Thoughts on God

Miracle Money

Since Pastor Bill told us the testimony about the student who literally had $100 bills fall out of the sky/manifest in bushes, I’ve been secretly exercising my faith by making extra sure Benjamin isn’t hiding out in bushes as I pass. While walking to my mailbox, it’s double duty: bushes AND “checks in the mail”.

But today, as I whispered a lil prayer for miraculous manifestation of finances, I was startled – Papa responded with, “Have you found miracle money yet?” To which I replied, “No, I haven’t…” And He said, “Well that must mean you don’t need it!”

Ha!

He continued, “When are you going to let go and trust that I have you and all your concerns firmly in hand? Have I ever failed you? Have I not always provided? And isn’t it usually pretty darn miraculous in and of itself when I do? My love, please stop wishing for someone else’s miracles and just rest in the unique ways I provide for you so you don’t need them in the first place…”

Boom. If God had a mic, He’d have dropped it.

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Healing, Life Journey, Thoughts on God

Humble Dependency

I have been really mean to myself this week – really down on myself for shortcomings, ugly/raw reactions, messy processing of emotions, etc. And, of course, I have plenty of Bible verses swirling in my head to back up why I should be upset with myself for not doing x, y, or z or for feeling icky feelings:

“So far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.”
“Turn the other cheek.”
“They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
“Fruits of the Spirit…” are not anger, mourning, frustration, sorrow.

Luckily, I just had a perspective pivot (courtesy my amazing counselor). She said:

“Instead of seeing yourself as a failure or being hard on yourself for not doing things the way you’d like to, how about saying, ‘Papa, I am not You. My ways don’t ever look like Yours, but that’s not because I’m a failure, it’s because I’m not You. I need You because I am not You. I am humbly dependent upon You because, while I am amazing, I’ll never be You, and that’s ok, because I have You.'”

I think that far too often, we unnecessarily brow-beat ourselves and take verses out of context to hold ourselves in contempt. Yes, we are called to forgive and to love and to live in peace. However, we are not called to be doormats or punching bags or enablers of poor behavior. What we don’t learn soon enough is that sometimes love looks like not allowing someone to continue to behave poorly and to ruin their relationships with hurtful behavior. Yes, we will eventually land on love and accept His peace, but we must give ourselves the grace to grieve and process the emotions, just as they are, first.

So here’s one: “Love others as you love yourself.” THAT right there is permission to love yourself well so that you can love others better. You love yourself by honoring your process, with all the ugly, messy emotions that come up, and listening to what you want/need. If you can’t do that for yourself, you won’t be able to do it for others. Keeping your peace and love on look like being really kind to yourself by recognizing that you’re not God and never will be. And that’s ok, because He is God, so you don’t have to be. But you are human, a spectacular one at that, and humans were created to have emotions – even “negative” ones. Celebrate your humanness, knowing that the God spot is already taken by the One who fearfully and wonderfully made you, process and all.

Today, if only for a moment, may you grant yourself the grace Jesus died to give you – He loved you enough to believe the sacrifice was well worth it, so let Him align your mind and heart to His love. Give Him permission to be God and take your glorified place by His side.

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Thoughts on God

I’m Giving Up Candy (Crush) for Lent

Crushed by Candy

“Satisfy me in your SWEETNESS
and my song of joy will return.
The places within me you have CRUSHED
will rejoice in your healing touch.”
Psalm 51:8 (The Passion Translation)

This verse was from today’s passage in Passion Translation’s Lent Devo(tional), which I find to be completely hilarious considering I semi-jokingly announced on Facebook that I’d given up Candy (Crush) for Lent. Turns out, this was truly a prophetic act: Jehovah Sneaky strikes again.

I do not often succumb to the allure of the video game anymore after kicking my WoW habit (6 years non-druid blood elf). Against my better judgement, my relapse hit last week when an abrupt breaking of an incredibly meaningful relationship brought on a massive wave of grief. Knowing full well Papa wanted me to engage with Him instead, I obsessively crushed thousands of lines of candy rather than feel the crushing happening in my chest. I knew I had a problem, but while the source of pain was beyond my control, having full reign over the placement of all the little candy pieces gave me some semblance of restored order. I know: I’m totally lame.

