I am Chosen

I get these great little devotional’s from Max Lucado every morning, & this morning this particular devotional struck me;

I know those I have chosen.” John 13:18

Would you choose a wanted murderer to lead you out of bondage? Would you call upon a fugitive to carry the Ten Commandments? God did . . . Called his name through a burning bush. Scared old Moses right out of his shoes!

The reassuring lesson is clear. God . . . uses people to change the world. People! Not saints or superhumans or geniuses, but people.

My battle is constant & it is based on this lie I have bought into “I am not someone God could use”.  I know that Jesus Loves me, I even received a message from him through a friend of mine whose gift is prophetic about how much He loves me.  He shows me He loves me in so many ways and yet…I don’t believe Him!

So if I am chosen, what am I suppose to do with that?  I am just me, I love dogs more than people most days…I know most people do not understand that, especially my family, but that is my reality.  I know He created me this way but I feel guilty most days that I am not more connected to the people in my life.  My kids often have gotten the short end of the stick as far as having a plugged in mother.  My husband definitely doesn’t get the best of me so how can I be chosen?

I know all the logical answers, but I do not believe them because if I did, I would be different wouldn’t I?

If any of you have read my testimony you know that I have chosen to live in a fantasy world most of my life.  Its so much easier that dealing with the tough things…so this Journey of letting God have control is a very difficult one because relearning new habits and ways of thinking is really like starting over. I am re-examining everything, my values, my beliefs not only in who I am but in who God is.  Dealing with my anger is not easy either because behind that anger is a whole list of lies I have chosen to believe about myself & about God. It’s kind of like walking around in a dark room cluttered with old furniture trying to find the light switch, often you bump into things that are in the room that you thought were gone & things you thought were there are not where they are suppose to be…

So today’s small beam of light in this dark room is in this statement alone “I AM CHOSEN”

Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings

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On the Precipice of Change

I have always prided myself in the fact that I don’t avoid conflict, that I stand and face the stuff that comes my way…do you hear a but coming?  I feel like I have been living in a dream world, that I have never had an idea of the what reality really is.

In January I started a class called Open hearts which is a support group for survivors of abuse.  Initially I decided to take it because someone suggested that I should lead a group sometime but I needed to go through it first.   It’s funny though because I have never really considered myself a survivor of abuse, in fact I have always thought I’ve had a pretty good life.  Yes there were rough spots but everyone has those right?   Let me just tell you….the last 11 weeks have been THE most difficult I have EVER had.  In the first few weeks we had to write our story beginning to end(I really had never thought I had a story until I wrote it all down).  I couldn’ t believe how painful that was, I cried for days.  A few weeks later I wrote a letter to my young self….here is a small part of it;

scan0001 Dear little Crystal

There are so many things that I would like you to know.  I wish I could love the little person that you are but I don’t even think I ever got to know you.  You had to grow up so fast and there was never time just to be a little girl….I wish you could have learned early how unique God created you and that He has a special reason for you to be on this earth, maybe if you would have known this you would not have wasted so much of your life feeling sorry for yourself and being angry.  Maybe you could have made more of a difference sooner if you would have let go of all your insecurities sooner, I really wish things could have been different for you.

The big Crystal

All of this is opening up issues, deep dark issues, you know, the kind you do not want anyone to know about that I must deal with and yet all week I have been struggling with wanting to crawl back into the dream world I have been living in.  I feel like I am standing on the edge of a cliff and looking over the edge and trying to decide whether to jump over or not.  I desperately want to not have to deal with the “stuff” but I will never be who God wants me to be until I do and jump off this cliff I am on and have faith that He will take care of me.  I feel so ugly right now and don’t understand why God would even consider using me, I have wasted so much time.   I am so disappointed with myself!

This is a quote from the open hearts book from last week’s lesson “Those who are alive have feelings, emotions and thoughts to deal with.  You may feel more like a sinner now than when you were half dead.  Are you regressing?  No, to feel is to be alive.  Now you have to deal with reality and God.”

To feel is to be alive…I have to find a way to jump off the cliff I am standing on, & when I jump off there will be no going back to the old way of doing things.  Hopefully after I do I will feel better than I do now.

New Beginnings…

Hello my friends!

Well it has been awhile since I have posted anything here or even visited many blogs! In a way I feel bad that I have missed out on so much of your lives but I have had a good reason, really I do!

