Author Archives: mrserinellison

About mrserinellison

I am a girl who understands Christ's redemption first hand. He can change even the most wayward child into a prodigal. My life is like a mosaic- with the broken pieces being changed into a portrait of Him.

Come Father from the Fringes

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Worry and stress permeate when the gospel is not big enough or constrained to a small portion our life, unable to bring life to all areas. When the gospel is made silent, reserved for religious “times, activities or topics” it leaves room for one thing, humanism. Humanism is the idea that humanity is the ultimate or thing of prime importance. It is a full dependance upon humanity and ultimately self. And so I am left to wonder who reigns? The Lord or me? 

We live in a world that says spirituality and religion do not “fit” or are not permissible in certain spheres or is not enough to solve problems. So we turn to man made constructs, psychology or science to solve them. The problem I am facing, if I leave my heart unchecked, is being pulled into the delusion that I can solve my own problems. My fears drive me to striving to do more in hopes that I can prevent pain and hardship. My stress and worry opposes Godly contentment. My stress is a marker of something deep inside of me that is rebelling against the Truth. 

And with deep tragedy in my soul, forsaking my Maker and abandoning the truth, I wonder why the worries of the world are destroying me.

Why isn’t the Gospel working?

Because it isn’t the Gospel at all. Jesus came and liberated all of life, not just part of my life. He is not just reserved for quiet moments with him. Not just the spaces of worship or community Bible study. All of it

And so the poverty of my spirit and worried, hurried mindset communicate there are boundaries for the Gospel.

Oh no, sweet self. There are NO boundaries for Jesus. No part of life that the empty tomb, nail pierced hands, resurrected Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father left untouched.

So why do I live in fear?

Because I am buying into the self worship of humanism, the world’s structure that pushes God into the fringes until he is “no more worshiped.” Instead, I collect all things that glitter gold (my own wisdom, knowledge, capacity and capabilities) and I melt them down and construct with my hands a statue. As I look at this image, it resembles me. And I join the culture of individualism and buy the lie that I am worthy of worship. I am the ultimate provider and solution to life’s trials and tribulations. This glittering statue says “my way, my control, my preferences, my sacrifices all for my experience.” I assert this in my heart, and bow down to me while proclaiming to worship the Lord. 

But self worship has a price. A heavy burden. It demands I save myself. 

Am I willing to resist myself and invite my Father from the fringes into all things? Am I willing to melt the golden stature of self? Am I willing to oppose cultural norms of self worship- that declare and promote a message that me the individual, the human, the experience is ultimate- and chose the Gospel? 

Yes. Why? The burden is too heavy. My finite mind and body has reached capacity and my soul aches under the weight of trying to save myself. And I weep, I weep for the deluded heart inside of me that proclaims the Gospel and longs to live all for Him. Oh Father, have mercy on me. 

So come Lord Jesus. Come to every part and area of me and overturn the temple tables of self worship. And when I resist, in your gentle way show me how to keep the alter for You pure, and my knees bowed to the One who deserves all the glory and honor and praise. Oh come Father from the fringes. 

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

When we believe the miracle of the Gospel pertains to all of our life and turn to Him for help, He reveals Himself to us. And He grants us rest. I want that. I am tired of trying to save myself.

Oh great merciful God, forgive me for the times you have been pushed to the fringes of my life. You are the Truth. You are the solution to my weary, worried heart. Please, give me rest. Come Father from the fringes.

A Journey to Life with Less Worry

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You probably know the sound. The familiar voice that says… “Hurry, you have more to do. Why are you so slow? Don’t forget about that one thing. What if it doesn’t get done? If it doesn’t get done, you’ll be a failure. What about your finances? What if there isn’t enough to pay your bills? What if your next check bounces or the card gets declines? Oh… and your relationship with so and so, they didn’t text/email/call you back. Maybe they are mad at you? And he, he was short with you this afternoon. Maybe he is unhappy with you. What if you did something wrong?” 

