Sunday, June 10, 2012

JESUS, Friend of sinners.....let's not forget.

I have felt this one coming on for a while now, but wasn’t for sure exactly where God was going with it.  I still don’t know 100%. To start off I will say what I like to preface all of my writings with….stop HERE if you’re too sensitive, too prideful, too arrogant, or too narrow minded to look outside of your denominational box to see what Jesus might REALLY want to say to His church. The majority of people, if any, who choose to read this know me well enough to know I understand what I write, whether it be a blog, a simple note, or a Facebook status has the potential of stepping on toes, popping out a hemorrhoid or two, or causing a slight rise in blood pressure for some. And that’s perfectly fine! There’s a medicine or a doctor for all of that J  I also understand it isn’t the un-churched, the lost, or even those of other religions who might be ready to mob me after reading it…’ll be the church folk. The saved. The righteous. Children of the Most High God. Why? Because what God lays on my heart to relay to His Bride, the church….the body of Christ….well….hurts. I am not talking about any “specific” church, but the body of Christ as a whole. It causes us, INCLUDING MYSELF, to have to take a look in the mirror and compare our heart to His….and sometimes it is a tough thing to have to do.

For the last few days I have been listening to this song over and over. “Repeat” is my friend. I have prayed. I have cried. I have been on my knees. I have praised Him. I have thanked Him. I have asked Him to break our hearts for what breaks His. We get so caught up in life and in ourselves do we really ever stop to remember why God sent His son to die? It wasn’t to add color to the cross. Do we ever stop to remember the reason God chose Jesus to live on earth as a man? It wasn’t so he could simply exist and live a self-centered life. Do we ever stop to remember why the resurrection of Christ IS of the utmost importance to you, me…..AND….the lost???

How is the church as a whole doing representing the ministry of Jesus Christ? You know, the one God sent His only son to die for? You know, the one where Christ was crucified, buried, and then resurrected on the third day? How well is the church representing the resurrection of Christ? How well are you representing the resurrection of Christ in your day to day life? I OFTEN get misunderstood with my stance on this because people automatically assume I “expect perfection”. For the love of pop tarts, that is not what I mean.  I am so not perfect. Don’t and will never claim to be. Forgiven, yes. Perfect, no. Do I have a responsibility as a Christ follower to check my heart in the mirror (which for me is the word of God) and see how I’m doing and where I need work? Yup. Was I given a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEVEL OF REPSONSIBILTY IN MY LIFE AFTER RECEIVING CHRIST???  You better bet your life savers!!!

Church….the resurrection of Christ was NOT simply to give you a get out of hell free card. Yes, definitely one of the perks (thank the LAWD for it!)…..but….the resurrection has major responsibility attached to it. For those of us in Christ, there’s MINISTRY in the resurrection. Why did God bother sending us the Holy Spirit? Salvation, yes. But to go beyond that…….

He sent it to complete the ministry Jesus started…THROUGH US. How well are we doing?  Well, I must say, all in love of course…..we are very judgmental. Very opinionated. Very biased. Very rude. Very selfish. I’m speaking as a whole, not “every” individual, but take a look around. Sometimes, honestly, it is hard for me to be on Facebook. It’s fun, it allows me to say random weird things and unload my crazy brain, but often, as Brady used to say, “it gives me a PAIN I can’t locate!”. It’s the fact that, Christians confuse me. They always have. To the point I wasn’t for sure I wanted to be “one of them”. But then I met Jesus and the rest is HIStory. I think if God had a song for us, for this generation, for those of us RIGHT NOW that He has ENTRUSTED with HIS ministry….it would be “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns. This song breaks my heart. Why you ask? Because it’s true. I see it every day. I, at times, have to check myself as well. I’m no exception to anything I write or say concerning any matter.  To me, it’s almost as if the church has forgotten they were forgiven….which means at one time they were not. It’s almost as though the church has forgotten they were hell-bound sinners and ONLY by God’s grace and mercy have they been redeemed….now we are Saints…who sin, but because of our love of Christ we repent (change our way of thinking) and feed our hearts with His word in order to become more like Him.  It’s almost as if the church feels as though “they” are the only ones who are “deserving” of God’s forgiveness and eternal security. I don’t get it. And because I don’t get that mentality….I’m sure some in the body of Christ feel as though I “expect perfection”. I believe at different times I have been passed by, overlooked, avoided, and ignored by people who could have mentored me to great degrees (I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself…simply stating the facts. God will find others who are willingJ), but because I believe God gave us a great deal of responsibility (leading people to Christ), I believe the church should be held accountable. I believe the church should look different than the world….just sayin’.  This is what I believe we, the church, look like to the world. Check out just a few of the lyrics from “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”…..

“Jesus, Friend of sinners….we have strayed so far away. We cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing. Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see. The world is on their way to You…but they're tripping over me. Always looking around but never looking up, I'm so double minded. A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.

Oh Jesus,  Friend of sinners…Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors….Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours.”

Maybe I’m the only one, but this song about says it all for me. Maybe I am so passionate about the responsibility and the accountability of the church because when I was lost and on my way to hell…..I almost preferred that because all I saw around me were the words to this song. It’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. It’s not pointing the finger at the world in disgust because we think we are better than they are (better off, yes, better than, no). It’s not steering clear of adulterers, fornicators, murders, drug addicts, alcoholics, people from other denominations and/or religions, divorcees, the poor, people who go to churches with chairs instead of pews, men and women who have children out of wedlock, homosexuals, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, or conservatives. That’s the LAST way to reach a broken world. How effective would Jesus’s ministry have been had He avoided, condemned, and judged sinners because He thought He was better than them (..and He was SINLESS)? Where would you and I be NOW if JESUS had used OUR form of what we call “ministry”?  One other line of the song that speaks volumes to me, and I’m sure it does to the world as well…..

“Nobody knows what we're FOR, only what we're AGAINST when we
judge the wounded……”

Check out your own Facebook statuses over the years, listen to yourself when you talk, think about what goes through your mind when you come across a person who is an addict, a homosexual, an adulterer, or any outcast for that matter. Nobody knows what we’re for….they only know what we are against. You know why? Because they feel the hate and condemnation. Church…..try to lead the lost to Christ using that method and you get?? The world as we know it today.

