Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The heart.



"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?"
Jeremiah 7:9

If you have been in the church for very long, you have heard this scripture preached a thousand times.

I know I have :)

Along with words that we can never trust the leading of our heart...that also includes any of it's desires... and any of it's longings.
NOTHING that comes from your heart is good.
Period.

Are these words familiar?

I cringe these days when I here a believer say how evil their heart is.
I believe this is an area that has not been taught well AT all by the church.
So much confusion on this topic.

In the past, for me the heart was tied to my flesh.
So just like I wanted to not live according to anything fleshly, the same went with my heart.

"For the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth."
Genesis 8:21


So never ever follow it.
Never listen to it.
And for goodness sakes, never ever go with any of it's evil desires!!!

I lived in this for a long time. I am sure you have too.
Living with the motto that my heart is completely evil, and it contains absolutely nothing good at all.
I despised it.
I shoved it down.
I threw it on the floor.
I stomped on it.
I disciplined it.
I hated it.

I lived in such a state of constant confusion in my relationship with God.
In everything.

It was almost like this cruel game He would play with me called,

"Amy figure out where I am... figure out which "right" combination of words and prayer will connect you to Me. And then maybe...just maybe I will answer you."

Or...

"Hide and seek God"

Or

"Aloof and sometimes available God."

Or

"Pick which path to go on, and if you choose the wrong path, I will be far from you type of God"

And on and on and on....

Really longing to know Him... really wanting to go down all the right paths.... really wanting to please God in all that I did, but I couldn't quite seem to ever attain that goal.

Until one day, a friend recommended a book to me called,
"Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge.

I could NOT believe what I read....
I came across a scripture in Ezekiel 11:19...it reads...

"And I the Lord, I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them;
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.



Then in Ezekiel 36:26

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

What??!!!

God, waaaaay back before Jesus came to reconcile us back into relationship with God, He made a promise??
He made a promise to me??
To me??!!!
That my heart, that was eternally wicked and evil..
My heart that was as cold as ice and hard as stone..
My heart that could desire NOTHING good in itself..

He made a promise....

He promised that He was going to give me a NEW heart?
A NEW spirit??
A clean and undivided heart towards Him??
Remove my old, cold, stoney heart, and give me a heart that is soft and pliable and fleshy??

YES!!

He did promise me that... He promised you that!

~ Now, please understand something.. I am NOT talking about the flesh here.. that's a whole 'nother post ;).... this is about your heart.... big difference!

As I read more into the scriptures about this, I realized that in fact when Jesus came and gave Himself as the whole and complete sacrifice for me, that part of this deal was this whole area of the heart.

It was such a loaded deal... Such a HUGE deal!
It wasn't just a passageway to heaven.
It wasn't just forgiveness of sins.
It wasn't just healing for sickness.
It WAS Him coming to restore, heal, make whole my heart again.
It WAS Him coming so that I, just like Adam in the garden, I would be restored to complete and whole relationship with God.
It WAS Him coming to bring LIFE to my heart.
It was Him coming to make His new home, no longer residing in a temple or the arc of the covenant, no... He now makes His home in....

wait for it...

in my heart.

Jesus now resides in my heart.

Galatians 4:6
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father".

2 Corinthians 1:22
He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Romans 5:5

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Proverbs 4:23

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.


Interesting isn't it when you realize the difference between a heart that was pre-covenant/old covenant/pre-Christ's dying on the cross, and a heart that is in the new covenant/after Christ dying on the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

I am not normally a scripture thrower, but as Christians we have gotten hung up on ONE scripture about the heart being evil, when there are literally a hundred about it's goodness, it's life, and God's indwelling.

Christ came for so many reasons, but this one area is one that has set me free in so many ways.

My heart is good.

Did you just have your cackles go up when I said that?

And guess what?

Your heart is good too.

So good and so clean because of what Jesus did at the cross, THAT He now lives in your heart.

As a matter of fact, scripture says the very well spring of your life flows from your heart.

Let me ask a question....

Going back to the heart being evil and deceitful... how in the world could Jesus dwell in a place like that?

Does He clean out a little room in your heart, and stay in that little room? ;)

Or is only one part of your heart good, and the other evil?

Thinking on the Spirit of God... God's presence, if you have some time, take a gander at the restrictions and strict directions on the placement of the arc of the covenant. Seriously... take some time to read on that... and that if a priest had any un-confessed sin, if he stepped foot near the arc, he would drop dead. Drop dead! No joke... read about it yourself.

The arc contained the presence and Spirit of God.... one more question.

Do you remember on the day Jesus dies, the big veil that was ripped in half in the temple?

That was HUGE! That little bit of information that was shared in the gospels, spoke...no no.. SHOUTED to the jews of that day.....

There are no more veil's between you and God!

Jesus has covered every sin that every man has ever done, and ever will do...

He has come and redeemed the heart, made it clean, and has moved in... taken up residence so to speak.

So now, when you walk with God, where does He speak?

Where does He lead you?

Where does He live?

In.

Your.

Heart.

Why?

Because your heart is good...it's clean... it's redeemed.

The redeemed heart is good.

I remember the day so clearly after realizing this truth... I heard God speak to me after years of torment and confusion....

