You WANT this!

i want godWhat do we really want? Sometime we know, sometimes we think we know, most of the time we don’t stop long enough to really answer the question. The words within these pages are so rich, point straight to the heart, and are worth their weight in precious minutes. I needed these words, and wasn’t really aware I needed them. Lisa expresses truth in such a passionate, transparent manner, that I paused, underlined, and thought. Lisa covers topics that include wanting God more than comfort, logic & reason, popularity, and blessing. For this season of my life, not only did these words refocus me, it helped me to share with other family members by starting a conversation that needed to take place. So join Lisa, get in the game, for as she says, “We are at our very best when we make peace with who God made us to be.”

Feel free to clink the picture above, or here to jump over to Amazon.

Here are some of my favorite underlines:

  • The truth is, until the want matches the need, nothing will ever change.  Needing without wanting is just a really good idea that never sees light.
  • Wanting God is not a risk.  Living without wanting Him is.
  • We who have much are often the most in need because we have forgotten how it feels to be desperate.
  • The people who go hard for God are not the ones who try the hardest.  They are the ones who want Him more than anything else.
  • God rarely uses the ones we’d expect.
  • If He asks a question, it’s only to open a narrower mind to a bigger view.
  • The “more” God gives is really about the loss and less and the willingness to do without and yes, the joy in that.  It’s about discipline and dedication and focus and surrender.
  • The more we have of Him, the ore we survive and even thrive.
  • …only He knows the time when are hearts are truly ready to see.
  • He designed us to be capable of going all in.
  • When we want God more than anything, we forgo our control of what life looks like.  We must be ready for popularity lost.  Comfort interrupted.  Reason tossed away.  Self disregarded.  Sin exposed.
  • Wanting more really just means that what we have now will no longer do, and we believe He has better.
  • I want God to consume me more than the mess that is currently consuming my life.
  • We can’t serve God fully while we are all settled in, because God is the great unsettler.
  • He doesn’t want us to settle for sitting on the sidelines and watching our influence go by when He has given us the ability to play ball.
  • If God is ever going to invade our insides and do that powerful work we groan for, we are going to have to stop sabotaging it by insulting ourselves to the point where neither He nor we can move.
  • Things keep us comfortable but comfortable keeps us from God.
  • People who are used by God aren’t born special.  They’ve just tasted something good and kept coming back for it.  They live with a different longing.
  • Let God break your rules.
  • Life with God was never meant to be a calculated risk; it was meant to be an illogical surety.
  • God often calls us to the illogical and unreasonable places to expose what position control holds in our lives.
  • He doesn’t have to make sense to be Sovereign.
  • We will never be qualified to do anything God-sized; all we can ever be is willing.
  • Wanting God over logic and reason comes with an underlying trust on our part and thorough follow-through on His.
  • God is waiting on us to choose Him, only Him, always Him, forever Him…and he will release us from every self-inflicted chain that has kept us bound so we can live free.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for your Word.  Thank you for your truth.  Thank you for your grace and mercy and forgiveness.  Thank you for giving us the desire to Want You.  Lord we get side-tracked, we get pulled, we get off-track while getting on-track.  We mess up.  And yet, there You are.  Forever and always.  Thank you for loving me enough to die, knowing full well the extent of my sin.  Thank you for your servant Lisa who has a willing heart to pursue you, to love you, to want You more than comfort, popularity, or even the blessing.  My heart has been changed and inspired to seek more of You.  Lord forgive me when I don’t.  I rejoice in knowing and believing your truth, and in that truth, I am free.

 

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Make it go away!

broken-heartPsalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

My husband and I have found ourselves discussing this topic lately – hurts.  We all know they’re a part of life, yet sadly, we’re not always sure what to do with them.  He recently wrote a blog post, and it’s resonated with many.  It touches us all, and yet we don’t often realize the importance of properly cleansing our wounds before a worst-case infection invades and we become walking wounded. I appreciate the gift my husband has been given in looking at everyday life events and using them as a parallel to hard lessons that are often difficult to explain.

It also triggered a moment for me that took place several years ago.  In fact, it’s the moment that I knew I was to start sharing His stories in my life.  The moment I knew, out of obedience, I would start a blog, not for my gain, but for His glory.  In fact, the title of my original blog was Heal the Wound, Leave the Scar.  Today I wanted to share that moment with you.  May you know today that you are not alone.  Ever.

Do you have a scar? I mean, a physical one. A mark that serves as a reminder of a time in your life where you experienced a hurt. A mark that has a story to go along with it. I do. But this scar I have is different, I asked for this one.

