Regrets

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Like all of us, I too have regrets in my past.

Not meeting Jesus earlier.
My behaviour in many situations.
My response to several circumstances.
The lack of love or compassion I failed to show many who crossed my path.
How I have been as a daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, cousin. Wife, mother. Friend, coworker, band mate, employee.
My walk as a follower of Jesus.

Like the image above, many days my regrets follow me around.

What I realized this morning is like the elephant’s egrets, my regrets were meant to serve a purpose.
But not be my 24/7 companion.

When regrets take His place, we take our gaze off His face.

Regrets are a reminder to us to drop to our knees before Him, confess our failings, ask for His grace, then walk in His strength.

Not cause us to do a u-turn away from our present and future living.

God didn’t save us to leave us where He found us, full of regrets, wounds and sin.

He brings us up out of the kingdom of darkness and cleans us off with His holiness.

He clothes us in His identity as one of His household.

He infuses us with His love, like a long fragrant perfumed bath.

He envelops us with hope.

He empowers us with His strength.

And He Himself wants to walk with us, every moment of every day.

Notice the verb tense changed to present, even though I was referring to my past, when He met me, where He found me.

God’s redemption may have occurred once for our salvation, yet it is meant to occur daily for our freedom.

We are fragile beings who have a tendency to focus on what is going wrong instead of all which is going well with us.

God knew this as our Designer.

For God too faced regrets, as we can see in the Word.

He regretted making man at least once, leading to the flood. He regretted His children falling into sin and being lured away by placing their hopes in false gods. (Israel, over and over again)

Yet He never showed regret for giving us the gift of new life through Jesus.

Living a new life means having no permanent regrets following us around. Your regrets get to flock into your past when you place them in Jesus’ loving hands. They become part of your history, not features in your ongoing story.

Regrets turn into redirection as God helps us live the life He has waiting for us to live in Him.

Make a list of your regrets. Bring them before the Lord and ask Him to guide you out of your past into the life ahead of you today. Then toss that list into the fireplace, or run it through your shredder.

God makes all things new, even me and you!

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Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.

Trust the love of God to help you uproot those regrets, so you can bear the fruit and enjoy the life He wants for you in this moment.

The life you spend together.

pace or pursuit

Is the pace at which I am doing God’s work destroying God’s work in me? Bill Hybels

There are days where I feel like I can’t catch my breath. One thing after another gets crossed off my to-do list, until I collapse on the sofa at the end of the night and wonder where my day, and my inner peace went.

Many of the things I did were good things.  But I am awakening to realize that not all of them needed to be done by ME.

I have a loving husband and two adult children, with a cute cat and a pygmy hedgehog living with me in our cozy nest.  This year, with three of us working and one in school full time, I have had to pull back on doing all the cooking, and use the crackpot more and assign nights to cook based on who is home first.  The cleaning jobs are fairly equally divided too. Not everyone is as tidy as the others, but working as a team leaves more time for family fun this way, with no one person carrying the weight alone.

All I do at home, my job or church may be His work.

But if I lose sight of how and what He is wanting me to do when and set my own pace, I can bring it all down through my attempt to do it all, in my own strength.

What we do on our own can be good, but what we are able to do with God can be great!!!

I have a few gifts and talents which God has given me (mostly around communication & community).  I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that not all I do is meant for me to be doing.

Which means that the pace I am trying to maintain is a waste if I am not achieving His best for me at the end of the day.

Instead of trying to organize myself into obedience, I am taking a different tact this year….

I am pursuing God as my main priority.

There will always be jobs to be done, for we will always have work of one kind or another until we get to heaven.

If pursuing Him first causes me to allow him more fully to work through me, I need to lay myself down each day, and let Him set my pace.

Pausing to make sure I am running in pace with Jesus and all He has for me to do and become is more important to my well being.

Ultimately God is to be my pace setter.

My part is to give Him the space he needs within me to see the mext step ahead, as He equips me to meet each task to the best of my ability in Him.

