A Humpty Dumpty Kind of Story

I want to tell you a bit about my life now before I get to what my life used to be like.  I guess that you could say that I am starting with the good news first.

The good news of my life is that I truly know the grace and the incredible, abounding love of my awesome God.  He loves me so much more than this human mind can fathom.  He has healed me physically and emotionally to the point that who I was is almost unrecognizable to me now.  He has poured His love into my life in incredible ways and is still working to heal things that are buried deep within this bruised and battered mind and heart.  I am so totally overwhelmed by His love, His grace and His faithfulness.  The more that I allow myself to be covered by His love, the more amazed that I become in the depth and breadth of that love.  I am also amazed by His patience as I walk this road before me, stumbling now and again; He keeps me from falling too far and He always encourages me to continue on.  When invited, He shows me things that I could never have understood on my own and helps me to be a better person that I ever could be without Him.

He has given me the greatest gift that I ever could have imagined in my wonderful husband Tim.  A kind and loving man who, more important than anything, has a heart that seeks after God.  To me, Tim is proof that God gives good gifts to His children – even when they don’t deserve it.

There is a lot more good news – but the information above was important to know before you read further.  The rest isn’t so pretty – but there is good news even in what you will read.  The good news is that God can redeem our pain.  He can take what was meant for evil for us and turn it into something to show His glory.

Now, I feel like I need to give a disclaimer of sorts.  I will be writing about my life quite some time ago so it is going to get quite personal.  As I said, there will be a lot of things that aren’t very pretty.  Some of you are likely going to recognize ‘character or characters’ in my story.  I ask that you remember that this was a very long time ago.  Just as I have changed greatly, they too are not likely the same; I pray that they are not the same.  I ask that you please do not make judgments about them – we must look on them from a position of grace.   Their lives are between them and God just as it is for each of us.  I ask that you seriously let God examine any reaction that you might have to this before you decide to share it with someone else for any reason other than to help someone.

The intent of anything that I write is never to hurt anyone or to tear them down, but to help others who have or maybe still are suffering from abuse.  I want to begin to share my story and the things that God is teaching/showing me so that maybe someone else will see this and they won’t live in the dark and in so much pain for so very long.

Here we go…  I want to take you back in time to a place in time where this all started.  To a place where I had no self-worth and thought that I should be thankful that a boy would like me…  I won’t go into a lot of details about how I got to that point in my lack of self-esteem, you can read a bit about that on my post Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?.  I was 15 when I became involved with my first serious boyfriend.  I thought that he treated me okay, although looking back I can identify lots of things about his behaviour as controlling, jealous and a little bizarre.  We were together throughout the remainder of high school and got married within a month of graduation.

Shattered

Image by LexnGer via Flickr

I had lived a sheltered life.  I came from a Christian home and could only recall one argument between my parents – ever.  I don’t know if they were just good at keeping that away from us or if they just didn’t argue.  I don’t want to give the impression that I was perfect because that is certainly not the case.  But imagine going from a nice, peaceful home to a home with your new husband, where peace was all too soon non-existent; where the norm was to learn to be afraid of opening your mouth for fear of saying something wrong that would unleash a rage that you had never known could exist – especially coming from someone who supposedly loved you.

I was confused and felt betrayed.  I became convinced that if I could just be good enough or make him happy enough the abuse would end.  I would have thoughts like “my dad never hit my mother so it must be something that I was doing wrong”.  Each time there was an episode there would be a period of strained quiet afterward.  A time where he would apologize and tell me he didn’t mean to, that he couldn’t help it and then he would manage to convince me that if only I could do things the right way, his way, that everything would be okay.  He would masterfully convince me that it was all my fault, no matter how ridiculous the trigger had been, it was my fault.  Then to tie his little package of guilt up around me he would promise to never let it happen again.

There is a deep shame associated with being abused.  Just as my abuser did, most are able to convince their victims that they are at fault and that adds to the shame.  My family lived all around me, people that I have known all of my life were minutes away – but I didn’t tell them.  I didn’t leave.  I was too ashamed.  How could I let people see the bruises on my body?  How could I let them know what was happening?  A victim of abuse often comes to believe that, because the abuse is their fault, they deserve what they are getting.  The last thing that I could think of doing was telling someone that I loved about the abuse, I was afraid that they would desert me.  I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me – so I hid the bruises and I lied about them if anyone accidentally saw them.

