LSOF: Darkness to Light

From darkness to light…

What has been, or is the “darkness,” in your life right now? What is a common theme
that just torments you where you stand?
Do you feel like, because of it, that you feel like your goals and dreams seem too far out of reach?

I’ve been there too.

I could best describe it as the ending scene in, ” Alice in Wonderland,” when Alice is going through the corridor
and all of the characters are chasing after her. At one point she starts to run in slow motion, and then finally reaches the door to the outside, only to find it locked.
And if I can recall she says, ” Please open the door, I need to get out of here.”
and the door speaks to her, ” But you are already out.”

I think how this story relates to us in regarding to the stuff that is swallowing us up in our lives,
I think it says that our reality is NOT the true reality.
I think it says that when we choose to believe what is found in the darkness,
instead of believing the Hope found in the light…
We create our own prisons. We mask ourselves and everything we are,
inside of our minds. We allow ourselves to be, ” chased,” by the common theme of thoughts,
and situations that plague us daily.

Why do we do this?

I think a lot of the time, its easier to believe lies.
Because the truth is something that has been more far fetched for us.

Put it this way, if you are used to feeling like a failure,
and then you succeed at something…
you probably won’t even realize that you have indeed, succeeded.

Why do we continue to believe these negative thoughts?

I think that we let one thing or a few things that have happened in our lives,
decide what the future will look like, because they have been so common.
Because the ending keeps looking the same.

Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

It’s basically like deciding tomorrow will rain, because today is.
We don’t really know for sure.
But we set ourselves up to the degree, that the worst will just continue to happen.

And honestly, can I tell you something…
We were not born with a storm cloud over our heads.

We have to remember that God has full control over everything that happens to us,
and all we have been through, its never out of His sight.

Which I have to just add something here that seems to be a common thing in this day and age:
When something amazing happens in another’s life, something unbelievable…
It is often chalked up as coincidence,
BUT…
When something bad happens, the FIRST thing others do is BLAME God!

It tells me that our culture doesn’t really believe in God, they believe that they believe themselves, and God just gets in the way.

How much of our darkness in our life is attributed to our own doing?

How much of our lives our wasted, because we are slaves to ourselves?

 

How much of our lives to we set ourselves up ON OUR OWN, with defeat?

I think so much of the time that even though there is a real enemy out there,
that he doesn’t even have to do anything to test us…we test ourselves and he just
sits back, laughs and takes some notes…

Do we really want to live lives that show we rather walk through our own mess everyday,
our own past, and keep it with us like some security blanket?

Because let me ask you something,
Do you feel secure?
Does it make life easier, because you live life the way you always have?
You might think so, but you would be very wrong.
We are meant to progress, we are meant to face ourselves…
Because we have to understand that God has set up our character, and who we are…
It’s set up for a purpose, nothing is in vain…
I am sure I’ve said that many times on this blog, but its the truth,
because once you start to believe that life is horrible,
and your web of torment will never let you go…
you are telling yourself…
It all was meant for nothing.

Healing from the darkness….

John 12:46
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Healing from everything in our lives that has been the tier of negativity and destruction,
is not something that is simple. You can’t just read a “self-help,” book…you can’t listen to Oprah,
or Tyra, you can’t hear the right lyrics in a song, you can’t buy something at the store, you
can’t eat something, you can’t get it from sex, drugs, whatever…

True healing starts with realizing there is true darkness.

True healing comes from admitting that its a problem to your future.

It means admitting you are not God.
It’s admitting you have lost control.

Psalm 61:2
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I’m not saying that we need to start going to like ” Anonymous” meetings and saying,
” Hello my name is…and I have been dealing with this since I was 5…”

I’m saying that we need to put that darkness in its rightful place,
back to hell where it came from.

It starts with one day at a time living your life a little differently than you have.
It may mean you need to surround yourself with different people.
It may mean you might have to take on a different hobby.
It may mean you might even have to find another job at times…

But progress comes from changing what has been consistent,
to inconsistent.
It’s deactivating our thought process into a new form of perspective.

