Love-Agape

What it is and what it isn't.

I have been really seeking to know God more in my life, to know the one who is my friend and Abba.  Today he drew me back to the Love (Agape) verse and said look at both sides of this coin today and you will better see me.  So below you will find my chart of what Agape love looks like and what it is not.  I used the Greek definitions and also used a thesaurus for the opposites of the words given in the verse.

One thing that I realized is that some of the words that described what it is not were attributes that I was still believing about Abba. This was such a beautiful moment of Daddy showing me lies that I was believing about who he was.  It was a beautiful answer to my desire to know Him more. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Love is: Love is not:
Patient: long-tempered, refusing to retaliate with anger Agitated: violent, frustrated, intolerant, unwilling, loud
Kind: gentle, pleasant, good Unkind: Quick to anger, harsh, antagonistic, discourteous, rude
Not jealous/envious: calm, content, undoubting, confident, trusting, unresentful Jealous: envy (rivalry, spite, malice, resentment), covet
Not boasting: humble, modest Boastful: show off, brag, exaggerate, blow one’s own horn
Not arrogant: humble, modest, meek Arrogant: aloof, bossy, smug, assuming, haughty
Does not act unbecomingly: humble, kind Unbecomingly-arrogant, bossy, cocky, pompous, vain, disdainful, know it all
Does not seek its own-doesn’t seek himself/herself, considers others, takes the time to see them Seek its own: Self-centered (egotistical, selfish, self-absorbed), self-seeking (boasting, bragging, egocentric)
Is unprovoked Provoked: incensed, aggravated, enraged, irritated, angry, mad
Does not take into account a wrong: does not charge with a wrong, does not conclude a wrong, sees the truth in the person Judges, charges with wrongs, concludes wrongs, refuses to see the truth in the person
Does not rejoice in unrighteousness: the opposite of justice, Rejoices in injustice
Rejoices with the truth: reality Does not rejoice with the truth, God’s reality
Bears all things: cover, conceal endure patiently, to carry, transfer, take Doesn’t bear: fail, lose, avoid, refuse
Believes all things: have faith in, trust, accept, consider, regard, trust, understand Doesn’t believe: abandon, deny, discard, dismiss, disregard, forget, neglect, ignore, reject
Hopes all things: believes, assumes, cherish, expect, confide Doesn’t Hope: abandon, distrust, doubt, forsake, fear
Endures all things: remain behind (as if standing with you), stand my ground (standing with the other), bears hardship, withstands, weathers Doesn’t endure: disallow, halt, hide, refuse, reject, run away, deny

 

Many times, in religion we are told that we ourselves are responsible for producing this type of love for others in our lives.  That brothers and sisters is an impossible feat.  None of us in our own will power or strength can manifest this type of love in our lives.  This type of love is a gift from Daddy to us.  It is a gift of His Spirit that lives inside of us.  (Galatians 5:22) It is not something that we bring forth by self-effort and works, it is simply something we believe and receive. It is in that receiving, his love can overflow out of us onto those around us.  We love because He first loved us, but we have to understand and experience first hand what Daddy’s love really is, what it really looks like, feels like, tastes like in our own lives. We have to be willing to receive this beautiful gift from Him alone and to be able to do that we have to believe we are worthy of His love.

If your love for others doesn’t look like what we saw above be of good cheer, all we have to do is believe and receive, to allow ourselves to be loved by our good father and out of that we will see the fruit of His Spirit manifesting itself effortlessly out of us.  We never were called to create the fruit simply to bear it. He is the vine, we are the branches, his love flows into us and out of that relationship we bear His fruit. If you struggle to believe you are worthy of such a love as this, ask Daddy to persuade you of the truth.  Ask Him to show you just how worthy he sees you, then be open to what he has to say.  Even if you can’t believe it yet, he is a great persuader and it is his joy to persuade you until you can believe.

Daddy I thank you for each and every person who will read this post about you.  I pray that you will give them a new perspective on how they view you.  I pray that any misperception of who you are will be highlighted and you will reveal the truth of who you are to them, that it will resonate with Your Spirit in them. Amen.

The Finished Work

Freedom

My heart is heavy this morning as I ponder the truth of the gospel.  I am involved in many online prophetic groups and more and more I am seeing a true lack of understanding of Grace and Daddy’s finished work. A lack of understanding of our true identities in God, and the understanding of the loving Father we have.

My heart breaks for these sons and daughters. For those who are still on the hamster wheel of earning, of doing, of trying to earn what has already been freely given to them. It breaks my heart because I was once them.  I was striving to earn the approval, the Atta boy, the well done.  There was no rest, there was no joy, there was no peace.

