Category Archives: Stones of Remembrance

Worship in the Dark

What does your morning devotion look like this season? Is it like those “Perfect” Pinterest IMG_0723photos, a nice comfy chair with a cup of coffee, tea or water in hand? Do you have a quiet space to go?

In the past, my daily holy communion with God consisted of a prayer walk at dawn, followed by reading the Bible and journaling with a cup of coffee in hand reclined in my husband’s chair. That was my prime time with Jesus!

Of course it wasn’t always that way. When my children were preschoolers I could barely get up out of bed before they were tugging at me like baby birds aching to be fed. I remember those days now. I would pant and yearn for time alone with Jesus. My devotions were usually in a most ‘unholy’ place some would say–it was the bathroom! I stole whatever time I could until their little fingers and lips would sneak under the door calling my new first name: mama.

That season passed and I soon forgot what it was like to yearn and pant for that time. When people would say they struggled with having devotion time with God, inwardly I was self-righteous and unable to ‘relate’ to them because I didn’t have “that problem.” I see now I was struggling with spiritual pride. I’m thankful God loves me that He would lovingly reprove, sanctify and teach me His compassion. He reminded me everything I have, even faith…has been given.

The way God has offered this lesson in compassion began almost two years ago with our move to California. Immediately most of my familiar devotion time objects were eliminated or packed away. It began with my prayer walks…I was in a new neighborhood, which didn’t offer the same kind of solitude and light I once had—or that is what I thought, and I stopped walking. Instead I began praying in the flower garden, but after months I began to have a heart of ingratitude and stopped that too. I complained inwardly for many months that the only place I had in the morning was in a dimly lit cold room on the kitchen table. I missed my walks, recliner, and prayer closet where I could freely worship in quiet warmth.

I whined myself out of worship.

I made devotion about me.

I forgot so many truths:

I forgot to give thanks in all circumstances.

I forgot the Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth.

I forgot we can have communion with God each moment.

I forgot where true worship resides…in Christ and not in circumstances.

With this realization, I repented and received the grace to return to the place of worship in Christ. I’m still in California and I’m still learning how to worship in the dark. This season of my life, I begin in prayer in the dark until the sunlight shines, and I read the Bible as the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God.

Dear reader,

Whether you are parents of young children, or older children taking care of elderly parents, I pray the lesson I am learning can help you remember: We can worship in the dark because of Jesus Christ. It is through the grace of God giving us His Spirit and Truth.

“…for through Him [Jesus Christ] we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” 

Ephesians 2:18

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

“For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

 


Downsized. {A Bite Size Testimony}

Things you might have not known about our family…
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In 2006 I was pregnant with our second child and promoted to a Captain in the Air Force.

We were building our ‘dream home’ in North Carolina because I was assigned to a three year controlled tour to teach Air Force ROTC at Duke University. Everything seemed ‘perfect’ and was going ‘our way’ until…

In a span of a few weeks we experienced great losses in our family.  I was unexpectedly told I had to get out of the Air Force because they were downsizing.

This was a huge blow for me because I had planned to make the Air Force my lifetime career.  I was prior enlisted and the Air Force had paid for my education at The George Washington University to become an Officer, and now they were telling me I had to leave.

Not only did I lose my career, but we also lost the home and assignment in N. Carolina. The final loss was the hardest, I miscarried our much awaited baby.

During this season of my life I believed there was a God. In fact I ran to Him when all of this happened, but I still did not worship Him.

I was more interested in what God could do for me than to know Him.

The Air Force was my identity and when I got out of the Air Force I was lost. The Air Force was my god and direction. I started to fall into depression, eagerly looking for things and stuff to fill the void in my heart.
To be continued….

**This week I will be sharing ‘bite size’ portions of my testimony in honor of my 7 year spiritual birthday which is this week!!!**

*Part 2

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{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

***

When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


Unreceived Grace

Her effort to be perfect is destroyed by her sin
Paralyzing guilt sets in
She weeps, sadden by the loss of ‘perfection’
She hardens her heart and tries to justify her sin

Enter in grace…

The one she sinned against forgives her, but her hands are clenched
He pleads for her to return to him
She wants to return, but doesn’t forgive herself
She knows she does not deserve forgiveness
She runs away into the dark to hide
She doesn’t think she deserves to live, and wants death
She begins to numb herself

Messengers come, reminding her of grace…
One day the one sinned against speaks to her again
He invites her to reconcile
She dares to believe reconciliation is possible
She dares to believe she could be forgiven
She steps out of the darkness and towards the Light
She takes his hand and walks on the road of reconciliation

Through this journey her hands open and her heart softens
She weeps a different type of sorrow
She weeps in humility and gratitude
She experiences a spiritual death and is rewarded a new life

She lives because her hands opened to receive grace
She lives a new life because she walks in the Light
She lives a new life because she believes she is forgiven

Today she is hidden with Christ in God!

