New Foundations

For my faithful readers, you have been following a roller coaster ride on the relationship with my mom. I started this blog around 2011…. I think. (Just did a quick archive check… yup, November of 2011)

To do a quick recap (and for anyone that may be stumbling across this for the first time)… at that point in my life I was really struggling with a lot of anger towards her, a lot of temptation to blame her, and a stone cold heart. She’d say mean things to me, blame me for things, tell me I’m wasting time at church; I’d lie about how much I loved her and treated her like a jerk. But, at that time God was really knocking hard at my stone heart, knocking down walls and shining light into deep, dark infected places. The deconstruction began followed by this long, slow rebuilding of a relationship. The ministry of reconciliation that God has called us to mainly comes in sharing the gospel (reconciliation with Him, through faith in Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection), but I believe it carries out in our relationships with one another. Specifically, I believe God has called ME to be reconciled to MY MOM. (2 Cor 5:11-21, Rom 12:18)

I was not convinced she was a believer at that time in 2011. It wasn’t until her boyfriend who’d been living with us for five years was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and died a month later. It was during that time that the gospel became the most important truth, especially for Jeff. The need for Jeff to believe it allowed us to have conversations that resulted in her accepting, believing, and affirming that the Lord Jesus is her Savior and she will spend eternity with Him in heaven.

After that, everything changed. But, the one thing that was different was I found myself wishing she wasn’t saved so she would suffer for the things I’ve suffered through. Harsh, right?  I think Jonah probably felt similar, but I am ashamed…

So it was clear to me by my attitude that there was a lot of work to do in my heart. So God continued to deconstruct and renovate my heart like the good carpenter he is. This covers the last two years. There’s high points and low points, but it wasn’t until this last Christmas Break that I reached the lowest point and considered giving up on the relationship all together. “I’m done! This woman is infuriating!” I told the Lord on my 5 hour drive home.

I was driving back to Iowa to a conference in Des Moines called “Faithwalkers” where we gather and hear teachings and encouragement from our sister churches all over the midwestern USA. God always has a way of using that time to redirect my life. A pastor of ours shared about trials and how the key to overcoming trials isn’t their finish, but in our endurance. That to endure is God’s prime objective. (Rom 5:3, Heb 10:36, James 1:2-3, Col 1:9-11) If we don’t… what does that say of our faith? So I was encouraged as it says in Colossians to pray this:

 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

May you be strengthened with power… so that you may have great endurance and patience…

I was really struck by that and considered that maybe God wasn’t calling me to give up, maybe this was a lowest of the low points. Maybe God is calling me to endure through the highs and lows of this journey to reconciliation. What I needed was to pray to persevere! God put it on my heart to do a little book study with my mom via the phone, so I mailed her some materials (because at this point I was all too frustrated to talk with her on the phone) and I thought if any thing could help this relationship, surely it was God’s word.

I thought Maybe I can’t trust her yet, and that’s ok. I can rest in the safety of God’s word. 

So each week (it’s been 3 now) we call each other on the phone and for 2 hours or so we study through the gospel answering questions about how Jesus claimed to be God and how we can have assurance for eternal life through faith in the blood of Jesus. There’s questions at the end that ask you to reflect on what you just read and there’s nothing sweeter than hearing my mom say “I’m so grateful for God’s mercy and I’m so glad I know I have eternal life because of Jesus.”

This breaks my heart of stone.

In all of my attempts of reconciliation, I never once realized how what we really needed wasn’t heart to hearts of disclosing past wounds (though there is time for that) or taking unsafe chances of sharing my life with her. What we need is a new foundation built up from the truth of the gospel. It’s there I find courage to confess my sins, to share how the truth impacts my life, to open up about who I am. Its there I build trust with a women who has the Holy Spirit living and active inside of her. It’s possible all of my attempts that seemed more harmful than good to reconcile weren’t useless, but it’s possible (and I pray so much for) that rebuilding our relationship on the word through studying it together will yield greater fruit than my plans to relive and bring up the past ever could have. I don’t mean to say there aren’t things we need to talk about or that everything is forgotten, but rather to allow time for God to knit our hearts together and to allow His word and His timing to reconcile our relationship. By having a relationship built on the trust of the Lord and His word, it makes it possible to talk about past hurts and pains in light of the gospel. It may be that the most glorious thing God will do with my life is to reconcile my relationship between me and my mom. And I pray for that. I’ve always prayed for that… that I would see His glory.

