8/17/18 Morning Musing – Working Through the Wounds

I remember feeling like I had been slapped across the face when she cut me off in front of a group of people and sternly said “Be quiet! Quit stirring up trouble. It doesn’t help them to see Jesus!” Whoa…wait a minute…I was actually offering insight and a solution that would be easy for everyone, not stirring up trouble at all. And then I felt it…unseen…unknown…such a familiar feeling for me…it forms a pit in my stomach and I start to feel nauseous…and it always hits me out of left field. This is the area where I struggle the most in life…it’s probably why I learned early to clown around and be funny…because people are attracted to feeling good and happy…and I performed in order to attract the people so I could feel known. This is where my soul struggles and feels attacked.

With my close friends, I’ve always asked that they just give me the benefit of the doubt. Know me and my character well enough to stop and think about things if something that I said seems off or offensive…and then…ask me about it. I know! Shocking idea isn’t it? It really surprises me how many people are willing to throw a relationship away by simply taking something out of context and contorting it until it resembles an offense. Are they looking to be offended? If so, what a miserable way to live. It must drive people away in droves. Picking something apart until it no longer resembles the intended message is not a virtue…and it hurts most coming from a close friend because it leaves me questioning if they ever even really knew me.

Why am I writing about this? Glad you asked! I’ve been thinking for a few years now that God has a funny way of using our weaknesses to speak to people. It’s in the struggles and wounds where a story happens. (If everything is just dandy all the time, there’s no story!) And interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that my wounds and weaknesses are what draw me to certain characteristics or names of God. My favorite name of God is “God who sees me.” (El Roi) Is it coincidental that feeling unseen or unknown is my biggest pitfall? Probably not. I think it just reinforces the verse about his strength being made perfect in weakness. But the thing about that is that I have to be willing to see myself clearly and identify where I am weak. I don’t know about you…but for me…I don’t enjoy dwelling on that. (“Hmmmm…let me count all the ways that I suck!” does not sound like a fun party game.) I much prefer the happy feel-good stuff, or even numbness, over mulling over the hurts and finding the root issue…and today’s way of living certainly is busy enough to keep me numb for a long time if I am not careful.

The thing is though, seeing people is my one of my biggest strengths. I mean really seeing them…seeing into them. Seeing their value, their fears, their insecurities, ways that they feel loved…and frequently I am able to speak truth into some of what they are telling themselves. But seriously, why is that the thing I’m good at? After all, I frequently feel unseen…unknown. My thinking is that our wounds leave scars which catch our eyes a lot and so it is front of mind. It’s tender and easily triggered to hurt. We don’t want others to feel what we have felt before and we don’t want to keep re-living it so we begin to minister to others in this area…we are drawn to it.

So, how are you doing with this? Is there an area where you feel particularly weak? Do you struggle with one type of hurt over others? Does it seem repetitive and exhausting? Or are you even able to slow down enough to think about this? What is it about God that you love the most? What name of God speaks to you above others? Are the two things connected in some way? What type of ministry are you drawn to? Is it connected to your strengths or weaknesses? Are you showing others your strength or are you showing them God’s strength?

My prayer today is that we would slow down and ask God about our wounds. I’m praying that we would be still long enough to really hear him speak about those wounds and that we would look for his characteristics that are counter to whatever has harmed us. I’m praying that we would find ways to minister through our hurts so that others can be spared and so that we can heal…so that we can worship our God more fully…so that we don’t waste the pain.

Much love friends,

Beks

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1/12/18 Morning Musing: We Damage His Name…

After reading another story about another woman being sexually assaulted by a man and it not coming to public knowledge for decades and hearing her disparaged and minimized because she “waited too long” or because it was “decades ago”…I just can’t be quiet any longer. (This time, it was Andy Savage of Highpoint Church in Tennessee.) It’s late and my heart hurts so be patient with me as I try to make coherent points.

I can not understand how “waiting so long” is supposed to negate the victim’s reliability or the truth. People in power have gotten away with abuse of the ones without that power forever…and unfortunately, it is also true in churches. But unlike outside of the church, we Christians should be held to a different standard…not because we are better than anyone else…not by a long shot. We should be held to a higher standard because we have intimate understanding of Jesus’ example of giving a voice to the voiceless…of bringing justice to the marginalized…and giving dignity to the broken or hurting. This intimate knowledge of our God and his heart means that we can not continue to ignore injustice and abuse of power while representing our Lord accurately because each time we do, we aren’t just lying…we aren’t just hurting the individuals being denied justice…we are also damaging the name of our God.

