He Touched and She was Healed

He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she she got up and began to wait on him. – Matthew 8:15

Jesus has authority over all evil that is a result of this fallen world. He speaks a word, he gives a touch and people are healed; made new and restored to wholeness. He does this to glorify God.

At the time of this story, the Bible tells us that Jesus healed this woman “to fulfill what what spoken through the prophets: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” vs. 17

In todays world, Jesus blesses to gift us with a taste of what the whole world will one day experience in God’s kingdom. It’s a glimpse.

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When God chooses to heal us or bless us it is an unnecessary and willful act of love; a gift. Yes he loves us and yes he wants to see us happy, but first and foremost it is to glorify God and give testimony to his goodness and power.

It’s always been about God first and never about us. We are here to make manifest him!

His acts of love are not mandatory. They are a free gift lavished upon us in mercy and kindness. Our response then should be one of gratitude and debt.

How else would you respond to someone who gave you a gift of incredible value and selfless love?

Say your life for example. You were standing before a judge who had pronounced the death sentence for you and some man stood up and said he’d take your place. An exchange. His life for yours. The judge agrees and you go free….

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Too often, our response to God’s blessings is one of entitlement or expectation, like he owes us something for our “allegiance.”

Yes, we should expect God to answer our prayers, but it won’t always be in our time or our ways. While God loves us and desires for us to know and experience joy in this life, he ultimately wants to be the source of that joy- just him and his relationship – that isn’t dependent on circumstance.

His delight in us sure isn’t based on our performance (ha!) so why then, so often, is our devotion weighed on a scale of his ability to “bless us” and answer our prayers the way we’d have it?

Jesus is far more concerned with our hearts condition than with our comfort or circumstance. He wants to see us grow up and mature spiritually, moving beyond asking what God can do for us, to a place of asking what we can do for him.

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Peter’s Mother-in-law, the women healed in Matthew 8, is a perfect example of how we should respond to Jesus, especially in times when we receive his touch; his blessings, his gifts.

To love and devote our lives in service.

Immediately, not after she did the things she needed to or after she got bored, immediately she got up and waited on him. She served Jesus.

She responded to his act with acts of her own that blessed him. She received his love and lavished it upon others in return.

These are the things he calls us to. This is the heart of God; Love and Service, all as an outpouring of gratitude in response for all thats been done for us… already.

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So let me ask you. How have you responded to God in the past? How will you respond to him today? Right now? And with the vary gift of your life?

 

Pray with me:

Lord, Thank you for your love that you so graciously lavish upon me. Thank you for your desire to know me and be known by me.

Help me to respond to your love in a way that is worthy and honouring to you- to receive your blessings and love and respond with my life as an outpouring in thanks for all your are to me and all you’ve done for me. But not just for the now or the blessings of my current circumstance, but for what has already been done, accomplished and made available to me, through Jesus’ ultimately loving and selfless sacrifice on the cross.

Ignite in me a passionate desire to seek you, love you and serve you, devoting my life to the things of your heart. Fan in me your flame and may many come to know and experience your love for themselves, through me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When you’re Struggling to Care about What’s Happening in Iraq

The honest truth is, I felt numb to what their now calling a “Christian Genocide.”

I cannot even comprehend such suffering in my wrapped up pretty, over privileged North American Life. But while my mind can’t fathom the horror, my heart has less than stirred for my Christian Brothers and Sisters in Crisis. Why? I won’t go on a “cushioned life” tangent, but simply put, because I feel so far removed.

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I’ve felt shame these past weeks; disgust with myself and the fact that my heart wasn’t breaking nor did I seem to really care. And so I kept quiet. Bound by the lies that I’m a joke of a Christian. That I don’t deserve to even call myself one. I’m a fraud. A sham.

…The perfect stomping grounds for the one who comes to lie, cheat, steal and destroy.

“Don’t even pretend you care by chiming in or share anything on social media! Don’t talk about it with others. That’s being a hypocrite!”