He said,

" Amy, I want you to hear me. I want you to know where we are going in the journey of your life. I want you to know my heart toward you. I am not a God that I would hide from you. I am not cruel. I don't play games. I lead you through your heart...it's that plain and simple. You can be confident in Me, and trust Me. I want you to know Me, to know my ways, and to hear Me."

I think for so long I looked at God the Father as so mysterious and a bit sadistic. I know that sounds really harsh, and we are taught to NEVER say such things about God... but in realizing His heart, and getting to know Him a little bit, I have come to realize the thing that my Father loves is when I am real. When I don't hide and don't cherry coat things... He wants me to bring it all out into the open, and talk about things with Him.

So, from one child of God to another, please hear these words.

Your Father loves you, and He has made your heart so clean and so good, for one reason... so He could make His new home IN you...

Your heart is the space from where your Father leads you and speaks to you.

It's where He makes His desires YOUR desires. (Philippians 2:13)

To say it's evil and dirty is to completely shut down the simplicity of His heart and how He has designed you to hear Him and know Him.

For this very truth, I am so grateful this Christmas season for Christ's coming....

Merry Christmas... Christ HAS come, and has created in you a clean and beautiful heart.

Amy

Friday, December 17, 2010

Questions.

It all began..

The world that is.

One God.

One man.

One woman.


2 trees.

1 choice.

This man and woman, all they knew was one thing.. love.
We don't even know how long they were in the garden with God... it really could have been for hundreds of years.... and then again it could have been a much shorter time.
But truly, these 2 beautiful human beings were created out of love.
The love of God.
The love of the Trinity.

I heard a quote from an author once....

"Man was created out of the laughter of the Trinity."

I love that!

I am more and more convinced of the Trinity.
Alot of folks argue about this topic.... but here's a thought on the Trinity.
I was thinking of the scripture, "God IS love."
It's His very nature.. it's who He is... love.
And to BE love...love in it's own nature has to be shared.
One cannot BE love, and not share it.
So here is a thought... take it for what's it's worth...
If God is only one... all by Himself for aaaallll eternity, how could He be love?
That's where the Trinity comes in.... God is not just ONE, He is 3.
And the relationship and love H shares is within the 3..
Father. Spirit. Son.

And out of this love relationship with each other, God's love was poured into man and woman.

And just another little nugget on God...
The whole philosophy of God being one entity, all by himself out there some were in the universe, stems from pagan Greek philosophy.... thankyou so much Mr. Aristotle!
mmm hmmmm...

And unfortunately, a lot of this philosophy has seeped into Christianity...being past down from one generation to another... getting more and more further from the truth of the true being of God, the Trinity and His heart.
We have gotten further and further from the truth of what the first generation of Christians believed.
And little by little, generation after generation has passed down one tweak of this and one tweak of that in how we see and relate to God.. until finally it has gotten to perverse and so twisted that the entity of God has become a being that is:
Aloof
He is distant.
He is by himself and alone.
He is moody.
He is sometimes benevolent.
Some people do believe in the Trinity, but again Greek philosophy has the Trinity in a hierarchy type rank/relationship, as opposed to being equal and a love relationship filled with joy and contentment.

Sorry a bit of a bunny trail... ok, back on track.

God.
Man.
Woman.

All they knew is this world that reflects the heart of their Father.
Love.
Purity.
Goodness.
Completeness.
Wholeness.


They never knew pain.
Sickness.
Lies.
Deception.
Doubt.

All they knew was love.

Until...

One day, the great deceiver came..
And asked just the right question.

"Did God say......"

"Did God say not to eat of that tree??

Really?

No, He only said that because He doesn't want you to become like Him."

And so the deception of man and of woman began.

Why was this question so powerful do you think?

The small seed of doubt that planted deep deep within the question was what caught Adam and Eve.

What was the seed of doubt?

Your Father is holding out on you.

And when you start to unfold that initial seed, you can see how the lie unfolds even more. The lie speaks of how the Father mustn't really love you to keep something good from you.
It also speaks of their Father being selfish.

This one question changed everything inside the woman and then the man.

One question that spread like poison through the hearts of the woman and the man.....
One question that blinded the woman and the man of all the love, the relationship, the intimacy, the wholeness and unity of their hearts with God...their Father... their Creator.

One question that threw the wool over their heads...

Just one question.

But I wonder this.

I wonder if the woman and the man had remembered the heart of their Father, if they would have fallen so easily prey to the deceiver and his bag of tricks?

I wonder if they had checked and thought to themselves,
"Abba is good, He would never hold out on us something that was good. This isn't truth....this is a lie."

But they didn't.
Instead, they took the bate.
Hook. Line and Sinker.

Gulp.

They bought the lie.
They bought the deception.

They took it, and believed the lie that their Father was indeed holding out on them.
They questioned the very nature of the One's Who's heart they have always known to only hold love and goodness towards them.
They believed the lie that He was holding something good from them because of His own selfish, and power hungry nature?

This Father that loved, provided and was completely smitten and in love with his son and daughter holding out on them?

Really?

Wow.
"Did God say.... Did He really say that??"

Let's keep going with this....
This is where believing the lie went with this man and woman.
If God was holding out on them then all that their Father had shown them about Himself had to be a lie. And if HE was lying to them then His true nature is not love, but indeed selfish, self
centered and completely power hungry.

