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

Posts tagged ‘God’s love’

Pondering the number 3

It’s been three months since I’ve written a blog post.

A lot can happen in three months…

I have three months of wonderful memories shared with family and friends.

I’m three months older (which, at my age, is not something I celebrate)…

Wait…I’m older, but am I also three months wiser?

Oh yes, I believe I am.

I’m wiser and I’m transformed. Older, but renewed.

All because of three miraculous days in June, and the three months of healing that have followed.

So I ponder the number 3 today…

It was three days before Jesus rose from the dead.

Three is a number of RESURRECTION.

Thank you Jesus for the resurrection life you poured into me during those three days and have continued to pour out these last three months.

Three is the number of DIVINE PERFECTION—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–the fullness of God.

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. Colossians 2:9-10 MSG

Thank you God, for calling me to empty myself of the things that filled my life that were not of you—pain, fear and sins of unbelief–and filling me with the fullness of your life.

3, you have been good to me.

Soon I’ll write a testimony of your goodness, your mercy, and your healing power Lord. But for today, I’ll ponder your Divine perfection and the power of your resurrection life at work in me…

The number three “signifies and represents the Holy Spirit as taking the things of Christ and making them real and solid in our experience.” –biblestudy.org

You are making them real to me.

Thank you Lord, for 

©Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved

A New Adventure: Do It Afraid

In my last post I shared that I was ready for the new adventures God had for me this year…and now I’m headed off on one!

I’ve started a new blog titled “Do It Afraid.”

Do It Afraid is the message God has been trying to teach me all my life, but I only figured it out a year ago! It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I’ve been that slow to catch on (yes, I hit the side of my head with my right palm and exclaimed “I could have had a V-8”), but I’m so grateful for the healing that God is working in my life as a result of him giving me my “aha” moment.

Today I’ve put up my first post on the Do It Afraid site and I hope you’ll take the time to join me there and read a little more of my journey walking out of a life of fear and stepping forward in faith. I’ll still be sharing here at sunny side up, trying to keep the lighter side perspective on life, but I hope you are also blessed by the deeper sharing on Do It Afraid.

Here is an excerpt of today’s post: The Faces of Fear: Shame

Click here or on the photo to read more.

Shame.

 It’s a face of fear that I’m afraid to even talk about.

I’m afraid because I’ll have to make myself vulnerable to you, and share how painful and destructive shame has been in my own life.

I’d rather hide, like Adam and Eve in the garden, than show you the nakedness of my imperfections.

I’d rather live with my pretty make up on, so you never see the mask of shame that lies hidden just below.

But I’m going to share, because the fear of shame has ruled my life for far too long and hiding it was little by little killing me off inside.

The problem is, God did not create me to hide from life, he created me to live life to the fullest. Hiding from God and from you, living life constantly wearing make-up, trying to be perfect at everything, is incredibly painful. And destructive.

Because the face of the fear of shame is driven by perfectionism.

Research in human behavior confirms that perfectionism can lead us down the path of depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis:

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment and blame.” –Brene Brown

We know it’s true, but why are we women so consumed with trying to be perfect? And why is it so difficult for us to admit that we live and act out of our feelings of shame? That we are constantly battling the voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough?

…To keep reading click here.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with me!

~Linda

Have you read about my red shoes yet? Join the red shoe revolution and step out in faith to spread the love of Jesus!

Copyright 2012, Linda Crawford, sunny side up. All right reserved.

LOVE is…

LOVE  is…

A Christmas present worth unwrapping every day of the year!

In honor of all that LOVE has done for me recently I’ve put together a video collage of  the images and messages I’ve been blessed to receive from God this year.

LOVE is…

The beautiful sound track is from Hidden in My Heart Scripture Lullabies–the music that healed my soul this year as God healed my body.

Yes friends, I am finally walking (and dancing) into my miraculous physical healing!

What can I say, except that God’s LOVE is amazing!

Praying for God’s LOVE to embrace you and fill your heart with strength and joy today and every day!

~ Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011

Love Doodle

We are Named by LOVE. Healed by LOVE. Protected by LOVE.

When we allow Jesus to write LOVE on our arms we are kept for good by, as John Wesley calls Jesus, “the lover of our souls.”

He can write:

LOVE over the lies.

LOVE over the pain.

LOVE over the fear.

LOVE over the loneliness.

LOVE over the death.

Because LOVE never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Let Jesus write LOVE on your arms today too!

Today’s Doodle Monday is a short excerpt from a longer devotional to be published in December at Internet Cafe Devotions.

(Thanks to my daughter Sarah, for writing Love on my arm…today and every day you shine the love of Jesus!)

