Tag Archives: hope

The Healing Journey

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
–Nichole Nordeman

Brave (Acoustic Special Edition version) – Nichole Nordeman

October 28, 2009 will mark 11 years since my born-again Christian experience began and in some ways I feel like I’m still where I started back then.  Let’s be clear, God has done some miraculous things during this time – I have a LONG list of what God has done in and through me and life certainly wouldn’t have just ‘happened’ this way.  Where I’m challenged right now is in that I am still the same – I struggle with my own humanity and all the messy things that come with it.  I want the issues and struggles that have been brewing and stirring my whole life to be purely memories from before I “got saved”.  I want to be fully living out all the wonderful ideas in my head about life in Godliness.  But the reality is that I’m just as much a wretch in need of a savior as I was that night that I screamed out to the Lord in 1998.

Continue reading The Healing Journey

When I Cry…

This afternoon I took some time to share with a good friend a bit of my story of hurt and healing in the Church.  I feel like I’ve told this to everyone already, but I keep finding that I’ve only alluded to it to many.  With that being said I’ll probably get into more detail here on my blog soon.  The (hopefully) short story is that I spent seven years in ministry at a church all the while struggling with addictions and compulsive behaviors – totally in isolation and not sharing this struggle with anyone.  When things became life-threatening I finally went to my pastor and shared everything – all of my fears and failures – and asked for help.  While I was initially met with love, it was also the beginning of just over three years of extreme demands being placed on me – leading to me moving way from all friends and family, severing ties with anyone I knew outside of our church, giving up school, my business, my vehicle, my computer, my cell phone – everything to pursue the ‘help’ that I was being offered.  What it turned out to be was living under 24-hour supervision in a legalistic environment with no actual counseling or direct ‘help’ resources.  This didn’t come all at once, but rather gradually I was given stricter and stricter requirements all in the name of helping me.

Continue reading When I Cry…

I’m So Happy!

I’m so happy and blessed that I could roll on the floor crying tears of joy right about now.  Today was an awesome day for me.  So many things went well at church.  I tend to feel amazing when I leave church but on much deeper levels today was special.

I battle with fear when it comes to singing solo / lead.  I thought this was obvious to everyone – especially since we use a huge projection screen at church.  A few weeks ago I shared this with our Music Director as I was feeling pretty bad about a small lead part I did in the service.  I got complements from several people but I couldn’t receive any of them.  I even got complements on the clothes I was wearing (which were new and I liked a lot) but i didn’t even feel good about that. I realized that this was my issue and things weren’t quite as bad as I was making them out to be.  I just was afraid of ‘messing up’ and even more afraid that I was bad and no one would tell me.  Me telling Fran (our Music Director) about how I felt along with talking about it in one of my groups really helped me to see just how my attitude was.  It was exposed and in the light and suddenly it didn’t seem so big.

Fast-forwarding to this week, I was given a lead part with two solo verses.  Fran really wanted me to pray about leading this song because the lyrics were definitely something that I could sing from my heart.

Sometimes at night
I am afraid
I cover my eyes,
Cover my shame
So here in the dark
Broken apart
Come with your light
And fill up my heart

Oh great light of the world
Fill up my soul
I’m half a man here
So come make me whole
Oh great light of the world
Come to impart
The light of your grace
To fill up my heart

Great Light Of The World by Bebo Norman

Continue reading I’m So Happy!

Renew Me / Everything He Promised

Good morning!
Listen to Renew Me by Martha Munizzi : http://www.napster.com/player/tracks/16499703

This has been an AWESOME morning for me.  Last night I had the opportunity to sit down and fellowship with a man of God.  In our conversation, I was reminded of my purpose and what God is doing in my life.  I received confirmation that God’s plan is active and God’s agenda is being pushed.  I went home with conviction and encouragement.

This morning I downloaded two songs in particular to listen to: “Renew Me” by Martha Munizzi and “Everything He Promised” by Dorinda Clark-Cole

The first song is a prayer song… “Renew me, remake me, create in me a clean heart oh God / Restore me, transform me, create in me a clean heart o God/ Restore me, transform me, create in me a clean heart o God/ Change my heart O Lord, I’m broken before you now, Take me as I am, receive this sacrifice.”

This captures what has been my prayer for years now.  As I’ve faced my struggles, my cry has been “Lord Change My Heart… that my life may be renewed” and as I look back, I’m seeing God– step by step– doing just that!

Listen to Everything He Promised by Dorinda Clark-Cole : http://www.napster.com/player/tracks/15492550

This is the second song that blessed me overwhelmingly this morning.  I literally cried as I sat on the train listening to this song. It’s a song of rejoicing in the fact that God is bringing to pass everything he promised.  I’m overwhelmed with thanks and praise for God bringing be back to Chicago and sustaining me.  It has been difficult, but the reality of the situation is that I’m STILL HERE!  God is STILL WORKING! and THE PROMISE IS ON THE WAY!

