Secret Garden 


He doesn’t have to scale the walls. When Jesus turns the key to your heart it’s like entering a Secret Garden. Going back to Eden with a world of beauties unimagined at your fingertips. He becomes the vine dresser, turning the winter into Spring, pruning away the dead, unlovely and poisonous and saturates the roots of the fruit trees with his ravishing love. He begins to teach you what to plant and how to grow and you are so excited to learn and happy just to be in His presence.
But sometimes, you start watering what’s meant to die and things that you once thought were lovely have lost their luster. Sometimes, bitter things start outgrowing the sweet things and you wonder where He’s gone. If you feel barren or that your garden is going through a winter season, You need to know, He never left. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Says the Lord. There is no time or space or grave sin between you. He’s only ever a gaze away. You have simply taken your eyes off of the Master gardener, abandoned what he’s taught you, and unknowingly set yourself above, taking his rightful position. But he is so kind and delights in showing grace and mercy. He won’t take his place by force. No. There has always been a garden. Love has always been a choice. You must give it, freely and wholeheartedly. Only in Him is life.
And when you do…oh when you do…His soft melodies in the wind rush over you and his rain saturates and nourishes the depths of your soul. Life bubbles up and pours out from your spirit into your day and everything you take hold of.
Complacency, pride, depression, bitterness, fear, insecurities, feeling unworthy whatever it is…anything that is not of Him are thieves of life. Don’t hold onto scraps. Hand them over and watch God breath fresh life into you. Don’t settle until you see Eden. Jesus is eternal Spring.

When you can’t see past the battle 

 

“From underneath the rubble, sing a rebel song.”

My heart leapt when I read this lyric. I can’t presume to know exactly what the writer’s intended meaning was, but for me, it conjured up an image of fighting the good fight of faith.

Hardships are a part of life. No one is immune. But you don’t have to let them dictate. There are many places in scripture I could take you but David’s way of processing situations stands out to me. We read about him wading through his tormenting feelings in Psalms 44:

“Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? “Why are you cast down oh my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”

All he could see was what was in front of him. At the time, he was being slandered and his enemy was out for blood. He felt God had left him and goes on complaining and moaning for awhile. But then, he remembers what God had done for him in past times of trouble and does something revolutionary. He rebels against his hopeless feelings about his current situation and replaces his trust in God again. He literally commands his soul to praise the Lord. “Hope in God for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” We later read of how God gives him victory.

How often and easily we tend to forget what God is capable of. How often we forget that we’re his children. Someone out there is feeling the hurt deep. The loss, chaos in a relationship, sickness or brokenness is all you can see right now. You’ve caved under the weight of those collected little, fox thoughts and emotions. They offered nothing but pats on your back of self pity and let you sink under a rubble of hopelessness. Well meaning people may have even played an enabling role,”God has a reason.” “You can’t help how you feel.” Hugs and support are great and needed, but you also need a push to do something kind of radical.

Some things happen because of our own bad decisions and some of no fault of yours. The enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy.
Regardless of the reason, what was meant for bad, God will work good for those that love him. To love him means to believe Him. I have seen a lot of beauty come from broken places. Speaking from my own experiences and countless others I’ve spoken to. I owe all my joy and peace and victories to God.

The world says it’s treason to rebel against your feelings but your carnal mind of emotions and feelings are fickle and don’t always tell the truth.Your emotions were never meant to be a tyrant over you in this way.

Want to get out from under that pile of rubble? Become a revolutionist. (Revolutionary-involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.)
Matthew 11:2 “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.”

Command your soul to sing a rebel song of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. Praise magnifies Him over your problem. Put your trust in Jesus and he will strengthen your faith for the fight and give you hope to see past the battle. Most of the fight happens between your ears. Every time you start sinking, replace your fearful and doubting thoughts with declarations of faith in truth. Stand on them! We have one up on ole David because we’ve been given the Helper…Holy Spirit, to help us “put on the mind of Christ” everyday.

When we are weak, He is strong. God saw everything that was and is and is to come in your life. He saw the depravity sin created in this world. He saw all your hurts and struggles, your tears and burdens and knew you couldn’t do it by yourself. In His awesome love for us, God offered a way through this human experience. That’s why Jesus died and rose. He covered it all and gave us a promise to never leave us or forsake us. When you humbly come before God, you get to trade your frailness for his strength. Forget formality, a simple “Jesus, I need you” will do. He reaches down and plucks us out, the mighty warrior who saves; putting His armor on you. Peace and joy in the midst are yours through inheritance. He empowers us with HIS spirit to overcome anything; giving us authority to call darkness into light, chaos into order and to change atmospheres and outcomes. Dear soul, you’re on the front lines and the decision to fight by your strength or His is in your hands. Your choice. Choose to fight FROM Jesus’ victory.

