Wednesday, February 8, 2017

We All Need Someone We Can Show Our Ugly Sides To Who Will Help Us Through The Dark Days


She and I first met around 15 years ago. Our boyfriends at the time (now our husbands) shared an apartment with a group of guys. Over the next few years, we saw each other at random times. We'd briefly cross paths at the apartment. At my wedding to my husband, and then her wedding to hers. We sat beside each other, holding our baby girls, as we watched our husbands stand beside their friend at his wedding. Fast forward several more years and we were standing by the soccer field, watching our husbands coach our older children and keeping close eyes on our younger children as they passed the time playing. We talked about mothering small children and the adventures of watching them grow up and the insecurities and fears that plagued us as women and wives and mothers. Time continued to pass. Seasons changed. And we'd continue to float on the outskirts of each others' lives, running into each other here and there. A quick, hushed conversation in an aisle at Walmart on advice about birth control. Later, another brief and desperate Walmart aisle conversation about a devastating diagnosis for her son, with promises to pray, hearts full of pain and eyes burning with unshed tears. Each time we would leave a little bit more of our hearts with each other as we walked away.  

It can be difficult making friends. It is scary building up the nerve to approach someone to build a relationship, and even more terrifying to show your "real" self to them. But here's the truth, none of us, not one, has our act together all of the time. The idea that there is a perfect life or a perfect Christian or perfect wife, mother, or friend is a lie. Even in the church, there is this pervasive lie that we always have to have it all together. We dress our very best and try to be the most beautiful or fit or have the best behaved children. We have to pretend like our marriages are great and we aren't struggling financially and we didn't just have a huge argument and yell at the kids on the way to church. While this may help us look shiny and make a good impression, it destroys the potential for real relationship with fellow believers. And it causes those like me who have real life hard issues to think twice before revealing our hurts and struggles and pain. And then, like in my own situation, a family falls completely apart and nobody saw it coming. 

People were made, created, for relationship. And the burden of perfection destroys relationship. I'm not saying we need to go around spilling out our crazy to any and everyone who will listen. Don't do that. Please. But what I am saying is that we all need 1 or a few people in our lives who we can share our crazy with, who we know without a doubt won't walk away. We need someone who will come to us in our crazy and love us through it, who we can send a text to that says, "I'm about to lose it" and know without a shadow of a doubt that they will begin praying for us. And we need to be that person to them as well. In order to do that, we have to be willing to look straight into their hurt, right into their tear-filled eyes, and not look away. Because that's what we need from them.

Around a year ago, we found ourselves sitting across the table from each other. A few texts had gone back and forth revealing a major need. I had invited her to dinner, expecting her to say no but hoping I was wrong. I am an introvert and she is ten times more. But she had said yes. We prayed, we talked, we ate a little, we cried. And God used us both to fill a deep need in each other that had been there a very long time. We walked away from dinner that night, but continued to hold on to our friendship with a desperation that surprised both of us. We need each other. We share in each others' ups and also downs, laughing and crying and praying over coffee and doughnuts at our now regular dinners. We know that we can be honest and real and raw with each other. And we know that neither of us will walk away. Because we both have looked, unwavering and unblinking, into each others' hurts and ugly "hot mess" times. And we both still show up at that table.

That kind of relationship breathes life into every one of our souls which have been created for real, honest connection. And we all, every one of us, needs one like it!  


      

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sometimes God's Will Doesn't Match Up With Our Prayers, and it Doesn't Make Him Any Less Good

Seven years ago, I was crying out to God to save my marriage. I was losing my husband a little bit every day, and I was regularly in prayer begging God to save us, to turn things around. When our story hit its climax and my husband revealed to me that he was in love with another woman and wanted to leave me, I sobbed and prayed the entire night that God would fix it. His answer came back as clear as a voice in my ears. He told me that I needed to let my husband leave. So I did. I let my prayers for a healthy marriage and intact family walk right out my door and into the arms of another woman. For two months, my prayers for reconciliation went unanswered. I begged God to bring my husband back. I begged Him to fix me and fix my husband and put our family back together. My prayers all along had been that we would not have to walk the road we were traveling, but God's plans were different. He saw much further into the future of His plans for us to make His decisions based on what I wanted in the moment. Finally, in God's perfect timing, He moved and brought my husband home. And in the years since, we have seen countless blessings that have come from us going through the very trial I never wanted to walk through. 

