Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creator of Creativity

I love to be creative. One thing that I love to do is paint. I stopped for a while and I don't know why. Today, I got to paint with a friend. At first, I was really nervous because she is really good, but I decided to put that aside and just be free. And, to take it a step farther, I painted something that I have NEVER painted before. It really brought me to a place of deep breakthrough though. I wanted to paint a picture that expressed a verse that I have been clinging to lately. "My Grace is sufficient for you. My Strength is made perfect in your weakness." -2 Corinthians 12:9 My friend helped to to get a picture of that in my mind, and as I began to paint it, that truth worked it's way into my heart. 
His grace is all that I need. There is no other thing. It is a simple path to Holiness. A simple path to Jesus. His Grace.
Nothing else.
I don't have to strive or work or do a special dance to be good enough or holy enough for Him. I just have to rely on His Grace. His Grace empowers. His Grace releases. His Grace frees. I was freed by Grace today. I know that it is a process of learning to totally depend on His Grace, but I know that today is the day I learned what that means. I am secure in His grace. 
The more I painted, the more that truth sunk deep within me. 


Painting is so therapeutic. It helps to calm your mind. There are no rules in art. It's freeing to be as expressive as you want. The canvas doesn't judge. :-) 


After finishing the first painting, and the second and third both drying to prepare for the next step with them I began to ask some pretty big things from the Lord. I have been praying big prayers lately and I have been getting some pretty big answers too. 
Tomorrow, I want to begin to try to express the fire and love in Jesus' eyes. I'm sure this one will take some time... and a lot of seeking Jesus. :-) But it is something that I want to do.


I was thinking about how much I love to be creative though as I was cleaning up and I just asked God, "God, how creative are you?"... and then He laughed... and I did too. He is the Creator of Creativity! (Mind blown!) He created everything! He created the entire world. He created me! I am His masterpiece. More than that, He created me in His image. Jesus is wearing a body like mine right now. He has eyes, hair, skin, fingerprints. Jesus has his very own fingerprint. He is so beautiful. I am created in His image. 


Genesis 1:26-27 

"Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."


Wow. 


Psalm 139:13-18
"For your created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand- when I awake, I am still with you."


There is so much that I want to write out that I don't even know where to start!


When I began to paint, I knew what this painting was going to mean to me. I knew exactly what its purpose was. For me it was a reminder of His grace. I saw the whole picture in my mind before my brush touched the canvas. I pretty much knew where it was going to go when I got finished with it too. 
When God created me, He knew all of that and more. He created me. He knit me together. He saw my unformed body... just like  saw the blank canvas. I don't think that it is a coincidence that verse 16 says "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." God put those two independent clauses together for a reason. I thought me up before he put his brush to the canvas. He planned it all out. His thoughts are precious. 


I am overwhelmed at the thought of that. 


I said that the next thing I want to paint is an expression of the fire and love in Jesus' eyes. After my mind was blown by God being the creator of creativity, I asked, "Jesus, what do your eyes look like? Can I see your eyes?" (It's a crazy question I know... but I've been praying crazy prayers lately.) 


That's when I realized He has real eyes, just like me. 
Jesus, The savior of the world has eyes like mine. Are they blue? Green? Brown? I don't know. But I know he has real eyes. 
That's when it hit me. We are made in His image. He is a man. I can see a glimpse of His eyes when I see his children's eyes. Eyes of love and acceptance. Eyes of passion and fire. Eyes that burn and heal at the same time. 


I have some pretty great, Christ-like people in my life that I can talk with about my failures, joy, dreams and desires... but I don't think I have ever looked them in the eye when telling them of my failures or secret dreams or the desires I have deep in my heart. I have feared what I would see in those eyes. I have feared that I would see disappointment, shock, disapproval, rejection, or scorn. But Jesus' eyes are filled with love and joy. Jesus Laughs. He smiles. Jesus looks at me with love and acceptance. If these people that I am able to talk to have his eyes, I should see those same things in their eyes. I have avoided them because of fear of rejection for so long. Because of this, I have likely missed out on seeing the acceptance, love and joy of Jesus in their eyes. Jesus uses his people to show his heart to the world. How much have I missed because I feared rejection from his people, an ultimately, from him? 