Especially at this time of the year I am reminded of how far I have come in this journey. During this time when many are gearing up for fasts, make resolutions, promises. I was once there.  I once felt too, that I must complete a fast to be worthy, to get more of God, to hear him better, to earn his favor. I felt that not doing it would have meant I was somehow less than, not worthy, not as good, missing out. Praise God the bridegroom is within me. We don’t earn Daddy’s gifts, we can’t make him give us more, he has already given us everything.  We can come to a greater revelation of that truth for sure and I am each and every day because of His constant pursuit of me but nothing I do or don’t do affects that.  That is the freedom of knowing who you are.

One thing I’ve come to look for, to recognize on this journey is the real fruit of the spirit.  Where there is fruit, you know, there is a healthy understanding. I never even understood what real fruit looked like because I was so focused on producing my own, fake fruit if you will. I thought those that were exhibiting the real thing where lying, faking it. How ironic.  I couldn’t believe that they were for real because I had never experienced it for myself, so it had to be fake.  It was so hard for me to understand, comprehend, believe. Now, after seeing the real fruit manifest in my own life, Glory to God, I understand, comprehend and believe, it is real.

I see prophets who do not understand this truth. They are using their gift to call out, condemn, judge, and shame the body.  My heart breaks for them because I know where they are, I understand the gap of knowledge that has yet to be unveiled about the true nature of God and thus forth themselves.

I am not angry at the words they speak, my heart breaks for them.  I know they place they are in. The anger that bubbles up in me however is at the deception that is winning.  At the theft that is taking place in the body and with the beautiful gift of prophecy.  Prophecy is meant to build up the body, to encourage, edify, and uplift.  How can we do that if we still believe that Daddy has not perfected us, completed us, finished the work? How can we speak His heart over others if we do not understand His heart, His Love, His approval?

I know that my view on many things does not match everyone else’s. I know that some of what I write is difficult for others to read, it may even anger them.  I get that, I do.  I too have read things that challenged me in such a way that I was angry, very angry, because although it resonated perfectly with the Spirit of God within me it did not line up with what I had believed.

It was a tension inside of me and it was uncomfortable at best.  In that however, I can now look back and see how Daddy was leading me into his freedom. My heart is heavy this morning for those who have not fully realized the beauty of our Father.  Now I’m not saying I have arrived at the place of total understanding, no.  The beauty of this journey is that there is always more to uncover about our Papa.  That this love affair is a constant discovery of His goodness and love of Me. Of you.

This year my prayer is that you would see, know, and believe the goodness of your Father in Heaven.  That you would experience His fruit, the real deal, effortlessly pouring out of you.  That nothing would feel like a work to you any longer because you are so immersed in His love that it is that love alone that persuades you and gives you the desire to act. This type of life is possibly, the constant back and forth of effortless communication with the Father, a back and forth so natural, so constant, so easy. That praise and worship flows from your lips because you see the beauty, the amazingness of Daddy. That it flows out of recognition of who He is and who He says you are.

Sabbath Rest

Elohim is our Sabbath

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God

Cease in the Greek is

Raphah (raw-faw) sink back in; relax; become helpless; let go, abate, to slacken

from the root rapha-heal, cure, cause to heal, repair, make whole, to mend (stitch by stitch)

Cease in Websters is defined as to stop doing

Know in the greek is Yada-to know, discern, have knowledge, perceive, be aware

Cease and know that I am God

Sink back and allow me to mend you stitch by stick and be aware of the truth of who I am.

Hebrews 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.10 For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.

Remains=to leave behind, (passively remain)

Sabbath: the blessed rest from toils and troubles, the repose (state of rest, tranquility, staying in a particular place of Christianity (as a type of heaven)

Jesus left behind a rest so that we could rest from toils and troubles forever so that we could stay in his lap in this amazing state of rest.

John 4:38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Reap in Websters is defined as: to get (something, such as a reward) as a result of something that you have done, to cut and collect (a plant, crop, etc.) from a field

We collect our reward in which we did not toil or labor but Jesus did for us.  We can collect our fruit because of his spirit in us.   We cut down the lies of our false identities when we rest in who he says we are and who he says he is and walk in the belief of that.

Let’s go back to Hebrews 4: 9,10 and look at verse 10.

V 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

Look at the first His it is capitalized signifying that we have entered into God’s rest. When we are in His rest we can

Photo Credit to Idy Stemaly

Photo Credit to Idy Stemaly

therefore also rest from our own works.

Works here is ergon (er’-gon) which means labor, doing it is from the root word ergo which means to work, toil, labor.  Sound familiar? Look back at the definition of Sabbath.

