Posts Tagged ‘enemy

30
Dec
12

Redemption of 2012

What started as a really rough year with much isolation and whining and wilderness wandering turned into something beyond my wildest dreams, something that God is now using for His glory. He took a year that looked like it was bound for disaster and turned it into something beautiful and redeemed it for Himself.

This year, 2012, has been taken back from the enemy. The enemy was out to destroy me and my family, but God in His mercy and kindness set me on a high place and turned my heart, my very life back to Him.

Just when it looked like defeat was sure to happen, when life looked the bleakest and most desperate, when the battle was sure to be lost, my Abba stepped in and drew me back to Himself. And I’ve been clinging to Him ever since.

Psalm 9 describes where I am these days.

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart,
I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I’m singing your song, High God.

The day my enemies turned tail and ran,
they stumbled on you and fell on their faces.
You took over and set everything right;
when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.

And my enemies weren’t actual people or Satan even, although he was probably part of it, but my biggest enemies were mostly my sin and my self. These fears, these doubts, these insecurities that I struggle with haven’t completely vanished, but they’re on their way out. Jesus is showing me daily the things I need to repent of, the things I have to be honest with Him, myself, and others about and confess these things, and they don’t have the same hold on me. They’re being defeated daily.

And not only that, He’s redeeming relationships and transforming people before my very eyes. How can I not shout His praise?

Jesus says that if you try to hang on to the life that you have, then you’ll lose out in the end. But if you lose your life for His sake, you actually find life. It certainly goes contrary to what we think. But it’s true.

I lost my life this year, the one I was trying to cling to and hold onto so desperately. But the one I got in return, the real life, this abundant one, the one that the psalmist describes…nothing compares to it. This new life now serves (most days) in His strength and His beauty.

So in 2013…come and die…the kingdom of God is here.

 

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11
Nov
12

grateful beyond belief

A month ago, I went camping with some friends.  I can’t believe it’s only been a month since that camping trip. God used that trip to change me. He cracked me wide open and spilt out everything that has been bottled up for the last couple of years.

During that camping trip, I met some new friends, reconnected with some old ones and told my story and heard others’ stories. I felt connected. Finally. After being almost completely isolated for almost two years, with the exception of walking with my neighbor most mornings, I finally found community with other believers, centered around Jesus. Not just hanging out with no real purpose but really wanting to walk this thing out, good, bad, and ugly, and do life together. No matter what that looks like.

Since then, we’ve been breaking bread from house to house. And I have been loving it. But, many of us have been under attack. The enemy does not want us meeting with other believers to celebrate and talk about Christ and pray for each other and with each other. When believers come together and unpack the gifts that God has given them, I believe we’re going to finally see the power of God, the stuff that we cannot see on an individual level.

Everyone longs for community on some level. And many people rally around stuff like ball teams and politics and other stuff, but what if we take our energy and go after the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? What does that look like? He says in Matthew that His burden is light and His yoke is easy. But most of us are still dragging around what looks like a whole lot of crap that doesn’t in any way reflect His power or His glory. I’m signing up for His burden and yoke.

What if we’re freed to release everything and run after Him? To invite people into our homes and our lives and do community in a very purposeful Christ-centered way, allowing Him to be magnified above everything else.

Since that camping trip, people who hadn’t even met before have met and prayed together, hiked together, and will serve someone in our own little missional community next weekend. Serving and doing house stuff really isn’t my gift as such, but I’m super excited about coming together as the Body of Christ to encourage a family in our midst, eat a meal, and  work on their house, even if they have to put me on pine cone duty because of my serious lack of skills.

I cannot wait to see what God has in store for His believers, not just in this community but all over Nashville. Because, I have a feeling, when you begin to taste His goodness, you cannot get enough of Him or His people.

So I just got home from eating a meal with other believers, praying and talking about Jesus. And I am just grateful. Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. (Acts 2)

 

31
Oct
12

Truth, Lies and Community

Last Friday, I wrote the first part of “Truth and Lies,” not realizing then that all of the lies had not yet been exposed. After I had finished writing, Jeff read my post, hugged me and said, “I had no idea you were struggling today.” And then I realized the other lie I had believed. I had refused to let anyone walk with me in my struggle. I had refused to let anyone pray for me, even my husband.

I was proud. Because I really thought that I was more mature, that I should be beyond all the fear and doubt and insecurity I was feeling. But I’m not, and I didn’t want to ask for help. I wanted to have the appearance of being fine when I really wasn’t.

So the enemy pounded and pounded. And I walked away battered and bruised.

But I have this community around me that I need to share my struggles with and not after the fact. I need to be prayed for right then and there in the midst of my struggle. But I think I heard and believed the lie that if I reached out and asked, then I was being clingy and needy, and so I did run to the Father, which was the right thing to do because “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” But I still needed the people around me to lift me up to Him. Because I also needed to know that I am not in this thing alone.

So I’m learning this interdependence, which can only happen in community, and this is hard because our culture teaches us from a young age to be independent and self-reliant, and that we don’t really need other people. We desperately want to look like we have it all together. But none of us do. So why do we isolate ourselves and allow the enemy this advantage?

For me, I don’t want to wear out my welcome…stay too long, talk too much. I don’t want to run the risk of being open and vulnerable and people turn it down or use it against me. I don’t want my heart to hurt because people don’t accept me for who I am.

But I have to take these risks. I have to be who Abba is creating me to be. And I have to trust that God’s grace will abound, even when the attacks and the wounds come. And they will.

