To the Mother Struggling with Failure

To the weary mom, tired from trying to earn your way into forgiveness, God’s grace is enough Click To Tweet

I walked away in the middle of life, left a husband and three kids, and never returned.

You and I both could use a lot of words to describe myself and they would fit accordingly. Mothers do not run away. For fifteen years, I have kept this secret. By those who found out, I have been mocked, judged, cursed, and left to drown in my shameful sin.

Asked to define my life in one word, I would say, “failure.” That one little word, heavy with weight, set the standard for my life and permeated every fiber of my being. I allowed failure to pull me down and drown me under the waters of anxiety, depression, and fear.

Then God said “enough!”

Maybe you’re not like me. Perhaps you live at the corner of Betty Crocker and June Cleaver; your crown of faultlessness untarnished. There is a possibility you are the mom whose children set the bar of impeccability and “failure” never crosses your lips. I admire and applaud you, but that is not me.

Hearing the stories that adult children tell of how their parents ruined their lives and harmed them spiritually, emotionally, and mentally in one way or another, and ladies trying to recover from the scars of a “failure mom.” I hear the horror stories and see the statistical devastation. I know the aftermath failure moms leave upon society and all I can say is, “I am that mother.”

Maybe you are like me. Perhaps you struggle with failing your children in one way or another. Perchance you’ve not been the mom God called you to be. It possible that you’ve harmed them and left them out to dry.

If you struggle, if you answer to “failure” please hear me. God is still in control; hope is not lost.

It’s Not All Your Fault

I am the mother of an alcoholic, drug-addicted daughter. I know she lives in North Carolina and she is a waitress (Thank you, social media.) and that is all I know. Yes, part of this is my fault, and I accept the natural consequences that abandonment causes. However, I did not make her pick up the bottle or force her to do drugs.

Even as I write, I struggle with accepting the entirety of this blame. “It’s all my fault,” haunts me and “shame” keeps me in the realms of guilt. Had I continued to raise my daughter in the way I began to raise her, she might be a different young lady. I made choices. She made choices. None of them good.

To the mom who is defined by failure, accept responsibility for your actions and yours alone.  The evils of this world will try to convince you that it is ALL your fault. The sins of the whole world are not yours to bear. Take your faults and hand them over to Christ, lest His death is in vain. He did not die for nothing; He died for your failure.

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Through His Grace, you are forgiven. By His Grace you are set free. Click To Tweet

To-The-Mother-Struggling-With-Failure-1

Christ Traded HIS Freedom So That You Can Be Free From Your Burdens

When guilt, shame, or fear, try to entice you to come back, just say no! Click To Tweet

Freedom has set you free

To give the ultimate gift of freedom, Love laid down His life for the sake of another. This unselfish act of sacrifice allows freedom to reign so that others do not have to live in bondage.

What is it in my human nature that causes me to forget the “freedom from bondage” part on a daily basis?

In my human nature, I quickly forget that I am free. Guilt tells me I deserve the pain in which I live and shame reminds me of my story. They are the ball and chain I drag relentlessly. Guilt and shame are key ingredients for a recipe of disaster. Together, the two of them convince me that I deserve every ounce of my suffering. Nine times out of ten, I give in and believe them. I pick up my chains and follow, because it’s easier that way.

However, the cross is not easy. Maybe it is the blood, the guts, the gore of an actual human suffering unto death, but I don’t think the cry of Christ to His Father “Why have you forsaken me?” portrayed easy. The Savior of the world could have removed Himself from the suffering situation in which He found Himself. He could have used the excuse, “It’s just easier this way.”

It is for the freedom found in living free that Christ died. He gave me a choice to accept or deny.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

Freedom from my past

My past is an ugly place…

Journey to Chaoticlifeoflauren.com to read the rest!

Letting go is hard, but the price is paid. Set down your chains and back away slowly. Click To Tweet

 

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What Ya Thinking?

Forever and a day I ponder what happened.  The “how in the world?” circulates my thought pattern on a consistent basis.  

How could she love the Lord her God with all her heart and with all her soul and with all her mind and with all her strength and still walk away?  Simple answer, because she didn’t.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

The power of the obedient mind

The inner recesses of my mind wages war for eternity; it is the battle of obedience.  I can say I love the Lord with all my heart, but if my mind still chooses to disobey, I simply do not love Him with all my heart, and you can call me a liar.

