We always hid Easter baskets for our kids when they were little. They absolutely loved finding those baskets, even when it got too hard and they were prompted with the timeless hints of “hot” and “cold”.
Why did they love it so much?
They were expecting a basket full of joy because of all it held inside.
What are we expecting?
Sadly, many of us have grown cold.
We have gotten farther and farther away from the joy that comes in the expected. And in the coldness, time spent with God has become a duty.
Church should never be just a duty.
It’s not a job where you clock in and clock out.
It’s not a “Christmas and Easter only” facility, yet that’s how many of us view it.
What are we expecting when we walk through the doors?
Are we expecting God’s presence to wash over us as we sing to Him?
As we hear His words, are we expecting those words to change our heart and soul?
Are we expecting those words to bring life?
Or, do we simply attend expecting nothing at all and leave with the same emptiness we had before we came?
Clock in. Clock out.
Three days after Christ was crucified a heartbroken Mary went to His tomb.
What was she expecting? She wasn’t expecting emptiness, yet that’s what she found.
She found emptiness because she wasn’t searching for life.
Mary could have left that day with a continued emptiness. With a heavy sorrow.
What was different?
Unlike so many of us, in her emptiness Mary realized how desperately she needed the Savior and it was in that moment that He revealed Himself to her by simply saying her name. Mary.
And she knew. He was alive.
His presence washed over her and her heart was changed. The tomb was empty but her heart was full.
Life can get hard, but it doesn’t have to be. God is always prompting us to draw closer. We don’t have to remain cold.
Just like a child searching for and expecting to find a basket full of joy, let me encourage you to expect the unexpected this Easter.
What can make the difference? Search for life. The difference comes in the expecting.
An empty tomb. A risen Savior.A life changed. A heart full.
A basket full of joy because of all it holds inside.
What are you expecting?
Whatever you are looking for is what you will find~and everything you’re looking for can be found in Christ.
I listened to his breathing. Tears fell unashamedly from my eyes. It was excruciating to hear the labor with every breath that was drawn.
My heart yearned for heaven for him.
I didn’t want him to leave, but I did not want this pain for him.
So many of us have lost loved ones in the last few years. Death seems to be on the forefront of social media, as well as the prayer chains in our churches. Sorrow upon sorrow have hit so many. It has hit me more than I care to think on.
I saw a picture recently that brought it to my mind once again. The sign read~”We know you would be here today, if heaven wasn’t so far away”. I understood the heart behind the words, but I rejoiced in the truth of God’s word and what a difference it can make in the believer’s life.
If you have lost a loved one this might sound like your reality, but my friend~it is not. Heaven is not far away at all. Heaven is only one breath away for the believer. One last breath and you are in the presence of God. There is no waiting.
2 Corinthians 5:8
Just a breath.
My scripture reading has been in the book of Job lately. A book that I desperately need God’s help to wrap my mind around. God never fails. I asked my husband why some preachers act like it’s so wonderful that in the end, Job got a double portion of everything he had previously lost.
Everything except his children.
Every one of Job’s children had been killed. I could not wrap my mind around the idea that yes, Job had more kids, but they could never replace the children he had lost. My husband’s answer convicted me.
God did not replace the children that Job lost, because they were not lost. He would see them again. 2 Samuel 12:23
How often do I forget this when I think on all those that I loved so dearly who have left this earth?
They are not far away at all.
They are as close as my last breath.
Sweet friend, Jesus died on the cross to give us eternal life. Do we dare look at the cross and tell Jesus it is not enough? That what He endured for us wasn’t enough? When we work harder at being good, always hoping it’s good enough. When we give more to the church, as if trying to buy our way in~that’s exactly what we are telling our Savior. The words of Jesus become null and void in our representation of earning our way to heaven.
His words~”It is finished”.
God tells us that absent from the body is present with the Lord, and that the only way to be in His presence after death is through Jesus finished work on the cross. I John 5:12-13, Luke 23:43, Hebrews 7:25.
Our repentance, His forgiveness. Romans 10:9-13
Once that’s our reality, Jesus tells us that no one can pluck us out of our Father’s hand. John 10:28-29. We have a home in heaven one day with our God of mercy, grace and love. No question.
Immediately in His presence.
And so my friend, rejoice in that truth. We might not understand why God chooses to take our loved ones when He does. Job 42:3 We weep, but so did our Savior. He understands our emotions because He lived them. John 11:35 We sorrow because we love, but we sorrow with the hope of heaven bringing light to our sadness. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
And knowing this~ we don’t ever have to be afraid of death, or feel as if God and Heaven are far away. Psalm 49:15, 1 Corinthians 15:54-58
If you are sorrowing today, ask God to bring the light of hope to your sadness.
Your loved one isn’t far at all.
Heaven is only one breath away.
What Hinders Prayer
Fair warning~this will be a long post, but it is one that I feel is so important and needs to be addressed.
Please bare with me…
*My mind has been ruminating on the words I wrote last week. The little things that God kept nudging me about.
Why did my prayer life feel so hindered again today?
My mind seemed to be everywhere, except on the words I longed to speak to my Savior. Everything kept it wandering, from what I needed to do that day to my grumbling stomach~ and even my grocery list.
And I pondered.
Why was I so easily distracted?
Along with that, my ladies Bible study was on the topic of pride for two weeks in a row. Then the preacher (aka my husband) touched on it in his message. The verse of the day warned against it and I knew God was obviously trying to show me something.
I searched deep within my heart. I truly did not feel I had a pride issue, (even though I now realize how prideful that sounds) and yet God continued to bring it up. I almost argued with Him. I know everything I have comes from Him. I am nothing. The words I pen are not my own, they are His. In my humanness I was searching for pride issues in the wrong areas. But still He nudged, so I continued to ask Him to please show me.
Today He did. My eyes were opened to something I never even realized.
Despite my arguments, I knew I had pride issues. And I repented.
I cannot tell you the amount of times in my 56 years that I have “felt” as if God was silent. Times where prayer seemed like a struggle or like my words were just bouncing off the ceiling. The closeness with Jesus was not there. Yet, every single time God was there. He was not far away, despite my feelings. He always made this known to me~sometimes He showed me the reasons in big ways, and sometimes He showed me in the tiniest ways.
Today I give you some of those reasons to ponder. Things God has revealed to my own heart in times like these.
