The Trenches….

Do you look around you and see suffering everywhere?  What do you do when you see it?  Do you get in the trenches with those who are suffering and pray or do you crawl away and pray it doesn’t touch you?  Do you look beyond the agony and find the purpose?  Sometimes its hard to see anything but the pain.  I know.  I’ve experienced my fair share.  It’s easy to focus on how much it hurts and how we just want to not feel that way anymore.  It’s time to shift our thinking to another possibility.

I read a devotional this morning (http://www.intouch.org/magazine/daily-devotion#.VBr8dvldV8E) that shook my thought process.  Then it became the topic of conversation in a group message I have with some dear friends who get in the trenches with me.  It was about sifting.  How Peter was not ready to take over when Jesus left and so he was sifted in preparation.  It is so hard to look past the suffering and see that there is always a reason, a purpose.  There IS. God is not just about allowing people to experience pain for pains sake.  He wants us to experience more of Him, to grow in faith, to grow in love, to get prepared.

So here is the personal nature of God.  After all of this conversation, a woman walked into my office in obvious pain.  She had hurt etched all over her face.  I asked if she was okay.  She was not.  She poured herself out.  I poured back.  We sat here in my place of work and cried while she let me minister to her and love on her.  She needed God to show up today and He did.  He used another woman in pain to be the heart of Jesus.  He didn’t need someone who had it all figured out.  He needed someone who was in the middle of it to crawl into the trench with her.  So I did.

I challenge you.  Crawl in with someone who needs a personal touch from the Lord.  Be bold.  Be vulnerable.  Be real.  Be Jesus.  Not tomorrow.  Not next month.  Right now.

 

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Yes, I just used that word!

There were many years that I hated Valentines Day.  It just magnified everything that was wrong in my life.  Today it means something so completely different.  For me, it’s not just for Lovers.  It’s so easy to sound cliche’ with these kinds of things, but I so want to convey the realness of this for me.  I have always thought I was a person who loved deeply…now I can’t say that that is necessarily true.  I am learning a whole new level to what “real” love is.  It is so NOT about me.  I went into marriage thinking that this person was going to “complete me”….that I would “love” him and he would “love” me.  I had no idea what real marriage was about.  Love is about sacrificing yourself…I am not so great at that.  Love is about your heart for another’s well being, comfort, joy, security.  We can never take the place of God in another’s life, but if we are not loving sacrificially, we are not loving at all.  When it comes to love, take yourself out of the picture completely..looking for something in return is not love.

Most of what I write on here comes from my heart.  Some of it is things that God is just beginning to talk to me about so I may not have it all figured out, but I’m working on it.  I just love how He moves my heart to pursue Him.  There is nothing that has ever satisfied me more than Him.  When I am far away, I see the difference in myself…how I move through my day, how I react to others, how I feel inside.  I don’t like being far away.  When I am, I want to move back towards Him as quickly as possible.  I used to think that when I fell, I had to make up tons of ground to get back next to Him but I have discovered that that is a LIE.  The only thing I need to do is acknowledge my weakness and accept His love and forgiveness for me and we are right back where we left off with each other.  The enemy uses that to keep us away.  He will do anything and everything to keep US away.

I have a heart for Worship and for Prayer….many times the two together at the same time.  There have been many things that God has given me a heart to pray for, but what is really burning in my spirit right now is the military.  God has always used things that are close to me to show me an area that needs prayer.  Yes, my son is in the Marine Corps, but my burden is expanding from just prayer for him to prayer for all of our military….and I don’t mean just prayer for their safety, but real, intense prayer for their hearts, their minds, their souls.  In a lot of respects, we romanticize most aspects of the military.  But if we really dug beneath the surface, we would see things that are not so pretty.  In no way am I disrespecting the military, I just want to talk about what is really there.  These young men go into this new world, frankly, without very much life experience and are exposed to things of war, things of ugliness, things that the rest of us never even think about.  They are trained to kill or be killed.  To defend at all costs.  Actually having to do this changes a person forever.  And on another front, let’s get real, there are women who are looking to be with military men and work their way through the barracks.  God’s heart for these women and men is not this!  His heart is for love and compassion and support, not for using and being used or for momentary things.  His heart is for eternal, lasting things.  War is not the only thing these boys face.  Financial, sexual, physical, emotional temptation invades them from every direction.  My heart is to see revival in the United States Military.  Yes, I just used that word, revival.  I know it has become such a “christianese” word, but real revival is changed hearts and minds…people going wholeheartedly after Jesus no matter the consequences.  It is love and healing and restoration.  It is everything that defines (if possible) God’s heart for all of us.  It is a real, real thing.  As a dear friend said to me today, our military is ALL over the world.  If there is revival within it’s walls, then it spreads EVERYWHERE.  Ultimately that is God’s heart…that the WORLD would see and KNOW that He is God.

So God is stretching my vision of prayer…He is expanding it outward to places I have never even thought about.  I thought that He taught me to pray so that I could pray for my family, which He did, but I am realizing that He never teaches us anything for a single end result.  It’s kind of like an onion…there is always another layer, there is always a deeper place to go.  I know that He moves at the sound of our voices and I want to be one of those voices.  I want to go deeper.  Always.

First time for everything

Many months ago I felt like God said to me, “You have something to say and its time to start saying it.”  That is a scary thing to hear.  I have been through so many things in my life.  Many were consequences of my own making, some were just circumstances that life brought because that is what life is.  Many times I fought God, but He showed me somewhere along the line that I could find victory and comfort in the middle of very painful things.  Life does not have to be just a lineup of bad choices, consequences and struggling to keep your head above water.  There is so much to my story and what God has done that I wish I could just write a book to tell you all. Maybe someday I will.  I just want so badly for people to know that there is such great Hope.  What has happened in my life and where I am now has no explanation other than God.  And so, it is time to start really talking about it…time to point people to where real Hope resides.  With God and God alone.  So I am venturing out.  No more just talking about it to my close friends and family.  I speak for the first time to a large group of women tonight at Women of Grace.  If you can come, please do, if you can’t please just pray for me…that the words I would speak would be exactly what the Lord would have me say, nothing more, nothing less.  There is a first time for everything, so here goes…