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.

A Smile From God

This morning’s devotional read:

“Let your heart be encouraged by the way God smiles at you every day—in a beautiful sunset…a bird in flight…a star-filled sky…something that makes your heart feel truly thankful.”

I happened to glance at it briefly as I was getting ready to leave to return a movie rental. I had been up for awhile already, trying to leave so I could avoid the pre-football game traffic, but I was moving slow. Plus, the weather was pretty crazy. There was a lot of wind and at one point it was raining really hard. I certainly did not want to get caught in that, but I also didn’t want to wait too much longer.

Soon enough I was able to venture out into the stormy weather. I walked to the store, returned the movie and as I turned around there was one of my beautiful friends who was so thrilled to see me. I truly felt the smile of God on His precious daughters as we reunited.

She gave me the biggest hug and I knew just how much I so loved. You know what that’s like when someone is excited to see you? It leads me to consider that is the same way God feels when we come to Him, excited to see His face, to meet with Him and hear His voice speak to our heart.

She encouraged me and prayed for me before we said goodbye. I reflected back to my devotional, trying to recall each word I had read and knew the blessing of God’s smile on me in that moment.

I felt:

Blessed that I had not left any earlier.

Blessed that my friend was there at just the right moment.

Blessed that God was reminding me how He delights in me.

Father God, thank You for reminding me today that You delight in me, for the way You smiled at me, the way You hugged my heart. I’m so thankful for how You have called to me, chased after me, embraced me with Your infinite love even when I was not deserving of it. I’m grateful that Your love is NOT dependent upon my love for You. It is not determined by how good I was. Your love for me will never change. You will always delight in me because I was made to be Yours.

Lessons Learned In 2013

Well, 2013 is coming to an end and 2014 is well on its way. For some of us, the new year is a welcomed change. I’m one of those hopeful folks ready for a fresh start. This morning I was reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year:

Listen to your body. It speaks volumes. When you feel tired, rest. When you feel stressed out, ask why or what is causing the stress and then address it. If what’s causing the stress is beyond your control, the very best thing is to let it go and put it in the hands of God because He is the ONLY One who can take care of the details.

My tastes, my cravings are changing a lot! I can actually talk myself out of running to grab a drink from Starbucks with the common sense that says “I don’t need that right now.” I still enjoy meeting up with friends or going to use wi-fi, but it’s definitely not about the drinks being a regular thing for me any longer.

Make lots of candy, sweet treats and goodies to share with loved ones. It’s what your mom used to do and it always brings such joy. Besides, you have a plethora of recipes pinned to your Pinterest boards. I love cooking! Oh how I’ve missed it and I’m done making excuses for why I can’t. I have new toys to use in the kitchen and I’m taking advantage of their usefulness. I’ve spent the past twenty-four hours making a half dozen yummy treats that are gluten-free and have healthier ingredients. And they all taste great!

Use what you know to help heal your body. I love eating raw foods and will continue to make healthier choices when it comes to food because I feel so much better when I do. When I don’t I hate how my body feels. I’m really getting this message. It’s coming through loud and clear. I can’t afford to keep buying and eating things that used to satisfy me. I would buy too much of it and eat too much of it at one time. And then I hated myself for making those choices. This cycle is coming to an end! That gap is closing moment by moment. Glory Hallelujah!!!

Don’t stop doing what you were made to do just because its difficult or you find yourself facing opposition. There will always be opposition in some capacity. But with courage you can face anything: fear, doubt, worry, hurt, sorrow, discontent and discouragement. God is for us, so who or what can be against us.

Speak the truth whenever possible and do it in love, but don’t be afraid to speak the truth when it truly matters, even if it seems like all of the ugly feelings are going to come out when you do. You can apologize. It’s much better to not keep it in, stuffed deep inside where it could torture you and hurt you even more. The people who love you will accept you and your apologies and will appreciate your willingness to not allow them to stay in that place and they will try to make changes because they care about their relationship with you.

Put up the Christmas tree the night before Thanksgiving-don’t put it off again. You need this to help usher in the season of celebrating the birth of Christ.