The first and most important reason we may feel as if God is far away~
We aren’t truly His child. This isn’t a “religion” thing. This isn’t a “come to my church” thing or become my “denomination” thing. This is God and His words. We are NOT all God’s children. (John 1:12) The world might like to repeat that feel good phrase, but it is not true. God in His word tells us that the ONLY way we become God’s children is through His Son Jesus Christ who died for our sins on the cross. (John 14:6) No religion and no amount of confessionals can get you to heaven. No good works can help you gain favor in God’s eyes and no amount of repetitive prayers can magically turn you into His child. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Only Jesus. Jesus and His forgiveness of our sins through grace. The end. This is the absolute most important thing you can ever do. If you cannot recall a time in your life when your heart truly believed this and you asked Jesus to forgive you of all your sins and to save your soul (Romans 10:10-13), please friend~ get that settled today. Become God’s child.
The second thing that hinders prayer is unconfessed sin. (Psalm 66:18) When we become God’s child we don’t automatically stop sinning. We are human. Whether it is intentional or something we don’t even realize, we will fall short because we aren’t perfect. (Romans 3:23) Only God is perfect. Because of this, it is important to always check our hearts and make sure we aren’t holding on to something that needs our repentance. Just like my pride. Ask God to show you. Believe me, He will. And once He does, tell Him you’re sorry. (1 John 1:5-10)
I cannot emphasize this next one enough. DON’T. GIVE. UP. Too often when it comes to our prayer life, we give up too quickly. If we don’t feel close to God or our prayers aren’t answered in a timely fashion, we just stop praying. (James 4:8) Don’t allow this to be the case. Keep on praying and don’t stop. Even if you feel like you are talking to a wall. You aren’t my friend. God is right there. There are a myriad of reasons you might feel this way, so don’t give up until you get a hold of God and He breaks through the walls that are hindering your prayer life.
And speaking of reasons why we “feel” this way is exactly that. Our feelings. Too often we base our prayers on the way we feel. Sometimes we need to look at it like marriage. I mean, let’s be honest~ I don’t always “feel” like being married. I don’t always “feel” like talking to Mike and let me share a little secret with you~ I don’t always “feel” like listening to him talk to me. Does that mean we are no longer married or that I no longer love him? No. It’s the same with our prayer life. We can’t base it on our feelings because we are sinful, wretched humans with crazy, sometimes erratic feelings. But, praise God we are loved and forgiven humans. Humans that God has unlimited grace, understanding and mercy on. (Hebrews 4:15) From the time we become His child, we forever remain His child (John 10:28, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 3:1) and He forever remains our daddy who never, ever leaves us no matter how we might “feel”.
So what do we do when our feelings do get in the way? When we don’t feel that closeness despite our persistence in prayer? We dig deep into God’s word. The Bible is literally God’s love letter to us. (Psalm 1:2, 104:34, 119: 48, 97, 99, Joshua 1:8) I can guarantee you that if you take the time to sit and read His words of promise, comfort, peace and love~your heart will change. (Matthew 6:21)Your prayers will have the solid rock to be built upon.(Matthew 7:24-27, 16:18, Psalm 18:2, 61:2, 2 Samuel 22:2-3) A strong foundation instead of weak feelings. Don’t trust your feelings. They lie. Trust God’s word. (Proverbs 3:5-6) God will always show you something new in His word to help you, if you stay consistent in the asking and don’t give up. I can’t even count the number of times His word spoke directly to my heart. It felt like my eyes were opened. Almost as if I was seeing something for the first time and a heavy weight was lifted. Giving everything to God is so freeing. The more you read, the more you get to know Him and the closer to Him you become. And you love Him. You suddenly realize He isn’t a far away God up in heaven somewhere but is as near to you as your very heart. Always with you. Lean in to Him. He never left. Our feelings just got in our way.
And last, why does my mind wander so much? I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s one of two things. I’m either anxious and worried, so my thoughts continually stray to the things I’m worried about. If that’s the case then I’m probably not trusting Christ with the situation and having faith that He will come through for me. Instead, I’m trying to figure out how I can fix it somehow on my own. And the second reason is simply because I’m a spoiled, unthankful child living in a generation full of other spoiled, unthankful children. I don’t have to beg God for my safety from another country bombing my town. I don’t have to beg for food or shelter. I don’t have to hide in order to read my Bible. Instead of being heavenly minded, I sit in my warm bed with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, an iPhone on my night stand and a bible on my lap. And my mind wanders to earthly things. (Matthew 6:21, James 4:2-3) Funny how our prayer life can change drastically when heart ache hits close to home. Our minds don’t tend to wander when we’re on our knees before God begging for His help. If we would just remain faithful in every season and learn to be thankful in remembering the thousands upon thousands of ways God has blessed us, our minds would be on Christ and not everything else. Too often we simply take Christ for granted.
If you search your heart and none of these areas seem to be an issue for you then I encourage you to hearken back to my words from last week’s post. Perhaps through it all your Savior just wants you to stop and to be still in His presence, until His presence is fully known and you realize all you ever needed was Him.
I realize this post may have stepped on a few toes. Truthfully, my toes needed stepping on. Prayer should never be ritualistic. It shouldn’t be about what we get or don’t get. It should be about spending time with our closest friend. Laughing with Him, crying with Him and being still with Him.
Just like every other area of our life~
It should be all about Him because He is everything to us.
She sat in catechism and listened to the story she had heard every year on Jesus birthday. The story of a Savior being born to save His people from their sins. Her eyes wandered to the Christmas tree and it’s beautiful twinkling lights. As her teacher spoke her eyes gazed upward to the star on top of the tree and then down, down to the manger where the little baby lay. In that moment, it was almost as if the words of that familiar story came alive.
God came down.
Down to earth from heaven for me. I was beginning to grasp the significance of a religious story I had heard my entire childhood…
And today, I cannot help but think of another little girl. Sitting in a synagogue on the Sabbath, hearing a story of the promised birth of a Savior who would one day save her people. A story that had been told for over 4,000 years. A promise she had been taught her entire life, having no idea the significant role she would have in that promise.
We know the story. That story of Christmas. That story of Jesus. We rejoice this time of year. We thank God for sending us such a gift. But to some~ it’s just a religious aspect of Christmas. A story. Have we truly grasped it’s meaning?
Even though Mary had been taught the scriptures, (Isaiah 7:14) she did not grasp the truth of what she had been taught. When the angel Gabriel told her that she would be the one to carry the Messiah, her simple words~”How can this be?” reveal this truth. Thousands of people have read her very words and know the significant miracle of that moment, because we have read the last chapter. Mary did not and yet, she received it. Despite an unknown future, she put her faith and hope completely in God. When Gabriel explained the very scriptures she probably knew by heart, she believed the words spoken to her.
And that moment changed her entire life.
