Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Lesson on Letting Go

*i wrote this about a year ago, and i wanted to share*

I guess I got too comfortable. I can’t think of any other reason why there’s been a shift in my relationship with a friend, but I do know one thing: It hurts. About one month has passed since we’ve had one of those good, old-fashioned, long-winded kinds of laughs together. And it seems like ages since our last true non-superficial conversation.

Somewhere down the line, one of us got hurt but we didn’t let the other one know of our feelings, and consequently, our disappointment in each other manifested in hurtful ways. I noticed that my friend began to pull back from our relationship a bit. Phone calls went unanswered. Text messages went unreturned. Our conversations slowly rippled from being fully engaged in each others lives to seemingly strangers passing like ships in the night. And what hurt me the most is when this friend looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t take this personal, but I just don’t trust you.”

I toiled for a while over the disruption of our friendship, and it brought up a lot of insecurities. In fact, I found myself in a place of deep sadness. However, in the midst of it all, I did what I always do; I threw myself on “the judgment seat.” I took a hard look at my actions, my words, my body language, and I judged myself. I took some time to sift through my role in the situation versus what I thought the responsibilities were of my friend. And you know what came out of my time in thought? These two words echoed loudly within me: let go.

We've got to be willing to let people go. I learned that the hard way. You might have heard or read this before, but not everybody belongs in the front row of our lives. Our friendships are for a reason, a season or a lifetime. If your friends choose to walk out of your life, let them go; your destiny was never tied to anyone who left.

However, there is a lesson to be learned in letting go. Picture yourself holding a beautiful flower and then picture yourself smothering that flower. In relationships, we have the responsibility to allow people to grow. We can't smother others with our expectations, personal issues, etc. Nobody can know everything about you accept Christ, so don't expect the people you care about to know you the way you think they should; it's impossible. Allow your loved ones to make mistakes because mistakes will happen. Most importantly, letting go creates a path towards communication. Make it easy for others to approach you about you. Don’t throw away a good person just because they did a bad thing. The sign of a true friend is an honest answer.

I think Oswald Chambers captured it best about relationships:

The purposes of God in your life are tied to certain relationships. To succeed, you must learn to recognize them. Remember Jonathan, who loved David even at the cost of his own life? Or Ruth, who loved her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, and gave her a reason to live again? God has people like that, and you need them. But, some areas may need to be healed before you can enter these relationships. For example, you must learn to differentiate between 'using' relationships and 'heart-ties.' Even blood-ties don't wear as well as heart-ties. Allow God to work on you. When you're ready He'll make all the necessary introductions. In the meantime, get to know Him better. Make His opinion the source of your self worth because it's the only one that really counts. If your last relationship stripped you of your identity and drained you spiritually, use this precious time to get back on your feet. Begin today to love like God loves. He sees your imperfection, handles your rejection and loves you regardless.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Alone With You.

I took the day off of work today to lay in your presence. To be alone with you. I opened my bedroom window and felt your cool morning breeze beneath the gray sky. My blue sheer curtains blew with every breath you took. In that, you teach me how to breathe. You teach me to rest in you with unconditional faith. My tongue within me burns with your language - uttering psalm to your kingdom. Alone with you. Bless my enemies, father. Comfort them, soften and change their hearts. Be a light amongst the darkness. Send me as an example of your love. Your love is great. Your love is forgiving. Your love is perfect. It never fails. Fear diminishes in light of your love. Intimidation is devoured in light of your love. God, you're an awesome God. You reign from heaven above - with wisdom, power and love. God, you're an awesome God. Thank you for being a spring of life to dry bones. Thank you for speaking hope to my spirit when others doubt my countenance. Thank you for being an unconditional friend because there is fault in me. Thank you for your grace because I've been here before. Lord, give me the desires of my heart if it be your will. I will serve you all the days of my life. As for me and my house, my thoughts and my actions, we will serve and represent. You.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Psalm

you make the sky bloom with your reflection. you stand wide in my life above all others. you, Great Jehovah, king of glory. only you write the pages of this story. only you restore this breech, the core of me. in loving me, you made me lovable. there's nothing left to say but holy. holy are you God. holy are you, Lord. holy are you in battle, and holy are you with the sword. it's evident, you're holy. you're worship. you're righteousness. you're powerful. you're magnificent. you're gracious. you're safe. you're fragrance. you're music. you're melody. you're the beat. you are Him. Jehovah. The Great.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Worth Noting

My mom read this today and sent it to me - I thought it was worth sharing.

See Failure As A Stepping Stone.
Philippians 4:13 (MSG): Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Its been said that failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.

The two words that have caused more failures in people’s lives than any other are: I CAN’T! The only limitations that you have are those that you have set up in your own mind, or those which you have allowed others to set up for you. God didn’t make you with limitations!

You may not know the background of a certain laundry worker who earned $60 a week at his job but had the burning desire to be a writer. His wife worked nights, and he spent nights and weekends typing manuscripts to send to publishers and agents. Each one was rejected with a form letter that gave him no assurance that his manuscript had even been read.

But finally, a warm, more personal rejection letter came in the mail to the laundry worker, stating that, although his work was not good enough at this point to warrant publishing, he had promise as a writer and he should keep writing. He forwarded two more manuscripts to the same friendly-yet-rejecting publisher over the next 18 months, and as before, he struck out with both of them.

Finances got so tight for the young couple that they had to disconnect their telephone to pay for medicine for their baby.

Feeling totally discouraged, he threw his latest manuscript into the garbage. His wife, believing in his talent, took the manuscript out of the trash and sent it to Doubleday, the publisher who had sent the friendly rejections.

The book, titled Carrie, sold over 5 million copies and, as a movie, became one of the top-grossing films in 1976.

