living life unhindered

The Love of the Cross

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I recently had the opportunity to share at our Good Friday service about what the Love of the Cross  means to me and how it has affected my life. Below is what I shared.

When I think of the cross, I think of God’s love for us. The love of the cross involves God giving things only He could give and paying a price none of us could understand. I love my children beyond anything that words can explain. I would give my life for them. It is not likely that I would willingly give them as a ransom for others. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” When I think of the love of the cross I think of the nature of what the Father gave and why He gave it. I can’t even imagine what that must of been like to give His son for our ransom.

When I think of God’s love, I think about His love in my life. God so loved me that He gave His Son so that I could have everlasting life, now, and in the future. That understanding changes my whole perspective and it impacts the way I think and feel about myself and others. For me, it is about a relationship. The love of the Father put Jesus on the cross so that my ability to freely relate to the Father could be restored. Because of my restored relationship with the Father, I stand here today, loved beyond measure and understanding, a completely different person than I once was. I have found where my value and worth come from. I am a daughter of God. Without Him, my significance would be limited, but with Him, I am more than enough. Because of Jesus, no matter what I go through, I know the Father is there and will see me through. And since Father God loves me with an unconditional and unwavering love, who am I to not love and value myself and others? His love has taught me what true love is and what it means to be valued. His loving kindness moves me to want to grow, to be transformed, and to become more like Jesus. The love of the Father as exhibited in the cross, makes me want to love others the way He loves me, and to help other people understand their value and worth before God.

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Stop Waiting to Slow Down

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So having the flu or being sick at all pretty much sucks. I have been sick this past week and that has made me realize just how not in control of life we really are. It has also given me a significant amount of downtime to think about life and how much of it that I sometimes take for granted. It made me think of how I look at life. A few weekends ago, Leif Hetland came to our church and talked about the Father’s heart and love for us. He also talked about our viewpoint in life. He did a great visual using two chairs. Chair one being the kingdom view of life, with the focus on being what God is doing, and chair two being the soulish view of life, with the focus being  what God is not doing, how we feel about something or what the enemy is doing. It really impacted me. How often do I sit in chair one versus chair two?  How often do I have a small, selfish soulish view instead of a kingdom view? I have thought a lot about it this week in between, the coughing, the running nose, and well you get the point.

While trying to accomplish things from the couch and with a foggy head, I asked God to help me have a kingdom view. I was looking at our bills and trying very hard to remind myself that the Lord has a different perspective than I do.  One of the bills is rather large for us and is due in two weeks. After praying, I just felt the Lord say call them and ask for help. So I did. The lady who answered was very kind and immediately said “oh we can absolutely help you out. How about a four month plan to pay it off?”  I said yes and was on and off the phone within five minutes. I just sat there for a moment and just chuckled. Maybe things don’t always happen in my timing or how I want them to, but God has a plan. If I sit in chair one with him and ask about his kingdom view, my life has a lot more peace and rest in it. Maybe the biggest problem in my life is not my bills, raising kids, work, or figuring out my priorities list, maybe my biggest problem is spending too much time in chair two, with the small and soulish view of life, and trying to figure it all out on my own.  Maybe if I slowed down and spent more time with the Lord and asked for his kingdom view, I would spend less time worrying and feeling life’s pressures. I hope, from here on out, it doesn’t take the flu to slow me down enough to rest and visit with my Father in the Kingdom seat. From now on, I hope that I don’t wait to slow down. I hope that I take the time to rest and to spend time with the Lord in the Kingdom seat.

If you are stressed, worrying, or feeling life’s pressures, take a deep breath. Don’t wait to slow down, stop right now and ask for the Lord’s kingdom view.

Be Blessed my friends,

Leah

Our Deepest Fear

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This week’s Poetry Tuesday feature is the poem I talked about in my last post “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson. I love this poem, it is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Be Blessed my friends.

