Fear is a Liar

When was a time you felt most scared? What was it over? How much did you allow that fear to dictate your life? Did you triumph over it or are you still allowing fear to whisper lies to you in the dark?

Fear is a liar, and if we accept these lies we remain chained to it. I won’t forget the way these lies slowly crept into my mind. The fear of being honest about who I am and the path I have walked took over my life so much that I shut off and shut down. I believed that there was no way I could be honest about how I felt or that I could be my true self, because fear told me it was absolutely impossible. Fear told me that everything I’ve ever done in my past was too ugly, and too unforgivable, that no one would understand. Fear took away my self-worth. Fear took away my potential. Fear took away my voice. The enemy oppressed me with so much fear because he feared who I was created to be. His mission was to paralyze me in this fear, and I believed him when he said, “This is it. This is all God has for you.” A life of a shell of myself and that God could never use me because of my past. I believed fear when it said that I could not overcome. I believed fear when it said that healing is too hard, and that a life lived out for The Lord was not possible for me. I was listening to fears loud voice so much that it tuned out The Lords still, small voice telling me I am. I can. I will. Fear began to scream louder in my face the more God spoke gently to my heart. When fear told me I’m not worth fighting for, Yahweh said I’m worth dying for. When fear told me I can’t trust in God, El Roi said with Him I can move mountains. When fear told me I won’t overcome, El Shaddai said I will be victorious.

Fear is a liar and the enemy fights the worst fight to keep us there. When we are so captivated in fear then it’s hard for God to use us. When we eat the lies fear feeds us then everything God has for us is tainted. I challenge you right now, today, to take a fear in your life and call it out. Like a bully that’s been taunting you, stand up for yourself and push it back. You will see that it’s not as tough as it appears to be when you just take the first step. There is victory and light that comes from breaking the chain of fear and leaving it in the dark. God promises that we are, we can and we will.

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Handing Over the Keys to the Cellars of Our Souls

Every one of us walking on this earth have a few cobwebs in the corners of our souls. Maybe your mom once told you not to have any cookies before dinner but they were so enticing that you ate one anyway when she left the room. A cobweb forms. Maybe you told a “white lie” to your best friend because it feels easier than facing the truth. Another cobweb forms.

But maybe you have a cellar in the basement of your soul. It’s dead bolted and has a million and one locks just to ensure that no one gets in. Maybe it’s been there for so long that the cobwebs have become so thick. It’s even formed mildew so not even you want to touch it. The enemy guards that cellar with his strongest forces. He wants to make sure no light shines through. He wants that cellar in your soul to remain hopeless. Impossible to open. And he wants to continue to torment you with it.

He wants you to believe that if anyone knew what was locked inside then they would abandoned you. That they would disown you and be disgusted with you. He wants you to believe that you are the only one who has done what you’ve done or what has been done to you. That no one can relate, understand or help. Let me tell you that that is a lie from the deepest, fieriest pit of hell. Whatever has happened to you in this life, whatever is chained inside your cellar, there are over 7 billion people in this world, you are not the only one. It’s impossible. God says there is nothing new under the sun. Although it feels like it, you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.

God didn’t create our bodies for cellars in our souls. We are not capable of keeping them there long enough without going crazy. Without forming some kind of destructive behavior. What is that one thing you’re holding on to that hinders you from reading your bible more? What is it that stops you from growing deeper in your faith? You may veer off course a little bit, and for some of us a lot a bit. You may have junk in your cellar that no one could have ever imagined. But God knows. No matter how well you believe you’ve fooled everyone else, God knows. He sees your cellar. Down to your deepest wound, and He mourns for you.

You may believe that nobody else in this world could ever know how you feel or how much your cellar has made you suffer, but God knows. And He wants to brush away the cobwebs. He wants you to hand over the lock and key and allow Him to free you. You might be thinking, “Well He’s God, why doesn’t He just take it from me and do it Himself?” He’s a gentle God. He’s a patient God. He’s a God who gave us free will to choose to remain under the weight of the enemy’s thumb or choose to bring it all to His feet and say, “Okay, Lord. I can’t carry this on my own anymore. I need a Savior. I need you to carry this for me.” And He will. And He already has when He had His only Son drink the cup of our sins and taste the bitterness of all the filth we have ever done. His son Jesus, the Savior of you and I, who carried it all and was nailed on the cross so we could be free to willingly choose to hand over the keys of our cellars to God, and let it all go.

