future

The Back Story

In writing, there is a term called the “Back-story.” The back-story is simply “background information about a real person or thing that wrtpromotes fuller understanding of it.”

 

As believers, our back-story, in many cases, becomes the cornerstone of our testimony.  Our back story begins with who we were before Christ- lost, blinded, desperate, needy, and dying. Added to that is the defining and life changing moment in time when we experienced merciful and gracious intervention. The day the Healer of our souls opened our eyes and heart  to our desperate need of a Savior. Our back story is the moment He allowed us to see we stood wanton and condemned before the awful and awesome Holy God of Eternity. Our back story was when Glory intervened among depraved humanity, revealing. condemning, ransoming, delivering, and Saving us so we could be who we were created, called, and  destined to become.

 

Unlike fictional work, our back-story is unique in that it is ongoing and will never be complete until Christ returns. At the end of every day, we have actively lived and experienced countless moments that bare witness of a faithful and glorious God actively at work among us. Our back story builds and swells ever moment of our lives, paving the way for the next.

 

Lamentation 3:19-27 says:

19I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

 

What an eloquent summary of the back-story of every believer!

 

At night, when my head hits the pillow, I can and must reflect upon the back-story of the day. It is during these quiet periods of reflection that I am able to see quite possibly what my physical eyes missed during the chaotic moments of the day. For, every second I drew a breath, He was miraculously and glorious present in my life.

 

buildEvery moment of Divine intervention, grace, strength, joy, sorrow, suffering, and Victory, yet another row of “faith” bricks are laid. Each day’s faith bricks building upon the last, and not one line of my story takes place without His presence. He is there holding my life, my back-story, and my life story together. Within the Divine mortar that affirms, confirms, and establishes my life, the King and glorious Creator of the universe takes pleasure in weaving His presence and glory into my meager story, making it His own!

 

This amazing Montage of the Divine intertwined among raw, needy humanity shines more brilliant than the most beautiful of sunsets. Daily, and faithfully He builds, what human eyes can not fathom. Day by day He builds what makes the unseen heart soar and rise above circumstance and sorrow. Brick upon brick, story upon story, faithfulness that binds, grace that transforms, lives consumed by the glory of His love.

 

And from among the ash and the chaos of life His glorious church is built. The many become one. A mysterious and unified body. A million voices crying out in perfect, haunting harmony. Each back story confirming and testifying with the next. A unanimous, faithful, consistent symphony, building upon the every note that swells from hearts overflowing with Divine Grace. No one story rising above another’s, for every story proclaims equally and  gloriously the Sovereign Reign of a Holy God.  And as our voices join with those “Graced” in the past, we beckon and testify to those who struggle tomorrow that He Is, He Was and He will forever be. Those who “know” and have experienced, call out to those yet suffering among the ashes of sorrow, pain, heartache and failure. To these we cry “Lift up your head, He lives, He breathes, and He is here among you. He sits with you among the ashes, He understands your fear, He feels your pain, and He has an answer to the questions you falter to ask”  Our back-story becomes the hiding place for those so broken, battered, and weary they can’t see him though their pain.

 

What is my back-story, you might ask?

 

broken heart He loved me enough to expose the hidden sins of my heart. He cared about the things others couldn’t see, seizing the opportunity sin meant to use for my destruction and instead  used it as an opportunity to lavish upon me His glorious grace.  When I was wounded by the sinful hearts of others, He whispered I am here, I am in control, and it is your heart I will make new. Though I did not understand it then, I see now that He smote me, not to destroy, but to restore. He broke me beyond what man could repair and then He repaired my spirit, soul, and heart in a way only the God of the Universe could. He replaced ashes with Beauty, sorrow for Joy, turmoil with Peace, Anger with Gentleness. Though I was blind, now I see, and what was dead, He brought back to life. Oh look at my life and you will see Him there. Oh to be able to adequately convey what He has put to death in my heart and life.  If only you could see the ugliness and depravity His Spirit works diligently and skillfully to cut away.  He has gloriously replaced a hopeless future, with His glorious Hope!

 

This is my back-story and this is His glory!

 

What is your back-story?