Our Deepest Fear 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone
and as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

The Power of Transparency

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When I was in my twenties, I was afraid to let people see who I really was. I thought if people found out about the real me that I would be judged, turned away, or even made fun of. I was worried that if I put away my mask and my pretending that I would be left all alone. I was locked and chained into a life of pretending. I was held in bondage by fear. The fear of rejection and the fear of who I truly was. After all, what if she were not enough? What would happen if I showed my true self and was left with nothing? So for years I pretended, put on a mask and let the fear of being found out rule my life.

-It had escaped me that the very thing I feared most would be what set me free.

It had escaped me that the very thing I feared the most, being real and transparent, would be the very thing that would set me free. Free to be me. I have a group of friends and we say that a lot. Free to be me. It is worth repeating and that is what transparency did for me, it set me on the path to freedom. My path began around the time I first heard the poem “Our Deepest Fear”. If you have never read it, then I highly recommend that you do. It’s about being authentic. It’s about being transparent. It’s about being all the God has made us to be and letting our own light, and God’s light, shine through us. I still remember the first time I heard it. I cried. I wanted that. I wanted to be all that God had created me to be. I wanted to be real and to stop pretending. Then I made a decision that changed my life. I would start to do my best at being myself. I started taking steps of faith. I prayed and first asked God who I was. I started being completely real and transparent with myself and with Jesus. He loved me enough to save me, so I figured it was a safe place to be transparent. As I started my journey of transparency with him, I begin to laugh at myself for not doing it sooner considering Jesus knew everything about me already. Time went by and I began to become more comfortable being “real”.

-Instead of being judged and rejected, I found myself being loved.

Then one day I was put to the test. A good friend of mine called me. She was going through some struggles and was about to make a bad decision. She was unhappy in her marriage and was sharing her struggles with another man. “He is just a good friend” she said to me. I told her it was dangerous to be sharing her struggles with a man other than her husband and that she should end the relationship. She restated that he was only a friend and wanted to know why I felt so strongly that she should end the relationship. It was in that moment that I felt the Holy Spirit rise up in me. I had a decision to make. Should I tell her the truth? Should I be transparent? I felt the Holy Spirit say tell her. Tell her your story. You see,  just a couple of years before this, I had an affair. He was our best friend and when my marriage was in trouble, I turned to him for help. We talked. We shared our struggles. And then, we fell into sin. It was hard, but I shared my story with my friend. She was the first person I had talked about it with since it all had happened. I was shaking on the other end of the phone because I was so afraid she would judge me. Instead she cried. She cried and then came over to my home and hugged me. Then we prayed for her and her marriage. She ended that relationship, talked to her husband, and worked on her marriage. After that, we became best friends. I had never really had a best friend like her before. I had friends, but I had always kept them at a distance. I was completely transparent with her and she loved me more than any friend I had ever had. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had shared my biggest, darkest secret with her and not only had she loved me in spite of it but more because of my sharing it with her. It was a life changing experience for me. Since then, I have shared my story and my struggles many times. It has almost always been the same result. Instead of being  judged and rejected I have  found myself being loved and have had many people come along beside me to help instead.

Those experiences have made me realize just how much power there is in being transparent with one another. Now, we should be spirit led. I am not saying to be an open book all the time, but with those that God has put in our lives, we should be real. Everyone should have a place and relationships where they can be completely open, transparent and authentic with one another.

-There is power in transparency

There is power in transparency. Being transparent takes away anything the enemy has on you. It’s like telling the enemy to shut up. My Father already knows everything there is to know about me and Jesus paid the price for me. Being transparent sets you free. Free of condemnation, free of guilt, free of the fear of what others may think and free of embarrassment and shame. By being real and showing who we really are, the good, the bad, and the ugly, it creates an atmosphere for truth. It creates a place for others to be transparent and to be encouraged. Our own transparency helps us to not be judgmental but instead look at others through eyes of love and acceptance. It helps each of us to come along side and be there for one another.

