Archive for November, 2013

The grass crunched under my brisk walking shoes as my 5th grade arms seemed to swim through the air in an effort to get me to my destination quicker. I was headed to my newly discovered safe place…my fort…the place I could be alone and be, me. Most 11 year-olds were concerned about their bikes, their next sleepover or memorizing the lyrics to Vanilla Ice or New Kids On The Block (ok…yea…that was on my mind too)…but nowhere near as urgent, as needed as my time in my quiet little hideout in the woods near where I grew-up. I found the tree one day during my journey through the wooded lot behind the house. To this day, I have no clue what drew me to this particular tree, except the fact that it was so incredibly easy to rest in its low-lying branches…it was like a recliner built by the Creator. 

But the moments I remember most about this secret place of mine was lying next to this tree, on my back, arms outstretched, feet outstretched and just gazing into the welcoming clouds as they floated by. It was in those moments that if I stared just long enough, I could dream I was flying…soaring into the clouds, to a place free from touch, free from pain, safe, secure and it was at these moments I felt myself breathe. I believe now that deep down I held onto a faith that this dream could, one day be possible…although I had no clue why or how. All I clung onto through these moments was the hope in that place of freedom. 

All of my life I have seen clouds in this way. Riding in the window seat of an airplane is such a rush for me…I still love it today! 

 

 


(more…)

I started this blog as an attempt to be real, an unveiling of my true identity in Christ as I embarked on a new journey of healing, resting in the arms of my Abba Daddy. 

But, as with every journey, you must start by at least glancing at where you have been in order to realize the significance and the importance of how you got to where you are now. After all, nobody wants to repeat the past, but we do learn from it and through His grace we are not defined by our past, present or future. I’m learning on this journey, we are defined not by where we are going in this life, but by Who we travel with. 

For as long as I can remember, I have never, successfully, slept through an entire night. I define “night” as climbing in bed, allowing myself to escape reality and consciousness and truly put myself into a vulnerable state to the non-sleeping, very conscious world. You could say I had a lot of trust and security issues. I prided myself on the ability to always be “on-guard” and the battle cry to protect my heart was my life song for, well, as long as I can possibly remember. 

One of the hardest, most painful lies that I have discovered that I have built my life around is this: 

“I am not wanted” 

And throughout my life, I built up walls because of this belief that was being drilled into my soul that I was not and never would be wanted for who I was as a person – my life is a failure (note the term “being” – for me it was a continual lie I felt “being” communicated to me over and over in my life…not just a single or even a few disconnected events…but a daily reality). In my awake and conscious state I was a mistake, someone that was accidentally here in life and my goal was to simply pretend like I knew what I was doing without drawing too much attention…because deep down I knew I was a failure.  

You see, “I am not wanted” believes:

“I am a mistake.”

“I cannot receive or give love.”

“I can never change.”

“I am hopeless.” 

“God hates me.” 

“God gave-up on me.” 

Not only could I relate to these lies at a very young age, I believed them and built my life around them. 

After all, if we really do have a loving God – you know, the one you learn about in Sunday School…that God doesn’t allow mistakes to happen. That loving God doesn’t and can’t accept failures. That loving God wanted no relationship with someone like me…and I accepted that. I even spent time doing ministry for this God in an effort to apoligize for my failure in life and hope that maybe…just maybe that God would give me a taste of what real love felt like. I saw people all around me that seemed to get it and I didn’t. I just assumed this true rest…the concept of unconditional love was something meant (at least for me) to be experienced in Heaven and not on earth. And yes, I acknowledge now that I allowed myself to become so angry at God that it took looking at the picture of my kids to simply get through the day…but I knew one day they would see what a failure I was too. 

