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At the Foot of the Cross Where My Heart is Torn in Two

I wanted to share this again as we remember what Jesus Christ has done for us. Thank you, Jesus.

Training for Eternity

the cross

I went to the foot of the cross during a prayer meeting at church a few years ago. I knelt there, rested my hand on the wood, and bowed my head.  I knew it wasn’t the actual cross Jesus was crucified on, but I imagined it was:

I imagined Jesus looking down at me as He suffered, His blood running down and flowing over the rough, splintered wood before reaching my fingertips. I sobbed, imagining His face swollen and beaten, His eyes mere slits. But He was able to see me as I knelt there, my heart tearing in two.  I hated the idea of His suffering and at the same time I was so deeply thankful because I knew He was saving me in a way I never could.

As He hung there struggling to breathe, agonizing in ways I could never imagine, I wondered if my being at…

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To Encourage You

encourage

Sometimes we just need to calm down, sit down, and pray. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately concerning this blog.

(Bear with me while I explain something. I promise encouragement is coming your way!)

I was beginning to lose focus with this blog, knowing I needed to build a platform for my writing career and that involves having a regular schedule and followers. But…

I didn’t start blogging in 2016 to have a large number of followers. I simply wanted to be obedient to God when He opened my heart to the idea while I was walking by the lake that summer.

I believe God has called me to be an encourager. And when it came to this blog, I felt like I could encourage you by helping you to see tiny snapshots of how much God loves you and to remind you through His Word that He is always with you.

And I knew I needed to pull back the curtains of my own life, so you could take a peek and see the times I fell flat on my face or skinned my knees in all my imperfect attempts of following our perfect Jesus. That way you would know you’re not alone in your imperfections either. (Do you see someone WAY ahead of you in the “Imperfect People” line? That’s me waving at you!)

But I want to get out of line and come back and talk to you for a minute. (My first grade teacher would shake her head and probably want to send another “talks too much” note home to my mom.)

If you’re struggling with something right now, I want to come along side of you and wrap my arm around you, give you a squeeze, and remind you that you’re going to make it because your Father in Heaven never leaves you and has great plans for you. Seriously. Those aren’t just words. Those are His promises. (Hebrews 13:5, Jeremiah 29:11.)

If you’re beating yourself up because you goofed, I’m going to nod and tell you I understand. Not only have I messed up (ahem, on a daily basis I might add), but I also beat myself up for a loooong time over some of the things I’ve done in the past. But I’d like to tell you that you and I don’t have to live that way. We can tell our Heavenly Father we’re sorry, ask Him to forgive us, and He will (1 John 1:9). We can lift our eyes to Him and take His hand as He holds us up (Isaiah 41:10). Then we can collapse into His arms, take a nice, deep breath, and enjoy what THAT feels like. That, my dear friend, is perfect love and freedom.

But maybe you’re standing in this line and you’re confused and all sorts of negative thoughts keep replaying in your mind and you feel like you’re being squeezed in a really bad way.  I want to pray with you in the powerful name of Jesus Christ and rebuke the enemy who wants nothing more than to fill your head with trash and keep you running in circles. And when the squeezing stops, the heaviness is gone, and the devil has fled (James 4:7), I want to remind you to think about all the lovely things God has given us (Philippians 4:8) and that Jesus wants you to have an abundant life. (John 10:10.)

If you feel alone, lost, frightened, or overwhelmed…well I’d like to take you in my arms and just hold you for awhile, allowing you to cry. (Just so you know, I’ll probably cry with you.) And I would pray that God Himself would take you in His arms, help you to understand how He delights in you, and that you would hear Him singing over you. (Zephaniah 3:17.)

In fact, I’m going to pray that for every one of you as I return to my place in line…that you will all know how much God delights in you!

Just try not to laugh too loud when I trip and wipeout before I get there. 🙂

 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV.)

 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8 NIV.)

Shifting Seasons

shifting seasons

Last year, I prayed about a writing opportunity. It seemed right. It seemed to fit with what God was calling me to do. But then as things started to move forward, I lost all peace.

Something shifted.

I didn’t understand it at the time. I just know I had NO peace. I mean, it was so bad I couldn’t sleep and found myself deeply uncomfortable in my spirit. I wondered if I’d done something wrong; did I not hear God right? Why would He lead me to an exciting path in the woods and then, when I’m only a few feet into the journey, would He stop me and tell me to turn around?

Undercurrents.

God knows all about those hidden things in every situation you and I face. He sees through the flattering and deceit. He is aware of the backbiting and hears the gossiping. He knows the ins and outs of everyone’s plans and whether there are secret agendas or selfish ambitions waiting to surface. He knows the hearts of all involved. He knows the big picture from every angle. And He can see way into tomorrow and to the very end of the path.

Sometimes God will allow us to see a fraction of those nasty undercurrents, and we can experience a moment of clarity and deep gratitude for His guidance to avoid that rocky terrain on the path we were on that was leading us to a cliff in the middle of the night.

But there are other times when we will never know why there was a shift but simply must trust the protection and guidance of our Father. We have to remember how deeply He loves us and wants us to follow Him, our Shepherd, to safety.

And yet there are other times when we’re smack dab in the middle of doing exactly what God called us to do; we’re experiencing such joy and excitement like the Holy Spirit is whispering within how important this moment is, not only to us, but to the Kingdom. We feel honored and humbled and thrilled and well, maybe a little set in our way thinking this is going to go on forever.

But then we experience the shift.

We lose all peace. We get a bad taste in our mouths like someone dumped salt instead of sugar in our lemonade. Honestly, it can be discouraging if we focus on it for too long. But when we remember God is the One who brought us here, then we know where He’s taking us next is probably going to be even better!

We have to be willing to surrender all of our plans to God, especially those that began with Him.

He is, after all, the One who causes the seasons to shift, bringing new growth through the death of winter in the form of a beautiful spring.

If you’re experiencing a shift, I’m there with you, my friend. I wonder what new growth is about to bloom in us? I’m excited to find out! 🙂

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” (John 16: 13 NLT.)

 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” (Philippians 1:9 NLT.)