Tag Archives: Christian

Scar searching

I never thought I’d be searching through my scars. I’ve always seen them as life battle wounds. I knew they told a story to me, but I didn’t realize they might be a place of hope for others.

My scars are sacred places where Jesus has walked.

The ‘searching through’ is because I don’t have a clear vision on the balance of how much to share. I don’t want a circumstance to speak louder than the way my Savior met me and helped me through.

The Lord has laid on my heart for a very long time that helping others gives purpose to the pain.

Each step He’s asked me to take in this area has been stretching & hard. It’s also been restoring. He never asks me to do things without Him or aside from his strength. That’s how I’ve been able to take the steps I’ve taken so far.

Share how your oils have helped you…share your testimony” – “I don’t think I can, Lord. It’s all too close to my heart.” – “Share, offer my hope and point them back to me.”

Write. Use the words & talent I’ve given you “- “I don’t think I can, Lord. It’s all too close to my heart.” – “Write, offer my hope & point them back to me.”

I’ve been doing both of those things for well over eight years now. I’ve stumbled, stopped, ran, and been more vulnerable than I ever thought possible. He has never left me.

He waits ever so patiently for me to learn from my mistakes. He shows me when I start to make it about me. He forgives me when I disobey. He leads me through the unknowns. He creates beauty from my messes. He shepherds me through it all.

He reveals more & more as each next step is shown…and the next…and the next.

Psalm 119:105 ” Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (CSB)

sunlite path

I realize now that what I thought was a hefty beginning those years back was only a scratching of the surface. It was all preparation practice for what was coming.

Those scars that I have. He’s been the balm for them all these years. Now…now He’s asking me to show them a little bit more. He wants me to see their beauty.

“Redeem your pain by investing in others. Use your scars for My purposes.” – “Oh LordI don’t even know what that looks like. I believe I can do all things through You, but how do I do this? How?”

Every place I turn- bible reading, daily devotionals, prayer studies & books… it’s everywhere! I can’t escape what He’s asked me to do. The confirmations have been around every corner.

Now… I wait for the how.

I went for a walk today & was sharing my concerns with the Lord. Truth be told, I’m worried that I’ll botch everything up & not bring Him glory. Oh how gracious & merciful He is!

I’m currently reading Your Scars Are Beautiful to God by Sharon Jaynes. My goodness… the timing is no coincidence! The content in this book is kicking my tail.

As I look back I realize that for the past year or so the ground works been being laid. Out of every hard thing came another arrow that eventually led me to right here. Scar searching.

I’d like to share a few quotes from Sharon’s book with you-

“I see our scars as priceless treasures that our Master has entrusted to us. We can choose to invest those treasures in the lives of others or we can choose to hide them because of fear.”

“Satan wants to use our past to paralyze us. God wants to use our past to propel us. The choice is ours.”

“I have always heard people say, “Time heals all wounds.” But I disagree. Time does not heal. Only God can heal all wounds.”

I’m still making my way through the book and I have section after section underlined.

You guys, life can have some really hard seasons in it. I don’t know exactly what or how scar sharing looks like yet, but for now He has me scar searching. All in worship to Him.

sunset1

My bible has 2 Corinthians 4 broke up into three titled sections:  ‘The Heart of the Gospel’, ‘The Treasure of the Gospel’ & ‘The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel’. I believe gospel centered living has scars woven all through it.  The chapter is overflowing with hope.

“We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:10

The scars He has are from my desperate need for him. My scars are to draw me closer to Him. How can I not use them to glorify Him?

During my walk I was reminded again about time. The days I have remaining are surely less than what I’ve lived. I don’t want to waste them on myself. I want to use them for my God, my King…my Savior.

Do you have scars that could offer His hope to others? Maybe it’s time for some searching. I promise…He will lead the way. Don’t let the enemy paralyze you with fear. Those scars you have…they are victorious battle wounds Jesus redeemed. Worthy to be shouted about from the mountaintops…all in His name!

His daughter,

Tracy

Quitting isn’t an option

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to quit some really hard things that the Lord has had me walk through.

