Where is God now? A question that I have battled with (as most have) because let's be honest the world is hard, unforgiving, and full of evil. Cancer, car accidents, predators, trafficking, slavery, addictions, divorce, the list goes on. I see a glimmer of Satan at work in these big things, but also in the small things. Every fall begins with many small steps. All these things big and small are meant to create division, make us forget who our God is, who God has even created us to be. So why won't God prevent it? I don’t have all the answers to this because, well, I’m not Jesus. But one thing I know is that we are supposed to be an extension of Jesus. Follow His example, spread the Gospel, live as He did. That's a scary thought because I know I fail daily, as does every single human on earth.
Despite our sinfulness and unworthiness, there are still those who get it right, in the ways that matter. I truly believe this is our purpose, to not replace Jesus in someone’s life, but to show them what it means to be loved by Him. It is absolutely terrifying and sometimes debilitating to lay it all down face to face with someone. But when you do and it is responded to with no judgment, no assumptions, just the love of Jesus filtered through a daughter or son of God, it truly is priceless. It’s so important to find your people AND find a mentor. You will know them by the words they speak over you. By the way they encourage you and push you to be better, and do better because they believe in you by your ability to be completely transparent with them. They will encourage you to keep praying, keep pushing, keep growing, even if it feels like it’s an inch at a time. They listen to God’s direction. They truly want to help guide you to Jesus, see you changed by Him so that you may help others find freedom. These very special people aren’t perfect but they do give a glimpse of Jesus on earth. You will find people like this here at Value Unconditional. They love fiercely, believe in you, will fight for you, and will see you through your healing to the end. It just takes one small step. God will do the rest.
That blessing is his affection, to hear him say I love you, to know you have his approval, attention, participation, and belief in you. He also gives light to the fact if God wants us to know him as a father, the enemy is going to attack fatherhood. Louie Giglio, Summer Reading Series We see it all the time. Fatherhood is being reshaped and has been for awhile now. Women being overly independent (I used to be one and still fight it), the lack of value in “just” being a mom, decreasing moral standards, fathers running from their responsibilities, the list goes on of things contributing to the attack on fatherhood. Many of these problems have been created by a family pattern that hasn’t been broken. And there is no family pattern that happens overnight, it is years, generations of slow habits, mistakes, behaviors that bleed into the next generation.
I’m sure many of us would have different definitions of what our “perfect father” would look like. My idea of the “perfect father” would be one that doesn’t shame but teaches when I make a mistake, one that comes home from work and puts himself aside to spend time with his family, one that encourages, praises, and knows me well. One that shows up for the school program, follows through with his promises, someone who is trustworthy. Something I realized is that whatever your idea of what you are missing in your earthly father is often very close to the qualities of our Heavenly Father. Yet, we often don’t think of Him like that because of what our earthly fathers have shown us. The Bible has a lot to say about Fatherhood, particularly how we should think of God as our Father. The word father is mentioned over 900 times throughout the Bible and God is compared to fathers many times throughout the Bible.
Some of my favorites that show who God is as our Father are:
Psalm 103:13-Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. are you not worth much more than they?
Matthew 7:11 If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children,, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him!
Deuteronomy 8:5 Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
And one of my favorite is when Jesus is telling us how to pray he begins the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9 Pray then this way, Our Father who is in heaven.
Our God is compassionate, merciful, provides comfort, a father to everyone, ultimate provider, the best gift giver, is trustworthy, knows the best for path for us, and most importantly despite the failures we have as parents we ALWAYS have a loving Father in heaven. This characteristics should also be what we aim for as parents, but this job we have as parents is a tough one. We fail every day. I haven’t met one perfect parent yet. Every single moment with our kids is shaping their view of God and even the probability of them truly following Him in their lives. And the most important part in their lives for this influence are dads. A lot of parents don’t know how to handle this responsibility well because they weren’t shown how to parent well. But, thank goodness we are not on our own with this. Goodness knows we need grace, forgiveness and the very best parenting book. We can learn from it, adjust, ask for forgiveness if needed, and most importantly make sure our children know that when we fail them, because we will, they have a Father who loves them deeply, that they can run to, regardless of what is going on around them. It is the greatest love story ever told. A kind of love each and every one of us craves, the only one that will fill us. It doesn’t make sense to our logical minds, yet this story of love resonates deep in our souls and meets needs we didn’t know existed. He is it. Everything we need is in Him. And despite what we know to be true here on Earth, in Him nothing, nothing we do, say, think, feel will keep Him from patiently staying by our side and loving us as a child should be.