Make time for the people who matter most. Enough said!

Rest, rest, rest. Two weeks off from school does not mean to play catch up at home. It means to sleep, play, sleep, play and do what brings you joy.

Go Christmas caroling! You know you love it.

Take long breaks from social media. Your brain can only process so many things at once.

Make time to talk with God every morning when you wake up and at night when you go to sleep. Don’t ignore Him when He is calling to you. When He is singing you a love song, respond by singing it back to Him. Receive His mercy and grace with open arms and His discipline with a humble heart. He is the One, the ONLY One who loves you without condition and will never fail you. Even when you find yourself disappointed by things that are happening, know that He is still working for your best. He doesn’t mind your honesty when you cry out to Him. Sometimes that is the best way to release your hurt and pain before Him. And the allow Him to heal the deep places where your heart is broken. He wants to restore you completely. He will hold nothing back that He has for you. The question is will you receive His gift of life and hope and healing and restoration?

Thirteen Brides and Twelve Bride Grooms

Can I just say it is very difficult to watch people coupled up and not want to be with someone, especially at this time of year? The ugly struggle I’m having with feelings of discontent and disappointment in my singleness has made me painfully aware that my heart is hardened towards God. I’ve lost my love and passion for Him.

There is this battle I face regularly to not buy into the lies that I am unworthy to have that special someone.

My body is flawed and imperfect so who would be attracted to that?

I struggle in relationships. I have baggage. Who would want me?

No one’s showing interest because you don’t have what it takes.

And sometimes the truth hits me dead on:

If you can’t accept yourself, then how can you expect anyone else to want and accept you?

Or how about this one:

When you let go and stop thinking about it, that’s when it’s going to happen.

I have often felt passed over by God when He was handing out the gift of having a spouse. Watching others step into marriage while I’m still alone can drive me to this place where I question is this something He truly wants for me? How long do I have to wait for Your best, Lord? As I grow in my relationship with God I recognize there is no good thing that I can do to make this happen any sooner, but honestly the wait is just getting harder as the longing in my heart grows.

The words from this song by Royal Tailor keep running through my head as if God is singing them to me:

But I’m gonna make you stronger
Hold on just a little bit longer cause I’ll be there

So I found myself complaining about the status of being single a few nights ago and I had this picture of me standing in the midst of twelve brides in a beautiful ball room. There was anticipation at the thought of meeting the one that had been selected for each of us, God’s very best candidate. Then twelve bride grooms suddenly appeared and Jesus began bringing each one to the beautiful bride He had in mind. The joyful anticipation of meeting the one He had selected for each of us was growing in our hearts. I looked on expectantly curious to know who was meant for me, but the Lord passed me over yet again.

He finally brought the last bride groom to meet his bride and in despair I cried out “Where is mine? Is there no one for me? Am I not worthy to receive my bride groom also?”

He responded “I saved you for Myself. I want you, all of you for Me alone.”

In that moment I so was ashamed of my heart, embarrassed I’ll admit, because I’ve been trying to gratify my soul with what I think I need rather than look to God for comfort and satisfaction. I didn’t want Him because I saw what others had and wanted that more. I had believed the lies that He wasn’t enough for me, that He couldn’t truly be my everything.

But my heart does cry out for Him to satisfy me only because I know that nothing else will. His love is the only one that is truly patient and enduring, accepting of me and all my failings, all of my baggage. And it will not change. Not ever.

Oh precious Savior, forgive me for denying Your love, for not trusting and believing that You are enough for me. Forgive me for chasing after things that continue to leave me feeling empty and unsatisfied. I know in my head that You are all I need, but my heart still doesn’t get it. Heal those deep wounds so that I can receive all You want me to have. Help me Lord to trust and believe that You have good things in store for me. Always.

The Comprehensive Package

“You have the comprehensive package, which means you have everything.” What a comfort to hear those words this afternoon as I spoke with the finance manager who had helped me with my car purchase last spring. When a light appeared on the dashboard of my car as I was coming home from school yesterday I thought perhaps the oil was low, yet after further research I learned that I needed to get it checked out sooner than later. A myriad of thoughts mingled with worry began to squeeze their way into my head:

What am I going to do?

