Who is God the Father to you?

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If I ask you, who is God the Father to you, you may have different answers and may even find it easy to answer.  But, if I ask you who are you to God the Father, I think, maybe, we would hear some crickets.

We see the greatness of God, we read His Word and  believe every word to be true (as we should). Yet, some of us struggle when it comes to believing His love for us personally.

Unless we can fully accept and believe His unconditional love for us, His children, then we will always try to perform, we will never feel worthy enough, and we will be motivated by fear.

I have been editing my manuscript, it is a fictional story about a young run-a-way’s journey to salvation. I want to share with you a part of a conversation between the young girl and another character in the story. Just a little background, the girl is a run-a-way, she came from an abusive father. Most of her young life she has been running and scared, always wanting to be loved and accepted, but never knowing the safety of real love.

I think most of us have struggled with the very question this young girl has. It is easier to believe God created the world, parted the red sea, raised the dead, even died on the cross for us, but to believe He loves “me,” well, now that is asking a lot…

If we can fully believe Him, find security in His perfect love, then we would not worry or be anxious for the things we are worried and anxious for. We would fully believe Him when He says, it will all work together for our good.

I submit to you this short conversation. Do you see yourself here?  Have you asked the same question this young girl has asked?

 

“You call God… Father? This is where I struggle.” Sarah said. “I can believe He created the world, I can even believe the story about Him parting the sea, but to think of Him as Father…”

Ruth understood what Sarah was saying. In the short time Sarah has been here, she has shared just enough to know that she and Ruth had come from similar backgrounds. This questioning Sarah had about God as Father, was the same thing Ruth struggled with.

“Sarah, I understand. I had a hard time seeing God as my Father, too.” Ruth said. “Because my own father was not a good father to me. I wasn’t always a Christian. You see, I didn’t really accept Gods love until after I met Paul, it was through Paul God showed me what perfect love is. Before I could fully receive, I was just going through the motions. I was going to church and doing all the Christianly things, but I didn’t truly have an intimate relationship with Jesus. And because I worked so hard at being a good Christian, I just kept failing and beating myself up. I felt like the worlds biggest phony.”

Ruth paused for a moment and then reached over and took the Bible off the nightstand, opened it to 1 John 4:18, then handed it to Sarah. “Will you read this out loud, please?” Ruth asked.

“There is no fear in love.” Sarah began. “But perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, so the one who is afraid is not perfected in love.”

“Do you understand what this means?”

“No.”  Sarah shrugged, handing the Bible back to Ruth.

“It took me a long time to understand what this meant, even though I quoted it a hundred times.” Ruth said. “Our love is conditional, Sarah, sometimes what we call love isn’t love at all. We have learned, from our experiences starting at childhood, to perform for love. We think maybe if I do this, or say that, or look like this, or you fill in the blank, I will be loved. To us, love takes on the face of the one we want to love us the most and when we are rejected by them, or if the person, your father for example, is a hurt angry person, we are in a constant state of waiting for the other foot to drop. We carry this with us throughout our lives and into other relationships and this is how we begin to view ourselves; as someone who is not worthy of love, even though we want it.”

Waiting for the other foot to drop was definitely something Sarah understood. She was in a constant state of fear and anxiety with her father. She wanted to please him, but no matter what she would do to earn his approval,  he seemed to always be disappointed in her. Then the rare times when things were peaceful in her home, something would happen and her fathers temper would explode like a volcano, sending everyone running for shelter.  Ruth was right, no matter how much distance Sarah put between her and her father, she always felt fearful and anxious.

“Here’s the thing, Sarah,” Ruth continued. “God’s love for us is perfect. He wants only good for us, in fact, all good things come from Him. He doesn’t stand in the shadows waiting for us to screw up so He can punish us.  He doesn’t judge us or condemn us. When we accept His Son, we become His family, His children, and He is a good Father, Sarah. A good Father may chasten us, but He never rejects us, or turns His back on us,or withhold any good thing. There is nothing we can do or say that will make Him love us more, or love us less, He loves us fully, completely, unconditionally. When He looks at us, He sees His Son, He does not hold our past against us, He gives us a bright future. When we can accept and believe how much He loves us, then we will not be fearful anymore. Because we will trust Him and know, no matter what happens, He will never leave us. His love is constant. Then when we truly know this, deep in our bellies, we stop performing and trying to earn His love and approval, because we know He loves us and we have no reason to be fearful. We can be free to be vulnerable and allow His Spirit to heal us from the inside out, without fear. Because He knows us and there is nothing we can hide from Him, but if we give it all to Him, He promises to turn it into something good.”

The conversation left Sarah with much to ponder. As Ruth talked, Sarah could feel a heaviness lifting, almost as if a light bulb was coming on. Through Ruth’s words, it was as if real truth was coming alive and Sarah’s heart began to open a little more. It was as if a door was being opened and she was putting a foot over the threshold.

