Friday, April 29, 2011
I know that it is because many people don't understand what's inside. The treasures that await.
There was once a time when I read the Bible and all I saw were words written across a page. The words to me, at the time, didn't mean much. I didn't understand.
It wasn't until I truly committed myself to following this wonderful instruction manual that things truly began to make sense. Now as I read the Bible, it comes together in an amazing way. It holds mysteries still, but the more I commit to following it, the more I see it as a reflection of my life.
I want people, non believers especially, to consider something......First of all, I love you!
Think about if everyone followed the Bible. There would be no lies. No deceptions. There would be worrying about who your spouse is or isn't talking to behind your back...there would be no adultery. You wouldn't have to lock your doors . There would be no stealing. No car alarms. No need for home security systems.
There would be no divorces becasue we would love each other as we were called to love.
We would embrace one another in love. We would give...but others would give back to us.
The world would be beautiful if people learned to follow the Bible. No crime. No murder.
No people in prisons. No victims of crime. No drug abuse because people would know that thier body is a temple. No eating disorders because everyone would know that they are beautiful..because everyone would know that they are loved.
IF only everyone followed the Bible...so many problems would disapper.
I will not tell his story. It's not my story to tell. I know that he has hurt many people with his crime.
As a society, we have cast our stones of judgement towards him.
We assume that he is unreedeemable. Unforgiveable. We toss him out like yesterday's trash.
He is that person on the bottom rung of life. The one with the face full of dirt and the mouth full of mud.
His crime touched my life in a very personal way. It hurt me. Very deeply. It caused me to look at people, at men, in a different way.
For many years, I tip toed between anger and forgiveness....anger and forgiveness...anger would usually win......until recently...
Despite the anger, I could still see a human face staring between the prison walls. Not a monster. Not a beast. But a person. Needing love. Worthy of forgivenes. A human soul.
When we learn to lay down our anger, we find our roots.
I can see how sin takes its root in us,,,even when we are children. Our sin affects children.
Our angry, bitter words plant seeds of darkness in their hearts.
They imitate what they see. Sometimes they grow up to be criminals. Not to excuse the behaviour...but to cast some light....
Our anger, our sin...our bad and negative example, plants seeds of darkness. Our lies. Our sins stretch out thier roots and nestle inside the children exposed to them.
Darkness breeds darkness breeds darkness breeds darkness...a cycle.....
I know this man had significant seeds of darkness planted in him as a child. He saw things that no child should have seen.
He planted his own seeds of darkness and they grew into mammoths. I know that we all have a choice...but I also know that sometimes it seems, where love and light are lacking, those seeds of darkness grow deep. They grow deep and they spring into action.
I think about the victims of his crimes. I hurt for thier sadness. I cringe at how that darkness has taken root in thier own lives. Darkness spreads. It grows.
I used to think that the darkness would always win. I thought that certain situations looked impossible. That the cords of complexity were wound too tight.
Because I could always see it growing and manifesting itself as chaos in so many lives.
I knew of the One true Hope, Jesus, but I never saw the roots of Light branching out.
Now, I know why.
I wasn't spreading it. In order to see changes, significant changes, we have to take the Light we have been given, as Christians, and spread it around.
Throw it like seeds on the dry, dusty grounds of chaos....Ask God to water those seeds, and they will grow. The seeds will turn that dry dusty ground into a ripe vineyard. A harvest.
Before we know it, changes will occur that we never thought possible. But the light has to be spread.
As I was thining on the victims of crime, I considered how hard...how extraordinarily difficult...it would be to forgive certain crimes.
I think about the families of murder victims.... How hard would it be to forgive?
It has taken me years and years to forgive lesser crimes. I can't imagine and I know that I, as a human, could not do it. The pain would be too great. The loss to unimaginable.
But I know that through God, all things are possible. Only through the Divine could I even get to the point where I wanted to forgive.
Our hurt. Our anger gives us something to hold onto in the midst of all of the loss.
I had to let go of many many things that weren't easy. Even now, there are some days when I struggle with some things. But when I truly learned to "let go" a true beauty and innocence found it's way into my life.
It was only given by a Man. Jesus.
Only in the letting go, did my roots begin to grow.
It is only when we lay down our anger, that we can begin to find our roots...that place of light where love is deep...and good things grow.
My prayer today is for the victims of crimes....
I used to pray, often asking God for things that I wanted. I was often left disappointed. But by letting go of sin and committing myself to his word, I can hear His voice. I see that God isn't there to serve us with our wishes...He has a plan. Order. By following his plan and Trusting, good things grow.
He has led me to give up many things. Much of my time. Many of my things. Christianity is truly about sacrifice. But I am finding an immense joy in "letting go." I have the true peace that surpasses all understanding. I have the innocence that I thought was lost.
True Christianity is, for me, evolving into this beautiful thing. If we look at the life of Christ, we can see a man who gave up everything. He walked from town to town....giving of himself..never expecting anything in return.
We see him mocked. Abused. Crucified. His life embodied sacrifice. But he never complained. He never wavered. He never faltered.
At first I had a very very difficult time of giving up some of the things He wanted. I don't have many possessions to begin with.
I have 3 major possessions, a massive book and music collection...and a nice vehicle.
I remember the night He asked me to sell my book collection and give the money to the poor.
I had this huge knot in my stomach. I had worked very hard for my collection. It took a few years to acquire my beloved books. I loved the smells. The feel. The spine. I truly didn't want to let them go. I struggled with the "knot" of holding onto them.
But as I decided to let them go...in order to help others....there was an overwhelming peace.
He told me that if I would sell them, then He would give me knowledge.
The very night night came these very real dreams that were more like experiences.
I spoke about this dream in several other posts....it was a beautiful dream that is shaping my view of Christianity. That very simple and real dream is shaping my view of the world.
Anyway, I struggled with the "letting go" of things, but as I gave up....joy! true joy and learning...
