Unchained!

I recently watched the film, It is Your Life:  The Moss Family, and moments into it I felt my world crashing in.  I had settled in comfortably to view it, fully expecting to walk away blessed and encouraged.  And I was, but not before I found myself in tears of disappointment and shame.

You see, the Moss family has a vision that’s followed them from the foundation of their marriage.  They want Christ at the center of their everything.  Their extended family members describe them as “heroes” as they have raised children who don’t bicker or complain and take the greatest joy in each other.  Maybe I was exceptionally emotional that day, but I’ll be honest…it was all just too much.

My family has been torn apart and while I am now the crazy-happy wife of a wonderful man, the residual effects of divorce still nip at our heels.  I can’t ever sit here and claim to have the family unity depicted in that video.  I’d be bold-faced lying to say my children never fight or fuss.  We’re striving to learn to keep Christ firmly in the center of our days, but watching that precious family made it so clear just how far we still have to go.  And then, in spite of myself, I gave into it…

I began to cry out against God.  Why had He allowed me to get married in the literal infancy of my spiritual walk, when He knew it wouldn’t last?  Why had He allowed five children to be born into what would eventually become a broken home?  Why didn’t He honor the desire of my heart, even if I went about things the wrong way?  Why, why, WHY???

The tears just kept flowing as I lashed out at the One who could have changed the course of events, preventing all the heartache and years of wandering.  I want so desperately to be that family.  My heart literally aches for what I cannot have.

But as God always does, He allowed me to vent and rage and then He slowly drew me into His tender arms.  He reminded me that my marriage failed due to choices that my ex-husband and I made, not because of anything He did.  Yes, He could have kept us from making those decisions, but in so doing would have been revoking our freedom of choice.  He lovingly showed me that while my children have suffered, they have also grown.  They have known heartache and adversity and will walk with a greater depth because of it.

But most importantly, He placed before me hands scarred from a love so strong that nothing could have kept Him from that cross.  He hung there tormented in both body and spirit, for ME.  I was in his heart.  And as wave after wave of pain ripped through His beaten body, He held fast to ensure a way out for me.  But all that isn’t enough…it means nothing if I won’t accept it.

I renamed this blog with a purpose.  I didn’t just like the way Walking Redeemed sounded, I craved sharing with others how it can be lived out.  But while I want to reach out and encourage you right where you are, I am human.  I, too, stumble and allow my eyes to drift from the prize.  I get discouraged about where I’ve been and where I am, in contrast to where I want to be.  But there is no redemption without forgiveness.  And forgiving takes two…one to offer and one to accept.  

So this morning I am claiming the promise found in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.

I am releasing myself from the bondage of guilt.  I’m accepting myself for who I was, who I am, and by the grace of God, who I one day will be.  We are not that family.  I am not that mother.  But I am just as truly His!!

If you scroll back to the top, you’ll find a link for “Bible Study“.  Simply click on it, and you’ll come to this page where you can access the topic study on Forgiveness.  Feel free to print it or share it…it is 100% free for your use.  And as soon as this old girl learns how to convert it into PDF format, I’ll make it available that way for your convenience.


{Note:  The Moore Family Films has graciously offered  It Is Your Life: The Moss Family to be viewed online FREE through June 30th.}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Signature

Forgiveness Revealed

One of the hardest things I have had to learn to do in my life was to forgive myself.  And really, it’s an ongoing process.  But it’s vital to a healthy, growing relationship with Christ.

For years, my focus was on forgiving others.  I prided myself on my ability to let go of hurt and anger.  But I’ve come to realize that stuffing my feelings down doesn’t equal forgiveness.  And it is almost impossible to truly understand the root of this heart action derived of decision, until you have learned to extend that grace to yourself.

This came very clear as I was struggling my way through divorce.  I knew in my head I needed to find my way past those feelings, so I dug in my heels and got down to the business of forgiving.  The problem was, I didn’t feel any different.  I knew well that you can’t base much of anything of feelings, but I also knew that over time the anger and bitterness should begin to subside and it just wasn’t happening.  I was putting on a friendly voice and smile when interacting with my ex-husband, but all that pent-up emotion was lurking just beneath the surface…like a simmering pot threatening to boil over.

When I finally opened my eyes to the fact that I had to stop rehearsing the wrongs against me over and over in my head, I began to see my part in it.  And more than that, I saw I hadn’t forgiven myself.  Let me tell you from experience,  you can’t just grit your teeth and smile through being down on yourself.  It sucks the very life out of you.  I would say this revelation was my darkest moment.

I’ve wrestled my way through learning to truly extend forgiveness, both to myself and to others.  I’ve cried more tears than I care to remember and have been humbled on many occasions.  I want more than anything to help you find your way, if this is an area where you struggle.

Beginning Monday, we’ll begin a series of topic studies.  As you may have guessed, the first will be on forgiveness.  Using the Bible and a concordance, we’ll dig for its true meaning and discover just how simple it really is.  The theme of all posts next week will be on forgiveness, though you’ll find the actual study through a tab added at the top of the home page.

Signature

New blog…New purpose

During my blogging haitus, I conditioned myself not to need the internet.  It’s crazy how strong the pull can get if you let your guard down.  I needed to step away.  I needed to get off Facebook.  I needed to breathe and reacquaint myself with my God and my family.

