I’ve Been Believing a Lie!

I have fallen for a trick!  It is a sly and yet obvious one. One that I think trips up many of us.  For a long time now, years even I have been allowing a lie to have a grip on my life and keep me down.  The lie that I need to be like everyone else.  Comparison!!  What a tricky way to keep people from truly soaring and reaching the full potential of what they are created for.

Tonight while I was spending some time with God I came to realize that I have not been embracing who God created me to be but rather looking around at others and feeling the need to be like them, wishing I could sing better, teach better, organize better, lead better, be more available, … the list could go on.  I did not really realize that I was doing it, it was subtle, in the back of my mind, nagging at me all the time, picking me apart little by little.  This comparison keeps me from embracing the way God made me and the way I am to express His love to this world.

How tragic is it that so many of us live our lives feeling less than and pining after a life that was not meant to be ours instead of allowing ourselves to be who we are made to be and living a fulfilled, satisfying life in Christ knowing that in Him we are enough just as we are.  That He made us the way we are as a way of showing His love in a unique way to the world around us.  Imagine being able to look at others and appreciating who they are and all the beauty that they have to offer while still being content in who we are in Christ and appreciating the beauty in how we are made.  Just think of the freedom that comes when the need to impress or measure up to someone else is gone!   I am made intentionally by the almighty God and where I fall short has been paid for by Jesus Christ my Saviour!  What else can I ask for? Why choose to live a life imprisoned by what I am not when God has freed me to live just as I am.

Thank you Jesus that you made me who I am and freed me through the cross to love you just as I am.  Please help me and the others in your body who struggle to accept who you made them to embrace the life we are given, living a radiant life of freedom for you.

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Agenda Set Aside

I just read the story in Matthew 14 about how John was beheaded and Jesus went to spend time on his own.  As He was leaving to find a place to be alone the crowd heard and followed Him.  I was really struck by the next part of the story, Jesus did not send the crowd away asking for some space, nor did he hide away but instead He had compassion on them and spent the day with them.  Jesus I am sure was deeply impacted by the death of His dear cousin and wanted to grieve but set aside His desire to get away to be with the people who so desperately needed Him.  He did not just give them a token nugget and leave he spent the day with them and even when the disciples suggested that He sent them away to eat He did not take that out but performed a miracle feeding them all in order to spend more time with them.  This speaks of two things to me, one God is desperate to be with us and we too need to be willing to set aside our agendas to show the world around us Christs love.

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The End of Grace

What is your breaking point?  At what point do you want to give up on someone or give in to your frustration with someone, whether it is a stranger, friend, family member, child, parent… where do you draw the line and say I have had it with you and in your judgement that person has gone beyond the edge of your grace?  I would like to be able to say that there is no edge for me, but I know full well that there is and depending on the day you don’t have to go far to find it.  It may just be one too many tantrums or one saucy word too many or maybe it’s a person in the news who did something unthinkable, I have edges!  The seasons when one of my children is in push back mode, where everything is responded to with arguments or defiance unless it fits into what they want, those seasons find the edges of my grace… This is when I thank God that His grace has no edges, there is nowhere we can go, there is nothing we can do that goes beyond the edges of His grace!  Amazing!

I was listening to a song today that talked about how I can put all my burdens on God and I was struck once again by the astounding Grace that God offers us!   What kind of God, all-powerful, creator of life allows me a fallen, unfaithful, broken human to put all my “stuff” on him!?  I have failed Him countless times and yet he hasn’t put conditions on me coming to Him, there is no secret offering I must pay, He says come as you are…. give me all your stuff.  He just wants me!  Me with all my mess!

It is such a simple message and yet so hard to grasp because it is so unlike us.  We wake up in a bad mood and a slightly too cheery Good Morning can be beyond our grace.  Gods grace does not change, it is consistently endless day after day after day.  Thank you God for your amazing, incomprehensible, endless grace that allows me to come to you and grow in you.  Because of you Jesus, I am not stuck in my failure and sin but beautifully free!

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Core Strength

Since having my most recent baby 6 weeks ago I have been thinking that I really need to work on doing some exercises to strengthen my core again.  I have been feeling some back discomfort here and there prompting me to do something about it but being the procrastinator that I can be I put it off each day for the next.  Well yesterday I had a rude awakening to the consequences of my procrastination … I hurt my back so much that I had trouble doing even the simplest of everyday tasks.  As a mother of five children, two of them under the age of two, this makes it very difficult for me to accomplish most of what I need to do in a day.  As I sat on the couch with ice on my lower back  watching my toddler getting into things or my older ones needing help or hearing my infant cry from across the room I felt so helpless.  I was unable to get to anyone quickly nor was I able to pick up anyone to comfort or help them.  I felt so ineffective!