I refuse to not answer the call He is stirring up deep within because I am keeping a frenzied pace without His purposes for me in mind.

I have no more space for the kind of waste in my life, Beloved.

Join me as we slow down before His throne, settle in at His feet, and ask Him to open our eyes to the things which matter most to Him, while He leads us to the peace within as He reminds us who we truly are, and what it is he has for us to do today.

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May the #wonder of living life at His pace overtake all of our busyness as we seek him first!

why’s

We don’t always take a close enough glimpse at one person in the Christmas story whom I can relate to the most.

Because like me, Joseph appears to have wondered at the whys of Jesus.

  • Why, Mary?
  • Why Mary?!
  • Why this way, God?
  • Why now?
  • Why me?
  • Why?

‘Why’ is a question we can all see ourselves saying when faced with a new scary or unsettling situation.

At times, we echo what we imagine Joseph’s attitude was when informed about Mary’s pregnancy.

We don’t know actually who told him, for we know Mary was out of town for several months visiting her cousin Elizabeth as she was awaiting her son to come, John. We can hazard a guess that the grapevine may have gotten to Joseph before her parents or Mary did.

Because bad news likes to spread when outsiders begin to ask why.

As her fiancé (in those days called betrothed) Joseph had pledged to marry Mary. To us today, being betrothed is like being married except not living or sleeping together yet. In that time, he had the legal right to accuse her of infidelity, divorce her, see her stoned, and be set free without any blemish on his reputation. (see Matthew 1:18 – 25)

Joseph must have asked why.  For we all want to know the answer to that question when faced with drama or trauma.

He was likely broken-hearted, angry, frustrated and second guessing himself for choosing her as his bride.

We get a critical glimpse into Joseph’s personality with his response to Mary’s news, and the hint of what he must have been thinking, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. (Notice the angel showed up after he had decided to quietly divorce her.)

His message from God for Joseph?

  1. Son of David: Yes, I know you, and i have the right guy, Joseph. You are part of the promise, the hope for Israel.
  2. Do not fear: I am with you.
  3. Take Mary as your wife: live up to your covenant with her.
  4. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit: your wife became pregnant through God’s actions, no man’s. She is still your pure fiancée.
  5. She is to bear a son:  So you will know I speak the truth.
  6. Call him Jesus: For this is happening because He is the Messiah..
  7. For He will take away the sins of the world: this is the plan.
  8. And fulfill the prophecies spoken about him: this is the time for him to arrive.

Notice what Joseph did first thing after awakening from that dream.

He went and got married to the girl of his dreams. (With one exception. He didn’t consummate the marriage while she was pregnant with Jesus.)

Despite all the why’s left unanswered, Joseph heard exactly what he needed to in order to obey God, and become the step-father of the most important man in history.

I’d be asking why me too if I were Joseph.

Because I do so often enough in my own life at times.

Here is the thing.  God knows why He chose you and I.

Just because we don’t always know why He chose us, doesn’t mean we were not His intended chosen.

God knew Joseph would be engaged to Mary.  He knew him to be a just man, who loved Mary so much he would show her kindness in a heartbreaking situation.

For Joseph, despite his likely questions, was a man after God’s own heart.

After Jesus was born, Joseph was given another set of instructions in a dream via an angel of the Lord.  He was warned to take Mary and Jesus, and flee to Egypt.  (Matthew 2:13-15)

Then he was told why.

For in that instance, being a devout Jew and being asked to go back to Egypt, the country which kept your people enslaved for generation?  I’d want to know why, just like Joseph would.

The why? For Herod wants to kill Jesus.

God didn’t need to say any more than that, apart from wait for My further instructions.

There are some why’s we already know the answer to, we just need to hear them confirmed.

There are most lessons we can learn from the briefly recorded life of Joseph, step-father to Jesus, husband to Mary.  But why is evident the greatest in this portion of the Word.

Because when God asked Joseph to do something, just like Mary, he did so. Even without all his why’s answered.

