Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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Even This – Again

How many times will I stare at these white walls and fight back the tears, trying to pull myself back together before the Dr comes in? I already know what they are going to tell me. MRSA. Again. I’m loosing track of how many times I’ve sat here. I guess if I wanted a count the medical bills stacking up could tell me. Or maybe the purple scars covering my legs.

Natural doctors, medical doctors, they are all at their wits end trying to help me. No one knows why I keep getting sick. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. Diets, essential oils, Antibiotics, the list goes on.

I want to give up, but I can’t. I guess I’m learning why the Lord made me so stubborn. I don’t question His goodness, but my heart questions His plan as my mind whispers “why?”. I know He can heal me. I’m more sure of that then I am of my own name. So why doesn’t He? It’s in anguish I ask, wanting to understand, not anger. He is to faithful to me to be angry with Him. His grace abounds even in this. Even here. Again.  Continue reading


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Sometimes Dreams

One of the things I enjoy doing both professionally and personally is costuming. I’m currently touring with a theater for a Christmas production and there is one scene/song that hits me every night. One of the leads is encouraging a young boy to not despair and to wait for his dreams:

“Sometimes dreams must wait. It might take years while your perfecting; A dream that takes longer than your expecting. Sometimes plans get changed. Sometimes help comes late. But there always is tomorrow, and that’s where dreams all wait.” – 4 Tickets to Christmas Production

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I don’t want my dreams to wait. I want them to come now, today! It’s a very uncomfortable realization for me that I might not be ready for my dreams. That I’m still perfecting, still growing. What it comes down to is pride; I want to be ready, I want my dreams now, but it is my perfectionism and desire to be needed and for attention that drives me. Not love for the Lord or His glory. We wait for what we love. (Jacob loved Rachel so much that the 7 years he waited for her seemed but a few days).

 Today a friend (and fellow blogger) reminded me: “That God doesn’t do anything until He will get the optimum glory”. Can I wait for that? For God to move and make my dreams come true in His timing? He knows when I am ready to handle what He wants to give me, and the timing will align perfectly with when He will get the most glory. One of the ways we become ready is when our dreams and desire become about Him – not about us. Continue reading


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Stress Lies – 31 Days of Truth {Day 27}

Stress. It’s something I’m finally admitting I have a lot of in my life. Over the last few months the Lord has been convicting me and challenging me on my perspective and the way I handle stress, fear and anxiety – aka things out of my control. I’ve compiled a short list of some of the truths I either pray, or repeat to myself till they sink in. I pray they bless and challenge you as well.

Stress and anxiety only have a hold over us if we let ourselves live under their lies.

  1. Go to the root. What’s my key fear here causing my stress? Do I have a reason to be stressed?
  2. If I fear or worry about something, then I do not truly believe that God is good.
  3. If I’m stressed, who is on the throne of my heart?
  4. Anxiety/stress/ fear mean that I am under the delusion that I am in control. Control means I think I’ve got it. There is no room for grace in a situation where the foundation is pride.
  5. It is not ‘it is what it is’. It is what He says it is, and what He says is, is.
  6. All is well in Jesus name (repeat this truth as often as needed!)
  7. Fear is not from the Lord. Grace and peace are. I’m either abiding in Christ or I am not.
  8. Fear/anxiety/stress are warning flags that I need to run to the Lord, not guilt points to trip over.
  9. Thanksgiving is a perspective changer. What can I be thankful for? What is my focus on?

10. There are no good days, there are no bad days, there are only days of grace.

Fear/stress/anxiety are not based in circumstances but perspective. It all comes down to perspective. God is who He says He is – will I choose to align myself with Him today? Stress cannot stand in His presence and neither can I, it’s only with a bended knee can we receive the grace to rise above the circumstance and gain the perspective we need for peace.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: Circumstances do not create stress, a wrong perspective does.


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He Heals our Faith – 31 Days of Truth {Day 21}

Does the Lord ever weave a theme through your life as He is teaching you something? He often does in mine! This last week I keep running into and learning about faith. Several times this week I have opened the bible to various passages on faith as well as in my current study of Romans.It started last week with the Lord convicting me of not believing Him about something He was showing me. I came to the painful conclusion that I could not have the faith on my own to believe Him. But, oh so thankfully, Faith is a gift from the Spirit. I could believe Him – but that belief had to come from Him, not from within myself. And it did. If the Lord is asking you to do something – He will supply the faith for it! Ask for it. You don’t have to have the faith on your own.

