tears

I’m staring at these empty walls, wondering when You’ll visit me again, when will You come? If there is anything at all, coming in between our love, please show me, because I am barely hanging on. -Meredith Andrews.

Sometimes, I come to this place, I know it well — it always welcomes me in. The place where, when it’s cold outside, under a blanket seems like the best solution? The cold place where I hardly want to leave the house at all? The painful place where all I can hear is silence? Eventually, what happens is, I reach my hand out at first but eventually, the tiredness settles in & I’m in a deep slumber.

Am I the only one? I wonder.

I question how I could possibly be in this place, yet again. And, I question who even notices or cares? In this moment, the discontentment & confusion leads me to question everything, including God. At first, I question Him & then, the questions stop & the accusations begin, and after that, the silence settles in & I don’t say anything at all.

I hear the lies — I’m not good enough. I’m dirty. I’ve been tossed to the side. I’m broken. I will always be worthless. I will never be enough.

I can’t cry out to God because He doesn’t even hear me. God hates sin & I’ve lived a sinful life. God hates divorce & I’m divorced.

Tears stream down my face as I remind myself of the list of ways that I’ve let God down and have broken His heart — it’s lengthy and it’s a mess.
& then, I’m reminded.

When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner.” [Luke 7:37-39]

It’s what I choose to do with my tears that makes all of the difference at this exact moment in time — I can choose to wipe them away in vain & turn my back on everything that I know; I can let the lies that fill my mind win. I can let the Pharisee’s that surround me show me that they’re right, I am just too much for even God Himself.

Or, I can come to the feet of Christ, knowing full well that I am a sinner; I have sinned — but I am willing to pour every tear that I have on the feet of the only one who could possibly save me, even in the mess of a state that I’ve let myself get to, I can trust that He is worth every single thing that I could possibly offer Him.

I guess all that I know to do is to kneel at the feet of the one that I love & pour out my tears & my life… and wake up tomorrow & choose Him again.

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Light

I wish that someone would have given me a handbook, a list, directions of some sort — perhaps a map to where I belong. Lately, I wish that someone, anyone, could tell me what to do, which decisions to make and which path to choose. Mandy, choose this. Walk this way. Wouldn’t that be the easiest way? I’d never be able to get it wrong.

But instead, somehow, the decision has been left in my hands & I’m holding a map that I can’t seem to read, heading to a place that I’m not sure that I can see.
I wonder if I could possibly get it wrong? If somehow, the decision that I make would change the course of my life, for worse & not better. Is that possible?
And, then, I’m reminded… ‎”He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.” -Job 33:28
God redeemed my soul & even if, I get it wrong every single time, even if, I never choose the easy path or make the right decision — even if, I choose the hard path, the lonely path, even when I choose what is painful… I will live to enjoy the light.
Nothing that I do or say, no decision that I could ever make will have the ability to take that away. At the end of the day, every day, my life will be full of light, of goodness, of love.
All that I know is this: God is enough. & I’ll chase after the light.

everything and nothing

No more willing and effective evangelist and teacher exists than one who has been humbled, cleansed, renewed and restored! -Beth Moore.

Blessed [happy] is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers…
Psalm 1:1

Sometimes, we get lost in the meaning of the word sinner, I think it’s because we all still have the belief that we are “sinners” (and, by all means, we do sin but once you’ve been set apart by Christ, He no longer sees you as merely a ‘sinner’, in fact, He sees you as holy and blameless according to Colossians 1:21-23). Or, the other extreme is when we forget that we’ve ever sinned. So, we lift our heads a little too high and have the hardest time understanding that people need Christ and that He is the only answer for this world that continues to fall apart.

We find ourselves either trying a little hard to relate to sinners, at the bar, after one too many drinks or we choose not to interact with anyone who may be considered a sinner because we’re call to be set apart.

We stand for everything and nothing at the same time.

I can hear the response now from those who are so close to the world that you can’t see the difference between them and the person next to them in a bar, “but, Jesus hung out with the sinners”. And, I’ll be the first person to admit, yes, He sure did. I’d know. But, the difference between Jesus and people today is that Jesus wasn’t a sinner, He never sinned. He never compromised the truth that He stood for nor did He ever get carried away while trying to ‘fit in’. Jesus never had just one too many drinks.

I love Christ because while I was still a sinner, He loved me – but I trust Him because He never failed me; He never swayed from who He is. His character is consistent and trustworthy. I chose to dedicate my life to Jesus Christ because He is never changing. He’s faithful to His word and His actions and His words align, perfectly. He hates sin but He loves sinners – and, when He shared with them, they were never the same again.

