Tag Archives: Healing

No Greater Love | Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of a three day series of the greatest love story. If you missed day 1, please check it out here. Then come back and join me as I share my own thoughts about His amazing grace and His beautiful love for us.

Friend, I’m praying for you…praying you find my words helpful and His truth healing.

We were created to need Him. Without sin, we were unable to fully see that need. But with sin, comes suffering and pain. And because He knew we would suffer, He gave us His Son…

“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.” John 19:3

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First, let me tell you a little story about the image above…since we’re talking about love. My sweet friends, Shane and Christy, allowed me to photograph this beautiful, yet heart wrenching crown of thorns. I couldn’t look at it without knowing just how big God’s love for us is. Shane crafted this crown of thorns with his own hands and then gifted it to his beautiful bride, an example of his love and the ultimate love.

We live in a perfect world, created by a perfect God who allowed imperfections, sin, and satan. Why? Why would God allow so much devastation, pain, horror? Many stories in the Bible share evils we can’t even begin to understand. We know stories of war, death, disease, and so much more. There is pain and suffering all around us.

And…there is healing.

“Oh Lord, my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2

What a beautiful thing…healing.

My six year old daughter is playing soccer. She seems to enjoy these bumps and bruises she is racking up on the playing field. A few times recently, she has shown me some of these “battle wounds” as we refer to them. Each time, I remind her how within a few days, they will heal and how amazing it is that God designed our bodies with the ability to heal themselves.

We don’t have to do anything to a bruise for it to heal.

“…I am the Lord God who heals you.” Exodus 15:26

Sure, some wounds need extra help but isn’t it amazing to think that our Creator made our bodies in such a way that they could heal themselves? And beyond that amazement, He gave us the ultimate Healer for the things He knew we could not possibly heal on our own.

We, born into lives filled with sin, unable to truly right our wrongs or wipe away the disastrous results of our bad choices, mistakes, and sin. We cause pain in our own lives and we cause it in the lives of those around us. Sometimes, we do this without intent and other times, we do it with full intent of causing pain or harm.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

We are incapable of repairing the damage done by our own sins and the sins of others.

But God…

Knowing this, being part of His grand design and plan, sent us the ultimate healing in His Son, Jesus Christ who would walk this earth as a man, showing us the perfect example of how to live and how to love and He would ultimately go to the grave for our sake, in our place.

He would bear the wounds meant for us.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

And as only the Son of God could, He arose, to save us from our sins and fill us with the Holy Spirit that directs us, guides us, comforts us…Only God.

One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit – Three in One…Only God.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

God didn’t allow sin for sin to destroy us. I believe God allowed sin to show us our great need for Him, to draw us closer to Him, so we could understand the beauty in mercy, grace, hope, peace, faith, and love. By knowing suffering, we also know beauty. By knowing pain, we can know healing. By knowing Him, we can be healed.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

God didn’t give us life to turn us over to death. He gave us death to give us life.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Read the rest of my thoughts on this amazing love story in Day 3.

 

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Beauty in the Broken…

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Words … I have missed you.  Not for a lack of writing, but for a lack of sharing.

You see, I have been writing.  I’ve been writing more than I’ve written in years.  But my writing has not been for here.  It has been too deep.  Too personal to share.  It has been in my own little world.  My striped and worn journal has been the receiver of all my recent words.  Words my soul can’t bear to release, yet words I long to pour out.

The words of recent days are filled with sorrow. pain. hurt. anger. sadness. loneliness. 

Among those words are also words of … hope.

Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I am brokenhearted.  My spirit is crushed.  But today…

I find beauty in the broken.

Today, I realized God has been preparing me for this very day, for the past few days, weeks.

Today, I saw God’s plans playing out.

The events of the past few years were made clear to me in an instant.  What I thought was a plan for others was really His plan for me.  There’s no doubt He knew I would face emotions and pain that I can no longer bear on my own.  He knew I would need to be carried.  He’s been drawing me closer to himself and all the while, placing people in my life to walk along side me, to hold my hand, to comfort me.  He knew I would feel lonely and I would struggle to ask for help.

Today, I realized that all along, he’s been preparing me and has blessed me with a world full of love, compassion, patience and understanding.

Today, I found my strength. 

There is beauty in the broken.

Beauty surrounds me.  In His words.

Psalm 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Refuge and strength.  Ever-present.

Beauty encompasses me.  Through words of hope, love, compassion, peace, understanding and patience.  From these beautiful women He has placed in my life.  At just.the.right.time.

No mistakes.  Beauty in the broken.

Proverbs 4:20-22  My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

I’m on a journey.  One I thought I had already taken, sort of.  Today, I begin to heal this broken heart.

The first step – admitting I am broken and in need, followed by working through the brokenness.  That’s not a journey I can walk alone.  So today, I praise Him for His words and for placing people in my life willing to walk beside me and lift me up when I fall.

I am blessed.  There is beauty in the broken.

Here’s a song for you…

Hyland “Beauty in the Broken”

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31 Days of Grace | Day 26 – Accepting Grace

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I’ve been reading through the book, The Unburdened Heart by Suzanne Eller.  It’s not an easy book to go through as Suzanne digs deep into many areas of forgiveness, but I highly recommend.

In one chapter, Suzanne talks about grace and part of that is being able to accept grace.

Do you find it difficult to accept the idea of grace?
Mercy, love, forgiveness?
Do you feel unworthy?
Punishing yourself?

