The Healing of a Broken and Contrite Heart

Dusk

He was in the dusk of his final days and I knew the time was drawing near  that I would need to either step out or lose all chance of receiving the one thing that I needed most from him. Forgiveness. I had stalled on this conversation for years and allowed time and distance to be the manifestation of my fear and neglect to the relationship.  I had ignored, time and time again, the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach out, dig deep and allow humility to heal not only the relationship I ruined but also, my broken and contrite heart. My heart, in this situation…lay broken and  battered from the abuse I had inflicted on it from the decisions I had made and continued to make.

Yes, I had done this. And to me, there was no coming back or restoration that could be had. Was it worth a try? Absolutely not.

Yet…

Would the fear of not knowing if restoration was possible, add water the streams of unforgiveness and create a river of bitterness that would flow into an ocean of endless waves of grief, self-doubt and loathing every time I remembered?

I knew that it would and to live on without this man and  a lack of forgiveness consuming my heart, it was unbearable to consider. I knew I must step in faith, knowing whatever the outcome, I had peace in the offering. No matter how selfish it felt to know that I would remain among the living with sweet relief while he lay riddled with cancer…I had to act.

Yet, fear.

And then I found myself in Psalm 51. David. His sin in the matter of Uriah. Murder. Adultery. His feelings of separation with God. And his holy repentance.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” (v 10-11)

David’s anguish before God and his pleas for a clean heart and a right spirit align in us all our inherent need for the presence of the One that formed us. The cries of a broken and contrite heart to the One that began it’s beating…

“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (v 15-17)

A Holy God. And His assurance in His Word that He would not despise a broken and contrite heart.

Ummm….What?!

I had wounded, abused, beat up, thrown down and despised my heart time and time again for my transgressions and He would not? WOW.  This was the moment where fear and selfishness no longer had a voice because true repentance and humility sang the sweet tune of praise to a God that restores, redeems and forgives. And in that moment, He did just that.

And courage found it’s place and love walked me through it.

And forgiveness was given.

From both my God and my Tribe.

And myself. To myself.

In fact, that night that I sat weeping in my home office, writing words of repentance that I wished I could say in person, God gave me the most beautiful vision of Heaven that I was able to end my letter with giving comfort that this man could have in the knowledge he was already resting in the arms of his Father and Creator.

My letter was read to him just a short time before the sun finally set and the heavens welcomed this warrior. As he lay weeping, he said these words…

“You tell her I forgave her a long time ago…”

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” (Psalm 103, v 10-13)

 

 

 

 

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A Challenge to the Church as we Keep Up with the Kardashians

Hey Church….There’s been a lot of news/posts/sports op-ed pieces written today about Lamar Odom and his being found unconscious in a brothel in Nevada. News of possible cocaine, alcohol and sexual enhancement supplement use has him in the hospital with his wife, Khloe Kardashian by his side and possibly fighting for his life. As the church, there are some things we need to remember.
In the midst of it all, we can never overlook the workings of God and the Holy Spirit. We are called to be in the world but not of it and to remain kingdom minded.
And we never act in regards to anything without love.
I’m surprised at some of the things written and honestly, saddened by the response/comments of many. Everyone is entitled to have their opinions and hear me in that I respect their right to say whatever they want, but as the wife of a man that has spent the last 10 years choosing sobriety and choosing life above cocaine and other drugs, I pray every day that God keep us and keep my husband in His grip.
We are all one decision away of walking outside the will of God and His victory. Lamar is no different.
I’m grateful for the tribe my family has that allows us to talk openly and come for accountability and love but others aren’t always so lucky. I pray no one calls my husband the things that have been said about Lamar as he is challenged each day to do life, in spite of his upbringing and circumstances. It would be tragic if God is bringing about all the circumstances of Lamar and Khloe’s lives for His purposes and we miss a chance to activate the heavens on their behalf while we sit in judgment and not partner with them in prayer.
What if God is creating the visibility to this issue to activate the Saints to battle? THESE are the one we are warring for, Church!! He came to set free those in bondage and heal the brokenhearted. What would you have said/done if someone, struggling with addiction, was found at a legal brothel, and you were the one that got the call to help?
Would you show them Jesus or judgment?
Would you stop as the man did on the Samaritan Road and pick them up, clean their wounds and help them heal? I pray to God that any of you sitting in judgment today of Lamar and his choices, would answer my call…come to my aid…and love me as Jesus does. Don’t make ANYONE in your sphere of influence or with visibility to your venom today doubt you wouldn’t do the same for them. They just may need your Jesus in those moments and wish they had someone to call. They won’t forget your words or action and may suffer the same fate as Lamar. Shame on us if we lose just one…because of something we could have controlled.
Especially, our unbridled tongue.

