Get Real with God through Lament

Get Real with God through Lament

Ending the Pretending

 

It’s Sunday morning and you like me are headed into church.  Each person passed offers a courteous greeting like, “Good Morning!”  “Hi!  How are you?”  “Good thanks and you?”  or “Fine, thanks!”

The truth is you just had a fight with your spouse or you recently found out about another friend who is diagnosed with cancer.  You are not fine but what else are you going to say.

Life is hard and it is filled with many disappointments and heartaches.  Telling acquaintances about our stuff is not likely to happen.

So what about family?  How often do you share the real stuff with friends and family?  Many of us even struggle with this as well.

What about God?  Do you get real with him?  Many people don’t.Ecc 7:33 Sorrow is better than laughter,

To be honest, I am more likely to get real with God than I am with anyone else.  I think this is one reason for the deep and many people have said, unusual walk I have with my Lord.

Through the many heartaches of life I have had great friends and family to support me but my number one go to is the Lord.  From an early age I started reading a Psalm a day.  From those readings I found a God who could handle anything I had to say to him, so I did.

When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I poured out the heartache of losing her while I was still a teenager. 

When my husband was unfaithful, I called out to the God who knows what it is like to love a people who are unfaithful over and over again.

When I miscarried my precious babies, He was the one who I cried more tears to than I thought I had.

Like David, in the Psalms, my prayers are often a journey to the place of heartache, disappointment, confusion and even anger.

Have you ever prayed like this?  Have you learned to bear your heartache and questions to the Lord?

I was excited to find a book that talks about how to bring an ending to the pretending with God.   I think this is such a great resource I want you to join me in a Book Chat.

Do you ever struggle with how to get real with God?  Do you find yourself staying busy just so you don’t have to think about past heartaches and disappointments?

No More Faking Fine  by Esther Fleece is a call to end the pretending.  It is Esther’s journey to healing through the prayer of lament.  Lament is the gut-level, honest prayer that God never ignores, never silences, and never wastes. 

As I look at my prayer life I realize the times that I have been able to embrace God’s will even when I didn’t understand the what or the why of something or it was not at all what I wanted I was praying laments. 

I would love for you to join me in learning more about the prayer of lament.

A Book Chat is just the opportunity to read through a book together.  Discussing what the Lord is doing in your life with the new realizations you are experiencing through the book through an online community.

Click here to learn more:

2 Revealing Truths about Jesus and Transitions

     Since transition is never far from my mind I was recently talking with Jesus about transitions and He helped me to think about what a major transition His birth here on earth must have been.

Think about it, Jesus was there in the beginning and created the world, then He left heaven to life as one of us and with us.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38.

Imagine the enormity of that transition! 

 

Here are 2 truths, I realized about how Jesus handled this transition.

He remained Confident in His identity~ When Jesus became a man though His outward appearance probably changed completely He did not lose himself.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven! Matt 16:15-17

This scripture follows Jesus asking His disciples who do people say that I am?  They reported what people said about him and who He was.  Most did not see or understand who He was while He walked on this earth but He always knew and lived the truth of who He was.  God.  Man.  Lover of His creation.  Truth.  Life.  Sacrificial Lamb.

For me just going from married to divorcee, from business owner to farm wife was challenging.  Identity in the world today is often tied to our job or family so when there are big transitions in either of these areas it can really knock you off your feet.

Each time I have found myself needing to dig into my identity with the Lord to find my new normal.  I am, still Loved.  Adopted.  Cherished.  Forgiven.  Gifted.  Called.

Obedient even unto death~  Jesus submitted to the will of the Father.  Not only did He have to take on the limitations of man but He had to die a terrible death as a man.  Yes, He knew the Big picture and willingly died on the cross for your and my sins but it was not easy.

The Bible is clear is was a very difficult time leading up to the crucifixion.
Matthew 26:39  “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.

Each transition in my life has taken me to a place of bowing my will to His in obedience.  When we closed Sylvan in 2011 it was the result of a long struggle.  I knew I would not always work and have a home 90 miles from the farm but I loved what I did.  Working with families to help their kids be more successful in school felt like it was what I was created to do.

When I stopped struggling, willing submitted to God, He made it clear, that season of my life was to come to an end.  The families seeking the service hit an all-time low, the corporation continued to move away from what I felt was best for my students, it was time.  In obedience, the business was closed and my home was sold in 6 short weeks.  Not as I will, but as You will Father.

I’m so thankful that I was able to see Jesus in light of how He lived out a difficult transition.  Though I can see that I have demonstrated these same traits in my life transitions I am also challenged to get there quicker in future transitions.

