In the Quiet

“Search me, God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23,24

Do you sometimes long for quiet but when it comes you realize you weren’t quite ready for it? My heart and my mind have been in go mode for the last week or longer preparing for our Sisters event at church, getting ready to speak and having a house full of our kids, son-in-law and grandson. So one by one as they left and my husband was back at work and my son at school, my house got cleaner but my heart got heavier. It does not overwhelm me though, I choose to be grateful. Grateful that I have so many to love, grateful for new life in my grandson, grateful that we had an opportunity to impact so many women’s lives with the love of Jesus. I am grateful for the core group of women leaders that I was privileged to gather with and plan this event. It was such an honor to watch them walking in their giftings, bringing a sense of effortlessness in execution.

I love how God arranges and orchestrates and weaves stories and teachings together to encourage and enlighten and really show us His heart for us. My friend Niki and I both spoke at our event and the overlap that happened without our knowledge or planning was simply beautiful. I laughed with delight as our sermon at church the next day and Joyce Meyer’s teaching in our women’s lifegroup also reiterated the main ideas. Perhaps the Father is trying to tell us something! Or at least myself as it seems to be following me.

Which leads to my opening sentence. The quiet hit me in the heart today as my daughter and grandson were the last to go and let’s face it, the baby is the hardest to see leave. I am kind of used to it with my adult children as it has happened for a few years but oh that baby Kaiden has my heart. Having children was like wearing your heart on the outside of your body and it is still is ,having a grandchild is like wearing it all over you and it is exploding. I try to capture the essence of what this new love is every time I am near him because it fascinates me. I think a lot of it is I am older and wiser and more free to love without all the restraints of raising and discipline and daily rituals and it is quite an awe-inspiring thing to watch your flesh and blood care for and raise a baby. It is like my heart has this fierce protectiveness reignited, especially after watching him enter the world through a lot of trauma. It is also because of this love that I am able to love others more deeply. And oh his smile, melts my heart and I see it melts his Mama’s as God brings healing to her heart through him.

Ok really back to my opening sentence, it is in this quiet that God meets with me. It is this quiet where I need to recharge after some hard packed ministry. It is here where I need to be so nobody else gets in my crosshairs as my emotions are highly charged. It is here where I give my thanks. It is here where I continue to pray for all the women whose paths crossed mine this weekend and whose hearts were laid bare for the King of Kings to heal and love. It is here where I let Him search my heart and He shows me that I am trying to manage others emotions because mine feel out of control. It is here where I let Him touch that part of me and move me to keep doing what He is calling. It is here where I get my mind off of myself and onto His greatness. In the quiet He can renew my mind, In the quiet I can hear His heartbeat and I can sit until it is in sync with mine…

How are you meeting Him in the quiet?

 

Scars, Souls & the Shallows

“For much of our lives, we live in the shallows. Then something happens – a crisis, a birth, a death – and we get this glimpse of tremendous depth. My soul becomes shallow when my interests go no further than myself…A deep soul has the capacity to understand and empathize deeply with other people – not just himself. A deep soul notices and questions and doesn’t just go through the motions. A deep soul lives in conscious awareness of eternity, not simply today…A soul especially has depth when it is connected to God.” John Ortberg Soul Keeping

This quote has gotten to the depths of me and has given me much clarity especially in the dark places of the soul where things are difficult for me or the others around me. I know without a doubt that the things that have molded me the most and made me most like Jesus were not the things knit in the shallow places, although my flesh often longs for my lessons to be learned there. Sometimes darkness and trouble is where hope is born and faith grows or changes, ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ Hebrews 11:1. The change in your faith is up to you and as I wisely heard my friend, Shirley say recently, ‘now you have the scar, you need to choose how you are going to wear it.’

The glory of the scar can be swallowed up in bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, hate, judgment or ungratefulness to name a few. Sometimes we can’t change how things have worked out in our lives but our response is always up to us. Often in the deep it is hard to see how God’s glory will show up in the scar but that does not mean it isn’t there. I believe our choices are what ultimately will reveal what is hidden in us and whether God will be glorified in our response or not. Shirley, a survivor full of Jesus and inner strength, told me that she wears her scars proudly and only God can help her say that and mean it. This is a response that brings God the glory and shows God has healed her more than just physically.

