Tag Archive | restoration

Life on the other side of the wall

 

 

I know.. that title is a bit strange. It is a description of my life for the last 8 months. When I moved out of my condo last September and moved in with my daughter’s family there was a lot of life in that home.. on the other side of my wall. In my room there wasn’t much. Then I moved again 3 months later and there was a lot of life in my friends’ home and once again there wasn’t much life in my room. I had to move again. Here I am living on the other side of the wall and there is a wonderful family that rents this in law unit .. living fully each day. In every situation I have experienced being on the outside of life. The life I once knew is gone.. Steve is living in a facility and will never come out. As for me.. only the Lord knows if I will ever really feel like I am living again.

Before this last move I was sure I would not have to live in a situation where I could hear a family but not really be a part of it. Apparently that was my desire but not what God had in mind. He brought me here ..where once again.. I am an outsider.. living alone in my own room.

What is this all about? I am not totally sure .. I do have memories of my childhood that may be connected. My parents were very close and growing up I often felt like an outsider in my own family. My sister wormed her way into their united front by becoming the child with all the problems.. I continued to be on the outside as life unfolded on the other side of the wall.. Could the Lord be doing some healing in me? I hope so. I am tired of feeling that I am an outsider.. someone who doesn’t fit in.. who is not included. Now.. I am wondering.. is there a root issue that needs to be dealt with in my life?

One thing that I do know about God is that He often puts us in the very circumstances that will cause our old stuff to rise to the surface. Why? To torture us? No .. to show us that we need to let go of the old stuff to give it to HIm and ask Him to heal us in the broken places. To tell you the truth I just realized that I had this issue as I started writing this post. I want the healing but it is not easy.. the old feelings are working their way to the surface.. When we bury old feelings they don’t die, they are buried alive and they will be triggered by our current circumstances… it is a tool that God uses to bring freedom. He wants to pull off the band aids and heal the wounds. He wants to pull out the arrows in our heart that have been there all our lives.

I love being part of that process in other people’s lives.. probably why I became a counselor.. Right now I am in need of healing and He is at work in these very circumstances.. getting my attention.. revealing the old hurts and pain that I have kept hidden from myself all these years.. So here I am in my room..just like I was as a teenager.. hearing the life.. on the other side of the wall.. only this time when I come out of my room I won’t be an outsider I will know that I am complete in Him. He is the healer and His purposes will be fulfilled in my life and in yours. Are you in your room right now? After all we are being told to stay inside in our rooms.. an interesting time to check in with the Lord and ask Him what wounds He may want to heal that you have carried inside your heart all these years.

Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.. Psalm 30:2

 

The hidden places..

This is a post from a year ago.. it seems to be the topic that God has been focusing on in my life .. it relates to the last post so I thought I would publish it again.. dscn4151

 

We have these places in our lives. They are like closets full of things that we don’t want to look at too closely. The truth is they are not hidden from the Lord. He sees and knows all the things we are keeping from Him and from ourselves. This closet may hold secret sins and idols.. but it also holds pain. Pain that we put in the back under everything. Why? So we don’t have to grieve and face the losses that happen in life. So when God goes into that closet and begins to pull out things.. He has only one purpose in mind and that is healing. How do I know that.. because I have experienced healing from His hand over and over again.

He wants to bring us into freedom. To touch our wounds and heal them. To bring out the poison.. the toxins that have developed because the wound is old and is covered with band aids that are filthy.. underneath there is an infection.. His desire is to clean the wound and heal it so that it is finally unable to keep us in bondage. Why do we resist this process? because it is painful. It order to receive this healing you need to open up and feel the pain that is stuffed down inside. It is not as though you have to relive it is.. but there is pain in remembering and releasing grief that is unresolved. The beautiful thing is realizing that God can take this process and change you.. He can ” create a clean heart” in you.

I am writing about this because I am concerned about Believers who run from this process. They hide their pain deeper and deeper because they are either embarrassed, ashamed or fearful. We are here on earth for a reason..not just waiting for the day when all this over. Eternity is here now.. we have entered the kingdom of God and He is at work restoring us. We need to let Him in fully if we want to begin experiencing the abundant life He promises in John 10:10.

Our God is pursuing us daily. He desires to go deep with you.. to take you to your hidden places and help you bring them out into the light so you can be set free to walk with Him without always looking back and without fear of the future. I want to encourage you to allow Him to come into those places.. if you are unable to do it alone, find someone to help you.. there is nothing wrong with needing help. The Holy Spirit is the counselor and He leads the way when it comes to unraveling your past and unveiling those wounds.. but He often works through counselors..especially those that walk with Him. Pray that the Lord will lead you to the right person and take a risk.. you won’t be sorry. He has only good things for you!

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18)

Seeking healing..

 

I had an interesting conversation a few days ago and the topic of healing came up. That is not unusual when I am engaged in a deep conversation because healing is the focus of my life. For the last almost 20 years I have sought healing and for the last 11 years I have facilitated healing in the lives of my clients. Much of my life revolves around this concept.. healing is so critical and it leads to much more freedom than we could ever imagine.

