Jesus became real…

“Jesus became real… When I came to the end of me”

The end of me by Kyle Idleman

Jesus became real… When I looked at where my life was heading and felt like I was all alone, and worthless.

I have wondered many many times “why me?”  Why did I have to deal with the things of my past?  There’s only so much that one person can handle after all, right?

I have heard that 80% of the things you will learn in your life are learned within the first 3 years of your life.  I don’t know this to be an undisputed fact, but it makes a lot of sense.  When you’re born you are assaulted with everything this life has to offer.  Your body learns how to see, and to hear. You learn all your sensory perception. You learn what it’s like to be loved and cared for. You learn pain, and pleasure.  You learn how to eat, and to play.

Some of the first things I learned weren’t pleasant. I learned a completely distorted view of what love is. I was abused as a child, taken away from the situation and then given back. My father was the abuser and my mother was considered neglectful.  By the time I was five I had been in a few different foster homes, some that abused me even further, and one that I loved. When i was five I was placed in the home that would eventually adopt me.

By then I had learned to close myself off from love.  When I finally came to my forever family, I wouldn’t open myself up to be loved by them. To the point where it still effects me today.  I never truly let them into my heart so even though I love my family and now know that they absolutely love me, I don’t have a lifetime worth of loving them and feeling loved in return.  I have years where I felt all alone. Like there was no one that could ever love me. I bought into the lie that I was worthless, so they couldn’t possibly feel what they were telling me. After all isn’t that what my biological parents were supposed to do, love me unconditionally, and look at how they treated me. Like I was disposable. These were lies that played on repeat n my head for years.

I had 5 biological sisters who are all equally scarred by the things we have been through. My oldest sister became a prostitute at 18 and died a few years later because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When that happened, I blamed myself for not being able to love her like she needed. I felt like it was just another area/person in my life that I had failed.  I spiraled out of control. Started doing drugs, getting wasted every weekend, and throwing myself at guys because that was the only thing that I could seem to do well. One weekend I was out partying started drinking and I’m pretty sure I was drugged. I woke up the next morning half naked and alone on a friends couch. I don’t even remember what really happened. That was how I lost my virginity. The one thing I told myself was mine and only mine to give. I kept partying. It was the only thing I knew. The only time I felt good about myself.  I got really good at putting on a front and pretending everything was fine.

I had lost sight of who I wanted to be, who I could be, and got stuck in the lie that I wasn’t worth anything.  I broke down one night when I found the letters that my sister would write to me from prison.  I could feel God telling me that that was exactly where I was heading. It may have been a different route but I was in a prison all the same. my bars were inside my head but I was so trapped.

Jesus became real…

I started to study out the bible and seek out people who could help me.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still broken, and still caught up in my sin, but my eyes were being opened to a hope. A hope that this didn’t have to be my life.  There was someone who thought I was worth dying for. I began to know Jesus. To see who he wanted me to be. The unconditional love that God had for me and still has.

I am not perfect. I still mess up, a lot.  I now know that the God who loved me then loves me now. He wants me to want him. God has given me friends and family that have helped me through my darkness and people that he has called me to help through their darkness.  I know that what I have been through is not for nothing.  It can be used to help others going through the same thing.

I cling to Gods word and know that he loves me and thinks I am worth something!

Isaiah 43:4-5

 “Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you”

Sarah Coon

Something to complain about

   I don’t know if you’re like I have been lately, but I can find something to complain about in almost any situation I’m in. Now that’s not to say I am usually a complainer, because I’m really not, most of the time, we all have our moments. I would say I generally am on the optimistic side of things. Lately, however, I have found myself finding something to complain about. 

   We recently moved across the United States, from Pennsylvania to Colorado. The drive was long, but we survived. The house sale was chaotic, and took longer to close than expected, but we’ve closed and received payoff.  Sean started a new job, it has been a tad stressful, but he’s already rocking it out! There are so many things to be grateful for. We live closer to family, have an amazing townhouse that is more than we could have hoped for, we have income within weeks of moving, and the girls are adjusting pretty stinking well. My oldest is having a hard time with the separate floors, but she’s beginning to move past that fear.  Yet, I still manage to find something to complain about. I have found myself saying ” yeah that’s all great, and I know we’re here for a reason but… I wish we were closer to the city. I wish we could get more involved in the church. We could if we were closer.” 

