Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reality.

"I couldn't turn the steering wheel left. I had to go right," my friend tells me, blue eyes lit like a lighthouse light in a dark night. I needed to turn left to get where I wanted, he continues, but He made me turn right, to drive to the perfect place I needed to be.

I watch him as he straightens his lean frame against the restaurant bench, letting go of his fork into his half eaten salad. "He is with me all the time. I am so grateful."

My thoughts spin like a steering wheel slipping through loose hands, straightening after a turn. Hearing parts of his story, his current struggles, I admire how he Believes even in the hurting.

How God is his Comforter in the struggles.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Just days before, I found myself behind my own steering wheel driving to my church for a special assembly. But instead of being thankful in His comfort, I was being doubtful of His presence again.

Are you Real?
Are Your plans really to Prosper me, not to hurt and harm?
'Cause God the hurt just surfaced again.
Why did you allow this?

Haven't I done everything You wanted?

At my church I slip into a back pew, many rows behind my normal third row seat. I dig for Kleenex in my jacket pocket and removing my cell phone, I see the flashing green light. I flick my phone on in the dim church auditorium.

The bright screen displays a text message.

Are you having a content week?

I look up, my heart steered into humbleness and gratitude, a gift wrapped into a text message from a new friend at the perfect moment, causing my skin to warm, my cheeks to flush.

You are Real.

Content is my God-breathed word for 2015. To be content in all circumstance. And even bigger for me, to be content with exactly who God made me to be.

Creative and sensitive. One who wants to be that girl that wears lipstick all the time but tends to forget to put it on. And one who spends a lot of time going back to places she was just at due to almost always leaving something behind. And one who loves her converse high-tops more than her 3 inch healed boots. And one who talks too much when first meeting someone. Or one who can be very quiet.  

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

The evening continues in God's perfect timing. Activities such as nailing written confessions to the cross (my doubt), locking untruth to a fence (earning grace), and thoughts that do not line up with who God says we are written on paper and burned in a fire (not good-enough, too imperfect to receive His blessings), free me.

He comforts me, in this perfect place He steered me to.

**
The waitress comes by our table and asks if I am finished my salad. I let her take away my plate, but not before noticing only a quarter may have been eaten after an hour, or possibly even more since we received our lunch. Words flash in my head. 'You talk too much!'  I look across at my new friend, his head slightly tilted as he looks back at me. I pause, breathe in the moment and in a flash feel His contentment for me. I say a silent prayer that the Holy Spirit join us, steer our words.

Because He is Real and with us all the time.

We know also that the Son of God has come and given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20







Friday, January 9, 2015

Mending

 

'I received an image when we prayed," she tells me, her hand still in mine. "It was of a broken heart that Jesus is sewing, and there is just a very small way to go. He is almost done."

Almost done.

The year 2013 was full of those moments where all I could do was look up and say, "What are you doing God? I don't understand."

Have you had those? Where absolutely nothing makes sense? When even though you thought you were doing it all God's way, you still did not get the result you expected?

You felt frustrated, confused, and maybe even broken-hearted?

When well meaning friends would quote Jeremiah 29:11.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

And you really, really wanted to believe that but you wanted to SEE it, not just believe.

Everything seemed like it was falling apart. You were falling apart. And you wondered where did your fun, joyful, hopeful self go? Would that self ever come back?

But then there were also those moments, those small glimpses when you would see Him working in you, mending. Maybe through that perfect devotion reading you just needed that particular morning. Or that text message from a friend arriving at the perfect moment. Or that perfect invite to a social event or bible study where Jesus met with you. Or that perfect random event that He could have only orchestrated in the symphony that is your life.

And you saw His perfect timing.

O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

Each stitch hurt. Yet He is mending my heart to wholeness.

He is close to the broken-hearted. To you. He knows.

I thank You, my healer.

Love you.

Lynn














Saturday, December 13, 2014

No Accidents

"Those things you call "accidents," or "surprises." or "discoveries" are actually revelations of God's love and constant concern for you." Moments of Peace in the Presence of God

Recently I listened to an author describe how her marriage was breaking-up while she was writing a novel on Unconditional Love. A complete contradiction. Yet she continued her research, her writing and ended up with a best-seller, fighting the urge to quit and growing even more deeper in compassion for those who experienced divorce and lost dreams.

And rising above the schemes of the enemy.

Recently a friend commented to me, "Lynn, I think the enemy has been right on you tail."

After a loss of my own, I found myself doing all the 'right' things the experts advise to overcome. I stayed busy through new adventures in travels and hobbies. I sought out counselling at my church and attended retreats. I was generous and compassionate, giving where I could.  And as I finally felt I turned a corner, I had the biggest test. And fell apart, the fruit of the spirit of self-control completely non-existent in those moments. And I am still reaping the consequences. I made a MISTAKE. I failed the test.

Or did I really fail?

Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:24

Since then God has placed me in surprise situations where I can only look up to Him say, "I don't understand why You have placed me here as it is painful. But I will Trust You."

