Tuesday, November 29, 2011

He loves me, He loves me not?

In the vast field of fresh beautiful daisies she picks one up and does the age old "He loves me, he loves me not" and watches each petal fall into the field of yellow. As she plucks each petal she hopes that the last one remaining will be the promise of love. "He loves me" her senses awaken and lifts her spirits, "He loves me not" a pang of lonliness creeps up on her. As the last petal falls her expression turns desperate, her face paled as her worth fades into the sea of daisys with a "He loves me not".

How many times has our worth risen and fallen because of who loves us? How many times have we questioned if we are good enough, if we have what it takes based on what someone else things of us? No matter if it was our family, friend, or a love interest there are petals for each relationship. There are times when we feel loved and times when we don't. There are times that we give all our heart to find the last petal has drifted out of our hands, out of our control.

Lately there are a couple of things I have been reflecting on. The first would be that I need to love with open hands. To be willing to love with all my heart and expect nothing in return. To give people the freedom to love me or not and not try to manipulate, win someone over, or have an agenda. To have heart like Jesus that is patient and kind, that keeps no records of wrong, that is not jealous....love with open hands.

The second thing is I need to find my worth in nothing but the Lord. I need to remember that disappointments will come, I will fail at something, someone will let me down, and its okay. In my imperfections he is glorified because I am nothing without Him. I'm reminded that I need Him because I need refining, I have growing to do, I am in need of a Savior. An amazing thought is that the spirit lives in us, his beauty, his glory, his love dwells in us and we can choose to let Him shine through us by remembering our worth is found in Him.

Take a look around, he is everywhere. He is not in just one daisy he is in the vast field of yellow, he is in the blue stretched out beyond what our eyes can see, he is in our hands, in our feet, he is beyond all we can comprehend....and best of all no matter which petal I pluck I know He loves me!

Nicole Renee

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No Exceptions

An old memory can come alive again in an instant a thought flickers the flame and we have to forgive or be forgiven again. It's that constant battle of laying it down one more time, the hurt, the pain they caused for us, the hurt and pain we caused for them. But the thing that I've recently come to know is there is no exception with God, and there is not any lingering pain or hurt. He keeps no record of wrongs when we confess and repent. NO RECORD, white as snow, clean slate, new day, new chance. I've known about forgiveness for years but for so long it was just a word because I didn't feel that weight lifted, when I asked for forgiveness to someone else I still felt that sting of disappointment and unworthiness. I felt that way until recently when I truly recognized the one who suffered the weight of our sins in the worse imaginable way gives me worth and even holiness.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Forgiveness takes on new meaning when we actually believe in what he did on the cross. When I wonder why he forgives me, why God sent his only son to die for our sins the answer is in the verse many know so well
 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
He loves us and is the only one who can take away the pain, the hurt, and feeling of unworthiness. For a long time I kept holding onto others disappointments, their judgments, their approval but we have a God that takes our sin and removes it from us as far as the east is from the west no exceptions. We tend to make so many rules for love, rules for forgiveness but I'm learning that the heart of God is anything but rules instead I'm finding the deepest love that crosses any borders, boundaries, and lines that we could even dare to make.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Never Alone, Never Forsaken

So ya I've been having writers block lately and I can't seem to find the words to write to express what I've been feeling. Part of me has wanted to stop being so vulnerable especially with my faith. Its like I'm becoming afraid of sharing what I believe in and my joy lately has been zapped. But I don't want that to happen to me this time, let my insecurities and failures steal my joy! My joy has been found through tears because God is there. My joy comes in pleading because God hears. My joy is found in pain because through the trials he has a plan for me. There comes a time when we have to decide who is going to get us through life, that fork in the road when we decide am I going to live for me or am I going to live for a promise; for a man that walked through this world and gave His life for me. There are times that I feel so alone and I can't understand why things are the way they are but in those times I find myself in awe with how much compassion wells up inside me, how I have such a passion for truth and longing for something more all the time, in those moments I believe without a doubt that I was created by a God that I will never comepletely comprehend but that I am comepletely in love with.

