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Through his eyes

In my job with students during the weekday, I get to spend my time supporting them in various activities. I have had the pleasure of learning how to play the saxophone. I have sat through many an assembly. Gone on a number of field trips, and completed a number of art projects. This was no different.

The assignment was 20 things. Each student had to turn to a page in their book and list 20 things that described themselves.

I noticed something. So many were struggling with those 20. Needed help even coming up with one. Looked around the room for a word. Even asked their peers to describe them, wrote what their peers said, or some word they over heard. “Oh yes, that’s me.”

It bothered me enough that I sat in the lunch room the next day and did the same thing. I wanted to make sure I was just as distracted. To see if this was the reason it was so hard. If I could come up with my own list of 20, or if I would need help along the way. If I would get stuck. Need to look around for validation. Seek the faces of the people around me for support.

‘Cause you stood right there, And then you broke apart the lies. You told me I had something beautiful inside. You brought to life the part of me I thought had died. ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me; I saw me through your eyes  -Brit Nicole, Through Your Eyes

And I realized why it wouldn’t take me long. And, after seeing my list, why mine was so different than the lists of those preteens in that art class. Because words like forgiven and redeemed would not be on their lists. They were seeing themselves through the eyes of the world. Placing value on themselves based on the opinions of those around them.

I knew in the moment I wrote my 20 things who gave me my value: God. I see myself how He sees me.

But I didn’t always feel this way. I am pretty sure my preteen self looked to the world for approval. I didn’t seek God. I know for sure I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him now. My friends were much “cooler.” Or so I thought.

If I only knew what I know now. No one will love you like He will. No one will accept you in your brokenness like He will. No one will forgive you in the way He will. No one will see all your wretchedness, and look at you with tender love the way He will. No one can  see you the way He does. So stop looking at yourself through the lenses of everyone else, and start looking at yourself through His eyes.

https://youtu.be/WJzaQP1GmEc

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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

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Until His voice is louder

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“Whose voice is loudest in your life?” -Sadie Robertson

“You failed again.”

“Not good enough.”

“Yep. Told you they were right. Nothing redeeming in that one.”

“No one cares. No one is listening. Where is your God now?”

“Mmmmhmmmm. You messed up good this time. He isn’t coming to save you.”

Imperfect. Failure. Incompetent. Naive. Ineffective.

The voices that drown out the loving words of my Father, are the ones of criticism and contempt. These take residence in my head. Mess with my deepest insecurities and doubts. And, after they do, then Satan has done his job. Had me believing all the lies he and others have told me.

But, this is the thing about the devil:

“He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies.” John 8:44, MSG

And, the Liar fills our heads with them, too. Our homes. Our hearts. Our relationships.

I don’t want the loudest voice occupying space in my head to be the one that tells me how horrible I am. How unloved and unworthy I am. I don’t want the one occupying space in my home, my relationships to be the author of destruction.

I want the voice that speaks the loudest to me. The one that drowns out all the nonsense and lies of the world to be words of encouragement.

I don’t want the words that are the loudest to be reminding me every time I fall (because I do…flat on my face!)…but, to remind me of all the times I have gotten back up, and to gently pick me up when I don’t feel like I can go on, because that voice gives strength.

But, how do I push away those other voices-those dirty, lying, abusive, no good to me voices?

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Stay in His word. Armed with His truth!

Just as Jesus was as he walked with Satan in the wilderness. Even the King of Kings wasn’t immune to the incessant, lying schemes of the enemy (Luke 4:1-13)

When Jesus needed sustenance, the devil used his voice to attempt to diminish God’s ability to provide: “Come on, Jesus. Can’t you provide your own bread if you are so great?” (v. 3)

When Jesus was suffering, hurt, broken, ready to give up…he offered him a way out; not once, but twice. “Come on, Jesus. Don’t you want all of this? This kingdom before you instead of that cross?” Jesus listened to God’s voice (v. 6-7).

“Come on, Jesus. Just jump and give up already! Your God will save you, won’t he?” (v. 9-11). But, Jesus once again listened to God. Each time rebuking the devil with God’s voice. He will be my provider. He will meet my needs. He is my one and only God. I will not test him.

Our critics. Our naysayers. The insecurities the devil knows so well…because he does. He knows them. Those negative thoughts cannot become the loudest voices in our heads.

The voice that needs to shout above all the lies that Satan attempts to throw at us while we walk in the wilderness needs to be our Father’s. The one that reminds us we are not failures, we are worthy. We are not imperfect, we are wonderfully made. We are not incompetent, we are qualified through Him; made powerful through His strength.

When the devil tries to tell us anything different, we shout the truth. When the devil tries to convince us to give up, we remember God’s word that encourages us to persevere. We make His voice the only one allowed to have permanent residency in our head.

Until His voice is the loudest!