It’s not easy to admit, but quitting has always seemed “easier” to me. Which is a complete lie, because all that ends up happening is I detour myself the long way around. I end up facing the same thing. The circumstance may be different but the learning and refining process is the same one I tried avoiding.

He has sure been having me come face to face with quitting…and what’s at the heart of it.

It’s when things get hard & messy…and they will get hard & messy, that us humans tend to get a little misguided.

What happens when we pray about something, read scripture, seek His direction and are led a certain way? We get humbled & excited, right? We are ready to obey & go!

Then hard sets in, our efforts don’t seem to be producing much fruit & we’re running into one dead end after another.  We tell ourselves that this must not be God’s plan after all. Sadly, this is where many abandon ship & quit.

I don’t know about you…but, goodness have I ever.

Did He lead me there? YES. Did He lay that direction on my heart? YES…and then I let my feelings start to cloud my vision.

He wants me to fully depend on him, not myself. He wants me to persevere and endure. I need to commit to trusting Him in the unknowns.

Hebrews 12:1-3

I must…wait on Him, his timing & his way.

These refining moments weed out all my plans. If I’m honest, the hard times expose so much about me.

Instead of running from that, I need to own it.

waiting-and-watching-a-sunset

When things don’t go as “planned” how easily do we claim we must have misheard Him. God did-didn’t-did-didn’t.

He doesn’t change his mind like a light switch. That’s usually us.

So many times we miss the character refining & blessing because we quit.

We quit on Him.

We quit on ourself.

We quit on others.

I know I shifted from I to we & there’s a reason. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that struggles with quitting when things seem hopeless.

Quitting can’t & shouldn’t be my default. Especially when I don’t understand what’s going on, or what the Lord is doing. I don’t have to understand- I just have to follow hard after Him and let his strength be mine.

silhouette-young-woman-walking-alone-beach-sunset_53476-3151

“Oftentimes God allows our scenarios in life to get hopeless—He allows our efforts to become fruitless—He allows our knowledge and instincts to prove useless in order that we will see that it is He who works within, through and for us with His power.

He does this because He wants you, like Peter, to witness Him come through for you in your hopeless situation so that you will experience Him and trust Him in the way that He wants to be experienced by you.” – Tony Evans

He refines us because he loves us. Quitting isn’t an option.

I’d like to share Ephesians 3: 16-21 with you-

“I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (CSB)

My prayer is that you & I can really believe and rest in the truth of this scripture.

My friend, when things don’t go the way we think they should & struggles come let’s remember Who we serve, why we serve him & what our life is truly for.

There is purpose in the hard! Romans 5:3-5

Loved beyond measure,

Tracy

Oh those lies

This quarantine time is interesting.

Back the dumpster up to my door cuz, honestly, I’m ready to start pitching.

So many of these “things” around me seem useless. Empty.

There was one other time in my life that I had this same thought process. It was after losing my son.

When hard seasons like this hit, what has real value and what doesn’t stand miles apart from each other.

My life is cluttered & I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be this way.

Take all these books for example. I love books. I read them & save the good ones just in case my kids might want them.

Do you see the fault in that? I’m making a decision for them that isn’t mine to make.

My life isn’t their life. My hobbies, dreams, talents, etc are passions that the Lord laid on my heart….not there’s.

I’m actually just leaving them a mess to clean up, and I don’t want to do that.

There are times I feel like I’m still in my thirties. Where has twenty years gone. (geez…when did thirty become young & how do I have a son getting ready to turn it)

How many of those years have I lived in the shadow of consequences. Ones by my own choices & ones because of others. I’d say each day has one or the other or even both, because someone, somewhere is always making a choice and choices have consequences.

woman sitting in sunset

Identity.

Just like I don’t get to choose my kids identity, no other human should have the power to determine mine.

And that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit reminded me of the other night.

It’s crazy how when I actually slow down, get isolated in my home, stop running around from one thing to the next that I can become undistracted enough to get fully quiet before the Lord.

This isn’t the first time that identity has been brought to my attention since I became a follower of Christ.

