Mundane Vessel

 

Do you ever feel like you are caught up in a cycle of living life through mundane moments?  Do you wonder how other people manage to live their lives in an almost constant state of wonder and awe, with incredible depths of holiness?  Over the last months, we have settled into a sometimes predictable pattern of work, school, family time, spouse time, sleep, church on the weekends, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that “steady is sexy”, but I yearn in my heart for the depth of closeness that comes from truly abiding in the presence of my Maker.  He didn’t call me to be another average “susie-homemaker”; He called me to leave a legacy of faith, kindness, love, and selflessness.

As I have been preparing for the next season of life, learning and leadership; I have immersed myself in study and listening.  I have studied politics, historical figures, Biblical figures, the wisdom of leadership, the fashion of leaders, the food of fit people, the needs of those around me, the frustrations of those who feel un-heard, and the sermons of those much wiser and more eloquent than myself. I was voracious in my study, feeling soul-parched as I consumed wisdom to satisfy my “thirst”.

It has often felt like I was wearing someone else’s shoes. It’s worked, but it hasn’t resonated that I am fully living my life the way that I was designed to live it. I have often felt the pressure to act a certain way in a certain situation, to look a certain way at certain times; and I fully understand the importance of honoring others with a respectful appearance and decorum; but I am not like every other person in the world, North America, and especially within the West Michigan culture. I AM ME.

God has specifically allowed every single moment of my life to shape me for this moment, and the next. Who am I to limit Him by trying to be someone that He didn’t create me to be?  It’s a form of using His name in vain. Think about it.  He created a specific purpose for me, as I am; to fulfill. By me changing things to be “more acceptable” or more “palatable”, then I am really saying that I don’t trust him fully to use me as I am.

This morning, I just longed for a deep connection with my Maker.  I sat in my window seat with my Bible, and just absorbed the quiet; asking Him to silence my preconceived ideas, to silence the distractions of the enemy through Jesus Christ, and simply to speak.  I sat in silence, thinking about God’s kindness and goodness to me. I opened my Bible to Psalm 81.

There’s a part in it that mentions the “feast of the new moon”, and I wanted to know more about it so I searched the term, the history, and the origin.  I learned that it was designed to be a monthly re-focus and dedication for the Hebrew people. It was a time of renewal; but it was held as something deeper than that. It was believed that the Hebrew people were actually “making the new moon holy”. Below is an excerpt that explains it:

Do you want to understand this? Take a lesson from the serving vessels in the Holy Sanctuary. Moses sanctified the tabernacle. Who sanctified all the tabernacle’s vessels? You might think that Moses did. But actually, what happened was that a High Priest would bring a simple mundane cup or other vessel, and put something holy in it, and the cup would automatically be holy. It worked the same was as when Moses sprinkled sacrificial blood on the altar and it became holy; or when he poured a wine libation, or performed any aspect of the Holy Temple service with any mundane vessel, and it thereby became holy. -Midrash Shmos Rabbah 15:24 [emphasis mine]

 Leviticus 20:7-8 is below:

“Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy.

~~~~~~~~~

Do you see it, beloved?  Do you understand?

The Hebrew people were called away from their past traditions and routines, to intentionally and deliberately focus on the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.  Their daily life consisted of traveling, following, walking, eating, setting up camp, and resting…with worship at the tabernacle on the Sabbath.

How mundane is that?

Yet, the act of faith in following is the process for God to fill our mundane lives with His  Holiness!

For example, if we consider ourselves to be the “mundane vessels”, then what or who is the “Holy” inside of us?

The Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit makes us holy!  As we turn our backs to past patterns and traditions, to the former ways of life; we face God the Father. As we seek to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; following Christ’s example, the Holy Spirit within us is the holiness!

Think of a plant! If you place it on a plate, without dirt, it will eventually die because it needs sustenance for its roots, light, and water. We are like the plant in our spiritual growth!  We need to be rooted in studying God’s word (Jesus) and in focusing on the light of God the Father’s love, dependent on the Holy Spirit inside of us! The plant can’t just be moved into a greenhouse or a garden and hope to grow; it also needs the life within for it to grow and flourish!

We, the mundane vessels, as we go about our days; are filled with holiness through the Holy Spirit. By Christ’s grace, we are holy just as our Father is Holy. So focus in amazement and awe of Him in His Holiness, goodness and love; as you celebrate the beauty of the one who chooses us as we are…mundane vessels, being filled with his Holiness!