When I woke up this morning with “the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places” (Psalms 16:6) and an image of candy crush in my head, I knew God was officially like, “Alright, Linds… enough’s enough. I’ve allowed a little binge, but you know full well the only way your ‘song of joy’ will return is by MY ‘healing touch’; time for you to acknowledge the real lines of treasures that I have aligned in your life. I love you too much to allow you to trade the artificial for reality anymore.” I rolled over, uninstalled the app, made it Facebook-official, then stumbled upon a verse of confirmation. Of course.

Sure, ya’ll might think it’s a stretch, but I think it’s hilarious because Papa’s always finding unique ways to communicate in any means necessary. When He says to pray constantly, He means it. Luckily, He has a great sense of humor and loves to play. Lately, He’s been teaching me that everything (see: EVERYTHING) is prophetic/significant, that nothing is a coincidence or accident or arbitrary. And I guess if Candy Crush is prophetic, I’m now thoroughly entertained and convinced.

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Thoughts on God

On Mess & Stress

After opening my eyes to feelings of anxiety this morning, I was like, “What the heck? This isn’t me.. What’s up, God?” Waiting for His answer, I stared out over the landscape of my bedroom. My pulse quickened with embarrassment upon noticing the overwhelming mountainous mess. This past month of travel and transition cultivated bad habits, leading to “I’ll deal with this later” and shoving items into bags or drawers or piles. If I needed quick access to something, I just shifted piles around like puzzle pieces. I told myself it was organized chaos: I know where everything is even if it looks like an explosion. This only worsened as guests would come on short notice, causing me to hide messes from other parts of my house by throwing them into my room and closing the door.

The problem is, a mess hidden from view is still a mess, organized chaos is still chaos, and it’s a horrible waste of time trying to bring order to something that, by very definition, lacks order.

A knock on the door interrupted my pondering. The landlord’s repairman had finally come to knock out my list. “Oh no,” I thought with dread. “He will have to go into my room! The mess will be revealed! This can’t happen!” I briefly considered shoving the whole mess into a giant pile – some bare floor space might make it look at least a little better? No, I’d lose any semblance of organization I still have going for me. “Well, maybe I’ll just tell him to come back?” No, I had been waiting a week already and the repairs were necessary as they were beginning to effect my ability to function in the space and host guests comfortably. I was going to have to let him into my room, in all it’s mountainous glory – I hung my head, avoided eye contact, and muttered excuses about having been traveling, whatever.

Noticing my posture and panic, it struck me: I no longer live in shame, and nothing gets to allow it back into my life. So then why was I responding this way? He’s just a guy trying to help improve my living conditions, and I seriously doubt he cares what my room looks like. In fact, he’s probably seen worse!

Right then, God showed me that my internal world looks a little like my bedroom right now: I’ve been so busy meeting people, serving others in crisis, and rushing around that all my personal messes have just been piling up in the bedroom of my chest. The places people get to see have been swept clean, leaving the secret, quiet place cluttered – there can be no real rest in a cluttered nest. I’ve been asking God many questions and waiting on Him for some major life decisions to be made, but how can He do that if it’s all been piling up behind a closed door to a room that I am too embarrassed and busy to open? Behind that door, so many moments needing to be processed and put away properly have been tossed into the “later” pile. And this was ok for a time, but my anxiety is flagging that we’ve hit max capacity.

Ready or not, it’s time to slow down, open the door, let Jesus into the mess, and deal with everything…shoe by shoe, paper by paper, pile by pile.

But isn’t it so good to know that He’s patient with our processes? Where we are content to sleep in squalor and step through mess, God says we were made for more. Yet, He won’t force the door open until we’re ready – He’ll just stand there and knock, tool belt at the ready. If we allow the resulting panic or embarrassment to be indicators and immediately ask Him what needs to be done, shame and anxiety are denied a place to take root.