Advertisements

Learning to live with a heart that is broken but a life is not.

Living with a Heart that is Broken, but a life that is not!

Beth Moore at Living Proof Ministries is hosting her women’s summer Bible study. I signed up at Women’s Bible Cafe to join over 600 women who will participate in this study via online and community small groups. We are studying the book of Nehemiah and using Kelly Minter’s book Nehemiah: A heart that can break. 

There is still time to join over 600 dear, like-minded, passionate “Siestas” in Christ. You can follow along personally, join a virtual small group (what I am doing), or hook up with a group in your area. Check out any of the above links for information.

Brokenness isn’t an activity your normal human being would sign up to experience. Everything about the word screams run, but when we are straining to “see the unseen”, and to live for the “Eternal” versus the temporal, brokenness should become our hearts desire and aim.

Over the next few weeks I will post thoughts and insights gleaned from this study. My heart has all ready been blessed as I have joined in prayer with women I have never met, yet feel great love and compassion for. What a powerful image six-hundred women, on their faces before the Lord, crying out for brokenness, evokes!

To ask the Lord to break my heart with the things that break His, is a daring prayer. It is not a self-seeking desire to suffer for the purpose of winning the praise and accolades of man, nor is it an attempt to obtain righteousness through works. The desire to have a heart, broken by God, is a desire to see and feel as He sees and feels. It is a prayer to have myself moved out-of-the-way so I can see and be moved by the pain, suffering, need, and hopelessness of man. A heart, broken by the Spirit of the Living God, is to posses a heart that mourns over the destruction that sin is wreaking in the hearts of fallen man.

 

Today, as we studied the prayer and heart of Nehemiah found in chapter 1:1-5, A verse kept coming to mind:

Psalm 17:15

15 As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied,

when I awake, with thy likeness.

I believe this desire should be the heart and sum of all we strive to do and be as children of God. A broken and contrite heart He will not turn away! Would you be daring enough to embrace the cry, “Lord break my heart?” Can you utter with me. in Your brokenness, let me become Your likeness, and in Your likeness there let me dwell satisfied?

The truth and reality of the fallen world we live in is  that everyone we will be broken.  The question we must ask ourselves is what will we allow to break us, sin or a Savior?

 

Matthew 21:44

And whosoever shall fall on this stone

shall be broken:

but on whomsoever it shall fall,

it will grind him to powder.

The world will crush and break us ruthlessly, our Heavenly Father breaks us with love, compassion and a divine, God glorifying purpose.

Only One can promise fulfillment with abandonment, and bring beauty from ashes. Only one Master can satisfy and fulfill the desires and yearning of the yielded and broken heart.

Lord God Almighty, posses and reign my heart and life. Make is soft so that it weeps when you weep, delights when you
delight, and breaks at what breaks yours. O Father, I shall be satisfied only when I awake with your likeness, when there is less of me for the world to see. Amen

May you Rejoice!

I Chronicles 16:8-12
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,

There are no other memories I cherish more than the moment I first caught sight of my husband-to-be, nervously waiting for me at the altar.  That surreal moment in time represented the culmination of so many hopes, dreams, and prayers. My job of “Watering the camels” had come to an end, and if you could have looked inside my chest, you would have seen my heart leaping in sheer joy as I made my way down to David. Every ounce of my body, soul, and spirit exalted and rejoiced as I made my way to the God-given answer to years of waiting and hundreds of tearful but resolute prayers for a husband and companion. Had there been time that day, we could have spent hours recounting the most amazing story of God’s guidance, protection, mercy, and provision in our lives. Our story was a testimony of His glorious faithfulness, as He patiently worked and moved to intersect our lives and hearts to become one. On that day, we Rejoiced!!!!

Today my husband, I am giving thanks to the Lord for you. Our lives are beautifully marked with the fingerprints of the Holy, Righteous, Living God. Every page of our story contains the unmistakable bold, rich, strokes of His abundant mercy, love, and grace. My heart rejoices as I think back over the past 10 year and my spirit exalts as I look ahead with curiosity to the future that has been set aside for us since the beginning of time.