Harsh, I know, but true.

The Power of an Obedient Mind

I can write all day long about how much I love God, how much I die to serve Him, but when jealousy consumes me because someone’s blog is way cooler than mine, I fall flat on my face.

When I play the comparison game, “Oh my word, I want to be just like her.  Look how beautiful and amazing she is.  I’m nowhere near that good, no wonder I’m a failure,”  I fail.

When I allow my mouth to run freely in anger…Oh, please do not even get me started on that one.  My freely running mouth does not always glorify the Lord.  Little words slip out that are not edifying, pleasing, or lovely in His sight.  Would I talk that way if Christ was standing in my presence?  Oh, but He is.

Thoughts pop up in my head on a moment by moment basis, and that is a natural part of life.  Do I dismiss them?  Or do I allow them to linger just a moment longer?  They tempt me to fall back into fear and defeat.  They want me to live locked in anxiety.

You cannot love the Lord your God with all of you until you love Him with all your mind. Click To Tweet

Even the wind and the waves obey Him, why can’t I?

I can’t obey Him while flesh, my human nature, governs my life.  Left to my own devices, I will be out of line in a flash!  Only a life lived in the Spirit can fully obey.  The choice is mine.

A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.  Proverbs 21:2

He calls me (maybe you as well, perhaps not) to a life of complete obedience to Him.

Obedience begins and ends in the mind.

My mind controls every little part of my human anatomy.  My hand cannot act freely on its own, nor will my mouth speak without my mind telling it what to say.

He doesn’t ask for much from me.  He begs me to put some actions to “set apart” not just the words “called to be set apart.”

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.  Romans 8:6-7

He begs me to put some actions to “set apart” not just the words “called to be set apart.” Click To Tweet

Into action

I can choose what my mind thinks about and what my mind does; He gave me control of me to do with as I see fit.  He gave me free will.  I have free will to change the radio station.  I have the ability to walk away from an ugly conversation.  God made me exactly the way He made me.  If He wanted me to be that lady over there, He would have made me Her.  He put within me my blog and not that one over there.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then whether I come and see  your or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.  Philippians 1:27

So fast forward fifteen years, and I now know where I went wrong, desperately wrong.

What about you?  Do you love the Lord your God with all your mind?  Or do you just say you do?  It’s a question only you can answer.

I failed miserably.  I lived sheerly by words alone.  I was a poser, and it did some damage.

Don’t be me, love the Lord your God with all your mind and your heart, your soul, your strength!  (Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27;) Take captive every thought and bend it to the will of Christ! (2 Corinthians 10:5)

matthew 24-13

 

 

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In the Valley

“Why do you worship?  What’s the point?” someone recently asked me.  

Before my fall from grace, I could not answer that question.  I loved singing the songs, lifting my hands in the air, and proclaiming that Jesus was Lord.  His presence was real around me and brought the fuzziest of warm feelings.  As well, I adored how worship drew me into Him.  Dancing before Him with no abandon was acceptable, and I loved to participate.  Worship was magical, to say the least.  However, one key element was missing–my “why?”  I was merely going through the motions of worship void of reason.

In between everlasting and everlasting is a chasm I call life.

In the beginning was God.  Similarly, in the end, will be God.  The in-between space?  That’s my life, my valley, where I landed when I fell from grace.  It is the trail through to the other side that I must travel on my journey from here (now) to there (everlasting).  I’ve set up camp, but not made my home; I’m only passing by.

Before my fall, I never imagined life becoming hard.  I look back now and think how comfortable life truly was.  Never, in a million years, did I imagine life taking a left turn straight into painful.  Nor, did I believe I would live life in the valley just waiting.

“Just waiting?  Waiting for what?” you ask me.  Waiting on God to move.  I’m waiting on patience, deliverance, and healing.  I’m waiting on the unseen to materialize, the Heavens to open so a heart will change, and time to fly so I may see the other side post haste–this list of waiting is endless for certain, I could ramble for several paragraphs.  I’ll spare you, but tell me, for what are you waiting?

The waiting or the exit

Previously, I made my own way.  If life grew slow and I was forced to hold on, I took matters into my hands and kept moving.  I wasted no time by staying still.  Consequently, I walked into the depths of my valley willingly.  I assure you the weight of the world did not dump itself uninvited into my camp.  Trying to weasel my way out of one complicated situation, I failed to stay the course and took the path marked “life is easy when you do it your way.”  However, this valley, I will not leave without a fight.  That which does not kill me refines my imperfections.   I will call upon the Lord for He alone is worthy to be praised!

