Ready to Fly

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2 Corinthians 5:17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

When we come to the Lord in surrender, ready for the new life that only He can give I see His arms wrapping us like a caterpillar in a cocoon. It is in the moment of surrender that God begins the transformation. He prepares us to be ready to fly.

As the caterpillar goes through a transformation before release, so do we as His children. He begins a process. He speaks to the innermost parts that need to hear His whisper and makes us new, ready to fly.

So many times, as the Lord is transforming an area in my life, or renewing my mind, I want to hurry the process. I have tried to fly before I was ready and equipped. Just as if a caterpillar tries to exit the chrysalis too soon, it will not be fully ready for what is to come. If I try to walk out plans the Lord has in store before I am equipped, I will be discouraged and often have to land before the target is hit. I was not ready to fly just yet.

Then the beautiful happens. His transformation and molding, perfection is done. I have seen new life, I have new hope and I hear His voice say, “get Ready for new things. Ready for a new plan. Ready for a new path. Ready to fly.”

It is work to break free from that cocoon. I have to work my own wings, I have to take my own lessons and break free from old behaviors and patterns, to emerge fully transformed and ready to fly.

Romans 12:2- 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.

By spending time wrapped in His arms, renewing our mind, and listening to His plans and directions, we have a flight plan when we are ready to fly. We have a purpose. We have a mission.
Allowing Him to transform every area that we need to be transformed for the preparation for our next destination. We are called to accomplish a work only HE has for us and in that process to accomplish, He equips us with all that we need for His pleasing and perfect will.

Now I have to ask, have you ever seen a butterfly return to the chrysalis and take on her old form?
Have you ever seen a butterfly revert back to her caterpillar self?


I know I am human. I know that life happens. But I shudder to think how many times, the Lord has transformed my mind and situation and I have returned to old ways.

I now hang out in the old ways far less, but the distractions still come. But thankfully each time,  the Lord will wrap me in His arms like a cocoon ( I can return to Him and His process and protection) and work on my heart in new ways. In deeper ways, He takes me and  prepares me for my next.

As I have grown I have learned that it is imperative I walk out living out that transformation every single day. This means I must be intentional about what I allow to impact me.
I have been made complete in him, I surrender to His best plans, I am ready to fly.

Give a Listen : I surrender 

COMMUNITY

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“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

I had started a very basic purple painted canvas on the first day of spring.
I asked my social media friends, to share what color they wanted on the picture, fully intending to see who matched what was on my mind for the painting. The interesting thing, everyone had a different idea for the secondary color than mine. As I stood and stared at the purple canvas, deciding which color I would pick, the name of the piece came to me, “Community”. 

This painting wasn’t about one or two solid ideas, but about combining the creativity of many into something of beauty. I took each color that my friends had suggested and I thought of them and prayed as I painted their color. I sought where the Lord would have them impact the piece and prayed for individual situations. A few friends had chosen teal, it didn’t matter, as I applied the color again, a new friend came to mind. Another, shared her idea for the technique to add dimension and direction. This was a wonderful example of community, each contributing, every individual uniqueness adding a new depth and detail as we collaborated. 

This piece alone reminded me of how important it is to be in community with one another. I could have said, ew I don’t like that color, it would never look right, but looking at this painting, it needed every single color whether at first, I thought it would belong or not. As I looked at the painting with each layer I was timid to place more colors, yet a sense of belonging came over me as I saw the work coming together. 

You would not know that two years ago, I had my self hidden away, shying away from the world, from being hurt, from being ignored and passed over. I had a horrible sense of my self. I had lost the knowledge of my worth somewhere on the journey of surviving grief and illness that had reared its ugly head like never before and the depression wanted to take over. In the past, I was swallowed by that depression. I cut everyone and everything off and literally wanted to die.

The amazing thing, this time, depression could not stay! While I started blocking people out of my life, there were the solid, the community that would not let me. There were the people who reminded me of who I am. There were the people that pointed out when I was being flat-out ridiculous and that I needed to stop identifying with what I was facing and start identifying on who God says I am. It was my community that picked me up and reminded me how much ground I have gained and even in this hiccup, it was safe to spread my wings and fly again. 

Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Romans 12:5-
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Do I always agree with everything they do? No. Do I enjoy every single personality within my community at every moment? No.  Do I share every single belief and value? No. 

Do I drive people in my community crazy at times? Ah, YAH! 

However, when in the community, despite our human differences we can choose to stay united with a common goal. Intentional to build together, to hold one another up by carrying each other’s burdens and remind each other there is hope in a sea of unknowns.

