Category Archives: Suffering

Know thyself…

I have been back in the gym for four years.  I have lovingly come to call my time spent there my worshipful workout.  Today as I was climbing my never ending imaginary mountain I realized that my workout has become even more, He has helped me turn this time into a time of self reflection, of self knowledge and confession as He so gently reminds me of my mistakes, failures and sprinkles in the few triumphs when I have truly let Him work through and in me.

Over the past few years I have climbed about 2500 miles on the elliptical at the gym, but the strides He has given me the grace to take down the path of knowing thyself are infinitely more meaningful.

Sweet Lord, as I dig deeper into knowing myself the demons within surround me… You alone are my refuge and I beg you to please let every sorrow filled tear that falls be full of pure and true contrition, and every joy filled tear that falls be full of pure and true praise and gratitude for You!

A sense of urgency

Some times when I am thinking of Him, reading about Him, listening to a song that fills my soul with Him… I feel a sense of urgency – a deep need to tell others of the great and overwhelming sorrow we will feel when we arrive at the foot of His throne and realize how little we did if anything and how much more we should have done to praise Him with every breath, every action, every thought during this short life of ours.

Then the moment usually passes and I slip back into the world, but NOT TODAY my friends.  Today is different… today I said a little prayer when this feeling came over me and I asked Him to give me the words to share.  Sweet Lord, I pray that these words are not from me, but from Your Sweet Holy Spirit.

Let our lives be nothing but the echo of God.

God’s Art

In the last few years I have begun to develop an appreciation and love for visual art.  I was walking through a museum a few years ago when a light bulb suddenly went off in my head as I realized what billions before me already knew… each painting represented a moment in the life of a soul.  That day I saw that some had shared a moment of their pain, others had shared a moment of their joy, some shared a moment of their fear, and at least one had shared a moment of deep understanding, a moment when that soul dove into the infinity of their present moment and then translated it onto a canvas.

I cried that day as I walked through the museum feeling humbled and amazed by so many souls laid bare before me.

Tonight as I was reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, he wrote about God’s art throughout creation and interestingly enough I read about this a few weeks ago in Romans during a bible study.  Oh Lord please forgive my inability to quickly grasp what You are trying to tell me… tonight I think Your message finally broke through.

God has bared His soul before us… and oh how AMAZING it is!!!

What more is there to say other than – Thank You, thank You, thank You for the Grace to truly see Your Art, Your Heart, Your Soul!

Returning to innocence…

My grandmother is very sick and will probably die soon.  I don’t live in the same city so I haven’t seen her in a while, but my mom and dad continue to share the details of her days.

Her recent memories have begun to fade, while those from long ago remain.  She is again being fed her meals as she was when she was a little baby, and she is filled with the joy and gratitude of a child when each visitor arrives in her room.  As I watch and listen from a distance, it seems as if the layers, the years, the hurt and the pain are being stripped away from my grandmother and she is returning to the innocence of her childhood and the purity of her baptism.

I am again in awe of our Amazing Father in Heaven and His Amazing Plan that we can’t imagine or understand, but sometimes glimpse when the light of understanding hits the veil at just the right angle.

Thank You sweet Lord and please do what You must to strip us clean and bring us all home to You!

And Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Sometimes we pray and pray and then pray some more, but do we know what we are asking Jesus to do for us?

I am often praying for forgiveness.  Forgive me for this, forgive me for that, forgive my sin from yesterday, forgive my sin from 15 years ago, etc.  This morning I was praying for forgiveness for something yet again, and I thought to myself or He said, “I have forgiven you, and I will forgive you again, and I will continue forgiving you as many times as you request to be forgiven, but when will you release your sin and give it to Me?”

When will I release my sin, when will I give it to Him?  He has already accepted it, He has already died for it, but have I let it go and actually given it to Him by accepting His forgiveness?

Have I become comfortable wallowing in my sin, remembering it, begging forgiveness and then returning to wallow in the comfort  of being an unforgiven sinner yet again?  I am not sure…. maybe?  I am not saying that we shouldn’t be praying for and begging for forgiveness often and more than once, but I think I have been missing a very crucial part to this prayer, a prayer asking Jesus to help me release my sin, give it to Him and enter the unknown territory of forgiven sinner by accepting His forgiveness.

Sweet Lord, sweet Savior, sweet Jesus I am in awe as I see Your amazing work more clearly than ever before through more specific and focused prayers.  I want each beat of my heart to be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for You and I beg You to please keep opening our eyes to our sins so that we can beg forgiveness, repent and release our sin to You!

The sword of truth

Oh how swift and sure the sword of truth flies…

For my 2 or 3 readers (you know who you are), please know that I would love to live by my words, but unfortunately I am still a poor and wretched soul speaking/writing as I would love to live, but failing 99.9% of the time to live this way and only succeeding when His divine hand intervenes to act through me.

I am a hypocrite and I am a gossip and I have brought pain to those I love all the while arrogantly believing that I was actually helping.  Oh how painful it is when the sword of truth pierces our heart.   I am not writing this to wallow in my failures and pain though, but I want to take these failures and this pain and glorify our sweet, wonderful, and faithful Lord.

Since Lent began I have been praying for a clean heart and oh how quickly He began to work!

Being a hypocrite and a gossip were not even on my radar.  It never occurred to me that these titles are mine, that they are on my resume, that they apply to me, but He came through and sent His sword of truth flying directly into my heart, piercing through the hardened layers  to awaken me and show me that oh yes these titles do apply to me, they are mine and I fall hard into these categories.

Yet, I do not despair, for our Lord has opened my eyes to these sins and there is no better way to begin repenting for a sin than first realizing that the sin is ours.

I know His work is not done in me and sweet Lord for this I am so thankful!

Lamentations 3:22-23
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Our powerful tears…

So many believe our tears are a sign of weakness, because they don’t know Your secret sweet Lord.  They don’t understand that in the moments of our tears, we are powerful as You fill us with Your Holy Spirit and He fills us with Your strength!

Lord,  thank you for all of the tears that flow so freely from my eyes in moments of both joy and sorrow. I feel so close to You in these extreme and powerful moments of my life and I long to fill these moments with gratitude and prayer.

Please soften our hard hearts sweet Lord, and release the flood gates of the tears that so many hold back in fear of what the world believes.

Broken

I always find it so interesting that we are broken and living in a broken world, yet there is still so much more within us that must be broken in order draw closer to God.

He wants to break us slowly, like a mighty cliff that is gradually broken down by the ocean into individual grains of sand, but so often He comes across our resistance and it is then that a great rock from our cliff will come crashing down all at once and oh how it hurts.

Oh Lord, please remove our resistance so that we might all one day flow within your great ocean.

Thy Will Be Done, Oh Lord!

High on a hill

I saw a man high on a hill.  As I climbed the hill trying to reach him, the terrain became steep.  I called out to him asking for help.  He didn’t move and I realized he could not hear.  I waved my arms trying to get his attention and then realized he could not see.

Oh the irony and the great sorrow, that I have ears to hear and eyes to see my endless failures and flaws that keep me from ever reaching that beautiful summit, and his ears do not hear and his eyes do not see to let him realize that he has reached that beautiful summit.

Oh my sweet Lord, the thought of this is frightening and painful… please open our eyes to see and our ears to hear.