She is clothed in Strength and Dignity

Writing4Joy
“Strength and Dignity”

Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.
She makes me laugh. She gives hope when I feel discouraged. She reminds me that my mind needs to have redirection when I am thinking of the things that are not life-giving. She is a woman of Grace.  She understands my struggles, either because she has lived them or because she is walking close to the one that knows my every moment and breath.
She is my friend. She is my warrior in battle. She is a Proverbs 31 woman. A woman fully clothed in strength and dignity.

Who is she? She is many. She is the many women that the Lord has put in my life to edify, encourage, build up, and strengthen me in this thing we call life.
In the presence of these mighty women, I can’t help be changed and transformed to be the woman that God had created me to be.

Just as the scripture says bad company corrupts good character (I Cor. 15:33), so can a strong woman influence the ladies within her circle.

Because she spent the time to cultivate my walk, I am able to say that I too am a woman of strength and dignity. I too can laugh at my future without fear.

I have been blessed to have women in my life give of themselves and take the time to instruct and teach the truth. They have spoken into my nows, for the development of my next.

Who the Lord chooses to place in my life has taken turns over the years. But each one that has imparted has made a lasting impact. I remember the women, that taught a young girl, how to raise my hands in worship. I remember the women that taught me how to go to the scriptures in all of my trials, longing, and joys. I remember the women that taught me how to be a wife that saught God’s plans for my family. I remember the woman that spoke to me as a young mother and reminded me that the seasons would go fast and to enjoy each moment. I remember the woman that taught me how to retrain my thoughts. I remember the woman that told me I was assuming another’s heart was ill-intentioned and that I  needed to trust in God for other’s motives and love without restriction. I remember the woman that spoke into my life, teaching me about my identity in Christ.

These many women changed my life from the victim to the victorious. From the mundane to the extraordinary. To a life full of expectation rather than a focus on what was lost or left behind.

Because she was willing to invest, I too can boldly say that I  am a woman clothed in strength and dignity and I can laugh without fear of the future. Because of the Holy Spirit within her pouring out, I was changed.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.
She can walk in this truth as she listens to the instruction of the Lord. She dwells with the Holy Spirit. Letting His power be at work within.

She may not even know the impact she has made. For her efforts may have seemed so small in the grand scheme of things. But to the one that had her life changed, it meant everything.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.

Loneliness: Call Me

 

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Awakened Arts: Call Me Anytime

 

Sometimes the damage of rejection can have roots that run deep. I have had seasons of extreme loneliness. Many times, it had been a lingering feeling of not having a place in the world. The mind can play games when you have a lot of time on your hands. The silence can be your biggest enemy.

Often my loneliness had been my own making. I have hurt others by canceling plans due to my illness. I understand their frustration, it would break my heart to cancel and the lies start wreaking havoc about my worth. So then I would not make plans, and the invites never came.
Also,  I am not one to love talking on the phone, in fact I cringe at the thought. I get anxious about the onslaught of sensory overload that inevitably follows phone conversations. My form of communication is writing, or time together, but not everyone works the same way.

Society teaches us to not invite ourselves. And I have done the inviting more times than I can count, only to sit back and watch everyone else gather time and again without an invite. I have traveled 8 hours twice to go spend time with a friend, only to have them unable to go 10 min out of their way to come see me when we were in the same town, they rather take a picture of a building (their bucket list item), than allowing a few minutes for a quick hello and hug as they passed through. It has hurt extremely deeply. And the enemy would use these moments to attack, the remembrance that others didn’t want me, and actually preferred I didn’t exist at all, would ring loud in my head after every new rejection.

There have been times I even voiced my loneliness to others, to only receive empty stares back at me or a nod of understanding but then weeks of silence followed. Even if I was unable to do, the invite would have been a treasure.

I have beaten myself up with lies that I am unlovely and unwanted.  I surely must be annoying or boring or any other ‘thing’ that would keep others uninterested in spending time with me by their own choice, would fill my head.

I even ordered a book titled: Uninvited- Lysa Terkeurst which I have yet to read as I lost it in some transitions.

