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What do You SEE?

I guess I’ll be up front and say that this post is a set up to challenge your assumptions.  There, I said it.  I want to challenge your thinking, your perception … help you understand that just because you think you know something does not mean that you actually do.  No offense, this just happens to be the heavy that has been on my heart recently.  So I’m going to tell a story today – it is short, but hopefully it will make you think about the way you look at people and situations.

I was out running errands not to long ago – it was nice out, my Jesus Jams were loud … my windows were down 😂.  I was having an awesome morning – By looking at me driving in my car one just would NOT think that I could pull into a handicapped parking space.  ♿️ So I have to tell you that the looks of judgement that get shot in my direction when I do  – well, I’m just gonna tell you the truth – they make me giggle.  🤣 (I can’t help it, that is just who I am) … until I swing my legs out & they see that I am part bionic!!   Immediately those looks change from judgement to shame – and I have to tell you I don’t want that either …. I tell you this story to say that when they see me – they only see the top of my body.  They have no idea that technically; I am disabled.  I have 1 & 1/2 legs instead of 2. 

So, When I pull into that space one of two things is going on:  either I am in some pain that I refuse to take meds for OR (let’s keep it all the way real) there is no parking & I’m allowed to be there.  The point?  I wonder how many situations, people do you only see half of?  I’m betting it’s way more than you think … This beautiful Saturday afternoon I challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to show you something in someone you just happen to have a strong opinion about.  Ask Him to show you something new that you have never seen before.

Thank you Lord that everything that is stripped away can be used for our good.  Thank You that when one imperfect human being (who I know You love) see’s me through the broken, smudged glass of their own house – YOU don’t.  You love me so much that You died for my freedom.  Thank you for using the smallest things not to hurt me, but to help me SEE clearer.  Thank you for cleaning the smudges from my glass & mending the broken parts.  Thank You for making beauty from ashes.  In Jesus name we pray – Amen“.

Here with HUGE expectation …

This last season of life has been another intense one… SO many huge changes, some incredibly painful, but none the less beautiful.  After all that we have been through It has to be a pretty BAD situation for me to NOT see the beauty in it.  Not that I’m not screaming “WHHHHHHHHYYYY God” at the heavens while parts of it are going down!!  Sorry folks still all the way human.  🙂

Anyway, so by some miracle I am on a balcony overlooking the Gulf right now and I have HUGE expectation for this trip.  I believe we are on the other side – of the latest big, bad and ugly.  How do I know?  Because I find myself driving (when I’m alone and I can think *) in wonder and awe at everything God has done, in me, in my husband, in my marriage – in my family as a whole.  So today I sit here overlooking His amazing creation thinking again of my Elijah’s words:  “Momma, the ocean reminds me of God!”  I can hear his sweet voice, I can envision those sparkly brown eyes alive with excitement and love – those dimples and that sweet smile.    The depth of that statement coming from a child who loved the Lord with all of his heart is astounding to me.  Did he know what he was saying?  I’m inclined to believe he did.  I miss him so much, but we meet here…. My Poppa is good.  I have said before that I can feel him cheering and I know that he would especially love our latest endeavor.  I am beyond honored that God has entrusted it to us ❤

So here I sit with enormous expectation for the three people that I traveled with who have never had the enormous pleasure of this particular kind of beauty – and because that was the scariest flight I have ever been on, I KNOW that this next 7 days God is up to something.  I so love it when He’s up to something!! (always…)

Fight Lessons 1-12:

It’s been almost a year since God released the first Fight Lesson in my heart – I knew at that time that I was getting ready to step into a whole new part of my journey.  He was showing me some things in His Word very clearly & tying them to my life.  He was telling me over and over again to put ON MY ARMOR that I was going to need it.  I had NO idea at the time how intense it was going to be, couldn’t possibly be more intense than what I’ve already been through .. right?    Hmmm… not the same, doesn’t mean not as intense.  But there is always good news:  He does not EVER show us something to leave us there; He wants us healed and FREE.

There is NO adventure in this world like walking with Jesus daily; (by the second actually) BUT, It cannot be done without the Holy Spirits help.  If you are busy looking real closely at someone else’s stuff KNOW that the enemy is using it to distract you from what God has for you and it will most certainly keep you from bearing all the fruit that God wants you to bear (love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Galatians 5:22).  

Also know that no matter how bad it hurts your feelings.. He loves them too and wants them free!  So if you are praying “God use me to further Your kingdom” you don’t get to decide how he does that.  If you are bound by judgement, put it down – if you are bound by legalism, put it down.  This journey requires wisdom,perseverance & courage that only He can give.  It can’t be done without the help of the Holy Spirit.  Looks like we are Revisiting Fight Lessons!

