Friday, July 14, 2017

When Your Brokenness Is Beyond Explanation

Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever He wants. May everything you said come true.” And the the angel disappeared.  Luke 1:38

The words, “You are blessed among women” joyously echoed in Mary’s heart as she and Joseph set off toward Bethlehem. 

But let us stretch to imagine her shock at her first contractions. 

Mary’s joy must have turned into Utter Desperation with the onset of labor pains. And No Vacancy signs.

The panic surely swirled in her mind, a young teen sinking into the curve of a donkey’s back, sinking into the Real of being alone with Joseph as she gave birth. No Jewish woman would have imagined giving birth without her mother or a midwife.

I imagine anguish swelling from the depths of Mary’s soul. Choking on questions.

“Lord, you told Joseph in a dream this child will be called Emmanuel, ‘God is with us.’  But where are you now? I can’t do this alone! What does Joseph know about birth? 

I said Yes to you even though nothing about it made sense. . . but this CAN’T be right!”

To Mary, No Vacancy signs were confusing Beyond Explanation. Was the Messiah to be born in the brokenness and stench of a stable?

What is your Beyond Explanation? Is it broken health, a broken promise, a broken relationship you thought God had blessed?

When Beyond Explanation makes us question everything we believe about God, that is precisely when we can be sure God is profoundly at work.

Sometimes, God’s very best is a stable—that Beyond Explanation you think you can’t bear. 

Beloved, No Vacancy signs are an integral part of God’s plan. Just as our Broken Things are an integral part of God’s plan.

In a rough manger God brought forth His most precious gift. Likewise in His time, He will surely make your 
Beyond Explanation a birthplace of Divine. He will bring you overwhelming blessings that could only be obtained by experiencing the stable.

God’s response:

Beloved, I know you are hurting. You feel I am silent. You feel as though your prayers dissolve at the ceiling.

But I assure you I am here, just as I was with Mary. Your Beyond Explanation is steeped in My mercy, My grace, and My unfathomable Love. 

Sometimes I pull aside a few of My precious children to experience rare revelations of My glory. I build a wall around them to separate them from the outside world. They may feel isolated from the rest of the bustling, happy population. But in reality, they are tucked under My wing, attuned to My heartbeat, learning to Know. Me. Intimately.

You, My child, are one of those few. 

Your mind gets tangled up with Why’s. In your anger and confusion, you sometimes shut Me out. You would rather ignore Me than endure My deafening silence.

Please believe Me—My silence is for a reason.

In Bethlehem Mary learned to trust Me in the midst of My silence. Many years later, she would have to trust My silence again. The perfect hands and feet she explored and kissed in the stable were brutally nailed to a wooden cross. 

And it was Beyond Explanation.

Like Mary, I have chosen My BEST for you. Mary didn’t understand. I don’t ask you to either.

I don’t expect you to be strong. To be stoic. 

When your Beyond Explanation weighs heavy and hard, utter “Help me Jesus.” A thousand times a day if you need to. And I will bring you My presence. My love. My peace.

I promise.

I expect you to question Me. But in your brokenness, never break your gaze from Me.

Never let go of My hand. 

Never stop trusting I am a God who brings treasures in the darkness—and My greatest gifts in stables.

Friday, May 19, 2017

How God Redeems the Things I've Died To

Ps. 40: 2-3  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire . . . He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in him.

Jesus, I had a dream last night in which I walked with you through the garden of my life. 

You didn’t mention my failures. Instead You walked with me and explained all the foliage we saw there represented portions of my life.

There were bluebonnets and buttercups you planted just for me to enjoy. And there were flowers I planted myself—prosperous azaleas, tender impatiens, and weeping willows.

I felt your nail-scarred hand take mine, and You silently led me up a hill to a shady space that emanated Holy. I was drawn to a dazzling group of meticulously cultivated flowers. Colors I only imagined in heaven. 

And they surrounded a grave.

It was the grave of a precious desire I had died to in my life. I was overcome with the otherworldly scent.  Roses, Jasmine, Gardenias—a Forget-me-not mixture of Gethsemane and Grace.

