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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

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Easter is an emotional process. It should be.

Every holiday carries the weight of emotion actually. Holiday’s are filled with the tension of joy and sorrow.

Easter for me is an emotional process. Easter is a yearly reality check. The cross always beckons me to listen and examine my heart.

Easter is the process of three days of brokenness, waiting, and redemption – pain, silence, and forgiveness. Jesus experienced life’s greatest version of brokenness and pain on that  Friday. He took on our sins. He felt the darkness of rejection and silence for the first time from his father. He was physically broken – spit on, cursed at, and killed in humiliation.

The disciples lost a leader, a dream, and their best friend. That sat stunned, locked up in a room not knowing what to do next; what life now meant. The sounds of thick silence and waiting were all that could be heard. Internal struggles and questions were written on downcast faces.

The process of life is just this. Transformation takes the process of brokenness, wrestling in darkness, and then the redemption of healing. Life begins at the end of this three day illustration.

Every Easter I am heavy hearted as I remember the brokenness I have experienced in my life, as well as my current struggles of darkness. It is hard. The process of change is just dang hard and humiliating. It is also in those dark places that I really feel the weight of grace and forgiveness.

Jonah spent days in the darkness of a whale. He wrestled in great tension. It was in that dark waiting place where grace and forgiveness came into focus for him.

But on the third daylight floods the world again. A tomb is emptied and death is conquered. Brokenness and pain have not won. Redemption and forgiveness is alive. Hope and dreams are reborn and life begins again.

Easter is where grace and forgiveness come into focus. I am so grateful that the story always ends in joy and hope.

HAPPY EASTER!!

Where are you in your life’s “Easter” process?

Are you experiencing brokenness, struggling in the waiting, or has the light risen in your dark night?

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I have been coming back to the prayer written my Andy Stanley in his book, “The Grace of God.” It is beautiful and powerful. I find freedom in his words prayed.

Heavenly Father, I believe that your grace is more powerful than my label. I believe that Christ died to pay the penalty for the sin my label represents. I believe you are offering me a new label. Forgiven. Accepted. Loved. Today I declare that what you say about me is true. I am forgiven. I am accepted. I am loved. Teach me to live my life in accordance with who you say I am. Amen

I hope you find freedom in remembering your identity in Christ through these words. I hope that you see more of who he sees you as to be truth. I hope your heart hears the words “forgiven, accepted, and loved.

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One of my gifts and curses in life is being able to talk my way out of things. I was the student who charmed her way through skipping class, handing in homework late, or getting a teacher off track. Let’s be honest, school got in the way of my social life.

I was also the daughter who negotiated curfews and side stepped punishments. My mom is northern New Jersey to the core. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to bringing the mom voice. I was known for pushing the limits and amending her instructions. Every time I knowingly crossed the parental guidelines I knew the voice was coming, but so were my speeches.

Driving home late past curfew or going to someplace I wasn’t supposed to, I would rehearse a readied speeches. She called it disrespect, I called it creative rebuttals.

This is one way I identify with the Prodigal son. The life of responsibility and tending to dad’s farm was getting in the way of his social life. The prodigal packed his bags, and with dad’s inheritance check in hand, he set out in search of meaning. It wasn’t too long before the inheritance dried up and he found himself alone.

When the voices of false advertising grow silent the reality of our spirit of poverty is made known.

When the Prodigal found himself alone with nothing, scripture states that, “he began to be in need.” Sobering truth and awareness was the process for this Prodigal. Filled with shame and humility, he decided to go home.

Knowing the Prodigal had lost so much of himself, his family, and his life, as he headed home he began to rehearse a speech; Father, I have sinned against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired hands.”

The father sees his son like a mirage walking down the road, and takes off. He throws his arms around the Prodigal and lavishes him with love, a robe, and celebration of renewed son ship. The Prodigal didn’t even get to finish his speech.

I look at this speech and see how much I rehearse the same one for God. I struggle to know love that is unconditional. I feel like I battle knowing love that doesn’t hold try-outs.