One last line……

“What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and love like You did…”

The way you live your life. The words that come out of your mouth. The way you treat others inside and outside of the church. God sees right through it all and straight to your heart. And guess what?? Those who are lost can feel hate and disgust just like you can. And….they can feel love. Church, whether you want to be or not, whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not….YOU ARE held to a higher standard of living because it’s YOU who are representing the King of ALL Kings. It’s YOU whom He has CHOSEN TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTINUATION AND COMPLETION OF THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST. He chose YOU, but it’s not ABOUT YOU. And with responsibility comes accountability. And with responsibility and accountability comes ownership. If you screw up, own it and then change it.  If the body of Christ doesn’t hold each other accountable and responsible….then we start to look just like the world.

Those who hold the church accountable seem to end up being an enemy of the church, believers and non-believers alike.  It seems as though the people in the world automatically assume Christians SHOULD look different than them…..and yet the body of Christ has forgotten they were once lost and are now found and have been made NEW…..yet they still act like the OLD. Confusing to say the least.  I wasn’t raised in church, but since I have been going over the last 7 years I have made it a point to not leave church the same way I walked in. Even if I pick up the TINIEST bit of revelation to take out of there to apply to my life to help me be more Christ-like in my thinking and in my day to day living. I can’t say it’s happened every time. Sometimes PMS can just make you walk up outta there and not pick nuttin’ up! Lol  I’ve got a long way to go. I still have a lot to learn. I’m not perfect. But at a very heart felt level I want people to know Him by the way I live my life. Everyone seems to have their own “life” scripture. 1 John 2:6 has always been mine…..”WHOEVER CLAIMS to live in Him…MUST walk as Jesus did.” Back up what you say you believe in by walking it out. If you’re not walking as Jesus did….then you’re not looking like Jesus. It’s probably the influence of this scripture in my heart and in my life that has made other’s feel I “expect perfection”. I wish it was something I could apologize for, but I can’t (and won’t) apologize for the word of God. I guess the unsaved and wounded aren’t the only ones to get passed by daily at the gate called Beautiful J 

He has called us to be His hands and feet and voice. He has called us to finish the ministry He started. It’s not “my” ministry. It’s not “your” ministry. It’s not “our” ministry. It’s HIS ministry and He has chosen us to carry on as He did… church, let’s get over ourselves, accept responsibility, hold each other accountable, listen to what God is trying to tell us (and I’m sorry….but God uses more than one person and more than one way to speak to His people)…… and let’s lovingly carry on His ministry like He would want us to, and remember…..Jesus is a friend of sinners

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When Fear and Faith Collide...

I have been thinking about how contradictory our lives are at times. Everywhere I look, yes even at myself, I see two things: people who are living in an extreme anticipation of seeing the desires of their heart come to fruition, and….the same people who are afraid to do what it takes to get there. My inquisitive mind got to wondering….how many of these same people will actually walk that desire out to fulfillment?  I mean….ALL THE WAY. I mean….won’t stop until they get to THAT PLACE. I mean….won’t just get “half way” there and then just “settle”.  I mean…we believe God put those desires there and we “say” we “trust” Him and we “believe” He is with us wherever we go….right?  So, what’s the problem?  Only God knows each heart so for me to say I know….I clearly don’t. But, I can say…..
Sometimes it’s a painful path getting to the place God is telling your heart to go. Who wants to be in a painful place….EVER??! I know I don’t.  But I also know life doesn’t work that way. I’ve been pondering on the “why”. WHY is it so painful?  The “why’s” I ran into may not be straight across the board. Maybe I am just speaking for myself. So, from my own experience…..
The path is painful because…….
*It requires change.
*It insists we start evaluating our own heart.
*We fear each step being afraid of the unknown.
*We fear making the wrong decision.
*It requires we know His voice and sense the leading of His spirit.
*It entails going….against all odds.
*It at times involves the severing of relationships in order to establish the ones He is calling us to.
*It may mean going against what our friends and family “feel” is the “best” next step for us.
*It means that sometimes people will get hurt in the process, including ourselves.
*We fear what we might lose.
*We have to trust what we can’t see.
*We have to believe what God put in the deep recesses of our heart is His doing, not ours.
*It is walked out without the desire of your heart.
*We have to keep going even when it’s painful.
To sum it all up…..the path is painful because we fear the journey.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I am a woman of faith. I love Jesus with all my heart and soul. I don’t do everything right and I am definitely not exempt of making my fair share of mistakes and bad decisions….but, why do I “fear” the journey when I am a woman of “faith”?  I know Jesus well enough to know that fear and faith can’t dwell in the same place. One is going to override the other…but which one wins MOST of the time?  If you say your faith…then good for you! I can only pray to get to that place someday before my time is up here on earth. But for those of us who will admittingly say that maybe, just maybe, more times than not….fear stops us from reaching the destination where our God-given desire is awaiting us. We want more than anything to complete our journey, to reach that place where the desires of our hearts are fulfilled, where the kingdom of God in us is released in its entirety… know, that place God put in each of us that will make the journey worth it…..our “sweet spot”. Again, I may be speaking for myself, even though I know I am complete in Christ, He is all I need or will ever need…..HE created something in me…..He created a “sweet spot” in me…..and until I get to the place where that “sweet spot” is…..there is a feeling in my life that something is “missing”.  In my own life….that is what keeps me going every day. There’s “hope” in knowing if I keep going my journey will take me to the place where my “sweet spot” is awaiting my arrival. 
I’ve been thinking. Is there a way to make the journey just a tad bit less painful? I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes, there is…..and it doesn’t include taking away any of the pain. Again, contradictory, I know. I do believe there is a way to minimize it, however. 
What would happen if our fear and faith would collide?  The path just might become less painful because…..
*We embrace the change because we know where it’s taking us.
*In evaluating our own hearts we get a better understanding of who we really are in Christ.
*We get excited about the next step because it means we are one step closer to our “sweet spot”.
*We thank God for allowing us the free will to make decisions and we trust Him enough to know if we do step off of His path….He will steer us right back on it.
*We are blessed to have an open invitation to go into His presence at any time to seek His guidance.
*Even though everything around us may shout “it ain’t never gonna happen!”.....Jesus lived a life against all odds….and He will see us through it no matter what it “looks” like and no matter what the enemy tries whispering in your ear. God will ensure the glory will be His especially…against all odds.
*As painful as cutting off relationships with people in our lives may be, we can rejoice at knowing God knows our end from our beginning and He sees the final destination…..there is nothing to fear because Father knows best.
*We know our friends and family love us and want what is, in their opinion, best for us….but when we follow the path God chooses for us…..He will ultimately be glorified as their faith is strengthened by our faith and determination…..and the courage it took for us to reach our “sweet spot” will be poured into them giving them the same hope to live out their desires as well.
*There is a pruning process and a growing processes wherever pain is present….when it’s God’s will He will heal the pain.
*We get excited about what we will gain in the long run getting to our God-ordained place.
*We get to thank GOD we don’t see the big picture because if we did we probably would NEVER get even remotely close to seeing the desires of our hearts come to fruition.
*We know that God is love and we can trust the fact that He is a God who would never dangle a carrot in front of His hungry children. He would never put a desire in our heart that He isn’t willing to fulfill.
*We embrace the fact that we will be the person God intended for us to be and at exactly the right time as we step into our “sweet spot”.
*We know we are never alone in Christ. We are complete. He is always with us….even through the pain.
In other words, when we are a person of faith who has Christ IN us…..there is nothing to question and nothing to fear. Fear paralyzes lives. Faith moves mountains. Faith…..takes us on a journey to our predetermined “sweet spot”.
Let's let our fear and faith collide today.....and watch our faith explode and our fear turn to ashes 
Godspeed ♥

