An Untypically Bad Day

I am fully aware that we all have bad days. Days that just are stressful, a struggle and frankly we are glad with the sun goes down on them. For tomorrow, we can start again. Yesterday was not that bad day. It was an unearthing day, a day that hit me like a 2×4 and what was really weird, it wasn’t from devastating news, it was an internal mind battle.

A few days ago my husband and I got into a confrontation over something I had said awhile ago. To me it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, to him it was something that needed to be address. And the wise man that he is, is smart enough to wait, think on it and come up with a way to have a conversation about the moment. It’s a part of him I struggle with understanding. I’m the ‘call it out’, ‘let’s fix it now’ person. For him it take a lot of courage to speak out. He’s got more grace than any person I know and sometimes his massive grace keeps him silent when someone is in the wrong. But when he chooses to speak, it always throws me for a loop as it rarely happens.

When he brought the situation to my attention I was confused and immediately began defending my word choices for that day. I went on and on, and my voice got louder and louder and when he asked me why I was getting so aggressive with my tone, I flipped. Have you ever flipped? The switch just goes off and it’s real hard to dial anything back in. I ended the conversation, and it hurt him. For the next day I reeled over my ‘valid’ reactions, my ‘valid’ responses and then this horrible darkness fell over me. I must be worthless. I must be unwanted. I’m unlovable.

The thoughts that flooded into my mind the next day were somewhere I hadn’t been in over 20 years. The darkness of self loathing, self pity, shame, guilt and all the ugly that goes with it. I contemplated leaving, as I figured no one would miss me anyway, I contemplated a life of divorce, a life secluded, a life with my children taken from me, a life of being hated, unloved, I contemplated suicide for the first time in 20 years . Like I said, it was dark, ugly and felt like I was being pushed down in a black hole by a 400 lb weight.

For the past 2-3 weeks I’ve been working on a new way to study the Bible. It’s called Inductive Bible studying. It’s deep and dives into understanding the character of God and the specifics of; who, what, when, where, how and why. I have loved it and God has been faithful in revealing much through the first 17 books of Genesis. I’ve also been praying daily for my children, for God to do an amazing work in them. I’ve been journalizing the Word of God faithfully. I’ve been diving in, seeking to know Him more.

At one point in my black hole, I began contemplating running away, and I started packing my bag. As I was packing it up, I felt a whisper, “Your called to stay Emily.” So I began putting my things back, a bit forcefully and with a fair amount of attitude. I decided through the tears of the day that something deeper was happening here and I just stated, “My God is bigger than this!” and I said it quite a few times. I got in my jeep and decided maybe going for a drive might calm my mind, I’d put some worship music on and see what happens. I just started going east. Because east is good, right?! As I drove I felt a nudge to go to my home town as a child. This is where my dad is buried. For the remainder of the hour and a half drive and cried through the music and had so many memories flood back. This wasn’t running away, this was going back. As I approached the cemetery, (by the way, I’m NOT a cemetery person. I rarely go because they aren’t really there. Just their body, their spirit has gone on.) There wasn’t a person in sight. It was cloudy, chilly and it was just me and my tears. As I processed through the time there, I said things that needed to be said to my dad, my brother, my grandparents. And I came to a grand realization, cemeteries are NOT for the dead, they are for the living. I expressed my frustrations to my dad, to my brother and to my grandparents and it was so different this time. I felt them there, I felt their understanding and I felt their peace. You see THEY are no longer battling like I am. They are free from all this junk that I’m fighting, yet some of the junk I’m fighting I believe was passed from them, on down the line, the generational junk that we all have a choice to either let it consume us or we choose to give it to God and put it to an end, and that my friends it what I did in that historical beginning for me, but not the end of me.

I got in my car, and drove back home. When I got home my husband and I were able to talk this junk out. I was also able to actually listen to him, hear his heart and have peace in knowing he wasn’t trying to make me feel unwanted, he was challenging me to become a better person. For that I am grateful. After our conversation the blackness was gone. Peace settled in and the rush of the battle was dust in the wind.

A dear friend of mine made a statement to me this morning that has rattled me, it’s giving me quite a new perspective on battles. When I told her of my horrible day, she said she was excited, because she knew REDEMPTION was coming for me. So these bad days we have, really bad, unearthing bad days are signs of tides are about to change. When the waters are rough, when we are called to get out of the boat and walk on water, as Peter did, we must remember that our God is not only going to provide the way, He is the Creator of the water, the boat, the person walking and the Protector and Guide of it all.