I fell to my knees and wept, reliving the pain. I felt your hand on my shoulder, and I looked up. Over the vast garden, I saw floral sections of rare beauty blanketing the greenness—all surrounding hundreds of graves. 

The grave of a life I had dreamed of. Graves of unanswered prayers. Graves of things I can’t undo.

In my distress I cried, “Lord, why did you bring me here to relive my sorrow?”

You didn’t say a word, but your gentle eyes spoke Compassion and Purpose. They spoke a promise of Redemption. Of Resurrection.

I woke up—and I understood. 

Christ’s resurrection is His vow to redeem our sorrows. Love and Grace reach down and transform Satan’s poison into perfume. 

With time, God transforms Despair into a New Song. A Song of rich minor chords that tell of brave fights and battlescars. 

It might be a song we don’t expect. A song we never prayed for. 

Furry Talk

It’s a melody infused with faith and tears. Its rare beauty reaches the ears of the King and touches His heart even more than those of the angels. No other song honors Him more than one birthed in the throes of spiritual warfare. 

If it weren’t for the battles, we would never know the Father as Healer. We would never understand the depth of His faithfulness. We would never live the promise “This is for good, not for evil. To give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)

Beauty from the Broken Places

There are still the questions Why. The Injustices. The If Onlys. But we can trust hands that have bled Love. Love that embraces us through our fiercest storm. 

Love that redeems the pain of our deepest grave. 

God’s Reply:

“My child, I remember the night you poured out your heart to Me, your end-of-the-rope Unbridled and Ugly. You lay face-down and gave your precious Dream to Me. You sacrificed your desires to Me.  

Now I seem very quiet to you. Unanswered prayers have painted a thick layer of cynicism over your faith, and you embrace Numb just to survive.

Sorrow has become your friend, but that is not My will for you. You have carried it for too long. I do not want you to RELIVE your sorrow. I want to RELIEVE you of it. It is time for Me to bury your sorrow in the sepulcher of Hope.

I want you to see that a life surrendered to Me turns Graves into Glory.

Rest assured, My beloved, I will create a New Song for you more beautiful than you ever imagined! 

But you must wait for the New Song because it takes time to weave the major and minor chords of your life into the masterpiece I desire for you.

As you wait, keep doing the right thing. Keep doing what glorifies Me. And most importantly, NEVER let go of My hand. If you ever doubt My methods in dealing with you, press your hand into my love-scar.

Come to Me for understanding. Bring Me the Why’s and If Only’s. Trust I know you completely and I see your hurt. 


I promise I will Redeem. The. Pain.

I create Beauty from the tears of every desire surrendered, of every dream relinquished, of every loved one you release to Me. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How Leaning On Our Own Understanding Will Never Explain Our Mess

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.  Proverbs 3:5,6

God made man in His own image, breathed into us the gift of common sense, and proclaimed, “It is good.” 

Yet God urges us not to rely on our own understanding. Because “our understanding” will always ask how a good God can allow cheating spouses and pink slips. “Our understanding” is no solace when we are weeping beside a grave. Or holding divorce papers.
Leaning on our own understanding is futile—like leaning on smoke.

We believe we know how our lives should play out—everything wrapped up with a bow. But ribbons unravel and the whole world stops making sense. 

Instead, God urges us to Faith. To trust Him beyond the boundaries of science and sense. We are to attune our hearts to a chord that is divinely complex and mysterious. It is a chord that reverberates from the guttural moans of Gethsemane to the radiant joy of the resurrection. It pulses from the passionate love of Christ.

Our common sense is designed to help us navigate in our fallen world. But it has little use in the spiritual realm. 

In spiritual warfare, our common sense should be as little use to us as Saul’s bulky armor on young David as he faced Goliath. When faced with giants, relying on common sense only breeds Fear. And Fear undermines Faith.

What is your giant? Is it a person who has betrayed you, who cuts deep with words of guilt or accusations? Is it a soul pain that drags on day after miserable day with no end in sight? Is your task to love the unlovable?

