Saturday, May 30, 2009

Safe God?

I wanted a “safe” God,
I craved comfort,
I wanted trials to cease and tears to dry.
I wanted a mild God,
I asked for ease.
I did not want to go through fire or river.

He took me through danger,
We passed through the valley of the shadow of death,
We fought battle after battle.
We faced all sorts of tribulations.
We grieved loss,
We braved illness,
I was wounded and lived on my knees.
I suffered thorns.

And I realized

The danger drove me to the shelter of His wing.
The Death Valley led to life eternal.
Battles were fought and won in His power.
Tribulations bred perseverance, character, and hope.
Loss led to comfort.
Illness brought humility.
On my knees I found strength.
In thorns, He proved sufficient.
I am so thankful that my God is not “safe”.

My Rainbow

“I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token or sign of a covenant (solemn pledge, promise) between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13

My birthday was yesterday. It had been raining steadily for the previous week or two. I was sick of the rain. I prayed of a rainless birthday. I believed God for my rainless birthday. I told my friends that it would not rain, because surely God would approve of my prayer request on my birthday. He honors birthday requests more highly than other requests…it only makes sense from my limited perspective!
My awesome God had a bigger and better plan. When I saw the rain coming at about 3:30 in the afternoon, I was nervous. My heart dropped when the torrential downpour started on my drive home. God did not only allow the rain, but He allowed it to rain harder than I had seen in the past two weeks. I know it was a petty thing, but I questioned His receptivity of my prayers. I questioned His intimate involvement in my every day life. It was incredibly silly and short-sighted of me. But I still felt it, and I expressed it to Him.

What I didn’t see was His “over-arching” plan with His rain on my celebratory day. The temporary downpour led to something so amazingly astounding. It led to something that God would use to remind me of His promises for my future. The sun came out as the rain was clearing up. It was steamy and the sun was actually shining through the raindrops. I always think it is so odd when that happens. Sun and rain just don’t seem like they should exist together. As I was sitting at dinner, God had conveniently provided a perfect view of the sky in all directions. I haven’t seen a rainbow all season, but God graced my special day with a weather event that was far greater than a sunny day. He provided me with a rainbow on the heels of the storm. How amazing is that?

My life has been stormy and rainy. I have experienced the down pour and the distress of tribulations. But God is brining His rainbow that can only be seen at the perfect time as the Son intersect with the raindrops in the atmosphere of my life to create the perfect prism. The hand of the Master Painter of the universe and of my little precious life perfects this bright array of colors is such a creative work of art. He destroys to build back. He destroyed a corrupt planet in order to build it back in righteousness and new life. He allowed my life to be torn down in order to be restored in freshness and redemption. He has promised me hope and a future. He has promised that the destruction will not end in death but for His glory. He showed His promise in the rainbow at 7:30 on Friday evening, May 29, 2009. This token was His best birthday present to me. I am so thankful that He allowed the rain, because the rain was the only way to see His rainbow.

I am so grateful for my rainbow and for the rain and the storm, because only in that could I experience the fullness of God’s glory. His plan is so much higher. Who can discern it? But I will trust it as I rely on and confidently lean on His promises.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Blinding Cross

In choir, we are singing a song titled, “Out of Ashes.” I LOVE this song because I feel like my life has been raised out of the ashes. The song says, “out of ashes into freedom, out of dying into life, see the joy that’s set before us in the blinding cross of Christ.” I first learned this song last year, when I was in ashes. All I knew was death, bondage, and pain. We are singing this song again this year. I am now out of ashes in freedom. Jesus took my ashes and traded them for beauty. As a result of this transformation, this song has a more complete meaning. I was the weary mourner, lifting prayers from my heap of ashes. I was the sinner, crying out for saving. Jesus met me with mercy, hope, and righteousness restored. He set the stage in His resurrection for me to follow Him out of ashes.

