Freedom

I’ve always been very patriotic; I love our Country and have always thought our flag to be one of the most beautiful sights to behold.  My years spent as a military wife provided an even deeper sense of the meaning “Freedom isn’t free”.

My family gave my loved one and me a picture after deployment that has the following verse:

The meaning so true on many levels.  We use this verse often in the military.  And yet, the ultimate sacrifice was that of Christ who laid His life down for all of us…the spotless lamb…the perfect sacrifice.  There is truly no greater love than this!

And because of my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Savior-putting my faith and trust in Christ alone and asking Him to save me from my sins-I also am free.  Free from the penalty of sin which is death.  Free from the bondage of sin.  Free from guilt as I’m not perfect and will continue to sin-and God’s grace covers it all.

Today I’m also experiencing a different type of freedom.  I’ve never honestly thought of it as freedom before…more like unwanted change.  Yet, as I’ve discovered God’s path for my life right now-a path that I didn’t want-God is also showing me His freedom in this path.  Freedom from the pain, bondage, manipulation, lies, guilt of my loved one towards me.  Freedom to let go and let God instead of thinking I can save my loved one or my marriage.  The truth is I can’t.  The truth is Jesus died for all of us and paid the penalty for sin; I didn’t.  Jesus is the only one who can save; I can’t.

Today there is freedom in the realization that I can completely trust God with my loved one to work where I can’t.  And my prayer is that my loved one will also one day experience freedom found in Christ alone.  Today there’s freedom for me in ‘letting go and letting God‘.

My Path

This wasn’t the path I chose.  I didn’t want any of this.  Yet this is the path God allowed for me.

In my office hangs a beautiful picture with the words from Proverbs 3:6

In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.

Tormenting, confusing decisions.  Sorting through Satan’s lies and God’s truth.  Praying for wisdom.  Seeking guidance and direction.

And after a few weeks, in the silence, after the pleading, the path was clear.  Not the path I chose or wanted, but the path God allowed for me.

Thankful today for God being my trail blazer, my compass, my guide through the storms of life; thankful for His promise of directing my path and making it straight before me.

Where Were You?

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Where were you?”…a question God asks Job in Job 38-41.  And through this passage, God our Creator is on display.

Who God is (my interpretation from Job 38-41):

Foundation layer and Fastener of the Earth.  Key Mason laying the perfect cornerstone.
Architect of all measures.
Choir director of the singing stars.
Keeper of the sea.
Commander of the morning and night.
Explorer of the springs and depths of the sea.
Opener of the gates of death.
Perceiver of earth’s breadth.
Knowledge-keeper of where light and dark dwell.
Treasure keeper of the snow and hail.
Parter of light.  Scatterer of wind.
Father of the rain and dew drops.  Creator of the ice and hoary frost.
Binder of the constellations.
Ruler of Heaven and earth.
Clouds obey His voice.
Sender of the lightening.
Provider of food to all creatures.

(Chapter 39)
Knows when new creatures are born.
Freer of the wild donkeys.
Wing giver to peacock and ostrich.
Depriver of the ostrich’s wisdom and understanding.
Clothier of the horse’s strength and thunder.
Controller of horse’s fear.
Wisdom giver to the hawk.
Commander of the eagle who mounts up and makes nest on high.

(Chapter 40)
Thunderous voice.
Clothed in majesty, excellency, glory, and beauty!
Casts abroad wrath.
Abases the proud and treads on the wicked.

This just gives me goosebumps!  How great our God is!!!!  And this reflection is a tribute to our Sovereign God who is greater than all we each face in the midst of our brokenness. May we put our hope, trust, and faith completely in Him!

My Identity

Driving in early-morning hours.  Song on the radio…

“You call me righteous, You call me Yours, No longer guilty, Not anymore!!!  I am rewritten, I’m spoken for, A new creation now I stand, cause of who You say I am!”

…brought me to tears.

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This song played in my head and heart all weekend.  It was Easter weekend.  I found myself praising God-so grateful to Him that I am no longer guilty or condemned.  That through His redemptive work on the cross, through His grace, through my faith in Christ alone I am

  • righteous
  • His
  • not guilty
  • rewritten
  • spoken for
  • a new creation
  • and much more!

And my heart was so broken for my loved one who is bound by chains in his bondage to sin.  I continually prayed all weekend for his soul-for the scales and blindness to be removed from his eyes and heart-that he could see God’s love and forgiveness and amazing grace-and that he could experience God’s redemption.

As I continued to meditate on the words of this song, I kept coming back to this part

I am not bound by who I was, my identity redefined by Love!  I am not bound by who I was, my identity redefined by Love!”

My identity…

This made me think through what I believed my identity was.  The message of this song is sharing that my identity is now in Christ, which I thought I knew and believed.

