Transparent Grace – Revisited

I paint, I fix, I reattach what gets broken.

I am the queen of Band Aids.

Yet comes the unraveling, the raw exposure, the messy, yucky, costly hard places.  The places we bury and think are dead but, as someone once said ,”Dead men don’t speak”. Yet these speak…loudly.  Screaming for the attention we do not want to give them, but they demand rightful recognition, or so we believe.  Those places that earn us no accolades or warm embraces, those places we want to, need to be free of, to let die and bury once and for all, yet we face them over and over again.  Maybe they are like the zombies in our lives, following us around, wanting to devour us all the while looking and feeling ever so familiar.

Cracks in our coverings, a loss of adhesive in our Band Aids…they fall away, strip by strip, piece by piece.  Frantic, we replace, reattach, patch and repair.  Only to preserve the covering that is masking the true healing needed.  It’s those places I want, no need, to revisit.

Some months ago, I explored the concept with God of transparent grace.  (To view my musings and thoughts with God, read the full blog in the August 2016 archives)  This was such a vague and seemingly opposing concept, yet it became apparent that it was vitally connected.  Even as Jesus sat with, walked with, talked with and even demonstrated this concept to his disciples, even they did not understand.  Though he would be transparently honest about the grace that would cost him everything, they did not get it.  Sound familiar?

I now revisit this place, this place of transparency, this place of raw, real honesty, the place of no Band Aids and no masks that will ultimately mean my healing.

Transparent grace…this begins with understanding that I have a Saviour who sacrificed everything for me, a girl who deserved nothing.  In a world of give to get, this is at times incomprehensible.  It is the “I don’t deserve this” place that I find myself in.  You see I, like all of us, have come up short.  No matter how much we have done or how much we have to offer, we come up short.

Constantly.

Yet what we see as a negative, God sees as our biggest strength.  It’s the upside down Kingdom mentality…last is first, lose to gain, less is more.  Coming up short, not having what it takes, even failing these are all advantages to God that we perceive as shortcomings.  And it begins with owning and being truly honest with ourselves.  Thus the hard journey of life that few decide to take.

As I look around, I see many people who look successful, have it all together, people living the dream and outwardly so happy.  Yet, upon closer investigation and vulnerable moments with those same people, I see sadness, insecurity, doubt and discontentment. And, I get it.  I’ve lived it.  And, I still battle it.  What seems so easy to maintain and preserve is actually what will kill us.  Keeping up the facade is a full-time job and honestly exhausting.  The fear of the very thing that can save us is what will ultimately cost us more than laying it down.

So we run away from grace.

At that thought I shudder.  As a Christian, this is the basis of my faith.  Grace.  Such a soothing word, but one we do not embrace fully and completely as God intended.  A word so freely given, yet so easily cast aside and even abused.  This free gift is something we look at as the thing that will cost us the most.  Transparency is costly.  It hurts our pride, challenges our will and can wreck our emotions.  Yet in the transparency is the freedom grace brings, the place where the Band Aids come off, fresh air brings healing and the weight of the mask is lifted.

Thus, transparent grace.

Grace that took the weight, bore the injury, felt the sting and the hurt, and the vulnerability.  Grace voluntarily given from a heart of incomprehensible love.  Grace that is crying with open arms to welcome us in…raw, vulnerable, cracked, wounded us.

As I revisit this today I realize again I am a hot mess girl.  But now also see that is exactly what my Jesus wants.  He welcomes the mess, the wounds, the insecurities so that he can replace them with his grace and love.

Let’s rip those Band Aids off, put down our masks and lay aside the patch materials and simply take the hand of grace, transparently, that is so freely offered to us.  And from the ashes, from the raw, wounded, broken places we arise…simply free.

Life meant to be lived, peace in the honesty and loved beyond measure.

That’s my transparency, stepping another day into the grace given and able to say….

Is is well with my soulife today …. and the journey continues!

Blessings!    Dee

Advertisements

Happiness is in the Eye of the Beholder

The saying goes…

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

So very true of about everything.  An abstract piece of art can be a mess to one and a masterpiece to another, early morning sunrises are life to one while to another an annoyance, a walk in a rainstorm is cleansing to one while simply a wet mess to another.

Perspective.

