Encouragement

I Wanna Hear God

John 17:3

This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 

One of my biggest and most current desires right now is to practice the presence of God and to actively hear from him.  To know him in an experiential, real-time way.

How often am I unsure or afraid, and I don’t seek out and know the Lord’s presence? In theory, I quickly affirm he is there. But his real presence? His voice? His guidance? His help?

His active and real assurance?

Until recently, this concept was vague and too hard to grasp. We are to actively seek him… but finding him? What did that mean?

Growing up, I thought the voice and face of God were reserved for only special or momentous occasions… given only to those who were extra spiritual and extra faithful….and really only for someone else’s benefit. I called it revelation. Not for me.

Revelation was a BIG mountain to climb…Who knew if I could ever attain it.

Has anybody ever read 2 Peter 1:19?

This verse showed me that God’s voice is God’s word. It’s more sure than any experience anyone could ever attain.

Although this is true, I translated this to mean that God rarely speaks outside of his written word and that I should be content with never (or rarely) hearing from this God I called ‘Dad’. My Dad only spoke to me in notes. In a note. A note I called the bible.

Here I am, a good little Christian girl, evangelizing and telling people that God wants a relationship with them (this is a core message of the gospel after all) and yet my relationship was only that of studying, memorizing, and applying scripture.  Even though these are all really really good things, my relationship with God was very one sided.

I’m ending that chapter in this season of my life.

God wants to speak. He wants to walk and talk. God lives in Jesus, who LIVES inside of me. He wants to COMFORT.

Jesus, wasn’t he the KING of scripture? And yet he did crazy things that didn’t make any sense to anyone, all the time. (Especially the religious leaders)

Were they ever out of bounds from the scripture? no…. but walking on water never happened until Jesus did it. The bible didn’t tell Jesus which disciples to choose, or to spit in a guys eyes.

Now they are written down, because of experience.

God wants a relationship. A real, two way, active, relationship. The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a companion, an affirmer and guider of the truth. God is seeking to show his glory, his presence, his power, his might in the face of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m hungry for his voice. His presence. I want to wake up and feel him. I want to go about my day and have the Spirit guide me into all truth.

John 5:19-20

19 Jesus said to the Jews, “I can guarantee this truth: The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. 20 The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. The Father will show him even greater things to do than these things so that you will be amazed. 

Encouragement

An Open Love Letter To My Husband

Ben,

This morning we woke up to a screaming, door slamming, and crying household. You were running late to work, and the kids were freaking out (about what? I still don’t really know).

You had to run out the door and I sat on the couch and cried. Not long though, the kids have demands and the laundry is just sitting there, you know?

Not our usual morning, but I wouldn’t want my mornings any other way if it were without you.

In the middle of this political upheaval, women from all over are crying out to feel loved, equal, respected, and heard in this society.

It has made me take a step back and become introspective, and I have come to the conclusion that I have it really good it in my little corner of the world.

Because of you.

You texted me this morning, “Our marriage is the most important thing to me outside of Jesus”

and because of that mindset you have, our marriage has given me every opportunity to feel loved, equal, respected, and heard.

Because you respected my body before marriage, we didn’t even have to think about ending an unplanned pregnancy.

Because you asked if I wanted to stay home and raise our children, I didn’t even have to think about fighting my way for an equal wage.

Because you respect me, our children will grow up knowing how to respect and love others.

Because you love me unconditionally, (and I know that beyond a doubt), I don’t hesitate to submit to your authority.

You listen to me. You trust me. I trust you.

You raise our children alongside of me. You ask for my opinion. And if we disagree, it never puts a permanent wedge between us.

You work incredibly hard to provide for our financial needs. You sacrifice hobbies, friendships, and sleep to keep our family together.

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You bring anybody (and I mean anybody) inside of our household if they are in need of love and some food. What is this teaching our children? That every. body. matters.

You admit to fault when a mistake has been made, something that very few people learn how to do.

You show me how to stand up for myself. You teach me and guide me in prayers when we lack wisdom in a situation.

