To Be Seen, To Be Known

ToBeSeen

Have you ever felt invisible, as if no one can see you?  A few weeks ago, I sat with a woman who was lamenting about being overlooked.  Her heart wanted desperately to be seen as valuable, worthy, capable, and a blessing.  As we dug deeper through our conversation, she shared that she had been overlooked her whole life.  Then she said these words.

I think this is why I am fat.  I am making myself seen.  You can’t help but see me.

At first, I was stunned to hear this woman speak these words.  I have known her for years, and I would hardly consider her a woman who was invisible.  She was one of the first women I was drawn to at our church, because of her beautiful heart for God. Her infectious sense of humor and her wisdom.  I sought her out, and yet she feels invisible.

Then I began to reflect on women in my circle. Including myself.  There is the woman who incredibly loud, The woman who dresses over the top for all occasions.  There is the woman who is always up for anything, the life of the part.  The woman who posts a million photos on Facebook and Instagram.  The woman who always has something to say in every conversation.  The woman who is quick to raise her hand, volunteering on every committee and project.

I wondered, how many of these women were just trying to be seen, to be known.

I thought about all of the times when I have cried out to God, and it seemed like He didn’t hear me.  I thought about the number of occasions I was waving my arms at God saying “pick me, use me” and felt He had passed me by.

Have you ever felt invisible to God?

But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 8:3

His word tells us that He knew us as we were being stitched together in our mother’s womb, that he knows our voice, He knows those who belong to Him, he calls us by name.

Last week, I stood in line at the Deli section of the grocery store waiting for my number to cue.  I watched the people working behind the counter rushing to serve each customer efficiently but quickly.  When it was my turn, I used all the manners I had been raised with.  Please.  May I have…?  Then, as she handed me my last package, I glanced down at her name tag.  “Thank you, Linda.  Have a great weekend.”

I was no different than the customers before me, with one exception.  I called her by name.  I saw her.  She was known.  I watched the stress lift from her face, her eyes light up, and the corners of her lips turn up into a smile.  I made eye contact with her, smiled back, and went about my day.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

The Lord knows you, by name.  You are His, and the Lord is the Good Shepherd, who tends to the needs of His flock.  We may not always understand where our Shepherd is leading us, or why He asked us to wait.  But, he has not forgotten us.  He is the Shepherd, who seeks the one lost sheep.  The Creator who provides for the sparrows of the field.  The Lamb, who was slain for my sins, … your sins.  He gave His life for you that you would be covered by the blood and saved FOR eternity with Him.

When the road is weary, the wait is tiring, and your strength seems to fade, remember His promises.  Wait on Him.

Isaiah 40:28-31

 28Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.

      29He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.

      30Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,

      31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

And He said GO, to the ends of the Earth.

and he said go

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Do not be afraid.  Such simple words, strong words, peppered throughout the scriptures.  Do you know, sweet sister, that the Lord was speaking to YOU?  His Word assures us in no uncertain terms that we need not be afraid, because where ever the Lord sends us He goes before us and comes behind us.  He has commanded us to GO.

As a woman who married young, had her children young, it has been harder for me to get up and go.  We have finances to consider, but I also have to consider my husband’s schedule and make arrangements for my children’s schedules as well.  When I am gone, there is still a family that needs to eat at home.  When I leave for a period of time, I have a family who is begging me to come home.  There are so many opportunities that come up that I would love to be a part of, yet He has placed me in a family, and I am to be a good steward with that blessing.  My mission field begins with the children the Lord has entrusted into my care, that I bring them up in the way of the Lord so that when they are old they will not turn from it.

For our single women, however, the world is before you to go and serve your fellow man.  You are in a season of life where the Lord has gifted you a freedom to GO.  Whether you choose to go to your local community center and volunteer your time with the people who share the same neighborhood as you, or you decide to board a plane and fly across the globe to serve the “least of these.”  What stops you from taking on those adventures?

