Monday, June 24, 2013

Living Sacrifices: The Pain of Growth

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

I lay in the midst of flames, 

watching the ashes of all I am 
flash and flicker
and strain against 
reality. 

A million small lies have whispered their way into my life

through other people, the world around me, and even myself. 
Lies that I know intimately, 
that shadow me when no one is looking, 
and when everyone is. 

I'm very uncomfortable here. 

I am in a new place, 
with new people, 
and no family, 
and unfortunately familiar lies. 

I have never felt more alone, 

and strangely
more confident. 
Because those lies
have become so consistent 
they are background noise
to the real show. 


There is a reason 
people sacrifice dead things.
The pain of choosing to 
burn
is a heavy weight. 


I have scars that everyone sees,

and scars no one ever will. 
I find myself hurting and alone frequently here. 
I hear Him saying "Go this way," and I say, 
"Here am I, send me."

And for the first time,

I am not running from something,
but towards Him. 

I am growing, 

and the pains are like fire. 
I have never experienced pain like this before. 


But Jesus wants a heart

alive.
A love that chooses, 


A sacrifice that 

breathes. 



Praise when pain manifests

Truth when lies have fun with my mind. 
And LIFE when all that hinders me
burns to death
and all that is left
is Jesus.

I could deaden my heart

but then 
I would not be offering 
a living sacrifice. 
and that is the only sacrifice that counts. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tribute To A Christian Heritage: A Thanks to My Family

Today as the bus dropped me off after work (I got to have lunch with some lovely Mercy girls today), and I started to do laundry, I had a moment of remembrance.

I have come so far, and a life in victory tastes sweeter than I ever thought it would.
To be honest, I never thought I would be here.
I have so many memories of being told,

I know it's hard
but you're going to do it.

I know it's hard
but you're going to make your bed.
I know it's hard
but you're going to dress yourself.
I know it's hard
but you're going to walk.
I know it's hard but
someday
you'll be independent.
No excuses.

I had an unconventional childhood,
but I never doubted my siblings would
speak the truth in love.

I had a lot of pain stored
in my heart
thanks to the struggle
my life was
and
"hurt people, hurt people"
and I definitely hurt my family
because I was hurting.

But they never lost sight of what they were fighting for.
They never gave up on me,
even when I did everything I could,
to make them go away.

So now,
I do my laundry, get dressed. and work on my own hair because my mom never gave up on me.
I walk because my daddy made me work on it even when I would rather do anything else.
I make jokes about Cerebral Palsy because my Bubba taught me that I can control my response to walking funny,
I love who I am because Landon loved me even when I wasn't very lovable.
I learned how to ask for help because Emily always makes it seem like it's natural to have to help her 24 year old sister with her make up.
I learned that God really does have a destiny, even perfect in laws (thanks Sarah M) so dreams are worth dreaming,
because He will do
above and beyond
all I could ask or imagine.
I live the life I wasn't brave enough to dream of
because my parents never stopped having faith in the One who could make it happen.

But more than anything
when my family
didn't know how to help
their heartbroken little girl
they pointed me to the One who did.

They didn't love Jesus with only words.
They loved him with hugs when my body was stiff and unyielding.
They loved by speaking love when I spoke hate, and life when I spoke death.
They loved with letters when I was far from home,
and pointing me to the Bible when I was believing lies.

So if you're looking for evidence that Jesus lives
just look at my family
and know He's still fighting for you,
and using you
to fight for others.

I'm crazy thankful for my family.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Generation to Generation: One Person Can Make a Difference

Mercy just celebrated  their 30th Anniversary. The theme was Generation to Generation This made me think of Psalm 154:4 which says


"One generation shall commend your work to another, and shall declare your mighty acts."

The Bible promises that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.(Revelation 12:11)

Mercy came about because one woman made a choice to obey the voice of the Lord, even when she knew she couldn't do it in her own strength.

As I sat listening to testimony after testimony of how this one choice saved SO many lives, it made me realize something... I owe so much of my life to people who made one choice:

The choice to intentionally sow into future generations.

It becomes so easy to do what seems wise in the moment,
spend money on things that don't really matter,
waste time on things for which you will never reap a return,
and ignore the voice of the Lord because what He has asked me to do seems much too far out of reach.

But that goes against everything I believe in.
I am a life redeemed
because people made a choice.

To invest in this organization
invest in LIFE
when death seemed eminent.

To believe in HOPE
when I couldn't believe in it myself.

