Wednesday, February 17, 2016

If God stepped in...

My life with the Lord has been so up and down. So off and on. He has always been the faithful One, loving me back into his waiting arms.

Even after turning from a life of sin, I was paralyzed by shame for nearly a decade. It's crazy when I think back on it. A DECADE OF SHAME. Not ten minutes. Not ten days. Not ten months. Ten years. And here's what I know...

I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because those ten years were not in vain. They were not wasted. They were used by God to shape and mold me; to draw me closer to Him than I'd ever been before.

All glory to God I didn't lay down in my shame and accept it.

I battled it every day. I knew it wasn't right. I longed for freedom. A deeply spiritual war was raging in my heart and mind. My rational mind knew the truth of God's love for me, but my wavering heart was susceptible to self-destructive thoughts, lies of Satan, and the haughty looks and words of the self-righteous. That's a big stinkin' mess to clean up! And boy oh boy, did I ever want God to wipe it all clean in the blink of an eye. I knew he could. But did that mean he should?

If God stepped in and cleaned up the mess I made, without me joining him in the hard work of sorting through the clutter, the junk, and finding the treasures, my freedom wouldn't mean half as much to me as it does now. It wouldn't have birthed a passion in me for seeing others set free from whatever has them bound. It wouldn't have given me life lessons to pass on to my children about repentance, forgiveness, humility, praying for enemies, obedience ahead of emotion, spiritual warfare, and so much more.

Without the battle, I would've missed out on the most beautiful thing I've experienced in my life. Loving Jesus and being absolutely free to be loved by him.

Every struggle is an opportunity for growth. Every battle is an opportunity for victory. We may sometimes waver. We may be up today and down tomorrow. But we must never lie down in acceptance or defeat. Let's grab the sword of the Spirit, God's Word. Let's get on our faces and exercise the power of prayer. The faithful One will prove himself faithful every time, loving us back into his waiting arms.

"..the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."
2 Thessalonians 3:3

Sunday, January 3, 2016

PSA to Moms of Adult Children


I'm not sure why no one tells us this, but they don't.

When we have our first baby, we hear things like, "Don't worry, this will only last for the next 18 years" as they laugh about our sleepless nights.

As time goes on we hear, "The terrible 2's are nothing, it should be called the terrible 3's" or "Just wait until they're teenagers!"

And later still, we're promised, "Just a few more years and they'll be out of the house."

Well here's my no-holds-barred, truth-be-told PSA: It NEVER ends. Ever. You will always be a mom.

You will always care, love, worry, pray, want to scream (and sometimes you will), cheer them on, cry (both happy and sad tears), lose sleep, encourage some more, pray some more, throw your hands up in exasperation, do some praise dances for wise decisions, and through it will learn to laugh a lot (at them, at yourself, at life together).

Because adult children are still your children - and you will always be Mom - forever. Amen?


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It is finished

Talk about famous last words.

"It is finished."

Spoken by Jesus on the Cross as he gave up his spirit (John 19:30), and combined with the power of his resurrection, these three words mean absolutely everything to me as a believer.

Sometimes in order to fully grasp what something is, I have to first understand what it is not.

"It is finished" is not "It is almost finished."

"It is finished" is not "My part is finished. Your turn."

"It is finished" is a statement of fact; not a question.

The way I live most days, you'd sure think I believe this is what Jesus said. And I hate that. It's exhausting and wrong. God's word is full of truth reminding me I cannot earn salvation; I cannot win more of God's love through good deeds; I cannot be more forgiven than I already am. Because it is finished.

My salvation was completely earned by Jesus.

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! - Galatians 2:21

God's love for me is extravagant and unchanging throughout all time.

Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. - Ephesians 2:4-5

My sin is covered by the blood of Jesus and forgiveness has been fully granted.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. - Ephesians 1:7

"It is finished" is my greatest joy. When I believe it as I should, I find rest in Who my God is and fully enjoy him as he desires and deserves.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. - Acts 4:12

Don't miss it....salvation is found in no one else. Not in me or my best efforts. Not in you or your clergy's forgiveness. Not in any social justice cause or religious ritual or even in devoted scripture memorization or powerful prayer time. Salvation is found only in Jesus and his finished work. May we never be guilty of adding a question mark where God has placed a period.

For me, "It is finished" is the most powerful combination of words ever spoken.

I'm recommitting myself to believe it - and to live it each and every day.