Friday Favorites: Rewrite Your Story

Rewrite Your Story – Defy The Ending

 “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending…to rise strong, recognize our story and rumble with the truth until we get to the place where we think, yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. I will choose how this story ends.” Brene Brown

Yes, it is entirely possible. But only through transformation. Here’s how it works. Let go of your expectations. Release your plans. Submit and commit to loving God above more than anything or anyone else. He is your perfect Heavenly Father. My story began with the consistent love of my own strong and helpful dad. I remember when I first learned to ride a bicycle. “Be careful, sweetie,” my dad’s strong voice cautioned me to avoid the object in the road. He’d just removed the training wheels on my Schwinn; so even though I was seated securely on the banana seat, both hands on the handlebars, the front tire still wobbled a little. I focused intently on the path ahead, “Yes, Father,” I said. I veered to the left just a little and swerved to avoid the obstacle. Father is one of the most familiar and commonly used name of God.” (quote from newest devotional: Experiencing God Through His Names)

However, some cannot relate to God as a caring, tender and involved dad, like mine, because they’ve been disappointed by their own negative personal paternal experiences. So what’s the big deal about ‘spiritual fatherlessness’? A lot. According to a recent study, ’15 million American children — one in three — live without a father. In the past decade, families with two parents in the home has dropped significantly.  From poor academic achievement and teenage pregnancy to drug use and crime, most social problems cannot be properly understood without considering the absence of fathers in homes. Many of the social problems we face are a direct result of the fatherless home. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million.’ http://www.commdiginews.com/life/studies-reflect-the-damage-of-the-one-parent-fatherless-family-17573/

‘Spiritual fatherlessness’ causes a breach between the natural father, spiritual father and heavenly father. The devil destroys harmony between our most valued relationships.  This is not necessarily a physical breach, but a spiritual battle waging war against those that mean the most to us. I am the first born of four children, my dad always called me princess. I was the apple of his eye. However, for a few years, dad and I exchanged only harsh words, disagreement and disconnection. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the enemy tactics to divide our family. I was rebellious, un-submissive and could not respond to my father’s attempts to show me his love. It’s interesting that this is one of the final verses in the Old Testament: “and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their father lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:6 Truly a sign of the times.

At seventeen, I was sinking deep into drug addiction. I stayed high as much as possible, trying to fill the emptiness in my life with the highest high or the cutest guy while my need for affection only increased. I couldn’t wait to move out of my parents’ home. My family pulled strings to get me a volunteer summer job at a Christian camp. The camp staff assigned me lists of chores, such as washing hundreds of dishes in the mess hall, raking piles of pine needles around the campgrounds, and even moving logs around the outdoor campfire ring.

Whenever I complained or threw fits over doing my chores or smoked cigarettes and dope, the camp staff said, “Love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8 [NIV]) Their words, repeated over and over, immersed me for two weeks. The words rang in my ears, I couldn’t get the five-word phrase off my mind. The staff didn’t tell me to change anything about my appearance, attitude, or addictions. Instead, they showed me what the invitation of love looked like. They were kind; they offered the true love of God without forcing me to accept it.

As a youngster in Sunday school, I’d learned Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” After two weeks of experiencing how “Love covers a multitude of sins,” I embraced it. Submitting to the overwhelming love of God, I allowed His abundant love to cover my multitude of sins. One night in my cabin, I submitted to the overwhelming love of Father God. He had reached out to me, and I, a most unlikely choice, finally grasped His hand. His abundant love did cover my multitude of sins. I accepted the invitation to live a new life. My life was transformed, I was given a fresh start and the divine connection to my Heavenly Father was restored. But there was still work to do.

  1. I had to communicate with God as my Perfect Father.

The breach in my relationship with God could only be restored through the Son. The blessing came when I came to know God as my Perfect Father. I began to believe God’s love could cover the things that held me captive: drugs and alcohol, lying and stealing, promiscuity and drug dealing. It was finally clear: I didn’t need to clean up my act before coming to God; He loved me passionately just the way I was. James 1:17 “Every Good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

  1. .

I was searching for meaning, purpose and identity in things and people that could never fill my God-shaped void. In God there is no lack. God does not want the enemy to rob us of blessing, destiny, purpose. I asked God heal my father wound caused by my own decision to turn from my earthly and my Heavenly Father’s will. God showed me how to release every disappointment that had been imagined or feared and to put my trust in Him. We cannot go back and re-write history but we can get to the place where we allow God to heal us. This takes trust and transparency.

James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

  1. I had to ask God to help me find a spiritual father, be a father.

Once we allow God to heal our father wound, we will want to share our joy with others. It helps to keep accountable and also to share our victories and defeat. We get to choose our own spiritual parents. Let God help you find a father and be a father.

