32 Weeks of Hope – Week 1

ImageI light my candles, providing a sweet aroma of fresh flowers and linens to inspire me. I plug in the white strand of Christmas lights that still adorn my room, adding a bit of whimsy.  I turn on my mood worship music, turn it down just a bit, then just a bit more. There. Now everything is just right. I am in writing mode. Blogging mode. Perfection.

But if I am being honest with myself, and with you, I must face the realization that my normal life does not in anyway reflect this moment in time.  Life is always getting in the way. It gets ugly. It gets dirty. There are angry people. There are difficult situations. There are angry people who cause difficult situations. Can I get an amen? We meet all sorts of things on the road of life. Things that pull us out of God’s presence and into the flesh. It seems overwhelming at times. So you cry out in frustration to God, “I’ll never be able to conquer my flesh, God! How can You ask me to be like You?! It’s impossible. I am not strong enough or good enough.” Image

I have been here countless times, and every time God gently whispers, “You cannot, Kaitlyn. But I can make You like Me. Come, give Me your heart”. 

And again, as if recovering from amnesia for the millionth time, I surrender. 

But I have to wonder if God gets tired of this age-old song and dance routine. How can He have the patience to deal with us? The endless cycle of human failure…since Adam’s fall 6,000 years ago…?

The truth is that He loves us immensely. And while human eyes only see our failures over and over, God sees our hearts. He sees that we come to Him wishing we hadn’t messed up AGAIN! He sees that we desire to be holy as He is holy. He sees our willingness and His heart is overwhelmed with delight!

Isn’t that crazy! That we can overwhelm our Lord’s heart?? The God of Heaven, who has EVERYTHING is delighted by our desire for Him…even when our desire is weak. He sees the buds growing amidst the melting frost of winter. ImageHe sees the promise of Spring.

I am so glad He sees our willingness, because I could not enter these 32 Weeks of Hope without this knowledge. I know I’m going to fail. I am going to make mistakes. But if I keep surrendering to Him, and receiving His grace, then over time, eventually I will become more like God. ImageI will fail less. I will run faster, harder, for a longer amount of time. And while the devil is telling me to give up and check-out of the race, God is inviting me to look to Him. He is my trainer and He says I can make it to that finish line. He promises me that He will be there every step of the way. How can I fail with God as my trainer?

See, we are ready to check-out of the race when the devil gets our eyes off of God and onto ourselves. Because if we are looking at our pathetic selves, it true, we might as well give up…because there is no way I’m making it even halfway to the finish line. But if I can get these weak eyes on ImageGod, the devil is the one who becomes overwhelmed with frustration, because he knows that with God all things are possible. And all of the sudden, that weak little girl is running alongside the God of Heaven, stride for stride and the devil has checked-out. 

So if you feel you can’t take this journey with me, get your eyes on Christ! When you read these scriptures and realize this is hard stuff and your prayer that follows is barely durable because you really don’t want to be praying for that person who hurt you, DO NOT GIVE UP! Entrust it to the Lord! He will be your trainer. And He will not give up on You.

For Week One I chose to focus on the scripture Luke 6:35-36. And just as a warning…Its a tough one to swallow. Like I said, this will not be easy…but it will change your heart and mind forever. You will begin to reflect the heart of God.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as Your Father is merciful”.

ImageLord,

I know on my own I can’t see this scripture take hold in my life. Your ways are not my ways…but Lord, Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Help me to love my enemies. It hurts, and its hard, and they don’t deserve it, I know that…but Lord, help me to be merciful as You have been merciful to me. While I was still a sinner, Lord, You died for me. You wrestled with me all that time. You sought me. You romanced me. Never once did I ever face to wrath of God that I deserved. Not once. So instead of wishing the wrath of God to serve justice to these, help me to remember the grace and mercy that You allowed to me. Help me to lend, even when they wont give me anything in return. Help me to be kind, even when they are ungrateful and unworthy. And when I pout and shout that its so unfair, remind me again, that You died while I was still a sinner, and while it was still unfair to You.

Thank You for loving me. Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank you for never giving up on them. Thank you for their lives and the opportunity they have to bring You glory. Thank You for allowing them grace rather than the justice they deserve. Bring healing to both of our hearts. Bless them and bring them up higher in You. Pour out on them Your incredible love, of which arrested my soul. Wrestle with them for Your heart. 

Amen

 

 

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