Focusing on my identity and realizing that NOTHING in this world can change who I am or whose I am, is the bedrock of weather the changes of transitions.

Then because I know whose I am I can also embrace His will open hearted and open minded.

I know the opportunity to live these two lessons out again will come, I just pray I will be more ready, willing and able to bring honor and glory to the Lord in the midst of it.


 Have you found that knowing your identity in Christ and obeying Him has helped you embrace transitions in your life?

Review by Rayna: Choose to THRIVE

Choose to THRIVE is a challenging book written for high-achieving women.  Debbie’s style of direct and to the point communication style is refreshing.  She openly shares her challenges and life experience in order to encourage her reader to address her own issues.

In the book Debbie shares 9 character qualities most high-achieving women possess and how they can cause problems in our lives.  I found myself relating to many of the qualities as I am sure you will too.

I enjoyed the style of Debbie’s book.  She points out the qualities, how they can cause a problem when unbalanced and then shares how she found balance in her own life.  Each chapter ends with questions to help you examine yourself and begin the process of working on finding your balance.

The chapter that impacted me the most was the one one perfectionism.  I have known that I have this character quality all my life and I have worked hard to put people  before perfection but I often still find myself struggling it and not even realizing I’m doing it.  Here is an excerpt from Debbie’s chapter addressing perfectionism.

It takes a conscious effort to step back and look at what we are asking for. Does it leave room for people, including ourselves, to do what they do best? Or does it pigeonhole them into doing things the way we think is best? Do people believe they have the latitude to take calculated risks without harsh repercussions? Do you give yourself grace when you mess up? Do you give your child grace when they don’t do as well as you think they should have?  Are we leaving room for God to work?

Perfectionism is something I have been aware of in my life for a long time.  I was challenged and encouraged by the way Debbie addressed her struggle with perfectionism.  If you consider yourself a high-achiever I’m sure that you will benefit from reading Choose to THRIVE and examining some of the inner conflicts you face.

Finding HOPE While Living with Loss

Finding HOPE While Living with Loss   

 Loss has visited close to home recently.  From a good friend who lost her mom to a dear friend who lost her battle with cancer.  Loss is difficult for everyone.

How do we find hope in the midst of loss is a difficult question to struggle with?  I have experienced hope during loss in a couple of different ways.

Sometimes there is hope even after loss when there is also new life.

The birth of my grandkids brought some hope even in the season of grieving the loss of my own children through miscarriage.

Their little lives brought joy and laughter even through the time of sadness.  I have also had a new a new dog bring hope and comfort when I have lost my best dog friend.

Most often I have experienced hope after loss through encounters with my Loving Father.  Some of the greatest losses in my life have been followed by hope filled experiences with God’s love.

When my mom passed away, though she had been sick for 12 years, it seemed like a shock.  I was not ready to let her go.

She died on a Saturday evening and the next morning while worshiping and grieving during church service, God blessed me with the reminder that Mom was worshiping that morning too.

She had been nonverbal for at least the last 8 years of her life (due to Alzheimer’s disease) so the thought of her standing at the feet of Jesus singing praises to Him face to face brought amazing comfort and joy.

The grief was made more bearable with the reminder of where she was that morning and for eternity yet to come.

The second time I experienced God’s great comfort was just a couple of years ago, when I was still struggling with the grief of losing my only children by miscarriage.

It was a difficult struggle for years, there were so many unanswered questions.  Why would the Lord let me get pregnant only to lose my children before they ever got to take their first breath and experience my love for them.

I had so many hopes and dreams.  Being a mom had been the desire of my heart for as long as I could remember.

Again, the Lord graciously reminded me that their death was not the end of their life.  They were safe with Him and my Mom in heaven.  When that truth came to me the overwhelming peace that followed was beyond description.

I had struggled for so long with questions and confusion regarding this loss but all of that became unimportant.  They were ok and I would meet them someday, peace & hope replaced all the anger and confusion that had just been there.

Today as I grieve the passing of my friend and grieve the disappearing of my dad, I find hope in the character of God.  I know that God is Good.

I know that God loves me no matter what happens in this life, and that truth motivates me to hold on to HOPE today and the many days to come.

 

How do you find Hope, even in the midst of grief?  

Do You See Your Spouse as Grace from God?

As Valentine’s Day arrived this year I received a very sweet card from my farmer.  He is usually the funny card kind guy so the card he chose for me this year really touched me.

I am so thankful for him in my life.  Moving beyond divorce and the disappointment, shame and hurt was not an overnight journey for me but it was so worth it.  If you find yourself in a place that you never expected, divorced, take heart there is hope.

