Tag Archives: ashes

A Closer Walk: Is This Abundant?

I sat in my ashes each day thinking, “Is this what God calls abundant?” I really wanted to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of, but how in the world was I supposed to look at the shambles my life had become, and see it as abundance?

fire and brimstone pulpitI was raised believing in a God who was much too holy and righteous for the likes of me.

Whenever the “fire of heaven” would rain down from our church’s pulpit, I would shrink under my daddy’s arm, trying to hide.

I believed God was scary, angry, and wanted to send me to hell!

The church people I grew up with spoke of heaven, and going there someday “in the sweet by-n-by,” (whatever that was) but then they would do, or say, the most horrible things to, or about, one another!

All this got filed into my own internal file drawers.

By the time I reached eighteen, and was free to begin to make some decisions of my own, I was not sure of much, but one thing I was certain about. I did not want anything to do with God, church, or church people.

the prodigal roadSo I chose “the world” and a prodigal-road, which of course led to even greater hurts, disappointments, and failures.

At age 28, after being on that broken road for ten years I came to the conclusion that nothing I had found in “the world” was worth having, including Christianity.

I believed life held nothing but pain and I was weary of it.

I wanted relief and peace, so I came to the erroneous conclusion that the only logical thing to do was to end my life, thereby ending my pain.

Image result for voice from heaven

Enter for the first time this Abba-God speaking and asking a very simple question.

“When will you trust me?”

That’s all I heard but it really spooked me.

Image result for god speaking to man

Who was this Voice speaking?

And why was He talking to me?

I’ll admit I was shaken, but I was also intensely curious. Could I have been all wrong about God being absent and uncaring?

I had to know the answer to that question and so I began my quest to try to get to know who God really was.

I wanted to know if I could really trust Him?

Related image

I joined a church. I got baptized. (Admittedly one of the most wonderful days of my life!) I read through my Bible cover to cover, many times. I studied. I joined. I volunteered. I served. I did everything I could think of, all questing after this holy grail of “becoming an Overcomer-Christian.”

I wanted to be a Christian who not only knew God, but also one who totally trusted Him, and therefore God would be pleased.

Image result for people pleaser quotes

See a pattern here?

I didn’t.

So I wholeheartedly pursued God outwardly, yet still struggled to navigate all my inner-storms of unanswered questions and self-doubts that refused to be silent.

I kept thinking, “How can THIS be it!”

It all “looked right”  from the outside but it all “felt wrong” on the inside.

Image result for fast forward symbolNow fast forward to the days after leaving the hospital.

Once again, life is in ruins after having tried it ALL.

Image result for woman sitting in rubble after earthquake

I reasoned that, “I had held up my end.” with my wholehearted devotion to The Quest—but God had not held up His.

I mean, twenty years and here I was sitting in the ashes, again?

How was I supposed to reconcile this promised “abundant life” with my personal world in ruins?

Where was I supposed to begin to start over again?

journal

INNER TURBULENCE

There is nothing happening in you that escapes My notice.

How often you come to Me with prayers and petitions about what is happening around you, when the greater issue is what is going on—on the inside.

The anxious thoughts and jealous fears.

The resentments and bitterness you feel over your losses.

The anger because of what others have done.

Image result for storms

I AM much more concerned with the storms on the inside of your heart and mind rather than your outside issues of finances, possessions, relationships, and health.

Oh Sweetheart, it’s your heart and those inner storms you are fighting! First we must deal with those, then we can address all the wreckage from the outer squalls.

(You know I AM right.)

Come, take the time today for an inventory of the inner turbulence. We can deal with this. There is nothing we can’t handle together—and I AM here—right here.

Image result for jehovah shammahI AM Jehovah-Shammah for those sins weighing you down.

I AM Jehovah-Shammah with forgiveness.

I AM Jehovah-Shammah with tender compassion.

I AM Jehovah-Shammah with wisdom and correction.

I AM present My beloved, My own.

Image result for god love you

How I love you. How I listen for your slightest sigh!

Come to Me. I have your peace. I have your joy. Only I can give you these things.

(You know this.)

I see the weight on your soul.

Let me lift, (ah yes,) lift those weary cares off your heart.

Come.

There is abundant grace here, in My arms.

a closer walk

 

“Lord, you know how I long for my health once more. You hear my every sigh.”

