Tag Archives: broken
05. Sep, 2012

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

I sit down at my computer this morning, staring at the blank page seeing the blinking cursor.  It seems to be mocking me… challenging me, “do you REALLY wanna go there”??!!

But, as I smile, I know that I have never been one who is good at backing down at speaking Truth, even if it goes against the flow, or rubs people the wrong way.  Ultimately, I am not really here to please people, I am to be living my life as a pleasing aroma to my King, and willing to use whatever gifts He has given me, to help speak Truth in love, encouragement, challenges, and a loving desire for my brothers and sisters to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Being a bit of a “word-buff”, I decided to go to the dictionary and look up a few words that seem to be floating around me recently.  Words that said by themselves, seem to be words that we sorta slide over, rush past knowing their meaning isn’t really nice, but not really wanting to spend too much time looking deeper into them, and see the blackness behind their true definition. Now, being a tactile person, words are just words to me, unless I have a way to FEEL them, resonate with them somehow, or have personally seen them played out both positively OR negatively in the lives of my family and friends.  So, I want you to, if you will, stop with each word and think.  THINK how you maybe have been impacted by them, seen them used in your family or friend’s life, or… if you will be willing to be very honest, be willing to admit that you have been the one to speak them yourself.

Definition of SLANDER : to utter slander against : defame

Definition of DEFAME 1archaic : disgrace; 2: to harm the reputation of by libel or slander; 3archaic : accuse

Definition of DISGRACE 1archaic : to humiliate by a superior showing; 2: to be a source of shame to disgraced the family; 3: to cause to lose favor or standing disgraced by the hint of scandal

Definition of GOSSIP 1: a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; 2a : rumor or report of an intimate nature

21 years of ministry, and 42 years of living, and I have to tell you I have been on the receiving end of these words on more than one occasion.  I personally had great pain from the impact of these words.  We have seen loss of friendships, ministries, and family because them.  I have seen how turning a blind eye and allowing the cancer of these words to spread, can become so damaging all you long for is Heaven and the perfection of the Holy and Righteous God who Judges according to His goodness, Love and Truth.

And, to be brutally honest, I have been the one speaking these words from time to time.  I have done the unthinkable and opened my mouth to speak out against my brother or sister.  I don’t approach this subject with a blind eye, or a finger pointing at the splinter in someone else’s eye, when I KNOW that I have had not only logs, but full on forests growing in my eyes!

Our women’s group at Lifezone have been going through the Book of James and we have had 6 weeks so far, of hard hitting words from the half-brother of Christ.  He doesn’t seem to mince words, or beat around the bush.  He straight forwardly said:

 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” –James 4:11-12

In our study, this was said:

“Judgmental thoughts toward other believers put me at greater risk of trouble with God than those old sins I have committed”.  We then were encouraged to go read Luke 18:8-14. I spent time just reading and rereading this passage, particularly verse 14.

I see how these words of “slander, defame, disgrace, gossip” are really the negative outpouring of each of us standing in judgment over each other.  I can judge your actions based on my own personal information, and decide that I have the right to be judge and jury in your life. And you do the same in my life.  You stand in judgment over me.

I loved that we were hit full force with the clear understanding that God is the only One that is allowed to judge.  And what is the coolest thing is that God will judge based on Truth.  He sees the past, He sees the present, and MOST importantly He sees the future!  He knows what the real motivation of our hearts are, and He will judge accordingly. And when He Judges, there will never be slander or gossip from His Holy lips.  He will never disgrace or defame one of His Kids.  We are His Inheritance. We are part of His Royal Priesthood and are Princesses or Princes in His Kingdom.

But let me get back to James for a minute.  James seemed to be encountering a pretty yucky situation in his congregation, for him to feel the need to speak so strongly to his brothers and sisters.  It seems they too, were not acting like Princesses or Princes.  They might have let slide the understanding that they are part of the Royal Kingdom, and were allowing the “world’s” standards instead to begin to seep in. They might have been turning on one another, slandering, defaming, disgracing and gossiping, instead of seeking to reach a sick and dying world around them. Was he seeing what I have been seeing?  Did he feel the sting of gossip, slander, and defamation too?  Was he seeing his family and friends being affected by this cancer?