This seems to be the theme of my life, thus yet another blog on my newest shift in perspective…happiness.   Previously, I’ve discussed my perspective shifts on change, freedom and even this journey we walk called life, but this one has taken me a bit by surprise.

Happiness, it seems, is also in the eye of the beholder.

You see, I’ve realized happiness has not always been my strong point.  Oh I can “appear” to be very happy…I know the words to say, the body language to use and am even very adept at creating “happy” places and atmosphere.  So imagine my surprise when just yesterday I sat down with a journal and all I could think about was happiness and, specifically, why I struggle so much with being happy.

Then it came to me.

Somehow in the midst of my life journey I had adopted then deeply repressed the idea that somehow I really do not deserve to be completely happy, that doing that is somehow prideful and arrogant and if I feel happy it must be a fleeting moment and I will then wait for the proverbial “other shoe” to drop.  Here, as is often the situation in my ponderings, came a thought.

What if I was really meant to be happy all the time?  I mean what if I was so designed that way that the struggle is not deserving to be but the conflict between my mind and my heart.  Here I go again…that 18 inch journey from the head to the heart.

Life throws lots of curve balls.

Mistakes we make as well as situations that effect us that are far beyond our control.  It is in these curve ball moments that I have stepped back from the plate, laid my bat down and decided the home run of a happy life was not mine to have.

But then God…and but the life He leads us into.

It is in those moments that sometimes if you just look up and look around you see something right in front of you that you could have passed right by.  Like walking along a trail so consumed by just getting to the end, or overcoming the pain in your legs that you miss the beautiful spotted fawn staring toward you through the woods.  It is those chance encounters, I call them the little blessings along the way, that remind us that happiness is what we are all hard-wired for…that perfect communion between what is around us and what is within us that collides resulting in an exquisite peace and joy that one cannot begin to describe.

So today, after what seemed like a night robbed of sleep, I woke up and made a choice for happiness.  A choice to look at the blessings, ones that have been there and even a few new ones that have lately come my way.  Things that I might have missed had I not slowed down and looked around.  Funny how today the grass is greener, the sky is  clearer and even the obstacles are not as insurmountable as they seemed before. It’s crazy that just that mindset shift has caused my heart to flutter a bit as if little angel wings are reminding me I’m loved and valued.  That it’s not a matter of deserving, but a matter of me accepting what is right there all around me.

So choose well today.  Take the time for a rich conversation, for  a late night laugh, a reflection on what is really important and choose the happiness you have within you.  Remind yourself you’re worth it, as are those around you.  It is in the eye of the beholder…and behold the wonderful creation you are!

Here’s to your soulife….behold a happy one….and remember there is always someone who is particularly fond of you:)

Blessings…Dee

Sleepwalking

Against my normal writing style I’m going right to the point.

In this life are you really awake or just sleepwalking through it?  Silly question?  Maybe, but really think about it.  If we were totally awake every moment would we see things differently?  Or are we sleepwalking, just going through learned motions of life that bring us comfort yet lead us nowhere?

In light of this contentious world we live in today, I believe this is a valid question we really need to ask ourselves.  And and when we get to the root of the answer, it can get quite scary and raw.  At first response we all want to say yes, I am wide awake.  I have a career, a family, responsibilities and I’m doing just fine.  But if you’re really wide awake then your lens of life just got expanded far beyond those surface realities.  Are you really fine or going through the motions of the comfortable, safe life you’ve created for yourself?

You see, a life fully awake sees beyond whats immediately around you.  There is a larger picture.  And in that picture WE are not the focus.

Yes, thats the raw part.  This culture we live in today is about getting all you can, look good on the outside, do good as long as it makes you look good and doesn’t cost too much.  Today is about me.  Of course we say its about family and helping others, but what happens when that interferes with our plans or doesn’t agree with our way of thinking?  Or what happens when we just don’t get our own way?  Or if the cost is too high?  Let the tantrum begin!

We don’t call it a tantrum.  We see it as sharing our opinion, protesting, writing an opinionated social media post, irregardless of who it hurts or what the fallout is.  It’s our right to share our opinion, right?

Or is it?

Sleepwalking is autopilot, doing what the crowd does, following the norm.  Wide awake makes us see more that what’s in our immediate space.  We see communities, diversity, feelings, emotions, creation and all the things that stir our soul.  Sleepwalking walks right past the wounded, the different, and the lonely as it’s not on OUR path or OUR agenda.  Sleepwalking is the state of busy we live in and the self preservation and exercising our rights to everything we deem necessary even if it crowds out others and only makes way for us.

