Tuesday, September 27, 2011
God gave me this awesome revelation and I'm excited to share it to encourage those who read about it! I was shown a baby taking their first steps and an adult taking steps toward God. As people grow, we need to take steps towards our Goal. As babies grow, they learn how to walk. Being a parent, it is exciting when your baby takes his/her first steps and is learning how to walk...but it's a process and doesn't happen right away. Same goes for a person of any age...with God as their Parent, He is excited when we decide to take another step (no matter how big it is!). Any parent would encourage their baby to keep trying or say good job or help them to their "goal" (the person across the room). They most likely wouldn't say 'I knew you couldn't do it' or 'you're never going to walk' or 'everyone else your age can do this, why can't you?' As a baby falls, the parent will pick the child up and have them try again- clapping and smiling or gently guiding the child. When the baby turns around while they are standing, they usually lose their balance and fall. Take a minute to relate that to how God is with us. He is our Encourager at all times, He is there to guide us, He is there to pick us back up when we fall...He doesn't give up on us! Also, God doesn't want us to look back at our past and lose our balance by taking our eyes off of our Goal. The person across the room will usually have an inviting look on their face, confidence in their eyes, and their arms open wide ready to love on and boast about their child who walked directly to their warm heart. God is like this with His children. He is always waiting with arms wide open so He can wrap them around us and be so thrilled to have us so close to His heart. If He didn't look so inviting, we would probably not draw near to Him. Because the parents of this sweet new walker are extremely excited, the baby will be too and they won't feel condemned if they fall because they trust their parents are there to happily pick them up and continue to encourage them. Compare that to the way God is with us. If there are brothers and sisters in the mix who don't care much to encourage their baby brother/sister on their new adventure or if they are a major distraction, it will be hard for baby to concentrate on the goal. We have spiritual brothers and sisters who don't see the progress that just one step makes and they might make us feel like we are not doing a good enough job to reach the Goal or we get distracted by the other people around us that indirectly/directly make us take our eyes off of God and we lose our focus, become unstable and fall. It takes encouragement and motivation from God and the people who call themselves Christ Followers to make a walk with God enjoyable...they way He wants it. Without love and encouragement a baby won't walk and people won't walk with God. A step takes us closer to God and further away from the world...
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Search the Word and realize you are beautiful! God made us in His image and He is outrageously beautiful...what does that make you? As you ponder on the fact that you are beautiful to God--recognize that ALL God's children are beautiful to Him! He sees us all the same...His precious kiddos! So, since we are all the same to God and He sees us no differently than another person...let's go forth and follow His ways. Look at someone and see pure beauty, gaze into their eyes and see Jesus! God doesn't pick favorites, so we shouldn't either. Think about it, how would you like to be God's favorite? Or God's least favorite? Take that to consideration when you look to your left or right...who's there? It doesn't matter who is there, what matters is how you treat them. As Christians, we are called to mimic Christ. How would Christ treat those around you? As I stated in my last post, the way we look doesn't make us beautiful...it is our heart. Looks change, God doesn't. Search your heart...better yet, let God search your heart, then let Him clean house! The cross around your neck doesn't make you a Christian, the outpourting of love for The Cross and the way you act because of it does. You can always purchase a new necklace or get one as a gift...however, there is only One Cross that is The Ultimate Gift and the only one that really has significance. He paid a much higher price on The Cross than anyone can on a cross. Do you realize that because of Jesus' death on the cross we now have access to God? He can call us beautiful BECAUSE of an ugly death of crucifiction. We are not by any means beautiful by our own works but by Jesus' works we can be called RIGHTEOUS! Jesus died so we could live and be in communion with Our Father! Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life...no one comes to The Father except through Him:)! God created the earth with you in mind, Jesus died on The Cross with you in mind...that's Love, that's Beautiful. You are worth more than you know-others are worth more than you think. Dig deep so you can wrap your mind around what beauty is and remind yourself it is NOT what you see, but it's found within. God might not even know what we look like because it's the heart He is interested in. Put on your God glasses.