Psalm 38:9Psalm 38:9
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 Lord, all my desire is before you. My groaning is not hidden from you.

WP-Bible plugin

 

A Closer Walk: That First Faint Whisper

I remember after my accident the first faint whisper God spoke. I sat every day in the ashes of my burned-down-life, not sure if I even wanted to recover from all the devastation I saw.

life falling apartA weariness had enveloped me that was beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

That place, right in the middle of all my MESS—God showed up.

I wish I could tell you I was in this super-spiritual place but the truth is I was trying to contemplate a life without God. My disappointment went far beyond my rage at my circumstances. I was just “finished” and God and I both knew it!

That had been our deal.

I had returned to my faith from “the world” as beat-up prodigal who didn’t believe “a God of love” even existed. So, before I was even willing to try out this “Christian” thing again, I wanted a new deal between God and myself.

I wanted total transparency with no head-faking-bull.

I wanted no part of the phony church stuff I had seen growing up.

Actually, things worked out well for the first few years. I jumped into the discipleship thing for all I was worth. I studied my Bible each morning. I regularly attended church. I devoured every Christian book I could get my hands on. I began serving in church in all kinds of different ways. Life was good. I was growing. You might even say I was thriving.

Then life fell apart. An undetected illness and the resulting visit to the Emergency Room brought everything crashing down.

Each day I sat in the ruins trying to decide if my “return to God” had just been another colossal mistake in a long line of mistakes.

Was this Christian-thing just one big con job? I felt betrayed. I was recoiling from all the stuff I had believed.

If you tust God is THIS what you get?

So I stopped reading my Bible.

I couldn’t pray.

I wanted nothing to do with a God like this!

world in ruinsHow did I get here?

My doubts that had begun as whispers were now shouting at me, “Is this what obedience brings?”

Everywhere I looked I saw only devastation and chaos!

I wondered, “What kind of a loving God loves like this?”

God hears even the faintest whisper in our hearts.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is hidden from God. He was “listening in” on all my doubt and inner rage. I didn’t know it then, but He was counting each broken-hearted tear. He was letting me grope my way along in the dark for awhile—just waiting. Waiting for me to finish venting all my frustrations, and for the silence to descend.

Now in the inner quiet He began to whisper.

I grabbed a pen and began to write.

journal

ONLY CHANGED

You there.

Yes YOU sitting in the ashes.

These ruins you see all about you? They are not who you are.
They are not your final destination or your destiny.

I AM!

You are in Me and I AM in you.

Our two lives are as inseparable as a brook that flows into a river. Where does the brook end and the river begin? Hah, you can’t tell Me! That’s how it is with us. My life flowing in you. Your life flowing in Me.

ashesYou look at these ashes and think, “It’s all over now.”

You see ruins where once stood bright hopes and shining dreams, and you think, “What’s the use of dreaming?”

But Sweet Heart look up.

Turn those tear-filled eyes toward Me. I AM still here. You are still here. We are not going to dwell forever in—this place. This is only for a moment in your eternity. A wink! I AM your true Vine not your dreams. Your life flows from Me, not from people, possessions, or calling. Come, dry those eyes. Life is not over. Only changed. But remember what I told you? “I do not change!” I AM the One you can always count on. I AM the Foundation that does not move.

We will be leaving here soon. As we step out of these ashes to begin again? You will see Me transform these ashes of yours into radiant beauty.

You’ll see.

a closer walk

 

“To all who mourn… He will give beauty for ashes.”

Isaiah 61:3Isaiah 61:3
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified.

WP-Bible plugin

Ashes

ashes_to_ashes__dust_to_dust__by_cheesysteele-d3nfklw

As I sit here, from Heaven’s view

Watching you weep among the ashes?

I wish you could see, what I see

The other life that crashes

~~~

Don’t think that you’re the only one,

That’s wandering through destruction;

That I’ve no plan to take it all

And begin the reconstruction…

~~~

Just like I’ve done so many times,

I’ll take all you have been through

And build a life that honors Me

Your hopes and dreams renew

~~~

I’ll carve from despair and discouragement,

Weakness, loss, and pain,

Doors of delight and deliverance,

Meaning and priceless gain.

~~~

Then with your humbled thankfulness,

I’ll build one final door

And you will lead—countless others through

To salvation forevermore

AshesMed2P1210554