In the beginning of April I was struggling badly with my health and with my spiritual life. It’s really hard to explain but I really came to the end of my rope so to speak. It’s funny cause looking back it really wasn’t as bad as I felt it was at the time but in my desperation I cried out to God and he answered me by asking a question of me. “What are you willing to sacrifice for me? You say you love me and want to be like my son but you do not want to give up anything.”

I was devastated! “What do you mean Lord? I thought I was doing everything you asked of me?” His answer to me was so soft and gentle it still makes me cry…”I love you Crystal, and I want what is best for you and for 2 years I have asked you to fast and you refuse to do it, you will start and then give up before I can complete the work in you. You say you want me to help you with your weight issue’s and I have a plan to help you but you refuse to surrender in the one area that you are begging for my help in”. SMACK! I came face to face with my nemisis…my emotional connection to food and my refusal to surrender it to Jesus so that I can be healed.

So there you have it…the beginning of my Journey to Surrender! I have not completed my Journey, I am still on the road but I want to share my Journey with you! So for then next few weeks I am going to try to post every day and share a bit of my journal with you. There are two reasons I want to post something so personal; one to record my thoughts and revelations to remind myself of what God is doing in me; two is to hopefully maybe help just one other person who may be struggling just like me.

So starting on Monday May 12 I will begin the journal on my fast. I pray that it will be an encouragement to you!

On side note…It’s my birthday today! Let’s just say I am holding on 29 at this point but I am overwhelmed with my blessings and there is so much to be thankful for. Last night my daughter took me out for my birthday and we went to dinner & a movie. The movie was “Made of Honor”. I have to say it was one of the best chick flick movies I have seen in a long time. I am amazed at the beautiful generous woman my daughter is turning into she totally amazes me! I wish I could take the credit for the beautiful young lady she is today but God really has to be the one who gets the glory!

God has blessed me with a new job that I stared last week. It’s close to where I live(so I can walk to work if I want to…it’s only about 6 blocks, it will save us a ton on gas and I will get an extra hour in my day because I am not driving so far!), it’s full time and as a bonus on top of all of that I get to work with my friend Darla. Can life get any better than this? My life has sped up considerably in the last few weeks but it’s been good for me.

Well that is about it for today, I have so much to say but I think I will save it for my journaling in the next few weeks! Thanks for stopping by!

Free to Walk on Water

I’m gonna get a little personal…enter at your own risk!

Are you like me? Have you ever wondered if someone will ever love you just the way you are?  Do you ever feel alone?  Cry for no good reason at all?  Feel like something is wrong with you because you are surrounded by a whole room of people and still feel alone? Do you ever feel like there is this large void in the center of your being and no amount of encouragement or affirmation is good enough to answer the question “Am I important?  Do I matter?” 

As I get older I become more and more convinced that we really have no idea how to love each other or we would not having feelings like this in the body of Christ.  The kind of Love that Paul describes in 1 Cor 13 seems unattainable to me.  John 13:34 & 35 (34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”) This Love that Jesus is talking about would make us attractive as a Church right?  People would be drawn to that kind of love!

Unfortunately it’s much easier to criticize and judge than encourage and love one another and the church as a whole is known in our western culture as an unsafe place for our hearts. Let’s face it each of us have been hurt in some way by a fellow believer.  So what happens when we get hurt?  We either shut down and spend allot of time trying not to allow ourselves to be hurt again, carrying bitterness and anger with a nice mask to cover it in the public… or we deal with it, cry & grieve but then we move on.  Unfortunately most of us if you are like me at all are more likely to lean toward self protection rather than vulnerability but if we really want to make a difference in the world it’s going to take vulnerability, just look at Jesus’ life.  He allowed them to call him names, beat him and went to the cross, all for US.  He did not defend Himself or get angry, He could have…but He didn’t because He wanted to demonstrate the kind of love that would change the world.

So what hurt, anger or bitterness are you carrying with you?  Are you believing the lies of your critics and feeling the need to protect yourself?  Here are a couple of the lies I struggle with and all of them are statements that have been spoken to me at one time or another.

I wish you were never born” – making me believe that my life was not valuable.  You will never amount to anything and no one will EVER love you this way” making me believe that I am unlovable and nothing I ever do will be good enough for me to be loved.  Both of these statements were spoken to me when I young girl and at that time I didn’t know that I had the choice not to believe them, but now as an adult I do have a choice to replace those ugly statements with the voice of God when He says to me “I loved you before you were born and have planned everything about you, You are important to ME. You don’t need to do one more thing to make Me love you, I love you the way you are.”

