Divine Implosion

I have been thinking a lot about controlled demolition, as in the implosion of a building, because of a sermon I heard recently. I’ve always marveled at the engineering that is required to build skyscrapers, particularly the super tall skyscrapers. I have also been fascinated with the precision planning of the implosion of tall buildings and love that a 45-story building can be torn down by a series of explosions without damaging the surrounding buildings. Often the destruction of the old building is done to make room for something new.

I read that when you need to tear down a skyscraper, it is one of the most precisely planned, strategic, and delicately balanced engineering feats you will ever witness. The tallest building ever imploded was 47 stories. When a building is surrounded by other buildings, it is often necessary to implode the building, making it collapse down into its footprint. One explosion after another occurs and large dust clouds form. It can seem like chaos and mass destruction. However, when all the dust settles you can see that it has been a very orderly process and the surrounding buildings remain completely intact and unharmed.

This all reminds me of a series of trials that I have been through. I have felt at times as though it has been chaotic with one explosion after another going off in my heart, leaving billows of dust. It felt very painful and frightening much of the time. It was hard to see what was going on. I wondered what the Lord was allowing to happen. Would there be anything left when it was all over? Would it ever be all over? As it turns out, the Lord was imploding old traditions, strongholds, and ways of thinking in my heart over the past 15 years. I realize now it was all very strategic, precise, and purposeful, yet painful, and at times extremely confusing and frightening. He has an incredibly beautiful way of destroying the old without harming the new and even growing, strengthening, and establishing us in the process. I am still healing from some of the destruction but rejoicing over the new He is building! He has answered so many prayers and given such hope. My heart rejoices and gives thanks! He is doing a new thing!

Psalm 66 came up in my quiet time about a month ago. It has been my prayer of praise and thanksgiving since. It gives further understanding to all the Lord has been doing or allowed in my life and in my husband’s life this past decade or more. Praise be to God, our Lord who sits upon the throne always. He sat as king at the flood, and He sits upon the throne in the midst of all of our trials. He watches over all and protects us and provides for us. He gives us strength and blesses us with peace even in the midst of the most fiery blasts! (Ps. 29:10-11).

I have included Psalm 66 below.
I pray it will be a blessing to you.

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls.

In His Hands for His Glory

When Sin Remains

I’m tempted frequently to push aside the fact that sin remains in me, that I still follow my flesh every day. I’m tempted to believe the lie that if I call sin for what it is and bring it out in the open that that somehow doesn’t bring glory to God—that followers of Jesus are not supposed to struggle anymore because His Spirit dwells inside them. When I believe the lie and give into this temptation my eyes can close more and more to the truth around me, blind to my sin in general, blind to my need for community, blind to the need of my Savior. Ironic isn’t it? What I’m believing keeps me from seeing the truth of my desperate need for Jesus. How quickly I can let my mind spiral. Praise God for being the only one who can remove the blinders from our eyes! Read on for some honest praying and crying out to the Lord in my journal and be encouraged today, you’re not alone in your sin. Sin is a real battle we must fight by God’s grace every day, even as believers in Jesus, but “thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” for the reality of what will be—deliverance from this body of death! (Romans 7: 24-25).

“Wretched woman that I am! Lord sin dwells so deeply in me and I’ve pressed it aside lately, not really wanting to look, wanting to just mosey along and be sweet and ‘good.’ Thank you for the prayer of repentance I read this morning, thank you for my son taking a longer nap so I had time to process, thank you for forcing my eyes open to the ugliness of jealousy, comparison and looking down on her pride as I saw a friend’s Facebook post. Thank you for forcing me to say out loud the sinfulness in my heart. Lord just like the Israelites that grumbled after seeing you part the Red Sea and seeing manna come from heaven every day as you sweetly provided for them so I am grumbling in my heart as you graciously and sweetly provide my ‘bread from heaven’ every day through Jesus. You alone sustain me and I’ve been so blind to see the beauty and majesty and your glory in that. Lord please grant me grace to really repent from this. ‘Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (Romans 7:24-25a).

In Jesus name I pray, amen”

 Planted for His Glory

When Your Dreams are Crushed

What do you place your hope in? Are there things you desire more than Christ?

