A Heart of Thanksgiving

Tonight as I was driving home from a busy day at church I was crying my eyeballs out to the Lord, quite literally. I was finally alone and able to pour out my heart frustrated over a situation that continued to leave me in a place of discontent (well, not just one, but several and they seem to all come at the same time-go figure).

I knew I didn’t want to feel this way, much less stay where my emotions were swirling around me like a tornado. My body was telling me how much it didn’t like this and my heart was in full agreement (ain’t nobody got time for that!).

So it occurred to me that I needed to begin thanking God for what He was doing for me now and for when I found myself here again. On Facebook I keep coming across posts that speak to responding with a thankful heart, from a place of gratitude. Honestly that takes a lot of effort at times, especially when it’s easier to wallow in self-pity. But I was desperate to win this battle!

20140223-191758.jpg
I knew it was the heart of God speaking to me, so I thanked Him.

“I thank You Jesus for speaking the truth to me, that You are on my side. When I feel something or someone is working against me, trying to keep me from getting to You, I can remind myself that those things have no power on me whatsoever.

“I thank You Holy Spirit for teaching me Your ways, for reminding me to thank You, to praise You in the midst of my emotions that seem to whirl me out of control. You don’t want me to stay stuck here where my enemies can have their way with me. Thank You for showing me that when I’m under attack to rebuke the enemy. When he lies to me, when I feel terrible because my stomach is bound up by knots of stress to put him in his place, right back in the pit of hell!

“Thank You Father God for speaking to the honest place inside of me that knows my heart and my motives. Thank You for the assurance that You are leading and guiding me, that Your intentions are for my best. I’m so very grateful for Your care, Your love and for drawing me closer to Your heart.”

It was so simple and brought such relief that I still marvel at why I struggle to respond this way when the battle rages in my heart. But I know this to be true:

The enemies of my soul don’t want me to know and recognize that I have already won this fight. They assail me with lies and fear. Their attempts to overwhelm me with doubt succeed at times to throw me into a pit of despair, but today I didn’t stay stuck there, praise God!

Micah 7:8
Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.Though I sit in darkness,the Lord will be my light.

I reached out and took the strong arm of my merciful Father who showed His heart, full of compassion and patience towards me by lifting me up out of the muck and mire, reassuring me of the truth.

“You are loved and cared for deeply dear one. I am on your side and won’t let you go through this battle alone.
I am for you, so who or what can be against you? Nothing. No one can stop what I have planned for you. And it’s so good, so very good. He says

Luke 10:41-42
Elaina, Elaina, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Choose what is better, and it will not be taken away from you.”

Sovereign Lord, thank You for helping me fight this battle, for reminding me that I am not fighting it alone and have the victory even now. Thank You for teaching me to lay hold of who You say that I am: Your daughter, child of the Most High God, the King over all the earth and that I am loved more deeply than I will ever know.

There Is No Shame Here

Isaiah 43:4
“You are precious and honored in My sight.”

These words confirm yet again the deep, deep love of my Heavenly Father. A love that won’t change because of my choice. A love that will steadily pursue me. A love that is taking hold of my heart to convince me that I am accepted no matter what I do, no matter how many times I feel like I have failed my God. A love that remains strong for me because I belong to the King of the universe and He has everything I need, even when I struggle to believe it.

Time and time again I find myself considering the love Christ has for me. I am grateful that I know His love more deeply for me today than I did yesterday. I’m walking through a situation where I feel that no matter what I choose to do, I’m faced with the cost of my choices. And right now it feels like no small thing. But perhaps that’s a lie from the pit of hell intended to keep me from moving forward. Nonetheless, I still have a choice to make and I have been worried about the consequences, about how this would alter the course of my life.

Yet that’s the amazing thing. God is speaking to me, reassuring me with His gentleness that no matter what I choose to do He will never change His love for me. He says “there is no condemnation for me because I am in Him.” (Romans 8:1) He knows my heart and the emotional battle that I’m fighting. He knows the fears I have in facing the unknown. He also knows my future and He isn’t trying to manipulate or control me in an effort to make me choose the “right thing.” It’s because of His love that I have peace in the freedom to choose. The prayer of my heart is to choose His way, to honor Him, so that He is pleased with me. But He already feels that way because I’m His kid. He delights in me. He knows I am taking a risk and says to me “There is no shame here. I know your heart. I understand what you’re facing and it’s going to be okay. You don’t have to face this alone. I’m right here next to you. I won’t stop loving you. My grace for you is greater than you know.”

Your precious grace oh God, will be sufficient for whatever I may face. And my hope is in You alone. I know You will not not leave me to fight this battle on my own.

Love Is Worth The Fight

James 1:4 reads
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

This caught my eye tonight because lately I feel more than overwhelmed at times. In the midst of crying out to the Savior of my soul I know deep inside that I can’t give up now. There’s no turning back for me because I decided long ago I was done with the bad habits and stupid thoughts that have held me captive for much of my life. So onward and upward I climb, but right now I’m worn out. I’ve been sick. I’m tired. I have so many things to keep track of and be responsible for. It’s exhausting trying to live a disciplined life. This is no simple task. It’s requiring every ounce of fight and resolve to keep my head up when I want to shrink back and crumble to the floor.

How often have I cried out for You to change me Lord only to find myself with heels dug in, stalling the process of growth because I didn’t want to do the work of becoming disciplined. Or I was too scared to face the unknown or even so the truth that I’m far from perfect and in desperate need of Your grace to change the ugly places in my heart. I’m really good at coming up with excuses for why I can’t than accepting the truth that I can do this. I will make it because I am not alone.

I’m so grateful to You Lord for not giving up on me. Not once. Not ever! You keep chasing me and calling out to me with such tenderness that I can’t help but know Your love for me runs deep.

Keep calling me. Don’t stop pursuing my heart.

I think of the words from this song that someone long ago said I should listen to, something I didn’t pursue right away, but at just the right moment they hit home with me:

“You won’t relent until You have it all.
My heart is Yours.”

This is my prayer Lord Jesus. I just want to be so in love with You that nothing else matters.