Purposeful Faith

Category - Freedom

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Post by: Jami Amerine

It was an ugly cry; nostrils flaring; with an occasional snort/hiccup/whimper/wail.

On my white blouse, there were traces of snot and black tears.

I knew full well, this meant mascara was streaming down my cheeks and that I looked – dreadful.

This made sense because this how I felt, dreadful.  And vain as I am, I didn’t care that I looked a wreck. Pieces of my heart were going to being left in this “men’s” dorm. My sons would now live here, in halls that smelled like feet and corn nuts.  Here on the second floor of a dormitory I had blazed past 1,001 times during my studies at Abilene Christian University, I was about to leave not one son, but two.

The “man-babies,” John and Luke tried to pity me, bless them. But truth be told, their demeanors could not hide the thrill.  A new episode, a world they have not known, outside the confines of our rules and our ideals. To the man-babies the halls did not reek of burnt pop-tarts and jock itch spray, to them it smelled of freedom. The future was labeled clearly over the doors of Mabee Hall, rooms 208 and 255.

Luke pat/hugged me and kissed our foster daughter that sat casually on my hip. She was oblivious, but I couldn’t help notice that the hug was accompanied by a gentle escort out the door. “I’ll call you mom, and thanks.”

The door shut and a sob escaped me.

And my blurry eyes were relieved to see him as he ambled toward me. At nearly 6’4” my baby boy was as unacquainted as acquainted.  John lifted his cleft chin in my direction with a casual “hey, I am around the other side.” The corners of his mouth quivered as he tried to be cool and not appear too giddy. In a swift movement he lifted his foster sister from my arms and in lanky, cowboy booted strides escorted us to his new room.

Just like Luke, my hug goodbye was laced with a gentle shove out the door.  John had to run back to his car and then meet friends, so he was a little more abrupt. I stood surrounded by student workers hauling mini fridges, parents no better off than I, and the buzz of adventure vibrating in the stale air.

I thought out loud, “I didn’t get a picture of them in their rooms!” I looked toward the exit and yelped, “John! I wanted…” and caught the last glimpse of John’s back before he swiftly turned onto the staircase.

And that picture is burned in my mind.

I keep looking at it. I can’t stop replaying it.

Soaked with tears and the heavy weight of the end of a cherished chapter, I made it to my car. I buckled the baby in her car seat and waited for my husband. In the distance I could see Justin and our two youngest sons heading toward me. We would leave here and go home to our new normal. We’d done this before when our oldest daughter moved into the dorm, on the same campus two years before.  But this was different.  Maggie is my friend, with John and Luke, I know the man-babies wouldn’t be around or text or call like Maggie does.  I know… nothing will ever be the same.

I turned up the radio to blaring toddler tunes so the littles would not be alarmed by my sobs.  I made grilled cheese for the boys; I choked down a salad, and bedded everyone down for a nap. I kicked off my shoes, grabbed a box of Kleenex and climbed into my bed.

I know you think I wanted to stay there; to hang out a little longer at that dorm and make sure they had everything they needed.  Alas, it was time to go. And here, now, in cool sheets with a red nose and swollen eyes I let loose in the place I longed to be. Alone with my God, I cried and prayed. My phone buzzed, I needn’t look to see, words of encouragement, messages of “been there… it will be okay, they’ll be fine…” Had I responded I would have said, “Please leave me alone, I just want to stay here a little longer.”

I didn’t want encouragement. I didn’t want to pull it together or stop the waves of heartache.  I wanted to weep and reminisce.  I wanted to lie there, imagining my head in the lap of my Comforter – my only Hope.  As sad as I was, and as much hurt as I felt, I was right where l wanted to be.

Our society doesn’t grieve well.  We pick up and trudge on to the next thing. We hate to hurt. We despise the low places and we do our best cover the agony with sensory indulgences… an ice cream cone, wine, or new stilettos.

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Will you let me own this hurt?

Here I lie crumpled at the foot of the cross. In this place of my brokenness, there is a view that I can only see through the eyes of my suffering.  Let me stay.  Not to wallow in self-pity, but to weep in the arms of my Father.  Just for a while let me hurt. Just for a little longer let me embrace the great Healer.  He knows me, He remembers what I remember.  I know the man-babies have to go, I am not so dull. But just let me stay here a little longer and visit with the only One who can see the snapshots stored in my heart and head. Here in the quiet, surrounded by decrepit tissues and a tear soaked pillow case I need only to grieve without excuse. No condemnation, no pity, no “pull yourself together.”