My prayer today is that He would bring to mind the innumerable moments in time when He demonstrated His love, compassion, and faithfulness to you. May your heart be overcome with a sense of awe and wonder as you recall precise Divine interactions with Him. May these moments wipe away any doubt or fear of His love, presence, power, or favor for you! My prayer is that the 33 years of His presence and work so clearly evidenced in your life would be a source of joy. May His deeds in the past be a cause for you to rejoice today regardless of the pressures and trials you face. He has loved you with an everlasting love, revel in His love, and the endless provision of power and grace evidenced in your life.

 Photo Credits: http://www.halbergphotographers.com/blog/2011/04/

My Prayer for you today…..Love

 

The world eagerly flaunts its misguided perception of love. Sitcoms feed gullible seekers a steady diet of unrealistic dreams and a list of demands to bring into their relationships. While the world relentlessly presents it’s weak and whimsical definition of love, we tend to miss the most important aspect behind true love. The vitality & power of love is not found so much in what Love does, but rather in what it does not do.

I Corinthians 13:1-8a

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,

I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,

 but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

I found it interesting that this famous section on love begins by listing a host of admirable, even desirable actions, abilities, and gifts followed by a shocking revelation. In the midst of suave, flowery, romantic speech and the ability to say and do all the right things, love can be glaringly absent.

You mean I can take a meal to a neighbor I secretly despise, or put a new roof on for a couple I care nothing about and it means nothing? I can tell my spouse everything is ok and even dish out a kiss or two yet despite all my actions and professions, love can be missing?

Yup, in the midst of all that pomp and clanking, there can remain an emptiness and void where love should dwell but isn’t. Doing doesn’t guarantee loving!

If you think  the idea of love being absent in the midst of noble actions and sacrificial giving, a paradoxical concept, then  read on! Next in the chapter comes a mind-boggling list of how love is powerfully demonstrated during “inaction.”

Love is demonstrated when envy is an exiled and unwelcome guest.

Love is present when a boasting heart is consumed upon the altar of humility and grace.

Love is the absence of arrogance.

Love raises its gracious head when rudeness bows in subjection to the feelings of others.

Love voices it’s true intention when it calls out passionately in constant purposeful yielding to the desires of others.

Love resides unshaken, faithfully pressing onward while riding out the never-ending swells of unpredictable human emotions, weakness, and reasoning.

Love removes itself from the presence of all actions, attitudes, and situations that would make it a bedfellow with the enemies of its soul.

Love has no finish line, no expiration date, and no exception clause.

Love is endless, abounding, and nonnegotiable.

Jesus had compassion on the crowds and preformed many signs and miracle. He healed, fed, taught, and rescued thousands but I think His greatest demonstration of Love came during those sacred moments of silence when he stood unshaken before his accusers and as he hung willingly upon the cross. Truly, only the God of the universe could have kept silent while those He created beat Him!

As a kid I played out how I would have handled the crucifixion. I would have popped off that cross, and showed the crowd who I really was. I would have struck the pharisees down with gruesome and painful diseases. I would have given that unbelieving pompous crowd gawking at my nakedness and shame a momentary glimpse of the Heavenly Host straining at the ready to exact judgment upon them. I would have preformed an amazing lightening show and topped it off by spinning Jupiter on my finger.

This is everything I would have done!

Yet Jesus did something mysteriously more powerful than any action. He demonstrated His love by doing  nothing. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and he never opened him mouth. He endured suffering silently without returning condemning upon His inflictors, when reviled He did not revile in return.

He demonstrated the depth and height of His love by silence and something even more unpredictable, death.

And herein lies the secret of love.

Love is death. It is quiet yielding and sacrifice. It is silence in the face of unjust accusation. It is willing brokenness for the sake of the broken and needy not the deserved. This is such a different image than the one hollywood hawks. Love is often absent in the getting, doing, giving, being, to busy to stop crowd, for any emotionless, selfish, warped, unloving, sick person can do these things.

This is Love

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends.

1 John 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love of God,

because he laid down his life for us:

and we ought to lay down our lives

 for the brethren.

