Searching For a New Heart

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Recently, I started looking back at some of my post and find this random 4 part series on the heart back in 2013.  I was not writing regularly back then so decided to repost this series over the next few weeks with some edits.  (First posted on March 13, 2013)

Open My Eyes to My Heart

kablam_glossy_heartSometimes I sit in awe of the Lord and how he leads us and draws us near to him.  Recently I have been praying and asking God to help me let go of some things which were causing me to become a person I did not want to be.    It is funny sometimes how something you have always known just really comes to light and you have to accept it for what it is.  I guess the finality of acceptance is something we as humans try to avoid.  I know that I have in many areas of my life.  As God recently opened my eyes to this ugly person I did not want to be, he sent me searching through scripture and everywhere I turned he introduced me to my heart.  Not this heart that I can be proud of but the real heart inside of me.  I will get to that.  I feel lead to share where God is leading me on this in-depth discovery of the heart.  I long for the new heart the scriptures speak of but to have that heart I must understand the heart as a whole.

Good vs Evil

The heart can be root of both Good and Evil, but more often the heart will lead us down the easiest road and usually that is not where we truly want to go.  As I read various scriptures, I decided to turn to Strong’s Commentary for some guidance and here I found a plethora of verses that speak of what is seeded in the heart.  I was lead to all this because I was not right and I quietly and silently began really listening to God.  He began to show me so many things about myself as I read the scripture.  Everything kept leading toward the heart and that caught my attention.  Specifically I began a 6 day devotional study on Love & Marriage I found and guess what Day 1 was on – you guess it – the Heart.  This first devotion is the initial cause of my digging.  I felt God calling me to the scriptures for more.  One of the verses shared in the study on day 1 was Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” I felt completely and utterly a failure because following my heart without God would always lead to wickedness because the heart is wicked.  Who can know our heart?  The simple answer is only God and he knows all our wickedness.  So begins this journey to know my heart.

Following Scripture

I have been visiting verses lately that speak of what is rooted in the heart.  These verses can sometimes seem good but if you really look at what can come from the heart you see the wickedness.  The first verse from Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  So our sin before it is revealed has already been committed in our heart.  But what of lust as I noticed a verse was listed that spoke specifically to this word found in Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”  So God pulled away and their hearts took over which lead back to Matthew 5:28.  What of our desires?  Romans 10:1 says “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  At first read, this sounds good but looking deeper I see that we have to have control of what our heart desires.  Left alone we become the heart in Matthew 5 and Romans 1.  As I sit speechless and pray that the Lord will help me find my new heart with him.  I am almost afraid to continue on but the draw is powerful to read more.  What more words did Jesus have to say about the heart?

Mark 11:23 reads in the words of Jesus, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  This verse sounds so awesome, but to have this faith.  It is so easy to say yes Lord I have this much faith when really my heart doubts.  Jesus says in John 14:1 ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  I must not let trouble and doubt fill my heart just the Lord so my faith can overcome the wickedness my heart desires.  These words are similar to those from Isaiah 35: 4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  With such words from our Lord why do I let me heart be my guide?

Time to meditate on these words from scripture.  Putting this puzzle together is encouraging but also brings me to my knees in need of prayer.  Before seeking more it is time for prayer.  Time to start seeking my new heart.

Closing Verse: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Challenge:  My prayer is that God will be my guide and work in my heart. May he also be yours.

 

 

Child of God

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I read this in my devotions written by Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 ministries.  I just added my name.  As you read today replace my name with yours.  You are a Child of God.

Allie, the forgiven child of God.” and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”  Romans 3:24.

Allie, the set-free child of God.1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2.

Allie, the accepted child of God.  “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”  1 Corinthians 1:2.

Allie, the holy child of God.  “ And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  1 Corinthians 1:30.

Allie, the made-new child of God.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Allie, the loved child of God. ” even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” Ephesians 1:4

Allie, the close child of God. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

Allie, the confident child of God.“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” Ephesians 3:12.

Allie, the victorious child of God.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

I am Redeemed…

 

Closing Verse:  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12.

Challenge:  Place your name in the statements above.  Search the scriptures.  You are a Child of God.