I also have a warning for you…
If you continue on, and don’t seek to start healing…

You are going to hurt people in your life,
you are going to hurt those who have reached out, and want to be there for you.
You are going to jump at something said or done that was completely
miscommunicated.

And you will go into a circle of consistent chaos…and that will become your future.

I want to leave you with this thought:

In a fire drill, we learn to STOP, DROP, and ROLL…

What if we looked at the darkness as flames….
and could speak to it…
” STOP tormenting me in my life, I am now going to DROP the control this has on me,
and It will ROLL away from my life by the hands of God.

We do not have to let our darkness overcome the light of who we need to be.

There are many out there who have no clue that darkness even exists in their lives,
because they’ve never known light…

Now that you know that there is a problem, now that you know that you need to stand up
and take care of your own, ‘stuff’…

Will you?

Because there is a world out there that God needs your help to heal…

Think about it.


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

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 fight is not ours

I love to look at bible verses that encourage me, and help me to know and remember how powerful our God really is;
not that we could actually fathom that in completeness, but I love to just be blown away by Him at times.

Did you know that in Exodus 14:14(NLT) it actually says,
” The Lord, HIMSELF will FIGHT for YOU, You only need to only stay calm.”

REALLY? Really is that all we have to do is just be calm and let God handle everything going on with us.

YES.

The more we actually give God a chance to take ahold of the things going on in our lives, the better our lives will be.
It will be BETTER, because we will be giving ourselves PEACE. We honestly leave our issues, are situations, and our problems with God and say…

” YOU LORD ALONE know how to deal with this. It is your fight, it is not mine. I can overcome this, I can get passed it…
Because You are God and NOTHING is too hard for you! Mountains tremble and fall into the oceans before you. Rulers fall to their face in your presence. The earth is yours and everything in IT. Help all of us Lord to overcome the evil one, Help us all Lord to not be discouraged by our days. You are our shield, our sword, and our REDEEMER. You take our lives from the pit and make them anew. You search us, and you know us. Let your heart be our DIRECTION Father…let us leave our weapons on the ground, and let YOU move ahead of us…”

I know that wars are fought with weapons overseas. But I also know that for every bullet fired, that there is someone on their knees praying. Weapons alone do not destroy, it is our reverence for God. It is us knowing every heartbeat should be in belief that we cannot stand where we are without HIM.

I was sitting in church today, and we were singing the song, ” Everything” – ” Your all that I want, your all that I need, your everything, everything…”

And I felt myself not only sing that song, but feel it from my heart towards heaven. I couldn’t say it loud enough!
He is EVERYTHING. HE is ALL we NEED. We only need to trust Him that He knows better!

I went into the prayer center right after church, my heart was full. I love my time spent with Him.
I passed a man who was on the side of the church smoking. He jumped when he saw me, ” I didn’t know anyone would come by here.” and I just looked at him and said, ” It’s okay.” and walked inside. His look on his face showed “shame”, and it got me thinking more HOW again EVERYTHING is God’s fight. Even our addictions. I mean we ALL have our addictions.

I walked inside and I sat down, and I looked at the portrait of Jesus. And I just started to say, ” Lord, I know I’m trying, and I admit I’m not trying hard enough, but YOU Lord, I know you can help me to do better.”

I also shared with Him about someone in my life struggling right now with a lot, and I finally said,
” I need to leave this with you, because you are the one in this battle for them, not me.”
Because I am sure that’s what the Spirit put in my heart to say.
I know I need to. I can’t make anyone’s life better. It is God alone who can.

The fight is not ours my friends. We can think that we can handle it better…and then that is when we find ourselves on the ground. We become sad. We become deeply depressed. We quit having motivation for anything…
We eventually put a stopper in the flow of the Holy Spirit pouring into our lives.