Are you afraid?    He says, fear not.

Are you imperfect?  You are made perfect in Him.

Are you unqualified?  He qualifies and equips those He calls.

Are you called?  If you are a believer, then the answer is yes.  Now, just pray for the Lord to reveal where that calling will lead you.

. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, am with you always, to the end of the age.”   Matthew 28:18-20

The Holy Spirit grants us gifts, talents, and skills that we are to use for the Glory of God wherever we go.  Each day, as we walk out our front door, we are encountering the “least of these”.  Each day, we become keenly more aware of the hurt, pain, and suffering in this world.  Each day, we are presented with new opportunities to share the Healer, Comforter, and Rock with those who are pressed down by the weight of this fallen world.

Your mission field starts right where you are.

When the Lord asks, “Who will go?”

Will you say “Here I am Lord, send me.”?

Because you, sweet sister, are ready to go and make disciples of all the nations starting with the ones in your neighborhood and to the ends of the earth.  For you do not walk alone, but with the One, who redeems.

Conflict, Attack and Situations That Seem Impossible to Overcome

conflict and attack

Conflict is something a lot of people struggle with, including me. I use to be a person who did not deal with conflict well at all. I was either way too emotional and blowing up or I shut completely down and cut the situation off (even though I may have been rightfully upset). First, I praise God that I have come a long way and am no longer the person I use to be. I have gone from those two extremes to a better balance somewhere in the middle, and I can manage conflict better. However though I was responding differently on the outside, on the inside it was still taking an emotional toll on me. I was still holding the weight of situations in my hands having yet to release them over fully to God. I got to the point where the build up was too much, and I cried out to God, and He told me He wanted my FULL surrender in these situations.

Yes, I had made progress, and it was awesome.  However, God wanted to continue to develop me and train me to release my hold on my situations and hand them over to Him. He wanted me to seek and acknowledge Him; He wanted me to trust Him and believe in His Word. That I can do all things and overcome all things through Christ who strengthens me. He wanted to show me the changes I had made and needed to make would develop our relationship.

So with this new-found knowledge, it was only a matter of time before I was faced with a test a chance to gauge my comprehension of the lesson He taught me. Recently, I found myself at odds with my rental management company. This situation hit all my previous triggers anyone who knows me knows injustice and disrespect are big ones. This case included those and then some. I was too tired to fight and didn’t want to deal with this situation physically or emotionally, and I wanted to run, but I had to have a place to live. So I trusted God and waited for His guidance. Casting my burdens upon Him. I sought Him in prayer and allowed the Holy Spirit to move me to action. I activated my faith over the situation, and  I believed God could fix it. I SURRENDERED knowing that regardless of the results I would STILL trust Him and allow Him to guide me through this conflict.

In the end, the Lord delivered well beyond any expectation I could have had. I had a face to face meeting with the property manager and assistant property manager shortly after a lengthy email exchange with regarding them being unwilling to uphold their promises and honor my request. After our meeting, I ended up with more than they initially promised. Not because I asked for it, but because I trusted God, and I choose not fight in the flesh but to fight against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. He allowed me to gain skills to handle conflict without blowing up or shutting down and instead of holding all of my emotions within I can release them to Him, trusting Him.

When dealing with conflict, attack or a situation that seems impossible to overcome keep  these Scriptures close:

Trust God: we have to believe God before we can expect from God.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.Proverbs 3:5 NASB

Remind Yourself Who God Is: tell yourself who God is, in the midst of your situation never lose sight of who God is.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NASB

Tell Yourself Who You Are: Remember the authority that He has given to you.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NASB

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 NASB

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Luke 10:19 NASB

Stay Alert: Be quick to listen  slow to speak and slow to get angry, don’t lose your cool, a hot head is a jumbled mind

everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger  James 1:19 NASB

Never Forget God Is With You: We have a tendency to forget God is with us. So it is important to REMEMBER God is always with you, He will never leave us.

