Thursday, September 27, 2012

Silent Lessons

Silence. You either love it or hate it. Sometimes, your response is dependent on the stage of life you are walking through at a given time. I love my crazy (and sometimes loud) family life. I realize that the volume of our house means that it is full of life and activity. Dirty dishes being washed in the dishwasher means that we were blessed with a full table and matching stomachs. The washer spinning the clothes loudly and dryer running at top speed indicates we have plenty of clothes to wear. We are blessed. I hear the blessings in my world and I have to overflow my praise and thanks to the Father from my heart for all that He gives and provides.

Still... There are times when my soul, mind, and heart need a little silence. Time to sit in the quiet of still house and just listen. Listen to the words of my Father. Listen to praise flowing from the lips of fellow believers- speaking the words of my reflective heart. Listen to the response of my Savior as I plead my desperate cries to His loving ears. Silence.

In the past several days God has just had me be still and silent. Listening, crying, praising, praying and above all else seeking.... Seeking His words . Seeking His peace and overflowing love. Seeking what He needed to teach me. I did not feel as though I was to write or express words in the last days, but to just seek.

Many revelations regarding our relationship became clear and I see how I have grown closer to my children and husband in the days of just learning and listening. It seems that when I draw closer to the Father, all my other relationships improve as well- perhaps because my love for my family becomes an outpouring of the love I have for Christ and not something I am attempting from my own strength.

How do you feel about silence? Do you despise it and just fill your every waking moment with activity and chaos? Is this because you have hurts and needs that linger to close to the surface? Do you long for some silence in your world, but haven't carved it out for yourself?

My friend, sometimes a thirsty soul just needs to take a long quiet drink of renewal and refreshment from the Father. Such moments of healing and teaching can best be heard in the silence of His heart speaking to yours. Can you hear Him?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seasons of Parenting

The season of fall is coming near.  The air becomes crisp and cool and new, brillant colors begin to dot our landscape.  I become inspired during this time of year to bake, decorate and focus more on our family.  I love fall- there is just something about this time of year that stirs my soul.

Our oldest son is entering the fall of his time with us.  He is growing maturing and nearing the age when he will be on his own.  His perspectives and thoughts are as refreshing as the crisp, cool air outside and his dreams are as beautiful as the rainbow of colors on the horizon.  He, too, inspires me to make the most of our time together as I realize just how fleeting the moments are that we have left as a complete and whole family. 

Recently, he asked if he could go and visit with some of the kids on our street as he has been burdened and praying for them.  I felt such a since of pride at this young man who truly has a calling to minister and share God's truth with others.  I also felt shame at my immediate fears- what will their parents' think?  Why can't I be that bold in sharing my faith?

To be honest, this summer has been rough for Caleb.  He is struggling to find his place as he wants to be a teenager but also still longs for childhood.  He wants to fit in with his world, but this is quite a challenge as he is incredibly small for his age.  We have prayed, talked and cried with him and for him many times this summer.  I know just this is just part of the journey- just as the fall leaves must go through hard seasons to develop the most brilliant colors.

I am learning and growing in this area of parenting. I want to savor all the different seasons with each of my sons realizing that the seasons change so quickly.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Strong Tower

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by needs.  Needs of this world that seems to turn it's back on our precious Savior.  Needs of my family that are a constant- even just the daily tasks become exhausting at times- laundry, meals, correction of children, and such.  Needs of others that burden my heart to tears.  I think most of us find ourselves in the midst of needs..... the goal becomes contentment, peace, trust and provision.

Where do you run when you find yourself in a state of need?  Where do you find shelter?

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe."  Proverbs 18:10

I have often ran in my times of need to the Savior.  He has withdrawn me from the pit of countless struggles and battles, but running to the name of the Lord?  Max Lucado in his book, Grace for the Moment, discusses the names of the Lord.  God is always Jehovah, but He often refers to Himself in the following aspects:

Jehovah-raah- our caring shepherd who gives wisdom.
Jehovah-jireh- our provider for all needs.
Jehovah-shalom-our peace despite all circumstances.
Jehovah-rophe-our healer of all illness: physical, mental, emotional.
Jehovah-nissi- our banner and refuge against attacks from the evil one.

