I broke tradition this year, starting two years ago all of my traditions fell to the floor in broken shattered pieces, but this tradition I chose to let go of to adapt to who I am today….
I send Christmas Cards.
As a young girl I used to hand write them, I specifically remember when I reached 50 hand written notes as a young single adult and my cards migrated to typed newsletters…brag letters really….
Then on to photo cards when the list topped 100.
I love Christmas Cards…(and newsletters…no one sends them anymore?)
but this year, even after taking the cute photo, I sensed a change, yes something changed….it was me.
I realized that all I want to share is what has changed because of the Love of my Father, what amazing work He has done in my life this past year. I cant think of a Christmas I have been so sure…it truly is all about JESUS.
So I hope you enjoy my “new” tradition, a heartfelt praise, glory, and honoring reflection of the answered prayers in 2016…
….this is how the year began….The intersection of a broken covenant God allowed our family to share in the beauty of the promise of a new covenant.
He also reminded me that He never forgets the original covenant (Matthew 1:6). So with that security and pressing into my stand for marital restoration I welcomed the New Year.
“Gather the stones” a prophetic word that it was time to turn the corner and move from self-focused grief and mourning to BEcoming His (Genesis 31:46).
Soaking in the BEatitudes over the past year has been the single most productive and purposeful assignment I have ever been given, each one met me right where I was and took me a deeper into His love. He faithfully allowed me to marinate as long as I needed in the instruction of these movements of Jesus. These are more than words, more than instructions, these are radical ways of life….
Having never gone on a mission in my entire Christian life, God made a way for two opportunities to serve Him in 2016. The first, building houses in Mexico opened my heart to a courageous God fearing and humble woman named Cecilia who taught me how to receive the blessings the Lord gives. The second was a MIRACLE…and only happened because of a random envelope filled with cash on my car windshield. God moved. Meeting 43 orphans with special needs and watching my eldest son and best friend minister to these children opened my heart in a way Im still not fully able to express. Suffering, joy, tropical beauty and poverty intermingled in the Dominican Republic as I laid my heart bare for my Lord, petitioning Him on behalf of my prodigal and boys. My Father met me in ever tear I cried in the back seat of the van leaving Casa de Luz and into the pillow every night back in my room. I am burdened.
Every year has its noteworthy moments but 2016 brought milestones that were both bitter and sweet..Now a single mother to 3 TEENAGERS…and one little boy I celebrated the lives God gave me to influence. Oh I gave them right back to Him every single tumultous day of pain, acting out in the safety of our home and relationship. They are His. I am no longer a white knuckled parent….
#1 graduated High School and my life-long BFF came to sit in the bitter and sweet of the moment. I thank God for allowing and making a way for my son to attend this school in his last year, which enabled Godly men to speak into his life during this vulnerable year..
When he was still reachable, the father once said he hoped our divorce would not prohibit our son from going to college where he wanted…God answered this prayer. He very clearly directed our son to apply and after writing the essay, my #1 came into the kitchen and he said “mom, I sense from the Holy Spirit I will get into this school and go.” This was confirmed as we walked the campus in April.
Old and New
The Lord had me revisit some places from my past this year..to re-remember me with Him! The past is irreparable but when you see God in and out of your story you see how much He loves you, how He never forsakes…never ever leaves you.
My alma matter reminded me that I am a NEW CREATION, it has been a long time since I was that girl but in this past two years I have learned to forgive her, and to love the wounded girl who loved (loves) the mountains..
.UCLA with my boys…early dating, early marriage and family memories…sweet and salty tears, remembering how much I juggled, how alone I often felt, how insecure I was but how I wanted to change the world. Remembered her with Christ!
This was not a place of my past but an event (Evening of Dreams) which was a huge part of my story but was ripped from my heart and life. It was never forgotten by God and when the invitation came to attend, I was excited to see what He has done with a seed….
Down to the last minute so only He could get the glory, He landed us in a new home that was a perfect fit for us all and including our new family members (international students). It should not have gone through and even the agent said it was a “miracle” but God! So we are slowly learning the new normal …out of Joppa.
God took away the fear that hindered me from launching fully into my heart’s desired work in 2015 and this past year saw the start of the firstfruits… This has been my dream my whole vocational life and slowly but steadily He is creating it…The best part of the all is the new amazing people He has brought. Literally, He has brought…every single one of them! No job posting, just answered prayer.
Miles was welcomed into the world with breath held and prayers lifted. He came too early but God. Surrounded by family trusting Him, he went from “miles” behind to “miles” ahead and is our newest miracle.
The miracle of new life, the miracle of a new heart. The Lord did heart surgery on me, instantly, He removed the pain and bitterness of old. He gave me mercy for them and ushered me into LOVE. I am no longer bound by the sin against me. I submitted to forgive but as the good good father does, his gifts are way more than we can imagine. He gave me a heart of MERCY for them, for mercy triumphs judgement!
So as the year of BEcoming His and BEcoming LOVE started with a promise, it ended in covenant.
2016 ended and I listened for the word for 2017. It showed up as we celebrated family and new covenant…
The Lord said remember my promise to you, the signs and wonders….this is your year of Breakthrough!
**if you are wondering why this is posted in April, hold tight, the news is coming!**
A perfect read for today….
My heart is Battered, bruised… I am shaking off and canceling the negative words spoken over me.
From deep within a hymn emerges, when my mind can’t settle to pray …Deep within my being I bring forth this..
