What the World Needs Now

flag in barn

When bad incidents happen we ask the question “why?”.  We don’t understand the shocking events which have happened of late and we try to impose order. Humans want life to make sense.  After the initial shock, it leaves us wondering “What will happen next and will I be the next victim?”

Our nation is grieving. Webster’s dictionary defines grief as a “deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” For many families, and the public as a whole, the idea of security is once again threatened at every turn.  Many communities have lost leaders, fathers, grandfathers and those lives will never be heard from again.

And it’s left us confused, angry, and feeling threatened.

Grief is compounded when the death is violent, untimely, and sudden. When there is a willful or intentional taking of a human life by another individual, the sense of shock and disbelief is suffocating. Our world as we know it is shaken to its core, and our sense of safety and security vanish. Oftentimes, overwhelmed by grief, confusion, and in a vacuum of comfort, leaves us to fear.

Grief is amplified when the death is a highly publicized incident. The media gives a doom and gloom perspective pressurizing the nation’s voice to protect ourselves or take matters into our own hands.  We are barraged with blame and shame leaving us to choose sides questioning who “matters” thus dividing lines with hate.  Nothing makes sense. The results are impacting our hope and ebbs away at our faith.  Turmoil and anxiety builds with each look over the shoulder or behind each closed door.

The brute force of many layered and competing emotions mount.  Feelings of anger, fear, confusion, exhaustion, sadness, and depression is intensified by grief.  As onlookers, we shut down and feel numb.  We throw up our hands and don’t know who to trust or what to do to repair these death-laden and devastatingly dangerous situations.  I understand death alright but what do we do with all of the death and progression of evil around us?

Like most wounds it scars our souls and we stop talking about it.  It becomes the white elephant in the room and we are afraid to stand up for our beliefs as to not offend or start another heated argument.  It paralyzes our voices and keeps us quiet.  But the pain of loss is still there and we stuff it down deep.  It festers, boils and wreaks havoc with our sound minds.  We openly pray for healing but there’s no joy in covering hurt of this kind.  The world’s empty words of comfort and feelings of false security become a new normal along with a strategically-placed policy.

Pointing the finger at the obvious won’t heal the pain this nation is in.

Healing takes time and it needs to fall on everyone.  In my opinion there is only one way to win over evil.  We want the pain to cease but as a nation, it’s easier to turn our heads and hope someone quickly sweeps it under the political rug to make it go away like a bad nightmare.  This tug on our souls has to stop or fear will always be after our hearts.

If you have been affected by the recent events please know I too am grieving with you. Words only travel so far and words alone don’t cause change.  No, you don’t forget the sound of your loved one’s voice, or a touch, and you certainly can’t forget the love you shared.  There’s no way to repair a broken heart from a human standpoint.

I wish there were shortcuts to healing.  But the facts remain, the fast-track to evil advances around us.  There is the power to heal our nation within the nation if we could all work together to be the answer for change we only complain about.  How often do we find ourselves asking “What are we do with all this violence?”

The answer is profound and comforting when we respond with an outpouring of love and count it all joy.  Jesus was a man of controversy, stood for justice and showed love to all.  You might say, “Sure, He could because He was perfect.”  You’ve tried being kind in the face of evil and it wasn’t reciprocated.  You’ve tried to love the unlovable and got taken advantage of.  You’re afraid to give this love thing a try at all.  Have we loved and have you only tried?

Jesus is our example to heal this nation.  He didn’t judge – only touched with His grace.  He didn’t beat politics with the rules – but spoke life over the wayward.  He didn’t run away in fear but knew His Father’s voice.  He met the needs of the unloved, the forgotten, and went out of His way to reach the least.  And He counted it ALL joy in who He loved.  Joy was His reward on the way to the cross.  He suffered and knew death.

“Instead of what doing what Jesus did, let’s all do what Jesus is doing!”  Mike Maeshiro

Let time teach you to love and have joy again if you are suffering a loss.  Let the love of God overcome the evil around you.  Let the love of God change you.  Be Christ’s love to others around you.  Show love over evil.  Start counting everything in your life with a reward of joy, and set it before you.  Afraid to show love because you’ve been hurt?  Who isn’t???

God’s love heals in ways we don’t know and kindness progresses healing further than we could ever know.  Jesus led His disciples by the love of God and knew how to do in a ways which advance God’s goodness.  Jesus in it to win it and He has already won!  We can feel secure in our homes and lives of if we would all work together to be the together-strength of love spoken in truth and in love to our communities, cities, and nation.  The progression of LOVE always invites God’s goodness.  His Joy is our joy reward for the suffering even unto and through to death.

