Jesus Loves you No Matter What, Tammy Werthem

Psalm 18:2  The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer. My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!—
he’s my shield, my salvation’s strength, my place of safety.

My strength and my shield photo credit to Zackary Paben

My strength and my shield
photo credit to Zackary Paben

We have a Savior who fights for us everyday and His call on our lives is to join Him in battle.  I don’t know the battle you are facing this week, but I know that He does and I know He is with you and for you, in the midst of your storm.

He will carry you over the wall.  He goes before you.  He fights for you. You are not alone!

Jesus loves you NO MATTER WHAT!

One of the battles I am facing is believing that I am enough when it comes to being a mom.  I have the great privilege of raising two boys to know and love Jesus and I consider this a huge responsibility.

There are times when I fall short and feel defeated.  Sometimes, I can’t believe how bad I have blown it.  I raise my voice.  I lose my cool.  I don’t spend enough quality time with them.

When I really mess up, I begin to wonder am I damaging my children?  I am quick to ask for forgiveness and I recognize when I am in sin. Thankfully, our children are resilient and incredibly gracious.  My 6 year old is one of the most compassionate people I know. What a gift and what a picture of God’s grace to me!

“One reason we doubt God’s love is that we have an adversary who uses every little offense to accuse us of being good for nothing’s.  But your advocate Jesus Christ is more powerful than your adversary. He has cancelled the debt of your sins….

No matter what you do or how you fail, God has no reason not to love you and accept you completely.

~Dr. Neil T. Anderson

God’s word brings great comfort to me when I feel less than good enough as a mom.

I know the enemy would like nothing more than to keep me in a place of feeling stuck and less than as a mom.  In fact, the enemy is looking to devour me and you.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I am blessed to be in a great study with a group of women this summer who are lifting one another up and drawing closer to Jesus.  We are studying “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope.  It has been so refreshing to be with women who are real and seeking to grow to be more like Christ.

I am leaning on the promises in Scripture to lead me to victory.  Here is one we can all stand on!

Psalm 18:35 says: “You have given me your shield of victory.Your right hands supports me; your help has made me great.”

In the book, Renee shares a similar struggle to mine.  In the books she writes this:

God wants to give us a new starting place.  He sees beyond who we are to who we are becoming. 

What an assurance we have from Scripture that God is our shield and protection.  He wants to lift us up and support us. He is fighting for us, even when we want to throw in the towel.  He never gives up on us.  He sees beyond our limitations and weaknesses and knows they are shaping us into the men and women of God, he has designed us to be.

He is not surprised when I blow it with my kids.  He waits eagerly for me to run to Him for forgiveness and comfort.

Here are 3 Lessons I continue to practice in overcoming my “not being good enough”.

RELEASE the Lie:

Releasing the lie for me means letting go of the shame and blame. It does not serve us to beat ourselves up and replay the tapes of our sins and failings.  What does serve us is recognizing the sin, confessing and moving on in repentance.

You are not your failures.  They do not define you!

Romans 8:1 says: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

RECEIVE the Truth:

God’s word is full of promises for the believer.  It is excellent to know the word, but we must also receive His truth in our hearts.   I am a Bible drill champion, and I can find a verse in seconds.  But in the midst of chaos and trouble, there are moments I forget His truth about me.

I need to read it, write it down, say it out loud, carry it with me wherever I go.  I stand in front of the mirror and read His word aloud.  His word received as truth can transform our lives and relationships.

Psalm 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

RETURN to His Embrace:

Stop running away from God.  Turn around and run to the One who longs to hold you, love you, shower you with grace and affection.  We have a Saviour who loves us no matter what.  Return to the Lover of your soul.

Romans 8:39 Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothingnothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

This week, when you find yourself in doubt and in need of assurance, read Psalm 18.
Read it three times and then write down what God promises you.  Write out the promises that you need to cling to in the midst of your battles. Carry them with you wherever you go.

Share with me in the comments what your favorite verse/promise from the Psalm 18.  I commit to pray for each person who leaves a comment.

no matter what

 

How to Increase Joy in Your Life (Denesia Christine)

Bad things happen.

They happen to everyone.

Some people seem to crumble under the weight of “bad things” in their lives while others manage to let things go quickly and easily and don’t appear to be affected by the very same “bad things”.

If you’re in the 2nd category, you probably don’t even know why you are this way.

If you’re in the 1st category, you wish you knew their secret.

As a category 2 person myself, I think I’ve figured it out and I want everyone to learn this secret! I don’t want it to be a secret, I want it to be a freely given gift to everyone I meet!

That secret is joy.

But did you know that there is something that goes hand in hand with joy? It’s called capacity.

My techy friends probably picture the hard drive of their computers and think they know what capacity is.

overload

My electrician friends probably see the wiring of a house and think they know what capacity is.

