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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

Forgive and Forget 

If you are like me, you’ve done your fair share of screwing up. Live and learn, its’s life and I don’t say that flippantly. No excuses, real times, hard stuff and a point in life I’d rather not go back to or dwell on, but I’m forgiven and can walk with my head high. I know who I am and who I’m not from going through it.

 
BUT not everyone shares my excitement for do-overs. Not everyone is quite as enthusiastic about grace as I am. Especially if my choices hurt them.

 
A spirit of guilt and condemnation continually tries to tether us all to the whipping post centrally located in the middle of town. It tries to humiliate us by drawing a crowd…the larger the crowd, the louder the jeers.

 
I get it. And boy do I wish I didn’t.

 
Friends…it’s really nice when we can stand together arms interlocked but there comes a time when we need to stand alone on God’s promise that our sins are as far from the east as to the west. God forgives AND forgets. He chooses to. So even when those around us  hold a pretty detailed account of our wrongs, we can stand firm, knowing our knees won’t buckle underneath the pressure to prove ourselves worthy. Because we are.
It doesn’t necessarily matter what we’ve done. Those details can be like unnecessary chatter in conversations held behind closed doors or backs. What matters most is that we learn from what we’ve done and how those little life lessons impact our current day choices.

 

Here’s the thing…even when we act like an orphan that has no home or a prodigal afraid to come back to one, we are still loved. The Father does not HAVE to love us (You know how families can be…you can’t pick them). He loves because He chooses us. He chooses YOU. 

 
So don’t let yourself be tethered back to the whipping post.

 
Forgive and forget. 70 x 7. 

 
Including yourself. Most importantly yourself.

freedom

As many of you know, our oldest two children are serving our country’s military. Our oldest son is a United States Marine and our oldest daughter is a United States Navy Sailor. I have heard countless times many people thank them both for their service and as their mother, I have watched and listened to their response. “Thank you for your support.” That’s the response that has stuck in my brain.

“Thank you.”

They would never brag about their sincerity of gratitude for support but as their mother, I will.

“Thank you.”

It is hard not to think about them both and not think about the word “FREEDOM.” Maybe because I’ve heard it spoken so many times. Maybe it’s just a natural thought that comes instantaneously when one thanks another for their service and willingness to defend our freedoms.

Freedoms. What exactly are we free from?

Some of my favorite quotes about freedom are the following:

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” – Mahatma Gandi

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” – Jim Morrison 

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” – Soren Kierkegaard

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:13-14

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”  – Maya Angelou 

“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.” – Judy Blume

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud

“Walking in true freedom means that everyone around you feels just as free.” – Sherri Fleagle Browning

My friend Sherri wrote the last quote. She actually lived it before she penned the words but I found it the other day and to be honest, I’ve been praying about it. Seriously. If I am walking in TRUE FREEDOM, what in the hell does that look like?

*Am I giving myself the freedom to make mistakes and when I do, am I really hard on myself? Do I walk in shame and guilt. Do I do the same to others when they make mistakes? Do I shame or guilt them and hold them to an impossible standard of perfection they cannot meet?

*Do I give myself the freedom to be myself? Am I being WHO I was created to be? Do I even know who I am outside my roles, responsibilities, idiosyncrasies, insecurities and personalities? Do I see others, like REALLY see them and do I give them the freedom to be themselves?

I could go on with my incessant questioning. I wish would my brain would shut off and I could dwell on other things, simple things like buying milk and bread and if my shoes matched my outfit but I don’t. I think of inside things that constantly keep me working inside myself. Am I walking free?

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Because how I walk affects other people. I wish it didn’t but it does. I recently became incredibly aware of how walking in rejection was affecting the relationships around me. I felt rejected so I projected back, “Fine. Then I will reject you.” 

I am forty-four years old and a grown ass woman still playing high school games.

So if I am seeping rejection, which is really just a form of modern-day slavery of the mind and heart, then those around me are most-likely feeling rejected or thinking that there is something wrong with them. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe most people are way more mature than I am but if my hunch about my fellow humans are correct, even Jesus-loving-knows-better-than-this humans, than I have heaped a generous load of coal on other people’s heads.

But burning is good, so I have been told.

