Posts Tagged With: darkness

Sleep

This morning I woke up exhausted, too many late nights preparing for Christmas. I wrestled with myself for several minutes whether or not I should go back to bed after my husband left, the kids were still sleeping… I went back and forth, Bible study, sleep, Bible study, sleep… I weighed the consequences and possible outcomes of each and still couldn’t convince myself which direction I should go, nourish the temple or feed the soul? I sat down and opened up Streams in the Desert, one of the many devotionals I read, and it was all about a dream someone had about Jesus never coming. And then I thought of the “Footprints” poem on the wall behind me, it’s a dream as well! And then it dawned on me, you know it’s pretty hard to receive a dream like those, if you never sleep! And I know from personal experience that I dream the best when I sleep the hardest… when I’m exhausted. In Psalms 1:2-3 it says “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whole leaf doesn’t wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

Now, I feel the need to point out that because Jesus DID come, the “law” that this verse refers to is Jesus. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus Himself tells us that He didn’t come to wipe out the past laws of God, but rather to complete them. The laws from the past were guidelines for healthy living, everything from food safety to relationships. None of these things have passed away since Jesus came. On the contrary, they’ve only been intensified. The Law (before Christ came) was like the pencil sketch outline on a canvas being prepared for a masterpiece. Jesus is the paint that came along and filled in all those temporarily gray pencil-lines with bold vibrant color and LIFE! The pencil lines are still there under the watercolor hues that now lie over them, but they certainly aren’t the picture. They’re not the part that you admire when you look at (or meditate on) the picture. Your eye naturally focuses on the colors that fill the lines. While the Law is still here it’s still active and applicable in our world and our lives, it’s not what saves us, it’s not what fills us it’s the color and life of Jesus that saves and fills and completes our world. Jesus IS the Law, in every sense of the word. He came to color in what no one else could. All we could do was add more gray shading, details to a formerly perfectly white canvas. The more rules humanity added to the Law, the more we added bleak gray to our world, and then Jesus came, with His paints and brushes and turned our upside-down thinking right=side-up. He is the Law on which we are to meditate. He is the bulls-eye that all of history points forward to, and all the future looks to. He is the focal point of all humanity.

How are we to meditate on Jesus – The Law – in the night though? Easy! You go to bed meditating about Him and His word. I can not tell you how many times I have gone to bed with a question on my mind and a prayer on my lips only to wake with my body in a position of praise (hands above my head) and the answer written in my heart. While my mind and body were at rest, and out-of-the-way, my soul was free to commune with the Holy Spirit without interference from my busy activities or my mind immediately rejecting everything He says because it might not be logical or the “smart” thing to do. Many times I will have a cryptic or strange dream that when prayed over and interpreted will reveal the answer to my question. God speaks to us constantly, but the business of our lives and the clutter of our minds disturbs His messages. It’s like He projects His messages on the movie screen of the still water of our souls and the more we disturb it with our motion, the more the message gets muddled. The best way to receive a clear message from God is to be routinely still, not just in our body but in our soul. To rest in His arms like that weaned child, who KNOWS that they are loved and fed and provided for in every way by their heavenly Father so they need not throw rocks of worry in the water of their souls, because God’s got it ALL under control. Every minute detail, He knows them all. For “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Rest well this day, and this night, my friend. May the waters of your soul be undisturbed by rocks of worry. Rather, may you stand on THE rock, the horn of our salvation, and drink deeply from His gently flowing streams of living water. May that water fill your soul with refreshment and quench your thirst for anything less than His perfect righteousness. Jesus is the Law colored in with His perfect love that casts out fear. May His love for you shine through your darkness and color your life with the vibrance that only a child of God can claim. The vibrant life that starts with the red blood shed at the cross and sweeps across the entire blue sky with the rainbow of His promise of love poured out for the whole world. He loves the world so much that He sent His only Son to be the Way to an eternal relationship with Him. Praise be to the Living and active God who loves us with such an abandon that He is willing to go the distance and die a tortured death to show us just how much He cares for us. Jesus loves you my friend, rest in that truth today, He is calling you, by name, to come and sit with Him in His lap. Quiet your soul and be still so that you may KNOW that He is God.

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Spiritual Stay-cation Day 4: Because Jesus loves YOU

Well, I had a great talk with my mom last night reassuring her of my newly retrieved peace (thanks to God commanding me to put everything down for a week and let Him carry it instead). I am realizing that I’ve been carrying too much myself, including my old self “Tyra”. I’ve talked about her a couple of times over the past six months of blogging. She seems to pop back up into life occasionally, usually through friends who accidentally call me Tyra still… and then the accidental slip becomes a habit. Or in the case of most of my family members where I haven’t ever really explained to them the whole name change thing. Honestly, it’s not something that’s very easy for most people TO understand. “You changed your name… because God told you to??? O…K…” then they smile and nod and quickly change the subject. Some have even gone so far as to tell me I’m crazy, hence “The Crazy Mom Blog”.

Most people don’t understand going through a life change dramatic enough to warrant a change of name. Yet, really, when I really think about it, it was less that my life changed and more that my view of God changed. My view of myself changed because I was suddenly seeing my life through God’s eyes instead of my own. That changes a person in ways that most people can’t understand, because they’ve never had it happen to them. And I pray for that kind of change for them! Most people can stand to have a personal encounter with God that changes their entire outlook on themselves and the world around them. I can’t tell you how many times I have cried out to God on their behalf, praying that they would have a PERSONAL INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP with Christ even more intimate than mine is. That they would know Him the way Adam “knew” Eve in Genesis 4:1, with a kind of knowing that only husbands and wives share with each other, the kind of knowing that brings about children and fruit and offspring and seeds.