My prayer for you today my husband is a prayer for us both. My prayer is for love. Jesus love drove Him to the cross to be broken. Those precious, nail scarred hands now break us daily that we might also love. May the Lord fill our hearts with an understanding of His love for us, and may that precious gift flow from our own hearts as an unquenchable stream of love for others. May we lay down our lives together in these battles we fight together hand in hand. Let us be silent together, raising up feeble hands and weary knees yielded to His purpose and plan for our lives. May we die spiritually together each day and as we live to die, may we discover with more intensity and satisfaction than the day before, the joy that comes from sacrifice, the purpose that comes from pain, and the power that is unleashed through our weaknesses. Your path is mine David, your calling is my calling. Ours is a sacred dance, beauty displayed among chaos. I praise the Lord for the gift of you and for your Love. I praise the Lord for calling us to be his and for allowing us to run this race together. Amen

A to Z: Z is for Zenith

Zenith

The point of culmination; the peak

My heart is so full right now. I have tried to sit down and write this final post and I simply can’t do it without tears and a heart ready to burst. Last night we sang a song, that beautifully describes the Zenith of the believers life, the culmination of our fight to finish well, to walk worthy, to not bend under the trials, sorrows, and hardships of life . If you were to ask me “why Jody, why do you fight to overcome? Why do you live for the “Forever“, for the intangible and unseen? This is my answer.

My Atonement, Belief, Confession, Death, Eternity, Forever, Grace…….all these culminate and will merge in one glorious moment, the day I will rise, when he calls my name!

Please worship and glory with me as you listen to this song by Chris Tomlin. Revel in these words from Revelation. Allow these lyrics  to refresh your heart with truth, glory and hope. He is the Zenith of life, and the day I see Him face to face I will proclaim “It was worth it all, for Worthy is the Lamb!”

Revelation 22:1-5 (Esv)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of he street of the city;also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise 

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
[x2]

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

A to Z: V is for Victory!

Victory

1. Defeat of an enemy or opponent.
2. Success in a struggle against difficulties or an obstacle.
3. The state of having triumphed.

I Cor 15:42-45, 50-58

42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit……

50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

“Death is swallowed up…..Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory”

Are there any other words as sweet and liberating as these? Over the last few weeks, I have blogged about the atonement of Christ that gave me freedom from the condemnation of sin. I spoke about the liberating power of faith, truth, grace and God’s love. What a great way to wind down this challenge, by speaking about the ultimate fruit and reward of our battle to Overcome and to walk worth of the amazing gift we have been given.

The truth is alive within my heart. Grace has been poured out upon my life. God’s love has transformed me from a condemned sinner to an adopted daughter and joint heir of Christ. I am His and He is mine. My death was swallowed up when Jesus rose from the dead. He bore the sting of death on the tree fulfilling the law of the Righteous and True, the Only Wise God.

Because He is, I have Overcome!

Thank you Father the the Victory that is mine through you!

A to Z: S is for Overcoming the Challenges of Single Life

S is for Single

Overcoming the challenges of Single life

When I was 28, I could recall a number of vividly painful moments when the world around me seemed to flaunt the relationships and opportunities I yearned for yet had not experienced. I would like to suggest a valuable piece of advice for those of you with single friends.There are certain times you should avoid telling a single woman she should enjoy her freedom and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities she has been given because she is single. Avoid these obvious nuggets of wisdom on valentine’s day, weddings of siblings or close friends, major holidays, or when 90% of her friends have just left for a special “couples only” retreat. If you are brave enough to do so, be sure to protect your face while bracing for the dreaded “Hairy eyeball” because it is coming!


Myth: I am Lonely because something is missing from my life.


For years, I dutifully attempted to exploit the benefits of “single awareness day.” Honestly, I did enjoy my freedom but many days loneliness and uncertainty pushed my faith to the edge. An entry from my journal describes the emotional battle I engaged in so frequently as a single woman.


8/27/00
“Life is so very interesting & complicated. Each day becomes a painful mirror into the imperfections and weakness of body and spirit…. sometimes I struggle so violently to cross over from knowledge to experience.” 


Crossing over

If you are single, how do you cross over? How do you transform your desires and emotions  so that they line up with what you profess to believe? As I walked through life, seeking God’s peace and direction, I discovered a truth that empowered me to cross from knowledge to experience. The key was found in my understanding of God’s name and nature.