With my prayer for the gift of faith (1 Cor 12; 7-9) has come a desire to learn more about it. This week on my way to Romans my Bible opened up to* Jeremiah 3:22

“Return, O faithless sons;
I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
for you are the Lord our God.

He will heal our faithlessness?! I know He will forgive us of our sins. But it struck me that He will heal (cure) us of our faithlessness (lack of faith in Him).  It was so comforting to me, that the Lord not only gives us faith but heals us of our faithlessness. What a God we serve!

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: He not only provides forward, He heals backward. 

*Please note, I know that the “Popcorn” opening your Bible at random method is not always the best way to study and apply scripture. I do however believe that God is not limited and speaks to us at times that way. In studying the context of Jeremiah 3:22, the meaning of the vereses are still the same.


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Dragged – 31 Days of Truth {Day 18}

Friday was one of the longest nights of my life. It was painful, it was glorious. I fought with the Lord most of the night. In the wee hours of the morning I could sing these lyrics with gusto:

On these lonely raging mornings I would whip you if I could
But Your on the mighty side of strong and the perfect side of good

If I raise my hands will you grab me by the wrists
And will you try to pull me from the fray?
And even if my fingers join together into fists
Will you hold me firmly anyway?
‘Cause I would try to escape you but for everyday I’m sure
That You’re on the huge side of big and the holy side of pure

And as the dawn broke, by His grace –

Ok, hear what I say
As I raise my hands and surrender today
Ok, here I will stay
Hands in the air, singing have Thine own way  (Hands in the Air by Waiting)

Have you ever fought with the Lord? Like a mental all around knock down drag out? Here’s a secret – He always wins! And for that I am thankful beyond words that He does not leave me in my sin and pride.

Saturday was the day of a big race, one that I had tried to run last year, but my first bout of MRSA prevented me from running just days before the race. This year despite 4 more rounds of MRSA and a weak body I was determined to run. I enjoy running and it’s a time where it’s just me and the Lord and the wind. Over the summer I started training for race again. Victory was going to taste even sweeter this year.

When round’s 3 & 4 of MRSA attacked my body again this fall, I was devastated as I once again missed out on crucial weeks of training. But for everyday I could run I was oh so thankful! I didn’t take any day for granted anymore. And I learned there were no good days, there were no bad days, and there are only days of grace. As the race drew near I came to the very painful conclusion that I would not have the stamina to run this race. To much time had been lost! My prideful perfectionism took another blow. A friend suggested wogging it (walk/jogging). I wasn’t thrilled at the idea, but it would kill my perfectionism so that became the new game plan.

Staring at the ceiling Friday night, silent tears streaked down my face – why oh why couldn’t I sleep? I wasn’t even going to have the strength to walk the race tomorrow. And that is where the fight began.

The Lord started pointing out that I was trying to kill my perfectionism and pride by walking. It doesn’t work that way. When we tell the Lord how and when to humble us it still puts us in control and full of the worse kind of pride – false humility, because we think we are being humble.

But oh how I wanted to be in this race! I fought Him stubbornly for a while, coming up with every justification and excuse I could, trying to drowned out His voice. Thanks to my smart phone, I decided a 4:00am browse of Facebook might make Him go away. I didn’t want to rest, to drop out of the race and be humbled.

Wanna guess what I read on facebook? (God isn’t one to let us get away, He fights dirty, in the cleanest sense!)

 We’re to run in such a way as to win the prize.  And that means testifying of His grace.

It’s a race.  But the race is not always to the swift.

It might be necessary to slow down to win the prize. (Gretchen Louis)

Tears once again began to flow as I read. I could no longer ignore Him. The prize is testifying to His grace, and we win by slowing down enough to realize it. For me that meant slowing down to a stop, not being in the foot race at all. As I raised my heart in surrender, grace  flowed unearthing and uprooting the real issues in my heart.

 Forgive me of my pride Lord! I will not run. I will rest, I will accept this illness as being allowed from your hand. The acceptance Elliot speaks of – the distilling act of faith. Lord I can only accept by your grace, not by a choice of my will. Please help me.  I wanted to run because I was fighting that this sickness would become part of my identity. But what if you have willed it to? So that your grace can also become part if who I am?  – Journal excerpt.

