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Spiritual Housekeeping…

Spiritual Housekeeping pic for blog 4-24-20

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

Confession time…every once in a while I watch the TV show “Hoarders: Buried Alive”. It’s awful and ALWAYS gets me up and motivated to clean house and find a few things to put in their place, give away, or throw away! I’ve seen enough of these shows that when I heard a quick sentence in a bible study that I was in the other day about spiritual housekeeping, immediately I saw a rapid-fire vision of mental images of hoarder households.

Those images are disgusting and beyond sorrowful!

So what do we do with this? I’ll tell you what.

We’ve got to clean the rooms of our spiritual home so the Holy Spirit can roam freely to do His will!

Just as the person in the hoarder tv-stories, there is always some kind of traumatic event that has occurred in their life. It always centers around tremendous loss. So many times these people know on some level that they hoard because of this loss. But they gave in to it and didn’t, or felt they couldn’t stop the devastating behavior.

In the house of a hoarder, neither the homeowner nor any visitor can safely navigate the home with stepping on trash and other discarded items. The creation of the hoard stems from an incredibly false sense of providing comfort and protection.

The people who hoarded mostly trash and stray animals were usually the ones who had been left by a parent as a child through death or divorce. Or they had been in an abusive relationship that ended in death or divorce. The stories the hoarder shares would be heartbreaking as they recalled moments where their abusive spouse would refer to them as trash. They felt they had been thrown away by that person who was supposed to love them. So instead of throwing things away that are truly trash, they just keep it. They don’t want to hurt anyone or anything by determining what is trash or not.

And the piles grow.

I noticed that the people who are hoarders of things are ones who used the high of purchasing items and “collecting” things to replace feeling unloved. They loved their things and the higher the piles became, the more they felt surrounded by love; by things that wouldn’t leave them.

We do this same thing on a spiritual level and if we are not careful, we will have a spiritual house that is filled to the brim with trash and unnecessary stuff.

Is any of this resonating with you today?

Have you been made to feel as though you were no more important than a bin of rubbish? Or a pile of insignificant things?

My friends, that is the job of the enemy. He wants your spiritual home cluttered about with the unclean and the unnecessary so that you don’t have room for Jesus to do the beautiful work in your life He intends.

I know this may be hard to take in because it is something that the Lord has been working intently on my heart as well – as to the task of cleaning the house of my own soul.

Are you feeling a bit uncomfortable right about now? It’s okay if you are – that’s the glory of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart to face the things in your life that you have just been piling up in the corner hoping they would go away on their own.

As you know, it won’t.

It’s going to take hard work but here’s the blessing of it all ~ we don’t have to do this alone. We have the gift of the Comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit and He is ready and more than able to clean out the junk and the trash of your life. The Lord is so gracious to be passionate about showing us the joy and peace He wants to bless us with.

But just like the hoarders on TV, they have to come to a final point where they say out loud, “I want your help. I don’t want to live like this anymore. Let’s throw it all out.” We too have to say the same thing to the Lord – OUT LOUD – that we want and need His help. He will walk alongside us to accomplish this arduous task.

Getting rid of the hoard is full of emotional pain, but the ones who stay committed to the clean up thrive in orderly freedom!

Whether the hoard is physical or spiritual, we have the tools that we need to win the battle!

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 is so encouraging,

“The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ, being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience [as a church] is complete.”

The rooms of our mind and corridors of our soul can be lush soil where we plant God’s Word and what grows is the fruit that can nourish our life and the lives of those around us. Or it can be a vacant plot of land that is unkempt without any growth.

Think about times in your life where you have agreed with the lies of the enemy to make you feel unimportant and unloved, and how that transferred into bringing discontent and darkness into our hearts and our homes.

