Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Clash between two Kingdoms
(Side note: Above pic is what my YL kids recently referred to as "Fight Club" during YL on Monday when we used these for a game. Ha!) :)
If you haven't been able to tell by now, I am not afraid to be "real" on my blog. You can call me a lot of things, but not real is not one of them. And this will be another "real" post, so brace yourselves. :)
Yesterday I was told that someone once close to me referred to me as "psycho." If I would have heard that a few months ago I would have believed it, let it define me instead of God, and lost it. Then I would have probably ended up truly acting "psycho" b/c I believed what they said about me. Ha! :) The funny thing is, I don't deny that I have "schizophrenic" tendencies at times...ha. However, in all fairness to people seriously struggling with personality disorders, and obviously contrary to popular belief, I am not psycho, schizophrenic, or any other thing like that and I praise God that this is (at least) not one of the struggles that I have had to battle. I truly do feel for those who do and mean no ill will by this post. Anyways, I will even refer to myself as "psycho" at times, but who isn't one time or another....get real?! :) But yesterday when I was told that, instead of getting upset, I chose truth, passed the test and laughed. For you see, just a few short months ago this certain individual sincerely adored me and had for years. So either they too are psycho or I realize that their reason to refer to me as such was only due to hurt and denial, so I just laughed. And if you are wondering, there is no reason to talk to this individual either (for various reasons.) But anyways, back to my point. I haven't learned how to "laugh" over night. God has been working on me and teaching me how to get my identity, security, wholeness, and satisfaction in Him for awhile now and not let other people or things to give that to me. It's been a hard lesson but such a fulfilling and blessed one.
You see, as my previous post stated, it's been an "up-hill battle" for me lately. I have felt the "clash between two Kingdoms" (thanks Tuck!) In fact, last Thursday I had a "psychotic" (ha) meltdown and I just lost it with the Lord. It's safe to do that with Him. That's the beauty of Jesus...He is never overwhelmed by our depth of need. And we're all needy folks. It's just a matter of what we're letting fill us. Only He satisfies. Anyhow, in this current season, each day I choose truth and I make it through, but that day I/my flesh had had enough and I was tired. I was sitting in my hot tub (on a beautiful Spring night I might add) and crying out to God, "Why don't I ever get a break, God? Everyone else around me does and I know that they are not trying harder than me to live for You! I just want to be 'HIGHLY FAVORED'!" And then instantly (and this does not happen often), as clear as I could hear Him in my mind and Spirit, God answered back (or downloaded truth to me, as my mentor likes to say.) I felt God clearly say to me,
"My child, Who in the bible did I refer to as 'highly favored'?" "Mary," I answered. "That's right. And what was taking place when I called her such?," God asked. "You were instilling Jesus inside of her," I answered. "That's correct. And what happened after that, baby girl? Did her fiance, Joseph want to leave her b/c he was sure of her indiscretion? Do you think perhaps that everyone judged her, slandered her, gossiped about her, and that her reputation was ruined b/c she was a pregnant, supposed virgin? Yes, all that did happen. But I gave her one friend who could relate to her and she could confide in, Elisabeth. Just as I have given you your best friend, Hanna. And Mary persevered, I called her highly favored (although no-one else did), and then she birthed the Glory of God! Who are you living for, child? The Kingdom of this world, or the Kingdom of God? Because if you want to do this thing with me, then you have to remember that not only all my disciples, but even I lost my reputation, was slandered, gossiped about, rejected. Yet, as a sheep led to the slaughter house, I did not open my mouth and I pressed on, as Hebrews 12 states. Will you? That is what the Kingdom of God is about. It is hard and you will be mis-understood and look different than the kingdom of this world, but you will birth the Glory of God and be highly favored." - God.
