Growing up in a Christian home is not easy. What is meant to protect us can be seen as just rules, limitations, being excluded or ridiculed by peers because we can’t or don’t partake in the things they freely do. Without relationship with God, these can easily lead to frustrations, anger, or rebellion. It’s argued that we can’t be ourselves or express who we are because everything is a sin. The current culture mindset never helps, because many don’t realize anything that makes us the “center” of our lives only brings a halt to what can truly fill our lives.
The phrase “Live your own truth” is lived out in many lives. It’s labeled and used erroneously as expressing yourself and celebrating “individuality”. This causes many to view Christianity as just rules that block “being who you want to be”. Many soak up this advice and use it to justify what in reality is just an indulgence in our sinful nature. True expression and individuality can only come forth when you go back to the root of your creation, and your Creator. The one who KNOWS you, better than you know yourself.
What the world sees as being “narrow” or “closed” minded, is meant to preserve my life. What is taught in a Christian lifestyle, when guided by the Word and Holy Spirit is not because it makes us “better” than anyone. Nor does it bind us from being who we are. It PRESERVES who God created me to be and allows me to find myself in Him. Like an artist takes steps to preserve their painting, so our Creator seeks to preserve us.
Being a follower of Christ does not mean my life is limited, full of rules, or expectations of being a “perfect” person. If means true freedom, victory, living a life that is fulfilled, and knowing who I was created to be. It means now my life is preserved, through His Word, teachings and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
If you are searching to find yourself, looking to discover who you are and where you are destined to go, I encourage you to start by asking the one who created you. His guidance will preserve your life. His Word says in Jeremiah 1: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”. So why start anywhere else.
When there are no words that comfort, no strength to hold us, no embrace that brings us peace, He is there and He is good. In that moment when our heart is in tears and we struggle to be strong because that is what we are “supposed to do”, He is there and He is good. When deep breaths and suppressing emotions feel like the only way to make it through the day, and when we “know” He will never leave us yet feel so isolated and misunderstood. In these moments in life that bring us pain we are not meant to handle, He is GOOD.
We need pain. It is what breaks us down and points us in the direction we need to go. Right into God’s loving arms. The earth is screaming in pain. Pain that you and I may not see but can experience through what God allows into our lives. We never want it, we run from it, and we sure don’t understand it. But through it all He is GOOD. And in His goodness He takes us through the process to perfect what He is doing in us.
No one likes to talk about the process. The ugliness of it, the questioning, the tears, the desperate longing to reach the end. Yet in the midst of our suffering God continues being God. No amount of pain can take away from who He is. And He is a GOOD God. His word says “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (Psalms 105:4). In Him we WILL find the strength.
I currently walk through my own process as I deal with the pain of suffering a third miscarriage. My heart aches still as I watch my children play and long for the three who “should have been”. Yet after struggling and questioning there was nothing left to do but surrender. Surrender to the process that He wanted to take me through and allow me to discover more of who He is. And I saw more than ever that His goodness is eternal.
If you are going through a painful process, know that he is holding you, even when you have stopped holding on. Let his work be perfected in you and see the beauty in the process. He is infinitely good, even when he says yes to the pain that comes. His word assures us that his love surpasses all understanding. And love is fueling his every stroke in our lives. Believe in His goodness, even when He brings you pain.
Yes, that’s right. He doesn’t need it. Our worship doesn’t define God. It doesn’t make Him any more or less who He is. Somewhere in our minds we think that because it pleases Him, it must mean that He’s getting something out of it. When in fact it is quite the contrary. What if I told you that WE are the one who benefit when we worship Him…. There is an immense process that goes on inside of us when we push through the boundaries that our own flesh puts on us making us feel too tired, too busy, too embarrassed, too awkward… you get the point. Your worship does not bring Him closer to you, it brings YOU closer to Him. He has always been there. Hasn’t moved, and isn’t planning to. He is the God who was, is and always will be. The God of all the universe does not grow stronger because people worship Him. We are the ones who grow stronger with each breath we let out in our moment of worship. Feeling guilty? Not worthy? None of us are, but in the midst of our sincerest worship we are made new. We are given a new chance and opportunity to start fresh that very moment. In our worship we are opened up for God to cleanse us, strengthen us, and embrace us in His love. So no, He doesn’t need your worship, YOU have a need to worship Him.
I used to be scared. Scared about bringing kids into this world. Not about the labor pains or giving birth or even experiencing something so wildly new, but about raising kids in this fast changing world that seems to only point in one direction…away from God. A place where everything needs to be “accepted” and the lines of moral values have been blurred and shaded grey because now it’s all about “living your own truth”. Yes THAT scared me. Teaching my children to live in a way that is looked at as “old fashioned” or “closed minded”. I lived with this fear until our first daughter was born. When I got to experience first hand how powerful love can be. How overwhelmingly amazing it is to love someone so strongly that you’d be willing to give your life for them. How love drives everything you do, your thoughts, your decisions, your plans…..and I realized that’s how God’s love is for us. So strong that it goes beyond our understanding, yet we attain a humbling glimpse of it when we hold our child in our arms. I wanted her to know God’s love…. and to share it with the world. Yes it is a cold world, and it needs to be warmed with His love. The world needs an army to fight for and rescue all those who are walking without Christ. That is what I am raising. Soldiers. Individuals who are filled with the love of God and will stop at nothing to share it with the world. This transformed my thinking…and I was no longer afraid. I have experienced LOVE….God is love. And His love in us “rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love NEVER fails.” (1 Cor 13:6). And my children will know His love. In their journey to encountering and knowing the living God, my husband and I will be right there….covering them with our prayers, and proclaiming the Word over their lives. Our home is a training ground, one that trains currently through crayons and puzzle pieces. So if you are scared of bringing children into this world or fear for the ones you currently have, be at peace. You are raising soldiers for an almighty God. And he is there every step of the way…. He NEVER fails.
Pressure on your chest, headaches, feeling like you can’t breathe…. Signs of stress that take over and you just can’t shake it off. Stress is a part of life, it gets us moving or pushes us to complete tasks, sometimes even sharpens our senses. But the stress that comes from our lack of trust in the Holy One…that takes you to the danger zone. We all at one point have felt it, and in our human nature it will always strive to creep it’s way into our thoughts (many times successfully), but that doesn’t give it the right to stay there. We have been given a powerful tool, one that the world does not have, and that is our faith. From our faith we receive the strength to keep going, to keep believing, to keep fighting.”Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see….” Faith brings peace and security beyond what this world can offer and in the darkest of times. When it all goes wrong, when we lose it all, when it seems like the end…faith remains. God remains. Jesus remains. If we lose it all, He still remains…. His love is perfect and He is worth it ALL.
Very often we walk through life feeling lost, unguided, fearful of what steps to take or what decisions to make. As a wife and mother I have experienced my share of fears, questions to God, and wondering whether my decisions have been thought out and spirit led. One thing I have always encountered time and time again is that God in his amazing and infinite love will always be there to calm my soul and remind me that he is always in control. Not only that, he IS love in its truest form and everlasting proof that love is ALWAYS faithful.