God’s Embrace

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 I stopped wearing makeup. Well, except eyeliner. I know, settle down you say, whoa Deanna big breaking news. I have chosen to embrace my 49 year old face. If Alicia Keys can do it, I can too. Haha but seriously, I have always been a minimalist when it comes to makeup and ironically the older I get the less I see a need for it. The world puts such emphasis on beauty and improving how we look rather than embracing the process our bodies go through as we age.

I am not saying this is easy, there are certain things I have difficulty accepting but it is part of the process of loving myself.  The whole fearfully and wonderfully made kind of loving. Losing the makeup is just one more step. Funny thing, I have had more comments about my face or how I look in this last couple weeks than maybe ever. Perhaps there is something to this embracing who God made me to be.

One theme that repeats itself throughout the Bible is loving your neighbour as yourself. We may know this idea from an expert in the law trying to test Jesus by asking Him what is the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39.

And tucked in the middle of Moses getting instruction directly from God for the law in Leviticus 19:18 it says,“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.”

I want to take a little license with the idea of loving yourself. How do you feel about yourself? Can you boldly look at yourself in the mirror and say you are worthy? Can you inhale the truth that God takes great delight over you? I want you to practice this with me. You can take baby steps and look in the mirror and say God loves me or start with I love you. It will depend where your heart is at as to which statement is harder to digest.

Honestly can we love our neighbours authentically if we do not come from a place of being loved? If we ourselves do not receive God’s love how can we truly pour that out on to others? And so loving others as we do ourselves is not from the worldly point of view that we are full of ourselves and think we are all that, but through humility and receiving all that God has for us. Receiving is connected to believing.

So what’s the deal with the makeup? Believing I was enough has come incrementally. One part unlearning, one part renewing, one part persistence, one part humility, one part unconditional love by the Father = receiving His transformative love. It is a recipe with a whole lot of variables and some extra ingredients have been added or taken away over the years of healing. End result – I don’t need anybody’s approval but God’s alone. I am learning what I love and who I need to be. In that freedom, I can encourage others to do the same. Join me.

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Hopelessly Devoted

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”

My husband is fiercely loyal and it is one of the qualities I love the most about him. It is one of the ways he has loved the fear of abandonment and rejection to healing in me. It is one of the ways he has shown that even in serious trouble, it is not a time to give up. He has taught me how to persevere and do the hard things because of this quality. I always say, he doesn’t just read the word and forget what it says. He does it. So when God said for husbands to love their wife as Christ loves the church, my heart is evidence of that.

This morning in our devotional we read about a couple that has been married 50 years and when asked separately what their secret was to 50 years, they both responded, I never tried to change him/her. Wade said that would be so cool to be able to celebrate 50 years with you. rocking-chairs-1046184_640

C’mon, how much sweeter can you get. I was thinking, I don’t think I want to live that long. haha We are just 11 years in and I am 49!!! Ok it is actually plausible and please celebrate with us if it happens but therein lies a picture of our differences. And I celebrate them! We make a better whole because of them.

Loyalty is defined as the quality of being faithful to someone or something. It has been in the forefront of my mind for a variety of reasons and Psalm 119 is one of them.

It is a fascinating portion of scripture in that it is the longest psalm and chapter in the entire bible. The whole theme is the psalmist’s loyalty to the Word of God. The structure of the psalm made it easy to memorize in the Hebrew culture when they didn’t all have copies of scripture. This particular psalm is formed as an acrostic with 22 sections each corresponding to a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, every verse beginning with the letter of its section. Amazing.

The Psalmist was referring to the Torah, which were the first 5 books of the Law/Old Testament and almost every verse of the 176 verses written have a synonym for the word Torah in it. How creative is that. His devotion was evident that he was fully convinced God’s word was life and those who kept it were rewarded by God.

Observe his delight and devotion.

Vs 1 – Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.

Vs 9 – How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

Vs 11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Vs 24 – Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

Vs 36 – Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

Vs 45 – I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Vs 89 – Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Vs 92 – If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

Vs 105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Vs 125 – I am your servant, give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Vs 165 – Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

One of my favourite things about this psalm is how it ends in Vs 176, ‘I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.’ After all of the devotion and desire to be loyal to God’s word, he concedes to his humanness. He confesses and turns back to God. Reminding us all that every good relationship needs to be intentional, seeking after the heart of God and the ones we love. We still may fall, but the grace of God picks us up. Love covers over a multitude of sins.

Let this be your prayer and protection with me for the days to come. Psalm 119:103,104 ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! honey-dipper-924732_640 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.’

What can you do to become more loyal to God’s word today?

 

Shamelessly Myself

“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.” Proverbs 3:5,6

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” Psalm 37:5

At about the time I published my last post with the Proverbs verse from above, a sweet woman I just met sent me the same verse telling me this was a time of new beginnings in my life. As I studied this verse a bit more and read Proverbs 2 and 4 which surround this chapter, I see that trust is banked by wisdom. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Trust is a choice to accept the gift of wisdom that He gives us. I listened to Bob Hazlett this morning tell us we need to live toward who God says we are. Part of that process is to lose our mind. I know some of you may relate to this in the way that you feel like you already have, haha I have been there and believe me perimenopause does not help the cause! He meant as it says in proverbs, lean NOT on your understanding. His thoughts are not our thoughts and neither are His ways our ways. We go to the Father and seek for His thoughts and ways. In this wisdom we can commit, submit and trust All of our ways to Him. Take note that these are all action words and will not just happen without our participation.

This past weekend I had the privilege to attend a women’s conference with one of my sweet soul sisters. We both sensed that God had something significant for us there and He did not disappoint. Audrey Meisner from Mynewday.tv ministries was the keynote speaker. She was one of the most engaging speakers that I have had the pleasure of listening to and empowered many women over the weekend to live as overcomers and already approved as God has made us to be. She shared a story of a time when she searched relentlessly for her cell phone making herself late for an appointment when it was tucked into her bra strap all along. She felt God say to her that you have been looking for something this whole time that you have had all along!

He sees us approved through the eyes of Jesus who gave up His life for us. Here is the tie in; are you ready? I had a time of ministry with Audrey after the event and one line she spoke that resonated with me was someone she knew had told her that he wants to marry someone who is shamelessly herself.This is my deepest heart desire to be shamelessly myself! Unapologetically!

We Can be this when we know we are loved and approved! I have looked ALL of my life for an elusive approval from people, the approval only God could give me. And I mean All the people. God has given it to me all along. Audrey asked what path are we on? The one of pleasing or of trusting. We can never please God enough but when we trust, His pleasure comes. Trust as a verb – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.  The only way we will establish this kind of trust is by knowing God. What does His word say? What does it say about you? biblepic

If we don’t dig into this truth we can forget where we are, We are seated with Christ in heavenly places with access to the presence of heaven and when we forget where we are, we forget who we are. (Bob Hazlett) We are sons and daughters of God, we are free from the power of sin, a slave to righteousness, a new creation, more than a conqueror, a joint heir with Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, at peace with God. Need I go on? Probably, but I encourage you to dig into the scripture references below and ask God how He sees you. What is your identity rooted in? What lies do you need to counter with God’s truth to become shamelessly yourself?

Ephesians 2:6,7; Romans 8:17; Romans 6:14; Romans 6:18; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:37; Ephesians 1:6; Romans 5:1