Wednesday, September 23, 2009

He Restores

I have found myself thinking about Scott a lot lately. I expect to miss him more around some significant dates or events, but this time... I just miss him. Seriously, sauteing vegetables made me think of him and opened a floodgate? When I put things like this out there for anyone to see, I feel slightly vulnerable. I keep thinking of how interested, especially in the beginning, I was of how other people in my circumstances were at different stages in their grief journey. I guess I felt like it could be a map to show where some had gone, or to validate where I was or how I felt. Although grief is completely different for every person, I still write with the hope that someone who IS in my circumstances will benefit. My biggest hope is that they would be encouraged to lean into the Lord and not away from Him.

With these images and memories playing in my mind more these last few days; it is a mixed blessing. It exposes the wound, but surely brings healing to a certain degree too. Although there is pain, I know joy comes in the morning. When I call out to Him, He responds. When I cry, He collects my tears. When my heart is broken, He is the balm that heals. So Lord, I thank You for the mixed blessings of pain that accompanies sweet memories, because in it, I find You everywhere I look. I believe He makes all things work together for my good. I know He heals and restores.

I can't help but think that this song posted below is so appropriate for so many. We often walk around with wounded hearts that are heavy with disappointment. Many times in my life before this, things didn't turn out the way I thought they would. Now that I am not in a position to run to something else to distract and temporarily fill, I find Him restoring. I pray that if there are any areas in your life that you have been diligently protecting from God and yourself, that they would be revealed. Those things that pain your heart when you think of them, but seem best just left alone. I really think everytime I hear this song, He restores just a little more and He heals just a little deeper. I hope it's the same for you.

This song is called Restoration.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I can't help but love Him

I was blessed to go to a College of Prayer module this weekend. I just love their hearts for equipping and discipling leaders in the U.S. and abroad. I stayed with a girl who happened to be house-sitting, so I didn’t actually meet the couple whose house I stayed in. On the wall in the den, the wife had this thing made to honor her husband for their 29th wedding anniversary. It was so sweet. It went from when they met and how they had grown together through life. She honored him for how he fathered their children, how he ministered faithfully to the Lord. She told him how much she enjoyed him and how that only increased as the years progressed. I just thought it was so overwhelmingly incredible that they had such a long and wonderful legacy together. At the end, she signed it “the girl in the blue sweater”. I imagined that is how he remembered her from their first encounter. In the middle of deep and genuine appreciation for their love and legacy, I couldn’t help but feel that pang of sadness over my own love story having been shortened. Not even 30 seconds after this pang in my heart came, the Holy Spirit spoke over me.

“I have been writing our love story since before you were a formed substance in your mother’s womb. Even then, I knew you. I have loved you and have drawn you in with my love. I am your beloved and my thoughts toward you are many and immeasurable…they outnumber the sand.”

I love how He is so tender and gentle with me. A friend and I were recently talking and she, like many of my friends, is amazing, godly, beautiful …and single. She told me that she was asking the Lord if He had forgotten her as many of her friends and family have moved into the wife and mother roles. She and I have both read “The Pursuit of God” many times and she reminded me of a beautiful part of that book.

“When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, ‘I am thy part and thine inheritance,’ and by those words made him richer than all his brethren… and there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God”.

He really is our portion and inheritance. How beautiful and blessed am I (are we) that the creator God of the universe goes through such great lengths to communicate His love. Not only that He loves me, but He is passionate about me. His love for me is as strong as death! He is jealous for me.

In moments like these, where He speaks into the depths of my heart; I can’t help but love Him and want more of Him. He continually increases my desire so that He can fill it to capacity and then make it a little bigger. I love this prayer from Tozer: “Oh God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more… I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Therefore I have hope

Last night at The Well (the house of prayer I have the privilege to be a part of) there was a strong sense of intimacy and intercession. Oh the pleasure of the Lord over us, as we weakly cried out for more of Him, was so evident. I left so full, knowing I had feasted on the very presence of the Lord. I woke this morning with a great wave of discouragement over me. Some of the emotions and insecurities that widowhood/singleness bring were assaulting me. It was frustrating because I recognized it as an attack from the enemy. Those aren’t valid insecurities. Most insecurity is rooted in fear and perfect love casts out all fear. I know the One who is Love Himself. There were a few hours of that frustrated, not yet free of it, crying out to the Lord and trying to talk myself out of, or through the muck, but I wasn’t terribly successful.
I love that there are REAL examples of people who struggled in the Bible. It’s crazy to me that I can go from feeling so completely full and content in the Lord, to an onslaught that threatens to bring me down in less than 24 hours. In that, nothing of the Lord changed, only my emotions did. IHOP Atlanta’s Billy Humphrey recently did two sermons on Healing the Soul (GREAT and free on iTunes). He mentioned a few of these examples of godly people (a prophet, a king, and the worship leader in the Tabernacle of David) who really hit lows and how they leaned into the Lord to get themselves out of the pit.

