Make Me

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It’s no secret to my family and friends that 2016 was a painful year for me and my family. Lots of loss and uncertainty. I half-heartedly began 2017 with the idea that January 1st was a new beginning of sorts and that this new year was going to bring prosperity, healing, and happiness.

It hasn’t. 

I’ve always been leery of making New Year’s Resolutions. Not because I thought I couldn’t keep them, but because I know there are things in my life I don’t have control over.

Like loss.

Health crises.

Broken relationships.

Heartache.

We’re not immune to them, as much as we might think we are. We don’t always have control over what happens in our lives. Maybe we can control our reactions to them at times, but the overall events experienced are often times just thrown at us without warning.

I know I’ve mentioned the quote that we’re not always afraid of the future but of the past repeating itself. In my life that deems true, although there always seems to be something “new” brought to me, too. Sometimes I can “deal” with it…sometimes I don’t feel I can. It depends on the severity and the timing.

I recently heard a message about a Christian song by Sidewalk Prophets. They said something I had heard before, but was reminded of at just the right time.

It was about the “scary prayers”. The ones where we ask God to use us. To break us. To make us more like Him.

“I think the key to it all is praying those scary prayers and living life on the edge. Allowing God to make us uncomfortable so that we might do great things for him. If we’re made lonely, then we’ll know what its like when we truly find love. If we’re broken we’ll know what its like to heal. If you change your life and set it towards his grace, I promise you it will be an awesome journey and you will see the world change around you.” – Dave (Sidewalk Prophets)

Once we pray those words, we’re open to seeing just how much God wants to use us for His glory. He will break us, refine us, mold us, and do whatever He needs to do for us to surrender our lives to Him. Whatever it takes for us to take up our cross and follow Him. Fully and wholly. Asking Him to do what He wants in our lives is a risk on our part. But what follows, sometimes right away…sometimes not…is always worth it.

“Keep Making Me”

“Make me broken so I can be healed; ‘cuz I’m so calloused and now I can’t feel. I want to run to You with heart wide open…make me broken.

Make me empty so I can be filled; ‘cuz I’m still holding onto my will. And I’m completed when You are with me….make me empty.

‘Til You are my One desire…’til You are my One True Love…’til You are My Breath, my Everything…Lord, please keep making me.

Make me lonely so I can be whole; ’til I want no one more than You, Lord; ‘cuz in the darkness I know You will hold me….make me lonely.

‘Til You are my One desire…’til You are my One True Love…’til You are My Breath, my Everything…Lord, please keep making me.

‘Til You are my One Desire…’til You are my One True Love…’til You are My Breath, my Everything…Lord, please keep me making…I know You’ll keep making…Lord, please keep making me.”

I have been broken. Down on my knees overwhelmed with pain and heartbreak. Prostrate on the floor.

I have been emptied…and emptied…and emptied again.

The loneliness can become debilitating at times.

Humanly, I have sometimes wondered why, when I couldn’t see what good could possibly come out of the situation.

But then God shows me. He wants me. He wants all of me. He will go to the extreme for me to willingly hand over my heart and life to Him. I’ve seen it, experienced it, lived it. And guess what? He follows through on His promise to heal us, fill us, and make us whole again.

He’s the refiner who is burning off the dross.

He’s the potter and we are the clay.

He’s the Father and we are His children.

Just as earthly parents want their children to surrender any arrogance, over-confidence, trust that’s only in themselves, Jesus wants to rid us of those harmful characteristics, too.

When we look for only earthly healing…we miss the opportunity for God’s miraculous works.

When we look to everything and everyone else to fill our needs…we miss the incredible fullness God can give us. The only way we will ever feel complete is through Him. Nothing in this world, besides Christ, will fulfill our every longing.

Nothing.

When we feel so alone because everyone in our lives has disappointed us, yet we still look to them for our deepest relationships, we will remain lonely. Only God can fill the deepest parts of us…the areas where no human could possibly fill.

If we allow Him to.

This has happened to me too many times to count: I’m having a rough time and reach out to someone. And the phone keeps ringing. The texts go unanswered. I go to the next person, who also is unavailable. Then the next…and the next…until I realize I am sitting alone without anyone to talk to. Then it dawns on me. Perhaps God is taking away every possible “human” interaction I am longing for…so that I will come to Him.

I’m not proud to say that at times I look to others to fulfill my need before I go to Jesus. But I have and sometimes I still do. However, in the end, it’s still Christ Who is My One True Love. He is the Only One Who can be my One Desire, my Breath. My sinfulness takes me down paths not meant for fulfillment…until I realize I need to turn around and lift my eyes up to Him.

The horizontal outlook on life will never fill us the way our vertical one can. We can look at all that the world provides and always, always, always come up short. But the moment we turn our focus vertical…on the One Who created this world, we can be filled like never before.

Even though 2017 isn’t going the way I magically hoped. Even though the “break” I was hoping for hasn’t come, I know He’s just continuing to “make” me. He’s continuing to break me, mold me, and draw me closer to Him. Yes, it hurts and yes, I continue to make the mistake of not always going to Him first. But I’m a work in progress. I’m not finished yet….He’s not finished with me yet. I trust when He is, I will be exactly Who He created me to be.

