Not Unredeemed

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


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Victory Belongs to the Lord

Doctors. Specialists. Antibiotics.

Allergic reactions. Emergency rooms. Green smoothies.

Detoxes. All Natural – Everything. Essential Oils.

Sugar Free. Gluten Free. GAPS.

You name it. I tried it.

” The horse is made ready for the day of battle,

but the victory belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 21:31″

You see, victory belongs to the Lord. Not to doctors, though He uses them. Not to natural remedies, though He gave them to us – because to Him, all glory is due. Isaiah tells us that he “will not yield His glory to another”. And He certainly will not.

No matter what I tried to battle the MRSA with, it failed. Daily for a year and half I fought, and as I did, all self-reliance and control died painful, slow deaths. Trust in any system of medicine waned, theology fell by the way side until all was stripped away. Have you ever come naked before the Throne of Grace?

A miracle happens there when we choose to let go of all pride, control and self-reliance. In His mercy the Father never turns a broken and naked child away. When all is stripped bare He remains faithful.

Although I could not see it at the time, He heard every cry and saw every painful tear, and there were many of them. 2012 was a year of tears for me; a year of raw faith when a lot of what I believed was tested, tried and refined. I woke up last Christmas to a huge boil and spent New Years in tears, begging for grace and pleading for healing as I carried the sickness into another year. The specialist could do nothing. In His grace, the very grace I was pleading for, He brought me to the most terrifying, exhilarating, and peaceful place. The place of “but God”, where heaven meets earth.

Through it all He asked me to believe Him, to believe He was big enough to heal me. “Could He?” “Did He want to?” And finally, “Would He?”

He is Jehovah Rafa, the God who heals. The One who first healed my heart, and then in abundant mercy when the time was right, the One who healed me physically. There was a group of friends who faithfully prayed over me, and one night last January– He healed. This Christmas was the one-year mark since I had a full blown MRSA boil. He is abundantly good and faithful. The journey has been long and painful, and even before the healing, the suffering is worth it to see the Father’s face. The side of His face that only pain reveals. When all was stripped away, He gave me everything – He gave me himself.

Whatever you are battling this Christmas, wherever you are broken and bare, there is hope, because He comes. One thing I have learned over the last few years is that He is faithful. He will not leave you there. He is not scared of our pain – what’s more, He enters into it. That is the miracle, and that is Christmas – Christ coming.

I have much to learn in what it means to walk in the healing and continue to trust Him for it. By His grace I’m slowly healing from the side effects, and every boil that has dared to start growing this past year, has vanished in the power of His name. There is nothing like literally watching healing in your own body to believe Him.

I blog today to praise Him – a year ago I was in a place where only He could move on my behalf and He did. This New Years I won’t spend in the doctor’s office, but in Kenya loving His children and by His grace bringing His healing love to them.

Christmas - He come

 Thank you dear friends and readers for the many times you prayed for me. You were apart of His grace. As many times as I prayed for healing, I want to praise Him for healing. Soli Deo Gloria – all glory to Him alone.

Below are a few posts I wrote through the journey with MRSA (in case you’re a new friend and reader of Not Unredeemed)

What I learned to do in sickness – Grasp

Last New Years – Robbed and Christmas Magic (2012)

Even This – Again and how He Heals our Faith

Fear


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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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Buy Gold Refined – 31 Days of Truth {Day 10}

Did you know that we are to seek after growth? To go after refinement? I think I subconsciously knew that, but a passage in Revelation really recently hit me.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

We are counseled to buy gold refined from the Lord!  Do you know how gold is refined? Through fire. What trials are refining you through the fires of life right now? Do you seek that fire or just endure it? He also says that those He loves he disciplines. I’m thankful for that! (Rev 3:15-20)

So often we hear the popular verse:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

But look at the context! He stands ands knocks, yes, and He comes to eat with us, but it is after repentance, and us pursuing to be gold refined.

