Tag Archives: Holiness

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

 

Sunrise

I can always count on the sun rising each morning. It’s a steady event. One that happens each new day that the Lord provides.

With that sunrise comes His mercy. His grace. His love. Forgiveness. Direction. Guidance. His presence doesn’t rise & set like the sun…it’s a constant. Oh, do I ever need that constant.

What is unknown is what will happen each day.

There will be phone calls that change realities forever. Unexpected letters that explode hearts into a million pieces. Emails, pictures & texts that alter walking through each day. There will be grief and loss. Confusion & devastation. Abandonment & sorrow. Betrayal & brokenness. Complete cutoffs.

As the sunrise turns into a new day, there will be so many opportunities for hurt…but in all that hurt there’s hope. Hope in what doesn’t change…Him. He never ever changes.

I can wake up being haunted by the hurts of yesterday and He’s there. 

I can start each day with a deep heaviness and He’s there. 

I can open my eyes and not know how to start another day and He’s there. 

In the deepest hurt…He’s there. He’s always there.

sunrise

He knows what will happen as the sunrise appears on the horizon. He goes before & he leads. He holds out his hand & walks his sheep through each day.

That’s the hope I’m talking about. I know situations can feel hopeless, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. True hope isn’t found in a person or a thing. It’s found in the Savior and His Word.

The walls inside my home have seen many tears. But outside– I can step outside and His beautiful sunrise is there each morning. It doesn’t have to stay outside either. His light can penetrate through every single crack & shine hope onto each tear-stained spot.

That same hope is for all the broken. Are you broken? He can help! Cry out to Him for his mercies and he will provide. I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not…but you don’t have to do it alone. He will lead you and love you in ways that you never thought possible.

I’m walking this path longer than I ever thought, but do you know what? I haven’t lost my hope. It’s actually growing. There are things that He needs to change in me to help draw me closer to him.

Will you love me after devastating phone calls? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when others hurt you? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me if your dreams are not my plan for you? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me if I take away the children I placed in your care? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when your life is painfully hard? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when I allow more brokenness to walk through the door? Yes, Lord. Yes. I love you more & more.

The sun will rise again tomorrow. For right now, it’s today. With hope in my heart, I will follow my Shepherd wherever he leads.

All The Way My Savior Leads Me 

Forever His sheep,

Tracy

#Psalm23Study #MyShepherdlovesme

 

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

 

Authentic

Precious Savior, you are worthy of all. Here is my life…please help me every second of every day to glorify You. Lord Jesus, may authentic be at the core of Your church. Start with me, King Jesus…here-I-am. I am Yours. Forgive me for being so slow. May Your will be done. I pray for an authentic Spirit-led heart. You are worthy of all praise & honor…AMEN.

Far too often, I think many of us try to figure out who we are by using worldly standards instead of searching the scriptures to see who we’re called to be.

We scan over the character traits mentioned in God’s Word, as if they are optional accessories instead of commands.

We put all our effort & energy into everything of this world & offer Jesus scraps of time.

We say we love God but our devotion goes to the internet, a screen, fads, hobbies, jobs, TV & people.

We give each other unspoken permission to continue doing what we want. To keep focusing on what makes us happy & empowered. Words like repent, sanctification & wicked are tossed in a bowl labeled radical.

We attempt to soothe our sin by plucking scripture out of context. Being comfortable in church is more important than humbly seeking the Comforter.

We say we are believers yet our time, attitude & actions show exactly who we have belief in.

We dismiss unwholesome talk by spreading a layer of praise & worship over it.

We’re OK with spending more time with people who don’t sharpen us as a believer & excuse away their active sins VS being with those who offer discipleship & equipping godly fellowship.

We’re afraid of or misunderstand the words “fear God” & yet we show no fear for the wrath of God.

We make our own plans instead of getting our our knees & waiting for God to reveal his plan.

Forgive us, Lord.

I say we because, regrettably, I’ve done each one of these things at some point in my Christian walk. It grieves me to admit…even more than once. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Thankfully, with God’s mercy & grace there’s hope for an internal change if our heart is humble. Changing comes with growing pains & I’ve had myself plenty. They are painful & hard, but oh so necessary. I know there’s more to come because I’m committed to continuing to change. Even if it’s by one painful tiny half step at a time.

