Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I once was blind, but now I see

John 9:11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

How do I relate to this verse?  Jesus has created a miracle in me, exactly the same way he did to the blind man in John.  I believe he heals my blindness every day.

I was one of the BIGGEST victim's roaming this earth, and there a few people all too eager around here who will contest to that.  Being that victim prevented me from looking at my participation in a few of the major events in my life (blindness).  I'm not saying that I had a part in the gang rape when I was 6, but I am saying I had a part in my first marriage falling apart, and the fact that my brother and I didn't speak for almost 5 years on top of 20+ years of almost forced communication (you know the type, put on a happy face for the family who can see right through it anyway).  I wanted to walk around and say how awful my first husband was, how terrible my brother was and can't you see that's why I think I deserve to drink, or neglect my children the way I do, or date the people I think are good for me, or stay out to all hours of the morning when I don't have the kids, or keep all people at a distance so I don't get hurt again, or go to another person for help when the first person doesn't co-sign my stuff anymore, or focus on everyone else because it is way to painful to look at me, I'm doing just fine?  Woe is me.  I deserve to sin because it doesn't matter, I'm going to hell anyway.

Wow, was I blinded.  Blinded by resentment, fear, pain, hurt, jealousy, grief, greed, lust and so much more.  The mud Jesus put in my eye were my consequences.  The loss of my marriage, financial ruin, the pain in my mother's and sister's eyes, loss of friendships, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, etc.  Where is my Siloam?  First it was the rooms of a 12 step program, then it was a church on top of a magic mountain, then it was a therapist's office, and 12 years later it is a combination of prayer, church, family (including my brother), friends, and my therapist.  I confess to all of them, and yes sometimes I confess right here on Lipstick Dogs. 

The thing is, is that when I confess what is really going on, I get clarity and the blinders are lifted and I can see again.  I don't make the same mistakes, or at least to the degree as I did the first time.  I have a wonderful marriage today, my kids are healthy and thriving, I have a wonderful relationship with all of my family, I am reconnecting with old friends, and making new friends.  Jesus heals my blindness, I am a witness for him. 

Quick daily example:  My daughter called tonight and wants to go an exhibit in Philadelphia next week.  The choices were Wednesday or Thursday night.  Thursday night I have bible study and if we go Wednesday night my husband would have to take off of work.  So I email my husband and say, Chelsea wants to go to an exhibit on Wednesday, can you take off of work?  Can you see my sin?  Can you see my blindness?  It took me by the time I hit the send button to realize I was dishonest, selfish and greedy.  Yes, I don't want to miss my bible study, but if my husband doesn't have to take personal time off on Thursday, why would I ask him to do that?

Do you have mud in your eye you need to wash out?  Are you a silent victim?  How has Jesus helped heal your blindness?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mustard Seeds

"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to a mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you." (Luke 17:6)

I came across this passage today while reading Luke, and it always moves me when I'm told that even if I have the faith of a mustard seed in God, that I can do pretty much anything through Him.  Not that I want to stop at the mustard seed, I think I would rather have the faith of an oak tree.  Solid, hard, steadfast.  What blocks me from that type of faith?

I've been participating in a Beth Moore bible study the last couple of months on the Fruits of the Spirit.  I will share a bit of what I've learned so far in the study and what I've learned this week.  Remember my thinking is sometimes off, so these are only thoughts that go through my head, not necessarily fact.  Although I believe I am on this journey with God and pretty much anything that goes through my head was meant to go through there.  (see what I mean)

What I've learned so far is that the Holy Spirit resides inside me because I've accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  That I am completely sealed off from any evil spirit (Satan) consuming me.  That I cannot be separated from Him.  If I am feeling separated, then all I need to do is turn around, get back in the Word, pray, remember that I am forgiven, talk to my fellow believers, get back to church, love someone else, PRAISE HIM!!  AND...I can do this even if I only have the faith of a mustard seed. 

In the study so far this week (2 days) we've been learning about peace.  I've learned that Satan asks God for permission to test us (Job 1-3).  That God believed in Job enough to know that he would prove Satan wrong, and that I need to believe in God enough to prove my mind wrong of the things I sometimes believe.  When my peace is interrupted by the thoughts of financial insecurity, thoughts of grief for those I have not lost yet, thoughts of my children and where they may be headed, sadness for being separated from my brother, worry about my friends....I need to turn it over to Him and BELIEVE that through Him all things are possible.  That we are ALL inheritors of the Kingdom as long as we believe in Him.  That we need to be examples (witnesses) for Him on this earth.  That we have the Prince of Peace who died for us on the cross.  Through Him WE WILL have peace.  This is a promise to us.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??????  It means that I need to live my life today as an example of this peace.  That I need to show the world the trust I have in Him, no matter what happens here on this earth.  That the only thing that really matters is that I will eventually be wearing my princess dress and my crown as I walk into the pearly gates and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  That it doesn't matter how much is in my bank account and that when I worry about it, it has become an idol to me.  I have put it before God and therefore have lost my peace.

Oh boy...so there we have it.  2 days into a week of study on peace and I'm out of control.  Good thing I have a place to put my thoughts.  More to come on this one I'm sure!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Are you first or last?

The point I am pondering today from my book is this: Jesus didn't just say, "Be satisfied if you are given the lowest seat"; he said, "Take the lowest place."  Basically, do I compare outwardly my position because I care about the "status" in the community, or inwardly my position because I care about what God wants me to be and do?

Type A:  Am I about how far up the latter I get?  What position in line I am?  How many places I've traveled?  How high my paycheck is?  How big my house is?  Are my clothes in fashion?  What kind of car I drive?  How many degrees I have?  What's my status in the socialite circle?  Do I have the perfect marriage?

or am I

Type B: How many people can I help today?  Where can I be useful?  Where can I be a servant?  Where would God have me?