I am sure as the months went on, the significance of Who she carried so close to her heart became even more real. I am sure she wanted to tell everyone in her little town that the coming Savior was alive inside her, and I am sure that no one believed her. We know this because we have read the story. Mary and Joseph traveled alone to Bethlehem when she was 9 months pregnant. No room in the inn despite the fact that everyone (including family and friends) was required to go there to be taxed.
Maybe they rolled their eyes when she spoke of the One she carried so close to her heart.
Maybe they thought- ‘She’s taking this Jesus thing a little too far.’
Or maybe they were kinder in their reasoning. Perhaps they thought that this whole “Savior thing” might be what SHE believed, but it wasn’t for the them.
It must have been incredibly hard for Mary to hold such a Miracle inside. I am sure she wanted to tell everyone that everything they had been taught from scripture was coming true, and yet no one believed the truth in her words.
Pondering the thoughts of Mary brings me to thoughts of my own little town. It’s very easy for me to sit down and write something for hundreds to read~ ladies I will probably never meet. It’s very easy for me to hide behind a social media screen and be brave in the words that I pen; but actually stepping out of my front door and telling that story to my little hometown is something entirely different.
My town. There’s a comfort in those words. I love my tiny little town so much. And I wonder~ what do they think about the words that I write? Do they look at me and think~ ‘she’s taking this Jesus thing a little too far.’?
Or maybe they reason~’that religion thing might be okay for HER, but it’s not for ME.’
Maybe the story of Christmas Day is one they have heard in church their entire life, but for them it has never come alive in their own heart and soul. A day but not a Deliverer.
We can be taught “religion” our entire lives and still not fully grasp the truth of Christ. We can have a basic concept of church and the meaning of Christmas, but not have His new life living inside of us.
I’m not here to tell you that once you receive The Gift of Jesus life magically becomes better. Heartache has hit home for me time after time. Health issues have been prevalent. No, life doesn’t magically get better, but I know Christ is right there with me through everything. I am never alone. He has given me strength when I couldn’t stand and joy when heartache was all too prevalent. And despite an unknown future, peace and hope in Him.
A peace and hope He longs to give all of mankind, if we will put our faith in Him.
Do I take this Jesus thing too far? Perhaps some might think so, but can I tell you that in my heart of hearts, I can never take it far enough because Jesus took his love so far for me. His love reached down from glorious heaven to a sin cursed world. Without His love there would be no hope of heaven, because there would be no forgiveness of sins. His love went from heaven to earth, from a manger to the cross~
For me. For you.
That magnificent love took our sins as far as the east is from the west, farther than our finite minds can ever comprehend.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
“As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
The knowledge of this changed my entire life. But it wasn’t just the knowledge, it was the very fact that Jesus is alive and that love lives inside of me.
My heart longs for you to understand these tidings of great joy. The greatest joy. My heart longs for you to receive His gift this Christmas. Not the gift of religion, the gift of God. Forgiveness of sins, a home in heaven, a Savior with you always, through everything.
The only Gift that will change your entire life.
“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing…The LORD hath done great things for us; Whereof we are glad.”
When my daughter was in grade school, another student made an allegation against me that was not true.
My sweet daughter became so upset after hearing the words, that she made sure everyone knew it was a lie. She wanted to defend me because she loved me. Anger was her initial reaction, followed by tears and a phone call from the principal asking me to come in and help settle the disagreement…
When you put yourself out there on social media, you have to be prepared for some backlash from time to time.
I know this and yet, I am never prepared.
This week, when I received not one but two comments on something I posted~
~initially my heart became angry, and then sad.
I knew they weren’t attacking me personally, they were making fun of my relationship with Christ, and it bothered me to my core. I didn’t want to defend “me” or even my post~ I wanted to defend Christ because I knew that what they said was not truth. I wish my simple, inadequate words could somehow convey all He has done in my life. He is everything to me.
I was told to grow up, and informed that my life was depressing if Christ was my entire validation.
Maybe today you are reading this and thinking those very same thoughts. I know that there is no way for Charisse to convince you otherwise, but I know God can. Even if you don’t believe it.
My life is anything but depressing, because He is real in my life.
Every time I have felt lost and alone, He showed me that I wasn’t. He never left my side and He always made a way out. His undeniable breakthrough into the sorrows I have helplessly clung to have been little miracles in my life time and time again. To have joy when you think there is no joy to be found. To have peace when your situation is daunting and the world around you is a mess. To have comfort through every diagnosis or loss of a loved one. To have a weight lifted from you that you were sure would drown you in sorrow. To be known when you feel like you don’t even know yourself. To have Someone love and forgive you no matter what you do, or have done, or might do.
To have a relationship with a perfect God Who gave His life for you.
Yes, my identity is in Jesus. Yes He is real in my life. Yes, every single thing my eye beholds is a blessing from His hands. That is my truth.
I have pondered all of this and come to the conclusion that there are people who refuse to believe such a relationship can exist~or choose to believe it, but fear holds them back from defending it.
People who have learned how to mask pain. How to push away negative feelings by staying busy or finding a cause to work for, a charity to give to or a medication to make it all better. I guarantee if you sit still long enough you will realize that there is something missing deep down in your soul. The pretense of a strong identity and self worth cannot cover up the void that dwells in the deep, innermost parts of your being. We are a generation of people that look for joy in everything around us so that we don’t have to face our inner emptiness, and then with a plastered on smile of pretend confidence we try to convince ourselves and others that we have it all together.
Until Christ becomes your Redeemer, there will always be an emptiness. He is the only one who can fill it. My words can never fully illustrate the majesty and glory of being fully known and loved by Jesus. Knowing Him and being known of Him is the life He always intended for you.
And then there are those who claim to believe this. They hear the mockery this world throws at the very One who took their sins upon Himself when He died on the cross, yet refuse to acknowledge that the world’s view and allegations couldn’t be further from the truth. Fear triumphs over faith. The world’s perception of them becomes more important than the beautiful perfection of a relationship with Christ. Allow me to give you a truth to hold on to~ it’s a lot easier defending someone you deeply love than defending yourself and the more love you have for that person, the easier it becomes to defend them. Fear becomes present when we lose sight of Who it is we are defending.
The situation with my daughter and her classmates was quickly resolved. The student admitted to lying and justice was momentarily restored. Was that the last time something like that has ever happened? No. And because of social media, I am sure things like that will continue to happen. But my daughter’s love for me that day triumphed over any concerns she had on how she was perceived~ and I will never forget that.
Today I want you to know truth because I love you, but more importantly because God loves you. Because I want you to experience the love of God in your own heart. In the middle of your hurts and in the middle of your happiness. To know a true and lasting joy that cannot be explained with the mere words of my pen. A joy unspeakable and full of glory.
