Thursday, August 30, 2012

Law and the Gospel



I received the gospel. Became a child of God with great joy. Then I moved under the bondage of legalism, the law. My joy soon disappeared. On the outside I appeared like a good christian woman. But on the inside I was full of anger, unforgiveness and bitterness.
I had no idea of the condition of my heart. The law could not change my heart. All I knew to do was to study hard and try to keep God's law. When I thought I kept it, I felt good. When I didn't, I felt condemned and shamed.  A purpose of the law is to show us our need for Jesus.  
 
I visited a lady and told her how I had everything life could give but I was miserable. She said, "I think you have sin in your heart. Resentment, unforgiveness... "  I couldn't believe her. I was a good christian woman. I left and ask the Spirit to search my heart.  Later I saw what she was talking about. I confessed my sin, repented and ask the Lord to cleanse me. Once again I was filled with tremendous joy.  This is how I began to live everyday. Repentance and faith.
The gospel began to peel me like an onion. I came out of denial. I was exposed. Then I knew I had not been the perfect christian, wife and mother I thought I had been. The goal of my life. My walls of protection fell down. My self reliance and self dependence was gone. I knew I had failed. I became severely depressed. All my fears and insecurities were before me. I turned inward. Many other hard things happened during this time to my family and to me physically. I didn't know how to trust and depend on God. I became mentally ill and found myself in a mental institution.
The next few years were spent in and out of mental institutions. New medicines. I had my family and friends support but I knew no one knew me like God. He became my constant help. To get up in the morning.  What to do that day, eat, wear.  I couldn't make the simplest of decisions without Him.

When I would hear the law, God's law or someone telling me what to do, I would become defensive, feeling oppressed, blaming others.  I didn't know who I was.  Or the depth of the Father's love for me.  So I clung to the grace of God.  To the gospel, just to make it through my day.

My husband was no longer coaching. The children were left to him or themselves. My youngest was 12. We had our first grandchild. Life was going on without me. Even writing this it grieves me to see how very self-centered I was. But God was not through with me yet.

The family is grown now. I spent those next years searching the heart of God. Writing, meditating, worshiping. God and solitude. Being mentored. I learned God's faithfulness to me. His rich, rich love for me. That I could trust Him because, Look what He had brought us through. Who I am in Christ. Living in truth and honesty about my need for Jesus. God has written His law on my heart not over m
y conscience. I learned what love was and to love WAS to fulfill the law. But Christ had kept the law for me. I don't have to prove myself or get anyones approval. Jesus is my value. His perfect life is mine.

I am a sinner saved by grace but I am a child of the King. Who cherishes and delights in me and me in Him. I love Gods law and meditate on it and Him day and night. The Spirit directs me. Christ not only has saved me by faith. He has rescued me. I still have a lot of hard circumstances in my life. I have learned to feel the pain and to be comforted by my Fathers love. I am still being healed but today I am dancing with the King! You shall know the truth, Jesus, and the truth shall set you free!
   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

He Will Not Forget

Isaiah 49:15-16,  "Can" a womans forget her nursing child,
                           And not have compassion on the son of her womb
                           Surely they may forget.
                           Yet I will not forget you.
                           See.  I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.


A little over forty years ago I had a stillborn beautiful, healthy baby boy.  The difficulties that caused his death were in the umbilical cord.  I think I held him.  I can't remember.  They wouldn't let me go to the funeral.  I went home the next day.  My husband went to back to work.  I don't remember crying.  We never talked about it.  We just stuffed our pain and went about life.

This is how I have dealt with pain.  I haven't dealt with it.  I haven't felt it.  I just pretended it wasn't there.  There was nothing in me that knew how to feel it.  When I did I didn't know what to do with it.

First of all I couldn't let anyone know that I was not ok.  I couldn't worry them.  Besides I was their god.  They looked to me to be strong and level headed and keep things going.  If I felt the pain I might not be there for them and they needed me.

Since I have come out of denial.  I became a woman who couldn't handle life on my own any longer.  I couldn't make everything ok and everyone happy.  The last 15 years there has been suffering in my family.  Many times I have blamed myself.  Did I sin that this is the reason this is happening.  Like Jobs friends.  Or the blind man they ask did this happen because of sin.   Jesus said, "no".  This has happened that God might be glorified.