But I think I’ve got a different picture that might help it really click for everyone.

Capacity is like a bucket.

buckets blog 2

Some people have a big bucket, others have a small bucket, and even others might just have a tiny lid. When you’re bucket gets full and spills over- things get messy!

Sometimes this results in you losing your temper, sometimes it looks like a mental breakdown, sometimes it results in a night of sobbing uncontrollably… and most of the time it leads us to crave stuff that will hurt us in the long run. (Alcohol, drugs, junk food, unhealthy relationships, etc).buckets blog 3

Picture your bucket… whatever size your bucket is, that is a representation of how many “bad things” you can handle without spilling over.

Bad things might be actual traumatic events in your life… things like abuse, abandonment, death of a loved one, divorce, fire, storms, war etc. (the world of psychology calls these things Trauma B) But bad things can also be things like traffic jams, fights with your spouse, deadlines piling up, screaming kids, lack of nutrition, etc. (these are called Trauma A- the absence of good and necessary things.  Did you realize that normal everyday stressors are the absence of peace that you need to function properly?!!)

But did you know that you that you actually have 2 buckets?

One bucket is your capacity bucket and it holds all the bad things for you.

The 2nd bucket is your JOY bucket and it holds all the good things for you.

Good things like those times when someone was glad to be with you! Good times like walks in the park, watching sunsets, catching fireflies, laying on the beach listening to the waves, petting your dog, laughing together with friends.

The really interesting thing is our buckets always match in size.

buckets blog 4

 

The bad news is, without much joy in our lives, our joy bucket shrinks, and so does our capacity bucket.

The good news is, when the joy bucket gets full, it automatically trades up for a bigger size. This means, your capacity bucket gets bigger too!

Having a bigger joy bucket and a bigger capacity bucket means we can handle all the stuff life throws at us. Our capacity bucket can handle just about anything that comes our way.

buckets blog 5

Opensocietyfoundations.org

Some of you might be thinking, “But I don’t want a big capacity bucket because that might mean more bad things will happen.”

But that’s not true.

You see, having a big capacity bucket doesn’t mean we will necessarily fill that bucket with bad things. It just means when a bad thing comes along, there’s room for it to rest at the bottom. (We don’t really carry them around like the boy in the picture above, so they don’t need to be balanced.)

Remember, it’s the JOY BUCKET that decides how big of a bucket we need. So keep filling that joy bucket! Trade up for a bigger set of buckets!  Make filling your joy bucket a priority!

Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Smile at someone; ask them how they are doing. Be more like “Elf”! “I’m Buddy the Elf, what’s your name? What’s your favorite color?!”
  • Go for a walk at sunset with someone. (a loved one, a neighbor, a sibling anyone!)
  • Fly a kite!
  • Start an Appreciation Journal
  • Make a CD of your favorite songs and give it to someone!
  • Put down your cell phone and look into the eyes of the person across from you!
  • Sing really loud to a favorite song with someone in the car with the windows down
  • Laugh! Out loud! Just start laughing… it becomes contagious! You don’t even need a reason sometimes. J
  • Worship – fully!
  • Whenever you’re with a loved one, pause and remember that the most important thing is to be glad to be together. Whether you’re working, cleaning, watching TV, playing cards or eating a meal… make being glad to be together the priority!

~To find out more about this check out the website JoyStartsHere.com

Denesia Christine is a contributor to IWokeUpYesterday and is launching her own business as a Recovery Life Coach.  Look for more coming from her soon.  Visit her blog at The Open Bench.

From Three to Forty-Three (Life with My Identical Twin), Jenny Price

20140713-152405-55445897.jpgA decade contains so many breaths and moments – so fast and fabulous and sometimes so very frightening.

At three, we babbled in our own little language, we played and stayed together, and we emptied our dresser drawers during “nap” time – there were boats to launch and adventures to find.

We’d never go it alone.  We’d have each other – to take the consequences, to dream of the new – together.

Our little world, where we had each other, no matter what, was all we knew – all we needed.

Thirteen, we still shared those same dresser drawers, but we were no longer emptying them.

Rather, disagreeing over their contents – what once belonged to both of us was no longer shared – finding our own place in the world of “I’m a twin” and “I’m just me”.

Boys captured her attention.  Academics and accolades captured mine.  Navigating different directions, but still holding as sacred the times we shared.

Twenty-three. Distant in so many ways – physical, emotional, seasons of life – far away.

I married a pastor and she married her addiction.

I owned my perfection as a shield and she carried her shame as the badge that would get her through the darkest days.

She hated herself, found shelter in her pain, and wandered further away.

I found comfort in safety, security, thinking that life was “stable” – even when not having her meant nothing was right.

The decade of 23-33 carried heavy-laden moments – ones that crush and blow and bind and break.

