Tag Archives: faith

You need a “jail break”

What an incredible few weeks!  Once my heart recovered from a recent romantic break-up, I (again) began to seek out what God would have me do in 2019.   Twice last year, writing a book was spoken over me.  That resonates deeply with me, but since I’ve never done it before I put it on the “someday” shelf.  But in recent weeks, some things have happened to re-awaken this desire and prompting.  Hmm.  I’d appreciate your prayers on that.

But today, I’m writing for a friend … actually, a few friends.  You know who you are ❤

Dear friend,

We’ve been talking about your jail cell for a long time.  How hard it is to live there, how stifling and oppressive it is.  You want out, but you feel trapped – bound – unable to escape.

You’ve cried yourself to sleep there countless nights.  You ache to breathe the fresh air and wander open spaces you hear visitors talking about.   Oh, the stories they tell!

Your longing to be free (like them) is so strong that on a few occasions, you actually managed to  leave the confines of your small cell and sneak past the guards to catch a glimpse, a rare and intoxicating taste, of the freedom that belongs to those on the other side of the barbed wire fence.  But the Prison Warden and his Oppressors always manage to drag you back to captivity – and the repetitive and increasing punishment for your attempted escapes have eventually trained you to (more or less) resign yourself to your fate.  You have been charged (justly or unjustly) and found guilty.  You were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.  You are a captive of the Warden, live with it.

M-W1-cellblock of Norfolk County Jail, Connecticut
Norfolk County Jail, Connecticut

And so you have.  You’ve killed your dreams (well, almost).  You’ve even managed to find slivers of contentment in this life of containment and drudgery.

Does that sound familiar?  I bet we’ve all been there … and more truthfully, we all have places in our lives where we are still imprisoned.  Imprisoned to fear of failure, to someone’s disapproval, to being alone, to self-doubt.

You need a jail break!

Friend, there is a way out, and you can leave that jail cell and be forever set free from the torment of the Prison Warden!!!   But to do so (and not be recaptured again) you’ll need a helper and guide – and His name is Jesus!  He’s has helped thousands upon thousands to escape, and He is easily able to do the same for you!!

Are there areas of your life where you still feel stuck or imprisoned?  Of course there are! Welcome to the human race (grin).   But there is hope, so please come back soon for the next post and an introduction to your Escape Guide, Jesus Christ.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Spring Cleaning of the Heart

I’ve not been writing much this year – in part because I was unclear if I was to be writing on a particular subject (or using a particular format) like I did in 2018, but also … and perhaps more truthfully, because I was heart weary.

For the first time in many (many!) years, I started dating again. It was delightful, and I’m so grateful for the awakening that took place in my feminine heart during that time. In many ways, I liken it to the re-opening of an old house that hasn’t been lived in for decades. It may look a bit of a mess at first, but as you remove the sheets that covered fine furnishings, polish up the woodwork and light fixtures, etc … your eyes behold a beautiful and inviting home filled with character and memories that welcome you in.

This was my experience. Rooms of my heart have been re-opened, spring-cleaned, and are now ready to welcome the man that has been praying for such a woman as me (just like I’ve been praying for him).

And I learned something amazing about myself through this recent experience of discovering attraction, engaging in vulnerability, lowering the drawbridge of my heart, moderating emotions, engaging in honest communication, and practicing prayerful discernment.

I’m absolutely NOT the woman I was!

That might not mean much to some of you … but if you have read some of my older posts or dared to read my story (see sidebar category), then you know that there was a long season of my life when I was making need-based relationship choices, and those need-based choices nearly were the end of me!

FacelessFather www.puttinghopetowork.com
FacelessFather http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

But this time, I experienced something different!! I experienced dating from the place of emotional health and wholeness!!

I’ve never done that before! Ever! (seriously, ever!!)

“Better late than never’ they say, and at 58 years old I finally dated without handing over my value and worth to be weighed and measured by another person (as I have done countless times in the past). Instead of offering my Identity (worth and value) to a person … my Identity remained nested throughout my river-walk with this gentleman in whom the Lord says I am His beloved, His daughter, His bride.

“I will lift up my eyes [and my heart] to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121: 1-2 (MEV)

What a delight to my soul and spirit!!! To experience the transformation that I have worked so hard for all these years!! Not that I’ve ever run a marathon (and believe you me, I never will!), but I imagine it’s kind of like the difference between training for one, and actually placing in one!

“I Lift My Heart To The Hills” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

God is so good, isn’t He?! If we will just keep with Him, keep surrendering to His gentle regenerating and healing work within us, He is faithful to complete the work He has begun!! Amen and so be it!

If you have had a similar epiphany or experience, I’d love to hear about it. So, I’m sure would others.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Morning Sips: Be Still and Know

I’ve been going through some stuff lately.  Some of it has been good and pleasant … some of it, well not so much.  And throughout the mental and emotional processing of both the pleasant and unpleasant, I’ve been silent.

Listening to my heart, listening to my head.  Trying to quiet those voices (heart and head) enough to hear the voice of Wisdom speak to me.

