A Divided World, A Divided Nation, A Divided Church, A Divided Home, A Divided Marriage, A Divided Soul…

Crack

(FreeImages.com/AndrewHildebrand)

There is so much that can unify us, but when I look around, I see so much division!

I see a divided world: first-world countries versus third-world countries.  I see a divided nation: very clearly defined differences in ideologies/beliefs and political systems.  I see a divided church: legalism versus grace versus faux-grace and one denomination against another denomination.  I see divided homes: parents warring against children and vise versa.  I see divided marriages: marriages that elevate one gender against the other and one belief system against another.  I see divided souls: people that walk in confusion, doubts, unrest, and inconsistency.  I see divided identities…

I see a world that reflects nations that reflects churches that reflects families that reflects marriages that reflects souls.

I see so many divided souls because the pains/wounds and mistakes of the past still imprison the present and the futures, unless truth/life is allowed to bring healing.

This can seem to over-simply things, but it is not a simple process.  It takes layers of healing to occur before we begin to stop living from the past and begin to live from the future.

We experience pain in our past, and we decide to live differently.  In fact, we will often pick something very different from our past and think that choice and system of belief will guarantee that we have moved on.

We understand that the systems of our past were broken and faulty, but what we don’t understand is what wholeness looks like. 

Without understanding wholeness ourselves, we will hop from one broken system to another.  They may have a different name, appearance, and message, but the crazy thing is they can often be just the other side of the coin that we had in the past.

Just picking a different system does not guarantee that we are headed into true life, freedom, and healing.

The problem is that when we are wounded, we will choose something different, but the different is not necessarily all whole and good itself. 

At first, the different feels good, safe, and liberating.  It’s a break from those things and people that wounded us in the past.  After awhile though, we begin to realize that throwing off one yoke doesn’t mean we haven’t picked up another yoke with which to replace it.

In fact, the nature of woundedness means we will often pick up another yoke just as heavy or heavier than the one before.  It just looks different and feels different so we don’t realize that it is still a yoke.

And… Freedom is not living a life free of any constraints, responsibilities, expectations, structures, or truth to guide us. 

Something in life is always compelling us.  It’s either others, a system, a belief, or ourselves.

We hear that we are to live freely for ourselves — that we dream our biggest dreams and allow no one to hold us back.

We think that by breaking free from others we break free ourselves.  There is some merit to this.  We don’t want to live to please everyone else, but on the other hand, we don’t want to live to please ourselves or that is the ultimate form of narcissism.

How do we therefore break free from people and at the same time break free from ourselves?

When you have felt the bondage of control and manipulation by others, you often think that freedom means the absence of accountability, structure, or response on our parts.  You think it means that you are free to live and believe however you choose.  To a huge extent, you are.  We are free to choose what we believe and how we live, but we are never free from the outcomes of those choices — just like, thank God, neither are those who have hurt us!

Do we really want a world that is devoid of consequences or accountability? 

Do we really want a world that chooses to live for self in order to liberate self?  Does that really make sense?

Can we be liberated if we live in bondage to the whims and desires of self?

Ultimately, we will also hold others captive to our own selfish desires.

…And… Can we really live free when we merely live in a reactionary state from the past?  Is that not still living under the influence of the past?

The point is we may choose something different because it is different, and maybe we will find something true and good in the process, but maybe we won’t.

If we are simply living from reactionary mode, our decisions are not based on clear and truthful thinking.  Reactionary mode means that we are unable to accurately position ourselves and our beliefs on a foundation of clear and stable thinking.

What then is the answer?

Find healing.  Be aware of your sources.  Find God for Himself rather than the twisted examples perhaps you were shown.  Find Him where He reveals Himself: creation, His Word (take off others glasses when reading it), simply communicate with Him.  Talk with Him, ask Him your questions, and listen.

Know that freedom is more than throwing off bondage.  It’s replacing it with truth. 

Truth is actually the surest form of freedom there is.

I hear though a lot of people who react to the word truth.  There are several reasons for this response: reaction to their past (haven’t healed fully yet), they are still in the state of living ultimately for themselves, they are reacting to twisted thinking that was portrayed as “truth,” and they don’t actually understand what truth is.

If you want to know truth, find God.  Seek Him.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and then listen, observe, and ponder.

Luke 20:21

21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:

John 1:14

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 8:32

32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

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A Birthday Letter To My Son In Heaven…

Love

(FreeImages.com/JukkaLamminluoto)

To my precious Josiah, who would have been 13 today:

Son, I never held you in my arms, I never heard your voice, or was able to decide who you favored the most in looks and personality.

Your life here on earth ended before you ever left the haven of my womb and before we could ever behold your face.  A lot of people would tell me that your short life on earth was pointless, but it wasn’t,

Son. I just want to say that your short life here was noticed and to say that I am so happy for you — that you have spent the past 13 years in the presence of God!!! I am a little jealous that you were able to behold the face of Jesus before me. 🙂

Son, your two earthly parents and five siblings can’t wait to meet you someday! I am so happy for you that you are experiencing only pure joy, love, and peace! Shalom, my Son… until we meet again!

Love,

Mommy

Feel Like You Are The Checklist?

Check list

(FreeImages.com/Fanginhoon)

I awoke this morning and told my husband that I felt like I had become a checklist to people.  I felt like I consisted of a checklist of boxes of things I had accomplished or had not, and that was the summation of me in the minds of others.  (Note: feelings are not necessarily reality but indicate something that needs attention.)

This morning, I cried out to God, knowing this was an attack from the enemy of my soul to turn my focus on myself — to make me feel rejected, inferior, empty…

I told God straight up (no need to sugar-coat with Him): “God, I am feeling this attack again to believe the lies that I am not enough. S.O.S.!”

God’s response was a bit unexpected but brilliantly profound as always:

He asked me the question, “Am I enough?”

“What does that have to do with me not feeling like enough?”

The wisdom in His response was like a blinding flash!

The real issue behind me not feeling enough was that I am in essence not believing or living like He is enough.

When God is enough, there is no room for discontentment.

You can be in a prison, like Paul and Silas, and still be praising God, or…

You can be like my 91-year-old, adopted grandmother whom I drove several hours to visit yesterday.  This woman has been a widow for close to 21 years.  Her husband was a man who cherished his wife and treated her like a princess.  (You know she misses him.)  This woman is almost blind and almost deaf.  She can’t drive anywhere.  She can’t attend church.  Hardly anyone visits her or remembers her.  She doesn’t have any grandchildren.  Most of her family has already died.  Most of her friends have died.  Yet, this woman knows the meaning of contentment.  I was in awe over this woman who so kindly talked to my kids, who wore a continual smile on her face, who never spoke a single word of complaint over her circumstances.  She was a woman fully content and at peace.  …and I cry as I write these words.

This woman probably doesn’t match up to a lot of people’s checklists.  She can’t do much of anything.  She isn’t publishing books, speaking to large groups of women, playing with grandchildren, and being visited by hoards of people.  She lives in a simple house, with simple decorations, wearing simple clothes, with a simple life, but this woman has learned the richest truths/treasures that so many of us haven’t or will never learn.

This woman has lived fully loved and loved fully.  This woman has learned the secret of contentment.  She doesn’t walk in fear, rejection, or complaining.

What is the secret of contentment?

It’s that He is enough.

So, back to God’s question again:

“Am I enough?”

The question isn’t whether I am enough; the question is whether He is enough.

God gave me these verses this morning that I am “soaking in”:

Psalm 34:10

10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

Psalm 34:22

22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.