I was saved as a young child and have gone to church as long as I can remember.  My childhood memories of church are of red-faced preachers talking about people burning in hell if they didn’t follow the rules.  I am sure that there must have been different topics – but I don’t remember a single one.  These guys were very good at painting pictures of people screaming in agony as they burned for eternity.  My imagination grabbed a hold of this and I could practically feel the flames licking at my feet every time I made a mistake.

I don’t remember ever being told that God loved me, but maybe I got hung up on the images of the fire.  Unfortunately, any relationship that I had with God was based on fear and guilt.  I never remember knowing that God cared about me, that He wanted to be involved in my everyday life, that He cared about the smallest detail of my day, that I was so precious to Him that He numbered the hairs on my head.  I only knew that there was a set of rules that I could never seem to live up to no matter how hard I tried and tried.  Fear and guilt were not enough to keep me following all of those rules.  I was never involved in alcohol or drugs, but I still had plenty of sin in my life.

As the abuse progressed, I threw myself into work at my church.  I would go as often as the doors were open thinking that if I worked hard enough at church maybe God would fix things.  I was fooling myself into thinking that just because I was spending time at church that I was building a closer relationship with Him.  The illusion of closeness evaporated in the blink of an eye when I discovered that my abuser was involved in an affair with someone from my church.  I was devastated and felt as though I was the one who had done something wrong.  I was hurt, confused and very angry.  I blamed God for all of it; for the abuse, the affair, everything that had gone wrong in my life.  My reasoning at the time was that He is the God of the Universe and He could have stopped any or all of the awful things that happened.  Now I understand that though He is in control, the things that happened to me come from living in a fallen world.  He has given us humans’ free will and we are royally messing things up.  I stayed in my little home town as long as I could take the stares and the pity.  Then I found a way out and ran 1000 miles from home, trying to leave all of the ugliness – and God – behind me.

Not surprising, my life continued to deteriorate further and further.  I soon became involved with another seemingly good guy.  It wasn’t long before the abuse started and I reasoned that my now ex-husband must have been right.  It was all my fault – I did deserve this…  I accepted that and I was just an awful person who didn’t deserve any better and I tried to keep from drowning in this new assault I was experiencing.

For years, I tiptoed around on eggshells and tried to keep things to a minimum roar.  I was hurting so badly but still couldn’t tell anyone.  Now I was living in a new city so far from home.  These people would certainly peg me as trash if they knew about the abuse.  I would keep quiet and suffer in relative quiet for what seems like a lifetime.

As I began to sense that the abuse was escalating I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I finally got the nerve to break-up with this gem of a man and surprisingly got away from him with relative ease.  Now I was without an abuser for the first time in 17 years.  God was speaking and for the first time in a long time, I was listening.  He began to show me that the abuse was not my fault, that I didn’t deserve any of what had happened.  I was His child and He had much better plans for me.  It was then that I realized that even though I thought I left God when I left Alabama, He had never left me.  He had followed me every step of the way, grieving when I was hurting and longing to comfort me.  He was there waiting for my stubborn and angry heart to once again hear Him.

As I began to try to release the trauma of my life to Him, I realized that I had made a near fatal mistake when I blamed Him.  I had put my trust in the people around me, in my church, in my family.  I put my trust in every frail thing around me instead of trusting Him above all else.  I got my eye off the prize.  He began to tell me how He loved me and flooded me with an overwhelming sense of relief and love that I had never known.  For the first time in my life I understood that He loved me, that He wanted to be a part of my life, that He wanted to help me to move beyond my past.

I would like to say that the moment I turned my life back to God He wiped the slate clean and I didn’t have to do anything to be all shiny and new and free.  That just isn’t the way that it is – at least for me.  I have been working hard to turn loose of the hurts and the pain of the past.  It was a long time before someone could move around me that I didn’t flinch or jump.  I don’t like for people to be in my personal space and I am sure that is a remnant from the past as well.  God continues to heal me from all the hurts and I keep thinking that there can’t possibly be more, He shows me that He isn’t quite finished yet.  It has been about 25 years since the first episode of abuse and it still affects me today.  I don’t know when, or if, I will be completely healed here on this Earth.  I will just keep working on things as God reveals them to me.

