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faith

meeting God in brokenness

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“You and I will never meet God in revival until we first meet Him in brokenness.” Nancy DeMoss

It was the culmination of many days of both familiar and challenging thoughts rolling around in my mind.

I felt desperate for peace, for confidence, for resolution. I sat on the couch with tears streaming down my face, journal in my lap, expressing out loud to an empty living room (and God) all the things that couldn’t stay inside. Broken.

I’m in a season of change. A leap of sanctification. A changing of a 25-year-long mindset.

This particular moment felt like a ‘last straw’ moment, an dam breaking, exhausted over my feelings constantly sword fighting each other.

Now, I’m a fixer type, so resting in the midst of a season of change is difficult for me. Change is unsettling sometimes, free-falling, which isn’t a feeling I enjoy. These were my words to J: “I feel like I’m tightrope walking from one mountain of thinking to another mountain of thinking.”

And truth be told, even in this feeling of open air tightroping walking, I know (even if it’s a willful choice) that God is present with me. He’s always close. He’s the oxygen I breathe, His are the arms always ready to steady me.

After 30 minutes of this brutal honesty session, I expected to feel a release.

I didn’t.

Days go by, and I’m wrestling.

“False humility and morbid introspection are, in fact, the opposite of brokenness, as they reveal a preoccupation with self, rather than Christ.” Nancy DeMoss

Being an analyzer, when something is ‘unsettled,’ between me and God, me and another person, or something at work, it rolls around in my soul until it’s resolved. I don’t harbor things well, and I desire resolution. I believe this is a strength in most cases, but in my current place, the above quote resonates loud.

Morbid (synonyms: depressed, fearful, unhealthy) introspection. Preoccupation with self.

I’m running on the hamster wheel trying to fix what is broken in me, and God is asking me to sit with Him in this place.

Is my need to sprint out of a broken place because it’s uncomfortable and I’m ashamed of it? Or am I desiring to experience more of God in it?

A couple days ago, I would’ve said the former. Today, I’m saying the latter.

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Clothe Yourself With Grace: Brittany

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Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

This series is for women to share what they are learning to spiritually clothe themselves with, how they choose to adorn their heart, and what they choose to put on because of their desire to be precious in God’s sight.

 


 

On June 19th of this year mine and my sweet husband’s whole world changed when we welcomed our precious son, Lawrence Maximilian (“Max”), into the world.

Being parents has been such a joy and privilege that we humbly accept as a gift from God, and it is certainly a venture that we’ve learned requires MUCH grace every single day. With this said, through these first few weeks of parenthood, I have seen even more clearly than before the need to constantly clothe myself with grace.

When you think about pregnancy and welcoming a new baby into the world, you can’t help but be filled with so much joy and excitement about what a new venture like this will bring to your family. You can even see how gracious the Lord is to give our hearts and minds 9 months to help prepare for all of the emotions, change, and times to come with this new bundle of joy. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I was pregnant. So much so that I told my husband through sending a picture (with shaky hands) of the positive test in a text message because I just was not thinking straight!

So many emotions were running through my mind that day and I remember it all so well. I was wondering things like: what it would be like to carry this child for the next several months, how would I best demonstrate the Gospel to this child on a daily basis, what would it look like for Ross and I to be parents, and so many other things. I’ve been an aunt for several years now and was a nanny throughout college, and although these things definitely give you a small glimpse into what motherhood will be like, there is nothing quite like having one of your own.

From just a few weeks of motherhood, I have quickly realized that there are so many things about being a mom that require showing yourself grace over and over again.

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trusting God to be God

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Do you ever wear a garment of worry over loved ones and their decisions?

Have you ever found yourself carrying burdens of someone else’s life that aren’t yours to carry? Do you tend to live anxious about someone else’s opinion of you?

A truth that comes around now and again since I became a follower of Jesus is this: You are not someone else’s Holy Spirit.

Meaning: you are not meant to be God in someone’s life. You are human, and you have limits. But like Matthew 19:26 says, God has none (hallelujah, thank you, all praise to You, God).

