Posted: November 4th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: freedom, grace, purpose, sin |
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“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction…?” - Romans 9:22 ESV
She’s a song with the end as the intro. She emerged under the fluorescent lights dodging knuckles with two clenched fists. She had a fire strong enough to torch the house that burned her down. Her secrets formed her in the dark corner. She could see the light, but it couldn’t see her. She survived the burns and the walls. She made it through the dark corner knowing it wasn’t her fault.
Never a child, always a fighter, she built her fortress early.
“I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths.” - Hosea 2:6 ESV
It’s a No-Man’s Land where her good wasn’t good enough and her evil didn’t fill the well. Her heart screamed from the inside, but tinted windows made them think whatever they wanted. She spoiled her spoils with tears and marked all of her marks with pain. No place for a girl who didn’t know how to be good, but was too good to live in shame.
She’s getting older, always a fighter, her fortress needs new paint.
“…in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory…” -Romans 9:23 ESV
Bird of death, the raven hatched an egg. Mother of sin, the mother bleeds milk of grace. A foundation of loss, a first floor of abuse, a second story of condemnation, and a third that tumbled down, only God makes right with wrong and completely forgets.
Only God can completely forget like forgetting was His plan all along.
” I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, “You are my people”; and [she] shall say, “You are my God.” - Hosea 2:23 ESV
I am No Mercy and I live in the land of Mercy. I am from Not My People and He calls me His People. And He is my God.
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Posted: October 19th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: grace, purpose |
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We have a tendency to corrupt our explanation of God by giving him human attributes – by making him like us and giving Him our own blind spots. It sounds like a simple mistake, but it’s much bigger. Even thinking that there is a point that God would give up on us implies that He expected us to not fail. It implies that something lies outside of His sight, and is therefore an unexpected occurrence. John 1, John 2, John 5, John 6, and John 16 all say that Jesus knows what is in our hearts, in our thoughts, and that he sees us.
I think that pride can be cleverly disguised as ignorance because maybe it’s not that we bring God down to our level of understanding, it’s more like we assume that we have His. The implications should sting. This should be making you uncomfortable because it is no different than Garden level thinking.
Humans give up on each other. Even parents give up on their children. But that’s only because we as people have designs on each other that the other person is not fulfilling. God’s only design on us is to be a product and recipient of His love. Read Isaiah 49. Read Isaiah 54. God’s plan for us is all about being rescued and rebuilt. Why would we need to be rescued and rebuilt? If you think that God has given up on you, you need to consider that things are not always about you. This thing is so much bigger than you. It’s about Jesus and what He’s done for you.
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Posted: February 4th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, faith, grace, healing, purpose, sin |
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“In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you.”-Isaiah 49:8 ESV
You speak like you’re in-between two lives: the old and the new. You refuse to enter the new because you’re still hanging on to the old. You think you can only enter the day with defeat because you’re still making yourself pay. Every hard thing that is thrown your way is viewed as a consequence to your sin.
You’re not going to move on from this place with your suitcase of truth only half packed. You can say all the right things, but you don’t believe a word of it.
You pull yourself up by the scruff of your neck and you make yourself go through the motions. You read that devotion, you listen to this podcast, you do that fast, you write those words. You do all of these things thinking that God will come and rescue you. You think He’ll restore what was before so that you can feel whole again. What if the end of an era is God’s answer to prayers you don’t even know how to pray yet? What if you have been rescued, but it doesn’t look like what you thought it would look like?
The rescue is past-tense. It’s waiting on you to have the revelation.
You can reject God by clinging more to your version of restoration than to your faith that God gets what He wants.
Does God get what He wants?
The only way you can move on to your new life is by believing that the consequences of your sin have a greater purpose. A purpose that has nothing to do with being a constant reminder of your sin.
What entity would want to constantly remind you of your sin?
What if God has you exactly where He wants you? Life is a journey and you are a pilgrim. You’re not at any destination forever. You are only where you are, and you’re only there for a moment. Discontentment blooms when you think you are forever paying for and suffering from your sins.
The faithless work the garden of Second Best.
They say: “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” -Isaiah 49:14 ESV
How can you know God and believe that you are a prisoner of your own Second Best? You are where you are for a reason. Reason can never be found by looking at your sin. There is no truth to be found in the damage of flesh and blood.
You have to look at everything as though God has a plan because God has a plan. It’s Jesus. You have to look at everything trying to find where it leads to Jesus. It’s your only compass. It’s the only way you’ll know what the truth is. He’s the Truth.
It’s all riddles until it’s not.
I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ -Isaiah 49:8-9 ESV
God is cultivating your life. He is getting rid of the parts of you that keep you from being who you were called to be.
You were called to be something. You wouldn’t be here looking for Him if you weren’t.
He is positioning you in a posture that induces passion where there was once apathy. Sometimes the best way to induce passion is to insert a thorn. If you’re tugging at the thorn, then you are looking at this all wrong.
I know how bad it hurts. I’ve been there. I’ve attended the funeral of my own potential. You’ll be in this spot until you can see God in it.
You’re a conduit.
When a pipe isn’t functioning, you dismantle it, flush it out, and rebuild it.
Are you dismantled?
There exists a consequence twist. It’s more than the suffering. It’s also the release. There are three consequences that will make your head spin. One, you can see more clearly. Number two, blind people avoid you. And, three, you have a new passion.
Do you understand this? Your life will be one that says “to the prisoners, ‘Come out’” and “to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’”
One of the consequences of your sin is the newborn passion for the failures. You now have an acute awareness of the difference between the voice of the flesh and the whisper of the Spirit. You know the difference between the light and the dark. Those who once had a voice in your life, the ones who would now torment you, are far from you.