That which does not kill me refines my imperfections. Click To Tweet

Every valley has a way out (yours included); exit stage left into the world of blessingless easy.  It’s there for the taking just like it was for my Savior in His darkest hour.  He had the power to remove Himself from the cross.  Shamefully, I admit that my exit is staged;  every detail in place should I decide to quit (again) and not wait upon the Lord.  He hung tight to that cross and gave the gift of salvation to humanity.  I sit still to wait on Him, and I will see Him face to face.

The Lord does not dwell in “chart your own course.”

In the valley, I cry out

When the valley is hard

In my valley, in my darkest times, I cry out, “who will rescue me from this body of death?”

The Lord answered me and said, “I am He!”

In the terror of the night deep in my valley, I cry out, “who will deliver me from this hell?”

The Lord answered me and said, “I am He!”

Sinking into the quicksand of the valley floor, valley I cry out, “who will set my feet upon the rock?”

The Lord answered me and said, “I AM HE!

The winter winds blow through the valley briskly, never ceasing.  The uncomfortable air chills even the warmest of summer’s day.  However, it is here God has said “stay” and so I wait.

There is a blessing at the end of waiting.

There is a blessing at the end of obedience.

There is a blessing worth all the hell at the end of the valley.

If the blessing is in the valley, the heart of the valley is where I wait.  I will not miss out again.  I will wait.

Refined by waiting

There’s something pure about being stripped clean in the midst of waiting.  The longer I hold on, the purer I become.  Refined by waiting?  Maybe.  Refined by worshiping Him from the valley of hell on earth?  Yes!

And that is the key, my golden ticket to survival and my why.  I’ve seen the alternative.  I’ve known a life apart from God.  I’ve been to hell, and the Lord God Almighty loved me enough to rescue sheep number ninety-nine time and time again.  So, I worship in the wait.  I worship in the valley.  I worship by the campfire in the dark of night because I don’t wait alone.  His rod and His staff comfort me.  The tools of His trade, to keep me from harm, are by my side at His ready should my life be threatened or should I dare to stray.

I worship from the realization that the Creator and Lord of absolutely everything saved me from eternal damnation.  I have a reason to sit and wait and worship Him.

in the valley psalm 23

With my eyes focused on upon He, for whom I wait, and my mindset upon everlasting, I lift my voice in praise.  His promise is Truth, and His timing is perfect.

“And the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel

The wait will drive you insane if you let it and time can kill the greatest faith.  Silence is the voice of the enemy, the only way to win is praise.  The Lord inhabits the praise of His people, and He alone is victory.

Silence is the voice of the enemy, the only way to win is praise. Click To Tweet

Do you realize?

I think we all go through valleys; I don’t think I’m alone in this.  I believe we all wait on the Lord to move.  It’s not the wait that matters; it’s what you do while you wait.  Do you grumble and complain while you sit and wallow like little piggies in the muck of the wait?  Do you search for the quickest way to action?  Do you lift your praise just going through the motions because it is the right thing to do?  Or do you stand and praise Him, empty hands held high expecting Him to fill you to overflowing in the land of the dry?  Do you praise Him because on the other side is hell and He fights to keep you out?  Do you worship because you are sheep number ninety-nine?

Do you worship because you are sheep number ninety-nine? Click To Tweet

The longer you wait to praise, the easier it is to quit.  The more you lift your voice in praise, the easier it is to wait.  Choose your path wisely; eternity depends upon it.

The joy of the Lord floods my soul and I cry out to Him for He is good!  He is worthy to be praised, especially in the wait.

Prayer

Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, so we may see that from which you saved us.  Cause the revelation of the magnitude of life apart from you to birth within us authentic worship for you have rescued us.  We owe you our worship and give it willingly according to what you have done!  All glory and honor and praise to the one who said: “I AM HE!”

 

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To Follow or not To Follow

There are days when life overwhelms me.

This journey I am on is not a trip to a far off place.  It’s the journey of being here and staying here, on this path that chose me.  Many days, I fight the desires of the flesh and stay the course when part of my life is not at all what I wish (honesty).  I’m here and cannot change that.

“But, it’s your life,” those who know me well say.

“No,” I reply emphatically to you, “it is not my life.”

