Shifting Sand

“… like a foolish man who built his house on sand …”

Matthew 7:24-27

We stood on the edge of the deep cold water, marveling at how far the winds and waves had beaten back the beach, how much of the sand dunes had been consumed by winter’s rage. I stood next to the man who has walked this beaten path with me, staring up at the boardwalk that just last fall had carried us across the dunes. The thick, long posts that once had been buried deep in the sand now hung exposed over the cliff of a disappearing dune. More than ten feet of the dunes had been consumed by winter’s destructive winds and waves.

And with my hand in his, I whisper, “I am sorry.” Tears course as my eyes meet his. A short nod, as if he knows why I am apologizing before the words ever flow from my mouth. “I am so sorry for the last three years, for the last twenty six years, for the life I tried to build on shifting sand.”

The truth of the Word of God is so evident in these beaten down sand dunes. The wind and the waves came, washed away the sandy foundation, and the structures couldn’t stand. Bits and pieces of it now are scattered at the bottom of the dunes to be washed away by the next storm. So much like my life. Positive my foundation was rock, not just any rock, but the solid Rock of Christ, until the storm raged. And when the unexpected storm of the past blew in, every brick that wasn’t of Christ was knocked clean out from under the beautiful life I had built. Crumbling, rotten decay. The house did not stand, but fell headlong into the sea of lies and addiction. Only, it wasn’t a house that fell, it was a woman. I am that woman.

The good news of the gospel found me in the mess I had made. The sandy lies that had washed away are being replaced brick by brick with the truth of the Word of God. The accusations and shame that I have kept hidden in the depths of my heart are being carried out by the tide. Today, I am so grateful. I am so thankful that Christ is the solid Rock on which I stand. I thank God that the names I have been called, the things that have been done to me, the accusations made, the addictions that I fell to when past hurts raised their ugly heads, and the sins I have committed are not who I am. Those labels and heartaches have affected me, but they have been washed away like sand on the seashore . I am a new creation in Christ. I am standing in the truth of His Word and He is daily giving me the grace I so desperately need to cling to Him as the world rages on around me!

And for you this morning, can I just ask, what are you building your house on? When the storms come – and they will come – will your foundation stand? Are you the wise man building his house on the rock or the foolish man building his house on the sand? I encourage you to take time today to just sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him show you His truth. The only foundation that is able to withstand the storms, the waves, and the beating wind is the solid Rock of Christ!

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Pebbles of Forgiveness

No ones knows the heartache
or the heavy burdens a child was forced to bear.
No one sees the daily struggles with which the past has cursed my present.
Yet there is a God who commands me:

Forgive.
Forgive.
Forgive.

The harms done.
The love spurned.
The abuse endured.

My Rock drops pebbles of forgiveness
to toss into the past
To sprinkle like refreshing rain
On those who were knowingly to blame,
Creating ripples of hope in their seas of shame,
And beginning to ease my memories and pain.

Heaven’s Hand

Five treasures laid in heaven
neither by my choice nor by my hand
Precious pearls in faith’s storehouse
so much more than grains of sand
Five souls soar secure, untarnished, undefiled
safe in my Savior’s land
Five hearts never know sin guilt
or pain of growing earthly old
Five pairs of feet skip and run free
on streets laid with finest gold
Five babes my arms empty ache to hold
rest safely Home in Heaven’s hand.

Stained Glass

Stained glass people fill the pew
wondering if they are really new
Bright joyful smiles on the outside
Hearts shattered  pieces  inside
Hiding from judgmental view

Oh, if the broken but knew
all the pieces  now askew
by the Savior are priceless fired,
His  Masterpieces love-inspired
windows we see God's mercy through. 

Broken shards forged to form a view 
of mercy, grace, and the Word True
His glory, your good  His desire
Shines bright from the heavenly fire
God's love through Christ makes you new.





When Lies Attack

My words went silent after I celebrated two years of sobriety. So many things happened and I had to wonder if the God who called me His own wasn’t maybe asking more of me than I am capable of giving. I have been questioning His leading and doubting He remembers that I am a recovering heroin addict, and that my weaknesses and sins number greater than the stars in the heavens.

My mind has been battling with the lies that plague so often. That not so little lie that the sins that I have committed are greater than the grace of God reared its ugly head again. The bigger than life lie that heroin has something better to offer than the comfort, grace, and love of the Savior taunted me. Everything in me longed for the prick of the needle and the rush of poison into my veins. I have walked this path so often over the last two years that hopelessness began to settle in the depths of my soul, like maybe this is what my life will be until I am finally Home. Maybe, just maybe, I am useless to God…

As grief and doubt overwhelmed my soul, triggers lurked abundantly close, and God seemed so far away. My therapist responded to my plea for help, even though I hadn’t been to counseling in months. I sat with her and shed tears, acknowledging that the torment of the past was on replay again. She, gentle and loving, guided me to the truth as I asked, “What do I have to offer any of the young women who God has placed in my life? How can I speak life to them when I can’t find hope for myself?”

And the accusations played over in my head, “Failure. Addict. Hypocrite.”