The mentality that we are still sinners and that Jesus needs us to walk in the way of sinners in order to reach them is flawed. When God transforms a person, He calls them to be set-apart. So, I guess what’s really on my heart is this, Jesus doesn’t need you to be so in the world that no one can even tell that you know Him. We don’t need to “stand in the way of sinners” because God has called us to something different, something satisfying and beautiful.

And, because we know that God is faithful and just, we can trust that when we love and serve Him, He will do what He has promised and draw all men unto Himself – but I believe, in order for that to ever happen, we need to show the world what the love of Christ really looks like & not just blend in with a world that desperately needs Christ.

I believe that the greatest testimony to any person who either knows Christ or doesn’t desire to — is to see a person who claims to love God and actually looks different than the majority who claim to love God, but blend right in with those who couldn’t care less.

Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Psalm 51:9-13

The Lord, our Healer

25-29A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with. 30At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” 31His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!” 32-33But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story. 34Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”
[Mark 5:25-34]

I’m caught up somewhere between confusion and astonishment; amazement and bewilderment, I’m confused and I understand.

I read the above story & I believe without the slightest doubt that Jesus can and is able to heal anyone at any moment — I believe that He is JEHOVAH-RAPHA, the Lord our Healer.

But, the thing that I find most interesting and attention grabbing is the details. First of all, the woman had the issue of blood for 12 years… TWELVE YEARS… and how many times do you think she went to sleep, begging “God” to heal her? I’ll bet quite a few. I’ll bet she felt alone, she felt ashamed, she probably felt dirty — and she spent 12 years like that. And, of course, God knew.

And then, this may be a bold statement but — I believe it’s true — Jesus didn’t stop everything that he was doing, knowing that she’d been there bleeding for 12 years and seek her out — no, she came to him, tired and desperate and she thought to herself If only I can touch the bottom of his robe — THAT will heal me.She believed that He was able to heal her; she knew without ever speaking to him that He was a healer.

Another amazing detail is this — Jesus was on his way to heal someone else. That’s right — He was following a little girls dad, to a little girl who was very sick, in order to heal her. And, the most amazing part of the story is this — Jesus Christ, the Healer, He allowed this woman to touch his robe, in the middle of his journey, he offered her healing for both her body & her soul; he made her whole.

And, the little girl died.

Stay with me.

He was walking from where he was — to where He needed to be (healing the little girl) and he was interrupted; He stopped what He was doing and spent time listening to every thing this woman had to say — and then, he continued to walk to the home where the little girl was — after she had DIED and simply said to her, “Little girl, get up.” and she did.

So, I say all of this — to say, Jesus is in complete control & in my perfect world, Jesus Christ would have run so fast to my daughter, to find her still alive and to make her well… and I would have slept well that night.

I would have never given a second thought to the woman with the issue of blood.
Ever.

So, I’ve decided that THIS is the way that I’m going to look at my journey — Jesus could come, today and He could heal my body & make me whole. I believe that more than anything else in this world — but I believe more than that, that Jesus is able to heal many woman between now and when He does finally heal me — so I’m going to trust that those woman, being made whole, are worth his stopping for and listening to and reaching.

Blessed

I open my laptop & give into a can of root beer (caffeine free, of course); it’s a Sunday afternoon and the windows are opened. Our oldest cat, Audrey, is seated in the window, thankful for the fresh air. Our little kitten, Elvis, is napping on the floor. And, my husband just left with Lilly for an afternoon at the playground.

I breathe in the freshness of what seems like the ending of summer and the beginning of Autumn and in this moment, I’m reminded, I am blessed.

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s easiest to praise God when the air is fresh and the clouds have gone away. It’s easy to look outside and to see the beauty of creation and to sense the presence of a Creator when everything is still and peaceful.

It’s the moments when the clouds roll in and I can feel the calm before the storm. It’s that moment when the skies turn black and it takes everything in me not to run for cover. It’s when my child is sick or we miss a paycheck. It’s in those moments when I stare at the sky and wonder what will come next. I hope that even in these moments, I am still blessed.

In the dark moments, we pray to God. We plead with Him for understanding and the ability to persevere. We plead with Him to heal our sickness and to bring home the lost. It’s when the skies are dark and our brokenness becomes known that we choose to seek God in hope that He may somehow save us.

We chase after God so that He will “bless us”.

We praise God for our “blessings”.

Sometimes, when we don’t see or hear from God, we turn away because He hasn’t “blessed us” so he must not truly love us.

Blessed means to be “made holy” and to be made holy means a life “devoted to the service of God”.

So, when we are praying for God to bless us, we are pleading with him to make us holy so that we can learn and grow and truly live a life devoted to the service of God.

