Do You Feel Lonely?

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Do you ever feel lonely?

Women love friendships. We love making connections, and these days, many of those connections have moved online as people have moved away or grown older. It’s easier to stay connected through social media. Recently, I was commenting on a facebook post. Everyone was debating and someone had commented something to me that hurt my feelings and knocked me off-kilter. That night I crawled into bed and I asked Jesus, “Why am I letting some thoughtless comment made by someone affect me like this? ”There was no deep explanation. No Bible verse popped into my head. Only the gentle reminder that Jesus loves me – insecurities and all. Friends can’t make us feel accepted all the time. And having lots of people around us does not mean we won’t ever feel lonely. So, I turn to Jesus. I draw close to Him so He can help me separate solid truth from shifting emotion. Will you turn to Jesus today?

Most Loving, Gracious Father, we come before you to humbly ask that you comfort us in our moments of loneliness, that you be our shelter in the midst of the storm, that you walk beside us every step of the way.
Lord, at times we feel so alone, crying out for attention, in desperation, looking for some sort of acknowledgement from a single soul. Remind us that you are always there, right at our side, whenever we call.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Only Jesus

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I absolutely love this song by Casting Crowns, it has become my go to worship/quiet time song.  I am finding myself falling more and more in Love with Jesus everyday, every hour.

Like the song says Jesus is all we need.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.  Only Jesus will never leave or forsake you.  Only Jesus can heal a broken heart. Only Jesus can give you the strength to go on. Only Jesus can save your soul.

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

In all we do, In all we say may it be a representation of Jesus.  May our lives be a reflection of Him.  We may be the Only Jesus people ever see.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 

The older I get the more I realize that after I am gone, if my friends can look back on my life and see Jesus and His love in the way I lived, then that’s all that matters.

That is our greatest and most important accomplishment, to be able to see the people around you discover Jesus. Our lives are not our own because Jesus bought them when He died on the cross in our place.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.  He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2 

I wonder what our lives would be like if we always carried with us in our hearts and in our minds and in our walk the truth that “Jesus is all I need?” I think we would be more gracious, more giving. I think we would hold on to the things in this life more loosely. Our treasures would be more spiritual than physical. We would work differently, We would relate to people more patiently, more lovingly. And we would approach our enemies in a whole new light, love them more than hate them, care for them more than wanting to harm them, we would be softer and not harsh. What about you?

Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, in adoration I thank You for the love that made You willing to suffer and die on the cross for my sin. Beautiful Lord, I was created in your image, fearfully and wonderfully made to be the light in this dark world.  Please guide me in a  path of righteousness according to Your will and glory. You are the Potter and I am the clay.  Shape me, mold me, use me and fill me each and everyday to become more like Christ.

His Mercies Are New

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23

 We can start new every day.  God’s mercies and compassion are fresh each morning.  We can forget about the mistakes and failures of yesterday.  We can release the hurts of the past and begin again.  We can forgive and forget those who have wronged us.  Isn’t that good news?

The enemy wants us to believe that we have screwed up so badly that we are doomed to a life of defeat; that we have failed one too many times and God cannot forgive us or is mad at us.  We do mess up a lot, at least I know I do.  But, I choose to believe God’s Word.  It says that He loves me.  It says that He forgives me.  It says that He understands my plight.  It says that He is waiting for me to run into His open arms.  And for that I am so thankful.

Isn’t God amazing?  A fresh start every day!  How can we be defeated when we have  fresh start every day?  How can we be discouraged with His unfailing love surrounding us?  How can we be unhappy or sad when we serve the greatest God in the universe!

 

Dear Lord, I come to You now for fresh mercy. Thank You for your great faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Proud Vs. Broken

Proud People vs. Broken People

Contrasting the characteristics of proud, unbroken people, who are resistant to the work of God in their lives, with the qualities of revived, humble people.
By Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Proud people focus on the failures of others.

Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.

Proud people have a critical, fault-finding spirit; they look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope.
Broken people are compassionate; they can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.

Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.
Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.
Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.

Proud people have to prove that they are right.
Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

Proud people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit.
Broken people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit.

Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation.
Broken people are self-denying.

Proud people desire to be served.
Broken people are motivated to serve others.

Proud people desire to be a success.
Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.

Proud people desire self-advancement.
Broken people desire to promote others.

Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.
Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would use them at all.

Proud people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked.
Broken people are eager for others to get the credit; they rejoice when others are lifted up.

Proud people have a subconscious feeling, “This ministry/church is privileged to have me and my gifts”; they think of what they can do for God.
Broken people’s heart attitude is, “I don’t deserve to have a part in any ministry”; they know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.

Proud people feel confident in how much they know.
Broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.

Proud people are self-conscious.
Broken people are not concerned with self at all.

