We want to be seen. Seen for who we are, not necessarily for what we may (or may not) do. We yearn for someone to see past our scars, and to see the real us inside.
Have you felt this way too?
A fiction book I read semi-recently was relating to this topic. The main character, Moriyah (you’re probably familiar with her name now since the last two Monday posts have been related to her ;)) had a visible scar as well as invisible scars. She had a hard time believing anyone would ever look past them and see the real her.
And honestly, I’ve felt something similar. With all my quirks, and my issues, I sometimes fear I won’t find someone who can not only deal with said quirks and issues, but also will see past them and see me.
As I spoke about this to God one morning, He brought to mind a quote from the book where Moriyah’s father says to her that he believes that Yahweh will bring her a man who sees past her scar for who she is.
And with that God affirmed the same to me – He will bring me someone, someday, who will see me. Not just my oddities and struggles, but me.
He knows me even better than I know myself. That means He sees the absolute WORST of me, but…He still sees me, the me He created in His image. This truth touched me even deeper.
During this last Passover a while ago, my family and I gathered at our table and refreshed our minds about this holiday, and as we prepared our hearts to partake in His communion, I sat there with tears in my eyes because…I’m not good enough. I’ve got scars. Lots of them. I’m not nearly as healed as I yearn to be. But right then, as I was about to take the piece of matza bread, Jesus gave me the picture of Him holding out His wrists to me, showing me His scars. For me. He revealed to me that yes, He sees all my scars, and He offers Himself for me anyway. Freely.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28
Jesus sees me, accepts me, cleanses me, and loves me.
The very same truth is the truth for each and every one of His children. He sees you. He is El Roi.
He doesn’t just see what you try to hide, or what you feel makes you broken, He sees the real you, the beautiful you. Fashioned by Him. And He loves how He sees you.
Regardless if any human person on earth sees you, sees me, we can rest absolutely assured that He sees us, and calls us His beloved.
Happy Monday, readers. This is the Monday where I usually share a devotional/inspirational-type post written by me. But I’ve been dealing with some fatigue and lack of good night’s sleep lately, so haven’t really been up to writing one out. However, I didn’t want to miss this post completely, so I am sharing a devotional written by Joni Todda, that a friend of ours shared with us. I hope it encourages you as it has encouraged me.
My friend Dan, a race car driver, was recently talking about a terrible accident in which a NASCAR legend was killed. The driver’s car had been in first place. Slightly bumped, it appeared he overcorrected and then, in the next instant, crashed into the wall. I asked my friend Dan if that kind of thing happens often on the racing circuit. “Oh yes,” he said. “Guys in their cars get into a spin, get bumped, and they see that wall coming! I’ll tell you, there’s one thing they’re trained to do. They must not look at that wall. Their training tells them to keep their eyes on the track, and steer out of the spin. If they look at the wall, they’ll freeze. Your body just reacts — you can’t help it. The answer is to concentrate every nerve on steering toward that open space.”
That answer really spoke to me. Because lately I’ve been experiencing an unusual amount of aches and pains, and it’s had me thinking about… the wall. It’s not going to get easier, Joni. Old age is coming faster than you realize, and boy, you’d better brace for an impact. As a result of my fears, I’ve “frozen up” at times, worrying about the future and its problems rather than the present and its opportunities.
Paul writes, “Set your heart on things above,” and the gospels say, “Lift up your head, for your salvation draws nigh.” It’s advice worth following… or you just might hit the wall.
Lord Jesus, sometimes my life situation makes me afraid. I feel panic rising, my mind locks up, and my fears loom like a large wall. As best I can today, Lord, I will fix my eyes on You, and not on my problems and fears.
Joni and Friends
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
That word stands out to me in those verses above.
So many things were going wrong in this passage, disaster after disaster. They had every right to complain, to be down casted, according to the world’s standards. And yet…there’s that word. Yet. Yet I will praise You, O God of my salvation. I don’t know how he managed to utter those words when everything around him seemed hopeless. But maybe that’s just it – Habbaukkuk rose above his circumstances, through God’s strength. He looked at everything that was wrong around him, but he didn’t blame God or be broken down by despair. In fact, he didn’t even let himself stay where he was, neutral or nonfeeling, like could have. In the circumstances he described, it would have been easy enough to just shut down, or go into denial. To lose all hope.
