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Gemstones Amongst the Ruin

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From the Journey…

In March of 2011, my entire family was, unfortunately, struck down by a crazy stomach bug that kept them in bed for days.  I guess by God’s good grace I was preserved from this illness so that I could wait on them from top to bottom…LITERALLY…so when I found myself having to drive to a project location to facilitate a safe water committee meeting without my partner at my side or my boys in the backseat homeschooling…well, I must admit, I breathed a long sigh of relief to have a moment of peace.  So this is my journey…

The sky was shining bright and brilliant with my favorite color of “Carolina blue,” while the fat, billowy cumulous clouds (we just learned about these in homeschool!) draped the distant mountain tops.  Villagers and school children walked the roads to work and school and the sweet smell of a spring flower in bloom filled the truck.  Astounded by this much beauty on this early Tuesday morning,  my mind went instantly to the Creator of this earth and I began to pray and sing praises to Him.

Anticipating the turn that leads to the school where the water project was being installed and the acrid smell of the dump site that resides at this turn off, I reached for the controls to roll up the window of my truck.  I didn’t want to ruin my lovely “moment” with that smell coming inside!  So up the windows went!  Feeling a sense of accomplishment, I settled in for the rest of the ride when suddenly something caught my eye at the dump site.  Most passes by this site just fill me with digust from the smell of rotting waste, but today, my eye caught the most vivid moving colors scattered among the discards of hundreds of homes.

Recognition set in and I quickly realized that these beautiful colors were the clothing of the women from the surrounding village…the clothes they were wearing as they dug through the trash trying to find a treasure of their own. Looking like magnificently cut gemstones amongst the ruin of that place, it caused me to really consider what I had just seen and the visual contrast that it presented.  A moment of understanding… that our sin is like that filthy, stinky, disgusting dump…reeking, rancid, and saturated with sickness and ugliness.  However, when God looks at us, it is quite like the women picking through the dump. He sees something beautiful, something valuable, like a treasure that was lost in the wasteland.  Lovingly and gently, He reaches down His hand to retrieve us from that place and take us home.  He cleans us off, fixes us up,  then puts us to good use for His purpose…Just like brand new!

In the past, our relationship with God was damaged beyond repair.  Our sin had caused separation from God and there was nothing we could DO to undo it.  But, God in His grace, reached out to us through Christ.  He washed away our sins and reconciled us to himself.  As Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons.  They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone.  A new life has begun!”  Kinda like the dump (discarded), the women (Christ), and the treasure idea (reconciled).

It’s amazing what God will show us when we open our eyes to His beauty…I was so grateful that sun-shiny morning to spend some time “alone” and away from the sickness in my household, never realizing the journey and lesson my Savior had for me.

Thanks for taking a road trip with me!  May your life be filled with many reminders of how treasured, how precious you are in His sight!

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You Are Here

16636_1284064268365_7256496_nYOU ARE HERE

By Diana Rasmussen

You are here in my heartache and pain.
You never leave or forsake me.
Your love leaves a mark, when it touches my heart;
You are here Lord, You are my strength.

Your mercy runs deeper than the tallest tree.
Your hope burns like a fire in my heart.
Your grace lets me fly like an eagle.
And your love sets me free to be me.

 

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help,

       He rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;

       he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

 The righteous person faces many troubles,

       but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. (Psalm 34:17-19 NLT)

” When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.

Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 

Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT)

It’s Who I Am

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We borrowed another post from Robin Townsend’s blog “Scribbles of the Heart” to get our blog rolling. Thanks Robin.

Wow. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Life has been busy with school, football and spending time with great friends. Decided it was time to put the pen to paper this morning and get some things off my chest.

I haven’t been able to sleep much the past few nights. Not unusual for me since Tony passed away but sometimes it’s due to being the worry wart that I am. I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. It’s just who I am. I’m used to it by now. When you’ve been through grief like I have been, writing comes easy because you’re able to bear your soul and let others see what you’ve endured. We all go through pain, suffering and loss, but we don’t all grieve the same way. As I was pouring out my heart in words, I put on my headphones to my iPhone and just let the music play while I let the words flow. It was such a tranquil peace being able to get that off my chest, truly the best writing comes when in the peace and quiet you truly seek God and find not only yourself but His promises for your life as well.

I’ve often wondered lately and asked God, “what is it I am here to do, where do I go from here, what is my purpose in life?” I know that my calling is to be His child. I know that I am to bring others to Him. I know that I am to worship Him every. day. But what I truly was longing to find deep within myself was what was my purpose in a certain situation that I have been caught up in. One that no matter how hard I try I can’t walk away from, one that I feel God leading me to because it’s His choice for me at this time. Who are we to tell God that “we can’t follow His will because this person shuts us out”, is that truly being a Christian? No.

