reflect

my green eyes searched the rectangular reflection hanging on the back of my parent’s bedroom door.  from hair to heel, I ripped myself apart like a leopard does prey, comparing myself to asparagus thin, pristine women on glossy magazine covers from the grocery store. that 2D woman, posed alluringly with little clothing, told me how to look. her motionless, plump, red lips spoke to me an ideal and an only—that I could look like her, or be ugly. my acne, pointy nose, fat on my thighs, drew the conclusion: I was not good enough. no matter how much foundation I caked on, or how long I spent frying my hair with a straight iron, I couldn’t cross the chasm of beauty. I saw what i wasn’t. steady corrosion eroded me into a thin blanket of apologies. I collapsed.

waking up in a thicket of emerald ferns feathering a forest floor…was not what I expected. roots poked out of the earth like half bridge knobs. ancient bark soared tall, seen it all—laughter and tears, death and love. people who pined, searching their lifetime, the world over, for peace. that sometimes dull, sometimes screaming desire. starving, pain. universal earth ache. throbbing to be noticed, asking “do you love me?”

the dancing leaves and towering trees spoke testament: cosmic turmoil contained in every flesh tent. I knew it well. craving but never relieved. burning for more; born with flames tickling my  heart. a “do you love me?” echoed through the forest, through my lifetime. men came and went. one stayed for life. still I hungered. I searched—under clouds and stones, behind trunks and waterfalls, in human hands. nothing. who could whole this furious, yearning hole?!

a mere shadow of life, I crumpled under the tree canopy.

a crimson droplet cascaded through the leaves, dripped on my nose, drew my eyes up. life rain, love reigning. God sacrificed Himself, bloodied, beaten, killed by those He formed and desired. life for life. this God took my place, created a way for my wayward heart to be welcomed home! oh what LOVE! how could it be? tentative and aware of my stains, I timidly crouched under a fern. hiding. wishing. wondering. he beckoned me. me?? incredulous, i stayed hidden. already seen, fully known, yet totally loved. how?! such outrageous love seemed unreal.

yet, the love soaked me, sang my missing note, completed my puzzle. i was inside out, upside down, undone in the presence of soul saturating desire so passionate and sacrificing. I knew: I am LOVED. drawn out of hiding, led into light. that second of rapturous delight transformed me. forever clean. thank you Jesus.

woke up new on the shag carpet bedroom floor. once puddle but now sunrise, I beamed. a cross hammered hand reached down for me. set me free, loved me from scalding burns and tornado turns to healing and a whole heart.

looking into that same mirror, I reflect the forest. the soft ferns and gentle breeze found in my hair and graceful nose. Love found me.

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stem-vein-petal, lavish photo of grace

heart palpitations patter pitter as earth shatters into 8,000,001 pot shards

tectonic plates broken

Son of Man broken on a tree for us

end ahead

beginning anew

today tomorrow forever

better than yesterday with You.

ending disguised by distraction

slumbering society: WAKE!

factions say this

denomination say that

tick tock time’s out

will you agree now?

Jesus is Lord

His love can bring you on board,

en route to eternity with a King whose majesty

outshines all light & bright

too beautiful to say

too awesome to contain

Creator, Sustainer, I can know You–for real?? For real. For REAL!!!

AHH!

each breath I enter

each exhale surrender

never exit

always present

undone

in Your gaze.

perspective

Father God,

Thank you for this episiotomy–my child is alive.

Thank you for sleep deprivation–my child is a blessing.

Thank you for my toenail fungus–it reminds me this world is not my home.

When I cannot walk without pain, when I feel nothing but exhaustion, when every time I nurse my newborn in the recliner and think bad thoughts about my feet… there is light in the storm. The electricity is found in how much I allow Jesus to renew my mind. So, Lord, light up this blackened brain. I could use some hope.

Grace: waterfalls in drought

This is the best news everrrr!

You don’t need to clean yourself up before coming to God. He came down and took the dirt on Himself. Died so we could live. The work’s done. We get to receive God’s AMAZING love. We get to receive Jesus!