God can restore what was or provide you with something new.  Seek Him, repent of your sin/your part in the end of the marriage, embrace grace, forgiveness and healing.  You can find the life you always thought you would have.

This weekend my farmer and I attended a marriage conference together.  It was such a great reminder to fix my eyes on all the things I have to be thankful for in my marriage.  Looking for the good in my husband will help me to see more of it.

Mingling of Souls is an annual marriage conference by Matt & Lauren Chandler.  During the conference, Matt reminded us that as Christians we are not yet what we will one day be.  We are a work in progress.

Strange how we want our spouse to be a finished product but we see in ourselves we aren’t there yet.  We often compare our very best moments or features with our spouse’s worst.  Keeping our eyes focused on the truth of our journey can help us show more grace to our spouse and find more growth in ourselves.

Matt also said when he was young and questioning his relationship with Lauren, a mentor once told him you will fight with someone the rest of your life; do you want it to be Lauren or not?  It is funny to think of our spouse being the person we will fight with our whole life but it is true.

We are both a work in progress so there will be conflict.  Too often we see conflicts as something that reveals our spouse’s weakness.
Instead we must see our struggles and conflict as a gift of Grace from God. Matt Chandler #TakeHeart Click To TweetInstead we must see our struggles and conflict as a gift of Grace from God.

How can that be a gift?  Each struggle or conflict reveals what is going on inside of us.  God is revealing to us something about ourselves so we can grow.

When he is late, do I give him the benefit of the doubt or do I become impatient and selfish?  When he leaves his clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper, am I playing a martyr or being prideful?

Examining my heart will help me grow and progress in sanctification.  Being angry and holding him to an unfair standard will just make us both miserable and break down our relationship.

The process of becoming more like our Lord is not an easy one but it is one which we are called to engage in.  Our spouse is just one of the many things the Lord uses to help us grow.


In what way, will seeing your spouse as a gift of Grace from God change your relationship?

 

 

How to Navigate Life with a Personal Manifesto

      During life transitions just making simple decisions can cause you to become completely overwhelmed.  We often try to function on autopilot, unfortunately instead we just get pulled in whatever direction the crisis is that is right in front of us wants us to go.

Wandering aimlessly then causes more frustration because the things that are most important to us get neglected.  The overwhelm gets worse and worse.

Writing your personal manifesto can make all the difference in seasons of transition.  There are lots of different ideas about what a personal manifesto is and how to create your own.

In general, it is a written statement which includes your core values.  The great thing about this statements is it might not be true today but you desire for them to be true of you in the end.

A personal manifest functions as “your own personal code of conduct that is not decided in the moment but predetermined before you are in crisis.” states Kathi Lipp in Overwhelmed.

To write your personal manifesto you will want to take some time to think about what is most important to you.

 

When you think of your most treasured values you think of things you want to always be true.  Identify 5 to 8 core values and turn them into statements that will provide guidance to how you will live them out.

Everyone says they love God first then family and then their job.  But do most of us don’t live that way?  Writing manifesto statements help you to think through what it looks like when you do live out your values.

I also found it helpful to put myself in the future and think about what I want people to be saying about me when I am no longer here.  I want to be true to who God made me to be and the mission He has put on my heart to live out.

 Here is my Manifesto:

(Note: I decided to put my manifesto on this picture of me because I love this picture.  It reminds me that these words are about the REAL me.  I have printed it and hung it on the wall of my office so that I will not lose sight of these important values.)

Some of these statements I am living out pretty well today but might become more of a challenge tomorrow.  I think that developing your personal manifesto will also help you live out your life with intention.

 

When you face decisions, whether they be, can you add this commitment to your calendar? or are you going to do business with a specific person?   Your personal manifesto can help you make that decision quicker and easier than before.  It is almost like making decisions before they are even presented.

 

Can I help teach Sunday School at church?  Well, it is helping others to learn of my Daddy the king, and it is offering encouragement to others BUT will it interfere with being the best wife to my farmer or daughter to my daddy?  At this stage in my lifetime is very valuable.  I already have a lot on my plate so though it is a good activity I must say no for now.

 

Using my personal manifesto to govern my calendar and life will be a tool I look forward to using for many years to come.  It represents the me I want to be every day.

 

I hope you see the value of developing your personal manifesto. 

 

 

I would be happy to talk with you more about how to identify your core values and develop statements that best incorporate those things which you are most important to you.  As a coach this is one of the first steps to helping a person move forward toward the life they want and a lot of fun!

 

 

I would love to see your Personal Manifesto!  Please share them with me at TakeHeartTransitions Facebook page.

 

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