Friday, June 26, 2009

A Broken Heart...Over This?

I scratched this in pen on Tuesday because I had to get my feelings out. I've not had time to type it and I'm a little scared. Scared that the wrong idea will be construed from it. Scared my heart will not be understood. Scared my thoughts will not be accurately shared. Scared my words won't be received the way they are intended, in love and concern, with much passion.

If you are here now, please stay with me to the end so you can capture the whole picture of what my heart has to say.

Here it for pain.

Why is my heart broken over this? Why is this constantly on my mind? Why am I so sad over this? Why is this such a heavy burden to me?

For the last month I have been praying. Praying for two I've never met. Praying for a man and woman I can't call friends. Praying for those across the country. I've been asking the Lord to not let it be so. Asking God to work a miracle for all to see. Asking the Almighty to do the mighty.

I've been watching as the world watches, gossips, and accuses. I've been watching for the Lord to do for another what I've asked Him to do for me. All signs right now say my requests have not been fulfilled yet.

Though my heart feared reality, it still clung to hope. Then my heart was crushed. I kept repeating in my head the words I read. "Initiated. Dissolve. Marriage. Ten Years." And their names in print (screen). There is something so reeling, so impacting to see it in print. I know each time I saw my name in print, it killed me all the more, bringing the reality home once again.

No, Lord, I cried. Please no Lord. At that point, my hope for this not to be true died. Yet, almost immediately a new hope came alive. This petition to dissolve something holy was just that. Only a petition. Petitions can be and are removed all the time. Just visit So this beautiful hope was renewed...a new hope and prayer. Lord, use this time to restore the union of one man and woman you bonded ten years ago. Lord, use this very public marriage to publicly display Your power to all. Lord, may You crush the enemy's efforts. He is the one who has lit the fire of dissolving this marriage, any marriage. We know that marriage is satan's number one target. So Lord, may You finish in a mighty way what satan started. Please Lord, turn his bad intention to forever destroy a family into a glorious reconciliation of a marriage that is stronger than ever imagined.

So, why is my heart still so deeply pained? Why on the evening of a terrible anniversary of mine did I lose it? Two years ago on June 22nd my life forever changed; my heart sent into shock. Yet, two years later, I "survive" this date. Until. Until 11:00 pm when crawling into bed, I began sobbing uncontrollably. As I lay there I felt like I'd never fall asleep. I got up to get some medicine to aid my sleeping yet I couldn't control my tears. I still can't explain the deep sobbing. I believe a combination of the significant date, hearing the devastating news of this public marriage, and all this happening the same day.

Why is this weighing so heavy on me? It has affected me as though it's happening to a close friend. It has affected me as though it happened to me, again! There are so many similarities with them and us except for the eight kids, the tv show, and the rumors/possibilities of affairs. I can see me in her (disrespectful words) and I can see my beloved in him (emotional effect of that).

Rumors are rumors. Tabloids are tabloids. Details are details. And, they all really don't matter. Pointing and blaming don't matter. Personally, I believe this marriage, like so many, succumbed to the breakdown of communication. Communication is key to any relationship, especially a marriage. It is vital. And a failed marriage because of bad communication seems so senseless. (I don't mean to imply bad communication alone simply causes a divorce but it begins the cycle of the hard feelings, lack of "feeling" love, lack of Ephesians 5, etc.)

Who am I to be an expert on what has happened in this public marriage? Am I just adding to this by bringing it up? I hope not. I don't believe so. Rather, this is an opportunity, I suspect, for God to use what I've endured to possibly share with others. I have become so sensitive to the issue of marriage and the "d" word. I do not judge or condemn anyone who has divorced. Rather, I seeing it as God sees it: to hate divorce and to honor marriage.

I hate divorce, says the Lord. Malachi 2:16
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4

Any failed marriage can be healed. I believe mine can be. I believe the G's can be. I believe yours can be.

I know many have blasted K for her disrespectful words and actions toward J. No, they weren't lovely. Yes, they were hurtful. Yet. Yet. As I hesitate to pen this, as satan probably doesn't want me to share this, but I pen this for His glory. As I said previously, I saw me in her and beloved in him. I had that same disrespectful tongue and that same "attitude" that caused such ugly words. Oh, the ugly words I regret. And then, I saw a change in K. A realization of the behavior brought to light. Just like in me. I also heard her desire to not travel this road. Just like me. I heard in J a desire and excitement of the seemingly free road ahead. Just like my beloved. I understand how these ugly words and actions can affect husbands and any man.

