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Hope

I’m healing, I’m hurting

Wait
Am I healing or am I just hurting

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell
If I’m making progress
Or just hurting
Healing is necessary, but healing is painful

You can have pain without healing
But
You can’t have healing without pain

Let me explain

We avoid healing, not because we don’t want to be whole
But because we know healing means removing masks, facing hidden truths, and being transparent
When you’re really ready to heal, it has to be all
Or nothing

You don’t want to be half healed
So don’t take off half the mask
God is a God of wholeness
He doesn’t do a job halfway

Walk with me on this journey

Let’s choose healing for all areas of our lives, not just the parts we’re comfortable uncovering.

Lord, Abba, Father,

We come to You
We remove the masks
Entirely, not halfway
Heal us
Make us whole
No more shame

We are Your children
You must come
You have to heal us
For Your word says
If earthly parents know how to give good gifts,
How much more will You?

Lord, we need healing
We want to be whole, truly whole
We need You

In Jesus’ name,
We, Your children pray,

Amen

inspiration · Uncategorized

Whose Standard: God’s or Yours

While dealing with something recently, I had to tell myself ,“If I am going to tell my girls not to fear, I have to hold that same standard for myself.”

How can I require of them what I am not willing to do or what I have not done?

It is the same with Jesus Christ. He came, was born of a woman, lived on this earth, suffered, died, and rose. He knows what this world does and does not have to offer. So, when He says “don’t go,” “don’t do,” “don’t say,” “watch and pray,” etc. ….He knows what He is talking about; He has already walked this road, dealt with the temptations, issues and much more. Even though we have Christ’s example to follow, we will not get everything right; He knows that. In 1 John 1:9, it says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This brings me to my next point.

We need to quit requiring of others what we can’t expect of ourselves. How can you want people to be perfect, but you are not? How can you want friends that have never sinned, yet you just sinned (possibly before reading this)? So, because someone did not meet your standards of perfection, they are not worthy of your forgiveness? Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Holding someone else to an unattainable level of perfection is not only hypocritical, but it binds up your forgiveness from God.

Be real and examine yourself, then proceed with caution. Pray for one another, love one another, and quit casting thou the first stone. Jesus clearly stated in John 8:7, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Since not one of us fits that description, we should all be focused on living for Christ and being the hands and feet of Jesus. Let’s spend more of our time using our lips for praising God and encouraging others, and less time gossiping about what someone did or is doing wrong.

As iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) so let us sharpen and lift one another up, in the body of Christ.

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Trust God Enough to Surrender

While having a moment with my daughter over whether or not she would take her medicine, God dropped such a revelation in my spirit.

She had been complaining about her nose being stuffy, and I told her about the nasal spray we had at home. After getting home, she reminded me that she needed the nasal spray. At first, I didn’t want to get it because the liquid medicine was more easily accessible and I was being a little lazy. However, I went upstairs and grabbed the nasal spray. When I came downstairs with the medicine, she saw the container and then was unsure because of the possibility of pain. I walked away because I wasn’t going to make her take it. She was upset and asked me to “try it first” to ensure the nasal spray wouldn’t hurt. I explained that I didn’t need the medicine. She finally decided to use the medicine and “do it herself,” which was fine with me. Initially, after using it, she complained that it burned, but shortly after, she was happy and telling me how much better her nose felt and how she could breathe better from both nostrils. She even took the medicine with her to use, as needed.

Sweet Jesus, there is so much in this revelation.

We know there is something wrong, and we know there is help, yet, we refuse, out of fear (regardless of what we argue the real reason is) and stay stagnant, broken, and unchanged. Truth-the process to getting better does hurt. Remember, it’s like surgery (mentally, emotionally, spiritually) and there will be pain associated with the change. In order to remove the negative and replace it with positivity and Christ’s truth, one has to be expecting a process. Unless God decides to miraculously overnight your change, there will be growing pains, learning challenges, and mistakes along the way.

