Work-in-Progress

I’m figuring out what I think about Sin.

I’m figuring out how to live by Grace.

I’m figuring out where I stand on Calvanism, Arminianism, and every other theology there is.

I’m figuring out what it means to truly love and faithfully follow God.

I’m figuring how to live by the Spirit, and not man-made Christianity.

I’m figuring out how to show Christ in a real way, while being totally crippled by my own humanity and incompetence at the same time.

That’s the truth of it, and because I’m just figuring it out, I can be very mediocre. I sin every single day, some more than others.  I’m not going to lie to cover it up, or tell you that I’ll change. Some weekends I drink too much, I occasionally drop the F-bomb just for effect, I’ve kissed strangers before. Those are the sins we zero on and gossip about, right? Yep, done a bunch of them that I won’t list here.

But my other struggles, that are just as sinful? Unforgiveness, gossip, rudeness, impatience, resentment, gluttony, envy, judgement, unfaithfulness, bitchiness. Unseen or seen, all sin is the same in the eyes of God. The only difference is the consequence that comes with it and how other people (also flawed) judge it.

God forbid, I’ve done this whole walk as a Christian. It’s not my big dirty past, some of it is very much my present life. Forgive me for that and I’ll forgive you for thinking I’m a crappy Christian.

am a crappy Christian according to society’s definition of the word. Thankfully, I’m not looking to please people. I’m looking to please my God who sees my heart, sees all my brokenness and sees how far I’ve come. He knows I will always fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23), but as long as I’m leaning hard on Him, I’m doing good.

Some days I bring Him glory, and I pray that as time passes that evolves to most days. As the weeks, months, years go by, God will continue to change me. I will continue to sin less, but I will never be sinless.

I’m not where I would like to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. For all my self-deprecation, I can see that I’m doing well (my best) on this journey of life, and of that I’m pleased. I’m not squeaky clean, but Jesus doesn’t ask for squeaky clean. He asks for followers and for us to have faith, and He desires us as we are.

So if you’re also a work-in-progress too and you’re discouraged, be assured that in all of your humanity and bad decisions, He loves you. He is willing to meet you where you are. Heck, we’re all the same, just figuring it out best as we can.

Thoughts? Criticisms? Wisdom? 

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No Condemnation, Only Grace

Today I’m excited to be featured over at Prodigal Magazine with a story of how I had to experience God’s grace before I could extend it to others.

After reading my article there, you should check out the rest of the website. They tell hard-hitting, beautiful, real life stories that we can all relate to.

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A couple of Sunday’s ago, we sang Amazing Grace at church. I’ve always known the words to this beautiful song, but I’m used to singing it on special occasions or at Christmas. This time it was just on a normal Sunday, but for the first time it really meant something. This time I knew the Grace I was singing about.

Jesus is Grace personified, and we are all guilty of forgetting that. We’re all guilty of setting high standards and recreating laws that Jesus came to redeem. We’re all guilty of condemning others and ourselves when these standards aren’t met.

And I’m the guiltiest of them all.

Continue reading at Prodigal Magazine.

I Got Nothin’

This past week, my emotional state has resembled Britney’s when she shaved her hair off. Okay not quite, but it was definitely the emotional version of me on steroids!

One minute I was standing tall, happy as Larry (we had tea and cake, he’s a nice guy). Then it felt as though someone had just flicked me over, the way a small boy would to his miniature soldiers in ‘battle’. Knocked down just.like.that.

That’s how small I felt, and it was a reminder of how small I really am in the grand scheme. I’m a small player that can’t keep going unless God picks me back up to fight again. Right now I’m that little soldier that’s been knocked down. I feel powerless and so weak. I got nothin’.

Which despite how it feels, is ultimately a good thing, because it’s not about me or my strength! My strength is enough to keep me going until another gust of wind comes and blows me down, which won’t be long.

When I am weak, He is strong.

God wasn’t the one to push me over this week, that was a dirty cocktail of emotions, circumstance and the enemy who doesn’t want me to move forward. But God is certainly the one to pick me back up again.

Here’s to a better week!

Can you relate to feeling so over it some weeks? Like you just can’t do it anymore? 

I’m a Sunday Christian

My best friend called me out tonight. I love it when she does that because that’s what good friends do. This time it was hard to take because she hit me right where it hurt. She was right and I couldn’t deny it.

Let me give you a bit of back story.

I have my good and bad days. I have my good and bad moments. I went to church on Sunday evening and I was having a really good moment. I even tweeted about it, probably a little too righteously. There I was, worshipping Jesus and declaring how much I trusted Him, and really, truly, meaning it. Now that doesn’t happen everyday. We declare these song lyrics in church in faith, even when on the inside we are freaking out about how we’re going to pay the rent. Any honest Christian will tell you that.

But this particular Sunday, I meant it and knew it was true. I’ve had to trust God over the past few months just to get out of bed. And I can hand-on-heart say that He is faithful and He has never left my side. It brought tears to my eyes on Sunday to know that I trusted Him and that this would overjoy Him. I want to overjoy my Lord.