Back to that verse... His "EYES SAW my unformed body" and his thoughts toward me "outnumber the grains of sand."




Lastly,
When David sinned with Bathsheba, he told Nathan he sinned... but Nathan replied, "Yes, you have sinned, but God has forgiven you." So while David was beating himself up for his dumb choice, God had already forgiven him and was waiting for him to move forward. 
It is sometimes extremely difficult for me to forgive myself. I try to walk around in self condemnation. So much so that the enemy doesn't even have to try to get me to beat myself up... I just do. But today I re-realized that God Forgives. He doesn't hold my mistakes or sin over my head, waiting for me to mess up just so he can remind me how awful I am. He totally and completely forgives. He is waiting on me to forgive myself and move on though. He won't do anything until I get up out of the dust and push forward. I realize that my unforgiveness towards myself and my self pity is a major hinderance to my freedom and growth. It keeps me in the trap of the enemy... when Jesus has already set me free. 




Today was an intense day to say the least. :-) 


Monday, August 8, 2011

Things change

Tomorrow we drop my brother back off at The High Frontier. Time went by way too fast once we got off ranch. I don't want to leave him again. I miss him already. I don't want to say goodbye again. It really sucks every time.
Today we swam and had a lot of fun. He and I had dinner together. It was fun to talk with him about his plans for the future. We ended up sharing a milkshake after. He was set on surprising me with flavor and actually did a great job. It was yummy! He is so cute sometimes. :)
Tomorrow we are going to go up to this spring and swim one more time before we bring him back. I don't want to think about that though. It is going to be really sad. :(

Wow, Things change...



 About a week before the intervention.


New Orleans trip a day or two before the intervention


First visit: December 2010




Second visit: March 2011





Third visit: August 2011 (this week)












So much has changed. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Texas 2

It's soo HOT! It's not the humid kind of heat that I am used to hating, but it's still terribly hot! It would be easier to deal with if I were able to lay out and get a tan... but that won't happen until Sunday probably.

Justus is getting so old! I can't believe that he is 16 already! It feels like just a short time ago, I held him for the first time... He was soo sweet and tiny...






We helped Mom get her facebook up and running... This is her profile picture. :) She is trying to be "cool"










I can kind of relate to this little tree I think. More to come on that later. 















Even though I don't like the weather in the middle of the day, the mornings and evenings aren't so bad... and I really like the scenery. I know that it's not much... but I really do love looking out and seeing the beautiful mountains around me. It's fun driving through them. Every time you look at them, they look different because of the way the sun hits them. It really is wonderful! 

The more time I spend out here, the more I know that I want to do some sort of residential treatment. If there were no other reason for Justus to be out here other than to help me fall in love with residential treatment, then his time here is worth it! He is learning and growing so much!
Today, during lunch one of the guys in his group had asked to come have lunch with us so that he could talk to me. I thought it was super sweet! He is going home in ten days and is excited, but wanted to talk to me about several different opportunities he has back at home. I encouraged him to get a mentor at his church. He said that was definitely something he saw that was possible. He asked me all about missions... That's what he wants to do. He is planning to go to Haiti or Guatemala in a year or so. He asked me all about what mission trips were like. He also asked a lot of questions about neighborhood work I do in the ghetto! It was a treat being able to talk with someone who is ready to be home. Even in the (completely non related) little conversation we had over lunch, he gave me a lot of hope for Justus. The majority of the kids out here have been to several different treatment facilities before coming here... but THIS is where they got help. This is where they recovered. I am glad that Justus has come here first. It gives me hope to see the progress that is being made. Even though it is still rough at times, he is still learning. 

Another thing that I really love is being able to talk to the therapist out here. She is super sweet! So fun to talk to. We had a family session the first day in... (I didn't know we were going to have one...) but it was totally comfortable! I didn't feel like it was really weird like it was last time. I was able to talk with her alone for a few minutes today. I had a question about Justus. She was super helpful and encouraging.  We also talked about school and social work. It is so fun being able to talk with other people who have similar careers as I want to have. It really makes me excited about my future! :) 

So far, it's been an excellent trip. I don't want to have to leave here... One, I dread the ride home.... 16 hours... Two, I hate leaving my brother. :( Oh well, time for tears later. Much fun to be had for now! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Texas

I'm in Texas visiting my little brother! I got to see him today for a while. He has been acting up a lot lately, so he is on restriction. He can't leave campus with us until Sunday.
I like being able to see him though.
It's kind of weird. I love him so much and I miss him a lot, but at the same time it's really weird being here. I don't really know how to explain it.