I haven’t always had this intimate of a relationship with Jesus, even though I’ve always been a church attending Christian. But just like sitting in a garage doesn’t make me a car, sitting in churches never made me a Christian. Anyway, there came a time in my life when I started actively seeking God out of a heart of wanting to know Him more. I was going to a Friday morning Bible study at a local church with some friends. I had attended Bible studies before, but it was really more out of a need for fellowship in a place where I knew no one that anything else. In this study, however, I already HAD the fellowship with the people around me and so through that Bible study I started seeking fellowship with the One we were studying. Through studying God’s word I came to know Him more, and the more I knew of Him the more I wanted to know Him. I wanted to experience Him the way Beth Moore was telling us that we could. There was something about the way that she talked about Him, the way she lit up when she said His name. She wasn’t just teaching because it was her calling, she was teaching because she had a true passion for the One she was teaching about. She had something in her that called out to me like a moth to a flame. I wanted that fire in ME, I wanted the passion that she had for what she was talking about. Through her I started to realize that the hunger I’d had my entire life wasn’t for the things I thought it had been for, it was for HIM. It was a hunger for a relationship with HIM! And OH! When I started setting aside my religion for a RELATIONSHIP, *romantic sign…..* I got what I had always been hungering for. And so much more!

Just like a true bride, when she gets married she is thrilled to take her new husband’s name, I too took a new name. You know how most pastor’s will say that they were called into the ministry? Well, although I was not called to be a pastor, I too have been called. And in that calling has come a LOT of changes. God has taken me through some really wild rides and experiences that you do NOT want to know about let alone experience. To prepare me for this calling on my life, I have seen things that most people never see, and most people would never believe. When I laid down my life to follow God’s call, I laid down the name that went along with that life. And I picked up the name that symbolizes this new life within my bones.

But that doesn’t mean that the old name (and everything that goes with it) hasn’t persistently followed me since then! Oh NO! The sentimental and emotional cord that has bound me to Tyra started out quite short and she followed along behind me very closely. And slowly but surely, bit by bit I’ve consistently tried to sever that cord between my old self and my new self. But the only thing my scissors have done is make the cord longer. And every time she follows behind me a bit farther; so that I THINK she’s gone… but then she just comes bounding back up again with those eyes that just plead “You know you really do love me. You really do want to keep me.” And for a while I’ll look into those eyes and think, it’s just a name, does it really matter what these other people call me? What they call me doesn’t define who I really am. But allowing them to think that I am still that person, by allowing them to still call me that dead person’s name, is lying to them. I let it go for the sake of trying to be polite and not correct people, but the truth is, that’s just not who I am anymore and I need to be honest with myself and them.

In first Chronicles chapter four verses nine through ten we read about a man named Jabez. Now some of you may be familiar with his story, hidden within a huge list of names, but for those who are not:

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

Now “Jabez” sounds like the Hebrew word for “pain”. His name means pain. His mother called him “pain” his entire life as a reminder that she gave birth to him in pain. There is power in a name because the name of something defines it. When I say “basket ball” you don’t just think about the ball that get’s thrown into baskets, you think about the ball, the sport, the court, the players, the fun, the cheers, everything that is related to basket ball is defined in those two small words – its name. The definition of Jabez’s life to that point, was pain. When he cried out to the One who can do all things, he asked (of all things) to be free from the one thing that had plagued him for his entire life, pain!

How many of us have had pain plague us throughout our entire lives??? You know, there are two different kinds of pain, physical and spiritual. I personally have experienced both and between the two I can say hands down that Spiritual pain is the worst! Because spiritual pain is a pain that doesn’t go away when you rub it, there’s no pill that you can pop to make spiritual pain go away. When your body is in pain there is a multitude of ways that humanity has come up with to ease that pain… but when your spirit is hurting there’s only one cure. Jesus. Sure, we’ve come up with lots of ways to attempt to substitute some other forms of spiritual cures, from booze, to food, to sex, to violence, but when we really get right down to it, they’re all just substitutes. Like aspartame is a substitute for real sugar, that tastes nothing like real sugar and has horrible side effects, so do these substitutes. They’re nothing like the real thing and they leave behind them horrible side effects and after tastes. Jesus is the One and only true healer of ALL pain, in all of its forms and functions. Jesus is the only one that has the ability to free us from the pain that plagues our souls day in and day out. And when we cry out to Him He can and does free us from that pain. No, the physical pain may or may not leave, but the spiritual pain ALWAYS does.

One hundred percent of our spiritual pain comes from sin. And it may not even be sins that we ourselves committed, it may have been the sins that our ancestor’s committed, or our relatives, or even our neighbors or friends! Our society stresses individuality and the Enemy likes to try to get us to think that our actions only effect us, but nothing could be farther from the truth! Our actions, good or evil, create waves in the air around us. They change our own reactions and the reactions of the people around us, which changes the reactions of the people around them. Nothing that we do, stands alone. Nothing that we do DOESN’T leave a point of impact or change something in the environment around us. Nothing.

I know that my own sins have caused me pain and the pain that I experienced changed me… but it has also changed the people around me too. Through my healing from that pain, came my greatest transformation. A new birth, a new name, a new career, a new lifestyle, pretty much a new everything! From my pain I’ve written a whole book on the sins of my past and how I was transformed from that pain they brought about. An excruciating pain deep in my soul that I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around or ease with my finger, and yet it throbbed in my heart all the same. Outwardly I looked fine, but inwardly I wasn’t. I couldn’t ever define HOW I was in pain, or where it was really coming from. Until I started earnestly crying out for God to fix the thing that was wrong, whatever it was it was causing me pain and a lot of it! I wanted it gone! And God granted my request. It wasn’t at all the way I thought He would grant it, and yet it was exactly the way it needed to be.

