Not Unredeemed

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


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Messy Bits

“God, I just feel so self conscious – so awkward! Ick. I can’t stand it! Please free me, I want to walk in confidence of who I am – who You say I am. Not this awkwardness – take it away!”

My prayer smacked of whining and lament as I stuffed every uncomfortable emotion I was feeling into a neat box.

I moaned all the way down the hallways of my heart from the living room where I was experiencing the mess to the bedroom walk-in closet. Ah! There, the top corner shelf. As I stretched on tip toe to neatly place my mess out of sight, a voice stopped me mid-stretch.

“Why don’t you invite me into that instead of boxing it up?”

Jesus stepped out into the dim light of the closet window.

“You want to be invited into my mess?” My heart sputtered in complete surprise. 

My closet was clean, and the box was neat, but He wanted to experience the mess inside the box with me? Unbelievable! We made our way back to the living room as my heart began to hope.

Friends, our Lord didn’t come for those who are well. He came for the sick, for the blind, the poor, for those who NEEDED Him. He came for our mess. The good mess, the bad mess, the no-category-plain-old-mess. Sometimes it’s easy for me to recognize that the Lord came to free me from sin, but I forget that He walks with me through the effects and the aftermath of sin too. He doesn’t condemn us for living in a broken world where our hearts hurt. A broken world He is and will redeem.

My mess and wounds don’t scare Him. And yours don’t either. He only asks that we invite Him into the mess. Into the process. We love when Isaiah tells us that the Lord brings beauty from ashes. Do you have any idea how messy ashes are? Or have you watched a flower push it’s way up through cold, wet, muddy, spring dirt? – It’s MESSY. There is nothing clean, neat, and boxed about it.

When I pray for the Lord to heal parts of my life and heart, I often want the magic wand. POOF!

Even Glitter Dust is Messy

Even Glitter Dust is Messy

From Cinderella ashy rags to the beautiful Princess ball gown. But here’s the incredibly beautiful secret in the mess: Jesus’s blood and justification changed our filthy rags to garments of righteousness – we are clothed in ball attire! But unlike the fairy godmother, Jesus wants to jump into the swirling magic of the transformation with us. He is the one doing the transforming, but He isn’t the fairy godmother that stands to the side and watches. He jumps right into the mess and dances in the whirlwind with us. And when the waiter spills punch all over the prince’s shirt, or the princess looses her shoes – He’s there.

Please hear me on this one: Messy isn’t a bad thing. Messy is an opportunity to experience profound love, raw real life, and to know the Lord as He heals us. Messy is life.

I recently asked a friend to give me a word the encompassed both “good” and “hard”. She replied: “Life”.

Life is the messy bits – Letters to Juliet

Life isn’t just compiled of living in the Pintrest moments – it’s also about living in the Pintrest fail moments – the raw messy ones. Where we make mistakes and we hurt from the mistakes others make. Don’t just live for redemption – live to know your Redeemer. He is in every messy bit. 

In DeepIn Deep:

So the next time you are surrounded by a mountain of snotty tissues, or you’ve lost your glass slipper, remember it’s okay. It truly is. Invite Him into your messy bit. We are the only ones who condemn ourselves for our mess. He does not.

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:20

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“Messy Bits” is Day #6 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series


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Yielded or Tossed?

“Katie, surrender is like floating on the waves. Riding them up to the crests and then plummeting to the depths with them. Surrender is about flexibility and letting yourself be carried by the waves, rather than resisting them. Like beautiful sand glass, the waves can rub the rough edges off of you, making you into a thing of beauty. Or you can freeze and clench against the waves, fighting them and becoming rigid but the result will be the waves breaking and bruising you.”

I choked back the tears as the truth rolled over me.

Deep calls to deep

at the roar of your waterfalls;

all your breakers and your waves

have gone over me. (Psalm 42)

Oh, how I resist those waves! Preferring seasons of calm pools I can control, frustration was making me rigid as the waves crashed over me.

