Tag Archives: life

Tie IT Down!!!!!!

I have issues.  Deep rooted, core issues, things I wrestle with on a daily basis.

Three years ago after a huge move back to East Tennessee, I had a change in my job which triggered a long term downward spiral in my life.  No money, car broke down, I could go on and on but it was traumatic and took a long time to recover from – every area of my life was impacted.

To this day because of that, I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat paralyzed in fear that it will happen again.  I can’t seem to shake it.  The FEAR of what has happened happening again holds me hostage and like a hostage negotiator with prayer and reading the Bible, God convinces me to “come out” – to believe and relax, relying 100% on Him.

This morning I was reading Genesis 22 pulling a lesson together for Sunday School tomorrow.  I confess to you I was doing this after I had been outside with my dog and seeing that I have a FLAT TIRE!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I read this chapter, I try to put myself in Abraham’s place, walking up that mountain with his son of promise, the son God promised him in his old age; the son he waited for 25 years for; the very same son God asked him to sacrifice.  The “spiritual” Abraham walked that walk in faith but I wonder what the “physical” Abraham was thinking.

I got to the part where he tied Isaac to the altar, 100% willing to kill him (KILL HIM!) out of 100% obedience to God.  When something’s tied to the altar, it can’t escape.  There’s my problem.  I put things, concerns, prayers…ME…on the altar – totally in my heart giving whatever it is, including myself to God…but I don’t tie it down. In other words, when I get scared or I don’t understand I pull it right back up and walk away with it…then I bring it back…then take it back…then…

Oh God.   Help us TIE IT DOWN!  Help us leave it at the altar; help us have the faith of Abraham to 100% believe You and who You are and act accordingly, believing who You are.  That would mean we can’t act based on our feelings, fears or frustrations.  Help us to believe in You more than we believe in ourselves and even what we see.  Help us to seek the ram!  Help us to live in confident expectation that because You ARE our Provider, You will provide.  That’s who You are!  Forgive us our little faith.  Help us to remember Your promises and to walk in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Whatever your “it” is, take it to God, tie it down and leave it there.

Proverbs 3:5-6; Genesis 22

 

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Look Back

Life was falling apart, husband said he wants a divorce.  The very night her husband told her his plan, a member of the family called offering her a job in his business because other family members that worked there got a job and other reasons…and offered her a job.  Feeling like it was a meant to be thing, she accepted and moved to their little town to begin the job and a new phase of her life.  She thought it would be wonderful, family close by, actually working for them.  She needed support and if the truth were known, she needed help.  Her son had many health issues from birth and this kind of support would be a dream come true.

It didn’t exactly turn out like that and after a year or so the family member told her he was closing down the business and she would have to get another job but not to worry, he would help her find one.  Because he was very well known in the little town, he asked someone who knew someone who knew someone at the local hospital who told him to have her apply for a Medical Transcription job.  She laughed out loud.  That’s a skilled profession, she had no experience and hadn’t even worked in a doctor’s office.  Impossible.  Ridiculous.  Just trying to get rid of her she thought. But because he pushed, she applied…and got the job.

She remembers sitting at a typewriter bawling, trying not to throw up because she was sure this was absolutely impossible.  “My God, what have I gotten myself into”, she kept saying to herself.  She couldn’t understand a word the doctor was saying and her very job was to type what he was saying!  To make matters worse, the department head told her, “you’ll never make it, I’ll have you gone in 30 days.” She made it very clear she was pressured into hiring her because a board member recommended me (because of the family member) and in a small town, that’s pretty much the way things went.  Nobody was happy with that situation, least of all the woman at the job.  She didn’t want to be there as much as her boss didn’t want her to be there.  A host of crazy things happened but she persevered…

Almost 30 years later, here I am, working at home as a Medical Transcriptionist.  That job (that I was thrust into because of circumstances beyond my control; the job I hated at first) has provided for me and my son.  Not only that because I work at home, I can work around what Matt needs to do – his work, appointments, and things he enjoys in his personal life.  Because he’s site impaired and doesn’t drive, he’s blessed to have a pretty normal and free life.  The kind of work I do allowed me to move back home to Kingsport, which was my heart’s desire.  I can make a living doing something I absolutely love (even though I hated it in the beginning) for an Australian company that has turned out to be the best, most enjoyable job I’ve ever had.

As I remembered all the details that brought me to this moment, I was brought to tears.  The beginning of how I got here was horrible.  I almost quit several times and in between then and now, a lot has happened, good and bad but I stuck with it, sometimes because I had to; other times because I wanted to.