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB

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Friends, how many of us have them?

 
Friends2k 
 
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:18-20 NLT
 

This story about the paralyzed man speaks to how important it is for us to have what I call Kingdom minded friends. We all need someone to keep us accountable, encourage us, fight for us, and have our best interest at heart. Having someone, you can depend on that wants the best for you spiritually is important.

This story in Luke shows us how friendship should look. Have you ever told someone about something you were struggling with only for them to say “man that’s a shame?” The paralyzed man’s friends didn’t say “Oh well you’re paralyzed.” They heard about Jesus, a man who could heal and took their friend to see Him. We know these were real friends because when they got to the house, there was a  large crowd, and they were unable to get through, however,  this didn’t stop them. They took their friend to the roof. Can you imagine how strenuous this task was? There was a sea of people around the house where Jesus was. They made their way through the crowd to the roof of the house carrying their paralyzed friend. I can assure you that couldn’t have been an easy task to complete. After all of that, they then removed part of the roof so they could lower their friend down right in front of Jesus. Because of their faith and determination, Jesus healed the paralyzed man. I believe this was also because He wanted to let us know this is how we should care for one another.

When you have a spiritual support system, you know they care about your overall well-being. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not, they love you for who you are. Like in this story, they will fight for your healing. These kinds of friends won’t be throwing their good deeds in your face later. They do things for you because they care, not because they’re expecting something in return. I’m sure we can all use some friends like that.

The Bible gives us several scriptures that reference having support.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”-Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:18 MSG

“If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

The Bible makes it clear that we will need help from other believers. We won’t always be able to go at things alone. I’m still praying that I can experience this type of community for myself, and I know God will provide. Let God lead you to the right people. He led Jesus to His disciples; He can surely lead you to a community that you can do life with.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for all that you have done and all that you’re doing. We know that we are nothing without You. Help us strengthen our faith in You. Give us discernment before we enter into relationships. Lead us to people who will have our best interest at heart and will love us for who we are. Protect us from the evil one and keep us in Your arms. It’s in the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Are We really living for Christ?

Living for God 
 
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”
Romans 12:1-2 NLT 

What is sacrifice?

The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having higher or more pressing claim. (Dictionary.com, 2014)

The Bible says that we need to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Meaning we have to live for Christ. We need to make it a habit to consult God in the choices we make.

I faced a tough decision recently and was unclear on what choice to make. Terrified of making the wrong choice. I wanted God to audibly tell me what to do. I had to make a choice and doing nothing was not an option. So I prayed a prayer of desperation.  I came to the Lord and said “Father you know my heart and that my desire is to please you. This is a tough decision and I want to make sure that I am moving in the direction that you would have me to go. Please give me discernment and a peace that surpasses all understanding around the right choice.”  I’ll be honest I still didn’t feel like I knew what to do. So I made my choice based on what would bring God the most glory. The choice that would allow me to serve the Lord the best way possible. Looking back I see that God’s silence allowed me to remember what I’ve learned about Him and apply it. Had I been looking in a worldly perspective it’s likely I would have made a completely different choice. Sacrificing my will for the will of God truly gave me peace. Psalms 32:10 tells us that we’re protected by the Lord.

Knowing the promises of God helped me make a tough decision. It’s important that we stand on the promises of God and speak them over our lives. Know that if you make choices to glorify God He will protect you and give you peace! He will not put more on you than you can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) All things are possible through Christ who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)

If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure what the right choice is, tell God! Let him know why you’re apprehensive about preceding and ask Him for discernment and peace around the right choice. 

Prayer: Father God you’re more than worthy of all the praise and honor. We thank you, Lord, for being our protector, comforter, and provider. Father, we believe but, help our unbelief. Let us consult you and follow your direction in the choices we make. Provide us with discernment. Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Protect us from the evil one Father God. We love you, praise you and worship you. It’s in the matchless name of  Jesus we pray Amen.