Tag Archives: faith

“Your Seat — Where do you sit?”

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Bench Seat

Remember in elementary, middle school, high-school or college even?  Where you sat was a big deal! Life began for us with lots of assigned seating, however as we became older we were allowed to choose our seat more often than not. Where we sat would often determine how our day would go, how fun lunch would be, sometimes how included we felt, or even what we thought of ourselves.

I recently as an adult realized that where I’ve chosen to sit right now in life has been inferior and is inferior to where others would have chosen for me to sit — to the point I found myself defending it.

You know even the disciples wanted to choose seats. In Mathew 20 James and John were doing anything they could to both sit on his right and left. They even got their mom to ask!   Mathew 23 shows us that the scribes and the Pharisees loved their seats – their front seats in the synagogues.

Seats are impactful. The front row seats at the movies, plays, and concerts are all sometimes chosen to be favorites. The seat at the end of a board room table often is the power seat, and the seat to the right of that one, is often another power play for the one that chooses that seat. You can even make a statement by choosing a back seat.

We learn about how to choose our seats early in life. Somewhere down the road, our chosen seats take on much more meaning than a friendly gesture. Our chosen seats in life distinguish us from others, can show differences in opinion, or display who or what we believe in.

Recently, I tried to share with someone that my seat was different than theirs, that it was a brand new seat and that my seat was coming from a different place in life.  I shared that my seat was where it was because of my personal struggles and because I had been rescued. Don’t we all have different seats?

We all have different seats, all walking different walks, all have different hurts and struggles. All traveling a different road, in a different seat, on a different bus however; all having the chance to be driven by one GREAT GOD if we allow him too.

It’s hard. It’s hard to have enough Faith and Trust in the one true God and to not worry about your seat any more–giving ourselves totally to the Lord.  It is hard to give the past up, take the new seat that he has for us, living life unencumbered by what others think and with all our focus on our heavenly father.  I want a new seat with pure abandonment of the world, diving in and fully submerged in Him for his kingdom.

 Jeremiah 29: 11-13
“11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

My seat has to be one of hope, faith, trust, belief… it has too. I have to have that seat in my marriage, family and in my church. I have to take that seat. It’s the only way. It’s the only survivor mechanism that will work for me and my walk. It’s the only way I’ll continue to experience true healing. It’s what my God wants for me.

Mercy me sings a song, “You are I am”:
You’re the One who conquers giants.
You’re the One who calls out kings.
You shut the mouth of lions.
You tell the dead to breathe.
You’re the one who walks through fire.
You take the orphan’s hand.
You are the One Messiah.
You are I Am.
I’ve been the one, Held down in chains.
Beneath the weight, Of all my shame.
I’ve been the one, To believe,
That where I am, You cannot reach.
And now I live, with the Spirit inside.
The same one, The very same one,
Who brought the Son, Back to life.
Hallelujah, He lives in me.
Hallelujah, He lives in me
You’re the One who conquers giants.
You’re the One who calls out kings.
You shut the mouth of lions.
You tell the dead to breathe.
You’re the one who walks through fire.
You take the orphan’s hand.
You are the One Messiah.
You are I Am.

I don’t know about you but this is where I want to sit.
• I want to sit knowing that I serve a God that can conquer the giant of a failing marriage.
• I want to sit in a seat serving the God that can shut the mouth of a lion ridden by lies.
• I want to serve a God that tells those dead to sexual addictions, drug addictions, or any other addictions to rise up my child and breathe life through him.
• I want a God that can work with our denial, apathy and so much more, yet still love us like no one else can and then use us.
• I want a seat that believes that he can bring life to a dead church.
• I want the seat that is closest to my God because he rescued me from a dead walk, a dead marriage and from physically wanting die.
• I want a seat, of real forgiveness, letting go and letting God.

How do I–how do you find a seat like this? Through true relationship with him every day. Through rising in the morning (no matter what) and clothing in the full armor, getting in his word, being in prayer and unashamedly proclaiming his glory. This is everything I want… to be seated with him now and in eternity.

Where are you sitting? Where do you want to sit? Do you want to stay where you are or do you want a new seat?  Even in the hardest most hurtful, frustrating, circumstances when there seams to be no light at the end of the tunnel, he has a new seat for you!

