Be With You

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Psalm 139:13-14

We just want to be with You.

These words struck my heart during worship this past Sunday with their truth… and immediately I envisioned a fire.

No worries, it was the controlled type of fire- you know the type that you gather and curl up around with family and friends.

The kind of fire that instantly echos sounds of laughter and compatible, understanding silence amid the crackling of wood and dancing flames.

The kind that feels like being held… or like holding the hand of someone who completely understands.

A fire that beckons to you in the most welcoming way, as if it is so happy you could make it, whispering that the fire would be a little less complete without you there, just as you are.

Because its January my initial vision was that of a fireplace, though upon further reflection, a campfire would be equally relatable.

And as these lyrics continued to resound in my head, my Pastor began his message and in his lesson he made a profound remark in relation to the passage above.

“Did you know God only has good thoughts about you?”

… wait… what?

You mean to tell me all those times throughout the day when I am counting or recounting every weakness and wondering how God, even with his divine patience, could put up with me… He’s never wondered the same thing?

Even once?

He’s never thought of me as anything other than wholly redeemed, deeply loved, highly favored, graced with glory…

Because… unfortunately… I have given Him ample opportunity to understandably do so…

Further more, you mean to tell me He’s never shaken His head in irritation, rolled his eyes in annoyance or “facepalmed” in exasperation… as He is rebuilding and cleaning up whatever it is I have destroyed or made a mess of?

Are you saying He’s never questioned whether I was too far out to make it worth it to bring me back, again? He’s never considered throwing in the towel?

… Can you imagine, my Pastor began to share, if we lived our lives with such a thought process about ourselves.

A thought process full of only good thoughts about ourselves.

At the end of the day I took an inventory of what thoughts I felt circled through my mind the most in terms of myself. And sadly, I realized, that if I were compiling a “Top 10” sort of list or most commonly used words- a fair portion of the time my thoughts toward myself were not very… good.

The old thoughts arose, you know sentences that begin with; “Am I… I should… I’m not… I’ll never…” then ending with something you should stop, start, do more, do less… or you’ve concluded that you’re not enough, too much, mediocre…

And I sat up as the Father beckoned me to sit with Him by the fire.

We sat there for a bit… it took a minute to unload. And toss every doubt, trace of guilt, piece of shame, shred of comparison and critical fear into the flame.

All the while His Word sharing what He sees, and all the wonderful parts He knows is inside of me. Because He put them there.

Many parts are revealed in time. His time. And He is so excited for the day I’ll discover them.

But meanwhile, he bids me not to devalue those wonderful pieces He has already revealed.

Also to remember not to call myself by my sin, but by my name, for that is how He calls me, and who He has created me to be. He sees past the exterior, into the heart and beyond.

Beneath the dust of this world, wonders have been purposefully placed in each one of us.

That’s what He sees. His vision. His dream. His creation. His daughter.

That “controlled” fire I suppose is also sort of an engulfing fire, a refining fire… a flame residing in each one of us.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And my Creator’s works are wonderful.

All of them.

Including me.

And I know that.

And in knowing that, confidence is restored. An ability to marvel and love and rejoice with others whole heartedly is renewed.

We are all called to the fire. Be it a winter day inside or a summer’s evening outside. Come warm your hands. Loose your burden of all you were never meant to carry. Share. Laugh. And know.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And as my personal favorite snowman, Olaf, would say, God only says “all good things, all good things,” for He is good.

God, we just want to be with You. Father You know us perfectly. You love us unconditionally. And You only think good thoughts about us. You call us by our name, not our sin. You see beyond the exterior, past the heart and into our innermost beings. You see the dream we have always been to You. Purposefully and wonderfully made. Thank you Father. We love you. Help us to love and see ourselves a little better, gaining a Heavenly Father’s perspective and tossing into the flames the lies of the enemy, in the beautiful name of Jesus. Amen. 

Friends if you have any prayer requests or praise reports please feel free to share them here in the comments, the comments on the prayer requests page or email them to declarehopeministries@gmail.com if you wish for them to be kept private. As always my prayers and thoughts are with each of you.