Reality is that life happens and waves come. I told a girlfriend the other day that I needed a word that encompassed or described both ‘good’ and ‘hard’. She replied simply, “life”. Life has high highs, and low lows. Waves crest and carve, equally carrying deep truths and beauty as joy and pain call to each other.

But in those waves, I’m learning there is a difference between being tossed and being yielded.

Being rigid and stubborn doesn’t just result in bruising, it’s end is also double mindedness and being tossed about.

For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 2:6-8

My personal stubbornness and resistance to the flexibility of surrender comes from a lack of trusting the Lord (fear). For different folks it may be different strokes and circumstances; but fear, stubborn control, and a lack of trust will always result in doubt – which is to be tossed.

Yieldedness begins with acceptance, (at times repentance), and surrender. Spurgeon said

I’ve learned to kiss the waves that slam me into the Rock of Ages

It’s in trusting that He IS our rock, that there is an ocean floor and a foundation under the waves that gives the ability to be flexible and yielded to our Father. The amazing thing is though – waves don’t just smooth out our rough edges, they create beauty in our foundations.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. Isaiah 54:11

If you feel storm tossed and afflicted dear one, the Father hasn’t abandoned you in the waves. Deep calls out to deep to explore the unique depths of His love found only in the space craved out by the wave, or the exhilarant joy found in the foaming freedom of the crest.

Adventure is born,

life is lived,

AS we ride the distance between the depths and crests.

Waves will always come. It’s what we choose that will change the ride – tossed or yielded, stubborn or surrendered, the choice is ours.

In the crashing waves, hear the rest of Psalm 42:

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

and at night his song is with me,

a prayer to the God of my life.

waves


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What Longing Is (Longing Part 4)

Before you read what Longing is, make sure you read what it isn’t too. Click here.

Longing is a mirror that we look into and see our true motives. Purified longing takes something that is good and makes it great. I long to be appreciated for what I do; not a bad desire, but the Lord sees the motive.  When I am not appreciated and don’t get what I want, longing holds up the mirror to reveal a selfish heart. Longing teaches me to love and serve with agape love – expecting nothing in return, serving out of love for the Lord, not the desire to be appreciated.

Longing is a chance to feel what Christ feels. The Spirit longs for His bride. We think we might have been waiting long, but what have we done to Christ? His bride dallies in her marriage preparations daily. We hurt him, grieve Him, and ask Him to wait to come back for us until we can do or experience certain things – until our desires are fulfilled. As we long, it’s a reminder that the Lord feels longings too – for us. How great is His love for us!  We are His bride whom He is separated from. (Revelation 21).  Longing is about realizing that our story is really about the cross.  It’s about becoming the bride of Christ. Christ is coming back for a body that is in portion to its head.  Are you ready for Him?

Longing is a reminder we are made for more.

“Heaven is not here. It’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.” – Elisabeth Elliot – Keep A Quiet Heart

We aren’t made for this earth, friends. Longing keep us from getting comfortable and settling for the shadows of reality.

Longing understands. There is such comfort in knowing that the Lord understands our longings too. Isaiah 40:27 tells us that our ways are not hidden from Him, nor is our cause disregarded. He sees you friend! And He understands your pain.

O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38:9

We can also understand each other’s pain – pain and longing are what make us human, and we have the privilege of comforting each other (2 Cor 1).

Longing is perspective and focus. Without darkness we would never know what light was. The same applies to what we long for – with longing comes a unique perspective. In the absence of what our heart desires, there is room to love and appreciate what was passed over before. Within longing we see a side of the Father’s face that is only shown to those in holy anguish. The choice is always ours – to focus on what we do have, or what we don’t have.

Longing is leaving regrets behind. David Crowder’s song “Oh He Loves us” says: don't have timejpg

“I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way you love us”

While Crowder might have been writing about the regrets of sin, when I sing this song it also means the regrets that come from unmet desires. There is a lot of truth in that line. When we are focused on the Lord’s love for us right now, we can’t regret what He has not yet given us. Our hearts can dwell on only one thing at time, we can foster discontent by focusing on our longings, or we can set them aside and focus on His love for us. A love that motivates and drives us to the point that we are so caught up in it, that there is no room for regrets.*

There is a lot of things that longing is, and that it isn’t, but what do we do with it?