Dear heavenly father,
I lift my hands to you for who you are and for loving us no matter where are seat has been or is. I thank you that you want us seated with you in eternity and love us so much that you died on a cross so many thousands of years ago so that we could be forgiven.  Father, help us to unashamedly choose the new seat and improved seat that you have for us. Father, help us share your love and proclaim your name so that others will see your glory.
Lord, help us not look back on past seats but only to the future and hope that you have in store for us. Thank you for our new seats that you have made ready for us.
I love you Jesus, thank you for being my hope and stay, thank you for loving me. Amen.

“I am New” by Jason Gray
Now I won’t deny
The worst you could say about me
But I’m not defined by mistakes that I’ve made
Because God says of me
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved
I am new
Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved
I am new
I am new
Too long have I lived in the shadow of shame
Believing that there was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn’t see me the way that I do
He doesn’t see me the way that I do
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved
I am new
I am new
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
Dead to the old man, I’m coming alive
I am new
I am new
(Repeat 2)
Forgiven, beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy, reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy
This is our new name
This is who we are now…

His Grand Rescue Plan

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CR 13 Los Guido scenery

A Grand Rescue Plan 2500 Miles Away:

My husband, my daughter and I recently returned for a second time from a third world country where we spent a week ministering to others in hope that we could help the missionary and his team earn the right to share the Gospel. 

We’ve supported a girl there with school uniforms for the last three years and this time we had the opportunity to purchase some food staples and hand deliver them to her and her family in her village. How exciting, in my mind I thought what next?  We’re already supporting her so that she can go to school, we provide presents during the holiday’s and in-between, and now we are able to provide a month’s grocery’s and leave more money behind for more.  I quickly realized that I was concentrating on what we were doing, what I could do—not what God could do.

After further discussion with the missionary, my husband and I realized that we were not her rescuers.  Unfortunately as refugees in this country, the likelihood of her even making it to high-school or out of the circumstances she was born into was not going to happen.

The missionary reminded us the reason for being there and doing the things we do, he does and his ministry team did was to earn the right to share the gospel, to be a conduit, and to be used by Jesus and the Holy Spirit so that she can have a relationship with Christ herself – to be rescued by him – to receive VICTORY! 

God can rescue Aimee and he can rescue us.  I love the thought that my Creator of the universe wants a personal relationship with each of us.

Relationship, it’s a big word.  Relationship is not just something that is; it’s something that is built.  I never had a true relationship with the Lord.  I realized last fall that I had lived my entire life working out my salvation, being a good person, but never building a true relationship, meaning no dialogue between myself and my heavenly father, my savior, the one who has rescued me, the one that provides eternal VICTORY!

A Grand Rescue Plan at Home:

“What I have done, is wake up every morning and cry out to God for help to be the wife that he wants me to be.”

I was reminded Sunday in a friend’s sermon all about the Victory that we can find in Jesus.  If you’re a southern girl like me and have ever graced the door of a Southern Baptist country church, you might have heard these words. 

“I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.”

Sound familiar to anyone?                                                                                          

My friend asked the questions, “Do we live in the mire of the pain or do we allow God to move us to a place of Victory?  Victory is a common theme in our Savior’s life but do we truly believe it?”

My goal should be to allow Jesus to take my scars and do something very different with them, different from what I could ever imagine.  We all have scars, lost jobs, hurt relationships, deaths, infidelity, addictions and so many more.

Do we truly give it to the Lord; do we truly ask him to take this hurt, this pain and turn it into what he wants?  Our goal has to be to allow Jesus to take our scars and do something very different than we could ever imagine.

He reminded us, “What if there is a reason for having this scar, a reason for why God allowed this thing to happen in your life”?

The beautiful ending to our stories is that Jesus can bring victory amidst of the pain.  I don’t know about you but despite the hurt in my life over the almost last 11 months I claim victory, VICTORY IN JESUS.

“No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.”  (Romans 8:37)

I love that no matter what our little girl Aimee has encountered, they can; we can go forward from that.  No matter what has happened in their life or ours we can go forward with Christ with personal relationship and have VICTORY!  He has a grand rescue plan for each of us.

