For many years I have prayed, contemplated, and waited each “beginning” of each year for MY WORD. The word He wants me to focus on in order to be in His will. His will is the only place that I ever feel peace.
This last year I’ve grown, changed, and learned. I have discovered things and pondered things. Life is always changing. That’s the only thing other than salvation that’s guaranteed on this side of heaven.
I truly believe that through my Pastor’s message this morning that I felt clearly the word I need to focus on.
HOPE – I need to believe that the BEST is yet to come.
I need to let the things GO that I’m allowing to make me bitter. Bitter or Better. It’s a choice.
I need to remember that all of my life has led up to this point. Everything I’ve learned, discovered, been through will help me where I’m going. As long as I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Multiple ways to describe it.
Hope. Anticipation. Belief.
Faith is necessary.
I must believe that the best is yet to come.
This one word…. HOPE, it forces me to let go of the hurts and fears and bitterness and look forward to the BEST.
You see, the WORD of God never fails. It never will fail. (See Luke 1:37 NLT) With God, nothing is impossible.
Life will give you many twists and turns. The ride will sometimes be smooth and other times will be bumpy. You will face things that you never expected. You’ll learn that not everyone is who they appear. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll scream. You’ll stand up and stand firm. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You’ll be shown mercy. Lots of it. God will be the one constant. He will be the only ONE who will never let you down. He’s the only ONE capable of that for anyone. You will face fears and you’ll face things that some will never know about. You’ll love big. You will be blessed so much. God will give you so many gifts. Life will reveal things that you never imagined. You will realize again and again that you are never the ONE that is in control. You will have moments of frustration. You will experience depression and anxiety. You will think it’s a secret to keep. You will speak up and be transparent. You will realize that life throws the twists and turns and that sometimes you will struggle. You’ll speak up and be bold. You will share pieces of your testimony at the right times. The times that God leads you to do so. You’ll share your struggles because you know the things you experience can help someone else. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll soar. You’ll fly. You will struggle with the deep thoughts and you’ll keep sharing. This is why you are here. Little girl. You keep going. Keep striving. Keep leaning. Keep standing. Your FATHER is always by your side.
It struck me, as I was thinking on The Mended Heart bible study that I’m doing, and I asked God to peel back the layers. To show me “me” and to unearth the things that I’ve covered up in order to live “normally”. He wants to heal me completely. To peel back each layer and toss away the hidden junk that keeps me stuck. And he wants to do the same for you.
I think I have a fear of failure. Yes. There. I said it. Or maybe it’s called something else. I get these wild ideas and want to do something great and then feel like I can’t. So I don’t.
I get asked to do something and turn it down because “who me?” Nobody would show up if it’s me.
May go all the way back to a 5th grade pool party. I really thought that was no biggie. I invited lots of friends and my mom and I made snacks or bought them.. We had it all set up. And one person came with her mom (a new friend to be at a new school that I would be going to come August) and one of my old faithful childhood best friends. Two people. 2. And me and the mom and my momma.
Now don’t go feeling all sorry for me. I’m serious! Because the three of us had a blast! We swam and played and ate. Lots of snacks for us. And if you know me you know I like to eat.
And maybe I covered up my sadness then too. I’m sure I did. But I’ve never forgotten that only 2 showed up and one because she had to. Haha!
Who knows why.. Could have been that the kids didn’t tell their parents or could’ve been that they just didn’t want to come. Could have been that I didn’t give them enough notice.
I still had fun.
But I’ve never forgotten that day. And when I lead a study or have a get together, in the back of my mind is “I wonder if anyone will come?”
But they did. All those years ago. There were 2. And they made an impact on me.
So, when I have a dream.. And it seems out of reach … I still have to fight that little voice saying ” nobody will care.. Nobody will read it.. Nobody will come..You don’t matter.”
That’s the voice of the enemy. He loves to take our weak places and magnify them with negative thoughts.
My God says that I matter. He says that you matter. My God says that even just one person can make a lasting impact.
He says that if HE puts that dream in my head and heart that HE will strengthen me and equip me to carry it out.
Thoughts to ponder:
What dreams are you shoving away and hiding because of fear?
Who can you impact by simply being there?
What are you afraid to do and will you choose to believe that God equips you?
What might you need to peel and toss?
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
One More Thing…
As I continue to ask God to peel back the layers, some of the layers are painful. Some sting a little. But I know it’s for a greater good. To heal.
I’ve come to realize that covering up things with a bandaid only means that they will inevitably resurface.
Got to peel and toss in order to heal.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalms 139:23-24 NLT)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:23-24 NIV)
My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.
Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.
Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.
What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.
Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.
Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.
Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!
Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love
You get the point.
Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though.
I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.
I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.
My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.
And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.
Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.
We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.
If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.
No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.
I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.
Maybe it’s time for a heart check.
Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.
We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
Ever feel like a FAILURE ? An outright no good can’t do it right failure?(yes, I am aware that I just wrote a run-on sentence ) Yeah? ME TOO.
Examples of feeling like a FAILURE (may or may not be MY personal examples..just sayin’) :
– Trying to be obedient and encouraging and then not being very “encouraging” with your (my) spouse.
– Having a negative attitude.
– Not sticking to what you said you weren’t going to do anymore.
– “Falling off the wagon”
– Not being as successful in your own eyes as you want to be.
– Not shining Jesus.
– Not meeting the expectations that others place on you.
You get the point.
That is when I am even more grateful for the mercyand grace my Jesus FREELY lavishes on me! Ahhhh! Don’t you agree with me?
SO. DO. NOT. DESERVE. IT.
That is BEAUTY my friends. Real life down to earth BEAUTY.
Grace is beauty.
Mercy is beauty.
Forgiveness is beauty.
I’m sure of it.
Satan says (I am guessing) : “You have sinned and you fall short. Take your ‘damaged goods’ stamp or sticker or tattoo and give up sister (or brother). Just lay down and have yourself a good ole whiny pity party. Better yet, stay there.”
God says (as is written in HIS Word, THE B. I. B. L. E. and what scriptures say and yes I am paraphrasing, *scripture reference below) :“All have sinned and fall short. Accept my GIFT of forgiveness and redemption and walk WITH me. Take your ‘REDEEMED by the blood of JESUS’ stamp and STAND my child. You are loved. You are precious. You are MINE. I am not finished with you yet. Trust me, nothing you have done or will do surprises me.”
* For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 3:23,24 (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I prefer God’s truth over Satan’s lies.
When you fail, and you will, don’t lay down and roll all around in it. Get up and brush your self off and start over. Stand up.
AND I AM SURE OF THIS :
HE IS NOT FINISHED.
HE keeps on keeping on and offers us mercy and grace that is so stinking beautiful. Like rainbows on a cloudy day beautiful. Like the sunshine peeking out after days and days of thunderstorms beautiful. You get the picture.
It is almost too hard to believe it.
Failure is only failure when you give up. Failure is only failure when you don’t learn something from it. Isn’t that how we learn? By making mistakes? (I am not saying that you should fail on purpose. No, not giving you permission to do that.) Just don’t lose HOPE and do NOT give up. STAND UP and rest in JESUS.