I wonder if it is that as believers of Jesus, we are seemingly not doing  a very good job of loving each other well.  Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” talks about how if we are loving God with every fiber of our being, we will not have room in our lives to be sinning.  We will be so filled up with love for God, that it will pour out of our lives into others around us.  And as we are loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds, we will naturally love our “neighbors” (both the non-Christians and Christians alike) as ourselves.  That in loving El Elyon with such devotion, that we become aware of how much grace we have been extended, and again, from that place of complete love for God, we naturally pour grace unto others around us.

Funny, as I was standing in the shower this morning, I was thinking about a conversation I had with my oldest on Monday.  She has been studying the Fruits of the Spirit, and she was on “Patience”.   Sis has also spent some time at the feet of a Bible Teacher learning the importance of having “porcupines” in our lives because by having the hard to love around us, we are being given real life examples of “practicing what we preach”.  If I say “I love you no matter what, because God has given me the greatest love of all”, then certainly we should expect He is going to allow us to have people to do that very thing with.  Or, if we say “I am SOSO overcome with God’s amazing Grace in my life, I just can’t imagine not showing it towards my brothers and sisters!”, then we should know that Adonai will place people in our lives that we need to give grace, grace and more grace to.

Peppa said her Bible Teacher encouraged us that we need these people to help us learn how to “die to self”.  The world says “if someone is making you miserable, get rid of them”, but God’s standards are different.  If someone is in your life that allows you “practice what you preach”, then maybe you and I need to spend more time thanking El Roi, who sees it all, and knows what the outcome of this situation will be. He is desiring to refine us, and that by turning up the fire in our lives, He wants to allow the imperfections to come to the surface so that He can scrape them off and we will become more and more in the image of His Son. Instead of fighting with His kids, and judging each other for this or for that, He wants to show the world that He is a God of love, and wants to use us to do that.

So how do we do that?  Because, let’s be honest, there are people and situations that in my 42 years of living, that even now, in my mind’s eye I want to line up in front of a nice good old fashioned firing squad and will happily jump up to be the commanding officer that gets to count down the rifle bearers to shoot.  Come on, as you read this, I hope some of you are smiling and murmuring an “amen!” under your breath.  I HOPE that I am not the only one….  I see them as my “porcupines” and I struggle to WANT to love them, to extend grace to, when it seems like I have some deep wounds from their involvement in my life.  So, I go back to the only source that I know will speak Truth and be reliable to show me how to live in a such a way that won’t grieve the Spirit that is in me.  Because the reality is, the Holy Spirit really isn’t One to encourage firing squads!  I know that…….

James 1:22-25

Obey the Word of God. If you hear only and do not act, you are only fooling yourself. 23 Anyone who hears the Word of God and does not obey is like a man looking at his face in a mirror. 24 After he sees himself and goes away, he forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who keeps looking into God’s perfect Law and does not forget it will do what it says and be happy as he does it. God’s Word makes men free.

I have seen this pattern in my life, where I will emotionally connect with a passage of scripture, or a message being spoken and go “Wow!!  That was really good!  I should try and remember that.”, but walk away and never seek to put into practice what I have learned.  James speaks to this… Being a “hearer” or an actual “doer” of the Word.

So, why does it seem like I am walking around in circles and not really “getting to the point”??  Let me try now to tie this all up by offering a personal testimony.  17 years ago, I was really burned by those words that we started to look at in the beginning of this blog.  Being a “artistic” person, and ADD to boot, music has always had great impact on me.  Words sung from a heart with different instruments used to add emphasis resonate deeply to my core.  A song that I would listen to over and over again during that painful time, was from a band called White Heart, entitled “Seventy Times Seven.” I just would sob, sing, sob, sing and sob some more.  I was young and naïve.  I was completely bowled over by the knowledge that believers in Jesus could so deeply wound one another.  People that I had respected, considered friends and counted on, left me bleeding in the dust.  I don’t for a minute believe that it was a coincidence that White Heart’s song was the newest released song getting massive air time on the Christian radio stations.  And whilst that song helped me cry out my pain in the moment, I don’t believe I did what Scripture says.  I didn’t really forgive seventy times seven. I just simply moved on from that pain, allowing the “past to be the past” and not ever really wanting to open that door to my heart again.

I have come full circle.  This morning I created a new play list on my Praisepod.  It’s simple title is “Forgiveness”.  The first song to go into that play list was White Heart’s song from so long ago, with several other new ones that K-Love is playing right now.  “Losing” by Tenth Avenue North, and “Forgiveness” by Mathew West just to name a few.

