Sunday, January 12, 2014

What I have to say...

This verse has been on my heart all week.  I thought it was because today, Donavin's birthday, was coming. I know it now to be true but not for just the reason I suspected. I believe it is so much more.
"You've turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You've taken away from me my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.
That I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever."  Psalm 30:11-12

Pain. Grief. Hurt.

Comes in so many forms. Always unexpected. The world as you knew it seems to come crashing down around you as you search everywhere for a way out.  A direction. A purpose a why.

The waves seemingly consume us as we jump and climb desperately trying to keep our eyes above them.

To be consumed in the torment of grief is to be blind to the glory that lies above the waves.

I have been through grief. I have lived in and on the other side of grief.  I have felt and feel now a deep sorrow. I can say honestly that I am not sure if it is worse to hurt or see those you love, even those who may not know it, hurt. Deeply.

However, it was because of my grief that I am able to joyfully dance and sing praises to the Lord.

I have learned that grief and pain are opportunities for God's glory to shine. For him to heal the hurts and do so much more.

So tonight while I sit hurting and pained, knowing others I love and care for feel the same for whatever reasoning may be. I can not be silent. I will not be silent . In saying Joy WILL come from the mourning!

We will rise above our waves of grief and continue to praise God for his amazing love. For it is from his love that he shapes us individually and in fellowship with each other. His love will shape our relationships and cause us to reflect on them with grace and compassion. Grace and compassion will not fix everything. His love will.

Jesus died for us so we could continue to carry each other to him. Jesus died to carry us.

Sometimes pain is the price we pay, the sacrifice we make for something bigger to take place. Something bigger then we may be able to wrap our minds around, our hearts around, our thoughts around. Something better. 

Grief does not come without gain but you have to be willing to receive what the Lord is offering weather it makes sense or not. What is done can not be undone but it can be used to bring glory to God's name.

God calls us to walk paths we don't want to walk. We can walk out on that water towards Jesus with a fear, trembling, and resistance or with our head held high remembering that God's plan comes with a purpose.

I would have never chosen for my son to die. Ever. I would have sacrificed all I am today for a moment with him. I glimpse of his open eyes. I got shoved on this painful path.

I was faced with a choice. I could let it sink me, the depression would have been easily justifiable, or I could realize that my sons short life had a purpose. I devoted myself to that purpose. Whatever the reasoning. Whatever good things that came from it that I would never know. I KNOW wholeheartedly It was to bring Glory to God. My son's life. My son's death was to bring glory to His name.

So no matter what giant waves look like they will surely sink me, I know God is right above them. When I don't have the strength to stand He will carry me. His love will carry me through the hurt. 

I choose the joy that comes from the mourning.

And that is my prayer for you.

I sincerely love you all.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year's Challenge If You Dare to Accept It

Awww New Years.

A time of year where we can reflect on where we have been, leave it behind, redirect our targets, and start fresh aiming in the right direction.

I have done all of the above. I even have a couple of, dare I say, resolutions!

 However, what has been on my heart this year above all was how Jesus allows us to do just that. Far more than any date on the calendar ever could. When we invite him into our lives, we are new. We can reflect on where we have been. Leave our sins behind, and redirect our targets toward him. He is our directions.  (so glad this is figuratively speaking or that could have gotten weird)

It doesn't have to be a new year, a new day, or even a new hour. He allows you to come to Him for renewal any time. Any moment.

How amazing is that?!

Well, coincidentally (ha-ha) I am re-reading Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson as this new year passes through. (If you haven't read it. It's amazing. You'll thank me later. ;) Upon my reading tonight I thought to, why do I need to write a thing I could just copy everything in this chapter?!" but then I remembered it would be plagiarism and that would be bad.

The book is about "Realizing the power of your identity in Christ." The chapter I was reading tonight focuses on our perceptions of ourselves compared to God's perceptions of us. He states that "you must believe you are a Child of God, to act like you are a child of God."

The section in "Victory Over Darkness" called "New Life Requires New Birth" spoke deeply to my heart tonight and inspired the challenge I am about to present you with but first a few quotes from his book to inspire you to read it for yourself.

"A Christian, in terms of his or her deepest identity, is a saint, a spiritually born child of God, a divine masterpiece, a child of light, a citizen of heaven. Being born again transformed you into someone who didn't exist before. What you receive as a Christian isn't the point; it is who you are. It is not what you do as a Christian that determines who you are; it is who you are that determines what you do. (see 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 1 Pet. 2:9,10; 1 John 3:1,2)."

   "People cannot consistently behave in ways that are inconsistent with the way they perceive themselves. You don't change yourself by your perception. You change your perception of yourself by believing the truth. If you perceive yourself wrongly, you will live wrongly because what you are believing is not true. If you think you are a no-good bum, you will probably live like a no-good bum. If, however, you see yourself as a child of God who is spiritually alive in Christ, you will begin to live accordingly. Next to a knowledge of God a knowledge of who you are is by far the most important truth you can possess.
   The major strategy of Satan is to distort the character of God and the truth of who we are. He can't change God and he can't do anything to change our identity and position in Christ. If, however, he can get us to believe a lie, we will live as though our identity in Christ isn't true." 

Pretty good stuff huh? It gets better. The list below is who God says we are.

It. Is. Empowering.

(If you would like a PDF version of this sent to your e-mail please let me know)
The Challenge:
Mr. Anderson's challenge in the book is my challenge to you. Read the list below twice a day for two weeks! I will share how it has changed me and I want to hear how it has changed you! Let's start this new year pointing our arrow in the right direction together.

The Goal:
 The book says it best. "The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity."

If we gain nothing more than a better understanding of who we are in Christ, we will have gained an irreplaceable treasure. The truth about ourselves through God's eyes can and will unlock doors in our lives we didn't realize were closed.

Will you accept the challenge??
Comment, e-mail, or Facebook me to let me know your in!
(*For the record, I was in no way paid to write this the book is just literally THAT awesome.)

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