Category: heart broken

Don’t Sit on the Sidelines

Do you ever find yourself sitting on the sidelines in life? What makes people sit on the sidelines? For me it was fear—it kept me at a distance from life and from living a faith dominated lifestyle.

The opposite of fear is faith…ponder this a moment—if in any area of our life we are fearful—it’s a trust issue and the antidote is faith. The bottom line is—when we have true faith in God there is no room for fear.

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been on a giant (wonderful and sometimes painful) journey to strengthen my faith. The amount of fear in my life was the tell-tale sign that lead me on this expedition in search of unmovable—relentless faith.

On this mission I first had to come to a major conclusion, which was God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial  nor should it ever be. Yes, I have walked through many heart breaking adventures in my life, but God was never to blame.

Oh but the enemy of my soul was ever present to accuse God with subtle allegations, that unfortunately over time created a bed of comfort for me—a place in the midst of pain where I found a bit of shelter.

The bad news is when we agree with the devil it never turns out good! The good news is when we wander from truth, our gracious; long suffering shepherd always provides a way for us to return.

A good thing to realize about lack of faith is that it’s a heart issue—it’s a place in our heart needing to be perfected in His love. A place that simply needs to be let go of—a place where we make a beautiful exchange—our fear, pain and doubt for His unrelenting love and freedom.

Who wants to be partnered with fear anyway?

The Bible tells us,

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

I started off this blog intending to write about my big adventure this past weekend, but ended up writing about the my bigger adventure of acquiring deeper faith. The two adventures really do go hand in hand and the lesser of the two would not have been possible without the first…

One way fear effected me was that physically I was not very courageous. My husband and kids they are beyond courageous—they are borderline thrill seekers! And I normally just sit, watch (pray) and take pictures, but not this weekend!  Well…a third of this weekend—they participated in three courageous events and me—only one (maybe next year)!

I found myself fearless when on our family vacation, I decided to make the one hundred foot rock climb to a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. Yes friends I did it without hesitation!

waterfall

Each step upward was made rock by rock. And when the climb got intense my husband and sons were before and behind me, ever faithfully holding out their hands, and pointing out the best places to next set my foot. Even when a snake popped his head out of a crack in the rocks and when another slithered on top of one sons foot, I kept going—even when spider webbed rocks where unsecured and shaky, yes even when the moss was slippery and the freezing waterfall pounded on my head and shoulders as I maneuvered across a one foot  wide, one hundred foot high ledge—I, by God’s grace, simply choose not to give fear a second thought!

The climb reminded me of my journey—my life. There always has been and always will be reasons to fear, but God in His unending faithfulness is right behind me—right behind you—and He’s ahead of us, holding out His hand, pointing out the best way to go. Encouraging us to take life one step (rock) at a time, never allowing us to fall—even when our feet land on unstable ground. And when the devil (that snake) rears his ugly head threatening us, we must realize all we have to fear is fear itself. And fear is really nothing but a facade. God’s the real deal and if we allow Him to perfect us in His love we can walk in the freedom He gave His life for, we can get off the sidelines and we can experience the waterfalls of life—crystal clear and refreshing.

Please be encouraged to strengthen your faith (click here to read how: Fully Convinced)—to say no to fear and all its restrictions and yes to God’s faithfulness!

waterfall2 Simply beautiful—so glad I did’t miss out by sitting on the sidelines!

Here are some pictures of my family doing what they do…being adventurous! These are the ones I didn’t participate in!

rock       oasis
The kids climbing down huge rocks leading into a vast canyon and beautiful oasis.

mr bridge  Girls jumping off a bridge.

bridge 2
My husband and son sitting on top of this bridge before jumping off.

 

sunset
God doing what He does best…just being Himself.

 

 

Our Current Trial

What trial are you currently in? I want to share with you the one I just went through. As I eluded in my last blog Embrace the Unknown, God was calling me to step out onto the waters of the unknown. He wasn’t calming the storm before me—He wasn’t changing my circumstance then asking me to come. No, the wind was blowing and the waves were tossing!