He is faithful, He is freedom, He is healer, He is hope and joy, love and peace and life. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Good things are in store for you!

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.”

– Psalm 121:1-2

“Nobody puts baby in a corner”

“Nobody puts baby in a corner”
I felt Holy Spirit drop those words in my spirit awhile ago. A peculiar phrase for sure. I haven’t seen the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ in years, yet there the familiar quote was, resting softly on my heart. I have to admit, there had been days I struggled with feeling discontent and devalued. Not because of anyone else…it was my own junk. Being a wife and mother brings much joy, but there was so much unrealized and aching to be birthed outside that realm. Those words at the top somehow spoke to the depths of me…and maybe this will speak to you.

The enemy wants to keep you quiet and intimidated so you might not do the things God has called you to do. Cornered and sedated with a lie. He wants you to feel devalued, inadequate and discontent and feeds those thoughts so joy and abundant life lay dormant. Don’t believe the lies.

The truth is, if you’re in Christ, you are sons and daughters of God. You’re His baby! You’re His child and were never meant to be cowering in a corner of unworthiness.

You are worthy. You are cherished by a God of redeeming love and continuous mercy. You were made to be salt and light. You were made to flavor and be a light in dark places. You were made to BE love and bring hope to a hopeless world. To give a voice to the voiceless. Yet, we all have our own unique voice. Sometimes that is what’s most intimidating. Because your ‘dance’ is different and your ‘voice’ doesn’t look like the strengths you perceive others posses, you will let yourself be put in a corner. Don’t believe the lie and fall into the trap. Be bold! Step out!

This isn’t about being in a spotlight. Only God is worthy of glory. It’s not people, it’s not your job or circumstance that gives you contentment, value and identity. Your contentment, value and identity can only be found in Christ. This is about realizing your sonship and learning who you are in him. Then you can fulfill your created potential.  Everything flows out of your intimacy with Jesus because when you dance lock-step with Him there is always something to offer. The Lord delights in that. When you shine for Him it encourages others to do the same. No matter your age or occupation, someone is watching your life’s dance. YOUR VOICE…YOUR dance…can make all the difference in someone’s world.

Lessons from a child’s faith 

My Children have been some of my greatest life teachers. Jesus even made examples of them beckoning us to have child like faith and to come to him as a little child. In their tantrums or mimicking we can see a unbecoming reflection of ourselves. But in their reckless love and wonder…their trust in us…we see what God intended.

The other day my 2 yr old adventure, Levi, gave me one of the best pictures of child like faith. It was early morning, we were all inside except Levi. I had heard him go outside, but we have a fenced in yard and I can keep an eye on him through the window. Realizing I hadn’t seen him for several minutes I ventured out to look for him. Where I found him surprised me. He had pulled a bench up to the swing set just below the baby swing, climbed in it and buckled himself in. Just sitting there quiet and smiling. Expectant. Locked in, he had no other options to get out but me. He desired to swing but couldn’t do it himself. As I approached, His eyes seemed to say, “I knew you would come and swing me.”

“If you live cautiously your friends will call you wise. But you’ll never move any mountains.” (Bill Johnson)

Levi was locked in a swing, unable to get out or even swing by himself. Seemed pretty silly. But then I showed up. Had he not boldly taken the steps toward what was in his heart to do, he would have been in the house doing nothing instead of swinging to his heart’s desire.

When you dare to step out in faith people may call you reckless or foolish, not understanding heaven’s reality. Sometimes you will even question yourself. Because often what God places on our heart seems unrealistic. And really, it is without Him. But you aren’t without Him. Refraining from self effort, you must rest in great expectation that he will do the work. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a part to play.
We are called to walk by faith, not by sight. By stepping out in faith and walking in obedience even when you don’t see the next step ahead, heaven will invade earth and open up a realm of possibilities.

We start actually having confidence that we will have what we hoped for even when we can’t see it in the flesh…because we can see it with our heart. (Hebrews 11:1)

What has God laid on your heart? Are you willing to say yes and be ALL in? To move mountains? Reap a harvest? See the impossible made possible? Will you trust Him at His word and take the unknown path? We don’t wait on God. God is always now. He’s waiting on you to move. Don’t. Die. Hesitating