Thursday, October 6, 2011

People need prayer...recognize it ♥

I got home from church tonight and was standing at the kitchen counter when all of a sudden my heart was instantly heavy and burdened.  From a spiritual standpoint for me personally….I know what time it is J  Time for me to pray. But as I stood here in silence……the theatre of my mind started playing.  Let’s press rewind and then play so you can get a glimpse of what ran through my mind in a matter of minutes giving you a better understanding of why my heart is burdened. In no specific order……
-Steve Jobs, founder of Apple dies today at 56 of cancer
-A young girl’s mother goes to jail and her step-father commits suicide
-A woman has been told she has an aneurysm and is on the way to the hospital
-A couple is having marital problems
-Someone’s father is in ICU with internal bleeding
-A young girl in pain….from life itself
-Another young girl struggling with finding her place in life
-A man struggling with loneliness
-A young woman asking God for strength
-A young girl mad at people….and simply wants someone to listen and to understand
-A man in the hospital who is having problems understanding why it has to be him
-A woman who has been tested and stretched in every direction and is about to break
-A woman asking God to move the mountains (situation/circumstance) in her life
-A man expressing his heart and hurt of losing his bride way too soon
-A family who just lost a grandfather
-A woman not feeling well
-A sick child
-A woman and her children with no home
-Men and women struggling with the pain and fear of rejection
-People who are tired of their jobs
-Families with car problems who don’t know how they are going to pay for the repairs
-Families living in neighborhoods where gunshots are fired often
-A woman asking God to help her family and believing Him to restore it
-A woman whose husband is publicly cheating on her
-A woman struggling with who she is and who she was created to be
-A man who has found his identity in what he does…and wants the world to know that his “work” is “who he is”
-A woman who just wants her husband to love her
-A broken and hurting man who once loved the Lord and now spends most of his time trying to prove His non-existence
-A woman who is contemplating divorce because her husband isn’t meeting her “needs”
-Both single men and women…. Lonely and “just want to be loved”
-A woman who is overweight and feels worthless….and helpless
-A young man who is addicted to pain killers
-Single men and women (young and older) giving themselves away to “fill a void” and to “feel” loved, wanted, and accepted
-A woman whose child is in prison for life
-A family who has lost a child and is trying to find a way to cope with the pain
-A woman who is overcoming breast cancer

So, these are just a few of the things I have seen or heard today….either on Facebook, from a friend, from someone I have talked to personally, or someone I know that I thought of today. This, my friends….makes my heart hurt. Putting into this perspective I would guess most people would say it does theirs to…..but….if it really hurts our hearts…..are we doing something about it?  Life happens. Life happens for all of us. I wish I could say I have all of the answers and all of the solutions (if I did I would be GodJ). But I don’t. There are days where I am so overwhelmed by all of the people I know, the things I hear, the people that come to mind, the things I see, the things I sense, the things/people God shows me…..that NEED PRAYER….it is almost impossible, and often times overwhelming… find the time to fit them all in. However, I do what I can when I can. It may be a split second prayer…but out of the love in my heart for the God that created them all….with the help of the Holy Spirit inside of me, I do what I can in the time I have.  Prayer has been serious to me ever since the day of my salvation.  It made me realize how much the prayers of a few faithful people…..saved my life. It made me realize that even though I was making stupid choices of my own….those few faithful people sent out prayers that even if I wasn’t completely taken out of a situation….I KNOW now…those prayers cushioned the blows in my life. I have always been very selective in who I ask to pray for me….because when I ask for prayer….I’m BANKING on their prayers for me to be prayed, to be received in Heaven, to be heard by God, and to be answered.  But if something in my life is important enough for me to ask someone to pray for it…..I like to know that prayer and the power of it means something to them as well. From my experience virtually every person on the earth, believers and unbelievers alike, go through something in their life which brings them to ask for prayer. It’s important that if someone asks you to pray for them that you only say you will….IF you are going to do it. Don’t over commit yourself.  It’s ok to be honest J They will appreciate it as well. I know I would. I remember reading about how the Israelites rejected Samuel when it came to crowning him as king and….they ended up begging him to pray for them. They realized how much more they needed his prayers than even his kingship. Samuel’s response was, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”  I love how Wesley L. Duewel puts it, “you can’t be a person of God without being a person of prayer.”  Take a look around you. Over half of what I listed above came off of Facebook….today.  Instead of getting frustrated at the negative comments in your newsfeed…..those who are in Christ….you’ve got to see with the eyes of Christ J  Recognize the need. Recognize the pain. Recognize the brokenness. Recognize the hurt. Often times as I’m scrolling through my newsfeed….I’m saying either out loud or to myself….”bless them”, “heal them”, “love them”, “provide for them”, “protect them”……whatever the case may be. It may not seem like a lot….but our Father in heaven hears the voice of His children. He awaits our voices in heaven so He can release a blessing into someone’s life on your behalf J  And when His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray… may be your name they declare a blessing over as they scroll through their newsfeed J
Blessed….to be a blessing

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cut bearing fruit ♥

A lot of people I am around regularly or meet out and about seem to have been Christians their whole lives. I know that isn’t the case, but it just seems that way. I became a Christian on Wednesday, September 15th, 2004 in Woodlawn, IL (and if I know Brady…I would dare to say the altar call was probably somewhere around 8:15-8:30ish lol). I remember it like it was yesterday. I even remember what I was wearing, who I went with, and where I was sitting. I remember realizing that night that if I was going anywhere where “crying” was a possibility, I needed to leave the false eyelashes at home because they just don’t hold up very well to a gushing river of tears! Ha! I don’t mean anything by this (any underlying insinuations) but I have a hard time understanding how people don’t remember and don’t know the exact date they met their Maker. I had such a radical salvation experience that it is still (somewhat) mind boggling to me that everyone didn't have the same immediate transformation I did. That was the night my life changed forever. Nothing else in my life will ever be even remotely comparable (but my wedding night may come pretty close! Ha! I know I know…. J). 