Sabbath: the blessed rest from toils and troubles, a state of rest or tranquility, to be kept in a particular place.

Praise God that the work is done we are righteous in his sight, and we can rest in His finished work.

Genesis 2:2-3 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Elohim is our Sabbath, he declared us very good and then he rested. Jesus came to remind us of our original design, that which included Sabbath rest forever.

I pray today that we can fully receive and rest in his glorious rest of the truth of who we were always created to be.

If you would like to watch the video teaching that goes with this click here.

Rejoice!

The Joy of the Lord is our Strength

There are some days in this crazy life that I seem to need more strength, to desire more joy, to long for more peace.  If I could manifest it myself by speaking it forth with my words, or believing harder, or doing more you darn well better believe it would be happening, I’ve tried. But alas, that isn’t my job it’s Daddy’s, praise God for that.  So instead of trying to recite things over and over, or striving to manifest the fruit of the spirit in my own strength, I simply go to Daddy. I crawl up into his lap, snuggle in, and spill my heart to the one who knows me best.  Speaking to Daddy, telling him our desires, our needs our wishes for our lives is the very definition of one of the words used for prayer, the greek word proseuchomai.

This word means towards, exchange/ to wish, pray.  When I speak to Daddy throughout my day (aka pray) I’m exchanging my needs, my anxieties, my desires, my wishes with him. Some may say that I don’t believe enough if I have to go to him and ask him to help me and I say even Jesus prayed to daddy.  What am I exchanging my needs, anxieties, desires and wishes for there in his lap? I’m exchanging them for the confident expectation that he who began the good work in13510934_10154273703056649_2622201700011040852_n me will also finish it.  I’m exchanging my heaviness with his truths.  I’m giving it to him and trusting him with it all. I’m allowing him to speak truth into the deepest places of my heart that are so desperately longing for them.  I am allowing him to love me in every way shape and form and from there everything else fades away.  In the arms of my loving Daddy I am safe, secure, comforted, and loved. That my friends is what prayer should be.

I’ve heard so often that the message of Grace is a message to allow those who are weak to get away with sin. That is not what it is, “It is God fulfilling a promise to us of us sharing in his life with him. Adam believed he could attain that by his own works, people still under the law believe that Daddy’s life is only manifested because of their good works.” Bertie Brits

Many people said the same thing about Jesus, they felt he was getting away with sin.

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:34

At that time, John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast so often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15Jesus replied, “How can the attendants of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast. Matthew 9:15

What Jesus was doing looked like disobedience to the Pharisees who like those under law feel that their behavior is what earns them things with Daddy. But that is not what Daddy says, daddy says Jesus did it all, there is nothing left but for us to believe.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

Fruit of the flesh, is the fruit of the belief of works, you believe that you yourself like Adam did can bring forth Daddy’s life in you by your own hands.

The Fruit of the spirit is God’s spirit manifesting those things in us.  We don’t chase after the fruit, we chase after the spirit.  When I curl up in my papas lap and allow myself to be loved by him and talk with him I am chasing after him.

Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) How do we get more joy? Do we try harder, confess it out loud more? No, we simply continue to allow Daddy to love us, we chase after our Papa, because he is chasing after us.

Hebrews 12:2 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 15:9 -10- As the Father has loved me, jso have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 kIf you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as lI have kept mmy Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, nthat my joy may be in you, and that oyour joy may be full.

12 p“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13

We cannot love as he is talking here, agape God love, in our own strength or effort. We can only love others as Jesus does if we first are able to receive his love, when we are so filled with his love it effortlessly overflows out of us onto those around us.  It is not something we have to try to do it just happens because we are so filled with him we can’t contain it all. He is calling us to remain in his love, to not again believe that we need to earn his love that we need to prove ourselves worthy of our love that we can simply abide in it because we are loved by him unconditionally, now and forever just as it was in the beginning. Our only work that Jesus spoke of while on earth was to believe. Out of the believing comes the abiding.  When we believe he abides in us we effortlessly abide in him.  He’s always been there we just didn’t believe it. He wants us to be filled with joy that he has always loved us, he is calling us to stay in that love just as he did on earth.  He never forgot who he was, loved by Daddy. We live by Jesus Faith his joy is in us and he wants our joy to be full.  This happens when we fully believe and realize who we our and receive our Daddy’s love for us.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

I pray that we ask Daddy to reveal to us the joy that is ours through our intimate relationship with him.  That he would uncover any lies that we are believing that are keeping us from living in that very life of joy. I pray that today we would rejoice in the Lord, as he continues to reveal his goodness and love.  As we begin to walk deeper in his glory (Good opinion of us).

