One of those days……

Over the past several days I struggled with sharing the words below.  I wrote most of this last week and then wavered on posting it.  I debated….is this a little to raw?  Is this a little to transparent?  Will people think I am crazy or stuck or will they get what I am trying to say?  I knew their was a tug on my heart to share it, just like their has been every time I have posted something, however this one was tough.  It was an event that happened now….like last week.  So, I worried.  Then, I began to pray over it.  Prayed over my intent, prayed over my words, over everything.  I so badly want to do everything to honor the Lord now.  To glorify Him and Him alone.  I want so badly to be pure in my motives with everything.  As I began to pray throughout a few days, the Lord slowly confirmed.  First, it was direction from the Holy Spirit.  I needed to take “I” out of the equation.  “I” worried.  “I” was scared.  “I” might be to transparent.  Instead, redirect my thinking:  He gave me the words.  He is speaking through me.  Second, yesterday at church, I had the most incredible experience.  Three different women that I don’t know all that well yet highly respect came up to me unsolicited and shared how my blog had touched their hearts, how they were encouraged by it and two of them specifically asked me to keep blogging.  They told me to please not stop, that my story shares such hope.  One even shared the hope of being in a bible study under my teaching again one day.  Umm, can you say ENCOURAGEMENT and DIVINE words?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE when the Lord uses others to speak to us.  {SIDE NOTE – the FIRST thing I reminded myself after this encouragement is:  Dawn, they are seeing the Lord through you….it is NOT about YOU!  I want to be so careful to NOT make it about ME EVER EVER again…} So, all that being said I came to a conclusion this morning after praying:  I will share the words below.  I said in my first blog that I wanted to share my heart through this journey.  Well, sharing my heart and this journey with you means sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.  I want to remain authentic.  So, if I only share happy moments that’s not right and not fair.  The purpose of this blog would be completely missed if I disguised it with just “the happy.”  I trust that these words were given to me through the Holy Spirit and because of that I trust that they will be understood in that respect.  So, here I go!

I had “one of those days.”   One of those days where I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor weeping, angry and overwhelmed.  Sitting there, completely wrecked by what I had done: the friendship I destroyed, the pain I caused my husband and so on.  Questions flowed in like a fire hose – “why did you do it?”  “How could you let your heart become woven with someone other than your husband?”  “Someone who was your best friends husband at that?”  “How could you lie to people?”  “How could you deceive so many?”  Agh….  And then those little lies creep in:  “you can never be a good wife” “you can never be a good friend”  “people don’t like you”  “People will never trust you”  and on and on and on.  I cried in the quietness of that moment where I was the only one home.  I had done my morning wifely duties and got my boys off to school, my husband off to work and now what?  Sometimes the silence of these moments is deafening.   So often when these moments come, they take me by surprise.  That enemy(Satan) is so sneaky……  After crying and wallowing in self pity for a few minutes I stopped.  I got up and turned on my little radio with my iTunes playlist of worship and began to sing.  Right there in my bathroom, I began to worship through song.  Worship through song has become even more precious to me now.  I cling to every word like I never have before.  I truly cry out those words to the Lord.  I let the words wash over me.

Then, I began to remember and recite some passages in scripture.  — “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1,  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”  Romans 15:13,  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!”  1 John 3:1.—

I am redeemed, He loves me SO much I can’t even comprehend, I have hope in Him.  STOP picking back up your guilt Dawn.  You repented, you asked for forgiveness, you have been made new!  Don’t let the enemy(Satan) destroy that!

