Tuesday, April 09, 2013

But GOD...

I've loved words my entire life.  They are my favorite medium.  They hold immeasurable power.  Today as I was lost in my thoughts, God brought me to a place where I picked out my two favorite words in the English language.  These two words are a gigantic part of my story.  These two favorite words are tiny by themselves, but when they are standing side by side, they change everything.  In fact the more deliberately I think about it, the more convinced I am that these words have been the game-changer in the testimony of my life.  Let me start at the beginning and give you some of my testimony.  This story is precious to me not only because it is my testimony, but chiefly because it is my history with my God.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Here's the Cliffs Notes version:

I was born prematurely in October 1982.  I was blue when my mom gave birth to me.  I scored a 2 on the APGAR scale.  Most babies who score a 1 or 2 do not survive.   I stopped breathing more times than my mom and dad can count.  As a result of that premature beginning, I suffered a huge stroke that has left me with some lasting, tangible effects.  The doctors gave my family a very grim prognosis.  I have mild cerebral palsy.  I have major damage to my optic nerve.  I walk with a limp.  The left side of my body is very, very sensitive due to my stroke.  Basically, my entire left side feels really, really tight at all times.  I went through school with a major learning disability that showed up mainly in math.  I spent a huge part of my childhood in occupational and physical therapy.  I do have a point to all this and it is simply this: satan did not want me in this world.  BUT GOD had another plan.  satan tried his hardest to wipe me out from the very beginning.  BUT GOD has given me a life that has been so sweet. Here's just a little sampling of what He has done.

*The enemy left me with some disabilities.  BUT GOD has given me everything I need to thrive in life and in Him.
*The enemy fed me the lie of never measuring up to my peers.  BUT GOD has shown me through the entirety of my existence that this life is not measured by the things of this world.
*The enemy tried to tell me that I was worth nothing.  BUT GOD has authored the picture I hold of myself and in His eyes, I'm worth everything.
*The enemy has tried to use the demons of torment and depression and fear to derail my intimacy and my effectiveness and my place in the Kingdom of Light.  BUT GOD has broken every one of those chains.
*The enemy has tried to use my insufficiencies, deficiencies, and inadequacies to determine my outcomes.  BUT GOD has promised and has SHOWN that I can pursue fullness and lead a richer, more potent life.  I think I'll stick with pursuing fullness all the way.
*The enemy has tried to tempt me by using circumstances to steal my joy.  BUT GOD has shown me that I occupy a higher, more prosperous place than my circumstances and NOTHING can steal my joy because it is authored, sustained, fueled, and governed by Him.
*I did not come into this world with many tools.  BUT GOD has taught me about every single tool I need to defeat the enemy and I use them.  The enemy does not scare me because my GOD is bigger, stronger, and more committed to me than anything the enemy can bring against me.  God is my everything.  With Him as my foundation and the center of my entire existence, I have everything I need. 

The devil may have thought he had the final word over my life.  BUT GOD has had this thrilling, exhilarating, plan from day one and I would not trade our journey for anything.  He gets every ounce of me.  He gets every word of praise.  I am who I am and I am where I am because of HIS victory.  My life is His.  Thank You, Daddy-God for this most treasured gift of a life. 

If you haven't already figured it out, my two favorite words in the English language are BUT GOD.  Those two tiny words truly do change everything.  Blessings to you!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Thrive In Joy...

Joy abounds in this world.  You just have to intentionally look for it.  It resides in people, in circumstances, in your neighbor, in service, and my favorite -- in an intimate relationship with Abba, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  One of my most treasured nuggets of wisdom that I live by is to look for joy intentionally and fiercely every day.  It's there.  I love to ask Holy Spirit to give me His eyes, because He is the author of joy.  In fact, joy is at the very deepest, most formative core of who God made you to be.  Joy is the very essence of Who God is and as such, we as His sons and daughters are made to thrive in joy.  Just think about that for a minute.  You and I were created to thrive in joy.  That is absolutely exhilarating to me.  It is so wonderful to rest in the promise and the inheritance of God's joy.  Every experience, every trial, every blessing, every grace given to us, every season is meant to bring us into the intentionality and the reality of God's joy.  Choosing to see the joy that is present in everything in life is so sweet and freeing.  It takes so much pressure off in life.  I love to rest in joy.  Realizing that God knows exactly where I am and where I'm headed in Him.  With that certainty, I am able to rest and reside in His joy,

If you want to thrive in life you must be intentional about seeking and abiding in joy,  It infuses every single thing with hope, with happiness, and with promise.  It is so easy in the world we live in to find gloom-and-doom circumstances and situations.  It takes intention to find the joy.  It takes intention to find God's presence.  Once you've seen the world with God's eyes, it is so easy, so life-giving, so fun, and so worth it.  So, if I have any wisdom, to share to make life better, it would be to intentionally seek, savor and thrive in the joy that is all around you.  It blesses you. It brightens the world, and it pleases God and makes Him smile.  Choose to abide in joy.