Monthly Archives: March 2017

Not Good Enough

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Here is a picture of the designs I’ve made that are faulty in some way…at least to my eye.  I don’t feel they’re good enough to be put on something to go out to the public so instead of throwing them away I stuck them on my bedroom window.  Look how beautiful they are! I love it when light shines through that window and they pop.  Makes me smile every time!  Although I can look at each one of them and see my mistakes, they’re still beautiful.

Nobody is flawless.  Unfortunately, we make mistakes, we hurt those closest to us.  We have all kinds of scars and misconceptions about ourselves. If we let our imperfections take over; if we allow to believe the ugly things said about us (and those we say about ourselves) we can start to believe we’re of no good use, unlovable and unforgivable.

When I was little, I totally believed what I overheard some family members telling each other about me: “She’s not worth anything; she’ll never amount to anything” and for a long time I lived like I believed that, to the point of contemplating suicide.

At some point, we all – no matter what vile things we’ve done or how deeply we’ve been hurt – have to decide who we will believe and decide what kind of person we’ll be.  We all have a past; we all have regrets and wishes for better decisions and choices.  The good news is, all of it can be used for good. We ARE good enough – good enough for God to love, heal, cherish, and make us in to who He designed us to be in the first place.

Just like these “mess-ups” I put on the window, I could have thrown them away.  Instead I chose to repurpose them and look at the difference they make on an ordinary window!  The same is true for us.  You never know how God will use what we’ve been through, the pain we’ve suffered and the mistakes we’ve made unless we own up to them, ask forgiveness and choose to believe He can make us better than we were yesterday. With His touch, the possibilities are endless.

Not good enough?  Every time I feel that way, I’m going to look at this window.  Beautiful.  And very good!

“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31a

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Unfinished

IMAG0752This is so me.  I have good reasons (?excuses) for not finishing this vase. I have lots of nerve damage in my hands as well as arthritis and I type for a living.  Some days, typing is all I can do.  Regardless, the vase is what it is: Unfinished.

Like the vase, we’re unfinished.  God created us for His good pleasure, for His reasons.  We all have specific purposes for our lives, the most grand of which is to know Him and live with Him in eternity.

Unlike this vase I’ve set aside meaning to finish it (which I will this weekend or that’s my plan), He doesn’t set us aside.  He knows we’re unfinished because He’s the Finisher! We won’t be complete until the day we see Him face to face in Glory.  Even when we’re veering away from Him and our destiny stuck in whatever we find ourselves in, He doesn’t glance our way and say, “I’ll pick her back up when she’s finished” and walk on.  Although we may feel incomplete and useless rest assured, He’s still with us, in us and all around us working on His masterpieces.

So I could get a picture of the vase’s incompleteness I stuffed a towel inside so you could see how unfinished it is.  I didn’t need to do that for me; I did that for the reader.  The same concept applies to God.  He knows where we need to be touched and He knows how to do it.  We fill ourselves with all kinds of things to feel accomplished, loved, accepted and complete and we keep stuffing.  God sees through all the fillers and if we let Him, He knows how to touch through all of them, too.

Yes, we’re all unfinished but He’s promised to complete us.  He’s constantly working through everything and everyone, the beautiful and the ugly to make us in to what (and who) He’s destined us to be.

I can pick this vase up and finish it any time I want because it’s mine and it’s accessible to me.  He can do the same with us.  Actually He can work on us and through us when we aren’t aware and when we are.  The vase has no control of when I’m going to work on it. We can choose to spend time, thought and prayer with Him, or in some cases He can work on us making us more of what He intends us to be without our permission.  We’re His!  Either way, Let Him work, trusting and believing no matter what, He’s creating something…someone beautiful.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

A Table in the Wilderness: The Invitation

Have you felt it?  That emptiness or perhaps a great need that we can’t even speak. If we could articulate, it would be ill-defined.  It may be masked in a physical lack but it stems from a spiritual one.

Perhaps some of our greatest blessings have produced the biggest heartaches.  We sometimes trust God and know we’re living and moving to please Him, yet pain creeps in, in ways we never expected.  We’ve fooled ourselves; we’ve listened to the wrong message.  The world has lied to us; it has let us down.  God allowed it, yes; but He never fails. So what’s the deal? Why are we feeling so defeated and discouraged?

Maybe it’s because we haven’t been to the table in a while.  What table you ask?  That one.

Meticulously set in the middle of our messes and our huts, it beckons us the way the burning bush did Moses. How could all that beauty and the pull of a sacred invitation even be here in all this ugliness, fear, heartbreak…how could HE be in the midst of all this madness?  Really…is it Him?

Yes, beloved.  It’s Him.  He’s right there amongst the disorder to bring order.  In our hurts, He longs to bring healing.  Jesus awaits His most prized possession:  you – and time with you. He embodies everything we’re looking for and so much more. He’s sitting there, waiting for a one-on-one moment with you.  Yes, you.

Do you accept His invitation?  How? Only one thing is required…come.

Ultimate Makeover

IMAG0720A friend brought me a box full of vases his mother was going to throw away. Before the storm (as I like to call it), I loved to paint glassware and decided it was time to get back in to doing what I really enjoyed. From what they considered as trash – although not perfect – I created some things I think are quite beautiful. Of course, I’m the creator of these pieces and although I can look and see every single mess-up and flaw, every imperfection, I’m proud of my accomplishment.  I think they’re beautiful.

