Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Escaping The Crappy Pit of Despair

Blame it on more snow days than I can count and the chaotic non-schedule life that comes with them. Blame it on the lack of sunshine and warmth and all things green and lovely in this Arctic wasteland we call Ohio. Blame it on lack of sleep due to a husband's aching tooth (which is now removed from his mouth, Thank. You. Jesus). Whatever the reason, the last couple days have just been crap. Complete crap. I know on crappy days that they're crappy, but there just isn't a thing I can think of to do about it.

But this morning, on the third dawn of crappiness, my son did the most brilliant thing. He opened my Bible that was on the counter and his little pudgy hand landed on Romans 8:18-21: 

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

Word, son. Word. In reality, I'm just having a couple of tired Winter days. This is not a crisis by any means. But inside, sometimes we can feel crushed and angry and in despair for seriously no reason. We have to have the tools to get out of the pits that the enemy digs in front of us. All it took was the Word to start breaking in to my little pity party. Heavenly reality set me straight in the 30 seconds it took to read. The pit was exposed.  

Once in them, these pits must be scaled and avoided at all costs. Run away! After Romans 8 happened today, I started thinking about lies I have secretly agreed with. They are what landed me into this mess. The best way to rid darkness from the heart is to bring it into the light. Here's a great, practical exercise you can do if you want to get your heart out in the open, healing light of God. Make a simple chart. Like this:

Lies I Have Believed
What God Says About Me
My best days are behind me
 "Behold, I will do a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:19)
I can't do anything well. I am taking on too many things and can't focus.
 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)
I am having surgery in 2 weeks. I will    
be weak and scarred, ugly, and tired.
  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Friend, you are too loved, too powerful, too important to go around with awful ideas and lies locked in your head, guiding your every move and thought. It's time to come into the light. I encourage you to break apart every lie and every stronghold in your heart with the Word. What lies are you partnering with right now? And most importantly, what does God say about you instead?

Have a good day. Mine is 100% less crappy already. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

You Let Me Catch My Breath

True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Psalm 23:3 (The Message)

   There have been times in the past year where I literally felt like I couldn't breathe. The weight of decisions, the paralysis of fear, the stranglehold of worry all threatened to choke the life right out of this girl. It felt like a sprint at times. One that would not afford me any breaks. So many nights spent wondering what was going on. So many desperate prayers that led to me melting into the arms of the Father as He calmed me. And He spoke these soothing and inspiring words :"Keep moving forward and I will heal your heart." 

The healing is here. Things that made no sense are starting to burst forth in full color. Where there was extreme, disjointed, misalignment, the pieces are all starting to click into place like cogs of a giant maze of gears. Forward motion is happening.

I couldn't be more moved, more thrilled, or more expectant. As I hit the one-month-until-my-final-surgery mark, I stand in awe of the way God has healed and restored me. He has truly given me months of much-needed rest, contemplation, and healing. He has taken what I thought I wanted and needed and replaced it with His dreams, His direction, and His plans for my life. He has let me catch my breath. I now feel like I am ready to move into the next direction. I've embraced the phrase, "When God closes a door, praise Him in the hallway." Well, the light on the other side of the darkened hall is starting to pierce through the cracks and crevices and keyholes.  I'm still not certain of exactly what lies ahead, but I know that "all the promises of God find their yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." (2 Cor. 1; 20-22)

All throughout my life I have hit little valleys, where I huddled close to Christ and leaned upon Him until He cleared and leveled the path ahead. Usually, I didn't see His work until long after the fact as I considered, awestruck, how He perfectly orchestrated my coming and going. But this time, I can see it coming and I can see the pieces starting to click into place before my very eyes. I think the difference this time around is that I wasn't leaning into Him to get to the next step. No. I was leaning into Him to get more of Him. More of Jesus was my method AND my reward. And with a heart and body restored, and holding tightly to new promises, new revelation, new hopes and dreams, He and I step forward together with slow, steady breaths. He has set the course. The journey ahead will be carried out by only His strength. 

What shift is happening in your life right now? 
How are you being transformed?
Are you excited about the God adventure ahead of you?

If you're still in "the hallway", that's ok. Continue to lean into Jesus and stand firm on His promises for your life. If you're not sure what those promises are, dig into the Bible and mine them out. 

And remember, though we want greater vision and clarity for the future, the true reward and the best outcome of spending more time with Jesus, is spending more time with Jesus! The clarity you'll get is just a bonus. 

Be blessed, friends, and know that He not only HAS a plan for your life, but IS THE PLAN for your life.