Friday, March 26, 2010

Turning Pain into Purpose

Who has been in pain of some kind, large or small, at some point in this world? Everyone! Who has felt unloved, unimportant, and unworthy at some point in their life. Everyone! Who yearns to have a hole in their heart filled up with something that seems illusive and hard to find at times? Everyone! Do you know this is a tool God can use to change lives? My heart is breaking for all that have been to these places and are even still there because I have been there myself, even as recent as this week in some form or fashion.
But God has opened my eyes to the reality of this need people have for God's everlasting love in their life...all the way down my own children. Have you ever thought about how our children come with a hole in their heart, with a need to feel worthy of love and grace from the moment they are born? If anything, they are the perfect example of the honest response that happens when they are feeling unloved, unimportant, abandoned, and empty. But I've also realized that through life, we unfortunately learn to deal with all of this need by self-protecting, putting walls up, hiding our true feelings, and even forget that we are empty because we try to fill that hole with other things besides God. Therefore many people don't even know there's an aching need there anymore. And they become clogged up and therefore unable to receive love or even give it. And that is how we will stay empty. By closing up, not being real with God, with ourselves or others about our deepest need for love and purpose in life, and even not being willing to go through some pains in life in order to grow, we will not learn to live free and alive in Christ!

All that to say, today, I have a new passion, a new perspective, a new love for God's people that I didn't even know was possible. This is just where God has me right now. He's unclogged my heart I guess as I started getting real with Him about a lot of things over the past few years. Not to say everyone has to be there but let me tell you, if you open up your heart to God's heart, get ready! The floodgates will open! All I have to do is think of a few people I know that are hurting anymore before I have to fight off tears. God has opened the eyes of my heart more and more to what He sees in the day-to-day when people are walking around empty, hurting and unloved, and with that, my desire to guide as many as I can safe into His arms and give them a new hope and purpose in their life is growing daily. It's a beautiful yet kind of daunting feeling all at once really.

I don't really know how this is all gonna play out or if others will even see this when I cross their path. I am a work in progress like all of us so it may be hit or miss for a while. It took me 4 days to draw of the courage to send a card to my neighbor who God has placed on my heart this week...ha! I mean, honestly, over the last week, the darts have been flying from all direction as the enemy is trying to throw lies into my head and stop me in my tracks. Lies like, "People don't want your joy bad enough". "You might scare others off if you act too Godly or joyful". "Don't speak too openly about your new joy or you will be held accountable by others if you fall on your face"....ugh!! But the key to fighting off these lies is to stay out of my head and get into my heart daily. I know what my God-given heart is desiring and I have to trust that God will fulfill it as long as I stay willing and pour myself out like a drink offering at every opportunity. I will fail at times and I have to accept that. My perfectionistic tendencies want to get the best of me. But God isn't about perfection in ourselves, but finding His perfection of love that He wants to pour into and out of us. It still all scares the pants off me,

But am I willing to do it anyways? Will I be able to turn the pains and struggles of my life and find purpose in them as I cross people's path by giving them hope thru the love of Christ? Will I be able to lay down my own agenda of what that looks like and trust that God will guide me day by day so His agenda will prevail? These are the questions that have run through my mind all week. And it comes down to letting Him completely take over my life, surrendering daily to His plan and his purpose...and taking every fear and thought captive so that I can take on the mind of Christ and let Him live THROUGH ME!

So the question remains for you out there reading this. What pains in your life have you experienced and overcome with God's help that you can now use to help others overcome their own struggles and pain? We have an amazing tool when we've endured a struggle and hardship in life, or are even going thru it at this moment. God doesn't let anything go wasted if we seek Him daily and recognize His hand in everything we go through. People want empathy, not sympathy most of the time. If we can tap into God's perspctive and ask Him to show us the world as He sees it, look out because He may have a mission for you that you didn't even know was possible. And it's all about baby steps. You don't have to save the whole world. But you can save a life if you ask God to give you the opportunity. And that is turning your pain into a purpose.

"But it has been granted to you on behalf of Jesus Christ not only to believe in Him, but to suffer for him" Phil. 1:29
"God can do anything, you know-far more than you can imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working in us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us" Eph. 3:20 (The Message)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Yesterday was a rough day. I wrestled in my heart and with God for the thousandth time about some frustrations that like to creep up on the days when I have to sit down and look at finances.I dread those days. It's not as intense as it used to be but there is still some frustration there that I am working thru. More times than not, the projected budget doesn't always turn out like I'd like. Meaning, we are usually going to be under somewhere by the end of the month due to some financial set-backs we've been experiencing over the past few years. I am a left-brained person who likes things to match up and look how they are supposed to look. I don't do well with the unknowns and nor do I like open-ended situations that I can't fix. I like things to be tied up in a pretty bow and have a conclusion to come to so I can make daily decisions accordingly. So because of that, finances will steal my peace in a nano-second if I think about them too much because I don't remember the last time we've had that assurance that things are all gonna come together perfectly on paper and I'm sure I've said before on some past blog post, I like 'PERFECT' a little too much.

