Tears are Brave 

Tears are brave For they show the love we crave 
Tears are brave!

When we see a loved one in the grave
Tears are brave! 
Tears are brave 

When we become open after our temptation we cave 

Tears are brave 

We confess before a holy God we misbehave 
Tears are brave 

Through disappointments, hurt , and in our life unplanned shockwaves 
Tears are brave! 
Tears are brave, so let them fall 

Through our shed tears we will eventually stand tall! 
Tears hold our healing and restored hope! 

Tears are through this tough life we cope! 

Tears are brave, don’t let the world to you lie

For it is when we cry we show our need for the one who died. 
So grab a tissue and feel the warm wet sensation roll! 

Because even in our tears we know the one in control! 

The Sweet Touch of Grace

I was having a bad day. I was struggling with how each one of us are different. We all have the same God but we all don’t have the same convictions as one another. We each have our own opinion of politics, music, you name it, and that is okay. In fact, that is what makes us unique. However, I forget this sometimes. What may be one person’s conviction may not be mine and vice versa. In fact, my opinion of myself may not even be the same as God’s. God is my judge and He is yours. So who am I to judge you or even myself?

Recently, it feels like whenever I have an amazing and encouraging day, I’ll have a challenging and a discouraging day immediately following. (I hope I am not the only one that feels like this. If I am- let me know so I can find help- haha!)

I was trying to “talk” myself out of my mental predicament. “Christi, why can’t you be better?” “Christi, shake it off”, “Christi, you will never change”, “Why am I even agitated with this struggle?” “Jesus, what is wrong with me?” You get the point. I decided the best thing to shut off my mind to this mind battle was to put on some praise and worship. Because the Lord inhabits the praises of his people, right?  The song that came on is called, “One Desire” by Hillsong. I was like Yes, okay Jesus, be my one desire. I was singing loud in order to remind myself that He should be my one desire and let the other things fall to the side.

Then, the strangest thing happened. I did not touch my phone, or any other buttons in my car and the song switched. I was a little thrown off especially since I was singing loudly- haha!

When I heard the few notes, I knew immediately what song it was. Do you ever have those moments when you hear a song and it resonates with your soul? Similar to how your body feels when you get into a hot tub. You immediately let your body relax. Hearing this song, made me realize that I was trying to fight this battle in my own strength. The song that came on is called, “Call it grace”.

This song brought me back to a moment I had experienced. This situation made me feel as though I were paralyzed. Sometimes our perception gets skewed because we see God through our human relationships. For example: My dad thinks this about me so that’s how God must view me.  I am extremely grateful for my Dad and I am thankful to be able to tell you that it is because of my Dad that I have had a hunger for God. I remember every night when he’d pray with us he’d pray: “Help us Lord to be more like you tomorrow than we were today”. That has always been his desire. BUT, sometimes in our lives we think God is one way because we have a person in our life that may view us a certain way and we need to be cautious that it does not hinder the way we see God. So as I was doing my best to endure the predicament I was in when this song came on:

Call It grace (By Unspoken)
It’s the light that pierces through you to the darkest hidden place.
It knows your deepest secrets but it never looks away.
It’s the gentle hand that pulls you from the judgement of the crowd
When you stand before the guilty and you got no way out.

Chorus:
Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues it’s a miracle
It’s nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace

Verse 2:

It’s the breath that’s breathing new life into what we thought was dead
It’s the favor that takes orphans, placing crowns upon their head
It’s the hope for our tomorrows the rock on which we stand
It’s a strong and mighty fortress, even hell can’t stand against

Bridge:
Amazing, unshaking, this is grace, this is grace
Unchanging, unfailing, this is grace, this is grace.

As I heard that song in the room I was sleeping in, I wept! I literally felt like I was being held by grace. No longer did it matter what people thought, I knew that God’s grace was greater than people’s opinions or view of me and His grace was greater than my opinion or view of anyone else. So again, as I was listening to this song driving home from a long day, It was as if Jesus gave me a sweet reminder: “Christi, my child, we are in this together. You cannot do this journey alone. No matter how good your intentions may be. You need me and you need my grace.”