That could only mean one thing.

He doesn't love me.
He isn't truly for me and my benefit.
He holds the best things for Himself.
He isn't who He says He is, and therefore I need to take care of myself.
I am all alone.

Interesting how one little question can cause such ripples in the heart of a man, isn't it?

One man.
One woman.
One lie.
They believed it.
It changed everything.
Let the hiding from Father began.
Let all the misunderstanding His heart begin.
Let the shame, guilt and fear that sin introduced begin, and begin the distortion of our perspective of His nature and His heart towards us.









Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Papa's love.



I have a picture that will be forever etched in my memory..


One day I walked in my little daughter Faith's room, to find her Daddy and her playing..
She had to be 3 years old...and there she sat with her Barbie in hand, and her Daddy right next to her with his Barbie in hand, playing together.

I stopped, and took in this site... such the picture isn't it?

My hubby is an incredible Daddy... God has used my hubby's love for our children and his intentional interaction with them so many times to show me His, my Abba's heart and love for me.

This particular memory tho, I have seen this picture time and time again in my heart... but one particular day, my own Abba God, spoke something to my heart that I will never forget.

He said, " Remind you of anyone?" ;)

" Why yes... yes it does, Abba. It reminds me of You and me."

As I looked in on this memory, reliving myself standing at the door watching my husband and this tender moment with Faithy, the revelation came to my own heart that my Abba has done this very very thing with me...with you.

Here He is...
God...
THE G-O-D
Yahweh.
Indescribable...
Huge...
So vast and so extremely inconceivable to the human mind...
Filled with wisdom beyond anything the smartest human could even grasp....
I could go on and on... but I think you get the point.

Just as Faithy's Daddy sat on the floor crossed legged with her, playing with her, speaking words that her little 3 year old heart would understand, and engaging her at HER level, so my Daddy has done the same with me.















This picture, I will never ever forget because it speaks of His tenderness to me.

Everyday, He comes and meets with His little Amy...
He speaks to her with pictures and in ways that her little heart understands...

He loves her and shows her His love in ways that her little heart can interpret.

He leads her gently by the hand, and reveals His heart and truth to her in ways she can receive and understand.
Because He is THAT kind of Daddy. :)
He is good.

He meets His treasure, His delight, His beloved daughter, Amy, here... in this space...in these ways because He LOVES her, and He wants her to know that He loves her, so He engages her at HER level.
Just as Faithy's Daddy engages her at her level for the simple reason of showing her his love in ways her little heart will know his love, so does my Papa... my Abba does the very same thing with me.

Many don't know this about God.
Many will not agree.
Many would argue.
But for some this will touch a space in your heart, that you know to be true because you know Him too, don't you?

This is the God that He has revealed to my heart.
My huge, great, vast, awe inspiring, sovereign, words cannot even begin to express kind of God.
He is my Papa. He draws close to me, and He has shown me His love for me in this way.
















What kind of picture would it be if Faithy's Daddy didn't engage with her because she wasn't at HIS level?

What kind of picture would it be if Faithy's Daddy made her speak intelligent, clear and precise words, or he wouldn't engage her or speak to her if she didn't?

What kind of daddy would he be to make a 3 years old come up to the level of a 45 year old?

It's a ridiculous picture!

It would look arrogant!
Conceited!
Foolish for a daddy to put that kind of expectation on his child!
We would look on that as almost being on the verge of abusive and neglectful don't you think?
What good father does that to his child?

But yet, we put that on our own Abba... our heavenly Father.
Like He is some pompous being, that will only speak to us if we say the right words, or utter the right formula.
That He will only respond if the prayer prayed is said in eloquence or correctness.

What kind of Father is that?

Jesus says in scripture,

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! "


If I being human, if my husband, who is human knows how to engage and show our little daughter how treasured she is, and how loved she is by engaging her at her little 3 year old level, how much MORE does our Abba know how to show the gift of His heart and love to us??

I believe that His heart is so incredible for us and towards us that He has intentionally placed pictures all around us of how He relates to us.. in the relationships around us... in nature... in seasons... all of these are pictures and words that I can take into my heart, and see how my Abba God sees me, and how He wants me to know Him and His love towards me.

And the resounding message I receive is:

Abba loves His Amy. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Your Secret Name...

I sobbed as I watched this video...

In scripture it says that one day, at the end of all days, Jesus will pick up a stone... and on this stone will be His new name for you... your heaven name ;)

When I heard this, I thought, I am in eternity right now... this moment, this time it's all apart of eternity. I wonder if Abba has a special name for me in this season of eternity?

So I asked Him.

And guess what?

He does have a name for me in the now season of eternity.


I bet if you ask Him, He will share yours with you too!



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Love

Had an interesting last couple of days... just processing some conversations, and hurts that have come up in my heart from the actions of others.
Old, ugly voices that had been put on mute, all of sudden were back... like someone un-uted them.
Accusing voices, mean words, harsh tones... just speaking lies to my heart.
I know what I needed.
I so needed to connect with my Abba God.
To hear my His heart on the matter.
To hear His heart towards me.
What does He see in me?

Do you ever just desperately NEED that reassurance from Him?

I do ALOT!

