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Thanks for visiting my blog! I pray that you get something out of my being transparent and that God will continue to use me even to speak to one!! Feel free to click follow or follow by email! Be blessed... and transparent!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Transparent Letter

"For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true." 2 Cor 7:14

I was led to this hidden nugget earlier this morning in my morning devotional and had to write and share. I have to admit, when I first read it I asked GOD what it was supposed to mean to me. He then had me read two verses previous and the one following and that's when I understood. 

Paul had written this letter to Corinth in response to their treatment and hospitality to Titus. *Sidenote*: We really should study more about Corinth!! They welcomed him with open arms and so every boast (rejoice) made about Corinth was proven true. Titus was well cared for and loved even up to his departure. Isn't that how a church is supposed to be? Full of the grace and mercy that was so undeservedly extended to us? Welcoming those that enter in our "city" because they are sent or allowed by our Father? *Okay, another side note* Do you realize that if all churches who bear His name and seek after His will would love and provide for guests in this way, even those sent with ill will by their father, Satan, would be drenched in His love causing them to surrender to Him or flee?! 

Too many times in the church building we are more involved in and worried about keeping OUR bylaws and making sure everyone who enters knows and abides by them as well MORE than keeping His command to love our neighbor and each other. What a sad situation we have put ourselves in. We are nowhere near hated for Jesus' namesake. That would mean we love everyone while accepting them as they are but hating the sin. THAT would mean we would be speaking His Truth in totality, not watering down to satisfy everyone's uncomfortableness with What His Word says. And THAT would mean while we have our own stand on certain things and choose to stand against "freedoms" that lead to eternal bondage for our family in Christ, we wouldn't presuppose this on those who have no idea of His goodness, love or sacrifice that was also for them. 

What if.... we led our worship, our church service in such a way that even when someone in a particular sin walked in and heard the Truth spoken about that sin, they either cried out and surrendered to GOD or got up and walked away? What if there were no requirements of "minimum" tithe and offering amounts or judgmental stares at a person not in what we assume is the "Sunday best"? What if at the door they were so loved and well cared for that we received a letter from GOD stating a job well done, that His boast in us was found true? 

That is essentially what this verse says to me, practically speaking. We have gotten away from caring for each other and guests that visit. He is calling us to go back to the simpler times and listen to His guidance on dealing with guests who visit us. Our pastors should not have to prompt us to greet an smile. It should not be awkward to take a collection up for a needy family in our midst, whether attendees of our church or not instead of trying to "help them help themselves". No! That's what this Christian community is supposed to be about! None of us should be in lack for so long that we give up or look to this lost world for help. We need to get back to it. 

If GOD wrote us a letter about someone He sent to us, unbeknownst to us, what would our letters say? 

Father, thank You for forgiving our repetitive sins and disobedience. We have been distracted with whose church is best and whose theology makes more sense and which laws someone isn't following. We have forgotten the simpler things, to love and care for. We are so worried about how outrageous someone looks, acts or dresses when they come in "our" church that we forgot that this is Your hospital and we Your Body are to aid in healing.  Help us to get back to worship and work. In Jesus name. Amen!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Transparent Marriage

"For your Maker is your husband....." Isaiah 54:5 

I'm gonna be brutally honest and transparent (after all, that is the name of the blog). I long for a husband. I desire to be married, to have a life partner of physical form doing battle with and for me. I long for a husband who could have shown my daughters what true love from a man looks like and my son how to be that man. I long for late night talks, daily plans of splitting who will go to who's activity or even just someone to hold me while I vent, stew or cry. And I want to be able to do that for someone. I want the many battles marriage brings and the seemingly endless attacks that draw the attention from the enemy of our souls and his battalion. The very foul essence that seems to be breaking up families right now and has forged war on marriage created by GOD, I want.... 

Yes I'm sure you think I'm crazy. I'm sure those who are married, separated or wishing they could get out of their marriage right now are saying, "Are you crazy?! Stay single! You have no idea how hard it is!" Well, as a lost person I was married. And it was hell! And I know now that I would never step out of His will to comfort my flesh! Yes, back then, in my lost state, I would have agreed. In fact I did. But now that I am redeemed, let me tell you what I know as an unmarried mother of three. 

I know that no battle is too hard for my GOD. I know that the end is better than the beginning. I know that while money, kids and communication (or lack of it) may seem to wearing you down in your marriage, He is standing near to lift you up and strengthen you. I know that every good and perfect gift is from our first Husband. I know that the journey is hard and long and sometimes full of dry patches but I also know that if you journey with your husband and GOD, it will not be worthless. Ask any older couple was it worth it. Not those who are bitter and angry, but those who have overcome the bitterness, trials, anger, hurt, betrayal, disappointment, etc. and I also know that you have the opportunity to have a "cord of three" but do you know that? Did you forget or did your marriage happen or become about you and what's done to or not done for you?

One of the most important and most ignored aspects of marriage that I know is how it shapes, grows and can even kill (yes kill) your child(ren). A good marriage (not the fa├žade of one) will grow great relationships with and for the children. A struggling one that endures will even show kids how to hang on, keep going as long as battles are healthy. But a marriage that quits? It only shows a child how to quit. Prayerfully in time and/ or with discernment the child will decide to be better, to do better, to never ever give up (as a young cancer patient who started Joy Jars showed me shortly before she closed her eyes on this side). But it will prove to be harder, more fight than necessary and draining to say the least. I know that on both sides, as a child of divorce ad a parent whose children had to be drug through one. 

So no, I don't know your story. I don't know what you've been through. I don't condone abuse and know that GOD does not like the mistreatment of His daughters. That's something totally different. And even though I don't know why you aren't "happy" or why you are contemplating or going through a divorce, He knows. And I know Him and I know that He loves you and longs for an intimate relationship with you. Look at your husband the way GOD does. See through his flaws and love through his multitude of sins (even leaving the seat up).

And for you single ladies reading, love the LORD your GOD with all you heart and all your strength and all your mind and all your soul. What I just realized is in all my wanting a husband, I need to learn to love the Husband who redeemed me first. I need to focus on Him and the fact that He never fails first before preparing for a man who will most assuredly disappoint me.  So, while I still desire to be married, I rejoice in the only marriage truly made in Heaven, I invite you to as well!

This entire chapter of Isaiah, 54, speaks to the weary. It just spoke to me as a "single" woman and mom. Let it speak to you as single and married folk! Let Him be your Husband, your Lord, your Kinsmen Redeemer. Only then will the mortal, fleshy man He gave to you temporarily be lifted and loved in the way he was designed to be. 

GOD, forgive me for searching for love everywhere but in Your face. Thank You for being my Redeemer and my Friend, my Love and my Lord! Sustain me GOD and help me to be content and satisfied in You until (if) You send a companion to find me. And if not, You are more than enough!