Most “proclaimed” believers will tell you they believe in heaven. Why? Because heaven is “good”. We always want to believe in the good stuff, and we SHOULD. Can’t get any better than heaven. I believed in heaven my whole life, and truth be known…I “believed” in God (believed He “existed” anyway). I would pray. I would repent (EVERY night of the EXACT same sins…hence, no REAL internal transformation).  And, I continued living a life of sin. I had no remorse for the life I lived. Strangely enough, even without being raised in church (for those of you who don’t know…..I started going to church for the first time in my life in 2005) I knew that this “God” had to be someone I didn’t really want to “test” (for what that was worth) ….and in my sinner’s mind I truly believed I was a whole lot better off NOT proclaiming His name while living like a heathen than TO proclaim His name and make HIM LOOK LIKE the rest of the world. Hey, I was a GREAT person. I have always been complimented on how nice, sweet, and personable I am. I have always treated people with respect. That’s how I was raised and it’s who I am….with or without Christ. I can remember my mom’s Pastor (at the time) YEAR’S before I got saved commenting on what a “sweet spirit” I had. I always had a smile on my face. In fact….if you met me THEN and met me NOW…you probably wouldn’t “see” that much of a noticeable external difference as far as me meeting the world’s standards of a good person. However, “good people” die and go to hell everyday (without Christ). I was one who could agree with "heaven" and it's existence, but avoided and altogether ignored the fact that "hell" was a real place.

But THEN…..6 days prior to my REAL salvation something happened. Out of the GOODNESS of my heart I volunteered to work the concession stand for 2 of the 3 days of a revival (The River of Life Festival 2004) in which one of my best friends had felt led to orchestrate on the city streets of downtown Paducah. When time for the Evangelist (Brady Weldon) to begin, Sidney (my friend) came up to me and told me to shut down the concession stand out of respect for the Evangelist….AND to come out and listen to him.  Well, needless to say….I didn’t wanna shut nuttin’ down let alone go listen to A PREACHER! Soooo, out of respect for my friend I did as she asked. I went and plopped down as far BACK in the back as I could possibly sit (for those who know me now…..I don’t like the back row!! Ha!)  No lie #1….the MINUTE Brady started speaking I was totally, completely, and utterly convicted. No lie #2….I left that night without Christ in my life. No lie #3….the next night the exact same thing happened. No lie #4….still no Christ. No lie #5…I went back the 3rd day on my OWN. No lie #6….I still didn’t give my life to Christ.  Ok, let me explain to you what happened……

First of all, as an UN-believer, the ONLY prayer God would hear from me is a prayer of repentance. Point blank. In English terms….unbelievers DON’T have the same privileges with God that believers do (if they did, they wouldn’t need Christ). Second of all, there was somebody out there praying to their Heavenly Father for my salvation (which I know one for sure was my mom. She prayed for me FAITHFULLY for 17 YEARS before she saw me come to Christ).  I was “sanctified” or “set apart” by God before He saved me,  I believe, due to the prayers of those who were interceding on my behalf (1 Pet 1:2;  Thess 2:13-14). He set me apart for salvation and then gradually began bringing different influences into my life that would eventually draw me to Him. Then, He blessed me. It is ALWAYS the GOODNESS OF GOD that brings people to repentance (Rom 2:4). I was a hard-headed, stubborn, independent, do-it-myself don’t need anybody FOOL. And…I SO WATCHED everyone who “proclaimed” the name of Christ. I could (and still can lol) spot a hypocrite 10 miles away. It kept me from Christ. THIS…is why I live like I live. I am not here to judge….I’m here to warn. I LIVED IT so I can say it.  Let me tell you, there is a lost and dying world WATCHING every move you make, LISTENING to every word you say, reading every thing you type, looking at what you read, observing where you hang out, watching how you beat other Christians up when you are supposed to be building them up (you know the “kick ‘em while they’re down” mentality…you know those “God, TEACH THEM A LESSON THE HARD WAY” prayers you pray…read Luke 9:52-56) , they’re clinging to how you treat people who aren’t like you…..and they are so flipping confused because you “proclaim” the name of Jesus, you may or may not show up for church on Sunday…..and you live like hell Monday through Saturday. To be quite blunt….I came really close to going to hell, and would have almost preferred it…. because I watched the lives of “proclaimed” Christians. Now, this is a subject I am VERY passionate about and would (and will) stand up for it as long as I live….because, the 6 days prior to my salvation, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I died right then and there I would split hell wide open. I was literally one heartbeat from hell. On the very first night of that revival, my eyes were opened to the REALITY of hell. Hell isn’t just some “place” you go for a certain amount of time and then the chains get loosed and you are set free. Hell is JUST AS ETERNAL as heaven. When you go to hell, you will spend an eternity in hell. An eternity bound in chains, burning profusely, just plain torment. For eternity. Eternity is time with NO END. When you are there, you’re there forever….with no end. My eyes were opened to the fact that…I didn’t want to be there!!! I wanted to be in Heaven with Jesus!! And also at that revival my mindset was shifted from thinking that I didn’t want to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior or go to church because of the hypocrites to “I’d rather go to church with a few hypocrites than to hell with the rest of them!”  As Brady always says, “don’t go to church where there are no hypocrites….you’ll mess ‘em up!” lol   God used a couple of people to totally bless my life (which led to an eternity in heaven for me) and to show me the “benefit” of having a personal relationship with Jesus.

