“Sexual Healing”

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”–Matthew 11:28

 

I was blessed to stumble across this amazing piece of poetry today. In my “Kissless ‘Till Next Christmas” ministry, you have only had the opportunity to hear from my female perspective. Jeff Bethke does an amazing job of articulating my same message from a male perspective. Please take the time to listen and watch.

 

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Fearless Failure

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.” –2 Timothy 1:7

What is your biggest fear?

Think about it…what scares you?

Are you scared of snakes? Spiders? Heights? Are you scared you won’t be able to provide for your family? Job instability? Financial insecurity? Are you scared of the bullies that degrade you? The men that hurt you? The tears you may cry? Are you scared of injury…what about death?

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Everyone is fearful of something. No matter if you are a 300 lb. lineman, a 3rd grade ballerina, a 57-year-old business man–or anyone in between–we all face fear. When I sit back and think about the things that have scared me over the years, I can’t help but notice a pattern. Whether directly or indirectly, all of my personal fears are linked to one topic: failure.I think the majority of our fears are rooted in the same thing–the fear of failure.  The fear that we will let down the people around us, the fear that the people around us will let us down, the fear that we will let down ourselves.  So many things are so very scary…

When I was very young, I was haunted by the fear that I would be kidnapped and hurt. Granted, I grew up in the early 90’s, an era when child abductions hit the media like a firestorm. To make matters worse, my parents went to church with John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenet Ramsey. For those of you who don’t know, the JonBenet Ramsey murder was one of the most publicized unsolved murders of our time. JonBenet was 6 years old. I was 7 years old. When a 7 year-old hears things on the news and sees her parents so emotionally invested in the tragedy, it is hard to wrap your head around the complexity of the situation. So, my mind only went one place–I am next. The “bad guys” are coming for me. Almost nightly I would have nightmares that I would be taken and that nobody would help me or find me—that my parents would fail at protecting me.

Through my young schooling, I was fearful of getting bad grades.  I wanted to be the best that I could possibly be, and I wanted to make my parents as proud as possible.  I have always been a perfectionist, and I have always been competitive.  I was reared under a sister who was brilliant–literally, a borderline genius. (This is a girl who was kicked out of her second grade class for arguing with her teacher that negative numbers did, in fact, mathematically exist and that the teacher was incorrect in teaching the other students that 5 could not be subtracted from 3. Seriously? I was the kid that was kicked out of my second grade class for sniffing glue, getting dizzy, falling backwards out of my chair and hitting my head on the whiteboard. Haha. This is also the girl who would play “the classroom game”  with me when we were little and try desperately to teach me about exponents and exponential factors…I was 6. She couldn’t understand why all I wanted to do was dance to Spice Girls when there were derivatives to learn!) To say the least, we were very different, but growing amidst her brains and my competitive spirit, it fostered a desire in me to be better, to be smarter, to be the best. And, later in life, any time I failed and didn’t do as well as I know I could have on a school assignment—I failed myself. And, in my eyes, I failed my parents.

Fast-forward through a decade or so of fears and failures. To list all the times I’ve failed would take another decade, so I will simplify by saying that I’m a failure. Aren’t we all? And while my fears and failures molded and shaped me, the worst was yet to come. For the sake of saving time and space, I will not rewrite my testimony (you can read back in the “My Story” portion for details) but I will share with you my most epic fails.

In high school, I feared non-conformity. I feared a lack of control, and I feared judgement. I feared food. I fell into an eating disorder that crippled me, consumed me, defined me. In highschool, I failed myself.

In college, my father failed me. My hero, my best friend, my everything. He feared…he failed…and he fled. On January 3rd, he put a gun to his heart and pulled the trigger. In college, my father failed me.

That year, I feared the pain I felt. I tried everything I could to fill it. I drank, I partied, I lost myself. I feared the darkness and I feared the weakness. I failed to hold my own head high. That year, I failed my innocence.

Later on, I feared for my own life. I failed at driving. I wrapped my Jeep around a tree and feared I would never be saved. I choked on blood and hung broken and battered. On that drive, I failed myself.

Between those points and since that time, I’ve failed and failed and failed.

How do you recover from a life defined in failure? How do you emerge from a life constrained by fear?

We will FAIL constantly. Others will constantly fail us. We will fail others, and we will fail ourselves.  The people around us will fail, circumstances will fail, expectations will fail. You will fail at reaching goals, your friend will fail at supporting you when you need it most. Marriages will fail. Job opportunities will fall through and fail. The stock market will fail, the government will fail. Your boyfriend/girlfriend will fail to provide you with the love you need. You will fail at filling your emptiness with drugs and sex. You will fail tests, fail deadlines, fail budgets. We will slip, and we will fail.

BUT GOD NEVER FAILS.

In the days of my youth, God comforted my worries.  He worked through my parents and protected my heart. God Never Failed.

He calmed my worries over grades and school. He blessed me with the desire to persist and to learn. God Never Failed.

