Gun Control is Not the Answer…..

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The news is filled with all the tragic happennings surrounding the grade school shooting.  Whether you are watching tv, or in your car every channel touches on it at some point throughout the day.  I keep hearing about how people think we need stricter gun laws to keep things like this from happenning.  That just sounds like slapping duct tape on it for a temporary fix.  No I am not diminishing the greatness of the shooting problem.  But sometimes we complicate our own solutions.

It would not matter if the man had guns, knives, or some kind of explosives.  Some explosives can be made from household items.  What are we going to do with that?  Ban guns, knives and all the household items that someone could make a bomb with?  If criminals start using cars, are we going to stop having those?  There will always be some way for people to try to stop the pain.  This is a cry of desperation, or sickness.

The problem is not the guns.  The problem is a broken and hurting world.  How do we fix a broken and hurting world?  How do we reach and love the way Jesus loved?  How do we begin to tackle the mammoth heart ache of a fallen world?  How do we make a difference in the reason for these rampages?

I want answers just like everyone else.  I can not imagine what those families are going through.  But I hate to waste time and energy on only looking at and dealing with the symptoms.  The root of this problem is not the guns.

I also hate fear.  Fear seems to be at the root of every situation I see where “control” takes over.  We want to control so we can keep a better outcome.  I understand that but if we fight the wrong part of the battle then we are only going to get worse, or sicker.  That is what I hate.  If everyone who is up in arms about more gun control could put that energy toward helping, loving or finding understanding/answers to the real issue, then we will see better more long lasting results.

People who own guns illegally will still own guns illegally.  That won’t change.

I started writing this post last night.  This morning when I went to publish it I found this article on MSN http://now.msn.com/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-says-mom-of-mentally-ill-son

I typically stay away from subjects like this but in light of these events and the times of this age we have to start being more aware of our enemy so we can better counter those attacks.  How easy are we making it for our enemy to take out lives and hearts of a broken and fallen world who needs Jesus if we spend our energies and focus on guns, knives, pills, explosives, planes, cars etc.

Jesus asked us to love one another.  What are you doing to love in a broken and fallen world?  How is what you are doing making a difference out in the broken and fallen places?

We need Jesus.  We are supposed to bring Him to this world through us.

Mirror Mirror…..

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Orate Mirror in the Corner of a RoomWhat do you see when you look in the mirror?

If you have been brave enough to ask the question we spoke about in the last blog….

God, who do you say that I am?

Who am I to you?

How do you really feel about me?

what do you see?

Do you see everything you are not?

Do you see everything you do not like?

I used to see someone I hated.  It used to cause me physical pain to look at myself in the mirror.  Even worse when I saw a picture of myself.  I didn’t just hate myself, I loathed myself.  If I knew a worse word I would try to use it.  I do not even know how to describe it but it was really bad.  It would paralyze me at times where I almost could not leave my house.  I felt like I had to apologize to people who were going to see me.  Many times it was about my weight but even when my weight wasn’t any issue there was something about me that was always less than.  My whole world kept telling me the same thing everyday.  I was less than….

Then there was my story.  There was always the common thread through out my story that always pointed out not only was I less than but it seemed to have a gauge that told my exactly how much less than I was, whether that be as a friend, sister, mother, daughter, or even just a human being.  It seemed to follow me around everywhere I turned.  I even hated my reflection in windows and such.  Ugh!

I think that played a huge part in my fear about asking God my question(s).  I knew how disappointed I was at my own reflection.  I really could not see anything else.  In the not so recent past I have had to choose to learn how to look in the mirror and when all the less thans began their list and the gauge is on over tilt, I have to say,

No I am not!

I have to choose to side with God and not His enemy about who I am.  For so many years I can not believe I chose to side with God’s enemy about who I am.  I had to really fight to have freedom here.  I did not realize that in those moments I was actually taking the enemy’s side over God’s about my identity.  When God asks you to love what He loves it has to start with you.  I never really allowed myself the right to be loved the way God was trying to love me.  Who am I to think I have the right to tell God He is wrong about me.  I am the created one.