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Please, for here with my God is my favorite place to be.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine
is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

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3 Ways to Remain In God’s Love

Remain In God's Love

In the movies I watch, they tend to throw out the command, “Stand down!”

It’s this moment where the person in charge, usually some Captain or Corporal or Chief gives a word that calls all effort to halt. It calms the strong ambitious and unruly one wanting to push ahead with might, power and strength.

“Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand Down.” 

There is a Creator, a Captain and a Care-taker, who has a much higher view than we do. God sees the good ending to our present moment, far more clearly than we do. He also sees all the steps we need to take to get there.

The Captain knows, what you do not know.

Where are you prone to push ahead?

To overexert yourself – speaking a rash word, entering in when you should step out,
getting angry, rather than getting alone with God?

The commander has a word for you too: “Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand down.” 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. Jo. 15:9

Standing down is remaining in God’s love.

I don’t do this. Remain.

Even right now, I am thinking of all that I need to do. I am writing these words, but my heart is thinking of the house I need to rent, the kids I need to get enrolled in school and the work that I need to do today. I only have 2 weeks until school starts. I want to start working. I need to get this post written. I am a hypocrite.

“Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand down.” 

What might it look like to leave – seen stress for God’s unseen love?

To just walk away from the overwhelming nature
and let God’s overwhelming nature pacify the fears?

I can’t help but think, where God is, light is. And, where light is – clarity focuses.

Are you, like me, looking for a way to go?

Perhaps, you and I are approaching it all wrong. What if instead of flicking on every light, we stayed in the dark and waited for his light to lead?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3

Power is not in forging ahead, it is in standing down.

I don’t need to do, Jesus already did.
I don’t need to act great, Jesus is.
I don’t need to hide lies, for grace lies in repentance.
I don’t need to pretend I know, God knows.
I don’t need to fix, God already has the answers.
I don’t need to hide, unless it is in God’s shelter.
I don’t need to perform, the curtain closed and love won.
I don’t need to fear his leaving, God is steadfast and good.

“Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand down.” 

To stand down? It looks like this:
1. Lay it down: To give God what you’re trying to own.
2. Give it up: To step out in faith, knowing that his goodness will lead to a good result.
3. Cease-fire: To stop blaming other people, problems or circumstances.

In Christ, I rest.
Needing nothing less.
Nor nothing more.
For He is the door to my more.
He sees the battlefield.
He knows my way.
His battle is won at the end of my day.

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Sometimes, Failing Precedes Blessings

failing precedes blessings

There he was, Jesus, tugging the weight of the world on his shoulders, straight up the road to his demise. He trudged along, weighted. He proceeded by faith, bent over. Heart and body, likely splintered. By all accounts, Jesus, looked like he was failing and failing badly, very badly. His Messiah mission fell, His name apparently couldn’t save, His cause was causing people to laugh, mock and taunt him.

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Mt. 27:39-40

People anti-worshipped him by outpouring disgust.

“Fix it!” they screamed.
“If you are so great, why do you look so bad?” they yelled.
“If you trust your God, why has he let you down so badly?” they ensued.

Are you hearing the same?

Does it look like you’ve been left on the side carrying failure?

That you are destined to be hurt?

That God isn’t coming through for you?

Sometimes, I feel I am falling into the great abyss of obscurity and aloneness. I see the black storm. I see myself as homeless.

These storms make our future look dim.

We continue to drink, even though we wanted to quit.
We figure we will never shed that last 10 pounds.
We react in anger and try no different.
We gossip, then do it again and again.
We figure we will always be stuck in a dead-end job.
We have no hope for our marraige.
We decide our kids will always be ingrates.
We accept rejection at work and no longer try.
We feel like a sub-par Christian and accept that as truth.
We believe we will always be in debt.
And on and on it goes…but, no doubt about it – it will never end well – for us.

What if Jesus, by all accounts,
saw the circumstances and declared himself destined to be a loser?

He could have –
if he lived by the comments, claims and convictions of the world around him.
If he chose to believe doubts over faith.
If he didn’t believe in a good, good daddy.
If he didn’t know that a Saving God, always saves.

But, he didn’t.

Jesus believed victory was on the brink and didn’t let his mind sink.  

He kept walking…even though.
He kept ministering…even though.
He kept his mind on heavenly…even though.
He thought about forgiving us…even though.
Even though, he was hanging on a limb in gut-wrenching agony.