Where is she?  When will we see her next?  How much more loss can we take around saying goodbye to her over and over?

Thirty-three years old, I’d mothered three little ones, walked 13 years of marriage, battled a fierce depression, said goodbye to my daddy, and all of this – without my brave comrade by my side – the drawers were empty, but she wasn’t in my boat.

It’s when she wasn’t there that I most learned Jesus, that I most leaned into Him – in ways I’d never known – when I loved the One Who Made Me and Trusted the One Who Loved Her More Than I.

Healing came around her 33rd year.

He overcame her darkness because she embraced forgiveness – which really is a great big hug from the Only One who can make any of this okay.

She let go of choices that she made,places that she went, the moments that made up her past – she accepted that the old was gone, the new was hers – if she wanted it.

I’d learned after kicking her out of our home the fourth time – I couldn’t want her healed more than she did.  It wasn’t my healing.  It was hers.

“Tammy, I cannot watch you kill yourself like this.  I can’t drop you off at one more facility. I simply can’t.”

But her turn came.  Her corner was there.  And she took it.

She let herself be Held by Him.  She stopped pushing what was hers all along.

Sober.  Sound mind.  Whole heart.  Redeemed and not looking back at what was.  Looking forward to what is next.

Forty-three is the age we turn this week.  Four decades we’ve shared.  And the last one – my favorite of all of them.

She’s my favorite walking miracle.  (so many miracles are IN us all – read more of Tammy’s here)

Her children – a daily reminder that There Is Someone Who Will Redeem that which was lost – He will find it – and He will make much of our lives – when we let him.

Today, she and I met some friends at the beach.  I handed her little one strawberries and watched the juice drip down his chin and chest. So grateful.

Her older son played with my youngest two – my twins – in the waves – the ones that don’t ever stop crashing, and shoving, and washing over us.  So overwhelmed with love.

The same waves that once blew us over – that knocked our breath away – are now the waves we swim in, play in, and surf above.

She’s back.  We’re sharing our spaces, our corners, the hard and the easy, the sad and the good, the days are ours – to share, and be together in.

She lives just five minutes away, and I need her in my life, more than ever, but not as my safety, not as my idol – but because she is my constant encourager, my steadfast friend – she knows me, gets me, and laughs at nothing with me.

Tammy, I could write thousands of chapters of how much I love what God has done in you, and I could write thousands more of how much I love YOU!

Happy birthday Tammy.

I can’t wait to write four more decades – and MORE – together!  Unto Him be the glory for the great things He had done in you, and through you.  READ MORE HERE – ten or more posts about INSEPARABLE.

Who is your other person?  The one you have seen His Mighty Works displayed in? Share about the gift of relationships here – COMMENTS are celebrated.  

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How to Pray When You’re Not a Prayer Warrior (Amy Brady)

iwokeup Amy Brady post

I would never consider myself to be a prayer warrior.

I want to be. I strive to be.

I have never felt that my prayers could bring fire down from Heaven. But they have many times brought some Heaven down to earth for my languishing soul.

Growing up a pastor’s kid, many of my Sunday School teachers seemed to believe that prayer was part of my DNA. I was often, way too often, asked to lead prayer or close prayer, in class, in front of my peers. I hated it. I felt like I’d had my spiritual pants pulled down in front of my friends exposing my weakness in an area I wasn’t even old enough to understand.

Prayer is deeply personal and private to me.

My prayers sound more like a long conversation with my Dad.

In fact, when I came back to the Lord this type of praying is what grew our relationship. I’d sit on my bed, criss-cross-applesauce, and just talk. Talk about my struggles, my sins, my questions, my needs. As I did this, that still small voice I’d heard about began to emerge. Scriptures began to leap off the page and into my heart, like He was continuing the conversations taking place atop my bed in the quiet of an afternoon.

As life began to get busier, I began to realize just how portable Jesus was. I talked to Him in the car, the grocery store, while cooking dinner, or on a walk. I read, Practicing the Presence of God, where Brother Lawrence spoke of “breath prayers”. Breath prayers are the prayers, sometimes whispered or thought, that you pray as you walk along the way of your day.

You mean, that counts?”, I asked God.

Yes, it counts.” He assured me.

Maybe I prayed more than I even realized. I just go about it differently. We are each uniquely, fearfully, and wonderfully made, so why wouldn’t that cross over to our individual relationships with Him?

It’s just like family. All different, with one common bond.

I have been jotting down prayers for specific needs that I have noticed arise in me often. When I’m in the middle of those needs, I often can’t see or think clearly enough to form the prayer I want to.

So I had an idea to create my very own Prayer Arsenal. These are prayers I keep on my phone and my tablet that I can run to in times of need. I hope these will be a springboard for your own prayer arsenal, or you are welcome to use these if they fit your needs best.