And so I didn’t. I’ve stayed quiet, for weeks; mute both inwardly and otwardly, afraid to even admit the truth to my Father.

I’ve watched from the sidelines as friends and mentors have shared updates, prayers and pleas for those suffering the unthinkable.

And then last night, God did what he always seems to resort to when this stubborn legalist can’t seem to remember what grace is.

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I stumbled upon a video. The man shook and cried,

“There are people dying and no one seems to care! There is no help. There is no aid. How can we simply stand back and watch a genocide occur?! Please do something. Anything that you can. Pray!”

He pleaded with the camera and within seconds I felt the two-by-four of power overcome me. The Holy Spirit moved me to pray, words I hadn’t dared to utter until now.

“Lord, I don’t care. I want to but I don’t! I feel so awful even admitting that to you, but worse, pretending that you don’t already know! If anything is going to change, it needs to be you. Oh please Lord, change my heart. Give me the capacity to love like you do and move in me, so that the things that break yours pierce mine.”

I sat back, felt nothing and waited.

Because that’s the thing with our Father. When we come to him in sincerety, when we’re honest and confess, he is faithful to forgive us and slap the guilt right gone from us. And when we pray, in the vine for his will, does he surely not listen and answer?! Of course.

… in his time and his ways.  So I simply waited, trusting that he would do in me, what only he could do.

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This morning I woke to this article and knew it was my answered prayer:  5 Things we can do right now, that will ACTUALLY help our brothers and sisters.

As I read, my heart beat fast and I could hardly finish before starting to pray… before wanting to share the article… before jumping to speak up using the gift of words he’s given me.

My heart change!

Yes he is capable of far more than we can ever ask or imagine. What is impossible with man is possible with God… even when it comes to renovations of the heart!

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So while I cringe writing this, afraid of what you might think of me – That you might look down on me and think I’m less of a person; Less of a Christian- deep down, I wonder …. if sharing my truth is freeing to even one person, bound by the same guilt that I’ve felt.

That somewhere, you’re looking for a nudge – the permission to confess your numbness and move beyond silence to taking a stand.

This is it. You’re not a bad Christian. You are not unworthy to speak or to pray. Go to your Father who loves you. Seek and you will find!

 

Praying with you, my friend, for hearts that desire to cry out for our Christian Brothers and Sisters.

Down the Narrow Path

Jesus tells us that the path to him is narrow and the gate, small… only a few will find it. [Matt. 7:14]

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And yet on so many days, I fight the hard stuff and want desperately for my life to be comfortable and easy.

…For things to go back to the way they “used to be.”
…For life to magically jump back to a time with less responsibilities and more “freedom.” [Ha! Now that's a joke, because in the years I'm dreaming of, I was bound by lies of shame, guilt, self hatred and an incessant pursuit of perfectionism that left me feeling unworthy and never good enough]

When I’m fighting the urge to run from my current circumstances, I find myself grasping for things of comfort:

….old TV shows I watched as a child or in an “easier” season of life.  Comfort
….The need to constantly be out and about being entertained or with people.  Distraction
….Feel good books or blogs that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, like everything is going to be ok.  Peace

All counterfeit. All Worldly. 

And then I slowly start to notice the effects; my prayers become brief and my devotional time routine, like I’m frantic to “get them done” so I can hurry on to something else that’ll make me feel good. “Happy and light” for a moment.

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I run, to all the wrong places and things, seeking the vary things only HE can give me:

  • The strength and courage to keep going, even when I can’t see the light at the end of the season
  • Comfort that allows me to rest in him, right where I am
  • Peace that surpasses all understanding, reason and circumstance
  • Joy, to dance in the midst of the rain, instead of waiting for it to pass
  • Trust, that He knows me, loves me and has a plan for me
  • Surrender, to his will, his plans and his ways

My husband and I knew from the start of 2014 that this year was going to be one of change. Don’t ask us why, but somehow we knew. It seems that for every few years of “coasting,” he throws us a curve ball year of “change.” Or as I like to put it when I’m through the chaos and lessons… Seasons of Growth.