The word that immediately comes to mind is PROVISION.  See, way back then when I thought my life was falling apart, God had a bigger plan.  Even though He was the last thing on my mind at that time, I was foremost in His.  When all that happened, I was lost and, if the truth be known, thought there was absolutely no hope for any kind of halfway decent life at all.

Your life may be crashing right before your very eyes.  You may think you won’t survive what you’re going through; you may hate what you’re doing and are looking for a way out.  Hang on a little bit longer.  Trust God and let your faith in Him grow stronger.   Do what you can do and trust Him for the rest.

Look back for a minute and see how far you’ve come.  Friend, none of it is by accident or happenstance.  Like me, one day you’ll look back and see His presence, love and provision for you every inch of the way.

Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 43:10

Live to LIVE

Before the foundation of the world when it was a blob of nothingness God chose us. Before your grandparents were born, met, married and conceived you…before your parents were born, met, became a couple and you were conceived…you were chosen, chosen to be alive.

You weren’t chosen to merely exist.  You had a name in God’s heart.  He knew you would be because He chose you.  He knew your imperfections and idiosyncrasies and He chose you to live. Even then (before the foundation of the world) He saw you all the way through your life and loved you completely.  Before it all, you were and before anyone else knew you would be, He had your life planned out.

God had plans for you regardless of the circumstances or the family you would be born to.  He knew you as His person, His wonderful creation and designed you to love Him and be with Him throughout eternity…if you chose to love and know Him.

My mind can’t comprehend that but just because I can’t doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  Every single person who has ever existed, God knew they would be, before there was anything.

You were planned with a plan.  Our lives are unfulfilled because we’re living apart from Him.  Just like anything created for a specific purpose if it’s never used for what it was made for, it is wasted.  A car can be a home but it wasn’t designed to be a home. Paint never used dries up and is wasted and eventually thrown away because it was never meant to sit on a shelf unused.  The same is true for us.  We can live out our lives never connecting with God thus, never knowing what we’re here for.

Regardless of the circumstances, the hardships and challenges our lives offer, we were custom designed for a specific purpose in mind, however if we don’t make the effort to get to know the One who chose us to live, we’ll never do what He designed us to do.  How sad it would be to go through all we’ve gone through, survive all we have and feel it was for nothing.

God has that key…is that key and the “perfect fit” and all the fulfillment that comes with it can only be found in Him. Completeness, contentment and purpose can only come from the One who chose you to live in the first place.  You don’t have to live just to survive. Through Him, with Him and because of Him, we can live to LIVE life to its fullest.

Do You Stink?

The Dead Sea lives its name.  Water goes in, nothing goes out.  The water becomes stagnant.  You’ve seen water pool – it turns all shades of ugly, breeds dastardly varmints like mosquitos seemingly to serve no good purpose at all.
It’s the same way with stale, stagnant Christians.  We go to church for years, always taking in but never pouring out.  Before long we become hardened and seemingly useless because we’ve never poured out what we’ve taken in.  We rarely smile, find something wrong with pretty much everything and everyone.  We “stink” of unuse.

God gives us knowledge and blessings so that we can pay it forward.  If we’re not using what we’re given to bless someone else what good are we, really?

Someone needs to be encouraged by what you’ve been through and how God got you through.  Tell them!

Someone needs to know you’ve been where they are and you survived.  You need to reassure them they will too.  Bless them!

Someone needs the love living in your heart to be spread to them…even the tiniest gesture on your behalf can be the one thing they need to keep going.  Love them!

Even if we stink right now, we can choose to stir the staleness in our souls.  Let’s decide to “smell” good today.

He Started It!

Long before you were a thought in your parent’s hearts, God had a plan for you.  A good plan.  He designed every detail about you – He knew your personality and your beautiful heart.  He saw the beginning of your life, the end of it and every single detail in between.  He was well aware of everything and everyone that would hurt you and try to change who He destined you to be.  Even at this very second, He knows.  He sees it all and not only does He see, He KNOWS it all.  It’s one thing for others to watch your life unfold – it’s another to have someone on your side who loves you unconditionally who knows and feels the pain and the delight of your everyday life.

Don’t think that just because things are hard He doesn’t love you.  Don’t think that just because you’ve messed up you can’t be forgiven and you can’t start again. Nothing is final.  What He started He will finish if you choose to believe and participate. God doesn’t quit.  If you’ll stick with Him, talk it out with Him and believe Him, He will see you through this.  He started it.  He will finish it.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Philippians 1:6

The Painful Question

“Do you love Me?”

How that question must’ve cut Peter to the bone.  I wonder if his mind went back to the words spoken just before the events began to unfold:  “you will deny me three times…” (Mark 14:30).