Next: Longing – What Now.

*Please note that not focusing on the longing does not mean it goes away – it won’t always, but it becomes manageable and no longer paralyzes us when our focus is on Christ’s love.

Also in this series:

What to do with Longings

What Longing Isn’t

Seeing Our Salvation in our Longings


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Into Me You See {Intimacy}

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. A.W. Tozer – Knowledge of the Holy

Who God is to us is one of the most important things about us, because it reveals the transformation that the Lord has done in our lives and our understanding of who He is. There is one major important step however that needs to come before we can clearly see who God is and subsequently what we think of Him.

 I read in a periodical the other day that the most fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not!  How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it relates to how He thinks of us. C.S. Lewis – Weight of Glory

While Tozer is right and I still agree with him, Lewis presents another very important side. We must first see ourselves as God sees us, before we can truly see God.  Continue reading


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Christmas Magic?

I wanted a big miracle at Christmas, you know like the ones in movies. The magical, nostalgic all your dreams come true moments. It’s Christmas Eve and my dreams seem to be running away from me rather then coming closer to fruition. Were the magical moments of childhood just that – a child’s perspective? The older I get the harsher the realities of life and dreams seem.

No, I will not be depressed – it IS Christmas!

In two hours I would home and the last thing I wanted to do was paste on a fake smile for the kids. They still believed in the magic, and I didn’t want to spoil it for them. They will grow up all to soon. Desperate to not fall into the “black hole” I fiddled with my iPod trying to get some worship music playing. I need a different focus. Desperately.

As the miles rolled by I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the snow looked covering the dead brownness of the countryside.  It was beautiful. I couldn’t deny that, no matter how surly my mood.

Maybe there is still a little magic left?

Trees bowed low under ice and snow crystals that shown even brighter because of the grey sky. Dead and broken weeds and branches now created enticing tunnels into the unknown.

Even the Darkness Continue reading


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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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Lies All Lies !

My fingers froze over the keys as I stared at the screen. I’d just caught myself in a bold face lie.

 I don’t feel strong enough to go through this again Lord. At all. I can see Oh so clearly how you were preparing me for this and that is where the thankfulness comes in. But I don’t feel ready or prepared. I feel tired… my heart is weary.

I wanted to journal and say that I couldn’t walk this out; I was tired and not strong enough. Lie. It’s so much harder to believe a lie when you are journaling it.

 I know I should not say or think that I am not ready, that is a lie. You are all I need. With you I am as ready as I need to be.

When we say that we can’t do something we are saying that God is not enough – that His grace and strength are not
sufficient. Since when did feelings dictate what was true or not?

Continue reading


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Praying for Me? – 31 Days of Truth {Day 22}

Good friends are a huge part of the way the Lord speaks truth into my life on a daily basis. They are Jesus to me with skin on. Overwhelmed by an intense work schedule over the weekend, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to squeeze in the time to blog. When a friend* whom I’ve been encouraging to start a blog, offered to guest post for me, I couldn’t say no! Please enjoy. 

“How often do you pray for yourself and about what God wants to do in you?” The question hung in the silence between the two of us. We were parked in his driveway the car filled with the despair and frustration that was welling up inside my heart. Yet as he asked me that question I had to think honestly about it. Most of my prayers were for those around me, my friends, my family, students I taught. Yet how often had I prayed about what God wanted to do in me and in my life? How often had I asked God to reveal what He wanted me to see?

My life recently has been cluttered with distractions. My father who had been a huge part of my life had within the past year abandoned his family to pursue his own goals, my mother lives with a terminal liver condition, which by God’s grace is being managed at this point though she has been diagnosed as stage four liver failure, and I? I live at home paying off debt, working as an educator in a tumultuous time of new state regulations, intensified scrutiny, and a constantly changing diorama of regulations and policies. Within all of this God is working to capture my heart to be more than what I am.  I grew up in the church, was raised in a Christian home, worked at a Christian camp and went to a Christian college. Yet through all of that my heart has been weighed down by the traditions and trappings of “christianity.”

