Posts Tagged: devotional

Open the door to truth

Prophetic Inspiration: Words to Embrace

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV

Turning My Page: Apply Prophetic Inspiration

In the last two years, I experienced prophetic inspirations spoken over me. Faithful men and women have spoken God’s truth which again and again was reinforced by scripture in various circumstances.”I see an image of a yellow rose, preparing to bloom.” “You are a mother who will lead children to wholeness.” “Mom, read Ephesians 4:8.” “You are Esther.” Some knew me, others were complete strangers. I feel uncomfortable with my futures actions being foretold. It feels like having a bright light shining into my soul after remaining in darkness.

Prophetic Inspiration are words spoken over our spirit that point to God's love and purpose for our lives
Speaking Life Through Prophecy
Image by Gerd Altmann

What if I fail?

I have spoken words over myself for 42 (I’ll give my three-year-old self a break) years. You are ugly. You will fail. No one will love you. Stupid. You can’t do anything right. You will always be in pain. Why are you here? God couldn’t possibly use you for good. If a prophecy is simply an inspired utterance when you and I speak depression and darkness over ourselves, where is the inspiration coming from?

Losing Jonathan took a toll on what I thought about motherhood. The lie I accepted was, to invest in my child, love God, teach him to love God and everything turns out okay. When believers buy into the lie that accepting Christ leads to success and a trouble-free life Satan is setting us up for failure. Nowhere in scripture does it say this. Instead, Jesus says, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b NLT). Troubles do not negate the task God has given me to do. I am to “share the reason for the hope I have.” Read more on my Suicide Story.

Here are truths I now acknowledge since meeting Jesus twenty-four years ago:

While I recognize the above truths, I have struggled to embrace and apply them without wavering. I apologize that I have wasted a single second denying the words spoken over me and into me. God, you have been gently nudging me with these prophecies and revealing how uncomfortable I am with your truth and comfortable I am with my own brand of truth.

I embrace the inspiration God gives through the many experiences, scripture, and voices that encourage my spirit. Wholeheartedly I repent of the above lies I have consistently repeated. They do not align themselves with who Christ says I am. It is high time I with the full force of faith, hope, and love, accept what God keeps speaking over me.

Turning Your Page

This is your starting point. Will you embrace a new prophetic inspiration spoken over you? Depression no longer has the last word in your life. With God’s help, you will conquer the lie that this life is impossible to live and turn the page to find hope, faith, and love in each of your next days.

Pointing you in the direction you should go
Sometimes Others See the Path More Clearly

Choosing to embrace truth is bound to stir up resistance. As thoughts of darkness, hopelessness, and condemnation get loud, recognize that their inspiration is from Satan, the father of all lies (John 8:44). He won’t let up. To change this pattern God divinely removes the oppressive spirit or equips you to bear up under the attack. Don’t expect your feelings to always match the truth God is revealing in your life. If emotions matched truth, none of us would struggle with depression.

These truths take practice. As you read, understand the scriptures, and walk in obedience to the truth of God’s love for you, recognizing and applying prophetic inspiration will become easier. Be sure to note when God repeats his message of love from multiple sources. Despair will stop dominating your decision making and hope will help you turn the page on your darker days. God’s love will start prophesying over you and you will discern the truth of his purpose for you.

Action Pages

  • List out some of the things you hear yourself saying about yourself or others.
  • What does God say about the creation of you in scripture? (Genesis 1: 26-31, Matthew 10:29, Matthew 6:26)
  • As a result of what God says about His care for you, write out truths that are consistent with scripture, and begin repeating those daily and whenever the lies surface
  • Know that I am walking this journey with you and praying for you.

Today, I embrace the truth of scripture and your spirit of encouragement through others. I am who you say I am, and I will do exceedingly, abundantly all you call me to do. Amen

Morning Devotion

You paint me a new sunrise
in the first breaths of dawn.
I smile as I reach for your love notes.
Quiet. Still. I know you.
I witness your craftsmanship, etched into the
canvas of creation.
I lean into the truth of your stable
character. Faithful.
Your love is on my lips
because you fill my heart
with the joy of presence.