Yesterday I felt a particular pull to my piano.... to just sit and play what was in my heart.
So that's what I did.
There is something about music that is doorway for me... to shut out all the voices in my head, and connect with my Father.
I don't think it's that He has gone, and left me to my circumstances.
Or that He isn't with me...
I think it's just that my brain is screaming at me, and I can't see or feel Him.
Doesn't mean He isn't there, it's just the fact that I am the distracted one.

Make sense?

Anywho, as I played, I started to feel a love so great and so huge envelope me..
I could hear His heart towards me.... like waves it washed over me....
The comfort I had been walking around needing....
The reassurance that I needed.
Woosh... there it was.

Now it doesn't always happen when I sit at the piano, but this particular day, I felt He wanted to meet me there through it.

Words that kept coming to my heart were,
"Just be, Amy... Just be."
"Your Father loves you, Your Father loves you.... just be."
"He calls you His heart... He calls you His heart."

Just over and over again, like a wave, repetitive, and cyclical... those phrases kept coming and washing over me.

So whatever was weighing down my heart....whatever questions I had in me must have needed to hear this...because the heaviness was gone... just dropped off like dead weight.

Huge sigh.

I came away, and immediately I started thanking God for His love... thankyou for meeting me in that hard space, God... thankyou for loving me.. etc....

And I heard Him as clear as day...abruptly say, " Stop. Stop thanking me for loving you. I love you because I choose to love you...it's not a favor or a good deed...it's not in pity that I extend love... No, I love you because you are mine, and I find great delight in you. Just be and rest in me... rest in my love. It's yours, Amy. Don't thank me for it, just receive it and be in it."

Whoa.

How many times have I done that? A million and one?
Thanked God for loving me...thanked God for meeting me in my grief.. but not because my heart was filled with gratitude...that's different... what He spoke to was religious jargen that I had always been taught God liked, or that I was supposed to do.
He called it out.

Whoa.

Another pair of religious chains fell off... clink clink... on to the floor.

(smiles and tears)

A little about this blog...

Just some words for anybody that is stopping by this blog for the first time or the millioneth time.

I love to write.
It's a really powerful processing tool for me.
This blog is that space... a space that I have made to write and to give my heart a voice and an outlet to process and share.
If you want to argue and sling poo, this isn't the space for that.
Conversations are welcome, but poo slinging is not.
I will delete any unkind, argumentative, "I am right and you are wrong", type comment.


Conversation, yes.

Arguments, no.

I love to share and talk with each other, but I won't have any body being hurt and torn up here, myself or anybody else.

Because this is a pretty raw and real part of my heart, there will be times where my tone might feel a bit upset, or vent'y like.
Please please understant, this isn't personal to you, your church, your religion, your heart... this is just me hashing out this messy walk and journey with God.
It's messy.
It ain't pretty all the time.

Anywho, just wanted to share that little bit there.
I am having a hard couple days of just realizing some hard truths about people that I love, but really don't want relationship anymore. They just want to sling poo over their little walls. Makes me sad.

Amy

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hiding

The human heart does some pretty interesting things when constantly put in a space of pain and stress.

In this journey out of fear, I realized a way that my heart dealt with the constant pain and stress that I submerged it to for so many years was to find ways to shut down the pain, to hide from the pain.

You see, pain and stress were created for a reason.
Pain and stress were created to induce change.
They were designed for us to see them as red flags.
Red flags that something isn't working for us in a particular pattern or choice in life and we need to reevaluate what we are doing and change.

Just a simple red flag that something needs to change.

Now there are things that happen in life, that we have NO control over whatsoever, that create pain and stress in us.
And that kind of pain and stress HAS to be walked out... really walked through with the Father, and sometimes with a counselor.

In both cases... if we don't make the changes that pain and stress are red flagging in any particular area of our lives, and/or we don't walk through the pain and stress that life is bringing on, our minds and heart will figure a way out to shut the pain down.

And this is when addiction comes in.

Ways of coping, numbing pain, hiding, and shutting down all those little red flags.

In my own ignorance, and not realizing that all these areas that I thought I was making my flesh submit to my spirit...cough cough... and trying to be what other people said I was to be, the pain and internal stress that I inflicted on myself for years and years, brought on some pretty interesting "coping" mechanisms.

A heart was not designed to be submerged in pain constantly, day in and day out, year upon year. You will, maybe or if here my friends, but you WILL develop an addiction of some sort to deal with the pain.

In all the years that I attempted to squeeze myself into other people's molds and ideas of a good and right women/wife/mom/daughter/friend/minister, I began to cope with the pain of all the squeezing and pain.

In all honesty, I have had so many addictions in my life, I have lost count.
In our frail humanity, we can become addicted to just about anything... from slamming a door constantly, to eating too much chocolate, to loving a certain mood or dynamic in life, to sniffing cocaine and clicking on pornography.
We can hide behind anything!

Some of my addictions were obvious and others not so obvious.
One obvious addiction is my addiction to food.
You can see when I am walking in freedom.....she goes down.
And you can see when I am not....she goes up.
Food was my buddy for a loooong time!
It worked for a long time, until it didn't and I started getting adverse affects.

The price gets higher and higher with addiction doesn't it?