You know that tape that plays in your head that is like a black hole that draws you in until you don’t know which way is top from bottom. Every possible subject becomes a matter of worry. As your mind reels about all of the possible things that may go wrong, your stomach muscles clench and butterflies form anxiously flitting about. With each flap your pulse gets higher and your lungs struggle for air. 

Or maybe it’s the late night to-do list that is running through your mind as you collapse on your pillow. As the list grows into a monster inside your mind, it takes life and swallows you up. You become restless and sleep leaves you. Tomorrow’s worries steal today’s sleep as you chase them into the new today. As you drag yourself out of bed, longing for the next moment you will find yourself there. Secretly you wish your day away believing that sleep is the best escape from your anxious reality. 

These are the sounds of worry…. and there are many more. But, I am sure you know the tapes well. I do. 

Worry, when multiplied becomes stress. And stress steels. It robs peace, joy and presence in today. Stress takes from the very life and fixates on every problem, and possible horrific outcome and spins a web that says “Control will fix this. Do more, accomplish more. Success= happiness.”  Stress lies telling you that life begins when the To-Do list ends (which is never, by the way). 

But what’s worse, is stress can and will manifest itself in your body when it becomes high enough. When the pressure builds and worry reproduces, it will make itself known. It hates being ignored and will make a scene. 

This my friends is where I found myself a month ago. 

Every worry, problem, possible problem, assignment (I am in grad school), to-do became so huge that nothing could console me. The stranger thing was I was coping to the point that I was in denial that I was stressed. I ran from task to task and was exhausted and hardly productive. My mood would swing violently as more was added to the list. When unexpected events would come about, it was more than I could bear. The burden was crushing me. I longed for my bed and cried every morning when my alarm went off, I would avoid getting up as long as I could. My heart, mind and body was looking for rest. Finally one day,  I found myself in the doctor with my limbs literally burning and my head pounding and the tests began. 

I should mention that medical tests do not help stress. In fact, it makes it worse. And so as the doctor waded through the possible reasons, I felt worse. The interesting thing is after all the tests, the conclusion is I am stressed. Oh really?  The pain and burning was coming from my neck and back that were clenched because of worry. 

Why does the body react to worry? Someone said to me that stress, which is the product of worry, actually is fear. 

Maybe my body is literally bracing itself for impact. Fear that tragedy, hardship or whatever the figment of my “worry tape” is playing at any given moment will actually happen. And so my body reacts to what is in my mind by clenching my muscles in fear that I will not be okay. 

And so my friends… I have begun the journey to find peace in the midst of a chaotic world that in fact does produce reason to worry. In a culture that demands constant activity, I am looking for rest. And with my “always have a plan five years out” personality I am learning to enjoy the journey. 

So will you come with me as I follow my Father, my Lord and Savior to a life with less worry? 

 

photo credit: iStockphoto. by Jennifer Goodman Linn

Broken Threads of Friendships Past

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Well, I took a break from the blog world for a while. Intensional and not so intentional, in ways. I learned the value of living a life that isn’t driven with the hopes of a post on social media. I have intensions to blog more, but grad school keeps life full. So I make no promises in this space. Although, I would love to try.  In my break, I started school again (the best and craziest decision I made in the last year and a half). And I am engaged to be married…. Perhaps there will be posts about that to come….  So… if anyone is still listening….

Friendship is colored with both success and failure, weaknesses and strengths. These colorful threads make friendship beautiful. The haphazard stitches make the tapestry beautiful. Vulnerability is the very thread that sews the heart to another.

What does it mean to be a good friend? This heavy weighted question sits inside the halls of my heart. I can hear the clicking of the high heels as this question wanders like an impatient sales woman, waiting to be answered. Perhaps the real question I am asking is “Am I a good friend?” I am not sure I know the answer to this. All the shortcomings, failures and losses of friendships come to mind. I imagine I have moments of great strength as a friend, and others of great weakness. The enemy of our souls certainly has the ability to highlight the shortcomings. Today I am pondering lost friendships. You know the ones that part with time, fade into the distance when the roads meander apart? Sometimes this is a natural parting of ways, other times it seems like a dramatic severing of souls. Dreams of life long friendship, whispered secrets and delightful hopes are cut in a stunning instant. Those losses hurt the most. I confess that my intense relational being tends to believe that all friendships will last forever and it nearly crushes me when they shatter, no matter the circumstance.

