Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I’ve Been Doing This All Wrong!

In one of my favorite devotionals I tend to read year-after-year, Jesus Calling, I was nailed with this one yesterday morning…

Do not long for the absence of problems in your life. That is an unrealistic goal, since in this world you will have trouble (John 16:33). You have an eternity of problem-free living reserved for you in heaven. Rejoice in that inheritance, which no one can take away from you, but do not seek your heaven on earth. 

That last phrase knocked me right between the eyes…

“but do not seek your heaven on earth.”

That’s it. That’s what I’ve been doing since Joel abruptly went to Home to Heaven nearly three months ago.

I’ve been doing everything I can to make Heaven feel very, very close. Especially for my children. I don’t want them to be afraid of death, but I also don’t want them to miss out on this life while we have it. Balancing the two is tough when the one we love the most (second to Jesus) is in our eternal Home.

I tell friends all the time, “I LONG for Heaven.” Not in the sense I’m speaking morbidly and wish my life would end. Not at all. Rather, I long for this earthly chaotic mess to be transformed, which it will be when Christ returns and for me to be transported Home. THAT…I long for. I long for my eternal Home. And…watching this world get darker and darker and now not having my precious Joel by my side to share my struggles and dreams with; to plan out our days and future; to encourage each other; and to cuddle up beside him each night, feeling safe and secure in the comfort only his arms would bring…oh, how I long for Heaven!

I know God isn’t finished with me yet, or I’d be there already. I still have children that need to know Him as Savior. I still have a purpose He wants me to fulfill. While I know these things to be true…I still LONG to be with Him forever and to be reunited with my loves who have gone before me. Oh what a glorious day that will be!

Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When God’s Up to Something…

No. I didn’t fall off the proverbial cliff or get lost on my way to my little Out of Deep Waters world. And…no…I don’t work for the federal government. So, where have I been?

I could almost ask myself the same question, but since I’ve been with me (most of the time, that is), I kinda have an inkling of my whereabouts.

Let me just say this…God’s up to something.

Now – I know He’s ALWAYS up to something. He’s God right? But, He’s up to something new…in ME! Actually, a lot of new.

He’s actually been answering the cries of my heart, in many areas. Things I’ve pleaded over and over with Him about. However, that comes with some difficult territory.

Sometimes He has to allow us to experience a little muddy water before we can receive that purifying cleansing. Oh…friends…I’ve been deep in that muddy water as of late. Much – not of my own choosing – but it’s still all part of the process. I’m thankful, nonetheless, as it’s all part of the refining process of prayerfully allowing me to look more like Him each day.

As Christ draws me closer and closer to Him, the enemy also tends to turn up the heat. I’m used to that. I’ve witnessed a lifetime of it, but it always seems to catch me off guard.

Just as Christ began working on my heart’s desire (my TRUE heart’s desire) to work on my health goals, I faced another crisis. The worst crisis I’ve walked through since losing my late husband to suicide. That’s huge folks! The enemy knows this area of my heart well. He knows that, in the past, whenever I’ve walked through a fire of any kind…I’ve turned to food for comfort. It may not happen right away, but it will happen. Satan also knows that I typically celebrate those victories of surviving those fiery trials with food.

As God has been so faithful in walking me through another journey to optimal health, the darts of temptation to eat my way through this most recent crisis were aimed right at me. Just after my last blog post when I alluded to the “changing Leah” here, the gavel slammed down, and the enemy tried to render his verdict. It went something like this…

Leah, why do you waste such effort to lose weight over and over and over? You know you’ll never reach that goal weight. You keep trying, and yet, you keep failing. You’ve gotten close before, but you give up before you ever reach that “magic number”. So, sit back and just relax. Don’t put forth such effort. Enjoy life. Enjoy food.

He is such a liar! The Father of lies scripture tells us (John 8:44).

And, I refuse to believe the lie anymore.

