Month of Radical Love

For the past several weeks, the Lord has been wrecking my heart with His love. I simply cannot put it into words, but, it has been overwhelming and refreshing. During this time, He began to pour into my heart some things to share.

I pray His radical and indescribable love pours over you and sticks like sweet, sweet honey.

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63:3 (NIV)

 

“My radical Love in you is going to bring radical Healing outside of you. Where you go, I’m already there. Walk into each moment of every day in that confidence.”

“I’m not giving keys to doors, but to My Heart. As you listen to each beat, those wave lengths will be what propels you forward into all I have purposed you for.

“As you spend time with me in the quiet places, the secret places, My liquid Love from Heaven will begin to pour into the cracks of all the broken and hurt places that will then empower My Church as individuals and as a whole to go out and show Who I really am. I Am Love, I Am Forgiveness, I Am Rapha your Healer, I am Jirah your Provider, I Am Shalom your Peace, I Am Shammah your Presence in every place and circumstance. I Am your Dream-Giver and Way-Maker. Trust My Love and purposes for you are unfailing.”

“Some of you have experienced intense battles and a stripping of things you did not know were weighing you down. You have begun to see yourself moving forward. Moving more than you ever have. Heaven is decreeing “Get Ready!! You haven’t seen anything yet!” Like Joseph, I have been with you in it all, my favor resting on you like a cloak. You will be waking up in your prison, but by the night, you will rest your head in the Palace of My Promises, Plans and Purposes over your life. Your next step is only the beginning to walking in My Fullness and through you, others will taste and see that I Am Good (Ps. 34:8)”

Listen to His Love Song over you in this season.

“For you reach into my heart. With one flash of your eyes, I am undone by your love, my beloved, my equal, my bride. You leave me breathless – I am overcome by merely a glace from your worshipping eyes, for you have stolen my heart. I am held hostage by your love and by the graces of righteousness shining upon you. How satisfying to me, my equal, my bride. Your love is my finest wine – intoxicating and thrilling. And your sweet, perfumed praises – so intoxicating, so pleasing. Your loving words are like the honeycomb to me; your tongue releases milk and honey, for I find the Promised Land flowing within you. The fragrance of your worshipping love surrounds you with scented robes of white. My darling bride, my private paradise, fastened to my heart. A secret spring are you that no one else can have – my bubbling fountain hidden from public view. What a perfect partner to me now that I have you.” Song of Songs 4:9-12 (Passion Translation)

 

Place of Desperation

How many of us have experienced a Place of Desperation? It’s that place where you’re left crying out because you need the Lord to “show up or else.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about all my points of desperation in my life so far and every single one of them has ended in the Lord’s incredible response.

My husband and I were talking the other day about life and all it brings. He asked the question, “Why do some receive and others don’t? What’s the deciding factor to each side?” That’s a hard one and it never has a concrete answer; sometimes there is no answer. My best response is that we are all on our own journey. We can’t look to the left, right, in front or behind because as soon as we do, we will compare our journey to what we see of others’ journeys. Comparison will kill everything. I also believe on our journey, it is in our response. How are we responding to Him? Are we settling our responses to our circumstances or are we raising our responses to the purpose for which we are called? Our current reality doesn’t look much like what we’re called to do, but we are choosing to respond in our calling and not our current storm.
Like I said, it can’t and won’t be concrete. We have to allow Holy Spirit to move and bend us in this path we’re on or we get stuck. Stuck in frustration and in our desperation for immediate response.

I have experienced plenty of trials in my life that have brought crippling suffocation and darkness where all I could utter was “Help me”. Each time He showed up and showed out miraculously. Those “boosts” were never “pain free”, but they began healing and movement that I needed and sight given to see His love and miraculous nature. There will be times when you know you’re responding, but you will have to walk through time of healing, waiting and refining that needs to come before He can walk you into the next step forward.

