When Father Waits

waitingWe often talk about how we’re waiting on God, but how often do you think about God waiting for you?

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. – Isaiah 30:18 (ESV)

As a prophetic intercessor, I have many opportunities to witness firsthand Father waiting for His children to:

  • Receive His healing in their lives
  • Be freed from the spiritual oppression that has a stranglehold on their life
  • Accept His plan, obey His leading and follow His calling upon their life
  • Walk in the newness of life as they walk away from patterns of dysfunction, death, and decay in how they once lived (Romans 6:16-18)

 Is God waiting for you?

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Moms, Do You Struggle with Self-Hatred?

freedomI will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. — Psalm 31:7-8

I have a dear friend who is a mother of four and a sister in the Lord who has struggled fiercely with self-hatred for most of her life. About seven years ago, I encouraged her to believe this promise over her life and that God could and would bring her to a spacious place even in this.

Over the past seven years she’s done the hard work of persevering through the rigorous healing process that is needed when we’re dealing with such deep-rooted emotional scars in our lives.

Often my friend wondered if the battle was worth it, if she would ever see any real lasting change. Recently she emailed me the below story of her journey, her battle, and her victory. She ended by saying,

I am most excited that I no longer beat myself up and tear myself down.  I love the freedom of no more defeating self talk.

Do you believe God can set you free from your self-hatred?

Above All Else, Guard Your Heart
by Jill Reding

She grew up during a civil war. This civil war was in her mind. There was sweat, tears and rage. For years depression and anxiety followed every battle. Worry and fret filled her chaotic mind. She was emotionally neglected and played the role of caretaker to wounded hearts close to her. Her wounds were ignored. However, she was not always ok with this. She learned to manipulate, appear helpless or rage with anger in order to demand attention. But guilt would overtake her, guilt and shame would cover her, and so the attention from others fell short as she picked herself up, stuffed her needs and became the caretaker again. The role of the helper, or the good one, made everyone else happy. That was good on the outside. On the inside she was bleeding and hated herself.

As the girl grew up in this civil war era, she learned two different languages, or perhaps two different mind sets. One was called Grace and Love, the other beat up and self-defeat. Grace and Love sounded like this… I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone the new has come. God loves me just the way I am. I am content and fulfilled in Christ. He lives and breathes in me. He’s in control and in charge of my life and my circumstances. I love to serve and help others just like Jesus served and helped others. I am content to be who God created me to be. I belong to Him. He cares about my every need, so I can rest in His plan for my life. He’s got my back. It’s ok to make mistakes. He is all I need. He is enough. Nothing I DO can change God’s Grace and Love in my life.This vulnerable girl learned about rules and outward expectations from God believing adults in her life. She believed that these rules must be obeyed otherwise she would not be completely accepted by God and others. She carried around a ruler to measure herself, and since she always fell short, she would beat herself up. Therefore, the language in her mind called beat up and self-defeat sounded like this…

You’re not good enough… you can’t do it… you are ugly…you are fat…it’s all your fault…you should have known better…see, they better than you…you did this to yourself … no one really cares about you…if only they knew what you think…you better keep trying and trying…you’re still not good enough.

This girl often wondered why she seemed different, what was wrong with her. Others saw a normal girl, pleasant, fun-loving, beautiful and well put together. They would come to her for help. She loved encouraging and praying for others. But she rarely had contentment deep within. How could she speak godly truth to someone else, but not accept it for herself? No wonder she felt crazy.

God says, through Paul, she can learn to be content. Consider trials a joy. She failed again and again to measure up. Depression hurt those closest to her. Her neediness was more than loved ones could bear. When she hurt or annoyed others, she hated herself even more. When she hated herself, she would eat, or people-please, or exercise, or rage, or isolate. The treadmill of trying so hard was exhausting and she would turn her back from her feelings, and from a Grace and Love mind-set.

