Tag Archives: You Are Loved

Release and Trust Makes “Hard” Easier

If you want to experience how good God is, walk through something scary holding onto His hand! Would I be saying this if my story ended differently? I think so. My experience would depend on my response, so I hope so. My husband had emergency surgery Friday morning.

We couldn’t figure out why his foot kept getting cracks that wouldn’t heal. But I knew enough to know that it might have to do with the fact that he is diabetic, so when things that had helped turned to a reverse effect, causing pain, I asked if he thought he should go into the hospital. Thursday morning we asked God together to show him what to do, and an hour later he decided to take my sister’s advice to see a specialist. He’s a vet, so he called his VA doc, but had to get authorization, so decided to go to a podiatrist meanwhile. He got an appointment the same day, and discovered his situation was urgent and needed immediate attention: he had no blood flow to that foot! No wonder it was cold!

Between my 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock client he told me, “We have to make a decision tonight. I need surgery now.” We were flying to NC for a vacation the day after. He told me what the doctor said, and I said, “We’ll go after I finish with this client. Get ready.” So he canceled our tickets and rental car, and called the hospital ER in L.A.

The receptionist said they were slammed, and when I heard I groaned inwardly. I’d had four hours of sleep the night before because of his pain, and I knew we would be sitting in a waiting room all night. But I said to God, “You must have a way to get through this.”

Almost immediately my husband said, “Let’s go to the VA hospital in Loma Linda!” We had lived in Loma Linda and met there, and were both familiar with it, so the fact that it was a half hour further didn’t matter. We knew our way around, knew people there.

“Ah yes the Jerry Pettis Memorial! Can you go there?” He called and he could. We put some things in a bag and left.

Two hours later he was checked in, and a half hour later had a room seeing the ER doc, who called in a vascular surgeon. By 3:00 a.m. he was scheduled for surgery at 7:00 a.m. He was in a hospital bed and room by 4:00, the nurse had gotten me a recliner and told us, “You can get two hours sleep before they come for you,” and turned off the lights and shut the door. We were so grateful.

However, I lay in my recliner thinking, what if this is the last time we have? The surgeon had given us sobering info. She had finally found enough pulse to schedule surgery, but she couldn’t guarantee the results; his kidneys weren’t strong; finding the blood clot, that was obviously there, would take dye that could cause them to fail; and they might end up having to amputate. So the simple installing-stints surgery had suddenly gone from a 3 to a 10 on the fear scale.

I crawled onto his bed and said, “I have to sleep here. If you don’t come out of this (we had talked about that in the ER) I’d always regret that I didn’t.”

He got a roommate at 5:00, and there went our sleep. At 5:30 he called our kids to tell them he was going into surgery. A surgical nurse came at 6:00 to prep him.

He was in surgery from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. without a word of how it was progressing. I had slept in the empty family room until 9:30, and woke up, expecting to hear something soon. I went back to his room–the chaplain came and prayed, and vascular support came in to tell me they would take him directly to ICU–they always did for vascular surgery–so it would be longer than expected. That helped. Texts from friends and my daughters helped, I went to the cafeteria and ate.

But by 1:00, God and I had a talk about what it would be like for him to live adjusting as an amputee, and I released him into God’s hands for whatever was best for him and us.

Shortly after that my friend Ev came, just when I was beginning to want her there. She had said I could stay at her house, and I had told her she didn’t need to come up, but she did as if on cue, and I was so glad she was with me when the doctor called. I was nervous after seven hours with no word.

The surgery had been a great success! They had found the big clot, cleaned out plaque, and put in stints. His leg was basically fillayed but he was doing well! Thank you Jesus! What relief! His kidneys hadn’t failed and he still had his foot.

Could I have said God is good if any other outcome had happened? God IS good. Hopefully I could have said it and believed it and felt it no matter what. Maybe we can learn that by release and trust rather than hard, very hard experiences. But even if He takes you that way–hang on to His hand. It makes hard times easier to know you are loved.

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Would You Like a Joyful Heart?

Do you know how it feels to live with a joyful heart? It is one of the best experiences I know, yet it isn’t easy for me–it doesn’t come naturally. I’ve always thought it was just my mostly-melancholy temperament to blame, but I’m discovering that most people struggle to live in joy.