When the going gets tough, we can be tempted to run from our communities, but all that brings is isolation and loneliness, which in turn becomes bitterness and anger. I think this is why the Lord mentions not forsaking the gathering of our brethren. He knew that we needed far more than to hear our own voice whisper silently to the wind. 

Hebrews 10: 24-25-
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

 

Heart Connection- Intimacy

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The truth of the matter is, you can know someone, know all about them, even be in a relationship with them and still miss out on the deep heart connection of intimacy.

There is head knowledge of our salvation: This is the same as walking in life with someone, knowing they are always going to be there, but stopping at that and continuing on with your life without the heart connection. A knowing without intimacy.

John 5:24- Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.

You can have the head knowledge that you are saved. You can know because you dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s that you will enter heaven. But what good comes from a relationship that has begun, but has not been cultivated.
You can miss out on a deep-rooted heart connection intimacy with the Lord and all the glory that comes with it if you do not seek it.

♥ Heart Connection takes investment:

So often in life, we become distracted in the different seasons that we face. We become overwhelmed, feel inadequate and exhausted. Often our messes in life become our focus, and slowly without meaning to our hearts grow distant.
Just like any earthly relationship, you must invest in your relationship with the Lord.
For a deeper heart connection get to know Him by spending time set apart only for Him.

Invest in:

Prayer
– is our communication with the Lord. An opportunity to talk and share. Cry out and be real.

Word-
The Bible reveals His heart for us, His plans, and His hopes. Loved saved, thought of and not forgotten.

Praise and worship
– Reveals our heart for Him. This is our chance to pour out our love on Him and lift Him up.

When you are feeling lost, disconnected, frazzled, and overwhelmed, make sure to slow down and set time to be settled in your heart connection. It makes all the difference.

♥ Heart Connection takes pursuit:

In this life, you must pursue the ones you love. Lack of pursuit and interest leads to stilled relational growth. At times lack of pursuit can lead to opening a door for another to enter.
It is in our lack of pursuit that the enemy comes in with lies. When we are not fully pursuing the Lord, it is easier to believe that we are less than or lacking. We are not building our relationship on His truths.
Then life comes and smacks us in the face and we can begin to develop resentment. We risk growing angry with the Lord when disaster and hurts have stood to in the way of pursuing him. Resentment turns into resistance.  Examine what is holding you back from pursuing Him. Is there anger, bitterness or distrust there? In order to overcome, you must pursue His heart for you, and not listen to the lies the enemy is trying to win you over with.

♥ Heart Connection takes vulnerability:

Vulnerable – To be exposed.

We are taught to hide the ugly. We are taught to toughen up, don’t be so sensitive, shake it off and to be good. We have learned that when we show our true selves, anywhere that we are lacking others will reject us or ridicule us. We have been hurt in unspeakable ways, rejected and unwanted. So we build walls, we hide, we self-protect.
It has become a habit to hide away anything that is not perfection. The danger in this with relationships, you are holding back your full self. Everything that is hidden, is becoming a barrier between you and the one you love.
The sin areas in our life that are standing in the way of our growing need to be exposed. We do not need to self-protect with the Holy Spirit. God knows our mess, He wants us to be able to trust Him enough to let Him love us through it.
The enemy wants to keep you bound up and hiding. He does not want you to experience the full heart connection that comes from being raw and real with the Lord. It is through exposing all my junk to the Lord, that He is able to come in and do His work. It is recognizing I need Him in a way only He can fill. I can’t do the cleansing and the healing on my own. His amazing power comes in and does the work and I get to rejoice. For being exposed, leaves me open to being held.

As I am held close in the Father’s arms, there is hope. HOpe builds within the Spirit man within us as we experience the Father’s love.

ROMANS 5:5- Now Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us.

It is in our weakness that makes us whole. He wants all of us, not just what we think we have together. He wants our ugly, He wants our flaws, and He wants our weaknesses. For In Him He makes us strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10- But He said to me my Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ then I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamity. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When the Lord makes us strong in our weakness, all the glory goes to His power and not on ourselves. I tried to do it all myself for years in my own strength.  I got nowhere, except broken and exhausted. It is our testimony to what God accomplished when we have overcome in Him.

Reflection- Often times we base how we have been treated by others, on how we think the Lord will receive us. Others judge harshly that is how we see the Father. Others reject us or abandon us, we may expect the Lord to turn away when we are a mess. BUT His word says;

Psalm 27:10- “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

No matter who leaves us, or abandons us, hurts us and betrays us, the LORD is ready and waiting to embrace us. Arms wide open. Ready for a deep heart connection intimacy. One that does not forsake.