One day I was pondering on the subject of Christian Persection. So many people hate Christians. To some, Christianity is a major turnoff. I have friends who have seen "Christians" worshipping on Sunday and then delving back into thier life of lies and deception during the week. How sad...
Don't they know they represent the Greatest Man that ever lived? Don't they know that others are watching thier lives? But this isn't what true Christianity is...True Christianity is about
love, giving, and sacrifice.
So many chuches preach hate. We aren't to hate. We aren't to judge. We are to live our lives as Christ lived. Reaching out, giving, loving, sacrificing our needs and wants......
back to persecution....
Over the past few months, I've read news articles detailing horrendous events and crimes against Christians in other countries. Christians of all denominations and faiths. Preachers and Priests are targeted. Thier homes are being burned down. Thier churches are being destroyed.
Miltants sometimes open fire on entire congregations of worshippers.
Catholics. Protestants. anyone who knows and believes in Christ is a target. This is happening around the world!
I know that in the Bible, it states that in the last days Christians will be persecuted more than any other time on earth...
I see these events and I get this huge knot in my stomach...Things, I feel, are only going to get worse.
My heart breaks for the people in these countries.
I know that we all want to believe that we are safe on our homeland. I pray that we are. But I wonder if the economy collapsed....if a true true breakdown of society ever occured....if the conditions were right for Christian persecution on our home turf....how many people would truly be able to freely give thier lives for Christ? How many would deny Him?
If someone came to your door right now, with an AK 47 and said, "Deny Christ or Die" we think that it would be easy to say...."I can't deny Him, I will die for Him."
As I was pondering all these things, Jesus reminded me of the stuggle in the "letting go." A true struggle.
So, heres a question...some food for thought....
Has He ever asked you to give up anything for Him? a habit? an addiction? a possession?
A sin? A stronghold?
Did you struggle?
I asked Him about this subject, here's what He told me,
"If people are having trouble giving me these things, How can they truly expect to so easily give me thier life?"
As He showed me this, I jolted. I think so many of us would think it would be an easy task. But if we aren't giving Him our time or any of the things that He asks of us...What makes us so sure we can so readily give up our very lives?"
Write down your most treasured possession. Now give it up. Give the money to the poor.
Not easy is it.
Just some food for thought....
I don't know if it was a reaction based upon his movements.
There was something sad about him. Maybe something written in the corner of his eyes. I don't know, but I could tell that that something weighed upon his heart.
I had just finished a 12 hour work stint. I drive an hour home. I was ready to see my baby boy!
But a very real part of me wanted to innocently reach out to this young man...I smiled and waved but a part of me wanted to ask him if anything was wrong? I wanted to give him Hope. The hope that I have found in Jesus. I wanted to reach out and hug this stranger. To put my hand on his shoulder and say, "hey, someone cares. This too shall pass....you see I met a Man." And I wanted to listen to this young man's story. To listen to what he had to say..
sometimes,, as Christians we need to simply listen.
But, as habit would have it, I simply drove off....he drove off.....
I said a prayer for him on my way home. I hope it was enough.
As I pulled onto our road, I saw another young man walking. A young boy around thirteen or fourteen....
I immediately had the same instinct. To reach out. To reach into the life of someone and give them hope.
As I pulled into my driveway, I began to wonder, " Why do we not reach out more?"
Is it because we don't have the time?
One thing I've noticed about society in general...We live in our own little boxes..often not noticing others around us. We've been trained to look the other way, in a sense. How many times have you been at a gas station and had a total stranger come up to you and say, "Hey, you look a little down...is something wrong?"
Can I help you? You see, I have this Hope. I know this Man."
It's not something that we generally do. Why? Is our time more valuable?
I began to think about how these young men were the sons of mothers....I thought about how I would so desperately want a stranger, a Christian, to reach out to my son if he were ever needing a ear to listen....or a hand to help.
I've always been fairly shy. A bit insecure. But lately Jesus has had me reaching out in greater ways. I asked Him to plant seeds of love so deep within me that my concern isn't over my insecurites, but my concern is for those around me.
It is that very concern, that has driven me to reach out in ways that I never thought possible.
The love that He has given me, isn't a weak human love. It is rooted in the divine. It comes from a supernatural source. It comes from Jesus. He is the embodiment of love.
So I am praying that I will be a little bolder next time. Even if I don't have the time, I could reach out in a greater way. If we, as Christians, began to reach out in greater ways, imagine how many lives will be changed...
The light only grows when we share it. We aren't called to hide our lights "under a bushel or a bowl" but to let it shine so the world can see.... We let it shine..by doing...by reaching out and doing...
Let's stretch ourselves as Christians....so that we can grow. So the Light of His love can grow....so that the changes that we desire for the world to change...can begin to manifest. Let's Streeettchhhhh
There are so many times in life when we will be used as stepping stones.
Right now I'm in a situation, I'm not going to give the details of it now..but I'll tell some of what I've been through when I tell my story....
anyway, I'm in a situation.
When I look at the situation with my "human" eyes...I see myself as a victim. There are days, which are very few and far between now...thanks to Him, when I look on all that has been done and I think, How? How, Jesus? How will this ever change?
Some days I feel the victim....
But today, I chose not to.
I chose to simply trust.
I refuse to listen to the Lies. It's true,, I could choose to dwell on past hurts....but today I choose not to.
I choose to Trust in Him. I know that my past is littered with pain and hurt, but today I am choosing to believe. To have faith. Because Jesus already told me that things will change.
It's hard though. It's hard to look at life, and things have been done...and to choose to "let it go."
It's so very hard. But it's possible. and there is a beauty in the "letting go."
Yesterday I learned something interesting....psalms 118 is in the center of the Bible. At the very heart of the bible, the center....It says not to put our trust in Man, But in God...
men will disappoint us...that is a story in itself...men will take advantage..men will easily allow us with opportunities to play the victim...but not today....today is a new day....Today I am an overcomer. Today, even though things don't make sense, I put my trust in God.