Now, more than ever, more of us have the freedom to care, the freedom to connect, the freedom to choose, the freedom to initiate, the freedom to do what matters. If we choose.

The problem is freedom. Not that we don’t have enough freedom but that we can’t handle the freedom we have. Or more accurately, we believe we can’t handle it. Freedom brings the appearance of risk, freedom brings responsibility, freedom means we must make a choice. Freedom is our problem and freedom is our opportunity. I pray we use our freedom wisely, that we don’t manhandle it or use it for self-seeking reasons that harm or hinder others because truly my friend Sherri is more wise than most when she says, “Walking in true freedom means that everyone around you feels just as free.”

Yes. I want to walk free but I think I want to walk free so badly because I want others to do the same. It is not just for me. I think it is part of my identity. It’s the Jesus part of me. I know slavery’s yoke. I know rejection. I know abuse. I know depression and anxiety fueled by fear that won’t lose its grip but I also know truth, rest and peace. I know love, joy and mercy. I know what perspective can do, what grace can bring and what forgiveness offers.

If you knew the former first hand, you’d want to know the latter.

For everyone.

Woman to Woman 

I sat across the table from her and she, no longer a little girl, is coming into her own. She’s someone’s daughter, though not mine, but I love her as she could be. She begins to cry as our hands find one another across the smooth wood and I whisper to my heart to settle.

She shared the same question that I’ve heard countless times before from many different woman, all different ages, sizes and backgrounds.

“How am I going to get through?”

Even as I ask my heart to settle, it’s the quiet question I’ve been asking myself.

“How?”

You just do.

I am a daughter, a sister, and mother of five, three of which are daughters. I am a friend, a leader and a mentor. It’s a question we all have in common. It’s a thread that binds us together as one. Not one of us is immune regardless of our age or stage in life.

“How am I going to get through?”

Dearest Daughters,

Hard times come. They do not stop though I wish you were immune. You will experience heartache and loss, trials and tribulations. You will be faced with your own brutal and beautiful shortcomings that somehow demand your love and your acceptance. You will be faced with the raw reality of your life, the cards you have been dealt, the choices that you and those around you make. You will be faced with both truth and lies and will have to decide which one you are going to give your power and belief to. You will come face to face with one decision after another…will your thoughts, your feelings and your circumstances define you? Will someone else be able to assign you value? Will they be able to determine your worth?

As much as I don’t want you walking where I have or experiencing the different trials and sufferings that I now are out there, I know you will not be immune to heartache and loss. Though our stories will overlap and they may mirror one another, you are your own person and I am incredibly thankful for it.

“How?”

A very wise man told me yesterday to stop fighting my heartache, and he is right. I’ve been battling not being where I am at and have been trying so hard to keep my heart free of holes. But it has been leaking and I have utilized all my corks trying to keep it all from seeping out and it is exhausting so dear daughter, mourn when you got to mourn, weep when you need to weep. Trust that the Father is with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Allow Him to take your heart in his hands and perform the needed heart surgery on it to get you through to the further side.

“How am I going to get through?”

With Him.

I think of Hagar who suffered greatly at the jealous hands of Sarah, honest in her heartache. I think of David sitting in the fields, forgotten and alone, bearing his soul to the sheep. I think of how Jesus often went to lonely places to pray. Of how he was rejected in His hometown and how His identity was always in question. I think on these things and my heart unwillingly relates. I understand. But at the Last Supper, John, who often called himself “The disciple that Jesus loved” leaned into Jesus. That picture is in my head not because I have read some Bible story but because it is a posture I am familiar with.

Lean. Times when your heart breaks and you are filled with more questions than there are answers to, lean. When you feel lost and confused, lean. Lean deeply. Allow your pain to be as raw as your love and trust that He will perform the needed surgery on your heart. Dearest Daughters…He is how you fight your battles.

Lean.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

 

 

ABBA

I’m not even home. I’m empty without students in another drivers bus sitting in some church parking lot because I need to write this now. In this moment.

 
My driver has got an oldies radio station playing and I dared not touch it this afternoon when I sat down in the seat and turned the ignition on at 2:25 PM. I rolled my eyes and thought of turning it off because I love 80’s and 90’s and this is more like 50-70’s and I can’t even. Whatever. I’m not in the mood but I have a habit of screwing up electronics when I touch them so I determine I can suck it up.

