Tuesday, January 26, 2010

s t r i p p e d

I just spent THE most amazing weekend in Houston, Texas. I was there to celebrate with 500 sisters in Christ (“siestas”) a year’s worth of scripture memorization. Beth Moore and her two incredible daughters, Amanda and Melissa, hosted the event…a huge blessing!!

I spent months anticipating the big weekend…I could hardly wait! I have done so many Beth Moore Bible studies – her studies have played a huge part in where I am in my walk with the Lord. I am forever grateful. I experienced Beth Moore’s teaching live at a ‘Living Proof Live event’ in Portland, Oregon last year and to say that I was blown away would be the understatement of the year. I was on a spiritual high for days after that. Her teaching is so anointed…it’s ridiculous!

I could not wait to experience that again.

By the time I boarded the plane last Thursday morning, I was sure I would burst with excitement. I didn’t know a single person that would be there, but I didn’t care. I was going to get a fresh word from the Lord…AND I was going to see Beth Moore up close and personal…it does NOT get any better than that!

After arriving in Houston, I headed to dinner with a new friend/siesta (Angie) who I was so blessed to have met at the airport. We had a wonderful time chatting over some amazing food at Pappasito’s (yum!!), and then called it a night. I headed to my hotel, and she headed to hers.
I was so tired and looking forward to a few hours alone with Jesus when I woke up in the morning.

Friday morning, I got up, made myself some coffee, curled up on the couch and began to pour my heart out to Jesus. I read my Bible and prayed. I thanked Him for blessing me so abundantly and loving me so much. I asked Him to pour out His Spirit on me and speak to me as I sought Him over the weekend. I told Him how much I wanted to sense His presence.

He reminded me of Matthew 7:9-11
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

I asked Him to strip away anything that would get in the way of me seeing His glory…ANYTHING! I just wanted to see His glory!

I flipped in my Bible to Exodus 33, where Moses was asking the Lord to show him His glory.

I clung to verse 14… “The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."”

and verse 17… “And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."”

I wrapped up my quiet time with tears streaming down my face. So much anticipation. I could not wait to see what the Lord was going to do!

Fast forward to Friday night. I ended up in the front row (I'm not gonna lie, it did involve a little running & diving for a seat...pitiful).  I sat down and thought that I would surely have a heart-attack when Beth Moore walked out. For crying out loud, I almost had a heart-attack when she walked out at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland and there were thousands of women there...and I wasn’t nearly this close!

After much anticipation, the moment finally came - out walks Beth Moore...the most adorable woman I think I have ever seen!
It was so much fun, everybody was cheering and squealing!
What a blessing to be so close to a woman that God is using with such power…wow!
As I sat down, it hit me. I wasn’t freaking out. I was having fun, but I wasn’t overcome with the emotions that I was sure would nearly do me in.
What was my problem? Where was that “rush” I was so looking forward to experiencing?

Then my first memory verse of the year came to mind…

Ezekiel 36:25-27“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

All my idols?

Had I made an idol of Beth Moore? I know better than that. But guess what, I think I had.
It wasn’t my goal, but I think I fell into idolatry…okay, maybe I dove into it.  I think it can happen pretty easily, and the feelings can seem innocent enough.

I didn’t even realize it, but the Lord did.

And He is so sweet to me…so faithful.

He knows that I want to love and serve Him…but sometimes I don’t even know how.

He knows that sometimes I can get so caught up with someone that I admire, that I take my eyes off of Him.

So He took my prayer, my willingness to be stripped, and He did it.

Exodus 33:17 - "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

The Lord freed me up to enjoy and learn from Beth’s teaching, without being so caught up with her that I missed Him.

As I listened to her teach, and received word after word from the Lord, I was continually struck with the same thought - while Beth Moore is truly anointed & unbelievably gifted, she is no more “chosen” than any of us…she has just “chosen” to be obedient and follow the call of God on her life…a BEAUTIFUL thing!!

So as I reflect on the past weekend, I realize that my flesh was seeking an “experience”…a spiritual high that would have me on cloud nine for days.  But God wanted to give me more. He wanted to give me Himself.

I was looking for a double-shot of espresso.  He gave me water…living water.

He didn’t want me to find satisfaction in another human being. He wanted me to find satisfaction in Him.

He met with me.  He did not disappoint.

He used Beth Moore to speak truth to my heart...I am so thankful for her.

But I can honestly say that the time I spent alone with the Lord in my hotel room was the best time that I had!

So I left Houston steadied & refreshed. Reminded that He will not withhold any good thing from me (Psalm 84:11)…I can take Him at His word.

