Thursday, August 21, 2014

You Died Today

Today, I looked up and I realized that you feel like a stranger to me. Maybe it's because God really did lift that heavy burden that I've been carrying and while I care about your eternity and your salvation, I'm just at that place of nothingness inside.  You can work. You can sleep. You can eat. Take control of your life in all the ways you seem to hate me controlling it.  Be your own man.  Work, come home, sleep, and continue not to be present.  Somehow, I think God intentionally shoved me aside on purpose 'cause I'm sure I'm good at getting in His way.  Maybe now, His real work can begin in your life.  Or not.  I mean, that's thankfully not my choice at all. 

Which frees me with a happy sigh, a happy smile.  Makes me kind of giddy because whoa.  I forgot somewhere in there that God has big plans for me, plans bigger than I ever dreamed He would use me for.  He told me that before we met.  I always thought you would be part of them, but maybe you won't be.  For now, it's with great expectation that I haven't felt in a while that I know God is blowing open some doors for me to keep going forward.  After all, I am a wounded Princess warrior.

My first mission will always be to this family and to you and to our children, the whole ragamuffin bunch of them.  You are my ministry.  I couldn't have foreseen God would give me four sons and four daughters the way that he has, but that's what He's good at, blessing his kids just because He loves us.  He knew my heart is for kids because that's what He created me to do.  So me and the kids, we'll keep moving on in the things of God.  I love our church family because it feels like a real family.  I love the kidlets and I are going to have so much fun together and work towards making sure they growing up going after God with passion and His plans and purposes for them. I love that I get to start working with a new mentoring program with kids at a local school soon.  I mean, obviously, kids, YAY!

We'll be around whenever you decide to come back to us. But for now, we'll be happy to love you and love each other and just continue to let the joy and peace of God flow in us and in this atmosphere in our home.

You died today.  It didn't come with sadness or pain like I thought it would.  It didn't come with a goodbye.  No eulogy.  No burial.  Just matter-of-fact.  And with it came more joy than I thought possible.  It came with more peace than I can fathom.  Most surprisingly, it came with renewed strength.  I have long waited on the Lord, and He has renewed my strength.  I mount up with wings as Eagles.  I run, but I am no longer weary.  I walk, but I am no longer faint.  No burdens.  Just free.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Hug Runs Through It... Part 2

God, you know me way too well. 

I got that very much needed God hug today, and you didn't even give me a choice about it, either, because you know me so well that you knew if you asked me for it, I wouldn't have the courage to go get and take it.  But I'm so glad you love me this much, that you would choose a mighty woman of God to both give me that hug today and release your word yet again over my life.

I shouldn't be surprised that you care so much about what I have carried as a burden so long, but yet, I still have that wonder of, "Why do you love me so and care so much about my seemingly insignificant life?" But I KNOW. I know that you've got those plans for me, plans way bigger than I ever dreamed you would use me for. And yet knowing, all along the way, even before I was born, that you have kept my life. I can see you woven throughout my life.

So keep leading us. I know you've called us here, but not quite sure of your plan for what we're doing here in Houston. Give me that vision so I can run with it!

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Hug Runs Through It

"You can go up there and get that hug. He's calling you, Rachael."

Those were the words my husband had just leaned over to whisper in my ear as he gave me a side hug.  We were in a room full of people, and for the second time that week, we were being offered the chance to go up front and get a hug from God through one of the leaders.

I couldn't make myself step forward, though I felt God pulling me so strong to go get that hug. I'm certain I've never felt his pull on my heart as much as I did that day. 

Even after that week that changed my life and my walk with God forever, finally having a heart knowledge of how much my Daddy God loves me, I've thought about that hug. I know I'm His princess, and that I'm his favorite, and that I am really loved by the One who created me and gave me the precious gift of life.

This year, my prayer has been for God to show me how to trust him. It took my dad going to meet Him a month ago that God revealed the very root of the trust that I can't seem to find.

I have raged at God; I have raged at my dad. His death revealed things I've suspected were going on my entire life but never knew for certain until the week after his death. Things that I thought I forgave years ago rose to the surface with a fiery fury that would now be brought to the light where my healing could begin. Buried hurt hurts even more when it gets pulled into the light like a thousand stabs in your heart from a jagged, rusty knife. But it's the root of my inability to trust.

So I'm sitting in church a few weeks ago, and the congregation is singing a song about freedom. And that's when I heard him as clear as if he were standing right next  to me.

"I'm sorry, Rachael.  I am so sorry I couldn't love you the way you needed me to, that I wasn't the father that you needed.  I couldn't love you because I wasn't able to fathom God's love for me."

Yeah, I lost it. Me, who hates crying in front of anyone, especially in a crowd of people, lost it.  And then God said to me, "And that's why you couldn't go get that hug from me, too. You saw me as you saw your earthly father, through that hurt you feel right now."