He is the Potter and we are the clay...
He is the Potter and we are the clay...
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Who you are is found in what your heart is! Your looks, clothes, accomplishments, family, friends, job, car, etc. doesn't matter when it comes to who you are. When you look at someone, see their heart. What's in their heart that makes them the way they are? Broken people have something missing in their heart so they try to fill it with things (drugs, alcohol, sex, lust, people, etc.). God made our hearts with the need for Him in them...we all have a void that can only be filled by God not the previously listed things. When the God-shaped piece of our heart is filled with God, we find rest, peace, and joy. You can't find rest, peace, and joy by filling that hole with emptiness...or things that don't fit (maybe temporarily). Our heart is like a puzzle, the missing piece is God...putting a different thing there will not make your heart whole or the puzzle complete! Accepting God into your heart fills that void, then you find pure and real joy. So, if you know someone who seems to not have that area filled or maybe they do but their actions show that they don't...dig deeper into their heart because they need The Answer, do not leave them behind (God could have brought them into your life so you could steer them in the right direction). Some people may act like they are okay but inside they are yearning for something more. As you are connected to the Spirit, you will know if someone has a void unfulfilled. Let God use you to touch them and complete their "puzzle". Allow yourself to be encouraged by the other hearts that are full to keep yourself full, but embrace those who's hearts are in turmoil. Ask God to help your heart be connected to hearts and not the physical realm. The love of God is the answer to mending a broken heart, a heart that can't find something or someone to give them joy. Until you know the love of God, you can't love or be loved the way it's meant to be. See the heart, not the behavior...God does!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
To all those mothers and fathers who are not a biological parent...take this to heart...God showed me that it doesn't take giving birth to be a mom (parent), it is love. Just as God isn't my biological dad, He loves me unconditionally and I call Him Father. Just because Emily's flesh is not my flesh and her blood is not my blood does not mean she is not my child! It is the blood of Jesus that connects God's children and His flesh that inevitably is all of our flesh. A womb is where a child is made, not where they stay...birth does not last forever, God's kind of love does. A heart connection is stronger than an umbilical cord.
I Will Always Keep My Promise to You I married the man who God created for me. I loved him more than anything but his past irritated me like nothing I've ever imagined. Dave's past brought a three-year-old girl with him. At first, I was super excited to be invited into Dave and Emily's life. I was very accepting of everything and had a great love for kids. I figured if this is what God wanted for me, it would go smoothly. Everything was fine until shortly after we got married. Reality struck in. Dave and I dated a very short time before getting married and we both lived in different states. Our visits consisted of a lot of me and him time which led to disappointment when I realized I had to share my husband with another person, his daughter. Also, with that, I discovered that he still had to have contact with her mother (which I knew previously, but it didn't hit me until I was totally in the picture). I was really heartbroken to know that I was my husband's wife but because I was not his everything, I felt like I was nothing. This slowly struck our marriage and family big time. The devil got a hold of my heart and tore it to pieces for two years. He filled my mind with horrible lies and I believed him and took it out on Dave and Emily. I couldn't stand the fact that my hopes for a marriage were out the window when I met my husband. After all, aren't you supposed to be married first and build a relationship with each other and then have kids? It was all backwards to me and I despised it. I was a really young bride who longed to be loved and cherished, just as any woman desires. I had the picture of my marriage totally distorted. I fought Dave so much on something that could not be changed. His response was, 'it is what it is.' That sentence made fire blow out of my ears and it made me so mad. I kept looking back and not embracing the moment I was in. The crazy thing is that my husband's past is what brought him to the Lord. He didn't like where he was or what he was doing. I should be excited for him coming to know God, right? I would make his testimony sound like a joke. I was constantly reminded that his past was before Christ, which is dead, buried, and gone. He got a new life and became a new Dave, leaving his past behind him- forgiven and forgotten. I was blessed with the new godly Dave who was absolutely amazing. He loves God with his whole heart, is an awesome dad, and entrusted his life to me as his