As I reflect on my own losses, one particular friendship comes to mind that weighs on my heart which causes a wave of melancholy and sad wash over me. This friendship had deep ties connecting our hearts and in a moment those ties were snipped in a text message. I still wonder what went wrong. I mull and chew on the various things I did, like a cow on cud. This ache in my heart over the loss nags at me. It’s been over a year. I know I missed the mark for her. I know I wasn’t attentive enough, available enough. Truthfully I was selfish. Perhaps I wasn’t there in her greatest time of need as she was for me. I confess that I went through a season where pride filled my heart and a particular belief made me assume I was superior. Maybe the brunt of this belief, the craziness of it all, just became more than she could bear. After all, I was pretty consumed with my own needs, longings, desires… so much so I am not sure I would be friends with me. I wonder how many times I overlooked her pain, discarded her needs and made her feel unworthy with my pride filled words. I wonder how many times rescheduled dates caused tears I didn’t see. I took her for granted. Don’t we all have that potential when we fail to see what we have?

And one cold winter day she left. Abruptly and I didn’t chase her down. Truthfully, I don’t know if she wanted me to. I still wonder if she wanted me to pursue her, but after not a murmur from her lips or a light up of the phone- the cold cut of the bond of friendship stung. I was surprised, shocked and confused. The pain settled in my heart and I just let her go. I justified in my heart that she wanted to leave. I told myself she had better friends in other places and it was best for her if I just let her leave. She was done with me, and I wasn’t brave enough to make it right. Rejection spewed lies and told me I deserved the loss. And so I cowered and hid in my shame and let life pass by.

 

Changes came to both of us. Seasons change after all, but what happens when you want to take people into the next one with you? I confess I do not handle change well and I have had my fair share of major changes the last few years which likely strained the friendship. We both failed, made mistakes; but we also both had great strengths. For the years our lives intersected I was deeply blessed by her. And so the wound was deeper, with an awareness of my love and gratitude for her.

I stuffed this loss into a dark corner of my heart and “moved forward”. But the truth is my heart just didn’t really come with me. She still is someone I think of, pray for and miss often. Perhaps my awareness of her absence is deeper than ever because of my upcoming wedding. She was a person I dreamt with, cried with over previous failed relationships and pain. We would whisper about our wedding days and make plans. I think back and remember those moments with a deep sorrow of what was lost. Those plans are a shadow in my mind and I grieve her absence. A huge part of me never dreamt of these day without her.

Today, I weep at the loss of our friendship. I grieve the ways I failed and miss her presence. I am not minimizing the wonderful friendships I have now with other courageous, bold women of God. But no friendship replaces another. No two relationships are alike, and I think that is purposeful. We are created uniquely, and so our friendships follow in uniqueness.

And, so I remember with tears finding their way down my cheek….this unique and treasured friendship that once was and thank the Lord for the moments I had with her and wish I had held on a little tighter to our friendship I took for granted…. Now they are treasures in the depths of my heart. I remember and even treasure the broken threads that linger from our friendship in my heart.

Perhaps today you will take the time to remember a friendship lost with the ticks of time. Let’s pray for them and love them no matter how it ended. May we be thankful for those who are close to us, after all we don’t know how long we have.

If you (my treasured lost friend) read this… I am sorry for the ways I failed you. I wish you well, pray blessings in to your life and hope you find it in your heart to forgive me. I still to this day, love you and miss you.

Sorry, I’m Not Sorry

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I am tired of apologizing for who I am. Sorry, I am not sorry.

