Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Inescapable, all-consuming LOVE






"Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus."

-Jeremy Camp



 

The hurt and pain of this world is inescapable. 


If you watch the news, even for just a few moments, you’re likely to see stories of unforeseen tragedies, natural disasters and evil manifested in sex trafficking, child molestations, rapes, murders and school shootings.

 
There are hurting and devastated families, and communities torn apart all around us but if you look closely you will also see LOVE.

 
A love that overcomes even the darkest moments in our lives—the all-consuming love of Jesus.

 
I’ve suffered great loss and devastating tragedies in my own life and if not for the love of Jesus I’m not sure I would have survived the unspeakable pain of those circumstances.


When our hearts are broken into a million pieces and we doubt if we’ll ever be whole again— when we have nothing left and we cry out to Him— Jesus picks up the broken pieces and carries us, holding us close, mending all that is broken, until we’re able to walk on our own once again.



Friends, this life is too hard to try to live without Him.


 

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what choices you’ve made— just cry out to Jesus.



He will rescue you from the deepest, darkest pit of despair.



He will comfort you, and give you a peace that only He can give—a peace that the storms of this life cannot destroy.


 

And when you know the love of Jesus your heart’s desire is to share what He’s done for you and what He wants to do for all who are lost and broken.





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We Wait and Wonder


 
This life is hard.


Just in the last week there have been those close to me facing overwhelming battles; the death of a precious loved one; divorce; sickness and disease; financial struggles and job losses.



Many of us have faced some of those battles too.



During those times of testing and trials we wait and wonder.



We wait for test results and wonder if the outcome will be in our favor.



We wait for things to get easier and wonder why sometimes this life has to be so hard.



We wait for our circumstances to change and wonder if we’re strong enough to endure if they don’t.



We wait for someone to show they care about our hurts and our fears and we wonder if we’re all alone in this life.



Those hurts and fears and times of complete brokenness, when it feels like our hearts are ripped from our chests and fear and doubt invade the empty places left behind—in those desperate moments, our Savior draws ever nearer.


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:18-19
 

Crushed.
Broken.
Afflicted.

 

Friend, if you find yourself in those difficult places I hope you’re encouraged by knowing that the Lord is near, you’re never alone! The Lord promises to deliver the righteous.

 

So what does it mean to be righteous?

 


For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Corinthians 5:21


 
We are incapable of making ourselves righteous which is why we are in great need of a Savior. Jesus makes us righteous through his sacrifice on the cross and when we ask him to come into our hearts and ask his forgiveness of our sins.

 

The better understanding we have of the grace he poured out for us, the more we desire to live our lives for Him.

 

This life is hard but don’t give up— give it all to the One who gave his life so that we might live.





Linking up with Holley Gerth - Coffee for Your Heart

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Finding Rest in Chaos and Clutter




My thoughts were as cluttered as the countertops strewn with papers and backpacks and all the other things that were not in their rightful place.

Perhaps that’s why I chose to venture outdoors to find my whitespace-- a place free from chaos, a place where I could find peace as I listened to the birds singing and the wind blowing through the trees, a place where I could just be still and give it all to Jesus.
All alone with my thoughts in this quiet, restful place I discovered this resting was not easy. I willed myself to stay --to remain still-- as my heart was more and more exposed with each word from Bonnie’s pen, words that seemed as though they were written just for me.

"This new world of whitespace can feel disorienting--doing things that yield no use to anyone other than being God’s cherished daughter."

"…no use to anyone", those words pierced my heart as I read them and thought of how diligently I had labored to do more, to be more and yet still felt as if I had no value and that there was no use, no purpose for me. The idea of accomplishing nothing and still being cherished by God seemed unimaginable. But not only did He love me even if I did nothing to earn it, He loved me in spite of all that I had done to not deserve it.

"Jesus is leading us to the operating room of grace, where the past isn’t forgotten but remembered. We are free to remember. This is God’s gift to you. And me."
 
 
All along I had been trying to forget the past but God didn’t want me to just forget, He wanted me to be free…

"But the truth is, I’m not free inside. What I need—and what I don’t have—is soul rest."


 
Friends, I know that many of you are on this same journey and I want to reassure you that it’s ok because we’re not traveling alone—Jesus is at our side with every step we take and sometimes He even carries us.



 

 






 

 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Messy, Complicated, Blessed Life

 
 




I didn’t wait for the one, I didn’t marry my high school sweetheart, we didn’t have a cute little house with a white picket fence and two children and we didn’t celebrate milestones like 25 year anniversaries. No, that wasn’t my life…





My life was messy and complicated and full of hurtful choices- some made by me and some made for me- and of course it included painful consequences.




I used to hate that this was my life- disappointed that my story didn’t include all those pretty perfect things. I used to be angry with myself, with others, and sometimes even with God for the way my life turned out.



And then

God poured His grace into my life, filling me up to overflowing until I could no longer scrutinize the life that wasn’t but could only be thankful for the life that was. Looking back over my life I could see how He had protected me so many times from others and even from myself and how He rescued, restored and redeemed me from the deepest, darkest, most painful places.



The lyrics to the song "How He Loves" frequently play over and over in my head and in my heart….


He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all…

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way...

He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.



Now when I think about my life and all that was and is and will be I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how much God loves me, and how much He has blessed me - in ways I never dreamed and certainly didn’t deserve.


We have an amazing God who loves us like no other and when we fully comprehend that- all of the disappointments and hurts are eclipsed by His glory and regrets no longer have a place.




 

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. Psalm 13:5