Because I let the Lord’s Repairman (wink wink) in this morning, my heater is now breathing warmth back into my halls, I will not be trapped in my room again by the broken doorknob that kept falling off, and my fire alarms will sound and save me from fiery peril. What’s more, he noticed some cosmetic issues with my car that I’d just accepted as permanent and fixed them on his way out. BONUS! What would God withhold from us, His precious kids, if only we’d give him the permission? He always does more than we could ever ask or hope for because He never settles for less than everything His Son died to give us, even if we do.

P.S. He never leaves us in serious mode very long – Joy always comes in the morning. After setting things right, He sang this perfect little reminder to me and invited my heart to join in by making an incredible video…I’ve been dancing the anxiety away! Enjoy:

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Music, Thoughts on God, Uncategorized

I & You

A short musing (for once).

“For I am Yours
and You are mine”
=
I & You

Technically, it should be IOU.
I OWE You all, everything, forever.

But He tore up the slip when He tore the veil.
Stop trying to paste the note back together and living under a debtor’s shame.
In doing this, you are the one who retreats, not He. You recreate the barrier, drawing a veil between you and His loving grace.

Set yourself free.

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Healing, Music, Thoughts on God

My Future and My Past

“You are my Future
And my Past.”
– Future/Past by JohnMark McMillan

Today, after 3 years of suggestion from my counselor, I committed to reading the book The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Dr. Dan Allender. It’s causing me to go toe to toe with my past so I can fully embrace my identity as a beloved, passionate daughter of Papa God and all the blessings and joy and future that come along with that title. As Dr. Allender says, “The work of restoration cannot begin until a problem is fully faced” (p. 14). Well, I just moved to a new place, know no one, have no schedule, and am still job searching, so if there’s ever been a time and place, it’s the right here and right now. And it’s hard. Really hard. But not nearly as hard as living with this constant feeling of separation from my Papa or of shame that if people really knew me they’d all abandon me or of distrust in myself that I have changed or will ever be free from my old struggles/self. “The damage done through abuse is awful and heinous, but minor compared to the dynamics that distort the victim’s relationship with God and rob her of the joy of loving and bring loved by others” (p. 14). I’m sick of being secretly disgusted with myself and waiting for the next time I’ll screw up (or God will).

The other shoe is always poised to fall, and enough is enough. I’m too blessed destined to be held back any longer.

At this point, I have a workbook and two notebooks slowly filling up with thoughts, confessions, musings, and revelations, so certainly there will be many more posts of a similar nature, but this is what I felt released to share from today:

This song has been stuck in my head for days now, on repeat, to the point I had to acknowledge it as a meditation: “You are my First, You are my Last, You are my Future and my Past.”

At first, I thought this was because God hit me hard at Friday’s concert with the revelation that He is not only interested in/excited about who we are (in the present) and who we will be/what we will do (in the future) but ALSO He in/about who we used to be and what we’ve done…and what’s been done to us. Elementary concept, I know. But as someone with a past like mine that is a source of so much shame and guilt and desire to just forgive, be forgiven, forget, and “that’s not who I am anymore, I’m a new creation in Christ” it all away, this was stunning.

Jesus not only was there in every single moment of my past, with me and not against me, but He was also IT. He IS my Past. And if He is my Past, it is blameless, beautiful, and holy; I need to embrace it and love it just as He does. He sees the gold in it, already died for it, and gives it massive grace. I need to do the same, because I don’t see what He sees: how He’s going to spin the scraps of waste and hay into a golden destiny someday.

With this song and thought process swimming circles in my skull since Friday, it finally had a place today to land and attach. I’ve learned enough by now to know that when something seemingly simplistic happens to get lodged in there like this has, it is rarely happenstance or simple at all. Well, waiting for me in the book was the following:

“To be told, ‘The past is past and we are new creatures in Christ, so don’t worry about what you can’t change,’ at first relieves the need to face the unsightly reality of the destructive past. After a time, however, the unclaimed pain of the past presses for resolution, and the only solution is to continue to deny. The result is either a sense of deep personal contempt for one’s inability to forgive and forget…Hiding the past always involves denial; denial of the past is always a denial of God. To forget your personal history is tantamount to trying to forget yourself and the journey that God has called you to live” (Allender, p. 15).