The girl heard a story that opened her eyes to her own conflicted heart. It was about a daughter who was hit by a car and the mother ran after the car in a rage of anger and guilt before rescuing the daughter. The daughter needed comfort and love from her mother. The daughter did not need to be beat up or measured up to see if she was worthy of comfort. The girl realized she was like the mother, she too had turned her back and she needed to rescue the little girl inside of her. She needed to rescue her own heart from being beat up and wounded.

It was time to put to an end the war. Would she choose Grace and Love or beat up and self-defeat? Would she listen to God’s truths or would she continue to believe the enemy’s lies? Once she faced her old wounds she was free to see truth in a way she never had before. It was not easy revisiting battle scars again. But she nurtured herself. She rescued her defeated heart. And she did not have to do it alone because she recognized she was worthy of God’s grace and love over her. She claimed the truth that was already in her, Christ her Redeemer.

The Bible is full of wonderful verses that reveal God’s promises. One particular verse whispered to her heart words of truth. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

What does a guard do?

A guard protects the enemy from entering the castle. It protects! It fights. It rescues. The girl is guarding her heart from a beat up and self-defeating mind-set. She will not accept that language anymore. She learned its ok for a broken girl to truly embrace Grace and Love.

The war has greatly settled down in her mind. When stressors tempt her to beat herself up and use the measuring stick of perfection, she remembers Christ in her is enough. Christ in her enables Grace and Love. Together, this girl, with the help from her Loving Father, chose to guard her heart from the lies that once consumed her being.

She speaks like this once again…

… I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone the new has come. God loves me just the way I am. I am content and fulfilled in Christ. He lives and breathes in me. He’s in control and in charge of my life and my circumstances. I love to serve and help others just like Jesus served and helped others. I am content to be who God created me to be. I belong to Him. He cares about my every need, so I can rest in His plan for my life. He’s got my back. It’s ok to make mistakes. He is all I need. He is enough. Nothing I DO can change God’s Grace and Love in my life.

Do you believe God can set you free from your self-hatred?

For More:

Princess of the Most High King

The Ultimate Journey

 

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His Comfort: Poems for the Hurting, Healing, & Hopeful

Father’s comfort brings healing in the midst of your hurt, giving you hope. Through our sufferings, He brings us comfort. In many different ways.

In 2001 my life, health, and teaching career were forever altered by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Journaling was my primary way of processing through all the losses and changes.

My journaling was often in the form of poetry, pouring out my heart to God in a Psalm 62:8 way. One result was a poem book, His Comfort, which several years ago was compiled in a stapled booklet. And now, His Comfort is available in digital form.

As a 26-year-old, I moved back in with my parents to rest, heal, and wait on God’s next direction for my life. In my anguish and pain, I sensed the comfort God had given me through the poems He had written through me were His gift for me to share with others who were also hurting and devastated by loss in their own lives.

In the 11 years since I photocopied my first batch of poem books, I have had the privilege of sharing His Comfort with over 400 people worldwide — one photocopy at a time.

I have been amazed and truly comforted again and again by the reactions and responses I have His Comfort Poetry: Originalseen to the words and promises I clung to and still cling too, touching life after life and heart after heart. It has been an experience of seeing the truth and promise of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 play out all around me:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

There have been many instances at gas stations, restaurants,  church, on airplanes, and in my daily interactions when Father has prompted me to give a poem book to a stranger or a new acquaintance. Each act of obedience in these instances have taken courage, and many times I have been told later by these recipients of my poetry — how they were at a time in their life where they had been crying out to God for a greater experience of His comfort and presence in their lives.

One of my favorite recounting of these instances took place in January 2011. My rest that weekend had been short and as I sat working in my classroom late on Saturday afternoon, I asked Father if I could sleep in on Sunday morning.

Father was insistent that I could not, because He wanted His dearly Beloved son Mike to have one of my poem books. I barely knew Mike — a man who had been assigned to usher at the same door I ushered at on Sunday mornings. From all I had briefly observed of him, he didn’t seem in immediate need of a copy of His Comfort.