The word Rejoice in the greek is Chairo. It is from the root words Xar and Xaris.

The root Xar means “favorably disposed, leaning towards” and the root Xaris mean “Grace,” literally to experience God’s grace and to be conscious for His grace. How awesome is that? Rejoice means leaning towards Daddy to experience his Grace.

Photo Credit Idy Stemaly

Photo Credit Idy Stemaly

Phil 4:4-8

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer (Proceuche-remember this from above) and supplication (heart felt petition arising out of a deep personal need) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Lean towards Daddy to experience his Grace always, again I will say, lean in and experiences his grace. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by Exchanging/wishing and with heart felt petition out of what you need with thankfulness let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Brothers and Sisters whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Daddy wants us to dwell on his good opinion of us his glory he lead us out of the glory of works into the glory of Jesus.  He wants us to lean into him and tell him about all of our doubts, fears, wishes, desires and he will exchange them with his truths. He wants us to see just how amazing he is and how amazing we are so that out of our spirit effortlessly flows the fruit. Works come out of the fruit, please don’t hear me say that works are not evident but there is a difference.  One form is done by self-discipline, obedience, obligation, or even, guilt that is not the works he was talking about.  The other flows out of us effortlessly when we realize what a good Daddy we have we can’t help ourselves but to spread the news and love as he has those in our path. Blessings!

If you’d like to see the video that goes with this teaching click here.

Daddy Do You Love Me?

My prayer lately has been Daddy show me how you love me, help me to know how to receive your love and what that looks like in my life.  He’s been leading me back again to studying the 23rd Psalm lately. I’ve been pondering it again with fresh eyes through the finished work of Jesus. One thing is for sure David believed in who God was, he knew God and was confident in his knowledge of Him.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

David believed that Daddy would take care of all his needs. He being a shepherd understood the role of a shepherd intimately and he fully trusted God in that role in his life.  A shepherd is responsible for the welfare of his flock. He also protects the sheep from predators.  Shepherds are responsible for tending to injuries and basic medical treatment for their flock. The shepherd makes frequent checks on all the sheep at all hours of the day and night and assist ewes in the birthing process.

God is my shepherd; he takes care of me. He protects me from predators and those things against me trying to bring forth death. He tends to my hurts and needs, my injuries and sicknesses lovingly.  He is constantly aware of what is going on with me, every inch, every detail tending to me helping me in this birthing process that is bringing forth the new life that is already in me.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. 

Want here is the Hebrew word chaser it means:

  • Bereaved: be deprived of a loved one through profound absence, or death
  • Be abated: die down, lessen, decrease, diminish, fade, weaken, become smaller or less intense, lessen, reduce
  • Cause to fail
  • Have Lack

David understood and believe that Daddy would provide for all his needs, he believed that he would not be deprived of God’s love or be absent from him. He believed that he would not decrease or diminish in the Shepherds tender care.  He knew that he would not fail or have lack in any way. He trusted in his Good Shepherd.

That type of trust and belief can only come when we have intimate knowledge and relationship with Daddy.  When we fully know and believe that he is a good father.

He makes me lie down…96f5f3980a5b45cf7e39ce50e268a080

This part bothered me for some reason because I was reading it as he forces me to and that to me didn’t sound like love.  When I was thinking about it I thought can you really force a sheep to lay down? Is that even possibly if it’s a big one? Why would he make me? Where is the free will in that? But then the Holy Spirit unpacked it a bit more for me and it was beautiful.  A sheep lays down when they are fully sated, or satisfied. He was showing me that his care of me, his abundance of every good thing satisfies me to that point that I am fully sated. It is then that I lie down. I lie down, but I do so because he has filled me, so in essence he makes me lay down by his filling of me. Because he has tended and cared for me so beautifully I am fully satisfied and can lay down and where does he have me lay down?

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Green pastures are cool and refreshing rest, they are delight and provision and the very example of God’s covenant of Grace with us. I’m so full of his goodness of Grace I lay down in this cool refreshing rest fully satisfied.

I also found it interesting that sheep cannot digest all they have eaten until they law down.  It is not until I lay down in rest that I can fully digest it all.

He leads me beside the still waters

Leads: protects

Beside: to on

Still waters: are waters of rest and refreshment, comforting, quiet

He protects me and leads me to the still waters, the safe waters or refreshment and rest. I found it is interesting to note that sheep will not drink from moving waters, mainly due to instinct because if a sheep’s wool gets wet it surely will drown as it sucks up the water and makes it heavier.