He knows what I need. He will never disappoint.




Saturday, October 10, 2009

good news

Our family traveled to Disneyworld in Florida last week. This is my favorite picture from our trip.




As we were leaving the park one afternoon, we looked up and saw a plane writing “Jesus Loves You” in the sky. As I paused to watch the pilot skillfully write this powerful message in the sky, I couldn’t help but notice all the conversations of people walking past me.

So many little children asking their mommies and daddies, “Who is Jesus?”… and their parents awkwardly changing the subject.
Some seemed noticeably irritated…others just didn’t know what to say.

As we were waiting for our shuttle to arrive to take us back to our hotel, a little girl was sitting on a bench next to me. I recognized her from our hotel…a precious little preschool age girl with a very sweet parents. As she looked up, she asked her Mommy what the words in the sky said.
Her Mommy looked uncomfortable, but she quickly read them to her.
I don’t know why, but the little girl turned straight to me and asked, “Is that true?”.
I wanted to tell her.
But I couldn’t.
Her mommy snapped at her and said, “I told you what it said…you do NOT need to ask her!!”
I just smiled. I pray she finds out someday.

It makes me sad that the name of Jesus makes so many people so uncomfortable.

Perhaps they have good reason? Maybe they’ve been beat over the head with the Bible by ‘well-meaning’ Christians. Maybe, instead of being loved by Christians, they’ve been judged and criticized. Maybe they just don’t understand what it all means.

OR, could it be, that I am just seeing this firsthand…

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Whatever the reason, somehow, the “GOOD NEWS”…

John 3:16 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

…has become BAD NEWS!

I am reminded today that the time is coming when a man writing “Jesus Loves You” in the sky could be arrested…in the United States of America.

I am asking the Lord for Holy Spirit boldness…to share the Good News while I can!

When all is said and done, I do NOT want these words said of me… “she loved praise from men more than praise from God." (John 12:43)

John 1:10-12 (ESV)
“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

Friday, September 11, 2009

pray for Emma

**10-9-09 UPDATE** Emma passed away at 1:30am this morning. She is with Jesus now. No more pain. No more tears.

***********************************************************************

**10-7-09 UPDATE**  Emma is returning home from the hospital and hospice care will take over from here. The latest tumor in her brain has proved to be extremely aggressive and the doctors have decided there is nothing further that they can do.
Join me in lifting up Emma's sweet family to the only One who can heal their broken hearts - Henry, Lauren and little brother Jeremy.

Psalm 34:18
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

***********************************************************************

Please pray for Emma.

I had the pleasure of meeting Emma for the first time in the Spring of 2007. She had recently been diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) which had also spread to her lungs.

The pictures in the slideshow below were taken in May '07...



I got to spend time with Emma again in November 2008. Another tumor had just been discovered in her lung. These pictures were taken the day prior to her lung surgery..



This week, a brain tumor was discovered in Emma's frontal lobe. She will be going in for brain surgery on Monday.

Please pray for Emma and her sweet family!!!

Pray for a miraculous outcome in the face of a scary prognosis!

Pray that they would receive comfort from Jesus like never before!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

still around


Just thought I'd pop in and let you know that I'm still around. :)

Although I haven't written on my blog much lately, I feel like I've been on the computer WAY too much. I decided to give the Facebook thing a shot...it's fun, but could definitely end up being far to addictive for this girl. We'll see how it goes.

I'm praying about what I'm doing with this blog. If the Lord wants me to continue sharing my heart here, then I will absolutely do it.
But if He's not, there's really no point . . .

Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV)
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat -for he grants sleep to those he loves."

Monday, July 13, 2009

give me Jesus





In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus


Friday, July 10, 2009

c r u m b s


During my quiet time today, I was reading in the book of Matthew about the faith of the Canaanite woman.

Matthew 15:21-28 (ESV)
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.


How often I’ve been satisfied with the precious “crumbs” that fall from the Lord’s table. Gobbling them up as quickly as possible, and anxiously awaiting the next crumb to fall. Seemingly unaware that I could be feasting at The Table…instead of waiting for the Lord, in His mercy, to allow another crumb to fall.

Oh how often I've operated out of half-hearted faith. Almost like I’m playing games with God. Not willing to completely believe what He says…but always asking for “one more crumb” to convince me.

And in His infinite mercy, He plays along...for now.

What would happen if I stopped settling for the crumbs and BELIEVED with my WHOLE HEART that He IS who He says He is…and He CAN do what He says He can do?!?

I can only imagine!!

At times, I feel too weak to climb up into my chair at His Table.

Sometimes, I have to ask Him to carry me.

