Healing Heart

What LOVED Looks Like

For years I lived for a place of love.

I longed to be loved for who I was and for what I did. I longed to be valued for being valuable.

I loved FOR God. I thought that since He did so much for me, I wanted to do things for Him as well. I was genuine in my desire to please Him and I truly had a connection with my Jesus.

As much as I loved God and had a connection with the Divine, I was quite certain there had to be more, but it seemed like such a mystery to me.

Last year, I had a dream about Jesus that set me on a search for truth. A search for who Jesus really is. Who God is. I’m still far from having all the answers, but I want to share with you one thing I am learning.

There’s a difference between living For Love and living From Love.

One of them is more performance based and the other is acceptance based.

When I lived For love, I lived for God. I took on duties and responsibilities that I thought would be a good way to bless other people For God. I tried to be constantly alert to any need that arose that would be something I could do FOR God.

I begged. I begged God to help me with loving others well when I felt impossibly unloving toward them. I begged for healing. I begged for answers. I begged for peace. I begged for things to change.

I always ended with words “according to your will” and I would envision myself as a contrite child on my knees before God, taking on whatever hardships were handed out to me….because whatever happened in life, God had to have a purpose for it. I lived from this posture of begging and trying hard to have faith.

Now I don’t want to get all technical on word play here. I’m also not a theologian. I am still learning, but I want to share my thoughts on what true Love is to me right now.

First, let’s talk about LIFE. Simply put, Life happens. Being human is hard. Horrible things occur every day and there is no good purpose for them that I can see. No good purpose for murder or rape or incest or abuse. No good purpose for babies suffering and mommies and daddies dying too soon. No good purpose for horrific things that we can’t even wrap our minds around. For trauma that rocks out world and turns it all upside down.

While I don’t see good in the actual experience, I see so much good in a Jesus who sits with us in the pain and weeps with us. I see a Jesus who doesn’t magically take us out of humanity but whose presence keeps us breathing and alive and infinitely loved.

What would it look like if we would view life through the lens of relationship versus the lens of controlling everything in life?

If we would stop begging God and instead start communicating with God. If we’d acknowledge the fact that life is not fair and that serving God will not be a guarantee that tragedy won’t strike us. That we are not immune to suffering and death and heartbreak. That just because something happens doesn’t really mean that it was meant to be.

That not everything has a purpose of good, but instead, the relationship with God is what causes the miracle to happen and goodness blooms from tragedy. That it’s more about what’s going on inside our hearts instead of the suffering. That graves do not normally disappear. But they can become gardens. (I love that song)

In every single hard thing, God is still good. Still listening. Still compassionate. Still caring. But He doesn’t always make it go away. He doesn’t always come through the way we think He should.

Here’s the promise we DO have. There is always a deeper level of love and awareness, companionship and peace He wants to bring us through the hard times.

I used to beg God for answers and change because that was all I knew to do. Beg and resign myself to whatever He chose to do. I didn’t know how to receive. How to live in the power of His resurrection.

I was so busy trying to find reasons for what was happening. Defending God in my thoughts. Focusing on what He could do instead of focusing on His presence right here. Right now.

I didn’t know how much He LOVED me. Because I was so busy trying to serve Him and make sense of what was happening.

But here’s the part that I have learned at a deeper level this last year.

I am LOVED.

Exactly where I am . The way I am. No proper words or correct thoughts needed. No perfect faith or wordy prayers. I am loved with my questions and fears and insecurities.

I’m loved exactly now. Exactly as I am.

It sounds incredibly simple but to get that message from my head into my heart took another whole level of belief, acceptance, and trust.

When the reality of Divine Love moved into the very core of my heart, it changed everything. I stopped trying to do it right for God.

I started from a different place. A place of rest. A place of acceptance. Of not trying to prove anything or argue my stance.

A place of unconditional, gentle, overwhelming, accepting, patient love.

I began loving From this Divine love. I began accepting the Words I heard Jesus speaking to me. I began accepting the truth spoken around me. I began accepting the smiles and words of blessing from others and when I began believing these things, my whole life began to shift and change.

Instead of begging, I began receiving. Instead of taking, I began asking. Asking Jesus what He thought of this . Asking the Holy Spirit’s presence into issues I was facing. And then I listened.