Be brave friends.

Blessings.

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Why Go.

This past month I made my second trip to Uganda with The ManUp and Go Organization. What a blessed time it was. The overwhelming sense of love and surrender was heavy. Here’s my story.

I had originally planned to go from the get go, in fact I may have even called and started the conversation to get the ball rolling for us to return to the Women’s Conference. The call to go was huge, I couldn’t shake it. It really made no sense to me why my heart’s desire was so on fire to go back, because frankly, it’s not an easy trip. Last years experience was wonderfully hard. Wonderful in what God did through us, hard in my flesh being this crazy American put so far out of my comfort zone. So why go back? I really didn’t know why, I just knew I was suppose to go.

Fast forward a month into planning, and I discovered a schedule conflict with the trip. I was devastated and so conflicted with what to do. My daughter was going to be graduating high school and the week we would be gone would be during drop off time at college. How can I miss that? What does that say to her? As a friend told me, “God will never ask you to sacrifice your family for ministry.”

I battled. I really battled. My heart still felt called to GO, yet my brain and all my mother instincts said STAY. After much prayer and council, I decide to stay. Oh how hard it was to say, “I’m not going”.

Over the next few months I focused on my daughters accomplishments and embrace this big milestone that was upon us. I put the trip to rest in my mind and got back to living in the present. I never told her about the conflict nor did I feel it was something she needed to know about.

One month before we were to drop her off she received a letter from the University inviting her to go to Golden Days. It is a program they had just started this year. It was a program for new incoming students so they could get settled before all the other students arrive. She now had an option to go early, and that was before the team would leave for Africa. My heart jumped and I thought to myself, “Lord, do you really want me to go to Africa? How in the world am I going to raise enough money to go in less than one month? Will I even be able to find a plane ticket with my team, and how expensive is that going to be, will they let me go this late?!”

Over the next week I prayed about it and I reached out to my team leader and a few friends asking for prayers as well.

After I discussed with my daughter about going early to school, we decided this would be a great opportunity to meet new people outside of just her roommate, and get involved and comfortable with the change.

I decided I would try ‘my best’ to raise the money and if I didn’t have it all within two weeks then it just wasn’t meant to be. Over the next two weeks I reached out to a few groups of people and also did some public posts on Facebook for friends and family to donate. I needed to raise almost $4000 in two weeks. My plane tickets were going to be $700 more than the teams. I’m going to be real honest here, I really don’t like asking people for money. It is something that makes me feel so uncomfortable. But I did it and I waited. After the two weeks were up, I had not even raised $1000.

I was completely broken, devastated and wondered if I didn’t hear the call at all! Was I even hearing God? Was this desire not His but for my own selfish reasons?

In my desperation and cries, I pleaded to God to forgive me if I was being selfish. I asked Him to bless the team and protect them on their journey whether I was a part of it or not. I cried and cried, shouting out to the Lord my surrender of this desire. At the end of my prayer my phone notifications started going off. By the time my prayer was done, I had over half the money needed for the trip in my account. Okay God, I’m listening!

That afternoon my husband came home and handed me an envelope. He donated a 1/4 of the trip funds from his business. My husband! Who’s husband does that?! Many struggle supporting these trips as there is risks involved. I cried and cried. He did what God asked him to do. He knew the desire in my heart was not my own.

I only needed enough money to cover the extra part for the plane ticket. In the next week all the funds came in, in fact, more came in than was needed and it helped cover my Visa cost too.

So THIS is “Why I went.” A desire, planted by the Almighty. He knew from the beginning that there never was a schedule conflict. He also waited for me to surrender ‘my doing’ things in ‘my own’ power. He waited for me to fix my eyes on Him and keep them fixed on Him.

My lesson in all of this is wrapped up in this one statement:

Faith requires FULL SURRENDER.

Ironically the word surrender has been a large part of personal revelations this year. The Lord showed me what happens when we fully surrender our own thoughts, expectations, desires and plans. He supplied me with almost $4000 in 14 days, so I could GO and share his love and encouragement with Uganda. Every moment of this trip was love poured out to those kids, ministry leaders, and women and men we spoke with. It was not my ability to love that big, it was God’s ability to love through a surrendered vessel.

I surrendered over and over on the trip, through emotional battles, mental battles, physical battles, and over and over He supplied what I needed and more, the ability to love and encourage and serve. Only God can do that.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4: 6-7

He is so good. Be encouraged today that He has a great plan for your life. I challenge you to surrender your own plans and agendas, and have hope in a God that has an even better plan.