That’s what I want for you.
The incredible, sacrificial love of Jesus~
the only validation of our existence.
I Peter 1:3-9
I’m very good at judging a book by its cover, especially the “judging” part. Something I do not take pride in.
My problem is, I never read the entire book. I decide I know the whole story just by skimming a few chapters, or even looking at the cover.
I realized the other day how often I will watch other women, how often I will listen to their words and how often I will come to a conclusion about them based solely on a few comments or their outward demeanor. I am ashamed to say that I allow my mind those conclusions when only God knows their heart. I Samuel 16:7
I am not God.
One comment, one action, one mean word
and we can tend to write someone off as a bad book.
We have no idea what’s going on in their heart, in the ugly chapters with the long words and heartbreaking scenarios. We don’t know what they’ve been through or might be going through. The defenses and walls they’ve put up. The hurt they’ve endured. The sadness that overwhelms.
There is always something deeper.
I am not condoning bad behavior. We should always strive to be like Christ, but often we are quick to apply that rule to others and not to ourselves. Matthew 7:2-5
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
I know without a doubt that Christ has never had thoughts similar to those I have had in the past. Wretched thoughts such as~
“What a jerk. What a witch.
What a miserable, horrible person”.
Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139: 16-17
Putting it on paper makes me weep because I know, all Christ sees is love. Forgiveness. Understanding. Mercy and grace.
He sympathizes with our circumstances because He is fully aware of what this life entails. He’s been through it. His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5, Philippians 2:6,7, Hebrews 4:15,16
Too often I have heard the words…
“but you don’t know what she’s like, what she said, what she did, what she wrote. You don’t know…”
I have spoken those exact words myself.
God knows though. Inevitably by saying those words I am somehow trying to justify myself for my wrong actions in judging that person.
My actions that were not Christlike.
My actions that were no better than hers.
There have been times I was hurting deeply. There have been times I have been stuck in a place of darkness and loneliness, feeling as if no one understood. All the raw emotions that gripped me would suddenly spill out, and I would lash out at someone from the agonizing pain I had been holding in. Other moments tears would be so close that I would remain quiet, appearing aloof. In all my setbacks and shortcomings, I am so glad Christ never judged me by my cover. I am so glad he knew my thoughts and heart and instead of judging He was my advocate to God my Father. He sat with me in the pain and pulled me out of it. He gave me grace. I John 2:1-2, James 4:6
Oh ladies, why can’t we be like Christ? Why can’t we look a little deeper and show a little more empathy? Why are we so quick to judge and so lax to pray? Why can’t we offer to sit with them in the pain~with grace on our lips instead of grumbling in our hearts?
I want to be that book called grace. I want my pictures and words to be beautiful illustrations of mercy, empathy, forgiveness and love.
More important, when God looks at my thoughts and heart toward others, I want Him to see those exact pictures too. We can hide behind a beautifully illustrated cover, but what does Christ see when He looks inside? Proverbs 4:23, I Peter 3:3-4, Psalm 19:14
Our world is a wounded, hurting world. A world that desperately needs Hope, the hope that only Christ can give.
A world that needs to read your book.
Let it be the book called Grace.
James 4:6,11-12, I Peter 2:9, Proverbs 3:3-4
I found her there, all alone.
Joy filled laughter echoed from the other room. The room she had just left.
It didn’t seem logical for a child to leave all that fun behind.
To be sitting in the dark, alone.
She was staring out the window in complete silence. I wrapped her in a blanket and asked if she was okay.
Her tiny face was so forlorn as she looked up at me and whispered~
“I miss mommy and daddy.”
My heart melted in that moment. Just like my granddaughter, how often have I felt those exact emotions. My parents are gone now. Somehow, even though I am a grandma, having my dad so close had given me a sense of security. The sweetness of childlike comfort. There are days I don’t want to do the hard stuff, I just want to be that child again.
And then I thought about Jesus.
When did we make Jesus so hard?
So complicated? When did we grow up and turn Jesus into “adulting”? When did humanity turn our Savior and Redeemer into a religion of self reliance where we constantly feel we come up short? When did we begin to believe the lie that we have to be a certain way for Him to love us? That we have to do all the “things” for Him to accept us?
Jesus Himself tells us that we need the faith of a child. Not an adult with all the adult complications and responsibilities.
A carefree child.
What is it about being a child that brings so much comfort? Perhaps the idea of knowing that our parents will take care of everything.
When we were tiny beings, we had no responsibilities. We were freely given the gift of life the moment we were born. We did not have to do one thing in order to receive that gift. As infants, our lives were completely and joyously surrendered to our parents. We didn’t have to make the hard decisions. We didn’t have to worry if our needs would be met. When we were born, we didn’t have to perform or be perfect to be loved.
We were simply loved because of who we were.
But then, things slowly began to change. One day, the innocence shifted. For one reason or another we decided to muster up our four year old courage and pack up our tiny little suitcase with our teddy bears and baby dolls, and we ran away from home. Maybe we made it to the end of our street. Maybe we hid in our backyard for a while. But soon we realized, we missed mommy and daddy and even though we were just a child, we somehow understood how very much they loved us and how much we needed them. We came home, and if we couldn’t find our way, they always found us.
But each day the “hard” took over the “carefree” a little bit more. We grew up.
We became an adult.
And now, too often as adults we are running away from God. God our Father who asks us to simply have the faith of a child. God who wants us to have joy and comfort and peace, simply because He loves us. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He doesn’t ask for performance. He asks for us. Our entire hearts. And yet, we hide. We think we have to be different, better, changed in order to come to Him. We think we have to obey all the rules to be loved. We think we have to do this life on our own.
We think we have to “adult” when it comes to Jesus.
Oh friend. Unpack your suitcase.
Jesus wants you. He wants to give you a new life. A life born into His family. Forever His child. He asks for nothing from you, because there isn’t a single thing you can physically do. Jesus did it all already. He simply wants you. With childlike faith, accept His gift of life. Let your Father make all the hard decisions. Let Him meet all your needs. Let Him love you.
Somehow we have convinced ourselves that a life with Jesus is hard. Complicated. If I’m being honest, there are times I fall into that mentality myself. Sometimes I make my relationship with Him too hard. I make life complicated in my own mind. Jesus never leaves me there though. He always finds me. He always comes through for me and I know without a doubt that I could not do this life without Him.
Do you find yourself alone, sitting in the dark, missing that childlike innocence and the comfort it brings? You may have tried everything in your quest for happiness. You can hear the echo of laughter from long ago in the background of the years you let slip away. Always running, always searching, yet never finding joy.