Here are some thoughts from a book I am reading called “Captivating” by John & Staci Eldridge.

“The purposes of Jesus Christ are not finished when one of His precious children is forgiven. Would a good father feel satisfied when his daughter is rescued from a car accident, but left in ICU? Doesn’t he want her to be healed as well?

 
“You are the glorious Image Bearer of the Lord Jesus Christ – the crown of His creation.  You have been assaulted.  You have fallen to your own resources.  Your enemy has seized upon your wounds and your sins to pin your heart down.  Now the Son of God has come to ransom you, and heal your broken, wounded, bleeding heart, and to set you free from bondage.  He came for the broken hearted captives.  That’s me!  That’s you!  He came to restore the glorious creation that YOU ARE.  And then set you free…to be yourself.”

Why don’t you speak these verses with me out loud?

Isaiah 61:1-3 says

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Today He is offering more than just forgiveness, He is offering complete healing from all the hurt that’s ever been inflicted on you.  He is asking you & me to be vulnerable so that hurting people would be attracted to Jesus in us.  Will you let Him heal you … so that you can offer healing to others? 

I will close with some thoughts that a friend of mine shared with me this week that really stuck with me.  She asked me “Why did Peter sink when he went to walk on the water?” “The waves and the rough water made him take his eyes off Jesus” she stated.  A light bulb went off in my head as she said to me “Jesus offers all of us the opportunity to walk on water but so often we sink because we take our eye off of Jesus.  There will always be storms and waves that distract us, but as long as our eyes are on Him we can rise above our circumstances and walk on water and when we do sink, because we will, we are human after all … He will always be there offering His hand to pull us back up if we allow Him to.”

On the Journey

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I am in a strange phase in my life. I am disillusioned with life in general, there have been some things that have happened that have made me really evaluate my life and really question my worth as a person in general. I am learning that I will have to learn to let go of what man thinks of me, their comparisons, unrealistic standards. People will always let us down, fail us & hurt us, in fact I am sure that I have failed & hurt several people in my life but all I can do is apologize I hopefully learn from it. So why do I wallow? Why can’t I break this hold that the hurt has on my life? I wish I knew, all I know right now is that I am in a winter season in my life and it’s a real struggle.

More and more I am realizing how much I lack the faith it takes to be like Jesus. Something someone said to me really made me think today, he said “If you as a Christian are not interested in helping other people see Jesus, talk to them about your faith and share your good news then you better re-evaluate your decision to become a Christian”. BAM, that hit me right between the eyes! I don’t seek out the people who need Jesus, in fact I possibly even ignore them most days. I am to busy doing my life day to day! So that being said I consider this verse;

Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 Because of the joy We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

So I am on the Journey! Hopefully learning something about being like Jesus but realizing more and more every day how unlikely it will be that I ever be like Him. I’m struggling with these weights that slow me down but now that I see them, maybe I will figure out how to get rid of them and run my race more effectively.

Just a few of my thoughts for today!

Feeling Small!

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This picture is a great representation of how I have been really feeling lately…really small in the grand scheme of things.

This is another big part of my struggle to let God have control. I am stubborn, I want things my way and God in His graciousness has let me have control. Of course I have messed things up again and getting back on track is not as easy as I had hoped it would be. I can come up with several excuses which could justify my feelings but all of them just seem stupid. They are just circumstances and my own disillusionment. So in the process of trying to scratch, claw and drag myself out of this hole I put myself in I have realized again that I don’t need to do anything. My Father is waiting to help me out if only I would just look up and reach for His hand. I am unable to fix this gap between me and Him on my own, I need Him!

Circumstances happen, husbands, friends & family disappoint & hurt us and even our church will let us down at some point but He never changes.

He is the only constant in this storm of life! He is the rock that never moves…I just wish I would get it and not have to keep learning this lesson over and over again.

God most often speaks to me in songs and this song has just pierced me today.

These are the words to the song but please take the time to follow the link and listen to the song because it’s not just the words that makes this song powerful, it’s the melody.

Praise You in This Storm
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it’s still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can’t find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

I know that I have struggled with visiting all of you at your blogs so for that I hope you will forgive me. I will do my best to get back on track in reading and trying to be an encouragement as your fellow blogger. Thank you for your patience with me!