I asked Father if the giving of this poem book to Mike could possibly wait until the following Sunday. Father continued to say with joy and excitement, “We have a gift for my dearly Beloved son Mike which you will give him tomorrow.”

And with that, it was settled . . . I could obey or disobey. So I guessed at the spelling of Mike’s last name and put a poem book in an envelope.

Mike seemed to be both jovial and joyful as we ushered together on Sunday. I wondered what the significance of giving him a poem book today was. When the church service was beginning, I handed Mike the envelope with his last name misspelled. Somewhat unemotionally I abruptly explained, “I sense Father wanted you to have this.” And with that, I went into the service.

Later on, Mike told me of his own struggles on Saturday – that very same Saturday I had been arguing with Father as to if I truly needed to give him a poem book the next day. He had been crying out to Father to comfort him in the deep pain he was going through as a result of great losses he’d experienced in every area of his life. Father knew he needed this poem book.

That Sunday exchange was the beginning of a friendship that led to a romance and then a Mike & Angela Usheringlife-long partnership. On our wedding day we took a picture at the same doors we ushered together at and had our poem book exchange that January day eight months earlier.

In His amazing ways, Father continues to use our lives and testimonies to minister His comfort to others. In doing so, we sensed Father wanted us to make His Comfort accessible to a broader audience by making it into a downloadable e-book.

Eleven years ago, I obeyed and put together a collection of poems I had no idea who they would touch and reach. Over the last 11 years, I have continued to obey and share these poems with who I sensed Father wanted me to give them to.

We all have people in our lives who are in desperate need of experiencing His comfort in the midst of the pain, suffering, or loss they are going through.  I pray that you would use His Comfort as a way to minister to others around you who are hurting. I pray if the hurting person is you, that you would be comforted deeply by reading His Comfort.

You can download your free copy of His Comfort e-book.

His Comfort Poetry: Digital Copy

 

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Focus Lies [Poem]

 

standing on the edge

He had been sick for thirty-eight years

He laid in crowds of the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed
Someone always got to the water ahead of him
His life was a loss because of what he could not do

Jesus came to him one day and asked, “Would you like to get well?”
It must’ve almost seemed like mockery to be asked such a thing
But with one glance into Jesus’ eyes
The man knew His love was true
Yet his focus was not on the Savior but rather the pool
He told the One who works miracles, “I can’t because. . .”

How many of us also spend our lives by the pool
losing hope each time someone else gets there ahead of us
We wonder why our limitations and suffering go on and on
And why after all the tears we’ve cried
Jesus still asks us the question of
“Would you like to get well?”
As we gutturally reply, “Yes!. . .a million times yes!”

So often we’re so focused on the pool that we don’t see our Healer
Yet Jesus comes to us anyway
and quietly reminds us that it’s our fears that hold us captive
our bodies can be sick
but our spirits can be free
when we take our focus off of the pool and fix our eyes on our Savior
who inwardly renews us day by day
even as our bodies waste away (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

“Where does your focus lie?” He asks with a twinkle in His eye
Would you like to get well?
Would you like to be free regardless of the limitations and suffering that seem to weigh you down and hold you back?
My strength is limitless, My grace is fathomless,
My love is unfailing and My faithfulness is unending
My power enables you to be alive and even to thrive
Whether you’re laying by the pool or taking up your mat and walking away
Let your focus be on Me and I will use you mightily
And one day you will see how I redeemed every moment you laid by the pool

Originally published in August 2007 and later added to my poem book, His ComfortBased on John 5:1-9

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For more encouragement, Rest Ministries is a great resource for those who live with chronic illness or pain.

My Journey: I developed chronic fatigue syndrome in 2000. In November 2007, Father miraculously healed me of it. I continue to walk in His strength even as I daily deal with the effects of a weakened immune system — prone to fatigue and infection – 2 Cor 12:9-10.

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