Later that evening, Sarah lay in bed thinking about what Ruth had said; she could feel the truth in it. Despite all the bad things that have happened, Sarah began to see the good in it. As her mind began to reflect on her past and the people she met, she began to see Gods hand in it all.

“Father.” She whispered. She held her breath and listened carefully; for what, she was not sure. “Father?” She whispered again. She liked the thought of having a Father to look after her. And with that thought she whispered thank you and then drifted off to sleep. 

 

Dear Reader, do you know how loved you are by Him? Is it more than just words and a Bible verse to you? Do you have it deep in your belly and do you believe it? He does love you and He calls you by name. He sees you and He knows you. You are His. You belong.

Be Free & Stay Free

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Give Me The Power To Walk Away…

I could write a post, but I think this song and lyrics speak it all. I do hope you listen to this and it ministers to you.

There are times I cry out to God, “Save me again! Rescue me!”

He says to “Speak to it, Stacey. You have all authority through My Spirit.”

I find when I am feeling a little empty, or confused (and knowing confusion is not from God), when I can’t speak, or pray, I turn on music that glorifies Him. When we magnify Him our problems seem to get so much smaller. Suddenly everything is in perspective.

Enjoy!

Give Me”
(feat. Mali Music)

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Mali, let’s go get ’em![Mali Singing:]
Give me that joy I can’t explain
Add extra peace that’ll ease my pain
I want that love that’ll never change
Give me that, Give me thatGive me that power to walk away
When another God wants to take your place
As much of you as I can take
Give me that, Give me that

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Anybody ready

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Ready for his glory

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
If your a seeker for life

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Let me tell you this story

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Every place that’s dark

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
He will bring it to light

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Hypocritical hearts, back sliders, liars time to get right

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
See I include myself

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
I cast my own stone

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
I’m the man in the mirror ya’ll

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
I can see my wrong

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
But I’m here by grace

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Through Christ by faith

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
I had to make that choice, I had to open up my mouth and say

[Mali:]
Give me that joy I can’t explain
Add extra peace that’ll ease my pain
I want that love that’ll never change
Give me that, Give me that

Give me that power to walk away
When another God wants to take your place
As much of you as I can take
Give me that, Give me that

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Anybody tired

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
You want the show to end

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Get the actors off stage, and let the church begin

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Do you want a revolution?

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
You wanna hear new songs?

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
God is cleaning up house

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
And first he’s starting right at home

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
No more miracle water, prayer cloths for money and fame

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Everybody gotta title, but do you know your name

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
If we humble ourselves, people

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
Fall on our face

[Choir sings:]
Oh oh oh

[Kirk Franklin speaking:]
And ask God everything in me that’s not right take it away

[Mali: x2]
Gimme that joy I can’t explain
Add extra peace that’ll ease the pain
I want that love that’ll never change
Give me that, Give me that
Ohh I want the power to walk away
When another God wants to take your place
As much of you Lord as I can take
Give me that, Give me that

[Mali:]
And I choose you today, cause I need you today
I can’t get away
See, there’s no escape
See what you done to me
I’m not the same ol’ me
You took away everything
Now you’re my everything

[Choir sings:]
I choose you today, (yeah)
Cause I need you today (yeah)
I can’t get away (I can’t run from you)
See, there’s no escape (see what you done to your boy) (there’s no escape)
See what you done to me (I’m not the same old me)
I’m not the same ol’ me (you took everything)
You took away everything (now your my everything)
Now you’re my everything

[Mali:]
Give me that God who breathes life into the nostrils of man
A sovereign God who predestined creation before time began
I want a God who with brilliance and elegance decorated darkness with stars
The God who orchestrates the future, at the same time He knows where you are
Give me that God who supplies my needs ’cause he owns all the cattles on the hill
And He’s the God that wipes my tears, and provides enough to pay all my bills
Gimmie me that God, that’s the God I’m talking bout
Gimmie me that God, that’s the God I’m talking bout
Give me that, Give me that
Give me that, Ooh ooh o0h

[Choir: x2]
Gimme that joy I can’t explain
Add extra peace that’ll ease my pain
I want that love that’ll never change
Give me that, Give me that
Give me that power to walk away
When another God wants to take your place
As much of you as I can take
Give me that, Give me that

Gimme that joy I can’t explain [x2]
I’m at a loss for words now
I’m so happy, you make me happy now
Gimme that joy I can’t explain
Add extra peace that’ll, Add extra peace that’ll ease the pain
I want that love that’ll never change ya’ll
Give me that, Give me that, Give me that…
Oh oh oh oh yeah

When the Glass Slipper Breaks

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You know when you find a good book and you can’t put it down? You get lost in the characters and you live vicariously through them. You turn each page with anticipation and as you approach the end of the story you already begin to feel a loss, because this time and experience you lived with the characters will be over.

