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Where Love Abounds

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hope

Grace abounds in the midnight hour…

Shame is the liar that wraps itself around you, dragging you down with every step…

In the grip of struggles, challenges, addictions, bad habits, when guilt already wreaks havoc, shame comes to steal the hope that once offered release.

Shame will never be the factor that sets you free – shame often pulls you deeper into the very places you long to run from.

In our own strength we rarely find freedom, there’s a greater power needed to break the chains that enslave us. That power is grace.

I’ve walked through many troubles, stepped too close to the edge of life too many times, and by God’s grace I’m still here. Many of these experiences were journeys that took time…and lots of it. Choosing daily who I was living for.

One time I found myself up against a new challenge, one I had never expected to face, causing me to make some seriosuly wrong choices. Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months…what initially seemed harmless began to torment my mind and before I knew it, shame outweighed anything and I felt trapped.

I would cry out to God, beg Him to take this trouble away – but through the cloak of shame, I couldnt see any escape route offered. His love felt a million miles away, clouded out by the weight of sin.

One bad decision often leads to another, leading us down a dark path, which can seem to have no way out. You become blind to the truth and resign yourself to failure.

On the eve of potentially being about to knowingly cross the line and make a very bad decision the next day, I found myself crawling into bed in a state of complete double-mindedness…on the one hand, crying out for strength to make a different choice…on the other, resigned to failure.

I woke at 3:45am…nothing spectacular roused me from sleep…no angels in the room, no loud voice giving me an answer…just stillness.

In that dark, midnight hour, I felt to go and sit in my chair and wait on the Lord. I had no plan, no purpose, no idea what would happen…

I went…I sat…I lit candles and let the light fill the room before sunrise. I read the word, I prayed…but mostly I was still… I didn’t really understand what was happening, but in that moment I knew the Lord was fighting for me…all I had to do was sit…and wait…

After 3 hours it was done.
His loved flooded every part of my being…causing me to turn me heart from the lies of this struggle back to Him…
True, heart-felt repentence poured out of my soul…
His strength rose up within me…
His grace covered me replaced the cloak of shame.

It was over…
It was finished…

In the depth of night, in the midnight hour, His love cried out, His unfathomable grace broke the chains that held me down.

No judgement…no condemnation…
He didnt abandon the dark places of my soul…
He didn’t point the finger and place blame…
He loved me to the core of my being…and fought my battle for me…

His grace found me in the darkest hour…
His grace refused to leave me there…

His grace changes everything…
We don’t deserve it…yet He gives it…
More than that…He will reach deep down in the darkest place to stop us falling…
In His great love, His grace is poured out…
We don’t have to strive for it…we don’t receive it in our own strength…
We stand…we sit…we rest…in Him.

It’s a sad day…

There are days when my heart feels heavy. The reason you might ask? I’m not sure I could give just one reason.
I’m sensitive to what is going on around me – not just in my direct surroundings, but also from a wider perspective. I often find my emotions and thoughts being pulled in a million different directions due to everything around me.
I’m saddened by hopelessness, despair, sickness, brokenness, judgement, criticism, terrorism, corruption, lies… the list goes on. Sometimes all it takes is to look out the window and see the neighbours fighting madly in front of their young child who looks down at the ground while the voices collide above their head, at other times it’s the news bombarding from any screen possible – with an underlying current producing fear within our communities…and other times I simply close my eyes and listen to my spirit.
But what makes me saddest of all is when I see Christian’s rising up with a voice sharper than a sword, cutting others down. I know we’re supposed to stand for truth, but at what cost? I know we’re supposed to stand firm on our beliefs, but to what affect on another? 
I see Christians making it their mission to tear each other down and prove themselves right, simply because they believe their view is correct and the other is wrong and it must be made known. I have no problem with people having differences of opinion and discussing these – but when it comes down to tearing another person apart because of their views, it pains me, especially when it’s done so publicly – don’t even get me started on social media! 
We live in a world that has all kinds of beliefs and principles, why should I think that everyone should live by my convictions when they don’t hold the same beliefs? What happened to the belief that “Love Wins” – do we truly believe it, can we truly live it? Or is it simply a cliché that gets thrown around to sound good in an appropriate moment? Preached from the platform on a Sunday, but forgotten by Monday.
I believe love wins…but I believe that statement is tested to the core when we are asked to love an individual regardless of their beliefs and decisions. We may not love their choices – but when we can learn to love them, it’s amazing what happens. We change…our own hearts change…we see differently…and lives are impacted.
With so many decisions being made worldwide that have the potential to impact everything we know – instead of taking time to slate the ones we disagree with and publicly expose the things we believe to be wrong…why not invest twice as much time in getting on our knees and praying (don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for petitioning our own beliefs and convictions in the right time and place)…but if we believe in an all powerful God – do we not also believe that He is sovereign? Can He not touch the lives we pray for? Can He not impact nations through whomever He wants? 
Can Love not win, even in the darkest of moments?

Keep dreamin’ …

Those dreams…The ones you think can never happen…It’s too late…they’re too big…maybe even unrealistic…

They’re the dreams to keep pursuing. 
They’re not wrong…it’s never too late…and no matter how big they are, they’re not out of reach. 

Last year a very big dream of mine “came true”… It happened after I’d looooooooong given up wondering whether it could ever happen, I had no hope left in that area, it seemed impossible. In fact truth be known, pain had helped me build a wall around my heart that stopped me dreaming almost altogether…
It just takes one glimpse of hope to knock that wall down…
Now… Now I’m dreaming bigger…and not just dreaming…but believing.
We’re created to dream, with our minds and imaginations focused on things that are good, we can soar high into the realm of impossible possibilities! In that place anything can happen…and will happen! 
Dream big dreams and then run…run after them! Don’t let them go…
Hold tight to hope and keep believing! 

 

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