What worked for a time, after awhile stops working, and you have to up the ante.
Ooo, and the shame and the guilt that were thrown in that ugly pattern were monsters!
Being a worship leader, and being in front of thousands of people, my food addiction was in full throttle.... I was so embarrassed and so filled with shame. My clothes wouldn't fit...and then they would... and then they wouldn't....and then they would....
Weeeee.... like a teeter totter, right?
NOT!
Awful awful ride.

But another one that I have battled with wasn't so obvious.
This one was a little more tricky.A little more subtle and except-able.
It was underlying for years.

I began to hide.

No no, not in the closet or under the bed... in more subtle ways.

As I look back over my life, I can see where it started... it started after my first baby was born, and has carried on ever since.

I hid behind "doing" things...

Some of my doings were really really good too!
But they kept me in a space of detachment... of not having to engage and connect.

I would.....














Hide behind busyness.
Hide behind my computer.
Hide behind tasks.
Hide behind housework.
Hide behind projects.
Hide behind ministry.
Hide behind events.
Hide behind work.
Hide behind buying too much. (racked up a good many credit cards with this one.)
Hide behind listening to music and podcasts and sermon teachings.
Hide behind reading.
Hide behind my moods.
Hide behind denial.
Hide behind phone conversations.
Hide behind pointing my finger at other people and their issues.
Hide behind gossip.
Hide behind tv.

You get the picture..

Hide behind anything I could to not have to connect, feel, engage, be real and honest with myself, and be present in my own life.
Hide so that I didn't have to hear my own inadequate thoughts about myself.
I even created a virtual "space" in my hiding, to actual go to because I felt I was never alone...
I felt so bad about my own needs and feelings...
I really felt I was THE most selfish person in the whole entire world to NEED anything for myself.
So in that pain and need, my heart created the space that it needed.
It was a counterfeit space, by all means. But it created it....is that not just wild?
It will do that if we don't create the change that the pain is creating.

I hope all that makes sense.

I have hid behind so many things.... I am sure there is more I am not thinking of right now.
I felt safe in my hiding.
I didn't have to deal with any of my bad feelings, or operate in my roles, or be somebody else...
I could just hide.
Hide and NOT think about the pain my heart was in.

Until.....

Guilt and shame came along... and started knocking at my door.... bad bad Amy for hiding.
Bad bad mother you are for not 'wanting' to engage and play with your kids.
Bad bad wife you are for being too busy for time with you hubby.
Bad bad bad.. all around bad.

So I tried to manage it.
I tried to make myself STOP it.
I tried to break this cycle of hiding.
But a funny thing happens with addiction, you put a cap on one, and another pops up.
Addiction changes faces.
As you can see by my looooong list up above, it changed faces many times over.

Dealing with and managing my hiding became all that I did after awhile.

It became a vicious cycle of beating myself up, repenting to God, trying to stop the behavior, falling off the wagon, beating myself up again, repenting to God again, trying to stop the behavior AGAIN!
Over and over and over again I did this.

Until my Rescuer came, and He gently knocked on the door of my heart...

I opened the door, and I let Him come in.

In my shame and my guilt....
It was honest desperation, I let Him into my mess.

And He did.
He came in.
He walked right past the sin/addiction/hiding.
He didn't flinch at it, like I thought for sure He would.
He walked right past it, like it wasn't even there.
He walked right up to this massive curtain.

I hadn't seen that curtain before!

Where did it come from?!

And He pulled back the curtain and this is what I saw....
















I saw my own heart.
Beatin up, bleeding, torn up and just a mess.
All those years of living so afraid of doing something wrong.
Seeking out what I thought was the true and right way to do everything.
Being taught that any desire in me was evil and wrong.
My own heart was evil and wrong, and to never listen to it.
There it was.... a mess on the floor.

Then I saw all the molds I had been pressing my heart into for years upon years..... like those little chocolate candy mold trays.
And I saw me, taking my heart, shoving and shoving and pressing and pressing it into all these little molds.. making it fit.

And then His voice came...

"Amy, how painful do you think that is?
Is it any wonder that you have been hiding?
Is it any wonder that you have been eating your pain away?
Is it any wonder that you want to be some were else?"


Bing.
Light bulb moment.

I had been trying to deal with my addictions. I had been trying to manage them....overcome them...beating myself up. "Making" myself stop it, and get over it.
But it didn't work. It never worked.

It's like having a weed in your garden, that has produced all kinds of fruit, and just hacking off the top of the weed.

What happens?

The weed grows back...you have to go after the root.
Uproot that sucker, and it will wither.
This is what my Abba God was doing.
He went right past the behavior/sin/addiction to the root of the behavior.
There's a concept for ya.
This way... this one right here, guess what?
It works!
Sin management doesn't work.
Going at the root of "why" I sin DOES.

When we go at just the behaviors, it's like plucking off the fruit of a tree.
Or maybe even whacking off a branch.
But that fruit will grow back, and that branch will grow back.
But go at the root and the whole thing will wither.

And that is what is happening in my life.
It's wonderful!
I have never been more free from addiction in my whole life.
Yeah there are still things that I am hiding behind that I probably have no idea yet that are there, but I trust and know that my God will bring those to the light in His time.