Not in man.
Today, I am not a victim.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
the one reading this...
did you know that you are here,,reading this,,,,for a reason?
This is not chance...or coincidence
You are here, today, on this site....reading this message....
Because He wants you to know how much He loves you.....
He brought you here, today, so that you could know....so that you could see that there is reason and order to everything...that you were meant to be here....so that you would know that you are loved.
I'm not a crazy Christian woman droning on about an unfelt God....I'm a woman who has walked on the dark side...I'm a woman who has tasted the loss...not just felt it..I lived in it for so long...I know the bitter taste of it...
I also know that He is real. He wants to put your life back together. He wants you to know that He can water you and give you roots. He can give you something real...Something that you can hold on to....He is not an unfelt God....when He touches you...you will know it..Because you will see things in such as way...that it will be undisputed and undeniable.
My prayer is for you....pssst...yeah you....the one on this page...the one reading this post...
My prayer is that you will see your worth..You will see that you are worth so much more than you could ever think or ever know...
the one whose life is marked by loss...and you don't understand the "whys"....you are loved
the one who has been picked on...put down...bullied...the one who feels like you are worth nothing because that is what you have been told your entire life....you are loved
you. the one with the eating disorder. Has anyone told you lately that you are beautiful? you are loved.
Psst...you...the one who has been picked on for your weight...judged by people that think that they are better....has anyone told you lately that you are beautiful? you are loved
pssst...you...the one who has never known the tender touch of a mom...or a dad...you are so loved. He wants to show you His tender touch and be the father you have never had...or to give you the nurturing care of a mother. You are loved.
psst..you...the mom or dad that abandoned your child. You secretly hate yourself.......you feel as if you are a failure. But, I can see a light waiting to lift you out of your despair. You are so loved.
You. The victims of crimes...the ones who have been dealt in unfairness...the ones who have suffered at the hands of someone else....you are so loved...he is waiting to heal you. His arms are wide open....fall into them....and he will teach you how to be whole..
pssst...you, the one in the jail cell...wasting away....believing that your life is over and there is no hope...you may or may not feel regret......your soul has pock marks from all of of the abuses..you listened to the lies. but today, I bring you truth. you are loved
pssst....you the ones who have been judged, kicked down, face in the dirt, put in your "rightful" place by people who believe that they are better, smarter, ...you are loved
you. the ones with your noses held high...the ones who secretly laugh at the pain of others...you too are loved....you too have been touched by dark hands and dark deeds...
Hey you, the one who has worked hard your entire life...You feel underappreciated. God sees all that you do. He knows... you are loved.
Hey you, the one who continually feels like giving up, throwing in the towel...because you see no results....you are loved...be patient..you are called to plant the seeds...God has already watered it...it will grow....You are loved.
Psst..you the one who thinks God has given up on you...for all of the times you have failed..He still loves you..you are loved
hey you, the woman who feels worthless because she suspects her husband of cheating, girlfriend..you are so loved.....
Psst. the one reading this rolling your eyes....thinking, I do not like this woman...that's ok..you are loved.
pssst...hey you, Read this....it is for you....
I love you...
Seek Him...He is there waiting for you...He will catch you in your fall. And when He does, you will know it.
Never put God in a box. He is too big. He is surpising. I want to outline a series of events. These events reveal, to me, that God speaks to us in so many ways. He often confirms what He is telling us, not through coincidence, but through a very ordered plan.
Several months ago I was standing in front of my mirror. I looked into the mirror and I could see that all of the events of my life, my Advertising degree, my music endeavors, my dark and brutal past of failed relationships and loss,...
Every experience that I ever had....I saw, at that moment, how everything how culminated to this one particular point in time. I saw how every experience was lined up so that I could be used for God's purpose in the greatest possible way. Even all of the hurts would be used for his gain.
I knew that my time hadn't been wasted. I knew that everything, every dark hand I'd ever been dealt, had prepared me to share His Love. I saw how even my Advertising degree, which I thought was a wasted endeavor, could be used to further his Kingdom.
He has given me so many new and innovative ideas to witness to others. Ideas that could only have been strengthened by my degree.
This is my time...the time when I will be used....the time when my life was at its most ripe, this was my thought
A few weeks later I was sitting in a church service. I had revealed my thoughts to no one. My pastor reveals this amazing revelation that he had a Pastor's conference.
He said that he was speaking to an extremely talented musican at the conference. This man spent years training and studying music, but had only recently given his gift to the Lord.
My pastor said that the man expressed regret that he had wasted so much time, not giving his gift to Jesus. My pastor claimed that at that moment, he had this vision of these rings.
He saw what looked like a target. Each ring represented a year. He said that he had this vision of this man running across the spanse of time to come to the perfect place, Now, where he could be used in the best possible way for God's plan and purpose.
He said that he knew that the man's past wasn't wasted because he knew that he was being prepared for his time. Now. The time when all of his talents, abilites, and experiences, would be most effective.
This sermon confirmed my belief that my time, the time that God will use me and all of my past experiences for His Glory, is now. Nothing was truly wasted. It was ordered. There was a plan.
I was at a funeral. My dear friend, Diane, had lost her mother, Mrs. Hollie Brumit. ( See my blog about a very thought provoking and inspiring funeral)
Before proceeding, I want to extend my hand of sympathy to this family. A grandmother. A mother. A friend was lost. I know the pain of loss and I truly sympathize with you.
At the funeral Diane's daughter, Heather told a story that brought tears to my eyes. It was very moving.
Heather had lost her grandfather only a few years earlier. Heather spoke about how she had always heard that when you find a heads up penny, that is your relatives way of saying hello from Heaven.
She spoke of how after her grandfather died, she would find heads up pennies seemingly everywhere. All over the house. In strange and unexpected places. She even joked that perhaps someone was placing heads up pennies in various places so that she could find them.