 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2018 in Like Jesus Does, Loving Oneself

 

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It’s OK…He gets me

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I’m fully known, and loved by you. You won’t let go, no matter what I do.  -Tauren Wells, “Known”  

I have been blessed to have some fantastic friends who have been placed in my life. The kind that just seem to get me. Who know what I need at just the right time. And, give without being asked when I need it the most.

The tribe who sends silly pics to get me through the hard days at work. Surprises you with coffee and chocolate for an even tougher Wednesday evening, because they know how hard the first “shift” was, and they know this one may just kill ya.

The ones who send the “Hey, you were placed on my heart today, and I was just checking on you,” text. The one you get at the moment when…well, your heart was breaking just a little.

The ones who know what you are going to say before you say it (and stop you from saying it). Who you can give “that look” to from across the room, and they know just what it means (and make sure to remind you to “fix that face.”).

The man who comes home with your favorite candy because he knows, he just knows it’s been a hard day, and you could use just a little “joy.”

And, God bless the ones who utter the words: “Girl, you look down. You need a hug.” Because, they can see it in your face, and they want to carry your burden.

Yes, I am blessed with some amazing friends.

But, there are still times when I wrestle the darkness, and I feel alone. When I feel people don’t get certain parts of me.

The parts that hold in tangled emotions that if shared, I fear these people who have my back, would turn theirs and leave. The passions about which I feel so deep. The desires and the burdens of my heart. The reasons why I don’t just simply give up on some folks. The reasons why I cry…a lot. Why I am angry, and want to run away screaming.

So, instead…I just hide. I hide these things from those who love me. Because, I think they couldn’t possibly get me.

And, the truth is…sometimes they won’t. But God does. He knows me. He gets me.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and you know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away. Psalm 139:1-2

He knows our anger. He knows our bitterness. Our hidden sorrows. Hurts. Passions. Desires. Those things we just don’t think we can explain to other people, and He gets us.

Even in our deepest, darkest, weepiest moods…the kicking, screaming, fighting, and crying ones. He gets us. Just like a blessed friend, He knows exactly when we need a reminder that we are loved, and sends a note slipping from the crevices of a Bible. A note, saved, but long forgotten.

Just like coffee from a friend. Chocolate from my man. Or a hug from my beloved coworker.

He gets you. Even if you think no one else does. He knows you. All of you, and He loves you just the same.

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Broken, Yet Beautiful

 

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He didn’t “deserve” it either…

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“Does it really even pay to be nice?”

This is how the conversation started with a fellow, empathetic friend of mine. Going over the many times we have felt like doormats in the last few months. You know what doormats are, right? They get stepped on. That’s what we had felt like. We had given and given and given. Opened our hearts and like a doormat felt walked on, stepped on, and worn out.

“I mean, this being like Jesus stuff is hard. I just don’t deserve to be constantly treated like dirt.”

However, I am pretty sure Jesus didn’t either.

I don’t claim to be Jesus. But, I am called to be like him.

I can’t feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves, but I have fed the hungry…and received nothing more than a grunt in return.

I haven’t raised a man from the dead, but I have tried my hardest to bring dry bones back to life…and been spat on.

I have tried to teach others that true love offers forgiveness and grace. Looks at people as more than their imperfections, mistakes, and flaws…and been ridiculed for being too “soft.” Not “hard” enough on them.

I may not be the man who walked on water. But, I have jumped in some earthly fires hoping to save some lost sheep. Felt like I have only been burned, and wondered why I was the one forsaken.

This being like Jesus stuff is hard.

He was despised and rejected-a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. Isaiah 53:3

My methods, teachings, and practices may be questioned by the authorities just as the Pharisees questioned the teachings of Jesus.

I may wander the wilderness or the desert, and be tempted to give up on God by the cunning schemes of the devil.

I may have people abandon me in my time of despair, or sell me out for their personal glory.

I may be scoffed at. Mocked. My outstretched hands reached out in love may be rejected each and every time. I may suffer in His name. Just so others can see His light.

And, I may not deserve it. I may deserve better.

But, I didn’t shed blood for a sinner like me. I scoffed at the one who did. Mocked him. Turned from him. Sinned against the one who gave His Son for me. I didn’t deserve His love.

Yet Jesus gave it all.

He suffered again and again. Knowing it may never be given in return.

Yes, this being like Jesus stuff is hard. But, if he could bleed and die so I can know what perfect love feels like, then I can take a couple grunts. Some criticism. Some abandonment. Some rejection. Some tears. Some suffering.

He felt it all. He gave it all. He deserves it all in return.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in Grace, Like Jesus Does

 

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Individually molded to be different

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We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8

My son loves to cook. He enjoys buying new cookbooks, and learning how to use new kitchen gadgets, and is drawn to any nifty “cooking kit.” Gingerbread men were no exception this past Christmas, and he tackled the task with his usual perseverance and desire to get everything just so. Getting the dough just right. Rolling into the perfect thickness. Cutting out each new shape.