You forgive me.

You never seek out praise for yourself- you do this all behind closed doors.

You ask for wisdom, constantly.

I hope you know that I will love you every day of my life. I hope you know that because of your commitment and because of your faith in a loving and good God, our family shines as a light in the midst of a confused and hurting nation.

Thank you love; Not for being my everything, but for respecting, cherishing, and loving a woman as God commands you to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement

Today, I’m Claiming What’s Mine: Peace

The last two days my eyes have been twitching.

Ben says I’m stressed.

Besides still facing the hardship of unemployment, we are preparing to sell our home and move to the other side of town. (I know, those two statements don’t usually go together… Right? But we’re crazy and we like to live on the wild side.)

Ben’s brother is moving in with us, and for a while, he will sleeping on our couch.

why?

because my mom moved in with us last month, and she’s in our third bedroom.

(PS: I love family, and am SOO happy to have them with us. My mom is nothing but an absolute gem, and my kids are going to PEE their pants when they realize uncle d will be here to stay. They are kind of obsessed.)

School started up again and one of my courses is titled business law. The first day kind of made my head spin.

In addition to planning some upcoming trips,

there have been two other MAJOR  life changes that have happened within the last month.

oh and also, I’m raising two young children.

Ben says I’m stressed.

I know for a fact that many of you are going through a lot right now, too.

Um, because, NO ONE is immune to life…. And life involves like, stuff. You know?

But it wasn’t until bible study the other night where I realized I needed more peace in my life.

The kind of peace that stills your heart in the midst of change .

The kind of peace that is founded on faith that God is already on the other side of the hill and he sees the green pastures.

The kind of peace that stills twitching eyes.

I wouldn’t change any of this “stuff” for the world. Not even the loss of Ben’s job, because it has refined our faith. I’m pretty sure we are completely different people than who we were just 3 months ago .

But I’ve realized that recently that after I pray, I start dissecting on how everything is hopefully going to work out, and our bodies are just not meant to carry that kind of burden.

My dear self, don’t you know God promises peace, and it doesn’t depend on circumstances?

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the best part about that is,

It’s already ours.

It is a peace that passes all human understanding.

Like literally, all human understanding.

That’s ours to claim.

A peace that stills troubled waters.  A peace that digs in to all the corners of your heart and allows your body to breathe.

I’m claiming that today, because God sees the end view, and I choose to rest in that hope.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

Now may the Lord of peace himself, give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

 

 

 

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

Honesty’s Hardship-Letting Go Of Pride

*What you are about to read are common hardships I face when it comes to getting honest with others (or myself). This happens when:

  • I need help               OR
  • I know I will not like honesty’s end result.

Ephesians 4:25

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

I like showing up with a cheerful demeanor. It is so much easier than making an appearance with a broken heart mixed in with a cry for help. Smiles lead to conversations about sunshine and coffee and good deals, and that makes me feel good! For the moment.

Is that wrong?

Let me tell you. Superficial conversations allow me to forget the mountain standing in front of me, blocking me from moving forward. It gives me permission to feel temporarily content.

I like people to think I am strong, capable of life, and in need of little help.

(Oh you need help? Could you move out of the way please?  You’re making me uncomfortable.)

I want fun conversations and promised friendships.

I love happiness.  I love the laughter and joy that hurts so hard because I can’t stop smiling. The kind that keeps me up at night because I’m having such. a. good. time.

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So when things ARE NOT OK, or if I’m seeing things a little different than the rest, honesty feels like a big struggle. A trap. A place to go if I want wounds to surface or feelings to get hurt.

Why? Because if I stay honest,  I am afraid I will experience hurt and rejection …like I have, so many times already in the past. I’ve lost friendships. Friendships I really didn’t want to lose.

I’ve experienced the empty stares and the concerned silence. I’ve made people feel incredibly uncomfortable and it. gets. AWKWARD.

That sucks.

So pass the coffee, please, I’d rather get back to riding the surface.

 

BUT. Where am I going? Please someone tell me, where am I going?