Sadly, I’ve realized that it’s the sleepwalking that is revered; that is the norm.  And sadly I find myself many days in that trap, centered around the wrong thing but thinking it’s all okay.  I fight the wide awake and the raw, transparent vulnerability it brings.

Yet in that raw, vulnerable, face-down surrendered place is where the breakthrough happens and one wakes up.

It is this place which I challenge you as God has challenged me.  It’s a place we dare not go as the vulnerability is like a thief ready to snatch all that we are.  But it is also this place where one will find rest for the soul.

The true soulife begins here, but never ends here.  You see the art of living wide awake takes us back to this place again and again, to shake off the world, our own self and the pride that daily life brings.  We are brought back to the place to see with a new lens, a wider lens and a window to life that is limitless.  I want to live wide awake and never miss a moment that God has in front of me.  So perspective adjustment is necessary, as always, and stepping into the next season.  And I realize that here, at wide awake, I am truly free and learning the rhythm of grace and love that I can then extend to the world around me.

So where are you, sleepwalking or wide awake?  That is the question posed to all of us daily and the one again this morning I ask myself as I’m brought back to center, face-down and humbled but so empowered.

The change begins with me…learning to love from the inside out.  Raw, vulnerable and yet so fully alive.

Here’s to your soulife my friends…the end of you and me is the entrance to life abundant!

3 John 1:2 (NKJV)  “Beloved, I pray that you may proser in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”

On the Trail – Part I

One thing I’ve begun to realize about myself…

I do not think or see things the way others do, thus, God seems to speak and show me things in an odd assortment of ways.

Now before you get in the mindset of “God doesn’t audibly speak…” that’s not what I mean.  Speaking is more than verbal language.  It’s a thought, an impression, a viewpoint and even at times just that gut-feeling we get.  It can come in a song, a word, something we see or a situation we are in, or for me on a walk.

Life with a puppy means LOTS of walks!  Easy is for me to either take her to the dog park or just stick to the sidewalks as I know where they end up.  But on this cool, fall day I ventured off the norm and went down a trail.

I don’t live in the mountains.  Quite opposite…my abode is the “lowcountry”.  But there is a trail that runs along a creek overflow near my neighborhood.  I had never gone very far on this trail as it had been summer and it was pretty grown over with grass and such which in my world screams snakes!  Sidebar…this girl, though a lover of outdoors and nature, is terrified of snakes thus keeping me from this place.

But this day was different.  As I looked down the trail, fall had arrived!  Leaves had blanketed the once grassy path and the trees were showing their limbs.  It was a beautiful, cool fall morning so puppy and I ventured off the sidewalk.

Sometimes the best things happen when we step off safe and normal.

I was walking as she ran ahead of me in her own puppy world of running and squirrels and many new sniffs simply enjoying the quiet and the cool.  Then I looked up.  I saw sun’s rays filtering through the trees and landing on the leaves and space before me.  There was so much life in it, so much clarity.

Then I suddenly saw it…the web.

Okay….next to snakes the worst thing I can encounter is a spider!

I stopped for a moment and looked.  Stretched in front of me across the path was an enormous, delicate web and a very small brown spider.  The web was intricately woven with transparent strands stretching across to both sides of the path from limb to limb at my face height.  Then, as I assessed this web, I realized there was a way to avoid it and what it contained.  From the light of the sun shining on it, I could duck and go around it, as if it didn’t exist, and avoid the hindrance to my walk.

I walked as far as I could then made a turn for the walk back.  What I noticed now was the sun was at my back and things appeared less clear.  My shadow was now cast on the ground before me and it became my focus as I feared I would make a misstep on the path.

Then I suddenly stopped again and remembered…the web.

Where was it?  I looked ahead and could see nothing but a clear yet dimmer path, but I knew it was there.  Then I adjusted my position allowing the light to shine past me and once again illuminated there it was.  Disaster averted again!  Pretty proud of myself, the trip home for us both was easy.

Sitting down with my morning coffee and notebook on  my porch, a revelation came.  I had not simply been on a trail walk but there was a lesson here for me.