And a glorious thing it will be. Please pray for me. I am encouraged at what God has done in 3 weeks, but I need to depend on the Lord for strength and love and I can’t do it alone. Thank you!

In His love,
Teresa

 

Tangible Peace.

I was just thinking of that verse… why be anxious, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus… you know, that one that requires you to actually go and do something before God to find his peace.  

Often times, my heart is dissatisfied by this “intangibleness” of God which is clouded in doubt, like that’s where my doubts stem from. I’ve been learning lately, that there’s something very real and unique that God puts in our hearts (something that is clearly felt) when we lean on him and depend on him and that’s peace

I was finding myself in an anxious place just earlier. Coming before God and hearing his truth about walking in love that doesn’t insist on its own way; I was asking God to reveal my heart and he did. After coming to him with conviction from what I was lacking (love and trust) I was led to remembering his grace through forgiveness by Christ (he knows my weakness and loves me still; he will work with me to grow). Then I just have this peace. A changed heart: from anxious anger to peace. What a tangible proof of God’s love. “Thank you for peace, Lord, it’s such a tangible proof to me,” is what I said to him. It’s been such a blessing and a reward I don’t deserve especially since my anxiousness usually stems from sin… and instead he gives me peace. What a great God we have! 

May we all come to him with our anxious hearts and find his glorious peace!

 

-Teresa 

Letting all go.

Here’s a song I wrote a couple weeks ago on the brink of forgiveness.

There’s a child inside of me crying, longing for you.
There’s a darkness that lingers around me, and nothing gets through.

And the strings of this pain that’ve colored this stain,
you’d think they’d pull like a noose.
Yet, I’m here to say when I give Him my pain,
there’s nothing that crumbles this cave like the truth.

Broken I’m falling before you, down on my knees.
Feeling the weight of regret, my soul needs relief.

Oh Father of mercy, please tell me you love me
and Jesus, you cover my need.
For my father before me, he could not protect me
from corruption and all that it reaped.

Here I am. Nothing in hand. Parched in a desert land,
and water comes from your hands.

Forever here I’ll stand, with your promise to the end.
For this world has left me wanting, though measured I have been.

When the wolves cry out to the moon; hungry, they encroach.
Yet laugh at them, though I must, for I will not let go
of the truth that has saved me,
the blood that renamed me,
and the penitence in all of my soul.
The healing He gave me,
the loves that replays in me,
and the freedom of letting all go, gives me hope.

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Nope, not by your own righteousness.

I’ve been reading through the old testament (slowly) for the past couple of months. Though now trekking through the Dueteronomy, I was in Numbers earlier and at several points had a reaction sort of like this:

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Because sometimes it gets a little scary. I was left feeling like Boo who accidentally caught my Father getting really mad and destroying people (Numbers 16:49). It was scary and I didn’t really know how to react. I did however pray that the Lord would give me the right perspective, because its says a bazillion times we should fear God… but I don’t think it should be a fear that keeps us from trusting Him or that makes us run from Him. (But stand in awe of him because he has ALOT of power!) Then I read a verse in Psalm 33:5 that says “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” God’s wrath is an interesting thing to try and grapple with, but if the Lord LOVES righteousness and justice… he would not punish the innocent. “The Lord detests differing weights and dishonest scales do not please him.” (Proverbs 20:23) God’s promise was that if they (the Israelites) obeyed his commands and kept his decrees, God would bless their lives and keep them from disease along with a lot of other good things (Deut. 7:12-15). He even gave them signs and wondrous miracles in Egypt to prove He was God (7:19). And so I find myself in Deuteronomy feeling more assured that God in fact carries out justice, though it is hard to imagine the depth of their hatred towards God (and yet, I think I can). Better yet, God explains himself clearly (as He always does when I seek) that while He was humbling Israel for the hatred and forgetfulness towards God in the desert for forty years to reveal their true hearts, he was specifically disciplining them like a good father should. As God commanded Israel to defeat certain nations, God points out something very clearly: it was not because of Israel’s righteousness that they were allowed to defeat these other nations as they traveled to the promise land, it was because of those nation’s wickedness. 