But this is what I want. This is what I think God is calling me to. To live in real community where Jesus is the center, where the focus is not on me,  and the community is not there to make me feel better and affirm me. But we should be there to encourage each other, point each other to Christ (who can and does heal all things). We’re there to spur each other on to love and good works. And to focus on God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail for healing a girl who was demon possessed, they worshiped God together. They prayed and sang praises, and the prisoners listened. In this trial, God gave Paul and Silas each other to praise Him together, and the jailer and his household were saved.

But not only were the jailer’s family set free, the other prisoners listened…people are watching to see how believers are treating each other, how we love each other, how we worship God together in the midst of our difficulties and struggles. In Acts 2, “they ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.”

This kind of stuff happens in community. No doubt about it, we need each other, friends.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.(Ps. 34)

26
Oct
12

Truth and Lies

There’s a game kids play called two truths and a  lie. You tell two things about yourself that are true and one that’s a lie, and everyone has to pick out which one is the lie.  All I feel I’ve had thrown at me today are lies, and I’m realizing that my whole day has been one huge lie thrown at me again and again. It’s worn me down and has made me want to run and hide.

I feel like I’ve been in this huge struggle all day long.  I’ve had these voices in my head, questioning me, accusing me, and making me feel insecure and small in the worst possible way.

For the last couple of years, I isolated myself. But now, there is a community of believers who seem to want real community, which has been so exciting and hopeful for me. And I finally find myself in a place to receive this.  But then, when I’m not surrounded by these people and sometimes when I am, I have all these fears.

And I know this is from the enemy. He doesn’t want believers involved in community where there is real life, where we talk about what Jesus is doing and pray for each other, where burdens are light and God’s joy is evident. He wants us isolated and alone, where he can prowl around and devour us one by one.

And I know without a doubt that God is at work here. The attack has been intense. Others are feeling the same insecurities and doubts. And yet, I can’t run to these people to take me in and make me feel better. That’s not their job. Community is not about sucking life out of each other. It is about encouraging and praying for each other. But each of us ultimately has to run to Jesus.

So today, my heart has been a little weepy. I’ve been here before. I’ll be here again. But I’m clinging to Him through this.

When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

It’s been a wrestling kind of day. One where I just wanted to cling to people. But instead, I’ve tried to pray through this stuff and believe what God says over what the enemy is shouting in my ear.

Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless.

Through God we will do valiantly,
For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.

Sometimes we imagine that people are our enemies. They’re really not. We have one enemy, and that enemy is seeking our destruction through our marriages, our churches, our families, ourselves. He’s a murderer and a liar. And this enemy is good at what he does. If he can speak loud enough and long enough and get us to believe his lies, he infiltrates our thought processes. We’re still children of God, but we end up believing the enemy’s lies over God’s truth.  And so we begin to believe his lies about who we are and not who we’ve become. For me, these lies involve fear and doubt. Yes, the evil one has sway over the world for now, but not forever. And not over the believers who worship God in spirit and in truth.

So after a long day of a big fat huge whopper of a lie, here are a few truths…

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (I John 5)

06
Apr
12

Hands Wide Open

I’ve been gone. Away. Not Here. Please Do Not Disturb.

I had lapses of faith this winter. I had questions of “Why are we in this situation?” and “Where is God in all of this?”.  Questions that I know other people contemplate but maybe don’t admit to others. Perhaps not even to themselves. I tried desperately to get over it, to mask my restlessness by reading one more book, watching one more movie, walking one more mile. It didn’t work.

In this process of my restless questioning, I hit the pause button on faith, hope, and love. I became kind of a hermit, did not want to see all that many people, realized that I didn’t really have all that much to offer anyone (not that anyone was expecting anything out of me).  But who wants to be around someone whose cup is empty most of the time? And all I had was resentment and bitterness. About a lot of things.

My downward spiral began when I started focusing on things that were beyond my control. But the lie was that I could control them. The enemy is sneaky in that way. I believed that I could make my own way and do my own thing and be okay, be better actually.  I soon lost hope and began to despair. Faith and love quickly fled out the back door as well. And some might question if they were really true in the first place if they can leave so easily. Maybe. Maybe not. I just know I was dry and brittle inside. And when I wasn’t angry, I was numb.

I don’t know what triggered release from all of that. If there is one moment or many moments of realization that draw a person back to God, to reality.  Or if my fingers had to be pried open from the idea of control I had grasped onto. I just know a few things happened to me lately that made me gaze up instead of in.

I recently saw an old friend. And she looked so beautiful…and I realized I wanted what she had. I could see it in her eyes. I could hear it in her story. And it’s what I’d been missing but had so desperately needed. And it’s something no medication of any kind will ever bring. Peace…The kind that goes beyond human comprehension…The kind that when the situation looks its darkest, there is still that. And, I realize  it’s not something I can strive for or buy or grasp at. It’s something I receive when everything else falls away. When hands are held up, not in despair, but in gratitude and release.

A while back, Jeff couldn’t sleep one night, and he felt like the Holy Spirit was giving him a word for me and for each of our children…the things that we needed. And the word for me was, “IT will be there.” At the time, I assumed that the IT was money, because that always seemed to be the most pressing need, the thing that I worried about the most, and for some reason, I always seemed to think that money would solve the problem and be the answer, even though I never would say that out loud. Convinced that money was the IT that the Holy Spirit was talking about, I was confused and resentful when the money wasn’t always there when we needed it.

But money wasn’t the IT at all. I didn’t realize that until a good deal later that the IT was peace. “Peace will be there.” And that no matter what happened to me or my family or my friends or my belongings, now or in the future, peace can always be there.

For me, peace is like letting go and twirling in a field on a sunny day with wildflowers all about, face looking up to a cloudless sky with hands and arms that are held out that go higher and higher and become lighter and lighter until I feel like I could touch the face of Abba. And laughter, of course…wild, silly, hopeful laughter.




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