This is my black and white thinking.  Either I am Type A, or I am Type B.  Really, I am somewhere in between today.  I am striving for Type B, and more times than not I am living there.  It's when I see the Jones' living more towards Type A and they seem happy, that I start getting competitive and wanting the same things again that I had.  What is that?  My humanism?  Satan creeping in?  I think both.  I need to remember where Type A got me.....to Type B.  God is SO good!

I also have to remember that even though it may appear that the Jones' are leaning towards Type A, that just like me, it may be just a blip and then the scale will start shifting again to Type B.

One last point, if you are thinking I am writing this about you, then you might want to take a look at how often you are living in Type A.....because this story, was really about me.  :-)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quickly or Slowly...God and my mother's love

Most of the time I demand to have immediate gratification for my decisions. When that happens, I am happy for a small period of time (days, weeks or even maybe a couple of years) and then I move on to something else I think I want and demand to have that instead. It's those things that I wait for and work towards, and those things that are given to me which I don't understand but I keep and realize the significance of, that mean the most to me.

I've been reading The Relationship Principles of Jesus by Tom Hollady, which is a 40 day journey in developing the relationship skills that Jesus teaches us about. Today's reading was about Matthew 18:4 "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven".

Do I go to God demanding that he fixes certain situations I am in (and tell him exactly the way it should be fixed)? Do I force solutions/relationships in order to have that quick fix because I'm not trusting God enough to let him work in my life and put before me those things that are good for me? Am I so caught up in what I think is best that I completely miss what God put before me? My answer to these questions is absolutely, but not all the time.

Patience is one of the scariest things to pray for, but yet the most rewarding. When I can completely turn my life over to God and ask Him to take care of all my needs and wants, I have freedom from worry and am able to enjoy my life for I know that He will take care of me, no matter what and I feel safe! I know that He will provide for me things that were not even in my thoughts, for I limit myself, but He knows my full potential and works on bringing that out in me and for me to work for His glory.

I remember when I was little asking my dad for material things (wants) all the time, and he provided them. He was a care free character who revelled in the material things of this world and thought he was indestructible, which was his demise. On the other hand, my mom provided all of my needs. I know it was hard for her and that she struggled financially to provide clothing, food, shelter and that she struggled internally as well and sacrificed more than I will ever know. Which was more of an example of God's love to me? My mother is one of the purest examples of Jesus' sacrifice for my sins than anyone in my life. She shows unconditional love for ALL her children, she does everything possible to provide for our needs, yet lets us learn our own lessons and is there for us when we fall. For Christmas I could always count on my dad buying us what we asked for, yet my mom would buy us things that we never thought of. This was incredible, because she always knew what we needed without us asking her. Even though we may not have appreciated it right when we got it all the time, we eventually realized it was something we really needed.

Mom, I love you and thank you for your example. If I can be half of the example you have been to me to my children and to other people I come in contact with, then I hope I have made you and God proud. Your love, mom, multiplied 1 trillion is not even close to God's love for me and I cannot fathom it, for your love has been so great.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Precious Cargo

My daughter Chelsea texted me today that she got a new job working at Lowe's and was so excited.  She was on her way to her other job at Toys R Us, and I texted her back saying to be careful that she is precious cargo and she needs to treat herself that way.  After I sent the text, I thought about it and how profound that statement is. 

Our bodies are but vessels for the Holy Spirit, God to communicate to others.  I look for burning bushes, I look for the waters to part, I look for the worst of the worst afflictions to be miraculously healed, but I forget to look in my sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, husbands, childrens, friends, neighbors, strangers eyes and see that God is residing right there.  Close enough for me to reach out and touch Him. 

I know this is not a secret to some, but sometimes I get this God smack right up alongside my head that says "Dah Tina, WAKE UP!!  You can hear my voice through everyone and everything.  You can see my miracles in all things.  I am working my miracles in every movement on the earth.  I have a plan, and you are on a need to know basis.  When you need to know, you will knowFor now, I've got this.  Stop messing around with it."

How simple.  How wonderful.  How incredibly hard to remember.  No wonder he gives us one day at a time.  Each day I hit the reset button and try again, knowing that somewhere along the way, I'm going to screw things up again, but grateful for the opportunity to change it tomorrow and if I'm lucky, before I hit the pillow that night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Grief and Glory

In my bible study this week we talked about agape love, the love that God provides. As we were talking, I wrote a note to self "was all of the grief in my life for this purpose?"  For me to be where I am today?  The glory of my life today and the journey I am on today with God?

We watched a video and that is basically what was talked about.  That if we don't feel the pain of grief and rejection, then why would we search out the love of God?  If we could possibly get that type of love from people, then would we even need God?  I've learned about agape love, and I will strive to give that type of love, but I know that I will fail every day.  I can only expect that type of love from God.

Beloved's, I am mourning.  I tried to help a young girl last year and I got the news today that she did not make it.  That her addiction took her life.  When this happens, questions come into my thoughts.  Why didn't she "get" it?  Why do her children need to go through this pain?  Could I have done anything else to help her?  Why does her family need to suffer this pain and this loss?  Did she know Jesus?  Did I ask her that?  Should I have gone to that place with her?  and on and on and on. 

Then I come to this prayer "Lord Jesus, God in the Highest, Your work in this world is beyond anything I can possibly dream.  Help me to be of service to those who need me.  Help me to walk in line with Your will and walk beside my friends who are grieving.  Surround them with your love and heal their hearts.  Lord please don't let their hearts harden.  Please don't let my heart harden again, for I trust in You, Oh Lord my God.  Thank you for showing me how to love and for softening my heart enough to love again.  Take away my fear of love so that I may feel the joy of love.  You are almighty and I trust in you always.  Amen"