30 Days of Truth: Remain in my love.

Truth 27: Remain in my love.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. John 15:9 NIV 

I felt like there were two of us.

Me and the wounded little girl inside of me.

Most of the time she was very quiet, unless she was terrified, paranoid, or anxious.  Then she was like a neon noisy panic button in my body.

In therapy, I started to acknowledge our pain. I desperately needed to get well, but I couldn’t do it without her.

We needed each other. We had to connect and work together.

At first, I was disgusted with her and could hardly stand to look at old pictures.  All I could see was shame and filth.

I tried drawing her several times, but she always appeared older. I could never make her small enough or innocent enough or young enough.

I kept her picture on my phone, and on my desktop.

Over time, her image brought me to tears instead of filling me with shame.  Eventually, I was able to grasp the truth: she was small, young, and innocent. Period.

She was also strong, resilient, and courageous.

I remember the night it all came full circle.

This was our night. Just us.  A time to be still and worship.

I was thinking about being the Beloved.

Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert.  Once you have touched wet ground, you will want to dig deeper. ~ Henri Nouwen [Life of the Beloved]

I decided to paint.  As I painted, I realized how much I loved her, and I was very proud of her.  It was a process and it took time.  I knew God loved me and I believed it, but it was still hard for her. She still struggled at times.

I wanted her to believe it, to experience it and to know.

She was me, and I wanted all of me to be loved.

When we walked back into the sanctuary, this beautiful angelic voice was on stage singing my song, “He loves us, Oh how, He loves us.”  I sang along quietly believing it for her and myself.

And then, the song changed to “Jesus loves me… this I know.” It was for her! The little girl in me. I could barely move my lips.

She was me.

She was loved.

We were one, and we were loved.

He loves us. Oh, how He loves us.

I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. John 15:9 AMP

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Whispers of Rest

“It’s about finding your spark again. To be the beloved. Just as you are.” ~ Bonnie Gray 

I was bone-tired and that one phrase “finding your spark again” jumped off of the page.

Everything felt heavy, and anxiety was rearing it’s ugly head. Again.

What happened?

I lost my spark.

And then, I started reading Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray.

“Whispers of Rest is a life-giving, forty-day devotional detox for your soul, far from the noise and demands of everyday life – refreshing your spirit with simple, powerful affirmations of God’s love, paired with intimate reflection questions and easy-to-enjoy practical challenges and tips.” ~ Bonnie Gray

Each day, I am able to spend a few minutes focusing on being still, and being loved. The challenges are fun and allow me to look for His beauty and experience His peace.

Here’s just one example:

After an already stressful day, we were in between soccer practices and decided to stop at a park. I sat in the car waiting, zoning out on social media. It did not refresh me or bring me peace. It rarely does.

I happened to look up and spotted a rose garden.  I jumped out of the car with my phone and headed towards the beautiful display of color.  I walked around quietly taking pictures of the flowers and watching the light paint the blooms bright. The sun started to set just as I was leaving. The challenge that day was to spend ten minutes in nature and by the time we left the park, I was smiling. Joy returned.

That was just one day.

This book is filled with 40 beautiful days of refreshment. It has helped me to be intentional to pause and experience His love. I’m paying attention to His beauty and His comfort. I’m being filled.

I’m getting my spark back! 

Maybe like me, you’ve hit a wall of sorts and you’ve lost your spark?  Are you longing to hear His whispers of rest? Maybe you need something that helps you to get quiet and still enough to listen? Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray is just what you need.  Join us?

Visit www.whispersofrest.com for more information and be sure to check out the Book Club starting June 5th!

It’s time to get your spark back!

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  James 4:8

Jesus loves the little girl

Jesus loves the little girl

There is a little girl in all of us.  Maybe she’s running through a field of sunflowers, or maybe she’s tucked quietly away in a small dark closet.  Wherever she is, Jesus loves the little girl in each of us.

Today you get to hear from her, the little girl inside of me, as she describes in her voice a recent experience at a praise service.  This is her first post, so she’s a little nervous.

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Be.Loved

It was almost a year ago when I realized for the first time in 39 years that I could truly be.loved by Christ.   Not just because He loves all the little children of the world, and not just because the Bible tells me so.  I knew because He spoke it straight to the core of my being through a beautiful pink sky.  It was that pink sky post that started this blog and started my true journey to healing.

Jesus Loves ME!  I remember taking that in and letting it permeate all of the doubts, misconceptions and lies I had believed for years.

He created me in the secret place.  My frame was not hidden from Him when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  (Psalm 139:15)  

My birth was not planned, but I was no surprise to Jesus.  He created me, and nothing about my life is a surprise to him.

The writing prompt at Faith Barista this week is beloved.  As soon as I saw it I immediately thought, “No thank you, I’ll Pass”, but it has come to my mind a lot these last few days and all I can hear in my head is Maroon 5 singing, “I don’t mind spending everyday out on your corner in the pouring rain….look for the girl with the broken smile, ask her if she wants to stay a while, and she will be loved, and she will be loved….”  over and over and over in my lyrical brain.

The girl with the broken smile.

Broken.

When I think of Beloved, the first thing that comes to mind is  “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3.  As I was reading that book, I found a verse I had written at our ladies bible study recently and stuck in my bible.  We were shown several verses and were told to write down the one that is hard for us to believe.

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Holy, Blameless.  I looked up the verse in my Bible, Ephesians 1:4  “For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

In his sight.  I am His Beloved.  He sees me as Holy and Blameless.

I was looking in the back of my Busy Mom’s Bible and saw this in the 5 minute reflect and pray section on authentic living:

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Now we have hit a nerve.  And Maroon 5 is only getting louder in my head.  “And she will be loved.  She will be loved.”

Song of Songs: 4:12 You are a garden locked up, a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.

Those are boundaries.

Song of Songs 3:3  Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

That is a warning.  It appears 3 times in the book.

Song of Songs 8:12 But my own vineyard is mine to give.

That makes my chest pound.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.

I struggle with being loved and being beloved, because boundaries were broken.  Trust violated.  Heart shattered.  Maybe you do too?  This book, Song of Songs, is about wooing, and freely giving.  Sometimes in life, vineyards are stolen.  Trampled on.  Disregarded.  Used.  Harmed.

He created me and He made me to be wooed.  He calls me His Beloved.  He knows everything, and He still calls me beloved.

Song of Songs 8:6-7  Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire; like a mighty flame.   Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot sweep it away.  (Read that and listen to You Won’t Relent by Jesus Culture – worship pink girl, worship!)

No matter what – He loves me.

No matter what  – I am His Beloved.

He is patient with me, and he knows my struggles.  He longs for me to see the vineyard he created and designed.  He loves me.  He picks up the broken fences, busted locks, and broken glass and holds each piece in His Hands.  He holds each jagged piece and my beloved cries out to me, “Arise my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.  See!  The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.”  (Song of Solomon 2:10)

He takes me to the garden and restores the beauty.

He mends the broken.

He reminds me Spring is near.

Song of Songs 4:7  You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

So beloved, be.loved and be love.

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And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” By Hillsong United