Then what happened? Well, I went home and screwed up all that trusting! I literally forgot what I had just been through at church, all because I saw something I shouldn’t have, and I immediately lost.the.plot. Within moments I was a snotty-nosed, un-trusting and pathetic mess. Poor old me, eh?

That right there, is the perfect example of ‘Sunday Christian’ behaviour. And it was still Sunday! I don’t want to know what kind of Christian that makes me. (Disclaimer: Not the sarcasm, people.)

Long story short, I cried, called my bestie and then fell asleep feeling rather ‘woe is me’. Bring on Monday (today) and cue previously mentioned bestie with ‘What was that tweet about? Did you really mean that or was that for show?’ OUCH. ‘Yes, I really did mean it… and then I came home… and… and.’

I didn’t have a good explanation except that I forgot.

I momentarily forgot the promises and faithfulness of God, and instead I welcomed fear, confusion, and sadness. I was the hostess (with the mostess) for my own spectacular pity party. I would have invited you but you’re probably not depressing enough.

It’s natural to forget and God definitely ain’t upstairs cussing me out for forgetting His goodness. He is right where He’s always been; with me. In that moment when I was hurting, He was holding me. Today he walked beside me because I was strong enough to walk by myself. But He never leaves me and whenever I fall, He is there to lift me back up again.

He wants us to trust Him because it’s the best thing for us, and it allows Him to do so much more in our lives. When we don’t, He doesn’t throw a tantrum and say ‘well, I told you so kiddo’. He is too big and mysterious for us to put into a box and to always understand, but that doesn’t mean what He is doing isn’t good. He teaches us and it’s important that we learn.

I’ve learned from last night, so I journalled it and hopefully next time I’m tempted to throw all my toys out of the pram, I’ll be reminded.

He is good. Please do better than me at remembering on days Monday to Saturday that He is good.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Let me know about your trusting journey in the comments.

Please ‘like’ or tweet this post if you enjoyed reading. Thank you.

A Love Letter [The Invitation]

(I would like to clarify that I didn’t write this for you, I wrote it for me in a special time. Then I remembered that I made a vow to myself and to this blog that I would write on here with relentless honesty, in the hope that it would break down walls, encourage and inspire. This is my letter, yours won’t look like this. God has written you a love letter too, it’s within you somewhere. He loves you, He sees you.)
Dear Micaela,I created you to be beautiful and that you are. You have made me proud since the day you were born, and though sometimes you felt unnoticed, I always noticed you. You are pure of heart, kind, funny and honest. You are mine and I truly delight in you. I am your Daddy, and though you struggle with that word now (yes, I’ve seen you laugh/cringe when others have called me that), there is a time coming when it will flow naturally from your heart and mouth. I’m patient for that day.Micaela, my heart aches for you to understand how much I love you. You truly are the most precious and priceless diamond to me. I created you to shine, and though life has thrown dirt at you and you have tarnished yourself, my purpose for you is ever the same. Does a diamond lose it’s value if it’s soiled in mud? You are still worth the whole world to me, despite the dirt, which I am continuing to remove every single day, as you heal. Shine, my beauty!Let me in to the innermost parts of your heart, because I will never force my way in uninvited. Everyday, seek me and welcome me so that my Holy Spirit can fill your cup to overflowing and show you how valuable you are. No human will ever be able to show you that the way I can, I assure you. I am your source.

You’ve grown up to be a strong and independent woman, but don’t go your own way. Stay close to me, lean hard on me, trust my faithfulness. Let me be your fierce protector and defender, because you’re my daughter and thats what Daddy’s do. I know you’re not used to it, and letting a man love you is a struggle because it’s foreign. And you’re scared, I know. It will take a while but all you need to do is keep whispering yes, because we’re in this together. I will restore the fatherless years; the years that the locusts have stolen.

Precious girl, you make my heart smile. You are a blessing to those around you; you carry light and joy everywhere you go.

I love you,

Father God (your Daddy) xxx
What does God want to say to you?

Confession: I can’t fix myself & I don’t know everything

I like to think I’m pretty emotionally stable. I process my emotions, I don’t run away (I try not to anyway) and I cry a lot.  I’ve even been known to call myself a ‘self-analysing pro’ because I can come up with a reason for every single one of my behaviours. I’ve got my sh*t sorted right?

Wrong. Turns out I am somewhat of an ’emotional perfectionist’ (self-diagnosed, of course. See previous paragraph!). No but seriously, I like to be so in control of my feelings and know exactly why I do everything that I don’t let things happen organically.

This is my greatest blessing and my greatest curse, because while I’m very emotionally ‘in-touch’ (are you loving all this psycho-babble?) I also over-think to the point of insanity and exhaustion.

When I talk to my friends I like to sound like I’ve got it all together. Then in the dark of the night I break down, because emotions and grief work on their own schedule that you can’t really control. Turns out being human has some painful disruptions, and I don’t have my sh*t sorted at all. 

So I told my over-active mind to go on holiday and called in a professional.

Yes, I’ve started seeing a counsellor; someone who has qualifications and actually knows what he is talking about; someone who can help me fix me so I don’t have to do it all by myself.