Soon my husband Tim and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary and I am still amazed that somehow God cared enough to give me my best friend.  The God of the Universe cared enough to cause our paths to cross and to bring this little Alabama girl all the way to Canada to fulfill His calling.  He has shown us His love for us and His faithfulness in our marriage so many times.  We have learned to trust Him to make a way when in the natural, there just wasn’t a way.  Again I say that God gives good gifts to His children.  I know – I am living proof.

Are you wondering about the Humpty Dumpty reference?  I stumbled upon this poem that I have hung onto for at least 20 years and it seemed to describe how I feel about my life perfectly.

Thanks Sharon Wilson! I love it...

Humpty Dumpty

“Good morning Humpty Dumpty Sir,
How amazing, you are still here
By legend you were shattered!
How cohesive you appear!”

Humpty jumped and said with a smile,
“The tale of horses and men wasn’t the end!
The King Himself put me together again!”

He truly did put me back together again when I was fractured and shattered beyond belief.  But for the grace and love of God I don’t know where I would be today.

In wrapping up, I will just say TRUST HIM ALWAYS.  He sees the big picture while we only see fragmented pieces of the puzzle.  Jeremiah 29: 11-13 says “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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.”  Know that God loves you so much.  If you happen to be (or have been) in such a place as this, know that He cares about every little detail in your life.  He is waiting for you to turn to Him for help…

If you want to hang around, I will take you on more of my journey to healing and wholeness as God leads.  Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

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Do Scars Hurt?

It seems that I keep thinking about forgiveness a lot lately… I have been doing some reading and more thinking and wondering and praying.

If you happen to a FB friend, you might remember my question a few weeks ago – Do Scars Hurt. I began thinking about this because in the book I was reading at the time the author was likening physical scars to psychological/emotional scars. To a point, this made sense to me, after all the definition of scar is “an indication of damage”. This really got me thinking because if we follow that comparison all the way through, that means that if we have scars that are psychological or emotional in nature, they won’t hurt once they are healed. I have lots of scars from physical injuries and/or surgeries and none of them hurt.

So I have been turning this over and over in my mind for almost two months now. Questions have been rolling around and refuse to be quiet in my head… Have I really not forgiven what I thought that I had? Am I still holding a deep seated grudge? If I had truly forgiven the injuries from the past, why do they still hurt me? Why are chunks of years of my life still mostly blocked from my memory? And why, if I have forgiven and that scar has healed, why does it hurt when I go digging into those years to try to retrieve information? My conclusion was that perhaps I hadn’t forgiven at all.

I began to wonder if maybe I needed to start excavating and digging up things to forgive. Was I going to have to start at the beginning and force memories to the surface so that I experienced them in order to fully forgive each and every offense? Do you have to remember ALL the details in order to forgive? I decided that if that is what I really have to do to forgive completely – okay. I wasn’t looking forward to it – but okay. I knew that if that was what needed to happen God would cover me and bring me through it all. Still, not in a hurry to get started.

Life gets a little busy and flash to this past Sunday when we had Kim Phuc, The Girl in the Picture, speak at a community-wide service. This woman began to tell her story took us back to 1972 to her village in Vietnam, she was 9 years old. She told of how villagers were told to leave their place of hiding and how, as they ran she saw four bombs being dropped from an airplane. Napalm bombs – gasoline mixed with thickening agents that would cause it to stick to whatever it touched. The next thing that she remembers is that her skin was too hot, her clothes had instantly been burned off and her skin was being burned off too. This woman, who has lots of reasons to not forgive, holds no grudges. She talks about meeting and forgiving the man who coordinated the air strike that changed her life. She doesn’t know the pilot who changed course to drop the bombs or many of the other details about that day, yet she has forgiven all and been healed. She is very gentle in her nature but her message of forgiveness is very powerful. As she spoke, she cried. She cried as she recalled the pain and the loss that she suffered…

As I listened and watched this woman’s life story unfold I realized that I had it wrong – at least a bit. I knew that forgiveness was a choice and I knew that it wasn’t always instant. I knew that I had to choose to exercise forgiveness almost every day. What I didn’t realize that it was okay that the past still hurts a bit. It is okay if recalling painful times causes some discomfort and even some tears. I don’t have to try to be tough and act as though it never happened in order to forgive.

More thinking… Some time ago during a massage, the therapist began to ask me about some areas that she identified as particularly sensitive/tender. She was questioning me about how I had been injured. She talked about how our body has a memory all of its own, how injuries had a way of causing us seemingly mysterious pain years and years later. The muscles and nerves seem to recall the pain even when we don’t consciously remember it all. Interesting…

I think that I am learning that not only is forgiveness a process, it is an active process. We can’t be passive about forgiving. We need to ask God to examine our hearts and help us know if we are exercising forgiveness continually from all injuries, from all wrongs.

