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.

My Journey To Grace- Taking Off The Mask Of Religion

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.

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 miraculous healings, countless 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.

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

 

 

 

Letting Go Of Shame- When Dark Secrets Come Out

I would like to start this post out by saying I do not have all the answers on the subject of secrecy and shame. There is more to be said and considered. I encourage you to seek counsel from a grace filled Christian if you need help in this area of your life.

There was this sin I committed as a teenager that was very, very terrible. I didn’t have the courage to confess it to even the closest of friends and instead, I kept it hidden inside the darkest corners of my heart… where it would never become exposed. When friends would jokingly bring up ‘dark secrets’, I would laugh it off and say I didn’t have any. But inside of me, the memory of my action would always creep its way back into my heart and into the forefront of my mind.

Along with the memory came shame. I “knew” God had forgiven me. I really did. I had apologized to him in secret a million times over…. and yet the memory would still show it’s painful face weekly, sometimes daily, and I  would shudder at the mere thought of my mistake and shove it as far back as I possibly could.

This was a burden of mine for 10 years. 10 YEARS people. That’s a long time. What’s even  worse? I got married and KEPT THE SECRET from my husband. Wanna talk about shame? I know the feeling well.

Once I got married, I would justify this “un”confession because I believed God had already considered it gone.(He did by the way, I just didn’t really know it)  I would close my eyes, visualize the sin upon the cross of my savior, and feel temporary relief. I would yell at the accuser and remind him that I was clean in Christ. But no matter what I tried, I still felt the pang of secrecy, and shame had become a regular part of my life.

I also believed the lie that if I ever DID tell my husband, he would no longer love me or see me the way he once did. What would I do if he looked at me in disgust? This scene would replay over and over in my head, and I would recoil with a new found determination to never let that happen.

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And then…

Grace. Can I show you another corner of grace?

I was in a women’s bible study and the topic was on shame. This bible verse was read:

James 5:16a

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

I had confessed my sin in front of God, but I still covered the nakedness of my sin in front of others. In doing so, I wasn’t allowing grace filled Christians to re-iterate the truth of the cross.

That night something clicked. I knew that if I walked out on this scripture, the accuser was no longer going to have this area of my life. Why? Because what happens after confession before grace filled Christians isn’t disgust.  It’s grace that brakes down walls of shame in mere seconds.

I was afraid, but I was ready. I was ready to watch my savior kick the devil in his face while I held his hand.

So that night, I confessed to my grace filled husband.

That same night, the chains of shame fell off.

My husband so gracefully took me in his arms and reminded me of my savior.

He was proud of me, not disgusted. He cuddled me that night a little harder as I cried tears of relief. It was out. The dark secret was out. And as SOON as it was out, it evaporated into thin air.

Thin. Air. It was like the devil had lost his firm grip in an instant. That shame went right where it’s supposed to go, the cross of our savior.

Gone. 10 years of shame, gone.

The devil has since TRIED AND MISERABLY FAILED at bringing up my past sin that it’s almost laughable.

There is freedom in walking out the uncomfortable verses of God’s word. There is grace that shows up when you’re ready to jump off the cliff. There is mercy and love and forgiveness and help when you decide it is finally time to not let the devil have an area of your life anymore.

If you have shame and you have never shared your ‘dark secret’ with the family of God (who understands grace,) I would encourage you to consider that verse in James 5. Read it’s context, pray, and seek counsel. God is ready to show you that your shame doesn’t belong on you, you beautiful child. God is ready to use the cross of Christ as a permanent eraser on whatever dark secret you hold**

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The week after I confessed to my husband, we went on a vacation together! Added bonus.

 

 

 

 

**Friends, if you don’t confess, you aren’t going to hell. When you confessed Christ as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, he paid for your sins….. past, present and future. (Eph 1:7, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6, Rom 10:9, Heb 10:12, 1 Jhn 2:2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Blame Goes To…….

The past few weeks many of us have been hit with adversity…..and whether it’s been personal or twice removed, you have been affected.

Let me tell you friends, it’s ok to be affected. It really is. Situations get real and times get hard, but I want us to place the blame where the blame is RIGHTFULLY due.

There is only ONE to blame. ONE. Let me say that again, THERE IS ONLY ONE TO BLAME.

