Friday, June 4, 2010

Cinderella Story: A different perspective

The story of Cinderella has been with most of us ladies since we were first introduced to stories and books as little girls. And most of us have been intrigued with it ever since. The idea of being a sub-servant nobody, and treated so horribly only to be saved by a handsome prince, and put into the position of power and control and be redeemed for all the years of suffering; to be finally told that you are worth something, important to someone, and treated as beautiful royalty. What girl doesn't fantasize about that, even just a little?

What if this story doesn't have to be a fantasy, but something that can be very real? The catch is that we have to change our perspective of the story and align it up with what God has for us.

Looking at the Cinderella story, how many of us still feel like we are in the low down, floor scrubbin', meal making, 'come when everyone calls' stage of the story? Never dressed up feeling beautiful, often feeling powerless, and only living to fulfill the dreams of those you're serving? This is where we learn a new lesson. This part of the story is vital! Not just because she is rescued by her knight in shining armor, and not only because she was redeemed in the end, but because of the character training she went through during her time at the bottom; because of the brokenness she experienced and had to survive was this part of her life that made her who she was...the kind of woman that understood human nature, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was this part of her life that taught her how to manage power correctly and treat people with respect and honor...even when they didn't deserve it. It was this part of her life that made her attractive to a prince. The character she developed and the woman she became brought such life to his world that he looked past all social-economic barriers that he would have faced. Also, her dream to bring justice to a corrupt world was born out of this time of her life. Had she skipped this servant life she would not know the need, the brokenness that others had faced. Once in a place of power, there would have been no empathy shown to the people she was about to lead.

So what if our toilet scrubbing, diaper changing, order taking life was for a purpose...and I mean more than shaping our kids and supporting our husbands (which are very important things)? What if this servant lifestyle we are in is vital to the bigger dream God has for our lives? The greatest leaders in the Bible lived servant lifestyles prior to seeing their God dream fulfilled. Abraham was promised as many descendants as there were stars in the sky...and an amazing land flowing with milk and honey. Yet he didn't have a child until he was 100 years old, and then raised his family in that promised land, before it was even his, living as a foreigner in a tent. But it taught him how to rely on the Lord, which was a vital skill to be the father of a nation! Then there's king David. First living as the youngest boy of seven, being a shepherd out in the fields most of his childhood, to being a servant to king Saul, then to living in caves for fourteen years, being hated and trying to stay alive. He knew he was anointed to be king that whole time, yet the time he spent prior to becoming king was vital. It made him one of the greatest kings of all time. The list goes on, Joseph, Moses, and even Jesus...they all lived the lives of servants before fulfilling their life's purpose. What that life of servanthood looked like was different, but the brokenness achieved was the same. With the exception of Jesus being perfect anyway, the character that these other men developed was a vital key in living out their purpose. None of them would have succeeded without this season.

So going back to Cinderella...

Does this mean if you're single to expect a knight in shining armor? Or that one day you will no longer have to clean toilets? Or that you will have a kingdom to rule someday? NO! What I am saying is that God does have an amazing purpose for you. Cinderella's purpose was to eventually rule a kingdom. Yours is something different. Even if you don't believe's true. And if you think you are not moving toward it right now because your life consists of nothing exciting and just serving everyone're wrong. Being at the bottom, living the life of a servant, is vital to fulfilling the purpose God has for your life. So when your serving yours, you can do it with hope and joy...knowing you are going through an intense training period for future greatness!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Olivia

My precious Olivia,

I can't believe it's already been a year! The fact that it went by fast for me should tell you what an amazing baby you were. Because of who you are, you brought me confidence as a mom. Somehow I always knew that I would be o.k. no matter what. Instead of chaos that a new baby can sometimes bring, you brought peace and love to our home. Even your big sister loved you right from the beginning. She knew that you were meant to be a big part in her life...and you are. God has used you so much already. You bring peace and comfort to all of those that have been blessed to take care of you this first year. God has also used you to grow my love as a mother. You deserve so much more than I am capable of. Therefore, in order for you to have everything you need and deserve, I'm leaning on the Lord to give it to me so I can provide it to you.

I can't speak enough about your peace! It streams out of your smiley eyes and your precious facial expressions. If you were at all fussy when I would lay you down to nap in your crib, you often would turn and look at the waterfall painting that your Nana painted for you and stop was as if you felt the peace from the Holy Spirit that is represented in that painting. It was amazing to watch! You are exactly as the Lord described you...a peacemaker! And now we all can see that peace in your eyes...especially when you smile! Also with your contentment in the arms of almost anyone. You were so happy to be held. You would just stare into their eyes and peacefully fall asleep.

When you weren't peacefully sleeping in someones arms, you weren't afraid to tell us how you felt. You are so expressive with your voice and your facial expressions that you are very much your own person. You love to dance and shake your hips to any music you hear...even commercials. You light up when there's a party. You are very trusting of people. You love people. Your family and church family fought hard for you before you were even born...and I believe it is to protect this love you have for people. And your middle name, Marie, which was passed down from your Nana, to your mom, and now to you, is also specific from the Lord. You have a special way with people that is already apparent in your young age. I believe this will turn into a prophetic gift, which is something both your Nana and I have. We pray everyday that we do right by you...that we create an environment for you that will allow you to be everything that the Lord has designed you to be...that you will always know how much we love you, how much Jesus loves you, and how much you're wanted!