The point I am trying so desperately to make as I seek to close this circle of thought is that choosing to forgive is at the heart of being on the receiving end of all those awful words.

Definition of FORGIVING 1: willing or able to forgive; 2: allowing room for error or weakness

Definition of FORGIVE 1a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for forgive an insult; 2: to cease to feel resentment against

This time around, I want to do differently than I did 17 years ago.  I want to forgive.  I want to give up resentment, and I want to allow room for error or weakness in other people’s lives. I want to turn up my Praisepod, sing the songs as my hearts cry, and stand in front of my 1 Corinthians 13 passage taped to my bathroom wall and choose to pray love into my situation.  I want to love as God has loved me.  I want to offer grace, to the same measure that I have been given.  And I want to forgive to the same measure of which I have been forgiven. I think in doing that, I am doing what James has said. I am looking into that mirror, and NOT walking away this time as if nothing is different.  I want to wake up tomorrow different.  I want to be dead to myself, and have more of Christ shining out of me.  I want to be one that the sick and dying world can look to and see someone that has offered grace and forgiveness to, NOT in my own strength, but because I am represent a God that has done it for me.

And I never again want to allow slander, gossip, or defamation to come from my mouth.  Words hurt deeply.  Careless words spoken, divide.  And slander will destroy friendships and trust.  I don’t want that to be part of my list that God speaks to me about on my day of reckoning.  I have enough other issues we are still working on.

So, I will end this with a “Thank You”.  With not one little bit of sarcasm or bitterness in my voice (I pinky swear!) thank you to each one of you who have allowed me the opportunity to die to myself.  I have chosen to take Paul’s words one step farther, and say “I thank God for my remembrance of you”.  I can sit here this morning and think of each of your faces.  If I didn’t have you “porcupines” in my life, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be refined.  I wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow in Christ.  I really do need you.  Each of you have taught me more about myself, and shown me how much I long to be a girl that through thick and thin, good and bad, happy times and painful times, is growing to become more Christ like.

I will end with some of the lyrics from Mathew West’s song, “Forgiveness”

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
 
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness
 
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
 
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
31. May, 2012

I am not who I used to be….

I am not who I used to be….

“What this means is that those who become  Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

“But forget all of that-it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!”-Isaiah 43:18-19

The purpose of this blog is different then most that I have written. So bear with me as it might get a bit long (sorry to some of you who hate reading but stick with me!) I guess this blog has kind of formed out of a really interesting week for me. This week, I had the most amazing encounter with God that I would never have expected to have in a million years. Not only that but I preached my second sermon so far and had kind of an update meeting with my wonderful teacher Chris Opie from Pathways college. This blog is coming from a heart that can not stop from giving thanks to God and not stop falling on my face before Him.

I know some of you knew back in my darker days and saw that ugly side of me, and some of you have thankfully not had to witness that, but have only begun to see the transformed me that God is continually working. But I wanted to start by saying God has not done a tweak in my life, He has completely transformed my life. Some of you here in NZ who know me now might not have noticed me if you had passed me on the shops three years ago. And as I have been thinking about it the last couple of weeks, I am so continually blown away that I keep hitting my knees in awe and thankfulness as I look around me and see the amazing works that God has done in my life. What really hit it all home was when I sat down on Saturday morning with my Mug&Muffin girls and watched one of my favorite Bible teachers Beth Moore, share about a life transformed in David. And I seriously wanted to break down and cry right then (tears of joy). I sit here at the end of a very full week and I look back, I see the faithfulness and fingerprints of God all the way through it. For me, I know I am not the same girl I used to be and I can not take any credit for that. Because I know if I did that I would need to be struck down with lighting (hahaha Peyton) or something. For me tonight this has been my wake up moment and I have realized that I know I am not where I used to be, not by a long shot. I am very thankful and humbled and happy to say that as much as the enemy tried, he did not get all that he wanted from me.

I want to share with some of you who haven’t seen me in a year or two (or who have facebook stalked me via photos and what not) what has been going down on my side of the world. At the beginning of this year, I have had the amazing privilege to be accepted into Pathways Bible College, and am working part time on a certificate in Worship Leading. Never in a million years would I have ever believed that God would do such a thing for me. Not even when I was a little girl singing worship songs with my dad on stage at summer camp would I believe that something like this would be part of my life at 18. Pathways has already begun to stretch me and change me in ways I would never have thought possible. (thanks Chris Opie and Craig Barrow) but the things I am learning, I continue to be blown away by. The people that I have been able to come into contact with because of this program blow my socks off. I am so glad I am not the only weird one out there, but there are others like me. I find myself growing in my knowledge and area of worship, in my walk with God, and in my prayer life.