The beautiful truth of His love... that My Father God loves me ALWAYS!
Nothing changes that.
His favor is on me ALWAYS!
He never leaves me EVER!
He is with me when I hide... He is with when I am present.
He is with me when I make good choices. He is with me when I make wrong choices.
He doesn't look at me with disdain and disgust. He sees me for who I really am.
He sees me complete and whole.
So when He sees me struggling in my sin, in my addiction, in my hiding, His heart is moved with compassion to remove that thing that is destroying me.
He hates sin because it hurts me.

Such a different view for me.... I had always felt I needed to get my sin in order so that I would be except able to God.
When really, Jesus and the cross have made me except able to God...always!
I AM except able to God whether I sin or not.
It's something that already is and always will be!
The sin hurts me. The sin has it's consequences, and THAT is why my Father wants to remove it from me.
I distance myself from God because of shame, not Him.
He never leaves, I just "think" He leaves because I am ashamed of my sin.
But He doesn't. He never leaves. Always in me... always with me.
Oh thankyou, Father... thankyou, Jesus....thankyou, Spirit of God.

More to come... Amy the Free

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fear ~ Part 2

These next few posts are going to be raw and pretty transparent.
As a matter of fact this blog is going to be pretty raw and transparent.

Just wanted to forewarn ya, and give you a way out before you read on.

My continued journey to freedom with God started about 3 years ago. It's been a continual unraveling, and untwisting and un-knotting of my heart. This is my journey. It's messy. It's not pretty all the time, but it's worth every step.
I have come to such a big resolve that He has indeed completed the work in me, it's just the process of Him bringing all the facets of myself to realize, and walk in His complete work in me.

It will take my whole lifetime, but I am ok with that. I am safe in Him. He isn't affected by my timetable. I am so grateful.

This is part 2 of my journey out of the area of fear.

Fear was everywhere in my life, it's hard to pick which area to share about....

As a feminine heart, it dictated everything that I did in my relationships with God, my husband, my children, my family, my friends.
Fear slapped so many roles on me that I needed to play, so many masks that I needed to put on, and so many obligations that I needed to fulfill.
"Go! Go! Go!"
"Do! Do! Do!"
"Shut Up! Shut Up! Shut Up!", It shouted at me...constantly over and over and over again.

And when I couldn't keep up the facade, and faltered in any of these things, shame and guilt came to finish up the job.

I had so many layers of shoved down emotions, roles, obligations, people I wanted to be, opinions I never shared...on and on.... so many layers over my heart, I couldn't hear it.
I had never heard it.
I didn't know it.
I honestly became this shell of a person, with a painted on smile, and a pleasant voice.
Agreeing with you, if I thought you had "it".
Letting you tell me what I should do also to achieve "it".....in every area of my life.
Very sad.
Very scary.
I fed off of what people said about me, their opinions of me.
I sought out roles in my church community that would gain praise...that would make me feel special, and a part of the "in" club.
You see, I didn't know who I was...so I needed people to tell me who I was.

I was miserable.
I was depressed.
I was dying inside.

The more I tried, the more miserable I became.

I would get so frustrated with myself... beat myself up with my words.
Why couldn't I achieve "it"... whatever "it" was...
Peace?
Happiness?
Why could I have it ALL together?
What was wrong with me?

I wanted it SO bad!
I truly love peace and happiness.
As a matter of fact, I tried to achieve permanent residence in Happy Land?
Yep! I tried very hard to stay in Happy Land for years, but the price kept getting higher and higher.
The more I tried the more I fell apart.

The area that is near and dear to my heart, and that I am continually walking out is the area of my children.
Being a mom.

After my hubby and I had been married for just a couple months, we decided (he decided, and having no opinion whatsoever, I agreed.) that we should make our family complete, and have a baby.

I had my first baby, and really struggled with being a mom.
I didn't like being a mom, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.
I didn't feel like these other mom's I had seen with their babies... connected and fulfilled.
I felt numb and disconnected to my baby.
I had a baby because, again, it was a "supposed to do" area.... my hubby brought it up, and I followed.
I look back at the condition of my heart, and I was SO not ready for a baby.
I know nobody is, but I really should have waited to know myself more... to get to know my desires.
But that's what I did tho... I just did what was expected, and what every woman did after getting married... you had babies.

I don't regret my babies.. so I hope that my thoughts don't paint that picture.
I am so grateful for each of them.
I just think the mom that they deserved has come along 10 years after they arrived on this earth.
The mom that they have experienced has been so broken, and so lost.
Not knowing my own heart and desires has really cheated my children of a lot of the nurture and love that they really needed from their momma.
They have gotten a lot of different women to be totally honest, but not me...not the true me.

Because I didn't know and understand that God had equipped me specifically for my 3 lovies, I became what I saw other mom's who had "it" were.
I became a master duplicator, and that's what my kids got.
And when I couldn't keep up with that particular mom, I got frustrated at myself.
Angry that I couldn't be what I saw a godly woman was supposed to be.
And then, my children would get a whacked out, grumpy, irritated, "leave me alone" mom.
It's really sad isn't it?
I think so.
My children's desire from me, is for me to be me.
For their momma to be the woman that I was created to be, NOT what other women are.
Not what the church had taught me my whole life to be either...you know, the Proverbs 31 woman?
But who my children really needed was me.

