Friday, March 27, 2015

I Get to Choose!

So, here's the deal. I get to choose. When the enemy comes in like a flood, with thoughts, frustration, anger, 'just-want-to-choke' that person, (sorry, did I just type that??) I really do get to choose. Yes, the feelings and emotions are strong, the hurt runs deep.

Last night, when I was feeling myself start to go down that road, the thought popped into my mind, "you are above this, you don't need to wrestle down 'here' in the flesh, this is not where you live, this is not your position." I was quickly able to agree and fall sweetly asleep, release the desire to retaliate, make my point, chew the same old cud, over and over.

I wake up this morning, you guessed it, same thoughts, feelings and emotions come flooding back. I remember one of my ALL time favorite verses. (it means so much to me on so many levels)

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. (Pr. 14:30)

Do I want life and health? Immediately following that thought,

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Pr. 4:23)

So, Michelle, keep and guard your heart, above all that you guard, guard YOUR HEART. I get to choose what my heart meditates on, I must choose wisely!

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:1-3)

I (we) are seated with Christ, far above this earthly and fleshly mess we see around us. I must choose. I must guard my heart and thoughts. Getting caught up the 'junk' down here is the worst use of my time and energy. I have things to do, people to love (especially this one in particular, though it almost pains me to say it and I have to stop my eyes from rolling back in my head as I type, but it is true!)

I am here for HIM, for His glory, to further HIS kingdom. It's not about me and my little feelings being hurt, it is about HIM. For I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

Shake it off, ladies!! Don't wrestle around in the much down here, rise above it!! His grace is sufficient!! It is just a temptation from the enemy to waste precious time, destroy your health and ruin your day! No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Cor. 10:13)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Does the Darkness Surround You?

Reading through Lamentations three, I am reminding of a very long and dark period in my life. So long. About 10 years. And oh, so dark. I remember, vividly reading through Lamentations three at many points during that time. One in particular, I can almost see where I was, what I was wearing and most definitely can feel what I was feeling.

I knew in my heart that God was not ‘causing’ this darkness, these horrendous situations. I knew it was the enemy, circumstances, my sinful choices, other’s sinful choices. I knew God does not ‘cause’ bad in our live. Perhaps He allows, but never causes. Definitely uses the darkness to ultimately bring glory to Him.

I remember weeping as I read. I could literally feel every emotion and description the writer of Lamentations described. The darkness was palpable, I couldn’t escape it. I felt the heavy chains, the hedged in feeling, unable to get free. I knew what the Word said about Him hearing my prayers, but it was as if I could scream at the top of my lungs and it wouldn’t be heard. The attacks from the enemy, the shame, the fear. I wondered if there would EVER be anything different than this hell we were living.

I can relate to verse 18, my strength and my hope is perished. Quite literally, my strength had perished. I am not talking just emotional and spiritual strength, that was long gone. No, physically, all strength was gone. It culminated with a complete collapse. Bedridden, no strength to push through the darkness anymore. I was strong and had pushed long and hard, but physically, it was gone. I had no more. Even walking to the bathroom seemed insurmountable. All hope of ever seeing the light again had vanished, or so it seemed.

The bitterness I felt toward God began to grow. I know, as a good little Christian girl we are not be angry with God or bitter towards Him. And honestly, I didn’t even know that I was at the time. I should have seen it, the thoughts the enemy planted and I grabbed hold of. ‘Why did you let this happen’? ‘I trusted You with this womb! Is this how you reward me?’ ‘How could you let this happen to our family?’ ‘Where are you?!” ‘If you really loved me, You would answer.’ These are not the half of it, I assure you. Oh, I pushed them down, these thoughts, these accusations. I pretended they weren’t there, I hid them instead of repenting of them. I am not saying that God is not big enough to take our fears and doubts and the little girl tantrums, the beating of our fists on His chest as we can’t take the devastation any longer. No, He can. He knows we are but dust and He scoops us up. I’m talking about a root of bitterness that you may not even know is growing deep in the heart. I didn’t know until much later that it was there.

But deep, deep inside me, there was a tiny, miniscule flicker of disbelief. I just could not believe that this was it. I could not believe that God was not going to, somehow, rescue me out of this. I couldn’t figure out how, I had exhausted any ideas I had. I had given Him so much time, yet still nothing.

But God! He did deliver. He did heal. He did answer prayers. He does hear. He never leaves us. He never forsakes. I don’t care what it feels like or what it seems like, HE NEVER LEAVES US. In that darkness, we have no clue what He is doing. In that darkness, we are all but sure He has left us alone. In that darkness, fear and doubt and accusation and bitterness seek to worm their way in. Be on the lookout for them. Take them captive, those lying thoughts. Be like the writer of Lamentations, ‘But this I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.’

You know the truth! It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness! Your ‘night’ might feel so long and unending, but morning really does come and His mercies really are new every morning.

I’m not sure what you are going through, what kind of darkness surrounds you this day, this year, this decade, but let me be the one calling from the other side of the darkness. I’m reaching my hand out to you and shouting, ‘hang on, sister, His mercies are new every morning. Morning will come. I promise, but don’t take my word for it, take His! The Lord is your portion, hope in Him’