A Short Devotional Remembering the Way to Deal With Brokenness

At this time of year, I LOVE listening to Andrew Peterson’s album called Behold The Lamb. He sings through the story of the Bible; every year I find it quite meaningful. 

I’d like to invite you to make some space to consider again how central and necessary the blood of Jesus is for us…using a song from that album. The song is following the narrative of Passover. Each time I hear it, the simplicity speaks deeply to me: calling me to remember the story of God and His people in the Old Testament, and to call to mind again that Jesus’ blood, as the sacrificial lamb, still creates a way for God’s judgement pass over me today. 

Listen: If you’re able, to start off, listen to this song: Andrew Peterson ‘Passover Us.’ You can find it on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/EuMxnUxi6C8

Consider: The Lord has provided His blood to cover over us in all the areas of our lives, but so often we try other methods of dealing with our mess, dealing with our brokenness

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Read: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalms 139:23-24 ESV

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment].” Hebrews 9:22 AMP

Ask the Lord: ‘Lord, are there ways I am attempting to cover over my brokenness with something other than your blood? Am I forgetting that your blood is powerful to be applied in every area of my life? 

Help me to receive the free gift of your blood in specific areas today. Amen.’

Write down: Spend a few moments writing down areas where the Lord is inviting you to receive His blood. 

#ExcitingGod

Following the Spirit in Places I Feel Uncomfortable

My husband Caleb is a teacher and I stay at home. We live off of one salary, so we budget our money and sometimes look for ways to cut costs or not spend money on things we don't have to. We've been talking for a few years about how I should learn to cut Caleb's hair; what's been holding me back primarily are my visions of completely butchering the fading aspect. If it was a simple buzz cut, I guess I could do it. But since we're talking this fancy stuff of switching from this clipper to that clipper and fading, and so on and so forth...I don't know. That just seems a bit out of my league. 

Anyway, I told Caleb when we were driving to the hair salon the other day that I'd be willing to learn to cut his hair this summer. We were estimating how much money a year it would save us, and although it's not a huge amount, I was ready to bite the bullet. 

However, something changed my mind.


I've always feel a bit uncomfortable in hair salons. 

I've always felt it, but I never really put my finger on why until just recently. It's something about the feeling of a certain KIND of beauty being the standard that is welcomed and celebrated and expected there, in that place, and I feel, subconsciously, like I don't fit the mold. So when I go there, and when I chat with the woman cutting my hair, or with the person cutting my husband's hair, I feel like I have to live up to some kind of standard, and I feel like I'm pretending.

So I tend to feel uncomfortable, which makes me a little bit unnatural, and I'm not normally thinking too thoughtfully about the people cutting the hair. If I'm honest, I'm more thinking about me and how I can cover up my uncomfortable less-than-the-standard-of-beauty feeling in that place.

But on the day that we were considering officially making the switch to me becoming the new hair stylist in our home, something kind of switched for me in my mentality. My mentality in all my other interactions in places like that had been to kind of hold back. But on that day, my husband did something that showed me another option. The lady that was cutting his hair was chatting teasingly with another hair stylist about hell, and what actions 'send you to hell.' Caleb decided to jump in and start talking for real about hell, and about what people think, and what he believes and what Jesus has done. He talked about how he has done plenty of good things, but none of that can save him from hell; it's only Jesus sharing his blood. She ended up sharing some of her story, leaving the surface-y type conversation that's typical of a place like that, and talked a bit about her real pain. After we left the hair salon, we talked to our daughters about the interaction, and we prayed for the lady. We all felt like we wished we could have done a bit more, so we wrote a letter to the lady and drove back to the hair place, and gave her the letter. 


In those moments, in that interaction, something in me started to shift. 

The first thing was pretty practical: I don't think I'll be becoming the hair cutter of the family for now. Even if it saves us a little bit of money, it's not worth it to miss out on an opportunity to follow up on a moment that the Spirit of God was giving our family to reach out to someone who needs HIs healing touch. 

The second thing that started to shift in me was a thought process: I want to be able to see where the Spirit is moving, and what He is doing, even if it's in a place where I feel a bit uncomfortable or a bit intimidated. Jesus wants to walk into hair salons, and into places of messed up concepts of beauty, and into the wordiness...and one of the primary ways He walks into rooms and places and spaces is through us. Through His Spirit that He's placed in His followers. When we walk into a room, He does too. His peace comes in. His gentleness comes in. His discernment walks in. But I have to be willing to put aside my discomfort and my walking in my flesh, and engage in His Spirit and what He's doing.

Third, and last, this interaction reminded me of a quote I read one time that keeps coming back to me over and over and over again: "Be a Regular. Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same places. Get to know the staff. Go to the same places at the same times. Smile. Ask questions. Build relationships. Be a Regular.”  (https://www.vergenetwork.org/2011/06/08/8-easy-ways-to-easily-be-missional/) I tend to want to be more invisible when it comes to everyday stuff, especially if I'm uncomfortable or if I'm in a rush. But I'm inspired again after this interaction to try to keep showing up in my community, in my town, being a regular, being the light of God in a dark place. 

