Monday, April 28, 2014

If only just believing

If only just believing
was the answer to all our problems...

If only just believing
could fix a person's brokenness...

If only just believing
filled lives with joy and abundance...

But just believing doesn't do anything
to actually make life better for us
unless we are willing to change.

Change isn't just knowing
what is right and wrong,
what is good or bad.
Change means breaking
patterns, stopping habits,
climbing over obstacles,
pushing beyond what we've always known
to reach for what God wants us to have and be. 

When I succeed, it isn't just because I believed.
When I fail, it doesn't mean I don't believe enough.

God gives me the support, the tools, the direction,
the rest is up to me. Is it worth the effort? Of course.
But even with all He gives me, sometimes I still fail.

Wait. Did I say sometimes? Honestly, I fail a lot.

I'm so thankful that even when I fail,
there is another chance to try again tomorrow.
Another chance for you, another chance for me.

We can beat ourselves up for the failure
or resolve to try again, remembering He understands
that it takes so much more than just believing.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be a light to me.

Micah 7:8

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Willful resignation

Someone commented on a previous post
telling me they had been where I am
"I have been through that place - 
a place of depression and despair 
and frustration and willful resignation."

One word struck me in that comment... willful.
I knew what it meant, of course,
but I looked it up anyway.
I needed to see, in black and white,
who the cause of all of this stress has been...

Willful resignation... was I deliberately giving up 
because I wasn't getting what I wanted or wasn't 
seeing what I thought I should be seeing?

I wrote about my lack of prayer,
neglecting spending time in the Word
my general lack of enthusiasm
for anything 'right' and 'true'
as if those things are supposed to be based on feelings.

I don't know which lie got in first,
but it only takes one to give
the enemy the foothold he needs
to get the rest of them in there too.
I didn't really even try and fight to keep them out.

"I want the most important thing
in my life to be God's will."
How many times have I said that?
How many times have I written that?
But things got difficult, life got harder than usual and I caved.

Just because God isn't visibly doing
what I want Him to do at the moment
doesn't give me the right to toss my hair,
stomp the other direction, arms folded,
like a defiant teenager, shouting, "Fine. I'll do it myself!"

I do know keeping up this attitude
has really only been hurting myself.
There is a word for that... Self-sabotage?
Hmmm, that doesn't sound like me at all.
Just don't ask my friends or family or anyone who knows me.

Being deliberate and intentional
is a good thing when faith is involved...
not so much when we are talking about resistance and defiance.

I'm not saying everything is fixed
I can't say everything is fine now
But I can say that I know it is MY problem and not His.

I'm working on it.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:6-8 NLT
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 ESV

Monday, April 21, 2014

What am I fighting?

I know there is a battle going on here,
as surely as I know I'm losing it.
Then again, maybe I'm not.
It's hard to know if you
are winning or losing a battle
when you don't know which side you're on.

Over the past couple of weeks
I've said that I'm fighting,
but something tells me
if I were really fighting
the anger, pain, emptiness,
fear, depression, temptation
then I would be fighting while
in the Word and on my knees,
while diving into whatever is right,
while surrounding myself with good.

And if I'm not doing those things,
then what am I really fighting?

I hit my knees and fall asleep,
daydream, or stare into space.
My radio has played more oldies
this week than in the last six months.
I feel like I am walking in heavy fog,
as if nothing I say or do really matters
for today, tomorrow, or in the long run
even though I somehow know each step does.

My heart skips a little when I see
evidence that He is fighting for me,
but if I smile and say thanks
and then walk the other way...
what does thanks even mean?
"Thanks, but You've got the wrong girl."

Even writing this now, knowing
where I am and where I should be,
why am I not broken over these weeks?
Why do I feel like I just don't care?
Am I really fighting the world,
or just pushing Him back,
to keep Him at arm's length?
How long will He keep fighting
before He lets me have my way?

How long will it take to realize I don't really want it?

How many times can I say
Please protect me from myself
and expect Him to answer?
Maybe He has stopped already.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not about the boy

It would be easy to assume
that my last post about anger
had something to do with the boy,
the relationship that didn't work out.
Truth is, I'm kinda over him.

I held on longer than I should,
used him to rebel in my own anger.
But the reality is, I don't like
the way he was treating me.
Imagine that. Somehow this girl got some standards.

Maybe it isn't just anger
that is my actual problem.
As I've talked to a few friends
one word keeps coming up,
maybe the right word here might be grief.

I've been a single mom for 11 years.
I was twenty-three years old,
pregnant with our third child,
twelve weeks from graduating college.
Suddenly all alone.

