Friday, January 17, 2014

Living Fearless

I follow several bloggers who pick a word each year that they want to focus on for the entire year. Its a word that speaks to them, that they want to live by and that they feel God is directing them towards. The organization describes it as "choosing to live with purpose and intentionality."

I've been thinking and praying on this idea a lot during these first three weeks of 2014. After thoughtful consideration, my word for this coming year is fearless.  I have mentioned before that I have often lived making decisions that are rooted in fear.  I have also seen that a life that operates out of fear can be just as damaging and heartbreaking as a life lived in which you aren't held back by the scary potential of an outcome that will hurt.

I have learned much of this the hard way. I've also learned that when the ground falls out from underneath you, He is there to hold you and that He can work those hurtful and difficult things out for good and for glory.  The Lord has held me through heartache and pain and He has produced peace and joy in me, which I am abundantly thankful for.

But I am still a work in progress and I have growing to do in the area of learning to believe that I have nothing to be afraid of because God loves me and is for me. New situations, blessings, and sources of hope can also be frightening if I allow them to be because they require me to step out in faith.  They require me to put my heart on the line and they can expose old wounds.

I trust in a good and loving God though, and so this year I want to walk by that faith and learn to live a life that is fearless. I think the first step in that journey is found in 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. . ."  The grace in this verse is that it is not my love that casts out fear, it is His love that is perfect and that has the ability to destroy the bondage of fear.  When I learn who I am in Christ, and when I can fully grasp how completely and perfectly my savior loves me - it paves the way for me to live a life of freedom.

So instead of a long list of resolutions this year, I am setting my sights on one thing. I am asking the Lord to walk me through this journey of becoming secure in His love for me and unafraid of anything that may come, so that I can in turn freely give love out to those in my life.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beauty in the Brokenness

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

The holidays have come and gone, and we are already two weeks into the new year. I love beginnings and I love the hope that the start of a new year brings with it. A blank slate, a fresh start and the time to put another foot forward.

This new year ushered in with it a lot of sickness for my household. The holidays and first week of 2014 had been filled with fevers, runny noses, ear infections, and strep throat - just to name a few of the not so fun symptoms, for both the little ones and myself.  So we have seen a lot of the inside of our home and by the end we're all going a bit stir crazy.

Thankfully, we are all better and things are settling back into the normal routine. To be honest, in the thick of it, it felt like a crummy way to start a new year. It felt discouraging to feel so terrible and to be stuck at home. The middle of the night fever sweats and body aches, combined with the cries of a 3 year old just as sick, felt overwhelming. My body felt broken and at times, my spirit did as well.

It had me thinking a lot about the idea of brokenness. I am recognizing that we are all broken in one form or another, and that we won't be fully whole until we get to the other side. However, there is also beauty in the brokenness and there is hope.

There is a God that is healing us if we allow Him to. He sees past the broken parts to what we can be. He, whose body was broken so that I may have life and freedom, He understands my brokenness and wants to use it. And in my brokenness, He pours out His grace upon me and shows me His love. He paints the sky brilliant shades of color to remind me He is here.

He sees the beauty that can come from the wounds and the hurts, and He promises more. He has promised that He is close to the broken hearted, and aren't we all dealing with a broken heart in some way as we live in this imperfect world?

He has promised to breath life into our broken hearts and to use us where we are at. There is hope and comfort in that knowledge. There is beauty in the brokenness as we allow our broken pieces to draw us closer to Him - the great Healer and Restorer.