“Be Still, and know that I am God.”

But it’s hard to BE STILL when your emotions are on overdrive (pleasant or unpleasant), and your reasoning has your head feeling like there is a professional ping-pong match going on between your temples.   (anyone else understand that analogy??)

Sometimes you just have to find a quiet spot, sit down on a tree stump, and breathe.

Sometimes you have to unclench your hands from the thing you have been trying to hold onto, and surrender it to God.

Sometimes you have to stop fussing … rest your head upon His chest … and know that He is big enough.

Big enough to take it and to know what to do with it.

Big enough to see farther down the road than you can see.

Big enough to do whatever needs doing, handling, correcting, etc.

“That’s enough! Now know that I am God!  I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!”   (Psalm 46:10 CEB)

That’s where I’m at today. How about you?

Morning Sips

 

Morning Sips: How to submit to God

I’m not a Bible scholar, and I’ve never had any formal theological teaching – so just take this for what it’s worth.  The morning musings of a 58-year old Christ follower.

“Therefore, submit to God.”

You know those days when you’re reading your Bible, and one verse (or segment of verses) reminds you of another verse in some other chapter or Book of the Bible?  I love those days!!!  They bring to mind imagery of what it might be like if Jesus Christ were sitting across from me at the dining table, chatting about the impeccable congruencies of His word.  Well, this morning I had one of those experiences and so off I ventured into James 4, and having satisfied my curiosity with verse 6, I continued to read a few other verses I’ve underlined and commented on during previous studies.

“Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”   

James 4:7-8, 10 (NKJV)

 

And here’s what stands out to me (or what stands out to me this morning):

         Submit to God >>>>

                    Draw near to God >>>>

                                Humble yourself before God

 

In todays society, submission is often seen as a ‘dirty word’.  Is it???

      Merriam-Webster defines submit as:

  • to yield to governance or authority
  • to subject to a condition, treatment, operation
  • to present or propose to another for review/consideration
  • to put forward as an opinion

And I wonder if perhaps submitting to God could be as simple as drawing near to God.  I mean, if I draw near to God: as in spend time with Him, listen to Him, talk with Him, do things together with Him, perhaps even “affectionately scooch on over closer” just to be near Him …. well, wont I naturally find myself wanting to:

…. yield to His authority?
…. offer Him my concerns?
…. dialog and discuss with Him?

Maybe submitting is a lot easier than we think it is.  Maybe submitting is just the result of drawing near to God, taking in all of who He is, and then responding to it.

And as a reward for doing that … the enemy of my soul will flee!!!  Scram!  Stay far out of range!  Why?  Because I’m nestled up under the covering of my God, and their ain’t no devil in hell that wants to get within range of God’s jealous wrath for His beloved!!!!

And who , pray tell, is His beloved???   Well my friend, that’s you and me!! ❤

Hmm…. sounds like there are some excellent perks for practicing submitting to God today.   I hope you join me in the practicing.

Morning Sips

 

Morning Sips: A Renewed Mind

In his book “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day“, Mark Batterson makes a simple but profound observation:

It’s not enough to LEARN new thoughts … you also have to UNLEARN

Never have truer words been spoken, and it has taken me several decades to both learn and unlearn from my past.   For example:

It’s not enough to learn about the love of God … I also had to unlearn fear.

It’s not enough to learn to trust His love … I also had to unlearn rejection.

It’s not enough to learn to hope in His word … I also had to unlearn doubt.

 

“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world,
but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.
Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good
and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

(Romans 12:2  GNB)

A dear friend shared an image with me that she found via Google (yay Google!!).   I followed the link and was utterly delighted to read the associated post “Daily Affirmation: Take Every Thought Captive” by Jenny (a different Jenny), author of “The Littlest Way“.    I highly recommend you read it through … lots of resources on her site too!

take-every-thought-captive (www.thelittlestway.com)
Photo credit to Jenny of “The Littlest Way”  http://www.thelittlestway.com

 

Every time I read this, I can’t help but smile!  It’s not my artwork, but it does rather feel like she created it just for me.  Don’t you think?  🙂

I’m so grateful that God did the work of “transforming me inwardly by a complete change of my mind.”   (YAY GOD!!!)

As the truth of His Word began to take root in my heart, not only was I learning of His love, character, trustworthiness, faithfulness, mercy, patience, joy, etc. …..

"Of Dreams and Nightmares"  www.puttinghopetowork.com
“Of Dreams and Nightmares” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

…but I was unlearning fear, doubt, terror, distrust, self-protection, judgement, etc.  And over time (unfortunately, over a lot of time – but hey, at one point in my life, I was pretty messed up!), He changed me from the inside out!!!!

            Learning and Unlearning.
They are both required for true transformation.

Over the next few days I’ll be gathering some of the resources I’ve created over the years and share them with you in an upcoming post (or maybe on a new tab?).  In the mean time, please feel free to comment below with a prayer request or to share of your own “transformation / change of mind.”