Lesson one…staying in the right light illuminates things that I may miss.

Had I not been facing the light, I would not have seen the web.  I would have been entangled in a mess and the spider as well.  But there was a way around it and the light illuminated it…lifted the fog if you will.   Additionally, had my focus been distracted I would also have become entangled.

Lesson two…sometimes we walk in the shadows, requiring us to remember what was illuminated in the light.

I can focus on the shadow, which is a deceptive reality, or I can remember what was already made clear in the light of the day.  Deceptive shadows lead to traps.  Traps we know are there but we just cannot see them, or choose to ignore them.  Usually they are nothing new, yet we become entangled as we do not remember and readjust our sight to see what seemingly appears to be hidden.

Life is simply a series of light and shadow experiences.

Things are illuminated to us, we avoid them with a sigh of relief and we move along our way, often forgetting the rescue .  But what if each illuminating experience was a lesson we must imprint in our brain?  What if “light moments” will serve as “life savers” in the times of shadow walking?  This is what I ponder.

Was this what David meant when he penned, “…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” (Ps 23:4)

Looking back over my life, I see many times that traps, those things that I may be bent toward or simply are thrown my way, were illuminated to me and I avoided them.  Yet, there have been and will be times that I have also fallen prey to the very same thing.  So I ask myself, what happened?

It always comes back to focus.

When I journey life looking at the distractions or walking in the shadow of what I perceive is real, life is distorted and the traps become invisible. Often the distractions also block my mind from remembering what was previously illuminated.  It is not until I am caught up in the trap I see the familiarity of it and a way it could have been averted.  When caught up in the trap fear creeps in when it could have been so easily averted.  Light walking…that’s what we are called to, and where there is no shadow of fear.

Lessons on the trail…it came to a close that day yet continues to speak to me…thoughts for another day…

Until then, stay in the light…it’s all clear there.  Expect the unexpected and trust in the brave, strong you that you are.

From one brave soul to another, take to the trails…it’s good for your Soulife!

Moving in the light,

Dee

 

Purposeful Searching

Life is like a game of hide and seek.

I remember as a little girl not really liking this game.  There were too many unknowns.  No parameters and certainly no strategy when who was “it” constantly changed.  Unable to really know your pursuor  and where they would go, the options became endless.  Upon discovering the best hiding place, you would wait with frightened anticipation in this cat and mouse game.  But it was only a game and everyone was always found.

Until they weren’t.

Not being found, though the goal of the game, was also my biggest fear.  What if I outsmarted them but in their childish distraction stopped looking?  Just how long does one stay hidden before you come out and make your presence known?  Like I said previously, no parameters and too many unknown variables.

Life is like a game of hide and seek.

You see every child yearns to be known, yearns to be found and not forgotten.  From the most flamboyant and outgoing child who garners all the attention with every entrance, to the quiet, introspective one who silently screams come find me we all innately want to be found and known.

Yet in a culture that screams “look at me” “see what I’ve done and where I am” we still play the hide and seek game.

What if all the “look at me” was really a lost searching cry of “help me find the real me”?

Transparency and openness will kill hide and seek.  With no where to hide, we are all in the open.

That was not very profound and very obvious but in many ways evokes more fear in us than the thought of hiding so long we are never found.  Thus leading me to purposeful searching.

When we search with purpose there is a plan.  We have some set parameters.  Like in a treasure hunt.  Looking for buried treasure is purposeful searching.  Armed with maps, a GPS or compass and a clear knowledge of what the goal is, we can launch a successful treasure hunt.

So what if we approached life like a treasure hunt versus a game of hide and seek?  What if we approached ourselves and our life as a treasure hunt?

Purposeful searching.

What is often forgotten is that we have the treasure map in our hands.  God says his Word is a “lamp unto our feet”.  It’s the dashed line with the path already marked for our unique journey.

In the movies, there are scenes where the treasure map is found yet the finder has no ability to decipher it.  It is only by learning the “code” or language or even seeing it at a certain angle that the truth of the journey is illuminated.  So it seems if the treasure to be found, then one must use the right eyes or hear the correct language.  Like in hide and seek…it’s always about knowing where to look!

So it is with all of us.  God has so uniquely made each of us that He uses what is our own unique code to seek and find us.  He is a relentless seeker, but the question remains if we want to be found and brought out into the light.  The age old question.

