LSOF: Storms and the brokenhearted

I have this habit of trying to avoid storms, and I try to leave just right before one hits my area.  The other day as I pulled away from my house the lightening bolts seemed to be hitting only a few feet from my car.  But I managed to drive away and left the dark ominous sky in my rearview mirror.

In life we definitely encounter myriads of storms.  I have been caught up in one for two months now with a several different events that have tried to shake me a good few times. It has been a lot.

People have had this tendency during this time to tell me how I can be ” victorious,” and that ” He will deliver me and my family through this,” or ” Imagine the strength that is building in you right now,” and also ” Well, maybe I can just encourage you through this.”…

And while they all have been kind and meant well, that sometimes we just have to stop and think of the deeper message in all of this, and only a message that God could give…

Sometimes its not about finding victory in our times of grief, sometimes its just that we have to keep going through it in order to come out of it. Simply that.

I mean let’s face it, there is no magic that could keep a real storm from coming, and there is no magic way to make it pass any faster than it came…its just how it is.

It’s God’s timing. We just have to know that He knows the purpose.

I had a friend say to me that she is tired of sharing about what she is going through, because the people around her make her feel like she is just a “drama queen.” 

Folks, I gotta tell you sometimes we are just inundated with so much that its seems like some of it could be exaggerated. But it IS possible to have so much going on that it overwhelms people around us at the same time. And it overwhelms them…

Because only God is God.

Words will carry weight when needed but when we don’t know what to say we have to be careful what we do say. We have to be careful that if what we speak that we also believe. Don’t let your words come through empty, or just don’t speak at all.

I’ve had a lot of people love me through some real recent events, but the best were those who would tell me:

” Quit with the cliches of how you think you are suppose to be, and tell me how you really feel.” And they listened, and they were just empathetic.

We all want to love well.  We also all want to make people feel better where they are in their current situation.

But sometimes its just our place to love well, and let the people around us go through what they need to.

Sometimes we just need to watch them cry, sometimes they need to know that we see it.

It’s what Jesus would do. It’s our ultimate goal in this life to become like Him.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives 
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor 
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

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LSOF: ” Coming out of the Dark…”

As I began writing this post the song, ” Coming out of the Dark.” by Gloria Estefan came to my mind.

It’s quite fitting to say the least.

I spoke last time about my experience with the pit, and now I’d like to share what it is like once I came out of the pit.

My friend and I meet every other week or so to just pray and have conversation about God, and the things He is doing in our lives. And today we focused on God’s attributes and what we know them to be.

I shared that God is merciful and shows us favor by His grace, that we so do not deserve.

I focused on the pit and how when we are obedient and just keep dealing with the thing until its over, then God rewards us by His favor in our lives.

The pit is indeed a rough place to be, but I want to give emphasis to the word PLACE for a moment, because that is really what it is, just a place in a season of our lives.

One of my dear spiritual mentors shared with me in a birthday card how God does not throw us on earth like a pieces on a chessboard, but that he strategically PLACES us where He needs us to be to fulfil His purpose.

The Pit has a Purpose.

So I write this to share with you that favor will come once the purpose of being in the pit is done, but sometimes its also good to realize that God will bless even when we are in the pit. He wants us to recognize He is there and He loves us.

It’s important to look for His fingerprints through the pit. Those little blessings that He leaves for us.

I was sharing this morning with someone that asked me what happened to living in Savannah

To which I told them that God moved me back to Florida, and I also added that I grieved it, but that

I knew He had a greater purpose than I could see at that time.

For the first time in my life I can tell you I really love my life, and I really have come to know the character of God through my time in the pit.  I learned how He was with me when I flat out cursed Him in my own way. He was merciful, He didn’t look to try to make life worse, but instead He saw how numb I had become from my own emotions, and piece by piece…He started to put me and my life around me together again.

And what is interesting in all this is I didn’t think that I would get out of the pit by God’s help alone, I really thought that others might help me who had experienced it at the same time. I was wrong, and it is why it took me so much longer to get out then it was needed.

We are all a work in progress.

Keypoint I feel I should make in all this: Don’t deny that you are in the pit, don’t deny that something isn’t going the way it should be in your life, Don’t deny that there is something inside of you that you need to re-evaluate with God.

Don’t deny you need healing.

Again, I’m just talking; its just you and I having a conversation over starbucks, and I’m telling you what I experienced.

I want to see you free, because God does.

LSOF: Forgiveness

As I closed my eyes to sleep last night, I had a thought go through my heart.
It was as if I was laying on the ocean shore, and a gentle wave washed over me.
My heart was being told in God’s sweet, still small voice…
” You must forgive..”

