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: The Perception of Self Worth

My dear friend, Cally. She left this world
on May 19, 2010.

I am dedicating this post to my friend Cally Walrath. She passed away, May 19th 2010.
These are words I wish I could sit down and tell her this moment. I know that I can’t,
but I do know that there are many other people out there who have a perception of themselves
that is such a distortion from actual reality.

You are special.

I think we have become a society that is so obsessed with appearances, and ” the name” out in the world, that we have lost sight of realizing the value of US.

What I would love to sit and tell you out there is that there is more to you right this moment then you will ever know. There is such a beautiful plan for your life. It’s a solid plan. You have oceans of hope and grace then you could ever know what to do with. You will take journeys of finding true paradise in life. You will meet the blue sky to the stars. You will have more knowledge from all you’ve been through then you realized you might ever attain.

What someone says you are. What someone says you should dress like. What someone believes about you.
None of it matters. Unless you let it matter to you.

I could definitely tell you that your self-worth is found in Jesus. And that is very true.
But at the end of the day, when all is said and done. Do you really believe that?
Do any of us really truly believe that and can stand by that belief?

The distortions of who we are start to happen when we let the outside affect who we are on the inside.

With religion its legalism. With success its perfectionism. With control its manipulation.

I could add to that forever.

I’m not saying religion will always lead to legalism. I’m saying that we often will try to ” fit the mold” so to speak, and believe in how we are “told” to about ourselves, our faith, rather than have that chance to find out for ourselves.

Success is wonderful, everyone wants it. But just like any addiction we can get caught up it being to critical of ourselves, to the point that who we truly are, and what truly motivates us doesn’t come from the heart but from what useless knowledge. We become drones to our professions. Losing ourselves, forgetting the success that is already apart of us.

Being in control of anything, or feeling out of control is also very dangerous in how we perceive ourselves.
We can easily manipulate our own way of thinking and processing through a situation, because we learned a way that ” seems” to work.

I had a friend say to me a few weeks ago that when she looks in the mirror she doesn’t recognize who she is, that so much in her life has changed that she is not sure she can recognize herself in her life.
This girl is amazing too. She is a ” dreamer” of life, so passionate about doing so much. But her life
is tiring her out. She knows that she needed to step back and get to know herself again.

Truth is, we all need to do that. We all need to get back to looking in the mirror and make sure the reflection is the one that is meant to be out in the world.

Self-worth doesn’t come from being just like everyonelse, it comes from surely knowing there are things about you that are different. And that different is good.

I just want to add I’m not asking you to follow this advice, the last thing I’d want to be is a self-help book,
but I do want you to think about your own self-worth.
I do want you to think about if you really know yourself well enough that if someone came up to you
who you don’t know that well…how would they know you?
By your name…or by your heart.

Think of the value of YOU.

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: 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 Quiet Place

I would love nothing, but to just put aside the rest of the world and just bask in the presence of God.
To let everything that I face daily, just fade into the background;
Where it is just HIM and I, and that’s it.
Where I can just face the ground, close my eyes, and just be there.
Well, I’ve decided that it is possible to have this happen, on this blog…
right this moment.
As you read the verses below I want you to picture your situation. I want you to picture your day. Your fears, and triumphs.
The times you’ve laughed so hard, and the times you didn’t think you could survive so many tears.
Think of the vastness of the universe, the creation made by the Creator, Picture yourself standing there in the middle of it all, and it all surrounding you. Picture yourself back on earth, and floating on a river. Let it move inside your mind,
and reach your heart. Picture standing in the desert, picture blisters on your feet from the hot sand below. Picture a blazing sun. Picture green grass, a field full of flowers, wild mustangs crossing in front of you, the wind blowing through your hair giving you chills on your arms….

As you read the verse below picture all of this, and then picture what the face of God looks like to you.
A lot of time we dont’ reach this quiet place, because we let the factors of everything else affect the stillness.

Are you still yet? If not, as you read through these verses, say them either aloud or silently from your heart,
visualize them, and yourself in that moment…
_________________________________________________________
PSALM 63

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.


__________________________________________________________
PSALM 16:5-11

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, [c]
nor will you let your Holy One [d] see decay.

11 You have made [e] known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

_________________________________________________________
PSALM 84

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Selah

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools. [b]

7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Selah

9 Look upon our shield, [c] O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

12 O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.