The very next morning, He led me to Mark 14 and there I was. Seeing myself in Peter.

bible image

When I fear man more than having a reverent fear of God I’ve forgotten my true identity. By doing that, I’m denying my Savior…the very one I belong to.

I let the voices of some speak louder than the voice of my God and that is wrong. I have to ask myself-  is this voice sharing opinions or pointing me to the word of God?

Fear of man has dictated my choices for way too long. My very own thoughts can be just as damaging.

“What will they think, will they understand, what will they say, what if they find out, will I let them down, I should do this so___ won’t happen, I need to___ to stop___ , I have to ___, what if ___, I can’t___by myself, how will I ___, what if they lie about me, I just need to try harder, stay quieter, be better”…and the list goes on.” -oh the lies quotes inside my head.

None of that is living in the freedom of Christ that Jesus died for. Freedom in Christ doesn’t mean I can live however I want. It means that I live my days out because of Him and for him.

Galatians 1:10

Proverbs 29:25

After some convicting time in the book of Mark, another cup of coffee & settling back in for more reading, Dr. Tony Evans handed me another round of solid truth-

Identity theft- when we worry too much about what other people think rather than what God thinks.

Worrying about other peoples acceptance of us is one of the greatest strongholds to over come.

People pleasing strongholds can lead to other strongholds.

It is possible to be more people-oriented than God-oriented.

Satan uses our legitimate need for acceptance in an illegitimate way that can result in us living under a false identity.

You will begin to overcome your stronghold of worrying when you decide what God says about you is most important.

The God, who does not change, loves you with an everlasting love.-Tony Evans quotes from Kingdom Life daily devotionals.

Do you see how opposite the lies I listen to and real truth are?

I know this! I’ve been reminded of it so many times! …and yet here I am again.

Face to face with repentance and crying out for Spirit led help. I can’t do it on my own. I never could. I can only move forward by cutting the chain of identity lies, daily proclaiming & living out who my identity is in.

My identity is not in this world, anything it has to offer, or the things inside my home.

My identity is a saved by grace daughter of the One true King. A redeemed child.

I’m fairly certain my false fear of man will rear its ugly head again. BUT- there is no stronghold stronger than the ultimate stronghold.

His word is my weapon against all the lies.

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 

“But I will sing of your strength and will joyfully proclaim your faithful love in the morning. For you have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble.
To you, my strength, I sing praises, because God is my stronghold—
my faithful God.” Psalm 59:16-17

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: all who follow his instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10

sunrise picture

We have one life. We have our God given talents, purposes and callings. Are we using them & pursuing a deep relationship with Him or are we forgetting our identity? Is fear of man dictating too much of what we do? I know those are all questions I need to ask myself often.

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:5

I think it’s time to start sorting through all these things around me and recommit to what matters…AND toss ‘oh those lies’ in the dumpster too.

Gracefully broken,

Tracy

 

 

He Already Knows

Praying in ways that we think will please.

Hiding our real wants in hopes of praying them away.

Convincing ourselves that if we say the right prayers then He won’t know our true desire. 

He doesn’t need our religion. He wants our submission to His Will. Our whole heart. Our surrender of self.

It’s been almost a year since I wrote those words above. They’ve been sitting as a draft collecting cobwebs. I guess I didn’t know how to finish it. I wonder if He took my thoughts and turned them into a few life lessons instead.

As 2020 draws near, I can look back and say with confidence that I know God was present. Even though some circumstances haven’t changed…I continue to draw closer to Him in them.

I wish change in me would happen much quicker, but easy and fast rarely produce lasting results.

Refining takes time.

IMG_0244

I can add more logs on the fire to try and speed things up, but that’s just it- “I”. That would be me, again, taking steps ahead of the Lord and trying to do things my own way.

Focusing on having the right sounding words is like wrapping a prayer in pretty paper. The presentation is all outward. Once that paper is torn away the contents of the inside are seen. He sees our hearts. If our spoken words don’t match what He already knows about our inside then it’s not very pretty after-all. It’s quite the opposite.