Im coming to the end of the year of BEing with Christ and God has already begun stirring a sense of something new for 2017. I realized I didn’t blog about this attitude of being as the Lord worked this out with me out of sequence, sometimes our order, is not His! I began to learn what it meant to be persecuted in November 2015 and it has continued but I wear it now, proudly…
Todd White once said, “If you want to know where you are with God, ask yourself if you are being persecuted?”
The kingdom of heaven is mine (and yours) and I am pressing in deeper and deeper to take hold of that inheritance so that it may be shared with the ones whom God loves (all).
Here is the beginning of that out of order lesson….Remembering with you Jesus!
Once, and a very long time ago, when I was a young girl I took off running.
Running perhaps after my younger brother, I tripped and fell splayed and arms out in front of me to brace my fall.
Scraped hand and knees?
At the time I happened to be running on a wood deck and now lodged in my hands and arms were hundreds of tiny wood splinters.
My parents forced me to lay on my back with both arms out, cross-wise, as each took needles to my flesh to remove tiny splinters out of my palms. It was agony. I didn’t handle it well. I became angry at them for causing me pain. I didn’t like pain.
I don’t run anymore but
I fell and I am
I fell completely in love with Jesus and I cling to the cross
I don’t mind my wounds anymore…because at the cross, Jesus tends to each one..I am bound to the cross.
To lose sight of the cross is devastating. I know, I lived devastated for decades. No more. When I got saved, I was deeply impacted by the cross and then I thought I grew in Christian maturity…I was wrong. I only grew lukewarm.
I was once sure the cross was revealed to pardon my sin. It was, it is, but it is so much more.
The cross is the way of freedom. The cross is the full revelation that God loves me. The cross shows how He loves us. Pain and love, wounds and healing, power and full surrender intersect only at the cross…
So you can take anything I have, but you can’t pull me from the cross. I am splintered with Jesus. I delight in the pain and give him the glory for each sin He reveals to correct and every wound He heals by his supernatural presence and love.
Look at your hands to what do you cling to?
Romans 12:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)
12 constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength],
Thank you Father for giving us your son…
Thank you that because the enemy came to my house two years ago to steal all that I held…I became free.
Daughters bring you empty hands but surrendered hearts.
Thank you that the gifts that flow from my life on this day are not a pretty table, nor a well orchestrated meal, not a superficial conversation, nor a pretense of a happy family!
Daughters don’t need to pretend
Thank you that this is only because I am deeply in love and in communion with the Giver.
Thank you that there will now always be an empty chair at my table for the prodigals that were led off to captivity. That prayer ushered from my lips will not be platitude or eloquent but a hungry cry for those who remain in the far country to experience a radical collision with you and come home!
Daughters know that that the Thanks part of the holiday is equal part to the Giving but they give from the only place of value to you
HUMBLY give away your shattered heart, your broken life, and MUCH will be given to you.
Thank you Abba for my one broken heart that I continually offer to You to break further…
One of the most dangerous and more subtle works of the enemy is the destruction of the concept and reality of peace as a Christian.
Rather than start with the front of the verse, it seems to me you can only live this BEattitude if you can wrestle with the back.
Who is a Child of God?
I am a child of God, you can sing it, but can you live it? Better yet….
Who are called?…His Children
The called, hear Him and respond. Simple, yes. Easy, no. Our response is the totality of our obedience and this is what makes us HIS children.
John 10:27-28Amplified Bible (AMP)
27 The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.
Yet the standard of Christ seems impossible to a worldly mind, a mind that listens to the stranger will pick and choose what to obey, it will pass over and fail to discern much, it is veiled. Which is exactly why….Jesus leads His disciples down the narrow path….to obedience and it’s cost.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
We cannot obey without the Helper. It is the Holy Spirit in us that we access more deeply, more desperately with ever increasing hunger that corrects and counsels the heart of the child of God. As we move into spiritual maturity it is the presence of the Holy Spirit we long for. It is His voice we live for. Desire the spiritual gifts, says the Lord.So equipped with the The Holy Spirit and as His children we can look at the front of the verse… peace.“Doves are known for their powerful and precise flight patterns”
Power and direction (given by the Holy Spirit) are required to make peace
It is a lie of the enemy is that peace is mute or powerlessness.
The Greek word translated “peacemaker” is used in only one other place in the New Testament, in a slightly different form. Colossians 1:20 says, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having madepeace through the blood of His cross.”
God “reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Those who bring reconciliation to broken relationships are carrying on the work of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Those who give of themselves as Jesus did in order that others may know God are called “blessed.” There is no real peace apart from a relationship with God (Romans 5:1). What may masquerade as worldly peace is merely a temporary lull in chaos (John 14:27). True peace is found only in a restored relationship with God. “‘There is no peace,’ says the LORD, ‘for the wicked’” (Isaiah 48:22).
Only children of God can bring the peace of knowing God to others. A person must have a real relationship with God before he or she can help someone else know God. Those who witness for Christ, share their faith with their friends, and serve others in the name of Christ are the ambassadors for peace this verse identifies (see alsoMatthew 10:41-42).
Brothers and sisters, it is time to release the Dove
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves” (Matt. 21:12-13).We can assume that when the fragile wooden cages of the doves struck the floor, they broke, and suddenly the doves were loosed and began to fly. Imagine those freed white birds seen by casual observers from any high hill, such as the Mount of Olives.
Reconciliation is not passive or mute
“The anointing of the Holy Spirit is not a cloud, a fire or even a dove, but rather a divine presence whose authority is released through the mouth (Like the Dove carrying the olive tree branch back to Noah)—through preaching, teaching, singing and prophetic utterances flowing like oil from the lips of those upon whom the Spirit has rested.” Perry Stone
Make peace friends, first with God, then for God.