I have always had a love for old things. Most of the furniture in our home, aside from our bed and sofa, are pieces I have collected over the years that were in need of a little love. My love for these things soon became a hobby and now the hubby and I buy and sell refinished items and use pallet boards that I salvage from work to give old things a new, yet rustic look. Pouring love into these pieces is a type of therapy for me and I love doing it.
A lot of the things I have collected have come from local thrift stores or flea markets but I have also rescued things from my brother’s basement, the back of a co-worker’s truck (he was heading for the dumpster!) and the garbage pile at my husband’s work. People often have things they want to toss and ask me first. More often than not, I say “I’ll take it!” Most people would look at what I salvage and wonder what in the world I’m thinking, but I see potential in most everything and I hate to see a good piece of furniture get tossed aside. I have cleaned, sanded, painted and polished these things until they become “new” again.
Today I was inspired by a paragraph I read in a book by Matt Chandler:
“…when I was at my lowest point, when I absolutely could not clean myself up and there was nothing anybody could do with me, right at that moment, Christ said “I’ll take that one. That’s the one I want.” You know the Bible calls the church Christ’s bride. So it’s like standing before Jesus, completely exposed, all of our flaws and insecurities and-worse than that- our sins are right there in front of his face, and against all reason and rationale, the song of grace becomes startlingly, exhilaratingly true because the Groom looks at us and declares us beautiful. Spotless. Righteous. Justified.”
I realized that often in our lives we feel like those things tossed aside in the garbage and Someone is looking for us, waiting to clean us up, polish us and make us shine. The possibilities that I see in those broken down pieces of furniture are what God sees in each of His children. He says “I’ll take you! You have potential. You are mine!” You may be chipped and rusty and have a little dirt. You may have pieces that need to be fixed. God can do this for you! He wants so badly to show you how He can make you brand new again. He can do it for anyone. Invite Him into your heart and let Him pour His love into you. You will be a new creation.
Take a look at yourself in a mirror. What do you see? If you are like me, you see flaws. Those tiny little lines forming around your eyes and the corners of your mouth. Maybe you notice a few hairs out of place, or a few gray ones. Maybe you see a scar or puffy eyes. Mirrors are good for showing us the imperfections in our outward appearance.
But how do we see those flaws that exist on the inside?
Take a look through the Bible, look at God’s word and how he expects us to live our lives. Those words are the mirror for our souls. They can show us the blemishes that exist from a life that wasn’t always lived according to God’s purpose. We can reexamine every aspect of our inward selves by reading through the scriptures. It is all there in black and white…and red.
How do you want your image to be reflected when you look into the mirror of God’s word?
You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me. – Psalm 119:1-8
My spirit is bound by the darkness that holds it captive. The weight of it all most too much to bear in moments when I am at my weakest.
I pray that I might be like the sun when it is only hidden momentarily by the clouds surrounding it until a mighty wind forces the darkness away and the bright light bursts forth. It is a quick and effortless move and easily accomplished. But this is not me…
Instead I am the seed. I wait deep within the cover of the ground. It is cold and dark and the warm days seem as if they will never come. When will I gain the strength to break free and plant the roots that will allow me to stretch strong and tall?
Just as my impatience begins to further discourage me, I slowly begin to grow. It is an unhurried process but it allows me time to strengthen myself. Each day new parts of me are revealed and I begin to take shape. I start to feel warmer as I am pulled closer to the surface and I find myself growing more powerful. I suddenly erupt through the darkness and out of all that was holding me back. I finally rise up strong and tall. I radiate the love that was poured into me as I grew.
I am free.
I am the beautiful thing that God was making all along.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:2-3)
WordPress just informed me that today is my two year anniversary with them. Two years of being a blogger. Never really thought that was something I would be. If you had told me that, I would have laughed. Two years….
Two years ago, I jumped into the blogging world not knowing what I was doing really. All I knew was that my demons were chasing me and I needed a way to bring something positive to my life through photography and writing. Last January, I dreaded the turning of the calendar. I didn’t want to see that month come into focus because two years ago, it had been the worst month of my life thus far. But I survived it.
This year, I didn’t even really think about it. My transformation continues and this time around it didnt seem so bad. (So far…the month is only half over!) The phasing out of anxiety isn’t a quick process by any means. I’m sorry to say that for those who are going through it but it’s an honest truth. If I were to put a different spin on it though, instead of calling it a “phasing-out” process, I could say that the “transformation” God is making in my life isn’t a quick process. More so, it has been the beginning of a new relationship. That’s really what it’s all been about..and any good relationship takes time to build a solid foundation.