He thought of us.
He is still is.
He is thinking of you and where you stand.
He is thinking of that standing place as his victory-place.

Will you sink by how you think
or will you rise keeping your eyes on the prize?

I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

Jesus’ situation looked bleak.
It looked heavy.
It looks so bad the ones he loved ran away in fear.

But here is how it turned out, here is what he was right on the brink of:
He was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures—and is still alive! (1 Cor. 15:4)

He is still alive and still saving us.
He is still alive and still pleading for us.
He is still alive and still making a way for us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
And so through 
him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 1:20)

His answer to your heart is – yes! Yes, he will do the amazing for you, according to his will, if only you believe.

And we all say, Amen.

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Does God Really Care about Me?

Does God really care

Normally I think about all that I am not.

I am not as good as the other girls with big, bright and shiny blogs.
I am not going to ever climb out of my own thoughts that hold me back.
I am not able to succeed because (insert some sort of limitation here).
I am not that great of a mom, I get frustrated too easily.
I am not close enough to my extended family.
I am not going to end up in a good place in that unknown future.
I am not going to end up with good results even if I try hard.

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Why bother?!

Ever feel that way?

Then, I come up against God speaking these words to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” Ex. 3:14

God speaks with power. And, Moses is a man I like. I imagine him trying to do enough and be enough for his people. I imagine him, like me, probably not feeling all that great – and a whole truckload of doubtful that he’ll really succeed.

To stand against the heat of God’s fire like this – these words would shake me to the core. Not only because I hit up against the blazing hot power of God, but also because they mean something – and do something. They purify insecurities.

I AM WHO I AM.

He is who he says he is.
He will be the one he claims to be.
He is who he is.

These words give me confidence. Because often I tend to think, unknowingly, of the “God who is not”.

The god who is not coming through for me.
The god who is not keeping me happy.
The god who is not showing me all the time his ways.

I can try to hide these feelings under the guise of good-girl Christian (which always drops me off at the word – hypocrite), but I get somewhere when I turn to God and ask, “God, am I really good enough for you to take care of – dysfunctional ol’ me?”

He replies, “I AM WHO I AM.”

He is who he says he is.
He will be who he claims to be.
He is who he is.

He is  – is good.
He is – truth.
He is – power.
He is – strength.

Does God really care?

The devil says who I am not, God says who I am.

Flesh says who I can’t be, God says who I will be in him.

Shame says I am bad, God says I am loved.

Lies speak demise, God says, “Rise.”

Will I believe?

God doesn’t waver. He is not a man that he should fall and skin his knee, he is a king. He doesn’t erase the cross of grace, he died on it to secure eternity for us. He doesn’t delete the signature of our name from his hand, he holds it close to his heart that always beats for us. He doesn’t take back is callings for our lives, he predestines them for us.

He sends us out in unerasable truth:

And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the Israelites…What shall I say to them?

And God said to Moses, I Am Who I Am and What I Am, and I Will Be What I Will Be; and He said, You shall say this to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you! Ex.3:13-14

He sends us out in his love, power and armor. It moves us forward.

Every single time he is at work to bless us.
Every single time he is at work to pave a way for us.
Every single time he is at work to make us more holy.
Every single time he is at work to work in us.
Every single time he is at work to draw us closer to power of his love.

Does God really care?

I AM WHO I AM.

He is who he says he is.
He will be who he claims to be.
He is who he is.

Will we believe – He will do what he said he will do?

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How to Really Come Alive (& not as you think)

Come Alive

I try.
Do you?

I try not to:
Fall on my sword
Fall from grace
Fall flat

I think this is why perception is important.
If I can look good to others, in a way, it confirms – I can look good to myself.

A few weeks ago, I went to large church gathering. I walked in. There were tables. There were people. There were open seats and there was me, trying to figure out which one to choose. I looked for people who looked like me – or, who I figured were better than me. 

come alive

I wanted to be where they were.

Why?

Because, by being with them, I feel better about me. In some way, their great standing proved mine.

Do you fall into this trap too?

Wanting to know important people?
Wanting to be an influencer of wisdom?
Gravitating towards those with knowledge and know-how?
Trying to look your best, to feel your best?
Speaking words that will make you look good?
Aiming to appear better than you are?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 5:3

Hummingbirds

Recently, my kids and I trekked out to the mountain. We wanted to check out the hummingbird display.