HELLO!!! I was blown away! Sometimes God has to grab my attention like that b/c I am so stubborn. :) But it's also because He cares for me and loves me so much and I treasure moments like that. And those moments are what point me to truth, get me back on track and enable me to laugh when I hear lies said about me. And they are indeed lies, b/c the only label I wear is the one of Whose I am and who I am in Him...and that, my friends, is a 'HIGHLY FAVORED CHILD OF GOD!' And that too is what you are...if you're willing to walk the hard, yet worth it road with Him. Are you? You see, when you do, the hard times don't go away, but in them you learn that, as the great Sermon on the Mount states, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." And you want the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. It's what truly matters! Then God will give you sweet Kingdom moments (like mine last wk in my hot tub, or blessings from a great friend-thank you, Kristen :), or great Spring days like today) to carry on. Trust Him. We live not for this Kingdom, but His, and His looks way different. Are you willing to stand out? It's worth it! And He alone defines you and is everything that you need! Walk the way of the Kingdom of God!
God, I thank You that You are my: Security, Satisfaction, Shepherd, Safety, Comfort, I Am, Wholeness, King, Prince, Father, Friend, Counselor, Redeemer, Sanctifier, Trust, Teacher, Restorer, Savior, Prince of Peace, Treasure, Truth, etc. and You endure!!!!!! Amen! :)
And I know this is long, but I will end with a devotional that I daily get via e-mail from Proverbs 31 ministries. It probably sums all this up better... :)
20 Apr 2010
Mary DeMuth, She Speaks Conference Graduate
"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NASB)
I didn't know that when those older boys pinned five-year-old me to the earth, my backside poked by brambles, that someday God would choose that frightened little girl, sexually abused for a year, to shame the wise. But He chose a shattered me.
I didn't know that as my childhood home filled with drugs and unsafe parties, God would rescue weak and scared me. But, eventually, He salved my fears.
I didn't know that as I ran from other predators, the boys' marks on me like a beacon, I'd someday limp into the arms of a Savior. I felt debased, unworthy, ugly, dirty, ruined. But He welcomed me.
I didn't know that as my earthly father slipped from this earth, my Heavenly Father stood nearby, open armed. Though my earthly father's death left me fatherless, my Heavenly Father didn't orphan me. He grafted me into His family.
I didn't know that as I considered different ways to kill myself in junior high, as I faced a third parental divorce, that Jesus' own beautiful death provided a way of new life for me. He rescued me from taking my life.
I was all the things the apostle Paul wrote about in today's key verse, and then some. Neglected, needy, pained, lost, small, frightened. An d yet God took those negatives and beautified them with Himself. That's the great paradox God brings to all of us, no matter how "easy" or hard our upbringing. It's not that we're strong and sufficient and wise, it's that He is.
Perhaps you've looked back on your past and shuddered. Perhaps you've questioned God about why He'd allow atrocities in your life. But consider this: God gets the most glory in the life fully surrendered to Him, and it's hard for a self-sufficient person to submit. He does the most work in our helplessness. (See 2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10).
Our weakness and frailty are not merely places of desolation; they are dance floors—holy places where the God of the universe is allowed to freely move in our lives. Our own lack allows for and welcomes this sacred dance where God's talent outshines our capabilities, where only He receives the glory.
Will you lay down your past today? Will you trust Him with the mess, the memories, the mayhem? If you do, He will take the marred pieces of your life, reassemble them, and make you fly. So you (because of Him) can shame the wise.
Lord, I confess I've seen my own injuries as reasons to blame you and keep You far from my heart. I'm sorry. Help me instead to see my weaknesses as a place where You can demonstrate Your strength. I welcome You into the painful places. Do something new and miraculous. I don't want to be embittered. I want to be free. And I want to give You all the glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
View the trailer for Mary's newest book, Thin Places: A Memoir and purchase your copy today of Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth
The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future by T. Suzanne Eller
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight
For more encouragement, read Stained and Ruined
Find a trusted confidant and share your story with her. Confess ways you've pushed God away. Ask her to pray for you so that you can allow God into the painful places of your life.
Journal a prayer to God about your difficult memories. His shoulders are big enough to carry your authentic, raw words.
Ask God to specifically guide you to Scripture that speaks to your past. Write them out, put them in your purse, and memorize them.
Look back on your life. When have you felt closest to God? The most distant? What were your circumstances at each time?
In what ways are you afraid to surrender your past to God?
How can you choose today to believe the truth that God's strength is stronger where you're weak?
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." (NAS)
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong." (NAS