Fight Lesson #1: Know your opponent. The devil IS REAL; he IS A LIAR … His purpose is to keep you from what GOD has for you. (1 Peter 5:8) #FightLesson1

Fight Lesson #2:  This is NOT a fair fight.  Your opponent knows you; he’s been watching for a VERY long time.  He is aware of your strengths & your weaknesses; Regardless of your reason; or how the world justifies it your OFFENSE/Anger/Bitterness/UNForgiveness WILL be used to cut off your hearing & blind your vision.  LET IT GO. (Matthew 6:15, NIV among MANY others)

Fight Lesson #3: Guilt, Shame & Condemnation have NO place in this battle … You have been Redeemed & Forgiven, your debt has been PAID IN FULL. You are human, you will stumble, repent & Keep Going ~ IT IS FINISHED. (John 19:28-30, NIV)

Fight Lesson #4:  SURRENDER.  Yes, you read it right.  Surrender. Not to your opponent; to the One who goes before you & stands behind.  Surrender because He loves you SO much that He died for you, He has your back & He SEES the whole picture & you are not capable of seeing the whole picture. (James 4:7, Romans 12:12, NIV)

Fight Lesson #5:  UNITY.  Stand UNITED with His Beloved; you know, the ones fighting beside you!?!  STOP warring WITHIN your army & stand UNITED.  Does that mean we must agree on every single topic; it does not.  But, Do we serve the same Master?  I don’t care about the fact that you do OR don’t bleh, bleh whatever.  We are ALL at different places in our walk with Him.  We MUST remember:  “It IS NOT against flesh & blood that we battle but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

“Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. “(Ephesians 4:3-6, ESV)

Fight Lesson #6:  IN this World NOT “OF” this World.  You are called to a different path.  This fight may include parts and pieces that don’t look the way the world thinks they should ~ if your path is baffling to people that are not yet walking closely with the Lord you are probably headed in the right direction. (Still remember Lessons 1 – 5, He is no respecter of persons.)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2, NIV)

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV)

Fight Lesson #7: Know Who You Are. You are more than your bad choices; you are more than mistakes you’ve made. You are MORE than the degree you carry, the job you hold, the social status you carry, the house you live in, the car you drive. You are ACCEPTED, You are SECURE, You are SIGNIFICANT. You are DEEPLY LOVED.

I am accepted…
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure…
Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant…
John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

(Taken from Freedom In Christ Ministries, Who I Am In Christ)

Fight Lesson #8: Isolation. If your opponent can isolate you; his chances of taking you down increase considerably. If, on the other hand you have an army (big OR small) standing around you speaking truth that is a little more difficult! You were created for relationship … GOD created you to be in relationship with HIM first and foremost but with other people too. There will be times when HE pulls you out to a quiet place so that HE can Speak Life back into you; but if you feel cut off from everyone including Him your oppressor is gaining ground. DON’T believe the LIE that you are supposed to do it alone & understand that even when (imperfect) people fail you; GOD NEVER WILL. Don’t ISOLATE, reach out.

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18, NIV)

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV)

Fight Lesson #9: Secrets/Silence. The secrets you keep buried deep inside you, the things you refuse to acknowledge or speak out loud will hold you hostage as long as you allow it. Secrets come at a price. But GOD! If you have Him within you there is NO need to sit in an unlocked prison cell, You are FREE. Tell on it. See ‘Fight Lesson #2, remember ‘Fight Lesson #3.

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” (Psalm 32:3, NIV)

Fight Lesson #10:  A Garment of Praise.   When it feels so heavy that you can barely catch your breath; when the battle has gotten intense and you feel defeated, the enemy is surrounding you … pounding on your doors, walls, ceiling & floor .. Coming at you from every angle possible, you feel like a failure & heaviness is closing in ~ CHOOSE TO OFFER A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE TO GOD.  Sing praises to Him that made You, ADORE Him, thank Him.  His promise is “The Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Despair” (Isaiah 61:3) it’s not just “a garment” that covers, it’s THE spiritual ‘Garment’; it is the thing that drives out heaviness.  The promise is real.  Sound Crazy?  Try it on.  Go before the Lord in adoration & crush the enemy with your Praise.

Fight Lesson #11: BE Intentional, Invite Him IN.  What part of this battle are you leaving Him out of?  Do you understand that “it is IN HIM that we live and move and have our being?” (Acts 17:28) He has pursued YOU because He wants in it all!  He has pursued You, He is invested in YOU; He wants to be IN EVERY decision.  That is how much He loves you!  You can do NOTHING without Him, but IN Him ~ IN Him, ALL things are possible! (Phil 4:13) Don’t allow the free will that HE gave to You render Your greatest weapon (Him) useless in Your life.  He is a Gentleman; He wants an invitation.

it is IN HIM that we live and move and have our being?” (Acts 17:28)

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Phil 4:13, NKJV)

3 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
4 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
(Psalm 105:3-4, NKJV)

Insert YOUTube video:Yield My Heart Kim Walker-Smith

Fight Lesson #12: Obedience.  What is dried up & hopeless in your life? What looks DEAD, slain? Is there a hopeless place that seems like it should be buried? Are there bones on the floor of your Valley? Is there no denying that life has left them? The next question I am going to ask you Beloved is WHO gets the say on whether or not that is truth?