Want His presence at your table? Seek Him with me to buy from Him gold refined.

Today’s tidbit of truth: The Lord not only wants us to buy Gold Refined from Him, but He offers it to us in the first place!

 


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Dear Me – A Letter to My Seventeen Year Old Self.

Dear Me,

The pain that is cloaking your world right now will be redeemed. I promise. It won’t always be like this. Press on! You will be so thankful for the foundation the Lord is laying and refining in you right now. The pain will make you, not break you. The circumstances that are squeezing the life out of you are not going to go away over night, in some areas it will take years, but He is faithful. The scars will remain but they will become a testimony, not something to hide. So keep on self! Don’t give up, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

And stop worrying! You graduate this year and you do not need to have life figure out yet. Relax. Learn to rest now, and the beauty in the stillness because these are the habit forming years and it becomes much, much harder to let go! And control? It’s only an illusion. If there were one thing I could ask you to do differently, it would be to stop striving to be in control of every area of your life. There is this beautiful thing called grace. It’s not a lazy person’s way out – it’s freedom!  It’s the greased lube that allows the tools in your life to work smoothly. You don’t need to grind them into performing by sheer will power.

You don’t actually want to know what is coming in the next few years because you aren’t ready for that yet. There will be deserts, but also streams, mountain tops and valleys.You won’t be able to save the world, but you will come to know the Savior of the world for yourself and more goodness than you can imagine. Your friends will come and go, but invest in them anyway! Friends are there for reasons, seasons and life times. And only time tells that. Pain is a part of life. Open yourself up because until you know pain, you don’t fully know joy. <— Tweet this.

God took your payer to “not be normal” way more seriously than you probably wanted Him too, but then again “normal” is only a setting on the drier. You will never be the life of the party and that’s ok. You weren’t meant to be. Embrace your love of learning, don’t be ashamed of it, it won’t be something you can get away from.

You are also not invincible. Sorry to break that to you. When people advise you to slow down please listen! Yes the Lord will give you strength, but you will reap the physical consequences of drained adrenals in a few years. Listen when the Lord whispers, or He will use much louder, harder, ways to get your attention.

On a good note? You will out grow this awkward stage! Not only will you learn to dress well, but you will also be paid to dress and costume people! The years of being the awkward thumb in a denim jumper hiding in the corner are not wasted! You learned the value of seeing the heart of a person, not the outside. God will use that to allow you to communicate with, minister too and comfortably run in any social circle or setting.  You will however always be in the middle between people and groups. It’s ok, it’s not the middle, it’s really a bridge.

Guys. Haha! You have so much to learn. Stop worrying about dating or being in a relationship. You won’t be in one for another five years. See these guys as friends to learn and laugh with not “potentials”.

Those older single girls you look at in church and pray to God you will never be one? Well you will be, and it’s not at all what you think! So smile and stop worrying, God is a God of romance, but He is also a God of love, and He is after your heart and His glory.  And there is a greater joy and happiness in that than anything you can imagine!  Your single years will be fun! You will travel all of the United States and make more friends than you deserve. Adventures will be had everywhere! You actually won’t even want to trade in your single years. Not that they weren’t without heartache and struggles. but they will be good.

God will grant your dream of being in fulltime ministry, but not until you learn “full time ministry” is actually being faithful scrubbing toilets to His glory and working retail. Everything in your life now is a building block for the future. You will be 24 before you find out what you were created to do, but not one minute in the following 7 years of training will be wasted. It’s not about the goal but about the journey.

17 year old me, if there is one thing I can leave you with it’s this:

You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.

(Ecc 11:9-10)

Enjoy your youth! Don’t try to grow up to fast, but also know that you will accountable for how you spend these years. So use them well, be intention, but also enjoy the ride!

Thanks to “Chatting at the Sky” for the idea to write these posts!