And by writing this post – by posting this blog, I truly believe I am not the only one that has felt this way in life. Yes, you reader, I believe if you can’t relate, there is someone in your little world that has never allowed themselves to experience Gods love before. Yes, people like that do exist and the call to make disciples by simply sharing Christ’s love – that’s very real too. In fact, if it weren’t for the few, daring, authentic and passionate God chasers in my life that literally kept loving, kept calling, kept emailing, kept praying…if it weren’t for these few there is no doubt in my mind that this post would not be a reality. So…keep loving – in the name of Jesus, dear friends, please keep loving those that seem like the hardest to love because they (we) truly are the ones that need to experience it the most. 

I’m going to leave you hanging here for just a minute while I paint a parallel between my place in life and a story I really connected deeply with this week on my journey…

 In John chapter 8 we meet a woman in the brink of a life crisis. Though John doesn’t mention anything about her past (this story wasn’t even included in the earliest manuscripts which makes me even more curious as to who this woman was that this event was added later…it was that important, that crucial, that significant that these men of God changed what was already being shared in order to add this account in…something big is going on here!). The previous day, John records that the teachers of the Law were debating exactly who this Jesus was. In fact, most of the town was questioning, debating his identity (see John 7). I wonder where this woman was in this debate. I wonder who she thought Jesus was on the evening before her life was revealed. I wonder if she had hope. 

We do know that this woman was searching for love. She was caught “in the act of adultery.” 

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. (John 8:3-6 NIV)

This woman a few hours previously before meeting Jesus, decided that a man could fill a part of her need to be known, her need to be accepted, and her need to be loved in this way. She knew it was wrong. She knew it wasn’t the way things were supposed to be. She knew she was failing while in that very moment…yet, for some reason, she gave in. Why? 

I’m wondering if this woman, like myself, felt incredibly trapped and defined by the lies that were so drilled into her heart, that she lost hope in the idea of a Savior. 

I’m wondering if deep down, in the depths of this woman’s soul, that she dreamed of a day she could be loved, seen for the very person the Creator made her to be. A day where she could quit trying to find her place in this world, but where she could simply rest and live in peace. 

After the teachers of the law had her dragged from her moment of trying to earn acceptance, she was put into a mob of complete humiliation and condemnation. By looking at the words of these men, they had already decided what “women like her” deserved. They had labeled her by what they saw on the outside! They most likely used her as a setup for their own selfish gain. 

If you can take the biggest failure in your life (or your belief that your entire life is a failure that you know deep down is the secret to the way you have been living)…take that and picture another person dragging you into the center of the town and announcing your secret to everyone. 

The secret is out – there are no take-backs here. 

And did you notice friends that these men were so stuck in trying to trick Jesus, that they made this woman STAND in front of Jesus and the crowd. I wonder if she had the strength – I wouldn’t. I wonder if she had friends there in that moment holding her up to Jesus (again, your love for those that seem un-lovable allows them to see (or stand to see) Jesus). 

Now, I’m seeing this event in the woman’s shoes here – most likely fearing for her very life, seeing those that she did so well masking her true identity to standing in the crowd, sweat and tears become mixed in the heat of the day…at that moment, in all reality, if I were her, I would have wanted to die. 

She went from a false acceptance by one man, to a crowd of rejection and immediate condemnation with no room to explain or defend herself. There were no attorneys present that day – yet the Judge ruled in the flesh. 

Again, at that moment when these angry men of really no authority gave the judicial right to Jesus – the very One who actually has the authority over heaven and earth…I wonder if the woman met the eyes of Jesus…I wonder if she saw His eyes through…

Through her sweat of trying to earn love

Through her tears of hopelessness and rejection

I wonder if her eyes followed His as He looked down to the ground and wrote. I wonder if her heart pounded during those moments of silence. 

Folks…this ain’t American Idol…the silence of those moments could only be heard by the thumping of her heartbeat…

The very heartbeat that Jesus heard through every stroke He wrote with His finger. 

As this woman STANDS there, waiting for His verdict…I wonder if in the moment of her mask-less nakedness, if she might have found hope…really searched for hope that this man, this Rabbi, the One that she heard may be the Christ, the Chosen One, the King…oh my goodness…if He really was, what would He say? 

Perhaps the very thought met her with more fear. 