Do you think that’s a coincidence?
“Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land—surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away.” -Isaiah 49:19 ESV
They think you are too far gone and they will not join you. They’re unable to handle the failure of others with patient grace and unending mercy. They are wrong. Why would you want them by you? God has positioned you, using your own consequences, to keep their lies from pinning you down with their doubt and holding you back from your purpose. “Those who swallowed you up” are “far away.”
Thank God for that.
What’s more? The twist that sends this whole thing spinning into reverent wonder is the fact that it’s because of your failure. You are removed from their influential doubt and enabled by grace to march into your purpose because they are too afraid of how dirty you got.
Because of your failure, you know how to find those who are buried.
Everything will come together. It’ll all make sense at some point. Stop wishing your thorn away. Wear it like a crown.
“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples, and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 49:22-23 ESV
His hand is poised, the signal is ready. Your children have been lifted, the march has begun. You will not be put to shame.
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Posted: February 2nd, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: purpose |
2 Comments »
People who mess up will look for others who have fallen and found their way back. They’re looking for hope.
You can be the person they find.
Start looking for the reasons God has allowed you to fall in the first place. The answer is deeper than your free will. You’re starting to see them already.
Religious illusions have slipped. You can spot the fake now.
While you’re reeling from the loss of what you believed about yourself and God, there is so much more gain waiting to be found.
When you start looking for God’s sovereignty, you’ll find Him and it will blow your mind. You’re not near as powerful as you think you are.
That which has been found can serve to help that which is still lost.
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Posted: January 8th, 2013 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, healing, purpose |
13 Comments »
Situations and the way they affect you are based on previous situations and the way they affected you in the past. This is how you learn to avoid pain and failure, and it’s how you learn to predict outcomes for the purpose of planning. Two different people can be in the same situation and pull two different interpretations out of it. Experience is personal. Perspective is a unique combination of genetics and experience.
It’s important to understand how perspective works because it aids in compassion and acceptance of differences. It can also help you understand yourself.
There is a reason that people say “you are the sum total of your experiences” or “you are the people you meet”. The truth behind those sayings has more to do with the lessons those experiences and people provide than with what and who they are.
When you’re in the middle of navigating your own pain, you have to look at your entire life for understanding the same way a psychologist or counselor would help you look at your life. I’m calling this “pain tracing”. It’s the idea of peeling back the layers of the flesh of a fruit to find the seeds.
I’ll use my own journey to illustrate what I’m talking about.
In the aftermath of my own sin, it took me a really long time to accept the rejection of every person I hurt. The logic behind being rejected is sound. I did something terrible and the consequences were broken relationships. It’s how the world works. The fact that it cut me deeper than I could handle was because it brought back the pain of rejection I have felt my entire life.
I was a foster child who never belonged to my own temporary family. There was no longevity, no real investment into me, and the resulting ‘good-bye’ that always came taught me how to never fully say “hello” in my relationships. People always left, so I never let them in. I was nine when my mother gave me up for adoption. I literally did not belong to anybody. I belonged to a cold and broken government whose only goal was to find someone to take responsibility for me.
Skipping ahead, when I became a Christian, my church family became my family. When they responded to my sin by washing their hands of me, they literally handed me over to Satan and gave him responsibility over me. That’s when God stepped in and revealed the truth about who He was to me. He was my father. He was my family and he would never kick me out. As dysfunctional as I can be, I’ll always be His. He is where my roots are.
The truth of the Gospel saved my life, but it didn’t take my pain away. The aftermath of my sin brought up feelings of zero self-worth that I had kept buried because I thought it was healed. The fact that I wasn’t healed from my childhood pain enabled me to sin the way I did and crushed me when I had to own up to it.
Talking yourself through the process of pain tracing looks like this:
- How do you feel?
- Have you ever felt like this before?
- What were the circumstances that made you feel like this in the past?
- When was the first time you remember feeling like this?
- What were the circumstances surrounding that?
There lies the root to your pain.
I’ll answer those questions to show you how it works:
- alone, rejected, worthless, toxic, unwanted, displaced
- When I lived on my own at 17, when I was bullied in school, when I was moved from foster home to foster home
- When I was left to fend for myself as a little girl. I was probably between 4 and 6.
- I would be left alone by my mother. Locked outside all day or locked in a room with no food all day.
Experiences that you have today are tainted by the experiences you’ve had throughout your life. If you look at today as though it had no connection with yesterday, then you’ll miss a huge tool for healing. The healing is not just for right now, it’s all encompassing.
I can easily see that my own failure warrants my feelings of being alone. Rejection is the price I pay. My failure did not add value to my relationships. I was a toxic force that dismantled lives and I lost my place in those lives. There is nothing left to examine, but the pain remained. In pain tracing, my whole life got examined.
A person would not normally look at a child and attribute those qualities to her. If a little girl felt alone, rejected, worthless, toxic, unwanted, and displaced you would know that she had been horribly lied to and you would try to convince her otherwise.
The difference between the child and the adult is where the finger of blame is pointed. If you can find a reason to blame the child, then you would not rescue her. If you can blame the adult, then she is cast out and left to be consumed by her sense of self.
The separation between the way the world works and the way God works is found in the way we view children and the way we view adults. We can call an adult a lost cause long before we can call a child a lost cause. However, God calls us all “children”. He sees us the way He saw us when we were children because, to Him, that’s what we are. Until the child within us hears the truth about our Father, we will be brought to the same place over and over. We will feel the same thing in the midst of different circumstances again and again until we start to connect the dots and trace the pain to the broken places.
It’s my own belief that God allows whatever circumstances to take place for the purpose of getting us to see Him. Our circumstances show us where those broken places are.
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