Tag Archives: surrender

A Closer Walk: Renunciation and Following Jesus

I have thought on the word “discipleship” a great deal in recent years.

If I had to describe, in one word, this journey of mine it has all come down to the word: RENUNCIATION.

The dictionary gives this simple definition of renunciation: abnegation, denial, forsaking, giving up, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-renunciation.

Tough words. Sometimes painful. Always challenging.

I smile when someone refers to a Christian as “wimpy.” (Truly, they haven’t got a clue!) Of all things required to pull-off a set of words like the above? Wimpy is certainly not one of them.

obedienceFollowing Jesus is definitely not for wimps!

Discipleship is the act of daily “laying your life down,” sometimes literally, as we have seen in our news headlines, but always, always, in absolute fidelity.

And here is where the struggle comes in—at least for me.

Perhaps there are those who joyfully follow wherever Christ points without the slightest questioning. For me—there has always been the struggle—especially when it is something that seems unfair, unjust, or illogical.

And, I suspect all the talk about the many folks going out the back doors of our churches confirms, I am not alone.

For a dedicated disciple of Jesus, life will come down to obedience—always.

American ChristianityFollowing Christ is choosing to obey Him in ALL THINGS.

We don’t pick or choose.

We don’t get a vote.

We are required to sacrifice anything and everything—if He wills it. We renounce our rights to ourselves, and renunciation, is where many walk away believing the price is just too high.

Discipleship means tough choices and giving up our right to any refusal (perhaps this is the toughest choice of all,) but that is why Jesus said to us, “Count the cost.”

Discipleship is very costly at times.

I imagine Non-Christians wonder, “Why would anyone choose this?”

For myself, I had to think hard to know how to answer that question:

I suppose, first, it is the JOY of learning that you are thoroughly LOVEDjust as you are.

All the broken, unworthy stuff, forgiven because He wants us; just as He finds us; in spite of all our mess.

Then, there is the PEACE He gives.

A peace that will overcome and rule any situation. (How could you possibly put a price on that?) He is the Prince of Peace, and when He comes to dwell in a heart He brings His peace with Him.

There is escaping hell and it’s judgement. (No explanation necessary here.)

There is His STRENGTH and the HOPE He gives.

There are all the PROMISES that He absolutely makes good on, either now or in the life to come, because He is completely TRUSTWORTHY.

He never lies. Never betrays. Never abandons.

daily renunciationHe is a King.

This world belongs to Him.

Make no mistake about it, He will never ask your permission.

He is a ruler.

He is: The Ruler.

(Something this world will soon discover!)

He will not spare for our crying, yet He will always acknowledge our suffering, for no one is more compassionate, or kind.

No one is more forgiving. But—He is laser-focused and unrelenting in His goals for our lives!

Does following Christ make you a wimp?

My answer—try it—see for yourself.

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ONLY WE TWO

We are going somewhere, you and I!

This, all of this, will be transformed into glory.

Remember? I give grace and glory.

(This we have talked about many times.)

Ah, but the cost we rarely speak of.

So today, let’s speak of it.

This chafing you feel? This constant, dragging, irritation? This is from Me. The things you think you cannot bear? The things that try your nerves, and scrape, and grate, on your soul? From Me—all from Me.

(How long?)

Just a little more.

Just until your nerves don’t grate and your heart can bear.

(Oh, that look!)

“Never.” you say?

(Oh, I don’t know about that!)

My child, I don’t smile at your discomfort. I smile because I see what you are becoming. I see the seeds of glory beginning to sprout.

(Ha, I knew it!)

Soon, you will be a luscious garden of graces, filled with the fruits of My Spirit. All this grating, chafing, misery, will dwarf in comparison.

As you begin to fulfill your destiny?

Oh, the healing that will flow from those lips; from your heart. Your life will burst into bloom and blossom and the world will marvel at what you have become.

Only we two will know what it has cost you—what you laid down and sacrificed to bear this fruit for others.

Only we two.

a closer walk“After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory.”