As I thought about these names, I realized that calling on the name of God is like running into the very essence of His character and being.  It is being so encompassed by His absolute character to the point that the struggles of this world cannot affect us.  This brought such a deeper intimacy in prayer time today as I called on the specific name of my Lord for the individual needs that were on my heart.  The wonderful part of God is that He has a name for all needs- His character is complete and all sufficient for any need.  He indeed is a strongtower that is fully capable of saving you from any struggle.  My lips can't help but praise Him!  My heart can't help but long for His love.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stealing Away

"My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8 NLT)

Some mornings I awake with such a longing in my soul to steal away in my room some time with my Savior. On those mornings there is a different need than most of my days- more of an urgency to get deep in prayer and scripture. I love those times. It truly feels like Psalm 27:8 in my soul as I feel pulled away from the distractions of my world to just be with Him. The more time I spend with Him, the more time I need with Him. I grow stronger from kneeling in prayer. I accomplish more when I have taken the time to just savor Him. I have more peace when my world is filled with conflict. I sing joyful songs in the midst of sadness and have tremendous joy in the blessings of others.

Simply because His ways are not our ways. He gives life, love, victory and all that is needed for all that He has for us. I want nothing less than Him today, tomorrow, and every day after that. He is my all.

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. "(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT)

My friend, is He calling you to spend some moments away with Him today? Run to Him for His calling is richer than the finest of delights. Savor all that He wants to teach and share with you. Delight in His presence!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Praising Jesus

Our church will about once a quarter have a praise and worship service where we just spend an extended time singing to our King as well as times of testimony, scripture reading and extended prayer. I love our Sunday services together, but these services are something so special to my thirsty soul. I think part of it stems from my love of music and how it stirs my heart and soul to awe in my glorious King. Plus, these services reflect the beauty of a church united in praising the Savior they love- hymns and praise songs alike.

Last night when we came home from the service we were trying to eat a quick dinner and get to bed. As I was preparing the dinner, I heard something from the dining room table. I looked over to see my two year old with his hands lifted high singing, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" over and over. I just melted. I was able to catch a few brief moments of it on video.

This brought to my mind the verses our pastor read last night from Psalm 40.

"I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD. Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols. O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them." (Psalm 40:1-5 NLT)

As I thought through this passage, God has helped me through so many trials and difficult times. Each time He has given me a new song of testimony and praise for His mighty works in my life. I think He is constantly working in us as we walk climb difficult paths to give new spiritual markers of our growth in Him. No matter where we are today, He is still ready to give us a new song to share with the world of who He is and all He has done for us.

I loved that Kendall found a new song last night. He is learning about Jesus and singing of that growing love the only way he knows how. It was simple. It was genuine. It was convicting- do I share what God is doing in my life with others? Do I listen to the fresh, new melody God is growing within my soul? What is He doing in my life right now? What new paths are we traveling lately?

My friend your song can be as simple as Kendall's praise by just crying out to your Savior. Let us ever be aware of what He is doing in our life and how He is growing and maturing our faith. Let us sing- sing a new song- of His works within our mind, heart and soul!!! Let me never stop searching for the new song He wants me to sing...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Perfectly Designed

Today, I sit quietly in a silent house. All my boys are still sound in slumber and Reagan has left for work. I am enjoying some of the cooler weather that has first come into our area signaling that fall is just around the corner. These moments allow me the opportunity to ponder and consider things.

I love my boys. They make me laugh out loud in joy at their humor, thoughts and comments. They, too, can move me to tears and prayers as well. I give so much of myself to their needs, cares, and longings. Often at the end of the day my energy is tapped, my mind exhausted, and my patience has run out. Why have children who require so much? I think we wanted to experience the miracle that happens within when God forms life- to witness the ongoing miracle of God using us to shape these future men of God. Recently, in the midst of a particularly bad day with one of my sons, a friend reminded me that I was designed to be the parent of that child. She encouraged me by stressing that I possessed all that is needed to help him grow into maturity through my perfect Father. What an incredible thought- every child that God gives you was perfectly designed for you just as you were perfectly designed to be his/her mother. God never does anything halfway my friend!

Today, as I read a devotion I thought about why God chose to create man. I think it is so similar to our reasoning for having children- for the joy in the relationship. We are not easy on Him. We sin and rebel against His plans, but when we turn to Him in repentance and praise Him for all that He is and has done for us, we give Him joy. He designed us to remain close to Him. This is for our protection as well as for receiving His blessings in our lives. We were created to have a daily relationship with Him through Christ on order to bring glory and joy to Him. That realization is so humbling and beautiful to me.

