Sunday, February 19, 2017

God Works When We Let Go

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Psalm 51:17


There is nothing more beautiful than someone who is completely broken before the Lord.  He takes that vulnerability and does amazing things with it.  When we let go, He takes over. When we empty ourselves, He fills us.

This is where I have been the last few months. Completely broken.

I will tell you that my season of brokenness was painful and hard.  I spent night after night wrestling with the Lord and crying myself to sleep before I finally gave up and humbled myself before Him. He was true to His word and He lifted me up (James 4:10).

Being humble and broken and open to the work the Lord wanted to do in me has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I have learned to trust Him completely with my life and my future and the life and future of the ones I love most.  He has transformed me and continues to transform me into the person He created me to be.

It took me a while to get to this point.  Sometimes it's really hard to trust and believe, especially when you have spent a lot of your life being hurt.  Sometimes it's not so easy to let down the walls that guard your heart, because you have put them up for a reason.  Sometimes, we feel like God is the one who let us down because things didn't happen the way we thought they would.

I understand all of those things, because I felt that way too.  But then the Lord spoke to me and said to "let go" and "trust".

I just didn't see how I could do that.  I was supposed to "let go" and "trust" when it came to something very important to me...my child.  I am her mother.  I am the one who is supposed to know what's best for her.  I am the one who is supposed to take care of her.  I couldn't protect her during a time she really needed me, so you better believe I was going to protect her now.  But God is telling me to let go???  How could I do that?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.  I sure didn't understand why certain things were happening, but I chose to believe what God said.  I was broken and vulnerable before the Lord and I had to trust that He would do what He said he would do. I had no other choice.

It was not easy. I had to trust in what God was doing when everything seemed to be going in the opposite direction.  I had to find joy in the middle of chaos. I had to fight the enemy's lies with everything I had.  It seemed like everything was getting worse.

But then Genesis 50:20 happened. God turned what Satan meant for evil into something good.  It was far more than I could have ever imagined.  But that's what God does.  When we let go and humble ourselves, God will work!

The rest of the story will be hers to share and it will be amazing.

I obeyed God. I let go and I trusted Him to do what He needed to do.  He loves my daughter more than I ever could.  He knew exactly what she needed and exactly when she needed it.  He did exactly what He said He would do.

Let go and let God do the work He needs to do.













Friday, December 9, 2016

Indeed, This Will Turn Out For My Deliverance


Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack,
Job 15:24

For the past 20 plus years, my life has been filled with trial after trial. There were many years of pain with no end in sight and I'm still going through trials that seem to rip my heart right out of my chest.

Going through these things, I'm reminded of Job.  Job was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1). He was a much better person that I am!

Some days, I am more like Job's wife. Some days I want to curse God and die (Job 2:9).  But Job trusted God. He was in anguish, but He knew God was faithful. After Job lost everything, He still had faith that God's ways were the best:


"Naked I came from my mother's womb, 
and naked I will depart.
the Lord gave and the Lord has taken
away; may the name of the Lord
be praise."  Job 1:21


How many of us would have this same response if we had just lost everything?  I doubt I would.

We have to decide whether we are going to live our life fearing what might come or we stand firm and trust that God is with us even in the worst of times (Psalm 112:7).   God NEVER fails. It's impossible for Him to fail.

The anguish that you and I might be going through right now is nothing compared to what awaits us (Romans 8:18). We can be sure of that.

Job knew that everything he was going through was going was going to turn out for his deliverance (Job 13:16). In fact, things turned out much better than they were before:


the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him
twice as much as he had before.  Job 42:10

and

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life
more than the former part.  Job 42:12

Job trusted and believe that God knew what He was doing. He didn't fear for his future because he knew his future was secure.  Choose to let go of fear and trust the Lord with your future.  He has a plan that is far better than you can ever imagine (Jeremiah 29:11)!



Monday, June 27, 2016

Totally Surrendered-Letter to Jesus

Jesus-

I'm all out of ideas. I have no more ways to tell You how You can make it better.  I'm at the end of my rope. I have been trying to figure things out on my own for too long.

It's not working. Jesus, my ways are not working.

Sometimes it's like my head is in such chaos. I hear You. I hear myself. Satan is always making sure his voice is the loudest. Sometimes it's almost like a tug of war with my thoughts. It's not always easy to hear You through all of the noise. Your still, small voice barely audible at times (1 Kings 19:12).

But I know You're listening.

I know that the tears I have shed, You have collected and You have recorded my misery (Psalm 56:8).  I have finally started to really understand that this is all bigger than just me.

Even through all my failure and doubt, You remain the same (Hebrews 13:8). I falter under the weight of my worry and my fear, but You carry me (Psalm 28:9).

There are days when I am so angry with You. I get confused and I don't understand why. Why all the hurt? Why all the pain? Why all the injustice?