We damage his name when we continue to turn a blind eye to abuse.

We damage his name when we refuse to see other people…other image-bearers…as valuable.

We damage his name when we give racism or sexism (or any other ism) a pass by remaining quiet when we know we should be speaking up.

We damage his name when we refuse to enter into honest and respectful dialogue about topics that matter. (This contributes to the trend of people seeing the church as obsolete.)

We damage his name when we defend abusers and judge victims based on whether or not we align with them politically, denominationally, etc. (Yes, I just went there.)

We damage his name when we push for male leaders in church to receive funds for their ministry, appropriate pay and title, and continuing education while denying it for their female counter-parts.

We damage his name when we beat people up with our religion instead of listening to them and loving them.

We damage his name when we applaud what is wicked and criticize what is good.

We damage his name when we deny others the freedom that we simultaneously demand for ourselves.

We damage his name when we judge others instead of remembering how we have been forgiven.

We damage his name when we mistreat each other in the name of “witnessing.”

We damage his name when we abandon the needy, weak, marginalized, aged, or hurting.

We damage his name when we refuse to own our sins and, instead, justify our ugly behaviors or minimize them by using more palatable wording so that we can feel better about ourselves.

I could go on and on forever with this. At some point, we must quit tolerating the abuse of power. If we are the ones with power, God’s blessings are not limited…there is no need to try to hoard it. If we are the abusers, yes there is forgiveness…the gospel is not too small for any sin…but that doesn’t mean that accountability is void. If we are the survivors…and hear me on this…please hear me…our pain is not to be wasted! It can become a beautiful place that will allow us to minister to others and understand the hurts of others if we allow it. If we are the ones without power, our God is the God Who Sees us (El Roi) so he clearly sees the power-mongers and they will be held accountable.

How are you doing with this? Did any of these points make you wince a little or bring a specific incident to mind? Is there some way that you can pursue a more truthful and authentic way of living this out? Is there someone that you feel you should apologize to? Is there forgiveness that you can extend to someone regardless of whether or not they have asked for it?

My prayer for us tonight is that we would simply love each other better. I am praying that instead of constantly grappling for power or position or status or whatever, that we would see the truth of what is important and life-giving and pursue it with abandon. I am praying that we would try to squeeze every bit of living out of this life while we have it instead of pursuing the things that lead to our physical, emotional, and spiritual death. I am praying that we would also learn how to receive love when offered by others.

Much love friends,

Beks

10/23/17 Morning Musing: Mouths and Heart-Spaces

When I think back over the last 40 years…and think about the times when I hurt others, either intentionally or unintentionally, I can see how my mouth seemed to play the biggest role. Either I said something insensitive and hurt someone with carelessness…or I said something hurtful intentionally to get some emotional space in an argument…or I didn’t say something comforting and loving when I should have…or I felt awkward and did my nervous babbling thing and it prolonged something that I should have let die down. I can remember specific instances of hearing unjust statements made and not speaking against them…or nervously laughing…or…I’m ashamed to admit…contributing.  

I can also remember being cut very deeply by words…and being a people-pleaser for most of my life, the person didn’t have to be in my inner circle to hurt me. I can remember spinning on the words afterward for hours or even days or weeks…not being able to let it go…continuing to re-live the conversation and what was said over and over again…going into “analysis paralysis” where I excavated every possible corner of my heart to see if there was truth to what the person had accused me of (even if they didn’t realize that they had.)
Words matter…and we can’t get them back. Written or spoken. Intentional or not. Once they are sent out, we don’t get a do-over…and we have revealed who we are. 

“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭15:18‬ ‭NIV‬

Over the last year or so, I have been broken by the hateful things I’ve seen posted on social media by people that I wouldn’t consider hateful. And there were times that I spoke up against the unjust words in a gentle way in order to not escalate the hurt. And other times, I kept quiet because it wasn’t my turn to speak. Some times I saw others speak up in ways that brought people’s hackles down. And other times I saw others speak up in ways that just threw a hand grenade into an already tense situation. And it occurs to me that what we are putting out there is what is in our heart-space…it is the mark that we are leaving on the world…and it matters. Now, some will say that is why they don’t post or comment…and to them, I say…have a voice of truth…don’t be silenced. Others will say that they encounter so much friction because they are standing up for something…and to them, I say…stand up for someone instead of something.  