A few years ago, we decided that we wanted to sell our house. We lived in town and wanted to move to a house closer to my husband's work and outside of town where we could have a little bit of land to stretch out on. We renovated and painted and cleaned our house so well that you would never have known that a homeschooling family of 5 lived there. Finally, last Spring, the big, exciting day came and we listed our house on the market. We were full to the brim of hope and promise and complete belief that God would give us our hearts' desires. And on the market it sat...and sat... and sat. In fact, we are still here. I prayed, fully believing that God would sell our house, that He had an amazing and perfect place ready for us to move into. Neither we nor our realtor understood why the house didn't sell. By earthly standards, it was an incredible house at an incredible price. My only answer for our realtor was that our house didn't sell because it was not God's will for it to sell. Plain and simple. Yet the day we took the house off the market was a day where I questioned what God's plans for us really were.  

There have been other times like this where I have prayed hard, sharing my heart's strongest and biggest desires with my God who I knew, and still know, without a doubt could grant them. I've even held up my Bible, as high as my 5 foot 2 frame can hold, and reminded God of John 15:7. I've reminded Him that Jesus said, "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted." And in those moments, He listens to me and waits, quietly, patiently, until I stop talking long enough to finally listen. And then He speaks and opens my eyes so that I finally see that I've been focusing SO hard on what I want that I've lost my focus on Him. Oh, I always think my focus is on Him, but my prayers sound kind of like, "God, I want Your will to be done in my life, but I also really want this thing. So please let Your will include this thing, and if it doesn't, please change my heart." Parts of it may sound ok, but my heart is really saying, "please don't change my heart because I really just really want this thing". 

The real truth is that if we are deep in the Word daily, deep in relationship with God, filled with the Holy Spirit and honestly seeking Him first before any. other. thing, our prayers will be less about what we want, and more about wanting Him. Sometimes we will beg God with prayers that will have a "no" answer. We pray for a job or a sick family member or someone who is battling cancer. We always want to see our prayers answered based on what WE think is the best thing. But God sees the full picture, the today and tomorrow and the 10 years from now. And He knows what really is the best thing. And even in the "no" answers, He never ceases to be good.

Trust in a good God whose "no" for you today is far better than any "yes" that you can think of. 




Friday, February 3, 2017

War




I told her I couldn't do it. I told her I wouldn't be able to write again like I used to, that God had used me for a while but His time for that was over. This blessing friend that God gave me who can see things in me that I can't see myself told me to just do it anyway, and so I did. But now here I sit, with my fingers grasping the pen ready, waiting, hungry to write down words that just aren't coming. "I told her, I can't do this. I told You, God, that I'm undeserving of this, unworthy of this call." I think these words in a desperate prayer telling God that all I really want is more of Him, that's all I ask. And if He wants to use me, then so be it, but couldn't He just write the posts for me? Cause I've got nothing. And He waits, quiet, settling my spirit so that I can hear what the real message is here, so I can see what's really going on behind the curtain. 

I open my Bible, squinting to see the words in the room where a pitch black early morning sky offers no help of light through the windows. "Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea! Answer me because You are faithful and righteous. Don't put Your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before You. My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. I am losing all hope, I am paralyzed with fear." Psalm 143:1-6 

There's my answer, coming from the heart cry of a king desperate for his God. My enemy isn't one of flesh and blood. My enemy is a very real spiritual force whose main goal is to war against and destroy me. And if you are a follower of Christ, he's out to destroy you as well. My fears, my insecurities, my feelings of being so inadequate that I question whether or not I should abandon this blog-ship right as it has begun to set sail... they aren't coming from God. God is shining a spotlight right on them, and they have the enemy's fingerprints all over them. 