The funny thing (it’s funny now) is the trail I was in was nothing I hadn’t experienced before. I’ve been in literal devastation—and lived tell of God’s faithfulness. In one summer not only did my childhood hero—my brother—die, but my two-year old daughter as well (read about it here Hero of Grace—Finding Treasure). Many times my marriage dangled by a mere thread. I’ve had three miscarriages, and been on the verge of death myself. We’ve lost our home and our business-starting over many times. I’ve had three of my dear sons walk away from the Lord—very heartbreaking—to say the least. I’ve been disowned by my family. And these are just the major events after marriage.

So I’m no stranger to suffering, what was so different about my current trial? I believe it was different because this time I knew (sort of) what I was fighting for. And as I look back over all the years, I see I was always fighting for the same thing.

It was a fight for my faith.

Your current trial is a fight for your faith.

For about the last year I’ve been in a season of purposefully strengthening my faith—my goal is to be fully convinced without wavering, (Romans 4:20). Therefore in this trial I was fighting to believe God’s Word and the devil was fighting for his ground of unbelief in my heart. God was purposing to remove a deeper layer of fear in my life—namely the fear-of-lack. Fear rooted it’s self in my life when I was a child. It makes sense—God’s plan for my life is that I’d be a person of deep, unwavering faith—the devil’s plan—just the opposite—fear.

Throughout my years of suffering I could feel God’s comfort, and even when the sea of the unknown tossed, as I remember it now, I felt I was in the boat. This time He stood out on the frenzied ocean, extending His hand, asking me to step out on a sea of unknown waters—to trust Him even as it raged.

I’m sure He’s always wanted this scenario and every battle I’ve fought has brought me nearer to this. And while I’m embarrassed to just now, decades after becoming a Christian, come to this place, on the other hand God is ecstatic with me!

I really thought I failed in this current trial, because my head continually bobbed in and out of the water. The heavy hand of the enemy’s oppression—the spirit of unbelief—continually tried to push my head under. I couldn’t sleep and when I did, I’d wake in panic. Worry overwhelming me like never before. The difference was—I fought tooth and nail to believe God’s promises. The harder I fought the heavier it got. Some days I sat all day just reading the Word or listening to worship music, continually praying—determined to own what I claim to believe.

I felt like I wavered, (I’m always way harder on myself than God is). He told me I won the battle the moment I determined to believe—the moment I chose to sit all day reading His Word instead of escaping by sleeping or watching a movie.

The bummer to pressing in while in battle with the enemy is that he presses harder. But God came running to save me the moment I began to falter. And in His faithful love He waited, watching and interceding for my success, holding back breakthrough—until just the right hour, knowing stronger unwavering faith was my real need.

What’s your real need? Breakthrough or stronger faith?

Have you ever read the book of Job? God allowed catastrophes (plural) to strike him. In it the enemy of his soul had a plan, which was to steal Job’s faith and get Him to curse God. God’s plan for Job was that he would not just know about Him but for Job to actually know Him, making God Lord of all—this meant Job’s faith would have to be foolproof.

Over the years God has delivered me from many aspects of fear and I’m very happy to say I am now on the other side of this battle—the fear-of-lack and the spirit of lack its self are broken off my life! You have got to love the faithfulness of God!

This is my song of thanksgiving to God! Psalm 34:1-7,

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Please be encouraged in your current trial to understand it’s more about your faith than your need.

James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Divine Rearrangement

cs lewis

I was recently reminded of a time in my life where the landscape of my heart and soul were rearranged. Prior to this divine rearrangement I was unsatisfied with my life and my simple Christianity, I knew there had to be more.

In my thirst I cried out to the Lord asking for His rain, fire, wind and flood. I did this with an unpretentious understanding that He would come and bring something fresh. What I didn’t realize was that it would rearrange my entire life.

When we think of the rain of God—we picture Him showering us with His love, the fire of God is pictured as His intense presence, the wind—His Spirit flowing through us, the flood—an abundance of refreshing.

That’s very poetic, but in all reality when those four elements arrived they overwhelmed everything I knew, and when they left I was rearranged. Rearranged for the better of course—and in the end that’s all that really mattered.

I was reflecting on hurricanes and tsunamis, or storms of any kind—after their initial devastation the landscape, to say the least, is rearranged.

Most times we don’t understand why hardships are allowed to interrupt our life—but what I do know is—God is constantly good, and always has a beautiful purpose for divine rearrangement.