Deuteronomy 9:3-6 (Moses is speaking to the Israelites) “But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out quickly, as the Lord has promised you. After the Lord has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on the account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to posses, for you are a stiff necked people.”

God will punish the wicked. That’s a hard to truth to tell, but I’m grateful that He does because that means justice. I think its hard to watch people die, and I’m sure it breaks God’s heart too as he desires all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), but from reading the Old Testament I can trust that God really does love righteousness and justice and He wouldn’t punish those who didn’t deserve it. It’s hard to imagine that people are so turned away from God, so cold, and distant… but it’s true. All God asks is that we turn from our stiff necked ways and fear Him, remember what He has done (in our lives and on the cross) to give him the glory He deserves

If I don’t trust, while reading about God’s wrath, that He is still good and loving, my understanding of God starts to fall apart. When I start making excuses for people’s sins, I start giving the devil a foothold to take my perspective of God and twist into something that isn’t true. Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding… right?

 

I’m thankful I have a mighty savior who stands to test against my questions and give me answers. 

Pizza and learning to play without the queen.

(This is a long one, but a long time coming! God has done some great work!)

First I think I need to describe my grandfather. Yes. This is a good idea.

He was average height and dark skinned. Polish. I remember him best seeing him growing his giant, tall tomato plants in the garden; always shirtless, his skin was tight but also wrinkly. When he spoke his polish accent shaped every word, it was a low grumbly voice. Inside the house, he would always offer us (the grandkids) gum. My favorite was finding really old Big Red in a drawer because it would snap when you bent it. My grandpa was a hard worker and spent time in a concentration camp as a POW during WWII, but he never talked about it because somethings in life “were best left in the past”. He coined the catchphrase in our family “you can do it like a lion or you can do it like a lamb, but you still gotta do it” and that was the mentality my mom passed on to us kids. My grandpa didn’t have a mother figure in his life, apparently she had died when he was five so his dad raised him and taught him to play chess. When my great grandfather taught my grandpa and his siblings to play, they learned to play without the queen: to teach them that the other players had very important roles and could win the game without her and then also to show them that as they depended on each other (the knights and rookies, pawns and bishops) they would work wonderfully together and if the queen came back into the game, the rest of the pieces knew how to function to their ability and could compliment the queen. This my grandpa passed down to my mother as well, as her mother was diagnosed with delusional schizophrenia and was placed into an institution so my mom too had to learn to play without the queen.

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My mom was telling me this story tonight as we sat at a local pizza place (its much too classy to be called a ‘joint’) in my hometown.  I want to share with you an amazing story that unfolds to show God redeeming love and power! Last Thanksgiving break I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t understand disappointment because I had such an easy life; I remember responding with tears and shouting as I confessed to her that I had been suicidal and stuck in depression for most of my childhood. Before coming back she had blamed me for the riff in her relationship with my dad, words that stabbed far deeper than any knife could and I cried myself to sleep listening to Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North praying and waiting for the pain to stop. Coming back to school, surrounded by believers I sought to allow God to change my circumstances and to change my heart. Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” and Ephesians 6:2-3 quotes Deuteronomy by saying “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I went to a conference over Christmas break that year on the same topic. I knew regardless of how I felt about it or how much I thought she earned or deserved honor, I was going to honor because of the promise God made if I obeyed. It’s been a roller coaster of humbleness since.

Now that I’ve caught you up on the mess (and you can read plenty of previous posts on the matter) I’d like to tell you where we are now.