This is an area that fear has ravaged.
My children.
The guilt in my life that I have experienced in my relationship with my children, is absolutely ludicrous.
Fear of doing it wrong has robbed my children of what they needed

That scripture, "Love covers a multitude of sin." is one that I lean on to fill in the gaps in my broken years.

I pray for their hearts that His love and grace does cover what I have missed... and that I may continue to be the momma that they need me to be.... me.

To share something closer to home, something that I am just stepping into.. is the decision to NOT homeschool my kids anymore.
This area... WOW!
I have many friends that I have not shared this with yet, so this might be a surprise.
I have nothing nothing against homeschooling. I think it's wonderful!
But no longer do I think it is for everyone.

At the beginning of this summer, the Father started showing me areas that I have walked in that were just covered and motivated by fear, shame and guilt.
And if there is anything that I can guarantee you that is NOT of God, it is areas that we walk in that have fear, guilt and shame in them.
Unfortunately, we are a culture that is run by fear.
We are a church culture that is run by fear. Fear of the unknown... fear of the "what if".
It's sad, but true.
But that's a whooole other post :)

Me in my zest for freedom, said with all gusto,
"Go for it, Lord... show me all the areas that I am operating under fear with!"

And then I saw it...
His big finger pressing on the whole "homeschool" area.
I came undone.
I couldn't believe it!
Not that!

He started to unfold it, and showed me this was an area that I have been trying to shove myself into. A mold that was not made for me.
He showed me that fear has run me and this decision to homeschool my children.
Shame and guilt keeping me shut up, and pressing myself into this mold.

For years I heard from different friends and sources that to send your children to school, be it private or public, would squash their personalities, they would fall away from God, their education would be less then desirable, their attitudes would change towards each other, all compassion and love would be out the window, a worldly mindset would be ingrained, and they would lose their connection to their father and I.

These words might be true of some children. Maybe this is what some parents have experienced. Maybe.. maybe not. But for my heart is was gas to a flame... it just ignited every fear in me about the future of my children.

These words, and teachings, scared me to death! They dictated my decision to homeschool, and to continue homeschooling.

But, can I ask... what do all those words create in a person?
These words create a fear of the unknown.
They create a fear of uncertainty, and the "what if" factor kicks into play.
What if this happens to my children... and honestly it's not what if, it's this WILL happen to my children, it's just a matter of when.

Is this how God works? Is this how He leads? In fear?

So, each year pushing forward, I would remind myself of all of the above reason of why I needed to homeschool.

"Remember, Amy.... remember you don't want your kids to lose their way. You don't want them to fall away from Jesus. Everything is pending on you keeping it together, and offering this to your kids. You have got to keep it together here! Get over yourself, and be strong and do this!"

So I pressed and pressed and pressed myself into the homeschool mold.
Time would carry on, and the melt downs began.
Press press press.... another melt down.
And on and one... until my melt downs became more and more frequent.
I would melt down, and cry and totally lose it... pick myself back up and keep trudging forward.

Increasingly, as time continued to carry on, the melt downs kept getting more and more frequent, and I began to build ways to cope with all this pressing.... addictions came along to help me on my journey.
Addictions. Yep.

All kinds of them.... my mind created ways to survive and to numb me on my way.

I started to become incressingly depressed, and my ways of coping weren't working anymore.
Remember I said earlier, the price kept getting higher and higher?

But I so desired to offer my children the home school experience, to give them away out of all these thing that they would become if I put them into school.

Last year was my worst year homeschool year to date.
I was dealing with my food addiction, and was crumbling intensely in the whole homeschool arena.
Food was my friend.
It helped me for a very long time to cope and to numb and to keep pressing myself into the mold. Food had to go now, and I wasn't dealing very well with all the pressing and squeezing that continued to go on.
I wasn't numb anymore, and I could FEEL everything.

With food not being in the picture anymore, I couldn't keep up with the pain. I was melting down intensely now, depression came intensely now, aaaand that's when the Father stepped in, and asked me...

He asked me THE question... to take a year off from homeschooling, and lay it down.

"Will you lay this down? Will you trust me that I am your children's God, just as much as I am your God? That I am leading them, just as closely as I am leading you?"

I was shocked.
I thought for sure He really liked that I homeschooled. That this is what God wants for every family... for every mother to offer her children.
"What, Abba? Homeschool? Not homeschool?"

Silence.

Then I came completely undone.
Lots of emotions came after... oh boy.

I was mad.
Sad.
Grieved.
Frustrated at myself that I couldn't DO it. That I couldn't get it together, and just die to my self and homeschool my kids. Gheeze! What kind of mom was I anyway...apparently NOT a good one if I could at least offer my kids this.

It was a hashing out session for sure!
And eventually peace came, and a surrender in my heart.... and when I could see past the pain, and the guilt, I was so relieved.

I was so incredibly relieved. My gosh... what a burden I didn't realize this had become.

I now look back, and I see why He showed this area to me way back at the beginning of the summer. He has walked me through the emotions... the letting go....the trusting that if He asks me to lay it down, that His grace will follow my children, as it follows me.
And it has.

So, in this season, I have laid down homeschooling my children..
It's been hard, but it's been a fear that I have walked into with my Abba.
You have to walk through fear. You can't avoid it. You can't hide from it. You have to walk towards it and through it.
The beauty of walking through it, is that there IS another side. There is a new found freedom and strength on the other side.

