Her Perfect Work - Summer Book Club Part 1

Summer Book Club Part 1

Her Perfect Work - Summer Book Club Part 1This summer I’ve done something I have never done before. I joined not one but two online book clubs! I love buying books and having a nice sized home library but I’ve probably only read about 10% of the books I own. So I decided to make this a summer of reading. The two books featured in the clubs are How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You by Rachael Carmen and The Husband Project by Kathy Lipp. Let me tell you, these books are good! I love how the clubs are utilizing Facebook and email to keep all the participants accountable and engaged. So in this two-part post I wanted to tell you about each book and the impact they are having on me.

First, Rachael Carmen’s book, How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You (or How Many Times as we refer to it in the club). The tagline of the book is, “What God wants us to hear when we talk to our kids.” In the book, Rachael reflects on 68 different things we as mothers often say to our children and how God wants us to hear him saying those same things to us. The topics range from the cliché, “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you” to the profound, “Please just trust me and obey.” So many times while reading I have felt the Holy Spirit taping me on the shoulder as if to say, “We wrote that part for you” or “Remember when this happened, you were trying to get through to her but we were trying to get through to you.”  Like in the chapter titled, “God Has Great Plans For You” where Rachael wrote,

Her Perfect Work - Summer Book Club Part 1

These few sentences hit me like a ton of bricks. They reminded me of the times I had become frustrated with Bella’s progress during potty training or how long it was taking for her to learn a certain skill in class. I came to realize that many times when I should have been enjoying and celebrating our day-to-day accomplishments I was just pushing through and longing for the day when all the “hard work” would be behind us. But that’s not how I want to parent. I don’t want to wait for the day that I can enjoy being a mom, I want to enjoy every day no matter what difficulty it may bring.

In the chapter titled, “Go Outside” I was reminded that at the end of a tough day the best thing I could do for my relationships and for myself was to step outside and let it go.

“Let the breeze blow away the chaff of the day, the stuff that doesn’t matter, the stuff that only serves to block your view.”

But I think the best lesson I’ve learned so far has been from the chapter titled, “Be Still.” I am a multitasker; always on the move and with a to do list longer than my arm but there are times when my little one and my Father need me to just sit with them and be.

“I can fold laundry and teach phonics simultaneously. But my kids love it when I put everything down and do nothing except sit with them. There will come a day when I can dust all I want. Now is the time for this mom to be still with her little ones and just snuggle.”

While reading How Many Times, I’ve received so much insight into how to be a more loving, patient, attentive mother as well as receiving deeper revelation as to what my heavenly Father expects from me and how he uses my daughter to teach me. I absolutely LOVE this book and I can’t wait to continue reading and learning.

In my next post I’ll dig in to Kathy Lipp’s book, The Husband Project, and share with you what I’ve learned about the other important relationship in my life.

 

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My Good Side

Her Perfect Work - My Good Side
Her Perfect Work – My Good Side

Because of the nature of this blog I write a lot about my faults and struggles. My heart in all my writing is to share with you how God is working in my sometimes messy heart to bring about the ultimate goal of my perfection and unification with the savior Jesus Christ. I want people to grasp the truth that on their worst day, when they can’t find one thing they’ve done right, God loves them and is working in them and that he’ll never quit.

With that said, I wanted to share my good side with you today. The side of me that is as deeply rooted in me as Christ’s love for me. The side of me that I love, that I can’t change and I would never want to. And that is that I absolutely love encouraging people and I have a very sensitive heart. These traits typically work together in my life and most of the time make me feel like my heart is exposed and vulnerable but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The easiest way to get me to befriend someone would be if you were to discourage them in my presence. My heart would instantly become heavy for them and I would find a way to speak uplifting words to them. I also have a sensitive heart to offense. I am quick to ask for forgiveness when I feel like I’ve hurt or offended someone. I never want anyone to feel down or upset. Many times I don’t even know what to say to bring up their spirits and in those cases I simply give them an attentive ear as they share their heart and pray to the Lord for their comfort.

These traits also take a lot out of me. Sometimes it takes me longer to get over an offense that someone committed against someone else than it would if that person had offended me. It’s at those times that I have to really concentrate on trusting the Holy Spirit to do his job of being a comforter.