Every change needed follows the realization of something that’s sinful inside, so repentance is the first step. There’s no side stepping it. No short cuts. It’s gotta happen.

I read a devotional & there was a sentence that really stuck out to me…

When we’re authentic to our faith and who we are, God’s presence joins in. Our words and actions reflect who He is, no matter the situation or who’s with us.- Suzie Eller

YES! That’s the goal! I want that!!!!

Authentic people are the best kind of people to be around. Words & actions are a reflection of who we really are on the inside, not who we pretend to be.

Many times, pain is at the root of no growth. Pain masks truth & we can get all cloudy in our thinking. We just want to be accepted, loved & allowed to do what makes us feel better. That all circles around feelings & as Lysa Terkeurst says, “Feelings are indicators, not dictators.”

Authenticity can usher in the healing balm of God’s word IF we get real & stop hiding.

Everything I listed at the beginning had me in chains. A chain of consequence links. Jesus can break any chain of bondage that we face. He really can. Rebellion is all about self. Submission is all about Him.

I don’t know if you’re ready for change.  I do know there’s no faking it. Pretending doesn’t work. I’d love for you to join me in striving to be authentic. I think this world could use some more authentic people, don’t you?

Hanging on HOPE,

Tracy

A Girl & Her Words

I’m certainly not in the “girl” category anymore. My years have bumped me way past that title. My daughter let me know in the store last week what my new bracket is. The current t-shirt designs have many of the cartoons & images I grew up with. Jaelynn quickly pointed out it’s because they’re “vintage” & vintage is in right now. Have mercy! I’m vintage!

IMG_1153

Every season is full of learning. Life lessons never end. Let’s grab a cup of coffee or tea ( I drink both!) & chat for awhile about girls & their words.

The Lord has graciously given me words to write with. They float around in my head all the time. What doesn’t come easy for me is spoken words. I can get things down on paper so much easier.

Spoken words come with body language & tone. Ugh…two of my hardest hurdles. I’m working on it. The Holy Spirit is more than able to soften the edges on anyone, including me. First, it takes awareness & honesty. Then the desire for change, commitment to change & intentional effort to change. All this change needs to be rooted in God’s Word, prayer & meditation on His Truths. I can’t change me, but the Holy Spirit will always be transforming me & that gives me hope. The moment I think I’ve arrived or am all good is the same time that 100 red flags start flying.

The Lord has opened my eyes wide to what He doesn’t want me to be. My learning style absorbs things better with reading, writing & physically seeing something. I’ve seen a lot of different examples of “a girl & her words” lived out around me. Oh friends….words matter. Tone & body language matter.

It’s never OK to discount another’s feelings, offer unsolicited cutting “advice” disguised as compassion, make assumptions based out of your own thinking followed with fix it statements, mask bitterness with caring, frost all your sharp words with an attached disclaimer saying that’s who you are, or just plain show a lack of interest in really listening to someone. Saying hurtful words that you feel are right & offering a hug at the end isn’t empathy. Girls…our words will either bring life or death.

We all have different personalities. Each of us have different strengths & weaknesses. Those differences are meant to come together & make a beautiful puzzle.  Some of us will be around the edge, some in the middle, some way over to the right/bottom, etc. We’ll piece together strongly with those that fit into our unique shape. Others, we’re part of the same puzzle but placed in different areas & that’s OK. Encourage the pieces that God has placed you next to. No matter how hard you try to force pieces together that weren’t meant to fit, it’ll never work. A new puzzle box might be brought out soon & you could be connected to different pieces in that one. No matter which season or puzzle it is, the purpose is always Him.

friends on mountain

I have “walk worthy” written in my bible next to Ephesians 4:1-3. Ephesians 4 is packed with helpful truth.  None of us will ever find the right answers or direction in our own thinking. It always comes from a changing of the heart through God’s living Word.

For me, I know that I need & will always need Jesus….desperately….completely.

A girl and her words shouldn’t cause others to search for a back door escape. A girl & her words should be a welcoming mat to all who enter her presence. People shouldn’t walk away from time spent with us feeling discouraged. Let’s be hope bringers instead! We can start by asking ourselves a question before we speak… “Jesus, are these words helpful or harmful?”