But he didn’t. He decided to pick himself out of that mud and rise above it – to let God bring him to walk upon his high places, and say to the Lord that he trusts Him. No matter what. No matter how terrible things are, he will trust his Savior and praise Him through it all.
That is hard. But it is a choice.
Just the other week, I was faced with that choice too. My family and I were about to set off for a fun day. We had food, our ‘herd’ were in their stalls, grapes were on the vines (metaphorically); we had lots to be thankful for. But I was having horrendous sensory issues that morning. The tears were uncontrollable, I couldn’t stand what I had on, and I was stressed over ruining the fun we had planned. We had to leave in less than half an hour, and I was still sobbing.
My dear mother encouraged me to go up to my room and seek Jesus. Even just for the 10-15 mins before we had to leave.
As I sat in my room, I cried and poured out my heart to God, expressing myself to Him that I didn’t want to be uncomfortable, I wanted to have fun today. I wanted my clothing to feel fine so I could enjoy the day.
I opened my “Jesus Today” to the “randomly” picked devotional, and one of the verses shared was:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
The devotional went on to say how we are so strongly inclined to lean on our own understanding and that mindset dies hard. But the truth is, we can’t understand His ways with us. He is infinite. Thankfully we can rest assured that He has our best interests at heart.
I continued to pray and listen, and was just utterly hit with the reminder that Satan is a thief. He was doing his utmost best to keep me thinking on my clothing, keep me focused on the worry that I wouldn’t have a good day unless I was comfortable. He was trying to steal my joy. And I was letting him. Until I said NO. He’s an expert thief who comes in unannounced, but oh so present. I read the verses I had on my wall, each pouring into me the strength of Jesus, of His Word, and His promises. I verbally told Satan, “No” through tears. I had to repeat it over and over, “You will not steal my joy today. You will not ruin my day just because I hate my clothes. No.”
We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. (Romans 8:37)
I hated my clothing. But because of Jesus, I could rise above that. I could employ the ‘yet factor’.
These clothing pieces may feel awful and they may needle me, but YET I will trust in God. I will give this day back into HIS hands, because isn’t that where it starts?
“Seek ye the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mat 6:33
I was so focused on my clothing and my comfort because I wanted to have a good day. But a good day is not dependent on whether or not I am comfortable. A good day is not dependent on the circumstances around us. A day is good because it’s from Him and has been submitted into His hands, for His glory.
So as we left the house that morning, I continued to repeat the verse “We are more than conquerors” and I did end up having a very good day. Because I took my focus off the thief and his pursuits, and put them on my Savior.
Yet I will praise You.
This song is a beautiful one with lyrics that correlate with this post.
Today I want to share a more personal lesson – an experience I recently went through, and what God showed me during it. Yes, the subject is Hope. There are a great many lovely songs and Bible verses centered around this word. It is, indeed, an inspiring word. But previously, I hadn’t really ‘attached’ to it as much as I have now.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I have long battled with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, and it shadows a lot of my life experiences, over-arcing into many areas of my life. It’s rather boring to talk about, but it does play a significant role in my journey.
One night recently, I had been struggled with my “sensory-issues” in the form of clothing. As is typical for me, I was having an awful time adjusting to how the clothing felt on my skin. Each clothing article felt just terrible, and I was dealing with some other struggles that were majorly stressing me. I was in tears, and just a mess. With my dear mom’s encouragement I went upstairs to try to pray about it all – just take all my stresses, worries, and uncomfortableness to our Lord.
I’ve experienced a lot of amazing healing from Him throughout my life. God is good. But as I sat at my desk that I night, I wasn’t feeling a major feeling of healing. I still felt low. Yes, I felt His awe-some presence, but I didn’t feel healed, and that’s what I wanted.