He Lives

Reflection and Fast

Today is Good Friday, the beginning of our Easter weekend and the culmination of Lent.  This has been a time of reflection and fast for many.  This time of year causes me to just pause and evaluate my life and relationship with Christ.  I choose to give up a little something to only slightly feel the impact of what Christ had to sacrifice for me.  His sacrifice is one that I alone can never match, but my walk here can be for him!  In the words of Paul found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

Celebrate the Life of Jesus

My words will not be the words that should be typed or read this weekend.  Stop and read the resurrection story and celebrate the sacrifice and love Christ had for us all!  This story can be found:

Mark 16

Matthew 28

Luke 24

John 20

Each is story is  powerful and shares how much Christ loves each one of us.

Renewal

Easter is like a New Year.  I feel a sense of renewal.  A reminder of my walk and relationship and an opportunity to make it stronger.  Let the gospel work.  I pray you stop and read.  Stop and Listen

Closing Verse:  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:  25-26

Challenge:  Find time to reflect on Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

DARE

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“Dare to live without answers because God gives His hand.” – Author Unknown

I ran across this quote in our camper the other day.  A magnet that I am not sure I had really noticed or read closely before.  Honestly, I am not even sure where it came from, but sudden there it was before me with all its impact and strength.

Faith

Although I try to live by Faith as I shared in my last post,  something moved me when I read this quote.  Something about the word DARE.  Do I DARE to live without answers yet as God would have me live. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reads, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.’  Is my life an example to others around me?  Do others seek what they see in me that is different?  “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” reads   1 Timothy 4:12.    So many questions come to mind when I read this and so many verse prick my heart and cause me to stop and evaluate who I am and what my life and heart says to others.

Prayer

Where do I turn first, to prayer.  God has always called us into relationship with him through prayer. I pray for his guidance in my life, I pray for his hand in my life, and I pray that he shows me the path and life he has prepared for me.  I pray that evil does not interfere with that plan.  Matthew 21:22 reminds me to pray, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith”.  I must dare to pray and have faith in God’s love for me to answer prayer by his will and not mine.

God’s Will

Living by God’s will and not my own is even harder,  Do I live for God or myself?  Do others see God or do I just show work for my own glory?  I know that I must seek God and His plan.  I know that only God can shine if I push myself back away and let His glory be what others see.  I know that I have to live by faith in order to live out his plan for my life.  Hebrews 11:6 promises this to me, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

God’s Likeness

I go and seek God and pray for his hand to direct my life in his will.  I pray that he will show me how to live my life to glorify him and not myself before others.  I pray for him to teach me to serve and not boast.  I pray for him to guard my tongue so it guides others and does not gossip about them. I pray to live for God and live by Christ’s example to me.  1 Peter 2:21, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

Closing Verse:  Ephesians 4:24 “And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Challenge:  Dare to live by God’s Will through Faith and not your own.

 

Do Something…

Harley Run

Morning Drive

Every morning I spend my ride to work listening to Christian radio.  Starting my day with songs of worship helps me to get started in the right frame of mind!  Many mornings I hear a song that I just have to know who the title and artist is performing the song.  Maybe I should add here that music trivia would not be my speciality, so I don’t always recognize music.  I stop to check who the artist is and the song title so I can share it with my husband, The Music Man, later to add to his collection. Occasionally, I am so touched by a song that I write about it.  Recently, this happened while listening to the song, “Do Something” by Matthew West.  The chaos in our country and world today seems out of control and hard to understand.  As I try to figure out how our country came to this point where we don’t seem to really care about each other, and everyone wants someone else or the government to take care of everyone, I hear this song which reminds of what God’s plan really is for Christian here on earth.

Angry at God

The song begins with a man angry at God for allowing our world to become the way it is and not doing something about it.  He questions God on what he is doing in the world.

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now, thought
How’d we ever get so far down, and
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”

Unexpectedly, God answers with, “He said, “I did, yeah, I created you”.  Hearing this line shocked me at first because I should have known that is what God would say but it was unexpected for me to even hear.  But God did make us to serve others.  Jesus is our role model and Matthew 20:28 reads, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  He gave his life, so what should Christians be giving to God’s world?

