Today, of all days, I needed this! Sometimes the truth hurts, but I love that Jesus does not shy away from speaking to my heart so that I can be more like Him. When I opened my daily devotion and saw the verse from Matthew 12:28 which said "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest", I knew the Lord was talking to me. Anyone else?
But I immediately said, "Lord there is no labor here. I am not working, but I sure to feel heavy laden, so I'm going to come to you." I want to, as the verse goes on to say, take His yoke and learn from Him.
I know that as I learn more deeply to love the way Jesus loves, to serve the way Jesus does, that it is there and then that I will find rest, not for my body, I have enough of that, but rest for my soul. That's what I need. That has been my cry.
As I pressed into this truth and read the devotion from June 11th "My utmost For His Highest" it all made sense.
“…and I will give you rest”— that is, “I will sustain you, causing you to stand firm.” He is not saying, “I will put you to bed, hold your hand, and sing you to sleep.” But, in essence, He is saying, “I will get you out of bed— out of your listlessness and exhaustion, and out of your condition of being half dead while you are still alive. I will penetrate you with the spirit of life, and you will be sustained by the perfection of vital activity.” - Oswald Chambers
My soul is restless, because I have settled into being listless. I have slowly allowed being unable to do my "job" send me into a place of feeling grounded from taking on the yoke of Jesus, learning from him and then going out and doing what He does.
Today is a pivot. Today is a turning point. Today is the beginning of Jesus once again getting me out of bed, out of my listlessness and the exhausted state of my soul, acting like I am half dead and calling me to recognize the life giving vital activity He has for me.
Will it be easy? Probably not. Will I be tempted to crawl back under the covers of my depression? Probably so. Being depressed does not disqualify one from doing what God calls us to do. I will, however, wake up each day asking Jesus to let me learn by taking on His Yoke! That, I can do!
Thank you Lord for the perfect rest that you offer as we come to you.
Friends, do you need to take on His yoke and learn? Do you feel listless, tired and heavy laden? Jesus offers to all of us the remedy. The remedy is Him, one day, one moment, one breath at a time, yoked to Him. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
Yesterday, my friend posted a picture of well know people who battled mental illness/depression/suicide to show what the face of mental illness looks like. They were happy and they smiled. In my comments I added “and it looks like this... it was a picture of me, smiling.
I have never hid the fact that I suffer from depression or that I have been diagnosed bi-polar. I have struggled and although God has given me amazing skills to cope and the medication when I needed it to help me out of the darkness, I still have days that are dark. In light of that, I share these thoughts.
I went to a memorial service today at a large church for my dear friend’s son. There were about 1500 in the main sanctuary. Every seat was filled and there were 3 overflow rooms, filled with people.
We worshipped together, we prayed together, we sang together. The Pastor preached and the worship team led actual people, not just a camera. The gospel was presented and lives were changed even through the sadness of the day. The Kingdom of heaven was expanded.
This was my first time in church since the world went on lock-down.
In all honesty, what I realized through the tears of mourning and celebrating this young man's life, this loss which brought so many together is this: I was getting comfortable not going to church. I started to not even really care if we didn’t meet on Sundays. I mean, I’m in the Bible EVERY day on my own. I spend time in prayer on my own. I commune with God. I worship, I sing, I dance on my own. I listen to God and hear His voice.
But, today as I stood among 1500+ people on that campus hugging, being near and mourning together, I was reminded that I, that WE, need to be back in church. We need to open the doors wide open.
There is too much going on in the world for us to all stay away from each other any longer. Today, my son, Pedro, was attacked because of this racial anger and outrage going on around the nation. It’s spilling over from the public riots and getting closer to home. People are angry, feeling unheard, alone and without accountability.
So as I think about my son and what he’s going through and the fact that tomorrow, Sunday, he can’t be with his church family after this traumatic experience, it makes me see the need more and more that people need to be with people. We need to open the doors.
I think about last week when my sister from Chicago stayed on the phone with me as I cried uncontrollably for 20+ minutes as I was once again suicidal, deep in the darkness of depression. I was suicidal and alone.
I made it out. But how many people who have less support and how many people that don’t have a husband that will pray over her, a sister who will battle the spiritual realm on her behalf, how many of those battling mental and emotional issues don’t make it out and end up ending their life. I am alive. But others are not gonna be as fortunate. We need to open the doors to a space where we can all be together. I don’t care if it’s a church or a field or by the side of the sea, let's just open the doors like they did today. Because today, heaven received new believers because a church dared to open the doors.