I know that I lose focus of the things that matter. I know that a lot of the time, I don't look beyond what I'm going through to see what You're really doing.  I forget everything You have brought me out of and forget all the promises You have made.

I need You, Jesus.  I need You more than I ever have before.  I want to scream at you to fix it, but I know You already have.  I know You are waiting for me to trust You and to trust that You know what to do.  I know You are waiting on me to totally surrender it all to You and Your will.

That's hard, Jesus.

It's not easy to trust when the people who were supposed to love me, hurt me.  It's not easy when I've been let down time after time after time.  It's not easy when so many have taken from me, but have never given me anything in return.

But, I'm willing to try. I'm willing to give up everything I want for You and Your will for my life. I want You more than I want to hold onto my anxiety and stress. I want my life to be a reflection of You, not my selfish desires.

I want all of You, Jesus....and I want You to have all of me.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Footstool For Your Feet

When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.  Psalm 27:2

I have a few enemies right now.  They huff and puff, wanting to devour me.  Some of these enemies are flesh and blood and want nothing but to see me fall.  They are false witnesses who rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations (Psalm 27:12).  What they don't know are the words Jesus spoke:

" ' The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right
hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."'
Luke 20:43

A few weeks ago, God reminded me of Haman.  The story of Haman starts in Esther 3 (You can read the whole story here. This is just my condensed version).  King Xerxes had just honored Haman, giving him a seat of honor higher than everyone else and all the royals at the king's gate were kneeling down to pay honor to Haman...all but Mordecai, a Jew. This enraged Haman.

Finding out that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman decided to kill ALL of the Jews, not just Mordecai.  So, after going to King Xerxes and telling him he was better of without them, Haman's plan was in motion.

Mordecai learns of Haman's evil plan and goes to his (secretly) Jewish cousin, Esther, who happened to also be the Queen.  Queen Esther decides to fast for three days and then three nights. After the fast, she would approach the King. That was something that was against the law. She was putting her life on the line.

On the third day, when the fast was over, Queen Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace.  King Xerxes was very pleased with his queen and allowed her to speak.  She requested that the king and Haman attend a banquet she had prepared.  The king was glad to grant her request. At that banquet, she requested they attend a second banquet. Again, the king was glad  to grant her request.

After hearing that Queen Esther had invited him to a banquet, Haman was feeling pretty good about himself (our enemies love to boast).  He saw Mordecai at the king's gate and once again, Mordecai refused to rise or show fear in his presence.  When Haman returned home, he gather his friends and his wife and boasted about his wealth and his family and all of the ways the king had show him favor and elevated him above everyone else.  But, he wasn't satisfied with that.  He was determined to kill Mordecai.  So, his wife and friends told him to have a pole set up and ask the king to have Mordecai impaled on it. This made Haman so happy, and he had the pole put into place.

This is where it gets good.

That night, the king had trouble sleeping; so he ordered the book of chronicles to be brought in and read to him.  He found recorded there that Mordecai had been the one to expose two of the king's guards, who had conspired to kill King Xerxes.  The king was surprised that Mordecai hadn't been recognized for this and called Haman in.  Haman had entered and was wanting to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had just set up, when the king asked this question: "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?"

Boastful, prideful Haman thought to himself, "Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?"  He answered as if King Xerxes was talking about honoring him.  He wanted the royal robe the king had worn and a horse the king had ridden on.  He wanted to be robed in the king's robes and ride on the king's horse all through the city streets with people before him proclaiming, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!"

And this is where Haman's plan backfires.

"Go at once," the king commanded Haman. "Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended."  So Haman did as he was told and then ran home with his head covered in grief.

And it gets better...

The king and Haman went to Esther's banquet.  She told of the plot against her people to have them sold to be destroyed, killed, and annihilated and she just could not keep quiet.  The king was disgusted and Haman was terrified.  King Xerxes asked who would do such a thing.  Esther said, "An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!"  A eunuch told of the pole standing beside Haman's house and the king ordered Haman to be impaled on it.

The enemy's plan backfired.  The enemy's plan ALWAYS backfires.

The evil plan Haman had put into motion was ended. Esther was given his estate and the Jews were able to assemble and protect themselves against any armed men who may attack them and to plunder the property of their enemies.  Mordecai became more and more powerful.  He was promoted to second in rank to King Xerxes, foremost among the Jews, and held in high esteem by many of his fellow Jews. 

Talk about making your enemies a footstool for your feet. The trap the enemy set backfired.  He plotted to destroy, but was destroyed himself. Mordecai and Esther were obedient and there was great victory.  Nothing God does can be revoked!