Let Someone Else Do The Work

The second line of the song is a typical reaction to any event in our lives or around us.  Many of us just say someone else will do it and become apathetic to the needs of others and how we can truly serve.

I’m so tired of talking about
How we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something

I know that I can turn from such events, but this song is just one reminder that God made me to serve others not for my glory or for others to see, but just to serve and Glorify God as he called me to serve. The ending of the second line echoes this belief.

Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire and
I wanna be the one who stands up and says
“I’m gonna do something

We all as Christian have to see Christ as our role model and just “Do Something”.  Sometimes I get stuck in what should I be doing, but am reminded of the verse in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” This verse reminds me to focus on the gifts God has given me to go forth and “Do Something”.

Using Our Gifts

The chorus of the song brings some closure to any Christian still stuck in the waiting game of letting others take care of what God has called each of us to do.

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something, yes it is, come on
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
Oh oh, it’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

As you bow on your knees in prayer today, remember to ask the Lord who gave his Son to serve us what gifts do I have that I should be carrying forth into the world to “Do Something”.   God’s word has always taught us that it is better to give than to receive and Acts 20:35 reads, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  We are to work hard to help the weak and give to those who are in need.  If Christians stop and remember these words and turn to the gifts God has provided, he will be faithful and bless our work for his Glory and not ours.

Closing Verse: Matthew 25:35-40, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ …”

Challenge: Today I pray that each of us will find the gifts from God and use them as we are called to serve this world that is in need of knowing our Father.

Perfection

Blue Angels Fly

After a weekend celebrating the birth of this great country, what better way to capitalize on this celebratory time then to experience the Blue Angels.  This past weekend my husband and I had the honor of watching the Blue Angels perform.  This was our first experience watching them fly and it was sweeter because we were in their home base of Pensacola, Florida.  The Blue Angels are heroes here, and I was continuously reminded the ultimate hero in my life.  As I watched each performance of perfection,  I thought of Christ perfection and his call for such precision in our lives.  Christ’s life is an example of the perfection we seek as we walk through this life.  Such perfection is hard to attain, but watching the Blue Angels fly is as close an example of human perfection one maybe able to find on this earth.  These navy pilots can not risk imperfection because it will and has cost a life.  They must be exact in their precision of moves while in flight or the results will cost them theirs.  This precision causes many especially at their home base look upon them with awe.  This is the same awe we should wake each morning with as we focus on our Savior.  We must also train like the Blues so that we can walk with precision through our daily lives.  2 Timothy 3:16 provides the way, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

Aspiring for Perfection

Watching the Blues really had me focusing on Christ’s life and how he provided the perfect model for us all to follow, but knowing we would fail he open the door for us all be becoming the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  I look at my life and I want to see someone aspiring for perfection, but usually I just find a sinner who desperately needs her savior.  I know that my life is a work in progress, and that I must always be striving to attain the perfection that Christ showed us all when he walked this earth.  It seems so simple to think, say, and write, but I believe we all know it is extremely difficult to even come close to Christ.  Knowing this struggle, I am thankful for the sacrifice the Lord made in sending his son and that Christ himself was willing to hang on that cross so many years ago to wash away the sins of my imperfection.  My comfort is found in 1John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  I long for the day that I stand cleansed before the Lord.

Christ’s Perfection

Christ walked on this earth to show us all the perfection of the Lord and the provide us with the greatest gift of all.  This gift of sacrificing his only Son so that we might all live forever in His Glory.  I am thankful for the vivid reminder of Christ’s perfection and sacrifice.  Hebrews 10:14 reads, ”

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”   This scripture,  refocuses me to strive to live a life for Christ.  He asked very little of sinners in return, but to follow him.  Follow him I will as Matthew 10:38 commands, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Closing Verse: John 3:16, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Challenge:  Are you walking toward the cross today?

 

Choosing Freedom

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Freedom!