He restores my soul;

Restores=turn back, return

Daddy returns my soul to the truth of my being, he brings me back from my errors.

He guides me, leads me in the paths of righteousness (safety) for His name’s sake.

He returns my soul to the truth of my original design, leading me on the path of righteousness for his Glory. I am his Glory. Not because of anything I have done, but simply because of His love and grace. He chose me before I was even born.

I am the sheep, He is the Shepherd, all I am called to do is to trust and believe in Him.  Learning to accept Daddy’s love is looking a lot like learning to trust who he says he is so in return I can trust who he says I am.  It is seeing myself as worthy to be loved, worthy to be known, worthy to be cherished, worthy to be cared for by the creator Himself, the King of Kings.  It’s stepping into the role of Daughter, Bride, Righteous. It’s beginning to see the power that is inside of me, the keys he has given me, the territory that has always been mine. Blessings.

Luke 12:32

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Love Lessons from My Dog

Black Labs and Free Will

I was thinking this morning about our Black Lab that we rescued last year.  God was just showing me how much my relationship with her mimics his with me, in so many amazing ways.

When we decided to get another dog after the loss of our yellow lab I was hesitant.  With four kiddos at home I didn’t want to go through the housebreaking and obedience training again.  We decided if we were to get a dog we wanted another Lab, a female, we wanted it potty trained, obedience trained, and it had to be good with kids and our other dog.  Honestly, I never thought we would find a dog like that. We even let the kids decide what name they wanted to name the new dog and they chose, Marley.

About two days in of looking at shelter sites I found a Black Lab, whose name was Marley, seriously right. She was 7 IMG_7058

years old, obedience trained and potty trained.  I thought surely this must be a God thing.  We traveled as a family to the shelter to meet her with our other dog.  I remember when they first lead her in, she was so sad looking, she had her tail between her legs, she was missing huge patches of hair from a flea infestation her old owner never cared for and she was grosley underweight and dirty.  But I could see she was a sweet soul. She tentatively came and sniffed each of all.  The kids tried to get her to play with toys but the vet tech said she didn’t like to play.  We took her outside to meet our other dog and they got along well.

Since we only came to look we left, 15 minutes down the road Jason and I looked at each other and we knew, we had to turn back, we had to take her home.  We both new she was ours. We went back and took her home on a trial basis for 3 days, still skeptical that she could be so amazing. We took her home, gave her a bath, brushed her, fed her, bought her a bed to sleep on and lavished her with love and affection. When we took her back to officially adopt her after the three days the shelter didn’t even recognize her, she was a totally different dog.

The first week we had her we would come home several times and find her in our garage, we couldn’t figure out how she got out through not one but two doors.  After this happened several times I remembered what the shelter had told me about her past home.  She was in a home with several animals, she was obviously neglected and uncared for by her condition when she was found.  The owner thought that the landlord kept letting the dog out of her apartment, but I knew in that moment she was letting herself out.  The owner had come to claim her but couldn’t or didn’t want to pay the $40 claim fee.

As the weeks went on our sweet Marley began to heal emotionally and physically, she began change and grow under our love and care.  She became a dog who loved to play, imagine that, so much so she now carries her toy with her where ever she goes.  She greets me each morning with her toy, and more recently kisses.  She began to smile a lot, and life came back into her eyes.  Eventually she stopped letting herself into the garage as she realized that we were there to care for her and love her, she was finally trusting us and she had finally chosen us as we had her in the very beginning.

God was just showing me that like Marley he found me neglected, unloved, and abandon.  He rescued me and through his love and tender care brought forth my true personality. The one he saw under all the dirt and grim. He washed me cleaned, cared for my needs and lavished his unconditional love on me. I learned that I was safe, that I could trust him, that he was for me.  Under his care I learned how to love and receive love. True love isn’t about force it’s about loving someone enough that you can give them the choice to choose you, knowing that they may not.   I am forever thankful for the beautiful black lab who has touched my heart and has chosen me.  Just as Daddy is forever thankful that his love and pursuit of me caused me to see the truth of who he was, a good father, so much so that I choose him.  You see he choose me in the very beginning but it was his unconditional love that allowed me to choose him. Love without force is the only True Love.

No matter where you are on your journey with him weather you are still letting yourself into the garage to escape or you are waiting with your toy eager to play he continues to persuade and pursue us with his unending love and affection.IMG_7738

Your Struggles Don’t Define You

I struggle. I struggle with anxiety, I struggle with depression, and I struggle with feelings of not being enough for me, for my husband, for my kids, for those around me. I think it’s important to be honest, to show others that God uses us right where we are. I’m the perfect example of that. We don’t have to be perfect or have it all together to be used by God.