I am not exactly sure who this blog was for.  Maybe it was just for me.  It is good to remember.  It is an ongoing struggle for me still but I am wiser to what comes against me these days.  That helps a lot.  I had to type it out.  If it is for you please know that I am praying for you.  You have a God who is madly in love with you.  You have a bridegroom who is looking into your eyes as though you are His only cherished and treasured thing in His life.  My prayer is that who you see in your reflection is the same as who He sees through His eyes.  You may not feel completely worthy of His love but He is worthy of you….all of you.

The really twisted thing is…..your enemy sees what God sees too…..that is why he is trying so hard to make you think otherwise.

Ask the Question…..

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Have you ever asked the question?  You know the scariest question you will ever ask God.

God, who do you say that I am?

Who am I to you?

How do you really feel about me?

Now think about that.  If you have not ever done this, it is an essential part of who you are as a human being.  To hear from your Creator who He says that you are and what you mean to Him is the most powerful experience I have ever had.

Some people have a hard time quieting their minds and bodies long enough to really listen.  Even if you are someone who practices this, it can be a challenge.  If you never have but are going to try it, then please know that it takes time.  It isn’t something that you ring the service bell for and God comes running to see what it is you need.  He longs for us to stop and spend time with Him.  He desires to speak into us our very existence and how He feels about us.

I have to say the first time I asked, I was so afraid.  I kept trying to figure out why it was so hard.  Then I asked myself the question, “What are you afraid of Jennifer?”

As soon as I had asked myself this question, I knew that I was afraid I would see disappointment on His face.  It was overwhelmingly unbearable to even think about.  I could not seem to move forward until I dealt with this fear.  I took it to Him.  The fear seemed to be too big, like it eclipsed everything and left the truth in the shadows.

I asked Him for help.  I knew it could not be done in my own strength.  So I had to surrender all my insecurities and really trust Him and trust that His heart is for me not against me.  Once I surrendered that, there was no question about how He truly feels about me.  I felt like I could look up straight into His eyes.  I was met with adoration and an unconditional love that to try to describe with words would cheapen it into something less than what it really was.  I felt like a bride on my wedding day and my groom looking at me like I am the only cherished and treasured thing in his life.  Something changed in me.  I will never forget that moment.

He began to speak to me with and without words.  I knew things by the feeling I had in response to such a love.  There is something irrefutable about who you are in the absolute core of your being when you hear from your God, who He says that you are.  It makes all the other voices, responses from others and even what your past directly reflects about you, take a backseat.  It has made it so much easier for me when my past, or my accuser comes to try and act they have a place to treat me badly, or as though I am less than….I can just say “I am not for sale!  I have been bought and paid for.  If you have an issue with that then you can talk to the guy who purchased it.”

The truest thing about me is that moment when Jesus is gazing into my eyes as though I am His beloved cherished and adored bride.  He would lay down His life for me to get to keep mine.  I am nothing less than how much He loves me.  I am worth nothing less than what my purchaser has paid for me.

Please take the time… to ask the question!

Who Am I???

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Wow it has been a while.  Running my own business and being mom while my husband travels during the week is a lot on my plate.  I get to steal away a moment and blog.  It is late at night and I almost feel sneaky…. like I am getting away with something.  Silly I know but regardless it is what I feel like.  Keeping it short and sweet.

We should be able to spend a lifetime discovering who we are.  I feel like I spent a lot of that time running from who I was…or at least who I let others or events tell me I was.  We do not realize how much we seek approval from others.  If someone does not respond to us in the way we had hoped, for some reason we believe that we are less than.  I did that for a big part of my life.  I couldn’t figure out why I could not just get it right or do better.  It started out as not being able to be a better little girl, daughter, sister, teenager, mother, wife, woman and then just a better human being.  I failed.  Over and over again.  My story and my perceived response from the people around me kept repeating, “you’re doing it wrong!  You are missing the mark.  If you could just try harder and tone back who you are then maybe you could be worthy of a better response. You could be worthy of love.”