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I Lack Nothing

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing Psalm 34:10

Lack.no.good.thing. There are so many things in life I feel like I “lack”. Yet I am seeking Him. Then these things I {think} I lack – they aren’t good for me. Wow. When will I trust His goodness? I’m realizing lately that I must ask Him to open my eyes to His version of goodness.

I’m the one who needs a redefining of what good is! My dad always told me: “Are you defining God by what you know of good? Or are you defining good by what you know of God?”

This changes everything about the way I live life and how I seek the Lord. When what I know of Him defines how and what I see as good in my life. Even pain. Hardship. Trials. The things we are commanded to rejoice in. We can’t rejoice in them, if we don’t see or understand them as good in some form.

How do we learn to start viewing the difficult things from out Father’s hand as good? Those things we “lack”? Elisabeth Elliot says the perspective change comes through acceptance – not a resignation, but acceptance as a distilling act of faith. She says:

“The way I respond to the ‘givens’ in my daily life experiences determines the growth in my holiness. When we pray, “give us our daily bread” God answers that prayer, measuring out just what we need for spiritual as well as physical growth. He knows that spiritual stamina cannot develop without conflict. We must take with both hands the things given, submissively, humbly, sometimes courageously, or even, as one friend put it, “definitely” –saying to ourselves “This is part of the story, the story of the love of God for me, and my love for Him. This is acceptance in the truest sense. This is where real peace is found – that strange, inexplicable peace Jesus promised.” Elisabeth Elliot – Loneliness pg 114

Acceptance takes courage. Perspective change takes perseverance and the Holy Spirit. And recognizing goodness takes God. Seek Him and lack nothing – He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. And what we have, right now, in our hand – is good.


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So Shines the Moon

If you are the sun
then I wanna be the moon
I wanna reflect the light that shines from you

God I wanna let you know
I want everything you are
I’m waiting for the morning light to show
a fire in the dark

Shine your light from the inside out
I wanna be more like you
If you are the sun, I wanna be the moon
I wanna be the moon*

If He is the Sun, than I want to be the moon. I want to reflect Him. Tonight as I watched the sun set, it hit me that the moon only shines in the dark – when the sun isn’t visible. The darker the night – the brighter the light. I was a little indignant at first – why can’t the I see the moon’s light next to the sun’s? Why does the sun have to go down before we can see more than a faint outline of the moon?

We can’t reflect the Father’s light when we are with Him, the only light we see then is the Fathers. It’s in the darkness of life’s murky times that we reflect Him the most. And that is how He gets the glory – through our piercing reflection. It’s the absence of light that creates darkness. The light of the Son isn’t gone during the dark times – it’s waiting to be reflected through you.   Continue reading


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Rhythms of Grace

Grace. It’s so much more than just undeserved favor or merit and pardon from sin.  Grace is the ability to abide in Christ. It’s the strength to walk through painful circumstances.

Grace is the promise of humility. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Pride says “I’ve got this, I can do this, or I’m in control”. Humility is having God’s view of the situation, and with His perspective comes grace, and freedom. Freedom from expectations of others, freedom from sin and freedom from ourselves.

“Grace isn’t leniency when we have sinned.  Grace is the enabling gift of God, not to sin.  Grace is power, not just pardon.” -John Piper

Grace is power. Power to live 1 John, and be “in Christ”.

I need grace. I need lots of grace. When I began to pray to understand grace I had no idea the road the Lord would take me down to understand ‘grace in it’s various forms’. I assumed I would mess up and sin, and I would come to understand grace. But grace is oh so much more! Grace grows from humility, so God went for the root – pride.

The circumstances that are teaching me grace are also humbling me in their simplicity. I’m tripping over health issues and changes in several significant relationships in my life. Things I thought I could handle, things that aren’t a big deal to anyone else. Simple things are leaving me begging for grace and desolate for His presence.

It’s not the size of the issue that brings you to your knees, but that fact that you get to your knees that matters. That humbles me. And there is where the grace begins.  Continue reading