Saturday, June 29, 2013

{Mercy} Elisabeth

Mercy : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
Elisabeth "God's promise", "oath of God", or "I am God’s daughter"

My precious daughter....

As soon as I was surprised that you were a girl, God whispered your name against my heart. I wrestled with it for awhile because I just wasn't sure it's what I wanted to name you. But every time that I tried to settle on something else, I was pulled back... to your so very special-to-me-name..... Mercy.

How God has used you even before you entered this world and breathed to fill your lungs for the first time.... it astounds me. Many times in my life I have doubted God's ways that are so higher than mine and when your coming was made known was another of those times.

Your life.... the anticipation of it.... has taught me much about the grace and mercy of our God. As I walked through my own sort of valley of the shadow, when grief over loss was all I could feel some days, there was YOU. A new seed.... sprouting and growing and living and moving.

"Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Is. 43:18, 19

Dear one, as strange as this may seem, I do not wish for an easy life for you, void of heartache or suffering. The reason is this: Never have I known the Heart of our Jesus like I have in my loneliest, most painful moments. And my precious is SO worth it. There is nothing on this earth that can compare to experiencing Him. And above anything else, THAT is what I will pray for you. That you would know Him. That you would know because you have experienced His Presence when you are in your wilderness and in your valley of the shadow. And then, in those desperate moments, His grace and His mercy would rain down on you like new life.

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
    in throwing roadblocks in the way:                 Lamentations 3:19-33 the Message

This is the passage the Lord gave me for your name.... and so I will share it with you until you know it for yourself. His mercy is new every morning. He is ever so faithful. 

And I have sweet YOU as a reminder of this truth...... and every time I speak your name, may I remember the goodness of my Lord.

I love you from the depths of my heart, my {Mercy} child....

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Extreme Makeover: Heart Edition

I love the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The stories grab my attention and my heart and I love watching the hope that families receive when they are given a gift so big and so beautiful.

And God has given me my own "Extreme Makeover". Only this one could be better defined as a "heart" edition and it doesn't come with a 7 day vacation to a Disney resort and I don't watch the demolition on a computer screen. I certainly didn't send in an application tape asking to be chosen for a major overhaul. I had no idea the desperate state my heart was really in. And it was the exposure of my husband's sin that God used to reveal to me my own.

Grievous sins... idolatry, self-rightousness, PRIDE.... oh that darn pride. Yet as the Lord started stripping away the things in my life that I held onto, things that in themselves were good, but that I had made into idols.... He became so very real to me.

My story goes a little more like this....

Jesus has lived in me for awhile, but there was a part of my heart that was shut off from Him. It was me who kept the door closed since no one else lives in the inner part of my being besides me and Him. His light seeps through the door on the sides and on the floor and it casts shadows around this room, but I really don't feel too comfortable looking around in here.

I don't know if I opened the door or if He knocked it down... I'm not sure it really matters. But suddenly He was there. And I was being held in His arms. Tenderly cradled as I wept over broken dreams and a shattered reality.

Then I looked around. The light had come in with His Presence and suddenly I felt naked and exposed. My first thought was to grab a bucket and a rag.... this place was filthy! I was so embarrassed and ashamed.

You know on the tv show how Ty will take the family around and ask about the house and their story and what's important to them? Sometimes I don't like watching that part. Most of time I just want to see the end. The pretty part, ya know? But I guess I don't know how they would get there if they don't start with what comes first. Or perhaps... that is part of what makes the end so beautiful. Is to see the "before" picture.

And that's what the Lord did with me. He walked with me inside my "home".... I told Him what was important to me. And we looked at some of the visible damage already done. I cried over the fact that I had no resources, ability, or talent to "fix" the place up on my own. He reminded me that He did. As He held me in His embrace, He invited me to trust Him to be the Architect, the Creative Designer, and the Builder.

The demolition process on the heart is brutal. At least for me, that has been and is the experience. I feel like even the things that I know don't look good, once God starts to tear it down, it gets so much worse! The wall with chipping paint.... as that was pulled back, God pointed out the black spots behind the sheet rock. I jumped up and said "I'll get the bleach spray" and He so gently said "Bryana.... that is toxic black mold. Bleach will not fix it. I need to replace this poisonous wall that is wreaking havoc on your health." The creaking floor? I learned that not all of my supporting beams were solid. There was dry-rot in my foundation and those beams needed to be replaced before the whole structure caved in. And that's what it's looked like and been like as God works in my heart and my life as I allow Him to.

So very painful. New, fresh air to breathe. More solid footing. Freeing, terrifying, surrendering, fighting, blessing.....

Oh, and how I look forward to the day when I get to shout, "MOVE THAT BUS!!" and my Glorious Creator reveals the beautiful tapestry He was weaving all along.....  I imagine I will fall on my face in wonder at His Goodness and His Love.

In the meantime, as I am somewhere on the "7-day makeover process" that is more like a "lifetime process" in the heart edition.... I wake up daily and get to choose if I'll allow construction to move ahead. It's the choice to trust my Savior or not. To surrender to the Most High God or not. We ALL make the choice. Lord Jesus, help me to give a resounding "YES!" every, single morning.