There are just so many things that work against it: our hormones, our health, our perception of others, the things we do for pleasure from food to drink to drugs all have a negative aftermath. Add these in the people around us. We certainly have no control over their choices, actions and words. It seems our joy is doomed.

But there is an antidote in Psalms 105 that I read this morning: “Exult in His hallowed name; Let those who seek the Lord be joyful in heart.”

There is a lot of instruction in the verses around that one: seek His presence always, turn to the Lord your strength, think upon all His wonders, remember what He has done, sing to honor Him, give Him thanks. Good stuff. But the one that caught me was “Exult in His hallowed name.” What does that mean?

“Exult” is like celebrating victory in war. “His hallowed name” is God’s very special all-good character. We can celebrate that God is all good. And since we live in a war, that is important. Especially because we are so used to this war zone we forget about it.

However, if we seek Him, spend time alone with Him, we are allowing ourselves to exult in joy! We are educating our hearts to be joyful. That just means we fill them with joy.

We celebrate love tomorrow in Valentines Day. But we can celebrate God’s amazing love every single day. He has the capacity to be up close and personal with each of us all the time. Imagine having a lover with you all the time whose presence gives you a lift, fills you with the feeling of sunshine, makes you feel more than yourself, like you can do or be anything you want, but mostly you just are constantly mindful of being LOVED.

I’ve been asked to teach on John 17 today, and the preparation has been rich. It’s the prayer Jesus prayed for all of us who would respond to Him. He was asking God to make us one with Them. Wow! We can have everything Jesus got from Abba! And He got the JOY that carried Him through the worst abuse and death ever.

That joy was resting in what He knew: He knew when he cried, “It is finished” from the cross, His triumph would be exulted in all over the universe–celebrated from world to world, evil would be done in the universe, Satan’s kingdom finished after all questions are answered here.

He knew and rejoiced that he could do more for us who stay connected to Him than we could ask or even imagine. (Eph. 3:20)  We can surmount impossibilities, rising on eagles wings. (Isaiah 40:31)  We have hope in everything because we are linked to God through amazing love. Power to resist evil, that hell can’t overpower, is ours.

If we focused on what we have, instead of what we don’t have, the love available to us, instead of our fears, we would live in joy. Once again, it’s a choice. Sometimes a choice you have to make every hour, or half hour.

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Can You Receive?

(I’ve waited a year to post this–wrote it on Thanksgiving last year but for some reason didn’t post it. Too vulnerable? Now it’s the season again and I’m ready.)

Have you heard that uncried tears make you sick? I have. I don’t remember when or where, but here’s what just happened.  It’s Thanksgiving morning, I woke up  with my head hurting and as usual went out to sit with Jesus in my living room and asked Him if He would heal me.

He reminded me of another Thanksgiving when I woke up with the flu, pain everywhere, and He had told me to drink water and breathe. In an hour and fifteen minutes of deep breathing and four glasses of water, the pain that had been all over my body was gone. I got up and started cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out to be one of the best Thanksgivings our family had ever had.

So I started breathing and drinking. But a significant difference was that no sooner had I asked Him to show me what my teeth clenching was about, than He let me see how excited He was to be with me. It began with seeing my grandsons when I fly in. And immediately I started to sob–heavy deep sobs from the gut, more movement than tears.

I was so surprised. Knowing He was that excited to be with me had brought that kind of emotion!

I knew I had a love deficit, it had surprised me when it came up with tears before, but I couldn’t imagine it was this huge. When I asked Him about it, tears came up again! Another round. And I said, “This is crazy, I know my mother was a very loving person.”

And He said “You couldn’t receive it. You wouldn’t believe it.”

And, of course, I cried more. A little grief mixed in, no doubt, she’s been gone four years.

But an interesting side note is that after that the coughing and nose-blowing stopped, and I felt good.

And for those of you who are wondering–yes, I had drank four glasses of water and breathed for an hour and fifteen minutes. So I am a believer that uncried tears make you sick.