 
I will live.

 
I drove and my head has settled heavy into my heart. Like heavy. I’m deeply lost in thought and I don’t miss a single students stop so I considered the afternoon a win.
I pull around to my next to last stop and a thought popped in my head. What if I lived my life like I was ridiculously loved. 👈🏻 THAT was my thought. Because I tell you, I have stuff in my life trying to tell me that I am not.

 
So what if?

 
And I kid you not, just yesterday some friends and I had lunch and I said these words, “I miss being intentional. I miss looking for Jesus.”

 
Because I’ve lost a lot of intentionality.

 
So I think about what life could maybe look like if I believed I was ridiculously loved.

 

Like CRAZY loved. Hmmm….

 
And over the radio another song comes on.

 
It’s ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me.”

 
Friends…

 
Jesus just sang to me. Through and oldies station. In a school bus.

 
Yes.

Non-Negotiable 

There have been times throughout my life where I’ve stood before a Giant shaking in my boots so afraid that I’ve turned and ran in the other direction and times where I have compromised my integrity, my beliefs and my heart because what was before me was so big. But mostly I’ve trembled beneath my own skin and morphed into who I thought the situation needed me to be or who I thought the Giant would accept. I’ve thought long and hard about who I could become that would cause the least amount of waves or which part of me would create the least amount of damage…

Because I have always associated myself with damage.

So over time, I’ve learned to play safe and be small. I know some would not think that because I can talk a good talk (because I long to walk a good walk) but deep inside, I’ve felt it even if I didn’t always show it and feeling it has been enough to keep me in the ring. In the fight.

It’s not necessary to go into the details of how I’ve gotten to where I’m at because back-stories often draw a crowd and a lot sympathy but they often create more of a mess than what they are worth so I’ll forgo the drama and just say I’ve come to the end of my rope.

It will suffice.

I found myself desperately begging the other day. It was a horribly hard and pathetic moment in my life but there I was, pleading. I was desperate. Looking back now, it really doesn’t matter what I was pleading for but the act itself brought me to my knees on my bathroom floor and after a long, hard cry I heard these words.

Stop compromising.”

If Jesus was ever to bring Truth to my heart, it was in that moment.

When I compromise my identity, I find myself much like a beggar along some street corner, pleading for something. Anything.

Love.

Acceptance.

Value.

And so the Father asked me as I sat paper-thin and crossed legged on the cold tile, “WHAT have you been compromising?” I know He knew but I know He needed me to think this through.

Everything was my reply.

“What are your non-negotiable’s?”

And three words came to mind. He then asked if I was willing to compromise myself to get them?

“Even if going after them gets hard and cost you everything, would you stand strong before your Giant or would you accept less than you know you worth?” 

Worth? Haven’t most of the church settings I’ve been in taught that I’m really nothing without Jesus and if that’s the case, shouldn’t I just be happy with what I get instead of trying to rock the boat? Because you know, everyone has their “thing” they waiver in so at some point, isn’t settling just something we do?

I knew my answer to His question. I know going forward what my non-negotiable’s are and that they are not self-seeking so I can be comfortable and content. If anything, I know that standing for them would fully embody and express the Father. I know the questions I was asked were from Him because I feel empowered to stay in the ring. I am free. Not free to be mean, as in “If I don’t get my way, too bad for you”, but free to be me. I know that’s WHO He wants us all to be, even if we create ripples or waves and even if it cost us more than the boat we stand in.

My identity is non-negotiable. It cannot be bartered and it’s not up for bid on an auctioneer’s block. My value is not determined by what someone is willing to pay….set by how far they are willing to reach into to me or if they do or do not change.

I have to keep reminding myself of these Truths because they are His.

Self-acceptance indeed is a small and quiet room. One that’s often padded at the end of long and lonely hall.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

 

Line in the Sand

I’m all for the gray areas of life because I believe that they exist. I also like to color outside the lines. I’m all for accommodations, adjustments, alterations and such but I’m not for compromising my heart and settling for less than I know I deserve. Less than what I know that I can give.

And I have.

Over.

And over.

And over again.