It happened one cool, late summer evening. For a year prior to this evening, about 4 evenings a week, I run. I typically run the same path, give or take a few turns here or there. This evening, I rounded a corner close to home, one that I had rounded many times before. Listening to some tunes, enjoying the last few moments until my return, I found myself in a different position. In a split second, I heard a loud smack, realized that my body had rolled over onto soft grass, and felt an intense burning in my knee. I sat there stunned, wondering what in the world happened. I slowly stood up and attempted to assess my injuries. Everything seemed to be functioning alright as I glanced down at the source of the burning near my knee. Sure enough, blood could be seen and felt running down my leg. Next thought… “Did anyone see me ?” (glance right, glance left)…whew. Next thought… “How dare you! You stupid sidewalk! I know you just decided, hey, let’s get her!” Oh well, no real harm, let’s just get home.

As I began to walk, I heard that clear, gentle voice that I’ve come to recognize as the voice of my Jesus whisper to me, “Heather, how did you just react to that fall?”

“That one? Aww, just a scrape. The burning will go away.”

“If that was one of your children, what would they have done?”

“Oh, that’s easy…wait for it…3,2,1….AAAAAAAAAAAAA (a.k.a. blood curling scream).”

“Why didn’t you react like that?”

“Because I’ve experienced all sorts of different pains in my life, I know this is no big deal. I’ll be alright.”

“And what else would your children have done?”

“Frantically look for me, run to me with all there might, desperately seeking reassurance, a hug and a kiss.”

“When was the last time you ran like this to me?”

(Gulp.)

Pause.

“Heather, what will you do when you get home?”

“Take a shower, clean the wound.”

“Will it hurt?”

“Yes, a little.”

“Then, why will you do it?”

“If I don’t clean it, it will fester, get infected, heal incorrectly.”

“Heather, what other wounds do you have? Ones you have ignored, ones you tried to clean yourself, ones left to fester. Will you let me open your wound again, I need to clean it the right way. Will you let me come in and cleanse? Come in and heal?”

“But Lord, it’s going to hurt.”

“I know.” He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5

“But Lord, I don’t want to.”

“I know.” If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Matthew 26:39

“Lord, I’m scared.”

“I know.” He was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22:44

“Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief.” (Mark 9:14-29)
“Oh, one more thing Lord. Could you do me a favor? When you heal my wound, could you leave the scar?”

One year later, he has continued to answer my prayer. I even have a mirror-image scar, same knee, one inch to the left.

Where is your scar? Do you see it as God sees it, beautiful? If you are interested in further investigation, may I highly recommend 2 books. Check out the links section on the sidebar to your right. Visit Sharon Jaynes and her book Your Scars are Beautiful to God, as well as singer and author Gwen Smith’s newly released title Broken Into Beautiful. These ladies have allowed the Lord to come in and heal their wounds in a way only He can. Because of their obedience to His call on their life, they speak of hope and of God’s grace. Also, at your leisure, visit About Me, and check out a fabulous song by Point of Grace, released just two weeks after my fall, entitled, none other than…Heal the Wound. God Bless!

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and healing shall spring up quickly. Isaiah 58:8

Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace, and be healed in your disease. Mark 5:34

At the root of it all – fear feeding faith…

tree rootsOur family is currently walking through a season of change… again.

As I recall, not too long ago, I wrote about how I’m just not a big fan.

I’ve found myself stumbling and bumbling through this process, unable to even express through words the jumbled mess of emotions entangled with random thoughts.  And just when I thought this process might just sit a spell longer… the fog is beginning to lift.

He provided a special lunch with a very special friend.  And she asked just one question, and then listened.  And then she gently asked another, and the dam of self-defense that I had built quite well, slowly began to leak, and out of nowhere, split wide open.  And because of this release (as ugly as it was), I can now begin to see.  Have my circumstances changed?  No.  But in my vulnerability, through the graciousness of my true friend, God tells me again that he’s molding and shaping my heart.  As I call it, in looking at my “ugly”, in bringing my fear and accusations to light, I can be in a place where I want to be – close to the heart of my Father.

And then I read a devotion in my email that expresses my inexpressible thoughts, giving me statements to hold onto as truth.  Lysa TerKeurst writes:

 And at the end of the day, I guess that’s why I don’t like to be surprised. I can’t stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.

But slowly, I’m learning it’s not all bad to be a little exposed and afraid.

That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we manage. It reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.

And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can’t, that’s right where faith steps in and has the opportunity to find deep roots. Roots that dig down and break up previously unearthed places within us.

My faith doesn’t just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, I need deep faith roots.

Deep roots anchor us when surprises blow like strong unruly winds.

Deep roots hold us steady during the next storm that didn’t show up on the radar.

Deep roots find nourishment when the surface gets awfully dry.

Deep roots allow for growth not previously possible.

Deep roots yield rich fruit.

So, I’m learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper… “deeper still.”

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit,” (Jeremiah 17: 7-8 ESV).