God Creates Something New Through Mistakes

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'” (John 8:10 NIV)

My son Daniel brought home “mistake” artwork. His teacher drew on each of their pages, and they had to transform the mistake into a new picture. Daniel had the two humps you see in the middle and what emerged were gravestones. “I didn’t see what they were until I turned the page a different direction,” he explained. Life is full of mistakes, and they are usable, even our worst sinful failures, in the hands of a creative God.

The nameless adultress woman could be any of us. Your sin is exposed. Standing in front of Jesus, and the high and mighty who don’t care what happens to you. They just want to trap Jesus. After all, “thou shall not commit adultery” was written in stone by the hand of God.  Yet, Jesus offers grace to both the accusers and accused. “You who are without sin, cast the first stone.” He kneels down, begins drawing in the sand. Maybe he is sketching a new, beautiful, healed picture of you.

God has every right to judge us for breaking his law. But instead, he takes our mistakes, the sin that so easily entangles, and transforms us with his love. Jesus isn’t glossing over sin. He tells the woman to go and sin no more. He expects us to live a transformed life. Justice and grace unite on the cross to form a new picture for humanity. He is not distant from our struggle, he is intimately aware of what we have already drawn on our page. Christ drew resurrection over death, transforming our sin warped picture of his original design.

What new picture is God drawing of you?

 

Devotionals are posted every Tuesday at 7pm.

The Holy Spirit Sang Over Me (Guest Blogger)

Our guest blogger Kay Em Ellis and I met at a Serious Writers Conference recently. She share how the Holy Spirit Sang his encouragement to her in her darkest moment of doubt. Be encouraged by her story!

Serious Writer

Christian Writers Conference a Place of Connection

Immediately I felt a kindred heart in the fight against despair. At the end of our weekend, with our arms up in worship, Kay came to stand beside me, and I felt deeply encouraged. Such a sweet and amazing woman who is sensitive to the Spirit’s calling.

Kay has traveled the world! She uses her gift of writing to reflect God’s love through poetry, fiction, and lessons God is teaching as she travels.

Check out her travel and faith blog: Awaken the Dawn.

 

 

The Holy Spirit Sang Over Me

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15, ESV

 

I thought depression would go away. It didn’t.

 

When I gave my life to Christ, I signed up for the World Race mission trip. I lived in eleven countries in eleven months. I felt whole and complete and at peace in Christ.

 

Living the Christian life in ministry six to seven days per week, constant community, intensive Bible study while living out of a backpack, God used many opportunities to refine me. He sifted me through several bouts of depression and stretched me to what felt like the breaking point multiple times.

 

He didn’t do it to be mean. He did it because He loves me, and I needed it. But when I melted down at a bus station in Lima, Peru, I failed to lean into God and rest in His strength. I crumbled.

 

I’ve felt unworthy of love and blessing like I don’t deserve a joyful life, spouse, or even children. So much changed in my heart and life after I met Jesus, but that didn’t mean all my problems vanished.

 

The Lord had to teach me to break agreement with shame and depression to wage war against them. The battle wasn’t easy, and I came close to calling it quits several times.

 

It’s too hard! I cried out in my heart and even aloud during heartfelt prayer. I can’t do it anymore! But, each time I said I can’t, God countered the lie with, YOU CAN. Sometimes I believed Him; sometimes I didn’t.

 

It was seven in the morning when I broke in Lima, Peru. I sat at the bus station, waiting to climb aboard the bus that would take my squad to Ecuador. Silent tears poured as I replayed how badly I always messed everything up, specifically one thing I’d been struggling with from my past. I criticized myself, heading toward a destructive path of self-condemnation.

 

Shame bubbled up. My thoughts spiraled into a dark chasm I hadn’t realized still existed in me. But God knew just how deep that darkness ran.

 

He wanted me to face the shame so I could overcome it.

 

Cheeks moist, I tipped my head back and closed my eyes. The peace of God overshadowed me; then He showed me a vision I’ll never forget, Jesus on the Cross.