The joy of just being a child.
It’s time to come home.
Slip your hand into His.
Let Him wrap His love around you like a warm blanket.
Don’t lose that childlike wonder. Look up into the face that loves you.
Pour out your heart to Him and let Him take away all the “hard”.
Or maybe, simply whisper in the quiet~
I miss you.
My kids got me a great gift for Mother’s Day. It’s called StoryWorth.
Every Monday a new question is emailed to me. The questions are always unique. Something to do with my life, my childhood, my marriage or even my personality. I can add pictures to each reply, and at the end of the year it will all be published in a wonderful book.
I loved this idea and found myself wishing I had a keepsake of memories like this from my own parents and grandparents.
That got me thinking about Memorial Day.
A day we set aside to remember all those who have given their lives for our freedom and our country. What a legacy these brave men and women leave behind and what thankfulness we should embody as we remember the sacrifices they made.
And that got me thinking about the legacy and the memories you and I will someday leave behind.
Will it be a story worth telling? A story worth cherishing? As we add to our story every minute of every day, as we hold pictures in the memories of our hearts or add them to the hearts of those we love, will it be a story we want remembered by our loved ones and friends?
As I thought about what I might be writing about every week, I have to admit I did not think I had a story worth telling. Nothing phenomenal has happened in my life. I have done no great thing to be remembered. I’m a normal girl who grew up to be a normal wife, a normal mom, a normal grandma. The end.
But God told me something different.
He showed me that my story~
and yours~ are the most beautiful stories ever written. Not because they are about us, but because they are about Christ in us.
That beauty and glory needs to be shared.
If you are a child of God, your story is much like mine~
The Book of Life
Wretched, Lost and Sinful~
Hopeless, Condemned and Alone
Repentant, Redeemed and Rescued
Found, Forgiven and Free
Adopted, Atoned, Covered,
Thankful and Worthy
Nothing can or ever will separate me from that love. (Romans 8:35-39)
You see, when you become a child of God it’s not your story anymore. It’s Jesus story in you. It’s a story my heart yearns for you to know.
All the wonderful memories mixed in, all the sad situations and joyful expectations, all the amazing wonder of every day of your life is the story God wrote and will finish for you. (Hebrews 12:2). Until you see Him in glory, He is still writing. He’s adding beauty to ashes (Isaiah 61:3) and giving hope to the hopeless. (Romans 15:13) He’s sending comfort to the broken (John 14:18) and peace where you thought it could never be found.(Philippians 4:7) He is conquering every set back (Romans 8:37) and bringing victory to every battle. (Exodus 14:14) He’s adding every period and exclamation mark. He is your beginning and your ending. (Revelation 1:8)
He is the ultimate Happily Ever After. (Zephaniah 3:17, Revelation 21:3-7, 22-27)
What is your story worth?
It’s worth everything.
Don’t ever hide it or think otherwise.
Jesus thought your story was worth His very life.
I was wrong in my thinking that nothing phenomenal has ever happened to me. Chapter 2.
He is beyond phenomenal, and if you haven’t met Him yet, I’d love to tell you all about Him.
If you have met Him, you have a legacy to share. A memorial for generations to come.
The beautiful story of redemption, forgiveness and love. Make every moment of every chapter a reflection of that glory.
Yes sweet friend, your story is worth sharing!!!
II Thessalonians 1:5, 11, Acts 5:41, Amos 9:6
Whoever finds a palm tree first gets a pickle...
I don’t know where my granddaughter Clara came up with this game, but we all started laughing. Five grandkids in the back of our vehicle, only minutes away from our vacation destination. The excitement could not be contained.
It got me thinking about Palm Sunday and the excitement Easter holds, and I couldn’t help but think of the verse~ “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard... the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
I Corinthians 2:9
Do you know what I like about Palm Sunday? Despite knowing the future anguish Christ would endure for all of mankind, God did not stop there. We can praise God for the promise of Easter and the knowledge that one day in heaven we will have eternity to shout Hosanna! So today, I’d like to share with you a place, a problem, a Person and a promise.
I’d like to tell you about a place.
It’s a place that isn’t popular to talk about in this “feel good” generation, when so many are scared to even go out of their homes, and just want to escape into the unreality of television and social media. It’s a place whose destination has been joked about, and even bragged about at times. It’s a place called hell. It isn’t great material for jokes,
it’s a horrifying place of fire and darkness.
It’s real and it’s eternal. (1)
It’s a destination for all sinners. There will be no so social gatherings there.
There will be no parties or camaraderie.
Only torment and pain. (2)
The cost of our sin. (3)
I’d like to tell you about a problem.
The problem that lies within each and every one of us. A problem we are all born with, myself included. (4) That problem is sin. From murdering to the little white lie, sin is sin. None of us are sinless. I am as much a sinner as the murderer on death row or the sweet, little old lady down the street. (5) Being a pastor’s wife does not make me exempt.
No one is exempt. There is nothing we can do, no good deeds we can accomplish, no church we can attend, no charity we can give to that can take away that sin. (6)
And because of the depravity of our sinful hearts, the punishment for that sin is separation from God and eternity in hell. (7)
I’d like to tell you about a Person.
The only sinless Person Who took all our sins upon Himself so that we would not have to face that punishment. That Person isn’t me. It isn’t my pastor husband. It isn’t the priest or the preacher down the street.
That Person is Jesus. (8)
Born in a manger, He took the form of a human baby for the love of a people who don’t deserve it, but desperately need it. (9) Jesus Who, with joy endured the brutal beating and death on a cross to save our wicked souls from eternity in hell. (10) Jesus Who rose again from that death and sits on the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us, praying for us even now. (11) That person Who we owe everything to.
That person is inviting you to a promise. (12)
I’d like to tell you about that promise.
To have faith in that belief that Jesus took your sins upon Himself on that cross. (13)
To joyfully except His invitation by repenting and turning away from the blindness sin has caused (14) in allowing you to somehow be fooled into thinking that hell isn’t that bad, and heaven isn’t that good, and Jesus death was just a bible story for little kids in Sunday school. The lie that the Bible and church is for religious people or fanatics and that you’ll be just fine, because you aren’t that bad a person. You’re actually pretty good.
There is nothing good about us. (15)
Our hearts need the grace only Jesus can give. (16) Our hearts need the faithful believing that His shed blood on that cross washes away sins. (17) Our hearts need sorrow for that sin and repentance. Our hearts need Jesus. (18)
And once we have Jesus, He promises us that we are forever His child. Nothing will ever separate us from Him. He promises us a home in heaven when we leave this earth. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He promises to be with us always. (19)
A palm tree and a pickle. A place, a problem, a Person and a beautiful promise. Are you excited about your destination after death? We have hope in the Person and His promise. Freedom from the fear of death. (20)
The hope of heaven and not hell, but so much more that that~
The hope that we get God.