I have given my life’s journey over to the one who made the sun, the moon, and the stars.  For better or worse, I vowed I would praise Him until I see Him face to face.  I intend to do just that.  He saved me.  I owe my rescuer my life, my heart, and my sincere gratitude for each breath I draw.  For each new sunrise, I offer Him thanks.

I owe my rescuer my life, my heart, and my sincere gratitude for each breath I draw. Click To Tweet

In John chapter 6, The crowd gathered, and Jesus is talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (verse fifty-four).  As twenty-first century Christians, we understand what he was saying, this is not cannibalism.  The Jews in verse fifty-two, however, had a literal take on this.  “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  They just did not comprehend.  Consequently, we are told, “From this point, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”  (verse sixty-six)

Jesus asked the twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  (verse sixty-seven through sixty-nine)  It was Peter who gave the most profound answer.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe you and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 4:19

Jesus asked the twelve just as He asks us today.

Where else would I go?

There are days I am tempted to click the “unfollow” button.  Some days I would rather choose to grumble, wallow in my mud pit, and sulk in self-pity because this is not the life I wanted.  Left to my desires, I would take the easy road.

luke 9-23

Frankly, desiring to be like Christ and sticking with it until the end is a tough choice.  Somedays, I want to “unfollow” Jesus.  Just for a bit, though, until the bumpy road levels out and I can see sunny days.  Then I will “follow” again.

Peter put it plainly, “Where else would we go, Lord?”

Where would I go?  Back to the previous path I traveled?  Granted it was fun and I had life at my fingertips, but to gain the world and lose my soul?  Is that worth it?

I don’t want to go back.

Jesus called the disciples, just like He calls me, to leave my old way of thinking, pick up my nets, and follow Him.  He calls me to let go of my easy life expectations and trust (in faith) that His plan for my life is good.

The “unfollow” button is just a click away.  I can give up and give in; take the easy road.

Jesus could have easily given up and given in.  He could have removed himself from the cross when the going was beyond tough.

He didn’t.

He saw His death, burial, and resurrection all the way through to the end.  Jesus knew that His father’s plan was perfect, challenging, but perfect.

He chose me. Where else would I go when my Savior gave all? Click To Tweet

Father, take my foolish pride and my expectations.  Grab my fear, my worry, my doubt.  Take my life and breathe on this heart that is now yours.  I want to follow you with every part of my world.  All my heart’s desires, I lay at your feet.  I trust the one who gave sight to the blind, made the broken whole, and walked out of a tomb.  To whom do I go, Lord?  You are the only Holy One of God.This Journey's yours

Who else do I give my praise when He gave the gift of eternal life? Click To Tweet

You can have it all Lord, this is your journey, and I follow you.

 

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A Little Good News

Every great once in awhile, I succumb to the peer pressures of blogging.  Today is one such day.  

I confess; I do not watch television, listen to secular radio, nor read the newspaper.  I truly live in a vacuum and enjoy every moment.  However, today is the day I break with tradition to bring you some stories of hope and encouragement from the world wide web!

Thank you to Rob Hansen at My God, My Music, My Life for challenging his readers to such an event!  

Going above and beyond the call to serve, I found these encouraging stories.

A little math help! — When you need help with your math what do you do?  Reach out to your local police department via FaceBook of course!  The kicker, they took the time to help!

Teaching Children — Taking the time out to teach Children in this day and age requires time and patience, especially when it comes to teaching them chess!  Hooray for my home state of Missouri!

A little gift goes a long way — God still moves through the heart of others!

matthew 25-40

Animals are so near to my heart.  Our pets depend on us and when we let them down it’s tragic!  Here’s to those who step up!

He gets a second chance — Found near dead, this dog gets to ride in style!

One for the cats — There are those in this world who think we would be better off without cats, these folks disagree.

Personal delivery for the wildlife — The drought affects everyone, especially the animals.

Mark 16-15

 

 

 

 

When the Going Gets Tough

My colorful world morphed to dull when I failed to worship God.  I gave my approval to this earth and all creatures here below; I neglected to notice the fade.

Forgetting the fade

My hopes, my identity, and my future tightly wrapped in the hands of humanity staged the basis of my worth.  The creed of my life stated, “It’s just easier this way.”  Life was easier when I slipped away from myself and went with the flow of life; the fight calmed, and the chaos ceased.  With that, I surrendered my strength to fight.  Subtly, I gave my worship away to things that did not care about my soul.

