Tag Archives: Redemption

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.

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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

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.

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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

 

Waves

Recently, I was looking at an old picture of my boys jumping in some waves. When I glance at that picture, I want to scoop up all my kids & run to the only safe place there is. Straight into the arms of Jesus. Proverbs 18:10

Lake Michigan provided the best salt free waves ever. It also produced a lot of angst in my mama heart from the shoreline. I knew the undertow was always a threat to their safety.

Those days seem so long ago. I stared at it for quite awhile remembering how much fun they had. Eventually, I couldn’t see past my tears. One simple picture is a reminder of so much loss.

The baby that was on the beach with me is getting ready to turn sixteen. Each of the boys reached adulthood. All of them experienced life waves that crashed over much harder than any lake ever could. The powerlessness I felt from the shore was nothing compared to how helpless I’ve been to spare my children from the dangers of the world.

It’s funny how as a parent, you think you can protect your kids. Reality is, we’re just as human as they are. I can provide, teach, try to prepare them, and set up safeguards. I can’t actually fully protect anyone. There’s only one Savior & he is the ultimate Protector.

As my faith continued to grow, I realized the best thing I could do for my kids was get on my knees. Two things should happen at the birth of a baby. Parents should be given knee pads for all the praying that’ll take place & little ones should receive a seat belt for the bumps ahead. 

One of the challenges of becoming a believer in my adult years was trying to guide my kids at the same time I was learning. The very ones He entrusted me with & placed in my care are the ones I failed the most. Waves have shown me who’s ways are truly trustworthy.

Pointing them in the right direction meant pointing them to Christ. My trust in Him far outweighs my certainty in anything else. I wish I could say that I did it perfectly, but I was no where near.

My kids had a broken mom…but they had a perfect Savior. I prayed He would fill in all my gaps while they were under my care. There’s only one left in the house now & I’m still broken. On earth, I’ll always be broken. But not Jesus. He is still perfect…forever perfect.

Jesus redeems everything. In His time & in His way. Broken people. Hurts. Losses. All of it. That…my friend…brings me hope.

lake michigan waves

The wave jumping days are memories now. Good ones. If I close my eyes, I can hear the sound of laughter & yells over the roar of the water. I’m grateful for that. When I open my eyes, I see the remains of the reality that was to come. All I can say is…”It is well with my soul.”

Life will always have hidden undertows- in & out of the water. Waves of many sizes will come our way. The Almighty is the only place to find shelter. Psalm 91:1-2  

Rocks & sand collide in the turmoil of waves, and create smooth objects. It’s an image of being refined. We can experience deep pain as each wave rolls over us. The end result is a transformation that has His fingerprints all over it. We’re being made new.

None of us can stop waves. What we can do is call out to Him, reach up & grab his mighty hand! He’s right there in the midst!

Praising Him,

Tracy

 

 

True Hope

When I was younger, I had a different definition for hope. It was a desire, a wish.

True hope couldn’t be further from that. The longer I live, the more I learn about what hope is & what it isn’t.

Hope isn’t found in situations or desires. Real hope is found in the Savior.

My worldly understanding for hope was based on the dictionary, and occasionally I still use it that way depending on what I’m talking about.

When my identity was placed in Jesus, a new hope arose. The hope of the bible surfaced. This true hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised. The strength of this hope is rooted in faith & His faithfulness. From His hope flows joy & peace. Absolutely none of it has to do with circumstances.

The word ‘hope’ always seems to pop up. I’m currently finishing a 10 day challenge on hope. I need reminders of true hope & the freedom that’s found there. Day to day struggles try to crowd out His truths. The battle never ceases. It’s so important to keep pouring His Word over the lies.

True hope is a healing hope. 

Hope can’t be missing or well meaning words shared by another lack encouragement. Let me explain-

I’m a note taker (an actual pen & paper one 😉 ) and I often refer back to my notes. In the last four months, I’ve had a wide variety of voices speaking at me, to me & into me. The ones with messages that include His hope are life giving & transforming. I’m convicted to receive the truths shared & challenged to go study more. It’s an atmosphere for growth.