Hebrews 4:14-16:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let is then approach God’s throne of GRACE [Charis: that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, keeps, strengthens, kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues] with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Grace found me
Grace set me free
I felt bound
Until I learned to let grace abound
I never understood grace until I needed it most
It is only received through Christ alone- in Him I can boast
For I would be nothing but a human moving at too fast of pace
Had I not been rescued by God’s unfathomable grace
grace-pic

Because I was found…

I was forsaken
completely alone
My life was shaken
Without one unturned stone

I lay shivering in a cold alley.
Hoping to die
I had no dignity – I would have no grand finale
I had no hope to even try

It was a rainy night
Like it was so many times.
I was soaked, bitter, this was my plight.
So broken and poor I didn’t even have two dimes

“Hello”
I looked up to see a man.
What a weird fellow
“Just go away. You’re in the forgotten land”

Rude, angry and fierce I was
Living on the street teaches you this
I couldn’t even remember who I was ’cause
I only remember this: the opposite of bliss

“Please take my jacket”.
I have no money can’t you see?
“No, it’s for you and so is this packet”.
What is wrong with this man, who could he be?

I looked for the cameras
I knew this was a set up
Then He wished me well in a way that seemed amorous
This felt like a reverse holdup
The next morning I woke up warmer.
I still had the jacket and a the slight presence hope
But I knew when I saw a charmer
That how I ended up here, by someone letting out an enticing rope
You see I had been wooed
I had been treated well
Like a baby I saw that cooed
I, for a devil, fell
This man was after something
I knew the scheme
They treat you well till they see what you bring
You get stuck and then have no voice to scream

And now, I was trash
I was left out to die
I had earned him his cash
And more clients who buy
I was worthless.
I had been used and abused
My pimp dropped me off with a smile so mirthless
My body would heal but my soul forever bruised
So why should I care?
Someone gave me a gift so what!
They don’t understand they just stare
Like I had a wide open wound – a massive cut
But then approaching I saw him
He came with new clothes.
Listen, I’d rather die than face that life so grim.
No I don’t want anything just for your old clothes to dispose.

Shocked and confused.
I changed behind a dumpster
My uncertainty still not diffused
I bet he thinks I’m some dumb youngster
I stepped back into the alley,
Only to see his eyes
So kind, like he knew of my valley
Can he see through my disguise?
He left food then walked away with a smile
Where was he going?
Did he walk? If so was it more than a mile?
Why did I feel like this was love he was showing?
Another week of provision and still I did not know his name.
He was gentle, kind, consistent and gracious.
He looked normal like he never knew fame
I never felt that he was predacious.
I woke up one morning to a wooden shelter over me
And right in front of me a warm breakfast
I knew my mystery man saw my unspoken plea
But no one did this here- This was the worst part of Texas.
Warm blankets, soap, shampoo
Toothbrush, hairbrush,
and enough toiletries for two.
I finally saw him again, and asked him what was his rush?
I’ll tell you that soon
Enjoy what you have I’ll bring more tomorrow
Now he brought a plate, fork and spoon
With a 3 course meal and the recipe for dessert he had to borrow
I saw you in need
I saw you with no hope
I saw you without food to feed
I saw you in need of someone to cope
I did not talk for I knew you were wounded
I gave you space because for you, true love had been tainted
Your life and security was apprehended
I knew you felt gone – your courage had fainted
Before I could talk, you needed provision
Before I could show you love, you had to relearn
By another your life had been driven
I knew you’d need a little encouragement before you could make a U-turn
Now, I want you to slowly stand to you feet
I will not harm you
I have made your housing complete
Here are the keys for a house and a car too

The tears streamed down my eyes.
Who was this man?
I could not keep them dry
This life is new and with me you can

You can dream
You can hold your self esteem
You can live
You can forgive

You see I see your beginning and the end
I want you to know I want to be your closest friend
I still saw when you felt alone
And for your sins I have atoned

You’re washed clean
My love is here you have tangibly seen
Your scars are there but the pain is no more
Your relationship with me is not a chore

You are my child
And now you have been reconciled
The one I’ve always seen
To me you’re my beloved, my love, my queen

I have taken your sin as far as the east is from the west!
I have in mind for you the very best!
I delight in you!
I have fought for you!
When you could not see me,
I paid for your debts
When you could not hear me
I took on your threats
I fought and and worked for you alone
Into your darkness I shone.
I never allowed the enemy to come near.
Now, you don’t have to live in fear
You are worth it and i’d do it all again!
I am true and I am your friend
If you only knew how I loved you so much
It was at that I had our first touch

I hugged him and wept
Into my pain and brokenness he stepped
He set me free and sacrificed his best
I let my head fall into his strong chest

I can never repay you
He said no need
I don’t know how to thank you
Just go tell others who are in need

Tell them I see their pain
Tell them I understand their walk
Tell them I am sovereign and in patience I refrain
Tell them they’re welcome in my flock
Life hasn’t always been the easiest
But I now know one who is good
I pray my life is marked by obedience
Because I was met by someone who said that he could rescue me and he could!

That’s exactly what he did
He saw me as his lost kid
He pulled me out of the mire
And to Him be the glory, honor, power and Him only do I pray I admire!