Well I have learned to feel pain.  I have also learned to feel love.  If you can't feel one chances are you can't feel anything.  When someone wouldn't love me as I expected, or to meet my needs.  I would go to other things or people for love.  When they didn't love me my heart turned cold.  I don't care.  I am fine.

Then I realized these things and people are idols of my heart.  I am looking to them to do what only God can do for me.  Not only am I beginning to run to Jesus with my pain.  But I am running to Him for love.  It is hard because the pulls of the flesh are so strong.  But His pull on my heart is stronger.

When I feel the pain, go to Him for comfort and love.  His presence and love is more than my heart hoped for.  He comforts me as a mother comforts her child at her breast.  Isaiah says He holds my right hand.  He makes my paths straight.  He brings joy that no circumstance could ever bring.  He is my Savior and my King.  He makes me laugh and giggle.

This place He brings me to is a place of His glory.   You just have to know it is God.  It is not because life is perfect, but because He is a might God to save.  He rescues me and brings me to soaring as the eagle soars outside my door.  He proves Himself to be God and there is no other.  He will comfort me and not forget me.  Even if I forget my own.   I am written on the palm of His hand forever.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Keep my heart

Our daughter and her children were with us the month of July.  One of the things we got to do as a family was go to the beach together.  One day I was down at the beach with them.  There were three grandchildren.  They would dive into the waves with no fear and excitement.  Then I would have to look down the beach to find them.  The waves would take them far from where they began.

We never know where this life of faith is going to take us.  I never would have thought I would be where I am today.  That the ones I love would be where they are.  The things we have experienced, the joy, the pain and the faithfulness of God.

I was growing weary with the things of life and ask a friend of mine if we could go out of town for a few days.  This is very unlike me.  She said yes and suggested her moms mountain house in the Smoky Mountains.

We left the first of the week.  The view was absolutely breath taking.  I ask the Lord to renew me and my strength.  I tried to leave the worries behind me and just go and get away.  We did rest, read, talk, eat, meditate, enjoy and delight in the Lord and His creation.  The first day there I must have slept for 12 hrs.  We would spend the nights just talking about our hearts, our desires our failures and our longings. There were some things that had weighed on me so heavily I wanted to leave them behind.  But confessing and discussing them with my friend brought insight and resolve to go back home and follow Gods lead.

I had direction from the Lord.  I knew what clearly He wanted me to do.  There was only one problem. My heart.  I did not feel what God wanted me to do.  It was though my heart slipped right threw my fingers.  So I went to the Lord over and over.  Lord I am willing to be willing.  Please change my heart.  I can try to do this on sheer determination but I don't know if it will hold me.  I need a change of heart.

You cannot go far enough for long enough to out run your heart.  When I returned the things of this world awaited me.  I knew what God wanted me not to do and to do but I could not.  I tried saying them with my mouth but my heart just was not there.  There are times we cannot protect ourselves when God steps in and takes over and rescues us.  It was amazing.  God did what I could not do.
Then the heart change came.  Oh I still struggle with the intimidation and the seduction of the world but God is there at every turn doing what I cannot do.

Slowly but surely my heart has come around.  But what I have seen is God is faithful even when I am not.  He is about making sure His purposes and plans go forward.  I cried out to Him and He restored me and strengthened me.  He helps the ache of the pain of the circumstances because I know He is in control of all things.   He is my comfort.  He is my peace.  I pray oh Lord keep my heart from the things of this world.  May I rest in you and your love for me, your people.  You are my God.  I have ran out of my resources.  I have stopped the running.  I am home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

To find me

Sitting at a local cork and bean shop in a small town in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Great food, good coffee, and love being with my friends on the internet just catching up.

It is beautiful here.  The view from the porch of the house is breath taking.  Loved sitting out there this morning with my coffee.  God is so good to send up surprises when we least expect them.

Thinking just now about my visit here I thought...I have found God, beauty, good food and drink.  If only I could find me.  Sometimes I just wonder what I am to be doing with my life.  Guess I feel a little lost with all the family leaving to go home.  Oh I know all the correct answers.  To enjoy and Glorify God.  To love and serve Him by serving others.  But in what way.  I even thought of the scripture Lord what do you expect of me to walk justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.  Is it so simple.  Am I trying to complicate things.  Make it hard.  Things have been hard for a while.  Now that I am removed from the circumstances that trouble me.  I feel lost.