#excitingGOD

A Practical Activity To Remember the King's Rule and Reign

A 10 Minute Guided Prayer Activity:

I would assume that perhaps you are a bit like me: I default to thinking that the circumstances of my life are quite overwhelming. I am realizing that I go through life mostly believing that I am un-helped and un-seen. But that is not true! I am actually more helped and more seen than I can even imagine...and, actually, the circumstances of my life don't have to overwhelm me! I have a Father, and a KING, who is in charge in a very mysterious way. His rule doesn't seem quite clear to me most of the time, but when I stir up my faith to remind myself of His care, I can rest. So today I offer a 10 minute prayer activity, for those of you who, like me, sometimes find it hard to remember that you are so cared for, so held.

Set aside at least ten minutes to be alone and quiet. Turn off the TV; turn your cell phone to quiet. Plan to do this at a time where you have set aside time that you probably won’t be interrupted.


Step 1:

Hold your hands kind of like you’re cupping something inside of them (like if you caught an insect like a lightning bug or something, and you didn’t want to squish it...but you also didn’t want to let it go 😃 ). As you hold your hands like that, with your eyes closed or open, whichever helps you concentrate more, start listing before the Lord, preferably out loud, concerns that you have. For example, “God, I’m worried about how much my daughter cares about her friends. It feels like I’m losing influence in her life. …God I’m worried about the disobedience in my son. I don’t know what to do about it. I try to throw different techniques at it, or just love him through it, but it never really gets addressed. I don’t know what to do. ...God, if I’m really honest, I feel like a failure as a parent, as a friend, in my job. ...God, my home feels out of control. ...God, our schedule feels so busy. I don’t know how I can manage the things I have on my plate. ...God, I’m worried about my health. ...God, I feel so alone, like no one really loves me,” etc, etc. Try to just keep listing worries that surface. You might have to sit quietly in between worries, waiting for the next honest worry to come to your mind. You might not have even known that you were worried about that thing, until you gave space to list those worries.

Try to linger, and to give yourself extra space to list more worries...don’t rush through this time. And try to give an extra sentence or two description to each worry to kind of tease out a bit more of how you're feeling, what's inside. 


Step 2:

Once you feel that you’ve listed most of your worries, and there’s a kind of natural end to the ‘flow’ of things you've been carrying inside, just sit quietly for a few moments. Breathe quietly. Keep holding your hands in a cupped position. Imagine that you’re holding those worries cupped in your hands.


Step 3:

When you’re ready, face your palms upward and start saying aloud, “Lord, I release to You my worries about my daughter. I release to You my worries about my son. I release to You my worries about my husband/wife. I release to You my worries about my job. I release to you my worries about my conflict with my friend. I release to You my worries about our family. I release to You my worries about our schedule. I release to you my worries about my future. I release to You my worries about my capabilities. I release to you my worries about my health,” or whatever the worries were that you prayed about. Let yourself sense letting go of the worries, releasing them from your hands to the Lord’s hands. Breathe deeply as you're releasing the worries. 


Step 4:

As the final part of the exercise, keep your hands palms face up, and now receive from the Lord. Say aloud truths about what you can receive because of what Jesus has done. This might feel like a humbling process, because we so want to do things ourselves. Here are some examples:

  • Jesus, I receive Your peace today. You are in control of these things.

  • Jesus, I receive Your rest today. I can slow down with trying to fix everything, and I can rest in Your care, Your timing, Your love for me.

  • Jesus, I receive Your power to help me show up where I need to today- to have conversations, to deal with things I need to, to engage...help me to choose to show up.

  • Jesus, I receive strength for this day.

  • Jesus, I receive Your love for me.

  • Jesus, I receive Your consolation and comfort that You see me, you see the ones I love, you see it all.

  • Jesus, I receive the truth that You are here.

  • Jesus, I receive the gift that my worth isn’t determined by my performance. I am accepted, I am prized, I am wanted, I am loved, I am enjoyed apart from if I get any of this perfect or not. It’s based in You, Your performance, and You wanting me and making me in the first place.


Step 5:

If you are sensing the sweetness of Jesus being close to you after praying and remembering that you are a child of God who receives those things freely, feel free to rest in the ‘manifest presence of God,’...it may look like just sitting there awhile longer with your hands open, just lingering quietly. It may look like crying. That’s wonderful! Don't back away from crying in order to 'keep it together'; tears are a beautiful (but not mandatory) part of being with Jesus. It may look like saying, “Thank You, thank You, thank You.” You may want to kneel. You may want to sing a song worshipping Jesus (i.e. ‘What a beautiful name it is’ or ‘Jesus we love You, oh how we love You, You are the One our hearts adore’, etc).

Loosely adapted from Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster