Passion and Power….

Hopelessness is everywhere.  I am seeing it in marriages, in children, in families.  We have given up.  We have given over our power to hopelessness.  And because we feel hopeless, we stop fighting.  We stop moving forward.  We stop living.

This was me too.

I gave up hope.  I gave up fighting.  I allowed myself to become disabled.  I just stopped.  Life kept moving around me but everything in me went on pause.  And as we all know, you cannot pause for long without moving one direction or another….and I slid….into the deepest pit I can imagine.  I gave up.  For a long time.  I gave up tending to my marriage.  I gave up praying for my husband and my children.  I handed over my future to my hopelessness.  And they all slid with me. For Two. Whole. Years.  We dove into the depths.

And then something happened.

God shook me to my core.  He allowed something to happen that I never dreamed would happen to me.  The circumstance came to my attention suddenly but my wake up wasn’t a lightening bolt or an earthquake.  It came slowly. Over many, many months.  Hope began to rise deep in my chest.  Where there was no life, something began to grow in the vacancy.

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And now I cannot be stopped.

The enemy has taken enough ground.  I stood by while he attempted to devour my marriage and my family.  I forgot the promises The Lord has spoken over my life.  I put my head down and trudged along the ground because life just plain got hard. It took my attention.  It overtook me and I bent to its heaviness.

But now I rise.

NOW I RISE.

And now, he knows my name.

And he is afraid of me.

Because I am finding a power that I have been told my whole life exists.  I have loved Jesus more than half of my life.  I have known that He is love and kindness and justice and power.  But you see, I have only really comprehended the love and kindness part.  I could not find the justice and power part.  That was always for someone else.  I would look for other people that could pray it for me.  I just couldn’t make it happen in my own life.  And it was because of fear.  What I never saw was that I was afraid to feel His power, or any power at all for that matter.  I always saw power as something arrogant or self serving.  People used power to control other people.  To make them smaller.  To bully.  To get their way. I associated power with anger.  Anger is powerful.  It is intimidating.  It can be paralyzing.  This was my definition of power.

And then God began this process in my life….nearly a year ago.  He is wiping every fear I have away.  He is healing broken places that I knew were there but couldn’t overcome on my own and even more wounds that I never knew existed.  He is taking my fear and failures and turning them into passion and power.  Passion for broken homes and broken families.  Passion for my husband and children that I have never felt.  Power over the darkness and destruction of the enemy.  Power over every single attack from the enemy on my heart, over my past failures, over my family.

He will not win.

I see him and I know what he is up to. He has been doing it since the beginning of time and I stand up right now on behalf of my family, your family, my marriage and yours, and I say NO.  Your access has been denied.  You are finished.  You are seen and known and you will go back from where you came.  The end of your POWER is here.  The POWER of the ALMIGHTY GOD  is at hand.  And HE lives in me!!

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My Daughter’s Ache….

Today is Father’s Day.  I wasn’t expecting to feel any particular way when I woke up but I do.  I feel sad.  Sad for my kids.  Sad for our family.  Broken.  Especially for my youngest.  She has such a deep ache and longing for her daddy.  It’s a terrible thing to have to watch.  And I cannot do a thing about it.  I pray for her….that God would answer her questions, that someday she will have the answer to “why”.  That she will somehow know that it wasn’t her…..that she was more than good enough.  That she was perfect.  That it wasn’t about her.  That her emptiness in this season is not wasted if she chooses that road.  You see, it’s not that she needs someone to tuck her in every night anymore or to wake her up for work or school.  It’s so much deeper than that.  It’s about seeing people with their dads….spending time together.  It’s about feeling secure in the fact that there is a man out there that is there for you and loves you no matter what path you choose.  It’s about asking for advice about growing up.  It’s about measuring every other man in her life against the one who should love her the most.  It’s about getting older and feeling sure that she is truly important, truly special.  That there is someone who would move heaven and earth to get to her if she needed him to.  Words don’t make this real for a child.  Only a daddy can do that.

It’s kind of like having a child join the military.  They choose it, but you as the family get drafted.  My girl got drafted into this circumstance.  She had nothing to do with it, yet she is paying a very steep price.  She sees herself as an afterthought, as a forgotten one.  She looks at her life and abilities and talents and knows that she is really special but actions are telling her that she is replaceable.  She needs to be able to be sad, angry, frustrated….to be able to work through these things but there is a void.  There is no safety.  No security.  I can only offer her so much.

I know that God can do anything.  That He can come in like a flood for her if she lets Him.  I pray every day that she will see His kindness in the middle of her pain.  That she will know she is loved even when she feels only hurt.  That she will reach out to Him and let Him heal her wounds.  That her life will be a testimony of hope for the forgotten.  That she will know love like she never imagined.  I know it is possible.  Because God has done that for me.

