Let Tears Sooth the Broken Places

One fabulous revelation that has occurred to me over time is everyone—EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US—has stuff. The enemy of your soul desires to mess you up, isolate and immobilize you. He starts looking for a way to “damage” your heart from the moment you’re born. It can come from the death of a loved one, words from a mean teacher or classmate, or even a misunderstanding of unmet expectations. Whatever it is, we have hurts, pains, scars and debilitating wounds. Sometimes they are visible, but most of the time they are emotional—hidden deep inside and protected—where only a few really know what has skewed your perspective of life.

“Tears spoke what I couldn’t.”

My deep wounds started with the loss of my first family when my parents divorced, and it fractured my perspective on life. Thankfully, my husband believed in our marriage and trusted God to repair the breach. Healing can take time, but more importantly, it usually takes hard work on our part. (I went through grief recovery, and it was so powerful for me that I became a grief recovery specialist.)

Tears are one of the wonderful ways we can move toward healing. Like me, you probably spent nights crying out to God—crying until you ran out of tears. Other times, His presence brought me to my knees and tears poured silently. I may not have had the words, but through the washing of my soul, the tears spoke what I couldn’t.

The language of my tears comforted my heart and soothed the broken places in my life. They refreshed me and made me new. My tears gave me the strength I needed to let go, forgive and move on. They opened me up to receive love from God and others.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  John 6:63 nkjv

Are you in one of those difficult places now? He will help you recover. As you let go and allow your tears to express what your heart needs to say, God can wash away the places in your life that you thought were completely ruined, and help you begin again.  I pray you will open your heart and let your tears speak to Him today.

"Pay close attention to your tears. 
What you weep over has to do with your destiny.” 
- Lou Engle
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Kingdom Flash Mob – When Will You Be Called to Do Your Part?

Remember when social media filled with posts with video of flash mobs? I haven’t seen one posted in a while, but I remember seeing them more around Christmastime.

Here’s one from a few Christmases past for your viewing pleasure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY8Jf-45DzE

A flash mob is a group of people called to a certain place at an indicated time to perform a specified action before diffusing into the crowd. A flash mob gives the appearance of something unplanned, random and unorganized, but is in reality, a beautifully coordinated experience with the right people in their precise places for a staged performance. They appear as a part of the crowd, going about their daily lives, when suddenly they step up and do their part.

Similarly Christians have a part to play in the Kingdom of God. That part is already planned and orchestrated by Jesus, Messiah. The direction and inspiration from the Holy Spirit is already within each person. In response to a question asked by the Pharisees about when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

The revelation Jesus shared when he opened the book of Isaiah 60, read it, and declared the scripture, was one of many flash mob moments during Jesus’ ministry. The Kingdom of God revealed by the Messiah shook people’s reality, angered some and brought life transformation in those who were willing to embrace the Kingdom of God.

Similar to a flash mob, children of God are called together to worship God, to seek His presence, and to be encouraged by His Word. From there we disperse into this world, slipping quietly into our daily lives and await our next opportunity to do our part.

Pioneering Faith

No matter how many times we’ve believed God and experienced the results of our faith, there is always a fight to stand firm in the next challenge. I don’t just set my heart and mind on something generic, I imagine what it will look like when the answer comes. I set my expectations high. I think about what it could look like, feel like and taste like. I imagine where we’ll go and what we’ll do as we begin to move forward in obedience to God’s plans.

The challenge is I can get ahead of God. I allow expectations—a picture to develop in my mind that I’ve created, and eventually I discover it’s not even close to the image of what God wants that particular thing to look like.

That brings about a crisis of belief. Did God really say we are supposed to move to another state? While we knew the answer as we began to journey forward, doubt creeps in at the first obstacle. We have this crazy idea that God’s going to come in with his bulldozer and go ahead of us, giving us a clear path, when in fact, He’s actually called us to blaze the trail.

Think of the pioneers of the Wild West. They traveled over rough country. They had no roads laid out before them. They were fortunate to have a path of travelers that have gone ahead to follow. They had to do all the firsts. They made the road; they dug the well and the outhouse.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4 ESV).

When God asks you to move, it usually involves putting your faith muscles (and natural muscles) to work. I want to think it’s going to be easy—and every once in awhile—it is! But usually, as a pioneer of faith, it means starting from scratch and building something.

So, when you don’t see the results of your faith produce in the way you imagined, take a deep breath and let it go. (Can you tell I’m taking a deep breath now?) I believe God has my best interest at heart. He has something that looks different—and it’s better than I imagined. It’s exactly what I need, even if it’s not what I thought I wanted—or not in the timing I expected.

The Sound of Faith

My husband is a fan of The Voice,  and I have watched it with him a few times. As a fan, you would naturally have a high anticipation of the power and talent you expect to experience in the sound of each of the final contestants.

Now, visualize the astonishment all of Heaven witnessed when God spoke the words that created the world you live in today. His voice—the very word he spoke—commanded every form of life to come forth.

God’s words were powerful enough to bring something unseen into the visible world.