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Oh How He Loves!

fathers love

As many times as I have been to summer camps as a camper, counselor, and dishwasher, I know enough about camping with teenagers to know some things.  And it’s inevitable that every time I go, God speaks.  Little did I know that I needed to really be the learning camper girl over the adulting camper girl.

At summer camp, when with a bunch of preteens or teenagers for a week coupled with multiple showers, random underwear and emotions are all flowing, it’s in those times you really lean in to hear.

Imagine God bending down right now and asking you “What can I do for you?”  That’s the way He comes with a willingness to hear from you.  My response to God surprised me a little after His initial opening.  We simply chatted though one of those summer afternoons in a really quiet spot.  I asked if He could show me what He liked about me, my body, and the image that was made in His likeness.  I was astounded.  I didn’t get the answer I was expecting and it came through my friend Kat who is losing weight too.

“I don’t like the way you are treating my friend Janelle.”  I teared up a little.  She was right I’ve not been kind to me.  I might have been a little too hard on myself, quite honestly I have been a little strict on my regime. It’s because I know the cost of a gain.  And I don’t want to go back to where I was…ever.  No seriously ever, never, never.

The constant battle in our minds with those of us who have a lot of weight to lose is this:  “Do we have what it takes to stay at or around our goal?”  Personally this has been a HUGE fear that God has revealed.  You just don’t know the thought processes of a chubby girl’s mind unless you have been there yourself.  Fear comes dressed in all kinds of sizes and the Enemy knows exactly which button to push to get you to think about food, eat something with a lot of regret later, and worse yet push you to binge for a week on absolutely everything that is not healthy or green.

Kat reassured me that I could let up on myself a little.  She was right again.  How could I possibly love me like He loves me knowing what I had eaten or crammed down out of stress or guilt or flat out pleasure?  God really hit it home when I asked my question of Him.  There is something that we tend to believe about God is that He doesn’t really care about how we treat our bodies says my new blogger friend Laura, she was right too!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Our bodies are a house in which His Spirit dwells, moves and has a life inside of us.  There is something about the lie of false humility that leads us on a path of self-depreciation but leaves us feeling super spiritual to think less of ourselves.

There is also something about growing up without the verbal affirmations of a father that somehow and ironically transfers to our Heavenly Daddy to make us think that God feels the same about us as we attach to those “loser” feelings of value and self-worth.  I am writing a book and dedicating a whole chapter on the emotions that come with gaining weight and losing weight and everything in between.

Back to my summer chat with God.  He gently reminded me to show His full love to others, I had to receive His full love for my body including all my wrinkles, crinkles, and unmentionable parts too.  His house that is on the inside of me and you.  To experience His fullness, I had to grip the reality that His love is the kind of love that dwells from within is enough to cover my years and years of mistreatment and abuse by food to my own personal piece of property.

I am His and He is mine.  We have ownership rights.  From that day forward I vowed to appreciate myself in a new ways that helped me see God’s bigger picture of who I really am.  This is a process friends and doesn’t come overnight, but I am being kinder to me, once God lined it all out for me and took time to explain it in a way that really helped me.  And it all happened in the middle of overloaded hormones and sweaty pre-teens pits.  Appropriate homework at my adult age that I missed from my summer camp lessons.

God thinks more about me and you in ways that you can’t imagine.  We can’t comprehend the deep love He has for us how He shines His glorious light when we let His love engulf us.  When the rigid walls come down from the inside out, it was like a soft gentle, healing rain upon my scarred over heart.  God even showed His sense of humor, as I was stationed in the snack bar all week.  I never touched so many sweaty palms and was met with so much indecision as I was this summer.  I was surrounded with all kinds of temptations and treats that could send me into a sugar coma that would last all the way next year and God gave me a way out of each and every temptation.

To know God’s love for others, you  have to fully realize His love for you and inside of you. If you are alive right now and breathing you have so much to be grateful for and still have plenty of chances to make some smart changes that will get you back on the right track.  The truth is God does care about you, each and every detail of you.  You are fearfully and wonderfully woven by His design to have the body you have.  So love you and stop beating yourself to a prison that keeps you comparing to others.  It’s a liberating way of experiencing true and unmeasurable freedom, and I promise you will never be the same.

For extra encouragement, read Psalm 139.

What to do when you can’t hear God

giant eye
The 30-ft eyeball in Dallas, TX

“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9

Dear you.

I just wanted to tell you, it’s going to be ok.  You are going to be fine.  I see you where you are right now.

You don’t know it just yet, but I’ve seen your future, and one day you will get to where I want you to be.  You keep asking Me to show you, and there’s no comfort in what you are looking at.  But my dear, you certainly can be a part of what I am doing in you, if you would give yourself back to Me.  It’s not to late for you to become who I designed you to be.