I think our mouths were meant to communicate what is in our hearts…and hearts were meant to love people. So how are you doing with this? What comes out of your mouth? Is it loving? Is it truthful? Does it build people up? Does it encourage others to do what is right? Do your words accept responsibility for what you’ve done wrong or do you make excuses? Do your words encourage the hearts of the discouraged? Do your words gently speak truth into broken spaces? Do your words stand against injustice? Do your words represent truth about the one who is The Word?
 
My prayer today is that we would ask for wisdom and wait to receive it. I am praying that we would speak when we are meant to and that we would shut up when we should. I am praying that we would learn to be gentle with our words and that our words would be guided by a heart-space that is taught kindness from God. I am praying that our words would be a tool for healing instead of breaking…that we would build things instead of breaking them…and that we would, once again, love well. Finally, I am praying that we would honor God with what comes from our mouths…because then, we would also be honoring him with what comes from our hearts.

Much love friends,

Beks

10/4/16 Morning Musing: I Didn’t Break

This massive dude was barreling toward me. The ball was thrown. He was between me and the ball. I couldn’t move if I had any chance of getting him out…because if the ball missed him, I would have to catch it and tag him without any hesitation. I wasn’t blocking the base…but I had my foot on the bag and was standing inside the diamond…ready. It was going to be close…too close…so close that I think I might have bitten his pecs when he plowed through me and knocked me flat on my back. That’s embarrassing…I hope my panties aren’t showing. Ugh! I opened my eyes to see him and the ump standing over me looking concerned. “Are you ok?” “I’m so sorry! Are you ok?” They each said. I looked at him and said “You’re out.” Then looked at the ump and said “The ball tagged his back before he touched the bag…he’s out.” The ump said “Yes, he’s out…but are you ok.” I had to think about it…”Yeah, I think I’m ok…I’m fine.”

This happened last night at kickball. I’m really sore today…I guess I should expect that…I’m almost 40 with a lot of health issues and I got plowed by a huge dude who probably weighed 2.5 times as much as I do. But here’s the thing that has me almost invigorated this morning: I didn’t break. I hurt. I fell…really hard as it turns out. But I didn’t break. I got back up, dusted as much of the dirt off as I could, fought for my team’s point, tried to piece my pride back together, and got back to work.

Why am I telling you this story? I think that having a mission can change your life…whether it’s your life’s mission or a team’s mission for the night. When you’re focused on your mission, any pain that you are enduring doesn’t seem to hurt as much. For some reason, having a mission in view also seems to give a reason for the pain which somehow makes it more palatable. Also, not related to the story (but totally related to mission) knowing your mission intimately allows you to know quickly…almost like a reflex…the things that are not in alignment with the mission…the things that you can say no to. (That is for those of us who have trouble saying “no” to things and get overwhelmed.)

So how are you doing with this? Has anything knocked you down recently? Were you able to get back up? Were you able to keep your eye on your mission? Does your pain control you or does it fuel you? If it controls you, where is your focus? Do you find yourself staring at the pain or at the mission? 

My prayer today is that we will turn our hurts into praise. I’m praying that when we get knocked down, that we would get back up stronger and more fierce than we were before…not hardened…but fierce and strong and focused on our mission. Lord, I ask that you would help us to help each other keep our faces pointed toward you. Amen.

Much love friends,
Beks

4/13/16 Morning Musing: Considering Consideration Considerably

A few months ago, I was in my car with the kids and was struggling trying to explain to them why we would not be getting together with this group of friends (small group) anymore. It is hard to answer questions when you don’t really grasp the answers yourself: “Are they moving away?” Ummm…no. “Are they just not going to do small group anymore?” Ummm…well…they are…they just want to do it with someone else. “Oh! So you mean someone else is joining our group?” No…they just don’t want to do it with us anymore. Broken. I felt so damn broken as I told my kids that this group of people…this intimate group of friends (so I thought)…would no longer be…that we had been more committed to the group than they had been to us. This was painful enough when it was just me trying to understand and process it…but when I heard the muffled cries of my kiddos trying to make sense of it…well, it was gut-wrenching.  

I went through the whole range of emotions when mourning this loss from hurt to sad to angry to resentful. I was hurt because rejections always hurts. I was sad because something that I deeply valued was ending. I was angry because I didn’t feel that we were considered in the decision-making and…well…because anger is just plain easier than hurt…it feels more powerful and less like a victim (and I am NOT a victim. That is actually the very first sentence I said to my counselor in my very first session ever. Interesting that I seem to insist on that…but I digress.) I was resentful because the time that I spent on different pages with people who had planned all along to leave, could have been spent going deeper with people who were equally invested.  