Hallelujah!

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The Invitation

I received an invitation but didn’t open it right away. I was thankful to get it and carried it with me most of the time. I only spoke of it when others talked about their invitation, and I pretended I had already opened mine. I didn’t think I needed to open mine because I knew Who it was from and I knew I was invited.

There were many times in my life when I was lost and lonely I would pull the invitation out and hold it against my heart and long for the pain to go away, but I never opened it.

Then one day a woman shared with me her invitation…Word for Word.

She talked about it all the time, she spoke of the Invitee even more. She was giddy in love and full of joy and spoke of the Invitee as if she really KNEW Him. She shared with me the day she received her invitation and the day she gave her RSVP and she was alert and ready waiting for the event. The joy and enthusiasm in her voice and the love for the One who sent this invite intrigued and stirred me. I wondered if I really received the same invitation as her.

I could no longer stand it and I opened my invitation in the early morning hours and I saw where the joy came from…

I was invited to approach the throne of God! To be in His presence and actually speak to Him on a daily basis and be heard! I saw it was not an invitation for a ticket to heaven, but an invitation to enter into a relationship with our Creator, to call Him Abba, Father and be His child.

I was invited to a future wedding feast and He promised He would supply all my needs according to His glorious riches, not just for the day of the wedding but now. The only thing He required of me is that I love Him.

My heart raced and I cried. I saw my depravity on the backdrop of His holiness and I KNEW I did not deserve to be invited. My mind went back to all the sins I had committed, the idols in my life, and my inability to love God the way He asked of me. I was afraid I would stain the wedding clothes. That’s when I began to understand the meaning of grace–receiving something I didn’t deserve–it is a gift.

That February morning in 2009 I submitted my “RSVP” by placing my faith in Jesus Christ, the One Who gives me access to God the Father by One Spirit. That was the beginning of my transformation from the inside out. I am a citizen of heaven and my mind is set on heavenly things. I long for the day when my Savior, the One who prepared a way for me to Know God returns to receive me to Himself and I will have un-interrupted fellowship with Him forever.

***

Do you know we were made to have fellowship with Holy God? Our sin separates us from God, and we feel too ashamed to even mention His name.

But God rich in His mercy, grace and love provided a way for us to really KNOW Him, not just know about Him. This knowing is found through Jesus Christ. This knowing IS eternal life.

If you feel a drawing and a longing to know God, turn to Him and place your faith in Jesus Christ, knowing it is by is His sacrifice you are made right with God. He will clothe you with His robe of righteousness and empower you with His Spirit to love Him the way He deserves to be loved…this is a lifetime of sanctified learning full of Truth, grace and forgiveness.

Consider this your invitation….

RSVP in french means “please respond,” will you RSVP today?

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**I wrote this in remembrance of my re-birthday! Six years ago this February I became a new creation in Christ in the privacy of my home reading the Scriptures.***

 

 

 

 


My Missing Piece

Rejected. Insecure. Angry. Fearful. Lonely. Disappointed. Confused. Lost. Hurt. Betrayed. Jealous. Envious. Prideful. Arrogant and REBELLIOUS….

All of these words described how I felt and acted as a teenager. I felt disillusioned and disappointed at life.

As a young child I began my life trusting people, but as time passed my heart was subjected to the hurts and pains of this world caused by sin.

Divorce, division, disappointment, loss, lies, betrayal and hurt. I began to build a wall around my heart and eventually I didn’t trust anyone–not even God. I was convinced anyone I loved would either leave me or let me down. I had become a bitter and angry person who hid my hurts behind a mask of smiles and laughter but inside I was dying, desperate, lonely and lost.

I wanted the physical death I felt inside, and yet I would hide in a closet to cut myself to feel alive.

At 15 I was given an assignment to draw a picture of my life and this is what I drew:

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A Broken heart held together with a band-aid to reveal my hurt and battered heart not knowing it was caused by the sin in my heart and the sin around me.

A Puzzle of Life with a missing piece to depict how I felt incomplete and knew something was missing in my life.

A Border of Question marks to describing how I didn’t understand my purpose in life and why I existed.

On the back I wrote a poem:

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I felt no one understood this darkness, misery and sadness inside.

Growing up didn’t change the way I felt. The difference was how I tried to fill that missing piece.

Instead of cutting I tried to make myself feel alive by filling my emptiness with other things: alcohol, friendships, pleasing others, man’s love, college, money, a successful career, dream home, marriage, vacations, children….but nothing would take away that nagging feeling that something was missing and I still didn’t know my purpose in life.

By 33 years old my heart had become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. My own un-confessed un-repented sin in my heart and the un-forgiven sin of others done to me.

But one day God sent a human messenger full of the Holy Spirit to share with me once again Who the missing piece was:

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life

I found this pin a few months after I had been born again, and recently I found this assigned poem and drawing with my old journals.

