Overflow

Overflow

I was running around the playground being chased by a little boy who had a crush on me. This was a new thing for me as not many boys liked chubby little 8-year-old girls with stringy blonde hair and awkwardly shy personalities. Delighted, I ran away from him and allowed myself to be caught over and over again, only to break away to continue the chase. As we laughed and ran, we passed by one of the school bullies. I will never forget the feeling when he yelled out to the boy chasing me, “Man! You go for the SCUMS!”

CRACK…

That was one of the first cracks in the vase that represents me and my life. It was something that caused a wound; a tiny crevice where the Enemy began to feed lies into my spirit about not being good enough. He starts when we’re young because over time, those little cracks are his way in to develop gaping wounds as we get older. Offshoots of the original cracks can often become a roadmap of brokenness. For me, this wound began a cycle of trying to fill myself up with people and things to feed my self-esteem - but nothing ever fully satisfied me. 

The Lord gave me a picture of a vase with water gushing out of the cracks that were all over it. He showed me that throughout my life, I’ve had experiences and words spoken over me that have caused cracks in my “vase” (me). I tried to fill up my vase with many different things to feel whole. I used relationships and affirmation from people to fill my loneliness and rejection. I used jobs and positions of ministry to make me feel valued and important. But like pouring water into a broken vase, it would quickly leak out and I'd end up feeling even more empty than before. What I didn’t realize is that God wanted to heal and repair all the cracks and brokenness in my life not just to allow me to contain the blessings of a husband, career, family, ministry, etc. - it was so I could first and foremost contain all of HIM. He needed to repair all my woundedness so I could be filled to the top with His presence, goodness, redemption, intimacy, love, grace…all that He is. He wanted to be my everything and satisfy every longing and need in my life. He then showed me a vase that had every crack repaired and it was filled to the top with Living Water. More water was being poured into it - overflowing and bubbling over. He said to me, "When you allow Me to heal and fill you completely, all the blessings I pour out on you will simply be an OVERFLOW from your place of wholeness in Me." 

We cannot ever be fully satisfied with anyone or anything until we first allow the Lord to satisfy our every need. He pursues, heals and fills us up so that we are not just full but overflowing with abundant life. This former chubby, stringy-haired, awkwardly shy 8-year-old girl can say this from experience. ;-)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

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This song took to me to church this week! Be encouraged!

The Last 10%

The Last 10%

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isaiah 40:31

 

I often go hiking at a favorite park near where I live. There's a trail I love because the payoff is a beautiful view at the top of the ridge. It's a tough climb to do nonstop (at least for me) but I decided to hike it the other day because a few months prior, I had carved the word "Hope" with a heart below it into one of the trees at the top. It was to remind me to remain hopeful that God knew the desires of my heart. I wondered if it was still visible.

Lately there have been a lot of things pressing into my life and heart that have been so difficult, I've been fighting depression, loneliness and hopelessness (just being honest here). After going through a cancer battle and divorce, this season of singleness I'm in now seems even harder because I'm emotionally fatigued from everything that happened before it. I began to talk to the Lord about it as I started up the long, winding trail. It was sweltering outside and I began to get tired. As I neared the top, my feet felt heavy like lead, my lungs were burning and I had no strength left. I could see the top of the ridge a short distance away but it seemed like miles. I cried out, "Lord, I'm so tired! I can't do this anymore. I'M SO TIRED!!" I finally stopped, bent over and started sobbing. I had nothing left in me to get to the top literally or figuratively. I knew this was a spiritual lesson being taught in the physical.

He spoke to my heart, "Debi, look back and see how far you've come. You've journeyed 90% of the way. You're almost there! Don't give up! Don't settle for 90% when there's only 10% left!

Again, I cried and said, "But God, I have NO strength left. My heart (and my body) hurt so much! I have nothing left in me to go this last distance.

He said, "That's right, you don't. You will make it the rest of the way by the power of my Holy Spirit."

I began to walk again. To my surprise, I could "feel" a push on my back, helping me up the hill. I was able to walk faster and faster with a strength that didn't feel like my own. Even though it was still difficult, I was practically running the last 5% of the way and reached the top in no time. He again told me to look down the path and said, "Look! You almost stopped right down there. You were so close to the top and you nearly gave up at 90%." Then, I felt Him excitedly urging me on to find the tree I'd been seeking. When I found it, I started crying. To my great joy, the word "Hope" with the heart beneath it was as completely visible as the day I carved it on there. In fact, it had matured from the fresh green of the initial etching to a beautiful light brown against the dark bark of the tree. And the Lord spoke to my heart again...

"My hope never fades."

Are you walking through something right now that feels as though it will never end? Are you so tired and worn out that you feel like giving up or settling for something less than God's best just to ease the pain? Even though the last 10% before breakthrough is the most difficult, it is in this very place of our greatest weakness where His greatest strength is manifested ("But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9). Don't give up! Don't lose heart! His strength is empowering you this last 10% toward a HOPE that never, ever fades or disappoints.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:12-14

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This song has been my anthem this week: "You are my help! You are my hope! I sing of Your faithfulness alone.  You are my strength, King of all days, my glory will shout your praise!"

TAKE RESIDENCY

TAKE RESIDENCY

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Rev 3:20

I’m in a season right now where God is asking to occupy places in my life where I’ve never allowed Him in before. It is painful, freeing, terrifying, relieving and uncharted. More than anything it has been a pathway to freedom and healing in areas where I had no idea I needed it.

God often gives me a mental picture of what He’s revealing to me. He showed me a long, dark hallway with many doors. Above each one was a sign that signified something in my life I’d been holding back from Him.

HOPELESSNESS

 ABANDONMENT

 RELATIONSHIPS

REJECTION

There are many I cannot list here as they are private sins I didn’t want to surrender or invite the Lord into. These rooms were places I’d been going in alone over and over again. Some, for most of my life. They are rooms in my heart I had kept to myself.

I’m finally at a place in my life where I no longer want to play games with God. I asked Him, “Please show me the names of these rooms. I want to invite you into them no matter how difficult it might be.” He began to show me the signs above the doors. Some surprised me. Others were ones I knew about. However, every time He pointed them out, I had peace. Only God can point out our sins and withholdings with loving conviction. The enemy will always use condemnation. That is NEVER of God. (“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1) God only does things that will heal us, not harm us.

In faith and trust, I began to respond, “Okay Lord, I open the door of Abandonment. I open it all the way and ask You to come in and take residency there.” I called out the name of every room I knew about and ones He revealed to me and asked Him in. He is currently making Himself at home in some of these rooms and in turn, I feel more peaceful in them. In some He is redecorating or moving the furniture around. :-) And He is closing the doors to some of these rooms forever.

What are the names of the rooms you need to let God into? Addiction? Anger? Rejection? Private Sin? Are some of these rooms places you cannot imagine inviting Him into because you’ve lived there so long, it's comforting? Even prison cells begin to feel like home, the very bars of our bondage begin to look like curtains...if we've lived there long enough. As I have begun inviting Jesus into these areas in my heart, He has opened new doors that lead to GREAT ROOMS so much more spacious and beautiful than the shabby, tiny rooms I’ve been hiding alone in for so long. I encourage you to call them out to Him (He knows what they are anyway!). We cancel the power of the Enemy when we confess these places and invite God into them to redeem and restore. Let Him take residency in the rooms down that dark hallway...and step into the place of abundant life He's longing for you to live in today!

“Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” Psalm 24:9

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This song has been such an encouragement to me as I've been responding to the Lord this week. I pray it becomes the cry of your heart too!