Relationships are two way. Attempts to control will always destroy and leave a trail of brokenness. The relationship we have with Jesus is not exempt. We can not claim Him as our King and continue to try to rule our own kingdom. That’s not relationship. That’s not love.

Surrender of self is nothing like control. It’s me looking at the ‘out of control’ and throwing both hands up in the air and saying, ” Lord, you already know. I am powerless to change anything or anyone. I can only change me- with you, through you and because of you. My life is for You. My talents are for You. My heartbeats belong to You. You created me to worship you, not myself. Aside from You, I don’t know what’s best for me. I need Your constant direction, grace, help and protection. Please cut off the rotten roots in me that lead to sin. Fill me with Your Spirit every hour.”

Submission, surrender…obedience- they are the polar opposite of what the world tells me to do with my life. Those are precious gifts I can give to the One who loves me so much that He paid the debt I could never pay.

Jesus Paid It All 

My steps are always one day closer to being home with Jesus. He hasn’t left me to myself or abandoned me in the chaos. 

He doesn’t ask me to make sense of the chaos. He asks me to trust Him in it. 

You see, He already knows. He knows what’s around the next corner. He knows what I need preparation for. He knows. 

Have you seen Him this past year? Are you laying aside sacred time to spend with Him each day? Please don’t miss Him. He’s waiting for you…for me…to put him in his rightful place as number one above all else.

Those few lines I wrote at the beginning of 2019 still ring true to me as this year comes to an end. I don’t know what 2020 holds, but I fully believe He already knows.

He gives us a fresh start each day. A whole new year is on the horizon. I pray He fills me with his Truth more and more. That He shows me how to truly be a help to others. That He brings restoration. For focus and understanding on how to take the next right step. That He draws me closer and closer…submerging me in His Spirit. To have a heart that loves Him more than I could ever imagine.

Goodbye 2019.

Eternally His,

Tracy

Rescued

I have been rescued.

I am a rescue story. 

Let’s sit together for a minute while I tell you a bit about my rescue—

This girl right here is a walking image of God’s indescribable grace.

The Lord has been reminding me about my testimony a lot lately. There are many chapters to my salvation story. All of it was leading up to one life saving moment when I would be adopted by the Father above.

Rescue Story 

Jesus met me in my mess. All those years of feeling lost and forgotten were redeemed the moment my hard heart was softened. I had been listening to lies my whole life and could finally hear the voice of Truth.

Shame had keep me in shackles. It dictated my actions and thoughts. I had many lords that ruled over me. Abuse. Addiction. Self-centeredness. Superstition. Control. Regret.

The one true Lord reached down into the pit of ashes I was in and pulled me out.

He carried my soul from death to life in Him. 

I did nothing to earn my eternal salvation. I would never and could never be good enough. It’s a beautiful gift of grace.  My eyes were opened and I finally saw my desperate need to be saved. I searched high & low for relief in the world, only to find more sorrow and fleeting happiness.

I fumbled through my “I’m sorry’s” to God. He already knew the sincerity of my remorse because he could see inside my heart. I had heard the word “repent” before but had no idea what it meant in this context. His grace doesn’t require a perfect understanding of certain words. He is the Perfecter & would work all of that out with me over time. The important thing was my belief in Jesus as my personal Savior & spoken words confessing my need for Him as Lord over my life.

My faith walk hasn’t been easy. Easy was never the promise.

Lies still come & try to drown out the voice of Truth. Valleys have been long. Paths of suffering have been real. But, do you know what? I can raise my hands in praise because those difficulties have actually strengthened my faith. In all the hardship I have seen the goodness of God in ways I never would have.

4A290E3F-4BDA-44B5-B688-42AC5E9C3A99

Yes…in my humanness, I have struggled. There have been times of wrestling I’ve had to experience with the Lord. All to draw me nearer to my Shepherd and further from myself. I’m an image bearer of my Savior. He daily molds me & chips away at the things that hinder my growth. His scars hold my very own. There is no other love like that!

I have been set free. Free…to point to Jesus. To praise His holy name. To worship with all that’s in me. To share His hope with others.