The other thing that has happened is that God has continued to allow me to be apart of an amazing, growing, blossoming youth group that has God’s fingerprints all over it. Now if you had asked me three years ago if I would ever be apart of a youth group that was so on fire I would say no. This youth group has challenged me in so many areas that I can’t even begin to name them all. But the few that stick out as the most prominate is that I have had the privilege of having amazing youth pastors and leaders around me who have encouraged me to step up and use my gifts when I have wanted to shy away and just ignore the fact that I might have any to begin with. For me I am really insecure person (just being honest.) So to even think about getting up and sticking up my hand and saying “ya I will do that” scares the crap out of me! But in the last year, I have not only seen my guitar/singing abilities change and grow slowly, but I have had the opportunity of being able to preach two messages on things that God has been teaching me. I never would have even imagined doing something like that……EVER!!! But God has decided other wise. 😉 funny that ey. But I haven’t gotten up there doing it by myself, but I know that I have had not only the backing of a youth pastor who has looked over my sermon and my academic advisor (AKA my dad) but I have had the surrounding and prayer of people around the world. That in and of itself has allowed me to fall back into knowing I am not doing my life on my own and it isn’t me against the world like I used to think.

The other really neat God thing is that God has opened the door and allowed me to be able to, is as 1 Corinthians 11:1 says “Follow my example as I follow Christ’s” with some girls. I have had the the most knee knocking, scaring me half to death, but oh so rewarding opportunity to speak into the lives of some girls at my youth group as well as some that have been coming to the girls Bible study I have been holding in my house. To watch as the girls wrestle with God, and seek God and finally hit that point of surrendering to God has been amazing. And the fact that God doesn’t waste anything and has continued to use bits of my story to be a sign post to these girls has blown my mind to no end.

And as I sit here tonight I realized that all of those months of me saying “there has got to be a reason why Satan is attacking me so hard right now, there has got to be something in New Zealand that Satan isn’t happy about” is now all starting to make sense. As I was drifting off to sleep its like a light bulb went off in my head. Some of these things began to make sense, and it is like the veil of heaven got pulled back for a split second and some stuff finally started clicking. God has absolutely done a 180 with my life that I can take no credit for it, and I hope that I am becoming a woman that when people see me, they see nothing of me but every ounce of me gets to point back to God and His glory. No I am not writing this to say look at how great I am, but merely to humbly say that I am not who I used to be. I made a conscious decision to obey my God rather than my fear and insecurity and sin. Just like I chose to walk away, I also chose to walk back and say “actually God, You take back over my life because I did a messy job of it by my own hands”. So I guess what I wanted to communicate is that God was good and so faithful and so mind blowing and so merciful. God is good, when there was nothing good in me. He was hope, and He cover all of my sin. He was peace, when my fear was crippling. And I can now stand on this side of my battle and crap and look back and see how God is beginning to redeem my junk and strength gifts and talents I didn’t even know I had. 😛 I want to humbly say to you guys that I am not who I used to be, to that God gets all of the glory. I guess each time I have hit my knees that last couple of weeks, I feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and gratitude to God.

I know that God is still working on me. I am after all, human. And I know that I still have a long way to go, but I know that greater things are still yet to come in my own life. I am now excited for whatever is next (after I get through this crazy year!) I am no longer afraid of the future, or feel a need to control certain things in my life. I am merely grabbing God’s hands and walking this path with him. Or as I preached on Friday night, I am excited, to get in the boat with God and push out into the middle of the lake. I know that I still have my moments, I know I still make mistakes, but I know that in the end God still uses it, and I am continuing to seek after Him and whatever and however that may be.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well I say it takes a global village to raise a missionary kid. So I want to stop and thank all of you who have prayed over me and for me. I want to thank those of you who have added so much laughter to my life. Thank you for making me laugh when I have wanted to punch walls in. Thank you for those of you who have believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you to those of you who have pushed me to seek God or pushed me harder so that I can become better and stronger in some areas of my life. Thank you to some of you who I have been able to lean on when things have gotten tough or I have felt weak. You are all so important to me and I know I don’t say it enough or appreciate it enough. Thank you…each and every one of you. I don’t think I have big enough or long enough or even enough words to describe my thanks.