They were everywhere!
The day after Heather's grandmother died, Heather was speaking of how she was sitting with her brother.
She mentioned how her brother had a very tiny crack in the screen of his cell phone.
She said that her brother got an alert for a text message. When he picked up the phone to answer it, there appeared in the screen of his phone, two heads up pennies.
One for her grandmother and one for her grandfather.
At Mrs. Brumits funeral, I learned that she was a true woman of God. I didn't know her well but was inspired by her faith. Her funeral reflected something beautiful. It was set up to be a celebration because she knew that her hope wasn't in this life, but in the next. She died with confidence because she Knew a Man...Jesus.
I was very moved when I heard Heather's story, because I could see how much Jesus loved them through that story. I could see how He wanted to bring them some light in thier time of loss and sadness. He wanted to remind them that everything is ok. He let them know, in his surprising and unexpected way, that thier grandparents are walking with God.
He wants them to know that He wants to keep us, as families, all together. He wants us to walk with Him one day. He wants us to commune with one another in this very real place He has for us.."a place with many rooms. "
I know that God doesn't speak to everyone in this way....It is only recently that He has begun to speak me in exciting and interesting ways. It is because I have committed to following Him. When we follow Him, so many questions will be answered. So much hope. So much joy.
I want to share something that I consider to be quite amazing... Miraculous in the sense that the it reveals such order...God has a way of affirming things.. He is surpising.
The other day I was thinking about Communion and Baptism. These two topics were on my heart and mind all day long. I hadn't had communion in a while and I wanted to partake.
I was baptized years earlier but I had been though so much..that I was simply thinking about it.
That night, before I opened my Bible, I said a prayer..."Dear Lord, guide my fingertips. Direct me to whatever verse you would have me to read." This is uncustomary for me. I usually know where I am going to read...But that night I did something different.
So I let the Bible fall open. The very first verse that I laid eyes upon:
The verse in which John the Baptist is baptising Jesus in the Jordan River! My heart leapt. I thought...is this a coincidence?
My fingers randomly flipped to another blind spot...I didn't know where they would lead...I let God do the leading...
The very next verse that I laid eyes upon:
The verse about the Last Supper! Communion! I thought, this is surely something that God is trying to tell me.
But wait, it gets better...
A week later I am sitting in Church...I didn't mention my experience to anyone. Our pastor announces that he is going to be performing Baptisms! I haven't witnessed a baptism at our church in years. I haven't heard of any baptisms that were performed in at least the last 5 years.
Our church is very small and nearly everyone has been baptized. But on that Sunday, a week
after that Biblical revelation...lo and behold..a baptism at our church...
I had to work on the day of the baptism. I work shift work and my shift happened to fall on the Sunday that others were baptised. But, it played out where I was baptised on a very special day.......but first, I tell of my Communion.
I haven't had Communion in quite some time. We have communion at our church on the first Sunday of every month. As it happens, I work every first Sunday of the month......
A few nights ago, we celebrated a Passover meal at our Church. The first one ever. At this Passover Meal, we participated in Communion. I didn't even know. It was almost as if Jesus surprised me with it. It was beautiful to me because He was telling me that He wanted me to take communion and He provided with an unexpected opportunity. He is amazing!
I asked my pastor that night when I could be baptised. He told me that I could on Sunday, which just happened to fall on Ressurection Sunday.
This was Jesus way of telling me how much He loves me. A Communion at a Passover meal and a Baptism on Resurrection Sunday.
How beautiful. How perfect. How ordered.
He has a plan and it is perfect. We will find order when we commit to following His word.
Order. Even the chaos....will come together because we will begin to see how acts of love and obedience will bring everything together..He is the missing piece to the puzzle ..that will make everything fit in a right and perfect way.
At the very heart of this ordered plan is Love. Love unfolds itself to reveal layer upon layer of healing.
So often we look for order amist our chaos but find none. Often our hands are dipped in darkness. There is no order in the roots of sin. There will be no answers. No understanding. No coming together. The puzzle will be left undone..and its pieces scattered. Only when we look to the source of light, the Truth of God's Word, can we find this precious order to things.
Love has a name. Jesus. He was sent from a Father of Light. He is cloaked in perfection. Rooted in Love. He is giving me roots.
I had a dream that my sister called me and invited me to dinner. In the dream, she spent hours and hours preparing a special meal for me. She waited and waited for me to arrive. In the dream, I was so focused on my work that I completely forgot about her and the meal she had prepared.
This dream spoke to me in a few different ways. Our work, As Christians, is important.
But we should never forget about our families.
We should never forget the hard and difficult work they do. They provide us with many things.
Even in our daily life.
Our jobs are important because they provide us with a means of providing for our family. But are we forgetting about the very ones we are supposed to be providing for? The dream revealed that we should always keep our perspectives. Remembering the things that are truly important.
My second dream....
I had a dream that I was riding in a bus. There were two bus drivers and several passengers. Every day the drivers would go out of thier way to do special favors for the passengers. The passengers would often ask the drivers to make special stops at thier homes. Unscheduled stops. The drivers did this every day without complaint.
One day the driver forgot something at his home. He needed to make an unscheduled stop to get something very important.
Suddenly, the passengers become irate. They begin yelling and complaining, not remember all of the sacrifices that the driver had made for them all those years.
How often do we expect others to serve us? In the dream, the passengers felt like the driver owed them something...they felt as if it were his job and sole responsibility to please them.
I often think of people in restaurants. I worked as a waitress for years while attending school.
How often do we treat people in restaurants, and convenient stores....and other places of as if they aren't important.
These people, although it is thier job to please customers, should still be treated with the utmost respect and consideration.
I reflect back to my days as a waitress....I remember Sundays ....restaurants would fill up with church goers. Many Christians were genuine and kind. They had an attidute of being grateful for even the smallest things. It was my job to serve them, but I could always spot a person of Christ by thier attitude. Their thankfulness. Thier patience. Thier kind words.