July 4th celebration is a reminder of our freedoms here in America, and that these privileges that we have came at a cost.  The price that so many paid by sacrificing their lives so that this country could stand as it does today.  These sacrifices can never be forgotten.  There will always be sacrifices that will have to be made for the United States to continue to stand strong in the world.  This week is when we stop and remember.  These freedoms and sacrifices should also cause us all to pause and remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made for us so long ago by Jesus Christ.  “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13: 38-39

Freedom through Sacrifice

Freedom was purchased for us by Christ as he sacrificed himself for our freedom from sin.  Christ’s sacrifice may even have been a model by which revolutionaries and patriots chose to fight and raise up this country so many years ago.  Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These words were not just words that the first signers used without regard to their true meaning.  The signers were purposeful in choosing these words for our country to stand strong for 241 years now.   These words are significant not just to our country but our faith.  Galatians 5:13 reminds us, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  We must love our neighbor just as we would love ourselves.  Sometimes we maybe called to sacrifice.  Now, I must use the freedoms given to me to use for good as 1 Peter 2:16 reads, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

Christ’s Sacrifice

I began my focus on Freedom before the July 4th holiday after reading a devotion that focused on this verse.  (I am sharing two versions as I prefer the NLT translation.)

Psalm 119:45, “ I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments” (NLT)

 “and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.” (ESV)

As I read this verse, I could not help but make the connection from the sacrifices made for America and the sacrifice made by Christ for our souls.  Christians of different sects come together to create a country that would be accepting of different beliefs but allows for the compassion and tolerance that Christ modeled in his life.  Christ sacrifice brought Hebrews and Gentiles together into one family through his love and sacrifice for all our sins.  The Patriots chose to build a country that brought many together through their own blood and sacrifice. 

Christ is a Firework

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While watching fireworks explode across the water, I saw the beauty even though it was brief.  What a powerful symbol not just to celebrate our country, but as a symbol of Christ’s short life.  Although he only walked on this earth for around 30 years, his impact is still felt today.  He is like a firework exploding in the sky.  These are quick and beautiful and we remember that beauty until we get to see some again.  I cling to Christ’s beauty until I am able to behold him with my own eyes.   John 8:36 confirms my freedom through the Son, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Closing Verse: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32 

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Challenge:  Be thankful each day for the sacrifices made for both your country and your soul.

Finding God in my Mirror

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Constantly, I battle within myself over my outward appearance, and this ultimately effects my inner self.  My blessing has come with age as I am able to accept who I am both inside and out.  Yet, from time to time I drift back into my negativity which affects those close to me.  Although verses of scripture tells my heart that God is with me and loves me for who I am, I always find a way back down that dark path.  One of my favorite scriptures that I open often is found in Matthew 6: 26, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  I know God is there in my mirror, but sometimes I just fail to see him loving and caring for me.

Last week was one of those weeks, when I just could not find the good in myself.  I just looked in the mirror and saw this person that I did not want to see looking back at me.  Instead of heeding 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  I cast my negative doubts on others like my husband.  He carries the burden of not being able to help me through the valley because this is not his valley.  But, I drag him down into it with me anyway each time I go down this dark path.  He is a loving husband who always has the right words that I just fail to hear.  His constant love and devotion always brings me out of the valley and reminds me of Proverbs 16:24, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”  I must hear his words which are from the Lord in order to heal my body and my soul.

As I ponder the reflection in the mirror this week after I have found my way out of the valley, I realize that God does not really look at me the way others do and the way mirror reflects.

1 Samuel 16:7 reads, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Knowing now that God looks at my heart, I need to stop pursuing the mirror and focus harder on my heart for the Lord using the words from Proverbs 23:12, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.”  This scripture causes me to reflect how focusing more on my heart might help my view in the mirror.  Can I and will I find God in the mirror?

I spend more time reflecting now on who I really am and the gifts that God has given me.  This is the only way I can focus myself away from the dark path.  I make peace with the spirit God has given me.  1 Peter 3:4 reads,  “But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”  I grasp for this verse and the message it writes on my heart.  I am precious in his sight.  Once again, I can stand on the mountain top and look in the mirror and see the gift that Christ has given me.  I see my new self given to me through Christ sacrifice on the Cross.  “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”  Scripture from Colossians 3:10 brings this comfort to my heart and the image I see in the mirror.  I am blessed!

Closing Verse:   “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

Challenge:  Are you finding God in the mirror?  Are you focusing on your heart so it will shine through on the outside?