Many of us walk around with deep wounds from our childhood and later from our adult years. These wounds appear to be harmless and often we decide that we can’t do anything about them so we bury them. They may try to open up again… we grab the band aids and plaster them all over the wounds to keep them from bleeding out into our lives. There is a better way. We have a God who not only wants to heal.. but actually can heal those wounds so they never have power over us again. The key to receiving the healing is to seek it.. diligently. I decided that without healing I would never be able to live fully. My desire was to be a whole as I could be while I was here.. we are not going to be perfectly healed on earth.. but we can definitely make a lot of progress in that direction.

Our childhood memories are keys.. what do we remember and why? What was it like growing up? Most people say.. “my parents really loved me” or “I really love my parents” Right.. that is easy enough to say.. but what happened to you as a child? Parents love very imperfectly and as a result there is emotional damage that happens to us. If we take the time to look at it fully.. to grieve our losses and to face the way things really were.. we have the opportunity to move ahead in forgiveness and faith.  There is a cost.. we may need to revisit the painful things that occurred or feel a glimpse of the abandonment or fear that we had as children.. it is worth doing even though there is pain. God wants to heal those broken places in your heart.. His longing is for you to realize that His love is nothing like the love we get from our earthly parents. It is not only unconditional.. it is always available at a moment’s notice and it is the cure for all the ways that people have failed us.

So.. I named this post Seek healing.. as a way of encouraging you to do this. Get help if you need it.. pray and ask God to direct your steps to the person who can help you and expect the Holy Spirit to be at work revealing things to you as you step out in faith.. believe that the Lord is at work in your life.. longing to heal and set you free.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.   Jesus said this in the book of Luke!

 

 

Hope is renewed..

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It is really springtime again.. I never feel quite sure until May appears..than I feel safe saying winter is over! We came back from a long weekend away this afternoon and as we looked up we saw beautiful fluffy white clouds in a bright blue sky.. the fields along the highway were a vivid green dotted with patches of yellow wild mustard. I could see the Lord’s handiwork all around me.. it was very comforting. God’s love for us revealed in creation.

It was a weekend of reminders for me. We went to a very special wedding.. one that was full of amazing surprises.. I could see God’s fingerprints all over this union. He brought these two people together and it was clear that His love drew them to one another. He was transforming their lives and it flowed over each of us watching the ceremony…we stood in awe of His redeeming work. I had a similar experience at another family gathering last December.. as I looked around the room I could see how the hand of the Lord had been at work healing broken lives and relationships. His hand of redemption on our family.

God is at work even when we can’t see a single thing He is doing. Suddenly He allows us a glimpse into the lives He is restoring.. a glimpse of His healing touch. Spring is like that for me.. all winter long I wonder how I will make it through my least favorite season.. too many hours inside waiting for the weather to warm up… too many grey skies.. short days and long nights.. Suddenly the season changes and I realize He has been working in the dark.. behind the scenes.. getting things ready for the new things that He is going to reveal.. Spring is here.. winter is over.. Hope is renewed!

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Unchanging Grace

That is what I experienced in the last couple days..God’s unchanging grace. We are going through an unexpected trial right now ( are they ever expected!) and I had a very bad day yesterday. I felt like the grace of God was not to be found..I was left with my own raw emotions. It was not a pretty picture. Old angry feelings emerged..scenes from the past haunted me..I could not find God. I felt so alone.

Thankfully I had the presence of mind to cry out and ask God for faith and encouragement..even though I was angry at Him for allowing these circumstances. Of course He was right there and even before I went to sleep I began to sense the grace again..the encouragement and the hope that I thought was lost.

This small experience was enough to remind me that I need Him every single moment and that there is no place to go during the trial except straight to Him..even with all the anger and unbelief. He does not change. His heart is the same and He is not at the mercy of His feelings..because His love for us is much deeper than anything we understand.

I woke up this morning with a scripture that God has given me over and over again..He gave it to us at our wedding and it is a promise that I hold on to with all my heart. I hope it brings encouragement to you today..  He is our redeemer and His promises are forever.

Here it is:

“The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
    to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.
    It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
 Once again you will have all the food you want,
    and you will praise the Lord your God,
who does these miracles for you.
    Never again will my people be disgraced.
 Then you will know that I am among my people Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other.
    Never again will my people be disgraced.”

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Renewal, Restoration, Refreshment, Rest

That’s what it says at the top of my blog..the subtitle and underlying theme of this site. Sometimes I forget that I put it there.. then all of a sudden I realize that I am longing for all of those. Tomorrow is the first day of summer..what a perfect time to ask for a season when those four Rs will all become real.

My husband was telling me that what he misses most about being a child are the summers. No school, no work.. just a great big time out..to play..rest..enjoy. I miss it too. We need that feeling even more as adults. Being the super serious type.. I realize that if I don’t have that feeling once in a while, life starts to feel like a chore.. a job.. a responsibility. Jesus said He came to give us life.. abundant life..does that sound like a job? He also said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light..does that sound like being worn out and weary?

In the psalms God says “Be still and know that I am God.” That really sounds like rest to me..and peace. So..as we enter the summer season let is be like little children and enter the kingdom of heaven in a new way…faith filled children who trust fully in the goodness of God. We can also be like the birds who know that they will have all they need from the hand of their heavenly Father..they never go without and neither will  we.