How I Met Peace: Part 2

Project Growth was moving into the next phase: off paper to on the ground. Since we had been working with several countries, Mr. Rity would be picking the country into which we would be testing this project. We would have to report to the Field Representatives in the country of Arthur Rity’s choosing. Monday morning Arthur Rity’s secretary informed us that he would like Confusion, Faith and I in his office. This was the moment everything started to feel real. We were finally stepping out and actually going to apply what we had only discussed, planned and researched for months. 

Mr. Rity said, Please, have a seat. After spending much time speaking with our different Field Representatives, I believe the best place to test this project is New Zealand It was hard for me to contain my excitement. I thought for sure it would be Dubai or India. 

After our meeting with Mr. Rity, Confusion, Faith and I all spoke with the company’s travel agent and admin in order for them to handle all the travel arrangements and visas. Because we had been working on this project Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, I was doing my other work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The work on Tuesdays and Thursdays consisted of scheduling events, employees and volunteers to build community relations. I would need to make sure my tasks were covered while I was gone. We would be gone for a month; needless to say, I had a lot to do. I made sure to inform Worry, Fear and Condemnation about my upcoming trip! Fear was reminding me of everything I might need. She got a little excessive like telling me to bring a lipstick taser just in case I became a hostage. I quickly reminded Fear that I would be arrested by airport security if I was caught carrying a lipstick taser.
In the midst of the chaos of getting ready for this trip, Faith and I kept meeting. One Wednesday night, on the way to grab some coffee, Faith told me, invited Peace. TONIGHT?!?! I exclaimed. Yes!she said. Why didn’t you warn me? I am not even dressed cute! I said while trying to spruce myself up. If I told you, you’d overthink it. He is really looking forward to meeting you! Lighten up and live a little. Sometimes we don’t always have hours to prepare. You always have to be ready to jump out on a limb Faith said. Well, there is nothing wrong with looking cute while we are taking a leap I said. We both looked at each other and began laughing. 
We step into our favorite coffee shop: A Latte Roast. The minute I walked in I saw a surprisingly handsome man. My heart started to beat faster. I thought to myself, if that is Peace, Faith is going to hear an earful from me! Sure enough, it was! He was tall, had dark hair and green eyes. He was quite muscular and I could tell upon our initial greeting he had a very winsome demeanor! We arrived at 7:30pm. When I looked down at my phone to check the time- it was 10:42pm! How did so much time pass? Faith was right. Peace was an extraordinary guy! He was so down to earth and so polite to everyone. He was sincere and compassionate, yet he also had a confidence about him. Although Faith and Peace had been friends for such a long time, they both made me feel as if I had always been a part of their friendship. These friends were so different from the ones I had grown up with. Faith, Peace and I made a plan to have dinner on Friday. I left that night with an un-satiated desire to know them both more. And yet, I felt filled with such warmth and contentment by my new found friendship.
When Friday rolled around, I still had so much left to do but I was NOT about to miss the dinner Faith had invited me to. Plus, Peace was going to be there! The plan was to meet for sushi at 7:00pm. I love sushi and to go with such amazing friends- it could not be missed! I also had a little more time to get ready, but I felt accepted by them both whether I had on freshly ironed clothes and contained curls; or, if I had been wearing the same clothes all day and my hair looked more like it had been in a
hurricane than in a curling iron! Because of the trip and running errands, I showed up a little frantic and 5 minutes late, but once I sat down and started talking to Peace
and Faith, I calmed right down. Being around them was unlike anyone else I had been around. When I spoke with Condemnation, Fear and Worry we’d get ourselves all worked up and it would sometimes take hours to calm myself down. With Peace and Faith, their presence immediately calmed my anxious thoughts. The dinner was wonderful and we stayed so late that the waitress had to ask us to leave. I knew I would be so tired the next day, but it was worth it!  
As I was driving into my driveway, I received a text from an unknown number: I hope you made it home safely. Thanks for coming to dinner. It was great to see you
again –Peace. Now he did it I thought! When a handsome man sends you an unexpected text at night- you don’t get much sleep. There is entirely too much excitement and planning going on in your head! But thankfully because I had entirely too much to do for the trip, I ended up falling asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow! 