Enough is enough, have you had enough? Are you ready to hand over the keys?

When you call on me, when you pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me you’ll find me. When you want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you home again, you can count on it.

Jeremiah 29

  

of Salt and Sea

Have you ever missed someone so much you still look for them in crowds? You replay their voice in your mind so you never forget it. You’re scared that because it’s been so long you might wake up and it’s gone from your memory.

There was a sunset last night over the ocean and I would have waited all night if I knew you were gonna show. In my heart I wanted to share it with you, but I imagine it was so much more beautiful on your side of Heaven. I still waited a while, hoping you could be there next to me. You would ask me how I’ve been and I would bury my face in your lap. Where have you been all this time that I’ve needed you? I know where you are, but sometimes I can’t understand the distance between.

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I’ve been dreaming of you walking up to me, and I want to stay there a while, but I know we can’t live in our dreams. I drove passed your house not too long ago, it’s so much smaller than I remember as a little girl. The cement garage is gone and the paint is chipping away. I would have knocked on the door to just sit inside but I’m still as shy as the day you left me. So I sat outside for some time, missing you. I planned for you to be here forever and it hurts when things don’t turn out the way we had planned. And it hurts to think about how much time has passed, you’d think I’d feel better by now. I hoped I’d feel better by now. Everything is different since you’ve been away, and if I could go back to the day when we were all together with you I would. If you knew how much we needed you maybe you could’ve stayed a little longer. Maybe if we knew just how much we needed you we would have picked up the phone faster when you called. Oh how I wish you would call.

I’m thankful for what you’ve left behind in my mother, when she rocks her own grand babies to sleep I see you. And the way my aunt loves Jesus the way you did. I still see you in my family and it all feels like home to me.

Do you miss me as much as I’ve been missing you? Is Jesus as sweet as you said He would be? Have you saved a table in Heaven for your family? If I could have you back for just one more moment, there’s a million things I would want to say. But I think I would much rather sit quietly to hear you speak instead.

I’m waiting patiently while I watch the morning sun. In my heart you show up next to me. But I’m okay with sitting alone knowing the colors are that much more beautiful on your side of Heaven.

Happy Birthday.

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Misery Has No Hold On Me

Your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button, but today is different. You don’t fall back asleep for a half hour longer, risk running late and having to go 10 miles over the speed limit. You get out of bed (you might even make the bed) with a little pep in your step. “Today is going to be different.” You tell yourself. 

You make yourself what you believe will be the best pot of coffee you will ever make, and you smile at the rising sun and the way the light is beaming through your window. Usually you would push your cat away as she snuggles on your lap while you try to read the morning paper, but today is different. And the way your cat is purring over your now crinkled paper brings you back to being a small child. The way you would sit on your mothers lap as she read her favorite magazine. Her breath smelled like morning coffee as you lay your head on her chest and hear her heart beating. Yes, this is a memory of joy. 

Now you go outside, thermos in hand, and face the world. You’re singing to every song on the radio and you smile at strangers at the gas station. You give change to the homeless on the corner of the street and you don’t think twice about what they will do with the money. “Today misery will not overcome me.” You tell yourself. “Today I choose joy.” Because the routine of getting caught in rush hour has finally outrun itself and allowing others thoughts and opinions and allowing others problems affect you severely has run it’s toll. 

And even when your boss asks you, “Can’t you do better?” And even when your friends would rather not be by your side. Even when you can’t afford that beautiful coat I’m sure you deserve. Even when for once your spouse lovingly tells you “No.” Even when things just aren’t going your way. Yes, even when you aren’t treated with respect. And even when the entire universe feels as though it is laying all of itself on your shoulders. You choose to sing. You choose to skip through the grocery store with your small child. You choose to kiss your mate in public because you are shamelessly in love. 