When do I have the time to get this looked at?

How much will it cost? (I mean I bought this car so that I could be done with car repairs for awhile.)

Fear reared its ugliness in my face. I’m sure the Lord was telling me it would all work out, but I was so distracted I couldn’t see Him, much less hear Him talking to me. I was in a hurry to get home so I could eat dinner before my guitar student arrived for her lesson and had planned to go to church afterwards. Once back in the car I was reminded I needed to do something about the malfunction light.

Worship was already in process when I arrived and the words in the songs we sang ministered so deeply to my heart, not just in this situation, but several more where I have heard my Heavenly Father say “you worry too much.” I pressed in during worship, to chase after His heart, declare my trust in what God had in store for me and believe that He already had this covered.

And He does. Truly. Every part of my life, even when I struggle to believe that this is truth. I may not be looking beyond my situation or past the distractions that keep me from hearing His calm voice reassure me that all is well. But that doesn’t stop Him from continuing to prove Himself faithful towards me.

I have the comprehensive package. I have access to everything I need or want or that is beneficial to me. His power, His presence, His comfort. Whatever I need, whenever I need it. It’s always available to me.

Even in the midst of the toughest battle battles we face, He still continues to pour out His richest blessings in our lives.

Psalm 23:5 from The Message
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.

I can still have joy even when my heart is hurting from the scars that were left by the world. I can still believe that God is good when I don’t see Him actively working before my eyes because I know of and have experienced His faithful love towards me. Intentionally, I set my face like flint like Isaiah says and look to my Savior because He is hope that does not disappoint.

Maybe you are in a season where the storms of this life are hitting you hard and you just can’t seem to stand strong. He is there to hold you up and walk with you or perhaps carry you through the darkest nights.

Maybe you are waiting for your breakthrough. He is working it out so that at just the right time the glass ceiling will break open and His blessings will swallow you up so much that you’re swimming in them.

I know the faithful love

Of the One who died for me.

This precious son of God

Came to set me free.

Defeating the grave

My soul to save

His love He gave

All for me.

Beloved, you are not alone in your trials. There is a Savior who wants to take your burdens, your fears about the future, your sickness and pain, and lift those heavy weights from your shoulders. He wants you to let go of the things weighing you down so that you can be free to run and dance and revel in His goodness and His grace. Pour your heart out to the One who has everything you could ever need in this life. He is always ready to receive you with arms open wide.

Joshua 1:2-9 from The Message
“…I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! …Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

The Faithfulness of God

I was encouraged to reflect on the things God has proven Himself faithful in towards me, but I will be transparent with you that for the past few days I have battled discontent and disappointment. And though they are working hard to overtake me, I choose to stand and fight because I know the truth:

God is for me. He is on my team.

Your hand guides me as I work with students or lead my team drawing our congregation closer to Your heart. You grace me to extend Your love and mercy to those I cross paths with each day. You are teaching me how to speak the truth in humility and gentleness.

He reminds me of His truth, daily.

I read it in His word. I hear it through so many wonderful songs with phrases like “All My love will remain.” Lord, You put together some amazing playlists for me. Sometimes it’s on the radio and other times it’s the way You put lead me to put together a set for worship. Those are often the songs that I need to hear and sing over myself just to get through my week. I love how You wake me up in the mornings at times with precious truth sung over me, about me and who I am to You, reminding me that You are fighting for me always, that You chase after me when I start to walk away. I know those words are from Your heart and meant for me because You know what I need, when I need it.

He provides at just the right time.

And the way that You do is so much better than I could make happen on my own. The home where I live, the car that I drive, the job You have positioned me in, all of these things came about because You knew what I needed and when I would need it. Even when I need encouragement like today, You brought me to a place of hope in Your word that I so desperately needed to read.

God didn’t leave me to live life on my own.