I remember how many of my coworkers would often complain about the attitudes of many of the church-goers that would come in and fill up the restaurants...dressed in thier Sunday best...
Many of my coworkers didn't know Him. They looked to the Christians to set an example..But often were left short changed and disappointed. They couldn't see a reflection of Christ's love...only bitter complaints, impatience...and an altogether negative attitude..
What image are we projecting when we call ourselves Christian? One of love and humility, always putting the needs of others before the needs of our own? Or do feel like entilted kings and queens ready to be served?
It is our job, as Christians, to serve others. Are we?
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Revelations of the Day
Yesterday I was at Wal mart shopping with my sister…I had to pick up a few items…I began to stroll through the garden center.
Since, I gave my life back to Jesus…I have had a special appreciation for things that grow. For flowers. Plants.
I have truly begun to notice the beauties of God’s Creation…to appreciate those things that are full of life…to appreciate the things that have roots, so to speak….
So I bought a few different flower varieties…some for my parents…And Cade picked out one for our neighbors..
I began to think about how easily plants and flowers die. I began to think about how plants must be watered and nurtured. How they must be tended to very carefully….very tenderly if they are to live..
I began to see our lives as plants. How easily we can fail. I know that my past life as a Christian was marked by failure. I would find myself continually feeling as though I were failing. I would continually struggle with anger and bitterness over various incidents in my life. I would continually struggle with depression, worry, and fear.
I would worry continually about my children. My finances. My situation. I worried about virtually everything.
But as I learned to Trust…things began to come together in an amazing way. I found it was extremely difficult to do many of the things that Jesus was asking..but I trusted. And now things seem to be bathed in simplicity…
But I can see how unless I let him Clothe me in the Light of His love…and water me with the Truth of His Word…I will die…like a plant…my roots will wither and I will die.
I will cease to grow. So I am finding that being a Christian is work…It’s the narrow path. But I can see things so brilliantly. The worry. The fear. It’s gone. Now just a perfect picture of simplicity.
BUT i know that the enemy was fighting me today. I began to feel the hand of darkness around me. I felt a mild depression coming over me. I know the reason for the battle. I can see myself standing on a ledge. Jesus is waiting for me beneath this ledge. Many people never make it out of the window. Many people are holed up...hiding from the true call of Jesus. But today I saw myself at the ledge...ready and waiting to jump...because I know that when Jesus catches me..when I land in His arms...that things will never be the same..My destiny will be fulfilled. I will walk in the fullness that He has called me to...and He will use me to change lives....Me. The one who was once insecure. The one who was always picked last. The one who always sat on the sidelines..Me...
The one with the face full of dirt..and the mouth full of mud...so I was pondering this jumping off the ledge...and I walked over to my I walked over to my neighbors house. I love their yard! It is like a tropical oasis. There are flowers and plants blooming everywhere. Little Bear, my youngest, began to splash his feet in their pool. I watched him laughing…splashing so innocently in the water. He was so happy!
I thought to myself..this must be what Heaven is like. That perfect innocence. Surrounded by Beauty. I could smell gardenias. They smelled so wonderful. Everything seemed so perfect. I thought this has to be what heaven is like.
Because I am seeing a plan unfolding. A very Brilliant Plan…and at it’s very core is Love. This plan is rooted in Love. He died over two thousand years ago. His name is Jesus. He is my plan. And I will let Him water me. I will let him clothe me in the Light of His Love. I will let Him nurture me and care for me. Because for the first time in my life, I feel like I am deserving of that Love.
No earthly man has ever given it to me. No earthly man has even come close.Only my Jesus. I love Him…..In, Him, I will Grow.. i think i am going to jump. yes, i will jump.
Let me Wash Your Feet.
One day I was thinking of the story of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus. I was very moved by the story.
Every night before I go to bed I ask Jesus if I can wash His feet. One night He told me, "Rachelle,
you can wash my feet by washing the feet of others."
At first, I was a little perplexed. I imagined myself standing on the corner of a busy intersection with a bucket of water and a sign saying, "Let Me Wash Your Feet."
Hmmm. I thought, This is a bit much, Lord.... I don't think I have mustered up that level of courage just yet... I imagined cars passing by...yelling insults..thinking thoughts, like crazy Christian woman...
But then I thought about how such boldness could make people at least stop what they are doing and reflect for a least a few moments on Jesus. Who knows, maybe one day you will be driving along and see me washing someone's feet...leaned over with a bucket of water....sponge and all...scrubbing the dirt off bunyons.
I would do it for Him if He wanted.
I just had a very enteraining thought. Imagine a Christian National Footwashing Day..where all members of every denomination gathered thier buckets, thier sponges, thier oils and washed the feet of strangers.
The purpose would simply be to remind Christians that we are called to be humble. We are called to be lesser in the faith that we will more in the next Life.
We can store up our heavenly treasures by washing the feet of others.
I don't think Jesus was asking me to wash feet in a literal sense, but to humble myself in such a way that I remember to continually put myself last.
Another thing that moved me about the story is the fact that the woman who washed the feet of Jesus was a prostitute. Jesus didn't judge her. Instead He allowed her to perform the very personal act of washing His feet. He loved her.
How often do we cast our stones at people whose behavior we don't approve? In the past, people were condemed with actual stones. Today, we condemn with words.
Our stones are our words. Do we speak words of love and encouragement? Words that bring healing? Or do our words fly like stones that aim to "put people in their rightful place?"
Are our words nurturing? Will they help others find thier way and grow thier roots? Or are our words designed to hurt..to keep people's faces in the mud...to keep people with mouths full of dirt? Do our words reflect Christ? Or are the designed to feed the roots of darkness...feeding the infinite black holes of despair?