I also know these are lies, that this is not Papa’s best for me. It’s hard to share my feelings with others sometimes because the liar likes to tell me that sharing them makes me a burden to those around me, that no one likes a Debbie Downer and sharing them will make those closest to me pull away, that I’ll scare them off because they will be sick of me still struggling with these same things.

You see I serve an amazing Papa who has provided his Zoe life for me, his perfect life, life that isn’t meant to be defined by struggle. Yet, here I am struggling. In my timeline I should be over this already, it should no longer be an issue, I should be healed, but I’m not. Many years I tried to get myself out of it by my own doing, it would work for a short time but not permanently. I was never enough to do it on my own, and I felt like a total failure. But I wasn’t, do you know why? Because we were never meant to save ourselves, that is Papa’s job.

Even now when I‘m still sitting in this junk that I hate because I know it is robbing me of His life, I am trusting him to get me out of it. I am trusting His timing on this matter. I am resting in His promise that He will bring forth His fruit in my life, that is where my hope lies, in Him alone. He is my hope.

So I reach out, I am real, and vulnerable, and raw, and I ask for help, I ask for prayer and I trust God that he has brought the right people around me in this moment that are for me, that will support me, and that will love me right where I am, without conditions.

Whatever your struggle is, I encourage you to trust in Papa, to wait on his timing, and to put your Hope in Him alone.

Psalm 62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

No More Plastic Fruit

I use to believe that the fruit of the spirit was my responsibility to produce in my own life. If I believed enough, tried enough, had enough faith I could bring forth the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  All that produced was exhaustion and a fruit that looked good on the outside shiny and perfect but empty on the inside. Nice to look at but no nourishment of food. It reminded me of the plastic fruit my mom use to keep on the kitchen counter. It looks like the real thing but when you look a little closer you realize it’s not.
When I first started understanding the fullness of Daddy’s Grace I was concerned about dividing the word correctly.  A friend of mine told me to look for the fruit, the real fruit shows the real gospel. She said that I would be able to know what was real and authentic by looking for the real spiritual fruit and she was right. What an eye opener when I looked around and I realized most of those around me were just like me, striving, exhausted, and laboriously trying to produce our own fruit. Oh yes, we could get it to look good and polished on the outside, especially on Sundays, but it was not the authentic fruit that only the Holy Spirit can bring forth in our lives.
Along the way I saw glimpses of the real deal, moments when I was overcome by love and peace that could only be by his divine hand. I longed for more, wanted more, I wanted to live constantly in that place of an abundance of fruit overflowing in my life. For that to happen I needed freedom from old mindsets, new thinking (repentance) and I had to realize that for that to take place I had to stop my own efforts and trust Daddy.  I began to understand what Rest and Abide really meant. Abide is a verb that means to stay in a given place, state or expectancy, to continue, dwell, remain. I had to sit back and remain in His Rest and allow Him to love me.  Sounds so simple, so easy but when you don’t believe you are worthy or lovable it is not.
Only by finally allowing myself to receive His beautiful love by believing him that I was worthy, lovable and His, was I able to be filled to the point of overflow. For me this moment came after a sermon on Freedom from Offense by Greg Henry. Although Daddy had been leading me step by step into His freedom for years this message broke of the last chink of chain and brought forth such new freedom.  It showed me that the world does not define me. That when I take offense with someone it isn’t their fault, that it is mine.  Why? Because they presented me with a lie about myself or a situation (a carnal mindset) and I believed it rather than the truth.  I needed to look at it through my Daddy’s eyes so I could reject the lie and the offense. When I know who I am and the truth about me it doesn’t matter what others say or think because Daddy’s reveals the true nature and character of me and only he can define me.
There was such healing that sprang forth from that for me. A new understanding on how offense had come in, understanding of the lies of offense and the revelation that I don’t have to ever walk in offense again. What freedom, what peace, what joy, what compassion, what contentment that sprung forth instantly. Praise God for His truths. Praise God He does the work to bring forth the fruit and we get the privilege to bear it.

You Are Not a Burden

You Were Made for Extravagence

Yesterday the Lord uncovered another lie (stronghold) that I was believing about myself.  He showed me that I believed I was a burden and a bother to other people. He brought me back to when this lie first took hold and showed me that it occurred during my second pregnancy, that ended in abortion. (I wrote about that here if you’d like to read more about it.) He showed me that everyone around me that I loved was more concerned with how my pregnancy effected them and their lives that no one really took a minute to ask or see how it was affecting me. I heard a lot of “How could you do this to me?”, “Don’t tell anyone you are related to me”, “You are no longer welcome in our family unless you get rid of this child,” “You are destroying me life.” There was so much Me, Me, Me from everyone around me I was suffocating. (I hold no ill will to any of these people, I fully believe they were doing the best they could in that moment but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t deserve more, that was not God’s will for me.)