My mom and I sat at the restaurant for an hour talking about the magnificent work Jesus has done in our lives and the brokenness it has come through. Both of us. Mainly her. Oh Frabjous Day! Cahloo! Callay! How I chortled in my joy!Better yet, we wept beside one another in a church in my hometown yesterday when singing From The Inside Out by Hillsong. What is the cause for this change?

God is at the end of your rope. A couple times a week I pass a sign outside of a church on the west side of Ames and that’s what its said for the last week. God is at the end of your rope.

I mentioned in my post Lord the Healer and Redeemer that my mom’s boyfriend Jeff was diagnosed with cancer and only had a limited time (3-9 months) left to live. 3-9 months turned out to be three weeks. I received a call one night from my mom that Jeff wouldn’t make it through the night. God put it on my heart to share the gospel with him so I left everything and a beloved sister (my kindred spirit) drove 6 hours with me. In the span of 22 hours, we drove there, met his wife and kids, and paced and prayed for 7 hours (well, my friend slept somewhere). I had no idea what I was doing- but I knew that as the hour grew later (or earlier I should say) my time was coming as his time was ending. 6 am I asked to speak to him alone. His body was frail and almost non existent on the hospital bed. His eyes yellow. He reached out often to grab things that weren’t there, but when I called his attention he would look at me. As I shared I asked if he wanted to accept Jesus as his payment for his sins, but no answer. I left it in God’s hands. 5 hours later I gave him a hug and said goodbye, I whispered into his ear to watch for Jesus and lifted up the rest to God. I left and couldn’t hold in the tears. The sadness was too real. I hugged my mom tightly and we talked of Gods love. My friend and I drove back to Ames. 22 hours. The next morning was a friday and my mom had called to tell me he had passed. It’s been God’s healing work ever since.

I had been praying recently in the last month for my mom, that she would find a church to get plugged into and another believer to come a long side of her. Last week (or so) my mom called me on a Sunday to tell me about her time at church for the 3rd week in a row and how she wanted to make it her highest commitment. No excuses. She just ordered glasses and as soon as they came in she was going to start reading two pages of the Bible everyday. I’ve been sending her messages on CDs about topics I think will help bring healing to her heart and songs about God’s love to bring comfort. She’s been going to church with a woman named Judy, who I was able to lift my hands of praise next to at church. I couldn’t wipe away the tears fast enough.

Its like- in the depths of ALL of this brokenness that just thrives all around me, knitting my family together, God is working powerfully. Theres still more work to do. But if you are encouraged by anything out of this, let it be that God can and will change your life and your family’s life if you seek to obey His words. It may take a long time, but let it be worth it. It makes take hours of tears and heart wrenching pain, but get through it. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Keep thanking God for the hard stuff even when nothing in you wants to. Look your self in the mirror and say “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfied your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5) And don’t let your self forget it.

This thanksgiving I’m thankful for everything above written. Even the messy stuff. It was worth it just to experience the glory of God within my family.

What are you thankful for?

This is the day.

It’s tempting to start this post by saying…

“As a college student…. life is always busy”

But then I can laugh to myself, because the premise of this post is that no matter what stage of life you are at LIFE IS ALWAYS BUSY! There are always a million things to do to get done and its never really accomplished. Sometimes we take breaks because we have to do important things like eat, sleep, pee. And I know I’m not the only one who’s thought… “Man if I didn’t have to do those things, life would be so much more efficient.” If only I didn’t have to go to the bathroom or shower, or do my laundry… I would have so much more time to do all of the things I have to do.

WOW! It’s so exhausting sometimes! And it’s so easy to get into a rut where all you do is get up, work, come home and sleep to repeat endlessly weeks upon weeks. Maybe you get a Sabbath day in there, or a sabbath hour. It’s like we crave a rest, we crave a break, but we also crave this sense of completion. “I just want to catch up.”

I was really convicted by this mentality because it felt like I was missing something. Romans 14:17 says that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

RIGHTEOUSNESS. PEACE. JOY.