We may not face physical battles, but I know there are spiritual ones, and mental ones going on inside of all of us,
I don’t care who you are…you are fighting something today too.

Let HIM fight for you. Let HIM take all of it on. HE can handle it.

In Isaiah 40:26 it says that God placed every star in the sky and calls them each by name…every star.
And it is His strength and power alone that keeps them where they are, and from falling…

He WILL do the same for us.

We just have to remember our battle is the Lord’s.

He’ll take it from there.

LSOF: Rooted and Uprooted

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I am sitting here writing this as I look out my window and view the forest. It rained and the wind blew heavily last night, so there are puddles everywhere; water has surrounded a good batch of trees.

I remember during the hurricanes in Florida. The ground would be come so saturated, and the wind would blow so hard,
that it would literally uproot the trees and they would fall to the ground.

Have you ever been uprooted?

When the roots were in the ground: life going well, great people in your life, job going well, family so close, you had a great church, or just a perfect place to go where you could ease your mind, and your focus could just be on God, and the life you were living?

When the roots could no longer hold: People you thought you trusted in your life turned their back on you, family situations became really bad, a church you attended you can no longer face, your job on the line, a child goes wayward,
and you really began to feel ” suffocated” by the deep waters around you.

I was reading the book of Job this morning. And this guy so had his share of just constant pain and anguish in his life.
He was actually considered blameless in the sight of God. And one day Satan came and asked God if he might try to prove that Job wasn’t as blameless as thought. God allowed Satan to test Job; he allowed him to test him as long as he spared his life.

Job’s family, and his servants all died in tragedies, and everything was one thing after another, and his wife saw what was going on in the beginning and told Job to curse God, but he refused.

THAT TAKES FAITH.

As I read on in Chapter 9-13 or so, it was just so interesting to me how many times his friends would tell him what their idea of how God was, and everything, but even though Job was just in so much turmoil; he still kept the truth right at his side.
He spoke up to his friends, he did defend God. I thought that was really interesting, but such a lesson to all of us as well.
And actually, his friends were just as lost as he was.
One friend was all about saying that is was because of sin that their was suffering…Job knew this wasn’t true
Another friend said it was about humility, and that if Job would accept his suffering as sin, that He would be okay,
but the issue was the Job didn’t believe his suffering was a result of sin.
And yet another friend spoke that Job didn’t have the right to complain about his suffering, because he believed traditionally
that the sin was just…that basically Job had no right to question…
That’s so wrong!

Job 14:7
” At least there is hope for a tree;
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grown old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of the water, it will but and
put up shoots like a plant.”

but then he adds this,

Job 19:10
” He tears me down on every side until I am gone,
he uproots my hope like a tree…”

These two verses are interesting, because you can just see the fight that Job is having with God,
and he is SO confused, in one instance he believes that God will bring hope to a tree and help it flourish,
and in another he compares himself to being uprooted like a tree.

I very much believe that he speaking of himself here; his world around him, People perhaps, or things in his past.
Let me suggest to you that perhaps Job in his anguish was trying to make sure God heard him,
and also that perhaps he was trying to also make his friends just leave him be.

In any case, this story though very rough to read, it makes such a good point.

Job may have had faith in God from the beginning, but something we have to realize is that God is never done teaching us.
We all have something He wants to teach us about our lives. Especially if He sees we are in a comfort zone.

I have experienced so much since I’ve moved to Georgia.

This past week alone has been such a learning experience.
God really felt I needed to learn something.

I have been so lonely, and just didn’t have anyone here really.
I almost went out with my roommate and her friends one night, but I pulled up in the driveway
after work and sat there saying to God, ” Lord, I don’t think you want me to go there.”
Well, I was probably right. Because I would have felt uncomfortable, and would have had
to drink to be comfortable. I shouldn’t have to drink to feel comfortable around people.
Its important that while I am here in Georgia now, that my foundation is set. And that did not include going to a club until 2am.