God to me has been distant, the judge in my life, always setting goals and standards that are out of reach. With every attempt  I made to reach the goals of distant perfection – discouragement followed, building up with each failure. Piercing through that discouragement, my friend asked me how often I pray for myself. Recently God has been stirring me to seek Him for all of who He is, not the God of judgment, though certainly God holds all sovereignty and judgments in His hand, and certainly not a God of cruelty who sets standards impossible to reach, just to watch us fall. God wants and has been calling me to understand His character to its fullest, a God of love and compassion, a God of relationship.

As I sat in the car for the first time in a long time I gave voice to my doubts and fears about who God was. About the failings that seemed to push me further and further away from the God who I knew was King of my life. My friend began to share a bit of his journey and as we talked he asked how often I prayed about myself and for myself. Not about things I wanted or needed but about laying out what my heart truly felt. Laying out my heart with no boundaries, no hidden doors wherever that led, to the God who created me and just wanted me to come to Him. As he spoke I finally just told him to be quiet because I had the overwhelming sense just to pray. And so I prayed….all the despair and frustration and pain and loneliness from the past year welled up out of the depths of my soul, and in that moment sitting in the driveway, Christ granted a taste of overwhelming grace.

For all the failings that we have, God wants to love us. Not perfection in us, but us, in all of our messiness, all our inadequacies, all of our dirtiness. It is a concept in the church that we so often hear but how many of us truly understand the depths of what that idea means? God wants me to seek who He is not with fear or because I can gain favor in His eyes, but because I desire to know Him. God wants us to know Him and to serve Him out of gratitude out of a desire to love Him for who He is. But how do you follow God when it seems so hard to “reach the perfection” He seems to demand in us and that a sovereign Lord deserves? The truth is I can’t reach it, and that is ok because it is Christ in me that can. As the conversation in the driveway continued it turned to practical application. How do I continuously seek Christ when it seems I so often fail? When my prayers seem to be unanswered?  The response was surprising. “Perhaps you are not praying for the right thing. Your focus is on one thing and perhaps God is asking you to ignore that and to focus on something else. What is God asking you to be obedient too in the moment by moment day by day things?”

How do I respond to that? I couldn’t. And my friend suggested it was because I haven’t prayed about what God wanted to reveal in me and through me. I was too focused on the issues that I thought should take priority. It was as if God were saying “Don’t worry about others right now or about that list of issues you think you need to fix. I know about them but I want to focus on you and I. Ask me what I want to show you.” And as my friend and I prayed in the car there was only one response, a cleansing grace and an assurance of love. Love that looked beyond the failures and fears in my life, beyond the deep seeded feelings of inadequacies, of not being good enough, into the heart of who I am at my core; it was a love that accepted me for every flaw simply because I am His. In that moment, in a driveway along a country road where once was despair, and hurt, and pain there was now only gratitude, hope, and tears as I caught a glimpse of what the love of the King of Heaven truly looks like. It was a moment of peace when the only sound was of spiritual chains beginning to fall away from a heart that is slowly being released into the freedom of who Christ truly is.

*Guest post by Daniel Miller. Dan is  a long time family friend, a middle and high school Biology teacher, soccer coach and lover of all things nature.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: The Lord wants us to pray to Him about us. It is not selfish to pray for yourself, it is only in praying for yourself, that the Image you were created in, can be revealed to you to reflect. One cannot see the truth of one’s true reflection unless they first stand in front of the mirror. Bring yourself before Him. 


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Quotes – 31 Days of Truth {Day 19}

Truth is – I journal – a lot. I also read a lot. So I’ve combined my two favorite past times and started a journal of quotes that speak to me from the books I’m reading. I’d love to share them with you. 