I hope that when my time on this earth is up and others reflect on my life, they remember sweetly the times that I encouraged them with a word, a pat on the back, a special gift or even a simple smile. Because that’s one of the things I know I was put on this earth to do and I think I do it well.

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The Ugly Side of Me

Her Perfect Work - The Ugly Side of Me
Her Perfect Work – The Ugly Side of Me

Spoiled. Lazy. Controlling. Selfish. Bossy. Unforgiving. Uncaring. Self-centered. Greedy.

This is the ugly side of me.

The side I wish no one ever had to see.

Unfortunately, there are those who do see this side of me and they are the ones who are closest to me.

Primarily the ones who call me wife” and mother”.

Once, while listening to the radio program Focus on the Family, I heard a guest say something that was so true I was surprised I hadn’t heard it sooner. The guest said, ” I never knew how selfish I was until I got married and I never knew how angry I was until I became a parent.”  Wow. I couldn’t believe someone could so simply and accurately identify the biggest challenge I had encountered in marriage and parenting. I could believe even less that I was not the only one fighting this fight against selfishness and control. I never attended premarital or parenting classes but if these topics had come up in either then they would have been well worth attending.

There were many times early in my marriage when I thought my husband had made the wrong decision by choosing me to be his bride. There was a certain amount of baggage that I brought into the relationship but I truly thought I would be the picture perfect, loving, adoring, self-sacrificing wife he deserved. Needless to say, I fell short. Then, once I became a mother I foolishly thought, “Now I have it all together. I’m going to be supermom.” Again, I set myself up for failure and disappointment. Big time. It’s one thing when you let down someone who has chosen to be with you no matter what, but it’s another thing when you let down someone who has been chosen as a gift for you from God. This was my state of mind when I heard those words come through over the radio. Then came the realization that if the women on the radio was able to overcome her own selfishness and anger then there was no reason that, with the help of the same Holy Spirit, I could not also overcome.

I believe that for every ugly thing we allow to grow in the garden of our hearts a beautiful thing is being choked to death. Love for instance, can only grow where hate is weeded out. Self-sacrifice for selfishness. Freedom for control. Giving for greed. Something must die for something else to live. We determine which it will be.

We all have struggles in life and we overcome them in different ways.  I believe God designed my marriage to be a safe place where he can make my sins known and help me to overcome them. I believe this is a way he works for many people but not for all people. Some people are confronted with their ugliness when they enter a difficult workplace, a new school environment, during a financial challenge or even during a season of great success and accomplishment. God knows what’s growing and how to weed it out completely. We only need to trust him to do the gardening. I am a horrible gardener. When I go in to garden, I don’t have the patience to separate the good from the bad. I rip it all out and try to start from scratch. If I did that kind of gardening in my heart I would end up uprooting all the good that God was doing while hacking away all the bad leaving it a bleeding mess that ultimately only He could repair. My heart, my marriage and my relationship with my daughter, are each too valuable for me to be impatient with. I have to trust God to do the work. I have to give him full access and permission to do what needs to be done to turn the ugly into beauty.

Knowing that he’s the one at work, gives me so much hope. Because I know that when he does a job, he does it right. He’s making me into a better wife. He’s making me into a better mother. So now when he makes me aware of my faults, like selfishness and control I don’t have to feel shame or guilt. Instead I seek forgiveness from my loved ones, I repent of my sin and hand him the gardening tools.

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Boys

Her Perfect Work-Boys
Her Perfect Work-Boys

Summer is in full swing here in Florida and for me that means a much needed break from our homeschool schedule, daily visits from my 2 nephews Cy [7] and Eli [5], and a realization that I don’t have what it takes to be a #BoyMom (and I’m ok with that)! I used to long for a son, and up until a few month ago I thought I still might try for one but, for now, I am cured of that longing.  [After a cross-country move, the thought of diapers and breast feeding again after 6 years is too much like starting over again-again, but I digress.] Boys are something else! They are funny and creative and gross in so many different ways than girls (yes girls are gross too, just differently)! It’s so funny how what I wanted was not actually what I needed and what I needed wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I’m so glad God knows the difference and that he chose now to show me his wisdom.

