Category Archives: Healing & Forgiveness

Here Comes the Sun <3

Happy May Day to you!

Did you do that when you were kids? Fashion a cone out of construction paper and fill it with dandelions and violets and hang it on a friend’s door?

Oh I hope you did…a tradition that we could well use on this sunny day here in the Midwest.

Because the sun did come back to kiss us on this Monday morning…after three long days of..

soaking…

relentless…

rain.

As we drove past the overflow of too much water I thought how sometimes life floods us with so much…

so much good sometimes and sometimes so much not so good.

I thought how we can swell over our banks of capacity with sorrow and grief and loss and yet our God promises to be overflowing with His outpouring of love and blessing.

Whatever fills us too much, that does spill over…doesn’t it?

And we don’t seem to get to choose all the time what will pour down on us.

But we do choose to what or to whom we will cling when we are overwhelmed.

So this morning I sat with coffee and the sweet blessing of sun shining over our table and over God’s Word….

and I see the winds are blowing not so gently outside the window as the trees and plants dance…

and I know that HE is causing the waters to recede even as He continues to usher in a new season.

As I studied and revisited a favorite Psalm…number 16…

I wrote this prayer and I pray now by sharing it will bless you <3

 Heavenly Father, As I read the words of the Psalms, I will pen my prayers.

The sun comes through the window, bright on the pages after a weekend of down pouring rain.

Shine on us, LORD. Shine in us today.

Psalm 16:6 – the promise from You to me – For the Lord has established the boundaries of my life and they fall, always, in pleasant places. Most assuredly I have, in Him, a delightful inheritance.  

I will bless YOU, Lord. You counsel me wisely. You hold me together and I live and breathe and move in the shelter of Your love and approval.

I do rest in Hope-in-the-Lord for you have kept a flicker of HOPE alive. Your gentleness breathes over the ashes and lovingly seeks out buried embers.

Warmth begins to glow from what appeared to be stone cold gray powder – life from death. Joy rises from what seemed dead and hopeless and drowned forever.

First a flicker and then a flame. Hope rises up and spreads warm and glowing. And there is a light.

Light.

Light for a new day.

Light for a new season.

For Light always, always, always overcomes darkness <3

Be blessed today dear ones…He is breathing His Life into you…overflowing love from His heart to ours that we might spill over rivers of living water as we ….

you and I ….

 

journey onward <3

Hello Monday <3

We did some yard work this weekend and by yard work, I mean I learned first hand about the thorny work of trimming roses back…

Among the  many thoughts that filled my mind as I attempted, unsuccessfully, to avoid bodily harm were:

<3 Sin, the Fall of Man, and how roses in heaven will not have thorns. Can I get a Hallelujah????

<3 A comparison of how painful one tiny jab of one of those nasty things was compared to a crown of them pressed down on the head of Jesus and how thankful I am for what He endured.

<3 That most people probably just trim their roses without making a life sermon out of it…

and…

<3 How thankful I am I only have to do this once a year.

or once a lifetime if I have these beasts permanently removed from the yard.

Just kidding.

I won’t … but the thought kept me going.

So all that being said, I sat in church yesterday with several scrapes on my forearms, a sore finger and a couple of slices on my ankles that looked like a bad encounter with a mean cat.

And then we did a different version of the Lord’s Prayer and while I stumbled through most of it trying to read the new version while reciting the old in my head…

(trust me, it isn’t easy having this kind of brain to live with because I can overanalyze a sneeze)…

these words caught my thorn-weary heart…

“Forgive us as we forgive those who owe us something”

or as my mind and soul heard it…

Lord, forgive me…

in the same way…

that I forgive..

those people who I feel…

owe me something.

And the Lord worked on my heart there in the quiet of the moment.

Because I saw the capacity of unforgiveness in a different way, even though God’s Word and many a good sermon and teaching have tried to help me see it for what it is.

I realized there are some people that I feel “owe me”…

maybe it’s an apology I am waiting for…

or a thank you…

or a recognition that I was right and they misjudged me.

Maybe it’s to somehow restore something they took from me…my time or my resources, a piece of my heart.

Maybe their choices have now put ugly scars on some of my sweetest moments from the past.

And by golly…they OWE me something to make up for it.

But then I think about what Jesus was telling me in the prayer He taught His disciples.

And all the times I have taken what wasn’t mine and squandered gifts.

All the times I messed up and caused pain.

All the times I clearly saw right from wrong and chose wrong.

All the times I was too busy having fun to even notice I was making a choice.

All the times I was ignorant of what I was doing and yet caused damage to others and to the Kingdom.

And if my being forgiven what I owe depends on my ability to forgive what others owe…ouch.

Such knowledge is a deep thorn cut to the soul for sure.

But it isn’t what convicts my heart of the sin of unforgiveness that I am so prone to commit.

It is the gratitude of the debt that was paid…

FOR ME…

BY HIM…

for what I owed.

This…

remembering the price paid for my sorry soul…

is what finally breaks the hard places in me that are waiting to be repaid.

My chains are gone…

I’ve been set free…

My God…My Savior…

has ransomed me…

His mercy….

His MERCY and GRACE….

not only RAIN…refresh…renew….revitalize me

they REIGN…RULE…are SOVEREIGN

 over

me <3

 

 

 

 

Because I can’t stop thinking about this

I get a copy of the Voice of the Martyrs magazine every so often.

This past month had an article about a young woman who needed a fast escape from a situation and her mom arranged a ride for her with some people she knew.

Only it didn’t turn out like the mom would have hoped or the daughter expected.

