void

Sometimes the chasm between my head and my heart feels like an impassable void.

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hardly ever complicated

This past weekend I had the opportunity to get away for a little bit. My life does not always lend itself to moments of silence and reflection (who’s does these days??),  and to be honest, I was getting close to my breaking point. Life has presented several challenges, consecutively, over the past several years, and there has been little time for evaluation or processing. It was time to just be alone for a while.

What was revealed to me was simple – God is hardly ever complicated – but I was finally quiet long enough to hear it. To receive it. A dear friend gave me some worksheets and I asked myself, and my Creator, some tough questions. At the end of it all, He gently corrected my course, revealed truths not yet realized, and gave me an opportunity to extend greater grace to those who have offended me or who have caused myself (or loved ones), pain. He is, after all, a true gentleman, and He will always bring His gift of grace and peace with correction.

Don’t rush through life so fast that you miss it. Our lives are not only about relationships and blessing around us. Work or philanthropy. Leisure or… But life is also a journey of growth. Choose today to give yourself margin to receive – you will be so glad you did!

 

 

to define what is and what is not

Boundaries are almost a catch phrase these days. Everyone talks about them and most have an opinion about them – even the definition can be muddy and open to controversy. I read once that someone thought that if one had boundaries without letting the other person know about them, that they were just being cold.

To establish a boundary is to define what is and what is not, appropriate and beneficial to your life and personal, emotional well-being. (That’s my definition, anyway, since there are so many out there!). To set a boundary means to know who you are and what you are capable of. It’s to know where you should not go and what might be damaging to you or your relationships, even if someone else can happily go there.

When we have children, we establish healthy boundaries – don’t climb up this or don’t cross that line into the street. No, you can’t have 5 donuts after dinner…Boundaries help keep kids safe, and helps them to FEEL safe.

Even God had boundaries. In the book of Numbers, God began to reveal to the children of Israel where the borders would be in the land He was giving to them. He was going to go before them and take for them their promised land, but there were still lines for them to recognize.

When we establish clear borders in our lives, we allow ourselves the freedom to move at will within those boundaries. There are no longer shades of ambiguity. We also allow others to respect and love us well because they, too, are clear as to where they may and may not go in our lives.

Those who will not operate within those boundaries also encounter the  freedom to find a place where the boundaries are different.

True freedom comes when we release our lives wholly into what we have been given – our parameters clear and firm. Be free today.

In Everything.

It’s always wisdom to know who your audience is. To have an understanding of with whom you are communicating and why. Often we can be disappointed or disillusioned when we don’t get an answer we are looking for. One of the greatest lessons I have learned about friendship is that there are those who I love to hang out with – and they are great people – but there are a select few I go to for counsel. For me, it’s important to have people I can trust to be honest with me, and to not allow their personal biases to jump on my pity-party-bandwagon.

Last week I went to a counselor for the first time. She was  reference from a friend of a friend and I had heard great things about her. Out the gate I was a little put-off by her personality, but we had an hour-and-a-half session before us, and I truly believed I could receive some wisdom and clarification. At the end of our time together, however, I was more confused and experiencing less peace than when I had walked in. Still, I scheduled another appointment, thinking perhaps I needed to not judge too quickly.

After some time in the Word on Saturday at an Encounters Retreat, my mind cleared again. There are some bottom line truths in my life and I allowed my mistrust of  myself to set aside those truths temporarily.

*God is a gentleman. Not only will He lovingly bring us to a place of repentance, but He will bring clarification with correction.

*God’s timing is perfect – He never just yanks out sin or lack in our lives, but rather will wait patiently for us to hand it over.

*No matter what degree someone has on their wall, or many scriptures they can quote, their perception of God and what He is doing in your life can be twisted or misunderstood.

*Our faith walk is exactly that – OURS. Only a person who has proven their love and loyalty to you should speak into your life and even then, weigh all counsel against the counsel of God.

I think I need to find someone else to talk with next time around. My life is rooted in the foundation of Christ and who He is; it’s important that whoever I trust with my struggles also lives a life of active faith. Within those boundaries, I can be assured that even if we disagree or have to do some hard work, I will still know that at the end of the day, Jesus is on the throne. In everything.

Don’t Go Into the Light

I have some new basil starts in my kitchen window. Every morning I turn them as every day they begin to slowly bend towards the window. Not being outside, they don’t have the opportunity to head straight up towards the sun. As we know, plants will do all they can to find a way to the light.

So do people.

There is a part deep inside us that recognizes our Creator; acknowledges the existence of something (or someone) greater than ourselves. Throughout our lives we seek for that light. We yearn for it. And while some find that which our soul cries out for, others are deceived.

It’s so easy to get off the path. Every day we are bombarded with promises of light, of greatness, of fun and excitement. There are shiny cars and shiny women. Blinged out toes and brilliant homes. Money and sex and fame all glow so brilliantly and we know we need it all because it’s the main message we receive all day long – through media, internet, music and entertainment it’s all been laid out for us.

In the end, though, there is no light. Those who “make it” often end their lives early as the deception eats at their hearts and souls and they bury the pain with other artificial light – drugs, alcohol, divorce, deception – push us off the tracks once more. Soon, like a flower planted in the shadows, we begin to fade and wither.

There are those who believe that the light lives inside of us. And to a large extent that is true – when we ask Jesus into our hearts, He does come and reside within us. It all seems so complicated at times, but the beauty and brightness that we seek lies not in anything outside of what we already have, but in the grace and potential we possess within ourselves to give and receive love.

Seek an everlasting light. Press pause on the lies of the world and sit in the quiet and peace of true, clear, restorative and brilliant light. Let the love of God permeate your soul and be full.

Shalom.

the face of a king

The children’s ministry at our church is called Lifesavers. Every Sunday, dozens of volunteers share their valuable time and energy, pouring love and faith into the children who attend. It can be a huge blessing, but truth be told, it’s also a huge commitment. People who love on other people’s kids really love the Lord.

One of the things I have begun talking to the kids about when I am in there is reminding them of who they are. When they are unkind or needing to be redirected, we talk about their identity in Jesus. They are Sons and Daughters of the Most High God, designed and destined for great things. Princes and princesses aren’t cruel or selfish, but are gracious and extend God’s love to all they come into contact with. I tell my own children the same thing. We may never do it perfectly, but we strive to do it well.

Call out the greatness in your children. In your self. Your spouse. Raise the bar and lift up your expectations. To the future…