Never Alone, Never Forsaken

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and my beauty is much.
I was created with dreams and desires,
I've been redeemed from the muck and mire,
he stood me on solid ground,
When I thought I was abandoned
I found I was wrong,
When I walk into any place I'm already loved
I'm never alone, never forsaken.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Do you magnify with a microscope or a telescope?

So a few years back a friend told me to read the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. When I heard the title of the book I was immediately hesitant to buy it, I don't want to know how I'm wasting my life because I know the facts were I was living mediocre and to actually think I may have to change was not something that I invited with open arms.

I started to realize that maybe this is why some of us are so hesitant to live like Esther, Ruth, Job and Jeremiah. Fear of changing, fear of what God would have us do, fear of where God would have us go. Fear we would be mocked like Jeremiah and be a laughingstock to our friends for what we believe. "O LORD, you deceived; me and I was deceived you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me." Jeremiah 20:7

This past weekend I went to the bookstore and there it was "Don't Waste Your Life", jumped out at me and I knew I had to get it. I've only read a short amount but I can tell you my palms were sweating, my heart was beating fast because this is a life changing book. He says "God created me-and you-to live with a single, all-embracing, all transforming passion-namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. “John Piper. Life is not about my happiness, its not about stores, vacations to exotic places, climbing the corporate ladder, life is simply about God. Glorifying God in all aspects of our lives but notice he said all-transforming passion. Another word for transform is to change. By glorifying him we are changed and the love we have for Jesus should be enjoyed and displayed in all spheres of our lives. When we live for God in all parts of our lives we began to share His glory with others.

This of course is just a glimpse of what I read but it was almost disappointing to me that life was not about being happy. I mean that is what we are striving to be right? Happy. Striving to make enough money to get what we want. Striving to look just right to be wanted, striving to please other people. I felt a loss that life is not about my happiness since that is what the world around is chasing. John Piper says this "The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples."

I think of Esther with unmistakable beauty and faith in the Lord "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." She stepped out in faith to save her people; she was willing to give up her life for what she believed. Esther 4:16.

Or what about Ruth and her devotion to God and her mother in law Naomi.
"Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Ruth 1:16

What about sweet Jeremiah, the laughingstock of his people he said this "So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name; his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed I cannot.

What do these three people have in common? Passion. When times were tough they pushed on, they didn't live for themselves or their happiness but instead they lived for His glory. I want to be more like them, I want to have a passion so deep I can say if I perish I perish, where you go I will go, and his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed I cannot.

John piper gives an example of how we can view God "You can magnify like a telescope or like a microscope. When you magnify like a microscope a dust mite can look like a monster. Pretending to magnify God like that is wickedness. But when you magnify like a telescope, you make something unimaginably great look like what it really is. With the Hubble Space Telescope, pinprick galaxies in the sky are revealed for the billion star giants that they are. Magnifying God like this is worship."

We can pretend God is only a fragment of our lives but we are deceiving ourselves. God is magnificent, he is the creator, my prayer is that I see God as he really is and glorify Him in all spheres of my life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Healing Begins

Today is bleak and inspiration is fleeting. When life is closing in and it seems you are stranded where is there to go? I’m stuck on an island; all that surrounds me is the sandy beach and an endless blue of sky and water. It’s going to take a miracle to get off this island….

But as time goes by I realize that I’m not on the island, I’m not on solid ground. Instead my eyes sting and are blurry from the salty water, nothing is clear everything seems to be foggy. I’m sinking fast and the endless blue is all I see. This is the life that I’ve been living. What I would give to feel my feet on the warm sandy beach, to feel the sun shining, to see clearly again.

