Into Faith I Go…

Over the past month or so, I have been struggling. I am not even sure what it is I am struggling with. I have had a feeling of heaviness, despair and sorrow. I feel as if tears are welling up just behind my face, somewhere deep inside. I have had a difficult time talking about this because I’m not even sure what these feelings are or where they are coming from.
Through prayer and journaling, I was given a word to stay quiet and still. As I rest and refrain from ‘doing’ anything, God would reveal the answers I’m seeking.
Tonight I was impressed to open my blog and look for a post I had made months back. I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for, but I was drawn to open “Into Faith I Go”. As I read the words I had written months ago, and listened to the song by Pat Barrett, I knew God was speaking to me, reminding me that this journey is difficult and I am going to want to give up and give in, but not to because He is with me and the journey is far from over…
If you are feeling weary and tired, and want to give up or give in to a life that is less than what the Father has planned and prepared for you, I hope you listen to the song, and that these words will encourage you not to give up!~♡
Into faith I go!

Eliza Makaira

I love how God sends me songs just when I need them, confirming all He is teaching, saying ‘Well done, you are listening!’  It has been a while since I have heard from God in this way and I have missed it, began to crave it.  

This song “Into Faith I Go”, by Pat Barrett, came through my YouTube feed, and once I heard it, I knew it was from God, telling me not to give up, stay the course and keep pushing through. Through this song, I hear Him saying to me, “I know it is scary, I know you are tired, but fear is no longer an option.  Turning back and assuming old behaviors and roles is no longer an option.   I love how you look for me in every experience, every day.  I hear your prayers to know me more intimately.  I hear your prayers to sharpen…

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Lover of my Soul

On the long and winding road of my journey to belief and faith in Christ, I dabbled in some new age practices. One in particular was finding my soulmate. This practice was to first make known to the universe my desire to find my soulmate, asking for a sign to identify “the one” who I was meant to be with from the beginning of time. I was to keep my eyes open as I went through my day, and my special totem would make itself known to me.

As I was walking on my break at work, a large white feather entangled in the branches of a bush caught my eye. I knew the moment I saw it, this was my totem. From that moment on, I told no one about my white feather. My soulmate, some point after meeting, would give me a white feather, or something with the image of a white feather, signaling my search was over, my long lost soulmate found.

Fast forward several years, I am a baby Christian, newly baptized, praying sincerely, telling God I did not want my baptism to be an initiation into an exclusive club. I asked God to teach me about who Jesus is, and who He was when he walked the earth. This prayer opened the floodgates, and I began a deep, satisfying relationship with Jesus. I became a true follower. Over this early walk, the Lord asked me to rid myself of all remnants of my wandering on the long and winding road. In obedience, I
destroyed jewelry, video tapes and books, anything not in accordance with God’s word and the path of life I was traveling.

As I attended church and became involved in serving, I developed close friendships with several single women. I had given up dating, allowing God to show me a love beyond my wildest dreams as He promised when I entered into a covenant with Him, promising to remain celibate until I was married again. One of my friends wanted to go to a singles conference at one of the mega churches in our city and I agreed to attend with her.

As I got ready for the two day conference, I found myself praying God reveal my soulmate over the coming days by having this very special man give me a white feather. There must have been a remnant of desire for a loving relationship with a man. During the conference, we worshiped, listened to the featured speakers, and attended breakout groups specific to areas of gifting or interest. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, and I enjoyed spending time with my friend.

On the final night of the conference a young pastor was speaking on purity and God’s will for singles and those seeking marriage. He said at the wrap of his message the Lord had been showing him that many women are wounded from past relationships, and we are like doves with clipped wings, no longer able to fly as God intended. He declared the Lord was saying it was time for healing. The pastor then began to pass around bags of white feathers, telling us each to take one as a symbol of the healing the Lord is doing in our lives.

My eyes filled with tears and my hand shook as I took a feather. I knew the Lord was telling me that He was my one true soulmate, the lover of my soul. In Him, I am complete, my search was over. Peace washed over me, knowing Jesus loves me so much, He answered my ill conceived prayer with His amazing love and grace.