“My over-caring shows up when I try to fix everything for everyone. I want to take away everyone’s pain. It is as if I want to be their savior. Recently I realized that when I try too hard to make it all just right, I’m really attempting to play God. It wears me out and sends me into overload. At the same time, it robs those I love from learning the lessons God wants to teach them. I might even stand in the way of them coming to know Him personally. That thought makes me sad. I understand what perfectionistic-overload means for me: It’s when I try to go beyond my human limitations and do what only God and the other person can do together. It is then that I experience exhaustion and self-doubt. Changing the way I relate to the people around me puts me squarely into unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory.” Joan Webb

There was something going on at work, a serious Holy Spirit heart tug, and I was on the fence about being obedient. A few days later I decided to trust, and walking out a conversation feeling nauseas I felt God impress, Trust Me with other people’s opinion of you.

Then, with some family stuff going on, my husband insightfully said, “You never know what God is teaching them.” I’m thankful he said that, because I’m the type to run around in circles, wanting to cry at the stress or brokenness of a situation, word vomit until people are confused, and then regret multiple things and go to sleep asking God to forgive me. Just being honest. There’s no way for me to know God’s agenda for someone else’s spiritual growth or how God plans to show His power in their life.

I was catching up with a good friend who was sharing something similar she is learning with her 4 year old. She said something like, “I can instruct, love, guide, discipline, but I can’t change her heart. It might someday create waves in our family, but God is going to have to meet her, and she with Him, to change and be made new.”

It’s like Joan says above, “I understand what perfectionistic overload means for me: it’s when I try to go beyond my human limitations and do what only God and the other person can do together.”

And I realize, isn’t that better?

God is infinitely better and enough for each of us. He knows exactly what we need precisely when we need it.

Man, have I been seriously getting this wrong. Over-caring, over-reaching into a place that only God can go.

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a heart like the sea

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One of our favorite things to do while cruising this week was standing on the balcony and watching the open water. As far as the eye could see, water sloshing against water, waves crashing at the ship’s edge, open sea changing shape and continually moving.

At one point in the week I thought, my insides feel a little like the ocean sometimes. 

Chaotic. Beautiful. Deep. Rushing. Drowning. Raging.

I am passionate (a lovely word for emotional) person. Here I don’t mean cry often. Here I mean deep feeler. Here I mean tend to be driven and ignited by feelings. Here I mean experience life deeply. Here I mean even struggle to not bear the weight of someone else’s burden when it’s not mine to carry.

I once heard someone talking about Jesus, commenting on his fully man-ness yet fully God-ness.

My paraphrase:

Jesus experienced the complete weight of human emotion without sinning because He never let any emotion separate Him from His Father.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane…

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-36 (emphasis mine)

Soul overwhelmed with the deepest sorrow imaginable, yet processing with Father.

Jesus modeled perfect trust. He modeled real vulnerability in life’s circumstances, yet felt it with(in) his Father’s heart.

This inspires me to believe that my heart, emotional and passionate and messy and flawed as it may be, is important. If I look at Jesus, I see his heart fully feeling, but in the Presence of His Father. And I can do the same! (Wait, what?! Yes.)

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the heart behind my words

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I can be an overtalker. An anxious rambler. I sometimes fear awkward silences, and I can hardly let an uncomfortable situation sit.

There’s a frantic urgency to overreach with my words, to extent an apology or clarifying statement or burst of emotion.

I’ve known this to be true throughout my life, but lately it’s been flashing bright like Vegas Neon. And truthfully, I’m bothered by it.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21

I’m disturbed by my fear of discomfort in a conversation. I’m weary from my need to explain myself completely and entirely, to cover all my bases, to fix a situation immediately.

I wonder about pride, and how it could be a root issue here: the need to be sure I’m understood, the desire to make sure I’m not seen as wrong or confused or behind the curve.

Once I get going, words like a garden hose rush from my lips. Usually resulting in regret or self-doubt or disappointment, sometimes condemnation before Holy Spirit catches me.

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