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You know what I’ve also realized?

Honesty’s path (mixed with humility) may have been rocky, but it led me to Jesus…and Jesus met me, right where I wasI stood in front of him with brokenness, doubt, sin, fear. He saw it all. And he didn’t run away. He wiped it away, in love.

Honesty led me to the right people, with the right words, leading me to the right savior.

And.

The savior accepted me just as I was,  he showed me the father, he called me, and he continues to teach me his voice, just like he promised. (John 10)

He healed wounds. (Isaiah 53)

He became my truth (John 14)

He showered me with unconditional and authentic love. (8 hundred million verses..seriously)

He led me to the place where I really am ok when someone ‘hurts’ me. BECAUSE

I found that true acceptance comes from Jesus, and our Father. (John 14:23)

Can we let them in, or will we keep allowing our pride to stand in their way?

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What if true happiness happens after we hit our rock bottom, and honesty becomes our only choice? What if we realize the need for a living savior, not a historical one?

What if we decide that Jesus really is the answer and that he really will show us what it means to know true acceptance? (John 6:37)

What if we lose friendships, but we gain ones that we were meant to have in the first place?

Because God supplies our needs (Phil 4:19)

and he knows that we need people, too. (Prov 14:4)

What if the end result of honesty, is breakthrough?

 

John 6:29

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Will you be honest alongside me this week? It’s hard. It’s rocky. But in the end, you just might find that there are people out there who really do care, and they will help lead you to the one who handles all healing. The one who IS THE answer. We don’t have to be weary in doing good, for we WILL reap in due season, if we faint not.

“If We’re Honest”

by Francesca Battistelli

Listen to this, now.

Encouragement · Get To Know Rosie · The Hurt Christian · The New Christian

My Journey To Grace- Taking Off The Mask Of Religion

Written in 2016

Hi! My name is Rosie. I actually really do love you, and I mean that now.

Before, this wasn’t true. Why?

I lived a life seeped in religion.  In other words, bondage, at it’s finest.

I grew up in church and by the time I was 18, I was a perfectionist at slipping on a “believers mask”.

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For a long time, I thought that mask was the real me. I did and said all the right things, I turned up my nose to sin, and worked really hard at controlling my flesh.

I had a pathetic relationship with God, but I could tell you all about him. Oh could I tell you about him.

I read my bible faithfully and prayed every morning. And when I didn’t, I felt guilty. I would wake up wondering how to live my Christian life every. single. day.

I listened to hours of teachings. I took classes, went to weekends, held leadership positions.

I was ‘happy’.

I led a comfortable life with lots of friends, and thought God was VERY pleased with all of my efforts.

But, on the inside, I still struggled with sin and mounds of unbelief.

I hated the way I looked. I hated my weight. I hated my voice. I hated my failed efforts.

I hated that I didn’t pray enough. I was afraid, I was incredibly judgmental,

and worst of all,

I was a know-it-all elitist.

Pride was my weapon and I was really good at calling it “the word of God”.

This is not a bash on my Church. I believe this happens in EVERY CHURCH. In simple terms:

I looked in my bible and saw what was right. I tried to line up my life to be right…. With my own efforts.

So what changed?

I was tired. I was SO tired. I was tired of thinking I knew it all- because it wasn’t working. I was tired of “trying to believe”. I was tired of singing empty praises. I was tired of putting up a front. I was tired of studying my bible and getting excited about ‘new knowledge’ only to end up angry with myself and other people.

 I envied people who were outside of my box, and I envied their freedom.

So what did I do?

In my room, with no one around, I asked God for help. To this day I can close my eyes and remember the exact moment.

“HELP GOD, PLEASE. HELP. I’M TIRED. I’M SO TIRED. GOD. IF YOU ARE THERE, PLEASE HELP ME.”

I had prayed this before and God would start to answer my prayers…. but pride would get in my way and I would close him up. God was intense.

This time,

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October 2015

The next day, I did the same thing I always did. I tried controlling my flesh.

