Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

Archive for May, 2011

To Write Love On Her Arms

I met Renee last week. Through a story so real and raw it makes my heart bleed just to think of it.

Lots of people know her…mostly those young enough to be my kids. But one day soon millions more will meet her on a big screen. And I pray that on that day millions of lives will be changed. And millions will write love on THEIR arms…perhaps for the first time…and forever after.

Because love changes us. It changed Renee and it can change you, me, and anyone. No person is ever beyond love’s reach.

NO PERSON IS EVER BEYOND LOVE’S REACH…

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds… She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write “**** UP” large across her left forearm…

It’s the only identity she knows. The one she tells herself is true.

God sends her friends that same morning to tell her a different truth. One of those friends, Jamie Tworkowski, writes her story a few days later…and titles it “To Write Love on Her Arms.”

And that’s exactly what he did:

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she’s known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don’t get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won’t solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we’re called home.

Love until we are called home…

That’s God talking to you and to me.

I have never carved a lie on my arm, but over the years I certainly have written lies like billboards in my thoughts… “I’m not good enough…I can’t do anything right…Nobody really loves me. I’ll never accomplish anything worthwhile.”

Meeting Renee reminds me of the agony of my days of despair. Days I want to forget, but God calls me to remember. So I can love better.

So I can write love on someone’s arm—where lies were once written.

Thank you Jamie, for sharing Renee’s story and your own. And for inspiring me to dig deeper, much deeper, into my own heart so I can love, truly love, as God fills my heart with His love…until I am called home.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV

Thanks for sharing a part of my story today. May we always remember the sun  never fails to shine, and the love of THE SON never fails to heal.

~ Linda

Read the rest of Renee’s story.

Learn more about TWLOHA.

Watch this inspiring video 

It’s a Red Shoes Day!

I  have my red shoes, do you?

Today I’m sharing my story of how God transformed me from a black, brown and boring shoe Christian into a red shoe one!

To read A Red Shoes Day click on the red shoe picture or this link: Internet Cafe Devotions

And you if you follow the instructions at the bottom of the devotion you can win a free copy of this devotional book my story was published in too!

That’s right, the title is  “God So Loved the World…That He Created Chocolate”

 

God, red shoes, and chocolate! Yup, it’s going to be a great day!

 

~Linda

Do you have a hyperactive conscience?

Do you have a hyperactive conscience?

Yesterday one of my favorite authors, Mary DeMuth, published  a blog post titled “Confessions of a girl with a hyperactive conscience.”

(Click here to read it)

“That’s me!” I thought and clicked the link to read Mary’s thoughts. Judging by the number of responses she’s received, there are a lot of women in the same boat with Mary and me.

We question ourselves. We doubt our worth. We berate ourselves for our mistakes and failures.

Even though we know we shouldn’t.

Are you in the boat with us?

I’ve battled this hyperactive conscience for years and so I posted a comment on Mary’s blog. She wrote back:

“Wow, Linda, this has “book” written all over it.”

I laughed.

So Mary, it’s not a book, but here’s a blog post, and I pray God uses your words and mine to bring healing to all of us who want our hyperactive consciences to just shut up.

First, here is the response I posted on Mary’s blog:

At times in my life this battle against my conscience has had me curled up in a fetal position on the floor in agony. My wise husband finally told me one day that every time I questioned my worth or berated myself for doing/saying something wrong that I was calling God a liar : Isaiah 45:9 “Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’”

God’s been busy shaping me and my conscience over the last five years as I have yielded to accepting the TRUTH of who God says I am and what I was created for—to love God and to love others. As long as I stay in that battle with my conscience I’m too preoccupied to do either of those things. Precisely the way the enemy of God wants it…

I have to choose to take an action that is completely the opposite of what I’m feeling and go love on somebody. And guess what happens with that battle with my conscience?

God wins!!

Let me elaborate on this a little more…AS LONG AS I STAY IN THAT BATTLE WITH MY CONSCIENCE I’M TOO PREOCCUPIED TO BE WHO GOD CREATED ME TO BE.

Sorry for shouting at you, but I feel pretty strongly about this. Here’s why:

I spent years talking truth back at my conscience (even shouting at times). I prayed, read my Bible, read books on the topic, and I asked for wisdom from my friends. Now I’m here to tell you that ALL of those things were beneficial. But they only led to a certain level of healing—an incomplete one. After years the battle was still waging in my mind and I was ready to wave the white flag and surrender. I figured the war would never end, no matter what I did.

“I’m not good enough. You shouldn’t have said that. You messed up…again.”

I shot those fiery darts at myself almost daily…even though I knew they were lies. Like an addiction or bad habit, I simply couldn’t break myself of it.

Until the “I could have had a V8” day. The day God put two scripture passages together in my head:

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  Matthew 22:37-39

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:17, 22

My paraphrase: Love with all my mind. Love my neighbor as myself. My faith is made complete through acting in love.

Yeah right, I thought. At the time my mind was so preoccupied with me, there was no way I could love God or others. And then I saw how this had played out in my life:

Withdrawl. Hiding from people. Avoiding situations where I might feel unworthy. Trying to find a “safe” space where my conscience would not be tested.

My hyperactive conscience had the power in my life, not God. I realized the only way out was to take action. To fight the enemy on God’s terms, not man’s. I started to unfurl from my fetal position and make a choice to take a loving action. So when I started to berate myself I would purposefully go and encourage someone else instead. To be who God created me to be!

I discovered that I knew all the truth I needed to know, but I was waiting for the actions to just follow naturally. Nope, God said, YOU make the choice to act in truth and that’s when your faith is made complete. Your healing is made complete.

I think Joyce Meyer is famous for saying “Take the right action and the feelings will follow.” I’m here to tell you it works.

No, I’m not perfect at always taking the right action. But I haven’t been curled up in a ball for years. A little stomach ache now and I know what I need to do.

Do you have a hyperactive conscience? Put my method to the test and see if you can make it shut up too.

After all, what good does it do me, or you, or God if we’re wasting all our time talking to a liar?

By the way…you are beautiful,  you are worthy, you are used mightily by God and He has great plans for your life!

Go forth and conquer!

 

            ~Linda

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