Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When You Don't "Feel" God In Your Life

“I don’t feel God.”

“God just seems so far away. So distant.”

We walk through the desert sometimes in our lives. Those seasons ,where we feel torn in our very souls, because for whatever reasons, we can’t hear God.

We cry out to Him. We long for Him. And we get silence in return.

Those times seem to last for an eternity. The loneliness…. Unbearable. To be separated from God’s presence? To not feel His love? It can be confusing. Frustrating. Hurtful.

We have all had those times. Those seasons where it feels as if we are having to walk through our turmoil alone.

But God never abandons us. Even if we cannot feel Him there.

I’ve heard people say that if you can’t feel God, that it was probably you, that moved and not Him. True. But – what if – what if – He’s also just silently watching? What if He is strengthening u,s by withdrawing from us for a period? What if He is increasing our desire and our craving for Him and only Him?

Sometimes, it truly is US that is causing the void in life.  We are so good about DOING work for God, without seeking the King Himself. Without spending quiet time with Him and prioritizing it. I am raising my hand high on this one. I am guilty, too.

And I believe that our misplaced priorities, our lack of one-on-one time with Him, greatly affects how we see, hear, and feel Him in our lives.

But as I was thinking on all of this, I also believe that sometimes, God is very near to us when we can’t feel Him. He may be closer than the times when we DO feel Him.

Those times when we feel so alone? When we can’t quite seem to touch Him with our heart or catch a glimpse of His breath? Those may be the times that He is closest of all. God in His great love can mold us by being silent. He is there. Oh yes, He is there. He is loving. He is guiding. And He is protecting still. But He is silent. Silent because of His great love for us. Maybe He is silent, because He wants to make our legs stronger, our perseverance longer, and our love deeper.

God knows Satan is cunning. He knows He is distracting. So maybe, just maybe, He uses these times to increase our ability to fight the evil one.

He is increasing the might of His army.

I know that when I’ve looked back on the battles in my life – they were miserable. But God was there. Every time. He was faithful. EVERY TIME.

So, my friend, if you can’t feel God today, please don’t despair.  Look and see if you’re the one who has moved and created the distance. If not, then trust His heart. Trust in His love for you. Even if you feel like you are getting weaker….if you hang in there…. that weakness can turn into great strength. Great compassion.

I wish we all felt the Lord’s presence always. But even if I don’t feel Him, I know He is there. I just know it.

Because He has never abandoned me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

To Be Slightly, Wrinkled, Tousled, and HUMAN

I don’t know what it is about Texas. Maybe it’s the warmer weather, or maybe it has nothing to do with Texas at all. Maybe it’s me. I’m maturing.  But I feel more and more comfortable to let others see me “not at my best.”

I’ve gone to the hospital in the middle of the night with the neighbor. No makeup. Messy hair. Tshirt and sport shorts. It was gloriously not attractive.

I go out more often with straight hair. And I don’t care who sees me.

I take my daughter to school before I’m ready. Now, hear me out. I used to always, ALWAYS get ready (clothes, hair, and makeup) before taking my girls to school. Now, I often take my girl with my hair pulled up into a messy bun. And sometimes – heaven forbid – I’m still in my sleepwear. But when I say this, I never, ever get out of the car. I just drop her off and then head back home. I do have boundaries!

I’m not getting sloppy.  I still care about my appearance. I’m just getting “comfortable.”

And it feels good.

It feels good to not have to look perfect all of the time.

It feels good to answer the door and know that I have no makeup on, but I can still be myself. It feels good to know people will accept me, knowing that they have seen multiple sides of me….not just my best.

I feel like I’m enjoying life more. I’m enjoying myself more.

These are just moments. Moments where it doesn’t matter as much if I’m in my best clothes and my hair is just right.  They are moments where I’ve decided to ease up on my expectations of myself.  Life has gotten busier, and I’ve decided that I don’t want to wear myself out more than necessary.

So, I’ve prioritized.

You know what? I like the new me. I like the prioritized “me.”  Why did it take me so long to understand that I didn’t have to wear makeup to drop the kids off at school?  No one even sees me, for heavens sake!