“Lost are saved (found), find their way a the sound of Your great name.” (Your Great Name – Natalie Grant)

When we fear not being found or not being able to find or see the way, when we feel our game of hide and seek has gone terribly wrong and no one will ever know we are there, we are provided an escape….Jesus.

All He wants is the “real me” the real treasure to be found…for the one He created to step into the light, to stop hiding and hoping someone will seek me.  He has been seeking all along, to bring us back to show us the treasure is not in the hidden places but in the light of His beautiful grace.

Purposeful searching…not for the things hidden, but for what was so close.  The search is really over, His plan was the purpose all along.

The real me is the purpose in the plan, to bring us each back to the place where, as in the beginning, there is intimacy and we are found.  It is only when we stop the hiding and we simply seek…that there we will find.

Just some simple ponderings….may your soulife be blessed and you find purpose in the search…Dee

Airports and Endless Adventures

That wanderlust thing…guess I’ve always had it.

The discontentment was never with life as I know it, but the discontentment of being in one place for too long.  What a realization as I walked down the long corridor toward the gate…I was meant to do this the rest of my life…I was always meant to do this.

Purpose.

“We are each born with a purpose, but we choose our destiny.” – Paula White

That truth rings in my ears, yet the fear silences it with the whisper of, “What if you choose wrong?”  Thus, keeping my feet planted all too often, forsaking purpose and the choice of an amazing destiny laid before me for the safety and security of a life well lived.

What is going on?  Sell it all?  Leave it all behind?  For what and for where?

A life of adventure, only to visit…never to stay.

So many cultures, so many people, everyone going somewhere yet many going no where.  Amid all the wealth and success, the bigness of it all, there is a dark, hidden, opposing factor of lack.

Heartbreaking how we can be asleep yet fully awake.

Fine lines are drawn between our opinionated right or simple choice to ignore and tolerance, acceptance and truth that loves bravely and does not speak judgement. Lines that separate and lines that can become walls, lines that rob us of a plan far bigger than ourselves keeping us stagnant yet seemingly walking forward.  I ponder those and closely examine the walls I’ve surrounded myself with first.

Appearing awake, yet really asleep.

Funny how being in the middle of a crowd you can feel completely alone, endlessly connected but in a cave of loneliness.

Noise everywhere but the loudest noise is inside me.  And if in me then it’s likely in many others.

Where do you find yourself today?  Fully awake?  Alert times 10?  Or when you really look at yourself, are you missing what is right in front of you and going on around you because of the chaos and discontent within?

Appearing awake, yet really asleep, walking toward the next adventure, yet having no where to go.

In a world of striving for success, for the next big thing, the next business deal, the next investment, the next big adventure are we missing what is placed right in front of us?  Are we missing the simple in the midst of a complicated life we’ve created for ourselves?

Funny how an airport can spur such thoughts that have evolved into ramblings.

Then, as I settle into a few moments of simple quiet to muse over and pen my thoughts, the voice comes across the table.  Random comment concerning a physical attribute leading to a conversation, leading to a connection, leading to an opportunity to plant a seed.  How easily I could have missed it.  How easily I could have brushed it aside and ignored what was right in front of me for the sake of being distracted by something I thought so important at the moment.  How easily I could have checked my phone, gone back to typing and missed a moment…one that would be lost forever.  But response birthed conversation and we left better than we arrived.

How many times has the rush and the wanderlust caused me to miss what is right here? Yes there are conversations to happen, connections to make and purpose to fulfill.  But this traveler needs to enjoy the journey and not just look at the destination.  Every step, however small, is one more opportunity, every kind word a place to show love and impact a life.

Yes, I was purposed with a wanderlust, a yearning for more, a restless spirit never to settle.  Yet, on the journey toward the path called destiny there is even more!

Purpose?  Have one.  Destiny?  Moving toward one.  Journey?  The joy in both!

Here’s to living one moment, one day, one experience and one simple, kind word at a time. Here’s to seasons and change and death that brings growth.  Here’s to a Papa that loves enough to never leave us even in the valleys and who celebrates with us on the mountains.  Here’s to friends, conversations, tears and journeys….most of all, here’s to the fabulous, fearless, unique you….love big, live loud and laugh more…it’s all good for the soulife!