I thought this was a fun picture of us
I'll have more pictures to put up later. I am really tired though and am not in much of a blogging mood. :)







Thursday, July 21, 2011

Only the Beginning


The broken glass glistens as the light touches the pile of glass on the floor. What once was a beautiful thing is now a pile of jagged pieces of glass, neatly swept together, a little hill of glass. 
I don’t know how long the pile of glass has been there, but I know that there are pieces of glass missing. There have been many failed attempts at putting the glass back together. Many pieces are lost. There are many pieces that don’t belong. There is dirt from sweeping the pile together so as to not lose any more pieces. There is blood from trying to hold on too tightly and from trying to put it back together. 

Glass, dirt, and blood.

I hear a voice say,

 “Give the pile of glass to me, I can fix it.” 

I quickly jump in front of the glass pile and begin to reason with the voice. 

“No, I can fix it myself. 

It’s not a big deal. 

It’s just a dumb pile of glass. 

Broken, beyond repair.” 

Once again, the voice gently says, 

“I love your brokenness. 

Give the broken glass to me, let me make it new.” 

I whimper,  “No. I don’t want you to have it. 

I don’t want you to see it. 

I don’t know what you will find. 

I know all too well what you will find. 

No.

I have failed so bad. 

No. 

It’s not good enough for you. 

No. 

It’s too bad, too ugly. 

There are things missing. 

There are things that shouldn’t be there. 

No.” 


The voice gently replies, 

“Give it to me, I want to see it. Let me have it.”

“No.”




“Jesus, I want to be free. 

I am tired of being in this place. 

I am sick of this area of sin in my life. 

Jesus, Forgive me. 

Set me free.”

Jesus replies, “You do not get to pick your sin. 

You cannot choose what I set you free from. 

It is all or nothing.”

“But Jesus, I am so desperate for freedom in this ONE little area!”

“I don’t work that way. 

I want it all. 

Let me have the broken glass. 

I want to see and touch every piece of brokenness. 

I want you to show me it all.”

“Jesus, that terrifies me. 

It is not pretty.”

“...........”
“Jesus…  

I will show you it all if you help me.

I know what is in that brokenness… 

I know that I cannot do this without your help. 

I am so desperate for freedom though. 

I will do whatever it takes.”


His hand picks up a shard of glass… 

“Jesus, I am so sorry for that one, I know that it is something you gave me that had great value. 

Look what I did to it! 

It’s broken. 

I am so sorry.”

The hand grips the shard of glass and drags it across the other hand, 

“My blood is enough for this.”

I grimace as Jesus looks down and picks up another shameful, jagged piece of glass. 

He slides the sharp edge along the palm of his hand and says, 

“My blood is enough for this.”

I begin to weep as he continues to do this with each piece of glass that represents things in my life.

“My blood is enough for this.”

My blood is enough for this.”

“My blood is enough for this.”
I can’t believe what I am hearing.
He continues,
“My blood is enough for this.”

Blood drips from his hands. 

His blood covers the glass where my blood once was. All the years of clinging to the glass, of not wanting to let anyone see the mess, where I was wounded from holding on so tightly… 

His blood ran down.

“My blood is enough for this.”

“Daughter, don’t you see, my blood is enough for your brokenness. 

My blood is enough for your sin. 

My blood is enough for you.”



This is only the beginning. I don’t know where he is taking me. But I know this, His blood is enough for me. I will gladly follow him on this adventure.


Totally surrendered.

There is more to all this, but this is all that I will write for now. Jesus showed me what he did with the dirt and the pieces that didn't belong there as well. It was all equally powerful. I wept through all three visions. I cry every time I think about them. I am excited for what is to come. 
Jesus, help me to trust you more. Give me grace to love you rightly Lord. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jesus...

