The painful sting of regret…

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I recently ran across this photo on pinterest, and I related to the truth of the message.

It’s so easy to focus on what I could have or should have done. The painful sting of regret can fuel a raging fear that can become debilitating. However, no amount of regret will take me back in time and allow me to take a different path, speak different words, or make a different choice.

What’s done, is done. What I did, I did. What happened, happened.

So now what?

What can you do when the aftermath of your decisions leaves you aching with regret and, perhaps,  even fearful of what’s to come?

For me, what it has boiled down to is faith.  Faith in a perfect God who is love and a perfect love that casts out all fear.

– Isaiah 43:1 –
Fear not, I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name.  You are mine.

I have been redeemed from my past. I am covered by God’s perfect love.  I belong to my Heavenly Father who protects me and transforms my reckless decisions to be used for His glory.

I can be paralyzed by fear or I can move forward in faith.

Faith isn’t easy.

Just when I feel like I’ve made it over the mountain something sneaks into my day and threatens to steal my joy and peace.

In those moments, I have to fight the should haves and could haves with faith. I have to take my thoughts captive. God’s word tells me that if I keep my mind on God, He will keep me in peace.

If you,  like me, play the “what if” game.  When thoughts sneak in from your past, consider trying these three things:

1. Remind yourself that God is using your past for His glory and that you are growing stronger and closer to Him as a result of what you’ve been through.

2. Pray and thank God that His perfect love casts out all your fear and for protecting you and working your mistakes together for good.

3. Take your thoughts captive and boldly step out in faith.

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Joy Comes in the Morning…

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Joy.

I have joy down in my heart.

Not because I have my life figured out. Not because my life is where it needs to be. And not because anything has changed.

But I have joy, because of Love.

God’s Love.

A love that never fails. A love that never gives up. A love that never runs out.

Even though I still make mistakes and there are still mountains in front of me to overcome. Even though I ran away and feel like I am in the eye of the storm.

I don’t have to be afraid.

Because I know that my Father loves me and nothing can separate me from the love of God.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

In the midst of my trial and pain, when I am too weak to fight –

My God fights for me.

He is fighting on my behalf and working to ensure that all things work together for my good.

God takes my sin and failures.

He takes the things that could destroy my life and He works them all together for my good and for His glory.

How can that not bring Joy?

I am covered and protected –

By the power of my Father’s great Love.

I have spent the last few months in darkness. I was lost and wandering. I got tired of waiting on God and grew impatient. I took my life into my own hands and made a mess of things.

Today, I realize, that although I felt lost and alone, God knew right where I was the whole time. He was watching after me. He was picking up after me like a loving Father does. He has been patiently waiting for me to come back to Him.

Waiting for me to run back  into His open arms.

And so today I run.

I run into His arms where I met by His love. And surrounded by His love I find…

Joy.

Undo

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You would think that the older I get, it would finally sink in that we can never go back and undo our choices. We cannot undo words we say or the actions we take. Yet, here I am 30 years old and re-learning a lesson I have experienced more times than I care to admit.

We only get one shot at life, and I have wasted so much of my life. Time I cannot get back. I sit here thankful that my God can make me new. Thankful that He can work all things together for my good. Grateful that, despite my failures, He can and wants to use me for His Kingdom. However, despite the thankfulness, I am disappointed. Disappointed that I have allowed my emotions to rule my life.

So many times we mistake emotions as truth. But, the truth is our emotions change from day to day and sometimes even moment to moment. We cannot let our emotions become the compass for our lives.

Although, right now I am struggling to undo some choices I have made – and the battle is a daily one, step-by-step I will be victorious. Not because of who I am, but because of who Christ is in me. I have to daily remind myself to slow down. I have to think about if the choice is worth the potential consequences of my actions. But I cannot stop at thinking, I must pray and seek truth before I take a step, so that I can be sure I am taking a step in truth and letting emotions direct my path.

Proverbs 13: 16-21

Wise people think before they act; fools don’t and even brag about it!  An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.  If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism, you will be honored.  It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools will not turn from evil to attain them.  Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.  Trouble chases sinners, while blessings chase the righteous!

My to-do list:

– Think Before I Act

– Be Reliable

– Accept Criticism

– Turn from Evil

– Surround Myself with Wisdom

Rush Of Fools – Undo Lyrics

I’ve been here before, now here I am again
Standing at the door, praying You’ll let me back in
To label me a prodigal would be
Only scratching the surface of who I’ve been known to be

Turn me around pick me up
Undo what I’ve become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, need Your help
I can’t do this myself
You’re the only one who can undo
What I’ve become

I focused on the score, but I could never win
Trying to ignore, a life of hiding my sin
To label me a hypocrite would be
Only scratching the surface of who I’ve been known to be

Make every step lead me back to
The sovereign way that You

 

True Friendship

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I believe that friendship is a two way street. It takes two people actively engaged to make a relationship work.