The same past Jesus saved me from is the very same past that Satan tries to remind me of. I don’t have to listen…I’ve been chosen. Rescued. The enemy used my lack of unforgiveness for myself far too long. I can’t fully listen to two voices. Honestly, how I spend my time determines which voice is louder. I have to be intentional about my minutes & how I use them.

My struggle wasn’t really with my past anyway, but with the enemy of my soul, Ephesians 6:12 , who wants to stop me from sharing about the One true King.

As long is there is breath in my lungs, I will share the Truth that sets souls free. Who I was is not my identity. Who I am is a rescued, forgiven, loved child of God.

Please hear my heart…there is nothing that can’t be forgiven. No one can be ‘too far gone’. His saving grace- full of hope, mercy & love can wash anyone clean.

Have you turned to Him yet and asked for rescue? Please don’t wait another minute. There is no hurt that He can’t heal. This world is so very hard. You don’t have to walk through it alone- there is a Rescuer near.

Thank you for spending some time with me. Let’s meet together real soon, OK?

Rescued by Him,

Tracy

#rescuestory

 

I have a Shepherd who rescues

Today I started week two of a bible study called Psalm 23 The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild. My friend, it’s intense.

When I first can across this study I thought it sounded like a relatable topic for my current season so I decided to jump in.

Well. Jump I did.

I’m also reading New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp. Because why not…it makes perfect sense to tackle both at the same time. Did I mention that I’m finishing up Enough- Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes? Don’t let the title of that one fool you. It is not a self help book. It’s a book on lies the enemy likes to whisper & who our identity is in. All deep stuff.

I love to read, but I’m usually a one book at a time gal or I run the risk of crowding out my bible time. There’s the whole daily priorities, goals & side things that vie for my attention and well- you get it, right? Multiple readings can be a challenge.

Thank you, Lord, that you didn’t let me overthink and for your guidance to these books that guided me directly back to You. 

He knows what I need more than I ever could. He is my Shepherd and I am his sheep. There is nothing that can heal me more than the truth of His Word. There is no greater hope. He saw that I was needing rescue again. He heard my SOS.

I am not hidden from my Shepherd.

Psalm 23

Taking a deeper look at how personal Psalm 23 is has been pretty emotional…and extremely comforting.

He is my Rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my light & salvation, my strength & shield, my King, my warrior, my help. I am His & He is mine.

He leads me, guides me, protects me, carries me, saves me, blesses me, watches over me, guards me, directs me, sacrifices for me, provides for me. For me.

That is beyond overwhelmingly amazing. He rescued me from death and continues to rescue me from me.

Rescue 

I was wrecked the first time I heard this song by Lauren Daigle. I cry every single time. I know the lengths He went to for my rescue.  He pulled me out of a lot of darkness. His love runs deeper than any other love. This song puts a visual in my mind of the search & rescue He did for me…his lost lamb.

There are people in my life that need spiritual rescue right now. No matter how much I want it for them or try to think of ways to help…I can’t. I can’t rescue myself or anyone else. All I can do is be the lifter of prayers.

The Holy Spirit is the only heart changer.  I tightly hold onto the hope that He will send out an army for them too.

The Shepherd rescues souls. This sheep is living proof!

If you’d like some extra prayers for yourself or lost loved ones, please reach out to me. I’d love to pray!

Forever in His care,

Tracy

sheep

#Psalm23Study

 

Anchor

I went for a walk down the lane to clear my head and have some quiet time with the Lord.

Right away I noticed how cracked & hard the ground is from a lack of rain. Things tend to make more sense when we see a cause and effect situation with our eyes, but what about when we can’t.

Everyone has circumstances surrounding them this very second. Some have simple explanations, like a lack of rain & others don’t. It’s the ‘others’ that can be such a struggle.

Lord, help us not to just see our circumstances, but to search for You in them.

I’d guess the plants I was walking by have pretty shallow roots. Ever since the seed went in the ground, the rains have halted. Plants need a deep watering to have deep roots.