The strength to fight what pulls you under only comes from God; the Holy Spirit within Click To Tweet

Worship is Power

When I worship what the Creator created instead of the Creator, I abandon the power needed to fight the weight of the world.

Without His power, the spiraling cycle of destruction in my life is never-ending.  The current of the undertow is mighty; on my own, I am unable to fight.  As quickly as my head is above water, the hands of the undertow grab my feet and whisk me away.  The struggle to stay afloat is real.  Yes, it is easier to go with the flow, to be sucked under, and drown under the weight of water.  It is also detrimental to my health.

If I were able to turn my life into words on a page, I would tell of what happens when you know God, but forget to praise and worship Him as God.  The story of separation has a desolate feel and fighting my way out of the current is the biggest struggle of my life.  Outside forces fight against my daily battle to identify with Christ.  The undertaking of belief in who God’s word says I am and not what this world says I am, is mighty.  The loud voice within me who chants the word “failure” is supremely convincing, consistently pointing out my flaws and my areas of lack.  While the still small voice whispers, “you are who I say you are, I am the one who made you.”  If I do not worship, I will not hear that still small voice, and the noise of this world wins.

If I do not worship, I will not hear Him. Click To Tweet

My only means of escape is through praise and worship.  When this world is too much with me, which happens more often than I will admit, the only way to keep my head above the rising tide is to raise my hands and cry “Yahweh!” –He who was and is to come is the one who lives in me!

When the going gets tough, the tough fight through worship

Worship invites the Holy Spirit to draw near.  When I lift my voice, when I give my words back to the one who gave them to me, He is glorified.  When I give my gift of life back to the Giver of all gifts, the miraculous happens.  The miraculous pulls me from the swirling thoughts of destruction and places my feet on solid ground.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  Psalm 40:2 NIV

Psalm 26-12

Ignite your Faith

Worship ignites my faith and makes miracles possible.  When I praise Him, I set my mind on Him and Him alone.  Yahweh’s presence is the place I find peace; it is the place I find clarity, it is in this place I remember whose I am.  When I remember whose I am, I find my strength to fight.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV

Psalm 139-14

My prayer

Spirit of Jesus living within me, you never falter nor forsake.  Holy is your name, worthy to be praised.  My Yahweh–evoked by the mysterious and awesome splendor of the manifestation of the holy.  You are my “I Am” because you are.  You have no beginning and no end.  You are “I Am.”  You are my ultimate reality.  Outside of you, there is no reality.  Reality exists because you make it so.  You are all that is eternal; no space, no time, no universe; only you, my Yahweh.  You depend on nothing because you are everything.  No other being makes you who you are.  Everything that is not you utterly depends on you.  Without you, I am entirely nonexistent.  You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  You are completely unchanged because you are “I Am.”  You are the standard of Truth for you are Truth.  You indeed are the only one worthy of my praise.

 

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How My Monday Became Sunday

Oh the eternal glow of Sunday, until Monday comes and slaps me square in the face.  Chaos ensues before I can grab my coffee and say, “Thank you, Jesus, for a new day.”  My head split in two from an incredible headache, Dog mistook my feet for grass, and the skies are stormy.  Can’t I just rewind to the peace of Sunday where the day is sunshine and roses, everyone speaks sweetly, and the tops of my feet are not urine soaked?

How on earth do I swim in Sunday’s peace every other day of the week?

It’s here I remember that I am still on this planet trapped in a fallen world trying to live with a Heavenly mindset.  There is a wee bit of chaos in trying to go against the grain but go against the grain I must.  My happily-ever-after of eternity is riding on me consistently swimming up the stream until the day I die.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Am I alone in this?  Church is all powerful, and the Holy Spirit breaks open the heavenlies on Sunday.  Fast forward twenty-four hours, and hell has waged an all out war in my home.  Monday I fall flat on my face.  The coop doors were left open Tuesday and gentleness, kindness, humility, and self-control flew far far away.  Patience bailed stealing joy and love on the way out the door Wednesday.  On Thursday, I’m left holding the bag of “what just happened here?  Where did my Sunday go?”

Turning Monday into Sunday

First and foremost, this is not my home!  I don’t belong here.