mundane vessels

“Mundane Vessel” (c)Gracie K. Harold 2017

Shaken… And Stirred

My life is shaken,  stirred,  heated, and pressed down.  BUT WE STILL STAND.  In the last three months; the following has occurred: 

1. My knee was clinically found to be too atrophied for a total knee replacement; resulting in an endless cycle of physical therapy to strengthen my leg but pain after the attempt,  leaving me to pained to strengthen it.  

2. An undeserved, shocking and supernatural healing… Without surgery.  I had been a spoiled rotten brat that week,  whining and complaining; and simply over it.  That Sunday at church,  they asked if anyone needed prayer for their hip or back.  I hadn’t even told my husband that my hips were off by 2 inches. I received prayer,  and my hips had no pain,  neither did my back.  A couple friends of ours asked to pray for my knee.  I shrugged and said OK,  even though I was skeptical and butter in my heart.  I thought,  “It’s not going to do any good,  but go ahead.” I was instantly convicted of my lack of faith.  I asked God to forgive me,  and I said,  “Jesus,  I want to believe; help now my unbelief!” I felt pain as they prayed,  I felt my knee cap return to its proper place,  and I felt warmth in my quad muscle.     I walked out of church without crutches.  When I walked into Physical Therapy on Monday,  my leg strength was 3 times stronger than it had been on Friday.  I can’t explain it,  other than Jesus was merciful.  

  I don’t know why I was healed,  and why others have not been healed.  I do know that it’s a question I will wrestle with throughout the rest of my life.  

I know that my knee being healed doesn’t guarantee a life filled with perfectly beautiful scenarios.  This leads me to the next numbers.  

3. We received 20 hours notice to evict from our rental house.  

4. After more than a month,  we are still waiting for the rental that our hearts are set on to be available for us… Just a few more moving pieces. 

5. One of our sons hit a tree while sledding and blacked out,  fully unconscious. His concussion was severe.  A combination of prayer,  chiropractic care and rest had resulted in yet another recovery.  

6. We were given a second car at a very good price. 

7. Said car broke down and awaits repairs.  

Do you see the pattern? Good,  bad,  good…. 

That is how I once viewed it.  

I am no longer emotionally controlled by the situations in life! 

Jesus promised us that “In this life you will have trouble,  but take heart,  I have overcome the world!” Jn. 16:33 biblegateway.com

We will have trouble. 

Any time that healing occurs,  

Or Beauty is discovered;

That is PROOF 

That God is Here. 

Be still 

and Know 

That 

He Is God.

 

Reverence and Realism

A pair of ripped jeans walks into church and says,  “Why can’t you be more like a bar? I want to be accepted as I am… frayed edges,  exposure and all.”  So the church acquiesces and adds cafe tables,  couches,  and friendliness.  A pair of fleece pajama pants walks into the church that looks like a bar and asks,  “Why can’t you look more like a lounge? I want to be comfortable and cozy,  I want to feel loved.” So the church acquiesces again,  adding lounge recliners, hot chocolate and a fireplace.  

   I have been the ripped jeans and the fleece pajama pants.  I have craved acceptance,  warm reassurances and familiarity.  I have desired church that reminds me of how loved I am without always reminding me of how un-deserving of that love I am. 

    Yet,  even in my craving for comfort, I have duped myself.  At physical therapy this week,  I sat in front of a full length mirror to do my exercises.  We don’t own a full length mirror in our house so it was a new experience for me.  A while ago,  James and I had photos taken of ourselves in a photobooth at a wedding reception. I was shocked at how big my hips looked… so I rationalized that my dress was draped awkwardly, giving the illusion of big hips.  Fast forward to my physical therapy appointment when I sat in front of a mirror, monitoring my posture,  and realized that my hips are that big. 

Reality could no longer be denied because it was un-avoidably in front of me. 

    Reverence works the same way.  When I have a healthy respect for the power,  might,  and perfection of God; I am humbled and grateful because of the outrageous and unreasonable goodness that I have received.  I am aware that things have gotten huge when I wanted them to stay trim. 

      Maybe I have been self-focused,  and I have neglected time in worship of God.  Maybe this has resulted in angry outbursts when my plans don’t go as I had planned. (Maybe I wouldn’t be so angry if I would focus on thanking  God for and trusting HIS plans instead of pushing my agenda)

The point is that I have been guilty of being comfortable and flippant with God while refusing to be reverent with God.  Instead of being aware of and in awe of His Holiness and majesty; I have instead focused on my feelings,  my emotions and my frustrations.  