If you are overwhelmed by pain and hurt, know that Jesus wants to overshadow you  in his love.  I’m not saying the road is easy.  It has been the hardest thing to do.  To wake up every morning and say today I’m going to be an encouraging, supportive, loving wife to a recovering sex addict would be inaccurate.  What I have tried to do is wake up every morning and cry out to God for help to be the wife that he —that God — wants me to be.

“Now I know that the Lord gives victory to His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
with mighty victories from[a] His right hand.”  (Psalm 20:6)

 “Dear Lord, take my scars and turn them into what you want them to be.  Please continue to give us strength to seek your face and will daily.  Please use me and my husband.  Please bring beauty from the ashes.  Thank you that you’ve always had a grand rescue plan in mind and that through you we have VICTORY,  Amen.”

A New Birth-9 Months Later

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Seedling

“A New Birth – 9 Months Later”

“By his own choice he gave us a new birth by the message of the truth so that he would be the first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

When most people hear nine months, they think of babies, new births and the wonderful months that lead up to that birth.  When I hear nine months I think of how nine months ago our world changed.  More than just a change of not knowing to knowing or from living in denial of what I thought our marriage was to wishing I still was in denial. It was a change of the heart that began in both my husband and I. This change of heart began amidst the hurt, agony and disbelief. This change of heart began despite what was happening in our marriage and despite what had happened.

Our Lord promises us in his word that he will give us new birth and not just any new birth but specifically new birth by the message of the truth. I love what the HCSB notes say about this verse.
“Message of truth refers to the gospel by which new birth comes. First fruits refer to the best that the harvest produces. God gives us good gifts that yield wondrous fruit, not temptation that leads to death through wayward desires.”  Praise him!

After that August 12th Sunday morning my husband and I found ourselves flat on our face before our heavenly father. We began (I don’t know how-I know this was a God thing) the next morning in the word and prayer together and have for the last 247 days (9 Months).
What if we had not fallen on our face before God together? What if we would have not went to the Truth (the Word) and prayer? Would we have encountered new birth? Would we have seen the hand of God begin to restore our dead and broken marriage?
August 5th, five days later God gave us Isaiah 43:18-19, we actually both wear this

verse on a leather bracelet every day.  Here is what he said.

“Do not remember the past events (oh my …so hard), pay no attention to things of old.  Look I’m about to do something new, even now it is coming.  Do you not see it?  Indeed I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

When I read this verse now I shudder at the sheer magnificence and authoritative way God started working in our lives and marriage.  He was telling us that morning that he was in control.

Does the Lord want to give you a new birth, a new life?  I implore you to fall flat on your face, laying it all down and asking him to take control.  It started that day and has been a process for us, but a journey that I’m so glad we are on.  How sad it would be if we were still drawing away from each other and Christ. 

1 Peter 1:3 says, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to his great mercy, he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 

We are guaranteed new life through Jesus Christ our Lord! We all are!

I’m praising hiss all day long for what he has done, is doing and will do in our marriage and for that matter anyone’s life that will totally surrender.  Because of the cross my husband doesn’t have to live any longer with sexual addiction, my marriage didn’t have to continue on the road to destruction.  Remember what 1 Peter 1:3 says, “…God gives us good gifts that yield wondrous fruit, not temptation that leads to death through wayward desires.”   Hallelujah we are not chained to our addictions but have new life through the message and a new birth into living hope because of the cross! 

Last thought for today:

I love the song “Restore” by Chris August, it has resonated with me in such a special way.

“…But right now if their being honest

They don’t know if they’ll stay together

Let’s fast forward to the future

After struggling on their own

They finally figured out they needed

Jesus in the middle

Now I’m watching God rebuild their home.

The enemy tries to come and divide

Trying to get us to give up the fight

But darkness will always lose out to light

Cause we’ve got the power of Christ on our side…”

 

Continued Journal Entries:

9-16-2012:  Today I heard a story about a Ugandan woman named Mercy.  I learned of how hard her life has been.  I feel like the Lord is saying your life could be so much harder.  My family is all alive and well, move forward with me child and truly live out the life I have for you.  I feel like the Lord is saying to me that I’ve been trying to live as a Christian with no dialogue, no true relationship… sad thing is…he’s right.