I love you sweet Maggie.  You are not forgotten.  Never give up.  If you don’t quit, you win.  Run to Him.

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The Real Deal

I had a great conversation with a friend of mine this morning….you know, one of those totally unexpected, spontaneous talks that leaves you walking away really thinking.  It wasn’t stunning and we didn’t solve all the problems of the world but there was just something about it.  Something unexpectedly beautiful.  And it made me realize something….or at least fully grab onto something about who I am.  I am not a fluff person.  She is not a fluff person.  And I’m not saying that fluff is a bad thing at all….sometimes it’s actually really refreshing.  But at my core, that is not who I am.  I’m a deep dweller.  I dwell in the deep.  I think deep.  I analyze (everything) really deep.  I feel deep.   And I realized something in talking with her.  I need deep.

In the season of my life, I have needed something deeper than the average devotional or email in my inbox every day.  I have needed deep, hard truths, that not everyone has been willing or able to give me.  It’s hard to speak truth to someone who is going through a “dark night of the soul” season.  We don’t want to be “that one”.  The one who may seem harsh or unkind.  We don’t want to hurt feelings.  We want to be encouraging and hopeful and tell them everything is going to be fine.  And everyone needs that, but for the sake of honesty, is that really going to impact a heart that has been torn in pieces to keep moving forward?  What if saying, “I cannot even imagine your struggle.  I know this is hard.  Harder than you think you can bear.  It’s going to be a long road and a really hard road and nothing I can say will make it any better but I am with you.  I commit to walking with you, praying with you, loving you however long it takes.  I will not put my own timetable on you.  But I will tell you when you are having tunnel vision.  I will tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  I will tell you to stop complaining and run back to the tower of His name.  But I will love you fiercely and I will hold you up when you are broken and torn and cannot lift your arms one more time.”

You see, my friends Kelly and Becky and Angie, they are my truth tellers.  Kelly told me once to stop looking for scriptures to make myself feel better and find scriptures that talk about the character of God, about who He really Is, scriptures that glorify Him.  She reminds me consistently to praise Him, to speak out what I am thankful for and to get myself back in the tower.  Becky listens.  She asks questions that make me think and she points me to Jesus.  She sends me music that ministers to the deep places in me.  Angie speaks to me of her own testimony.  She hears the voice of the Lord in such a way that it oozes out of her without me even thinking twice about it.  And none of them are afraid to tell me the truth.

And then there is my sister.  She is my person.  She will never know what she has done for me because I cannot find the right words to express it.  She asked me once, “What if it’s not about you Mitzie?”  Sounds like a simple question but I was ticked.  I wanted her to tell me how I was doing “it” right and that I was seeing things the right way and that I was right on target.  But she didn’t.  She made me pull up short.  It took me a bit to get over being angry with her but I did when I saw how right she was.  It wasn’t about me in that moment.  There was a MUCH bigger picture.  And she was willing to tell me.  She impacted me the way that platitudes and Christianese never could.  She asked me questions that changed my life.

Here’s the funny part, every spiritual gifting test I have ever done has come out with one “over the top” answer.  Every. Single. One.

Mercy.

My gift is mercy.  And God is using this season to bring a wholeness to that gifting.  I can encourage and lift up and speak brightly of hard situations.  But I am now learning to speak the truth with that.  And I’m saying all of this because I feel like God is birthing in me a new dream.  A new purpose.  There is a fire in my bones.  A new fire.  A new vision.  A new hope.  I saw it clearly when I made the devil mad recently.  And I realized he was mad because I had pushed him back from something he thought he had won and he came at me with guns blazing and I WAS NOT AFRAID.  I saw for myself and FOR REAL that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (people) but against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness (satan and his demons).

So here’s the thing.  I feel like people are looking for something more.  And needing something more.  Something more than the average devotional or daily encouragement.  They need real, deep, truths.  Someone to point them to hope and life and Jesus.  Something really real and deep and true.  I am only a person but I am here.  Stop living in hopelessness and reach out.  Stop accepting that this is just how life is supposed to be.  Stop making excuses.  Stop accepting that the things you think are truth, when they are just crap the enemy is feeding you every day.  Stop being afraid to ask.  Ask.  You will never know if you don’t ask.  If there is someone you have always wanted to talk to that you are drawn to, push back your fear and reach out.  If it’s me then reach out.  Please.  If it’s your neighbor then reach out.  If it’s a person at church that you desire relationship with, then reach out.  Stop complaining about how nothing ever changes and reach out.  YOU be the one to initiate change.  Doing nothing is still a decision and it’s a decision to keep being miserable.  Staying miserable is just a way to look for attention and it’s attention that never lasts.  Go after something that will last.  Forever.

