almost feel like throwing my hands up in the air in the stop position and say, “I just need a minute here! Just give me some time to be still and get my brain together!” I need peace and I need quiet more than I ever have in my life!
There is a book that has helped me tremendously focus on Christ during the Advent season. Thank you Ann Voskamp for writing The Greatest Gift! Before I read this book, I really didn’t know much about Advent. Of course, I’ve seen Advent calendars and even created one for my home, but I really hadn’t taken the time to focus on scripture every day and delve into the meaning of His coming. For instance, I didn’t know that Advent means “coming.” I don’t know where I have been all these years, but I didn’t know that simple fact. Did you know that? So, it makes total sense why they call it the season of Advent. It is a counting of days leading up to our Savior’s birth.
When you look at the book of Matthew in the Bible, it begins with the lineage of Christ. Jesus’ lineage emphasized that He was a direct descendant of David fulfilling the prophecies in the Old Testament. His lineage proved He was the Messiah. Some of His ancestors were heroes of faith–some had shady reputations–many were just normal people like you and me–and then there were some evil ones. The point is that God can use anyone to complete His will! “He grafts you into His line and His story and His heart, and He gives you His name, His lineage, His righteousness. He graces you with plain grace.” Voskamp
If I don’t take the time to pause and reflect each day, then I miss out on the wonderful story of Jesus unfolding right before my eyes. I miss all the incredible facts that Jesus wants me to know about His birth. His story never gets old for me!
Isaiah 11:1-2 “Out of the stump David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord…” There are many scriptures in the Old Testament that foretell of the coming of Christ. Every time I read one, I am in awe of God because He wove the story of Jesus so beautifully throughout the Old Testament. Jesus was spoken about for over 400 years before His birth. (Let that soak in for a minute!)
I want to be filled with the wonder and awe that the shepherds felt the night when Jesus was born. I like to picture them with their mouths dropped open as they witness the star in the sky–pointing to the manger–and the angels singing about the birth of Jesus. I want to be in awe every Christmas season of all that our Heavenly Father and His Son have done for us.
Ann says, “The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God.” Most of you know that I have struggled with anxiety off and on for years. So, I am going to focus even more this Christmas season on who God is. I have talked so much about how important it is to keep my mind focused on Him and not on my circumstances. Well, I need to do it even more during Advent. Every day I want to unwrap the gift of His wonder. I want to gaze into His eyes and say, “Thank you!” I want to be in complete awe of Him!
This season—I am asking God to show me more of Him. I want to breathe Him in every single second of every single day. I am closing my eyes and picturing Him holding me as a baby —rocking me back and forth. He is soothing me with His words. He is placing kisses on my forehead because He is tender and loving. If you have ever been abused or struggle with your view of God, close you eyes and picture Him that same way. He loves you so very much!
I look at the manger scene and know that God was there. He was there as a baby, but also as a Heavenly Father watching over His child. God allowed His Son to be born into this world knowing what He was going to have to endure. There isn’t a loving parent out there that wants their child to suffer. We do everything we can to prevent it. But God—because of His great love for us—allowed His child to go through abuse, ridicule and excruciating pain during His death on the cross. (I would have zapped the first person that laid a hand on my kid! Good thing I am not God!)
So—this season—take the time to pause and wonder at the birth of our Savior. “God tied His heart to yours the day you were born.” Voskamp “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget (I don’t know how!) I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16a
“Strange, this familiar Father of prodigals whose love, too much for one lifetime, wills that we shall share the feast of forgiveness and joy in the epilogue of eternity. Strange, this daily advent of EMMANUEL.” J.F. WILSON
There is much to rejoice about! Until next time…..
Picture by Rachel Mathew Photography
When I started writing this post, I was thinking of all the things I am thankful for. I was going through the usual things in my mind and then started thinking of how thankful I am that I can go to God in prayer. It seems like I am always in the midst of learning new things about God and lately has been no exception. I really want to improve my prayer life and go to God first before I talk to anyone else. Moving Mountains by John Eldredge is helping me look at God the way I am supposed to when I pray. If you struggle in this area like I have, I hope this post will help you.
Every single day demands an urgent need for prayer. I have prayed most of my life, but I just haven’t felt like I have prayed with the confidence I should have. I want my prayers to be effective, but most of the time I don’t feel like they are because I have my eyes focused on the results. What I need to be doing is cultivating my relationship with the One I am praying to. I need to be real with Him. E. M. Bounds wrote, “The entire man must pray. The whole man—life, heart, temper, mind, are in it…it takes a whole heart to do effectual praying.”
One of the most important things we need to realize is the fact that we are sons and daughters of the King of the Universe. If you have given your heart to Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior, then you are an heir to the King. John Eldredge quotes Dallas Willard. “We ought to look at our lives with God as a partnership. We are partners in a shared mission.” So when we go to God in prayer, we need to look at Him as a partner in our lives and in our struggles. I can’t tell you how much this concept helps me! He isn’t someone I just go to in a crisis—He is my partner.