I’ve learned a few things:
  • I love to write.  I’m not terribly skilled and somehow I just know I use punctuation in all the wrong places, and fail to put it in the right ones.  But my heart is full of words just begging for release.  I’ve learned that longing is my gift.  My gift to myself…and my hubby!  Writing gives me an outlet so that all the chaos swirling in my head can find order in the written word.  And it gives my Robbie sweet escape from what might otherwise be an overwhelming onslaught of the spoken word!
  • I am a sinner in need of redemption.  I can publish a post on gently training your children and then by noon lose it with one of mine.  Blogging is a precarious business.  It takes gentle balance to offer the world a glimmer of hope without presenting yourself as someone you’re not.  I’m an unfinished project and you are, too.  You don’t have to be perfect for me to learn something from you.  So long as the same stands true for you, I may just have something to share!
  • My story is ugly.  There are times I want to hide from it in shame.  But then He reminds me that He’s got precious people out there who are dying from the need to hear of hope.  I can be one of those voices, if only I’ll let Him use me.  My eBook, A Broken Surrender, should be available soon and is a closer look at my own life and the way the Lord has truly brought beauty from the ashes!  
  • I’ve made some really awesome friends blogging.  God has placed wonderful people in my path that are a consistent source of encouragement and inspiration.  I am so grateful to be “surrounded” by ladies who keep me on the narrow path even when I can’t leave my home.  I truly missed this community!
  • Social media can be a tool if you’re careful not to let it be a trap.  Taking a break gave me perspective.  Just because you haven’t learned to properly regulate something doesn’t mean that it’s inherently bad.  I simply needed to yank myself out of the pit I’d jumped into and relearn to manage my time.  I’m back on Facebook at a new page.  Heeding the voice of God {and my husband} will prevent me from falling prey again.
I have some plans for this “new” blog, but rather than share all that right now, I’m going to sit back and see what the Lord has planned.  His way is guaranteed to be better than mine!

Connect with us on Facebook!


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Signature

The Mother: Working vs. Stay-at-home

Are you a working mother that sometimes feels judged by the stay-at-home crowd?  Or perhaps you’ve decided against outside employment and get asked ‘what do you do all day?’.  Won’t you join me over at The Imperfect Housewife as we have a closer look?  Gail is the sweetheart of Greg, the mother of five precious little ones (5 and under!) and a blogger with a heart for God! 

                                                                Read the article here….

~~~~~~~~~~~
Signature

Tattered with Purpose

A shattered marriage, a broken home, a bitter spirit…and a redeeming love!  Join me as I share just a little of how the relentless pursuit of God bring beauty from brokenness!
                               Join me at These Broken Vases
{and while you’re there, have a peek around if you like!  Ellen’s story is truly touching and inspiring!}

**I’ve gotten some sweet emails asking after my health post-surgery!  I’m doing great and am feeling better all the time!  I have so appreciated all the guest posters and the opportunities to guest post during this time!** 

Signature

Finding youself??

findingyourself

 

Finding yourself.  I’m going to be honest…this is a concept that completely drives me nuts!  What on earth is it even supposed to mean?  We daily make choices that determine who we become.  Yes, circumstances we can’t control often sneak in and steer us toward unpleasant waters, but how we respond to those circumstances is still our decision.  Very few of us learn early in life to get out of the drivers seat, so we really have nobody to blame except ourselves.  But all of the sudden we hit some invisible {imaginary} wall.  Our world goes dim and we decide we’re lost.  And then we decide we have to go seeking our lost self.

The problem is this…life doesn’t stop while we try to undo decisions from the past.  It doesn’t sit on pause as we grasp for another shot at our youth.  The people that love and care for us don’t have their hearts frozen for awhile as we run around looking for the shadows of what could have been.  It’s ridiculous, really!

“Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s good.”
1 Corinthians 10:24 KJV

A friend that I have known for almost 25 years called me yesterday in complete and utter desolation.  Her world shattered when her husband of nearly a decade and a half decided that he’d never really had a chance to find himself.  So in the interest of no longer wandering the earth as a lost man, he left his family in hot pursuit of something, that in reality, he can’t escape.  He is himself.  Grab a mirror, old friend***…there you are.  Don’t like what you see?  Yeah, I don’t like what I see in myself much of the time, either.  But that doesn’t give us a free pass to turn tail and abandon our families.

We live in a world filled with the unthinkable.  Children laying loveless in a dirty crib with barely anything to keep them alive.  And people who don’t want them because they aren’t pretty and clean and cuddly.  Those children are lost.  Go find them.

Teens, without anyone to care, hit the streets and seek family within the walls of gang life.  They don’t find what they’re looking for and often end up dead.  But the bullet or knife that stops their breathing is not what really kills them.  It’s the heart broken from being left behind.  Forgotten.  Those kids are lost.  Seek them out.

Young mothers struggle everyday to provide the next morsel for the child they loved too much to abort.  Kicked out and cast off they face the harsh reality of a cruel world where pretty much everything seems hinged on the thickness of your wallet.  People pass them by.  They’re marked, it seems, like Cain.  Wearing that scarlet letter boldly on the child astride their hip, they sojourn.  Lost.  Alone.  Who will find them?

These realities are uncomfortable.  We’d rather not think about them too awful much, because it is so much more pleasant to think on things that bring peace and beauty to our homes and lives.  But we are called and commanded to look after “the least of these”.

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  
James 1:27 KJV

My goal is not to be negative.  There is much beauty, by the grace of God, in this old world.  It comes in the form of a perfect flower, or a vast green mountainside, or a gorgeous sunset.  But the most breathtakingly beautiful reminders are the people who immerse themselves in God’s will.  They feed the hungry, befriend the friendless, and love the unlovable.  But there aren’t only a few select that are called to this purpose.  Every single believer is to put on the cloak of mercy and go out in this dark world to spread the love that sin has tried to shut down.

Seek His will.  Seek His people.  Seek His next assignment for you.  But please don’t waste your time “seeking” yourself.  He knows right where you are and exactly what you need to fulfill His purpose in your life.  Simply surrender!

***Note:  I realize we are all sinners in need of a Savior and this man is no different.  I believe even people who frustrate us with their obviously poor choices need our prayers!

 

 
Signature