Raw Honesty

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NASB

Rest in the LORD. That’s where I need to be.

“When we get injured, God covers us. Stop picking at that scab.” Wow. A lady just called in to K Love (radio) and said that. My heart feels like one giant, deep, open raw wound, where I don’t even have enough scab to pick at. God covers that hurt, and every hurt, no matter how big or how deep. I get that. I believe that. But, oh, how it hurts. How did I get into such a bad financial situation? How is it even possible for my heart to hurt this much?

Easy. My choices. My decisions. Not waiting on and relying on and trusting my LORD. Instead, I trusted and relied on a man, and he is leaving it to me to resolve. My heart doesn’t want to give up. My head hopes he will step up. I want him to. Trust is fragile anytime, and mine has been trampled on.

Please pray for me. This time, for this situation, is beyond anything I can see a solution for. It is going to take a miracle, a bonafide, God-generated miracle to heal my heart and this hole I have dug myself into.

Raw honesty. Hard to write. Hard to admit.

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“WAIT” He says……

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek My face.” My heart says to You, “Your Face, LORD, do I seek.” Hide not Your Face from me. Turn not Your servant away in anger, O You Who have been my Help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O GOD of my Salvation! Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalms 27:1‭, ‬7‭-‬9‭, ‬11‭, ‬13‭-‬14 ESV

That may be my least favorite word in the English language. “Wait.” I’ve been waiting. I’m tired of waiting, so very tired of waiting. “Wait,” He says. If it were a clear “No,” maybe it would be easier to accept. I’m tired of being strong, and my courage fails me.

I’m not strong. I’m weak. I’m not courageous. I’m afraid. My heart is on the ground. My prayers fall with my tears. Why me, LORD? And He answers me, Why not you? I surrender, LORD.

Do Whatever He Tells You

Have you ever considered the life of Mary, the girl whom the Almighty Creator, GOD of the Universe chose to be the mother of His Son on earth? This girl, probably a teenager, who believed and followed Him without question? The angel of the LORD came to her – not in a dream, but while she was awake and she knew it was real!

“And he [the angel of the LORD] came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The LORD is with you.” ” – Luke 1:28 NRSV

I would have fainted, straight out! Not Mary. She listened to the message, and thought about it before answering – that’s not my strong suit, to ponder a thing before reacting or responding. She did wonder at the message, even asking the angel, “How can this be…?” That’s more like me – I want to know the What, the Why, the How?

Because she believed, and accepted GOD’s Will in her life – even though it looked impossible to her – she knew the Truth about her son, JESUS, from the moment of His conception, and steadfastly believed in Him throughout His life. When others scoffed, she praised. When He was tortured and killed, she cried for His pain. She supported everything He did with His life. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
John 2:5 NRSV

Oh, to have faith like Mary, and to be able to say to myself, without reservation, “I will do whatever He tells me.” Easy to say; difficult to put into action for me, because I’m a ‘bottom line” kind of person. I want to see the whole picture before I commit. How does it affect me personally? Our GOD doesn’t work that way…. or maybe He does, and in our human-ness we just can’t see it? What I forget is that He is watching out for me, not sometimes, but all of the time. He knows the bottom line, and He knows the turmoil, the frustration, and the sorrow we are dealing with. I forget that I am not alone, ever. He is with me to catch me when I fall, steady me when I stumble, and pick me up when I can no longer walk.

Is today a bad day? Are you frustrated, almost to tears? Are you worried to the point of being sick? Lately, I’ve had several of those days. Besides having a running conversation with GOD, what can we do? I recite the first couple of lines from the 23rd Psalm, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” and sing with Hillary Scott and the Scott family “Thy Will Be Done.” The anxiety may still be there, but I find a wonderful Peace when I let GOD take the fear. “What A Friend We Have In JESUS,” sung by Matt Maher – great reminder!!

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My Steadfast LOVE shall not depart from you, and My Covenant of Peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, Who has Compassion on you.” – Isaiah 54:10 NRSV

Forever and ever, AMEN.

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Depression. It’s ALL In Your Head!

