Thursday, March 26, 2015

Another Day, Another Lie.

Lately, I have been struggling with feeling like I really stink at relationships. I feel like I can't get close to anyone. If I do, I'm just going to get hurt all over again. However, I do feel the GREAT need to have a best friend(s). I know I need to open up and I know I need to let people in.
I keep hearing, "No one really wants to know you. Why would they care? They don't want to have a deep relationship! Who does? You're too different. Too messed up. Let them know about your struggles? HA! They won't want anything to do with you if they knew. If you say anything about you're struggles or anything that could be negative about your life, you're not being a good wife. You're making your husband look bad. Weren't you told not to disrespect your husband? You wouldn't want to do that, right?"
 I am finding it hard to trust. I've been hurt so bad in my past that I don't know how to let someone in completely. I don't know how to fully open my heart to someone. Even with my husband sometimes! Granted, I have grown tremendously in the past two years; I still have a long way to go.

Tanner has been meeting with a men's bible study group and with a friend weekly. It's so amazing to see him grow and see the bonds he is creating. I long to have that. I know I need to have someone that I can do that with. Unfortunately, every time I go to consider who I might be able to form that kind of deep relationship with, I get an overwhelming feeling that no one will want that kind of relationship with me; no one would really want to talk to me.

Then the reminders of the pain and the past relationships that ended with my being back-stabbed, trampled on, and overall hurt time and time again.

I built up so many walls that even I don't know where they end anymore. I don't know how to trust someone other than God, my husband, and my parents and sister with my heart anymore. I don't know how to be vulnerable. I have become so guarded that I carefully examine what I am going to say/expose to who and what they may do with it. This also only happens when I feel it is absolutely necessary.

God put a desire in me, however, to be with others who know me, who I can open up to and be vulnerable with. I have been relying on my family and Tanner to fill this desire, though the brunt falls on Tanner. I know this isn't fair to him. He can't be my husband and my "girlfriend." I know that God fills most of the desire, but He desires us to be in community with each other and thus the desire isn't completely filled.

Perhaps my problem is that I don't know what have a "girlfriend" looks or feels like when it is a healthy relationship. My fear of being hurt again holds me back. My past looms over me, reminding me of all the other times I've tried and it failing. I can't hardly talk about it without choking up.

Recently, I told the girls in my small group about the last time I thought I had a good friend and how it ended in hurt and then said "friend" turning all but one of my supposed friends against me. I felt my voice break near the end. I didn't realize how sore a subject it still was, that the wound from that still hasn't healed.

It was HARD to tell them that story even though it was short and summarized into two sentences. I am so grateful to the other woman in that group and how she spoke to my wound in saying that none of the girls (or her) would do anything like that to me. I felt so loved and encouraged.

But the lies still remain. I am still hesitant to let them any deeper. I still hear Satan whispering in my ear.
"You're too much for them. You're too messy for them. If only they knew the rest. They would look at you with pity and disgust. They wouldn't want to talk to you again. You have nothing to offer them."
I know that God can heal all things. Through His power I can overcome this, but I'm not completely sure that I can do it without the help of another God-filled woman.

I pray that you don't hear these lies. If you do, I pray you may overcome them. I pray that you don't walk away from every conversation think that you are the most awkward person in the world as I do. And I hope that you will pray for me as I continue on this journey.

Keep on keeping on.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Devotional Writing Block

I am working on the devotional thoughts for the Girl's Night for our teen girls. I have tried two different topics. Both times I have gotten two paragraphs in and realized that it sounds more like a speech and/or blog than it does a devotional. There are no discussion questions. While it would be good, I don't want to preach at them. They didn't come to Girl's Night for a sermon, and our goal for the night is to get them to bond. Bonding doesn't happen while your sitting and listening to someone talk.

I am at a loss of what to do. I want to talk about this topic, but I can't seem to not write anything but a speech/blog. Granted I would absolutely LOVE to give a speech, but this isn't the audience, the time, or the place. Tanner said he had the same problem when he started preparing devotionals and it just takes practice. The problem with this: I am a perfectionist. It's a flaw, I know. I don't want to go into this with something that is more speech than it is discussion. I know I will lose their interest. They must interact!


The point I want to get across is that they are the bride of Christ and they don't need to look for love elsewhere because they have the perfect love from God. He is the lover of their soul. I even have a song I was going to reference (Who I Am by Blanca).

My brain just does not want to come up with questions that would lead to that point. I've come up with a great start to a speech/blog though!


Feel free to leave ideas in the comments! Your thoughts are appreciated!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Love of God

Do you know the extent of God's love for you?

You may say, "Well, yes. He is my Father."

Guess what? He loves you MORE than just a father. It's true, a father's love is insanely deep. However, not only does God want to be your Father, he wants to be the lover of your soul!

Let's go back to the scripture for a moment. You remember in Genesis there is this guy named Abram, whose name gets changed to Abraham. He makes a covenant with God and from Abraham and Sarah come the Israelites. It's a story we are told as kids, right? Minus the bloody, nasty parts, of course. Don't want kids throwing up or having nightmares now, do we! But isn't everything in the bible important? Of course. In fact, it's actually an integral part of the story! (A lot of my knowledge comes from Ray Vander Laan. If you want to check out his stuff go to

In Genesis 15, Abram asks God how he would know that God would give him all the things God has promised. (This is called chutzpah is Hebrew, which is like persistence. But I won't get into that right now.) So God tells Abram to go get a cow, a goat, a ram. a dove, and a pigeon. What he doesn't tell Abram is what to do with them. However, Abram apparently already knows what to do. This tells us that this was a cultural ritual. (It still is in some places.) What this ritual was is that terms would be made between men and they would agree on the terms, unless it was between a greater party and a lesser party in which the greater party will set the terms. They would then kill the animals and place them where the blood would pool in a valley. Once there was a river of sorts, they would each pick up their tunics, take off their sandals, and walk through the blood. In doing this each would be saying, "If I break my promise, you can do this to me." ("This" being killing and walking in the blood.)