Now think about moments in your life where you have walked with a friend through a difficult time in their life, pointing them to the One who can heal their hurts. It’s a beautiful gift that we can give to one another when Christ is present in our life. When we are filled with God’s presence we can pour out His joy and peace. We have contentment and grace leads our actions. We are strong to move through this life with the power of the God who created the Universe because our spiritual home is filled with His light and salvation!

One of my favorite scripture verses is Zephaniah 3:17,

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A Warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins], He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Is this not incredible! Every bit of condemnation is from the enemy. Just as every decree of goodness and love is from the Lord. God’s Word promises us that when the Lord looks upon our face, the person He created us to be is what He sees. He delights in the creation of YOU! The Lord has phenomenal purposes for your life and there are things that only you can do.

When you are having moments of doubt, remember that He is fighting for you! The Lord is singing over you and rejoicing in your life!

So get that dustbuster out. Bring a trash bag or three. Clear out the cobwebs of your soul and open the window so the light of Jesus can shine through.

Keep up with your spiritual housekeeping so the Holy Spirit is free to roam!

Blessings,

René

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Defeat or Victory ~ where do you live?…

farmland view for Defeat or Victory blog 4-2020

Photo by John Reed on Unsplash

During this time of quarantine – how many times will I refer to this ‘stay-at-home’ season of 2020, I have no idea. It’s what is occupying everyone’s mind these days, so here we are. What was I saying? Oh yes, during this period, we have a lot of TIME on our hands. Whether you are doing at home what you used to do in your office building, or you are rearranging schedules on the daily with new homeschool duties, there is still time to think. I daresay, there is still available time to think too much.

As I know that the majority of my readers are women, I can confidently say that we are all too familiar with the mental battle we fight each day as to whether we are enough or not. Do we measure up? Are our children thriving enough? The meals we make could probably be healthier? Why can’t our home look like “that one” we always scroll past on Instagram?
And so on.

When our minds begin to wander, where to we let it go? Do you give it free reign? Does the temptation to allow negative thoughts to replay over and over again win out over what we know is the actual truth? Are there moments when you hear the Holy Spirit whisper to you to take those thoughts captive, yet you ignore Him? Thinking those places of defeat will somehow bring you comfort or closure? NO! They never will.

Friends, this is living defeated and it is no way to truly live.

Yet, in the same way that it is dangerous to live in places of defeat, it is much the same to live in places of future imagined victory. We cannot survive in either of these places mentally because it takes our focus off what we should be doing, which is living for Jesus. Living in the present time; in the season that God intends.

And that takes focus.

One of the things that came to mind when I was thinking of ‘defeat and victory’ was of farmers fields.

I visited some Amish farms in Ohio a while back and was fascinated to learn the necessity of allowing planting areas to rest. First of all, the patterns of these fields are mesmerizing; equal parts of growth and bare dirt. I realized the beauty was in the areas of rest and not actually in the rows of corn growing. There was just something about the emptiness that drew me in but in a peaceful way.

As I researched it more, I began to understand that these fields were not dead and bare, they were alive and resting.

Farmers will typically give various plots of their farmland a rest for at least one year so that it can be ready for a new season of planting. No wonder God uses so many farming applications in His word to convey the importance of rest and growth. That bare ground is not striving to be anything but content in its waiting. It has been allowed to regenerate.

I can’t think of anything more beautiful to consider in this quarantine season in our world right now.

Exodus 23:11 says,

“but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.”

There were periods that the Lord instructed His people to let their ground rest, not just for regeneration but allowance for people in need to gather food and nourishment. The land that was left to become fallow still held importance for the community around it.

I believe that this is a truth we can hold onto, that even in those seasons we feel bare, forgotten, and underutilized, we are still important to the people around us. We continue to hold value. We can generate sustainability for the future while we are resting.

This my friends in living from a place of victory!

In Hosea 10:12, God gives direction as to how we are to be proactive in cultivating fallow ground; in cultivating seasons of rest.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

Depending on the kind of crops that are being grown is the deciding factor for how long the ground stays fallow. Isn’t that how it is for us? The Lord knows the seasons that we have come out of, the ones that we are in, and the ones we are headed toward. Which means He knows how long our rest seasons need to be.