Don’t misunderstand me, honesty and intimacy go hand in hand… but so do intimacy and respect. 

My prayer this week is that I will have a heart that worships God in awe of his majesty… in total reverence and respect,  whether my jeans are ripped or not.  

Love More. Fear less.

This Spring, James and I went to Chicago, Nevada, and California.  We went to encourage friends and family who were out in California. We also went so that I could intentionally forgive and heal from so many painful memories and humiliations that I had suffered in those places through my first marriage.

We were invited to attend Fearless LA, a gathering of people who admit that their only hope is found in Jesus Christ.  It also happens to meet in Exchange LA, the “it” nightclub in LA.

They have other sites, as well, but this location was exactly where we needed to be on this particular day.

Their mantra is, “Love more, Fear less”.

It’s based on I John 4:18:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love.

(Berean Study Bible translation)

For me, I went on the trip with all the gritty determination to rid myself of the demons from my past. Before we left, an elder from our church challenged us to “Lay aside all of your expectations and simply expect that Jesus Christ would be glorified.”  We did.

Gone were my expectations of doing this incredible service and brave act for God, as I deliberately and intentionally visited so many hurtful places.

I never imagined that I would so tenderly be healed from so many memories and humiliations. I knew that Jesus Christ is good, and kind. I knew that Yahweh is attentive to all our humiliations, I just never expected to be so specifically and intentionally encouraged.

So many ways that would only be a specific gift to me…

I have been amazed as I marvel that the God of the Universe and the Creator of the Cosmos pays all that attention to “Li’l old me.”

I challenge you, beloved ones.

I dare you!

Lay down all expectation, and simply ask that Jesus Christ be glorified in your life. Then hang on as He tenderly and intentionally shows you specifically that HE SEES YOU!

Love more. Fear less.

LOVEMORE

Love More. #FearlessLA 

 

 

How a woman burned by Christians became a Christ-follower.

My father was a leader in our Christian church.  So were many of my relatives.  In middle school, I was seeking popularity at my Christian school; so I began swearing and being cruel to others so that I might jockey for control and  a popular position among my peers.   On the way to a sporting event, I put down a classmate of mine harshly with my words. Out of nowhere, my gut felt sucker-punched with remorse.  I called him late that night to apologize.  He forgave me.  I continued on, thinking that I was a “Christian” because I knew my catechism, I knew the Bible, I had prayed to receive Christ when I was young, and furthermore I went to a Christian School.

A few weeks later, I found out that I needed knee surgery.  Our pastor prayed that I would have “peace that passed understanding” on my way into surgery.  Usually, I was a worry-wort.  I fretted about everything and anything.  That morning, however, I felt completely and utterly at peace in a way that I had never experienced before.  The entire three hours leading up to surgery, I was still inside of my soul.

Nine days after surgery, I was on crutches in the hallway of my Christian Middle School. My “worst enemy”, an older boy, ran down the hallway and did a karate spin kick, landing his foot millimeters below my incision and stitches.  The pain was overwhelming and I doubled over, screaming in agony.  After school, there was an awful confrontation between him, his mother, and my mother.

After consulting with the doctor and receiving more pain medicine, I was given permission to attend a Christian concert that evening.  My parents, brother and I sat in the last row of the 1,000 person sanctuary so that I could put my knee up to rest it.  In the middle of the concert, Phil Driscoll, the trumpeter; gave an invitation for audience members to surrender their lives to Christ.  In my mind, I smugly thought, “Oh, that’s not me…I am a Christian.”  I actually opened my eyes, thinking that this part of the concert was not for me.  “There is a girl in the back row of this auditorium who thinks that just because she became a Christian when she was little, that’s enough.  If that’s you tonight, you need to re-dedicate your life to Him.  Your life is not following Christ, you’re merely doing lip-service.”

I couldn’t believe that God would care so much about me!  He spoke to me in the midst of 1,000 other people.  I mattered. My heart was stirred, my mind was marveling, and I re-dedicated my life to Christ.  I asked forgiveness for living a double life and for caring more about popularity than I did about Him.

I understand that Phil Driscoll is an artist/minister who is a controversial man in the news, but there is no denying that a Holy God used him to reach me.  I also understand that I fail to love like Christ loves me, yet God still uses my words and actions to reach others.

This is not a glib article.  I say these words with too many horrific experiences at the hands of people that claim(ed) to be Christians.  I was raped by a man who had sat next to me in church, who had held me when I wept, who had prayed with me after chapel services at my Christian college.  After I miscarried my baby girl, the child that resulted from the rape; I spent a year questioning where God was in that experience, how He could be good if that evil thing was allowed to happen to me.

