Ellis

He was a friendly little kitten and at first glance, he looked like a normal, orange tabby.  He was meowing in the parking lot.  A big tomcat was approaching him so me…being me…got out of the car and picked the kitten up.  The first thing I noticed was the huge scar on his neck and upon closer inspection I fought back tears as it wasn’t an animal marking, it was a knife wound.  Still, he purred and cuddled like nothing had happened. He was unaffected by his past trauma, seemingly.  As I got to know him better, the visible signs of abuse were evident.  His eye looked abnormal, whiskers had been burned and cut, and two more deep gashes on his sides were prominent.  This kitty had been through some stuff, yet he was still loving and affectionate.  How in the world could this baby critter (vet said he was no more than 4 months old) still be trusting to any human hands? I was amazed.

Ellis reminds me of us.  Some have wounds that are visible and when we see them we find them repulsive and sad while their owners, because they’ve become a reminder of their survival, think nothing of them. I’ve met so many courageous people who’ve been through unspeakable things who bear their marks as evidence of our God who freed them and flipped their horror into absolute healing.

Oh God, that we would believe to be an Ellis. God can do it.

He can turn our ugly scars into most beautiful reminders of what He’s done for us. More importantly through the healing He renders, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with Him discovering who He truly is.  You can trust Him.  Will you?

Proverbs 3:5-6

Hebrews 10:23

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He Can Handle It

Their eyes meet from across the room.  She tries to talk herself out of being attracted to him; he thinks she’s beautiful.  It seems like every place she goes, he’s there. Finally he catches her in a moment with no one around and he hones in to speak to her, one on one. He’s totally enchanted with her and she, him.  They arrange a meeting and then another.  After being with her for a while, although he’s sure he loves her, he starts to notice the deep wounds she carries.  The more he’s with her, the more prominent the wounds become.

She doesn’t show them to everyone, but she thought she could trust him.  Why else would there be such chemistry and attraction between them if she wasn’t safe to show him who she really is, what has happened to her? Surely she’s safe with him. She wasn’t. She was wrong. Eventually she finds that he, too, once her man of promise, has abandoned her.

Nothing is more beautiful than being loved by someone not because of all you’ve been through and who you really are…but in spite of it.  They come to know even the ugliest you and to your surprise, love you any way. That’s what real love does.  Too often though for one reason or another – good reasons and bad – we find we’re too heavy a package that people drop too easily. We find people can’t handle our reality – the real us.  They like us, they love us, they hate us.  No matter how hard we try to “be good”, be what the other one wants and needs, it’s never enough.

All of us carry wounds others have no idea about until we let them close enough to see.  When we’re exposed, they may decide they can’t handle it and they sometimes become distant.  Love is an overused and abused word used often with good intentions but few results.  Some have heard that word so many times (chimed in with other well-intended promises of faithfulness and love) we don’t want to take the chance on hearing it again.

We can totally expose ourselves to Jesus.  We may as well, he knows it’s all there anyway.  He can handle it.  He’ll never walk away no matter what has to be done to heal the wounds…ALL of them.  He’s perfect love, and human love can only be successful through Him (I believe).  He’ll never be intimidated and reject us because of anything we’ve been through, done or are going through.  We’ll never be too much, too wounded, too lost or too far gone for Him.  He can handle it.  As a matter of fact, what’s hurt us the most and left the ugliest scar on us, He died for.  He came specifically so we could be one with Him, expose ourselves completely to Him and let Him heal us.  He can even make the scars more beautiful.  He changes them from something we seek to cover to things of beauty we long to expose to glorify Him.

Whatever’s going on with you, He can handle it.  Whatever you’ve done, He can handle it.  He died so He could make you whole.  You, beloved, can trust Him.  Will you?

Matthew 11:28:  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  (NASB)

Self-Perspective

One of my gifts is encouragement. God has blessed me to see the good in everything and everyone. If you need a positive word, I’m your girl…about you. For some reason I just can’t seem to find much positive in myself. What is that?! I’ve talked to complete strangers, people in jail, people who’ve committed bad offenses and had no trouble finding kind and soothing words for them. When I mess up or present myself as less than perfect I have no mercy for me.

The Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself”. What if you don’t love you? I’ve asked that question for years and have never gotten an answer. How can you love others if you don’t love yourself. Here’s how I process all that.

I give to others what I’d like to have.  Kindness, consideration, respect as a person. I’ve given coats, money, and myself because if I were in the situations I’ve witnessed I hope someone would do the same for me. I really try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I’ve put myself behind those I love in order to see to their needs just because it was the right thing to do. Sometimes I found myself used, lied to and manipulated and my feelings were hurt afterward but at the end of it, I had peace and can say I would do it again.

Love is rewarding and after all isn’t that the point? My perspective is that when you give your best to someone who’s hurting or needing you’re giving the best of yourself which is ultimate love. Our society says to do what we do for ourselves; Christianity says to do what we do for others. Polar opposites. Which is more rewarding and allows us to live with our choices more peacefully?

So wait. Maybe I’m not so bad to myself. Maybe I bless myself more than I think I do because lifting others up, making their day brighter and seeing them smile on their difficult journey is fulfilling and rewarding. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not as messed up as I sometimes think I am!

Good Love

Good love. You got it? The ultimate love: unconditional, everlasting, never failing, unending and regardless love is that love of Jesus Christ. We can only give an imperfect love but we decide…and hopefully desire to give our best. When we do with pure hearts and then we’re used, abused then thrown away it does something to us. We’re wounded and leery of trying it again. This encompasses all relationships right? I’ve been “killed” by some people…and I’ve “killed” some people. I’ve rejected and hurt those who really cared for me. I’ve been used and abused when I gave my best. We all have been. I just need to say that if you’re reading this and you’ve thrown me to the side/manipulated/hurt me…you missed the chance for good love. I’m God’s girl. I have in me the vreal kind of love; a good love. It’s your loss. I refuse to live under that mark of pain and rejection you left on me. I am not a reject. I am loved with an everlasting, real love of Christ. I’m on the mend, and He heals me second by second because I’m letting Him. I still have good love because I choose to. I choose to show it and not let all the pain alter this love I’ve been given. Will you?

His Forever

No matter what, who, where if you belong to God; if you believe in Jesus and what He did, you belong to Him. I belong to Him. He will never forget me, forsake me, turn His back on me, disinherit me, disown me. I’m locked in with an eternal promise and riches in heaven that can never be stolen. Never. Never, ever.

I’ve been forsaken, tossed aside, forgotten, lied to, cheated on, compromised, used, abused and left for dead by just about everyone who ever meant anything to me. I survived on a promise. THE promise of a love I can’t even comprehend. It can be yours too. He can be yours. I can’t live…don’t want to live without Him.

We’ve been through some stuff. Yet we survived because He numbered our days before our lives began. Why wouldn’t we want to love Him back? I’m grateful to have survived and I will tell my story to anyone who listens…will you? It’s all worth it. Really.

Speak!

Amazing to me with all these resources that they all can be used for good, for God’s glory, to build others up or tear people down. Proverbs 18:1 “death and life are in the power of the tongue”. Your tongue. You build up or tear down.  Somebody’s listening to you. You have more influence than you think.  I need your encouragement. Don’t tell me…or anyone else…what you think they want to hear. Don’t mislead. I find it best to try (and I do try) to keep my opinions to myself (yes, I can be wrong!). The very best thing we can do is give others (and ourselves) God’s word WITHOUT personal opinion, but with personal testimony. Just let His word work and that’s enough. Thank you for the encouragement and love today. I pray for the opportunity to return it and pay it forward. You do make a difference. Someone is listening!