Sometimes all we can do is muster the faith to gather five little smooth stones. Maybe faith, hope, love. Maybe gentleness, kindness. 

But those five stones in the hands of a faithful God can slay giants.

But you may have to wait for your answer. 

And often His answer doesn’t make sense.   

Right now you may sit weeping beside a grave, but God is writing your story, beloved.  Though God may not deliver you as expected, do not focus on what God will do for you. 

Rather, focus on Who. He. Is. 

He is real. More real than the bed you are kneeling beside.

Either He will answer—or He will give you a new story. An unfathomably better story! 

As surely as the resurrection, joy will replace your mourning. And beauty will replace the ashes.

God’s Response:

My child, I am sorry my answers to your prayers are taking so long. But keep your gaze on Me, and do not lose heart. 

Instead of relying on your own understanding, you must rely on the fact that I am beyond understanding.  

Imagine for a moment you are a tiny bug on the surface of a lake and I am standing in the water beside you. As a speck on the surface, you see a only a minute portion of My legs. But infinitely above you and below you is the rest of Me. Even though your world may be unraveling, does it make sense to question Me when you have no idea what is happening below the surface of the water or above?

Although it goes against common sense, My timing is perfect. My wisdom is higher than yours. I know what I am planning for you. 

And It. Is. Spectacular. 

I hear your cries, and I promise I will answer you so completely and fully you won’t believe your eyes. 

I wish with all My heart you could feel the depth of My pain for you. Watch for My love for you in your Every Day. Look for Me in your Ordinary. 

As you write another business report. In the bottomless pile of laundry. In the dead tired.

I saw your tears and heard your prayers this morning. That mourning dove who made her nest under your porch cooed a love song to you. That was Me weeping with you. 

My love waved hello through the wings of that curious hummingbird staring at you outside the kitchen window.

And after being pummeled at work with smirks and condescension followed by “What’s-for-dinner?” I painted a brilliant promise in the sky just for you during rush hour. A pledge that I will surely send beauty after the raging wind and destruction. 

Through lessons learned in the storm, you will know Me more intimately than you ever could otherwise. With your own eyes you will see your Teacher.

I am writing a grand story for you! Plans for your good, not for evil—to give you a future and a hope. Oh, the glory which will come from your part in My plan! 

I WILL NOT let you down! Do not lean on your own understanding. On what you think should be.

Lean on Me. 

Waiting On God in the Desert

Elijah said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea [for a cloud].” He did, but returned to Elijah and told him, “I didn’t see anything.” Then Elijah told him, “Go again, and again, and again, seven times!”  I Kings 18:43  The Living Bible

Beloved, are you fainting in prayer? Has it pleased God to lead you into a dark cloud of trials that never lifts? 

We often wonder if God is even listening. Is He an indifferent observer while his children hunger for shreds of hope? While Elijah prayed for rain, his servant returned six times to report a dismally clear sky. 

Has your absolute faith resulted in absolute failure?

Paul E. Miller writes in A Praying Life, “It’s a short trip from determination to despair. It hurts to hope in the face of continued failure, so you try to stop hurting by giving up hope.”  

Demons of despair try to sift through the spoil of your soul’s battlefield. Weary rises from the parched earth and wraps its tendrils around your soul without mercy.

I believe our Lord chooses a few rare souls to accompany him in solitude in the desert. He teaches these precious ones the invaluable lesson of how to trust when circumstances are fatal and hope has fled.
As He carries us through the desert, God charges us to cling to Faith. Stubborn. Persistent. Ridiculous faith. A trembling bravery that stands despite dismal circumstances because it’s anchored on an all-powerful God’s passionate promise to redeem the darkness of every tomb, of every broken heart. Of your broken heart.

In Elijah's pivotal moment, just as in ours, angels are watching.

You see, our Redeemer is weaving our story. Faith allows us to believe God is working in our lives, even as our lives unravel.  Amid our trials, God bids us to open our hearts and watch for signs of His tender faithfulness. He lovingly reveals facets of His character we could have never known without the desert.