But I browsed Amazon’s Christian parenting books and I ended up buying

Parenting The Whole Hearted Child  by Jeannie Cunnion.

When it came in the mail, I put my daughter down for an early nap, curled up on my couch with some coffee, and started to read.

I thought I was reading a book on parenting. BUT.

Grace spoke to me within the pages of this book, and that’s all I needed to get started.

One of Jeannie’s many quotes spoke loud and clear to me:

“On most days I acted like Jesus’ final three words on the cross were “make me proud” instead of the actual three words he exhaled, “it is finished.”

This was October 22nd, 2015.

I cried and cried and cried. I called my husband and practically yelled “THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN MISSING.” I frantically texted all of my friends. I posted on FaceBook. I wanted the WORLD TO KNOW.

This was only the beginning.

So many more prayers and questions sprung from that book and God put countless people and situations into my life that shouted

“AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND, THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME”.

I met Jesus. I MET JESUS. I met his grace. I finally stopped trying and started looking at his glory. At 28 and 29 years old, I finally started to understand how grace worked.

This is why I started my blog. To help other Christians find grace, too.  

To me, grace is summed up in these two verses:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image

No joke, looking at the glory of the Lord has radically changed me and is he is still continually changing me into his image.

I. STOPPED. TRYING.

I. STARTED. BEHOLDING.

We do not have to change ourselves. I am not joking.

That’s it. No more controlling the flesh. No more failed efforts. No more fake relationship. No more setting up comfortable circumstances to keep me happy.

Amazing grace comes by looking at his glory.

Do you struggle with living the Christian life? Are you tired yet?

Start looking at him. He is beautiful. He is so beautiful.

Start beholding the Lord’s glory. He will change your life, I promise.

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

Loving Those Who Struggle With Faith

The days I doubt God are days that start out like any other-I wake up to the pitter patter of little feet and little voices demanding food. I toss and turn, and I beg for more silence.

Sleepy eyed- I prepare breakfast, I pour coffee, I wipe faces and tables. And then I sit. I wait for clearer thoughts while tiny hands and loud voices require attention. Days demand action! Wake up Ro, they need you.

But then the lie comes as a soft question and I entertain it longer than I should:

“What if those tender whispers are really my own?”

Anxiety builds.

The days I pursue this thought without a solid battle plan, I end down a path that leaves me feeling empty and scared: Without actually seeking God, I talk at him….

“Why did this happen to __? Where were you when___? Why haven’t you answered __ ? Are you listening? Are you even there? ”

The questions get worse, but you get the point.

And yes, this happens to me. The girl who has seen and experienced healings, answered prayers, daily victories. The girl who reads her bible and clings to Jesus with all her heart. God is SO good and his word is always true.

But.

It happens.

You see my friend? We all enter into battles of Faith Vs. Circumstance. Faith is confidence in what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.

But.

Sometimes circumstances still win.

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There are beautiful hearts out there who were fighting for the faith but the loss left deep scars. The heart was not placed in intensive care so beautifully made available by the body of Christ. It was not surrounded by relentless love mixed with timely and pure words of God.

And then what happens? A new reconstructed idea of God forms to cope with the loss.

And we say,

“They should have _____. They didn’t do _____.  If only they______.”

I want to stop placing judgement on those who have lost their faith, and I want to start fiercely loving them instead. I want to chalk up the loss and blame it on the devil. Because that’s where the blame goes.

I want to reach out and watch Jesus lift that person out of their wheelchair.

I want to listen while someone word vomits all over me. And then instead of getting scared or judgmental, I want to hug them.  I want to ask them over for a cup of coffee. I want to live the life of Christ in me, reach out, and with Gods beautiful word, begin to mend wounds.

That’s what someone did for me. They listened. They loved. They cared. They saw me through the eyes of Jesus when I was struggling with faith.

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Jesus never gave up. Ever. He dealt with sin, carnality, and unbelief his entire life. When he was on the cross, he never said, “That’s it, I’VE HAD ENOUGH”

He loved them until the end.