The laundry worker was Stephen King.

Failure is never fatal! The current chapter of your life does not have to be the final chapter. What looks like your tombstone may be a stepping stone to something.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bag Lady

I remember seeing her sitting against that old abandoned building. The building had been burned, and if you stared hard enough, you'd see that the old lady's clothing matched the black smoky color of the charred wood behind her. She was homeless, an older lady and smudged-looking. The kids on my bus thought she was mean so they called her vicious names; she intrigued me and I thought it was cruel to make fun of her, so I called her “bag lady.” Every day after school I'd see her carrying and shuffling a bunch of bags from one corner to the next, slowly – never making it past a block. Her bags looked heavy. I mean, she must've had every possession she'd ever owned in those bags because she could barely carry them when she walked down the block. They got in her way. They slowed her down. I bet if she got rid of those bags, she would have been able to walk faster, make it to the end of the block and perhaps, cross the street.

There are so many emotional bags that we tend to carry on our heart. We carry bags of unforgiveness, offense, abuse, rejection, isolation, etc. Like that bag lady I saw years ago; when we walk around with bags on our heart, we're weighty, and we tend to view and sometimes live our lives through those bags we carry. Those bags are hindrances that keeps us from experiencing a life of freedom. Unresolved issues carried day after day become resentment, resentment once ingrained in the heart becomes bitterness and bitterness leads to a hardened heart unless you
choose to heal. It is not simple or easy and will take sometimes years before we allow the grace of God to penetrate our hearts, but we've got to work at it...

She - lived in anger
hurt, bruised, battered
Her - heart was saturated
swollen, hard
She - carried many bags
they matched the rags her life
had become
He said something to her
They did something to her
She -never forgot it
She -never forgave, until
His love came in, until
she was willing to work, until
she forgave herself, until
she chose to choose, until
she decided to give love, back

"His compassions fail not (they never cease). They are new every morning." Lam. 3:22-23

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inspired by Akaine Art

I am so inspired by this girl. She's an artist and poet. She was inspired by God at an early age (around 3 or 4) and her art is phenomenal. Makes me want to go and paint something!! Click 'play' on both videos - watch the art and listen to her interview. Wow.

Be Encouraged This Week

Ephesians 6:11: "Put on all God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil." (NLT) & Romans 12:2: "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking." (The Message)

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to wear the armor of God. To truly be prepared for this season of life. It's one thing to read the scriptures on the armor, but it's another thing to actually DO it and understand the meaning behind it. I've learned that there are practical military purposes as well as spiritual warfare application for the pieces of armor described in Ephesians 6. It's quite interesting, but it gets me fired up when I visualize being a soldier in the army of the Lord.

Belt of Truth
Military Purpose: The Roman soldier would place around the waist (loin), and it is the holder for a lot of equipment. The belt was tied in several places to stay in place so no matter which way the soldier fell, the belt was always in place with weapons, ready.
Spiritual Warfare: Just as the soldier placed the belt around his loin to hold his armor together, we must apply the word of God to our lives on a daily basis to hold us together - maintain our defense. The belt was the first thing the soldier put on.

Breastplate of Righteousness
Military Purpose: This armor is attached and anchored by the belt (loins). The belt had to be put on first, then the breastplate. One key area, the breastplate protected the heart.
Spiritual Warfare: When you walk in the righteousness of God, it is a weapon of defense against the strategies of the devil.

Feet Prepared with Peace
Military Purpose: Roman soldiers were equipped with spikes on the soles of their footwear which provided them a strong stance and balance that gave them superior posture in battle.
Spiritual Warfare: Peace will help you stand with your feet planted on the Word of God. It will protect us when we walk through rough laces and keep us steady in eh heat of battle.

Shield of Faith
Military Purpose: There had to be flexibility and strength in the use of the shield. Protection from arrows and spears. Large enough to be knelt behind.
Spiritual Warfare: Faith of the believer. God fights with us and He's there to protect us.

Helmet of Salvation

Military Purpose: The Roman helmet had a chinstrap, visor and came down to cover the back and sides of the neck. A well-designed helmet will protect you from VARIOUS ANGLES OF ATTACK.
Spiritual Warfare: The greatest battlefield is our mind. This is the area that the enemy wants to attack the most. We must have a clear mind to be discerning in all situations. This comes by immersing yourself in God's word and prayer.

Sword of the Spirit
Military Purpose: This one was a two-edged sword with the end turned upward. It inflicted more damage than other swords. It was intended to kill and to rip the enemy's insides to shreds. The two-edged swords were thick and cut in two directions.
Spiritual Warfare: Our sword of the Spirit is the word of God. And, each word is like a sword-blow to satan's strategies. It represents authority and power.

So, to you, whomever is reading this, be encouraged this week. Remember to put on the whole armor of God EVERY DAY. Be strategic. Stay fired up and stay prepared. Never leave home without your armor.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Thought

I awakened this morning with this song on my heart by Kim Walker. Then, I was reminded that God's promises are "Yes," and "Amen!" I got fired up this morning - like I was going to war or something. I love how God pursues us and loves us. I love how He's never failing. Every day I will consider it the first day of a personal new year of staying on fire for Him. He's given me the horizon to paint and a life full of brand new beginnings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Good Morning, February

After laying asleep with your thoughts on my mind, I awake with the perfect vision of you. I wipe my eyes with your sunlight blazing my view, and you're wonderful. You told me today, "Whatever you find to do, do it with all your might," and so, I am. With Ecclesiastes 9:10 in front of me, I go about my day dedicating it to you.

she is pondering
which way God wants her to go
without Him, she's lost

You take my mourning and turn it into dancing. You take my sadness and turn it into joy. You bring restoration.

she is waiting and
not rushing ahead of Him
for time will tell all