I flipped through the pages of my Bible, pouring out my heart as I went, and the word ‘hope’ stood out in almost every verse I “randomly” came upon. But honestly, I still felt downcasted. The verses were good, but weren’t really sticking to me. I reached for my last prayer-journal and again opened randomly, praying that I would turn to a page that would help me, minister to me. ( My prayer-journals aren’t entirely filled with prayers – in fact, they’re mostly verses I write down or things God has shown me, so I guess I should probably rename them. ;))
Sure enough, I turned right to an entry I had made in May of 2017, where I was once again writing out whatever my current struggle was and what the Lord showed me. Right at the top of that entry was the verse featured in the graphic above.
“Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Good Hope Through Grace.
I re-copied the verse into my current prayer-journal and emphasized that phrase. Good hope. Through Grace.
I’d like to share what our Almighty Father spoke to my heart then:
“Hope, My child. Trust is good and vital, but also hope. Do not forget to hope in Me. Hope is a way in despair. Hope is the companion in sorrow. Hope in Me.”
And then He led me to write out my struggles but beside each one write: “Hope in Him”. Over and over. Hope. Let Him complete. He soothed me again with His words, “As you weep and as you cry, remember your hope in Me. Fight for it. Cleave to it; for through it you cleave to Me. Sorrow, but hope.”
The realization, the reminder, that hope is a companion in sorrow was profound to me. Hope does not take away our sorrow – it does not change our situation, but it makes a way through them. It lightens our burden, and eases our spirits. It is the light in the darkness. I pray we can all comprehend it and not turn away from it.
So, I sat there, tears still marking my face, pain still hurting inside, and my clothes feeling awful. But Hope. “Hope in Me”, He says. Hope is our companion as we sorrow – and we will sorrow. We are not promised good days all of the time. But we are promised His grace, and His Hope. Hope eternal. Forever, and always.
It’s hard, though – and that, I believe whole-heartedly, is why He said we had to fight for it, and cleave to it. The world and all its trials will try to rip it away from us. But we have to fight to keep it, fight to hold on to it, to cleave to it. For through it, we cleave to Him.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Ps. 43:5)
If you are sorrowing, my friends, remember to Hope. Hope that the Lord is here, hope that He is our consolation, our greatest reward, and He will remove us from our troubles – one day. Hope that He is GREAT, and all-powerful. And He is Lord.
I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned this on here (and if I have, well…memory blank! Just keep swimming ;)), but my family and I have come to learn quite a bit about the Biblical Jewish Holidays over the years, and one of those that we celebrate now is called the Feast of Dedication. Some call it Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. The meaning behind it is all the same. It’s been a really neat experience to learn more about the Biblical Holy Days. To celebrate the ones that Jesus Himself celebrated, not just man-made holidays.
And yes, it’s been a change to switch to these holidays, but it’s been so good. I can honestly say that. Each year as we learn a bit more how to better celebrate the Feasts, it becomes more enjoyable. I think my favourite feast is this Winter one – The Feast of Dedication.
A family friend wrote a beautiful devotional about this Feast, and I wanted to share that here, because it really is encouraging, and also informative. Let us all shine brightly for Him this season and always! Enjoy reading this devo :)
“Tuesday night began an 8 day celebration in remembrance of the dedication of the 2nd temple after the Jews reclaimed it from those who had polluted, defiled, and profaned it for over 4 years. It is a time of rededication.
Each year, the Jews remember their countrymen who died for God’s laws when …they were told they could no longer worship God in the way he had taught them. These few men preserved the Word of God so future generations would receive it.
This was a Holy War made up of few Jews in number, but numbers did not matter to them, because they trusted victory comes from God.
Without Hanukkah, there would be no birth of Christ, no Savior, no songs like Oh, Holy Night.
Think on this!
John 10:22-23 tells us that Yeshua himself, kept the Feast of Dedication .
It is not a Jewish Christmas as so many of us have once thought. It is the story of God’s children refusing to assimilate into other pagan cultures. Let us learn from them!