There is no question in my mind that Mary and Joseph were real life people like you and I.  God knew the plans He had for them, and look how history was changed through their obedience.

Why Joseph ultimately comes down to this: Jesus needed an earthly father who resembled His heavenly Father. One whose heart was for following the ways of heaven while here on earth. 

The next time you are overwhelmed with the questions on your heart and mind, ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  

For He is the ultimate answer to all our questions: the how’s, the what if’s, the who’s, the what’s, the where’s, the when’s and yes, the why’s!

This piece of history reminds me to wonder anew at the bigger picture God has in store for us!
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Your choice

I was struck at the thought this morning that God leaves much in our hands, but nothing astounds me more than…

The ability to choose.

Choice. To head left or right. To move or stay. To say yes or no. To give or take. To forgive or hold s grudge.

Most of our life happens as a result of our combined choices.

And God, in His plans, leaves the choices up to us.

You see, He made His choice.

The cross and resurrection didn’t just happen. They were His deliberate choice to show us a better way. To reveal His heart for all humanity. To give us an option to choose real life versus being stuck in survival mode. To overcome and defeat sin, instead of being led by it.

His choice was us.

All of us.

His choice sets everyone free who chooses Him.

And there is the crux of the matter.

We need to choose Him in order for His choice to apply to us.

Without welcoming Him in, His choice hovers above without ever landing within the open hearts and spreading the Good News that we are His.

Our choices can block us from fully living as His.

And this free will was His choice.

You see, He loves us so much He wants our love freely given in return.

He wants to be our choice as much as He chose us.

Who wouldn’t want the one they love to return their love?

He made His choice when He laid down His life for you.

Now the choice is yours.
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PS. Tomorrow, unpacking our choices….

waiting for Hope

In the hard times, I have begun to speak words of hope to myself, especially when i want to wallow in my situation.

Life can be hard, can’t it?  And we can easily become swamped down by the what ifs, why mes, will it ever ends and Argggghhhhs.

I especially love the Psalms, because I can see myself in most of them.  Crying out to God in the midst of my anguish and pain.

But that’s only part of the purpose for the Psalms, Beloved.

The psalms were not penned to remind us we are alike in our difficulties in life, but to remind us of the Hope each psalm contains for us all.

Hope Himself will rise to meet us, as God met each psalmist in their journey of waiting and seeking.

Our living Hope is entrenched in each word of HiStory, the Bible; for He is  both the inspiration for every word and the rescue for each person recorded in its history.

And because He is, and always will be, He is our Living Hope in our present moments, no matter what they are.

He rejoices with us when we get or hear good news.

He cries with us when our hearts break from sudden or slow loss.

He mourns with us in our grief.

He actively pursues us when we feel lonely.

He houses us when the echoes of abandonment try to return.

He makes His home with us, giving us hope, purpose and a future intertwined with his heart.

So like the psalmist of Psalm 119, I choose to wait for His word of Hope.

For Him to speak life into my weary brittle bones. To spark passion into the embers of my dry heart. To come to me and show Himself strong. To love up on me in every area where I have lack. To provide over and above what I can believe for in the natural.

So I wait for You.

Because You have never failed to reveal Yourself to expectant hearts who eagerly wait for You.

Will you join me in the wait?

wordofHope

comeback timing

When that setback happens in your life, its impact can have you believing there is no hope for a comeback.

But that all depends on what you mean by these terms.

A set back sets you back from the plan for your life.

A come back gets you back on the right track.

But what if the set back reveals you weren’t on the right track?

And what if the comeback doesn’t look like you feel it should?

For those of us who believe in God, follow Jesus and allow Holy Spirit to speak to us, guiding us on our journey, we have a different plan in play.

God’s plan.

And as we all know, what we decide doesn’t always go according to our planning. no matter how much time or effort we have vested in it.

This isn’t the case with God.

He invested His all through Jesus so we could have a comeback from the fallout of our setback, our fall into sin.

He literally have His all so we could come back to God.

With a love like that laying down His life for us while we didn’t even get know Him, I put more credibility in what He says than any one with lots of knowledge or street cred.