Think about your Bible, filled with God’s words. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right (NCV).

Your Bible can show you what God says and thinks about everything. As you read His Word, you get to know His nature and character. You come to understand and His responses to the questions your heart asks.

Take a step of faith and courageously open God’s Word today, expecting to experience God’s miraculous purpose and watch what He will do. Ask Him to speak to you speak as you read His Word. I pray He will show you how His words can make a difference in your life today.

Memory Stones

wood-sea-ocean-rocks pexelsHistory wasn’t my favorite subject in school, but some elements of it have intrigued me for most of my life. The Jewish culture and all that God’s first, chosen people endured throughout history  fascinated me. As a child, I was an avid reader and true stories like The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place, pulled me completely into the world they lived in as soon as I turned the first page.

Sad movies based on real people, places and times before were difficult for me to watch because I knew real people endured those horrible things. That was the case of Shindler’s List. I knew it would rock me deep into my soul, so I waited until I felt I was ready to see it. Three years after the movie premiered, I watched a commercial-free version of it on television. And I carry some of those scenes with me even today.

The final scene takes place at the grave of Oskar Schindler. The amazing part is the custom the Jews have of placing stones on the grave—not flowers as I would have assumed. Even today you can Google “Oskar Schindler’s grave” and view pictures of his memorial stone with small stones of all shapes and sizes placed respectfully one on top of the other.

It seems that each stone placed is a promise made by the one who left it to remember something significant. No words—just pebbles—memory stones. Each memory is respectfully placed at the discretion of each visitor. Perhaps they are thanking God for one man’s courage to stand up when it seemed no one else could. Maybe they owe their very lives to him because without him they would never have been born. Others may hope they have enough boldness for what they believe in when their time comes to stand.

I’d like to think that my faith grows with each obstacle I’ve faced. And each time a new challenge to my faith taunts me to doubt God and his faithfulness, I can pull a memory stone from my past to remind me God was there for me then, and He will help me make it through whatever crisis standing in my way in this moment.

God has done some amazing and very miraculous acts in my life. Joshua 4:6-7 says, When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them…. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever,” (NIV)

I am sure you can think of times in your life that would serve as a reminder of God at work in your life. I encourage you to take memory stones from your own life and use them with the help of the Holy Spirit to develop your faith, build your family and shape your future.

Feel free to share a precious, memory stone in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories.

Pour Out the Promise of Laughter

Have you ever been so tired that everything seemed funny? My husband, my mother and I traveled 16 hours by car across several states to visit family and attend a wedding. We like to drive through the night when there is less traffic on the road. This particular trip I didn’t sleep at all and as dawn broke, I contracted what my family calls “the sleepy sillies.”

pcb sunsetA thought, a memory of my step-dad crossed my mind, and I burst into uncontrollable laughter. My traveling companions tried to get me to share the reason I was laughing, and I tried. I really tried to share my memory, but I couldn’t contain the laughter long enough to spill the story.

Even though they didn’t know why I was laughing, they found the whole scene humorous. It took several minutes for me to tell enough of the story between laughs that they knew which story I remembered. Then, we laughed so hard our stomach muscles hurt, and tears of laughter escaped our eyes.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting (Job 8:21 ESV).

There are storms in our lives that bring stress and heartache. Times of laughter may seem far away during those rough seasons in our lives. Laughter can break the pain much like the sun breaks through the night.

An outburst of laugher—no matter the reason—can give you much needed relief. God promised to pour out laughter on us. Take some time in His presence today and ask Him for a dose of laughter, then expect Him to fill you with it today.

“Like a welcome summer rain,

humor may suddenly cleanse

and cool the earth, the air and you.”

~Langston Hughes

Resting in God—Your Storm Cellar

April showers bring May flowers, and if you live in the Oklahoma plains like my grandparents did, you often found yourself in the cellar during a tornado warning. IMG_0226 I remember one particular spring weekend my grandfather taking all of us grand kids to the cellar as a storm blew in at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I remember peering into the living room to see Grandma looking out the front windows of the living room as she prayed about the storm. Grandpa was calling to me and my cousin, “C’mon. Get down here.”

God desires for you not only to survive the storms life brings, but also to thrive once you come through them.

I remember the smell of the earth as we sit in the middle of the cellar. A few of Grandma’s canned fruits and vegetables leftover from winter lined the walls. Grandpa had his little radio tuned to hear some type of weather reports. But Grandma stayed in the living room, watching the storm and trusting God for the tornado to pass over her property untouched.

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat, (Isaiah 25:4 NIV).

Rather than being anxious about the storm, I wanted it to hurry and pass so we could get outside and play in the puddles I knew would remain in the driveway.  Less than an hour later, we received the all clear and my cousins and I scurried outside to enjoy what water was left standing after the heavy rain.

Storms are an inevitable part of life. God desires for you not only to survive the storms life brings, but also to thrive once you come through them. If you’re going through a storm today, settle yourself in the peace of God’s presence as the storm passes, and look forward to the joy He will bring to you once the storm is passed.

“A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.”

~R.C. Ferguson