I pray that God will bless you with the four things I mentioned at the beginning of this post and renew your faith as you trust Him. I’m asking Him to meet you as you walk with Him..filling you with His Spirit and guiding you into the future.

“You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”

Vacation time..

July is vacation month in America..even if we aren’t taking one the feeling is in the air. We’ve had some beautiful summer weather this year..a welcome relief. We need those days and we need time to relax and move away from our everyday activities. Each new morning provides opportunities to start fresh. I don’t know about you..but I need fresh starts. We all need to have times when the cares of this world don’t feel so heavy..when we come out from under the responsibilities that we carry.. how do we find these times?

Well..a trip to Hawaii sounds perfect! Not possible for me and maybe not for you. We’ll have to get to that place of peace in another way..to accept those day trips and week-end getaways..whatever God gives us and make the most of them. It helps me to remember that I can rest in Him wherever I am and that is a relief for my heart. Our inner life is the place where all the turmoil is taking place..when I am trusting God I feel like I am on vacation. He is driving and I am in the back seat relaxing. I may not know our destination but I know I am in good hands. He has plans for my life and yours.. plans that are good.. plans that are more than we could ever ask or imagine.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Humpty Dumpty..

Yes.. He put me back together 😀 God is good.. He comes for us. The challenging times close in on us and we tend to forget all the “rescues”. Let’s remind ourselves right now of those times when we thought we were forgotten and we weren’t. His timing is a mystery but His heart is not.

Earlier today I was remembering a lesson I learned about 12 years ago. It changed my life completely. During the most difficult time in my life I was afraid..that God would leave me..that He might not pick up the pieces of my life..that His promises might not be real. At the same time I had nowhere to turn but to Him. I made a choice to believe that what I knew about Him was true..the other choice was too terrible. I had to cling to my faith minute by minute. He came through and rebuilt my life..one day at a time.

He took my old life away..but only because He wanted to give me more than I had ever imagined possible. The transition was hard..the fears were real..but He was there with me in a tangible way. I learned that when He takes things away it is not to punish us..it is because He loves us and wants to give us even more than we had before. Our part is to believe and trust Him for what we cannot see..even when the odds are against us.

Yes..He put me back together and He will do the same for you when you need it. He is bigger than our fears..and worries. His heart overflows with love for us. Our God is with us!

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
      and I will be naked when I leave.
   The Lord gave me what I had,
      and the Lord has taken it away.
   Praise the name of the Lord!”

 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

Walking by faith..

Not by sight. Remember that verse from Hebrews 11. I was reading that chapter this morning and I realized that it was foundational for me. Like you..I want to see ahead…it is a natural desire for many of us. We seem to be wired to look into the future..wishing we had a crystal ball. The thing that helps me the most is to look back..to remember..to see where I have been. We can be so eager to move forward that we forget to reflect on how far He has taken us. My life was in total chaos 12 years ago..I felt like I had no future at all. It was a crisis of faith. All I knew was that God was still God.

As I look back over this last decade I see the restoration and rebuilding that He has done and I am amazed. He led me out of the wilderness into the promised land and I didn’t even realize He was doing it. I was over 50 when all this happened..too old for new things..too tired to keep trying..He carried me over the threshold into the land of milk and honey. I often tell people that my life started over..it wasn’t a new chapter..it was a new book. “By faith Alicia believed God and He was faithful to give her more than she could ever ask for.” That is the legacy I would leave for my grandchildren if I died today. Yes..He is a great God that will keep all His promises in His time.

Are you in a season of waiting..doubting..a crisis of faith? Keep trusting and believing. Read Hebrews 11 and remember they were all just people like you and me. They weren’t supernatural beings with supernatural faith..they were humans who struggled and doubted and felt like giving up..just as we do. He came through for them and He will do that for you. He loves to be trusted..it shows Him that we understand His love for us and that we believe in His goodness.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us the assurance about things we cannot see.”

Living the life..

The life of faith. What does that look like? Very different from the life that is glorified in the media. Very very different from the lives that celebrities model for us. It is not the American dream either. The life of faith centers around the Lord and His priorities. He cares deeply for others..unlike the model of narcissism that our culture has elevated to amazing heights.

I never imagined living in a world like we have today..a world where values have been turned upside down. A world where so many watch life on TV instead of experiencing it. A world where the lives of the rich and famous dominate the front page of the media.. people being enticed to live vicariously instead of living fully. What a challenge this is for all of us. Life with God is still available..even with all these distractions and temptations. He is pursuing us..desiring time with us..wanting to give us a meaningful existence.

We will always find opportunities to reach out to those who hurt..especially in these times. He is still willing to use us as instruments of encouragement and hope..maybe more now than ever. Our God is moving and ministering to the brokenhearted. He is healing and restoring. He is not different.. He is the same. Is He calling out to you? Does He want to use you in your present circumstances to love the unlovable? To bring hope to the hopeless? To listen and pray? Yes.. He is after you..you are valuable to Him..He needs you and He will equip you for everything He has planned for you.

” I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.”