Ashes are the leftovers of sacrifices that have been burned on the altar. They are the remnant of loss. They are the aftermath following destruction. They are the rubble that we find ourselves in when our walls have come crashing down. Ashes represent loss. Ashes are found in times of mourning. Job considered himself dust and ashes after he lost everything that he had. He sat among the ashes, scraping his flaming flesh sores with broken pottery. Ashes are the result of burning. They are no longer flaming. There is no life left in them. They are useless. They are to be brushed away.

Christ rose out of ashes. The ashes of His sacrifice were His dead body of the first and second day. They were the sealed tomb. They were laden with hopelessness and despair. Out of ashes, Christ rose to a place of victory over death. Only through Christ can we have hope in our ashes.
Old Testament believers would rub their faces with ashes to symbolize mourning and grief. Isaiah says that the Lord will exchange our ashes for a garland of beauty. My mourning has turned into dancing. Out of ashes, I have risen into freedom. Out of dying, I have been born into life.

Hang in there. This is my favorite part: “See the joy that’s set before us in the blinding cross of Christ.”

You know when someone takes a picture right in your face, and you see a spot in front of your field of vision for what seems like ever? Or when you look into a bright light and you see the image of the light even when you look away? I had a new revelation of Christ in “light” of this image tonight. In this illustration of the “blinding cross,” I see a blazing image of the cross, so bright that it is like a camera flash, but infinitely brighter. It is so blinding, that no matter where you look after you have looked into it, you see its image blazed into your vision. The burning image of the Cross overshadows everything that you look at, and therefore, everything that you see is viewed in the shadow of the cross. This is so cool. The problem (well, not really a problem) with this is that the camera flash residue fades from our field of vision. So does the cross when we forget to look back upon it. In this analogy, the believer must continually take her focus back to the cross, which will blind her to the point where nothing else matters. Everywhere she will look, she will see the blazed image of the cross.

Only the Christ-follower can see the joy in ashes and the blinding light of a cross. We can only experience this joy, hope, mercy, and righteousness, because we know what rises out of ashes. We know too that the only way that we can live is through the ashes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I am the Amen, trustworthy and faithful.
I speak the Word of life, truth, and victory.
If it abides in you, on your lips and in your heart,
You are my children.
This Word existed before time.
It is your Life.
It is your Truth.
It is your Triumph.
Even if you are chained and imprisoned, it will not be.
My double-edged Sword,
It divides the soul and the Spirit.
Know it,
Wield It,
Speak It,
In It is the Kingdom.

I am the Oppressor.
I have a word of death, lies, and defeat.
I can only work in your mind,
I want you as slaves.
My word is not original.
I only can pervert.
I want it to kill you.
I want to control you.
I want you to speak death.
In it is my kingdom,
And I want to draw you down into my pit.

I choose to speak the Truth.
I choose to trust the Eternal.
I choose to know the Original.
I choose to hope in the never failing.
I choose to wield what is mighty over the enemy.
I choose to use what is operative, energizing, and effective.
I choose Christ.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