Give a listen to this song:  INTIMACY by Jonathan David Helser

Sick of it All

 

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Sometimes you just have to get sick of it all. Sometimes you have to look at your situation and say this is enough. I will not live in this anymore, I surrender!

There is nothing the enemy loves more than to have you stay in the nasty. Sick, tired, oppressed, anxiety, depressed, angry, empty, fearful and just plain not living. He wants to immobilize you with the lies that this is it and how it is.  I was in that place and then one day I said God, I am sick of all this, I surrender, I can’t do this anymore. As I worshipped him and laid it all down I felt a new purpose rise within my soul.

I began to surrender in a new way. I had been fasting, praying, worshipping, reading the word and pressing into God like I have not in YEARS.
The praises on my lips began when at first I didn’t feel like praising at all. I would praise and praise until those praises shook my very being and began a change in me.

He meets me right where I am EVERY TIME. If I get to the point of being sick of it all and remove it all from my sight and set my sight on HIM. I had to take my eyes off of what I was seeing in my flesh. I had to stop looking at it, stop living in it. It was not my life it was my situation and my God is a God who has complete power over every situation. 

Recently these days, I have felt an incredible urge to contend for others and their needs. I was in bed one night and woke up and could not sleep. So I began to pray and with the spirit of God on me, I lifted many people before God for different reasons. When I came to those needing healing, a new level of the presence of God hit me. I could not move, I was in awe and I saw myself on the floor, face to the ground and Jesus over me, saying I have healed you, and the presence hit me so strongly that I could not control the prayers they broke out from my heart to my lips. 

Since this experience, I have felt a new level of healing, and a ridiculous closeness to the father, I am absolutely buzzing with the presence of the Lord. Oh, how I pray this is just an incredible beginning because I was absolutely sick of it all and now…oh wow… I am in absolute AWE of Him in an all-new way!

This has become my prayer: “God, we are sick of it all. Sick of the lies, that pull us from the living. Invade the places that we have held back from you. It is time for the rejoicing. No matter what we are seeing in the flesh. You fight with us in the spirit. You go before us and we praise you for it. “

When we are sick of looking at the mess and ready to put our eyes on him continually, we will see new and amazing things. I will not be shaken, I will not forget what He has done.

Psalm 16:8- I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I will PRAISE Him and Raise My Hallelujah! No matter what is going on around me. For when I am fixed on Him, everything else pales in comparison.

 

Give a listen and just let your ‘stuff’ go~ Raise a Hallelujah~

 

Drama Drama Drama

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Galatians 5:15-16 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

I was recently watching a show where the main character finally found some peace among her peers, declared, “what is the fun in that?” and purposefully stirred up strife for her entertainment. It got me to thinking, how often do we use drama in our lives for entertainment?
Something is done to you so you fester and spread it to everyone else, DRAMA.
You are not liking the way another lives their life because yours is so together, so you talk bad about their choices, DRAMA.
You are uncomfortable in a room so you use the opportunity to point out another’s issue, DRAMA.

Drama Drama Drama a process that many live their lives in and I must admit there were seasons I was right along with them. Of course, I have moments now, but living in the constant drama is no longer a choice in my life. When someone lives in the constant upheaval that drama stirs up, you choose to partner with anxiety. There is no peace. There may be moments of quiet, but it doesn’t take long for the drama to raise its ugly head again. 

  Some sources of Drama:

  • Gossip
  • Judgment
  • Criticism
  • Negative Talk
  • Slander
  • Stirring up strife

 

When you take part in drama you are  in opposition to what the Lord wants to accomplish in your life and the lives of others.
Drama leads to walking in competition, controversy, rivalry, and dispute.

I am talking about stirring up drama for drama’s sake, simply for your entertainment or to be the center of attention. But if you are truly having an issue with a brother or sister in the church that has harmed you or sinned against you the word says to follow the steps in Matthew 18:15-18

How to avoid Drama Drama Drama in your life.

