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A Pilar of Comfort

When Carter was in the intensive care unit in Oregon after his traumatic brain injury, he was struggling with pain and double vision. In the early morning hours after an arduous night, he asked me to come and lay beside him because he saw two of me and he would feel better if the real one was close to him. As I laid there, my heart ached because I could not take the pain away. I wanted to be his substitute but had to settle as his soother instead.

Friend, God must see you, His child, like I saw mine in those wrenching moments. He looks down and knows you are struggling, in pain and hurting. For reasons you do not understand, He cannot take the pain away, but He does desire for you to invite him to come and lay down beside you so that He may be a pillar of comforter and peace.

The love of God does not negate our suffering, but it gives us what we need to get through and beyond it.

I pray you welcome Him into your circumstances tonight and that His peace is perceivable in your weary heart and pacifying to your worn out hands.

Be watchful. His steadfast faithfulness manifests in many ways.

You are loved.❤️

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The Best Thing

If you are a loved one are waiting in a hallway of uncertainty, bearing the weight of the unknown, I have a word for you that I pray brings encouragement.

I have been standing on shifting sand the last couple weeks stumbling in ambiguity and anxiety. It has been an all-out fight for me to remain the manager of my mind and keep my spirit in check with the peace of The Lord.

Health circumstances have forced me day after day to examine the authenticity of my theology. What set of beliefs am I operating out of not in fruitful times but fearful ones? I have been like a pendulum swinging back and forth as waves of victory and defeat have washed over me.

Last night in the midst of dark silence, God gave me the sweetest love note that has hushed my hastened heart.

D’Anna, what is the worst thing that can happen? Then, He so gently reminded me that the worst thing, should it be, is the best thing.

I often forget that. Heaven is our Home, and it is second to none.

Friend, if you or someone you treasure as dear are walking a dark road, please do not lose sight and fight to remember that as adopted children, what the world sighs at as dreadful, we can hold with maybe hurting, but absolutely hopeful hands. You are loved.

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Purpose Amidst Imperfection 

Nestled amidst the sunrise of a fresh week and all the promise it holds is an ever faithful reminder of my inadequacy. I am presently, but peacefully aware that I got more wrong than right last week, and that will surely be my truth this week as well.

My keen sense of insufficiency poses a different purpose for me now, though. Growing in grace teaches me that it is no longer about striving for perfection only to be frustrated, but seeking purpose amidst my imperfection only to be furthered.

 It is an incongruent truth that on the other side of our failures is an intention designed for our prosperity. 

Understanding that falling down is not a shameful thing, but a sacred tool is the genesis of praise. Praise opens the door and welcomes gratitude right into our hearts.

When gratitude is our guest, we see through all the heavy right into the heart of the holy, and joy becomes a source of our strength. 

This week, friend, I pray you have eyes to see and ears to hear all the beauty that your brokenness beholds, and your heart will sing, it is good and it is well with my soul.
You are loved.❤️

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Send Me. Use Me.

 

…meanwhile, Puerto Rico is devastated and may not have electricity for 6 plus months.  They along with residents of the Virgin Islands, Texas, Louisiana and Florida have lost everything.  Recovery and rebuilding could take decades in some areas.

Every two minutes somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted.  Human trafficking is a thriving travesty.  Five to six children die each day as a result of abuse.  America’s numbers of homeless children and adults are in the millions.  Astounding!  Hundreds of school children in my city alone have no food on the weekends.  Every day scores of our people become widowed, terminally ill, addicted, lost, orphaned, homeless, unemployed, hungry and the list goes on.

Anxiety and depression is at an all time high even among our country’s children.  

Pornography is no longer a taboo topic, because it is a common place epidemic ravaging men, women and children.  Yes!  Children.

 Everywhere I turn I am tempted to grab a quick fix, whether it be food, fantasy or Facebook, to numb, deaden or make tolerable the pain all around me. We are a society of self-medicators, myself included.  

I have to look at myself and ask, where am I spending my energy, time and resources?  Am I busy complaining about the problems or contributing to the solutions?  

I reserve the right to protest peacefully, but I also acknowledge that I was ransomed the right to pray personally and that alone can accomplish more than any demonstration.  

I also regard the luxury (yes, it is a privilege afforded to me by many selfless men and women in uniform!) to respectfully disagree, but may I always remember that unless I am putting my concerns into productive action,  I am merely a purposeless reaction void of favorable fruit.