If true hope is missing…then not so much.

hope

People are hurting. You might even be hurting right now. We need His hope. We need to share this special hope with others.

He is the Healer of all things. He is the hope bringer. This type of hope is one that can’t be crushed by anything that happens. This hope is how we stand in ‘hopeless’ situations.

I pray you know this hope.

There is hope in…

  • His steadfastness- his ways never change & are always true
  • His protection & shelter
  • His sovereignty
  • His commands, guidance & truth
  • His Word
  • His goodness & promises
  • His saving love
  • Who He is- reflecting on His mercies each day & night
  • His good judgement & knowledge
  • His mercy & grace
  • HIM

Psalm 33:20-22             Titus 3:4-7             Psalm 62:5

Cling to His hope, dear friend…cling.

Resting in Him alone,

Tracy

 

 

 

His Healing Power

Have you ever experienced moments of regret so deep that you felt like it could swallow you?

Oh dear friend, I have. I’m gonna be honest…it’s not a good place to be. 

Every day there’s a fountain of living water I can drink. It’s found in God’s Word. Prayer. Quiet time with Him. Laying my burdens down. In the rush of life,  I often find myself thirsty. I take in drops instead of His healing flow.

John 4:10-14       Psalm 63:1-8

When I “hurry”, I’m vulnerable to old habits. My thoughts & words shift back to the very sin nature that Jesus died for. The enormity of that hurts my heart. Not nearly as much as it must hurt His.

The old me is where regret seeds were first planted. I made bad choice after bad choice. Distorted thinking was the residual that surfaced after I got married & had kids. I thought I could protect my children from life. I convinced myself that with the “right tools” in place they would be spared from regrets & totally forgot they had their own human nature. That “need” to protect only created more mistakes which lead to more remorse.

The closest we can get to doing relationships anywhere near just right is by exampling what we believe instead of just saying it. That realization usually arrives too late & we’re left with thoughts of, “I wish I had/hadn’t….” There are tears of sadness….and rightly so. Mistakes hurt.

Psalm 73:26

Change can’t happen with yesterday’s but it can be part of today. 

Regrets are one of the first things to flood in & try to steal the truths I hold close. I have at least twelve U Haul trailers full. I unhitched & parked them a long time ago but every now & again I try to pull a wagon full behind me.

Have you ever had them creep in out of nowhere? That’s how the enemy works. He whispers lies to saved souls trying to draw us back into darkness. I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired out, weary or in a heavy season of sorrow, those regrets can pull me right down into a puddle of sobs.

When those lies start coming…turn away & lean toward the Truth. We have a victorious King who already won. That’s where real power is found. He can & will break every chain.

Josh Baldwin released a new song that points to this power. Here are a few of the lyrics–

Stand in Your Love by Josh Baldwin

When darkness tries to roll over my bones
When sorrow comes to steal the joy I own
When brokenness and pain is all I know
I won’t be shaken, no, I won’t be shaken

Shame no longer has a place to hide
I am not a captive to the lies
I’m not afraid to leave my past behind
Oh, I won’t be shaken, no, I won’t be shaken!

There’s power that can break off every chain
There’s power that can empty out a grave
There’s resurrection power that can save
There’s power in Your name, power in Your name!

We all have hard stories to tell, don’t we? Life changing phone calls, core-shaking actions, images revealed, devastating decisions made by trusted loved ones, tragedies, abuse, addiction, mistakes, abandonment. There can be deep, deep sadness surrounding these things, but it’s not the end of the story.

Please hear me…the Lord can bring purpose out of pain. He really can. It takes time, but it’s more than possible. Handing the shattered pieces over to Jesus is where healing starts. The old is no longer our identity.

The power that can break any chain is the same power that fear flees from. His mighty power will hold us in His love. His perfect love. He offers it to us…the imperfect. The very same us that cost Him his life.

That fountain I mentioned? It’s always there. Let’s grab a cupful and thirst no more.

Forever in his mercy,
Tracy
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