Sometimes these things aren’t too crazy. It could be the amount of time you long to be alone because you can’t wait to watch that TV show you didn’t get to finish, or the time you enjoy slowly scrolling through social media on your phone. Is it the glass of wine your mind goes to when you’ve had the absolute worst day? What about the affection you deeply long for, the affection your spouse won’t show you? Could it be the extra cash you daydream about, but don’t have? Or is it the encouragement your spouse never shows, but you feel yourself desperately needing? What about the home that is slightly bigger than your own, the one you drive past and just dream of being able to afford?

“If my husband would just ___ then our marriage would not struggle.”

“If I didn’t struggle with ___ I would be a lot further along in my walk with Christ.”

“If we could only go ___ then I could relax”

“If I only had___ then___ would be FINE”

I can’t tell you how many times the things in the above paragraphs have come out of my mouth or floated around in my head.

Since beginning my walk with Christ, the Lord has brought this scripture to me time and time and time again, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matt 16:24-26).

This piece of scripture sounds great and is easy to read, but when really thinking about what this means­­, it becomes a lot more difficult. It was this truth in my quiet time with the Lord and in my Bible studies that I was asked to actually take this scripture to heart and apply it. “What are you clinging to?” the studies always ask, “What dreams and hopes do you need to surrender in order to completely follow Jesus?”

For years I thought only of obvious things, the things I dreamt of and longed for more than anything––wanting babies, wanting a job, wanting to have a better marriage. In fact, I think most would agree that what I’m listing isn’t harmful or truly bad, but here is where the problem lies—the things I listed above I desired more than I was willing to give them up to seek after an intimate relationship with Christ.

Over the course of the last month, however, the Lord has brought new revelation and allowed me to see that my hopes and dreams were still there, they were just in disguise. How did he do this? I believe the Lord allowed me to plan my dream vacation for over a year, and the month before we were to leave I was informed that we would not be going. I am sure you have more important things you are desiring than a dream vacation, but stay with me.

I was a mess, this trip meant more to me than skipping around in a foreign country. This trip to me was going to be THE SPARK that rekindled the flame of my marriage. This trip was the last trip before we seriously invested time and money in starting our family, and lastly this trip was a DREAM of mine. Everything I ever wanted to do, we were going to do on this trip. You all, for years I have mapped out, made contacts, and spent more time in a coffee shop then I would like to admit picking out THE DRESS to wear for a photoshoot we were going to have. Our pictures would be in the most majestic setting you can imagine.

The day I found out we weren’t going, I Immediately thought this was a cruel punishment. I mean I was doing “good.” I was reading the Bible, spending time with Him, working out my anger, and serving Him. But He was dealing with my heart. As the days went on I could see that my Abba Father was wanting more from me than my dutiful performance, he was wanting my whole heart.

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love” (Jonah 2:8).

This scripture has been at the forefront of my mind. By God’s sweet grace I was shown that if something in my life has the ability to manipulate how I feel and what I think when I no longer have it, it’s something I am clinging to. If something has the ability to quickly change my thoughts or mood when the plans for this desire are interrupted, it’s something I am clinging to.

This completely changed my perspective on what could be considered things you can hold onto other than the Lord. It was no longer just the hope for a baby, or a better job; it was my desire to be happy, the desire to have my alone time, my dream vacation, the very things that made me believe “If I just had __ my life would be better”.

I was placing my hope for a changed marriage in this trip. Among other things I just knew by going on this trip we would get what we needed for this season of our life. This trip was going to change things for me, for us. You see, going on the trip would have been fine, but the minute I shifted from taking everything and laying it all at the feet of my Father, to trusting in my own plan was the exact moment I was saying “Okay Lord, I am not trusting you to work this stuff out, so I know just the thing that will help.” Instead of being patient and resting in the promises of His steadfast love, I built idols out of my feelings and the dreams of what ifs. I made a shrine out of the possibilities. I had to go back and take inventory of my heart, and ask the Lord to show me what else I had a death grip on.

Friends, I am thankful, The Creator of all things wants to be in relationship with us. He wants more than our best work, He actually wants for us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. This is encouraging, He could have allowed my eyes to stay blind but instead HIS DESIRE was to mend the gap between my heart and His.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

All for His Glory