The enemy doesn't want me to write. He doesn't want me to encourage anyone or help anyone tuck in a little closer to the side of an amazing God who loves them more than they could ever understand. If you are a follower of Christ, the minute you decide to answer "yes" to any call of God on your life, the enemy will begin a counter attack against you. His goal is to get you to reconsider, to decide that maybe this isn't the right time or you don't have enough courage or strength or energy after all. He's not overt about it, of course. He slips in, as if under the cover of night and full camouflage. His goal is to divide (get doubting thoughts spinning around in your head and make you think that you are alone in your fight) and conquer (completely give up pursuing this call that God has placed on you).

"Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to You to hide me. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious spirit lead me forward on a firm footing." Psalm 143: 8-10 

The enemy's cover just blew up in his face. He loses... again. This is about God and His message that I am able to spread to others. It's not about whether I can or can't do it. It's about being willing to listen for His voice and record it down for you.

I pick up my pen as the words fill my mind. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Samaritan Woman





She goes out to the well to draw water for herself and her household. It is the hot part of the day, and no one else is out there. Everyone else had come to draw their water earlier when it was cooler. But she, well she carries so much pain and shame and guilt from her past that she comes when no one else does, just so she won't be stared at and ridiculed. So she won't feel their condemnation. Their scorn. But Jesus comes to her, expecting her to be there and knowing exactly why she is coming when she does. He sees her shame, He knows the choices she's made. But He sees beyond that. He sees one who was created in His image. He sees His daughter. 

She feels less than worthy going out to the well that day, but still Jesus comes and speaks to her. "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'"John 4: 7 He speaks to her. And not only that, He wants a drink from her water jar. This conversation breaks through centuries of hatred between His people (the Jews) and hers (the Samaritans). Masked by her status and her past, she balks at first. "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" John 4: 9 In other words, you are you and I am me, what could I possibly do for you? And Jesus does what He does best, He speaks the truth to her. They go back and forth a bit until she finally sees, fully understands. She is talking to Christ, the Messiah, the One she has been waiting for! He brings the Living Water that she needs to never feel unworthy or unloved again! She has an experience with Christ that changes her.

Her very identity is transformed, deep down in the sticking kind of way, and then she spreads the message to others. "Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?'" John 4: 28 In leaving her water jar at Jesus' feet, she is leaving her cloak of sin as well. She has been made new. She doesn't hold on to her past. She doesn't hesitate and wonder if He can REALLY save her after all that she's done. She doesn't, "Yeah, God, but..." and list all of the ways that she really isn't worthy of what He's telling her. She just walks forward, free of her shackles. And then she runs in that freedom. And the first thing she does? She immediately leaves to tell her fellow townspeople, the very people she has been hiding from. 

The result is that people come. The town responds to her words and they go to Jesus to see if she is right. And ultimately, they believe. "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony, 'He told me everything I ever did.' So when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay with them, and He stayed two days. And because of His words many more became believers." John 4: 39-41 A woman, broken and ashamed and separated from her community, comes face to face with her Savior. And because of her testimony, many others in the town are saved. All because He asked her for a drink and refused to walk away until she was redeemed. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

About Me


Hi, I'm Megan :) I am so happy that you stopped by. It is my prayer that while you are here, you will be blessed.

First and foremost, I am a daughter of the King. I was lost and I was broken until I was rescued by the saving Grace offered through Jesus' death and resurrection. In Him, I am made new. In Him, I will one day see Heaven. Thanks to Him, I am who I am today, and who I will be tomorrow.

Second, I am wife and helper to my high school sweetheart. My marriage is one of my favorite ministries. Every day I seek to be a blessing to my husband. We have quite an incredible story of redemption after the unthinkable. It's a story that points you straight to Jesus.

Third, I am Mommy to our three babies. I still call them babies, though they are no more babies than I am unicorn. In reality, they are growing up. I prayerfully strive every day to guide them to Jesus and to instill in them a desire to walk with Him.

In none of these endeavors do I always succeed. I fail. I persevere. I fall down. I get back up. God's redeeming Grace abounds! 

It is my prayer that when you look at me, you will see Him. And it is also my prayer that through this blog space your heart will be encouraged, your walk with Christ will be strengthened, and your marriage (if you are in one) would be blessed.