That pain I used to experience, I see it in the eyes of the people I interact with day in and day out. I recognize that pain, because I’ve lived that pain. Oh! For so long I lived in that excruciating un-named pain… and I’ve been freed from it. God gave me a new name because He freed me from the pain that was attached to the old name. “Tyra”, while a perfectly good name, defines that time in my life filled with the pain of past sins plaguing me and tying me up from the blessings God was trying to pour out over me. Tyra, like an umbrella, was blocking God’s blessings and favor from reaching all the way down to me and causing them to flow to the sides of me instead. Tyra was a beautiful person, she loved others, she loved God, but she turned herself into an idol and got in her own way. Tyra made a HUGE mistake and suffered for it for 13 years. But she didn’t suffer alone, she brought her friends and her family and her boyfriend and then her husband in on the pain as well. Misery loves company and so did Tyra. Tyra is a slave. A slave to sin, and pride, and fear. She’s a slave to lust and gluttony and adultery. Sure, Tyra did a lot of really good things too, but all of them were done through the filter of sin and slavery.

When Tyra cried out to God for help, that He would bless her, enlarge her territory, that His hand would be upon her, keep her from harm so that she would be free from pain, He didn’t just grant her request, He leapt for joy. Simply at the fact that she had finally asked HIM. God was so happy that day, that after years of being in pain and searching for answers she had FINALLY come to the ONE WHO COULD GIVE HER THE ANSWERS AND THE HEALING TOO! When she cried out to God that He would bless her, He did so much more than simply bless her, He has consistently enlarged her territory (to the point that it is starting to make her uncomfortable – not that that’s a bad thing!) He has kept His hand upon her, directing her steps and making them more and more sure every day. He has most definitely kept her from more harm that even she could ever imagine!!!!! But the best part of all, He has freed her from the pain. And to signify that freedom from pain He blessed her with a new name. Tamar. A name that symbolizes strength in adversity, fruit in the wilderness, love for the unloved, water for the thirsty and food for the hungry. Tamar symbolizes light for those in darkness, hope for those in desperation, Tamar is a bride of Christ.

I am Tamar, who are you? What does your name mean to you? How does it define you? Is it holding you back? Or is it pushing you forward toward Christ?

Just like Saul, Tyra lived her religion most days of her life, until she came face to face with the One her religion was named after. Have you come face to face with the One your religion was named after? Many people today claim Christianity and yet know very little about what it really means to be a Christian. The every day practices of a Christian vary depending on what denomination you talk to, but the core, the center, the HEART of Christianity has very little to do with religion. It’s ALL about RELATIONSHIP. It’s about having one, with THE ONE. 🙂 Tyra lived her religion, Tamar lives her relationship. Don’t just go through the motions of religion, live them. Don’t pray for the sake of praying, pray because you want to carry on a conversation with the One who heals; because Jesus loves you. Don’t go to church because it’s something Christians do, go to church because He’s told us not to forsake gathering together with fellow believers; because Jesus loves you. Don’t get involved in volunteering because it’s the right thing to do, do it because He’s asked us to be His hands and feet; because Jesus loves you. Jesus loves YOU. Jesus came and fought religion because He doesn’t want empty rituals and empty sacrifices, He wants a marriage relationship with YOU. If that relationship involves a ritual or two, and what relationship doesn’t, then that’s OK. But it’s not the ritual that He wants, it’s not the ritual that He loves, He loves YOU!

Most parents go through a bed time ritual with their children. Usually because the routine of it bring the child comfort in its predictability, it helps the child know what time it is and prepares them for sleep, and they’re fun. As the parent, you don’t go through the ritual just to do the ritual, you go through it for your child’s benefit. There are parts of it that you enjoy and benefit from, but you do it for their sake, not wholly your own. God is the same way. He’s given us rituals to follow to bring us comfort in their predictability, especially when life is so unpredictable! He’s given us rituals to help us know and remember what time it is and to prepare us for what is coming next. But it’s not the rituals that He loves, it’s not the customs we have or the words that we say that He loves, it’s us. The rituals and customs and rules are supposed to REMIND us of Him and His unending love for us. And it’s easy to get so caught up in these things that we forget to look to whom they are pointing. They’re supposed to be pointing us to a relationship with Jesus, to an ever new level of intimacy with Him until we finally get to go home and know Him as we are known. That is what a relationship with Him is about, constantly getting to know Him better. That’s what any relationship is about! You don’t stop getting to know your husband the day you get married, that’s the day you REALLY start to get to know him!

I challenge you today to be thoughtful in what way you can get to know Jesus better; today and every day here after. He is desperate for you, are you desperate for Him? If not, ask Him why you aren’t and start seeking ways to become desperate for Him; hungry for His presence His touch in your life. It’s like a drug that isn’t illegal and shouldn’t ever be, are you addicted to Him? Do you wanna be? I’ve got some you can try, it’s the really good stuff, the kind that you NEVER come down off of either. Because He promises to NEVER leave you or forsake you, not ever; because Jesus loves you.

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cleft of the Rock

My grandmother was a wonderful God-fearing woman, I miss her. Many times when my first child was an infant my mom would tell me about my grandmother (her mother-in-law). They didn’t always see eye-to-eye on things, Oreo cookies right before sending us home… you know, those kinds of things. But there was one story my mom tells on my grandmother that is really a lesson for the ages, and God is reminding me of it today.