I still have speeches. If I’m being most honest, I still think the father’s love depends on my earned efforts. I will even go so far as to punish myself even when grace and love are extended.

I wish I could see a follow-up to the Prodigal story. I wonder if the Prodigal still rehearsed persuasive speeches for the father’s love after that day. I wonder if he still tried to earn love even though his father covered him with grace and forgiveness. Broken relationships take rebuilding, but that does not affect love, or at least it shouldn’t.

I would love to know your thoughts and responses to the Prodigal story.

Do you write speeches for God?

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We love because He first loved us.

These not so small words have been bringing me to tears lately. I have been sitting and stare at this truth.

I know love at all because He first extended it to me.

So often I can pride myself on the self effort of love. I crave loving deeply. I make every effort to do so. What I forget is that it’s not my love that I’m offering.

Love comes from somewhere.

Love started with someone.

THE only reason we know love at all is because He first loved us. THE only reason we recognize love at all is be He was the first to present honest, right, true, and deep love to us.

I am realizing how much further this extends into so many other deep truths.

I know grace because HE first had grace on me.

I know forgiveness because HE first forgave me.

I want to make people feel seen because HE first saw me.

I want to make people feel valued because HE first valued me.

Love, grace, forgiveness, value, and life come from a someone. They are started with a someone. Any parts of those words that I know is because of his firsts. To know more of the depth of those words is to know Him.

I am sitting in the weight of what I know because of Him. I am sitting in the weight of wanting to extend the offer of those because they were first offered to me. I just shake my head at the gift.

I smile now at the glimpses of those firsts I see of Him as others offer those words. Whether they realize it or not they accepted something, and someone, that was first offered to them.

My love is not my own. It started with a someone first. I am only offering the extension of that same gift given to me.

I hope to give that gift deeply more and more every day of my life. 

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I often ask myself the questions of what am I wired to do? What are my gifts and talents? How has God made my personality to reveal who He is?

These are questions of the doings of my heart, but what about the deeper things? Why does God care about me? Who am I that you are mindful of me?

I think I can lose sight of some deeper values of God.

Andy Stanley talks about how we can miss a vital part about who God is when we only look at salvation. Yes, Jesus did save us from life apart from God. He has redeemed us, but there is more. God has not only saved us, but desires to reconcile us to an original relationship plan.

I know I can get stuck on just seeing Jesus as the forgiver of my sins, and the one who stands in the gap for me to be reconciled to the father.

I often miss the relationship.

We are all created to know and be known. We were created to enjoy and be enjoyed by a perfect relationship. We were created to belong, be loved, and be cherished. Jesus came to offer that message as well. When we decide to accept Jesus’ invitation for salvation we are also accepting an invitation to being reconciled to a place of a restored relationship.

In Him, I am spoken for.

In Him, I belong.

In Him, I am someone’s someone.

In Him, I am enough.

In Him, I am loved.

In Him, I have trust.

There is a brokenness in my relationship with God. One that started back when sin entered, and one that I up hold when I forget that my original design is to be known and know an intimate relationship with Him.

The brokenness in my relationship with Him affects every area and relationship in my life. I know my other relationships walk with a limp because of it.

Jesus has a message that was deeper than just saving us from hell. I am so grateful for salvation. Eternally grateful, but I don’t want to miss the deeper message He is also offering.

We were designed to know and be known through a perfect relationship. Sin has tainted the original plan, but it is not lost. He still desires me.

Who am I, that you are mindful of me?

I am His.

How is your relationship with Him doing?

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My heart just has words for him. Pray with me if you want to or please feel free to pray here for you.

My prayer conversation comes from following after how Jesus prayed in John 17. Jesus prays for himself, for his friends, and then prays for all believers.

Pray with me…..