How I met Peace: Part 1

It was a special day; yet, I had been here before; I was again another attendee at a wedding. I sometimes questioned, was I that different from the other girls? We had all grown up in very similar families. We did not have much, but we were happy. We loved people. We loved our country and we supported our King and his family. However, it started to become noticeably obvious that I had was not following suit and to be quite honest, I am not sure how. Prior to the weddings of the other girls, a few people in the town made remarks such as, “Charity, of all the girls, will be the first one to be married” But to everyone’s dismay this was not case. 
I heard the I do’s and saw another sweet kiss. My friend looked so happy and I was happy for her. There is something about weddings that always makes me tear up. It is such a beautiful part of life!
I left that day and looked at the town I had grown up in. I saw the faithful shop owners, the neighbors whose kids I had grown up with and reminisced about the times we had. I decided that maybe I should go outside my town- what could I lose? I had been here my whole life and there did not seem to be a niche for me in this town. So, I packed my bags and I set out for an adventure. Along the way, I met some friends: Fear, Worry and Condemnation. We’d often have long conversations throughout our day, similar to the on that follows: 

Worry: I don’t know if you should stay away too long because what if you become
too different? Then no one will like you

Fear: Don’t you think people will judge you? Aren’t expected to get married and start a family?

Me: Well, I’m not sure, but I left because I felt like there was something more.

Condemnation: Well, you should just go back because you are pretty much a failure already- you said you didn’t fit in, but you should just make it work.
My friends listened to me talk, but they also voiced their opinions. More often than not, part of me would agree. My friends and I all worked at a placed called WORLD, until I found another job called REACH where were we did a lot of service for communities worldwide.

 

While working at REACH, I had less communication with Fear, but Condemnation and I became closer. She always had something to say. It was a comfort to have someone who had known me for a long time. She kind of kept me grounded. 
Although working at REACH was wonderful, a few years in, I began to feel restless. Similar to how I felt after my friend’s wedding. Was it time to branch out into the unknown again? At this point, I spoke with Fear more. Condemnation was always available though. Worry heard about my predicament and decided to offer her support. I tried to calm worry down because she always panics whenever change is brought up. Fear would say things like, you shouldn’t talk like this, and Maybe you are having a crisis- that’s it a crisis! You should see someone for this! I tried to calm my friends down. Sometimes they would get themselves more worked up than me over situations in my life. I told them maybe the restlessness was coming because I felt like I could do more at REACH. After I minimized how restless I was feeling, they finally calmed down. They changed the conversation to a fiscal collapse and natural disasters, the normal topics they felt a need to discuss.
A week after my conversation with my friends, my supervisor name Arthur Rity came to me and two other co-workers. He assigned me and two other co-workers to a fairly large scale, intense project. The project would consist of reaching different regions specifically to their cultural needs. The two co-workers I would be paired with were Faith and Confusion. Confusion never said much, but whenever he was around, things seemed to be out of order and chaotic. It seemed like you could take him at his word, but then it always backfired; yet, there was something about him that made me want to trust him. Faith was a very inspiring individual. A little bold at times, but she was so hopeful and optimistic about the future and taking risks. She had been through a lot of friendships and had been rejected by several people. Some of the people who had rejected her I knew like Worry, Anxiety, Fear, and even Condemnation. This was the main reason I didn’t talk with at first. However, I was looking forward to working with her. I wondered why anyone would reject her. No matter what anyone said or did, she just kept taking one step in front of the other. She had been all over the world and still had so many friends such as: Love, Hope and Patience. They were all very close and no matter where they were. I started to watch and analyze Faith’s life and choices. There was something about her that made me want to know her more.
The project we were assigned to was called Growth. We wanted to expand the economy by how we reached certain demographics. Confusion, Faith and I would work from 9-5 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. After our project days, Faith always invited me to come out for dinner, or coffee. Confusion heard about it and asked if he could go. I didn’t mind at first, but then I when I got home I’d realize my conversation with Faith seemed to surpass me when Confusion came. So, I started to hide the fact when Faith and I planned to meet. The more faith and I met, the more I began to dream. We had more similarities than I thought. In fact, she was from the town just across the way from me. She knew our King. The difference between her and I though is that she knew the King. I only knew of him.
One night, as we were sitting in an adorable coffee shop, Faith said, Charity, I have to tell you about someone. Faith was always very determined and never wasted her breath on non-sense, so I immediately sat up to hear what she had to say. He is the most amazing man I know, and my dearest friend. My heart began to beat faster. I was stunned because I thought Faith was the most amazing woman I has ever met. I can’t imagine how great her friend was plus he was a guy! Then I thought why would she want to introduce him to me? What was he like? Was he handsome? Kind? Would he want to be friends with me? My mind was suddenly full of questioned. I realized I had not responded to Faith’s last statement. Uh, sure, when? Is he in town? What should I wear? Faith chuckled you can calm down. He is very down to earth. Faith went on to explain how her friend had always been like her other half. We have been friends for as long as I can remember She said. She began sharing memories about their friendship. When she was through talking, I asked, What is his name To which she responded, Peace.