I later married a man who was fresh out of Bible college, with the intention that we would be partners in Youth Ministry, loving kids the way that Christ loves us.  I found out on my honeymoon that he was a drug addict, an abuser, and a liar.  When I sought to leave him, I had three different pastors tell me that it was my “duty” to  stay and love him.  Five years and three children later, mercifully, a different pastor told me that the Bible and common sense made it clear that I could and should leave. (By this time, he was threatening to have the children and I killed.)

The next years were filled with “well-meaning” Christians who robbed me blind, denied me of justice, aided in cover-ups, lied under oath, gave my ex-husband information which endangered our lives, harassed me, intimidated me, ridiculed me, shunned me because I was a single mother, and attempted to subdue me into silence.

If anyone has a reason to walk away from Christianity because of Christians, IT’S ME.

As I’ve wrestled and agonized over my faith in Christ these last 18 years; I am repeatedly reminded of the same truth.

If anyone has a good reason to walk away from Christians, it’s CHRIST.

    The “religious” rulers of the day requested his crucifixion.  The local synagogue-attendees agreed to his crucifixion.  “Christians” continually seek out rhetoric, demagoguery, and control while rejecting His love.  Instead of loving others as He commands, we selfishly and arrogantly grasp after things we can’t possibly attain without fully depending on Him.

Therein lies the greatest paradox of all.

Christ died for our sins so that when we sin, we could still be loved by Him…despite our sins and failure to love others.

We, as humans, suck.  We just do. We sin, and we hurt each other, and we are so mean to one another…and that’s the just the Christians.

But, it’s not a good enough reason to discount who Christ is.

A Christian’s job is to reflect the love of Christ to the world.  When that reflection is obscured or marred by the sinful actions of human beings, it doesn’t negate the reality of who Christ is or how he loves us.  If that argument were rational, then one could claim that the sun has failed to shine on cloudy days.

Lightbreak in the Burrow

The presence of clouds doesn’t negate or change the character of the sun.  The presence of sinful Christians doesn’t negate the reality of a perfect and loving Christ, even if it does reflect poorly on him.  The reflection is bad, the source of love and acceptance is not.

Dear ones, how my heart longs for you to have a fresh understanding of the following:

 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodya and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.b 4 Butc God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I am so sorry for the pain that Christians have caused you.  Please forgive us for failing to love with the love which rescued us from ourselves.

May our actions never be a stumbling block, but may they instead be a stepping stone for you to see and embrace the immense grace and love that Christ holds for you…and us, the sinners.

Dear ones, you are loved!

You are beloved!

Beloved, be loved.

Then BE LOVE!

Envelope-pushing and a Shepherd

Religious rules and traditions make me claustrophobic. My off-beat sense of humor and lilting sarcasm are here to “shake things up and keep things honest”; at least that’s what I have repeatedly told myself.  Have you ever had a moment of truth so startling that you found it hard to catch your breath?

My last post chronicled my ever-present struggle with my language.  What it didn’t mention or divulge is how fast my words leap out of my mouth ahead of my mind sometimes. I cringe to think about the slew of recklessness that I have unleashed at different moments in my life.

The weekend after my post, Pastor’s message rang true with me. I was convicted of my sinful lack of self-control; but wanted to get to the heart of the problem.  I prayed, “Father, give me your eyes.  What is the issue here?”

The answer was like a kick in the gut.

“You are terrified of the image that I carry a rod and a staff.”

I began to cry.

It’s true.

Psalm 23: 4b says, “…thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (KJV)

I see a rod and a staff as weapons to inflict beatings and undeserved punishments.

My ex-husband’s abuse warped my view of God.

In life, psychologists describe the “flight or fight” response.  Simply put, when in danger, people either respond by fleeing or by fighting.  I fight.  In my former self-defense training, I was taught to unleash cuss words when fighting…especially if fighting in a conservative society where the language would draw more attention and therefore bring more help.

Gold star for applying my lessons in self-defense to my relationship with Christ! (Told you I have the gift of sarcasm). Seriously , though, I have felt threatened by the image of God holding a rod and a staff.  I have spent years pushing the “envelope” of Christianity with my language, my rebellion, my attitude, my life; all while waiting expectantly to go too far, to have the rod &/or the staff whack me back into submission.