   This line of thought has put a kind of “funk” in our house. I was struck today, as I was worshiping, with a mental slap in the face. Amanda cook sings Voyage, one line says 

          “What if the path you choose becomes a road, the ground you take becomes your home?”

   I thought what if the choice I make, to see something to complain about, becomes my home? Do I want to lifeline in this state. In this sort of dull drums I have put myself in by thinking what if, if I could only? There are so many different paths you can take yourself down.

   We choose where we take ourselves.  For a long time I thought that it didn’t matter what I put into life, that I was going in a certain direction no matter what I chose.  Circumstances put me in a certain spot and I didn’t have a say in how I got there.  It took a while for me to realize that no matter what is thrown at me, or put in my path I get to choose how I deal with it. I get to decide if the way that person treated me is going to ruin my day or not. I get to choose to see good in every situation, or sit and find something to complain about.  

     It’s not just about complaining though. What if the path you’re leading you life in right this moment becomes a paved road?  Would you be happy 10 years down the road?  Will you feel completely fulfilled?  Is it drugs, alcohol, sleeping around, complaining, anger, or any number of things that put us in a funk.

   There are so many different choices we can make in everyday and in every moment. I don’t know about you but to think about my decisions in a different light, and contemplate “what if this path I am going down eventually just becomes a home to me?” Is that where I really want my life to end up. If not, I need to do some adjusting!

I encourage you, think about the path you are on right now.  If you keep going it’s going to become a road, easier to travel down.  Then it’s going to become your home. The place where you stay and have to work to leave. If where you’re headed right now becomes your normal, would you feel great about where you’re at? I know I wasn’t feeling like that! I need to make some adjustments to get myself back to where I need to be.  Get in my word and focus on what God really wants from me.

Thank you God, for loving me enough to care more about my character than my comfort! I pray you continue to change me and make me new daily.

Distorted Truth

One of the first recorded moments of “struggle” in the bible, the enemy had two tactics he used to wear Eve down. 

1: He tried to get her to question what God said to them.

Genesis 3:1 

“… Did God actually say you couldn’t eat from any tree in the garden?”

He knew that wasn’t what God said, but he wanted Eve to question what God said. To get her thinking about the words. She knew what he said to them, she even told the servant exactly what God told them. They could eat from any tree just not THAT tree.

2: The serpent used TRUTH to confuse Eve. He distorted the truth to the point where the original message didn’t make that much sense any more. 

Genesis 3:4

 But the serpent said to the woman ” you will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God. Knowing good and evil.”

At this point Eve is seeing his point of view. She started to focus on the “truth” that was said, instead of the truth God had told her. She lost sight of the big picture. Only seeing the snippet the enemy placed in front of her.

And it was truth, distorted to make his point of view seem better. It was still a truth. 

Genesis 3:22

The lord God said “behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever…”

The truth can be distorted to make a different point of view seem better. Taken out of context and twisted to prove a different point. God told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree they would surely die. They didn’t drop dead as soon as they ate the fruit, they lost something in that very moment though. Death is not always a physical death. The moment they ate, their innocence died. They felt shame. A little part of them died inside and they wanted to hide from God. The bond that they had with God, being so close in the garden, that died the moment they decided to eat the fruit.

The enemy loves distorted truths. They get a rise out of us almost immediately.  He can take a moment when we acted out of selfishness and distort it into us believing that we’re better than everyone. Or a moment when someone treated us terribly in their selfish moment and have us believing we’re worthless. 

There are so many ways that the truth gets distorted. We need to keep our eyes on the big picture. To keep the real truth hidden in our hearts, where no one can change it. 

I hope that together we can help keep the truth of who we are in Christ, directly in front of each other’s eyes. To help each other see through the distortion to the true beauty of the truth.