Monday, March 2, 2015

I told you so

For me, creation is absolutely a form of prayer. When I letter or paint a piece of scripture I'm writing it on my heart. Creating art from His words is like painting a target on His promises and saying 'this is the one Lord'. What we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, right? Jesus tells us that words and our actions have power, and not just any power, His power.



Mary Magdalene is one of my very favorites. So much of her story is my story. Both the stain and the salvation. And Mary walked beside Jesus. In today's world there are still those in the church who feel as though women are not fit to be disciples, to speak and teach and lead. That they are to be seen and not heard. But Mary was loud. She was loud for her Jesus. This during a time when a woman could be stoned to death for being seen alone with a man who was not her husband or relative!



So yeah, I feel like I 'get' Mary. Like we would have been friends. I love to imagine how she felt - what it would feel like to have those loving, compassionate, on - fire eyes of Jesus turned full on your face. The depths of your freedom and salvation conveyed in His glance, the tone of His voice. Mary knew sin. Luke describes her as having been freed from seven (!) demons. Demons don't take up residence in clean homes, they can't find an open door. I know sin. And like Mary, I know freedom. We can know Jesus' spiritual presence, which in and of itself is an immeasurable gift, but Mary had His physical presence. Can you imagine it with me? Jesus, in the flesh, close enough to touch. How could there be any doubt? Any impulse to serve Him with anything less than the entirety of your being? For Mary, there wasn't.



It was Mary who stood before His tomb on Easter morning as the angel of the Lord said to her, 'He is not here; He is risen, just as He said'. Imagine Mary's heart in that moment! Shouting, I knew it!!! The Lord had been good to Mary, He set her free from her affliction, He kept His promise. As He does for each and everyone of us He calls His own. Are we shocked that He kept this promise as well? I just love how it's so matter of fact too - He is risen just as He said. I told you so. I can almost see the smirk on His face. How fast their sorrow must have turned to joy in that moment! The realization that He kept His promise, that it was stronger than even the grave. And if He can keep that promise - if He can bring life from death and joy from sorrow and freedom from crucifixion - what promise is too great for Mary's Jesus?! For my Jesus? For your Jesus?



This man of ours, He conquered death for us sisters. There is nothing on either side of heaven not under His dominion and He. Loves. You. Don't give up right before He fulfills His promise to you. Like Mary we have to wait at the tomb well past the point of hope. You know the ask, seek, knock, verse in the book of Matthew? In the Amplified bible it reads this way -



"Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened" Matthew 7:7-8 AMP


Keep on. I love that. If you ask and don't recieve, keep on asking. Keep on searching, bang on every damn door. What prayer have you buried? What promise have you long since given up on seeing fulfilled? Keep on. The stone will never be rolled away if you walk away before He moves it. He is standing just beyond impossible waiting to say I told you so.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

All things new


When I decided I was going to start blogging again, I thought I would go through all of my old posts and delete them. Honestly, they are somewhat embarrassing. The woman who wrote those posts last year, about her clothes and her projects, I hardly recognize myself in her words. But I decided to leave them and should you read any of them, it is my hope that you would see the change the Lord has brought about in my heart and be encouraged! If you haven't heard my story or don't know anything about my life and mission I would recommend reading my testimony, which you can find here. Again, that was written nearly two years ago now, and it's really only half the story now. I've found that in my walk with Jesus my story is not a static thing. Every day He keeps writing a new chapter, better than the last.



Tonight I sat down to pray over what I should share, and I wrote down some of the main themes God has been impressing on me during this season. Abiding in Him, being made new, and gentleness. It seems every scripture I read lately, every conversation I have, every manner of 'random' events point me in the direction of these three (decidedly intertwined) ideas. It's about the way I'm walking out my faith. The way I'm living it. Not words on paper. Not a distant God in the sky. Not simply a promise of a 'better place' once this one passes away. It's about more than simply the salvation of our souls, it's about the shaping of them. The changing and growing and stretching and pushing and recreation of them to be more and more like Christ every day. Every moment. But you know that right? I mean, you're reading this, you're probably a Christian, we all know about sanctification and all that fun stuff. I've been studying out of the amplified bible, and one of my favorite things about that translation is they never simply say 'know'. It's always 'know and understand'. As in, "Be still and know [and understand] that I am God". We can know all about something and never actually grasp what it means. I want to know and understand that I am in Christ, a new creation, and walk accordingly.




There are no 'new' messages to be found in scripture. There are new ways of looking at it, new ways of hearing it, but no new messages. I'm not writing this because I have some bright shiny awesome new message for anyone. I'm here for the message. Jesus saved me from heroin addiction. Jesus changed me from a hard, bitter child into a loving woman. All of the fruit He promises when we abide in Him? It's growing in me. I can't explain it, I don't fully understand it, but I am called to tell you about it. So that's what I've been doing, and that's what I'm going to keep doing, until He tells me otherwise.



I've been steadily going to church now for almost exactly four years. Over the course of this time I've shared my testimony in many different venues, to many different people. Several of these people have told me how lucky I am to have such an 'big' conversion story, that I can really help people by sharing it. Most of them have been Christians their entire lives and have never faced the sort of things I have. I used to get very upset hearing that. Lucky? Lucky?! Are you kidding me?! But I get it now. I know and understand that the world needs miracles to have their eyes opened. I know I did.



I look at my story, my past and my present, in awe of God's plan. He knew the only way I would come to Him was broken beyond human repair. So, He allowed me to be broken. But sisters, He has also rebuilt me completely. Rebuilt me into something far better than I could have ever imagined or deserved. New name, new heart, new creation. If we don't allow the breaking we are also refusing the rebuilding. And not just any rebuilding, we are being recreated by the master craftsman Himself, the One with the most magnificent blueprints. Trust Him to do the job. Trust that He who began this good work in you will finish it perfectly, in the exact right moment. You can't do it. I can't do it. I tried, and it almost killed me. Even now I try to take it back, un - surrender, think I can 'work my way well'. I can't do it. Today I know and understand that I'm not supposed to. It's not my job and it's not yours. He wants to bring you so close to Him. He wants to give you every last good and perfect gift. Why don't we let Him? Get out of our own way and let Jesus work? I'm going to own my neediness. I'm going to boast of just how deeply I need Christ to change my heart. Will you join me?



"He must increase, I must decrease." John 3:30