Sewing leaves

figOk….this is the fourth attempt at starting this post. I know what I am trying to say but the words are just not coming out in any logical fashion. They are coming out like cheesy cliches – and that is NOT how I want to sound or what I ever want to share in this forum. I am weighed down this morning by a sadness that I can’t seem to express. Why do I read…hear…and almost believe the idea that its ok to be who I am – but can’t seem to actually own that reality and live it every day? Why am I unable to drown out the voices that incessantly chirp in my ear about my shortcomings? Why is the “bad” always easier to believe than the good? Who am I to think that I am ___________ (fill in the blank with anything…worthy, beautiful, okay, able, – you get the idea). I know that I am told that I have been “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Psalm 139:14. I read that…I believe it because it is from God…but there are many days where I DO NOT live it. I know deep in my soul that God loves me. I feel his love carry me through dark times and joyfulness. When I am alone in my fears, I cling to His love to sustain me. I do. But I still have doubts at times about ME. I’m not sure how that makes any sense. Perhaps when I fall to the dangerous act of comparing myself to others – it is then that I feel “less than” worthy. Comparison kills confidence for sure. When I am asked to step out and be bold I shrink and hide behind my insecurities. I become like Adam and Eve in the garden – sewing fig leaves to hide their reality. Ashamed of who they were and what they had done, they attempted to hide themselves from God. What do I need to hide? What am I afraid of revealing to the world? (As I type these ramblings of questions – I truly am not sure I can even answer them. As I reread and edit – I am not sure this even makes any sense). I guess my take away from this time spent pondering is that I don’t have to hide from the God who created me. He knows what I am attempting to conceal from the world – my endless insecurities and fear of failure. He knows and yet he loves me anyway. It doesn’t matter what the world sees or thinks, or if they judge and hate. I am broken. But with God I am whole. I am afraid. But with God I have not a spirit of fear. I am insecure. But with God I can do all things. I am weak. But in my weakness I am strong through Christ. I need to stop sewing leaves to hide myself from the judgement of others and stand strong in who I am in God.

Beyond what the eyes can see

IMG_0196“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 Of all the verses and sermons I grew up hearing my daddy speak, this one is the one that I remember the most. When I read it, I can almost actually hear my daddy’s voice speaking the words to me. It’s one of those warm, fuzzy feelings…and it takes me back to my childhood in an instant. As a child I knew it was an important verse in his life, and he certainly has lived reflecting it…but only recently has the significance of this verse really shown up in my life. Faith is such an important part of the woman that God wants me to be. I often hear people use the word in ways that have kind of watered its true meaning down. Referring to someone as “a person of faith” meaning that they are religious in some way misses the mark of this important word. Some people use faith as if it is some completely blind belief in something – almost like a wish come true. I don’t claim to have all of the answers to any of it, but I think that faith is more. To me faith is a bold, confident action or behavior in response to God’s never-ending love. Faith is what makes us want to live a life pleasing to God. Faith carries us through valleys when we feel like we can’t walk on our own. Faith assures us of the things that we believe but can’t see.

I would like to claim that my faith is rock solid and that it never waivers…but I can’t say that is the case. There are times when my faith is not strong enough. That’s not because God isn’t with me all of the time. It’s all on me when my faith won’t calm my fears and quiet the worries. And at times I get discouraged and frustrated with myself that I don’t stand stronger in my faith. Sometimes I think I should be able to withstand any troubles without bending. Occasionally I fear that my moments of weakness may “let God down” and I am ashamed. What more do I need to stand completely strong in my faith than what God has already shown me and done for me? He has moved in so many areas and ways in my life. But fear creeps in…and I take my eyes of him. But fear paralyzed….ask Peter.

Peter was with the other disciples on a boat surrounded by wind and waves in the middle of the night. (I’ve been on a boat in the dark with zero wind or waves and was terrified) Jesus came walking across the water and told them not to be afraid. Ok…Jesus….walking on water….speaking calming words. I’m thinking for me that might be enough to convince me. And Peter wanted to believe. He called to him and said “if its really you, tell me to walk to you on the water.” One word…. “Come.” And Peter listened.

I wonder how many times God has shown up to try and calm my fears, and I didn’t recognize he was there? How many times has he spoken to me – even just given me one word – and I didn’t hear him? How often do I hear him, but don’t act upon his words because of fear?

So Jesus said “Come,” and Peter listened and acted. Peter climbed over the side of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus. In my eyes…that’s some serious faith and I wonder if I would have done the same thing? Peter asked, Peter listened, and Peter acted. Now I would think that climbing over the side of the boat, and taking the first step would be the hardest part. Once you see that you are actually doing it, you would think it would be a piece of cake after that. But not in Peter’s story. After asking, hearing, and acting, Peter left fear paralyze him. He took his eyes off of the source of his strength and he began to sink.

I’m no different than Peter. I have seen God at work in my life. I have listened to his will and acted upon it…and yet I still will take my eyes off of him and go into a tailspin. I will become paralyzed by things that I should know that God has under his control. And then I become ashamed and worry that I have disappointed God. But He’s still there.

When Peter began to sink and cried out to Jesus, the Bible says that “Jesus immediately” reached out and grabbed him. He didn’t lecture him or let him fend for himself in the waves-to teach him a lesson about faith. He immediately saved him.

So when I am paralyzed by my fears and worries, He will most assuredly reach out and grab me. But I have to call upon his name. If I take my eyes off of him, and lose sight of my faith, he will be there to save me when I cry out to him. And how am I so sure of this? Why would he continue to reach out and grab me, when I am the one who has failed him by taking my eyes off of him? Because I belong to him! I belong to Jesus, and the word tells me that “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) He loves me…even when I am weak. He loves me in spite of my doubts.

I will never be “good enough” but in God’s eyes I am righteous and loved.

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Romans 3:22