only part of the story

Oh as you run,
what hindered love
will only
become part of the story.

Steffany Gretzinger, Come out of Hiding

A few weeks ago, I took part in a night of prophetic teaching, and one of the words spoken was the lyrics to this song.

It snuck past my defences, and opened my heart to receive the words God wanted me to hear. My tears, oh how they flowed!

I have lived my life with too much fear & regret, feeling like there are too many chapters I wish I could rip out of my story.

But looking at my life from my perspective is not what I am meant to do.

I am meant to lean into God, and press in for the promises and purpose He has for me.

Not to take a long look back at what was, but to keep my eyes fixed on Him & what He has ahead for me.  I am not a waste, or the sum of my mistakes.

Part of sharing my story is how God is shattering my vision, removing my faulty lie lined glasses, and let me see His vision instead.

God doesn’t use an eraser, or liquid paper, or start our story over.

He takes away the hurt, the pain, and restored the broken places of the past chapters, and helps us write each day moving forward with his help & strength.

He doesn’t remember the past.

At all.

Its a new day, every day with Him.

And because of that amazing mind-blowing aspect of His character…..

My story isn’t finished yet, and neither is yours!

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We can have hope, because what the enemy intended to use against us becomes only part of our story in God’s hands & plans.

With His grace, we can live our story unhindered!

Its time to step into the light of His grace,

gaze on His face,

and move into the place

He has waiting for us!

#pressingin

#thestorycontinues

#comeoutofhiding

#hopeinHisPresence

home is where your family is found

I have a confession to make.

I love being in family.

I love family in all its quirks, black sheep, & uniqueness through the ups & downs of living life in close quarters.

I have found over the years that when I have been the loneliest, I have not been keeping in close touch with family.

God sets the lonely in families.
Psalm 68:6

Or my translation:
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And much as I love my earthly family, and the family I have made through friendship & church, I have discovered those aren’t the most important family connections for me to avoid loneliness. You can still feel lonely in a crowd of people who love you. Which I know first hand.

Because I have a tendency to feel like the black sheep, and want to hide when I don’t feel like I fit.  I am not gifted like many of my family members, and have felt on the outside looking in for more time than I care to admit….which is one of the number one contributors to my feeling lonely.

When loneliness swirls about me like a fog, I need to press in and draw close to my heavenly family, for:

My Father reminds me who I am to Him… chosen.

Jesus anchors me in the family…. beloved.

Holy Spirit guides me along the journey… pursued.

Together they want me, mold me, cleanse me, shape me, heal me, laugh with me, cry with me, comfort me and make me the best me I can be when i spend time in their Presence.

I am not a black sheep in God’s family…for all His sheep have been made white through the blood of the Lamb.

I can be myself, as God designed, when I am in His Presence.

I have found that sharing my words through writing, worshipping in song & silence, and spending time sinking into the Word, I draw closer to my Family, and somehow I also feel closer to my earthly family.

When we know we are loved, we are better able to offer love to those around us, especially the ones who know us the best – warts, quirks & all!

I want to thank you, reader, for sharing this, my 501st post to my blog!

To celebrate, please let me know if one of the below would interest you to read about by Feb 13th, and as a thanks offering back to you all, I will post about the most requested one on Feb 14th!

1. The Father’s Love

2. Psalm 139

3. The Prodigal Son

4. Psalm 23

Blessings,

Karla 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

3 ways words pack a wallop

Many of us can recall a time when we were hurt by someone else’s actions.

But we likely all can remember a time when someone’s words hurt.

Words bypass race, size, religion, gender, class and strike right at the heart of us, often before we know it.

There are three ways we can be wounded by words have been wielded as a weapon:

Unintentionally:

Gossip can catch us off guard, and broken telephone can contribute to us being hurt when we hear things behind our backs.  Hearing your BFF actually hates your new dress but tells you how flattering it looks to your face because they know how much you like the color & they don’t want to hurt your feelings… still hurts when you realize they withheld the truth from you when asked for it.