The more time I spent in His word and in His presence, the more clearly I began to understanding that my single status did not interfere with His love for me or His desires for my life. Being single didn’t mean I was waiting for God’s best. God’s ultimate plan for my fulfillment and happiness wasn’t a gift that would be handed to me on my wedding day. Every new day of life I was given, whether single or married, would be filled with all the goodness and love God could give me. His offering of grace, mercy, peace, and love was the same to every one of His children. Our Heavenly Father does not withhold love.My marital status didn’t need to change in order to obtain purpose, peace, and happiness but my perspective did.


The Truth of the Matter

If it is impossible for God to lie, then I can cling to any promise of truth I find about himself in scripture. This brings me to how I overcame the feeling that I was missing something I needed in order to be content and happy because I was single.


Psalm 84:11-12was the key.


The Lord God is a sun and a shield

The Lord will give grace and glory

No Good thing will he withhold to them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of Host, Blessed is the man that trusteth thee.

Are you ready to have your faith supercharged? These verses will do just that, because they present an intimate glimpse into an amazing attribute of your Father’s nature. These revelations provide a foundation you can anchor your desires and dreams upon.  Verse 11b is an integral key to the kind of faith able to sustain and empower you as you accept the Lord plan for your life.


Verse 11 states that each morning the Lord is present and ready with “every good thing” you needed in order to get through the day. Christ faithfully prepares and will pour out upon you, to overflowing, all the strength, encouragement, wisdom, and blessings you need. Anything truly necessary to navigate through the trials & temptations, joys & sorrow, excess & need today is at your disposal. Your loving Father is there with it all, so that tonight you can testify to the world and for the Glory of God,


My Father has withheld nothing!”


As a single woman, some of the emptiness I struggled with was the result of an attempt to peer into the future to see if God’s will lined up with my desires. By doing so, during momentary periods of discontent, I trampled over hills and valleys paved with His Grace, Glory, and Blessings.


As I struggle to be content with my life (yes it is still a struggle today), the Lord still uses these verses to rebuke me with the truth, my emptiness is the result of a self-imposed, narrow sighted, earth-bound vision and a failure to look at life with spiritual eyes.


My prayer has become, “Today Lord,  give me eyes to see, that I might not miss even the smallest blessing that you, in love and Mercy, have prepared for me.” These verses spoke to me as a single woman and they still minister to me today. This promise sustains me as a mother of three when my days consists of mounds of laundry, disappointments, and mundane trials of life.


We should never hesitate to enter into the presence of  the God who formed and knew us intimately before we uttered our first cry. As we place our will at his feet in humble submission, may we never lose sight of the fact he has all ready given His best, His most precious and beloved Son. He will withhold nothing of lesser value.


When you have unburdened your heart and submitted your will to His, do not forget to gather up your basket with faith unmovable, and eyes set to the heavens. Purpose to recognize, accept, and receive  “every good and perfect gift” prepared for your life by the Creator of the Universe. You may be missing a ring, an invitation to a couples party, evenings with company, but you are not missing the key to happiness, peace, and fulfillment.


How full will your basket be tonight when you lay your head upon your pillow? Did you see, accept, and use all he prepared for you today?


What are some other myths about single life you struggled with? What advice can you offer to women enduring the challenges of single life?


What truth about God encourages you heart, chasing the shadows of unbelief away?

A To Z: Q is for Quietness

Quietness

And the work of righteousness shall be peace;

and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 32:17 (KJV)

There is a time to fight, but there is also a time to be quiet and still. The ability to discern when to do which is critical when it comes to overcoming.

 

As a kid I was terrified of quicksand. No, I had never seen it, felt it, or come remotely close to the stuff, but the thought of something sucking me down into the darkest depths of  earth, slowly sucking life from my lungs, scared the snot out of me. I mentally went through the actions, or should I say inaction I would take so that in the event I ever did find myself doing the backstroke in a pool of it, I would be able to escape. At that young age, I understood that in order to survive, to had to “do nothing.”