It’s like us. If I only sprinkle my day with a quick prayer & a few verses then my roots don’t have much to draw on. I need a daily downpour to have roots that can anchor me in His strength.

Colossians 2:6-7 

anchor

The hope of Jesus is an anchor for our soul. I believe that with every ounce of everything in me. I can sink myself into His entire being to find hope.

Hebrews 6:19

Sweet friend, are your days hard right now? All I can offer is…Jesus. Please reach for the only One that can ease the pain. There is nothing else. Only Jesus. He fully understands.

It’s in the vast areas of water that anchors need to be mighty to go into the depths. During our stormiest times, we have an anchor unlike no other. He is the Great I AM!

Are you anchored in Him?

God’s Word is the rope that attaches us to the Anchor. Worship. Prayer. Scripture Meditation…each is a strand that adds to this indestructible rope.

It’s in the most uncertain times that growth happens. The hard ground & cracks of life can be used to bring Him glory.

Will you join me in trusting Him with the unseen’s & searching for Him in the midst?

Adopted by Him,

Tracy

 

 

 

 

Entrusting the One

There will be days, months…even years that shake you.

The unexpected can leave you—

facing each day with the same raw realities, climbing out of bed with weights on your heart & feet. Sunrise bringing new mercies that you desperately need, but the heaviness…oh, the heaviness.

It’s a hard place to be.

I can honestly say, I’m probably two steps ahead or behind you…traveling a road I never wanted to be on. I’m fairly certain more roads are to come. Until the Lord takes me home, there’s going to be rough paths here & there.

Strahlengang 3

Do you know what the good news is in all of that? I don’t travel alone. He doesn’t abandon His own. Ever.

The day that He opened the door & embraced me- sin stained, rebellious, prideful, broken, lost me…is the moment I gained a forever Father. Jesus fully loves me. So much that He died for me.

It’s because of all that He is that I can strap His sandals over mine & journey on.

If I’m carrying too many other things, I can’t fully hold onto Him. My grip will loosen on something. It can’t be Him.

So what do we do when the heaviness of the load becomes too much? Eventually, I let go—

entrusting people & situations to the One who set me free is the best possible thing I can do. I can’t handle the choices of others. I can’t change losses. I can’t heal hurts. I can’t prevent things from happening. I wasn’t created to do any of that.

The losses…I entrust to Him.

The pain & hurt…I lay at His feet.

The unimaginable…I surrender.

I don’t do it perfectly.  Even my letting go is messy & that’s OK. He knows I’m still learning. Still growing. It’s when I don’t let go that it’s not OK. If I hang on too tight or too long then the weights get heavier & I start sinking.

How do I know this? Because I’ve done it.

I wish I could give you step by step instructions, but I can’t. The letting go process has no time table. There’s no ‘right way’. All I can offer is stay close to Him, His Word, prayer & you’ll know when it’s time. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

‘Letting go’ is a phrase that’s misused by many. The thing is, with letting go, I have to be ready. It can’t be forced. Do you know what, “I have to be ready means?” It means I fully turn to the Lord, fully trust Him, fully release my wounds into his Hands. Fully.

Bumps will come. I don’t know what or when they’ll be or who will be involved. When it’s a child or someone very close to you, those unexpected’s can feel like someone dropped a load of bricks on your chest. There is just no way to prepare.

I entrust it all to the only One who can help. I need help. Always. When the season of unexpected is long, I need even more of His help. I can’t make sense of certain things. What I can do is let Him chisel away at the parts of me that need to go, so not only can I survive, but actually thrive.

bible at sunrise

It’s a special type of thriving. Everything tends to stay “messy” on the outside, but a ray of His light rises up hope inside. He lifts a few of the weights off & I roll out of bed, onto my knees and offer Him the day.

Lord, please use my life for Your glory. May I rest in Your endless mercies. Continue to bring restoration according to Your will. I know there’s a divine purpose for all of this. I trust You, even if I never see the end result.

Eternally His,

Tracy

 

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness.

It’s a word that comes with a variety of how to instructions, books, and detailed manuals.

It’s not simple to explain or easy to do.

