Walking in Freedom

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Something I am learning a lot about right now is what it means to walk in freedom. Freedom is an easy concept to grasp, yet difficult to walk out. It is so easy for us to assume that the world is out to get us and wallow in our difficult circumstances. For most of my life, rather than choosing to fight, I gave satan the power to manipulate my mind. Not standing up to satan is equivalent to opening the front door and inviting him in. Satan was given one small hopeless thought and he used that to tear me down physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was not until I was in too deep that I realized what had happened. If I knew that feeding that one quick thought would shake the foundation of my identity, I would not have let it in to begin with. In doing so, I was giving satan the power to define me.

Unlovable. Unworthy. Unintelligent. Unaccomplished. But mostly Alone.

Each lie presented is equivalent to a brick. Satan takes these bricks, or these lies we believe, and begins his work at building a wall between the identity he wants you to have and the identity Christ has given you.  Walking in blindness of your Christ given identity, is you living in the shackles that Jesus Christ has already freed you from. Often we find ourselves choosing to live comfortably in the lies that satan uses to define us. We find it comfortable because it is so hard for us to believe that someone could love us despite where we fall short.

But that is the beauty of our savior.

As a child of God, we are not defined by the slip ups and hopeless thoughts. Freedom is the state of not being restrained. Whether that is restraints from physical sin, or the restraints of the shackles given by each lie we let slip through the door, we are imprisoned. When Christ died on the cross, He took away the sin and shame that we once labeled ourselves with. Christ replaced the chains weighing us down with His unconditional love. When the words, “It is Finished” were spoken, His endless love washed over us. Our freedom was no longer something in the distance but the reality of making the ultimate decision of walking in that freedom.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

In Galatians 5, Paul is talking to the people about walking in freedom. He tells them not to pick up the sin and shame they once laid at the foot of the cross. The Galatians were more comfortable in carrying their shame than walking in the freedom that Christ has given them. Confusion was brought forth that made the people uncomfortable. They found comfort in a familiar place that labeled them as slaves.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

-Galatians 5:1

The Galatians wanted to enter into their old ways because they felt that their shame outweighed the love God has for them. The Lord used Paul to remind them of their freedom. Paul told the people to stand firm and walk in the freedom given. There was nothing expected out of the Galatians other than receiving Christ’s free gift of love.

We, as children of God, are called to walk in freedom. We are called to trust that He already won the battle. We are asked to lay our sin and shame at the feet of Jesus and rest in His victory. Despite failing Him every single day, turning back to slavery, and choosing to live comfortably, He desires for us to walk in freedom with Him. He does not expect us to do it alone, he lovingly guides us through the open door leading us to our Christ given identity. Once walking in that identity, we have the power to choose victory over death in every area of our life. So learn walk in it.

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Being a Daughter of the King

There is something so divine about knowing that you are His. Whether it is the joy that comes in the midst of a dark season, or feeling His arms wrapped around you in the moments when people fall short, He enjoys you.

He came to save, and He stays to comfort.

He never fails to remind us that we are His. He values the time spent with Him. He enjoys hearing you. Your laughs, your cries, your worries, your frustrations, your excitements, and so much more. He enjoys when you are a princess locked in the tower of pain, but also the warrior waking up and fighting the good fight. He wants to be your knight in shining armor. He wants to show you himself. He wants to encourage, love, and bring life. He never promised an easy life, but He did promise to be with us through it all. Knowing He is sitting with me, even as I write this, gives a sense of protection. Like I am untouchable. As a child of God, we have authority. The authority that is given to us is far more powerful than anything to exist. We have the power to command, lead, and empower. We can make the devil flee with just our voice. We can choose every day to fight. We are able to stand up, wipe off the lies and hurt, and fight for one another. There is something so special about being a Daughter of the King.

 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

-Romans 5:6-8

More Powerful Than God

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As we look at our futures, we often fear the challenges, hardships, and steps it takes to reach our destiny. With the fear of sinking into doubt, lies, and struggles crashing over us, our minds jump to conclusions leading us to doubt God’s perfect plan in our lives. The thought of not choosing the right path or making the right decisions leads us to believe we have ruined God’s plan for our lives. That little voice in our head tells us to be careful and cautious, it creates worry and eliminates peace. We know that God is sovereign and he will guide us, yet the small voice in our mind telling us we will mess up does not fade.

In Joshua 9 & 10, God uses Joshua to show us his sovereignty and power. Joshua was given an assignment, to take over the lands and drive out ALL the people in the land. A group of men from Gibeon came to Joshua begging for help. They began to explain to Joshua that they had been traveling for days and needed to know their people would be safe. Without asking for God’s opinion in the situation, Joshua made a covenant with the men. By not driving these people out, Joshua was not doing what the Lord wanted. Other kings found out what happened and decided to attack the men of Gibeon. The Kings, led by Adoni-zedek, gathered their men to fight. The 5 kings of the Amorites went to Gibeon and Joshua conquered the men taking over all of their land. The Lord told Joshua prior to this to trust Him and that is exactly what Joshua did.

In this story, many different things could have happened. Joshua could have gotten discouraged and gave up on fulfilling God’s assignment, God could have stopped Joshua before he made the covenant with Gibeon, or Joshua could have asked God before making the covenant and finished what God asked him to do originally. Instead of these situations happening, God wanted the story to go exactly as it had.  Joshua got back up, filled himself with God’s truths, and kept fighting. Because Joshua did what he did, he ended up conquering 5 kings, including their armies and all of their land. God used Joshua’s disobedience and turned it into a perfect plan to glorify Himself. An assignment that may have taken months to finish due to the amount of land, God turned around to wipe out the all 5 kings and their armies at once.