  • Pray about it: First and foremost, pray about the situation that is mulling over and over in your head, before you do anything else.
    You can start by praying for your own heart in the situation, taking your eyes off of your own opinion and seeking the Lord’s view on the situation. Then pray for the person you are feeling less than lovely about. 
    Avoid talking the ‘issue’ out with a friend or a peer and let the Lord who is the master fixer be the one to work on the situation.
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
  • Examine your heart: “Is this really my business?” 
    What is the motivation in your concerns for another person? Do you really desire to see a situation fixed or do you lean more towards being right? Is your judgment self-motivated? Are you seeing the situation the way the Lord would see it or with self-righteous eyes? Does sharing another’s shortcomings with everyone else help their situation improve? Does He need your help to fix them?
    There are times that we are to take things to our brethren to encourage their walk with the Lord. But we must not underestimate the work the Holy Spirit is doing in another’s heart. We all started somewhere. We all have faults and flaws. If we are constantly nagging and spreading gossip about another’s issue, your motivation is not in the right place. It is you trying to do the work in them, rather than letting the Holy Spirit.
    Lastly with this thought… while examining your own heart, don’t assume that you know theirs. Often there is a work going on in that life that you have no idea of.
    1 Thessalonians 4:11and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
    Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
  • Go to Leadership: If you have prayed and taken the matter directly to the person you are struggling with and still feeling like an issue needs to be dealt with. Take your heart in the matter to your pastor or leadership. 
    They may see things from a different perspective or have some insight on a peaceful resolution. Make sure though, that you truly want to work on the situation and are not just wanting to produce gossip.
    Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”
  • Be a PeacemakerTo stir up drama, it only entertains for a moment but that drama has a lasting impact on the hearts of all involved. The definition of peace is freedom from disturbance. Quiet and tranquility.
    We are blessed to live a life of quiet and tranquility and bless others when we leave them in peace rather than drama mode.
    God calls the peacemaker blessed! I want my God to call me blessed, to call me his daughter.
    Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 
  • Guard your tongueWhen you are with a gathering of others, are you improving the atmosphere with your words, or are you shifting it to the uncomfortable world of DRAMA. You may be comfortable in a drama-filled situation, even entertained by it, but you leave the environment full of anxiety and head shaking rather than life-giving.  Resist sharing the short-comings and personal details of someone else’s life.  We grew up chanting to our peers when they were hurtful, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
    Are you building one another up in their absence? Are you speaking what you believe and hope for their life rather than the situation they are in?
    This statement still rings true, it is perfectly okay to grace people with a smile and silence if your words will become bitterness to an atmosphere.
    Science has proven that our thoughts, negative or positive impact on our health. If we speak out the negative won’t it impact those around us?
    What if we determined to only be LIFE GIVING? How would that affect others in our life?
    I myself have over shared with a cry of ” please, pray for this situation,” not with a motive for drama, but in reality drama or not, I was still wrong. I should have just taken that prayer straight to the Lord, not changed the atmosphere of others with my ‘concerns’, and certainly not live with the regret of oversharing.
    Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
    1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

    Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
        and those who love it will eat its fruits.

  • Walk in kindness and forgiveness– If you are walking around in anger at what another is doing in their lives, or judgment for their choices, you are not walking a life of forgiveness. If you are spreading all of their business around, you are not walking in kindness.
    God calls us to be kind and to forgive. It seems simple in theory but when we are seeking drama for our entertainment it is so easy to walk in self-righteous mode and not be walking out what He calls of us at all. To ‘vent’ our frustrations of another for nothing more than entertainment sake is hateful, not kind, hurtful, not life-giving and certainly not forgiveness. 
    When I am tempted to judge another, God often has to remind me of what He had brought me out of. How far He has led me from my past and how He alone restored my ways. 
    It is a process. I am still in process. So why should I expect anything more of them?
    Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Matthew 18:21-22  Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
     
  • Walk away: If you are finding yourself tempted to gossip, stir up strife, slander, or any other forms of causing drama, pray for strength and walk away. If you are stuck in an atmosphere of another creating drama, excuse yourself and walk away. It is better to walk away and say nothing than to sin against your heavenly father by harming his church with your drama for entertainment.

    I know this is a heavy topic. I know that many walk daily in drama drama drama, not even realizing what they are left with a life of anxiety and strife and often don’t even know the root of it.
    So I leave you with this thought, I believe it sums the topic up nicely.   
    It is impossible to tear down and destroy when you are being a light and building up. 


    Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

Joy Despite the Pain is Not Denial but a Necessity!​

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Joy despite the pain is not denial but a necessity. These are the words the Lord spoke to me days after the darkest, lowest point in my life.
Let me back up just a bit, before that revealing moment.
In 2010 I had been through the darkest valley I had ever known. I was a church-going, woman of God, that loved my family, loved my husband, loved my kids and my friends and all of a sudden, it wasn’t enough. I won’t go into the details that lead to this valley at this time. Just that I was in one.
In this valley of death, I was ready to end my life. I began to cut people away from me. I didn’t see it at first. In the beginning, it was because someone wronged me, and chop, they were out of my life. Then it was someone wasn’t around for me the way I needed them, and chop, they were out of my life.  Then it became a chopping block for no other reason than I was done with people. I wanted to hide away. I wanted to end all my physical pain that was blinding and no end in sight. I felt worthless, I felt hindering to others, unwanted (because I didn’t want myself) and unloved (because I could not love myself). I only saw my lack and hated myself for it. I truly hated me and the mess I was in.