 

Quicksand moments of life

Sometime life hands us fight/flight situations, times when there is no getting around confrontations, battles, disputes, or disagreements. Then there are the days when we are thrust into  “quick sand” moments of life. These are instances  when words, actions, and confrontation only make matters worse. No matter how cool, calm, and collects we are, anything we do or say sucks us deeper into the suffocating quagmire. I have found this to be true on both a physical and spiritual level.

 

I have a broken and sick grandparent. No matter what I  say, do, or don’t do, I can’t win. I can’t rationalize with her or make her see the truth. I can’t refute her illogical reasoning and distorted view of life and our family. Like my husband puts it, by doing so I “only get myself a blot.” It is maddening, but for the sake of not being engulfed into a bottomless pit of bitterness, anger, and strife, all I can do is nothing. I just walk away.

 

I love my sister, and have no idea what I would do without her. She has given me a few “quick sand moments” of a different sort. They start something like this, my phone rings and Amy is on the other side. “Jody, I have something I need to talk to you about. Your not going to like what I have to say, but please just hear me out. If you want to hang up when I am through I understand.” This might astound and even offend you, but you have to understand and personally know my amazing sister. She has never been wrong and true to her word, I did not like what she had to say. It was a “quick sand moment”,  I had to relax my heart, mind, and emotions and allow the love and truth of her words sink in, and guess what I survived, but better than that, I was a better wife, mom, woman because of it.

 

On a spiritual level,  I had some similar conversations with the Lord. As Beth Moore explains in her book “Get out of that Pit,” Sometimes were pushed into pits, sometimes we innocently fall into them. Then there are the times we just jump in headfirst.

 

There have been moments when I had to claw my way out of trials. Times when my fingers were raw, my skin bruised and bleeding, and I needed to, had to fight. BUT There have also been times when my battle wasn’t a pit I needed to claw out of but a pool of quicksand I had to relax in and yield to.

 
Sometimes the Redeemer doesn’t require we fight, He just asks us to yield, to relax, to rest. To believe He is who He says He is, and who He has all ready proven Himself to be. It is during these “quicksand moments of life” that He who is True and Faithful whispers

“…Your strength is to sit still.”

Isaiah 30:7

Quietness, it is an absence of striving, clamoring, protest, questions, doubts. Quietness is the ability to embrace an absence of words and explanations because I understand the absence of His voice by no means indicates an absence of His presence. Quietness is an opportunity to  receive things I might otherwise not see, hear, feel, or discover.

Do you know how to be quiet? Do you know how to let quietness envelop your heart, mind, body, soul and spirit? You can overcome through quietness. You just have to know when it is time to fight and when it is okay to relax, be quiet, and let another work and move on your behalf. Yes, there are moments when your strength to overcome is through sitting still.

A to Z: Overcoming Noise

Noise

A sound, esp. one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance:

I do not like noise. My ears are sensitive to misplaced, unnecessary, intruding sounds that rudely interrupt and distract from what I’m trying to concentrate upon. As much as I detest audible noise, this is not the enemy I speak of. I am referring to the silent noises of life.

Noise doesn’t have to be audible. It can come in small voiceless accusations. It is failure ripping relentlessly upon raw hearts and vulnerable emotions. It is silent reproach “You have messed up again,” “you are a horrible mother, wife, friend,” “You call yourself a Christian, you are not better than they are.”

Noise can be a look, a cold shoulder, or indifference. It is a fractured relationship that drowns spirits. Noise strains emotions like a great storm rolling across a plain, devouring everything within the reach of its icy fingers.

Noise can arrive without invitation. It steals wordlessly into living rooms, bedrooms, and even Church auditoriums. It lashes out with silent tongues of discontent, strife, anger, greed, and jealousy. Noise invades relationships, making what was once natural, effortless, and cherished morph into something awkward, unbearable, and tormenting.

Noise is the silent anguish of a grieving mother who has buried her child. It is the suffocating feeling of failure that burns deep inside the soul of the husband who has lost his job and has no idea how he will care for his family. Noise is the guilt of a teen who has given into pressure and had their innocence stolen. Noise is condemnation, heartbreak, anger, hopelessness. Noise is absence of peace.

