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What If You Get It Wrong?

Recently, I was struggling with an important decision. It was tearing me apart as I was allowing the lies of the enemy to compromise what I know to be true.  I was lamenting to a trusted and wise friend that my fear was I would get it wrong.  My friend said to me, “D’Anna, what if you do get it wrong?”  It was then that I remembered that Jesus’ gift of salvation does not come with a qualifier that I get it all right.  If my performance was a qualification, that would mean I have some responsibility for my salvation and in my eyes, I would never be enough.  How exhausting that would be!

Thankfully, I can take no credit for my eternal destiny.  Any good work I do is as a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence, not my power.  I cannot even take credit for faith, for it is from God, as well. (Ephesians 2:8).

Are you wrestling with getting something wrong today?  Has the idea of not being perfect or falling short thrown a dark disguise over the veil of truth that is meant to set you free? (John 8:32).  I pray if you find yourself here, you take the hand of truth today.

Father, I repent of the times I fail to believe. Help me and my friend remember that you and your promises are the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) AMEN.

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Maybe

Maybe it is the pervasiveness of pain and suffering.

Maybe it is the outflow of a heart overwhelmed by the burdens before me.

Or maybe it is the fresh awakening of the sacred charge branded in the depths where the Holy hides His instructions.

Whatever the explanation, I feel an urgency today for wandering hearts that are beating in the shadows of uncertainty.

If that is you, friend, I would love the privilege to pray for you. We are all on a journey heading somewhere.

I want you to be certain of your destination.

Feel free to private message me anytime.

You are loved.❤️

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Opportunities to Repent

The older I get, the more opportunities I see where I need to repent.  I thought it would be the other way around but not so for me.  I am choosing to think of it as the sharper my “spiritual vision” becomes the clearer I see the junk that is there.  In light of that, I guess it is a positive thing.

Isiah 30:15~In repentance and rest is my salvation.

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Our Scars Are Bountiful Stories

I have a scar on the left side of my chest where there once was a central line that nourished me when I was too ill to eat. I have a scar under my right arm in the upper rib area that is a reminder of a chest tube that once supported my collapsed lung from a procedure gone wrong. Both blemishes were the product of one pregnancy. I see those two scars every day, and for many years they were unattractive to me. What I have learned and love is now when I notice them I feel gratitude where I once knew grief because those blemishes are emblematic of life. My scars are the representatives of a broken story with a bountiful ending. If it were not for them, I would not have my daughter. I was reminiscing amidst the memories of my scar journey this morning, and as I was strolling through the story, I had a vivid visual of Jesus on the cross. There he was in my picture, nailed by evil and dawning scars that the world would deem unattractive; then this thought crossed my mind, Jesus’ scars also represented life. I am confident that He, too looks his scars, smiles and says if it were not for them, I would not have my daughter.

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ONE

For life travelers longing for an analgesic to satiate the ache that feels as if it were born and branded into every beating heart, we search and scurry for a cure as if that longing is something to be erased and replaced with happiness when all along it is an immutable hunger for Home.
Friend, I know it is tempting to numb. The food, the television, the drink, the romance novel, the internet, the busy schedule, they all eventually fail us. There is not one possession or person under the sun that will complete us.

John Calvin said the human heart is a factory of idols. I will add to his observation that mine is no exception. Idols are the thieves of my soul, robbing me of peace and joy. They are dressed up impostures that pursue me, promising pleasure but ultimately never delivering the pacification they purport. They have an inferior half-life that leaves all partakers thirsty and longing for more.

I was sitting on my counselor’s couch Tuesday and as I was talking to her, staring out her big window in the sky, my words were interrupted. As it sometimes happens a memo from semmingly no where comes as if it is being spoken in my head. That day the message was, when you are only concerned with One none of the other stuff matters.

Too often that one I am concerned about is me instead of Jesus. When my eyes, ears, and mind are fixed on Him, I do not need to numb. I do not need to find satisfaction in secular things. But surrounded by my desirous heart for God is a deceptive flesh for gratification; and this is why I need Jesus every moment of every day.

Jesus secures me when I am splintered. He welcomes me when I am weak. He “feeds” me when I am famished. He lifts me when I am low; and Jesus desires me when I am disappointing.
If you have received the gift of God’s only son, you can replace every me in the sentences above with your name. Isn’t that a breath of fresh air! If you have not received His gift, right now is always the right time to make the right decision.

You are loved, friend!