Through the peace and quiet other than the lull of music in my ears, God led me to His purpose for now. The task ahead of me will not be easy but the power behind me will sustain me. That’s all that matters. None of us have to go through life alone. And as Christians, we are NEVER alone but sometimes we need to reach out to others and be the light in their darkness. No matter how much we are NOT wanted.

I wish I could just not care. But apparently I don’t have it in me.” I’m talking about caring for someone who is struggling with something. Who despises me. A friend who seems to change moods on a daily basis, who at one time reached out and then because of mistakes I made (hey, I’m not perfect) slams the door in your face and chooses to be alone, or is afraid of reaching out for fear of what someone might say or for who knows whatever the reason.
I’ve said those words over and over the past few days, though not for the first time. I’ve said them before about two months ago.

I’ve been mulling over how to change things. Even started thinking that maybe I could make a difference. Silly me. But I wouldn’t give up because I know what pain feels like, I know what coping “all alone” can do to you. I’ve been there. And so it began. The interest and concern that inevitably lead to frustration and burnout. The passion that leads to heartache.

When I was in my 20′s, an old friend of mine told me that she thought the song, “Standing Outside the Fire” by Garth Brooks described me. In case you weren’t a country music fan in the early 90s, here are a few lyrics:

We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk the tables being turned
We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always comes with getting burned
But you’ve got to be tough when consumed by desire
‘Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire

In looking back, I didn’t really know what she meant by that. I liked the thought of her thinking Garth sang about me, though, so I never forgot it. Then this week when I got all worked up over something I was told, and was driving home from football practice listening to XM, the song came on, suddenly, I remembered these words.
As a matter of fact, they ran through my head on a constant loop (complete with misremembered words and mixed-up verses) until I finally pulled up Standing Outside the Fire….

“We call them fools.” And later in the song, “We call them weak.” That is exactly how I’ve felt! Over and over, I’ve tried to rein in my emotions, not get involved and, in general, be “normal,” but I just can’t do it.

That’s not how God made me. I don’t think it’s any mistake that I’m a passionate person. The Bible says that God created me, that He knit me together before I was even born.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
~ Psalm 139:13-14

My inmost being? He knows it, because He made it. He knew – well before I did – that I couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with Barbies, student council, singing, Tony, blogging, my boys. He knew I couldn’t stand outside the fire.

That’s not how He made me.

Diving headfirst into a fire of passion and excitement and dedication and commitment has often resulted in getting burned. And so, as new things arise, and trust me, they will, I’ll probably attempt to hold something of myself back. But I won’t be surprised – and I know God won’t be, either – if I end up jumping in anyway.

I won’t give up.
It’s how I was made.

My heart is bitter, angry and today doesn’t like this person very much. Yet even though this is “how I was made and who I am, I won’t give up but I will give in”…I am moving forward. Yesterday is over. Tomorrow is here.
I can’t and won’t make anyone accept me. If you don’t like me, you don’t like me, it’s your loss. If you can’t forgive and move on, again it’s your loss. I am kind but never mistake my kindness for weakness because I am NOT weak. I am a survivor. I will get through this.

We all struggle. All. Of. Us. It’s part of life but God also puts people in our lives to help us, love us and be there for us. If we choose to go through life alone and unwilling to accept others kindness, friendship and love than we can’t sit back and blame God or others for our problems, we must realize that what comes around goes around. Karma bites. It bit me. That’s okay because it’s taught me a valuable lesson, one I will never forget.

We all handle things differently. I’m okay with that. If we were all the same, life would be boring but that doesn’t mean we have to hurt the ones who help, care and love us. It doesn’t mean that we look around to find whatever we can to satisfy and quench our pain and bitterness. It doesn’t mean we knock one another down because of our trials….
It means that we must pick up our feet, hold our head high and look forward to what’s ahead, we can’t live in our present situation of doom and gloom, for God expects us to trust in Him, for He knows the plans He has for our lives and nothing we do or say can or ever will change that. We can’t run from God. Never. So, I accept His will.

I wait.
I trust.
I accept His will.

But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

My eyes have been clearly opened this morning. I give up. I let go. I’ve done ALL I can do. My pain is inevitable but I will be okay because I’ve GOT this but better than that, God has this.

Healing Hearts

iStock_000012584007XSmallWelcome to our new blog created by Christian women to minister to all women.

The purpose of this blog is to minister to women of all ages, all races, all cultures, and all backgrounds. We may have many differences, we may look different, live differently, come from backgrounds that are very different, but we have one thing in common; God created us all “female”… we are women and we are affected differently than men by the things of life.

