Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Identity Crisis

Seems to me like as moms it is so easy to loose yourself.
 I was asking myself, “Who am I?” just the other day. 

My answers were: 
Cook/chef (depending on the day)
and the list went on and on.

As I thought of all of these things. I realized how easily I set myself up for failure. If my children misbehave, I am not doing a good job as a mom and I fail.  If my house is a mess, I am not doing a good job as a housekeeper and I fail. If I don’t have energy to make a great and healthy meal and we eat cereal, I am not doing a great job as a cook/chef and I fail. If my children are not learning what I am trying to teach them, I am not doing a great job as a teacher and I fail. If I don’t do a good job decorating my house, planning activities for my family, being involved at the right level of involvement then according to “them” I am failing. I am not who I said I was. My identity is flawed. I am not worthy…

Not worthy…that is exactly what I am. That is exactly how my identity must start. Because let’s face it, friends, we are not worthy. But I am not talking about being worthy of being a mom, wife, housekeeper, etc. I am talking about being worthy to have an identity that never fails. The sweet sweet truth is that I do have an identity that never fails, even when I do fail! 

When I was six I saw my need of a Savior and placed my trust in Him. I could not have argued apologetics or taught Biblical truths, but I knew I two things: I was a sinner, and I needed a Savior. That, dear reader, is where my identity was formed. An identity in Jesus. An identity formed because a worthy Savior saw fit to come to earth to live a perfect life. Then he picked up a cross and chose to die for my sins and yours. For all sin. He choose to die in my place. The story doesn’t end there, for if it did my identity would be dead. No, the story goes on because Jesus conquered death and rose victorious from the grave. He is not dead any longer! He is alive. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, he makes intercession for me! Because I am not worthy, He is. 

When I place my identity safely in His worthy hands, then I can truly be content. Be happy. Be loved and love in return! Even when my house is a mess, as sometimes with four children it can be, I am still worthy. Not because of my own merit, but because His. When I look in the mirror I need to work on seeing my true identity. How do I do that? I need to fill my heart and mind with what Christ says about me. He says I am loved (1 John 4:10), I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), I am accepted (Ephesians 1:6), I can do all things (Phillippians 4:13). By placing my identity in Jesus I can live safe and secure even when I fail at everything else. 

So, dear reader, where is your identity placed? Do you feel unworthy or unloved? Or are you placing your identity safely in the hands of the one who died for it! 

God made you.

It is enough.

You, my dear sweet reader, are truly beautiful!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Broken: When God changes your plans.

I have debated so many times about writing this post. How do I say what I have learned? How do I carefully address the pain of being moved and molded? How do I share how God works when our lives have been shaken and broken?

Every person in their walk with Christ will find themselves at some point on a similar road my family was on several months ago. Although each path is different, they are all full of pain, loss, and brokenness.  It is on those paths we make a choice.  We can choose to wallow in our sorrow, or we can choose to trust God's plan.  As Christians we walk these paths many times. Some end with understanding. God shows us why He chose this path. While other times I still wonder why the pain??

The day that changed our family's course is not as important as the lessons I have learned.  I could become bitter and angry. I won't lie, I have had my moments. Life was going great, and I was happy with where we were. I was, dare I say, comfortable! But God had different plans. I am learning that when God has to move us He often has to shake the tree to get me down. I'm a deep root person.  I like to settle in. So when my life was ripped from its roots, needless to say there was shock.
My first response was tears and sorrow. Then anger and pity.  My anger didn't last long. Not because I am some super spiritual person, but more because my personality is not the angry type. Then was the waiting and fear.  Waiting and fear are definitely where I struggle.  As I watched my life unravel I clung to the hope that God did have a plan.  That it would be okay. That no matter where we went, He would be there and leading me first. And though life is not perfect now, we still are tenderly moving on, we can see that it is true.  God was leading us. God chose this path so that we could learn some valuable lessons. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to know what is important and focus on that.

So, how should we respond?
We must put our focus to where it needs to be.  Not on other people, or the situation at hand.
We must focus on God.

We must choose to see what God has for us. When in the midst of our trial we must face ourselves honestly in the mirror.
We must trust His plan is better than our own.
I say all these things, but you must know it is a lot easier to type than to carry out.
When I put my focus on God, only then can I glorify Him in the midst of a trial.
Only when I am focused on God can I have the peace I need, despite the storm.
As we sailed on our stormy sea, we had moments that we took our eyes off of the cross and felt sorry for ourselves. It was then we began, like Peter, to sink into the abyss of the waves that seemed to engulf us. It was when we took our gaze from the creator of all things that we became discouraged.
When our eyes are on the cross our vision becomes clear. Our hearts become focused on what is important.

So, what do you do while you wade through the trial. While we waited on God to move and point the way. The first thing is that we stayed involved. The Bible says

So often the first thing people do when they are in a trial is to avoid church. Especially when the trial begins in church. When my family moved suddenly we immediately got involved with our new church. It was part of our healing. To have the family of God wrap their physical arms around us as we searched for God's plan was a comfort I can not totally explain. The messages brought by our pastor brought healing and encouragement. We were truly built up by our church family. (It was our church family long before we moved as it was my home church.)

The next thing we did was not to forgo prayer and reading my Bible. I can't tell you it was easy. There were many days that the words didn't come. There were many times my only prayer was "why?". There were days, however, that I poured out my heart and listened to God as He answered my prayers with a peace deep in my soul. I began to crave my Bible. I knew the answers to this very trial was hidden in it's pages, and I was sure to find it out. I began to express my faith in a way I was not used to. To write it down and sing it out. God used this trial to focus my attention on Him. If I had simply given up when it was difficult I would never have experienced the joy and love that overflows from a broken heart being pieced together by it's maker. It's true the song that we sang when we were children!

And finally, when wading through a trial you must learn the difference between sharing our trial, or  venting and complaining. There is a time to share your heart. To tell a trusted friend how you feel and honestly open up about your broken spirit. But I must caution you, from experience, don't make this a habit. Don't dwell on what has happened. Instead learn to focus on what will happen! Learn to live in the moment you are in. Yes, our trials and experiences shape and mold us. They are part of us. But they are not all of us. They do not define us. When we spend so much time dwelling and talking about what has happen, we begin to loose sight of what will happen. I was there. I know when I walked the path of complaining and venting I was discouraged, angry, and bitter. I learned that when I felt the need to talk about it if I focused on the lessons I learned and how God used the trial to bring me closer to Him it was more edifying to me. It helped me to focus my heart on God. It helped me to heal. Unlike allowing my wounds to continue to fester.

I'd like to write that I always choose to trust. That I always kept my focus on God. Right from the start. But that would be a lie. I have grown bitter and chosen to wallow in pain. But, for reasons I will never fully understand, God continues to work in my life. He continues to love me and choose me, even when I am not choosing Him. God's love is indeed loyal. He loves us with a abundant love. Yet, we fail him...over and over again. I have learned that He always has a plan. When we focus on Him, when we allow Him to heal our heart. When we follow His words...then we can have a joy that is unspeakable. A love for God that overwhelms our souls and sets our hearts on fire for Him.

God made you.
It is enough.
You, my dear sweet reader, are truely beautiful!