Imagine my surprise, when a friend heard my words, “I am lonely”, and acted on them. She heard my cry and invited me to coffee.
She shared her own seasons of loneliness. And admitted that the Lord told her if you are lonely do something about it. This truth touched my very core.
I had been letting the enemy lie to me so much I stopped reaching out. I was waiting for everyone else to notice me, in a world where sometimes, this just does not happen.
To see someone so charismatic, beautiful, fun, well-loved, talented, gifted and all other things lovely, to deal with being lonely was a shock to me.

It was a few days later the Lord had revealed a life-giving truth to me.  When loneliness rises up, it is often a tugging and call from the Lord.
He wants to spend time with us. Loving and healing us through our inner hurts. He wants the opportunity to sit in His presence. It is in those moments with Him that I have been given hope, peace, joy, healing, and revelations. It is in those moments that I discovered my identity. I discovered that I am wanted. My pain has melted away and new life rises up.
When I get so wrapped up in the fact that I am sitting in silence and the invites are not coming, I miss the most important invite of all. He tells me I can call anytime. He is there and faithful to seek us out. To draw us near. And meet us right where we are at.

One of my favorite scriptures ‘rings’ so true at this moment.
Jeremiah 33:3-  Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.  

We are now in a season where loneliness is knocking on our doors. We can not reach out and gather the way many of us value. We can’t busy our thoughts of isolation away. It is the forefront in our mind.

I want to encourage you this day my friend. Call to the Lord, ask Him what new treasure He may have for you. What hidden truths does He want to bring to light? How can only He fill the innermost needs in your life that are missing?

The time will come, we can be busy, social and all the good things fellowship brings. This is a time to call on Him, like never before. There are so many great things to discover.

I am spending time today…. just calling…listening and enjoying.
Here is a song to enjoy in the journey. Call Me 

 

A different lens: Perception

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I recounted a story that changed my perception years ago, at Shaey Anthony on YouTube.
If you are interested, give it a view as it places this blog in a fuller context.

Who am I really? An opinion on Identity.

IMG_0410 Instagram: awakened_arts 

 

Years ago, I was in a bad head space. I constantly measured my identity based on how I felt others saw me: forgotten, sickly, snob, embarrassment, unwanted, boring and whiny to name a few. Now, these thoughts were seeded by the words and actions of a few. But I took those labels and let them take root as a truth that was how most people saw me.

Finally, one day I realized how much other’s thoughts of me were playing on my mind and actions. I was holding back out of fear of how others would label me. As I was praying, I felt the Lord start to work on my heart on the truth of my identity. This got me to thinking, how do people really see me? So, I asked my friends on Facebook to be completely honest, even brutally so, and that it was because I was working on a project.  Their response truly did surprise me. They saw me as Godly,  prophetic, gentle, kind, loving, strong, tender-hearted, caring, worshiper, youthful, bubbly and playful. I did not get one, negative thought pointed out at me. Now for some that did not surprise me, but others that I thought for sure had labeled me, had some of the most encouraging things to say. This lead to an evaluation of the lenses I viewed my identity through.

  • Situational
    What I do or own: Homeschooling mother, Preschool teacher, Worship team member, homeowner, etc.
    Abilities: Illness left me feeling unable to do much and what I did do was not amazing.
    Labels: This has shifted often over the years. But the ones that I was battling were the labels I put on myself. Worthless, weak, depressed, sick, etc.
  • Word of God-
    (was not walking in this as my identity at the time)

The problem with the measuring identity on circumstances is that they are ever-changing and contradicted what the word of God says about my identity.
I learned I was living in a situational identity. What happens when your identity is based on your situations and then things shift in a way that you absolutely hate? You no longer can identify with that part of you that you loved or took pride in. This is often the source of ‘midlife crisis”. Things shift and all of a sudden you have lost the identity you once knew because it was set on a situational foundation.

So imagine how my life felt like it was spinning out of control and I had nothing and was nothing when everything shifted. I was no longer a home school mother, my boys didn’t need me that way anymore, I could no longer be a preschool teacher and I had seasons of not being able to serve on a worship team. I couldn’t and still can’t drive more than a few miles at a time.

When my situation was that I was sick, walking in a season where my illness was everything in front of my eyes, so that is all I saw in my identity, how life-giving is that?
Basing my identity on what I had, imagine how it felt when I lost it all. We lost our home and were no longer homeowners. How does this thought process on identity measure up? What would those like myself now feel when they ‘own’ nothing? No business, no home, or like me if they are even more like me what they do own is debt?”