As I sat there praying for God to heal me, a very interesting thought came to me.  Just as it is my core strength that keeps my back safe and makes it possible for me to function fully, it is my core spiritual strength that makes it possible for me to be spiritually effective in my children’s lives.  If I do not maintain my spiritual core strength, something can easily come along and knock me flat, rendering me ineffective and helpless to my children spiritually.  I want to be ready and available to help them with anything they may face in life but if I am not personally strong enough to handle it how can I also help them through the many challenges and storms life throws at them.  It is not just about consistently doing the things I know I should but it is about embracing the things that God sets before me to do each day which strengthen my relationship with Him and with the people around me.  I know that I often will put off things that God asks of me not because I don’t want to do them but because life is busy and I think I can for one more day but at what cost? I think that I am ok and can handle putting these things off but God sees the things I don’t.  He sees the things in my life that are out of alignment that could cause a major problem if not dealt with or strengthened.  Just like we cannot see much of what is going on with our bodies until it is too late I think there is a lot that we miss going on in our lives spiritually that only God sees.   We need to trust Him when he gives us direction whether it is simply sticking with our regular disciplines that keep our relationship with Him strong or it is the more specific things in our lives that he is touching on.  diligence and obedience in our relationship with God give us spiritual core strength so that when there is stresses, storms or what ever it may be we can stand because we are prepared.

What  are we taking for granted spiritually in our lives and not maintaining properly?   Is there anything God has been putting on your heart that you have been putting off til tomorrow that you should really start today?  Lord help me to be diligent in all things with you so that I can be strong enough to stand in the tough times not only for myself but also for the people you have put in my life.

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It’s been a long while…

I feel kind of strange picking this back up after more than a year has come and gone but there is just this pull in me to do this.  It’s funny how this was Geoff’s thing that I reluctantly joined in on and I am the one that has missed blogging.  I never would have thought that I would miss writing in any fashion let alone a blog but I really have.  I ignored the pull in me to blog again for many different reasons but tonight I suddenly realized how blogging kept me seeing the little things God was doing and saying.  It kept me on alert to how He uses the everyday things so often to push me and inspire me and help me to get to know Him.  It’s so easy to get lost in the sea of the everyday monotony, the rhythm that we live by kind of lulls us into just doing life when really there is so much more for all of us if we’ll just grab hold of it but this means we must live very intentionally.    Just taking a little time for Him each day or every now and then and then going on our merry way with every day business will leave us asking where all the opportunities and God moments are but if we live always looking, always seeking to see our Jesus then He will be sure to show Himself to us.  Seeing Him is what keeps our fire going, it’s what propels us forward and gives us strength when we feel weak and like we just want to stop running the race.  So here I am once again to share some of my little moments with you in hopes that it will help you see the things God is using in your own life to speak to you.  If you seek God you will find Him, He promises.

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Broken In Silence – By Geoff

Hey there,

I guess it may seem like we need to get reacquainted it being so long since I last posted. This will have normally spelled out the death of a blog so I guess I’ll see if this is really an obituary in the next few days.

The only way I guess I can describe the last little while is brokenness. I really been travelling down a road that has been challenging me to live my faith in a more tangible way. I find God creeping in to my life at times where he never used to, I find my mind being bothered by things it never used to.

Through all this, I found it hard to blog. I could find the words to describe what I was feeling, what I was being challenged with. I knew that it would sound like a rant or a harsh reaction to church, when the real issue was me.

I’ve been operating like I was pretty well centred in Christ when in reality I sometimes don’t want to follow him much at all. How can you be centred in someone you could take or leave?

A couple of moments really stood out to me. I was listening to Francis Chan talk about a moment where he read Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” (NIV) and got stuck right there. By the will of God. He talked about how he sometimes didn’t really want to know the will of God and how that moment deeply affected him and changed his life. When he talked about that, it hit me like a truck too. I say I want to know the will of God, but do I? Am I really willing to follow His will whatever it is? I had a hard time answering that question.

A second moment was when I read through Jesus questioning Peter if he really loved Him. That question repeated three times seemed to hit me hard. I know it mirrored Peter’s denying of Jesus three times and the love mentioned had some interesting connotations, beyond that though, Jesus just getting to the heart of the matter asking if Peter loved him was enough for me. I heard Jesus asking me; Geoff, do you love me? Geoff, do you love me? Geoff, do you love me? I felt like I assume Peter must have, inside just being shredded apart by the question repeated again and again. Thinking to myself don’t ask me that question again! It’s killing me to  have to answer it, because I keep having to let go of good things that I thought were important in order to say yes! It’s killing me to answer because I know of all the times I have denied your will because I didn’t want to go there! It’s killing me to answer because it’s not about anything else than my relationship with you, I can’t hide behind anything! It’s just plain killing me…

So there lay the shredded remains of me, what was left? I was broken. It was in that though, that Jesus finally had me.

We all must get to the heart of the matter, where Jesus looks at us and asks us: ‘Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?’

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What If – by Ingrid

Tonight we hosted young adult house church and it was great as always!!  It amazes me how God is often speaking the same message to several of the people attending in their personal times with Him.  Tonight as we talked Geoff talked a little about the scripture in James where it says if you know the things that you should do and don’t do them it is a sin.  As we went through the night sharing what we felt God has been pressing on us lately we all had the same kind of things to say so we ended on the note of now what?  If we know the things we should do….  So often in my own life I teeter on the edge and don’t fully commit to the things that I know that I should do.  I know that this is not something that only I struggle with as I look at the things people have said to me in the past and then where they end up.  If we were to all do the things that we know we should do what would happen?  If all the people who were here tonight do the things that they know that they should do what kind of impact will that have on the world around us?  What if each one of us in the Church lived that way?  What if instead of waiting for a grand movement of God to happen in front of us that we can just hop onto and join in we each said today I will do what I know I should do?  What if?  Can you imagine what would happen?  I think that it would go beyond anything we can ever imagine if we each did just that!!

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