You are incredible and I am so proud to be your mom!

I love you sweet girl! Happy 1st birthday!


P.S. Even though you are God's daughter, I feel incredibly blessed that He chose me to be your mom during this brief period on Earth!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Worship in Brokenness

What does it mean to worship in your brokenness? Let me first tell you what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean to ignore, minimize, or pretend your brokenness isn't there. Worshipping in your time of hurt and pain is not another coping mechanism. It doesn't mean to put on the happy, fake christian face that so many people are used to seeing or portraying (depending on which side of the coin you are). It is not the hypocritical, cliche christian answer to dealing with life. It is something so very real and more life changing than any other solution out there.

Worshiping in the midst of your brokenness and pain is to first acknowledge the reality of what is happening; your circumstances, the feelings you're experiencing, and even the thoughts in your head need to be exposed, brought out into the light. You need to be willing to admit, first to yourself, then to the Lord, what is going on. This process of release is part of your worship. How can this be worship you ask? Easily. Our Father wants nothing more than for us to draw close to Him, and how can we get any closer than being the most vulnerable and raw possible. Whatever the reason for our brokenness, whether it is because of our sin, awful circumstances, or a hurt caused by another person, He wants to hear it from our own mouth. He wants us to share from our pour out our pain and frustration to him. This is our sacrifice to Him. The reason this sacrifice is so fragrant to Him is because once we have given it, He can then fill the space that these feelings were once occupying with His grace, mercy, love, comfort, strength and Presence. The sense of freedom that this brings can drop us to our knees with thanksgiving. Even though our circumstances might still be the same, we have less pain in our hearts, more of His Presence, more of His strength, and more of His peace.

Last night was when I experienced my freedom. With re injuring my knee a couple of months ago I entered in to my brokenness. I was 2/3 through my p90x program, eating healthy, and transforming my body. I had an outlet for my stress and was feeling really good about myself. Then, I hurt my knee...again, and it was taken from me. My thoughts of excitement quickly turned to hopelessness. I wondered what the point was for eating healthy if I couldn't exercise as well (which is ridiculous by the way). So in my misery, I chose not to worship, but to eat. I gained my pounds back, felt horrible, and very stressed. Everyday was getting worse, feeling worse, clothes getting tight, and losing my mind with stress. I had a continuous pity party, complaining that I was always being robbed of my health despite all of my efforts. And since holding onto these thoughts and feelings were taking up so much of my life, there was very little room for anything else. So last night I was done...done with my pity party. I chose worship. I chose to pour out my pain, my frustration, my heart to my Father. He listened. He comforted. He told me which scriptures to read. It changed me. My knee still hurts, but my heart doesn't. I still can't run, but I can find other ways to exercise. My clothes are still not fitting like I want, but I can still eat healthy. I have hope.

Knowing this process means that we can thank Him and worship Him even before the feelings of gratitude come. His faithfulness never changes. His love for us never changes. His desire to see us free never changes. Worshiping in our brokenness doesn't mean that life becomes perfect, it means that we are first acknowledging and trusting His holiness, and second allowing our character to become more like His.

Worshiping in our brokenness doesn't bring us happiness. It brings us joy. Happiness has to do with our circumstances. Joy is what we feel in spite of our circumstances. I don't want my circumstances to determine what I feel. Therefore, I choose to worship in my brokenness!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Unforgiveness and Fear

So many of us live in fear. It drives us, leads us, tells us what to do and what to controls our life. Whether it is fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of what others' think of us or any other millions of fears that are possible, most often it is rooted in unforgiveness!

We live in a world of sin, pain, and suffering. Therefore we have ALL been hurt by someone. Some of us have been hurt by many. Sometimes it is the same sin or pain done by many to reinforce the logic to have the fear. Unfortunately, holding onto the fear doesn't do us any good and it doesn't bring us any justice! If you've read my last blog entry from my birthday last year, then you will get a good glimpse of how the things done to me so many years ago bred a lot of fear, and it did me NO good! It wasn't until I forgave all of those girls for the specific actions that they did to me that I was able to release my fear of rejection. My fear of what others thought of me was so gripping, my life used to look so different (and obviously, not in a good way!) But since I forgave, I have been set free!!! God's love was able to come in and fill that part of my mind and heart that unforgiveness was once taking...and where there is perfect love there is no fear!

My God is so much bigger than anything I can possibly fear! Our God is so much bigger than anything we can fear!

If you are living in any kind of fear, ask the Lord to show you where it's coming from. Is it from someone in your past that has wounded you deeply that you need to forgive? And when I say to forgive I don't just mean in general...BE SPECIFIC...that is crucial! There is often so many little hurts hiding within the huge obvious pain. To bring justice to your life is to let that person/s, and his/her actions, go and allowing freedom to rule your life! And just and FYI: forgiveness is NOT a feeling...don't wait until you feel like forgiving to actually'll never come! You must speak it out, especially when it goes against every fiber of your being, speak the words, "I forgive ________ for _______." And if there are 100 things, then speak all 100. Sometimes the release and the freedom will happen in an instant, sometimes it takes saying it over and over for days on end until you feel the freedom. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT!!!! Forgive and be free of fear!!!