I grew up in a home surrounded by women. It was me, my mother and my two older sisters. My mother’s ex husband was also in the mix for about 10 years but when he and my mother divorced he divorced me as well so that was the end of that relationship. I didn’t know who my father was until I was 16 so I grew up longing for a father or at least a brother but the closest I got was a goofy uncle who I love to death and 2 boy cousins who beat me up every chance they got, even though I was older than them. When I found out who my dad was I was blessed with 2 more older sisters and, finally, an older brother; but my father and brother both lived in different states so my desire for a close male relationship was left unfulfilled. Once I got married and my husband and I starting trying for a baby it was obvious, I wanted a boy! I believe that desire was fulfilled with my first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks. Months later, during my second pregnancy, I found out that I was having a girl and I was unexpectedly terrified. I’ve spent all my life surrounded by women [now including my 7 beautiful nieces] but, just like the stereotype, growing up without my father and witnessing abuses by other men towards women in my life had left me with issues when it came to men and issues with self-esteem and worth. I was so afraid of passing on those issues to my little girl. Six years into being a #GirlMom I’ve realized that God had a greater purpose by giving me the gift of a little princess. He has brought me face to face with so many of my issues and helped me to overcome them because He and I want the same thing, we want to raise our girl to be whole and  secure in her identity in Him.

I’m so thankful for the 9 boys that call me Titi (that’s, Auntie, for my non-hispanic readers ;-)) and the 1 on the way. I admire my brother and sisters (and in-laws) for raising such strong, respectful, loving young men. My heart swells when I see the brotherly love on display between my nephews. I don’t know if I could have done such an amazing job teaching little boys how to be good men but I’m so glad I have the chance to teach a little girl to be a good woman. Maybe in the future I’ll have a chance to do that. Who knows? But for now, I’m more than happy letting the boys go home every evening and snuggling up with my girl. Besides, I do have a #PuppySon and he’ll be a momma’s boy forever. 

 

 

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God said, “Go!”

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Her Perfect Work – God said, “Go.”

Five months ago I was on fire. I had plans. I had goals. I was on a mission. I was going places. Then all of a sudden God said, “Go!” But not in the direction I was headed, he sent me in a totally different direction…

Late last year I resurrected my  former blog, My Life as a Sacred Song. I was so excited. I had plans to write at least 3 posts a week building up to daily posts. In early January I began re-branding the blog, translating my posts for my Spanish-speaking friends, and preparing for a move to WordPress with a February 1st grand debut. But before that day could come, on January 22 to be exact, my husband asked a question that I quickly realized was prompted by the Holy Spirit. His question was, “Is it crazy that I just want to pack up everything and move to Florida?” My answer was a simple but heartbreaking, “No.” You see in the months (and to be honest years) leading up to that moment my husband had given his all – to work, to ministry, to me and our daughter – and he had gotten to the point where he needed more out of life than what he was currently getting. So I couldn’t blame him for having the desire to start over somewhere new even if I was content where we were. I had watched him move through life with little satisfaction for too long not to be supportive now that I had a chance to do something about it.

Before we could move forward with any plans we had to come before the Lord and ask for his direction. In my experience, if I ask the lord for confirmation of something he is pretty quick to respond but the swiftness of his response on this occasion literally took my breath away. I vividly remember, not even 48 hours after my husbands question, leading my church in worship when in my spirit I heard Him whispering to me, “I am leading you out from this place…everything is going to be ok here WHEN you go…it won’t be easy but if you trust me it will be worth it…” This was the first time I literally experienced gut-wrenching pain but in an audible voice I shouted, “I’ll follow you, even if it hurts!” However, even after that experience I still doubted. I said to myself, “Maybe I misinterpreted things. Maybe I didn’t hear what I thought I heard. Maybe I was mistaken.” I was in denial so the very next day He spoke to me again, even more clearly, this time through a YouTube preaching by Pastor Joann Rosario Condrey – God said Go! I can’t tell you how many things were said in that message that were precise and exact to my situation even down to her mentioning the song I was singing the day before while he was whispering to my heart. So from that moment on, in my mind, it was a done deal – we were moving across the country; leaving our church, our family, our friends and home in Michigan and trusting God to provide and bring us into a new life in Florida.

And he did, seemingly without warning we were on our way. Within a week we had rented out our home and within two we were moved out. In mid February my husband left to Florida to secure a job, which he did within a week of arriving. By the end of March, on my 29th birthday, we were approved for a town-home in West Palm Beach and on April 10th we moved in.