My Struggle as a Single Woman

I was 17 years old when a guy asked me, “What are you doing when you’re 18?” My heart immediately began beating faster. Knowing where he was headed, I said, “Oh, you know, probably to college in another country” He obviously didn’t like this answer because he had a plan he was construing in his mind. I was being coy because I wanted him to say the words, not just hint around the topic. I wanted him to say, “Well, if you hang around, I’d like to marry you” In my mind, this was perfect. I was 17 and to be honest I didn’t really care about college. I wanted to get married and have a family. So married at 18 sounded like music to my ears.
Fast forward 10 years. Yes, it has been 10 years and there has hardly been a blip on the radar in the guy department. But I would not trade 10 years of singleness for 10 years of marriage to the wrong person. I want to be very transparent and honest with you because, quite frankly, I feel like healing comes by being broken. Healing comes by being vulnerable before God and vulnerable before each other. I feel the need to share two of the struggles I have come to know as a single woman. Life is messy and we are messy beings, but if I can’t be vulnerable about my struggles what’s the point of the struggle. Our struggle and how we handle it may give the person behind us hope that if we made it, they can make it to. So here is another good, bad and ugly blog!


Struggle #1: The Unsaved Guy 

It was several years ago when I had a conversation with a guy who told me I was his soul mate and that we were made for each other. When I first met this guy, I could hardly stand to be in the same room as him and now I was his soul mate? I believe he saw me as a challenge. I also believe he saw me as his life line. He felt he could do whatever he wanted now, but, “When I’m ready to settle down- I’ll marry Christi”. When things were going wrong in his life, no matter what time it was, he would text me. I cared for this guy. I cared about his salvation. I invited him to church but he would never go. We talked about heaven, hell, Jesus, our patterns, our survival mechanisms, you name it. Then at the close of almost every conversation, he’d make some comment about us being together. At first, I would get irritated, then I’d blow it off, then I began to expect it, and then I realized I had begun to believe it. By God’s grace, nothing ever happened except that emotionally I had become attached (unbeknownst to him). I got to the point where I believed there was a chance. Although I always told him to bug off, his words began to sink into my heart and I found myself dreaming about a life together. Thankfully, God would always remind me that this was not the way I was supposed to go and that I needed to keep my guard up. I eventually moved on from the place I used to see him. However, I struggled for a while thinking God was not good because he did not save him so that we could be together. Selfish, I realize now. It would have been a complete nightmare. God moved me for my own protection and I’m so grateful He did.

Struggle # 2: The Married Guy

Yes, I said it: the married guy. When a married man tells you that he had a dream about you, it is normally a red flag. When they start noticing you like they should be noticing their wife- there is a problem. When they start complimenting you on almost everything you and say things that should not be said it makes you feel so dirty. One night a married guy made a comment and things started to become clear in my head what he was attempting to do. I showed up at a rehearsal in a complete daze. I could hardly speak. Someone eventually pulled me aside and asked what was going on. I told them, we prayed and the man never tried or said anything else to me. In both cases, I knew their wives. But not always have I been on that side. I have had thoughts about married guys before as well. Yes, I have and I have felt so awful about it. I beat myself up so much and have been beat up by others. However, I am writing this because I want to share something I learned today from a very wise woman. She said, “YOU cannot control the thoughts that pop into your head, BUT you can control which thoughts stay” If you didn’t have temptation you would not be human. You CANNOT control who you fall for, but you CAN control who you pursue. 

My friends, I am only human! You are only human! We have natural desires. It is a natural desire to get married and to have someone to go through life with, but Satan likes to twist our desires into something evil. Then, he tries to get us to contemplate that evil desire. Then, he wants us to act on this desire and if we do that will lead to death. It may not be a physical death, but maybe it is the death of another person’s marriage.

I write this because I have faced temptation and when I spoke about it to a select few, I realized that they too have had thoughts that have come into their heads as well. I want to share that just because you are tempted this does not mean you are an adulterer, a home-wrecker or a seducer. But have I struggled and been tempted? Yes. BUT take a huge sigh of relief because temptation IS NOT a sin!

I began pouring out my heart to a respected person of authority, I was told, “Christi, even Jesus was tempted. Being tempted is not the sin, it is what you do with the temptation that matters”

I share this journey with you NOT because I necessarily want to, but because I felt the need to. I have faced scolding for being tempted. I kept this to myself until I was asked an honest question and I gave an honest answer and instead of grace and support, I received condemnation.

If we can’t be vulnerable with God and each other- what is the point? 


