Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God's Embroidery

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.

 She would smile at me, look down and gently say, “My son, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.”

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Son, come and sit on my knee.” This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, “My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.”

Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, “Father, what are You doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright?” The Father seems to tell me, “‘My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side.”                      ~Author Unknown


My dad is the wisest man on the planet.  When I count my blessings in life, he is the first one I count.  The thought of my dad no longer being in my life is one of the most painful thoughts I have.  No one encourages me or gives me perspective quite like my dad.  He's had his share of trials in life and he uses his experiences to uplift me and encourage me through my trials.  He has gained perspective from his trials, and he passes that wisdom along to me.  I know just how much God loves me when I look at my dad.

He sends me the most encouraging emails.  I know I better have a tissue in hand when I'm about to open up his emails.  They are usually "A-ha" moments for me, and I love when I receive clarity!  I am now perfectly clear on my trials of 2010 and the months into 2011, thanks to my dad's wisdom.  I was thinking just this morning that 2010 was a year in which we needed about 75 percent faith.  Michael still had a job and income was flowing, so the only thing we really needed our faith for was trying to determine if he should get out of the Air Force.  2011 thus far, has been 100 percent faith.  The Air Force and the income is we are living on 100 percent provisions from God.  In all this, I have learned that regardless of the income we are bringing in for ourselves, we should ALWAYS be living on 100 percent faith! 

My dad reminded me that my perspective on my life has changed.  I have always been a good girl.  I was raised in a Christian home.  I married a Christian man.  I have worked hard and raised two wonderful children who walk with the Lord.  I serve God by working in children's ministry at my church.  I show kids the way to Christ.  The only problem with this line of thinking is the primary focus on "I".  I have been blessed to live life this way because of what God has given me and because of what God has done through me and to me.  A year full of trials has drawn me straight into God's big hands...right where I could not get on my own. 

I am now just a vessel.  God created me beautiful and useful in the beginning.  Through time, my vessel became broken, cracked, scratched, and not as useful as it could be.  Some of the paint has faded.  But I have now given my vessel over to God 100 percent.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  All the things that can be accomplished now are because Christ does them through me.  And that's a much better way to live!  I am no longer broken, scratched, and faded.  I am beautiful and new.  And God made me for so much more than I was allowing in the past.  Let go, and let God.  Such a simple phrase with such punch!

Thanks, Daddy, for your wise words in getting me to see what God needed me to see.  What am I going to do when you are gone?  I love you. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

What to say?!

I've been wanting to blog for over a week now, but there are just SO many things God has shown me lately that I can't figure out what to say!  So many things are jumbling around in this brain of mine.  That could mean it's empty and there's tons of room for things to jumble around.  I don't know for sure!  :)

I'm just going to start with something and we'll see where it goes from here....

So, I'm reading this book that I've had on my bookshelf for probably 10 years.  I've never read it, but the other day it just kind of jumped into my hands.  I took that as God telling me to read it.  I love when He does stuff like that.  It's called The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times, by Robert Morgan.  WOW!  What a great least for me, right now in my life.  If you, too, are in a spot in life where nothing seems to be working out the way you think it should, if life seems a little bit upside down for you, then maybe you would like this book, too. 

When our life went south (at least in the world's eyes) a year ago, God spoke through me the most through the book of Exodus.  Someday when I can gather all those thoughts, I'll blog about them.  But for today, let's stick with this book.  The Red Sea Rules is straight out of Exodus, so apparently God is STILL speaking to me out of the book of Exodus.  I think that's crazy, because what could God possibly have to teach you in Exodus?  Apparently, if you are listening, a lot.