wife. In our vows, Dave promised me many things. When I told him about my past and how I've been hurt, he said, 'I will always keep my promise to you.' He kept his promise in the “for worse”. The devil found a way to fill my mind with negative things that had nothing to do with my life now or my husband's for that matter but somehow made it the center of our marriage and family. He would take my insecure heart and my confused head and tie them in a knot. While the devil told me ridiculous, untrue stories, I would allow my mouth and feelings to lash out on Dave and throw his past back in his face. Dave would say, 'God forgave my past, why can't you?' or 'Why don't you tell the devil who I am instead of letting him tell you who I'm not?' Since, I didn't approve of Dave's previous life, I couldn't stand what came out of his past...Emily. I was so jealous and controlling with all the relationships in our home. I would constantly compete with this child, thinking I had something to prove. I needed to know at all times that I was his everything. This was brought out in a negative way that led to outrageous battles with the ones we called our family. I would yell at God, 'Why would you put me in this situation? Why would you give me this kid that ruins our marriage? Why would you make Dave's past be the one thing I couldn't stand, being with someone else and sharing the special “firsts” together? Why doesn't Dave comfort me like I need him to? Why does he snore as a lay awake crying? Why am I married to someone who doesn't love me?' I thought God was crazy for having me marry this man, but I followed Him and did it anyway. As you can tell, I dropped off His path soon after I got on it. I fell into a major state of depression and brought my family with me, breaking all of our hearts. Somehow, we were living in the same house but had major distance from each other. The devil laughed at our brokenness and decided to make it worse. We had no sort of communication, besides the yelling wars. We lacked majorly in showing affection. We quit praying together. Dave and I have Emily half the time and every time we had her, disaster would come about. If I thought Emily was getting more love or attention than me from Dave, an angry monster would take over me and let everyone know that I wasn't okay with what was going on. There were no happy family times. Family time was nothing more than Emily alone in her room, and Dave and I on far sides of the room from each other being silent, or up in each others faces at the top of our voices. I thought it was better when Emily was gone, but all the while I had been breaking my husband's heart so much that I even pushed him away and our relationship went downhill. Finally, one day the horrible separation word came out of my husband's mouth and I immediately heard divorce. He said he was just protecting his daughter so I thought that meant he cared for her more, leaving my heart in turmoil thinking he didn't care about me. As I was leaving my home with tears covering my face and fear trembling in my skin, Emily came out of her room holding onto a picture of the three of us. She said, 'I will always keep my promise to you.' She was five at the time and I had no idea what she was talking about and honestly didn't care. (God keeps bringing that to my remembrance and just showed me that He was saying that to me through her! Powerful!) I had nowhere to go because my family isn't from around us and I had no friends to take me in. I had no other option than to stay at a lonely motel. My husband, who loved me didn't like me anymore. I hated myself and who I became. It was unreal because I knew this two-year-old creature was not who I was. We ended up not separating but my husband kept letting me know if he had to he would. I kept trying and trying to change and praying like crazy to get me/us out of this crazy season. I heard nothing from God and all I heard was how worthless I was from the devil. I often tried talking with my husband about maybe going on anti-depressants to clear up my mind and he didn't like the idea. He would say, “where is the Melissa I married?” To be honest, that Melissa was on anti-depressants and was doing wonderful and heard from God and had an awesome relationship with Him, or so I was convinced. Well, I thought I was doing so good that I abruptly stopped taking the medication, which I now I realize was a big part of my downfall. I found myself dependent on the medication to get me by, and not on God to work through it. I stopped taking the medication about a month before our wedding with no help of a doctor. My mind and body were not ready and I left myself unstable. It crept up and engulfed me. This past summer, after we celebrated our two year anniversary, I had the worst birthday ever. We were out of town and we brought Emily with so she could see my family again. Every time we brought her, things went very bad. I would just get so irritated with her and then Dave would get irritated with me and then we would have a major blowout. We had the blowout of all blowouts and I seriously thought we were done and were giving up on what God has blessed us with. I ended up standing on the side