I was not made to live up to someone else’s expectations, stretching myself to reach the bar that has been set high by an idealistic world. I was not made to meet another’s needs, expectations or wants. I was not made to be less, or made to be more or made to be stuffed into a mold. I am not here to satisfy another’s void or created to look a certain way. I am not a standard to measure up to, or measure against. I am not another statistic. I wasn’t made to feel sorry for, or to improve. I wasn’t made to look at or lust after or compete with. I was not made to victimize or accommodate. I am not made to make another comfortable or to be comfortable.

I was made with intension, and yet I have been living as though I haven’t. I have been living in bondage, apologizing when friends, family, loved ones were disappointed with who I am. I apologized and and then proceeded to feel sorry for who I am.

My Creator cries when my heart agrees and apologizes for who I am. He did not create me to cater to another. No, He made me with the utmost attention to detail. His heart breaks when I look in the mirror and the labels hang off of me like a discarded name-tag. I push them on with each agreement, making them stick, somehow believing they will help me identify myself. He whispers to me “Erin, you, are fearfully and wonderfully made, praise me for how you were made.” Am I? So quickly I reject. I reject myself and refuse to praise, I reject His creation.

I live as though I ought to be fearful because I was made.

Fearfully. Maybe. I fearfully agree with the comments of others. Fearfully agree that I am “too much”, “too intense”, “too deep”.  Fearful that my deep concern and care for others overwhelms and pushes people away. Fearful that my light-heartedness and playfulness is dismissed as immature. I fear my laughter is too loud and my comments will offend. I fear. I fear that the intensional creation I am is too much, but not enough. That I am discardable commodity and defined by what I can give, who I am or where I have been. I fear that my value is measurable and a quantity that disappoints. I fear rejection.

I fear my own creation.

But this is not what He meant when He said fearfully.

Wonderfully. My Creator says wonderfully. My deep compassion for others and need for authentic connection was intensional. It is not.too.much. My intensity and willingness to ask tough uncomfortable questions was not an accident. The way my brain thinks about things, contemplates and longs to understand was not a manufactures error. It was with His delight that I would long to know and seek answers. My silliness and need for laughter brings Him joy. He smiles at my outbursts of laughter and childlike humor. He created my intense emotions and deep desire to be known. He created my desire to know others, console, encourage and delight in their gifts.

I live between the tension of the fearfully and wonderfully. In a confused tension of worldly fear and reverent awe of His workmanship. As I strip off the name tags, I can see His marvelous works in Me behind what I thought defined me.

I gaze upon the masterpiece that He sees, unobstructed by lies.

Fearfully is meant to cause reverence to the One who crafted me. To fall down in awe at the ways he created me. Not because of something I have done but because of the very work of His hands.

So I am not sorry for how I was made. I was made with deep intension and total purpose. Though others may not see it as such, I will not apologize. I refuse to live my life for the pleasure of humanity. Instead I will fix my eyes on Him, and praise His name. For I am in awe of how fearfully and wonderfully made I really am.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139: 14

Doctor’s Offices, Drive Thru’s and Dating

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What do you think of when you hear the word “waiting“? Personally, I think of a torturous activity that includes doctor’s offices, check out lines and the like that causes impatience to flare up. This girl has grown to cringe at the concept in waiting especially in her dating life. I will own the fact that I am a product of our instant gratification culture where most things are only a drive thru or click away. Believe me, if there could be a drive thru for dating I am pretty sure every single person would be there and the line would be miles long. So there we are, back to the whole waiting thing again.

You see, maybe you are like me and struggle with what to do with waiting. I mean really, who thinks “oh today I am going to do some waiting. Yup, that waiting was the highlight of my day.” Take that into the dating realm. The first picture that pops into my head is a woman sitting at home knitting socks and sewing buttons waiting for a man to court her. (Okay so maybe I read Little Women one to many times). Regardless, I highly doubt that any of us are overly excited at the idea of waiting. In fact, when God impressed upon my heart back in November that I would be single for a year, I cried and wailed and attempted to persuade him that a FedEx box on my door step with my husband in it was a better alternative. Unfortunately here we are about five months later and still no box on my porch. Looks like God has bigger plans.