Let’s expose him for who he is.  He’s called the accuser, the thief, the enemy, the father of lies, the tempter, the ruler of this world,  the roaring lion and the prince of the power of the air. A murderer, a serpent, and a spirit that continually works in the sons of disobedience.

And the blame goes to……typorama (5).jpg

That’s right folks, the devil.

Not people. NOT people. People are loved. they are wanted. They are desired above all treasure. Can we be used as a tactic? Absolutely. But the war is spiritual friends, not carnal.

Fear is not to blame. Fear is something to be exposed and than smashed and trodden upon….and than extinguished. Can fear be a tool? Absolutely. But fear relates back to people, and people are not to blame.

Let me tell you something that you might not know. We are in a war against SPIRITUAL forces. And the devil LOVES it when he sees people running around trying to place the blame on everything else EXCEPT HIM. What a tiny, disgusting, little thief. He will meet his end. But until that day comes,

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

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13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

So let’s be affected by what’s going on. Let’s not pretend it’s not happening. But let’s put on our armor. Let’s weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Let’s stand against the real enemy TOGETHER and stop blaming people, emotions, things, or ANYTHING else but the devil.

We may have lost a few battles, but Jesus has won this thing- and we can carry it out as the brotherhood is fully equipped.

Colossians 2:15

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I “forgot” to put the last part of John 10:10 on here, so let’s end with a powerful statement.

JOHN 10:10b

But I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

 

 

 

How I Battled Fear As I Watched My Son Struggle To Breathe

It was an exciting Saturday in the Allen household as my family and I were preparing for friends from Georgia to come and stay the evening with us. That morning, we were doing all of the usual ‘nonchalant’ things that hosts do to help guests feel comfortable….

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The kids were running around half naked fending for themselves but happy as clams. The music was on. The weather was beautiful. The race was on to get everything ready.

My son Luke, was 100% healthy and as rambunctious as ever. Climbing on things, pushing his sister, stealing chocolates from the treat drawer, you name it. He’s an extremely obedient boy….but a boy nonetheless.

Our guests come and we had an awesome time drinking beer and reconnecting and laughing. Our kids were bonding and playing with each other so happily. It was just one of those days where you think nothing possibly could go wrong on a day like today.

Our guests clock out for the night, children are all safely tucked in, and Ben and I begin our usual clean up after the days mess.

My mind was supercharged while I praised God as I swept the kitchen floor. On top of the awesome day, Ben and I had been getting excited as we felt we were on the verge of experiencing the miracles and healings that Christians can have on a daily basis. I’ve been ready to stretch out and to minister, share Christ’s love in a radical way, and just grace the shit out of everybody.

And than my son woke up.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. My husband whisked him away to not wake the guests and took him into the bathroom. I figured he was just doing the “normal” calm him down routine that usually works like clockwork.

Until all of the sudden I hear,

“Ro, Come check Luke out. Come listen to his breathing”

You know that sudden burst of panic you feel when you sense someone you love is in danger?

In .2 seconds I was by his side checking out the situation and immediately  I felt that something was terribly, terribly, wrong.

He could barely breathe. My son, my healthy 3 year old, could barely breathe. It sounded like he was breathing through a coffee stirrer and every time he inhaled or exhaled, he wheezed. He looked terrified. My heart sank and fear shot into every ounce of my bones.

In that moment, I managed to remember what I had been getting so excited about (the healing thing, remember?) and immediately and firmly declared.

“You will NOT die and you WILL breathe again in the powerful name of Jesus Christ”

Than I looked up at Ben and said,

“We need to get to the hospital, now”

I ran into the guests room, woke them up and told them they were now in charge of taking care of Josephine (My 2 year old). They didn’t have time to think or to even know what time it was.

We blasted out of there with no shoes or a wallet or anything important really, and sped to the nearest hospital about 10 minutes away.

During this time, I was in the back of our van with Luke. He seemed to be getting worse and I layed my hands on him while singing a popular worship song softly to calm him down (and to build my faith)

“There is power in the name of Jesus”

In those 10 minutes I had a constant, ongoing choice. I had a choice to let that fear and panic overwhelm and consume me. I had every right. He was my child, and the thought of losing something so precious would give anybody a right to become absolute jello.