Father, my heart is stuck in the middle of feeling like I have so many things that I can’t express fast enough, but when I try, no words are there. I see and feel the current of thoughts and emotions rush around in me. There is an undertow, and I can’t quite get my balance. You know my heart. You know my current. You are the voice that calms the rush in me. Speak over my heart and tell her to be still. Please tell her to be at peace and know stillness. Father, I am not asleep in this storm’s stern, but I am not bailing out water either. I am stuck.

Thank you for your word that is truth for me. Those are the only words I have to pray father. I only have your words to pep talk myself like, “find rest, my soul, in God alone. He alone is my rock and salvation. Trust in him at all times.” But my heart is dry and weary. My heart feels dried up. I own the choices I have made to feel this way. I bring them before you. I ask that you would restore me. Help me to find everything in you alone. I know I will forget again down the road, and we will probably have this conversation another time. I am thankful for your patience and grace. Thank you, Lord.

Father, I give you my friends. I give you those who you have given to me. They spoil me and make my life rich. Help me to not spoil these friendships. They are yours. They are gifts. Forgive me for where we leave you behind. Forgive me for ways I place them on your throne. Thank you for failing ways to bring my friendships back to you. Thank you for forgiveness and grace. Thank you for how much I know you more because of these friends. Bless them with your favor. Show them peace and unconditional love. Bless my friends with the desires of their hearts. I love seeing them in their passions and elements.

Father, I pray for all believers who are tired and waiting on you. I pray for your heart to overcome what is lacking in them. Keep us strong for and with one another. You prayed that we would be one as you and the son are one. I pray for solid and rich community to take on new life, sound, taste, and aroma for this world. I see glimpses. I pray for more. Give us all courage to step up for you. Give us unwavering trust in our identities in you. Help us to have lives that resemble the choice to follow after you.

It’s in your son’s perfect name that I bring these words to you. Thank you. Amen.

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My heart feels prayer consumed. I can’t seem to talk to him enough. I don’t want to get to the point where I feel like I have talked to him enough, but this is where my heart is.

Praying means a lot to me. I pray using the model of John 17.

Jesus prays for himself.

-Jesus prays for his friends.

-Jesus prays for all believers.

Maybe you are feeling like you need some talk time with him as well. I would love for you to pray with me or even take some space on here to pray for you.

Father, my heart is heavy. I feel heavy with conversation. I feel like we haven’t really talked in so long. I feel like there is so much to catch up on with one another, but you still know all things. You have seen my every day and every moment. I have left you hanging and sidelined in me for too long. I wonder why I am tired. Thank you for your grace and patience with me. Thank you for forgiving me every time I just take information about you and run with it without abiding. Forgive me for my walls of control and protection. I never need protection from you. I never need control when it comes to you.

My heart is tired. Well, all of me is tired. For the first time in a while, I feel like my soul is waking up. I feel like I have been telling my heart over and over to wake up, and now new dawn seems to be peaking through. What does that mean? Help me to trust.

Father, I pray for my friends. I pray for the dreams and hopes of my friends. I know I try and step in too much to where you are supposed to be. I love those you have given me so much. I know I forget you are the one who gave them as gifts. Forgive me for holding too tight to them. Forgive me for the fears and jealousy that comes out of holding too tight to them. Forgive me for the places that they fill me where you are wanting to. Thank you for gently restoring my failures. Help us to love each other with healthy and open handed love. Help us to forgive much so we can love much. Help us to speak in times of speaking, whether tough love or tender, and help us to listen when silence is needed. Thank you for your gifts.

Father, you know all the temptations that threats to your church. Provide strength, joy, and courage to speak your truth. Give believers a real hunger to want you, to crave intimacy with you. Give us means and wisdom to know how to stand up for intimacy with you. Let the lies of this culture be silenced. Give us a voice that sounds and looks like one. Jesus desired that we would be one like you are one with each other. I pray that. I pray that we would value greatly knowing you and making you known. Show us your favor Lord. Help us give you space, time, value, and authority. Help us to pursue the life of just believing in you.

Thank you for knowing me. Thank you for your love, grace, and gentleness. I love you, father. In your sons name, amen.

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