Often times when my brother and I were young we would visit our grandparents who lived only a few short miles away from us. And when my mom would accompany us, she would try to take care of us while we were at Grandmother’s house, frustrating both Grandmother and Mom in the process because they were both trying to take care of us. Until one day Grandmother explained to my Mom “When you are at my house, you leave the children to me. I can handle them, I’ve done this before, you go take a break.” By them both trying to accomplish the same task they ended up getting in each other’s way. Not to mention Grandmother knew that moms NEED the occasional break!

Fast forward to my last and favorite memory of my grandmother. My son was about ten weeks old and we had called all his grandparents and great grandparents together to take four generation pictures. At that point all my son’s parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were still married to their original spouses and still alive, that doesn’t usually happen very often so we deemed it photo shoot worthy. Anyway, the day after the photo shoot we had planned on Grandmother and Grandfather coming over to our house to see all the antiques in the one-hundred year old house that we were renting. That morning Gabe was the fussiest baby! He had never been that grumpy before or since. There was nothing I could do to please him, and I had tried EVERYTHING! By the time my grandparents showed up I was frazzled and tired and grumpy myself. In walks Grandmother, she saw the screaming baby and the look in my eye, asked “what’s wrong” and I verbally puked all over her telling her how the morning had gone. She looked at me and said “Tamar, let me hold him and you go take care of yourself. Go in the kitchen and make yourself something hot to eat. I will take care of him.”

“But Grandmother,” I began to protest, “you came to see the antiques, I can do this, really, its OK.”

“Tamar, give me the baby.” And I resigned my son to her care. The MOMENT he touched her arms he stopped crying! As a new mother of two months, I was amazed! Almost convinced of a supernatural power coming over my son as she touched him, and who knows, maybe it was – or a supernatural power leaving him as her light touched his little body. But either way, something happened. Yes, as a now experienced mother I realize that my stress had been most likely the cause of his distress, but then again, that’s just the point. As I made my way back into the kitchen to make myself something hot to eat as commanded by the higher authority of my grandmother I listened to the two of them cooing at each other and her singing, totally in grandma heaven. And we all thought she came to see the antiques! Ha! Hardly. A mere month later she had gone home to be with the Lord. She died from a blood clot that caused a stroke, the only photo in her hospital room was one of my little Gabriel.

About a year later God inspired my husband and I to move from our little Indiana hometown surrounded by farmland to the Chicago-land area so that my husband could go back to school to change careers and be a mechanic. For two years he went to school and worked part-time while I worked in daycare as a pre-school teacher. At the end of his schooling it came time for him to find a job, and we both were praying for one in Indianapolis where we would still be close to family. It came down to the last two weeks of school and he still didn’t have job lined up! Rent was due soon and we had NO idea if we would be staying another month or leaving for Indy. The best and only way I can explain that time in our life was dark. Everything was up in the air and totally unknown. We were totally between that rock and a hard place. The time was drawing nearer and nearer to take that next step. One we were more than willing to take… if we just knew WHERE we were supposed to step! Sure we had both been feeling led to go to Indy, but what if that wasn’t what God wanted for us? What if He wanted us in California or New York? We had no idea, and it was terrifying. We were being pressed to take this next step, but it was going to have to be a leap of faith like never before, and it was seriously stressing me out.

At that time I had, by far, the best assistant director I’ve ever had in any job either before or since! A woman with one of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever seen. One day during this trial of uncertainty and fear the Spirit led her to come down to my room to visit me during breakfast. (Now, I can probably count on one hand how many times she had done that while I worked there, and still have some fingers left over.) She walked in my room and totally took over control. And I have to admit I was offended by her “intrusion” into MY classroom. I said something to her to the effect of “Oh, that’s not how we do that in here…” and she turned to the assistant teacher and asked her to watch the kids while she and I went to have a talk.

Oh boy!

She pulled me into the neighboring kitchen and said to me, “Tamar, when the Master is in the house, you are not to be in control, He is. You just sit back and relax and take care of yourself, and let Him do the rest. When I’m in your room, you’re not in charge anymore. You let me take over so you can take a much-needed break.” Well, right then and there standing next to a white chest freezer full of frozen waffles and orange juice concentrate I let go of my control and started sobbing with relief. She wrapped me in her little arms and I poured the story out on her of what was going on and how it all just felt so dark, How we didn’t know what to do and it was so scary. And how the words that God had just put in her mouth were almost identical to the words He had put in Grandmother’s mouth a few years before. How their familiarity had touched me, taught me and reminded me of Grandmother all at the same time.

Today, God has pulled all these stories back up in my memory. There’s a change in the wind for our family. It’s looming and obvious and yet elusive at the same time. We’ve been avoiding it and yet it has still come upon us all the same. It’s time for us to take another leap of faith into the darkness expecting God to be there to catch us when we jump. We are in His house with a screaming baby totally stressed out over our life situation and we keep saying “What do I do?” and He’s looking us in the eye saying “Beloved, hand over the dream, let Me take care of it, and you go fix yourself something hot to eat, take a break and let Me handle things for a while, because I love you and I want this just as much as you do. More so actually, but we can’t both be working on the same thing because right now you’re getting in my way. So just sit back (be still), take a break over there out-of-the-way, and watch what I, the Master, can do (know that I AM GOD. Psalm 46:10)

Exodus 33:12-23:

12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

 14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

 15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

 17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

 19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

Does it feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place? Perhaps God has placed you there so that He can cover you with His hand and protect you from His glory passing by in your current circumstance of life. Realize that in those “rock and a hard place” moments, if you COULD see what God was doing, it would kill you because of its pure awesomeness. That uncertainty and darkness you feel is keeping you alive, it’s protecting you. Don’t fear it and don’t fight it.

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, but I find no rest.