I was recently deeply challenged when watching a broadcast from a Facebook friend. He was sharing from Nigeria, Africa about a mother carrying her baby that had just passed away into this crusade. I don’t want to focus on this heartbreak but want you to see her desperation. How desperate are we for the Lord to really move in and through us? Are we so prideful that we hide our brokenness or are we desperately broken, desperately wanting the Lord to use us & move through us? I’m desperate to see the miraculous nature of God manifest not just in my life but in everyone I come in contact with. He is continually wrecking my heart for all that wrecks His. I’m desperate to see His healing manifest all around me, to see others come into His fullness; an awareness of who they are created to be in and through Him. Healing identity crises, healing bodies, minds and souls, mending the broken-hearted, hope to the hopeless and provision to all levels of need. We have the food to feed not just bodies, but food for the souls. When are we going to be overwhelmed with desperation for all those lost and wandering & living in places you can’t even comprehend? Walking broken and desperate into a meeting carrying your dead baby with all hope and desperation for it to be brought back to life?
I’m so beyond my selfish desperation to the point of not caring much about my needs. My God feeds the birds and beasts of this earth everyday; He will supply all my needs. Selfish and self-seeking desires are so shallow and unsatisfying. I’ve been wrecked and cannot go back to anything I knew before this. My desperation now is for all the faces I see when I close my eyes. I see all the lost and wandering souls of this earth and I’m left completely undone.
As you walk through this life, there will eventually be a place you’re heart reaches where it becomes desperate for more. I pray we all reach this specific Place of Desperation.

 

In the Name of Love

Heart Upon Re-entry

“Heart Upon Re-entry” by Jim Carrey

So many people have been wounded and abused in the name of love. I have been sensing that a lot just don’t even know what it truly is anymore. It has been downgraded and perverted in so many ways. It has been used as a weapon for verbal, physical and sexual abuses; so much so, there is a large group of people that have simply sworn off “falling in love” and put up walls so high and deep for protection.

A good majority of people have been duped by the entertainment industry into what they think love is: an expectation of frilly, feel-good “love” that leaves you with this floating, euphoric feeling all the time. Although there may be brief moments of that, it’s not real love. Real love isn’t necessarily a feeling. You do feel it, but most of the time, you have to make the choice to love. Sometimes that choice is going to be the hardest one you will ever make. It is way below the surface. I like to compare it to the ocean. The ocean is breathtaking when you’re standing on the shore looking at it; especially during a sunrise or sunset. It’s peaceful to sit and listen to the lull of the waves. It’s fun to swim in the refreshing waters. It’s thrilling to catch waves on a surfboard. BUT, the depth of its beauty is deep below the surface. You have to dive deep into it, you have to be prepared for it, and it can be intimidating and scary. But, the awe-inspiring beauty is worth it.

“…but for Adam no suitable helper was found, so the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep…then the Lord God made a woman…and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man” for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:20-25)

When we partake of this surface-type “love”, it is guaranteed that at some point you will feel chewed up and spit out. When this happens there’s a part of you that blames yourself, leaving you feeling less than worthy of the something beautiful you were hoping and dreaming for. So now, each time someone new comes along, you swim in more shallow waters. This in turn pushes the other person away because there is a lack of trust. The baggage from the first swimmer is put on the next. It’s a vicious cycle and no one comes out feeling empowered, loved or free. Participating in all the things intended for marriage will always leave you empty and a piece of your soul connected to someone that doesn’t want the connection anymore. Thankfully, our God is one who Loves to Restore and Heal ALL things; especially our broken hearts.

I’ve now been married for almost 18 years. Our marriage is like every other (honest) one; like a roller coaster. Full of thrills, scares, unexpected turns, ups and downs. Several years ago, I went through a period that I just didn’t know what I felt anymore. My life had shattered into pieces and left me not recognizing how broken I was. Unfortunately, my husband took the brunt of my mess. Despite the mess I was, he showed up and walked out and fought for his unconditional love for me. See, I was such a jacked up mess that I didn’t even know how to accept his love and tried to push it away. When you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not worthy of something deep and meaningful, you settle yourself and wait for the other shoe to drop. If you don’t go beyond the fun beginning, then you don’t have to start sacrificing yourself. Real love is sacrificial. It’s compromising. It’s merging your life’s hopes and dreams with your spouse’s and sometimes some of those things don’t line up the way you imagined they would. Real love is searching out multiple avenues of communication to ensure your spouse is hearing and receiving in a healthy way. We all have an individual language and when we become One in our marriage commitment, we have to find a new language the both of us can speak and understand. This new language is created through some blood, sweat and tears; well, at least it was for us. Some of you might still be in denial because “everything is awesome”! When I had doubts of “my choice”, the Lord showed me it wasn’t really my choice, but His. He gifted me a husband that would be the manifestation of His unconditional love for me, through all my ridiculousness, my brokenness, in my mess, in my self-loathing and in all the beautiful moments of my life.