From a heart in overflow…Lots of love…Dee

 

Today I Choose…

I hate choices….

By nature I am indecisive.  Some will call it free-spirited, creative, innovative but basically I can call it what I want but… I’m indecisive.  And this does not work well in real life, and especially not in my life with Jesus.

Making a decision for some comes very easy.  That’s who they are…organized, decisive, goal-oriented, sensible.  But for people like me who are emotional, compassionate, who desire to be goal-oriented but just can’t decide what to do next this is the daily struggle. These days God is trying His best to teach me a few things about choices.  You see, the God who created us created us with a will and the ability to have a choice.  That’s what separates us from every other living being…choice.  We choose who to love, choose who to serve, choose what to do next, choose to run or to hide.

Choice…

I have realized that every choice I make comes at some sort of a cost.  This can look like giving up time, or finances or even, here lately, relationships.  I have also realized that since in the kingdom it is people that are it’s currency, it is the price of relationships that seemingly are the most costly.  My time can simply  be a  rearrangement and the finances can be recovered but the relationships lost actually leave a cavernous void.

Choices, both in and out of God’s will, cost us.  When choices we know are in God’s will cost a relationship that creates the place of questioning, of doubt, and of confusion.  Why would obedience come at such a high cost?

But then there is Jesus…

I guess it always comes back to this place.  In the intersections of choice I often respond, react and question as if Jesus doesn’t understand…I know, silly, right?  But my humanity wants to function on feeling and what “looks” right or not right, what’s fair and not fair. Yet stepping back to the place of surrender, I then see that no relationship, no thing, no money, position, or even my time is my own or is a guarantee in this life.  Then in that place of surrender….and I realize that too is my choice, hold on or let it go.

Full circle…God gave us the choice to love Him, the choice to serve Him, the choice to be obedient.  He knew that it would cost us to belong to Him.  And at times that cost would be very high.  That’s why he sent Jesus…the perfect example of the high cost of the call.

Today these lyrics ring true…

“My heart beating, my soul breathing…I found my life when I laid it down.  

Upward falling, spirit soaring…I touch the sky, when my knees hit the ground” (Hillsong United “Touch the Sky”)

Upside down God-life, upside down choices, things that make no sense and cost so much in our finite mind but with God it’s just part of a much grander plan.  Choices, sometimes hard choices with high cost.

The constant, decisive, pivotal place in the Jesus life.

So my friends, choose well today, choose surrender and find your life…your true soul life.

I find my life….when I lay it down…

Counting the cost yet trusting the reward today….bless your soulife!

Dee

 

P.S.

Enjoy this….take a moment and breathe!

Touch the Sky – Hillsong United

Transparent Grace

Grace…underserved, unmerited favor, to esteem, honor, favor, dignify or distinguish.

Transparent grace…a funny concept that has just been wrecking my world lately.  I keep rolling those two words over and over in my head as they in many ways are set to oppose one another.

Grace, we often understand as a covering, something we walk in, something that elevates. Yet the concept of transparency is raw, open, uncovered, and often is the very thing that will depose, shun and cause hurt.  So how then, can they be two words that would seemingly at this moment fit together like a hand in glove?

As always, my pondering, searching and questioning leads me back to the heart of God.

Revelation 1.

God made Himself transparent when he came to earth in human form.  Jesus laid the heart of God bare for all to see, not just to hear.  He never ran away, covered up nor did he hold back the true heart of God from anyone, no matter what their current life status was!  He transparently confronted those things that grieved the heart of God in an effort to reconcile them back to or show them their Father’s heart.

So that was true of Jesus, but what about us?

Revelation 2.

As I have pondered and even wrestled with this with God I am realizing a few things about myself and the culture at large.  First, we love to talk about grace.  We want it, we need it and when we accept it we wear it like a royal robe.  The problem lies in the fact that it is often that very robe of grace, which was meant to empower and strengthen us, that becomes the grand cover up.  While yes it covers our sins, we often use it to insulate rather than radiate.  You see Jesus never insulated himself from anything or anyone, but radiated the Father’s love and grace to those around him.

It was not a grace that elevated but a grace that humbled, not a grace that set apart but a grace that welcomed and included, not a grace that judged but a grace that loved.

