Thursday, February 6, 2014

into the darkness.....

Yesterday was a heavy-hearted day.  I cried through most of it, fearing the darkness that seemed to blanket my very existence.  I called my sister-in-love whom means so much to mean, and is a HUGE source of encouragement for me, and cried to her about the darkness that was hovering over our family.  I shared my grief, and my sorrow over the things that have forever changed our family, and how could I, Heather, Mama & wife have enough faith to endure EVERYTHING that our family is going through?  Though I felt somewhat better after our conversation, I quickly found myself in a pool of tears once again, and ultimately when I laid my two young son's down for their nap, I too, took a nap.

Later in the after noon, my brother called me.  All he asked was, "how are things going?" and it was with that, that I burst into tears once again.  The weight of the darkness looming was more than I could bear.  He began to speak to me in a way that I had failed to think about before and that was this, "what kind of parent do I want to be?  What do I want for my family?  The more I thought about those two questions, the more I knew that today's teaching was planned perfectly me, and I had been primed to hear HIS word.

It's of absolutely NO surprise to me that HIS Daily Teachings today was to show me that though I can't escape the darkness, I can control how I choose to endure the darkness.  This morning HE has once again taken me "into the darkness," that is my world, and show me where HIS light is.  Once again, HE has shown me that my "true treasure" is HIS JOY, and that it is only found when I walk "into the darkness."

The more I think about living as if though I am already in HEAVEN, the more overwhelmed I feel, as the darkness that I am enduring is suffocating me.  HE is wanting me to know that even though there may be darkness in the night, HIS JOY is there in the morning, and it is mine for the taking!  I must choose to claim HIS JOY!  This morning I wrote in my journal "LORD JESUS, teach me to value what YOU value.  Help me to see that eternal ALWAYS trumps temporary."

"because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

This morning Kay Warren's writings of her own personal struggle with darkness really spoke to my heart, "Choosing to BELIEVE in the darkness-- in our personal lives and on a global scale-- opens the door to JOY!"

HE is wanting me to know that my life is NOT about how much suffering I have endured, rather how I have handled the suffering I have endured.  HE is wanting me to know that it's not about "one upping" someone else to say that my suffering was far worse than theirs.  I BELIEVE that HE placed that on my heart very early in my journey with HIM, as I have always said, "No matter how much I "think" I have suffered, I know that there is someone else out there that has endured far worse!"  That mindset, has saved me from a world of hurt, pain, and sorrow.  I am thankful that I truly understand and have chosen to live out that very statement in my life.

HE is wanting me to know and understand that the darkness that is in my life isn't always just about Satan attacking me, rather it is about HIS plan to refine and renew me, to build me stronger, to lead me further in my trust and belief in HIM.  HE is wanting me to know that the only things I need to remember are HIS vision, HIS grace, HIS mercy, HIS forgiveness, and HIS love.  HE is wanting me to know that once I start living my life with HIS vision, NOTHING else will matter, even the very thought of darkness looming over me will not shake me, and I will be able to say, "even though I may be walking "into the darkness," I will NOT be moved!"

Just thinking about a song by Natalie Grant "I Will NOT Be Moved" brings tears to my eyes.  As I read over the lyrics once again, tears of JOY flooded my eyes!  "I will stumble, I will fall down, But I will not be moved. I will make mistakes, I will face heartache, But I will not be moved.  On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.  I will not be moved"

HE is wanting me to know that is exactly how HE wants me to live my life!  With unwavering faith, with strong conviction of WHOSE I am, and with courage to seek HIM daily, making the choice to seek HIM, and ask HIM to teach, lead, and guide me through every single step of my journey towards wholeness with HIM.

Though I have heard this next song, and sang it so many times, never before did I truly understand the power in the message of this song.  "We Won't Be Shaken" by Building 429 really spoke to me this morning, and it too flooded my eyes with tears, as I knew that it was another loving reminder from my HEAVENLY FATHER that HE is there, and with HIM I can endure anything!

"Whatever will come our way. Through fire or pouring rain. We won't be shaken. No we won't be shaken. Whatever tomorrow brings.  Together we'll rise and sing. That we won't be shaken
No we won't be shaken."

HE is wanting me to know that even though I have failed to honor HIM, HE can, will, & does work EVERYTHING out for my own good.  

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

There have been so many times in my walk where I have read HIS words, and though they haven't spoken to me in the past, there is that moment in my despair as I am trudging "into the darkness" that HE reveals HIS promise and HIS JOY to me.  This morning HIS words jumped off the page at me, and have brought great comfort to my pain inflicted soul.  

"I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord,the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:3

I know that HIS words spoke to me this morning, because it has been during my walk "into the darkness," that HE has revealed to me that HIS gift, my "true treasure" lies.  HE is teaching me that I will only be able to know and find HIS gift to me in the moments where ALL I have is HIM.  HE is wanting me to know that it is only in the midst of my pain, sorrow, and sufferings that I will be able to find, and know HIS greatest gift to me and that is HIS "endless JOY."

HE is wanting me to know that it is NOT HIS intention to see how much pain and suffering I can endure, rather how I am and WHOSE I am while enduring the pain in my life.   I must hold on tight to my faith, and trust and BELIEVE that when walking "into the darkness," HE is my light!  HE is the anchor that keeps me from being swept away into the raging seas of my despair.  With HIM I can endure anything, HE will always be light, and HE will NEVER forsake me.  

One of the most memorable messages I have ever heard was given by my wonderful Pastor at Elevate Church in Morton IL.  Brian Sanders has been a HUGE source of encouragement in seeking more of HIM, and asking HIM to use me BIG.  Pastor Brian has always said things like, "GO BIG or GO HOME!"  The words I hold most dear that he spoke just before my "breakthrough" was this, "you will know WHO you are, when you know WHOSE you are!"  Those words have been with me for the past year, and slowly as each day passing, in seeking HIM, and through HIS daily teachings I am learning WHOSE I am.

During my conversation with my brother yesterday I was crying about a memory I had of my Dad when I was little.  I was remembering how all the times that I tried to say I was sorry to him, for my behavior and for making a mistake, he never just held me, and acknowledged that I was truly sorry.  Rather, he chastised me for the way I was apologizing, and made it clear to me that no amount of sorry would ever be good enough. NOTHING I could ever say or do would EVER erase how horrible of a person I was.  This was to be an agreement, and a bondage I would carry with me.......... until this morning.

HIS gift to me this morning is simply this, my dad was wrong, has been wrong, and will continue to be wrong.  HIS truth is this"  My sorry is enough, good enough, more than enough, as each day through each mistake I am repenting, and I am seeking  HIS guidance, HIS love, HIS mercy, HIS forgiveness, HIS vision, HIS plans, and HIS purpose for my life!  HIS truth is that NO ONE, NOT ONE THING could EVER separate me from HIM, and NOTHING can ever take away my ability to know and BELIEVE that HE saved me, HE loved me, HE lifted me out, HE carried me, HE helped me, and HE is renewing and refining me no matter what the world is saying about me.  Even my earthly parents, family cannot ever change HIS mind about me, and how HE feels about me.  HIS truth simply is today, "I am worth it, all of it, and NOTHING I could ever say or do would make HIM love me any less."

Today HE is giving me the strength and the courage to once again walk "into the darkness" knowing, believing, and declaring that HE can once again deliver me, carry me, and lead me through it all.  Today I am declaring that the LORD is my ROCK and I won't be afraid, as I know HE is with me.

Yesterday I received my latest gift of reading from HIM and it was "Power Thoughts Devotional" and today's power thought is this, "I refuse to say "no way," as I BELIEVE JESUS is the way! The only way!

"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

I must choose to BELIEVE that HIS JOY is HIS gift to me, and that it is only found in the midst of my pain and sorrow.  I am able to understand this because it is easy for me to see HIS JOY when I am happy, but it is in the midst of my sorrow when I can look beyond the "darkness" that is crushing me that I will know HIS true ENDLESS JOY.  I must walk "into the darkness" as if though it isn't there, as I know with HIM HE is my light.  

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Psalm 119:105

If I have learned anything in my almost 11 year journey with HIM is this:  My life before JESUS was blanketed in darkness.  I lived each day full of hopeless despair.  I never smiled, and I rarely experienced JOY and even when I did it was only temporary, and finally when I couldn't bear to breathe another second, HE LIFTED ME OUT, HE SAVED ME, HE RESCUED ME.  Just like I had always dreamed about when I was a little girl, and how I wanted so desperately to be rescued by my husband when we were at the tender age of 16 and 17.  

I BELIEVE that HIS plans, and HIS purpose for my life, is to share my "beautiful mess."  To bring my story of hopelessness that became HIS HOPE, and how HIS JOY has flooded my life, and blanketed the despair that tried to choke me out of HIS "ENDLESS JOY!"  I know that I am called to speak HIS truth, in the midst of ridicule, and disbelief.  I know that I am called to live out my live with contagious faith.  I know that I have been chosen to endure the tragedies, and sorrow that I have because it is what makes my "mess" HIS "beautiful message!"

I pray today that if you are walking "into the darkness," you will know that HE is there.  HE will lift you out, and HE will carry you.  I pray that you will know that HE is your rock, and with HIM you won't won't have to ever be afraid of anything.  I pray today for peace and comfort for your breaking, hurting, and despaired filled hearts.  I pray that you know that HE is the GOD of HOPE, LOVE, COMFORT, & PEACE.  That HE is the GOD of life, and HE has chosen an amazing life for you live, all you have to do is seek HIM.  I pray that today  you will have that courage to say, "LORD I need YOU, please help me, be the LORD of my life."  Friends, I am praying for each and everyone of your hearts that you will be filled with HIS promise and HIS love that HE is there, always.

With much love and blessings,

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