I know all too well exactly how she felt as it seemed she spoke straight from my heart: "I'm tired of smiling on the outside when I'm crying on the inside." Then she shared how she just can't remove her wedding ring. Of course, the media had to take notice that she still had it on. Just like believe we must comply to what is socially acceptable. Husband leaves and files and we are to remove our rings. Well, sweet one, I too know how this feels. I wore my rings for five months all through the separation. I continued to wear them for two weeks after the law said we were no longer married. I still was not really ready but felt pressured by what others thought, saying I was in denial. My heart would probably still wear my rings two years later if it weren't for having to explain myself and feel looked down upon. I too understand the shock of lawyers being involved. I understand it all. I'm not an expert but boy how I believe K and I could relate.

Yet, none of these hurts of husband or wife are beyond the healing of God and His power. Words of no hatred existing, they said. Yet, does that really mean a lack of love? Love is a choice. Harsh words, and many things, can cause us to not "feel" love and that is understandable. One does not feel loved or feel like loving in such situations. However, if we resolve to do love, we will feel love. We do love in action and the feelings will follow.

A fork in the road was mentioned by this sweet couple. We hear it often--we've come to a fork in the road and have to decide. Yes, we do have to decide: to move forward on one of the paths in the fork or stand still at the fork not moving (which is not always bad). The great thing is, if we choose the wrong path at the fork, our Heavenly Father will lovingly guide us back. Not only will He guide us back, but He'll make use of our time on the "wrong" path--on the path we chose, most likely chosen for ease or less pain. Isn't that what our flesh wants most often, the path of least pain and most ease? But, is that path really the most beneficial even though easier and less painful? There is so much to be gained from choosing the hard road and seeing God be faithful to use it for our best, for something we cannot even imagine in our feeble human minds.

Please know this post is not about me jumping on the band wagon and piping in "along with everyone". Rather, it is my heart, breaking ever so deeply and genuinely. It is my passion for marriages and to see them saved. It is my deep belief in knowing the power of God to not only restore marriages but make them stronger and better than imagined. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

May I never be seen as a dog with a bone but a soul with a heart and a heart with a passion.

Three nights later and I still found myself tearing up at a clip on tv regarding this precious couple. There are so many couples who are hurting. If you are married and there is even the slightest sign of trouble, please seek help. If your spouse has divorced you and wants nothing to do with you, seek the Lord. I believe He will honor your plea to restore your marriage. Why? Because we are to honor marriage...that means of all people, God, will honor marriage. Will He not honor your plea and restore your marriage, in His time and His way?

Please call upon His mighty name and power to heal the hurting marriages and to resurrect the dead marriages. It's never too late with God. I regularly pray for many marriages along with my own. I even pray for marriages who don't ask for prayer and aren't wanting restoration. I guess one can say I pray and believe when others can't stretch far enough to reach for that hope and belief.

Listen to what our beloved Beth Moore says. "Feelings can be a little like our laundry. Sometimes we can't sort them until we dump them on the table." [pg. 53, A Heart Like His study] That may or may not relate fully to this post. However, reading it yesterday morning, I felt pressed to include it here.

Brokenhearted But Believing,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
The picture is an asiatic lilly from my new yard.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"I Know How You Feel"

Well, here's the first Tuesday with no online Bible study. I'm taking a break this summer from participating in sweet Lelia's online study. They are starting Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs on June 23rd if you'd like to join.

Instead, I'm using this time to do some catch-up leisure reading...reading some books I won a looonnngg time ago and others I received.

Saturday, June 6th, I was perusing my local Traderbaker's (indoor flea market/yard sale thingy) looking desperately for a "red" wagon. I'm having NO luck. It doesn't even have to be red nor the original Radio Flyer one. I just want it for doing yard work. At any rate, I came across the Beth Moore study A Heart Like His for...get this...five dollars. Count them....f.i.v.e. five dolla (no misspell there). Can you believe I actually contemplated not getting it? I continued the aisles for my seemingly hopeless search of one old, beat up, wagon. I came back and thankfully obeyed the spirit moving in me to buy it.