9-17-2012:  Today God gives us Colossians:13, 23-25, Here and in many places in the bible God talks about forgiving, just as forgave us…..THIS IS HARD! HELP! All over Ephesians, Mathew, Luke, Colossians it talks of this.

9-19-2012:  I’ve come to an empty place…Wilderness within my soul. It does not satisfy me anymore…I have to follow after God’s own heart.  It’s all been lip service, one day I want to be able to tell of his faithfulness. I’m now broken beyond recognition, we are not the same people, we are God’s not Satan’s.

9-21-2012:  Today I have to leave town for work for the first time overnight since all this happen.  Dear Lord please give me peace while gone. 

9-24-2012:  Today I’m better than yesterday and better than the day before only by the grace of my loving Jesus…he is truly my strength.  Today is my birthday.  Psalm 16:1,2,5,8

9-25-2012:  I love being in bible study with my husband, however I look over often at times and get MAD…MAD at what he did…I can’t even begin to describe how I still feel a little over a month out now.  I feel very alone sometimes.  Psalm 23:4 really spoke to me today.

9-26-2012:  I have been amazed at how close I have felt to my King but it comes from constant communication… something I’ve never had before.  Philippians 4:19, There is only one hero…We all need to be rescued… His name is JESUS!  There’s no perfect man or woman… We all have imperfections that we bring into our marriages. Genesis 2:20 and 3:7-15.  Adam and eve were pulling away because of the sin that was in their life. It was affecting their marriage.  WE are all sinful and self-centered. There is no perfect person.  It’s something that we have to realize every day… It’s not just about my husband changing it’s about us both changing.  I had built up so much resentment…yet I was so far from God myself.  We had become roommates totally.  I had pushed things under the rug for so long…that’s what the devil wanted… he wanted us to stop talking.  I believe in his redemption, his renewal and his transformation.  If we are connecting to God it will connect everywhere…I need to stop worrying about him and make sure my relationship with Christ is the first priority.  Holiness is the goal for us together, that’s the purpose of our marriage now!  Ephesians 5:22-32,  this should provide freedom.  Jesus designed marriage to make us more holy not happy.

9-28-2012:  It’s hard for me to read John 8.  To see the word adulterer.  I am thankful though that God is a God of second chances.  I love that he loves my husband and that he cares for our marriage. I love that we can lean on our heavenly father. 

 

 

 

 

My Story- Eyes Wide Open

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The one person I had loved more than anyone or anything had betrayed me.  When I heard the words that told the story of a life of pornography and years and years of monthly visits with prostitutes we both collapsed.  Collapsed because it had zapped every bit of energy in our legs that we had.  Collapsed because it felt like we were being punched in the gut over and over.  Collapsed because “on the floor flat” before the Lord is exactly where Jesus wanted us to be.

Eyes wide shut.

My life began as a child with Christian parents who lead me to the Lord at the age of three.  You might think, that is young.  Yes it is.

Fast forward through church camp rededications and a life of “always there if the door was open”, and being great at the role of an evangelist daughter, I acquired a vast head knowledge of who God was and his love for us.  I believed that he had forgiven me of my sins, it was understood and I loved him for it.

Life was very safe and sheltered till high school.  During high school I began walking a crooked line between the life I had been taught to live and the life that Satan would rather I live.  This life was amiss of any dialogue between me and the Lord.  I had reached an age of accountability and maturity and there was no excuse for God to not be first.  Instead of making the choice to communicate with the one that loved me most my life reflected a shallow relationship with Christ.  The focus was on me.

College life only yielded the same. Never letting go and surrendering to the Lord.  Here I began refining a life of self-reliance.

So naturally the time came when I fell in love and married.  I found someone a lot like me with common interest and goals.  Goals?  That might be stretching it.  Who were we kidding; we were living in the moment.  Head over heals in love with the courtship we had been living and marriage was the next step.  Truth–I had found someone with the same talent as I, someone who was just as self-reliant as I was yet could just as eloquently proclaim the mercies of the Lord.  I loved this man though. I still love this man.  God gave me a love that has never wavered, truly a miracle.

Truth again — We were lost.