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Two Way Relationships

Relationship requires two unless its a relationship with yourself. That’s obvious, but so often we forget it. It’s so easy, when you are the one in receiving mode, to take the other for granted. I work at staying aware and being grateful for all my husband does for me. I’ve always been independent. And when he retired and started doing more and more, I felt freed, so loved. But now I can easily expect it–a different attitude altogether!

My friend told me it changed his perspective of God to realize Psalm 23:6 was saying, “God pursues me all of my life. Almost like He’s running after me, hunting me out, trying to get my attention.” I love that. God never gives up on us!

But it is a two-way street. in Isaiah 65 this morning I read, “I called, but no one answered, I spoke but no one listened.” We could add, “I followed but no one noticed.”

This week in her mom’s blog, my daughter wrote, “Why don’t I just trust His love? In EVERYTHING. 

My toddler falls down. Hurts his knee. Is in pain. He doesn’t flail around and run in all different directions trying to make sense of what happened. Nope, he makes a straight line to his mama’s arms and crawls up for comfort.”

A great picture of our part in a relationship with God–all we have to do is run to Him, or just even glance His way. But the running to and crawling up in His lap feels so much better.

Come on, I know you long to be loved, just like I do. But it did take me years to admit it. It might take that for you too, just know He doesn’t give up. This morning He said to me, “I do come after you; I do pursue you with incredible love you can’t imagine.”

Some of you have a hard time receiving. Love wasn’t abundant or expressed in your home. Your parents were damaged; or maybe just stoic, like my grandparents. They weren’t comfortable expressing love.

You can learn. Let God love you. Just let yourself be loved. Learn to crawl up in His lap and feel loved. It’s wonderful.

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Loss and Love

Are highs and lows part of every vacation? Or just two week-ers? with family?

Going to NC is always a high, the beach in September is always a high, but right after, I got word that a good friend’s dream house burned in the fires of Northern California. And on the heals of that, learned that another good friend unexpectedly lost his father who was also a good friend of mine. It’s hard to imagine him gone. He was so full of life and laughter and love. He lived with God and told hilarious stories of his adventures.

Grief is always hard, even though it’s rich if you lean into it. I just experienced that again this morning. The hardest part of vacation was feeling unwanted at my daughter’s. That’s happened before in tiny doses but always had an antecedent–I had a clue why. This time no clue. I just felt like I was in the way and not liked. It was painful.

Fortunately God drew me to a book on her end table and I started reading it. Of course, it was exactly what I needed. I knew she loved the book, but I had never felt a desire to read it before. It’s about learning to live in gratitude. I thought it would be all fluffy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

1000 Gifts is a book so raw, and so rich in its detailed unfolding that you are enveloped, learning as she does through her life story. Perfect for what I was going through.

The last day we did have time together and she opened up about her stresses and post partum, and redeemed the week; but leaving I still told myself, this is her life, her choices, and if she is happy  then I will be too. Maybe I’m going to die young and being so far away will make it easier on them than being here every day. I will give thanks in this too, and be thankful I didn’t move here.

Then she texts me that she always has such a hard time with us going home!

Really? I’m in the airport waiting, and we text till takeoff. We pick it up again in the next airport. She couldn’t enjoy having us because always in her heart lurked the hurt we’d be leaving soon.

I really do get that, we share it, but it seemed like such a waste. We texted again when I got home, and so much pain came out. I discovered that she had always felt I was trying to fix her, and she just wanted me to love her.

What? I always thought I loved her too much! Was always afraid I’d lose her. Always fought favoring her above my step kids. Always tried to tone it down!  Felt I needed her to be happy. Feared I loved her more than God.

I should have known nobody in my life would ever feel loved too much, our lives are too broken! And for sure not by me–I’ve had too many lies healed about not being lovable! not being wanted, not being good enough. But under all that rubble, had hidden one, whispered by some dark imp in a vulnerable time, and I had agreed: Nobody really wants me in their lives–they just tolerate me. It had helped me keep everyone at arm’s length so I wouldn’t get hurt.

When Jesus gently and graciously brought it up this morning, I could see that it fit every stage of my life, confirmed every broken relationship in my mind. And I had hidden it from myself because there was just enough attraction and newness in life to pretend it wasn’t there. Yet I believed it. So if someone didn’t need me anymore, moved away, got too busy, was more attracted elsewhere, it just reinforced the belief and I stepped back, moving on. It was almost comforting to me. The reason… And I didn’t have to work at loving. (It’s work for me.)