I was intrigued by these things. They flap their wings 80 times a second. Talk about trying!!! These things work hard. They know how to shoot left, right, up down, sideways and zig-zagged, like no bird I have ever seen.

They know how to get where they need to go. They know how to move to places of value (namely, right next to the feeder).

come alive

They also know how to protect. One hummingbird protects her food like an armed guard, blocking the path of any other bird who is getting too close.

When I block out different people, I block out humility. When I block out a new experience to safe-keep myself, I block God from getting close. I block humility from feeding me wisdom. I block love from moving in, and instead, I stay unchanged.

By not risking, I am missing the greater gift.

Sitting Down

“When you are invited, take the lowest place…”  Jo. 14:10

To take the lower seat is to choose to sit deep into the humility of Christ. It is the choice to stay so close to him, that you no longer have to stay close to everything you were or should be. Those things become casualties.

come alive

Instead, you walk up to scary and sit down with it, giving space for his miraculous to be worked in. You let go of the idea that there is a lofty place you’re not invited to, because you, suddenly, don’t want that anyway. It is to become so comfortable with the lowly, the downtrodden and the debased, that all you can do is count your blessings. You praise. Joy is crystallized.

It looks hardly like the perfect image of you – and this is the point.

The low seat can look like your own personal Calvary Road: A change of voice, a letting go of critiques, a grand welcome to the awkward, a wave goodbye to the need to be in charge or a will to pursue hard relationship…every seat looks different. But, the commonality is it saves you -and others. Some might call it surrender, or dying to yourself, I call it become it coming alive because you are no longer tethered – to man, you’re used, by God, as redeemer – to man.

Did you know that when the baby hummingbird actually leaves the nest, the mom is smaller than baby? I can’t help but think, this is how we should live – getting smaller and smaller while those around us get bigger and bigger.

Until, the day, the biggest one of all – invites us to the seat where we can feed unrestrained, where we can almost get fat in love. Where he, our friend, the one we spent our life relying on, invites us to dine – fully and lavishly. And we do.

come alive

“…Take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ (Lu. 14:10)

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The Value of Getting Quiet

Getting Quiet

Today, I am delighted to welcome Suzanne Vel from Christian Fellowship Church in Virginia for our Ministry Monday Series. Clearly, God brought our paths together, for Suzanne has a powerful story and a message to be shared. I hope you enjoy it!

“You have everything you need to have freedom and you aren’t doing anything with it.”  God wasn’t yelling at me, or condemning me. He was just calmly encouraging me.

To give some background, at a recent family reunion, I had listened in on a conversation where my husband was explaining to a cousin that our church had started encouraging people to experience God’s presence through a daily quiet time and that the end result was true, personal freedom.

This got me thinking…

My cousin’s heartfelt response was, “freedom that’s what I want!”  But, it wasn’t until the very next morning that God spoke into my spirit and encouraged me to get started.

Due simply to my desire to be obedient to God’s prompting, I started. The initial goal was to keep going for fifty days, but almost immediately the results were too good to stop.

Fast forward 600+ days, now, I have met with God every single day. Can I tell you? My life is a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come. I feel it.

I did not know fear controlled all of my decisions
until I started letting God and His Holy Spirit speak. 

Now when I am prompted to give, I give and it brings me peace.
Now when I am prompted to serve, I serve and it fills me with indescribable joy. 
Now when I am prompted to encourage another, I speak words of life over them and watch us both find our true identity in Christ. 

My journey is overflowing.  Each day, I ask God what He wants me to talk about and I post the words on Facebook.

The devotionals led to many friends encouraging me to write a book.

The book idea led to me thinking it was impossible but instead of choosing fear and worry I let God take the lead and show me the way. 

He led me to a website where I could easily publish an ebook. The ebook website led me to another site where I could self-publish an actual book, and that website led me to the next step (which I plan to take soon) of creating an audio book as well.

As you take it step-by-step by and through the Spirit,
you realize, nothing is impossible with God.

What seems impossible for you? 

Might you consider, what you can’t do – the Holy Spirit might equip you to do? It happened with me.

Jesus’ sacrifice for you and me, it was costly – on that cross. Please don’t make His sacrifice for you a waste because you never take the next step and find personal freedom for yourself. 

Walk in. Step deeper.

I started the journey and it has led to the most peace, joy, hope, love and patience than I have ever known. Will you?