Something you should know if you don’t. There is no set time that God says to obey Him or not obey Him, we must always obey Him. He knows we are going to mess up, but we don’t want to get ourselves so far that we are an uprooted tree.
We can knock ourselves down on our own.

We need a firm foundation to keep ourselves going.

I had to get out of the living situation I was in for many reasons.
I had been looking for a place to rent.
And then I went to bible study tuesday night; My friend Lori told me I would enjoy it.

Another girl had just started coming to the church, and in conversation just mentioned
her roommate and she were looking for a third roommate.
My mouth dropped wide open.
I was at the study for a reason that night.

Its always so interesting if you look back on the timeline and can sort of see the battle between God and Satan with our lives.
Even though I had found a place to live, stuff was still happening that wasn’t so great.

My tire was flat when I came out of work, I found out the next day that someone had gouged a hole in the sidewall.
The night after that I had planned to move some stuff over, but was really tired…and due to other reasons, I found myself
moving EVERYTHING to the new place. My pastor, a sweet lady from my women’s group, my new roommate all were moving
me to my new place. We did it in 4hrs!

My foundation wasn’t just being set in a new home that night, its been being set since I’ve moved here. God just started showing me little bits what He had planned.

If you have been following this journey it all began truly beginning of 2009 to now…and looking back, I can’t believe all that God has done.

I love my new church, I love the people, and am really connecting with quite a few of them.

I remain teachable.
We all have to.

LSOF: Creating our own prisons

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In the beginning of Ephesians, we see that Paul is writing his letter while in prison. It is also the book that is known as,
” The Prison Doxology”, and with good reason if you read on through.
My purpose today though, isn’t to share about the letter he was writing, and the lessons that were taught…
while all so vitally important, I think the focus should be that he was writing from a single candle light, if any,
he could hear the screaming of the prisoners from all around him. He may have been without food or water for days…
we don’t know what his conditions were at that time,
our focus shouldn’t be the prison, but how he pushed his mind through to a deeper place,
that he could possible close his eyes and picture his meeting with Jesus on the road.
That even though he was in an unfamiliar place, he still had a very FAMILIAR God close to his side.
And God knew every moment what would happen next in every little breath.
I think Paul knew that being in the prison was just another test of his faith, and the test wasn’t how long he could keep
his sanity, I think it was how long it would it take to remember Jesus each morning he awoke from his situation.

I think we can all very much relate to this.

Have you ever had something happen to you in your life, that truly left scars on the inside?
Something that even though you’ve had years of counseling, and praying to be set free from…you still
remember every now and then?
Perhaps it was a person; a relative, a friend, a boss, or a teacher in your past that perhaps hurt you in some way,
or maybe it was a loss of something or someone…whatever it is, whatever you did or didn’t do, or they did, or didn’t do…
The prison bars are up.

I believe I finally allowed myself to be set free from something recently that has bothered me for almost 15 years or so,
it was something that deep down inside me hurt to even think about at times. It literally has kept me from being close to people that love me. I have always loved people from a distance.

Without sharing that situation I will tell you that in a simple email, I was able to see straight to my face that this was something that had no reason to be holding me back.

I want to say that we can’t allow a few things that happen in our lives to define how the rest of our life will be like,
because in a way, aren’t we trying to play God? Aren’t we throwing ourselves to the darkness?

I have decided that I am going to be more vocal when it comes to helping people find the best of themselves, because concentrating on the things that have been God given gifts…that is what defines us, the beauty we can help God create into the world.

Living here in Savannah, it hasn’t been an easy start.

I almost did the Thanksgiving thing by myself, I planned on my friend going to her dad’s and I would make myself some
chicken fahitas.

I ended up going with my friend Nicole to her dad’s house.

She lost her mom last year, and she was the one telling me to my face today,
” Angie, at least you came to Savannah knowing someone, you could have moved somewhere where you didn’t know anyone,
and you need to just appreciate that.”