To each and everyone of you who partnered with me through prayers and funds, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for listening to the call as well. Going is a joint effort. Without you, it’s not possible. Thank you, and may God abundantly bless you for your generosity.

Blessings.

Broken Examples=HOPE

I’ve thought over the years about my journey, this crazy roller coaster of a ride, with definite highs and ridiculous lows. When I was younger, in the core of my lows(drugs, alcohol, sex, lying, stealing), I struggled seeing hope, feeling hope, desiring hope, and even know what I would do with it if it found it’s way to me. At one of my lowest points in my life I recall being drawn to the Word of God. It made no sense. This broken hot mess who was making one bad choice after the other, and really was less than impressed with the church, felt compelled to open a Bible in which I had very little understanding about. It just didn’t make sense. What I can tell you is this: Over the years this book has unveiled misunderstanding after misunderstanding about my own beliefs of God and who He is.

I always thought it was a story about a bunch of perfect people. How could “I” relate to any of that… That’s when the transition started. It wasn’t about perfect people, it was about misfits, broken hearts, sinners, people who made a million mistakes and yet God loved them still. Why? How? They were horrible! The old testament was the one I struggled to connect with the most, until recent years. War, killings, murderers, betrayal, wiping out nations and tribes, these crazy rules that we could never keep… all pointing to one thing… we needed what was coming, a Savior. We couldn’t follow the rules, they were meant as a guide, we struggled in this fallen world seeking approval of man and acceptance in our stupidity. Yet God still offered us hope.

You see caricatures like David and Daniel, who were not caricatures but real people, showed us broken hearts, sacrifice, risking everything, loyalty, how a broken choice can be redeemed, how a situation as crazy as you could imagine was an opportunity to trust. It’s all so relevant, it’s been relevant from the beginning. Testimonies shared bring hope. David shared his heart, his betrayal, his broken pieces, his dumb choices all to cry out to a God who could heal his broken heart(Psalm 51 is my favorite). This book is a guide, something that lets us know that life is no black and white story. That we all have stuff and we all have an opportunity to make peace with our stuff. These people show us how real life is and how brokenness can be used to help others, and how life is about so much more than us, our situation, our hurt.

So I was drawn into the Word to heal. At the time I didn’t always understand what I was reading, and sometimes I became mad at what I was reading, frustrated with God and frustrated with people. It wasn’t until I realized that God loved me in my worst the same as in my best, that I decided this God was worth pursuing. Because frankly my worst days were embarrassing and humiliating, yet He still loved me.

I searched for love and acceptance from many people in my life, I felt judged and ashamed for a good part of my life. Afraid of my skeletons showing up when I least expected them. I started facing my choices and owning the lesson, not fixating on the choice. I started seeing my life as an opportunity to relate to others’ pain, brokenness and helping them find peace in those areas through nothing more than sharing where I was, and where I am, carrying hope within me. If all I have went through is never used to help another then what is the point of hard stuff? God is close to the brokenhearted, he wants to heal all brokenness within us, whether it was my choices or someones else’s choices that hurt me.

Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”

So this Jesus guy, do I believe?… Yes, yes I do. God loved each and everyone of us knowing full well what we would do in our lives, and He thought we were still worth saving. THAT is love. God coming down in man form to live a limited life in flesh with us. It sounds far fetch doesn’t it? We’ve all heard about the parting seas, the ark, crumbling cities with music, and one man dying and coming alive again to save us all. You see faith is no easy thing, for it is believing the unbelievable, believing in something we do not see… or do we? I think about my life and the many times I should have died, I should have never made it through, I should have ended up less than who I am today due to circumstances. The miracles of our child born with abnormal kidneys and at 12 years old they were perfect. The child with a broken foot that 2 weeks later was no longer broken, the ‘hunch’ I had that something just wasn’t right and I drove my car to be looked at only to discover the radiator had broken, the daughter that was in a car wreck and a police officer that tells me with a pale white face, “She shouldn’t be alive.” I could go on and on over the things that are impossible in my life that God made possible. There is no dismissing miracles when you experience them yourself.

I was delivered, I was redeemed, I was brought out of a dark place. A story of attempted suicide, saved by a phone call from a stranger. I story of a drug house I should have never gotten out of, a story of violation, of betrayal, and a broken heart that learned to love again. It’s my story, my journey and only by the grace of God have I came out of any of it. It’s really a redemptive story.. a relatable story, a God story. God did this amazing thing, He gave me peace over my life. My story has allowed me ample opportunities to share hope, some parts harder than others, yet the end result is always, He brings peace, love and hope to press on.