Sometimes we don’t know the other person well enough to not accidentally make a comment slip (like how you dislike Timmy’s coffee and it turns out to be their favorite daily coffee place) and hurt their feelings.

Be careful what you say when you don’t know all the facts or people in a situation. Ask God for wisdom to help you steer clear of unintentionally using words that hurt.

Accusingly:

When we hear an accusation, we are all initially hurt: either by the truth, or by the lie.

The truth can pack quite the wallop when we are hiding from it, can’t it? There have been times when I need to catch my breath from its jab. The point of these words is to rebuild & restore us, despite the surgery that may be involved uprooting what shouldn’t be within us.

Unfortunately, the delivery method can pack as much of a punch as the words spoken.

When God speaks the truth to us, whether in His word or through another follower, it might be blunt but it is to be delivered with love and a desire for God’s best. Not the judgment that tends to slip out, which reveals the state of our own hearts.

Which leads me to the other way that an accusation can hurt: when its a lie.

You know, “lie” is a word I prefer not to use, because I like to lie down to rest, and I don’t like to use words in two ways when I have an options. Lies as a plural, is perfect. As a writer, word choice is important to me for setting the right background or revealing the best picture.

I choose to use the word “falsehood” for two reasons. False is the opposite of Truth, which also shows we are aligning ourselves with the enemy “hood.”

Falsehoods hurt because of their design. They are enemy snipers designed to take us down any way they can. When they are used by a non-Kingdom dweller, we aren’t as surprised, for we know who they are aligning with by association.

When falsehoods are used by a believer, a tear forms in the fabric of the Kingdom, and a tear falls from the face of its Leader.

We are not designed to speak what is false, but:

Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —think on such things.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

We are not to walk back into the enemy hood we have been delivered out of, but keep the best of the Kingdom on our hearts & in our minds, as the above verse suggests. Even more clear is the comparison seen in the Message version of the same verse below:

Fill your minds and meditate on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Philippians 4:8 MSG

Which leads to the last way words can wound us when they are wielded as a weapon:

Deliberately:

This reveals more about the character of the speaker than the hearer.

Deliberately using your words, whether truth or false, shows you have a foot in the enemy hood, whether you would like to hear that or not:

Because you KNOW your word will hurt.

And that knowledge means you purposefully are aiming at another person to wound them.

Not cool.

I have been the recipient of deliberate, calculated falsehood in a time of great loss or shock, from those I adored.

Although I have forgiven them, the scar remains.

Those deliberate words? They are the bombs to the single gun shot of unintention and the Uzi of accusation.

Last Word:

All of these wound causing word weapons can come with a complication. How it impacts our relationship with the speaker of these words.

We need to run to God first to ask Him to separate how we have been hurt from the person who hurt us. Once we have dealt with the wounding, then we need to ask Him how we are to speak to the wounder. He may reveal an insight we could not know, and have us either set up a new boundary or reinforce our friendship, addressing the situation from His perspective.

Words hurt, but in His hands we can be fully healed.

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when justice fails

When a man is convicted for 18 months for killing a dog, and another isn’t charged with killing a fellow human being, justice isn’t served.

God hurts along with those crying out for justice in Ferguson.

Ultimately, God will mete out holy justice at His court when Jesus returns….

but until then, we hurt.
We cry out.
We wail.
We are overwhelmed with pain.

God created all people equal in His sight.

Man has continued to elevate himself above others in a temporary bid for power since Cain.  Positioning himself to rule, man wants what man wants, no matter the cost, unless he serves Another.

Service places the needs of another before your own.

Self service seeks to sit on the throne of your life.

Service acknowledges the sacrifice of Jesus…who came not only to show the Kingdom, but took the punishment we deserved on our behalf, so heavenly justice would be served.

Heaven needs to collide with Earth for His justice to be served.

This in part depends on humanity.

And therein lies the problem.

The part of God’s plan we sometimes grapple with, if we are being honest, is how evil continues to get away with its crimes. When murderers, rapists, swindlers, war criminals walk free.

But here is the even more sobering truth we need to all keep in mind.

They don’t walk free past this life.