I've also had to face the fact over the past 24 hours that I am nothing short of a spoiled brat when it comes down to it. I'm like a 3 year old who is always discontent. And most Americans are spoiled brats in some way because of our high-society living for so long. If we don't have all the extras, we feel God is holding out on us or that we aren't doing enough to make our lives happy and fulfilled. And that we need more, more, more. And that is called "the love of money", my friends. And also "lack of faith" in who God says He is and what He is doing. And I've had to face the fact that my love for the things of this world is still way out of control and my faith in God is not where it should be. I mean, what is ALWAYS dictating my inner peace or lack of? It seems to come down to discontentment in finances all the time.

I also know in my head that if I take the world's perspective on things, it will always look as if we are not being provided for and I'll always feel as if God is not taking care of us. And a lot of times it's because I'm angry that I can't get all the "extras" that the world expects should be handed to them. I want to travel more to see new places, have nicer things like a new couch to replace our old smelly, kid-stained, dog-smelling one. Or I want new flooring to replace the now stained carpet that was actually brand new just 3 years ago. I want a nicer yard. Heck, I could hardly enjoy spending $10 yesterday buying a few new towels for my newly-painted bathroom and I was mad about it. Anyways, you get the point. There will always be something out there I want. Even if we were millionaires.

But the Bible says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:16-18

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Heb. 13:5

I can read these words til I'm blue in the face! I can say I believe them but my actions are still not following what I want to believe. I am really wresting with this and really have had to face once again that I don't get it yet. My heart is not following what my head knows still. I still want what I want, and when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I throw a fit when I can't have what I want.

Lord, I know in my head you are working this out with me, but I really want once and for all to experience, wholeheartedly the freedom from this trap of discontentment. My heart is not free of this yet. I want to have the freedom to love You wholeheartedly without having to strive to get there. I can't do this on my own. I am not pretending that I can be content on my own strength anymore. I am falling flat on my face every time I try. Take this heart of mine and make it beat for yours and yours alone. I can't do it as long as I let the world's ways get in my way. I am not my own or the world's. I am yours. Everything I have is not mine. It is yours. Oh to live this out wholeheartedly experience the freedom of it. You know my heart better than mine. So help me to give it over completely to you daily so I can see your providential hand like never before and be content no matter what.

In Jesus' Name,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun Facts About Me...

I just thought I'd get a little on the lighter side of things and share some tidbits about me, my likes, dislikes, my interests, and experiences that have marked my journey. Just for a little change of pace. So here it goes...

1. I was very, very shy as a child.

2. I am 2 1/2 years younger than my brother.

3. I was always the following-type kid growing up and seemed to always attract dominating friends for that reason...even into early adulthood.

4. I went to a private Christian school thru 5th grade, then public school from 6th-12th.

5. I was born down near the border of Mexico but have actually never been in Mexico before...go figure.

6. There are 3 things I am strongly phobic of: 1. open heights(like being on a tall ladder or a cliff) 2. tarantulas 3. lice

7. I went thru what many call a rebellious, partying stage late in high school 'til I was around 20 and gave my parents a lot of..well..hell during that time. I sorely regret those days but they were part of my journey. I do thank God often though for his protection over me during that time. He literally saved me from myself and that's something I can never take for granted.

8. My dream job outside the home would probably be to become a Doula or a dance instructor.

9. My love for music started when I was in junior high. I sang in the choir in school and church up thru high school.

10. Worship thru music is a passion of mine and I really love to sing harmonies in a group setting.

11. I am a total social bug, a people person, and never get tired of meeting new people. People actually energize me and I can get depressed if I isolate too much.

12. I don't really like talking politics because I know little about them, everything about it seems fake to me, therefore I really just don't trust the system. Is that bad?

13. I love college football...and as if many don't know, I love the Longhorns passionately (but only in football)!

14. I am not fond nor ever have been of eating vegetables...even as an adult. If I had it my way, I'd live on fresh bread, peanut butter, chocolate, mexican or chinese food. But I am getting better about the veggies to survive.

15. I am not very good at small-talk and still can come off shy or even stuck up to people who don't know me well.

16. And ironically, I loathe uncomfortable silence in a conversation. It makes my skin crawl really. And I usually work pretty hard to keep that from happening if some haven't noticed :).

17. Up until recently, I never thought of myself as a very good listener. My mind kind of checks out easily in conversations to be honest or I can interrupt badly. But God is changing that and I am truly eager to hear other peoples' stories and their hearts more than ever before.

