When life hurts: the binding secret

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Sometimes an old pain echoes back through my mind. Sometimes I want to bring out my claws and growl and let the hurt rebound out from me to cause more hurt. It can feel that to put down my claws is to say that nothing unjust happened to the people I care about at all. It can feel that to not fight back is to give up on the hurting people the situation still represents to me.  

Yesterday, the question of my heart was “how?” How can I carry a burden for a group of people without carrying bitterness for those who can appear to stand against that same group?

I couldn’t sleep last night and two words kept singing to my heart… love believes…

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Bitterness cannot live towards a person when you are believing in the beautiful creation they are. Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:7) When we love our neighbor we believe they are created in the same image that we are. We believe in the image of God inside them.

The question posed back to my heart today… Even more than carrying your burden, do you carry the love of Christ for the people who may not share that burden at all? Do you believe in them?

We are all people who are broken and make mistakes. Yet, we are also all people who seek to be honest, who want to give the best to our families, who want to play a useful part in this world. While that desire may not be apparent in every life, I believe that somewhere in the heart it’s what every soul wants. We are all people who are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are people who are made in the image of the same God of love. (Gen. 1:27)

We have different ideas, different views and faiths, different cultural identity, different pasts, different personalities but we are all more alike than we are different. Love sees his neighbor and love believes. Love sees that you’re the same more than it sees that you are different. And when love does see where you are different, love doesn’t see a threat, love sees someone searching for the same place that it has searched for – the same place where you are known and loved and welcome.

Love looks at his neighbor, whatever life he may come from and says you are just like me. Whatever differences stand between you love believes and love sees someone just like them.

Isn’t that the encouragement we all look for to help us live the life we’re made for? I think it’s what we all want. For someone to care to step into our world against all odds and say ‘Friend, I believe in the work being done in you.’

It’s so easy to see the things that divide and hardly notice the things that bind, when the binding part is what we need.

When I see the dividing lines first, I feel rejected and the insecurities rise. And from that place, love is hard to welcome. But with eyes on Jesus, I see the One who binds with His own life, and from there my eyes open to the binding all around me.

From His own binding, flows the love that believes and binds across the differences and we find ourselves seeing each other the way we want to be seen – with the identity we were created for.   

So today, may we keep our eyes on the One who believed in us enough to die for us and bind our own wounds and from this place, love will flow and create binding places in this broken world. Love will flow out from us as we believe in the ones around us just as the Savior has believed in us.

Love believes. And the believing binds what once was broken.   

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Loosen Up

Still needing to hear those words so much… “Be still and know that He is God.” I race my to-do list through my head, cling to it like it’s my lifeline, like somehow everything will fall apart if I forget something, if something doesn’t get done, if my girlie doesn’t take her nap. I sit to talk and try to listen, but I have to run it through my head again. I long for a break, yet when she sleeps and the quiet comes my head pounds with the list of the reading and writing and journaling that simply must be done before she wakes. And my quiet time becomes a rush, not a worship, and my writing becomes a consumer of my mind.

Being still is more than a still body.

And today, the book I’m reading tells me, “Loosen up, because the chains have been loosed, and laugh the laughter of the freed.” (Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift) It asks me what I can take more lightly.

And then I turn to where I left off in John and who do I find but Mary and Martha. And Martha is there serving and Mary is there bent over His feet. And the perfume she poured out could have been given to the poor, yes, but Jesus defends her with the words, “for the poor you always have with you…” (Jn. 12)

You always have them with you…

And that to-do list comes back to my mind and what do I always have with me? What have I been doing that I can do any old time? What have I been carrying heavy instead of being still, for bending over His feet, for loosening up and laughing with the free?

It’s so simple, so simple that it seems hard… Those were words I jotted down earlier this week, writing about the work of God in simply believing. And have I rushed so fast through this writing of words that I forget to take in what they say…

“Grace calls me to believe, calls me to the action of faith, calls me to the true work of God. John shows Jesus explaining that work. When the Savior was asked, “‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’” (Jn 6:28-29) When asked how to do the works of God, of all the things Jesus could have said, He told them to believe… believe in him whom he has sent. It sounds so simple, so simple that it almost seems hard. Yet, believing is how we do the works of God.”

This. This is how I Love Him. Not by busying, but by believing. Believing in being still to know. When I take what I know and be still with it, be still with God, God works it into my believing and I have faith. Stillness. Not just reading my Bible, but being still with those Words, loosening up with my day, being light with my duties, and sometimes letting them go. And through faith, He can be through me, free to see grace and live laughter, bringing me to bend over feet that have walked this way before me.

Linking up to Five-Minute Friday today. Please take a look at Friday’s blogposts. :)


My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Replacing Shame

 We’re all moved into our new house and life is starting to settle again. I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days, something I’ve been enjoying. I busied myself too much over the move. I didn’t take time alone with God really, I didn’t rest, I didn’t think about much of anything besides getting the house put together. And at the end of it all, even though the house was unpacked, my soul was empty and down from being so ignored. And I’ve been learning to rest again, or as Emily Freeman says, making space for my soul to breathe. And how my soul needs that space.

And in that rest He’s finding me. “Be still and know…” Because it says it there: “My God in his steadfast love will meet me.” (Psalm 59:10) And He does meet me. And as I come to meet my Jesus again, I see Him. I see this man who “wearied as he was from his journey was sitting beside the well,” and all the while “his disciples had gone into the city to buy food.” (Jn. 4:6-8) He was the man who sought rest when He was weary even when His friends were busy running errands. He took responsibility to give His soul the rest it needed even if it could’ve easily looked to others like He was just being lazy. Like when He took a nap on the boat while His disciples were busy running the ship. My Savior knows the souls need for rest. If Jesus Christ made a point of taking time to rest how must we all need rest.

And how good it is to know that. Because I’ve been struggling with bitter thoughts and then again in my soul’s empty state, I turn to hide from Him in shame, like I can’t go to Him in my mess, and then my bitter thoughts only grow. But He finds me with those precious words. “My God in His steadfast love will meet me.” (Ps. 59:10) And that sets upon my soul struggles a beautiful relief. I’ve felt lost on how to respond to my sin, and though I know He accepts me as righteous, my soul has not rested there, and I go back to the shame again. And I try to fight shame, but I’m not sure how to counter it. But there in Psalms He speaks to me the replacement for my shame. “Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.” (Ps. 74:21) Rather than turning in shame, praise His name. Replace shame with praise.

When I have those bitter thoughts, He is there offering the grace for that moment and those thoughts can be my cue to turn to praising Him that He does, in fact, meet me in His Love, even when I’m coming from the place of failing.

He meets me as He met Adam and Eve when they hid in shame. When they did not remember that they were made in God’s image and tried to become like God in their own way. Emily Freeman points out that all of God’s children do the same when they sin – they don’t remember. (Grace for the Good Girl, Ch 10) We deny our identity when we sin and we deny it perhaps even more when we hide in shame. Because it is in shame that we believe that we are a failure when God has said we are righteous in Christ. He is my identity and that is what I can always praise Him for. That is the identity I have to speak into my soul and praise my God for when the shame starts to creep in. It is because of that identity that I can come boldly to the One who first came to me.


My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.