God will hold them accountable.
He sees ALL done by ALL humanity.
He knows it all.

And He will judge every person ever.

Personally, I am overwhelmingly grateful that I have Jesus as my covering when I will approach that throne at the end of days.

Because I know what I am capable of without Him. I get glimpses in my day to day sin as I battle to serve and not self serve.

Ferguson is hurting over an apparent lack of justice.

God is crying over it too, and has been for a very long time.

All people were made in His image.

ALL:
Every race, every colour, every build, every language, male and female, every single one He has & ever will create are made in His image.

When we don’t walk out this truth with one another, this both breaks His heart and riles His anger.

He hurts with the hurting.
He will judge the crimes.

Holiness meets Heart in God.

If you are another race that has been persecuted and tormented because of your skin colour, He is with you.  Just as He was with Israel while they were under Egyptian rule. With those in SS, war and labour camps. With those displaced from their homes. Those who are treated terribly at work because of their looks, their birth, or their faith. With those who have had a loved one abruptly stolen from their embrace.

God reigns.
He knows.
He longs to speak truth to all people, so we would all treat one another as He hoped we would, but knew we would not without Jesus.

Thank You God, You are with those who mourn.

We can have hope that You will restore, You are with us, You love us, you will comfort all those who turn to You.

May Your people rise up by falling to their knees and lift up those amongst us who are cut to the quick, hurting beyond words.

May we be the hand of love You extend over & over to us in our need.

The God we see in the Word is the same God reaching out for us.

Your will will be done,
Your Kingdom will come.
Your justice will be served.
You will reign.
Forever and ever,
Amen.

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holding back?

You never lose by loving.
You only lose by holding back.

@WomanDoItAll tweet

part of me
is curled tight
clenched within
the very core of who I am

it started as a seed
but instead of planting
it to let it grow,
unfurl in Your presence
I buried it inside
away from Your light…
letting it starve
from lack of connection,
lonely from
a lack of love

I hold myself back
so well
all the enemy has to do
is point to the road ahead
and my imagination
runs amok
pondering all the possibilities
fear, worry and loneliness
can conjure when
the faith within
has been held back
out of reach from
Your loving,
healing touch

as I learn
to trust You even more
i led down the
guard I built within
the wall to keep
what I feared out
but in reality
locks part of me
within
away from the very hope
it needed to deepen
and mature

in one whoosh
freedom is released
like a rushing wind
blowing out the
shards of pretense
and enabling
Holy Spirit to move on in
and remodel the place
He loves to live in

‘No more holding back’
He gently whispers
to my soul
‘I want you free
the way We designed you to be.
Flying high,
trusting deeply,
letting us lead,
increasing our Glory
as you walk out
Our story
through you’

My eyelids
begin to close
and down droops
my nose
as my head bobs
to almost touch my chin
as Your peace floods
into my heart,
confirming what I knew
from the start

I already know You
will win, God
help me live out the truth
that
I will never lose
by letting You love me
inside & out,
i only lose
when i hold myself back
from the fullness
You offer
in Your Presence

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leaf it alone- seasons of relationships part 1

Fall always reminds me God has a season in mind for letting go.

Just as the leaves are meant to fall, so are the weights of worries, concerns, secrets and burdens we carry, to our own detriment. In some instances, it may be an unhealthy relationship or addictive behavior He may be calling you to leave behind.

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We only tend see the death of autumn as leaf after leaf start to fall…but without the leaves falling to the ground, the next season can’t arrive.

We need to let go so God can move us on.

Each leaf knows when its time to leave, when the winds of change are blowing strong.

Leaves are meant to fall, not hang around past their time.

God has designed us to not hang onto burdens for more than for a short season.

He is enough to help us leave our pasts behind us. To let go of the pain. To be healed of our wounds. (Psalm 55:22) To give you peace and rest. (Matthew 11:28)

No matter your past, God is present.

He wants to fill us with hope and give us a bright future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Leave the old behind, and let it make room for the new season He has in store for you.