Can I say it has been a blessed and wonderful week? Now don't get me wrong, Beth, David, and the study are fabulous. But, more than that, I love what it is doing in me. I'm getting up earlier and have about 25 minutes instead of 10 minutes of Bible reading. I love the aid of studying sweet David as I have long desired to know him better. I've long desired to know this one man who is referenced by God as "a man after My own heart." Oh, to be called a woman after God's own heart by God Himself.

So, I'm just loving this. Nothing against strict Bible reading but this has stirred in me something wonderful. It's given me the help I needed to really want to learn more about these O.T. peeps. Even though this study didn't start in the earlier chapters of 1 Samuel, it peaked my interest to further study those chapters and learn more details about the "odd" anointing of Saul and the beginning of his reign as king.

A friend also leant me the accompanying reading book several months back so I look forward to finishing my current evening reading so I can begin reading this book that goes with the study.

Not that I didn't enjoy my time with God and reading strictly from His word, but I wake so excited to do this study. Okay, I lie. So I don't wake excited. I hit the alarm still too many times asking do I HAVE to get up and go to work? But after that, I look forward to it.

Okay, I see when I have no real topic at hand, no huge divine word from God, I ramble.

So, let me get to the word God said to me ever so clearly this morning. Though I fail at times, I try to use many of the opportunities in the morning to pray, specifically while I'm in the shower and while I'm drying my hair.

So as I sat at my vanity, listening as always to my K-love station, "One Life to Love" by 33 Miles started playing. In the last month or so, that song has really been getting to me as I "fear" time will run out and not allow certain things to be shared and spoken between two people. I desire so bad for the frailty of life to be seen and that this is our (human race) one chance and also "our" one chance to love as God says to love and then follow God in His plans. [Vague but many should understand what I'm saying.]

So, I said this to God: "I'm tired of loving someone who doesn't love me, who rejects me."

And God whispered: "I know how you feel."

Wow...He does know how I feel multiplied by thousands, millions, trillions.
How many reject Him? How many does He love who don't love Him? How many times does He send out His love for it not to be returned?

That's about all I got from Him in that moment. No promise for my rejection to end. No promise of when love will be returned to me. No promise of my weariness of this path to subside.

Just His understanding of knowing how it feels to be rejected and to not be loved in return.

Oh how my heart hurts even more for my beloved. Oh how my heart still feels confused. Oh how my heart still cries out Why? When? How long, Lord?

For now, I must rest in His understanding and His love.

Trusting His Guidance for my path,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

P.S. Please pray for me over the next couple weeks. I have no idea how I will feel with the two-year anniversary of June 22nd...when my life forever changed with a broken heart that still is in shock at times. When I walk in the door with no hug greeting me. When I want to pick up the phone to share something fabulous. When I'm awestruck by God and want to relay that. When I see something enojoyed by both. When I buy myself a shirt and think "he would like this." When I paint my toes for crying out loud, I remember the comments.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Courageous Living

The last chapter. The last week. But not the last lesson. Our lessons are never ending in this walk of faith. Come with me, as we explore chapter twelve, "Living with Courage".

Micca opens with reminiscence of the Wizard of Oz friends traveling the yellow brick road in search of things which, unbeknownst to them, they already possess: brain, heart, courage.
It's only through the journey, seeking what we desire to possess, that we learn we have that which we desire. The scarecrow had a brilliant mind. The tin man had a loving heart. The lion had a courageous soul.

"Do we see ourselves as we really are--equipped and able to face life with wisdom, love, and courage?" My immediate thought to the first eight words is, no. I don't see myself as I am. It goes back to the low self-esteem I believe. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

"We have what we need to succeed." And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

When I hear the word wisdom, I always think of the book of wisdom in the Bible: Proverbs. One of my daily devotions is going through the Seven Pillars of wisdom. The author says that any church/pastor who doesn't urge believers to read through Proverbs is doing a disservice to their/his sheep.

How do we gain wisdom? Through experience and making decisions based on experience. James tells us also how to gain it. If we lack wisdom, we can ask God, who generously provides. James 1:5 More than wisdom, I desire discernment. I don't want to simply make wise decisions, but rather desire to determine God's will, God's best, God's plan in my life. Therefore give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people that I may discern between good and evil. 1 Kings 3:9

Sometimes, wisdom only comes through waiting. Waiting can sometimes be wrongly associated with passivity and inactivity. Instead, waiting should always be accompanied with seeking...seeking after God's direction with obedience in each step. "Until we have peace, we shouldn't move in any direction." That's great advice and not foreign to me. I've heard it many times previously. I wait for you, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15

"You and I don't have to be listed in Who's Who to know what's what. All we have to do is ask God. Our first step toward bravery is to meditate on the knowledge of God."