For many, if things are going well and they find their identity in what they do, they are looking to achieve more, and when they don’t see the progress they hope for they feel defeated.

If we find our identity in what we think about ourselves or what others think of us, we will aim to please people and not our heavenly father.

Thoughts and labels, like I said earlier, were the biggest battle I was walking in with my identity. When I was young, others always told me I was skinny and pretty, but when I got older my face sagged and wrinkles are arriving, hair became thin and straw like and you know it, I grew ‘fluffy’ over time. This hit hard, as I saw value in my younger self but not as an older woman. I took the label ugly.
Secondly, in the labels department, because I had a biological father that didn’t want me born (abortion), and an adoptive father that made statements I wasn’t really his after the divorce, I was always waiting for the next person to leave and constantly had a thought that I was not enough. If I was a boy like my adoptive father always wanted, maybe I could have liked the things he liked more and when he divorced my mom, I would have still had a connection. He would have at least called me to go hunting or fishing, or something, but he didn’t and I again took on the label unwanted. The constant thought ran through my mind, what if I had lost my husband, like the two fathers that thought I wasn’t enough.

Most of my identity being skewed was because of a lack of true understanding. Now, I knew the things that the word of God said that I had been taught over the years, but I knew them in my head, they were not a deeply seeded revelation that I was LIVING.

And the crazy thing is, I viewed others through the lenses of Jesus. I saw their identity of worth and value, but I could not see my own.
Over time, I learned how to go from head knowledge to heart knowledge.
In order for the word to become deep seeded in my life, I have found I need to read the word and pray for the revelation to become real to me. When I  am finding I still struggle, I need to spend time in prayer and fasting. This is preparing the soil for strong roots to take hold.

WHO GOD SAYS I AM: 

* Created: 
Ephesians 2:10- For we are Gods masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

God made me uniquely His. He gave me my very own fingerprints and DNA. He wanted me here on this earth and has a purpose set aside for me! My identity is created, this will not change!

* Chosen Child of God:
Ephesians 1:-5- Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

1 Peter 2:9- But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, Gods very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into the light.

John 1:11-12- He came to His own people and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.

Chosen, He will not leave me abandoned. He has filled the place in my heart crying out for adoption. He has made me His own with my belief and acceptance of Him! My identity is chosen and His, this will not change!

*Loved:
1 Thessalonians 1:4- We know dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and chose you to be His own people.

Understanding the Lord’s love for me has helped me to love myself. All that I am and all that I am not, I can love every part of me. My identity is loved, this will not change.


*Restored:

1 Corinthian 1:30-31- God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit, God made Him to be wisdom itself.
Christ made us right with God. He made us pure and Holy and freed us from sin. Therefore as the scripture says, if you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.

I am freed from sin! Through Jesus, I can walk in grace and strength. He has made me right before God and I don’t need to hide in shame and worthlessness. I was living in a lie. My identity is that I am restored, this will not change.

*New Creation:
2 Corinthians 5:16-17- So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ as merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone. A new life has begun!

1 Corinthians 6:11- And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. 

New! Let that sink in.
I have been made new! I do not have to live in the old lies that I am not enough. I do not need to live bound by the old lies. I have freedom. My identity is that I am a new creation, this will not change.

He has established all of His word in my heart. Everything, His word says about me, applies to me as His child. If you have excepted His truths in your heart and walk in His ways, Your identity to is secure and steadfast, never changing. All these truths I discovered apply to you as well.
Created, chosen child of God, loved, restored and a new creation. This is my identity and it will not change!
When we see ourselves as God sees us, we walk in confidence in Him, not our own abilities. We are able to pursue the things He has called us to, knowing that He has equipped us with all we need. We do not waiver in our authority because we know where it is firmly found.
He gives us the ability to change our circumstances when we are fighting battles, not for our circumstances to change who we are. We can be steadfast in Him.