I’ve spent years trying to be a new creation, trying to just be different and better and good. I have acknowledged my past abuses do contribute to present dysfunction and sins, but I reasoned this away with the flick of a “but if I am right with Jesus, I am new and don’t do these things anymore; I just need to be in Him and nothing else will matter.” And thus, an even harder fall when the inevitable happens – open wounds always drag us back to the point of brokenness. It is here where the Great Physician waits for us to stop hiding the hemorrhage, to stop scabbing and denying Him access. As long as I hide or justify or nurse my own wounds, He cannot bind up my broken heart.

I look forward to the day that I can truly say that my scars are continual songs of praise to my Savior. Til then, I’m gonna be a bloody mess awaiting redemption, book and pen in hand.

 

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Thoughts on God

God Never Subtracts

“Give and Take” by Lindsey Addie, silver gelatin print, 2011

I haven’t been the most diligent person when it comes to sharing the incredible testimonies God’s been giving me in the last few months, but man, it’s been so good. I’ve had everything I’ve needed and been blessed in crazy ways in the last 6 months – I do plan to gather and bring them out soon, but for now I’ll just refer to the one that I did share: the random check in the mail on the day that I was accepted to BSSM. Another significant one happened this weekend when the laptop I needed to sell in order to afford my camera equipment (in order to have what I need to start generating income as a photographer and thriving artist to pay for life and BSSM, etc) sold for exactly the amount I needed on the day I needed it. God is an incredible provider, and He pays the way He’s chosen!

I fully recognize and believe that He provided these blessings and intended them to be purposed for this new season He’s drawn me into…

…which is why I absolutely refuse to be shaken by the following: 1. Tonight, the buyer filed a cancellation on eBay because he changed his mind, 2. Last month, only a day after I got that check, someone texted saying it was theirs and that I legally had to sign it over to her (though I absolutely disagreed but felt that fighting would somehow be “unChristian”), and 3. A few of the other blessings given have been taken back as well.

Or should I say, “Stolen.”

Fact is, could I really, truly say that He is a good Papa who gives good gifts and is all He says He is if I believed that He was the one pulling the rug out from under me right after giving it to me in the first place? No! If I know my Papa, I know that His gifts and His call are irrevocable, His gifts are perfect, and He does not change like shifting shadows. He gives me hope and a future, not harm; and anything that goes against His word, promises, and plan to prosper me cannot be Him. That’s not in His nature.

Yes, He does give AND take away (click HERE for an incredible blog by Paul Ellis on Job 1:21), but not in that way – that verse is often misquoted. If my heart and thoughts are turned completely to Him and something still causes hopelessness, it’s not from my Papa; it’s the enemy who comes to kill, steal, and destroy – Jesus came to give life to the full! And please note: I’m not talking about “prosperity” in that I get all the money I want and life is good… no way! Prosperity for me may look like being broke and homeless but having my complete mind, body, heart, and spirit so lost in intimacy with Him that it doesn’t matter. This isn’t about money or things, though those are the examples I have to work with at the moment – sadly, He has to use the “money or things” because we broken humans are often not motivated by anything else.

I write all of this because I learned something valuable – in the midst of blessing, I started anchoring my faith in His promises to the blessings I was receiving instead of on His words alone. As this pattern of “YAY BLESSING!…(wait for it)… *shoe drops*” played out repeatedly in the last month, my heart started to hurt and my mind began to question if He’d really said what He said or ever blessed me at all – I realized I was like David writing a lamenting Psalm of a blog post last night, and tonight, I was like Job, just about to cross the line, just about to fail in faith that He is good.

But perched on the cusp of my doubt, I heard Him whisper, “My word does not return void.”