Because, what if I don’t and someone gets pissed and then doesn’t want anything to do with me at all? The loss of their approval, even their disapproval of the me they thought they knew, the me I thought they wanted me to give…would be heart breaking.

These are real thoughts.

But guess what?

I want something to do with me.

I want something to do with me a whole bunch. I actually DO believe I am worthy of simple things like:

Faithfulness.

Having someone’s whole heart.

And the problem has been I haven’t seen myself accordingly. I’ve been misaligned, like looking at myself in a mirror that has been distorted and cracked. I’ve compromised but not in a way where I’ve sat down and negotiated my value. I just kind of took what I got.

Even if it was crap.

I asked for more. And I’ve been told I’m unreasonable.

Demanding.

Like communication and having the ability to work all the way through to the other side is some sort of abnormality reserved for super humans.

The further side was a luxury I could not afford.

And now here we are and I wonder how we got here, how I did. The writing on the wall is as clear as the line that I’m finally drawing and I know.

I will no longer negotiate my identity.

I will no longer settle for anything other than faithfulness. Wholehearted and true.

I won’t take the back seat in someone’s heart when I know I belong in the front row.

I. Just. Won’t.

 

 

Stop writing for everyone else. Start writing for yourself.

These are the words I heard echo through my Jeep as I pulled out of the parking lot.

Stop.

Start.

Always in motion.

So for whoever you are, wherever you sit on the other end of the screen reading these words of mine…that is exactly what I am going to do. Despite the opinions and fears of a select few, I am going to go after me. I am going to write FOR me. Because I am worthy and have value. I will not write for attention, as previously mentioned. I will not entertain that lie, but for healing, for if writing helps me heal, would it really matter how I processed?

I don’t think so.

But I always protect everyone else, everyone else but me.

Today was my third counseling session and I am so incredibly grateful for Wayne and Ruth. I sat smack dab in the middle of their overstuffed leather loveseat that is built for two and I’m grossly aware of the space that’s left around me. It doesn’t matter. I am there no matter how small I feel.

I will keep showing up honest and real.

Today was an exceptionally hard session so when I exited the parking lot, I turned left at the light. My thoughts instantly went to my friend. My beautiful friend…calm and sweet. My friend who thinks she is big, too large and on a scale of some to none…maybe she is. I don’t know. I think she is perfect as she is. All I know is that I want to drive my vehicle to her work so she can place her long arms, all comfy and soft, around me as I cry.

Because I want to cry. I want nothing more than to have a very good and long cry.

So I do. I pull in as she is pulling out and somehow she makes her way to my Jeep and opens my door and I fall into her arms. She doesn’t ask and I am thankful that I don’t have to tell and because I don’t even know what it is I would say if I did.

I hear Ruth’s words and I realize how true they were.

“I always throw myself under the bus.”

I am twenty-three and my father hits me just weeks before the wedding I don’t want him walking me down but I find myself on his left-hand side weeks later because that is what dutiful daughters do. They stay quiet. They soldier on and spend the next twenty plus years of their life secretly hating themselves for not standing up, for not speaking up.

I could go on. I thought about typing more, in fact I did. I started compiling my list like  some Power Point I could some day use in a presentation of what NOT to do, but since I am writing for me and not you, I’ll stop here. September 1997.

I am a young mother.

My young daughter is standing in the yard beside me and my mother and my father, full of his unpredictability and rage, reminded me once more just how small and truly insignificant I was.

 

 

 

 

 

The Purpose of Pain

Our youngest daughter is into a lot of things right now: Baking. Cooking. Crafting. She writes notes. Builds note boxes. Wants to do her laundry and walk the dog. She is craving responsibility and longs for opportunities to show up and be seen. To try and to succeed. To fail and to learn.

So last night, we baked. WITH A HOT OVEN.

Someday I will learn that oven mitts are my friend.

Today my right forefinger sports a raised bubble and I’m sure by evening, it will crack open and ooze and I’m not sorry for the visual because I want you to experience my pain with me. I’m that type of friend. You’re welcome.

It’s been making me think a lot about the purpose of pain. It seems like everyone is trying to avoid it, myself included, and we’ve made it out to be this bad, scary thing. Is it? Is there a purpose?