If Alcoholic find support for their struggle, why can’t we as Christians? We are all screwed up. We don’t have it all together. We all need a Savior and until we meet Him face to face we can count on struggles and have temptation. We need each other to get through. We don’t need condemnation. We don’t need to have our fave rubbed in the dirt to feel the consequence of a temptation. No, we need a gracious and loving Savior who even when we are tempted reminds us of what is best, and to leave it at the cross and even if we have acted on a temptation, it says that a righteous man falls seven times and gets back up.

So if you are struggling, I want to let you know I am praying for you and so is God our Father! I want to remind you that God is FOR YOU! He is NOT against you. He knows our struggles even before we say a word and He can handle our brutal honesty! He can handle our mess because He died for our mess.

Jesus sacrificed His dignity for us. He became vulnerable and exposed Himself for us. He died in front of thousands of people naked and alone. He allowed us to see His vulnerability so that we could know how to be vulnerable in front of Him and then to others. He hung on the cross for our shortcomings. He died a gruesome death so that we could hand over our sins and our struggles and allow Him to pin it on the cross.

My friends, whatever you may be struggling with or whatever sin you may have fallen into God is there for you. And if you’re being tempted know that it happens to each and every one of us.

God is the God who who reaches into the pit. He draws us out of deep waters and He sets us on the Rock!

When we are open, honest and vulnerable we find freedom.

Remember temptation is not a sin, but it is when it is acted upon, so if Satan or others are throwing this in your face, you are not what you’re being called. God is quick to help his children. He holds us and keeps us close because He loves us more than we could ever imagine!

Thank you for taking the time to spend with me!

What does the Christian walk look like when…

I’m living in a world full of the unexpected. I live in a world of disappointments. I live in a world where mom’s of young children are diagnosed with stage four cancer. I hear of little babies not knowing if they will live one more day because the medical staff simply “didn’t have answers”. I live in a world where abuse is rampant. I live in a world where people can ruin other people. I live in a world where we are given a choice. And more often than not, the choice made was wrong. What then? Be happy? Slap a smile on my face? Think positive and all the darkness, sadness, pain, and discouragement will fade away and the sun will come out? 

No
, the sun doesn’t always shine.  The result we expected won’t always be the one we receive. Yet, the Son always is near. 

Life is full of the unexpected. It is full of disappointment. Disappointment in ourselves, our careers, our family and our friends. So what then? What do we do then? When we feel unable to help ourselves – what then? When we are weak – what then? When our hearts feel like they’ve been thrown into a food processor what then? 


I’m reminded of two words:        Jesus wept

The shortest Bible verse and quite possibility the most powerful. I’ve skim over it too often without catching the significance of it. Jesus, the one who created the whole world. The one who created life, joy, peace; wept! 

He suffered! He lost friends, family, trust in people, and even his very life.

God sent Jesus knowing he would suffer. He sent Jesus knowing we would suffer. 

In the times of deep wounds, unanswered questions and puddles of tears, know that the reason Jesus may be quiet is because He is weeping for you. He is weeping with you. 

He never told Mary and Martha, don’t worry – you’ll get over it (although he knew they would). He didn’t say this will eventually be something that I want to use in your life (although I’m sure He did). Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life. He kindly reminded Martha that although she may not have understood things now, He was there! He then asked where they laid Lazarus. Then he wept. 
Twice in this passage it says Jesus was deeply moved. 

There is another passage similar to this in John 20:11-16

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I DON’T KNOW where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Imagine Jesus calling you by name? Imagine in the disappointments and the pain, he says, *your name* and says, I’m here. I made you. I knew this was going to happen. He’s not far off. Although Satan will try to convince us he is. He’s not too busy fixing everything else, he’s standing beside me waiting for me to cry out to him and if I don’t, he gently says my name. 

He is here 

He stands in the pain 

He is here 

And evil will abstain 


He is the Lord 

Maker of heaven and earth 

He’s guarding me with His sword

Causing in my life rebirth 


He is here 

Not weary from my tears

He is here 

He’s the solution I can adhere 


So in the midst of the unexpected 

My Lord Jesus Christ is my expected 

He calls my by name 

He’s not ashamed and even created my frame 



He counts the hairs on my head 

He never lets my food run out 

He knows when I lay my head on my bed 

And His love for me can never be put out. 

Rain…

“I’m going for a run. It’s a little overcast, so it shouldn’t be too hot” I said. I started out walking and thought, I’ll walk to the park then I’ll run. However, about 5 blocks from the park I can see a wall of rain. It didn’t seem to be moving. I decided if I wanted a run, I should run in the other direction. After about 7 blocks, I heard lightning. I kept running. Then, I heard it again, but this time it was closer and it started to lightly rain. I figured I should probably turn back and head for home.                                                       

 As I was running towards home the skies opened up. It started pouring. I tucked my phone in a spot I thought would get the least wet and ran. I picked up my speed and headed for home. 