Long story short, she ended up as a purchased wife out in the depths of some rural and obscure place with little to no hope of escape. Ever.

And while it would be wonderful to say that prayers were answered and she got away and was able to return home…that is not how God worked in this story.

But He worked.

Oh yes.

He worked.

Because some missionaries had gotten some Bibles to some people off in that remote place.

And some residents became Christians.

And some of them shared the gospel with this victim of the worst kind of deceit.

As she studied God’s Word her heart softened towards her husband.

He noticed a change in her and as he pursued finding out what was different, he too received Christ.

I am so thankful for the work of many to advocate for women such as this one.

But I stand in awe of an awesome God who takes what men meant for evil and uses it for life-changing good.

This couple and their fellow believers live in a country that persecutes Christians.

So we pray for them and for those with whom they now share the Gospel of the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ.

Because this life will end…no matter how good it has been to us…no matter how evil.

But we who follow Christ know, this place where we dwell and the streets we walk and the people we interact with are not our home.

Prayers today for those who are called to go…for those who are called to fund…for those who are calling out for help…let us not grow weary in fighting the good fight…not just for the lives of others but for their eternal life <3

 

Taking the thought a little further

Happy Wednesday to you <3

Yesterday I posted, on my personal Facebook page, a reflection based on Psalm 15 from my morning devotions.

This song of praise was written by King David and outlines the descriptive characteristics of those who “may abide in Your tabernacle; dwell on Your holy hill”.

If safety and security are found in God’s Presence as we go about our  crazy days, I want to see what it takes to hold my spot there…so I made a list of them and then I examined myself to see which ones made me cringe.

Here is one that the Lord used to convict me and I am not alone in this one because I hear it and see it all the time…

“Speaks truth in her heart”

and since some of you who read this are of the male gender….

“Speaks truth in his heart”

And you, like me, might at first glance think over your day and dismiss this because, by golly, we are honest people.

But as I let the Lord work on me yesterday morning I was reminded that sometimes my heart talks to me in deceptive ways.

Not just luring me into stuff that is part of the old nature, but telling me lies about me and about other people.

I have read some good books and listened to some good sermons in the past year that have helped me renew my thinking and these all went to work yesterday as God’s Word did some revealing of places where my flesh still needs separating from the spirit in me.

As I went about my day, I would hear critical thoughts rising…about me…about others.

At one point, as I was re-fixing my hair because …goodness gracious Toto…we had some wind yesterday….I defended myself against what harsh words people would say if they saw what running errands had done to this fine mess of strands I have been given to cover my head.

I told myself I looked awful and that I have terrible hair and…

WAIT. A. MINUTE.

A recent sermon echoed back to me…I think from Grace Covenant…but these words of TRUTH began to overtake the deceitful words…

“Is that what Jesus is really saying right now?”

“Would God really be telling you your hair looks awful?”

“Does the Holy Spirit even really care if I curl my hair? Ever?’

“Does the love of God for me hang on if my hair looks good or if I look like a drowned rat???”…uh…probably not.

And I can bind Satan or curse a me-focused culture or blame the advertising industry for putting false expectations of Pantene model hair into my reality but in truth..

in TRUTH…

that was my heart talking to me.

So I  renounced the lies that was spewing out from this heart-in-progress…and I prayed for God to continue to reveal to me His TRUTH.

And I prayed to listen to only His truth about me AND about others.

I pray that I will, more and more, listen to His Heart…

Beloved (and we ARE be-loved by Him…)….

Let’s guard our hearts…

above all else…

for it is our HEARTS that determine the course we take each day….    Paraphrase of Proverbs 4:23 <3

How’s your heart?

What is it telling you?

If it doesn’t line up with what God says about you….tell it to STAND DOWN…and start speaking words of LIFE to yourself <3

 

 

Who Knew?

I think Autumn has officially arrived here in the Midwest.

img_6733

Crisp days, colorful leaves floating down from trees that splatter across the sidewalks and streets.

Soup and sweater weather.

And this has to top my list of favorite times of the year.

And yet we have a rather large elephant in the room…no pun intended.

Our country has just been through a roller coaster campaign season and election.

img_6868

You would think for someone who loves to talk and suppose and jabber on about things I know little about, I would have some kind of input…

but when it comes to the most serious of worldly affairs…

I leave that to those who are more knowledgeable and eloquent than I.

Publicly anyway.

Poor Russ tends to get an ear full just about every day about some hot topic…

IMG_5295

However, I will share one thing from my heart about the whole thing.

And it has nothing to do with politics or leadership or anything like that.

I felt a great sense of relief this morning and as I sought in my heart the source, I realized…

that I was pleasantly surprised that the media,

the “experts”,

the analysts,

the students of statistics and polls…

were wrong.

img_6753

It turns out that this large machine of mass predicting missed the mark.

And in some strange and bizarre way…

and again..

nothing political here…

just a life thing…

I realized that so often I look at all the “facts” and I line them up.

I analyze the potential and the probability of an outcome.

I weight the factors and I take a few surveys by looking at how this same thing has, or rather, has not worked out in other settings…

and I say….

It is not possible.

img_6673

I close the book and walk away.

Done and done.

But God…

the God I serve…

He

Is

THE

God

of

THE

Impossible.

img_4586

What have you given up hope for?

For what situation or person have you said…

“It can’t be done…there is no precedence for God to work in a situation like this one?”

What have you written off as impossible?

How about if we take those impossible things to our God…

our God for Whom..

ALL

THINGS

ARE

POSSIBLE

and we start thinking in terms of what He alone can do <3