You see the Pharisees, like us sometimes, wore a cloak that kept them set apart. This was the cloak that they were elevated above, which bred a mindset of judgment and much religious activity.  Yet Jesus, God in the flesh, took on a robe of the common man, transparent and open for all to see, assimilated yet not conformed, humbling himself to the ordinary.

What I realize is this is the definition of transparent grace.

And it is here I realize that I have lived anything but that.

Revelation 3.

You see for many years it was a life of covering up, a life of competition, being right and doing right things and “cloaking” all that was not right for the sake of acceptance and love of people.  Unfortunately, in many religious arenas that is the very thing that measures success of that person.  I looked like I had it all together, could say all the right things and could be whomever I was needed to be.  All the while, cloaking the insecurity that caused me to compete, the envy that caused me to judge, the pride that blinded me, and the fear that allowed me to insulate myself from the broken and dying.  What I had received as grace offered freely became walls of captivity for my soul.

Leading me to my now….

Transparency…walls are down.  Transparency…the grace Jesus died for so willingly I abused for the sake of fitting in and acceptance within the church culture and community. Funny how God can use the very thing that is wrecking our lives to reveal to us the depth of His love.  Funny how the desert heat can cause us to lay down all that we “cloak” ourselves in.

I now realize it’s the transparent grace of Jesus that I can only wear.  The grace that loves the hurt ones, the ostracized, the least the broken and all the ones that are basically as I am…a hot mess girl!  But the transparent grace that we are loved with is also what transforms us.  Jesus sees through it all, past the “hot mess” to the beautiful creation we are.  Then then for as much as we have received we must now give…

A life of purpose is not a big church, a big job, a ministry, a successful career or even the perfect family.  It is a life lived ON purpose, transparently honest about what we are not and ALL that God is.  A life that loves big, loves loud, takes risk and embraces all we were created individually to be.

My heart cry now forever will be one of transparent honesty, with myself, with others, with God.  It’s time to not just talk about grace like it’s some illusive concept that we just accept one time, but to walk grace, to be transparent, with no fear of others opinions, to tell our story to the world around us where we are placed, to BE the church and to BE the grace and love the world so desperately is crying for.  The world at large and this generation are tired of too many words…they are crying for real, transparent lives that exude the grace that God sacrificed all to give to us.

Today, love big, don’t make excuses, do the risky thing and most of all be true to who you were created to be.

Transparent grace….oh so amazing and a grace that saved my life…only so that I may be used to save the lives of others.

Bless your soulife today…you Are so dearly loved!

Gracefully wrecked….Dee

Came across this from a dear friend and bold man of God…great follow up!

Church Gangs

 

 

Choice in Change

Change…the thing we love to hate.

We want change but we fight it.

It comes at our own hand and often by things beyond control.

It’s a concept built into God’s design.

Sitting at one of the most pivotal moments of my life, it’s not the circumstances I ponder but the change that is happening.  And I’ve come to a few conclusions about myself…

  1.  I hate change
  2. Change breeds and feeds the control in me
  3. I fear change
  4. Change is hard
  5. Change is inevitible

This is much self reflection as I write, but it is my desire is that God uses the transparency of my very real struggles to meet you where you are.  Change is real, and change for me is just downright scary.

Many of the changes in my life have been results of the decisions I have made, some good and some, well, not so good.  Those are the ones that I can deal with, chalk up as lessons learned or rejoice in the successes and growth they brought into my life.  It’s not those I ponder today, but the ones that have been dealt to me, dictated by someone or something that is simply beyond my control.  Those are the ones I hate, that I fear and that are hard ultimately because they remove my control.

This is where I sit today. The battle between my soul and my self (flesh).  Feeling the instability of not having control of what is next.  Yet when I take a step back, I realize it’s the place I’ve needed to be for a very long time.

The letting go place.

I have thought much the last few days about the change that Jesus walked through in such a short time.  The shift from becoming the carpenter’s son to the miracle worker.  The change from becoming the long awaited one to the ultimate sacrifice.  The change from having the perfect communion with his father to carrying the weight of all that he didn’t even deserve.  Fair?  No way.  Confusing?  Absolutely!  Lacking stability to those closest to him?  Yes.  Necessary?  More that they even knew.

What I’m realizing in this journey “through”, is that purpose will not be seen in the midst of the change.  That’s the lie.  That is what we wrestle with to try to understand.  The voice screams loudly that the changes are worthless, too hard, cost too much.  But the whispered word keeps resounding loudly in my head “For the joy set before him , he endured the cross…” (Heb 12:2).