Luk 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Luk 7:39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
Luk 7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
Luk 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
Luk 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Luk 7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Luk 7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Luk 7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
Luk 7:46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Luk 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Luk 7:48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
Luk 7:49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
Luk 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
Somehow these little characters got separated. Scattered. All of a sudden, my oldest boy Cade, began to look for these little characters. He felt an overwhelming need to have them all together.
It was almost as if he wanted them to be safe. Safe. All together.
I remember when I was a girl, I would do the same thing with my Barbies. If I lost one, even one, I would get frantic. It was as if I couldn't peacefully play Barbies until the lost Barbie was found. I would search the entire house. I would form an actual Barbie search party, often involving my reluctant younger brother. I wouldn't rest until that doll was found.
Lately, I have had a prayer.....that my family, my friends, my church..that the people I have encountered will all walk together in Heaven some day...Lately, I have felt an overwhelming need. A frantic and desperate desire to keep us All Together.
I can only imagine how Jesus feels. We are so much more valuable to Him than toys. I am beginning to understand the verse about the lost sheep. How all of heaven rejoices over one little lost sheep.
I am learning that as a Christian, it is ok to dream big. To have big faith...
But Jesus is showing me that, through acts of love...and through doing the word, they will begin to come in....the lost will be found and we will be all together...
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Friday, April 22, 2011
My mother in law is Catholic. Today my youngest and I went to church with her. We knelt at a cross and kissed it. It was a beautiful thing. Very symbolic.
Tonight at my church, we ate a Seder Meal to symbolize the Passover. I learned some very interesting things about the Passover. We prayed for Israel. It was a very beautiful thing. Very symbolic.
Please say some prayers for me over the next few days. My family and are getting some letters ready that I wrote for the kids at the Louisiana Methodist Home. Many of these children have no parents to look after them. Thier parents are in prison. Pray that the Love of Jesus will shine through these letters so that these kids will know that are loved. That the words and Blessing that are spoken into thier lives will stay with them...that one day, if they are at their worst..they will remember that Jesus loves them so much and there is hope.
I'm getting Baptised on Sunday. How symbolic to be baptized on Resurrection Day. I am believing that it will mark a new era of my life.
Soon, I will share more of my story. The gore. The ugly details. I feel like I should. But I won't throw anybody under the bus. I won't throw any stones. My heart was a place of darkness but now it is being bathed in love.
Please say some prayers for me. Love you :)
She dealt with rape as a child and had very deep wells of anger in her heart for years.
She felt unloved. Unworthy.
I was reading her beautiful testimony about how Jesus brought her into a new and beautiful place of innocence.
Innocence. I was reading her story and I saw how it related to my own in so many ways.
I never endured what she endured. I have never faced rape, but I could relate to the feeling of innocence that came over me when I came to know Jesus.
Jesus gives us innocence again. He takes the stain of our lives and makes us clean. I was reading her testimony and I could see such a wonderful joy. An exuberation. It was wonderful because I am also experiencing that same joy as I get to know Him better.
How He can take broken people..put them on His Potter's Wheel...and make them into something that He can use.
I am going to post a link to her story......
I like how in her story...and even in mine..in so many people that are learning of Him...this beautiful character emerges. God has a personality. And it is Beautiful.
In one part of her story she talks about how she felt God kiss her on the cheek one night before she went to bed. I like how He reveals Himself to people in different ways. One thing I am learning. Never put God in a box. He is bigger than that. If we put Him in a box, He will stay in a box for us...Never emerging. Never allowing us to His face....It's when we allow Him to work in our lives...when we learn to surrender...when we learn to give up..that He begins to show us his personality.....and reveal Himself in Great and Unexpected ways....
The blog is broken up in several sections...It reads like a story..Start at the beginning
If we don't challenge one another, will we grow? That is what I want, to grow.
I'm tired of doing what everyone else is doing Everyone else's life is wrought with complication.
I am ready to do something different. To challenge. I am ready to grow......So here are my ideas:
First, why do we lie? Lying is something that I gave up. I see how it affects lives. I see the chaos
I got into a healthy debate the other day with someone....I asked a simple question to see where it would lead....
Why do we lie to our children about the Easter Bunny? About Santa Claus?
I've done it without thinking. Everyone else is doing it. It is tradition. It is what people do.
But I remember when I was a child...on that fateful, bitter day when my little bubble burst and I found out that The Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, santa wasn't real....
I truly began to question. I thought, "well maybe Jesus isn't real." We can't see him. How do we know He is real? I looked across the years and I saw this huge set up...this stage, so to speak...
of how my parents would go to great lengths to give these mythical characters some degree of credibility...
Concocting stories of a man coming down a chimney...
A rabbit creeping through the yard in the middle of the night
An invisible being planting money under a pillow...
Elaborate stories. Then I wondered if Jesus was an elaborate story. I was a child. I didn't know Him yet. I had only heard about Him.
Santa sees all....He Knows when we are sleeping.. He Knows when we are awake...Santa, to me, had the same qualities as Jesus...
I am walking on eggshells.
I just want people to think. When we tell our children that a Bunny comes in the night to deliver eggs are we lying?
I asked someone the other day. I genuinly wanted thier opinion. I don't judge. I've hopped down the bunny trail since my son was born. But I began to think, Am I lying to my children? I know that I don't want them to have ANY reason at all to question the existence of the Most Amazing Man that Ever Lived. Jesus.
I don't want them to doubt Him for even a millisecond. Because He is Real.
So this Easter I am killing the Wabbit and cooking him in a stew.
I've debated this....on very friendly healthy terms with people over the past few days. I find that most people don't agree with me. That's fine. My purpose, is simply to get people to think.
Especially about lies in general. Because I have seen how lies kill and lies destroy. Lies get people to stop trusting.
Most people say that these mythical creatures are just a fantasy...that they are perpetuating fantasy and not lies...Is a fantasy the same thing as a lie? Tell me your opinions. Share your thoughts.
