Monday, August 08, 2011

Whispers from the Valley Part 5

This time last year I had given up. I went on a terrible downward spiral. I made terrible choices. People gave up on me, gosh I did too! I remember very clearly the night God said no, I'm not done with you yet. Now the road back has been hard. I have not walked perfectly, there is a line of people who could tell you so. I, many times, have felt hopeless, but I kept His promise to me close.

What I am learning is that His view and my own are not the same. He didn't say He was going to restore if I was perfect. He didn't say He would heal if I did this or that. He simply said trust Me. Trust Me when you fall down, trust Me when they say its over, trust Me when they say you don't deserve it, trust that I can see beyond this broken moment. He says trust him, and I will....

Whispers from the Valley Part 4

I spent many years where I quit praising God when things went well. Fear had such a tight hold on my heart. You see, I'd say "God thank you for my babies being healthy", and someone would break an arm. I'd say "God thank you for healing me from depression", and depression would rise up like a monster and knock me right out. I'd say "God I praise you that I have been set free from self harm", to find myself hurting me only days later. I said God thank you for setting me free from abuse, only to have the man I was married to abuse me

I thought it made me look stupid, and God look bad. SO . . . I shut up. I stayed mad and self defeated. I went on a tail spin downward that would make most of you fall out your seat. Mad, sad, and scared were consistent, they were easy, and expected. I was comfortably miserable.

The truth is that is a selfish and rotten way to live. It is not at all where or how God would want me to live my life. "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of LOVE, POWER, and a STRONG MIND."

God has a purpose, a plan, a destiny for me. My circumstances and personal struggles do not change that. They are only here to create in me the person I need to be for what God has for me to do.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8 : 28 - ESV)

What I have learned is that God is I am. Not I was. Not I will be. Everyday I go without succumbing to previous personal downfalls is worthy of His praise. If you find me failing tomorrow, know that I am human, but He is still God. If people around me hurt my heart, I praise Him for having a heart that can be broken.

Praise Him. Praise Him no matter where you are, or how you feel, or what they say, because God has a plan.

Whispers from the Valley Part 3

Most every day since I met my husband, I at one time or another drive down the Old Jonesborough Highway. There is this magnificient willow tree that sits on the corner of Mayfield and that road. I love to watch the wind twist thru it's branches.

What most don't know is that the year I met my husband, something happened and knocked that tree down. I'm not sure what it was, I just remember driving by and commenting about how sad it is that such a beautiful tree was destroyed.

The tree laid there for quite some time. Eventually someone chopped it up, leaving only a stump. One day as I was driving past I noticed there as a sprout poking out of the broken stump. "How funny I thought, that tree is destroyed and it's still trying to grow"

I didn't think about it much until the other night when it was going to storm and the wind was blowing crazy. My husband said to me when we drove past, "look at that willow tree showing off"

That tree wasn't showing off, God was. I imagine He shakes His head often at us and our lack of faith. That tree is a living reminder. It is a standing witness of how very limited our understanding of His healing power is. We see something destroyed, broken and grieve it's loss instead of realizing that God made that tree. God made that tree and HE IS ABLE to RESTORE IT.

I have spent years a walking broken tree, feeling sorry for myself, being angry at God for allowing me to be broken. What I am learning is that yes, my tree was broken. Yes it looks from a distance a lost cause. BUT, if you will only step close enough you will see that there is an ever so tiny sprout rising out of that brokenness.

When you see me having joy when all looks lost, please know I'm thinking and hoping for the day when, when you have hardly thought of me at all, you look and say "look at Jessi showing off"

Not showing off what I can do, but rejoicing in what He has done, is doing every single moment I trust Him.

Whispers from the Valley Part 2

Part two, not sure if it should be one or two, but here it is. Maybe someday I will figure it out.

How should you, as a Jesus follower, handle those who judge you for past and present behavior?

I read something the other day that really struck me, and as someone who has been a MAJOR FALLER in the past few years, it really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you.

The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way thru the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife he remarks "don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowing? " Alcoholics Annonymous Fourth Addition

(Ok so if you know me, and know what a tornado I have been, you know it didn't just speak to me, It got out a big loud speaker and blasted me, followed by beating me over the head repeatedly. )

OUCH OUCH BIG FRIGGIN OUCH!

Geez I'm amazed at my own selfish and prideful attitude.

I am a faller, not a flier. I used to get so tore up when people reminded me of that, but I am working on being truly grateful for those reminders. (Ok ok so, and especially because I am working so hard right now, part of me wants to jump up and down and make people see it. Part of me gets heartbroken or angry when they don't.)

Last night I was reminded of a most precious prayer by a friend of mine a few years ago. She was getting ready to sing and was nervous. We were praying and she said "Lord help me not be prideful" NOT "Lord help me not be afraid". I didn't realize the awesomeness and depth of that statement until last night. As I am struggling with the consequences of my actions, lots of feelings rise and fall. Last night her sweet voice replayed in my mind. Lord help me not to be prideful. If it were not for pride, I would not feel hurt and anger. I would be able to see the destruction that I caused, purposefully and not. I have no right to even ask forgiveness. I have no right to judge how someone else handles the pain my actions caused them. God has forgiven me. I have forgiven me, but that forgiveness does not erase the pain I have caused.

So as a faller, I think that your job is to let people feel. It is to let them grieve and hurt and be angry. Make it right where you can, if you can. More than anything, when you are reminded of what you've done, where you have been, PRAISE HIM.

Praise Him that you aren't there right now. Pray for healing in the hearts of those you have wounded. Most of all, keep moving forward. It is only in moving forward that anything will ever get any better. Nothing good comes from bitterness and anger. Nothing good comes from self pity and pride."But for the grace of God, there go I." I am humbled that I am given even one more moment, that I was spared a fate so many suffer, that He would save and love a wretch like me...

You Want Her Whole

You want her whole. Trust me. For when she finds her muchness; when she gathers all the pieces of herself, all the pieces you have broke...