When you can’t find God

When you can’t find God in a situation…

What do you do when you can’t find God in a certain time in your life?

You know it states in the bible that God will never leave you or forsake you…

So when you look back and can’t see Him what do you do?

I believe that sadly the church I grew up in would have said that when I was walking in sin and living the lifestyle that I was that God had walked away from me because He can’t stand sin or be in the presense of sin. However I beg to differ that opinion! Even when the Israelites where in the wilderness and bickering about what there was to eat or how they were going to get water God kept His presense there in the form of a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night.

He can’t lie so why would he say in…

Romans 8:38

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

I am struggling to find God in the part of my life when I was married to a non-christian abusive highly addicitve personality type man because in my “churched” mind I chose Phillip over God so in doing that God must have left me. In my mind He washed His hands of me basically saying, “Ok this is what you want? You’ve made your bed now you sleep in it.”

My mind still viewed God as the old, mean judge in the sky that pounded his gavel and sentenced me to misery at the hand of the man I gave everything to and then took my babies as icing on the cake to show me that He was serious in punishing those who disobey Him so I better never do that again!

So if that was the view I am just walking through and identifying as inaccurate… then what is truth?

According to scripture it says something completely different!

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Isaiah 61:1

[Good News for the Oppressed] The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

If God would send His son to die for us while we were yet sinners and enemies to Him how much more would He leave the 99 to search for the one lost lamb?

So when I look at that season in my life with Phillip I have to see that God protected me and loved me right were I was at. He was close to me when I was in such despair that I didn’t even care whether I woke up the next morning or whether Philip made good on his promise that I would not be alive by morning. I have to believe that His angels were surrounding me when I was at my lowest, when I wanted to die and just be with my babies. He worked out the successful escape plan that got me out of the abuse, anger, drugs, alcohol and dysfunction.

As I renew my mind I can truly see how God’s hand was in the whole situation in a true and real way.

Not the legalistic scary fear induced way that I had been seeing it previously.

The legitimate way that my Heavenly Father grieved for my babies as they left earth and came to be with Him. The way that He rushed to wrap me in His loving and protective wings. The way that He sings over me and rejoices when one is returned to Him.

You see He didn’t go anywhere… He was right there waiting for me to see Him for what and who He really is and was. And He has not left you either. Where ever this finds you as you read these words please know that you are never to far gone for Jesus!

It says in Psalms 139:7-12

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You
are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You
are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall
on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light
are both alike to You.

He will meet you where you are because

He loves you that much!

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Making the most of life’s failures

sand“Failure handled improperly can be devastating but failure handled properly

is the best thing that can happen to us. Failure teaches us our most valuable lessons.

It keeps us from taking the credit for or taking for granted later successes.

We make the all important discoveries that even when we fall flat on our faces,

God is right there to pick us back up again. And failure also has a way of opening

us up to other options.”

Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson

I used to always look at the many broken dreams, detours, failures and wild goose chases as negative things in my life until I started reading this book. I am so thankful that this book was brought into my life because now I know that those things that I saw as failures was just a way for me to become open to other options.

If my time in South Carolina had not had its challenges and struggles I would have never started to write a book of my life and the struggles that people face that have a criminal background. I would have stayed there in my semi-content state and lived an ok life. It wouldn’t have lead me back to New York and the possibility of going back to India. In that process I viewed the lack of communication from the church and people starting the orphanage as a hit to my self-worth and felt that my past was the reason they did not want me. What it really was again was a way for God to get me to look at the other options there were out there for me.

I would have never looked into Teen Challenge as an option if God hadn’t caused the ship wreck that was in my eyes a failure.

When God is changing your steps or causing a detour don’t view it any other way than just that God has another step or process that He wants to take you through.

With coming out here to Montana it has been full of happy time but also a lot of heart ache and walking down the road of identifying past hangup’s and lies I believed for so long. I have had to learn to trust God in all of this. I have learned that it is not my “trying” that I accomplish anything but in an understanding and belief that God already accomplished it on the cross 2000 years ago. It is nothing that I can do in an of myself, I can not earn His grace, love and acceptance. I don’t have to clean myself up before I come before him.

So now I am in the process of learning to stop “trying” or “striving” and to just be still.

What does that mean though?

What does that look like?

Like I had mentioned in the last post this process of learning to “just be”

can be messy and frustrating.