Where is the joy and peace in endless tasks followed by endless days?

Luckily with conviction, a desire to seek God, and the further work of the Holy Spirit comes perspective! I was reading Genesis 1 about a month or so ago and I was really encouraged by God’s mentality in creation. God’s pretty powerful right? Sometimes its hard to believe He could have created the world in 6 days, but don’t you think He could have created it in one if really wanted to… isn’t He that POWERFUL?

Yes! He is! …. but, He didn’t. He set out each day His task, He completed that task, and at the end what did He say? “And it was good.” He didn’t do everything in one day and He didn’t say… “Well, I didn’t have time to get to creating the rest of the stars today so I’ll just leave that for tomorrow… I’m kind of tired.” He did what He had set out to do for the day and it was good.

Now, while we’re not God and are not perfect besides Christ in us, there is a lot of example that comes from this that I can implement in my life. With each day, and my tasks I have, I have the ability to choose what needs to get done and what doesn’t. I can set out those tasks, accomplish them by when I mean to. Then when it comes to the end of the day, I can stop and say it is good. Sometimes you won’t finish (we are not as diligent as God) sometimes you’ll do stuff wrong (we are not as knowledgeable and wise as God) but it is good because “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it!” Psalm 118.

I’ve been really encouraged to set out on my tasks for the day and come to the end of it and say “Alright God, this is what I did today and I entrust it to you whether I’ve finished that list or not. It is good.” And then I go to bed.

What if we all had God’s mentality towards our daily lives and entrusted to Him all of the things we have to do and trust Him at the end of the day with all of the things we’ve done, even when it’s little to none? Praise Jesus for His redemptive work on the cross so that, because of the restored relationship, we can entrust our daily lives to Him when we are not perfect, busy, or stressed. What a privilege it is to carry everything to God in prayer!

The Source

Trust The Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3

This is a pretty great verse for life, and (obviously) especially a life lived for God. It has a command, a call to humbleness, a practical, and a promise.

A desire I have for my life that God has called us all to is to love Him and love others (Matthew 22:37). What that looks like can be scary if you stop reading there- especially when you hear the great commission to go to all the nations and making disciples, people to follow Jesus (Matthew 28:18). It’s also scary when I start measuring how the Holy Spirit is working by the number of people I share my story with or the good news of Jesus. I start looking at the works as an outlook of the source instead of just looking right at the source Himself.

The verse in proverbs 3 at the top is taking at look at the source of Life. First, I trust The Lord with all my heart. Honestly, I hardly know what that means but I think it’s similar to John 7:38: “whoever believes in me as the scriptures has said , streams of living water will flow from within him.”

Wow. If I believe in Him according to what the scriptures say… and not “on my own understanding” streams of living water will flow out from within me… And you know what happens when that happens…. I will “acknowledge Him in all my ways”. And if I can acknowledge Him in all my ways it attests I’m trusting Him based on truth from scripture and God promises to make my paths straight!

If my paths are straight… What does that mean? This is something I’m learning about and don’t quite have the answer to. I do know it doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering because Romans 8:17 says through Jesus and his work on the cross for our sins we are children of God, heirs of God, and through our suffering we are co-heirs with Christ’s suffering, but also His glory.

Wisdom leads not to folly, so it seems reasonable to suggest success is also apart of having straight paths… But I think it means more than worldly success. I think it’s about living a straight path of righteousness, which doesn’t always entail worldly success. If my path is not straight and level, I will stumble and fall, hurting myself regardless of the surroundings my path leads through whether I’m rich or poor, married or single, home or away, crying or thriving.

Proverbs 15:24 says “the path of life leads upwards for the wise to keep him from going down into the grave.”

I desire my paths to be straight, but I know that as I trust God in truth and acknowledge Him in ALL my ways… He will indeed make my path straight and I pray He would keep that promise according to His great love! If I’m acknowledging Him in all my ways… I’m going to share the gospel because that is apart of everything I am or do.