Just
Like
That.

Through all the stress and the tears, the doubt and the setbacks, God kept proving himself faithful but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the plan I had. The beautiful new website sitting un-launched. The missed deadlines and the lost readership. I had to put my plan on the back burner so I could be there for my family, so that I could support my husband in the move and make sure all my daughters emotional needs were being met after being uprooted from the only place she’d known as home. And then finally, just yesterday, I felt the stirring again, I heard the voice again say, “Go! But not to a different state or city. Go forward with your plan! Go forward with your goals! Go forward on your mission! Go!”

So here I am on June 1st, well past bedtime, giving new life to this old dream. And I’m so happy. I don’t know where the journey will lead from here but with the experiences I’ve had with the Lord in these last 5 months I know that he’s got a bigger better plan than the one I have in mind. And I can’t wait to watch it unfold.

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For the Dreamer

Imagine for a moment that an angel appears to you where you are right now. Shining in splendor. Clothed in fine linen. Postured in authority. The angel speaks, “Blessed one, the Lord of heaven and earth; the Lord who punishes the wicked but spares the righteous has sent this message concerning you. You will go forth from this place and minister to the ones I send you to. You will proclaim my sovereignty across the land and by my word you will bring peace to the troubled soul. Now go fourth, for I am with you, says the Lord.”

I believe that many of you would react to an encounter like that by bowing down in humility and bawling your eyes out {if not just indulge me for a moment} and then when the time was right you would go forward and do what the angel commanded you to. Whatever challenges came your way, you could refer to that word spoken to you by the angel and be encouraged to do your part and trust in God to fulfill his part. Others may call you crazy, they may ridicule you and try to discourage you {like they did to Noah} but as long as you had the word of the Lord none of that would matter.

Now, imagine that instead of the angel appearing to you in the flesh he appeared to you in a dream. Do you think your reaction would be different? I imagine a small percentage of you would still go forward in faith, encouraged by the word but I imagine a greater percentage of you would say, “What in the world did I eat last night?” For the most part, we put a higher value on tangible experiences with the Lord than we do on dreams in which he speaks to us. As believers, we cannot discount that our God is spirit and he seeks out those who worship him in spirit so that we can experience him by the spirit.

In the word of God we find that many times he will deliver a message to his servants through dreams. Some of these dreams are symbolic in nature while others are direct and for encouragement, instruction or warning. Hands down the most famous dreamer in the bible is Joseph, beloved son of Jacob (Israel) but recently I have been impacted by the faith and courage of another, “less famous” dreamer; Joseph, son of Jacob (son of Matthan) adopted father of Jesus, our savoir.

Many times we look at the few verses about Joseph, husband of Mary, and think of him as a good man, an obedient servant but we rarely think of his as a dreamer of dreams. However, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him to tell him to take Mary as his wife it was “in a dream.” When he was warned that Herod was searching for the child Jesus, to kill him and that they should escape to Egypt it was “in a dream.” When he was told to take the child and his mother to Israel  it was “in a dream.” When he was warned that Archelaus was reigning in place of his father Herod it was “in a dream.” Over and over God spoke to Joseph through dreams and over and over Joseph was obedient to listen to the voice of the Lord.

For those of us who God speaks to by dreams in the night, we must be obedient to follow the instruction or heed the warning of those dreams no matter what it looks like to others. Because we dreamers are a special part of the body of Christ. We are among those who are blessed because we have not seen with our natural eyes the fulfillment of our dreams yet we believe that it will come to pass as He has said it. Dreamers have the ability to recognize that it is God is speaking to us {not last nights dinner} and act on what it is He has said. And it is our faith acted out through obedience that gives birth to the things of the spirit.

Joseph of the Old Testament made a way for his brothers to be saved from the famine that would come by trusting in and being obedient to the God of his dreams. Joseph of the New Testament made a way for all mankind to find their savoir by trusting in and being obedient to the God of his dreams. Now, ask yourself this question Dreamer. Do I trust in my God enough to be obedient to what he speaking to me through my dreams? Even if it looks crazy? Even if it doesn’t make sense? Even if my brothers hate me and rulers chase me down?