It is taking what you have always done in situations and pretty much doing the opposite.

Its changing the internal voices to your human selfish voice to learning to hear the still small voice of God and what He desires.

Its learning to chase the Wild Goose!

I recently read that growing up spiritually is actually opposite of what it looks like to grow up physically. Children as they grow, learn to go from dependence on their parents to learning how to be independent, self-sufficient adults. However in the spiritual realm of life, we come to God independent from Him, knowing that we need Him but still not knowing how to lean fully on Him. As we grow in our spiritual maturity we get to the point that we know we can do nothing apart from God. We desire more and more that we be made and renewed into the image of Jesus. We become increasingly aware of our inadequacies, dysfunctions and sinful ways only so that we might continue to run into the arms of our father. We let Him wrap his loving arms around us and shelter us in the comfort of his wings knowing that nothing can separate us from His love. As we continue to draw closer to God we don’t fight the arms that are holding us but learn to snuggle in knowing that He has only our best interest in sight for us.

When life gets messy

I have felt pretty messy lately emotionally and spiritually

so in a lot of ways I have steered clear of writing about it

because its hard to do, right?

Its easier NOT to share the messy-ness with others,

instead we hide out and lick our battle wounds by ourselves.

We wonder…

What if the wrong person reads this post and the real you is revealed but not understood?

What if people who don’t understand all that you have been through read it and

jump to conclusions?

Or worse yet what if the one you have learned to open up to and care about so much

learns more than what they are willing to deal with and they walk away?

I grew up in a family where it was NOT acceptable to share anything negative or any struggles you were having with anyone outside of the family or let anyone know that you were sinking emotionally or physically. You were expected to put a smile on your face, and long sleeves on ,if necessary, so that for appearance sake everything looked perfect to anyone from the outside looking in.

I have lived with all of this “fear” in writing this process out and today I realized that everyone has some sort of fear or thing that they are hoping won’t happen. If we live our life in that fear or hope then unfortunately we miss out on so much of life and that kind of negative hope some how ends up coming to pass because it was the thing we feared, pondered and clutched the most.It is not what God wants for us because He says “Perfect Love casts out ALL fear!” and His hope does not disappoint according to Romans 5.

But the worlds fear and “hope” it can be…

Kinda like a self- fulfilling prophesy. I love the definition of this phrase!

Definition: becoming real or true by virtue of having been predicted or expected; a prediction of something to come

I am realizing just how much I did this in my life due to growing up in dysfunction but not knowing it was a malfunctioning environment. You begin to fear these things happening but have a hard time putting your finger on why this is a fear or where it came from. It may be a distant memory that triggers a response you never thought you would have, a scent that takes you back to a place and time or even a fleeting thought in your mind that ignites the fear in you.

So now you know its a fear and you know it comes from somewhere in the past…

What do you do to break the cycle that is in you that you have now identified as being completely unhealthy and dysfunctional?

I am still learning this process so please do not think that I am a professional in any of this or that I in some ways have all of the answers. I am looking to God and Him alone to help me learn how to break this cycle so that I do not take it into this next season of my life or a new relationship.

I am learning that I grew up in a very legalistic family even though it was the last thing that my mom would have wanted for us if she had truly known what law produces. She was radically saved when she was going in the opposite direction. For my mother, hearing from a pastor that she was going to hell based on the fact that she was an adulteress and pointing out scripture to show her where she would go should she die right that minute worked for my mom to turn her life over to God. My mom is very black and white and I believe that God created her that way for a reason, purpose and plan. I love my mom with all my heart and God has restored our relationship beyond what I could ask or imagine! She is my cheerleader and love me so very much!

The thing I never understood growing up was why I shouldn’t do things. Just the fact that adults said what the do’s and don’ts were and I should obey them because they said was how I grew up. There was no talk of an authentic relationship with God before the rules were laid out but first the rules and then an attempt at relationship with this scary God that may get mad if you did something wrong, which always ended up failing because we are humans and prone to wander from the constants in our lives.

In the book Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson says “We take constants for granted. And that is the “problem” with God, if I may say it that way, God is the ultimate constant. He is unconditionally loving. He is omnipotently powerful. And He is eternally faithful. God is so good at what God does that we tend to take Him for granted.”