Call out to Him in your times of need and He will never fail you.

In fact, God can do anything, but fail.

You don’t have to be a prayer warrior, you just need to start by being a prayer participant.

But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life.”- Deuteronomy 4:29, The Amplified Bible

For times when I am retreating inside myself: “Jesus be my Hiding Place. Help me hide in You, not in me or from others.”

When I’m angry: “Father I invite you to move into my anger. I bring it to you. Show me it’s truest source and heal me there.”

When I try to protect myself: “Father help me to remember that You protect me. I do not need to protect myself. I am safest in Your hands not my own.”

When I’m bitter: “Father I bring my troubles to You. Rid me of bitterness, of rage, anger, harsh words, and slander. Help me to trust You to handle the hurts that close off my heart. Give me the courage to let You right the wrongs and injustices of my life and the lives of those I hold dear.”

When I avoid being vulnerable: “Father I’m afraid to open myself to attack. You have not given me a spirit of fear though. I am reminded that I cannot control how others perceive or treat me. But I can follow You and trust You to protect me.”

When I want to be seen: “Oh Father may I never seek the world’s ways of being seen. May I remember that desire to be important and noticed is not evil but Your design. Use it to draw me to You, El Roi. You are the Living One Who sees me. Make that enough for me. Fill this void in my life with You! So I do not long for it elsewhere.”

When I’m impatient: “Father, I do not have great patience. It drains out of me so easily. The massive needs of others, weighs on me so heavy. Sometimes it never stops. I feel crushed and squeezed and suffocated. Be my wide open space. Help me to not try to have patience, but to ask you for it. My own nature and my sin nature do not lend themselves to patience, so it is wasting energy to try to summons it myself. I throw myself at your merciful feet and ask You to help me be to my loved ones what You want me to be to them. Be what they need through me. Let my seeming patience be nothing more than You acting through my broken vessel. I give you my irritations, my impatient responses and my desire to run and hide. I run to You instead. Please bless this mustard seed effort and multiply it.”

Which prayer above do you need right now?  Add some more: What prayers or bible verses are in your arsenal?

Amy brady

 

Amy Brady is a new contributor to IWokeUpYesterday and you can find her on her blog over at A Journey Not My Own!  Amy is passionate and shares about many things: her family, faith, food, writing, and advocacy work for adoption and sex trafficking, just to name a few.

 

 

Look Like Love? Tammy Bolt Werthem

Does your life look like love? 
As followers of Christ, we are called to “Look Like Love”

thedesigncotrust.ukThe Message, Ephesians 5 1-2 

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

I am inspired by the life and music of Britt Nicole.  She lives boldly and brightly for Jesus.  Here are select lyrics from the song, “Look Like Love” by Britt Nicole

I wanna Look Like Love. Be more than just enough.
For the hearts that is broken, coming undone.
It’s up to you and me, to leave a legacy.
If we’re all they ever see. I wanna look like, look like love.
If I believe there’s a Savior. Is the proof in me?
Is He alive and breathing? Is He what they’ll remember?
Is He what they see? When they look at me.

Here are 7 Ways To Look Like Love:

  1. Be Generous. Give without expecting anything in return.  No strings attached.  From a surrendered heart, we can give of our resources and our time, pouring out our lives.
  2. Be Last.  Last in line, last one through the door, last one to go to bed, last one to sit up front, last one to leave the meeting.
  3. Be Selfless.  Think of yourself less and others more.  When we focus on the needs of others, we are less likely to fall into self-pity, worry and anxiety.
  4. Be Hospitable.  Be the welcoming presence to others that Jesus is to you.  Draw them in and make them feel welcome, accepted and loved.
  5. Be a Listener.  Be with others and really hear their heart. No judging, no fixing, no solutions.  Let others find their own solutions by actively listening.
  6. Be an Encourager.  Find ways to cheer others on in pursuing their dreams and passions. Catch people being awesome and tell them why you think they are awesome.
  7. Be a Finisher.  Keep your commitments. Follow through.  Let your yes be a YES!  Go all the way with your promises and agreements.  Choose to live a life that is “all in”.  Show up 100% everywhere you go and keep showing up.

Living a life of love requires sacrifice and intention.  We decide, moment by moment, how we exhibit love to every person we meet.  We do this not in our strength, but by depending on the power and love of Christ, actively working in and through us.

Let’s love extravagantly.  Let’s be the crazy lovers that we are called to be.  Let’s “Look Like Love” today to everyone we meet!

When we “Look Like Love” to the world, we draw the lost in. When we love well as a community of believers, we are far more effective in our service.

Philippians 2:1-4 The Message:

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor:  Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

How can you “Look Like Love” today?  What is one action step you will take? 

Please share in the comments.  We read them all.  

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