I’m not one to be all to excited when God pushes me to write on things that go beyond
what I really am feeling at the present moment.
But I can tell you this…

I woke up with the same thought on my heart.
And it was as if the thought lived with me all through the night,
God was making it clear…YOU NEED TO DO THIS.
He wouldn’t let it go.
So I knew I couldn’t.

Now to you, maybe forgiving is an easy thing to do. I’m going to guess though, like me,
it doesn’t come so easy.

It might be easier to “forget” the situation, the “forgive” the circumstances within it all.

Forgetting is not the same as Forgiving.

How many times have you heard someone say to you, ” Oh just forget about it.”
That’s basically just saying to you, ” It’s not that important, get over it.”

But let me tell you something that strongly has been brought to my heart when it comes to forgiving and forgetting…
True forgiveness does not come from just letting that person, ” off the hook”…we may feel it for a certain amount of time, but I can almost promise you somewhere down the line…you are going to remember the situation, and feel that unforgiveness rage inside of you…so much so…
that you not only don’t forgive the situation that happened with that person, but it becomes a domino effect and you end up burning so many bridges…without intention.

So this would be what happens when someone says to you, ” Forgive and forget.”
More than likely, most times, we forget, before we forgive.
Not the way to go.

I don’t think any of us really can get the concept of what it is to forgive.
And I’m writing this, because I didn’t know….until now.
And this knowledge did not come from books.
I searched my own heart.

Forgiveness in my own words is to look beyond the faults of another person,
and beauty beyond it all. Beyond the anger they might have shown you, beyond the pain
they might have caused you, beyond the control they might have put on you, beyond the manipulation,
beyond the inferiority they caused you to feel, beyond anything and anything…
Whatever it was…

You see the person instead. You see them for who they ARE.
You know in their mind they might believe they are right, that they have just caused
to treat you, or say things to you that they do…
but I think I remember very well what Jesus said when He was on the cross
and people thought they had just cause to put Him there…

” Forgive them Father, they know not of what they do.”

Forgive and forgetting is something recommended actually from a health website.

This is straight from the website:
” Many people view forgiveness as an offshoot of love — a gift given freely to those who have hurt you.

Forgiveness, however, may bring enormous benefits to the person who gives that gift, according to recent research. If you can bring yourself to forgive and forget, you are likely to enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a drop in the stress hormones circulating in your blood, studies suggest. Back pain, stomach problems, and headaches may disappear. And you’ll reduce the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive. ” – Tom Valeo, via Webmd.com

Time heals pain, this is true. However, at some point (sooner then later), in that time…
we all need to look back on the situation with someone, and tell ourselves that we have to forgive.

I know there are some out there that feel like its too late, that the person has either passed or is no longer apart of your life…but its NOT too late.

It will be HARD, but I believe that our all powerful God can see it bubbling inside of you even now…
He can see your heart saying, ” If only…”
and He is going to tell you to stop regretting the past, stop wondering of how you wished things were different, and just think of that person in that situation you have been in life…
And say, ” I forgive you for…” and maybe you can’t get yourself to say, the ” Forgive you for” part,
if you can’t, its okay to just say, ” _____ , I forgive you.
Leave it at that. God knows your heart, He knows there are words you can’t get yourself to speak.

When we are hurting…we don’t want to forgive.
Plain and simple.
Believe me, I get this—
We need to get out of that frame of mind,
and work on it each day…

And like in my case, because I know that my heart is at stake and everything that I am, and what I truly believe in my character…I choose forgiveness.
I am created to be an example of Jesus, and He forgave.

And maybe like you, those who I want to say, ” I forgive you,” to…I can’t.
They are not apart of my life now…but God knows that I did.
And that’s what matters.

We need to focus on praying for good for others too…and forgiveness
helps us to pray for blessings for their lives.

We need to again realize, forgetting and not forgiving…it leaves an unintentional thorn in your side.
You will REMEMBER, and when you do…you won’t think lovingly of that person.
And its not fair to them or to you.

And all that is planned for all of you.

Forgive and don’t forget; instead- remember by how it’s shaped your life, and who God will raise u up to be through it!

I’ve probably gone on and on about this.

But I want to tell you something.

I have peace since I forgave those in my life who hurt me. They will never know it.
But it doesn’t matter.
My heart is right with God, because it is HE who needs me to forgive.
The others in my life, it wouldn’t matter….and that’s okay.

Forgiveness matters to God.
Because He doesn’t want us to have any stumbling block in the path
ahead.

And “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…”
and it starts by knowing we have no place with God,
if we have no place to forgive.

If you choose life.
Then choose forgiveness too!

(Colossians 3:12-14)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

LSOF: ” I Will Rise…”

I appreciate so much of the support and love that y’all have shown me in the last week since I decided it was best to stay quiet from my blog for a month…I never thought there was really more than me writing and reading these posts…you guys blew me away with your response!