 

Jesus loves you. The concept of love is so skewed in our society, and I don’t think people understand what it means when I try to share His love. I certainly didn’t before I really encountered that love. Even after I chose to follow Christ, it took a long time to comprehend that God could love us so completely, despite our rejection and the muck of our deepest sins.

 

God loved us first. He loved us when we hated him. It’s His nature. He loves like no one else because God isn’t like anyone else. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in those who have repented of their sins and turned to the Son: to advocate for us, to convict us, and, in this case, to comfort us.

 

My conviction came through the song. You Are More by Tenth Avenue North. The Holy Spirit sang that song over me, and I soaked in the lyrics while in Ecuador. I am so much more than who this world tells me I am. Reader, you are not the sum of your past mistakes. Allow the Holy Spirit to remake you. Lean back, absorb the truth of God’s redeeming love.

 

Please contact me if you would like to appear as a guest blogger.

Mistakes are Missed Takes, Try Again

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (NIV).

The devil whispered, “You are not good enough.”

I just returned from a writers conference. I learned more about the writing market, my skills were honed by great speakers and faculty. Interest in my current manuscript was tangible and God forged relationships with other warrior writers. But among so many amazing people the ugly accuser crept, seeking to reveal weaknesses.

I made an embarrassing mistake, and every last one of my insecurities erupted making it hard to breathe.

And the devil hissed, “You are not good enough.”

But unlike my childhood self, I now know the truth of Romans 8:28. I love God, and his purpose for me redeems even my worst mistakes. Errors are not permanent, and there is a purpose in every experience. I still couldn’t get my body to catch up with my head knowledge of that truth. I was exhausted and felt awful. I sought out the prayer warrior on the team. She prayed in a way I could not, and I agreed with the reality of who God says I am. The feeling of unworthiness passed.

Are you coming into agreement with who God says you are? Here are steps to take:

  • Don’t dwell in the attack/ fight back
  • Acknowledge/confess, any sin causing you to stumble and repent
  • Claim the truth of Christ found in scripture
  • Pray for the spirit of despair to leave
  • Stand firm though feelings may not match

God has a good plan for you, and when you choose to love Him above all else, the enemy cannot defeat the purpose God determined for your life.

The devil may accuse, “You are not good enough.”

But God shouts back, “In my image, I created her/him!”

 

Devotionals are posted every Tuesday at 7pm

 

Owning Our Quirks, Not Our Sin

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8: 18-21 NIV)

Turning My Page

When asking for Orange Juice, but what comes out of your mouth is Ketchup . . . own it!

This morning I was struggling to shake off the grog of another night of dysfunctional sleep. My husband graciously supplied my request and plopped down the ketchup bottle in front of me.

While everyone laughed, I took the bottle of ketchup and poured myself a tall glass. My family’s laughter turned to gags of horror as I downed a tall, refreshingly cold, and tangy glass of fresh-squeezed ketchup.

We are all broken. Bound to flub something. The skinny ones, the stocky ones, the tired,  the well-rested, the weak, and the strong. These slip-ups, that once sent me reeling and shutting down from humanity because “once again I said the wrong thing”, are absolutely nothing compared to the glory that is being revealed in me!

I’m a mystery-loving, creative, artistic, encouraging writer, and a deep feeler of the world! I take my mistakes way too seriously and must practice laughter.

I notice that many of us who wrestle with despair don’t easily laugh at ourselves. And laughter is truly good medicine. Laughter often snaps our soul out of its spiral down to the pit and brings us back to the reality that there really are good things happening in our lives. Mistakes of speech, or practice, or discovery, are like play-dough. Roll them out and make something new.

The only thing to truly humble ourselves and learn to address is the sin in our lives. If our mistakes don’t separate us from the love of God, then own it! God very much has a sense of humor. I think he probably had a deep belly laugh over my antics this morning After all, he did create the Platypus.

Turning Your Page

 

 

Broken Butterflies Cover (9)

Surrender is not a wound rendering your wings useless, but the gift from God, lifting you to His highest purpose.

Needing Reminders in No Mans Land

As I edit my devotional book, I find that sometimes I still need the reminders of four years ago. It has been a rough couple of days. God is still ahead of me, making my path straight. Find courage in God’s declaration that he knows your path!