The lie took hold with a vengeance that I was nothing but a burden to others. I felt alone, very alone, and I had to deal with this all by myself. There was so much hurt and pain surrounding this, it was so deep I didn’t even realize it was still there.  I felt so valueless, so worthless, so much of a burden and hinderance ruining everyone’s lives, so I had an abortion because that was what they said would solve it all.  It may have for them, but for me it did not.  I wanted that beautiful child with everything within me, my sweet daughter Suzanna would have been 20 this November, and I continue to grieve this loss to my life. I am thankful for Daddy’s journey of healing and I don’t think you ever get over losing a child, but you can get to a place where you can forgive yourself.IMG_7135

This season changed me, it lead me to not trust others, to rely on myself, to lose any sense of self-worth I had.  I felt the new need to prove I was not a burden, to prove my worth.  This became especially evident in my marriage, but really it manifested in any relationship where I deeply loved the other person including close friendships, and my family.  If I loved someone so much, I didn’t want him/her to think I was a burden, so I set my aim to prove to them I was worth it. I would do and do and give to the point of exhaustion. Even when I was sick, I would make myself do, so Jason (my husband) and my children wouldn’t have to. Why, because I didn’t want to be a burden, I didn’t want Jason to have a reason to leave because I was afraid he would see I had no value. My value was tied to my doing, I couldn’t see any value in myself that would make others love me.  I loved him that much I didn’t want to lose him.

When Daddy revealed this to me yesterday I was able to finally see and release the hurt and pain it had caused for twenty years of my life. I was able to see that I would not only do to be valuable but I would also push people away that I loved so deeply because I didn’t want to lose them. If I pushed them away first then I was still the one in control and they couldn’t hurt me. I was able to share all of this with my husband and he allowed me to just be in the pain, to simply cry in his arms and let go of the hurt that had hidden itself for so long beneath the facade of do.

Daddy showed me that the truth to the lie was the word extravagance, he said “You were made for Extravagance.” I feel like many of you need to hear that today, You were made for Extravagance. Extravagance means excessive and unnecessary expenditure or outlay of money, unrestrained or fantastic excess as of actions or opinions.  Daddy created me, created you, to live in his extravagance. We are the outpouring of his extravagance.

I’ve lost many friends from this pushing away, and I know I’ve hurt many people, and for that I am deeply saddened. I was unable to love my brother like myself because I didn’t love myself. A sweet friend of mine that Daddy has brought into my life on this journey to healing once said to me, “You can’t make me not love you.” She said this to me after I was trying to push her away because she had gotten to that safe point in my life where I really was starting to care for her.  Her simply words rocked my core, “You can’t make me not love you.” Never before had anyone said that to me, no matter what her love for me was unconditional. That my friends is the love of Jesus and we can not love others in that manner until we get to the point of being able to love ourselves. Blessings.

Depression is Not a Choice

Shining Light in the Darkness

What follows is part of my story of my battle with depression.  My heart hurts for those who have and still struggle with this disease. For those precious souls who have ever been made to feel less because of this struggle.  For those who were told, like myself, to just snap out of it, to simply choose to be happy, that if you’d pray more, fast more, believe more, basically be a better Christian this wouldn’t be an issue.  This is for you, for each of you, for those of you still in the battle and for those of you who have been set free.

My battle with depression and anxiety started after my first engagement was broken off when I was 19. I didn’t even know what it was at the time but thanks to my mom I was able to overcome it by setting goals and looking toward the future.  Fast forward three years and I meet my amazing husband, Jason, we get married and move to a different state.  He has to work long hours with a woman who likes him and I am very much alone, a lot. I started to feel like I was having mini heart attacks, but I find out they are really panic attacks.

Three years later our first child was born, I was so in love with this beautiful little being, but I was also totally freaked out. I felt so unqualified to be responsible for her.  I had an anxiety attack before leaving the hospital because I didn’t know how to bathe her, at the time no one thought anything about it, not even me.  When the time came closer for me to have to go back to work after her birth depression set in with a vengeance. I did not want to leave this beautiful child and my days were spent holding her and crying.  I hit such a deep postpartum depression that it was scary, very scary. At that point I was quickly put on medication to help me, and it did praise God. I was able to stop medication when she was just one. At that time I believed being on medication showed how unqualified I was to control my depression.  I felt very condemned to have to take anything.