And yet Jesus spoke gently through my therapist, pointing me back to the truth. I have nothing to offer any of the women that I love and that I call friends. I come empty handed on my own, but when I lean in to Jesus, I have a heart full of the One who has everything to offer them. His name is Jesus and He is the Hope that I have. He is the Love that matters. The Light that shines into the darkness and the Water that gives life eternal is Jesus, and I am so thankful that even on the days that I forget or that my eyes become blind, He doesn’t change. He is still with me and leading me. His grace is sufficient and His Truth pierces the darkness.

As I lean in to Him, He equips me for the ministry to which He has called me. His Word is truth and His ways are right. And I was right. I have nothing to offer, except Jesus … and in the end, HE is the only thing worth giving.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are life scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 English Standard Version

“Whoever believes in Me as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!'” (Jesus’s words as recorded in John 8:38 English Standard Version

"Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from old.   
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; 
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!"   
Psalm 25:6-7 English Standard Version 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8, NIV

What about you? Is there anything in your life or in your thoughts that has kept you from obeying God’s calling on your life? Have you been leaning in to Jesus, trusting He is enough for whatever your current struggle is? Wherever you are, can I just encourage you today to lean in to Him, to spend time in His Word, listening to His voice? Jesus is the Living Water that is always more than abundantly sufficient!

Waiting in His Word

I follow a poetry site, and I openly confess that I am not a poet. Words are hard, and have not always been my friend. For all my growing up years, words were used to demean me and harm me. But then I touched the edge of the garment of the Man who said I mattered (Matt. 8:44, 14:36), who said that He knew not just what was done to me, but what I had done. And it is this Man who spoke words of love and affirmation to me, words that acknowledged not only what I had done that was wrong (I openly call sin), but that He loved me enough to carry the judgment for that sin on His shoulders. His love engulfed me and through His stripes I am healed. (Isaiah 53:5) Forgiveness was poured out on me, is poured out on me, through Jesus Christ.

I don’t know about you, but everyday presents a new challenge and a new opportunity to trust the One who offered the edge of His garment or to try to do the healing and laboring on my own. Today I leaned in close and heard my Savior Jesus whisper, “Rest. Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations.” (Psalm 46:10) Oh, what a message for my battle weary heart. Quit. Just surrender to the King of Kings and acknowledge that He is sovereign over all the things that are bothering my troubled heart. Lay down my weapons and my self-reliance. Lay down the desire to be someone that matters. Surrender the need to be right and to carry others. Lay down the responsibility for everyone else’s salvation. Give Him the financial mess that our family is in and let Him work it out. Wait for His provision. I am incapable of fixing any of those things on my own. The Lord is God. He will be exalted among the nations – He will, not me. He will be the One to receive the glory and the honor and the praise. He will rule over every heart, even those that don’t acknowledge Him today.

Today, my battle weary soul is choosing to rest in the truth of His Word, to believe, even though I can not see. I am blind and deaf, but I am choosing to believe He will give me eyes to see and ears to hear, that His love is enough. Today, I am choosing to believe that He will part the sea of financial devastation we are walking through and will bring us out on dry land.

What about you? Are there areas of your life that feel out of control, that you are trying to make work out a certain way? Are you ready to lay them down in sweet surrender to the One who holds you in His hands? His love for you is sure and His presence is promised.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” Psalm 130:5 (New King James)

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on hte Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (New King James)

How Will You Respond?

IMG_20190102_102321-e1546442880137.jpgSome time ago, an invitation to a wedding, beautifully embellished, arrived in the mail. Running my fingers over the shiny raised print with tears leaking, I whispered, “Where has the time gone?” Within the envelope was a smaller stamped envelope with a card that politely stated, “The bride and groom request the honor of your response.”  

This invitation brought the reminder of an invitation written long ago, not on aged parchment with elegant ink, not to be a guest at someone else’s wedding. This invitation came through the womb of a virgin girl named Mary. He was born a babe and laid in a manger. He grew in wisdom and in stature (Luke 2:52), lived the perfect life for the world. His invitation to us is not merely asking us to be guests at His wedding, but to be His bride. He grew to carry our failures and griefs to the cross, willingly holding out His hands and feet to receive the imprint of love.

Nail scars and the spilling of blood for you and for me is how God wrote the invitation to be his Son’s bride so many centuries ago. His love is one that overcomes our failures and shortcomings, our sins. Jesus’s death was not the final word. Three days after He was laid in the tomb, Jesus rose again – He defeated death and sin for the world. And yet, He carries those scars as a reminder and promise to love us in our every failure and every success, through every heartache and every joy.  

Just as I filled out the elegant response card to the wedding and slipped it in an envelope to confirm my attendance, Jesus is asking you to respond to His invitation. He is inviting you to not only attend His wedding, but to be His bride. When you accept Jesus’s invitation, He washes you and makes you clean of all your failures, sins, and stumblings.  He carries the weight of your guilt and shame to the cross and sets you free. He makes you white as snow and promises to never leave you. The debt you owe for your sins has been fully paid by the Groom who longs for you to be His bride. (For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23) 

Jesus is waiting for you at the alter, to take you in His arms and call you His beloved, to carry you through every heartache and to be with you through every joy. Once you call His name, no matter what the future has, joys or sorrows, victories or defeats, He promises to always be with you. How will you respond? 

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’; and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved; for in the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” Romans 10:9-11

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7