This isn’t all about marital love. Marriage is just one facet of Love.

I’ve learned unconditional love from my kids, too. This parenting thing is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. For a lot of my younger years I was told I’d never be able to have children, so I settled quite easily on not wanting children. I wasn’t heartbroken over it at all. But then again, I was a hot mess and didn’t know it. Then, I got married, and after a few years I started having that “twinge” to want kids. We now have four children and they all leave my head spinning and show me daily how much more of my flesh needs to die. I have likely apologized more than I’ve taught. But, like most parents, I would move Heaven and Earth to protect them and do everything in my power for them. God, our Heavenly Father, loves us unconditionally, even more than we love our own kids.

I had a long, hard road to be able to call on God as my “Father”. Every single one of us grew up with flawed parents and it’s guaranteed that every single one of us will be a flawed parent. Not one of us gets out of this parenting game with a perfect score. Some of our mess-ups create wounds and scars and I had some from my childhood. Because of that, I had a hard time thinking about God as my father because I was comparing Him to my earthly father. Now, I need to state that I love my dad unconditionally; no matter the ups and downs we’ve had over the course of my life. God is a restorer of families because family holds His heart more than anything else.

So, when we compare our Heavenly Father to a downgraded and flawed version, we’ve missed it. That’s where my struggle was and that’s where the Lord met me on my healing journey. Showing me who He truly was and He continues to do this. He moved Heaven to open up the way for us to experience Him as our Daddy. For a long time, I couldn’t understand why my Mom called God “Daddy”. Today as I write this, now I know. We all have a craving deep in our souls to have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with our Dads (Mom’s too). There’s something powerful that happens when your Dad speaks encouragement over you and when he declares his love for you. This is what God our Father does. Reading His words of adoration for His creation and His children is indescribably fulfilling and empowering. You learn who you were created to be. You find your purpose in this crazy life. Without getting too political or polarizing, there’s something that has to be said. This is just my observation and opinion (there, you have my disclosure). My generation and the generations following, there is a huge deficit of fathers. I see SO many people that unbeknownst to them, they are searching out for that kind of love and acceptance. They’re seeking and continually landing on downgraded, abusive and perverted versions of the real thing. It absolutely shatters my heart. There are people everyday that are around you suffering from ignorance of what love truly is. We all need it, we all crave it; we were created from love and for love.

I’m so desperate for others to experience the transformative power of unconditional love.

When I say, “I love you all”, I absolutely mean it. You are loved and valued; you have a purpose and plan over your life that you were created to fulfill. Everything has purpose for your purpose and we walk into that from a place of love. I pray you have a pure encounter with this breathtaking, unconditional love.

I will leave you with a couple of scriptures that speak about this.

Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before on of them came to be.”

John 3:16-17 ”For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

1 Cor. 13:1-13 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….but when perfections comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part’ then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

Eph. 3:14-19 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in Heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Lepers’ Camp

leper

I’ve been meditating a lot lately on the Leper that was healed after Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew, chapter 8, it begins with Jesus coming down the hillside and a man with leprosy approached & knelt before Him. He said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. He didn’t ask for healing, he asked to be cleansed. In that time, lepers (along with other diseases) weren’t allowed outside the sick community they were banished to. They were sent away to live with other afflicted (unclean) people to either get better or die. So, for him to appear in this public place amongst the crowd (perhaps he was hiding) was unheard of.

He asks Jesus if he is willing. Jesus reached out his hand & touched the man. He TOUCHED HIM!! This simple, single act  made him human again and showed all the onlookers the value Christ saw in him. In front of this large crowd of people, Jesus touched someone deemed “unclean” and made him clean.

This man that has been cast aside, rejected, assumed and left for dead was finally looked upon with compassion; was touched by kindness and acceptance; unconditional love. This man did not just walk away healed from his leprosy; he was released from his imprisonment of solitude and rejection. He didn’t choose to have leprosy. He didn’t choose to be rejected. His choice and desire was to rise above the labels and hope for something more for his life outside of the death placed upon him. Jesus gave him the opportunity to do so.

How many of us have rejected others because of their “afflictions”? Afflictions can be anything, but I think these days, it tends to be peoples’ choices and/or their lack of perfection in handling life. Have you judged people and placed them undeservingly into the Leper’s Camp?