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It’s in these years or seasons that I’ve done the most growing spirtually, personally and professionally. Because what the heart knows, the heart lives and out of the heart the mouth speaks.

And when love, true love, enters your heart, it can’t help but overflow into every area of your life.

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In these hard seasons, I know that’s what He’s teaching me. He’s increasing my capacity to love deeper and to know him more.

But renovations of any kind are never easy, especially renovations of the heart! They might seem fun and exciting in the dreaming stage, but once your knees deep in the mess and chaos, it’s hard to see the end goal or even remember why you wanted to start this crazy project in the first place.

It’s in those moments, where I sit right now, that I’m reaching out and asking him to grab ahold of me. To pull me up on to the ledge of one covered piece of furniture, so I can see from his perspective how things will surely come together.

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Time, patience, hard work, persistence and faith in the process.

I hear him whisper…

The road is narrow and the gate small. But the rewards are perfect and worth it, dear child. Just wait.

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When all you see, Is who you don’t wanna be

If I’m honest, I balled my eyes out watching this. Buckets.

 

I did’t expect to be knees deep in tears on a sunday morning…

Sure I’m hormonal but that’s hardly the point.

The reality is, I can fake it ’till I make it and I’ve been doing it since I was a child.

 

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In everything from my work, my dreams, my hobbies, my fears, to my battles and demons and the ugly in-between.

I can lie to the person in the mirror, when I hate everything it reflects. I speak truth over it – try and counter it with the mind- but does my heart know it to be true? No.

It doubts it.

 

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
And all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die

You’re beautiful
In His eyes

-Beautiful | Mercy Me

 

More than how I demand perfection from myself,  I wage war with everyone else’s idea of perfect. Trying to be and please everyone but my Father, first.

Every under eye circle, every pimple, every wrinkle, every bloated tummy, every less than awesome outfit…. they taunt me.

Sure when I’m wrapped up pretty and “ready” for the day, I feel great and faking it comes easy. It’s the paint;  it masks my insecurity – how I’m truly feeling deep down inside.

Like it’s all a sham. It’s all a lie.

Because underneath, I hate what I see. When I unmask from the charade I pick myself apart and I will it to be different.

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I skald uniqueness, rather than treasure my sculptor’s signature on me.

I hide my flaws of character, rather than wear my story with pride.

I compete with every impossibility, rather than love where I’ve been blessed.

 

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And yet I know that I am made in his image. Every curve, every freckle, intentional and with purpose.

 

When I cry in despair, He weeps from my rejection.

When I damn my imperfections, he makes beauty from my ashes.

When I hide in self hate torment, he dances over me in heaven.

 

Lord, let me see me from your eyes. Remind me who I am.

 

In the mirror when all I see Is who I don’t wanna be

In the loneliest places when I cant remember what grace is

When I cant receive Your love afraid I’ll never be enough

If I’m Your beloved can You help me believe it

I’m the one You love and That will be enough.

-Remind me who I am | Jason Gray

 

 

 

She wore no Shame

As she frolicked through the woods with her two older siblings, fighting to keep up, she wore no shame.

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As she hiked up the trail in her big bowed headband and her pink tutu, she wore no shame.

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As she tried new adventures, fell and got back up again, she wore no shame.

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As she wore her crown of femininity, she knew she was special, loved and perfectly lovely to her daddy.

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As the played in the water, facing fears and getting tossed back by the waves, she wore no shame.

As she wiggled her little hiney, prancing in her swimsuit, she wore no shame.

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As she cried for her daddy to come and comfort her in her sorrow, she wore no shame.

“Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter into it.” Mark 10:16

As I sat and watched her, I was mesmerized by intriqgue. When is it that we loose all sense of wonder…. in ourselves. In life. In everyone around us.

When is it that we start apologizing for who we are and hiding ourselves from the world?…. our bodies, our mistakes, our weaknesses, our dreams, our fears, our insecurities, our failures.

