He was a friendly little kitten and at first glance, he looked like a normal, orange tabby. He was meowing in the parking lot. A big tomcat was approaching him so me…being me…got out of the car and picked the kitten up. The first thing I noticed was the huge scar on his neck and upon closer inspection I fought back tears as it wasn’t an animal marking, it was a knife wound. Still, he purred and cuddled like nothing had happened. He was seemingly unaffected by his past trauma. As I got to know him better, the visible signs of abuse were evident. His eye looked abnormal, whiskers had been burned and cut, and two more deep gashes on his sides were prominent. This kitty had been through some stuff, yet he was still loving and affectionate. How in the world could this baby critter (vet said he was no more than 4 months old) still be trusting to any human hands? I was amazed.
Ellis reminds me of us. Some have wounds that are visible and when we see them we find them repulsive and sad while their owners, because they’ve become a reminder of their survival, think nothing of them. I’ve met so many courageous people who’ve been through unspeakable things who bear their marks as evidence of our God who freed them and flipped their horror into absolute healing.
Oh that we would believe to be an Ellis. God can do it.
He can turn our ugly scars into most beautiful reminders of what He’s done for us. More importantly through the healing He renders, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with Him discovering who He truly is. You can trust Him. Will you?
A 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.
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
After my last blog, I felt “nudged” to add an addendum. Just because terrible visits, doesn’t mean it has to be a permanent guest.
I’m here to tell you wonderful and beautiful things come out of the worst times in one’s life. Sometimes they’re glaringly obvious; other times we must search for them with the same passion we look for our lost keys or cellphones.
With all the loss and pain, God has more than proven Himself true to His word about recreating beauty, solidifying His love for me, giving me brand-new relationships with people to the extent that I no longer mourn over what and who is gone. Sure, there’s a season for that – a time when we grieve and hurt, but as promised if we’ll “let go and let God” I assure you, healing and refreshing will come. Loss can’t compare to the joy of healing, believe it.
Pain sometimes becomes our best friend because if we stay in it, nothing’s required of us. It’s easier to dwell because climbing out requires a lot of effort and even more faith.
Choose with me to believe He’s working on our behalf in ways we can’t even think of. Choose to focus on Him and His goodness; His promises that if we’re reading this (or typing it, as the case may be) He has lots of lessons and even more love, personal touches and provision for our future; we’ve survived the past. We choose to learn from it and seek Him through it all, and He’s working it all out for our good. For our GOOD…no matter how terrible it’s been, there WILL be good in it all and we will see it. When we see it, then we will KNOW differently than we did before His great love, grace and mercy for us and we’ll actually be thankful we suffered!
It may be a stretch to believe like that if you’re “in it” right now but if you hang on and hang in, trust me, you will. At this point in my life, my faith in Jesus is more solid than it was nine years ago…more solid than it was a year ago. I KNOW HIM…and want to know Him more than I did even an hour ago. No longer can I be made to doubt – even in the worst times – that He has a glorious plan for my life. I can’t even make myself doubt what a wonderful, loving, personally faithful and providing Father-God I have. So. Hang on and believe. Anticipate what beautiful things will come from the ashes. It’s coming, I promise.
(Based on Genesis 13)
Abram was the called one. God spoke to him one on one. He got the directions straight from the King Himself. He decides to be obedient and off he went taking his cousin Lot with him. Along the way, they ran into conflict with their livestock and boundaries so Abram decided it was time to separate. He went to Lot and let him decide which way he wanted to go to set up his homestead. Abram assured him he wanted peace and he allowed him to choose. Lot, of course, like many of us, chooses the land that resembles the Garden of Eden, lush and pristine. Abram was good with that so they put distance between them.
Abram had the right to choose the best. After all, he did Lot a favor by bringing him along…actually God told him to leave everyone but his immediate family behind and for whatever reason he chose to bring Lot. Things could have gotten really ugly between them. “Hey! You’re forgetting your manners, boy. If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t be here at all! I’m the leader, you can’t have the plush land of Jordan. God called me – I deserve the best…”. It could have gone like that.
I’m the oldest of my father’s four children. I have rights as the firstborn…yet I find myself with nothing that identifies me as my father’s child except my last name. I could fight for what is rightfully mine. For years I struggled to find and establish my place in my family and found myself deeply wounded and disappointed at every turn. I was always the outcast and never treated like the others. When my father died, I chose to let go and move on. I shook the dust from my shoes. I decided what went along with what I “deserved” is in no way worth any more heartache. I waived my rights to myself. I’ve never regretted that decision.
I left behind “good and right” for the best God has for me and I don’t regret it. Some say I’ve cheated myself. Maybe that’s true, it depends on perspective. Everything affiliated with what “should” one day be mine is laced with terrible pain, a lifetime of lies and scars it’s taken a lifetime to heal. So.
