Has Grief Got You Stuck?

The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” ….2 Sa 19:4).

Grief is real, isn’t it? And so is excessive grief. I’ve been there, so lost in my grief that I couldn’t see a bright hope for the future. Nor could I see the goodness of God for me in the present. My grief was so real that is wrapped around me like a blanket and kept me stuck, because, if I could be honest, there were some days that I just didn’t want to work past it, because I wanted to continue to shout, “This is unfair!” I felt, in many ways like a martyr and that was an infectious attitude for my soul.
That attitude made me start to believe things that weren’t true. It made me jealous of others because they had what I no longer did. You see, my grief became my prison, simply because I kept sitting there.
It is good to work through our grief, to let go and trust God for a brighter future, but whenever we get stuck in our grief, we cannot love those around us freely. At least, not to our fullest extent, because honestly, when I was stuck in my grief, life kind of became about me. It was all about what I had lost and the rest of the world needed to understand, at least, that’s how I felt.
I was made at the circumstances that created my grief. I was upset with God. I was not in a good place.
There came a time though when I started letting go of my grief. It came after a time of humbling from the Lord. I remember having a thought one day about what I used to have in my life and instead of sadness, I was met with thankfulness. Something changed in me. I switched from deep grief and thoughts of unfairness to gladness and joy for the time God gave.
I honestly am not sure how it really happened, I think it came from letting go of many things; my right to know why, my need to feel validated by others, my upset feelings towards God, and my desire to go back.
Part of me still misses what I lost. I think I always will and that’s ok.
So go ahead and mourn your losses, but don’t allow it to wrap you in a blanket and keep you stuck in life. Do the hard work of processing through your grief, give it to God and let His love and faithfulness surround you. Become fully present at the moment instead of staying stuck in the past.
I am praying for you. I know this one is hard. What you lost was real and excruciating and for that, I am deeply sorry. Give yourself grace as you work through your grief and don’t feel bad that you aren’t quite there yet. It takes time, but I believe, with the Lord’s help that He too can turn your mourning into dancing.
Lord, please turn our mourning into dancing. We surrender ourselves to you today. Be our joy we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Invite That Person Who Hurt You To Dine With You at God’s Table

but you gave your servant a place among those who eat at your table…. (2 Sa 19:28).

Think of your life as a table. Who’s invited? Who’s not, and why? Not that person who hurt you, no way! Correct? The thought of them showing up makes you a bit uncomfortable, doesn’t it?
Yet, Jesus, right before His death dined with the one who would betray him. Jesus’ love for people didn’t stop because of their treatment of Him. In fact, in many ways, His love for them grew in spite of it. Now that’s radical love. I believe Jesus was able to do this because He was deeply saddened over the fact that they didn’t truly know His love.
What if instead of being angry at the people who’ve hurt us, we would be like Jesus and be broken over the fact that there’s something about His love they don’t quite understand? What if instead of banishing them from the table of our hearts, we would come with open arms and invite them in, not because we have to, but because, quite frankly, we really do need to. It is good for our souls to seek reconciliation, to bless those who’ve hurt us, and to be the aroma of Christ among us.
I get it, some people, because of their behavior are not safe to have in our homes physically, and that’s ok. I don’t believe though that we then have the right to shut them out of the table within our hearts. That table, if we are truly in Christ, belongs to Jesus and He sits at the head and chooses who dines there.
It’s His table and He gets to send out the invitations. We should be thanking God that we are invited to such a table that He would count us worthy is beyond understanding to me.
He counts the one who hurt you worthy too. Don’t uninvite them because you just can’t handle what Jesus is doing. Sometimes He works in different ways.
Yes, imagine yourself sharing a meal with the one who hurt you. It breaks down a lot of anger, doesn’t it? Inviting them in, sharing in fellowship, creates a space with them in time where we see them not through what they did to us, but like Jesus did, as someone in need of His love. We can be that to them. That my friends is the gospel and we need more gospel-centered thinking if we’re ever going to come together and be one in the body of Christ.
Lord, I trust you. May my heart always be open for all to come. After all, it’s your table, not mine. You’re in control, and I just trust you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Purity…Isn’t Just Physical…

to the pure you show yourself pure… (Ps 18:26).