If you really are a dreamer then I think your answer is an easy, Yes! Because within each dreamer God has deposited a supernatural measure of faith and confidence that is activated by those dream encounters in order to produce a supernatural blessing for the body of Christ. So that just like the Joseph’s of the bible we can make a way for others to be saved.

Her Perfect Work - For The Dreamer
Her Perfect Work – For The Dreamer

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The Danger of Dismay

Her Perfect Work – The Danger of Dismay

As a homeschooling parent and a ministry leader I invest a lot of time, effort and most of all heart into everything that I do. I have big dreams and I expect to see them come to fruition. Last week however confirmed for me that with big dreams also come big disappointments. Now I know that can sound a little pessimistic but it’s an honest statement that reminds me that I shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t go according to my plans. Instead I should use those experiences to deepen my faith and push harder towards those dreams. The biggest threat to my dreams aren’t the circumstances that are out of my control but the state of dismay that can overcome my heart as a result of them.

Dismay means to cause someone to feel very worried, disappointed, or upset. Some synonyms are daunt, demoralize, dishearten, discourage, dispirit, frustrate, unman and unnerve. Looking at this list feels sadly like a list I could have written last week based on my own emotional state. I’m not the type to stay down for long but getting past these feelings has been a bit more difficult then usual. But after searching the Word for hope, now I think I may know why. When dismay takes hold of a heart it has the ability to take out even a trained army of fighters.
In the first book of Samuel chapter 17 we read about how the Israelites gathered at the Valley of Elah to fight the Philistines, however when the champion Goliath stepped forward and began hurling threats and insults to them the word says, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified”(verse 11). What happened next is unbelievable. These experienced fighters lost all courage, all nerve and all faith that God was still able to give them the victory. For 40 days they sunk deeper into hopelessness as they listened to taunts of their enemy. Until David showed up with the truth of God’s word in his heart and on his lips and defeated Goliath, filling the Israelite army with courage once again, allowing them to pursue the fleeing Philistine army to their defeat.
You see David had the right approach in this situation. He faced the same threat as the Israelite army and heard the same insults but instead of  being dismayed he was filled with faith in God and courage enough to take on the challenge ahead. And that’s what I must do, that’s what you must do. If you have been demoralized – if the challenge ahead of you seems daunting – if your plans have been frustrated – it’s time to remember that the God we serve is a mighty God and that as long as we have submitted our lives, our hearts and our dreams to him then he will give us the victory in every circumstance.
Things won’t always go as planned but the only way to see our dreams come to life is push past the disappointment and turn to God.
Her Perfect Work – The Danger of Dismay

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Why I write: Full of grace — Free of guilt

I’ve always been extremely hard on myself. My two biggest struggles in life have been with feelings of low self-worth and guilt. I remember carrying guilt about something I had done at about 10 years old well into my early 20’s. I’ve never had a problem forgiving others, just myself. Growing up fatherless and in a stressful home environment definitely attributed to my feelings of low self-worth even though I knew I was a capable, smart young woman.

In my early teens I discovered that I could get attention and feel valuable because of my looks. I learned that I could manipulate people in order to get the validation I so desperately desired if I was just willing to give up little bits of who I was and the principals I believed in along the way. Sadly, it was a trade-off I was willing to make. When I moved to Michigan at age 16 and came to really know Christ I beat myself up for about 3 more years because of all the drama and hurt I had caused in my circle of friends. During that time though, I prayed constantly for forgiveness, deliverance from my guilt and for God to heal the hurts I had caused in others. And in time I felt freedom from that guilt.

Fast forward to 2012. Six years into marriage. Two years into motherhood. I was not the wife I wanted to be. I was not the mother I thought I would be. My self-worth had plummeted to an all time low. I would offer myself no grace, only guilt and condemnation. A journal entry from August 16th read,

“My heart is heavy and burdened…I know there is truth in your word and I find it daily but it is not made real in my life. Guilt enslaves me and shame covers me. Thoughts of death tempt me. A heaviness makes it hard for me to breath. I’m sinking into a pit of my own despair. I remember the trials and triumphs of my past. The sufferings and difficulties you brought me out of and they seem far and small. But now my soul is in the balance, it cries out. Free me from these chains. Give me the strength to overcome…I don’t even feel you here now. I know you hear me and see me but are you here with me?…I feel like a failure…Rescue me!”