We are so hard on ourselves. These things may seem silly to some of you, but to others – you understand. You know the pressure we can put on ourselves to have it all together.

But when we can break down the absurdity of some of the expectations we put on ourselves, we can give ourselves permission to be “raw.” To be real. To be slightly wrinkled, tousled, and HUMAN.

It can be very loveable. It can be very endearing.

It can remind us, that underneath it all, we are ALL imperfect. And that’s okay.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

There Are Just Those Times

There are times where I just need to be myself. I need to be BY myself.

There are times where I need to be able to relax and know that no one is watching me.

Not because I have things to hide.  Not because I don’t feel like I can be myself in the presence of others. But simply, because I need to be able to just BE, without the feedback or looks from others.

I need to be with my own soul. With my own heart. With my own mind.

I need to clear the cobwebs from my head.

There are just those times.  Times where I need to gather myself and understand where I may be feeling “burnout” in my life. Look at what I’m prioritizing, and what needs to be realigned.

I need to do this by myself. With myself. FOR myself.

I can feel it when I go for great lengths of time without getting time to be with myself. I get a little…. Out of alignment.  I feel somewhat off-kilter.  I may be going about things in my life just fine, but inside……. Inside I know I need some ME time.

Time in my own company recharges my soul. It refuels my drive to do the things I’m gifted to do. It feeds me in a way that not many other things can do.

I can close my eyes and think without the voices of others filling my head.

I can dream without the interruptions of other people’s dreams.

I can tell myself hard truths that I need to hear. And I can pamper myself when I need some extra tenderness and softness during challenging seasons.

I can – most of all – hear my God more clearly speak to me. I can more clearly see who He has made me to be. And that can get lost in the busyness of the days.

So, there are those times, where I crave to be alone. Not lonely. Because I will be far from it. But, alone to rediscover and refocus what I want to be about, each year of my life.

You have to go down deep inside at times, to know what the inside wants. So I will cherish those times that I am given to be with my own soul.  I will crave them when they creep away from me, until I can access them again.

I will continue to value the gift of them when they are given to me. Those sweet, sweet times that hold so many treasures to be uncovered.

They give me vision. They give me rest.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What If We Were Meant To Be Soldiers?

This world is tough.  And we get discouraged. We wonder – “Where are our heroes?”

Life can seem overwhelming. We watch the news in disgust. How did we get to be this kind of a society? This kind of a world?

We look to our leaders. We look to our parents. We look to anyone – but ourselves.  We want someone else to solve the world’s problems, so that we can live more peacefully. So that we can feel safe.

So that we can be happy.

But, what if we are meant to be the soldiers? What if we are the ones called to be the warriors?

Are we willing to get in the fight for the very souls of those we love?

So much is at stake, each and every day.  I look at my kids’ future, my grandkids’ future. And I close my eyes to block out what my heart fears for them. For what I don’t want them to have to experience.

But life keeps moving forward. Time keeps on ticking. And I don’t want to just sit by and watch a world go by. I want to use my voice for good. I want to use my voice to motivate. I want to use my voice to pray and move people into action.

What if something I said could save a life? What if something I did could save a family?

What if instead of sitting and complaining about the state of the world… I am meant to be a soldier in it?

There is so much to fight for. So much to believe in. Am I willing to fight for it? Are you?  Am I willing despite the risks?

Someone has to be.

I am sensitive. I love deeply. I feel for the pain that others feel. So, although I may seem “soft” to others on the outside….. I know I can have inner strength that makes me a warrior on the inside.  A warrior that fights for what’s right and for the very people I proclaim to love.

I choose to take up my sword and shield. I choose to risk getting hurt and wounded – because I know running won’t solve anything. Hiding won’t protect me.

So, I raise my tired head and I prepare to head to the battlefield…. The last place I want to be. But the only place I may be MEANT to be.

Today – someone needs to know that they are being loved. Someone needs to know that they are being prayed for. And someone needs to know that someone is willing to fight for them. To fight for their future.

Someone needs to know there is still good. Still love. Still kindness. And that there is still wrong and right.

I am willing. I’m willing to fight for what is right. 

I am willing to be a soldier.

Are you?