A Declaration….and a Plea

~You will also declare a thing….And it will be established for you….So light will shine on your ways.~ ~Job 22:28~

As many of you know, I have been on a hard road for quite some time.  This road involves many mistakes, many bad choices and many attempts to push through all of it.  This road I speak of is my marriage.  It is in pieces.   I know I have seen many other people who were struggling through separation or divorce and been guilty of moving right past….of not asking how I can pray or come alongside.  I just never got it.  I get it now.  I am more broken than I have been in my whole life.  But I am also more victorious than I have ever been in my whole life.

The hardest thing is to see where you went wrong, whether intentional or not…..to not be able to fix it or make it right. Wishing I could have been different sooner.  Wanting to be aware of the changes I needed to make in myself before it was too late.  I have tried so hard in so many areas but they are not enough.  Only God is enough.  I thought I knew.  But I did not. But I cannot carry the burden of this anymore.  I have made bad choices, bad decisions.  I still do.  I will probably do that until I die…because I am human.  But I can no longer live in the guilt and shame of those things.  I have chosen to acknowledge what He has shown me and now I must lay it down.  It is no longer mine to hold.

That being said, there are always two sides….and I’ll leave the other one for my beloved to tell, if he chooses to do so. All I have is my own perspective on things.  And my perspective is this.  Marriage is TWO people.  Always TWO people.  It’s easy to look at one person and make a determination that they are at fault.  You could look at my marriage and decide that one or the other of us is responsible for the mess.  But in reality, we both are.  My emotions may tell me that it’s his fault, but over the last many months I have seen myself.  I have seen where I am at fault and where I still continue to struggle.  I am under no illusions that I am blameless.  Please do not take sides. It is a futile choice to make and only creates another division that is destructive.

So let me go back for a moment….

Many years ago, God asked me to Stand for my marriage.  I said yes.  His instruction to me has never changed.  In fact, He has shown me, through His Word, His promises to me where my marriage and family are concerned.  I believe Him. So regardless of my failings and the mistakes of my love, I continue to stand.  The world says that I have a way out. Even the Bible says I have a way out.  But I am choosing not to take it….because of what God asked me many years ago.  I have no power over another’s choices….none at all.  Only mine.  And I am choosing love.  Whether it is returned or not. Whether it is met with anger and hate or not.  I will not bend.

I am contending for the lives of the people I love and that God has placed in my life for a reason.  The enemy would like nothing better than to destroy us all.  He hates that I am standing up to him.  He hates that I do not believe his lies.  He hates that I SEE him and that I KNOW what he is doing.  He hates ME.  I have come up against something that he has gained much momentum in, in the last many years.  This is not just a Brad and Mitzie issue.  This is an EVERYONE issue. If you are married, this is your issue.  If you don’t see it yet, open your eyes.  One day he WILL make it your issue.  Take the offense now.  Don’t be caught on your heels and unaware.  Pray over your spouse.  Pray over your families.  Every. Single. Day.  Without exception.

I am speaking this out to you because I felt that I needed to make a declaration…a declaration as to the goodness of my God.  A declaration that I believe in the promises of God over my life.  A declaration that He is good and kind and true.  A declaration that He desires to see my marriage restored.  Yes.  God desires to see my marriage restored.  I know this because it is in His Word.  He hates divorce.  And just because there is a “way out” does not mean I should take it.  I am not saying everyone must choose the road I am walking.  That is something that you have to decide for yourself…it’s between you and God.  I only know about me…and what He has said to me.  And this is what I choose.  I will walk this path until it is done or until God releases me.  I declare that the enemy WILL NOT win and that he will destroy no longer. His days of having his way in my mind are over.  I declare that I am free of the fear of being abandoned, of being destitute, of being forgotten, of being replaced. I declare that the God who lives in me is already victorious in my life and He will continue to be.

So my plea is this…Whether you believe in what I am choosing or not, take into account that I am confident in what the Lord has asked of me, and pray for me. Pray for my family.  Pray for deep, abiding love to make itself known.  Pray against the accusations of the enemy.  Pray that I have the strength to continue to withstand the fear that the enemy attempts to flood me with every moment of every day.  Pray for my broken heart, for my husbands broken heart.  We are both broken people.  Agree with me in prayer that God’s Word is truth and that it does not return void.  And most of all, pray for God to have HIS way, whatever that looks like.  I am along for the journey….wherever it takes me.