Many of us have a heart that is easily broken, but because we have others who depend on us, we often keep that broken-heart hidden. We don’t have time to nurture our own heart… we are too busy caring for others. This blog is meant to be a place for women to share their brokenness and receive encouragement from others.

It works two ways, first,  we can contribute to this blog as an author and by sharing our own stories and experiences, we help others to heal… we let others know that they are not alone in their situation, and we point them toward Christ. Second, we come here to read what others share and hopefully we find something that speaks to us, something that touches our heart and offers encouragement.

Whether you contribute as an author, or you only want to read what others write… please take time to make comments on the different post that you read. Offer praise and encouragement to the authors and to others who post comments. Please use this site as a place to interact with other women. We have included a place to submit prayer request as well. Also, please share the post that you read and find helpful… share them on Facebook and other social networks, or email them to a friend. If you have been blessed… then please pass it on… blessings are meant to be shared.

We are looking for Christian women who have a desire to be a part of this ministry. If you are interested in contributing, please fill out the form below and we will send you an invite to join us. Include a little about yourself and if you already have a blog, provide a link, so we can read more about you and read a sample of your writings. This blog is informal, so we are not looking for professional writers… we of course want others to be able to understand what is written, but we are not overly concerned about the style of writing. Our main purpose here is to glorify God through the words we share.

We hope you will join us. God Bless.

Self-Love

68407_10151338899729500_232011777_n-239x300The following post was originally published on Robin Townsend’s personal blog, Scribbles of the HeartRobin will be one of the contributing authors to this blog. She is a talented writer and her strong faith in God is expressed in her writings.
Many of us struggle with issues of low self-esteem. Robin shares a little on that topic here.
For most everyone that knows me you know that I don’t have very much self esteem. It’s a daily struggle for me to “like” myself, but I know that God created me and he sees me as worthy even though I and probably everyone else doesn’t see it that way.
It is what it is…..
I’ve been thinking recently about the things we say to and about ourselves. How we see the world and others stems from our self-talk. I took a long look in the mirror this morning and tried to say positive things.
What are you saying to yourself today?
I know there are times this is really hard to accept, but this is what God is saying about you and YES, even me, “This is my beloved daughter/son, in whom I am well pleased.” May I suggest that today you speak those words to yourself. “I am God’s beloved daughter/son and in me He is well pleased.”

Wow. Just writing that out was powerful. Speak this to and about yourself today.

Allow yourself to be loved by your Creator – it changes things.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

-Robin

My Heart

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As we launch our new ministry blog site, I decided to post a prayer or this little conversation that I wrote down years ago at a time when I first begun to use writing as a way to work through all the thoughts in my head.

This blog was created as a place for women to share with other women about the things that sometimes hurt our heart. The hope is that we help one another heal by sharing the healing love of Christ through our blog post. I thought this conversation that I had with God about my own heart was a fitting post to get us started.

“God is near to those who have a broken heart…” Psalm 34:18

Lord, if others could actually see my heart… they would find something that may not be pretty to look at. Over the years of my life, my heart has been bruised and it has been broken, so it now carries many scars. There are times when old wounds are opened and my heart bleeds and  the scars thicken.

I realize that if I could see the heart of others… I might see one similar to my own because your Word says that in this life, we will have trouble so our human heart suffers pain.

Many of the scars that I now carry are the result of “this life” because life is hard… people disappoint us, people hurt us and people that we love die and leave us behind and our heart breaks. Some of the scars are a result of the choices that I have made in this life; choices that sometimes took me places that eventually hurt me.

No matter the cause of the heart breaks that life has brought me, you Lord were always there to bring healing. You did not turn me away even when the pain was of my own making. The quicker I came to you and asked you for a healing touch, the quicker the pain subsided. I have  also learned that when I turned to you first before looking for other ways to stop the pain,  my wounds did not leave as bad a scar as those times when I tried to ease the pain through relationships, alcohol, and various other methods.

Lord, although my heart was hardened by the many scars, you have touched my heart and softened it, so it is now soft and pliable. One touch from you changed everything and  I am so amazed at how you continue to change my heart and soften it… even toward people who were the cause of my pain. The scars on my heart are still visible just as the scars in your hands and feet are still there. My scars serve to remind me of lessons learned and of the Grace, Mercy and Love that you have given me.

Change my heart Oh God… and help me see others as you see them. Lord, I want others to know and understand the healing touch that comes only from you. I want others to know you Lord as I now do. When I am in pain, I no longer hesitate to call upon you. Thank you Lord.

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