After this, I knew I couldn’t can take it on my own anymore and as difficult as it was I confided in my husband the struggles I was facing. Now let me explain, it was not difficult to tell him because I was afraid of how he might react. It was difficult to tell him because I felt guilty about being such a messed up wife. In my mind he deserved better than to have to try to “fix” my brokenness. I told him that at the slightest failure I would be flooded with voices in my head that told me that I would never change, that I would never accomplish anything and that the world was better off without me in it. And that I was sorry that he had such a damaged women for a wife.  

And you know what he did? He ministered to me. He reminded me of my worth – to him, to my daughter, to God – he reassured me that I was loved, he reminded me that I was capable and valuable and that I would accomplish the things that set out to and that God had a great purpose for me. He ministered to me in a way that only a husband with a heart after God’s own heart can do.

Now, with my spirits lifted I had to figure out a way to  silence the voices in my head. Being the visual person that I am I needed a way that I could be constantly reminded of who I was. So I grabbed a roll of wrapping paper, rolled out a large portion onto my bedroom wall with the blank side facing out and with a black sharpie I started writing. Writing the opposite of what those voices were saying.

Her Perfect Work - Why I Write
Her Perfect Work – Why I Write
  • My existence is not a waste.
  • I love my husband and my life.
  • I am a good mother.
  • I am special.
  • I am powerful
  • I have a healthy loving relationship with my daughter.
  • I control my emotions, my emotions do not control me.
  • I have a Father in heaven who loves me.
  • My husband is blessed.
  • My dreams will come true.
  • My desire is for my husband alone.
  • I am a blessing to others.
  • I am full of ideas and potential and I can follow through to the end.
  • I am a success.
  • I can overcome.


And on and on.

Everyday for I don’t know how long I would read over every statement. Some times I would lay in bed and stare at one statement in particular until I felt the truth of it penetrate my heart. Sometimes I would ask my husband to guess which one I was looking at or thinking about that day. Sometimes I would ask him to speak one of them over me. Then I began to add declarations from the word to it and words that had been spoken to me by men and women of God over the years to confirm in me even more who I really was. Full of grace — Free of guilt.

Her Perfect Work - Why I Write
Her Perfect Work – Why I Write

I can’t tell you how long that poster stood on my wall – over a year at least – but in that time I learned that – for me – the most powerful tool I had against the enemy was what I declared about myself. Because he couldn’t make me believe something about myself that I knew was false. But God could make something true of me that previously was not, if I declared it to be so.

That’s when I decided to begin writing about the power of God’s word to truly change lives. You see the enemy spoke lies to me from early on in my life and although I knew the truth about myself it wasn’t until I began to declare in my heart and with my mouth the truth of who I was in Christ, that I found the power to silence him. And that’s what I want to share with others. That there is always a word of God that if declared will completely negate the word of the enemy and give victory to the one who believes it.

Today I sit at my desk surrounded love letters from my husband and by verses that I have written on sticky notes and scraps of paper that I look at frequently, meditate on and declare over not only myself but my family, my friends and other believers. Because I  know that they are not just nicely written words of encouragement. They are life. They are truth. They are power.

And I want to help others to know that too.

And that’s why I write.

“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30”

 

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Complete and Lacking Nothing

Yesterday, as I was running errands, I unexpectedly found myself under attack. I didn’t know it when I left the house that morning but my enemy was laying in wait for me along my path. Being caught off guard I allowed him to get in a few heavy hits but then my training kicked in and with one move I knocked him out. But not without learning a valuable lesson in the process.

You see in the past I have struggled with self worth and confidence but over the last year or so the Lord has been building me up. Showing me who I am in him, who he has created me to be and the strength that I can find in him through his word, his Son and his Holy Spirit. So when I found myself being tested in this area my flesh thought it knew all the answers. It cried out, “Validate me, Give me worth, Satisfy me!” Although it’s voice was weak, hearing it filled me with fear and anxiety and I thought, this is not right, this is not the correct answer. That’s when I hear another voice, louder than the first saying, “There is nothing that this world can offer that is better than what I already have. I am priceless gem in the hands of my Father. His word gives me satisfaction and joy and through it I have many blessings.” It was the voice of  my spirit echoing the voice of my Father.