And I found myself having to cling to Him like never before to get myself through.

My soul clings to You. Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8

And he provided me all that I needed through compassion of friends who have been where I have been and through wise counsel of others who show me where I still need to grow.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

And I am increasingly hearing His voice as I look upon Him for direction and hope, and acceptance.
         
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and  hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3



And I know I have been in a battle for my mind.

 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

Recently I accidently came upon a situation that left me shaking. And I got a Jesus 'mind-nudge.' "Lynn, you asked a question this morning to me in your prayers and now is the time to find out." So I responded to the situation. And found out the answer. And discovered (with the help of three wise prayer partners) that my heart still has an idol that hooks me into the enemies grip.

He is transforming me through conviction.
    
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-21

Recently I was honoured by someone who shared a story of choices leading to destruction and now is beginning a healing journey. You see past me and into my heart, this person told me.

He is using me.

I know God will make a message out of my mistakes, and will strengthen me to pass the next test so I can be a testimony. In the meantime, I will not quit.  Even though my life is not perfect, even contradictory at times, I will continue using my gifts and talents. And take a step at a time, relinquishing control, and walking with Him in His love and concern for me.

You never know but I might just write a best-seller too.

Has God made a message out of your mistakes?

"When the hurting and the healing feel the same....
 
When my world comes crashing down around my head.
And I, I feel like I got nothing left. Oh, Oh, I'm not in control oh oh
But it is well with my soul,"  David Dunn, It is Well


.




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Transforming

People will say things such as "I feel like my life is falling apart" or....I am coming apart at the seams." These are the cries of the soul that was made to be whole. As Parker Palmer puts it, "The divided life is a wounded life, and the soul keeps calling us to heal the wound." Soul Keeping, John Ortberg

"Do you have time to pray with me?" I asked, my hands heating up. He said yes he could, of course, after this session was over. Come find me, he directed. A couple of hours later I sat across from him in the large conference room, a flurry of activity going on around us as volunteers set up for a large celebration.

"What's going on?" he asked.

Suddenly my dry eyes started tearing, my hands gripped tighter the edge of my chair. "I'm falling apart." And then, "I feel like I'm coming out of my skin."  And I did. Every inch of me felt like it was on fire right down to my heels. I dug in my jeans pocket for a Kleenex. "I'm sorry. I was holding it so together."

And I had been. But it comes to a point where the soul is just grieving so much, it's got to let go.

For months I had been stuffing. Constantly my mind told me "Don't let them see you hurting. Suck it up and put a smile on your face. Stay busy. Really busy.  Don't let them see you cry. Be extra kind, generous and eventually you will feel all better. It is YOUR stuff. You need to change. If you were only different. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

Just keep smiling....

And keep trying, and trying, and trying, and trying, and trying to make myself better, to change.

But in that moment, with my prayer partner across from me and a flutter of people working around me, I couldn't hold it together anymore. The pain had started seeping out just before our meeting, in a moment of trying to fix, trying to get understanding, like that first drop of boiling water falling over the pot. Now it overflowed completely in boiling heat that I felt from the tip of my head to the bottom of my toes."

"Lynn, do you love who you are? Do you know how much God loves you just as you are?" He leaned towards me. "Maybe He wants to show you, wants you to be looking to Him, for His love instead of searching for love from others."

And Jesus nudged my mind. "Lynn, you have been conforming. Come to Me and be Transformed. Put off trying so hard, and put on My healing for you."

That was just over a month ago and He is healing me to wholeness. No longer do I feel like I am coming out of my skin. And there is peacefulness starting to embrace my heart as I surrender and not try so hard.

Is there anything you are 'stuffing' and have not let God in to heal and transform you? I pray You run to Him.  Or if you see someone smiling but sense a crying soul, may you have the courage to speak into them, assuring them of God's perfect love that HEALS.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2


Love,

Lynn




Friday, November 21, 2014

Oneness

Always be humble and gentle (gracious). Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.
Ephesian 4:2-6
 
"Do you have any issues with someone? Unresolved conflict or bitterness?" our pastor asked. I furiously scribbled his questions in my notebook, then twirled my pen between my fingers, wondering how God so perfectly plans His messages for me.
 
Just on the way to church that morning I was lamenting to God about how I always am the one taking the 'high road' and extending grace, and I don't even get a thank-you or an apology! Why God?? When will it be my turn for someone to extend grace to me? Why is it when I wrong someone, and even apologize, I seem to get blasted with a consequence? Poor, poor pitiful me...
 
Ughh...Still twirling my pen between my fingers, Jesus gives me a mind-nudge. "Lynn, what is grace? When I offered you grace and forgiveness on the cross, did I expect anything in return but your love?"
 
"Christians sacrifice oneness by the need to be self-righteous--the need to be right," our pastor continues. I squirm. Yup. Jesus does his mind-nudge to me again. "Lynn, you know that you cannot always see the BIG PICTURE like I do. Cling to me instead of needing to be 'right.' Just keep coming closer with humbleness and patience."
 
