My Cisa Name

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Uninvited, Not This Time!

So we know we are on a journey, right?  Each of God's sons and daughters is on a redemption journey, a journey to freedom, from sin and guilt and all.the.things that have kept us from walking in the freedom God paid for on our behalf with his blood.  So, enter this book launch thing and three chapters of a book dealing with the next thing on the what seems like a very long list of issues in my heart, REJECTION.

I've responded to other e-mails to be included on book launch teams, and every other time I was NOT chosen, NOT included, NOT needed, in a nutshell, Rejected.  Of course, I would brush it aside and not think too much about it but there was still a little sting and a whisper to my heart of "see, rejected again" and possibly a myriad of other voices from my past affirming a lie promulgated by a very sly enemy.

I can always point to the times I've experienced a true rejection .  Trying out for a solo in college choir and having a young inexperienced choir director embarrass me in front of the entire group by pointing out the southern twang of my voice as something to be disdained not applauded or celebrated as "lovely" is definitely REJECTION.  

But there are other times when rejection is something that is perceived.  Such as a conversation with a friend wherein I say, "hey next time you see your neighbor, give her my number, I'd like to connect with her" and her reply is something other than, "Oh, I sure will, you would be great friends" and more along the lines of "She was just over the other day and she and my other friend seemed to really hit it off".  In these situations, because of past instances of real rejection, I can have a tendency to perceive that comment as rejection when, in fact, my friend has no desire to reject ME, she's just speaking facts about what happened that week.  It's in those small moments of relating that my heart can be pummeled and hurt.  What someone else might view as an insignificant comment can poke an unhealed wound in my heart and at the very same time usher in my life long companion shame at the very thought that I am overly sensitive and interpreted that comment as a personal affront.  

As I look into my heart and identify my wounds with the help of the Spirit of Truth, God brings just the right medicine to clean out those wounds, stitch them up and bandage them over until the scars are formed.  Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst, has been just what the doctor ordered, literally!!  The healer of hearts brought the first three chapters of Uninvited to my e-mail in-box and is using Lysa's words to help scrape clean a wound of rejection that has been untouched and allowed to fester far too long.

This journey is a life long process, religious folk call it sanctification, I call it a road to living in freedom!!  God is with me and God is for me.  As my very real wounds are healed, the enemy can aim his fiery darts at the wounds I've received as a result of living in a fallen world and they will hit a healed scar.  Instead of a festering wound pouring forth poison into my heart and mind, the overflow of my heart can then pour forth welcome, gentleness, kindness, grace and love into my own heart as well as the lives of those around me.  I can live loved!! or I can live out of unhealed wounds, turning away from the pain and ignoring the reality of the bondage they create, allowing the enemy to have ground that was bought and paid for on my behalf.

If you've ever felt uninvited, left out or rejected, and have never considered why those experiences continue producing "hurt feelings" in your heart as a child of God, pre-order a copy of Lysa's book. Take a step toward living in freedom, living loved by your creator, the way God intended his daughters and sons to live from the beginning!

For Freedom Christ has set us free.
Galatians 5:1a

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Way of Dying {Pain with a Purpose}

Death...why do we have to die...daily I mean?  We "Christians" throw around the words, "take up your cross daily" and "die to self" like it's no big deal.

Why do I not see how painful dying really is?  

I think about those around me, the ones who seem to be treading water for days, in a constant struggle to keep head above water, the choking and sputtering of trying to catch another breath and the immediate threat of suffocation.  I want to toss out a life vest, give some oxygen so they don't succumb to the fury and the torrent of the waves .  And when the dying involves ME, my treading water about to drown, I struggle and strive and fight.  Oh how I wish I could tell you I give in to the pain, that I allow my body to relax into the struggle so I am carried along in a relaxed posture to the next place.  No, my prayers seem to always be, "make it stop God".  Because MY way is NOT the dying first way.  My desire for comfort and ease dictates that this life be trouble/pain free and not so difficult to manage. My American Dream way of the Gospel, the safe, pain free, pass the next proverbial pill to alleviate the discomfort is not the true kingdom way of Jesus.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
 it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:24
And then I'm reminded of the ugly beautiful way of the cross.  The tight grip I have on MY way begins to release as my soul breathes in this truth and I exhale remembering the mother of God and how she watched her son die.  I can barely bring myself to watch the Passion of the Christ without turning away.  The agony and pain portrayed seems excruciating to watch as a reproduction and I can not even imagine what it was to behold first-hand.  But Mary, she was there, a ring-side seat to see her son as he struggled for life, probably not understanding what this suffering meant.  Thinking for sure this torture she was watching meant certain death and the end for her son.