A book I’ve been reading and got a lot of these thoughts from is The Love of God by Chambers.

Carry on in faith.

Lord the Healer and Redeemer

Today has been quite a day. I called my mom today expecting to have a hard conversation; her boyfriend had been diagnosed with lung cancer and they were waiting for some results. I didn’t intend to hear such a short end to his future. It’s not for certain but somewhere between 3 months to 9 months left for him. That was really hard to hear, and it surprised my heart so much to find out just how much I cared.

Harder yet, he doesn’t believe in God which means because of his hard heart and rejection of truth… heaven is not his destiny. This saddens me far greater because I care a lot about him and I know God does too.

I’m writing this for prayers and encouragement. I’m not entirely sure what role in showing God’s love to him that I or my mom can play, but I’m praying God would guide me. I don’t know what its like to find a way to trust God through all this hardship from his perspective… its nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

I do trust God though, I trust that He has a perfect plan for Jeff and our family and that He will use this cancer to draw Jeff to himself,  but I’m afraid Jeff’s heart is too hard. I pray God would soften it and speak love into his life and he would have ears to hear and eyes to see. I also believe God is a great healer and a lot can happen in 3 or 9 months.

Please join me in prayer if you read this or pass on any encouragement I could share if anyone has similar experiences! Jesus talked about the effort a shepherd will go to save one sheep… I pray Jeff is that sheep.

Thanks,

from a loving sister in and servant of Christ.

A Greater Love

Love. It seems to make the world go round. We look for it in all the wrong places until we find it in the right one. In God. “His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136). Then we find Him and we sometimes still keep looking in all the wrong places. Relationships. People. Money. Things. Sometimes love in these things is good, even great…. but the love that is most fulfilling? Well, that’s found in Him.

A while ago I wrote a post called The Inconvenient Truth. It was kind of a sad post. I was at a place in my walk with God where I was questioning whether or not He loved me and whether or not I actually mattered to him.  That was, what?…. August. Yes. August, I was at home. My prayer at the end was David’s prayer… “Lord, let morning bring word of your unfailing love.”

Do you grasp that people are incapable of loving perfectly and as profoundly as God? Imagine your greatest love relationship, be it with a spouse, a parent, a best friend, a brother or sister. God’s is greater than that.

I didn’t grasp that for the longest time… until one day this fall God spoke a truth in a very intimate way to a very specific hole that I think a lot of people can have in their hearts.

This past Fall I was getting to a place of just pure exhaustion from unanswered prayers, spreading myself too thin, taking too much on myself with different activities I was involved in, feeling tired of praying over and over again, but knowing God was growing me into a more fervent prayer. We were at a retreat in the fall and the topic was EXHAUSTION. While the pastor, Rob Gerber, was speaking I began to thinking about all the things that had been exhausting me.
One of them was marriage; not as though I, a more than content single servant of Christ, was really  in a place to be exhausted by thoughts of it… but there was one truth that God really wanted to reveal to me. I began to remember thinking about who in their right minds would ever actually sign up to spend a lifetime with another person. By this time I’d already concluded that marriage is in fact a good thing and a glorifying thing for two people who wanted to spur one another on in following God. Then in my heart, I switched the perspective to me which really hit the sore spot it was supposed to…

“God, who would ever want to marry me? Me, with all of my hurts, with all of my sin, with all of my trials? Who would ever want to promise themselves to a life with me?”

Then in my moment of sadness and vulnerability, God revealed in my heart a true wounding, but what was even greater was what came next:

I do.” God said. “I do, Teresa. I want to spend your whole life with you, I want to spend all of eternity with you. That is why I sent my Son, that is why I died on the cross, so I could be with you forever.”

My response in my heart was “Really God? You want to spend the rest of eternity with little ol’ me?”.

I just wept!