Yes.

Absolutely yes.

If you have been anywhere in your kitchen and have actually used your own stove, you most likely have experienced a burn at some point in your life. The more you are around one, the greater your chances…

It’s simple math.

And hopefully, unlike me, your brain has made it quite clear that touching the hot oven racks is not wise so when your naked hands instinctively go to “grab” without an oven mitt, your brain jumps in front of the moving car frantically waving its arms, reminding you that touching indeed is not wise.

As in, DON’T BE STUPID. DO NOT TOUCH THE HOT OVEN RACKS. YOU WILL BURN YOUR HANDS. 

And hopefully, you change course and go in another direction. Hopefully your brain convinces your hands to take precautions, to take cover because you know…last time was kind of painful.

If you have ever experienced pain, you will understand where I am going. Pain is not always physical, like the raised little bubble of fluid on my right forefinger. You can experience emotional or spiritual pain which can all lead to a mixed bag of symptoms that aren’t so easily diagnosed and treated.

Medications can help but don’t always fix and Jesus is not a magic wand that you wave in order to live a perfectly happy life. 

Both acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing) pain can lead to emotional suffering. Emotional and spiritual pain may include sleep problems, sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression. How do I know this?

Takes one to know one.

It makes me wonder: Does it HAVE TO HURT in order to learn a life lesson? Not always. Not every situation or person that I learn from is tethered to a raw ache but I know from personal experience, it IS when I pay attention the MOST. I liken the times when I feel pain to feeling like I’m on fire, like I am sitting smack dab in the center of an eternal flame. One thing I’ve noticed through that heartache is my intentions are purified and I grow in honesty about my actual motives because most often, I do not pay attention to “what’s going on inside of me” till my outsides have experienced some sort of fall or failure…A FIRE. 

And I have yet to fathom why this pattern is consistently true.

Perhaps it’s because I am a creature of habit and my regular, every-day-comfort is falsely reassuring. So reassuring in fact that I would make my permanent home IN my comfort if I could. Stepping forward into the unknown is unfamiliar and untested…perhaps pain is an opportunity to be “pushed” – or I would never go.

I have no solid answers, only thoughts rolling around in the big, wide open space within my head like this one: 

I have grown spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.

Sorry Church. I have. 

I know when I get sick and tired of being sick and tired, I find myself hanging on the fraying tassel of some rope. I try to hang on. Dear God I do everything in my power to stay attached. Every desperate measure I can muster, I do, but on occasion I have found myself not only at the end of the rope but at the end of myself. I let go of my pride thereby, I let go of that tassled rope and I fall. 

I fall hard.

It is usually the pain from that fall that inspires the most change.

I hate falling so you can imagine, I do EVERYTHING possible not to. Falling is way worse than burning myself on a hot oven rack and it is way worse than feeling momentarily sad or missing my kids. Falling equates to failure. Falling leaves me feeling like my insides are broken into and splattered across a concrete floor. It is the greatest place of vulnerability and incredibly humbling to have your insides on the outsides. It can be embarrassing and shameful. Very. In the last few weeks, I have become increasingly aware of my own grotesque fallibility, which brings to the surface every potential lie possible, enticing me to believe. But the good news is, because I believe there is always good news…as hard and as painful as it’s been to fall down, the presence of pain indicates that I CAN learn better….if I can fall DOWN, I can also fall UP.

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeleine L’Engle 

So long story short, I think pain is the body’s way of “encouraging” action and the pain of facing the truth about yourself is often necessary to change for the better. Just like touching the hot oven racks is teaching me to avoid hot metal, accepting why a relationship has been falling apart will help me better understand what to do differently in the future with it.

Instead of running from or coddling pain, because pain can become an idol, I will choose to allow a healthy dose OF pain to inspire change.

IN me.

What will you allow pain to do in YOU?

 

Bruised not Broken

When I was little, every time I turned around, I had a broken arm. Bike accidents were my nemesis and to this day, my left elbow still sports two titanium pins that serve as a powerful reminder to wear shoes when pedaling a bike. I also broke my wrist once riding a three-wheeler just weeks before my wedding but for the most part, I’ve been injury free. But two and half weeks ago it snowed (it will be fun they said) and I took the dogs out in our yard for a run. Little did I know one of their leashes would wrap itself around my boot and I would be suddenly pulled to the ground.