God promises me…

His strength (Philippians 4:13)

He is a restorer of health (Jeremiah 30:17)

His presence during difficult times (Isaiah 43:2)

A hope-filled future (Jeremiah 29:11)

His protection (Psalm 91:14)

That when I’m weak, He’s very strong (2 Corinthians 12:10)

His saving love (John 3:16)

He wants me to be in good health (3 John 2)

And so much more…

I clung tightly to Abba during this most recent crisis, and while it may not be completely over, I trust Him (not food or anything/anyone else for that matter) to get me through it. I trust Him to deliver me from these “deep waters”.

Through that trusting, He’s been so faithful to me. I’m thrilled to share that as of last Thursday (I weigh in every Thursday), I’ve lost 19 pounds in 4 weeks! The bondage chains have been loosened, and the prison walls are cracking…I can smell freedom!

Be sure to stop by this Friday, and I’ll share my “scale numbers” that I’ll find out this Thursday in addition to what it is I’m doing to lose the weight and reach a state of restored health! See you then!

Before I go…just wanted to share a picture that keeps me motivated. This was me just slightly over 6 years ago. I was in a weight loss journey at that time too and had lost a significant amount of weight. But, I allowed life to derail me, and I never reached my goal weight. This time is different! I refuse to quit!

Leah_2007 Pic

A “skinnier and healthier” Leah in August 2007

 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

He Confessed Freely…So Do I

I’ve been a bit absent lately. Oh…who am I kidding…I’ve been VERY blog absent lately. I’m not sure I’ve gone this long without a post in several years actually. I could give you excuse after excuse for why I’ve been a MIA, but in all honesty, they are simply that…excuses! Legit or not…they are still excuses.

And so…here I am…January 1 of another NEW year, and I pause to take inventory. No – not a physical inventory but rather an inventory of where I am “in life” on this first day of 2013 and where I thought I would be (or should be).

In my quiet time this morning, I stumbled upon a verse in a very familiar book of scripture that I’ve read countless times before but suddenly saw with new eyes this morning:

He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” ~John 1:20 (NIV84)

At this point in the book, John the Baptist is here acknowledging that he is not the one that many have tried to point to as the Messiah, but the Christ…the Messiah…Jesus…is now among them, and John the Baptist confesses that it is not he. Other versions put it this way…

And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” (NASB)

And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. (KJV)

He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” (ESV)

When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth: “I am not the Messiah.” (v. 19-20, MSG)

I love how John the Baptist told the “plain truth”, as the Message version points out or “confessed freely” as the NIV84 states it. I was challenged in my spirit this morning that I also need do a confession, of sorts. I need to confess a few things about “who I am” or where I’m at on this first day of a new year.

I am far from my writing and speaking goals.

I am still struggling to make my weight loss goals my reality.

I continue to take on more “stuff” and yet fail to set boundaries to accommodate the load.

I am a perfectionist that is suddenly finding herself disorganized in most aspects of life (again, partially due to lack of boundaries).

I am still challenged with some physical limitations in my knee and lower back.

I am still an imperfect parent and a wife that has plenty of room to grow.

I still need lots of grace and need to learn to pour it out more on others.

I am still inadequate in the time I spend with the Lord each day.

However, like John…I also know who I am in Christ. And, while I need to confess areas that need growth or change in my life, like those above, I also need to remember…a confess freely…who Christ, my Messiah, says I am…

I am loved.

I am redeemed.

I am saved.

I am holy and blameless.

I am forgiven.

I am not condemned.

I have been given Christ’s peace.

I am a daughter of the King.

I am free from sin and death.

I am God’s friend.

I have the mind of Christ.

I am capable of doing all things through Christ.

I am not oppressed.

I am free.

And, that’s simply the beginning. Yes, while I’m not where I want to be, I have to pause and recognize who I am, Whose I am, and all that’s already been attained for me by the One that loved me enough to die for me.

While it’s important and necessary to confess our sins and critical to “take inventory” of our life from time to time to ensure that we are still in line with God’s plan for us, we also need to be prepared to move forward. Do not dwell on the past. Get ready to embrace all that God has in store for His obedient children and move forward in that. Confess freely who you are in Christ…who He says you are, and in doing so, you acknowledge who He is, much like John the Baptist on that day over 2000 years ago…our Savior…the Christ…Immanuel…our Redeemer…King of Kings…the Messiah.

Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert. 

~Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)