Thursday, February 13, 2014

Take Heart

"Take heart." I love that phrase. It is defined as a statement of encouragement, of telling one to take comfort or confidence in what has been said or is about to be said. In the gospel of John we see Jesus share this same sentiment with His disciples:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I don't know if I've read a much more comforting statement than that: although while here we will face troubles and trials, we can have a deep peace and a confident hope because Jesus overcame the world. 

I've been asking God to show me His love for me as I mature in making Him the only one who sustains me and defines me. My amazing sister sent me this verse this morning and what a beautiful reminder of God's love. I can be confident and comforted because He overcame the world.  And He did that for me, for all of us, because He loves us with a love so deep that nothing can separate us from it.

If the God of the universe, the creator of all things, loves me than what is there to fear? How can I not respond with a humble heart and a desire to know Him more and to surrender all? How can I not in turn show that love and grace to a world so desperately looking for hope and for healing?

I took the above picture from a blog I read by a woman who speaks life into the hearts of others. Her most recent post was written as a letter showing the deep assurance we have because of our Father, the one who fights for us. I highly suggest reading it, whether you're going through a hard day or know someone who is:

Here is just a quick snippet that I hope reminds you of how truly loved you are and that you can stand strong:

You’ve been fighting a hard battle. Behind closed doors, within the quietness of your heart, in the hours when it seems the rest of the world is sleeping. You are a warrior, my friend. A woman of courage. Yes, you. The one who sometimes feels weak. The one who wonders if she will ever prevail. The one whose hand trembles on the sword sometimes . . . .Stand strong, friend. Keep fighting. Refuse to let fear win. Never yield an inch to the enemy. You stand on holy ground, and no one can take what’s yours. Not now. Not ever. You’re going to be okay because you’ve already won forever." ~Holley Gerth

As you look forward to and celebrate Valentine's Day tomorrow, may you feel so incredibly loved. May you rest in the fact that the One who knows you more than you know yourself, loves every bit of you and created you with a purpose.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Make me Broken

I haven't written here in quite awhile. I think that I have felt I don't have much to say lately; that God's made me silent so that I can do more listening.  I believe that this is a season where He is teaching me to lean in and trust His love for me.

At the beginning of the year I heard a song on the radio by Sidewalk Prophets titled Keep Making Me:
"Make me broken
So I can be healed
'Cause I'm so calloused
And now I can't feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken
Make me empty
So I can be filled
'Cause I'm still holding
Onto my will
And I'm completed
When You are with me
Make me empty
Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
'Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
'Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely"

The song spoke to my heart so directly and it also scared me.  I felt that during the last few years I had been broken, but broken by circumstances, by heartache and by dreams unfulfilled.   There are times when I am still working through everything and I want to be completely healed already and it can make me feel beyond fixing. The plea of my heart becomes "please don't break me or empty me anymore."

In those moments, I lose sight of the God who is in the job of rebuilding and healing. I lose sight of His love for me. And when I stop believing in His love for me, how do I show that love to others? 

Yet, He is the God of hope. The enemy is in the job of filling us with the belief that we are hopeless and damaged goods. So even when it doesn't feel like it, I have to hold onto the truth of His promises and what the Lord has spoken over me.

I listen to this song and it stirs my soul because I do want to be so wholly in love with God that I am willing to allow Him to strip me of everything in order to heal me and mold me into the woman He designed me to be.  This process is not easy to say the least, and I make many mistakes along the way. I struggle against it, I try to do it myself, and I can feel paralyzed in my weaknesses.

But grace. Amazing grace. That sweet gift for the moments when I get it wrong and the moments that I feel I've come to the end of myself and don't know how to move forward. He holds me in those moments. His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

So even when I don't feel it, even if I have to say it through streaming tears or angry assertions that I am not built for this - I will surrender my heart, my fears, my desires and say I trust the God who loves me.  I will allow Him to continue to "break me," even if it hurts. I have already seen how He uses all things for good and I will learn to rest in that truth. When I feel shaken and unsure, I will continue to walk in faith.