Romans 12-2The scene plays out via the movie projector in my mind.  The shipwrecks, the plane crashes, and I’m stuck on a foreign planet.  Dying to get back home, I set up camp for survival, but it is temporary.  While stranded on the desert island of an alien world, I fight to keep my identity.  I definitely must not change who I am to become like the natives even though their ways are easy.  I am still me and refuse to conform by fighting their soothing ways on a daily basis.  It is critical to my survival that I keep my “home” mindset.  If I adapt to this alien planet, I’ll lose my chance ever to return home; forever doomed.

I am called to be set apart. Click To Tweet

I must keep my mindset of Heaven while living in my makeshift camp on earth to make everyday Sunday special.

Secondly, swimming upstream is imperative.

He found me while I was still a sinner, He saved me from hell, literally, and gave me a fresh start when I truly wasn’t worth the finding.

I call that grace.

It’s the remembrance of that grace that stirs the desire to be a follower of He who saved me, every day of the week.  Grace calls me to adopt His mindset, adapt to His ways, and just be like Jesus.

Out of gratitude for my soul’s salvation, I want to be like Sunday, not Monday. Click To Tweet

I hear my Father’s reminder, “Just obey already!  Do not conform to the evil desires you had before salvation (you remember them don’t you?)  You’ve been raised with Me kiddo, set your heart on things above where I am, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.  Remember?  You died, and your life is now hidden in Me.  Run away from the evil desires of youth and chase after righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on Me out of a pure heart.  Don’t love this world.  Don’t love anything in this world.  Just be like Me!”  (1 Peter 1:14, Colossians 3:1-3, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 John 2:15, and Ephesians 5:1 in my words)

And that is how my Monday became Sunday.

I must guard my heart, set my mind on things above, and try to be like Jesus even when1 Peter 1-14 the dog pees on my feet.

The stuff of life will happen, guaranteed.  Where your mind is focused determines if the sunshine and roses of Sunday take over your week or if you get the urine soaked headaches of Monday.

Set your mind on things above this week just to see what happens!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:22-25

May I swim against the grain all my days.  Until I breathe my last breath, let me fight to be set apart.  Keep my passion for different in this day and age alive as you draw me deeper and deeper into the center of you.  Be at the center of my mind with every reaction to every event within my day.  May the fruits of your Spirit be my desire.

There are some parties happening and you’re invited!

#MomentsofHope Link-Up with Lori Schumaker

Testimony Tuesday with Holly Barrett

#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel

Grace and Truth Link up with Starla Jimenez

#FreshMarketFriday with Crystal Twaddell

 

Worship in Silence

When I can’t find the words

Some days, the words don’t come.  They refuse to travel the path from my mind to my fingertips spilling onto the keyboard and into the page.  

No words bubble over like the release of a shaken soda.  Instead, they are the sludge of unstirred sugar crusted to the bottom of the sweet tea pitcher; they just sit there refusing to blend in or pour out.  

I would be willing to bet you a rock that I am not the only writer who feels this from time to time.  I know how to keep time with the cursor on the page as it blinks steadily laughing in my face and taunting me with its monotonous rhythm.

Tempted to throw it away and push past the silence, I yield to His presence as He takes over. Click To Tweet

Silence lulls me as the music sings.  The words of the songs float through the air, into my ears, and take residence in my heart.

“And I will sing of all you’ve done, and I will remember how far you have carried me.  You are faithful to the end.  I will worship you.  Surely your goodness and mercy will follow me.  There won’t be a day that you’re not by my side, and there won’t be a day that you let me fall.  In all of my life, Your love has been true.  With all of my life, I will worship you.  I worship you, Jesus.”  Faithful To The End, Bethel Music

The reality of still dawns

In this moment, I realize I am still in the presence of the Lord.  The praise to Him engulfs me as I watch the cursor on my blank page pulse.  The words of His Majesty echo through the hollow halls of my empty mind that cannot form a thought to save my life.  Tempted to throw it away and push past the silence, I yield to His presence as He takes over.

Habakkuk 2-20

“Just be still and know that I am God.”  He beckons.  “Let your words fall quiet and rest in me.”  And so I do.  I let the peace fall where it may in my solitary act of worship.

In the quiet stillness with which He has so graciously gifted me, I beg His presence to fall all around me.  This is my act of worship.  With my silent stillness, I offer Him my undivided attention.  No words spoken, no words needed.