I’ve seen you try to fix everything, your life, yourself and might I say in the kindest way possible, that I can do better for you.  You see you can’t see the whole picture like I can.  Your view of Me is dimmed by your circumstances, doubt and selfish pride.  I see you seeking and looking for answers, there’s more than I can tell you right now.  I do know this for a fact, you’re going to be fine.

You don’t know it yet, but my infinite Love is stringing you along.  You say it feels unstable in your mind and want a new thing.  You say you feel alone, yet I yearn for you to be alone with Me.  You say you feel unsafe, yet I have had you in My grip since before you were born.  You say that you aren’t enough, and don’t acknowledge that I am your strength.  You say you just want to know love, and I have already proven My love for you on the cross.  You feel hopeless, yet you are blind to my hope that overcomes death.  You say…you’ve ruined everything.  While you have made some bad choices, you have never been ruined past My repair.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” ~ 1 John 1:8-10

You are going to be ok, but that is only if you start talking to Me.  You only come to Me when you want to blame something you have chosen on Me.  You need Me more than you know.  You are confused, misled, and need some gentle direction.  You need to see that you can’t do life on your own, you need to see that I created you to need other people.  You need to see that I have gifted you and called you my child.  You need to see that My abiding love never fails.

My Love endures.  You say you can’t feel my love.  That’s true, you get further and further away from it when you go the wrong way, when you steer yourself into a pit of regret, when you don’t include me in your conversations, when you self medicate with food, or drugs, or godless porn.  My heart hurts when you look at other people with lust or hate or jealousy.  You grieve me when you don’t trust what I’ve told you, and certainly when you take credit for something that I have done for you.  I even understand why you look to your flesh to see approval and not to Me.

You have fallen and you can’t get up and or out the pit you are in.  I know, I see you.  But my desire for you is to love you to the end of your days, to fill your life with joy, peace, and patience.  To give you goodness and my faithfulness through my gentle ways.  I have been so kind to you.

Even when you don’t see Me, I see you and love you all the same.

When you take time to look to Me, I won’t change.  I’m your strength.  I am your comfort.  I’ll am your wisdom.  I am your direction.  If you seek me and my kingdom, you will find me.  I want to be your all in ALL things.  I want you to be near but the wrong things you continue to do keep Me separated from you.

If you would just talk to me, humbly agree that you can’t do life without me, and turn away from those things that continually drag you down, those choices leave you in pieces, then you can find the joy and satisfaction that I have created you for.  If you could just look to me when you are temped, I will show you a way out.  If you would just give me the attention that I give you, then we could get to know each other again.  If you would just talk with me instead of shouting at me, you will hear My voice.

Why do I keep reminding you that you need Me?

Because you are so worth loving.  Because you are Mine.  Because I made you from my Love.  Because I love you like no one else can.  ~ Your Pappa.

The gift of a servant

towel and basin

It had been a long day, and everyone was looking forward to sitting down and lingering over a good meal with good company. The band of brothers and their Leader, Jesus. What an emotionally charged week it must have been so far. The city was alive with the festivities of Passover. A loud buzz of preparation hovered over the house rooftops.

The group walked in and found the table set. Jesus smiles. Someone had carefully laid out the tableware and utensils, signaling the servants were ready. He recognized the simple attention to detail and let out a small sigh of relief. The room was full of holy tension.

At last, Jesus could spend a little down time with a few intimate friends.

He didn’t sit long before he moves to the corner of the room and there he fills a basin filled with water. He lays aside his outer garments, wraped a towel around his waist, knelt quietly and washed their feet.

He worked the souls of worn, tired feet with care. He looked into the eyes of those who would meet his. Some looked away, and one glanced away in shame.

Even still….Love served the hearts, humility knelt, as Jesus’ hands touched each set of feet, kindness came to those who would soon be mourning. He knew which one was whispering betrayal under his breath, and He also knew that the “Father had given all things into his hands, and was returning to the Father.”

What kind of man loves that big while waiting to die?

What kind of love serves on it’s way to certain death?

What kind of love gives with nothing in return?

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love,” said one that Jesus loved the most.

What kind of pure love is a love that expects nothing in return?

This kind of love that is not based on our good or bad behavior, or comparing, nor measured by man. It is a sacrificial love that serves and accepts. Jesus poured out his life as a drink offering for his very friends who were going to fail, deny, turn away, hate, kill, compromise their beliefs, and watch him die. Even when He was hours away from death, His life was obedient to humble service.