My son went to school today, and my girls' started last week.
Big steps for me. BIG!
I have cried, I have let go, I have stepped towards what I know the Father has asked me to do...and I have peace, and am no longer afraid.

The lies that I believed about them going to school outside my home are just what they are... lies.
When I choose to believe a lie that my kid's are going to fall away from Jesus and never to be found again because I send them to public school, I am saying that my God is NOT able to lead them and guide them as He does me.
His words are Truth with a capital T.
And if His words are Truth, then when He said that His law is written on their hearts, and that He now lives and dwells within their hearts... and He is their Shepherd and will lead them into all Truth, I believe it.

That is a truth that I had to swallow. That is Truth. That is NOT a lie that is spear headed by fear, guilt and shame.

Anything that tells you that you "should" do this or do that is not from God.
It isn't.
If He asks you to walk towards something, He will never intimidate and operate in fear.
He will bring your heart and your desires to what it is He has for you.
Will there be nerves, yeah.
But nerves and fear are very different.
And in Him...He being LOVE, there is NO fear. None.
Oh, and there is NO condemnation either. So that includes shame and guilt.
This has become a HUGE filter for me. If I am listening to something, be it a person or a teaching or a conversation... if I began to feel fearful, or want to operate out of "should do"/shame and guilt, then it's not for me...because it's not my Abba God.
He doesn't operate in fear, guilt or shame.

It's a scary season, but today... as I sit here in my quiet house, I can't wait for my kids to come home. I miss them, and can't wait to see their beautiful faces.
I am looking forward to coming up along side their teachers, and volunteering at their schools.
Being as much a part of their education as I can!
I am so excited for it! I have such peace residing in my heart.
And guess what, they are doing so good. So so so very good.
This isn't for everybody, and just as much as I would never tell someone to homeschool their child is they felt they were not called to do that, I would never tell someone to NOT homeschool their child if they felt they were called to that.

But can I say this?

Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing?
Don't do anything that is dictated by fear, shame and guilt.
Try it out, see if it's for you. Maybe it is.. maybe it's not.
But don't continue to do something that is causing you major internal stress and pain because you "should" do it, or that it equals a good, Christian person.... do it because you want to do it...do it because your are passionate to do it. Do it because your desiring to do it.


Part 3 on it's way.....

Hiding.

Fear

My blog name is Amy the Free.... but another word that is coming very quickly right up along side of Free, is Fearless.

Fear.

Fear has been a constant presence in my life, for as long as I can remember.

As a matter of fact, fear, shame, and guilt. I like to call them the 3 amigos, but I will save that for another post.

Having been walking this new life out with Abba, I have come to such a HUGE revelation of the words,

" Perfect love casts out all fear...because fear has to do with punishment."


I AM STARTING TO GET IT NOW!

My life was run by fear.
Fear of being unpleasant to my parents.
Fear of being unpleasant and not pleasing God.
Wanting to do what was 'right', so that I didn't displease ANYBODY.
I became what I thought was right....
I shoved my heart into all kinds of different molds to do what was right...

Aaaall of who Amy became at 30 years of age was all due to wanting to be wherever the "right" side was.
If I was there, then I would be pleasing to people and God, and therefore not going to hell...not being out in the open away from God's umbrella of protection.

Doing wrong = Not pleasing to God
Doing wrong = No favor from God
Doing wrong = No protection from God

So my life's goal became to just always stay on the side of what was good and right.
But the problem is, good and right always seemed to change.

What is good and right?

To answer this question, became my life's purpose.

Always searching... always looking...

For example:

Oh, look at Julie, her life is all put together.. what is she doing?

Ok, Julie get's up everyday early early, has her quiet time, doesn't drink coffee but tea... she sews and chooses to be joyful all the time. Ok, I am going to do that.

Oh, and there is Bill... he has such peace and settledness in his life, what is he doing?

Ok, Bill spends an hour praying every morning, AND an hour reading the Bible.
Ok, I am going to do that.

Oh! There's Jane.... she has it all together. Her kids are so well behaved. Oh look! She is so organized.... she seems to just always be so peaceful, and so put together. What does she do?
She homeschools her children, let's God plan her family for her, has her own garden, bakes all her own breads and makes her children's clothes. Ok, I am going to do that.

And if I couldn't achieve all of what I saw that person do, the guilt and the shame came right on in.

It's madness!

I think if a person did hand stands everyday, and jumped on one foot, and yoddled 10 times, I would have done it if they looked like what I thought a good and pleasing child of God looked like.
Sad, but true.

So there was never any sense of peace, or rest, or just being ok in my relationship with God.
Never just "being" ok.

I think the sad sad part is that I didn't even know that I was doing it, until the day God flicked on the light. It was such a ingrained behavior. I think I still do it in areas.

Part 2 to be continued.....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Well Hi :)

Welcome to my blog...

Just wanted to get started and explain a little about me and why I wanted to have this little space on the web.

I am on a journey.
Learning to live fully alive.
Learning to live fully aware.
Learning to live fully heart.

It's messy and it's exhilarating all at the same time.
There are good days and hard days.

This is my journey. A journey to freedom in the feminine heart.

So welcome!