So I have been thinking and it has really been pressed on my heart to…WRITE ANYWAY.
And thanks to you all for helping my heart to have perspective.
The whole point I write…has NOTHING to do with me.

I don’t know if you do this or not, but sometimes when I get in my car, I don’t turn on the radio.
I have music with me on my player…but sometimes…
I sing songs without the music.
Sometimes it means more to my own heart, when I am singing the lyrics to the song…
Just for me, and God to hear.

This particular song this morning brought tears to my eyes when I tried to sing it, its absolutely beautiful and its one that just makes me feel like I am riding on eagles wings.
It just sends a rush of peace through my soul…
It’s called,

” I Will Rise,” by Chris Tomlin.


There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well”

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

” There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail…”

I love that line so much…it comes out of the heart of Psalm 73:26

” My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”

I have to just share with you that what occured to me today while I was singing that song…
My flesh and my heart WILL fail…but its the HOPE I have that will always bring me back
to the place I need to be.

I know that hope. I know it SO well, that it brings tears to my eyes even thinking about it.

Hope is intertwined with faith and love…it reaches into the deepest part of who we are,
and tells us we are beautiful. It holds our hand in our fears, and let’s us know that light is stronger than darkness. It believes for us, when we don’t believe we have purpose to believe otherwise,
It knows the truth of who we are, when we are unsure of our identity.
It comforts us in our trials, It pushes us to take steps we don’t want to, It takes the tears that fall from our eyes and turn them into a treasure of another’s life. Hope was born into a world that never deserved it.
Yet it chose to overpower our pain…

” I will rise on eagles wings…”

This beautiful line comes out of Isaiah 40:31

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

I want everyone to know that I’ve decided to change the direction of this blog.
It has ultimately been about “Little Steps Of Faith”…but its on my heart to take it deeper.

I want to help teach HOPE…for now on we will walk blindly with the eyes of faith,
and walk into the arms of HOPE…
It’s about the journey not so much of believing and faith…
but taking that faith we have and pressing our heart into believing MORE when all we know
of the world is that it WILL let us down. It’s KNOWING God, but believing with our hearts…
that we can overcome anything with Him at our side.

I look forward to sharing my heart with you on this journey:)

LSOF: What if God wrote a foreword for our lives?

– What would it look like if we had a chance to read it?

– Would it change the way we lived our lives, would we live more intentionally?

– Do we understand that it is through HIS WORD alone that we will ever begin to follow the plan
for our lives?

– Will we be expectant enough, and seek Him enough for direction and meaning in His Word,
and in our lives?

– Would we really want to know what God’s foreword would say?

Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 29:29

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

LSOF: The Carried Burden

Driving down a desolate road last night with my man, we passed a girl walking.
It was about dark, and I saw that she didn’t have a vehicle close or place to walk to at short distance.
I told Mark to turn around and ask her if we could help her.
She looked so scared when we pulled up next to her. She was talking on the cell phone.
I put the window down and asked, ” Do you need a ride somewhere?”
She happen to be talking to her mom on the phone and pretty much threw me the phone saying,
” Please talk to my mom so she can get to me.”
I talked to her mom and told her that there was a gas station we could meet her at a few miles up.
As soon as we got off the phone the girl then asked if we could go back a mile and get her clothes
she had thrown in the bushes. We went back and got them.
I started conversation with her and asked, ” What happen to you?”
She started to tell me about a guy she met a few days ago, who wouldn’t take her home,
she also said, ” I’ve been doing this 6 years and never have had such a scary experience.”
Apparently this man she was with was planning on running off with her. She told me she practically
jumped out of the car.
I couldn’t help but be concerned with her ” line of work”, and I told her that if she ever needed a friend
or someone to talk to where our church was located. She immediately became defensive,
” I don’t need saving, I go to church.”
So I then told her that it had nothing to do with trying to save her. I told her that sometimes we just
need people to listen to us, and to understand where we come from. Sometimes we just need
encouragement.
She then said to me, ” I do want to get out of what I’m doing, I want to be a mom someday,
but it’s good money.”
I then told her about the rainbow. How we all have situations that happen to us in our lives
that make us choose to do certain things, but just like the colors in a rainbow
God can make it maginify tenfold and turn out to beautiful in the end.
She then said to me, ” I wonder if sometimes what I’ve been through, that there was a reason for it. Like maybe I can
help someonelse one day”
I said immediately, ” That is exactly the reason you went through it.”
She looked at me in shock…as if that was the first time she has ever heard that.
We met up with her mom at the gas station who probably said ” God Bless You” to me and Mark maybe 10 times,
and as the girl got out of the truck she said, ” If I ever write a book about my life,
You will be in it.” and she thanked me again and got out of the truck.

I am quite sure God poured a major lesson last night in that situation that happen.