Help me to break my agreement with the lies. 
Help me to choose life.
Help me to open my heart to your love. 
I'm tired Jesus.







Thursday, July 14, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

One Year Later

A year ago today I cried myself to sleep... it had been the first full day without my little brother. Yesterday made a year that he has been in treatment. I'd like to say that it gets easier everyday, but that would be a lie. I miss him more than words can describe. I have no idea when he is going to be home. It's all up to him... when he makes enough progress. I am so proud of him though. He has really matured a lot. He has changed a lot. He is working so hard! We got to talk to him tonight. When he calls and I am home, I don't ever say much. Last Friday I talked some, but I always feel dumb when I encourage him or talk to him around my parents. It's really weird. And when I was talking to him Friday, mom kept whispering things that she thought I should say... like I wasn't doing a good enough job encouraging him. I finally just gave up and let her do the rest of the talking like always. The best conversations me and Justus have had have been when he would call my cell phone because I hadn't been at home in a while. It's those calls that we really get to talk like brother and sister. I think he is more honest then too. My brother is like my best friend.  We have a really neat relationship... It's different than what I have seen in others... Maybe because we have shared things like missions... or because we are a lot alike... Or maybe it's because we both know that had I not wanted a sibling so badly, mom and dad wouldn't have looked into adoption. He really is an answer to prayer. I remember when I was really really young, after having prayed every night for as long as I can remember for a little brother or sister, I told my mom that I was just going to stop asking God for one because I didn't think that God wanted me to have one. Mom of course encouraged me to keep praying. It wasn't long after that when my mom got a phone call saying a 3 month old needed a foster home. She immediately left work to get Justus. He's been mine ever since. We adopted him when he was 2... it was official. No one could take him away from me.

I think about my brother's adoption and I remember that...

Adoption is permanent.
Adoption is a choice.
Adoption is love.
Nothing can change that.

I remember when we were waiting for Justus' parents to release custody. His mom quickly realized that we were the best option for him and could take better care of him than she did. His dad was not as quick. His dad didn't want to release custody... He wasn't taking care of Justus. He didn't want Justus. He just didn't want us to have him. I know that with the life he was living, that he wouldn't have been legally allowed to keep Justus anyways... but he did put up a fight.

I think about adoption and I remember that...

Adoption is permanent.
Adoption is a choice. 
Adoption is love.
Nothing can change that.

We are adopted into God's family. God CHOSE me. We are children by choice. Nothing can separate us from God's love. Nothing at all. I think about my brother and the enemy doesn't want to relinquish custody of Justus. He is fighting hard. He doesn't want Justus. He just doesn't want him to be free. But the enemy has no right to Justus.

Justus IS
 free. 
 walks in honor. 
walks in righteousness. 
victorious. 
I am praying Isaiah 62 over Justus. 
I can't wait to get to see him this August! I am so excited! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I believe, Help my unbelief!






God, You alone are in control. I know that I can do nothing apart from you. Even when my world seems to be spinning out of control, I know that you see. You know what is going on. You don't look me over. Even when I feel like I can't handle it, I trust you. I know that You know what is best. You don't let go. You don't sleep. You don't blink your eyes for a second. You know exactly what is going on and you can be trusted. I will not fear. I will not doubt. You are Creator. You are Yahweh. You are Good. I know that you are Good. You won't abandon your children. You see them. You know their pain. You see them. I know you see them. You move on our behalf. When your children cry out to you, you move. I know this. I have seen this. You have proven this. You can be trusted to do it again. I cling to you. You are the Faithful One. You are so faithful. You don't change. You love your children. You hear their voices. You hear their heart beat. I believe in you. I trust you. I depend on you. I will wait on you.
I believe God! Help my unbelief! 
I repent for not trusting you whole heartedly
I repent for thinking I can handle what comes my way
I repent 
Help me trust you
I believe you move at the sound of my voice






You see the lives of the girls that are in my lifegroup. You know what is going on. You can be trusted.
God, Forgive me for not trusting you with them. Forgive me for thinking that you weren't big enough to see their lives. You alone are wisdom. You have all the wisdom and insight necessary. Give me your divine wisdom. Help me to point them to you. You are the only one that can do anything. You are not my last resort. You are my first and only plan. You. You. You. God, You alone. I surrender. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Processing