This was over twenty years ago and I still have the feather in my bible, a wonderful reminder Jesus is the lover of my soul. I am complete in Him, the search is over, and I am found. ~♡

Worth the Wait

Sometimes circumstances in our lives make moving forward in a relationship impossible, yet if you truly love and care about a person, you pray for them, and support them even if circumstances require you take a step back. Sometimes God’s plan is to create a stronger foundation of friendship and love, ensuring our priorities are in order. It is a process of dying to self; a process of sanctification.
If we are patient and willing to trust and follow God’s perfect plan, we will be blessed. The blessing may be a wonderful lifelong Christian friendship, or it may be the start of the love of a lifetime. ~♡

‘Tis the Season

This time of year can be very difficult for many people. As the Christmas season approaches and another year comes to an end, we think of family and all that has transpired over the past year. This can bring fond memories and gives us much to be thankful for, or it can bring a great deal of sadness and regret.

To share a little of my personal story, I am a middle aged single woman who has been divorced over 20 years. I never had children, and as I age and reflect on my life, I feel deep sadness for missing out on something I always wanted – motherhood. I spent this past weekend with my sister, her husband, her two children and their spouses, my two brothers and their significant others. I have not felt this way before, yet this year I walked away with a profound sense of loss and sadness. It wasn’t anything done by anyone in my family to cause these feelings, it’s just that I walked away with the realization I am not immediate family to anyone.

My brothers and my sister have families of their own, even if just a significant other. No matter what, I am not anyone’s first or most significant other.

The thing is, I know I am abundantly and extravagantly blessed. I have amazing friends, many who are also single and childless. Yet this year more than ever, I feel a void in my life. I long to feel loved, cherished, and significant in someone’s life. Maybe I feel this way because I allowed myself to hope and dream this year as I grew close to a very special friend and felt so very loved and cared for. When our connection and correspondence ended, I was left with a very distinct feelings of what I would like to experience again with a man. I sense the loss of his kindness and affection at a much deeper level than I ever expected, and I still struggle to understand.

I also lost a sweet dear friend. Jean was a developmentally disabled senior citizen who I visited on a regular basis over the past 17 years. My friendship and visits meant the world to her, and her sweet friendship made a difference in my life. She passed away four months ago. The loss of these two significant people has left me feeling lonely and sad as the year comes to an end.

I know God loves me and is watching over me. I know His plans for my life have not changed. I know what He has in store for the coming year is above and beyond all I could even dream to ask, yet right here today, I feel very lonely and insignificant.

Maybe God is using this to soften my heart to the many others who feel their loneliness intensify at the Christmas season. I am driven to pray and reach out to anyone who feels empty, alone, or filled with regret. Somehow praying for others always helps shift my mood and perspective, and I am grateful God has given me a heart for intercessory prayer.

As this holiday season is in full swing and the year is coming to a close, my wish and prayer for you is to feel the incredible and extravagant love God has for you, you feel His loving arms wrapping around you, and you know your life matters and you are significant. Be blessed!~♡

God Only Knows

Great song and great reminder we don’t have to suffer alone in silence… Share your burdens and cast your cares on Jesus because He cares for you! (1 Peter 5:7)

I Shall Not Want

As I have journeyed this year, through all God is teaching me, the 23rd Psalm has played a central role.  Over twenty years ago as a new Christian, I fell in love this Psalm and committed it to memory.  I would, and still do, carefully recite it in my head, or aloud, and wonder at all God is telling us through this Psalm.  

About two months ago as I was praying to Papa God, I heard myself say the words “more than anything else, I want…”.  “I want” stuck out to me, and as I continued to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit continue to draw my attention to how much I use this as I cry out to God in prayer.  Immediately I began to recite the 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…(I shall not want, I shall not want).  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

As I commit myself and the rest of my life to Christ, what can I possibly want?  What has God not already provided for me as I walk through each day.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  I have more than enough to sustain me through each day and each challenge I face.  He assures me, as I walk intimately close to Him, following where He leads, speaking the words He gives, staying still and silent, He guides and directs me.  I am walking in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. He has prepared this path for me. 

I notice when I declare what I want, it is often when I have rushed ahead of Him, rushed ahead of the Shepherd, away from the flock.  I am out in the wilderness in places my Shepherd has not intended me to travel. 

My wants are often for the love of my own comfort, the fear of having nothing, or toward a life of worldly passions.  I know my Lord and Savior, my God, knows my heart better than I know my own heart.  He knows what I need as well as what I want, yet above all, He loves me and guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  I have tasted the goodness of God and all He has prepared for me. What more could I possibly want

The first time I heard the song “I Shall Not Want”  by Audrey Assad, I wept as I listened to the words “Deliver me O God, from the need to be understood, from the need to be accepted, from the fear of being lonely, deliver me O God.”   I wept because these are the things I long for most… I want most, more than anything else.  I wonder if God is asking me to look the wants I declare as things driving me to run ahead of His leading.  Are these wants driving me off the path of righteousness, the path He has prepared beforehand that I should walk?