 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
   you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
   they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
   in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

 6 But I am a worm and not a man,
   scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
   they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
   “let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
   since he delights in him.”

 9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
   you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
   from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

 11 Do not be far from me,
   for trouble is near
   and there is no one to help.

 12 Many bulls surround me;
   strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
   open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
   it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
   and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
   you lay me in the dust of death.

 16 Dogs surround me,
   a pack of villains encircles me;
   they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
   people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
   and cast lots for my garment.

 19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
   You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
   my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
   save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

 22 I will declare your name to my people;
   in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
   All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
   Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
   the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
   but has listened to his cry for help.

 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
   before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
   those who seek the LORD will praise him—
   may your hearts live forever!

 27 All the ends of the earth
   will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
   will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
   and he rules over the nations.

 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
   all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
   those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
   future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
   declaring to a people yet unborn:
   He has done it!

Can you relate to how David feels; scorned by men, mocked and insulted? Are you being tempted to doubt your trusting in the LORD? Do you feel surrounded on all sides with a melting heart and a dry mouth? Are you spiritually starving and naked? Cry out to Yaweh! Cry out for deliverance, praise Him in the streets and on Facebook. Call the people around you to join in your praises of our God Almighty, because “He has NOT despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from Him but has listened to His cry for help”. (v. 24) God will save you! How?

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

 5 You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
   forever.

He MAKES me lie down. He comes in and says “hand over the baby” so that you can REST, recover, de-stress, PRAISE! We walk through the valley of the shadow of death every day but fear no evil! For He IS with you – especially when it doesn’t feel like He is. His goodness, the very same goodness that passed by Moses (and you) in the cleft of the rock, will follow you all the days of your life until you go home to LIVE in Grandmother’s house where you just get in the way when you’re trying to control things.

Pray Psalm 143:

1 LORD, hear my prayer,
   listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
   come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
   for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
   he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
   like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
   my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
   I meditate on all your works
   and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
   I thirst for you like a parched land.

 7 Answer me quickly, LORD;
   my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
   or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
   for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
   for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD,
   for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
   for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
   lead me on level ground.

 11 For your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life;
   in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
   destroy all my foes,
   for I am your servant.

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Trust the Truth

Some people like to think that Jesus was just a good teacher, maybe even a prophet, but not God or the Messiah. There’s a problem with that thought process though, the things that He taught and claimed about Himself weren’t on that same level. He was either absolutely and completely insane or He was Satan himself or He was actually telling the truth and is who He actually says He is. In fact many people accused Him of being demonic (in Matthew 12:22-37) but their accusations were silenced when he pointed out the error in their thinking. If Jesus is demonic then He wouldn’t be commanding the demons OUT of people but rather IN to them!

In Mark’s retelling of this same story of the teachers of the law thinking Jesus was “possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons He is driving out demons.” (3:22) Mark includes a little “behind the scenes” info for us. Before this fateful conversation with the teachers of the law, Jesus’ family came to “take charge of Him, for they said, He is out of His mind.'” (Mark 3:21) Again in John 10:20-21 “many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to Him?’ But others said, ‘These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Would a demon open the eyes of the blind? I don’t think so. Considering that the goal of Satan is to keep as many people as possible spiritually blind, wandering around in complete and total darkness, unable to find God, it makes VERY little sense that Satan would even CONSIDER opening those closed minds and eyes. And since that is the most obvious conclusion I feel it is fairly safe to assume that Jesus was neither insane nor demonic which leaves but one logical conclusion, He is completely sane, telling and teaching the truth and therefore is who He claims to be! Sometimes the truth sounds the most insane because it is the truth. So seldom do we encounter pure unadulterated truth that it automatically resounds in our brains as a foreign invader and thusly insane because it is simply that radically different. Just like when someone donates a kidney to a friend. Even if they’re a perfect match the friend still has to take anti-rejection drugs to keep her body from rejecting the gift she has been given, we too need to take our own anti-rejection medicine in order to accept and keep God’s gift of salvation.

TRUST. Sometimes you just have to trust, even when nothing around you makes sense. Maybe none of it is making sense because it’s really the truth that has been injected into an environment that is simply unfamiliar with the truth. New truth, well, new-to-you truth can be hard to accept. But that doesn’t make it any less the truth, it just makes it less yours. You see, we can possess the truth and the Truth can possess us. Or a falsehood can possess us, as we continue to hold onto it because of its familiarity. But just because it’s our belief that we’re holding onto doesn’t make it any less false, it just makes it ours.

When we encounter a treasure in our path, if our hands are full of trash we’re unable to pick up the treasure. We come to a moment of decision 1) keep the trash and leave the treasure or 2) reject the trash and pick up the treasure.

Matthew tells us that “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”(13:44-46)In these two stories we meet two men who discover great treasure and are willing to give up everything they own in order to possess that tremendous treasure. At first glance it seems as though both stories are the same message told in two different manners. However, if you look closely at the grammar and the structure of the like statements you will find a subtle difference. In the first story the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. The kingdom of God and all its wisdom, power and truth are a priceless treasure worth our life-savings to acquire. (And I speak from personal experience and tell you that it is.) But look at the second like-statement in the second story! The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. In this story the kingdom isn’t the treasure, the kingdom is the one searching for the treasure! Now if God is the one searching for the pearl of great value, then what pray-tell, IS the pearl of great value? Now, I want you to think for a moment, what is the one thing in all of creation that God the Creator does not already possess? Keep in mind that He is GOD, EVERYTHING is His. Except, perhaps, for you. You my friend are that pearl of great value. You are the one that Jesus Himself is willing to set EVERYTHING aside for. EVERYTHING. All His power, all His majesty, all His life; He laid it ALL down at the foot of the cross like trash to pick up the treasure – YOU.