Something I am thinking about right now is what it really means to be righteous. Righteousness has nothing to do with what I do. It has everything to do with my faith. (Romans 4:5) We can be righteous because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. (Romans 5:19)
According the Romans 4 and 5, Faith and Righteousness are directly connected. You can't have one without the other.
Read it here!
Abraham had many different reasons to doubt God's promises. But he didn't. Because of his faith He was made righteous. We have been made right in God's sight by faith. (Romans 5:1)

Righteousness is- Attained by Faith- A Free Gift- Brings Freedom from Sin

Righteousness causes you to have victory over sin and death. That is something that I have NEVER thought before. Romans 5:17 says that the grace and righteousness causes us to triumph over sin and death. 
Adam's sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings right relationship with God and new life for everyone. (vs 18)

This is why no one is righteous in their self as Romans 3:10-18 says. It's because it's based off faith. Romans 3:24 says that God declares us to be righteous. I can do nothing to please God. I can't boast in having done anything to be accepted by God. My acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. I am made right with God through faith, not by obeying the law. (Romans 3:27-28)

I have got so caught up in trying to be righteous when it is not something that I can work for. You have no idea how much of a weight is lifted off my shoulders when I realize that. I am still processing and trying to figure this all out... it's not worded pretty or anything... It's pretty much just down how I think it.   The Holy Spirit is really exposing just a works mentality in me lately. He is bringing me face to face with it. I have no choice but to confront it and deal with it. I don't have to work to please Jesus. He is already pleased with me. That's pretty awesome to think about. 

I have a ton to process still. 





Saturday, July 2, 2011

In the blink of an eye

Police lights flashing, heads turning, a child crying, debris fills the street
The shattered pieces of the windshield perfectly depict what life will be like for this family the next few years
In a matter of seconds, her heart beat it's last. 
Life left her body.
She didn't know that she was in her last hours when she left the house that day. 
She didn't think it would all happen so fast.
No one expected it to happen to her.
It all happened in the blink of an eye.
Today I caught a glimpse of how fragile life is. 
A friend of mine from high school was hit by an 18 wheeler this week. He is still alive, however there is bleeding on his brain. He is unconscious still. I believe that he will live by God's grace and mercy. Still, it really woke me up to life. I have no idea when I will stand before Jesus. I have no way of knowing when my loved ones will enter eternity. I don't know when Jesus will come back. I have no control over my life. I have no control over my body. I can't will my heart to beat. I can't make my brain function. I can barely walk in a straight line with out tripping... :) How could I even begin to think that I will live another day. I don't know when Jesus wants me to enter my eternal reward. I have no way of knowing.
Not only can I not control my life, I can't control anyone else's either. What have I done with the time that has been given to me? What am I doing to impact eternity? Am I making the most of every opportunity to win souls and make disciples? Will I have fruit that remains? I have to be honest, I have not done all I should. I have really slacked off when it comes to really presenting the gospel to people. Yeah, I do it at outreaches, in life groups, and things like that... but what about that girl I just walked by... She is an eternal being too. 
Everyone on this planet is an eternal being. They will spend eternity somewhere. Heaven, or hell. As a believer, it is my responsibility to see that they hear the gospel and are given a clear opportunity to make their choice. It is my responsibility to see them delivered and discipled. What am I doing with the souls that are entrusted to me? Am I being sensitive to the Holy Spirit? Or am I pleasing my flesh? Am I too concerned about my schedule and time line that I pass up souls that are ripe for the harvest? Am I letting the harvest rot in the field? I can't wait for someone else to lead the way and bring in the harvest. It is my joy. And I do it out of a love for my king. A passionate love that causes me to lay awake at night crying for souls. I do it out of a passionate love for Jesus and a compassionate love for people. Jesus did not die on the cross so I can comfortably follow my routine and schedule. He died on the cross so that all people can be free from the bondage of sin and sickness. He did it so that all may know Him. 
He is the author of life. He holds my life in his hands.

I'll add more later.