That hurt.

And long story short, I left it go even though I could not lift my right arm above my head.

It’s bruised, not broken. It will heal.

Yes and No.

Several days later I ended going to Urgent Care just minutes before they closed at the promoting of some friends who saw my yellow and black bruising. X-Rays confirmed no injury so the doctor sent me home and told me to move it as much as I could so it wouldn’t become stiff. And then the next day, Radiology called.

“We are sorry. The X-Ray was misread. You have a fractured Humerus.”

So two orthopedic appointments later, my bruising is an ugly shade of gray and I can lift my right arm now slightly above my head with pain. I have more motion but everything hurts. In fact, I have a constant throb that sometimes Tylenol doesn’t take away. My doctor assures me from my X-Ray that this is normal and that my fracture is healing but it will just take time and I need to go a bit more easy. I’ve been told no more heavy lifting, no more trying to reach my arm above my head and no more extending my arm out like I would to open the door of a bus.

I am not in a sling or a cast so if you were to look at me, you would never know what was beneath my sweater. You would never see the ugly shade of gray beneath the skin on my right arm. I look normal. Things look good on the outside and so I want the inside to match and they don’t. This injury’s come at a time in my life when I want things fixed. I want life fixed. I want my ducks lined up neat, in a row and they are somewhat scattered.

Not everything in life is a life lesson but most things are. Right now I need a hands on lesson in the external to help me better understand the internal, or better yet, I need the natural to help me better understand the spiritual. Either or.

Both.

My doctor wants me to keep moving my shoulder because moving it will ultimately help heal it. BUT I am only to move it as my pain tolerance allows so in other words, I’m to push it but not too far. Then when I push too far I am to rest and then push far again.

External injuries, much like internal ones, take time to heal. Hurts to your heart are finicky. You cannot place your heart in a sling or a cast, it doesn’t work that way and most of us, not all of us, are walking around with a wound that no one knows about. Much like the bruising beneath my sweater, you can hide your pain beneath a smile or behind a happy post and no one will know differently.

No one really.

But He knows. He always knows and He is always one I can turn to when I need to rest because the pushing has hurt just a little too much.

Friends, if you are hurting…it is legit. Pain and injury are real. Pretending that they are not by wearing your game face so you can soldier on will ultimately do you know good. You just go underground. Your scabby hearts get all crusty and eventually gets all tough but not in the strong and healthy way so give yourself time to heal. Be honest with your bruise but don’t mistake your honesty for truth.

Just because you feel broken doesn’t mean that you ARE broken.

Living above your circumstances is hard. Your present situation, though very real and up in your face, can make you think and feel a lot of things. If you are not careful, if you are not diligent, what you see and hear will lie to you and entice you to believe a different reality than what you are to be living from. It will tell you you are more than just bruised, it will tell you you are broken! It will make you believe a different truth than His and any other belief system outside of Jesus will take work to maintain and we are called to rest.

IN HIM. 

You may have a very real and very present circumstance before you and as tempting as it is to believe the lie that is loud and forefront, don’t. Practice believing the very opposite, even if it sounds impossible. Even if it look improbable, believe. Have hope. Intentionally move in the opposite spirit.

Regardless of whether your circumstance changes, YOU will.

And if you change, the reality around you will be forced to contend WITH you.

I believe in the finished work of the cross, even if I don’t always walk from it. I believe I am whole, even if there are seasons, much like this one, where I feel like I’m in pieces and parts. I know this “injury” is affording me the opportunity to look a little closer, take it a little slower, be a little gentler. It tells me that this pain is real but it won’t last forever. With time and Truth, I will heal and heal properly, wholly…all the way through.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 25:5

So I’m taking my real-life circumstances, my up-in-my-face realities, and smothering them with Jesus, my Healer. I need Him more than ever to remind me WHO I am. I need Truth to speak to every broken place, every place that is real and alive with pain. I need to believe in another reality than the one I am living in…

Most of us, not all of us, need to.

It is time to separate our circumstances from our identity. Our identity is to reign and rule over our circumstances. Not the other way around.
 

 

 

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