Monday, October 19, 2009

'you make all things work together for my good...'

That verse in the song, 'Your Love Never Fails' touched my heart as we were singing it in church yesterday. It's as if my heart found the words to how it's been feeling the past year and a half.

YOU make all things work together for my good...

And as I look back over my life I can see how things, no matter how screwed up I've made them, have worked out for my good.

I have a hard time with the saying, 'everything happens for a reason', because we were given free will and with that we can make decisions and do things apart from God. If everything happened for a reason it'd be very easy to put the blame on God for everything bad that happened in our lives and it'd make it that much harder to see His love shining through.

I believe that the loving God that He is, makes beauty out of the messes we make. But we won't be able to see it if we're not looking to Him during those messes. If we focus on the messes in our life, that's all we'll see. That is where I was a year and a half ago. That's how I was living my life up until that point.

Through our church and the people in it, I learned about God's love for us and what that really means. It means there are no conditions. That's what unconditional love means! No conditions! And instead of that realization making me lazy in my faith, it's done the opposite. It's made me peaceful in my everyday life and has made me want to find out more about my Father. He has made my heart at peace. Listening and learning from others has only opened my eyes to the truth.

In saying this, your eyes may only be opened by the words I write or say but you will never experience this until you turn to Him.

In the messes in your life or even in the everyday look to find the blessings amongst the mess. And know that even if you've created a mess for yourself, God is a loving God and HE will still take care of you. His love is unconditional even if you find a condition for Him in which not to love you.

I have some really good examples of how He's taken care of me during the messes that I've created for myself. I will collect them in my thoughts this afternoon and write about them tomorrow and maybe throughout this week. There are a lot!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

for the love of others!

when i first heard about God's grace at our new church, my instant feeling was to show my family what they're missing out on. and i kept trying to figure out how to talk to them and show them the light! it saddened me that they believed different then me. i was determined to fix them!

in the past 3 months my feelings toward them and what they believe have changed. for the better! i've realized that they have the same core beliefs. Jesus is the son of God and the only way to God is through Him. i know that they are God's children and I know He's already living in them.

knowing that takes a load off my mind. it gives me a peace and allows me to love them for them. now i see them as a group of God's people that are so deeply loved . i can see areas of their lives where they aren't living in the freedom of that love. i was there. i understand. and all i can do is allow God to love them through me.

this is a great opportunity to talk about loving others. when you try and love others out of your own strength, it gets easily crushed by the smallest things. i'm sure you can think of more then a few times in your own lives. i can. or when you find your worth in another person's love for you.

just know that it's impossible to love anyone in your own strength. even your spouse. you will dissapoint and be greatly dissapointed if you're relying on them to fulfill what you need.

i'm not even saying to love them like God loves them because we can't do that either. i'm talking about God loving them through you.

the way i got to this truth for my own life was when God reveiled to me that everyone is the same. no one better then the other. i realized that my own love for others was flawed. i would easily get stressed when they didn't respond the way i expected.

my view of marriage was completely messed up as well. i use to look to my husband for my happiness. he's known the realization of allowing God to love other's through you and has always loved me that way. which, if you don't understand it, can be very frustrating to be on the receiving end of that love. i had things i thought he had to fulfill to be the best husband. and he didn't see it that way so i have lived some pretty miserable married years because of my own expectations.

ever since having a son (and the revelation of God's love) it's made me realize that men have the same needs we do. why should they cater to our every need just because they are male? i know what the bible says about the husband's roles. never in the bible did i read where the husband has to know what you're thinking all the time. never did i read where he has to bring you something home every week to show you his love. how sad is it, as women, we are programmed (through wordly things) to instantly base a man's love for us on whether or not he brings you a box of chocolate of valentine's day? as i did, you will live a miserable life if you base your happiness on how others love you. you will also be miserable if you try and love others on your own when they are only human and will let you down.

i now see my husband as an equal. i am not better then him because i'm a woman. i no longer look to him to make me happy. i no longer base my love for him out of my need for love. i simply do nothing and let God love him through me. and it is WONDERFUL!

we (now both) live in the freedom of His love for one another. there are no expectations. so when one person does do something unexpected, it's just an added blessing.

it makes me feel better as a person too. i no longer feel like a bad wife because i expected more out of him then he expected out of me. i no longer feel like a bad friend because i can't do everything for everyone to make them happy. i no longer feel like a bad christian if i don't do a. b. & c. for God. it has transformed my life. i am truly happy because i am not basing my happiness on love from other people. i am secure in God's love and the truth that He loves me just the way i am. and that's all i need. love from others here on earth is just an added bonus.

and something else i just remembered from re-reading what i just wrote... i no longer feel the need to be anything other then myself. example: i opened a flower shop when i was 22 because that is what i thought i really wanted. when i had to close the shop only after 7mo. i felt like a failure and thought i had to prove that i wasn't. so i've kept it afloat since, out of my home. just until recently have i realized it isn't what i really wanted. it was just a pedestal i was putting myself on to make me feel like i accomplished something. because to say i have a business at my age was impressive. now i feel completely freed and blessed to just be me. i feel freed that i don't have to try and make something work that my heart is not in. and i feel blessed that i don't have to work and i can just be content being me. a person loved by God with the extra blessings of being a wife, mother, and friend.