As I battled with bulimia, He clung tight to my body. He protected my health, and nourished my soul. God Never Failed.

As I stared at my daddy’s lifeless body, He wept alongside me and lifted me up. God Never Failed.

As I battled depression in a drunken stupor,  I gave pieces of myself away to boys. But God fought for my purity like a relentless warrior, and though I was battered and broken, He held my virginity with poise. God Never Failed.

As I hung upside down and choked on my blood, He appeared to my heart and found His way in. God Never Failed.

I tell you all this to inspire your hearts! Life is hard. So hard. And we’re really bad at it. We are fallible humans and we mess up constantly. We fail and we fear. We fear and we fail. But as it says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus Christ DID IT! He came and He lived so perfectly. He never failed. And He never will fail. He died for you. He died so that you can ALWAYS be given new life! So that you can ALWAYS start fresh, clean the slate, and turn a new page.  As he hung on the cross, your fears and your failures were nailed to the cross alongside Him! When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, we accept a spirit of POWER and LOVE and SELF-DISCIPLINE! We welcome a spirit of forgiveness and grace and second chances!

We serve a God of second chances…we serve a God of LIFE! Alone, we are nothing. We are failures and we are bound by fear. But in CHRIST, we are infinitely strong! We are indestructible! We are SAVED!

What is there to fear?!

At the end of my days, I don’t want people to say that I lived a fearful, timid life. I want them to say that my spirit was POWERFUL in Christ, that I LOVED like Christ, and that I was SELF-DISCIPLINED through Christ.

How will you be remembered…?

Position .v. Condition In Christ… (part 1)

After feeling drawn to go off on that emotional tangent in the last post, I sat down and spent a great deal of time in prayer about the direction of the blog right now. I know I told you we would start by evaluating love and relationships (and TRUST me, I am pretty neurotic and want nothing more than to stay organized in the sequence of posts), but I really don’t believe that’s what He wants right now.  So, I am going to put a pause on our study of love and relationships and rewind us a bit.  I want to take us back to the basics again. I really feel like there is much more that needs to be elaborated upon and taught, pertaining to the fundamentals of our faith, so that we can better appreciate the journey.  It would be a futile attempt to teach if I continue to write about what “Mo” wants to write about and didn’t listen to what He wants, so let’s take a step back and understand the fundamentals a little deeper.

One of the most important and mind-blowing understandings that I was recently introduced to was the difference between our “position” in Christ and our “condition” in Christ.  Understanding this principle serves so many purposes.  It has been instrumental in pushing me towards self-forgiveness.  It also allows us to understand the true definition and magnitude of God’s grace.  As well as appreciate the significance of the forgiveness offered to us by Jesus Christ’s life.  It is all relative to our assurance of salvation and what it truly means to be saved.

Below is a really basic, really helpful visual that totally altered my outlook on my salvation when I was taught what it meant.  (You’ll have to forgive the handwriting, I had to write it all backwards because the camera was flipping the image. haha.) So let’s take a look at this overview and, over the next several blog posts, we will break down exactly what it means…

Okay, so before you let your mind wander and you get confused, let’s break this down piece by piece.  This is a graph that illustrates our hearts and our walks with Christ. Every single person’s graph looks different. Every single person’s is individually tailored to them throughout their lifetime.  This one simply serves as an example. Along the bottom is our time here on earth (this graph stretches to 100 years).  Up the y-axis is a measurement of our righteousness.  In other words, it is a measurement of how “Christ-like” we are living. Synonyms for this would be our purity, or our morality, etc. This is what we strive for, as Christians.  1 and 2 Timothy are fantastic resources for “defining” what righteousness really is. If you have a Bible, jot down these verses and take a look at them–1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22, 2 Timothy 3:16. (Again, Righteousness is something we will elaborate on more later.)

If you look at the graphed line, it starts at our birth. Though we are each perfectly and beautifully constructed by God, we are born into a world of sin. So we start at zero. The dark line shows our lives before we are truly saved. Before we truly accept Jesus into our hearts and recognize what He did for us.  As we are exposed to the Word, we grow and mature, so that line tends to crawl upwards.  However, just because we go to church and hear the Word, does not mean that we are saved. A tough lesson I had to learn: going to church isn’t just our “ticket in”.  This line looks different for everyone. The variations of this line are innumerable, but they all start at zero.