It was here I started to see how MUCH God loved me. He loved ME enough to send His only son to die for the sins I had already committed, the sins I was committing at the time, the sins I am committing right now, and the ones I haven’t even thought about committing yet. Which….pretty much confuses every non-believer (and even believers). Christ died for ME. On the Cross.  All I had to do was confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus Christ was Lord, that He died on the Cross, and was raised from the dead…and I was saved (Rom 10:9). For it is with your HEART that you BELIEVE and are justified, and it is with your MOUTH that you confess and are saved (Rom 10:10). See, before all I was doing was a bunch of LIP service. I confessed with my MOUTH my sins (I was continuing to do) over and over and over and over….but it wasn’t in my HEART. The belief just wasn’t there. I said it, but I didn’t believe I was forgiven. I didn’t believe I was His. It’s all about the HEART of the matter. I was only saying it in HOPES of having FIRE INSURANCE should I die….but God was looking straight at my heart. Let me be honest (like I have a problem with that! Ha!). I struggled with Christianity because I liked sin. Sin can be fun. Sin can be pleasurable. And….it’s a whole lot easier to sin then it is to walk in righteousness (at first). I, because I have been there and done that, completely 150% in my heart believe that the FIRST and foremost reason there are so many people who won’t give there lives to Christ (and I mean SOLD OUT…not just one TOE in “church”….a.k.a. “religious nonsense”… and the rest of the body in the world), and the NUMBER ONE reason why we aren’t seeing a massive move and God and major revivals NOW….is because believers and non-believers alike….don’t want to give up their sin. They wrestle with their flesh, but only because they are so far away from God. The night I surrendered to Him I was at a point in my life where I was tired of the life I was living. Sin was wearing me down and out. That night, on the altar, I made a vow to my God…..that the life I lived….would lead people TO Him and not away from Him.

Those 6 nights were like hell on earth for me. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. All I did was cry (and I’m not a big crier). The conviction was horrible. I felt SO guilty because of the sins I was committing against God. It was no longer about me. It was no longer just about getting my get out of hell free card. I realized that He loved me in spite of me. I realized that I didn’t have to clean myself up and get it all right for Him to love me. I realized that it didn’t matter that I was 32 years old and had never been in church. I realized in order to sacrifice your only son for the sins of the entire world in order for THEM to have eternal life in Heaven….wasn’t something for me to continue playing around with. My convictions (convinced of a fault)…lead me to repentance. My main fault was unbelief in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit convicted me (John 16:9). I just couldn’t keep playing Russian roulette with my life. I had heard the gospel before from mom and other people in passing, but I remained in spiritual darkness (2 Cor 4:6). Without conviction, there will be NO spiritual transformation in the life of a sinner. Starting September 9, 2004 my mind and heart were illuminated and opened to HIS truth through hearing the gospel of Christ that Brady preached. September 15th…. I was born again into a life of Christ.

From that day on I have looked forward and never looked back. There is nothing in my past worth going back to. That’s why it’s in the past.  I didn’t really know what to do or where to start. I “physically” felt strange. I felt like the entire world had been lifted off of my shoulders. In all actuality it was. I was no longer carrying the burden of my sin that Jesus Christ had died to set me free from. I started following people who WERE where I wanted to be in Christ. I had to walk away from relationships that were unhealthy and weren’t leading me to Christ, but away from Him. I had to walk away from the sin that I struggled with the most. I have a long way to go. There is still a BUNCH I don’t know. I can’t say I know my bible backwards and forwards because I don’t. I wish I could tell you I remember every thing I read, but I don’t. I wish I could tell you I don’t sin, because I do (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God –Rom 3:23). I wish I could tell you I never have a bad day, because I do. I wish I could tell you that I never say a cuss word, because it happens sometimes (ask my mom! Ha!). I wish I could tell you I always remember “where” a particular book in the bible is but, sit by me every now and then and you’ll see that’s not true either (sometimes Pastor John is on to the next scripture before I can find the first one…and I’m talking about looking for books of the bible bigger than Nahum! Ha ).  I wish I could tell you I always have the mind of Christ, but I don’t. I wish I could tell you that I pray over every piece of food I put in my mouth, but that would be a lie. I wish I could tell you I don’t get irritated, because I do. I wish I could tell you I never have an impure thought, but it happens every now and then (I’m single for goodness sakes! Give a sista a break!  Lol). I wish I could tell you that my heart is always where it is supposed to be, but it’s not. I wish I could tell you my temper is always a righteous one, but it’s not. But what I hope you can say about me, at least more often than not, is that you see Christ in me. My biggest prayer is that when you look into my life, that you see Him and not me. This leads me to something else which is the complete opposite of how I used to believe…..

To believers (to the utter most self-proclaimed righteous to those with ¾ of their mind, body, and attitude in the world and only their rear-end on a pew and a church attendance record. Lol)  and un-believers alike; as you can clearly see (above paragraph….OR look in the mirror) being a Christian does NOT mean you are perfect. Being a Christian does NOT mean you will never make a mistake. Being a Christian does not mean that you won’t fall. Being a Christian does NOT mean you will always make the right decisions. But what being in Christ DOES mean, is that you are righteous (upright, blameless, just, honorable). AT SALVATION you are the righteousness in Christ! Righteous does NOT mean “perfection”…. It means you are in right-standing with God. Am I perfect….NOPE. Never claimed to be and as I’ve said before, as long as we are here in flesh and blood…we can’t be. It’s not humanly possible. But I am righteous.  When we get into an intimate relationship with Christ, when our heart longs to know Him more, when we pray to Him, when we spend time worshipping him (and not just at church  huh hummmm…),  when we pray for our enemies, when we pray for those who are suffering, when we pray for those who have made bad choices, when we pray for those who have wronged us, when we only want to be blessed so that we can be a blessing, when we read His word with an attitude of getting to the HEART of God….we start to see things differently. We start to develop the eyes and mind of Christ. We react differently. We look different than those around us. Your life and your world totally change. You go through life looking for opportunities to be where God is. You long for prayers to get answered (and NOT just your own) so that God will be glorified and those who don’t know Him will actually SEE Him working. With salvation comes transformation. You turn away from (repent) your old ways. You are a new creature and Christ LIVES INSIDE OF YOU.  Sin no longer is the issue. Not that you don’t EVER sin, because you will. But the sin that so easily entangled you….will no longer have dominion over you or your life.

