#lampandlight, 31 Day Scripture Challenge, Bible, Bible Questions, Faith, God, God's Love, Hurting Heart, Lessons Learned, Life, Me, Pain, People, Photography, photos, Seeking Answers, Sin

control issues (Day 13)

1 Samuel 13

The warning was given in chapter 12…the warning that even the King must obey the commands of the Lord…and Saul just. didn’t. listen.

When it came time to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, Saul took control and sentenced himself (and his son) to death.

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He thought he had good reasons – Samuel was taking too long, the people were discouraged and leaving, the battle was waiting for them – all perfectly acceptable reasons to take control of the situation.

Or…at least…Saul thought so.

And, if I am being honest, I would think so – because I do the very. same. thing. I wrestle control out of God’s hands all the time, for much the same reasons as Saul did…and the consequences are disastrous. For Saul, it means his rule will be broken off…for me, there is a break in my relationship with God.

I don’t know about you – but for me, when God and I aren’t ok, I am not ok. I wish that were reason enough to stop seeking control and yet… sigh

(What is this all about?? check out the explanation on Day 1)

Looking up, as always…
Bina

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#lampandlight, 31 Day Scripture Challenge, Bible, Bible Questions, Faith, God, God's Love, Hurting Heart, Lessons Learned, Life, Me, Pain, People, Photography, photos, Seeking Answers, Sin

trust issues (Day 10)

Between Mothers Day on Sunday and a root canal today, I haven’t posted…but I have read. Tonight’s post is for 1 Samuel 10…

Saul is chosen by God to be king.

He has now been anointed with oil by Samuel, confirming his place as leader of Israel.

But God goes a step further…He promised him a series of complex signs to prove to Saul that God Himself has moved in his favor.

The signs all come true and Samuel shows up to announce Israel’s new king…and he is nowhere to be found.

After some searching, God reveals that the newly named leader of Israel can be found…hiding among the luggage.

This got me to thinking:
How often does God make me promises and cause all the “signs” to fall into place so I am reassured of His calling…only to find me hidden with all my old baggage, too afraid to come out?

Yeah. #TrustIssues

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(What is this all about?? check out the explanation on Day 1)

Looking up, as always…
Bina

#lampandlight, 31 Day Scripture Challenge, Bible, Bible Questions, Faith, God, God's Love, Hurting Heart, Lessons Learned, Life, Me, Pain, People, Photography, photos, Seeking Answers, Sin

and so…I run (Day 8)

And so it begins.

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The last story of Israel and God shows a mighty King defending His people against a terrible enemy. And now, in 1 Samuel 8, time has created foggy memories and the people have shifted their focus. They go to Samuel and say “you are old and we need a man to lead us…make us a king.

A very displeased Samuel brings their demand before God…and God’s reply is “ok, but first tell them what a King will do to them.

Samuel does, in great and graphic detail, but the blinded response of a people set on what they want to do is the same: “give us a king…one that we can see“.

Samuel takes this back to God and His response is simply: “Obey their voice and make them a king.” {8.22}

Did His heart break at this?

I will be honest…I think that both God and Samuel were crushed by their response. They HAD a King…one that loved them, ruled over them, defended them like no man ever could…but no. “No thank you. Give me what I want because You…You aren’t enough…not for me.

My heart is broken because, you see, I found myself in these people…

I saw my own heart in their demands…

I am flooded with realization of the injury I have inflicted upon the heart of the very One I have rejected in the pursuit of my selfish desires.

But as I turn now to look Him in the eye, I hear His whisper: “I don’t care why you ran or where you went…I only care that you come running back home…to Me.

And so…I run.

(What is this all about?? check out the explanation on Day 1)

Looking up, as always…
Bina

Being A Woman, depression, Encounters, Faith, Friends, God, Hurting Heart, Journaling, Lessons Learned, Life, Pain, People, Photography, photos, Seeking Answers, Writing

seen

Her lit smile flirts heavily with the laughter that she currently has engaged at full volume.  As you notice her when you walk by the place where she takes on the world, it seems that the whole planet exists just to hold her up.  Thick confidence drips from each and every movement of her body and it is obvious that she owns everyone with a simple glance in their direction.  As she works her small crowd with ease, you can’t help but stare…and if you are honest, you probably wish, for just a moment, you had a small taste of what it is like to be her.

but as she sat across from me,
I held her eyes longer than she’d like,
seeing more than she wanted on display for anyone…
herself included.