Here's a thought I had for whatver it's worth...Lord of the Rings is fantasy..Harry Potter is fantasy. If we hold up these books and say to our kids, Hey, these books are real. Then tell them one day, "O' nevermind...it was a fantasy." Then is that lying? Just some interesting food for thought
I am planning to hunt eggs with my boys...but I am killing the Wabbit. I'll tell them that I hid the eggs. I want Easter to go back to its Roots. To celebrating Jesus. Less focus on the furry friends.
Just a personal thing, Each of us has personal convictions. ....Hope no one takes this the wrong way....IT is merely intended to get people to think....
Maybe I am setting myself up for ridicule by this idea...but that's ok..I've been through worse. If I could cause one person...just one person just to stop and think about the God and lies...to question the important things..then it's all worth it..
Love you all :)
Thursday, April 21, 2011
One of my regular job duties is to load plastics into railcars. The railcar has to be inspected for cleanliness before we can load our final product. Each railcar has 4 compartments. Each compartment has bottom tubes that must be cleaned out and closed before we can put the plastic inside.
One day I was cleaning out a railcar tube....sometimes there will be several little plastic pellets stuck in these tubes.
As I was cleaning these tiny little pellets in the railcar, Jesus said, "Rachelle, get every single little pellet out of this railcar."
I scrubbed the tubes and scrubbed the tubes. Little tiny plastic pellets kept falling...coming from seemingly out of nowhere.
Just when I thought the tube was clean, another little pellet would appear.
Then, I was down to one or two tiny tiny little pellets.
I was about to give up. I was tired. These little pellets didn't want to move. But Jesus said, "Rachelle, I want every little pellet out of this railcar."
I was thinking, one little pellet isn't going to hurt anything. But I moved on. I pushed forward.
Finally. Finally, the last pellet was removed.
I asked Jesus, "Why did you want me to clean Every single tiny tiny little pellet out of this railcar?"
Here is what He said:
That those tiny little pellets represent sin in our lives.
How one tiny thing can destroy, can taint the quality of the entire railcar.
He wants us to be clean. One little thing in our lives that shouldn't be there could spread like a disease.
Sometimes railcars can be rejected by our customers if they are not clean. One pellet. One thing in our lives...and we could be rejected.
Do you have any "pellets" in your life?
The dreams that He gives are very real. Very brilliant. When He sends one, it is undeniable. I usually receive them when I fast.
I woke up in the night and He told me to write. I closed my eyes and said, Jesus, "It is dark outside. If I turn on the light, I will wake up my baby boy." Then He said, "Write."
I said, "But Jesus, it is dark outside. If I turn on the light, it will wake up my baby boy."
Finally, He said it again. I gave him the same response. For, I was worried about waking up my baby boy.
He then said, "I have given you light, now write." At first I was confused. I knew that the room was pitch black only moments before. I thought maybe He was speaking of a metaphorical light. A Light Within.
But then,I opened my eyes and I could see the very first sliver of dawn seeping into my window.
He gave me light. The light of the sun so that I could write.
How amazing! Jesus has a very distinct voice. He told me to write at the exact moment that the sun was presenting itself.
When we tell our story, we open ourselves up for scrutiny.
It makes me very nervous to know that I represent Jesus. That people are looking at my life.
They are holding me to a very high standard because I know and represent the One they call Jesus.
But stay tuned to this channel, Because my faith is great. I am believing for great and miraculous things.
I am believing that one day people can come to my blog and see Jesus. See Jesus, not only in me, but the stories I tell. My own story is slowly unfolding.
I am hoping to collect stories that would help people from so many differnent walks of life.
To the woman who is considering abortion. I want a story for her. So that she can see how precious the life of her child is.
I want a story for the bullied child. The overcomer. I want people to know how unique and special they are.
I've heard the phrase, our lives may the be only Bible people ever read. And I believe that it is true. That if we live our lives as a compass, pointing to our Maker, then others can see something in us....and follow that same path.
Today I was driving to work and I saw a homeless man on the side of the road. He looked like he had seen hard times. Sometimes, we can just look at a person and tell that life for them, hasn't been easy.
Instead, we judge. We make assumptions.
We say, "get a job."
Not all of us have that attitude. But most people I've encountered do.
I've seen the shows about pan-handling. People stand on street corners, begging for money or spare change and make up to $30,000 a year.
But today as I saw this homeless man. I didn't see a pan handler. I saw a vulnerable person. Down on his luck. I saw someone who had been pushed around. I saw a man who needed Jesus.
I saw a human soul.
I was digging around for to see if I had a few dollars in cash and I noticed a police officer. I couldn't see what he was doing, but it looked as if he were frisking the man.
Suddenly, I felt hurt. I felt like the police officer should have just let the man alone.
I felt like the man was targeted because he was lowly.
Because he was down on his luck.
I saw a lack of compassion in the officer. But then again, I can't imagine what kind of horrors police officers must witess. But still, a seeminly lack of compassion.
Earlier that day, I was thrust in the middle of an angry situation. I was thrust in the midst of someone else's frustration and impatience.
I had been in a great mood.
High on life. Living in the fulness of God's purpose, when lo and behold, the hammer of anger came crashing down, smashing my joy into little tid bits.
I saw, at that moment, how anger plants thorns in the hearts of people. How it hurts us in deep ways. It is so easy to act out of anger and impatience.
But as Christians, we have a responsibility.
Anger drives thorns into the hearts of people. Jesus is the one who wore the thorns so we wouldn't have to nail them into the people that we meet.
What if our anger kept someone from finding the answers to life greatest questions? What if our anger kept someone from wanting to know about the Greatest Story Ever Told?
Anger does not lift up. It tears down. It discourages. It's the easy route.
It's the wide path.
Let it Go.
I see a Hope in this life. I see lives that need healing touches and anger will tear down.