Don’t let the falsehood keep it’s hold on you any longer. Let go of the belief that Jesus was less than what He said He was, that He can’t do everything that He says He can. Because He is, He can and He will… but never without your permission. He is a gentleman after all.

So, how can we apply all this information to our marriages? By remembering that WE are a pearl of great value, worth selling everything else for. If you need help remembering, buy yourself some pearl jewelry and wear it! Then every time life throws you a dirty look, a sneer or snide remark you can look at your pearl – or touch them on your neck and say to yourself “I am worth dying for.” Then just smile back and say “God bless you!” as if they had only sneezed at you and nothing more.

When we place our trust and value in the hands of God it’s out of reach of the things of this world. They can’t touch them. If you feel like your husband isn’t valuing you like the pearl of great value – it doesn’t matter, because your worth doesn’t lie in his hands, but in God’s. However, you can’t just lie down and let your husband walk all over you like a door mat either. Stand up for yourself in prayer. Tell God how your husband is treating you and how you feel about it. Remember, it is not your job or place to change your husband, only God can change hearts. But it IS your job to PRAY FOR HIM!

So often we don’t feel like we’re doing anything when we pray. But nothing could be farther from the truth! I believe that if we could catch just a glimpse of what our prayers activate in the unseen spiritual realm we would never get up off our knees! Why else was that the one thing that ALL the gospel writers mentioned in their letters? If they went without food or water or clothes, or if they were in jail or shipwrecked they could manage, but go without being covered in the prayers of others? NEVER! Prayer IS doing something, it’s doing MORE than you could even imagine. Never stop praying for your husband, not ever!

When Jesus walked this dirtball, He was constantly under pressure and ridicule; even His family thought He was crazy at one point. They failed to believe in Him, failed to believe that He was telling the truth, failed to remember who the angel told them – before His birth – who He would be! Take a moment to do a mental inventory, have you been believing in your husband? Or have you joined in on the ridiculing and doubt? As his wife he needs for you to be his “safe person”. The one who he can always trust to be in his corner when things get rough and the Enemy starts to attack. He needs to know that no matter what is happening in his life you WILL be there to cheer him on and help him up. Can your husband count on you to be that person? Is he that person for you? He should be.

Do you doubt your husband’s ability to perform any of these tasks? Take those doubts to the cross. Ask God to take care of them, His ear is not too dull to hear nor is His arm to short to save. He is MORE than able to help you and your husband achieve greatness in your marriage. God is able to do abundantly more than all you can ask or imagine! So start imagining and asking for that great marriage you dream of, and then let God work His miracles. He is able and He is willing, you need only to ask, believe and then wait patiently on the LORD.

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Who’s Holding the Scissors?

Mommy: “Anna, your pants have been cut! Who cut them???”

Anna (4 yr old): “The scissors did.”

Mommy: “and who was holding the scissors……?”
Oh, how many times we would love to blame the scissors for the cuts in our lives! The pens for the misspelled words, the guns for the deaths, the paper for the cuts. But is it ever really the scissors’ fault? So often I’d really like to… no, I do, blame the Tempter for my sins. But was it really his fault? He didn’t make me sin, I chose to. He didn’t make me say those words, I chose to.

Lord, today, please help me choose to obey You and not give in to sin. Please deliver me from the evil that prowls around like a lion seeking whom he can devour. Lord, I thank You and praise You that he can not devour me! Though he may maul me, he can not devour me. Though I may be pressed I am never crushed. I may be persecuted but I am never abandoned, struck down but never destroyed. Because I am blessed beyond the curse, Your promises will endure and Your name will be my strength! You are my God in whom I trust, so whom shall I fear? Neither height nor depth nor the darkness of night can separate me from Your loving embrace and I praise You for that! Lord, thank You for being who You are! My God in whom I place my trust.

Lord, I praise that You have mercy on me, according to Your unfailing love and Your great compassion You have blotted out my transgressions. You have cleansed me from all my stain-filled sins and washed me as white as a newly cleaned carpet that once had a stubborn grape juice stain on it from a careless 4-year-old that brought an open cup into the living room.  (Oh Lord, I digress! Focus girl!) Lord, thank You for creating in me a pure heart and renewing a steadfast spirit with in me.

Lord, I praise You that You have restored to me the joy of Your salvation and have granted me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Lord, KEEP ME FROM SIN! I can’t stand to be away from Your presence and light. The dark has become too dark for me. The shadows too dreary, the gloom too gloomy. I praise You for restoring my spirit by helping me see the folly of my ways and to realize I was heading off in the wrong direction like a toddler wandering off in the store in search of the toy aisle, not realizing that that is where You were headed to begin with! Lord thank You for calling my name and grabbing my hand to keep me from walking into the oncoming traffic of my foolish and rash choices. You are SO GOOD! I love You LORD, thank You for being who You are! My GOD in whom I place my trust and my life!

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The Multi-facets of God’s Love

“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelations 22:16

Why do “bad” things happen to “good” people? While I’m certainly not proposing that I know the one true answer, mostly because I don’t believe there is only one answer; I am proposing a thought (or two or three) about it. So often when we see a strong Christian friend battling cancer or mourning the death of a spouse we cry out in anger at God for allowing this pain to befall our friend. “Why God? Why would a LOVING God allow a helpless infant to die? God How is that showing us love?” As a parent, I know that my children should NOT get everything that they want. If I were to give my kids a piece of candy every time they asked for one they’d be obese and diabetic with their mouths filled with cavities. No, as a mother I don’t want my children to experience pain, but I also know that if I were to wrap them in bubble wrap and never let them out of the house then they would never learn or grow, they’d never get stronger or make friendships that would last a lifetime. You know, there have even been times when I have intentionally set my children up to fail. Why? So that they will learn. Sometimes, showing someone that you love them requires bringing them pain; at times, a lot of it.