18. I have a beautiful testimony of God's redemptive power in what seemed to be a doomed marriage just over 5 years ago. He has brought my husband through an amazing process of forgiveness, freedom and healing from sexual addictions that almost wrecked our marriage...and has shown me the power of forgiveness and what true unconditional love is all about. We are celebrating 13 years of marriage this June and are more in love than ever!

19. And lastly, though I accepted Christ as a child, age 7, my true growth in my relationship with God has probably grown more in the past 5 years than it did over the first 25 years of my life.

I guess that's all. You'd think I'd get to 20 but it's past midnight and my eyes hurt now...haha! But I had fun with this nonetheless.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Treasures in Jars of Clay...

I got a great treasure today from a daily email I receive from author David Wilkerson. I so can identify with what he had to say, especially this week.
I've been having one of those weeks where those little sins are trying to creep up and deem me powerless and are trying to steal my victory. This Word couldn't have come at a better time today.
It really is in my weakness that He is strong...and my hunger for Him intensifies...and there is victory in that in some mysterious way. So I am claiming victory over my weakness, my foolishness...because the power I long for comes from only God and not from me.

Here's what Wilkerson had to say:

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Cor. 4:7

Then Paul goes on to describe those jars of clay—dying men, troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down. And even though never forsaken or in despair, those men being used by God are constantly under the burden of their bodies, waiting anxiously to be clothed with new ones.
God mocks man’s power. He laughs at our egotistical efforts at being good. He never uses the high and mighty but, instead, uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise.

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."1 Cor. 1:26-29

Does that ever describe me! Weak thing—foolish thing—despised thing—a base thing—not very noble—not very smart. Yet that is his perfect plan—the greatest mystery on earth. God calls us in our weakness. He puts his priceless treasure in these earthen vessels of ours because he delights in doing the impossible with nothing.

Have you failed? Is there a sin that so easily besets you? Do you feel like a weakened coward, unable to get the victory over secret sin? But with that weakness in you, is there also a hunger for God? Do you yearn for him—love him—reach to him? That hunger and thirst is the key to your victory. That makes you different from all the others who have been guilty of failing God.
That sets you apart. You must keep that hunger alive. Keep thirsting after righteousness. Never justify your weakness—never give in to it—and never accept it as a part of your life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Seasons are a part of life....on the calendar and in our journey of life here on earth. I have been going over in my head a lot lately the analogies of life seasons vs. weather-related seasons. One thing I've noticed is, no matter what season of life we are in, we usually are always looking for it to be different, or better...unless everything going on around us is peachy keen and then we really have a hard time functioning in contentment when our lives are at a point where it feels like a perfect 70 degree beautiful sunny day. I also have noticed that in weather-related seasons, it isn't much different as far as our response, even though the we know that each season has its purpose and really needs to happen for the earth to function the way it is supposed to. So what I am about to write may be able to bring a lot of insight to our lives whatever season of life we are at. I will be doing one season a day so it won't be as daunting to read.

Winter - winter is usually welcomed by many when it begins. We've overcome the warm summer, been thru fall (what is fall in Texas?), etc. Some get beautiful snow, some just get some nice cold snaps like we do in Texas with mild weather in between. But come January, most EVERYONE is ready for it to go. Even us Texans who really don't have it all that bad compared to the northern hemisphere. But they say that most suicides happen in the winter due to the lack of sun in winter. Very sad statistic indeed. But whether people realize it or not, they like change. The mundane can grow tiresome and boring...and usually will eventually bring out the worst in us. I'm not so good at withstanding cloudy, cold days for very long. I can get depressed quite easily with what I am feeling and seeing once January comes.
And isn't that a lot like we respond to the "winters" of life? We let only what we can see and feel get us down. But underneath it all, there is purpose in it. Just like underneath the ground, there is new life ready to spring up when winter ends. The truth is, things have to die out so that God can work on some new things in your life and sometimes the process just doesn't feel or look good. God has a beautiful purpose in His mysteriousness even in those cold, gloomy days, in weather and in our lives. We just don't see it very well because we tend to react to what we see, not to what it is preparing us for. And that usually is coming from lack of faith in God's sovereignty and goodness.
What in your life do you feel is just lifeless, purposeless, and pretty much depressing? Is your heart feeling dead today? Are you finding yourself wanting something different, something that feels better or looks better than where you are at? Think upon that and then realize that God is putting you through this season because He is trying to prepare you for the "spring" when this season of life is over. And realize that you can't rush God just like you can't rush winter to end. He knows what all needs to happen before your next season comes. Ask Him to reveal what this season is accomplishing. Try to see it through His eyes. I bet it won't make it look so daunting. But know that this season will pass...and the things that God is going to do with it will make it not seem so bad when "spring" rolls around. Just make the best of today wherever you are at...and try to look forward to "tomorrow". God has great things coming.

"Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." Hosea 6:3

My "spring" post coming soon...stay tuned...