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About Suzanne

FullSizeRender (1) (1)Suzanne is a wife mother and believer in Christ.  She has a passion and dedication to anything she puts her heart to; from early morning quiet times with God to training for five full marathons.  She learned about God on her second date with her future husband, Randy, when she was 22 years old.  She grew in her faith continually, but it wasn’t until she learned why she really wanted to know God as her personal friend and confidant that she found out what it truly means to have faith in the one true King.  Suzanne’s goal now is to show others how to find their why so that their lives can be as dramatically changed as hers was on August 11, 2014.

Check out Suzanne’s book, To Show His Love: Fellowship with God Changes Everything.

Activating the Power of Thank You

Power of Thank You

The poor thing, she had been up all night hacking.

I shut my door.

“I can’t sleep if all I hear – is her,” I thought.

I wasn’t trying to be cruel, but, we all know how mothers end up when sleep gets lost. They turn ugly, mean and tense. I hate being that lady; I get mad at that lady. Anything not to be – that lady.

Hours later, the barks still ensued. Then, an internal battle ensued – do I get up or do I not get up? My mind wrestled: If I get up, I will never get back down. I will never fall back to sweet and delicious sleep again – I know how this game goes.

I climbed out of bed, checked the clock, stubbed my toe and headed to the medicine cabinet. It was the unseen hour that called for more medicine. Moms don’t give up.

power of thanks

Begrudgingly, I kicked open the door, my mind half out of its own mind. I stumbled in, expecting to drop the junk down her throat and stumble out. But, what happened next woke me. It jolted me like coffee.

power of thank youFrom her helpless position, she looked, and said, “Thank you, mommy.”

My heart nearly dropped to the floor. Wow. She sees. She knows. She appreciates.

I felt loved.
 
I felt adored.


I felt alive. I would have gotten up a thousand more times, every single night (well, maybe), just to hear that sweet honey come off her lips.

I mattered.

Do I show God he matters like that? I wonder. I doubt it.


Guilt hits. Then, love arrives. God doesn’t need me to know he matters; but, I need him to know I matter. And, maybe this is the point. It’s probably far less about what he gets from these words and far more about how I feel when I speak these words. It is far more about me seeing the rescues, the panaceas and the answers that arrive out of nowhere. It is far more about me realizing how loved I am and how far out of his way he would go to help me.
Now I see: The small whisper of thank you is the moment you realize you’re daughter – and you’re really cared for.
power of thanks
It is the moment that you realize God would do anything to love you.
It is the joy that comes from receiving instead of striving.
It is the power that unfolds from heaven right in your lap.
It is the realization that kingdom come will come because God gives good things.
It is the inclination to bow down and see how tall God really stands over the world.
It is looking at the might that has might – and acknowledging it.
It is the strong hold of one stronger – that has the power to take hold over your life.
It is you not being you, as you normally are, but being you – with gratefulness.
 It is the uncovering of the jewels you never knew existed.

It is the unwavering trust that he will do it again.

It is seeing him as he is – good.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps. 106:1

Thanks gives legs to greater faith, for it believes in the one who gives – and will give. The giver is daddy. He pours out every time. And in the process, as we trust this, we are changed. We become little balls bursting with humility, dipped in his love, coming out covered in good. We become sweetened by grace and full of excitement about who we are becoming.

Thanks is anticipation of God’s faithfulness. It, frankly, is delicious.

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Seizing Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power

What looks without light in your life?

What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out? 

If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?

Remember this thing. 

I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.

Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending.  It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.

So I go deep…

I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings.
The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself.
I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go.
I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.

I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.

But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too! 

In the tomb, where you feel dead,
Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.

In the tomb where all things seem lost, 
Christ already won that battle.

It is called resurrection power!

“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3)
Resurrection power!

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Resurrection power!

“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6)
Resurrection power!

What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.

What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?

Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.

Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.

As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.

Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…

…if only you believe.

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Sparkling Bright for Christ

Sparkling Bright for Christ

Do you have the sparkle?

It’s the shine of more. It’s the clean of perfect. It’s togetherness and wholeness.

It looks nothing like me.

I look like tiredness personified.
I look like worry building upon worry.
I look like one who tries to trust – but still doubts.
I look like a battlefield where godliness goes up against selfishness.
I look like a girl trying to fit herself into mold “good mom.”

That’s me. Not so shiny. Not very sparkly. Hardly.

It feels hard to keep the glimmer of Christ existent amidst the grime of this life.