I know Papa God knows my heart.  He sees my desire to be understood, accepted, and not alone as I walk through this life.  These are very human emotions and fears, yet He is asking me to trust Him and seek first to be filled by Him.  He is reminding me to be driven first toward Him, and if these things are driving me to run out ahead of His plan for my life, my desires are out of balance. 

All I can do with this revelation is to turn to Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, and lay it all down at His feet.   I give to Him all my wants and desires as a sacrifice.  I tell Him I love and desire Him above all else and I trust Him because He knows me, understands and accepts me, and has promised He will never leave nor forsake me. ~♡

“I Shall Not Want”

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

Written by: Audrey Assad, Bryan Brown

Lyrics © MUSIC SERVICES, INC.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

Intimacy with God

In a recent bible study I attend, the teacher talked about how God is like a woman in that He wants us focusing on and making Him the center of our hearts and lives.  The bible tells us God is jealous and does not want our attention or affection shared with anyone or anything else.  Exodus 34:14; II Corinthians 11:2

The speaker went on to say when a man really loves a woman, the only thing he sees in a crowded room is her… His attention is drawn fully to her, and the woman wants to feel like he only has eyes for her.  He said he imagines God is like this and he keeps this in mind in his relationship with God.  

I mention this analogy because I have been in a deep exploration and study of what true intimacy with God is and how it is expressed in our lives and our walk with God.

I know we are the bride of Christ, and as a woman, I relate to being a bride in my personal relationship with God.  I have spoken with some men who are puzzled by the intimacy I speak of in my relationship with God.  This has made me wonder and want to ask how a man relates to being the Bride of Christ and how he experiences intimacy with God.

After discussing this with several men friends, I found men shy away from considering themselves personally as the Bride of Christ or Jesus as their groom, stating the references in the bible are metaphorical and the bride is the church as a whole, not individuals.  I can certainly understand this perspective, and I understand the church is the bride of Christ, however, Christ died for His people, which encompass all the individual believers who are the Bride.  From this I see Jesus not just viewing us as a collective, but seeing, knowing, and loving each of us as individuals.  The individuals He gave His life for so we could be with Him for eternity (Savior, but also groom/husband).  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

I am drilling down because I believe as we see ourselves as Christ’s bride in an individual sense, it can guide our behavior and walk with Him.  Please understand as I speak of intimacy with Jesus, I am not speaking of physical intimacy as we experience in the earthly human marriage, but of the deeply close relationship intellectually, emotionally, spirituality which exists in a healthy marriage and provides satisfaction, security, and comfort.

As an individual who relates personally to being the bride of Christ, I think about my desire for Him, always wanting more, and seeking after His presence daily.  Is this not also how a new bride longs for and desires her groom?  The marriage relationship is two becoming one, and where we invest the greatest amount of time, love, and resources.  I also easily see a godly man longing and desiring to spend time with God, be in His presence.  I see this longing and desire in David and his Psalms.  Isn’t David known as ‘a man after God’s own heart’? (Acts 13:22)

This verse also mentions David in the position of submission and obedience, which is called for from a wife in Ephesians 5:24. David’s position of obedience pleases the Lord, and He says ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’  

This is one of the many Psalms of David that expresses a longing and yearning to connect with God.  Psalm 42:1-2 NIV
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

God desires an intimate relationship with us individually and longs to have us in communion with Him, so much so He gave His only son as a sacrifice to ensure we can return to Him.  I started to look through scriptures to support how much God desires us and longs to have an intimate relationship with us, with me; then I realized the whole bible is a love story.  The love story is about God, who created man, male and female, to be in relationship with us.  We broke His heart with disobedience, not trusting Him to guide our lives, telling Him we could do this on our own, now equipped with the knowledge of good and evil.  From that point on, the bible is a story of God relentlessly pursuing us to bring us back into sacred relationship with Himself.

I continue to seek deeper levels of intimacy with God and understand how to walk this out in my daily life.  The question I am asking is part of my yearning to know and understand intimacy with God, and also learn how others experience or seek to grow their relationship with Him.  I hear people expressing how they fall short and are disobedient and feel distant from God.  They long for a more intimate relationship, but their insecurities keep them from experiencing deeper levels of intimacy with God.