I have limited days, as we all do. Goodness and love are hard to come by these days and even as I sit in this little office, in my home in the middle of the Midwest in a small town of 6000 people I know this is where I’m to be now. It’s my healing place, it’s where I’ve made peace with my past, and what God does next I have no idea. I trust, I wait, and when it’s time to move on I will be open to whatever that looks like. He’s used me to help people heal broken parts of their lives, to bring hope, to encourage people and most importantly, shine His light to others. That’s my call. The concern of what others ‘think’ of my past plagues me no more. I am who I am and my journey is my journey.

Some days I think, “Am I doing enough, am I working enough, am I really in the right place?” Then I remember as scripture shows, God is specific. He gives instructions to those who seek Him. David was called on because of his music and in turn he became a King, He didn’t seek it out, he trusted in the process, jail and all. Peter was called to leave everything behind Him, he wasn’t asked to go get a 40 hr a week job and make lots of money. He was called to disciple people, but only after he himself was taught. Broken people called to do great things in God’s timing. How relatable would David and Peter be had they not made any mistakes?

So I ask you, what are you being called to and what are you avoiding because of your past? May you have ears to hear the direction God is leading you into or away from. All I know is our brokenness is for a reason and that reason is to help others find hope.

Blessings.

ARTIST

The value of art.

In the beginning it was talent, recognition and the ability to do something others couldn’t easily do. It was about making what I saw and putting it to paper. A realist to the max. I started still life drawings at age 10, flowers in vases, barbie horses or perfectly colored pages. Every year I was developing my talent more and more. Always copying what I saw, or copying someone’s idea. I was always striving to be better at it than another, and I missed the boat. Art was never about being good at what I drew, it was about expression. All I was expressing was others ideas or documenting something I saw to the letter. I remember my college professors pushing technique and details. I remember them dawdling over other kids talents, so I tried to be like them, I tried to draw, paint, design and create like them. But I never found my own ‘style’. My senior year at college I remember a professor telling me, “You are a much better illustrator than graphic designer.” My degree was mainly in Graphic Design, which by the way I hated, but my brain told me it would make me more money.

My art was never about heart expression, although glimpses would creep in, a flowing line in a still life that didn’t belong… I’d erase it, or a splash of color that didn’t belong… I’d cover it up, or a bold black showing emotion of the day, and I’d lighten it making all things uniform and perfect for the normal eye.

I just wasn’t ready to be vulnerable with my art, I didn’t know how, I didn’t want to deal with my emotions, for goodness sake I was a single mom, going to school full time and working night shift. I was surviving. Who has time for self improvement or reflection when you are just trying to survive?

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20 years later, art has finally came full circle for me and what it is truly about. 3 years ago, after a hard situation at home, I had the desire to paint with nothing to look at, no details just expressing emotion, because frankly, I was pissed.  I needed an outlet and color was screaming at me in my head. My dark reds and blacks filled the canvas with a hint of yellow. And I felt so much better after I did it. It was the first time I had cried through painting my feelings out. Expression painting, it’s funny, I was always drawn to Expressionists, I just didn’t see myself as one.

Over the past 3 years I have painted from the heart, not details and realism, still life’s or technique. I’ve painted to heal some broken parts in my life, to help me on my journey. It wasn’t for money, it was for healing and it feels really good to finally get here. It isn’t about approval or accolades, it’a about expressing my heart and it’s part of healing.

And then God threw me a curve ball.  It’s my “sweet spot”, as my sister said. It’s the thing I don’t want to put a price on or do for praise, it’s what my talent was all about from the beginning. A journey of expression and healing. A way to get emotions out, a way to release my hurt or my joy. It is art therapy, I just didn’t know it.

So now I’m on a new journey and wondering what God will do with this desire He has planted in me. Not keeping it to myself, but to teach others, guide others on their emotional healing and help them do what I have done, heal with art.

God has a funny way of patiently waiting for us to see the talent He has given us and how it is meant for His glory, for good for others. I never saw art as something to use for healing, I only saw it as a raw talent that somehow was only selfishly for me. It’s not, it’s really not.

So my question to you is this: What’s your talent? What are you willing to surrender so God might breathe a new perspective into it, and what might He have in store for your talent?

