Another Piece of My Healing Journey

One day this week I was reading from Scripture and when done reading I began to meditate.  In that place of solitary meditation I envisioned myself laying in the palm of God’s hands.  It was the only place I could think of that was safe enough.  They were huge!  His hands were positioned palms up in my meditation, and together, like you see when someone holds out their hands to have them filled with popcorn or grains, or maybe candy.  These hands, they were big like a swimming pool, and I was floating in the middle of them.  Way down, at the bottom of this God shaped bowl, was I, lying on my back and looking all around. The walls of this pocket were high; higher than any looter or rioter could climb–higher than any ladder could reach.  High enough that I could imagine nothing that could successfully make it over the top of them.  At the bottom of this big set of God/pool hands, I knew I was safe.

I looked around.  Everywhere I ran my hand was softness. There were ridges, too, but even they had a softness and a strength to them.  God had fingerprints!  I could see them in my meditation, and palm prints!  Amazed, I touched them.  The texture created by the ridges was unique.  I stroked and stroked the material they were made of and commented to myself how lovely it felt. There, in those hands, I finally realized the immensity of our God.  He was a fortress I could run to and be absolutely safe, just like the Bible says He is.  I had no fear lying there. None. And I didn’t feel rushed, either.  I remember thinking how big and powerful and unable to be harmed were those hands, and then a feeling of intense love and devotion overtook me.

I’ve been on a healing journey the last few months and its brought up a lot of junk; hurts and memories of the past.  I’ve had to think hard when processing these memories about what I truly believed about God, in the here and now.  When I was left alone with people that weren’t the most trustworthy of folk, where was God?  All those months I sat staring at the wall, depressed and despondent in my twenties, where was God?  When I fumbled the ball and sinned big, and hurt people in my wake, where was God? Why didn’t He stop me, them, us from hurting each other?  Didn’t He love me? Didn’t He care?  Could He not remember I was there, alone, abandoned, trying to figure it all out on my own and losing ground daily?

What has eventually come to me as a result of my journey is the truth that because God loves me so much, he’s given me free will.  And because He loves the world, too, He’s given them the same.  Some days we’ve misused it and that’s what we call sin.  It makes for a lot of sadness in this place, and more than a few scars.  But this is the good news in that bad tale.  A little bit of hurt can’t destroy me, and a little bit of disappointment can’t break me.  It takes darkness to discern the light, and as long as I’m resting in that Light and His power, I don’t ever need to be afraid.  Bad things will happen sometimes, because God loves us and allows us to use his FREE, no-strings-attached love gift however we want.  Regrettably, we often use it for our own pleasure (even pleasure born of evil).  Does it hurt when we misuse God’s gift?  Yes!  It always hurts, but it does not, cannot, permanently destroy me.

I truthfully don’t know why or how the hurt I do, or the hurt that is done to me, is prevented from permanently destroying us.  I only know that because I carry the mark of Jesus on my soul, it is.  Nothing can ruin me forever.  Not my stupidity. Not my selfishness. Not my confusion, and not my status as offender.  God’s love is as big as His pool hands. Bigger! It’s not in man’s power to overcome it.  Not by a long shot.

I don’t have meditations of this sort often, but this time I did.  I’m also gaining back my ability to dream at night. Haven’t done that in forever.  I’m glad for it.  I need the reassurance this time of mediation brought to my weary heart.

Recovery is hard work, and it’s messy, but I’m all in.  Sincerely, ALL IN!  How about you?

When has God calmed you after you were reminded of a hurtful event in your past?  Are you convinced, truly convinced, of God’s mercy and grace for you?

Piece by Piece

I don’t talk about it a lot in my writing, but abandonment, yeah, I know it well.  Maybe that’s why I can relate to Kelly’s song, Piece by Piece. 

Piece by piece my Papa put me back together after my parents split.

I was five.

Tender age.

Impressionable.

Scarred.

Changed!

What I want to say today is that there is life after divorce for the kids. 

Healing, after the broken.

Soft, after the hard.

Restoration, after disillusionment.

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  –Jesus, Rev 21:5

Have you been broken?  What was the glue that put you back together again?

 

 

Movin’ South

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Today a good friend and confidant is packing up and saying her good-byes to family and friends in the Northeast. She and her mister are headed south, to Georgia. I will miss them both.  They have pursued and accepted a ministry position that will keep them hopping for the Lord for the next twelve months. They aren’t sure what will happen after that.