Something else that is amazing is the fact that not only are we a son or a daughter and an heir of the King, we are His friend. John 15:13-15 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
When I look at my friends, I see women who stick by me, listen to me, encourage me, assist me, pray for me, love me, laugh with me and cry with me. I have amazing friends. But I need to look at God in the same way. He also listens to me, encourages me, assists me, prays for me, loves me, laughs with me and cries with me. So when I go to Him, I need to remember that He is my friend, confidant and ally. My life and my work on this earth is because of my partnership with Him.
Another thing that I feel like is so important to do is to hold hands or lay hands on others as we pray. God has been nudging me to do this more. I have to admit that I haven’t been comfortable in this area, but I really want to change and be more open to do this. Physical touch seems to make our prayers stronger when we are gathered together.
Have you ever wondered why we should say, “In Jesus’ name” when we end our prayers? Let me share with you what John Eldredge says about this statement. “In Jesus’ name” is even more of a command— far, far more declarative and final, like the drop of a judge’s gavel. We are using the authority of the ruler of all galaxies and realms to enforce the power of what we have just prayed.” I have to be honest and say that I have ended my prayers with those three words for so many years and not realized the power and the authority that is behind it.
Jesus wants us to claim the authority we have because of what He did on the cross. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18 So when I pray, I need to remember that He has the authority to answer those prayers. The hard part is for me to trust His answers. But—when I step back and look at His character—I realize that because He is my friend, my ally, my confidant and my partner—He is doing what is best for me. (And sometimes that is really hard to see!)
There have been so many prayers that I have prayed, that I didn’t like the answer to. I have been frustrated. I have been angry. I have been sad and I have been impatient while waiting. I know that His answers are way above what I can understand. He knows everything from the beginning to the end of our lives—and He sees things that we do not see. I have to trust that He knows what is best for me.
I think that our culture has gotten into a dangerous attitude that God needs our approval on what He does in our lives. I have even fallen into that trap! But, I am not all-knowing. I am human with a limited capability of grasping what is happening around me. I struggle to understand why, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to understand why. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
I need to remind myself that, “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4 I have to step back from the situation I am in and remind myself of who God is. When I pray, I am praying to a God who is perfect and doesn’t do anything wrong. Whatever He does in my life is good whether I like it or not. (And there has been plenty I haven’t liked!)
So, when I pray, I have to step out of myself and look at who God is. I cannot humanize Him. Everything He does is pure and everything He does is from love. Everything He does is perfect. Just think for a moment, what our lives would be like without Him watching over us every single second of the day. He intervenes constantly in our lives without us even knowing. “He rides across the heavens to help us on the clouds of His majesty.” Deuteronomy 33:26 (Like watching a super hero arrive just in time to save the day!)
A gentle reminder for myself and for you—don’t let your feelings control you. It is so important not to allow Satan to get into our feelings. For example, there have been many days that I have felt abandoned. But, does God abandon me? NO! I cannot allow those feelings become my truth. When I feel that way, I have to stop and look at truth! Eldredge reminded me of that fact when he said, “The emotions are real, and they matter, but emotions are not a safe harbor for the soul. Our enemy is always there in times of distress, trying to get us to agree with his lies, You are forsaken.”
My main goal is not to see more answers to prayer, but to learn extensively about the God I am praying to. I want to see my Father’s loving gaze when I come to Him in prayer. You see, I don’t recall a time in my life when my earthly father looked at me with love in his eyes. I have seen pictures of him smiling at the camera when I was little, but I don’t recall seeing those eyes smiling at me with love in them. That has affected me. It has shaken me to the core because the eyes reflect what is in the soul. It is so important that I educate myself and see God correctly when I go to Him in prayer. That frightened little girl inside me needs to learn that her Heavenly Father is completely different—frankly, there is no comparison!
I am going to end with some thoughts on the authority that God has given us when we pray. “You are not the orphaned child, sitting out in the hall hoping your busy Father will see one of the notes you have pushed under his door; you are not a homeless beggar, standing on the corner hoping God will pass by and hand you a couple of bucks; you are not a refugee, standing in line at the embassy hoping the Ambassador will hear your request. Not even a faithful servant, humbly trying to do your best. You are a son or daughter of the living God, a friend and ally, wielding His authority to get things done. And by the way—your eternal destiny is to reign.” Eldredge
I can’t wait to learn more and share it with you! Until next time……
I love to watch Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies because they depict the fight between good and evil. There are so many spiritual truths in these movies. When I watch them, it makes me wonder what is really going on in the spiritual realm between the angels and the demons. I know there is a war going on that we cannot see—right now— this very minute. Yes, we are in the middle of a war that we cannot see between the Prince of Darkness and the Prince of Peace. One day, the Lord is going to kick Satan’s butt once and for all and there will be no more evil. I personally cannot wait for that day!
With the advancement of the internet, social media, television, technology, we can find out tragedies within minutes. It is out there blasting us in the face 24/7. It is so easy to get bogged down in it and let it rule our emotions. You can become a basket case within seconds of reading the news or hearing about it. Evil happenings are bombarding you all the time. I have to turn it off and keep away from it sometimes because it disturbs me so much.
