You Were Made For More . . . .

You were made for more.

You were not made to live in despair or darkness. You were not made to live a defeated life, without hope or purpose.

You were made to know the God who created you and chose you and made every part of your being to be filled with His love and purpose.

You were made to rise above the circumstances of your life, to love and forgive and bless others regardless or even because of your suffering.

You were made for so much more.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

…the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord…. Jeremiah 29:11-14a.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

[All Scriptures: English Standard Version]

Standing Firm – No Matter What

It is God who arms me with strength

and keeps my way secure.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he causes me to stand on the heights.

- 2 Samuel 22:33-35

IMG_0482Have you ever seen one of those documentaries on mountain goats that live in the rocky crags? These animals are perhaps the most sure-footed animals on the planet. They live on the cliffs among sharp rocks, huge boulders, and dangers of many kinds. Yet they skip along these mountain heights with the same ease that we walk on level ground. I believe God gave us this picture—of real life animals that are uniquely equipped to overcome numerous difficulties and live in strength and security in some of the most dangerous places on earth—for a reason. He gave us this example to encourage us in the dangers and difficulties we face. Just as God strengthens and keeps the deer on the steep and dangerous mountain wilderness, He also strengthens and keeps us.

Turn to God for strength today, no matter what difficulties or dangers, hurts or disappointments you’re facing. God will strengthen you. He will help you to stand firm—no matter what!

Make today count!
mary

 

Photo and post copyright Mary Comm 2014

Battles of the Heart and How They’re Won

Mountain Path.EstesI had a bit of a rough week last week.

The week before was wonderful. I took a trip to beautiful Colorado: a visit in the peaks and folds of the mountains among the golden aspens and gurgling, rushing streams; time with good friends; and more time with my amazing son. But as often happens, there is a letdown after such emotional highs. And this week has been no exception.

One thing that made coming home hard this time was the reminder of what is most important to me, and of some recent losses in my own life. Sometimes we think we’ve moved past those losses and we believe they can’t touch us anymore; then something happens and they are fresh all over again.

These events create battles in our mind and heart like none other. They resonate through our thoughts and feelings like a clanging cymbal, brash and annoying; unrelentingly harsh and unkind.

So how do we fight these battles, these gongs of noise and clutter, and return the tenor of our lives to one of normalcy, laced with joy and infused with strength?

For me, I have to unpack the circumstances that have created the noise just as I unpack my luggage. I pull out the details; sort them into piles; put them where they need to go. It takes a decent amount of discipline, determination, and effort, but it’s better than tripping over that erupting suitcase every time you walk into your bedroom. ;)

Wrong beliefs about God or myself are excess baggage and go right in the trashcan.

Disappointments go in the dirty clothes hamper; they need a good washing over with compassion and truth. (We can be compassionate with ourselves without moving into self-pity; we can accept the truth that we are disappointed but then move beyond to the truth that God is good and He has good things in store for us—if only we will walk in tandem with Him.)

Hard truths—as in, there are some things we can never go back to, and we must accept the consequences of choices that were made—are left out where I can see them. I need to embrace these truths and learn to walk in acceptance of them. Once I can do that, I put them away in a treasure box, for it is in accepting hard truths without bitterness or regret that I become stronger and more resilient.

And finally, losses are carefully and gently placed in a special place where they can be tended to, much like we would tend to a sick child or wounded animal. We don’t place them on a pedestal to be worshiped; but we keep them in sight so that we can apply appropriate treatments and comfort them while they heal.

Not too long ago my daughter had oral surgery to have her wisdom teeth removed. Once I got her home, I laid her on the sofa in the living room. I brought her pillow to her and a soft blanket. I tended to her daily, bringing her medications, ice packs, food and water, etc. I let her sleep when she needed to, and when it was time for her to get back on her feet I prodded her to do so. Sometimes we are so averse to pain it’s hard to get back on with the living of life; we want to keep taking the pain meds, which make us sleepy and sluggish. But at some point, those pain medications that were helping us rest and heal can actually work against us if we take them too long or rely on them too much. We have to embrace some pain as we encourage our body to move into a new and vital phase of recovery.

So it is with losses. There is a time to heal. There is a time to rest and recuperate. Then, when the time is right, we get up and get back to life—even if it still hurts.

What I’m talking about here is being gentle with ourselves, discerning what’s true and what’s not, and moving toward healing of hurts and losses—which means getting on with life even if it still hurts. It’s not an easy process, but it is one that strengthens us for the next time we face a loss or experience a hurt. Most importantly, we bathe it all in the truth and love and kindness of our God. He is with us, always, and He longs to be our go-to Person.

Whatever you’re facing today, realize bad days or weeks happen; there’s no shame in that. It’s how we handle those times that makes all the difference. Determine to unpack the sorrows, disappointments, hurts, and losses of your life thoughtfully, intentionally, and with tender care. And don’t be afraid to ask someone to tend to your wounds if you need them to; sometimes we need someone else to partner with us in our recovery process. Finally, bathe each part in the truth that God is for you and with you, and He loves you no matter what. Therein lies our hope and joy.