Therefore, brethren, stop thinking Christians are never supposed to make a mistake. Men and women are just that, men and women. None of us will ever do everything right all the time. I am reminded of Romans 15: 1-3….”We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to BUILD HIM UP. For EVEN CHRIST did NOT please Himself, as it is written: THE INSULTS OF THOSE WHO INSULT YOU HAVE FALLEN ON ME.”  When we as believers hurl insults, throw around accusations, belittle, gossip about, slander, or just plain tear down…..just remember what God says here…..when we do that do another believer….we have just done it to God. That’s serious stuff and nothing to take lightly. Then it goes on to encourage us to a spirit of unity as we follow Christ so that God may be glorified. Paul tells us in Titus to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and Godly lives; to be ready to do whatever is GOOD; avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels. He even says to warn a divisive (troublesome, disruptive, conflict-ridden) person once, and then warn him (or her) a second time. After that…have NOTHING to do with him (or her). You may be sure that such a man (or woman) is warped and sinful; he (or she) is self-condemned. (Titus 3:9-11). We are also reminded in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” In 2 Timothy 2:16 we are reminded to “avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”  It isn’t always easy.  There will be times we could smack ourselves after we open our mouth and junk comes out, but wash your mouth out with the Word of God and start all over. There is NO condemnation in Christ, only forgiveness.

One last thing….in John 15:1-8 God tells us something I believe is just so amazing. He says that we can tell if a person is in Christ by the fruit that he (or she) bears.  Christ refers to Himself as the “vine”. The vine is a spreading plant….and Christ will be known as “salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47; Isa 49:6).  We, he says, are the branches. The branches that bear no fruit, he cuts off. Those who do bear fruit He prunes so they may become more fruitful.  Those who bear much fruit show themselves to be His disciples. The fruit of the vine…the fruit that those who “proclaim” His name are supposed to bear…is a fruit that HONORS God. “The fruit of a Christian is a Christian attitude and a Christian way of living, honoring God and doing good.” We must be fruitful in all the fruits of righteousness (Phil 1:11).  What kind of fruit are you bearing?  I know before I was in Christ, I was a “good” person, but my life did not bear fruit that honored nor glorified God. I not only could “feel” the difference at the moment of my salvation, I could “see” the fruit that I was bearing was exactly the opposite of what my life had been producing. I was cut off from the Vine (without Christ), but in Christ I am grafted in as a branch, prayerfully producing fruit….and every day He prunes me in order that my branch can produce more fruit for His glory ♥

Monday, February 14, 2011

To my future Valentine…..Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

I think about you all the time and
I look forward to the day that you are all mine ♥

I talk to God about you every day and
There is so much more I wish I could say ♥

Your name is written on the tablet of my heart and
I often think about the day we finally get to make our start ♥

Thoughts of you are what keep me going when times get tough and
I know your love will always be more than enough ♥

Thank you for being my best friend and
Know I will be here for you until the very end ♥

You’re every thing I have always dreamed of and so much more and
I yearn for the day God say’s “open the door” ♥

My heart’s desire is to love you with all that I am and
I am here to ensure you that our love will always withstand ♥

I know our paths will cross in God’s ordained time but
It doesn’t keep my heart from aching because I am ready for you to be mine ♥

Not a day has gone by that I haven’t wondered where you are and
Often times I imagine you with me just laying underneath a sky full of stars ♥

I love you already more than you know and
I’m praying to God that it’s about time He brings you on home ♥

Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

I love you ♥
I miss you ♥
I need you ♥

Your Future Valentine ♥

Me ♥

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day....from my perspective ♥

Ahhhh….Valentine’s Day! The one day of the year women PRAY their man is suddenly overcome with a knack for romance, and the one day of the year most men DREAD.  I have been thinking about Valentine’s Day a lot this past week. No, not because I, for pretty much the 6th year in a row will be celebrating “Single’s Awareness Day” as opposed to Valentine’s Day. Ha! Trust me, it doesn’t bother me. There could be 2 reasons for that. For one, Jesus has my heart and I experience true love and Godly romance on a daily basis. For two, during the 16 years of my life that I was dating, I can’t say there is one Valentine’s Day that ever left me wanting more or looking forward to the next one. Lol

In 2009 U.S consumers spent an average of $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise. The typical commercial purchases on Valentine’s Day:  buy a heart shaped box of chocolate (that you don’t need nor do you like every piece of the random chocolate in the box), buy a piece of jewelry (most men are clueless as to what the woman likes and so she wears it for a week to make him feel good and then it gets stuffed in the bottom of her jewelry box, or some are bold enough to tell him they hate it and take it back), buy a card (and attempt to concoct something to write in it and pray the recipient believes that they really meant what they wrote), red roses (that you’re going to pay 3 times as much for right now),  go out with the rest of America to wait in long lines for dinner (most people eat out virtually all the time anyway so it’s not really all “that” special), go back home and…..then what?  More often than not, the man is hoping his romantic endeavor will “get him somewhere”, and the woman is thinking “if he thinks he’s getting’ anywhere with ME tonight…he should’ve tried just a little bit harder!”.  Pretty much an average day in the life of the American couple.

Ok, so maybe I’m being a tad bit sarcastic and/or harsh (or realisticJ).  Seriously, this is a day where every woman on the planet is hoping “this is the YEAR” they will be able to get on the phone, text, email, run back to work to tell their friend’s and family just how FABULOUS their man is (but remember….they’ve been listening to what you’ve been saying about him the OTHER 364 days), or update their Facebook status to let the cyber world know they are dating/married to the most ROMANTIC man in the world!  They hope and pray THIS Valentine’s Day will go down in the history books as one of the world’s most memorable of all times. All I can say is….wake up! It ain’t happenin’. Let me tell you why.

Many (not all) of today’s couples (married and dating) are completely detached from one another. They are detached emotionally, physically, relationally, and most importantly spiritually. Now, logic (or just some good ‘ole plain common sense) will tell you that when a couple is detached in just ONE of these areas (which really if one is missing the other ones are more than likely lacking or non-existant as well) that when Valentine’s Day rolls around….the flame isn’t going to “automatically” ignite just because he came home with a few gifts (that end up underappreciated because, truth be known, you women know…it’s NOT the thought that REALLY counts to you. Sad but true. No wonder men DREAD it).  If you look around at the couples out eating on this sacred “day of love’, most of them hardly say two words to each other. I’ll spare you with other details I have witnessed. 