But God has been teaching me something in the past few months. I have learned waiting in singleness is not a passive activity. Far from it actually. When I sit down with a girlfriend over coffee and discuss my situation of singleness, I have begun to realize that there is far more I can be doing than pining away for my God appointed helpmate. God has opened my eyes up to the importance of intension during singleness that actively prepares me for my future relationship with my spouse. This time of my life is not meant to be idle. Nor is this is the time to be throwing a pity party. In no way is eating ice cream watching chick flicks, reading love stories or planning our future wedding, helping our cause. Even if everyone in our life is getting married or dating someone does not mean we don’t have things we can be intentionally doing to prepare for the things God has for us.

Above all else we need to fully surrender ourselves to Christ. Fully. Not partially, not selectively. Fully. The most important thing I can do for my spouse is fall head over heals in love with my Savior.  My relationship with Christ directly affects every area of my life and will affect my ability to be a good wife to my husband. Do I trust the One who created me? If not, how can I trust a flawed human being?  The biggest gift I can give my husband is being firmly planted in Him. Our relationship with Christ directly affects our ability to love another person. When we withhold ourself from Him, taking control, we cut off the supply of life to that area of our life and death is bound to follow.

It is important to identify that only Christ can fix the broken places of my heart. Christ alone sets me free. No man can give me my identity, but Christ can because He created me. Security does not come from a man or possession, but through Christ who is my Provider. As much as we want to believe that our significant other will provide a solution to pain or complete a process of healing or make us whole in some way that is far from the case. Jesus completes us, heals us and is the Perfecter of our faith. Attaching ourself to another equally broken person without knowing who we are in Christ is a recipe for disaster. Take it from the girl who used to be a leach, sucking a man dry in desperation to figure out who she was all the while he didn’t know who he was. When we know who we are in Christ, we are whole and confident in Him prepared to sustain a relationship with another broken human being. No longer are we looking to them as an answer, we already know the answer.

In understanding each of these things and more through pursuing God whole heartedly, I am establishing discipline in my life that will carry over into my future marriage. By reaching out to Him to receive all I need, I am practicing identifying the proper source of where those needs are filled. I am building a foundation in my life that will join with my husband who I believe is doing the same to build a life on the cornerstone of Christ. But we each have to own our faith first and walk it out alone before we can to it together. Without the opportunity to exercise our faith muscles we risk being unequally yoked, depending upon the other person in the relationship to carry our weight. Another person cannot walk out a relationship with Christ for you.

Finally we can pray. We can be prayer warriors for our spouse and future marriage as we wait. Just because we don’t know their name or details doesn’t mean that prayer isn’t effective. God knows all. He knows your spouse better than you ever will. I think sometimes we think of prayer as a passive activity because we don’t always see the fruit right away. But actually prayer is biggest thing we can do. I know I hope my husband is already praying for me, it’s likely he has been for years. Truth be told I very well could be the woman I am today because the power of some prayerful people who lifted me up to the only One who could reach me. Never ever ever underestimate the power of prayer. If you don’t pray for your marriage, who will? I know I want to actively sow into my marriage now through prayer even though I don’t get to see the harvest for a while. Prayer has become an active act of submission of my plans in exchange for God’s plans. As I pray for my husband, our hearts are being knit together. I want a unified marriage through Christ where my husband and I’s heart beats as one. The only way I know how to have that happen is kneel before the Author of my love story and pray. I am learning to love that man already through prayer. Prayer purifies our motives and exchanges our natural selfish lust for selfless Christ filled love.

Singleness is not this holding place meant to torture us. It is a period of time to prepare for all the beauty God has for us. Personally through seeking Him and praying for my husband my heart has been filled with purpose and a hope of a future beyond my wildest imagination. My motives have been purified. I no longer seek to be married because of a deep need that  aches to be filled. Instead I desire to journey through life with my husband spurring him on to be the man God has called him to be and as a couple seek to glorify His Name. My singleness transformed from a time of idleness to a time of intension because God opened my eyes to the responsibility I have in preparation for my groom. But most of all I no longer worry about this area of my life. Dating and marriage used to consume me, but I realize now that He has always been penning my love story.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, 
   for I have put my trust in you. 
Show me the way I should go, 
   for to you I entrust my life. ” –Psalm 143:8

A Small Sparkly Reminder

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I am laughing as I sit down to write this blog post. It’s not something I ever planned to write about. So brace yourself.