The baffling thing is, on the outside, I seemed to have it all together. I was strong, I was faithful, I was serving, I was blessed… BUT
Suicide and major depression are not spoken of in the church very often or perhaps even not at all. Women are going to church Sunday mornings with a smile on their face, all the while dying inside. They feel guilty for dying inside, they feel weak and unworthy for feeling this weight they can’t explain.
Some will keep that mask on their face until, like me at that moment, they are ready to end it all.

I was sobbing in the bathtub, I had been told some very negative things by doctors, ” you have to live this way, the pain will not kill you, you don’t want to get better if you won’t try XYZ,”  lets forget I had tried A-W and was exhausted and broke. I was blinded by the opiates they had put me on for the pain and I was just done. I had it planned. Submerge in the tub inhale deeply and end it. My husband knowing something was off, sat on the other side of the bathroom door, banging on it begging for me to let him in.
I stopped crying answered in a very calm voice, ” I am fine, I just need some time.” He stood on the other side, quiet.

At this moment, I was not thinking of my worth, I was not thinking that my family needed me, my family loved me, all I could think was to end the pain both physically and emotionally. I dreamed of the feeling of nothing.

With a final heart plea, I said, “God you promised me joy, where is it.”

It was THE most defining moment in my life. He answered my spirit and said, ” you have joy, you just need to find it.”

My despair cleared and for the first time in 10 months, I had hope stirring in me. I had no idea the journey I would embark on, but that moment with my savior, truly saved my life.

In this process, Writing for Joy was created. I still hurt, I still was broken, I still had limits to my abilities, but as I sought God on what was robbing my joy, each day a bit more joy filled the holes of empty in my heart. One day while still walking in physical pain, but feeling joy again in my heart, I heard God speak clearly to me, ” Joy despite the pain, is not denial but a necessity.” This became my new mantra in life. I was still waiting for physical healing but in the meantime, I was learning my circumstances did not have to dictate my joy.

You see I needed this joy to survive. It did not matter that I was walking and have been walking for years in pain, the Joy is still mine. Through this process, God taught me how to regain it and obtain it.

I still have days the darkness tries to come in. But He gently reminds me, that Joy is my gift, waiting fresh each morning.

Now there is action that I take, to obtain and maintain my joy.

I have a feeling, that this blog and all these years of learning after the brokenness will be my beauty from ashes moment.

I will begin to write my new book: Joy Despite the Pain is not Denial but a Necessity

My heart is to speak into the heart of others, that have been hiding behind the mask, walking in the ‘normal’ every day while dying inside little by little. Not because they want to hide, but because perhaps they don’t even realize they are. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t realize that they are not the only ones.

This scripture above in my heading is so relevant to me, as in the darkest season I had been bedridden in pain, He says to me RISE UP and I will speak to you and He has been so faithful both physically and spiritually. So I RISE UP and no longer walk in shame of where I was, but in JOY that I can use my story, to touch the lives of others that may be blinded in the pain at the moment.

Remember!! Joy despite the pain is not denial but a necessity.

 

Hope

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Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do I hope when I am surrounded on all sides? When the darkness comes in and clouds my mind. I am tempted to succumb to my weakness and lack rather than rising in His strength. How do I overcome? It is not by might, but by His spirit. It is connecting to Him in Spirit by praise and worship. It is in surrender, for in losing my old self, He clothes me with new life. And so…

When HOPE and EXPECTATION rise in my spirit fear, anger, hurt, insecurity and all forms of darkness are shaken out of my sites. Joy and peace become my covering.
Trusting in the Lord is the key to my hope.

I will sing of His wondrous love that saved me from my self.
I will rejoice in His overwhelming grace that covers all my shortcomings.
I praise Him in the morning, His mercies are new each day.
I take my eyes off of my moment and look to my helper, my comfort, my strength.
My moment will pass, but He is ever constant, faithful with every breath I take.
A keeper of promises.
A healer of disease.
Mighty fortress in times of trouble.
Provider for my needs.
The Hope will rise and overflow from my soul.
For the God of all Hope has said it will be so.

With Everything~ Worship song for my day