envelope-pushing.jpg

I sobbed like a little girl who’s been hurt.

I sat down with my mentor after church and we talked through this…all of it.

She lovingly pointed out that any area of sin is really a spiritual strength that is being allowed to run uncontrollably, without being submitted to the Holy Spirit.  She reminded me that my “dragon-lady speech and cutting remarks” are really witty, truthful words that are not being spoken in love or kindness.

When I told her about my terror at the thought of God holding a rod and a staff, my eyes became floodgates.  I explained that I don’t want to be hurt like that again.   We began to pray, and she asked that I see God’s love as a guardrail, not as a fence of confinement.

Simultaneously, I had the image of my cheek up against a red wall of rock.  I could feel the heat and smell the fresh air of high altitude mixed with flowers.  I looked over to see a guardrail on the edge of the mountain pass, and just over the railing; there was a steep drop down thousands of feet to a certain death.

I looked up, and crumpled like a rag doll.

All these years, I have been flinching every time I pray; just waiting for the recoil and the certain blow of a rod, a stick, or a fist.

I have reacted like a penned animal who is cornered instead of embracing the beautiful truth that I am loved and protected.

It’s not an instantaneous turn-around in my mind.

I am studying the true use of a shepherd’s staff and a shepherd’s rod so that I may have a fresh understanding of how God shows love to me by protecting me.

Like all wounds, I know that this will take time to heal.

For now, though; I am content to lean up against that rock wall in my mind and look out over the panorama that is laid out before me, careful to stay far away from the guardrail that warns of certain danger.

I am choosing to trust that Isaiah 42:3 is true when it says, “He will not break a bruised reed, and he will not put out a smoldering wick…”(HCSB).  It seems to me that if he carries a rod and a staff, but doesn’t break a bruised reed that is weak already; then I am safe as I learn WHO he is and what he uses his tools to do.

 

 

Santa Claus Theology

“Santa Claus for adults?  That’s who you believe in?”

His tone was incredulous and sarcastic.

“Here I thought I was having an intelligent conversation…”

I chuckled at his wit, as my heart broke for his past experiences.

Jesus Christ has never claimed to be Santa Claus, and He certainly never promised an easy time for those who choose to make him the center of their lives.

The problem begins when we allow our preferences and comfort to dictate our theology.

I have spent years questioning God about the pain, grief and loss that I have experienced.

I failed to remember in those moments, what the truth is.

Taken from the Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Christ promised us perfect peace, tribulation, distress and suffering.
Santa Claus gives gifts based on whether or not we “behaved”.
Christ promised us peace if we put our faith in Him; the very definition of something that we didn’t earn, couldn’t earn, and certainly don’t deserve.
The very nature of Christ demonstrates humility, undeserved favor, and overwhelming goodness.
If you are like me, and you question the coexistence of Christ and pain, please cry out to Him bluntly.
Be honest.
Tell Him your struggles.
Then,
simply ask Him to show you His love and overwhelm you with His
peace.
That’s it.
Stocking and Christmas Tree not required.
IMG_5275-0

“Nikon Era” (c) Gracie K Harold 2014

Alone – Five Minute Friday

Alone.

A lone survivor.

A lone voice in the haunting echoes of silence.

A lone scapegoat.

A lone warrior who battles on, despite the carnage that surrounds.

The foggy mist is lifted.

A light pierces the oppressing darkness.

Misery may love company,

but this; this is different.

This is the unshakable, undeniable peace that overwhelms from the inside out.

It is the inexplicable assurance that there was One who willingly walked alone.

He alone faced the ultimate forsaking, the extreme humiliation and denial.

He alone faced death…without God’s Hand to shield Him.

He did it for me, and for you, so we would

not be alone. 

Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you”.

Alone?

Never.

This post is in response to http://katemotaung.com/  and today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday, alone.

welcomed by light

welcomed by light

(Almost) Symmetrical Reflections

Reflections

Reflections

It’s almost symmetrical.

The idea is there.

Aren’t you glad that God looks at the heart, and sees our desire to honor Him; 

even if we don’t quite get it perfectly right?

English Standard Version I Samuel 16;7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Thankful Thursday – Who I was, Who I am, and Who I will become.

Images speak to me in metaphors that cannot always be conveyed with words.

This is my story.

This is my journey, depicted through images and words.

I was a manipulator. It’s true. I was devious and controlling and very very mean.

I lived in constant fear of rejection.