So in each second, I chose to remain calm, to firmly declare Gods protection over my sons life, and determine that the day was going to end with my son smiling and healthy again, as though nothing ever happened.

It was a battle. We are in a battle, friends. The devil wants to win in those situations and decide the victory is his. He doesn’t. have. the. right. typorama (1)

 

2 hours later, Lukey was completely back to normal. I have the doctor, the nurses, the cops, and the rest of the hospital team to thank. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wish I could remember his “diagnosis”, I really do, but it was a sudden onset of something terrifying. Medicine and love helped my son breathe again. God had his hand on him the entire time,  and I still firmly believe in the power of Jesus to miraculously heal. Gosh, if I could have my readers for another ten minutes, this is where I would ‘preach’. Another day, another time.

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The next day, Luke was PERFECT. Like nothing ever happened. Did I mention the doctor said he would have cold like symptoms? Yeah, NOPE. He was my healthy happy rambunctious 3 year old, once again.

So in the moment friends, you have a choice. God is right there, ready to extend his hand. He is SO ready. Fear has no place when perfect love is known. Darkness has no right when light comes to take its’ rightful stand.

Forget about the lost battles….let’s move on. Let’s build our relationship on the one who has already SLAMMED DUNKED the victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter Of Forgiveness.

Dear _________,

When you _________ me,

Your actions spoke loud and clear. They told me I was worth nothing to you.

I have thought of what you did often. I have replayed the scenes in my head and I have allowed the knife to reopen wounds, over and over again.

This made me feel….unloved. My worth was shattered (because it wasn’t on the ROCK). I built walls to close off my heart. The devil used this to his advantage. He loved to accuse me and proclaim that people now wouldn’t want to be near me. I was no good to them. I was no good to God. I was a wasted case.

I began to question God and his love for me, his constant goodness, his abiding presence.

I can not change what happened. What happened is there. At the time I felt alone, scared, and helpless.

I have been healed.

I understand now that I wasn’t alone. He was with me in that time, fighting for me.

I understand now that although I was scared, his perfect love was calling me back to him.

I understand now that I wasn’t helpless, that I had him to call on, right there in that moment. And that he was already there, living inside of me.

God can not change what happened, but he showed me my Lord was right there the entire time, holding my hand and pleading to take my wounds away.

Jesus took my wounds upon himself. I am healed, and you didn’t even have to say sorry.

I used to have a war inside when it came to forgiving you, but now I have peace.

You are a person, just like me. You have a fallen body, just. like. me.

BUT

You are loved, worth more than rubies, highly sought after and treasured to the God in heaven, just like me.

I am sorry I thought evil of you and became bitter against you. I love you and I forgive you. And now if this scene comes back to mind, Jesus comes back too….And he is fighting for both of us.

Will you ever understand what you did? Maybe not. But that’s OK. I will love you the same, as though it never happened. It was sin, and sin is washed away. Jesus washed mine away too.

Thank you Lord, thank you for telling me I am worth more than rubies. That I am highly favored, priced above treasure, worth dying for. Thank you for loving me despite of my actions. Thank you for cleansing me and putting a crown upon my head. Thank you for chasing after me as I ran away from you. You caught me, and I am forever yours.

Love,

__________________

 

 

 

 

 

From The Christian: To The People We’ve Hurt, “We’re Sorry”

 

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I’ve mistaken my past zeal for “spirituality”.

I knew the RIGHT way and the RIGHT word and I had the RIGHT knowledge and the RIGHT answer to not only my problems, but also yours.

I looked at you and saw a mistake, a sad case, and I wrote you off in my book. I would listen TO SPEAK OVER YOU, not to understand you. I rolled my eyes and placed myself above you. I spoke evil of you and had opinions of you and would join myself with others who felt and thought the same.

Than worst of it all, I tagged “God” on my doings. I used him as my reason, my excuse, to hurt you over and over and over again.

I see now that I wasn’t too far away from re-living the actions of those who used Gods name to burn down ‘the witches’ and ‘the barbarians’. I wasn’t far off from those who killed in God’s name. I wasn’t far off from those who separated and segregated and diminished and discriminated.