I went to my first session with a heavy heart; I was sad, lonely and running on empty. On the journey there I prayed ‘Please Lord let this be good for me, let me gain something from this because I’m spent and don’t have any strength left’. God heard me. I sat there and released months worth of tear-stained words to someone who is paid to listen to me. I didn’t feel guilty for ‘dumping’ on him, I just went for it (pray for him, poor guy!). He helped me reach some important conclusions in that very first session and I  left feeling so light I thought I might just fly.

The second session was a little harder, grittier and a hell of a lot more painful. That’s when the good stuff happens though and hey, I’m still alive. During these sessions my pain is justified, understood and accepted, but our (my counsellor’s and mine) ambition is my healing and I’m not allowed to sit in my pain and pity for longer than necessary. I must keep moving forward.

I’d rather be dealing with this at 22 than at 42, 52, 62 when I’ve caused other people pain from my own wounded heart. Have you heard? Hurt people hurt people. All of my hurt has come from hurt people, and out of that hurt I’ve hurt more people. It’s a vicious cycle, BUT I have the power to break it and it’s my choice whether I do or not. No I won’t ever be perfect but the goal isn’t perfection, it’s wholeness in Christ so that I’m not operating everyday life out of brokenness.

You might be thinking ‘gosh she is so honest, telling the blogosphere she is screwed up enough to go to counselling’. If it helps you, then heck yes I am honest enough. Frankly we are all screwed up at least a tiny bit, even if we like to act like we’re not. It’s what makes us beautifully human. 

Here’s a tip sponsored by moi: if you have faced trials in the past that you still haven’t overcome, or if you’ve never been to a counsellor, or just think it would be good for you, then go and talk to someone. Who knows, you may only need one session, or you’ll need loads. Whatever the case, deal with your pain so that it doesn’t deal with you. Also I personally think that if you’re in a relationship then it’s even more important; there is a lot of stuff that comes up when we share our lives intimately with someone, and sometimes they can’t carry our baggage. Oh and because I don’t like to leave anyone out: if you really are emotionally stable and this doesn’t apply to you, then that is great and feel free to ignore this paragraph!

All this was to say it’s nice not having to figure everything out by myself. Yes I still have to think, feel, process. However I am externalising it in a healthy environment instead of running circles in my mind. Oh and in case you were wondering, my over-active mind came back from her holiday and then handed in her notice of resignation. Turns out I don’t need her anymore, anyway!

If you can closely relate to the above and need to talk to someone about it, then feel free email me. Sometimes it’s just nice knowing someone understands and is there to listen. 

Truth Hurts

It’s a loaded gun that holds freedom instead of bullets. Though the initial pain still hurts like an open wound,  I consider it worth it to gain that freedom. Sadly, that’s often what truth is in our lives: ugly and painful. That is until we face it and light shines upon the face of truth; we begin to see the beauty of it and living within it, instead of continuing to believe the lie that we need to be  running away from it.

The truth is different for all of us. Maybe you don’t want to even think about the truth because you aren’t able to see it anymore, or maybe your life is drenched in truth. I’m aiming for the latter of the two, so I’ve been thinking about truth a little more than normal recently.

What I’ve learnt first hand (hold your breath, this is DEEP) is that truth is truth. You can colour it in with permanent marker, you can put a blanket over it, you can ignore it, but the truth will always be there and it usually does come out eventually.

Recently I’ve been facing a few home truths. Initially it hurt more than my words can justify because it was a new fresh wound. The pain is still ever present but so is God’s love, peace, and the joy of being free. Oh the beauty of freedom; even in sadness one can’t deny it’s the most yearned for and magnificent position to be in. Nothing is worth more to me than living in the freedom of truth, but sometimes we have to experience the other side to know the difference. The crossover is painful, but once we’re there, it’s done.

That’s why Jesus came and died for us right? To be free INDEED. Instead of ‘free’ and walled up in a cage of deceit, lies and dishonesty. His dying for us brought GRACE to truth so that we could face it. His grace means that we can live in TRUTH because He has saved us.

When I say ‘truth’ I am referring to anything you know in your heart to be true, to the truth of Jesus and who He is, to the truth that is and will always be. Truth is in the light and the light will always prevail, so just do it! Live in truth.

Choose true friends that will be straight with you, love you, challenge you and encourage you. Be accountable to them.

Be courageous. Face whatever it is that you don’t want to, and everyday choose to be true to yourself and those around you.

Speak truth in love.  That doesn’t mean it’s okay to criticize and rebuke because you’re being ‘honest’ out of love – hold on to tact and only fight battles worth fighting. Many things are better left unsaid.

Build your life around it. If you choose to live with integrity in the small things then your integrity will be proven on the big things, and before you know it your life will be built on truth. Living in truth sets you and people in your life free. It gets easier and you will continue to grow and get stronger.

Make truth a habit and it will become your life.

What do you find hardest about living in truth? Have you ever had to be honest with yourself  when you really haven’t wanted to? Tell me a story about being truthful. Leave a comment!