This kind of thing happens…I know that. People are free to make decisions for themselves and their families. I am not saying that should be different. I guess what I am saying is that a little consideration and communication would go a long way. There had been months of planning and discussion and even training that had gone into this transition and we had been largely in the dark about it…which left a bad taste in my mouth…probably because the freedom that these individuals valued (the opportunity to make decisions for themselves) was not afforded to us…we were just told after-the-fact…after decisions had been made…not only for themselves but for us as well.  

And then there was the struggle of my own frustration. I didn’t feel like I was allowed…or should feel the way I felt because I wanted them to enjoy their freedom to make decisions…but does that have to be at the expense of my opportunity to make choices as well? I felt like a jerk for feeling hurt and frustrated and now, months later, I guess the conclusion I am drawing is that it’s not the decision I have a problem with…it’s the near-sighted way in which people approached the whole thing. We don’t make decisions in a vacuum…they always affect others…and if we love those people well, it will involve respecting them enough to afford them the same privileges that we would desire for ourselves.

So, how are you doing with this? Have you been injured by someone’s choices? Did you feel like you were allowed to be upset by those decisions or did it sting and you felt like you were expected to just bottle that stuff up? How did you respond? If given the chance, what changes would you make to your response? Has it changed how you handle situations where you are the one making the choices? Do you handle those decisions fully focused on the choice and how it directly affects you or do you consider the domino effect as the repercussions of your choices move outward? I guess, I am asking if you think outside of yourself when you make choices? It may be inconvenient, but I think that God has modeled that fully for us through Jesus.

My prayer today is that the ones who are casualties of others’ decisions would be given peace and healing in knowing who they are in Christ. That the pain would not be wasted and that we would consider that pain when we are the ones making decisions. I am praying that we would all think outside of ourselves and have compassion and care when dealing with our people. I am praying that, every day, we would love better and more fully.  

Much love friends, 
Beks

2/18/16 Morning Musing: Reconciliation and Forgiveness are Not the Same Animal

Over the last few years, I have been doing a lot of work in the area of forgiveness. I’ve worked on forgiving and reconciling with those who have hurt me. I have worked at length on forgiving myself for things that deeply injured others…things that those people have forgiven me for and that Jesus has long since taken on my behalf. And I have worked tirelessly on forgiving those who deeply wounded me…injured me in such a way that it affects nearly every area of my life…and from whom an apology (or even an acknowledgement) never came.

So, this weekend, when I listened to a sermon on reconciliation, I was struck by how the pastor was lumping forgiveness and reconciliation together as the same thing. Maybe I am getting lost in semantics but I don’t see them as the same at all. I see forgiveness as the place where I can affect change. I think forgiveness has everything to do with my posture before God and nothing really to do with any action at all by the other person. Forgiveness is the part where I wipe the account clean (at least from my side)…where my heart comes to a place and says “You owe me nothing.” Forgiveness is where healing begins but where pain is not magically erased. See, I think that pain will still crop up as the wounds heal…and that hurt…that little bit of agony…can be offered up to God as worship through obedience each time I feel it…because it doesn’t go away in one big hurrah…it creeps back in…all stealthy-like…and catches me off-guard when I see it because I think “I’ve already done this! I’ve already forgiven him!” But, it is time to forgive him again…and I embark on the weighty task once again.
On the other hand, reconciliation is the mending of the relationship…and while I think this is a beautiful thing…I don’t think it always happens and I don’t think that we always have any control over it…nor do I think it is always healthy and good. See, I don’t think that reconciliation is meaningful unless forgiveness has happened first…forgiveness is what happens in the heart-space…it is what is bone-deep and, I think, connects us to Jesus more deeply…because it teaches us (in a tiny way) about the work that he had to do to forgive us. I think that forgiveness is a part of us being image-bearers…and consequently it is deeply spiritual. Reconciliation is also spiritual and a blessing…but I think it is a result…a natural consequence…of the work done through forgiveness…a beautiful side-effect.