Here’s wishing you hope and joy today,

mary

Welcome!

Welcome to My Blog!

When my kids were teenagers, occasionally, during a full-on “Mom” moment, I would state the obvious to my kids, which of course led to eye rolling and comments such as, “No duh, Mom!” But as a mom, I felt and still feel, that sometimes you need to state the obvious. Sometimes we miss important and valuable thought processes when we stop seeing those important things staring us in the face. So in my turning-lemons-into-lemonade manner, I took those opportunities with my kids and created what I affectionately call The Bleeding Obvious Game. Following one of my obvious statements (e.g. If you don’t turn your homework in, your grades will suffer…), I would state another ‘bleeding obvious’ thing—something silly like, “Pain hurts; the sky is blue; the dog is furry.” Then I would toss it to the kids with, “Your turn!” Then they would join in, stating other bleeding obvious things, turning a potentially tense teenager moment into a few fun ones. We always ended up laughing!

Today, I’m going to play The Bleeding Obvious Game with you! For example—are you ready? Here it comes…. Life is hard. (Pretty obvious, huh?) Here’s another one: The Christian life is hard. (No, it’s not sacrilegious to say that!) And here’s one more: Ministry work is hard. (Can I get an “Amen!”?)

I know you know these things. They are as obvious as the nose on your face. But sometimes we simply accept the difficult nature of life and keep pushing forward without ever taking a look at why life is so hard. Sometimes we beat ourselves up for failing miserably in these situations, and simply go on. Often we either buck up and steel ourselves against the day ahead, or we moan, groan, or lament—openly or secretly—because we know what’s coming and we are dreading it. Sometimes we call this process growing up, being mature, or taking responsibility. For the record, I’m not disagreeing that we need to be responsible, only about how we handle our responsibilities.

So why is life so hard? Your answer might be the “No duh” stuff, such as finances, relationships, my boss, my kids, my husband, my job…or a thousand other circumstances that may be making your life hard. But what I’m hoping to accomplish in this entry is to get you to begin to see beyond the circumstances to what lies behind them. For example, for years a friend of mine struggled in her marriage. Her husband could be “a real jerk” sometimes (her words, not mine), which always caused tension between them. Many years into their marriage, however, they learned that he was bipolar. Suddenly his being a jerk took on a new perspective. With the proper diagnosis and medication for her husband, and counseling for them both, they were able to work through the issues that were making their marriage difficult. Looking past the circumstances and identifying a root cause helped them recognize the tools they needed to begin to make their marriage better.

My point here is that for every difficulty we encounter in life, there is something more to it. That something more may be a simple attitude that needs adjustment, or it may be a startling revelation that requires some focused attention, problem solving, goal setting, creating a plan of action, or making other life adjustments. Sometimes the simple awareness of what is behind the stressor is itself the most important thing. The choice, then, is to either ignore the newly discovered information and keep responding to the situation in the same ineffective manner, hoping for a different result (which, by the way, is one definition of insanity!), or to decide to do something about it. Sometimes figuring out what to do is obvious; sometimes it’s not. But one thing is certain; sorting out such things is always better with someone, especially someone you can trust to be honest, objective, and trustworthy.

My encouragement to you today, is to start taking a closer look at the circumstances that are making your life hard, and enlist the help of someone who will be honest, objective, and trustworthy to help you sort through them. The truth is that life doesn’t have to be so hard! You were made for so much more than to merely survive every day so you can go on to survive it again tomorrow. You were created to thrive! You were created to live the abundant life of joy, peace, and purpose—every day, no matter what! And that is what this blog is about. Jesus said,

“I have come that they (Believers) may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27)

Maybe, if you’re like me, you grew up hearing these things in church. You may believe them, as I always have, with all your heart. But like me, you may not know how to live life in this way. The question I always asked was, “How?” “How do I live the abundant life? How do I live in the peace Jesus ‘gave’ me? How do I keep my heart from being troubled or fearful?” When I couldn’t figure out the answers I assumed the problem was me; I was failing (which is self-condemnation), or it was someone else (which is blame). For the record, neither self-condemnation nor blame ever solves anything.

This blog is about answering those questions, and more…much more! In the past few years I have begun to learn how to live out the promises God gave us in Scripture; promises that, when we learn how to appropriately apply them to our life, we can learn to live the life God created us for—a life of freedom from all the things that discourage us, disrupt our day, or destroy our peace and joy. Join me as I share the things I continue to learn about living the life of Much More. It is a life of more peace, more joy, more purpose, and more satisfaction than I ever dreamed was possible! As children of the Living God, you and I were made for so much more….

Living the Life,
Mary

(To learn more about me and how I can help, click the About button!)