Nature's Heart

Nature's Heart

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Lord is My Provider, Jehova Jireh

The Lord is My Provider Jehovah Jireh, The Lord is 
My Shepherd, Jehovah Roji

Excitement is building and I feel like a little kid on the night of Christmas Eve. So much excitement building and growing in my heart that I am almost to overflowing. Do you remember the excitement of the night before Christmas? So many butterflies they threatened to keep you up and delay the magic of waking up to Christmas day! We are about to move into what will be our new home (for who knows how long). After over a month and a half of not knowing where we would be going, after house searches that ended in disappointments, learning neighborhoods in the surrounding community and having to choose faith and live my faith and choose to trust in God’s provision…after stumbling and struggling to hold on that trust and put my faith into action, clinging on to hope.  And it is so! The knowledge that God faithfully has been provided for us again. He gave us temporary housing and opened doors to more long term housing as we needed it. It was uncomfortable not knowing yes but what an opportunity to let God’s unfailing faithfulness shine.

(Please excuse the tilted I was driving and trying to keep my eyes on the road)

God is more than aware of our needs, more so than we even are for ourselves, and thank goodness!

Matt 6:26, 31-32 rings true. Be anxious about nothing! He provides for the littlest of creatures why would he forget you?

He cares enough about the smallest of creatures, the seeming insignificant and even the unknown, so imagine and believe how much MORE our Lord cares for you!

Luke 12:24 "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn;

yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

I’m ready to set up house. It has been SOOOO liberating living minimalistically for the last two months. One suitcase, one box of art supplies, one box of kitchen essentials during this transitional housing time. There has been such freedom in having less, being less distracted by it, less time spent cleaning and maintaining our house/household goods. More time to be still and look out over the lake, wake-up to sunrises and the scenery of our new neighborhood…sipping coffee slowly, opening my heart more and more, allowing less stuff in my life has allowed more room to hear my Father God. I am anxious to begin to unpack because I have an insatiable urge to purge. I want to maintain this listening room as I unpack boxes and set up house in the upcoming weeks. I want to continue to hear Him, commune daily through prayer and quiet time with Him, finding Him in the quiet, searching for Him in His Word and finding Him.

How is your listening room? What can you purge to create a listening room and space in your heart?

Little did I know that the Lord would open up a home right down the street from this little vacation rental cabin up on the hill that Ben and I have been enjoying. This little house has become dear to our hearts and we will always refer to it as the honeymoon cabin. The two of us have come to realize just how much of a vacation relocating to this area has felt like. We had to move shortly after our wedding so we weren’t able to officially go anywhere. We had to begin all of the preparation to move thousands of miles across country. This will be the 2nd move in two years and we might be moving a third time as well…that is also up in the air. This travel and transition time has been an opportunity for Ben and me to draw

closer to each other, closer to God and closer to each other through God and developing a Christ-centered marriage. I am so incredibly grateful for the work He is doing in our lives. 
I will miss our little cabin but am ready to settle in to unpacking and settling into our new lives together. It's time to start consolidating and joining our two household items...I have the crazy urge to purge some of our household goods and hopefully this motivation lasts.

And now the joys of packing, cleaning and unpacking...The movers are coming in a few days! Ahhhhh!

Well wish us luck and I hope that some of these thoughts have encouraged you. I pray that you have a blessed week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Overcoming a Cinderella Image

The Lord has been working on my heart this morning during my quiet/Bible time…particularly with self-image…Why are we so eager to accept and embrace negative thoughts towards ourselves? Willing to form and hold on to negative destructive self-talk and inner dialogue that if we were ever to utter out loud or hear someone else talk this way we would be shocked by what we heard. I am quick to try to encourage or correct a friend or acquaintance if I hear them talking bad about themselves and yet my self-talk goes unchecked...and could really use a pep-talk itself. Can you relate?

“I think therefore I am” is a saying that many of us have heard before and it holds a tremendous amount of truth. What you think about and dwell on consequently becomes who and what you are. Wise words…and humbling if we will believe them. What we think about the most becomes our reality. If you were to record your thoughts and then list them out…what patterns would you see? Would they be positive, uplifting? Or would they be full of negative self-criticism? Our self-perception can often become skewed towards the nit-picky parts about what we hate when we think or look at ourselves. We focus and dwell on our faults and preconceived weaknesses, ugly words forming over our heart, words that we would never think of saying to someone else…so why to do we so eagerly pick ourselves apart and embrace and encourage self-hatred through our inner dialogue?

This is especially pertinent if we are Christians because this is anything but the way that God sees us.