We are called to have faith.
He not only gives us fresh hope,
He makes all things new. (Revelation 21:5)

We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.
~Rick Warren

God is the soft place for us to fall as we let go and leave ourselves in His hands. 🙂

love poured red

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Freedom isn’t free.
There is always a cost to freedom.

On this day, November 11th, Remembrance Day in Canada, I will be remembering the sacrifice of our veterans, past & present.
Those who gave their lives to ensure Canada stayed free.

The blood poured out to keep us free.

The fighting, the rations, the weather, the lack.

The bravery, the courage, the camaraderie, the heroic.

When the world was threatened with being torn apart, those who knew it was wrong stood up for what was right. Their love in action.

I am so grateful for the freedom I enjoy. Both my grandfathers were veterans, both changed forever in fighting for what was right.

As we pause for the moment of silence at 11am, there is another sacrifice I am reminded to be grateful for as well.

Freedom within.

You cannot fully grasp the concept of freedom until you know the pressure of being bound, oppressed. Chained down, unable to free yourself, hope ebbs away over time as you slowly accept your new reality as a prisoner.

Jesus changed all that.

His blood poured out on the cross set us free.

The choice, the birth, the years of preparation.

The walk, the touches, the wholeness, abundant life.

The cross, the whipping, the crown of thorns, the pierced aide and hands….

all lead to why the fight for freedom- LOVE in action.

Jesus came and set the captives free.  Freedom is available for all because of His sacrifice, His making the wrong right, His life laid down for what He believed in- freedom, and who He believes in- us:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13 NIV

Those who fought in the great wars? Who fight in the wars that erupt around the world still in our day? They reveal a glimpse of Jesus to the world in their actions, serving those who need them:

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you..Put your life on the line for your friends.

 John 15:13 MSG

To those who have gone in before, may God give you your well fought, hard earned reward.

I honor you.

To those who struggle at returning home changed after your service, may you find the freedom, peace, and restoration found in Jesus.

I honor you.

For all those who have stood or are standing up for what is right, may God bless you for showing His love in your service.

He honors you.

To all those wanting to be free within.

He is waiting for you to come to the cross, offering a new hope.

His love poured red.
Freedom came at a great cost.
We Remember.

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beyond beyond

We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C.S.Lewis, the Problem with Pain

Pain has become an almost constant companion to be over the past several years.  Not the occasional accidentally whacked myself on the bedside in the middle of the night, or tripped over a Barbie head on the living room floor (yes, I confess, done those!)
but the consistent cry of my joints in pain.

I am currently having some sort of arthritis like flare hitting my hands and feet right now, in particular three fingers on my left hand.

As someone who uses her hands for a living, and who loves to crochet, this has not only impacted my physical daily life & livelihood…it has tried to invade mentally, emotionally & spiritually.

Not being able to easily do things I used to take for granted, like opening ziploc bags. Leaves me mentally frustrated.

Too many of those kind of incidents, or not taking enough time to rest between tasks leaves me feeling useless and low.

Not understanding why this is happening, or why it randomly flares out of control when it does leaves my faith shaken in a storm of emotions.

That’s how I look at my pain from my point of view.

God however doesn’t look at things quite the same way, does He?

I went downstairs this afternoon to hang some laundry, and prayed as I do so. Bearing my heart to God, I bluntly told Him that I didn’t know why this was happening, but I believe He wants the best for me, and in order for me to make it through, I need to know He is with ne in my pain, right where I am at. I need Him to tangibly show me.

A sense of peace washed over me, and I knew in my spirit, He heard me, He is with me, and He is for me.

I don’t know any more than you do what tomorrow will bring.

I do know that my God is present, in my here and now.  I am not alone in my pain.  I have asked Him to heal me, and when I worship the pain tends to lessen, so I am pressing in believing for a miracle.

But the greater miracle to me?

Having God with me each moment. Every single now that I have.

For He says,

I am more than enough for what you are going through:

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

-Philippians 4:13

He is worth my trust & praise:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.

-Psalm 28:7

Despite my pain, I will continue to give Him praise.