When is that we allow the lie of shame to cloak us from our innocence and steal the whimsy from our inner child. Are we not, even as adults, made in his image, forever a child in the eyes of our father and eternally in need of a saviour?

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With every new gift of whimsy my eyes bore witness to, I called out to my Father.

“Lord, Help me to be like this here wee one. Confident and free to simply be. Whole, innocent and joyful, full of whimsy and excitement. Let me run to you with reckless abondon, even in my pride and childish weakness. Let me trust you with my life, with my purpose and my heart. Amen”

Perfection is Possible

For years, I chased perfection. And to be honest, I still struggle.

While in my mind, I know better than to think perfection is king, [rather than the thief of everything] in my actions, I still strive….

  • to earn my salvation
  • to make it in this world
  • to achieve my dreams, success and influence
  • to be accepted and liked by others
  • to be loved, even by God

If I look closely at what I’m chasing, I see clearly that what my head knows, my heart still doubts most days.

But, as I’ve come to know his grace and mercy, my pursuit of perfection has slowed. Instead I chase after him, his heart, his love and his relationship. To know him, grow in him and be like him.

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As I see his face more clearly, I see my sin in right alignment.  The word “perfection” became tainted. I despised it. It was my frienemy now, arch nemesis.

Then I read it…

Be perfect therefor, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. Matt 5:48

For months I struggled with it. How can I possibly be perfect as God, without achieving perfection?

In divine fashion and “perfect” timing, he opened my eyes and heart to see.

Perfection, my child is IN ME. Through ME, it is possible. In fact, it’s advisable and a worthy pursuit, it just looks different than you think!

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The Three Stages of Perfection

1. Perfect Relationship

We are perfect because of our eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. When we become God’s children, we are washed clean and declared “not guilty.”  He now considers us Holy, blameless and righteous because of his Son’s sacrifice on our behalf.

This perfect relationship, despite how badly we screw up (and we will, daily) is unchangeable and gurantees that we will one day be made completely perfect.

In Christ you have been brought to fullness. ~ Colossians 2:10

It’s not a contract, but a covenant that God has made with us!

 

2. Perfect Progress

As we grow closer in our relationship with Christ, we mature spiritually,  not just in learning from Christ but in learning to obey him.

As we press on, living and serving in love, we progress closer to complete perfection.

It is not however our service that perfects us, rather, as God perfects us, we do good deeds in response to what he’s done for us….  It is an overflow of love in gratitude for Christ.

Unlike the previous, this stage of perfection fluctuates, dependfing on the stage of life we’re in and our daily walk with God.

 

3. Completely Perfect

There will come a day when Christ returns for his bride and will bring us with him to his eternal kingdom. There, we will be glorified and made completely new and perfect.

But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. Philippians 3:20-21

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So while perfection is possible, it is grounded solely in the faith that saves us! There is nothing, not a morsel of good that will earn or achieve us this status. It is only by the blood of Jesus that cloaks us in regal garnments and wipes our shame and guilt right clean.

While on most days it feels like he’s failing me, he promises to carry me through to completion.

 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

So I press on,  standing firm on his promises.

Finding “Your People” and building community

For years I felt alone. Like I didn’t have “my people” or any true friends. Not to mention my roster of female friendships was lacking.

I could never quite put my finger on it, but was quick to say girls were simply judgemental and critical of each other.

It wasn’t until my twenties that God would bring me two fold into the most beautiful of communities and teach me what it takes to allow genuine friendship to blossom.

The key, I soon discovered, was vulnerability.

Like a marriage of it’s own, the bond of friendship is birthed through trial and brokenness.

In laying your ugly on the table, knowing she’ll still love you (and accept you) when the masks are removed.

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Truthfully, this was hard for me. I had spent my whole life trying to portray an image of having everything in my life, including me, wrapped up pretty and perfect. The last thing I cared for people to see, especially another women, was my weakness. The dark within myself that even I had tried to hide from.