Let His word settle into your heart and give a listen to this encouraging song:

You Say: By Lauren Daigle

View my LIVE on this topic at my Channel Shaey Anthony

Follow up scriptures to meditate on this week:
John 1:5
Jeremiah 2:21
Romans 6:6
Romans 8:14
Romans 12:2
2 Corinthians 12:9
1 John 4:17

The Sparrow

Sparrow Blog Instagram: awakened_arts

The Sparrow has been on my mind so much lately. In fact, I drew this Sparrow weeks ago when I gave one of the characters in my Middle-Grade book that I am currently writing a mark of a sparrow.
I find it interesting as I looked up sparrows, once I knew my main character bore the mark, that a sparrow often symbolizes joy. This is perfect, as it lines up with the call of my character in the story.
Here I have had sparrows on my mind, and they can often symbolize the very gift of Joy the Lord has given me to share with others.

Today I discovered, I have a new Facebook friend that calls her ladies, Sparrows. I asked her why the sparrow was so relevant to her and she stated;
“Knowing that when God takes care of the Sparrows as they didn’t value much according to man; HE would always take care of us the same.” (Valerie Miller)

Luke 12:6 –  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
This verse turns my mind to think about one of the causes of depression. Not knowing our worth. Not seeing ourselves through the eyes of the creator. How often can we look at nature and think it is so beautiful, or look at a young animal and think how precious, yet we can not look at ourselves with the same value?
Has not the masterful creator held you with a great value?
How can you look upon the face of His wonderful creation and only see the lack?
He only sees the great value, not the flaws.
He sees your full worth and call.
A call He set aside only for you to do, and if the enemy can entrap us in feeling like we have no value, then we hold back from doing all we are created for.
What if the sparrow, saw her wings, but never understood their value?
What if she never put them to use because she thought they lacked worth?
She would be a target for prey as she would sit vulnerably and not fly away.
She would miss the beauty her wings would bring her as she took flight, soaring over the earth.
What are you missing out on today, because you are not seeing your full value of your gift?
What part of yourself are you hiding because you think it lacks worth, that another needs to see in order to find their own?

Today my friend is the day you see yourself in the eye of the creator.
Far more valuable are you to Him than even the sparrow who is remembered and cared for.
Ask Him today, to see yourself with new eyes. Hold fast to what you are shown and take flight!

Matthew 10:31- “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Song: His eye on the sparrow 

 

Out of the Darkness into the Light

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I am my beloved’s.

My God has called me out of fear and placed me in confidence.

My God has called me out of anger and placed me in love.

My God has called me out of despair and placed within me joy.

My God has called me out of worthlessness and lifted my face to the heavens.

He has placed me in my position as His daughter and declares I am loved.

My God holds my inheritance and gladly bestows His great gifts upon me.

I make a choice to step into Kingdom standards and not my earthly limits.

He has called me out of the darkness and placed me in His light.

I take my place and lift the praises on my lips to reach His throne. He is faithful. He is good.

He is mine.

 

More

33248955_10216228639453667_8634740846178074624_nBy Writing for joy: Instagram @awakened_arts

 

I was at church Sunday and the word that kept rising in my heart for a young man was more.
“More God?” I asked, and he replied in my spirit, “yes, more, more, more.”
God kept nudging me to share and I had no idea this young man was in the process of being taught about coming to Jesus at the moment by another.

I walked up to him and said God wants you to know that you can ask for more. That He wants to give you more. Just as you look at your little baby and want everything for her, this is how the father looks at you. He doesn’t want you to miss out on anything.

I went home and the thought kept pondering in my mind. More, more, more.

Ephesians 3:19-20
And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

Just like this father looking at his tiny baby, our heavenly father looks at us. He wants the best for us, He wants his gifts for us, He wants more for us than we in our human minds, don’t think to ask for. 

I want to walk in my kingdom identity as His daughter, with His inheritance as my stepping stool to launch me into His work for my life. I want to know His love in infinite ways. God holds nothing back from me as His child, seeking Him first, He holds everything to give to me at the right time.

If I walked up to a stranger and asked for the inheritance to his life’s work, he would look at me with disdain and say, “who are you to ask such a thing?” 
But my heavenly father says… “YOU ARE MINE. All you have need of, ask. All that you can imagine, ask.
This isn’t about seeking the savior for what you get..it is about receiving because you have sought Him first and He is yours and everything that that entails. 

So as I say “yes Lord, I will receive your more, more more.”
He answers me,
 Now you have revelation it is time, live your life today by Kingdom standards, not earthly limits! ”

“Yes, Lord!”