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011

I Think I am a Princess

Friends,

I’m on a writing retreat for the month of September (although still at home with dirty dishes and laundry), so I’ve dug out chapters and excerpts from my previous two book attempts to share with you. The first book I started was called:

Escape From Wonderland: How to Stop Chasing Fantasies and Live in the Realities of Your Faith

Here’s Part II of Chapter 4… (See last week’s post for Part I)

I Think I am a Princess


Oh how I have prayed over the years for God to transform me into who I really am in Christ…to change the way I think about myself, and teach me to act like myself so I can be myself. There’s nothing more difficult or distressing than trying to live life not knowing who you really are.

Without my identity secure in Christ I’m just an actress always trying to find the right script.

Years ago I didn’t even know I was not really being me. I found out later that other people knew. A pastor friend told me that I used to drive him crazy because, in his words, “you would never say what you really meant.”

What he’d noticed for years was that I chose my words so carefully I was never free to be real—to say what I meant and to mean what I said. Mine was a tightly scripted act that was supposed to protect me from failure and keep me from thinking too highly of myself. After all, I reasoned, only people who thought too highly of themselves spoke their true minds!

I was stuck in Cinderella thinking.

“Stinkin’ thinkin’” is what my brutally honest husband would call it. And frankly, I have to agree with him. There was nothing sweet-smelling about it.

My thoughts about me were in the dump. God’s thoughts about me were in the kingdom.

I was continually throwing a load of stinky smelly trash on what God had deemed treasure.

It must have smelled pretty bad for me to finally realize that I had to learn how to stop that trash from desecrating the truth. It was time to redecorate my dump and re-wallpaper the rooms of my mind with scripture. I had to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

I went to war. I fought every time I recognized a negative accusation. I got lots of practice fighting, especially alone driving in my car and awake in bed at night. That’s when the fiercest battles raged in my mind.

“I am who God says I am! I am not a total failure, I am not a nothing, I am a beloved child of God, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

I would literally yell at myself to drown out those habitual self-destructive thoughts.

Over time, I began to yell less. Today, most of the time I just need to give myself a good talking to.

Love…As yourself

“Okay, God, maybe I can learn to accept myself, but can I really love myself?”

This was a tough question for me until I realized that by refusing to learn how to love myself I had no idea how to really love others.

My constant self-critical habits were an irritation to my husband and an obstacle to all my relationships. One night my husband said to me, “Do you realize that every time you criticize yourself you are criticizing God?”

He reminded me of Romans 9:20:

Who are you, a mere human being, to criticize God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this? ” (NLT)

He was right. I did not like myself, much less love myself, and every time I criticized myself I was questioning God. God made me and loved me the way He made me. I was His creation, fearfully and wonderfully knit together in my mother’s womb!

But how could I change how I felt about myself?

I began to get some insight a few years ago. I had started to feel pretty confident in my identity in Christ and developed some close friendships I treasured. I was astonished one day when one of my friends confronted me with, “I never feel like you really mean it when you hug me and you’re always the first to let go.”

Ouch. But I immediately knew she was right. I had “personal space” issues and I only allowed people to get so close.

Soon after this, I was involved in the formation of a women’s ministry group. The inaugural meeting was held at my house and the first thing God put on my heart was to have “a ministry of hugs.” (This would later become known as HUGS—Hearts United in Grace and Spirit—and we opened every meeting sharing the love of Jesus.)

About six months later, I heard a brief teaching on Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere.” (NIV)

I had heard the words many times before, but this time I was hit between the eyes with the simple, no room for negotiation command, “must be.”

My friend’s words of a few months before echoed in my mind. My love was not sincere and I knew it. But God’s Word clearly said it “must be.”

So I started to pray every time I hugged someone that my love would be sincere. I prayed that I would learn to receive love and not be the first to let go. Over time the most amazing thing happened. My hugs began to become real. And I was able to receive hugs. I could love and be loved.

For me, by learning to sincerely fulfill the commandment to love my neighbor, I began to learn how to love myself. I realize now that every time I extend the love of Jesus to another person, that love must first flow in me.

Can I really love myself? I not only can, I must. This is not a distortion of pride or permission to esteem myself above anyone else or God. But if I say I sincerely love Christ, then I must endeavor to sincerely love myself, for God created me and Christ who lives in me is my true self. To deny acceptance of myself would be to deny acceptance of Him. And He not only loves, He is love!

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

From Fantasy to Faith

Are you like I was, oppressed and “faithfully” scrubbing toilets waiting for Prince Charming (or Jesus) to rescue you? Who do you say you are? Who does the world say you are? Who does God say you are? Are you believing in the minuses or the pluses? Do you find yourself pretending to be two people and never really finding your true identity through “Christ in you?” Can you truly say you love yourself?

Renewing my mind in Christ will be a life-long process, but today I can tell you that I am a princess. I am more who I really am than I have ever been. And with more prayer and practice living in the truth, I will be more of who I really am tomorrow—being ever transformed into His image and likeness.

No matter where you are on your journey from fantasy to faith, God always wants to help you learn more about knowing and loving who you really are.

You are a Princess!

 Have you found it hard to love yourself?

Share your story in the comments!

 ~Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

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