If you notice, this line is in a “zone” that is shaded in red. Any red on this graph represents Satan.  Yikes! I just got a little scared, too. But this is the fact of the matter. If we live our lives in the zone that is shaded red, our spirits and our souls are fair game.  God grants us free will. He grants us the right to choose. He is a just God.  But if we live our lives in this zone, then we are still subject to His wrath.  Unfortunately, Satan still has equal access to our spirits. And trust me, Satan LOVES when people’s souls are in this zone. He thrives on it. He loves when people turn from Christ and refuse to recognize the truth or are captivated by what this crappy world has to offer.  Because, sadly, this world is Satan’s playground. So think about it…what happens here? What happens if you die in the red zone? What happens if your brother, or your best friend, or your teammate or your boyfriend dies here? What happens if they live their whole lives and never recognize Christ as their Savior? I mean TRULY recognize Him?…….Do you get it? THAT’s the urgency here! That’s why it’s so crucial that, as believers, we spread the word as fast and as passionately as we can.  Because if someone has been exposed to the gospel and they die in the red zone–if someone’s life is cut short, or even if they live a long life and never humble themselves to the truth, it’s game over. Satan wins that soul.

So now you’re probably wondering what the giant dot represents. Ahh! I LOVE this part! So we live our lives in the red zone for a while.  We live our lives in this dangerous place. But the moment we TRULY recognize the magnitude of what Jesus Christ did for us…BAM! SAVED. Holy cow…SAVED! Can you even wrap your head around that? That instant, that moment that we truly let Him into our hearts, that moment that we are truly filled with the Holy Spirit…BAM! GAME OVER, SATAN. Good try, big guy, but you lose. AHH! Doesn’t that make you want to jump in the air and give a massive fist pump. GEEZE! God is SO GOOD! That moment that we let down our guards, that we fall on our knees to His power…in that moment, our spirits are locked and sealed and we are SAVED. Man oh man, this is a topic that I could sit here and type on forever, and we will look at it in more detail soon, I promise.

But, wow. So incredible.  Okay, so we hit that dot on the graph. And if you notice, the red zone disappears and several different lines break from it. Now, what does that mean? What does that represent? Who are we after we are saved?

(to be continued…)

 

 

“His Mosaic”

I fancy myself a mosaic,

a mosaic constructed by God.

Intricately made, passionately displayed,

beautifully humble, yet odd.

 

For I once was I clean sheet of glass,

free from blemish or flaw.

I was polished and buffed, fragile but tough,

pure and simple, yet raw.

 

What you must understand, is a clean pane of glass

reflects light with splendor and awe.

But it lacks dimension, lacks retention

and only shines on an area, small.

 

But God took notice of my flawless pane

and saw potential for greatness and use.

He knew it would sting, He knew I would scream,

but He knew I could withstand abuse.

 

So He sat down, alone, on His sturdy workbench

and slid my heart into a darkened sack.

Though it hurt Him to do, He knew what was True,

so He swung a hammer and felt me crack.

 

The first blow of the hammer, I lost control

and was broken by an evil disease.

It consumed my thoughts, consumed my body,

but His hand still held me with ease.

 

The next blow of the hammer, my father was gone

and the pain split through to my core.

My breaks turned to shatters, my heart was left tattered,

but He knew I could withstand more.

 

The final swing of the hammer and everything stopped,

I stared death in its formidable eyes.

My body was broken, the pain left a token,

but my spirit was ever alive.

 

The King then sat back, with the sack in His hand,

filled with my broken self.

He then gently restored me, gently He poured me

onto a magnificent, heavenly shelf.

 

With much care and patience, God pulled on His gloves

and began to sift through my remains.

He took His sweet time with a vision, divine,

and pulled pieces of virtue and pain.

 

One-by-one He gently placed the fractures He pulled

into an empty and pure frame.

While I struggled and grew, a battle ensued,

and He humbly took all the blame.

 

But He never stopped working, rebuilding my heart,

He toiled throughout many years.

He so often showed grace, loved me through my disgrace,

and in time, He banished my fears.

 

An artist of power and an artist of Truth,

He carefully re-sculpted my heart.

With much concentration and much designation,

the beauty shone through from the start.

 

When His work was complete, He welcomed me back

and led my soul to His humble workbench.

With the pride of a Father in love with His daughter,

He held tight to my hands as they clenched.

 

He pulled back the canvas that shielded His art

and revealed to me His masterpiece.

I was blinded by beauty, in awe of it truly,

and humbly, I fell to His feet.

 

You see His light that shined, through my restructured heart,

shone with glory and refracted abound.

It danced to the ceiling, sparkled with feeling,

and touched all that rested around.

 

Before my adversity, before all the trials,

I was a pane of unweathered glass.

His light could shine through me, but though there was beauty,

it had no opportunity to refract.

 

In breaking me down and building me up,

He had very clever intent.

For now when His light shone with delight,

it was scattered, refracted, and bent.

 

It could reach every corner and touch every heart

that came within its new bounds.

I could now shine His light, with power and might,

to all who yearned to be found.

 

I was humbled in thought that He cared for my heart

with such personal, attentive grace.

It was then that I learned, it was simply my turn,

and that others filled infinite space.

 

You see He works on us all, every single heart,

for we are all His children anew.

He loves us so deeply, and spends time with us neatly,

rebuilding even YOU.

 

I fancy our hearts as mosaics,

mosaics constructed by God.

Intricately made, passionately displayed

Beautifully humble, yet odd.