God has placed me in several families so I’m not alone in this world. I know there are many people who love me, cherish me and will pray for me whenever I am in need. They even pray when I don’t reach out to ask and those times are the most incredible because they didn’t know I was in the midst of a hurricane, but they responded to the voice of the Lord when I had need. Lord, You heard me at a low point in my life when I considered what I had to live for and answered my prayer for friendship. I have had some amazing people in my life over the years and still do. Thank You Lord for responding.

His love holds no conditions upon my behavior, what I do or don’t do, how good I am.

Your love is never ending. Nothing separates me from Your love. It extends the far reaching corners of my mind. At times I have no understanding or comprehension of how deep and wide and high and long it really is, not just for me, but for the entire world. It’s unfathomable!

Your unfailing love is perfect and dispels any fear that I am unworthy or inadequate to be called Yours.

I don’t have to earn Your love or affection. I don’t have to perform for You or persuade You to pay attention to me because You already do that intentionally. I may fall down. My enemies may laugh at me, mock me, taunt me when I fall, but I have great confidence to trust that with Your help I will stand up again and move forward because You won’t let me stay stuck.

You have given me a new lease on life.

I don’t have to stay in a place where I am stuck in habits and unhealthy thinking because You have given me second and third and fourth and oh so many chances to get up and keep going. Your grace is sufficient for me. It’s greater than I know. Each day I discover victory more and more in conquering unhealthy habits and wrong thinking. I thank You Jesus that the desire to care for my body, my mind, my heart is growing all the time. This change from the inside is helping me to become the woman You’ve called me to be.

He hears me when I cry out to Him.

And You respond in a powerful way to provide support in the places where I serve, to bring relationships that pour into me those things I need in order to be the woman You destined for me to become. You are intentionally working in me for Your glory, for Your kingdom.

He is always with me. He won’t ever leave my side.

You are always calling my name, asking me to sit with You in the quiet of the morning and the stillness of the night. The picture someone gave me almost a year ago of God right alongside, helping me as I serve in ministry has helped me tremendously and I have applied it to my job, working with challenging people, accepting myself right where I’m at. Whatever I’m going through I have a greater confidence that I can do the things He has called me to do, to receive all that He wants for me.

God opens doors that no one can shut.

There are countless times when I didn’t know how I would get through a difficult situation or I wondered if I was really in the place You wanted me to be in and every time You confirmed it to me, again and again. AND You always provided the strength, the endurance, the courage to keep going when I wanted to throw my hands up and run out the door. You also close doors that no one can open, for reasons like You’re protecting me or You have something better in mind. Thank You Jesus for looking out for me.

With Jesus I have complete acceptance.

Lord, You don’t leave me ever because my pain and brokenness don’t offend You. Instead You show me great compassion and kindness. You long to lavish Your love on me. You ask me to give You all of the things that weigh heavy on me in this life so that You can carry them.

So why should I be discouraged when things are different from what I had hoped for? I will put my hope in God and believe that He has good for me and that whatever it is I’m facing, whether it feels good or not, it is for His glory, not mine. It is because He has good things for me and wants me to be blessed. Thank You Father for Your faithfulness towards me.

Yet I Will Praise You

Sometimes I read the devotional Jesus Today by Sarah Young (she is the author of Jesus Calling). Today I was reading about receiving whatever we face in life with joy and making it a practice to give back to God all that He has given us.
She also spoke to looking for those same blessings in the midst of grief. She writes “The Holy Spirit empowered Paul to find Joy in the midst of adversity, and He can do the same for you.”

2 Corinthians 6:4, 10
“But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

I know of many who are grieving so much at this moment. They’ve lost a parent or friend. Others are searching for a job or asking themselves “what is my purpose here?” Some of us have waited many years to have family of our own, to find a husband or wife, to receive the blessing of a child or their family is broken and the hope for reconciliation is not in site.

For me it is the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the midst of stressful relationships and situations where so many things seem out of my control and cause me to feel helpless and hopeless. I am exhausted and feel the deep pain of my brokenness in so many ways physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s a challenge to hold fast to my faith, to believe that God is still with me, that He hasn’t left me to face these things on my own.