Some of the effects of transparency:

  • Leaves no room for secrets and sin to hide
  • Removes the enemy’s footholds
  • Removes feelings of being alone
  • Gives you freedom to be yourself
  • Releases joy as you lay down your burdens
  • Develops an atmosphere of truth
  • Develops trust
  • Builds authentic relationships
  • Fosters unity
  • Develops spiritual community
  • Gives a place for accountability
  • Gives a place for helping and nurturing one another
  • Encourages others
  • Builds confidence
  • Strengthens our walk with Christ
  • Strengthens our walk with each other

I want to leave you with this. I almost always find that when I start sharing about my life, past hurts and things I struggle with, that others join in with their own struggles and stories. I have shared ugly things about my past and even my current struggles and instead of people turning me away or hating me, they have loved me more. It has also given them a place to share their own struggles and weaknesses. I think God wants us to start taking that leap of faith to be our true selves. To share what we have been through. To share what we struggle with, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, and ways we fall short with Him and each other. It isn’t always easy but, I believe, it is always worth it. I believe this is one powerful way that we move forward in our walk with Christ and with each other. Be Blessed my friends.


 

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

I’m Chasing You

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This week’s Poetry Tuesday’s feature is “Chasing You” by Jenn Johnson and Bethel Music. I love this song and the video below. Chasing after God. What could be better? I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do. Be Blessed my Friends.

“Chasing You”

You hide, I want to find you
Go, and I will follow you
I want to be where you are

As You move, I’m right beside you,
Oh, I’m running after you
I want to be where You are

I’m Chasing You, I’m so in love
Captivated, I just can’t get enough
I’ll spend my days, Running after Your heart
Your heart, Your heart, Whoa

I’m Chasing You, with all my love
Captivated, I just cant get enough
I’ll spend my days, Running after Your heart
Your heart, Your heart, Whoa

Heart, You’ve won me heart and soul
And where You lead I’ll go
I want to be where You are

From the moment I rise to the moment I sleep
My affection is for you, and even as I dream
I want to know you, I’m after Your heart

This life, this love, was always meant to be
A wild, crazy adventure discovering
The thrill, the rush, the more of  You I see
The more it leaves me wanting
You’re everything
You’re everything

 

Overwhelming Days

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

Some days I feel completely overwhelmed. Torn between the have tos and I gottas, like, bills, laundry, and clean bathrooms, the I need tos, like homeschooling, writing, coaching, and answering emails, to the I want tos like playing games with my kids, being creative and starting a book.

Sometimes at the end of the day I haven’t even impacted that list at all and feel completely lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Today was one of those days.

Today was one of those days.

The noise and demands of my life was like a roar of confusion in my head. At that moment, I just had to stop and take a breath. The first thing I wanted to do was call my husband and complain. He is my best friend after all, and my go to guy. But then I heard the Lord’s voice say “I am suppose to be your go to guy.” At that point, I could feel all the emotion rising up in me and tears filling my eyes.

I heard the Lord’s voice say “I am suppose to be your go to guy.”

I put aside all that I was doing. I went back to my bedroom and just cried out to the Lord and poured out all my feelings to him. I talked to him about my day and about my week. I talked to him about my feelings and my responsibilities. I asked him about his plans for me. I felt his voice say “trust me and my plans for you”. Rest in me. So I did. I rested. I felt his peace come into my heart, mind, and soul. I was reminded that I don’t have to have all the answers. I was reminded that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s what I do with those feelings that really matter. Do I let them defeat me? Or do I let them lead me to God? Today they led me to him, but somedays they don’t. Somedays I wrestle with them until I am exhausted. But even on those days the Lord is still there to help me pick myself up, dust myself off, and move on down the path.

Today my emotions led me to God, but somedays they don’t.

Days like today remind me that I am only human and to stop striving for perfection, but rather to remind myself that I am a beautiful creation of God, created to be loved by him and to rest in him. After all, he is the one who has given me these dreams, goals, aspirations, and desires. He also has given me my emotions. When I get overwhelmed I just need to remember that and remember that I don’t have to do it on my own. God is my go to guy. He will help me. He will lead me. And yes put others around me to lift me up and support me. SO after my time with the Lord, which was only about thirty minutes of my day, I had a whole new outlook. Then I did call my hubby to talk about my day. But it made a big difference that I went to God first.