of the road somewhere in Madison, Wisconsin, almost three hundred miles from home, and my husband and daughter driving off in my car, leaving me behind. Happy not-so-happy birthday, Melissa. We always got over our fights but never actually resolved them, unfortunately, and everything would get brought back up over and over again. We had another blowout on Emily's sixth birthday because she got presents, food, and a cake which I did not. That night, we had a talk about how this has got to stop. Our family was going out of town the following week and we were taking Emily with us. It was hard for us because we all knew that family trip meant fights would arise. Dave didn't even want to take the trips because we could sense what was ahead of us. He knew it was important to me to visit my family so he went out of love. I seriously had the desire to change, but I was totally eaten by this depression that I didn't even know how to. I was desperate for a rescue. Dave and Emily couldn't wait for me to be rescued either. Out of their loving hearts, it broke them to see me the way I was. I mentioned to Dave the anti-depressant thing again and totally thought the idea would get shot down as it had before. He said, 'okay.' I told him I don't want to rely on them, but my mind has been bombarded with evil things the last two years and I just need it renewed, clear again. I told him that I couldn't focus on anything and reading the Bible and praying was not being comprehended. I desperately wanted to get back on track. I was relieved when he simply said okay. We talked about not relying on the medication this time but to use it as a means for God to get through to me. We said I will not live off of these and wean myself off in a given time period. So, the next day I went to the doctor and was put on a medication. Within a week, I noticed my mind calming down. This happened when I stopped trying, and let God take over the wheel of my life. That next week I couldn't wait to go see my family...with Emily. We had an awesome five hour trip to Wisconsin and we were all amazed at how well it went. We, humanly, had a disagreement but resolved it quickly before it took over our vacation. To my surprise, I actually had Emily come sit on the couch with Dave and I, which was never allowed, by me. I feared any sort of closeness and would cringe at her being a certain distance away from us. Just the couch thing in and of itself was a huge step for me. A step forward is a step closer to Jesus. When we came back to Minnesota, we dropped Emily off at her other house for a long weekend. The whole time she was gone, I could not stop thinking about her. I had amazing dreams about our family that was full of God's love! That was freeing! On Tuesday, I had to pick Emily up at noon. Prior to my breakthrough, I didn't even want her around because it never turned out good. This time, I couldn't wait to get her home and spend quality time with my daughter. The morning was taking an extremely long time but I spent some unforgettable time with God. Remember, previously when I said I would yell 'why' at God? Well, for the first time early August 2010, I heard God speak to me. He told me that He loves me and that He was the only thing that could fulfill the brokenness in my heart. I put too many unrealistic expectations on Dave, that I finally realized only God could meet. Knowing His love helped me to learn to love and be happy with how He shows Dave to love me. Also, I heard, 'she needs you.' It was so clear that He was saying to me that Emily needs me. In three simple words, God showed me that I was who He put in her life to portray a woman in God's image. I was who she would take after. It was God in me that would raise this child up. So then I said, 'Why would you bring Emily to my life the way you did? Why couldn't I birth her? Why does this woman have to be part of our life?' He said, 'because she needs you.' I was like, 'WHAT?' God showed me that Emily's biological mother needed me to be an example in her life as well. I was totally not expecting that. She was what the devil used to cause extreme arguments in my marriage. I got the revelation that Dave's past was actually for me. That woman was in his life so that I could show her who God is. She had Dave's child so that he could soon marry me, bring Emily to me to get fed God's love, and then bring it to the darkness- Emily's other home. This showed me that the reason why the devil made me so mad about it all was because God had something extremely good to come out of it! It was a little hard for me to grasp, but it was totally humbling. This is not something my flesh could do. However, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phillipians 4:13). It is not I who lives, but Christ that lives in me (Galatians 2:20). The Spirit of God is who teaches me to be like Jesus. I was created to share God's love with others and that is just what I will do, in Christ. After receiving this awesome word from God, I couldn't wait to wrap my arms around Emily. Just a short time before, I couldn't stand her...now I desire to stand with her! I picked her up and God's love just flooded our hearts for each other. It was