When you spill your morning coffee all over your pants while you’re already running late you choose to laugh instead of cry. You choose to dance in church because you finally let the glory of The Lord permeate your entire soul. And instead of always venting about your problems you choose to put effort in changing them. You choose to be the best friend, mother, father, sister, brother, lover, that you could ever possibly be. Not because you want something in return but because today you decided to choose joy. You decided that no matter what disappointments came your way today you would choose to be happy. That you will not react out of anger. And today you choose to not let emotions control you. 

  You choose to seek wisdom and answers. You stop wondering why things aren’t in your favor or why you haven’t found a husband or wife yet. You stop worrying about money and you stop posting all of your dilemmas on Facebook. You break the bondage of misery because it has no hold on you. You have that choice. Yes, today you choose joy.

  

Jesus in me.

As I sat against the fence alone, thinking on my trip so far in South Dakota, a man was walking through the skate park picking up cans. I glanced at him and looked away. To me being a Christian means sitting with the homeless. I saw the man picking up cans sitting under a tree in the shade. As I walked up to him my mind thought “what if he stabs me?” but God quickly took over and kept my feet moving. He saw me and waved crazily like I was some kind of old friend. He told me his name and welcomed me to Sioux Falls. I asked him his story and he dove right in. I believe that whoever should call themselves a Christian should also call themselves a friend of homeless, the needy, the poor. To give a listening ear to someone who just doesn’t get it enough. Through that alone Christ is able to show warm love to them. Before I left I wondered if I should pray over him, but I felt as though my time with him was a prayer.

Yesterday I met Daryl, “can-man”. He is welcoming and likes to be outside. He told me about his family and how people think he sleeps outside by the swamp. He is funny and likes to watch the kids skate, even though they think they are better than what they really are. He sits on this bench for about a half hour every day, to just be. Yesterday Daryl felt Jesus’s love.

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Always your Nah-zee

Two years ago today i held my grandma’s hand as she lay in a hospital bed and we described together what Heaven will be like. I put my face on her chest, and she just smiled as i told her i wasn’t ready for her to go. she quietly said, “you will always be my nah-zee.” i miss her voice. her voice was gentle yet strong and passionate when she prayed. she prayed for everyone. all day long she whispered His Name, “oh, Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” i replay this voice in my head often hoping to never forget it. Two years ago my grandma made sure to make each of her grandchildren promise her she would see them in Heaven one day. i told her i would but my heart wasn’t sure if that was true. i told her i would see her again and she squeezed my hand. i miss her hands. her hands were old but they were beautiful. they squeezed my wrist as we crossed the street when i was a little girl. they made the best scrambled eggs and the best chocolate cherry cake. they clasped together tightly as she prayed to her great God Almighty. it’s been two years since i’ve gotten to look into her blue eyes. mine were filled with tears and sorrow that day but hers were filled with excitement and joy as she prepared to leave for Heaven. when you looked into her eyes you just knew her soul was destined to sit next Christ. growing up i never had a strong personal relationship with Jesus but i knew my grandma from the inside out and i look back now and think that sitting next to my grandma as a little girl was the closest to Jesus i could have been. it’s been two long years since i told my grandma that i would see her in Heaven. i hadn’t gone to church in years, the Bible i got when i was 8 years old was like brand new, i was not living for Jesus in any way, but my mouth spoke the words before i wholeheartedly thought about what she had asked, and i told her i would see her in Heaven. i believe in the very moment my tongue spoke those words to her i unknowlingly signed a contract and God was the witness. i believe from that very moment God made it His mission to fulfill that promise to my faithful, God-fearing grandmother. two years ago i began to lose my life just so i could find it. there is nothing that i long for more today than to be able to look into my gramma’s eyes, hold her hands, hear her voice, and pray with her. to seek advice from her in times of struggle in my walk. my heart hurts for the wasted time i didn’t do those things when she was here but i know when i get to Heaven Ella Mae will be waiting. if there could ever be the ideal way to pass away, she let out a big, peaceful sigh, and you just knew Jesus Christ picked her up and took her Home.

“your Heaven is going to have a big blue house, just for you. with a big flower garden. with lots of onions and chocolate cherry cake. and a big blue sky. with golden roads. you’re going to sit right next to Jesus, gramma.”

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

PSALM 27:4

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