Wow.

If that isn’t a picture of God and what He does for us, I don’t know what is.  As I look at these vases, I’m reduced to tears.  Isn’t that what God has done for us?

He takes “vessels” – plain, ordinary, used up perhaps and considered of no use and not only rescues us from being completely trashed and shattered, He makes something brand new out of us.  If we allow Him to create in and through us, as He “paints” we become new; our hearts and minds are mended to the point that we sometimes don’t resemble at all what (and who) we started out to be!  What He creates, heals, restores and blesses, He cherishes and takes great pride in.  Why wouldn’t He?  As he intricately works at mixing, healing, restoring and creating us from the inside out, He begins to see who He created us to be:  His Son’s image.

He knows every imperfection yet He loves us.  He doesn’t discard us, just the opposite. He insists every bit of who we are what we’ve been through is working for both our good and His glory.  Only the Master Painter can do that.  Because of those truths if we choose to believe, we’ll give Him “creative freedom” and ask Him to touch everything of who we are.  Somehow what was so bland and broken becomes His masterpiece.

I painted those old vases because I imagined what they could look like. I wanted to make them into something beautiful that could be used to brighten and bless someone.  That’s what God wants to do with us.  Will we let Him?

“But now O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your Hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

The Place of Nothingness

I’ve never heard anyone celebrate the fact that they lost, their prayers weren’t answered or what they were expecting didn’t come.  Have you?

Dire, desperate situations, it seems, customize themselves to our lives.  We all have them. The Bible says to wait on the Lord so we do, believing as best we can He will somehow make a way.  When the time comes when we think it should be over and it’s not, decisions must be made.  Do we continue to wait?  Take matters into our own hands?

That place of nothingness can be good or it can be bad. If we resort to desperation, desperate decisions can produce devastating consequences.  Desperate people do desperate things. However, if we bring forward what we’ve learned from God during the times He has provided, consoled and comforted in times past…miraculously or otherwise, we could save ourselves from piles of regret.

When the answers don’t come; when all seems lost and hopeless that’s where our faith-talk meets our faith-walk.  I’ve found myself in countless situations over the past few years similar to those I had helped others through.  When you walk a road yourself that you’ve watched someone else walk, the view is certainly different! Truth is, until we find ourselves in something, we have no idea what we’ll do. That’s why Jesus warns us to never judge anyone else.  We may think we know how we would handle it but we don’t!

During those “nothing”, waiting times, I’m learning to draw on my past experiences with God.  I remember how we got through then and believe Him for now.  Nothingness is a place where our faith can grow…or die.  The choice is ours.  After all, haven’t we been taught to “walk by faith, not by sight”?  Will we, when the rubber meets the road? Nothingness is the OPPORTUNITY to believe His ways aren’t our ways; His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.  Sometimes he has to bring us to “nothing” to see for ourselves how big (or little) our faith in Him is when there is nothing to place hope in but Him.

Give your faith a chance to manifest itself for what it is. The only way to do that is to get to the place where there is nothing left but faith. Faith isn’t just a word and it’s not just a feeling; faith is a Person.  Faith IS Christ. At the end of the day in the horrifying place of nothingness, we’ll see how real He is to us…or how real He isn’t.

 

(For we walk by faith and not by sight.)  2 Corinthians 5:7

“And Jesus answered and said to them,”Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to his mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.” Matthew 21:21

My Killing

What picture comes to mind when you think of an island?   Mine is of a plush and gorgeous spot of land, in the middle of water where plants and fruits grow in abundance.  In my mind’s eye, every time I picture an island, it’s the closest thing to paradise I can imagine.

When I read Revelation and the fact that John the disciple was exiled to Patmos as punishment for preaching Jesus, I thought that isn’t such a bad punishment.  I was wrong. While further studying Patmos I discovered it was a barren island that was incapable of producing anything but rocks.  No greenery, no delectable fruits and veggies, no trees even.  Just caves and rocks.  Prisoners were sent there to mine the caves.  It was a place no one wanted to be.  The Bible doesn’t mention anything about anyone else being there but John so imagine with me, if the island was truly barren with no shade, nothing to eat or enjoy and on top of that, being there completely alone how it must have felt. Patmos actually means the title of this blog, “my killing”.

It’s not a stretch to some to imagine a place like this.  It’s not hard to remember a time feeling completely isolated and alone with no sign or site of any kind of relief.  Some are there right now. In a split second, one’s life can change forever and our normal flies right out the window.  Devastation has come to live and sometimes we feel we can’t recover or worse, we don’t want to.

Out of the darkest, loneliest and most barren times in life, God can produce something amazing.  If we tune in to him and tune out our feelings and how we perceive the place or the situation, it’s possible for Him to produce in us many things.  Faith can grow when nothing else can.  Trust can flourish and begin to color the blandness of an ugly reality.  The mind and heart can be forever changed when they know the God of our lives.

John could have spent his time mulling over every wrong done to him and how unfair it was for him to be a prisoner to start with, let alone exiled on an island no one wanted to be on but he didn’t.  Instead he chose to still – after all he had been through – look for and listen to God. I imagine he rattled the stillness of that place by singing to Jesus at the top of his lungs.  From his faithfulness and steadfast heart, God gave John the most amazing gift – the Revelation.

We can receive beautiful things, comforting words, strength, joy, peace and a growing faithfulness from God during our darkest times.  Stay close to the Father and keep staying close.