I am learning that Jesus actually delights in being with me. That instead of a helpless child begging at his feet, He is gently taking my fear and hesitation and asking me to dance with Him in freedom and love.

I learned something else. There is always a blessing waiting for me. I am not an unworthy beggar.

Because of LOVE-divine LOVE- when God looks at me, He sees Jesus . The angels rejoice over me because of that LOVE that I am resting in. Power is mine…because of abiding in love.

Because of this LOVE, I have access to a whole huge storehouse of blessings. It’s my choice if I accept them or not. I can chose to follow the gentle suggestions of the Holy Spirit. Even if I don’t, it doesn’t make me more or less loved. But it may keep that blessing tucked away on the shelf in the store house, waiting to be poured out over my life and the lives of those around me. It may keep me from experiencing a new view of who God is and what He has available for me in life.

It takes all the pressure off when living from a place of love. I don’t have to spend energy constantly searching my radar for things I should do and ways I must serve. I won’t blow it if I miss one opportunity or make one mistake.

I know now that Jesus will meet me wherever I’m at.That when I am in communication with Him, I can follow His gentle lead and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit to show me how to love others best.

I can live in rest and know that my performance doesn’t change His opinion of me. With my heart turned toward him, I know that I will be told what to do and I can rest in that knowing.

I can rest my heart and mind on the knee of my Creator and ask questions, share my fears, and hear the sweet words of love and power.

There is no need to beg when I can simply rest and receive.

There is so much power. So much love. So much Hope available through this kind of living.

So many secrets and sweet thoughts and moments. So many many messages from nature. Birds flying overhead, butterflies flitting by, breezes suddenly springing up, the smile of a stranger, the wave of a child. All around me , life is filled with this rest and love when I simply open my eyes to it’s wonder.

We are not the victims in this life. We are not the ones who are powerless and fearful in the face of resistance to love and truth. We are incredibly equipped with power and peace from our Creator.

We are in touch with Heaven’s answers. With ideas and thoughts and words of life that may seem so insignificant in the moment, but can start a ripple effect of goodness and transformation.

Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus questions. Don’t be surprised when you hear an answer. It may just be different then what you imagined.

Dare to live truly divinely LOVED!!

Grief

When Miracles Don’t Happen

I’ve been Rumbling around

With thoughts on God

And miracles and healing.

It feels that too often in life

I’ve operate under the expectation

That when we have our priorities straight

When we have our life full

Of church and giving and prayer

Then God will hear us.

FOR SURE.

I’ve been more and more uncomfortable

With this mindset and I’ve been digging

Deeper in search of clarity.

I always knew that we can’t save ourselves in our own power. However, for years I felt a desperation deep in my core that went beyond that knowledge. It told me that I was never good enough and never powerful enough to be considered a good Christian. I was always aware of my brokenness and my humanness and imperfections.

So I begged

I pleaded.

I made promises in hopes of becoming more powerful and feeling more committed.

I forced a lot.

I was desperate for God to help me.

I was treating God like a vending machine.

Here’s the deal though. Ten quarters won’t buy you more favor then one. They might buy you more soda but they don’t buy you more favor with God.

He’s not a vending machine.

He will not be manipulated.

He will not be patronized.

He will not be prioritized.

It feels like in a crazy way sometimes,

I have tried to manipulate

The Creator into blessing me.

Then when things go down hill

I check my life for sin.

Like I can control the outcome in

circumstances by DOING.

Now before I get all technical

and you think I’m throwing out prayer

and the power of the Holy Spirit and our own

human nature and repentance,

let me tell you what started me on my

Quest for truth and meaning.

When a loved one escapes death,

We say things like

” We are so blessed!”

“It is a miracle!”

“We are So grateful!”

That’s all good and true and fine!

But here’s the part that hasn’t sat well with me.

What happens if death comes?

Or something worse then death?

Are we still just as blessed?

Are we still SO grateful?

And did we still receive a miracle?

It leaves a wide open feeling of betrayal and is downright uncomfortable when one person is ‘blessed’ because the diagnosis was negative but someone else’s was positive.