like God showed her that it was a breakthrough day! All day, we hugged, kissed, and complimented each other. We told each other how happy we were to be in each others lives. She told me how happy she was that I married her dad and that I am her mom. It was seriously amazing! That week was a total difference for all of us. My husband pretty much dropped to the floor with joy when he noticed the breakthrough! He told me how amazed he was at how God's working in me! It felt awesome to hear those words because I had been showing everyone who the devil was but now I portray God with a happy heart! That Saturday night, I had a hard time sleeping and felt prompted to get out of bed early Sunday morning. I had a good time in God's Word and enjoyed a morning chat with my Friend. He said, 'I want you to do praise and worship this morning with your family. It will break the walls that have been put up between you all. Relationships will be restored!' This was way awkward for me, seeing as how my husband pretty much only heard my voice when we were fighting. I took a shower and got some songs in my head. I thought to myself, 'this is weird, I just won't tell Dave.' Then God said, 'The devil wouldn't tell you to praise Me.' I went to Dave's desk and told him with a shy, awkward voice what God wanted us to do that morning and gave him the songs to pull up. I went to Ema's room and told her what God put on my heart. She quit playing and immediately jumped into my arms with the biggest smile on her face. Just as she did, the first time we met. Then she said, 'can we take communion together, too?' We went to the living room and we danced before the Lord...as a family. We shared in remembering Jesus on the cross for us. Also, we fell into a deep prayer time full of smiles and tears. While we sat in a unity circle, singing Jesus Loves me and holding hands, the chains broke. Since the amazing breakthrough, our marriage and family has been transformed. Praise God! After the time of darkness, I realized all that the devil stole from this family: our hearts, our minds, love and affection, raising a child in a godly home, our marriage, quality time, joy, peace, unity, sexual intimacy. The list goes on but all I can say is praise the Lord for being bigger than the devil. God is giving us back seven fold what the devil stole from us. God has put our hearts back together just the way He intended to. I cherish how God's unconditional love is deeper than the pit of hell. It amazes me how His light can brighten any dark place. It took me three months to share the whole story with Dave. The devil kept telling me it would just cause another argument and that was the last thing I wanted. I was content with the peace that had been brought forth. God needed Dave to know, and He needed his wife to tell him about what He is doing. I prayed God would lead my words when I brought this to Dave. I sat my husband down and said, 'do you want to hear the whole story of my transformation?' Of course he did! This was one of the hardest conversations I had. What's crazy about it was that I could tell this story to anyone but my husband. I was talking with my other half and the words were just stumbling out of my mouth with the devil trying to cut me off before I got to the good part. God took hold of my tongue and shared the story with Dave. He was in total amazement and tears welled in his eye's with joy. I will have you know that Dave does not like to talk about his past and it wasn't my favorite thing either. Every other time I brought it up, we would argue horribly. This time, we got a humbling sensation realizing God's awesome plan for the whole thing. After bringing every single detail to Dave's plate. He brought to me a glorious dessert. Dave said with a huge smile on his face, 'I thought I couldn't love you more than I already do, but that was amazing, nothing I've ever heard before and I love you now with a deeper love that I didn't even know was available.' The days after the breakthrough have been phenomenal. A miracle has taken place in our individual lives, our marriage, our family, our relationships with others, and our relationship with God. Family time has been transformed and all the egg shells have been swept up. We now have a sense of acceptance from each other. Love is portrayed in many ways and we give all the credit to God. Also, I am learning to embrace the importance of Dave in Emily's life, as well as our children to come. The father is to be an example of Jesus in their home so they get a glimpse of the Ultimate Father. Sure the devil still tries to sneak back in, but we stomp on his head every time we laugh together and open our hearts to God. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us and the devil must flee (James 4:7). I cannot be more thankful for the time of suffering that we went through. It has made us have strength that absolutely nothing can shake. Getting to witness God's love and faithfulness is worth the storm that we went through. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Jesus is the only answer. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). He is your Friend, Healer, Love, Counselor, Rescuer, Grace and Mercy. Everything you ever say that you need, He simply says, 'I Am.' Let Him be your 'I Am.' For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him (John 3:16-17). No matter how alone you feel, you are never alone. God's reaching for your hand, choose to reach for His. His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah55:8-9). Allow His purpose to be fulfilled in your life. Don't plan your life. God already did and has done a better job than we could ever imagine. Let God's will revolve around your plans, otherwise you will surely be disappointed. Trust in the Lord, with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Embrace God's blessings and let the times of suffering be an open door to come closer to Him. Life on earth is short, enjoy the moment that you are in. Eternity is near and Heaven has beauty in store. Let's bring Heaven to Earth for God while we are here. God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them. Romans 8:28
It's been about 9 months since I've last blogged! Yes, 9 months...like how long a pregnancy lasts. I did not have a baby...however, God totally birthed a new me! I love how awesome He is and that He revealed that to me! Over the past 9 months, God has been shaping me into the woman I am today. Little things and big things were brought on. It began with a unique movement in my tummy (Spirit) that I didn't even realize. As the days went on, God would present to me new things...little and big- equally important, exciting and unexplained, laughter and tears--joy and unbearable sadness...all to make me what I've become! At the times of these ups and downs, I had no idea how I could be so beautiful one day and so broken the next. God did though and that's all that matters. He saw the outcome before the beginning. While building bridges from my heart to another...mountains had to be moved. I had to choose to rid myself of the things that were standing in my way, that were harming my "pregnancy". Depression had to go, words of discouragement needed elimination, doubt erased, distrust...goodbye---all these negative issues that happen to start with a "d" (from the devil) needed to be replaced with goodness, gentleness, gratefulness, generosity...things from God. During a pregnancy, if you are unhealthy and refuse to change, the outcome won't be as extravegant as it could be. As I ponder the last 9ish months, the Spirit is reminding me of what got me from where I was to where I am. To get rid of the depression experienced for quite some time, my husband and I decided to get on medication...not to rely on but to get my mind calmed down to a place where I could hear God or read His Word and meditate. God is my Healer, period. We asked Him to use these pills and get me back on track and learn how to handle things better than in the past and to get me off of them easily in less than a year. Praise God, in May, God took me off the pills! Each day I took the medication, I would confess, 'I do not rely on this pill to restore my joy, but I rely on God to make me whole again. I have the mind of Christ.' As I was trying to pray yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit interrupted me by taking me back to last year. It was around this exact time that I had a major breakthrough...in my relationship with God, my marriage, and my family (aka the most important things, but where problems happened). I had just started taking antidepressants in pill form late July of 2010. There was unexplained tension going on in our home for a while that wasn't being taken care of. Fights and strife drove in and set division at our feet...we picked it up and carried it with us. These painful happenings were like contractions...meaning something good was about to come about. I was ready for a new change! On Sunday, I went to church alone due to a blowout with my husband. We weren't going to go but as I prayed, I felt God telling me I need to go...with or without Dave. I went and received yet another breakthrough by allowing God to capture my heart and let me know of His love for me and that my identity is found in Him. What He says, goes! On my way home, I prayed for the revelation to stick. It did. Our family has had a God-inspired week...note we hadn't had a full good week since last year's breakthrough. This time the antidepressant was completely in God form! Nothing but the blood of Jesus can make me whole again. In the midst, of all of this...friendships were arising, books were read (A Woman After God's Own Heart...currently reading A Wife After God's Own Heart), God was involved...with an invitation from us, the Bible was put into practice, apology and thank you notes as well as phone calls were given to put out forgiveness and release what was holding me down, insecurity became security, love became real, happiness became joy (I'm learning to have joy in all things instead of just being happy when circumstances line up with me)...God gave birth to a new me as He continues to do as His plan for me continues. Born again, again? I've been saved for almost 5 years...however, new things arise...and I become new in a deeper way as I continue my walk, hand in hand and heart in heart, with God!