The truth about Valentine’s Day, it’s one of the most overrated days of the year. Is it fun? Sure! It can be! But, as usual, I have a tendency to think outside of the Valentine’s Day box J  I just happen to be one person who loves to love….so why in the world would I limit expressing my love to my significant other ONE day a year?!?!?!  This is what drives me NUTS about Valentine’s Day (AND PEOPLE!!).  Women want to be romanced, trust me, I get that…..BUT, you would think that after umpteen million years, us women would finally understand that men don’t think like we do. And if we want to REALLY be romanced by our man….we need to watch him, pay attention to him, and SEE how it is that he really IS romancing us, it’s just in his own way. It may not be the way WE think he should be doing it, but believe me, if we’d lift your eyes off of ourselves for just a minute, we’d see how it is that he has been (or attempting to anyway) express his love for us EVERYDAY (however, some of you guys do need to turn off the sports and take some of the pressure off of her by help around the house, watching the kids from time to time, and not expecting her to do it all from sun up to sun down 24/7....she's human too, not superwoman. And you know what happens in YOUR favor when she is exhausted, overworked, and taken for granted?? NOTHING! ;). Women are almost forced as little girls to OD on Barbie, Cinderella, and Snow White (and Valentine’s Day) and we sit and wait for our knight in shining armor to come riding through on his white horse to sweep us off of our feet, romance us, buy us the “best of the best”…..then we end up busted and disgusted when (in our delusional unrealistic minds) he ends up being a frog instead of a prince. That is simply not real life. But, real life can be what WE MAKE IT. 

If you are single this Valentine’s Day, don’t sweat it. It’s just another day. Enjoy this season of being single. Seek God to flood your heart with His love. I pray for my husband (to be) every day. But I believe my years of being single have made me that much more excited about the idea of being married someday. It has filled my heart with an overwhelming love for my future husband already. It has made me value the covenant of marriage more than I already did. It has given me time to understand love and marriage from Christ’s perspective. It has given me time to prepare (and learn) to be who he needs me to be for him (even though I still can’t cook worth a crap…SORRY! Ya either got it or ya don’t…and I wasn’t in line the day God handed that one out!  HA!) . It has given me time to realize…..EVERY DAY is going to be Valentine’s Day for my husband ♥   And no, that isn’t unrealistic when we take the TIME to learn him and find out what moves him J You talk about romance!! Hee hee ♥ The rest of you can have your ONE day a year, that’s just not good enough for me. I’m going for the gold! ♥ 

With past ones being a carbon copy of the previous one (the typical commercialized V.D.), I’ve asked myself what the perfect Valentine’s Day looks like to me.  To me it would be just me and him. No television, no telephones, no computers, no other people, no talking about work, no talking about problems. Just the two of us hanging out appreciating one another. Reminding each other of what it was that made us fall in love in the first place. Our attention only on the other one. Two people who aren’t afraid to show and tell how much they love each other. Am I saying that flowers, candy, food, and jewelry are a BAD thing? Absolutely not (because I LOVE GREAT AMERICAN COOKIE COMPANY COOKIES!! HA!) . I am one who only wants what comes from HIS heart. If he isn’t feeling it that Valentine’s Day, then so be it! Why would you want something just because everyone else is getting it and because it’s the V.D. status quo??  I say…save your money and show me your heart ♥ He will know that all I want is for him to follow his heart.  To me intentional time spent together and focused on each other….is priceless and irreplaceable.  OH how I look forward to that day! Until then, I will continue to be content in whatsoever state I am in, loving on Jesus, and praying for him ♥

To my single guy friends….you’re getting’ off CHEAP this year so be thankful! Ha! To my single girlfriends….learn to love and appreciate YOU (no need in bouncing from unhealthy relationship to unhealthy relationship for the sake of being in one. God’s best and God’s timing ♥). To my married friends….love each other….and be intentional in doing it.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I pray you think outside of the typical V.D. box this year J

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails……” – 1 Cor 13:4-8 ♥

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Broken Road

To love means being vulnerable.  I don’t know about you, but I never have liked that word….vulnerable. Webster defines “vulnerable’ as that which can be wounded or injured. It means being weak, defenseless, helpless, at risk, powerless, exposed, feeble. There is absolutely nothing enticing about the word vulnerable. I must admit, over the span of my life, this is an area of which I have had a problem with. You wouldn’t “think” that anyone should even WANT to be vulnerable….for cryin’ out loud….look at what it means. From my perspective and rationale, it means setting yourself up to get hurt. In the past I have had a tendency to keep the vulnerability in my life to a minimum.  And when I have allowed it to enter in, I have always been sure to keep some walls up around it….”just in case”.  All it takes is being burned one time. One broken heart and instantaneously the walls of steel are built.  For every person you let in to your life, you are taking a chance on getting hurt. Relationships of all kinds: friendships, marriages, parent/child, coworkers, fellow church members, siblings, dating relationships. Any time you are in any kind of relational fellowship with a human being, you are taking a chance on getting your heart broken.

I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t experienced the pain of a broken heart. This is one area of life where virtually everyone can relate to, and when we come across someone who is currently going through it….we cannot only see their pain, we can feel their pain.  It takes us back to those dark days in our lives where being vulnerable became our biggest nightmare. You know, those days where it feels like your entire chest cavity was sawed open, only to expose to the world what was left of your aching heart. The heart literally is the only organ that can function even when it’s broken. Don’t ask me how, because having your heart broken feels like death.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t like feeling like death. For those who know me, know that I am not real fun to be around when I’m internally miserable. I have always been a “hurry up and get over it” person. Many people are not like that, BUT after my last break up a couple months ago, I realized why I’ve always been insistent on quick internal recovery. Because I DON’T LIKE THE WAY IT FEELS!!  I cannot stand the THOUGHT of another human being, being able to steal my peace and joy. This is the ONLY life I’ve got. I only have ONE shot at it. I can’t live in misery because one person didn’t see my value and my worth. And the sooner I deal with it, the faster that feeling will go away!  I opened myself up. I had allowed myself to be more vulnerable than….maybe EVER. And OUCH!! Not only was it a shock, but it sure hurt like hades J Then, I got ticked off. I drove a couple of people in my life absolutely CRAZY asking them to pray for me because it was literally making me nuts. 