If He made us and He saves us, there must be a bigger plan in play that I can see in my day to day life.

Because God didn’t just rescue us and leave us to fend for ourselves available. He left Holy Spirit within each of us, to remind us that He is with us. and nothing will happen to us that He cannot redeem.

Redeem means to make right in His eyes.

Not always ours.

Struggling in a marriage where your husband regularly hits or cheats on you?

God has a comeback for you that may not involve your husband, but will involve you & Him. Together.

Unable to have a baby? Your comeback may arrive in counseling others through your greatest area of pain, offering them the support you prayed for while you were struggling or a child in desperate need of your loving arms and a safe home.

There are more accounts of broken and hurting people in the Bible whom God used than there are perfect people.

There was only One who had it all together, and that’s because He was God.

Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David , Bathesheba, Rahab, Esther. Mordecai, Ruth, Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul… and the list could go on and on forever.

Because each of us has had a setback, haven’t we, of one kind or another?

Life is full of hurts, blocked goals, loss, betrayal, and pain.

It is also filled with Hope.  Because of the One who came to be our Hope in the midst of each of our setbacks, as well as the all the mundane and wonderful moments interspersed in our lives.

He Himself is the comeback we need to cling to when faced with our setbacks.

He alone can guide you towards the comeback He has in store for you. even thought the path is so clouded by your pain, you can’t see beyond the next step.

But He can.

What sets us back the enemy tries to warp and tell us is designed to set us apart from God.  Which isn’t true.

God is always crying come back to His children.

He always has, and ALWAYS will, until each of His children has made their way back Home.

I am in a holding pattern for my comeback after a major setback which occurred in my life.

I refuse to allow the enemy to discourage me about the fact my comeback is not fully here yet.

I can say not yet, because God has clearly revealed Himself to be with me in a way I could not have experienced apart from His meeting me in that setback.

So, like you, I choose to wait for the comeback He has for me.

Because He promises in Isaiah 35 that He has better than what was taken from me ahead for me.

Blessing is coming back to me.

While I wait, He holds me tight and reminds me of His love.

I may not understand His timing. but I have felt His love for me, and choose to place my comebacks in His capable hands, for them to come to me in His timing, with His full blessing released as it comes.

I think some times if our comeback came right away, we wouldn’t know the comfort of His Presence had we not had the delay.

I wouldn’t trade the God I discovered in my setbacks for any of the tarnished treasures this world tries to offer me as I wait.

Instead, I choose to place my trust Jesus, author of the biggest comeback in all history!

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give thanks hopeful rant

This week, a weariness i rarely have experienced before has left me tired.

Not only physically.

I realized that I am tired of:

false campaign promises (like c’mon, when a flyer tells me that the Liberals will cut child tax benefit from millionaires, and we stopped getting it $90,000+ before becoming millionaires, hullo?!!!!)

companies continuing to call even when we tell them we are on the do not call list & will close our accounts if they keep calling

when you can’t get a straight yes or no answer to your question, when all the proof is clearly there and has been for quite some time

when people make a big deal out of a molehill, so much so what really matters become hidden in the process

On these kinda days, its always good to review your thankful list.

I am thankful for….

LIFE
Without it, I would be missing out on all the blessings I have!

WORDS:
Without His, I wouldn’t have come to be.
The ones He brings me to keep me, no matter what the season. The ones that spark hope & joy on the dreariest of days.
The ones which I sing to Him in thanks for those He songs over me.

COMMUNITY:
Without it, I wouldn’t be here.
Each hug, word of encouragement, free latte, ride to & from work, covering my shifts when I need time off, listening to me vent, praying for me

HOPE:
Without it, i wouldn’t want to be here. Because each new day He blesses me with is filled with a fresh clean slate!

Instead of fixing my thoughts & heart on wearies me, i choose to let what needs to go go, and cling to what adds life. 

To give Him thanks more than I whine.

To remind myself if the blessings of a life spent with & gifted from Him.