Perfect Love is unparalleled. The events that followed his act of service reveal the full extension of God’s perfect Love. Jesus’ love is proclaimed from the ultimate humiliation, the torture, and death on the cross. No greater Love has ever been or will ever be.

Perfect Love saves. I am reminded of this Love when I am found in His presence. It’s free and available to anyone and everyone who believes and calls on His name. You can trust it, hope in it, and have faith in it.

Pure. Simple. Love. An supernatural emotion that can be trusted, tried, and proven faithful and trustworthy, found in the perfect source of God.

“I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

The place of Love

On any given day I am this child in my mind.  Hungry.

Hungry for more of God and His Spirit than ever before.

I ask.

I seek.

I knock.

I wait upon the Lord as He renews my strength.

With each day, each passing moment, I am this child coming to her Father, a loving parent, most loving Pappa, who listens to my whines, my heart cries, my tears, my language of praise, my heart’s love for her Daddy.

God lavishes His love and mercy upon those who seek Him.  He reminds me that He is with me still, that He has never left me nor forsaken me.  The Spirit reminds me of His abiding presence.

I will remain in this place of hunger.  That’s were my heart takes me content.

My heaviness turns into song.

My worries turn into trust.

My faith is enlarged.

The Impossible happens as I take His heart and let it be mine.

His greatest of these is Love.  As I remain in His love, I am remaining in the width, the strength, the depth, the wisdom of His mercy, His grace, His name for the beloved.  His character displayed…

the joy,

the peace,

the patience,

the kindness,

the goodness,

the faithfulness,

the gentleness,

and

the self-control

of God Himself, His character, His Spirit, His Presence, His Being in me and through me.

Remain in His love like a hungry child.  With God, only His grace satisfies.

Photo credit:  Paul Chasusa, brilliant photographer capturing life on the other side of the globe.

One big language change

Research shows it takes three weeks to form a new habit.  To form a new habit, you have to start.  To start you have to have a desire to change.  To have that desire to change, you have to be unsettled from your comfort level of living.  You have to be disturbed or moved to see a need.  You have to want the change over the process to change.  Seeing the results of a change, motivates us to prod along too.

When we experience the reward it’s always worth it.  One day God broke the spirit of negative change inside of me to bring a positive result.

I wanted what my pastor had.

His message came at the right time for change.  I was searching for a better life.  God had already worked the soil in my heart to desire a change and the truth my pastor spoke right to me and kick-started my desire.

His one practice had benefited him large.

He stressed the priority of putting time aside each day, to talk with God first, through the practice of prayer and reading the Bible.  In wanting to change my pastor spoke of all kinds of changes that happened in his life.  I wanted those results myself, and I knew that I had to make some changes in the way I talked with God.  I knew I had to set aside time to let God change me.  I desired change because I saw the lasting effect it had my pastor.  I wanted the reward over the process of setting aside my own desires.

God changed me to be a morning person the day I started talking with Him every morning.  It wasn’t immediate but that one change has made everlasting benefits in my life.  I started talking with God instead of at God.

God changed my language to Him, in talking with Him instead of at Him and making it just about me.

That one change came a long time ago, but it’s a practice I still do today.

In a few small words and the practice of this discipline, change has benefited me in a large way.  Most days I can’t wrap enough words around aligning my heart with God’s voice first and foremost.

When it comes to talking with God, I only have a few words about me but many more for Him and with Him.

I still practice that change, no matter where I am or what day it is.  Yes, I am one of those girls that likes to carry her tools along as I go throughout my day.

To reach a place you’ve never been you have to do it in a way that you never done.  To do a new thing, you have to begin.

What happens when you get to the end of January and you don’t see any results?

You can’t give up or give into what you don’t see.  You have to practice change everyday until you do see the results.  Practice brings discipline, practice like it’s the first day you were motivated, practice is the key in making long-lasting changes.

Yes, change is hard, arduous and sweaty.  Yes, change is different, difficult, and demanding.  Yes, it can bring negative things out in the open.  But God….

When God is in charge of your changing, the reward is always worth it.  Let Him change your desires, let Him work His changes in  you, let Him work His love language in you and through you to be the best you for others.

His changes bring the best out of you and in you.

God’s changing language is always based on His love language for you.  For all of us.  Read that again….

I guarantee you this, when you speak your love to God everyday, many times throughout the day, and hear His love language back to you in ways that only He can say it….friends those kind of words, that kind of change is what your heart desires most.

His Word will and most definitely change you.

So what are you looking to change today, that could make the biggest change in your life?

Perhaps it’s in your love language to God, that needs to be your start to many long lasting changes.  His kind of changes help you practice more great changes.  Believe me, the rewards are SO worth it.

Need change?  Tell me, I won’t tell..but One.