I’ve been on quite a journey in self discovery. As my children grow and I search to find my identity separate from them. Seeing and expressing my value in this world apart from title: mom, wife, daughter, friend… And then I see artist. Not artist in self, artist in helping others heal. Healing arts for healing hearts. Only God can do that. May I be a vessel worthy of such a call. Yet the only title that carries any true weight is child of God, Princess of the King of Kings. So I wait for the next step from the King of Kings.

I’m excited about this next chapter in my story. How about you?

Blessings.

Let GO(D)…

We all have things that we need to let go of. Some easier than others.

Maybe it’s drinking too much soda or letting go of an idea of a perfect person, or maybe it’s letting go of a dream, or maybe it’s letting go of a loved one.

Letting go is an easy 2 word combo “LET GO”. Seems simple, yet so complex and wrapped up in emotional ties, work, expectations, relationships, etc…

My current “let go” is a soon to graduate senior daughter of mine. 18 years of mentoring, teaching, loving, disciplining, encouraging…. and now…. let go. How a mother bird can push her baby out of the nest to fly is beyond me. The PROTECTOR in me gets in the way, my internal “don’t let anything happen to your kid or you’re a bad person” protector. Anyone have that? If not, good for you. If so, I feel you. It’s a tug of war like none other. This is where the “I care about what people think of ME” comes into play. Oh if I could bury this thing and be done with it. Why do I care so much about what other parents think of me? It’s ridiculous. I’m sure it stems from the beginning of parenting…

I started out my parenting journey as a “single mom”. I felt the judgement of the world on my shoulders in the 90s. Goodness there were Dateline shows and 60 Minute specials on the “single mom” epidemic. You would have thought I was a virus. So the judgement hung over my head and apparently still does, even though I’ve been married for 20 years and have 3 kids and should be sooooo past this.

So what do I really need to let go of? My daughter or my idea of being a perfect mom? Maybe I hit a cord as my eyes are welling up a bit.  Will she be ok without me protecting her? There really is no guarantee. But I wonder…. this “perfect mom syndrome”… it sure might be getting in the way of her flying. So if letting go can be seen differently… seen as a releasing her to be who God created her to be, then maybe perfect mom syndrome can be done and be healed, so I can just be a mom.

Step 1: Admit I am not a perfect mom and be ok with failing my kids at times.

Step 2: Forgive myself for all the mistakes I’ve made over the last 22 years of motherhood.

Step 3: See my kids as separate people from me.

Step 4: One finger at a time… start letting go.

Step 5: Hold tight to this: God knew her before I did. He is never letting her go(even if she leaves this earth, He is not letting go of her). He is her protector and He does not fail her. Her will is in His hands, not mine and if something does happen, as hard as it may be, I have to trust God’s plan, His ways, His will… That’s easy to type, not easy to live. The one thing we can hold tight to and never let go of is Him.

Step 6: Realize I am not a good God, and let God do His job.

Step 7: Accept that she will go through struggles, just like everyone else. It is part of her story, her God story.

Step 8: Repeat step 1-8.

This is hard, I know it seems impossible. The risk is great, yet the risk is greater if I don’t let go… how long will I battle and hold her down. NO, I will not, NO I will NOT.

Regardless of what you’re working on letting go of, I want you to know this, if we don’t let go of our dream, our idea, our expectation, or whatever it might be, how will we ever know what might be re-birthed in our life? What might God have for us that is being reborn in our own journey? For me I have to realize that God has plans for my daughter, yet I believe he also had plans for me. How might I ever see the new plan if I can’t let go of what needs to be let go of? So I encourage you to hope for what is next. Trust that the a dying dream just might be reborn into an even better one.

To the moms and dads out there… regardless of WHAT you are letting go of… take off one finger at a time, little by little, step by step, know that the risk of holding on is greater than the risk of letting go. Trust the God of everything, He gave up His own son, He knows what it’s like to let go, and His letting go saved you and me.

Be blessed.

Holey Weak

Yep, I spelled that wrong on purpose.

This week has been a doozy. I’ve yelled at my husband more than I’d care to admit, my daughters car had flat tire repairs numerous times, we gave the government a LOT of money this week(the joy of entrepreneurship)… yay April 15(imagine my eyes rolling), and I have just struggled getting anything completed. It’s been annoyances and distractions more than anything. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not been that bad. I’ve been letting unrealistic expectations get the best of me. Some moments feel like I’m just trying not to loose my s^@t verses seeing a blessing in the chaos. I have felt weak, I have felt off, my schedule has felt like a piece of Swiss cheese, it’s just got a lot of holes in it.