And it makes me want
more than anything,
to invest in the next generation,
because ONE choice from ONE person
really can save a life.

I am living proof.


For more stories just like mine click

And for a book that will really challenge you to follow the voice of the Lord even when the world makes it seem impossible you should check out Nancy Alcorn's new book Mission of Mercy! 

You can find it here







Monday, June 17, 2013

Sometimes It's Okay to Hurt

Hebrews 4:15A "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses."

Today I'm falling apart. The thing I DESPISE about CP is that I can't control it. I can't control the way it makes my knees hurt, I can't control the way it controls my body's responses, and thanks to the fact that I don't drive (Thanks again CP) I can't control the "stuck" feeling I get when I need help, and the system around me doesn't keep their word.

I feel so weak and hurt and have a desperate desire to JUST once feel whole, instead all the time I battle the lie that I am less than, that because the world around me doesn't keep its promise I must not be worth keeping promises for. It is easy for me to want to spin CP and pretend like I have made it this positive thing because sometimes I can, but I never want it to seem like God is only good because I am able to make CP positive.

Today I came home and fell apart on Jesus, and you know what? It was WONDERFUL because He can SYMPATHIZE with me. He knows how to just let me be in my pain which I need sometimes. He knows that I am helpless and He holds me when I have nothing else to hold on to. As I have grown in my relationship with Him I see something WONDERFUL

He is God in my tears, He doesn't offer some kind of platitude to make everything okay, He doesn't speak when I'm not ready to hear it, He doesn't make me feel guilty for not always being able to see the positive. Sometimes I'm scared to go to Him because I don't want Him to be disappointed that my thoughts and my beliefs don't match up

But then I realize "perfect love casts out fear" and that's how He loves. It is not what He does, its who He is. He knows when I am going to fall apart because He already has His arms open, waiting. He knows when I'm mad at Him,  and you know what? He's God enough to handle my anger. He knows I want answers He is not going to share, and He is okay with that because His ways are higher than mine, but more than that He is my Daddy and there is no judgement, there is just sympathy and grace,
and love.

I wish I had a neat little wrap up that would make all this pain go away but I don't. So, here's what I know...
He's God.
He loves me.
Sometimes it's okay to hurt.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sometimes It's Dark: A Post About Choices

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. Isaiah 45:3

Sometimes I just want to close my eyes, because I know too much...
I know laying in bed at night unable to sleep when I remember the dark places. 
Skipping class, headaches, and dreams of being 
anywhere but here. 

I know the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Intimately
Dressed to mourn
even as I lived

I wish I walked the "normal" small town Christianity,
whose biggest struggle is standing up for Christ
when the whole town knows
if you don't
your mother will find out. 

I wish I remembered
Secret things
always come out. 
I wish I had stopped
hiding
from the Love that sought me. 
I wish I knew about the Valley
before I walked through it. 
Because what I know now 
is that darkness can be overwhelming, 
some memories leave scars
even after healing.

I wish I could go back to that little girl
and tell her to STOP making choices
that feel good in the moment...

Choices that leave you in the dark...
but when I complain to my sweet Father about my road
He reminds me
I give you My greatest treasures, my sweetest secrets
when it's 
Dark. 

Sarah Turner

Copyright 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Seeking the Wrong Thing: Faith Unfinished


 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,  Heb. 11:40 

Everything in me DOES NOT want to write this because I am scared, but I feel led to write it  so here goes nothing...


I have been thinking a lot about Cerebral Palsy lately. It stinks. I am sore ALL THE TIME, I need more help than the average person and it causes some embarrassing situations that I can't control. I am about to be as in your face as possible so be warned. I l HATE CP. I believe that God heals. I believe His promises are Yes and Amen. I believe Him. He promises to take this away. God does not make promises He doesn't keep. But, sometimes life tells me differently. Life tells me I am not good enough. Life tells me if God were real He would just ZAP heal me and CP and its pain would no longer be a reality. Life screams at me to DOUBTDoubt my ability, Doubt Him. Life tells me it's not fair,I never get what I want. All I know for sure is1. He promises healing. 2. He loves me. 3. He HAS NOT healed me. That leads me to the following conclusion....

PEOPLE SOMETIMES SEEK THE WRONG THING. 

When my prayers become only about MY healing and not HIS WILL I am praying the WRONG prayer. I don't think that praying for healing is wrong but I think you can pray for healing and still be missing faith. 
When you pray for someone, what do you pray? Are you only seeking the miracle? 
Faith means believing that NO MATTER what He does He is not wrong. Faith means seeing the "hard" of life and not trying to sugar coat it by pretending that it makes sense.  
Faith means knowing Him and being content with that. 
Faith means being real,
If I am shooting straight I HATE that last one because that means being 
vulnerable. 