I’m learning the value of purity.
I thought for a lot of years because I remained pure physically that God was impressed by me and that I was really living a pure life. Yes, I really thought that God and others must have been impressed by me. Wow, can you believe the pride that was in my heart?
Little did I know though that although physical purity is something to strive for, I had other, deeper issues in my life that caused me to live an impure life. The obvious things like pride and self-righteousness. All the things the Lord detests and all the things that kept me from coming to Him with clean hands and a pure heart.
I think that’s been my problem though, for many years, I felt like I was a fairly impressive person. My life was in order, I made good decisions, I had some pretty great success. Then, everything got turned upsidedown and although there were some circumstances happening outside of my control that caused some of what was going on, to be honest, much of it was brought on because of my own impurity. For good reason, I was being dethroned. I needed to be humbled. I need to have the uncleanness of my hands exposed- the pride and self-righteousness needed to get out of the darkness of my heart and into the light.
A “perfect” life will never be lived as a pure life. The only person that can live in purity is the one who lives in transparency, brokenness, and humility. That’s it. You may think someone has all of their life together because, again, like me, they have all the right things going for them, but rest assured, there are heart issues you cannot see. Therefore, we cannot look at the lives of others and think that we need their life over our own.
Instead, we must seek the purity of Jesus, which means that we never think we have life all together. Because if we really want to be like Jesus, we become struck with the reality that compared to Him, we’ve got a long way to go. Thankfully, God works with us on our journey to make us more like Him. He does the good work of purifying us as we hold fast to Him in steadfast hope, love, and faithfulness.
Then, as we seek the purity of Jesus, we can become a breath of fresh air to the world who needs more and more people willing to come alongside them, not so that they can become like them, but so that we can teach others how to become like Jesus. The only one we and others should be impressed by.
Lord, today I seek your face. I long for your transformation. I need it in my life. I don’t want to be an impressive person. I would only want others to be impressed by you in me. If that means they are drawn to salvation than keep shining your light in me for the world to see, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Don’t “Love Yourself”

But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her…..(2 Sa 13:14).

The story of Amnon raping his sister Tamar has to be one of the saddest stories in all of Scripture. As a parent, I cannot even begin to imagine the turmoil King David must have gone through knowing his own son took advantage of his sister.
Stories like this make me long for heaven. A better place where evil things no longer take place. A place where there’s no more pain or struggle. A place where you and I can finally breathe and be completely free.
Sadly, there are many Tamar’s, people who have been taken advantage of by another human being for their own selfish gain. Through things like sex or money.
There’s something about the human heart when given over to evil that does unthinkable things.
Rape, murder, abortion, incest, all of these are really just a picture of the human heart that has lost its way. It has forgotten how to love another human being, because, quite honestly, we just love ourselves too much.
This message of self-love has to be one of the most damaging messages impressed upon our generation.
Amnon loved himself and he raped his very own sister. I have loved myself and brought damage to my closest relationships as well.
I have learned, very slowly, that the only way to kill the Amnon in me, is to lay down my life, daily, as a sacrifice. Life is not about my happiness or fulfillment. Truly, as I’ve stopped looking for happiness, I have found I already have it in Christ.
It is not true that we must first learn to love ourselves before we can learn to love another person. Instead, we must be willing to love others before ourselves. That is the message of the gospel. It’s the only way we’ll find our way through this mess called life and keep moving towards that beautiful city called Heaven where selfishness will no longer even be a word in our vocabulary. Yes, of course, we should seek to be whole and content people, but that doesn’t come through self-love. That comes through self-sacrifice.
In preparation for that day in Heaven, I’m doing my best to lay that old Heather down, the one who always needs her way. The one who thinks she knows best and wants you to know it. So that I can learn to be a servant, instead of treating others as if they were my slave.
Oh Lord, forgive us. We need your help. I need your help. I make it my goal to love you and others first. Truly, this is how I find myself, in Jesus name, Amen.

This Has Helped Me Stop Slaying The Ones I Love

But the thing David had done displeased the LORD…..(2 Sa 11:27).

I have to be really careful. It’s so easy for me to think that in situations in life I am Uriah the Hittite. The completely innocent one who was wrongfully treated, taken advantage of, and done away with. It’s easy for me to think of myself as the victim. That just feels better. It takes real, concentrated effort for me to think that maybe I’ve been more like fallen David- filled with lust for things, adulterous in my heart, and murderous against others.
You see, David’s heart, when it was steeped in sin shows me something about my own because if I’m being honest, mine has been like His as well. My thoughts have been impure, selfish, and all about me. I’ve slandered people, talked about them behind their back, simply because I felt like I was being treated like Uriah the Hittite. Not realizing that my actions actually put me in the same place as fallen David. As a king who kept using their power to serve themselves and their own agenda.
You see, every King who lives to protect themselves, instead of their army, will always slay their own.
That’s why there is so much division within the body of Christ. We can’t seem to get along because everyone’s acting as David towards one another, but everyone thinks they’re being treated like Uriah the Hittite.
What I am learning is that I have to be brutally honest with myself and my ego. I have to ask myself hard questions. I must also surround myself with people who will be hard and loving truths into my life so I don’t keep slaying my own like David.
Lord, continue to mold me into your image. I need more humility. I need to continue to have my blind spots shown to me. Help me to walk in your freedom. I don’t want to live in my insecurities. I want to walk in your love. Help me to do that now, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Be Careful Of This…It Can Keep You From Dining at The King’s Table

And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet… (2 Sa 9:13).