The thing is, we have to START. The longer we prolong the start, the longer the idea of impending pain will linger. But, if we START, and accept that pain will come, we will be okay. It may hurt. There may also be some sleepless nights, tear-filled days, happiness, joy, upset, triumph, and a variety of other things. However, because we surrender to and invite Jesus Christ into this process from pain to purpose, God will be with us and provide peace that surpasses all understanding, even in the midst of the storm. We have to stop saying we want change, yet are unwilling to endure the process (to start the process, let alone endure).

Trust God enough to know that if He is calling you in your brokenness, He knows how to pull you out of the mess, clean you off, and equip you for exactly what He has for you to do.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Don’t Give Up

God loves you. Please hear me out. God loves you! Nothing you’ve done and nothing you do can ever change that fact, that truth. So many times, the enemy would have you believe that you’ve gone too far, made too many mistakes, slept with too many people, had too many drunken nights and “high as a kite” days to ever make it back into God’s grace.

Do you want to know the truth?

On your worst day, God still loves you. On your best day, you’re still not perfect. None of us are. And God loves us anyway. You have to pay attention to who has your ear. Who or what are you listening to? God is not a man that He should lie. His word tells us that He loves us (John 3:16). So, if what you’re hearing is anything other than God loves you, it’s not from Him.

Now, don’t get me wrong. God may not be happy with some of the things you’re doing, things that He considers sin. But, He still loves you. And, He will still accept you back into His family, if you would only repent, turn from foolishness, and follow Him (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Take heart and be encouraged. It’s not over for you. You who was considering suicide, you who’s been depressed for years, you who feels like you’ve messed up one too many times, you who feels like a failing mother or a failing father…You are still here which means you still have a chance to get it right, to let go of the pain, deal with your past (or your right now), and embrace God’s goodness and love for you and your life.

I’m praying for you and believing that God will do what needs to be done in your life.

Don’t, I repeat, DON’T give up. God has a plan for you! 

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God Connection: True Relationship

This is a lesson I learned a while back, but it still applies today…

When I go to church, I want to hear the Word without interruption. I assume others go for the same reason. So, when one or all of my girls get a little loud or overly cranky, I tend to take them out of the sanctuary for a break that sometimes turns into me missing the remainder of service; that is quite frustrating at times.

Well, today it happened. Just before communion, and the sermon, all three girls expressed their discomfort and unhappiness in one way or another (screaming, fussing, attitude). I left my two oldest daughters with my husband, and I took our youngest downstairs, changed her diaper, fed her, and then I cried; I was beyond overwhelmed and emotional. I really wanted to hear the Word and be in the presence of God. But, with no childcare or children’s church today, plus the girls’ lack of desire to cooperate with what I wanted (sitting still and being quiet is not every child’s specialty), my desires for hearing the Word had to take a backseat.

As I continued to cry, God began to speak to me, and He reminded me that the church is in me and I am able to be in His presence at any given time, regardless of where I am. Coming to the building is great, but without a real relationship with God people are just going through the motions and placing an X in their mental box to say “I went to church.” Too many people are going to the church building, but returning home with no true church in them. Yes, the Word does say, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25), but did God say it NEEDED to be in the building? Before there was a building, there was God. When these buildings are gone, God will STILL be. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” – Matthew 18:20.

As He continued to minister to me, the tears dried up, and I was at peace.
I am at peace because outside of the church building, I still commune with God; He is in my heart. We have to realize that simply going to the building is not enough. If the church is not in you (myself included), we are still lost.
As always, be blessed and be a blessing!

Be on the lookout for more information about my new journal/devotional, “Learning to Love You,” scheduled to be released early 2018!

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Grace to Give

Grace is something God provides daily. We make a mistake; His grace is there. We go left when He says go right; His grace is there. Freely, He gives grace to us. So, why do we find it so difficult to extend grace to others?