Yes, I agree we shouldn’t yolk with those who deny Christ. We need to yolk with fellow lovers of light.

But I’m not asking for us to yolk, I’m asking for us to love. And too often, we separate ourselves completely… and we appear as self righteous haters. No, this is not our intention. But we live with heads in the ground if we are not willing to admit our own frailty.

Love involves time spent in the trenches with beautiful hearts who have been hurt by the enemy. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not self seeking. And love covers a multitude of sins.

And instead of focusing on the mote in their eye, I want to take out my beam. I want to build my faith, the only way I know how.

By hearing the word of God.

By walking out on the word of God

By spending time with the one who wrote the word of God.

And.

By looking at the glory of Jesus, who is continually transforming me to his image

2 Timothy 2:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

Trusting God In The Midst Of Job Loss (Part 1)

I’d like to start out this post with acknowledging my over privileged life! I recognize that because I have change in my pocket, our family financially ranks in the top 8% of the world. Wow.

Jesus, come soon.

Ben and I have been on a financial ride for the six years we’ve been married. At our worst, we scoured craigslist couches to collect change for cigarettes!  It was fun back then because we were young, without kids, and definitely reckless. Our marriage began with mounds of credit card debt, student loans, and an old beat up Pontiac.156637_562328823357_4342794_n

We lived off butterfly love.

My husband began his career with a psychology degree selling cemetery plots. (It was a dying business and yes, I’ve heard that a million times)

Yet in six years, we went from barely making rent to demolishing credit card debt. Ben advanced in his career at a rapid pace and we began purchasing fancy cars, stainless steal appliances, and vacations. We were tackling student debt and were on our way to purchasing a bigger home. We gave out of abundance because we had more than we needed.

(Side note, it’s easy to give when you have ‘enough’! Mark 12:44)

Then on a regular Friday afternoon, my husband came home early.

“Honey, I got laid off”

And just like that, my ugliness exposed.

There are a lot of things that can happen in the mind of a stay at home mom when those words come out of a bread winning husband. So for 8 weeks (and counting), I have come face to face with anxiety and confusion. I have battled with fear, anger, and just plain ol’ sadness. I’ve been introduced to greediness that I didn’t even know existed! Hi greediness, my name is Rosie. NOT nice to meet you.

Savings have dwindled and bills have piled.

Trusting God becomes a lot more real…. when your only choice is to trust in him.

Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

And so I have learned that it’s ok to admit you’re failing in front of God. Grace loves the admission of failure because it turns our minds to his unfailing love rather than our hard earning work.

And.

It’s a day by day and moment by moment decision to put away the ugliness of fear and speak the truth of Gods grace into the hearts and minds of my family.

And so today, I choose to trust God. I choose to trust him despite what I see. (2 Cor 5:7)

I choose to see that I have food and shelter today and that God has promised to take care of tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)

I choose to tell un-thankfulness to leave and I choose to allow praise fill up my heart in its place. (James 1:2-4)

I choose to speak grace into my husbands life and I choose to stay by his side.

And when I fail, I will rejoice because it’s not about how good I am at trusting him, it’s about how good he is in his promise to me. He is teaching me. I don’t have it all right.

I choose to admit that I am weak, but he is strong.

It’s OK to be honest with yourself and say….” wow, I have a lot of ugliness in my heart right now”. Take off the mask! The cross of Christ allows us to be completely open before God. He won’t scorch us and he promises to help us in our time of need. He loves us despite our sin!

Psalm 34:6

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him; he saved him from all his troubles.

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With the mounds of advice the world gives to those in financial trouble (I’ve heard a lot), it is easy to get lost in its wisdom and miss the still small voice of God. Do you want to join me in REST and quietness? This is God’s chance to shine. Like the heart of Jehosephat, let’s cry.

2 Chronicles 20:12b

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Here are some additional links if this hits home more true than you would like:

Promises To Those Struggling with Unemployment

Weathering The Storm Of Job Loss

Unemployed Faith