A few years ago, I became known as the person around town with marriage problems. Maybe that’s been you too.
I hated being defined as that person. I wanted to be known for so much more.
Maybe you’ve been the woman with cancer, the man who lost his job or the child who has suffered abuse.
Something very dangerous, within our psyche can happen if we are not careful. We can start to believe that we are cancer, we are the job loss, marriage troubles, or the abuse that happened to us.
Just like Mephibosheth who was lame in both feet, we can start to see ourselves through the things that have happened to us, instead of the treasure that we are in Christ.
Because you see, although Mephibosheth was lame in both feet, he still had an open seat at the King’s table. Although, he felt quite unworthy. I imagine because he kept seeing himself as lame in both feet.
That’s right, dear friend, you are not defined by what anyone else says about you or the things that have happened to you. You are defined by the King who has set a seat at His table for you. He calls you His child. He welcomes you, young warrior, beloved friend, and says to you- come with me and let me show you who you really are in my love.
The troubling thing about all of this is that when we start to believe that we are cancer, job loss, marriage troubles, abuse, etc. we get stuck there. Often, the next thing that comes to mind is that we’re a loser, a failure, not good enough, a problem to others, etc. Dear friend, you ARE NOT those things in Christ. You are so much more.
As we sit with the King at His table we’re no longer the person who has found their identity in what has happened to them but instead find their hope in the one who loves them.
So go ahead and say it to yourself, “I am not ________________, I am a confident, courageous and loved child of God,” simply because that’s what my King has said about me. Therefore, I won’t eat at the table of my misplaced identity. I will, instead, feast upon the words of my King.
Lord, you are a good and gracious King. Thank you for loving me. I am not defined by the things that have happened to me. I am found in your love. Today I will eat at your table, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

In My Sinful Heart…I Have Wanted Others To Fall

David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan…(2 Sa 1:17–18).

I have had to train myself to be like David when someone has been like Saul to me. After all, I have to remember that I’ve been like Saul to others as well. Sadly, because of our sin that blinds us, many of us have taken up the kingship of Saul and spewed upon others our fears, insecurities, and pride. In doing so, we leave them fallen and wounded within the places of our heart that needs the most transformation.

You know, you can’t carry people along with you in the Kingdom towards the glories of Heaven when you keep crushing them in your heart.


To me, the thing that is so striking about David is his response once he finds out that Saul has died. Saul, the very man who was bent on destroying David and taking his life, dies in battle. After hearing this news, David doesn’t rally his men to throw a party, rejoicing over Saul’s destruction. No, he calls these men into a time of lament as they mourn together the death of Saul and his sons.

Ok, can we just all sit on that for a moment? Maybe it’s just me, but, gosh, how many times have I sat back in my sinful self and contemplated the downfall of a person? When I’m feeling really prideful I’ll even think about how much satisfaction I’ll get from their collapse.

Wow, yuck….just yuck.

When we sit back and think about how selfish that is of us it truly brings into perspective just how dark our hearts can be when we hold onto anger and resentment.

But what was it about David that we need for our lives today?

His character.

You and I need a transformed character that can only be formed in the loving hands of Jesus if we’re ever going to love and BLESS those who’ve hurt us. So that someday, maybe when they fall, we don’t rejoice, but we too lament.

Lord, we trust you. Thank you for these hardships. Help us, God, not to wish for the destruction of others. It’s such a terrible thing that we do. Instead, God, help us to pray for them and to entrust all things to you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Self-Sabotaging, King Saul and My Own Fear of Finances

Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”… (1 Sa 31:4).

Saul fell on his sword, not out of courage or bravery, but out of fear. He feared what the Philistines “might” to do him. Was his assumption correct that they most likely would have killed him and possibly harmed him more prior to it? Sure, it’s absolutely possible, just like many things in life are possible. The longer we spin that story of fear in our hearts, the more likely we’ll be held captive by it and be convinced that it will come true. Just like Saul.
You see, Saul was so fearful of the future that he was constantly running from it, attempting to be in control.
He feared that David would be king, so he pursued him relentlessly trying to kill him. He feared that Samuel wasn’t coming to offer the sacrifice before the battle, so he did it himself. And now, in critical condition, he finished the job by taking his own life on Mt. Gilboa- out of fear.
Have you ever done that? Been so fearful of the future that you self-sabotaged your present to keep what you feared the most from happening? I have.
I too have been like Saul, so frantic about the future that I kept either trying to punish my own self or those around me through control and manipulation.
One of my biggest struggles in this area is with finances. There’s an unhealthy fear in me attached to them. So I have a hard time spending. If I’m being totally honest, it’s not always because I’m being smart with money. Sometimes I’m just afraid of spending because I fear not having enough.
Truth is, we will become choked by the things we fear. We will kill our own selves on top of our own Mt. Gilboa’s if we do not practice faith and trust. Saul’s life could have been lived in so much more freedom if he would have just simply practiced faith and humility. My life would too.
Lord, I surrender all of my life to you. You see me. You know the fears that I have. Forgive me for allowing them to control my thoughts. I want to walk in freedom, in Jesus name, Amen.

