Junk Out 2010!

17/04/2010 § 5 Comments

I used to be relentlessly driven by perfectionism. Like a wild woman bent on attaining approval, I would tear through the house like a Midwestern tornado, making sure not one thing was out of place, screaming like the winds as I went. I wouldn’t even sit down to eat unless all the mess I had made while preparing a meal was completely cleaned up, neither could anyone else. My insecurities beat like the slave I was to them. I was mercilessly driven to perfectly please. After all, the God of the Universe is perfect and wasn’t interested in keeping slouches on hand, now was He? Huh? Was He? I didn’t think so.
I had no peace, no joy. I wasn’t exactly brimming over, spilling any peace or joy on those around me either. When your cup is dry, it doesn’t overflow. Over the years the Lord has freed me from a lot of my burdens. The yoke I carry has never been so light. I have found deep peace and abiding joy, I am starting to bring it to others. My cup has been filling up. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!
So, here we are now. The other side of the pendulum. I have more freedom in Christ now than I have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined I could. After the shackles fell I wasn’t hounding and driving myself to make others, or a false tyrannical god, pleased with my performance. The irony of it all? Now, I am lazy. I think I have figured out why too.
Part of it is fear. I know what I used to be and I DON’T want to go back. Wouldn’t a routine bring me right back to that awful place? The other part is somehow, my brain has convinced me that since I was so uptight for all those years, I needed to just ‘relax’ and stop putting so much pressure on myself. Wouldn’t a routine set me up to be constantly going and doing? The result is where I’m at today. Caught in the middle.  
Oddly enough, I am re-learning self-discipline. I’m trying to find the joys in having a routine without it ruling my life. It’s embarrassing. I’m a grown woman. I can’t go back though, only forward. There are messes. I need to earn my keep. But most of all. I need to do everything as unto the Lord and my family needs me to be the person God created me to be for our family dynamic to work. It blesses them when I choose to be a blessing and do the simplest thing like, pick up after myself to start.
Each morning as I become aware the Lord has blessed me with another day, I choose. As the morning unfolds into afternoon and as afternoon falls into evening and the sun starts to set, all the things I have done are things I have chosen. So are the things that haven’t been done. It’s all a choice. Of course, there is the whole reality of running out of time in a day. But I’m talking about choosing not to do something. I do it every single day.
When I finally put my feet up, reflecting on the day, I need to honestly evaluate my decisions and determine if they were ones that were productive and ones that would have pleased the Lord and benefited my family. I wish I could say ‘yes’ for every day. I can’t. So, I try again, asking the Lord to be the strength in my weakness. All day, every day. He is my portion.

~traci

For The Beloved

02/04/2010 § 1 Comment

Continued from last week…   

Beloved,

That man, Jesus, His last words were these:
“It is finished”, and He was gone.

The most powerful three word phrase in human history was uttered that very terrible moment. It has lingered on the winds of time and still speaks to us today. Can you hear it?

And then…

Silence. For three entire, arduous and painful days. Nothing.

Then, all of a sudden…

A mighty earthquake and an angel of the Lord appeared! The intensely heavy stone sealing the entrance was rolled away! The brutish Roman soldiers guarding the tomb entrance were dead! The sepulchre was miraculously empty save for the burial cloths and prayer shawl neatly folded to signify this:

I am nearby and I HAVE RISEN FROM THE GRAVE! Death has not conquered ME, but I have conquered death! Sin has no more hold for I have broken its curse! I have completed the earthly task my Father has sent me to do and through Me, all who believe and call upon the name of the Lord, shall be SAVED from the penalties of sin and death!

Christ the Lord has risen today! Hallelujah! He’s ALIVE!!

It never fails. Again, even now.  As I write these words, I am reduced to a mess of tears and heartache. As each one falls silently down my cheek, each one represents so many things.

The first ones shed are from guilt, shame, awareness of my depraved state, keen awareness I am an unworthy sinner. I am alone, separated, condemned. The next wave is born out of repentance, admitting I am wrong and fully deserving of any punishment I have incurred, no less than the wrath of God Himself, the very One I have sinned against. The saltiness stings my lips between sobs. I try to breathe.