I’m praying we continue to grow and mature in Him, seek His words and wisdom and do what we know to do best, Tribe. Listen, Pray, Serve.

I’m praying for us all.  May we be the Church to a connection-starved world that just wants to be seen and heard. And valued…just as we are.

In My Weakness…

weakness1

He is strong.

It’s all I know right now.

It’s all I can depend on.

As life moves and days flow by, I am more aware every moment of my need to utterly depend on God.

Strong statement you say?  Perhaps…but what other things do I depend on without a thought?

Breathing? Food? Water?

Who gives them to me?

Who gave me the very breath I breathe?

He did.

Psalm 3:5, 6 says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Cool.

Hmm…

Trust.

Lean not to my own understanding.

Acknowledge Him in all things.

He’ll work it out.

Got it.

Til the next time I worry, fret, fail or fall.

And he gently reminds me….

“My grace is sufficient, my daughter, and My power works best in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Huh?

Best in weakness.  Doesnt that just BLOW your mind?  When my body hurts and Im feeling like I got hit by a truck, the last thing I want to do is pick up, carry, and do ANYTHING…Im certainly feeling WEAK and without STRENGTH and He says that’s when His power works BEST?

Not to carry my heavy box but to carry my heavy heart.

Oh yeah…that.

*smile*  Oh Friends…its all He is about.  Loving his kids enough to carry their heavy loads and burdens.

His Word says… “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

He wants your stuff.  Your weakness, your cares, your every moment of every day….simply because He cares and is crazy about you!

So in looking at those verses, here is my final thought on what I know He is saying to me today…(Sweeping The Temple Version!)

My daughter, I am so crazy about you!  I see how things are spinning around you and I want you to know today that I love you and I am in the midst. Cast your cares on me today…Trust in Me and stop trying to fuss and fret and work it out in your own head…I got this!!  I know the path I have for you, humble yourself and the feeling that you have to do it all for yourself…you never have to do it alone for I am here and want to take it from you because I love you.  I see you are tired but remember this…I am at my very best in you when you are feeling your weakest.  I love you, daughter…

See…He simply does…because he simply loves.

In my weakness, He is strong.

Stop, Surrender, Submit, Strength, Success.

I’m praying for you, keep sweeping.

Yesterday, on my commute home, I was talking to a girlfriend about foods that we don’t allow in our houses for one reason or another. These reasons included allergies, intolerance, and challenges with portion control. Ultimately, choice. I realized in the midst of the conversation that I was running low on petrol so I disconnect from my girlfriend and stopped to get gas at Kennydale…yeah…the Chevron with the little grocery store for you local folks. So let’s get it out of the way and talk about the elle in the room…there are NO good choices at this little store…LOL!! FOR REAL. Knowing I am hours away from food and due to poor planning and a headache, I buy a bag of Ritz cracker and peanut butter sandwiches. You know, the little bag of goodness?! Yeah…The bag said that there were three servings in each bag (12 little bite sized sandwiches made up a serving.) and so I ate my one serving. I call my girlfriend back and quickly note to her that I may have found something that CANNOT be in my house. These little ditties were distracting and I could have SWORN that the bag was calling to me!! Seriously. My girl, GINA, says, “Well yeah, it’s PB between butter! Throw it out the window, I don’t care if you litter!!!”

WHO DOESNT LOVE THAT?!

I tossed the bag in the backseat and out of reach but WOW, that was close! I would have eaten the whole bag!! It’s disposed of now (In the garbage) but my point is twofold…One, who is your support that screams, “Throw it out the window!!!”?! Is your issue food? Toxic relationships? Negative self-talk to the one in the mirror?

Let me say it in case you don’t have that support, “THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW!!!!”

It’s not serving you well, get rid of it! Jesus said that he came that we might have life and life more abundantly…toxic living, at any degree, isn’t abundance, Tribe. His desire is for us to get freedom and victory in these areas and trust him in the process.

He’s got you.

While I could just stop there…let me press in just a bit further…in regards to food alone. What are some food items in your house, car, or office that perhaps are no longer serving you? I challenge you today to be brave and discard just one item and choose to not allow it to enter that area again. Just one. Nothing more. For today. 🙂 God loves you so much, Tribe…He began the good work in us, let’s trust him today to complete it. I’m praying for you!

Keep Sweeping!

 

THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW!!!