Slowly but surely, my heart is being repaired. Little by little, my Father is leading me. The best part is that now I have my earthly father in my great cloud of witnesses to cheer me on as I run my race. And if God decides to ever again offer me that chance to go get that hug from Him on this side of heaven, you can bet I'm running to him unashamed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Where did YOU go?

Sigh. Sigh, sigh, sigh.

I feel deceived. When I met you, you were on fire for God. You used to dig into the Word. You used to pray with me and for me. And then, one day, I found out it was all a lie to impress me. That cut me deeper than anything else. Because my heart's desire from the time I was a little girl dreaming about my future, I knew I wanted to be a Pastor's Wife. Which is what I thought you aspired to be. I fell in love with you because of that fire.

Yet here we are now. I can't say anything to you, not even about the great I AM. I'm listening to you, yes. And inwardly, I'm crying from the heartbreak as I watch your hope die. As I watch you become angry at God for all the ways he's disappointed you. No church. No bible. No praying. Only Anger. Only Frustration. Only Nothingness. I am watching you speak such destruction over yourself, I worry. I wonder. And I wait on the very God you now want nothing to do with.

If I could make the choice for you to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ, I would. But I can't. And so I wait. I pray. I ask God to show me how to show you kairos love, love in action. God has shown me how the enemy's attacking you. So thankfully, a good friend pointed out that really, it's never you I'm fighting with. It's always the enemy.

I wish you could hear the words of Jesus Christ, what he's saying to you. That he hasn't abandoned you like you thought. How much he really loves you. I know you feel your life is so crazy, so upside down, that you're questioning your own decisions.

But on the flip side,you have a wife that is declaring and speaking the Word of God over you. I am praying God will do whatever it takes to reach you. The clock is ticking down, and the last thing I want to do is to spend eternity without you.

As much as that is my heart's desire, I know it's my Abba God's heart desire even more. And I pray through my example, you are won over to Him. I'm not leaving. I'm digging my heels in and standing my ground. I will fight for you and stand in the gap for you until the enemy loses his grip on your life. I'm not going to abandon you in this fight.

So I believe God for a suddenly move in your life. That you are completely set free and healed entirely from your past. That you are indeed a mighty man of God. That the blessings of God will overtake you. That the favor of God surrounds you as a shield. That God did call us here to Houston, and that His purposes for our lives will prevail, both individually and as a married couple. That you hear God's voice and are quick to obey it. That you are slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry. That God's perfect love casts out fear. That we're seeking God's kingdom and his righteousness first, and all these things will be added to our lives.That the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. That God's joy is unspeakable for you and full of His glory. That you will run to him and not be afraid to cling to Him as he rejoices in your return.

I never thought in a bazillion years I'd have to stand alone, believing God for you, as my heart feels like it's breaking. I miss the way.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Light versus Dark

It's a tough marital season. No, that's not right. It's been a tough marriage, period. No goo-goo eyed, oh, I love you, you're so awesome honeymoon season, either. If I stop and be honest with myself, there are probably more times that I've wanted to run screaming for the hills because of the constant stress and heartache.

But my heart always beats out, "God, there HAS to be more to marriage than THIS."

I found myself in yet another situation yesterday where I was crying out to God, feeling like if things continue the way they are, my heart is literally going to break from the pain. We do have awesome days as husband and wife, and as time goes on, there's been more of those great days as opposed to the ones I spent bitterly hating my husband until forgiveness stepped in and changed that. God had to help me forgive because I didn't even have the strength to do it. It is true your emotions will lie to you big time because I had no idea that offense had led to bitterness taking root, turning into hatred, and then murder in my own heart. It was big, and it was ugly. Freedom from that ugly in Jesus Christ opened my heart to things I've never seen before. It caused me to do things I'd never done before out of a heart change and new motivation in Jesus Christ.

So when God speaks to me, it's not a booming voice. It's still, small, and almost a whisper.  He'll often drop a phrase into my spirit as I pray, and I'll go look up scriptures. Today, it was light and dark, and this particular scripture.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthian 6:14, NIV)

I've often heard that scripture quoted when it comes to marriage, warning a believer not to marry an unbeliever. Today, I was going to find out it was going to lead me on a new journey to something I really haven't considered before. I searched three words:  light and dark and marriage.

I found a Focus on the Family blog series written by a woman named Robin Weidner. She was talking about her husband's addiction to pornography and how it affected her. In a blog titled "Recovery:  A Journey Worth Taking Together," Robin says, 

"Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement." – 2 Corinthians 2:7, NLT

Whether a spouse is fighting an addiction, depression or even a deeply engrained character flaw, we sometimes find ourselves in one of two extremes. We either seek to control, cover-up or compensate (becoming over-embroiled in their battles), or we distance ourselves from their struggles, communicating by our words and actions, "This is your battle. You fix it!" 