1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10
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10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

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Revelation on “Abiding In Christ” Andrew Murray

The following are quotes taken from the book, Abide In Christ, by Andrew Murray. They are FULL of revelation and instruction for course correction.


“Christ Jesus said: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.”

In other words: “I, the living One who have so completely given myself to you, am the Vine. You cannot trust me too much. I am the Almighty Worker, full of a divine life and power.” You are the branches of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is in your heart the consciousness that you are not a strong, healthy, fruit-bearing branch, not closely linked with Jesus, not living in Him as you should be—then listen to Him say: “I am the Vine, I will receive you, I will draw you to myself, I will bless you, I will strengthen you, I will fill you with my Spirit. I, the Vine, have taken you to be my branches, I have given myself utterly to you; children, give yourselves utterly to me. I have surrendered myself as God absolutely to you; I became man and died for you that I might be entirely yours. Come and surrender yourselves entirely to be mine.”

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REVELATION: His power is made perfect in our weakness.

“The Christian often tries to forget his weakness; God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it; God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness; Christ teaches His servant to say, ‘I take pleasure in infirmities. Most gladly …will I…glory in my infirmities’ (2 Cor. 12:92 Cor. 12:9
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9 He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

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)’ The Christian thinks his weaknesses are his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God; God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, ‘My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

God wants one thing

REVELATION: As Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself.

“THERE is a view of the Christian life that regards it as a sort of partnership, in which God and man have each to do their part. It admits that it is but little that man can do, and that little defiled with sin; still he must do his utmost–then only can he expect God to do His part. To those who think thus, it is extremely difficult to understand what Scripture means when it speaks of our being still and doing nothing, of our resting and waiting to see the salvation of God. It appears to them a perfect contradiction, when we speak of this quietness and ceasing from all effort as the secret of the highest activity of man and all his powers. And yet this is just what Scripture does teach. The explanation of the apparent mystery is to be found in this, that when God and man are spoken of as working together, there is nothing of the idea of a partnership between two partners who each contribute their share to a work. The relation is a very different one. The true idea is that of cooperation founded on subordination. As Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself. What he can do of himself is altogether sinful. He must therefore cease entirely from his own doing, and wait for the working of God in him. As he ceases from self-effort, faith assures him that God does what He has undertaken, and works in him. And what God does is to renew, to sanctify, and waken all his energies to their highest power. So that just in proportion as he yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of God, will he be wielded of God as the active instrument of His almighty power. The soul in which the wondrous combination of perfect passivity with the highest activity is most completely realized, has the deepest experience of what the Christian life is.”

Abide In Christ

 

A Closer Walk: The Idolatry of Approval

I never thought of family as an idol.

I mean how could wanting your family’s love and approval be idolatry?

For many years I longed to be loved and accepted by my family—but loved and accepted for myself.

Unfortunately, it was that longing to be myself that created a great many of my family problems.

I was an introvert born into a family of extroverts so instinctively I felt it. I just didn’t fit with everyone else’s idea of how I should behave.

The others in my household were life-of-the-party types—outgoing people-lover’s who hated being alone.

But rather than loving the stage and it’s limelight, and being the center of everyone’s attention, I often craved solitude. I didn’t fear solitude. Actually, I was serenely at peace with my own company. I loved doing simple, quiet things, which was good, for I often found myself in our house alone.

This sent the message,”What’s WRONG with you? You don’t fit with us unless you are willing to become, like us.”

"Going Along" for approval

“Going Along” is often the price to avoid rejection.

I wanted to feel a part of the group, but the price for their acceptance was to increasingly become someone I was not.

While I blamed my family for their pushing and pulling, badgering and bullying, one day I finally realized, they were not my biggest problem I was!

I had traded who I wanted to be for their approval.

finding peaceEven in my adult years, many times I surrendered who God was calling me to be, for the “love and approval” I thought I could not live without.

It took me a long time to face the truth. Paying emotional extortion is not love, it’s slavery.

I began to see that I could vainly attempt to please my family for the rest of my days, and hope for a few grudging crumbs of approval and affection, or I could accept myself exactly the way God had created me to be, and obey His vision for my life.