Until then, I will continue to ask the “scary prayers”. I’ll ask Him to use me. To use my life. To use my circumstances. I will expect pain and heartbreak, knowing He’s still in control.

How about you? Do you feel like you are in the Refiner’s fire right now? Can you think of a time when you were? If so, what do you think the result will be for you? Or what was the result, if that time is in the past?

Do you ever, like me, wonder when it will all end? When the storms of life will stop seeming so unbearable? Be assured, my friend, that even through all of the trials and tribulation you face, He is there. He is always there just waiting for us to surrender and fall into His arms. He is our Healer and our Deliverer. Let Him in.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Remove the dross from the silver,
and a silversmith can produce a vessel. Proverbs 25:4

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

We’re in this week of gratitude amidst the messiness of our lives. So today I am thankful for heartache and pain because it draws me closer in relationship to Jesus. #livingalifeofthankyou

(I have one request….as I know many of you click “like” on the Facebook page or elsewhere. It would be great if you could click “like” on this page…the real blog post. It would be GREATLY appreciated! 🙂 I’m not positive if a difference will be made, but thought I would try it being I am a bit newer to this. Thank you!)

Unanswered Prayers?

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Do you remember the song, “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks? Part of the lyrics go like this:

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talking to the Man upstairs…that just because He may not answer, doesn’t mean He don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts…are unanswered prayers.”

I don’t listen to Country radio much anymore, but this song came to mind when thinking about “thankfulness”.

You see, even as much as I love this song (and music, in general), I have been taught that God DOES hear every prayer and He DOES answer. It just might not be the answer I want.

God hears our pleas, our cries, and our lamentations. Every single one of them.

And He answers. Every single one of them.

Some of His answers could be “yes”, “no”, or “not right now…trust My timing”. It might seem like He isn’t answering, but perhaps He is, just in ways we choose not to see. He might be silent for the moment, but be assured He will answer.

Of course we want the “yeses”.

We want the “answered prayer” to be the solution we have desired…whether it be healing, comfort, strength, courage, etc.

But what happens when His answer is “no”? Do you/we lose faith in him? Do we demand a better answer? Do we accept what He has said?

Sometimes when His answer is “no” or “not right now”, I can get frustrated. With my life seemingly out of control at times, I sometimes wonder, “Why, God? Why can’t You just allow this to happen? I don’t understand.”

It’s not always our privilege to understand. We’re not always given the immediate answer.

But does that mean He doesn’t care? Absolutely not!

There have my been many, many, many prayers I have prayed over the years that God has answered with a “no” or “not yet” or “be a little more patient….My plan is unfolding.” I admit I don’t always understand. Or even like it. But I have to believe He knows what’s best. I struggle with it sometimes, because when I don’t surrender…it’s because I believe I know what’s best.

Over time I have learned to be thankful for what seemed to be “unanswered prayers”. I’m so thankful He didn’t (and doesn’t) give me everything I want and believe I need. If was in complete control of my life, it would not go well.

His ways are ALWAYS higher than ours.

His understanding is beyond what our finite minds can comprehend.

He is all-knowing, all-powerful and always present. Because of that, we can be assured He hears us all.

As I’m writing this, I’m thanking Him for not allowing me everything that is comfortable; that I believe would make me “happy”; and that really wouldn’t be good for me. I’m so thankful for answered prayers, even when He’s leading me down a path I’m unfamiliar with. I need to continue working on trusting Him completely, and without a doubt and quickly.

Can I ask you…have there been times you have felt God isn’t hearing your prayers, or answering them?

Are there times when you wonder, “How many times do I actually have to ask for this particular thing”?

My friend, sometimes we won’t get a direct answer…a direct lead…something tangible and as clear as the nose on my face.

But during those frustrating, waiting times, offer Him a thank you. Tell Him you trust Him and are thankful He can see the whole picture, even when we can’t. Thank Him for being all-knowing and all-powerful and always present. Simply continue with the thankful heart you can have, no matter if you’re particular dream seems to be put aside.

One night, many years ago, I experienced one of the most excruciating and painful times in my life. When I laid my head on my pillow that night, I thanked God. I told Him that I didn’t understand how that event would ever work itself out for good, but until I did see the fruit coming from it, I would thank Him for the experience and all that came with it.

I was used to thanking God in all circumstances already, so that night didn’t seem so difficult. I do see some good coming from that experience and I truly am grateful. Not for “unanswered prayers”, but simply thankful for God’s sovereignty over all areas of my life.

Precious Lord, I ask You to help me live with a thankful heart…and a thankful soul…and a thankful attitude. Sometimes it’s not easy and I need Your help. I know You will equip me with the tools I need and for that, I thank You. Father, help anyone reading this prayer, to become thankful in all aspects of their lives, knowing You are in control. Thank You for being the only God I need and forgive me for wanting to have control over certain situations. Thank You for loving us enough to say “no” or “not yet”. Thank You for the trials and triumphs in my life and in other people’s’ lives, because those times can bring us to our knees in prayer, love, adoration, and faithfulness, as well as repentance. Train us to be thankful to You and for You. Amen.

    Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NIV)