On another note... tonight we threw a surprise party for a friend. It was amazing! She was totally clueless and surprised! We had a lot of fun, but I was exhausted. I donated blood today in my friend's name. So I was just feeling really weak still. It was a super fun party though! In our party bags we got stick on mustaches. They were sooo funny! We took pictures with them... but I don't know that I want to post them anywhere!!!!! Kinda humiliating! Oh well. Bed time for me!

Friday, July 1, 2011

In progress...

There was a little girl named Leehi*. She loved her father very much. She loved to see him smile. His smile was warm and could be felt from miles away. She loved to hear his laugh. His laugh would fill the room with joy. She found great satisfaction in serving him. She would have given anything to make him happy and see him smile. Leehi and her father had an amazing relationship. She enjoyed talking with him. She told him everything. They would laugh and play. Leehi loved it when he picked her up and twirled her around. Nothing could separate them. The bond they had was strong.
As the years went on, Leehi began to grow older and made more friends. She still loved her father, but she loved her social life too. She wanted to explore the world. She was curious about what all life had to offer. She decided to pack her bag and set off on an adventure. She explored many countries of the world. She loved her new friends and all the fun things they introduced her to. She enjoyed staying out late and trying new things. Her friends led her to many new places. She began to try things she had never experienced before. Things that she knew her father wouldn't approve of. The kind of things she had been warned about by her father. She knew it was wrong, but she thought,
 "Oh, I'll just do it this once. It's not a big deal. What could it hurt anyway?" 
She soon learned how wrong she was to think that.  
She was quickly sucked in to these new, bad things. She found her self addicted and alone. Her friends left her. She had no one to turn to. 
So she hid. 
Alone.
Scared.
Addicted.
Lost.
She thought back to her childhood. When she felt safe. 
When she was loved.
She remembered dancing with her father. 
She missed him.
Yes. She missed him more than words could describe.
"How could I ever go back?"
"I have messed up so bad." 
"I don't even look the same."
"I am dirty."
"I left him...even after he warned me... I still did all these things."
"He is disappointed in me."
"How could he not be disappointed in me?"
"Look what I have done..."
"Maybe he will give me one more chance... maybe..."
"I don't know if I even remember the way back home though..."
These are the thoughts that flooded her mind. Day after day. Finally she got up the nerve to try to journey back home to her father. Fearing that he might never love her again, she anxiously made her way back home. She knew that all she had to do was knock and her father would let her in... but would he love her? She decided that she would do whatever it took to make him love her again. 
When she saw her father, tears streamed down her face. 
He embraced her. 
He spun her around. 
He held her.
He wiped the tears from her cheeks.
He cleaned her up.
Gave her new clothes.
He smiled at her.

Would it last?
After she told him all the things she did, would he still smile at her?
Days went by. Leehi and her dad spent time together. He told her how much he missed her. How glad he was for her to be back. He told her he loved her.
She didn't believe it.
After all she had done, how could he love her?
So she began to work.
She labored day in and day out. She did everything she knew how to do plus more. 
She strived to make him happy. She wanted to give him the best she could.
She worked.
And worked.
And worked.
She tired herself out.
But kept working.
All the while her father just wanted her. He just wanted to be with her. He loved HER. Yes, her working was helpful, but that's not what he was pleased with. He may have had his daughter back... but he still missed her. He missed the times they had once shared. He missed her being delighted in him. He missed being able to just lavish his love on her. She wouldn't let him. He saw that she felt she was unworthy of his love. He knew the weight of the guilt she carried and it broke his heart. Wanting her to realize who she is, he wrote her a letter. When he was finished, he folded the letter and put it in an envelope and placed it on her pillow.

That night, as she lay down to sleep, she found the letter. She opened it and through tears she read...