And it means that we can trust Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Scattered Together…

Scattered Together blog image

Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash

We are in crazy times right now where a lot of things don’t make sense. The onset and aftermath of the coronavirus has put the whole world off-kilter. We are all trying to make sense of what it means to quarantine, stay at home, what businesses are essential and what aren’t. I wish that hair salons and nail salons were considered essential! Lord have mercy on my roots!

One of the things I’ve been thinking about during this time is the usage of various words. Words that will most definitely be added to new versions of the dictionary. And some words that now clearly go together but are oxymorons.

Oxymorons are all around us:

  • Jumbo shrimp
  • Deafening silence
  • Invisible ink
  • Electric candles
  • Sweet sorrow
  • Accurate rumors
  • Alone together

But what about this new one that has descended upon our world ~ Scattered together.
How can people be scattered but be together at the same time? Let’s take a quick look at the definitions of these two words:

Scattered: distributed or occurring at widely spaced and usually irregular intervals
Together: into or in one gathering, company, mass, place, or body

I mean, “distributed widely” and “in one gathering” simply do not make sense when put together. They are complete opposites.

How can we be so widely spaced from one another but still experience the joy of gathering? One of those ways is to remember that we are ALL going through basically the same thing. We are all being told to shelter at home, stay safe at home, wear face masks, be as isolated as possible only going out for absolute necessities.

My heart goes out to the mom’s with little ones at home, they have little to zero time to themselves. The widow/widower who is riding this out alone in their homes. To the grandparents who live in assisted living and cannot leave their rooms or see their families. Weddings that are live-streamed and new babies being born without waiting rooms filled with well-wishers. Graduations are being postponed to unknown dates.

It’s. Just. All. So. Much!

But…

There. Is. Hope!

The Lord is with us and He is not surprised by any of this worldly chaos. He did not create this disease but no matter how hard it is to wrap our brains around, He is allowing it.

There are so many examples of the Lord scattering His people in the Bible, and it is ALWAYS for a purpose.

In Genesis 9:18-20 (AMP) we read about what happened after the Lord flooded the earth and what needed to happen to fill the earth once again,

“The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth. Ham would become the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah, and from these [men] the whole earth was populated and scattered with inhabitants. And Noah began to farm and cultivate the ground and he planted a vineyard.”

Sometime later, the people of the land got together and thought they could create a tower that would enable them to reach God. Because the Lord knew this would eventually cause more problems than good, we see in Genesis 11:8-10 (AMP),

“So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the surface of the entire earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore the name of the city was Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire earth; and from that place the Lord scattered and dispersed them over the surface of all the earth.”

In the New Testament, we see how God worked through two guys arguing about what was best for the ministry of the Gospel. These were two apostles of Jesus named Paul and Barnabas were great friends and passionate missionaries for the Gospel. At one point, they argued about where to go next and who to bring with them. They both felt very strongly in their opinions.

Towards the end of the 15th chapter of Acts, we see that they did indeed end up going to minister in different areas. Paul and Silas went on a second journey to Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia; while Barnabas and John Mark sailed to Cyprus.

This disagreement was between two human beings who made choices. Satan thought he had won a small battle when they stopped ministering together. But we know that he absolutely did not! In the case of Paul and Barnabas, they and their new companions ended up reaching even MORE people with the saving grace of salvation. One strand of that ministry reached into Europe and eventually America.

God, in His wisdom, will always use what the enemy plans for our destruction, to ultimately be for our good and God’s glory.

In this time of being scattered together, the church buildings are empty and gatherings are indefinitely postponed. Yet, we are together through the genius of technology. Sunday morning services are being broadcast all over the world. People who’ve never stepped foot into a traditional church building, are hearing the Good News of the gospel in their homes. Students who had been enjoying weekly gatherings are still able to fellowship with their friends and leaders on their phones. Social media has ramped up encouraging messages of hope and grace.