Sometimes….I’m Afraid of My Calling

He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord….(John 1:23).

I wonder if John was ever scared of his calling? Did he ever feel uncertain of what the future held and so because of that he felt unable to move forward in faith?
From what we can tell, John the Baptist seemed to be quite courageous. We do not know of any accounts that would tell us otherwise.
I want to be like John, fearless to pursue the calling God has given me to spread His Kingdom message.
Just the other day I sensed that God was stirring some new vision in me. I felt energized by it so I kept pursuing it and even had a conversation with someone about it. After that conversation, I was bombarded with thoughts of doubt, inadequacy, and of course, my favorite friend, pride.
You see, whenever it looks like my life is receiving a downgrade my sinful thoughts go to- oh, wait, what will others think?
I’m still working on not caring what others think. It’s most certainly an ongoing, almost daily process for me. I don’t think John the Baptist cared all that much what others thought of him. I wonder if that was because of his assurance in his calling?
Maybe John so easily and fearlessly pursued his calling because from birth he was told him that he was special, unique, and set apart by God for this special purpose? After all, everyone who was witness to John’s birth would have known what was prophesied about this young man.
Dear friend, just like John, there is something unique and divinely special about you. Keep in mind that your uniqueness is not about you. Also, your uniqueness is not weird or a problem, as you may have felt, just like I have.
You have what it takes inside of you, just as John did to fulfill the good work God is asking you to partake in. Even if it feels like a downgrade, do it anyway. After all, there are no ladders to climb with Kingdom work, only feet to wash.
Father, use my life. I long for you to do that. You tell me in your word that if I want to become great, I must become servant of all. Lord, here I am, desiring to be a servant, in Jesus name, Amen.

What a Bigger, More Powerful Motorcycle Taught Me About Faith

So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons…. (Mk 1:39).

Years ago, when I used to ride motorcycles, after an accident I upgraded from a 250CC bike to a 650CC motorcycle.
WOW, what a difference!
When I hopped on that 650CC bike the amount of power that it had in comparison to my starter bike was unreal. I remember feeling like I had more freedom on that bigger bike. It made riding more fun.
I wonder how many of us, in regards to our faith, is still riding the starter bike? We’ve never made the upgrade because, in order to do that, it requires trust and faith in the one who is leading us.
Can I be really honest? As much as I loved that 650CC motorcycle, I probably never would have bought it had I not been hit by someone and had the other bike get totaled. You see, the opportunity for an upgrade in our faith often comes after we’ve been hit by something.
You name it. You know what you’ve been through.
The challenging part for all of us is not to get mad and bitter at the one who hit us but trust the one who’s working behind the scenes.
I guess what I’m saying is this. If you want a shallow faith, one that feels safe and comfortable, don’t ever seek an upgrade. Be ok with your sin, hold onto your pride, and don’t ask God to break you of it. Don’t pray for much of anything, except for yourself, of course, and hold on to that bitterness in your soul.
But, if you want to experience more of the power of God in your life, it’s time to seek an upgrade. Let go of that bitterness. Give thanks to God in the grief and trust Him with every part of your story. Pray not to gain, but to grow.
Yes, pray prayers of thanksgiving and praise. Live your life as a sacrifice unto God. Don’t be lazy in the things that matter, but be diligent in the spiritual matters of the soul. Through this kind of power, Jesus cast out demons, healed sick people, and became the power of God for the world to see.
Every upgrade in our faith comes when we’re willing to get out of our comfort zone and trust God. At first, upgrading to a bigger, more powerful bike felt a little scary, but once I made the leap, it was all worth it. You too will feel a similar discomfort, but courage is doing what’s right even when we’re afraid. Dear friend, be courageous today, your upgrade awaits you.
Lord, we need more of your power in our lives. Help us, please. We don’t find our faith to have much power because we don’t often seek you for it. God, I want to live with greater faith. Thank you for changing me so that I can grow. I long to help others grow to be like you. Help me to do that now, in Jesus name, Amen.