Daughter,
You have been mine from the beginning. I have always loved you. 
I have seen you grow. I have seen you learn. Yes, you have made mistakes. But you are not the sum of your mistakes. 
You are beautiful. You are mine. I love you. 
I don't want your efforts. I don't want your work.
 I want you.
Don't you know who you belong to?
 Me.
 Nothing can change that. 
You can do the most horrible things in the world and I will still love you. 
Nothing will change my love for you.
 Stop carrying the guilt. Stop trying to gain my approval.
Just rest. 
Take a break. 
Sit with me.
I miss you. 
Your name says it all. YOU ARE MINE. 
There is nothing you can do to change that. Stop trying to earn my love.
It is impossible for me to love you any more than I do right now.
I will never leave you. You don't have to strive to make me pleased with you... I am already absolutely in love with you. 
You please me more than life itself. 
You give me great joy.
I delight in you.
Stop working. Just be with me. 
I don't want your work.
I want you.
I love you. 
-Daddy


 That weight was lifted from her shoulders as she realized how much her father really did love her. She ran to him. She forgot about being tired. She knew that perfect rest was in her father's arms. She melted into his arms and wept. He held her close and whispered, "I love you just because you are mine."

*She is mine


How often do I try to prepare a gift for God when all he really wants is me? I am so guilty of trying to work for his approval. I don't understand why I think that his love can be earned. I know it can't, but I still find myself working for him rather than simply loving him.
Jesus, help me rest knowing that you love me because I am yours. Help me find a balance between serving and loving. You are not my soccer coach. You will not kick me off the team if I can't "get it right." You are not my employer. You are my husband. You just want me.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Safe in His Arms

This past week was spent at the beach in Destin, Florida. I spent much time in the sun, covered with tanning lotion. Thursday afternoon I was spending some time alone at the pool by the condo. I had been listening to worship, reading my Bible, and tanning. When I couldn't take the heat any longer, I retreated to the pool to cool off. There was a Mom and her little girl there swimming. The girl couldn't have been more than seven years old. She could swim well, but only when her mother was near by. Her mom said "Let's see you swim across the pool." The girl let go of the wall and began to swim across the open water. The water was only 4 foot deep where she was. Half way across the pool the little girl got tired and scared. She whimpered and fought to swim to the stairs where she could touch even though her mother was right beside her and all she had to do was reach her hand out and her mom would grab her. The loving mother grabbed her frantic daughter anyway and pulled her in.
I saw something beautiful in this moment. Something that I have seen in my life many times.
How often do we respond to the call of God and step out in faith only to get tired or frightened and struggle back to where we can touch. We swim for shore rather into the arms of our Father God. He can hold us safely. He won't let us drown. But still, we fight to swim to shore rather than swimming to His arms. Do we not trust that he can hold us? Do we fear that he will let us go. Do we think that he will be mad or disappointed that we can swim across on our own?
God knows that the water is deep. He knows that we can get tired. But He will never call us to go somewhere that he won't go with us. He will never tell us to do something that will harm us. He isn't disappointed when we call to him for help. He wants us to. He doesn't expect us to do it on our own. He wants to help up. He wants to hold us. He wants to guide us.
So why do we continue to swim to where we can touch when he has called us out to the deep with him? If we can touch, we don't need him. He wants us to go to the deep with Him so that we will cling to him.
God, help me to learn to cling to you alone.




Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lessons learned from chalk dust


Heard this really sweet analogy last week and it has totally changed my life.

Your life is a chalkboard.

All of your past mistakes and failures are written on it in chalk.

Right there,

in bold letters,

YOUR sin is written out for the WHOLE world to see.

DEATH

You can try as hard as you want to E R A S E the deeds of your past.

You can do a decent job at it even.

But your best efforts will still leave behind a chalky residue.

You may get the letters to disappear, but you are still left with the

smeared, DUSTY, MESS

of your life.

The only way for that residue to be removed is by being washed.

The only One who can wash you is

JESUS

He can come and wash off every

MISTAKE, FAILURE, FLAW, ERROR, WORD, ACTION, HURT…

SIN

That has

MARKED, SCARRED, SCRIBBLED, SEARED, AND RUINED,

the chalkboard of your life.

He erases it completely.

GONE. FROM. MEMORY.

He sees you

Clean.

Holy.

Pure.

Spotless.

Perfect.

Beautiful.

And then…

He begins to write the story of your life.

Hope.

Faith.

Future.

Good.

Beautiful.

Powerful.

Life Changing.

Blessings.

Favor.

He writes,

Beautiful, soft letters,

Words that bring JOY to the deepest parts of your heart.

Words of

LIFE.