While reading this story, I had so many questions for God. I could not understand why God did not just tell Joshua that he was about to make a bad choice. If God had a plan for Joshua, why would God allow Joshua to fall away from His perfect plan? Why would God allow Joshua to make such a big mistake that would even affect the people around him? And the Lord said softly,

“Lydia, I know the end of the story before it was finished. Trust.”

We all know that God has a plan for our lives and that he loves us. We know that he cares for us so he would not do anything without a purpose. We are so consumed in the result we are losing sight of the journey God is taking us on. We can only see all the darkness and obstacles blocking our path that is blinding our vision. While in the darkness God is standing right in front of us telling us to look up. He wants us to see his hand in our lives. To Trust that ultimately, He has us in his hands and loves us unconditionally. We are not strong, powerful, or wise enough to ruin God’s plan for our life. And for us to think that we are, is not who God created us to be. We are not meant to figure out the result. We are meant to walk with God in obedience while he teaches us through the journey.

If you think you have blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: you, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful     -Lisa Bever

Dear Me

Dear Me,

You have come so far

You have overcome, grown, matured, and loved

Oh how you have loved

 You loved but you learned to not

To get here you have cried

You have learned

You have waited

You have prayed

But most importantly, you have made it

We. Made it.

 

 

 

His Steadfast Love

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“She is not broken anymore. She is stronger, wiser and more beautiful than ever before because God took her broken pieces and made her new again.”

Growing up in a home where church was not the first priority, created a mindset that God was not a necessity. My faith did not become real to me until I started to get involved in a small town ministry. October 15, 2010 was the day that changed my life forever. On that day, I learned that there was a love far greater than what the world could provide for me.

Not long after that day, my mindset had changed once again. I thought that my identity was found in the people I was around and the sports I played. Soon I acquired people whom I considered friends, that helped me forget who I truly was and seek acceptance from worldly things. Sports became a safe place, where I could escape from the world and show my talents. I began to invest all of my time in becoming, what I thought was, the best.

My first year of high school, God was trying to grab my attention. After years of pushing myself to the breaking point, I had my first break. I had a serious knee injury that required surgery to fix the ligaments that were torn. One surgery ended up becoming two surgeries. Not only was I battling the emotional trauma of life without sports, my family was also dealing with the declining health of my grandmother and a near death situation with my cousin. As one difficulty led to the next, I kept telling myself nothing could get worse.

Starting my sophomore year, God proved me wrong. I began to get picked on for the actions of a close friend that caused me to shut down. I started to push others away and I spent all of my time in my room. On October 13, I lost my grandmother. The anger I had towards God grew more and more each day. I kept asking, “How could someone who is supposed to love me, hurt me so deeply?” Though it took me forever to admit it, I had entered into the darkness of depression. My addictions to worldly desires grew stronger and my faith grew smaller.

I was silently crying out to God without even knowing it. All I wanted was someone to talk to. At that point God had introduced me to my mentor. I slowly started to open up and allow her to see how broken I truly was. God then placed other people in my life that would stick around through the good, the bad and the ugly.

My junior year, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As I finally began to take my faith seriously, another trial was on the rise. My health started to become a serious issue. While trying to cope with the stomach pain I was in, I started to skip meals. What started out as just a meal a day, led to not eating for days in a row. I grew weaker and weaker each day. After seeing nine different doctors, a natural specialist diagnosed me. I was forced to take it easy on sports once again until I could get back to normal. It got much worse before it got better, but eventually I regained my strength.

Not much longer after I was getting back to normal, I had my third knee surgery. The procedure was smaller than the previous ones, so it did not affect me much. In that moment, I felt like God was wanting me to close the door on sports. He started to open my eyes to see that I was placing sports higher than him. Though confused, I agreed to let them go. The thought of going into my senior year without the security that sports gave me was terrifying. I began to wonder if I would still have friends or if people would become angry with me.

Senior year was the year that God started to mend my broken pieces. The year started and while everyone else was at practice, I was at work. I told myself I would dedicate my senior to finding who I was. I started to learn more things about myself and became comfortable outside of my comfort zone. I decided to do the school musical and met the most incredible people. I began to expand my talents in art and focus more on my projects. I met my best friends my junior year but we grew closer than ever senior year. God allowed them to show me small glimpses of what his love is like and allowed me to grow. God started to open doors in my life that I would have never had if I played softball.

I decided to go to a Christian camp that June, little did I know it would change my life forever. A wise woman told me leading up to camp, if I truly knew who God was, I would not be searching for acceptance from someone on earth. The statement left me awestruck. I began to pray leading up to camp that God would become real to me. I wanted so badly to drink from His living water and not the have the temporary satisfaction that the world gave me.

That week at camp, God totally rocked my world. They way he spoke to me was like how a parent speaks to their child. He shook me and woke me up to help me realize how loved and cherished I truly am. He placed Psalms 31 on my heart:

7 I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the troubles of my soul,

8 and you have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place

Through this passage, God was teaching me that He was by my side the entire time. Late at night when I thought I would never fall asleep, crying for hours, He was there. He started to remove the chains of feeling like a disappointment, unworthy and a waste of space. He fixed my eyes upon His face and showed me Himself.

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After I returned from a week at camp, my life was all around different. I gained a passion for the Lord and constantly wanted to learn more about Him. I felt like God wanted me to get baptized. Getting baptized was a freeing experience. Most people get baptized early in their faith, I could not have thought of a better time to get baptized. Gods timing is just so wonderful. Not only was I made new in that moment, but He is now teaching me to walk in confidence because I am a woman of God. He slowly picked up my broken pieces, using love as glue, and began to piece me back together. Though the journey was long, I am slowly realizing how bitter-sweet brokenness truly is. God allows us to go through brokenness so we are completely depending on Him. Throughout the entire journey, God never failed to pursue me, love me and bless me. His steadfast Love endures forever.