He wants fellowship with me- this rebellious soul that too often fails. He wants my thoughts to be His thoughts. My conversation to be sprinkled with love and honor of my Savior. He wants my hand to ever be in His so that no trial, task or need is ever met in my own strength, but through the never ending power He alone possesses. He wants me to want Him- all of Him- daily and moment by moment.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:1, 2 NLT)

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!" (Psalm 139:13-18 NLT)

My friend, wherever you are in life you possess all you need for the tasks at hand. You just need to stay close to the Father through your Christ-given relationship. He longs for you to stay close to Him and savor His presence. That gives Him joy and honor and it is your divinely designed calling.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tears and Heartache

Tragedy, heartache, loss, disappointments, illness and death are a part of the world that we live in. Most of us don't pay too close attention to all this until it hits close to us.   moments that none of us plan to experience. Moments when all dreams, hopes, and future plans fade into what might have been. Moments when you find yourself facing unemployment when you were hoping for an advancement in your career. Perhaps you are facing a divorce when you still envisioned a lifetime with the one your heart loves.   In disbelief, maybe you are preparing for the funeral of someone you love who was taken way too early.   We struggle in these moments to find understanding and peace. We question everything and marvel at how the world seems to just keep going when our mind and heart seems frozen in place.

Do you question everything in those moments? Regret past decisions that you would give anything to change.   Do you cry out in anger against others, against God?  Do you question His ways or His faithfulness?  In those solemn moments when all pretense is stripped away and all you have left is raw emotion mixed with pure desperation; where do you turn?  My friend, in all moments you can call on the Savior.  Even in the midst of pure anger? Yes. Even in the midst of such grief, loss and despair? Yes. Even when I am not sure that God is still real and true? Yes.

In those times when heartache is a constant companion, God is closer than your next breath. He gives you the grace you need to walk through the next moments, hours, days, and weeks. He will not leave you- not even for sleep- and He will comfort, hold and carry your tears in His heart.  
"The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him."(Nahum 1:7 NLT) "The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you. "(Psalm 9:9, 10 NLT) "The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety." (Psalm 18:2 NLT)

Are you angry with God and just can't understand the 'why' in all the heartache?  Are you questioning His goodness? Love? Faithfulness?  My friend He can handle your anger. He knows that your mind and heart are so broken and hurting.  Share all this with Him- He can handle it. In the process, however, just know that He will be at work within you bringing healing and reconciliation to your relationship. Even in the midst of our sin and ugliness of anger and hurt, God loves us- He loved you so much to send His Son for your salvation.  "God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. "(1 John 4:9, 10 NLT) "So the LORD must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help." (Isaiah 30:18 NLT).  "The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust." (Psalm 103:13, 14 NLT)
Finally, my friend, there are some things that we will not fully understand until we reach heaven. God's ways are not earthly ways because His perspective is far greater than our own. When grief and hurt distort our view of things, God has a clear picture spanning all time. You may always wonder certain events happened, but healing comes when you trust in the character of God.  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8, 9 NIV) "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you. " (Isaiah 54:10 NIV) "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NLT)

In the midst of your tears and heartache, breathe in the grace, comfort, and peace that you need for each given moment.  Before you know it God will bring healing, hope and restore joy to your heart. Let Him carry you through this difficult time and grant life to your weary soul. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

On a Hard Day

(Note: This post was written last week.)

Today started rough. Monday hit full force and it seemed almost as soon as my feet hit the floor, I found myself on my knees in prayer. Life is hard. Sometimes the boys are grouchy or an unexpected stress arises and I find myself struggling. This morning was one of those days. Then, through my scripture reading and prayer time I reflected back on yesterday.

Yesterday was such a wonderful time of rejoicing in my Savior with my fellow redeemed. A sweet time of sharing each others' burdens, rejoicing in the victories of others and just savoring the sweet spiritual connection that a group of believers share. I was blessed to have moments spent sharing in the lives of dear friends - some that have been a part of my life for years, some for months and even some for just days. The beauty is in the connection we share through Christ that transcends time.

For those that we have journeyed together for many seasons, it is beautiful to look on the memories and experiences that we have shared together. For those who our journey has just begun, it is so encouraging to see God working in you and to see how He is using you to grow me in my walk with Him.

Our church has been through so much in the past years- heartache and joys have both been part of the journey. Hard work has been a constant companion as we were portable for a time and have grown so quickly in such a short time. We are not perfect- mistakes have been made, but God's grace can heal all wounds. Yesterday, when I sat in conversation with a new friend, I realized that this hard journey has been worth it.... Lives are being changed for God's glory.