A bit calmer now, the flow begins to relent. A sweet peace and joy unexplainable begin to flow from my heart. I sniffle and realize I ‘feel’ lighter, as if a weighty burden has been lifted from my weary shoulders. Comfort finds me in the forgiveness of my Savior. There is nothing like knowing you have been reconciled to your Father. I am at peace with God Himself.
He has stayed His wrath.

O happy day! When Jesus washed, He washed my sins away!!

Praying fervently and earnestly hoping you will find Him today,

~a blind, wretched sinner, forgiven and restored, by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, Y’shua HaMashiach.

For The Beloved

26/03/2010 § 2 Comments

Beloved,

It never fails. I always tear up. Sometimes silently, deeply, I weep. When I hear the words, it seems so surreal. Each and every time. You’d think after all these years and after all the sermons and conversations I’ve heard and had the story would get ‘old’. It hasn’t, and I hope it never will.

Like the sunrise in the morning and its setting in the evening it awakens me and reminds me to rest. The reality of its truth is mind boggling, yet, the power of its message is my comfort. There’s nothing else I can think of that touches my heart quite like it. At times, I can barely believe it’s real, though I know, that I know, that I know, THAT I KNOW it has to be, else, there would be no me. 


A simple carpenter’s son was betrayed to the local religious authorities. With a kiss. By a dear, close friend. He was falsely accused, mocked, sentenced to death. Brutally beaten, he no longer resembled a man. His blood dripping, his flesh torn. He bore the weight of a cross beam down a long, rock strewn road riddled with scorners throwing out shame and hurling curses like candy at a parade. An innocent man, they crucified him, nailing his hands and feet to a wooden beam that day, at the place of the skull. For you. For me. For humankind. He breathed every breath, to the last. For us.

…to be continued…
~Traci

For The Beloved

19/03/2010 § 2 Comments

Beloved,

Revive my slumbering soul, O Lord, with the sound of Your gentle whisper.
Refresh my weak and weary spirit, O God, with the power of Your Holy one.
Restore my aching body, O Healer, with the bruises of Your very own.
Renew my innermost parts, O Father, with the sweetness of Your tender mercies.
Rekindle my heart’s flame, O Great Jehovah, with the fire of Your passion.

O, Precious Jesus, meet me at the Cross.

 
Most Humbly Yours,

~Traci

For The Beloved

04/03/2010 § 5 Comments

Every Friday I send out an e-newsletter for our church. Each week I find something new to express that’s on my heart to engage my readers. It’s really just a snapshot of a thought as I don’t want to detract from the other content. It’s more tricky than one would think as it would be very easy, for me anyway, to run away with my thoughts. I’m actually fairly shy and reserved (nervous and afraid is more like it) when it comes to my writing, (hence the long silence) but that story could be for another time. I’ve been receiving a lot of positive responses to my greetings and that has boosted my confidence so I thought I’d share last week’s with you.
Dear (your name here), 

With Spring starting to make its appearance I’m starting to get the ‘Spring Cleaning bug’. I can hardly wait to fling open my windows so clean, crisp air can blow through my home, exchanging old and stale for fresh and new. I close my eyes and I can picture a cool, gentle breeze dancing with my curtains, twirling them into perfect pirouettes. A smile takes over my face. It will be the ideal setting for the deep cleaning that needs to take place after months of everything being frozen, closed up and honestly, a bit neglected.

This sentiment can be applied to our spiritual lives as well, though, we shouldn’t only wait for a specific time in our lives to let the Lord open our ‘windows’ and ‘doors’ so He can ‘deep clean’ the dirty clutter that has been lying dormant. Life gets busy, time flies by and sometimes it’s only when something catches our attention or we slow down long enough to realize we could use some spiritual ‘Spring Cleaning’ of our own.

This year I am purposing to more regularly allow the Lord to wash me with His merciful love in my spiritual life as I, in the natural, will be washing my windows. I want to encourage you to join me.

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near…” ~Isaiah 55

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” ~Psalm 51

Preparing for ‘Spring Cleaning’ in my Heart and Home,
~Traci

Have you been bitten by the Spring cleaning bug yet? Are you avoiding it altogether or are you holding out for the absolute, very last, no more cold left at all sign of winter to be officially proclaimed passed?

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