It first took being able to look at myself in the mirror and own the junk I’d brushed beneath the rug and the pain I’d stuffed down deep… out loud and not pretend it wasn’t ugly. Then laying it at the feet of the only true healer, asking for forgiveness and begging that He would make me clean.

‘Cause when we experience grace for ourselves and come to know His mercy in brokeness, we’re able to extend that love and acceptance to others, just as he has done for us.

Slowly, I was able to start embracing my imperfections and living in the truth of my brokeness, without it defining me. And when I saw myself as He saw me, I could go to friends in honestly. I didn’t have to paint a pretty picture in fear of being rejected. I could rise above my circumstance and seek community in my suffering.

And the most beautiful thing happened….

As Marianne Williamson said,
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Standing on his promises and living in the freedom and forgiveness he gives me- despite how far I have to go or rotten I am on the worst day-  I give others permission to do the same.

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Permission to believe God even when we doubt him.

…..When we feel pathetically unlovable and beyond hope.

…..When we think we’ve butchered the gospel or strangled the light that was within us.

…..When we think we can’t be Christians because our actions and tongue pierce hearts with hatred.

…..To know that when we seek him we will find him and when we confess, we are forgiven.

…..That we are washed completely clean and that are sins are removed as far as the east is from the west.

…..That because of Christ, not by anything we can or cannot do, we are Holy, blameless and beautiful in the eyes of God. Treasured, celebrared and passionately danced over. .. because of the gift Jesus gave us on the cross.
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How can this not move us to worship and dancing?!

How glorious and loving is our Father, slow to anger and quick to forgive. The ultimate and perfect example of love.

So, if you’re sitting there like I once was, longing for community, I dare you to do the impossible which is possible only with God.

Go before him and confess your darkness; The battles and scarlet wounds you’d rather hide.  Receive forgiveness from your Saviour, allowing his love and mercy in. And then live in that freedom.Walk in confidence of his love and share the power of his testimony.

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Praying for you, my friend, that God would bring the right women who can speak into your life, and also women who need you and could use a your friendship.

 

The Good Girl Complex

For years, I hated the word sin.

I cringed at the sound of it, hated the way it looked, despised how often Christians used it and doubted what it meant – or what I thought it meant, anyway.

Like many of us, I truly believed I was a good person. I wasn’t a murderer. I didn’t steal. I believed in God. I wanted to leave the world a better place. I tried to do the right thing. I encouraged and loved others. The list goes on.

But I didn’t truly understand my need for Jesus or why he had to die on a cross for me, personally.

God first began to open my eyes, when in preaching, my Pastor explained the word sin in a way I’d never heard before. He shared that sin is another way of saying “missed the mark” or “falling short of expectations.” He explained that just as children disobey their parents or do things they know they shouldn’t, we do the same to God, ultimately disappointing him.

It hit me. I remembered “the disappointment face” from my mother growing up. I would have rather made her angry than have her disappointed in me! I’d feel guilty immediately and most times, find myself begging for forgiveness. More than when she dawned the angry face, I knew I’d messed up when she would look at me and say, “I’m dissapointed in you.” What she really meant was, I had let her down.

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Our sin and the manner in which God deals with us is no different. He loves us as our Father! He wants to see us succeed in life, walk boldly in the path he’s set before us, be joyful and ultimately, know we are deeply loved. And whether we like it or not, protest or embrace it, he knows better! His ways are higher.

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I had it all backwards. I had allowed my childhood view of God, as a domineering, scary head in the sky,  to cloud my understanding of sin and my need for repentance. Sin did not make me unworthy of knowing God’s. [He can't help himself from loving us!]  It didn’t lessen me to some filthy disgrace beyond embracing. [By God's grace alone we are accepted, right where we are.] But it does put me in right alignment with God and others!

To often, we compare ourselves to other people.  We think that if we study God’s word longer each morning than Sally, if we pray more eloquently and louder than Barb publicly and we help the homeless every other sunday, than we’re good people. We deceive ourselves into thinking our “works” outweigh our “sin” and so long as we’re doing better than those around us, we’re A-OK.