This may not make sense to everyone…we haven’t all struggled in the same ways…but I am hoping that it brings a little bit of clarity…and a touch of peace…to someone who has struggled in the ways that I have. If you find that you forgive someone and then it keeps cropping back up, don’t beat yourself up…pain doesn’t just disappear because you have forgiven someone…but you can acknowledge that pain…from the deep and tender place in you…and give it to the healer as an offering. Reconciliation, if it is meant to be, will come…opportunities will be presented…but first…the heart space.

So, how are you doing this? Are you doing the hard work of forgiving someone? Yourself? Do you find yourself having to go back and repeat the work that you have already done? Instead of getting frustrated and berating yourself, can you acknowledge the pain that exists there? Can you trust God enough to offer that pain to him? To allow that offering to be a way that you worship him? If you are being forgiven by someone, can you allow them the time necessary to work through it? If it doesn’t happen magically for you, you can bet it won’t happen magically for them either. Can you allow them to be hurt without your interference? Whether it is you or someone else doing the hard work of forgiveness, allow time and space to work through it…don’t press for an immediate result and don’t be surprised if much of the work must be repeated in order to heal.

My prayer today is that we would reconcile where appropriate…but that first, we would do the hard work that is forgiveness. I am praying that we honor the one who has forgiven us of so much by embarking on the same task. I am praying that we wouldn’t press for an outward result until we are healed inside so that reconciliation has a chance of being authentic and lasting.

Much love friends,
Beks

4/7/15 Morning Musing: Choosing Pain

As I write this, I’m still not sure if I am going to post it or not.  A recent interaction with someone has me thinking about the many times in life I have been angry and also about the many times in life I have been hurt.  In the situations involving anger, I had a target for my anger:  a bully who had hurt my little boy, the man who poisoned my family, the guy in college who had broken up with me before I could break up with him, the woman who was taking my name and character and dragging it through the mud.  These people were easy for me to villainize (is that even a word?) in my head.  I could make them the enemy with no redeeming qualities in the story that was unfolding in my mind.

In the situations that hurt me, there was no target outside of myself to focus anger on so, instead, I found that I just…ached…for a long time:  empathy for a friend whose child was not behaving in a way that reflected their family’s values (on top of all the other problems she was facing at the time), knowledge (and identifying with) about how someone had violated their own conscience and was having to live with the fallout from that (it sucks to realize that you are the antagonist in someone’s story), the emptiness of a broken relationship that left me feeling like strangers with someone I used to be so very close to,  and the sadness and helplessness that comes from knowing someone is being lied to and can not hear the truth.

After you get past me depressing you so early in the morning, you will realize that the four situations I described being angry about are the same four situations that I described being hurt about.  So what the heck is my point?  Well, there are several points actually but I think they all support one theory that I have:  It is easier to be angry than it is to be hurt, but most of the time, hurt is more productive.  When I am angry, I tend to have a “bad guy”…antagonist…boogey man…enemy…someone to blame.  I can’t speak for you…but for me, when I have someone to blame, the feelings exist on the outside of me and I tend to quit looking for what virtue I should be learning more about.  I quit assessing my contribution to the situation and I tie a beautiful little bow around the neatly-packaged idea that this person is bad and that is why this situation occurred.  That makes it easier to break with that person and close off my feelings.  When I am hurt, however, I can’t tie a bow and dismiss the person/ situation because it’s in me…Inside…and the only person who can address those feelings is me.  Oh, I’ve tried covering them up, distracting myself from the feelings, and numbing them…but none of those work long-term and, inevitably, I end up having to deal with the feelings anyway.

So, again you ask, “What is the point?”  I think we learn from pain.  I think pain confronts us and demands (eventually) that we pay attention.  Why do people go the doctor?  Because some pain that they have is consuming their attention and needs to be dealt with.  If it was painless, it would be a more insidious illness…like leprosy (science geek-out alert:  leprosy causes severe nerve damage that allows the person to incur injury and not feel it.  This is dangerous because pain requires that we stop the damage from continuing.  Think about a hot stove burner:  If your arm brushes up against it, you jump away from the source of burning before you have time to think about it.  If you don’t experience pain though, you will stay in contact with the burner until some other symptom occurs (creation of smoke or sensing a burning smell.)  So, our pain is really a safety mechanism that is built-in to us to bring our attention to the situation and induce a change in our behaviors or actions.)  Anger, on the other hand, tends to be focused on someone else’s behavior.  It doesn’t require real investment or investigation…it doesn’t necessarily call for a change in our behavior or way of thinking…it’s more like a hand-grenade…it can be thrown at someone and then walked away from…and I think that ability to walk away from it is the attractive part…because it feels like power…it can be mis-interpreted as strength…but strength is not found in taking the easy road…it is found in a struggle.  Think about it:  how much strength does it require to have things always go your way?  How much strength do you have to develop in order to float through life?