Oh…but it gets better…

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.     At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. (John 8:7-9 NIV)

As the woman STOOD there in terror, surrounded by those that had already condemned her, with her fate resting on the shoulders of a possible Messiah she might have been meeting for the very first time (wow – what a way to meet Jesus with your heart already out for Him to see…)…Jesus stands up on her level and doesn’t even say anything to her! 

Seriously?

In a moment that this woman was supposed to be condemned, Jesus doesn’t even acknowledge her! Instead, he puts these men, these leaders who “think” they have the power…he gives them permission to use it…with an addendum…a really, really, really big addendum. 

As the woman…yes, still STANDING…watches on, her heart pounding all the more louder as she hears Jesus say,

“Let any one of you who is without sin throw the first stone at her…”

I wonder if she heard – “Let anyone throw the first stone at her…” 

Shoot – if this were on my DVR, I’d need to replay and go, “Say what?!” 

As she STOOD there, her heart pounding, perhaps even shutting her eyes and bracing for the pain, she was met with a different sound…the sound of rocks dropping to the ground and feet walking away. The sound of Jesus writing in the dust. The sound of gasps and perhaps sobs. 

I can only imagine the utter confusion this woman might have felt in that moment. I wonder if she was still bracing as she saw Jesus rise her to her feet and meet her eyes. I wonder if she was so afraid at this point that she could no longer think for herself. I wonder if she was still fighting inside, unable to rest that this was real – this was actually happening. She was revealed and yet not put to death. She was still living and breathing…

Shoot y’all – this woman was…you guessed it…STILL STANDING!!! 

Oh…and it gets better! 

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”     “No one, sir,” she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10, 11 NIV)

Ok…PAUSE – I wonder if she believed this was the Messiah after having this conversation. She acknowledges that Jesus had sent her enemies packing…but what she might have been feeling is accepted and seen for who she was by a man…a real man…for the very first time. It took going through hell to experience standing near a taste of Heaven. 

Jesus tells this woman, most likely on the brink of falling over from standing during all of this…He tells her to “Go”…but not back to the way she was. In all reality, she couldn’t. All of these people could no longer condemn her. She knew she could no longer satisfy her need for love and acceptance in the same way. She also, no doubt, had to know more about Jesus. 

But what troubles me is Jesus’ telling this woman to leave her life of sin. Wow…a tall order for a woman who has been standing for so long. How could she just leave this behind? How could she find real love and acceptance in the midst of her now publicly known failures? 

Jesus was about to show her through His victory over the cross. He somewhat gave her something to look forward to by instructing her to leave her life of sin. She knew that perfection was so out of her reach. She was going to be reminded of her failure by the entire town. 

Yet…Jesus gave this woman and all of us a way to define ourselves by Who we belong to, instead of our failures. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you  free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1, 2 NIV)

For those that accept their true calling as His Children, we are in Christ. When the God of the Universe looks down at you, even in this very moment, He sees His Child…period. No failures. Not “a” failure. He sees you…His Child. Not only that, this God loves you so much, that He trusts His life giving Spirit to live inside of you…of us. 

I’ll be truthful – I still wrestle with that thought. Gods spirit is in me…this once failure houses Gods spirit…the God of the Universe…the very One that made the stars to shine at night, the One Who saw value in me way before I saw it in myself…that God trusts me this much that His Spirit of life kicks my failures as far as the East is from the West so I can live my life as His Child!!!

Wow. There are no words. 

This woman who once felt trapped, alone, defined by her failures and condemned by everyone…now saw the love of God displayed in a way that was so overwhelming. It had to change her. Jesus forgave her before the cross…BOOM! Instant best seller and that my friend is how her story got back into His story 🙂 

I mentioned a bit of my story above. Gods love ambushed me recently when others helped me dig beneath the surface and really discover who I really believed I was. It was at that moment that I really, for the first time sought a Savior. When I was able to really stand before the many lies of my life that told me “I’m not wanted” I realized how much He fought for me to not only WANT me, but to free me from the bondage of constantly trying to earn my own freedom! I was SO tired, yet had nowhere safe to really rest. 