My husband kept a dirty little secret from me (adultery) for thirteen years, thinking that he was sparing me from the pain of knowing the truth. And I’ve got to be honest, when he did finally tell me the truth, it hurt… a lot. It hurt my pride, my self-esteem and my view of myself as a woman. The truth made me angrier than an old wet hen! But. That truth set us both free, because it wasn’t a secret holding us apart anymore. That truth means so much more to me than all the “I love you’s” he’s ever said to me up to that point. The fact that he was willing to tell me the truth, means that he trusts me and my love for him enough to know that he can tell me the truth; even if it might hurt my feelings for a time.

So often we like to think that if something in our lives hurts then it can not be from God. That God is really all warm fluffy like cotton candy and nothing else; that because He is love He doesn’t do anything to us that causes us pain or suffering, but that it’s only from the Enemy. As if when the Enemy is attacking us, God is off busy working with someone else at the moment and isn’t fully aware of what is happening to US. God has promised to NEVER leave us or forsake us, which means that in those times of suffering and pain, God HAS NOT abandoned us! He has NOT allowed the Enemy to have free reign over us, but rather that God has Satan on a SHORT leash and he is ONLY allowed to do to us what GOD is telling him to do. To accomplish a work in our lives for HIS good purposes. By believing that God is only a “warm fuzzy god”, is putting God in a box and not allowing Him to be who He is; God. As much as we would like to hold Him down in that box, we can’t, because that warm fuzzy god can’t send His Son to die on a cross.

As I have been STRUGGLING with these painful truths I have prayed begging God to help me understand His love in a way that I could explain it to others. Instantly God spoke it into being in my life, a picture of His love. God’s love is like a diamond, clear and pure and full of light. And if every person who has ever walked the face of this earth were to stand around this diamond and look at only one facet (side) of it there would still not be enough people to see all the ways God shows us His love. And it is our job to shout out to everyone else, what our side of God’s love looks like. For one it may be a green pasture at the moment. For another it may look like a rainy day today. For another it may look like the death of a child. Just because we see different sides of something and it looks different to each of us doesn’t mean we’re not looking at the same thing. Just like I can look at a quarter and be describing the head, and my friend can look at the same quarter and describe the tail and both of us think the other is dead wrong in our descriptions, the only thing we’re actually wrong about is our judgments of each other being wrong.

It’s the same with God. We each have a different relationship with God so, we each experience Him in completely different ways because we are all completely different people. No two of us have lived identical lives – even identical twins have differing lives. Because we all have different past experiences, training, etc we can experience the same God at the same time with another believer and still come out of the experience gleaning completely different things.

One of my beloved sisters in Christ lost a son when he was just a baby; everyone was devastated (naturally). During the time immediately afterward she had a conversation with a friend of hers who was not saved. She was bold and witnessed to her friend. Fast forward twenty-some years to a birthday party in my backyard where my neighbor and my friend are both there and know each other. (Which was a surprise to us all!) My neighbor mentions to me after the party that my friend is a saint! I told him, “I know that already but what makes you say that?” He said, “Right after she lost her son she had a conversation with my mom that changed her life. She chose to become a Christian because of that conversation and because she converted the rest of our family did too! Our whole family is saved today because of her! We’re talkin’ like thirty people here!”

Please, do not misunderstand me when I say this, the death of an infant is devastating to us. But, because of her vulnerable state and the fact that she was leaning so hard on the LORD at that point in her life she was able to allow God’s strength to shine through her weakness. His light shows up best in the dark! He used her to bring an ENTIRE FAMILY to Christ! And if her son hadn’t died she wouldn’t have been able to say the things that she said, with the heart attitude with which she said them. It would’ve been a completely different conversation. If they would have had it at all.

I believe that it is a huge part of the great commission, to go out and share with others what our own facet of God’s love looks like, what it feels like, how we experience it… even if it’s in pain. My friend shared her pain and look what happened with that! I have shared with you how I saw God’s love in the midst of the storm with my son’s teeth and how God told me that it was a blessing, period. In the moments when we were going through the blessing, it didn’t feel like a blessing. I had peace, and knew that God WAS most certainly with me, guiding me through it all step by step, but it was still hard and it still hurt. Once we got through it all and were able to step back and really view it from a greater distance we were able to see more depth to the situation and take joy in the victory.

When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land from their 40 years of wandering in the desert, they didn’t just settle right in. No, they had to fight. God told them that He was giving them this land that He promised them, that the people of the land were stronger and more numerous than they were, but they would “utterly destroy them” because God was with them. And the same is true for us today. We are fighting to take possession of the promises that God has made us. Health, prosperity, rest, all things that the enemy DOESN’T want us to have, all “cities” God has promised us. So we have to fight for those cities to claim them as our own. But do not be afraid; be strong and courageous because the LORD is with us! (Joshua 1:9) Although the Enemy is bigger and stronger than you, he will not prevail against you because God is on your side.