I had also been reading about earthly wisdom vs. godly wisdom in James over the last several days.  James 3 to be exact.  It talks about the difference in what we get from the world vs. what we receive from above.  I love James 3:17.  It says “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  This verse is SO powerful and I believe can be a gauge on SO many instances in life, in our daily walk.  I have begun to call it my “heart gauge.”  But, let me come back to what was happening with me in this instance though.  I began to remember what I read about this.  These thoughts, these questions I was having in this moment – they are NOT from above.  Something was awry in my heart for a minute.  In this moment I had begun to look at what I didn’t have…I had begun to think I didn’t have a purpose right now and therefore began to dwell back on what I did, the destruction it caused.  I,I, I……me, me, me.  I was focusing on me, pitying me.  Selfishness, confusion, disorder, bitterness…these are NOT from the Lord.  It is evil, and comes from the worldly view, earthly wisdom.  The second your focus turns from Him to you, evil takes over.  Yuck!  It ain’t fun.  That’s why I want to jump, better yet, LEAP out of that awful spiral the second I feel myself going there.  I want to instead fill myself with godly wisdom.  Which in this verse speaks of it being first PURE!  PURE – nothing yucky in it…PURE.  No muck, not even a speck of dirt PURE.  Then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield and full of mercy.  Goodness what hope in this.  So, when I spiral, when I begin to doubt and be angry at myself, and wallow in the self pity pool – I remember that it’s not from the Lord.  He does NOT want me doing this.  He doesn’t want me swimming in this pool because it’s a muddy, nasty yucky one.  He wants me to jump out of that one and jump into the calm, beautiful clear waters of the pool above.  Living joyously in Him.  So, as I remembered all of this, still singing my songs…I began to feel the hands of the Lord wrapping around me, lifting me up saving me from that drowning nasty pool of anger, pity, bitterness and reminding me that I was His.  He has and continues to carry me through this journey not wavering in love, wisdom, peace and joy so neither should I.  He has purpose for me and He is definitely not finished with me yet.  That friends, completely transformed my day.

{SIDE NOTE – Please don’t confuse my anger with sadness. The sadness I have for losing a best friend is different than the anger and self pity I find myself in occasionally.  I still ache for that friendship and in those times pray desperately for that precious friend I had.   Anger is not where the Lord wants me to sit but I personally believe he allows me to be sad at times, to mourn that friendship so that I am reminded of hope once again.  I have written a letter and asked forgiveness from that precious friend.  But, I hope for the day I can stand before her and look her in the eye and ask for forgiveness.  And I find great hope in the fact that we will stand together in eternity one day with no sadness, anger or bitterness between us.  But instead rejoicing with a Savior together.}

So, while I hit that bump in the road, that little valley….I didn’t stay there.  I fought, I surrendered(as I do daily), I learned.  More of those will come, I know – but as I remain seeking Him every day, digging into scripture finding cherished little nuggets like James 3:17; my hope becomes greater, my joy becomes brighter, my faith becomes stronger.  And this journey……this journey gets better.

Hope friends, hope is the word that keeps poppin’ up.  I pray you find hope in the Almighty, One true King that stands waiting for us to grab hold and live for Him.  He has big plans for you, just like He does for me.  I don’t want to miss it.  I pray you don’t either.

More later……..

86,400 Seconds

Last weekend Jeremy and I got to go on a little getaway and had the privilege of seeing Matthew West and Colton Dixon in concert.  —AMAZING concert.—  One of the best we have ever been to, if not, the best!  The music of course was incredible but what made it more amazing was the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the night.  It was the fact that you could tell this man didn’t just get up there to sing and do a concert.  He was truly making a presentation of the Gospel.  Jeremy put it best when he said “this was a presentation of Jesus Christ with music mixed in…not music with a mention of Jesus.”  One of Matthew West’s new songs is called “Live Forever.”  As he talked about this song, it struck me.  So much so Jeremy and I sat and talked about it for a long while after the concert.  The song talks about the fact that we have 86,400 seconds in a day.  Every single day we have 86,400 seconds to live….what are we doing with those seconds?

Well…….a ‘few’ of those are spent sleeping of course.  Ha!  But what is happening between the moment our eyes peek open until the moment they fall closed to rest again?   The song says “I don’t want to live for now, I wanna live forever.”  How true that is!  So often we hear in this world “live for the moment” and things like “YOLO:  You Only Live Once”.  Sorry, but I believe that the YOLO statement is an excuse to getaway with doing stupid stuff. Ha!  Welp, I don’t know about you but I am kind of done with doing stupid stuff and “living for the moment.”  I want to live forever.  I want to live with intention.  I want to live with purpose.  By saying “I want to live forever” I mean I want to live for my forever.  My forever is with my God.

I have never had a bigger yearning and desire to see people come to know the Lord as I do now.  Their was someone in my life that was not a Christian when the affair came out.  They were of the mindset that they were a good person, so they would go to heaven.  They watched all of what happened, happen and are now not part of my life.  This person had even started attending church.  The door had opened.  I’m not sure that door is still open.  Oh how my heart aches for this, wondering and hurting for this person.  I pray for this person by name every. single. day.  I hope for this person just as I hope for every person that doesn’t know the Lord, that doesn’t have the hope of eternity that Christ Followers do.  While I have always had a desire to see people come to know the Lord, it had become stale.  Where my focus went awry clearly my yearning for this had too.  Now, it is more present than ever.  Knowing that I was a stumbling block for someone to come to know the Lord hurts my heart.  For that I pray.  I cry out to the Lord for this person.  I am determined to not be a stumbling block but instead a building block for anyone else that is part of my life from this point on.  In order to be that – I have started to evaluate how I spend every second of that 86,400 seconds each day.