Proud people keep others at arms’ length.
Broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately.

Proud people are quick to blame others.
Broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation.

Proud people are unapproachable or defensive when criticized.
Broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.

Proud people are concerned with being respectable, with what others think; they work to protect their own image and reputation.
Broken people are concerned with being real; what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows; they are willing to die to their own reputation.

Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual need with others.
Broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.

Proud people want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; their instinct is to cover up.
Broken people, once broken, don’t care who knows or who finds out; they are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.

Proud people have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you please forgive me?”
Broken people are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.

Proud people tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin.
Broken people are able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin.

Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin.
Broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.

Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught.
Broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin.

Proud people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship.
Broken people take the initiative to be reconciled when there is misunderstanding or conflict in relationships; they race to the cross; they see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.

Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor.
Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.

Proud people are blind to their true heart condition.
Broken people walk in the light.

Proud people don’t think they have anything to repent of.
Broken people realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.

Proud people don’t think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does.
Broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

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I witnessed the worst and the best of humanity last night.  I was on a call as an advocate on a child abuse case.  A 14 year old girl had called the police to report her step father for sexually abusing her. This had been going on for 7 years.  Her mother had threatened her continually, if she ever told anyone she would be thrown out of the house. During the interview the young girl was asked why she decided to call the police now she said “because my little sister just turned 7 the same age when he started molesting me, I wanted to protect my sister.”

This young girl had endured horrible abuse at the hands of her step father for years, Threats from her mother, no emotional support.  Yet, the love she had for her sister caused her to risk everything to save her.  When the stepfather found out what she had done and why, he responded..”I would never touch my biological child, I have morals” really you have morals?  He was arrested and the mother decided her abused daughter could no longer live under her roof.  she would be going to her grandmothers house to live.  At the end of the night about 3am, I was sitting in the sheriffs suv crying my eye’s out and looked over and the big strapping deputy was doing the same thing.

While thinking about what a loving sacrifice this young women made for her sister. I thought about the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  Jesus paid the highest price for you and me because He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He was put to death by being crucified on a cross, and his body was laid in a tomb behind a stone. He lived and then died rejected and alone. Like a rose He was trampled on the ground. Jesus took the fall and thought of you ABOVE ALL!

Jesus saw sacrifice as something beautiful because it would bring us life.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16.

Jesus’ calls us to voluntarily lay down our lives as He did–to sacrificially love people even when it’s uncomfortable or painful. What if you saw sacrifice as a beautiful word?

Just as this young girl sacrificed all for her sister, sacrificed her home, her security. This is real love.  I pray for this young women, I pray when we follow up that she comes to know Jesus as her savior.  That his transforming power will heal her heart.  I know this young women changed my life with her sacrificial heart and bravery.

 

 

 

 

Suffering The Loss Of A Child

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As, I pleaded for the life of my son, and felt his body turn cold in my arms. I watched the life leave his eyes. My child.  Was Gone.

At the time, my mind could not make sense of this trauma. I have already lost so much. I just have to walk through it. This is just the way it is.

And so, it takes time. Lots of time.

At the time, I could not pray, but I could believe. I could not pray like I used to, but I could hold onto hope. I knew deep down that my roots go deep.  There was so much comfort in knowing my faith was strong.  “You don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”  This realization changes you!  It gives you a peace  knowing you have faced the worst and your faith not only survived but grew.

My dreams and my innocence were robbed from me that day. My hopes were completely and utterly struck down. My son was born and we watched him slowly lose his ability to live. I sat at his hospital bed, traumatized, helpless. He came close to death too many times. We fought and fought and in the end we lost. I surrendered him to the Lord, knowing he loved him more than me.  I realized it was not my fault. It was not God’s fault or his will. It is just a part of life, but it hurts.  A lot!

I was stunned that the story of my precious son unfolded this way.

When Casey was diagnosed, I saw the battle before us, I was weak and exasperated. But I prayed for Casey and leaned into my faith. But then, after his passing, I was anchored. I forged through. Both feet on the ground. Eyes on the prize. Until…until I felt the very God I was praying to, sit down beside me. I saw Jesus sitting with me holding me.

His death changed me. Everything froze. Time stood still.  It was like a slow motion movie, but it was my life.

One cannot speak into this unless they have walked this path. This territory is set before a few, and even then, they can only act as guides.

Today, I believe my words and my prayers carry weight and an authority. I believe in walking alongside others in grief, even as I myself grieve. I believe in giving a piece of my heart to others.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

God has not promised us an easy life. Far from it! He has promised His children that he will be with us through ALL those trials. Jesus meets us in the middle of the storm to build our faith and to teach us to worship Him in truth and spirit.  I can attest to this!