This is all still really fresh and new to me BUT…for the first time in my life, I can sleep through the night. For the first time in my life, I can be open, truthful, vulnerable and whole. For the first time in my life I really know WHO I AM…and friends, let me assure you of this…

I AM NOT a mistake

I AM NOT unlovable

I AM NOT hopeless

I AM NOT lost

I AM HIS

I AM HIS CHILD

I AM LOVED

I AM HOPEFUL

I AM FOUND

 

…and He is right there, in the middle of your messy, failed life. He knows your failures and He calls you His Child. He offers you a much better way to achieve true freedom. Oh, and He is the only way you can ever really STAND against your condemnation. Let His love protect you, define you, uplift you and hold you securely on His shoulders. Life really is better from up here. 

He helps us STAND.

He helps us SOAR. 

 

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (John 1:12 NIV)

 

All of my life, from little girl to now grown woman and mom, my heart has yearned to feel – experience an Abba father’s love. In my younger days, I often found myself staring endlessly at other children as their dad’s would lift them high in the air and place them on the comfort of his shoulders. As a mom, now, I sometimes catch myself in a daze as I watch my husband wrestle with our kids as they shriek with laughter. Part of me, even today, asks, “What exactly does that type of love feel like?” And now, for the first time, I finally can enjoy the love my Abba Daddy – Heavenly Father has given me through the new birthright to experience His lavishing love, forever. 

The passage above is so powerful and my verse mapping time was just so deep…so incredible, yet my writing would appear almost un-readable if I tried posting it here. SO…lets just dive-in this way…

YET – This word forces you to look at the previous passage. Oh my goodness…I keep forgetting that when these original manuscripts were written, there were no chapters and verses! These were all one big, large and deep letters to other believers! This is right at the beginning of John’s letter, so I jumped to the start of the entire conversation. If you read through the beginning…John paints a picture of an amazing light – the Word, that created the world and everything in it. Yet, these creations failed to see this amazing, everlasting Light and the love this Light wanted to share so badly with the very creation He made. So, the Light took on flesh, becoming just like the creations He took precious time in making…but His creations were so comfortable with their darkness…they walked away from the Light. Hope sounded too good. Love was too comfortable. There were laws and things simply were the way they were (sound familiar??). The term YET suddenly gives the reader hope that maybe something different might occur here..maybe the Light would force His power on His creation? Maybe, suddenly the chosen people…those who saw the Light through the burning bush…those who saw the Light that was needed to cross the Red Sea…those who saw the Light guide them into the Promised Land…surely those people would connect the dots here! That Light was here! Here was hope and perfect love…in the flesh!!!

 

TO ALL WHO DID RECEIVE HIM – Well, this has two distinct stories wrapped into one phrase…

1. – Not everyone received the Light. Like mentioned above, just like today, we have been so stinkin’ comfortable believing in the lies here in the dark, thinking we were designed with the power needed to find our own way…when we are met with a Light this bright, this bold, this True…we wither squint and walk away feeling its just too different, or we squint, dig deep down within our soul and we realize that we were never made to make in this world on our own. 

2. – There were “all” that did receive Him! There were those out there that had stumbled in the darkness for too long. There were those out there that knew and clung onto the hope that one day, one amazing day, they could finally find peace…a peace that really does surpass all human understanding. These people, though stuck in the darkness, kept searching for that need, that craving for something – anything more. Then, one amazing day, they came face-to-face (oh my goodness…can you imagine?!) with the Light! The Light not only pierced their hearts, forced them to think differently…but this Light transformed their soul. The very center of their being that knew their had to be something more…this soul was suddenly satisfied, given hope, a purpose and was “Home.” 

 

TO THOSE WHO BELIEVED IN HIS NAME – People knew the Israelites believed there was to be One to come – the Christ…the very One Isaiah spoke of many years before Mary was even born! 

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NLT)

Yet, even John the Baptist questioned Jesus’ true identity (see Matthew 11:1-19). 