The truth is…she sits alone, even when surrounded by adoring people on every side.  What no one else has figured out yet is that she draws on the energy of everything around her in an effort to blind prying eyes from what doesn’t shine anymore.  She needs the crowd…not for companionship, but to hide from what screams up and out from her own mind. Scarred and broken, every beat of her heart reminds her of all she isn’t and she would rather die than continue to breathe…but she breathes again because she has no choice: the audience is still watching and she isn’t the kind to force the curtain down.

She knows I know.
She knows she has been truly seen
and I wonder, deep down, if she will run because I got in…

…but as she left, I whispered that I love her
and I smiled when she said she loved me too.

…as she walked away, I cried and prayed that for just a moment,
I could help her to see what she is blinded to.

…that while the beauty born of shadow is often the most challenging to endure,

it is always the most endearing one to all who find it.

that which grows beautiful in shadow

Looking up, as always…

Bina

depression, Faith, God, God's Love, Hurting Heart, Lessons Learned, Life, Me, Pain, photos, Prayer

…with just two words

The wall wasn’t a shock to me.  I had seen it looming in the distance for some time, but had somehow convinced myself that I would never actually hit it.  No way.  And in those rare moments when reality had crept its way past my defenses and into my delusional state of mind, I shoved it quickly into the shadows because, when gagged and bound, truth had no hold on me here.

I was invincible, you see.

Or, at least, I was…until I wasn’t anymore.

And now that I wasn’t, I was just a mess…totally mangled by the same anger and disappointment that had built the cement wall that I had spent so much time actively ignoring.

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Flooding over with tears that I could no longer hold back, I had to admit that I was hurting…broken…done.  I didn’t think before I spoke, but the words burned as they left my mouth: “I am angry at You.”

The moment after I spoke hung heavy as I absorbed the depth of truth that I had just released from its prison.  I was angry…and not just angry, oh no!  I had somehow boiled over from angry to livid without even realizing it…and as I sat in my car, shocked by my own brutal honesty, I wondered if He was put off in the least by what I had just said.

I mean, I have been in church long enough to know that God knows everything we think and feel without our verbal confession, so the logical side of me knew that He wasn’t shocked by my words.  But I have also been in church long enough to know that I have no right to be angry at God, as I have chosen to be sold out to Him…willing to be used by Him for His glory, knowing that He always has my good in mind.

So, if I am who I say I am, how can I be mad at Him for allowing this situation into my life…no matter how hurtful or hard it seems to be?!?  I was totally confused as to what I should say next, so I just sat there, silently waiting…

I know.”

His whisper was a verbal one, yes, but it also radiated in, thru and all around me, leaving me chilled against the warmth of His unexpected reply.

Suddenly, my confusion was replaced with a calming peace that picked me up off the ground from the base of denial’s wall.  As I tried to wrap my mind around the depth of His simple reply, I was placed at His feet, where I let go of the rules of “what you can and can’t say to God”.

Everything I had been denying now poured up and out of me in a verbalish-gush I can only hope His Spirit could translate…and as I spoke, the weight I had been struggling under fell away, brick by brick, until it was all gone…and I was “ok” again for the first time in a long time.

This isn’t the first time He has met me like this…but this was the first time in a very long time that I was so blinded to what I was feeling.

This was the first time in over a decade that His voice was the very thing needed to melt denial into a river of honesty…a river that had frozen over without me even realizing what was happening.

I had not only let bitterness take root, but I had nurtured it to life within me…and in just two words, He pulled it up and out by the roots.  …in just two words, He destroyed the power it held over my heart.  …in just two words, I was free again.

His gentle whisper left me vulnerable to Truth, showing the scars that I had desperately been trying to cover over…

…and with just two words, I was healed.

Looking up, as always…

Bina

Being A Woman, Faith, Family, Friends, God, Hurting Heart, Lessons Learned, Life At Home, Me, Seeking Answers

and it only took 30 years…

Something happened in me a couple of months ago.

I was pondering a few things as I casually prayed…when suddenly, I was done pretending I was fine when I knew that I really was NOT okay.