I know that life changes, and some friendships are only meant for a season.

But, I also believe that when someone is truly your friend, they will chase after you if you begin to pull away. 

If you suddenly feel like a friendship is becoming one-sided – If you feel a friend pulling away.  Don’t take it personally. Perhaps that friend is going through a difficult season and needs you now, more than ever.

Don’t give up on the people you love. Remind them you’re there. Remind them they’re loved. Stretch out your hand of friendship and don’t pull it back if they don’t immediately respond.

When people go through a difficult time, in the beginning it’s not always easy to open up. In fact, it can be very hard and so it becomes easier to pull away.

Looking back I wonder if I have at times, taken things personally in my friendships, and missed the opportunity to be a true friend when I was need the most.

If you can’t be there for your friend with your words or with your help… you can be there for them in prayer.
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Buried in the Sand

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Sometimes the first thought that comes to our minds when we think of something being buried in the sand is a beautiful sunny day, on a beach, with our toes burrowed in warm golden sand.

But, being “buried in the sand” is not always a glorious thing. This picture looks silly and downright ridiculous, and when we burry our heads in the sand to avoid the tough things, regardless of the reasons,  it’s a downright ridiculous thing to do.

Out of sight. Out of mind.

Just because you are not facing it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Evasion.

Just because your avoiding something,  it doesn’t mean it’s going away.

I’ve been neglecting things in my life out of fear,  out of shame,  out of uncertainty,  out of “busyness”, out of regret.  But the neglect made nothing go away;  it made nothing better.

It. Just. Makes. Things. Worse.

I’ve always believed I was a faith filled person,  but I realize if I’d of had faith,  I wouldn’t have felt the need to bury my head in the sand.

Matthew 8:26  keeps ringing in my ears,

“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

When we stand up in faith,  God rebukes the storms in our lives.

It doesn’t matter how bad we feel. How sincere we are. How much thought we give it. If we DO NOTHING then NOTHING HAPPENS.

God does and will act on our behalf, but we have to DO what He tells us to do.

We can’t do anything or hear anything, with our heads buried in the sand.

Maybe you are like me and it’s time for you to rise up in faith and face the mess you’ve made. What you’re facing might look hopeless. Looking up might be scary. The road ahead could possibly hard and humbling, but we are are called to walk by faith and not by sight.

Maybe you’re like me and your faith seems to be in short supply.  Cling to these scriptures and know you’re not alone. You’re not the only person whose made a mess of your life and God is with us, and he will be. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

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Take Me to the King

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?  What do you do when you’re ashamed, broken, and tired? What do you do when you wish you could start all over and do things differently?  What do you do when you can’t find the words to say?

What you do is go to the King.

He knows my thoughts and my struggles, and yet He loves me anyway. He knows my faults and failures and He wants me anyway. He knows my anxieties and hurts and He holds me close. He knows the words I can’t seem to find. He knows everything about me and yet, He still claims me as His very own.

More than ever before I need to feel the presence of my King.

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Take Me To The King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart is torn in pieces
It’s my offering
Take Me To The King

Truth is I’m tired
Options are few
I’m trying to pray
But where are you?
I’m all churched out
Hurt and abused
I can’t fake
What’s left to do?

Truth is I’m weak
No strength to fight
No tears to cry
Even if I tried
But still my soul
Refuses to die
One touch-will change-my life

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And sing to You this song
Please Take Me To The King

Truth is it’s time
To stop playing these games
We need a word
For the people’s pain

So Lord speak right now
Let it pour like rain
We’re desperate
We’re chasing after you

No rules, no religion
I’ve made my decision
To run to You
The healer that I need

Lord we’re in the way
We keep making mistakes
Glory is not for us
Its all for your glory

I smile because…

Life. It is messy. It is unpredictable. It is challenging.

Yet, despite the chaos that has brought confusion to my life along with fear, hurt, and tears, I will choose to smile.

Today, I will smile.

Although I want to hide and escape the reality of where I find myself, I will instead choose to focus on the reasons I have to smile.

I smile because the joy of the Lord is my strength. I smile because I have a family who loves me unconditionally. I smile because I have the opportunity to get a master’s degree. I smile because I have a job that allows me to impact lives. I smile because I have a good heart. I smile because I won’t settle, but will always push to be better. I smile because I know no matter how far I stray or how big I mess up, I serve a God who will always welcome me back home with open arms.  I smile because I am intelligent, creative, and encouraging. I smile because I can find joy in the small things like: a pretty day, the sound of rain, and a sunset. I smile because I am not too prideful to admit when I have messed up. I smile because I know God’s promises. I smile because I know deep down I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. I smile because I have friends who love me just as I am. I smile because I am loved.

Even when it feels like the walls are caving in around me. Even when fear overtakes me. Even when I doubt and question who I am.

I will smile.

I will smile because I have hope for a brighter tomorrow.