God's birthday present to Megan

I just got a “happy birthday” from God!! I have really been struggling with allowing myself to spend money on food. I have believed for so long that spending money on food is a waste. That is a faulty believe, however, and today God challenged me to buy bagels AND bread at the same time. This sounds so petty and silly, but for me, it is a HUGE challenge. I have lived in such a restrictive mentality for so long: Food-wise as well as financially. God has been saying, “Daughter, you are worth it. You are worth the food, and you are worth the investment.” This is so hard to believe, and so I have to step out into this new world of self-care in faith, believing that I am worth it even when I don’t feel that I am. I also have to believe that God will continue to provide financially as I am faithful. These are two GIGANTIC faith issues that I have to deal with simultaneously. Man, God! Can’t it just be one at a time? But He says no, that it will just build my faith double fast and doubly strong. I can’t argue with that, so I jump in with both feet.
In response to God’s call, I went and bought bread AND bagels tonight. It is a cute little discount bread market, where you can buy day-old bread for a fraction of the price. I brought my purchases up to the cash register, and the gentleman, not knowing the significance of his action, brought a chocolate cake up as well, giving it to me for free. I was floored! This was a blessing and a challenge at the same time. God gives you a chocolate cake, and I guess it is your responsibility to eat it and share it with those who have none!! Sharing is easy; eating, not so much. I was still speechless at the blessing when I made my next stop at the grocery store to pick up my milk. I carried it up to the cashier, who informed me that it was three dollars off. Free milk!! Free cake and milk in one night!!
God challenged me to get out of my restrictive mindset. I responded very tentatively in an extremely tiny way, and He blessed me far beyond I could imagine. If this seems very small, it may be small on the outside, but in my world, it is HUGE. It represents God’s provision, God’s reward for obedience, and God’s higher calling with a new challenge of chocolate cake.
After I got home with my victories and gifts this evening, a new thought dawned: This cake and milk are God’s birthday surprise for me. God actually GAVE me a birthday cake. No one orchestrated this birthday party. God threw me a surprise party tonight. I ate my cake in victory, thanksgiving, and freedom tonight with my Lord. This is my first birthday walking in freedom from the slavery that I lived under for 14 years. God just gave me a little treat tonight to help me celebrate. I LOVE 27!! I love chocolate cake, bread, AND bagels. I love freedom.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Let Your aroma seep from my pores,
Perfume flowing, creating a river from my steps.
Discernable to all alike,
As a fragrance of life for the living,
That they may rejoice.
As an odor of death for the dying,
That they may repent.
Let your fragrance exhale,
As I breathe out Your Spirit,
Flooding a world of stale complacency,
Blow the breath of life through my life.
Send the enemy spinning,
Blown away by the reality of Your pure wind,
Rushing forth through me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mindfulness and Appreciation

I have always had a difficult time getting out of my head. I am challenged to become more aware of my body, food, and sensations at meals. It is so incredibly difficult. I LOVE to distract. I love to turn off my senses and zone out at the computer or in a good book while I am eating a meal. I think that the more I don’t realize that I am eating, the better. This is still rooted in the fear of feeling and enjoying food. It is a fear of losing control. I am learning more and more that the loss of control isn’t always a bad thing. Until I let go of my illusory sense of control and allow God to take the driver’s seat, I am headed for impending disaster. I want to be entirely in control of my emotions. I want to be in control of my body. But the Lord is calling me to let go. In this moment, it is letting go of my body enough to feel the enjoyment, satisfaction, and pleasure of food. God gave us food for enjoyment, nourishment, and as a physical symbol of our daily need for Him and His word as our daily bread.

Oh, it is so hard. It feels like a necessary evil for me, and given the opportunity to take a pill to gain nourishment, I would. But this attitude limits my freedom and healing. I want to experience what Nehemiah told the Lord’s people as they celebrated the completion of the wall of Jerusalem. There was great rejoicing, eating, drinking, and sharing with those who had none. The verse is concluded with the statement that the “joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Eating is joyful, fulfilling, and a wonderful opportunity for fellowship. Eating is not at all something to be worshipped, idolized, or feared. It is not to be dreaded, nor are we to simply cope with it.

The process is long. I have to be so incredibly deliberate about mindfulness during meals. But I find ground being gained. The enemy wanted to steal my joy in one of the most vital activities in life, and he cannot have it. I will yet praise the Lord through my meals. I will celebrate that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I will rejoice in a body that receives nourishment. God could have made pills, or He could have made bodies that self-nourish. How odd is it that we have to eat three to six times a day? It is a reminder of our dependence on something outside us. It is an opportunity to trust God to provide. It is also another part of life that God created for our personal pleasure. The body is not for food, but food for the body, and man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the Lord. We are, however, partaking in a gift from the Lord in appreciating and enjoying the food that He has for us: Healthy, delicious, nourishing, life-sustaining food. So I praise the Lord for meals. I praise the Lord for the ability to taste, smell, and chew. They are so easily taken for granted, but I refuse to do so any longer. I commit to recognize the gift of food, and joyfully partake of the daily bread that He has provided.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Screwtape on Body Wars

In reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis for the fifth or sixth time, I am presented with Lewis’s perspective of a very therapeutic truth regarding attractiveness in the feminine form. Screwtape, in his letters to a lower demon by the name of Wormword, is talking about the traps that the enemy has set for humans in marital attractions. He says that it is the goal of the evil spiritual forces “to guide each gender away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely.” This is evident in our society just as it has been with societies stretched across history. The enemy does this through making secondary characteristics primary, such as beards, weights, and complexions. Screwtape describes one effort in this perversion by saying, “we have selected an exaggeratedly feminine type, faint and languishing, so that folly and cowardice, and all the general falseness and littleness of mind which go with them, shall be at a premium.”
In his next statement, I see today’s society: “Now we teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. Since this is a kind of beauty even more transitory than most, we thus aggravate the female’s chronic horror of growing old and render her less willing and less able to bear children.”
Lewis pegged the enemy’s attack on women who find themselves driven by eating disorders. He has placed a standard of beauty that is ever-fleeting, so unnatural, and entirely handicapping. I am irate at this plot to destroy the testimony and effectiveness of today’s teenager and young woman. The enemy is creating a desire for the feminine body that is unattainable. He is effectively destroying lives with this lie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What happened to holiness?

What happened to Holiness,
When Your name was too precious to utter?
What happened to greatness,
When You were bigger than our pride?
What happened to surrender,
When we left all to follow your Son?
What happened to trust,
When You knew better than our intellect?
What happened to death,
When we denied self, and picked up our cross?
What happened to life,
That was hidden entirely in You?
What happened to vision,
That saw past temporal into eternity?
What happened to the name “Christ,”
As we have paraded our flesh as your body?
Forgive us, Father,
And draw us back to You.

Heavely utterances

I got my prayer language on Sunday night. Over the past week or two, the Lord has brought it to my attention that my hang-up with not getting my prayer language is that I always have to think through what I am going to say before it comes out of my mouth. Well, you cannot think through a prayer language. It flows out of the spirit and not the mind, so there is no room for premeditation. This messes up my control-freak nature of speaking. As I lay in my bed praying for Stacy’s protection on Sunday night, I surrendered my tongue to the Lord. I gave up control and asked Him to take over. I uttered a couple sounds that had been ringing in my mind for some time, and the language of the spirit bubbled up forth from my diaphragm. It was so weird. I thought it must have just been gibberish, and it seemed so odd and unnatural. But I guess that it is unnatural. It is spiritual. The crazy thing is that just when these heavenly utterances were flowing forth from my spirit, my friend was screaming at the top of her lungs as a jeep pulled into her driveway, hesitated, and backed out. She was afraid it was her brother coming to kill her and her mom. I am wondering if I was given tongues at that time for that very reason. As I was driving over to my friend's house later, I was battling in the Spirit. I believe that the Lord used this spiritual language to protect us on Sunday night. I have never experienced a night like that before. We read scripture, my friend cried, she kept me awake through her fear. Her anxiety was calmed and then awakened again. She was hyper aware of every sound. I sensed such oppression and overwhelming evil in the house that I could hardly bear it. I have never been so relieved to hear my alarm go off. I came home at 6, got ready, and slept until 8 when it was time for work. Praise the Lord that He gave me strength for the next day. I was afraid that the spiritual prayers were a one-time occurrence, but they remained. I prayed them the next morning and afternoon. I prayed them today…in the car, in the shower, in my room. I am afraid to let anyone hear them. I am afraid they sound crazy. They are more guttural sounds: not at all lady like. They just sound like gibberish, but they give me a wonderful sense of being completely out of control. There is a rushing torrent of power that spills forth from the core of my being when these sounds are coming out. It is so fulfilling, so invigorating, so freeing. I must balance praying in the spirit with praying with my mind, as Paul admonishes. In light of this, I see great potential in this gift. I do not want to elevate it. I want discernment within it. I want more freedom and more abandon. I want to fear spontaneity less and let go more. I love the reckless abandon. But I desire a balance. Some people will understand and rejoice. Others will not. Some will be indifferent. Some may be disdainful. I just find it very providential that Janelle would mention it last week and promise to pray that God would give me my prayer language, that Shelby my roommate would have a prayer language, that my good old southern Baptist best friend would disclose that she has a personal prayer language, and then that the Lord would bring forth my personal prayer language. I know that it is in line with the Word. I know that in my spirit, I feel a peace and confirmation in its validity. I pray that I will come to know more and more the power of this gift and experience more fully the character and heart of the Lord in the exercise of this gift. I am thrilled. I am nervous. I am hopeful. I am still skeptical. But I am seeking His face, and He is faithful to reveal Himself when we seek Him.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Will I shatter in Your hand?
Will you hold this heart with care?
Will I crumble neath the weight,
Or find You there to bear?
Can I step out farther still,
To find that I won’t fall?
Can I give up my own quill,
To see you write it all?
Dare I hope?