Have a heart. Do it with heart. Play with heart. So much of what we do involves our heart. To be passionate and passionately involved. Sacrifice of self. Loving others, loving others above ourselves. Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 19:19 That's a tall order. A tough call to answer. None the less, we are not asked but commanded to do so. It can be overwhelming when we consider "who" is our neighbor. Everyone. Anyone in need. This task can cause insufficiencies to shine in the spotlight. Yet, "we can turn inadequacy into victory by using our heart. Through this process courage proves we can 'do all things through Him who give me strength.' " Philippians 4:13.

"Heart gives us the courage to do extraordinary things with our ordinary lives, things that we never dreamed possible." I love this prayer of Micca's: "Lord, break my heart with the things that break Yours." As with the lion in Oz, Micca believed "I could do anything if I only had the nerve." These thoughts that we all have are somewhat contradictory because in the most scary situations, nerves (in the good sense) don't exist.

How do we face our fears with courage? How do we have courage when stiffened by fear? "Courage is not the absence of fear as you might think. Rather, it withstands fear. Courage means being brave in spite of fear or hard circumstances. In other words, you and I have to experience fear in order to be courageous." [my emphasis] Have you ever pondered that? I never thought it about it like that. We can relate it also to the idea that we can't acquire the character of patience without being in some trying times of having to wait. Some joke and say don't ever ask God for patience because He'll give you trials and make you wait. Maybe. But if we're going to have to endure, we might has well do it with the peace of patience.

When we realize God can do so much with so little, we'll be freed from our fears, nervousness, and inadequacies. If we give Him our heart and commit to be courageous, the world of opportunities will be vast. I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

"We find our faith by doing it afraid." Read that again. Let it soak. "When one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear. Knowing what must be done does away with fear." Wow. That is so true yet I never verbalized it that way. When we are determined to be obedient and to follow God's call specifically for us, the fear fades because we know we are safe on His path and will be equipped with what we need.

"It's funny how fear always brings us back to faith." How very true. As a believer and follower of Christ, it is Him to whom we run (hopefully) when we are scared and consumed with fear. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Micca described her fear and terror of speaking at her first large church. She shared with her audience that night about becoming guardians to her teen nephew. She spoke of us all being orphans until we are adopted into God's family. Six girls from a girls home were there. Several people that night gave their lives to Christ, including three girls from the home. "I was humbled as I watched what God had done not just through me but in me."

I love to hear what others hear from God. This whisper in Micca's ear is no exception. It absolutely warms me to the depth of my heart. Listen. "My sweet child, I didn't need a big-name speaker to speak to this audience tonight, because I-Am-Big-Enough."

He doesn't need a big name anything....artist, writer, cook, teacher, speaker. He doesn't need a perfect-over-the-top mother, friend, cook, servant, housekeeper, daughter, wife. He only needs a willing and obedient servant. Got it girlfriend...He doesn't need you to be over-the-top in what you do or who you are. Just be obedient and serve Him, my friend.

Willing...At All Costs for Him,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Abiding in His Presence

Has it really been three months that Micca Campbell and God have been speaking to us about our hearts and His desire for our hearts to be untroubled? Yes, we are on chapter 11, "Practicing His Presence" of An Untroubled Heart.

Practicing His Presence. That's harder than it sounds, I believe, for most of us. Practicing His presence and living free from fear comes from fellowship with God. Fellowship means time. T.I.M.E. Isn't that one of our biggest complaints...not enough time to do all we need to do. How much, however, is it that we need to do and we just want to do. Maybe it's a matter of examining our priorities. I know it is for me.

Created BY God FOR God. I just love that. I love how the words flow. I love how it gives purpose. If ever we question our existence and purpose, we can find it in those five words.

God is no different than any other person. Hold on. Stay with me. He is no different in that He desires our time. Just as we must invest time in any relationship, we must do the same with our relationship with God. Actually, our relationship with God requires more time than other relationships. The more we commune with God, the more we know Him personally and intimately, the better our entire life will be.