The good news is, He is always willing. Praise Him!

"Carried to The Table", by Leeland:

"I was carried to the table
Seated where I don't belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don't see my brokenness anymore
When I'm seated at the table of the Lord
I'm carried to the table
The table of the Lord"


Thursday, July 9, 2009

the simple things


It's the simple things that make me happy. :)


Like my vase full of limes in the summertime.

I love a pop of green on my kitchen table, but I don't want to spend lots of money on flowers that die quickly.
So during the summer, every other week, I buy a bag of limes and fill my vase.
They last longer than flowers, and the simplicity is totally my style.

Less is more, if you ask me.

I'm easy to please...at least I'd like to think so! :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

time flies

Oh my goodness, time does fly when you’re having fun…and potty-training a puppy!


We are having the best time with our sweet puppy! Toby is just amazing.
He is super laid-back and just content to lay at our feet and chew on a toy…or sleep.

The kids carry him around like a baby…and he is just fine with that (so cute!). Of course, it won’t last long. At 8 weeks old, he weighed in at 15.6 pounds…and he has already grown a lot since then. He is going to be a BIG boy!!



The only behavior problem that we’ve had showed up his second day with us, but thankfully, it has now stopped.

That little problem happened to be with “humping”. Fun!

Turns out, it’s pretty common for new puppies as they are trying to figure out where they fit in with their “new pack” (that’s what our Vet told me…phew!).

Unfortunately, I didn’t have that valuable knowledge when Isabelle wanted to know why I was freaking out so much and telling the kids that they could NOT let him do that.

She asked me what Toby was doing. What was the big deal?

Without having a complete understanding yet (and being in a hurry), I quickly told her, “Oh, that’s just how they mate”.

What was I thinking?

Isabelle’s response…“WHAT?!? He’s trying to mate with me?!?!?”

So, trying not to laugh, I proceeded to explain to her that Toby was not trying to mate with her, he was just a little confused (clearly, I don’t think well under pressure!!).

She ran off to go play some more and came back to me a few minutes later (apparently she was still processing). In a very serious voice, she says . . .

Mommy, that is just SO gross. It’s like a man just walking into a room full of people, and walking up to some lady, and asking her to marry him!!”

Um, yah. I don’t know what I said after that…it’s all a blur.

I guess I should just be happy that in Isabelle's sweet 9-year old little brain,
sex = marriage! :)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flesh vs. Spirit


Sometimes I wonder why it is SO hard to live the way Christ would have me live. To make choices daily that line up with His Word. To treat people the way He is commanding me to treat them…with love & forgiveness, with grace & mercy.

It is just so, so hard.

Why?

Romans 7:18-19
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Galatians 5:17
For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

These scriptures encourage me.
They remind me that I should not be discouraged. I shouldn’t feel like it is just “too hard” to live the way the Lord asks me to live.
Of course it is hard…it goes completely against what I would “naturally do”.

But, as a Christian, I have the Holy Spirit in me.

Galatians 4:6
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

Ephesians 1:13b-14
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.”

So why does it feel like my Spirit is fighting a losing battle with my flesh (sinful nature) most of the time?

Maybe because my flesh is getting fed a whole lot more than my Spirit!

It’s like “operating in the flesh” is my human “default mode”. It is so easy to go there. To live exactly the opposite of how I have been commanded to live. Of course it is….because it’s effortless…it comes 100% naturally.

For me, it is only when I am filled up, through time spent in the Word, prayer & worship, that it feels like my Spirit has a fighting chance.

But it is a CHOICE.

It’s a choice in how I’m going to spend my time…

Will I spend my time feeding the flesh?

It’s incredibly easy. For crying out loud, this world is like an “all-you-can-eat” buffet for the flesh…24 hours a day!

Or will I spend my time feeding my Spirit?

If I’m going to feed my Spirit, it’s going to involve making some choices that may not sound like “fun” to begin with.
After all, if I’m feeding my Spirit…I’m starving my flesh. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if my flesh is starving, it’s probably gonna growl…pretty loud sometimes!

In my own life, I may need to get off the computer and spend more time reading God’s Word.

I may need to get off the phone…drop down to my knees…and spend more time talking to the only One who really wants to hear everything I have to say.

I may need to turn off the TV for a while, and crank up some worship tunes. Lifting my hands to Him in worship as a physical sign of surrender…and allow Him to have His way with me.

Do I do all this to “impress God”? To be “good enough”?

NO.

I do it because I need to be filled up. That is the only way I’m going to have a fighting chance at beating down my flesh, and living according to the Spirit.

And when I’m living according to the Spirit…that is when true freedom, joy & happiness come!