Isn’t this enough,
Or do You ask for more?
I think I know Your answer,
But I ask to just be sure.
Love beckons me deeper,
Will I hope?

My faith has turned to sight.
The night has turned to day.
The darkness turned to light.
My eyes now see the way.
Your word is proven true,
You guided me with care.
I have been made new,
Your life I now can share.
And still I hope.

From offense to compassion: A journey of love

I have been learning some painful, precious lessons lately. It seems that the value of the lessons is directly proportionate to the pain that accompanies the learning process.

I have battled with insecurity and fear of man’s opinion. I know that this is the human condition in its fallen state, but I am so discontent with it. It colors my words, actions, and choices. I have encountered so many hurting people lately who manifest their hurt in criticism, anger, annoyance, and irritability. In my narcissism and self-centeredness, I have assumed that their behavior is somehow connected with me, my personality, and value as an individual. I have forgotten to take Christ’s eyes and to view His creation through His perspective rather than through my own. My own eyes distort reality, making it into a self-fulfilling prophecy of rejection, fear, and resentment. Offense is birthed out of this self-centered reality.

I am broken by this affliction of sinfulness. It is pride. It has been a process, and I find myself growing painfully slowly within it. Oh, the lessons of the average Starbucks barista! There are so many broken, hurting people. To see them as broken, hurting, and in need of love awakens me to a new compassion and understanding. Love sees through the exterior of hardness or porcupine-like spikes. These are defenses of fear and self-preservation. IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. It is not about my deficiencies or negative aspects. It is primarily connected with their internal hurt. It is not about offense or resentment. It is a plea for love, acceptance, and encouragement. These situations of criticism and hostility can be open doors for presentation of the hope and the love of Christ, the agape love, which is not contingent on behavior and acceptability. This love is the overflow of a heart that is saturated in the Spirit, which is being conformed into the character of Christ.

“Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it (it pays not attention to suffered wrong).”

This love is not natural. It is contrary to human nature, and even pop psychology. We assume “rights” as individuals. We expect a certain kind of treatment, but our Lord said that if the world rejects you, it rejected Him first. Christians can expect this rejection and even take joy in the midst of it, because in it, we are associated more to our Lord.

I am inclined to be self-seeking, fretful, resentful, and record wrongs that are done to me. I keep an inward tally of personal offenses, and as they build up, I rage and fume internally, creating a furnace of self-destruction and bondage. This carries over to other relationships and emerges as fears and dysfunctions that only eat at my heart and mind. The flesh cries to be heard, to be justified, to be seen for my motives and heart. I want people to understand the purpose of my actions and my feelings behind my behavior, yet I do not seek to understand their hearts and hurts that influence their behaviors toward me.

Oh Lord, let me see others as you see them. Help me to give them the grace and mercy that You daily bestow on me. I don’t deserve Your compassion and loving-kindness. In response to Your gift of atonement and reconciliation, I can seek to give the gift of grace and reconciliation to others. I can see attacks as opportunities to respond with love and light that will illuminate the darkness of their hearts. Love breeds love, and cycle can continue from broken heart healed to the next broken heart.

“The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted. He has sent me to bind up and heal the broken hearted.”