I didn’t know that I was seeking some sort of identity and validation in that approval.  I know now that I can not get my life, my worth, or my purpose from any person.  The only one I can get my life from is God.  He is the one who created me.  It wasn’t until I heard Him say to me, “I am God.  Creator of all things.  I created you Jennifer for relationship.  I want to know you.  I want you to know Me.  Nothing that this world can do to you, or that you can do, can change what I created you for, from before the foundations of the earth.  All throughout my Word I speak to you, inviting you into many relationships with me.  So many ways I want to love you.  I am God.  You are My friend, My sister, My servant, My blessed creation, My beloved daughter, My chosen bride and sometimes you are the clay in My hands as I transform you even more into the freedom of your true identity in Me.  No matter what happens…..you are still Jennifer.  You are Mine….just as I  created you to be.”

And that changed everything…

Why Don’t We Go There?

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In the last blog post, “An Unholy Alliance” it talks about something happening in our lives that causes a shift in who we are.  When you read that post you can not help think about many things in your life that have caused a shift.  If you read that post and merely skimmed through it I urge you to re-read it and then ask,

“God show me in my story what things happened to cause a shift in my life.  Something changed in me please show me what it is.”

This blog was going to be about ~

Why don’t we go there first and consider this possibility for others when they react, or even act out in life?

Why don’t we immediately assume that something in their story caused a shift?

But just beginning to type this out I realized it is because we have not given our own stories/hearts and/or wounds any acknowledgement.  Matter of fact we diminish our own stories so much that we almost seem to just tell ourselves to suck it up and move on.  If we disregard our own hearts then how can we expect to acknowledge someone else’s.  We will find ourselves not only having contempt for our own longings and desires but we will have even more contempt for other’s and their longings and desires.

The truth that comes to rescue us in this place is that our hearts matter to God.  He is not just concerned with us doing the right thing, or being obedient at the expense of our hearts.  Yes He came not only to beat death and sin but also (Is 61) because we were grieving and mourning….because we were captive and we needed to be set free.  Our hearts were hurting.  Our hearts matter to Him enough that was Jesus’ statement of why He was here and who we are to Him.

It does not matter if what comes to mind is…. I was beaten to a pulp, or …….in the 3rd grade someone made fun of me in front of the whole class.  You have to consider God’s heart toward you.  He is concerned with both of those senarios.  They both matter to Him whether they happened in 3rd grade, or as an adult.  Those betrayals, humiliations and/or just your feelings being hurt matter to Him.  He wants to come for you in those places just as He said in Is 61.  I usually post Is 61 in my blogs but I am not going to this time.  I really feel like you need to look it up and read it for yourself.  Put your name into the scripture.  Like it would say, “I came to grieve with Jennifer”……and so on.  Make it personal to you.  It’s already that personal to God where you are concerned.  He can not come for you in this place unless you take the time to let Him.

In that time please come to grips with how it made you feel.  It is that feeling and emotion that God wants to come to grieve with you, or to set you free from captivity.  Then those buried emotions will have less power in your life today.  Just because you have sucked it up and moved on does not mean those things are not shaping who you are today and how you react to things.  He wants heal it and set it free.

We cannot hope to extend this kind of grace to others when we have not yet received it for ourselves.  We can not extend what we do not have.

I am praying for us all in this.  Just watching the news with all the hurricane issues.  People’s lives are being shifted as we sit here.  We have to get this message so we can extend it to others.  There are more blogs that follow this but we have to soak this in first.

An Unholy Alliance

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I am sorry I have not been able to post in a while.  My massage business has really taken off this month which is great!  But that means it is requiring so much of me that I am constantly trying to keep up.  I do not have a receptionist, marketer or bookkeeper so I have been doing everything while trying to get things rolling.  God is doing some powerful things through this business and is offering us a way to fund our chance to minister and walk in our giftings and callings.