Gross, right? No wonder they didn't tell us this part in Sunday morning Bible class! But if we think about it, God's willingness to do this ritual for Abram's sake shows his immense love! He is the God of the universe for goodness sake. He could have just said, "Because I said so!"

So let's continue with what the text says. Abram then waits for God, making sure the birds of prey stay away from the carcasses. (Again, gross!) The sun starts going down and Abram falls asleep. In his sleep, he realizes what his end of the bargain is, to be blameless, and he because terrified. No kidding. Abram knew that if he even stuck his little toe in that blood, he was a dead man and the promises God had for him would be no more. So, then a smoking pot "walks" through the blood. (This would have been a pot with holes in it that women would have in their tents to put the burning coals in from that days fire and put the top on. It would then smoke all night and the women would then pour out the coals the next morning to make the next days fire with.) This represents God as the greater party would always go first. Thus, it was Abram's turn. The text doesn't say this, but it's as if he walked up to the valley and God, the torch, and moved him out of the way saying, "No wait. I've got this." God walks through the blood a second time. God is saying, "If YOU break YOUR promise, YOU can do this to ME."

At this moment, Jesus was sentenced to death on the cross.

Let that sink in for a moment.

When I told that to the Jr. High students at church Wednesday and their minds were blown. They couldn't believe that no one had connected those dots and told them about it before!

There's more. "What?" Oh yeah!

Fast forward to Exodus. Moses has lead the Israelites out of Egypt and they have stopped at Mount Sinai. This is where I think, "Oh, yeah. This is where God gives the ten commandments!" There's more to the story. This isn't just where God sets ten rules the Israelites have to follow. This is a wedding. God marries his people. The ten commandments weren't two tables with 5 on each one, it was 10 on each, a Ketubah, a contract. This is still practiced in Jewish wedding today, Instead of having vows, the bride and groom will write up a contract each to God of what kind of a husband and wife each will be. Ray Vander Laan read the first one, "You shall have no other idols before me" in this new light as so: "I will have no other lovers."

Powerful, right? "Didn't something happen with the Israelites while Moses was on the Mountain?" Yes. The golden calf. See, while Moses was getting the Ketubah from God, the Israelites decided that he wasn't coming back and so they needed a new god. They melted down their earrings and from it made a golden calf and started worshiping it, throwing a big party. (We won't get into what kind of party it was, but I will say it wasn't G rated. Even Ray Vander Laan didn't want to get into it.)

Fun fact: instead of wedding rings on their fingers, the Hebrews would wear rings in their ears, earrings. Wait, what did they melt down? Their earrings. Their wedding rings. During the wedding between God and his people, his people cheat on Him! You'd think he'd be done with them. Seriously, if it was my wedding and I found out something like that, the wedding would be off! But God doesn't do that. He keeps loving them! He purifies them and then the wedding resumes.

Now that is love. Pure love. Not just from a Father but from a spouse who loves unconditionally and intimately. To know that this is the kind of love that God has for us, and not just the Father/Child relationship that everyone talks about, speaks deeply to me!

Think about our young girls! For them to know that they can be fulfilled in every way because they have a God that loves them as a beautiful bride could be life-changing! They could know that they don't need to look for love from outside sources, from boys their age who are struggling with the same things that they are. Plus, thinking back on my own life, I think I may have looked at some things differently if I had thought of God as my husband and not just my Father. God is our Father, but he is also the lover of our souls. Yes, lover. He wants to know us as deeply as a spouse. Deeper even!

I think that this thought might bring a new perspective to our girls as they look at their relationship with God and what they do with their lives. It sets a new light on "God is always with you." It's no longer God the Father watching you and making sure you don't mess up and when you do He is going to punish you, it's more that God is with me because He loves me deeply and he WANTS to be with me, he CHOSE me.

There is a song by Francesca Battistelli called "He Knows My Name" in which the bridge says:
He calls me chosen
Free, forgiven
Wanted, child of the King
His forever
Held and treasured
I am loved.
Not only does this speak to being a child of God but, in my opinion, also a lover, a spouse, of God. Wanted, His Forever, Held and Treasured, Chosen, Loved; these are all things that a husband would say to his wife (and visa versa). My husband wants me, I am his forever, he holds and treasures me, he chose me, he loves me. As well, I want my husband, he is mine forever, I hold and treasure him, and I love him.

Imagine some things that girls fall into because of the world we live in. What if they had the mindset that when they start worshiping something besides him that they have cheated on him? How would that impact them? Would they still do some of the things the world likes to tempt them with? How does that impact you?!

Just as we all have a love language, God has a love language. His love language is obedience. Just as I feel loved when someone gets me a thoughtful gift, God feels loved when I obey His commands.

I will show God that I love Him by keeping His commandments. I know I am going to mess up, but I know that He is going to forgive me when I do. Because of His love I will strive to be blameless. His love is my motivation. He is the lover of my soul. Is He yours?