Thank you also to those of my friends both new and old. I know some of you might not realize the impact you have had on my life or how much you might have altered it and changed it, but you have. Some of you so dramatically changed it and some of you have sprinkled it. To each I am eternally grateful.

I wanted to close with this verse cause it kind of sums this all up:

Psalms 116:1-7

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.

29. Jan, 2012

Restoring The Broken Girl

Restoring The Broken Girl

Restoring The Broken Girl

“This is a song for the broken girl. The one pushed aside by the cold, cold world. You are, hear me when I say. You’re not the worthless they made you feel. There is a Love they can never steal away. And you don’t have to stay the broken girl..”

All of us have a past. In your past, you may have been beaten, or sexually abused. Maybe you were verbally abused. Possibly, you could have abused yourself. Maybe you’re like my mom, who was told she was worthless, that she was nothing. Being beaten up with words every day of her life before she met my dad.  Maybe it is that the world has pushed you aside and not let you in. You are experiencing no friends or connections and you feel like you are all alone on a dessert island. No matter what has happened, that is your past. Christ loves you more than you will ever know!!! The cruel people of this world can NEVER take that Love away from you. He loved you enough to do the unthinkable.  He chose to give up His life, so that He could have a relationship with you. Your past is just that, it is your past!!! “You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do.” Don’t let your past stop you from the plans God has for you today and tomorrow, because no one else can fulfill those plans but you!!!

No, this is not your legacy. This is not your destiny. Yesterday does not define you. No, this is not your legacy. This is not your meant to be. I can break the chains that bind you.”

No matter what has been passed down to you, it is your past.  It doesn’t matter if you have had generations of huge screw ups, broken and messed up people in your Family Tree. Just because they lived that life, does NOT mean that you have to latch on to that and keep it going in your Tree. It’s not what YOU ARE meant to be. It’s not part of your future. God can break those chains that are attached to your ankles binding you to your past, but you have to let go of those chains. You are NOT meant to keep walking around tripping up and staggering around with those heavy chains. He will walk with you during this journey but He won’t do it all for you.  Not because He can’t, but because He knows to be truly free, you have to do this. Just let go!!! This is not meant for you!!! “And I will restore, all that was broken, you are loved…. And just like the seasons change, winter into spring, you’re bringing new life to your family tree now.” God has promised to heal your broken heart, and restore you. He will make you new. He will wipe away that broken part of your past.  And you will bring a new life to your family. You will have a NEW Family Tree full of life, growth and love!!!

“When You ran to me, I turned to run” I think often when we see God trying to run towards us, we are too frightened and we do turn and starting running from the only thing that can bring peace and ease to the pain in our hearts. STOP RUNNING AWAY FROM HIM!!!

“Let your tears touch to the ground. Lay your shattered pieces down. And be amazed by how Grace can take a broken girl, and put her back together again”

As soon as you let God in to your life, He will begin to give you a new heart:

2 Corinthians 5:17
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

As soon as you give up and lift your hands into the air and say ‘God, I’m done. Take me and make me new!!! Do in me what You wish!!! I am Your servant now.’, He will take over and He will begin the process of putting  you back together again. But not just the “old” you, but a BRAND NEW you!!!  Lay your old self down at the Cross and ask for forgiveness, then just watch what God does with your new life. How He restores you from your past and how He puts a broken person back together.  He will take your dark distorted view and with His light He will show you Truth. And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl” You look at this world, with hate and disgust for what it has done to you. You may even look at God with hate and disgust because you say He took your mum from you. Once you surrender yourself to Him, He will give you new eyes to look at this world with. You’ll see through those innocent eyes again. Those eyes you used when you were just a little girl. You’ll see He really didn’t take her from you, that He was there with her the whole time pursuing her too.

“There could never be a more beautiful you. Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through! You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do. So there could never be a more beautiful you”. What God sees when He looks at you is nothing less than His beautiful creation.  He has formed you, and put you together in your mother’s womb.  You ARE one of a kind and thus splendid and beautiful!!!  Don’t let the lies of this world fool you into believing differently.  You have a destiny and purpose that only you can fulfill.  Broken, chained and hiding out will never allow you to do that. Restoration and healing are closer than you can possibly imagine!!!