Oops I Did It Again…. (Lord, forgive me)

When I first joined my husband in full-time ministry, I was certain I was heeding a call. And with that certainty came a faith that made no obstacles seem insurmountable.

Of course, that kind of faith is a little easier when there are no actual obstacles.

After the first couple of months, doubts set in. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I need to go back to teaching. (Fill in the blank there, you always want to go back to the familiar.)

I called a good friend in ministry and questioned my next steps. Do I go back to teaching? Do I keep waiting? Our savings is almost wiped out. I was the widow woman with enough left for just one meal.

Do you believe that you are doing what God called you to do? she asked. Absolutely, I replied. I’d never been more certain of anything in my life. But I also knew He could perform miracles and I guess I expected a money tree to sprout up next to the crepe myrtle.

Her reply changed my soul. I can’t tell you what to do but I can tell you two things: Where God leads, He feeds. And where He guides, He provides.

I tucked those promises away deep in my heart and watched amazed as He did just that. We would balance the checkbook with $3 left and a $500 check would arrive unexpectedly. We would eat the last of the sandwich meat and someone would bring a truckload of groceries. They were lean times but there was a lesson. He wanted me to learn to LEAN on Him.

Eventually, He provided in a way that allowed for us to bless others. But every now and then, I start seeing things with carnal eyes instead of remembering my eyes of faith. Like in the midst of a pandemic when everyone’s income, including our own, dropped. Churches aren’t receiving stimulus checks…they aren’t filing for loans. They are just having to trust God. I sometimes forget that part when I’m looking at the bottom line.

The problem there is, JESUS is the bottom line! He knew our needs. And once again, just as we needed it, He provided.

WHY do I ever doubt?

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

It’s 2020. Does anyone really care about Jesus anymore?

The Lighthouse by the Crabb Family is one of my favorite songs. I’d listened to my husband sing it for twenty years but last week it took on a whole new meaning.

         Everybody all around us….they say tear that old lighthouse down

         The ships don’t come this way anymore. There’s no use in it hanging ‘round…

My heart began to weep inside.

That’s where we are in this country. The nation formed UNDER GOD. They say they Bible is archaic; Jesus was a mere man, if not a myth. No one believes like that anymore and if you do, you’re wrong.

Christians are a hate group. Christians are ignorant. Christians are intolerant. The claims against Christianity abound.

Many Christians back up. Humans have an inherent need to be accepted. They aren’t tearing the Lighthouse down, but they are standing by silently as it is dismantled.

Do you not remember?

       But my mind goes back to that stormy night…where just in time I saw the Light

Does the praise of men mean more to you than that day of salvation?

This is my featured song for July in my Media picks. If you haven’t heard it before, listen to it. Jesus was YOUR Lighthouse. Jesus is THE Lighthouse. And yet, our world thinks the flashlight it created works better.

I’ve shamelessly plugged one of my new books as well. Surfing, Dancing Seeds of Glory is a metaphor for life. Seeds are all born different and lead different lives but in the end they all have the same opportunity: to surf down the river of life and dance on streets on gold! The book was designed to open communication about salvation and the promise of Heaven. It is a children’s book that was designed to also use with elderly and mentally-compromised patients who need to hear the good news of Jesus.

I also am featuring a study by one of my favorite Christian authors, Elizabeth George. This is a study of Esther and I’m particularly interested in Esther because of where we are right now in this country.

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I know what Esther’s role was. Now, do I know mine? Actually, I believe I do, and I strive to meet God’s expectations for my life every day. What about you? He has raised you up for such a time as this. Are you doing what YOU are supposed to be doing?

For the movie, I realized I never featured the very first advance screening for pastors I attended. Do you Believe? came out in 2015, after the nation hungered for God’s Not Dead. I found it to be complex and heartwarming, and it set a high standard for screenings to come. If you haven’t seen it, download it today.