When I got home, I was reminded that rain is vital to life. Because rain is vital to growth. In the same way, the rainy season in our spiritual life are vital for our growth! Without rain the grass, the plants the things we enjoy and eat will not grow! When it rains we cannot do the things we normally enjoy. You can’t go outside to the beach or have a picnic or go swimming. But in our rainy season, we learn to appreciate those things more. You learn to enjoy the people as opposed to the activities. We learn to quiet our minds and hearts and be completely vulnerable to God. We can tell him our disappointments. We can tell Him our hurt. We can tell Him where we feel we are falling short and want to go. God can handle our honesty. I once read, “God cares more about your one honest prayer than one thousand fake ones” I used to feel bad for telling God how I really thought or felt. The crazy thing is, God already knows! He wants us to bring everything to Him- the good the bad and the ugly! And what better time to do that than in our rainy season! 

Our rainy seasons may be filled all kinds of things like: a loss of a dream, a place, job, spouse, or friend. It may be disappointment with yourself or others, it may be expectations that we haven’t met. Each rainy season is unique to us. But I want to remind myself and you that it is in the rainy season that we can grow! It is in our rainy season that God is preparing us for something thing new. And my friends, when God sees fit, you can be sure that He will dry up the sky and allow the sun to shine; just like He will dry your tears and send you out again! 

So if you’re in a rainy season, embrace it. Make the most of the time and the people around you. This season will not last forever, but it is vital for your benefit and mine! 

You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?Psalm 56:8

He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your NEW wine and your oil. Deuteronomy 11:14

For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation USEFUL to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; Hebrews 6:7

The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. Deuteronomy 28:12

Amazed; yet again! 

I sat there and listened to the sermon being preached. It was a good message but it was mostly directed towards those who are married. Regardless, I was still encouraged and challenged because God in His goodness reminded me of something…
After I got home, I opened the cabinet and saw a “little mug” I had gotten at a garage sale when I was probably 10 years old. I was curious and decided to flip the cup over and I saw where this little mug had been made. Upon reading it, I smiled- only God…


So you are probably thinking okay what did God remind you? And why are you excited about an expresso cup? Because of this: 

“For your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth” Isaiah 54:5

Yes, I may not be legally married on this planet, but I have a husband. I have not had my own wedding ceremony, but I am a bride. 

The message today was about how when you are married, you belong to your spouse and your spouse belongs to you. A healthy relationship seeks the benefit of the other. The wife should verbalize her respect for her husband and the husband should verbalize and express his love for his wife. I sat there and thought and wondered if I verbalize my respect for “My Husband”? Do I speak in such a way that I am showing #1- That I respect my husband #2- That I belong to my husband and #3- That I love my Husband.

Not being about to see God physically sometimes is difficult because we have to remind ourselves that He is still with us. But, if God were physically in the room, I hope that the way I speak about Him would bring a huge smile to His face. I hope that there would be no doubt that when people see me, they know who I belong to. I hope that when they see me out shopping, or working or doing life that people would be able to say, “Christi really loves her Husband”. But I know I fall short so much. I question, wrestle and want to give up at times. Because, quite frankly, it is not always easy for me to understand what God is doing. His ways are not my ways. I have to be reminded that He is at work and when He is ready for me to know what’s next that He will tell me. In the same way a husband provides for His wife, God provides for me (but even better). In the same way a husband protects his wife, God protects me. In (almost) the same way a husband loves his wife, God loves me. He reminded me of this again when I saw the bottle of the expresso cup.

The cup was made in Germany! 


The reason I smiled was because God gave me the opportunity to go to Germany. It was the first country that I was able to travel to! God knew that I would love to travel even before I knew it! Even as a kid God knew what I liked even before I did. I read Psalm 139:3 (NASB) yesterday and it says, “You scrutinize my path and my laying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways” God knows the things that bring a smile to our face. He stirs passion in us that we may not have even known were there. He knows our very frame because He is our Maker! He put those desires in us. He fashioned our personalities, likes and dislikes. He knows us because He created us! 


He is a God who gives good gifts. For now, my traveling season is over, but seeing that expresso mug was a sweet reminder, as if God were saying, “I allowed you to travel before you knew you liked it, if I can do that for you, don’t you think I can do more?” God knows my friends! One season for you may have ended but you have no idea what the next one might hold!