In a world filled with so much mind numbing and heart deafening noise, how do we find the strength, grace and power to overcome?

Overcoming Noise!

Athletes provide a great example of how to overcome noise. They stand on the free throw line, the game riding upon their shoulders. Every spectator is on their feet screaming, yelling, chanting, praying, taunting, begging. The noise is mind numbing, yet that athlete can silence every voice, becoming deaf and blind to the presence of every human in the arena. It is just him and the net. There is silence in his heart and mind.

SWOOSH, VICTORY, TRIUMPH!

FOCUS!

The only way I overcome the mind deafening, crushing noise of life is through focusing on that which truly matters and the only thing that gives purpose and makes sense of life. Eternity, Forever, Hope, Healing, Heaven, my Lord and Savior. He is present through all the noise. His will is just, loving, and with purpose. Heaven and Earth will pass away, the noise will stop, and He will be there. My life is fleeting, my trials passing. All that matters is the only thing that will last. I will endure and can endure because I know the “Ending.” It is glorious, powerful, and satisfying. Eternity makes the here and now bearable, endurable, even acceptable. The only way I can overcome the noise it to

Look to the Master and Creator.

1I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The Lord s your keeper;
the
Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7The Lord willkeep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8The Lord will keep
your
going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Practical Advice:

  1. Preach to yourself don’t listen to yourself

    When that accusing voice starts whispering lies & accusations, interrupt that voice with a good ol sermon of your own. Counter each lie, accusation and hurt with truth.

  2. Claim a “mantra”

    Not an in the mystic sense of the word, but a phrase or verse of truth that specifically counters the noise. When I was single and struggle with lies like : I was missing out, forgotten, cheated… Psalm 84:11-12 was the mantra I clung to. When I felt overwhelmed by a trial, it was the Psalm “You caused men to ride over our heads, we went through fire and water but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. ” I set my gaze ahead, and as I broke, fell, cried, and rose up to keep press on, I was a looking for that promised wealthy place.

  3. Meditate on truth

    It doesn’t work to try to just out noise the noise. You have to know, believe, and purpose to let truth and peace reign instead of the noise, lies…. I didn’t just recite Pslam 84, I meditated on it and I told myself why I wasn’t missing out, cheated, left behind.

  4. Accountability!

    If you struggle in an area find a trusted friend who will challenge you, encourage you, and kick you in the butt when you need it. (Do not ask a person struggling with the same thing)

    How do you overcome Noise?

A to Z: Overcoming Through Forever


Forever

1. For everlasting time; eternally
2. At all times; incessantly
Long before this challenge began, I knew what “F” would be. I am reading a book that is amazing, challenging, life changing….. It’s title is, yes you guessed it, Forever. Were I to attempt to summarize my thoughts on this book so far, my blogging challenge would come to an abrupt end due to the fact I wouldn’t be able to get past this word. Paul Tripp summarizes ‘the importance and power found in his book,  Forever: Why you can’t live without it, far better than I could so below I will just include his intro and links to his site where he has an introductory video on the power and importance of forever. My prayer is that you will experience the purpose and power “Forever” grants us to Overcome.
You May Be Suffering from Eternity Amnesia … The Bible assures us that God has placed eternity in our hearts. It tells us we are created for pleasure, wired for joy—all with God at the center. But in a world that is broken and suffering, it’s easy to forget this, living instead with a pack-it-all-in mentality, loading up the here and now with expectations that will only be fulfilled in eternity. Fortunately we don’t have to live frustrating, disappointing lives. Instead, we can take heart, realizing that life doesn’t feel right because it isn’t right. It’s not meant to be—not yet anyway. Paul Tripp points out that having an eternity perspective will enable us to live for something bigger than ourselves and larger than this moment. No longer trapped in the shrunken kingdom of “right here, right now,” we will be able to lead lives of greater significance and peace.Through stories, examples, and biblical teaching, Tripp rehabilitates the notion of an afterlife, not as some vague, ethereal place in which we will someday reside, but as a living, robust reality that Scripture promises.

 

“I have said these things to you,
that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart;
I have overcome the world.” John 16:33(ESV)