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In Rememberance We Find Rest

img_06891.pngJesus’ last three words before giving up His Spirit on the cross were, it is finished.  As believers, those are three of the most significant words that are so easy to forget. I often find myself losing sight of that truth, and I end up in a position of Jesus plus me or Jesus plus something else equals fulfillment.  My failure to remember that Jesus completed everything for me on the cross only leads me down a path of trying harder, idolatry, guilt, self-condemnation and ultimately shame and exhaustion.

It can be hard to believe and thus accept that it is just that easy; someone who owes me nothing died to make me right before God and to provided eternal life.   It feels much more natural to want to work off my debt.

There is something oddly comforting about pulling the products my sins, (guilt, shame, self-condemnation, self-pity), back down off the cross and wearing them like a warm, comforting coat on a blustery day. 

Continuing to feel guilty, shamed or condemned is an illusive form of self-righteousness.  Ouch!  It suggests Jesus isn’t enough and I need to help Him secure my salvation.

Isaiah 30:15 says in repentance and rest is my salvation.  That is good news for you and me.  When I go to The Father in repentance, I must not only repent for what I did but also what I failed to believe that led me astray.  Like the prodigal father, Jesus is always scanning the horizon to run to us with open arms and a forgiving heart.

It is finished, friends! 

I pray you remember to live from that, and when you forget like I sometimes do, turn back to your Father and rest in His grace!

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A Battle That Cannot Be Lost

Each one of us experiences a duplicity within ourselves. A Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde dwells within even the best of people. Romans 7 confirms this to be true. This reality could be doom and gloom, and it is for the person without Christ because it is a hopeless battle that cannot be won. However, for followers of Jesus, it is a hope-filled battle that cannot be lost.
I have semi-paraphrased the above message from a Tim Keller sermon I listened to this morning. If you would like to know more about this hope-filled battle that you cannot lose, feel free to contact me! It is not a fight for perfection, striving, trying or working harder. It is a freedom that offers rest, redemption, grace and salvation. You are loved!

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Anyway

b11e7535347810b6a8c6c98199bc4656Life will give us more than we can handle, but we were never meant to handle it alone anyway.

Life will give us more than we can understand, but we were never intended to understand everything anyway.

Life will take us places we don’t want to go, but we were never meant to travel alone anyway.

Life will cause us to question, forget, take for granted, disobey, offend and sometimes be angry at God, but Jesus died for us anyway.

Life will cause us to succumb to this world, but all God’s children are eternal survivors anyway.

You are never alone, and no matter what has happened or you have done, a repentant heart is loved anyway.

(1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:28)

(Deuteronomy 29:29, Proverbs 3:5)

(Matthew 11:28, Isaiah 42:16)

(Jeremiah 22:21, Romans 2:23)

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Freely Inadequate but Fully Accepted

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Are you feeling inadequate this morning?  Me, too.  As a matter of fact, I have been feeling incompetent for some time now due to a variety of life challenges.  Then last Thursday happened.

I was attending a dinner, and the speaker was talking about a very dark subject.  She was telling her story, and it was very far from pretty.  One thing the brave woman said with a trembling voice has captivated my thoughts since that night.  I am paraphrasing her words; I never thought Jesus could love and forgive a sinner as dirty as me.  Then one day I realized that my attitude about His forgiveness was equivalent to me putting Jesus back on the cross because He did not do His job right the first time and I could not do that.

Wow!  I have been thinking a lot about how many times I am crucifying Jesus again because I too am not feeling “good enough.”  The truth I often forget is that I am not good enough, never was, never will be and that is why Christ had to pay the ultimate price for me.

Jesus died for my inadequacies, and yours.  Being ashamed of them is a dishonor to Him.  He willingly gave his life to give me mine.  He suffered a cruel, undeserved death to complete me in all the areas I am incomplete.  Because He is whole, I am free to be broken.  Because he is perfect, I am free to be imperfect.  That is good news for a ragamuffin like me.

There is no need to twinge in light of my truth and no reason to cower to condemnation.  I am righteous because Jesus has risen.  Isaiah 61:10 says it best;  I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!  For he has dressed me in the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

I am prone, however, to forget what I know to be true.  I knew His promise, but I had forgotten.  I had forgotten, and thus, I had forsaken the Gospel.  Life has a tendency to court us away from the truth, but God has a tender character that carries us back under the shelter of His wings where we are allowed to be freely inadequate but fully accepted.  I am preaching this to myself today, friends.  I pray if need be you can find rest here, too.