 

I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to serve and love God better! He owes me nothing! He didn’t even have to create me in the first place. God could have just been God and never created the world. Or, He could have just created the oceans, and land and animals, since they don’t mess us things as bad as the human races does. But He chose to make you and He chose to make me. Then, He sent Jesus to save you and me! That right there is more than enough! Yet, He did more! He called me! He chose me! Okay, that is way more than enough, but my friends, He does so much more! He is intimately acquainted with all my ways. He reminds me that I am not alone. He walks with me through the valley and on the mountain tops. He loves me deeply and gives incredible gifts, but the most beautiful gift to me is Himself! He is good my friends and He does good! I pray that we can rest in His abundant goodness today knowing that we are loved, cared for and worthy in His eyes! Please don’t allow anyone else to convince you of anything different! You are loved! You are special! God takes great delight in you!

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4

“You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do” Psalm 139:3 (NLT)

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

 

Puzzled, Punctured and Replenished

I sat bewildered as I listened to the words spewed in my direction. I wondered if I was dreaming. This felt too awful to be true. What I said had been misinterpreted into something that simply was not true.
Had I been guilty of what I was being accused of? If so, where was the help? Where was the love that covers a multitude of sin?
I felt like everything about me was being attacked. But why? I felt crushed. How did I get here I wondered?

God! What is going on? Why and how was this happening? I realized at that point that I started to believe everything was my fault. I couldn’t see clearly anymore. Words were flying, trust was faltering. My heart was breaking and tears were flowing.

“I’m sorry” I must have repeated a dozen times. But, was I really who I was being accused of? God search me and know me. Try my anxious thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to the everlasting way. I know I am not perfect. I know I make mistakes, but had I gone off the deep end? By the words I was hearing, that’s what it sounded like. God, what is going on? I cried.

Words! No matter how many times you say they don’t matter- they do! What people say about you effects you. And truth be told, if you hear something long enough- you will start to believe it.


Words are powerful! With words God spoke the earth into motion! With words God said, “Let there be light”. With words God said, “Let us make mankind in our image” and with words, the serpent deceived eve! Our words have incredible impact! Sometimes our words can stay with someone a life time!

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21. 

Words can breathe life and words can breathe death!

So why am I talking about words-again? Because this past week, I realized that there were words spoken that I needed to be gone! You know the kind of words. The words that hit you like a frieght train. The words that pierce you when they were spoken. You know, those kind of words!

Maybe you were called something as a child and never forgot it. Maybe it was just the enemy using your own voice to belittle you: “You failure”. Whatever it may be I want to share what happened to me this past week.

… Lord, these words keep coming to my mind and every time I hear those words I am stymied by them…

I went to my bedroom and I prayed. God only you know exactly what’s going on. Only you understand this because you were there. You heard. Even if people were there they don’t understand what I’m dealing with because quite frankly I am me and they are them. You made us each differently. What may not effect one can devastate another. We are all different and although situations may seem a like they aren’t because we are all different! So God, I need you to help me with this, because I want to be over it. I want to move on.

I felt like God wanted me to write down the words spoken to me. So I did. I wrote it exactly how I remember hearing it.

Then, right below it I wrote, “God by your strength and might because you said not by might nor by power but by your Spirit, I reject these words spoke over me and into my life”

I did this to the two or three things that kept popping up into my mind that day. When I finished praying, it felt as though something sharp, that I didn’t realize was there, was pulled from my heart. I felt that the power behind the words had been broken. I knew the enemy would try and use them again, but the effectiveness they had before was gone!

I thanked the Lord because I felt like these words kept tripping me up. I’d take two steps ahead and get pulled back five steps.

About a week after that, I was listening to a podcast by Tony Evans. He was talking about words. He shared:

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” Proverbs 12:18      

I stood still- almost in shock! That’s exactly how it felt! The words coming in my direction felt like swords in my heart and when I prayer over the exact phrase it felt like they were being removed! I was like God you are incredible! He really is intimately acquainted with all our ways!

I wanted to share this because I know we have all had something said to us that has hurt us. And I am sure I have said something that hurt someone else. Words are powerful. They can be powerful for good and powerful for evil. I pray that this will help you be able to remove the swords of words that have penetrated your heart. God’s love for us is so unfathomable! He cares that you’ve been hurt. He wants to see you healthy again. He wants us to turn to Him to be our healer and our restorer.

I want to encourage you today to find some time and ask God if there are puncture wounds from someone’s words and ask Him to remove it by His power. He will!

And after you have prayed over them, do not focus on them. Do not give the words your attention. We aren’t suppose to live in the past, or in the future, but in the present. I realize this is easier said than done, but what was said was said. God has more for you and me. He deserves our attention and He deserves our words spoken about Him! So crank up some praise music and start singing to the one who heals, restores, replenishes and gives us life, salvation, hope and joy!

Thank you for taking the time to read! I appreciate each one of you- whether or not we have met :)!