What are you fighting for? Maybe it’s time to reassess. Look at what the fight is doing to you…not for you. Is it worth it? A life of faith – a walk of faith sometimes will take us to the place of choice where we REALLY have to let go and give it to God. Sometimes faith begs the question, will you let go of what you think is rightfully yours? No, it’s not right or fair and no, it shouldn’t even have to be a choice, but it is what it is. Do you dare have that kind of faith in God, that one day He will heal you and make all the wrongs right?
I choose to have 100% complete faith in my Father. I choose to believe He will do exactly what He has promised, restore that which was lost. I believe He will heal me of every single hurt and heartache. As a matter of fact, He’s doing it right now.
Think about what happened to Lot and where he made his home. It was all utterly destroyed. Abram walked on and walked into EVERY promise God made him. Will you?
“Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.” Wm Paul Young, The Shack
“I’m sorry” isn’t required but it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Somehow someone acknowledging they caused great pain is great medicine for our woundedness but a lot of times that doesn’t happen. Someone once said “when someone lies to you or about you, they feel you’re not worthy of the truth”. That hits home…someone who lies about you and to you doesn’t feel you’re worthy of the truth. Why would we want them in our lives, to allow them to make us feel more unworthy of truth and love than we already do?
I’ve never been one to just go along. I believe forgiveness IS possible without ever having to see or speak to someone again and when it’s gone on for as long as one can remember, I think it’s best, especially when there is no change in behavior “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17. Owning up to what we’ve done, taking responsibility, is the best thing. Some are incapable of that. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like admitting my atrocities… it’s unpleasant and humbling but I always feel better and KNOW it’s right when I do.
Hope is a wonderful thing. HOPING someone will change and see what they have done then change accordingly is always in order. Praying for them is always, always right. Ask God for them to open their hearts and eyes to see the realness of what has been done and ask Him to give them the desire to change and the courage to act upon that desire.
Until then, it’s okay if you don’t get back in with them. We need to just be sure we’re “clean” – we must deal with our anger, hurt and disappointment in a godly way and the only way to do that is to take it to Him until it’s gone which sometimes takes a very long time. I’ve found I don’t feel anything but pity for those who hurt me because they’re blinded by their version of self-justification and the lies they’ve come to believe. We don’t have to be that way. “It is what it is”, is one of my favorite sayings and that means to me, ONLY God can change it, I have to accept it and what I DO WITH IT is paramount.
We can allow that hurt to fester in many ways and change us, or we can truly desire to heal from it, forgive and get on with our lives.
We can choose forgiveness. We can choose to let it go and go on and be better because of it and thankful we survived it. Some didn’t.
I choose forgiveness; I pray you do too.
“Then Peter came and said to Him, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
In all likelihood, this was a good storage building at one time. Not anymore. Full of who knows what, it’s dilapidated and forgotten now. It captured my attention for some reason and when I go back, it reminds me of what was.
I see people all the time who have weathered many storms. I wonder if any of us are even close to who we’re supposed to be. The things life has brought our way, all the hurt, disappointment, tragedy, death, have taken their toll.
I look at my own life and wonder if there is anything worthwhile left. There must be because God still has me here. Why, I don’t know. My life, in some respects, doesn’t resemble my life at all. The most important people to me have changed addresses, the things I used to care about I don’t anymore. Sometimes I question the point of all this. What was makes me sad, in a way, but what still is, excites me.
I wonder what God will do next. I think I needed to be cleaned out, things needed to be removed. Perhaps I clung to things and people too much. Perhaps they obstructed my heart and my view to what is really important.
I’ve learned that many things I valued have no real significance and that the only person who will never fail you is God. The only love that lasts, in its intended form, is His. I’ve learned, I really know that everything can be lost or taken, misconstrued or manipulated, but He can’t be. He is true to his word and if all this hadn’t happened I wouldn’t know that.
I’ve learned that the choice to keep believing is ours. No matter what has happened, He knows the silent cries of our hearts. He knows the truth – He doesn’t see through broken glass. His picture of us, our lives, is the only real truth. What He says, His view, is much more important than ours because it’s real and unaltered by anything that happens.
What was is gone and our view of what should be is tainted. No matter what is missing or changed, He still remains the same and if we let Him, He can rebuild what is left into the most beautiful dwelling. He can heal all that hurt and create in us a new heart, not just mend but take the broken pieces and reconstruct a better us from the inside out.
This old building is a picture of what is left, the evidence of what the years have taken. Others may see us as finished, broken, beyond repair but He sees something quite different: a chance for a new creature and a promise for a better vessel in which He resides. All the unnecessary is gone and a shell, a shell remains. The lessons of what really matters are learned, not just survived. That’s all He needs to begin the process of healing and restoring us into better than we were before. I believe that. Do you?