I am here to tell you that if you are His; it shouldn’t be you!  It should always be ‘the Commander of your life.’  Then the Lord said to me; “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, DRY BONES HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones:  I will make breath enter you, and you will COME TO LIFE.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”  The next sentence is of utmost importance:  SO I PROPHESIED AS I WAS COMMANDED.  (As I was commanded.  As I was commanded.  As I was commanded……) And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, (as He commanded me, as He commanded me, as He commanded me!)  And breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

AND BREATH ENTERED THEM AND THEY STOOD UP ON THEIR FEET~A VAST ARMY.  Ezekiel could have ignored the command to Prophesy ~ but he chose obedience.  Be obedient to the command of the Lord Beloved, He is the One who decides!  He gets the last word.  (Ezekiel 37, NIV ~ emphasis & additions mine)

‘It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal & glorious plans they are – will have you put together & on your feet for good. HE gets the last word; Yes He does. (1 Peter 5:10-11, MSG)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Perceiving ….

Perception is a tricky thing … it is defined as the way you think about or understand someone or something.  A person’s perception IS their reality right or wrong.  But here’s the two part problem with perception:  1.  What if you’ve been taught wrong?  2.  What if you think you have all of the information and you actually don’t?  Even more … What if you are viewing something or someone through someone else’s WRONG lens.  Here’s a simple fact you might consider:  We cannot know another person’s heart, We CERTAINLY cannot understand why they respond to life and situations as they do.  I’m going to share a story that was shared with me to illustrate:

Once upon a time, a 24 year old boy seeing out from the train’s window shouted “DAD! look, the trees are going behind!!”  The Dad smiled and a young couple sitting nearby looked at his son’s childish behavior with pity, suddenly he again exclaimed …. “DAD!! Look, the clouds are running with us!!!!!” The young couple couldn’t resist and said to the older Man “Why don’t you take your son to a good doctor?”  The man smiled and said .. I did, and we are just coming from the hospital – my son was blind from birth – he JUST GOT HIS EYES TODAY.”

We cannot know where that person who cut us off on the freeway is headed – maybe they have a sick child in the hospital dying and we are cussing them because they were rude.  We cannot fathom that the person in line at the grocery store paying with a food stamp card is crippled with fear and shame & battling to continue putting one foot in front of the other because 6 months ago they were laid off from a job that paid them a six figure income that they worked 15 years to obtain and now they need assistance just to feed their family.   We don’t know that the girl that shares her body with anyone who will have it does that because she was abused as a small child and taught that was all that she was good for & the only way to get attention or get her basic needs met.  That the man who runs away from his family and supporting his children does it out of shear FEAR that he will fail them, ruin them or worse they will turn out like him – because he never had a father to show him how!

HOW are you perceiving others?  Are you sure?  Are there occasions when your very strong opinion is a trick to keep you from noticing something about yourself that you might need to address to walk free?  Perception is a tricky thing.

Image result for perception

 

Forgiveness – 18 Months In.. (3.5 Years Today)

Below is a re-share from Facebook 2 years ago.  it’s been 3.5 years today since Elijah went home – reading through it is just crazy to me how much different my perception could have been, how God has carried me through all of this (& continues to).  That He has stayed in the places in my heart where anger and bitterness could have rooted in 🥊 What the enemy meant for harm!!!! 

It’s been 18 Months TODAY since Elijah got his wings … we have survived a year & a half without him & you’ll never believe what just happened to me: I had to leave to pick up Aliyah in Darby Estates (out close to West Jeff) at Roberts & Rome Hilliard I notice the guy in front of me swerving & then he almost hit someone going left to center (exactly what happened to us but we were on a bridge). I thought maybe he was just distracted. But he happened to be going the same direction as me (Roughly 8 miles West of my house) he swerved again & terrified yet another driver who blew their horn …… by the time we got to Walker Rd it was just us & it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t safe for him to be driving.  
I called 911: they dispatched an officer & kept me on the phone asking if I could follow him CRAZY … this impaired driver went TO THE VERY STREET I was going to! I actually backed off and went around the back of the neighborhood because I didn’t want to cause problems for anyone, I thought I lost him (911 on the line the entire time) & pulled around to the house I was going to & there he was sitting there with his lights on!! He was sitting right in front of the house I was going to!!!  The police get there, he tries to take off but then the police realizes that it was him. 