When death takes one child and the other child is healed.

When one child disappears forever and the other one is found.

It feels like cruel, ill humored fate. We face grief or we face survivor’s guilt.

And we wonder where God is.

He said He gives to those who ask.

He answers to those who knock.

He says you’ll find if you search.

So how come it feels like He’s not keeping His end of the deal?

Here’s the kicker.

There is no ‘deal’ with God.

Not the kind of deal that we envision anyway.

He already Created us plus the whole entire world so He is already light years ahead of us!

He is my Saviour so having him as a priority feels a bit … dusty and lame. I mean ….really!

Our kids don’t become more or less our children by prioritizing our relationship. They simply ARE ours. In a similar way, I am God’s child and that is a fact that I cannot change by trying to love Him more in hopes that I will become more His. I AM ALREADY! (Thanks to Rhonda Schrock for setting my mind along these thoughts)

He will automatically be a priority when I am in a good relationship with Him. That’s what it all comes down to with Him.

Relationship.

Bad things are going to happen in life.

Heartbreak will come. Unfair, horrible, cruel life wreaks havoc every single day and loving God does not always shield us from it.

We will hurt. We will bleed. We will likely rather die then face life at times.

But our relationship with God can still be sacred and steady and powerful. Deeply calming.

Begging, pleading, trying to change minds, or manipulating never works well in any relationship.

Why do we try it with the Divine?

We don’t have to try to figure God out.

He doesn’t need to be defended or explained.

Taking responsibility for other people’s actions, or the ‘fate’ in life, is not our duty or our right. There’s a lot of truth to that with God as well.

While I firmly believe God WANTS to hear our hearts and wishes and dreams and deep longings that ‘cannot be uttered’, I also believe that we need to step off the pedestal of trying to get it all right, have enough faith, read our Bible enough, pray enough, or be a ‘better Christian’.

God is way more interested in having a relationship with us then having us perform our hearts out in hidden fear and desperation.

He has been waiting for a deep, trusting relationship with us since the day He breathed life into our bodies. He is deeply invested in our lives, whether we feel it or not, and He has incredible comfort, insights, blessings and adventures to share with us.

We are living, moving miracles every single day. We may not get the miracle we were praying or hoping for, but we are actually LIVING a miracle Right Now. That’s worth celebrating!

This whole SAFE relationship with God -even when life is anything but SAFE may feel like the beginning of a relationship to us, or the ending of life as we know it but in all reality, He has known us since forever.

He loves us incredibly beyond our imagination.

Trust Him.

He is still the God of miracles! There is still beauty in January.

Healing Heart

Alive

It’s the twelfth day of 2020.

It’s taken me 12 days to put words to the thoughts in my head.

And even now, they come out stumbly and awkward.

It’s Sunday evening and it’s black dark outside and the temperature is plummeting below zero.

It’s January and 6 years ago, on this very day I was bringing our three year old daughter home from another hospital stay with no idea that in a few short weeks, she would physically leave us for the rest of our earthly lives.

I wept as I drove home in the gathering dusk earlier tonight, after picking up Vitamin C and Echinacea and Throat Coat tea for my son.

I wept because I wanted to spend another day or month or year or forever with our daughter ALIVE.

I wept because I miss the feminine, sweet, little girlishness she brought into our lives.

Sometimes death feels so dead.

I know there is always Life somewhere.

I just need to choose to see it.

This year, I chose the word ALIVE as my focus.

Not because I wanted to hide the pain of death. Not because I want to live every day in a flurry of activity or growth.

I chose it because I want to remind myself of LIFE.

I want to remind myself that no matter how my heart and emotions feel, I am vitally ALIVE.

I have been making a running record in my journal of proof that I am ALIVE.

Some may think it a gratitude list if they saw it.

It’s more then that to me. While I’m grateful for everyone of those things I list, it’s also proof to me that LIFE is still happening. Right this minute.

Dirt under fingernails.

Homes for crickets.

Green in Winter.

I stand with myself and weep in the death of our daughter. It’s a healthy thing to grieve. But death can be so much more then physical death.

Death can be lived in the heart and the mind and this is where I stand my ground and come ALIVE.