Are any of us sure what will happen in a year’s time?!

I wanted to pop in here today to say that I will miss my buddy in ministry when she’s gone–a LOT!  I wish her well and know that God is about to use her in incredible ways, but there is still a lil place in my heart that is sad about her going.  She’s ready to explode on the scene in GA, and God is ready to have a willing servant there who will go where he tells her to go and do what he tells her to do, I know this, but still…

I think the Lord and this couple are going to cook up some delicious dishes for the spiritually hungry to eat in that hot and muggy place.

These guys are willing–so willing!

Please pray with me that as they head out, God will lay a smooth path before these two.

To Him be all glory, and honor, and praise in this world and the next! 

I have great confidence in this venture because I know our God is good–all the time!!!

When have you been called out from among them to serve as part of God’s mission?  Whta unexpected joys did you encounter along the way?

 

Desperate for Hope?

Do you ever wonder if God loves you? Have you thought that the troubles you face in life are a punishment and not coincidence? Are you now, or have you ever faced a period in time when you doubted if God could turn things around, could heal your hurt, could make you whole again?

I know. I’ve been there…

…but I will tell you something I know equally well: Pain cannot stop the work of the Living God when He is on a redemption tour!

Our Heavenly Father knows what he is doing, and every minute of every day, of every year of our lives He is working redemption; through the pain, through the doubt, through the sickness, through the laughter, through the disappointment, through the exhaustion, and through the endless nights of questions and confusion.

Love does for us what we could never do for ourselves.

I share the following link today in the hope that you will follow it to Jared Barden’s blog.

Jared is my nephew, the husband of Danielle, son to Brian and Brenda, and awesome dad to Fitzgerald and Enoch. He is part and parcel of my family, and one of the bright lights in my life. I love him. Not only do I love him, but I love what God is doing through him.

I think if you would ask Jared, “Are you fearless?” He would say, NO.

I disagree. I think he is fearless, and moreover, I think he and Danielle are surrendered. They are victors in this world, because they see what others don’t see and they obey when others would run.

Jared, Danielle, Fitzgerald, Enoch: I am praying for you today, and I’m so proud of you. Stay strong, dear ones, and keep looking up. Jesus has a plan he’s working out through you and it includes others. Keep leaning in toward Him. He will never let you down.

Take a minute.

Be refreshed.

Renew your hope.

Find assurance.

Be confident.

Trust the right One.

Don’t give up.

Read THIS BLOG today!

http://www.jaredbarden.com/2014/07/25/one-year/

And may the love and safety, and purpose God has for all his children, shine down on you and give you peace.

Shalom!

Realigning Priorities

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.   Habakkuk 3: 17-18  

As a young woman I worked in a Christian supply store, with a girl named Dawn.  Dawn was gorgeous, with long, silky brown hair.  A real hippy type, Dawn was down to earth, loveable, a favorite with all the customers, and why not, she was a dream wrapped in a pretty bow.  I loved Dawn.   

Dawn’s favorite saying used to be, “We’ll just praise the Lord, anyway.”  No matter what happened, or how rough our day had been, there would be Dawn, standing in all her loveliness, and reminding us to “…praise the Lord, anyway.”   Perhaps Dawn had stumbled onto something Habakkuk already knew:  God is worthy of our praise, no matter what is happening in our lives.  Empty fruit trees, empty vines, empty olive branches.  It’s a pretty bleak scene.  Add to that, barns that stand silent, empty fields, full of dead and rotting sheep, goats and camels.  Emptiness all around, and yet God gives us the ability to rejoice in Him.  Wow!  What a wonderful Savior we serve.  Even in the roughest times, when all the logical sense we have says that we should despair, the prophet insists, we CAN rejoice in our Lord.   

Years ago, I heard that happiness is a choice.  Joy may be found, all it takes is a realignment of our priorities.  Are we more concerned with wallowing in pain and freakish misery, or can we hope to rise above our circumstances and embrace a God who is good, even in the bad times?  While it may be that some of us struggle with chronic pain and problems that don’t respond to easy answers, in our souls, where the real battle against despair is fought, we do well to reaffirm God’s truth and His will for us today. 

Sometimes, the emptiness lingers simply because we need to develop that ability to find joy in the Lord, despite our circumstances.  Every day is another chance to practice this art. What “thing” are you holding onto today, hoping it will bring you joy?  What “thing” have you lost, convinced you can never be happy again?  Let’s just praise the Lord, anyway.  He’s good, all the time!