Recently, I was in a check-out line at a grocery store. So distinctly, I felt God leading me to encourage the lady that was working the cash register. Immediately, I started thinking about how she would respond to me telling her, “God loves you,” and fear showed up. That cashier didn’t seem to smile during our encounter, and I began to wonder what would come of this. Would my words encourage her or be the last thing she wanted to hear at that moment? So many thoughts swirled in my head as I weighed my options. In the end, I paid for my groceries and walked away without speaking any words of encouragement. I felt awful about it. She may have needed those words, especially today. Instead of beating myself up for the rest of the day, I prayed for God to continue to increase my boldness so I can speak up when He truly needs me to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Later that same day, another lady reached out to me and expressed how she had been doubting herself. I was able to encourage her, and although I didn’t push beyond fear earlier that day in the check-out line, I was glad I was able to push past feelings the second time around. More than anything, I was thankful for God providing grace and loving me, even when I didn’t get everything exactly right. He would soon remind me to extend that same grace to my oldest daughter, at a time when she needed it most.

My oldest daughter, all of nine years old, had two recitals coming up at her school. She would be playing the violin, once during a class assembly, and again during an evening recital for students, teachers, parents, and friends. She was okay with the class assembly (only students and faculty present), but she was not thrilled about performing in front of a “room full of adults.” Her explanation: “Mom, you know I have stage fright.” I explained that she would have to overcome this fear and that I expected her to perform during both events. Unbeknownst to me, she had already had a conversation with her music teacher and was excused from performing at the evening recital. How could my daughter just decide she was too afraid to perform? Didn’t she know she would be okay? Should I just let her get her way? As I was still adamantly explaining that she would, in fact, have to perform during the evening recital, God ever so gently reminded me of the grace He had extended me when I was too afraid, on more than one occasion.

At that moment, as much as I wanted to persuade for her to perform, I knew I had to extend grace. It was my turn to show her what grace (and a mother’s love) should look like. When she, again, declared that she would not be performing during the evening recital, I merely said, “Okay.” I then proceeded to explain that we would work on getting over her stage fright, “little by little until you’re finally ready.” Though neither of us knows when “finally ready” will be, I am determined to extend grace, along the way, just as Christ continues to do for me.

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation that could use a little (or a lot) of grace, remember, God provides us with grace daily. The least we can do is extend to others the same grace we are in need of every single day.

 

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Give it to God: Free Yourself

Respect and praying on nature background

Have you ever felt God was saying, “Give it to Me and I will take care of it?” If so, which person are you?

Are you the one quick to give your issues to God, with no questions and no objections? Or, are you the person refusing to give your issues totally to God because you fear the unknown? Many times, we (including myself) have had and still have a hard time letting God fix things. It is not that we don’t want Him to do what He is very capable of doing. It is because we have too many questions and too much doubt. “What if He doesn’t fix it like I would or like I want it to be fixed?” Some of us can’t understand and accept God’s greatness. We ask questions like, “What if Your plan doesn’t work? Why do You want to help me anyway? How can I trust You? Will You really make it better? Can’t you tell me what You are going to do first, then I will turn my problem over to You?”

Many times, that last question is the biggest in our head. We want to know how God is going to turn a situation around before we let go and truly give it all to Him. We go through this tug-of-war with God. He wants to help, but if He is to help, we have to learn to let go and give our issues entirely to Him, not questioning why and how He will make things work. Remember, God doesn’t owe us a “how” or a “why” explanation. But, we owe Him our trust and faith to accomplish what we know He can do.

We should be eager to do according to Peter 5:7, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” If we are truly seeking Christ first (Matthew 6:33) and trusting in the Lord, leaning not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), we should find comfort in giving our problems over to God. Some things are too heavy for us to bear. Many times, believers say He will never put more on us than we can bear. However, we have to be mindful not to put more on ourselves than we can handle. When God is trying to lessen our loads, we should not fight Him to keep burdens that He is willing to remove.

Are we willing to give our burdens over to God and trust Him to take care of everything, in His timing? Can we avoid making haste and wait on the outcome that is most certain to be greater if God does the work? Think about it like this: how many times did your “should have, could have, would have” options work when you tried to fix things on your own? If you could do it all on your own, why would it be written, “With Christ all things are possible” (Philippians 4:13) and “apart from Him you can do nothing” (John 15:5)?