 Here I am Lord.  Send me.  Use me.

 

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Sanctification


Sanctification is my constant companion. She moves me to surrender. She both slays and satisfies me. At times sanctification guts me. She greets and meets with me like a passage in the Psalms, crying out in pain and concluding in praise. Nevertheless, because I know her, and Who she comes from, I am at peace saying to her, It is well with me.

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Show Us Your Glory, Lord

As I was walking to the beach in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise about an hour ago, I was singing these words from a song, show us, show us your glory, Lord. God showed off for me as He often does! This photograph, (totally raw and unedited), is evidence that every new ending and every new beginning, although sometimes painful, beholds great beauty. Be encouraged, dear friend. If you are confronting a difficult transition from old to new, there are better days ahead. Forgetting is often impossible, but choosing where to focus our attention and perspective is not. Tim Keller says everything given was necessary and everything withheld was not. The former things, realized and unrealized, have fashioned a wide portion of the person you are. Purpose is a predecessor of praise. Pursue the purpose in every ending and beginning knowing that grief and gratitude co-mingle in this life and peace, joy and hope within you will reside. Lord, help us remember your work never needs editing, even when we think it does! You are loved, friend! ❤️

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Peace

I have been on a mission lately to identify and minimize or eradicate the things in my life that compromise my peace.  When I started putting ink to this stuff, I was surprised just how exhaustive my list is, and I have not unearthed it all yet.  One thing that was at the top of my list is the bad habit  I have perfected of assigning thoughts and feelings to other people.  Not many things steal my peace like this destructive practice.  You know what I am talking about, right?  When a friend does not acknowledge a text or email promptly, I can easily allow my thoughts to sabotage me.  My internal dialogue goes something like this,
“She must be mad at me.” or
“Maybe she didn’t like what I said.”

I have found that the overwhelming majority of the time I. Am. Wrong.

There are hundreds of scenarios like this that vandalize my sanity.  It is plain ridiculous.  When I get honest, though, it is much more about an unwise behavior.  There is a deeper root to the problem.  I want people to be pleased with me.  I want people to like me.  I am a forever recovering people pleaser.  There should be a support group for this kind of thing!  I am no expert but perhaps going even deeper this is about the sinful pride that lurks in my heart that I need to pray for the grace to see and uprooted daily?

In his short, but stirring book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller says this;
“People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can’t be hurt! It is the ego that hurts – my sense of self, my identity.  Our feelings are fine. It is my ego that hurts.”  “Walking around does not hurt my toe unless there is already something wrong with it .” Well, a big ‘ole ouch and Amen to that!

When my identity, worth, value, and placidity are rooted in people, I am in trouble.  There will be no peace in my heart.  I continually have to put on the attire of Christ’s atonement that sealed all those things for me at a very high cost.  Otherwise, I am simply not living free in the abundance of my Father, but a prisoner to the perceptions and permission of people.

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When The Pledges Become The Peace

When we know the character of God and have experienced His faithfulness, it gives us the strength to continue standing in times of great fear and pain.

But sometimes the reality of brokenness penetrates the resolve of belief, and we feel the weight of our residency in a fallen world. 

It is in these times that the word of God is more crucial than ever.  It is only when we place our pain into the context of the promises that we can persevere.  Saints never rejoice for one another’s suffering but we can rejoice amidst it when the pledges of the Savior become the peace of His soldiers.

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The World Says Run, Wisdom Says Rest

Being a whole person can feel like being an overwhelmed person.

Time is two sided. It can be sluggish, and it can be swift. On days when our to-do list, responsibilities, and commitments weigh heavy; time is more elusive than enjoyable.  Remembering and desiring to rest is not indigenous to our culture or our conscience.

Busyness is often our temporary escape, and so we run, and we run until we have nothing left to guide us.

The world does not call us to consider that which we are running from but The Father does.  Pausing long enough to respect the discomfort that dwells within our souls is not considered modern popularity.  It forces us to face the foes that threaten our comfort, but we have a God who offers promises that will turn those scary places into sacred spaces if we will just lean in.

The world says run but wisdom rest.  

May we relax our hustling hands and slow our hasty hearts so that amidst the chaos of our calendars we may find a stillness within ourselves that comes from the peace granted by the Author, not the pace gained from the activity.