I knew what “the price” would be.

I’ll confess, I did everything in my power for years to earn my family’s acceptance first… but in the end I think I always knew that their rejection, and the pain that went with it, would be the price for obeying God.

Inevitably, my choice was no choice at all, God would not relinquish His demand to be my FIRST love. (He made me no apologies for it.) And, I knew my choice would be all on me, no matter what I decided. So, I prayed for the courage to let go of my family’s approval.

It has been painful and difficult living with the price of isolation and no family to connect with, but Jesus has always been brutally honest.

With no apology at all He reminded me,

Anyone who wants to my follower must love me far more than he does his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters, yes, more than his own life, otherwise he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26Luke 14:26
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26 “If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple.

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SURPRISED?

I see you there mourning for what is lost.

(You think, it’s over, all over.)

Child, Am I over?

Have I abandoned you?

(Sometimes, you feel I have.)

But feelings are not facts; no.

I AM here, right beside you.

(Remember?)

“Shammah,” honey, “Shammah.” I AM beside you in your tears, beside you in your confusion and pain. I don’t leave when things get tough. No, dearest.

Lift your eyes, your lovely tear-filled eyes, to Me. I have comfort for you; encouragement for your fear, and HOPE.

I would say, “Trust Me.” but I see your trust for the moment is buried beneath your grief.

(I know.)

But, Sweet Heart, I have heard your prayers! I know you thought My silence was disdain and disapproval, yes? But to listen, truly listen, you must be silent, yes? I have heard you, never fear.

Forgiving and moving onYour Father has not forsaken you though others have; forgive them. It is the only way.

Leave your family to Me.

Meanwhile, let Me lift that chin of yours because, “Yes, I AM the One who lifts your head.”

Your tears are ever before Me. See… I have kept them all!Comfort yourself child, your answers are on the way. Why, before you were done speaking? I was in motion!

Surprised? (You shouldn’t be.) I AM always listening.

(Love does that you know.)

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“…Don’t cry any longer, for I have heard your prayers…” Jeremiah 31:16Jeremiah 31:16
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16 Thus says Yahweh: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says Yahweh; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

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A Closer Walk: Victory Over Depression

I had been told for years that depression was simply part of my family’s DNA. I had accepted those statements as fact, without questioning, so the depression I was experiencing didn’t surprise me. Indeed, I had almost expected it. It was part of our family history, like some genetic trait that couldn’t be escaped; could only be feared and endured.

That is what I had always believed.

I was wrong.

Neil T. Anderson quoteGod was beginning to dismantle my erroneous beliefs and this one wasn’t going down without a fight. The battlefield? My mind. My thinking. The grid-system, where all of God’s truth got filtered through my beliefs, to get to my heart.

Somewhere in that crucial 18-inch-journey, truth was getting severely twisted, so that by the time it reached my heart it had no power.

You have probably heard it said, God takes us where He finds us, but He loves us too much to leave us there.

True, true, true.

The love of God through the Holy Spirit, began to tear down my faulty beliefs to show me, the reason I kept losing these battles with depression was because I was trying to fight them in my own strength.

truth vs. lies

I had “carried” the responsibility for my own self-care all of my life—but it was time to lay that burden down—time to let go of the crushing weight of my own self-protection.

  • Letting go of the belief that weakness was a bad thing.
  • Letting go of the belief that surrender to Christ’s Love was to be feared.
  • Letting go of the belief that I was helpless to change for the better.
  • Letting go of the belief that I had no hope of overcoming enemies like fear, abandonment, doubt, and depression.
  • Letting go of the belief that Christ’s Kingdom Power would come without battles.

It was time to embrace The Truth, and let His Truth, embrace my depression.

It was time to start believing in A Conquering King whose Light always, always, wins, no matter how deep the darkness.

It was time to believe that I was dearly loved.

It was time to trust that He could get me through any storm.

It was time to accept His Kingdom Truth when thinking about myself.