I agree our hangups and disobedience do distance us from God, but not because He moves away and shuns us.  I believe we distance ourselves from God out of our own shame for not living up to the endless love He has for us.  Just as Adam and Eve hid from the Lord God out of shame, we hide from God out of our shame.  The thing is, we no longer need to hide in shame when we fall short, are disobedient, and sin against God.  We need to run toward Him, taking all our fear, angst, shame, telling Him everything.  It’s not like we are hiding anything from Him by running away or distancing ourselves from Him.  He knows everything, sees everything.  Above all else, He sees us covered in the blood of His precious Son Jesus.  Everything separating us from having a deep, intimate relationship with God was destroyed when Jesus gave up His life as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. Matthew 27:50-51.

Over the past 22 years since accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have been disobedient, continue to fall short, and struggle with my own insecurities.  This never seems to end, although I see how I have been broken down and allowed God to do His work in my life.  Through it all, I continue to run to Him, confess when I have sinned, and plead with Him for help when I get stuck in repeating behaviors I know are not a part of His plan for my life.  There is nothing I do that will keep Him from loving me.  He has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me.  He has promised He will follow me in the the depths of hell, so I know there is no need to hide my sin and shame from Him.  I rest in Him and find peace for my soul.  I cast my cares on Him, and He cares for me.  All of this, and I long for more because what I find in Him is good and abundantly above all I could ever expect.  Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 139:8; Matt 11:29; Psalm 34:8; I Peter 4:3; Ephesians 3:20

This article about intimacy with God, echos much of what God has been teaching me this year.  I encourage you to read it and see all the benefits of seeking an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.~ ♡


Into Faith I Go…

I love how God sends me songs just when I need them, confirming all He is teaching, saying ‘Well done, you are listening!’  It has been a while since I have heard from God in this way and I have missed it, began to crave it.  

This song “Into Faith I Go”, by Pat Barrett, came through my YouTube feed, and once I heard it, I knew it was from God, telling me not to give up, stay the course and keep pushing through. Through this song, I hear Him saying to me, “I know it is scary, I know you are tired, but fear is no longer an option.  Turning back and assuming old behaviors and roles is no longer an option.   I love how you look for me in every experience, every day.  I hear your prayers to know me more intimately.  I hear your prayers to sharpen your eyes to see what I want you to see, to hear what I want you to hear, and the courage to say the things I want you to say in each encounter.   There is so much I want to show you, people I want you to meet, and unspeakable joy to experience.  I am with you, walking beside you, I am so very proud of you my beloved!”

Into Faith I Go

I’ve never been good at change
If I’m honest, it’s always scared me
But I can’t deny this stirring deep inside me
Now I know it’s time to stop resisting
‘Cause I’m not getting any younger
Fear is a such a sad way to live a life
So face to the wind, I’m jumping out, I’m walking in
Every single thing You want to show me
To the ups and downs, the highs and lows
The taking in, the letting go
To tears and laughter, the great unknown
To the open journey, into faith, I go
Into faith, I go
Nobody said this would be easy
Anyone who did never went through anything painful
But faith is not some fragile thing that 
Shatters when we walk through something hard
So, we walk on whatever may come
To the ups and downs, the highs and lows
The taking in, the letting go
To tears and laughter, the great unknown
To the open journey, into faith, I go
Running like a child in an open field
Stepping off the edge, I’m facing all my fears
If this is what it feels like to be born again
I’ll be born again
So when I feel like giving up
When I feel like throwing it all away
I look back over my shoulder
And I can see Your goodness every single step that I have taken
And it beats like a drum
And it rings like a bell
And it sings like a choir
And it’s leading me on my way
Oh, You lead me on my way
To the ups and downs, the highs and lows
The taking in, the letting go
To tears and laughter, the great unknown
To the open journey, into faith, I go
Into faith, I go
Into faith, I go

 

Songwriters: Ed Cash / Pat Barrett
Into Faith I Go lyrics © Music Services, Inc

frozen wave against sunlight
Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

Learning to Dance

As I begin this next adventure, learning to dance with my new friend Joy, I recognize this as a divine appointment You have scheduled, answering my prayer for help to follow You more closely; to teach me to be a better follower.

Learning to ballroom dance with a partner involves many different aspects.  The dance consists of many parts then doing them together without having to think.  Haha, not an easy task!
First, I learn the steps.  The East Coast swing, consists of quick steps, starting with the right foot; triple step, then left foot, tripple step, and a rock back on the right foot.  Practicing the steps over, and over, and over again until it becomes second nature to my body; until I no longer need to think about the steps.
I liken this to learning the word of God.  Steps, or the word of God, need to become second nature to my thought process, popping into my mind supporting wherever God is a leading.

