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!)

Mistake after Mistake

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Boy, do I make mistakes.

Sometimes it feels like I make so many and will never be forgiven for them. My mind is like a movie reel that replays the mistakes over and over and over again.

“What did you do that for?”

 “Didn’t you learn last time?”

“Why do you keep screwing up?”

It’s almost as if each morning I wake up and plan to make so many mistakes even before the boys leave the house for school. Of course, I don’t plan on that, but it happens; and it happens way too often. And that movie reel just keeps playing…

“Again?  Really…again?”

Now, generally, when I make a mistake or do something unkind towards someone, I apologize and ask for their forgiveness.  Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t…at least not at that moment. And that pierces my heart. I guess I want their approval so I can forgive myself.

When I know I’ve messed up, I do try to live differently. But just like every single human on the face of this earth, I continue to screw up. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes just with myself.

I am imperfect and I am a sinner.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way justifying what I do and what I continue to do. I actually feel like Paul writing to the Romans. Starting in chapter 7 verse 15:

I do not understand what I do. For what I WANT to do, I do not do–but what I HATE, I do. (Emphasis mine)

Verse 17 says:

 As it is, it is no longer I, myself, who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Skipping to Verse 24:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  25) Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

We are born into sin. We are not immune to it. We sin on purpose—we sin without knowing it—we are just plain and simple: sinners.

But the story doesn’t end there.

 Right after Paul speaks of the wretched man he is, he writes this in Romans 8:1-2:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

 Every single day, I need Jesus.

Every single moment I need His forgiveness.

I need Him to set me free from sin and death.

Not so life can be perfect; not so I can avoid trials; not so I won’t make any further mistakes; but so when I do screw up (and I will), I can repent, turn from my ways with God’s help, and be free. That’s my goal.

Repent. Turn from my sin. Change my ways. Be forgiven. Be free.

Free from eternity in hell—free from the bondage of sin—free from that movie reel that insists on playing in my mind. The list goes on…

Without Jesus, I am nothing. Absolutely nothing. But with Jesus, I am forgiven, saved, loved, accepted, and totally free.

“Utterly dependent, but totally free.”

I’m guessing many of you also struggle with your own sin and guilt. It seems easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves at times. The Good News is that Jesus died for all of us to give us freedom from sin.

He knocks at our door waiting to be invited in. He’ll never push His way into our lives. He wants us to ask Him in. His invitation is beautiful…

“28) Come to me, all who weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. 29) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

What a precious gift! An invite to a life where we don’t have to carry the burden. We can lay it at His feet and walk away. Not to go simply go back to our sinful lifestyle, as if we’re given a license to sin; but for us to lay our burdens down, turn from them, and walk in freedom towards a better future.

Have you accepted that invitation from Him? Have you accepted the free gift of salvation and eternal life that only comes through accepting Him as your Lord and Savior? If not, I invite you to ask Him into your life today.  That is my prayer for each of you…to experience the beautiful forgiveness that comes from the sacrifice He made upon that cross.

Jesus doesn’t  want us tied up in the shackles of our sins and mistakes. He wants to give us freedom. We only need to accept it.

May you be blessed as you ponder these questions.  May you find the peace that passes all understanding…the complete peace that can only come from Him.

God bless you, my friends.