Stop. Count to ten. Say a prayer. But please think before you act. Anger destroys. It was placed here by the enemy and it sows seeds of hatred. Lives are destroyed through anger.
Today in my sadness, I thought about how hard it is to love. How it opens us to disappoints.
Because we care. We see a need.
We have a concern for lives. We see bitterness and hatred all around. Consuming people.
We see this Hope. And we want people to have it. To let them know that life doesn't have to be defined by sadness and despair.
But it is through that concern, that I can see how Jesus must feel. How sad he must be. Because He loves greater than I could ever even imagine. How must He feel when we choose to kick people in the face with anger. When we drive thorns into hearts with our words and our selfish actions.
But I have struggled with this foul emotion. But I am learning that the more I know Jesus, the more patience mutes the loud screams of anger. Patience. Patience. Patience.
Today my prayer is for all those that struggle with anger. That we may see the seeds of discord that you plant. How these seeds reap despair. That we can see that healing cannot be accomplished when we plant diseases through our words.
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment." But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment ... first go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:21-24).
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The story involved a woman who had a growth, cancer on her face.
Every Sunday she would stand up in church and publicly thank Jesus for healing her of her cancer. Thank you Jesus, for healing my cancer, she would say.
Others would look at her like she was insane. She clearly still had the cancer on her face. It was something that could not be hidden. But every Sunday she would thank Him. For she believed.
She had faith.
One day she was looking in the mirror and she still saw the cancer on her face. Jesus, she said, I know that you have healed my cancer but when is this thing on my face going to go away.
She put her hand to her face, and the cancer, the growth came off in her hand.
The next Sunday she stood up in church and publicly thanked Jesus for healing her of her cancer. No one was really paying attention. They thought she was crazy. After church, several members noticed that the growth was gone. One inquired, what happened? Where is your cancer? She told him that it had been gone since she was diagnosed.
That is what faith is.
One day my sister called me and told me of a dream she had. "Rachelle," she told me, "Last night I had a dream that you had roots." Roots? I remember wondering, how can I possibly have roots? My life is a quagmire. My marriage is in chaos. Everything around me is falling apart.
I went to one of the few prison ministries in a town of over 100,000 people. Over half of which sit in church pews on Sunday mornings. Do the math. Huge mega church that house hundreds of people. Hundreds. No volunteers seemingly anywhere. So where are all the christians?
Maybe there are things going on that I don't know about?
We live in the Bible Belt. So where are all the Bibles? Apparently people aren't reading them. Tonight I read about a 10 year old boy that found dead inside of a box. Dead. He had cerebral palsy. The parents are being blamed. Another case of abuse.
last week, a child was cooked in an oven by his mom. No Bibles in that house. I sometimes read comments on popular news posts. Everything seems to turn into a religious argument. Name calling. Non believers calling Christians, "fools." Christians calling "non believers" fools.
It is a game of tit for tat. It is relatively disappointing.
It is altogether sad.
It is the times we live in.
Many many many many people just don't care. Bottom line.
Not many are willing to make time for others. Few are willing to do favors.
There are givers. There are takers. Takers are huge in number. Givers are few and far between.
So what do we do? we wait. We patiently wait. We plant seeds. We sow love. We pray. We let God do His work. We try to let the fact that no one seems to care, bother us.
But it does. It bothers me.
I asked Jesus, Where IS EVERYONE? What are people doing?
This is what He told me:
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The above pictures of my best friend, Andy. 1973-2007. One of the hardest things I've ever been through- losing my best friend. But aside from me, one of the most difficult things I have ever witnessed in my life is the image of a mother kneeling over the grave of her only son. That is an image that will stay with me for my entire life.
There were times when Andy and I would argue. I think we were both insecure. We didn't know how to love one another in the way that God intended. He would sometimes pretend he was macho and pretend that love was silly. I was dreadfully insecure. It made for some volitile and interesting days.
But I could see through the front that Andy would sometimes put up. I could see that he had a heart of love. He had a heart of goodness. He always wanted to help. He longed to see improvements in people's lives. He looked for order amidst all of the chaos.
Writing this blog about him is harder than I thought it would be. I had a dream about him the other night that brought him back to life. He was sitting in a room with me, and it was as though he had never left. It was as though he were still here.
I could see and remember details about him in the dream that I had forgotten. Little things. The stubble around his chin. The shape of his ears. I remembered them in this dream.
In life, we were together all the time. Or talking on the phone..all the time. We were threaded at the hip.I'm writing this because I hope that it will help someone else deal with death. When Andy died, I went through a great depression. A few weeks before his death, I re-dedicated my life to Jesus. I was intent on doing things "right."
I was very angry when Andy died because I felt that I didn't deserve the pain that I was facing. My life had been riddled with various hurts. I couldn't fathom yet another pain of a different name.
I thought that by making my life "right", I was exempt from hurt. I felt that I should be exempt from the pain of loss. From death. I truly thought that God hated me. I really believed that. That He hated me.
Then before I knew it, he was gone. In an instant. No suffering. Just gone.
A lot of times, we look at the circumstances of a person’s death and we think we can determine the fate of a person. We may think that a loved one isn’t in heaven. But God works in very mysterious ways.
Jesus showed me, through my own life, how there is a very real darkness that seeks to destroy us. That fear that Andy had was darkness. It was very real fear. A life-changing, life ending fear. But I felt like Jesus was telling me that even though the darkness may have claimed Andy’s body, his soul was with Jesus.
I was reading a facebook post of girl the other day. The girl was talking about how much she hated her sister. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, No! You don’t know. Today could be the last. I can see why the Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger. Because anger keeps us from His love. Anger causes hurt and regret. Anger sows seeds of darkness.
One day I will walk there with my friend and his family.
If you don’t know Jesus, accept Him into your life. You have nothing to lose and an eternity to gain. For you never know if this day will be you last.
God Bless you, Andy… I miss you