God’s love for me changed so much. For the months and years before that I had wondered and wondered: God do you love me? How much do you love me? I know you do, but I just don’t know what that means. Let morning bring word of your unfailing love. This was my prayer for months and months. I just kept praying and waiting. My perspective on who God is completely changed as He spoke truth to a very specific hole in my heart that I think a lot of people can come across in their life. I was grateful to God for that truth. It’s so undeniably awesome that I never go back to that place and wonder who would ever love me because the creator of the universe loves me, takes notice of me, speaks to my heart sweet words of love.

Do you know God loves you? (Psalm 139, 1 John 4:7-16)

Do you know a true, deep, sincere, unconditional love for God?  (Psalm 63)

Seek it. 

What does a bridegroom say to his beloved? “I do.” So does God.

The Inconvenient Truth

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about going home. I wanted this blog to be dedicated more so to my adventures, if I can call them that, with my family. It’s always different, and there’s always something to be learnt especially from God as the past couple years have been spent going back and forth on college breaks.

I think we left off receiving my gift from God, which was love in my heart for my mother. I smile as I think of that, though just a moment ago, if I can be so bold, I was crying.

I spent the summer away in Ames and my relationship with home was that via telephone, safe. I could tell that going home this time around was going to be harder for my heart when a week prior to doing so, we (being my mom, my dad, and I) had to reorganize the weekend schedule as they both had planned separate parties on the same day. This allows for opportunity, per usual, for disagreements and arguments usually with me mediating somewhere in the middle; resentfully, unfortunately.  The civility between the two of them, if there really ever was such a thing (certainly there had to of been before they divorced, of which I could probably remember if I’d try), is not yet resolved which tends to be an easy button to make me bitter and hurt. So going into the week, you could say, I wasn’t as so much thrilled as one probably could be. As from the start, I’m continually leaning on God for strength, which has been much, much needed.

My independency, which has been engraved into my character over the past 7 or so years, has really been in of itself: incredibly inconvenient. Seeded by living alone and not wanting to let anyone else care for me, I learned to love it and take pride in it. It makes me non-relational and unable to love. Over the past month, I’ve felt God asking me to dig into why it’s there and why it feels like someone is sticking my hand in acid every time I have to ask for help, or allow others to help. I’ve been afraid, of course because Satan likes to deceive me and I, as per the beginning that we see with Eve and the apple, I am easily deceived.

This week has been hard, no so much because of my independency, but more so the repercussions that I’ve caused with the relationship with my parents with both me, and one another. My mom and I were having a discussion which started with me finally expressing my wishes towards mutual civility between my parents because of the difficulty that it is for me to handle. My mom brought light to a new side where they try to work together, but as soon as either offers help I am quick to shut down any offer so it is no longer necessary for them to work together any longer. In a sense it hurt the most as I felt she was blaming me, though in another I can see the truth in such a phase, which hurt even worse; so much so that it felt like someone was stabbing my heart and I could no longer retain crying in front of her like I’d avoided for as long as I can remember. It was good, if I can say so, because I know exactly why I had told my dad to not help; I didn’t want to be inconvenient by using his only car for the summer while my mom had a spare though he offered. I see now just how awful the ramifications are of being independent; the sad part is that I chose it because of this statement: I don’t want to be inconvenient. I am inconvenient: this is where I am being deceived.

I think somewhere inside I’m afraid that when I ask someone for help, they’re going to turn me down because I’m inconvenient. Honestly, tonight I asked God, “Am I inconvenient?”

It makes sense too a lot now, whenever someone or God shows me or tells me how much He loves me why I just break down a weep, because I just don’t believe that God could love me, a sinner who is over ambitious, impatient, lustful, impure, self righteous, independent, hateful, unsubmissive, unholy, unrighteous. Loving me might be inconvenient. How could God love me?

I don’t know. I know that he does, and a lot. More than I could ever hope for or imagine or probably ever experience here. No one has ever loved me the way God loves me.

I wish I could say right now, I know God counts me significant, but I can’t. He will show me soon though and I’m really grateful that I can depend on him to hold my heart when I feel this way.

“Let morning bring word of your unfailing love.” This I pray, amen.