Let’s flip it. Are you in the Leper’s Camp? Have you accepted the rejection and death sentence you or someone else has spoken over your life? I’m going to say one thing and you need to hear it: YOU DO NOT DESERVE IT. I don’t care what you have done or not done, no one should be in the Leper’s Camp. Our healing, our cleansing and our washing came through the blood of Jesus on that cross. Even if you don’t believe, you still don’t belong in the Leper’s Camp. I’m here to tell you that despite all your (and others’) shortcomings, that you are loved and accepted. Not everyone will understand or treat you as such, but God does. You have breath in your lungs right now because you have a purpose in this life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A lot of us have given reason and justification to people throughout our lives to banish us. Call it boundaries, tough love, whatever; some of the time, it is done properly and done with love. Unfortunately, what I have found is that a lot of the time, it is not. It has only added to the pain and deepened wounds. The only thing I have found that can heal all of this is the unconditional love from our Heavenly Father. I didn’t learn it or receive it from anyone here on this Earth. I found it, I found Him while in solitude. When all that darkness closes in on you and you can’t hear any voices, you can’t see your hands in front of you; He shows up. He reaches out His loving hand and touches you, despite all of your uncleanliness. He accepts you just the way you are in your broken mess. His perfect love cleanses you, heals you inside and out, and restores you to someone better than you were before. Then, that power He used to heal you has been given to you to walk into that Lepers’ Camp and heal the rest. No more rejection, no more pain, forgiven; whole.

redeemed

Who do we know in this life that needs that acceptance? We are called to be like Jesus. It’s our job to walk into the Lepers’ Camp and make the “unclean”, clean. One loving word, one act of kindness will not only heal the visible ailment, it will breathe life into their souls.

The Wounded

helping-hand

We all go through this life with wounds and scars that have shaped us into who we are presently. Some may have been self-inflicted and others have not. How we handle these hurts also decides who we will be in the future. Ignoring, medicating or becoming bitter are all destructive, not only to others, but to you and the purpose on your life. Trust me, if you’re breathing, you have a purpose!

Like some, I have been a wounded person for most of my life. Some came from others and some from my own bad choices. I remained wounded because even though I thought I was healed, I didn’t understand how and I continued this cycle of thinking, “I didn’t deserve anything because of this or that in my past, nothing good can happen for a ‘trouble maker’ like me”. Amazing how you take on labels in your life, isn’t it? I had seriously toxic thinking that turned into toxic believing which turned into another wrong turn.

The beautiful thing about being these broken, messed up humans, is the fact that our Creator’s Unconditional Love and Amazing Grace are the only things that will truly break those chains and set you free!

Once I finally came to a place of true humility and stopped putting on my little show of “Life is so Grand”, the Good Lord stepped in and started His Healing. You see, His Healing is not our healing. Sometimes you feel more messed up before you start to feel better. Those long-forgotten wounds need to be re-opened because they weren’t healed correctly and still manifest pain. When He opens those to heal, they become healed forever and that scar has now vanished and been replaced with something beautiful and unexpected.

I always made light of being a “cracked pot”. It wasn’t until I actually went through the breaking and piecing back together that I finally understood and appreciated it. These cracks are filled with His Light because He pieced me back together. As He Heals us, He fills those cracks with His Grace, His Compassion, His Understanding, His Wisdom, His Forgiveness and His Love. We begin to shine with more of His Likeness and when He dries that final tear, you are filled with an indescribable joy and excitement for this new life gifted you! Through the brokenness, I found Grace and He changed me.

cracked pot

I saw this picture of the broken pot. The story below tells of how these pots are continually used and become more valuable with every new crack. They become more valuable because their cracks are filled with gold! These pots are so cherished, the cracks are understood and value placed in them. How amazing could we make our world if we treated everyone we meet with this same point of view? Everyone’s journey has difficulties. It’s time we stop comparing and judging, but rather we view each other with compassion, speak kind words and encouragement. Start to understand that EVERY set of eyes you look through, are eyes of wounded warriors. We are all striving to get through this battle called Life. Don’t be part of the “friendly fire” by ignoring, gossiping or excluding those that you don’t quite understand. Just know this life is a hard one to live. For some, you cannot even fathom their struggles because it is something out of your reach. And, you know what? That’s okay. You don’t have to walk it to give away some Grace. Simply come along side, ask them their story, and know you will find a little more of you. Maybe the Lord is using you to fill those cracks with His gold.

God Bless You!

Jesus is The Reason for This Christmas Season, but I pray HE IS in every season, in every valley and on every mountaintop in your life!