One last thing stuck with me as the speaker concluded her message. She said that she prays everyday for the people involved in her injuries. Honestly and earnestly praying for someone would seem to preclude any build up of ill feelings or thoughts.

Do scars hurt? Yes, I believe that they can… But for now, there will be no digging expeditions for me, except to dig deeper into the Word and into prayer. The scars may hurt, but we don’t have to let the memories or the pain consume us. We can call on God for help and comfort and He will answer.

I would love to hear your comments….

Forgiveness Is God’s Specialty

I was going through my notes in my MySpace account last night and found this one that I had written after talking with a friend who was unable to forgive themselves for their past. I immediately had a sense that I needed to share it, but I was nice and cozy in bed and my Ipod just isn’t the best place for me to do such things so I decided that I really didn’t need to worry about it. Turning back to the book I am currently reading and what are the first words I read as I turn the page – the same as the very last words in my rambling below. So maybe someone needs this today.

March 17, 2009 – Tuesday

Forgiveness is God’s Specialty
Current mood: blessed
Category: Life

I have made a whole lot of mistakes in my life. Things that haunted me for years and years, things that kept me awake at night and drove me half crazy.

It seemed to me that no matter how many times I tried to commit myself back to God, these things would play themselves out in vivid colour every time I tried to sleep.

One sleepless night, as I lie awake beating myself up over my past, God spoke to me very clearly. I almost felt as if I turned around, He would be standing right there… He whispered to me so gently and said, “Who are you to not forgive yourself when I have forgiven you?”

It was a bit shocking and humbling. God had sent His only Son to die to cover my sins and for me it was as if that wasn’t enough. I was still holding a grudge against myself.

I won’t say that it was an instant change, but I realized after His words that I can’t hold on to that stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I still would go back and change so many things if I could, but that is not an option.

My only option is to commit myself to Him daily, live an upright life that is pleasing to Him, doing all things to for His glory.  Allowing God to make you into a new person requires learning to forgive yourself. People are relational. I can relate to others more easily if they have gone through or are going through things that I am familiar with. If I cannot forgive myself, how can they see the amazing grace and mercy provided by the blood of the most Holy Lamb of God? How can they see that their sins can be forgiven and that they can have a new triumphant life in Christ if I couldn’t when we share the same (or similar) pasts?

Let God give you heart knowledge of what forgiveness is – let Him show you what freedom feels like. He has already paid the price for our freedom, don’t let it be a waste – grab hold and never let go.

Forgiveness of someone who has deeply hurt you can be difficult but certainly not impossible. But something that most people don’t realize is that forgiveness is a choice. There is only one person in this world that I have forgiven thousands of times over, sometimes it is easier than others, but I choose to continue to forgive them – endlessly. Choose to forgive yourself, even if it means doing it continually. You will find that if you lean on God, He will help you to grow and prosper in that freedom and those times when you have to remind yourself of forgiveness will become less and less.

Do you trust Him? Trust Him to carry you through. When things happen to torment your mind over past sins, remind yourself that you are covered by the precious blood of Jesus.

I love this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xUK2Dx5RkY) because I have learned at the first hint of the tormentor showing up at my door, to sing the second verse. I am suddenly saturated with that reminder that God does not see those things anymore and if he doesn’t, why should I?

Look at the story of Saul, when God made Himself known, Saul never looked back – only looking forward toward walking in God’s will for his life…

Forgiveness IS a choice. Will you choose to forgive yourself?

Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?

Boy I have.  All of my life, as far back as I can remember I was afraid of being found out.  You see, I have never felt like I was good enough for anything, literally – nothing.  In school, I was never one to have very many close friends and I still find that to be a struggle all of these years later.  It has just always been hard for me to show someone who I really am.

I learned several years after graduating that many people thought that I was a ‘snob’, that I thought I was too good for most people.  I cannot tell you how much that stunned me…  When I questioned the person who revealed this to me explained that I wasn’t easily approachable and I was very difficult to get to know.  Wow – that is so not who I was and I had no idea that was the face that I was presenting to my classmates.