For now, this post from the Ransomed Heart Ministries is so powerful I wanted to share it with you.  It is short and even simple yet mighty in truth and understanding.

An Unholy Alliance

Over the years we’ve come to see that the only thing more tragic than the things that have happened to us is what we have done with them.

Words were said; painful words. Things were done; awful things. And it shaped us. Something inside of us shifted. We embraced the messages of our wounds. We accepted a view of ourselves. And from that we chose a way of relating to our world. We made a vow never to be in that place again. We adopted strategies to protect ourselves from being hurt again. A woman that is living out of a broken, wounded heart is a woman who is living a self-protective life. She may not be aware of it but it is true. It’s our way of trying to “save ourselves.”

And, we also developed ways of trying to get something of the love our hearts cried out for. The ache is there. Our desperate need for love and affirmation, our thirst for some taste of romance and adventure and something to be wanted for is there. So we turned to boys or to food or to romance novels, we lost ourselves in our work or at church or in some sort of service. All this adds up to the woman we are today. Much of what we call our “personalities” is actually the mosaic of our choices for self-protection plus our plan to get something of the love we were created for.

The problem is, our plan has nothing to do with God.

The wounds we received and the messages they brought form a sort of unholy alliance with our fallen nature as women. From Eve we received a deep mistrust in the heart of God towards us. Clearly, he’s holding out on us. We’ll just have to arrange for the life we want. We will control our world. But there is also an ache deep within, an ache for intimacy and for life. We’ll have to find a way to fill it.

(Captivating, 74-75)

You can find more daily readings here http://www.ransomedheart.com/daily-reading/recent

Little Kung Fu Lesson….

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I have the wonderful pleasure of having family in town.  Being so far from everyone this is such a great thing for our hearts.  I just wanted to touch base as the dust is settling from our 7 day challenge.  Keep in mind that as you begin to settle back into life this week everything you challenged will appear to be stronger than ever.  I want to encourage you to not give up.  What I mean by that is expect to struggle.  Expect to fail.  Expect it to be harder than ever.

Kung fu lesson ~

1.    Your enemy will come at you harder than ever but it is because you are walking closer in the fullness of your identity.

2.    Next he will make it feel like you have blown it completely.  He wants you to feel like you have made no progress…like you are starting all the way back to the beginning.   This is a lie.  Keep that truth in your sites.  God’s grace is sufficient and He is pouring it over you while you work this all out.  You do not have to rely on your ability alone.  If you make it to checkpoint 12 then God will give you opportunity to try it and try it again until you are ready to move forward to checkpoint 13.  You are not starting over at the beginning.  Do not let your enemy deceive you.

3.    As you counter these attacks and block those hits, the big double punch and kick will come at you.  You will most likely hit the ground hard.  It will be almost impossible for you to believe that you are not a controller/manipulator as being the truest thing about who you are, or that you have no other choice but to control/manipulate because no one is coming through for you.  You have the power to take that place, even flat on the ground, and take the power out of the hands of your enemy and say “your actions do not define me, nor do my own but Christ’s actions define me.  I have been bought and paid for and I am not for sale!  I am who God calls me.  I am at the very least of who I am His daughter and at the very most of who I am His Bride.  I will get up tomorrow even stronger than today.”

This should give you a few moves to counter your opponents moves against your heart and identity today.  Just like learning a new dance move or fight move, practicing makes you stronger and it gets easier.

I am going to visit with my family.  I am still praying for us all.

Take the Challenge Encouragement #6

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Can you believe it has been six days?  For some of you who have started a little late please keep going all the way through to finish out your commitment of fasting control/disrespect for the full 7 days.  Maybe you only were going to chew off a few days from the get go.  That is great too.  Just follow through with the timeframe you began with.  It will help to feel more victorious as you challenge yourself.