 I leave with my baby girl completely relieved not expecting to hear anything else & just a little bit ago I get a phone call from the police officer that pulled him over thanking me, telling me that I probably saved lives tonight 🙏🙌 OF COURSE I cried & told the officer our story …. ON THE 18 MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF ELIJAHS DEATH.  I can’t make this stuff up.

 This Great BIG GOD of mine never stops amazing me. Aliyah & I prayed for that driver tonight & thanked God that nobody got hurt.💙💙💙💙💙

#ElijahRyanMichaelLove #FlyHighMightyWarrior #Overcomer #MyGODISAwesome

Fear ⚡️ & FAITH 👑

FEAR: Where does fear have you today? Fear can be a sneaky, tricky thing … it drives the most basic behaviors & all the while you’ll be thinking “I’m not afraid of much”.  But Fear isn’t just of horrible ways to die, haunted houses, claustrophobia, heights, enormous spiders & slithering reptiles (you get the point). It’s actually usually insanely LESS obvious:

⚡️Fear is OVER buying “stuff” because you don’t know when you’ll be able to again.

⚡️Fear is wearing something you hate because it’s “in style”.

⚡️Fear is not being completely honest because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

⚡️Fear is staying in relationship with someone you shouldn’t because you don’t want to be alone.

⚡️Fear is NOT staying because it might hurt.

⚡️Fear is keeping the better paying job KNOWING that it isn’t where you are supposed to be because if you don’t how will you pay the bills?

⚡️Fear is using drugs/alcohol/sex/food etc. because we don’t want to feel the REAL issue.

🤔 FEAR IS JUDGING THE PERSON DOING THE ABOVE BECAUSE IT’S EASIER TO LOOK AT THEIRS THAN OUR OWN.

Fear stifles our dreams and puts us in a comfortable place of self-preservation. Fear tells us that our current misery is MUCH less than it could be. Fear overwhelms, it lies to us, it cheats us …. FEAR Partners with our enemy, the hater of our souls!  But it doesn’t have to:

👑 FAITH is CONFIDENCE in what we hope for & ASSURANCE about what we do not see:  by faith we know that the universe was formed at Gods command.

👑 Faith gives us the ability to fight when there should be nothing left ..

👑 Faith puts a burning desire in our entire being to KNOW the One who IS the lover of our souls – Faith partners with the One who gave us the breath of life!

👑 Choose today Beloved, who will You partner with?  It is always Your choice.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)
4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4, NIV)
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil 4:6, NIV)

PERFECT Love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) Guess Who IS Perfect Love?!

🦋 Happy Tuesday Beloved. 🦋

The Shack

cropped-download1.jpgWow.  I’m sitting here listening to the soundtrack in tears.  The Shack (book, 2007) was one of those amazing God-moments for me.  The 4th time it was accidentally sent to me in the mail (when I hadn’t ordered it) I finally got the hint and read it!  It was life-changing.  In that Season of my life there were SO many unanswered questions for me that were holding me back from growing in my relationship with God.  Don’t mistake what I’m saying; The Shack is a story but to get to relationship with Him I think we have to understand that while YES, He is Sovereign – He created us for relationship.  My hearts desire has ALWAYS been to know Him…. I had always felt Him but I wanted more – Not to just follow some list of rules to be religious, rigid, legalistic .. but to really, truly know Him.  The Holy Spirit just wrecked me reading that book; it just brought it in for me.  He was intentional in sending it to me and re-sending it when I shipped that bad boy back!  (I can be a lil’ dense sometimes!)

10 years later and countless lessons…. countless miracles … countless heartaches all walked out with Him right beside me, growing me and OFTEN carrying me & now this full circle moment in my journey in the form of a Movie ~ Wow, the movie (I know, I already said that) … but there is a reason THIS is the first post on my blog.  I won’t go into the details of the movie because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.  But, I will share some of my thoughts while watching it:  for those of you who know some of my story this may sound really strange…. but I sat there watching the beginning of it with ONE thought running through my mind over and over again:  I LOVE My Poppa so so much. I love Him for being so mindful of me, for showing me how much MORE He loves my people; MORE than I ever could, I love Him for always opening my eyes to really SEE them through His eyes even when it hurts and I don’t want to.  I love that He has taught me how to forgive, I love that He has taught me what TRUE Love looks like.  I love that He has shown me that nobody EVER gets to take away what He gave me, it doesn’t matter what they do to me.   When you understand how much He loves each one of us ~ you just can’t ignore the fact that it applies to every mother’s child.  He wishes that none should perish.

It’s true, Sometimes things are just plain hard to understand, life is hard to understand but I Trust Him because when you know Him, you start to understand that He really is trustworthy and there is nothing I want more than for the people I love to understand what it is to feel how much He loves us.  Go see the movie – pray before you do that HE uses it to open your eyes to His character, to re-frame what you just may find out is a wrong perception.

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