God calls us to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit within the body of Christ and His church. Jesus is always about reconciliation and as Christians, we are to do all that we can to exist in that unity.
 
And that includes gentleness, or in other words, graciousness which is wrapped in forgiveness.
 
And to love unconditionally.
 
I placed my pen down on my note book, and bowed my head deeper in prayer, eyes closed.
 
"Jesus, help me to love as You call me to love and not to cause breaking of the unity of the oneness You call us for. For I know my heart longs for that unity, that oneness is how you made us. But my sinfulness, my un-forgiveness destroys that unity. Help me to extend graciousness because You call me to, not for my own expectations of what I think is 'right.' Help me be righteous as You call me to be, not self-righteous which only breaks the unity. And continue to heal my heart Lord as You are my healer and redeemer. Amen"
 
Is there anyone you have unresolved conflict, bitterness, or judgement toward?
Are you talking with others about someone instead of going directly to him/her causing gossip or exclusion within the body of Christ?
Is there someone you need to extend grace to by forgiving within your heart and loving on them as Christ calls us to keep the unity of oneness?
 
 
I love you.
 
Lynn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Unravelling


"I have no husband," she replied
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.'" John 4:17-18

"Oh, honey," my friend Judith said, leaning in toward me on her chair, elbows on knees and hands out stretched, palms up. I let out the breath I had been holding and my shoulders relaxed slightly. "I always wondered. Something just didn't connect with your story but I get it now. I am sorry."

"Wow. That is big stuff," Carmen said from the other side of the room, her voice of compassion, of empathy and acceptance, all I needed to continue.

I shared the details I keep to myself. Details that even sometimes I cannot believe are true. I don't want them to be maybe? I know there are times it is still best to keep these details 'secret' to protect others that I love. And it is in the past, something that does not need to be stirred up.

However, for those closest to me I start slowly to unravel, and not hold back to protect the possible judgements on others. And an understanding comes across me that when I share only a part of my story, it can seem false to ears. And how often do others stories that come to me feel false to my ears because something does not connect?

How often do I judge others before knowing the story behind the story behind the story?

I have written of this before. And God keeps reminding me. Being the sinner of one who judges, I could loose the possibility of a deep relationship due to misunderstandings. Being the recipient of false judgements, I know how much it can cut into the heart and I could close up on myself, guard against deep relationships. Or maybe even walk away from relationships altogether.

Maybe it is a matter of always coming from a place of trust first?  When I question someone's behaviour, instead of getting upset over how it is affecting me, I could come from a place of compassion and gentleness. A place trusting that his/her intention is good and I am misunderstanding because I do not know the full story. And I may never know.

But God knows his/her full story. 

And knows You.

If you feel misunderstood and judged unfairly, know God knows your story. And like Jesus shows when he met the woman at the well, He will always be gentle and accepting of the truth of you.

And may you have friends like Judith and Carmen who you can 'unravel' and connect with especially if you are like me on a healing journey to love and accept yourself as God already does.

Love you.

L




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Do Not Disturb

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power though his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Right now, I stare at my notes from the Choices Conference I recently attended. In blue ink capital letters:
THEME-LEARN TO LOVE MYSELF
And under those words I have written, How to do this? Something I have to do. Until I love and accept myself, I will continue to seek (create) mother/father relationship of rejection (looking for acceptance)--this isn't my fault but I do need to be 100% accountable for my life.

Transference (from Wikipedia)
Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is "the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person's childhood. Another definition is "the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object."Still another definition is "a reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences, especially of childhood, and the substitution of another person ... for the original object of the repressed impulses."

I now understand more the why of the (romantic) relationship choices I made and the actions that followed. I have come to God many times, on my knees, first repenting for my actions. Hurting people hurt people. And then asking Him to fill my heart with love and compassion so I don't fall into actions of self-protection through judgement, victim mentality, and rejecting the love others want to give me by finding ways (unconsciously) to push the love away. All behaviours that HURT OTHERS I see more clearly now. Showing I value another, means accepting what they are offering me. And in return, shows that I love them. But I can only fully accept when I first love and value myself enough to receive.

So in the meantime, I put a Do Not Disturb sign on my heart as He works in me. I hear Him whisper, 'be patient' and 'It is going to be ok. Just hang on to me.'

So I hang on. I am one month into my year healing journey. And I must admit, sometimes it feels very lonely; sometimes it hurts so much I wish my life away and I question; and I fear my future. And then suddenly there is a beautiful girl friend with just the right encouraging words on the other side of the phone line, or gratitude texts from men friends I am allowing in during this journey, or Sarah Young's words from 40 days with Jesus:

LET MY LOVE ENFOLD YOU in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments  with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.

You are a blessing.
If you are on a healing journey and would like prayer, please let me know. Together we can grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ.

If you would like to follow my 365 days Photo Journal of Healing, you can find it HERE