Let us be set apart, peculiar people who will die to keep, and guard God’s commands!
Yeshua came to be the LIGHT of the World. And, this occasion is a reminder to all of us to be a light to the world.
He brought truths which made Way for all of men to see the path of righteousness, the Way of being right in God’s eyes. Those who don’t have God’s light are not sure where they are, as they are walking with just a small measure of light…the seed of God planted in them. But, just like all seeds, they need light to grow, they need God’s Truth. They need God’s Truth to guide them in what is right. So, those of us who are walking in the light, are to share our light with others who are walking in darkness. We can point them in the right Way!
Just as a light house sends out a beam of hope to guide big, and small ships to safety, our light does the same… When we share our light within us, we help others from having a ship wreck. The more light you and I have, the easier it is for others to know the Way. Many people in this world do not read God’s Word, so our righteousness is an instrument in showing the Way! This, is what Yeshua did. He came in the flesh to show people how to fulfill Obedience to Torah (God’s instructions) by doing it perfectly. We desire to be perfect as He is! And where we fail, there is forgiveness.
Let each one of us be God’s light in whatever sphere of influence he has placed us. Ask God to shine more of His “light” into you. Then, do not hide what truths you have been given, but rather, give them out to others who are seeking light in the darkness. I urge you all to be God’s light today!
God bless you all, in Yeshua’s name, and in his authority! Now, SHINE!”
I have this inner war with myself regarding social media. I love it, I see the good in it, and then…I don’t. I hate it. I hate how much garbage there is out there.
And my heart cries for how many mislead people there. How many people claim Christ but don’t proclaim Him.
There are days where I scroll through one of my feeds and I just get disheartened by what I see. We live in a very technology-age where social media is basically everything. And our lives looking good on the outside are everything.
But it’s not. We’re messy on the inside. Aren’t we all? Who can say their life is truly as perfect as their instagram pictures? Or their Pinterest boards? Or what we portray on Facebook or twitter? It looks good. But does it reflect our soul, which should be a mirror of our Savior?
I do not claim to have this down myself. Oh how I wish I did. But I still want my life to look pretty. I want to be able to take these aesthetically pleasing photos, and make beautiful art that just makes you want to stare at it for hours. I want to join in with the crowd and proclaim my own accomplishments. Ouch.
So there are days where I get upset as I scroll. Disheartened. Angry, even. I sometimes want to shout “People! Let’s tweet about Jesus harder than we tweet about ourselves!!”, but then God stops me short. He pulls me back and reminds me of the verse about seeing the speck in the other person’s eye when I’ve got a log in my own. He leads me to posts by others that convict my soul. I read one just this morning.
“Oh my soul, do not be stirred up by what does not bring life to self or others”
-This quote comes from the post, Just Delete the App, on author J.A. Marx’s blog.
When I think I am right in my “righteous anger” towards people on social media, I really am just judging. And that’s not my place, and so I repent.
Yes, there can be shards of truth in what I was feeling – social media can be a monster. But it’s not my place to be all judgey about it. What people post is between them and God. I cannot change anyone. I can inspire. I can encourage. But it is not my battle to tell them what to do. Basically, it’s not my issue, so stop taking it on. I’m to live MY life, learning how to make it pleasing to the Lord. To stop looking outward and start looking inward more. That can be hard. But I want to try. I don’t want to be stirred up by things that do not bring life to myself, to others, or is not pleasing to my Lord and Savior.
So maybe that means I click out of twitter for a while, or don’t visit facebook as often. Again, to quote J.A. Marx’s post…
““If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away” Matthew 5:29.
Seriously, it’s easier just to delete the app.”
(Image from google)
I want to be focused on following after God, not how to encourage other people to do that. Because if I first follow after God, encouraging people to do the same will happen naturally.
Yes, it is right to want to see Jesus more on social media. But it isn’t right for me to say where people need to put Him. We are all at where we’re at by the grace of God. And we’re all growing. Hallelujah! I’m so thankful to learn that it’s not up to me. The power is of God! And oh how I love Him.