Your enemy may present it to you as a checklist.  You will see how you failed trying to do any of it, or most of it so you’ll just scratch the whole thing off.  The other temptation would be just say that it’s not disrespect, or control it is just my personality and he knows I do not mean it.  So many of us, myself included have gone there.  It is not right.  For what God has revealed to me about control/withdrawing/disrespect is the equivalent to the guy who is way too flirty with other women, or struggles with pornography over and over again.  Now see it is easy for us women to view those things as breaking trust and acting disrespectfullly to our relationship and who we are as a wife in that relationship.  We need to take the view of what it looks like to our guys for us to break trust with them and act disrespectfully to our relationship and who they are as a husband in that relationship.

When we go to control, or withdrawing we are manipulating the circumstances to either have an outcome that is more favorable without having to be vulnerable enough to share our desires or our hearts, or we want them to pay almost like a punishment for not coming through the way we thought it should look.  Either way, we all loose!

The reality is our men, even though they don’t get it right all the time (again almost unfair because we can have unreasonable expectations like mindreading and other such super powers we are expecting them to have) really really really want to come through for us.  A weight they carry that stares at them everyday is “do I have what it takes to come through for her?”  They can be paralysed at times by the weight of this.  They want so badly to have what it takes to come through for their wives.  Everything about them as a man is being tested and weighed all day long. Then we end up getting to a place where they can not do anything right, or the way that we think it should be done.  We end up giving them an F on their report card so to speak.  So many men will resign to passivity because the conclusions they come to by our actions, or lack of actions is “she doesn’t trust me or respect what I try to do for her anyway.  If she doesn’t think I have what it takes then why bother trying.  If she doesn’t think I have what it takes then I must not.”

Now, I do not believe that husbands or wives should get their validation from each other.  We have to get our core validation of who are from God first.  Who does God say that I am.  There is a definite place where we are called to speak into our spouses identity.  But we are responsible for not letting our spouse have the authority to take God’s place there.  When I do not feel loved or seen by my husband, I have learned to check in with my heart.  Am I believing I am who God says that I am to Him?  Many times it has nothing to do with my husband at all.  I am looking to my husband alone to validate that I am worth listening to, cherishing, fighting for etc.  When I take that time to check in with God about fulfilling my core need there and remind myself that I am the Bride He came to lay His life down for and give up everything, it sure helps gain perspective.  I have to remind myself that Jesus is in love with me.  From there I evaluate what, if anything is going on with my relationship with my husband.  Sometimes it does mean I need to share with my husband, my desire for him to take me out on a date, or go for a walk with me.  I don’t know about your husband but my husband does not have super powers.  He can not read minds.  I do not come to him with a tone of “you haven’t taken me out in a while”, or whatever it is.  I trust him so I share my heart and desire with him.

In all fairness, many of our husbands are beaten down and/or afraid to step out here especially when we voice our needs/desires.  We have to get our core validation from God, be vulnerable and now give tons of grace while they try to come through for us.  Let him come through in the glorious way that he tries to.  So many times I pray to God about something, then He shows up in a way so cool I didn’t even know I needed.  I believe our husbands have access to a sight into us that we do not even have.  The masculine heart was designed to lead (give up it’s life for), protect and provide something that the feminine heart can not reach on it’s own.  Sometimes what we think we need is not what we really need at all.  If we give up our control on what the outcome should look like then we can begin to receive more than what we limited ourselves to in the first place.

Since we have been “breaking trust” in our relationships for a long time now we must realize it is hard for them to trust us in this place.  Remember what it can look like for a guy to break trust in our relationships if you cannot wrap your brain around what it is like for them to be on that end of things.  It will take time, grace and tons of prayer but fight for it!  Out of all the fighting we do in our lives this is something so worth fighting for.

Again, I am flying out the door but to work this time.  I have not yet had time to read through this so please bare with me and hope it is not too hard to sift through.  I can read it a little later but do not want to wait to post as I feel the urgency to start the day out here.