The balance is found in understanding God's commitment to bring good to your life and to your marriage (Romans 8:28) through whatever difficulty you are facing. 

I finally realized that by refusing to help defend our marriage (and insisting that I'd wake up one morning and the fairy tale would be back and thriving), I was leaving my husband and brother in Christ more likely to be overcome by discouragement.

Ouch. Hello, word of God, sharper than a double-edged sword, dividing the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I'm in this, "This is your battle.  You fix it!" mode right now. Praying from a distance. Being as distant as I can because being around a negative person is mentally and physically draining.  We've been so around this mountain about five bazillion times, and I finally jumped ship because of my own heartache. And I'm leaving my husband alone in his battle to break free from his past. I'm not defending my marriage.  I've said to my own husband and brother in Christ that I, the one person who he's counting on, want out of your battle and see you later when you're whole, having grand visions that it will be different.

I need A LOT of prayer.  I need it.  My flesh is screaming so loud right now.  I so don't even want to reengage at all.  I don't even know how to begin to walk this path.  But I know God will most assuredly help me apply what he's just told me.  I need those eyes to see, ears to hear, and that heart to know.  I have to face my enemy of myself, and it's sometimes that particular battle that's the most difficult one to face.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Generational prayers...

I love those nights when I dream dreams about my boys.  We don't get to hang out nearly enough for my liking, but either way, I know my Daddy loves me so much that he knows how I value my time with them that He'd give me fun dreams where I get to hang with them. Even in the moments where my heart aches from missing them, I know the day is coming where we'll be together for eternity.  At least that is my prayer.  My boys all know the truth of God's word, and that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  I'm sure every mom who knows Jesus Christ as their savior has had to pray their children will know Jesus Christ as their own savior and that their lives will be lived worthy of the calling that He has called them to purpose for the kingdom.  And I'm very sure grandparents who pray have even more of an effect.

You see, I have the most incredible grandmother in the world.  I don't get to see her as much as I'd like these days either, and it's hard to watch the effects of time bear weight on her health.  This woman was the one who made sure friends from church got to come over when I was little for slumber parties.  She'd let me completely wreck her hair playing beauty salon with her to the point she'd have to go the salon the next day to have it professionally fixed again.  She'd always encourage us to sing in church.  Never a day goes by that I don't remember how much fun and joy I've had at her house growing up.  I remember the more recent trials in my life, how she encouraged me by her example to live my life worthy of the calling God gave me.  I like to think I got my sense of humor from her, too.  I asked her one day how she shows respect to her husband.  She said, "Who says I respect him?" which made me laugh.  I know she loves Paul dearly and is one amazing wife to him. 

So grandma, I just have to tell you how blessed I am to be called your granddaughter.  I'm so thankful for your example.  I'm so thankful you let my daughters still play beauty shop with you when we come to visit.  I'm thankful for every holiday we have the honor of spending with you.  I'm thankful for the legacy of Christ that you left for me.  And more than ever, I look forward to spending eternity with you in your new, improved body.  I know God blessed me when he put me in your family line. 

I love you!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Missing the way...

So I was in a play at church as a teen (and some of you reading this may remember it), while Rolf and Debbie Kleinfeld were my youth pastors.  It was about a young girl named Alisha who had died and how all her friends and mom and dad dealt with her death.  The husband dealt with it by turning from God while the wife stayed faithful to God and prayed.  Eventually, the husband did return to the Father.

So I got the role of this wife, and I sang part of this song by Michael W. Smith.  So I pray you'll take a listen...

What I didn't know at the time was that it was prophetic of this time in my life.  And God has brought that song to my heart over this weekend for my very own Superman.  My husband is very much still a believer.  But his heart for God that I saw when I met him that caused me to fall very much head over heels for him, that fire that once lit up his life, it died somewhere along the way.  And I miss that fire and passion in him.

You are destined for greatness, my husband.  Don't forget that for one minute.  I still pray for you daily, that you can fathom how high, how wide, how deep, and how long is Christ's love for you.  He is calling you back to experience that passion, that fire, that love that you first held for Jesus Christ.  God told me he's got big plans for me, plans bigger than I ever dreamed.  He told me before we met that we would walk together in ministry.  So if God told me all that, I believe that God has plans bigger than you ever dreamed for your life also.  I believe His promises are YES and AMEN for your life as well as mine.

Even the scripture I quoted during that play holds my heart and hope for you.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

However my heart aches for you, I know Abba's heart aches even more.  He's missing you even more than I.  But I know that God still pursues you.  I know the time is coming that His consuming fire will burn again even more brightly than it did before.  And all those things that you've lost hope will ever happen in your life WILL happen because God will open those doors no man can shut.

You're so amazing, my Superman.  I can't imagine running this race with anyone else but you.