But when He pulled it up, the feelings came in sobs from the deepest part of me–physically from the pit. And what relief it brought! Especially when He said, “I want you in My Life. I’m so glad you come to be with me every morning. Not many people do that–just come to be with Me.”

Then came what could be called peace, relief, joy, fulfillment, freedom, but I call it loved.

Even in your brokenness, even in your wounded mess and weakness, He will be there. He brings light into your darkness.

No one will ever love you like Jesus.

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Love can Alter Perspective

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This picture brought to mind the old saying, “If you want to understand someone, walk a mile in his shoes.

But what if you can’t? What if they are just too heavy to walk a mile? Or across the living room! You might have to rest.

He was trying to walk his stepdad’s boots to his room for Mommy, but they are so heavy he had to rest half way.

Some of us try to walk in the shoes of Our Father and find them just too heavy–way too heavy–to make it to our destination, and instead of resting we give up.

Interesting. Jesus said being connected with Him makes life light. So why does it sometimes feel so heavy?

Last week I had so many commitments, it could have felt way too heavy, especially since I was fighting off some virus, but my weakness made me focus on Him and relax, until the last day. He told me to rest, but I had so much to get done, that I got all tense and tired and irritable! But at least I learned from it–the next day was a great day because of “resting” in His love instead of trying harder and getting tense.

Maybe we don’t rest enough. Maybe we are too conscious of us, and not conscious enough of Him.

I’m sure my grandson had no thought of quitting. He might have been surprised how heavy those boots were, or how hard it was to walk in them; but he just needed to rest a bit–no big deal. In fact he felt honor, I’m sure.

There’s three of them adjusting to a new life, new home, new Dad; but he loves them, and that takes most of the pain of their new life away. When they focus on him, and how he feels about them, how he treats them, it’s worth it. He’s worth it. They feel his love. They rest til they can see their dad again.

Just like their new Dad, your Father-God is worth it. Focussing on His love, His respect, even His discipline, makes you feel secure and safe. He’s worth it. Let yourself rest and feel His love. He will reveal more and more love.

Research says the younger ones (<4) are typically most impacted by life upsets like divorce, but I’ve noticed where there is love on both ends, the little ones do much better than predicted. Sometimes even better than the older ones.

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Choice — Guest Post by Loxlia Paltz

I found myself in the dark of night this week. That black space where the silence covers you like a heavy blanket. I was there, on the floor in the bathroom, sobs born of my own weakness, my failure, shaking my bones. The only sound–my heart splintering in my chest. Why did say that? That’s not me. I didn’t mean to. Didn’t want to. It didn’t matter. It’s the worst thing I could have done to him.

And He was there. Whispering comfort. Promising the future. Forgiving. Always there.

For days I’ve thought of this approaching Easter, this celebration of His resurrection, my head twisting all around it. Do I get it? Really “get” it?

I’m not sure I did.

I don’t even like to say that. It feels wrong. But it’s truth, stark honesty of my humanity.

Many have died for His name, tortured and disfigured, refusing to deny Him. Many even crucified. Peter, His Peter, crucified upside down, feeling unworthy of dying His death.

And we dress up, go to church, and hear about this Son of God crucified for us. Risen from the dead. And it fits neatly into a little package in our minds. Yes, we’re grateful. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it absolutely changes lives. But do we really get it?

What made Him different? Able to save? Was it His divinity? His humanity?

What made Him choose me? In those splintering moments of anguish that I cannot make sense of, what was different?

Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. And it was neither His humanity nor His divinity that made Him different. It was both. He grew from a baby, learning about life and about God just as we do, in a time of strife and conflict–statistics of that time show high death rates, crushing poverty, and persecution. All those things that developed His compassion, His awareness of suffering and pain.

It is learning to suffer, to feel, that makes us able to fully love. We are not as humans able to dissect our hearts. We cannot choose to only feel love. If we are to feel love we must be willing to suffer. We must learn to suffer. We must live–hearts wide-open.