God wants us to show the world of ‘spiritual fatherlessness’ what it means to be included the family of God. So let’s share how wonderful it is to be loved by a Perfect Heavenly Father. And it will make all the difference in our destiny and theirs, too.  Psalm 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing but the rebellious live in a sun scorched land.”

Monday Motivation: Plan to Succeed

Monday Motivation: Plan To Succeed

You’ve failed. Again. It’s time to reorganize. Start over. Begin again. Use a fresh approach, a new strategy. When you are discouraged, it’s probably not that you are doing the wrong thing, but you might be doing it in the wrong way. Our natural temptation is to give up on our dream. We think, “Maybe God didn’t give me this dream in the first place.” No, it’s probably just the opposite.

Is it the season to try a new approach to the same ministry? Washed up actors and soloists call a new approach “reinvention.” For those who need a facelift for their house, it’s called an ‘’extreme-makeover’ for your home. Have you faced a lot of discouragement? Have numerous problems remained unsolved? Does your workload seem unbelievable? It’s time to reorganize your schedule.  Evaluate things you need to cut out of your ministry.  Examine what is important and what is not important and get rid of the excess.  Get rid of those things that clutter your life, that are wasting your time.

Find the twenty percent of the things you have to do and focus on the ones that produce the greatest results.

Nehemiah was in the middle of rebuilding the Jerusalem wall. He saw the need to reorganize to complete the work. Nehemiah 4:13, “Therefore I stationed some people at the low points of the wall and exposed places, posting them by families with their swords and their spears and their bows.”  The key phrase here is, “We reorganized them by families.”  We need a ‘family’ support group. In our workplace, church, even our home-lives, we need a group of co-laborers. We need others we can share with and who will love us unconditionally.  There’s no such thing as Lone Ranger Christianity.

  1. Evaluate – You’ve accessed the need to reorganize. Now is the time to do so. Don’t wait until you feel like it because you never will.

  2. Examine – You’ve decided what is important. Now take the steps to get to where you want to go.

  3. Expect – You’ve invited your ‘family’ to be part of your solution. Now give them their marching orders. You can get there together. Remember we are better together.

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16

Let’s pray,

Father thank you for the opportunity to allow you to reorganize our goals. Let our plans be your plans. Let our desires be your desires. Let us evaluate, examine and expect for you to make things happen. Thank you for the body of Christ, who helps us do your will. Thank you for encouraging us to begin again. Thank you for giving us another opportunity to plan to succeed. For your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

FRIDAY FAVORITES: BACK TO THE BASICS – CALL HIS NAME

If you’ve ever felt frustrated with prayer, you are in the right place. Do you compare your prayers with others? Do your prayers seem simple? You know, you don’t have to pray long, eloquent, fancy prayers so God hears you. Just call His name.

Especially when it comes to the name of God. Ever hear God’s name tossed around, carelessly? It’s sometimes used in cursing or to make off-color comments, but that is not at all what God intended. God gave his name as a title to tell us something about himself. Psalm 105:3,4 says, “glory in His holy name, seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” God wants us to know him. We can get to know him by relying on him, he wants us to call on his name.  God wants us to praise His name, to seek his power and that comes through prayer.

Some of us might feel a little embarrassed, we haven’t been faithful, God already knows everything about us. We are reminded about this in Psalm 139:1,2 “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar.” Prayer is for our benefit. Prayer gives us the advantage.

It’s being comfortable and having confidence in the One we are asking. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, He can’t love us any more than He does right now. He wants us to run to him with every concern, problem and difficulty. God says, “Just call my name.” Some people think of prayer as a formal meeting time. But prayer is as easy as calling out the name of Jesus. Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Try calling out God’s name today. Just call it out – Jesus. He will be there.

Father, Creator, Jesus are just a few of the names you can use to ask for God’s help. And there are many more. God is waiting for you.

 

Friday Favorites: Hopelessly Devoted

I love chocolate. I am an expert in seeking out and finding great (not just good) chocolate.

…filled with not only ‘chocolate sightings’ like the luscious semi-sweet chocolate cake in the photo but also lots of ‘chocolate tastings.’ Are you a chocolate lover, too?

Here’s my thoughts from my latest article my blog with Lead Like Jesus: http://www.leadlikejesus.com/blog/hopelessly-devoted

Even the wallpaper at the Hershey Lodge was covered in semi-sweet chocolate kisses. Sorry, I didn’t check to see if it was chocolate-flavored!

Enjoy – have a great weekend. With love and prayers, Sheryl

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Luke 16:13

 

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 12:10