#hopefulrant
#givethanks

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called back to life

Peter denied Jesus three times…

And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Matthew 26:69-75

In these verses, God gives us a glimpse both into His heart & the heart of man.

Jesus knew Peter would deny Him.  Peter rejected Jesus’ Word of knowledge, yet it came to pass when the going got rough.

Jesus also knew what He was going to do to uproot the damage Peter did within himself with the three denials. Even before Peter denied Him.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,“Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

John 21:15-17

Three times, one for each denial, Jesus reassures Peter of his call.  He will be the rock in which Jesus built His church, even though in that moment he is just a blubbering mess of brokenness.

Because we too are a wreck when God speaks into those painful places where we have denied our wrong doing, didn’t need His warning and were devastated by the results.

I want to reassure you today, Beloved.

Each time you strayed, your Shepherd not only has His eyes in You, He knows how to best help you return to the fold of His embrace.

He gets that we sometimes make decisions based upon fear, as Peter did. 

In the heat of the moment, one of his closest friends having been ripped from his company  Peter reacted on instinct instead of trusting in His plan, in His Words.

I’ve been there. Often. 

Yet His love continues to speak health and life back into my life, and make me whole as He cleans up my messes. Just as He did for Peter.

God restores us, Beloved. He doesn’t just forgive us.  He makes us better than we were before. He makes us whole though His holiness, love, and mercy.

I believe Peter was so changed and emboldened after Jesus spoke those reassuring Words into his heart & Spirit.

Peter became that very rock Jesus saw waiting to be called out from under the rubble of his life.

These verses gives me hope for when I know I’ve blown it!

God knows us so well, Beloved. May we rest in knowing He will restore us in every area we turn over into His waiting hands. Allow Him to speak you to life again.

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hope to believe for beyond what we can see

Refusing to allow discouragement a resting place within me this morning.  I just know He’s got something great just beyond my sightline, so keeping my Hope despite the storm clouds.

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How can you do that, you may be wanting to ask? You don’t know what I am going through.

Beloved, I may not have the same storms hitting my life, but none of us have lived filled with smooth sailing 24/7.  Whether it’s:
-hurtful words
-sick kid(s)
-a life threatening illness
-loss of a loved one
-divorce or separation
-infidelity
-piling up bills
-violence
-a nasty boss
-exhaustion
-job loss
-betrayal
-injustice
all of us head through the stormy seasons at some point.  Some of us feel like we can barely keep our head above the crashing waves for all the fiercesness of the Strom about us.

I get it.

But I know Who’s got me.

And how nothing happens He is unaware of.

Absolutely nothing.

This God who’s got me?

Will never regret having paid the price for me, nor abandon the one He loves so much.

Never ever, forevermore.

He continues to walk along side me. love up on me, speak words of encouragement and blessing into my life.

Every day, no matter the weather or season I am in.

So I refuse to give calamity or tempest more of my headspace than acknowledging they might be visiting for a while.

Because He is here, I can remain hopeful.

For my Hope is found in Him, the Living Hope for us all.

Not in smooth sailing or peaceful skies, but in the Maker of all Creation, the designer of it all Himself.

Join me in thanking Him for pouring hope into us each & every day. Some days He fills us beyond belief, so that on the harder days we still have His hope within us to draw from until we can cuddle in close to Him again, our Hope.

Sunday Psalm: Let Heaven Come

When Your people
humbly drop to their knees
before You
inviting Your Kingdom
to come & invade us,
You come.

Just as You have
throughout human history
since its beginning,
come and let what You
want to be done
happen here on earth.

Take our brokenness
and let Your Light shine through it.

Take our wounds
and bind them in Your strength.

Be the One who holds us all together.

Use our gifts, our passions
as only their Giver can.

Let our hands, our feet, our words, our actions show Heaven to a hurting world.

Let Love lead the way to freedom & victory.

Let the lost be drawn in,
and make their way Home.

Your Kingdom.
Now.
In every moment.

Let Heaven come.

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