So this Holy Week thing has me thinking. Makes sense, in the spiritual realm, that things would be chaotic. I mean it’s only the most important week in all of Christianity. It’s the fulfillment of prophecy, it’s the key to unlocking the Old Law and freeing us with the New Law. The veil is torn, the Holy of Holies is now open to everyone. It’s a pretty big deal. Jesus death is vitally important to our salvation. He suffered betrayal, physical abuse, mental abuse, was beaten so badly and then brutally nailed to a cross. At any time He could have called out to God and said, “NOPE, NOT DOING IT! THEY AREN’T WORTH IT!!” But He didn’t, because to Him(God in human form) We were worth it, we are worth it.

I use to struggle with Jesus. I doubted His part in the big plan. I questioned whether He was REALLY God’s son, and also God Himself. The trinity perplexed me, the far-fetched historical references of conception and miracles made it a hard ‘sell’ for me. It wasn’t until I discovered my Jewish roots that it all started making sense why I doubted Christ. My great great great etc… grandfather was a Rabbi for goodness sake. The family line, the generational stronghold of questioning if Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy was ‘gifted’ to me on down the line. The Wittenberg spiritual genes were causing a bit of a riff in my belief system. I never doubted that there was a God. Always knew there was definitely a bigger power in charge. For me it took nothing but a sunrise or sunset to believe that.  But this Jesus person… I struggled. So holes in my belief system and doubt sure didn’t make my faith journey easy.

So all this suffering Christ went through, it just didn’t make sense to me WHY would he do that? Why go through the agony of suffering when your DAD is GOD!? That’s what got me every time. God loved us that much. To take it all upon Himself in human form so we could have a personal relationship with Him, with Christ and gift us the Holy Spirit. To live this life not just WITH God, but with God WITHIN us. *Mind blown*

When I watched the movie, The Case for Christ, for the first time it was very eye opening in my doubting Thomas scientific mind(I admit, I’ve watched it several times). The scientific documentation on the amount of people that witnessed not only His death but also saw Him after He had died was enough to cut the doubt tie for me. So many accounts for Him as a risen Savior. So many copies of the manuscripts over and over accounting the same thing. All the “he said she said” went out the door when I discovered so many people said the same thing, like 500 plus accounting the events happening at that time, they were there!!

I want you to know it’s ok to battle this faith out. It’s ok to ask questions, it causes us to dig in deeper. THAT is how a relationship is developed and THAT is what Christ wants, a relationship, not head knowledge… a relationship. The closer you get to Him the easier it is to make those right choices, to fight for your peace, to repent, reset, renew, repeat.

So back to my craptastic week…

It has felt yucky, disconnected, chaotic and my moods have been all over the place. But I’ve battled, I’ve fought to get to peace, and by fight I mean surrender it to God. I’ve taken my crappy mood and told God, “Dude, I’m sorry, I’m just struggling.” He knows, he knows, and I think to myself, Jesus had a pretty rough Holy week too!(Read Luke 22!) Imagine what Jesus went though during holy week. One day everyone is waving palm branches at you and singing Hosanna, and then a few days later one of your own closest to you betrays you… for money!! And another denies you, and then the cross. All for this… Fulfillment of prophecy. It had to happen and He knew it was going to happen. The suffering had to happen, so we could be saved from ourselves. You are saved because of Him, not because of yourself and your own doing. His brutal beating, betrayal, death and all …. for you, He is in the business of saving souls.

Now we get to choose.

Do we believe that this man is God, and that this Jesus is also the Son of God? Do we believe not only IN Him, but BELIEVE HIM? Even though we don’t know everything, or understand everything, (for who can understand the full mind and ways of Christ?) can we believe and leave our understanding to Him? Can you be all-in to a God that gave up His own Son? Can you be all-in to a God that loves you so much and KNOWS your suffering, for HE HIMSELF suffered for you? Can you be all-in when life seems full of holes and you seem just TOO weak to get through this week?

I challenge you to receive the gift of Christ this Holy Week. No performance can make you worthy of it. Accept that He did it for you and expects nothing in payment. He is the payment. And now, we get to live as a receivers of Christ, and do this: Let love flow to us, and through us. Live in the Spirit, love in the Spirit and let the Spirit flow in and through you. And maybe those holes can be filled with God’s light and maybe in our weakness we can truly let Him be strong.

I hope you have a blessed Holy Week.

Let Him Shine.