 

(Written on day 10 after my son’s funeral.)

Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Last night my back locked up as my father-in-law, an osteopath, was trying to bring healing and relief. I cried out to God. “I’m trying not to be mad at you, and this isn’t’ helping!” What an amazing God I have, he can handle anything that I dish out at him. He can handle my anger, tears, ups and downs, all of my emotions. We are in a committed relationship.

That committed relationship certainly didn’t occur overnight on my end. I accepted Jesus as my savior as a little girl, but by the time I was a teenager I had come to believe that I was a pawn in a stupid game that God was playing and I wanted no part of it. So I decided to play my own game with my own rules and almost destroyed myself. When I opened myself to his love, I discovered a God who goes before me, who is with me, and who will never forsake me.

I can see clearly amid our overwhelming loss, God is putting comfort in place as we face every parent’s nightmare. A walking friend introduced me almost ten years ago to the cemetery where my son is buried. I continued to walk there with Jonathan as he grew up.

It was the only connection I had to any cemetery in the area, so it seemed like a good choice for Jonathan’s body to be laid to rest. Once the decision was made, my mom did some research. Much of our family is from this area and mom discovered that my great-grandparents are buried in the cemetery I had chosen! We had no idea. Not only are they buried there, but in the exact lot, I desired Jonathan to be buried. A lot that wouldn’t have been available to us if we did not already have family buried there.

Even the weird weather (the sky turned brilliant at 9pm after darkening for the evening) happening since Jonathan’s death is strangely comforting. It as if heaven itself is mourning with us. Dear friend, God prepares a way for us through whatever trials we face. He cares about every hair on our head, and yes, my back as well.

Lord, I praise you that you are committed to me and that I can trust you in my darkest hour.

When Words Don’t Come

Scripture:

Exodus 4:15 5“You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do...

Devotional:

Y’all might have noticed that I’ve been rather erratic in my posting. Moses, whom God is addressing in this scripture,  waited 40 years to set the Hebrews free. He is in the palace, a perfect position! But when he thinks his opportunity has finally arrived he gets the calling very wrong. He sets only one person free through murder . . . nope, not God’s plan. So Moses flees and then waits another 40 years to be ready to return to Egypt to set God’s people free. While I don’t think God is going to make me wait as long to continue writing he definitely has me in a holding pattern.

A twofold dynamic is at play. One, I have few words currently surfacing, and two, my family needs my full attention. Several health issues have arisen and are needing quite a lot of appointments. Every time I sit down to write the words don’t come. And that is okay.

We need to relax in silent periods. Writing is my God-given gift of expression, I am secure in his purpose. If he is not putting the words into my mouth, I am quite sure he has a good reason. I trust him with this new leg of the journey, and besides, there have been joyous developments that I will get to share with you very soon.

When we are operating in the will of God, mighty things happen, even if we can’t do the very thing he calls us to do. The reason? God is good and faithfully maturing us to accomplish His will. It can become easy for me to lean hard into my own understanding of his purpose, but when I wait patiently on God, amazing things happen!

Trust that he loves to give you good things. Are you feeling flustered because a clear calling seems to be thwarted at every turn?   Look back at the pattern he has established in your life. Is he growing you? Does he have a different road for you to take? Is he addressing a stumbling block?

Burning bushes often lead to our greatest conflicts, but when we wait patiently, we also witness spectacular displays of God’s sovereignty, provision, and salvation for many. I will joyously wait to lead His freedom march across the Red Sea.

 

Prayer:

Lord, you are preparing me for good things. I trust your direction. Address the stumbling blocks in my way. I see you tackling my fears, teaching me to trust you completely. Thank you for reminding me that your plan is good, even when detoured in a different direction.  Amen

What are Your Tags Showing: REDEEMED

John 19:19 Pilate also had a notice posted on the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

“Your tag is showing.” The lady behind me whispered at church yesterday, as she tucked the sales tag into the back of my shirt. First of all, let me just say . . . I got a killer price on the shirt! But what do you do when your tags of brokenness are showing?