If you look closely, each cookie cutout looks pretty much the same. Lined up neatly on a pan. All with eyes, noses, buttons, and an array of icing.

My kids, at first glance, have similarities, too. Heads of curls. Sweet smiles. Button noses.

But, they each have differences as well.

Two wear glasses. The other does not. Two have deep, thoughtful green eyes, while the youngest has happy blues. Our daughter is a free spirit, while her younger brother craves routine, and sameness. One is all books, books, books. One is all about sharks and Minecraft. While another is all wrestling and Xbox.

The same, but different.

In much the same way we all are.

While we all have similarities, we are also certainly not lined up in neat rows, and expected to all look a certain way. Instead, we are all masterfully molded into particular shapes. Given chosen personalities. We are cut from the mold, fashioned and decorated with individual skills and talents.

Wholly unique, and unlike a plate of cookies, not made to be molded like the next.

We are all molded by the master baker. Each difference (and similarity) chosen to be used to fulfill His purpose and plan.

You are not a standard gingerbread. You are an individual masterpiece.

Molded to be different. Molded to be great. Molded to be used. Molded to be His.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in You Make All Things New

 

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I am His

For we are God’s masterpiece…Ephesians 2:10

I am his

Once again…I have failed.

The dishes are unwashed in the sink. Nothing has been accomplished due to pain and sickness. The house is still a mess. There are still bits of the failed attempt at dinner on the floor.

After months of just trying to get through homework. Of leaving-yet again-an item needed at one of the kids schools at home. Of forgetting to sign permission slips. Study for tests. Losing study guides. Forgetting important events.

I’ve yelled too many times at the kids. Left one in tears. The other hiding under a blanket.

Apologized one too many times. Only to turn around and do it again.

And once again, a permission slip has been lost. Something else has been forgotten. Been let down.

I’ve failed. Again. The doubts and self-contempt start to seep through, and it happens. Those thoughts start to fill my head again.

Am I strong 
Beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all
That I’ve said and done
Is it real
When I feel
I don’t measure up
Am I loved

Unworthy. Imperfect. Unloved. A failure. As a mom. As a wife. In life. In everything. With my hands and my mouth I have managed to wreck everything in my path.

It is He who made us, and we are His. Psalm 100:3

But, that isn’t what he says I am.

I am His. Even in my failure. I am loved by the King. I am called His daughter. I am called beautiful. Good enough. Magnificent. All because I belong to Him.

He doesn’t see my failures. He doesn’t count each time I was angry. Each time I misplaced something. Each time I let my kids down. He doesn’t care about the dirty dishes. He doesn’t care about the piles of laundry. He doesn’t count the times I skipped making dinner.

He does know every hair on my head. He knows my heart. He created my innermost personality and thoughts. He crafted me into the woman I am. With His hands, He made me His masterpiece. He knows I am only strong with Him. He loves me, even when I don’t love myself. Even when I think I have failed.

He reminds me…

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You’ve done
This is real
What I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

I am His.

Not a failure. Not a screw-up. Not a bad mom.

Of this I am sure….I am His.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Loving Oneself

 

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His Everlasting Arms

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The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are around you. Deuteronomy 33:27

It’s 10 in the morning. The kids are home again. The snow has pushed them outside of their routine, inside the house, and after only two hours they are bored. Cranky. Hungry. Frustrated. And everything in between.

And in desperate need of a break.

But, only one of these kids can actually express that. Can tell me he or she is bored. Cranky. Hungry. Frustrated. And everything in between.

Instead, this one simply grunts, kicks, screams, punches, and lays in a heap on the floor.

And both of us are in desperate need of a break. Some time apart before both of us explode.

“Hun, you have to use your words. If you are hungry, or need help you have to let me know so I can help you.”

Then this boy who needed a break from his boredom, his crankiness, his hunger, his frustrations, and everything in between…reaches out and gives me what we both needed-a hug!

One of those hugs that warms your very soul. The clinging-of-the-neck-I’m-not-letting-go-of-you kind of hug. The kind that says “I’ll always help you. Always have your back. Always love you. Always accept you.”

So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm. Isaiah 59:16

While I sat on the bedroom floor with my smallest child, holding on for dear life, I was reminded of this-God wants us to hold Him this dear as well.

When we wake up with a case of the crankies, He wants us to reach out to Him and hold Him tight.

When we need help, and can’t find the words, He wants us to call on Him.

When we are agitated, frustrated, and everything in between. When we want to lay on the floor and kick and scream. When all we really need is a hug. He wants to be the one we reach for. He wants us to hold tight to His promise that these trials, and these feelings will not last forever.

Hold on. Cling to Him. So we can be reminded in those everything in between moments that He will always help you. Always have your back. Always love you. Always accept you. Always keep you safe in His everlasting arms.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Autism and Faith, Craving More of God

 

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