So how are you doing with this?  Are you angry a lot?  Is it possible that you are angry because you are avoiding thinking about something?  Is God trying to tell you something that you don’t want to hear?  Think about the times in your life that you have experienced the most growth…what did you feel during those times?  What did you learn?  Now, think about the people you hold closest to you and reflect on whether it is they (those people that you love) or your enemies that have the most access to injuring you.  Anger allows us to distance ourselves from hurt…but in the absence of that hurt, we are also distancing ourselves from people, lessons that we could learn, and virtues that we could develop.

My prayer today is that we would slow down and evaluate some things:  if we are mad at someone, is that anger even legitimate or are we in denial about something?  What has God been impressing on us that we need to be working on?  Who around us is in pain and needs us to come alongside them and walk through it with them so that they don’t run away from the pain and become angry?  Friends, I am praying that you will find a way to get comfortable sitting in the pain and discomfort and that you will find truth and peace in it.  Much love friends,

Beks

3/4/15 Morning Musing:  A Strong Heart Loves…A Stronger Heart Continues to Love After It Has Been Hurt.

I have a friend who is struggling with her relationships with her family of origin.  (Who doesn’t?  Right?  And…no, I am not the “friend.”)  In her case, it’s not just differences of personality or having trouble spending lots of time together; it’s really more about sin and pain from her growing-up years and denial of violent actions that were taken against her back then.  Over the years, this friend reached out multiple times to try to make peace with her family members, only to have her hand swatted away.  Now the family members have something to gain from peace with her and are reaching out to her and she feels conflicted about it. 

When the friend came over to talk to me about it, the scripture about the prodigal son came to mind immediately (Luke 15: 11-32.)  What strikes me about this passage is that for true forgiveness and reconciliation (keep in mind, these are not the same things and either one can happen without the other) to occur, there isn’t room for pride on either side.  In the passage, the son is basically telling the father that he wishes he were dead and found no value in his life…call me crazy, but I think that would be difficult to get over!  But at the end, the son returns with a heart of humility and the father is not only over-joyed and receptive, but he humiliates himself as well!  (In that time, it was an embarrassment for men to raise their garments (showing their legs) and running.  He then threw himself at his son and showered him with affection!)  

I don’t think that initially, this was what my friend wanted to hear…and who could blame her?  It will open her up to the possibility of pain again.  But the thing I can’t get out of my head is this:  We aren’t here to feel safe and be comfortable…to obtain wealth or prestige…to work hard or accomplish tasks…or even to be good people…we are here to show God to the world…to do the work of Jesus to people by loving them well.  It’s hard (maybe impossible) to simultaneously guard your heart from injury AND love others (and be loved by others) the way Jesus does because keeping people at a distance does just that…it keeps them at a distance.  

I know that I struggled for a long time in this area:  all of my relationships were shallow and I kept people at arm’s length in order to protect myself…but my life was without substance and depth…I was lacking community and I didn’t really even know myself.  I kept myself busy and numb so that I wouldn’t be in tune to the isolation and loneliness that it caused.  (I know…I’ve done a pendulum swing in the other direction in recent years.  I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear I’ve been called an “over-sharer” recently!  Ha!)  I’ve got to tell you though…now that I don’t really keep secrets…now that I “over-share”…I’ve found more peace and real friendship…and even safety than I ever could have imagined.  Turns out that when you no longer have anything to hide…you can’t be imprisoned by the fear of exposure! 

So, how are you doing with this?  Do you have something that you don’t feel like you can share with anyone?  Are you guarding yourself against being injured?  If you are, do you see that you are also guarding yourself against being loved well?  Do you have anyone in your life that may be afraid to return to you and ask forgiveness?  How can you love them in such a way that it would make it safer for them to humble themselves and return to relationship with you?  

My prayer today is that we would find safety in our unsafe surroundings by leaning on the only true safety that we are offered in life:  Jesus.  I’m praying that we would choose to risk pain in order to love well.  I’m praying that we will offer our pain to our God as a sacrifice and as an act of worship so that he can soothe our wounds along with the wounds of others.  And…I’m praying for peace and reassurance when we obediently make ourselves vulnerable and allow ourselves to be used by God.  Much love friends,

Beks