Have you ever wondered that the things that make our lives more convenient make our time with God less convenient? We have instant messages, voice mail, cell phones now with cameras, text, and internet applications. These are wonderful gadgets that require less time (instant information) yet they take more time...time away from God. We can be consumed by continual email checking, continual texting, continual web surfing. "If you and I were made to fellowship with God and we don't take the time to do so, our lives suddenly become downright unpleasant and filled with anxiety."

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4 Webster's defines abide as: to endure without yielding, to bear patiently, to accept without objection,to remain stable or fixed in a state.

"Have you ever experienced God's presence at church or during prayer in such a way that you want to stay and not leave?" Oh my, yes. So many times in church during worship music. I have even said to myself and God, "Please keep me here. Keep this song going." Recently, I've felt His presence so strong when watching a certain youtube video. I've watched it over and over to capture that indescribable feeling. (I'll post it on my sidebar soon.) Since we obviously can't stay in those specific moments, we must learn to abide in His presence always so as to always have "that" feeling, His presence, with us. "Abiding is not about doing more. Abiding is about seeking God for as long as it takes for us to connect with Him." [my emphasis]

"Is it possible to live a life where we are in constant contact with God all day long? It was for Jesus. So it must be possible for us too. Actually, it's a necessity if we are going to be successful at fearless living." [my emphasis] I find it no coincidence that Jesus Himself encountered distractions and interruptions. Yet, Jesus knew when interruptions were not interruptions but divine assignments. Very often Christ stopped what He was doing to give healing, give sight, and give freedom from sin. As with Micca, I too wonder, "how did Christ know the difference between distraction and divine appointment with God?"

So, if Jesus had the same issues with distractions and interruptions, what was His magical secret? Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. Mark 1:35 I've heard it said many times and many ways that the time of day we spend with God doesn't matter just as long as we spend time with Him. Some have said yes, we need to start the day. Some have said, no, any time that is the best time for us. I still agree that any time is fine. Yet, I also see the value and the biblical statements of rising in the morn and being with God first thing. We are to give Him our firsts--first fruits, first 10%, first place in our hearts. What makes the time of day any different and deemed not necessary to be first?

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. Isaiah 50:4-5
Beth Moore shared this scripture during her 2008 Simulcast. She told us when we read "I have not drawn back" to think of not drawing back our bed covers but getting out of bed and being with God.

"Jesus' time with God wasn't something He tacked on to an overcrowded schedule. It was His highest priority...And He stayed as long as it took to connect with God. This is precisely where we so often miss out." In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

Our time with God is not just quantity but quality. That is, it should be fruitful. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 "If we stay in prayer long enough, God's presence shows up, and the benefits are extraordinary." Such as: Guards against temptation. Fills with fruits. Refreshes our spirit. Smooths away fears. Fellowship with God. Opportunity to witness. Reveals His plan. Empowers for living.

"When you and I choose to begin our day at the feet of Jesus, we will be more conscious of His presence through the day." But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13 When we go to the Lord, we must go with petition and expectation. Expecting Him to answer. Confidently believing. Strongly hoping. "We should anticipate great things from our great God."

"He may seem slow at responding, but His answers are always right on time." What makes the waiting bearable? One thing is peace. Is not anything endurable when we have peace? "Peace is a state of tranquility or quiet amidst anxious thoughts and emotions." Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 "It's [peace] contentment in knowing that no matter what happens, we are in the care of the Almighty."

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 I want to keep in perfect peace. I don't know if it's as Micca says or maybe I've just not experienced it as she says. "Peace is not something that should come and go. No, it should govern our lives. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we will encounter circumstances that are beyond our control. As long as we try to remain in control, peace is absent. When we simply remain connected to our source, God's peace is available at every turn. Once our peace is secured, the things that worried us will become small, and we'll be able to rest in God's care, free from torment."

I want that 100% of the time. Maybe I have overall peace but it can be questioned in some situations. I've always been told and believe that God also uses the absence of peace to speak to us. That uneasy feeling. That doubt of something. That slight hesitancy. It's a fine line. It takes discernment. Those could be satan's lies but they could also be God's warnings: don't attend that, don't send this, don't say that, don't go there, don't stay here.

"The greatest reward of abiding is having more of God." To have more we must spend more time in His presence. Have more--spend more. We do it with money. We must do it with God.

Let's commit and make it priority to be in His presence and not in His shadow.

Abiding in Him,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.