  1. Hide them
  2. Lie about them
  3. Claim them and laugh
  4. Flaunt them

Everyone was labeling Jesus. They were trying to understand this man who claimed to be both God and man. Was he here to usurp power, or lead a rebellion? Was he a prophet? Yet Jesus cared more about who his heavenly Father thought he was. “This is my son, in whom I well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) He did not hide who he was.

For many of us, others see what we think hidden. They see we are unhappy in our marriage; coworkers are painfully aware of our arrogance; friends feel the draft of our hopelessness. Some just laugh and are grateful that it’s not them suffering those problems. Others lean forward and tell us to hide them better. Still others pluck the tags from us thinking they are being helpful.

I can’t hide the tag of survivor of suicide because it permeates from every aspect of my life. I miss that blue-eyed, dimpled chin young man. I miss his laugh, our conversations, seeing him at college, and all the things that were to come. But in this life we will have troubles. I hope you see, though deeply wounded, I will not back down from living! Be encouraged, our circumstances may tag us with heavy burdens. but no matter how may labels show, the original price on my life has been marked out. In its place are the words: REDEEMED! PRICE PAID IN FULL! BEAUTIFUL! WORTHY! JUSTIFIED! FORGIVEN!

Do you still carry the tag of who you were, or has it been marked out by Jesus Christ? Are you convinced, no matter what tags this broken world tries to pin on you, that you are a son or daughter of a risen king! Murderers tried to tack “King of the Jews” above Jesus on the cross. But, I declare that he was and is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Redeemer and gratefully my Savior. That is a tag I don’t care if anyone catches hanging out of my shirt!

Prayer:  Lord, we have tags showing. May your love redeem all of them and lead others to a saving knowledge of who you are. Amen

“I Just Want to Die”: Words of Deepest Pain

For many suffering from depression and their caretakers, ” I just want to die!” are the most painful words to hear and say.

Do we freeze with fear when we hear those words? Do we dismiss them as manipulative? Are we on our knees petitioning day and night for relief, as I was for Jonathan? How do we escape this painful pit of depression that often accompanies living difficult and painful existence? Who do we turn to for help? How can we combat an unseen enemy that so successfully tears our lives apart? Where is God in this pain?

Scripture is clueing me in to God’s response to our spiritual health questions:

1 Kings 19:4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

  • From Elijah’s struggle with depression I know that God allowed him to run away
  • God interacted with Elijah “What are you doing here?”
  • He fed, provided water and allowed Elijah to rest
  • God acknowledged that the journey was to great for Elijah
  • He commanded Elijah to go back the way he had come (stop running away)
  • Provided a companion to take over
  • Did not take his life

Mark 9:28 After Jesus had gone into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29Jesus answered, “This [demon] cannot come out, except by prayer.” 

  • Prayer
  • Sometimes the only way of breaking through depression, mental illness and suicide is to cry out to the one who knocked down the walls of Jericho, made a child defeat a giant, and came to us in the form of a tiny baby to set us free from sin!
  • We aren’t talking the now I lay me down to sleep prayers, but the prayers that sweat blood, and wrestle with God expecting blessing–expecting Him to answer.

 

Ruth 1:…16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” 18When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.…

  • Stand with the depressed
  • Go with them wherever they journey
  • Love God
  • Risk leaving the known to venture into the unknown
  • Make it clear that you are with them all the way

Nehemiah 2:2 Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”…

  • Sharing
  • Speak up about what depresses us.
  • Acknowledge what we see in our friends.

Psalm 143:…6I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah. 7Answer me quickly, O LORD, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. 8Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.…

  • Petition
  • Cry out to God
  • Be real with him
  • Listen for his love
  • Allow him to teach you the path through depression

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 42:11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

  • Remember
  • God does not change and therefore we can count on his faithfulness no matter our failures
  • Praise is not dependent upon feeling

 

1 Samuel 16:23So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

  • Hope/Praise
  • Music can soothe the soul

 

Questions I plan on asking myself:

  • What am I doing in my depression?
  • Am I allowing God to provide food, water, and rest?
  • Am I confessing my fears?
  • Am I isolated?
  • Am I remembering?
  • What am I listening to?

 

 

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