I hope you enjoy July’s featured media! If you decide to order a Surfing, Dancing Seeds book, let me know and I’ll send you a free bookmark that goes with the book. It contains a poem called “Take Up That Cross” on one side and salvation verses on the other. Images and ordering available on the author page.

 

Go get a blank name tag….we’re about to do some editing!

I was going to start off by apologizing for featuring a song twice but when I started looking, I discovered I’ve never featured this song. What?!!

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I’ve had this song on REPEAT all day long.

I should’ve had it on a continual loop since March!  Because I’m pretty sure that I forgot who I was for a little while. And once the devil got in my head, all I could hear was…

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Confused with what was going on around me, broken by the chaos, past regrets coming out for an encore…the whispers were drowning out the truth.

And then the grand finale. A sucker punch from left field that left me balled up tighter than a roly-poly in a toddler’s hand. I wanted to give up. Run away. Thelma and Louise my life.

But an amazing thing happens when you reach that point of utter brokenness. God intervenes. Like any good parent, sometimes He steps in even when you haven’t asked Him too.

I wasn’t quite ready for the two-by-four He smacked me with. I was still firmly in Stage 4.

You see, I have these five stages of hurt I go through. Quite like the stages of grief, my stages of hurt and predictable but intense. (My mother says it’s ’cause I wear my heart on my sleeve.)

Anyway, here are my stages:

Stage 1: Shock- It’s that initial sting where you are momentarily paralyzed as the pain starts to set in.

Stage 2: Confusion and/or Regret- Either you have no clue why this person has chosen to hurt you so deeply, so you rack your brain trying to make sense of it for hours and hours on end OR you know exactly why (and you’re actions that caused it) and you spend hours and hours trying to undo the damage.

Stage 3: Pain- it’s just sheer and utter pain. Your heart hurts, your mind hurts, your feelings hurt.

Stage 4: Anger- a human body can only take so much pain before it begins to fight back. If it were a physical pain, you’d go into fight or flight mode. Emotionally, you keep crying or you get mad. “Who does she think she is?”

Stage 5: Forgiveness

(Now, I imagine you could reach Step 5 and NOT forgive, but it’s going to leave a little pit in your stomach that will grow and grow until you have a fully formed root of bitterness. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…Hebrews 12:15. I’ve been down that road. Unforgiveness isn’t an option. But staying in Stage 4 was. At least I THOUGHT it was.)

Even after He gobsmacked me with a revelation that definitely soothed my soul, I wasn’t over it and I wasn’t ready to forgive. It wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay. But it was more than just one incident that sent me over the edge. I’d walked right up to that edge, like a foolish tourist trying to get a selfie while leaning over a 1,000 ft drop. I put myself in that position.

And it was time to get back on the path.

And it was time to forgive.

Then it was time to get to work.

I put on a playlist this morning and this was the first song I heard. Oh the power! I played it again. Then again. And again. Every chain I’d allowed the devil to wrap around me broke loose.

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Did I really forget who I was in Christ?

Sometimes you can be doing and saying everything right and STILL lose sight of your identity in Christ.

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My mistakes don’t define me and it’s time I stopped living in regret. If I could go back in time, would I do things differently? Absolutely. Hey, there are things from LAST WEEK that I’d do differently as well! But I’m not going to be bound by my past actions or decisions anymore.

Those lies?

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If you don’t know the song, check it out here.

For my June movie, I did revisit a previously featured film.

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I STILL BELIEVE

We’d seen the advance pastor’s screening and loved the movie by the same producers of I Can Only Imagine. Unfortunately, the quarantine affected its theatrical release but it’s available for streaming on many platforms. Check it out!

For my June book, I chose a book I’d picked up in the bookstore several months ago but never read. It was a short read and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a sequel, but you can read them out of order. In fact, I just ordered the first book. Having had my own experience with a flesh and blood Jesus, I know this can happen so it was less fiction and more reality to me, even though it is a novel.

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I hope you are staying safe and doing well. Blog posts will resume on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 AM, and you will also notice a new author page (currently under construction) that will feature my published and upcoming books.

Have a wonderful June!