It by far wasn’t the first time I had been hurt, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I think everyone goes through the same feelings when it comes to dealing with affairs of the heart. PROFOUND love….involves reciprocity. The lack of, is painful. The biggest blow is the feeling of rejection. When someone we love walks away from us, we take it as personal rejection. We feel they have rejected us for “who we really are”.  Our self worth plummets to an all time low because the enemy sneaks in and tells us we aren’t worthy to be loved.  It’s a blow to our self esteem. It’s a blow to our pride. Our self image is damaged. It’s a raw pain. It can make you cry. It can make you scream. It can make you have feelings of rage (and sometimes feelings of retaliation! Ha!). It can make you feel like you are losing your mind. It can affect your sleep and overall health. And to lay it all out on the table, it made me feel like I could have punched someone. Ha! Just sayin’….J

A broken heart sucks, BUT, it has to be dealt with. There are way too many other important areas of our lives that will be affected if we don’t. Our personal health (blood pressure, heart problems, depression, etc.). It can majorly affect our families. Parents….you need to deal with it because your children are learning how to handle relationships based on how you are handling yours. If they see that a past relationship has you living a fearful, bitter, angry life, afraid to love, afraid to commit, afraid of getting hurt again….trust me, they are holding on to every ounce of FEAR that YOUR life is projecting. Every negative thing you say about the person who hurt you, is not only keeping YOU BOUND (because they are on your mind and coming out of your mouth way too much), but it is binding up your children as well. I’m not a parent, but I am a child of divorced parents. Watch what you say, because the power of life or death is in the tongue. Your children, no matter how old they are, are watching you and holding on to every word you say. You are either teaching them how to love (yes, even the unlovable) or you are teaching them how to hate. And ultimately YOU are responsible for your children. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how children are taking it because they have a tendency to hide the pain.  They often have feelings of being torn and having to “choose” between parents. But it will eventually come out when they get into relationships, get married, and have children of their own. Don’t wreck someone else’s life because someone hurt you. Remember….it’s NOT what happens to us in life that kills us, it’s how we react to it. I’m not saying it is easy, but the choices you make….don’t just affect you. It has a domino effect. In addition, it can affect your job. And you’re not careful, it can affect your relationship with God. I know I was having people pray for me because I couldn’t hardly push past the pain to pray! Talk about frustrating! I wasn’t married of course, so my personal allotted time to recover was 2 weeks. Ha! That didn’t happen. It took me right at four weeks and I was MAD about it! That was just way too long for anyone to have that kind of control in my life. And ultimately, if you don't find it within you to overcome it, it can quench the desires of your heart.

The fourth week I was just beside myself. I finally had gotten to the point (week 2 1/2ish) to where I could pray. And I mean I did nothing BUT pray. I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. I confided in one of my spiritual mentors about the trouble I was having getting over it. I was reading her email and she had mentioned that she would pray that any spiritual or emotional soul ties were broken! It FINALLY clicked! I was BOUND to this person. I don’t need to tell you…this was the beginning of the end! I found every prayer I could on breaking soul ties and absolutely prayed one night for about 4-5 HOURS until those feelings were completely gone. Ahhhh, the relief to wake up the next morning (JOY comes in the morning) to joy, laughter, peace, happiness….AND the ability to move on with my life and never look back on that chapter of my life. It was officially closed.  

I learned a lot. I learned that when someone tells you they love you, but they leave you….the problem is within their own heart. Most of the time, it doesn’t take long to see that (and not that we don’t have things about us that need to be changed).  I learned to embrace the pain and learn from it. From Christ’s perspective, there’s always purpose in the pain. It’s unfortunate, but it does give us the opportunity to look inside ourselves, to grow, to change, and to give us a better understanding of who we really are. I learned that dwelling on the “why’s”, the “what if’s”, and the “if only’s” just intensifies the misery. I learned that pain and grief sometimes is the price we pay for caring. I learned that our past is not a determinant of our future, unless we allow it to be. I learned that the past only has significance according to the value we put on it….and to change our future we have to put a new value on it.  I learned how dominant thoughts are extremely powerful. We will never rise above the self image we have of ourselves in our heart (which is key in changing ANY area of our lives).  I learned that our past prepares us for the future. I learned that there is no substitute for time (and for most people may take longer than four weeks..ha! I’m just DETERMINED!! Hee). Time, coupled with consistent prayer and sufficient time with God, will allow you to (in a healthy way) work through the loneliness, the betrayal, the fear, the disappointment, and the rejection. Time will open your heart again (IF you allow it to).  I learned that often times, rejection is God’s protection. And I learned….you have to hurt before you can heal ♥

Did I like it? No. Would I do it all over again? Yes. Why? Because it put me in a place where I knew I NEEDED God. The last month and a half I have had the most wild, crazy, awesome, mind blowing times with God!! I can’t begin to tell you everything…that would take at least another 10 pages. Lol  I know one thing is for certain, if no one EVER EVER EVER loves me again….MY GOD LOVES ME and ultimately that is ALL that matters.  Will this keep me from risking love again? Nope. It may hurt sometimes, but there is nothing like the feeling of love ♥  No matter how long or how short, I’m thankful there have been times in my life where I have had the opportunity to experience it ♥

One more thing I learned along the broken road. Although I got my heart broken by someone else, I also ended up breaking my own heart. Sounds crazy (which I am….God doesn’t call the qualified, He calls the crazy. Hee).  I had a moment during my prayer time during week four where I had pictured Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. I pictured Him pleading with God to “take this cup from Me.” I pictured Him praying so hard that his sweat was like drops of blood. I pictured the Roman soldiers arresting Him. I pictured Him being spit at, blindfolded, and punched repeatedly. I pictured the crown of thorns being shoved deep into His scalp. I pictured His beard being plucked out. I pictured Him being pounded on the head with a staff. I pictured Him being flogged with a cat of nine tails until his back lay completely open and bleeding. I pictured Him carrying that heavy cross until He just couldn’t physically carry it anymore. I pictured Him being nailed to the cross and lifted in the air to be mocked. And then I heard Him on the cross saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”   Jesus Christ experienced the ultimate in rejection, betrayal, and loneliness….FOR ME.  Who am I to not forgive? Who am I to not experience the same thing?  Did I react like Jesus? No. Not at first. I started thinking of how Jesus must feel at times, knowing that He suffered all of that for us, but so many times we even still reject, betray, use, and disappoint Him….but He loves us anyway.  It’s times like these where I understand what vulnerability is all about. I’m still learning, but I’m being broken. The walls are coming down layer by layer.  I’m learning what it means to be vulnerable. Because in my most vulnerable times, I’ve come to know the love of Christ in ways I didn’t know existed ♥  Embrace the painful times and know….Jesus is right there with you ♥ He feels your pain, literally ♥