Lord, thank you. Thank you for change. Thank you for not leaving me where I’m at. Help guide my thoughts & words to be in line with Yours. I pray for encourager’s to rise up & discourager’s to be softened. I pray that you plant a deep root of encouragement in me. It takes Your courage to seek continued transformation. Fear & pride keep chains around hearts. Please free these hearts, Lord. I pray that You soften my words, tones & body language. I know You’re always at work even when there’s silence. Your timing is always perfect & I trust You. I love Your perfect plan. Please send the Helper to show me how to be a girl with life giving words. I love You, Lord Jesus. Thank you for the cross & for choosing me. Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, & renew a right spirit in me. In Jesus name….Amen.

In Him forever,

Tracy

 

 

Holiness

I’ve been trying to get a few blogs done but this just won’t leave my mind. So, I’ll wait on those & share my heart with you instead. I’ve recently finished the book Holiness by Nancy DeMoss. She touched on some topics that most seem to place aside or completely ignore. I became a follower of Christ when I was an adult so I get the worldly way of living. I still bear scars from it. Thankfully, those scars are covered by the healing grace & forgiveness of Jesus but they are still part of me.

Being in the “Christian” community isn’t wound free either. Key reason- sin & humans. The last 2 chapter’s had me on the edge of my seat. The Heart of Holiness & The Passion for Holiness. I wish I could type out the entire two chapter’s for you- really, the whole book. Please read the book! I was “Amening” right & left but it was also convicting me in a powerful way. In the last chapter, she talks about taking holiness seriously, sewage in the church, the church marrying the world, a passion for God’s glory, time for repenters to repent & about 60 sentences that hit at my core. I’m not even going to tell you about the list of questions she has to examine yourself in the previous chapter. It’s pretty heavy.

Let me share this paragraph from her book: And then there are the more “respectable” forms of sewage that are often overlooked and tolerated among believers-things such as overspending, unpaid debt, gluttony, gossip, greed, covetousness, bitterness, pride, critical spirits, backbiting, temporal values, self-centeredness, and broken relationships. Sadly, the church-the place that is intended to showcase the glory and holiness of God-has become a safe place to sin. Then a couple paragraphs later: We have promoted a “gospel” that says it is possible to be a Christian while stubbornly refusing to address practices or behaviors we know are sinful. We have accepted the philosophy that it’s OK for Christians to look, think, act, and talk like the world. Um…OUCH. 

I was deeply saddened reading this chapter. She was asking, ” where are the men and women who love God supremely, where is the fear of God, where are the saints who’s lives are above reproach in all areas, where are the believers who’s eyes fill with tears & hearts ache for the unholy church, where are the sore knees from pleading with God to grant the gift of repentance, where are the compassionate Christian leaders who have the courage to call the church to become clean before God, where are the parents who are willing to deal completely with everything unholy in their homes, where are the parents who are on their knees for their children’s sin, where are the repenter’s that need to repent.” Sigh…

There’s nothing more that I could add to what she’s already wrote. What I can do is self examine. I’m part of the church. Am I genuinely seeking holiness? I could easily read those words & come up with all kinds of excuses or I can read that & be crushed by my laziness in things that really matter. I looked like the world for too long. I don’t want to anymore. If I did have the desire then I would be asking myself some serious questions!

I may not know what the latest & greatest is. I may be really behind in the times. I may even look a bit odd. That’s ok with me! I’d rather stand out in a weird way then blend into the world’s way.

Church, can you kinda get why the world doesn’t want to be a part of us? Is there any conviction inside you to seek holiness? It starts with each one of us. I know it hit me like a rock! Can I challenge you to take just 2 days & write down every single thing you do. Log everything including internet & phone usage. Jot down attitudes & conversations. Then go back & take a look. How much time did you pursue holiness? How much time did the Lord get? How much time did you spend being the hands & feet of Jesus? Does your outside match your heart? I already know I need work.

– Oh Sovereign Lord, I lift up my life into your hands. Wash my heart in holiness. I need you every second of the day. I pray that my days are an offering to you. Forgive me for allowing myself to be misguided. Your Word has the truth & that’s where I need to seek answers. Lord, you know all my weaknesses & I pray you will strengthen them. Thank you for rescuing me, loving me & never leaving me. Thank you for the trials in my life to grow from. Thank you for Your Holy Scriptures. I love you. In Jesus name, Amen. –

Micah 6:8, 1 Peter 1:13-20 & 1 Thessalonians 4

In Christ,

Tracy