What it is….is necessary.

I’ve read many books over the years on forgiveness & lots of step by step guides. Most of it has been helpful, even convicting at times. However, there’s one book that lays it all out. One that I return to time & time again…my Bible.

As a follower of Christ, forgiveness is at the core of my salvation. The Lord forgave all of my sins. Every last one. I didn’t do anything to deserve it & yet, here I stand…in His merciful forgiveness.

I know this truth & there are still times I find myself being half-hearted with it. Every second of every day I should be on my knees pouring out His praise. He didn’t gift me with partial forgiveness & I shouldn’t be giving Him pieces of devotion.

The enemy loves to whisper lies that I’m not really forgiven. Self condemnation rears it’s ugly head. It’s just not true. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the full penalty for my sin. I am His forgiven daughter.

Colossians 2:13-15     Titus 3:4-7     Romans 10:9-10

He provides the ultimate example of what forgiveness looks like. I never come anywhere near to doing it as quickly as God does. I’m not proud of that at all. I’m just being truthful with you. Sometimes it’s a process for me.

People will wound other people. I know I’ve hurt others & have needed to be forgiven. We all act & react out of a state of brokenness.

There are times when even the thought of being able to forgive someone seems impossible. The hurt is too deep. I can tell you from experience that it is possible. Not from anything we can do in our own strength.

Forgiveness can happen because we are the forgiven. 

Forgiveness isn’t forgetting. It’s forgiving, and we’re commanded to forgive…to bring Him glory.

Colossians 3:13     Matthew 6:14-15     Ephesians 4:29-32     Luke 6:37-38

forgive

Can I share with you for a minute? Not long ago, I faced a hard season. I knew I had to forgive someone very near & dear to me…but I couldn’t. I would sit outside staring at the horizon, crying out to the Lord. I could not find forgiveness for this person.

It was tearing me apart inside. Distancing me from true fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I was angry. Broken. Betrayed. Disillusioned. Hurting deeply. I had no idea where to start.

The unimaginable walked through my door & I wanted it to walk right back out.

Words & actions can’t be taken back. Sometimes…they destroy. That’s where I was. Sitting in the middle of destruction, begging Him to pull me out.

I kept seeking His help. Sobbing…sitting in silence…shattered. Days turned into months.

I would get glimpses of forgiveness & think I was getting closer, only to watch it slip  away…time & time again. The internal conflict was endless.

My daughter kept telling me to go away for a week & have some alone time. Precious time with my Savior always fills me back up with His direction & hope.

I never went. New piles were being added on top of the already existing mess. It was all too much for me. With each heaping load, less of me was left.

I was disappearing, but He was rising.

One thing He showed me when we lost Jake was that I couldn’t walk some roads…but He could. He carries the weak. He does it.

Here I was. Again. He was reminding me when I can’t…He can.

I remember the day. I was outside in my chair. Same spot, same crying, same hurt. I was pleading with the Lord to show me how to forgive.

Pray. Pray for them. 

I had been praying for change & praying about them…all the time. What I hadn’t done was pray for them.  Through sobs, I choked out new prayers. Not prayers about the hurt, or desired change & healing. I fumbled through imperfect prayers that were being lifted to a perfect Savior. He knew I was finally ready.

I had to forgive them as much as I’ve been forgiven. That’s a complete forgiveness. No holding back.

My heart had been hanging onto the hurt for a long time. I needed His heart. The heart where forgiveness resides. I knew I was in sin by not forgiving. Wading through pain is difficult & confusing. I struggled to find my way out, and He never left my side. That, my friends, is a loving God.

I can’t change people or heal wounds. Only Christ can. Surrendering what we have no control over is where healing begins.

Forgiving has no guaranteed relationship outcome.  There are too many variables. The person may not want reconciliation. Maybe they’re already gone. It could be someone you’ll never see again. The point of forgiveness isn’t about what surrounds the situation, because there is no eraser. It’s about our heart. When we won’t forgive, we aren’t free.

