When God Says Remember

Sierra, do you remember when you were four and I forgave you of your sins and saved you from life without Me?

What life you’ve known since then!

Sierra, do you remember when you were older and you’d lie awake at night, overcome and overwhelmed with doubt like you’d never known? Remember how you learned to be filled with gratitude instead of crippling doubt?

I rescued you.

Sierra, do you remember when you were 15 and you were scared of the pain and terrified that you’d die before you made it to adulthood? Remember how you shelved your dreams and you refused to do anything but sink? Remember how I showed you that life wasn’t over, that you had life now, that I gave you life today?

I helped you live.

Sierra, do you remember how tormented your mind became? Remember how you drowned in the dark and lived a kind of insanity, because the lies were all so real? Remember how my truth set you free? And set you free again and again and again! And today, you don’t live in depression or any deep kind of fear…

because of Me. Read more

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This Is Not a Dead-End

Here’s a thought:

Your unmet expectations don’t determine the worth of your story.

Your good, but unfulfilled desires and dreams don’t determine the success of your life.

The ideas others have of how your life SHOULD be turning out have no authority or ability to stop God’s good plan + purpose for how your life will turn out.

NoDeadEnds

You are not living a dead-end story, because our God is not a God of dead-ends. He is a God of making old things new, of making new things rich, of making all things joy.

God didn’t create you so He could forget you.

God didn’t create you so He could hurt you.

God didn’t create you so He could waste you.

God created you out of His own desire and delight (Psalm 139). And God is for your right now (Romans 8:24-39). He will never stop being for you even when you’re pretty certain that this time He has (definitely, for sure) written a dead-end story for your life.

Well, He hasn’t. Read more

Return

It doesn’t have to make sense right now. . . wherever you’re standing or sitting or crying, you don’t need to make any sense of it. If this place feels hard and awful, that’s okay. It is hard and awful.

Can’t quite push the Christian catchphrase out? Don’t try. It’s good to grieve. It’s healthy to acknowledge hard things. You are allowed to feel. You are supposed to feel.

It’s necessary. It’s healthy. You have permission!

But if you’re drowning in the emotions, consumed or controlled by them, then I urge you to make a one choice. Just one.

It is simply this–

Return.

Return to the comfort of God, your Father. Return to the God who will help you hope. Return to the truth of God’s steadfast love. Return to your Friend Jesus who can see through and beyond the chaos and turmoil in your life.

Just return.

When you’re in the midst of hard emotions, God looks on you with compassion not disgust. When you can’t quite see past the sorrow, God just wants you to see Himself.  When you’re sitting in the messy, ugly, middle, God is undaunted. He is working wonder. . .even still.

So return.

We live in a broken, sin-saturated world. Heartache may not be given by God, but He has the power to turn it all around and hand you a gift. The pain itself is not the good gift, but maybe the good gift is nearness to God. Maybe the good gift is becoming more like Him. Maybe the good gift is discovering your good God despite all the odds stacked high against you. This is all possible, because our God is powerful. But I’m not God, so I have no authority on how He will turn all of this around and show you His goodness.

But I do know He gives good things. I do know He wants to satisfy your soul. I do know that He can make beauty out of weary, wandering, wilderness hearts. I do know He loves you with unquenchable, unrelenting love that you cannot fully understand.

You’ve just got to return.

Over and over and over again.

If you’re standing in a place full of heartache and you’re feeling every tangle of emotion screaming there, you’re not a failure or a drama queen. Painful emotions are here and so is the comfort of God.

So always, always return. 

Return by uttering a broken prayer. By opening up to 2 Corinthians 1. By listening to music about the truth of God when you can’t say it for yourself. By confiding in a friend and asking for their help to see God’s goodness. By seeking counsel. By closing your eyes to sleep through the night because you trust God with your future.

In this returning, you will realize God has dealt bountifully with you. God has a heart of love toward you. God is a ready Forgiver. . .a compassionate Father. God is your Rock of peace, the Home of all your joy, the Keeper of your hope. He is here, present, listening.

And God is the Giver of your painless, good, eternal future in heaven with Him.

You can lift your wilderness-worn hands and rejoice. This is not the end. Not even close. God is always worthy of all our praise, and these pain-imprinted hearts can freely sing to the God who has spent centuries making new songs burst forth from old, devoted Returners


Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed even when I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” ~Psalm 116:7-10

Learning to Sing

It was just a regular morning. I woke up, heard the coffee grinding, took a hot shower, got dressed, slapped on some makeup, examined the snapdragons I can’t get enough of, and made my way to work.

But as I was walking to the truck, a picture of myself and God popped into my head. I was standing in the valley and He was teaching me how to sing a new song I hadn’t imagined for myself.  It had the the sweetest sound. only there wasn’t any melody yet, just the promise of one. I didn’t look sad or depressed. I was overwhelmed by love. I was ready. I was surrendered. I was confident.

And so I almost started to cry right there on  my way to the truck.

This wasn’t a strange vision, it was a picture of victory. It was me finally seeing a beautiful picture of what has taken place in my heart through days and days of being sure nothing was going to get better or become any kind of best.

The year of 2018 is impossibly becoming a place of thanksgiving. And I want to be made of thanksgiving…stitched and bound and woven. Which is a way of life and a way to life.  Read more