Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This Daddy's NOT Leaving

When I was a little girl, my parents' marriage was on the rocks.  To be honest, it stayed on the rocks all the way until my dad left for good just a little over 5 years ago.  But at this particular time, when I was just 11-years-old, their marriage had hit an all-time low.  My mother was on her way home from being out of town.  I had been outside riding my bike, and when I came inside, I noticed my dad was packing a suitcase.  I asked him where he was going and he told me, "I'm leaving."  It took him telling me that a few more times for me to understand what he meant by leaving.  My grief was overwhelming.  The tears fell as hard as they had ever fallen.  I begged him to stay.  But as my mother pulled in the driveway from her trip, my dad met her outside, announced his decision to her, and piled his suitcase and other belongings in the trunk of his car.  I remember standing there watching him outside the window as he drove away.  Even as I type this to you, the feelings are still there, as strong as they were on the day he left.  I still feel a lump in my throat each time I travel down this memory's lane.  Watching him drive away in that car was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  And the pain that goes with that visual reminder is as strong and deep as it was so many years ago.

It was just a few years back when I was having my quiet time that I stumbled across a verse in John (as if Jesus just causes us to stumble across His Word.  Right.)  The verse from John 6:37 said, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."  Did you catch those last two words?  Drive away.  The words in my Bible are in red which tells me these were the audible words of God's Son, Himself, and I totally realize that Jesus wasn't talking about getting in a car and literally driving away.  In fact, His meaning was quite different.  He was telling others in the passage that if you come to me, I will never leave you.  I knew that was the original meaning behind His words in this particular Scripture, but the phrase, "drive away," stopped me in my tracks.

When a daddy leaves his little girl, no matter when in life or how many times, I believe it instills an incredible fear of abandonment.  I mean, if the one man in a girl's life whom she is supposed to trust with her life and love leaves her, what is going to make her think other men in her life won't leave her?  Those "other" men can easily include the Heavenly Father in her life, as well.  For many years, I thought I had to earn my God's love and when I failed Him, which was a lot, it was like taking several steps back.  I had to almost start over again in earning back His love.  Rest assured that I do NOT feel that way anymore.  He and I have had our issues to work out, but one thing is for certain.  I know He loves me.  And I know He will never leave me.  This Daddy's not going anywhere. 

And it was in reading John 6:37 that I was reminded of that once again.  My Jesus loves me more than anyone will ever love me.  I never have to live my life in fear that a day will come when He, my Abba, decides He's had enough of me.  I know He will never drive away and leave me crying at the window.  If you fear abandonment...if you fear being left by your spouse...if you fear you will never earn your Heavenly Father's love or approval, I am here to tell you something life-changing.  There is nothing...did you hear me...NOTHING...that you can do that will cause your God to leave you.  That is why He sent His Son so that we could live with a guarantee that His love never fades.  NEVER.  And to prove that to you, He died on a cross and then rose from the dead to show you He meant business.  He wants you!  He wants you FOREVER!  Go to Him.  Tell Him your fears.  Tell Him your insecurities.  And then bask in the overwhelming promise that He gives you in John 6:37.  "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I WILL NEVER DRIVE AWAY."


Friday, January 21, 2011

Bring the Rain

My husband and I were listening to a sermon the other night from the book of James.  Before the pastor began his sermon, he asked the praise band to play and sing the song Bring the Rain by MercyMe.  It had been a while since I heard that song, but as soon as that sweet melody began, I quickly remembered how meaningful and moving the song is.  Read the following lyrics...

Bring me joy.  Bring me peace.  Bring the chance to be free.  Bring me anything that brings You glory.  And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain.  But if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain.

Although the words mentioned above are lyrics in a song, they can easily be read and applied as a prayer.  How easy it is to make such a proclamation during a season of life where things are good.  It's easy to feel that way about the struggles of life when life isn't throwing any curve balls.  But what about the times when life does? What about the times in life when the last thing you feel like doing is praying in the first place?  What about those times when you are so blinded by anger and rage OR the only prayer you can muster up is one that involves the word - WHY - being repeated over and over and over? 

For me, it's easier to look back at a difficult time in life and see how God used those challenging circumstances to refine and restore my heart.  That is much easier than looking UP at Him DURING a difficult time...during a storm...and proclaiming in His name...Lord, if this is what it is going to take for me to praise You, then YES Jesus, bring the rain.  That, my friends, is what is hard.  That is what feels impossible at times.  But don't you know, if that is what He asks us to do, don't you know there is a reason why?! 

If we call ourselves Christians, our ultimate goal is to give Him glory...always.  Why, you ask?  Well, because His glory is our reward.  It is a reward that we will never understand until we see Him face-to-face.  What I know and what I can vouch for is that when I choose to seek His glory, both in the good times and bad, it makes all pain and suffering worth it.  And ultimately, because of the beauty and mystery of His love, it turns those ugly, painful, and destructive memories into something beautiful. 

Yes, Lord, bring the rain.  You are worth it.  Now that I know the miraculous healing power of Your love, if I had to walk down all my painful paths again, I would do it.  I would do it again, Lord.  I would do it, Lord, because every painful step I take is worth having Your presence and Your hand to hold.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Continue to persevere, sweet friends!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Debut

Welcome to my blog! 

Truth be told, I have no idea what I am doing.  Blogging is as new to me as would be studying Japanese.  The beginning of a new year always inspires me.  I usually generate a list of goals, call them resolutions if you must, that I set out determinedly so to accomplish during that given year.  One of my goals for this 2011 is to use my voice MORE.  For those who know me personally are probably asking themselves...Now, why would she feel like she needs to use it MORE?  My reaction to that is that while I know I have a big mouth, it is my desire to use my voice in a way that reflects the existence and importance of my God-given purpose. 

There's that word...God.  You are going to read many references to and about Him.  For He is exactly why I created this blog in the first place.  It was just a handful of years ago that I realized exactly who He is.  My God revealed Himself to me in a way I will never forget.  It was at that point, just a few years ago, that I decided to surrender my life to Him.  Ever since then, I have been on a path that has forever changed my life.  Through this blog, I wish to share my experiences with you.  Experiences that will hopefully reflect His presence in my life.  I chose to memorize James 1:22 on January 1 of this year.  It is a short, yet very powerful verse.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what is says.  And that, fellow bloggers, is just what I want to do.  I want to be a DOER of His Word.  I feel creating this blog will help me to do just that.  It will cause me to reflect and will hold me accountable to you as the Reader. 

This blog is dedicated and devoted to the One who changed my life...my Savior...my life...Jesus Christ.  Thank you for taking this journey with me.  You should know, just like with life, this blog won't present a perfect picture.  Truth be told, life is messy.  And thank God it is.  For if it were not, we would see no need for Jesus in our messy lives.  You can count on my posts to always contain the Word of God, but to always express how and why His Word applies to my life.  Sometimes, that will look and feel warm and fuzzy.  And sometimes, it will look...well...messy.

Father God, may this be the year we experience You in a way we never could have imagined. 

Your Fallen but NOT Failed Servant,