He has always been on my side through thick or him, and always will be.  He reminds me that my pain is important because it bothers me, and what bothers me, bothers Him.  Because He loves me so much, He even knows each hair on my head, and collects each tear I cry!

Pain may be wanting to be heard above all,  but first and foremost God hears my heart.

I need to remember to keep it in its place as a temporary part of me  and limit how it tries to affect my whole person.

I want my voice to be known heard shouting His praise, not giving undue voice to my pain.

God takes me beyond beyond, to quote Priscilla Shirer. He blesses us beyond what we can hope or imagine, for He is so big & beyond what we can even comprehend, He is beyond beyond!

I am pressing in & claiming verses like the one below on the days where I need to put pain in its place:
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May He take you beyond beyond in whatever you are facing today too. All things are possible in Him!

scarred

God’s proof of love for us is found in the scarred hands of Jesus.

@1Tim6_11Men tweet

I often try to hide my scars.
Some of them are physical, many are emotional.

We tend to hide what we don’t want people to see in us during first impressions. Especially if we really like the person we are with.

We hide under bulky clothing, hair over our face, makeup, shrinking so we don’t seem as tall.

Because we may be scarred from the words of those we encountered before…who wounded instead of accepting us for who we are.

Imperfect creations of the perfect Creator.

We have fallen into the world’s belief that scars mar the goods and make them worthless.

I disagree.

Jesus’ hands and side might have marred Him physically, and wounded Him on all levels, but they didn’t make Him worthless.

Quite the opposite.

They expressed just how much He valued us, those scars.

Each welt- an I love you demonstrated for all to see.

Each thorn- a reminder of His purpose, to set us free.

Each piercing- overwhelming His heart with His plan, our redemption.

I find it fascinating that when Jesus rose again, His hands & feet still bear the scars of His sacrifice.

Scars meant for destruction became declarations of freedom.

I have a few scars.
Literally.
Figuratively.

Some I continue to try and hide away, but i no longer have the same sense of fear to keep them hidden.

I am waiting for His timing, and His loving words to draw me in, to touch my scars and make them beautiful with hope and possibility.

Where Love sees the whole person, not the marring of their scars.

One day, I will see His beautiful scars up close. An eternal reminder of how much He loves each and every one of us…enough to inscribe us in the palm of His hands.

I believe He will see me as the pure spotless bride He calls me to be, scars, flaws and all.

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Scars remind us to never forget: where we came from, and who is bringing us Home.

His scars? that Jesus will never forget us, nor does He want to.

Scars are part of His plan.

kind

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Everyone needs more kindness in their lives.

Aim to deliver.

Jesus showed us how to do this, while He was with us, and which was recorded in black, white and sometimes red in our bibles.

The red reminds us of His ultimate act of kindness, dying in our place on the cross. The blood that flowed was filled with kindness.

Jesus showed His kind heart in many acts….

The man with the crippled hand He healed on the Sabbath:

Is there a person here who finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn’t, even though it was a sabbath, pull it out? Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!

Matthew 12:11-12

The woman who had hemorrhaged for 12 years, likely physically exhausted, broke and desperate, who took the risk to touch Him despite all cultural barriers of the time, and was healed by touching His hem.
His public acknowledgement of her would have freed her not only by her physical healing, but restored her in the community again as now not to be shunned (unclean). That is a wonderful showing of kindness…
Matthew 9:20-22

Jesus taught, shared the Kingdom and healed everywhere He went…

When He looked out over the crowds, His heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

These passages are no more than a few lines each, but they reveal in minimal words the character of the God we serve.

Kind.
Loving.
Compassionate.
Giving.
Present.

With the new start we all have, knowing God believes in us, loves us, and daily showers us with grace & mercy…how can we not share this good news with those around us?

We can.

Be kind.

To everyone.

We don’t know what is really under the surface in each other…and how much a timely kind word can change someone’s day for the better.

You might be the only one speaking a kind word to them that day, week….

I can recall brief sentences spoken to me over the years that made a huge difference between giving up and pressing on.

Just as God’s kindness gave you a spark of hope, aim to share that same spark every chance you can.

Be kind.
Repeat.