I feared failure so much that my perfectionism became a defense mechanism.

Prison cell window

Prison cell window

I found myself shutting others out of my life, even though I desperately longed for closeness and intimacy.

I could not understand or accept it when people said that I was “chosen” by God.

Instead, that single phrase made me dry-heave…and sometimes vomit.

Literally, I vomited at the thought of being chosen.  I physically ran out of rooms if I thought someone was approaching me for friendship.

I carried the weight of my own failures well, but I was far greater skilled in holding onto the lies that had been pounded into my mind.

The first time that I was sexually assaulted, I carried the shame of that night…until I was able to find the grace to forgive my perpetrator.  Then, when my close “friend” raped me in college, when I started to piece things together after I miscarried the daughter that I hadn’t known I was pregnant with; my shame and guilt threatened to bury me alive.  My sorrow was overwhelming.  My grief became my god.  My identity was interwoven and entangled in what I had survived.  I remember my mentor taking me to a cottage in Michigan for a day, so we could simply sit on the lake shore and soak up the beauty.  I started to paint a picture, and effortlessly slipped into the artist’s “zone”.  I was surprised that I had painted a prisoner on the floor of their cell, with open shackles at their feet.  A light shone down the steps, and the prison gate was opened.  I entitled it, “a step of faith”.  This photograph is very reminiscent of that painting.

Open Prison cell

Open Prison cell

See how the door swings out?  See how the light shines in? This is the invitation that I am talking about.

The abuse that I endured and the sorrow that I carried was not my fault.  The horrors done to me were not God punishing me!  If you have received abuse and horrible things in your life, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!  

GOD DOES NOT ALLOW ABUSE BECAUSE YOU OR I ARE HORRIBLE PEOPLE.

ABUSE HAPPENS BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL.

HE CREATED THIS WORLD TO BE PERFECT, AND DEVOID OF DYSFUNCTION.

He loved us enough to allow us to choose.  God, in his loving understanding and kindness allowed Adam and Eve to make the choice.  God knows that “a mind changed by force was never changed at all”.  Adam and Eve wanted knowledge of good and evil more than they wanted to know and be known by our loving God. Genesis 3:6, Mechanical Translation by Jeff Benner follows:

Genesis 3:6
and the woman saw that the function of the tree is for nourishment and that he is a yearning to the eyes, and the tree is a craving for making calculations, and she took from his produce and she ate, and she gave also to her man with her, and he ate,

http://www.mechanical-translation.org/mt/translation3.html

“The tree is a craving for making calculations…”  that is who I was.  I was constantly craving how to make calculations.  I thought that if I controlled things, then I was safe from being hurt again. 

I was wrong.

I was so desperately lonely and afraid, I felt so isolated.  Then, a light broke through my self-inflicted walls of separation.

Darkness Pierced

Darkness Pierced

New Living Translation John 1:5
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

http://biblehub.com/john/1-5.htm

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can NEVER extinguish it.

What is that light?  I wondered if it was my effort, my attitude, my happiness.

But my best efforts were not enough.  Nothing I did was enough.

New Living Translation John 8:12
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

http://biblehub.com/john/8-12.htm

Light. Pure

Light. Pure

Was I still sad?  Sometimes.

Was I still grieving? Absolutely.

Was I still alone?

NO, I was no longer alone and isolated.  Jesus Christ reached into my darkness and isolation and drew me into HIS light, love and acceptance.

Why? How?


Holman Christian Standard Bible Zephaniah 3:17
Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

http://biblehub.com/zephaniah/3-17.htm

He will rejoice over me?

Me?!?!?!?

But, I was abused. I was rejected. I have manipulated and deviously controlled…

His answer?

New International Version  Isaiah 43:4
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.

http://biblehub.com/isaiah/43-4.htm

Precious and honored?

You, the Creator of the universe; you love me?

Me?!

His answer overwhelmed me.

Brilliance 4

Brilliance 4

“Child, just sit here.”

New American Standard Bible Psalm 46:10
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

http://biblehub.com/psalms/46-10.htm

I am learning that as I fix my gaze on Him, as I admit that I have nothing, no hope, no best effort; nothing without Him…He is slowly transforming me to reflect His love and beauty.  I am growing kinder, gentler, more patient as I gaze on Him. When I make Him the Boss of every area of my life, my religion fades away…and His love takes over.

Beloved, I had to be loved so I could be love.

Beloved, you also be loved.

Then be love.