Can I see the joy set before me  as I’m enduring the journey of the change?

It is here I can see myself as the victim of the change or use it as the tool to live a victorious life.  Perspective….it always lands back here.

Sitting in the beautiful South, the seasons are changing.  From the bleak winter months of seemingly no growth to the budding of spring and now heading toward  a summer that always brings life in abundance I begin to understand the words of Solomon that there is a time, a season if you will, for everything.  Without the dead quiet of winter, there is no opportunity for new growth and without spring bursting forth there is no new life.

Change…all part of the master plan for creation.

So could it be the thing that I was sure was death is actually the breeding ground for the “new thing” I must perceive?  The thing I cannot yet see with my eyes but when I change my perspective to the wide lens of God becomes a bit more clear?  Yes, change is definitely always been part of the plan.

So it is with endurance and faith I embrace the change and all that it brings with it.  I embrace the fear, the uncertainty and the instability knowing that there is a joy set before me, that there is a plan greater than any I could hope, dream or imagine and I fall head long into a grace and love in this next season that will surpass the impossibilities and provide fertile ground for dreams bigger than I can ever imagine.

Change is the fertile ground where dream seeds and impossible hopes are realized in an infinite God.

Here’s to the change of seasons, here’s to a victorious life and here’s to a heart cry that was met with unexplainable change.

Embrace the change today, embrace the fear, embrace the instability and in the words of the world of The Matrix “see how far the rabbit hole goes”.  Ready for this next wild ride!

Rejoicing in the change with peace in my soul….Dee
Obstacles

Cageless Perspective

Lose your life to gain it.

Sow in order to reap.

Blessed to be a blessing.

Praise demands a sacrifice.

What I feel as a loss God sees as freedom.

All can make sense, yet all dependent upon perspective.

My human perspective, usually, is on what has been lost, the world and the culture is about gain…gain money, gain mass, gain education, gain friends, gain influence, yet Jesus was always about losing and giving away.  He walked with no worry, no stress, in perfect peace, yet possessed nothing that we would see as valuable, even his relationships were with the least desirable, not those who could gain Him the most in that day.

This is the paradox of kingdom life…upside down.  Loss IS freedom…no parameters, endless, boundless and infinite.  Makes sense that Jesus would talk of freedom.  Because it is in that freedom that we see the love…wide, deep, fathomless love.

He tells us to cast away anything that “entangles” us.  Traps us.  Enslaves us.  All speak of freedom.  So why is it so difficult to lose?

We FEEL the loss.  That’s what loss is….yes it is apparent to the eye but more of it is a feeling, especially when it’s something of value.  We want to seek after it until the loss is satisfied.  No love there, just loss.  But then He says let it go…3 small but very difficult words to actually flesh out.

Feelings are attached to what is of value.  So when the thing of value is lost then we “feel” the loss.  But what if that was so upside down?  And what if the loss of one thing is always the gain of another?  That works with a kingdom that is balanced and works harmoniously.  So in the loss there is always freedom, in God’s perspective.

We must deal with the feelings to see the freedom.

The feelings are what keeps the vision at bay.  The feelings are where the enemy preys.  Where the lies take root and then the more the feelings are fed, the feelings live and grow like vines that entangle our thoughts and eventually our actions until we are enslaved by them.

But this infinite freedom is what God wants us to see.  Free to experience His grace, free to delve deeper into His love, free to really experience how high, wide and deep is all that He has for us.

I feel loss, yet I make it all I see.  He sees freedom, period.  Truth is concrete, feelings are relative.  Freedom is concrete, you either are or you are not…no gray area.  No partial freedom.  Either free or enslaved.

So today the camera pans out…the lens widens and the perspective changes.  A loss, a letting go up close is all you see, but from 10,000 feet there is so much more.  There is a future, there are dreams, there is clear vision, there is a hope and a good plan.

A choice…limited or endless, cages or freedom, fear or faith, loss or life…

This soul chooses to live, let it go and see just where the journey leads…choose this day what you will serve…yes it’s that plain and simple and the choice for our soul is all ours.

Where will you live today?  Would love to hear from you!

Blessing your soulife…Dee