For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. [Romans 3:23]

None of us is exempt and no sin is weightier than the other. Despite our varieties of sin, we’re all equal. Our sin is all equal. I’m no better than the gentlemen in the recovery house or the women selling herself for money. I’m equal to the business man who forgets he has a family and the teenager who steals cars for kicks.

You will have no other gods, only me.No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them.

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.

Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

Honor your father and mother

No murder.

No adultery.

No stealing.

No lies about your neighbor.

No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s. [Exodus 20 MSG | The Ten Commandments]

Despite how “good” of people we are, when we honestly look and measure ourselves against God’s loving and perfect standards, we see that not one of us is better than the other. Because If God see’s ALL sin as bad and will one day judge us according to our misses, then we ALL fall miserably short of his glory and ideal. Even our best is filthy rags.

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And while this reality may seem hopeless, God loved us enough to make a way. He sent a perfect example for us to follow, Jesus;  a man who was fully human, so he could relate and understand the things we go through here on earth, and fully God, showing us how to walk holy and blameless each step of the way.

Then, as the ultimate sacrifice and demonstration of his love for us, he placed the judgement [ramification for misbehaving] of the worlds sin, in it’s entirety- past, present and future, including ours- on his only son Jesus. He hung on a cross in yours and my place, taking the hit for what we’ve done. He died in our place, before we even knew him! He was a stranger to us and still, he took the bullet.

He jumped in front of the bus for you and me!

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You see, the law was not given to condemn us, but simply show us our need for God! ‘Cause when we see our sin for what it is and the weight of what it costs, Jesus’ face becomes more clear. We see our need for him like the light of day and the Crucifixion becomes personal.

Friends, it should bring us to our knees in thanksgiving for what God has done and repentance for the ways in which we’ve hurt him. That’s all confession [saying we’re sorry to God] and repentance [truly meaning it and being determined to turn from it] really is. It’s not a demeaning religious act that we should proudly walk away from. It’s not Gods opportunity to throw mud in our face and shame us for all we’ve done.

He said his burden is easy and his yoke is light. Repentance is the place which we should daily come, humbling ourselves before a loving father and ask forgiveness for what we’ve done. And as we kneel there before him, he bends down to embrace us, hugs us and says “It’s all going to be ok. I forgive you. Don’t give it another thought.”

He removes our guilt as far as the East is from the West.

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Because you see friends, it’s not about what we can do or how good of a person we can prove of ourselves. It’s what’s already been done for us! We need simply to accept this gift.

In Him we are new creations and the old has gone. Our every sin has been forgiven.. and forgotten!

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG

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It’s time we rise up as a generation and nail the “good girl complex” to the cross!

Clinging to the Grace that Saves

Comparison is the thief of everything.

I know this and yet I spend hours scrolling feeds wishing I was where she was and God would start using me to my fullest potential.

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I weigh all the ways I’ve tried against her apparent ones and bang my head asking why….

 

Why he’s given me passions for purpose, yet I can’t seem to find my way with them.

Why I’ve created the same thing that she has, yet mine sits abandoned on my computer for eons.

Why I’ve had the same stirrings as so and so- yet theirs has launched a movement that inspires thousands.

Why everyone seems to be running together, while I sit on the sidelines unnoticed.

Why i still struggle to find “my people” or and a community of fellow professionals.

Why she is friends with her so fast, yet I’ve been following for ages.

Why I can’t align the puzzle pieces of a thousand steps of obedience.

 

Still… I’m wandering in the dessert of waiting. It feels more akin to rushing waters of struggle.

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In my Influence Network small group last night, we talked about success and how we define it as Christian entrepreneurs. Because if we’re honest with ourselves, most days we make it about ourselves and achieving our dreams… The expectations we have for our lives, not necessarily what God has planned for us.

Because success in Christ’s eyes is measured in service and he is more concerned with our hearts condition than our comfort.