So here I am. 

I hurt. I would give just about anything to not deal with this. CP makes me worry.  "Will my niece love me even though I can't play the same games with her as everyone else? Will I ever be ever able to handle the realities of a family of my own? Will I EVER stop seeing CP as part of my identity? Will I ever stop feeling different? I do pray for healing, and sometimes I'm scared I will only "see it from a distance" or have to wait for heaven (NOT ready for that yet..)

And here is my Truth...

I don't know the answers to any of those questions.  But I know my Jesus 
and He promises me LIFE and LIFE abundant. 
He promises healing and He has delivered
with joy like I can't believe, 
purpose worth fighting for, 
and so I LIVE "doing it afraid." (Thanks Joyce Meyer). 

I have FAITH in Him 
regardless of whether I ever get my miracle. 

But thus far it remains
Unfinished  


 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Testimony Tuesday: In Response to Mercy's Question

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.   -Jeremiah 29:10-12

Today Mercy asked a question on their FaceBook page that I thought I should answer since I find myself back in the place where I went "in exile" to borrow from Jeremiah. "In what ways has the Lord used Mercy to bring hope, transformation or encouragement into your lives?"


I still remember the lost little girl who was looking everywhere for her identity,
mirrors, friends, piercings, and words,
I remember tears every night, and flinching at hugs. 
I remember anger. Anger everywhere
at the girl who could drive when I couldn't,
at the parents whose love would never be enough,
at the siblings who no matter how far they reached
it wasn't far enough. 
At the church who couldn't heal my breaking heart.
At the friends who were seeing the fruition of their dreams,
when my life felt like a nightmare.
At God for the healing He seemed to be withholding, 
but mostly at myself
for not being enough
for anyone to love. 
I remember speaking death. 
Death to my dreams, death to my relationships. 
Death, because I no longer knew what life looked like. 
I remember lies. 
Lies about who I was,
lies about who Jesus was,
lies about my family
and lies about everyone else
I remember questions and chaos. 

But now I don't remember...
I know,
without doubt,
Who I am, and Who He is. 
I have found my identity in His word,
His quiet whispers and LOUD evident presence in my life. 
I know Mercy. 
I know the taste of tears at the overwhelming knowledge
that I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. 
I know the peace of letting my daddy hold me, 
and my mom kiss me goodnight
and my siblings tease me. 
I know Purpose
in bus drives, and awkward falls, and asking for help, 
and closing one door to open another, 
and walking in destiny
even when I'm terrified. 
I know my family
Loud and loving and real and present. 
I know my church who point me to Him when they don't have the answers. 
I know my friends
who cry with me, pray with me, 
see me in all my mess and want me anyways. 
I know Truth. 
He sets me free. 
I know His voice and I follow it. 
I know Love because He loves me. 
I know that no matter what I don't know
I know Jesus, and that's enough knowledge. 
I know Life
and it is always worth living
it is always full of surprises
and happy times and heartbreak
but none of it compares 
to the Source of life who never left me
even when I turned my back on Him, 
spit on His banquet table,
I know Grace
and dreams beyond my wildest expectation,
all because He sent me
to Mercy and 
most of all
He drew me back to Himself. 



Monday, June 3, 2013

What Love Looks Like: Through the Miles

As I start out on this journey I keep thinking about how loved I feel and it made me think about what love looks like.

When people ask me about why I love Jesus even when things are hard or hurtful I don't how to explain it. I love Jesus because I know Him (and He knows me). Jesus is love, and those who are in Him know how to love like no one else I know.

They love through FaceTime life group and snap chat smiles.
They love through frozen yogurt going away parties and text messages.
They love through little "pieces of Texas" they loaned me for my time in TN.
They love through I'm freaking out phone conversations.

Love looks like crying together when life doesn't make sense.
Love looks like laughing at yourself when you do something dumb.
Love looks like praying when someone else doesn't have the strength,
and not saying what someone else already knows.

Love looks like praying over puppies,
and moms coming through security.
Love looks like rocking chairs on front porches
and sweet puppies who cuddle.

Love looks different as things change, but no less real.
Love sees you exactly as you are,
and finds life unbearable without you in it.

I am so humbled by the love I know
and pray I live my life
loving like He does
Thank you all for your love