The purpose is His, He will carry it out; the fruit is His, He will bring it forth; the abiding is His, He will maintain it.” ~ Andrew Murray  

“However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine. So be it with us too.”
Andrew Murray

“Christ Jesus said: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” In other words: “I, the living One who have so completely given myself to you, am the Vine. You cannot trust me too much. I am the Almighty Worker, full of a divine life and power.” You are the branches of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is in your heart the consciousness that you are not a strong, healthy, fruit-bearing branch, not closely linked with Jesus, not living in Him as you should be—then listen to Him say: “I am the Vine, I will receive you, I will draw you to myself, I will bless you, I will strengthen you, I will fill you with my Spirit. I, the Vine, have taken you to be my branches, I have given myself utterly to you; children, give yourselves utterly to me. I have surrendered myself as God absolutely to you; I became man and died for you that I might be entirely yours. Come and surrender yourselves entirely to be mine.”
Andrew Murray

The True Vine

A Sailor’s Dying Wish

Why I am so proud to be the daughter and wife of Navy Vets…

iDriveWarships

Bud Cloud

After signing my Pop, EM2 Bud Cloud (circa Pearl Harbor) up for hospice care, the consolation prize I’d given him (for agreeing it was OK to die) was a trip to “visit the Navy in San Diego.”

I emailed my friend and former Marine sergeant, Mrs. Mandy McCammon, who’s currently serving as a Navy Public Affairs Officer, at midnight on 28 May. I asked Mandy if she had enough pull on any of the bases in San Diego to get me access for the day so I could give Bud, who served on USS Dewey (DD-349), a windshield tour.

The next day she sent me an email from the current USS Dewey (DDG 105)’s XO, CDR Mikael Rockstad, inviting us down to the ship two days later.

We linked up with Mandy outside Naval Base San Diego and carpooled to the pier where we were…

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43 & Free – The Fox and the Harvest

Fox and grapesToday is my birthday…I’m 43…and determined this to be my year to walk in freedom and victory.  I’ve spent the last nine months intentionally working on my “stuff”….only to acknowledge that I’ve been a work in progress all along.

These past months have taken me on a journey that brought me to healing my guilt and shame, the wounds of the past and setting me and my marriage on fertile ground that has been planted with great seeds that will yield a plentiful harvest if we continue to cultivate a rich environment for the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience and a tree of wisdom and success beyond our wildest forecast.  As with all things harvested, only time will prove the success of the planters…and I have it on good authority that The Master Planter has great intentions for the harvest of my heart and marriage.  The Bible says in Psalm 85:12 (NIV) “The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.”  I believe with everything in me that with a confident God that only suggests that we “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5,6) that fruit is guaranteed when we trust in the fruitful harvest that only He can bring.

Its been quite a year since I last blogged here…As Solomon noted in Song of Solomon 2, “the little foxes, that spoil the vines…” I’ve realized that the things that I thought were life-changing and vision-altering were simply foxes in an attempt to spoil the harvest….seriously, we make things so difficult for ourselves sometimes, don’t we?!  The heartache comes when we realize that we left the gate open with a big, fat “Welcome, Foxes” sign on the post that they readily took advantage of and it’s when we are sitting in the dirt wondering what happened that we realize we failed to armor up and stay vigilant. See…my foxes…yeah…they are fear, anxiety, worry, pride…you get the idea.  I read throughout the Bible of men and women of faith that fell to fear and my hope comes in the written knowledge that God still used them and taught them in the midst of that same fear.  I read a quote in a blog this morning that changed my perspective about Peter and the night he walked on water…Fear is a thief. It robbed Peter of a perfectly good walk on water, and kept the eleven in the boat – Bill Johnson …Peter went on to do great things with Jesus and I am confident that I have done great things in/through/for Him and will continue to do so…but my fear…its hindering.  My foxes come with name tags like “Fear of rejection”, “Fear of abandonment”, “Fear of water”, “Fear of loss of control”….Seriously, friends….I could go on.  Yet when I look back, He still used me and I still grew and I am still healing.  It leads me to this one conclusion:  If I was used, grown and healed in the midst of fear…how much more effective could I be in spite of it?!  That’s what courage is…action in spite of fear not the absence of it.  I learned that on a recent trip to Hawaii with my children…I was determined throughout the trip to do the things I was afraid of…and I lived through it!!  What deception I believed!!  I put my face in water (Hadn’t in over 20 years…including in the shower), I got in a water tank with a Wolphin, I flew in an airplane….I apologized to my children.  And I lived through it all…and continue to do so.

SO this year…my 43rd year…I am determined to seize freedom and victory and hold on to them with everything in me.  I will step out in spite of fear and do the things that were mine to accomplish before the foundation of the earth was laid…

As my husband always says…”We step as if we have God’s approval…He’ll let us know if we don’t.”

I’m free. I have victory. I am a daughter of the King. I honor Him well. I have courage.

Time to shore up the gates, friends…the enemy seeks like a roaring lion, whom he may devour.  Better to deal with the little fox before the big game arrives.

I love you and I’m praying for you!