Just as when you meet someone for the first time and you start dating, you get to know that person. You learn as much as you can about them and you want to spend as much time with them as possible. You begin to like them more and more because of how they make you feel. You feel warm and fuzzy inside and begin to feel yourself falling in love. You can’t imagine your life without this person and feel like a part of you that has been missing for so long is now making you whole. You see your future together and you commit your life to theirs.
I have been lucky enough to have all of that happen to me and to fall in love (and recently become engaged to) a wonderful man that God brought into my life. Even better news is that I can have all of that through a relationship with Christ also. Although I already knew who God was, I didn’t begin to fully know Him until this totally new relationship began two years ago. As I leaned on Him more and more to get through the days that were dragging me down, I began to crave more of Him. I wanted to know more. I prayed, read scriptures, listened to worship music and began to live my life more as He would want me to. I still have a lot of work to do, but I have changed in so many ways.
Open your heart today and allow yourself to have that relationship with Him. No matter where you are in your life or in your walk, it’s never too late. It may take you two months or two years but trust during that time that God is working on you and keep focused on Him and how He is changing your life for the better.
“Somewhere between the wrong and the right Somewhere between the darkness and the light Somewhere between who I was and who You’re making me Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me” – Casting Crowns
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you – Psalm 9:10
I often find myself in the middle. I can be so close to where God wants me to be but something holds me back. I can’t always offer a full surrender. It’s that part of me that still wants to be in control. That part of me that hesitates because I can’t see what is ahead and what the outcome will be. This has a lot to do with being an anxiety sufferer/worrier and if you are one as well, you know that we have a need to always know what is going to happen in order to be prepared for whatever arises. I laugh at myself for this because it is completely irrational and not at all in line with how a Christian should think. Thus, I am in the middle.
As the song I quoted above goes, “Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control?” God is trying to make me into the person I am meant to be but sometimes I halt the construction. I let Him get me, where? To the middle. Often times just past the middle. And then I restrain. I have “deep water faith in the shallow end”. I can stand at the edge of the water, feet still planted firmly on the ground and say “sure… I have faith” but if I’m not willing to step into the deepest part where I can’t see but only trust, then where am I?
I don’t want to start the New Year in the middle. So today I am shooting for just past the middle and see where I end up in the coming year. If you find yourself caught somewhere between who you are and who God wants you to be, or who you used to be and who you want to be, remember that He is always near. He loves you no matter what and He will never stop trying to bring you closer to Him.
I wish each of you a happy, healthy and blessed New Year and pray that you seek God and find Him in everything you do!
As I sat in church this morning listening to a young girl sing about how Jesus knew her name, I was overcome with emotion. (Not uncommon for this emotional girl) But I was so touched because this young girl was recently dealt a rough hand. She is having to deal with something that someone that young shouldn’t. Yet there she was, standing in front of God and all of the congregation singing her praises to God. She was unknowingly showing the rest of us how to be an overcomer. I’m sure life will still be hard and not make sense at times but she is on the right track. She is learning that when God is the center of your life, your load can be lifted.
I thought of the words to the song “Overcomer” by Mandisa:
Everybody’s been down Hit the bottom, hit the ground Oh, you’re not alone Just take a breath, don’t forget Hang on to His promises He wants You to know
The same Man, the Great I am The one who overcame death Is living inside of You So just hold tight, fix your eyes On the one who holds your life There’s nothing He can’t do He’s telling You…You’re an overcomer!
Where are you in life right now? I am here to tell you that no matter where you are, unless you have God in your life, the hard times will be harder. Been there. Done that. Why not let go and give Him the chance to change the situation and change you in the process? The bad times come to show us that we are not alone. We don’t have to walk the hard road by ourselves. God can change any situation if you just give Him the chance. He is waiting with arms stretched wide open to you.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing – James 1: 2-4
*Click here to see the Overcomer video…love that includes Robin Roberts of ABC.
As I listened to the words of a song this week, one verse in particular stood out to me:
“He’ll meet you wherever you are”*
Never think that God is out of reach because of where you are in life. Literally or figuratively. He will truly meet you anywhere. At 3 a.m on the bathroom floor (true story), in the street, on a mountain, down in the valley, the frozen food section at Walmart, in your car (another true story), even at your desk at work.
He will meet the sinner, the drug addict, the weary and the broken hearted. He will meet the orphan, the widow and the shamed. There is no one outside of the reach of His mercy and grace.
All it takes is the simple uttering of His name. Cry out to Jesus.