I WAS: a child of The Most High God, born into His Kingdom and given an inheritance with power, authority, and might. I was infinitely valuable. I was deserving of love, kindness, and respect. I was loved without limits. I was worthy of being cherished—and I was! ALL that was His, (Christ’s) had been bequeathed to ME!

He had always said it.

Now it was time for me to believe it!

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REPENT AND I WILL RESTORE

Why are My children so afraid of surrender?

Can a drowning man save himself by fighting and thrashing against his Rescuer? (Of course not.) But when you decide to go out in your own strength to fight your own battles?

Haven’t I taught you?

Are you still not clear as to this Kingdom Law?

Sometimes child, I AM so disappointed in My children.

Yes (even you) because you know better than this!

Your battles are not yours; never have been. But the choices, they are yours; always have been!

Truth Encounter

What have I told you over and over again?

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;”  2 Cor. 10:42 Cor. 10:4
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4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds,

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When you insist on fighting for yourself and with the world’s weapons?

Why are you surprised at the meager outcome?

I AM your strength—I AM!

Come, remember what you have been taught. You are in a war to end all wars! There are cannon flash and explosions in the heavenlies. Great is the storm and conflict between LIGHT and DARKNESS… great is the cunning and stealth of the enemy’s agents.

Victory Over DepressionCome, forget the past—repent and I will restore.

The battle rages, and we (My forces and I) have great need of you. I have created you for just this hour. Put on your armor. Surrender your will and your ways. The battle is Mine ~ I AM your strength! Nothing can defeat My will (except your own willfulness).

Lay it down—surrender all to Me.

Then, you can’t lose!

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“I will love thee, O Lord, MY STRENGTH.”

Psalm 18:1Psalm 18:1
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18 For the Chief Musician. By David the servant of Yahweh, who spoke to Yahweh the words of this song in the day that Yahweh delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said, 1 I love you, Yahweh, my strength.

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REPENT: Original Word: “greek” metanoia.

Short Definition: I repent—I change my mind.

Definition: I repent, change my mind, change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God), repent.

 

Surrendering A Dream For A God Sized More

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Oh, the agony and the ecstasy of surrendering a dream!

I’ve learned so much about dreams.

They don’t “just happen” for one thing. They are often years and years of long hours (Twelve years to be exact!) and many hours of very hard work.

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They are a gift from God, yes.

But…

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They must always be held loosely, ready to be surrendered if He asks us to.

And He does ask.

(Sometimes.)

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I’ve learned that not everyone will rejoice in your dream.

No.

Some will, but some will look on your dream with envy, and even hatred. People close. People you trusted. Seems unthinkable. I know. But it’s real. Sadly real.

They want your dream to fail and when it succeeds instead? Their bitter anger is quite a shock.

It’s part of the cost. (The agony part.) And you need to know it happens.

Though you will try hard to prevent it, you cannot control another’s heart-choices.

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People will marvel at what you’ve done; at what you and God have accomplished.

(You and God will know the real truth.)

It was mostly HIM!

You just got to go along for the wild ride.

You know His Truth, “…apart from Him, you can do nothing.”

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The compliments will be nice.

Life affirming!

You will get to know yourself in a new way you never could have, apart from your dream coming true that is.

A dream will test you. It will test your gifts, your strength, your love of God. (Oh, yes!) That, too.

There will be tears.

Dreams have MUCH joy. But also (at times) much sorrow.

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You may discover (like me) that this dream everyone believes “fits you so perfectly” doesn’t really “fit you” the way you thought it might—once hoped it would.

No, not at all.

Someday, someone might challenge you to, “Ask for more.”

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And in your heart of hearts? You know there is much MORE God has for you. He has created you for His plan and for His purpose, for His Kingdom.

People will think you’re crazy! Say you’re crazy. (And you will think you’re a little bit crazy, too, sometimes.)

To surrender so much? To just walk away? To lay all these lesser things, these lesser dreams, down?

It will hurt.

But His Voice that is calling to you on the inside where only you can hear is saying,

“There is more… trust Me.”

And so you walk away.

You refuse to fight, quarreling in some sleazy courtroom over nickels and dimes.