If you relate, I encourage you to just stop what you are doing at the moment…

Take a deep breath.

Find a quiet place and talk to God.

It doesn’t have to be a long talk. Sometimes just five minutes can make all the difference.

Be blessed my friends.

I Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.

Psalm 61:1-2 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto you, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

A Place of Belonging

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A place for you


God talks to me many times in pictures or visions. He will show me something and then over time give me more and more revelation. Recently the Lord showed me a vision of a beautiful table. The table was lavishly decorated with candles, greenery,  centerpieces, the whole works. The table had all kinds of food, meats, vegetables, desserts, more food than anyone could imagine. There were presents on this table too. It was a full bounty of wonderful food and gifts. There were also name markers at every seat. Also in this vision there were people sitting on the floor and under the table. They were eating scraps off the floor. They were not even looking at the table. They didn’t even realize everything that was up there on the table.

I think as Christians we often settle for leftovers or scraps because we don’t know or see that there’s more. I think that can especially be true for those of us raised in the church all of our lives. We have settled for less than what God has for us. Why do we settle for scraps off the table, when the Lord has made us a place at his table?

-There’s a place of belonging for you at the Lord’s table and in His family.

I think there can be many reasons we may not take our place. Maybe we feel unworthy, unloved, and rejected. Maybe we don’t even understand that there is a place for us at the table.
Maybe it is fear. Maybe it’s the enemy’s lies. How often do we let fear and lies keep us from taking our place? How many times do we not take our place at the table because we are holding back, because we don’t believe in ourselves, because we are afraid that we are not enough or that we are a misfit? Maybe the enemy has asked us over and over again “Who do you think you are?”. If you are like me, I have fallen in all of these areas. I have believed the lie that I am not good enough. I have believed the enemy’s lies and let fear have a place in my life. When ask the question “Who do you think you are?” I have backed off my God given place.

Whatever the reasons, the truth is we have place of belonging at the Lord’s table and in his family. If we, as a family, make a place at the table for our children, our friends, and loved ones, then how much more does God have for us? He has not made us beggars, just giving us enough to get by, but he has given us the full bounty. All we need is to ask, receive, and believe. We need to have faith. We need to believe. We need to trust God. And, yes, sometimes all of these include taking a risk. Having faith, is taking a risk.

However, the risk is worth it. We should not be settling for scraps. We should not settle for anything less than God’s best. We need to take our place at the Lord’s table. It is important to take our place. We need to fulfill God’s plans for our lives. I think we all know the story of Ester. If she had not taken a risk, stepped up, and taken her place, what would have happened?

-It is important to take our place at the Lord’s table.

I am not saying this is easy. I am just saying it’s important for us to take our place in the Kingdom. Maybe right now you don’t even know what that looks like. Maybe you feel lost, stretched thin, insecure, or out of place. But what I want to tell you is that even though we may feel out of place, confused, and insecure, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have us exactly in the right place for Him to fulfill our purpose and call. Maybe you are exactly in the place that God wants you. Trust him. Believe in Him and yourself. Ask for Him to lead you, and then follow. Ask Him to show you your place, and then step into it.

-The bigger your call, the more the enemy will attack you.

We all have a place at the table. We just need to look for it, take a risk, and take our seat. We need to recognize that the enemy tries to make us afraid and that he is a liar. We need to remember that the bigger our call, the more the enemy will attack us. He accuses us with that phrase “Who do we think we are?”. Who do I think I am? I’m a child of God. I am adopted. I have a place of belonging. I am loved by my Father. You are all those things too. Our father is good and has the perfect place for us. Next time the enemy ask who do you think you are. Tell him that. Be blessed my friends.

 

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he has made us accepted in the beloved.

I Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Romans 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it in simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.