Is that what you think about when you ask the Lord to bless your food? When you ask him to bless your day? Your relationships? Do you actually desire for Him to make them holy? Is your desire at the end of the day to have a life devoted to the service of God?

A very close friend of mine looked at me today and she said to me, “you’re blessed” and in that moment I didn’t understand exactly what that meant. What she was actually saying is “God is making you holy and He’s allowing you to have a life devoted to serving Him”.

And, the good news is that it doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t stop on a beautiful summer day when everything feels right and looks lovely. It continues well into the storms of our lives and it’s deeper than any hurt that we could imagine.

God is making you holy and He’s allowing you to have a life devoted to serving Him…

After a divorce.

An abortion.

A poor decision.

A little white lie.

 

Jesus said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hungry and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:-2-10]

 

I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad that God continues to make us holy even when we are far from always being devoted to a life of service to God.

Love.

Fresh Air

The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected, says your God. Isaiah 54:6

I could breathe that scripture in all day; it’s fresh air.

A few women came to mind when I read this. One of them, married and divorced — deserted and distressed in spirit. Another one never married, but fell in love young only to be rejected a few months before her wedding day. I think about the numerous women that I know, even now, who are broken and burdened at the expense of something a man did or didn’t do. Often times, what I’ve noticed (and have experienced) is that when a person hurts us (and who could hurt us more than a spouse, someone meant to protect and make our hearts feel safe?), the woman has no choice but to get up from the ground and try to become what she feels like was missing…because if she were everything that her husband had wanted, he wouldn’t have deserted or rejected her. That has to be it.

So we become women who have it all together and can do anything because we don’t need a man around (maybe a few cats…but defintely not a man!)…and at the end of the day, we always feel like something is missing. Always.

What I love about this is the beginning: “The Lord will call you back.” I love this for a few reasons… I love that the world looks down and the church frowns upon divorced women, but God is far in character from both the world and the church (sad, but true). I love that God is so far above and beyond what we could ever expect from a human being. Not only does He know what it’s like to be “deserted and distressed in spirit,” as well as “rejected,” but, I believe, that He knows every single decision that we’ve made, will make, and are making, based solely on making ourselves whole again, after having been left.

He knows the one too many glasses of wine.

He knows the ways we long for attention.

He knows our bittnerness.

He knows every poor, unclassy decision we’ve made (or thought about making).

It’s amazing because in this promise to His bride, He’s calling you back KNOWING that you’ve already been deserted and rejected.

I mean, seriously, anyone who has EVER thought that they need to become perfect in order to find God – or to be found by God – has never read this verse… because this verse claims the opposite. This verse claims that He’s going to find you where you are & bring you back to where He is.

That is the kind of God we serve.

“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

Bondage

“How can you be free, If you don’t even know you’re trap or lock inside?” ― Ann Marie Aguilar

I’m looking around the room, it seems small but peaceful — I can’t hear any sounds and I realize that I haven’t spoken in quite sometime, has it been hours or days? Weeks? I used to sing but now I can’t remember the words. Childhood seems like it may have never happened and I’m not looking forward to growing older, either.

Sometimes, I can hear the faint sound of someone, possibly in the room next to me, I hear her screaming. It’s during those moments that I realize I didn’t choose to be here; if I had chosen to be here, I’d be able to find the door and let myself out.

I made the decision to give my life to a Savior, a few years ago now, and He lives in my heart & I live in this room. Sometimes, I can hear Him whisper & sometimes, I believe that He can hear me, too.

I think that’s exactly where the Enemy wants us to be.

I mean, life’s not too hard & we don’t really need a Savior until tragedy strikes; so, we keep Him on a shelf, in our room, where we choose to stay.  The room is comfortable; really comfortable. It’s filled with regrets & lies about how God can’t possibly use us; we’ve fallen too far, so, we become complacent. & we can’t forget about our insecurities, they fill the shelves & we stare at them, that’s how we know we’re safer inside than out.

And, the craziest part is — we don’t even realize that we are in bondage, this room that we’re kept in, it’s not the place that the Lord intends for us to live — He’s unlocked the door & we’re too busy sitting still to even realize that we could have walked out into FREEDOM, so long ago.

In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house & carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man, then he can rob his house. [Mark 3:27]

Jesus entered the strong man’s house; He TIED up the strong man, so that the Enemy can no longer keep you in bondage & He carried off HIS TREASURE [you!]…

So, I just want to say that there is LIGHT outside of the room — so much light — that you can’t even see your insecurities & the more light that you see, the less you hear the lies & the further all of the regrets fade away. All you have to do is realize that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, has unlocked the door & the only thing that He asked you to do is to follow Him out…