After hearing the truth of who I am I was encouraged and reminded that there was a reason this sudden attack came to me. While driving in my car I began to speak out loud to myself and to the spirits in the air, “I am a threat to the kingdom of darkness. I am a threat to the kingdom of darkness. I am a great threat to the kingdom of darkness. I am a GREAT threat to the kingdom of darkness.” And that’s where I really found my confidence because I knew that the attack itself was not important, what was important was the reason for the attack which was to debilitate me because I am a great threat to the kingdom of darkness. God is preparing me – training me – to be a valiant warrior for His kingdom. To bring hope and deliverance to those who are captive through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

So what started as a attack on my weaknesses ended as a display of His strength. And I’m ok with that because at the end of the day I am purified and He is glorified.

Her Perfect Work - Complete and Lacking Nothing
Her Perfect Work – Complete and Lacking Nothing

 

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Avoiding Scars

If anyone were foolish enough to think that marriage is easy that person would be — well, a fool.  Being in a marriage requires constant give and take, constant grace and forgiveness, constant care and vigilance and so on. Those who are lucky enough to receive good advice prior to marriage and actually take it to heart and put it in practice are a step ahead of the game. (Side note: Whoever said, “Love means never having to say I’m sorry” could not have been in a healthy relationship.) Others have to learn things the hard way and that’s when marriages are made stronger or fall to pieces.

No marriage is perfect. Even if a marriage never goes through a “big” testing it will still go through something that will cause each partner to bring pain to the other. On the other hand some marriages are violently shaken and even destroyed by lust, pride, selfishness, greed, deceit, etc. Any of these things can divide the most loving and devoted couples if they are not careful.

It’s a beautiful thing when a marriage can go through difficult times and come through stronger on the other side. Mine has and I’ve seen it happen for other couples as well. But one thing has come to mind recently. When a marriage goes through difficulties and makes it through the couple may be stronger, they may be wiser and even closer but there is no way they made it through without a few wounds that need to be tended to in order to insure proper healing and avoid scaring.

We can sometimes take for granted that we “made it through” and completely forget that there are wounds that need to be cared for. Both partners need to tend to the wounds of the other. When the wound is fresh it must be cleaned out – anything that doesn’t belong must go, no debris can be left from the original injury that will cause the wound not to heal properly or completely. Whatever caused the problem needs to be completely removed from the relationship. Next the wound should be covered to protect from irritants or bacteria. Marital problems should not be broadcast to the whole world. If outside help is needed then it should be sought out by the couple by someone with experience dealing with those issues and with someone they trust. The last thing a marriage on the mend needs is for outsiders to come around injecting their opinions(irritants) and solutions(bacteria) into their wounds. Lastly, neither partner should pick at the scabs – not their own or their partners. Picking at the scab will only prolong the healing process by introducing more bacteria and could even result in a longer scar.

Scars in a marriage can be extremely dangerous and everything should be done to avoid one from forming. In a relationship there are really only two places were wounds can appear, in the mind and on the heart, the most dangerous being the heart.  When scar tissue forms on the heart it is not like the other heart muscle tissue. Scar tissue on the heart does not contract and cannot help the heart the pump and if enough of it forms on the heart it can cause heart failure. You see the marriage can still be destroyed, not by the initial injury or difficulty but by the lack of care to the wounds it caused. Maybe the couple won’t divorce but the relationship will never be what it could be because there is not enough love pumping through it.

We have to be careful when we come to the other side of a difficulty that we don’t keep skipping along on the path naively thinking that we’ve left all our troubles behind. Yes, we should celebrate the victory of a marriage restored but we should never forget that during the fight for our marriage blood was shed and those wounds need to be tended to. We have to be willing to go through the healing process so that our marriages can be fully functional. If the heart of your relationship is not pumping at 100% then you suffer from poor circulation and you can’t move the way you want to. You can’t move the way God intends you to. The great thing about God is that it’s never too late for him. At whatever point you invite him into the relationship he can move. He can speed up the healing or he can go in and remove every bit of scar tissue. It’s never too late. We just need to recognize that the wounds are there and be willing to do our part to care for them. The rest is in his hands.

Her Perfect Work – Avoiding Scars

For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.
Job 5:18

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