Often times we struggle to accept grace because of a past that haunts us.  Perhaps our past was filled with abuse, violence, broken trust, or other painful situations.

Part of being able accepting grace is first being able to forgive yourself.

Some quotes Suzanne shares in her book are from women who struggled with this very thought – forgiving themselves.

“I stuff it all down.  I have never given myself permission to talk about what happened.”
“I did so many bad things.  Yes, my past is ugly, but the ugliest parts I brought on myself.”
“I don’t think God even sees me.”
“How can God love someone so mad at Him?”

Suzanne goes on to say, “You bring pleasure to God, yes, you.  Right where you are.  He sees your heart.  He sees your potential.”

“Every day is a new opportunity to love Him and walk with Him.”  ~Suzanne Eller

When You Seek Me…

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You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

Several weeks ago, in preparation for the women’s retreat our church was hosting, a group of women’s ministry leaders had gotten together to finalize some things.  Each meeting had been filled with prayer over who would be impacted and affected, how God would work in their lives and ours and more, who would lead the sessions, etc.  Our meetings are always very centered around prayer and God.

During this meeting, the topics for different sessions we would be leading went around.  I quickly offered to do “games” because I’m so good at hiding anything real behind laughter and fun.  As soon as I saw session 4, I knew I had to lead it.  That session was on forgiveness.

I have struggled with forgiveness my whole life.  I have been torn on the idea of forgiving others and forgiving myself.  It’s a constant battle and in many different situations I have faced it seems nearly impossible.  For me to choose this session was very much stepping out, but I knew I had to do it.

As I prepared for my session, I spoke with our women’s ministry leader who suggested another verse to me that was not included in my guide.  The guide followed the story of Malchus, one of the guards who would haul Jesus off to his death after Judas lead the guards to him.  In the heat of the moment, Peter slashed off the ear of Malchus.  Instead of Jesus cheering him on and giving him a big “Kudos!”, Jesus stopped to heal Malchus.  This man, who was getting ready to help put Jesus to death, was healed by Jesus.

Jesus didn’t stop to tell him how awful of a person he was or how wrong he was.  He didn’t fight him or laugh at him.  He didn’t ignore his suffering.  No, he forgave him, for no reason, and healed him.

I can’t imagine how I would feel in that situation.  Terrified?  Angry?

The verse we included to go along with that story was, 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  Matthew 5:23-24

When I studied this story in preparing to lead my session, I knew God was working in me.  He was leading me, guiding me to something more.

I lead a Wednesday night class and had already chosen a book for the class that will begin this fall.  A few days after the retreat, I stumbled across a book on forgiveness.  I knew right then, it was the one we needed to do this fall and quickly asked to change my class.

I’ve been reading this new book.  Guess what was the main story in the first chapter?  The story of Malchus and Jesus healing him!  And later in the first chapter, is the verse from Matthew.  I don’t believe that’s any coincidence.  In fact, it’s reassuring to me that I am following God’s lead and that He is working through me and in me.

With all that said, I imagine there will be a bit more to come from me on the topic of forgiveness, considering that seems to be where God is leading me right now :)  Stay tuned!

What a blessing it is when we can clearly see God work in our lives and the lives of those around us!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

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Perception is everything…

Perception

Perception is everything …

And mine has been so wrong!

Is it black or white?  Is it big or small?  Is it up or down?  Above or below?

Are your problems too much to handle?  Or just enough?  Or possible with help?

Are you fixable or broken?

How we view these things makes all the difference.  Perception is everything.

For most of my life, I was broken.  Simply that.  Broken.

Today, I am still broken, but there’s no period after broken.  I am broken but I am healing.  I am broken but I am fixable (maybe not completely, but my wounds can be bandaged).  I am broken but blessed.

For the longest time, I didn’t want to believe there was another way of life.  All I could see was that my world was filled with darkness and there was no light to find my way out.  Sometimes, I didn’t even want to find my way out.  I was comfortable in the darkness.  Even though that darkness was filled with pain and misery, it was what I knew and that was comforting.

Along the way, people unknowingly impacted my life in positive ways.  Most often, I was annoyed.  I was aggravated.  I thought they were butting in or they looked down on me.  I judged them.  I gave up on them just as I had given up on myself.  I felt unworthy and couldn’t figure out why they would waste their time worrying over a mess like me.  I still struggle with that one!

I continue to find myself unable to accept love from others.  To accept love from another person without owing them anything?  How could they possibly love me just for being me?  Do they have hidden motives?  How do I know I can trust them?  My heart is full but my head becomes cluttered with thoughts of doubt and insecurities.

But at some point, I realized that perception is everything.  It was finally clear to me that people were reaching out.  They weren’t there to hurt me.  They weren’t trying to take anything from me.  They were simply showing love and concern.

I don’t have all the answers on how to move past that but I do know that God is working on me in that area and I pray that someday, I learn to accept it.

For now, I hold to the blessing that he has opened my eyes.  He has given me eyes to see things more clearly.  He has shown me that things don’t have to be black or white or gray.  He has shown me that there was a hint of light in my darkness.  There were blessings in the midst of my suffering.

When all hope was gone.
When the lights were off but no sleep would come.
When my heart overran with tears of pain but my eyes couldn’t shed even one tear.

He was there.  I couldn’t see that then, but I can clearly see it now.

That is why perception is everything!  It gives me hope, it gives my life purpose.

“The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”  Matthew 6:23

 

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