And if God is on your side, who can be against you? Because God is on your side, no weapon formed against you will prevail (Isaiah 54:16). Which means you will win EVERY battle, you will conquer every obstacle in your path between you and the promises of God; turning every battle into a blessing. In the thick of battle, it will feel like a battle… because it is. But hold onto the FACT that GOD IS WITH YOU! The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still; be still and know that HE is God and He can handle it. Our battles are blessings, even when they don’t necessarily feel like blessings. But that’s because we’re in the thick of battle – getting our battle scars, mementos to help us REMEMBER the battle and everything we learned in it. (Like “fake teeth”)

Today God wants to show you something, He wants you to spend some time in prayer starting with:

Lord, I want to see Tamar’s facet of You today. Please take me back to the biggest battle I’ve ever had to fight and show me where You were in the whole thing.”

and then be still and listen to what He says. When I think back to the hardest moments in my life I realize how much I learned through them and I can see how God got bigger for me in each battle. How I became less, and He became more. If you’re fighting a battle today, think about this, the Morning star is out during the day, but we can’t see it’s light because it’s too bright. But in the black darkness of night it sparkles like a diamond in the sky.

Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations – the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Exodus 14:13-14 Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Why God?: Under Pressure

Tamar: My Dearest Jesus, You know that I have nailed myself upon Your cross and allowed You to come down off of it to live within me and through me, right? OK. So why is it that there are times in my, OK, OUR life when I feel You calling me so strongly to take a leap of faith and trust You on something only to feel like that leap of faith lands me flat on my face? Lord, I thought the idea of a leap of faith was for You to catch us, not let us fall! So why are those times when I KNOW I am following Your lead and living according to Your will and things still fall apart? Why does that happen? Why is it that in those times where the pressure seems so intense that it feels like I’m in a pressure cooker and I’m wondering where I went wrong, You can be so deathly silent! What is the purpose? What do You mean that You do it for our good? (Rom 8:28) It sure doesn’t feel good! So how can it BE good?

Jesus: Beloved Tamar, Yes, I do work all things for the good of those who love Me and are called according to My purpose. No, they may not all feel good at the time, but that pressure is for your good and for the good of those around you as well. It is my fingers molding the clay of your life into the shape that I want it to be. There will be times in your life where the pain will be a piercing one, a gouging if you will. It is in those times where I am using the tool that I created (Isa 54:16) to form you into the exact thing I am intending for you to become. My love, you mention feeling like you’re in a pressure cooker, so I’ll use that example to illustrate My point. You use a pressure cooker to cook a meal faster than cooking it in the oven or on the stovetop. The pressure inside the cooker aids in speeding up the cooking time of the final product correct? Well, that is precisely what I have been doing to you My love. You asked Me what My will for you and your life was and I told you. You obeyed and stepped right into the furnace of My very own pressure cooker of life. It may not be feeling so great at the moment, but believe Me when I tell you that this temporary pressure and the lessons that you are learning through it are ever so much better than the alternative that would’ve come around if you had not followed My directions for your life! It would’ve taken twice as long! And Beloved, it only feels like you’ve fallen on your face is not that I actually let you fall. On the contrary, when you took that leap of faith I snatched you back up so quickly and placed you into the cleft of the rock so that I could cover you with My hand to protect you from My glory as I walked past! (Ex 33:12-23) Open your eyes Beloved as I remove My hand, look carefully and You will be able to see My footprints before you as you emerge from the rock that surrounded you and step out into the blinding light of day again. Yes, the darkness was intense and the pressure was near crushing during your time there, but that is only because I could not bear to allow you to leave that place and risk losing you to the Enemy. The battle that was waged was fierce, and it was all for you and your soul and your welfare. But do not be afraid, for you are worth more than many sparrows (Matt 10:31) and I love you with more fierceness than he hates you with. And THAT is all that you need to concern yourself with My Dove (SOS 2:14). He may hate and curse you, but I love you and I bless you and I will keep you safe from him and his schemes as long as you continue to follow my lead. Do not feel like your following me is all in vain, do not believe the Enemy’s lies that he is having his henchmen feed you! Following Me and My lead is worth every sacrifice, every pain and every sorrow, and not just when you get to heaven either. It’s worth it NOW! Think about all the things that you learned in that pressure cooker you just came out of! Could you have learned so much in a green pasture? No my love, you wouldn’t have. Trust Me, this way IS best and is necessary. You are now able to step from this experience into a time of teaching and helping others learn from YOUR experience! Isn’t that in itself worth it all? To be able to make an impact on someone else’s life?

Tamar: Jesus, I’m sorry. You’re right. Of course. 🙂 Thank You for the perspective check. I should’ve remembered that You never waste a hurt or allow us to go through something that isn’t going to be best for us in the end. No matter how painful. I should have remembered that You did not deliver Shadrack, Mesack and Abednego FROM the firey furnace but rather helped them get THROUGH it which in turn saved so many more than just those three men in the fire. (Dan 3) Yes, it is worth it and yes I did learn a LOT in that dark and pressure filled environment. I’m sorry that I acted so childishly while I was in there. And how much I squirmed under the pressure instead of just being still and allowing You to do Your work. (Ps 46:10)  It’s just so hard to see in there!

Jesus: I know My love, but you also need to remember that I know the future. I knew that this is how you would react to the pressure. I knew that you would struggle and squirm under My firm hand. And because I knew, I was neither surprised, nor disappointed in you. Your outbursts towards Me, did still sting Me, as I was only helping you, but I forgive you and you need to forgive yourself My dear. If you can not forgive yourself, the Enemy will hold it over you and use it against you and that is the last thing that I want to happen to you! I died to make sure that he couldn’t do that to you, but only you have the power to claim that blood and hold it up as a weapon against him and his attacks on you. If you don’t run and hide behind Me it makes it much more difficult for Me to protect you. Don’t forget that either. I love you so much My Dove, please don’t mistake your pain for My displeasure of you. It couldn’t be farther from the truth! I am SO pleased with you, that’s why I’m pruning you! (John 15:1-17)  To make you even BETTER! Fear not My Dove, together, we can do ANYTHING!!!

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