When I got pregnant for my first son they where concerned about postpartum depression since I had it so bad after my first, so my doctor hqdefaultstarted me on an antidepressant when I was 7 months pregnant. I didn’t really want to at the time, but due to the severity of it after my first birth I gave in.  (This in and of itself could be another story I share later because that son has several disabilities, and for many years I blamed it on myself for taking this antidepressant medication while I was pregnant.) Thankfully, I experienced no depression after his birth, it was a joyous time and I was able to stop the medication before he was one.

With the pregnancy of my third daughter I wanted a more natural approach and made sure I was able to take more time off to spend with her at home before going back to work. I was able to not use any medication and with the help of friends and family I did not suffer any postpartum depression.  There were small bouts in the 4 years after my daughter was born that I had to take medication on and off, mostly brought about due to stress with my younger sons disabilities and him being in school. During that time, I was put not only on an anti-depressant, but I also entered counseling, and sought help from my church. I tried to be happy, I tried to cite aloud scriptures each day. I had post its to encourage me everywhere, music on to “cheer me up,” I tried it all, everything I could, to work myself out of this. I did not want to be like this, I hated that I was like this, I hated that my children had to see me this way. I felt like a horrible mom and person.

The truth is, you can not make yourself happy, no matter how badly you want it. People who struggle with depression do not want to be depressed. My failure to get myself better only lead to more self-condemnation and feelings of worthlessness. I heard the enemy whisper, “If you were really a good Christian you wouldn’t still be struggling with this. See you are so worthless, you can’t even get yourself happy.” He loved to come in the middle of the night and remind me of how I was failing, of how worthless I was. Lies, Lies, Lies.

When I got pregnant with our fourth son I was no longer on any medication at that time, my depression was under control because I had quite my job to stay at home and homeschool my son and two daughters.  This decision was due to my sons disabilities and the schools inability to meet them. This alleviated so much stress in our home. This pregnancy was very difficult however, and I had several complications. I was on bedrest for the majority of the pregnancy due to bleeding and I was trying my hardest to follow all the doctors advice to keep this little man inside me, safe and healthy.  This was no easy task while trying to homeschool 3 kiddos, and run a homeschool co-op at our church.   My church family, at the time, and my immediate family were my saving grace. Since I was now a stay at home mom I didn’t have to go back to work after his birth, and I experienced no depression.

Time passed and life happened.  We had two major life events occurring at the same time (leaving our church family of 10 years, and working through some past hurts in our marriage). Depression hit again with a vengeance. I’m sure hormones at my age aren’t helping either.  It was the worst it had ever been in my life.  I entered a different type of counseling this time, Personal Ministry Appointments, and for the first time ever I felt like I was actually getting somewhere in counseling.  However it still wasn’t enough, the depression was still there.  I didn’t want to tell anyone of my struggle with depression at our new church home because of the condemnation I experienced before when sharing it with others, so for many months I kept silent.  It got so bad however, that I started to have thoughts of killing myself.  I knew in my heart that I would never act on that because my family, my children are way to important to me, but to even have those thoughts scared me.  I felt such condemnation again that I couldn’t control this, that I couldn’t make myself better.  I felt like an awful mom because my kids where seeing me like this so I’d try to go and hide in my closet when it hit and I was crying, tryi
ng to keep it from them.  I finally reached out to a friend, and this time I was met with such love, acceptance, and understanding.

IMG_8513

I started medication again, even thought I felt like a failure for having to go back on it at the time. The medication helped, a lot.  I was able to function again, to care for myself and my family.  I no longer wanted to die and I had a glimmer of hope. I began to be more honest with my children about my struggle and I didn’t try hide it from the

m any longer.

What happened out of that was that my oldest son who also struggles with anxiety opened up more to me. My openness created a new connection between him and I.  He knew now that I understood his struggle on a personal level, that I got it.

I’m not healed yet, but I know Jesus died for my healing and I know it is coming.  I still have a lot of healing that needs to occur inside of me and I’m OK with that because I know when the time is right Daddy will bring it forth.

I felt compelled to write this today to bring my own struggle into the light.  I feel that there are so many others suffering in silence due to how they have been treated when reaching out for help before.  I feel that like my son you may just need to see that their are others who understand, who are walking this journey with you.  As the church (the body of believers) we need to come alongside our brothers and sisters and stop condemning them and offer encouragement and hope, we need to shine our lights on them when they are stuck in the darkness. We need to lift up their heads and remind them of their worth and beauty and stop condemning them for something they can not fix.

Blessings!