I truly believe that not only will heaven’s numbers increase, but I truly believe that lives will be saved. #FellowshipOfBelievers #MentaILLNESSLooksLikeMe #Depression #Suicide
One of my biggest struggles is allowing people to really see me. True confession is one way people see us and are able to remind us that nothing can separate us from the Love of God.
The very short blog I posted before this one dealt with forgiveness. Forgiveness is instantaneous. That blog was spurred on because someone shared something with me and my only course of action was to forgive, immediately.
Fast forward to a week or so later. I hurt someone. My sinful nature got the best of me. It happened so quickly, I barley knew what transpired. What scared me most was how natural it was. But there I was, shocked at myself, mad at myself, embarrassed and most of all I felt ashamed.
My first thought was to just bury it. I'm good at that. I bury my emotions and feelings all the time (it always backfires in the end, but for a time, it seems to work) But as I took my next step, I was flooded with the pain of my sin.
So I confessed. With tears and shame, I confessed. For me the scariest part of confession is that person sees you, they see the ugly parts of you. Is that why it's called em-bare-assed? I don't know, but that's how I felt, naked and expossed.
This confession didn't really make me FEEL better and it didn't really seem "good for my soul" at that moment. It just made my sin (big or little) feel very real, very wrong, and completely opposite of what the Lord wanted for me.
But I confessed and was instantly forgiven. Honestly, I didn't want to be forgiven. It hurt t0o much. I wanted to be punished, chastised... even writing this and it's been over a week, I am in tears and my emotions are raw.
I wanted to be told how horrible I am. I wanted to follow the example of Martin Luther and receive my self inflicted lashes. I was so embarrassed. I still am when I think about it.
But at that moment of confession, my dear husband who has seen me at my worst, yet still sees me for who I really am, a forgiven child of God, said these words "God forgives you." And I said to him "But how? How can He forgive me for this?"
My husband shared the Gospel with me, the Gospel I know and Gospel I share with others. And in that moment God reveled this to me. "Child, even if you don't feel forgiven, it doesn't change the fact that you are."
So I had to... and STILL have to rest in the fact that my shame, as heavy as it was, drew me to confess. Its only job was to bring me to repentance. I wasn't called to remain in the shame. My feelings can not change the truth and for that I am thankful.
Grace is instantaneous. When we repent and ask God to forgive us, He doesn't have to mull it over. He doesn't decide if we are worthy, He simply says "Forgiven."
We hurt people. People hurt us. Christ gave us the perfect example of how to love and especially, how to forgive.
It's not enough to just "love" like Jesus. That Love includes forgiving like Jesus to0.
From my heart to yours, Mia
Today in my reading of Acts chapter 7, I was overwhelmed with the certainty that there is always uncertainty, but heaven for those who believe is guaranteed.
Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, who was full of grace, power and wisdom listened the Lord and obeyed the call to preach the gospel. It says in Acts 6:10 that many people who argued against the Gospel of Jesus Christ could not handle his wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke from. So what do they do, they make up lies about him.
Stephen did not stop, He was obedient to God's call. He spoke before the High Priest and gave a full account and testimony that Jesus was and is who He said He was. This infuriated the people. So they took him out to be stoned. At this, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit looks up to the heavens and he sees the glory of God. He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He saw it with his own eyes and he testified to it.
Still, the people did not want t0 hear it. In their stubbornness, they covered their ears and attacked him. They stoned him. They killed him. As Stephen took his last breath, his heart was for the redemption of God's people saying "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." At that, he fell asleep.
Stephen's desire was that all would come to a saving relationship through Jesus Christ so that even in the uncertainty, they would know the certainty of who Jesus Christ was and be guaranteed eternal life in heaven. One might say, Stephen's obedience didn't end well for him that day. His obedience did not make life go more smoothly. His obedience did not make the pain and suffering end. His obedience cost him his life. But he gave it freely so that others might know Jesus.
Friends, my husband and I are in a season of not knowing what the future holds. But, we are also in a season of hearing God very clearly directing us. Hand in hand we are walking it out together. We have peace, we have joy, but we also have a ton of unanswered questions and a boat load of uncertainty. Yet, we know that God is calling.
So I find comfort. Yes, comfort from this story. I know that as we follow in obedience there are no guarantees that everything is going to fall into place quickly or easily. We may loose "stuff." We may even loose some relationships, opportunities and even the certainty and comfort we have become so accustomed to.
But, this I know, of this I am certain, difficult times may be ahead. Like the example of Stephen, even when it's all crashing down, I want to be able to lift my eyes to the heavens and know that my Savior is standing at the right hand of God. I can trust that even in the certainty of our uncertainty, he guarantees us life eternal with Him.
Trust and obey. Trust and obey. Trust and obey.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.