I refuse to be soul stuck in the clutches of shame and fear and selfish thinking. I refuse to ruminate on things I cannot change. I refuse to believe my self worth is based on my emotions and thoughts and others opinion of me. I refuse to manipulate myself and others by doing and saying things in a passive aggressive manner. I refuse to allow other people’s issues to control my own personal mental and physical health.

I will fall down flat often this year. I know I will. But I also known that I am not the sum total of my mistakes.

Falling does not mean I am dead. It means I am human and it means I have an opportunity to grow.

I am reminding myself of my own humanity and my own power …through the wonderful grace of my Creator.

I am reminding myself by writing lists about being ALIVE.

Steamed cream in my coffee. So frothy and smooth on my tongue.

The ache in my shoulders after a day of work.

Fractured morning light on the living room wall.

The smell of icy winter.

The way my son lies, breathing in and out.

Sleep music wafting through the room.

Footsteps of my husband downstairs.

Writing down the present makes me more aware. It reminds me of the important things happening all around me and keeps me from getting stuck on things I cannot change. Things in the past. Things in the future. Things in the present that are out of my control.

I want to be ALIVE this year.

To listen without judgment.

To give true empathy without patronizing or trying to fix things.

I want to feel my heart healing.

I want to watch the woman inside of me blossoming.

I want to own my story and live my present.

I want to feel the joy and the hard and the mundane.

I want to remind myself that ALIVE is what my soul is. That no death will take that from me.

Death is conquered already. My Divine Creator is the essence of ALIVE and He has invited me into His presence.

ALIVE .

EMBRACE IT. THIS ONE WONDERFUL MIRACULOUS LIFE.

Grief

When I don’t Understand God

“Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing.” Book of Job

That’s how I’ve been feeling the last while. Like God is silent. Life is cruel. Present is suffocating. And Future uncertain. I wanted to beat something up. Take a wrecking ball to a building. As if that would make me feel better. After the clatter and crash and settling dust, what would be left? Everything would still be exactly the same. Except for a pile of ruin.

But ruin feels good sometimes. Sitting among the ashes of your dreams and longings has a drawing power. It’s just so familiar. It’s all your mind wants to turn to. It feels like home even though it wreaks of utter desolation. Sometimes, the effort it takes to get up just isn’t worth it.

Acceptance seems like betrayal. Forgiveness seems like denial. Smiles seem frivolous. And joy seems like a giant lie.
So I sit a bit longer among the ruins, sifting them through my fingers.

God’s been working on this girl’s heart. I am hopeless and helpless without Him. The moments of my life that surround this sadness in my heart will always stay with me. The pain and total NOT understanding. The NOT FAIR and the WHAT IF. It has all been woven into the essence of who I am. God knew that when He created me.

Listen to what else Job has to say about understanding, this ancient man who lost everything except His life and his wife.

“God understands the way to it
And He alone knows where it dwells.
for He views the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

(So He’s looking at the big picture. At the details.)

When He established the force of the wind
(Maybe our trials and pain?)
And measured out the waters
When He made a decree for rain,
And a path for the thunderstorm…

He looked at wisdom
And appraised it
He confirmed it.
And tested it.

(Guess what? Unlike my mind likes to think, God isn’t up there whipping up a storm, unleashing pain and horror over His children, without a thought of where the pieces will fall. He is appraising. Confirming. Testing. He knows what He’s doing. He created us. And He honestly has the BEST for us turning in His ‘Great Brain’. He delights in us. He will never leave us broken alone. Ruined for good. Because He is stronger then our circumstances. Look at what the last verse says.)

The fear (reverence, respect) of The Lord is
WISDOM
And to shun evil is
UNDERSTANDING.”

Just like Alex Marini shared on Sunday…
To have fullness of joy is actually not complicated.
“Obey God
Abide. In. Him.”

Our God is so big. Look at another quote from Job…

“And these are but the outer fringe
Of His works.
How faint the whisper we hear of Him!
Who then can understand
the thunder of His power?”

Today, I’m choosing to trust God. He knows what He’s doing. I’m just convinced. I feel like I’m along for the ride…. I think that’s just OK:)

Right now…the ride consists of reading Kobe’s favorite book…I can handle that!

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