That is when I’m living life to the fullest!

That’s when the fun really starts!

That’s when I actually start bearing GOOD fruit…

Galatians 5:16-24
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.


The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires
.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

meet Toby


I’m taking a quick break from puppy-proofing my house to introduce you to Toby.

Our sweet new boy.


We don’t actually bring him home until Sunday the 31st…it is SO hard to wait!!
Of course, not having him home yet doesn’t prevent me from having lots of pictures. We have paid him a few visits already, and he just keeps getting cuter & cuter!!

He is EVERYTHING we have been praying for.

And incidentally (or not), Toby is a Hebrew name that means “The Lord Is Good”.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

checkin' in


It's been a while!

Just poppin' in to say HI to those of you who've been wondering where I've been. I'm still around. :)

I have been without my computer for the past week. Painful AND exhilarating...all at the same time!!

I have lots to share...not sure where I will start. New post coming soon!

Have a BLESSED weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Am Ready


Next weekend I’m going away for a few days with some sweet girlfriends…I can’t wait!

Each year, a handful of the ladies from our church go to a wonderful retreat in Ocean Shores, Washington. It is such a sweet time of worship, teaching, and just hanging out with the girls.

Each year that I’ve gone, God has met with me there…and I have been so blessed!

I know that God can meet with us anytime…anywhere. But I guess there’s just something about setting aside a couple days to focus completely on Him. Getting away from the daily routine, and just quieting myself before Him. Asking Him to speak to me...and actually taking the time to listen.
I have yet to be disappointed!

This time last year, I was at the peak of my career as a children’s photographer. I was busier than ever. I had lots & lots of amazing clients who trusted me year after year to come into their homes and document the lives of their children. I felt like I had
“made it” in the world of professional photography…and I was enjoying
every-single-thing associated with “making it”.

Little did I know what God had in store for me that weekend…

He spoke to me. He asked me to give it all up. To leave my photography career behind. He had something else for me.

And when I doubted that I was really hearing from Him correctly. He confirmed it.

He confirmed it through the words of the speaker that weekend…it was like she was speaking straight to my heart.
He confirmed it through a prophetic word spoken over me by a close, Godly friend.
He confirmed it over and over…and over again.

I remember sitting there just before the last session ended, with two of my closest friends on either side of me. They knew what the Lord was asking me to do, and He was using them to provide comfort and support in that moment.
The pastors’ wives had been called up to the front to be prayed over.
Times Two (an incredible & ANOINTED local band) was singing the most beautiful song over these precious pastors' wives. It was called “Blessings”.

“Blessings” by Times Two

“My blessings are on you
My blessings are on you
Receive My blessings dear one”

I just sat and soaked it in.

I cried.

And I prayed.

I asked the Lord to go before me. I knew He would have to because I had no idea what I was going to tell everybody.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I just “knew” people weren’t going to get it.
He was asking me to give up a successful career…for “no apparent reason”.
Because He had something “better”. But I didn’t know what. And that is really hard to explain to people…that’s really hard to explain to myself!

On my way out that day, I stopped by the back table to buy a copy of the CD with the “Blessings” song. {I had a feeling I would be desperate to have that song sung over me quite a bit in the coming months.}
I told the band member behind the table that I wanted their CD with the “Blessings” song on it. She pointed to the CD with the purple cover and said, “it also has the song ‘I Am Ready’ on it”.
I remember thinking, “I wonder why she would say that? I've never heard of that song.”

When I was finally alone in my car, I popped the CD in and went straight to the blessings song. After having that sung over me a few times, I thought I would listen to the “I Am Ready” song she mentioned.
I skipped to it and I was half-listening to the words as I was driving. Then, all of the sudden, the words caught my attention. I had to start the song over to make sure I was hearing right…

“...so take my strengths and talents, before I change my mind”

I bawled…again.

“I Am Ready” by Times Two

“Jesus, I am ready
I’m ready to surrender
All that I have worked for
And all that I’ve dreamed of”

“Cause I know I can trust you
I am confident, Your love
Is everything I’ll ever need
Your love will be enough
I am ready
I am ready”

“So take my strengths and talents
Before I change my mind
You can even take my weakness
Take anything you find
Lord I’m saying use me
Let Your Glory be defined
In my life”


As if I didn’t have enough confirmation already? Thank you, Jesus!

Needless to say, I listened to that song over & over as I went forward in the months to follow.

I’m not gonna lie.
It was hard.
It took six solid months of working my tail off to phase out my business…and not just “to finish”, but to finish well.
Not everybody understood, but every single one of my clients was gracious and wished me the best…even if they didn’t understand.