Numbers 13:31-33 is a prime example of how our self-perception effects our lives by either limiting us or liberating us. The Israelite's were instructed to scout out the Promise Land that they were to takeover, a land that God lead them to. But the report is interesting. Despite the God that lead them out of Egypt and had been providing for these people time and time again, the Israelite's continued to adopt a poor opinion of themselves. Focusing on what they weren’t capable of and even verbally calling themselves “grasshoppers” in comparison to the giants of the land and the seemingly impossible feat that they would have to confront and overcome.

I couldn’t help but ask myself, why do I choose a grasshopper mindset? Choosing to focus on self-image, breaking me down piece by piece, focusing on what I don’t like about myself or what I believe I am not…and ultimately defining what I am…belittled. I need to take ownership of my thought patterns. Becoming aware of them is not enough, it is a battle and you have to consciously and intentionally choose to fight day in and day out. Replacing the negative thoughts and lies as quickly as they come with God’s life giving and positive truth so that they have no place to anchor and take root. Some days this is easy and other days it is the hardest fight of my life to overcome.

I battle this from time to time and am reminded of this when my husband compliments me when I am in a state of  perceived rawness…think yoga pants, unwashed face, no makeup and hair in that awkward in between haircut/growing out stage. Why do I cringe inside when he tells me that I’m beautiful? Sometimes I even cringe on the outside, quickly looking away or bury my face in his embrace where I can mumble a muffled almost inaudible “thanks” at his words. A quick transition to move on from that moment. I choose to brush it aside, to downplay his words. Why can’t I see myself the way that Ben looks at me? I am lying to myself when I try to convince myself that it’s just being “humble” when really it’s because there is a dark stronghold of insecurity and fear that is trying to root itself over my heart…those weeds of self-doubt, holding on to my heart, choking out the love and truth of how my husband sees me, how God sees me, who God made me to be. I do so long to be able to embrace and see myself this way rather than defining myself to standards of beauty that the world has embraced. However accidental I repeatedly place my self-worth on the physical and material aspects of myself rather than on what I am made of and who I am and especially who I am in Christ. We are the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7), that is how He created us to be, in His image (Gen 1:27). I don’t think it is very glorifying to God when we are finding faults with how God formed us. It isn’t glorifying to embrace the lies of the enemy rather than to embrace the truths of the Creator.

There is a scene from the 2015 film, “Cinderella” that replays in my mind. It is after her stepmother and stepsisters have teased her about her appearance/dirty from the cinders after sleeping by the fire to keep warm, and so her soot covered face and they come up with a nickname for her. This nickname is used and adopted with such regularity that it replaces her real name and becomes the very title for the story. Shortly after this nickname is used, Cinderella then catches a glimpse of herself in a copper pot, staring at her reflection that is warped from the smudges and dings in the pots surface, and yet she is overcome in that moment and only sees herself as this warped projected image shows, the words of her stepsisters ringing so loudly that they block out the truth of who and what she is.

Throughout the Bible there are numerous examples of where the Lord gives people new names… Abram becomes Abraham and Sarai his wife becomes Sarah (Genesis 17:5, 15), in John chapter 1, Simon becomes Peter. Each name has a meaning, the old self and the new self. The old worldly image that is replaced by the new image that God has assigned and given us. 

Just imagine if Abraham or Sarah or Peter refused to accept their new name and new and true identity that Christ established for them...

Why do we use warped and dinged pots as our looking glass and mirrors rather than looking at ourselves through a clear mirror, a mirror gifted to us by God, a mirror of Truth that is available to look at every time we open His word and allow that light to penetrate our hearts and to light up our true image.

What would you feel if you were to let go of those lies and cling to how your Heavenly Father sees you?

What grasshopper views are you accepting and proclaiming over your life? What ways are you clinging to those dinged, dirty and warped copper pots? Are you clinging to the old rather than embracing the new image that Christ has established for you? I want to adopt the identity that God wants me to embody don’t you? Let’s replace the lies with truth, call out those negative thought patterns and replace them with God’s truth and then perhaps slowly but steadily we can begin to see ourselves as God sees us, with an accurate, clean reflection.

A Prayer:
Dear Lord, help me to see myself as you see me, a clear reflection of your creation. Open my heart to receive and feel the truth of who you have made me and please help me to embrace my self perceived imperfections and rather see them as you do. I want to give you my best but I also want to give you my imperfections and insecurities to work as well. Help me to embrace how and who you have designed me to be and use these things as you see fit. Thank you for my strengths and my imperfections for they all make me unique, a one of a kind masterpiece. You are such an amazing Father and I am so grateful for this life that you have given me. In your glorious name I pray.