So I intentionally look at how God has made good out of my loss. After my mom died, I became more serious about addressing the state often health. I began changing things in my life so that I could have more energy, respond to and manage stress in a healthful way. I decided that I wanted to live a full life because I began to believe that God had greater things for me than I believed for myself. I’m still in the process of this transformation, but because I have a greater confidence that He is with me, it doesn’t matter what happens to me because I don’t have to face it alone anymore.

When I am overwhelmed with stress and its affecting how I think, I remind myself that I have the mind of Christ.
When I don’t know that I can continue or even want to face the adversity and hardship that comes in this life sometimes, I tell myself that I can do ALL things through Christ because He gives me the strength I need.
When the battle is way too intense and I cannot fight it alone, I call on my prayer warriors to intercede for me, trusting that God will use them to bring about His glory at work in me.

The words of this song resonate deep within my heart as I write this blog:

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise and when the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say “Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name.”

Lord, I will praise You no matter what I have to face. I thank You that I don’t have to walk through this life alone because You are with me, every step of the way. If I walk away from You, You still call my name and welcome me with arms open wide, full of mercy. You know my situation and all that I will face this day. You go before me and prepare the way. Even when I am staring down the enemies of my soul in the fierceness of what I have to battle tomorrow I hear You say “Come, receive My rest, My provision, My help for you.”

So I choose to rejoice and be hopeful that You are working ALL these things out for me, for my good because of Your crazy and compassionate love towards me, because I am child, I am Your beloved and You have wonderful plans for me.

Joshua 1:7-9 The Amplified Bible
Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Do You Really Have Plans For Me?

Last night someone praying for me spoke this verse:

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I was thinking to myself “I know You say that Lord, but sometimes I feel like You forgot that my heart has desires for some big things to happen and when I don’t see anything on the horizon, I struggle to trust that You are working these things out for my good, to happen at the very best time.”

But because I was wallowing in my discontent, I missed this direction that comes in the next verse:

“Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.”

Oops. Sorry God. I forgot to not only come to You, but to remember that You hear me and pay attention to the things that my heart cries out for. You know how much I want to be reconciled in relationships that feel strained. You know how deep the hope to have a family has lived inside of me since I was little girl, watching the way my mom cared for me and wanting to do that for someone else. You know that I’m struggling to break free from old patterns of living so that I can give You all of me. You know how broken I am.

Verse 13 says,
“Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me as a vital necessity and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

I acknowledge that I cannot do life without You Jesus. I need You, desperately and even when I have ignored You or walked away, I’m gonna keep running back to You because I know that it just won’t work any other way without You.

The best part about what I read comes next:

Jeremiah 29:14
“I will be found by you,” says the Lord, “and I will release you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and all the places to which I have driven you,” says the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.”

He is bringing me to that place of freedom and restoration. He is restoring the broken places, securing my hope for what’s to come and releasing new things to be birthed inside of me.

God, You are giving me hope for the future. I have no idea what it looks like because whenever I attempt to conjure it in my mind, I am reminded in whatever way I need in the moment that Your ways are NOT mine. Thank You Father for that because I grow everyday in the confidence that Your ways are so much better for me in the long run.

Your promises continue even still:

Zephaniah 3:18-20
“I will gather those belonging to you…those in captivity
(how often do I find myself here)…I will save the limping ones (I am one of those some days) and gather the outcasts (who hasn’t felt this way?) and will make them a praise and a name in every land of their shame. At that time I will bring you in (Me?); yes, at that time I will gather you (for sure and for certain), for I will make you a name and a praise among all the nations of the earth when I reverse your captivity before your eyes,” says the Lord.

God is good. We can easily forget that He is, but He cannot be anything opposite of good because it goes against His character. We must continue to cry out to Him when we’re hurting, to seek Him when we need to understand and be found by Him.

Lord, I don’t want to drawn away from You by deception because my heart is hurting. I don’t want to fall into the trap of believing there is something better for me because I don’t see You responding to my prayers in my time. Help me to continue to wait at Your feet in hopeful anticipation that You have good things in store for me.