And guess what? I don’t have a neat and tidy way to wrap this up for you.

I can’t tell you exactly what it is that the Lord is calling me to do now, because I’m still waiting to find out.

I believe that not one moment has been wasted, but that He is slowly growing me and preparing me for “whatever it is”.

In the meantime, He has freed me up to enjoy more time with my children while they are still young.
He has provided me with a season in life where I can sit at His feet for hours at a time if I choose…just praying, worshiping Him, and studying my Bible.
He has freed me up from an incredibly busy lifestyle, so that when a loved one is suddenly walking in the midst of a very dark valley, I can be there for them…completely.

I BELIEVE that the Lord has an amazing plan for my life up His Holy Sleeve.

Amazing by the world's standards? Maybe not.

Amazing by His standards? Absolutely.

For now, I am standing upon this scripture…

Luke 1:45
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"


(By the way, if any of you local girls are interested in going to the “Girls’ Getaway” in Ocean Shores next weekend, May 15-17th , email me!
I’d love to get more information to you!! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

h u n g r y



"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled."

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Friday, May 1, 2009

gettin' equipped

video


Ephesians 6:13-18

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


(Sorry about the strange background sounds coming from my video camera -
apparently it could not decide where it wanted to focus. Oh well! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

p e r f e c t i o n


I just want to preface what I’m about to write by saying that God is asking me to share what’s on my heart.
Not because I’ve got it all figured out – I don’t.
Not because I’m incredibly eloquent – I’m not.
I would MUCH rather wait until I’m a little bit further on in my journey, but the Lord is asking me to share now…while I’m still messy…and have just as many questions as I do “answers”.
So please bear with me, it’s not going to be anything earth-shattering. But maybe what I’m going through will speak to just one person…and they will seek God…and they will ask Him to heal their heart the way I’m asking Him to heal mine. And that’s good enough for me.

Okay.

God has been doing a HUGE work in my heart in regards to PERFECTIONISM.

He has been showing me that, all my life, I have had an underlying belief system that “in order to be loved…I needed to be perfect”.
{By the way, I do not believe that this is the result of the way I was raised, or any other easily identifiable area – that’s not the point}
The point is, I have been asking Him to sift me, and expose areas in my heart that He wants to heal…and this is one area that He has made very clear that He wants to heal.

Of course, just like any false belief system, it didn’t just apply to me.
Unfortunately, if I required “perfection” of myself…I also had an underlying expectation for everyone else to be perfect too...
for crying out loud, if I was going to beat myself up daily for not being perfect, nobody else was gettin’ off the hook!

We all “know” that no human is perfect. But I guess that never stopped me from trying (I’m always up for a good challenge!).
To make matters worse, if everything came together at a particular time, and I was actually successful in “looking like I had it all together”…well, that just fueled my fire...
Sure enough”, I thought, “people like me sooooo much more when they don’t see my flaws, so I’m gonna have to try even harder to make sure that I don’t let them down.”

Oh, the weight of that is so heavy…way too heavy.

That desire for “perfection” has just led to all kinds of frustration & dissapointment with myself…and everybody else!
And when I am frustrated & dissapointed with people, it’s really hard to love them the way God asks me to.

Mark 12:28-31
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these."


A lightbulb went off for me, not too long ago, when my pastor was talking and said, “If you say you love God, but you ‘just can’t stand people’…something is wrong!”
Ouch!
Here we go.
I can feel a sifting coming on.

1 John 4:19-20
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

I can absolutely see the danger in not loving others…and I really, really want to love them…but it’s so hard when they drive me nuts!

The Lord has been showing me that when I have been operating under a particular belief system all my life, it’s only through Him that I can get free from it!

In my own human strength, it’s just not possible.

The good news is that when I earnestly seek Him in prayer. And ask Him to change my heart. To soften me up and help me love people the way He would have me love them. Well, I know that He can…and He will!
How do I know?
Because He says so in the Bible.

1 John 5:14-15
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

There is not a doubt in my mind that He will answer this prayer of mine…because I KNOW that it IS “in accordance to His will”.

Sometimes I pray about stuff, and ask the Lord for something, but I don’t know for sure that it is His will. And that’s okay, that shouldn’t keep me from going to Him in prayer and asking.
However, this time, I am confident that what I’m asking for is His will…because He has commanded me to love other people. And if I can’t do it in my own strength, then I KNOW that He will help me…I just need to cooperate with Him!

So I’m excited. Excited that the Lord is freeing me up from “the need to be perfect”…and from expecting others to be perfect too!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. THE ONE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL AND HE WILL DO IT.”