You see, most would picture this Light to be filled with authority, forcefulness and obvious kingdom power. But, the Light just seemed so different than what they expected. It was somewhat uncomfortable going against all of these false beliefs that they once held so close. To believe in the Light required turning away from the darkness and believing in a love that was endless, grace that was not determined by works and frankly a new free life of salvation that may have seemed way too good to be true. 

But there were those…those that met Jesus and knew in their soul, this God in flesh man was indeed the Christ. These people made it past the challenges to figure it all out. They untangled the fear of doubt and received the hope and freedom that only Christ can bring. Those who accepted Jesus and placed their hope in Him met the “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace” face-to-face…and unlike Moses, their soul-glow never faded. 

 

HE GAVE THE RIGHT TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD – A few thoughts here:

The Light gave His creation a right! The Light that took on flesh, walked into the darkness, was confused by His own, was disposed and killed…that Everlasting Light gave us (the very ones He came for) a right! No other creation, besides humanity, has ever been given rights by the Creator Himself! This right, if accepted, connects all humanity with their Creator for an intimate, Father-Daughter…Father-Son connection. This type of closeness CAN be experienced while still here on earth, you don’t have to wait until Heaven! The Light wants you, as you are, every inch of your being…He wants you to want Him. 

The embrace of Abba Daddy is amazing! It tells us we are valued, we are loved, we are important, we can rest, we are safe, we have a purpose, we have a hope…and we belong to God. In essence, the price has been paid, the battle has already been won, Your Daddy chose you to be with Him right now…and yes, He is saving the best part for later. We are invited into the best family in the world! 

 

So…to those who have always chased after the love of a father, the embrace of a mother…to those who sleep with tear-drenched pillows, to those that have given-up on ever being good enough for Him, to those who can’t really even describe love…to those that are about to give-up…

I’ve been there. 

Don’t give-up looking for your Abba Daddy. He fought for your pain on the cross friend and He is standing right there now…as a loving Daddy, simply ready to love you…you (the one he created). You see, because of the way we view our experiences, Gods love may look at bit different to us….but here is the thing, God looks at us and sees simply His Child….we will always and forevermore be His Child…that never changes, period. He will always be our proud Father. 

So…who are you? 

I am His Child…He gave that right to me when I accepted and believed in the name of Jesus Christ. My sins have been erased. I am free to love, free to live and free to receive all power through His mighty name. 

So…Who’s your Daddy? 

 

 

I Am Yours

(a song for my Abba Daddy)

Written October 22, 2013 

 In the loneliness of my heart I wonder,
Searching for something pure – something true,
As I search for meaning, I want to remain here no longer,
My heart is broken Lord, thirsting, aching for You.

I run home to your open arms,
Safe from fear, free from alarms,
Unconditional love is what I’ve been looking for,
Take me Daddy – today I am Yours.

I know what it means to be lost and alone,
I understand the pain of wounding arrows and pain,
With each step I’ve struggled to fight for peace on my own
Abba Daddy – You have won my battle – Oh the enemy you have slain!

I run home to Your open arms,
Safe from fear, free from alarms,
Unconditional love is what I’ve been looking for,
Take me Daddy – today I am Yours

You found me here in my desert place,
Brought me back to life through Your embrace,
Never let me go Daddy – as I chase You day by day,
I am Yours, You are mine – cherish me today.

I run home to your open arms,
Safe from fear, free from alarms,
Uncoditional love is what I’ve been looking for,
Take me Daddy – today I am yours,

Today I am Yours.

Never Good Enough

Posted: November 6, 2013 in God Moments, Wisdom

A Thought 

We will NEVER be good enough for Him on our own.

We cannot make it without Him.

He simply just wants us. 

He wants us

   To quit trying do do life on our own

   To quit living by our terms

   To see Him for Who He really is.

   To allow Him to love us fully – our faults, hurts, failures included (but He doesn’t see that when He looks at His children). 

On Abba’s Shoulders

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

On Abba's Shoulders

Life is better from up here.