Scared Child at Nighttime

The way that I remember it was once I reached Jr. High School I felt so lost.  I was afraid of absolutely everyone, afraid that they would figure out that I wasn’t good enough to hang out with them or even be seen with them.  I was afraid of my own shadow, afraid that someone would not like me if they got to know me, afraid they would make fun of me for something.

I remember once trying to emulate my older sister.  She was popular, smart and well respected.  I felt like such a dork compared to her…  One day I overheard several people complimenting her on an outfit so I decided that I would borrow the same clothes (down to the shoes & socks people) within the next few weeks.  I figured if I could imitate the way that she dressed it would make me feel safe from anyone deciding that they didn’t like the way I was dressed for at least one day.   So feeling more comfortable than usual I arrive at my locker and while gathering supplies, it happened.  One of the very people that had so complimented my sister was having a field day criticizing me for the very same clothing.  “So now I know, it was just me; there was something wrong with me…”  That was my first thought and then all of the other ‘I am not good enough’s’ started playing in my head.

I am wondering now in looking back if this was the moment that I really bought into those thoughts.  Was this when I started allowing myself to begin accepting that I just didn’t measure up?  Oh, the thoughts had been there before but now I felt that I had confirmation.  So when the tirade started, I just agreed and decided that if they didn’t want me to fit in I would stop trying.  I believe that was the final straw for me and I started to feed on those thoughts and almost no others.

The list goes starts like this:

  • You don’t fit in there, it is easier to not even try
  • They won’t like you, keep your distance so you won’t get your feelings hurt again
  • You aren’t good enough to have that kind of friend
  • Your aren’t smart enough, skinny enough, strong enough, talented enough, pretty enough, nice enough etc. etc. etc.

The list seemed endless and hopeless.  I wondered what was wrong with the few good friends I did have.   I was always racking my brain to see what their angle could possibly be…

I have been out of high school for 25 years and until recently I was still buying into those lies and many new ones associated with my life now.  You know, “you don’t have a job because you are useless, no one wants to hire someone like you, you don’t fit into that ministry/group/company” etc. etc. etc.

Until recently I believed that they were my own thoughts and further reasoned that if that is how I saw myself, I didn’t want anyone else to see me for myself.  It was just easier to keep my distance.

Until recently, even when I accomplished something, was recognized for doing anything well or was just plain recognized for anything at all I just wanted to hide.  I didn’t like the spotlight because it might shine enough light for someone to figure that I am just a dumb, scared little girl who is just not good enough for anything.  Then they would know that I was a fraud pretending that I was actually good enough.

So what is happening that is causing me to change?  Why don’t I feel so much like a fraud anymore?  God has been shining His light onto the truth and onto the lies.  He is on a mission to show me who I really am and I am absolutely loving it.

No more do I have to worry about someone seeing that I am not good enough because now I know that I am!  Now I recognize that all of those thoughts that I used to have, you know, the ones that say I am not good enough and that someone is gonna find out – they are not my thoughts after all.  I now recognize them as lies from the enemy of my soul.  Lies to destroy me, to make me ineffective in whatever God calls me to do.

So now when that endless list starts I know that it is no longer hopeless.  I can refute everything that it says to me by using these scriptures and many more:  Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  How cool is that?  I am God’s masterpiece – YOU are God’s masterpiece.  If that wasn’t enough, try 2 Peter 1:3-4 on for size “As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!  And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.”

I read this quote the other day and I love it.  It made me look at what I am afraid of a bit more closely and realize that I have been playing it safe for all of my life.

“Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, WHO AM I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in SOME of us; IT’S IN EVERYONE. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Nelson Mandela

I am a child of the Most High God and I am most certainly GOOD ENOUGH.  I won’t ever let me or anyone else say differently again.

Have you ever read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31?  It basically says that God chooses the foolish, the weak, the lowly & despised and the things that are not to nullify the things that are.  That means that He chose me precisely because I am not a perfect and spotless person.  He chose me because without HIM I am broken, I am a mess, I have no talents and nothing to offer this world.  He chose me so that I can glorify His Holy name by following Him.  I don’t feel that I have done a very good job of that up until recently but it is not the time to beat myself up about lost time.  I spent too much time doing just that – crying over spilt milk instead of cleaning up the mess and moving on.  I declare that I will glorify His name for the rest of my life with every opportunity.

Can I just tell you that I am so excited?  I am still praying for and desperately needing His leading but He is showing me things left and right about the truth of who I am.  I don’t know where He is leading me but I am so incredibly excited about following Him there one stepping stone at a time.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below or send me a private message to the email address in the photo badge to the right of this message.