It hurts to write those words, but it’s true. I used Gods name to practice my own sort of evil. Maybe I never whipped or stoned or used a gun, but I used my words, and the bible says that it is in words which hold the power of life and death. And I spoke death. Ouch.

So, here is the first step to my apology: I am sorry.

I am sorry for not listening to you.

I am sorry for judging you and labeling you as anything other than who God has beautifully made you to be.

I am sorry for giving up on you and telling you “YOU JUST NEED TO BELIEVE GOD’S WORD”

I am sorry for gossiping about you.

I’m sorry for acting like a “know it all”

I’m sorry for shoving my relationship with God down your throat.

I am sorry for using the perfect and healing word of God as a weapon and a tool of destruction.

I am sorry for making you feel less than you are.

I am sorry for thinking I am better than you.

I am sorry for not practicing what I preach.

I am sorry for freely voicing my opinion and than using God to make it a fact.

I am sorry for not seeing you.

I am sorry for making an open display of all your sins, and than turning around and covering mine.

I am sorry for not opening up my life and allowing you in.

I am sorry for not giving my resources or time when I had plenty,  in your time of need.

I’m sorry for blowing you off because you visibly or audibly shared your different faith.

I’m sorry that when you were handed a devasting event that caused the biggest pain you’ve ever had in your entire life,  that I made the pain worse by my hurtful, hurtful words and actions.

Forgive me. Please oh please, forgive me. Not only for you, but for me. Allow me to try again, allow me to accurately represent Jesus and what he was about.

Will you stay with me?

Please believe me when I say that the bible can be used for healing and restoration of relationship. The bible can be used for displaying the kindness and goodness of God. The bible can be used to speak truth into our lives and show us we are worth something, enough for God to sacrifice his only son. The bible can be used for restoring lost faith and to those who have given up on the whole “Christian Thing”, all is not lost. Let God do the work in your heart, not me.  Just give him another try.

Let me represent Jesus to you, in the only way I know how, by relying on Him and the Holy Spirit. I do not promise I will not fail. Jesus never failed. He was ALWAYS love, only used his words in love, ONLY healed, ONLY restored, ONLY gave hope.

 

God, I pray for those who I have hurt. I pray for those who have been hurt by your children. God, please help them see your goodness in spite of us. Please help them see how much they are loved. Show them the more than abundant life you have promised for them. Show them how good it feels to walk in your ways. Heal them, restore them, protect them.

In Jesus, who died and rose again for our justification and redemption, amen.

 

 

Holding Gods Hand Through Hard Times

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“Daddy… I really like it when you hold my hand, it helps me so I don’t fall!”

This was Luke’s wise observation as he held tightly to daddy’s hand, while climbing down some rocks towards a neighborhood creek.

And while my momma heart was bubbling from his cuteness, my husband responded to our little 3 year old,

“I think that’s how God designed your hand to be! So it can hold tightly to mine. Did you know that God tells us we can hold his hand? And he helps us not to fall too!”

BAM.

I thought about this interaction over and over….. the simplicity of Luke’s trust in his father and the capability of Ben’s strong hand. Luke is rarely scared. He has no worries! He trusts that his Dad will take care of him.

And for good reason! Ben is SO strong, SO capable of protecting Luke, SO willing to not only take care of him, but to help him grow and prosper in everything that he does.

You know where this is going, don’t you???

Jeremiah 17:7

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it’s leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought, and never fails to bear fruit.

I just love this verse!! Especially in periods of transition or uncertainty. Our trust doesn’t have to be placed in the arms of our own strength or intellect.  Our trust doesn’t have to be placed in the security of our government or in our cushiony jobs……in our police or even our own loaded armor.

Look at the previous verse;

Jeremiah 17:5

Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places, in a salt land where no one lives.

That’s pretty visual, isn’t it?

Right now my family is going through a short period of financial uncertainty. I have a choice to freak out, and for good reason! BUT I also have a choice to believe in the love and in the protection of God.

Right now, I choose the latter. I choose to hold his hand, look to him, and give him my heart (in whatever state it is in.) It is way more exciting anyways… and WAY more peaceful! God is going to take care of us for his glory.

I can’t wait to see how God moves.

Are you excited to see God move for you? It’s easy to fret. But let’s give God a chance and just wait on him and hold his hand. We don’t have to try and figure it out my friends! He’s got you!