I wonder if Peter relived that moment at the predicted third betrayal when Jesus looked at him (Luke 22:61).  The words must’ve cut like a knife.  Why would He even give Peter the chance to respond?  Didn’t his actions say he didn’t?  He had failed Jesus miserably.  How could he answer?  I imagine just attempting to answer was excruciating.

Wasn’t it enough that Peter had failed his Lord at the most critical time?  I mean by actions, by what Peter had done and said (denied Christ) you would think his fate was sealed.  Game over – all that teaching, healing, following; all those miracles he was witness to – that life – was finished because he had let Jesus down.  He committed the unpardonable sin – he denied Christ…and he did it believing he wouldn’t!

Yet after Peter had gone back to his familiar life “BC” Jesus waited for him and the other disciples on the shoreline.  He knew His Peter; Jesus knew where to find him.  He asked him three times if he loved Him – I believe – to allow Peter to get what was between them (in Peter’s mind and heart) taken care of so he could know he was forgiven.

I love this story.  It’s a beautiful example of the forgiveness and personal affection Jesus had for Peter…and has for us. How many times have we failed?  We may not have denied Christ as obviously as Peter did – we may not have shouted the words “I don’t know Him” – but at some time or another we’ve all fallen short of loving Him.  We’ve treated people badly, we’ve willingly done something we know is wrong; we’ve essentially said, “Lord I know this doesn’t please You.  You say this is wrong but right now I love me more than You and I want this more (than I want to please you) so I’m doing it” which is the same thing.

Then after the choice is made and regret and/or remorse sets in you’re feeling the sting of knowing you messed up. But look.  There He is, waiting for you to come to Him and settle it. Do you love Him?  Say it.  Are you sorry?  Say it. Let His words cut you deep so that you have to go to Him and settle it. He’s waiting.

The Answer is STILL Yes.

Yesterday I was going through my son’s medical documentation gathering what we’ll need for an upcoming reassessment. I had a good but painful dose of reality remembering what it was like right after he was born and as he has grown up. Even though I live with him daily and have written our story the details of that very dark and scary time had escaped me. I read through several assessments done on him through the years and needless to say, it hurt. I got sad, mad, and astounded when I read on paper what the teachers, counselors, doctors and other specialists said was going to happen while contrasting their words to what I have seen the past 31 years.

For a moment, I was crushed. I bought into what I saw on paper. To say the documentation filled me with despair is an understatement. I started feeling like I had done nothing right pertaining to decisions regarding him. I felt I had pushed too hard and had unrealistic expectations. Regret and sadness rushed over me like standing beneath a waterfall. I felt like a failure as a mother.

As I mulled over the documentation in my mind I considered how well Matt has done all these years and the contradiction was huge. The documents were accurate. Each assessment although years apart done at three different facilities were almost identical so I’m sure they were right. The person, however, and his life didn’t match the paper! After I got my emotions in check, I remembered one very important thing not included in the mounds of paperwork: THE GOD FACTOR!

As we walk our paths in life, so many things happen, good and bad. There’s so much tragedy and pain. We spend so much time trying to figure out why it happens, what could have been done differently and if that weren’t time-consuming enough, we try to undue it or pretend it never happened! It is what it is and no amount of want to can change it.

I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to him had we not given our lives to Christ. The picture painted by EVERY doctor and every evaluator was a dismal one (and I have the paperwork to prove it). God really, really has been good to us.

I was confronted by a very big reality. It was bad and bleak; depressing and sad. But then I remembered the wonderful things – the seemingly impossible things I have seen through Matt’s life that just don’t line up with what’s on paper. I have “double vision” in a very real way. I have to deal with reality while remembering what I have physically seen.
I remembered Jeremiah 33:3 – if I call to God He will show me great and mighty things. He’s surely done that! Romans 8:28-all things work together for the good (all means ALL); the whole of my son’s life thus far displays God’s goodness and compassion for both of us and thus far, I have seen lots of God through what he’s gone through. I could go on and on but you get where I’m going with this.

I realized that like all that medical and psychological paperwork, the Bible is just words on a page to some but reality and truth to me and in both instances, I have to choose to believe and live according to it and like I believe it. Reading it can alter your life but living it changes everything starting with our perspective.

After all that reality on paper yesterday, I’ve determined that God’s yes is still yes. It is a stark contrast to reality but His promises are still true and not only that, He is true to His promises. All of them, regardless of what reality looks like. Do we dare have the courage to believe them – that’s the life-changing question.

After all we’ve been through I must say YES. The answer, after all this…or maybe because of all this is STILL yes. Lord I believe. I trust. I still say yes.