Not only did I take God for granted for so long but I didn’t truly know who God was based on childhood perceptions that were flawed. If your first baby steps as a baby christian and child is based on the law you are prone to get to the point where you learn that performance based on law is impossible to live by! You will either spend a life time trying to be good enough working for your salvation or just throw your hands up after so long and give up even trying because you think He is a God that can never be pleased and just wants obedient servants. You know that in your own strength you will never be able to measure up. Look at what living a life by the law did for the Pharisees and tell me that’s how its supposed to be? Jesus came and called them white washed tombs! He tried telling his people that He came to abolish the law but we still want to live by it… why?

Matthew 23:27

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.

I viewed God as this Big scary Guy in the Sky that was happy with me when I did right and mad at me when I did bad. When things would happen to me that were bad and it was when I was living a rebellious life I truly believed that it was because God was angry with me and taking away my husband because I “chose” him over God and worse I truly believed that God had taken away my babies in my womb because He wanted to show me who was in charge! All of this because I had taken my life in my own hands for a short time. Did someone in your life teach you that as well? You better not do anything bad this week or you may loose God’s presence in your life or be separated from the love of God! How flawed is this thinking!

It says in Romans 8:38 that:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

And I have learned in this process of learning who God really is, that he is not this schizophrenic God that is sometimes angry and sometimes happy with you based on your performance. If the last statement is true and God has moments of anger when you are doing wrong and happiness when you are doing right… then it is by works alone and not the blood of Jesus Christ that saves us. Yes in the Old Testament it talks repeatedly about God being the Mighty  Judge whose wrath was stirred by the Israelite disobedience. That God, however, poured out His wrath on His Sons body on the cross.

In the book Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince he states,

Many Christians have been robbed of fellowship and intimacy with God because they believe

the lie that God is still angry with them because of their sins. They avoid contact with God,

thinking that He gets angry with them whenever they fail. So instead of going to God when

they fail, they run in the opposite direction. Instead of running to the solution, they run

away from it. The truth is: God is no longer angry with you! His wrath towards ALL your

sins has already been exhausted completely on the body of your Savior Jesus Christ. ALL

your sins have been judged and punished in the body of another. God IS (PRESENT TENSE)

LOVE (Emphasis mine) Stop being robbed of true intimacy and a relationship with your

gracious and forgiving Savior Jesus Christ. His grace is greater than all of your failures.

He loves you perfectly, so go to Him with all your imperfections.”

I truly believe that if you want to heal the present and future you have to take the time to look back at the past long enough to identify those lies and inaccuracies that you have built your foundation on, process them effectively and any attachment you may have with the lies and inaccuracies, then allow God to heal them through renewing your mind with God’s truth in your life. Many people don’t want to go back so that they can go forward. They are told you can’t blame what happened to you on others but only deal with where you are at now. The misconception there is that those ties are still holding you back from living a life set free and whole whether you want to admit it or not.

I agree that you can not stay in the past or cast blame on others in your past. You have to understand that people did the best they could with the information, knowledge and upbringing they had available to them and release it. It is walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” that God wants to bring us into a life of healing, wholeness and breaking those cycles you have gone through over and over in your life.

Sometimes I feel that I should be further along than I am but I have to remind myself that

I am having to sift through 30 years of information and place it in one of 3 bins:

Truth= Keep

Inaccuracies= find the faulty belief and replace it with truth

Lies= throw it away and break the tie!

This process takes time to rummage through and find the nuggets of truth that you want

to build your new foundation on.

The cornerstone of your foundation has to be the one that the builders rejected!

(Psalms 118:22 and Matthew 21:42)

It is chaotic and messy to others around you.

It is tiring and taxing to you emotionally.

It is inconvenient and disorganized to those who crave order.

It is uncomfortable and agonizing to our flesh.

In the end though….

It will be so worth it!

Based on 2 Corinthians 5:21

(NASB)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,

so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

I have been made righteous through His blood on the cross,

Now I just have to learn to live that life out,

Not letting the devil take me back,

But pressing on to the prize!

I want my self- fulfilling prophecies to be that of-

love, grace, joy, peace and an abundance in God’s blessings

because I have spent the time to seek Him and find Him.

I have learned to rest in the shadow and comfort of His wing.

I trust that He is a good God that wants to pour out more and more on His precious Beloved!