Allow me to share something with you by John Eldredge. “The invasion of the kingdom of God is something that is still unfolding, right now, today. Jesus is not merely seated upon a throne somewhere up in the sky.” Then he refers to 1Corinthians 15:24-25 which says, “Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all communion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” That means that Jesus is working—right now—all the time—to put all the enemies under His feet. All I can say is “Hallelujah!!”
Here is the thing we need to understand. God created the world and everything in it. He picked Adam and Eve to be the first inhabitants on this planet. God warned them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but Eve just couldn’t help herself. Satan convinced her that God didn’t mean what He said and made her think that she was missing out on something better. She then convinced Adam to eat from the tree of forbidden fruit and the rest is history.
When God chose to create us, He gave us free will. Adam and Eve had free will. At a very pivotal moment in history, Eve chose to listen to Satan instead of God. Then, Adam chose to listen to Eve instead of God. They chose to listen to the wrong person! Since then, there has been this struggle for every single human being born on this earth. God could have made us like puppets on a string, but He didn’t because of His great love for us. He wanted us to have free will. It is our fault, not God’s that we choose sin. I get so sick and tired of people blaming God. It isn’t His fault that people are evil. We all have a choice in how we decide to live our lives.
When I was growing up, my chief authority figure was my Dad. Because of his abusive power, I tended not to trust people in authority over me. So, I struggled for years trusting God. When the panic attacks started, I knew deep down inside that I had to start learning who God was. I had to start studying God’s word and learn as much as I possibly could about Him. I knew the only way I was going to survive was to have an intimate relationship with my heavenly Father.
God wants an intimate relationship with all of us. And In order to have that, we need to know who God is. When I go to Him to pray or to study, I have learned that God is my partner. I have struggled with that concept because I was a “Lone Ranger” for many years. Every single day I need to remind myself that I have a partner who wants me to turn to Him for help. He wants me to keep my eyes focused on Him, not my problems or crises. When I take my eyes off of Him, I begin to drown in fear and anxiety. I need to keep my eyes fixed on the One who can truly help me.
I think one of the biggest hurdles we have is realizing the truth about who God is. Each person’s view of God is defined by what has happened to them in their lives instead of who He really is. When I first started on this journey, I thought God was angry with me so I was very afraid of Him. I was basing my knowledge of God on my feelings and the things that had happened to me. My view of Him was terribly warped by abuse, so I had major issues talking to Him. I had to learn who He really was in order to overcome my view of Him. I have learned that God is someone who listens. I also learned that He is kind, loving, supportive, generous and even fun! I have come a long way in my view of Him. It is so important for all of us to know who we are talking to. We need to know what He is capable of and the only way we are going to know these things is to study and spend time with Him. I continue to learn and be in awe of Him on a daily basis.
In our culture today, I think we have allowed God to become small. We have forgotten who He is because of all the violence and tragedies. I think Satan is using all these things to make us doubt the power and might of our God like never before. John Eldredge adds, “The evil one pounces, poisoning our confidence that a good and loving God is in control. As a friend said at lunch yesterday, “It takes everything to believe that God exists and that He’s good.” I think that if we are honest with ourselves, most of us would tend to agree with that statement. That is why it is so important for us to know who God is and what He is capable of. We can’t rely on our feelings. We need to rely on the word of God.
When you read the Psalms, you see the struggles David faces with others, with himself, with tragedies, wars, and with God. He was far from perfect and made a lot of mistakes. But, He is credited for a man after God’s own heart. I personally think the only way we are going to know God is to go after His heart. “The Psalms are given to the church as our prayer book, our primer, and they are beautiful. Assuring us that not only can God handle the full span of our emotional life, He invites us to bring it to Him.” Eldredge
I was reminded this morning by Facebook that it has been two years since I have been writing this blog. ( I can’t believe it!) When I started counseling eighteen years ago, Marcia (my counselor) told me to find a spot in my house where I would feel safe. I picked a corner in my bedroom where I could pray, study and journal. The picture posted above is where I spend most of my time with God unless it is a nice day; then I am outside. I have spent hours going after God in this spot. My pursuit has changed me and I feel like I am just scratching the surface of who He is.
I love my God and I want you to love Him too. I would love for you to know Him and pursue Him. If you are feeling desperate or you just want to know more, then I encourage you to read the Psalms. You will see that God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to be involved in your life. As you read, I encourage you to journal. It feels weird at first, but it brings intimacy into your relationship with Him. I basically write down my feelings and have conversations with Him over what I am learning or what I am struggling with.
This blog wouldn’t be possible without the support of my family. When I first started I was scared to death to do it. They have edited my writing–looked up scripture for me–supported me and encouraged me. I want to say “THANK YOU!” to them and to you for reading my blog. I pray God is using it in your life. I want to be a woman who goes after God’s heart. I don’t want to stop going after Him until the day I die. I am so very grateful that I get to have a relationship with the God of the Universe. I am so blessed! No matter what happens in my life, I have Him by my side. I can’t put a price tag on that!
Until next time dear friends….