I’m struck by this. Undone by the thought that it was the careful development of Christ’s humanity that made him the only atoning sacrifice. That His humanity could not have carried the weight if not carefully woven with His unused divinity. He could have at any moment chosen, “That’s it, I’m not doing this, its not worth it.”

And it would have been true. I am not worth it.

He chose me. There in those moments, when the fullness of His humanity tested the fullness of His divinity. He chose me. He embraced the crushing anguish. The brutality. The very worst darkness ever known, death and separation from His Father. He surrendered to it. Not in weakness, by choice He went there.

He was ravaged and broken by my brokenness. Held it in His hands and said, “I choose you”. A warrior in battle surging onto the front lines. Giving every last ounce of Himself for me. For you. And then He lay silent. Dead. It was over.

They had taken it all. His very breath. I had taken it all. With my wounds and weakness, the dark corners of my heart, I had taken everything He had. His humanity, His divinity, spilled onto the rock for me. He died my death–my broken, sinful, separating, human death–by choice. Because He loves me.

Then the sun rose and there in His divinity He walked out of my tomb. Broke the shackles off of my forever darkness, just walked out into the light. And that is what is different. It was not His humanity nor His divinity, that made Him my atonement. My rescuer. It was His love. His choice. I am always His choice.

His reckless love takes on the very greatest anguish to never be apart from me. To never have to let me go. In spite of my flaws, my weakness, the crippling weight of my guilt, He made the world His stage to show His love.

He loves me. Really loves me. By choice.

And there it is – Choice. The defining word.

Love is never love without choice. It is the choosing, the action, that makes it love. It is willingness to suffer that allows us to love. And there has never been anyone more willing to suffer.

Nothing can ever separate me from Him. Nothing. Because the question was my freedom, my heart. And in all my messiness He chose me. Wrapped His broken body around my shattered heart and chose me.

The difference is Love. Wild, reckless, unchanging love. The difference is Him.

I really get it. He is completely mine. So very completely that my death has already been endured. Already been conquered. Just because He loves me.

I, in awe and surrender, can simply dare to be Loved.

 

by Loxlia  http://Godhelps.net/About us    also   http://Brokenbeautyproject.com

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You were made to Receive–Thankfully

Listen to this, “My nature is to bless. Your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify me by receiving my blessings gratefully.”*

This is God talking. What a great recipe for life! Receiving God’s love and blessings gratefully. What has gone wrong?

Two things: if we are raised with that belief, we can begin to think we are “all that” and life turns around us–we never grow out of being the center of the universe. (Yes, there is a time for a natural narcissism. Before the age of seven it develops your security to believe you are so loved.) Ideally, you grow out of it–it just makes you a loving and gracious person, aware of God’s love with the ability to give it.

If we didn’t get that experience before seven, we constantly try to find it–usually in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. We struggle with insecurity–needing people to prove their love.

These two have a myriad of spin offs on a spectrum reaching from personality disorders to addictions to poor coping styles. Usually being raised with love is the safest, but it doesn’t guarantee good results. Bad things happen here to all of us. And sometimes we listen to the interpretations that evil whispers to us and agree. Then it becomes part of our belief system. We all have guilt or shame (guilt being better than shame).

Here is the  reason. We are broken. And it has taken me a whole lifetime to realize that God doesn’t want us to feel guilt and shame, but to just know that we are broken and go on with acceptance and receive His love anyway!

So you are broken, so is every other person on this planet. The smartest position is to know it, embrace it (which means accepting what God and other trusted loved ones tell you). Also lay down the defenses. If you get uncomfortable feedback about your behavior, look at it squarely. Yes, it will be embarrassing, even painful, but if you know you are loved, you will be strong enough to take it to God asking Him to help you face it and understand it and heal it.

You’ll be amazed at how fast it goes (usually). He loves to heal our hurts and our craziness, more than we want it healed even. And He knows the best, safest and fastest way. You don’t have to be afraid. HE LOVES YOU. And he is faithful. He isn’t going to take you down some needless painful alley. He hates pain, but loves what it does for us. He won’t make you heal, but he gives you opportunities to become more than you are with all the pain. Think about it. He’s safe. And you were made to receive with gratitude.

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