But, what if glimmer was not me – or you? What if the pressure was off? What if glimmer was just a matter of letting God’s light bust through our darkness? 

What would that look like?

God’s glory is always found within our tension points (Romans 5:3). It is a hard thing to consider, isn’t it? Usually, we run from these places, thinking they spots sent to inflict pain. Little do we know that sometimes, these exact spots, when pushed are what are going to deliver us to freedom – and to greater mobility to reach the world.

Where we feel pressed, God is working things out, so one day, we land at – blessed.

We shimmer. We shine. We find glory!

Do we believe it is possible?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces
(Romans 5:3)

When great joy emerges out of great struggle, people notice. Glory!
When peace is found over hardship. Glory!
When God grants unspeakable calm in the midst of doggone electricity storm. Glory!
When insight speaks into an impossible situation. Glory!
Glimmer! Sparkle! Shine! Power! Light unquenchable.

When we endure and then endure and then say, “No matter what Heaven awaits!” Glory!

We can lean into pain, knowing that God, by his very nature,will always use it – for spiritual gain. In that we can trust.

Is it hard? Yes. Impossible. No.

It is not, because it is also a work of the Holy Spirit – he makes you go about all Tigger-style, abounding in hope (Romans 5:13).

Hope is:
Seeing Jesus constructing mission out of our pain.

Imagining people changed after relational turbulence.
Standing on God’s masterplan rather than our personal ones.
Believing that God really is at work to make us into Christ’s image.
Going beyond self, to reach the nations. 
Thanking God for the new thing he is building in us.
Understanding the cross and all the pain that came with it. 
Looking at the captives and depressives and wanting to love them.
Getting a feeling that we have to pass around. 
Knowing we found home and longing for the fullness of it to come.

Hope. It is all you need to sparkle, no matter how you feel. Nothing can steal it. No one can rob it of you. It is a knowledge you’ll be blessed, even if you straight up land at heaven’s gates.

Let it sing in you. Let it rise from you. Walk in its fullness and feel its freedom – then hand it out to all you meet.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 5:13

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5 Experiential Invitations to Go Deeper With God

Go Deeper
God. If you look for him, you’ll find him. If you keep looking for him, you will find him some more. If you don’t stop looking, he’ll invite you in deeper and deeper, fuller and fuller and farther and farther.
He invites you.
Do you notice the welcome?
It is a white owl taking flight into the darkness,
a place where you are not sure what will happen.
Are you willing to go?
We don’t have to know where we’re going, just that Christ is taking us.
deeper
Another invitation.
He stands by the water,
arms open,
ready to hug you,
ready to feel your complete innocence, purity and beauty.
Will you allow him to hold you this way?
Will you accept it as true?  

It is often by faith, we receive the fullness of his love.

going deeper
It arrives again.
You may not see it.
You may not notice it.
It sits right outside your window.
The colors are brilliant, the majesty spreads across the sky;
it reminds all of the orchestrator and creator of things big and small.
Will you take a second to look or will you continue to be rushed and busy with other things?
By keeping an eye on the one above our trial, we remember how all things work out under his might.
going deeper
He calls.  
Will you open your heart?
It’s another invitation.
Daddy waits…
Hoping beloved breaks out to run to him.
Seeing a grand return and his glorious rescue.
He doesn’t need strong; he loves weary; he can handle it.
Do you see him waiting to rescue and love you every minute?
 
In every weary and heart-wrecking task, God waits to rescue you time and time again. Will we accept his invitation?
Go deeper
He knocks,
in a way where it nags your soul.
You know you should, but can you? Can you open up?
Surely, it is an invitation, but will you permit it to be so?
For it hurts far more than it feels good to do.
Still, daddy, he is pushing you just a little to step out.
Will you listen or ignore?
Will you forgive or forget and pretend it never happened – like you always do?
He wants to do it for you. He wants to finally unclutter your heart of it’s bitterness to make room for his fullness.
We think our unforgiveness is right, but only one is right and that is Jesus and he says to forgive.
going deeper
The invitations they never end for those with eyes to see and those with ears to hear.
It is a symphony of sympathy that plays the most desired harmony of humanity.
Yet, if you are busy, you’ll drive right past it.
If you are worried, your mind will not have space to receive it.
If you are distracted, you will blab on your phone, rather than hear his whisper.
It is an invitation for those who want more.
Who call out more.
Who long more.
Who ask more.
Who need more.
Who desire more.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

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