Depression is a real thing, and NO, it isn’t something most people can just ‘get over’. It often manifests in very real physical pain, and it can be the basis for or the result of many other illnesses. It is not a ‘punishment’ from GOD, although I have heard pastors and teachers use these verses from Luke when talking about anyone suffering from depression:

JESUS said, “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.” – Luke 11:33‭-‬36 NRSV

Christians are not exempt from depression any more than we are exempt from any disease or illness. It is absolutely possible to love JESUS and still be depressed. There are people who can work through their depression without the aid of counseling or medication. Those people are not the norm. For most of us, it requires one or the other, and I believe it often takes both counseling and medication to break out of the depression. There’s nothing shameful about seeking help – if you have cancer, or a broken leg, or the flu, you go to the doctor, right? It’s no different when suffering from depression. My LORD won’t turn anyone away who reaches out to Him, whether they are in the blackest place it’s possible to be, or they are a ‘good’ person who has never been depressed (although I personally suspect that anyone who claims they have never been depressed a day in their life is probably lying to themselves).

I can say this to anyone who deals with depression because I have it, too. Keep a close check on yourself, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Find someone you are close to, to be accountable to. Get counseling from someone appropriate to your situation. Just as medical doctors have specialities, so do counselors. It has to be someone whom you trust, and beware of anyone who doesn’t listen to you – there are no pat answers to depression. If you are considering medication, find a doctor who is interested in listening and helping you find the right medication and the right dosage for you. If someone tells you it’s all in your head, well, agree…. But just because it’s in there doesn’t mean you don’t need help getting it out! When JESUS was speaking in Luke, the darkness He was referring to was not depression. It was about the enemy and the darkness Satan spreads in a futile attempt to extinguish the Light of our LORD.

“And this is the Judgment, that the LIGHT** has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than LIGHT because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the LIGHT and do not come to the LIGHT, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the LIGHT, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in GOD.” ….. But remember this!! “Whoever believes in the SON has Eternal LIFE; whoever disobeys the SON will not see life, but must endure GOD’s wrath.” – John 3:19‭-‬21‭, ‬36 NRSV

**The LIGHT is The SON. JESUS CHRIST. MESSIAH. LORD. AMEN!

GOD IS LOVE

“So we have come to know and to believe the Love that GOD has for us. GOD is Love, and whoever abides in Love abides in GOD, and GOD abides in Him. …. There is no fear in love, but Perfect Love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in Love.” – 1 John 4:16, 18 ESV

“The LORD your GOD is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His Love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

“There is no fear in love…” A beautiful statement of Truth. I am that person who has spent most of her life ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’, as the song goes. All of the “love” I found was full of fear: fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, fear of discovery, fear of punishment, fear of physical and emotional pain. Looking back on it all, I wonder how on earth I was so blind, but then – I know how it happened. I took my eyes off of JESUS. It only takes a minute, sometimes, to fall off of the path of our LORD and into the grasp of our enemy. I fell hard, and the enemy had a death grip on me. He put blinders on me and turned me away from the Love Light of my LORD, and directed my gaze into the brightly shining bling and glamour of the world. I came to believe the enemy’s lies, and his deceitfulness was pretty complete. For years, I wandered in his world, turning away anyone who reached out to help me out of the swamp. I ‘knew’ I couldn’t escape; I was completely under his spell.

Thank GOD for His Son and the Absolute Love He has for us! No human could free me from Satan’s grip, but my SAVIOUR could …. and He did! He plucked me from death’s door, and I began to awaken from the trance-like life I had been living. It wasn’t instantaneous, and it required hard work on my part to crawl out of and away from the abyss, but I wasn’t doing it on my own. My LORD JESUS CHRIST was there, the HOLY SPIRIT and His angels, to hold my hand or free me as I would be stuck in the muck, and always shining His Light of Love and Clarity around me. Thank You, LORD! I lived in fear all of those years I was away from the LORD, when all I needed to do was to lift my eyes away from the ugliness to banish the fear. My LORD was always there, waiting patiently for me to see Him. It only took one word from me for Him to take my hand – JESUS. He IS Love, PERFECT Love, and no-one can defeat Him or destroy the Love He has for each and every one of us. His Love redeems us, completes us, heals us. There is no better, no higher love than the LOVE of our LORD GOD and our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.