Many will say, “You are wrong. Totally crazy! Get an attorney! Fight for what is legally yours! Right is right, after all. Demand your rights!”

But, here’s the thing.

First, the word of God says quite clearly, one believer is not to take another believer to court. [1 Cor. 6:11 Cor. 6:1
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6 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

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] That’s a BIG problem if you’re trying to live out what you say you believe.

Second, I knew in my heart. I was longing for something more than this “little dream” could provide. I had been feeling that something was missing. A big something.

I was longing for more than mere money. I wanted purpose. Eternal purpose. Intangibles, with eternal significance.

So, my choice seemed clear to me.

I released my smaller dream believing for God’s MORE.

I let The Takers in my life, TAKE.

Without a war.

It wasn’t easy! It certainly wasn’t painless! You may be so Christ-like you could walk away from your half of a six-figure business, but me? I struggled BIG time, for a LONG-time!

But again, if we really believe what we read in our Bibles, then I knew there would be far-reaching eternal consequences to everyone’s choices.

I will come face-to-face with Jesus someday and answer for mine alone.

I will leave others to answer for theirs.

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So I made mine. I laid down this dream-come-true.

(Sigh.)

ONCE UPON A TIME… I had a little book shop.

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The loveliest little shop.

The sweetest, dreamiest, little shop.

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(Everyone said so.)

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But I laid it all down.

I gave up ALL those heavy weights for A God-Sized-MORE.

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“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and FOLLOW ME cannot be my disciple… In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”         Luke 14:25-27, 33-35Luke 14:25-27, 33-35
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25 Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple. 27 Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after me, can’t be my disciple. 33 So therefore whoever of you who doesn’t renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple. 34 Salt is good, but if the salt becomes flat and tasteless, with what do you season it? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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NIV

Thank you Abba for teaching me againNOTHING this world has to give matters more, satisfies me more… than Your smile.

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It was my great honor to serve you Siskiyou County. Thank you for your support and patronage, your friendship, and most of all, your love!

God bless you all, Martha “Molly” woundresser.com

Designer Dungeons

027aa9fa73140da2048987f35b3e8b8cJeremiah is a great friend of mine. We have spent many days together talking about God and our dungeon experiences.

He comforts me. He sent me notes of encouragement from so many centuries before, yet his frustrations, are as current as yesterday’s battles.

Yes, he is a great friend of mine.

While he pours out his frustrations in Lamentations chapter three, I listen, and I nod “yes” in all the appropriate places.

A good friend does that.

His dungeon is quite different from mine. His—designed for him—mine designed for me.  And the God who sees and hears, and knows everything, knows just what we need to get us from anger and frustration, to hope and trust. Jeremiah’s is tailor-made for him. Mine is tailor-made for me.

Your dungeon? Yes, it is tailor-made for you and of God’s knowing and choosing.

I know, you think yours is the worst. Jeremiah thought his was. I think mine is. But no, each one, each captivity is designed specifically for the one it encloses; designed to bring us to the end of ourselves and face-to-face with God.

It is love that closes us in.

Oh, I know. I didn’t think so at first. Jeremiah didn’t either, but after the caterpillar begins to adjust:

⦁ to the tight space
⦁ to the dark place

After he has:

⦁ made his case
⦁ and surrendered his race

He searches:

⦁ for God’s face
⦁ and finds God’s grace

And he discovers his custom cocoon? His designer dungeon? Though snug in spots, fits him like a glove.

And remember little caterpillar. Though tight and dark your cocoon may be—it is the place where wings are formed!

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.                Lamentations 3:7Lamentations 3:7
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7 He has walled me about, that I can’t go forth; he has made my chain heavy.

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A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, when life seems to close in around us; when the darkness of despair threatens to suffocate all that desires Your will above all else, then Father, then come to our aid! Remind us in the very tight places, that You love us with an everlasting love, and nothing can shake that. Remind us that this is the very place Your wisdom has chosen for us; our cocoon to transform us; to form wings of destiny for Your plan and purpose.
Oh Abba… help us, when we forget.