When the trial is finished, we will look back and discover God’s desolate roads were actually His mercies in disguise.

The seeds of our pain will surely bloom into future grace. In God’s hands, Satan’s own venom is transformed into a venue to display our Creator’s extravagant love for us.  The battlefield is God’s— and He is already the Victor! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Your Gethsemane

My precious child, I know the mountains you've had to climb.  I know how the lack of air in the heights suffocates you, and many times you've stumbled along the way and stopped to cry.

You don't understand.  You can't fathom.  You scream at Me, "How brutal can You be?"

You couldn't hear me, but I assure you—I have been crying WITH you.

Remember when you heard the sad coos of the mourning dove outside your window when you were weeping on your knees?  Child, that was Me.  I wanted to whisper Love into your little world to show you My heart is breaking for you, even now.  When you're too weak to stand, I want you to lean on that love.

You know how you feel when your own child is hurting?  You want to love the pain away.

How much greater is My capacity for love than yours?  Please remember, you are My beloved.  I rejoice over you with singing, and you Are. Not. Alone.   I will NEVER let you go, and I will NEVER let the enemy have you.  You are MINE.

Daughter, I see how high the mountain is.  I feel the weight of the burden you carry every day.  I see the mask you must wear so that no one discovers what's really happening.

I feel your thick darkness and the dense fog of doubt that makes you scream at me, "WHERE ARE YOU?"  I know.

I know Gethsemane.

I want you to know Gethsemane is not the end.  I surrendered to my Father's will there.  And just now I saw you surrender too—face-down in your room.  You held up empty hands.  Nothing left.  Nothing.

Nothing but Me.  Oh, how I rejoiced.

You are so brave.

But the struggle isn't over.  I'm glad you don't know how long this is going to take.  If you did, you would not want to go on.

It is going to take a very long time.  And you will change and grow while you carry this cross with Me.  This shadow that obliterates your joy and crushes your spirit will enlarge you.

But I will be with you.  My Presence enlarges everything it touches.

You will rise from this Gethsemane.

My precious child, because you surrendered yourself to Me,  I will work a miracle through every tear you have shed.

I love you more than you can ever know.

Please let me know if this post touched your heart.  I would love to connect with you.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Christian Songs You Must Listen To! Fathers and Daughters

Here's an AMAZING song from a Christian band called "Shane and Shane."  It's about Fathers and Daughters, and it's called "The One You Need."  If you have a daughter, it will grab your heart . . .

Amazing Christian Song About Fathers and Daughters

Here's another wonderful song by "Ashes Remain" called "Everything Good."  Please listen to the story about the song.

My Dear One, I Know . .

     Just wait, my child.  I know it's hard.

     I know what I'm doing.  You don't.  You can't see how the pieces all fit together.

     You can't see what the Waiting is for. 

 It will be worth it.

     But right now, believe I am here with you and I see you.  Don't worry or be afraid.  Expect.

     I know the burden that no one understands you.  I know your fear and confusion.  I hear every holy whispered prayer.  Oh, how much more I hear your desperate pleas!

     Scream at Me if you want.  I want your Rant and your Raw.  I know you love Me and you're trying your best.  I know your heart.

     I don't just SEE your ache—I FEEL every bit of it.  I feel the loneliness, the emptiness.  Come to me because I'm waiting for you, daughter.  To fill you completely.  I will use Every.  Precious.  Tear.
       With all the passion I have, I'm telling you that you are MY BELOVED!  You are MINE and I will not forsake you!  You're the only one in the world who can do what I have planned for you to do.  

      Keep plugging and plodding along.  Soon the road will get easier.  

     There's a purpose in this. I'll show you. . .

     My child, I PROMISE to heal.  I PROMISE to satisfy.  More than you can ever imagine!  Take courage in my promises.  They are Declarations!

     I am waiting for you wherever you are,whatever shape you're in.   

Hope.  Expect.  Most of all, Surrender to Me.  I promise I have a purpose in the pain.

Please let me know if this post spoke to you.