I have a nose piercing.

A seemingly insignificant speck in my right nostril. Meaningless to the passerby and possibly overlooked by people who know me well. I never change it to something flashy and am not personally into the “nose ring”. I got the piercing when I turned twenty-two and honestly was slightly terrified of the reaction I believed my Mother would have when she saw it. (I must add she wasn’t phased and reacted opposite of my expectation).  I did not get the piercing because of the fad that seems to have invaded my generation, although I would imagine that would be the typical assumption.

Several months before my birthday that year I came across this passage that touched a deep place in my heart. I must confess that it had meaning out of context for this weary girls heart. A biblical scholar may not have this particular interpretation, but God’s Word is alive and active and it spoke very clearly to me that day. What I saw was my own story.  Ezekiel 16: 5-13 became alive through the lens of my own life:

5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

6 “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”[a]7 I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked.

8 “‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.

9 “‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. 

There were years of my life where I felt as though I was kicking about in my own blood in the middle of a field, discarded and alone. Blood from life decisions that caused my soul to run dry. The combination of sin and running from the plans God had for me, had pooled around me and caused isolation. This blood was a symbol of shame I rolled about in. Other times it was self-pity, self loathing and pure disgust. In certain moments it was hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness and rage. There certainly were times it was pride, insecurity and a desperate need to be in control. Sometimes it was distress and awareness of my captivity. I did not know how to get up out of the blood, there were moments where it was comfortable and familiar and yet I loathed the condition I was in.

I seemed to live simply because I was born. I went through the motions, developing and using tools to cope, limping along and refusing to relinquish control. My identity remained in the pools of blood at my feet and caked on my naked body. Ashamed of the condition I was in, deception swirled in the depths of my soul. Often I felt that the command to “live” was a cruel trick and I pled with the Giver of Life to take me and to end my suffering. I wanted a way out.

Truly it was not until I understood fully the covenant the King had made with me that I began to see myself for who I really was. One day I realized He took notice of me in my blood and nakedness and called me His. It was while I was in the field He came and delivered me from that barren place and carefully washed me of my blood and sin. He tended to each wound and clothed me. My King dressed me in the finest garments and saw something in me I never did. He took me and made me a queen.

The day I read this passage the description of clothing, jewelry and then being crowned struck a place in my heart. The value He gave me began to be exposed. I did not want to forget this identity. I never wanted to forget the process from the field to Him calling me his own. But I struggled with how to remember. The little girl in me wanted to wear a crown but when my eyes rested on “and I put a ring on your nose” I knew. A nose piercing was the perfect way for me to remember.

So at first glance it is a tiny jewel in my nose. But in my heart it is a crown I wear on my head to remember just how far He has brought me. I no longer lie in the field caked in my own destruction left to die. I do not want to forget what Christ did to deliver me.

Yes I got my nose pierced  as a reminder of how far He has brought me and the sacrifice He made to set me free. A small sparkly reminder of Him and His glory. And incase you didn’t know, He has done the same for you. You, my sweet sister are a queen, chosen by Him. He wants nothing more than to cleanse you from all that weighs you down and bring you out of your field of waste into the identity you have always had. He died to set you free. Friend, if you have never heard about the freedom Christ can offer I’d love to pray for you. Pray this with me:

Jesus, I am aware of the blood and waste that I am laying in. I am tired of trying to make this work on my own. I recognize my need for a savior and I accept that You want to make me your own. Thank you for dying on the cross, conquering death and suffering for my sin. Through acceptance of You I am cleansed and forgiven, forever a new creation in You and made new.   I believe that You are the Messiah that came to conquer death so that I can live eternal life with You as your accepted, chosen, adopted, redeemed and forgiven child. Thank you for this gift and opening my eyes to see who I am in You and what You have done for me. Today I accept you as my King and enter into the divine covenant that will radically change my life. I pray this in Jesus Christ’s Name- Amen

If you prayed this leave a comment or please find a local church this weekend and I promise He will meet you there. If you still aren’t sure or have questions or are just curious about all of this, please find a church in Your area and go. There is no better time than this sunday.