Though they plot evil against you and devise
wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
Psalm 21:11


**This week, I have been dwelling on this story in Esther.  As I have fasted and approached the King, I have won some battles.  There are still so many more to go, but I am confident that my enemies are nothing to me.  They may plot and plan, but God has the final say. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Psalm 3





Psalm 3

Lord, how many are my foes!  How many
rise up against me!!
Many are saying of me, God will not
deliver him.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

I call out to the Lord, and he answers me
from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep; I wake again,
because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessings be on your people.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Count It All Joy

We are all going to go through hard times, there is no getting around that.  Some may have a harder time than others.  I know I have had my share of heartache and I'm sure you have too. The world is not an easy place to live and it doesn't seem to be getting better.  Satan loves to try to get us to focus on all that is wrong in ours lives; all that he is trying to destroy.  But God says otherwise:

                "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face
                 trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith
                 produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you
                 may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:2-4

Easier said than done, right?  I have spent a lot of my time throwing pity parties.  "Why me, Lord?" or "I don't deserve this!".  It never really ends the way I think it's going to.  I wind up in a big ball of mess on my couch, feeling worse than I did when I started....just where Satan wants me to be.  He does come to steal, kill, and destroy after all. Jesus, on the other hand, came that we may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

I would much rather live my life with the understanding that every trial I am going through will eventually be turned into something good (Romans 8:28) instead of fearing everything that comes my way. I want to concentrate on what God has already done for me (Ecclesiastes 7:13) and not dwell on what Satan is TRYING to do. He is a liar and he wants you to feel defeated.

Your circumstances, whatever they may be, are nothing compared to the faithfulness of God.  God's will is to trust Him and thank Him ALL of the time, not just in the good times:

                    Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
                    for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

I feel like I am the very last person who should be trying to convince people to "be thankful in all circumstances" and "consider what the Lord has done".  I have such a hard time with these things myself.  It's not something easy to do. It's not something that comes naturally.  I struggle with this daily. 

Like today.

I'm looking at my circumstances today and anxiety fills my heart.  Satan is whispering in my ear that nothing will ever change and he is reminding me of the ways God hasn't answered my prayers.  He wants so badly to discourage me, and for a time, I let him.  Then I remember that he who began a good work in me (and my family) will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover anything
about their future.  Ecclesiastes 7:14

Thank Him every day, even when you are at your lowest. He is working it all out and it's going to be GOOD.  




Thursday, May 12, 2016

He Always Answers

There are things that I prayed about for years and I believed, without a doubt, that God would answer me. But he didn't...or did He?

Looking back, I see the ways the Lord made good on His promises. It wasn't exactly the way I had hoped and it wasn't in the time I thought it would take, but He did answer them.

Not having a stable home was something we were used to. We would move from place to place every few months. In the early summer of 2007, we were evicted from our last apartment. We had only lived there a few months, but I doubt the rent was ever paid.  We didn't have running water or electricity and that was normal for us. We had absolutely no place to go, so we left all of our things and stayed in a motel.

This wasn't a four star hotel. It was dark and dirty. There were drug deals going on at all hours of the day and night, dirt and mold in the showers, and shady people walking by the door all the time.  I felt so unsafe and so scared. I didn't know if someone would report us and take my girls away or if we would even be able to pay for another night in that disgusting place. 

After some time, we went to live with our pastors.  This was the beginning of our rescue and I didn't even know it.  I didn't have enough courage or strength at the time to leave my abusive marriage. I was so trapped in his delusional world that I didn't even know what reality was. I had been praying for things to change for years, but I saw no way out. I thought I would have to live like that forever.

But...

                         He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me,
                        who saves me from my enemies.  You exalted me above my foes;
                        from a violent man you rescued me.  Psalm 18:47-48


After about six weeks, our pastors made my ex husband leave the house. He had opened credit cards in my children's names and they intercepted the bills when they came in the mail.  My parents came and got us and moved us back to my hometown. 

At first, I was terrified. He had me convinced that I couldn't live without him.  I had to learn how to lead a normal life and that was much harder than I had thought it would be.  I got a job and a driver's license (I hadn't had one in ten years).  I pressed charges against him for the credit card fraud and he has been in and out of prison ever since.

I now have a wonderful life. We are still dealing with the trauma from our past, but God is healing us in His time.  We are stable and happy. I have a husband who loves me and the girls now have a father who takes care of them. God really has restored and continues to restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

We don't realize everything God is doing when we are walking through the darkest valley (Psalm 23:4). Most of the time we panic and we worry. We don't see that God is answering our prayers according to His will. He knows what is best for us. He knows what path will bring Him the most glory and He knows exactly how long it should take. 

I didn't know at the time that God was doing exactly what I had asked him to do. As I look back now, I can see all the ways God was working to bring about His promises to me.  It was hard, but it was worth it.

Trust God to answer your prayers in HIS way. He is Omnipotent, He is All-Knowing, and He is God.