I think too often the evil one wants me to focus on the trivial frustrations rather that the task God has given me. This is certainly true about our church- if I focus on the frustrations and inconveniences I can miss what is most important- changed lives for Christ. When I realize what God is doing in the lives of fellow church members and how many lives are being healed, transformed, and redeemed... I am humbled and encouraged. That is what this journey is about- changed lives.

It is not about the music, preaching style, and the like. It is about a group of people desperately seeking after Him and doing it together. Offering support, encouragement, hope and love as we face challenges and needs. It's investing in something more than money. It's realizing that God could use you to impact another person for eternity and that they will have a long, lasting impact on you.

Today, my battle is not against my grouchy children and unexpected stresses. It is against the evil one who wants me to get distracted from my purpose from today which is changed lives. Changed lives in my home and in my sphere of influence. It is realizing that I can call on others to help me bear the burden of a hard day and rejoice in getting through it. It is stopping and seeing that these frustrations are temporary and fleeting. Father, help me to focus my heart and mind on the things that have eternal value!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Where is Your Comfort?

I think each of my boys has had something that brought them comfort as toddlers.  For Kendall it has been his "rag" and pacifier or aka "I".  He truly loves them. There is such joy that spreads across hhis face when he knows that he is about to get them. I have witnessed him- when extremely upset - just calm and relax when he has those two items. Suddenly his anxious heart is at peace and secure.

Due to his age, we only allow Kendall to have his paci and rag during nap times and at bedtime. Yesterday afternoon I realized he was quiet and suspiciously missing. I went in search of my "Toddler Tornado" and whatever mess he might have created.  I found him sitting behind his closed bedroom door in a corner of the room with a bright, green pacifier in his mouth and rag in hand. He was tired and just needed some comfort, but not in the right way. He knew it wasn't when we would permit him to have those items and he was in hiding.

Too often that is what happens with believers. We find something that brings us comfort and we cling to it- long for it and do anything for it despite it being right or not. Before we know it that "comfort" becomes a crutch that prevents us from seeking after the Father who should be our ultimate source of comfort. He has given us the Holy Spirit as our great comforter when life is hard. All other things bring only dependence and reliance on self- not focused on the true source of all peace.

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 NLT)

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." (John 14:16, 17 NIV)

God through the Holy Spirit is our comfort, counselor, and guide. It is through Him that we can draw on God's unlimited resources of power, strength, peace, joy, and hope. What more could we need? Yet, I like many of you find comfort in other things: routine, food, relationships, and the list could go on and on. Drugs for some? Sure. Alcohol? Inappropriate intimacy? Power? Career advancement? Personal talents and abilities?

All these areas bring some comfort, but all are temporary, fleeting, failing.... The only thing that lasts is found through Christ. What are you finding comfort in today? Seek what you need from the One who will not grow weak, whose light will not dim and who will not fail you.

Not Perfect, Just Redeemed

Yesterday, my second son, Carson, took his first Science quiz and did not do well. It was his first time to take a quiz like that and to be honest I am not sure he fully knew how to prepare and study. He tends to be a perfectionist regarding his schoolwork and was devastated by the average grade he received. He laid behind our couch and cried- nay, sobbed. After several minutes I was able to get him to come out and speak with me. That failure in his mind was beyond repair and he struggled with moving past it. While I reassured him that we would prepare differently next time and that we could learn from this failure- he still had a hard time forgiving himself.

Have you been there? I have. Moments when I thought God could never forgive me- how could I ever forgive myself? In my mind I had gone past the point of reconciliation, healing, forgiveness, and restoration. Thankfully, that was just a lie from the evil one!! No matter how far away you have strayed from God's plan for your life- He is but one breath away from you. His arms are outstretched and ready to offer you freedom, love, healing, redemption, forgiveness.... Life-my friend- real life! No sin is too great for Him to overcome and heal!!

"Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust. "(Psalm 103:1-14 NLT)

Seek Him and rejoice- by His stripes you can be healed!!! Let all of us who are the redeemed forgiven in Christ praise Him for all that He has done!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

God, Make Me Uncomfortable

One of the big moments in a toddlers life is when he or she begins potty training. Since Kendall turned two I have began talking to him about underwear and a future minus diapers. Now, call me lazy or an experienced mom of three- I have opted to wait and not force the issue with Kendall. With my first child I decided one morning that we were just going to start going potty that day and I forced the issue. I cleaned up many accidents that day despite my taking him every 15 minutes to the potty. I came to the conclusion that I would rather wait until he initiated the change then spend all my time cleaning up after him. Lately, Kendall has began to talk about going potty and even gave it a shot a couple of times. He has also started feeling more uncomfortable in a wet diaper. He has even started bringing me a diaper, laying down in front of me until I notice and change him. He greeted me this morning with the request for a fresh diaper. I think we are getting close! I am having to wait until he is so tired of that uncomfortable feeling that he is willing to make the change.

This morning, I realized that I want to be so uncomfortable with sin that I desire change. I hope that God will grow such a sensitivity in my spirit that that I feel extreme discomfort when I begin to stray from God's will for my life.

Recently, a good friend of mine brought to my attention that I had sinned against her. Through a heart wrenching and God healing two hour conversation we both realized that miscommunications had deeply hurt our friendship. I also saw that pride was a factor as well. In the days since, I have been more focused and attentive to my responses to others.

Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all. (1 Corinthians 15:34 NLT)

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Interlude (Psalm 32:5 NLT)

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (Hebrews 6:1 NLT)

Father, I do not want to keep battling the same old sins!! I want to learn from my mistakes, grow in maturity, and become more reflective of the Savior I love. I want to feel uncomfortable-nay, miserable when I step into an area of sin that I need to flee from. I want this so I can grow, learn and mature in my faith.

My friend no matter where we are in our faith- there is room for growth and maturity. We all deal with sin that we must keep in check. Let us not grow weary in our efforts!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Empty Houses

Oh my friends, how I have missed writing and sharing with you in the past few days.  Life has flown by at full throttle and become a blur.  We were blessed with time to visit with family while camping (without wasps) and to just be and rest with our loved ones.  There have been moments of tears and challenges as well too.  Through it all - laughter and tears- God heals, restores and is ever faithful.

This weekend on our travels we passed several homes that were boarded up and no longer in use.  Some of these homes were beautifully crafted and must have been magnificent at one time.  As I reflected on their grown up weeds, boarded doors and windows, I felt a little sadness.  I wondered on what they looked like before cobwebs took over and about the families that once lived there.  What stories could those homes share?  What events did they witness?  Did a groom carry his bride over the threshold?  Did a mother rock her newborn baby in the middle of the night by that window wondering when sleep would come? 

I think the thing that made me the saddest was the realization that these beautiful homes were wasting away to be of no use to anyone any longer.  It seems like such a waste... rooms filled with emptiness and dust that could be filled with life and laughter.  Rooms that could still hold a new couple starting a family as well as the first cries of a newborn baby.  Rooms that could still bring shelter and support to the family within.  Rooms that would have many more stories to tell had the boards not been put up where the weeds grew instead of children. 

How many people do I know that are boarded up and abandoned for future use?  Did the boards began to cover the door to their heart when dreams were shattered and all seemed hopeless?  Did they give up on living when forgiveness and hurt seemed to hollow out their heart?  When did hope become an illusion and emptiness a constant companion?  When did it become easier to give up on living rather than fighting for a future?

We live in a world of boarded -up, empty people.  They need hope.  They need love.  They need healing.   They need Christ.   Some, who profess Christ,  need to know that God is never finished with them until the day He calls each believer home.  Our God does not want empty people- He wants individuals who are fill to the brim with Him and His plan for their life.  He wants them overflowing with such love that it spills over and brings healing, joy and love to those around us.  We are to be different because we have life and love within. 

I had to ponder where am I in this?  How is my heart condition?  Am I full and overflowing or am I lacking?  I am realizing that I must be on guard against the sin that so easily entangles as well as quick to confess when I have wronged God and others lest the emptiness starts to overtake when unforgiveness grows.  I want life to grow within my heart- not weeds of heartache and hopelessness.  God heals.  God uses.  God is never finished with me until the day my last breath is drawn.  God gives purpose and hope.  My friend, where are you?  No matter where you are- you are only a breath away from living life as Christ, our redeemer, awaits your beckoning.  His purpose is to give you the relationship with the Father that supplies your every need toward restoration.  If you are part of the redeemed of Christ, you are still only breath away from healing and restored purpose.  What future is boarded up within your heart?   What dust and cobwebs have replaced life and joy within?  God wants so much more for you, but I guess the question is.... do you?