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Did I Do The Right Thing?

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The past week in our house there has been a focus on the Dove House and their annual fundraiser.  My husband and I became involved 3 years ago with the Dove House and each year we feel our hearts pulled more and more to become involved with this organization.  This year I spent the week really looking over myself again and the decision I made or really didn’t make many years ago.  Many people know that my husband was a victim of a sexual predator.  When he was in the 4th grade, his teacher earned his trust and that of his parents and changed his life forever.  He wasn’t his only victim there were many others, little did we know how many till it all came out.  As he grappled with realizing the truth of what happened as he matured and believing that no one would believe him, as the teacher had earned so much trust from his parents and the community,  he hid this secret away.

One day while we were dating and soon to be married a door opened where he had the opportunity and chose to give me some insight into this part of his past.  Just a little piece of what had happened to him.  I chose to listen, question little, and to also never bring it up again.  Did I do the right thing?  Even with this decision I know God answers prayers, because I have spent our entire marriage not just praying for our marriage, or just for him, but praying for God to heal him.  Deep down I always knew that he was suffering and prayed for God to heal this pain.  Over those 22 years of pain, I was blessed to watch a slow healing process that prepared him for the time when he would really heal and get the opportunity to tell his story, face his abuser, and feel the relief of a conviction.  This alone does not end his healing or my prayers, but God has answered my prayers in helping him find healing.  As always I pray knowing that God answers prayers his way as Isaiah 55:8 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”  This verse brings me comfort that God was working in my decision.

Now as I look back, I have to ask myself did I do the right thing?  Did I make the right choice?  Should I have prodded for more back when he first confided in me?  Although the answer is yes every time I ask myself, I am thankful that God is in control and in his timing was able to provide my husband with the healing even so many years later in his life.  His blessings in our lives reminds me that I am not in control and that he is as Romans 8:28 states, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” and for this I am thankful.  I believe that the Lord has been fighting for him all these years even while he was silent.

His silence struck me again this past week while listening to the radio when I heard the song “Still“.  The singer, Hillary Scott, spoke about how she wrote this song about the verse Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” As I was driving to work, tears just welled up in my eyes, I immediately thought of how my husband had been silent, but then was reminded that the Lord had been fighting for him all these years.  He had prepared him for this time.  The Lord has been fighting for me as well in my silence.  God is Good!

Although, God has blessed us through this healing process by putting great friends around us, new friends who have suffered and understand his pain, and the great people of the Dove House, my heart tells me that I should have done more.  I feel it every time I have to tell his story and then my role and feel the guilt for not helping him sooner.  I feel the guilt that I know my husband has carried all these years for not speaking up sooner to protect other future victims.  I feel it when I think about the demons that have tormented him for so many years.  I feel it when I look in his eyes and see a new man now that has been freed of this terrible secret.  God gave him a voice at the time appointed, and he would want me to tell you that as he went through this process of court, jury selection, and sharing his story with strangers; he has been struck and moved by how many victims of child sexual abuse have been silently hurting.  He shares his story now empowered by God to bring darkness to light and let others know they are not alone.

Our blessing now from God is that forgiveness is real.  The promise of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  is God’s provision through the sacrifice of his Son that causes us to realize that we not only have to forgive easily each other but those who hurt us.  It seems so hard, but it is so fulfilling to release the pain and hurt to God and let him be the final judge.

Moving forward we support the Dove House because they do the work that is so desperately needed in our community and so many communities.  They support children as they move through the court system and finally recovery.  They make it safe to tell the truth and stop the abuse.  They save children.  I read this verse this week and it reminded me of the Dove House, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13.  The Dove House watches over, stands firm and is strong for those who aren’t.  May God continue to bless their work as they help others heal.

My constant prayer now is that God continues to heal those affected by child sexual abuse and, as my husband reminds me, there are many layers of victims even those that don’t think they are victims.   Family and others in the community today still do not believe that his abuser was guilty and he continues to have their trust.  May God show us the best way to use the truth to help others now that this secret is finally free, and that we will learn to be still while God is fighting.

Closing Verse: Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Challenge: Romans 12:12 – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  Be constant in prayer for God is always fighting and working for your good.

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