I mean, I was completely and totally done…I had had my fill of doing it by myself, only to be left scurrying around to gather up the pieces of my heart that kept getting blown all over the place when my efforts failed…again.

I was so tired of smiling when I wanted to cry…laughing when it hurt to even breathe…isolating myself when what I needed was a therapeutic group hug from the people I love most in the world.

And as I accepted that I was done, I found that I was completely and totally undone…and it was there that I met God, again, for what seemed like the first time.

Let me give you a little history on me…

Saved when I was 7 years old, Jesus became my superhero…the Jiminey Cricket to my inner Pinocchio…a voice I knew and trusted…but as life got increasingly harder to take in, it was a voice that I learned to ignore.

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Me in 1st or 2nd grade.

Rededicated when I was 14, Jesus became a fire that ignited my heart and mind to know Him and understand His word…a passion that faded when I realized I could put a “real-life” man up on His pedestal.

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Me (right) and my best buddy, 1990.

Re-engaged with Him again when I was 23, Jesus became the glue to my soul when divorce, single motherhood and addiction tried to rip the very life from what was left of my heart…a solution easily replaced by the sweet calm of a happy life with a wonderful, new husband and great friends.

Me (left) with my new best friends, 2000.
Me (left) with my new best friends, 2000.

So to be bowed down as I was now, at 37, I had to come face to face with the fact that it was here and now that Jesus became my Savior for the very first time.

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…me, now…

As I stopped ignoring the elephant(s) in the room and let reality take over where the masks had hidden me away, I was finally letting Him complete the process that began with my tiny prayer of salvation as a 7 year old girl…I was finally allowing Him to be the Lord of my life.

Facedown on the floor, I let Him knock away every self-defense, pretense and idol that had taken up residence in my heart as I sobbed out every tear that I had stored up over the years.  Powerless to help in any way, I watched the God of the Universe become my Defender as He rid me of every single life line that I had created to so many unhealthy things.  As my mouth confessed what my heart shuddered to admit, He cleared out the temple of my soul and made me fully His.

That night in the kitchen, when the 7 year old me stood praying with my mom, slides into my mind’s eye as clearly as the night just eight weeks ago when the 37 year old me finally surrendered completely.  Nights that are 30 years apart…and yet, intertwined as an intricate tapestry woven by the Master Craftsman.

…and it is only now that I can look back and fully rest in the fact that, no matter how much I may have missed seeing Him, He has never let me walk alone.

Looking up, as always…

Bina

Being A Woman, Bible, depression, Faith, Friends, God, God's Love, Hurting Heart, Journaling, Lessons Learned, Life, Me, Music, Pain, Photography, photos, Seeking Answers, Simple Blessings

When Grace Falls Like Rain

This weekend was hard.

My brain was in overdrive as every mental stumbling block you can think of was hurled at me, leaving me evaluating…examining…and absorbing.

By last night, I was e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d.

I opened my devotional just before bed and was led to Matt 11.28.

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Simple words.

Come to Me.

So easy to distort.

…but?? I had been coming to Him.

All weekend.

I was praying, I was reading, I was seeking.

But the chaos was still echoing, screaming from all directions.

I was confessing, I was looking up, I was trying.

I came to You?!?!…and then I climbed into bed as exhausted as I was when I first reached for my devotional.

This morning I woke up with the mental drama ready to pick up where it left off. Seriously?!? I am coming to You, Lord.  I mean, what else do You want from me??

Come to Me.

Ohmigosh.

My Bible study partner showed up and I unleashed my burden onto her.  Dude, I am coming to Him and yet nothing is changing.  How is this thing supposed to work??

She laughed…she shrugged…and we began to go over our study.

It was halfway thru the lesson.

It was my turn to answer what I had written.

And it hit me like a cold, unexpected downfall of rain.

Come to Me.

Not pray to Me. Not read about Me. Not look for Me.

Not confess to Me. Not stare into space for Me. Not even try for Me.

No…none of this was what He was asking of me.

COME to Me.

BE with Me. 

ABIDE with Me. 

stop DOING…even for Me.

As I tried to speak, my throat caught and the tears came up from the pit of my stomach.

Silence.

I looked up at her to find her face flooded over with her joy for me and her smile widened.

Better now?

…yup. I am. In every way…as I dance in Grace’s sweet rain shower.

Looking up, as always…
Bina