The Lord is still in this. He is completely aware of our fears, worries, and anxieties. And He is here with us to weather the storm.

Psalm 91(AMP) is a beautiful chapter of biblical poetry that sings of the joy we can have in knowing our security lies in Jesus. The entire chapter is worth the read, but I’ll share this first verse:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].”

There are several more verses in Psalms that are full of encouragement and this truth ~ Jesus is our stronghold and our true shelter. In all the places you feel scattered today, give all the pieces to the Lord and let Him hold them for you. Trust that He will put them back together. The pieces may look different when they are replaced, but they will be stronger and more secure in the hands of a gracious God.

Stay safe at home during this Covid-19 pandemic, shelter your heart in the shadow of the Lord, and look forward to the day when we can gather together in person and share community face to face!

 

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

What do you “fill in the blank” with…

Blog - fill in the blanks 4-2020
Photo by 童 彤 on Unsplash

This is a crazy season and I’ve been thinking a lot about what our lives look like during this covid-19 pandemic. I’ve gone through so many emotions in the past two weeks, and I bet you have too! So I wanted to share my heart with you today and be vulnerable with you.

What it has shown me, more than I want to admit, is that I have decisions to make every single day, whether in quarantine or not, to fix my eyes on Jesus and fill in the hollow places of my mind and my heart with Him.

However, too many are filling in the blank with fear.

Two weeks ago, I was doing just that.

I was allowing myself to be consumed with the news. It was on all. day. long! It was like a bad accident that I couldn’t look away from. I wanted to. But I chose the opposite. After about 5 days, waking up feeling miserable and fearful, I cried out to God in the shower and asked Him what I needed to do. I knew what the answer would be but I had to CHOOSE it!

The Holy Spirit was so kind and whispered to my heart, “Look up! Look to the Father! Turn off the news.”

There was no condemnation in His voice. Simply love and encouragement.

So I did ~ I turned off the news and each time I would begin to feel fearful, I would give it to the Lord. I decided that anytime fear was tempting me to walk down the path of lies, I would pray.

I would love to tell you that life immediately got easier on all levels, and it did but not in the way I expected.

As I began to embrace the quiet, embrace the rest, and settle into the slower pace of life, it allowed the Lord the opportunity to speak louder to me about how He wants me to come out of this ‘safe at home’ season a new version of who He has created me to be.

And as wonderful as that sounds, it kinda freaks me out! The process of change is not fun. Whether you are seeking it or it is seeking you ~ change is hard.

I was recently on a zoom bible study group (as many of us are in this covid-19 season) and my friend that was sharing, said that God was bringing her “to the end of herself.”

All of the things that God was peeling away was drawing her closer to Him, but it was not necessarily an enjoyable experience.

A lightbulb went off in my head ~ these were the words that finally made sense to me as to what I was going through for the latter parts of March 2020.

The Lord was bringing me to the end of myself.

And here we are.

I have not done the things I could. I have not done the things I thought I would do “once I had the time” to do them. I have not read the books in the stacks around my house. I have not spent dubious amounts of time reading the Bible.

But I know that I am coming to the end of myself so that God can fill that void of my self with His power and wisdom.

It will not happen all at once, but I know when we are allowed to roam free in our neighborhoods, gather in our churches, have coffee in cute little shops around town, and hug everyone that walks across our path, I know that I will be a different person.

So with all of these revelations, what will I be choosing to “fill in the blank” with, in the coming days and weeks?

• Joy
• Peace
• Study of God’s Word
• Writing
• Virtual coffee dates with friends
• Zoom meetings with our LifeGroup
• FaceTime chats with family
• So much more!

And when the temptations come to give in to fear or worry, I will remember this: the Lord has brought me to the end of myself so He can fill me with the fullness of Himself!

Blessings,
René