If I had known then that there would be
nobody there for the next 11 years,
to experience the good, the bad,
the exciting, the mundane with me,
I don't know that I would have survived.

I did survive it of course,
not without a ton of mis-steps
and mistakes and regrets.
But I did survive.

Now, eleven years later, there are some things
that I really wanted and hoped for
that are seeming less and less likely...
And I look at where I am and wonder
how Someone who loves me would let me go through all of this.

While I have forgiven them for what happened,
it is hard to understand why God would honor a relationship
that tore my marriage apart, letting them find happiness
and marriage in spite of the pain they caused,
while I continue to struggle on my own.

I'm used to people telling me they love me
and then disappointing me and making me cry.
I need to believe that God really does care about my pain.
In order to trust Him, I have to believe He is different than them.
So why does it all too often feel the same?

While texting about something totally different tonight
a friend replied, "GOD knows exactly what He's doing!"
Yes, that's what He keeps telling me too, but it doesn't make
the passing of time, the death of hopes and dreams, broken hearts,
or the whispers about what the future might never hold, hurt any less.

So I'll continue to grieve all that I feel is lost,
asking for restoration of the years the locusts have eaten,
knowing God is close to the broken hearted,
hoping He doesn't make me wander in the desert for another 29 years.

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten 
Joel 2:25a 

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34: 17-18

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ready for different problems

God has a plan. I know.
I'm doing my best at the moment
to stay on it and to stay focused
on the fact that this life I'm in
is not about me, but about Him
Some days my best isn't so great.

I am far from perfect.
When someone accused me of
being angry with God,
I couldn't deny the truth.

I answered back smartly,
probably more harshly
that I would have intended
if I had taken a breath
before sending my reply.
But the fact is, I am angry.

I posted a few weeks ago
about something that made me
send a big "F You" upwards
to the God who knew
I would get hurt
but didn't seem to care
because it fit into His 'plan.'
But the more I think about it
the more I have realized
that my reaction to the problem
was really more of a flare up
of a layer of pain and anger
that I have kept hidden
as much as possible.

My anger wasn't just something
caused by this recent problem.
Smoldering beneath the surface
for who knows how many years,
the situation just ignited it.

I would love to finish this post
with some great Biblical verses
to show how I released the anger
and am now fine with whatever
God decides to do with my life.

Really though, I'm still angry.
This isn't the life I wanted.
This isn't where I want to be right now.
Different circumstances just bring
different problems, right? Okay...
I want different problems. I'm tired of these.

God knows the anger is there.
It's not a surprise to Him.
He didn't need me to admit it.

I still think that when the situation
that makes me angry eventually changes,
I will be able to let go of the anger...
But it's been insinuated that I
have to let go first, before I'll see change.

I hope that's not true.
I hope God accepts
this fault within me
and covers it with His grace,
because I don't see it going anywhere, any time soon.

I'm fairly certain I'll break first.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


It used to be that whenever
I felt sadness or rejection
I would attempt to find someone
to pay attention to me
and get them to tell me
they thought I was
pretty, or special, or something else.

Some told me in words,
others in actions that I interpreted myself.

Every time it was destructive
to me and my emotional well-being
as well as my relationship with Jesus, but I was in denial.

Last night a man I know
inadvertently made me feel
inferior, less than, and unworthy.

Caught up in his own head,
listening to those sneaky whispers from the dark,
He started talking/posting about
the kind of woman
he didn't want to marry.
He made it clear that some sins
while forgiven by God,
made some women ineligible.

I logged off the computer
knowing the Truth,
but feeling deflated at the same time.
Not that I wanted to marry him,
but there are plenty of woman like me
who God has made new.

If he wrote these women off,
He was telling me I wasn't good enough either.

Within minutes I had a text on my phone from an ex.
I won't tell you what it said, but it was suggestive in nature.
The enemy knows my weaknesses, and he works fast.

The first text I treated as a joke.
The second I answered with a smart comment.
The third I answered with the truth:

I told you 'if you ever want a friend, 
you know where to find me,' 
but it doesn't sound like 
you just want a friend at the moment.
... Have a good night.

Saying no to flirtation with temptation
has been difficult for me, especially
when my feelings have been hurt.
It is so easy to look to a man
and let him boost my self esteem.

But I've come to learn that
while I was wandering around
looking for one to tell me my worth
The One who created me was watching
     and calling out to me...
          "I KNOW your value, just ask Me."

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT)

“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
Isaiah 49:15-16 (ESV)

But now, God’s Message,
the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
(Isaiah 43:1-4 MSG)