As I continued to meditate on this phrase, on passages of scripture, on reflecting on the various events of discovery and letting go to this point, I realized God was bringing me to the point of letting go of who I had built and thought my identity to be.  It was a continuation of what I had been learning regarding me being powerless.

I realized I had built and believed/lived like my identity was found in my husband, in my job, in the military, in my family, in being childless, in the semblance of some “great” life.

Redefined

Redefined by Love….while this is most likely obvious to most, this was a huge revelation to me in my heart and head.  God has been working in my life through all these horrible circumstances to bring me to the point of realizing my identity is in Him alone and to give me permission to redefine who I thought I was into being defined as His by His Love.

Grateful today for this truth!  Grateful there’s no measuring stick or continual need to please or gain approval from anyone to define who I am.  Thankful I can release this all to Him, the Giver of my true identity redefined by Love.

Crippling Fear

“If I were your enemy, I’d magnify your fears, making them appear insurmountable, intimidating you with enough worries until avoiding them becomes your driving motivation.  I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you, leaving you indecisive, clinging to safety and sameness, always on the defensive because of what might happen.  When you hear the word faith, all I’d want you to hear is unnecessary risk.” Priscilla Shirer in Fervent

This is exactly where I’d been…crippled, paralyzed, indecisive, concerned about what might happen, clinging to safety and sameness.

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In reading this chapter of Fervent, Priscilla also shares that fear is one of Satan’s greatest ways in crippling God’s people.  I’d also been focusing on fear not being from God.

So I began to think, “If Satan is working this hard to keep me in fear and not moving forward, what amazing beauty and/or blessing from God is he trying to keep me from?”

My prayer for Confronting Fear:

God, I thank You that You don’t give me a spirit of fear but of power, love, sound mind.  I ask You to forgive me when I give in to fear and ask that You help me not to choose, wallow in, entertain, or make friends with fear.  You promise me a hope and a future.  Because fear doesn’t come from You, help me recognize Satan’s attacks to keep me from Your plan which is my destiny-my next challenge/opportunity to see Your glory on display in what You wish to do with my life.  You are fearless Lord-please give me the faith to be fearless in You.

When I’m afraid, help me choose to put my trust in God whose word I praise.  Instruct and teach me in the way I should go, Lord-counsel me with Your eye upon me.  Give me Your peace, not as the world gives.  Take away the fear that I allow to cripple me for I know that if Satan’s working overtime to make me fearful, there must be some blessing or beauty from Heaven He’s trying to divert me from.  Thank you in advance for that blessing and beauty and for Your work in my life!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Fear

Footsteps hitting the gravel road. IMAG1337_1 Lungs inhaling fresh air. Pre-spring warm sun hitting my face.  Working to clear my head.

Talking to God as I mulled over the thoughts in my head…I realize I’m afraid.

Fear

…God does not give me the spirit of this

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind
(2 Timothy 1:7)

So my fear is coming from something other than God.

Opposite of fear to me is trust so my response is instead of fearing, I need to trust God.

What does God give me?

  • Power
  • Love
  • Sound Mind (other translations call this discipline or self-control)

So what does this mean?

In thinking through this, I’d already said I’ve learned I’m powerless, so wasn’t sure exactly how to explain how God is also giving me power.  So I went to Matthew Henry’s commentary for a deeper interpretation which said,

God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to him, which will carry us through opposition. And the spirit of a sound mind, quietness of mind. The Holy Spirit is not the author of a timid or cowardly disposition, or of slavish fears. We are likely to bear afflictions well, when we have strength and power from God to enable us to bear them.

What does this look like in my life?

To me, it’s first recognizing when I’m fearful, calling it out and choosing to surrender it to God.  It’s asking God for His power and strength, daily…moment by moment…to get through the next task, step, opposition, affliction.  It’s courage in moving forward in complete trust in my God whose promises have never and will never fail me.  And it’s falling and getting back up when I give in to fear as God continues to create in me a better broken.

Dear Heavenly Father

…I’ve said this numerous times in my life…or “Dear Lord Jesus” or “Dear God”…an opening to prayer.  A familiar greeting such as an opening to a letter.

What I realized one day as I reflected on who my God is to me…I’m addressing God as I would in a letter…it’s just an opening greeting.

Even though my prayers often begin with thankfulness to God for who He is…I wasn’t thinking about who I was addressing in my opening line-just saying the words.

This really took me back and I spent a week reflecting on this…to think about the relationship God desires with me as His child.

It’s taking practice.  What I’m doing is taking a moment before opening in prayer to reflect on who God is to me…what God means to me…the fact that He’s right there with me in that moment and always…and then I begin to pray with the renewed head and heart knowledge of who I am talking to instead of addressing God like the opening of a letter.

Is this something you can relate to?