Next is learning to follow.  This is something I struggle with, and why I prayed for God’s help.  In my mind, I rush ahead, responding to whatever is happening around me.  I am driven by stimuli, the things I see, hear, and experience. Rushing ahead, anticipating what will happen next, trying to avoid surprises.  I don’t like not knowing.  I don’t like not being in control.  To follow, I must submit my will to another, a lesson of submission and obedience. I must be open and vulnerable.  I know I will only experience the joy of dance when I let go of control, submit and follow.

There are many different dances, each appropriate for different types of music. There is the waltz, the two step, the swing, in all its various forms, salsa, rumba, tango, and within each dance are many variations in different parts of the country and the world.

This is like the places and people God calls us to serve.  There are right actions, movements, and interactions, specific to each new person, culture, and situation.  Learning to dance and follow God’s leading is a beautiful engaging experience, a beautiful dance.  Through this journey, I listen, feel his leading, follow without hesitation.

As I learn to dance, all I can manage is learning and repeating the basic steps over and over.  Practice, practice, practice, taking every opportunity to dance with a partner.  I remain open and vulnerable, willing to look foolish, make mistakes.  I have found dancers to be kind, helpful, always willing to share what they know.  They offer tips, suggestions, and gentle instruction.

“Take smaller steps”, “keep squared up with your leader”, “as a beginner, don’t miss any steps, just keep repeating the basics”.

Each dance lesson adds new moves, fancier tecniques, challenging me to apply what I know and push the limits.  By the end of each hour, my brain-body connection is shot.  I am no longer able to dance the simplest moves.

I am so grateful God has me on this journey and love how He continues to answer my prayers in the most amazing ways.  I will continue to share what I learn about following, and hope I can soon report I have experienced the joy of submitting and am gracefully gliding across the dance floor, gracefully following my Lord to our next divine appointment. ~♡

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The Touch of Spirit…

God began this journey painting a picture of true love, and planting a seed of hope within my heart of finding a godly loving man to spend the rest of my life with as husband and wife.

I also know God often uses these ideals to lead, when His intention may only be to teach valuable lessons, and show how much He loves me.
As I have found opportunities to share my story with others, I hope to bring healing, encouragement, and comfort.  I know my vulnerability and optimism may be seen as naivete or wrongly encouraging idealism and fantasy, yet I am convinced God wants me to share and encourage others.

At the beginning of this journey my world was small and compartmentalized.  I was closed off, shut down, living as a tightly closed bud. The image of a shell tightly closed, much like an oyster where a grain of sand had gotten in and a pearl began forming. With the shell of the oyster tightly closed, no one is aware of the beautiful pearl hidden inside.  The image of a poem by Rumi comes to mind, which I think describes the precipice or the crux of where I was at the beginning of this journey.

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!

~ Rumi

This image of the tightly closed shell and the seawater begging to break in and release its pearl, speaks to my heart and what I’ve been longing for.  I know God knows the desires of my heart better than I know the desires of my heart.  I believe God provided an opportunity to have my heart opened.  In opening my heart, I become vulnerable, yet the beauty inside my heart is now being shared.  The love, compassion, and everything God has placed inside, I am sharing to bless his children for his Kingdom.
Sharing my personal story, I hope to encourage others as God leads. I put it all out there to destroy the lies of the enemy I hear God’s children repeating. I share my failures, flaws, weaknesses, and then speak of God’s great redeeming power and promises He speaks over my life and wispers in my ear in my darkest hours.  I am not naive, nor am I blind to the fallen world in which we live.  I struggle with sin, as I know we all do.  I know as I open my heart to the possibility of love and marrying again, I will face trials and challenges.  This is all part of two flawed people learning to love and relate to each other.  I also believe that as we make Jesus the sovereign King over our lives, we will go through the process of sanctification and are transformed into the likeness of Christ.  The marriage relationship is more about becoming one with God than each individual’s personal comfort and satisfaction.  In sharing my heart and my journey, I have complete trust in God’s perfect plan and will for my life.  I trust this process knowing that as I seek His face daily, I keep my hands and my heart wide open, letting go of expectations of the outcome.  This means I know there may not be a love relationship with a man for me at the end. What I do know is that I give the rest of my life, my whole life, to serving His Kingdom for the glory of His name, using my creative gifts and partnering with others for this purpose. ~♡

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