A few things I am pondering:

First, my time with the Lord.  I have become ever so protective over my quiet time.  Every single morning, I spend time with my Lord.  I crave that time now.  I want nothing else before I have that.  My life had become so busy over the last several years that my time with the Lord suffered severely.  The frightening thing is that my “busyness” was mainly from doing ministry.  How in the world was I serving in ministry when I wasn’t spending time with the One who I was supposed to be ministering through?   That friends, is where I failed.  I failed miserably and the enemy snuck in.  That is where in the last 9 months, I have developed an intimacy with the Lord that I will not give up.  I never want to lose that.  Even as life starts to gain momentum again, as my life is becoming “busy” again, I will not waver in my time spent with Him.

Second, loving others.  How do I love others and love others well?  To answer that question see above. (haha)  By spending time with the One who is LOVE!  I screwed up and hurt many that I loved BIG TIME….NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER do I want to do that again.  I honestly wish I could take all the hurt that I caused to so many (my husband and my best friend to name a few) and put it on myself.   But, I now want to love others better.  Love them the right way, in a way I can’t do on my own.   Jesus commands us to love others.  He tells us we MUST love others.  In John 13 he says, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:34-35)  Do you see what He is telling us there?  He tells us to love one another so that people will know that we follow Him.  Love others like God loves us.  That is a supernatural love. That is a love that is only evident in a person that has been miraculously changed, filled with the Holy Spirit, living with a new heart and passion like no other.  It is through this love that when people see it, they cannot deny that it comes from something bigger than human flesh.  It is a love that gives us the ability to love people that we don’t really want to love, those that are tough to love, that have hurt us or whatever.  Yep, we are commanded to love those that don’t ‘deserve’ our love.  Just as we don’t ‘deserve’ God’s love.  I have people that are really really tough to love and I know you do too!  People have hurt me, people have lied to me, people have spoke poorly about me.  But, I am commanded to love them.  I know I am one of those people that is really tough to love for many: I hurt people, I broke peoples trust, I spoke poorly about people.  He commands us to love one another.  Not who we want, not the easy to love, but everyone.  It’s a command not an option.  So, I’m evaluating this in my heart and my life.  I want to be better at this.  Do I love others like He wants me to?  Do I love EVERYONE like He wants me to?  I want to, but do I?   I know people are watching.  I know the person I spoke of above is watching how so-called “christians” are loving, just like so many are watching all of us.  So many lost people ask the question, “How do these people who call themselves ‘Christian’ live differently than I?”  I want to live so different and love so big that it is blatantly obvious that something supernatural has to be going on.  The love we show for others is the evidence we have to show others that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.  I screwed that up – I want to fix it.  Only through Him can I fix it.

As I ponder each second and I mean each and every second, these are the two things the Lord continues to reveal to me over and over again.  It is an overwhelming since of “Love Him then Love others.”   I truly believe if we protect our time with Him, be intentional about seeking Him first,  follow the Word of God in through which we can love others as He commands us to – all other “things” follow suit.  It’s about priorities.  Him first, that’s it.  My priorities were so whacked.  Love for myself was put in front of everything else.  Goodness – that is awful.  But goodness am I thankful for the love my God has for me that He has given me grace and another chance and restored me to be a vessel for Him even through my yuckyness.   I want to make every second count.  I am praying for big things.  Let me tell y’all – I have been praying about some supernatural things that could only happen through Him, but what a testimony they could be if they did.  Things that are all about the love we should have for each other.  “Love Him then Love Others.”  We serve a big Big BIG God – He is all about doing big Big BIG things…I want to use my 86,400 seconds to be a part of those big things.  I want to see more and more people come to know Him.  I want to see radical things happen that blow our minds because no way could they happen without HIM!   When my eyes close to rest at night, I want to fall asleep believing that I used every second to honor Him and bring glory to Him through loving Him and loving others supernaturally!

Our time here on earth is just a blip in eternity….make it count!

More Later…..