Several years of dating, sixteen years of marriage and our “eyes became wide OPEN”.

In August of 2012 eyes wide shut became eyes wide open.  On that Sunday it was evident that our marriage was not what I thought.  At that moment in time I realized that my husband was a sex addict and had dealt and lived with this addiction for the last 27 years.  It was evident that day that self-reliance had taken a toll on him and myself.

Acts 11:19-21:

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

Satan’s plans backfire just like above.  Persecution was meant to hurt, to stop what God had planned instead it is the very thing that sparked the spread of his word.

Satan had planned to destroy my husband’s life and our marriage.  In most instances with these offenses Satan would have probably won, however he did not account for what would happen next.

See we had both lived a life of self-reliance never surrendering to the Lord’s will, never developing the relationship that he so desperately wanted and that we could have had if we would have talked to him.  How do you talk to him?  Through living in prayer and in the word with him we had done neither.

Where God Met Us!

The one person I had loved more than anyone or anything had betrayed me.  When I heard the words that told the story of a life of pornography and years and years of monthly visits with prostitutes we collapsed.  Collapsed because it had zapped every bit of energy in our legs that we had.  Collapsed because it felt like we were being punched in the gut over and over.  Collapsed because “on the floor flat” before the Lord is exactly where Jesus wanted us to be.

My husband and I on that Sunday morning at 11:30 am fell to the floor him first with his hands around my ankles, me next broken over him prayed to God asking him to HELP US.

We had no idea how to get through this but we had been taught that when life was touch to call on his name.  We were relying on this to be true.  We were hoping this to be true.  It’s all we had.  We felt helpless as a couple, I felt worthless, wounded and as if I wanted to die.

We had to live out 1 John 1:8-9.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

He Has Delivered.

We very quickly met a God that was loving, authoritative, just, full of grace, mercy and forgiving.  A God that desires my husband and I to be head over heals in love with him, surrendered to him, free from the weights of addictions, self-reliance, pain, hurt and pride.

A God that is sovereign with “the plan” not just a plan.

Today 190 days later, we have studied the bible together, talked about what it means to us, and how it applies to our life.  We have prayed each morning before starting our day and prayed each night before closing our eyes.   Constant prayer and surrendering to the Lord is the only reason our marriage has survived this deep hurt.  We have had to put on the full armor of God.

Isaiah 43:18-19 was given to us on the fifth morning after.

18 “Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland.

We have clung to this verse like nothing else ever in our life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle a little 6 months out now.  I still struggle with “forgetting the former things”.  Can you relate?  I still struggle with not “dwelling on things of the past”.  Anyone else?  The questions of my husband’s secret life of sex addictions mystify me.  I can’t believe that I lived all that time not knowing.  I’m hurt.

Although I still hurt, I am here to tell you, all women, anyone who has suffered from deep hurt and pain, that God does bring forth new life.  My husband is a new creation and I’m a new creation.  God has provided us a path in the wilderness and we’ve been walking through it with him.  he has led us to the river that quenches and has quenched our thirst like we never imagined.

God gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us for messy situations just like this one!  Messed to Blessed.

I recently heard Beth Moore during a Wednesday night bible study say, “The power of the resurrection trumps the power of the past if we are willing to let it”.

Praise God!  The old is gone and new life begins with surrendering to the Lord.  Our eyes are now very wide open.

It’s unfortunate that we had lived out in all of our life before and after marriage, 2 Timothy 3:7.

7 always learning but never able to come to knowledge of the truth.

We now want a teachable spirit, want to listen to the voice of wisdom and listen to him.

I continue to pray Proverbs 3:3-4.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Then you will win favor and a good name

in the sight of God and man.

On Day 190 this is my story.  I’m not a writer.  I’m a failed out English major from a private university, but I have a story to tell and I have felt compelled to tell it.  I want every woman who has felt this hurt, for every man who so desires to choose to be the spiritual leader God is calling him to be, and for every couple that is living in a self-reliant marriage headed down a self-destructing path to know there are struggles, but there is HOPE.  I welcome you to join me in this journey I will begin next week a weekly journal from day one till now.  I hope somehow I can encourage someone.

God has more for you- he can turn messes into blessings!