Have you ever been where I’m at right now? You thought you could breeze through hurts, mistakes, and pain without facing it? I thought I could do that but I was wrong, so wrong. So as much as it sucks it’s time to trade in what I want to do right now for what I know I need to do.
I’ve never been down this road, I’ve never willingly gave up something I wanted to heal. It’s uncomfortable and sad. Even though I know it’s time for a change within my heart, I have peace in the ways I’m used to. I’m used to sinking in the endless blue, with foggy vision. I don’t want to give up that place because it’s familiar; it’s so familiar it has made me numb to feeling like there is any other way.
I cling to the promises:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart Jeremiah 29:13
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

I’ve messed up big, I’ve made my own ocean of mistakes, but I have hope. A tiny bit of hope within me; that is teaching me to trust and obey and put one foot in front of the other. When that pit of fear takes over I have hope that gives me a reason to choose to heal for myself and the ones that I love.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Picture Story

The other day my son was mad at me. It was time for him to go to bed but he didn't want to, he wanted to play. He was so upset that he ripped pieces of a picture that I made for him. A picture that said " Love you all the way up to heaven" which is what we often tell eachother at night time. He made little tears at each corner because he was hurt that I wouldn't let him stay up later. Not but a few minutes later after he calmed down and realized I wouldn't give in to his tantrum he asked me for tape. He wanted to fix the rips on the picture. He felt bad, though he didn't say it I knew that he was sad by how frantic he was to fix something that had been made for him out of love.

How we are all like this picture and like my son. We take something or someone beautiful and mess it up with our actions. We say hurtful things, we turn away from those who need us, and we live through our own agendas causing pain or sadness for others. Our lives that once were beautiful pictures have become scarred and torn. We then come to our senses and want to find the "tape" to patch up the hurt. As we try to fix the wounds the picture looks similar but not quite the same. Like a scar you get from when you were a child from falling down, it fades over time but never comepletly goes away.

In these moments I'm in awe of God because He can make the impossible possible. For He can see what we can't. He can do what we can't. We see the scar but He looks to the heart. There are my own pictures that I have screwed up; people I have let down and no matter how much I long for their approval of love and forgiveness I may never get it from them. But I can get it from Jesus, He gives us grace to take off the old and put on the new. I think my son learned a lesson to value people and the gift of love; and I am reminded of the same lesson as an adult. We can't completely mend whats been torn when it comes to matters of the heart but God can and He will if we give it to Him and believe.

I hope we keep this picture for a long time, it already has a water stain on it and now little rips on each corner but the love is still there. Just like us tattered and bruised but there is still love there because we were made out of love and God is love.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In the waiting room

Waiting to meet the right person, waiting for the right moment to call an old friend, waiting to be forgiven, waiting for tomorrow, why do we spend so much time in the waiting room?

We keep waiting for the right moment to make things happen or for God to answer our prayers. It is especially difficult when we step out in faith and obey God yet he remains silent. When we don’t see the result of our obedience it can become harder to believe and remain faithful. Instead of impatiently sitting in the waiting room I want to be actively seeking him each day in the living room. I want to think of today as a gift to know him more and seek His will. Have you ever thought of God as your protector? I have never really put that much emphasis in acknowledging that He is all the protection I need; I have placed that responsibility on people that ultimately are capable of letting me down no matter how much they may love me. Have you ever thought of God as your Redeemer? Only he can take off the old and put on the new. Have you ever thought of God has your friend? He is with us, He is for us. He has plans to proper us.

I get so caught up in the waiting room of life watching the clock, counting down the minutes. In those moments of focusing so much on waiting I miss all that is passing me by. I miss a moment to speak the truth to someone that is lost, I miss the sweet joy of solitude and a chance to pray with thanksgiving, I miss the chance to smile at a stranger, I miss the chance to learn more about my heavenly father. Perhaps we are in the waiting room for so long because he is waiting on us to depend on Him alone. Depend on Him through the silence, depend on him through the noise, depend on Him in the darkness, depend on Him in the light.

When we are walking in obedience there is a reason that sometimes we have to wait “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31