Take the Challenge Encouragement #5

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I know this challenge is moving quickly.  Hopefully you can go back through on a different set of weeks and move through it slowly, or you have taken some good notes along the way about what God might be doing and can revisit those.  I am going to repost something I believe is essential.  We can not move forward for very long without this understanding that we all have the same enemy and it is not each other.  Our marriage will end up with limitations that we can not seem to get around.  Paying attention to the fact that our enemy will take us out to get to our spouse, or vice versa is a huge tool in battling/exposing some of the warfare set against marriage.  Then you will begin to notice how you can apply it to every other relationship you have.  But for now we are going to focus on applying this understanding while arriving in our marriage with a fully engaged heart.  Whew!  Good thing we are multi-taskers right?

This is a hard one to believe at times especially where marriage is concerned.  “We both have the same enemy?” It is irritating how simple the truth is yet how complex it is to default to that truth.  There definitely is an enemy at work, but it is not each other.

How hard has the enemy worked to distract you from that truth?  How many times has he hidden in the shadows while you, or your spouse stood holding the very instrument that seemed to cause the wound, or damage in the relationship?

Have you ever considered that the enemy will take you out to get to your spouse?  What about the flipside?  The enemy will take your spouse out to take you out?  He already has.

Now, let’s keep wrapping our brains around this because it will take a while.  Jesus gave us the ultimate example of how we all have the same enemy.  He was beaten to near death because the church, (His Bride) manipulated through control, an entire group of people and even it’s ultimate authority of the law.  While He is hanging there suffering and getting ready to die, He starts to pray for us….those who hung Him there.  He says, “Forgive them Father they know not what they do.”  Then He lays His life down for (us) His Bride.  He still chooses to be married.  He still chooses to see us for who we really are and He is focused on fighting “our” enemy.  “Our” meaning, His and ours.  We all have the same enemy and it is not each other.  Jesus’ ultimate example of not fighting flesh and blood but focusing on principalities and powers is completely powerful, beautiful and is what we should be striving for.

It is irritating how simple these issues really are.  They boil down to really dealing with losing sight of a couple simple truths.  But why cant we see it in the moment?

I have a theory.  At least this is how I see it taking place.  If the enemy wants to distract us from the truths and from peace then he is going to have to create chaos, urgency, pain and misunderstanding.  So many times I think he kicks us in the face so-to-speak.  It creates pain and chaos instantly.  Your eyes tear and you are not exactly sure where the blow came from.  There is an urgency to deal with the blood gushing from your face and it places you instantly in a self-protective mode.  As you are able to focus again the enemy is nowhere but your spouse, parent, child, best friend, sibling etc is the one standing there (it is going to hit you in a relational place).  The pain aspect causes a reaction of blame.  “Who is to blame for this?”  Did you know we can not even have a car accident anymore?  Insurance companies and lawyers have to have someone to blame because someone must pay for the circumstances.  The gal that rearended me was at fault.  She was so worked up over her own blame I had to keep telling her it was an “accident”.  Accidents can happen.  It means you did not do it on purpose.  If you are blaming someone then you are in a self-protective stance and you can not trust anyone in that place.  The flipside, they won’t be able to trust you either.

So in order to be able to fight back at the real issues you have to be able to break down what the real issues are.  If you go into a kung fu match you better have taken a few kung fu classes so you can counter your opponents moves.  You do that by learning how they fight.  Well this is a little lesson in warfare.  You have to begin to learn how the enemy works and what his tactics are.  What is he really aiming at in this situation.  He could have taken me out and had but he wasnt aiming just for me, he wanted my kids and my husband to go down too.  Not only that but he wanted their wounds to come from me.

How can you stop in the midst of a battle and pull back enough from your own emotions to consider how the enemy is coming against the one you are in conflict with?

Consider what angle the enemy is using against them?  Pray and ask God to open your eyes, or to bring His truth.  If you seek me with your whole heart you will find me.  He IS truth.  He IS light.  He can reveal but you have to call on Him.  It takes practice.  It is like learning a new fight maneuver.  It is awkward at first.  But trying it more and more it gets easier.  Then it is a natural reaction to what is coming against you.