It’s the truth, I moved here and the enemy gave my mind a good materialistic view on what I didn’t have here,
my family for example, but I completey didn’t realize the things I did have here.

I hope if you are reading this that you look around you today…and appreciate the little things that are right in front of you.

Be thankful for them. Because YOU HAVE THEM:)

LSOF: The Faith Storm Part 2- ” Gone with the wind”

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Out of the stillness, the trees start to dance. Sway back and forth. You can smile now, because the wind has returned,
and God is moving!

Something that you notice though…the branches of the trees start to crack and whistle. And all around its like a symphony of a breaking tree limbs.

The wind has changed direction.

I wonder if maybe you are in the ” eye of the storm” stage, and I wonder how you might be handling it.
Are you believing He will get you through, are you believing that He knows what is best out of the situation?

I hope that my story has encouraged you, because the next part will blow your mind as it has completely for me.

I will begin by saying, I’ve posted about ” Spiritual vs. Earthly timeline” and how there is the whole other part we don’t realize is happening in the background of our life, but we concentrate so much on the earthly.

Here is my timeline for ya:

I got a blessing in the mail—>I went to Deeper Still and met Beth Moore:)—>I received a class grade for all the effort and not the intelligence—>I went to Savannah and got to spend sometime with great friends…

OKAY, the next part is where it gets crazier.

I have been praying to God about showing me what the next step is. I knew it in my heart that He wanted me to leave FL, but I wasn’t quite sure where. So I had it on my heart that He wanted me in Savannah…I wasn’t sure.

While I was in Savannah, I needed to attend a church service. Nicole and I found a church locally that seemed to be a religion I was used to. We walk in, we sit down..and um, realized we were a little different.
The music was amazing, but the message…not the best.

The Pastor was supposed to be speaking on Joshua 4, ” If these stones could talk, what would they say?” well,
without going into it, I’ll just say I had five sentences of message notes…and the Word wasn’t mentioned for an hour in a half!
I ended up walking out.

I walked into the CVS and I was there to get a drink, noticed the line was insanely long.
So before I walked out the door I stopped and decided I would give my name to the manager there,
” I am a manager at the store in FL, and will eventually be looking to transfer maybe up here
if anything should come available in a few months or so.”
The girl took my name and said sweetly, ” We will keep you in mind if anything should come up.”
Nicole and I then left and proceeded to a coffee shop.(as if that should shock you.)

I went home got on the computer and decided if I could hear something good
Beth Moore would have a message on, oneplace.com.
I put the most recent message on the player and listened.
Beth began speaking on Joshua 3 and 4! I am NOT joking.

” God is going to take you to a place you might not be ready to go yet, but you must go. Have courage”

I didn’t really know why, but I began crying, something in my spirit felt God moving, and I wasn’t sure what He was going to do.

I got a phone call the next morning as I was watching Joyce Meyer, she was talking about ” Do it scared.”

It was a store manager at another CVS. He had contacted the store I dropped my name off at, and said his manager had given notice and wondered if they knew of anyone. The girl I had spoken to that day had given him my name.
And that He would like to meet with me.

I got off the phone with..” What was that?” to Nicole. She and I laughed our heads off..could this be for real?

It WAS for real…and I did meet with him, and I leave to move my state of FL…and move to Savannah Georgia,
in 9 days!

Everything is falling into place so this can happen..

I almost can’t finish this post, because the tears are welling up in my eyes…

God heard my prayers. He answered me. He said ” I want you to go to Savannah, Angie.”

So here I go, I am packing up, and I am moving away from everyone I know and love! and I am moving to a state to friends that I met in 2001 and I would never thought would still be in my life today…

It was all part of His plan..

It was always apart of His plan…

He is amazing.

And on a side note, I saw ” Life Today” this morning, and Beth is talking on Psalm 139…” I am fully known”
and I loved it!

Love you all.
angie