Stepping Stones at Gargrave

Image via Wikipedia

God Speaks in the Most Unusual Ways…

So, I recently noticed that the thumbnail on my left hand has a small indentation in it. Curious, I thought as I took notice and I ran my finger over it as if to try to understand it. Then there it was, the memory of my thumb being closed in a car door when I was a child. We were just arriving at my grandparents house – excited to be on my way to the county fair with my aunt and my sisters. I am not sure exactly how my thumb was closed in the door – but I will never forget the immediate moments that followed.

Since I found this little scar from my childhood, it seems that I focus on it a lot. I remember the pain that was associated with that injury. I remember how I screamed and cried when the door had to be opened to release my thumb, how the nail turned an array of colours finally turning black and eventually falling off. I remember being amazed that beneath what had become such a grotesque part of me was a brand new nail. At first seemingly perfect with the exception that it was a bit thin and not a lot of protection for a tom-boy such as me… As time progressed, the tom-boy in me was becoming a smaller and smaller part of who I was. I was trying out more ‘girlie’ things and wanted to grow my nails out. Funny, the replacement nail would grow only a little and without fail, it would fracture. I learned to accept that my nails, especially that nail, would never be lovely and feminine. Still, I never noticed the indentation which I am sure now is exactly what causes the fracture to occur in the first place.

As the Lord begins to speak to me about things much deeper than my fingernail, I am as surprised by what I am hearing and finding as I was about the indentation that I somehow missed for over thirty years. The Lord is asking me, “What other damage was there so long ago that you think has healed and maybe, it hasn’t?” “What else has left a mark that inevitably causes things to be fractured?” Most importantly, “Will you let me show you and let me heal those things completely?” Wow.

Why is it that when I trust God with my whole heart, this is a frightening question? I know things that I have hidden away that I don’t want to remember, to me, they are healed. If they aren’t, what will I have to endure to dig them up? I do trust God with my whole heart – with everything that is within me. So truly, why am I afraid? I fear because God never said that life would be painless and I don’t like pain.

However, because I do trust in my Saviour, I know that His plans for me are for good and not for evil. If there are things that He is telling me to deal with, then it is because He loves me and wants me free from even the things that maybe I don’t see with my natural eyes. And more than anything, I want to be the woman that He wants me to be.

Here goes………………..

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

Intimacy

Some thoughts from last year…

How many times do we take our significant others for granted? We would never do so intentionally, but our busy lives just take over. Most of us are on auto-pilot, we get up, go to work and/or take care of our children all day, prepare dinner, put the kids to bed – by the end of the day, we just collapse and let our minds vegetate or move on to other projects. We all have our ways of doing this. Mine, is crashing on the couch with the tv on, computer in my lap and puppy on my feet. Even in my rest, I am multi-tasking and I would guess that many of you do this too. Most of us would say we are just too tired to read our bibles or study. We have worked long and hard and just need to rest, so life goes on, day by day – on auto-pilot just getting through it all.

My favourite days of the week are Sunday and Wednesday. These are days that I have commitments for church & bible study. These days fulfill the need and desire to worship the Lord. Times that I can slow down and concentrate on His character and learn more about how I should be changing… I often wonder about this. Why, if these are my favourite days, do I not study more at home, take more time to pause and worship the Lord?

As I am writing this, it is just past 11 and I have just given in to go to bed even though I should have been asleep hours ago. As I settle in, I touch my husband’s face and tell him that I love him. As he mumbles incoherently, I smile because I know that he is trying to return the sentiment. As I look at him, I see him – I mean really see him. This is the man that I fell in love with, the man that I want to live out the rest of my days with. I marvel at the rush of emotions that flood through me. All of those beautiful feelings from new love are stirring, but now, they are complimented with trust and familiarity. Remember the moment that you first realized you were in love with that someone special? Remember the pounding of your heart, the shortness of breath, the joy, excitement and fear. Those are the feelings that flowed through me, those and more. When you first fall in love, you wonder if your love will be returned and it can be terrifying. There is a guarding against forgetting how completely and totally in love that I am with this man and growing complacent in that love, guarding against letting life get in the way and taking him for granted.