Suffering produces a reliance on God in the heart of the faithful. Suffering pushes others further from the Lord when their souls are unfaithful and bitter. In essence, tough times separate the wheat from the chaff. As we grow spiritually, God begins to show us His power and comfort as we go through the rough spots in life.

I have survived, and I am living life. I choose joy, I laugh, smile and act silly. I enjoy my family and friends, and I dance in my kitchen to music that is way too loud. As, his brother and sisters are starting there own families, I also cry, mourn the milestones he misses, I still miss my son and long for eternity when we will meet again.

 

 

 

 

I Need Your Direction Lord

 

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I have shared many times on my blog about my divorce and it’s aftermath. These past several weeks have been a bit difficult with regard to my attitude about my ex-husband.  I shared my sadness/anger of discovering he placed a praise the Lord and christian fish after his name on our divorce decree.  Compounded by the fact, that I work with Christian women who find themselves in abusive marriages, has made it even more difficult.  I realize daily that he desperately needs to change his heart so he does not abuse another women.  Truth is, I do not miss the man I was married to, but I do miss the best friend he was for years, before we married.  It is hard as a christian, you are told to fight for your marriage, which I did while we were separated even fight while the divorce is being processed.  Then the decree is final….then what?

I forgave him three years ago, but sometimes I still get annoyed with him. Especially, when every time I need to get a hold of him, I receive angry emails from his family attacking me. He acts like I am a non-person after 2 decades together… Funny, they are never from him, he just ignores me, he hides behind his family. It is such a paradox for me, professionally, I work to educate and stop domestic violence, then knowing that I personally know someone who needs help to stop their abusing behavior.

I’ve been pondering the whole response to an ex that needs help, do I just turn a blind eye and walk away or do I try my best to make sure he never hurts another women.  If he does, is it a blood on my hands kind of a thing.  I know that isn’t exactly accurate, but it is hard to see someone you loved living with a hard heart either. Of course, I am far from perfect, and I have my own issues, and only by the grace of God do I live.

I believe that God is showing me to just give him up to the Lord, period: in an attitude of love, goodness, blessing and prayer. My eyes focused not on my life, not on my circumstances, and not on the wrongs done to me, but rather focused with laser intensity on Jesus!

The verse that the Lord continually bringing me to is Luke 6:27-28:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

It seems harsh to refer to my ex-husband as my enemy … although sometimes it feels that way. I believe in my heart that he isn’t my enemy. I think I feel like I’m in a spiritual battle with him, but maybe we are more like opponents in a tennis match—but there’s definitely no love in the score.  Which makes me sad.

“Love your enemies.”

Awww, Lord. Really?

“Love … do good … bless … pray.”

Love him? Love him. Really?

What does that even look like? ‘Cause I did that for a long time and it ended up almost destroying me. I ended up abused, used and thrown away like thrash, notified he was divorcing me by email.  Love the person who put praise the Lord and a christian fish on our divorce decree?  So I’m praying as I write because I really don’t know what that looks like.

Talking about love always reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Love is:

Patient, kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice in wrongdoing, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Am I patient with God’s dealing with my situation and my ex? Am I kind in the face of my ex’s attitudes, accusations and actions? Am I rude when I could choose to be kind? Do I insist that things go my way regardless of God’s plan? Am I irritable and resentful? (Ugh. Definitely.) I do not believe I rejoice in my ex’s wrongdoings, but maybe I do a bit when it’s me trying to justify my angry response to him. Do I rejoice in the truth?  I hope so.

But in this circumstance, do I bear, believe, hope and endure all things? Nope. I wanna cry and hide in the corner. I want to yell and argue and fight with my ex, telling him how much he hurt me and the children.

Who am I kidding—I can’t do those things! Love like that? That’s not logical.

But when has God called me to do something that He hasn’t enabled me to do?

Once again, I’m gonna have to rely solely on Jesus. After all, He has given us “a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).

And I’m going to need the Lord in my life, because not only am I called to love that man, but to do good, bless and pray for him.

 

But what is my role in the meantime?  Am I you supposed to sit around and passively wait for more persecution? No, the answer is to become aggressive with good. When wicked behavior is running rampant, it feels like it is in control. However God’s Word tells us that good is more powerful than evil. God does not say that doing good to others will help us tolerate their evil. He says that we can overcome it. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Light overwhelms darkness. Hope triumphs over discouragement. Love casts our fear. It is our task, in the face of evil, to offer good. Why? Because good invites repentance.  I pray he repents, before it is too late.

Consider Romans 12:20 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” The phrase “heap burning coals on his head” referred to awakening the conscience of another. With good, we can melt the heart of evil with burning shame. Constantly repaying evil with good holds a mirror up to the perpetrator reflecting only their evil; in some cases this will bring about a change of heart.

I believe I will pray for God to enable me to live the way God desires me too!