2018: Walking In His Fullness

A lot of us experienced quite a bit of turbulence in 2017. The end of my year was quite unsettling and to be honest, left me wondering and questioning if I had heard some things correctly. We all have that and the Lord is perfectly fine with our questions.

He had given me a word to soak on for a good part of 2017 for 2018. That word was “Fullness”. I felt overwhelmed with His goodness with all He was showing me regarding this word. Walking into His Fullness for the New Year; what a great and exciting thing! I know it is still that amazing goodness that we will be walking in because tied to that is His Full Restoration; restoration for all that was lost and/or stolen, especially familial relationships. He is going after His family this year. All those shattered and impossible relationships will find His restoration.

Another part of this truth of walking in His Fullness is that sometimes, it’s experiencing His Presence in the midst of the hard stuff. It doesn’t always mean grief and loss, but Fullness means All Encompassing. We have to understand and experience this so we can fully walk in it. Our final sentence at the end of the day still has to be, “I trust You.”

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways My ways…” Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)

 

I had a brief dream the other day that I felt led to share.

In this dream were several people, we were standing and looking around at each other and our surroundings. There was countless people surrounding us, the majority we all knew one way or another. We also had a slight look of uncertainty on our faces, but as we looked, we noticed this giant chain link in our right hands. The Lord immediately gave me a prophetic word to speak to these individuals. He said, “You have held hands with many through many seasons of your life. You will continue to seasonally hold others’ hands, but right now, in this moment, you will know whom I am linking you to. These links are for My Divine Connections, the covenant relationships that will tarry with you as I move you up and onward. You won’t have any question who those people are as I will make it obvious for you.”

This is so important for this New Year! We are going to see the Lord move us at an exponential rate in every aspect of our lives and His preparation in and around us will be in place! Things may seem or feel a bit chaotic, but His Peace will surround you and bring clarity to every moment and situation He is bringing you to and through.

I kept seeing the number 32 yesterday. Anytime that happens, I know the Lord is trying to tell me something and He took me to Isaiah 32:17-18. The verses made think of years 2017 and 2018. For all the things He is bringing us to this year, you will have His perfect Peace.

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:17-18 (NIV)

 

 

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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.”

The Ultimate Valentine

lamb

Picture this.  You’re a kid and your parents bring home this adorable baby lamb. They say it’s yours to care for.  That lamb instantly has your affection.  Over the course of five days you feed it, walk with it, talk to it, cuddle with it, you fall in love with this amazing creature that is now a part of your family; a part of you.  On the fifth day, your parents now tell you this lamb is going to be your dinner.  How do you feel now? This creature has now died to feed you.  Tell me you’re not sobbing with every single bite you take?!

This is a glimpse of the Israelites while they were still in Egyptian captivity (Gen. 12:1-14). This lamb they sacrificed, saved them from certain death (the final plague – death of first born son).  This lamb was their redemption. By eating it, roasted with fire, they were strengthened for the journey and trials that lay ahead of them.  A desert journey filled with trials and miracles!  A trespass offering had been made in order for them to walk out of Egypt under God’s Hand of Grace.  No one went hungry because food rained from Heaven.  No one went thirsty because the tree made the bitter waters sweet.  God was close to them the entire time despite their grumblings. He loved them.

I used to think that I wouldn’t have been one of the complainers after witnessing all those miracles.  Yet, here I am today, realizing the truth of it all.  I acknowledge all His amazing miracles in my life, but still a complaint will trump my gratitude.  Why is that?  It amazes me how quickly the thinking of “not enough” or “not going my way” creeps in and how quickly it distracts from my gratitude for My Lamb.

If you study the Trespass Offering (Lev. 1), you will see the Lamb for the Israelites duplicated, but it’s done more ceremoniously.  That ceremony comes from their acknowledgement of what was done in the past.  They carried on that tradition so to speak.

The ceremony went something like this:

Once a year, the head of the household found a lamb with no blemish (had to be perfect).  He walked it to the Priest. The Priest examined the lamb (not the man). The man laid his hands on the lamb’s head transferring all his sins onto the lamb. Then, he slit the throat of the lamb, spilling its blood and then the lamb was roasted in the fire. The man and his family lived another year under the redemption and forgiveness of their lamb’s blood sacrifice.

Sound familiar?

Jesus was our Trespass Lamb, once and for all. No need for the pomp and circumstance from the old covenant. He made all things new…forever.  We now live under His constant forgiveness, His never-ending Grace, His unconditional love.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, this is what has been on my mind when I think of Love.  Yes, I’ve been blessed with an amazing man for my husband, who is the best manifested presence of my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love. Our four children are another manifestation of that.  But, when I meditate on Christ’s Perfect Love for me, all He’s brought me through, what He’s teaching me now and where He’s taking me in the future; I am indescribably overwhelmed.  I’m filled with an inexpressible love and gratitude for my Heavenly Father’s gift…My Lamb.

Cross

My prayer for you is that you know this love, too! I pray you fall in love with our Lamb, Jesus Christ, all over again or maybe for the first time.  No ceremony needed. The sacrifice is done. Believe and receive this amazing Gift.

I thank God for the Love from My Lamb.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Ephesians 3: 17-19 “…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”