Hello friends! I am excited to share what I sense to be on God’s heart as I go through life. This may very well look like how a newborn calf looks, wobbly and unsure. But I promise to be real, raw, and write only truth. I hope that what I share will be uplifting, convicting, life-changing, and always pointing to Jesus. He is worth it all.
“I am not enough. Jesus is.” These words hit me hard as I read them. This was exactly what I needed to read, to accept, and to live out. I realized I was spending way more time than I thought relying on my own strength. It was the key to unlocking all the anxiety, fears, second guessing, and insecurities I was battling. I share this because I also think this is a message our culture needs to hear. God wants us to bring light to the sin of putting ourselves above Him. The self love movement that has taken storm recently has a great message but as with most good things Satan will twist it and we end up relying less and less on God and more on ourselves. The irony is in an effort to be true to ourself we lose who we are meant to be. Jennie Allen said it perfectly, “Jennie, I want you to stop doing things for Me and start doing things with Me. We have some fields to plow and your eyes have been straight ahead, working and striving and pulling this heavy thing. Look next to you for one minute. Look over. There I am, little me strapped in next to an enormous Ox, and it’s God. He was always there. The reason I could rest wasn’t because the job is easy, and it wasn’t because I am capable of achieving it. It was only because I was strapped in next to GOD. He would do the work, and I could rest because He is so strong, so good, so kind.” Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
How many times have I put so much weight on myself, thinking it was all up to me. That I had to carry it all on my shoulders. My burdens. Other people’s burdens. The burdens of the world around us. We are not meant to carry that weight. I imagine Him pausing, sitting on a rock while He waits for me to get back on track. Patient, loving, steadfast. And when I return He says “I missed you daughter. You bring me such joy. Come beside me as we move forward. I have so much in store for you.” Stop striving, stop performing, stop pretending. Love yourself yes but also remember who is with you and live life fully as He intended. In community, being real, authentic, transparent, living out the plans He created for you, not the world. He’s got you. Lean on Him in all things. Remember that sometimes we aren’t enough and that’s ok. He knows that and still loves us, still chases us in all our imperfections. Let Jesus fill the gap.
The Lord knows your hurt. He knows your fears. He knows your shortcomings. All the things you've tried so hard to keep hidden...he knows that, too. The people you call friends may have judged you for one or more of the things in your past. They may look at you with judgment when you try to align yourself with God. What overpowers all is grace. Grace is enough to lift you up and give you life, removing you from Sheol, the place of the dead. Grace is enough to restore and allow you to experience a life of purity despite the amount of promiscuity in your yesterday. Grace is enough to restore relationships that have been broken and bring new life to relationships that start off on the wrong foot. You're worthy of receiving life and grace because the flawless son of God who died for you carried every shortcoming and transgression, every sin, and left it to die on the cross. He's paid the price for everything you've done wrong and everything you'll ever do wrong in the future. Take a goal-inventory of the things in your life that you're pursuing, right now. Do you strive more for praise from friends or approval from the one who longs to give you hope and a future? Do you pursue money more than you pursue peace? Do you pursue a promotion more than you pursue the comfort of having a secure and stable relationship with the ones you love?
God is the giver of life. He allows U-turns and he will embrace you where you are. There is no amount of wrong that you can do that will make him reject you and say you're not enough, because Jesus, the sinless, blameless, Holy son of God came to earth and died. He is enough to cover the wrongs of your yesterday, your today and your tomorrow. The question is whether or not you will let him. Will you give him your hurt, your fear, your pain and your transgressions? Will you give him your emptiness and trade it in for wholeness and redemption? Will you trade in your addiction for the peace that's found only in the presence of the Holy Spirit?
When others tell you you're too far gone to save, let them know Jesus disagrees. When others tell you you've done too much to be forgiven, let them know Jesus disagrees. When people tell you you're bound for brokenness and hurt, you can say to them, "Jesus and his grace are enough for me."
Survivor after survivor that I speak or work with spend so much of their initial healing trying to understand what they did wrong to have 'caused' their rape or sexual assault. If you are a survivor and you're trying to figure out what you did wrong, or what you did to have contributed, even partially, to the assault or abuse you've experienced, this is for you---it wasn't you. It was never you. It was never anything you did or what you wore. If the person who committed this act hadn't have been there, would the same have happened? No. Because it is the perpetrator who takes fault, not the victim/survivor.