Exciting News!! This coming week we will be announcing this month’s giveaway! Stay tuned for details. Be blessed.

 

 

Define Worth

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This has been a strange season for me.

There is a part of me which feels as if I have never run harder or been busier and yet, I have never felt more useless.

Over the past several months I have transitioned from full time employment as an assistant manager to an intern chasing a dream to a hopeful and expectant and eventually torn potential employee taking the next step.

That next step has proven to be accompanied by weeks of waiting, phone calls and emails. All the while I cannot get used to being home during a weekday not knowing when the next step for the next step is going to take place.

I am still chasing my dreams- but at a much slower pace… possibly a standstill… running in place if you will.

I am at the crosswalk waiting… inching closer to the curb waiting and praying for the light to flicker to the GO signal… in the meantime it is taking everything in me to keep from running into the oncoming traffic.

But why?

Looking back 6 months ago I dreamed of achieving everything I have been able to do thus far, and I would have considered standing at this door well worth the wait, for just a chance to possibly discover the direction of my next step.

However, in our “go, go, go” world, waiting is rarely looked upon as admirable place to be standing.

And I hadn’t thought it would take this long.

Not that I am not doing other things pouring into this dream… I am completing classes for Grad School, running errands, working on my writing, and helping out where I can…

But what is it worth?

All these dreams, and I feel as if though I’ve been sidelined. And while I know it’s only temporary… and a season to grow… that my “busy” doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s “busy” to be “busy”…. the voices creep in…

“Look at everything they are doing, and you are still writing papers two hours before the deadline.”

“A job, kids and a home… what have you done today? Who did you take care of?”

“You think that one day these ‘hobbies’ will pay off? What do you have to contribute that’s worth anything?”

And when I let it, it goes on and on. Until I find myself in the midst of an emotional battle closing in on a line of serious depression grounded in the lies of unworthiness and worthlessness.

Stuck in a dream I am unable to catch while the rest of the world is pressing forward.

In these moments the battle rests on precipice, able to go one of two ways.

It is terribly tempting in these moments to seek the safe options and chose the compromise. I will go back while I wait for the door to open, go back where it is safe and within my comfort zone.

But as I here the voices offering enticing terms of surrender, I here the small voice whispering lift up your shield and pick up your sword.

Where is your faith daughter? What have I said to make you consider going back? Consider compromise?

God, what am I worth? What do I have to offer? God, can’t you hear the other voices? This is… but its not for me. It can’t be for me.

What are you worth? For I so loved You, Brittany, that I gave my only son… 

… And I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made

(Psalm 139:14 = Lift Shield)

… I am created in Your image and

(Genesis 1:27 = Pick up Sword)

I will not fear for You are with me, I will not be dismayed for You are my God. You strengthen and help me and uphold me in your righteous hand

(Isaiah 41:10 = Go to War)

Friends, there are a lot of voices out there, but only one who can claim to know your worth, because He created you.

I looked up the definition of worth. According to Google worth means, “equivalent in value to the sum or item specified.”

With that definition in hand turn to the verse at the beginning of this post and hold on tight to it. What did God pay to bring you back? His Son. Guess what that means?

You are worth the price of God’s Son, you are EQUIVALENT  in value to God’s Son.

Let that soak in.

And stop letting the voices tell you any different. Your journey is yours alone. It will not look like anyone else’s, it was never meant to.

Do not strive for a busy life- strive for a full life. Somedays you will have a full schedule of running between two workplaces, taking classes, raising littles or cultivating those skills you wish to use to make a career…

Some days will be full of you just trying to hold it together during a season of waiting, or in moments of grief and loss. Others will be full as you set aside time to bond and create memories with family and friends.

My prayer is that at the end of everyday, when you lay down, you can see the worth in it. I assure you, your Heavenly Father certainly does.

Meanwhile I have one more verse- Proverbs 3:5-6, reminding you that our own minds, hearts and emotions can be misleading and swayed by lies. Turn to God for your truth, His word will remind you of exactly who you are and just how much you are worth.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

 

 

Thank you Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash for the photo.