Don’t allow your lack of faith or fear of the unknown to keep you in a drowning state. Remember, you have a choice. If you choose to refuse God’s helping hand, you are saying you can stop yourself from drowning. You are declaring you can defeat the enemy and your problems on your own.

Either trust Him and give it all to Him or continue to try it without Him AND without the expectancy of a Godly result. We can’t decide what pieces to give or how to help God fix our issues. Give it all and watch Him work. Remember, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Beauty for Ashes

 

pic with dad“How do you love God, the Father, when your only experience with a father has been anything but righteous or right?”

My biological father, who should have protected me, groomed, brainwashed, and abused me. I became his child-bride, and for over a decade, I was under his control: mind, body, and soul. I still remember how he made me “marry him” in a promise covenant before God. Initially, the promise was to last until I was seventeen, however, as I found out, breaking free was not going to be easy. By seventeen, I was ready for freedom, but he would not allow it, using tactics that were anything but loving. I was forced to continue being sexually abused for four more years.

Fast forward three years. I’d had a child, married my college sweetheart, had a second child, and was living in Europe. Although I knew God and believed in Him, I didn’t really understand how to properly view Him as my heavenly father…the fatherly example I had made it hard for God to connect with me. I had walls up unaware of how to let them down, or a desire to do so.

God knew He would have to intervene for true healing to take place in my life. In a pure God move, I connected with, Herb and April Adkins, a Christian couple that I attended church with while in Europe. They were the coordinators for a women’s conference that was to take place nearby in early 2012. I needed change, was tired of being tormented by my past and felt the women’s conference would be just the thing.

On the last night of the three-day conference, at about 12:30am, while sitting at a table eating Hawaiian pizza, Herb said God had revealed that I would be one of his spiritual daughters. Though I wasn’t sure what to think of it at the time, his words resonated with me. The following day, with tears in my eyes, I told him, in front of his wife, that I received his words as truth. I was going to have a second chance at this father thing.

I was going to have a real father. Wait! What?? What does that even mean?

After returning home, I told my husband about everything that happened, including the words spoken by Herb. To my surprise, he was excited for me. I then proceeded to ask my husband questions, with all sincerity. “How does this work?” “How do you have a father?” “What does the relationship look like?”  After much prayer, and with overwhelming anxiousness, I allowed God to show me, through Herb Adkins, what it was like to have a real father.

The blessed thing about all of this…there was an instant God connection. Over the next few months, Herb and I talked via phone, text, Facebook messenger, at church, and via hand written notes. He and his wife, April, invited my family to be a part of their family. They even went so far as to discuss an adult adoption (that’s a real thing) to make our family bond official. Our families grew closer and closer, to the point where newcomers in the area didn’t know that we were not blood-related. My children looked forward to seeing their Granddad and Nana April, Josh was happy to have some wisdom talks with his father-in-love, and I was ecstatic that I actually had a father, on this side of heaven.

God was showing me that He did love me, He had not forgotten me, and He would restore what the enemy took from me. He allowed me to experience the love of an earthly father, which caused me to be more open to God’s fatherly love and affection toward me.

It has now been more than five years since God placed Herb in my life, and our genuine, Godly father-daughter relationship has only grown stronger. I refer to him as Dad, not Herb, not spiritual father…affectionately, sincerely, Dad. Why? Because that’s who he is to me. In five short years, he has shown me more about Godly, fatherly love than I had previously learned in all my prior years. I have God to thank for that. Dad, along with Mama April, considers me to be one of their own, no different from their biological children, and it’s a beautiful thing.

God gave me beauty for ashes. Because I finally understood what it meant to have a real father, and what that love was to look like, I was able to open up to God, my Heavenly Father, and develop a closer, more genuine relationship with Him, the One who loves me unconditionally.

So, how do you love God the Father when your only experience with a father has been anything but righteous or right? For me, it was nearly impossible, but because God loved me so much, He extended grace and mercy and provided another, Herb, who showed me what a father’s love looked like, enabling me to truly accept and embrace my Heavenly Father’s love, and open the door to true healing, peace, and joy.