10/17/12 “when did the validity of the Eternal Word rest on the mood of one of His poor children? Let the promise  be the song you sing. He will hear it and make it true for you.” – E Elliot Music of His Promises pg 5

10/16/12 “from faith, for faith” Romans 1

10/10/12 “we have to believe that the fulfillment’s will be greater than the promise, because fulfillment of God and the promise are mere words.” A.W. Tozer – Mystery of the Holy Spirit pg 43 

10/10/12 ” God is always bigger than any thing God can say, because words are inadequate to express God and what God can do. Any promise God ever made, God has to fulfill it. The reason being, God is so great, His heart so kind and His desire so intense and tremendous that language does not express it. Not the Greek, not the English, no language expresses God. It cannot. If language could contain God then language would be equal to God.” A.W. Tozer – Mystery of the Holy Spirit pg 43

10/3/12 ” ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who apologize’ is the way many of us pray the prayer the Lord taught the disciples. Jesus told us to forgive those who trespass.” – Elisabeth Elliot, Mark of a Man pg 148

9/19/12 Being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God’s interests in other people. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

9/18/12 there is an absence of the living water of grace and peace in your life – check up stream. Your pride is causing a dam. – Me (Jesus – God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble)

“waiting is not resignation; waiting is an active trust in God to provide fulfillment in His perfect timing, according to His ultimate purpose of glorifying His Son.” C.J. Mahaney

9/16/12 If you have one foot in the future and one foot in the past you’re peeing on the present. – Man I sat next to on a plane

If theres a name for it, you aren’t the first one that has done. – Keith – Man I sat next to on a plane.

We live in a microwave world and serve crockpot God – Man I sat next to on a plne

9/5/12 “Sometimes people talk about how they are “struggling with” certain things, or “working through” them, when what they really mean is that they are delaying obedience.” – Elisabeth Elliot, Mark of a Man

9/2/12 “If the husband can look upon his gift of initiation as a privilege, instead of a right; and if the wife can look upon her gift of response in the same way, instead of as an obligation, both might be surprised to find that Jesus’ promise actually comes true for them; The yoke proves to be easy, the burden light.” – Elisabeth Elliot, Mark of a Man pg 60

8/28/12 “The Holy Spirit is not enthusiasm. Some people get enthusiasm and imagine it is the Holy Spirit. They become worked up over a song thinking it is Spirit-anointed worship. And they imagine that it is the Spirit. Enthusiasm is not the Holy Spirit, because those same people go out and live just like the world. The Holy Spirit never enters a man and then lets him like like the world. You can be sure of that.

Incidentally, that is the reason most people do not want to be filled with the Holy Spirit; they want to live the way they wan to live and have the Holy Spirit as a bit of something extra, as  you might have a diamond stickpin or something very beautiful on your clothing. They want the Holy Ghost to be something added, but the Holy Spirit will not be an addition. The Holy Spirit must be Lord or He will not come at all.” A.W. Tozer, Mystery of the Holy Spirit pg 26-27

8/24/12 “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

― William Wilberforce

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

― William Wilberforce

Will you help me add to my quote journal? What is your favorite quote?

Today’s Tidbit of Truth – We are what we read (or eat, listen to or watch). “It’s never ‘just’ a movie ( a book, or a song) it’s a worldview” – Dr. Leeland 


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Perfect in Beauty – 31 Days of Truth {Day 7}

I took this picture today, driving home. It’s not edited (well the color that is!). I get so busy that I forget to appreciate the breath taking beauty all around me. Perfect beauty. In most beauty we can find something wrong, a blemish, or something wish different or added. But the Lord is perfect in beauty.

Flawless.

Complete.

Beautiful.

And the Lord shines forth from Zion. He allows us to see and experience perfect beauty – if we will but stop and see it.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth witnessed in my everyday life? – The Lord is perfect and beauty, and He gives me the honor of seeing that beauty reflected here on earth!

This weekend I’m giving away a copy of Natasha Metzler’s eBook Pain Redeemed. To enter to win a copy click here. Or to read my review of the book click here.