He calls us to love as he has and put others before ourselves. Nowhere does his word say we’re called to make a sparkly little life where we have no need to rely on God, fight to make a name for yourself or keep striving till you’re flat on the floor in defeat.

But I’m still dying to my ego. My flesh still wages war and remnants of my pride and a desire for influence still linger. If I’m honest, I’m still trying to make a name for myself. Still trying to please God with all “my good.”

God gives each one of us unlimited resources in Christ to rise above earthbound dreams and live lives that reflect eternity in our hearts. But it’s hard, even heart breaking sometimes.  Whether a man arrives or does not arrive at his own destiny depends on whether or not he finds the Kingdom within and hears the call to wholeness – holiness. He does not have to scramble for a place in the scheme of things. He knows that there is a place which is his and life becomes his vocation.

 

I read it at night in the pages of Honestly, Sheila Walsh‘s dark yet beautiful journey to recovery after being submitted to a pychiatric ward.

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Old habits die hard and yet I face the truth with openness.

The refiners fire, binding the feet that used to run from anything that hurt to a steadfast stillness that abides in him…in defeat.

I raise my white flag of surrender.

Oh Lord, I need you to help me.  Create in me a new heart that wants to be known simply in/by/for your namesake and to rise above the prideful pursuit of earthbound dreams.

Knowing that I am sinful by nature and that no act of willpower or persistence can free me from it, my only hope is him, leaning in to his plans and ways of leading me.

While painful- the stripping away of flesh and daily dying of self- I feel victory in small stirrings – hope, my manna for the moment.

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And so I hold on. I lay out my soiled rags of pride before him, begging to be washed white as snow…

To be changed from the inside out, in ways only he can accomplish. To find purpose and fulfilment by living water alone. My identity stripped of idols, clinging to the grace that saves.

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Lord, I’m chasing after you.

 

In the cleft of the rock

“There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.”

What He feels is anything but near. Distance perhaps. Silent even. And if I’m honest with myself, deep down I worry He’s mad at me… left me to think about what I’ve done with a dunce cap on in the corner.

But I don’t know what.. what I’ve done.

It’s simply dark and eerily quiet.

I’ve called out and I’ve cried to Him. I’ve shared my worry, my fear and my frustration. I’ve even vented when I’m hurt and pleaded for heart change and desire to do His will. I’ve asked for wisdom and guidance – clarity for the next step.

But all purpose feels fleeting; all purpose that is, but waiting.

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As I count my gifts, I scribble gratitude for the fact that I haven’t run. That I haven’t stopped praying, reading His word or counting all the ways He loves me- daily. #367, I counted this.

Because in truth, this baby Christian likes to feel and hear to know.

But if we’re honest with ourselves aren’t we all like that? Rather faith be akin to “seeing is believing” rather than a belief beyond what the eyes can see or the mind can comprehend.

My bible commentary reads, “We cannot comprehend God as He really is apart from Jesus Christ. We can only know Him by what he does and how he acts.”

Both of those present past.

Does. Acts.

Both require waiting.
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“When my Glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand…. until I have passed by.”

Until He acts. Until He does, it’s bound to be dark.

In the nook of a rock, with His hand of protection hedging me in, darkness will surround me. His hand will muffle His voice and keep me from seeing.

In this reality, that same darkness and the quiet now comforts. An act of love, not neglect or anger. 

“Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

And in that moment, light will break forth, His Glory will shine and warm my face from the damp and dew that lingered.

Like the first sun break after the clouds roll away; a glimpse of summer coming, in the teasing spring days….

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I will soon fully see and follow from behind, into the dawn of a new season gloriously full of beauty and riches beyond my winters comprehension.

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But for now, I will wait, with summers taste on my tongue, trusting my Father [who loves me and knows what's best ahead] to do what only He can do.

To go before me, preparing the way. A way… for me; purposefully planned and orchestrated.

And so I wait.

 

Passage Reference: Exodus 33: 21-23