One of my favorites of these examples was Jeremiah. For 25 years he prophesied the destruction of their homeland and that they would be taken into captivity and in Lamentations he finds himself in the ruins of the city. Seeing his prophecy fulfilled and in this state of extreme sadness, he says of God He has broken my bones and walled me in. He shuts out my prayers. He’s like a bear waiting to attack me. He bent His bow and has made me the target. My soul has been rejected, my strength has perished and so has my hope from the Lord. If that isn’t a clear picture of how discouraged we can become! I have often thought that the enemy’s usual method of attack on me is to help me forget the truth of who God is and what He has done in my life. I begin to think, does God hear me at all, does He see?… does He torture me for fun? It’s crazy, but in the moment and with the aid of the enemy of my soul who roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour whispering the lies into my soul, this is what happens.
Jeremiah then says in Lamentations 3:20-24 “Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to m mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’ says my soul, ‘Therefore, I have hope in Him.’”
I know that after Scott passed away, my one great source of strength and encouragement was that God had not changed. He was the same the day before the accident and He would forever be the same. He was still loving and good. I have learned that my emotions are SO unreliable. The Word of the Lord endures forever though. Knowing the tactic of the enemy, I was able to get away for a little bit today and get in the Word. I heard a Hillsong song that has been in my iPod for months now, but I hadn’t really listened to it before. Here are part of the lyrics:
I have nothing more than all You offer me
There is nothing else that’s of worth to me
And I love You Lord
You rescued me
You are all that I want
You’re all that I need

Those words so worked in me that reminder; that He is good and He is everything that I want and need. I have mentioned this verse a few times before, but it is one of my favorites and is powerful. Psalm 73:25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but You and besides You on the earth I desire nothing, my flesh and my heart may fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I think to some, this might be a depressing verse, but for me it is the prayer of my life. No matter what circumstances I am in, I want to desire Him above all else and realize that He is my everything. Job 13:15 says though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. When I am in the Spirit, I can trust Him completely! I have learned to recognize more quickly what is happening and what I need to do to get out of it. Today, where the enemy attempted to weaken me, the Lord has so strengthened me. “Therefore I have hope, Great is Your faithfulness!”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Want to See God!

This morning Eliya said, “Mama, why do you do this” and she closed her eyes and scrunched up her face. I asked her what in the world she was talking about. She said the same thing (which is normal, when I don’t understand what she means, she repeats it in the exact same way which normally isn't very helpful), “Mama, why do you do this” and again closed her eyes and scrunched her face. I then realized that I had been singing a song and apparently made a contorted face! I started laughing, of course, but I thought this is a great opportunity for teaching. I asked her if she could see God. She gave me a blank stare, so I said “where is Jesus, can you see Him with your eyes?” she pointed to my heart. I was pierced with both the amazing amount of spiritual insight a child less than 3 can have, and also the weight of how I walk out my faith before my child.

I have been pondering this topic of purity and holiness recently. Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. I was thinking about Moses of which was said, “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend”. When Moses cried out to see the glory of the Lord, the Lord answered Him and permitted it (Ex 33). I have really been putting myself in the place of pursuit after God. I have found more of Him, but I know there is infinitely more to find. I love this from the book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer "All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him and we shall desire nothing more.” not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more." -Tozer, The Pursuit of God

In my asking the Lord to reveal more of Himself to me, He has responded by calling me to holiness. I was pretty convicted about entertaining myself by watching things with characters whose story lines show sin as acceptable and good. I compare what I set before my eyes by how bad it is compared to other shows, movies etc., or even worse, I justify it because it only alludes to sexual immorality, etc. I recently heard someone say “how can we cry out in prayer against injustice and sin and ask the Lord to purify His bride when we are make these exceptions and are entertaining ourselves with sin?” I started studying holiness and there are so many verses on the topic! It’s important to Jesus. He wants a mature bride. When I thought of the specific show that I love so much, I really didn’t want to give it up. The struggle with this in the flesh made me sick. It showed how much I love the world. Don’t get me wrong, this issue wasn’t solely about the show… it was about obedience and desiring Him above passing pleasures. I couldn’t believe my hesitancy and struggle; more of Jesus or a few laughs that won’t ever bear fruit? Oh but the rewards to obedience are intimacy. Paul said to the Ephesians that we (the church, His bride) should be holy and blameless before Him in love; so that the church would be without spot or wrinkle. This morning I woke up and read again Matthew 5:8 the pure in heart shall see God. The Lord then gave me Psalm 24: 3-5 “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his should to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” This pursuit of holiness has to be rooted in and motivated by love or else it becomes Pharisaical legalism. I am so convinced that there is nothing He could ask me to lay down that I would miss when I am in His presence. I have set my gaze on the face of Jesus and fully intend to be one of those He calls His friend. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

I love this song called "I Will Waste My Life" by Misty Edwards Here is the Youtube link:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

He has stolen my heart

Actually, he's had it since before he was born. I love this little man. He is 99% of my tangible affection. Oh, it's so true about baby boys and their Mamas. I already mourn the day he doesn't want to sit and snuggle.
Today he took my hand and was very intent on leading me to the living room. He took me over to a chair where he climbed up and then reached his arms out for me. So I got in the chair too and he put his hand in my hair, just to hold onto it. It took me a second to realize that he really did bring me all the way to that chair so we could just sit together and be near. Does it get any better than that??!?
Even tonight as I went to lay him down, he just rested his head on my chest and played with my hair. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed, again, the heart of the Father. As I realized what He was revealing to me through that picture, I held Simeon a little longer and cried at the goodness of the Lord! Those times when we feel the draw to spend time with Him and be in His presence are such a gift. It's as though He takes us by the hand and leads us to that quiet place where it's just the two of us. In this place, communion happens and our hearts are knit together in love. He hasn't stolen my heart, because I gave it to Him. The more I know Him, the more irresistible He becomes.
Last week was really incredible. There were about four mornings that I woke up and literally the first thing in my mind would be, I love you Jesus. Not just the words, but the emotions welling up and overflowing. I knew He had been singing over me in the night. There was one night that I was being drawn. I knew I needed time with Him and was longing for it. I ended up spending an hour online and afterward I was tired. I read a chapter of a book and went to sleep. That next morning I woke up and it was different. I realized that I hadn't cultivated that intimacy and it was markedly different. I pray that I never get too busy or upside down in my priorities to sit, love and be loved... by God or by my children.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."
Song of Solomon 8: 6-7 "Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as the grave; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it"

This video was the morning I saw Simeon after returning from 12 days in Costa Rica.