One line of the song repeats “The tears you’ve sown… you’ll reap with Joy” and indeed I’m expecting my harvest!  God’s love is amazing.  His plan is sure.  And I’m just happy about it!

I hope you’ll be able to listen to these songs and that they will in some way be as much an encouragement and a blessing to you as they have been to me today.  I love each of you and appreciate God placing you in my life.

The last lines of the song say “Don’t give up! Go All The Way! You’re Almost There!” and that is my encouragement to each person reading this!

Still Standing In His Grace
Darren Calhoun

Tuesday June 20, 2006 – 10:01am (CDT)

Commission of Comfort II: A Message of Hope

In part one I reflected on a scripture from 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 where we lean how God is the God of All Comfort. I belive that it’s part of our commission as the church to reach out and comfort those who are hurting.  Specifically I belive that those with same-sex attractions as well as the self-identified Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community, should able to come to the church for comforting and healing.

Now I’m looking again at God’s message of Hope to all people. It’s a message that reminds us that if we use our free-will to choose HIS WAYS that there is hope for these hopelessly human lives that we now live. I’m challenging us as the Chruch to find ways to open God’s real-life love to people who live in our current soceity.

This is God’s message to his people concerning those who choose to come to Him:

“Make sure no outsider who now follows GOD ever has occasion to say, “GOD put me in second-class.  I don’t really belong.’   And make sure no physically mutilated person  is ever made to think, “I’m damaged goods.  I don’t really belong.'” (Isaiah 56:3 The Message)

God who looks out for everyone addresses those who are already ‘his people’… this could be looked at as the Church today.  He wants the ‘outsider’ not to feel like ‘an outsider’ when they are among us.  I’m not saying that this is an easy task.  But who is going to minister to the mutilated? So often we talk about people with tatoos, with extreme piercings, and even the transgendered… and we do so with such disgust… but how will we make them feel that they could ever have a place in the church?  Some changes are permanant– they are mutilated if you will (for the sake of the scripture).  But God says that these too should be made to feel they belong.

I’m challenging myself to ask these hard questions because it forces me to confront myself in how I view people.

In my previous post, some were concerned about the issue of repentance.  I believe it’s clear that God does call all of humanity to repent, to turn away from sin… this is a process that is prompted in our hearts by God, but we RESPOND to him with our decisions.

For GOD says:     “To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths and choose what delights me and keep a firm grip on my covenant…” (Isaiah 56:4 The Message) (Emphasis Added)

Yes, we can choose how we RESPOND to our feelings and desires… EVEN if we didn’t choose to have those desires or feelings.  This isn’t the old message that has been echoed by many of condemnation and rejection.  God is welcoming all people to himself… it’s my prayer that we join in the grand welcoming party in our churches and figure out make that real in our ministries.

I’ll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.  They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the “insiders,’  to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.  Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7) (Emphasis Added)

People are hurting and rejected in the very place where they should be healed and accepted. As the Church, we must move beyond REACTIONS to the GLBT demands in the political and social marketplaces, and begin to RESPOND in a way that will welcome people to reconcile their relationships with God and with others.  It is in relationship with God that I belive we find deliverance and change — as God works this out in our lives… in his own timing.  Who could convince you better than God if your sexuality is being expressed in its ideal form?  In openness, honesty, and freedom we find out that God’s grace really is sufficient and that we can become all that God desires for us.

This is a beatuful passage of scripture, please read Isaiah 56 at BibleGateway.com

Again, the comments section is open to thoughtful comments and questions — if you agree or disagree, your views are welcome!   I’m working out my salvation… join me in my journey- we can learn something together!

Saturday March 11, 2006 – 12:55am (CST)

Psalm 139

Psalm 139

A David psalm

1GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.

2I’m an open book to you;

even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.

3You know when I leave and when I get back;

I’m never out of your sight.

4You know everything I’m going to say

before I start the first sentence.

5I look behind me and you’re there,

then up ahead and you’re there, too–

your reassuring presence, coming and going.

6This is too much, too wonderful–

I can’t take it all in!

7Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?

to be out of your sight?

8If I climb to the sky, you’re there!

If I go underground, you’re there!

9If I flew on morning’s wings

to the far western horizon,

10You’d find me in a minute–

you’re already there waiting!

11Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!

At night I’m immersed in the light!”

12It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;

night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

you formed me in my mother’s womb.

14I thank you, High God–you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration–what a creation!

15You know me inside and out,

you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

16Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared

before I’d even lived one day.

17Your thoughts–how rare, how beautiful!

God, I’ll never comprehend them!

18I couldn’t even begin to count them–

any more than I could count the sand of the sea.

Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

19And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!

And you murderers–out of here!-

20all the men and women who belittle you, God,

infatuated with cheap god-imitations.

21See how I hate those who hate you, GOD,

see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;

22I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.

Your enemies are my enemies!

23Investigate my life, O God,

find out everything about me;

Cross-examine and test me,

get a clear picture of what I’m about;

24See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong–

then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Wednesday November 9, 2005 – 05:12am (CST)