Let’s just let that marinade for a little while.  The bible holds supernatural truth.  It takes us a bit to wrap our natural brains and understandings to catch up or catch hold.  It is a truth we must choose.  It is a truth we must fight for.

I am blessed to have a husband who has chosen to fight against “our” enemy and not me.  He chooses to see the truer things about me.  He knows that I am still Jennifer and loves me past my wounds, past my hormonal issues and even past all my weaknesses.  He has had to fight to get there both on his own and in collaboration with me.  We have given each other permission to share and talk about how the enemy is trying to take us out with mistrust, miscommunication or just stress.  We also have given each other permission to speak truth in those moments to help us not get distracted.

*Now I am in no way advocating a dangerous or violent situation.  But what I will say, (which is completely not politically correct) is to seek out, or pray for someone who is not just going to tell you to leave your spouse.  You want someone who can see that you both have the same enemy.  You want someone who can recognize that you both need to be rescued. *

Standing with you all ~ Shield to shield!

Take the Challenge Encouragement #4

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By now you are noticing things that you did not realize were taking place.  They can feel really harsh and ugly.  I am speaking from my own experience but not only from the first time I began to challenge myself in this way, but from this time too.  I tend to feel a little beat up.  My list of ways I struggle in this area grows long and especially when I am brave enough to write it down.  And especially when I begin to see how it is hurting, or neglecting the very people I am trying so hard to love, give to and take care of.  It can leave me feeling defeated.  It can leave me feeling like I will never be enough.

The flipside is God knows ours deep hearts.  He knows how much we love them.  He knows how much we want to come through for them.  He also knows how hard it is.  It may be just a Jennifer perspective but even though it is hard to have stuff like control, disrespect, withdrawing, manipulation, not trusting as something that I do or struggle with everyday, it feels like a rescue.  It feels like a breath of fresh air as well because I can not fight something that is taking me out everyday if I can not even see what it is.  If I feel distance in my marriage (I am not saying we are soley responsible for distance) I now have a gauge to check my own warfare.  I can begin to spot those areas where those things come in and steal from my marriage, my family and even from my relationship with God.  If something came and attacked your husband or your kids you would fight for them to the death!  It helps me to view these things as something trying to attack my family so I have to be on guard.

My tendency in this part of the challenge is to just kind of pullback and tone myself down.  I feel like I am too much yet not enough at the same time.  It takes practice but be present.  God’s grace is big enough to fill in where you are not yet strong.  Be willing to be vulnerable.  That is actually where God’s strength comes through instead of us trying to do it in our own strength or understanding.  It takes more strength to relinquish control, manipulation, or the need to know the outcome than it does to make life happen for yourself.

Remember your heart is good.  You have been made new in Christ.  His mercy is new every morning.  You are being transformed into His likeness.  Do not take on the identity of manipulator, controller, deciever and such.  Those are things you struggle with they are not who you really are.  They are not the truest things about you.  That is not who God says that you are.  He calls you His Daughter.  He calls you His Blessed Creation.  He calls you His Chosen Bride.  To believe anything less than what He says about you is a lie.

The other day I just got bombarded.  I was trying so hard to not withdraw but my heart was hurt so bad I almost couldn’t breathe.  I had to, in that moment go to God and just say….”Can I be Your Beloved Mess today?”  It felt good to just be a mess but still His.  We are His.  He calls us His own!  I was a mess the other day, but I was His mess and it was ok.

There is so much grace He is offering to us everyday.  We do not always receive it.  He loves us!  We are His!  Take a day to tend to your heart in all of this and remember how much He unconditionally loves you.

Bare with me while I run out the door.  I have not gotten to read through and check what I have written but I have to run to the school now something has come up.  I do not want to wait to post.  You are a brave and noble woman.  What you are doing right now is praiseworthy.  Tend to your heart today.