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify:  the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.  Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.  And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 5:1-12

This love is for everyone. No matter what you’ve done. If you accept Christ and live for Him, you’re free.

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When Jesus walked the earth, He spent time with the least of these. Prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, fishermen. Jesus calls those blessed who realize their need for a Saviour. Today, if you feel empty, if you know you can’t do this alone. That’s a really good realization.

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Don’t stop at spiritual bankruptcy. Let your neediness drive you to God.

It’s better to be desperate for God. To be empty. To be at the end of yourself. Than to have it all together. Or to think you don’t need God. The reality is we all need help. Blessed are those who realize their need! There is mercy and steadfast love waiting for  you at the foot of the cross– The Kingdom of Heaven is yours!

I am SO aware of my incompetency apart from Christ. Without Him I’m hopeless, lost, in darkness, confused, broken, destroyed. With Christ, I am healed, whole, loved, made new, safe.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 14:12

In John 14:6, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The way we think is right leads to death. God’s way–Jesus–is truth and life.

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Jesus, the Son of God, is the answer. Will you humble yourself and seek truth?

If anything in this post struck a chord in  your heart organ, talk to God about it now. He’s waiting to hear from you. He loves you. Honestly tell God how you feel–your struggles, doubts, fears, thoughts. He already knows. But He desires to hear it from you, because He loves you. Wherever  you are, whatever you’re going through, no matter how far you feel from God, He is with  you. Right now, right here. He’s listening. He’s waiting. Go to Him…<3

How to Stay Out of Prison

The Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians. However, God never forgot about them.

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God delivered the Israelites through a servant, Moses. When the Egyptians chased the Israelites, not letting them go, God’s mighty, outstretched arm supernaturally parted the Red Sea. His people could cross through and be free of slavery.

Afterwards, in the wilderness on the way to the Promised land, God continued to take care of the Israelites. He gave them water from a rock and bread from dew. Most of all, His Presence was with them in a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. He chose them as His treasured possession. He loved them.

God desired they love Him back through covenant obedience. To listen and obey His voice. To be set apart, holy. To be His. He asked them simply to have faith, despite the wilderness surroundings.

In the same way, all human beings are born into sin. Enslaved to sin. God loves us. So He sent Jesus, His Son, to set us free. Jesus shed His blood by dying in our place on the cross. This is akin to the cross-ing of the Red (blood) sea. God made a way. Jesus is the way to life. For those who cross God’s way, there is freedom.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:1-10

We are saved by grace through faith. Grace is Jesus taking our place on the cross / parting of the Red Sea. Faith is receiving Him as Lord / believing in the wilderness. Faith, our response to God’s grace, is how we remain in Him because He’s set us free. Loving Him back through listening and obeying. Enjoying covenant relationship with the God of the universe!

Remember the Israelites? After God set them free, they had a choice: To believe God and obey, or to disobey. They chose the latter.

The New Testament of the Bible includes warnings for Christians concerning the Israelites:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,   and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown  in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”  We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ  to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,  nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:1-14

 

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
 As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

 

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

 

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?  And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?  So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 3:7-19

Today, all who believe in Jesus are free! We, like the Israelites, have a choice. Will we remain free by obeying, or disobey and fall away?

 

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Soften your heart. Listen to God. Receive His Son, His love and love Him back through obedience! Through following His narrow way: crossing the Red Sea, believing in Jesus.

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Another word for ‘abide’ is ‘remain.’ We must remain in Christ through faith. No matter our feelings, thoughts, or situations. Test and weigh every feeling against Scripture. Take thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Remember truth no matter what happens. Trials are tests of faith. Remain. Be loved. Love. Give thanks. Enjoy God’s rest.

Stand firm!

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One day, (SOON!) it will allllll be worth it.

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Fully Surrendered

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:39 ESV

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:8‭-‬11 ESV

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:44 ESV

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
Matthew 16:24‭-‬27 ESV