Lord, I long for deep roots.  I trust you.  I know growth, transformational growth, doesn’t always feel pleasant at the time, but I do know that it yields a great harvest.  Help me to be patient.  Help me to remember your truths and choose those to stay grounded upon.  I find myself revisiting a lesson time and time again.  I hear you.  I know you have growth in store for me.  Thank you in advance for your patience with my stubbornness.  Thank you for giving me just what I need, when I need it, most especially when I don’t even know I need it.  You teach me about love more and more every day, and I am eternally grateful.  Looking forward to what has yet to come!

Change – friend or foe?

So… yeah.

Change.

And I’m not talking about the amount you get back after a purchase.  I’m talking about a change in your lifestyle, your “normal” routine, out-with- the-old and in-with-the-new type of change.  Do you want to “love it or list it”? (a little HGTV humor)

ME? Not a big fan of the “c” word.  I’ve learned the benefits that come along with being “open” to it, yet it still takes me a long time to mentally prepare, and then there’s the actual walking-through-it thing.

I do realize that change happens in different ways.  There are times when I commit to a change (pledging to floss my teeth every day) and truly intend to stick with it for the long haul, yet eventually it fades.  There are other times when my dedication runs hard and fast (marathon training).  And other times, there are changes that affect many aspects of your daily life (job loss and job change).  This last example has been the most recent journey for myself and our family.

It’s been a ride (and it’s only just begun!)  As I was driving home from school today, I started thinking about this concept.  I’ve realized that it’s one thing to prepare for it through thought, and it truly is another concept to walk it through daily.  Our “old normal” included days of morning time with the kids (dressing, breakfast, chores, and Jesus time), a slot of time to run, “lunch time ministries”, volunteer opportunities, and part-time provider work, amongst the normal daily living chores.  Aaron has worked out of our home for over 12 years.  We’ve had someone “in-home”, near the kids at school, since they began schooling.  Now, we’re three weeks into my role as a leave-at-7:00am Mom, and a SAHD.  Role-reversal.  And he has done a smashing job!  And then he gets the call…

It’s official.  We are a family in ministry.  Aaron has joined the top-notch team at Rock City Church in the role of Executive Director.  And I’m thrilled for him!  The Lord gave me 2 months to be able to say this in full honesty.  I am thrilled! I can recall specific moments over the past year or two that gave me this indication.  It just had to be God’s perfect timing, and in looking back, it is.  It is this, this line that traces God’s faithfulness, is what allows me to stand on the truths that I’ve come to cherish with all that I am.  These truths speak louder than the voice of doubt, the voice of condemnation, the voice of speculation.  The one that speaks the strongest is the voice of both earthly and eternal hope.  The reason this voice is the strongest is because I entertain it.  I choose to believe it.  And in that truth, lies the sweetest peace.  Peace like I never thought possible.

Has this been easy?  Nope.  The first week, I felt overwhelmed, and in my exhaustion, I looked over my shoulder.  I pouted.  I missed the kids.  I missed people.  I longed for a bit of my “former ways”.  And yet, Iwas so grateful that this job was even an option for me.  I knew I was to be here.  I was thankful for the provision.  I really kept smiling and plowing forward in His strength.  And yet, I came face to face with my biggest nemesis – limitations.

I wanted to be able to plan these amazing lessons, I wanted to be able to jump into American Sign Language without skipping those 9 years, I wanted to learn the computer systems/copier/email/progress reports/IEP access on the first attempt, I wanted to continue to plan family meals and activities same as before, I wanted to fit in running time early as to not miss out on time with family, and yet my mind, body, and soul tells me I have flesh and a brain that WILL shut down.  I had to learn afresh what I can so easily tell others – Heather, you simply must extend your perfection-driven-self some grace.  Items will be accomplished, one day at a time.  Check-in with your heart, it’s a great indicator.

And it happened.  The morning “heaviness” subsided, the brain-fog of details cleared, the fast-heart beat slowed, and the stay-at-home lessons on choosing contentment in the day washed over me with no self-effort what-so-ever.  It’s here.  It’s resided in me all week.  And today, I am excited for my husband.  As he sent me a text while setting up his new work space, he spoke of his feelings.  And they ran straight to our children.  He’s already missing his newly-found time with them.  And my heart rejoices in this natural occurrence.  He’s now beginning his 3-week process of adapting to the “change”.  And three weeks later, I know it will be good.

And I am encouraged.  This is my new normal, and soon it will be our new normal.  We’re entering a new season as the final leaves of the season fall.  And I don’t know what this season will hold,  but I know it will be good.  I know that God loves my children, even more than I do.  I know His plan includes a plan for them.  I know that He is with them when I cannot.  And I can release my stress.  I can peacefully reside in the comfort afforded to me in the release of control.

Change?  I suppose it can be both a foe and a friend.

What are your experiences with change?