I think we’ve all found ourselves walking on the side of the road in the dark in a sense.
I think we’ve all come to the point that we just found ourselves on a stretch of wilderness,
that we didn’t know why we had come to that point, but we had.

I was listening to two messages today, one from Grace Uprising and Seacoast and this verse was used in both of them:

Phillipians 4:11-13(ESV)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I think sometimes we are so ashamed of the burden we carry that it continues to grow until we can’t carry it anymore,
until we have to “throw it in the bushes” until we can get back to it. Until we can deal with it again.

When the girl said, ” I don’t need saving, I go to church.” it broke my heart. I saw it in her eyes that she has been judged
before, and perceived Christians to be that way.
But we as Christians, we carry burdens too…and we have been where she has been in a sense.

We don’t share with others that we are dealing with “something” because we are afraid of being ” judged” even though
we are taught not to judge. We are taught it, yet we believe other Christians will judge still.

I have a friend who is a believer who did something that other Christians may look down at them for, and its something simple
and not a big deal, but there are people out there that would have other things to say about it. I know that,
she knows that.

I am glad I allowed God to raise me. I am glad that God taught me that there are people placed in my life to help carry my burdens, that we are here to help each other. We are here to share in the sufferings, and also the joys.

I wish so much I could have given that girl a hug and prayed with her last night. But I want to believe in my heart
that Jesus was there in that small time. I pray that she saw Him and not me talking to her.

The girl taught me a huge lesson too. She taught me that in the real struggles we face in life, that they are completely meaningless to what God has called us to do. That regardless of what we feel we haven’t accomplished, by doing as
asked by God…we can overcome the world with LOVE.

Thank you to my friend I met last night on the road. If I write a book, you would be written there too…
but you will also be in my heart, and I will continue to pray for you.
Remember…there is a reason you have gone through it…someonelse needs to hear your story one day…
Keep your head up.

Matthew 11:28
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

xoxo
angie

LSOF: Fear not….when praying

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you.

I woke up this morning in this silence. It was 10:30am. Still no phone call from either job on the “finalities” of
schedule. I sigh. Yet I just stay silent.

I notice that there are really horrible storms happening in some areas good friends are living in.
I get on twitter to see that these friends are dealing with severe flooding, and they are scared out
of their wits about ” tornadoes.”
I didnt’ say I would pray for them. I just said, ” I am sorry to hear about that. stay safe.”
It was a good time to be praying though. Yet I stayed silent.

I know better than to tell someone I am going to pray for them. I know better, because when you say you
will and then you don’t…you could actually mess with their lives. It sounds crazy, but I promise you its not.

I finally did speak to God this morning. I was becoming really anxious about the job situations.
So I just sort of began to speak to God. I began to just tell Him that I’m sorry for being silent.
But I was afraid to pray….

What. I was AFRAID to pray..

It occured to me that, because I’ve seen God change things around me and in others lives so much, that its the
fear in believing that He will hear that prayer too. It’s the fear that He might change something I might not be
ready for Him to change.

I did pray for my friends dealing with the storms, I told Him to just make them move through fast.
It’s 3:07pm, and I have been told all of them have died down. My prayer was answered.

I mean of course I know I wasn’t the only one praying, but sometimes God will call us to pray, and sometimes
when He does, its because He knows He can count on us. He needs to know that we care about the situation or
person as He does.

I’m praying for a friend right now that just kinda goes in and out of “existence” she blogs and shares all about
her life, and then just disappears from sight for a few months. This time knowing everything I know about her,
I have to say that I know I need to be praying for her. I know that she needs my prayers right now.

I had a dream the other night. It was a strange, ” Alice in Wonderland” type dream, and I am NOT joking. I
actually remember trying to ask if it was a ” dream” during it. I just got funny looks.
But the part of the dream that really got me was when I was in this house. There were all sorts of noises and
shadows. But the end of it really scared me, but at the same time taught me a lesson.

I saw a door open slightly, then close. It was far away in the other room so I couldn’t tell for sure,
so I got closer, and I heard it open and close again. I grabbed ahold of my cat,
and then went closer.

Suddenly it swung all the way open, and stayed open. And I run out of the house and then wake up.

Its when it occured to me. We can be just as afraid of God doing things in our lives, as we can be afraid of
waiting for Him to do things in our lives.

I know of some friends who have big changes about to happen in their lives. I am praying so hard for them.
I am sure that what is happening is completely God and I am so happy for them.
I am not afraid of what He is going to do with them, because so much change is happening for them that
I have to let God just have it.

I guess what it comes down to is. Knowing when to pray, and then what to pray. Not necessarily how to pray.
Just talking to God. Just telling Him what’s on your heart.

Just being still…but NOT silent.

xoxo
angie