Identity. My biggest fear is that this sickness will become a part of who I am. I hate that it changes and affects the way I live my life. I fight against that with every part of my being. Peace only comes when I accept. Not resign myself to it, but accept it as from His hand – there is a huge difference. Resignation is giving up. Acceptance is trust. Knowing God has allowed this and that He sees, knows and understands the pain it brings me – and that through it all He is good. And He is loving and He is faithful.

Oh so faithful! To keep this sinner up all night, to not give up on me, but to wrestle with me until I rest in Him. He is not satisfied to allow me second best, but pushes me until I accept His grace. He does not want my identity to be one of sickness, but one of grace. One that reflects His glory.

And so this weekend, I ran, I just ran in a very different kind of race.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: The Lord wants grace to be apart of our identity.


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Used – 31 Days of Truth {Day 14}

Hmmph! Used. I’m so sick of feeling used. Used and abused. Are there no grateful people left? When someone invests in you, you should at least have the decency to show some gratitude.

Swirling and bubbling through my mind these thoughts chased themselves in  a cadence  to the frustrated scrubbing of my dishpan.

Splash. 

Hmmph.

Scrub.

I know loving people is worth it, but why when they are better and are going on their merry ways do they never look back? I spent hours investing in these relationships, counseling, tears, prayers and faithfulness as much like my Fathers as I could give them. I didn’t just share the Gospel with them, but my life as well. That is why it must hurt this much!  I gave them me. As soon as there was no need for me, they were gone. Better, whole. But gone.

I argued with myself as I wore a hole by scrubbing through my favorite cooking pot.

But Jesus loved this way right? Did He ever feel used? He must have! I will keep pressing on. No one else might care, but it’s the right thing to do. Jesus did it. So I’ll keep srubbing – er plugging away!

Self-righteous pride began to creep in slowly turning the dishwater a murky grey.

Have you ever done this to Jesus?

Huh!

Scrub, splash, ignore.

Hasn’t the Lord bandaged and healed you? Shared with you the gospel AND Himself? How many times have you grown and then ran on your merry way onto the next thing?

Ouch. The dishwater slowly begins to drain out of the sink.

We are to be like Jesus in how we give to and love people. Even if that means feeling “used”, but we are to be righteous over being right. The bubbles of my frustration, pride and justification of my hurt, and self-righteousness popped in the cleansing stream of the Holy Spirit’s voice.

Pop

The sink drained and cleaned as the fresh running water swept my frustration and anger down the drain.

Lord, forgive me for my ungratefulness for all you have done for me. For the ways you have loved me when I wasn’t grateful, for when you came after me when I refused to come to you. For your faithfulness of always being there for me when I need you even if I haven’t come to you for you are….

Tidbit of Truth for Today: The antidote of gratitude will wash the frustration away.


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Grace Like a Couch – 31 Days of Truth {Day 4}

I looked up at her and smiled. She is so precious to me! How do I explain the fullness of grace to her? The grace that I am only just beginning to grasp myself? I looked back down at the open Bible’s in both our laps.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

Grace. What is grace? She answered slowly and thoughtfully:

 “Grace is getting what we don’t deserve”

I nodded an emphatic agreement: “That is so true”! But yet there is so much more. There is another side of grace. Power. There is pardon in grace, but also power. I looked at her again sitting across from me on the couch. The couch!

 

Grace is a bit like a two-seated couch. One seat is pardon and getting the release from our sins that we do not deserve, and the other seat is the power to walk in the freedom the pardon brings. One seat with out the other is not a couch. A seat by it’s self would be a chair.

Grace is a blend of power and pardon. Pardon by it’s self, makes for a lazy Christian. Power by it’s self makes for a self reliant/focused Christian. We need the balance of them both! John Piper says,

 Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.

Understanding that grace is pardon from sin – not an excuse to sin (Rom 6:1), is the beginning. The next step is realizing that grace is enables us to abide in Christ – to not sin. And that knowledge empowers us to serve. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

That is when grace flows through the pardon, into the power and becomes an action.

A couch without more than one seat, would not be a couch, it would be a chair. Grace without pardon AND power, would not be grace, it would be limited. <— Tweet This 

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