It’s amazing that after all these years God would be so personal to allow me to find this pin that matches so perfectly the ‘missing piece’ I drew when I was 15. Jesus Christ was always the missing piece in my life.

The day I chose to place my faith in Jesus Christ I was taken out of darkness and put into God’s marvelous Light.

*The blood of Jesus Christ washed and cleansed me of all my past sins and I was given a clean new HEART no longer needing a band-aid to hold it together

*God satisfied that void and missing piece by filling me with His Holy Spirit, teaching me the ‘right way’ to live, reminding me I am His child and Jesus is the Way the Truth and the LIFE enabling me to repent of my sin and forgive the sin committed against me.

*I no longer QUESTION my purpose because I know my purpose: to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known to others.

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Today I still go into a closet…but this time it’s not to cut myself but to confess, repent and be cleansed daily so that my heart will not become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin…the sin I commit, or the sin committed against me.

The love of God compels me to share this with those who are hurting.

BeLoved, whether you are a teenager, young adult, or elderly…God loves you with an everlasting love and He wants a relationship with you through Jesus Christ.

Sin is hurtful and people are sinful and will always let us down no matter how close they are to us. We are all fallen and can never fill that empty piece we are searching to fulfill–the only One who can fill that void is Jesus Christ.

The missing piece. It wasn’t having perfect parents or a perfect life…the missing piece has always been Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for God’s LOVE. Despite the circumstances in my life I no longer feel lost, lonely, bitter, or dead because I am alive together with Christ and I am now made complete. This gift is not only for me but for you too…

“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:9-10

God longs to be gracious to you….


Stacking Stones…Not Throwing Stones

When I drew near to God and was born again, I was overflowing with gratitude from the grace and mercy lavished on me. I did not deserve to be forgiven of my sins and I knew it.

I didn’t need anyone to remind me I was a sinner nor did I need someone to convince me I was a sinner, the Holy Spirit was already doing the convicting. It was this conviction that drew me to my knees causing me to pouStacking Stonesnd my chest with my eyes downcast asking God to be merciful to me, the sinner. The day of my salvation is a HUGE stone of remembrance I visit often.

I must confess, if I don’t visit the day of my salvation I can become arrogant and think highly of myself, forgetting I was saved by grace and it is by God’s grace I am kept.

I’ll never forget the first time God taught me a lesson about His love and grace…that it wasn’t just for me.

It was just three weeks into my new birth experience when my family and I went to a local train show and I saw people that were in sin standing near my children. My heart was enraged and I began to judge them and I was haughty in my heart when God’s Holy Spirit led me to Truth and the words of Jesus were brought to my remembrance:

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7

Immediately I couldn’t see past the plank in my eye and realized I could no longer see past my own sin and this humbled me. I saw though they may have been in outward disobedience I was inwardly disobedient to God. I immediately repented of my judgmental thoughts and thanked God for His forgiveness, and prayed for them. My heart was tested that day.

Just weeks later God brought a person struggling with the same sin into my life and my heart was now ready to love because I knew my place; I am the vessel not the judge. I am the conduit, not the source.

God showed me if I really wanted this person to be transformed I needed to love them…just love this person. By God’s power that’s what I did. After months of working with this person they approached me and told me they noticed how I was different and she wanted what I had. That moment my cell phone rang and my ringtone, “How Great Is Our God” was singing in the background while I shared with her the Gospel of how Jesus Christ transformed me and how He died on the cross for all of us and we don’t need to ‘clean up’ to come to Him we just go to Him and He will take care of the rest. What an honor to lovingly share the Gospel with someone God is drawing to Himself!

**
What Im learning is this…I am called to exhort my fellow brethren to stay on the narrow road and if they are in sin I am required to restore them and share the Truth in love but…I can’t love apart from God’s Holy Spirit, and before I open my mouth I better make sure they are His Words, His Timing by His Spirit or else it is not Him it’s me.

We can’t love without giving and in this instance it may involve giving up of my own opinion of how they live their lives according to the Bible and wait for God to use me. He can’t use me if I am full of myself, arrogant, quarrelsome–opposite of who He is: LOVE. I’m finding God prepares me for such work by granting me a testing sanctifying moment before I share His gospel by His Spirit.

Dear reader, if you are not a believer and disciple of the LORD Jesus Christ, and a Christian has thrown a stone at you, I am sorry. I have made that mistake before too. As Christians we are not perfect and we still make mistakes. Please do not let man keep you from a relationship with Your Heavenly Father.

I pray God will draw you into His presence and He will send yielded obedient vessels full of His love ready to pour out on you so you will taste and see the LORD is good, kind, compassionate and He is longing for you to come to Him. No matter what you have done, or where you have been, if you turn to Him and draw near to Him, He will draw near to you for Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

*Titus 3:1-7


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