Here are the Red Sea Rules, and they are good:
(1) Realize that God means for you to be where you are.  The Israelites left bondage and then were caught between a mighty sea they had no way of crossing and a fierce army way bigger than them. Why could God have possibly wanted that for them?  Well, we can read on and find out that He was going to make a way for them. I wish the Corsars could "read on" and see what God has planned for our lives.  I'm sure it involves a miracle somewhere along the way!
(2) Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief.  God brought them to it and He was going to show His glory by bringing them through it.  What is happening in my life right now is all for the glory of God.  So, I'll lay it all down and just let His glory shine through.  Much less stressful that way.
(3) Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.  The enemy was not going to surrender the Israelites without a fight.  But God went before them to make a way for their escape.  What's your enemy?  Oppression? Depression?  Fear?  Worry?  Anger?  Acknowledge it's power, but keep your eyes on your God who is way more powerful than those things and can make a way of escape.
(4) Pray!  The Israelites cried out to God to save them!  I have never prayed more in my life than I have prayed the past year.  And God has not disappointed.  "That's the great secret of those who put their hands in the hand of the One who can part the seas."
(5)Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.  God was basically saying, "Work your way from fear to faith.  Trust Me, for I'm going to take care of this.  I'm going to fight for you."  God doesn't have a fast gear (which I daily wish He did!), but when He works He's always on time.  Waiting.  Oh, so hard, but in the end...worth the wait.
(6) When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.  God wouldn't part the seas until the Israelites took that first step into the sea.  Stepping into the sea sometimes seems crazy and illogical, but that's faith for ya!  Nothing about it makes sense!  Faith is to be walked step by step.
(7) Envision God's enveloping presence.  God was with the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  They saw His presence.  No clouds have been following me around, but God continually shows me His presence.  I have blogged about that a few times where He has shown up just to remind me that He's there.  He cares about all those little details and He's IN those details for me.
(8) Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.  Parting the sea and allowing people to walk through on dry ground?  Pretty unique and creative.  God has the most amazing ways of doing things.  Ways to show us that ONLY He is the one who could have done that.  I'm glad I serve such a unique and creative God! 
(9) View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.  After the Israelites were saved, they were to pass this story down to their children for generations to come.  I've recently started a "provisions journal" writing down every little thing that has been provided for our family during this time of financial crisis.  It will remind me (when this season has passed for us) of God's unfailing love for me, and it will remind Alex and Evan what an awesome God we serve and how HE carried us through the storm.
(10) Don't forget to praise Him.  Good and bad...praise Him.  When He provides for us, we praise Him.  When He helps us through a trial, we praise Him.  But we have also learned to praise Him even if it's hard to see Him at the moment.  When He's taking (what we consider) WAY TOO LONG to bring us a secure job, we praise Him.  When He brings another trial to test us, we praise Him.  When He asks us to give up something else, we praise Him.  It's easy to praise Him in the good times...anyone can do that.  But praising Him when it hurts is where He is truly glorified in our lives.

Hopefully my jumbled thoughts have all made sense.  Let me put a few other thoughts together for another day and we'll see if God can make sense of those, too!  I'm just a vessel.  Broken and sometimes not pretty, but useful and willing to be used in whatever way my vessel needs to be used.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Don't you know who you are?!

This is not about what you've done,
But what's been done FOR you!
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to.
This is not about what you build, but
what He built to forgive you! And what He
built to make you know

You are more than the choices that you've made.
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes.
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade!!

What a truly AWESOME song!  And the message is spot-on!  The lyrics are so profound to me.  I've been focusing this past week on all the things that God has done for me.  I've been realizing that no matter what I do, God's got me covered!  I'm human and I make mistakes.  I'm pretty sure you do, too!  God never called me to be perfect.  So, I'm just going to relish in His love.  Because it is SO great and awesome.

Last night my son was working on his math.  He has a test today and they have to do 100 addition problems in 5 minutes.  He was practicing last night and could only get 95 problems done in 5 minutes.  He cried and cried and called himself a failure.  He tried again, and this time got 96 problems done, but again he felt as if he was a failure.  My son is a competitive type and wants to be the absolute best at everything.  I understand that, and I applaud his effort, but I still am madly in love with him even if he only gets 96 problems right.  I still love him madly, deeply if he only gets 20 problems right.  He's my son and nothing he does wrong will ever change that or make me love him less.  I love him simply because he's my son.

Sound familiar?  God loves me simply because I'm his daughter.  I can't try to be a better daughter...I'm already perfect in His eyes.  Jesus covers me and makes me absolutely perfect! 

A few nights ago, somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind came a song from back in the 80's!  Some of you might remember Steve Camp.  He had a song that I just loved way back then called "He Covers Me".  In all my thinking about how much God loves me, that song just appears in my brain.  I love when God talks to me like that.  It's super cool.  Then you begin to realize that God has been reaching out to you for your whole entire life!  You may not think that of your own life, but I guarantee you He has!  You just haven't seen Him yet.  Don't you know who you are?!  You are someone worth saving.  God loves you if you get 100 problems correct or just 5 problems correct.  It's not about you and what you've done.  It's about what's been done FOR you!  It's about where your brokenness has brought you, or will bring you very soon. 

He covers you.  He's got your back.  He loves you truly, madly, deeply (more of an 80's theme I've got going on!)  Relish in how much you are loved today!  And enjoy the sound of this 80's throw back:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Changed Forever

I was listening to something political on the radio this morning.  Of course, I'm not going to get all political on here, but I did find this interesting.  Just about every politician, on both sides of the aisle, talks about bringing CHANGE.  Change means something different to everyone.  Change can be good.  Change can be bad.  But what I heard from the radio host was something I had never thought about before and I LOVE when people make me think about things in a whole new perspective!

He said, "I love Jesus.  I mean, He means more to me than anything in the world.  He's not just a part of my life.  He IS my life.  And He has brought more change than any politician could ever bring.  And the change He brings is the best kind of change." 

I'm on board with that.  Then later I was listening to one of my favorite Toby Mac songs, "Changed Forever".  Two thoughts then converged together.  Jesus is my life.  He has changed me.  Nothing else in life matters anymore!