Sometimes it is a happy ending, even through many trials, love wins out.

Sometimes the story didn’t end the way you hoped.

Then as you close the book, you reflect on the story. There were the pivotal moments in the story and you wonder what if they would have….

I remember the childhood books where you could choose your own ending. Do you remember them? ‘If you want the character to go to the store turn to page 39, or if you want the character to go to the park turn to page 25.’ I loved those stories. I would go back and forth choosing different endings.

Some times life is like a book. Each season is a new chapter and things change as quick as you can turn the page. Sometimes the change is good and sometimes it is… well, let’s just say, not the ending you would have chose.

The story has been written and you find yourself thinking about it. You remember the little things, the things you wish you would have paid more attention to and savored longer. Like the look he had in his eyes when he smiled at you, the comfort you felt when his hand touched your shoulder, or how you walked in sync when you took walks together. Even the silly things, like when you would beat him at chess, although it was only one time out of twenty, it was still worth a victory dance.

You remember how much of a couple you were. How when you would go into a store without the other the clerk would ask where he/she was. The neighbor stopping you for prayer for her granddaughter and you both joined hands with her and prayed, then rejoicing together when the report came back she was doing better. And how everywhere you went together people would notice you, they would say what a beautiful couple you were together. It felt good, right.

But then one day you are making a certain dish for dinner and you cry, because you miss making dinner together. You grab the brown sugar ( a secret you stole from him) and the movie reel plays in your mind of memories watching him make the biggest mess in the kitchen to make a delicious meal. And sadness begins to engulf you, because the reality starts to really hit home… you will never again clean his mess in the kitchen.

The grief comes and goes in waves. As much as you hate the feelings grief brings you and you pray for it to finally end, you also feel a twinge of sorrow knowing even the grief will end and then there will be nothing left of what/who you held so dear.

It is a process, I suppose. Missing him, hating him, loving him, missing him, anger, sadness, missing him, fear, betrayal, rejection, missing him. It can be confusing. All of the what if’s. What if I would have turned to page 39 instead of page 25.

Grief of loss of a relationship is similar to the mourning of a death. In a way, it is a death you are mourning. It is the death of a dream, expectations, promises, a future with that person. But, remember, it is not the death of you. You are still you and there is life after a break up.

It may not feel like it now, but you will love again and you will be loved.

Do not hold onto regrets. Do not be ashamed of what you are feeling. You do not even have to be embarrassed if you still love him/her after this. You do have to love yourself. Care enough for yourself to allow the healing to your heart and soul to come. It will come.

Click Here for 5 Stages of Grieving a Break-Up

You are not alone in this. Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.

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This too shall pass. When you have closed the last page, lift your eyes, look up, lay the book down and step into a new season of your life. Welcome the story God is writing with you, because His promise to you is He is with you to the end, He will never leave you, and you are always His Beautiful Beloved.

Be Free & Stay Free

Women of Influence

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Women, remove your mask and be the woman God has called you to be. Do not be independent, but be dependent on God. There is a difference between independence and strength. Let your strength be that inward quiet beauty that God loves; let it radiate through you.

You do not have to demand respect. God has a plan and a purpose for everyone; men and women. Do not usurp the man’s position by demanding yours.

If you are single, do not look for that perfect man… he does not exist. Work on you and let your Heavenly Father, who is perfect, bring your husband to you. Do not awaken love before it’s time. Remember, you were purchased at a great price, the blood of Jesus has redeemed you. You are a precious treasure, not a cheap trinket. You are to be cherished. Do not give your body and your heart and your soul away to a man who is not your husband. In God’s time He will bring that man to you. That man will only find you if he is chasing after God. So, be so hidden in Him that you will not be deceived by the counterfeit. God wants much more for you. Trust God’s standards.

Mothers, teach your daughters to be women. Let your speech be gentle, truthful and non-demanding. Do not belittle your daughters father, build him up. Be grounded in Gods Word and not the world.

Wives, honor your husbands. Build your home to be a refuge for him. Keep the fire hot, the world is a cold place, he needs your warmth. Respect your husband, he has the responsibility to be head of your home. Do not take lightly his burden of accountability to lead. Be his helpmeet. Stand beside him, watch for his blind spots and cover him in prayer.

It is not the paycheck that determines the head of the home, it is God. Because He loves you, He has designed the blueprint for marriage. Trust Him.

You cannot change your husband, only God can do that. Your husband needs a wife, a helpmeet; not a mother, a boss, or a competitor.

Know who you are and Who He is and who you are in Him.

Let your family rise and call you blessed.

Proverbs 31 10-31

A capable, intelligent, and [b]virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.

12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

13 She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

14 She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country].

15 She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.

16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.

18 She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].

19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].

21 She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].

23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!

26 She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].

27 She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],

29 [c]Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!

Be Free & Stay Free