i know i just covered a lot of areas. 3 of which i will explain at another time. my mind is overflowing with many different things i want to share here. bare with me as i find my writing style here. and thank you for your kind words!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

day 1

this blog has been in the making in my heart and 'tonight' at 2am i was prompted to get up (i couldn't sleep anyways) and come out to the couch and just begin to share my heart. nothing fancy. just me simply writing about what God has been doing in my life. i know on my mommy blog i mention my beliefs here and there but i know that most of you don't know where that is coming from if you don't know me.

i'll start from the beginning. (and link to this at my {about me} because this will soon get buried)
i don't want to write one of those boring testimonies so i'll make this short and sweet. i grew up in church. i accepted jesus at the age of 4 with my grandpa (who was a pastor). i was taught the basic things. sin. hell. repenting. being good. etc.

then when i was, i think, 14 my grandpa came to the congregation with a new concept on religion. it was a belief, i believe, he carried with him for some time and decided it was time that he share what he really felt as there was another pastor that disagreed. so he shared. there was a tear in the church and it fell apart. there were hurt feelings and sides being taken. this new concept of my grandpa's i hadn't heard before.

he started preaching God's love and because God love's us so much there wasn't a hell. soon other things began to get into the mix. books were turned too instead of the bible.

as a bystander i can see what went wrong where. since he was my grandpa we followed him. he started up a little church of his own with a small group of people that met in the banquet facility of a bar. eventually that got changed because 'sundays were just made by people to be a convenient day to learn about God'. and from there it fizzled out. i think they still meet in a small group.

anyways, in my early teens i thought i knew what there was to know. i wasn't satisfied with it but i figured the bible was pretty basic and that was that. when my grandpa unveiled what he believed i was even more dissatisfied. how could the bible be wrong about hell and God's love and how could people (that could be mentally unstable) be right?

when i was 17 i started going to a church nearby. the pastor was dry and they sang hymns. it was far from what i was used to. however, the youth group was a wonderful bunch of kids. i made some great friends. what intrigued me is that even though their pastor wasn't leading them in the fullness of life, they were happy and content and had a hunger for God that i hadn't seen before. my time at that church didn't last long but will always be remembered.

when i was 18 i started dating my husband and started going to his church. i saw something in him that i hadn't seen before. and in his family. the pastor was ok but the youth group is again what got to me. i helped out in some leadership. my husband (boyfriend at the time) and i led a sophomore group. we loved it. God was using me in people's lives and i began to get really excited about reaching out to other people. that's when i started to dive into my bible. i'd sit for hours at work just writing and reading. i had an e-mail list of some of the teenagers that i'd send encouraging verses to. i felt really good about all of that. it prompted me to begin a devotional for girls. i wrote a couple chapters. i was encouraged. things were going good.

the youth pastor decided that it was time that he moved his family and become a senior pastor for a church in wisconsin. and so, the youth group began to dwindle. we wanted to salvage it but our senior pastor didn't think it'd be right if a dating couple led services. it kind of soured the situation. we eventually stopped going. i started having problems with my family life. and i went into a depression for about 3 months when i was 19. but all through that i knew God was tugging at my heart. i still journaled and read the bible every day because i knew that that was my only way out of my slump.

my husband and i got married and married life took over for a while. we started attending a bigger church. i loved the pastor's messages. they really spoke to me. but we weren't consistent about going to church and my attitude towards serving began to fade. i always stayed connected with God but i just wasn't feeling the serving part.

throughout my life i can see how, even when i didn't realize it, God had me on a path to where i am now. i've always known that i was on a path to somewhere, there were just some times in my life where i didn't care where that path was. at least that's what i told myself. i knew God had something planned for me that might take me out of my comfort zone.

a little over a year ago we started attending a new church. at first i wasn't sure about it. if it was where i wanted to be. my husband felt great about it. we attended and i started getting that hunger back. i went to the bible study. we went every sunday. i was trying to get every bit of information that i could. it was all new to me. nothing i had ever heard before but it finally felt right! i felt like my heart had found a home. not to mention the people that we've met are amazing!

with all this new information and revelation, as a thinker, i was greatly frustrated. i'm not dumb. i could understand what they were teaching but i didn't know how to apply or how to interpret it for my own life.

in december i was really struggling. there were some things in our lives that i thought were supposed to happen and they didn't. i was trying to rely on me too much and was so frustrated because i knew all this great stuff but didn't know what it meant for me. i was trying to figure it out too much. i wasn't just resting in Christ and in the overflow of His grace and love. i was trying to make things happen on my own and became greatly frustrated. finally, in jan., something happened. i don't even really remember when or why but it clicked. i finally could apply all that i'd learned to my own life and it all made sense! all of it. my whole christian life.

and now these past 3 months, i cannot help but burst with the overflow i'm experiencing. there are days where i'm not feeling it and i get discouraged but then i realize it's because i'm relying on myself too much and when my focus changes back on to Him, i find that peace again.

God is doing amazing things in me.

my old bible was highlighted like you wouldn't believe. mostly pieces of verses or chapters that sounded great and were encouraging but really i picked apart the bible to apply it to my life. all that i've learned this past year is between the highlighted parts. all the parts that i use to skim over, because i didn't understand it, are now understood. and more powerful then the bits of verses i use to highlight.

my husband bought me a new bible to start fresh. i keep my old bible with my old journals to remember where i've come from. i can't wait to see where i'm going...