Zephaniah 3:17
“The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior Who saves! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in silent satisfaction and in His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins, or even recall them; He will exult over you with singing.”

Your promises I take great delight in because You prove Yourself faithful to me over and over again. I choose to trust in You, Savior of the world.

Overcome with Joy

Last night I went to a worship service and discovered a new found freedom in worship. I was overcome with joy and the presence of God because of His love in that place. The words we sang and declared were full of truth, truth about what God says in the bible, His promises for me, what He thinks about me. I felt so much breakthrough come. I’m still in awe of what took place there and that I had the opportunity go, to receive His goodness and mercy towards me.

Over the summer I had experienced the same intimacy in worship at different times and felt that God was giving me permission to express my love and adoration to Him dancing and jumping for joy because of the great things He has done for me. I wanted to respond with that heart full of love directed back to Him, but I was very concerned about my body and how I would feel afterwards. Over the past couple of years I have experienced more physical pain due not only to injuries I sustained in high school and college, but I also believe there were foods I was eating that have affected me physically, causing inflammation and discomfort.

In those moments when He said “Go for it! Just dance and be free!” it was as if He was asking me to trust Him even in the pain, believing that He would work a miracle in me, heal and set me free, but I wasn’t willing to trust Him just then. I was struggling to let go of my discontent over what hadn’t happened, over the things I hadn’t received and trust that my God was working it all out for my good.

But last night, I let go. Finally. It was time to jump around and dance and be like a child in the presence of my Father, a great king, safe and content in all things. I was still thinking about what might happen to my body and how I would feel today yet I was completely overcome and compelled with unspeakable joy and I moved in worship like I haven’t done in a very long time. I didn’t care about what might come of all the movement and physical activity. I just wanted to express my joy and my love for God my king. I jumped and danced and sang! It was incredible and truly exhilarating for me to have found break through, to have stepped into a new found freedom.

The joy came when I knew that whatever I needed from that point on, it was mine. I recognized that I have all that I need even before I ask for it. Everything. You see, I have access to the One who owns it all.

What do I lack? What is missing from my life?

Nothing is missing because everything I have need of is available to me, exactly what I need for each moment. If I don’t see it, I can ask my Father, the king where to find it or how to obtain it. Sometimes I might have to wait for it, but as my trust with God goes deeper in our relationship I have a greater confidence that He is working out the details. Each day I recognize more and more that He knows best about what I need and the timing to receive it. So I’m growing in my contentment that things are coming at just the right time OR that God has something better for me, that He will open my eyes to see and my heart to receive it.

Today I’m sore but not in pain like I might have been a few months ago. As I am reflecting on what changes are happening inside of me, I consider that there are foods I am not eating now because they were doing damage to me physically, emotionally and mentally. In a sense they were also hindering my relationship and walk with God. It has not become so much about what I need to avoid or not eat, but rather what do I eat as part of creating a healthier lifestyle, filling myself with the very best that God has for me.

It’s becoming about giving Him my best in all things, in my response towards what happens each moment of this life. It’s a process and takes time, but I remain committed to these wonderful things that God is asking me to do. And reaping the benefits of holding fast to whatever He has for me.

Maybe you are in that place where He is asking you to let go or to step out and have faith. You can’t have faith and still be afraid. You have to decide which way you’re going to walk. I want faith to be the one I choose.

Father, help us to choose to let go and continue to run hard after You, pursuing all that You have for us in this moment.

I choose to trust You, to believe in Your truth.

That You are for me, not against me.

Your mercies are new everyday.

Your love is deeper than the ocean and wider than the sea.

You made me not so that I could serve You, but to know You and be known, to be loved.

Your love does not fail; it dispels the fear. It will not end.

I know that You are faithful to continue teaching me Your ways and showing me Your truth. I believe in Your word, that what You say is true for me today. Thank You for never letting go of me, for not giving up on me. Thank You for reminding me that I am one of the King’s kids and I have access to all that I need and desire. Everything. You are good and freely give me so much more than I ever deserve. I love You Jesus!