A quick google of that phrase produced the verse that rebuked me and restored me: Isaiah 55:11. I’m not sure how anything could have been clearer or more relevant to every little thought or concern I’ve wrestled with this month – it read as if breathed from His lips into my spirit. And funny, God says the same things (in essence) to Job as well, “My ways are higher than your ways, My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

This led to my looking up the end of the story of Job and finding the blog post I mentioned earlier – it was almost verbatim what I was feeling and hearing and starting to write, but he did it better, so I reblogged it instead. Along with being incredibly confirming of the things I was hearing God say to me, the writer introduced a new idea, one that I needed to hear and that (ironically enough) discusses the difference between David and Job:

“Both Job and David were robbed. Both were greatly distressed and surrounded by foolish men who gave bad advice. But unlike Job, David did a very Jesusy-thing and took back what was stolen. Why did David fight back when Job quit? We are told that David “encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam 30:6). In his pain David considered God’s goodness and realized that God was not behind his loss. He understood that it was not God’s will for him to suffer and, so strengthened, he fought back and prevailed.

I wish I could go back in time and get to Job before his friends did. I would say, “Job, God didn’t kill your kids! He didn’t steal your livelihood and make you sick. You’ve been robbed! The devil is having a go at you. Don’t sit there in the ashes and cry about it, get up and fight! Are you a warrior or a weakling? Are you a victor or a victim?”

The church will never see victory if we think God is behind our suffering. If we think God is robbing us we won’t even resist. We’ll let the devil waltz in and plunder our families all the while singing “He gives and takes away.” Funny, but I can’t imagine Jesus or David doing that.

For too long we have been incapacitated by uncertainty which is really just another name for unbelief. Don’t look to Job, look to Jesus! Jesus was never confused about who was giving and who was taking.”

Boom.

God does not cause loss.
God does not cause suffering.
And as long as we believe He might, we hand over our victory and dig our own graves.

Oh, and in case you didn’t catch that, Jesus FOUGHT. Therefore, it’s such an incredible lie to believe that He calls us to back down from a fight in the name of peace and love. Sometimes, yes, we are wronged and turn the other cheek. Sometimes, though, passion for justice explodes into righteous anger. Those are the concepts of Christian living we tend to leave out of the Sunday sermons and small group discussions… I’ll leave that alone for now, but I feel a blog coming on.

I do want to say, though, that God really did hit me hard with the passage in Isaiah 55. Not only is it an incredibly powerful and uplifting reminder of our son/daughtership in Him, but it was a resounding confirmation to me personally that He really has called me to leave every safe and comfortable place in my life right now to follow Him into the unknown future awaiting me in Redding and BSSM. And He did it without a financial miracle. The auction for the laptop remains disputed, and I may still sign over the check (because in the end, it’s just money, and He’s proven He has that under control), but His message to me couldn’t have been clearer. In a stunning cyclical way that only He could do, He turned my looking to finances for confirmation into a lesson…
which then brought revelation that I was looking to finances and not His voice…
which was then what He was actually using to confirm my path…
which then will require that He show up in my finances…
which now requires me to have faith that He will provide.

Heck, the whole passage even starts with: “…and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1) But it is what it is – nothing without Him!

So, I guess for tonight I need to find the balance between my Job and my David:

Then [Lindsey] replied to the Lord:
I know that You can do all things;
no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know…
Therefore, I repent.
You have my ear, here I am;
I’m listening for Your life-giving words.
I accept Your everlasting covenant,
Your faithful love promised to David.
Lord, create in me a clean heart,
One after Your own heart.
And renew a right spirit within me,
One that responds only to Your voice.
Tonight, I choose to heed Your word:
It will not return to You empty,
but will accomplish what You desire
and achieve the purpose for which You sent it.
I will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills of Redding
will burst into song before us,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
W
hat a splendid homecoming You have planned for me:
Me, the sparrow who longs to make her nest in Your dwelling place,
Whose pilgrim heart and flesh cry out for You
And yearn to be home in Your courts.

Amen.

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