Even the simplest most sought after situations bring rearrangement. Take marriage for example—the young couple so excited to finally live together, embark on their new life and suddenly reality hits—they have to learn to live their life in a whole new manner. It’s no longer about one person, but about selflessly giving your whole self to the person who just invaded your space! Now life is rearranged.

Or how about having a new baby? The couple has hoped and prayed and imagined how wonderful this new precious life will be. And yes, this baby is the most perfect gift. But truth be told—this tiny, adorable child has many needs! And life as you know it is divinely rearranged!

In all situations it’s our heart that matters. We must keep a soft, pliable heart towards God. Embracing the good and the bad—seeking His divine, sovereign purpose—even in rearrangement.

Please be encouraged knowing that if God be for you who can be against you!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

The Prayer of Relinquishment

Letting go is rarely easy or desirable. However life is made up of numerous “letting go” sessions. I use the word sessions because the act of letting go usually requires more than just a simple release. The release typically comes at the end of a wrestling session.

Similarly, the prayer of relinquishment can be likened to a wrestling match. A match of the will, God’s will vs. our will.

Sometimes when we pray and ask God for something, we will give Him all the reasons why He should answer our prayer in the manner we want Him to. This is a sort of genie mentality. I rub the lamp and He gives me my heart’s desire—no questions asked. Prayer should be birthed out of relationship with God; if it’s not then we are in genie status.

In the blog post prior to this, titled The Power of Relinquishment, surrendering self-will is said to be the first step in relinquishment. Self-will has to be exchanged; our will for God’s will (for more on the subject read the post). Surrendering requires trust, therefore it moves us into relationship status with God.

Grasp the truth of Galatians 2:20,

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

At the cross we relinquish our rights—exchange our will, just as Jesus did. The words “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live” translate to “my life is no longer identified as mine—I give up my rights.” That’s the premise to the Christian life and to living in relationship status; the promise is “Christ lives in me.” Remember we can’t have the promise without the premise.

This brings us to the wrestling match, otherwise known as the prayer of relinquishment.

The foundation for the prayer of relinquishment is trust and love. We give up our hold, no matter the reason for our prayer. This is where the wrestling takes place, we wrestle to give up what we want or what we think is best. Human reasoning grapples with our faith in God and His Word. Then we relinquish.

Why relinquish? Because we understand and know that God will answer our prayer from His all-knowing, all-loving stance of wisdom and care for us. Principally we trust Him to do His best for us.

Another very crucial point to the prayer of relinquishment is—do we want the answer to the prayer more than we want God? If so then we are in danger of idolatry.

The essence of the relinquishment prayer, must be that we want God more than anything else. If it’s healing we are praying for, do we want the healing more than we want God? If it’s a wayward child, is our desire for our child more than our desire for God? If it’s for a broken heart, do want to be pain free more than go through the process of finding God for our relief? If it’s for financial breakthrough, relationships, peace or a myriad of other reasons—what is our real heart’s desire? God? Or whatever will make us feel whole? The truth is, God is the only one who can complete us, so we must start there. If we don’t, even when the prayer is answered, we will be left wanting.

Following is a very simple example of a recent prayer of relinquishment. Here’s the scenario, I was praying about going on a trip. I kept feeling as if maybe it was the wrong timing, but not quite certain—something felt out of alignment. After weeks of not being sure, I get my answer, yes I can go. But I still have a slight problem; I don’t have the finances for the plane ticket and no matter how hard I try they just are not materializing.

Finally, I relinquished the trip. (I believe what felt out of alignment earlier was my desire, I was asking out of wanting my will.) My relinquishment prayer went something to the effect of— “Lord I really want to go to California for my birthday, but I’m done trying to make it happen. I want this trip way too much, I let it go. If it happens it happens, I give my will up, I trust your will; do what’s best for me.” And I basically walked away from the whole idea.

The next day my husband calls me and says “Are you ready to book your flight” I answer “Yes, but how?” When he walked into work that day, he found an unexpected bonus check waiting for him. I let go and God made a way—that’s how!

My illustration is on a matter of small importance, but I have heard of bed ridden people praying for healing, years upon years, that finally relinquish. Changing their prayer to, “God I want you more than I want healing and I’m tired of the wrestle, what’s your will? Healing came after they gave up their will. In essence getting their way was held in higher esteem than God.