Also I’d love to hear if you have something in your life that reminds you of how far you have come and price He paid for you. Leave a comment 🙂

Keeping Company with Shame

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Shame is something I struggle with. This emotion is a complex mixture of past and present mistakes, perceived failures and  reality that I have missed the mark. Despite the reassurance that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), this lingering feeling can wash over me when I least expect it like a tidal wave threatening to drown me.

The most frustrating thing about shame is that I know in my head that I should not feel shame in who I am, or where I have been or in who I will become because Christ has died to set me free. On good days I rest in the truth that I am a new creation, and that Christ’s blood is more than enough for the likes of me, no matter how badly I screw up. But nevertheless, I still find myself keeping company with shame. Hand in hand, skipping like school girls, shame and condemnation embrace me. We sit around in a circle replaying and revisiting the lies. Condemnation spews venom into my heart until there is hardly an ounce of truth left. This nasty enemy befriends me while abusing me with the very things I despise. Condemnation keeps me looking backwards, wondering and wishing that I was someone different. Shame wraps its arms around me like an old familiar friend, promising not to leave.

The emotion of shame lies to me every time. It whispers that I am less than others and that God has lied to me when he says that I am an accepted, chosen, adopted and redeemed daughter of The Most High. It tries to persuade me that I deserve to be treated with disrespect and to remain in a state that demands I hide my face and divert my eyes from those who I have shamed. Shame tries to rob me of my identity in Christ tethering me to the old.

About a week ago, in the midst of worshiping my King, the world faded away and I found myself dancing with Him. As the words of a song rang from my mouth, I was far from the place I stood. There in the presence of the Lord, He showed me something.

He had dressed me in the most magnificent gown. The detail and the beauty of this dress go unmatched. The dress was white, billowing material with a full skirt surrounding me, fitting me like a glove. From head to toe, I was ready for what looked like a wedding. The tiny jewels on the dress glimmered in the light, reflecting Him. I was radiant, but something was wrong. I looked around me and grabbed from the ground a dirty dingy sack cloth. This cloth was filthy. Almost black with dirt and soot, stained and torn apart in places. The aroma coming from it was foul.  It was worn with holes as if it had been chewed on by some animal.  And I put it over my head covering the dress I was wearing. I then turned to Christ as if I had just placed a crown on my head.

In that moment He showed me that every time I cling to shame I am pulling on that sack cloth covering my true identity in Him. I continually place the grimy sack cloth over the gorgeous gown He made for me. In this sack cloth I am unable to see who I really am. I am blinded by my shame. Despite the fact that He tries to take it off me, as long as I put it back on nothing will change. I have to stop reaching for the sack cloth and slipping it on.

Upon seeing that vision my heart sank. I was choosing a ragged garment over the truth. I was settling and believing the lies and wearing them before my King when He has already dressed me in perfection. I felt more comfortable in the dirty, old rags then in the gown and beauty that He created me for. Shame and condemnation kept handing me the rags in hopes that I would never notice the dress I was wearing.

That is the danger of the enemy. He wants so desperately to convince us that we are not really something of great worth. The devil goes to great lengths to get us to forget who we really are and focus on the sack cloth and not on the beautiful women of God that we really are.

So today I am taking notice of the gown He has clothed me in. I am rejoicing in the work that He has done in me. I refuse to put on the garment of shame any longer. Shame is not a part of the glory that Christ has clothed me in. Let our eyes be open to the ways that He delights and rejoices in us. After all He is our Husband and He loves us so.

“As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5