With my silent stillness, I offer Him my undivided attention. No words spoken, no words needed. Click To Tweet

Tonight is the season of still

I realize these moments are far and few between in this overpacked world.  Even living alone in the woods, the silence is not as frequent as it need be.

Something could and does demand our attention nearly every second our eyes are open.

psalm 46-10

Just stop!

“Be still” He begs us, “Be still and know I am God.”  Let the white space of a blank page draw you into His presence.

Sit!

Let His peace fall as your praise of quiet ascends towards Heaven.  Enter into His presence with a silent heart void of stuff and things.  Allow Him to form the words of your heart and renew your mind.

Worship Him with your undivided attention!

 

“Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before him all the earth.” Psalm 96:9

You’re officially invited to find this post and other great blogs here:

Worth Beyond Rubies — Diane Ferreira

#MomentsofHope Link-Up with Lori Schumaker

Kelly Balarie and Friends – Cheerleaders of Faith

#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel

Grace and Truth Link up with Starla Jimenez

#FreshMarketFriday with Crystal Twaddell

Grace That Leads Us-Don’t Quit

Grace--don't quit

Defeating the Monster–Charting the Course 

There is a monster lurking; it’s dying to consume me.  Closing the closet doors will not keep it at bay nor send it back to the monster factory.  Not a chance with this one.

No one can force me to be a good Christian.  Consequently, no one can force me to be a bad Christian either.  It is my choice.  My actions are my choice.  The only person who makes a difference in my life is me.  Does that sound selfish?  Maybe a little, I suppose.  I find truth here, though.  Yes, people other than me can influence me one way or another, but ultimately, I am the one who makes the decision to live by the Spirit or be devoured by the monster.

So why do I (as a Christian) do things I know are wrong?  Why do the words out of my mouth cause damage?  Why do I gossip?  Why do I cuss?  Why do I become sad because she has a bigger blog following and prettier pictures than me?  Why do I worship stuff and things?  And why on earth do I claim those items on my taxes that I know I can’t, but do it anyway?

It’s a fight, a daily fight, a constant battle.  This monster wants my soul, not just my scream.

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  Genesis 4:7

I, as a human, am not inherently good.  When I was a child (I promise you) there were no instructions needed on how to disobey.  My mother did not sit me down and explain to me how to sin; it came naturally.  This monster called flesh likes to rule my world if I let it.  Not only does this monster want to rule my world, if I don’t fight, but it will also drag my soul to hell.

Sadly, no amount of sin can satisfy this monster.  The more I feed it, the hungrier it becomes.  There is no satisfying sin.  Period.  The monster’s nature is devour, eat, and devour until the soul is gone and achieves eternal separation from God.

If I was born doomed, how do I win?

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.  They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.”  Galatians 5:16-17

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:24-25

It comes down to battling this monster in my mind, by taking on the mindset of Christ and worshiping Christ to become more like Him.

Oh, the grace by which salvation comes, the grace that saved my soul from eternal damnation, the grace so freely given has been misused and abused.  I see it often.  I see it everywhere.  Grace used as a license to go and sin some more; not to worry, God forgives.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”  Titus 2:11-14

Because of grace, I say “no” to the monster, because of grace I stand and fight the monster, and because of grace, I live by the Spirit.  Grace is not a get out of jail free card in my game of life.  It is not a license to ignore the “Do Not Feed The Monster” sign and ask for forgiveness later.  Feeding the monster only makes it bigger.

Grace is not a get out of jail free card in my game of life Click To Tweet

titus 2-11-12

Grace happens first.

I was saved, rescued, given a place in my majesty’s kingdom and it is by His grace I am given the power, through the Holy Spirit, to defeat the monster of sin; a battle that already won as long as I keep fighting!  GRACE first, “NO” second and not the other way around.

by His grace I am given the power, through the Holy Spirit, to defeat the monster of sin Click To Tweet

Keep Fighting

Because of grace, just don’t quit.  Keep fighting.  This monstrous war is of epic proportions; it is a battle for your soul.  We are sowing something all the time, why not sow into the Spirit instead of the sinful nature?  Surrender to Christ, not the monster this week.  Allow His Spirit to work within you and slay the beast!  Do not stop fighting!

“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:8-9  

A special invitation to join the fun!  This post shared here:

#MomentsofHope with Lori Schumaker

Testimony Tuesday with Holly Barrett

#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel

Fresh Market Friday with Crystal Twaddell