I’m still walking this path. I can’t promise that I won’t make mistakes. I have no idea what my responses will be. I do know that my desire is to please my Lord. I want to honor Him. All I can do is keep trying, keep filling myself with His Word, keep changing me, keep hoping, and never forget who the battle is with & Who it belongs to!

Sometimes, sadness does remain. We’re never quite the same after trials. Thankfully, He works out all things, in His way & in His timing. His light shines through every crack. Change is good…getting there is the hard part. It’s a continued breaking of our brokenness.

Do you have unforgiveness in your heart? The Lord sees it. There’s no hiding. Please…talk with Him about it. He really can help. I’m living proof.

Forgiven,

Tracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broken

I’m a broken person trying to share hope with other broken people.

Can I just pause there for a second or two. It’s a lot to take in.

The irony is so thick. I have no idea what I’m doing half the time. I know He’s called me to write, yet I still struggle to share my story. He continues to lead me to words. Words that I have no idea what to do with.

Hope, Tracy….share hope. Share your story. Share My hope.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (CSB)

Pointing to the God of hope is only possible because of Christ. He died a terrible death to free me from my sin. He gave everything. I never deserved His pardon…yet he freed me anyway. How could I not share His hope.

I understand that much of my life might not be relatable to many, but my Savior sure is. That’s who I want you to see whenever I share. Him. See Jesus.

Part of sharing hope is handing over all these broken pieces & letting Him use them to point others to the cross. There are times when I try to hold some back…glue them myself & watch as they fall to the floor.

Here are all my shattered pieces, Lord. Take them all.

I’m on day 3 of a 30 day emotion support challenge with some of my oily gals. Yes, I’m one of those essential oil users! After losing Jake, a friend shared some Young Living oils with me. My mind was able to quiet for the first time during deep grief. You better believe I noticed. I use them for pretty much everything now. It’s a way of life in our house.

It was hard coming up with a challenge chart for emotions. Not because I don’t see the value in supporting them. It’s more the feelings part. Emotions are tricky. They are indicators, but should never become dictators. (Thank you, Lysa Terkeurst)

Some of the difficulty is the degree & situation. People are struggling with everything from daily disappointments to life altering losses. The only common thread is we’re all broken in some way. Broken from birth & then filled with brokenness as a result of hardships.

There is no exact way to process hurts. No perfect formula to follow. No time table. Every single person & situation is unique. The only person who knows how another person feels is the Lord. Although, many try.

People are often quick to give advice. The best “advice” I received after losing Jacob, was from those who gave no advice. They provided for our immediate needs, were silently present & shared simple words of hope. That’s when I started to see how valuable sharing His hope is. I want to be a hope bringer.

It’s not helpful to the hurting to try & make sense of things or approach them from a broken human perspective. Which we all have. We don’t replace the Holy Spirit. We can’t take away pain for another or change anything. The best thing we can do is pray fervently for them.

Maybe you’re down & discouraged. Maybe you’re struggling with anger…or maybe you’re in deep sorrow right now. I’m not sure what you’re facing or how long you’ve been there. I do know the Healer is near. Seek Him. Run to Him. That’s where true hope lies. He is stronger than any feeling.

Feelings change…He doesn’t. Anytime we process situations through feelings instead of faith, it gets harder to pull out from being feeling controlled.

In our human brokenness, we either become feeling led or Spirit led. 

When it’s time, He does lift us up & out. His mercies are new each day. Pouring His Truth over our wounds is the best comfort this world has to offer. Our minds can get cloudy during tragedies. Others might have to do the pouring for us. Take heart, the Son can break through any cloud. Through the overflowing of His comfortwe will start pouring on our own again.

ray of light

I’m pretty sure we don’t even realize when healing starts. It’s rarely instantaneous. Slowly, we stop trying to hold onto everything around us and start holding Him tighter & tighter. The firmer we cling, the more He strengthens us.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

Friend, I stand in His hope every day & there’s plenty of room for you too! As a matter of fact…you can stand right next to me.

In His endless love,

Tracy

If you’d like to know more about my essential oil lifestyle then please check out Roots of Healing.  I have a blog over there too!