Hoping to have more quiet time and meditation.  My purpose can't be just to find peace and joy.  It has to be more than that.  It has to be to be with God and enjoy HIm.

Hope to find me while I am here.  Hope to meet with God...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Unloveable

I remember my pastors wife introducing me to my spiritual mom.  She said she loves the unloveable.  I thought about that over and over.  Finally I came to the conclusion that she was referring to me.  Since then I have come to see just how unloveable I am.  But I am showered with love.  From family, friends, but mostly my heavenly Father.

Sometimes I get on Facebook and see all the wonderful family pictures.  The fun vacations.  Everything looks great and happy.  I want you to know I love sharing my family pictures but sometimes I want to write in BOLD LETTERS.  IT wasn't all fun and games.

There are ten of us in our family.  We were almost all together, even additional family and friends for a month.  There was conflict, crying, arguing, fighting, silence, yelling, hurt feelings filtered in with some of the most wonderful moments I think I have ever had with my family.  We are very real.  We didn't go 24 hrs without some kind of drama.

I would silently pray Lord let me do or say something that the kids and grandkids that will make a difference.  Help me give them a word from you they will never forget.  Give me the strength to be with them as we make memories.  I prayed that the good would far outweigh the bad.  I don't mean to sound like I had it all together and everyone else had a problem.  That would not be true.  I love my quiet and peace and I would escape into whatever just to try to renew my thoughts and heart.  Jesus was right by my side.

Oh the fun we did have.  The kids diving into the waves at the beach.  The snow cones, popcorn, ice cream and cake at midnight.  The riding the horses and calfs at the farm.  Playing with friends and family.  Loving on my sons new puppy.  Shooting fireworks and riding four wheelers.  Going fishing, feeding the animals and learning to work on a farm.  The grandkids cooked, cleaned and helped their pop and me in many ways. They even got paid from their uncle Lee for feeding the horses while he was working. Going swimming in the lake and pool.  Playing games, pretending, racing and fighting all in fun.  Playing out in the rain and with the hose pipe.  Snuggling and hugging and lots of kisses.

My children will get mad at me and their father and even each other.  But that is ok to them.  You just better not let anyone else speak bad about their family.  I try to make sense of all of this.  God what are you doing in my family?  I know you are redeeming us.  You are taking our mess and making something good and right out of it.  My husband and I made so many mistakes with each other and raising our children.  But to me that is why we need Jesus even the more.  I have quit hoping my children are spared pain. It is too late for that.   I pray Lord may they all come to love and know you no matter what it takes of me or them.  Sometimes when I see the pain my children have suffered I am tempted to lose hope for anything I have done to be made right.  I think about the mental illness and what else am I passing on from generation to generation.  But in Christ we do not lose hope.

All I know is Jesus loves us all.  He loves the unloveable.  Sometimes I can get a glimpse of a purpose for all the suffering and a plan for the future.  I know my family reminds me of heaven.  It is a place for sinners who are loved by a wonderful Father and His Son.  He is teaching us to live by the gospel.  To repent and believe.  To forgive and be forgiven.  What else in this world matters but Jesus and His redemptive plan for our good and His glory.  The love of the Father and the Spirit who is using us all to refine each other.  To give us eternal life with Him and set our feet upon a rock that cannot be moved.


Monday, August 6, 2012

God owes us Nothing

God owes us nothing but promises us more than we can think or imagine according to His riches and glory.  He gives us the very desires of our heart.

Charleston






Here are some pictures from our trip to Charleston this weekend.  Hope you enjoy.  Such a beautiful place.  Can't imagine what heaven and the new earth will be like.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Look

I haven't written here or on Whispers of God much lately.  I have written on Desperate Delight Facebook if you want to take a glance.  I have had lots of family and been out of town.  I have thought about you though and looking forward to getting back on some kind of routine here.

The Look...You know what I mean.  The look that says you must be crazy.  Or what is wrong with you.  Who does she think she is?  I am so mad at her.  Just look at her.  The list could go on and on.

We talk about what we say.  Or what we do.  But do we ever talk about the look?  The look that is worth a thousand words?

Watch people around you.  Be conscience of your own facial expressions.  See if you can affirm someone.  Give them a smile.