“There is no fear in love…”

Let that be your strength and your courage! GOD is Love, and He wants to lavish His Love on us. It’s the only love that you will ever find, no matter how far and wide you look, the only unconditional, unchangeable, unremitting, and never failing LOVE that will never fail or leave. No fear. Amen!

One day

Have you heard Jeremy Camp sing “There Will Be A Day”? It begins like this:

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end…..”

There are days when my head and body ache, and my eyes are gritty like they are full of sand. I’m tired. My mind wants to shut down and sleep, but instead of rest, the instant my head hits the pillow my brain is caught up in a maelstrom and swirls around in an avalanche of random thoughts. I want to get up and go and do things, but the wind sucks away all of my strength. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. My desire is to fight, but life weighs so heavily on me.

“Fight the good fight for the True Faith. Hold tightly to the Eternal Life to which GOD has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

Am I alone in feeling this way?

All I have to do is open a social media site, or turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a paper to see the misery and anguish that permeates society. We are surrounded by complaining, grasping, whiny people, who often drown out the muffled cries of the ones dealing with real suffering and tragedy. No, I don’t count myself as someone who has real cause to cry. Most of my issues, physical and emotional, can be attributed to decisions I’ve made without waiting for GOD’s answer.

The song goes on to say But I hold on to this HOPE and the Promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering…”

I pray that when things, when life, looks and feels hopeless, you will raise your eyes and look to JESUS. He walks beside us, and He will carry us when we need it. He will take our burdens if we’ll just let go of them – picture this: your hand is gripping the handle of your baggage, then loosen your fingers and move your hand away from it…. Flex your fingers. It feels so good, not having to lug that heavy load!

I long for the day when JESUS returns and the enemy is conquered, because then we will have a new heaven and a new earth; a place where GOD Himself willwipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelations 21:4 ESV

Conclusion? Life sucks sometimes. I can blame others, I can claim victim status and vie for sympathy, or I can lay myself and my burdens at the foot of the cross of JESUS, and carry on with His help. What will it be for you? What a friend we have in JESUS! Amen!

Overwhelmed By You, LORD

Big Daddy Weave sings,

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

We are faced with problems on a daily basis, some as trivial as what to wear or frustration with our hair, others huge and in our faces like dealing with cancer or another life-threatening issue. (I HATE cancer!) Honestly – and I’m preaching to the choir here – the idea of being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming. Two of my five siblings are currently living with cancer and one is considered cancer-free at last (that’s three out of six…. what are the odds?) I’ve had several procedures to remove pre-cancerous cells. When you hear the word ‘cancer’, the ‘Big C’, in the same sentence as your name, it is overwhelming, and NOT in a good way! How do we deal with such a diagnosis?

Having a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, waking up the loss or paralyzation of limbs; a special needs child with illness, losing your livelihood…. the list goes on and on, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. There are many overwhelming things in our lives, many without cures or solutions, so how do we deal with them? Natalie Grant sings “Help me want the Healer, not the healing….” I want to be overwhelmed by GOD, not life. Is it even possible? Yes, absolutely. Letting go isn’t easy. Holding tight to the problem, we think we can control the outcome. We think that we can eliminate the problem; we rely on doctors to solve the issue. Only the LORD, the GOD Who created everything, can take away our pain.

“The LORD hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.” – Psalms 34:17‭-‬19 NLT

GOD doesn’t always provide an earthly cure to whatever is causing our pain. What He gives us is Peace; something that can’t easily be explained in words. I certainly can’t describe it adequately. Look into the eyes of someone who is at peace in spite of their circumstance, and you see someone who has JESUS in their heart; someone who is overwhelmed by GOD, and in the arms of the Healer. You do know that Jesus is called the Great Physician, right? He can take away our fears and our frustrations, if we allow it.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

(Written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, 2001)