Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Wounded Heart....

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

Last week I wrote about An Abandoned Heart and during the course of the week, God continued to reveal to me what an open heart looks like. As I pondered it through the week, I realized that an abandoned heart for God also means an open heart to others. I can't really be abandoned to Him and hold my heart closed to others. Throughout most of my life, I have lived a guarded life. Very few people, even now, know who I really am. Because of times in my life that I have been open to others and  revealed my true heart only to find my heart wounded, I was one of those people who held my heart closed to others. By Saturday morning during my quiet time, I realized it was time to fully surrender. So I sat with my Bible and my cup of tea and told the Lord, "Here's my heart, fully surrendered to you; I no longer want to hide from you, but neither do I want to hide who I am from those you have put in my life".

I guess it's no surprise that the enemy came at me with a vengeance.

My open, abandoned heart quickly became a wounded heart. And I was broken. The first instinct is to withdraw again. "See, Lord...I did what you asked me to do, and look what happened!" My husband quickly reminded me that in the last couple years God has not only allowed me to pour my life into others, but in opening my own heart I have allowed others to pour into me. And this year would not have been as bearable had I not dropped the walls and allowed others to see my vulnerabilities and support me through the fire. We were not meant to walk this life alone; God created us to be relational people and while our ultimate and most important relationship is with Him....we need each other. If I go back to hiding my heart from others then I have let the enemy win this battle. That is not an option.

I have felt His presence today; He has been close to this broken heart. And while I have shed many tears and asked the question "why?" repeatedly, I will surrender my heart once again to Him, open it to others and protect it with the armor of God. 

My abandoned heart became a wounded heart; 
but the love of my Father will make it a perfect heart.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Abandoned Heart....

"O Lord, You have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me."
Psalm 139:1

I am so grateful and inspired by songwriters. They have an amazing gift for taking ordinary words and putting them to music in such a way to move us not only to worship,but also to grasp Biblical truths in such a way as to change our ordinary lives and way of thinking. 

Music speaks to me.....

Tonight at our church prayer meeting, we sang a song call I'll Stand. The chorus says, 

I'll stand 
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe
Of the One who gave it all
I'll stand
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered
All I am, is Yours.

As we ended the song and went into a time of corporate worship, I stood there on the platform thanking God that I could enter His throne room and stand with my arms held high and my heart open to Him. In my mind, I went back to Sunday.....

Last Sunday morning, Pastor Tyler and his wife, Kizzie preached a sermon together on relationships...namely, the marriage relationship and how it is to be a picture of our relationship with God. Kizzie told of an evening when she was at church in worship and the Lord gave her a picture. I can't tell the story as well as she, but the gist of it was she had entered the throne room of heaven and Jesus was sitting at the right hand of the God. Kizzie was dirty - her clothes, her face, and she left a trail of dirt behind her. But Jesus came off the throne, approached her and kissed her on the forehead. As he did, she became clean. Her filthy rags were gone and she was dressed in a white robe. 

Back to I stood there in worship, remembering her story, thanking God that I could stand in His throne room with my heart bared before Him I realized that even if I didn't "abandon" my heart to Him, He still knew what was in it. The light of His love shines into our hearts and sees everything anyway. my heart I saw many people standing with their arms  crossed almost hugging themselves. I knew they were trying to hide their heart. There were things in their heart that they didn't want anyone to see.


I understand them. I've been there. I have stood in worship with my hands held high, but inside I was holding my heart back. I didn't want anyone to see what I was hiding or holding onto. Not even God. We may be able to come to church and put on our "spiritual face" and fool others into thinking all is well. But here's the thing....we can't hide from Him. He knows what we are holding back. When we walk into that throne room with our dirt and baggage, Jesus steps in and makes us clean. What I saw tonight were people coming in and trying to hide behind others, hide behind their own worship, covering their hearts so no one, including God the Father, could see their dirt. And in my heart I began to sing another song....

Blood of Jesus, shed for me
Precious blood, my covering be
The only view God has of me
Is through the blood of Jesus.

That blood has washed us clean. If you will give Him your whole heart, Jesus' blood has made it clean and you can fully abandon it to Him.

I believe I was supposed to speak out tonight, but indecision held me back. I should have listened to my own thoughts and "abandoned" my heart to Him. But fear and pride held me back. So, since I didn't speak out at church, I'm writing it down.  I wasn't sure I could communicate verbally what was in my heart and mind. I'm not sure I have communicated it well even here.

The next time you approach the throne room, whether in a corporate setting or in the privacy of your own prayer closet, try abandoning your heart to Him. Don't hold anything back...surrender it all to Him. There is nothing you can hide from Him. His love illuminates everything; His blood covers everything. 

So take the opportunity to give it all .....                
                             the One who gave it all.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Perfection vs. Completetion....

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

This is in response to a dear friend who wrote a blog post today titled "I Get That A Lot..."  She's a young mom of three, works full time and tries to spend quality time with her husband and children. It's hard....been there, done that and washed all the t-shirts!

Her point was that many of her friends and acquaintances see her as Wonder Woman. But the reality is....we are not. Sometimes we put on the face so that others think we have it all together; when in fact we are barely hanging on.

I get it.

About 22 years ago when I was a young mom with two small children, I too worked full time. I left the house at 6am, dropped the kids with the sitter (my mom), spent an hour in traffic as I drove to work, worked eight full hours and then drove another hour to pick up the boys. By the time I arrived home again I had been gone twelve hours. Then was dinner, baths and playtime with the boys before bed and trying to spend time with the husband, too. Then there were church activities, friends, etc.


I had a friend who had two boys the same age as mine; she was a stay at home mom. Often she would say to me, "Lena, I don't know how you do it!" My reply to her was...."You do what you have to do". 

The laundry was not always done
The house was not always clean
The groceries were often bought late at night after the kids were in bed
Many times I felt insufficient.
And perfection? Please!! No chance!

None of us will ever be perfect, no matter how hard we try. There is a great deal of frustration to be found in perfectionism. But one thing I have found to be true.... we can be complete!

Deuteronomy 16:15b says, "For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete." As moms, working or not, we lead very busy lives. We have a great deal of responsibility that has been bestowed upon us, especially in the raising of our children. And yes, most of us have husbands to participate in that, but the nurturing usually falls on the mom. I remember after having my first child thinking, "What on earth do I do now?"  But I learned quickly that if I gave my day to Him, it went a whole lot better. And when I didn't complete all the tasks on my to-do list, I knew that tomorrow was a new day with new mercy from Him. 

That's not to say that there were no trials, failures, mistakes or days I wish I could do over again. But James tells us, "...the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may be mature and complete..." (James 1:3,4) 

And so, my sweet friend, I know you are a are a hard worker, a faithful wife, and a loving mom. You are not Wonder Woman....neither am I. But we are strong women of God who want the best for our families and ourselves. He will not leave you to run this race alone.....He will bring you to completion!

Love you!!!