We get Jesus.
Our Father, our Friend, our forgiveness.
We get a love beyond anything our human hearts have ever, or could ever comprehend. (21)
Yes, there is a place and a problem, but there is a Person with a Promise. And that embodies peace. (22)
(1) Psalm 11:6
(2) Luke 16:22-31
(3) Romans 6:23 (4) Romans 5:12
(5) Romans 3:23 Revelation 21:8
(6) Ephesians 2:8-9
(7) Romans 5:10 (8) I John 2:2, 4:9-10
(9) Philippians 2:7 (10) Hebrews 12:2
(11) Romans 8:34 (12) Revelation 3:20
(13) I Peter 2:24 (14) 2 Corinthians 4:4
(15) Romans 7:18 (16) Romans 5:15
(17)I John 1:7-9 (18) 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
(19) Hebrews 13:5 Matthew 28:20
(20) I John 4:18 Hebrews 2:14-15
(21) Ephesians 3:16-19
(22) Philippians 4:7
“I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
In that moment, I saw God.
Not an angry God. Not a disappointed God.
A forgiving God. A loving God.
A God full of joy.
Let me take you there...
My grandson’s big blue eyes held a lot of fear for such a little guy.
He was confessing to his parents.
He was asking for forgiveness.
You see, moments before in Sunday school I had taught a lesson on that very subject. Forgiveness.
His little 5 year old mind couldn’t seem to grasp the concept, so I made up a story to illustrate. A fictional story about him, a little boy who broke something of his moms without her knowing. The little boy hid what he broke, but later that night as he lay in bed his heart seemed to hurt.
He knew he had to tell her what he had done.
He needed to confess.
So he went to her bedroom and explained everything. With tears he told her he was sorry and asked her to please not be mad for what he had done.
He asked for forgiveness.
As I told that fictional story his eyes seemed to increase in size with every detail,
and then I found out why.
He told me his own story.
We both decided it was something he needed to confess to his parents.
So here we were, in the front pew after church. With his sweet little lisp he spoke-
“Last summer, I climbed up on top of the shelves in the garage and reached for some of your pottery and one piece fell and broke... so I buried it in the dirt behind the garage. I’m sorry”.
There was no hesitation in his parent’s reaction. They could see his repentance. He was their child. They smiled (and almost laughed) they pulled him close and hugged him and told him he was forgiven.
And with childlike faith, it was over.
He smiled and ran to play.
In that moment I saw forgiveness. I saw freedom and release. I saw unconditional love. Little Gabe did not carry that weight with him. He let it go and with unabashed joy he laughed and played
as if it never happened,
and in amazement I watched it all unfold.
This 55 year old grandma was reminded again of the love my Father has for me.
This was God. Our Father.
How often do we feel the weight of guilt for the things we have done? How often do we worry that God is angry with us? We might try to hide our sin, or we might recognize it, repent and ask for forgiveness, but deep down we struggle with believing that our past truly can be forgiven. We might view God as an angry God who expects perfection and if we don’t measure up, punishment will ensue.
But this is not God at all.
Our God is the God of that little child.
You are that child.
He is our God full of mercy, grace and love. Our “It is finished” Father.
Our God who wants us to have faith as a little child. To leave it all with Him and to experience the freedom, joy and peace of repentance and forgiveness.
At times I think we make it too hard. We’re human and we tend to look at God as if He were human too. He holds no grudges as we do. Whether it’s broken pottery or a broken past, with absolutely no hesitation He pulls us close and hugs us. He tells us~
“It is finished my child~
All has already been forgiven”.
With the beauty this knowledge holds, how can we not be filled with unadulterated, pure joy in that freedom?
Our Father is smiling down at us~
let us run and play again.
No thought of the past. No fear of the future.
As little children.
Children full of faith in the love and forgiveness of our heavenly Father.
I John 1:7, 9
II Corinthians 5:21
ARE YOU LOOKING IN A MIRROR?
For a minute I saw it.
My heart remembered and my soul said~ there you are.
And I fell in love all over again.
His dark hair now shimmers white.
His thin shape has filled in.
But his twinkle,
that twinkle in his eye~
It remains the same, even after 34 years.
And when he laughs,
really laughs from deep down inside~
my heart smiles.
We have been through heartache together.
We have weathered the storms of our own making, and come out on the other side.
There has been hurt.
There have been times that I have hidden away and cried.
Times my heart lies and tells me~
this isn’t the same man you married.
And I want that man back.
Not this one.
Eventually, we become like the ones we spend the most time with.
That’s a lot of time.
Time he has spent with me.
So I remind myself, on the days I don’t like what I see in him, perhaps I am looking in a mirror and seeing a reflection of myself~
And I determine that I will work even harder on this marriage thing~
no matter how many years go by~
so that when he looks back at me,
he will see Christ.
I want him to feel my heart full of forgiveness, selflessness, compassion and mercy. A heart full of indescribable love.
The heart of a wife that spends more time with Christ than her own selfish nature.
I will learn to let things go.
I will put his needs before my own.
I will love like Christ loves me.
And I will see that twinkle that makes my heart smile because I know that when I see that twinkle~
his heart is smiling too.
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”
“But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
I LOST THE CROSS
I wasn’t riding at a leisurely pace.
A strong wind blew as I pedaled.
Without thinking, I reached up to pull my tightened collar away from my neck.
Even though my bike continued its speed, that split second seemed more like slow motion.
My necklace broke and the two charms it held fell and bounced back onto the dark pavement behind me.
Two charms that were very sentimental to me.
I tried to stop as quickly as possible, but I had no idea how far I had traveled from the actual place my charms had fallen.
I lost the cross that had once been my moms and the little diamond pendant my husband had gotten me. The tears welled and I could barely see as I turned back to search....
There may have been a time along life’s road when suddenly, without warning, something inside you broke.
Sadness or anger may have overwhelmed you. The heartache may have broken you.
And for a split second, you took your eyes off the cross~but that split second turned into slow motion. Your heart traveled farther and farther away. In your despair, as the tears welled, you looked back but could not see the cross any longer....
I went back and searched for what seemed like an eternity. I asked for help in my desperation. Finally, it was found, there in between the cracks and filth of a dirty road.
My heart felt such a sense of peace and relief that I almost broke down right there in the middle of the street....
God is always there my friend.
He will not move.