Unlike Mary, I live on the other side of the cross.  Light has been given and I somewhat understand the mystery of the cross, this upside down way of  Jesus Kingdom and how we are to live.  But still I try to avoid the death to which I am called!  I am forever an amnesiac when it comes to the way of the Kingdom...forgetting that life comes when I die, that the poor are truly rich, the last will be first...I forget all those things as I live apart from the Gospel I profess to believe.

By God's kind grace today, I remember and chose to believe there is beauty crafted in the mess, that dying is not the end.  I can REST in knowing that God is accomplishing something bigger, other worldly even.  He's bringing LIFE out of death and producing something more glorious and wonderful than I could ever imagine.  I can rest because God is in charge, He is making all things new and He is faithful to complete what He begins.  He calls me to live in hard places with brokenness and mess within and all around and He delights in the right now, even when I only have eyes for the finished product!!

So very thankful for the Spirit bringing light to the dark places in my heart. Apart from His work, I would remain in bondage to fear and doubt and would never see the beauty in the messes along the way as He brings his kingdom to earth in me and all around me.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

A New Practice {and my One Word 365}

It is April now and I'm just getting back to this work I began in January.  That tells you something about how life goes right there.  But the fact that I'm actually going to post this little gem and allow you to really know that part of my life and not just scrap this post and start something fresh, should also help you see where I have been and how God is moving me forward.  Hopefully, whoever reads this (if there be anyone) will resonate and be encouraged to "begin again"!

At the beginning of this year, 2016,  I did something I've never done before.  I felt the need to get away from everything (which for me means my people) and intentionally spend time alone looking back over the past year and looking forward to the year ahead.  As God continued to nudge (and I need lots of nudging) I packed a small bag, got in the car and drove two hours to a historic town and spent the night at a bed and breakfast where I had never stayed.  The General Lewis Inn has been on my radar for a long, long time and let me tell you, I was NOT disappointed.

After checking in at the desk, I made my way down the hall to a cozy little room just right for one and unpacked my things.  Dinner that night was delightful.  The atmosphere at the cozy restaurant was just right, linen table cloths, candlelight, a perfect setting for a date night.  My dinner companion for the evening sat quietly and listened intently as I confided my deepest desires and hopes for the coming year.  He was the perfect gentleman, never interrupting, just listening and affirming his love for me by whispering to my heart that I did not look ridiculous to the other guests simply because I was dining alone.

I slept soundly in the double bed and woke early even without an alarm.  I slipped down the hall to grab coffee and get myself situated for a little more conversation with the Spirit.  I sat quietly in the floor, Bible opened, journal and pen at the ready and sipped coffee and prayed for guidance as I tried to discern direction for the coming year.

God had given me a word for the year, Believe.  At first I struggled with the word itself because, "Believe" really God, I already believe, right?  I've been following you for over 25 years and my word this year is "Believe"?  I was absolutely convinced of the word, but had no idea what I was supposed to believe. Was I simply to believe God's promises?  Was my word for this year that general and vague?

As I began to wrestle through all the thoughts and desires of my heart, the dreams and visions for the coming year, the fear and doubt that seem to forever be a part of my cognitive musings, God revealed to me a more specific part of the word Believe.  As I opened my journal and began to scratch out the word in gold ink with swirling letters and place the date alongside the word, I glanced up to see this:

Just days before that I had written "God is for Me" from Romans 8 along with a question, "When will I fully believe this truth?"   When I saw what I had written, it was as if angels began to sing the Hallelujah Chorus ever so softly and affirm in my heart the intention God had for my one word this year. "God is for you".   How kind and gracious my God is, to show up in a very direct and evident way to reveal the intentions He had for my one word.  He is always faithful, even when I question and doubt.  He never wavers in his love or changes His mind about the plans he has begun unfolding.  There may not be an immediate recognition of the unfolding of His plans but that's okay.  I don't have to understand every aspect of how He is moving for this year today.  I can trust his heart one day at a time, one week at a time, believing He is for me and live life intentionally, opening my hand to what He might have next, no matter what that may look like.

Now FAITH (believing) is the substance of things hoped for
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

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