As I lie here watching him sleep, I know that I love him even more than that first moment. We have grown together and a beautiful friendship born out of love, respect and trust as well as faith in the Most High God. God has bound us together and allowed us to understand love as He intended it – in a way that some people will never understand. There is no doubt in my mind that I would do anything for this man and he for me.

So how then could I need to be reminded of how I felt when I first laid eyes on him, during our first conversation, that first time that he held my hand? How could I need to be reminded of how much I love him and how much I know that he loves me?

As I lay contemplating this, I realized that this is the same thing I have been experiencing of late in my relationship with God. I love Him deeply, much more so than when I first met Him. But, I often don’t see Him clearly in my rush to get through every day. On Sunday’s and Wednesday’s I am undeniably confronted with the person of God. I am surrounded by worship and must stop all other business of life. It is in those moments that I see Him, really see Him for who He is, the Almighty God, the lover of my soul, my Father.

As I thought about this further, I came to the realization that the real issue with both my husband and my God was the loss of intimacy. Intimacy is defined as a close personal relationship, a quiet and private atmosphere and a detailed knowledge resulting from a close or long association or study. I was allowing the business of my life to prevent me from seeing both my husband and my God clearly. A very dangerous thing… I have taken them both for granted by rushing through the days and just letting life carry me. Don’t misunderstand me, that doesn’t mean that I don’t deeply love them, it means that the close relationship – the one where my husband and I can practically read one another’s minds – is often clouded over with other things/people – the business of life. The connection is not operating to its full potential. It is at times like these where misunderstandings can occur and potentially worse yet, we carry on with the ritual of life not realizing that anything is wrong.

So where did all of this come from? As I went to bed I was praying for God’s wisdom in a difficult situation – one in which I will have to think on my feet. Praying that when this situation came to a head, that the Lord would talk to me a bit faster than usual – and maybe louder too. I want to be sure that I am hearing Him loud and clear instead of opening my mouth and sticking my foot in by uttering words that would hinder His purpose. So He did speak to me immediately and quite loudly he said, “Intimacy. That is how you can be sure to hear from Me in perfect time and more clearly. As closely as you were thinking of seeing your husband more clearly, see Me more clearly. Walk closely with Me and I will always deliver you. Don’t grow complacent in your relationship with Me, take the time to see Me for who I am.”

That came in loud and clear… Many days I still fail to slow down and do this and I suffer the consequences. I now I understand the reason why and I know the solution.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

Standing on the Promises

Today’s sermon really struck me and I just feel the need to write down my thoughts somewhere.  Tim talked about the Israelites’ time in the desert (titled Warning Against Unbelief).

Some things that really hit me:

  1. What should have only taken a few months took 40 years because of unbelief.
  2. The people were stuck somewhere between bondage and freedom.
  3. The trouble started simply by people murmuring against Moses/God.  The murmuring led to self-reliance and finally disobedience.
  4. The people had no clear purpose, just existence.
  5. They began to put belief in things that don’t satisfy.
  6. Unbelief caused them to:
    a.  distrust God’s faithfulness

    b.  not realize that the very God who delivered them ‘out’ of bondage would deliver them ‘in’ the promise that He had made

    c.  not follow God where He leads

Look closely at number 3?  The trouble started simply by people murmuring – complaining.  Such a simple thing led to people dying without ever receiving what had been promised to them.  I might have been subtitled to the sermon ‘Watch Your Mouth’.

The people were consumed with the present rather than the promise.  They were too focused on their circumstances to remember that after many miracles, God had just parted the Red Sea delivering them out of Egyptian bondage and He surely could overcome anything else in their way.

A few statements that I liked:

  • When times are tough let the words of our mouths alert you to the condition of your heart.
  • When you face challenges, you either grow in independence or grow in your faith/reliance on God.
  • “Those who no longer trust God to bring satisfaction to their lives tend to imagine satisfaction coming in other ways, but it is vain imagination.” -TJL
  • Intellectual assent to the gospel with a lack of faith turns life into a desert.

The song that we used to sing at church when I was a little girl is ringing in my ears and I will grab hold of it and won’t look back.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,

resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;

standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

I don’t want to be guilty of unbelief in any area of my life…

I wonder how many of us are in a self-induced desert.  How many people are looking so much at our circumstances that we simply forget that our God is a God of miracles, He owns the cattle of 1000 hills, He is the Alpha and the Omega.  If we simply keep our eyes on Him believing the promises given, we can go into that Promised Land.

Anyone want to stand with me?

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

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