If you have put your faith and trust in Him, you are His child and there is nothing you can do that can separate His love from you.
And once you turn back and seek Him, or perhaps even ask for help in your brokenness~
He will be right there waiting for you and the peace and relief that your heart feels will comfort your soul to its very core.
You can never lose the cross. You can never lose the deep love Christ has for you. You can never go too far or be too broken. The long road you have traveled will never be too dirty or have too many cracks.
Because His love and mercy, forgiveness and compassion are always constant~
and His cross always remains.
“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
WHEN YOU’VE BEEN HURT DEEPLY
The bomb dropped in their backyard. Miraculously, it did not detonate. It shook the entire house with its force, but there was no apparent damage to the naked eye.
I recently read about this event in the book ‘It’s Going To Be Alright’, a short biography of my friend’s sweet mother. I was in awe of the words as they came to life on the page.
It was 1941, WWII England.
Bombs and shelters and daily fears. The reality of which many of us know nothing about.
Days later, as her mother picked up a piece of her beautiful crystal, the entire dish disintegrated in her hand. Unbelievably, each piece looked intact, but the bombs implosion had shattered its core.
One touch and it fell apart.
Her heart was broken as her cherished wedding present had to be disposed of.
I have felt this way in my own life at times.
I will be up on the mountain. Up on the top shelf, just like that crystal. Life will be good. Happy. Beautiful.
One word. One thought.
and I fall apart.
All because of a past hurt that shook me to my core.
A hurt that broke my heart.
A hurt that I thought I was past.
A hurt that I believed I had forgiven.
And yet it revisits me.
It comes as an uninvited guest with no warning.
And I am shattered.
I don’t want to fight these feelings. I’m tired. I’m heart broken. I feel alone. The pain is too deep.
So I stay there a while, just like that shattered crystal all over the floor.
I might look like I have it all together to the naked eye.
But I am broken.
So I convince myself that I cannot be fixed. I can’t be glued together.
I will never be what I once was.
I am no longer of use in serving.
And I give up.
I can quote all the verses on forgiveness and comfort and God’s love.
I’m supposed to have it all together, but inwardly...
I dwell on the “befores”,
when everything was still okay.
Before the hurt. Before the bomb. Before I was shattered.
I stay there and wish for it back.
I allow myself to remain broken.
But I am still treasured in my brokenness. I am still loved, even as shattered pieces laying on the floor. Unable to get up.
My God will sweep me up.
He will deeply love every tiny shattered piece of me.
He will hold me in tenderness.
He remembers who I am.
He knows what I have become,
yet He loves me still.
I cannot put my shattered pieces back together again. Only He can.
He holds all those tiny pieces in a box of His making.
Not the beautiful display piece I want the world to see.
But the beautiful brokenness that He alone holds together.
That He alone sees.
I am put back up on a shelf. Not on display, but tenderly held and protected under the shadow of His wing.
Because I am so cherished that I cannot be thrown away.
I am a beautiful reminder of love.
Just like the cherished crystal.
He holds me there.
He tells me I’m okay. I am loved.
I am not alone
Because I am His.
And just as He forgave~despite all the reasons not to,
and SO loved,
through His strength I can do the same.
I can be beautiful again.
My life can serve a purpose.
But only in His box.
All my brokenness.
All the shattered pieces.
Protected and held by Him.
I may not ever know the reason behind the hurt, and even though I don’t understand the pain~
I know He does~
And He can, and will use it for His good.
And maybe someday, someone will read about it, just like I read about the beautiful, broken crystal.
And in the reading they will be reassured and know~
It’s Going To Be Alright.
IT’S TRUE, GOD CHOSE YOU!
As I watched The Nativity on my television that day~
I saw the angel come to Joseph.
Come to Mary.
Speaking to their hearts~
”Don’t be afraid.”
Words of assurance.
This was God.
He would be born of the Holy Spirit. Messiah and Savior of the world.
I saw His birth. I saw the manger. I watched His earthly parent’s faces filled with joy and love for this Child Who meant the world to them.
I saw the gift of Christmas.
My heart pondered the ones God had chosen to raise the Savior of all mankind. The parents whose house Jesus would live and be raised in.
They must’ve been so special for God almighty to choose them.
Why did God choose Joseph?
Why did God choose Mary?
God answered me that day.
He whispered words to my heart that brought tears.
I chose you too Charisse.
I chose you for my Son to live and dwell. Every day He is there with you because He has been born in you.
That day, so many years ago, someone showed me God’s words of incredible love. Someone read me the Christmas story and told me that baby, grown into a man, died on the cross for me. He took my sin on Himself so that I could be justified and forgiven. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. I was no longer afraid of death. Christ was born in me and every day since that day He lives in me, and with me. There is nothing that can separate me from Him and His love for me.
I am not special. I have done nothing, not one thing to deserve this. Yet God chose me, because I am His and He loves me.
And He loves you.
God’s gift of His Son is for you as well. The gift of being born again.
The gift of everlasting life.
The gift of Christmas.
Just as the angel spoke to Mary and she in turn had incredible faith to believe that the Messiah would live in her~
God is speaking to you.
Have faith and believe that He can live in you as well. He can live in your heart and life every single day and one day receive you into the home He has prepared for you in heaven.
No fear of death any longer.
You can be His manger.
You can be His home here on earth.
You can be the light of His star that leads others to Him.
Not because you are special.
Not because you are good enough.
Not because you go to church.
But only because of God’s love.
Only because of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross.
Don’t be afraid.
God’s words give us assurance.
By faith believe and accept God’s beautiful gift today.
The gift of a baby~
The gift of Jesus~
The gift of Christmas!
AN UNPLANNED PREGNANCY
Two of my four children were planned. Our first was a happy, yet unexpected surprise for me.
Our third was a different story,
but one with a very happy ending.
We lived in Connecticut at the time and my OBGYN told us that everyone born before 1965 should get vaccinated for chicken pox and measles, especially if we were planning to get pregnant. The disease could be deadly for a baby in the womb. He advised I get the vaccine at least a month before conceiving, with strict orders that I NOT get pregnant.
So I did.
We were extremely meticulous in obeying the Doctors orders, but as careful as we were...accidents happen.
I freaked out. Mike freaked out. We both freaked out.
The Doctor said “DON’T get pregnant”...
But I did.
And I freaked.
The doctors kind of freaked too.
They advised abortion.
They advised tests to see if the baby would be born with deformities and if these tests were positive, they advised termination.
This was our miracle baby.
Against all odds, God chose for him to be born.
No matter what
~ he would be perfect in our eyes~ because God had chosen to breathe life into his tiny little soul as I carried him.
Month after month we prayed.