Recently I was dive-bombed into the depths as I witnessed the birth of our first grandchild. My daughter became my new hero and a bundle of heaven’s sweetness stole my heart. The process was brutal and traumatizing to my daughter, her boyfriend and I. Our little grandson at 10lbs 7oz, withstood this trauma like a warrior as his name signifies. Shortly after he was born I found myself thinking about and noticing other families,wondering how many children were born through much difficulty. As I shared my daughters’ story  I realized that it was a common occurrence for many mothers to have traumatic birthing experiences.  I found myself praying for God to remove trauma more and more. This experience gave me more of a capacity to empathize deeply with these women.

Our main purpose is to love as Christ first loved us and often the way we do that is through our empathy and being able to comfort others with His love. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5(NIV)3 ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.’ The places of the deep are never wasted if we surrender them to Him. In the process our soul grows and our shallows lessen increasing our capacity to love like Jesus and making our scars count for eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processing in the Process

James 1:2-4 “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.”

Trusting God when you are in the midst of a process can be a difficult thing to do and even more so when it is a pressure cooker and more than one process is happening.  You may be in a position where running away from it all and trying to ‘figure’ it out in peace seems like a logical thing to do. You may just want to run away period, nevermind the figuring things out. Or you are just plain asking for a break in the process so you don’t feel stretched thin.

What if, your reaction to the process is what is making it more difficult for you? Now stick with me here, don’t close this window just yet. Have you heard the term that I know Joyce Meyer says, new level, new devil? Most of us resist brokenness but it is in this place that we know God better. Are you submitting to the dealings of God? Or resisting them? I heard a saying the other day that we do go from glory to glory but it is sometimes hell in the hallway! As we go deeper with God, He builds our character through process, we learn perserverance in our own training with Him.

Graham Cooke says, ‘If you let go of God in your development you will not be able to keep hold of him when the days get tough in ministry. Look for the majesty of God in the training ground. You cannot take ground from the enemy if he has ground in you.’ Our training or processes are part of killing off our flesh so we can give God our excellence.

Is it painful sometimes?  You bet your boots. I am experiencing some of that squeezing right now in my life and I haven’t been real pretty about it either. I have sworn and cried and questioned, like stretch armstrong on steroids, But God…I sing His praises, I find something to be grateful about, I am so honored to be His child and know that there is something redemptive in everything that we go through. My amazing friend Lee said in the midst of one of my struggles, what is the redemptive purpose in what is happening? What is being redeemed in me that God wants to refine? God is concerned about our growth and character.

We decrease so that there will be an increase of God. I was reminded last night that my word this year is Finish, James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Today I need to choose to circumcise my feelings from my beliefs because my flesh is saying to that, ya NO! I listened to a teaching by Bill Johnson called Faith Versus Entitlement  (see bethel church podcast below)- ouch, entitlement – the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. He said that if looking at a problem doesn’t release joy then we aren’t seeing it right, we aren’t seeing that there is a divine purpose because on the other side, we lack Nothing.  Count it all joy means do the math because on the other side of the trial, in that place redeemed in us, we will lack nothing. Can you wrap your mind around that idea? Does it mean we are done? No. Pruning is always positioning us for a greater increase, a greater manifestation and purpose, God being greater in and through us. It always goes back to it is not about us, God won’t do it without us but we can’t do it without Him. I need to get over myself, bottom line. God’s grace is the only place where that will happen.

It is not about finding joy In the trial but in what the trial will bring. I believe it is a mindset, it is about our mentality when facing the trials in front of us. I heard Jim Richards the other day say that forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a decision. I believe this is applicable in trials as well, it is a decision to find the joy that we will be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. It doesn’t mean that there will be no pain or grief and I think a lot of the times that is my expectation because I seek comfort over growth more than I care to admit. Trials have the ability to make us bitter or better. We need to choose to send away our judgment and release our offence over our situations in order to see through to the end of it with Jesus.

I was in a position the other day that revisited an old wound in a new way. At first I was frustrated that there were still more layers to this hurt but when the person was sorry for the situation creating this reaction, I became grateful that because of this I was becoming more whole in order to minister better to others. Was it painful and did it suck? Absolutely! At my healing trauma class later that week our facilitator reminded us that all things are in layers and when one layer is exposed and allowed to heal in the light of Jesus it builds a better foundation and our tool kit increases to deal with the next layer that will come as God wants to go deeper. You see our healing is not to revisit things to be hurt again but to be free from them crippling us because Jesus changes the nature of things. I have been processing these truths as I write this out to you, tough stuff especially with an entitlement attitude that my life needs to look easy, but that was never promised, it is my false expectation. I want to have the capacity for life and service for the God that loves me, finish your work Lord.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/bethel-church-sermon-week/id76583739?mt=2