A huge component to the prayer of relinquishment is that when we relinquish our will to God, we settle and live in peace, allowing the outcome of our circumstance to be well with our soul.

Please be encouraged to learn the life-style and prayer of relinquishment. In doing so, the peace and rest of God will be your portion!

Skillful Living 101—5 Adultery

In Proverbs 5, we take a sincere look at marriage and the number one ploy of the devil to destroy God’s plan for marriage. In Proverbs 5:1-2, the Word cautions all young men to be wise and refrain from lust and immorality. “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.” Four words in this verse are of the utmost importance for men to consider and to apply to their life; wisdom, understanding, discretion and knowledge. According to the scripture men who grab a hold and own these principles will be able to avoid immoral behavior. Men, young and old, do well to pay attention to Proverbs 5. God’s heart for men is that they would rule and subdue the earth. He desires men to humbly love Him, to find Him as Lord and source of their strength. God offers wisdom, understanding, discretion and knowledge in abundance—it’s for the asking. The righteous man only needs to abandon pride, recognize his weakness and partake in all that God has to offer. God is searching for men who will lead by godly behavior—the church, the world, wives and children long for men who will rise to the occasion abandoning costly, destructive actions. Satan on the other hand, sits and applauds while church going men cower to his plan for marriage. Proverbs 5:3-11, uncovers the truth about the immoral woman. She is bitter, sharp, her feet are attached to death, her steps lead to hell and she is unstable. It warns men to remove their way far from her—do not even go near her house, unless you want to give your years to the cruel one. Basically Satan will own you—you will be his tool, if you visit her home and in indulge in her lies. Verses 12-14, relays the gut wrenching, remorseful words men speak after visiting her bed. “How I have hated instruction and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!” Verses 15-19, counsels men on the truth of their marriage, telling men “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Asking in verse 20 “Why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” Adultery—sad to say, is common—even in our churches. Not only does it do the obvious—destroy the covenant of marriage, but destroys God’s plan for the lonely—family. Scripture says God hates divorce but gave it for the hard hearted and only on the grounds of adultery. (Matthew 19:3-9) Satan rejoices when families are devastated by divorce. And that’s not all, Satan is after the strong—the men; he desires to sap away their manhood, steal their faith and lead them to hell. Proverbs 5:21, enlightens us, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” This verse is water to a thirsty soul. It’s refreshing to be reminded that the God who made heaven and earth sees us and ponders our path. Caring God watches over us, yearning for relationship. That’s what these warnings in Proverbs are all about—a loving God mapping out the pitfalls of life. Cautioning the men of God to avoid foolishness and steer clear of Satan’s plan for their life. Proverbs 5 ends with verses 22-23, telling what will happen to those who do not heed instruction. “His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” The Message version of the bible says it this way, “The shadow of your sin will overtake you; you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark. Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead-end.” Death is the reward for an undisciplined life—this is true for all of us. I pray our heart would embrace the ways of God. That the men of God would take heed to God’s Word allowing wisdom, understanding, discretion and knowledge to guide them. Most of all I pray that we fall deeper in love with Jesus, craving His presence and living accordingly. Everyone has a relationship with a man, whether it be your husband, son, father, brother or friend. Please be encouraged to cover them in prayer—the enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We must be vigilant. I understand men are not the only ones who commit adultery, women are susceptible as well and many men have been wounded by their wives committing the sin of adultery. Proverbs 5 is for both genders, please apply it accordingly. A note to those who have been devastated by adultery: Lean into to Jesus, He is enough for all your pain and rejection. God will heal you and fill in all your gaps, He will enlarge your heart and help you to find freedom in forgiveness. Skillful Living Tools for Men:

  • Grab a hold and apply wisdom, understanding, discretion and knowledge to your life.
  • Humbly love God, find Him as Lord and source of your strength.
  • Remove your way far from the immoral woman—do not even go near her house.
  • Obey the 7th commandment—Do not commit adultery.
  • Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
  • Abandon pride, recognize your weakness and partake in all that God has for you.
  • Embrace instruction and correction.

Skillful Living Tools for Women:

  • Do not be an immoral woman.
  • Do not associate with immoral women.
  • Pray without ceasing for the men in your life.