And as that precious baby was placed in my arms and tears of joy spilled down our cheeks, we praised God for a perfect, healthy baby boy. Our only son.
What a beautiful gift from God.
My life was changed that day.
We are human. We our sinful. As careful as we may try to be in obeying all the “rules”, in obeying God’s commands~ we can never be perfect. We can never be good enough. We will always mess up. Sin will always be present.
But there’s still a very happy ending.
We are not an accident in God’s eyes. We are precious to Him.
God loves us so much,
He made a way.
Only one way~
and that way is through His Son.
And through His Son, we can become perfect in God’s eyes.
Born again. Not because of anything we have done, but because of everything He did for us.
Christmas changed history.
Christmas changed our hearts. Christmas changed our destiny.
Christmas changed our lives for eternity.
Christ was born.
He left the glory of heaven’s majesty.
To be born in you.
John 1:14, 3:7
For you, so that God almighty could breathe life into your soul. So that you could carry Him in your heart.
So that your life could forever be changed.
Against all odds.
Against all mess ups.
Against all rules.
Only Jesus~ living in you.
Tears of joy spill down my cheeks as I think of the absolute majesty and wonder of Christ’s birth, that precious baby placed in a manger~for me.
It brings me to my knees.
There will be no other gift this Christmas that can compare to such a Gift as this. The Gift of forgiveness and eternal life from a Father and His Son, our Savior that gave His life for you.
When I ponder the birth of my son and that little miracle placed in my arms~ my thoughts go to that manger in Bethlehem and the greatest, most important Miracle of all mankind.
Fall on your knees with me this Christmas and praise God for His miraculous Gift. Matthew 2:10-11
The Gift that changed our destiny.
A Gift that can change your life today
Titus 1:2, John 3:15, I John 2:25,
Romans 6:23, I John 5:11 & 13,
John 10:28, John 17:3
IT’S IN THE BAG
I was dubbed “The bag lady” by my teasing father~in~law.
A fact about me that I’m sure many of you don’t know.
I stitch linen replicas of antique bags, and I love it.
Almost always, the customer will want the initials of a loved one stitched onto the bag. Someone who is precious to them.
I can’t help but think of that person.
This touches my heart as I stitch. These are more than just bags to me. More than just orders for customers. They are memories and love and joy.
I think of these initials and the love they hold in each person’s heart.
How dear that loved one is.
And just as precious as our loved ones are to us, we are so much more precious to God.
I think about His life, and it touches my heart. It’s more than just a story.
So much more.
He lived on this earth. Born in a manger. He knows what it feels like to be human. He understands. And in all His glory, because of His unfathomable love, He died on the cross for our sins.
But it doesn’t end there.
It ends in such sweetness that it brings tears.
Despite my sin, and because of His love, God literally tells me in His word that~my sins are sealed up in a BAG! And He SEWS up ALL my iniquity.
My name is on that bag. Sealed up and forgiven for eternity. He knows me. He loves me. He cares about me. Not because of anything I have done, but because of everything He did for me.
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.”
“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
“...for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.”
I deeply want my orders to be beautiful to those who request them.
Yes, I am a bag lady~
and my longing is that everyone would see the sin our hearts hold,
but not only that~
to truly see your heart as God sees it, through the love of His Son, repenting and requesting God’s precious gift this holiday season.
Your own name, written in
God’s book of life.
Revelation 20:12&15, 21:27.
Your own bag, your sins sealed up, never to be remembered again. Job 14:17
A home in heaven. John 14:1-3
That’s the gift I wish for you to receive.
The beautiful gift God has given us. John 3:16
A treasure that surpasses any you have ever known.
All in a bag.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fail not. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
WHEN YOU’VE BEEN MISTREATED
I just want to wallow in it.
I’m fighting the pricking of my heart because~
I. Deserve. To. Wallow.
How many times can a person get mistreated?
How many times can I get knocked down and pick myself back up again?
I don’t want to get back up.
I want to be angry inside.
I want to cry.
I want to run away.
I definitely don’t want to read my bible or pray.
My heart knows what God is whispering to it~
I block my ears like a little child.
It’s not fair
It’s too hard
I can’t do this anymore.
Let me have my moment.
But God keeps whispering~
He will keep bringing me back to this place over and over again~
Until I realize Jesus.
Today I only realize Charisse.
God knows my circumstances.
They aren’t accidental.
He wants me to see Jesus in every moment~
Even in the mistreatment and hurt.
He whispers to my soul~
Be tender hearted
as I forgave you.
I am undone.
His words pierce my heart.
I can forgive
I can be kind
I can be tender hearted
I can love again
I can do all things through Him~
And that’s exactly what He would do.
“To the saint, personal insult becomes the occasion of revealing the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus”
“The disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor”
“Never look for justice, but never cease to live it”
Today I just have to be honest with you. On beautiful, sunny, spring like days it can be very easy to have the words I want to post about forgiveness tucked neatly in my head. And then the ugly weather comes, and along with it someone says something or someone does something (or doesn't do something) and my heart turns gray and my spirit drops and suddenly my day is ruined. If I let it fester, if I think on it and don't stop~ one day can turn into many days, even weeks, months or years. I can be so defensive of my own sin~"well Lord, I know I wrote all that last week about looking at others through your eyes...BUT..." And then the excuses come. "You don't know what they did to me, you don't know what they said, you don't know how they treated me and hurt me. I don't deserve this" And ladies~ Satan will keep whispering that in your ear. And our Savior will be whispering back~ "I do know, my child, I do know" but we allow Satan's whispers to turn into shouts that drown out our Savior and we wallow in our self pity and refuse to forgive. Tomorrow is Easter but three days prior we remember Christ's death on the cross. We remember that God loves us so much, He sent His Son to die on that cross for us. We should never forget how our Savior was treated. The punishment, the beating, the agony, and yet His very words were "Father forgive them." If we are honest with ourselves and look into our hearts, if we truly want to be like Christ, we know that's exactly what we should be doing. Forgiving. Even when there has been no apology. This might be an area that you desperately need Gods help with. As women we tend to hold on to hurt, I know I do. I'm not saying it's easy or it will happen over night but I know we have to keep asking our Savior to help us forgive as He forgave. Don't let Satan's shouts suffocate your joy and the victory you can have in Christ today. If there is unforgiveness in your heart~ ask the Savior to take it away and to help you forgive. Let your Heavenly Father give you the gift of a brand new life of joy, peace and victory. What a day to celebrate new beginnings. Easter!! Praise God today for His gift to us. Praise God that our Savior knows exactly what we are going through and praise God for my precious Savior who forgives.